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Saturday Art by Bird, plus Birds ‘n Critters by wd

By: wendydavis Saturday July 5, 2014 7:55 am

P1120537 (2)Last week I found a portion of the thousands of photos I’d lost recently, and I thought some of you might like to see some of them.  The narrow ones are some I sized for the half-fold cards I sell in town, the large ones are sized for letter-sized printing.  Help yourselves to any you’d like for your own use.  The down arrow with a bar underneath in the lower right-hand corner will offer different sizes, choose Original, then you can right click for Save Image As, etc.

The Birds and Four-leggeds slideshow will open in it’s own window; slideshows are embeddable, but the photos often look rather too large and a bit garish.  Mine arguably don’t rise to the level of Art, but the Vogelcop Bowerbird’s seduction art certainly does.  Attenborough’s  ‘The Life of Birds’ series has a few even more incredible Bowerbird art designs, as I remember it.   Enjoy.  :)



‘The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro’ by Frederick Douglass

By: wendydavis Friday July 4, 2014 7:37 am


Via Black Agenda Report, bless them.  Douglass gave the speech in Rochester, NY on July 5, 1852.  If you don’t care to read it all, or don’t have the time just now, please at least read the closing  poem written by Abolitionist William Loyd Garrison sometime in the 1800s, ‘Triumph of Freedom‘.


“Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory….

…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Living in the Wasteland of the Free

By: wendydavis Wednesday July 2, 2014 8:21 am

Iris Dement recorded this in 1996; she saw things pretty clearly then, even though she must be shocked by the ever more egregious conditions have been ladled upon us eight years later, creating a toxic People’s Miasma that will be hard to set aright … later. If you’d rather see the lyrics while listening, you can.

My wish is that this might be a post on which you can tell your own stories of The Wasteland, and provide contextual narratives that reflect your experiences under such degrading capitalist corporatocracy. Many here are relatively comfortable, but may indeed have friends and loved ones who are suffering the slings and burning arrows of outrageous fortune being loosed upon us. Yes, we fear for own futures, but even more for those of our children, their children, and our big blue-green ball of a planet itself.

There are a few things Iris didn’t know back then, but she still was pissed enough to step out of her musical comfort zone to protest so passionately.  ‘Kissing asses for corporate cash’ is now an entrenched system of revolving doors between the public and private sectors; now they all kiss their own floggin’ asses and love it. No, ‘democracy’ is dead, as is the Rule of Law. And no, Ben Franklin; we weren’t even able to keep our Republic, were we? Fundie preachers not so Christ-like? Well, Hobbies Lobby against women’s health, and life begins with a zygote. Because: We.Say.So.

When I read a couple news items the other day, these lines just kept on reverberating in my head:

We got little kids with guns fighting inner city wars
So what do we do, we put these little kids behind prison doors
and we call ourselves the advanced civilization
that sounds like crap to me

Not only do we put these kid in prison, but Minors remain jailed for life despite US supreme court ban on such sentences,’ stir in unknown numbers of kids in solitary confinement, and it makes this nation exceptional indeed.

When I saw the photos of ‘unaccompanied’ kids having fled across the border from ‘Our Backyard™’, locked in wire cages on the AZ and TX borders waiting to discover their fates, I wept at our nation’s inhumanity, and its having turned the Statue of Liberty on her head, putting an automatic rifle in her hands for good measure.  But when I read this, smoke came out of my ears:

Today it emerged that despite the influx Vice President Joe Biden believes more, not fewer, immigrants should come to America.

Speaking to a National Association of Manufacturers’ crowd this week he called for a ‘constant, unrelenting stream’ of new immigrants — ‘not dribbling (but) significant flows,’ to bolster the national economy, The Hill reported.

‘We need it badly from a purely — purely economic point of view,’ Mr Biden said, The Hill reported.’

Pffft.  Yes, indeed: because profit, Mr. VP.  You and Your King of the Deporters sidekick Prez, though, and his plans for dis-in.cen.ti.viz.ing kids fleeing Central America for their lives might want to take a look at some of the underlying causes in ‘Child Migrants and Media Half-Truthsby Laura Carlsen, or Villeda/Zelaya’s ‘Why Are Honduran Children Leaving? (not that they can’t guess that ‘Free Trade agreements’ and US drug and foreign policy and the odd putsch might not be just a bit relevant here.

But it’s alright, ma; they’re only brown kids.  (Living in the wasteland of the free)

The poor haven’t just become  ‘the enemy’, but are fodder for the industrial prison complex, with trumped up charges for drugs, or failure to pay the fines ordered by the courts.  “Are there no prisons?  Are there no workhouses?”  Colorado, at least, has enacted some mitigation against the trend.  Ship their jobs overseas if they ask for anything more?  They killed the Commies, then the Socialists, then the unions (most recently by Democrat gate-keeping), and folks feel lucky to even have Walmartish jobs with no benefits, ‘Living in the Wasteland of the ‘Free’.  But woot!  The DOW’s at 16,970 (thank you, Fed), and we’re on the road to recovery again!  Another surge! 

And oh, those kids who can’t pass reading tests?  Or geography tests?  Do any of you live in or near a ‘school desert’ area, as Chicago has become thanks to Rahm and Arne, et.al. But it’s alright, ma; they’re mainly black kids (and teachers). 

Yesterday: The ABQ March to End Police Brutality. Remember, They Are Doing This for All of Us

By: wendydavis Saturday June 21, 2014 11:37 am

This post is courtesy of Tweets by David Correia, Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico and Guerrilla Journalist. He co-edits La Jicarita, an online magazine of environmental politics in New Mexico.

It wasn’t until a couple hours ago when I saw the photo of the coffin inscribed with the all of the names of those killed by the Albuquerque Police Department that the tears in my eyes brimmed over, and thought that I needed to share this with you. For background, please read here, here and here.  My admiration for these folks is extreme; they are in this important social movement for the long haul; their tactics have been precise and thoughtful; their social gospel unyielding and it is spreading among New Mexican citizens, and garnering international attention as well. I know all of our spirits are with them in solidarity, both today, and in the future.

Breaking: #WikiLeaks Publishes 19 Pages of the Mega TISA Secret Trade Agreement

By: wendydavis Thursday June 19, 2014 9:16 am

(This is strictly by way of a public service announcement; I’m not versed at all on TISA, so  I may not be able to answer comments.)


Press Release – Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) – Financial Services Annex    2014-06-19

Today, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex, which covers 50 countries and 68.2%1 of world trade in services. The US and the EU are the main proponents of the agreement, and the authors of most joint changes, which also covers cross-border data flow. In a significant anti-transparency manoeuvre by the parties, the draft has been classified to keep it secret not just during the negotiations but for five years after the TISA enters into force.

Despite the failures in financial regulation evident during the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis and calls for improvement of relevant regulatory structures2, proponents of TISA aim to further deregulate global financial services markets. The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals – mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt – into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The leaked draft also shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.

TISA negotiations are currently taking place outside of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework. However, the Agreement is being crafted to be compatible with GATS so that a critical mass of participants will be able to pressure remaining WTO members to sign on in the future. Conspicuously absent from the 50 countries covered by the negotiations are the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The exclusive nature of TISA will weaken their position in future services negotiations.

The draft text comes from the April 2014 negotiation round – the sixth round since the first held in April 2013. The next round of negotiations will take place on 23-27 June in Geneva, Switzerland.

Current WTO parties negotiating TISA are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, which includes its 28 member states Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

China and Uruguay have expressed interest in joining the negotiations but so far are not included.

Updates on the Gruesome News from Ukraine and the Underlying Geopolitics

By: wendydavis Tuesday June 17, 2014 8:55 am

Historian and Russian policy analyst Stephen Cohen with Thom Hartmann (the nasty ads are about two and a half minutes long).  My.fdl operationmindcrime has the entire interview embedded, plus a few other links; I’ve clipped  the first 20 minutes.

Several notes on his interview: First, please note: ‘If you study Russian history with an open mind…as much as you may hate the ideology of the Kremlin under a given regime, or however much you may dislike the leadership of Russia, as long as you approach Russian history, its triumphs, its traumas, (etc.)…that the Kremlin would see this slow advance of NATO as a dangerous threat and a provocation and would react exactly as George Kennan said it would twenty years ago.’

This is Cohen’s companion piece Cohen on Ukraine civil war: ‘Lincoln didn’t call Confederates terrorists’, June 14, 2014.  It includes the ‘only heresy can break orthodoxy’ and ‘Obomba in a bubble with no matching counter-arguments’ themes.

Did he mean to say that Ukraine is one of the Kremlin’s ‘red lines’, or did he mean ‘Crimea’ and Georgia?  And he may indeed be right that Russia wanted to leave some of the border open to citizens trying to escape Kyiv’s constant shelling in some key locales.  Show of force in Poland and other nations on the periphery?  Oh, yes; NATO is proving that it’s mission is in no way passé, José.  But ‘pull your troops away from the border, Roosia!’

Saturday Art: The Gift

By: wendydavis Saturday June 14, 2014 8:29 am

Over the course of our lives, we all must have received gifts that overwhelmed us with their thoughtfulness, suitability, and timeliness.  One I received yesterday from Mr. wendydavis qualified in the first two ways, but as to the third, please consider the implications of its irony as you read about what may end up being my favorite present ever.

Over a decade ago I sustained some pretty severe brain damage during knee surgery, although none of the surgical team would ever even admit anything had gone awry.  When I woke up from the anesthetic, among other horrors, I discovered that I’d lost all sense of time, basic arithmetic skills, boatloads of words, people’s names, and more annoying things like cognitive abilities.

Knowing a bit about different strategies and exercises that could help, and inventing a few of my own, I did gain back a lot of my brain over time.  One avenue I chose for some healing was starting to write, first as a contributor to the local free press, then slowly online.  At some point a few years ago, my healing seemed to have plateaued, which was quite discouraging, given that one upon a time I did have at least a certain amount of mental game.  It was starling to learn how much intellectual ability depends on memory, especially of the short term sort.  One needs to remember several ideas, words, concepts, at once in order to weave them into some coherent whole.

But ha!  I did get basic arithmetic skills back eventually, and as a side note, I will say that the IRS officials who graded my forms for our family taxes were kind to me about my many errors.  Every year when they sent my sent my pages back full of red ink, I imagined the look of bemusement on their faces as I looked at them, and read their…suggestions…as to what I’d done wrong.

Updates on the #APDProtest 13 and more

By: wendydavis Wednesday June 11, 2014 9:20 am

David Correia says “make it 14,” as Silvio Dell’Angela, Air Force veteran and neighbor of Chris Hinz, who was killed by APD in 2010, was barred from attending future city council meetings for daring to hang an upside down American flag on the railing separating ‘guests’ from the council tables.

But still, the 13, including FDL’s good Barbara Grothus, were arrested during a peaceful protest at the ABQ Mayor’s office on June 2, another in a series of brilliantly planned actions designed to stop the brutality and murders by the APD. Twenty-five citizens have been killed by cops since 2010. Read more background at the link, and the genesis of the protests here.

Watch this vicious June 4 KOAT hit piece by Nancy Laflin masquerading as ‘UNM Professor Correia Background.’ Note Correia has been designated as ‘the leader’ of citizen protests in the banner.

“Albuquerque police say that the parent of the child could face child endangerment charges.” Wow, a total mouthpiece for the APD and city government, it seems.

Rob Perry is ABQ’s chief administrative officer who was in Mayor Berry’s office since the mayor just happened to be ‘out of town’ that evening. And yes, UNM, where Correia teaches, was indeed watching and waiting to see whether or not the felony assault on a police officer David had been arrested for … would result in a conviction. He has maintained his innocence since that night, and that there was citizen video that would prove it. But how kind of the Mayor’s office to provide KOAT with that closed circuit video from his lobby, eh? It’s hard not to wonder when that was installed.

On June 6, La Jicarita, an online magazine of NM environmental politics Correia co-edits, published ‘In Defense of David Correia’ by Amy L. Brandzell, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of New Mexico. It is a short and clear statement of her solidarity with David and his comrades protest actions, but also his right to do so as a UNM professor. She calls media headlines that he might, or should, lose his job “salacious and scandalous,” misrepresenting the fact that his social activism are at odds with his profession. Good on her.

We may only know later how much other support he was given at UNM by students and faculty, but in any event Correia most gloriously announced on Monday:

Both Charlie Grapski at photographyisnotacrime.com (PINAC) and V.B. Price at NewMexicoMercury.com have shared background and indictments of the ongoing perfidy at play from city officials, including these bits from Price: