Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Since 1926, He Has Seldom Taken A Day Off

From the Tampa Bay Times:

His alarm beeps at 3:30 a.m., drowning out the talk radio that keeps him company all night. He rolls over slowly and prays:

"Please, Lord, give me the strength to get up."

It takes a half-hour, sometimes longer, but eventually he hobbles to the kitchen to make tea. And three days a week, no matter how the old man feels, he steps into the cotton pants with the torn right knee and pulls on the white shirt with "Bama Sea Products" stitched above his pacemaker.

Then he wraps a paper towel around a piece of fried chicken, packs it into his Coleman cooler, and leaves his house. By now it is 5:45 a.m. The two-block walk to the bus takes him 20 minutes, his tiny steps scraping the sidewalk.

Four hours after he wakes, he arrives at work.

"Morning, Mr. Newton!" a moustached man calls.

"Hello, Cap'n!" he says, raising his hand. "Beautiful day."

To him, every day is. Newton Murray — everyone calls him Mr. Newton — is 99 years old, making him the oldest employee of Bama seafood and probably among the oldest anywhere. But he has no thoughts of retirement. After he puts away his cooler, he will set to work tidying up Bama's vast parking lots.

If you saw him there, you might think he was just holding up a broom. But it's really the other way around.

• • •

Bama Sea Products used to be in downtown St. Petersburg. But in 2000, owner John Stephens sold the waterfront property and bought the former Harry H. Bell & Sons cold storage on 28th Street between I-275 and the tracks.

Stephens acquired two warehouses with a walk-in freezer, offices and a retail shop — 90,000 square feet of enclosed space — plus parking lots and loading docks.

Total area to sweep: two city blocks.

The Bama seafood people were moving in when an old man showed up. He had a dark, wrinkled face, milky eyes, spindly arms.

"I am here for work," he told general manager John Jackson.

"They sold the building," Jackson remembers telling him. "This is no longer Harry Bell's."

"No matter, Cap'n," Jackson remembers him saying. "I come with the property."

Jackson let him stay. "What was I going to do?" The next day, the old man brought his own broom.

Mr. Newton, then 86, had been working as a janitor at the complex for more than 20 years, ever since he moved here from Trinidad. His salary then and now: minimum wage.

"Bama became my new family," he says. "I am blessed."

"He's just an amazing, quiet, old man with an unbelievable attitude," says Bob Joseph, who does Bama's purchasing.

"He cares about everyone around him but doesn't really share much of himself," says Brian Jackson, his supervisor.

What does maintenance man Karl Holycross see when he looks at Mr. Newton? Job security.

"If they don't let him go, I have nothing to worry about."

"He's here more for morale than productivity," says Michael Stephens, Bama's lawyer and son of the owner. "In some ways, he's a liability. Everyone worries he's going to tumble down the stairs.

"But he just makes you smile, makes you realize you have nothing to complain about. I know he must be hurting, but he's always in a good mood."

Besides, the lawyer says, no one has the heart to fire a 99-year-old man who never arrives late or leaves early, who never says no or asks for a raise.

"A couple of years ago, his supervisor came to my dad and said he was really worried about Mr. Newton. My dad agreed: We have to let him go so he doesn't get hurt. 'Okay,' said the supervisor. 'When are you going to tell him?' But my dad couldn't tell him. So it stopped there."

It takes Mr. Newton eight hours to clear both parking lots and the warehouse, if you include bathroom breaks and naps.

"We could probably get a young guy with a leaf blower to do his job in an hour," says the lawyer. "But this place just wouldn't be the same without Mr. Newton."

• • •

His home base at Bama is next to the rear loading dock. On his way there, he stops to rest every 25 steps or so. He has outlived one pacemaker and has had the second for six years.

He says he keeps going because the people at Bama depend on him. "I cannot let them down. They need me."

Just before 8 a.m., he reaches the stairs: seven of them, narrow and steep. Mr. Newton shifts his cooler to his back, grabs the railing with both hands and heaves himself up, pulling and panting, pausing after each step.

A forklift operator calls, "Morning, Mr. Newton!"

"Morning, Cap'n!"

He approaches the boiler room, steps inside. "High Voltage," says a sign on the door. He limps past walls filled with fan belts, bins of screws, broken motors. Behind the throbbing boiler, the door to the storage closet says, "Keep Out." Inside: a small refrigerator, two swivel chairs and a filing cabinet.

Mr. Newton's "office."

He takes the chicken out of his cooler, wraps it in another paper towel, eases it into the fridge. He pulls his bifocals from his shirt pocket, folds them into two paper towels. His gold Walmart watch gets three towels. His slim wallet merits four — each treasure wrapped according to its worth, each with its own space in the filing cabinet's bottom drawer.

He unbuttons his shirt, smooths it across a metal hanger, hangs it on the back wall; replaces his pants with coveralls, the same he has worn for 13 years. He's the only employee at Bama who still wears a uniform. In all that time, Stephens says, Mr. Newton has asked for only one thing: a new ball cap. But he won't wear it to work. "Only when I get dressed up."

At 8:30, he straps a too-big weight belt around his fragile waist, steps into white rubber boots and shoulders his worn broom. His supervisor bought him a new one months ago, but he won't use it until he wears out the old one.

• • •

He was the third of 11 children, the oldest boy, born on the island of Tobago in April 1914, a couple of months before World War I erupted. His father suffered a hernia and couldn't work; his mother sold coconuts and melons from their garden. In their cramped house at the edge of town, Newton and his siblings slept on the dirt floor.

When he was 8, he went "down the hill" to visit his grandmother and never returned home. She raised him, taught him to cook and clean. Together, they watched the first car cross the island, the first electric lights pierce the darkness. He lived through World War II and English rule, island independence and the first election.

"Queen Elizabeth is still my boss lady," he says.

Newton was in seventh grade when he dropped out of school to work as a yard boy. Since 1926, he has seldom taken a day off.

"Papa has always been a workaholic," says his stepdaughter, Daphne Brown. He moved to Trinidad as a young man, to work for Texaco. After a day in the oil fields, he would "come home and take care of cows, goats, pigs, this huge garden. And he was a minister. On Sundays, he would lead 60 people at the Baptist church and get everyone on fire.

"The day he stops working," she says, "will be the day he dies."

Mr. Newton married Daphne's mother, Mimie, in 1956, when Daphne and her sister, Verina, were teenagers. Verina moved to Miami in 1971, and five years later persuaded her mom and stepdad to come. When Mr. Newton relocated to Florida, he was 63 — just retired from Texaco after 40 years. He and his wife brought twin boys, age 12, whose mother asked them to give her sons a chance in America.

"He's always been such a loving, generous man," says Daphne, 74, who lives in Washington, D.C.

"Stubborn, bull-headed, has to have his own way," says Verina, 75, who lives down the street from her stepdad. "He just won't slow down."

Mr. Newton could have lived on his Texaco retirement, but as soon as he landed in St. Petersburg, he started looking for work. Someone introduced him to the folks at Harry Bell, where he worked until Bama bought the building and inherited its custodian.

In 1976 he bought a three-bedroom, $15,600 home, took out a $500 monthly mortgage, and paid off the loan in 28 years.

"I wish my wife could have seen that," he says. "She was a good cook, a good mother, a good seamstress. She died in 1985 and I never looked for another. Oh, she was a darling of a lady."

For years, he walked the 2.5 miles to work. It took almost two hours. He would leave before first light, get home in the dark. Later, he bought a bike, then a used Plymouth. One of the twins — he doesn't remember which — crashed the car into a wall in 1986. Since then, Mr. Newton has taken the bus.

The monthly senior pass costs $35 — almost five hours worth of sweeping. "I am lucky," he says. "God bless America!"

• • •

Just after 9 a.m., he starts clearing the back lot, a daunting expanse of asphalt about three football fields wide. Mr. Newton's broom is one foot across.

He takes small swipes, brushing straw wrappers and cigarette butts into neat piles the size of dinner plates. A Milky Way wrapper, a Sun Chips bag, a yellow lighter. Near the walkway, a mound of shrimp shells, a McDonald's cup.

Mr. Newton smiles and shakes his head. "It is okay. It keeps me working."

He bends to scoop soggy leaves from a drain. Lopes after a blue hair net, blowing like a tumbleweed. For a half-hour, in the morning sun, Mr. Newton listens to the scritch-scratch of his broom, his soundtrack for more than 30 years. Step, step, sweep. Step, step, sweep. Rest a minute, leaning on his broom like a cane. Step, step, sweep . . .

"I am slowing down," he says. He means in general, not just today. "My breath is short. I am getting tired." He has been forgetting things: whether he ate dinner or picked up his paycheck. In an hour, he clears only four parking spaces.

Then he heads inside, out of the heat, to take a break.

"How you feeling, Mr. Newton?" asks marketing director Dottie Guy.

"Never been better," he smiles. "And you?"

He builds his days on routine, every move an echo. Lunch is always at noon and the menu never changes: Wonder bread cradling a piece of fried chicken. A $15 bucket from Walmart lasts him 10 days.

Sometimes he eats in his "office," on the swivel stool by the fridge. Other times he holes up in a closet by the front loading dock. He always eats by himself. Often he falls asleep. "A few times we couldn't find him, and when we did, we worried he was dead," lawyer Stephens says.

"They let me rest here. And I know they will always come looking for me," says Mr. Newton. "I know here I am never alone."

• • •

His youngest sister, who lives in Connecticut, mails him cartons of frozen soup. She wants him to come live with her. His stepdaughters have offered to take him in. He has 17 grandchildren, he lost track of how many greats, plenty of family who would care for him.

But Mr. Newton is determined never to lean on anyone. He treasures his work, his independence. "I don't know God's plan," he says. "I keep asking, and he keeps me going."

"He's just trying to do the best he can until God takes the breath out of his body," stepdaughter Verina says. "And when he falls on his face and calls me, I come prop him up and he keeps on going."

Tuesdays Mr. Newton does laundry and rakes his yard. Thursdays he cooks a week's worth of suppers, mostly rice and beans. Neighbors drive him to Walmart to pick up prescriptions on Saturdays. A woman from church drives him to Unity of St. Petersburg every Sunday. "He brings Mother's Day cards, Father's Day cards, he's always in the same seat in the middle section," says the Rev. Fred Clare. "He's just a loving, sweet soul who touches people — a great example of how to live."

And three days a week, shivering in the winter and sweating in the summer, Mr. Newton clocks in at work, earning around $10,000 a year. Every two years, he saves $600 toward a ticket back to Trinidad; Bama gives him a $200 bonus to cover the rest. He never eats seafood at home — "Never anything so fancy, just by myself" — but he spends a week's wages on shrimp and mahi to bring to his relatives.

"It is nice there," says Mr. Newton. "For my 100th birthday, I will go back. But not for good. How could I? My job is here."

In all his years of working — more than 84 — no one has ever asked him if he likes his job. "Life can't always be easy, but you do your best and be grateful," he says.

It's not much, earning minimum wage to move dirt around a parking lot. But for now, Mr. Newton has a purpose, something to do. He matters.

People tell him he inspires them. If he misses a day for a doctor's appointment, his co-workers worry. When he's gone, he will leave a hole.

The meaning of life? "Only God knows," says Mr. Newton. But with his beaten broom, sweeping a sprawling seafood warehouse, he seems to have found the secret to not dying.

• • •

The parking lots are clean, the dustpan has been dumped. Mr. Newton inspects his work, then starts an exact reversal of the morning's routine: Unstrap the worn weight belt, climb out of coveralls, into the torn cotton pants. Button on the shirt with the company logo.

Slide out the bottom drawer of the file cabinet, unwrap wallet, glasses, and gold Walmart watch, pack them all in pockets.

Finally, he fishes out what's left of his lunch: half a drumstick. He rewraps it in another paper towel, shoulders the cooler, and turns out the closet light. "Night, Mr. Newton," calls the maintenance man.

"Night, Cap'n," he says. "See you Wednesday."

At 3:30, he hauls himself up a long flight of stairs to Bama's main office and fills out his timecard. Nobody requires him to do this, or cares if he doesn't. Then he eases himself back down the 30 steps and pads across the parking lot. At the bus stop, he stands beside a light pole, hiding from the sun in its 6-inch sliver of shade.

When his bus finally arrives, other riders greet him by name. "Hey, Mr. Newton!" calls a 40-something woman, a 20-something guy. "Hey, beautiful!" he calls. "Hey Cap'n!"

An hour later, he is back in his yard, where the watermelon vines twine around his fence and the mango trees droop with fruit. Through his bedroom window, talk radio is still blaring.

"I could not stay here all day, alone in this house. What would I do? Watch Judge Joe Brown?" he asks, fingering his keys.

He unlocks the gate, then the door. Sinks into a chair draped with a bed sheet. He's too tired to make tea. Looking up, he can see framed portraits of Jesus, the twin boys he raised, his wife.

Across from him, on a faded poster in the hall, is a list she wrote almost 30 years ago. She made it for the boys, but Mr. Newton still follows it religiously.

Things to do today:

1. Read Bible and talk to God.

2. Be considerate of everyone.

3. Show my family I love them.

4. Do my best in all my work.

Now, I too have a bit of housekeeping to accomplish: 

It wasn't my intention to leave a post regarding tree-perching goats up, front and center, for three or four weeks (or however long it has been since I last posted here). I've an excuse, however: Summertime. 

Unlike the lyrics sung by Ella, there's nothing easy about livin' in the summer, especially when one resides in the Pacific Northwest. There are household chores to tackle, trails to hike, rivers to swim and even a mountain just up the road on which to ski. 

Many who haven't spent much time here assume it rains on a near-constant basis. That's a fallacy. It isn't so much the rain, it is the fact that it'll remain cloudy and drizzly, or cloudy with showers rolling thru, for months on end. It doesn't add up to a lot of rain (I think it actually rains more in an average year in New York City than Seattle) but it does add up to a hell of a long stretch of grey, heavy skies while one wistfully looks forward to finally spotting the Sun in July, August and September and October. And, for what it's worth, if you've never been to Oregon or Washington or British Columbia and you want to visit, come in September. The weather is always (well, almost always) fantastic with 75 - 80 degree days and crisp, cool nights. And, the kids are back in school (whoever originally planned to have kids in this part of the world attend school in September and October was a sicko) so you don't have near the crowds or expense of a 'summertime' vacation. It's a great time to see the Oregon Coast, the San Juan islands in Washington and Vancouver Island in B.C. Just remember, as the old bumper sticker said: "Welcome to Oregon. Now Go Home". 

So, when summer finally arrives out here time not spent working tends to be time spent outside, away from the computer and news of the day. And for me that means a lot less time spent attempting to write. Oh, I know that is a depressing thought for you, but don't get teary-eyed on me here. In the immortal words of Bill Clinton, 'I feel your pain'. So cheer up - soon enough storms will be blowing in off the Pacific and others will sink down from the Gulf of Alaska and the heavy, wet darkness will envelop us here by 6PM and I'll have more time on hands to keep up with the news and learn more about the jewish assault on humanity. 

And that'll be my turn to cry.

Until then, I'll be on the Sunny Side of the Street...

Sunday, July 7, 2013


So, I saw a photo of these Famous Goats of Morocco and just had to post about them here.

See for yourself:

This guy never loses in games of tag

I'm a Nut for Nuts!

So why do these Moroccan goats appear to clown around, and hang around trees? I haven't the slightest idea, so I'll leave it to this guy to explain:

Here’s what I learned: The goats are found in Morocco and they climb these argan trees each spring and summer to eat the leaves. How does a goat climb a tree? Well, like you or I would – via the low-hanging limbs. And evidently they have enough balance to tight-rope walk branches out to the tasty leaves and nuts. When a goat loses its balance – and it will – it falls out of the tree like a 100-pound acorn and lands with a thud. No biggie.
But here’s where things get weirder than a bunch of tree-climbing goats: The goats eat the nuts from the trees, but the farmers in the area want to harvest those nuts for oil. If the goats get to a tree before they do, the farmers collect the nuts the goats drop and they also pick through the goat’s manure to find the kernels of the nuts, from which they then extract oil. The oil is used for food. It’s so precious that people carry vials of it around their necks to pour into their couscous, according to The Dallas Morning News.
And now here’s where things get even more surprising than eating oil from nuts digested by tree-climbing goats: That oil is not only tasty, it also has anti-aging qualities. So, people don’t just want to eat it, they want to slather it on their faces to prevent wrinkles. In 2005, Prince Albert of Monaco, UNESCO, several chefs and “an army of grandes dames excited by the oil’s reputed anti-aging qualities” formed an alliance to create a global market for the oil, according to NYT. Why? Well naturally it has to do with the tree-climbing goats.
Apparently the goats were overgrazing the argan tree, and the tree was slowly going extinct. To protect the tree and its precious oil (which is so vital to the people who live in the area), the alliance hoped to make the oil popular to the greater culinary and cosmetic world. That would push the locals to protect the tree and come up with ways to harvest its nuts for a larger market. As part of this initiative, the alliance made some trees off limits to goats from May to August. That’s what I said – no tree-climbing goats from May to August.

They somewhat remind me of the mountain goats of Western North America in that they must have fine balance and footwork, like these Canucks:

There are three (that I saw anyway) in this pic

I recall seeing these Alberta Mountain Goats when I was about 8 years old. I still remember my astonishment as they walked along and climbed up and down cliffs that looked completely sheer to me. Oh, and there are 4 that I see in this pic, by the way

I don't know what this poor fellow is up to, but I'll bet he found sound footing and made it look easy

I can't think of a better song to close with than Val Doonican's Paddy McGinty's Goat:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Positive Control

Positive Control

When something is very dangerous, like nuclear weapons, standard forms of protection and control aren't sufficient.
Something that potentially dangerous needs something more aggressive.
In the military, that's called positive control.  
Positive control is an active form of control where the dangerous item is under 24x7x365 monitoring, checking, patrolling, testing, etc.
In this type of system, no information = danger.   Alarm bells sound when the feeds and system checks monitoring the item go dark.  
This is the opposite of the type of security and law enforcement we're used to in our daily lives.  These systems are best described as negative control systems.  
Negative control systems are focused on detecting exceptions.  A crime.  Good behavior is expected.  As a result, this system only takes action when a failure occurs.  
Positive security and People
Positive security can apply to people too, if they are dangerous enough.  
NOTE:  When I was the Internet guru at Forrester Research over decade ao, we had an analyst day that discussed dangerous knowledge.  The conclusion?  Someday, technology and the knowledge of how to use it will become so dangerous that education would become a controlled substance.  Granted, I influenced that conclusion, since I had experience working with people in the past who were under "positive" control.  Most were in black programs, but one was a physics instructor who designed nuclear weapons (shaped charges, x-ray, etc.) as a profession. 
We've even designed corporate environments where every movement is being tracked (keystrokes and other forms of Taylorism) to determine whether people are doing the busy work they were tasked with.
However, those situations are only possible because they are limited in scope.
We've always assumed, despite the fears stoked by fiction like "1984", that positive control wasn't likely more nightmare than reality.
So far, the attempts to apply positive control to complete societies in the past have fallen far short, even with an aggressive application of technology. Bureaucratic forms of dictitorial governance like communism and fascism never reached the level of active surveillance required for true positive control.  Further, the process of attempting it undermined their ability to deliver robust growth over the long term.
How quickly things change.  We're now actively moving towards a society, and a world, founded on positive control.
Why?  Paranoia over terrorism, a massive national security infrastructure, and new technology has made it not only possible, but probable.  
So, let me lay it out in simple terms.  
Here's a framework that will allow you to put the stuff you read in the news into context.  
From hat bans to NSA leaks about surveillance programs.  
Problem:  Everybody on the planet IS a potential terrorist.
 Solution:  Put everybody on the planet under positive control.  
Positive control means the continuous monitoring.  
  • Location  GPS phone. Implied by utility use (smart grid).  Car GPS.  CCTV.  Facial recognition everywhere.  Social media data.
  • Network  Phone.  Social media connections.  Proximity.  Network analysis.  
  • Behavior  Economic activity.  Utility use.  Content use.  Usage monitoring.
In the case of positive control, any lack of activity or lapse in data flow is considered a dangerous act.  
Try to hide = something to hide.   
Any blocking of monitoring will be made illegal and a major crime.
Multiple systems with overlapping control will provide a complete cradle to grave blanket. 
There's no way to avoid this.  It's already here and nobody cares.  
From John Robb's blog, original HERE

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A 4th Of July Message To The Masses

I am sorry that it has come to this.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured "overprescribing epidemic," which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.

However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.

Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for

Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.

Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.

I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.

The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.

Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it

This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried

I am free.

I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.

Daniel Somers

RIP, Mr. Daniel Somers. 

On this 4th of July, America's Independence Day, we would do ourselves proud as Americans to share Daniel's suicide letter with as many folks as possible. We should refuse to allow our children to be turned into killers. We should guard against our children - all  children - being used and abused and tossed aside when their tour of duty comes to an end. The most expedient way to accomplish this is to not send them on a tour of duty in the first place. 

If the fact that the United States government, through the taxes you pay, rains death and destruction down on people you've never met, and manipulates people in foreign lands to become 'enemies' so there's a plethora of targets to aim at and bogeymen to fear... if those facts fail to agitate your conscience, suicide letters such as the one penned by Mr. Somers should. 

Mr. Somers had, what is advertised as, the greatest medical care in the world. America's military loves to trumpet the mechanized appendages it pays for and installs on boys who had the misfortune of needing money to pay for university, or had parents who bought into the Terrorism Myth as sold by this government. Despite the 'excellent' medical care, Mr. Somers clearly either was not treated properly or there was no treatment available for his mental and physical woes. Does any child deserve to follow in Mr. Somers' footsteps? 

I'm sure the spin will be that these are simply ravings of a madman. After all, he killed himself. But these words are Mr. Somer's testiment. The final word on his soul's journey in this lifetime. They are words every damn American citizen should read, and reflect upon between warming up the barbeque, cooling down the beer, and preparing the fireworks. 

If I may, consider using this holiday to share a bit of truth with a receptive soul. Your voice tomorrow may prevent another tragic death ten years down the road. 

I could be a soldier
Go out there and fight to save this land
Be a people's soldier
Paramilitary gun in hand
I won't be a soldier
I won't take no orders from no-one
Stuff their fucking armies
Killing isn't my idea of fun

They wanna waste my life
They wanna waste my time
They wanna waste my life
And they've stolen it away

I could be a hero
Live and die for their 'important' cause
A united nation
Or an independent state with laws
And rules and regulations
That merely cause disturbances and wars
That is what I've got now
All thanks to the freedom-seeking hordes

I'm not gonna be taken in
They said if I don't join I just can't win
I've heard that story many times before
And every time I threw it out the door

Still they come up to me
With a different name but same old face
I can see the connection
With another time and a different place
They ain't blonde-haired or blue-eyed
But they think that they're the master race
They're nothing but blind fascists
Brought up to hate and given lives to waste

Monday, July 1, 2013

Perp Pics

Please note this blog post was updated with 2 photos - one of Ms. Coba and one of Mr. DiLorenzo - on the second of July)

An anonymous commenter responding to this article  stated: 

'If you are from Oregon or Switzerland, does anyone have photos of those members of the boards of directors??? Photos now become very important. Every name that crops up should have a photo. Thanks'

That's a good idea. I'm certain the folks in the following photos are very proud of the big money they earn for their efforts to re-engineer nature. Therefore they deserve recognition whenever possible. So, without further ado, here are your candidates for Humanitarian of the Year:
Syngenta Chairman Michel Demare

Syngenta CEO Michael Mack

Syngenta Vice Chairman Jurg Witmer

Syngenta Board Member Vinita Bali

Syngenta Board Member Stefan Borgas

Syngenta Board Member Gunnar Brock

Syngenta Board Member Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Syngenta Board Member David Lawrence

Syngenta Board Member Eveline Saupper 

Syngenta Board Member jacques Vincent

Syngenta's Basil headquarters, with 'terrorists' climbing on building

Oregon Department of Agriculture's Director, Katy Soba, is owed a mugshot as well for this quote: "...this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state. Regardless of how one feels about biotechnology, there is no justification for committing these crimes and it is not the kind of behavior we expect to see in Oregon agriculture." Yeah, whatever. Except I can't find a photo of the woman, as strange as that sounds. Additionally it is somewhat difficult to find pics of the people who serve as board members for Oregonians for Food and 
Shelter - the last thing I want to do is misidentify anyone. 

Thanks to a comment left by anon below, your hungry blogger confused Katy's name. Katy COBA, not Soba (that's a bit embarrassing... no, not for her) and, according to the same comment "Oregonians for Food and Shelter is the pet project of attorney John DiLorenzo (also known as "DiLo")"

So, following are photos of each, then onto the proud folks of Monsanto:

Not to be dissin' Ms. Coba... but her education (a BA) is not as extensive as one usually sees in State Director positions. If anyone knows her maiden name, I'd appreciate it in a comment below

John DiLorenzo, Oregonians for Food and Shelter (and a sales tax as this republican has tried to con the people of Oregon into accepting a sales tax to go with our income and property taxes)

Now, let's take a look at those who sit on Monsanto's Board: 

Hugh Grant. 2010 Chief Exec of the year as named by Chief Executive Magazine (I kid you not). 

Pierre Courduroux, CFO

Tom Hartley, VP and Treasurer

Steven Mizell, token brother, VP Human Resources

Nicole Ringenberg, VP and Controller

Gerald Steiner, VP Sustainability and Corporate Affairs

Brett Begemann, President and Chief Commercial Officer

Dr. Robert Fraley, Exec. VP and Chief Technology Officer

Janet Holloway, Senior VP, Chief of Staff and Community Relations

Kerry Preete, Exec VP Global Strategy

David Snively, Exec VP, Secretary and General Counsel