(3/2/17 update) From Russia, With Love..

This friend of mine is doing all the hard work on this, and it is greatly appreciated. At least in this little corner of the country, facts still matter.

Chris LaMay-West

from_russia_with_love_logoAs promised, I will keep updating this regularly with new developments. You’ll find the text of my original post from 2/21/17 below, with new content since then highlighted in blue text. One thing I find  tremendously encouraging is that there are another 11 bullet points to add to the 26 that were already in this post just in the last 10 days. With three separate FBI probes, a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, and the New York Times and the Washington Post clearly having dedicated teams on this, one thing the story won’t do is go away. Which is good, because how and where a foreign regime hostile to Democracy interfered in our election, and whether or how our new administration is or is not tied to that regime are questions that every American, Left, Right or Center, deserves answers to.

Among my various ventures into activism since the election, I…

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The UN and Israel

We have for years watched passively as Israel continued to build settlements in areas designated for Palestinian statehood since the Oslo accords. The US representative has vetoed many actions by the Security Council to sanction Israel for the illegal settlements, so it came as a surprise when Samantha Power finally abstained from the most recent resolution. It may have been too little and too late. With Donald Trump looming on the horizon, AIPAC and its allies can breathe freely again in the knowledge that it won’t happen again.

Lindsay Graham has called for the defunding of the UN and the new Democratic leader in the Senate has roundly chastised the Obama administration for allowing the resolution to stand. There is precious little reporting in this country of the violence and destruction being caused by Israeli “settlers” and their Israeli army protectors in the furtherance of the annihilation of hopes for a two state solution in the land holy to three major religions.

When Israeli “settlers” (I would prefer to call them terrorists or vigilantes) called a one-and-a-half year old child a terrorist after firebombing the house in which he lived with his parents and older brother, they showed how utterly lacking in humanity and reason they were in their actions. The crime of this family?  Living too close to an illegal Israeli settlement. The cost of the firebomb? The parents and baby dead, the older brother burned over 70% of his body. Two out of eleven Israelis involved in the action were charged, neither being held pending trial, and only one of them charged with murder.

Donald Trump doesn’t have any problem with the so-called settler movement. This should surprise no one. But people of good will may well wonder that our government has been so facile in refusing to chastise Israel for its support of the movement. Abby Mann, whom I have spoken of before, has two reports on the incident above and the history and current state of the settler movement. They can be found here and here. I will not repeat the statistics she has reported, but suffice it to say that the number of deaths, some of which she has videos of at the hands of the “settlers” and their military supporters, will shock and appall you.

It is not surprising that the Security Council at the UN has been trying to sanction Israel for years for the illegal settlement program. The program has displaced or killed thousands of Palestinians, destroyed their farms and their livelihoods, and left them in an apartheid-like state the likes of which have not been seen since South Africa. For it to be created by the victims of the holocaust would be ironic if it were not so outrageous. Now it can only be said that the United States for once did the right thing on this issue.

A Twisted Path to Poetry

I thought I was a novelist, mainly because stories came to me in big chunks. I wrote until I was finished, and would find a novel-length story had materialized. Then I was told by my helpful friends, that I wrote in shorthand, and needed to expand the descriptions in my stories, and they became series. This was not a welcome piece of news, because, well, when I finished writing one of these behemoths, I was done.

I took a creative writing course to see if I could understand my problem. The professor was a poet, so I learned more than I ever cared to about poetry. One of our assignments was to find a poetry form on the Poetry Foundation website, and compose a poem in that form. I found the form of the double dactyl and became notorious in my writers workshop for my skill at making fun of people. For a second assignment I found the pantoum, and used it to good effect on more serious subjects.

A funny thing happened on the way to the election. Donald Trump’s  pussy-grabbing statement raised all sorts of horrors from my past and made me a very uncomfortable person to be around. I snapped at people for no reason, yelled at other drivers and gave them the finger (not nearly so dangerous here in Vermont as some other places), and otherwise engaged in self-destructive behavior. Then one night, I started writing poems. They were helpful in getting some of the anger out of me and onto paper. I relived some terrible moments of my past, and turned them, for better or worse, into poetry.

I have now submitted poetry to a journal, recommended to me by a friend. It’s only one journal, it’s only 6 poems stretched over a couple of weeks, but it’s a start. And fiction finds a small home in my poetry, but not the sort I was writing and not the sort I would want to write a full story about.

In January, a local poet will be teaching a three session poetry craft workshop at my writers workshop. If I’m going to keep doing this, I’m going to have to figure out the rules. But who knows? I may get some burning hunger to write fiction again. Or maybe just get the right offer.

 

 

The Broken Mirror, a Fractured Movement and the 2016 Elections

This is an interesting post which explains part of the mechanics of the left’s self-immolation this year. Bernie wasn’t perfect but he was the closest thing to change with a heart that we had.

Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio

my-vote-blog

It is 2016 and US radicals are unfriending each other droves. Everyone is so incredulous that their one-time comrades could be as misguided as they are. The inability of social justice activists to get on the same page, however, is not the result of some folks just being too stupid to get it. Rather its the natural product social justice organizing in the time of the non-profit system. How we arrived at this fractured state of affairs holds clues for what we can do to build toward a genuine unified movement in the future.

As these comments are released early voting has started and the campaigns are in their final days. Therefore my observations will not impact many people’s choices. I am more concerned about influencing people’s perceptions. The reasons for the left’s paralysis and division require some reflection. In the process, I hope to reaffirm a tradition of…

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Arrogance

Neither the Democratic Party nor Hillary Clinton recognized the deep-seated antiestablishment sentiment in this country that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders represented. They stayed in their bubble and ignored evidence that was building throughout the spring and summer of 2016 and crowned one of the most disliked people ever to grace the stage as their nominee, giving lip service to the bold and popular work of Sanders. Now they are shocked, shocked, that the others, the voters so enlivened by the two outsider campaigns, still hated the Clintons and all they represent.

Their arrogance, their disdain for Sanders and their manipulating of the media and the DNC led directly to the hell we are now facing. Sure, blame Donald Trump too. But I’m done with the whole pack of them and will have nothing to do with the Democrats again.

Writing Again, But Poetry?

I intimated some days ago that I was writing again, meaning that I was looking at some of my fantasies for new inspiration. But then a funny thing happened. Donald Trump’s 2005 comment about grabbing pussies made the news and turned my world upside down.

I am a 65 year old woman who lived through many of the trials and tribulations of the 1970s and 80s as a woman rising under the feminist movement of those days. To say that I was subject to sexual harassment is an understatement in the extreme. I was also the victim of one sexual assault and two rapes. I did not report any of them, in two cases because the assailants were members of the legal profession in which I was lowly public defender. I will not further detail the incidents, but it should be clear that a woman making charges against two men high in the legal field would have been laughed out of court. I would have been disbelieved and smeared at a level that is no longer present in our legal system, except from certain judges who seem to think that rapists shouldn’t have their futures damaged by a few minutes of fun. They are the dinosaurs of today.

But back to Trump and the effects of his statement. I, like many women, numbering undoubtedly in the millions, suffered the crimes against me alone, and I built internal walls so that I could continue to function without falling apart or lashing out. Many women of my age built walls of different strengths and sizes, depending on the nature of the abuse they suffered. The everyday indignities of being a woman in a “man’s world” we all built walls against. We smiled, and accepted crudities that would stun today’s woman.

But the walls built to hide rape and assault were stronger and more enveloping. I had indeed buried my injuries so deeply that I had not considered them for years. They were part of my youth, and not worthy of spending time on. I had survived and would continue without ever having to review the pain and horror again. Until Trump….

What has this to do with writing? Just this. I have had anger and despair rising up in me in waves, with pain adding a slight piquancy to the mix. I was in danger of exploding at the least provocation, and I knew for my own sanity I had to find a way to tamp it down. I turned to a form of writing which I have used to deal with issues of depression and suicide in the past few years. I have been writing poems. The original ones were wrenching to me, causing me to desire drink or some other means of escape. I knew I was improving when the poems turned more to the failures of Trump as a human being, and less on the damage he had done. But I finally succeeded in writing a witty poem, denigrating Trump as nastily as I could. And with that, although not healed, I am back on a more even keel.

I have done something I’ve never done before. I have submitted some of the poems for publication. Accordingly, I can’t share them with you here. But I’ll keep you informed of any acceptances and let you know if, by any slight, slim chance, they are accepted for publication.