Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thank you Sir Elton

Stopping the AIDS Epidemic in Its Tracks

World AIDS Day is a time for us to consider the state of the epidemic and the challenges we must overcome to achieve a world without AIDS. It's a time to reflect on the fact that we ALL have a role to play in ending this disease. And one of the most important ways we can stop AIDS in its tracks is simply by fighting stigma and homophobia.
This World AIDS Day nearly coincides with the 20th anniversary of the death of my dear friend, Freddie Mercury. If Freddie were alive today he would feel very much as I do. He'd be astonished by how far we've come in treating and preventing HIV/AIDS since the frightening and tragic early days of the epidemic. But he'd also be saddened and dismayed to see that rampant stigma and homophobia continue to drive this disease.
The devastating impact of discrimination against gay people and people living with HIV are clearly reflected in the alarming incidence of HIV/AIDS in the gay community. In American cities, as many as one out of every five gay and bisexual men is HIV-positive, and half of those infected are unaware they have the disease. Indeed, HIV prevalence in our community is on par with some of the hardest hit regions of the developing world. Also, new HIV infections are actually on the rise among gay and bisexual men -- the only risk group in America for which this is the case.
Clearly, we must do more, MUCH more, to reduce the incidence of HIV among gay and bisexual men, and that work has to begin within our community. In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, we rose up with our straight allies, claimed for ourselves equal rights and equal value as human beings, and demanded solutions for a health crisis that affected not just the gay community but every population across the globe. And it WORKED! HIV rates among gay men declined dramatically by the late 1980s, and we can be justifiably proud of our efforts then.
But today's statistics show that we have stalled in our drive against this disease. We've dropped our guard and become complacent, and in that void, AIDS is thriving in our community once again.
Today, on World AIDS Day 2011, I'm ringing the alarm bell. We must WAKE UP! There are three immediate challenges before us, and we have to address them NOW!
First, we must help our young people to combat the many negative messages our society still flings at gay people. We have to teach gay men to love and accept themselves, to value and protect their health and the health of others, and to join the campaign for our equal rights as human beings. We cannot be silent or invisible. The old slogan "Silence = Death" is every bit as relevant today as it was in the 1980s. Homophobia can be neutralized by familiarity and experience and compassion. Stigma can be eradicated by courage and pride and unity. We can begin to end AIDS when we empower ourselves.
Second, we must take responsibility for our own health and well-being. We must get tested and retested. Too many of us do not know our HIV status, and that MUST change.
Third, we must not let our federal and state governments balance their budgets by cutting crucial funding for HIV prevention, treatment, and research. Reducing or eliminating HIV programming today will cost us much MORE money down the road. That's because these investments pay for themselves in terms of infections prevented, health preserved, and lives saved. Earlier this year, the National Institutes of Health released a groundbreaking study demonstrating conclusively that people living with HIV who receive effective antiretroviral treatments are 96 percent LESS likely to pass the disease to their sexual partners. In other words, HIV treatment IS prevention. Therefore, we should be INCREASING funding for HIV treatment programs, not implementing cuts, as many states are doing today.
We have all of the tools we need to stop this epidemic in its tracks. Working together, I believe my little son Zachary and his generation can live to see a future without AIDS. But to get there, we have serious work to do. We must fight stigma, homophobia, and apathy. We must learn to love and value our lives and our health. We must be honest in our own relationships. We must get serious about the risky behaviors that have become commonplace once again in our community, and the negative messages that encourage this behavior. We must acknowledge the dangerous substances that are known drivers of infection. We must demand health funding.
But more than anything, we must educate and mobilize young people to join the fight not only AGAINST the AIDS epidemic, but also FOR health and acceptance and love. On this World AIDS Day, let us spread messages of tolerance and compassion that are so critical to ending AIDS.
Sir Elton John is the Founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF). EJAF supports innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Since 1992, EJAF has raised over $220 million in support of projects in 55 countries around the world. Learn more at

Sunday, November 27, 2011


The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venalit

Naomi Wolf, Friday 25 November 2011 12.25 EST
Article history

Occupy Wall Street protester Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground after clashes with police over the eviction of OWS from Zuccotti Park. Photograph: Allison Joyce/Getty Images
US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers" covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that "It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk."

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors', city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually "OWS has no message". Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, "we are going after these scruffy hippies". Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women's wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the "scandal" of presidential contender Newt Gingrich's having been paid $1.8m for a few hours' "consulting" to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies' profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists' privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can't suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Warren Buffett, in a recent  interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

                           "I could  end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a  law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of  GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election

                           The 26th amendment (granting the  right to vote, for 18 year olds,  took only  3 months & 8 days  to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in  1971...before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

                           Of  the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or  less to become the law of the land...all because of public  pressure.

                           Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email  to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask  each of those to do likewise.

                           In three days, most  people in The United States of America will have the message.  This is one idea that really should be passed  around.

                           Congressional Reform Act of 2011
                           1. No  Tenure / No Pension.
                           A Congressman collects a salary while in  office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

                           2.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social  Security.
                           All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move  to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow  into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with  the American people. It may not be used for any other  purpose.

                           3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan,  just as all Americans do.

                           4. Congress will no longer vote  themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower  of CPI or 3%.

                           5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the  American people.

                           6. Congress must equally abide by all laws  they impose on the American people.

                           7. All contracts with  past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The  American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
                           Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in  Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers  envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

                           If each person  contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three  days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe  it is time.

                           THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Amy Winehouse
you will be remembered

Saturday, July 02, 2011


THEY are coming!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011





Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Way I Remember It

my family had pepper before they had me, i think. i don't know for sure, because i wasn't born yet. we had pepper 'til i was about nine, i think. pepper was a black and white cocker spaniel. i don't remember much about her, because i was too busy growing up. i don't ever remember walking pepper. i remember her being let out the back door. one day she never came back. it was explained to me that it was simply her time to go. being about nine, i accepted this, and probably went off to watch get smart, or the wild wild west.
a miniature white poodle named pete was our next dog. i remember more about pete. i don't ever remember walking pete. i remember snuggling with pete. i remember pete on a long leash in the driveway. i remember one day my mom was in a hurry, and that was the end of pete. it was an accident. it's never good, i think, to be in a hurry.
not long after that i remember we got a kerry blue terrier named claude. he was the one that nobody wanted, because kerry blue terriers are supposed to be entirely kerry blue. claude had white feet, and a bit of white, i think, on his adorable face. claude quickly became a member of the family. i remember for the first few months we had claude, he was caged at night. i remember him crying horribly through this. i remember i used to sneak out of bed when everybody else was asleep, and let claude out of his prison. he quickly made my bed, his. i became a guest in his bed. i don't remember walking claude. i remember claude sleeping with me 'til i left home at 18. i had a life to acquire.
i didn't see claude much after that. i remember my mother telling me that he always slept on my bed. he was the best friend i ever had from about age 12 to 18. i remember the phone call from my mother telling me claude had passed away. on my bed of course. i must have been about 25. i don't remember.
after that, i didn't have another dog 'til now, age 57.
they say, people who have dogs, live longer.
i don't have a dog. i have a very furry person. at least that's how i see him. a remarkable hairy midget named buddy.

i have many photos and videos of him, but will only put this one on here, for now.
i walk buddy most days at 6am and 6pm. we're not always on the same schedule, but it all works out, most of the time.
i love to walk buddy. or is he walking me? a little of both, i think.
we also play ball. i never remember playing ball with any of my other dogs.
buddy is a fabulous ball player. he often catches the ball BEFORE the first bounce. and he brings it back. he has no choice. if he doesn't bring it back, i can't throw it again. i'm not sure if he's training me, or the other way around. a little of both, i suppose.
as i write this, buddy is in the other room. if he were in here, he'd be "helping me" in ways that weren't helpful.
i can't imagine my life without buddy, although some separate vacations would do us both good, i think.
and some joint vacations too.
i think people my age, 57, should consider having a dog, or cat. they add so much to our lives.
from time to time i'll post more photos and videos of buddy online.
you can also follow him, and me, on facebook, under frankie landfield.
until next time, enjoy.
peace and love.
frank landfield
palm desert, california
may, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

TV or no TV?

a few friends of mine have no TV and claim their lives are much better for it.
i cannot relate. i've always had a TV. i may be at a disadvantage here.
AND it's NBA and NHL playoff season!
recently, my TV has been making clicking sounds. today it has decided to stop working all together. i can relate. i know i'll get there too one day. the TV is 15 years old, i think, perhaps older. it's not HDTV, but it is color!
and so the research begins to determine what to do.
no TV?
HDTV? is there any other kind?
brand? already i'm getting a headache.
asking friends, family, and neighbors will surely be helpful.
for the moment, a nap, and meditation.
to be continued...
stay tuned...