Samuel McKenney Claiborne public
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I waded into a discussion on abortion on Facebook and got slammed. I was called a ‘republican troll’ a misogynist, a Neanderthal, and worse. What was my sin? Was I promoting abortion’s abolition? Was I spouting pseudo-scientific apocrypha that women who are raped secrete a special chemical that prevents pregnancy? No, I was speaking honestly about …
 
Band Aids for Machine Gun Wounds There has been widespread outrage in response to a video showing US Marines urinating on the corpses of their dead Taliban adversaries. I’m not sure how much of the indignation is genuine and how much is pro-forma, but it’s all hypocrisy. Don’t misunderstand: I do not find the desecration of the dead to be a trivial…
 
This is what a police state looks like. I am mad as hell. The images of police brutalizing peaceful demonstrators with batons, concussion grenades, teargas, and pepper spray has engendered an all-consuming rage within me. I detest bullies. I detest brutality. I detest the complacency that most Americans seem to feel when someone with whom they disa…
 
The tenth anniversary of 9-11 passed, and again I mourned. I mourned the thousands killed in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington that day, but I mourned for much, much more. I mourned the thousands of American and allied troops who’ve paid with their lives, fighting not to make America more safe, certainly not more free, but to secure Western heg…
 
Recently I attended a very touching world-prayer service at a church in Woodstock. Representatives of all of the major faiths spoke and prayed. Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Native Americans prayed together for peace, and for the healing of the earth, especially the Gulf of Mexico. I was very touched by the earnest and forthright praye…
 
Apsartame, better known as Nutrasweet, or AminoSweet, and its new cousin, Neotame, a much larger, much sweeter, and potentially even more toxic update of the Aspartame molecule, are all over the place. Virtually everything you put in your mouth labeled ‘sugarless’ or ‘diet’ contains these pernicious, toxic substances. Nutrasweet’s original manufact…
 
High on my special list of pathologically destructive corporations is Monsanto. Though their sins are legion, I’m going to focus on perhaps their most evil activity of all – their attempt to control virtually all farmers and all crop seeds, and to force those same farmers to use their genetically altered crops and toxic agri-chemicals. Although thi…
 
Writing commentaries has turned me into a sort of semi-professional curmudgeon. It's pretty easy too, since the world does indeed appear to be going to hell in a handbasket. Nonetheless, it's getting to be a drag. So, I'm going to try something new today. I'm going to try imagining a better future for America, and, by extension, the world. True, in…
 
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It’s a cliché, because it’s true. The massive trove of hidden data about American foreign policy that has been coming out in bunches from WikiLeaks over the last year is one huge application of disinfectant, a vast searing beam spotlighting American cynicism, malfeasance, murder, manipulation and mayhem, once agai…
 
Obama just gets worse and worse. It’s hard for me to believe, but now our president is apparently coming out in support of fracking, the natural gas extraction technology that pollutes the air with volatile organic compounds, and ground water and aquifers with neurotoxins and carcinogens, wastes prodigious amounts of fresh water, and produces noise…
 
When I travel by air, I politely endure the TSA security checks. But I’m not willing to give up my civil rights because of fear of terrorism. As Ben Franklin said, those who would sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither. What’s going on at airports around the country is starting a groundswell of outrage. Consider the following: An eight yea…
 
Big government is the new boogieman. Or should I say the old one. Ronald Reagan famously said that government is the problem, and this simplistic statement has found resonance with generations of conservatives, from the greedy elites, who adore the fallacies of trickle-down economics, to the angry populists of the tea party movement. When it comes …
 
My car is festooned with bumper stickers. Some favorites include “Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers”, “Alternative Energy is Homeland Security” and “These Colors Don’t Run… the World”. This last one in particular seems to provoke the ire of right wingers. Recently I picked up a new deer rifle at a local sporting goods store. As I returned t…
 
I have a friend. She’s been a self-employed craftsperson involved in home construction and renovation for 25 years down in South Carolina. For all those years she’s paid her taxes and social security, her own health insurance, and reared a son largely as a single mother. Recently, her business has all but disappeared due to the recession and the ho…
 
Shortly after Obama was inaugurated, I wrote a commentary that was quite critical of his economic team, which was composed of the very people who had created the financial crisis in the first place. I ended the commentary by suggesting that the age of Obama was starting to sound more like ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ than ‘a change is …
 
There’s more than one healthcare crisis in this country. Of course, there’s the issue of coverage for everyone, but another crisis is exemplified by just how callous, narrow-minded, and often ineffectual our current medical system is. 17 years ago I was paralyzed from the neck down with a crushed spinal cord and brain damage. Thankfully, my total q…
 
Recently there was an article on natural gas extraction in the NY Times. It was basically a cheerleading essay on how the wonderful new technology of ‘fracking’ was going to exponentially increase the world’s natural gas supply. There was not one single word in the entire article about this technology’s serious environmental repercussions – from it…
 
Humankind’s two closest genetic relatives are the Chimpanzee and the so-called ‘pygmy chimp’, the Bonobo. We share some 97% of our genetic makeup with both of them. This is a vast oversimplification, but in general, Chimpanzee society tends to be male-dominated and violent. Chimps engage in brutal fights, gang rape, genocide, even cannibalism. Thei…
 
In recent months, The psychotic sophistries of right wing pundits have gone gonzo. It’s as if losing the election has blown their minds. First, there was Sean Hannity’s ‘tree of liberty’. I defy any sane adult to not fall down laughing after viewing it. Mr. Hannity shows us an old-timey illustration of the tree of liberty, complete with roots named…
 
The DJ on my car radio was incensed. The Lockerbie bomber had been released. My first thoughts echoed his: it was indecent that this killer was not only released, but received a hero’s welcome back home in Libya. Yes, I admit it; I’m just not that forgiving a guy. I don’t think a terminally-ill mass murderer should be released on compassionate grou…
 
Audio only, folks. Someday, I'll add the Burns-like pan and scan of historical photos, maybe for next April Fools Day, but for now... enjoy wit yer ears! And... if you listen past the end. there are 2 bonus tracks, including the game show 'You Can't Prove a Negative'! Powered by Podbean.com All Content Worldwide Copyright - Samuel McKenney Claiborn…
 
Suddenly, the tea parties are old news. The freak-out de jour is healthcare, and people are so profoundly ignorant about the issue that one woman begged the President not to let the government take over Medicare. ‘Scuse me mam, but just who do you think administers Medicare, the tooth fairy? This is, of course, not the organically-grown ‘grassroots…
 
The Dalai Lama – revered by many as a highly-enlightened being, a paragon of virtue, someone for us all to emulate. But is he really so enlightened, or is his vision of humankind prejudiced? In his ironically-entitled book "Beyond Dogma," he wrote that "homosexuality, whether it is between men or between women, is not improper in itself. What is im…
 
How responsible are we for our country’s actions? The US government has deliberately done the following: Spied on its citizens, jailed them without benefit of council, flouted the rule of Habeas Corpus, a fundamental human right which dates all the way back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, bombed and massacred civilians, overthrown peacef…
 
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