Saturday, September 30, 2006
I am terribly sorry and apologize if, perhaps, I begin to sound like the Rude Pundit, but I am really, royally pissed (and maybe that is why the Rude Pundit sounds like he does!). Maybe I should also apologize for the picture, but I'm not. It was taken on a street in Helsinki and I pulled it down from "Free Iraq".
That said, with all due obescience, lighting of candles, incense and whatnot to various gods and demigods, let me say this: the bill Congress just passed, the one that shilled to the sheeple as necessary to "fighting terrorism" -- it sucks!
Not only does it suck, it sucks great big, hairy, male elephant external sexual organ appendages as we used to say more explicitly when I was in the Army.
Why did so many congressmen vote for such vaguely and ambiguously phrased law text? A law which makes it possible for anyone declared "an enemy combatant" to be put away, behind bars, forever?
An enemy combatant is no longer someone who attacks the US. An enemy combatant is now someone who materially supports in some way attacks on the US. It is a military tribunal which decides your status and there is no recourse to that most basic of rights our forefathers fought and died for -- the right of habeas corpus.
Did you know there is a fellow on the East Coast who is trouble right now because he, as a cable provider sold access to the a channel run by Hezbollah?
I'm sorry, put your fingers in your ears becauses I am going to use the "F" word -- WHAT THE FUCK!
I suppose the coming election and the fear of being branded as "soft on terrorism" may have scared some of the wussies in Congress, not to mention the many who sold their souls to the devil long ago.
Hell, just the other day, his imps branded a woman running for Congress as being "cut and run" on on Iraq. The egregiously disgusting thing about the smear is that the woman in question can barely walk let alone run -- she lost both legs -- as a helicopter pilot in Iraq!
The Codpiece Administration has already gone beyond anything anybody ever imagined that a Chief Executive could or would. They have already make Nixon looks like a schoolboy out on a few teenage pranks and they contnue to push the envelope.
Another reason so many voted for the bill is that their cell and ordinary phone conversations may have been monitored and compromising information used against them. You don't it could happen? Hell, if you had the half the power the Codpiece Admin has abrogated to itself along with the morals of mobster, wouldn't you?
This (mal)administration is prepared to do anything to maintain its power (and stay out of jail).
It took but one Reichstag fire to cement the German dictatorship. The American democracy is made of much sterner stuff than the Weimar Republic. In our case it will take at least two.
God help us all when Karl Rove springs his "October Surprise".
[Just for the hell of it and because he is an inspiration for so many, not least myself, I leave you with a link to an interview with an amazing fellow who loves America almost as much as I do -- Joe Bageant ]
Friday, September 29, 2006
Today we cry.
Brutally raped, with no recourse to justice, the Lady of Freedom and Enlightenment cries tears of blood.
The morning news in Denmark (that happy little kingdom where the king is a queen and she isn't in drag) is that the American Politburo (aka the Congress of the United States) has just passed an execrable legislative potpourri which the (s)elected representatives of we, the people, either have not read , or could not or dared not understand.
All that remains is for the
Supreme Hole the President to sign it into law, which he of course will, after a brief retirement to the bathroom where he can jerk off and smear his cum over the Constitution.
The bottom line, dear hearts, is that agents of "our" government can, anywhere in the world, take anybody (=you) off the streets and put you away in a dungeon and do whatever the fuck they want to do to you with no recourse to any independent judge anywhere. All that is required is that the Asshole in Chief, or those to whom He Delegates His Authority, declares you to be an "enemy combatant" or a whatever.
Tristero over at Digby has already written what may well become a classic dissertation on this exercise in the driving of nails into the coffin of the Wondrous Experiment in Self Government, a.k.a. American Democracy:
The truth is that the United States government is presently holding, torturing, and even murdering countless numbers of people who have no chance in hell of obtaining a lawyer, let alone anything resembling a trial. The government is doing this under the direct orders of George W. Bush. There is no law, no bill, and no legislature who can stop him. If Congress were to pass a law unequivocally banning torture and send it to him, he'd use it for toilet paper. If the Supreme Court were to rule against Bush in the harshest and bluntest language, he'd yawn...
Thursday, September 28, 2006
[What follows was is an excerpt from an anonymous screed written in a world parallel to our own in the Third Galaxy. Its relevance to our own world, where torture is unacceptable, is therefore of course only theoretical]
Torture is abusing people one has under ones total control. All other definitions are bullshit serving other, usually hidden agendas.
Torture is evil, wicked, a slippery slope leading to the black hole of a bottomless hell.
By all that is holy and sacred, by all that is mundane and profane:
Take this silver bullet and shoot the beast in it's heart of cold stone, shattering it to a thousand slivers and grind it to dust.
Take this ashen stake a drive it into the void where a soul should have been.
Like all lies of the devil, torture does not even deliver what is supposed to be its "justification", that is the gathering of reliable intelligence. This has been attested to again and again in the present as well as the distant past. Upon closer examination, all claims of positive results turn out to be exaggerations of trivia and outright lies.
Torture "works" -- but only in the short term -- when it is used to terrorize and thus "pacify" a population or a subset of a population by randomly incarcerating many individuals and torturing them all.
Thus it was that the French "won" the Battle of Algiers -- but lost Algeria. Thus it was that Operation Phoenix "pacified" the villages of South Vietnam -- but lost the war. Furthermore, torture used in this way leads inevitably to extrajudicial execution -- the execrable phrase is "pump and dump".
Authoritarian and regimes resort to torture because it is an anodyne for the fears of tyrants and dictators, but there is a parallel used to justify torture to open, democratic societies: "the ticking time-bomb scenario..."
Like the piece of candy the pederast offers to a little child, the "ticking bomb" is just a come on, a trick to lure the innocent to a place where obscenities occur.
The other trick is to redefine torture, to sugarcoat the ugliness as if were a distasteful medicine needed to "cure" a greater evil.
The fact is that torture is an evil in itself. The fact is that good ends cannot be achieved through wicked deeds -- the means always justify, that is, determine, the ends.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
What's going to happen to us now?
Bilmon has announced up front that his posts will be coming infrequently and far, far in between. I've been able to live with his occasional unannounced hiatii, but this sounds serious, not as serious as the end of the world but I can feel the first twinges of withdrawal symptoms already...
What can/shall we do? Bilmon is more than snark, more than an incisive political commentator, more than a quick and cutting wit or an intelligent satirist of the satanic and infernal drift of the spiritus mundi.
Well, we, that is all them little bloggers out there are just going to have to hone our pens, wash our keyboards, put our cheetos behind us and wail our own little songs.
In his (hopefully not) farewell post, Bilmon left us with a link to what I assume to be his personal bet on doomsday -- accelerated, out of control global warming. I live not all that far south of the Arctic Circle, so I suppose I could live with that -- that is, if I don't consider the fact that my house is only some 10 meters above (present) sea level. Should I get a boat, do you think?
My readers know of course, that my personal bet on what ushers in the nightmare is Total War with the extravagant use of weapons based on nuclear technologies. I admit, of course, that my particular brand of pessimism is in large part due to my being a Child of the Bomb -- my borning day is the same as that of the Hiroshima bomb, so perhaps I do over stress the significance of the nuclear beast, ignoring the chemical and biological technologies. Furthermore, one should not ignore the instability and chaos enabled by the extensive distribution of the so-called Weapons of (Slow) Mass Destruction, that is "small" arms, when- and wherever the social structure collapses for one reason or another.
Unfortunately, a consequence of global warming will be the total breakdown of social structure here and there in the world. The same is perhaps even more true of the consequence of the breakdown of the supply of energy to the electric grids of the industrialized world in general and mega-cities in particular. This is Joe Bageant's "favorite scenario".
Efforts to maintain power to the grids will lead to further ravishment of the world's resources and the dictatorial regimes and martial law necessary to continue the plundering.
All of the above and others will enforce the global warming. We face a number of elements which all feed positive feedback into each other -- the result of all of this positive feedback is of course quite negative as far as we are concerned.
As I read the story of what we've done and do,
my heart breaks in sorrow, my head bows in shame.
We have killed all our yesterdays and tomorrows
and today -- today is busting into flame
Sunday, September 24, 2006
I want to leave you with a special little piece which came to me out of nowhere in the computer room of Hoechst Danmark, while alone on the midnight shift doing the monthly closure in 1985. It was three o'clock in the morning and I sang it while dancing across the desktops. I had been reading from D.T. Suzuki's "Essays in Zen Buddhism". The words were so clear in my mind I was able to write them down on a manilla envelope.
That is about all I can tell you -- the artlessness of its creation is why I call this piece "An Artless Hymn".
You are reality, beyond all belief.____________________
You are the living-tree, nourishing my green leaf.
You are the highway, the footstep and the path.
You are the answer, with no questions asked.
You are the beauty, shining in each lover's face.
You are that certain place*, beyond all time and space.Smaller than an atom,
Bigger than a star,
Able to go slowly fast,
You stay quickly far.
You are, you are, you are, you are:
You are the holy rock, you are the distant shore.
You are every thing and so much, so much more:
You are life itself, and even death
Pales before the majesty of your -- emptiness**!
* "Place" would seem to refer to "Ha Makum", the "Place of No Time and Space", traditionally one of the attributes and therefore a name of the Almighty Eternal
** The use of "emptiness" here disturbed me for a long time until I realized not so long ago that there are two modes of understanding.
In the one, emptiness is a nothing, a confirmation of absolute nihilism. In other words, when all is said and done and all goes down to dust, there is nothing -- nada.
In the other, the nature of reality is such that when all is said and done and all goes down to dust every thing that happened is within the emptiness -- however the emptiness is still empty as its nature is "ayin soph", that is without end.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
It is difficult to be precise about this dream. Perhaps we could say that religions to some degree are attempts to encompass, codify and pass on the dream through the generations. The problem, of course, is that religions often devolve into Big Words About the Great Potato. Also, as with all human organization, power freaks and outright psychopaths often gain control and tools intended to free humanity are perverted to our further enslavement.
Be that as it may, I do feel strongly that most people, in quiet moments, realize that we can't go on like this, resolving our differences violently.
We must change. In a sense, perhaps even literally, we must evolve.
The alternatives are extinction, extinction or, perhaps, extinction.
Beware the man with a mission of bloody, sick delights.
Look for those who have vision and learn what they know of the tide.
The question is the world's condition, the answer is somewhere inside.
Love is a powerful answer that cannot be denied.Give me a dream to dream on! Give me a dream today!
Give me a dream to dream on! There must be some other way!
The stars are turning and churning, it's time for a change in the tide!
Only one thing is certain, it's burning cold outside!
People are hunting and grunting, scorching the land with their pride!
Only one thing is certain, it's burning cold outside!Give me a dream to dream on! Give me a dream today!
Give me a dream to dream on! There must be some other way!
Every thing comes from the ocean, the sun, the sky or the land!
Love is a powerful question, she does not beg or demand!
The "great ones", they go up and the "great ones" they "go down"!
The little man will live on the land after tomorrow has come!Give me a dream to dream on! Give me a dream today!
Give me a dream to dream on! There must be some other way!
Friday, September 22, 2006
It was kind of amazing to watch and hear the media reactions to President Chavez's speech at the UN as he stole the limelight from those other Presidents, Bush and Ahmadinejad.
I apologise of course for putting those two names, Bush and Ahmadinejad so close together as I know that Mr. Bush did his utmost to avoid meeting his counterpart at the UN. In fact, the Bush administration did all in its power to ensure that Mr. Ahmadinejad had little or no exposure to the American public through the mass media.
I, of course, applaud this effort! The American people have absolutely no need to hear Mr. Ahmadinejad speak with reporters or answer their questions. We've seen how tart and irritated Mr. Bush can be when he is confronted with pointed questions. Our reporters could very well have found a number of pertinent and even barbed questions they could have tossed to Mr. Ahmadinejad. This could have led to embarrassment, perhaps even an international crisis which could have led to Mr. Bush being forced to attack Iran before planned, that is to say, before the elections. That could have terrible consequences!
But I digress, the subject was supposed to have been Mr. Chavez saying that he smelled sulphur, called Mr. Bush "El Diablo" and even crossed himself! That was really out of order -- he should have let a priest do it properly and sprinkled holy water on the UN podium!
Frankly though, Mr. Bush, in his speeches about evil -- evil nations and national leaders -- has, in fact, opened up for this sort of rhetorical excess. By the way, Professor Cole wrote better about this than I ever could.
In all fairness, Mr. Chavez does have a few gripes about the Bush administration which perhaps may have colored his views somewhat. It is common knowledge that the US both supported and was in some ways responsible for the attempted coup against the Venezuelan president as well as funding attempts to oust him from his post in a recall referendum. For some reason the Venezuelan voters are both stupid and irresponsible and continue to elect Mr. Chavez. Almost the entire press and television media reflect the views of their owners and rail against him to no avail, the voters continue to give him a solid 60% majority of which even Mr. Bush could be envious. With a majority like that, who needs to fix elections!
What surprised me most about the whole brahouha was how little attention has been paid to Mr. Chavez's most pointed gripe -- that Mr. Bush acts as if he owns the world, that and his plug for Naom Chomsky's book, "Hegemony or Survival".
My personal bitch about the whole affair is how hard it was for me to find Chavez's money quote, the one that hit the nail on the damn head, "...the hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species." Excuse my French, but that is the fucking truth.
It is a fact that the great majority of people in the world see our President as an arrogant SOB*, and it is a pity that most Americans for some reason either are not aware of this or don't understand why people feel that way.
* I meant of course, "Son of a Bush", and no real offense
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I lie upon my bed at night and stare into the light.
These sights I see, can they really be causing our misery?
Perhaps it serves no lasting use to explain it all to you,
But it's the things that we all do that areTickling the Dragon's Tail!
Listen to the night, listen to the night winds wail!
It's kind of strange don't you think? Our world totters on the brink
Of global catastrophe and Endless, Total War…
But how is it we all react? We go out and shop for more
Of them Shiny Things that Glow in the Dark andTickling the Dragon's Tail!
Listen to the night, listen to the night winds wail!
If we keep on going down the road we're on, there won't be no turning back!
Pretty soon the tarmac will crack and the zeroes will attack!
The world will go down to the shades when the roses all fade,
And we'll all sleep in the bed we made byTickling the Dragon's Tail!
Listen to the night, listen to the night winds wail!
There are those who say a better day will come if we only pray.
The "Lord" will come and kiss our thumb and smile and wipe our bum.
I swear by hope and faith and love and by the Lord Above
It ain't a-gonna happen because we've beenTickling the Dragon's Tail!
Listen to the night, listen to the night winds wail!
[ When I was about 12 years old, I read about Louis Slotin who died in 1946. He was a scientist involved in practical research needed to make the kind of bomb where two hemispheres of plutonium are slammed together in a "shotgun" device, the mechanism in "Little Boy", the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The experiment, whihch he had done at least a dozen times was known as "tickling the dragon's tail". In it's simplicity, the experiment was to move two hemispheres if beryllium-coated plutonium closer and closer together, until they almost touched. This gave valuable information on how a chain reaction starts, enabling them to make an atomic bomb with more "bang for the buck".
One afternoon, the tool he was using to push the plutonium slipped, the hemispheres touched and the room was filled with blue light – he had awakened the dragon!. Shouting for everyone to get down, he pushed the death metal apart with his bare hands. He died nine days later, in the terrible agony allotted to those exposed to acute radiation poisoning. This image of tickling the dragon's tail burned into my memory and became to me a symbol of what we are doing today. ]
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
It is one of two or three songs that were composed in the time it took for me to sing it the first time. We'll take it as a farewell to the lovely summer of 2006.
From the last of May until the first week of August, it is the time of bright nights of Denmark when the evening dusk drifts over to the morning dawn with out the dark of night. One of these nights can be worth all the trouble of winter's dreay dark. But the best of all in Denmark is Sankt Hans, the 23rd. Of June]
Give me a night, a night in June.
Give me the time to sing a tune.
Give me the time to do the things
I really love to do!
In the summer time...in the summer time...
Give me a night when nights are bright.
Give me a night with that magic light.
Give me a night when nothing's wrong
and everything is right.
In the summer time...in the summer time...
Give me a night with the rain coming down,
Coming down like a wedding gown.
With a night like this coming down,
who needs a night on the town?
In the summer time...in the summer time...
Give me a night full of sweet delights,
And give me my lady by my side,
A sudden smile, and we do agree:
it's such a lovely night!
In the summer time...in the summer time...
Give me a night when you take my hand
And make me feel I am a man;
When we do the things we do the best,
we do the best we can!
In the summer time...in the summer time...
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Reading the local newspaper over my morning coffee I learned that Mr. Bush is expected to have a skeptical audience when he appears before the United Nations today. I was saddened to hear that -- his new talking points tried out at the Conference on Global Literacy are so cool and uplifting I almost had to cry from gritting my teeth so hard :
"We don't believe freedom belongs only to the United States of America."
As they used to say, when I was a kid, that sure was "white" of him -- but he does even better:
"We believe that liberty is universal in its applications. We also believe strongly that as the world becomes more free, we'll see peace".
That "free" = "peace" may surprise you as we have been trained to respond to the more obvious "war" = "peace".
However, consider: a country like Iran, which is hardly a "free" country, hasn't been involved in a war of aggression since the 1700s and has a relatively small military budget. Compare that to the United States, the epitome of a "free" country, which is involved in a war of aggression and violent occupation, spending more on military hardware and weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the world combined for most of a generation.
If you can't see that that confirms "free" = "peace", you really should take a refresher course in "doublethink".
Monday, September 18, 2006
I've heard a lot of positive things about Obama, therefore I was a bit negative about him. All I can say is that it was a most refreshing experience to hear a politician speak clearly and concisely, developing a thought with words he not only understood but could pronounce.
That will have to do as an introduction to the poem below, first composed in August, 2003, when the naked brutality of the invasion and occupation of Iraq as well as the underlying deceit and lies of the hidden agenda was obvious to anyone with even moderate mental agility -- excepting of course the Codpiece Administration and mainstream media and it's kool-aid drinking pundits and talking bobble heads.]
The politics of innocence are simple:
reveal what you know as it is needed;
admit the mistakes you made in arrogance;
and ask the world for a second chance.
In your heart, you know this is true,but you will not heed!Instead, deceit, duplicity and greed
will be the mark by which you will be known,
and you will reap exactly as you have sown!
If the people knew the lies and the dark design
to sit upon the world and suck it dry;
I wonder what it is that they would do?
Rise up perhaps, and rip your plans in two?
Or would they think, like dogs, that the bones you cast
aside are not so bad...but all that can change-- exceedingly fast!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
The story's as old as mankind,
in fact older by far.
The spirit speaks, but then the word gets crushed
like a cheap cigar,
It's as if the need to know the truth was dirt!The reek of sex
denied fills the air and abused passion lies perplexed,
snuffed like a candle, thrown aside as casual as toilet wipe.
Is there a word in any language to match the pain and anguish
of mothers betrayed, their children slain?
In Ramah, the small skulls were smashed against the wall
to satisfy the beast which lurks in every human heart.
They splashed like melons warm and ripe from summer fields
and still some fool still asks, "Where was God?"
The question should be: "Where is our common humanity?"
Ye pigs and pricks who "praise the Lord"
and profess your "love of God"
while tickling the Dragon's Tail --
listen to the night winds wail!
Your wiggling tounges and words of babble
profane the holy name.
Your prayers are vain,
dry and empty wind which fan the flames
[Gee, I just saw that James at the Psychotic Patriot just said some terribly nice things about me and my feeble attempts to clean out the cobwebs in my mind. I sure hope this post didn't dash your expectations completley, I'm a bit rushed this morning as being on vacation can be a bit stressful at times. ]
Saturday, September 16, 2006
The toilet's overflowing and will probably explode;
In fact, everything you see is about to overload!
The commercial explanation for this global misery,
Is our lack of consumption of what's made in factories.
If we'd all pull together, and just eat a little more,
We'd make a little room for things in the department store.
Some people hide behind the excuse of "being poor";
Don't they understand that's what charge accounts are for?
There's no need to try to understand what life is all about;
Just buy another gizmo and soothe those nagging doubts.
It doesn't really matter if your body's out of shape,
Just pop this little pill and you will really "go ape!"
The Romans with their orgies they could never measure up
To the way we barf and piss and shit in everybody's cup!
Before you start to censor me for my obscenity,
Please look at what's been put in your own cup of tea!
There's poison in the water, in the air and in the ground;
Is there anywhere at all where poison has not been found?
Where does it all come from? Well, it doesn't help to shove
The blame on 'them" and whine that "they" are lacking common love.
Remember what was said upon the shores of Galilee:
"It's what-comes-out not what-goes-in that makes the man unclean!"
Can anyone of you in all honesty deny
That what we do manifests the secrets of our inner life?
[Question, what is more obscene: the chief executive of the US claiming that our elected representatives need to pass laws to "clarify" Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions by making torture legal; the apparent readiness of Congress to do his bidding; or the failure of the national media to report it as any thing other than "he-said, she-said"?]
Friday, September 15, 2006
Hobart is middle America, a bedroom town to the steel mills of Gary back when I was a kid and even now, after all of these years not changed all that much. Many of the storefronts have downtown are different, but the overall impression of sleepy two-story business buildings remains the same.
We stopped by the Augustana Lutheran Church and thanked the secretary there for the kind help she had given us in looking up information about my mother Eunice. Actually, it was not the church where I had been baptized -- they had moved from the original church some 40 odd years ago and the old building is now being used for other purposes and has been totally remodeled inside -- so, hopes that sitting in the old pews might jog memories were dashed.
With the directions we had received from the church secretary, it was easy to find my mother's grave. Marked with a modest gravestone showing only name and year of birth and death, her grave is next to but slightly separated from that of my grandfather, Charles Edward, and his wife Amanda whose gravestones are exactly the same except for inscriptions.
I sent the others away, so that I could be alone. There were tears of course, but I learned years ago that is first for ourselves that we cry. I closed my eyes and tried to bring her picture up from the single photograph I have of her. Then, a bit off key and choked up at the start, I gave her the flower I had prepared by quietly singing "Soft, Sweet Summer Nights". Then I thanked her for watching over me all those years, and that was that. I opened my eyes and reality took over.
My cousin who was with us along with his wife, struck up a conversation with the groundskeeper who is a retired policeman working part time at the cemetery. The conversation turned to my cousin's younger brother, David. This is the same David mentioned in my aunt Helen's poem "An Analogy" mentioned earlier.
David was killed, along with two other boys, not long before his 15th birthday in a traffic accident on the way to school. The car in which they had hitched a ride to school was speeding and ran off the road on a curve on Ridge road and landed on its roof in a ditch.
As there had been another recent accident where young girls were killed, it was a shock to have so many youngsters killed in such a small town as Hobart. The driver of the car survived but killed himself shortly before the 2nd anniversary of the accident.
As we were talking about these things, suddenly the groundskeeper said, "Well, it's a small world, [the name of the driver] was my brother" and he and my cousin Keith shook hands.
Indeed, it is a small world and as I can never tire of telling anyone who will listen, we are united in our common humanity. In fact, unless this fact somehow becomes a common realization there is little, if any, hope for our survival as a species.
As there is little likelihood that the Alien Veggies will land like they did in the Third Galaxy and put things right, we must learn to work out our disagreements with out violence being the prime method of resolving them.
When you get down to the nitty-gritty, the choice, as Martin Luther King put it, is between "Nonviolence and nonexistence".
Thursday, September 14, 2006
More important,it's part of the reason we will be visiting my mother's grave today, which, as far as I know, I have never seen. Will it bring some sort of closure? Perhaps, perhaps not.
In any event, my wife's story of my family and America is what inspired today's post. What we will be doing today explains why I breach etiquette and repost something as recently posted as the beginning of August.]
I came to this land on the Mayflower and in the bottoms of other stinking ships, sometimes in freedom, sometimes in chains...
A draft dodger during the Civil War, I worked my way through Canada and died somewhere in Mexico -- with a gun in each hand.
On the desolation of the western plains: we hung a murderer by the light of the full Moon. We buried him by the roadside, next to the man he had killed that very same morning.
I once owned half the waterfront of what is now downtown Chicago and let it slip through my fingers.
Mothers and fathers, poets and paupers, preachers and puritans, heathens and harlots, sometimes noble sometimes a scoundrel -- hardworking, common folk for the most, I built this land and made it what it was:
A nation conceived in a vision that a society could actually be dedicated to liberty and justice and even equality.
A vision common in the human heart: “When Adam plowed and Eve span, who then was the gentleman?”
A vision common to all humankind, but seldom realized and then imperfectly so, even in “the Land of the Free” .
Democracy and freedom did not simply fall into our laps.
The prize was felicitously snatched from the whirlwinds of history and we paid for them in installments of life blood, tears and sacrifice.
Freedom, Liberty and Justice are more than artifacts, mental constructs or philosophical abstracts. They are burning desires in the heart of our common humanity.
If we forsake it all for the Lure of Empire, what will America then become?
[Surprisingly, some Americans don't recognize the flag I prefer above others as it, to me at least, represents somethingof the vision which brought our nation into being.
It is the so-called Betsy Ross flag, called that because a lady by that name sewed it as the first American flag. Actually there had been other flags used before but this one was officially commissioned in May, 1776, three months before Independence was actually declared. The thirteen stars and stripes represent the thirteen colonies who were then trying to achieve independence.]
The painting was done by Charles H. Weisgerber. You can see it in better quality here.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
It wasn't until I was well into my maturity that I acquired any real information about my mother and I still don't know her middle name. She was a second generation immigrant and for years I thought her parents were from Sweden -- as it turns out, they were from Norway. In any case I have long felt that I ended up in Denmark partly because, at a certain level, I was searching for my mother.
Today, we drive to Hobart Indiana, where I was born and my mother is buried. As far as I know, this is the first time I'll see her grave. After my father remarried, for one reason or other, mainly his new wife, we had minimal contact with his family and none at all with my mother's.
Soft,sweet, summer nights,
the Moon shines bright
Some women are pretty,
some are as strong as the sea
But you you are a proud and a free lady.
A good mother is worth more
than the finest of gold
I was so young when you left me,
now you're far away across the sea
But you are still a part of my memory
It seems the dream keeps repeating,
the Sun shines bright!
Apple flower, and rainbow,
the tree golden grain flow...
And the wind,and the rain,and the sand,and the spray foam.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
As a guest, to run screaming from the house was not an option.
I have to admit that it wasn't as hard to get through listening to the speech as I had thought. I closed my eyes and disassociated a bit like one does in a dentist chair and didn't allow myself to come with snide comments, not even sotto voce.
Amazingly, he got through the speech without stumbling over the hard words. I suppose this says something about the importance he and his handlers gave to this speech. I find that I have to agree with the talking head who afterwards opined that the first part of the speech was intended to be what his handlers consider to be Unifying the American People in Our Mission, while the second half was the kickoff to the plan to kick Demopublican butt the remaining eight weeks before the midterm elections.
The basic technique to unify us was to stress how we Americans show our Unique National Spirit by responding to an event like Terrible Tuesday with bravery and self-sacrifice. I have to agree -- other people, especially the French, would run screaming down the street or faint or dirty their pants or whatever -- but nobody except Americans would respond with bravery and patriotism!
The reference to mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his interrogation by the CIA was an excellent ploy! His speech writers should be given an extra candy bar for the hidden syllogism: Khalid was "interrogated" by the CIA, there have been no further attacks on the Homeland, therefore torture and secret prisons are justified.
I tried to count how many times "peace" was mentioned in the speech, but had to give up as I ran out of both fingers and toes. Being the sort of perverse person I am, I assume that this means he was promising war.
The key to this insight is the statement that we "...[too long have] promoted stability in the Middle East for the sake of peace" [quoted from memory]. The implication of course is that we will now embark on a course of instability to promote peace.
This also implies that peace means war and war means peace, which would confuse some people but not me and, as a patriot, I am all for it!
He promised peace for our children and the millions of people in the Middle East who want to live in freedom and tolerance and democracy. I'd have to be a terrible cynic to not take him at his word, therefore I believe that he really means to do something.
I've had my doubts about his sincerity before, but not any more!
Monday, September 11, 2006
The significance is easy to understand, as it is a day such as that in Dallas where everyone remembers what they were doing that day. Why "everything changed" is more difficult for me to understand -- not for those whose lives were affected directly by the loss of loved ones, friends and acquaintances, but for people like Joe Blow and me.
My opinion is that it is what happened afterwards, in particular political reactions according to hidden agendas for changes is not only why things changed, but why they changed in the ways they have.
As the media drumbeat has been building up to frenzy, an outsider might think the entire nation was going to go around in sackcloth and ashes, wailing, beating its collective breast and tearing tots of hair out in parody of the semi-religious catharsis of a Greek Tragedy.
I think it's disgusting and I'm reluctant to commit my two bits to the cacophony.
What happened on that Terrible Tuesday? More important, what has happened since?
As to the first question, five years, that is eighteen hundred and twenty six days, if you do the counting in your head and allow for a leap year, have passed since four passenger planes were hijacked and we, the people, besides the bare facts, still don't know really what happened.
The bare facts are that two planes were flown into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the forth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. In all, not quite three thousand perished.
As to the second question, what has happened since is that a politically ruthless regime has used Terrible Tuesday to channel the emotional energy of the tragedy to embark upon a course of world domination under changing banners. The War on Terror morphed into Global War on Terror then into phrases about bringing Freedom, Democracy and Liberty to the rest of the world in a sort of Latter Day Crusade.
The clarity which investigations could and should have given us has been muddled by obfuscation and stonewalling. As a result, parallel and conflicting myths have grown which, in the end could tear this country apart.
Meanwhile, hundreds of billions of dollars disappeared into thin air generating hundreds of thousands of human lives dead or maimed, destruction, chaos and, of all things, more terror!
At the same time, as select companies have reaped enormous profits from contracts received without bidding, the reputation of our great country has been tarnished in the eyes of the rest of the world by the consequences of unmitigated arrogance.
The April 19 attack in Oklahoma in 1995 was the work of an American and a Gulf War veteran to boot, why did that not change everything? I remember in the first hours after the blast it was thought that it might (must?) be the work of Arabs. Is that it? Is it because we have been unconsciously waiting for an attack from Arab or Islamic fanatics?
Perhaps that is it. The reason an Arab Islamic fanatic as opposed to an American Christian fanatic perpetrator was almost assumed in the Murrah bombing was likely because of the February 26 bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
But at the end of the day, I think it was the incredible, often live, extremely vivid and visual coverage of the attack on and the collapse of the towers that was responsible for the tremendous impact. Many Americans were in shock, panic even in a borderline psychotic state in those first days. We were like the people we have seen so many times in our catastrophe films.
We, the people, became the sheeple, waiting to be lead.
The problem as I see it, is that the myths need to be adjusted to the realities of what happened then and since. If not, the path we are on is one which leads to total war.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
There once was a man (he must of been nuts)
who invited these wild, but not too hairy apes
to come and live in his beautifully decorated house;
with chandeliers hanging and rugs on the floor...
-- it was a rather amazingly fantastic place.
Unfortunately, from the time they lived in trees,
the apes, you see, were used to simply let
their bodily fluids and excrements fly free!
But like I said, it was a wonderful house,
with arrangements so even apes could piss and crap;
and the man (that crazy man) showed them the shining bowels,
the urinals, the paper towels and even
showed them exactly how they should be used.
But he was suddenly called away, and had to leave...
-- he told them sternly to remember what to do
when they had to do the things that apes must do;
and told them he'd be coming back for sure,
if not tomorrow, then some other day...
It took him somewhat longer than he had thought,
but return he did, suddenly and unannounced...
and what he saw unnerved him quite a bit;
for a moment he thought, "Perhaps I've lost my wits!"
The house was rather clean, considering how long
the apes had been living there all alone;
there were roses and daffodils in the toilet bowels,
and apes were walking stiffly about, with grim,
somewhat pained expressions on their mugs,
which was perhaps because they had big cork plugs
firmly stuck between the crack in his
or her brightly-colored apish butt!
To his great surprise, the man heard one of the apes
(who was dressed in a garish sort of priestly garb)
intoning pious doggerel such as:
"...when the Man comes home with his special juice
he'll find the bowels are clean for his Holy Use,
for we have followed his Holy Word
and on the rugs he'll find not a single turd!"
The man stood there, his mouth agape, amazed
by the twisted antics of his belovéd apes;
he smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand and said,
in a soft lament,
"Well, I guess my friends
didn't quite comprehend what I really meant!"
The final question, without any doubt
is: were there any apes who understood
just what it was he was laughing about?
Saturday, September 09, 2006
If tigers were as civilised as you or I
-- what would they be like?
Would they grow garden flowers for
the sake of their sight and smell?
Would they fly tiny kites in the sky
just to see them fly?
Would they philosophise about
sin and heaven and hell?
Would they do the sentimental things
rhymed on Christmas cards?
Would they gently lay the new-born babe
to nuzzle against the mother's breast
then smash its head against the wall!
Would they kill and maim and crucify
for no reason at all
except some thrill of blood!
If tigers were as civilised as you and I
-- what would they do?
Friday, September 08, 2006
Robin Cliff was a "jack-of-all-trades", at least that is what he would remark when once in a while he'd reveal some skill or other. I guess that makes me a poor robin's son.
One of the fondest things I remember him for was his whistle. He could whistle popular melodies in perfect key and warble like a bird. Sometimes when he was sitting, thinking of something he would drum with his fingertips on the tabletop.
It was real drumming, he was a champion drummer. The high school band he played in won many, even national awards. I have a picture of him in his high school band uniform with all his medals on his chest, standing with his snare drum. The picture is behind a piece of glass in a frame on my desk.
When he died in 1984, I was living across the sea in Denmark. On my way back home to Florida, I composed this for him.
I'm going back to Florida to say goodbye to my Pa.
Just what it is that I'm feeling, I don't think I could ever say it all.
My dad was a military snare drummer, I see him with medals on his chest.
When you remember your heroes, I wish you could remember him
Hey! Hey! Drummer Boy!
Where are you now?
The skins have cracked!
The snares have snapped!
Your image fades behind the glass!
My dad grew up in the Depression, when times were very hard.
He didn't trust those bankers who play with such expensive cards.
My dad, he was a worker, he worked so hard all his life,
To support his family, three children and a wife
Hey! Hey! Drummer Boy!
Where are you now?
The skins have cracked!
The snares have snapped!
Your image fades behind the glass!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I'm bringing all 14 prisoners we had in our secret prisons to Git-mo.
See, we had some secret prisons and some secret prisoners. But now I've emptied them so you can see there really wasn't all that many. So, what was all the fuss about when I said we didn't have any secret prisons or secret prisoners? See, saying that we did when I said we didn't was almost kind of like treason.
Anyway having them prisoners helped us fight the War on Terra.
These 14 guys told us lots of stuff when we did things to them that wasn't torture but made them tell the things we wanted to know so that we would stop not torturing them. There has been no terra attacks on us which proves the good job we're doing in fighting terra.
I might send some more bad guys to the empty secret prisons if I need to to fight terra. So, if one of these nosy journalists pokes around and finds there are a bunch more secret prisoners, that is only because I decided to do some deciding again.
These 14 bad guys are going to stand trial and be found guilty before a military tribunal just as soon as Congress passes a law making it legal. If Congress doesn't pass the law I want, I'll find them guilty some other way.
But more important, if Congress doesn't pass the law we want, we're going to call the Democrats wimps who are Soft on Terror, who don't have the resolve to do what a man's gotta do to keep us safe from the terrorists.
That's about what I got from listening to bits of the speech given by Mr. Codpiece and some of the expert analysis given by talking heads in split-screen interviews on American television last night.
Later, I saw this CSI in Miami program and it struck me all of a sudden that there is this theme running through all of these law enforcement series. Law enforcement, although it does a good job in catching bad guys, is hampered by the judicial system in general and laws and lawyers in particular.
Maybe that's why hearing Bush sometimes seems so surrealistic to me -- I get the message, "I could do a better job if I don't follow the rules I don't like."
It's not a conspiracy, it's just the sort of incompetence created in situations where otherwise competent hacks have to grind out series after series that will titillate us and keep us glued so that we'll sit through the next block of commercials or remember to vote like we are supposed to at the next election.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I took a look to see what was on the website of the Danish Radio. I found a half dozen news items that didn't say all that much, except that the news was resounding around the world – a typical Danish perception of itself and importance in the world community.
It seems there really isn't much meat on this story at all. In any case nothing at all about what these people were planning to do, if in fact they were seriously planning anything..
Nine people were arrested in a 2AM raid in Odense – the birthplace of H. C. Andersen as everyone knows. The raids took place in Vollsmose, a part of town where most of the people who live there have "a different ethic background" as they say, which means they are Muslims.
There was an interview with the 17 year old brother of one of the nine arrested. The door was broken down without warning and more than a dozen police in riot gear with drawn guns stormed in, put the entire family in handcuffs and made them lie on the floor. Taken to the station, the younger brother was released in the morning and told to go home. These are things he told Ritzau, so I suppose you may read about them here in the States.
Of the nine who were arrested, two have been released and five have had their arrest continued for three days. Two have had their arrest changed to what they call "varetaegts fængsling". This is a Danish thing which means they police can keep you in jail while they investigate. They can keep you in this kind of custody for as long as the judge says they can keep you. It can be days, months even a year. You can be charged or not with a crime.
What I am trying to say is when/if you hear about this terror case in the news or pundits going on about it, take it with a grain of salt at least. My immediate reaction is that it is a storm in a glass of water, as they say in Danish.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Up to 10 and 12 inches of rain in just a few hours. Cars washed down the street with the people inside unable to get out because the water was so high up the doors and electric windows didn't work, of course. Fortunately, people came and pulled them out and nobody drowned in what in some cases was a dicey situation.
In the evening we saw, by chance, on PBS, Ron Susskind talking about his book, "The One-percent Doctrine". It took place in late June in a book store on the 5000 block of Connecticut Ave. in DC I knew about him of course, but have never been really acquainted with his views in detail.
He's an awesome speaker and he had pretty terrifying things to say, if you could catch the implication of his words.
In brief, my understanding of Susskind's thesis is that the top of the Bush administration has misused from day one the threat of terror to further political agendas. These agendas have everything to do with power and nothing to do with actually securing us from the danger of a terrorist attack. The public is being kept in the dark and misinformed about things which, as citizens of a democratic republic we have every right to know.
All of these things both you and I have known for a long time. True, it's not something one hears or reads about in the mainstream news, but I suppose that is because of the right-wing media's liberal bias.
Susskind gave some anecdotes which I had not heard before, at least not in such detail. He claims, with some reasons given, that the scale of the threat is even worse than I had imagined even in my nightmares.
The implication, combined with the way the administration has handled the "War on Terror" for personal gain, is that the scale of the coming attack will destroy our democracy, not because of the damage, although great, but because of the ignorance, the avarice and the instruments of power already in place.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Sunflower Woman and I landed in Illinois with no problems -- the plane was even on time!
Because of all the hoopla about the alleged plot in Britain earlier in August to make planes fall out of the sky with a method that failed already back in 1995, security was a long procedure in Denmark.
The advantage though, was that we didn't have time to spend any money in the duty free stores.
The few discomforts , such as not being able to have a tube of toothpaste to squeeze or a bottle of whiskey to hug, were balanced by the fact that there was room in the overhead compartments, Sunflower Woman and I had one all to ourselves.
What I don't understand is why they didn't start such procedures a decade ago when somebody not playing with a full deck of cards first thought of trying the rather dicey stunt of mixing tri-peroxide-tri-acetone on the fly, so to speak.
Perhaps the reason is that out-sourcing was not that big a thing ten years ago. That's basically what this new set up is. The security check and examination of bags is now being done in Europe by Europeans. We flew through customs in record time.
Hey, I'm not complaining! At the end of the day, literally, we got out on the road in our rental car before the sun went down -- that was nice!
But I do wish they would consider my security plan. For some reason they continue to ignore my well-thought out advice and, if I didn't know better, I'd think that maybe they aren't taking this homeland security all that seriously. That instead they are just taking the money to go on junkets and deal out fat contracts to cronies almost as incompetent as themselves.
The Crazy Bird Security Plan is simple:
1. Everybody flies naked, so that nobody can go on board with any concealed bad thing that they weren't born with or developed through a long life of bad habits.
2. In the event of somebody suddenly revealing themselves as a terraist, a big bowie knife drops down instead of one of those oxygen masks.
Yeah, I know, it's kind of sick! But then I never claimed to have any good sense. Besides it's this habit Homo-sap has of always answering violence with more violence, always upping the ante that got us into this mess in the first place!
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Can we therefore say that everything that happens is a coincidence?
One number would seem to be no more significant than any other. Yet our minds insist that some numbers are easier to remember, more significant than others.
It is the same with the things that happen to and around us.
When the electricity goes off, only on my street, the morning of the day when Sunflower Woman and I are to fly to the States, even though it has no significance I find it hard to go back to sleep.
If this was Baghdad and the middle of the night, along with the phones, even cell-phones, it is significant. It means the paramilitary death squads are coming to your neighborhood.
But I want leave you with something entirely different for what I hope will be your enjoyment.
On Thursday, coming home from work, officially on vacation, waiting for the train, a thought struck down in me. As soon as I sat in the train, I began to unravel this thought which had been seeded in an incident some thirty years back in time.
I am a Buddhist a Christian a Muslim a Jew
I am a pagan a heathen agnostic and atheist too
I am Buddha living on five grains of rice
I am Jesus on hanging on the Living Cross
I am Mohammed enlightened in the Hira Cave
I am Moses on the Mountain coming down
I sacrifice to Pantheons
I recognize not a single one
I am the drunk stumbling out of the bar
I am that which goes slowly but quickly and far
I am the emptiness between the stars
I am that which is imbued in every grain of sand
I am a woman a babe a child a man
I am a tightened fist and an open hand
I am a saint a sinner loser winner
I am a builder a breaker and a carpet maker
I am all of these and none and much more
I am your joys and sorrows your pleasure and pain
I am the sun the moon the snow the driving rain
I am bigger than life and deeper than death
I am the complicated symphony
I am the simplest of melodies
I am the ashes of eternity
I am the subtlest of epiphanies
I am the nail’s point of your agony
I am simply your common humanity
Posting will resume again when we get to Illinois, but there may go a couple of days.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
The news here is on Afghanistan, where we have some three hundred pairs of boots on the ground in what they told the public was a "peace keeping" operation. The Danish soldiers were sent to a hornets nest in Pashtun country, poppy country and darn if the Brits didn't blow up a mosque (by accident) the week before the Danes arrived!
Sooo, the Danes have been taking fire and casualties ever since. The politicians here have been expressing shock that they were not better informed.
Sheet, when I heard where they were sending these young boys, I slapped my forehead and said "What the F-!"
Speaking if young boys, I give you another poem from the pen of my Aunt Helen. Her son, David Talmadge, was three years younger than I. His life was cut short when one morning he took a lift to school that ended with a speeding car in the ditch, wheels spinnin and all passengers dead inside.
Whether lost in a sensless car crash or a senseless war, a mother's pain at the loss of a child never ends. My Aunt Helen, just celebrated her 97th birthday. Many of her poems circle around that day in 1958 when my cousin died.
As I stood beneath the maple trees
And watched a wandering autumn breeze
Gently caress each quivering leaf,
I felt your brave spirit soaring free...
It rose to the sky exultingly,
Forever done with all human grief:
Like a moth or butterfly who, at last
Sheds the husk chaining it to the past
And dries its wings in the noonday sun...
Who weeps that the chrysalis has wings?
We love the joy that its beauty brings!
Nor grieve that its earth-bound days are done.
An editor, who otherwise liked this poem, wanted Helen to find other words for "Shed" and "harsh", because "these words are to hard to pronounce and have too many 's' sounds".
Ah, but these are the exact right words she uses! They are the heart and turning point of this lovely piece.
If poets go to the same heaven as editors and critics, there will be some fistfights before we settle down to plucking our harps...
Friday, September 01, 2006
The Crazy Bird and his Sunflower Woman will be going on vacation in a couple of days. We’ll be away for three weeks traveling from the Happy Little Kingdom of Denmark to the States by one of those things that fly through the sky and leave long white clouds behind them – I think they are called “airplanes”.
In these times it’s odd to consider the thoughts which flit through ones own mind and the comments one hears – that is compared with ten, twenty years ago.
My own daughter said, in reference to my blog, “Dad, aren’t you afraid of getting arrested?” That kind of took me aback a bit – have we really come so far (down)? Not that it is a real concern.
My blog is so small. That means that my sarcasm and attempts at wit fall below the radar of the various robots out in cyberspace. Hey, I’m not kidding! The Mad Raven has had a concrete experience with it. The military has a robot scanning blogs for certain phrases and spams them with “letters from a concerned soldier”. But the robot ignores baby blogs like mine that don’t get that many hits.
Frankly I’d rather have a few visitors who enjoy reading my humble efforts at coping with the madness of a world going blind and have their occasional thoughtful and encouraging comments than have to wade through barfage responses like some bloggers do.
It is kind of weird to think that what one writes and speaks on electronic media in general is subject to surveillance. I’m not setting up a straw-man to say that the standard response is “…but if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about”.
George Orwell rolls over in his grave and farts when bullshit like that is aired in the media. Everybody has something they are ashamed of. But usually it is between them and their God and that is the way it ought to be.
The thing is, even the best people would be tempted to misuse the kind of power Bush abrogates to himself because he is a “War President”. Although I applaud his taste in ties and his expertise in clearing brush on his ranch, he has already in abundance demonstrated that he has the intention and will to outdo Mr. Nixon in abusing the power to blackmail, intimidate, suppress and destroy those he sees as “enemies” by using the ability to gather personal and sensitive information through electronic surveillance.
The “War on Terror” is utter bullshit. It does not exist. It is a media hype to put us all to sleep and accept a velvet tyranny such as the world has never seen, a combination of 1984 and Brave New World.
Yeah, there are bad people out there. When have there not been bad people out there? This is police work. Have the chances of me and my Sunflower Woman falling out of the sky increased? No! Did everything change after 9-11? No! But the media has told us that it did and we follow like the sheeple we are when somebody presses the right buttons on our brain panels.
A real time example: the British police had a case going, a serious case – what happened?
Liebermann lost a primary to a war opponent in Connecticut and the Brits were forced to blow the case prematurely so that Cheney could snarl on television that the Democrats were soft on terror and did not understand the danger we all are in.
The media swallows without choking all the bullshit. Liquid bombers are going to blow us all out of the sky. Never mind that tri-acetone tri-peroxide is tricky shit to mess with. Never mind that the reaction when you mix them is exothermic, that is it releases heat. That means you must keep the shit under 15 degrees Celsius as you mix it or it blows like a big fart.
Furthermore, it was blabbed uncritically again and again that this is what was used in the London subway bombings the summer of 2005. That is not true. Those assholes used hexamethylene triperoxide diamine peroxide – which is more stable, but not something you mix up on an airplane. MTDP was first synthesized in 1885 and for years replaced nitroglycerin in mining operations.
But what really pisses me off is that the 1995 incident when Timothy McVeigh used a truckload of chicken shit and fuel oil to blow up the Murrah Building, that didn’t change diddle.
I guess this means when a white asshole with ties to Christian Identity and White Supremacy does a bad thing we put the dog down, end of story. But if a brown asshole attached to a perverted imitation of Islam does the same shit it is Clash of Civilizations!
I now get off my little soapbox in this back alley of cyberspace and close my rant.