Opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune.

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

I listened to all that was said in this court in support and justification of this prosecution, but my mind remains unchanged. I look upon the Espionage Law as a despotic enactment in flagrant conflict with democratic principles and with the spirit of free institutions.

Your Honor, I have stated in this court that I am opposed to the social system in which we live; that I believe in a fundamental change—but if possible by peaceable and orderly mean.

Standing here this morning, I recall my boyhood. At fourteen I went to work in a railroad shop; at sixteen I was firing a freight engine on a railroad. I remember all the hardships and privations of that earlier day, and from that time until now my heart has been with the working class. I could have been in Congress long ago. I have preferred to go to prison.

I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and the factories; of the men in the mines and on the railroads. I am thinking of the women who for a paltry wage are compelled to work out their barren lives; of the little children who in this system are robbed of their childhood and in their tender years are seized in the remorseless grasp of Mammon and forced into the industrial dungeons, there to feed the monster machines while they themselves are being starved and stunted, body and soul. I see them dwarfed and diseased and their little lives broken and blasted because in this high noon of Christian civilization money is still so much more important than the flesh and blood of childhood. In very truth gold is god today and rules with pitiless sway in the affairs of men.

In this country—the most favored beneath the bending skies—we have vast areas of the richest and most fertile soil, material resources in inexhaustible abundance, the most marvelous productive machinery on earth, and millions of eager workers ready to apply their labor to that machinery to produce in abundance for every man, woman, and child—and if there are still vast numbers of our people who are the victims of poverty and whose lives are an unceasing struggle all the way from youth to old age, until at last death comes to their rescue and lulls these hapless victims to dreamless sleep, it is not the fault of the Almighty: it cannot be charged to nature, but it is due entirely to the outgrown social system in which we live that ought to be abolished not only in the interest of the toiling masses but in the higher interest of all humanity.

I believe, Your Honor, in common with all Socialists, that this nation ought to own and control its own industries. I believe, as all Socialists do, that all things that are jointly needed and used ought to be jointly owned—that industry, the basis of our social life, instead of being the private property of a few and operated for their enrichment, ought to be the common property of all, democratically administered in the interest of all.

I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.

This order of things cannot always endure. I have registered my protest against it. I recognize the feebleness of my effort, but, fortunately, I am not alone. There are multiplied thousands of others who, like myself, have come to realize that before we may truly enjoy the blessings of civilized life, we must reorganize society upon a mutual and cooperative basis; and to this end we have organized a great economic and political movement that spreads over the face of all the earth.

There are today upwards of sixty millions of Socialists, loyal, devoted adherents to this cause, regardless of nationality, race, creed, color, or sex. They are all making common cause. They are spreading with tireless energy the propaganda of the new social order. They are waiting, watching, and working hopefully through all the hours of the day and the night. They are still in a minority. But they have learned how to be patient and to bide their time. The feel—they know, indeed—that the time is coming, in spite of all opposition, all persecution, when this emancipating gospel will spread among all the peoples, and when this minority will become the triumphant majority and, sweeping into power, inaugurate the greatest social and economic change in history.

In that day we shall have the universal commonwealth—the harmonious cooperation of every nation with every other nation on earth.

Your Honor, I ask no mercy and I plead for no immunity. I realize that finally the right must prevail. I never so clearly comprehended as now the great struggle between the powers of greed and exploitation on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of industrial freedom and social justice.

I can see the dawn of the better day for humanity. The people are awakening. In due time they will and must come to their own.

When the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary watch, he turns his eyes toward the southern cross, burning luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches, the southern cross begins to bend, the whirling worlds change their places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of time upon the dial of the universe, and though no bell may beat the glad tidings, the lookout knows that the midnight is passing and that relief and rest are close at hand. Let the people everywhere take heart of hope, for the cross is bending, the midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning.

I am now prepared to receive your sentence.

Statement to the Court
Eugene Debs, September 18, 1918

Eugene V. Debs Foundation

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The Age of Black Swans (a poem)

in an outlier age
every swan jet black
nests on a sphere skewed extreme.
each day a thousand year rain
drowns misery in empty
bloated bellies,
washing over hearts
that will not wear
and cannot break.
signs and wonders
thick as smoke
we choke, waiting
for one
small
miracle
that can never come.

Never Be Your Beast Of Burden

I am not fond of people who use open forums to whine about their lives or their take on the state of the world, unless they are willing to also discuss the potential for action and change.

But if one simply wants to spread the needy, infantile contents of their ego in a public venue; that, in my exceedingly humble opinion, is what psychotherapists are for. And hopefully part of a larger program which includes exploring positive, proactive ways to improve the subject or object of the complaint.

My aversion to “sharing” is partly the result of having lived many years in the pre-Oprah era.

I was probably the originator of the phrase “TMI” (too much information).  I’m not fond of “sharing” with perfect strangers.  It’s not that we shouldn’t talk about our problems, anxieties and traumas. I find talking about those things to be helpful in the proper context. I find talking about them out of the proper context to be self-centered and rude.

For me that “proper” context is usually in the midst of finding ways to deal with the issue so that it can come to some sort of resolution; real or imagined. That way, I don’t ever have to deal with the issue again, unless I choose to. And sometimes I undertake this task with the help of someone who has knowingly consented to share my burden.

But there are many who use the internet or social groups or the line at the grocery store to vomit their petty pinpricks of frustration all over the nearest bystander. This makes the vented feel better. But it doesn’t help them. Not really. It’s a quick fix. A cigarette. They are going to need another one in a couple of hours. And then some other innocent bystander is going to go home, covered in Vomitus Whinus.

Trust me, that stuff is both toxic and communicable.

That’s what people fail to comprehend. When you pass that stuff on to people who do not consent or are not “trained professionals” many times it affects them in a real and substantial way.

You vent to some patient, well-meaning stranger. They take it in whether they agree to or consciously want to. On the way home, they start thinking about the ways in which their world is broken. Or how their spouse has pissed them off. Or how their children don’t acknowledge or respect all the hard work they do

They take your bile into themselves and it becomes their bile.

And if they don’t have a way to deal with their issues, they will simply spread your dis-ease on to another unsuspecting soul. And I mean this quite literally.

Living in the South, I’m always amused in talking to new arrivals. Often they will have questions about the manners and mores of the region. What this phrase means or why people do that. And when I explain the basic rules, I will often say: “Oh, and never, ever ask a stranger how they are doing; because they will tell you.”

More often than not, their jaw will fall slightly, their eyes will widen and they will exclaim, “I KNOW!” And then they will relate some incident where they innocently spoke to some person in line or in the doctor’s office with the verbal tic of: “Hi, howareya?” And for the sin of being merely polite, were treated to 20 minutes of mind-bogglingly graphic details of this particular ailment or that unfortunate mishap.

In a relationship, by way of contrast, there can be an exchange. I share with my friends or my partner and when they need my ear, they share with me. It’s communal. We commune. We agree to share the other’s burden because we are emotionally or socially bonded to each other. And because we have this emotional contract, we know it is reciprocal; our ability to share our views and feelings is two-way street.

Sans relationship, i.e. on the internet or in line at the dry cleaners, you are merely spreading your dis-ease. I stumble on your exhibitionist-emo-ego-masturbation and I am faced with a limited series of choices:1)  try to ignore what I’ve been subjected to so far and hope that it hasn’t infected me, 2) whine back at you with my opinion or about my problems or 3) tell you to grow up,  learn to deal and develop some adult restraint.

The first is obviously the better choice. But let’s say I choose to engage you. Since you have already taken on the role of victim, the second choice would seem inappropriate. Why would I stomp all over your whine fest with my own? The 3rd choice makes me a condescending bully. So literally, I can’t come out of this unscathed, either by your vomitus or by public consensus.

Let me put this bluntly: the world’s population is not a personal stash of toilet paper for soaking up your spew. That is not a role we signed up for. I know this may send a rending shock through your world view but, believe it or not, you are not the center of the universe. I fully understand that growing up in a world which has encouraged you to foist your self-centered drivel to anyone who would listen has left you with the mistaken impression that you are somehow entitled to do so at will.

You are a child in the guise of an adult. Learn to practice some modicum of restraint.

It is somewhat like training your bladder. There are times when you need to “go”, but no relief is available. Consider whether pissing yourself in front of a perfect stranger would be socially acceptable. If you conclude that it is not, consider holding it until you find an appropriate outlet for your discomfort.

If you need help, get help. Barring an emergency situation, if you think choosing a perfect stranger to counsel you in exceedingly personal matters is helpful or productive I first suggest you explore the subject of coping skills.

Don’t simply expect me or any stranger to bear your burden without protest.

There’s some good news!!!! (and then there’s the news we don’t actually care about)

Hey, it’s a party! The richest, shiniest 400 families in America have gotten 5 times richer in the past 15 years!!!!

And OMG BONUS!!!! Their tax rates fell to the lowest rate EVAR!!! Couldn’t you just die??!!!!

Sources: Tax.com NY Times WSWS.org

WHEEEEE!!!! LOOK AT THAT INCOME RISE!!!!

Incomes Go Up!

YAYYYY!!!!! GO AWAY BAD TAXES!!!!!!

Taxes Go Down!

Total income for our top earners was $138 billion in 2007.  That’s up  $263 million from the previous year. They got an increase of 31%!!!  Yayyyy!!!!  they deserve it.

But how much did the shiny 400 pay in taxes? A mere $23 billion. Isn’t that JUST SUPER?!!!!!!!

Our top 400 Awesome Rich People made more in 2007 than the yearly output of most of the world’s countries; rivaling the GDP of Chile .

If the shiny 400 had paid their 2007 taxes (even at the 1995 rate) the resulting $18.4 billion would have covered California’s entire 2010 budget shortfall. Aren’t you just so proud?

Bill Clinton’s administration started the report back in the day to let us ROOT! ROOT! ROOT! for our rich. But the Grumbledy Meanies in the Bush administration shut it down. Leaving us without any way to know how super and shiny our rich people really, truly are.

And guess what! The wealthiest 1% took 2/3rds of ALL the income generated between 2002 and 2007.  But, ya know what? I think they deserve it.

They took 90% whole percent!!! But they deserve it.

Some Economy Guys named Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez  said income for the top 1 percent grew 10 times faster than that of the bottom 90 percent.

10 TIMES FASTER!!!!!!!!

And don’t we all think that’s just FANTASTIC?!!!

Okay, okay, not be a Debbie Downer, but I did promise that other news (we don’t really care about anyway)

It seems the whiny old states think they might have needed those tax dollars. Pouty Pusses.

Center for Budget and Policy

Those Silly Little Recession Numbers

Current.org
As states cut back their budgets, governors are targeting public broadcasting along with other educational and arts programs. Some stations could face a total funding loss.

But really who needs that stuff anyway? That’s all just local musicians and news and artists. We don’t need to know what they are doing, as long as the rich can get richer. Right?

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
At least 44 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted budget cuts that will affect services for children, the elderly, the disabled, and families, as well as the quality of education and access to higher education.

Look, I know it’s tough. But if you are old or disabled, you are going to die soon anyway. And frankly that might be a blessing, because you aren’t pretty to look at in that condition either.

But if you are young and uneducated, the rich are always looking for somebody to trim hedges or cut the grass, you’ll get by. Heck, I bet you could get Timmy out of daycare and the SUPER SHINY RICH could put him to work in a trice!!!

Little fingers like Timmy has are just perfect for making those big expensive wool rugs the rich like to hang on their walls. It takes patience though, so tell Timmy to work steady or there will be no gruel for dinner. Wait…… that’s right. The rule is one meal a day.

Bonus!!!! Timmy won’t have to eat gruel for dinner, cause there’s no dinner!!!! Yay!!!!!!

Don’t we just owe the Rich EVERYTHING?

One could just SWOON…..

Swooning

Swooning

Found Poem: Winter in the Collapse

It’s winter. The ground is as hard as an investment banker’s soul.

An evocative trouvaille. But, in my opinion, it needs a little oomphf.

So I reworked it a little. For your consideration:

It’s winter.
The ground is cold and hard.
An investment banker’s soul.

Original poem entitled: What did you expect, job growth? found at Democratic Underground Stock Market Watch by Po_d Mainiac

Hard Times Across America

The first story is from early in the year. As you can see from the subsequent items, things did not improve over the summer.

6 out of 10 people are living paycheck to paycheck

1 in 8 using food stamps

Hunger in US at 14 year high

Having grown up in a single parent household, I understand the stresses of putting off necessary things until payday. And for that reason, I am glad to see that people are utilizing the services that their tax dollars have paid for over the years.

As I was growing up, my mother would not consider accepting “welfare” under any circumstances. Suffering the many stigmas of poverty, the further humiliation of stooping to ask for “welfare” was beyond what my mother could accept. But there were times when more food or something a little more varied than Fried Fatback Biscuits for dinner would have been looked on as a positive thing.

But to offer a fair and balanced view (and actually do it with a straight face), I’ll include this quote from the Hunger story:

“Very few of these people are hungry,” said Robert Rector, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “When they lose jobs, they constrain the kind of food they buy. That is regrettable, but it’s a far cry from a hunger crisis.”

Down the road, a problematic convergence is coming into view. More unemployed means less taxes paid. More unemployed also means more people utilizing the system paid for with tax dollars.

A few brave souls have proposed raising taxes on the wealthy, who seem to be the only ones benefitting from Reagan’s deregulation orgy of the 80’s. I was glad to see a War Tax put on the table by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey.

If they limit the taxation to those who have supported the war(s) or those who have profited from them, I’d get myself elected just so I could see it passed.

H1N1 Sources and Resources

Well, so much for living in interesting times. One begins to understand why the Chinese considered it a curse. The 21st Century is a morass of pervasive uncertainty blooming into paranoia, conspiracy theories and self-proclaimed skeptics whose ideology often masks a fundamentalist agenda.

While these reactions are predictable, if not understandable, one must take caution when discussing facts and factoids that may only serve to intensify the problem. But when I read the same kernel of a story coming from widely divergent sources that would not necessarily compose intersecting sets I become…intrigued.

So I offer them to you with little commentary. Read them; make of them what you will. I am not suggesting the pattern is anything more than that, an idea that happened to occur to more than one person.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review

A mostly hypothetical suggestion as to the ancestors and origins of the H1N1

As abruptly as it disappeared, the original virus emerged again to infect people in the former Soviet Union, Hong Kong and northeastern China in 1977.

Since the virus had not evolved since 1950 — which is unusual — and because scientists were examining swine flu viruses in light of a small, confined outbreak in Fort Dix, N.J., the previous year, Zimmer believes the infection was caused by an accidental release of a frozen sample preserved for study.

Virology Journal (report in PDF)

An interesting look at the genealogy of the virus.

“We contrast that suggestion with the possibility that laboratory errors involving the sharing of virus isolates and cultured cells, or perhaps vaccine production, may have been involved.”

Examiner.com

Providing information on the current mutations in H1N1. The mutation has increased the virulence of the virus, but not its ability to transmit easily

Ukraine Plague Blogspot

A truly indiscriminate and wide-ranging gathering of information, spanning science journals to unverifiable dreck. A number of the resources here propose that the virus is human created. There seems to be some concern from the creator of this blog and others that the Winter Olympics will be subject to some sort of virus seeding; wherein people are dusted via airplane with infectious agents, then taking it home around the world.

In the Midst of the Health Care Debate and the H1N1 Vaccine Crisis

“The modern “heresy” that medical care (as it is traditionally conceived) is generally unrelated to improvements in the health of populations (as distinct from individuals) is still dismissed as unthinkable in much the same way as the so-called heresies of former times. And this is despite a long history of support in popular and scientific writings as well as from able minds in a variety of disciplines.”

The Questionable Contribution of Medical Measures to the Decline of Mortality in the United States in the Twentieth Century

by John B. McKinlay; Sonja M. McKinlay

Published in 1977 in the Milbank Memorial Quarterly, Vol. 55, No.3. pp. 405-428

In this study, the McKinlays explore a steep decline in the top 10 communicable diseases. (Tuberculosis, Scarlet Fever, Influenza, Pneumonia, Diptheria, Whooping Cough, Measels, Smallpox, Typhoid, Poliomyelitis) This unified decline occurred over a period of about 100 years from 1900 to 1973 . Even the most virulent of these diseases were near their currently flat expression when science developed the means to mass produce vaccines in the years leading up to 1949.

Male and Female Mortality Rates Since 1900

As this chart from the paper shows, the decline in mortality from 1900 to the 1970’s for both males and females was markedly dramatic.

They compare this decline in mortality to similar declines in the communicable diseases listed previously.

Decline in Communicable Diseases since 1900

Decline in Communicable Diseases since 1900

Decline in Communicable Diseases Since 1900 pt. 2

And also included is a graph charting causes of death from the early 1900’s in comparison to the years just prior to this paper’s publication.

Changes in Causes of Mortality since 1900

Changes in Causes of Mortality since 1900

Which leads to the authors’ conclusion:

In general, medical measures (both chemotherapeutic andprophylactic) appear to have contributed little to the overall decline in mortality in the United States since about 1900-having in many instances been introduced several decades after a marked decline had already set in and having no detectable influence in most instances. More specifically, with reference to those five conditions (influenza, pneumonia, diphtheria, whooping cough, and poliomyelitis) for which the decline in mortality appears substantial after the point of intervention-and on the unlikely assumption that all of this decline is attributable to the intervention-it is estimated that at most 3.5 percent of the total decline in mortality since 1900 could beascribed to medical measures introduced for the diseases considered here.

This graph shows the diseases and their declines in comparison:

Compilation Graph

Compilation Graph

I would imagine that even the average lay reader, on viewing this graph of the mass decline, can easily imagine each disease effortlessly reaching current levels without the advent of commonly available vaccines. But if vaccines are not responsible for the dramatic decline in mortality, how else can it be explained?

It is widely known that a sea change in patient survival came after more stringent practices regarding hygiene and sterility of spaces and implements used in medical procedures were undertaken for both patient and physician. And as medicine and science progressed in their research of communicable disease and underlying factors that allowed them to spread. Along the way researchers and doctors also began to understand the things that create health.

Massive public campaigns, programs and projects were implemented. For instance swamps were drained to reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And a broad swath of society, from low to high, were educated about cleanliness and hygiene.

From the CDC’s website:

In 1900 in some U.S. cities, up to 30% of infants died before reaching their first birthday (1). Efforts to reduce infant mortality focused on improving environmental and living conditions in urban areas (1). Urban environmental interventions (e.g., sewage and refuse disposal and safe drinking water) played key roles in reducing infant mortality. Rising standards of living, including improvements in economic and education levels of families, helped to promote health. Declining fertility rates also contributed to reductions in infant mortality through longer spacing of children, smaller family size, and better nutritional status of mothers and infants (1). Milk pasteurization, first adopted in Chicago in 1908, contributed to the control of milkborne diseases (e.g., gastrointestinal infections) from contaminated milk supplies.

Refrigeration became commonly available. That and other household inventions like window screens, indoor plumbing, and strategies to deal with outhouse placement in relation to well placement and other improvements made possible by gains in real income.

Because, according to the McKinlay’s paper:

With the appearance of his book, Who Shall Live? (1974), Fuchs, a health economist, contributed to the resurgence of interest in the relative contribution of medical care to the modern decline in mortality in the United States. He believes there has been an unprecedented improvement in health in the United States since about the middle of the eighteenth century, associated primarily with a rise in real income.

In light of a number of similar reports, which have been ignored or overlooked questions about vaccines begin to center on efficacy versus the potential for harm. There are those “skeptics” who are quick to label any such questions as the “heresy” described by the McKinlays’. One would hope, at this point, they might review the widely accepted definition of skepticism as one of continuing exploration. There are no concrete truths in science, only evolving theories that should, in the best of all possible worlds, be continuously re-examined and re-tested.

We should also consider similar themes of hygiene in relation to income levels through the lens of such ideas as: mandated control of working conditions, food preparation and storage, statutes for safe drinking water and the establishment of agencies dealing specifically with issues of public health. Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle can act as a literary touchstone for the ideas presented here.

Now is the time for us to ask ourselves: Would the money spent on the now all-but-neutered health care bill be used more effectively by developing jobs for the populace so that real income levels rise for those most affected by the downturn? Would a combination of public health education and income increases work to reduce the current spate of common causes of death as it did in the first half of the last century even though the cause of mortality has changed? I think we need to take a broader view of what has worked in the past, as it is evident that medicating the problems will not solve them now any more than it did then.

Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk.

Osteoporosis Research Center, Creighton University, Omaha. This randomized trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00352170.

RESULTS: When analyzed by intention to treat, cancer incidence was lower in those receiving  Calcium +Vitamin D than in the placebo control subjects.  When analysis was confined to cancers diagnosed after the first 12 months, RR for the Calcium +Vitamin D group fell  but did not change significantly for the Calcium-only group. In multiple logistic regression models, both treatment and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were significant, independent predictors of cancer risk.

CONCLUSIONS: Improving calcium and vitamin D nutritional status substantially reduces all-cancer risk in postmenopausal women.

All cancer.

I guess they only question left is: Won’t somebody think of the Pharmaceutical Companies?!  How are they supposed to survive if you can cut your cancer risk by getting some sun and eating a few strawberries or sardines?

Steaming your food reduces inflammatory markers in the body.

UPI Health Report

Inflammatory markers declined by as much as 60 percent in those eating poached, stewed or steamed meals, U.S. researchers found.

Lead author Dr. Helen Vlassara of New York City’s Mt. Sinai School of Medicine said inflammatory markers have been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggested inflammation linked to oxidants — in particular those that proliferate in fried, grilled or baked food — may overwhelm the body’s defenses.

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