A Chat with PoetsWest founder J Glenn Evans

J Glenn Evans
J Glenn Evans

By Lara Trace

Thanks to the world-wide-web, blogging can connect people to past, present and future in brand new ways… and we make new friends who become our relatives.

As promised, I’m interviewing some of my most inspiring friends. One of them is renown Seattle poet J. Glenn Evans (Cherokee). He’s contributed to this blog numerous times over the past five years. J Glenn and I first met online after my memoir came out and we soon discovered we have a mutual friend — the legendary Seattle record label exec JERRY DENNON, my old boss/employer at Jerden Records back in the early 90s.

Jerry Dennon is best known for producing hits like “Louie Louie” when he was The Kingsmen’s producer thirty years earlier… I spent about a year working as Mr. Dennon’s right- hand-assistant and helped him on his third incarnation into the music business when SEATTLE GRUNGE was just hitting its stride with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam… I loved living and working in downtown Seattle… Dennon was going to reproduce some of his catalog and I helped him do that.

Jerry and J Glenn met as investment bankers/stock brokers.

By synchronicity then years later I meet J Glenn who is a truly prolific writer and poet and community organizer. It’s a small world and it just keeps getting smaller!

Here’s a bit about this trailblazer’s background and career:

Part Cherokee, and a native of Oklahoma, J Glenn Evans has lived in Seattle over 54 years beginning in 1960 and now resides in Olympia, Washington.  He worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller, starring Slim Pickens.  Evans, an award-wining poet, has written numerous political essays and is the author of several local community histories…

Now for some questions:

Where did you grow up and what was that experience like?

J Glenn Evans: I was born December 21, 1930 in Wewoka, Oklahoma, the capital of the Seminole Nation.  Many of my classmates were Seminole, including Amelia Brown, great-granddaughter of the famous Gov Brown, chief of the Seminole Nation around the Civil War period.

The 1930s were the days of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.  I remember playing out in front of the house when my mother came out, grabbed me by the arm and yelled, “Come, we’ve got to get inside.”  I looked back and saw a wall of sand as high as I could see bearing down on us.  When we got inside the angry sand beat the windows and streamed under the doors.

We were sharecroppers and I was tired of Biscuits and Gravy all the time.  I asked my mother, “Could we have some eggs?”  She said, “We don’t have any.” I said, “I seen some in the icebox.” She said, “Those are Mr. Looneys. We sold ours to buy you school books.”

Those times were hard, but neighbors seemed to help each other.

Do you recall the first time you wrote something (story or poem) and knew it was good, or even great?  How old were you?

J Glenn: The earliest writing I did was a filler called “Expecting A New Baby” that was published in The American Baby and they paid me $5.00 for it.  Today that would be equivalent to $100 (a nickel candy bar then now sells for almost a buck).  This was a story that parents should prepare their children to expect a new brother or sister so they will not be jealous of the new baby.  At that time I was age 15.  I went on to write for the high school newspaper called the Little Tiger.  I wrote a story about two buddies and I camping out in the woods near the Wewoka Creek and being stalked by a cougar.  We’d seen what looked like cougar tracks on the creek bank earlier in the day and really believed that we had been stalk by a cougar.  With a little age I suspect it was our imagination.

Tell us about PoetsWest?  How can people hear the podcasts?

J. Glenn: I was writing lots of poetry and hosting three different poetry venues we called PoetsWest when a fellow member of Seattle Free Lances suggested that I contact the local radio station and propose a program on poetry.  She knew Ed Bremer, the manager of KSER90.7 FM of Everett, WA near Seattle.  She referred me to him. His reaction was “Who in the hell listens to poetry” but he said, “I’ll give you 30 minutes a week,” and he scheduled us on a remote Saturday afternoon when there were few listeners.  After two months he moved us up to his prime time, every Thursday at 6:30 pm on his Road Home show.  This was right before Amy Goodman of Democracy Now and has kept us on prime time for the past seven years.  You can listen to the two most recent program on our website.  Here is the link: http://www.poetswest.com/radio_programs.htm

You recently had to relocate from Seattle to Olympia.  What happened?

J. Glenn: After living in Seattle 54 years and in our apartment for 27 years, the Panorama House was sold to some eastern investors.  They gave us notice that we must vacate within six months.  If we wanted to return after their remodel job the rents would essentially double.  We told them and Seattle to “Go Jump” and moved to Olympia where we got the same square footage for $960 a month against $1400 we were paying that would have doubled to about $2800 if we returned.  To reflect our outrage I wrote an essay called, “We Have Moved” (read essay below). We will miss our lovely city of Seattle that we have called home for so many years and getting to see our close friends often, but Olympia reminds us of Seattle when we first came to Seattle in 1960 when the tallest building in town was the Smith Tower.

You asked me about having more than one name and you have this same issue. Care to explain?

J. Glenn: I too have had multiple names.  My original name was “Jackie Johnny Junior Glenn.”  My birth father’s name was John Glenn, whom my mother stayed married to only one year then they split. My mother was only 16 years of age.  My birth father, John Glenn, kidnapped me when I was one year old and took me to the Gulf of Mexico.

My mother re-married to Jefferson Davis Evans when I was four years old.   He went by J. D., being raised a southerner, when he was in the U.S. Marines.  He was the only father I knew until high school.  My mother never used my birth certificate name, but always called me Jackie Ray Evans.  When I was a teenager, I had an aunt who was a legal secretary.  She helped me to change my name legally to Jackie Ray Evans and as I grew up I used “Jack R. Evans.”

My mother’s brother, Uncle Harvey, raised my mother as she was only two years old when her own mother died in the 1918 flu epidemic.  This grandmother was where I got my Cherokee heritage.  She was a quarter Cherokee.  Mother knew her grandmother who was a half-breed Cherokee, but she never told me much about her.  Her last name was Harjo. I wish I had information on my great-great grandparent, who was a full blood Cherokee, but I guess that will never be.  But I honored him with my poem, “My Grandfather Spoke,” in my book, Buffalo Tracks. Although, my percentage of Indian is small, I have become more Indian in spirit than white.

I did not get to meet my birth father until I was in high school.  I liked him very much, though it did not lessen my love for my stepfather who raised me.  He had three boys and a girl so I discovered a new family.  He was office manager of the Loftland Drilling Company, a large oilfield supply company out of Oklahoma City.

When I shucked my career as a stockbroker and became a full time writer, I adopted the professional name of J. Glenn Evans, because I wanted to also honor my birthfather.  It worked out well.  There are hundreds of “Jack Evans” but only one or two J. Glenn Evans when you Google that name.  More people now know me as J. Glenn Evans than ever knew me as Jack Evans.  So with my names changes, you see how I can respect your selection of various names.  Thank God, I didn’t get stuck with Jackie Johnny Junior Glenn.

Books by J. Glenn Evans


Poetswest Website


Poetswest Youtube


PoetsWest Radio Programs




You live in a neighborhood of educated, articulate, intelligent, and artistic people, or maybe just good old common folks.  These are your neighbors, relatives, people who have become dear friends over the years.  Then suddenly an outside force without any notice or negotiation comes in and says you all must all move; you have six months to get out.  Gone are your neighborhood and friends, a community destroyed.

This happens again and again and government does nothing to stop it.  With Panorama House in Seattle it is reported that the new owners paid in the range of $74 million for the property and budgeted up to $20 million for remodeling and upgrading.  According to present tenant laws, what happened to the people in Panorama House is legal. When Panorama House was constructed in 1962, the project was funded by the government and repaid by the tenants over the years.  Therefore, the tenants, not the former owners, paid equity into the building.  Laws that deeply favor the landlord must be changed to provide a more favorable balance between the owners and the tenants.  The tenants, who are being forced to relocate against their will, should be paid at least a $10,000 relocation fee, an amount that more favorably reflects what are the true costs of this unsettling.  This cost would only require another $2 million or 2% added to the budget.  The new buyers could have negotiated with the former owners to pay half of these costs in the deal.  After all, they have had a free ride all these years, receiving annual profits and a fabulous capital gain all paid for and earned by the tenants, who received nothing.  It’s time for new thinking about tenant’s rights with properties being hogged up by big corporations.

Speculative money is forcing long-term citizens/tenants out of their homes as in the recent sale of the Panorama House.  Some tenants have lived here over 40 years and many more over 20 years.  This has caused the destruction of a community of people who have contributed to the vitality of Seattle.  Many of these folks, who are now elderly, have been advised that if they want to move back in after remodeling, rents will essentially double to reflect market rates, an impossible cost for many of them.

Well, the market be damned.  It’s a capitalist tool of speculators, developers, bankers and money manipulators who artificially create their funny money that is used to push honest hardworking people to the brink.  Modern society must come to recognize that shelter, like food, healthcare and education, are not commodities to be manipulated by speculators who give the outrageous excuse that this is the market.  It’s time these vital necessities be treated like utilities and have their prices regulated based on costs and a reasonable profit, not manipulation and speculation.  Otherwise, these productive functions should be taken into public ownership and operated for the common good and not for personal private profit.  We need rent control to be regulated by the local communities, not prohibited or regulated by the state.  Local factors vary too much for the state to be involved in such regulation.  We also need a massive program of public housing that is sheltered from market manipulation.  Otherwise the heart and soul of our city will die.  Taxing the new construction projects that are crowding out and killing our older communities can finance this.

Rent control is not the only major problem our society is facing.  If the legislators do not change the laws to close the tax loopholes, take private money out of elections, provide a fairer, economic, social, criminal justice and wipe out this outrageous inequality by new tax laws, then we must change those who represent us.  They must also quit funding predatory wars, quit trashing our Constitution with unconstitutional laws that allow the so-called leaders to commit war crimes and violate international laws.  They must desist in interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and manipulating or destroying democratically elected leaders.  They must cease and desist in accepting corruption money from lobbyists and other bribers.  If these actions are not taken then we need to change our elected representatives before it becomes necessary for the people undertake stronger measures that they and their rich friends are blindly driving us to.

Due to the gross inequalities that have developed with mega capitalism, we need to devise a new system.  Socialism does not have all the answers, but frankly, I think it is time we take a realistic look at Socialism where rents are stable; healthcare is provided without bankrupting the citizens; our young folks are educated without a lifetime of debt hanging around their necks; everyone able to work is employed; everyone is cared for and provided food and shelter.

The resources of this earth are here for all life, not reserved for a few rich grabbers.  Why should one person have enough for a thousand lifetimes and a thousand families go hungry and unsheltered.  After seeing what big concentrations of money is doing to our democracy, we need an equalization tax.  Any private corporate ownership in the hands of one individual or institution, regardless of where they are headquartered, that exceeds $10 million should be taken into public ownership and any income that exceeds $1 million per year should be taxed 95%.  If the Rockefellers, Wall Street tycoons and CEOs can’t afford to keep up their mansions, they can always take in boarders.  Mega Buck psychopaths did not earn that wealth.  They get it by manipulation and speculation in casino gambling on Wall Street.




Copyleft 2014 J. Glenn Evans

Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible…

Broker JimJ. Glenn Evans, founder and director of PoetsWest, is the author of two novels, Broker Jim, and Zeke’s Revenge, and four books of poetry, Window In The Sky, Seattle Poems, Buffalo Tracks, and Deadly Mistress. His poems appear in the Poets Table Anthology (SCW Publications, 2002) and in diverse other publications. Under his real name, Jack R. Evans, he has authored several local community histories and two biographies. Click on books for a list of his publications, including a history of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. J. Glenn Evans was awarded the 1999 Faith Beamer Cooke Award by Washington Poets Association in recognition of service to the poetry community of Washington and the 2003 Seattle Free Lances Award for literary achievement. Evans is also the host and co-producer of PoetsWest on the air, a weekly program of poetry, music and interviews broadcast from KSER 90.7 FM in Everett, Washington. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.  J Glenn is past president of the Seattle Free Lances, AKCHO and the past vice president of the History Guild. His books can be purchased at the links above.

My deepest thanks to J Glenn for being a supporter of my poetry chapbooks and my memoir. He is a good friend and a true inspiration… Lara/Trace


  • http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/action/

    Dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela who died on December 5, 2013 atthe age of 95.  He led Africa’s struggle for freedom and justice.  A hero to millions, he will be mourned around the world.

     By J. Glenn Evans

    We the People need to speak truth to power.  We need to be heard.  We need to restore our democracy and rein in the national security state that was established on the false premise of looking for terrorists.  The elected legislators in all branches of government represent the interests of the corporate welfare state and not the interests of the American people.  Our Constitution has been trashed and our Bill of Rights destroyed.

    Civil liberties

    Journalists and whistle-blowers jailed and prosecuted.  Citizens working for justice denigrated, marginalized, jailed, or even taken out.  Municipal police are being militarized.  Police brutality used against peaceful protestors who are beaten and jailed.  Citizens detained without access to family or lawyers.  Citizens may disappear into Controlled Management Units (CMUs). Infiltration of activist and dissident organizations [Amendments I, V, VI of the Constitution, NDAA, Military Commissions Act].

    The national security state spies on us all.  The expansive military machine can turn on us at will.  National leaders who speak out can be taken out.  Look at what happened to John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy.  Look at what is currently happening to our more recent patriot heroes: Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden. [Amendment IV of the Constitution]

     Climate Change

    The science has been pretty well established, yet neither the corporate media nor members of Congress mention the growing perils associated with climate change.  This may well be the most critical element in the future life of our planet and all living things.  The content of mainstream media has been dumbed down to infotainment so that what we see, read and hear is hollow.

    Increasing changes in climate will worsen economic conditions and those hardships help to drive immigration.  Land and water wars will increase the social stress with resulting mass exoduses of refugees.

     Congress and the Corporate State

    Congress passes legislation written by lobbyists and corporate lawyers. [Article I of the Constitution]  Congress passes legislation that legalizes what is illegal.  A former democratic society is now a plutocracy with titles of Director, Lobbyist, CEO and President (instead of Baron, Duke, Earl and Monarch).  Regressive tax structure that benefits the 1%.

    The use of offshore tax havens and other tax avoidance strategies by wealthy to avoid payment of income tax.  “Tax dodging by the rich and corporations costs every other American taxpayer $1,026 per year in higher taxes or reduced benefits and services.”  [WA Post May 24, 2013]

    National Priorities Project reports that (1) corporate tax breaks will total $108 billion in FY2013 – more than 1.5 times what the U.S. government spends on education funding. Between 2007 and 2013, the revenue lost from U.S. corporations deferring taxes on income earned abroad rose 200%, going from $14 billion to $42 billion. (2) All tax breaks for individuals will exceed $1 trillion this year, with about 17% of the biggest individual tax breaks going to the top 1% of earners. More at a report out today from the National Priorities Project. [Amendment XVI of the Constitution].

    Excessive involvement of the military and corporations manufacturing arms in formulation of U.S. foreign policy [Caldicott, Helen, The New Nuclear Danger, New Press, 2002].

    A corrupt Congress has defunded and decreased the regularity authority of governmental agencies, putting profits before people and the planet.

    The Extreme Court does the bidding of a very small political elite [Article III of the Constitution].

    Congress fails to curb secret negotiations that affect relations between countries and corporations.  Current examples include TPP and TAFTA.


    It’s all about money.  The obscene level of wealth and economic inequality is a moral issue, as well as an economic or political issue.  Marketplace autonomy, financial speculation and widespread corruption have caused the current massive inequality in societies the world over.  Workers and even our soldiers are treated as goods to be used and thrown away.  The wages of working Americans have remained stagnant since the late 70s while, at the same time, easy credit has made Americans slaves to debt.  The United States is last among 21 developed nations in union membership, reflecting a downward trend since 1983.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports union membership at 11.1% in 2012.  [Bureau of Labor Statistics. Union Membership-2012. [Washington, D.C.:] U.S. Department of Labor, 2013. Web. 23 January 2013]  The current union membership has been reported to be a meager 10%.


    All citizens of legal age have the right to vote regardless of the state in which they live.  When election fraud is used to restrict their right to vote, why should they owe allegiance to a government that denies them the right to vote?  [Amendments XV and XXIV of the Constitution]

    The two major parties have betrayed the American people.  They have been bought off by the 1% and are no longer worthy of our support.  Increasing numbers of Americans are alienated from the political process and don’t bother to vote.  More Americans might participate in elections if it were a national holiday.  It is time for a national debate on making voting mandatory by Constitutional amendment and making provision for run-off elections instead of the electoral college.  And it is time for legislation on term limits. [Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution]


    The attack on so-called illegal immigrants has been accelerated to distract us from the real problems facing this nation.  I daresay that most immigrants would rather stay at home but indigenous farmers can’t compete with highly subsidized U.S. agribusiness.  One may argue whether undocumented immigrants are an economic drain or an economic boon. The debate goes on and on while we witness an immense growth in border security with nationwide immigration sweeps, over 20,000 US border agents (highest in history and twice that of a decade ago), growth of agencies in addition to Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), such as Secure Communities program. [Obama speech & Council on Foreign Relations], high number of deportations causing family breakups.  The construction of a double wall along our southern border also infringed on the rights of indigenous people to their land [Truthout Dec. 5, 2013].

     Public Institutions and Government Services

    Public institutions and government services are being privatized for profit: the military, education, prisons, etc.  Chicago closed 50 public schools May 2013, leading the way toward privatization.

    According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the five countries with the highest prison population are the US, China, Russia, Brazil and India. The US has a prison population of 2,239,751, or 716 people per 100,000. China ranks second with 1,640,000 people behind bars, or 121 people per 100,000, while Russia is third with 681,600, or 475 individuals per 100,000. Brazil has 548,003 people in prison or 274 per 100,000; finally, India’s prison population is 385,135, or 30 inmates per 100,000 citizens. Sweden ranks 112th and is closing 4 of its prisons.

    The for-profit prison industry is thriving and dependent on a hefty prison population. Correction Corps of America (CCA), Management Training Corporation (MTC) from Centerville, Utah and the GEO Group, Inc., of Boca Raton, Florida, own and operate over 200 correctional, detention and residential treatment facilities and transport prisoners by land and air. They crank out $5 billion a year in profit.  “A perfect money machine, indeed — but only if the system keeps them supplied with prisoners.”

     Government services, including the U.S. Postal Service [Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution], Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, even national parks and forests, are part of a larger strategy to privatize them under the guise of a budget crisis, or a manufactured need for austerity measures.  Social Security is not responsible for one dime of the so-called federal deficit.

     The outcome of Citizens United has enabled a small minority of powerful interests with unlimited amounts of money to gain control of the government.  Huge amounts of money are brought into states to influence ballot initiatives on GMOs and similar legislation.  The corruption of government at all levels is so deeply embedded that it cannot be changed within the current political system.  See https://movetoamend.org/.

    Wall Street

    The criminality and chicanery of Wall Street and the big banks “too large to fail” have been well established.  These institutions are the primary cause of the budget crisis and yet not one of these high-level criminals has been held accountable by the Obama administration.  (Wall Street overwhelmingly supported Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.)  It is now known that secret Wall Street bailouts totaled $7.77 trillion!  On the local level, large financial institutions remove money from local economies to finance their Wall Street speculations and corporate take-overs.  They pay a minimal rate of interest on savings accounts, yet charge us 12 to 25 percent on loans.  That interest on loans is the lifeblood of the big banks.  These institutions work for the best interests of the 1%, rather than the interests of the American people.


    The imperialistic and aggressive state of the U.S. in its perpetual war against “terrorism” threatens the peace of the world and the health of the planet and its peoples.  The destruction of Iraq, the high numbers of civilian dead from the use of drones, chemical warfare, (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.), threatens the health of civilians and the health of the planet.  The bloated U.S military budget is larger than that of the combined budgets of the 10 highest countries. [Stockholm Intl. Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, 2013. Compiled by PGPF.]

    Partial list of U.S. aggressive actions below:

    Overthrow of PM Mosaddegh of Iran in 1953

    Overthrow of leftist government in Guatemala in 1954

    The Invasion and Occupation of Vietnam – 3 Million dead 1954-1975

    Coup d’état in Chile on 9/11/1973 – 3000 murdered

    Complicity in invasion of East Timor in 1975, including shipment of arms (violates U. S. law)

    Destructive policies toward Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines

    Use of death squads in Vietnam, Central America, Iraq, Syria

    Invasion and destruction of Iraq – 1 Million dead 2001 to present

    Use of torture or “enhanced interrogation” (Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, global black sites) [Amendment VIII]

    Destruction of Fallujah and use of white phosphorus in 2004

    Use of depleted uranium in the Iraq War in 2004

    Support for dictatorships in Middle East, South America & Africa, including Saudi Arabia; Bahrain; Yemen; Jordan

    Complicity in human rights violations and war crimes by its financial, diplomatic and media support for militaristic and apartheid state of Israel

     What to Do?

    In 1999 thousands of citizens of the world gathered together in Seattle to stop the WTO conference then in progress.  On December 3, 2013 the The Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO meets in Bali, Indonesia from 3 to 6 December 2013.

    How do We the People change the system?  First, We the People must support a new people’s movement or party and withdraw our support of the Democrat and Republican parties.  We need term limits.  We can undertake individual actions and also act in unison with our fellow citizens [Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution].  We see a kind of cruelty reflected in statements and legislation passed by a corrupt Congress.  We need to meet the needs of our citizens here at home, including our veterans, cut the bloated military budget and invest in America.

     Move your money from the big banks to local banks and credit unions.  Save a little money if you can and your savings will make you free.  Free yourself of the tyranny of compound interest.  Support local businesses, banks and credit unions.  Work to build alternate economies to take care of local needs.  Support movements to establish state and city banks.

    Support actions against foreclosures.  Be there if you can.  Urge your Congressional representatives to pass a financial transaction tax.

    Don’t put a dollar sign on everything.  Someone needs something; if you have it and don’t need it, pass it on to them.  Don’t worry; that goodwill will come back to you.

    Young folks who join the army under the poverty draft should take the oath to seriously uphold the Constitution.  When ordered to fire on peaceful protestors, they should aim high over their heads.

    We the People want democracy, justice, a healthy environment, a sustainable economy, health care, and education.  These are human rights, not commodities to be traded on the markets.  We must build a movement to amend or rescind those laws that have destroyed our Constitution and our civil liberties.

    Form community networks.  Help organize a People’s Congress as a shadow government to serve as a watchdog for liberty and rally support for people who look after the people’s best interests.  Become informed and engaged as much as you are willing and have time for.

    Exercise civil disobediences to change unjust laws.  Yes, they may kill a few of us but they are killing us anyway.  Look at all the war victims and the deaths of our own soldiers who are sent around the world to protect the corporate interests of the 1%.

    Support union workers in their efforts for decent working conditions, wages and pensions.  Support worker-owned enterprises.  We need to become citizens of the world and help each other rather than shoot at each other.

    There is a growing undercurrent of dissatisfaction in the realization that politics as usual will not correct the corrupt system with its inequitable system of taxation and a bloated military budget.  Signs of change are taking place.  And the corporate media do not cover the growing vibrant movement that is going on right now.  When enough of us have had enough, the so-called 1% will run for cover.  Then we can lock the cover and build a new world of justice in which we take care of each other without the burden of those parasites who have been feasting on us ever since the development of mega capitalism.  We have one thing that scares the hell out of them that will eventually bring them down.  We have each other!


    There is a lot of information and research available to those who want to help in changing the political system and transform our society.  More help is on the way but you can start with these links:

    http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-the-path-of-positive-resistance/ with Jill Stein and Margaret Flowers. Also http://greenshadowcabinet.us/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=1

    Popularresistance.org or info@popularresistance.org



    The National Initiative for Democracy

     Movie worth watching https://vimeo.com/55141496(enter password when prompted:( barbarasteegmuller ) – 2

    The list of books is long and comprehensive. The following is only a sampling:

    Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism, World Publishing, 1951

    Blum, William, Rogue State, Common Courage Press, 2000

    Fisk, Robert, The Great War for Civilization, Vintage, 2005

    Gutierrez, Donald, Feeling the Unthinkable, Amador Publishing, 2012

    Johnson, Chalmers, Blowback 2nd ed., Henry Holt, 2004

    Wolf, Naomi, The End of America, Chelsea Publishing, 2007

    Zinn, Howard, A People’s History of the United States, Harper’s, 1995

    Zinn, Howard, The Zinn Reader, Seven Stories Press, 2004

    Copyleft 2013 J. Glenn Evans

    (Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)

    1. Glenn Evans

    Former card-carrying Republican and stockbroker-investment banker. Part Cherokee and native of Oklahoma. Earned a BS in Business from East Central University (Ada, OK). Has lived in Seattle since 1960. Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller starring Slim Pickens. Award-wining poet and founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a syndicated weekly radio show through Pacifica’s AudioPort.org. Author of four books of poetry: Buffalo Tracks, Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems, three novels, Broker Jim and Zeke’s Revenge, Wayfarers and several local community histories including Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Widely published in literary journals. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.




Amerika Is Addicted And Dependent On Slavery: 62,000 prison inmates


285265_331941813589240_296081482_n+ Midyear 2009 Incarceration Rates by Race and...

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

by Vicky Pelaez

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners? “The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.” The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.


According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:

  •  Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years’ imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.
  • The passage in 13 states of the “three strikes” laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.
  • Longer sentences.
  • The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.
  • A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.
  • More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.


Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of “hired-out” miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972. During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. “Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex,” comments the Left Business Observer.

Who is investing?

At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month. Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets.

A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq. [Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that “there won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here).”


The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton’s program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates. Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, “the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners.” The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for “good behavior,” but for any infraction, they get 30 days added – which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost “good behavior time” at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.

SOURCE: http://moorbey.wordpress.com/amerika-is-addicted-and-dependent-on-slavery/

IMPORTING AND EXPORTING INMATES: http://www.reunionblackfamily.com/apps/blog/show/9989931-the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery


Native American Rights Fund: Native Prisoners Study (pdf): http://narf.org/nill/documents/NARF_PRISONER_ISSUES.pdf


English: United States President Barack Obama ...
English: United States President Barack Obama signs into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as Vice President Joe Biden looks on. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Open Letter to President Obama …from Michael Moore

Monday, November 19th, 2012,

Dear President Obama:

Good luck on your journeys overseas this week, and congratulations on decisively winning your second term as our president! The first time you won four years ago, most of us couldn’t contain our joy and found ourselves literally in tears over your victory.

This time, it was more like breathing a huge sigh of relief. But, like the smooth guy you are, you scored the highest percentage of the vote of any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson, and you racked up the most votes for a Democratic president in the history of the United States (the only one to receive more votes than you was … you, in ’08!). You are the first Democrat to get more than 50% of the vote twice in a row since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

This was truly another historic election and I would like to take a few minutes of your time to respectfully ask that your second term not resemble your first term.

It’s not that you didn’t get anything done. You got A LOT done. But there are some very huge issues that have been left unresolved and, dammit, we need you to get some fight in you. Wall Street and the uber-rich have been conducting a bloody class war for over 30 years and it’s about time they were stopped.

I know it is not in your nature to be aggressive or confrontational. But, please, Barack – DO NOT listen to the pundits who are telling you to make the “grand compromise” or move to the “center” (FYI – you’re already there). Your fellow citizens have spoken and we have rejected the crazed ideology of this Republican Party and we insist that you forcefully proceed in bringing about profound change that will improve the lives of the 99%. We’re done hoping. We want real change. And, if we can’t get it in the second term of a great and good man like you, then really – what’s the use? Why are we even bothering? Yes, we’re that discouraged and disenchanted.

At your first post-election press conference last Wednesday you were on fire. The way you went all “Taxi Driver” on McCain and company (“You talkin’ to me?”) was so brilliant and breathtaking I had to play it back a dozen times just to maintain the contact high. Jesus, that look – for a second I thought laser beams would be shooting out of your eyes! MORE OF THAT!! PLEASE!!

In the weeks after your first election you celebrated by hiring the Goldman Sachs boys and Wall Street darlings to run our economy. Talk about a buzzkill that I never fully recovered from. Please – not this time. This time take a stand for all the rest of us – and if you do, tens of millions of us will not only have your back, we will swoop down on Congress in a force so large they won’t know what hit them (that’s right, McConnell – you’re on the retirement list we’ve put together for 2014).

BUT – first you have to do the job we elected you to do. You have to take your massive 126-electoral vote margin and just go for it.

Here are my suggestions:

1. DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF. The “fiscal cliff” is a ruse, an invention by the Right and the rich, to try and keep their huge tax breaks. On December 31, let ALL the tax cuts expire. Then, on January 1, put forth a bill that restores the tax cuts for 98% of the public. I dare the Republicans to vote against that! They can’t and they won’t. As for the spending cuts, the 2011 agreement states that, for every domestic program dollar the Republicans want to cut, a Pentagon dollar must also be cut. See, you are a genius! No way will the Right vote against the masters of war. And if by some chance they do, you can immediately put forth legislation to restore all the programs we, the majority, approve of. And for God’s sake, man – declare Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid untouchable. They’re not bankrupt or anywhere near it. If the rich paid the same percentage of Social Security tax on their entire income – the same exact rate everyone else pays – then there will suddenly be enough money in Social Security to last til at least the year 2080!

2. END ALL THE WARS NOW. Do not continue the war in Afghanistan (a thoroughly losing proposition if ever there was one) for two full more years! Why should one single more person have to die FOR NO REASON? Stop it. You know it’s wrong. Bin Laden’s dead, al Qaeda is decimated and the Afghans have to work out their own problems. Also, end the drone strikes and other covert military activities you are conducting in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Colombia and God knows where else. You think history is going to remember the United States as a great democracy? No, they’re going to think of us as a nation that became addicted to war. They’ll call us warlords. They’ll say that in the 21st century America was so in need of oil that we’d kill anyone to get it. You know that’s where this is going. This has to stop. Now.

3. END THE DRUG WAR. It is not only an abysmal failure, it has returned us to the days of slavery. We have locked up millions of African-Americans and Latinos and now fund a private prison-industrial complex that makes billions for a few lucky rich people. There are other ways to deal with the drugs that do cause harm – ways built around a sense of decency and compassion. We look like a bunch of sadistic racists. Stop it.

4. DECLARE A MORATORIUM ON HOME FORECLOSURES AND EVICTIONS. Millions of people are facing homelessness because of a crooked system enacted by the major banks and Wall Street firms. Put a pause on this and take 12 months to work out a different way (like, restructuring families’ mortgages to reflect the true worth of their homes).

5. GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. You already know this one. The public is sick of it. Now’s the time to act.

6. EXPAND OBAMACARE. Your health care law doesn’t cover everyone. It is a cash cow for the insurance industry. Push for a single-payer system – Medicare for All – and include dentistry and mental health. This is the single biggest thing you could do to reduce the country’s deficit.

7. RESTORE GLASS-STEAGALL. You must put back all the rigid controls on Wall Street that Reagan, Clinton and the Bushes removed – or else we face the possibility of another, much worse, crash. If they break the law, prosecute them the way you currently go after whistleblowers and medical marijuana dispensaries.

8. REDUCE STUDENT LOAN DEBT. No 22-year-old should have to enter the real world already in a virtual debtors’ prison. This is cruel and no other democracy does this like we do. You were right to eliminate the banks as the profit-gouging lenders, but now you have to bring us back to the days when you and I were of college age and a good education cost us little or next to nothing. A few less wars would go a long to way to being able to afford this.

9. FREE BRADLEY MANNING. End the persecution and prosecution of an American hero. Bush and Cheney lied to a nation to convince us to go to war. Manning allegedly hacked the war criminals’ files and then shared them with the American public (and the world) so that we could learn the truth about Iraq and Afghanistan. Our history is full of such people who “break the law” for the greater good of humanity. Army Specialist Bradley Manning deserves a medal, not prison.

10. ASK US TO DO SOMETHING. One thing is clear: none of the above is going to happen if you don’t immediately mobilize the 63,500,000 who voted for you (and the other 40 million who are for you but didn’t vote). You can’t go this alone. You need an army of everyday Americans who will fight alongside you to make this a more just and peaceful nation. In your 2008 campaign, you were a pioneer in using social media to win the election. Over 15 million of us gave you our cell numbers or email addresses so you could send us texts and emails telling us what needed to be done to win the election. Then, as soon as you won, it was as if you hit the delete button. We never heard from you again. (Until this past year when you kept texting us to send you $25. Inspiring.) Whoever your internet and social media people were should have been given their own office in the West Wing – and we should have heard from you. Constantly. Need a bill passed? Text us and we will mobilize! The Republicans are filibustering? We can stop them! They won’t approve your choice for Secretary of State? We’ll see about that! You say you were a community organizer. Please – start acting like one.

The next four years can be one of those presidential terms that changed the course of America. I’m sure you will want to be judged on how you stood up for us, restored the middle class, ended the s***ting on the poor and made us a friend to the rest of the world instead of a threat. You can do this. We can do it with you. All that stands in the way is your understandable desire to sing “Kumbaya” with the Republicans. Don’t waste your breath. Their professed love of America is negated by their profound hatred of you. Don’t waste a minute on them. Fix the sad mess we’re in. Go back and read this month’s election results. We’re with you.

Yours, Michael Moore MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com @MMFlint MichaelMoore.com

P.S. President Obama – my email is MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com. I await my first assignment!

Beating the Street, commentary by Bill Annett

Goldman Sachs Headquarters, New York City
Goldman Sachs Headquarters, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Volume 1, Issue #27

A commentary by Bill Annett

The boyz on Wall Street… still Raising The Bars … (Instead Of Being Behind Them)

Mirror, mirror on the wall… Serial rapist or Mafia Dom, Tell me who is the greatest con. Neither. And I’ll tell you why. But first, here’s a little story from the annals of Canadiana, an illustration of what passes for justice in that red Mercatorian blob to the  North of us, which the average American thinks consists of nothing but Mounties, Eskimos and Montreal night clubs. This bit of colonial law – as diluted by social workers – is a microcosm if you will – and even if you won’t – of the law west of the East River. I.e. Wall Street.

A few years back, 1982 to be exact, an enterprising child rapist named Clifford Olson conned the RCMP into paying him $100,000 (actually as sustenance for his wife and kiddies, while he was taking a sabbatical in the slammer) in return for which he would tell the cops where the bodies were buried – the 11 kids he had raped and murdered.

They did, and he did, after which he toddled off to a five-star prison, where he divided his time between acquiring a law degree on the taxpayers, and drafting his speech for the parole board, which was his due after 25 years (a little more than two years for each murder). That hearing never convened, thanks to his untimely (but widely cheered) death from colon cancer (allegedly) about a year ago. One hopes that instead the actuality had to do with the boys in the prison yard and that old stockade gag about having fallen down a slight of stairs.

And for at least the last six years, he had been collecting Canada’s munificent Pension Plan and Old Age Security – oh, 15 grand a year -not the moon but not bad for a lifer.

Sound familiar, American students? It should.  Because although it’s small potatoes by comparison, it’s close to the same playbook we’ve thrilled to as spectators of what’s gone down on Wall Street in recent years, with the exception that here the perps are still at large and making even more money than ever – in fact, they’re still stacking the deck.

In the American version, bigger and classier, of course, the Mounties’ part is played by Hank Paulson, Tim Geitner and two Presidents, while in the role of the single perp we substitute Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase and the rest of the Boyz on the Street.

The reasoning behind the payola (since every body knows where the bodies are buried) goes something like this: it’s as if the Attorney General were to say, “I know these Mafia guys are guilty as hell, but if we were to prosecute it would be catastrophic for vast stretches of Bergen County, N.J. and much of the Lower East Side south of  34th Street. It would mean the end of the  olive oil market as we know it, and our diplomatic relations with Sicily would be set back 50 years.”

Is this, the heist of the Century, being eagerly debated by those two tired campaigners for truth and justice – Obama and Romney – in this never-ending political soap opera, where Obama is the repetitive story line and Romney is the commercial? Nary a word.

Writing in the New Yorker (November 5), Greg Smith, a graduate cum disgust from Goldman Sachs, like a priest disillusioned by the Vatican’s criminality, puts it like this:

“…politicians are silent on a topic that still poses a real risk to people’s economic futures: a financial system rigged against the ordinary citizen in favor of the banks, one that allows the gains to be privatized to an elite few, with the downside risks socialized to everyone.”

Two years after the enactment of Dodd-Frank “financial reform” legislation, to which Obama points with pride and Romney promises to dismantle on his first day in the Oval Office(although on alternate days he insists he won’t), the fact is that barely a third of Dodd-Frank’s regulatory provisions have been finalized and three quarters of its imposed deadlines have been missed. Meanwhile, Wall Street lobbyists, says Smith, have spent a paltry $300 million “trying to kill – or at least insert loopholes into –  key rules that would ensure greater transparency in derivatives and bar banks from betting against their own customers.”

Five of the nation’s biggest banks are larger than they were when all thedesperate hand-wringing was going on because the sky was falling and the end was nigh. Something like Clifford Olson, who never had it so good just prior to his dubious death. Except that Wall Street’s cancer is not endemic, but lingers in the society that was infected.

And as the sun sinks slowly in the West on Election Eve, Treasury Department staffers reach the end of their term and slouch toward Goldman Sachs (like Auden’s “rough beast,” its hour come round at last) to be born again. And JPMorgan Chase, having lobbied heavily for a Dodd-Frank loophole around proprietary trading, succeeds in dropping $6 billion in stupid trading which they then claimed as a hedge, and the  cretins who did it leave with golden parachutes to spend more time with their families.

Popular mythology notwithstanding, hedge funds represent less than 5% of the market. The market is primarily made up of private households, pension funds , charities and foundations entrusted with your savings, retirement funds and 401(k)s – trillions invested with Wall Street banks. When dice-rolling traders make a mistake, as they did recently with a Libor bet – guess who suffers?

And the recent Facebook fiasco, when the Man in The Golden Tee-shirt pulled the ultimate con on three-piece suiters in the most prestigious houses, $19 billion went up in smoke – and I hope you weren’t among the rampaging suckers who paid $38 a share for that inflated miracle stock back in the merry month of May. That’s how smart Wall Street can be. Of course they didn’t lose; they made the underwriting commission on the total IPO.

They rarely do, because as Smith puts it, “it (Wall Street) knows who is on every side of a trade. It can effectively see everyone’s cards. Therefore, it can bet smarter with its own money. And given the lax industry regulation (Dodd-Frank undressed) there is maximum temptation to try to exploit unsophisticated investors and conflicts of interest.”

When in doubt, they can use your money.

Just like Clifford Olson, only on a massive scale.

As you go to the poll on November 6, Greg Smith says you should remember how, after the Crash of ’29, the Senate enacted real reforms and held banks responsible for abusive practices, and there was peace in the valley for years afterward. And he says that you should ask “Why don’t today’s Senate, House and presidential candidates have the guts to do the same thing?”

I go a tad farther. I say, “How come some of these guys who conducted the greatest caper in financial history – like that small-town boy, the late Clifford Olson – how come they haven’t been sent to the slammer?”

Short answer: because the judges, the jurists, the jurors are all on the take – that $300 mill I mentioned. No wonder that the 2012 election issues are confined to  biggies like abortions and Lybia and voter suppression.

Just as, on Clifford Olson’s rap sheet over 20 years, sexual atrocity was never mentioned.

Is labor a lost cause? Watch Bill Moyers!


Is Labor A Lost Cause? July 6, 2012

Exploring if unions can rebound and once again act strongly in the interest of ordinary workers.

On this week’s Moyers & Company, Bill talks to two people who can best answer the question: Stephen Lerner and Bill Fletcher, Jr. The architect of the SEIU’s Justice for Janitors movement, Lerner directed SEIU’s private equity project, which worked to expose a Wall Street feeding frenzy that left the working class in a state of catastrophe. Fletcher took his Harvard degree to the Massachusetts shipyards, and worked as a welder before becoming a labor activist. He served as Assistant to the President of the AFL-CIO, and is author of the upcoming book “They’re Bankrupting Us!”: And 20 Other Myths about Unions.

I do hope Citizens United is repealed – it’s ignorance in the highest order…Remember: we needed unions to protect children who were miners, employed by the Rockerfellers…  Lara/Trace