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There Were Giants

The GOP has evolved from Grand Old Party to Government of Privilege. Our representatives in Washington DC, who are supposed to be serving the pressing needs of the country, are serving only those who bought and paid for them. The ever-increasing wealth gap has made it possible for a handful of billionaires to own their own country. The corporations they control are the only true beneficiaries of current government largesse. One wonders if any of them contemplate the shortsightedness of placing the needs of corporations before those of the human race and the planet they inhabit? Do these men of industry not have children or grandchildren? Is there no tomorrow?

America has always had a dark side that was cruel and savage beyond description. A country that was founded by slaveholders has nothing great to return to. The barbarous obscenity of one man owning another is a disease that still runs through every vein and artery of this vast nation. We still have a long way to go before each one of us is a first class citizen. Our centuries old history of denigrating, torturing, and murdering “undesirables” is truly a trail of tears. Guns and brutality are our proud national heritage.

Incredibly, here in the 21st century vigorous efforts are being made every day to exclude certain Americans from their right to vote.  Jim Crow is alive and well today in different disguises. This is a country where unenlightened white folks do not want to share their privileges with people who are not exactly like them. Religion, pigmentation, ethnicity, and gender are still being used as excuses to deprive others of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Five Supreme Court justices rolled back parts of the Voting Rights Act because they could not see that racism in America is part of our national fabric, only it assaults the public consciousness in waves so there are periods when we feel like we are moving forward until a bigot inhabits the Oval Office and we slide back again. I ask you, should there be a place in our great nation for bigots to carry Nazi flags as a First Amendment right? Hasn’t the ancient myth of White Supremacy been with us long enough? If America were really great we would be thinking about how we could help each other and make this a better place to live. Love, not hate!

Many of the deplorable souls among us promote their agenda in the name of Jesus demonstrating that they have no idea who he may have been and the teachings he promoted. The commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself seems to be beyond their comprehension or capacity to act. This is a country that still does not understand that we have a common good, and when everyone is well fed, happy, and healthy we all profit. Sadly, there are too many among us and in Congress who do not feel they have enough so they cannot share their good fortune with others.

A government that contemplates increasing its military budget at the expense of public welfare is barbarous and needs replacing. Anyone who thinks building a wall is more important than building a school or a hospital is living in the Dark Ages. When people lose their medical insurance or retirement check they will not be voting for those who visited this madness on them. Is the Republican Party hell-bent on self-destruction? Is this their going out of business strategy?

Today is a national holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was not a saint, but he was a man who put his life on the line every day so that millions of Americans who were downtrodden and hopeless could raise their heads and demand their inalienable rights. So many of his words still penetrate the heart because their veracity and power comforted and inspired a generation of people who needed to hear his message. He was the right man at the right time. We need a man like that today.

I do remember how much the very pathetic J. Edgar Hoover hated him so much. Like so many of his ilk they felt rightfully threatened by King because they realized that the old order of things was ending and a better America was arriving through some painful birth pangs. 1968 was a half century ago but I can still feel the residual pain this country experienced as Right struggled with Might and lives were lost in that great cultural battle.

Now we live in the Age of Bullshit in which a man who pretends to be president sends daily adolescent, misinformed tweets into the ether in a desperate attempt to aggrandize himself regardless of the damage he causes. A year ago he was only painfully amusing. Now he is ugly, tiring, and deadly. He and his administration have done everything they can to send us backwards into the abyss. Interestingly, he is not the first resident of the White House who was not qualified for the job, but he was the first who thought it would be an easy part-time job requiring little or no preparation. Our reality is the stuff of Jonathan Swift and Voltaire.

In closing I must share with you my great disappointment that Donald Trump campaigned for months with the slogan Make America Great Again and not one journalist ever asked him what he meant by that. The last of those four words implies that America was once great and is not so now. When was that? It wasn’t in my lifetime. Was he thinking about Lexington and Concord? slavery before the Civil War? Wounded Knee? KKK parades down Pennsylvania Avenue? Emmett Till? before Suffrage? Hiroshima? The House Un-American Activities Committee? Selma? Kent State? before Hillary? Harvey Weinstein and Hugh Hefner?

Assuming Frederick Douglass and MLK are looking down at today’s grotesque puppet show, what are they thinking? Is there anything to be said, or are they just shaking their heads in disbelief? Sadly, this is an age of big problems and small people.

Stephen Jablonsky
January 15, 2017

January 19, 2014

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and, since we are all taking the day off from work thanks to him, it might just be appropriate to stop for a moment to think about how he lived and why he died.

Every society needs people who, despite their own personal shortcomings and foibles, are willing to make an effort to better the world they inhabit. While his words were often inspiring, he walked the walk for equal rights for all Americans, not just those who had tasted the bitter fruit of slavery and oppression. He made a real effort to represent the needs of all those who have been disenfranchised from the halls of power and are often the forgotten ones when it comes to addressing the basic human right to nutritious food, decent shelter, and good health care. He also protested his country’s bloodlust and incessant need for war mongering, and that was his undoing. His efforts were barely tolerated by the international power brokers when what he fought for was just better wages for garbage collectors, but, when his ability to mobilize his fellow citizens for peace was clearly demonstrated, that was too much for those who stood to profit from our ill-conceived, criminal escapade in Southeast Asia.

Like the two Kennedy brothers, who also threatened the profitability of the Military-Industrial Complex, he needed to be removed. In all three murders an innocent patsy was provided to cover up the deadly professionalism of an American governmental agency that has issued its own license for madness and mayhem in the name of national security. Their mission, over time, changed from the gathering of intelligence to the overthrow of governments and the assassination of heads of state. Their actions are those of a shadow government whose sinister exploits are only palatable to the American public in the realm of cinema.  Unfortunately, we have corporate-sponsored mass media that is loathe to report the truth when it involves heinous deeds that are deemed unmentionable. Their deceit parallels the information shell game that is perpetrated on an unsuspecting electorate by a government that, for a very long time, has institutionalized the art of lying.

Let us no forget that Americans continue to be asked to sacrifice their lives and fortunes to support our national addiction to military conquest and world domination. Every time we pretend to better our society we call it a war–the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty–or we go to war and give the endeavor an ironic, PR-tested title like Operation Iraqi Freedom.

From one January to the next we need to honor Dr. King’s memory by being ever vigilant and objecting to the home-grown lies and injustices that prevent this country from fulfilling the dream its founders eloquently penned so long ago and hoped one day would become a reality.


In my 51 years of teaching I have always been amused that my students gleefully celebrate all kinds of holidays throughout the school year often without having the slightest idea what they are celebrating. When I taught summer session I always had to share the Declaration of Independence with my charges because they had never read this extraordinary document of audacious courage and valor. Today is Columbus Day and we are parading and shopping in celebration of a man who had no idea where he was going and, when he got there, visited untold cruelty on the people he found there. However, he did open up the New World to plunder and that is always good from an economic standpoint that would probably sit well with our friends on Wall Street. The Spanish have never had it so good. Talk about balance of trade! What most people do not know is that the year 1492 is also famous among the Jewish people because that is the year that good Queen Isabella expelled them from Spain after they had lived there for almost 1500 years. It is entirely possible that Colon’s expedition was completely paid for by the gold and silver that Isabella forcefully took from the departing Hebrews. Now, Isabella did not start the problem for the alien Semites. By the time she came along the Jews had been suffering mightily under Christian rule for at least a century, but to be expelled without your worldly possessions is a punishment visited on very few peoples throughout history. We are talking about at least 200,000 people who were forced to leave or convert. Some of them left with Colombo, or followed after him, and prospered in the New World so the end result it wasn’t entirely negative.

Just to put this all in perspective, expelling Jews was a very popular European policy to which England, France, and Germany also subscribed. It turns out that the Chosen People have not been very popular in most of the locales where they settled. You only need to read The Merchant of Venice to get the idea. As the Old Testament tells us, we wandered for forty years in the desert after the flight from bondage in Egypt, and we have been wandering ever since. When the Romans expelled the Jews from Judea in 70AD they started a diaspora that two millennia later recreated the land of Israel much to the chagrin of the locals who had hoped they would never return. It is no wonder they are still fighting each other for the past 63 years.

As you can see, this whole Colombo thing is very complicated and very dirty so I am, once again, suggesting that we call this day Explorers Day, a celebration everybody can get behind because none of us have any idea where we are going or what we will do when we get there, but we are all adventurers in our individual lives. Incredibly, when I was a kid they used to say that Columbus discovered America! They used to say stuff like that because they figured without scholarship or education the unwashed would buy whatever they were selling. Thankfully those days are gone…or are they?

The Fiction of History

Thirteen years ago today America suffered a mortal wound the pain of which is still felt by those who were directly touched by the madness of that day. A dear friend of mine, who lived just six blocks away from WTC, is still traumatized by the incomprehensibility of the events that overwhelmed her on that momentous day. Even after thirteen years the truth eludes us. A reliable history has yet to be written. There is a great deal that we know and even more that we do not. What we do know is that on that day something miraculous happened––three steel-framed high-rise buildings (WTC 1, WTC 2, and WTC 7) came tumbling down. In the history of the planet these are the only such buildings that were ever felled by fire, the cause proposed in the official, but terribly incomplete and inaccurate, government report.

I share this with you because I find it interesting that throughout our history the people of our great nation have been fed a never-ending stream of government-sponsored fictional accounts that are ingested in lieu of facts. The list is so long I will not bore you with it here. In my lifetime the ones that stand out the most are the murders of JFK, RFK, MLK, the Gulf of Tonkin, and 9/11. Too many of our citizens are ready to accept any explanation that is easy to digest and makes us feel better so that we can get back to the pettiness of our daily lives. The search for truth is often difficult and painful, but for adults it is liberating. When we experience trauma informed citizens should not rest until they have some reasonable understanding of what transpired so that we are prepared to deal with malarkey the next time it is thrust upon us. One of our great philosophers, George Carlin, often reminded us that governments lie all the time. Though he is gone, his message still resonates within me.

Do we honor the fallen heroes of that day by continuing to promulgate fiction? Do we even care?

Stephen Jablonsky


Ship of State

Written during the vice presidency of Darth Vader:

The Constitution Updated

Article. II.

   Section. 1.

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected or selected, as follows:

Regardless of what happens when the electorate goes to their respective polling places, the President and Vice President shall be chosen either by the manufacturers of the voting machines used in said election or by the Supreme Court of the United States if a majority have proper party affiliation.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of Austria, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. No person shall hold this office unless they can read, write, and speak correctly unless they come from among the wealthy of this land. Furthermore, it is expected that the holder of this office shall know at least something about domestic and foreign matters before signing any law written by the Congress.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them. However, at the end of the term of office, the Ex-President may receive excessive compensation from those petitioners who paid for his installation in the first place, especially if they be from the oil industry or the ranks of war profiteers.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend all those who paid for my campaign. May God help everyone else, especially the poor and disenfranchised who did not vote for me anyway."

The President shall serve as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and shall have the right to declare war on any foreign power that has more than its fair share of oil, champagne, or heroin.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. However, if, for any reason, the President declares the nation at war he can spy on, arrest, imprison, or execute anyone he deems an enemy of the state without congressional or judicial oversight or review.

Amendment 19

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. However, if the Secretary of State of any State so decides that the voting patterns of certain ethnic, racial, religious, or political groups may cause his candidate to lose, he may do whatever is necessary to deny the will of those people by excluding their ballots, either physically or electronically, from the final count, especially if he is also the director of his party’s state-wide reelection campaign.

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