The Journey

Make the Dream of New
Comers Be America Again

Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers. But we rarely called them fellow humans. This combative year is ending in grief. The urgency of the times hit like punches, but nothing came close to the brutally of sending troops to crush those knocking on our doors.
It’s beyond ironic that the America built by foreigners could turn so quickly into the land of arguing over walls. How fast we went from taking toddlers to court, to locking them in cages, gassing moms and kids, to letting a 7-year-old die in Border Patrol custody.
Climate crisis, race and social injustice, democracy in mortal danger, some of the curses of the age have paid us a visit or more during 2018. There’s been few breaks, and fewer reasons for celebration. And yet we’re still detaining 14,000 unaccompanied kids.
We’ve just beat an already sickening American record in gunshot victims per year, while a world that includes the U.S., got busy murdering the most journalists. There’s a reward for strangling the truth, and for going after reporters who fact-check and tell it as it is.
Above all, there’s a price on being a witness, and more are needed, as many have already been shut down. We fight climate change for survival, racial hatred for justice, but we must treat everyone with dignity because it’s a moral imperative.

We don’t dehumanize anyone for wanting to join us. We can’t penalize those who’re fleeing a perpetual bombardment much of our own making. We won’t support those harming them, or driving to erase two of America’s most cherished values: empathy and solidarity.
Throwing immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers into jail cannot be a national policy. There are international agreements we must never back down from. Those knocking on our gates aren’t criminals, (more)
Read Also:
* First Timers
* Post Postponed
* Crappy Holidays

Continue reading

Curtain Raiser

The 12-Year Countdown Is On, Colltalers

2019 is upon us, and retrospectives and best-of, or worst-of, lists flood the media waves. Somehow, this has been a wake-up-call year for mankind. The fate of the planet, and that of 7 billion-plus, taken as a whole, may have finally come to focus. Or has it?
For despite unprecedented efforts to take climate change, for one, as the potentially civilization killer that it is, and global uproar against social inequality, racial hatred, xenophobia, sex discrimination, gun violence, and all that, we’re still ending the year losing.
Taking the U.S. as a starting point, protests, indignation, legal battles, and the overwhelming election of fresh faces for Congress, committed to new policies, haven’t prevent the thousands of immigrant children from being locked up at sinister tent camps being built all over the country. And last week’s brutal death of a 7-year-old migrant, under Patrol Border custody, will haunt us forever.
Jakelin Caal Maquim came from Guatemala, and got detained along her father and a group of 160, but two days later, was dead, likely from exposure, in a cell within a facility with not even minimal medical resources. No official agency’s taken responsibility.
Even though the Valentine Day’s massacre of 17 at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS, in Florida, triggered a national movement for gun legislation, led by the survivors, the issue was successfully muted by the NRA, the Republican Party, and many a Democratic leadership. The students, and millions of supporters, stood tall, and yet, over 13 thousands were killed by guns in the U.S. this year.
Some hope may be on the horizon. But given that most people killed everyday by gun violence in this country is black, any changes in gun regulations, and prison sentencing, need to carefully consider one of the tenets of imprisonment in the U.S.: race.
It’s an interrelated issue that seems to resist all efforts to address it: prison overcrowding. Roughly 57% of a staggering 2.3 million U.S. inmates are people of color, mostly African-Americans, Continue reading

For Giving

10 Gifts Shy
Of a Big List

Here’s our much anticipated – by no one – annually compiled, peculiarly picked, and praised often, End of the Year List. A favorite three-years-in-a-row (not really), it’s for someone with a particular set of tastes – or a Web search engine – such as yourself.
From family fare or affair, to smart-ass kids, for bored adults, and to friends or foes, there’s not nearly a thing for everyone. But the best present will be the – uninsured – reaction, or face, the gifted may express at the gifter, or the grifter.
Full disclosure: lists are atrocious. Holidays too, though one mellows about them before going mad. But giving gifts is nice, people like it. Receiving? not so much. Don’t dare mentioning landfills are on their way out, not without looking like one.
Even for the obscenely wealthy, it can a be a chore, but to hell with the lot of them. The poor always finds ways to give some, just not in cash; the other lot has all of it. Either way, to gift loved ones can be fun. And a pain in the butt.
Full disclosure too: no one sent these to the mailbox downstairs, and to some of us, shopping is hideous, no matter how much is the discount coupon. None will ever touch our open hands – or carbon footprint. It’s all for a laugh or chuckle, no adds or sponsors.
Nothing says family like an old-fashioned, vicious card game. Or insulting stickers, to have a saying in the nasty show that follows. Load your stuffings with Stick to the Man decals, or Cards Against Humanity. Hear your phone suddenly stop ringing.
Or you’d rather go higher, and choose instead some choice tree ornaments. Those marking that day when a giant octopus swallowed whole the Staten Island Ferry, in the New York Harbor, are great conversation topics. Oh, you can’t remember that tragedy? That’s odd.
Fear not: Playboy Trump’s Make America Great Again for White Folks With Guns is the perfect alternative to an intelligent conversation about the Long-Playing’s cover model. Yup, time to replay, Go Tell it On Fox News. And have some smocking.

Children are good (arguably). Bundles of joy, or electroshocks to the privates of single people, and psychopaths. Yours, of course, are adorable, but the miniature kind, you know, wee human parrots, silver spoon in the mouth, can all beat it, pardon the Newyorkism.
We’re all biased, though, to the earnest kind, inquiring little big minds, asking questions but having the sense of shutting up in time. For them, the Book of Religions. It’s like a secular tour through naves and catacombs of the earliest form of mass opioid.
In fact, they’ll learn so much, they’d want to create their own, but discourage them immediately. Threaten to place the chainsaw by the tree side; it should do it. Maybe. Or let them be filthy rich pastors, and bad mouth them on social media. Good parenting.
There’s a progression on this section. Start by the Coloring Books for Spicy Adults, a 50s-ish set of ‘ironic’ drawings, inviting you to spill some color on lifeless silhouettes. Hey, when was the last time you were asked to paint the town red?
For the grey hair confident, get the conversation going when the gifted unwraps that 55-Gallon Personal Lube. Rehearse some best-practices about consenting adults having mature exchanges, and go for broke: suggest a party when everyone is doused with it. Get lucky.
For the truly Breaking Bad Series-afficionado, few things spell, I’m ready, than the miniature Meth-Preparing, Lab-Van, Incense Holder. Get those masks going and, while the fumes fill the room, stream the episode when they cook it in their underwear.
The Instant Underwear is the default Plan B for those already acquainted with Depends. Now it’s your chance to show that you care about your old sofa, just as talk veers towards (more)
Read Also:
* Present Time
* The Gifter’s Referral
* Crappy Holidays

Continue reading

Curtain Raiser

Salvaging the Wreck of 2016, Colltalers

Brexit, the referendum that’s put the U.K. on the verge of leaving the European Union, and Trump’s election as U.S. president, the two biggest politically disruptive events of 2016, were only possible due to similar, dishonest strategies of those who backed them.
After two years, both may be coming to a head, and many say, not a day too soon. Or rather late, since turmoil they’ve caused has already undermined efforts to counter global climate change. Or the rise of extreme white supremacy. So, yes, good riddance.
Since most ‘architects’ of Brexit have since jumped ship, in coward fashion, no less, British P.M. Theresa May is the one left to push through Parliament the latest, and still unsatisfying, deal with the E.U. She’s bound to fail, according to an almost consensus.
That’d throw her government, and 66 million Brits, in disarray, a fact that’s both lamented, for the human costs involved, and also cherished. That’s by those who woke up June 24, 2016, sure that they’d been sold a bag of rotten goods, with no returns accepted.
Something similar happened the following November in the U.S., and last month, heavy loses by the Republican party may also signal that these now former-losing majorities, from both sides of the pond, may win their due rematches. It won’t be soon enough.
It’s appalling that many of those who fought hard to severe the U.K.’s long-lasting ties to Europe – former London Mayor Boris Johnson, Niger Farage, others, plus a variety of unpopular politicians and ‘strategists,’ – who quit when most needed, to pursue their true ambitions, remain unapologetic about the chaos they sowed. Such lack of empathy reminds Americans of someone they know.
Speaking of whom, here’s a dude who had a terrible few days last week. Reports that the Robert Mueller probe has a strong hold on many of his once trusted operatives, who apparently turned on him by the dozen, have truly riled Trump. Among plenty of denials and false accusations, even a superficial analysis of his body language throughout the crisis show that, yes, it’s been bad, indeed.
As it becomes ever more clear that he did collude with Russians to win the White House, some wonder who he’ll throw under the bus in order to save his skin. As the ex-reality TV star turned Continue reading

Life W/O Lennon

That Cold Night
in December 1980

Thanks for always being on our side.

Read Also:
* Every Man
* Dear John
* Bloody Christmas

The Humanities Bill

The Anniversary of a Historic
Step in Defense of Human Rights

In hindsight, every year has its share of earth-shaking events. That said, 1948 stands out for its peculiar transcendence, at least, for armchair dilettantes like us. Gandhi’s murder, South Africa’s Apartheid, and the State of Israel are surely year highlights.
So is the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed 70 years ago next Monday. A plea for the new world gingerly emerging from two global wars in a row, and about to welcome the Nuclear Age, it lined up some of mankind’s most crucial precepts.
The year when the threat of authoritarianism, driven by an ‘us versus them’ mentality, set the grounds for the Cold War, was also when Eric Arthur Blair – a.k.a. George Orwell – penned 1984, a dystopian view of what could be in store for mankind.
Not two centuries before, the French Revolution had produced the defining Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen, which is closely associated with the U.S. Bill of Rights. But a renewed set of principles was again necessary. And so is its remembrance today.
Even as we grew wary of commandments and words of order, thanks to tyrants and dictators who betrayed their provisions over and again, this declaration remains relevant for what it projects and to whom it addresses: ethical and compassionate beings.
A ‘standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society (…) shall strive to promote respect for these rights and freedoms (…) to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.’
Due to its similarities with the U.S. Constitution, some Americans may be jaded about its power to preside over society’s webs and flows. But

Read Also:
* Natural Law

just as any moral edit, its ability to prevent bad deeds is proportional to the willingness of citizens to stand up for it.
For ‘human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,’ endowed with reason to ‘act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’ Race, color, sex, language, religion, politics, birth or other status, are no longer acceptable excuses to ignore it.
Seven decades later, this document remains vital on its defense of freedom of speech, and right to dissent without fear of retaliation, a reason for rulers to rarely mention it on their calls to arms. It’s too threatening a script to be invoked at a stump speech.
Rather than legitimizing their rule, it democratically provides that ‘everyone has the right to life, liberty and security,’ no need for a father figure to treat them like kids. It recognizes the individual as the sovereign agent of his or her own destiny.
That’s why it should be recited daily by school children around the world, rather than anthems or prayers. It’s a way better tool to engage them into a lifetime defense of rights against all attempts of society, and the state, to control and use them.

Curtain Raiser

The Age of Flawed Presidents, Colltalers

There’s America, the myth. The land of the free, a country built by immigrants, founded on values of equality and justice for all. Even as it has hardly realized in full the dreams on which it was found, this is the America-in-progress that’s still attainable.
Then there’s present day U.S.A., still the world’s richest nation but now also quickly becoming the cradle of inequality. A place where over a hundred million simply gave up and don’t even vote, led by a president who’s a constant source of embarrassment.
Take the G-20 in Argentina, for instance. Another high-level world-leaders meeting, another series of photo-ops displaying Trump as the ugly American at its worst. In just a few hours, he’s managed to insult the host, get cozy with Putin, and brag about a deal.
By now, the 18 nations plus the European Union that make up the bloc are not just acquainted with him, but rather act like enablers to his diatribes. They’re falling under his braggadocio, and won’t confront him even over an universal issue such as climate change.
The former reality TV star turned leader of the free world had at the G20, another less than great moment on camera, adding to an already long list: he walked away from Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, who was left standing, arm still stretched, on the stage. Then, despite denials, he met with the Russian president. And lastly, he boasted about an accord with China that, in fact, changes little.
It’s not that other participants didn’t have their own awkward, and revealing, weak moments. There was Germany’s Angela Merkel, who got plane troubles and arrived in Buenos Aires via commercial flight. And France’s Emmanuel Macron, caught on camera pleading, ‘you never listen to me,’ to suspect murderous Saudi Arabian crown prince Muhammed bin Salman. Truly cringe worthy.
Macron, whose new taxation on gas has ignited violent protests by French union workers, never looked more unfit to the crucial leadership role that may be reserved to France, in case Germany turns into a far-right regime, following Merkel’s announced exit.
After all, he was speaking on an intimate tone with someone who the world’s intelligence community is convinced has ordered the murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate. Someone who Macron must help bring to justice, and deserves not whispers that sound like lovers talk, but the harsh admonition due to a rogue leader in need of reckoning.
As for trade tariffs, and the accord with China that Trump bragged about, it sounds a lot like what we’ve heard Continue reading