The real blog is over yonder

This is the emergency backup site for Revolution 21’s Blog for the People.

The active blog is over here.


It’s always the children who pay

Some things are just too awful to contemplate, which makes blogging them, uh . . . difficult. This story from right here in Omaha is one of those things.

There are no fitting words for this. No profound words of understanding, no reassuring words of a rational, divine plan in why a mother apparently dies in her sleep and her baby boy dies horribly of starvation and dehydration. Alone. In an apartment building presumably full of tenants.

The Omaha World-Herald has the story. All I have are questions. Read on, if you dare:

Mike Browning has been thinking about his 21-month-old nephew’s last days on earth — thirsty, hungry and forced to fend for himself as his mother lay dead on the couch with the TV on in their Omaha apartment.

“My mind, like anyone else’s, goes to the child,” he said. “His portion of the story is the tragedy, a humongous tragedy.”

The bodies of his sister, Janelle Browning, and her son, Ezekiel Berry, were found Monday at Drake Court Apartments, near 21st and Leavenworth Streets. The pair were discovered after friends alerted apartment managers that they hadn’t been seen in several weeks.

Mike Browning said he was told that his sisters’ closest neighbor wasn’t around very much, which he said may explain why no one noticed anything. Plus, the neighbors there just aren’t that close of a group, he said.

Browning said he’s taking comfort in believing his sister may have passed away in her sleep and the memories he has of their happier times together.

His sister had lived through some troubled years but was extremely proud of the work she’d done in getting her life back in order, he said.

Janelle Browning had been off methamphetamine for two years, Browning said, and police told him “her place was clean,” meaning no drugs were found.


Police have said they do not suspect foul play.

Firefighter paramedic Darren Garrean was one of the emergency officials who entered the apartment after the bodies were found.

The mother was lying on the couch and the TV was on, he said. The child was lying on the floor. Some of the lower cupboards were open and things were strewn all over, he said.

Authorities have said there were signs that Zeke had rummaged around the apartment for food.

“Seeing a child on the floor, dead like that, takes your breath away,” Garrean said. “It’s not something you expect to see.”

Dr. Laura Jana, an Omaha author and pediatrician, said typically the longest someone can survive is three days without water and three weeks without food. But the younger a person is, the shorter the survival time, she said.


Browning said he was told that when children die of dehydration, they just cry themselves to sleep and never wake up.

A LITTLE BOY, not yet two, cries and cries and cries. Cries until he falls into an eternal sleep. And no one heard that? No one wondered what was wrong?

No, “the neighbors there just aren’t that close of a group.”

That seems to be the problem with every facet of our modern, industrialized, Western society. We don’t know. We don’t care.

I’m guilty as hell of that. So are you. Alienation’s a bitch.

And a child has died a horrific death because of it.

Here it is . . . Four Songs

Alrighty then . . . here we go. Available right now, for your downloading and listening pleasure, is the newest program from the Revolution 21 new-media empire.

We call it Four Songs.

AND THAT’S what it is, too. Four songs.

Four Songs is centered on a theme specially picked by your host, the Mighty Favog, for whatever reason known only to himself. And to you, once you listen to this offering from Revolution 21 that’s just perfect to entertain you, amaze you and enlighten you during your daily commute, during lunch or whenever you have time for . . . four songs.

The inagural episode of Four Songs, I suppose you could call “When Terrible Things Lead to Good Music.” And we begin our musical journey in the early days of the Great Depression, an era of economic and societal tumult that gave us not only great art, but art that endures to this day . . . more than seven decades later.

THAT’S ALL I’m going to tell you here. Blabbing any more than this would be sooooo giving everything away.

Just go to the Revolution 21 program-download page and check Four Songs out for yourself.

C’mon, surely you have time for four songs.

But we’ll always have the Superdome

I have GOT to stop reading the gossip columns. Abstinence would be better for my blood pressure and my digestion.

For example, I never ought to have clicked on Courtney Hazlett’s “The Scoop” on MSNBC just now. Alas, I was suckered in by the headline highlighting Paula Abdul’s latest alleged histrionics in an airport terminal.

That was entertaining enough — and who the hell is Michael, Sidney and Leslie? — but, ultimately, all it did was lead me to the next item which, of course, had to do with la famille Spears.

HERE I WAS, listening to some very tasty Etta James on the stereo and still basking in the glow of LSU’s dismantling of The O-H I-O State University on the way to becoming college football’s undisputed national champs. Life was sweet, and I had slipped comfortably into my “God, I wish I was sitting on a front porch back home in Baton Rouge right now, playing ‘Hey, Fightin’ Tigers’ over and over and over” reverie side of the love-hate relationship I got going with my home state.

And then I open up the gossip column and get visions of double-wides — Louisiana double-wides — dancing in my head.

Thank you, Courtney Freakin’ Hazlett, and thank you to the enlightened citizenry of Kentwood, by God, La.:

Residents of Jamie Lynn Spears’ hometown of Kentwood, La., just don’t know what all the fuss is about when it comes to the current state of the youngest Spears’ uterus.

“No one can understand why the media is making such a big deal over Jamie’s pregnancy,” local Mandy Knight told OK! Magazine. “That’s normal for people around here … her pregnancy really isn’t so shocking.”

Tell that to the rest of America. Or Nickelodeon. Regardless, the town has rallied around their celebrity and celebrity baby-daddy, Casey Aldridge. “We’re all so proud of him for doing the right thing,” said Cheryl Rape, the town librarian at the Liberty Library in Liberty, Miss., to the mag. “We all do wish him well.”

ACTUALLY, “normal” historically has involved matrimony before pregnancy, and that even used to be more or less true in many Louisiana towns that aren’t Kentwood. That carnal knowledge of a juvenile and the resulting unwed motherhood is viewed as “normal” in Kentwood is only further proof of Favog’s Law — the Bud Light empties don’t fall far from the double-wide.

And while — like the unfortunately named Mississippi librarian (in what, I suspect, just might be one of the more-unused libraries in these United States) — I am gratified that the Redneck Romeo and Juliet chose to let their child be born, I don’t know that meets any sane threshold for being “proud” of the baby-daddy.

Oy. So many brain cells, so little Pabst Blue Ribbon to kill ’em dead, so’s I kin fergit.

But at least we’ll always have the Superdome, all us Louisiana expats will. That and the memory of one hell of a Tiger football team.

Ron Paul: Ididn’twriteitnobodysaw mewriteityoucan’tproveanything.

“The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do
not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never
uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.

“In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that
we should only be concerned with the content of a person’s character,
not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S.
House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and
high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of
individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’

“This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade.
It’s once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the
day of the New Hampshire primary.

“When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a
newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several
writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have
publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention
to what went out under my name.”

Ron Paul statement
on New Republic article

Leave it to a libertarian to take a laissez-faire approach to patently racist, nutball pamphleteering done in his name when it hits the national fan in the middle of a Republican presidential bid.

THAT’S RIGHT, free-marketeers and gold-standard campaigners, Ron Paul says he let his name be put on a newsletter and then, for years, had absolutely nothing to do with what was written therein.

He lent his name to a publication that supported David Duke in trying to create a Redneck Reich, said the Los Angeles riots of 1992 were quashed by African-Americans’ need to pick up welfare checks and opined that New York ought to be renamed “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” or “Lazyopolis.” In all that time, we are supposed to believe, he was ignorant of all that the author or authors were writing in his name.

Or, alternatively, that he did know some of what others wrote — wrote intending that true believers would think it all came straight from Paul’s pen — was distressed by it but, for reasons known only to himself, did nothing. That would seem to be taking laissez-faire much too far . . . even for a libertarian.

Paul says he takes “moral responsibility” for what he reputedly never wrote. Or edited. Or knew about.

Sorry, but a long face is no moral disinfectant. And a man who cares so little for his own good name that he cannot repudiate or stop crackpot, racist rants that trade upon it cannot be entrusted with the well-being of a nation.

Goodbye, Ron Paul. And good riddance.

About to give it up for Ron Paul? Don’t.

Rule No. 1: Never, ever vote for a libertarian.

Rule No. 2: Rule No. 1 goes double for libertarians from Texas.

JUST WHEN the American media was about to anoint a genuine American eccentric — that’s what polite folks call a bigoted nut — as the “straight-talking candidate” of the 2008 election cycle, a writer for The New Republic actually engages in some actual journalism and digs years back into the Ron Paul archives.

What not pretty:

If you are a critic of the Bush administration, chances are that, at some point over the past six months, Ron Paul has said something that appealed to you. Paul describes himself as a libertarian, but, since his presidential campaign took off earlier this year, the Republican congressman has attracted donations and plaudits from across the ideological spectrum. Antiwar conservatives, disaffected centrists, even young liberal activists have all flocked to Paul, hailing him as a throwback to an earlier age, when politicians were less mealy-mouthed and American government was more modest in its ambitions, both at home and abroad. In The New York Times Magazine, conservative writer Christopher Caldwell gushed that Paul is a “formidable stander on constitutional principle,” while The Nation praised “his full-throated rejection of the imperial project in Iraq.” Former TNR editor Andrew Sullivan endorsed Paul for the GOP nomination, and ABC’s Jack Tapper described the candidate as “the one true straight-talker in this race.” Even The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of the elite bankers whom Paul detests, recently advised other Republican presidential contenders not to “dismiss the passion he’s tapped.”


Finding the pre-1999 newsletters was no easy task, but I was able to track many of them down at the libraries of the University of Kansas and the Wisconsin Historical Society. Of course, with few bylines, it is difficult to know whether any particular article was written by Paul himself. Some of the earlier newsletters are signed by him, though the vast majority of the editions I saw contain no bylines at all. Complicating matters, many of the unbylined newsletters were written in the first person, implying that Paul was the author.

But, whoever actually wrote them, the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul’s name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him–and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing–but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.


The people surrounding the von Mises Institute–including Paul–may describe themselves as libertarians, but they are nothing like the urbane libertarians who staff the Cato Institute or the libertines at Reason magazine. Instead, they represent a strain of right-wing libertarianism that views the Civil War as a catastrophic turning point in American history–the moment when a tyrannical federal government established its supremacy over the states. As one prominent Washington libertarian told me, “There are too many libertarians in this country … who, because they are attracted to the great books of Mises, … find their way to the Mises Institute and then are told that a defense of the Confederacy is part of libertarian thought.”

Paul’s alliance with neo-Confederates helps explain the views his newsletters have long espoused on race. Take, for instance, a special issue of the Ron Paul Political Report, published in June 1992, dedicated to explaining the Los Angeles riots of that year. “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began,” read one typical passage. According to the newsletter, the looting was a natural byproduct of government indulging the black community with “‘civil rights,’ quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.” It also denounced “the media” for believing that “America’s number one need is an unlimited white checking account for underclass blacks.” To be fair, the newsletter did praise Asian merchants in Los Angeles, but only because they had the gumption to resist political correctness and fight back. Koreans were “the only people to act like real Americans,” it explained, “mainly because they have not yet been assimilated into our rotten liberal culture, which admonishes whites faced by raging blacks to lie back and think of England.”

This “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” was hardly the first time one of Paul’s publications had raised these topics. As early as December 1989, a section of his Investment Letter, titled “What To Expect for the 1990s,” predicted that “Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities” because “mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ‘haves.'” Two months later, a newsletter warned of “The Coming Race War,” and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, “If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.” In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, “Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.” “This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s,” the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter’s author–presumably Paul–wrote, “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.” That same year, a newsletter described the aftermath of a basketball game in which “blacks poured into the streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How else? They broke the windows of stores to loot.” The newsletter inveighed against liberals who “want to keep white America from taking action against black crime and welfare,” adding, “Jury verdicts, basketball games, and even music are enough to set off black rage, it seems.”

Such views on race also inflected the newsletters’ commentary on foreign affairs. South Africa’s transition to multiracial democracy was portrayed as a “destruction of civilization” that was “the most tragic [to] ever occur on that continent, at least below the Sahara”; and, in March 1994, a month before Nelson Mandela was elected president, one item warned of an impending “South African Holocaust.”

Martin Luther King Jr. earned special ire from Paul’s newsletters, which attacked the civil rights leader frequently, often to justify opposition to the federal holiday named after him. (“What an infamy Ronald Reagan approved it!” one newsletter complained in 1990. “We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.”) In the early 1990s, a newsletter attacked the “X-Rated Martin Luther King” as a “world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours,” “seduced underage girls and boys,” and “made a pass at” fellow civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy. One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” were better alternatives. The same year, King was described as “a comsymp, if not an actual party member, and the man who replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration.”

While bashing King, the newsletters had kind words for the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. In a passage titled “The Duke’s Victory,” a newsletter celebrated Duke’s 44 percent showing in the 1990 Louisiana Republican Senate primary. “Duke lost the election,” it said, “but he scared the blazes out of the Establishment.” In 1991, a newsletter asked, “Is David Duke’s new prominence, despite his losing the gubernatorial election, good for anti-big government forces?” The conclusion was that “our priority should be to take the anti-government, anti-tax, anti-crime, anti-welfare loafers, anti-race privilege, anti-foreign meddling message of Duke, and enclose it in a more consistent package of freedom.” Duke is now returning the favor, telling me that, while he will not formally endorse any candidate, he has made information about Ron Paul available on his website.

SO WHILE MANY OF US have delighted in Paul’s blistering attacks on the Bush Administration and its Dirty Little War, we need to take a step back and examine where that opposition is coming from. It’s not coming from a good place.

And not only do you not want to give hateful cranks your hard-earned money or your precious vote, you also don’t want to give anyone affiliated with the kind of hateful agitprop unearthed by The New Republic something just as important — credibility.

It’s bad enough that Paul and his hangers-on have been demonstrated to be race-baiters. But nooooooo. . . .

Just when you think it’s as bad as it can get — that a lot of Americans have devoted their time and treasure to putting the clinched fist of some pissed-off, antisocial, racist crank firmly on the nuclear launch button — out come the tinfoil hats:

The newsletters are chock-full of shopworn conspiracies, reflecting Paul’s obsession with the “industrial-banking-political elite” and promoting his distrust of a federally regulated monetary system utilizing paper bills. They contain frequent and bristling references to the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations–organizations that conspiracy theorists have long accused of seeking world domination. In 1978, a newsletter blamed David Rockefeller, the Trilateral Commission, and “fascist-oriented, international banking and business interests” for the Panama Canal Treaty, which it called “one of the saddest events in the history of the United States.” A 1988 newsletter cited a doctor who believed that AIDS was created in a World Health Organization laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. In addition, Ron Paul & Associates sold a video about Waco produced by “patriotic Indiana lawyer Linda Thompson”–as one of the newsletters called her–who maintained that Waco was a conspiracy to kill ATF agents who had previously worked for President Clinton as bodyguards. As with many of the more outlandish theories the newsletters cited over the years, the video received a qualified endorsement: “I can’t vouch for every single judgment by the narrator, but the film does show the depths of government perfidy, and the national police’s tricks and crimes,” the newsletter said, adding, “Send your check for $24.95 to our Houston office, or charge the tape to your credit card at 1-800-RON-PAUL.”

TRULY, THIS IS STUFF from the bowels of the darkest of America’s malaria-as-politics swamps. And when the mosquitos occasionally swarm out of the heart of darkness, all kinds of folk — and the institutions they make up — can get the fevers that wrack the body and cloud the mind.

I’ve seen it. Don’t go there.

HAT TIP: Boar’s Head Tavern.

That’s OK, kid. You had lots of company.