My Blog List

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Who is Merrick Garland?

Someone on Facebook was attacking Merrick Garland this morning. I hadn't been paying attention. I'd basically assumed that anyone that President Obama nominated would be a decent choice for the SCOTUS and dead in the water to the Right Wing. But this was an attack from the left and the person was claiming that he'd be a vote against overturning Citizens United. So I started checking; "who he is, how did he get there, and what decisions has he made up til now?". To get there I had to do some digging. What I find is a man who is fairly liberal on most issues, pro the environment, against corruption and monopoly; but conservative on policing and some civil liberties issues. I'm borrowing this image from Milt Priggee:

More Cartoons by Milt Priggee

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A World Gone Mad

Oh how sad.
More evidence that the world is mad.
Enraged at what I ask?
Enraged with delusion and illusion and fear.
And what is it I fear? I fear fear.
And the rage of persons who have shed too many tears.
The cycle of violence just seems to perpetuate through the years.
And we burn the flowers in our garden.

Christopher H. Holte March 22, 2016, thinking of Belgian Attacks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Stop Hillary Movement

There really is (or was) a "STOP HILLARY" SuperPAC funded by the Right wing and it really is devoted to:

"Make sure Hillary Clinton never becomes president! America can't survive another term of Obama-era radical liberalist policies implemented by a Bill and Hillary Clinton team back in the White House." [from taken last month]

Home is the Wanderer

Home is the wanderer
No further places to go
Home is the sojourn
Peaceful and slow
While the seasons change
Clouds and rains come and go
You Sleep in peace,
a once restless soul
Only the whispering leaves can know
That you are remembered.

Written 3/15/2016 by Christopher H. Holte. Photo from about October 2015

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Safe Houses -- Institutionalizing a Movement

This is part of a series on how to build a successful movement, based on readings and observations, where I want to express my critique of what has been happening in activist land, and present a way forward. I've decided not to use this version of this post because it is too "political" in my series. But I'm keeping it for reference.

Building Safe Houses and Alliances

Whenever I hear Bernie say "revolution", the music from the Beatles (or The Who) passes through my head. Most revolutions fail to achieve their goals because most revolutions are simply one fearless leader's efforts to create change top down. But anyone involved in changing things knows that that rarely happens. Some of the reasons for this are are;

  • The cream rises to the top and curdles.
  • Movements attract ambitious and/or conflictive people.
  • Movements rarely are institutionalized well.

In this post I'm going to talk about institutionalization (and how to do it right to avoid those pitfalls).

Image of Martin Luther King

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Workforce training and Employment

We have some abysmal numbers of unemployed people in some sectors of the economy no matter what the statistics say. Unemployment in the 20-24 year old component of our population is at 9% nationally [see] even where it's lower on average. For minorities the rates are much higher. Overall the Washington Area unemployment when including surrounding areas is 3.8% while for the District proper it 6.3% []. Not having an income or productive employment is bad for people's psychological, civic and spiritual health. I've been volunteering with my friends at GABIDDC and other organizations to do something about this. Two of FD Roosevelt's envisioned rights in his "Second Bill of Rights" were:

Decent Employment
An Adequate wage and decent living (living wage) from that employment

There can be no fair and equitable society (equity = a fair society) unless people can use their creativity, be employed at something useful and get compensated for their labors. But these are positive rights; they require institutions, programs, resources and efforts to become reality. My friend Mike Jackson is devoting Herculean efforts to getting workforce training and development programs stood up and supported in the District of Columbia and around the Country. I've been doing what I can to support his efforts.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Shoulder's that Raised us

The Shoulders That Raised us

We live on the shoulders of those who raised us up.
How can we turn around and hold other people down?
Today the sun will set, but tomorrow another one will rise,
We pass by as other eyes open and "I" live on.
Here a whisper lingers, and "I" hear an whispering song.
I swear I hear the voice of a dear departed love echoing on.
I have to stop and admire the singing in the trees.
the doves making their cries, leaves rustling high above.
And though my heart can only bear,
so much rising and departing,
still those voices echo an eternity in this moment.
and I see a vision of a single finger,
saying "shush my darling sleep."
"I am at ease and all your fears can keep."

Christopher Hartly Holte

This from August 14 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2016

ISDS as an agency of Neo-colonialism

Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Tribunals are now starting to bite what used to be known as the first world, in the rear. Recently the threat of an Investor Suit in the World Trade court instigated Congress to rescind point of origin labeling laws. And another lawsuit was filed even more recently seeking damages for a ruling that the Keystone XL pipeline was too great a risk to the US water supply to be built. [see Washington Post: "TransCanada is suing the U.S. over Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. The U.S. might lose."]


We live in this limited world,
where we can only march one way,
where each day that passes is lost.
And we can only progress at it's cost.
This is a world of bricks and stones,
Wood and rot,
Where every step forward is bought
with pain and loss.
But imminent in this world is a kind of transcendence:
a chance to participate in creation.
A choice between irrationality and reason;
Between tearing down and destruction or creating joy;
Those bricks and stones can build a prison,
Or raise a palace of the imagination.

In honor of Spinoza, Christopher H. Holte

We are not diminished

We are not diminished
Your love's beauty shines radiant like a sun.
She has shed a husk and is free to cavort and roam
Close to home,
yet far from this sad place under the loam.
In waves of imagination and the memory of loved ones.
There is a star that shines that should bear her name.
In this world, the world beyond we cannot know.
But If anything is transcendent, it is that loving glow.

Responding to a friend's loss, Christopher H. Holte 3/2/2016