19 June 2016


0600 by Jeff Hess

We had family over on Friday to have a send-off barbecue for a visiting Irish cousin. The party went fine: Black Bean Chicken was grilled, bi-color corn was boiled and spuds were smothered in Irish butter; much Wood Chuck cider was quaffed (my favorite is the Granny Smith; B.B. King and Eric Clapton was listened too and dogs were walked.

At the end of the party, one of my sister-in-laws told me about Marcy Kaptur and the conspiracy between the Clintons and Donald Trump to elect Hillary as the first female President of the United States. I was unaware of the story, but, well, here is the skinny:

Some conservative Republicans disgusted by Donald Trump’s offensive, scorched-earth campaign have long suspected their party’s nominee to be secretly in league with his erstwhile friends Bill and Hillary Clinton. They wonder whether Bill Clinton and Trump worked out an agreement — perhaps during the course of that “casual” phone call between the two last May — designed to hand Hillary Clinton the White House while tarnishing the GOP’s brand for a generation.

It’s been dismissed by many as a conspiracy theory. But as Trump continues to offend with racially charged rhetoric and his own outlandish theories, a top Democratic lawmaker is now airing it openly.

“There are some theories on the Internet that this is Bill Clinton’s best political deal,” says Marcy Kaptur, the veteran Democratic congresswoman from Ohio and the House’s longest-serving female lawmaker, “that he and Donald are buddies, and they have a lot of similar friends in New York, and he has masterfully selected a friend who maybe by October will say, ‘You know, this is very boring. And I’m going to get out.’”

“Do I believe it 100 percent, do I believe it 2 percent? You know, you really wonder,” Kaptur says.

I like Kaptur. A lot. In the Mr. Mxyzptlk political world we seem to be living in, I’m not sure either.

18 June 2016


1100 by Jeff Hess

Ralph Nader writes:

Our political economy—a wonderfully embracing phrase much used a century ago—has three main components: The electoral/governmental powers, the marketplace and the civil society, which is composed of we the citizens.

It is well known that when “we the people” get lax about our consumer rights and our voting choices, both the companies and the politicians turn their backs on us and look out for themselves and their fat-cat donors. The civil society’s energy or apathy has a profound role in shaping how the other two sectors function, and can either safeguard our democracy or drive it into the ground.

All this is by way of saying that increasingly commercializing our elections every four years is devastating to the freedom and justice produced by a functioning democratic society. Our presidential and congressional elections this year represent a commercial conglomerate profit center.

There are the corporate Super PACs and the billionaire patrons Continue Reading »

18 June 2016


1000 by Jeff Hess

Brought to you by McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks…

Thank you Katie Walsh.

17 June 2016


0700 by Jeff Hess

I respect Bernie’s decision to unite with Hillary to defeat Trump. I don’t agree with the strategy because I don’t think effort will be successful.

Too many of the under-45 demographic that Bernie talked about last night are going to walk away in disgust, lick their wounds and prepare for the next fight. The national election in November is not that fight.

The revolution will continue, in what form I’m not yet certain, but for now, the Democratic National Committee has fucked the American people for the next eight years, and, when you consider the number of Supreme Court justices likely to be nominated by President Trump and fast-tracked through hearings by a Republican Congress, probably the next 40 years.

Or maybe not. What do I know?

Dan Roberts, reporting in Bernie Sanders: I will work with Hillary Clinton to stop Donald Trump for The Guardian, writes:

Bernie Sanders has urged his supporters to look beyond the Democratic presidential nomination in a speech that stopped short of fully endorsing Hillary Clinton but made clear he was no longer actively challenging her candidacy.

In an anticlimatic speech that signaled the effective end of a 14-month campaign odyssey, the Vermont senator insisted his “political revolution continues” despite Clinton’s effective victory in the delegate race.

But crucially, he implied he would soon be working with her campaign to help defeat Donald Trump.

“The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly,” Sanders told supporters in a live stream video. “And I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time.”

“Election days come and go but political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end,” he said.

Here in Cleveland sports fans are used to thinking: wait until next year.

I don’t think America has that luxury.

16 June 2016


0600 by Jeff Hess

So, this phase of the fight is over and the next phase has begun.

I need to watch this again, and again, but the part that has stuck with me for now comes at time mark 1434 where, in talking about the Democratic Party Convention in July Bernie demands:

That the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in it’s history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda.

I’m not convinced that that is possible and, for now, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton in November. I will either vote third party, as I did in 2012 when I cast my vote for Jill Stein, or I will join with those who will vote for Bernie as a write-in candidate. I am not convinced that Donald Trump is the antichrist. In fact, I think a Trump presidency would be better for America than a Clinton presidency because I think progressives will watch Trump like a hawk while too many will give Clinton a pass in much the same way they have Obama.

I can’t know what I’ll do in November. Not yet. Perhaps Bernie, and we his supporters can exert sufficient pressure to force the Democratic Party leadership, Secretary Clinton, to actually pass and honor a progressive platform as Bernie has laid out tonight.

Miracles do happen.

This is a miracle we need and in the event Bernie’s vision, in some substantial form, comes to pass, then, and only then, will I vote for Hillary Clinton.

The revolution does continue…

16 June 2016


0600 by Jeff Hess

sanford 160528

John Sanford is on my short list of go-to writers, the writers I check monthly for new books. He has been on that list for as long as I’ve had such a list and has outlasted Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Johnathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, James Patterson, Anne Rice and perhaps a dozen or so more writers who have caught my attention, some holding that attention for years, only to lose that attention because they begin writing the same book over and over again.

Sandford is a master and he has not fallen off my list, but I am a little pissed about his latest book.

I was perhaps 200 pages into Sandford’s lastest, Extreme Prey, when I realized that the book had nothing to do with the crime at hand (don’t worry, I’m not into spoilers) but rather must have some other, purpose.

Coincidentally, this morning’s Merriam-Webster’s Word Of The Day is MacGuffin.

14 June 2016


0700 by Jeff Hess

Many years ago I gave a writer friend of mine a copy of Outsider in Amsterdam. I discovered Janwillem Van De Wetering through his non-fiction Zen trilogy: The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery; A Glimpse of Nothingness: Experiences in an American Zen Community; and Afterzen: Experiences of a Zen Student Out on His Ear.

After he had finished the book, my friend remarked that he just didn’t get the whole the source of all suffering is desire thing. In a culture driven by consumerism—Bush The Younger’s remark that in the wake of the attacks of 11 September 2001 we must continue to shop or the terrorists win—was not an off-hand comment. He meant what he said. If more Americans understood this most basic idea of Buddhism they would fear a Buddhist presidential candidate much more than a Socialist one.

This week Oliver Burkeman, writing in Can’t always get what you want? Don’t worry for The Guardian touched on his own experiences on this meme. Burkeman linked to a piece by David Cain in which Cain explains the phenomenon in the context of a dinner out with a friend.

My chili with bannock is so damn good. This is why I come here. We ought to do this more often, I say to my friend, or maybe just think it. Very quickly, however, I see the end approaching. The chili is disappearing, and I have too much bannock now. I wish I had eaten it more slowly. Next time I’ll do it right. “We should come here more often,” I say again, aloud this time.

But then I see a way out. “The desserts here are great,” I say, pretty sure that that’s true. And before the dessert even arrives, I know that when it’s gone I’ll be ordering a coffee, and by then, the need for more chili will be ancient history. I am satisfied with my plan.

The man under the bodhi tree would have laughed at this plan—to repeatedly redirect my unresolved neediness to something else just over the horizon—even though it’s a pretty standard life strategy.

I have this experience over and over. I order the large because I know that the end will be put off for a few seconds longer. That is not healthy. Especially in light of the knowledge that the second bite of a dish is less pleasurable than the first. How fucked up is that?

My spaces are filled with boxes and boxes that I haven’t opened in years, yet, I cannot, like Detective Michael Britten in episode eight, Nightswimming, let Goodwill collect the boxes and be done with them for fear that a box might contain a vital part of my past.

I feel Britten’s pain.


13 June 2016


1900 by Jeff Hess

11 June 2016


0800 by Jeff Hess

I would think that I’m prone to addictive behaviors. When I smoked tobacco I did so at the rate of 60 Marlboro cigarettes, or more, a day and I quit smoking dozens of time—once for more than 100 days—before finally stopping on 5 December 1981. Despite ample opportunities in the military and college, I managed to escape alcoholism and drug abuse. I don’t know why, but I’m happy that I did.

Others are not as fortunate and I as Ralph Nader, writing in If Only Your Body Could Speak to Your Mind, explains:

For thousands of years humans have defended themselves from harm by others. But many have proceeded to regularly harm themselves. They have actively searched for substances to ingest, inhale, inject and apply which may give them some immediate relief but damage or destroy their lives over time.

Why do these humans so beat up on their own bodies? Obviously, they know that damaging behaviors have serious consequences, both immediately and in the long run. Why have health care professionals had such a hard time convincing people “to do no harm” to themselves? The persistence of partial self-immolation is unremitting.

What’s different about recent centuries from prior millennia is that addiction, masochism, slow-motion suicide have become big business. Now there are huge profits to be made in seducing, tempting or deceiving people at all ages to spend money to harm themselves.

The addictive industries—like tobacco, legal and illegal drugs, Continue Reading »

10 June 2016


1500 by Roldo Bartimole

City Council may have a hard time voting to raise the hourly rate of pay for workers in the city to $15 an hour.

However, none of its 41 employees is paid less than $15 an hour. Indeed, only one ($17.68) is paid less than $20 an hour.

Council members are paid, according to the 2016 budget, $80,133. The Council President Kevin Kelly gets $90,133.

Meanwhile, over at Mayor Frank Jackson’s office $15 an hour would be a joke. (See all below).

Eight in his workforce of 31, including the mayor, are paid more than $100,000. That doesn’t count what some are taking home in retirement pay.

The mayor’s office is a little kingdom.

It now seeks a 25 percent increase in the city pay tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent. And you can bet suburban cities will want increases too.

It’s time to produce a radical opposition—a Carl Stokes or a Dennis Kucinich. WE NEED IT BADLY.

We have a bunch of sloths on Council and even worse at the County level. Reform has become go along government.

Corporate control has never been as powerful as today.

I’ve been detailing the enormous spending by the city and county for Continue Reading »

9 June 2016


0500 by Jeff Hess

Will Bates, for 350.org, emails:

Dear friends,

Next week is the one month mark after the completion of Break Free. Many of us are still recharging from the intensity of Break Free—or still dealing with legal aftermath—while others are already zipping off to the next big project or phase in their campaigns. But before we move on, we want to be sure to reflect and learn from a project as rich as Break Free.

Next week we will be hosting a live web-discussion featuring people who were deeply involved in Break Free organising around the world. They will share stories from the experience, and some of the (still early) reflections and learnings.

  • WHAT: Online discussion sharing lessons from Break Free
  • WHEN: Wednesday, 15 June 4 PM UTC/GMT
  • The web-discussion will feature organisers from South Africa, Turkey, Germany and the United States. After sharing some stories and lessons learned, we’ll also take some questions from you.

    This will just be one moment in a continued process of reflection and learning from Break Free, but we’re excited for the chance to share this moment with you.

    We hope you’ll join us.


    Previously in The Guardian emails…

    Keep Carbon In The Ground

    8 June 2016


    0700 by Jeff Hess

    Dan Roberts, reporting in Bernie Sanders’ new slogan looks beyond nomination: ‘The struggle continues’ for The Guardian, writes:

    From the dying embers of his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders has forged a new slogan that gives a clue to what the defiant leftwinger will do next after losing the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton.

    “The struggle continues” might not have the wit of “feel the Bern” or the ambition of promising “political revolution”, but it hints at the dogged approach he is likely to take when he meets Barack Obama and other party leaders in Washington to discuss reconciliation on Thursday.

    To the dismay of some Clinton supporters hoping for a swift capitulation from their Democratic opponent, Sanders has already scheduled another large rally immediately after his White House appointment and intends to contest the final primary election in DC next Tuesday.

    *The words of the immortal Senator John Blutarsky, of course.

    6 June 2016


    0700 by Jeff Hess

    tom peters 160606


    5 June 2016


    0600 by Jeff Hess

    2 June 2016


    1900 by Jeff Hess

    Ralph Nader thinks so.

    Donald Trump brags about “branding” his political opponents. He repeatedly has called Marco Rubio “Little Marco,” Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” and Hillary Clinton, “Crooked Hillary.” Repetition makes these epithets stick—a lesson Trump has drawn from the advertising world and his own fragile ego.

    Astonishingly, his opponents have not successfully branded him—choosing instead to first ignore and then argue with Trump, who is a chronic overtalker, shouter and prevaricator. The mass media, delighted with its ratings, has until recently rarely chosen to challenge his false assertions, preferring instead to let him perpetuate his mendacities.

    There are exceptions—two of the leading ones being Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post Fact Checker who has handed Trump a record 28 Four-Pinocchio awards and David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who has written, “Twenty One Questions for Donald Trump.”

    Based on these and other solid published sources, the new moniker or nickname for Trump should be “CHEATING DONALD.”

    Cheating Donald rings true with many bells. He has cheated on his workers, including undocumented laborers. Through his numerous tactical company bankruptcies, he has cheated on his creditors and employees who were thrown out of Continue Reading »

    31 May 2016


    1600 by Jeff Hess

    28 May 2016


    0800 by Jeff Hess

    Whenever government seeks to encourage economic endeavors for the good of the nation unintended consequences arise, often in the form of businesses created solely to suck at that particular teat. This is the heart of corporate welfare that led in recent years to the rise of for-profit universities, often existing only online, that have trapped many many Americans in debt traps paying off college loans.

    The problem, however, is not new.

    Ralph Nader, writing in The Funny Business of Farm Credit explains:

    In May of 1998 we held a conference dedicated to two Government-sponsored Enterprises—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In my statement to that assembly, I noted that both corporations had been enjoying good times, but cautioned that one of the unintended consequences of fat profits over a long period is the tendency of both government and private corporations to start believing in the fantasy of ever-rising profits. GSEs often escape the accountability that Congress or regulatory agencies should impose.

    Recent hearings in the U.S. House and Senate have provided some much needed oversight on another GSE?the Farm Credit System.

    The Farm Credit System was the first GSE to be established by the United States in 1916. Unlike Fannie and Freddie, the Farm Credit System can make direct loans to farmers, ranchers and others involved in agriculture. However, Continue Reading »

    27 May 2016


    2300 by Jeff Hess

    Much, much more on Breaking Through Power

    27 May 2016


    0400 by Jeff Hess

    Will Bates, for 350.org, emails:


    For 12 days, thousands of people on six continents stepped up their commitment to keep fossil fuels in the ground with courageous actions that have challenged business as usual across the globe.

    Break Free stopped everything entering or exiting the world’s largest coal port in Australia, stood up to South Africa’s most powerful family and left coal at their front door, and occupied train tracks overnight on both coasts of the United States to stop oil-filled “bomb trains” from rolling. We disrupted a fossil fuel auction, blockaded fracking sites, surrounded refineries with kayak flotillas and sit-ins, and called for an end to offshore drilling.

    3,500 people shut down one of Europe’s biggest carbon polluters in Germany, 10,000 marched against a coal plant in the Philippines, 3,000 more sent an ear-splitting message to Indonesia’s President with a whistle demonstration against coal in Jakarta—and so much more.

    A joint wave of action of this diversity and intensity had never been attempted before. Together, we pulled it off.

    As the planet becomes dangerously hot, our greatest collective hope is that this movement continues to grow in size, strength and boldness. The past few days show what we can accomplish together.

    In every country that took action this week—Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and beyond—organizing against fossil fuels and for renewable energy will continue stronger than ever.

    Because people everywhere see the writing on the wall: as the planet heats up, renewable energy becomes more affordable, and the industry enters a financial crisis, the time has come to stand up to the power and pollution of the fossil fuel industry. The time has come to really break free.

    The climate crisis is escalating, but so are we.

    Even as Break Free actions were gearing up, thousands of young people here in the United States were also taking bold action — to divest their universities from the fossil fuel industry and reinvest in just solutions. More than 30 direct actions have taken place on college campuses over the past several weeks, and more are on their way (check it out here).

    This movement will continue to grow in all of its forms: divesting from fossil fuels, blocking fossil fuel extraction and transportation, passing fracking bans, stopping new coal plants, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and securing commitments build a 100% renewable economy.

    Thanks to you, there has never been a better time in history to break free from fossil fuels. Let’s seize this moment, with all our strength.

    Take a moment today to be inspired.

    With gratitude and awe,

    Will & the 350.org Break Free team

    Previously in The Guardian emails…

    26 May 2016


    2300 by Jeff Hess

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