Saturday, September 30, 2006

Thorn Days

We can recall particular days in the past six years that etch themselves into our collective mind. Of course there is September 11, 2001, and there is March 20, 2003 the start of the Iraq War.

But it is September 28, 2006 that will go down as the nail in the coffin of American Democracy. Please read the article and research its implications:

Senate approves new presidential powers which strip rights guaranteed under the US Constitution

The right of Habeus Corpus is now effectively stripped from non-citizens deemed suspect in the war on terror. Non-citizens who have lived in the US for years, as well. Also the president may now hold any suspect, citizen or not, indefinitely in prison, and torture the suspect. The president has assumed the powers of a dictator.

Wake up call folks. We are in big trouble, big big trouble. Do not gloss over this one, read about the implications.

Artwork by Faith Ringgold

Friday, September 29, 2006

Anyone see a pattern here?

Follow this trail of articles to see if there is a discernible pattern emerging.

Very low confidence in Iraq policy

Americans are getting increasingly edgy in even larger numbers over the present course of action in Iraq. This is not new but the percentages are still growing for those on the dissatisfied side of the equation.

Iraqis support attacks on American soldiers

Now we are seeing the continued evidence that Iraqis themselves support attacking US troops. This is not new either but it is important to note that the Iraqis have held this view for some time. The Iraqis do not want US troops in Iraq.

Suicide attacks in Iraq at highest level yet

Distressing news. Remember when the thought of a suicide attack was shocking because it was unheard of. Well now its happening every day and its still shocking. And its increasing.

72% of US troops say end the Iraq War in 2006

72%. The number itself reveals it all. An overwhelming majority of the troops want this thing ending soon.

Painting by Keith Haring

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bright in a dull way

I'm stumped. The bitter partisanship in the US is disturbing, confusing, and frustrating. We see tremendous hostility when reading through viewer comments on large news websites. The heat between parties is not new, but the immediacy of the internet allows raw emotion to be instantly expressed rather than having the advantage of a little simmering down over time.

What is it that can possibly bridge the gap? My sense is that at the extreme ends of the political spectrum, nothing can budge those individuals in order to engage in reasonable dialogue. As the extreme edges fade away there is a slightly more reasonable and tolerant group that appears ready to talk. The problem is what percentages are we talking about.

The present administration is not regarded as falling within that reasonable, willing to talk margin. Bush is not a centrist. Diplomacy has not been his big selling point, nor has diplomacy been a particularly big selling point of others in the administration. Does anyone regard Cheney as a diplomat? Rightwing neo-conservative hawk yes, but he is not a diplomat.

What will get the dialogue going? What are the things that bring opposing sides together?

I work with very hawkish people all the time, every day actually. We get along fine. Its primarily because we depend on each other in our line of work. I do my part they do theirs, we're good. It could be that it is only at the level of person to person that any dialogue can occur. Its slow.

One thing I've noticed is that if the conversation involves economical solutions like improving gas mileage, or shortening distances, or somehow getting a bigger bang for the buck, there is usually bipartisan harmony. It never fails. I suspect there is more to it though. Somehow you need to actually develop a sense of respect. Is there anything you can respect about your hawkish or liberal acquaintance that is not in the realm of politics?

Let me say that I think war is the bottom of the line, it is an 'activity' that represents the last, the worst, the complete failure. America always appears to be at war, there is a war that is external to the boundaries and there is an internal war within the boundaries.

Structure by Le Corbusier

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

For your consideration

Here are a few articles and websites for you to review:

A leaked intelligence report says terrorism increased because of the Iraq War.

The US is the largest exporter of weapons in the world. article 1

The US is the largest exporter of weapons in the world. article 2

The US is now ranked 6th in world competitiveness.

Thousands of Palestinians forced out of their homes with the new apartheid wall.

The first article when placed in conjunction with an article that examines the use of torture in Iraq, is very disturbing. First off it appears that the War in Iraq has had the effect of increasing the "terrorism." The term terrorism itself is confusing to me but I presume they are referring to Islamic Fundamentalists. Second, the torture report concludes that the use of torture has increased in Iraq since the Iraq War tumbled Saddam. These two articles combined dispute essential claims made by the neo-conservatives about Iraq. Where is the improvement? Where is the spread of Democracy? Also how do we claim to be helping the Islamic world when an apartheid wall causes such massive and collective anguish?

Image is the Gaudi cathedral in Barcelona

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mental challenge

"During sex I fantasize that I'm someone else." (Richard Lewis)

Here is an excerpt by one of my most favorite writers/thinkers, Marie-Louise von Franz. This excerpt is from her book, 'Individuation in Fairy Tales.'

"...Sometimes, not only in those central moments, one has the feeling that the unconscious is now going to bring up something, and then one thinks inwardly, "All right, I will face everything, except I hope it is not this or that" - and then you can be pretty sure it will be just that. You have already a hunch as to what it will be and that it belongs to your personality, that thing of which you say, "I'll face anything except that"; it is just what belongs to you and your life. So very often the most important steps or episodes in one's life are surrounded by a cloud of resistance and fear. If one is quite honest with oneself, one does not even know if one desired or feared it most, for desire and fear are equal. The strange feeling of "that belongs but I won't have it" seems to belong typically to the areas of realization pushed toward one by the Self."

Not being a professional in the field of psychology allows me to comment freely. I like the quote simply because it points out that there is that rich area of everyone's life that seems to come up maybe in times of pain, maybe in times of joy, maybe periodically. It is an area that we don't particularly want, maybe we wish it would go away, maybe we fear it greatly. But according to Marie-Lousie it pushes you towards the Self.

Jungians capitalize the word self in this context, 'Self', because in their model, integration of Self or connecting with Self is a way of describing becoming completely human in the best sense. You become a highly realized person when this Self is understood.

So the idea here is that this thing that keeps reoccurring, and you may very well know what that is, is a type of sign or marker that may hold some very magical experience for you. Be kind to yourself.

Painting by Sol Lewitt

Monday, September 25, 2006

Operation Northwoods

Although the mainstream media does not report on the topic, many people did not find the 9-11 Commission Report adequate in answering the specifics of that day. They feel that there are holes in the report. Some accuse elements in our government specifically the neo-conservatives of being involved in the events of 9-11.

Is it just a coincidence that neo-conservatives under the banner of "The Project for a New American Century" issued their salient report 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' in September 2000, a report calling for massive rearmament and gun barrel ideology, which contained these formidable words:"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor." (page 51 Rebuilding America's Defenses)

The transformation referred to began with 9-11(the new Pearl Harbor) and continues with the War in Iraq. Remember that both Cheney and Rumsfeld signed this document. One year after the document is released and nine months into the Bush Presidency 9-11 occurs. Don't forget that Bush placed many of these same neo-conservative into elite power positions in the Federal Government. Is it a tad too coincidental?

Well back in the early 1960's a plan called "Operation Northwoods" was devised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and encouraged by its Chair, Lyman L. Lemnitzer. These guys wanted to invade Cuba and topple Castro, so they came up with a plan to create terrorist attacks within the US and have them appear to be plots that Castro devised. In other words, the plan called for American secret service guys to kill American citizens, and blame it on Castro. They would use the media to rev up anti-Castro sentiment and then attack Cuba. You see, you need public support to start a war. (Can you think of any tactics that were planned to gain support for the War in Iraq?)

Operation Northwoods called for all sorts of incidents, airplane hijackings, explosions, assassinations, all kinds of stuff.

In case you are the sort of person who believes that our government would never do such a thing like cause a 9-11 event, well I hate to break the news but the precedent was set a while back.

If you google Operation Northwoods you will find out the specifics for yourself. This site is good. Here you will be able to review some of the actual Northwoods documents that have been declassified.

Image is of Ameli Tancica

Sunday, September 24, 2006


"It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago" 
- Dan Quayle, former U.S. Vice-President

Recall that there is a saying that goes something like "every cloud has a silver lining." I think these sayings are designed to help remind us that there are better days ahead. The Buddhists have a lot of this worked out, and I do a disservice to mention it here but...

They talk about the good days and how when they are occurring, try to share your good fortune, spread the wealth as it were. Because when we keep good fortune only for ourselves, we get into that whole territory of its only about me, me, me, me. We become little megalomaniacs.

But then there's the bad days. The Buddhists say something like, those days are even better than the good ones! Because now we can really relate to the suffering that other people experience. We can now open up to others and understand that our problem is like the other guy's problem, quite literally. We can even imagine that when we experience these bad days that we can take that particular problem away for everybody, gather it all in and get rid of it. Can you imagine if everyone thought like that, sincerely thought like that.

Lately the news seems to fall into two categories, hideous and obscenely hideous, and I am not sure I can tell the difference any more. These are Orwellian times. Check out this article:

NY Times article: How the Iraq War is Increasing Terrorism

Just getting past the title reveals quite a bit. I suggest we designate 1 o'clock PM as national head slapping moment. We'll do it together as a nation, perhaps it can cause some unity. We'll make it a bipartisan thing. Hey its Sunday, relax, enjoy your day.

Artwork by Daniel Buren

Saturday, September 23, 2006


You know how you have those little ah ha moments. You solve some little problem, at least in your mind.

Here's my latest ah ha. Its simple. Its energy. Energy is the deal. Forget about Iraq, crappy repressive governments and their supporters, just forget about all that for a moment.

All corporations and all people, those that have sentient comprehending conscious minds and rights according to our, i.e. the US, Constitution, need to be involved intimately with understanding energy, much better. How much they use, in all ways. How much they need, in all ways. What it means, what is energy. I'm talking about as existing human beings here, working, playing, sleeping, being.

Take a look at all the stuff around you for a second. Everything has taken tremendous amounts of energy to make, transport, operate, repair, move, shift, degrade, replace, reinvent, design, conceive of, all of those objects, and you too. Think of all the showers, food, clothing, education, car rides, plane rides, work, beds, sex, child raising, entertainment, and the objects, all those objects and gizmos, all that breathing, all those flushes, all that need for warmth, or cooling. Even resting you are burning energy, giving off heat, decaying and regenerating. And all of this on gross levels, sun to earth to moon to universe, to the subtle levels, subatomic particles, to string theories. Its energy.

The quest for materialism is a quest for energy. Comparing your car and money to your neighbor's car and money is like comparing your energy to their energy. Its stupid. Your neighbor has enough energy for 30 people maybe you have enough for 4, and you're depressed.

Where does your food come from? Locally grown or is it from New Zealand? Is your car big enough to carry the Knicks around? I look at the size of the cars out there lately and its disturbing, they're monstrosities of consumption, garish, repulsive.

Young, new, and conscientious designers really have one overriding criteria. Is the thing you're designing not just energy efficient but does it make the energy line stay flat. Flat as in its not costing any extra energy. Its completely green. Its tame, its direct.

We begin by examining what it is that makes us content. Can we get by on only enough energy for 1. Its like we are these ravenous beings gorging ourselves on resources, and getting depressed when these resources look modest. Modest is good. The gorging isn't working.

Friday, September 22, 2006


"Among the 5.7 billion human beings, the older generation, including me, is getting read to say good-bye to this world. The youth has to carry responsibility for the future. So, please realize your responsibility, remember your potential, and have self-confidence. Have an open mind and a sense of caring and belonging. The freshness and strength that youth has should not fade away. You must keep this enthusiasm." The Dalai Lama

It was not a news day for the squeamish. The news of 6600 Iraqi deaths in July and August , was numbing and chilling. It doesn't get better though.

Now Iraqi death squads one aspect of the sectarian violence AKA civil war, is creating a situation where torture in Iraq is worse now than under Saddam's reign.

The previous line is a strange thing to write because the implication is that somehow there is a lesser torture or an improvement on torture. The point is that any torture whatsoever is a complete failure on all levels. Yet listening to George Bush lately we hear things like "the good news is not being told, there's plenty of good in Iraq, or sure some things are not going as we had hoped." I have to shake my head at the folks that are somehow appeased or made to feel confident with this. My faith level in the present administration is below zero.

We were told many times about how Saddam brutally tortured his own people and that this alone was reason to invade. Now torture in Iraq is worse? Worse? Isn't this the point in time where many elite higher ups have to be fired, removed from their positions of power, maybe banished to the moon? If your jaw isn't dropping lately, what does it take?

Condi Rice compared The Iraq War to The Civil War. From a numbers of death point of view, she appears to be correct. That is the only logic I can make out of her statement.

Civil War facts:

Union Army
Battle deaths: 110,070
Disease, etc.: 250,152
Total 360,222

Confederate Army
Battle deaths: 94,000
Disease, etc.: 164,000
Total 258,000

Duration of Civil War: April 1861 to April 1865 4 years=48 months

Battle deaths alone for both sides would total 204,070
Divide 204,070 by 48 = 4,252 deaths from battle alone per month.

Artwork by Brice Marden

Thursday, September 21, 2006


"Men, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl." 
- Bill Peterson, football coach

the subjection of someone or something to mockery and derision : he is held up as an object of ridicule.
verb: [ trans. ]
subject (someone or something) to mockery and derision : his theory was ridiculed and dismissed.

I was watching John Stewart recently being interviewed by Joe Scarborough. Stewart was talking about ridiculing our presidential administration. I googled "Bush Ridiculed" and came up with quite a bit, no surprise there. What is noticeable though is that the word is used often in reference to Bush mocking an opponent, as in Bush ridiculed Hezbollah, or Bush ridiculed Kerry.

My point is this, Bush has ridiculed many opponents actually savagely. Its a large part of his political arsenal. Think about his mentor Rove and the astounding ridicule that Rove uses: "..liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers..." What kind of crap is that coming from the ass whisperer? Also what about the whole negative campaign tactic, the Swift Boat crowd and such. Republicans have dished out oceans of ridicule.

Ridicule is on the table. It would seem like the best ridicule wins. Progressives need to get into the ridicule business deeper and cleverer. Ridicule, and do it with a clear conscience because the negative attack carries a lot of weight, unfortunately more weight than its opposite.

One of my favorite films - Ridicule

Hey, today is International Peace Day. Just think about ridicule, use it on Friday.

Painting by Juan Gris

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Reading through Peter Dale Scott's "Deep Politics and the Death of JFK", I came across a particularly catching section. This would be on page 49 of the paperback edition.

Here is an excerpt from this section:

"......How else should one assess the response of FBI headquarters to a report from Miami that Joseph Adams Milteer, a white racist with Klan connections, had in early November 1963 correctly warned that a plot to kill the President "from an office building with a high powered rifle" was already "in the working"? These words are taken from a tape-recording of a discussion between Milteer and his friend, Miami police informant Bill Somersett. Miami police provided copies of this tape to both the Secret Service and the FBI on November 10, 1963, two weeks before the assassination......"

When I read this passage I was shocked. I do not intend to go into all of the details and implications surrounding this sort of evidence which was apparently "covered up." Read the book for yourself and see what you think.

One thing that came to my mind immediately was the statement made by Condi Rice to the 9-11 Commission.

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?
RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

Entire Rice transcript

The Milteer statement certainly is much more specific but there was that sense of curious surprise when Rice said these words, at least for me.

I write this just to throw up a question mark. I have no answers. I will keep reading Scott's book.

Artwork by Joseph Beuys

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cultism 1

"Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing - but none of them serious."
- Alan Minter, Boxer

In case you believe that the harshest and most unstable areas of the world are only in the Middle East because of cultural or religious extremism, I have two links for you to follow.

Religious cult says nuclear war now, goes underground

Neo Nazis win in Germany's east

Not much to say about this. Of course there has always been extremism of this sort in years past, and its important to remember that, nothing special or "unusual" here.

But just to give you a quick blast from the past, the year was 1997: Clinton in office, the poverty rate in the US decreased (!), Spice Girls were big and so were Smashing Pumpkins, the Florida Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, Monica Lewinsky's name would not be known until January of 1998, and Princess Diana died at age 36. But this incident was a real mind double taker. A group suicide by a cult waiting to meet with Comet Hale-Bopp.

Heaven's Gate

How quickly we forget our recent past.

Painting by El Greco

Monday, September 18, 2006


As I have mentioned before, the volume and intensity of the criticism being leveled at the Bush Administration is really picking up lately. Three related pieces from Sunday, demonstrate this.

Frank Rich in the New York Times, discusses the truth or lack thereof in recent statements by Bush, Cheney, and Rice. He examines the all too well seen methods that this trio uses to sidestep issues or avoid head on confrontations over the actual facts as they are occurring. Recall Cheney regularly sidestepping issues by using his well worn "I haven't read the story," here in reference to Senate Intelligence Reports that contradict all of the "mistruths" used by the trio to sell the Iraq War. From the NY Times as found via Truthout:

Rich rips Bush, Cheney, and Rice

Even though we are told that the President will "stay the course" on Iraq, there is a select group which includes Bush Sr. ally, instigator of the 2000 election ballot counting halt which led to Bush's victory, and top lawyer for Saudi royalty, James Baker. These guys are trying to figure out how to salvage the unsalvageable. Expect to see some "major" new understanding come out of the Bush Administration directly after the November elections. As found in the Washington Post:

James Baker in Iraq

Addendum: It occurs that here Baker plays the same role as the Harvey Keitel character in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Recall how Keitel is brought in to clean up the mess. Bush has Rove as strategist/ advance scout dragon slayer, and now he has Baker as clean up man. Somebody could start a business providing these services for the young go getter.

Finally, as I am extremely opposed to the use of torture by Americans on enemies or enemy combatants, or anybody else for that matter including our own citizens, I praise Republican Senator Lindsey Graham for defending the Geneva Conventions as they are, and presenting an obstacle to George Bush and his interest in rewriting the articles in a way that allows for torture. You can find a video clip of Graham on Crooks and Liars, John Amato's website which is an excellent resource for up to date clips of TV interviews with major political figures.

Woodcut by Jacob Matham

Sunday, September 17, 2006


You must watch this video presentation on how votes can be manipulated on the new Diebold computer voter machines.

How to steal the election

There isn't much that I can personally add to the body of articles on this particular problem and its implications. This is not a left-right issue either. I do find it to be of the utmost contemptuous nature that an individual would corrupt the voting process and then go on to think that it was done for the benefit of the country. What do you call it, pathological criminal arrogance?

We must remember that in the present political environment a few rather startling examples have been set. I refer to the democratically elected government in Palestine with which the present administration will not negotiate. Also I refer you to the statements made regarding the countries in which the vast majority of the population objected to the war in Iraq, for example Turkey. When the leaders of those countries carried through with the wish of their people, the present administration proceeded to deride the countries for their decision even when this decision was arrived at democratically.

On the other hand, countries that went against the majority of the people and decided to agree to the Iraq War were praised by the present administration, for example Spain. The message here is very clear. We like democracy only when it agrees with our wishes.

Using this same "agreement" logic i.e. we like democracy but only when it agrees with our position, it is easy to understand how the deluded self righteous soul can steal an election. They like democracy but only when it can guarantee their candidate. This is the act of a criminal.

Photograph by Robert Mapplethorpe

Saturday, September 16, 2006


I just had my first colonoscopy. My sister who is 13 years older, was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer last year. She is doing fine after surgery and chemo. This made it clear to my doctor that I was at a higher risk for developing the disease. So the appointment was made.

In truth it was a very easy procedure. Last week I had a screening/preliminary exam. The doctor went over the specifics, and I was given a list of things to take and do prior to the colonoscopy.

You have to take a lot of laxatives basically the day before the colonoscopy and eat a restricted diet of clear liquids. You take the laxatives in a drink and have some every 15 minutes till its gone. Make no mistake you do get the runs, but because you're not really sick, its not so bad. I felt very little discomfort.

The procedure itself was a snap. I chose to use the anesthetic, meaning I was out. I am writing this about 3 hours later and I feel fine with maybe some mild fatigue.

The nurses and doctors were kind, professional, and understanding which was very good because I was a bit nervous.

The good news for me is that I'm clean as a whistle, no polyps. I was prepared for worse news and apparently if I had polyps they were going to remove them right then and there relatively easily.

It is the polyps that can become cancerous, so get rid of them.

My advice, do it if you are at the age. Its no big whoop. Hey, if I can do it, you can too.

Follow this link: Colon Cancer Screening

Two excerpts from the Colon Cancer Screening page to consider:
-In the United States, someone dies from colorectal cancer every 9.3 minutes.

-Getting a colonoscopy can reduce the average person's risk of dying from colorectal cancer by 90%.

Friday, September 15, 2006


My new CD is titled "Particle."

I finished producing this CD in the spring. The reviews have been positive and an upcoming review in the Austrian music magazine "Skrug" is also positive.

Here are a few samples:

Condition X
Z Chance

My description of the CD is here

"Particle" will soon be available all over the place in digital distribution including Itunes and such, and the physical CD is available here at CD Baby

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Attacking the critics

"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it."
-Woodrow Wilson

This article appeared in the Washington Post on September 11, 2006

War Critics Abetting Terrorists, Cheney Says

excerpt: (Cheney said) "Suggestions, for example, that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq simply feed into that whole notion, validates the strategy of the terrorists."

This statement was made by Cheney while being interviewed by Tim Russert. First off, why didn't Russert follow up this statement with a question like, "Do you believe dissenting voices are not part of democracies?" That is I want to hear about, after Cheney makes this statement.

In a democracy, dissent is an essential element. Without dissent there is no public check on our political leaders, no feedback to our leaders. In a democracy, leaders need to explain their actions and those actions need to be critically examined. In totalitarian forms of government, this doesn't happen. In an open society, the nature of war and war itself is perhaps one of the most complex and sensitive issues that a country can engage in. This is very serious business. Therefore, war needs to be examined even more critically and carefully. Trashing critics by broadly labeling them as helping the enemy is a reprehensible disservice to honorable citizens.

painting by Henri Fantin-Latour

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Getting to know you

A recent article describing the planning process for post war Iraq presents a simple idea that we are witness to, but may not be particularly conscious of.

Rumsfeld forbade plans for securing post war Iraq

excerpts: "Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld (said) "he would fire the next person" who talked about the need for a post-war plan."
"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations (post war planning), which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today."
"He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."

Take these quotes and this idea that the war would not be supported if it were to continue on and on. Now remember the types of statements coming from the highest offices at the war's start, for example Cheney saying that the war would last for a few weeks. Or how Cheney periodically states that the insurgency is in its last throes, giving the impression that the war will soon be over. Or Rumsfeld stating we would be hailed as liberators and given flowers, when in fact we were greeted with a formed functioning insurgency.

All these statements point to an understanding that America would only support a "quick" war. Yet the war continues, and now slowly and little by little, we have come to understand that the US will be in Iraq for a long time to come.

The planners of the war were well aware of the need for the right public relations face to present war to the American people. We were told it would be quick by people who knew that this was not true but that the war had to be framed in this way for it to fly.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

War, sex, and religion

Three big no no's in polite conversation in one big blog. I want to share three web addresses.

First up is war:

The Best War Ever

If you are a fan of Tom Tomorrow, you'll like this. Its a trailer. Share it. It may irritate you.

Next comes sex:

Dr. Susan Block

Sex comes first here. Sounds good? She is sharp in a good way.


Jesus Camp

This link, sent by one of my deep cover operatives, is a trailer for an upcoming film. The title says it all.

Painting by Matisse

Monday, September 11, 2006

Surprising Volume

If you read the alternative news on the web, you will notice that there is a distinct trend as of late. The criticism of George Bush and his administration is increasing in volume, in frequency, and particularly in its sharpness. Not since Richard Nixon has the shrillness of the criticism been so harsh, and now because information is in such massive quantity and readily available, its exponentially more pervasive than in Nixon's time.

This clip is from CBS News. It is about a conservative Christian retired Marine Colonel. He lashes out at the Bush Administration with a visible rage. The clip lasts 4 minutes.

Conservative marine on Bush

Next is Bill Maher on Bush. Not unusual for Maher to criticize Bush, but all semblance of civility or holding back the punches is completely gone. This clip is also 4 minutes long.

Bill Maher on Bush

The fear of reprisal for criticizing Bush that was in the atmosphere in the years following the attacks on 9-11 is lifted. The country as a whole is learning how to be engaged in dissent and in expressing that dissent. The genie is out of the bottle.

Image is a Japanese print

Sunday, September 10, 2006


We are hearing very specific terms bandied about in the media in relation to the political atmosphere. We hear of arrogance, torture, the authoritarian personality, and similar terms which lean in the direction of totalitarianism.

From time to time, I reread this quote by James Hollis from the book "Creating a Life." Here Hollis writes on self-esteem. The question that comes to my mind is how does the authoritarian and the powerful arrogant individual square themselves with a sense of self-esteem. What is it that they are able to ignore or shield from themselves? Can they successfully do this, or not?

    "Perhaps this self-esteem business is overrated. A person with high self-esteem is often one with a narcissistic personality disorder whose whole persona is devoted to hiding from others his or her secret emptiness. Anyone with a modicum of consciousness and a mild dollop of integrity will be able to enumerate a very long list of screw-ups, shortcomings, betrayals, moments of cowardice and generalized incompetence. Anything less than a very long list suggests either an undeveloped awareness or an act of great self-deception."

Painting by Bernardo Strozzi c.1615

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Let Go

Taking a little break from the political commentary posts, I wanted to post one of my favorite songs of recent years. Its 'Let Go' by Frou Frou. I can listen to this song over and over.

There are no youtube versions of this stunning duo performing 'Let Go'. This version is dubbed onto some TV show clips. I don't know the show, I don't own a TV at present either. I just listen to the song. Go Figure.

Watch Imogen Heap, 1/2 of Frou Frou, do a live solo version at:

Let Go Live

Addendum: I want to share a criteria of mine for music and in particular my criteria for songs. There is really only one rule that I use to decide if I like a tune or not. Its a simple rule. If the lyrics of the song contain the phrase, "pretty momma" then its into the dumpster.

Friday, September 08, 2006


For those interested in following the neo-conservatives as they flow from think tank to think tank to PR firm to government position to industry to university etc etc. Check out:

Benador Associates

Here you will find many. From their website:

"Benador is a public relations firm based in New York and Washington, specialized in the areas of media applied to politics, conflict resolution, the dialogue of civilisations, foreign policy, national security, anti-terrorism, defense of human rights and freedom of religion, among others."

If you read this article 'Iraq Will Be The Hot Issue In The Polls', you will find many talking points similar to those recently expressed by President Bush on the Iraq War.

Image by Barbara Kruger

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Complete Power

In the USA with the unitary presidency and the ascendency of the neo-conservatives, comes the drive for a consolidation of political power. This seems to be an essential aspect of this globally dominating force.

In polls George Bush has the steady approval of from 30% to 35% of the population. This percentage represents this president's power base which is the conservative and fundamentalist religious right.

George Bush is first to point out that the war on terrorism is against the Islamic fundamentalists. In their interest to consolidate power, they would establish the caliphate. Fundamentalist power versus fundamentalist power.

Curious to read through the former Iranian President's recent article:

Mohammad Khatami

This WaPo article uses the exaggerated Iranian translations which I have written about in previous posts. One thing that is stated though is an attempt to present a type of mediation strategy. I cannot comment on its value, however, I am attracted to diplomatic approaches versus war.

On another level, there is an article on an extreme drug resistant strain of TB. Maybe we could call it a type of consolidation of TB power.

Extreme Drug Resistant TB

Interesting that in a time when the neo-conservatives work to set up this dominant political force, which consolidates all power through a military dominance, there is a parallel TB strain that exerts a dominance over the drugs that could kill it.

Painting by Hudson River School artist Thomas Chambers

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I saw this test a few years ago when a friend emailed the link. With the renewed interest in understanding the authoritarian personality, particularly with John Dean's new book 'Conservatives Without Conscience', take this test to find out where you stand on the political compass. If you tell me where you land on the test, I will tell you where I landed.

Political Compass

Image is a Japanese print

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Katrina photos

A series of photos by Alan Chin showing the aftermath of Katrina are very strong.

Alan Chin photos

One quality that caught my attention is that they remind me of photos that I've seen of the Great Depression of the 30s. The photos, in black and white, bring out a black oil dirt soaked suffering. The backgrounds and objects around the people in the photos are simple and not particularly 21st century. Its the longing, fear, shock, and utter sadness though that is inescapable.

Sculpture is by Chris Burden 'Double Sausages'

Monday, September 04, 2006

Laborious Days

Reading through this weekends articles and posts, not much has changed: polls predicting vast gains by Democrats in the November elections, housing bubble bursting tragedy on the horizon, Rumsfeld and Bush apply domino theory to the Middle East, more global warming predictions, Blair on the ropes. Otherwise its seems the same, and the same is fatiguing for the soul, newswise.

With America's vast history of "intervention" in foreign affairs, this should be easy. Let's get the CIA to hire a decent crowd of Iraqis for a special event. The military creates a corridor in Baghdad impenetrable by any insurgent. The hired hands march down the corridor, hand flowers to a designated US military recipient. The photo op is taken, disseminated, we leave Iraq, Bush saves face, conservatives say we told you so, liberals are relieved.

Addendum: Remember how the news of the War in Afghanistan suddenly diminished to a tiny trickle, only to eventually dry up. Now we couldn't be bothered with news from Afghanistan. Although there are crisis occurring all over the world, we could care less because the MSM doesn't do much to cover the stories. So there you have it. After our staged flower handing over ceremony, the news from Iraq trickles down to a whisper, and we collectively forget about it and its onto the next Michael Jackson escapade.

Two recent highly recommended articles:

1. Howard Zinn on terrorism.

2. Dr. Susan Block, White House as Frat House Dr. Block explains "Bush Atrocity Fatigue" and other relevant issues with dry painful sarcasm.

Assemblage by James Turrel

Sunday, September 03, 2006


1 he hid his insecurity lack of confidence, self-doubt, diffidence, unassertiveness, timidity, uncertainty, nervousness, inhibition; anxiety, worry, unease.
2 the insecurity of our situation vulnerability, defenselessness, peril, danger; instability, fragility, frailty, shakiness, unreliability.

The trickster stinker brother of impoverishment and failure, insecurity is a national pastime for the shadow side of life. Perhaps this squirming trilogy is just that, a type of sport of absence.

Who are all these insecure brothers and sisters? What are they insecure about anyhow?

A close relative says. "Its the state of all young women."

Others questioned similarly stated:

"Its a product of our society."

"We compare ourselves to images fed to us by the media, and what the media feeds people becomes a part of pop culture."

Someone else paraphrased a Buddhist lama who said something like, "Americans suffer from insecurity, beating ourselves up. Why do we do that?"

The War on Terror seems to be replete with insecurity. We are encouraged to be insecure. Would you agree? Insecurity comes with its own special hormone infusing emotion, fear. I relate this to the definition of insecurity that is connected with vulnerability. Many are suspended in a state of vulnerability with great attention placed on where an attack could come from.

In another sense, the War in Iraq was promoted as a relief to this sense of insecurity. The phrase used by Secretary Rumsfeld is, "better Baghdad than Boise." This is a legitimation for war in Iraq because it places the source of insecurity out there into another country. This is an important point because there is great subtlety within these types of statements that we unconsciously react to.

Painting by Francesco Clemente

Saturday, September 02, 2006


To go along with the sense of impoverishment that seems to be in vogue, there is also impoverishment's twin brother ( evil stepsister?), a sense of failure. Perhaps its an old friend? Gentle reader.

Google search the word "failure." The first result is George Bush. However the second result (or is it third) is Failure Magazine. This could be my favorite magazine. Read the story about the 129 pound data entry clerk who sheds his job, throws caution to the wind, and ends up in a Sumo Wrestling Open. This is my kind of guy.

It occurs to me that the term "favorite failure" must be a product of the last 6 years. It compliments in an austere authoritarian way the term "unknown unknowns." The two are engaged in a brutal, torturous, and ultimately meaningless relationship.

Highlighting some of the most egregious failures I surely have ever witnessed in my lifetime, is the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Salt Lake City Mayor sounds off.

Dissent is essential for a democratic society. Dissent tests the buoyancy of our political system. Don't let some old windbag tell you otherwise.

Pottery circa 1200 AD Mississippi Valley

Friday, September 01, 2006

Middle East revision

Two recent articles one by Virginia Tilley and the other an interview with Noam Chomsky, place a different light on the Iran nuclear "crisis."

Tilleys article, 'Putting words in Ahmadinejad's mouth', gets at an obvious and apparently highly overlooked fact. We in the US are not getting accurate translations of what he is actually saying. I try to keep a vigilant skeptical attitude when listening to the MSM, but this is one aspect that I had not considered.

Chomsky's interview, 'Apocalypse near', also on the Middle East, works at applying the principle of universality also in the telling of the news about Iran. He points out that it is the US that is threatening nuclear holocaust on Iran. Iran has not made this threat against the US, but we have come to think that it has, primarily through the prism of the MSM.

Painting is by Munch