This was the new Dallas Convention Center that opened in 1980 just in time for the New Right and its Moral Majority to “turn the country around.” (Image courtesy)
By Dan Bodine
It’s been 40 years this month since the floozy Republican Party formally married the Religious Right‘s church funding at the National Affairs Briefing in Dallas’ new Convention Center. And I mean “wed to the hip” our government is now! Try saying Billions for Church Bail-Outsreal softly, i.e.
Anyone doubting the consternation raised then from Ronald Reagan’s flagrantly breaching our long hallowed constitutional Church/State wall of separation by saying “I can endorse you,” can simply read a recent list of the 400 ministries who bellied up to the SBA bar recently — to take at least a million dollars each in the Coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program. Continue reading →
Seen are U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-New York)., and her accused “accoster,” “Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Florida) [Images credit]
By Dan Bodine
The toxic words U.S. Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) uttered to U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — AOC, as she is called — last week at the Capitol should be rolled up in a soiled tampon and forced down his throat! Criticism of such attacks, justly so, from this has been huge.
Note:This is another of my old Social Minimalism thru Radical Capitalism stories from an earlier website, which I’ve rewritten some to go with today’s Afghanistan story.
By Dan Bodine
New York Times’afghanbounty stories are all a spoof, I guess! According to this usually reliable oped news story, anyway. Major news sources haven’t run anything about it though. So… Cry me a damn river! I’m still guessing.
Ah, the perils of good journalism — Somebody with an ‘ax to grind’ always trying to setyour poor-ol’-ass up — to get at someone else! Continue reading →
Emergency Medical Services now in Temple TX are being provided by a local division of American Medical Response. This is one of their Temple EMS ambulances. (Facebook website.)
A Temple EMT checks out an emergency stretcher in the back of one of his department’s ambulances. (Photo Credit: Andrew Moore, KCEN-TV)
By Dan Bodine
Sometimes it’d difficult for a senior citizen to admit that … (ah, cough, cough)…he or she is getting old. But you mention modernization of the field of emergency medical services in the civilian population, however, and here’s one ol’ boy who’ll gladly raise his hand to say he’s witnessed incredible change! The ’60s and ’70s were on fire with it! Continue reading →
What happened this past week, with protests continuing now, with the street execution of George Floyd, an African American — by a white police officer suffocating him to death with his knee on his neck in Minneapolis — cringes me to the core. Execution before trial can be a white imperialist’s gravest sin!
And what is raging across the United States now with all the infernos of protests is wrong, yes.
But still I can’t help but agree with my ol’ El Paso blogging compadre, Jaime Abeytia, who Saturday wrote “No Justice, No Peace…”
Or one of my favorite religious professors’ blog:
“…There’s no other way to put it than that George Floyd was murdered. The fact that there are police who murder and get away with it show that the system we currently have to address crime prevention in this country is broken beyond repair.” — JAMES F. MCGRATH,Eight Minutes and Forty-Six Seconds
This public realization has been a long-g-g time coming, yes! Is there an easier answer to it? With the current administration in Washington D.C. and the millions who support it, I doubt we’ll find it anytime soon! So, go figure how this will play out!
Innocent property owners are losing their livelihoods; already stressed taxpayers now have, if not more non-insured damages at least more police-duty costs to pay!
And a minority of yáhoo opportunists are threatening to take over the streets to boot! Or at least it appears. And our white supremacist president just fans more fires with pompous threats!
I don’t know where all these anarchists are coming from — hell, maybe Putin’s sister sent ’em — but I know one thing: In a once-democratic country that’s been replaced by a big, divisive tit called neo-liberalism (that many of ‘ya still are on, on ‘ya hands and knees, suckin’ off of right now), this much inequality can’t stand! End of argument!
The Atlantic‘s already written how America’s Republican politics has already’s become a [must read] “failed state.” Now Europeans are looking at us and more-or-less asking, Gee, how did smart people lose their government like that? (See “…America is Really Screwed)
A corpocracy did it?
Well…Argued that for years with a social minimalism blog and few bit into it.
But now, it’s commonly identified asplutocracy?
Same thing! It’s only [the latter] is a more Northern, aristocratic-targeted word! To this ol’ Texas country boy, it is! (Hell, everybody knows what corpocracy is — the money-baggers all wear black hats!)
But would you believe — the kosher‘ed argument, yes — the Republicans did most of this?
Yep! Here’s how: By minimalizing labor unions! (Yeah, I gotta bone to pick with labor unions, too — one of excess — but not once have I ever demeaned their importance to our economy. Labor negotiations beginning well over a century and a half ago is what put “fair” in fairness!)
“So this is (that) story,” writes Kevin Drum, in November 2019’s Mother Jones magazine. “Spend three or four decades wiping out the power of labor unions, and then you can spend the next three or four decades turning the United States into a plutocracy with no one to effectively fight you about it.”
And where did President Ronald Reagan’s war on labor unions really start? Before he even got to the White House! And in Washington right-wing voters applauded as he continued to destroy union memberships with his own unique war brand.
The actual beginning (for me, personally) began in August of 1980 when Reagan was challenging incumbent Jimmy Carter’s reelection bid as President of the U.S.
It was during the height of the Sunbelt Movement, when millions were fleeing the Northeast. Leaving not just because of rising fuel prices but, remember, this was the decade in the wake of the Supreme Court’s integration order, too.
Escaping? Hard-core, many even wealthy conservatives no way wanted their kids in classrooms with blacks!
The Dallas moment then was a week-long New Right‘s National Affairs Briefing in a new convention center — when Reagan stepped to the podium and told a crowd of thousands of largely evangelical Southern Baptist ministers that “You can’t endorse me, but I can endorse you.”
The pandemonium that erupted upset me greatly. Underlying it, I sensed, was racial hatred and more divisiveness! It, too, was one of those moments you’ll remember forever!
As city editor of a nearby, small daily newspaper — and, too, needing a thesis topic to finish out an “M.A. Political Science” curriculum — I’d gotten permission to cover what was actually this Republican political rally of evangelicals.
It was that pivotal moment that joined religious and political campaigns in our nation’s history.
The New Right, mostly affluent, corporate businessmen, had enlisted the late Rev. Jerry Falwell of Virginia to build a coalition of evangelicals for the Republican nominee. And enlist by the millions (starting with the pastors, yes), is what he did — founding the Moral Majority.
Preachers at the rally I could see coming out of that considered themselves God’s new, front-line attack dogs — going to war against Carter and liberal Democrats on a host of moral issues — with abortion and all its sex-first trappings, of course, big-time!
And, of course, too, they went home and preached it from their pulpits.
But I’m still firmly convinced, even now, that those preachers were unaware they were being duped — e.g., not to be anti-abortion so much as to be pro-segregationists!
I made that convention the focal point of my thesis later. Falwell, it turned out (and I would only learn many years later), had a chip on his shoulder. Thus he lacked standing!
He told friends years later the Carter administration had revoked his tax exemption status he used for corporate mega donations. Teed him off, yes!
Wasn’t Carter, though. It was the previous administration — acting on Roe vs Wade, yes! Falwell had refused to integrate his classrooms at Liberty University! Was getting too much money from it!
Driving home to Cleburne at the end of the Dallas rally I cried some, yes. I knew (could feel) the anguish the country was in for! Civil Rights (…on a dime!) had been shoved aside for whiteimperialism; greed would replace common decency!
And the road to totalitarianism had just been opened! Novice political buffoons drunk on Shall We Gather at the River-whiskey had just stirred up a naive American electorate and was unleashing it on our Constitution!
Damn, y’all, what’s it going to take before some of you can call a human a human? Skins of yellow, brown, black, or white pigments all bleed humanity’s red! True?
There’s no safe-house for segregationists to hide in anymore, judiciously — not even in fiery, right-wing evangelism! Except, culturally, in certain white nationalists’ modus operandi — which there is still a wink-‘n-nod in many police activities!
So we decry all the accomplishments of racial solidarity for it, generally, in the past hundred years or so… in the old democracy, right? That’s your hunker-down reason for resenting it? The progress?
And throw it all out the window for a new system of government that screws all of us ol’ poor folks — as color-blinded as it will be, yes! That’s the story?
Well, African-Americans, I guess, are somewhat ahead of you, then! For having been kicked off the society bus (how many times?), personally, I feel, they’ve had it!
How many years they’ve taken it? Three hundred? Four?
Abducted from their homelands and brought over here to be slaves! Which the country fought a civil war over once to finally free them! But many ol’ soreheads never accepted!
And 160 or so years later, it’s still this: You ‘n your hold-out buddies, as police officers, can kill one of ’em— by simply pinning him to the ground, stepping on his neck ’til all life’s been squeezed out of him?!! Right? Or. as the good religion professor above says, for “Eight minutes and forty-six seconds”!?
In the name of Justice?!
Well…Let me tell ‘ya what they know already — that youdon’t know:
You’re hopeless! No redeeming value for equality, you’ve got!
You’re too far out there in your gotta-blame-Life-on-somebody, white imperialism instincts. to ever be able to welcome African-Americans into your thoughts as decenthuman beings.
It ain’t happening! Ever!
So…Ifthey are ever gonna live as free beings (on this planet), you can’t see there’s only one option for ’em!?
And a short time to do it:
“We love ‘ya, George!”
“… Gimme that torch!”
“…Yeah … Burn that M…..F….. down, Baby, ‘fore they kill us all!!!”
“If a guy can’t see his wife after being married to her for most of his life, there’s something wrong with this world! Huh?!”(Courtesy family photo)
By Dan Bodine
FORT WORTH, TX — All Bill Campbell (ret. USAF) of Fort Worth wanted to do was see his wife, Claudia Campbell, a Fort Worth nursing home resident. Idea seemed simple. But there was this coronavirus lockdown order. No visitors. No outside visiting.
Since Claudia had entered the home primarily for twice-weekly dialysis treatments about a decade ago, Bill’d spent a large amount of every day with her. Every day.
Bill & Claudia seen together earlier this year. (Family photo)
So when the coronavirus began sweeping through the United States a few months ago and the Texas government then ordered a lockout for visitors into (among many other establishments) all state nursing home facilities, it chafed him just a little. Yes.
How did he get around it? Without getting thrown in jail?
Ah, he knew exactly which outside window to look through! So he called Claudia and said, Hey, Honey, look for me! I’m on my way!
And he crossed the outside lawn greens, and stared at her through the window! And the two lovebirds were connected again.
Why all the excitement over this, no doubt he’d wondered?
After all, in early June, even if it’s through the window, they’ll be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary! Hopefully with children Angela, Robin, Greg, and Billy Jr.
And all 20 years of active duty in the Air Force, they’d spent together — including extended stays in Taiwan and Rantoul, IL.
After discharge, they’d returned to White Settlement in Fort Worth, and Bill went to work for General Dynamics for another 17 years. And then, he decided Ah, I still feel healthy, so he spent another decade or so in maintenance with FWISD.
And also, the two have been faithful Baptists all their lives — in marriage, particularly, exemplifying love and devotion to each other, and service to their children and community.
After 60 years together, how’s a little (virus) wall gonna stand in the way, huh?!
— 30 —
(Author’s note: I’ve a little fondness in writing this story — Bill has been a friend and a wonderful brother-in-law over the years.)
This story about immigration checks should be filed under “Let’s celebrate a citizen’s rightswin!” Pure and Simple now! If you’re in a vehicle and “The Law” wants to shake you down, they’d better have a PC (probable cause) to approach you or a warrant in their hands one! What they did was illegal!
But for how long — 70-80-more years? — all of us as American citizens have turned blind eyes to these onboard immigration checks!
Why? Does it take the proverbial Act of Congress to tell us as humans, we have inalienable rights — i.e., against unlawful searches? Or is exercising them too much trouble? Living itself is enough trouble! Why stir up more?
I witnessed some of these, yes. As an old beat-up journalist moonlighting as a small border town’s sole judge, I did. Routinely saw it! And sensed it was illegal. But said nothing.
Couple of years into this, as a passenger on this same bus line into and out of Presidio (not Greyhound) — going to Odessa to bring back a pickup, once — I underwent an immigration check myself.
“Are you an American citizen?”
I politely showed the agents my identifications.
But why didn’t I say something about this practice then? If I felt it was illegal?
Who, me?! Pawdnuh, I started this new life I’m in now escaping alcohol, divorce and bankruptcy — all by running off to Presidio TX, my status lower ‘n an ol’ drunk grubworm just wanting to get enough vittles to stay alive.
ME, stir up some dust?!! Uh, uh!
Greyhound, often written Greyhound Bus Lines — the nation’s largest bus lines — forever it seems has allowed federal immigration checks — e.g., customs inspectors in or near border cities to board carriers and check passengers’ identities. Looking for people in the country illegally, of course.
No more though! It’s against the law! It’s demeaning to many innocent citizens! And the bus line finally has caved to pressure from civil liberties groups.
The company announced Friday it was notifying the federal agencies such officers would no longer be able to board buses and do immigration checks without legitimate reason.
No ax to grind here concerning U.S. border patrolmen or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inspectors enforcing the laws of our country. Worked with them for almost 20 years in Presidio — and on the whole, they’re respectable, front-line defense personnel for us! Good people.
I’m just glad Grayhound finally bowed its neck and pointed out one old practice they don’t have a right to: You ain’t got a right to board our buses and hassle our innocent passengers without due process! It’s a civil rights violation under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.
Hallalujua enough people finally stood up! Constitutional rights are a lot like tax deductions — if not used, some unrestrained presidential administration eventually can take them away.
Resisting our current whack-a-mole political climate, and thus not naming any names. But yes, authoritarians rise in politics. Even in America.
If this isn’t a patch of one of those bad-ass, prickly pear cactuses that’ve claimed North Central Texas as mecca of its holy lands, then it’s a sure “kissin’ cousin.” A favorite abode of rattlesnakes, too! (Wiki Commons)
You know how it is when something shocking happens to you in your growing-up years, and the event(s) become seared in your mind? Forever! Decades later recently, reading something on the wonders of Big Bend prickly pear cacti instantly flashed me back to just such an event.
It began with two teenage boys outside of Cleburne, Tx, in early 1960 — who’d been hired by a rancher to clear prickly pear cacti from his pastures one Saturday.
And ended not only with the discovery of the biggest damn rattlesnake surely God ever created, but also the death of a prized cow to boot. Simply because the snake scared all senses out of the two boys! Continue reading →
Whooo! The Year 2019 has come and gone; 2020 is at hand!! And what better way to greet the Decade of the New ’20s than congratulate Mexican parents in Juarez for sending their children acrossstream, i. e. — the sovereignty of both its shores here slowly becoming part of one international city — to get educated in El Paso public schools! Huh?
Call them all new pioneers, say! And further anger Republicans locked into provincialism.
Ah, these twisting streams of human history along the Rio Grande! How an older but more visually populous one now is binding us to each other — in an emerging, new collective, muscular way of global dependency! In a binational borderplex region!
If you haven’t bitten into this new golden apple yet — lot of it dual citizenship, yes — pardon me for this sudden submersion. All that glitters still ain’t gold, no. But lend me your ear just a bit. And maybe I can find a soothing word or two about it as some kind of salve, anyway.
It’s a heated argument, yes. But through the ages this version’s hung in there with many variations! The one common thread, of course, is all of us go back to someone once who was a migrant!
Now, maybe out of a decades-long, collective “wanting something better” wish — amidst still prejudice, political gridlock, yes — has emerged a possible answer that with clarity we can all agree upon. We not only wish as a collective but we also act as a collective! Families themselves do!
Look at the photo above. I’ve borrowed this from Grecia Sanchez’ recent Borderzine story, a UTEP weekly student publication on border culture here. Her survey says about one in every six El Pasoan homeowners say they own homes in both Ciudad Juarez and El Paso.
That’s a grabber, no?! Have we successfully pushed the envelope on another kind of community investment? That’s binational in nature? Defining these citizens?
House vacancy listings in El Paso rise and fall with the incoming/outgoing tides of Mexican-American families — indeed, many of them with dual citizenships, yes — families either finding homes here for the current school year or vacating ones and returning to Juarez at the end of the current one. With plans to continue the cycle of enrolling children in ISDs the next fall term, yes.
And the trade-outs both ways in these yo-yo lifestyles — economic, culturally, etc. — is a beautiful thing, yes!
(El Paso has high ISD taxes, yes — but so do the rest of the state’s urban districts. So? Republicans in Austin, maybe? Still greedily chewing on those same singular exemplarism bones for community development?)
But, this aside, there are some religious fundamentalist people who have to hate, too! For some reason. And this issue — year after year — is a good flashpoint for them! (Yeah, I’m a desert gringo; I’ve heard a few! But never let these people coach football, I say!It’s too complex for ’em!)
I remember well the anger, i.e., I’d see a few times as a small-town judge in Presidio (downriver from here a couple of hundred miles or so) when some naive, anglo PISD taxpayer — usually it’d be — would see me on a downtown sidewalk somewhere; or in a cafe drinking coffee, perhaps; and simply “unload” his fellow-gringo anger on me.
“Damn it, I’ve seen ’em come across sometimes on a Monday morning, at the Port!” he’d say. “Don’t tell me they’re not doing it!
And I’d jokingly tell him, “Aw, they’ve been off on an R&R for the weekend visiting their grandparents! Or old friends! Calm down some. Trust me, for the most part, they are here, LIVING AMONGST US in the school district! They have to! It’s the LAW! [Plus, in Presidio, the only nightclubs for teens were across in OJ! Where else would they be coming from!?]
But let me add some more to round it out some. First, you know — as I most certainly know — free lunches are out the windows today! We’ve lived in an interdependent world for decades now! Scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours!
Look at trade issues, i.e. Any idea how many local jobs are dependent upon foreign shoppers– say, like in China, Turkey, Tibet…or, Mexico, especially Mexico — purchasing U.S.-made goods?
In varying degrees those people are helping to pay your taxes, bubba! And some of your other amenities that are in your paycheck, too. Which means, ultimately when we team-up with foreignuhs, we both win, right?
Cultural exchanges, i.e., has been part of collegiate life going back maybe a century or more, for generations of U.S. students. (Yeah, who knows yet, ultimately, what effect President Trump clamping down on migrants and Immigration quotas will be admittedly, but just call him a quirk in the liberal-ethos chain! ‘Til next election, at least!)
Migration between countries rises and falls — or it usually has — in the ways of economic or health security fallout throughout history, tied both to national economic concerns or health disasters — and, yes, too, when bad hombres take over a country’s financial engines and attempt to implant their own god-given version of imperialism.
Like rocks along the path, no?! Somehow we as a people — survive them. Those of us left. And closer and closer it’s driving us together, is the overall message, too! In the name of whatever color you want to call this post.
Lemme give ‘ya just two tiny, personal examples of how this new bi-nationalism is working in many neighborhoods across the nation now.
For maybe two months Noemi and I have been looking for an older, inexpensive pickup I can use around the house — e. g., carry off old dishwashers, cabinets, tree limbs I’m almost constantly cutting off some of our faster-growing trees, etc.
This week we finally closed on an on-line 2004 Ford F-150 that the entrepreneurial seller had purchased as a salvage vehicle, at an auto auction –a perfect fit for an ol’ retired judge with landscaping dreams floating in his head!
And the seller? Hee, hee! A high school kid! His father, Jimmy, a builder, mechanic, and heavy-duty equipment maestro, all in one, is in for the holidays. He and his son will be over tomorrow to repair a rear turning-signal lamp on the truck, as promised.
As an aside, I became familiar with these maestro families in Presidio — where a ton of them live when they’re not out working! In short, they literally are building America now — on construction projects in every state in the union probably! El Paso, of course, is loaded with them, too!
In the courthouse annex office back in Presidio often we’d get telephone calls from older, teenage kids in these families — from North Carolina, Florida, California, wherever; calls urged on by their parents, no doubt — advising me “I’ll pay that traffic ticket there with my next paycheck!”
“Ok, son! Thanks for calling. I’ll hold off on ‘ya then.”
The other incident I’d mentioned above concerns a younger worker, too, 10-15 years older, one from Juarez — in the U.S. here on a work visa.
He assisted the maestro who built our rock wall around the front of our home several weeks ago — who Noemi finagled into promising to return sometime to help with some inside tile work.
Well, his next construction project was in Colorado, in Denver. where he hopes to make enough money to buy him a new pickup. And he’s in for the holidays now. Sure enough, as promised, he’s over here now laying new tiles on both of our bathrooms.
“Man, it’s cold in Denver! he told me yesterday.
Hee, hee! These crooked, winding streams of humanity, we are. Which is how historians describe the building of the Western World!
My late grandmother, i.e., Clara Casey (her last last name), was born in the Arkansas Ozarks in the late 19th Century.
When I interviewed her for a small-town newspaper in the early ’70s, she remembered clearly her family migrating also — to Texas, it was, in a covered wagon!
She went through Indian Territory, she recalled — which is how Oklahoma was referred to before it became a state. “And we had a little spotted, black and white dog that often ran up ahead of us on the trail.” Her family eventually settled around Quanah, in the Panhandle area.
I don’t know if she’d qualify as a migrant, but her parents certainly were! Maybe she’d come in under an Early American Migrant listing.
And if you’re referring strictly to geography to draw your political lines, an atlas will show you Mexico is part of the great North American continent also, and thus the people there have a right to call themselves Americans. As with Canadians. This term is one depicted with a large umbrella, yes!
Too, the same with Central American countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama — No way, e.g., can I remember the number of times angrily I’ve been told: “We’re Americans, too, El Juez!”
And proud, energetic, and ambitious, also, I might add, they all are generally! No idea where the term lazy came from to describe these people coming in from our Southern people, but it’s definitely a myth, though!
Which is what most of us may be fighting. And it’s been elevated to the Nth level in this torrid, political climate we’re all in now.
But let us not forget Christ is the Reason for this Season — the Love and Hope in New Beginnings his arrival meant to the world. And be sure to smile at your neighbor tomorrow!