24 August 2016


0000 by Jeff Hess

top of mind

End Racism Xenophobia in America… Stop Global Warming… Free Raif Badawi…

There are a number of stories and themes that I come back to again and again. My friend Eric Vessels once wrote that I do a consistently good job of following up, and Scene Magazine said that my daily posts remind the public of Cleveland controversies long after the local media gets bored and moves on.

So, that is what I’m attempting to do here with three stories: our ongoing conversation on Racism in America, the vital need to slam the brakes on Global Warming/Climate Change and the struggle to free Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

While this post is stuck to the top of my blog as a constant reminder to my readers and myself, new stories on many other topics do appear below.

Enjoy. Think, Discuss, Act…

the counted

Have Coffee Will Write Wayback Machine


One Year Ago at Have Coffee Will Write: LISTEN, LISTEN SOME MORE, LISTEN AGAIN… and

Five Years Ago at Have Coffee Will Write: WHAT…? DID SOMEONE’S MARTINI SPLASH…?

Ten Years Ago at Have Coffee Will Write: FROM MY CHAPBOOK…; FROM MY DAD… and

24 August 2016


0600 by Jeff Hess

If you haven’t ordered a copy of Dan Guman’s The Kid Who Ran for President, do so.

I have.

24 August 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

So, last evening I attended an informational meeting for the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus and, unlike a similar meeting I attended for MoveOn several election cycles ago, I was impressed. The crowd was small, about 32 or so, but the energy was good and people were articulately intelligent and informed. I walked away from MoveOn, seeing the organization as just an astroturf organization for New (center-right) Democrats. I think the CCPC has potential.

I’ll be going to another CCPC meeting tonight; a watch party for Bernie’s kickoff of Our Revolution. Bernie’s website seems to have fallen behind the curve on getting the word out, but locally, CCPC is listing three watch parties tonight beginning at 8 p.m. (Bernie is scheduled to speak at 9 p.m.; one each on the east side (at the home of Yvonka Hall, 18115 Harvard Ave.), the west side (at the CCPC office, 11910 Detroit Ave.) and the south side (at the home of Liz Schulte, 10037 Hickory Ridge Dr. in Brecksville) of Cuyahoga County. (I’ll be attending the Brecksville event.)

CCPC is fueled from the left, mostly, as near as I could tell, by Bernie voters with only one participant last evening openly advocating for the support of Hillary Clinton. This is an organization worth looking at, and, if you’re impressed, as I am, supporting with your time and money.

23 August 2016


0800 by Jeff Hess

vincent van gogh zen pencils blank page blank canvasGavin Aung Than

23 August 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison.

INTERVIEWER: Did you have everything thought out before you began to write Invisible Man?

ELLISON: The symbols and their connections were known to me. I began it with a chart of the three-part division. It was a conceptual frame with most of the ideas and some incidents indicated. The three parts represent the narrator’s movement from, using Kenneth Burke’s terms, purpose to passion to perception. These three major sections are built up of smaller units of three which mark the course of the action and which depend for their development upon what I hoped was a consistent and developing motivation. However, you’ll note that the maximum insight on the hero’s part isn’t reached until the final section. After all, it’s a novel about innocence and human error, a struggle through illusion to reality. Each section begins with a sheet of paper; each piece of paper is exchanged for another and contains a definition of his identity, or the social role he is to play as defined for him by others. But all say essentially the same thing: “Keep this nigger boy running.” Before he could have some voice in his own destiny, he had to discard these old identities and illusions; his enlightenment couldn’t come until then. Once he recognizes the hole of darkness into which these papers put him, he has to burn them. That’s the plan and the intention; whether I achieved this is something else.

22 August 2016


0600 by Jeff Hess

22 August 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison.

INTERVIEWER: Can you give us an example of the use of folklore in your own novel?

ELLISON: There are certain themes, symbols, and images which are based on folk material. For example, there is the old saying among Negroes: If you’re black, stay back; if you’re brown, stick around; if you’re white, you’re right. And there is the joke Negroes tell on themselves about their being so black they can’t be seen in the dark. In my book this sort of thing was merged with the meanings which blackness and light have long had in Western mythology: evil and goodness, ignorance and knowledge, and so on. In my novel the narrator’s development is one through blackness to light; that is, from ignorance to enlightenment, invisibility to visibility. He leaves the South and goes North; this, as you will notice in reading Negro folk tales, is always the road to freedom—the movement upward. You have the same thing again when he leaves his underground cave for the open.

It took me a long time to learn how to adapt such examples of myth into my work—also ritual. The use of ritual is equally a vital part of the creative process. I learned a few things from Eliot, Joyce and Hemingway, but not how to adapt them. When I started writing, I knew that in both “The Waste Land” and Ulysses, ancient myth and ritual were used to give form and significance to the material; but it took me a few years to realize that the myths and rites which we find functioning in our everyday lives could be used in the same way. In my first attempt at a novel, which I was unable to complete, I began by trying to manipulate the simple structural unities of beginning, middle, and end, but when I attempted to deal with the psychological strata—the images, symbols, and emotional configurations—of the experience at hand, I discovered that the unities were simply cool points of stability on which one could suspend the narrative line, and that beneath the surface of apparently rational human relationships there seethed a chaos before which I was helpless. People rationalize what they shun or are incapable of dealing with; these superstitions and their rationalizations become ritual as they govern behavior. The rituals become social forms, and it is one of the functions of the artist to recognize them and raise them to the level of art.

I don’t know whether I’m getting this over or not. Let’s put it this way: Take the “Battle Royal” passage in my novel, where the boys are blindfolded and forced to fight each other for the amusement of the white observers. This is a vital part of behavior pattern in the South, which both Negroes and whites thoughtlessly accept. It is a ritual in preservation of caste lines, a keeping of taboo to appease the gods and ward off bad luck. It is also the initiation ritual to which all greenhorns are subjected. This passage states what Negroes will see I did not have to invent; the patterns were already there in society so that all I had to do was present them in a broader context of meaning. In any society there are many rituals of situation which, for the most part, go unquestioned. They can be simple or elaborate, but they are the connective tissue between the work of art and the audience.

22 August 2016


0400 by Jeff Hess

Of course, Ohio—with White Hat Management at the fore—comes in for the lion’s share of Oliver’s piece. As for the question of Cyber Charters, I can say from 10+ years of working with online classes in multiple districts that unless the student is working in a classroom with a knowledgeable educator (or receiving at-home instruction from a teacher), cyber education is shit.

21 August 2016


0700 by Jeff Hess

So Larry Wilmore and The Nightly Show have moved on. While I’m sure that Bill Cosby is ecstatic, the rest of us are feeling a hole right now. I actually don’t know if I can switch to another show.

Seamus Kirst, writing in Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show’s end: ‘I don’t mind going down trying’ for The Guardian, talked with Wilmore about his experience, but this one exchange leapt our for me:

His other proudest accomplishment, he said, was his unfailing commitment to “keeping it 100”.

“Many times when you do what I do, or work in journalism, in general, people try to not explicitly present their opinions on topics,” he said. “I think the term ‘fair reporting’ is overused when it comes to journalism. I think saying they want to report evenly is more accurate.”

Though Wilmore said he thought “even reporting” was an admirable approach, it was far from his goal: he wanted to be 100% honest, all of the time.

“To keep it 100, I couldn’t always be even,” he said. “I had to drop that pretense and if I thought a certain side was wrong, I had to call it that way. I couldn’t be concerned with what side that was.”

As an example, Wilmore said he has criticized Hillary Clinton almost as much as he has criticized Donald Trump.

“I’ve had people mad at me for doing that, but what can I do if I want to keep it 100?” he said. “Do they want me to act like I don’t think the things I’m saying? It wouldn’t be right.”

If I were a young journalism student today, I would make Keep It 100 my motto. That would make any journalists life tough, and doubly so for someone just starting out, but at the end of the day, at the end of the career, I think the regrets will be far fewer.

21 August 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 8” with Ralph Ellison:

INTERVIEWER: But isn’t it going to be difficult for the Negro writer to escape provincialism when his literature is concerned with a minority?

ELLISON: All novels are about certain minorities: the individual is a minority. The universal in the novel—and isn’t that what we’re all clamoring for these days?—is reached only through the depiction of the specific man in a specific circumstance.

INTERVIEWER: But still, how is the Negro writer, in terms of what is expected of him by critics and readers, going to escape his particular need for social protest and reach the “universal” you speak of?

ELLISON: If the Negro, or any other writer, is going to do what is expected of him, he’s lost the battle before he takes the field. I suspect that all the agony that goes into writing is borne precisely because the writer longs for acceptance—but it must be acceptance on his own terms. Perhaps, though, this thing cuts both ways: the Negro novelist draws his blackness too tightly around him when he sits down to write—that’s what the antiprotest critics believe—but perhaps the white reader draws his whiteness around himself when he sits down to read. He doesn’t want to identify himself with Negro characters in terms of our immediate racial and social situation, though on the deeper human level identification can become compelling when the situation is revealed artistically. The white reader doesn’t want to get too close, not even in an imaginary recreation of society. Negro writers have felt this, and it has led to much of our failure.

Too many books by Negro writers are addressed to a white audience. By doing this the authors run the risk of limiting themselves to the audience’s presumptions of what a Negro is or should be; the tendency is to become involved in polemics, to plead the Negro’s humanity. You know, many white people question that humanity, but I don’t think that Negroes can afford to indulge in such a false issue. For us, the question should be, what are the specific forms of that humanity, and what in our background is worth preserving or abandoning. The clue to this can be found in folklore, which offers the first drawings of any group’s character. It preserves mainly those situations which have repeated themselves again and again in the history of any given group. It describes those rites, manners, customs, and so forth, which insure the good life, or destroy it; and it describes those boundaries of feeling, thought, and action which that particular group has found to be the limitation of the human condition. It projects this wisdom in symbols which express the group’s will to survive; it embodies those values by which the group lives and dies. These drawings may be crude, but they are nonetheless profound in that they represent the group’s attempt to humanize the world. It’s no accident that great literature, the product of individual artists, is erected upon this humble base. The hero of Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground and the hero of Gogol’s “The Overcoat” appear in their rudimentary forms far back in Russian folklore. French literature has never ceased exploring the nature of the Frenchman. Or take Picasso—

Found in my electronic chapbook

21 August 2016


0400 by Jeff Hess

Bread and butter. Chocolate and peanut butter. Drinking and college.

Anyone who thinks that making the drinking age 21 will keep 18- (and even some 17-year-olds) from drinking on campus is blind to a very simple reality. There’s a reason high school juniors and senior quietly shortlist party schools when they’re looking at colleges. After four, or more, years of grinding away at Advance Placement and Honors classes; of losing sleep over extra-curricular activities for the purpose of buffing up their resumes, students are wound tighter than a weasel on turnips.

They need to let go.

When I went back to college in 1980 the drinking age for low-test beer in Ohio was 18. I was 25 and recently discharged from Navy, so I didn’t care, but I had experienced higher drinking ages in Washington where I could get beer on, but not off, base.

That always struck me as fundamentally wrong. At 18 I was considered old enough to volunteer to fight and die for my country but I couldn’t get a fucking shot of Wild Turkey.

Our nation’s destructive experiment with prohibition didn’t end in 1933 with the 21st Amendment. Fluctuating thresholds—low-test beer vs. high-test beer, wine vs. liquor—don’t make a lot of sense, especially when we give 18-year-olds the vote and the military draft, but not alcohol (and of course our present debate over recreational marijuana).

The laws and the stress to excel has created a phenomenon that probably existed in the ’80s but not one I saw during that first Reagan administration: binge drinking. Not drinking to relax. Not drinking to get drunk. Not even drinking to get plastered. Drinking to blackout.

Caitlin Flanagan, reporting in in How Helicopter Parenting Can Cause Binge Drinking for The Atlantic, wants to talk about the Good Parents vs. The Get-Real Parents. She writes:

At high-school gatherings that include parents—sports events, back-to-school nights, college fairs—you can overhear the adults gingerly sounding out one another. They speak in a kind of code, but this is what they want to know: Are you a Good Parent or a Get-Real Parent?

Good Parents think that alcohol is dangerous for young people and that riotous drunkenness and its various consequences have nothing to recommend them. These parents enforce the law and create a family culture that supports their beliefs.

Get-Real Parents think that high-school kids have been drinking since Jesus left Chicago, and that it’s folly to pretend the new generation won’t as well. The horror stories (awful accidents, alcohol poisoning, lawsuits) tend to involve parents who didn’t do it right—who neglected to provide some level of adult supervision, or who forgot to forbid anyone to get in a car after drinking.

Get-Real Parents understand that learning to drink takes a while and often starts with a baptism of fire. Better for Charlotte to barf her guts out on the new sectional than in the shadowy basement of a distant fraternity house. On the nights of big high-school events, Get-Real Parents pay for limos, party buses, Ubers—whatever it takes to ensure that their kids are safe. What is an Uber except a new kind of bike helmet?

In the beginning, everyone is a Good Parent. Bring up teen drinking among parents of elementary-school students and it will elicit the same shiver of horror as the word adolescence itself. But slowly people start defecting. At first, it’s easy to demonize the ones who chuckle fondly about their kids’ boozy misadventures. But by junior year, it feels as though everyone is telling these funny stories. The Good Parents comprise a smaller and smaller cohort, one that tends to stay quiet about its beliefs. Get-Real Parents can be bullies—they love to roll their eyes at the Good Parents, so it’s best not to expose yourself.

The top colleges reward intensity, and binge drinking is a perfected form of that quality.

People who succeed don’t accept half-measures. You either go big or you go home. In disgrace. That’s the message. Flanagan continues:

Professional-class parents and their children are tightly bound to each other in the relentless pursuit of admission to a fancy college. A kid on that track can’t really separate from her parents, as their close involvement in this shared goal is essential. Replicating the social class across a generation is a joint project. That’s why it’s so hard to break into the professional stratum of society: The few available spots are being handed down within families.

Dynasties, even nascent ones, count. Flanagan nails what she sees as the inevitable result:

What 80-hour-a-week executive doesn’t drop her handbag on the console table and head to the wine fridge the second she gets home? Her teenager can’t loosen the pressure valve that way—he has hours of work ahead. A bump of Ritalin is what he needs, not a mellowing half bottle of Shiraz. But come Saturday night? He’ll get his release.

In the United States we worship the manic. We put our Type A Personalities on pedestals, we pay them insane amounts of money, even make movies about them. We even forgive them when they come off the rails because we recognize that only a tiny minority can maintain that level of intensity day and after day after day.

For that tiny minority, with their extraordinary support system of coaches and personal assistants and platinum health care and legal teams, going of the rails is just a cost of doing business. For the rest of us, for our children, with only flimsy, if that, support systems, the costs are much, much higher.

21 August 2016


0300 by Jeff Hess

We have spent billions creating a security infrastructure to keep us safe from a threat that pales in comparison to the existential danger to humanity: Global Warming/Climate Change. We are playing shuffleboard on the Titanic while the waters rush in.

Writing in Green Party candidate Jill Stein calls for climate state of emergency for The Guardian, Edward Helmore reports:

Dr Jill Stein called for a national state of emergency to be declared over the rapidly worsening effects of global warming, during a campaign swing through New York.

Promoting her party’s Green New Deal – an agenda designed to address the interconnected problems of climate change and the economy – Stein said the still uncontained Blue Cut fire in California and the record flooding in Louisiana were ample evidence of the worsening effects of climate change.

“We need to acknowledge the true state of emergency we are in,” Stein said. “The fires in California and floods in Louisiana are going to become day-by-day occurrences, and, within our lifetimes, there is going to be potentially catastrophic sea-level rise.

“We need to ensure that these disasters do not become a daily way of life for all Americans and people all over the world,” she said, “and this is why we need to declare a climate state of emergency so that we can respond in real time in the ways that we need to.”

In poll after poll, Stein added, the American people say they want substantial action on climate change that meets the severity of the crisis. She called for empowering Americans to instruct their elected officials—namely Congress—to act in their interests, not in the interests of lobbyists.

Emails and walls are distractions, serious distractions but distractions all the same, from a threat that is killing Americans with the relentless swell of a tsunami. Every day that our attention is pulled away pushes us closer to the edge of a global warming cliff.

Once we go over, humanity is done.

20 August 2016


0600 by Jeff Hess

Way back on 7 January 2005 (ARMOR CAN NO LONGER BE AN ISSUE…) I wrote a story about reports that insurgents in Iraq had successfully destroyed a heavily armored M2 Bradley fighting vehicle with an improvised explosive device. This, for me, was the turning point in the Iraq war. When irregulars can take out the best vehicle we have, we were no longer fighting a war we could hope to win, and of course, we couldn’t and didn’t.

This morning I’m reading a similar story that changes the cyberwar equation. Sam Biddle, writing in The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm for The Intercept, reports:

On Monday, a hacking group calling itself the “ShadowBrokers” announced an auction for what it claimed were “cyber weapons” made by the NSA. Based on never-before-published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide.

The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.

The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, “ace02468bdf13579.” That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.

SECONDDATE plays a specialized role inside a complex global system built by the U.S. government to infect and monitor what one document estimated to be millions of computers around the world. Its release by ShadowBrokers, alongside dozens of other malicious tools, marks the first time any full copies of the NSA’s offensive software have been available to the public, [Emphasis mine, JH.]providing a glimpse at how an elaborate system outlined in the Snowden documents looks when deployed in the real world, as well as concrete evidence that NSA hackers don’t always have the last word when it comes to computer exploitation.

When our most sophisticated cyberwarfare agency is subject to intrusions, from any source, then our nation is at grave risk.

20 August 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

Donald Trump filed tax returns. Hillary Clinton gave speeches. The content of both could tell us much about the two plutocracy party candidates for president, but neither candidate thinks that information would be helpful to their campaign.

Fair enough, no law requires them to release that information, but in this age of faux transparency, what you hide is many times more important than what you reveal.

Ralph Nader, in Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute! writes:

There is a growing asymmetry between the media’s mounting demands for Donald Trump to release his tax returns (Hillary has done so) and their diminishing demands that Hillary Clinton release the secret transcripts of her $5000 per minute speeches before closed-door banking conferences and other business conventions.

The Washington Post, an endorser of Clinton, in its August 18 issue devoted another round of surmising as to why Trump doesn’t want to release his tax returns—speculating that he isn’t as rich as he brags he is, that he pays little or no taxes, and that he gives little to charity. Other media outlets endorsing Hillary have been less than vociferous in demanding that she release what she told business leaders in these pay-to-play venues.

When asked last year about her transcripts on Meet the Press, she said she would look into it. When the questions persisted in subsequent months, she said she would release the transcripts only if everybody else did. Bernie Sanders replied that he had no transcripts because he doesn’t give paid speeches to business audiences. Nonetheless she continues to be evasive.

We know she has such transcripts. Her contract with these numerous business groups, prepared by the Harry Walker Lecture Agency, stipulated that the sponsor pay $1000 for a stenographer to take down a verbatim record, exclusively for her possession. .

The presidential campaign is moving into a stage where it will be harder for reporters to reach her. Except for a recent informal gathering with some reporters, Hillary Clinton, unlike all other presidential candidates, has not held a news conference since last December. This aversion to media examination does not augur well should she reach the White House. Secrecy is corrosive to democracy.

Why wouldn’t Hillary tell the American people, whose votes she wants, what she told corporations in private for almost two years? Is it that she doesn’t want to be accused of doubletalk, of “gushing” (as one insider told the Wall Street Journal) when addressing bankers, stock traders or corporate bosses? On the campaign trail Hillary only mimics Bernie Sanders’s tough, populist challenges to Wall Street. The Clintons are not known for answering tough questions or participating in straight talk. Dodging and weaving is what they do and too often they get away with it.

Hillary is the clear reported choice for president not just by the Wall Street crowd. The champions of the military-industrial complex love her variety of extreme hawkishness, which rings the cash registers for ever more military weapons contracts.

As the Sanders uprising dims, Hillary can be seen already returning to her former militarized foreign policy. On the last day of the Democratic Convention, the stage’s military presence foreshadowed her return to militarism. Her supporters shouted “USA, USA.” to drown out the Sanders shoutouts for peace and justice. Hillary’s supporters sounded like the jingoistic Republicans. She’s been endorsed by numerous retired Pentagon, CIA and NSA officials who find Trump’s “Why can’t we get along with Russia and China?” statements disturbing to their world views.

Where Trump’s White House is seen as utterly unpredictable, Hillary’s White House is utterly predictable: more Wall Street, more military adventures. As Senator and Secretary of State she has never seen a weapons system or a war that she didn’t support. Remember her singular pressure to attack Libya over the objections of then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who asked, “What happens after the regime is overthrown?”

Hillary’s judgement and experience regarding Libya resulted in an ongoing, spreading disaster of violence and chaos in that war-torn country and its neighboring countries to the south.

It is bad enough that monetized politicians and the mass media reduce voters to the status of spectators, excluded from injecting their issues, and their perceived injustices into the electoral campaigns. Now people are told to stop complaining when candidates such as Hillary Clinton tell the gilded few what she and they don’t want many of us to hear.

To help people prevail against the refusals to disclose by Hillary and Donald, I’ve made two videos [Hillary Clinton’s Transparency and Donald Trump’s Transparency, JH] you may wish to see and share.

We do have choices other than the two plutocracy party candidates. I’m supporting Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. You can too.

19 August 2016


0400 by Jeff Hess

I got canceled once. A magazine project I was brought into shepherd ceased publication after two years and I moved on. I, and my great staff, accomplished a lot and, I like to think, we changed a tiny segment of the publishing industry and upped the game a bit. I worried about my people, but we did a little shuffling in-house and they were OK. I knew I would be all right, and I was.

Jon Stewart is right. Larry Wilmore changed the business and he and the people he shepherded will continue to make waves and keep the conversations they started going.

I’ll miss them all, for now.

18 August 2016


2000 by Roldo Bartimole

Blaine Griffin’s charge that the basis of complaints about a $2-million dirt bike proposal by his boss are racist is pathetic.

Griffin, at $105,000 a year, heads the city’s community relations department.

That’s wonderful thinking for good community relations. Calling people racists.

And it’s 20 to 30 years out of date.

There’s plenty of real racism to call out without creating straw man issues.

Mayor Frank Jackson wanted the $2 million deal passed quickly. Naturally. Don’t look closely at where the money is going or, as a number of council members noted, why pools that needed repairs to be open weren’t attended. It seems repairing pools in this hot summer would have been a no brainer.

To back up his claim Blaine, also vice chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, in a Face book post question the lack of outrage for millions of dollars for skateboard parks, boat docks, rowing sports and bike trails, though he named none nor their cost.

He conveniently overlooked the hundreds of millions spent by the city and county on pro sports facilities, their parking structures, and improvement costs that add up to a billion dollars at least.

He conveniently didn’t mention these other recent and far more expensive subsidies—and not for public purposes but for PRIVATE, MONEY-GRUBBING businesses called sports—Larry Dolan’s Indians (given $37 million as of May), Dan Gilbert’s Cavs (given $60 million as of May) and Jimmy “Cheat ’em” Haslam’s Browns. The $2 million track story appeared in the PD the same day as a story in the paper noted Cleveland paid $20 million for another Browns stadium fix-up.

Want to cry about something?

If he really wanted to call out racism he have chased them and the fact that they pay no property taxes, which since their facilities are all in Cleveland, come at Continue Reading »

18 August 2016


1800 by Jeff Hess

Marc Lamont Hill, writing in For real progressives, Jill Stein is now the only choice for The Guardian, makes his case:

The stakes of Wednesday night’s CNN Green party town hall were high—third-party candidates are rarely allowed entry into the corporate media universe, which thrives on the false narrative that only two parties exist here in the United States.

This was perhaps the only opportunity the presidential candidate I have endorsed—Jill Stein—and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, to have the ear of a large portion of the mainstream American electorate. There was little room for error.

They spent little time directly criticizing Donald Trump. This was a wise move, since virtually no one among Stein’s potential base of support is considering Trump as a viable option. Instead, she focused on Hillary Clinton.

At a moment where the Clinton campaign is still attempting to secure the support of frustrated Bernie Sanders primary voters, Stein demonstrated that Clinton’s brand of liberalism does not represent the tone or spirit of the Sanders campaign. By highlighting Clinton’s pro-corporate politics and active role in hawkish foreign policy, Stein raised considerable doubt about Clinton’s leftist bona fides.

“I will have trouble sleeping at night if Donald Trump is elected,” Stein said. “I will also have trouble sleeping at night if Hillary Clinton is elected.”

Sit back, take notes, listen to a candidate who doesn’t represent an evil, lesser or greater, and then think what voting for someone you can believe, who represents a greater good, in might feel like.

(The question and response beginning at 37:38 may be the No. 1 question. I take exception, however to Stein’s response in that she allowed the myth—that Ralph Nader and the Green Party were responsible for George Bush’s victory—to persist. Al Gore has no one other than himself to blame for his defeat. If he had carried his home state of Tennessee Florida would not have been an issue.)

18 August 2016


0700 by Jeff Hess

I’m sure that there are ignorant people who think that if all the ice disappears from the Antarctic that we will enjoy lots and lots of new land to build condos on. What Peter Wadhams, The former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge Peter Wadhams, wants those people to understand is that the ice cap on our planet’s 7th continent is trapping vast quantities of methane, the green house gas that is between 28 and 37 times the Global Warming Potential of carbon dioxide. Melt the ice, release the gas and we stomp on the Global Warming/Climate Change accelerator.

John Vidal, reporting in Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral for The Guardian writes:

The warming now being widely experienced worldwide is concentrated in the polar regions and Wadhams says we will shortly have ice-free Arctic Septembers, expanding to four or five months with no ice at all. The inevitable result, [Wadhams] predicts, will be the release of huge plumes of the powerful greenhouse gas methane, accelerating warming even further.

He and other polar experts have moved from being field researchers to being climate change pioneers in the vanguard of the most rapid and drastic change that has taken place on the planet in many thousands of years. This is not just an interesting change happening in a remote part of the world, he says, but a catastrophe for mankind.

All so that Exxon executives can buy more toys.

Previously in The Guardian emails…

Keep Carbon In The Ground…

18 August 2016


0600 by Jeff Hess

In my lifetime we’ve gone from 100-year floods to 1,000-year floods; from hurricanes to super storms. How long will we put our homes and our families at risk so that Exxon’s executive can buy more toys?

350.ORG emails:


This week, central and southwestern Louisiana have been slammed by unprecedented floods. Over the weekend, I watched heavy rains pour down on my community and my own home sink into rising waters.

Across the region, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, thousands of homes damaged, and at at least eleven people killed. This fills my heart with both a deep sadness and deep anger—at the fossil fuel companies driving this ongoing crisis, and at an Administration that continues to sell them the right to do so.

Next Wednesday, on August 24th, the Obama administration is planning to sell off an area the size of Virginia for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the face of this climate emergency, we’re calling on President Obama to cancel the upcoming fossil fuel auction here in the Gulf.

We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and stop treating the Gulf Coast like a sacrifice zone.

Offshore drilling endangers both the people of the Gulf and the climate we depend on. In the midst of this climate-driven disaster, moving forward with this auction is unconscionable. Doing it at the New Orleans Superdome—the site of one of the most visible and tragic instances of climate injustice in recent history—is nothing short of insulting.

We’ve been organizing and resisting for decades here on the Gulf Coast, but right now, we need to come together as a movement and support both the organizing and the relief efforts that are underway on the ground. Like all climate crises, this flood will most gravely impact the already marginalized in our society—poor people, people of color, the elderly.

This climate event is being called a “1,000 year flood” and a “truly historic event,” and according to the Red Cross, it’s the worst U.S. disaster since Superstorm Sandy. This type of storm is far from normal—but it could become normal if we don’t act now. This auction would enable the fossil fuel industry to do more of the very thing that is intensifying these floods in the first place.

Allowing next week’s fossil fuel auction to move forward is rubbing salt in the wounds of a region already in a state of emergency. Sign today and demand that President Obama call it off.

No more business as usual. My beloved Gulf coast is not for sale.

Love and liberation,
Cherri Foytlin, Gulf Coast Mother of six

Previously in The Guardian emails…

Keep Carbon In The Ground…

17 August 2016


1800 by Jeff Hess

exxon 160818

Back in 1978 I, and the rest of the crew of the USS Bainbridge, transited Australia’s Great Barrier Reef en route from Darwin to Tonga. Standing on the bridge wings we could look down at the reef and marvel at the teeming ecosystem that had taken thousands and thousands of year to form, nearly forty years later, that experience may not be possible much longer.

Bill McKibben, writing in The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime and Exxon fired the gun for The Guardian, explains why:

Vast swaths of coral were bleached this spring, much of the damage done in a matter of weeks as a wave of warm water swept across the Pacific and west into the Indian Ocean. The immediate culprit was clear: the ongoing rise in global ocean temperatures that comes from climate change. But that’s like saying “he was killed by a bullet”. The important question is: who fired the gun?

We know the biggest culprits now, because great detective work by investigative journalists has uncovered key facts in the past year. The world’s biggest oil company, Exxon, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its scientists understood how much and how fast it was going to warm, and how much damage that was going to do. And the company knew the scientists were right: that’s why they started “climate-proofing” their own installations, for instance building their drilling rigs to accommodate the sea level rise they knew was coming.

What they didn’t do was tell the rest of us. Instead, they – and many other players in the fossil fuel industry – bankrolled the rise of the climate denial industry, helping fund the “thinktanks” and front groups that spent the last generation propagating the phoney idea that there was a deep debate about the reality of global warming. As a result, we’ve wasted a quarter century in a phoney argument about whether the climate was changing.

All, of course, in the name of Exxon’s profits. Yes, Exxon is not the only culprit, but as McKibben has made, and continues to make, the case, Exxon is the Walmart of Climate Change/Global Warming. If you want to stop a wrong you don’t go after every offender, you go after the worst offender and work you’re way down the food chain.

Previously in The Guardian emails…

Keep Carbon In The Ground…

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