Misogyny Redux: Transgender Backlash on Women in Prison

In 2017, as he sentenced Donna (aka Douglas) Perry to 3 consecutive life terms for the brutal murder in 1990 of Kathleen Brisbois, Yolanda Sapp, and Nicki Lowe, Judge Michael Pride confessed: “This is my first case, and hopefully my last, where the murders seemingly were committed for the spirit of it and for no other reason.”

Perry had eluded capture for 22 years until his arrest for a felony weapon offense identified him as the murderer. In 2000, Douglas Perry went to Thailand for sex surgery. He was passing as Donna at the time of his arrest for the murders.

 While in prison, Perry told an inmate that he had killed another 9 prostitutes;  that he murdered them because they could breed, and he couldn’t. Instead they were wasting their lives as” pond scum.” He dumped their naked bodies like trash on a littered river bank.

At his trial, the defense claimed that Donna didn’t kill these women; it was Douglas. The threadbare multiple personalities ploy didn’t convince the jury. But it apparently persuaded the Washington Prison board to transfer him to Washington Correction Center for Women in May 2021, the same prison that housed Princess Zoe Andromeda Love.

Princess Love’s criminal record includes the rape of a 12 year old girl: he is a designated sex offender.  In December 2021, he was in a bunk with a developmentally disabled female after persuading her they were soulmates.  The prison botched the assault case, so he was never held accountable. As soon as he was released from prison, he identified as male.

These stories underscore several crucial issues. One, that too many male to female trans are psychologically disturbed. Douglas Perry hated his victims because he couldn’t give birth.

Second:  the prevalence of sex offenders within the MTF population. A Women for Fair play study concluded that 41% of MTF prisoners are sex offenders. Consider the implications of the following:  A 2019 study in England found that 81 of the 163 MTF prisoners had committed at least one sexual assault. And, that 86% of incarcerated women in the US have experienced sexual violence.

This grotesque mismatch, throwing the fox into the hen house, the perpetrators with the victims, casts a lurid light on the sexism and misogyny that has emerged with a vengeance: the safety of women is a non-value; the trauma of sexual violence disregarded; the entrenched psychologies of sex offenders ignored.

The sexism and misogyny underlying these prison policies are blatant and brutal. As usual, oppression falls hardest on those on the bottom. Perry vented  his jealousy on prostitutes who Judge Price said “didn’t work the streets because they wanted to. They were hostages to addiction. All three of them were trapped.”

With the ebbing of the women’s movement, the rats have emerged from the cellars of suppression. Simmering resentment provoked by women’s empowerment in the second wave dresses itself in the flimsy veils of gender ideology and its threadbare anti-biological, anti-sociological assertions that biological engineering transforms males into women and women into males.  Future archeologists examining DNA will have no problem determining who is who.

The society that denies sex difference is suffering a troubled, twisted consciousness rooted in sexism. System decision-makers and media moguls accept the absurd notion that men can become women as a smokescreen for deep-seated contempt for and anger against women. That higher education, the media, the justice systems are kowtowing to half-truths, denial, and distortion is symptomatic of this decaying stage of Patriarchy and its noxious soul of woman-hating.

Washington state is currently considering the applications of 150 males for transfer to women’s prisons. Feminists, our silence should not condone the endangerment of women in prison, many of whom are already causalities of Patriarchy.

School Shootings and National Paralysis: A Work in Progress. I invite your comments as I develop this piece

Two weeks have passed since the inspirational March for Life, 2018. On that day, Generation X put on a cultural masterpiece speaking eloquently and powerfully to “we the people.” My generation which roiled the 60s and 70s drew the line at 30, the new youth   at 18 years of age. This policy had at least two noteworthy effects:  It underscored and amplified adolescents’  voices , and  it spoke emphatically to us, the adults, parents and authorities,  to “we the people” who vote, we ,the legitimate source of democratic  power ,entrusted with guiding society.

To this democratic audience, these youth  spoke with the elemental passion of adolescence:  deep feeling,  idealism, the willingness to confront, and belief in power to change..If you watched , you felt the grief, the anger and frustration, the determination to do something.  They soared with the jet fuel of authenticity, the inexorable power of the genuine.

And  you heard the plaintive indictment: “You who vote, who make the decisions…you have failed to accomplish a fundamental agreement,- political, social, moral,- to protect us, your children, the shoots and buds of the human future .”

It’s actually nearly 3 weeks since this monumental National Elegy , and still the country is sputtering on; piecemeal  bandaids have been applied here and there, even these are opposed as , for instance, in the current protest against Vermont’s 21 years of  age restriction.

The absurdity of this Vermont sideshow is not unique; rather , it’s emblematic  of  our national  paralysis : intellectually and politically, we have abandoned  common sense. That is, notwithstanding the copious empirical evidence that restrictions  lower gun violence, common sense alone tells us that forbidding guns to adolescents, that outlawing mass murder weapons, that forbidding gun purchase to domestic violence perpetrators, and conducting/funding rigorous background checks will prevent at least some massacres, some suicides, some homicides.

Granted, not all. Absolutism is not, however, the relevant criterion. “Some” is good enough when it comes to valuing every human being’s right to life and security. “Some” is good enough when it’s your child, your loved one, your neighbor. I suspect that the most zealous gun rights advocate would change his mind when his child , wife, friend,or mother is murdered by an unstable teenager with a weapon designed for mass killing.

Moderate reasonableness and primal common sense, fundamentals of intelligence, are inoperative,-our society fails to translate these human gifts to action, even in the face of life threatening dangers.

Then there’s the state of  this Democracy wherein we find the same thwarted enfeeblement.By overwhelming majorities ,across the board, the American people favor reasonable gun controls. But to little avail.The  nation is in a state of acute paralysis. In the face of  serous challenge, its political institutions are non-effective. And ,as reflected in the prevailing public discourse,  the mind of the people is  confused and misguided by the faulty either-or thinking created by the corporate controlled mass media and permitted by the silencing ,marginalization, and cooptation of our educational institutions.

Truth is: neither commonsensical controls, nor untrammeled freedom are capable of dealing effectively with the escalating violence and the especially traumatic incidences of berserk massacres that blight our lives.



November 6,2016 Standing Rock

“The water heals our bodies/ the water heals our souls/when we go down to the water, we are home”

Sunday, November, 6, 2016

The encampment on the banks of the Missouri River. This morning as we were going to orientation, we ran into the women gathering for the water ceremony. We approached, cupped  our left hands ,-closest to our hearts- then joined the band, picking up others as we wend our way to that water, chanting  MNI Wiconi (Water is Life).

Before descending the steep embankment to the water’s edge, the men stood on each side of the path down to support the women. Pearly, an older native woman, offered prayers, scattered tobacco into the river, poured water to the chanting.

The women descend down through the gauntlet of men to the water; each one scatters tobacco, says a prayer, and pours water back into the river.

Prayer and ceremony fill the camp. I watched as a group of Lakota Sioux from Pine Ridge Reservation built an Inuit long lodge. In the evening, all the family stood around in prayer to thank the lodge builders.

A sacred fire is at the center of the encampment. The elders surround it; announcements are made here; visitors present themselves to the elders here, make requests, and give gifts

This morning in the nearby town of Mandon about 500 people marched to the Sheriff’s Office; it was a Forgiveness March…forgiving the local  police for brutalizing 140 people a few days age,-tear gas, mace.

Sunday and a 30 day injunction against the pipeline has been issued; but the construction goes on. We can see the crews atop a hill close to the encampment. The bridge to the site is blacked with trucks and with National Guard hummers, and, of course, police.

There are over 300 different tribes here from all over the US and Canada as well as indigenous people from South America. For native people, it’s an extraordinary realization of unity, a monumental historic event.  Tribal flags line the roadway into the camp and mark various tribe encampments.

Today I worked in the Grandmothers’ kitchen with Hoola women from Northern California; at the water ceremony, I stood next to a Cree woman from Canada; the Inuit lodge household across from us is Lakota Sioux.

The evenings throb with drumming and chanting, the neighing of horses, and barking dogs who, along with cats, are abundant. The sun comes up over the eastern hills on the opposite side of the river, and the early light is misty with campfire smoke and fog arising from the river. The teepees and tents emerge from this haze redolent with history. Overhead the helicopters and surveillance planes are ever present.

This weekend 8000 people gathered here .

water is life:taking a stand at standing rock

Sunday, October 30,; reality is setting in as I prepare to travel to North Dakota with two other women in a small rv .We are carrying supplies and money people have donated for the encampment .\as I pack ,Fragments of thoughts and images swirl in the back of my mind. Teepees, pup tents, and a flat prairie landscape crowd in with my flannel -lined jeans and thermal underwear. Video clips of dogs with blood on their muzzles sit uncomfortably with my French press indulging I am! Portraits of native women’s’ strained faces speaking simple principle, “water is life,” and the police and security forces whose robot appearance strike terror. Brutalizing –we know from Guantanamo. Humiliating strip searching, orange suits for disturbing the peace; tanks and assault and my judgmental voice: how self- weapons. The Terminator’s machines are powerful metaphors for this postmodern face of police state.

These signs of apprehension seem shared by my friends who are generously assisting me. Karen has filled bundles from Trader Joes and she and Edith and Alice have assured me they’re good for bail.  Dean and Charlie write urging me to be careful

I have no intention of getting arrested, but I have experienced the unpredictable. I have vivid memories of my summer in  the left bank of Paris of 1968 when I was swept into the crowd of fleeing protesters Like them I ran from the police batons; like them I was tear gassed.

Then there’s the niggling question, why not be arrested if it comes to that. Why not for my convictions? I question my courage and integrity. These are the issues that try wo(men)’s souls; But I come to no conclusions

Why am I doing this…best case devoting two weeks, the expense, the risk, the discomfort? My resolve dates back to the mid 70s when I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. It never took me so long to read a book because the grief and pain of massacre after massacre were unbearable.

Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 1890: The fat cat robber barons build their legacy mansions and libraries; the 7th cavalry massacres 300 Sioux, repeating the unspeakable atrocities of Sand Creek, Big Horn, the Trail of Tears…..etc. Today it’s the corporate state enforcing its will for power and profit. There’s been no break of continuity in the shameful treatment of indigenous people on this whole continent.

Then, climate change, global warming and this suicidal march of fossil fuel magnates who for short term profits threaten life itself and everything I love,-the plants, all the fragile and beautiful creatures, the children,-all of us.

The Sioux are drawing a line, taking a stand on the front lines of the most important challenge humanity faces.

I align myself with them. I stand by their sovereign rights and their human rights to survive. I take a stand for my granddaughter and for the future she represents,  for all the children, the animals, the birds, the fish.

I am going to North Dakota because I choose life.

Hillary Clinton’s Resume: Predicating a Terrorist Future






In the wake of the Isis attacks, promoting Clinton’s experience became a prominent campaign tactic suggesting her ability to protect us from terrorism. Her experience, however, does not support this; the facts contradict it just as they discredit Clinton’s identification as “the progressive (!)who gets things done.”   Empty slogans are a pillar of her campaign; appallingly, people are falling for them.

Speak the truth whenever you can: what she has done   -the specifics of Clinton’s experience-promise not a decrease in terrorism but the continuation of imperial politics, mendacious ideology, and a permanent war economy, – the insidious nexus of weapon profiteering, deception, and militarism that propagates terrorism.

Clinton’s resume   includes two major war disasters that have incited global terrorism. The surge in terrorism caused by the Iraq war continues, unabated, and Clinton shares responsibility for it. She resents being called out on her judgment to which, eyes turned down and tight-jawed, she retorts/rebukes, “I have acknowledged my mistake.”  One of the “illogical answer” genre of slogans, another campaign pillar. Admitting error doesn’t erase its cause: Clinton’s poor judgment. She chose to ignore the Middle East experts who warned that sectarian violence would ensue from Siddam’s deposition; she chose instead the Bush / Cheney line despite evidence of its spurious neocon machination; she chose violation of international law and chose the heavy cost in human suffering and death (more accurately ‘crimes’ than mistakes). That a Congressional  majority went along with the ‘mistake’/crime shows Clinton’s susceptibility to group ,over, critical thought, to saber- rattling, and  to war-mongers’ raucous cries,- confirms ,that is, her poor judgment.

Confronted with the same evidence, others exercised sound judgment and the choice of independent, critical thinkers. Sanders voted against Iraq invasion and showed the perspicacity to warn of its dire consequences. Obama voted “no” and called it a “dumb” war. Tens of thousands of ordinary Americans, along with our European counterparts, took to the streets to protest the pretexts marshalled by the Bush neocons, the abrogation of international law, and the killing of civilians.

Then, for five years after Shock and Awe, even as Iraq devolved into a terrorist breeding ground, she defended her vote. That is, until 2008 when Obama’s anti-war record proved an impediment to her ambition. Then, Clinton acknowledged her ‘mistake’.

What does this behavior of a slow learner mean? The terrible unforeseen consequences were obvious for 5 years!  For such a calamitous mistake, one expects a person of sound judgment, moral sensibility, and the capacity to judge consequences (unjustified killing; terrorist blowback, e.g.) to experience guilt, regret, and-minimally- to take painstaking efforts to avoid future ‘mistakes’.

Yet other than her unscrupulous attempt to hide her emails from public scrutiny, the “failed state,” Libya, is Secretary Clinton’s singular achievement. Clinton, impresario of forcible regime change, owns the cascading disaster of Libya as Bush owns that of Iraq. Again, her choice needs emphasis. Many advisors, and Obama himself, initially opposed force and feared its Iraq-like consequences. Alternative paths to deposing Qaddafi were on the table. However, Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense during Libya deliberations, states that Clinton closed the door to negotiating an exit for Gadhafi.

Her belligerence prevailed .After 7 months of bombing in 2011, her choice transformed a prosperous, stable Libya into apocalyptic chaos,- a “failed state,” –all social, political, legal, economic institutions collapsed; rival gangs/ jihadist factions now sow violence and chaos. The people suffer the brunt of Clinton’s failed policy. To date, 300,000   imperiled, dispossessed Libyans are part of the flood of refugees inundating Europe, -contributing to terror-breeding, worldwide instability and conflict.

Libya pre-Clinton posed zero terrorist threat to the US. Post-Clinton, Libya morphed into a stronghold of jihadist groups (including Al Qaeda and ISIS) and a Mecca for arms marketing.

Still, in Orwellian fashion, , Clinton continues “to defend the indefensible,” surrealistically echoing  her Iraq “mistake”: remember we were fighting a “murderous dictator”  who had “blood on his hands” and was promising to kill thousands of his  own people (disputed intelligence , subsequently proven distorted ); the world was begging us to save the people (so we bombed them and destroyed their country); and once we deposed him,  LIbya enjoyed the  first free election since 1951 (one and one- half month after which all social, political, economic institutions collapsed.)

The media’s silence veils her debacle and permits her fantastical deceptions.  Until now, Reagan’s MX missiles ‘”peacekeepers” have been the Superstars of the doublethink cannon. Clinton has trumped them with the audacity to advertise her fiasco, “smart power at its best.”  An absurd and callous pretense that denies the suffering it inflicted, denies the failure, — an oxymoron that ranks with designating Adam Lanza’s Newtown massacre “intelligent childcare at its best.” Why does she think it can succeed? Because she counts on people not knowing the Libya fiasco, and/or perhaps because she is indifferent to, and considers, the human and social catastrophe of Libya and the spread of terrorism unremarkable side effects, unworthy of recognition.

Iraq incontrovertibly revealed Clinton’s poor judgment; but Libya’s indictment is more damning. She repeated her mistake; moreover, she shows no signs of recognizing that her repeated mistakes belong to the long chain of US’s disastrous history of regime change politics.  This inability to learn history’s lessons needs to be widely acknowledged , and  Clinton’s disturbingly  flat learning curve traced to her espousal of American Exceptionalism, – a delusion that  by clinical definition depends on denial of reality. Fact is kryptonite to delusion; they can’t co-exist. Case studies of the many Jesuses who inhabit psychiatric wards show us rational personas who with straight calm faces construct ingenious rationalizations to demolish any evidence/fact that threatens to loosen the grip of their fantasy. If you join them in the cloud cuckooland where beliefs float untethered to sound premises, they are weirdly/scarily persuasive.

Watch Clinton express her/collective superiority faith to a bemused Jane Pauley, and highlight Clinton’s support for this myth on the basis of her/our “self-correcting behavior” (sic!).  http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/hillary-clinton-i-still-believe-in-american-exceptionalism. If I could afford to speak on TV, I’d broadcast this video every day for 2 weeks (the minimum time to dislodge disinformation). Visually, I would juxtapose Clinton’s face and words with clips and claims from the gallery of tyrants, despots, conquistadors who boasted superiority to justify wars of conquest and atrocities. Then how all these messianic- laced Empires and Reichs lead their people down the road to ruin.

Clinton embraces this nefarious delusion and is in tight with the neocons, mostly Republicans, who populate governmental circles and influence policy. These are the ideologues behind the Iraq disaster and the surge debacle in Afghanistan. To meet the growing terrorist threat, they propose more force; theirs are the heinous voices calling for carpet bombing to annihilate terrorism. Neocons and Hilary Clinton transcend party politics. Clinton appoints them to key positions, and they cross lines to support her Presidency. That’s how much they trust her.

Her emails provide more powerful reasons and the evidence to expose the pretense of Clinton’s experience. Those that have survived her redactions spotlight Clinton’s choice of advisors (they who will guide our futures if she’s elected); they also reveal how in-bedded she is with the corporate war powers, choosing for their profit (and her private gain), to broker billions in arm sales to countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.) who she herself had condemned as active supporters of terrorism. And they reveal how Clinton’s militaristic choices fit into her election game plan.

Sid Blumenthal, Clinton’s closest advisor, speaks first in the excerpt below. Highlights of his experience: creator of the sham video  explanation of the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans ; fabricator of  Monica Lewinsky the Stalker who victimized Bill Clinton; counselor who recommended  Obama bomb  Libya to lift his sagging approval ratings ; the messenger of  rumors of Gadhafi atrocities (unfounded) that rationalized Clinton’s military force:

“First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it,” Blumenthal wrote on Aug. 22, 2011.

“When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation home. … You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. … The most important phrase is: ‘successful strategy.’”

Clinton forwarded Blumenthal’s advice to Jake Sullivan, a close State Department aide. “Pls read below,” she wrote.

“Sid makes a good case for what I should say, but it’s premised on being said after Q[addafi] goes, which will make it more dramatic. That’s my hesitancy, since I’m not sure how many chances I’ll get.”

She got her chance, and the world suffers. ISIS   strengthened and emboldened.  As I write this, the growing terrorist crisis in the Libya has led to plans for US military intervention to clean up the mess Clinton quarterbacked. And we know how effective this strategy has proven!

As for how her record of “self-correcting” choices would leech into a future with her as Commander in Chief, Clinton leaves no doubt. She boldly proclaims her immunity from corrective feedback. In response to the ISIS attacks, Clinton’ s hyper masculine persona comes out fighting, “tall and tough.” .She wants regime change in Syria, even as more rational voices realize that defeating ISIS and overthrowing Assad (the enemy of ISIS) are incompatible. She would intensify dangerous conflict, proposing a no fly zone, – effectively initiating war with both Russia and Syria. Pressed to answer in the second debate if she would shoot down a Russian plane, she refused to answer. Then, not in her resume, but most apropos: Clinton is the candidate most favored and funded by the defense corporations.



People are rational in fearing terrorism; fear is an important survival trait; and people want /need safety from violence. But expecting, on the basis of Hilary Clinton’s experience, relief from the dangers of terrorism is as delusional as expecting retirement security from Bernie Madoff’s financial expertise.  Hilary Clinton’s militaristic foreign policy and her neocon associates spread the terrorist plague we rightfully fear, for they perpetuate the ineluctable Newtonian law of human history and psychology: that violence will always beget an answering violence.

The image of Commander in Chief Clinton, or Trump, or Cruz is a nightmare from which I hope to awaken, and one reason I’m fighting for Bernie.  At least, he disavows regime change politics, – and, most important, – he can’t boast of Hilary’s experience!







Defrocking the Empress: Deconstructing the First Democratic Debate

Defrocking the Empress: Deconstructing the First Democratic Debate

I ‘m sick and tired of Hilary Clinton’s “strong debate win” going unexposed for the crude media fabrication it is. In reality, the “prime time event” misnamed ‘debate’ and the “expert” coverage that followed  , misnamed ‘analysis’ reveal both the oligarchs’ choice for President, and , more broadly, how the corporate-owned media gut democracy, degrade public consciousness, confound critical thought, and heavily influence political outcomes.

The medium is the message: in this case, a hybrid super bowl and high stake quiz show, followed by post-game “analyses” delivered by appointed (employed) pundits on radio, in newspapers, and TV.  Spectacle trumps content: the stage animated by exciting swathes of moving color; patriotic emotion stirred by the requisite pop celebrity belting out the martial highs of “The Star Spangled Banner”; the event moderated by Anderson Cooper, wearing a mask of gravitas; and “public engagement” streamed on glitzy video screens and posed by choreographed stereotypes: the Latino who asks about immigration, the Black about police violence. And the climax of this political theater: Hillary Clinton won!

And by what criteria?  Debate is a rigorous, intellectually disciplined competition that prizes verifiable fact, logical argument, and rhetorical skill,-all of which were ignored or flouted. No… Hilary “won” because she “appeared” confident, looked “less plastic,” and showed her human side (apparently her quip about women taking longer in the bathroom!).

Moreover, Clinton’s performance lacked attention to her record, to her policies, or to her seemingly opportunistic trail of flip-flops and mistakes. None of this detracted from the consensus: Hilary Clinton won.

That consensus, however, needed a foil. Sanders had to go down to provide lift to Hilary’s sagging popularity.  No problem. The well-practiced formula works to herd millions into conformity – silence on urgent political and economic issues , a lid on Sanders’ unassailable record of integrity as servant of public interests,- plus focus on superficialities equals: he lost because his hair was too long, and because he unabashedly acknowledged he hadn’t prepared as had Hilary, – that is, because he articulated meaningful ideas and clear positions without employing PR consultants to construct and rehearse perception management .

Management in the case of Hilary Clinton required neglecting significant political concerns, allowing misstatements and/or erroneous assertions to pass unchallenged, and, concomitantly, accepting, even applauding, her curt non-answers and evasions.

Recall for instance that Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chaffee wanted to debate permanent war, the prevailing Orwellian US doctrine/policy whose gravity and consequence are impossible to overstate.  A substantive political discussion would emphasize that this is a choice, one crafted largely by the military-corporate powers that Eisenhower warned against (back in the 50’s!), one that dramatically affects the life quality of the people- a choice for war  above education and  for unnecessary weapons of mass destruction rather than health care, bridges, roads, or public transportation; a political choice that feeds itself  by inculcating fear and insecurity as justification  for violations of privacy,  for abrogation of civil rights, and for Big Brother’s intrusions into our email, our phone conversation, etc… , and, of course, for the sacrifice of more public resources, money, and lives to endless war and destruction. None of this was debated or pursued as relevant to our political choice.

Clinton delivered the coup de grace on the topic of war and waste by saying nothing, and then dodging Chaffee’s attempt to hold her accountable for supporting the Iraq invasion. Bernie Sanders, after all, both refused to support it, predicted the chaos it would create, and bluntly describes it “the most disastrous foreign policy decision in US history.” Surely in a conflict- ridden world, a significant difference distinguishes Sanders and Chaffee from Clinton. At a minimum, accountability for costly misjudgment is due the public who have been deprived of and have lost so much to the Iraq fiasco.

Not so, however, to Hilary Clinton, or to the media judges. She defended her judgment with an appeal to authority that would earn a failing grade in a freshman composition class: Barak Obama appointed her Secretary of State. End of story. Case closed. That this logical fallacy passed unopposed reveals just how engineered this event was, how key obfuscation is to her campaign, and how arrogant Clinton is in her denial of accountability to the American people.

Witness, too, how Clinton dealt with economic inequality, the rigged system wherein Wall Street regulates Congress, and the dangers of unfettered capitalism. Bernie Sanders’ deft retort to Anderson Cooper’s questioning his allegiance to capitalist orthodoxy turned Cooper’s provocation into the opportunity to put economic injustice on the table.  Like a serious debater, Sanders insisted on clear definition:  “If you mean,”   his gravelly voice replied, “casino capitalism”… where so few have so much and so many so little  … where the few operate with recklessness and greed… “No! “ Sanders thundered.

Clinton, in turn, seized the moment to feature herself a champion of the free market. She sidestepped Sander’s searing critique of crony capitalism. Instead, Clinton “answered” Sanders with a feel-good, clichéd tribute to small business and entrepreneurship, -a disingenuous response given that small business is hurt by the privileges and monopolies of the power elite whom Sanders denounced.

Clinton scored again over her threatening contender when Bernie Sanders alluded to illustrate a social democracy that prioritizes public welfare with its investments in education and its funding of universal health care referenced   Denmark. Again, Clinton went for self-serving performance. She said nothing about the vital issues of health care and education, or about Sanders’ implied critique of the US’s profit –centered health care, or about the education system that burdens young people with debt. All she attended to was “like Denmark.” “The US is not Denmark,”  she scolded Sanders.

Then, Clinton actually called herself a “progressive who wants to get things done,”- an identification that can pass muster only in an Alice- in -Wonderland universe where words mean their opposite, or in the mass media. Hilary Clinton’s record and her current policy stands don’t square with liberal, much less progressive. Progressives are not hawks; progressives don’t deregulate Wall Street and recoil from policies such as Glass Steagall; progressives don’t serve the public by adhering to ‘quid pro quo’ campaign financing .  That she would lie so egregiously says a lot about Hilary, but it also exposes just how much she depended on the absence of challenge; how completely she could trust that no one in the crowd would cry out, “The Empress has no clothes!”  How broad the reach of this passive crowd of commentators? Wrap your mind around, not the Fox, but the NPR talking head who proclaimed Clinton had won the right to a “progressive mantle.”

Finally, feminism requires some words on Hilary’s courting of women’s votes. Consider her signature one-two punch, evasion+ opportunism, in how she described her difference from Barak Obama. “I’m a woman,” she “joked” and followed up with sycophantic strokes for the democratic establishment. Do we need to point out this was a question designed to identify her political policies and positions? Imagine the white males coming back with, “I’m white… that’s how I differ from Obama.”

Hilary Clinton’s campaign is going all out to exploit the very just desire for female leadership, and counting on inanities surrounding ‘identity politics’.   Suffice it to underline that gender, like any other attribute,-race, religion, sexual orientation- only matters if it has political relevance, otherwise, as pertains to Hilary, it is limited to the XX she shares with Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice, or Carly Fiorina.

If Hilary Clinton offers significant benefit to women, then she needs to address women and explain her support for war that always victimizes the most vulnerable, women and children; for her Wall Street backers and her support of policies that serve them while hurting women and children most, here and across the world; she needs to explain why she changes her opposition to liberal causes ,e.g. gay marriage , or to enlarging corporate power ( TPP),  only after it threatens her  political ambitions, not to mention the   numerous scandals that pepper her record and suggest a character much prone to the seductions of private gain at the cost of public welfare, a price that weighs most heavily on women and children.

The so-called Democratic Debate was staged, literally and figuratively, to buoy up Hilary Clinton’s tanking popularity, and to bolster the faltering axiom of her inevitability. But the implications of the power and methods of the corporate media illustrated in this event go far beyond this campaign.  The media moguls have seized power over perhaps the important institutions of this society, controlling the communication channels into peoples’ minds. Their control and influence is pervasive,-not just FOX, but CNN, and MSMBC, the newspapers, and NPR, etc… A smorgasbord that serves to create the illusion of free press. The impact is insidious and pernicious.

Democracy depends upon an informed electorate, and, minimally, on respect for verifiable fact and critical thought. A democratic society  vigorously protects an intellectual climate that distinguishes fact from opinion and fosters the skills of assessment and evaluation. Specific to political realities, facts need context, and comprehension of present events requires the framework of the past and history.

Not to be! As illustrated by this event, and every day in the “news,” the oligarchs exploit the monumental power of mass media to deny the public the facts and the intellectual tools to meaningfully exercise their democratic responsibilities.

At a most elemental level, a democratic society relies upon the integrity of words. If Hilary Clinton passes as a “ progressive” who “won” a “debate,” and who deserves the Presidency because she is a woman,  then democracy lost big time, and no should be surprised that  Donald Trump is a serious Presidential candidate with much popular currency.

As Aristotle said, of all forms of government, none but none, is worse than Oligarchy

Bernie Sanders and the Test of American Democracy

On July 29, 2015, I joined 85 others at the Sahara restaurant in Worcester, MA to participate in the historic Bernie Sanders’ campaign event that energized 100,000 people in some 3500 homes, bars, church basements spread across every state in the US.
Sanders’ streamed video address focused on why he is running; he prefaced each reason with the refrain, “enough is enough,” eliciting disgust for/ and resolve to challenge the billionaire class that owns our government and that, with both the Democratic and Republican Parties in its pocket, is marching ahead, in its now forty year trek on a road paved with economic and political policies guaranteed to further destroy the planet, to impoverish, economically and socially ,more Americans; to deteriorate and debase our public life; to diminish educational opportunities; to increase its profits from our costly and degraded health care system while concurrently feeding the causes and selling the weaponry that motivate and enable terrorist resurgence, here and abroad.
I have echoed and embellished Sanders but remained truthful to his message and spirit:
“Enough is enough!” that a billionaire class, the 1%, continue to hoard and devour the country’s wealth, while the vast majority share an increasingly smaller slice of the pie. The wealth of the Walton family, kings of low wage, no- benefits employment, purveyors of tawdry baubles to stuff the maws of consumerism, -this one family owns more wealth than 47% of Americans! These robber barons extract billions on the labor of employees whose slave wages require food stamps and health care subsidies that taxpayers foot a 3billion bill every year. Not even the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt glutted themselves on such inequality, and when they collapsed, they at least left behind architectural monuments. When we collapse as every militaristic, unequal society in history has with how shamefully but fitly crass our Walmart monuments to Mammon, what testimony to the products of a decadent society.
“Enough is enough!” that the consequences of such grotesque inequality are concrete, multifarious, manifest in the fraying of the social fabric-disrespect for law and violence rampant; the misery and hardship of millions of Americans: the unconscionable number of children living in poverty ( greater than it was in 2008); the working poor toiling at two and three jobs to cobble together a living.
Since the 2008 debacle created by them ,but paid for by our taxes and by the ruination of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans, subsequent economic “recovery” is going to the coffers of the 1% while the wages of working Americans have remained stagnant for 30 years!
“Enough is enough!” that millions of qualified youth cannot afford college; millions of those who do, graduate into jobs for which they are overqualified, poorly paid. In addition, they are burdened with long-term debt. We are a society in decline, enriching the Walton’s, rather than investing in the education of our people: The US that was #1 in number of people with higher education back when the billionaire class got Reagan elected , has dropped to #12 as the 1% siphon our wealth and starve the public good.
“Enough is enough!” That the US is the only developed country to not guarantee health care to all. Instead, despite, and due to, the corporate-serving reforms of Obama care, 30 million Americans don’t have health care; those that do pay through the nose and costs grow steadily .A medical crisis remains the largest reason for bankruptcy. Medicare is under constant attack even as it is, compared to public funded health care of less affluent countries, disgracefully meagre. I receive Medicare, but I still pay $1500 a year for Part B which covers only 80%, thus an additional $2400 a year for supplemental. With co-pays that means $4000 a year if I don’t require any substantial medical treatment!
“Enough is enough!” that a Black woman, Sandra Bland, three days after being stopped for failing to signal a turn is dead in a jail cell from a poisonous violence, tyranny, fear and hate whose roots reside in institutional racism, that is, in economic policies and discriminatory practices that keep Black Americans on the economic bottom, in urban ghettos and in shabby, public housing where the concentration of poverty magnifies anti-social behaviors, high crime, drug and gang wars.
“Enough is enough!” that women earn only 78% and women of color 70 of their male counterparts; that the US provides totally inadequate family leave for working parents, no guarantee of paid sick leave or vacation, no affordable childcare
“Enough is enough!” that billionaires’ monstrous gluttony is fed by tax loops, tax breaks, tax payer subsidies for slave wages, and an obscenely low tax rate for the super-rich. Even Warren Buffet, one of the rare members of the billionaire class with conscience, has decried the fact that he is taxed at the same rate at his secretary

“Enough is enough!” that American democracy has been eviscerated by the billionaire class; the purchase of public office made “legal” by Citizens United. But even without the sanction of Citizen United, the purchase power of the 1% has corrupted government for a long time. Actually as Lawrence Lessig has demonstrated, those who own our politicians and through them direct the politics of this nation are far less than 1%.
Lessing calculated that if we count $5200 as a donation substantial enough to buy influence, this translates to 57,000 people, or to 0.02 of 1%. But we know that the big influencers contribute considerably more to earn their place at the helm of our “democracy.” Mr. Exxon Mobil, Mr. Boeing, Mr. Goldman Sach constitute a miniscule proportion of the population, say 0.001 of 1%! The end result: in this US “Democracy” the people, the 99.98 %- command zero power, – what they want, believe in, aspire to has no bearing on the captains steering this ship of state. The US in 2015 is a plutocracy, the form of government that Aristotle denounced as the worst possible
“Enough is enough!” that during the past forty years, the military, corporate/banking, and government have consolidated their interlinked powers and constitute a shadow elite who manipulate the democratic machinery ruling us through politician puppets who dance to their tune on the stage . The play? The ritual of a hollow democracy, all form, no substance.
“Enough is enough!” we must see through this façade; we must connect the dots, and personalize and humanize the abstraction, “wealth disparity”: The ruling class of rich white men, and a few proxy women, is destroying this country. Our roads, and bridges, airports, and public transportation systems are falling apart and outdated for lack of public funds; real unemployment is at 11%, youth unemployment and Black youth higher than 20% for lack of public funding; poverty is increasing and poverty is violence .It stunts and cripples lives and leads to the death of hundreds of thousands who can’t afford health care. It leads to criminal behavior that doesn’t affect the gated wealthy, but we, the 99% .Our national parks operate on a shoe string budget. Health care is not a right but a commodity for profit making. Mr. Exxon Mobile and Mr. Peabody coal are threatening a planetary collapse as catastrophic as anything even our disaster movies imagine.
Mr. Pfizer, Mr. Haliburton, and the rogue’s gallery of corporate persons are bankrolling both their selected Republicans, e.g. Jeb Bush, and their chosen Democrat, Hilary Clinton. One of them will win in the electoral game of ‘wink, wink’, “choice.” To corporate persons, doesn’t matter which of the choices they are putting up wins. Both have and will continue to be loyal members of the inner circle.

Bernie Sander’s candidacy needs to be viewed within the belly of this ugly and disastrous state of affairs. An outsider with a 30 year record of opposing corporate dominance and of espousing the rights and needs of the 99% is giving Americans a real choice and one that inherently reclaims American democracy.
Bernie Sanders is the long shot in a rigged race. Bernie Sanders is a test of the American people and of the flickering light of democracy. Do enough of us understand what we are up against, or will the dull flame of democracy become a smoking wick as the US continues down the disastrous path guarented by republicans and Hilary Clinton.
Plutocracy or Democracy? That is the question! Our future is in the answer.

Dog Walk in the Hood

Dog Walking in the Hood

I live in a transitional neighborhood although that it’s been “as is” for at least my 12 years of residency begs for a more accurate adjective. In common with other such hoods in alleged flux, this Green Hill Park neighborhood in Worcester, MA, to the consternation of its multicultural and diverse folks on the constructive side of “transition,” suffers from the variegated crops of poverty and cultural degradation, including the drug trade.

For instance, we harbor a familial “gang” of children ranging from 6-7 years to older teenagers, boys and girls, who behave destructively and with galling disrespect. We first noticed them in the spring: one of the teenage girls was wantonly pulling up tulips by the bulbs from each house she passed.

My partner questioned them, eliciting a chorus of insolent mockery and curses stunningly incongruent with their childhood appearance.  Then maliciously coy, they tried to play with her:  “She’s picking flowers for mother’s day.”

The detail that underscored the familial dysfunction at the root of the kids’ anarchic disrespect was the behavior of the mother / older adult pushing a baby stroller. Even in the face of a community’s reproach, she said nothing to indicate disapproval much less to stop them.

The next day on my dog walk I found many of the dying tulips discarded on the street, – desolate images of mindless destruction, and a compelling prompt for an essay on the effects of poverty on human character.

This was only the first of several episodes.  One involved a resident who told us where the gang lived. It turned out to be an unpaved roadway that abuts the park and on which I often Travel on my dog walks. Hence, my surveillance began.

They lived in a multiplex house, once belonging to older, longtime residents who passed away. Post the 2008 housing bust, the home was bought by an absentee landlord who vinyl sided the needed maintenance and rents to hard-up tenants who welcome his lack of concern for their rental history, or their ability to afford the exorbitant cost of electric heat in a New England winter. The result is the degradation of the neighborhood by this eyesore, and transience squared as tenants turn over rapidly leaving behind abandoned cars, furniture, and trash. Rootlessness, joblessness, desolation.

Today, I note the abandoned yellow Chevy sedan that has been rotting in place for 6 months, the skeleton of a bicycle along with bins overflowing with trash. On top of the roof satellite dishes proliferate like fungi, and on the front porch the baby carriage I recognized.

Then two new happenings caught my eye. I saw a postman put a small black plastic wrapped package in the rusting, crooked mailbox .Then, from about 30 feet up from the house, I heard the engine of a parked black SUV with tinted windows. The neurons in my frontal lobes glow and pulsate with connection: I was witness to the heroin trade plaguing Worcester!

To test my hypothesis, I walked by the driver’s side of the SUV and glanced in at the young brown skinned man with close cropped hair. He didn’t look at me, feeding my suspicion. His averted gaze and his stereotypical appearance, proof!

The case heated up when the pick-up car shifted gears and moved up the road, across the street from the drop-off.  Citizen sleuth, went into action:

I took out my cell phone and provocatively pointed it arm’s length out and towards the SUV. I was drawing the dealer out, making him reveal himself, hampering the deal.  Sure enough, he yelled back, “Hey, don’t you take my picture.” I ignored him and kept the phone pointing at him. Again,” Hey, it’s against the law. Stop.”  Statuesque I didn’t move or say a word.   “Hey,” he screams with frustration, and the car goes into reverse and tears its way back in clouds of dirt.

The dealer pulls up next to me. “I told you to stop taking my picture.” He’s angry. I’m cool. I’ve got him hooked and squirming. With a low voice, I say, “I’m not taking your picture.” And I point the empty phone face towards him, but that doesn’t convince him.  I said, “Stop,” he drills the air with emphasis.

Now I become Socratic: “How can I stop something I’m not doing?” I ask. Baffled, I think, he can only repeat, “Stop. It’s against the law.” What a joke, I think sardonically. and continue my philosophical query , “ Is it not like asking me to stop from flying my hot air balloon on a residential street when I obviously don’t have one? That’s illogical,” I pronounce.

“It’s not illogical,” he persists, “It’s illegal!”  “Illegal?” my sophist self-pursues,” Is the law logical …..? That did it. Exasperated, he pleads, “Look, lady, you‘re interfering with our operation.”

This unexpected turn prompts me to peer more deeply into the window and sure enough beneath the door frame I catch the glimmer of gold, – a shiny badge on his black bullet proof vest.   “We can’t have pictures of our undercover van circulating to blow our stings!”

O”A hah,” And, I join the raid…. Yeah, I know the people in this place are up to no good. That’s why I was trying to rattle you.”   “Yeah, we know, but we’re after someone else today and him jutting his chin up the street to one of the more decorous homes not on my radar. “But, you can’t be doing this. These people are dangerous,” he warns.

At that, the radio crackled into life, and he tore off down the road. I watched as he pulled the SUV over and jumped out to join three other police exiting from a black unmarked sedan. All had bullet proof vests and guns drawn as they rushed down a driveway.

I glanced back at the suspect house with a scrutinizing  stare that vowed, “next time, dirt bags!” and, shifting  mental gears,  continued my dog walk in the hood.

Feminist on A Campaign Trail

Notes From A Feminist on a Campaign Trail

The second meeting of local Bernie Sanders supporters proved as troubling as the first two weeks ago. Many attendees are/were Progressive Democrat (PDA) members; some are   housing, prison reform activists, etc.. A few are new to political involvement. All embraced Sanders’  “socialism”. In fact, the first meeting attracted three Socialist Party members, not at the second because, in retrograde dogmatic form, the Party  repudiates Sanders’ choice to run as a Democrat.

PDA members identified the 12 issues of the Sanders’ campaign. “Yes”, they pronounced, “these cover the progressive agenda,”- despite to my feminist mind, the glaring absence/minimization of environmental destruction, global warming, reproductive rights, or violence against women.  The classic left mindset:  focused exclusively on capitalism, devoid of analysis of, or commitment to, the intersections of economics with sexism, racism, and the planet.

The group process and social interaction similarly reflected entrenched patriarchy. A leader (white male) provides “expert” council ;  a modicum of attention is given to others ( break down into small groups and come up with…. ); then their input is ignored when the leader takes back the reins to sum up the evening’s work with a restatement of his agenda, -absent the group’s contributions.

In parallel, males dominate the discussion. Women speak only when drawn-out, and then with notably low voices, deferential demeanors and non-assertive postures,-except for me who speaks up and resists any attempt at interruption. The discomfort my untraditional behavior stirred is amplified when, abandoning my resolve to assertive but non-combative,   I take action.

All evening the “leader” celebrates  the history of the PDA, with recognition, adulation, testimonials of “this guy ,” ” the guys,”  “these guys”   until I could bear it no longer.  I interrupted … “excuse me, but were/are there only men in this movement?”  Clearly taken aback and momentarily silenced, he bumbles, unconscious of the point,  “well no …but I’m a guy so  …,”- his answer to the problem, a restatement of the narcissistic egotism at it roots. Like the mythic adolescent who couldn’t see past his mirror image, the leader just didn’t get it.  Finally, a Black woman said, you could have said “persons.”

It’s a familiarly distressing experience despite the postures of “post-feminism” and related post-modern absurdities. The erasure of feminist politics is pervasive: in sexist language usages, in social interactions, in advertising and the media, and in the lack of collective, public focus on women’s lives. Everything that the second wave articulated, advocated, and fought for has been pushed back into the inarticulate background .Center stage males dominate; women participate.

One important question raised by the second wave has been resoundingly answered by this dismal three decades of backlash and near disappearance of feminism. Do we need an autonomous women’s movement? Without question!

There can be no substantial transformation of women’s second class status, nor can humans effect a radical transformation of the multifarious forms of injustice and violence that haunt humanity’s 5000 year fall into Patriarchy, nor can Socialist platforms be realized without women once again refusing their complicitous behaviors and joining together to personally and politically advance the humanistic agenda planted by the Suffrage Movement and germinated by the second wave. Human civilization itself is in crisis, and the need for feminist renascence, dire.

That’s why the appearance of a black bearded man and his 11 year old daughter at meeting #2 was exhilarating. John introduced himself, stating a desire to organize a Socialist Democratic effort to confront race, class, and Gender, -a laser beam in a dark night. He then introduced Morgan …” Morgan Fey,” he clarified, “after the most powerful sorceress.” And when he gave the floor to the “sorceress,” it was sheer enchantment. She proclaimed, “I’m here to help my father, and “I’m a feminist.”

Thank the goddess for  hope!