This is an update of the post from 25 August. As with Sunday's entry, we're leaving some of this intentionally vague.
Yesterday morning, I contacted Harry Hamid's brother, who informed me that Harry might not make it through the day. I heated up and ate some leftovers, and then headed over to the nearest Metro stop to travel to the Texas Medical Center. While I was en route, the brother sent me a text message that Harry had passed away.
When I arrived, family members and co-workers were gathered in or near the ICU where Harry spent his last days.
PDiddie also noted Harry's passing as an update to this week's Weekly Wrangle. If I'm not mistaken, he got to visit Monday; I did not, mostly due to an errand I had to run in Greater Woodlands that afternoon, but I'm fairly sure that my showing up Monday wouldn't have done any good. At least I can say that I could provide comfort and information to his family yesterday.
If there is an afterlife, I'd like to think that Harry Hamid's spirit will continue to take occasional strolls through Montrose after midnight.
I'm happy to report that Houston will soon have an active chapter of Extinction Rebellion. The organizing meeting happens at 6:30 next Wednesday evening, 4 September, at the AFL-CIO Hall on Sutherland Street. The hall is off the Gulf Freeway, near the intersection of Telephone Road and Wayside Drive. It's also on the Activist Calendar on this site.
XR HTX is not yet on Facebook, but there is a Twitter account that one can follow.
Psst. Hey you. Wanna run for office as a Green or Libertarian? There's an app for that.
As of this writing, the Secretary of State's Office has not released the petition sheet for candidates in convention-nominating parties who are too broke or cheap to pay the filing fee. That will supposed be ready next week.
The important dates to remember right now, if you are even contemplating a run for office, are 9 November and 9 December. Those are the beginning and ending dates of the period for filing an application with your county or state party. The November date is the earliest date you can walk into the SOS Office with your filing fee, the amounts for which are displayed in a table on the paged linked above.
The Democratic Party's leadership has now officially become an obstacle to sound climate policy. This Buzzfeed story has the important facts—maybe not all the facts, but it tells the story more clearly than any other I have seen thus far. Prog Twitter is articulately making its collective displeasure known as well.
Considering that I haven't considered myself a Democrat in nearly a quarter-century, and considering that I was expecting the resolution to be voted down, I'm probably more miffed about this than I should be. It's less about the vote itself than the fact that millions of self-identified Progressives (and even Radicals) will still cling to the Democrats because the Republicans are so much worse.
Fellow Houston blogger Harry Hamid (not his real name) has been chronicling his battle with cancer for the last few months. As with most of Harry's public writing, his posts and Tweets have been long on mental and emotional impressions, short on nitty-gritty details—at least that's true of the one's that I've seen. This report will have to be similar lacking in detail, vague even, because I'm not sure what I'm authorized to reveal.
Mere weeks ago, Harry was in remission and back at his parents' home. Tonight, I visited him in an ICU in one of the major Texas Medical Center hospitals. When I saw his Tweets taking a turn toward resignation, it was a wake-up. Somehow I missed this post two months ago, so I didn't know about his LifeFlight ride between hospitals. It was his first time flying in a helicopter; his mother told me that he slept through it.
Herewith we repost for posterity something I felt compelled to fling onto my Facebook Timeline last night. The part I left out was this: The bloody breakup of Yugoslavia and its aftermath hit me hard, for reasons even I didn't understand at the time. I don't have family connections there, didn't have any friends there at the time. I was a young, big-R Romantic lefty rooting for Socialism with a Human Face (to borrow a phrase from the Prague Spring) to succeed—and naïve about how dissent was suppressed under Tito and afterward.
On top of that, a Democrat for whom I had voted was in the White House—and Democrats were the party of peace, weren't they?
On my first trip to Italy in 1986, I wrote a wistful song about not getting to make a side-trip to Yugoslavia; I couldn't just abandon the high school students I was accompanying, now, could I? A couple of years later, my half-brother Erik was at a boarding school in Salzburg, where class trips into Eastern Europe were routine, so he got to go.
In the years before the breakup, Yugoslavia experienced some wicked hyper-inflation, thanks in part to international economic pressure. Erik reported that prices were increasing hourly. A cup of coffee that cost 10,000 dinars when you bought it might cost 20,000 for the next customer. Yugoslavia had not fenced off its currency the way other Eastern Bloc nations had, so it was vulnerable. There were also shortages, just as in the Soviet Union...just as in Venezuela today. It's yet another example of the Western imperialist "make the economy scream" strategy to turn people against their governments and let Western energy companies buy land on the cheap.
During the Bosnian War, I had elaborate fantasies of staging a peace walk from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo, but I never got my shit together sufficiently that time either. I still haven't been any closer than Venice.
On the Southwest Freeway yesterday afternoon, I got behind an 18-wheeler from (IIRC) UFC Trucking. In the top-left corner of the back panel of the trailer was some Cyrillic text*:
Some trucker is driving on US and Interstate highways with a truck that wears the message, "Kosovo is Serbian." It's still kinda haunting me. Was this something the trucking company painted on the trailer, or was it the individual driver? Does the driver even know? Do their other trailers also bear that message?
In the late '90s, just after Bill Clinton was impeached for lying to Congress about where his pecker had been, the US & NATO killed a lot of Serbs (and bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade—oops) to make the point that Kosovo is Kosovar-Albanian & independent or at least autonomous. Twenty years later, Serbia's national soccer teams can't be matched safely against Albania or Kosovo in international tournaments because there's still so much bad blood.
Throughout the painful breakup of Yugoslavia, we kept hearing from the media that the Serbs were the bad guys. We would never be allowed to forget what ethnic Serbs did in Croatian & Bosnian cities: Dubrovnik, Sarajevo, Mostar, & of course Srebrenica. Occasionally the media would let it slip that there was brutality from all sides—but...Miloševic is worse! Occasionally, but not often, they would try to square their depictions of Bosnian & Kosovar Muslims as Good Muslims worthy of US protection with their constant stereotyping of Muslims as terrorists.
This illustrates why it's healthy to be skeptical about what the corporate-establishment media are telling us. The news outlets can't keep their narrative coherent & consistent—or refuse to do so. Their analysis leads to the conclusions most convenient for the corporate establishment at a particular moment.
1980s: Saddam Hussein is a US ally against Iran, so the US is selling him a shit-ton of weapons.
1990s: Saddam Hussein is no longer useful now that the Iran-Iraq War is over, so now he's a Bad Muslim & a dictator who needs to be punished (but left in power so we have an enemy who can keep US arms sales strong).
2000s: Saddam Hussein won't let weapons inspectors in, he probably helped al Qaeda do 9/11, & ooh, look! aerial photos of what can only be WMD trailers! so he needs to die.
Hong Kong protests against Big Bad Communist China get big-time TV coverage.
Ongoing anti-government protests in France, Brazil, and other countries get very little if any. Pro-government rallies in Venezuela, same.
The media can't tell you everything that's going on. There aren't enough hours in the day to cover it all. So they filter the news. It's so much easier when their sponsors tell them how & what to filter.
* The South Slavic modification of the Cyrillic alphabet includes a "J" and some remnants of the Slavonic alphabet not found in Russian or Bulgarian. It lacks the palatalized vowels, such as я and ю, that make Russian a real party language.
The preferred Serbian way to write "Serbia" is Србија (Srbiya). The preferred Albanian way to write "Kosovo" is Kosova or Kosovë (with the accent on the second syllable).
The situation of the world is dire, but we still need a chuckle now and then to keep us from (insert preferred method of suicide here). Fortunately, the Democratic pre-primary reality TV series is providing us with a few laughs amid all the WTF and SMH moments.
With permission from the author, I present this bit of Seuss-esque anapestic fun that Trudy Hess wrote for the Movement for a People's Party. Trudy and I both contribute to Caitlin Johnstone's Patreon and frequent the secret Facebook group for Caity's patrons.
Regarding the text, I have just one quibble worth raising: The Democratic Party doesn't always nominate the world's biggest chump, even for president. Maybe substitute "As always..." in that verse with "Like last time...."
As of this week, we can add to Bernie Sanders's bullet-point agenda his own variation of the Green New Deal. If he wins the nomination, we can hope that he will implement it without too much pushback from the two corporate parties; if the Dems nominate someone who doesn't advocate the GND, we can kiss our future as a species toodle-oo.
Because I have become more sensitive to accessibility in recent years, I have transcribed the entire poem in the Alt text.
I would like to dedicate this entry to the late David Koch, capitalist royalty from my wife's hometown of Wichita, the Libertarian Party's 1980 nominee for vice president, and funder of multiple conservative-to-libertarian think tanks that churn out reams of climate-denier propaganda. The news of his death—from natural causes, not by guillotine—certainly doesn't sadden me, but I'm not exactly celebrating. His dying will not bring an end to the international neoliberal nightmare in which he and brother Charles have played a starring role.
A glance at Koch's wiki entry reminds us that, odious as he may have been on far too many issues, he continued to hold some libertarian positions that even Greens could appreciate.
Will the circumstances of the disbursement of his billions will be announced? Stay tuned.
Last night I was one of dozens of Angry Tweeters after seeing the news about the Democratic National Committee's resolution to conduct a presidential debate dedicated to climate disruption. Here is my bit from last week concerning this matter. The Resolutions Committee voted 17-8 against the measure. I am less angry this morning, as the full picture emerges, but still ready & rarin' to rag on the chicken-shit Democratic leadership.
The Sunrise Movement reports that the resolution may still face a vote of the entire DNC, where it has a chance of passing. Sunrise remains cautiously optimistic, given that the Resolutions Committee did pass an amendment to the resolution which would allow two or more candidates to appear together in events that the DNC does not directly sanction—e.g., outside of the televised debates. The amendment was then voted down along with the resolution itself, so nothing has changed on that front.
As Sunrise's statement implies, the optimism stems from seeing people-power in action, from Sunrisers themselves exerting real and sustained pressure on policy-makers. You and I may believe that the Sunrisers are barking up a hearing-impaired tree, but I love that these teens and 20-somethings are learning first hand where the ropes are and how to pull them. So I remain optimistic about their dedication to this issue and, by extension, to every issue connected to it.
The National Meeting Committee of the Green Party of the United States has selected Detroit MI as the venue for the next Green Presidential Nomination Convention, to be held 9-12 July 2020.
Or has it? So says Green Party Watch, anyway. Ballot Access News has a very short item, completely lacking in links.
For what it's worth, there's more detail on Wikipedia. The wiki also notes that this choice marks a return to Detroit after the Annual National Meeting there in 2010.
The decision was announced on the GPUS Facebook group page earlier this week. As of today, I can't find anything about it on gp.org, but the website crew may be waiting for more details to fall into place. There is also plenty of Election 2019 to discuss, and this year's ANM just ended a month ago.
They're all here, sort of.
The list of candidates includes
It does not include Green Party of Texas co-chair Janis Richards—at least not yet. Richards filed to run for mayor on the deadline day, Monday 19 August, and ran into some snarls regarding the address on her voter registration. Her voting address was changed to one inside the city limits officially on Monday, but she did not receive the card until yesterday. Her candidacy is thus in limbo, pending an appeal.
It's not as if Richards has never lived in Houston and only just moved into the city in time to run for mayor this year. I'm not at liberty to discuss all the circumstances here, but she has lived inside the city in recent years, in addition to some rental arrangements in Pearland and unincorporated Harris County. If her application gets an OK from the City of Houston, we'll have full coverage of her platform, etc., right here.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.