Today’s Ghion Water is dedicated to Langston Hughes in light of the event I will be hosting at Busboys and Poets next Sunday, February 11th at 6:00 PM EST (see details below). Busboys and Poets is named in honor of Hughes who used to be a busboy at a restaurant before he was discovered and garnered wide attention as a poet. His story is the story of all artists, writers and creators as a whole who toil away in anonymity until they are “discovered” by someone famous. As a fellow poet, the story of Langston is close to my heart, especially these days considering that I bartend by day and write by night. This one is dedicated to the artist and poet in all of us.
The Poetry of Poverty
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that healthier food costs $1.50 more per day on average than less healthy food. As a result, the poor often purchase canned goods loaded with preservatives and containing huge amounts of salt and refined sugar. This can save money in the short term but become costly when one develops major health problems like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. Eating healthy on a budget is not impossible, but preparing healthier meals can be time-consuming. And when the poor are working two or three low-paying jobs, some of which may demand a lengthy commute, time is of the essence. [from Alex Henderson of Alternet]
JFK spent the lion’s share of his presidency on the wrong side of each of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—another assassinated 1960s icon with whom Kennedy is often absurdly conflated—called “the triple evils that are interrelated”: racism, economic injustice (capitalism) and militarism. Kennedy is a false progressive idol of the highest order, something you won’t learn about on MSNBC (“MSDNC”), where Democratic Party commentator Chris Matthews lives in a seemingly permanent state of Kennedy family worship. [from Paul Street of Truthdig]
Mainstream Media is State Propaganda
More and more of the outlets from which Americans get their information are being filled not just with garden variety establishment loyalists, but with longstanding members of the US intelligence community. These men got to their positions of power within these deeply sociopathic institutions for their willingness to facilitate any depravity in order to advance the secret agendas of the US power establishment, and now they’re being paraded in front of mainstream Americans on cable news on a daily basis. The words of these “experts” are consistently taken and reported on by smaller news outlets in print and online media in a way that seeds their authoritative assertions throughout public consciousness. [from Caitlin Johnstone]
The Fee of Freedom
At the end of the day, every American, regardless of their position on the political spectrum, should be worried about the fact that the FBI and DOJ sought and were granted a warrant to spy on an opposing political campaign based on a document that the FBI itself had neither verified or corroborated. If the FISA court does in fact employ strict “safeguards” and procedures in order to ensure that the rights of American citizens are not being systematically violated, how is it that the FBI and DOJ were able to obtain a surveillance warrant based on unverified allegations? And why did Congress overwhelmingly vote to reauthorize Section 702? [from Elizabeth Vos of Disobedient Media]
War is ALWAYS a Racket
Does Vietnam look “lost” to America today? Hardly. What was lost in Vietnam were millions of its own people, a countryside devastated by saturation bombing and the eco-poison Agent Orange, whose toxicity still devastates people there, and the still-present effects of that war. Lest we forget, it was visited upon them in our name, at our hands, by our leaders and the profit-making military-industrial backers we tolerate. Add the millions of deaths and utter destruction of Cambodia, along with Laos, and we arrive at a massive, prolonged Holocaust-level crime perpetrated by our country, which also suffered – although not nearly at the same rate. Along with 58,000 official American lives lost, plus hundreds of thousands of physically and many more emotionally damaged veterans, we as a society lost whatever post-World War II moral standing we thought we enjoyed. However we may try to fool ourselves, we all know this inside. [from Robert Wing and Coleen Rowley of Consortium News]
War on the Working Class
Payday lending offers a service that virtually no other institution in the United States does — quick money, when you need it, in relatively small amounts. Personal bank loans, government assistance, and nonprofit aid are rarely speedy and usually require a lot of leg work. And, in the instance of a bank loan or a line of credit, the borrow is required to have demonstrable income, decent credit, and any number of other necessary qualifications (including citizenship papers and paystubs). In the United States, if a person is going to be short on rent on the 1st and they don’t get paid until the 5th, there is very, very little that they can do aside from borrow money, either from someone they know or from an organization that will lend it. And let’s not forget that a lot of Americans are in this exact situation; a reported 78% said, in 2017, that they lived paycheck to paycheck. [from Hanna Brooks Olson]
Mozart’s ability to compose music and turn notes into soaring symphonies were evident long before he became famous. For most of his youth, Mozart and his family were more like servants of the royals. The would be European king of pianos and violins was living a life closer to a pauper as his parents toiled to make ends meet. Five of Mozart’s siblings died during infancy. Luckily, Mozart lived beyond the age of his departed brothers and sisters. Before he was old enough to fully grasp the alphabets, he was already picking up bars and notes. Yet for all his aptitude and prodigious talent, Mozart was not appreciated by the broader public until Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo noted his gift and accepted young Mozart into his court. [from Ghion Journal]
To Busboys Before They Became Poets
This Day in History
The United States and Great Britain sign the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, giving the United States the right to build a canal in Nicaragua but not to fortify it. Because colonial powers get to trade nations and think they have rights to the totality of our planet.
Quote of the Day
“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?” ~ Langston Hughes
Profiled This Day
Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes
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Ghion Alert: Event at Busboys and Poets on February 11th
Busboys and Poets will be hosting the founder/editor of the Ghion Journal as a featured author on February 11th at their 5th and K Street NW location. Busboys and Poets is an iconic bookstore and cafe named in the honor of legendary poet and visionary writer Langston Hughes. The event will be a community discussion about “race and identity in America”, a timely topic given that February is “Black History Month’.
This is a community event that is free and open to all, we highly encourage an advance RSVP to ensure seating. You can see the event link at Busboys and Poets website by clicking HERE. Find out about Teodrose Fikre and the work he is doing at the Ghion Journal viewing the video below the event flyer.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.