Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle Dandy

For Independence Day, I watched the 1942 musical “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” starring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, and Walter Huston. Cagney plays George M. Cohan, the famous vaudeville composer, writer, and entertainer. He was known as “The Man who Owned Broadway” and wrote many popular songs that are still known today. During World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented Cohan with a Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to America.

Songs by George M. Cohan:

Yankee Doodle Boy

(watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EKeYS1P9j1c )

You’re a Grand Old Flag

(watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/lxyt1Vt5ejY )

Happy Fourth of July! Happy Birthday, America!

 

Dawn Pisturino

7/4/2017

Copyright 2017 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Karl Marx was a Deadbeat

kapital stamp

For all of his talk about freeing the workers, Karl Marx himself was a deadbeat who never worked. He forced his wife and children to live in poverty, supported by his friend, Friedrich Engels. Marx fathered an illegitimate child while still married and persuaded Engels to marry the woman.

His in-depth analysis of capitalism (Das Kapital) was pertinent in its time, but Marx failed to recognize that capitalism is a resilient and adaptable economic system.

Karl Marx is now regarded as one of the founders of sociology because of his thorough study of capitalist society and development of conflict theory. But his predictions about the demise of capitalism and the rise of communism proved to be dead wrong.

People who still follow him are deluding themselves, at best. Millions of people around the world have died in the name of Marxism/Communism/Bolshevism/Castroism/Maoism/Socialism — something Bernie Sanders doesn’t seem to comprehend and neglects to share with his followers.

Don’t be misled by pretty words and false promises! The people attracted to Marxism (I was one of them) are people on the fringe who feel powerless and angry. The idea of overthrowing the system sounds romantic and gives them a false sense of power. But people rarely get what they want. It’s all too easy to go from the frying pan into the fire.

America is still the greatest country in the world, and people who cannot appreciate her, should consider leaving.

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Marx’s Conflict Theory

 

karl-marx

 

Marx’s conflict theory is having a profound influence right now in urban areas, especially among young people and minorities. Groups such as Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers  openly advocate separation from mainstream society due to the unfair, biased, and overbearing power of the dominant culture and the ruling class.

For them, laws reflect bias and unfair treatment and punishment of the poor and minorities by police and the American justice system. They understand perfectly that their communities have been left behind by globalization and the influx of uneducated, unskilled immigrant labor. Some of them advocate the overthrow of the American capitalist system and the creation of a communist or socialist society. They believe this is the only path to equality, happiness, and economic freedom.

Using class struggle as a shield, these groups justify inter-racial random killings, police ambushes, weapons hoards, acts of terrorism, riots, violent protests, and every other conceivable crime. They feel no shame or remorse because they see themselves as victims fighting for a cause. In their view, the police and other authoritarian figures are the real criminals. Poverty and economic disparity are the real crimes.

Unfortunately, they do not direct their zeal into cleaning up their own neighborhoods. They do not use their skills to benefit their own communities. Their goal is to strike fear into the dominant society with threats, disruption, and chaos. In fact, a strong law and order response threatens their agenda and their goals.

Such a politicized movement can only turn the dominant society against them. Mainstream Americans want law and order.

Dawn Pisturino

November 9, 2016

Criminology 225, Mohave Community College,

Kingman, Arizona

Copyright 2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Miss Lizzie’s Tea Party

lamug_miss-lizzie

Miss Lizzie’s Tea Party

by Dawn Pisturino

Illustration by Ken Lamug

I never wanted to attend Miss Lizzie’s tea party, but mama insisted I go.

“Miss Borden is a kind and gentle lady,” she scolded. “I don’t want to hear anymore nonsense about those grisly axe murders! Rich young ladies like Miss Borden don’t go around chopping up people’s heads.”

“But Mama,” I protested. “Miss Lizzie and the maid were the only ones at home. Who else could have chopped off her father’s nose and split his eyeball in two?”

“That’s enough, Olivia,” Mama warned. “You’re going to the party, and that’s final.”

* * *

I had often seen Miss Lizzie sitting in an upstairs window, beckoning the neighborhood children inside for homemade cookies.

Every time she waved at me, my body quivered like gelatin fresh out of the mold. After all, this was the woman accused of hacking up her father and stepmother with a hatchet!

And even though the jury found Miss Lizzie innocent way back in 1893, folks ’round these parts never forget.

But I always reluctantly waved back, as Mama had taught me, and hurried home.

Then the invitation came. Miss Lizzie was hosting an afternoon tea party for all the children in the neighborhood.

Mama was so thrilled, she cleaned and pressed my prettiest, frilliest party dress and bought me a shiny new pair of shoes. “Papa’s law practice has been falling off lately,” she explained. “He needs a wealthy client like Miss Borden to get going again.”

Annie, the housemaid, curled my hair. “You can’t go, Miss Olivia, you just can’t. My mama told me never to go inside that house. I mean, never! And she should know. Bridget Sullivan, the Borden’s housemaid, told her there was blood and brains splattered everywhere. They found Abby Borden’s hair braid lying on the rug, sliced clean from her head!”

Tears welled up in my eyes. “I have to go, Annie. Mama will whip me with Papa’s razor strap if I don’t.”

“Well, don’t eat anything. She never admitted it, but Miss Lizzie tried to buy poison from Smith’s Drug Store right before the murders.”

* * *

Miss Lizzie opened the front door with a wide, toothy grin.

Every muscle in my body screamed, Run! Now! While you can!

But mama’s voice kept ringing in my ears. Miss Borden is a kind and gentle lady . . .

So I followed Miss Lizzie down the hall to an elegantly furnished drawing room — an empty drawing room. None of the other children had come. Cowards!

And then I saw it, gleaming by the fireplace, a shiny new axe!

Gold paint glittered along the sharp edge, marred by dark stains that looked like blood. I clenched my fists, trying hard to ease the queasiness in my stomach.

“You’re admiring my new axe,” Miss Lizzie said. She stepped closer, her pale blue eyes foggy with distant memories. “My father was quite skilled with an axe. One afternoon, I went into the barn and found my beloved pigeons lying on the ground with their heads chopped off. My father was standing over them, holding a bloody axe. I screamed and ran into the house.

“That night, Bridget served pie for dinner. Pigeon pie!” she said as her lips twisted into a smile.

The drawing room door opened then and a fat cook with a red face entered carrying a large pie in her hands. “Sit yourself down, my dear. The pie is ready to eat! I got lucky, Miss Lizzie. I found our special ingredient at Smith’s Drug Store.”

Smith’s Drug Store! I grabbed my reeling head, ready to faint at any moment. Pie! Poisoned pigeon pie!

Screaming, I lunged for the axe and swung it around, knocking the pie out of the cook’s hands, slicing off her forefinger. She howled in pain as blood spurted from the wound. I swung the axe around again, nicking Miss Lizzie’s ear. Fluffy brown curls fluttered to the floor, sliced neatly from her head.

Miss Lizzie tackled me to the ground and held me there while the cook bound her bloody hand with a towel and telephoned the police. My chest heaved with great, gulping sobs as Miss Lizzie’s face drew closer and closer until her lips brushed against my ear.

You see how easy it is,” she whispered.

THE END

Published in the February 2012 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Copyright 2012-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! MAKE IT SCARY!

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An Election for the 1 %

one_percent

This election isn’t about you and me – it’s about the 1 % and which 1 % er is going to run America.

Hillary Clinton is  a multi-millionaire who is backed by wealthy Wall Street financier George Soros and others. She will use her presidency to benefit the 1 %.

Donald Trump is a billionaire who is backed by Carl Icahn and others. He will use his presidency to benefit the 1 %.

LOVE the 1 %? Vote for Hillary or Trump. Otherwise, vote your conscience and vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party (who better represents Democratic Idealists) or Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Or refuse to vote at all! The 1 % doesn’t care.

Dawn Pisturino

October 2, 2016

Copyright 2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Capitalism as Terrorism

dollars and American flag

 

 

“Guerilla Marketing,” “Survival-of-the Fittest-Capitalism,” “How to Succeed in Business by Killing the Competition,” “Hostile Takeovers,” etc., etc. We are all familiar with the books, lectures, seminars, economic gurus, trendy management strategies, slogans, etc., etc. which dominate the business world and corporate thinking. But have you ever thought about what these strategies and ideas really mean?

In today’s competitive world, competition has increased to the point of desperation where anything goes and every immoral act is tolerated — and even encouraged. It becomes harder and harder for companies to compete and survive. They must resort to evermore desperate strategies to survive the competitor around the corner who is waiting for a chance to rip out their throat. The business world is a jungle where only the very strongest can survive for long.

At the same time, the companies who have succeeded in surviving look increasingly for ways to eliminate competition through legislation, buying illegitimate political power, investing overseas, downsizing, cutting wages and benefits, and creating an environment where smaller companies have a difficult, if not impossible time, succeeding.

If this competition affects corporations and small business, it equally affects workers who must equally engage in a jungle struggle to survive. The fear of being laid off or downsized out of a job creates an atmosphere of fear, antagonism to fellow workers, and outright hostility towards anybody perceived as a threat.

These fears and anxieties are carried home and into the classrooms. At a younger and younger age, children are told that they must learn to compete in school, in college, and in a future career. To not compete is to be eliminated in the social jungle that is called America.

Thus, we see a society torn apart by competitiveness and the need to survive.

Corporations seize control of their competitors; men blame women for entering the workforce; reports of domestic violence, child abuse, and rape increase; whites blame blacks; blacks blame whites; American citizens blame illegal immigrants; workers blame welfare recipients; the young blame elderly Social Security recipients; Democrats blame Republicans while Republicans accuse Democrats of every crime under the sun; the rich blame the poor, etc.

An economic system that encourages competition indirectly encourages violence, crime, and every act of immorality. People will do whatever it takes to survive.

When companies engage in acts of terrorism, it is considered good business.

When ordinary people engage in aggressive acts, it is considered a crime.

Ordinary citizens have as much right to survive as any corporation. And they have as much right to engage in whatever tactics are required to survive.

Dawn Pisturino

May 23, 1998

Copyright 1998-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Published on the Committee for Direct Democracy Website and in the Committee for Direct Democracy Information Packet 1998-2000.

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Radical Writings: Direct Democracy

Your-vote-is-your-voice

Every condition which exists in the civilized (i.e., capitalist) society today was predicted by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 150 years ago in The Communist Manifesto of 1848.

The expansion of free trade on a global scale; the continual upgrading and revolutionizing of the means of production; the loss of human values and personal self-worth; the degradation of the family; the wage slavery and dehumanization of modern day workers; the increasing disparity  in wealth between “the haves” and “have nots”; the concentration of power and wealth in fewer and fewer hands; market fluctuations with their resultant periods of economic boom and bust; the emergence of women into the labor force; the reactionary conservatism of the middle-class; the necessity of the minimum wage: all of these conditions of modern society were already foreseen in the distant past.

It is, therefore, fair to say that the problems afflicting modern civilization are not the result of liberal or conservative political parties; Democrat or Republican policies; religious or secular policies; racial or gender policies. Rather, the problems plaguing American society today — and which seem so insurmountable — derive exclusively from the nature of the capitalist economic system itself!

This is a fact which the national media strives ever harder to explain away and cover up. This is a basic truth which our liberal and conservative leaders choose to ignore.

But the truth cannot be suppressed forever. The truth will set us free.

Most Americans are already conscious of the fact that they are virtually powerless to change conditions in this country without resorting to radical means. Since most Americans abhor violence, however, they convince themselves that change is not practical or not possible. They console themselves with trips to the shopping malls; dull their senses with mindless TV and videos; control their negative anxieties with mood-altering substances.

We already see that this kind of self-delusion and self-indulgence serves no useful end. As the American people become more dull-witted and inhibited, society crumbles all around us.

In the midst of economic abundance, social degradation and political chaos run rampant.

It is therefore fruitless to try and organize people into a militant force. Unions, alternative political parties, political action committees, etc. — few, if any, of these organizations ever effect permanent change.

It is simply not enough to verbally attack the prevailing political/economic/social system. In order to win the war, the working class must become the rulers of the system.

But how can this be accomplished?

By empowering the people!

We are taught from birth that America is a democratic country. In reality, Americans support a representative form of government. We may elect our leaders in free elections, but the decisions made by those leaders are not determined by the people who elect them. The decisions made by political leaders at the federal, state, and local levels are, more often than not, determined by economic factors and the people who wield the power of money. This, then, is not democracy. It is merely power concentrated in the hands of a minority who pretend to do the will of the majority. Democracy in America is, therefore, a sham. The right to vote is equally false and misleading.

Representative government may have been a shining viable solution 200 years ago, but it is no longer effective in our vast, complicated society.

Then, what is the solution?

The only viable alternative to representative government is Direct Democracy.

Computer technology (specifically, the global networks) makes it possible for the American people to vote directly on issues affecting them as individuals and society as a whole.

We no longer need intermediaries who patronize us and throw us just enough crumbs to keep us from really rebelling against the system.

Empowering the people is the only alternative to outright violent revolution and social upheaval. Once the concentration of power is in the hands of the majority, we can re-shape the nature of politics, the economic system, and the entire social fabric. In fact, this will be an inevitable result of taking control of the political process.

Once the American people realize that they can control their own lives politically, they may eventually realize that they can direct their own lives economically, thereby instituting changes in the economic system and promoting a more harmonious social environment.

I urge every American citizen who cherishes the right to control his/her own life to work NOW towards the fulfillment of Direct Democracy in this country. With the power in our hands, we can bring about social evolution and create a better, brighter future for ourselves and our descendants.

Dawn Pisturino

March 26, 1998

Published in the Committee for Direct Democracy website and the Committee for Direct Democracy Information Packet 1998-2000, and in The New Unionist.

Copyright 1998-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Native American Tattoos – A Short History

native-american-tattooMany Native American tribes across the United States practiced the art of tattooing for a variety of reasons: to mark special rites of passage, such as puberty; to identify other members of a clan; to scare off enemies; to express spiritual beliefs; to honor great achievements, such as bravery in battle; to provide magical protection and strength; and to mark certain leaders, such as the medicine man.

Tattooers used geometrical designs to represent celestial bodies, natural phenomena, and animals. A person receiving the tattoo of a turtle, for example, would expect to achieve a long, healthy life since turtles symbolized Mother Earth, water, life, and health.

Tattooing was a painful process, but many tribes believed that pain brought a person closer to the spirit world. Designs were cut, hand-tapped, or hand-pricked into the skin with sharp needles made of stone, bone, or other materials. Then dye was rubbed into the wounds.

Black dye could be made from soot or charcoal. Ochre mixed with clay produced a brownish-reddish hue. And blue came from indigo or other materials.

These tattoos became permanent markings on the skin that could be enhanced with temporary body paint, especially during time of war.

Dawn Pisturino

September 25, 2012

Copyright 2012-2015 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

(This short article was originally a sidebar on another history-related article.)

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Political Correctness

Political Correctness

RESIST THE P.C. POLICE!

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Reflections on My Visit to Cuba 2000

Havana Cuba

I did not know much about Cuba; in fact, I never really thought about it until I had an opportunity to go there as a U.S. Delegate in 2000. Prior to leaving, I did research into Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and the Cuban Revolution — fascinating stuff!

I did not know, for example, that Che Guevara was a medical doctor who suffered from severe asthmatic attacks. Fidel Castro came from a land-owning family and studied to be a lawyer. Cuba had been marked by political upheaval for about 75 years prior to the Cuban Revolution. The final insult came with the Batista dictatorship, which was fully supported by the U.S. government and U.S. companies, who owned large amounts of land, industries, and other resources in Cuba.

Poverty was widespread among Cuban workers. The Batista government tortured and murdered huge numbers of Cuban citizens. A wide gap existed between rich and poor. Political elections were rigged to favor Batista and his cohorts.

Fidel Castro was a charismatic young man who became a major critic of the Batista government. He led a successful military campaign, along with Che Guevara and other guerilla fighters, which ultimately forced Batista and his supporters to flee the country.

With the Agrarian Reform Act, agricultural tracts were seized and divided up among the peasants who had worked the land and suffered great deprivations at the hands of large companies and land owners.

In retaliation, the U.S. government imposed an immediate economic blockade against Cuba. The blockade has been successfully kept in place for decades at the behest of Cuban-Americans living in the U.S., right-wing conservatives, and companies such as the Bacardi Rum Company.

Over 4,000 people attended the 5-day conference, representing more than 115 countries around the world.

The first two days were devoted to speeches by government officials who explained the blockade, how it was hurting the Cuban economy, and what steps were being taken to adapt to the continued sanctions.

The next two days involved participation in various committees and listening to speeches by delegates.

One afternoon, we were encouraged to visit various medical and educational facilities. I chose to tour the Latin American School of Medical Sciences. In the evening, we were treated to cultural events and a neighborhood block party.

On the last day, we participated in an outdoor rally attended by Fidel Castro. Speeches by delegates and performances by Cuban artists were featured. That evening, we attended a five-hour speech given in person by Fidel Castro.

He explained how loans by the IMF and the World Bank impose harsh conditions on Third World countries,which gives power over these countries to larger, prosperous countries like the United States. He adamantly reinforced that Cuba and the Cuban people would not bow down to these conditions. They would prefer to remain poor and continue to fight the blockade rather than give up their independence to a foreign power. Although the speech was long and tedious, quoting lots of statistics, the information he gave was very valuable.

We were told we could not leave Cuba the next day, so some of us participated in various tours. Some people drove out to the countryside to visit the Che Guevara Memorial and to investigate the agricultural industry. Others chose to visit a cigar factory. I went with some others to Old Havana to explore the Museum of the Revolution and the Floridito Bar, where Ernest Hemingway used to hang out. We also saw the beautiful old Bacardi Rum building, which is now used for other purposes.

We were never restricted from going anywhere or talking to anyone. The only limitation was language, since most Havanans do not speak English, and most delegates did not speak Spanish.

It was fascinating to be part of such a multi-cultural experience. There were many people from Latin America and Africa. Many delegates came from India and Bangladesh. Six hundred Americans participated in the event. My group donated a large supply of antibiotics, antifungals, and medical journals. Quite a large number of Canadians were present, as well as a few people from Australia and Great Britain. One delegate from Israel spoke about the atrocities being committed by his country against Palestine. About ten Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon represented Palestine and received great rounds of applause. Other delegates came from Italy, Germany, Spain, Norway, Russia, China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iran.

Delegates represented all adult ages and socioeconomic groups. There were laborers, students, ministers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and retired folks. Disabled people included a 91-year old gentleman, a blind man who brought his seeing-eye dog, a man bound to a wheelchair, and a young man who could only communicate through sign language.

We were all required to wear special badges and could not attend events without showing them. These badges also identified us to the general population as participants in the conference. People would stop us on the streets and thank us. Children would cheer us and clap their hands. We were always treated like VIPs.

Delegates visited the homes of local Cubans and were hosted for dinner and lodging. One American girl lived with a family for three days.

During the conference, delegates were provided with transistor radios and earphones which could be set to receive the English translation.

Transportation and lodging were provided by the Cuban government, but delegates were free to walk around Havana at any time of the day or night. Although there were scores of police, most of them only carried a night stick. They did not hassle delegates. Their main function was to provide security and control the flow of traffic.

 My delegation stayed at the beautifully-restored Copacabana Hotel, which was a famous luxury hotel and yacht club prior to the Cuban Revolution. It was also one of the hotels controlled by the Sicilian Mafia, which was kicked out of Cuba by Fidel Castro after the Revolution.

Local Cubans were very open about their poverty and devotion to Fidel Castro. In their minds, the Cuban Revolution is on-going. They are very proud of what they have accomplished under difficult conditions. They reiterated over and over again that they would defend Cuba to the death.

There was a great deal of hatred expressed among delegates and by Cubans themselves toward the U.S. government, and the presidential election of 2000 became a hot topic when the possibility of election fraud came up. We watched the news coverage daily on CNN.

The Cubans have created a very stable society based on solidarity and mutual cooperation. The basic unit is the family. Families are assigned to neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are assigned to a district. Each district boasts a health clinic, schools, senior center, and police force. A committee elected by the people oversees the district. Committee members ensure that children are vaccinated, seniors are cared for, and families receive adequate housing and food.

Food is rationed, with pregnant and nursing women, children, and senior citizens required to receive an adequate amount of calories everyday. There is a ratio of one doctor to 170 residents. In the schools, classroom size is limited to 10-20 students.

Education and healthcare are free. 85% of Cubans own their own home, and there is no property tax. Rents are kept very low. The prices on basic commodities are kept at 1960s prices. The average wages are ten to thirty American dollars per month, and there is no income tax.

Travel is limited by a shortage of oil and gasoline. Tourists from Canada and Germany are commonplace.

November 20, 2000

Dawn Pisturino, RN

Copyright 2000-2015 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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