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Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Natural: Thank You, Mr. Redford





I would like to thank Robert Redford for The Natural.

I had read the novel by Bernard Malamud years ago. I was never quite sure what the aim of the movie was. (In case you haven't read nor viewed it, Redford plays Roy Hobbs, a marvelously natural baseball player who is "sidetracked" and does not accomplish his goal of being the best until his mid-life.)
Today I see what Redford was aiming at in his great film. In times of change - in the times of memory we call "great" - the events and times are rendered great by the men and women who rise to meet the challenges, and who become natural leaders. Some are elected, some are not; some are appointed, some fall into place.

No matter. Great men and women of whatever age - young and old - rise to meet the situation. They carry on human history. Of course, the Civil War comes to mind: Abraham Lincoln, Grant, Albert Sidney Johnston, Longstreet, Sherman and Robert E. Lee; Frederick Douglas and Mary Chestnut and Harriet Tubman.

Now a whole new set of Roy Hobbs are rising up all over the lands of the world. They will have to drop what they are doing and go off to do that which they were destined to do: to be the best of humanity and carry on for mankind. They have nothing in common, other than their love for their country and their countrymen, for the world and its peoples. They are young and they are old. They work in schools and foundries, in airplanes and in social work. They bag groceries and teach physics.

They have hitherto been unknown, for America famously casts its rewards in such a way that " ...the friendless and the unobtrusive are apt to be pushed aside, and to be supplanted by those who can call boldness and influence to their aid."
These are the Naturals.
Now their time has come, whether they want it or not.

They know we cannot leave the wounded world to the likes of George Bush or Dick Cheney, nor to Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter, nor to Rupert Murdock, and not to the likes of the best and brightest who have run Wall Street and Washington.
The Naturals will come from the rural villages and hamlets from where the family farms have disappeared; from the rust belt cities from which manufacturing has moved away; from ghettos that have been around a long time and newly decaying suburbs slipping into despair. From these places they will heed the call of a world which has grievously hurt itself, and needs their assistance. They will green the nation, they will restore confidence, they will dispel the veil of despair which negligence and criminal incompetence have drawn before us. They will re-establish the rule of law and justice.




As Roy Hobbs swings his mighty bat, the New York Knights will win again, and we shall dance in the rain; we shall dance in the lights. We shall weep and cry...for joy!

--

June 16 2009

Don't know why. Seems like a meaningful date. I can only assume it is on the same time-line I share with the rest of you guys.

In Re Name Change

I was wondering about changing the title of the Blog.

Certainly the sub-title has outlived any possible justification for me not pulling the plug on its hapless life. I mean, what could I have been thinking? I haven't done anything quite so stupid, since I took up with my relatives on familiar terms those many, many years ago. So, there it is.

Yet there is the matter of God. His name is on the masthead, so to speak, and he may want to put an oar into this little regatta of change. So I asked Him.
I interrupted Him as He was writing. He gave me one of those looks that said reams and reams of things you really did not want to know. It was one of those royal plural-raised-eyebrow-exasperated-withering-the-winter-wheat-harvest-and-drought-in-Africa types of look.

"Is there some contractual obligation?" He said.

"Ummmm...no." I replied.

He pondered. "Are you worried about the royalty situation?" He asked.

"Oh, heh, not at all! The royalty situation is great. Couldn't ask for a better deal...sir." I answered.

He pondered further. "So, you just want to create more work for yourself, sow ambiguity among your..." and here I was sure I detected a note of satire, "...vast readership, and spend time doing a form of writing which will not profit you a guinea."
He was asking Himself more than me. And He still calls them guineas, by the way. He also is not on the new system, yet...as far as I know.

I have always sensed an immanence of intentional archaism in His manner, don't you know. He sighed. "I...pffff, harrmph...well, sure. Have at it. I, or We, We mean that, well, it is your blog, right?"
I was relieved.
"It's still going to be pretty much the same thing, eh? We mean, you're not going to - how do they say it?! - become a political wonk or something bitter and nasty like that?"
I hastened to assure Him I had no such intentions.
"It's settled, then?"
"No. Not yet. I'm not sure that I'll change it yet."
He turned back to what He was doing. "Yes, yes. Such...a weighty..." and I detected that satire thing again, "...and important decision requires time...and thought.........." He was silent. Then "Ah! You still here?"
"Oh, yes. Ah, rather. Waiting for the old dismissal and obeisance and what not."
"Do you need time to get matters in order?"
I said that I did. I told him that I needed the rest of the day, maybe tomorrow, too. I was not going to pull that business about needing until Whit Sunday to make up my mind. I mean, He pulled off that Genesis: Day 1 affair in less time than it takes me to determine my breakfast menu.

"The rest of the day and the morrow, hmmm....with pay??" He asked I quavered.
"Well, that is what I had in mind. Yes." I waited. "But, if that's a problem..."
He scowled a bit, whether at me or at His quill, which seems to have split while we were talking, I am not sure.
"With pay, then." He said, gruffly.
Then He smiled briefly. " A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket."
"Eh?" I ventured. "
"I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning."
And that was that.
--

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mythic Landscapes 2: Megas Pan Apotethneke!

The Gate of Orpheus
Dean Koontz often writes of ghosts and revenants, but he apparently has not actually communicated with any. It comes through in his writing.
He hints that once they see the "light", they go onward and do not come back to Earth.
That seems to be incorrect.
One great goal they have is to watch over their children, if they sense there is danger.
There are a lot of such ghosts hanging around these days.
I think that will be a bit of good luck for us in the coming year. We can certainly use their help January 1, 2009 I re-posted this.
The spirits I spoke of were like holograms - a shmear of universal data - and one has to look just right to see the three dimensional recreation. Matter and Spirit are the two beams of coherent light used in the making of the hologram of the world.
The skies are filled with noise, but we are only hearing the cries of our own panic.
The world of Western Capitalism was rampant - like the great god Pan of the ancient world. And it ran in panic, a wilde Jagd and juggernaut not only of fear, but also of greed, and lust and unthinking exploitation: a panic of sex, a panic of money, a panic of hate.
Everything is a panic, a run on something, a disaster; everything requires a czar, a dictator, a Manhattan project.
We live abject in Sound and Fury.
Great Pan is dead.
The voices yell from the forests and we hear it on the high seas: Megas Pan Apotethneke! Great Pan Has Died!
I am living the words of St. Paul: I have not died, yet I have indeed been changed! I feel the thrill of novelty, as did the first followers of Christ, opening their souls to something new, something freeing them from the slavery of Rome and its agents. I feel as amazed as an Israelite, gazing upon those stones inscribed. I sense a piety within me rivalling that of 'Umar the Khalifa of the Prophet.
I shall thank God for letting me live in times of great change. I really don't have any other alternative...and He knows it.

Beautiful Antiquity

I am reading about the Sanskrit grammarians. Panini came from Pushkalavati in Gandahar. Gandahar is in what is today called Pakistan, and Pushkalavati was on the Swat River, all part of that area of contention in proximity to Afghanistan. In antiquity, this area was home to great culture. It has been degraded into nothingness - a nothingness which has no currency but violence. This we all have done: Christian, Jew, and Muslim. If the religions are instruments of destruction, what may one expect from the atheists?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Leonard Cohen

Mr. Cohen's ballads formed the background of my early loves. However, much as I love him, I shall not spend $121 per balcony seat to see him. Leonard, you are the greatest.

Name Change?

I am considering changeing the name of this Blog to something shorter, something like Montag. That would be short and sweet. It would also seem enormously self-centered, but why should I leave something like that for people to find out later? May as well hit them between the orbs with the bad news straight off. I would take the present title and put it down as the sub-title. I would take the present sub-title and throw it away, as it sounds just too precious in a religious sort of way. I think I shall do this on St. Padraic's feast or thereabouts, possibly on Whit Sunday, May 15. I ignore April, the cruelest month. I think it shall be the earlier date, St. Padraic's. Everything would remain the same. Hopefully I myself will change, though. I would like to redact myself. So would everyone I know like a new edition of me. Not necessarily mailed to the doorstep, gratis, but they would like me to undergo a process somewhat like that Steve Buscemi's character underwent in Fargo, and thereby be changed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where We Are

The Dow is at 7,100 and change. We are exactly where we are supposed to be. I can't help it if you won't face reality. In August of 2007, I told my daughter the Dow would be at 10,500. I wrote the figure down on a piece of paper, instead of saying it out loud. I still have the paper. At the time, the Dow was at 14,000 or so. The 3,500 point decline was normal business and sub-prime and bank related stupidity. If you add in another 2,000 to 3,000 for a severe recession, we are right where we should be. What? You want to drop all that way all at once? No. You want to take your time. You end up in the same place, but it's better to stop and regret the roses on the way. Some people are still fighting political fights instead of working together. Well, that's what we taught them. They are just acting true to form. Some people are actively sabotaging the government's effort, people on Wall Street who resist Mr. Obama and everything he stands for, and are convinced that they can bring the country to its financial knees, then pick up the remains. Mr. Santelli reports on them, and he is their confidant and unwitting accessory. But that's what we believe in: zero-sum games, winner take all, kill the people that stand in our way and render the others to be only partial men - 4/5 of a man, or 1/2 or 1/3 - whatever devilish rationality we may devise and compromise on. God still wants an end to our wars. God's creation wants an end to our exploitation and violence. Since we resist all efforts, we shall go to rock bottom, so that we may see God face to face, and not through the enigmatic mirror of our distorted world view. All our illusions will be stripped away from us, all our childish beliefs which are little more than conceptual playthings. All debts are to be paid,...unless there is repentance.
Now matter how proudly and importantly we talk, if we have not love, we have nothing; we end up being what we have been for too, too long. The world has sickened of the madness of our loveless greed.

Hubris, Baby...Hubris

I have often wondered how the earth would sustain the incredible population growth it has recently been experiencing. How could we feed ourselves and sustain life? Especially since the governments were reluctant to lead in these areas? Nature has answered. If there is too much, it gets whacked back down. Economic downturns, climate change, melting glaciers...too far one way and the pendulum swings back. It always has. We think - in our arrogance - we can beat the "house". When we think our stories and narratives completely describe the world, and we can do anything we wish, we are treated to a reality check. And after the obvious plagues are inflicted upon us, nature turns to the unusual, surprising us with a evil aspect of ourselves we thought we had lost: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7902599.stm US soldier guilty of Iraq murder ...The 28-year-old army medic, from Lockport, Illinois, faces a maximum life term in jail and a dishonourable discharge from the army. A medic. The only step remaining is for it to be a chaplain next time. The murder occured in 2007, 4 years after our victory. This is Iraq, not Afghanistan. These places will be our cemeteries, but we cannot change our lemming-migration to destruction. We cannot change because (1) we do not wish to, and (2) things have to be brought back into balance by pruning us back. The Balance of Life cannot be avoided. Hubris, baby...hubris.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Paws After Westminster With Rumsfeld Of The Bailey

Best In Show 2009
On the second night of the Westminster Dog show, my dogs, Zoloft and Cymbalta, were laying in front of the fire. The snow was falling. We had nowhere to go. There was no need to attend to falling snow, nor even accumulating snow. Let it fall. In fact, let it keep falling and glaciate, cut a divide in the mountains, and separate me from the rest of the nation. I will apply for a status as a permanent exile, a man without a country, a voyager from the consecutive dusk of sunset - scurrying between return visits to the International Date Line. All very cyclical and cynical.
Was something amiss? I had drawn the drapes across the windows, seeking to keep out the cold. The one window where sits my candle for Peace and Well-being, a candle that burns at both ends! - was the only one not curtained off, and the light from the candle bravely shone. Outlandish little beacon! As if a candle could bring peace, or it could restore our well-being.
Hmmm. Maybe we needed a war. Not just an old war-thingie, but a new and improved war, one that actually would be winnable. And be paid for by the oil revenues of the indigenous peoples to whom were we exporting our gunpowder. Well, if not oil revenues, then some other form of pillage. We have a ruling class that's absolutely wizard at this type of thing.
Suddenly the scene changed, and I was sitting at a lunch counter in the Narita Aerodrome ( I always use aerodrome now, instead of the common "airport" - it is not affectation, but part of my continuing effort to escape from the Abu Ghraib of the Present age. ) that serves Tokio ( ditto "Tokio" vs." Tokyo"...actually sometime I use "Edo" but that is affectation. ) I was sitting next to a gent wearing a grey suit. He looked as if he should belong to the Mazooka or Bazooka or Manchukuo, or whatever it is they call the Mob ( © US Capitalism, Ltd. ) over there. Perhaps Yakuza. That's it. Yakuza.

Maybe we were at a table, because I distinctly recall that the rest of the crowd from "Ikiru" were sitting on the other side. It is quite A-OK to say it was the funeral crowd from said movie, because I was sitting with them. I was not out-of-shot like some memorious chappie who has just finished eating and is getting his just desserts. I was among the living. At this propitious moment, She-who-must-be-obeyed harrumphed, and I woke from my appallingly boring dream. She has a way of harrumphing in the sense of the royal plural, such as "Harrumph! We are out of sorts."
I had fallen asleep holding my half filled cup of tea (courtesy The Grace Tea Company, NY, NY.), and was experiencing a general relaxation of the musculature, which is the consequence of Morpheus ( being the god of sleep, not Morphine, his kid brother.) I have had a history of dozing off while sitting in various places, always with a cup of tea or coffee in my hands. I suppose it is because I am at ease. Since I have never been much of a social gabber, this is as far as I go with the social amenities: cup of the right stuff and sleep, thereby editing out all that annoying chatter that one comes across so often on social visits...a species of conversation which reminds me of a platter of lady fingers or water cress sandwiches; many, not varied, and not particularly tasty. Ah, the lady fingers of polite conversation!

So I took my reality check and got my version of reality back from the coatroom attendant, with whom I had apparently stashed it for a while. I was not in Dulce Domum, my home sweet home, but in loco alius - some other bloke's domicile. And I was watching the Westminster. Or, to be quite precise, others were watching, while I dallied with the Odalisque of Sleep.

Every year, my singular nephew - I call him that because he comes one to the pack, not like the 3-pack of the Brothers A - hosts a "dog party" as he calls it, and we gather from the waggy tail ends of the Earth to sit and gaze upon the world of canine pulchritude and discipline for two evenings. And these two evenings follow hard on each other's heels! They are much, much more closer together than any other two evenings of the year, I assure you. I mean, it is as if you have just finished rolling the old tacky tape on your sweater and trousers to get those remaining dog hairs off, and - bingo! - it's time to go to Westminster yet again.

We vote on the winners by breed, then Best in Show. We all prepare food.Points are given for the best dish. Then there is a Trivia portion. All of these endeavors give you points. And if you have the highest score, you are awarded the honor of hosting the event next February. She-who-must-etc. not only won the food event this year, but she was doing her usual " I am smarter than you are " routine by pulling ahead of the entire pack in picking individual breed winners. I mean, she was sprinting like Atalanta on evening one, and it would be all over but the shouting come evening two.
She had also done middling well on canine Trivia - name of dog in "The Absent-Minded Professor" and such - and that had always been her weak suit. But not this year. No. This year she had filled out her Trivia packet by doing them with my nephew's 5 year old son, who knows nothing about dogs, except that he is all for them. Of course, they both scored 70%, which was even better than random guessing...I guess. I mean, they actually answered "Dumbo" for the name of the absent-minded professor's dog, based on nothing more than a touch of the Disney.

And both did better than I. I watched with growing apprehension, knowing full well the battle between her innate sense of superiority over the lesser breeds - which were not the dogs, I may point out! - and her realization that she hated to host such an event for two nights come next February. But the glowing sense of victory was now, and the fear of hostessing was in the future. In case anyone like myself did not fully grasp her status, she took pains to point it out to me, documenting her entire thought process in picking this dog or that, her evaluation of the "oohs" and "aahs" of the live audience in New York, and her analysis of the attire of the individual dog trainers, an analysis which started very superficially and gained in complexity until it attained the level of a Freudian or Reichian analysis which seemed to me to contain hints of improprieties going on somewhere in the Id...rather who is pulling whose leash, and who domesticated whom?
Obviously, the dominatrices and dominators had shaggy coats, wagged their tails quite a bit, and panted. The helots ran alongside their masters, or they sat in seats and wagged their hands together in clapping noises a good deal of the time, and tended to spread a general blanket of palaver over everything - much like wolves howling at the moon.

Upon returning home at the end of evening one, I said, "You're doing it again." She sat down and the dogs gathered at her heels. She managed to pull her own boots off. She looked as if she had just come back from the hunt in Scotland, rather like the Queen. The comparison to the Queen is apt, for it was noblesse oblige that was in her mind. She was wondering whether she should run roughshod over the rest of us, thereby setting the bar up quite a few centimeters from the previous mark, or should she give it a rest, and let the younger crowd - whose party it actually was - have a chance at the "rubber bone" of glory.
Of course, I could not mention that eminence noire at the back of our minds: the obligation to host the event next year. It would not do to intimate that She-who-must-etc. might shrink from her duty, no matter how burdensome. Not at all. One must always appeal to the higher virtues of the gentle sex. If you imply they really don't belong on that pedestal after all, they will turn on you and leave you as stuff for the CSI lab guys to huddle over. 

The second evening saw a noticeable diminishing of her powers. She began to fall back in the Sporting breed event, pull up short during the Working, and positively limp in the Toy breed. Many a schnorrer who had bet with her, thinking to ride to a pay-day on her coat-tails, was seen dashing to the betting wicket with a dog handicap sheet in hand to see whether they could recoup.

The tension mounted as time passed and we discussed how many dog rescues various people had performed. There was one local celebrity who had recently flown to Kenya to stage a massive dog rescue event. I think there were problems getting them into the country. Something about shots. I kid you not. And I used to refer to those numbers who gathered packs of dogs about themselves as "crazy old ladies"!

By the time Best in Show rolled around, four other individuals were within striking distance. The crowd was frenzied. There was nothing left to do but run the race. She-who-must-etc. pulled out the biggest reversal in sports history with aplomb. She picked the Puli instead of "Stump", the Sussex Spaniel, and she did a slow dive into downtown Mogadishu.

She nudged me twice, sitting as I had been with a cup of tea in my hand, and pointed to her score sheet where she had obviously circled the Sussex, then crossed it out and wrote "Puli". "Ah...", I said. "Discretion is the better part, eh?" "Yes." She smiled. "Yes, Rumsfeld. You are right." She smiled. She was referring to Rumpole of the Bailey, an old B.B.C. series we loved. She liked to think of me as Leo McKern, who had portrayed Rumpole.


She was quite happy, having the best of both worlds - canine and whatever other putative universe cosmology may imagine. I did not have the heart to correct her that is was "Rumpole" and not "Rumsfeld". Besides, "Rumsfeld" has its own little comic cachet, in a grim sort of way. I think "Rumsfeld" can be a funny name. If I were "Rumsfeld" , a night out would sort of be like clubbing with the Duke of Hell. Oh, well. Rumsfeld of the Bailey it is.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

War On Socialism

Sean Hannity is supposed to be waging a war against Socialism. My Blue Cross/Blue Shield provider wants to increase my premium by 55% in 2009. It's too late to care about socialism. Nobody knows what it is, anyway. If we knew what it truly was, we'd want some!

Films Are A Way To Kill My Father

The quote in the title came from a dialogue between Bernardo Bertolucci and Jean Luc Godard. I shall leave it to your cleverness which of the two actually uttered it.
The Karl, Karl Rove, that is, was correct when he implied that History was over, and it was to be but a footnote to American Imperialism. Rove, as a Boomer, has pretty much come through, and he has destroyed history, at least history as we knew it. By killing History, we kill our father, our grandfather, and so on. We kill the History of the Founding Fathers and Mothers.
Perhaps it was right to kill it, perhaps not.
In either case, killing demands reconciliation.
When the soldiers return from war, they must reconcile with God. So must all of us. And the reconciliation is strong and meaningful, not just uttering a few prayers.
We ignored Viet vets by not seeing them as people needing the reconciliation back into society, after that society had sent them off to commit atrocities of war.
We must reconcile with God; we must not be "for" or "against".
When we hate, we must reconcile.
When we fight wars of lies, we must reconcile.
When we neglect the poor - whom we have been ordered to tend - we must reconcile.
When we neglect the sick - whom we have been instructed to tend - we must reconcile.
If we do not cleanse ourselves with water and soap, God will cleanse us with furze and nettles.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where Is Pat Robertson?

So, since we shot ourselves in the foot - bankwise - and the economic downturn is just another one of the less amiable characteristics of the modern Liberal Capitalist system, we cannot blame anybody for bringing down the wrath of God on our heads. Or may we? Why isn't Pat Robertson going around, rending his polyesters and weeping, calling upon us to repent from our greedy, capitalist ways? Or is it all due to gays? And lesbians? And gay-lesbian wedding-union-type-thingies? I mean, if we did not get the message about homos at 9/11, why didn't we get it when Iraq went south? Or the Taliban resurged in Afghanistan? Or the economy went to heck? Even chimpanzees are going mad and attacking folks. I mean, bestial things are happening, and it seems to be due to capitalists! So where is Pat Robertson? Get out there and denounce gay-lesbian-unions and Capitalism!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Abortion

I affirm the woman's Right. However, it is a Right that must not be exercised.

Spengler's Star Trek

You had best read Spengler again; Asia Times Spengler, not Oswald Spengler - although I suppose Oswald would not hurt you...too much. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/KB18Dj05.html Obama, an economic unilateralist By Spengler The silliest thing that clever people are saying about the world economic crisis is that the United States will lose its position as the dominant world superpower in consequence. On the contrary: the crisis strengthens the relative position of the United States and exposes the far graver weaknesses of all prospective competitors. It makes the debt of the American government the world's most desirable asset. America may deserve to decline, but as Clint Eastwood said in another context, "deserve's got nothing to do with it". President Barack Obama may turn out to be the most egregious unilateralist in American history... Read the article referenced: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JL09Dj02.html Benedict XVI is magnificently right and you may also feel that the future - the next frontier - does not belong to a bunch of self-indulgent, self-actualizing consumers. It belongs to those who have a vision of something great, and who devote themselves to it. We who live in America AND have a new vision of the future are those most propitiously positioned to create the future. Amen.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Recognition

Veranda of Consciousness
I have just finished perusing some 10 blogs, 10 new ones, that is, ones that I have not seen before. I like to see what's going on. They were all jejune, adolescent, self-centered, and full of their own importance; in short, a mirror of my self...and all humanity. There is something about conscious entities that just screams Narcissism. I have read things that speak of the development of the human psyche, which state that at some point in man's evolution, the sense of "self" came into being, perhaps when they began depicting themselves in the cave paintings of Lascaux, for example. However, it seems clear to me that conscious entities have a sense of "self" from day 1. That is the meaning of being conscious: it implies a sense of "self" - even though that notion may not be put into communication. That is to say, my sense of self may not be put into words, or paintings, or music, but it simmers deep within in the mutes codes that are not communicated to other conscious entities.

Uniontown, PA

Clara Ford skied at the Summit Hotel; no one skis there anymore... we say that a lot in Uniontown and points west o'here; no one does that nowadays... all Uniontown is another time, another time line travelled. the historic toll road flows, an elevated aqueduct, above the farm plains flat below. we drive the empty village route blind window...blind window... blind... then one candle burning bright where the memorable haunt the living, and the living haunt the memorious... My countryside of motoring. February 15 2009

Art: Candido Portinari


Candido Portinari was born in 1903 in Santa Rosa, in Sao Paolo, Brasil.
Candido Portinari nasceu em 1903 em Santa Rosa, São Paulo, Brasil.

Zionism Redefined

Why do I spend time on Zionism? I do so because I was brought up thinking that Zionism, as sanctified by the Holocaust, was the closest thing to truth on Earth. The discovery that it was not so led me to try to understand how mankind lives in the realm of dreams, stories, and symbols more than so-called Reality; we choose our dreams like run-away trains, then hang on for dear life!

Israel and America are mirrors of each other, with a time-lag: Israel is about 100 years stepped back. By this I mean it is back where the USA was when America decided to exterminate the native populations. I have often said that Palestine is the Original Sin of our time. By that I mean that if the most powerful and technically and scientifically brilliant country in all history...and its brilliant ally...can not find a way to peace and justice in the limits of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, then there is no hope for present day society. And we will be driven from our Eden. Full stop. That is all there is to it. So, updating Zionism, from Ha'aretz: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1063597.html  

Does Zionism legitimize every act of violence? 
 By Gideon Levy
... And what is Zionism nowadays? An archaic and outdated concept born in a different reality, a vague and delusive concept marking the difference between the permitted and the proscribed. Does Zionism mean settlement in the territories? Occupation? The legitimization of every act of violence and injustice? The left stammered. Any statement critical of Zionism, even the Zionism of the occupation, was considered a taboo that the left did not dare break. The right grabbed a monopoly on Zionism, leaving the left with its self-righteousness...

An American Thing

It's an American thing, you know. You have to really be an American to fully appreciate how it works: this business of not actually supporting Democracy until it needs one of our "Wars" du jour. It has been documented forever, and it goes on and on. We really cannot understand the world without a little bloodshed; it is not merely wishing to eat an omelet, and then sadly acknowledging the fact that one must break a couple eggs; if we want an omelet, first we must drop a few bombs on a chicken coop! The best fertilizer for Democracy is the blood of patriots, by gad!
Pakistan's circular history By M Ilyas Khan
BBC News
...
Aid to dictators
Last, but not least, the Americans have tended to use their crucial financial and military support selectively against democratic governments.
The pattern is unmistakably clear. The first large-scale American food and military aid started to pour into Pakistan in late 1953, months after the dismissal of its first civilian government. Mullahs of the Red Mosque had openly threatened the government. It continued for a decade as Pakistan under a military regime joined various US-sponsored defence pacts against the Soviet Union...
This line would show up in the history of so many countries. Haven't we become sick of it yet?

GM Snowmen

She-who-must-be-obeyed will only allow organic, free range snowmen to grace the nearby commons. A portion of the frivolity goes to charity.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Israel's Probable PM

Let Netanyahu win By Gideon Levy January 5, 2009 Haaretz Tel Aviv Netanyahu's election is likely to bring the curtain down on the great fraud - the best show in town - the lie of "negotiations" and the injustice of the "peace process." Israel consistently claimed these acts proved the nation was focused on peace and the end of the occupation. All the while, it did everything it could to further entrench the occupation and distance any chance of a potential agreement. ... Netanyahu's election will free Israel from the burden of deception: If he can establish a right-wing government, the veil will be lifted and the nation's true face revealed to its citizens and the rest of the world, including Arab countries. Together with the world, we will see which direction we are facing and who we really are. The masquerade that has gone on for several years will finally come to an end. <<<<<>>>>> My notes: Read from Netanyahu's "Peace and Security" Chapter of the Likud Party platform: The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Thus we see Zionist values as defined by Netanyahu.

A New Paradigm On Drugs

http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_29629.shtml  
Latin America - Drugs and Democracy: Toward a Paradigm Shift  
By News Release Feb 11, 2009, 19:23
The Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy will present its conclusions at a press conference to be held at Hotel Intercontinental, on 11 February. Founded by former Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), César Gaviria (Colombia) and Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico), integrated by 17 independent members, including the writers Paulo Coelho, Mario Vargas Llosa, Sergio Ramírez and Tomás Eloy Martínez, the Commission assessed the limits and unwanted effects of the repressive policies of “war on drugs” used in Latin America.
The creation of this Commission followed the 10 years review of global drug policies within the United Nations, which began in March 2008 and will be finalized at a ministerial meeting in March 2009 in Vienna, Austria. The Commission’s proposals for more efficient and humane strategies, presented in document Drugs and Democracy: Towards a Paradigm Shift, are based on three main guidelines: 1) treat drug use as a public health issue, 2) reduce consumption through information and prevention actions; 3) focus on the enforcement against organized crime.
The Commission also invites governments and societies to “assess in the light of public health and advanced medical science the convenience of decriminalizing the possession of marijuana for personal consumption.” Ending silence and breaking the taboo that blocks the debate on the drug problem is a precondition for each country to find innovative solutions appropriate to its history and its culture.
For more information on the work of the Commission and its proposals, please visit www.drugsanddemocracy.org . ( http://drugsanddemocracy.org/blog/archives/category/highlights

My note: Did you ever stop to think how insane it is to have so impoverished intellect and imagination that one must conceptualize each and every problem as a "war"? And each "war" needing a "czar"? And each and every war being lost? There is also the economic benefit of money not flowing to drug lords here and overseas.
--

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Cockfight Of Lies

I shake the dust of American Conservatism from my shoes. It is dead and buried, and the Eminence Limbaughian is the wit and wisdom of the right. The world of the future has no need of such people as Republicans: people whose idea of governance is to turn the ideals of America into a cockfight of competing lies.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Adventure Stories For Robots: King Solomon's Oasis

After what seemed like weeks of nomadding around in endless waste forests, we finally stumbled across a petro-chemical oasis. Oil, sweet oil!

Cowards Of History & The Present Immediate Tense

Metaphysical Schema of the Present Tense

 
The USA and Israel have been the closest of allies. Furthermore, each one is reliving the past of its most intimate enemies. The USA is nationalizing the economy and Israel is viewing the rise of Avigdor Liebermann to power fueled by a hatred of Arabs.

The Present is much more important than we seem to think. The Present Immediate is the short time we can actually act, the time before things are coded into memory. We must act correctly, or we shall condemn our age to more chaos.

A Brief Metaphysical Exposition of the Concept of the Present Immediate

Present Immediate is the period of time we are actually in contact with the World, before we have begun interpreting the data based on the many codes that the human body uses to move data from the senses to the brain.
For example, consider the people who are very much politically oriented. Upon receipt of an item of news, they immediately process it into a "pro" or "con"; it is more of the same hideous Right, or more of the same misguided Left - depending on their point of view. The actual time that these entities are in contact with the data uncontaminated by their recognition as belonging to one of their pre-exisiting categories of understanding is very brief, indeed.

However, one need not create the "pro" or "con"; one need not immediately jump into "with us or against us". This is the difference between the ways of life: competition versus co-operation, alienation versus comradeship. (Even the hunter is not necessarily "competing" with his prey for the pay-off of "life"; it can be more complex than that.)

The Present Immediate is the time during which we see the Thing-in-Itself, the Kantian Ding an Sich. It is the time we are actually in contact with the World. It is the time before we have fully reported and worked on the data, and partially committed it to short-term memory. It is this time for which we spend our moral lives. It is then we must be good, in order that what we experience will be gathered into the symbols of goodness, and not evil.

Confused and blind minds have created the New Depression. Now they shall seek to create the New World War, and the New Holocaust.
I refuse to relive any more of Catastrophe's History. I refuse the New Shoa. I shall not allow any New Holocaust of any living being, human or animal. I shall try to extend my time in Present Immediate, that I may experience the World without the "for" or "against" of the present generation of mankind... ...because I believe that the Word of God lay within the Silence and Quiet of the consciousness of the immediately present, in that dawn consciousness we had as babes new to the World.
--

Caution

I sat still and listened while my daughter had the TV news on. I did not hastily flee the room. I did not blanch, yelp, and dive under the chair. I sat, watched, and listened. Ever since I began referring to media-types as serviteurs parlants, or "talkative service people" rather than as "talking heads", I have begun to enjoy their electronic ministrations to my needs. Now they are serving me. I used to feel the other way: I was serving time and part of my punishment was a sort of perverse community service of listening to the "chattering of the heads" - far scarier than the "silence of the lambs". For example: Chris Matthews : peel me another opinion, boy! Bill O'Reilly : all this needless talk won't increase your tip, goofy. various FOX blonds : what's a girl like you doing in a dump like this? Blond: (looking around ) this is yer livin' room...ain't it? :yes. (pause) what's your point?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bolivia & New Constitution

Bolivia kicked out the Drug Enforcement Authority, the DEA.
In reprisal for endangering its drug money flows, the Bush Administration removed Bolivia's most favored trading partner status. At the same time, the Bush Administration was pushing for Columbia's trade treaty. Columbia knew how to play the Drug Game.
The greatest source of wealth for the British in India was Opium. When it was outlawed, the Raj disappeared in less than 50 years.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Risk

Peanut butter or Derivative financial products, we do not know how to handle risk. Rather, we know how to, but we choose not to. In each case, the putative benefits of activity on a massive scale has run rough-shod over risk management, in both cases exposing the public to severe damages.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good Times

It was 101 degrees by the lake. That was the cool spot. The cooling north wind came on like the air from a blast furnace, and it jenn-aired the surface of what was left of the St. Clair River.


The rains had stopped, and the people who still owned houses were foreclosed by fire and arson.I exaggerate, as everyone who knows me is aware.I was going to teach EngLit. Now I'm a private eye, and I look for rich guy's kids. No exaggeration. Straight dope. My name is Mark Justinian, and I have two partners, Joey Catalina and Bobby Kikero. We work out of South Park. There's good money in finding rich people's kids. There's a lot better money in kidnapping them in the first place. We run down the kidnappers, rescue kids, and get paid like 1/40th of the ransom demand. Agrippina, my squeeze, bitches I should go bad, and make some long green. I swore to my grandfather in the nursing home - the dive where they pushed all those Boomers who had lost their stash back in 2008 - that I'd stay legal. Boomers mess up everything.


Port Huron is on the border with Canada. So when things got tight for the rich guys and their offspring that screwed up the banks and the rest of the economy, they wanted to run for it. They didn't want to go south, to Mexico, because it was too hot. No one wanted hot. No tans. No UV rays. White, white skin was the emerald of the rich folks desire: go to Canada where it is still sunny and 70 by Hudson's Bay. But even if you're rich, there are only so many visas. So the rich guys and their families parked it here - like a clutch of snakes - until they could go north. That's why it's good harvest for kidnappers. I'm good. We're good. We worked for the kids of the Merril Lynch guys, and the Lehmann Brothers mob. They say the sins of the fathers aren't visited on their sons, but you couldn't tell from their haunted eyes. Ask the CitiGroup Gang. Baby John Thain III did not see many years. Sometimes the kids don't make it. Everything goes hurrycane katrina, and death stalks the border. I wish I hadn't promised that old man nothing. It's a living, and I have to pretend that I make a difference. The clock on the Clarence Thomas Federal Bank building said 1300 hours.

All the banks were government, and I'd owe them tax for checking the time. Exaggerating. A little. They sucked us all drier than the wind. This is my place, the Domus Aurea; Gold House. I get to have a house, since the time travellers say it's cursed - or, they say it will be cursed: it'll come to a bad end. But they're not clear when. And anyway, it coulda already "come to a bad end"; it could be the past they seeing. It could be Nero's house, or Domitian's. It coulda been a catacomb...in the past.


I spend my time off the job in my garden, tending my collection of succulents, or cacti. Agrippina says I spend too much time loving those plants:


Agrippina has something to say about everything. She doesn't understand why they're called succulents. She says you can't suck them. Me, I don't say nothing. I like the desert. I like desert plants. They're survivors. Today I was taking the sun, as we say. I drove to the Temple of Fortune and parked in a handicapped spot, flipped the official a Jackson - not worth much these days - and walked on.


As I was walking by the Club of 36 Parrots,Dicky Tiberius, the 2nd in command to Georgie Caligula ("little boots"), grabbed my lapel and pulled me through an architrave. "I've been waiting for you," he said. That's too bad. Dicky's waiting for you; Death in all his dreaful panoply is waiting for you; take your pick. I waited for Dicky to spill his guts...not mine.


Then he got all quiet and relaxed. He stamped that sneer on his puss that passed for feel-good, but only made kids run to the other side of the street when they saw him coming. "We need a job done" he grinned, looking like a chubby death's head, bald and evilly sensuous. We walked back outside, and walked past the Jewish section of town. Nowadays, it was Gittel's Hardware Store & Deli.

We went to Dickey's favorite: Mr. Yum Yum. Yum Yum used to be a sushi shop of pisces incocti called Edo Edo. So, Yum Yum...Edo Edo is Mangia Mangia. Agrippina says the old name meant "I eat (old) Tokyo." Agrippina does crosswords; she knows the sensual power of words. There was Yum Yum's.


What passed for a maitre d' steered us to a little out of the way booth, and he did it with an alacrity that bordered on panic, like when you see a cockroach. We squeezed into the booth, and Dickey exhaled.
Dickey Tiberius' breath smelled of blood. He always had a scent of the slaughterhouse. He tried to fancy it up by calling it the scent of the abbatoir, but...and here is where it gets scarey and poeticky together...his tongue still looked like a sausage falling from a wound.

We got some nosh and zu trinken, and I tried not to gag too much. A certain amount of gagging, though, is manners. If the food was too good, if the meat was tender, if the milk was fresh...or if the booze was full strength, you might get shot over lunch. The heat does strange things.

So Dickey says there's been a kidnap. Another Dick, too, only this one spells it "Dickie". Dickey Tiberius spells this with a twist of a pantomime limp wrist, and a sneer he wipes with that blood sausage tongue. "Dickie Fuld IV is gone." The great-grandkid of Dick Fuld who cooked Banu Lehmann - the Lehmann Brothers. A good pay day. Before I left, I asked what Georgie Caligula was up to these days. "Still livin' in Texas?", I asked. Blood sausage quivers. "Yeah." Then he laughs to himself. "He's organizing his museum. He's - get this - trying to organize his own holocaust." I shook my head. "I don't get it." Dickey laughed to himself alone. "His own hollycaust.Hee-hee-hee." He looked at me vaudeville like, "Yah got any pix of dead people? He could use 'em. Hee-hee." He told me that Georgie Caligula had purchased what he had been assured was Albert Anastasia's barbershop chair. "Hee-hee-heee..." They had both gone insane a long time ago. They were like MacBeth and Wife - only they didn't live together anymore.


I went home and grabbed the anti-bacterial soap from the utility room, and jumped in the shower. >>>>> to be continued <<<<<

Monday, February 09, 2009

Visual Poetry Of Das Boot: The Spondees Of War


I was watching "Das Boot" early, early Sunday morning on cable. I enjoyed it again. However, I noticed a surprising editing they did to be "PG-13 Correct", and it struck me as odd. In the film, they receive order to go to the Western Mediterranean, the port of La Spezia. Their mood is somber, knowing that they must first pass by British-controlled Gibraltar, that bottle-neck between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. So a crewman says to another something to the effect that " Gibraltar - like the eye of a needle." There is German sound track and the subtitle underneath. Then, the next scene they are still talking, and making a joke to lighten the tension, the crewman says something like "You'll need a whole jar of Vaseline to get through there." German and subtitle. Perhaps the critical faculties are especially acute at 4:00 AM. Why would one thread a needle with Vaseline? And what is one to make of the unfortunate juxtaposition of a biblical reference, "eye of a needle", and a jar of Vaseline? However, while it was all fresh in my mind, I recalled the first scene: crewman speaking to a second crewman: "Gibraltar...( something I missed)...einer Jungfrau." Since "einer Jungfrau" means, "of a virgin" , and it is doubtful that the sailor was talking about a spinster seamstress and her needles, I missed a slang term for a part of the body. The producers decided to eliminate the bit of sexual levity for their non-Germanic audiences, and refused to translate the subtitle correctly. This was a mistake, I believe.

Films are somewhat like poems, and possess a tempo and meter. In a film like "Das Boot" it is very clear. As cruel act of war follows on cruel act of war, we have a heavy, insistent pounding of impending doom. Between the battles in the Atlantic and the coming struggle beneath the waters of the Mediterranean, the writers wished to changed the meter a bit, have a bit of a break, and even wanted to go so far as to laugh with the scent of remembered sensuality. I thought of it like having a bunch of spondaic feet: ' ' / ' ' / ' ' /... or " Crash! Blast! Blood! War!" being suddenly alleviated by a stretch of iambics: - ' / - ' / - ' / - ' / - ' / ... or "...we stop to gaze upon the sun, and dream of birthdays yet to come..." and a taste of the 'gather rosebuds while we may' type of business, before we returned to the terrible bass pounding of the spondees of war.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Doubt

I saw the film Doubt yesterday. I did not anticipate much, but I was amazed - which is the right way a movie experience should be: it should be far greater than the trailers and your poor imagination can come up with. It was not anything at all like what my relatives had indicated, and it contained deep, dark wisdom - vexatious and troubling, yet the better for having had light shone upon it - which no one had hinted at in their reviews, views, and opinions.

 It all builds up to the scene of the school principal's talk with Mrs. Miller, the mother of a student. It also winds down from there. This scene is the disclosure of the heart of darkness in that celluloid cameo of America. From here on, Meryll Streep's Mother Superior can never be the same.
This film also demonstrated a profound cinematic truth to me. It is the fact that the genius of an actor - or a director, or a scriptwriter - or a gaffer - is part of a complex whole. The actor's genius cannot be entirely divorced from the vehicle in which it is embedded.
The film is a complex symbolic structure...if you will. And it serves to create complex symbolic structures within our consciousness - and the ripples go out to infinity. If this film had been as it had been described to me, a fight between a nun and priest over the Roman Catholic "unpleasantness", then Meryll Streep's acting would have been amazing, forceful, incredibly deep, yet sometimes bordering on excess and being "over the top".

However, her acting being part of a well designed whole, one that is profound and moving in and of itself, becomes indistinguishable from the immensity of the film, and the film cannot be divorced from the immensity of her acting. They both are legendary. And she never missteps. She could only misstep if the film itself made a misstep, and it does not, nor does she. Maybe that is why Oscars tend to cluster about certain blockbuster films: this indivisibility of the threads of genius, rather than the fact that they were commercially successful.
--

Friday, February 06, 2009

Lapidary

...a small gem, a small gem-like observation or statement... As I was writing to a fellow - Baysage, to be precise - I inadvertently managed to slip something rather witty into what I was saying:

On Writing
When I was very young, writing was a joyful promiscuity! Now that I am older and wiser, writing is a long term commitment - like a devoted marriage of minds.

You see, it had to do with a sense of responsibility to one's readers about what one was writing, and how one was going about it; whether one pandered and demagogued, or whether one held oneself to a stricter code - so to speak. Well, I liked it. I am sure some future, more enlightened age will read my lapidary sayings with enthusiasm.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Israel's Moral High Ground

If you have to claim the high ground, you've already lost it. Obviously, this applies to more people than Israel, but Israel has always had a place of affection in my heart. It is the same reason I have always bashed the USA; never bashing the good "stuff", just the immoral trivialities they love to engage in. Israel will now have its own Bush Administration: Netanyahu!
They say that an addict will have to hit rock bottom, before they can begin to be cured. Rock bottom; interesting concept. Have we seen any of that around here lately?
Then the left and progressives will come back, and re-build on the destruction left by the right wing (note: I always say "conservative" to mean intelligent people, right-wing refers to the present day herd of donkeys.)
pix: Hadar Naim
inspiration: fugitive peace

A Good Opportunity Missed


SEED Magazine has an article on whether people can be swayed by the state of their surroundings: http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2009/01/chaos_begets_chaos.php  
Chaos Begets Chaos  
by Sheila Prakash • Posted January 8, 2009 01:30 PM
  ...When an envelope visibly containing a five-euro note was left hanging out of a mailbox on a sidewalk, 13 percent of the passersby snatched it up. When the same mailbox was covered in graffiti, however, more than double the number of the pedestrians (about 27 percent) stole the envelope. Graffiti was not the only misdemeanor that fostered a cavalier attitude toward theft. When the ground near the mailbox was covered in litter, 25 percent of the subjects stole the envelope. These results are significant for both social and statistical reasons. Is a disorderly environment responsible for disorderly conduct?...
All very interesting. However, I wish they had incorporated a bit of an experiment where they had the post box painted or decorated with religious symbols...what then? If the theft rate plunged towards zero, we would have a very interesting result. It would be a sociological result, however. Keep it in mind that your relation with God is not to be measured as if you were a treadmill-running lab rat.

--

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

1991 & 2008

This autumn will see the 18th anniversary of the fall of Communism, as well as the first anniversary of the fall of Liberal Capitalism. That second shoe that I had a hunch would fall, has indeed fallen, and we may mark it as such. This is not an isolated phenomenon in history where two antagonists have destroyed each other through various ways. Recall that the Roman Republic destroyed Carthage in a number of bitterly fought wars, and finally triumphed. However, the Roman Republic itself died within a century of the final destruction of Carthage. Many causes of the Republic's demise may be traced to its militarisation during the period of the Punic Wars. I am sorry. It is too late to change it. The way the USA was going the last few years, it was a game being played by mad men. You and I shall miss the old days, but I do think that the Future will look at the pitiful American Empire of Inept Greed and Ambition and be glad that it ducked that particular bullet. I am not gloating over it. I wish we had done things differently. The guys in power had a different outlook. I am saying that I have said this was going to happen, as did many others. I did not just say that I did not like Bush, Cheney, Torture Inc, and a war. I said it was going to destroy us. Now we shall make a new life.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I Wish I Had Said That...I Think

From the blog Stop The Spirit of Zossen 2.0 A Diary of the Imperial City http://www.stiftungleostrauss.com/bunker/?p=475 Obama to GOP: ‘I won’ January 23rd, 2009

...We concede enjoying watching erst-while Republicans/Movement types also shout in awe of America’s spirit unbound. How sad their knowledge they will always be on the outside looking in. No matter where they are. That’s their doing, not Obama’s. Enabling a soul destroying parasite for 8 years has consequences...

Surprising Times

While sitting at a dinner party at Cliveden... No, that's not quite true. We were not at Cliveden, and my gentleman's gentleman was not on the qui vive looking for a way to restore my uncle's memoirs - expurgated, to be sure - to the hall table, all of which my dear fiancee, Daphne, had put me up to. We were sitting at a dinner table, and having recently dined, talk rolled around to the various and sultry...err, sundry, that is.

This is not a Somerset Maugham novel. Toasts were made; great things and great men were hoisted up and flutes and goblets were drained. Now - and here's where the interesting part begins - a lady at my left said that I should make a toast to the younger crowd. She furthermore said that I had recently said something to her own offspring that she had found deeply moving. Now, you could not have knocked me over with a feather, for I had already passed out and hoped the medics were on the way. I was not aware that this particular individual had any use for any two consecutive words that had ever pushed and elbowed their way out of my mouth.

I mean, She-who-must-be-obeyed usually has me swear on the nearest holy text at hand that, upon going to some gathering, I shall not say anything controversial, personal, nor problematic. In short, mum's the word. There is a very, very short list of poses and postures I am allowed, most of them coming down to unobtrusively standing mute, but with a knowing smile plastered on my face like some hideous poultice for a scrofulous pimple. And if this does not work, if the effect of my oath wears off, and I find myself blurting out opinions, a swift, firm kick under the table usually serves to remind me.
Beyond this, I pretty much talk the way I write. I actually say things like "arduous", and "onerous", and "crapulous", words that usually make us wish we had a dictionary close at hand, preferably to "bean" me with.

I say things like "Obit anus, abit onus." and so on, laugh about Fermi's lab under the football bleachers at U. of Chicago, and tell jokes about G.E.Moore. So upon hearing that person X actually wants to hear something Y from my lips, you may imagine my surprise Z.
So I made a toast:  
Esteem Honor and Loyalty. Be fierce in Love and Friendship. Be firm in your commitments, be unswerving in your devotion, be truthful, be devout. Be all those things that have dropped out of fashion within my lifetime. Be real Men and Women, not mannequins of Materialism . 
Giorgio de Chirico presaged our generation in his enigmatic paintings: the faceless mannequins which conveyed a sense of desuetude and ennui. I feel like Winston Smith, standing before the infinitely reflecting mirror in his love nest in the proletarian section of the city: brief freedom... We are the living!... Only to have the Thought Police respond from behind the mirror: You are the dead! Escape, young people! Escape our castle enchanted by endless sleep! Escape from the cold marble of the winter cenotaphs we have laid over the Earth!

--

Whither Hammorabi?

Is it my imagination, or is the Iraqi blogger Hammorabi becoming more and more rigid, orthodox, and fundamental? That would be a great story for Bush and the enablers: starry-eyed supporter of freedom in the early days of the Iraq war becomes hard-bitten Islamic extremist. Check it out by clicking on H's link at right. Look at present, look at early days.

The Israeli Settlements



This January of 2009, Ha'aretz newspaper obtained a copy of a secret Israeli database which revealed the extent of the illegal settlements in the West Bank. According to JewSchool:  
( I am sorry, but I have to edit the article title. Since I have a blog with a holy name in it, I try to get around certain expressions.)

  HOLY S***, Haaretz gets copy of Israeli settlement database by Kung Fu Jew · Friday, January 30th, 2009  
I hope the implications of this event don’t get buried in other news, because this stands to blow the settlement project’s lies out of the water for good: Haaretz reports it has a copy of the Israeli government’s database of settlement construction — including Palestinian land appropriation, building violations, and illegal settlements... ...This is great for ending the occupation. This means that not only has some semblance of transparency been imposed on the political actors, but also the question of settlement legitimacy has been brought back home. While Israeli officials (and their Jewish defense parrots in the US) assert that the settlements are not in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, they surely must admit now that huge chunks of them are illegal by Israel’s own law and that the government did so knowingly...

The Ha'aretz article: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060043.html  
Secret Israeli database reveals full extent of illegal settlement By Uri Blau  

Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration... .... An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements - about 75 percent - construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents. The data, it should be stressed, do not refer only to the illegal outposts (information about which was included in the well-known report authored by attorney Talia Sasson and published in March 2005), but to the very heart of the settlement enterprise. Among them are veteran ideological settlements like Alon Shvut (established in 1970 and currently home to 3,291 residents, including Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun)...

We shall refer to this later. The settlements are part of our delusions. By showing their illegal nature, we shall bring light upon our lies to ourselves, whether we are Jewish or not Jewish.

What White People Like

Christian Lander, the compiler of the blog "Stuff White People Like" includes ... scarves, gay friends, bad high school memories, water bottles, and being the only white person around. They also like studying abroad, getting divorced, alternative medicine, recycling, apologies, sushi, having two last names, renovating their homes, hating their parents, having gifted children, and tea, yoga and film festivals. And then there is No. 108 on the list: appearing to enjoy classical music... I cry foul, foul, foul most foul! at this. I not only love sushi, I know exactly how old it must be for the seaweed wrap and the plum vinegar to have its effect: too early, it is like eating a cigar. It is not my imagination that sushi makes me happy. Similarly, this is the white fellow who cried at the end of Act I of the Met's Il Barbiere di Seviglia in 2007. Now that is some music. I drink about 6 to 8 cups of tea per diem (thanks to The Grace Tea Company, New York, New York), have never been divorced, studied Yoga only along with Jainism and Buddhism and Hinduism as an attempt to grasp the basics of Indian culture. Back in the day, back when the Detroit Riots were having a brief, but intense, run at the local theaters, the newspaper across the river in Windsor, Ontario, ran a headline with a huge typo:
Burn, Whitney, Burn!
Maybe this was not a mistake for "Whitey"; maybe this was some sort of mordant comment, contrasting the supercilious rich - Whitney- against the poor and downtrodden. Don't know, actually.
I yam what I yam, ein vayse kop- a guy with a white mind. Only, I am not ashamed of my mind, not a bit. I wish it were better, I wish it were handsomer, but I'm ok with it. I love Mozart and I love early Rap music. I used to love film festivals until they became as overcrowded as prisons.
I do not understand the part about loving apologies. Perhaps that come from my Eastern European side; ikh? antshuldike mikh? farvos?

Monday, February 02, 2009

A Note On Symbols

"APPLE"
or
Upon consideration, I think symbols, such as language symbols, hardly ever occur as simple atoms, such as "apple". I guess I disagree with Wittgenstein, and agree more with Whitehead.

The WSJ & Symbolic Structures & The Future

The Monitor of Metaluna,
portrayed by the great Douglas Spencer, or "Scottie"
I have been an anti-fan of the WSJ, Wall Street Journal, forever it seems. It gave me the creeps even when I was studying for my MBA. There it is; that terror-inspiring combination: Boomers and MBAs! We gave you George W. Bush. We gave you now-you-see-it-now-you-don't economy. I suppose I could add a few more bad Boomer notions designed to eventually destroy our lives as surely as Metaluna was destroyed by Zahgon, but that is a story for another time From W.C.Varones blog:  
W.C. Varones Blog
Loan Modification is Evil
http://wcvarones.blogspot.com/2009/01/loan-modification-is-evil.html  

The WSJ: If the intent is to help homeowners, then foreclosure is undoubtedly the best solution. Household balance sheets have been destroyed by taking on too much debt via the purchase of inflated assets. With so little savings, a household with negative equity almost implies negative net worth. Walking away from the mortgage immediately repairs the balance sheet. ...

Of course, they are quite right. When first I heard of this matter of walking away from mortgages about a year ago, I had to stop and think a bit. We had been brought up to pay what we owe, not walk away. However, given the situation, I almost immediately concurred. After all, a credit rating did not mean too much anymore in the debris of the bursting bubbles, and there was probably at least a 2 in 3 chance of re-establishing it some time in the future - a full pardon with credit for time served.

This is the type of thing to remember when I start in on Symbols and symbolic structures: our lives are so much based on interconnected stories and scenarios and even stage directions ( "write out check by the 5th of the month, so it will arrive by the 10th" and so on). Symbols can be complex, not just simple. We tend to use the language paradigm, picking out nouns, and saying that "apple" stands for all apples, present, past, and future. "Apple" is a word and sort of sums up the phenomenon of language from symbolic viewpoint. It does not. Symbols may be complex. The structure " an apple a day keeps the doctor away." is a complex symbolic structure.
However, beyond being just a complex creation of individual symbols, it itself is a symbol. What does it stand for, I hear you demand? Well, immediately it "stands for" a certain attitude towards one's own health. And it "stands for" a certain intentionality. In short, it is a part of the symbolic structure of our lives: the intention to take care of one's self and avoid having to go to Health Inc., the scheduling of nutrition to include at least 1 apple a day, and the "simple" symbols - like "apple".
So when I said, yeah; I guess it's o.k. to walk away and send the keys to the bank, I was doing what billions of human beings have done in our history: they responded to great change and great stress by altering the symbolic structure of their lives: no longer need I invest all my spiritual capital in the notion that I must HONOR all my freely incurred debts!

Maybe there is some connection to "forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors"? And here is where the crux lies: when you change the story ( the symbolic structure ) you had bloody well better make sure that the new stories are dreams, not nightmares. Essentially, this is what occurred to Germany in the early 20th century: agony of war, agony of defeat, and the torture of inflation and economic catastrophe. Hence, not only were their material lives changed, but their spiritual, also. The symbolic structure shifted in vast ways; new stories were redacted into the script of Life, new directions, new expectations, new narratives. BUT, the new stories were not dreams, rather they were nightmares. We have had enough nightmares. The new stories must be the right ones, else we lose.
AND so far, we have not had the right stories. Inspect everything you believe; you will find stories you accepted from others: from parents, teachers, media, history books. What have you established on your own? And how moral are your own stories?
The time is now. If we wait, we shall run out of time, and shall have to accept whatever story is offerred us by our new Overlords.

Microfinance In The West Bank

From JewSchool: http://jewschool.com/2009/02/01/15027/lend-for-peace/ Lend for Peace by zt · Sunday, February 1st, 2009 I have been hearing about a cool new organization of Jews and Palestinians doing micro-credit work in the the West Bank. They are ready to launch. Here’s the info: A group of students at Penn, including an Orthodox Jew and a Palestininan American, have started LendForPeace (a wordplay on Land for Peace) a Kiva-type Microfinance loan direct fund aimed at fostering Middle East Peace. It’s a very idealistic mission - that by lending to West Bank women micro-entrepreneurs, hope for the future will trump ideology and despair. They are launching the fund at a talk and event at Penn this Thursday night and the community is invited. LendforPeace.org is proud to announce that it will launch to the world on February 5th, 2009! Come be a part of the excitement by joining us at our launch event. As all four of LendforPeace.org’s founders have current or previous ties with the University of Pennsylvania, we thought there was no better place to launch the site than on Penn’s campus in Philadelphia. Here are the details: LendforPeace.org Philadelphia Launch Event 7:00 PM, Thursday February 5, 2009 Jon M. Huntsman Hall F95 University of Pennsylvania 3730 Walnut Street

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Subway Parties

All Eyes Were On Mumbai...

...and none were on the Indian state of Orissa, where Hindu extremists organized a methodical anti-Christian pogrom in August of 2008.The authorities and police are accused of not intervening. I suppose it would be impolitic to cover such a story, since we are giving nuclear assistance to India. If we learn nothing else from the past 8 years, let it be this: that as you sow, so shall you reap. If you visit violence upon someone, violence will be visited upon you. If you deny well-being to your fellows, well-being will be denied you All the arrogant attitudes in the world will not save you.

The Next Big Thing

STUPIDITY Stupidity has an excellent chance of becoming the next big thing. I mean, I suppose you will say that Stupidity has been a big thing for years in this country. It hardly qualifies as a "megatrend". However, we speak of "Designer Stupidity", as it were, a new type, a label and a brand; something proprietary and unique: La Palin !

Check it at: http://eleventhdraft.com/blog?id=297 Thesaurus Checkers By Jordan Watland January 29, 2009

A Long View Of Russia & Freedom




I once said after the fall of the USSR that I wondered when the USA would suffer its similar come-uppance.
I considered the two powers mirror images of each other, at least in their international and economic gangsterism, and thought they would probably have similar fates.

After competing for so long, countries tend to become their opponents, just as long married folk tend to become more and more alike, husband and wife, over the years. Furthermore, the story was not over, not by a long chalk. I fully expected Communism to react to the disaster with creative change and be back, maybe for the enhancement of all mankind!

Imagine that! I never counted the genius of Russia out after a little thing like the end of life as they know it. The Russians have faced and come through far worse. Russian mind and genius have a great more yet to offer mankind, and it will be forthcoming.

The Capitalism of the Future; i.e., that economic system that will be the sustainer of humanity in the future era of Space - the era envisaged by Star Trek - will be heavily influenced and formed by re-born Communist and Socialist thought, tempered by the force of Orthodox Christianity resurgent, after the present mess is swept away


Anti-government protests have erupted in Russia. In Vladivostok, the protests were organized by the Communist Party. In Moscow, anti-Kremlin rallies carry signs saying Komsomol Moskvi, and this has echoes of the Communist Youth Organization of yore.

We are feeling the rough hand of the Future grasp our hands, and lead us on. We will soon hear the songs of new voices to enchant our souls. Oh, great time to be alive - at the death of tyrants! and at the birth of the New! and the childhood of true Freedom!

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