Friday, December 01, 2006

John The Painter

170 John The Painter

John was from Scotland and no one knew his last name. Well… not NO one. HE probably knew it. But he wasn’t talking. Well, yes, he was talking. But not about his last name. Turns out it probably doesn’t matter because no one listened to him, anyway.

He painted walls and ceilings, not landscapes and portraits. He did this as a member of the “Plant Department” at Hofstra University near New York City, which in those days was merely Hofstra College, a pipsqueak second or third tier school known mainly for its ability to turn higher education into high humor.

Since those days, “high” has acquired a new meaning. But Hofstra of the early 1960s was a relatively drug-free space because the drug revolution hadn’t yet taken place.

One thing they did well was to get the place painted regularly. And much of that fell to this Scottish guy, John. He spoke like “Scotty” in “Star Trek” real thick and hard for American ears to understand some of the time. Too bad. He had at least one thing to say that the rest of us should have listened to.

“Take the profit out of war, and there’s no more war.”

John was an advocate of a single, national industrial union and worker ownership of the factories that made the implements of war, from supertankers to nuts and bolts. This didn’t fly in his native land, so he figured he’d come here. That doesn’t seem sensible now. But he figured he had a better chance here. Teach you to listen to a guy who plays a bagpipe.

Bechtel the construction giant has pulled out of Iraq or been fired, no one’s quite sure which and no one who knows anything is saying. But they’re left a lot of their un-done work to the Army Corps of Engineers. The corps is more used to taking things down than it is to putting things up. They must recruit the ham-handed. Or the ham-minded. And their cost overruns would make Northrop-Grumman and Lockheed green with envy. But they’re a non-profit. So it’s a start.

Another start: members of the Democratic Party recently won a majority representation in the Congress. That means they control stuff like… oh, say, appropriations.

And that means they can “cut and run,” as the right wing whackos call it. Cut the funding, and run THIS country, is more like it.

Cut the money. No more war.

Of course, no more Iraqi oil, either, once the mullahs get their hands on the moolah. But we always have our good friends in Iran, Saudi Arabia, The Emirates, Yemen, Russia, Venezuela, Mexico and the various ‘stans to count on.

Fill ‘er up, Borat.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

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