Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christianists,Christianism and the Chraxi Party

I've been done in again, I was over at the Psych Pat's Pad and once again Mr. Raven links to a cool blog place I wasn't aware of -- thing is, I haven't time to read/parse any more blogs or I'll likely blow out like Mr. Creasote from Monty Python.

Anyway, the discussion here is about the meaning and use of the terms "christianists" and "christianism". There's a pundit guy who stakes a claim to inventing the terms, but according to Avedon (the blog mentioned above) the terms were already in circulation in the late nineties. She says that Digby was probably one of the first to use it and Dave Niewert at Orcinus probably has done the most to spread its use.

In a sense, the question is moot, I doubt that words are necessarily coined by single individuals. It's more like they crystalize out of a need in the language to express something more clearly.

In this case, "christianist" replaces "fundamentalist" on the one hand and is a parallel to "islamist" on the other.

I've always had a problem with "fundamentalist" because of the built-in spin implying that it is something basic at the root of Christianity -- I deny that this correct. Christianist fundamentalists do more than throw the baby out with the bath water -- they throw out the baby, keep the dirty water and muddy it up even more.

As for the other meaning: a word was needed to match "islamism".

Islamism and islamist refer not to Islam and Muslims, but rather the practice and those who practice paying lip service while perverting Islam for the sake of specific political agendas.

Islam was long noted for its tolerance, which is why the Sephardic Jews fled to Islamic lands from persecutions in Spain.

Islamists are not tolerant and the same goes for christianists.

An example from Tristero: Senator Barak Obama thinks that Democrats need to reach out to the evangelist movement and, prepared to lead the way, he accepted an invitation to speak at one of these mega-churches in California. Christianist leaders, smelling blood, immediately stirred up a storm demanding that the mega-church dis-invite Obama.

An open letter signed by a number of christianist leaders, including Phylis Schlafly and Tim Wildmon was sent out. The National Clergy Council, led by Rob Schenck said that "Obama's policies represent the antithesis of biblical ethics and morality, not to mention supreme American values".

The point is, christianists do not hear, they do not listen, you cannot debate with them. The same goes for islamists -- and judaists, to coin yet another term.

At the moment, radical islamists are more actively dangerous than christianists. The reason is that they have converged with and assimilated strong currents of eliminationism.

However, this is precisly the danger of the christianist movements in America. Dave Niewert has documented for years the rise of eliminationist rhetoric, movements and activity in the US. Should this converge with and be assimilated by the christainist movement we will see the rise of what might call itself "Christian Nationalist".

They're welcome to the Craxi Party as a name -- but they've already got flags, and a pledge of alligience so they don't need my help there!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, to express deeply my feelings on all this I give you Mr. Creasote, mentioned earlier in this post:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Weather or Not It's Not Global Warming

I've mentioned in earlier posts about the weather as seen from Denmark and, as November draws to a close, I think an update is in order.

The first record we had this summer was in July, we had more sunshine hours than any other July on record -- they started recording these things in 1874.

August was a lot warmer than average, but no where near a record. I wrote earlier that September had been a record, but this is not quite accurate -- it tied for the record set a few years back.

October and November were both record months, November getting the title with still two days to go! The average temperature in November (that is both day and night) was over 12 C and the normal for this month is 8 C. All in all, this Fall season as a whole is itself a record as the warmest on record.

It sure is good that global warming is just a theory because if it were really for real we'd really be up that Wet Place Without a Paddle I mentioned yesterday.

If there really was something you could call global warming there would be something more than silly things to point out like the fact that the last half dozen warmest years on record have occurred in the last decade.

If global warming was a fact and not just a silly old scientific theory, you would expect, for example, the glaciers on the Greenland ice cap to melt as fast as they are in fact melting, like several kilometers a year.

Why you might even have situation like this lady who has spent most of her adult life studying ice core samples, standing next to Senator John McCain and telling him that the last time she had stood on this spot -- two years ago -- this was at the foot of the glacier.

Then she pointed in the distance, over three kilometers, where the foot of the glacier is now and tells the senator that all of our models can't explain why this is happening so much faster than we expected.

We know that in climate change there are tipping points, she continued, but we have always thought they were in the future, but now I am scared, I'm scared that we may already have passed a tipping point.

But she is just a scientist and global warming is just a theory and scientific theories are just things think up to explain the facts they observe.

Anyway, what can we do? We know how the American mega-corps scream that if we did something about emission reduction the economy would go to pot, that our competitive edge would be lost, jobs would be shipped overseas and the earnings and living standard of the people earning middle income would decrease!

True, this is exactly what is happening now -- but it could be worse if the mega-corps' profit margins were reduced! This could jeopardize the amounts they could use on bribes -- sorry! -- campaign contributions! CEOs might have to do with smaller million dollar bonuses! It's just too awful to contemplate, I tell you!

Of course, one could point to a country like Denmark which is keeping its promise to reduce emissions buy 21% by 2012.

In fact, while reducing emissions, at the same time Denmark has increased it use of energy consuming devices by 60%. Of course, the Danes cheat -- 15% of the energy produced here is renewable energy such as windmills.

But what you expect of such a backward people? Why they still use paper ballots in their elections! Why, the silly people not only use paper ballots they fill out with a soft lead pencil, they count them by hand and get it done within a few hours after the polling places close! That is simply scandalous!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Up a Wet Place Without a Paddle...

James has a nice little rant over at his place, along with a graphic that's worth taking a click over there just to see it, basically answering the wrongwing question, "what would libruls do" with the obvious answer, "get out" and what is just as obviously coming down the tube if we don't.

Juan Cole, at the same time, has a pungent counter question to wrongwing sophistry: "What is the Mission?", i.e., what are we trying to accomplish over there, what are the criteria for nearing our goal as our soldiers go merrily about their daily round of Russian Roulette as they go on patrol

If you rely on MSM for your "news", you probably don't know that a car bomb targeting the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament was set off inside the Green Zone last Tuesday.

The Green Zone is that 4 square miles of heavily fortified greenery in the middle of Baghdad, the capitol city of Iraq, the city the US military has been trying to pacify and keep the insurgents out of in an intense campaign since last summer.

The Green Zone is a fort with Marines, multiple checkpoints and oodles of military hardware protecting tennis courts, swimming pools, movie theaters, commissaries and lots of other good perks for the US Embassy, its personnel and the Iraqi government and it members, many of them who reside there -- and they got a car bomb in there, targeting the Speaker of Parliament!

Again, if you get your "news" from the MSM you likely don't know that the insurgency plans, intends to storm the Green Zone and consider the American forces to be in a dicey situation.

Whether the first is really feasible will be shown by future events as they unfold into reality. However, it is a fact that we have a lot of our people over there basically isolated and dependent on long supply lines -- a classic situation for disaster. True, we have the air power and the high technology, but the fact remains that it's a long way from Baghdad to Basra and Kuwait City.

As I was typing this, I heard, with half an ear, Tony B. on the Danish radio, he was almost hysterically pronouncing as god-given fact that terror in England had nothing to do with Brit foreign policy. As proof he said the obvious that Terrible Tuesday took place before Afghanistan and Iraq. True, true, but Tony, my dear boy, the ding-bats who blew themselves up in the London Underground said on video they were pissed off about Iraq! Obviously, you can't trust anything a man says who is about to kill himself.

As for Terrible Tuesday, dear Tony, Ahsawyah been-Lately himself said that he was inspired (if "inspired" is the word to use here!) to his infamous plan by the sight he saw on television of the towers in Beirut crashing during the Israli bombardment the summer of 1982.

The last thing I heard on the radio as I dashed out the door was that Brit investigators had found traces of polonium in several places where Litvinenko had been before he took ill and died.

The only place named was the office of Berezovsky, who, by pure chance happens to be one of the people the Russian government has been trying to extridite. Therefore a lot of credence should be given to Russian claims that Berezovsky is liquidation and that it was done to tarnish the reputation of the Ruskie gov't.

How convenient, is all I can say!

Anyway, if somebody wanted to tarnish the Russian gov't they'd need a steel brush and lots of elbow grease to get enough crap off to where they could find a clean surface they could tarnish.

Whatever, now I know at least why, when Bush "looked in Putin's eyes ", he a saw a soul mate in "Pootie-Poot".

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Buddha of the North

"The Buddha of the North" is the title of a short book by D. T. Suzuki about the Swedish multi-genius, Emanuel Swedenborg.

I acquired this interesting volume while trying to find another book by Suzuki -- I have the 1st and 3rd volumes of his "Essays in Zen Buddhism" and, new to the Internet, was trying to find the 2nd volume. Instead, I ran across this book and purchased it over Amazon because of the interesting title.

The introduction to the book tells that "Buddha of the North", first published before the 1st World War, is one of Suzuki's very first public writings. Furthermore, it claimed that Swedenborg was a strong influence on Suzuki.

Well, well, well! I knew of course, that William Blake had been strongly influenced by Swedenborg --
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour. --
"Auguries of Innocence", W. Blake
But Blake was almost contemporary with Emanuel and lived in England, which Swedenborg often visited, due in part that is was only here and in Holland, because of censorship, that he could publish his books. But that his influence reached across a century and half way around the world to influence the young fellow who would become the mighty D. T. Suzuki surprised me, to say the least!

Frankly, Swedenborg can be quite tedious to read -- I have only one volume of his, a copy of "Heaven and Hell" I picked up in Poosah City. Like Blake, with him you have to wade through a lot of verbal fluidium to find the gems.

In the forward to my copy of "Heaven and Hell", there is also an introduction I found quite interesting and an anecdote I will recount here which reveals how the man, although he spent half his life talking with and writing about angels, he was a down to earth and kindly old geezer.

The story goes like this: a young niece of his, about 12-14 years old had heard that Emanuel conversed with angels. So, with the innocence of youth she asked her uncle if he could "show her an angel"

Uncle Emanuel thought for a moment and replied, yes, if she would meet him out in the garden next morning at the summer pavilion there, he would "show her an angel".

The next morning, Emanuel was waiting when she came, he led her into the pavilion and stood her in front of an object covered with a sheet. He asked her to cover her eyes, she heard a rustle of cloth. He said she could open her eyes now and found herself standing in directly in front of a full length mirror.

Now wasn't that a sweet thing for him to do!

The above was an introduction to this song composed on an experience when my then three year old daughter, Sandra Rose, was standing outside the window picking her nose.
There's angel outside my window, she hands me a bright-red rose!
She smiled at me so sweetly, then she began to teach me a song:

She taught me a song, an unending song, a song that goes on and on...
It's kind of confusing, but the words and the music,
the words and the rhythm are one...
As soon as you listen, something that's hidden, shines forth like the bright morning sun!!!

There is a song we all sing -- you know!
The melody's in everything -- that grows!

There's angel outside my window, she hands me a bright-red rose!
She smiles at me so sweetly, then she started to fiddle with my heart:

Open your heart, it won't tear you apart, although at the start it may scare you...
Under the tree a deep mystery may suddenly be revealed you!
Take that first step then follow your breath, there's one thing left I can tell you:

Life is the song we all sing -- that's true!
The melody's in everything -- we do!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Polonium Poisoning -- What a Way to Die

The death of the Russian ex KGB and FSB officer and, at his death, a British citizen, Alexander Litvinenko on Thursday is getting a bit of coverage here in Denmark. However, there aren't all that many details so I had to do some research.

First, if it is correct that Litvinenko was poisoned with Polonium 210 -- and I have no reason to doubt this -- the first conclusion is that this was done by an agent of a national government.

Polonium 210 is not something you can buy over the pharmacists counter at Walgreens -- not even if you have a prescription.

The most stable isotope is Po 209, which has a half life of little more than a century. Po 210 has a half life of about 5 months. The total annual world production of polonium amounts to about 100 grams.

Po 210 is very strong alpha emitter and therefore must be handled with special care and precaution. A fraction of a microgram ingested into the body is a fatal dose. It is about 5000 times as radioactive as radium and therefore generates heat and has been considered as a light weight heat source in thermo-batteries on space craft.

An odd characteristic of this metalloid is that, although it's melting point is 254C, it vaporizes at room temperature. Why it does this is not clear, but the assumption is that it has to do with its radiation and that small particles are "peeled off".

It struck me last night that this perhaps contributes to its toxicity. Inside the body, it would continue to dissipate and thus be distributed throughout the body of a victim. On the other hand, polonium is readily soluble in dilute acids and stomach fluids could perhaps do the job.

However the poison was delivered to Litvinenko in the hit job, nobody is going to get possession of the stuff without the help of a national government or one of its agencies.

First off, the substance can only be produced synthetically. It is made from bismuth 209 bombarded in a nuclear reactor with neutrons. The bismuth absorbs a neutron, becomes Bi 210 which very quickly, emitting a beta particle, decays into Po 210.

The point is: it is not something you can brew up in the kitchen sink or a microwave.

Alexander Litvinenko died convinced that he had been wacked by agents of the Russian government. At the time of his poisoning he was investigating who ordered the murder of Anna Politkovskaya.

Before and after pictures of Alexander Litvinenko

The thing is this was really a diabolical way to kill Litvinenko. From the first symptoms until he died there went little more than three weeks. Basically, he died of massive internal radiation poisoning. The people who did this are abolute shits.

Litvinenko and Politkovskaya had long been a thorn in Putin's side so we need not ask why, rather why now? I suppose because they figure the world is distracted by other things? Whatever, I find rather little about this case in what I can see of American media from here in Denmark -- is that actually the case?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Redux

Sarah over at Orcinus put up a Thanksgiving post over at Orcinus, entitled "The Great North American Holiday".

She starts by correctly stating that a core belief of the religious right is that God somehow established America for a special destiny or purpose in the history of humankind -- that we are in some way uniquely blessed. It is understood that Thanksgiving somehow is reaffirming acknowledgment of God's blessing

Actually, this idea has been around a long time and is seen in the early versions of our imperial dream known as "Manifest Destiny" -- which could be snarked to, "If it ain't nailed down, it belongs to me".

However, assuming that the Christianist belief was in fact correct, is it not obvious how terrible such a blessing would be?

Supposedly, the first people to be blessed/chosen in this manner by the Eternal to fulfill a manifest destiny brought forth a fellow known as Messiah, Savior and Prince of Peace.

If we, in fact, were blessed on the same order of magnitude, what then is it that America would bring forth?

I shudder at the thought of saying it right out loud, but would it not be a sort of antiparticle?

Fortunately, Sarah, in the rest of her article pretty well much dismantles not only the idea that the Plymouth Thanksgiving was the first, but also that it was in some way unique. There have been quite a few Thanksgivings and Thanksgiving traditions in North America.

So, if we could ignore the possible problem of self-fulfilling prophecy, everything should be just fine!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Found in a Raindrop While Looking for Berries

I ran across the little tidbit below while looking for a poem composed some years ago which ends with something about wild strawberries.

I decided to use it today because it seemed a pendant to the piece yesterday about Basho, his frog and his pond.

Although it mentions coffee (which is the taste of Sufi) instead of tea (the taste of Zen), I allow myself the conceit that it has the aroma it not the actual taste of Zen.

The door to the Kingdom
is not much higher than you are
on two bare feet.

The door to the Kingdom
swings open wide within the space
of each heart beat.

Beyond all reason,
eternal life begins right now,
on this perfect day.

In a cup of coffee,
or raindrops on the windowpane...
where else would you look?

If someone were to accuse me of attempting to meld Christianism with Buddhism here, taking it as a compliment, I'd clap my hands and say, "Why, gee, never thought you would notice!"

I often voice my antipathies towards those elements of the religious right leadership as exemplified by the likes of Mr. Robertson, perhaps some concretisation of my own views is therefore due. In that vein, view what follows as explanation not intended as either edification or effort to convince anybody of anything.

It's not that I'm attempting a synthesis, it's more like, as I see it, there are areas where at least some religions intersect and I find this the case with Buddhism and Christianism.

I don't see how anyone with a bit of intellectual and emotional honesty can hold on to the ridiculous idea that this or that religion or sacred text is actually, in itself, has been delivered by "God". There are several reasons that I maintain this. Let it suffice here to state that all such creations of the imagination of our common humanity.

If any religion can be said to have value, it is as an aid to us as we, in our daily lives, create God in our image.

Or, to put it another way, what we do and say in relation to others defines God more than any set of beliefs, sacraments or rituals.

I am delighted when I notice an intersection of religions. I fancy that it is in such places one can perhaps find what might be called a vein of gold.

A small story: it is told of one of the Zen patriarchs that, after the mantle had been passed on to him by the previous patriarch, he had to flee to escape the other monks. They wanted to kill him -- the new patriarch was just a cook and the others could not comprehend that the previous master would pick him!

He fled to the mountains and there in the wilderness he preached. He preached and the stones and boulders bowed to him.

Compare that to the story where Jesus, on his way onto Jerusalem and the people cry, "Hosanna!". The smug, smart-ass Pharisees scold and tell him to tell the people to shut up because what they are shouting is sacrilege! Jesus' reply is, "If the people were quiet, the stones themselves would shout."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Baho's Pond Revisited

The poetry of Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is famous for capturing something of the flavor of Zen in deceptively simple verses.

In the West, the most famous of his poems is known as "Basho's Pond" which records in few words the moment a frog hops and plops into a scummy green pond of water -- and the world is suddenly changed into what it always has been.

If you are not familiar with this haiku, here is a place you can parse 30 translations as well as a commentarty by Robert Aitken. The most common translation used is probably R. H. Blyth's:
The old pond;
a frog jumps in —
the sound of the water.
Basho's Pond Revisited

There've been rumors going 'round
that "Basho's Pond"
Will soon re-open under new management!

"Tell us when it opens!" they say
with bated breath...

A little old man, wrinkled like a prune,
seemingly asleep in the corner,
interupts his snoring to mumble:

"It's open everyday,
The address is but
half a heartbeat away...

Basho's Pond,
the scummy green water quivers,
out plops an old frog...
Haiku lovers forgive me, "Basho's Pond Revisited" is but my heavy handed attempt to impress the reader with awareness of one of the more radical of Zen insights -- that everything is contained in everything...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bashing Pat -- a Snarky Rant

If you were so negligent of your mental health as to read yesterday's post all the way to the end, you were reminded that I happen to have a kind of hair up my arse about Mr. Pat Robertson.

Perhaps I owe him something of an apology!

I wrote yesterday that he was either a false prophet (as he understands the term) or possessed by demonic spirits -- I even gave him the benefit of the doubt and wrote that he could be both, as they certainly are not mutually exclusive.

I forgot to mention that he is a raving hypocrite, a sanctimonious charlatan, a seductive spreader of errant religious doctrine, owner of African gold mines and a number of other things I suspect are true but, as they are perhaps libelous, I will (attempt to) hold my indignant ire in rein.

As my reference to his gold mines in Africa is, in turn, a reference to his relationship with the rapine war criminal and former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor, perhaps the more astute will understand just the direction my (possibly) libelous remarks might have taken.

For forgetting to mention these and other astounding character traits of this person who claims not only to talk for but talk with God I humbly apologize. I apologize to my readers ,of course, but must apologize ever so much more to him as he deserves a more rigorously castigating résumé of what he passes off as a religious leader than I can enumerate with my meager command of snark.

How can I set myself in judgment of this "Christian" leader?

Simple, I judge him only with the same rule he judges others by!

In general, he is a prime almost archetypal example from that army of croaking frogs who draw the religious commitment of others in doubt and play a religious version of "Where's Waldo" -- that is, "Where is the Anti Christ?".

In particular, his recent talk about demonic forces and his approbation of assassination of the leader of a foreign nation is nothing new.

In a hodgepodge of conspiracy theories disguised as a book, "The New World Order", he goes so far as to claim that John Lennon's song "Imagine" was part of a demonic plot to unite the world under the thumb of Old Nick Himself.

If you happen to remember that Lennon was whacked by a zombie from the "born again" movement in Georgia where they sang, "Imagine -- if John Lennon was dead!" -- then you may understand why that really pisses me off!

On one level "Imagine" is just another pop song . On another it was a song, a prayer, a hope that we just might realize the significance and meaning of our common humanity.

It was for that John Lennon was murdered in what these "pretend christians" would call an occult murder. The gun was wielded by a pasty little snot for brains ding-bat. But he was only fulfilling the rhetoric of the sort of people who, with vitriol wrapped in religion and/or patriotism, prime people to bomb and shoot doctors and nurses, send false anthrax and real poison cookies to the Supreme court -- yet, when it happens, they absolve themselves of all responsibility.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Confessions of the Hungry Blogger

While I was letting my preacher out for a stroll on Sunday, Ravenheart was musing about blogging -- the time of year is rolling around when prizes for the best this and that blog will be nominated for tallied up and presented.

Basically, what James was saying that he could give a rusty red rat's ass about popularity and prizes -- and, in my own perverse way, I concur.

Perverse, because I know how much I hunger for recognition -- but I also know that no amount of recognition could ever assuage the hunger.

I got addicted long ago in Poosah City, back in the 7th grade:

Assigned to do an oral report on R. Kipling's "Ballad of East and West", I was lost. I had absolutely no idea of what to say -- so, on a whim, I memorized the poem and recited it to the class:
0h, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!
When I finished, the class burst into applause -- I was hooked!

Later as a struggling singer and songwriter, I learned there are things you can do, a sort of fluffing, to make an audience applaud -- but, like with an orgasm, if the love isn't there of itself, what use it?

I blog because it commits me to writing every day which is the only known way to learn how to write. I want to learn how to write because in so doing I clarify and gain control over my thoughts and thereby a certain control over my personal demons.

Speaking of demons, Pat Robertson, yes, the 700 Club guy with the gold mines in Africa is possessed by some sort of demonic force. Either that, or he is a false prophet in the very sense that he pretends to understand the term -- or both.

Here is what he says:
There is the god of the Bible, who is Jehovah. When you see L-O-R-D in caps, that is the name. It's not Allah, it's not Brahma, it's not Shiva, it's not Vishnu, it's not Buddha. It is Jehovah God. They don't have a relationship with him. He is the God of all Gods. These others are mostly demonic powers. Sure they're demons. There are many demons in the world.

The most disgusting is how he spits out Buddha, you can hear it here, if you got the stomach.

With his pretensions of holiness, salvation and a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus and the apparent size of his audience, one could at least expect him to know his facts!

"Jehovah" is the one pronunciation of the Explicit Name, JHVH, in the Hebrew Bible text which is certainly incorrect and "yaweh" is not all that likely.

The "jehovah" (mis)pronunciation comes from the vocalization signs for "adonai" or "lord" -- which is what you're supposed to say instead of trying to pronounce the Name when you read the classic texts.

In principle I could care a flying frog fart, but his exquisite ignorance irritates me. The fact is, it is common knowledge* that the important thing is not how the word is pronounced but its meaning in the context of classic Hebrew.

As a word, "jhvh" looks like a form of the verb "to be" and can be described as a sort of mixture of past, present and future imperative, "BE!".

Jeeze, now I've gone and let my preacher out of the box again -- get back in there, you ornery old cuss!

* By "common knowledge" I mean it is something even a drunk, defrocked Rabbi ought to be able to tell you...

Monday, November 20, 2006

On Baby Carriages and Assorted Monsters

One of the charming things about life in Denmark can sometimes be what constitutes news.

For example, this morning one of the top stories on the radio was about a mother whose baby carriage got caught in the doors of the subway -- and the train started moving...

You needn't hold your breath, other passengers were quick to react, so nothing happened to the baby. Something similar happened last summer, so there will likely be one of those, "How could something like this happen?" investigations.

Back where I grew up, in Poosah City, something like this wouldn't make the news unless the baby was somehow drawn and quartered or there was a video of the (preferably white) mother, screaming, her face and blouse splattered with baby blood.

Even better would be if the baby was snatched from its carriage by a shrieking flock of Itzmynso-Wynot -- a mythical flying creature with the face of a Bush, snarl of a Cheney, heart of a Rove and claws of a Rice...

I understand from Ravenheart that the big news back in Poosah City is not babies being snatched, but OJ, the only football player ever known by just two letters (talk about brand recognition!).

It seems he has kind-of, sort-of admitted to what anybody with half a brain and an ounce of sense knew already -- that he slashed murdered a couple of people and got off Scott free.

Gee, you don't think the flap about OJ will distract the news cycles of the media beast from things like the lame duck Congress and the machinations of the Bush Admin to get laws passed to keep them out of jail and other trivia such as the growing Repub pundit slime job on Pelosi?

Naw, not on your life! I mean, one might as well look at this "bipartisan, let's work together to solve real problems" line combined with all the different "business as usual" themes the Admin is pushing for and say to yourself, "Some of this is smokescreen for some heavy stuff".

I haven't the slightest idea what it could be, but Seymour Hersh seems to think it is Iran. But hey, Hersh hasn't gotten anything right since he flushed the toilet on Abu Ghrib -- that and a few other things -- so how could the old fart get something like this right?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bethlehem is the "House of Bread"?

It is Sunday and, as some of you may have noticed, one of my wannabe personalities is a closet preacher. It may be a bunch of crapola I'm going to lay on you now, but the positive is that I don't take up collections or try to get old widows to put me in their wills...

On a whim, many years ago, I enrolled in Semitic Philology at the University of Copenhagen. I'm a terrible student and had to drop out after some years in order to make money to pay the rent.

However, I did manage to learn a little smattering of something along the way would like to share some of the modest insights I garnered.

Several things make the semitic stand out from the romance languages. Of particular interest is the way words are constructed from roots. Although there are a few exceptions of two and four, the word root usually consists of three consonants. The root has a basic meaning which underlies all the various forms as verb, name, adjective and so on.

For example, the word we know as "shalom" or "salam" comes from the root "SLM" and the basic meaning could be described as "completeness".

Therefore, as a verb, it can be what you do with the waiter when you pay your bill, that is settle accounts with the restaurant. It also is the root for the word naming one of the major world religions, Islam, and its practitioners, Muslims.

Another characteristic is the use of basic words like "father", "son", "mother", "daughter", "house" and the like to form word constructs which can sound a bit off in our ear when they are for one reason or another translated literally. For example, when Saddam Hussein refers to the coming invasion of Iraq as the "Mother of all Battles" or when Jesus refers to himself as the "Son of Man".

Not many are aware that Bethlehem is such a word construct, formed from "Bait", "house", and "LeHeM", "bread". Bethlehem therefore has the literal meaning "House of Bread".

The interesting is that the root meaning of bread refers to the kneading of the dough. As a verb, LHM can refer to battle, in particular the hand-to-hand combat one saw in olden times. Therefore, the word basically means "struggle", "strife", "confrontation".

A small thing, but interesting that the place where the Christian savior is born is, the "House of Bread" or "House of Struggle".

Interesting also, is that the given name of the Christian savior also has a meaning more subtle than that usually given as well as the place where he was executed by the authorities.

The Christian Bible goes to some effort to tell us that "Golgatha" means "place of the skull" in Hebrew. This is puzzling because that certainly is not what one would think the word meant. It looks to me like the word root is GLGL, which has the meaning sense of "turning", "waves", "changing" -- or even, at a stretch, "reincarnation".

Preachers, priests and ministers will tell you that the meaning of "Jesus" is something like "Salvation is the Lord's" -- the "J" being the first letter of the Explicit Name (JHVH) and "shua", correctly, is "redemption". However, it could also be seen as a form of "shia", which is a crying out, as for help, release, succor.

To me, that sort of thing gives more sense and meaning to his final words in Aramaic, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani" (My God! My God! Why do you forsake me!").

Okay, I put my preacher back in his closet now -- maybe I'll let him out next Sunday...
The logo I used today I borrowed from these people, their web bread sure looks yummy!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Confession of Beastliness

As I have been promising/threatening lately, I have, for the moment, gone over to a more philosophical corner.

I hadn't realized, until I started blogging this summer how much the the Columbine tradgedies had influenced my writing. This piece from 1999 examines something seldom talked about -- the fascination we seem to have for the ugly evil whether it be real "news" or "just" another illusion in the "glowing screen".

I've got a confession to make, an observation in fact.
It's something I've noticed about the way that I react
to terrible tales of ugliness we hear in the news.
(I guess it's only me and it doesn't apply you?)
But when I hear they killed (let's say) twenty-five...
"In a little town, across the world, somewhere last night,
In a school, while you were sound asleep, a couple of creeps,
Armed with bombs and tiny, little machine guns,
Made them all into instant dog food just for fun..."

I'm shocked, of course, I sigh and maybe even cry...
& then the President replies, "Why o why
are things like this allowed to happen in our holy land?"

I shake my head and wish that I could hold his hand
& say "Well, brother Bill, you see, it's like this:
Where there are people & tensions, there'll be violence!

Look at the family: the abused children, the battered wives;
& the Balkans and other places where people aren't so nice...

The common burger bar is bad, but school life
is the worst that I have known, there where leaders are grown
& losers are made (how dare I put this into a poem?).
The terrors and the horrors that I myself have known
in almost-empty hallways of the Poosah City High School...

If you're not a member and don't play by the rules -- you're a fool...

Please don't get me wrong -- I'm not defending ding-bats!
Turning people into dog-food is not where it's at!
(I've got to get to my confession of beastliness
Before I run completely out of breath!)

When I heard the radio speaker say the following day:
"It was not a new record! It was less than twenty five
they whacked in their sick, little kamikaze attack!
Ten, and maybe more were finally found, alive
In the charnel house of learning..."

I felt a strange, burning,
a tight
feeling in my chest of somehow being...cheated!

I was shocked!
Do I take pleasure in seeing people mistreated?(!)

So I looked:
and found in a cellar, where I seldom go,
an ugly little beast with horns upon its head,
sitting giggling in its kingdom of the dread,
eating boogers for breakfast and sniggering to itself,
while on glowing screens, naked dancers are slowly stripped...

"Take a good look at the other end of that newspaper spoon!"

said William Burroughs, and he spoke simple truth
when he threw up his half-digested "Naked Lunch"
& showed us the errors of making deals with cold death:
If you want to know, I'll tell you what we're really like:
We stand around the trees of Calvary munching
hot dogs and potato chips and get our thrills
watching Circus-Maximus-upon-the-Hill!"

Of course I know that all you people gathered here
would never dream of bathing in Diana's tears!

But just to make sure, I suggest you check and see
There's nothing down there,
whispering obscenities
in that very private cellar, where you very seldom go...

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Price of a Kiss...

Today, I will do what I have said I would do several times and throttle back on the political comment/snark.

On the other hand, like I learned from that great American, Pete Seeger, to simply speak of the human situation, in itself, is that not a political act?

Indeed it is, the Dude from Galilee was not rendered to torture and death for a few platitudes about how nice it would be if we were nice -- the fellow spoke truth to power at a time when the political situation was...delicate.

Like Woody Guthrie wrote, "...but the bankers and the preachers and the soldiers that they hired, they hung Jesus Christ from a tree..."

The piece below was written for the daughter of a good friend of mine. It is my response to the her mother's story of how her boyfriend dumped her like a half-empty bag of potato chips.
When I see you in the eye of my mind,
is that just a memory of
something inside my head?

When I see your face before me;
When I hear your voice in my ear;
When I smell the sweetness of your breath!

When I...feel...
...the touch...
...of your tongue
on my lips...

What is that?
echoing synapses,
refusing to forget?

"The price of a kiss -- is your life!"
"What a bargain!"
The ruminating mystic said.

And yet,
You called it quits...
"Ruminating mystic" refers, of course, to Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi -- known to us Westerners simply as "Rumi". He is a fellow worth getting acquainted with, about a zillion times more so, as a conservative estimate, than that other "Rummy".

Probably the easiest way to get to know something of Rumi is through Coleman Barks who not only has beautiful translations but reads them masterfully in his Southern drawl.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Community Service?

A snip from Juan Cole yesterday which paints the ugly reality of life in Baghdad with a few brush strokes:
The facades of a normal society are gradually dropping in Iraq. It isn't a place where you can go to the book bazaar and buy a book anymore. It isn't a place where you can go to college like a normal student or professor. It is a dark, despairing, violent arena. People go about their lives, of course. But they never know when, abruptly, the Grim Reaper will grasp them as they shop for eggplants or fill up their tanks with gasoline or drop the kids off at school...
I intended to level off a bit on the political comments and leave it to folks who have more info and better insight than I (you can see a few in the links to the right). I wanted to concentrate on things closer to my heart. I've found that it was easier said than done. When I read the bit from Cole quoted above, the smoldering anger and shame burst into flame.

Bush, his crew, the screaming coterie of chicken-hawk pundits with their blather about mushroom clouds, cakewalks, showers of flowers -- they are directly responsible for opening this particular gate to hell.

As an American citizen, I to am, to some degree, also responsible.

I suppose that's why recent posts here have mentioned impeachment, first that we ought to go for it and then that we ought to go for investigations as a first priority.

My reasoning is that Congressional committees, armed with the crowbar of subpoena, could pry the lids off a few cans and get them worms out in the open. Hopefully, they can make headlines primed to slime the Repubs which, in turn, should help in 2008 and lay groundwork for actual trials where some of the crooks can get a chance of drawing a "Go straight to Jail and don't collect $200" card.

I received some Casual comments to these posts (the comments weren't casual -- the commenter is Casual) with cogent arguments that impeachment should be the priority. Casual is in high hopes of organizing a letter storm to Pelosi to that effect. More power to him/her/they. You can read the comments here and here and get more info here. The picture up above is from their web-site.

If I had my druthers though, I leave out both impeachment and jail time for the SOB (son of a bush) if he could just be sentenced to community service like he did back when his daddy got him off that drug charge.

How about, say, 3000 hours of community service?
Give him a wheelbarrow, a shovel, a mop and a bucket and send him to Iraq to clean up the mess he made there!
Some will say it ought to be 600,000 hours, one for each Iraqi life shortened in blood and I can see some justice in that. However, we should time-share some those hours to the neo-cons who arranged the war.

The plague of pundits who were so much in favor of war and cakewalk and who now tell us that it was Rummy's fault, the generals' fault, even the Iraqi's fault -- they should also have their chance and not be denied the honor of doing service most of them never had time for when there was a real war on.

I'm not being snide about them saying the (obvious) failure in Iraq being the fault of the Iraqi's! Robert Fisk has a nice rundown on pundit spin that it all is the fault of Arab character in general and the Iraqi's in particular. They are not fit for freedom, not civilized enough, simply too damn bloody a people to ever have a decent free democratic society.

That may sound close to racism but it is what they are saying and it is as close to calling them a bunch of rag heads and sand niggers as you can get with actually saying it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

On Galaxy Quest and British Terror...

My all-time favorite movie is Galaxy Quest, a wonderful Star Trek satire.

The reason I mention it is that a scene from the movie popped up in my mind as I was mulling over what I heard on the radio yesterday morning.

The scene is when Captain Taggert (Jason Nesmith) and his crew have just taken command of the bridge of the Star Ship NESA Protector, created by the Termites as an exact replica of what the ship they had seen in the "historical records", i.e. the TV sci-fi series in which he and the other actors had starred in years ago before the show was canceled.

In the scene in question, the tyrant-General Saris (Robin Sachs in the guise of a reptilian rogue) is on screen and Taggert is arguing with Lt. Madison (Sigourney Weaver). Taggert had wanted her to turn off the microphone and had drawn his finger across his throat.

"I gave you the 'cut' sign, that means 'turn off the mike'!"

"No, you gave me the sign that we were goners and I agreed!"

Tech Sgt. Chen (Fred Kwan) , sitting by the space radar screen, interrupts:



Pointing at the screen, Chen says, "Do you see that little red thingie heading for that little green thingie in the middle of the screen? Well, I think that little green thingie is us!"

When the little red dot reaches the little green dot an explosion rocks the Protector. The space torpedo Saris had launched had hit the Termian spaceship.

What was it that I had heard on the news that brought that scene up?

Nothing much, just a ratchet up of the "news" from the day before where Blair blathered that there were 200 terror cells in Britain. Today, the scare is that there are 30 terror plots! Al-Q is consciously concentrated on obtaining an atomic bomb or some other WOMAD* such as a bacteriological and/or chemical weapon which they will bring to explosion in Britain or maybe in Europe or somewhere else!

I was terrified, I tell you -- because I got the message: "Be afraid! Be Very Afraid!"

Jeeze, if we hadn't made all those bombs in the first place and still had them half a generation after the end of the First Cold War, how could terrorists get a hold of them now?

The thing is, dear hearts, all the bombs are in the hands of terrorists.

What our leaders fear is that the wrong kind of terrorist should get their bloody hands on some or even one...

I sure as hell don't like the idea of some mad bugger walking around with a Fat Man in a suitcase or a Little Boy in a backpack. Neither do I have any reliable way to judge the probability, so I'm not taking bets at the moment...

But my gut feeling is that the US is more likely to set off a device somewhere before Al-Q does.

However, all that is beside the point!

It has been common knowledge for the longest time that Al-Q screwballs have been having wet dreams about getting their claws on something really dirty for a long time -- that is not news!

In fact, if my memory serves me well, the idea that "terrorists" might get The Bomb is at least 30 years old.

I specifically recall a member of the German Bundestag (a conservative, of course...) speculating that if terrorists had an atomic device they were going to explode, it would be okay to torture them to make them fess up to where they had put it...

The nitty-gritty is not what you hear in the news. The thing to always ask is, "Why am I hearing this now? Why is this news today!"

Here, a possible answer is that it is a high priority for the Bush admin to get the lame duck Congress to pass the law making its illegal wiretapping legal. The "reason" is that if it is not passed they won't be able to catch the terrorists who, as we all know now, are trying to get their hands on The Bomb! Just by coincidence, we "know" this is true because Blair and the chief of MI5 in Britain have just coincidentally set off a meme.

Why the Brit gov't sucks up in this way to the Bush admin is a question in itself.

As a matter of fact, you might ask why the Danish PM kisses Bush's ass the way he does -- that is, if anybody outside of Denmark knows that the Happy Little Kingdom is a member of the "Coalition of the Willing".

It is a fact that the intelligence books were cooked in Denmark after the same recipe in order to get the Danish Parliament (Folketing) to agree to war in Iraq. We know this because a whistleblower did four months in the shade for blowing the whistle to the newspaper, Berlingske Tidene and know the two journalists who did the article are up on charges that can give two years in the shade!
* WOMAD = Weapons of Obscenely Massive and Agonizing Death

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Nineveh Option...

Sometimes I feel like a latter day Jonah, except I've never really felt a call to either go to Nineveh and preach about the Lord's Wrath or flee to Tarshish and risk spending a long weekend in the belly of a big fish.

I especially don't want or plan to sit in the hot sun and watch a plant grow up about as fast as Jack's Bean Stalk, give me shade and then wilt, only to have the Heavenly Wise Ass give me a Divine Put Down just because I bitch about getting sunburn.

In any case, at this point, that is to say, in this age of crisis, I don't see how the Nineveh Option, you know, everybody putting on sackcloth and ashes is going to help things all that much at this point in time.

In any case not much more than Baker, Gates, their Iraq Study Group and the "new direction in Iraq" is going to help.

Even if they do get us out with a shiny plastic medal that reads "peace with honor", we'll be led by our noses to the next debacle of defecation.

Jeeze, do you know who Robert Gates is? I sure didn't, although I'd heard rumors, not until I got the real poop on the bozo via Ray McGovern -- he's the guy who invented the art of cooking intelligence to suit the political aims/games of his masters, easing the way for nasty things Ronald "King of Teflon" Reagan committed.
The thing is, once you pull the cord, there really isn't all that much you can do to keep the toilet from flushing, now is there?
And that is about where we are right now, dear hearts.

And not just in Iraq, but all over the world and in so many ways:
On your left, ladies and gentlemen, we have WOMAD, also known as Weapons of Obscene and Massively Agonizing Death -- a tremendous, world wide extravaganza featuring a cast of thousands of nuclear warheads as well as thousands of liters of anthrax, botulism and, the star of the show, Mr. Variola Major on Steroids, whose fatality rate has been pumped up from a mere 30 to 80% or maybe more.
On your right, ladies and gentlemen we see, Madam Polluted Earth and her lovely children, Drought, Poisoned Ground Water, Erosion, Disease, the twins Starvation and Mass Migration and, of course, last but not least, Ms. Global Warming accompanied by Rising Waters and Super Storms!
How did we get here? Do you really want to know?

First, the "smartness" of modern man has made him so stoopid that he can't see things right in front of his face!

Second, there are certain rules for smart and stoopid.

If you're stoopid, you do stoopid things, if you're smart, you do smart things -- once in a while, anyway.

Or like the Dude from Galilee supposedly said over and over:
What comes from the heart is what defiles or purifies the human & the fruit of its actions reveals what is in the heart of the human.

Or to put it in a way that a way even President Codpiece could comprehend:
If every thing you touch turns to shit, you must be an asshole!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Let Justice Wipe Her Bloody Tears Away

A commenter to an earlier post here was pushing a grassroots demand to petition Pelosi and the new Congress to impeach the fellow sitting in the Oval Office.

At first glance it seemed like a good idea and in the old days (6 days ago, actually) it looked like a pretty good idea to me also.

But on second thought and after reading Dave at Orcinus and Poputonian at Digby's digs, guys who often think clearer on their first thought than I on my third, I've changed my mind.

The reason impeachment seemed like such a great idea before was because there was nothing we could do about the loutish and apparently criminal behavior of that SOB [son of a bush].

And that is the crunch -- all we know for sure is that it appears to be criminal what they've done. We could only suspect.

The majority in Congress now has the power of subpoena and this is no small thing. An impeachment would only affect one man and in the end his punishment would be that he'd have to go back to Crawford maybe six months before his time.

How much better it would be if, instead, he did time -- and as many of his nefarious crew as the real dirt can be dug up on!

An example: the response of the new majority in Congress to the Bush demand that the Lame Duck Congress approve the measure legalizing what seems almost certainly to have been illegal wiretapping -- the answer has been NO!

Instead Pelosi is saying instead we want to investigate what this wiretapping has been used for. It is almost an open secret that Bush has used wiretapping not on "terrorists" but on political enemies. At least that explains his hysterical need to legalize what he's done before anybody can make people tell Congress what he has done.

And that is just barely lifting the top off of the can of worms.

In short, powerless, we wanted revenge -- now, with power, we must demand justice.

It's really important.

Despite the lives lost, the bodies maimed, the fortunes squandered, the tax money stolen, the worst that has happened is to the very spirit and soul of the American dream. To most of the world, America is seen as the greatest threat to world peace and we have lost our role of leadership, except for the leadership of the playground bully -- a fist in the face.

We must seek justice, only then can we wipe away her bloody tears and the Lady of Enlightenment and Liberty can once again raise her head high and look the world once again straight in the eye.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Common Humanity or Slime Mold?

[I often use the phrase "common humanity", in fact I just did a search and found that I've used the term in 32 posts since I started blogging last May and as recently as yesterday. Although the Point Omega series used the term 6 times and should give some idea of what I mean, perhaps a closer definition of what I hope to mean with the term is in order. I'll make a stab at it with this spiffed up version of a piece from 1999 I found in my journals.]

Our "common humanity".

Is it really all that "common" and where is the "human" in it?

Our common humanity is not an apple or an orange; a theory or some cosmic revelation.

Our common humanity is a vision of what we are striving to become, that is human beings. The only use I have for organized religions is that they are intended to codify, preserve and hand down through the generations something of that vision.

However, in reality, our common humanity is simply that vision as it is realized in the daily lives of everyone.

It's not like God wrote a divine screenplay and said: "This is how it will be!"

It's more like God Asks: "What do you want?" "What will you be?"

Well, what is our answer?

Shall we be Ants? Rats? Cockroaches? Slime mold?

Take your pick!

"That-birds-can-fly" is not because they have wings -- neither do they have wings so they can fly.

Birds can fly and they have wings because they followed a vision of Bird.

To the degree that we are human, it is because we have been following a vision of Human.

That may sound kind of like a rehash of Plato or even Blake, but the fact remains that should lose that vision -- and we have always but in danger of that, but never more than today -- if we lose that vision, we will devolve into a wild and ugly beast.

Should that ugly thing happen, it would then indeed have been better we had chosen Slime Mold, and stuck with that! Slime mold looks kind of cute when its yellow glob slides across the forest floor...
"Keep your eye on the prize, hold on!" like I heard on Pete Seeger records while I was in college:

[A couple of addendums. First, what set me thinking about this series of posts was one that Ravenheart posted last September, "We are the Prayer". What I wanted to respond with was too nuanced for a simple comment, plus I have long been mulling over how to communicate my views on the subject.

The other item is more mundane -- the picture above is a snapshot from here. I don't know either the lovely young lady or the slime mold, for that matter -- but the picture was perfect for my purpose today. If either the lady or the slime mold are offended in any way, I hope they will please accept my abject and deep apologies!]

Saturday, November 11, 2006

True Coin and the Age of Terror

One of the big news items on the Danish TV News reports yesterday was the announcement by Blair of 200 [muslim] terror plans and close surveillance of 1600 [muslim] Brits.

This scared me almost as much as last summer when [muslim] terrorists, who had yet to order plane tickets or the three chemicals needed to make an explosive which is actually a bit dicey to mix.

Back then, perhaps because my cynicism was more vigorous, I assumed that the Big Bust had something to do with the fact that the elections were coming up and the Bush admin needed somebody to blow hard on the Terror Barometer.

But this new Blair blather comes just after the election.

Because of the Dem landslides, which weakened even my rather extensive cynicism, I was at first merely puzzled.

But then Blair continued to blather that these terror threats threaten not only Britain but Europe and the rest of the world. For some reason, I then recalled that Blair and his gov't mouthpieces have always denied that an increased threat of terror in Britain had any connection with the British involvement in Iraq.
Such claims are clearly a denial of reality!
And that is why I wondered, as my cynicism sprang to life once again, why the timing, just after the elections? Could it be that maybe it has to do with Bush stressing the importance of Dem cooperation with him in the "war on terra"?

I have no way to know. Even as I type, in the background on the Danish radio, an announcer is talking about [muslim] terror threats to attack air planes and trains in Europe during the Christmas Holidays.

What I do know is that all the bombs are in the hands of terrorists.

I also know that, just as certain that Western made bombs will continue to ravage in the Middle East in one form or another, we are going to have to accept as a fact of life that bombs are going to explode in our countries -- we are going to have to live with this threat just like we do with so many others that we do what we can to protect ourselves from or ameliorate the consequences of.

If we don't/won't/can't accept the fact, then we will have to accept the fact of hysterical run to military law in at least some Western states when something big goes off.

The fact is: we have entered an Age of Terror, as Robert Fisk has written so cogently about.

All this is but a single aspect of what threatens in both physical and spiritual ways this planet and our existence upon it.

The spiritual and physical aspects of the crisis are intertwined, in fact more than intertwined. They are two sides of the same coin. If you look at just one side, what you read there makes no real sense.

The fact is, you have to see both sides at once.

Have you ever seen those small disks with unintelligible writing on each side that, when you spin them, the script suddenly reads "I love you"?

What we need is a true coin which, when it spins, we read "Reality".

Perhaps we do have such coin. However, being multidimensional it has a lot more than two sides.

Where to find it? The only place I know of is in our daily lives and in our common humanity.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Two More Cents, Maybe Even a Nickle...

To tell the truth, dear hearts, and have I ever been anything other, except, of course, for the occasional snide sarcasm, icy irony or simply sarcastic comment?

To tell the truth, I really don't feel I have all that good a handle on the apparent chaos going under the name of American Politics at the moment.

Therefore, I think I will forego much of the political comment as I have been engaging in lately and will concentrate more on what is dearer to my heart.

That said, I may not be able to control myself if I note things seeping in again from the Third Galaxy...

Like most everybody I was happy to see that the landslides exceeded anything I could let myself hope for. The Ravenheart went even so far as to bury his cynicism!!! I hope not, I suspect he may find it harder to keep buried than he thinks.

However, for one thing I won't rest easy until Allen in VA has not only conceded but gone past the week deadline he has to request a recount. I suspect/hope that he won't because in so doing he would (praise the Lord) put the last nail in the coffin of his presidential ambitions.

Again, that said, taking for granted that the 110th Congress will be controlled by the Democrats, we still have the problem of the still Republican lame duck Congress.

Bush has made clear, if you really listen to what he is saying that the beast may be wounded but it sure ain't dead by a long shot!

Greenwald has, as to be expected, extensive coverage on this so I'll just come with one quote from Bush in his reacent speech in the Rose Garden:
The other important priority in the war on terror is for the Congress to pass the Terrorist Surveillance Act.
The point is that when he asks the Dems to help him with the "war on terra" and when the plan is to get both Bolton and Gates confirmed in their nominations during the Lame Duck, it seems obvious that what he means is "continue business as usual in a different way to establish the president as a Unitary Executive and hope for a Repub president in 2008, some mad hawk like McCain, for example...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mourning Gerry-mum

[I posted in September a song I wrote for my dad, Robin who died in 1984 and one I wrote for my mother, Eunice who died in 1943. I wrote then that I would post the poem I wrote for my step-mother, Gerry-mum -- but I couldn't find what I had done with the darn thing. Finally I realised that I had expanded it into this prose-poem...]
Gerry-Mum is dead.
She died in her sleep on Sunday, that is they figured from the smell anyway.
No one had noticed that she hadn't left her room until late Wednesday afternoon when my sister Bonnie came back with her kids -- they had been visiting the hospital where her husband was dying of cancer.

My sister had Gerry-mum's body cremated and the house disinfected.

What can I tell you about Gerry-mum?

Her maiden name was Geraldine Mary Ols when she married my widowed father, Robin Cliff. Known as "Gerry", she would later insist on everyone calling her "Mary" after her "conversion" to Catholicism.

Years later, when she wrote me that she was no longer a "crazy catholic", I was tempted sorely to repspond that I hoped it was the crazy she had given up. Although religion played a part in her mental deterioation, it was the way she used it that harmed her. In fact the priests tried to keep her out of the church, but she got herself baptized through trickery.

Anyway, she was my step-mother from the time I was three-four years old. My dad was a good catch, I guess. There was a war on, you know. He worked in the steel mills and was an only provider. Gerry was a good looker. She had boobs as big as Elizabeth Taylor. I guess that cinched the deal.

What else can I tell you, that she was crazy?
So what?
Lots of people are crazy and most of them don't even know it!

I have no scars I can show you, or tales of abuse to chill you with. How can I tell you in a few words the increasing madness I lived with for sixteen years?

Should I tell you how she often told me there was insanity in my family (there isn't!) or how my dad had a "split" personality?

Should I tell you how she made me sleep with her when dad was away because she "was lonely"?

Should I tell you how "God took her voice" because my sisters did not obey her?

Or her "pipeline to God" ?

Or how she damned the priests to hell because they "denied her her birthright" -- her code phrase for the fact the church would not annul her marrige to Robin so that she could marry a "christian man"

Then came the day my dad ran away from home, leaving us three kids to live with her.

That was the summer before my third semester at Tulane, I went from the Dean's List, to straight F's. "You're committing scholastic suicide!" the professor said, yeah, sure...

Some of it was before I ran away from home myself, into the Army, leaving my two sisters alone with her. Some of it was later when she fled up north with them after telling the judge that my dad was not their father, but some "black man".

Up north she taught my sisters that my dad was a devil

Words fail me. They seldom do that -- but they sure do now.

Gerry-mum is dead.

I didn't think that I would cry. But I did, quite copiously in fact.

Was I crying for her? Perhaps, but I doubt it...

She always said that the sign of a "good actor" was being able to "cry real tears". Perhaps I'm acting now?

My observation is: it is for ourselves that we first cry.

Only later can the real sorrow come.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Two Cents

According to the early morning Danish news, the Dems have taken the House, having already scored the 15 seats needed for that.

The Senate is hanging in the balance, with only three of the six seats needed apparently secured.

One doesn't to be exceptionally prescient to know that there are going to a number of scandals about voting machines that don't work, irregularities at polling places particularly in poorer, ethnic communities which could be expected to vote Dem.

The question, will the party in power at the moment be able to steal enough to keep the Senate, will the disgust and outrage finally boil over into outrage and disgust?

We'll see how it all unfolds.

One thing I do figure is that the less demonstratively the Dems win, the more the results will be spun to be in fact a victory for the Repubs -- because there has been so much talk about a landslide, earthquake victory, anything less is a loss for the Dems and a win for the Repubs.

As I write, the Danish news comes on and now they say that the Dems are gonna get thirty seats in the house -- sounds good!

That's my two cents.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


By some strange, unforeseeable coincidence, the midterm elections will be held today in the USA, two days after Mr. Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death.

The sentence was supposed to have been passed in the middle of October but for some reason was delayed.

Golly, do you think somebody went "wink-wink" and said since we all know we're gonna hang his ass, why not get some extra mileage out of it?

Gee, you'd have to be a somewhat cynical person to think something like that!

Actually, you'd have to be as cynical as the people who for, no good reason I can see, assume the reason the office investigating corruption and misuse of good American taxpayer dollars in Iraq is being closed is because they actually were doing their job and getting decent crooks locked up in jail!

What did I say? Yep, I said it, implied it and meant it.

Don't screw with the System, even if you're just doing your job, you know the thing you are paid to do -- don't screw with the System, or the System will screw you four ways to Sunday. End of story.

Speaking of midterm elections, if, I say IF, the Dems take both houses of Congress, what are the chances that they'll do the right thing and impeach that SOB (son of a bush)? What? Did I hear 5%? Optimist!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hang Him High


Surpise, surprise!

Saddam found guilty!

Of crimes ... against ... humanity!


That is a headliner!

A no-brainer!


How will the world news dust this off!

I am so shocked, my socks fell off and curled up on the floor!

The world will never be the same!

If you told me that James Bond was a gay prostitute throwing soft balls at White House press conferences or that Tim Haggard was nipping meth in the men's bathroom , I might, I say might be more bamfoozled!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In a Very Bad Mood!

It's a strange morning!

I spent a half hour discussing with Sunflower Woman quite specific problems we have regarding a child, the conception of which I was the paternal part, some years before we, SFW and I hooked up.

The above can translate to "love" or maybe the fact that as a product of 1955 I didn't know shit about "what goes on..."


I was twenty four years old and she, the child's mother, took my cherry, my manly virginity.

It's not something a MAN often talks about, but, being the incorrigible
asshole I am, I will speak up!

Not for my own self.

But for any poor, shitass boy out there who has been subjected to an asswipe regime which hides the fact that when you get about 14 years old, certain things happen to your body...

Things which mean, with or without "God's Blessing", you will put your erectilled penis into to the warmth of a woman's vagina and ejaculate sperm.

The rest is history, so what is the [excuse me] fucking problem?

Indeed, what is the fucking problem?

Screw "God", screw "Allah", screw in the Devine Asshole whatever "God" you can imagine!

We are the [excuse me] fucking beings we are.

We will do what we do because we are what we are!

You and "God" can go screw Him/Her self, if He/She/It wants to damn us to Hell for what we do.

All I can say is, FUCK God!

Sorry, it's just that I am pissed off, that is, in a bad mood!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Ghosts Who Wraith

[Not only do I not remember when or why I first wrote this rambling rant, I have no clear understanding exactly why I composed it and even less why I post it today. Perhaps it's just that strange foreboding which often plagues me]

The ghosts who wraith among the ruins after the Great Dieing:
Amidst the groans, the wails, the keening
-- at times, the Question asks:

"How did this happen? How did such tragedy come to pass?"

The Answer comes (softly moaning) in a pale wind’s sighing:

When false "gods" are called "true",
the True God is made false;

When vile men curse with blessings,
the blesséd themselves are cursed;

When the ancient dream and the purest
gold fill an empty purse
and arrogance embraces innocence
in an ever more obscene waltz;

When excremental poisons fill the ocean’s deep;
When love is sold as a luxury;
When wise men weep and tremble because
of what they see;

When deals are made and Death
is grown upon the bones of sheep;

When angels fall and Asmodeus sits upon Solomon’s Throne
and demons bark in cacophonic screeching catcalls:
"All hail to Thee, O Mighty Prince of Light!"

When darkness falls and insects crawl
and time becomes an endless busy tone...

It’s then you’ll hear them singing, "The time is mad, the time is sad!"
It's then you'll understand that, "everything is coming unglued..."

...and when you say you felt so strangely helpless,

the Question will ask:

"Was there really nothing you could do?"

(The ghosts who wraith among the ruins are those who have
no answer, no answer at all...)

Friday, November 03, 2006



I know that there is no such thing as "global warming".

I know this because such ideas are based on theories concocted by "scientists" who study what they call "facts" and forget to study the Wonderful Book Given to us by the Great Potato and His Only Begotten Spud, the Holy Idaho!

However, in Denmark, June, July, August, September and October were all warmer than average. July was a record month in the amount of sunshine while September and October were record months in how warm they were.

November started on Wednesday.

I look out my window this Friday morning and see two inches of snow on the ground...

The storm on Wednesday pushed so much water into the inner waterways between Jutland and the islands that there were floods in several cities. This has not happened in Denmark for at least 150 years.


In the USA it looks like a political tsunami is going to drown the Republican death grip on political power at least in Congress.

The polls are more than unanimous, they are unanimous in the same way that scientists are unanimous about global warming. Therefore, the polls should be taken with at least a grain of salt.

We all know that there is no such thing as global warming. Global warming predicts extremes in weather, with heat and cold waves, floods, storms, etc. Have we seen anything like that?

However, let us assume that the polls reflect more or less what will happen this coming Tuesday (such assumption assumes that the margin is so great that fudging the results on electronic voting machines which leave no paper trail is beyond even the Rovians godlike power to "fix").

Assuming that the Democrats find themselves with a sudden majority in the Senate and the House, a majority so large that even Fox news will be forced to call it a landslide, an earthquake, a tsunami -- what then?

Indeed, what then?

One thing I know for sure about the fellow in the White House is that he always goes with his "gut-feeling". His track record shows that his gut response to negativity is to up the ante. He will always go for double-or-nothing.

The problem is, this is not a rugby game, a fraternity fracas, an oil company adventure or even the governor-ship of Texas.

This is the President of the United States and this utter failure of a person who has never in his life had to take responsibility for any of his mistakes just happens to have in his hands the buttons which can activate the most devastating military machine the world has ever seen.

At this very moment a major naval force is in position near the Persian Gulf.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Such a Clever Device!

[Sarah's "Sunday Rant" at Orcinus set me off on this and Josh Marshall's snippet about the reality of Iraq also lit my fire -- apparently things are going so well there that mercenary para-militaries are pulling out! Iraq has become, literally, one Hell of a place!]

Authoritarian and fundamentalist mind sets -- the two are actually quite interchangeable -- are basically immature and infantile, prone to magical thinking and incapable of accepting reality as it is.

Since even the best of us can hardly be said to be completely free of authoritarian and fundamentalist tendencies, it is obvious why wingnuts who wallow and take pride in eliminationist rhetoric resort to use of:

Such a Clever Device!

I've found a very clever way

to solve the kind of problems facing us today.

The only thing we need to do

is deny reality -- deny that it's really true!

I started off believing that

the Earth -- it's really true -- in fact is really flat!

The fools who sail too far from land

fall off the edge and are never ever seen again!

It's really such a clever device

to brazenly claim that lies are truth and truths are lies!

"Rome wasn't built in a day -- but the earth was made in six!"

"All those who believe in evolution are morally sick!"

"And those who say the sky is blue

are all a bunch of liberal fags and traitors to

the Cause of Liberty, Freedom and Peace!

They ought to be tortured and shot for their outrageousness!"

All things equal, I could care less if somebody denies reality -- why should I bother to even think about it?

Thing is, all things are most certainly not equal.

Reality and truth are kind of connected, in fact two sides of the same coin. Since authoritarians and fundamentalists have a tendency to get rather in one's face about the "truth", an honest reaction must be to inform them that truth requires facing reality.

Still, there is the question of compassion. It can be a bitch to face reality, so one might say something like this:

"If you really want to know the truth, you must face reality and reality can be a bitch if you can't face the truth. In order to face the truth you must love the truth with no strings attached.

If you don't love the truth, your only option is ever increasing, ever stronger illusion. At a certain point the strength and fascination of illusion increases until, in the end, you cannot break the bond.

That is a real definition of the Hell you talk so much about!"
Sounds kind of heavy, doesn't it?

That's because it is!

If Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush and neo-con crew were locked away in an any other nut house but the White House, it wouldn't matter much how much they denied reality, not to mention simple human decency.

But they aren't and the Decider has his hands on the buttons of the most terrifying military machine the world has ever seen.

That is the crunch, that is where the shoe pinches

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Being Correct About Iraq Isn't Fun

Juan Cole posted an excellent piece up over at Informed Comment where makes a very precise critique of a couple of pundits who were sniping him at the beginning of that ongoing debacle wrapped in a catastrophe and covered with quagmire we know as the (ILLEGAL, dammit!) invasion of Iraq.

Juan's critics are well-known pundits. One of them now works for the Los Angeles Times, the paper which let Robert Scheer go exactly because he was critical of the war.

It matters little that two of his critics now admit that the war was a mistake -- and this is Professor Cole's money observation -- it matters little they do not, just as Bush, Cheny, Wolfowitz, et. al. still do not, can not or perhaps dare not comprehend why they were wrong.

They were wrong not only because they were ignorant, which could be forgiven, but because they were deliberately ignorant! This applies, of course to Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, et. al.

Don't get me wrong -- it is a good thing to recognize and admit that you have made a mistake. But until you at least make an attempt to understand why you made the mistake it really doesn't mean very much.

Glen Greenwald the same day also had an excellent piece on almost the same subject with a long quotes from a cogent, in fact prescient Op-Ed by Jim Webb in September, 2002.

It cannot be over stressed that as, Cheney, Bush, Rice, Powell, et. al. were blathering about mushroom clouds WMDs and smoking guns and the O'reillys, Limbaughs and Coulters were frothing rabidly at the mouth over the liberal wimps -- at the same time, wise words were being spoken in (albeit almost empty) halls of Congress by people like Senator Byrd and excellent analysis's of national security situation were being made by people like Jim Webb:
Other than the flippant criticisms of our "failure" to take Baghdad during the Persian Gulf War, one sees little discussion of an occupation of Iraq, but it is the key element of the current debate. The issue before us is not simply whether the United States should end the regime of Saddam Hussain, but whether we as a nation are prepared to physically occupy territory in the Middle East for the next 30 to 50 years. Those who are pushing for a unilateral war in Iraq know full well that there is no exit strategy if we invade and stay. . . .

The problem now is the failure in Iraq is so obvious that even a blind man could see it.

The problem with that is that those who saw the catastrophe coming and dared speak out and protest are going to smeared, vilified and shafted -- in fact, made responsible for the failure!

The logic, such as it is, will be that "we" would have won if only the liberals and the "cut and run" people had been patriots and at least kept our filthy mouths shut. We will be called traitors it will be our fault that "3,000 died in vain".

When something gets blown up on American soil by a special ops unit or by freelancing terrorists, they will shout "Al-Q did it!"

It will be our fault because we did not "fight them over there so we wouldn't have to fight them over here".

And some of us will then go to the camps as the Ground Law is suspended, martial law is declared and the Supreme Hole ascends his throne of blood and excrement.
Sorry folks, I seemed to have slipped into Third Galaxy mode there somewhere. It was purely unintentional and I really really REALLY don't believe think or imagine that shit like could ever come down -- after all, America is the "City on the Hill", spreading light and peace and democracy!

That is why we can be trusted to never never destroy the world with our magnificent array of Weapons of Mass Destruction, unless of course our Decider in Chief Decides it to do it or the Great Potato tells him to in order to pave the way for the Second Flowering of the Holy Idaho!