A plague o’ both your houses!

A few things are especially suspicious about the recall lawsuit and the deal reached between Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin. It’s Louisiana, and few things political are on the up and up, but this seems particularly egregious given the self-righteousness of the recall people.

First, the federal  National Voter Registration Act requires audits of the roles to be “routine, uniform and non-discriminatory.” This settlement is neither routine nor uniform by common definitions. There are no definitions in the act for those two terms. I checked. Not a lawyer but I can read plain English and learned to read legalese as a former journalist myself and years spent on on Capitol Hill

Second, no competent campaign would make a mass mailing without running their list through CASS address correction and the National Change Of Address with a vendor. Otherwise you’re wasting money on postage. So it is highly likely they knew about the disparities in mid-November before the first mass mailing, but only chose to file suit in February when they came up short. Step in gubernatorial hopeful Jeff Landry’s stooge protégé Laura Cannizzaro Rodrigue, who rushed in to help out the recall from the goodness of her heart, and then helped negotiate this settlement with the GOP’s Ardoin. That all seems on the up-and-up.

Third, Carter testified under oath they learned about the alleged disparities based on returned mail. I don’t have the envelope from the second petition mailing but I have mine from the first, and a flat advertiser mailing. Neither have returned service requested of any sort imprinted on them. If you don’t do that on the envelope or the mailer, the post office doesn’t return them. So there’s a strong possibility she lied under oath.

Finally, over 95% of contributions came from Richard D. Farrell? A single person and six-figure VoteRed contributor? Mindful of Clancy DuBos’ recent comments about how some people may not have signed for fear of retribution, has Farrell been bundling contributions? That’s illegal under Louisiana election law. Again, I’m not a lawyer but have a look at Louisiana RS 18 §1505.2.

I think NoonieMman and the Eileen “Apostolic Prophetess/Seer” Carter cooked up this scheme, and the GOP promptly took notice and brought in big guns and dollars. They’re anxious for a Black Urban Mayor to lynch,  because as every faithful Fox viewer knows the BUMs are the root of all evil in America. Enter Farrell and Landry’s attack lawyer and former DA Leon Cannizzaro’s daughter.

I am not a shill for Cantrell. Last time I did that for anybody and got paid for it was the very early 90s for Rep Bob Carr D-MI6. I am a former journalist who was part of the core of Nola Bloggers post Federal Flood with Karen Gadbois of The Lens and others. I am outraged that none of the local news stenographers has acted like a journalist and thought of and then asked any of these questions.

My position now is: if you’re willing to potentially break the law and suborn perjury to getthe mayor, you are no better than she is.

A plague o’ both your houses.

What’s Going On

I have been back and forth on Navarre NextDoor with a neighbor from Parkview about the Nolatoya Recall of mayor Latoya Cantrell in New Orleans. The current topic is Nolatoya’s suit to force a voter purge. Reviewing the roles is a necessary function that occurs, by Louisiana law, and must be completed by June 30 in an election year. This is routine, uniform and non-discriminatory as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 prescribes.

Suing to get a snap voter role purge to benefit one party is one reason why the Federal government enacted laws likethe National Voter Registration Act to try to prevent that. What the Nolatoya lawsuit suggests is patently illegal. But, heh, this is Louisiana. Anything could happen.

But that’s not what this this is about. The person I been having this exchange with is someone I remember well from a particular meeting of the Mid-City Recovery Planning Group after the Federal Flood, to consider endorsing The Preserves Apartments. I was the housing chair of the group, and had been working on several angles for work-force housing: people who didn’t own insured homes with clear title or own any home of their own.

I don’t remember the developer’s name, but he came recommended by the architect assigned to assist our group. He said the New York Housing Authority had only good things to say about him, and they never say anything nice about anybody. So I did some research and determined they were in fact a group that did quality developments for working class people.

Trying to get this vaguely anarcho-syndical group to endorse this project required a long, spirited meeting And I remember this person on NextDoor from that night 17 years ago. I don’t know if she was the organizer of the jeering section, or just chose to be front and center in it. They were on the left as I recall.

Everyone from that group stood up to say this would be Section 8 Housing , and not welcome in the neighborhood. They even shouted Section 8 occasionally. That is a Federal assisted housing program that subsidizes rent for the working poor. If you’re familiar with it because there are poor people where you live, unless you are in some deep hollow in Appalachia or in western North Dakota, I think you know who the poor people often are. 

The were shouting “Section 8” like a white child fifty years or more years ago saying, “Nigger, Nigger,”Nigger” three times quietly, then basking in their naughtiness*. Everyone knew what they meant. In spite of them, I won that night and the recommendation letter from the group was delivered and the complex was built. It was not the Algiers Projects reborn. I believe there are a lot of Xavier students there. They drive nicer cars than I do.

The woman on NextDoor is very vocal in support of the Nolatya recall, and very critical when I say things like the above, which I headlined “If you can’t win by the rules, change the rules”. Based on her history, I think she is the poster child for the deep racial animus boiling under the recall. 

I know it’s not just white Republicans signing it, but that’s who’s paying for it.

One guy in particular, Richard D. Farrell has provided over 95% of the money. He is a generous GOP donor on the Fed level and he spreads his money around locally. That’s just good business. One of the recipients of his largesse is Helena Moreno. I’ve got nothing against here. She’s probably make a very competent mayor, But it’s not as if Mr. Farrell is acting out of some disinterested, altruistic senses of civic duty. No one with that kind of money to throw around does that. He’s got an interest in what comes next.

But the racial animus is palpable here. It pulses on my part of NextDoor which sadly includes old Metairie Road, what I call Near Kenner (from the 17th Street Canal to Bonnabel), Lakeview, the Private Lakeshore Drive Property Owners Association, Parkview and Fauborg St. John. In fairness, it also dips into Mid-City south of Carrollton. And that animus is on full display. The so called leaders are just window dressing, and the addition of Mad Martha Huckaby–tossed out of a local Republican women’s group for being just a little too TrumpyQ- did nothing to improve them 

It doesn’t  matter how many Black people sign the recall petition. It is being carried along on a very angry current, the appropriate  response to the city in her second term, (joined by those who think Covid is just a cold, who also hated her first).  But it is surfing  on a powerful current of racial animus.

I don’t think they’ve considered what they are trying to unleash.

The Trumplicans have been salivating after a real good lynching of one of those degenerate and corrupted Black Urban Mayors (henceforth, BUM)  that s every loyal Fox viewer will tell you are the root of all evil in America. Even more than Biden. And they have a trophy in their sights. At the core of the recall is a very angry mob. I’m not old enough to remember when Ruby Bridges walked into William Frantz Elementary School in 1960 escorted by armed Federal marshals, but I’ve seen the videos. And I took my first swimming lessons at Pontchartrain Beach because all the public pools were closed.

That is just the sort of mob  brewing, and the people funding them are out for blood. They need a BUM  to crucify upon a Cross of Red . And arrogant Cantrell has walked right into it. Somewhere sticks are soaking in pitch, and forks are being sharpened. I think it will be a very ugly eight months after the petition is signed until the vote comes on the regular election ballot this November, especially when the unregulated and unreported dark money starts to flow in to boost their ugly meme about BUMs

This could get very ugly very fast, and unlike 1960 both sides are packing, hood and housewife alike.

I don’t see how this plays out that is not ugly and racist. I haven’t seen anything for years on the political horizon to make me optimistic. The recall is a GOP front op, and I’m not signing it. How I vote in November will depend on whether the mayor is shocked into a serious course correction if the petition is approved, and just how ugly the campaign for it will be.

  • * I did, this I confess. My grandfather referred to his employers as His Niggers, and my grandmother had the most genteel way of saying,”Nigra.” I also know several once- thought clever variations of the Hersey’s Chocolate jingle. Hello, my name is Mark and I am a Racist, and grateful every new day by the grace of Somebody I am not anymore. For that day. It’s been so long I may have laid up enough gold coins in heaven to compensate. None of which the subject of this screed can say.
  • ** WordPress spell checker doesn’t know how to spell lynchings. How quaint.

Moving The Goalposts

The first Nolatoya recall mailer went out mid-November. No one does a major mailing without submitting their list to the US Postal Service CASS & National Change of Address database. At last no one competent would do that. So they knew about any issues from NCOA in early November but chose to file suit in February right before the deadline. Sure looks like a bad faith effort to move the goal posts in the fourth quarter because the deadline looks and they’re not quite there.

Also, the list and mailing vendor cited in their lawsuit–Gulf Coast Resources–does not appear in their expenditure list or as an in-kind donation as required by law by it’s 12/29 date, and the first mailer was, again, in November. Interesting behavior from folks who feel the mayor must go because she breaks the law.

You won’t hear about this from the Advocate/NOLA.com, WWL, WDSU or WVUE Fox 8 because at best their doing stenography, not journalism. At worst, they’re just taking orders from the NOLA Coalition, in which case they have no pretense of being journalists at all.

Back in the Saddle Again

So this blog didn’t work out as I planned it just over a year ago. I captured some of my thoughts as I titrated off the anti-psychotic risperidone in hopes of overcoming the writing block that descended on me seven years ago. Like most anti-psychotics it was designed to make crazy people calm the fuck down. Think of the Indian in one Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest. It doesn’t matter. I’m writing again, starting with poetry. That is the one talent I missed most.

The World has taken a very Odd turn in the last seven years ago. I have no idea how it will all turnout, but I will go down writing.

P.S. I’m charmed that my WordPress.com user name is still wet bank guy. Think of it as teh charm of teh boa.

I was cured, alright.

Last Friday night I drank one cocktail (a bit strong) and one dropper of my THC tincture. When I went to bed I was looking for something to read and opened John Berryman’s The Dream Songs, and it clicked for the first time in years. I wrote a half dozen lines, finished them the next day and read them at the Maple Leaf on Sunday to a polite reception. Got home and wrote another poem, my 2nd in seven years.

“I was cured, alright.”
— Alex DeLarge, A Clockwork Orange.

The above was a Facebook post from last Sunday. It seems I am somehow crawling out from under the shadow of Risperidone. I sorely needed some sort of intervention eight years ago, but what was chosen completely silenced the power of creative associative thought and language necessary to write.

I had to go look at the last prescription bottle to remember it’s been almost a year since I discontinued this drug, and not long after started this blog to chronicle what I hoped would be the road to recovering my full self. A glance at the timeline here shows I didn’t keep it up. There was no remarkable recovery. I continued as the productive, bill-paying drone I was for the last seven years..

Until last weekends sudden awakening.

Today I woke up from a restless night of stressful vivid dreams, and sat in my office chair staring at the pile of unopened mail and unfiled documents, piled stop the work laptop reminding me I must go back to my increasingly in uncertain job. I sat paralyzed, feeling like someone had laid a large, lead blanket over me.

I recognized this state, and realized that perhaps I am cycling again. Rather that dispair and pick up the phone to make an appointment with the pill doctor, I resolved to find some way to manage this myself. Then I remember the germinal line of a poem which occurred to me as I fed the crow cousins their breakfast of raw peanuts. And I resolved to turn that line into a poem. And did.

I was cured alright.

If writing is the channel for a certain level of mania, and the cure for episodes of depression then I will not go back to psychopharmacology to resolve this. Instead I see a path to management that Risperidone robbed me of. I can manage this. I no longer live alone with my familiar deamon. I have my partner and sister to slap me upside the head if I beer too far off course.

Real recovery is not an absence of symptoms, but a return to my truer self .

Here’s the poem. Fine enough but not amazing enough to worry about wasting a chance at real publication elsewhere.

How do the crows know
when I am awake, caw-ling
For the peanuts I will
Scatter in the street?
I have made this arrangement
To rekindle every morning
A forgotten relationship
With Creation, to unbuild
The walls our so-called
Civilization has erected
Against Nature. I call them
The crow cousins, adapting
The Native arrangement
Of a family of life.
Someday I will shut-off
The alarms demanding
Timeliness in obeisance
To the unnatural construction
Called modern life &
Wake when the cousins call.
I will make another New Covenant
& abandon dominion for
The company of familiars,
Bring back the magic
We have abandoned
& repose in a whole world.

There is a bitter root

Somewhere in this house is (should be) a hardback first edition (foxed) City Lights pocketbook of the selected poems of Federico Garcia Lorca.

I carried it to Spain and laid it on his desk in his home in town. My tour had to wait for the private visit of a famous bullfighter.

And I had a book dealer and leather worker who made journals cuz he also made paper make a cover for it of Spanish leather.

And I can’t find it.

I’m going to take down my big thick Collected and read every sad poem I can find. Which might take a while. But I have plenty of whiskey and cigarettes.

Ay! Mi precioso libro! Nunca volveremos a Granada en el tiempo de las flores naranjas.

The Trumplicans’ Inflation Frenzy

My congressman and our Louisiana senators are gripped with absolute delirium about inflation and claiming Biden should be able to single-handedly stop it. But many if not most of the factors are beyond his control unless you were to propose some tax structures to change it. Such as a windfall profits tax on oil with direct credits for restarting capacity that was mothballed during the pandemic.

And that’s reason one. The major oil producers not only shut down operating Wells reducing capacity by maybe 10%, they also shut down refineries. And they see no reason to pay someone to start up a well again or bring a refinery back online when they’re making record profits from the status quo.

According to the Texas oil and gas attorney blog “there is a substantial lead time to bring wells back online and into production.” And he’s not some environmental loony. He says oil companies don’t trust “the dementia-fueled irrationality of Biden.” So, it’s not just as my argumentative Facebook pal Thad suggested in another place as simple as turning a valve. Depending on how long the well’s been active they might actually have to bring in a drilling rig to clear out the borehole. Restarting a refinery (undamaged) after a hurricane shutdown can take up to a month. I can’t find good data on what it might take after two years offline, but the Energy Information Administration says it can take months after a prolonged shutdown. It’s no a “throw a switch” thing.

Reason number two is that production of American consumer goods was shifted overseas by Reaganomics (with disastrous domestic economic consequences). Then along came the plague and people shifted a lot of their purchasing to online much of which is produced overseas. The nine companies that control ocean-borne commerce in the world raised the prices to move a container by a factor of 12 during and after the pandemic. These are multinational companies. Does Biden just end imports? This is entirely out of Us control.

Point number three is not an inflation thing but is directly tied to Reaganomics which no Republican member of Congress will vote to overturn making it impossible to put any changes through the slavers Senate. Formula production like much of us industry is concentrated in a very few companies. Abbott Laboratories neglected or refused to replace aging drying equipment used in the manufacturer of powdered formula in spite of FDA warnings about it. (They did manage to find $3 billion dollars laying around for a stock buyback). And then two babies died from contamination. And the FDA shut their major production plant down. Oh, and Trump’s NAFTA replacement put terrace on imported baby formula including formula from Canada so nobody was importing formula. So given that Trump looking faction in the Senate how quickly do you think that could restore more rigorous regulation of human consumables like baby formula? Or renegotiate the trade deal?

This brings us to 4, food costs. Those monster waving Looney socialists at the US Chamber of Commerce say these are the reasons for high food costs: Labor shortages. Supply chain disruption. Higher energy prices. Much of farm labor is done by immigrants regardless of their paper status. Closing the border was basically cutting off the labor supply for agriculture. Thanks trump. Supply chain disruption was largely a result of the plague. Should have nationalizing the transportation companies are putting them under military control I don’t know how Biden fixes that. Higher energy prices we’ve already discussed.

So when our legislative delegation is ranting about Biden’s inflation I don’t presume they’re ignorant. Steve Scalise has a college degree in computer programming that he never used but his ruthless political acumen suggests he is not an idiot. U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is an MD and Senator John Kennedy has a juris doctor from Oxford University in England in spite of his Foghorn Leghorn routine. They’re just trying to score political points against the Democrats and to bury the Reaganites and Trumplicans large roll in creating the conditions that are leading to inflation. Enter score those points they use a ton of voice usually associated with shouting fire in a crowded theater.

I am reminded of the quote attributed to Huey Long. After accusing a political opponent of lying a reporter asked him how do you know when he’s lying? And long supposedly reply when his lips are moving he’s lying.

And now, for something completely different.

I just wrote what I think is a thoughtful, coherent political think piece of 691 words. It is the longest thing I have written in the last several years. And I have a lot more to say. The secret to returning to a life of writing is to start writing. So I am going to move beyond the original intent of this space, my experience with psychopharmacology and its deleterious effect my on writing life

And just write what I have to say.