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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Peace Fasting

New poem for last week - I am a week behind because I've fancied myself an important voice in the world of poetry - is at the other site:

Mr. Bush's Climate Summit

In the BBC this morning: US President George W Bush infuriated his critics by professing world leadership on climate change at his meeting of the top 16 world economies - while offering no new substantive policy and implicitly rejecting binding emissions controls. ...some visiting delegates were outraged by what they said was a stream of spin running through the speech. One (who understandably asked not to be named) said: "This is a total charade. "The president has said he will lead on climate change but he won't agree binding emissions, while other nations will. "He says he will lead on technology but then he asks other countries to contribute funds, without saying how much he'll contribute himself. "It's humiliating for him - a total humiliation." Some delegates were particularly upset by the extravagant invitation by Mr Bush for other nations to follow the US lead in cutting emissions while increasing the economy. Emissions did indeed buck the upward trend by dropping a fraction of 1% in the US during 2006 - but even the American government admits this was due to a warm winter, cool summer and an oil price they considered far too high. And some said it was useful - albeit tedious - to hear American officials lecturing them with the very facts of climate change that they had been ignoring for years. Mr Bush himself says he is organising a summit of world leaders next summer. Privately, some European delegates are already saying they hope their political leaders are not invited. The leader of the Free Daft World. If we had only left him as the owner of the Texas Rangers Baseball team, we could be amused at his pixillated behavior. By teaming him up with George Steinbrenner, we could laugh at their over-the-top antics and giggle at their massacre of the English language. Not since Charley Finley, we would say, have we seen such... idiosyncratic behavior. Then we would smile and watch the October Classic.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Autumn 1

I went to visit my brother and give him some money. He needs ID. His PO has been after him to get his ID. He said it was something to do with his DNA test. "DNA test?", I said. "Why a DNA test?" I was wondering just how frivolous one can be with one's money. "Anybody with a felony conviction gets a DNA test", he said. "Oh," I mused, wondering at the marvelous technology and the cesspool of the Justice system. One gets a lot on information and hands it over to creeps. His PO says that if he does not get his ID, then it will be a misdemeanor. "Oh...," I decided to be willfully obtuse. "...perhaps they'll give you another DNA test for that." "Yeah," he laughed. It was debated whether he should bring it up to his PO, something like saying that he knew he needed another DNA test for failing to procure ID, producing a plastic specimen cup, brandishing it in her parole official face, and asking for a Playboy. His PO was a good looking lady. I saw her once. Twice actually. Well, more like 11 times, if the truth be told. And that omits the glimpses in the rear view mirror. This all came about one afternoon earlier in the year, in the summer of 2007, when I had taken him to the store. He has no car and no driver's license ( a piece of ID). My job is to help, I guess. So as we were finishing getting the necessities, I asked whether he needed some beer. "Sure," he said. "That always comes in handy." He's not supposed to drink. Whether that is court mandated or comes from his history of hepatitis C, I do not know. I just know he does, and why make him walk to The Licker Locker after I go? Furthermore, he lives, as it were, in the sights or cross hairs of three bars or liquor service restaurants. He is firmly triangulated and they have him cornered. So we got a 12-pack of suds. We checked out and took the groceries to the car, baking in the sun, where we put the bags in the back seat and the beer in the front seat, between us, in order to keep it cool when we drove and the A/C was working. As we arrived at the parking lot by his abode, I turned the car in and noticed two ladies standing in the thoroughfare and talking. "Gosh," I said. "It's nice to see two ladies who aren't talking on cell phones." "Gadfrey," he said. "That's my PO!" Now he said this with a bit of warmth, leading me to conclude that this was not an opportune crossing of paths. He threw his left arm over the 12 pack, trying to obscure its cover, a cover painted and inked with vibrantly cool propaganda. "You don't want her to see the beer?" I asked. "NO." So I ducked down a side aisle and began crusing the parking lot, up and down, back and forth, just as I usually do looking for a meter with time on it. Fortunately, the lot was just big enough that the ladies did not eventually decide that they needed to unlimber their MACE cannisters on us. They were both blonde. Well, who isn't these days? I mean, who of their age and in Port Desespoir. The were paradigmatic emblems of the femme d'affaires; no-nonsense women of the world. Certainly the one called " my PO " must be. I kept trying to get a gander of her in the rear view. I couldn't approach too close. Crash...or Clunk actually...the 12 pack fell forward off the seat. "That ought to be fizzy enough." I said. My brother scrabbled the cube of liquid delight back onto the seat. "Why don't we drive by and pop one open and spray them?" I said. He laughed. Then the A/C quit. It had always been iffy. I usually did not use it. I think what happened is that the freon that was left decided it was time to join its brothers and sisters up, up, way up there in the Green Pastures of the Ozone Layer. So the beer was not only stirred and shaken, but it was now going to warm up. We drove. After a while, I began to wonder what happens to a 12 pack in critical condition. Would it eventually explode and take out half on downtown? Bullets of sweat began to form upon our troubled brows. Finally, the gab fest ended. The two blondes lionesses shook their manes, and each strode off as regally as Aiyesha, looking for men to enslave and yoke to their chariots. Slowly, we crept around a corner, watching the PO get into her car, fiddle with the seat belt, pick up a cell phone, then think better of it, and start the engine. Her red back ups glowed promisingly. I came up slowly, looked around, saw she had 1 hour left on her meter, and slid the 1991 Marquis into the spot as gracefully as a yeoman guiding the USS Forrestall into dry dock. Actually, I think the Marquis has more "flight deck" than does the Forrestall. We slowly got out of the car. The coast was clear. I carried the loot to the front door of his building. It was a close call. Back to the present. We talked about the weather. Since the weather is snafu, I asked whether he'd had any tornado warnings in Port Desespoir. "No," he said, adding "The power went out, though." He sit silently for a moment. "We had two, no, three tornado warnings," I said. " You had a power outage?" I asked, remembering the big outage of 2000 or whenever it was...already forgotten and the power grid is just slightly better than Baghdad's. "Yeah. You know, when there's an outage, the first thing you think is 'Did I pay the bill?' " I pondered. "Yeah. Same with a tornado..." He waited and I wondered how I was going to finish this bit of fancy. " see the tornado and you wonder if it's the REPO tornado, you know, if you didn't pay the bills..." He laughed. "Yeah. Gonna take you, your car, your furncher...gonna take your whole house! and repo 'em!" "Like Oz...and dump your sorry ass just over the county line...good riddance." We laughed. We talked a bit more. It was late, so I gave him some currency as well as the check I had delivered. He would not get to a bank until morning. I thought he might need money. He smelled strongly of beer and its by-products. He would probably wish to have another drink. We parted. I did not cry. I did not cry because I had already cried. I had paid my crying forward, as the snappy phrase goes. It is Autumn and one expects to cry. Not as much as at Christmas, of course, because holidays are just made for crying and depression and fighting. In Autumn I regret the passing of time. I only yearn to hold on due to my mistakes, the loves I screwed up, the friends I messed with, the children I let down... If everything was perfect, I'd go right now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thrilla in New York: President A versus President B

The president of Iran and the president of the USA were both in New York. How did it come out?

Columbia's President, Lee Bollinger, invited president A. to Columbia apparently in order to have a foil to spar with verbally. Under much criticism for having president A. on campus, Mr. Bollinger caved in the best American tradition by dressing up in his uniform of suit and tie and character assassination.
It was very well done. So much so that it passed everyone's attention that Mr. Bollinger was treating president A. as if the president had been at the head of Iran's government for 30 years or so and was the prime motivator behind the return of the Ayatullah and everything since.

President A. was uninteresting, but I assume he was on the ropes and stumbling from Bollinger's diplomatic hatchet-job.

At Columbia, it was apparent that President A. has 2 approaches to the Holocaust:
(1) it did not happen, and
(2) it was not an important moral or spiritual issue to Iran.

Obviously, he should stick to (2), but he was not elected due to his intellectual smarts.

At the UN, President Bush got my very close attention. I was getting my hair cut and beard trimmed at the local tonsorial salon, Edward Scissorhands, when he mentioned that he was recommending changes in food aid programs, specifically an emphasis on buying food from local farmers in regions which are recipients of food aid programs.
"CARE...!" I said.
"I'm being careful," my barber said. "You have a difficult head."
"No," I replied. "He's implementing the recommendations of CARE...the food aid group C.A.R.E. They stopped receiving federal monies because of...FFs." (FF is an acronymous designation we use locally to indicate " Federal F...." where the last "F" is pronounced as in the word "SNAFU".)
"I listened on C-Span...there was a recommendation for this local buying of food, " I continued.
"Mmmm...?" intoned the snip-meister.
"Well, you can imagine how imported free food sort of works against the local farmers...sort of like well...if you give a guy a fish, he can feed his family for one day; if you teach him how to fish, he can feed his family forever, and if you import free fish from the USA bought by the government of the USA from your rich backers in the fishing industry, you can destroy a local economy as well as diverting a large portion of those free fish to enrich corrupt local politicians."

By this time, metal had been used to trim my eyebrows and bad luck was in the cards for an undetermined amount of time. I was upset. The barber said it was not his fault because my spiel was so-o-o interesting.
Anyhow, so President Bush actually sounded pretty good. I was amazed. Then I remembered he used to be an O.K. guy. Then he criticized somebody there about human rights violations...somebody here...everywhere a somebody who was being undemocratic and he underscored this concern by saying that nothing was said about all this at the UN, but they did criticize Israel...Israel who, by implication, was a stellar example of implementing human rights, and so on.

Well, that did burst my balloon. President Bush is not bad on his own. It's when he says things that so-called conservative intellects tell him to say that he stumbles. Case in point: The Jewish National Fund, founded in 1901 and an emblem of Jewish life in Israel, recently has decided or been forced into a limited trial period during which it will actually consider selling land to non-Jews. This was announced Monday, September 24, 2007, in advance of a High Court discussion on three petitions calling on the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) to stop restricting public tenders for JNF land to Jews.
I still like Israel. I really like Israelis...though not Bibi Netanyahu. However, using Israel as an EMBLEM for human rights does not have quite the effect neocon clowns seem to think it has. Israel can be a symbol for a lot of things, but it is not a great choice for a symbol of the extension of human rights to minorities within its power.
Neither are Arab countries, even though certain minorities are Dhimmii, a word which translates as " the people of (our) protection".  
If you do not believe me, ask Daniel Pipes. He has written much about the minority Arabs in Israel, referring to them as a "time bomb", thereby implying that their mere fact of existence is a terrorist threat !

If the president of Iran had said that, how would Lee Bollinger have reacted?

At the end, it seems the consensus of the limp minds that run Cable News that President A. is insane. How insightful.
Many people have said that President B. is deranged. How cogent.

So there was a meeting of mad men in New York. It was reported by Cable News and commented on by the unintelligent. As a result, the great drooling hoards momentarily interrupted their hunt, sniffed the air, then growled.
A Mr. Daniel Jackson (not the Daniel Jackson of Stargate!) was in an Eye Clinic in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, USA when President Ahmedinajad was speaking at Columbia. During the speech, Mr. Jackson commented " Get a tie!"
Little did Mr. Jackson know that he was parroting something Tucker Carlson once said. This is the same Tucker Carlson who tried to engineer intellectual acumen by propping a bow tie on his collar. (this news article was from News of the Dim and Not-so Dim)


Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Long Term Occupation Of Iraq: The South Korea Model

In case you are not aware, Mr. Bush had found an idea to characterize the connection between the USA and Iraq in the future: that existing between South Korea and the USA. As mentioned earlier, one of the main differences is that in the earlier conflict- more than 55 years ago and still US troops are there-North Korea invaded South Korea, whereas it was the USA itself which invaded Iraq. Thus, we may wonder if there are to be other such South Korea models: invaded, de-stabilize, stay a few decades. If you want a long, extended article about this, you will have to find it elsewhere. I shall tell you what it would be: It would be perfectly similar to a species of enslavement. This form of slavery will try to prop up a puppet regime. After the passage of enough time, it may even try to re-institute some form of Iraqi Authority and set up a new Raj in Iraq. The people of the USA will do what they do best: talk about it, do nothing, and listen to cable TV. They will emulate the British public of the 19302 reading of the exploits of Mr. Gandhi. Gad,sir! they will expostulate. Can't anything be done about this little fakir in a dhouti??! It will be: don't those Iraqi sand monkeys know their place??! The USA will dominate Iraq by force ( as evidenced by the War) or by domination and humiliation (as evidenced by Abu Ghraib). The conflict between the peoples who image the situation in terms of Dar al Islam and Crusaders will exacerbate and effectively reduce security from terror. In this period of time, constant strife and warfare will show up the ineffectiveness of whatever Iraqi government is in charge. Potential Iraqi leaders will be trained in the markets of war. In the end, 100,000 troops will not prevail over millions of Iraqis. The newly trained Iraqi leaders will tend to employ brutality, for they will have been trained in eras of discord and uncertainty. (Citizens of the USA are fond of envisaging the new leaders of new democracies as being foreign examples of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, et allii. These august personages did go through a War of Revolution. However, the important difference is that these people were born, brought up, and trained within a stable environment...not in an unstable zone of constant turmoil.) In the end, the USA will leave. Whether it leaves with honor or not is totally up to the people of the USA.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Welcome To Weimar...?

Congressman Moran has said something unflattering about AIPAC. Steny Hoyer has condemned the congressman's remarks, apparently believing that not only does the State of Israel need a big brother to fight its fight for it, but the AIPAC lobby needs a big brother to fight its fights. Now pay close attention: someone was called "Hitler" and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was mentioned. You have no idea how unsettling it can be to be in the midst of a good afternoon's cup of tea and have one launched back in time to 70 years ago ( "La Jetee"-ish). I mean, Hitler. And Streicher. And Brownshirts. Just how long does an historical period last...after all the principals are dead? Now, if I were to say "I really detested Meir Kahane." would I be liable to the claim that I fully supported the Kristallnacht? Would I be actually claiming to believe with all my heart that Van der Lubbe started the Reichstag fire, not Goering? If I were to say "I really liked Yitzhak Rabin." would I also be claiming that I loved all the productions of the Jewish Theater that starred Molly Picon? I suppose life is a cabaret, old chum. Then, after this bit of nonsense has passed through, sweeping all sense of decorum after it, I was at the computer with the TV blatting behind me and Mr. Bush was speaking. Now correct me if I am wrong - and I wasn't exactly listening directly to the TV - but I heard something like "Where is Mandela?" ...and I thought "Mandela? Winnie Mandela? Nelson? Why is South Africa in the news? Are they finally going to look into the Stompy Stompie incident?" ...then ( from behind me ) I heard "Mandela's dead....Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas." I do not know how it is with you, but my cranium usually tries like heck to make sense out of what I am hearing. I immediately repeated the notice of Mandela's death - issued by Mr. Bush-and cast in into a Joseph Conrad form, "Mistah Mandela, he dead!". Then some nonsense like "where have all the Mandelas gone?...long time pa-a-a-ssing...". Then, since Saddam Hussein was, for all practical purposes, dead himself, I was startled and sweat burst out on my forehead at the picture of the long hand of Saddam Hussein reaching from beyond the grave and cutting down Nelson Mandela. Now, at this point one had to make a hard decision: have we actually slipped dimensions and entered some parallel brane-universe where all this made some sense, or had Mr. Bush-or myself-entered into a state of dementia praecox? It was later offered to me as a potential explanation that Mr. Bush was speaking allegorically. He had meant to use Mr. Mandela ( or Winnie, or both. It really had not been made clear.) as an allegory for something: 1) race relations? No. There was no substantial African population in Iraq since the Zanj wars. 2)imprisonment? Mr. Mandela had been imprisoned. However, Mr. Hussein did not kill all the prison population. 3)a political leader who, after years of trial and hardship, comes forth to lead his country. This last one made a certain amount of good sense, even though to achieve this level of understanding, the original statement would have to be seriously restructured into something like" " all the potential Mandelas were killed by Mr. Hussein." However, even this interpretation is dubious. I mean, how would Mr. Bush know? If our intelligence cannot keep track of things like Weapons of Mass Destruction...things which are rather large and hard to do they keep track of potential Mandelas? Furthermore, I am sure both Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney would have been and are much more congenial with Roelof "PIK" Botha than with Nelson Mandela. In fact, if we were to go back and check the record, I am sure that we would find more allegorical support for apartheid than for the ANC. Of course, Mistah Pik, he dead; couple years or so. However, as I mentioned, the mere brute fact of death does not seem to inconvenience us too much anymore when there is a political allegorical point to be made. So, what did that statement mean? Even a cabaret has to make sense, admittedly an disco-testosterone-frenetic-dancing-oligical sense, but sense. Perhaps das Leben ist nicht ein Kabaret?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Petraeus et alii

Thank goodness I have the luxury of waiting a bit before I utter opinions.
The Cable News people do not and we all see the baneful results of having the unperceptive lecture to the ill educated. There is something about Cable News, whether CNN or Fox or MSNBC, that strikes me as a bit like the old nostalgie be la boue: sort of "Hi, out there! I used to be a shlub like youse! Now me a celebrity!"
You sense they observe us as they would the old urban neighborhood from which they fled soon after college with a mixture of fond memory and repulsion...mostly the latter. Now, General Petraeus and Saving my own precious time, I shall let others speak for me.  
Petraeus out of step with US top brass By Gareth Porter
 " WASHINGTON - In sharp contrast to the lionization of General David Petraeus by members of the US Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (Centcom), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad in March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting. Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that," the sources say. {added emphasis mine; extra scorn Admiral Fallon's} That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior. That extraordinarily contentious start of Fallon's mission to Baghdad led to more meetings marked by acute tension between the two commanders. Fallon went on to develop his own alternative to Petraeus's recommendation for continued high levels of US troops in Iraq during the summer. "
That's quite a quote. Forget about General Betray-us, I am going to run an ad in the New York Times that says: "General Ass-Kissing Little Chickenshit!" I am not sure what kind of picture I shall run with the ad. ( I mean no disrespect for General Petraeus. I do intend disrespect for the entire situation.)
If you read the article, you will get the sense that Admiral Fallon agrees with Sun Tzu that protracted operations do not benefit an army. The army is not a police force. The army is a strike force whose success is measured by striking hard, striking fast, and getting the job done with the least casualties.

If war is seen to be a last and ultimate option, Admiral Fallon's viewpoint holds sway. If war is seen to be an opening gambit or mid-game strategy - or just a what-the-heck type of lark- then you have the Bush Administration viewpoint.
Now the advert shows why I shall be getting out of the political comments soon. I only started because I felt I had to express my condemnation of this war in the most obvious manner. I actually agree with Mr. Bush on somethings. However, the strain to create a long term state of war as shown by the War on Terror is an incredibly stupid act. So much is it inimical that it deluded its creators into thinking that they stood against an organization Hordes United Against USA-Stuff instead of approximately 3,000 to 6,000 Beards and Moustaches ( Lihyaat wa Shawaarib, Inc.). Once Sammy B. Laden had escaped, we turned to the dark side...and the rest is ongoing history. I believe one reason why the present President has placed long term restrictions of his papers after he leaves office is that these papers would make it clear that the Administration was not acting in a responsible manner.
 From the American Conservative: The Once and Future Christendom  
From death of the West—to knights of the West by James P. Pinkerton An article that's very creative. It is formed within a vision of society that is based on the Shire from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Of course, I like the snarky parts best, so here is one: "...But Tolkien once confided, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” That is, Catholic in the sense that reality and history are complicated, that the world is rich in majesty and mystery, that human nature is but a poor vessel. In his world, the Shire is Christendom, and Christendom is the Shire. Yet more than three decades after Tolkien’s death, new universalisms—new all-encompassing ideologies—have gained prominence, vexing, once again, tradition and difference throughout the world. One such universalism is capitalist globalism. In the late ’80s, Francis Fukuyama published his legendarily misguided piece “The End of History?” suggesting that the West had found The Answer. Madeleine Albright expressed similar hubris when she declared that America was “the indispensable nation.” And Thomas Friedman has since argued that everyone has to submit to “golden handcuffs,” managed by planetary financiers, even as the wondrous force of capitalism “flattens” the world. But of course, it took Paul Wolfowitz to bring Rousseau to life in another century: Uncle Sam would force people to be free. And how are these bright bold visions working out, in the wake of 9/11, in a world that includes IEDs, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al-Jazeera? "
A new Jerusalem in sub-Saharan Africa  
The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South by Philip Jenkins Reviewed by Spengler "...Both Christian and Muslim sources, it appears, agree that Christianity is winning the battle for souls in Africa. David Barrett (in the World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001) projects that the count of African Christians will rise to 634 million in 2025 from 360 million in 2000, while the number of African Muslims will rise to 519 million from 283 million - increases, respectively, of 49% against 40%. One Muslim cleric asserts that 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity each year. [2]... "
This morning I have read an article that said that the Muslims are winning the conversion race, and then I have read this article which takes a slightly different tack. Good luck at trying to know what's going on. There is no surrogate for finding out yourself. I mean, how can any self respecting citizen of the USA in the 21st century actually hope to LEARN something from the NEWS Media? I need to know: I shall turn on Bill O'Reilly??!! I shall have recourse to Sean Hannity, the sage of sanity??!! I shall purchase a book written by Al Franken??!!

Anyhow, if we are to believe that the Christians tortoises are actually outstripping the Muslim hare in this footrace for the souls of humanity, the reasons put forth in the book appear to be a bit flimsy. I am quite certain that it is the Wahhabi type of Islam that is the turn-off. Bring back the influence of Sufism and it would be a whole new ball game. As we go into the last innings with Team Dar al-Islam a couple million runs behind, bringing in the retired Sufi influence as a new striker would reap incredible...benefits. This makes one wonder how Team Christianity would respond. It certainly wouldn't send in 23 South Koreans for an innings. It might remove the old Christian Zionist bowler from the game and send him to the New Jerusalem showers...who knows? man yar'if?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Our Lives In The Bush Of Ghosts 4: Abu Risha

(My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is the title of a novel by Amos Tutuola. We adapted it for use to describe our nightmare.) Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was killed less than a month after meeting with Mr. Bush. We here know that feeling of the Bush Jinx. I wonder how Mr. Abdul Sattar got his nickname "Abu Risha". The name "Abdul Sattar" I assume is "Abdul Sattaar ( 'aa' being a long 'A')" which means "servant of the Veiler". "Veiler" is one of the attributes or names of Allah. "Abu Risha" could mean "father of the quill", a meaning which leads me to wonder if he wrote books. It could mean "father of the feather" which after viewing photographs of him, I would interpret as possibly meaning "plumage = fancy or expensive clothes". Anyhow, Mr. Abu Risha became a casualty. He had been briefly lionized as the hope of Anbar province. He was a Sunni and fought for the Sunni people of Iraq. He did not want the American occupation to continue. It has been suggested that once he had formed the Sunni group in Anbar opposing Al Qa'ida, his usefulness to the US occupation was over, especially since he did not support a continued American presence in Iraq. Man Ya'rif? He was killed by a roadside bomb near his dwelling. It has all the appearances of a well carried out attack. Assume one is in an all out civil war, assume one has a l role of leadership, assume the enemy hates your does the enemy infiltrate right next door - as it were - and leave a bomb on your doorstep without the security forces of your own and your allies knowing anything at all? I mean, I could understand how a sniper could shoot one from afar, but not how the Al Qa'ida essentially came right up the driveway. He was our ally on the force of the old maxim: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. His life has underscored the truth of the whole situation: the enemy of peace is AL QA'IDA !! It always was and continues to be so. It was not Iraq under Saddam Hussein! Our expensive detour into Iraq is an unmitigated human disaster, not only for the quick and dead now, but for the future, for those crippled by war, for those who do not have services it is the duty of a government to provide because the money has been squandered...for the children of these and for their childrens' children. Excoriate the names of those responsible.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Big Pay-Off

Everything to do with money and finance is sooner or later seen to be branches from the same tree. Everyone is free to join in the wealth of America, but remember that there are also Darwinian processes to cull out the "unfit": sub-prime mortgages being only the most recent. Sub primes will destroy the mortgager and the last mortgage holder- being essentially a game of musical chairs that, when the music stops, the bomb in the bag goes off and the guys left holding the bag are removed from the competitive field. Campaign Finance is obviously the buying of influence. It is also, therefore, the peddling of Influence. It is clear that since the middle class and poor have no funds of money to buy influence, the influence being bought will only represent their interests by a happy accident. The clearly observed road of the last quarter century has been that Politicians have been purchased by groups that wish (1) increased military activity, and (2) decreased social programs of any nature to assist the less wealthy. Thus we had Katrina in 2005. Read Mr. Houssein-zadah's article Hurricane Katrina and War-what Is the Connection? "...It is true that some disasters cannot be prevented from occurring. But, with proper defenses, they can be contained and their destructive effects minimized. Katrina was not; it was not “because of a laissez-faire government that failed to bother to take warnings seriously,” and because of a skewed government fiscal policy “that is stingy when it comes to spending on public goods but lavish on armaments and war.”[1] More fundamentally, because, driven by powerful special interests, the government has since the advent of Reaganomics in the 1980 been steadily diverting non-military public spending to military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy, thereby bringing about a steady erosion of the infrastructural defense systems against natural disasters." "...Not only did the Bush administration and its corporate allies in the Congress not finance urgent requests for the repair of the deteriorating public infrastructure, but at times the administration even punished dedicated civil servants who insisted on the necessity of such repairs. For example, Mike Parker, the former head of the Army Corps of Engineers, “was forced to resign in 2002 over budget disagreements with the White House.” Parker drew media attention (and the White House's ire) in 2002 by telling the Senate Budget Committee that a White House proposal to cut just over $2 billion from the Corps' $6 billion budget request would have a "negative impact" on the national interest. After Parker's Capitol Hill appearance, Mitch Daniels (former director of the Office of Management and Budget, which sets the administration's annual budget goals), wrote an angry memo to President Bush, writing that Parker's testimony "reads badly . . . on the printed page," and that "Parker. . . [was] distancing [himself] actively from the administration." Parker “was forced to resign shortly thereafter.”[4]" "...Champions of war and militarism tend to justify their capricious escalation of wars of choice on the grounds of “national security.” Yet, by hollowing out national treasury in favor of military spending at the expense of non-military public spending, they have created enormous economic insecurity and social vulnerability in the face of natural disasters, as painfully experienced by the victims of Hurricane Katrina. They have also created more political insecurity, both at home (by creating an atmosphere of fear and anxiety akin to an emergency or national security state) and abroad (by creating more opposition to the imperial policies of the United States and, therefore, adding to the ranks of Al-Qaedeh, for example). The fundamental moral of Katrina disaster is unmistakable: contrary to the dogma of neoliberalism and/or supply-side economics, governments bear vital responsibilities. These include provision of essential services and critical public goods that individuals and the private sector would not provide. They also include the building of a robust public infrastructure that is necessary for a vibrant economy and a civilized society." Someone said this was Bush-bashing. I mean, how can one be accused of bashing someone like the President? I suppose if one ran on and on about this and that, a little war here, a little oversight there, a little Harriet Meyers on the Supreme Court over yonder, one might appear to be bashing Bush. I think the record speaks for itself. I think Mr. Bush's acts speak for themselves. I think Mr. Cheney's acts speak for themselves. There is no ambiguity, there is no obscurity; we know them for what they are.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Richard Cheney Observes 2 The Vice President did some odd things with mortality statistics in the above post and we had to have recourse to the actual figures to make sense of things. That is one thing I have noticed about Iraq death figures: they rarely are consistent from one source to another in as much as one figure will lead to widely differing interpretations, so much so that I have frequently had the experience of being mystified and wondering what was going on. Richard Cheney had that effect on me for he said that the "Surge" ( "Il Surgiamento") was working and the proof was that July, 2007 had the lowest number of deaths since January, 2007. Then the very next day I read that July, 2007 has the HIGHEST number of deaths for any July in the war! So off to the casualty figures. Today I see in the Progressive Review a graph of the figures, clearly showing the increases of 2007 over 2006:

This chart, prepared by Angry Bear, shows that GI Iraq fatalities in 2007 have exceeded those in 2006 each month so far.

Note that the estimated figure for August, 2007 is 107. My estimate was 101. Thanks to God, it was only 84. I think we may safely conclude that: The Surge is working to reduce the greatly increased Mortality of 2007 over 2006, and trying to keep it under control.

Miscellanea Islamica

1 A young lady of my acquaintance has discovered the Home of Sufism. She may visit the Islamic Center, and then the Sufis. The influence of Sufi thought was great and only began to change when the oil money began to flow into Arabia. Then rose the Wahhabis with their fundamental strictures and the mystically tinged Sufis were swept from many areas of Islam. To get an idea how different they were, in Arabia the Saudis destroyed architectural remains linked to the Prophet and the family of the Prophet lest the people of Arabia fall into idolatry and saint worship - much like the Shi'a whom the Saudi Wahhabis despised. The Sufis gave us the Mullah Nasruddeen. The Saudis gave us oil and the 19: the Tis'asher. 2 Daniel Pipes believes that teaching Arabic is the route to extremism. I suppose so. I suppose teaching Hebrew was the route that led to the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946. In a way, it was. "...Only in the case of the Iris Becker Elementary School in Dearborn, Michigan, is the Arabic-language program not obviously pursuing a political and religious agenda. Its program may actually be clean; or perhaps the minimal information about it explains the lack of known problems."

3 Juan Cole on who delivered Iraqi into chaos: "...With regard to the recent dust-up in the pages of the NYT between Bush and Bremer over the dismantling of the Iraqi Army, Ward Harkavy at the Village Voice reminds us that the mystery has already been solved by former British Home Secretary David Blunkett. He revealed in his memoirs that Cheney and Rumsfeld were the ones pushing for dismantling the Iraqi army, much to the dismay of the British. Bremer was taking orders from Rumsfeld, but being a good soldier has all along declined to blow the whistle on the Neoconservatives who ordered him to do implement several disastrous decisions. My guess? Dismantling the Baath army and the professional bureaucracy was intended as a way of ensuring there were no obstacles to putting corrupt financier Ahmad Chalabi in charge of Iraq (that was the Rumsfeld- Wolfowitz- Feith plan). What they didn't know was that Bremer had been charged by his old boss, the State Department, with derailing the Chalabi conspiracy and ensuring that the US ruled Iraq directly for a year or two." 4 CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Representative Charles Boustany ( R-LA) on progress in Iraq: "BOUSTANY: We’re clearly seeing some major improvements. Clearly in the Anbar Province, we’ve seen significant improvement. We were able to walk the streets of Fallujah. Sectarian deaths are down.[…] BLITZER: And Congressman Boustany, you say that the number of casualties is going down. But we took a closer look — and The Los Angeles Times did as well — citing Iraqi Health Ministry numbers. In June, it was 1,227 civilian deaths in Iraq. In July, it went up to 1,753 civilian deaths in Iraq. And in August, the month that just ended, 1,773 civilian deaths in Iraq. Those numbers are going in the wrong direction. BOUSTANY: Well, Wolf, I want to point out that just two or three months ago, I would have never thought that four members of Congress would be able to walk through the streets of Fallujah. That’s a major… BLITZER: But you had a lot of security with you. You had a lot of U.S. military protection. BOUSTANY: We had a platoon of Marines. BLITZER: Yes, well, a platoon of Marines is a lot of Marines to walk through Fallujah. . .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why I Don't Believe In God

There was a philosophical type johnny very much full of the grey matter who observed that even though he had never met his mail man, he did believe in the mail man; i.e., that the mail man actually did exist and mail did not magically appear in his post box everyday.

If you ask me whether I believe in God, I probably would deny you an answer. If pressed, I would say that I expect God.
I do not "await" God in the sense that some await the second coming or the end of days.

This type of watchful waiting implies that the awaited event is not present or has not occurred and is , thus, somehow separated in time and space and spirit from us now. I am not waiting...not for Godot nor for GOD-ot ( as some wits have read Beckett's title). If I were waiting in that sense, it would be a problem. I would tend to say things of a trivial or embarrassing nature, such as are in the Left Behind books, and there would be a divine presence sort of harrumphing or clearing its throat and saying, "Hey, I'm right here, you know. You're talking about me as if I weren't here!"

I do not wait for something which is not here. I do not hope for something promised yet not fulfilled. I do not deem, think, suppose, nor reckon on something problematic. I expect that which is here yet not immediate in my ken; a promise which is a memory and an anticipation. As far as thinking about God or knowing about God, thinking's for the birds.

The Greek word is " ELPIS " and it means all that I mean and do not mean; a wide ranging word of hopes and expectations. Instead of Theology, I shall speak of Elpidology. When people ask me, the foremost Professor of Elpidological studies, what is the nature of God, I shall pull myself up to my full, impressive height, look sagely into some distant horizon, and then say: "I expect God!" I shall say with a booming tone of wisdom. Then I shall look at my watch.  

" In fact, He should be here shortly. I shall let Him answer your question." 


Fast Day 14 September 7, 2007

I shall have my official report on the effectiveness of fasting for peace at the end of September. Meanwhile, there is: morning fishermen wear hats and warmer gear as we rush to autumn. poplars hoist their yellow flags; saffron pennants and emerald’s memory. there are a million mirrors upon the river’s face filled with summer’s audit. changing times and promises and newer things and a great foreboding. I’ve been away for 2 days to make a buck and she works this afternoon. I am struck by how the place is filled by her, absent, though with promise.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Crackpot Jew Norman Finkelstein 5

By this time, you may have forgotten that my first post on this was a criticism of someone referring to Professor Finkelstein as a "crackpot Jew". It was not I who awarded him that dubious sobriquet. Onward, we reproduce the following:  
Mark A. LeVine  
Open Letter to the DePaul Administration regarding the denial of tenure of professor Norman Finkelstein 

  This email is to inform your administration of my utter disgust at the denial of tenure of Norman Finkelstein. I have known professor Finkelstein for almost fifteen years and--unlike your President--am actually familiar with his work, and as a scholar of the history of the middle east, qualified to judge it. As someone who is also the product of a Catholic education, I am especially offended at this immoral and utterly politically motivated action, which goes against the principles of intellectual honesty, courage and integrity that I was taught were the foundations of a proper Catholic education. It is certainly a shameful stain, and a mark of cowardice, particularly compared with the brave stand of the administration of Notre Dame in its invitation to Tariq Ramadan to fill a prestigious professorship despite the similarly risible attacks on his scholarship and character by many of the same academic hacks who've gone after Finkelstein. Your President and Dean have committed a grave breach of their professional and ethical duties, and in so doing have threatened the foundations of academic freedom across the United States, enabling other right wing demagogues who would like to silence any form of dissent, however based in fact it might be, because it challenges their power and prestige. That they have done so even as American servicemen and women continue to die in Iraq and Afghanistan based on wholesale lies perpetrated by the same people behind the attacks on Prof. Finkelstein's integrity as a scholar is especially disgraceful, and a violation of most every principle of Christian ethics I have come across.Please know that this action will not go unanswered, at least by me, and I know many colleagues across the country and around the world who feel the same way. In good conscience I can no longer recommend another student apply to a graduate program at DePaul; for what university to which a newly minted Ph.D. might apply for a job would take seriously a Ph.D. from an institution that fires scholars in the manner Finkelstein was denied tenure? How can they assume that she or he will have obtained the most advanced and critical theoretical and methodological foundation for both research and pegagogy possible, when it is clear from the actions of most senior personnel at DePaul that these are considered a hindrance to, rather than a facilitator of, advancement at your university? Nor will I accept any invitation to attend any sort of academic gathering at your university. I will also strongly oppose any invitation to Rev. Holtschneider or Chuck Suchar, and any other member of the DePaul administration involved in this travesty, to speak at my university, or to any event sponsored by any professional association of which I am a member. This should in no way be construed as a call to censor; I would never oppose their invitation to speak based on their scholarly views or research. It is their unethical and dangerous actions as university administrators that demands their censure by colleagues and the academic profession at large. If anyone should be removed from his position, it is Holtschneider and Suchar. For the sake of DePual's reputation, I urge the administration to overturn this action before the consequences do irreparable harm not just to prof. Finkelstein and academic freedom in the US, but to the standing of your university among the scholarly community in the United States and abroad. 
(my paragraphing and minor corrections to spelling)

Shana Tovah

Happy New Year. ...and Ramadan begins Thursday...I think.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Reality is a philosophical notion. It is a construct. Jean Baudrillard's concept of Hyperreality makes us think about Reality. We assume that there is indeed a Reality, in the midst of which we live our lives here on Earth. This Reality is independent of us, of our minds. If somehow, God forbid!, the human race were to be extinguished tomorrow, still life would go on and there would be that "Reality" still extant upon mankind's old homestead. Let us do a Descartes: let us imagine the world with no people in it. Let us imagine the Reality we tend to see ourselves living within, yet imagine it to be empty of men and women. Is it possible? Not really. If you do the above Cartesian practice, you find that you, the conscious entity, are still present. You find that there is no imagining of Reality without that conscious entity: you, the human being. In short, what we uncritically mean by Reality does not exist without conscious entities. In short, beings with minds like ours create Reality. This is not to say that to exist is to be thought. There are things which exist independent our our minds. However, what we, the conscious beings, mean when we talk about Reality is a construct of that which exists and our interaction with it in the present and in the past - the work of memory- and in the future ( possibly the same as memory...only in the Future Tense.) The work of short term and long term memory is the basis upon which we create our Reality. Memory guards us against the interruptions of that which exists. This is why there is so much detail in the opinions of mankind: each of us is a conscious agent with our own memories, so we define Reality a little different from one of us to the other. We may agree on what are the things which exist in the universe, but the web by which they are all held together has no such common assent nor understanding from us. This diversity of human opinion is a source of much discord. What we have not entirely grasped is that this very diversity acts in the realm of consciousness very much like biodiversity works in Ecology: it is a source of strength and progress, not a hindrance. It is the source of good, not discord. Grasp it before it is too late.

The Petraeus Report

I was not at all interested in the Petraeus Report. We have reached a point at which many seem to think that our being in Iraq- rather, our right to be in Iraq- is a given. That is the point from which we start: we are in do we do this thing right, now, and attain that elusive victory? This is exactly what was said in Vietnam.
We have no right to be in Iraq. This war was based on deliberate lies from people like Cheney and Wolfowitz and Chalabi, who turned the head of a rather straight-forward and simple President.

This war is illegal and it is immoral. To those who state that Iraq would be in chaos if we left, the answer is that it has been in chaos ever since we arrived. Since we had no right and no justification to do what we did, why are we now so solicitous of the welfare of the Iraqi people? There are 600,000 dispossessed within the country and 2 million refugees in neighboring countries. Were we ever solicitous of their welfare? We only care about our own image. We do not want to appear to have failed again as we failed in Vietnam. At no time did we ever stop and think about the welfare of the Iraqi people.
If someone is so foolish as to state that we did indeed have the welfare of the Iraqi people in mind when we liberated them from a " really, really bad guy", I reply that that is arrant nonsense. Our government helped to create Saddam Hussein. We armed him with weapons, rockets and probably chemicals when he was at war with Iran.
The iconography of Saddam Hussein as the patron saint of Weapons of Mass Destruction was conceived by the US government, sketched by that same government, and painted by the hands of that government. Furthermore, how can it be said that we had the welfare of Iraq in mind when we deliberately erased the organs of Law and Order, delivering the people of that country into criminality and anarchy? How can anyone say something so stupid?

If you say that we have learned from our mistakes and we are trying to make it right, the only thing we have learned, apparently, is to contimue to commit illegal acts, but to do so in the manner of truly professional criminals. It has been 40 years and more...two score and five...since John F. Kennedy began the national commitment to Vietnam. This project was similarly based on the assumption that our way of life was superior to that of everybody else. It was a commitment to the Church of American Superiority. Atque Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus: and outside the church there is no salvation! And if someone demurs from entering that unholy fane, Compel them to enter!


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Our Lives In The Bush Of Ghosts 3: Markets

From the wonderful European Tribune: Don't forget role of Bush's policies in asset inflation "Sir, In his article “Why the Federal Reserve has to keep the party going” (August 22), Martin Wolf refused to acknowledge one obvious cause of the current financial crisis: the policies of the Bush administration, carried out with the open support of the Greenspan Fed. These policies, through tax cuts aimed at the well-off, massive corporate pork made possible by a war of choice, and lax monetary and banking policies, had as their goal making the investment class richer – at the expense of everyone else who participates in the economy. Stagnant wages, made possible by weakening of corporate regulation and increased access to the Chinese labour pool, were instrumental in making higher profits possible, and lax monetary conditions allowed bubbling financial asset values. Lower taxes made capture of that wealth easier for the rich, and share buybacks (instead of investment) have been among the preferred instruments to get it done. The debt bubble also had the great advantage of making it possible to hide from most Americans that they were not sharing in that wealth capture, by hooking consumers on a habit of corrosive easy debt that substituted for real income increases..." It is a bit too much to blame President Bush for all this. He merely followed the crowd to the trough of slops. Our Government has always been a follower of the needs of the powerful and corrupt, except for the Iraq War. That War it created whole cloth from its own image.

Stephen King Sees It Through

Stephen King has written some really bad stuff. However, he has also written some masterpieces. The Stand comes to mind, as well as The Shining. I always liked Dolores Claiborne, but more as a book on tape experience and the film was rather poor. I believe The Stand will be read by future generations just as we now read Dickens. It is that good that it does transcend the ordinary run of good Lit. The early works were very good and they lead to the climax of his genius in The Stand. He has done well since, but has not come near his Dante-esque heights of The Stand. Sometimes I wonder if Mr. King possesses some of the clairvoyance ascribed to some of his characters. The novel Dreamcatcher was published in 2001. Hence, it was probably written in 2000. Yet, does not his depiction of the Government and Military frighteningly coincide with future reality in Iraq? Within his writing, a startling precog weaves in and out of the story line, sometimes disturbing, for it thrusts the writer boldly into his work, disrupting our reading experience. Yet, it is a bit of the awesome. I do not know whether people will agree with me. I certainly do not agree with people. I recall a fellow who wrote that Kurt Vonnegut has passed on and , although he summed up the experiences of a generation, in the future no one would read him. I wrote to him saying that if someone actually did sum up so well, we would always read him. I picked up Schlachthof Funf and read him again. It was true. It was different. It was even better than before. In the generation of destruction, we wish to read of the ornaments of disaster. With Stephen King, however, we read of the coming tragedy.

The Shaka Naw Report

We await General Petraeus' report "Shaka Naw ( shock 'n awe) 2". The exact participation of the Clapham-Woking RR as pictured above is not quite clear. William Kristol in The Weekly Standard has suggested a Republican 2008 ticket of Fred Thompson and David Petraeus. Mr. Kristol also thought a wee nip of the War that bit us in Iraq would be a good idea. Sort of like picking dream teams when one was in high school. O.K. So what is a "dream" Republican ticket in 2008? Well, for me there is none, for I cannot vote for a party that has countenanced the moral outrage of the past 4 years. However, I think Potsy and Ralph Malph would be unbeatable, and they are available. I know. I've checked.

What Is The Definition Of A War?

...or the end of a war: the outcome, who wins, who loses, what constitutes the death toll and so on, questions which interest us all. As an exemplar of the mind of the present Administration, we present the following bit from the soon to be Ex-Attorney General of Freedonia:  

"From the Hartford Courant: One cadet asked Gonzales when the war will be considered finished. Gonzales replied, “What I say is: It’s not over today. There are people still plotting against Americans today. I can’t tell you when it’s going to be over.”

Since there were people plotting against America before 9/11, before Desert Storm, before the bombing of the Beirut barracks, we see an implicit elongation of the State of War backwards in time; that is, if one is adept ideologically to see it. There is also the implication that such a War is over when "I say it's over" and not a second before. Since I have a new def of war and I may run it backwards in time, I may just as well run it forwards in time. It is the war which never ends.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I Miss...

I Miss Imus

American Eye

From 2004: Former chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay told Congress Wednesday that U.S. prewar weapons intelligence assessments on Iraq, which led to the American invasion, were "almost all wrong." Jim Lehrer speaks with Kay about his findings and why an independent investigation into the alleged intelligence failure was crucial. "DAVID KAY ...Secondly, I think we really miss a deterioration of Iraqi society that took place beginning around 1998 in which they spun into a vortex of corruption and graft that made their own interest in requiring more money and taking care of each individual and in not producing weapons in society. And, that's the reason we're having trouble in Iraq today. The social glue of that society was destroyed by Saddam Hussein. Saddam himself, we now know of about $6.5 billion of money illegally skimmed off the oil for food program -- by the Iraqis' own accounting 60 percent of that went into new palace construction and as explained to me that was because that's how could you take care of your friends new construction. It was a society that had simply fallen apart and we didn't detect that. We should have. JIM LEHRER: We should have. Why didn't we? What is your analysis of why we didn't? DAVID KAY: The strange thing, Jim, is this isn't the first time we failed to understand what is going on as a society. You can go back to the Second World War. We missed what was going on in Germany under strategic bombing; we found out only afterwards -- much more recently the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union fell, this giant, this superpower, we suddenly discovered we had a basket case on our hands. They couldn't feed its own people, couldn't care for it. I didn't have power. It was falling apart. In Vietnam for those of us who started our career sort of -- students of that era or creatures of that era more than students -- we misread Vietnamese society as well. We are not very good as a nation in our intelligence capability at reading the most fundamental secrets of a society, what are its capabilities, what are it's intentions? You can't photograph those. You need Americans on the ground penetrating those societies and people who are speaking their languages. Imagine that: we are not very good as a nation in our intelligence capability at reading other societies! We only see what we wish to see, that which we have already created in the mind and hold in memory. This is also true about things and entities other than foreign societies. It is also true of the Holy. We see only what we wish to see.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Big Middle Easy

Life is good in the ol' Middle Easy. If you have read this blog before, you stand a chance of recognizing that 'middle easy' is what I sometimes call the 'middle east'. This may be sarcasm. I forget. Anyhow, as people die, Tony Blair is giving interviews on how he will approach the whole mess. The Supreme Being apparently still tells George Bush ( who refers to the Supreme Being as " El Supremo") that his train is on track. You might think that since it is on the track that is wide and easy, George might have second thoughts about his beliefs, but that is not the case. ( note to self: self, talk to el Supremo about this Iraqi Attacki...) Meanwhile, we see: IDF Kills Palestinian Children Playing Tag from Tikum Olam "...It seems that three Palestinian Bedouins, 10-year-old Mahmoud Ghazal, his 12-year-old cousin, Yehiya Ghazal, and their 10-year-old cousin Sara Ghazal were playing tag last Tuesday in a Beit Hanun field just outside their home as children are wont to do. These particular kids had made a very bad mistake in playing near Palestinian rocket launchers. It so happens the launchers were being monitored by Israeli aerial reconnaissance. When the IDF saw the children approaching the launchers it too made a fateful error by assuming they were activating them. According to the IDF, while it saw the children approaching the launchers it only noticed they were children after artillery fire had been launched..." I suppose that when Secretary Rice heard the birth pangs of a new Middle East ( sic. her words) being born she may have thought about the old expression about breaking eggs to make omelets. These kids are the eggs to be scrambled for the new Middle East of the American Empire. One other note about the type of Israelis that our present Administration feels to need to cozy up to. Danny Rubinstein of Ha'aretz has called Israel an Apartheid State. "...Rubinstein, the Israeli newspaper's Arab affairs editor and a member of its editorial board, [said] "today Israel is an apartheid state with different status for different communities,” according to sources at the event, held at the European Parliament in Brussels. He went on to say that Palestinians living in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel each had “a different status," according to a summary of his speech by a United Nations web site. …Rubinstein also said "Hamas won the election of the international community and Israel cannot ignore that” and argued that the security fence Israel was building could not be justified, sources said. And for this, British Jewry has put out a "not welcome" sign and cancelled his speaking engagement." As the wonderful Kurt Vonnegut used to pen and pack with infinite meaning: "So it goes!"

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Peace Fast Day 13 August 31, 2007

From my other site: dreamcatcher, dreamcatcher, revolve in the wind, dissolve in the sun; keep what evil comes my way; dreamcatcher. medicine wheel, medicine wheel, band of ancient north, sand of colored grains; see the universe inside a black hat; medicine wheel. goldfinch August, goldfinch August, the young ducks fly, the year gone by; a young woman works with beads; goldfinch August. Ke sakihitin, ke sakihitin, woman works with beads, caring for our needs; Ah, kesowayaw!... warmth in autumn; I love you, River Girl, Sepe Iskwao

Myths Of Our Fathers

We call the World War II generation the Greatest Generation because of the Myth. This is not to imply that it is a myth in the derogatory sense that those that fought WW II were great. No. One of the elements of that generation's greatness was their Myth. Churchill created a myth, a hyperreality if you please, when he stated that the defense of Britain would be their finest hour. Even if the Empire endure a thousand years, this would be their finest hour. And FDR and great American people created the defense of democracy, creating it and living in it. This generation drew courage and strength from their belief, their Myth, their story; this was their history. The same phenomenon was apparent in the years following the American Civil War in which mens' souls were forged in battle and struggle. As the WW II generation gets older, we shall miss them, but even more shall we miss their spirit and their belief. They were by no means perfect. They countenanced much that was wrong. Yet we shall truly miss an entire generation that was united in Belief, for Belief is something we no longer share communally. The great advances of civilizations are done by societies bound in common Beliefs. The best are those based on good beliefs. The worst are those based on vile beliefs. We are goin nowhere now. We feel the Age of Belief slipping away from us with each passing moment.