Recent violence against the homeless in Albuquerque has generated two fine essays: August March’s “War on the Streets” in Alibi, V. 23, No. 32, Aug. 7-13, 2014, and Justin St. Germain’s “Goodbye Albuquerque, Land of Violence” in the New York Times, Aug. 2, 2014. Both paint unique, thoughtful reflections on the collective tragedies in our city. However, as is often the case, our fair burg in the desert is also a reflection of the larger picture. Not only in our country but worldwide.
One must live here longer than a few years to fully appreciate that Albuquerque is a company town or, in the words of local educator/grassroots organizer/Vietnam veteran and co-founder of Stop the War Machine Robert Anderson, “a colonial military outpost.” The fact is that New Mexico boasts three Air Force bases; each, among other tasks, is responsible for various components of the Pentagon’s drone warfare program—Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base is currently under scrutiny for knowingly dumping jet fuel into the city’s groundwater since the 1960s—and enough military contractor war profiteers to staff the first, second and panty strings of a National Football League team, as well as the cheerleader squads and flag corps and their sisters, cousins and aunts. Then there’s the national laboratories at Sandia and Los Alamos (a famous Nazi war criminal spa) and enough retired military Cold War criminals—triple-dipping on the teat of democracy, as consultants to the war profiteers—to fill Tingley Coliseum (11,571 seats). Military brass retirement is the gift that keeps on giving in New Mexico. Hallelujah!
The fact is that now both of New Mexico’s largest institutions of higher learning, University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College, are courting war profiteer profits with degree programs and research via senator-turned-military-industrial-complex lobbyist Martin Heinrich. (Heinrich did have the sense to extract his family from this deadly environment by moving them to Washington, DC.)
If that isn’t enough—especially as this past week was the anniversary of two of the greatest war crimes in the history of the descendants of chimpanzees on Planet Earth—the atomic bombings of Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945), resulting in over 250,000 civilian deaths—Albuquerque is also home to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, where the Pentagon’s revisionist history on the end of WWII is on display for the unsuspecting multitudes. Really, shouldn’t New Mexico change the state motto from Land of Enchantment to Enchanting Safe Haven for Semi-retired War Criminals?
WWII sounded the knell for the end of the republic in America and spawned the ascension of the Pentagon/Joint Chiefs of Staff empire, aided and abetted by their toadies on Wall Street, the White House, Congress (especially the party of Joe McCarthy and Richard M. Nixon) and what passes for “the media.” There is no better current illustration of this than Israel’s latest in their continuing series of genocides in occupied Palestine. The Pentagon’s military outpost in Israel is supplied with the most technologically advanced weaponry available. War crimes are justified by media propagandists under the guise of “journalism,” and the United States Senate passes unanimously SR 526, which supports Israel’s war crimes in Palestine. (In reality Gaza is the Pentagon’s Mediterranean weapons testing grounds). The POTUS—a fervent member of the cult of the cross who never misses an opportunity to end a public speech with: “God Bless America” (secret code for: “F*** Everyone Else”)—condemns the murders of innocent civilians, and with his next breath reauthorizes the Pentagon to resupply weaponry to its base in the Levant.
In a state with 50 percent child poverty that rates near the bottom in national rankings for job growth despite the war profiteer canard of economic prosperity—base and lab lobbyist Tom Udall just made a glossy, well-produced television reelection campaign ad touting this very fiction and his commitment to continuing it—where the state’s largest civilian population living in the city of Albuquerque remains under siege from a police department that behaves like an occupying army. Why should we expect our youth to have any respect for human life and not be sadistic murderers when that’s been the example set at the highest levels of our leadership?
I condemn all boxing—for adults or kids, for men or women. The goal of boxing is to knock out the opponent. Repeated blows to the head can damage the brain permanently even if the person is not knocked out! If anyone could have told Muhammad Ali as a strong, confident young boxer that he would later suffer for many years because of blows to his head—able only to move and speak slowly—how could he have believed it? A dear friend here, now dead, was punch drunk from boxing. He told me that he did not want his children to be boxers.
Years ago many women foolishly followed men into smoking deadly cigarettes to show their freedom. Today some women foolishly follow men into brutal boxing to show their freedom. Parents and teachers who seduce kids into becoming boxers are committing child abuse.
Sadly the main way young men can get cheers publicly for touching each other's bodies is by bruising, bloodying and injuring each other—not by strong hugs of deep affection and not by giving and receiving passionate sexual pleasure! Many parents would much rather their 21-year-old son damage his own brain and other men's brains as a boxer than for him to be in love and make love with men.
I treasure health. I treasure body fitness. I exercise 1 1/2 hours every morning at home. I walk many miles.
Yes to daily vigorous exercise and to hot sex and romance between men or between women!
The baby boomer generation has kicked the climate change can down the road our whole lives. Obama's EPA has proposed new rules seen as dramatic and welcome by environmentalists, draconian by science deniers and inadequate by climate scientists—even if they were to be implemented as is, without being watered down, as we know they will be. Meanwhile, in New Mexico, young people avoided the primary election in toto, but watched “Cosmos” to hear Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about climate change in numbers that tied viewership for “The Bachelorette,” which somehow qualifies as good news.
Young people today may ask of the children of the ’60s, former enemies of The Establishment, what Dietrich Bonhoeffer asked of his people: "We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds; we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretense; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use?"
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