About John Oliver Mason

I am a freelance writer, having worked for newspapers, magazines and blogs for over twenty-five years, covering neighborhood and working people making their communities and their lives better. I believe in the power of the written word to bring about change, and I put that into practice. I believe that when we become aware of the effect our small actions in the community have in improving lives, we can truly make a difference. I am also one of the leading poets in the Philadelphia area, and I also write fiction. I also act, performing on the public access channel PhillyCAM.

Pesach 2020

We are approaching Pesach, aka Passover, the holiday commemorating the ancient Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt-know in Hebrew as Mitzraim, “the narrow place,” the place of stuck-ness and limitation. It is the holiday where we recall how our ancestors left this slavery, after the series of plagues God visited upon Egypt-blood, beasts, hail, locusts, frogs, lice, cattle blight, darkness-finally, the death of the first-born of Egypt, from the highest to the lowest. It’s like that; powerful people refuse to recognize a problem and any crisis, unless it affects them personally.

In this time, we have a “president” who, like Pharaoh, refuses to do anything for his people, acting on self-interest and impulse, ignoring how it would injure his people; and the current plague of Coronavirus is affecting every person in every sector of society. It is in this time that congregations had to innovate, hold their services online so that, despite social distancing, we remain connected. We need that so sustain and support each other, so let’s continue to do that, and we’ll get through this.

In the spirit of Pesach-traditionally, the new year of the Jewish people-I present my resolutions for Pesach 2020:

I will conduct myself with self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect, thinking positively about myself and my life.

I will continue to improve my financial situation.

I will continue my education, by every medium available.

I will continue to be faithful to Jewish religion, history, culture, etc.

I will continue such spiritual practices as meditation, Torah study, prayer, affirmation, etc.

I will continue my participation in social and political causes, and my civic engagement.

Let us enjoy our Pesach, and stay close to each other.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
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Voting During COVID-19 In Pennsylvania

Due to the coronavirus crisis in the country, many states, including Pennsylvania, have pushed back the dates of their primary elections; in Pennsylvania, it is now June 2. There is also the move to have people vote by mail; to do that in Pennsylvania, get on the website http://www.votespa.com/, to apply online for a mail-in ballot, using your driver’s license number or non-driver state ID number. If you don’t have either of these, you can download a copy of a paper application, in either English or Spanish, and mail it to your county’s Board of Elections. You can also download a copy of an application for an absentee ballot.

In a situation like this, leadership is important; we must have officials in charge who are competent and interested in the public welfare-something lacking in the executive branch of our federal government. We simply MUST vote, for our community’s well-being and that of our children. The general election is on November 3; for the sake of your nation and your community, PLEASE get out and VOTE.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

The Mason Missile, Special Edition-The COVID-19 Chronicles, April 2, 2020

Greetings!

The COVID-19, aka coronavirus crisis goes on and so do trump’s failures as a “president”, as well as the charlatanism of his cheerleaders. Many of them are the evangelical Christian wing, who can’t stop seeing trump-thrice-married adulterer, tax-business-wife-golf cheater, racist, sexist, ignoramus rich kid who got out of the draft through his father’s connections-as their Messiah.

Many of them are refusing to abide by stay-at-home, social-distancing rules; one has been Jonathan Shuttlesworth, a Pittsburgh-area evangelist, has called for a big Easter revival service on the scale of Woodstock. (https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/04/01/pittsburgh-pastor-to-hold-woodstock-like-easter-gathering-despite-coronavirus-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR15NtquugQF_ez5IEr6PChnDEFe9vFs3KFYPifnhxIkLet7COOEimB4sw0) Shuttlesworth has been on Twitter complaining that church leaders who close their churches due to the COVID-19 crisis were a bunch of “sissies” and “pansies.” (  https://deadstate.org/christian-pastor-churches-that-shut-down-due-to-coronavirus-are-a-bunch-of-pansies/)

Another, Rodney Howard-Brown of Tampa, was just arrested for defying rules against holding large gatherings, continuing to hold services at his River Church. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/us/coronavirus-pastor-arrested-tampa-florida.html) Howard-Brown, a supporter of trump, kept the church open and urged his congregants to shake hands, saying that “we are raising revivalists, not pansies.”  (https://nationalpost.com/news/world/covid-19-florida-pastor-arrested-for-violating-bans-on-large-gatherings-says-closures-are-for-pansies)

So many of our plutocratic leaders, and their media mouthpieces, are demanding that workers jeopardize their health by returning to work, “to save our country,” and it makes no never mind to them that the virus is still floating around. We the working people of America are expendable to them.

But workers are still recognizing their value, as human beings and as parts of the economy, and are stepping up to the fight against COVID. Workers at the GE aerospace plant in Lynn, Massachusetts, are demanding that they, and their laid-off colleagues, be put to work in producing ventilators for hospitals in their fight against the virus. (https://www.wbur.org/bostonomix/2020/03/30/general-electric-silent-protest-coronavirus) (https://www.masslive.com/business/2020/03/coronavirus-related-layoffs-at-general-electric-prompt-workers-in-boston-and-lynn-to-walk-off-the-job-demand-ge-make-ventilators.html)

Workers at the Amazon warehouses in Staten Island NY have walked off the job, urging greater safety conditions and pay. This is similar to the demands of workers at Whole Foods (a subsidiary of Amazon) and of Instacart (a grocery delivery firm).  What the Amazon workers need especially is a deep cleaning of the warehouse to kill the virus, more sick time, and availability of hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes. (https://www.npr.org/2020/03/30/823767492/amazon-instacart-grocery-delivery-workers-strike-for-coronavirus-protection-and-) (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/business/economy/coronavirus-instacart-amazon.html) (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52096273) (https://www.post-gazette.com/news/nation/2020/03/29/Amazon-walkout-New-York-City-Staten-Island-fulfillment-center/stories/202003290163?fbclid=IwAR3KX_zOJQAV3i22BjKguaFHGd4f65AOVdMUoiep-P56s1gqC64UdP8pKdI)

Of course, Amazon spokespeople announce d the company’s concern for the well-being of its employees during the pandemic; but Amazon fired Chris Smalls, the organizers of the Amazon workers in Staten Island, for his activism for the workers. (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/30/amazon-fires-staten-island-coronavirus-strike-leader-chris-smalls.html) Even in the midst of a national crisis, union-busting and intimidating workers go on.

Throughout the country, Whole Foods workers announced plans to “call in sick” to demand paid leave for workers who self-quarantine due to the virus, plus free COVVID-19 testing for employees, and hazard pay for workers working during the crisis.( https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/5dmeka/whole-foods-employees-are-staging-a-nationwide-sick-out)

These are companies owned by Jeff Bezos, estimated worth $115 billion-wealthy enough to form his own space program- and yet he doesn’t spend a dime of his fortune on the people who got it for him, the workers who toil in his warehouses, with every move monitored electronically, with no time for rest of breaks.

Amazon employees, and workers in general, are easily disposed of these days-just like in the “Gilded Age” of this country, right after the Civil War, when capitalism was at its most blatantly laissez-faire, where corporations grew and were more powerful than the state and local governments they bought and sold, when immigrants were brought into this country-amid hostility by the “native” (i.e., white Protestant) Americans- to do the lowest-paid, most dangerous and tedious, and unskilled jobs available, and workers were expected to fight amongst each other for whatever such jobs the bosses condescend to throw at them-and the bosses look down on workers as losers and insignificant. 

But now, in this situation, this crisis that the leading leader was supposed to lead us out of, due to his vast business skills hones in tax evasion, bankruptcy, underpaying immigrant workers, and fraud, has shown himself to be a disaster of a President and as a human being altogether; and the working people-despised as “losers,” toiling in minimum-wage jobs for eternal hours-grocery workers, medical and cleaning staff, and truck drivers-are the saviors of this nation, and let’s never forget that.

We are seeing an entirely different ethos in the works in this country, and where we work together mutually in our communities, watching out for each other; as a recent editorial in the New York Times shows. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-governors-cities.html?smid=fb-nytopinion&smtyp=cur&fbclid=IwAR2n5irW9zYsZOVxztkJC8DMA0taJ02s4-KUxVU7NB6dmKS5xfwGTDGQj-A) This meshes well the workers organizing-at Amazon, at Whole Foods, at GE- for their rights and welfare, and for that of their communities-no different than from a the labor struggles over a century ago; but we have a rich history of Labor struggles to draw inspiration from during our current struggles.  

We are up against a serious crisis; but if we band together, connect with each other, support eachother, and love each other, we’ll be victorious. Bye!

The Corruptid-45 Virus — a.k.a. “Pendejovirus” — Motley News, Photos and Fun

VOTE DEMOCRAT IN NOVEMBER 2020! Get our human (and that’s debatable) orange virus out of office! Hasn’t he demonstrated that he is not presidential-material? Especially when it comes to the COVID-19 virus response? In the last few days, trump has been delivering much needed medical equipment only to states that kiss his ass, like Florida […]

The Corruptid-45 Virus — a.k.a. “Pendejovirus” — Motley News, Photos and Fun

What did corporate America do with that tax break? Buy record amounts of its own stock

THIS is what our corporate masters did with the money they got from the 2017 tax law the republicans rammed through Congress. It did NOT hire more workers, or raise salaries, or rebuild and upgrade factories; they bought back their own stock to raise the value of the rest of the stock, so they can gain MORE from the stock.

No, we do NOT have to put up with this anymore! They’ll do the same damn thing with the $500 billion from the COVID-19 stimulus package, and they’ll fatten their bonuses. Let’s stop this NOW!