Wednesday, May 31, 2006

John Lennon, on Frank Zappa

"I really, really admire [Zappa], he’s at least trying to do something different with the form. It’s incredible how he has his band as tight as a real orchestra. I’m very impressed by the kind of discipline he can bring to rock that nobody else can seem to bring to it."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Countless My Lai Massacres in Iraq

by Dahr Jamail The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on US Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the "scandal" of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004. Yet just like Abu Ghraib, while the media spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion, to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces had not stopped either. Earlier this month, I received a news release from Iraq, which read, "On Saturday, May 13th, 2006, at 10:00 p.m., US Forces accompanied by the Iraqi National Guard attacked the houses of Iraqi people in the Al-Latifya district south of Baghdad by an intensive helicopter shelling. This led the families to flee to the Al-Mazar and water canals to protect themselves from the fierce shelling. Then seven helicopters landed to pursue the families who fled … and killed them. The number of victims amounted to more than 25 martyrs. US forces detained another six persons including two women named Israa Ahmed Hasan and Widad Ahmed Hasan, and a child named Huda Hitham Mohammed Hasan, whose father was killed during the shelling." The report from the Iraqi NGO called The Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI) continued, "The forces didn't stop at this limit. They held an attack on May 15th, 2006, supported also by the Iraqi National Guards. They also attacked the families' houses, and arrested a number of them while others fled. US snipers then used the homes to target more Iraqis. The reason for this crime was due to the downing of a helicopter in an area close to where the forces held their attack." The US military preferred to report the incident as an offensive where they killed 41 "insurgents," a line effectively parroted by much of the media. On that same day, MHRI also reported that in the Yarmouk district of Baghdad, US forces raided the home of Essam Fitian al-Rawi. Al-Rawi was killed along with his son Ahmed; then the soldiers reportedly removed the two bodies along with Al-Rawi's nephew, who was detained. Similarly, in the city of Samara on May 5, MHRI reported, "American soldiers entered the house of Mr. Zidan Khalif Al-Heed after an attack upon American soldiers was launched nearby the house. American soldiers entered this home and killed the family, including the father, mother and daughter who is in the 6th grade, along with their son, who was suffering from mental and physical disabilities." This same group, MHRI, also estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the November 2004 US assault on Fallujah. Numbers which make those from the Haditha massacre pale in comparison. Instead of reporting incidents such as these, mainstream outlets are referring to the Haditha slaughter as one of a few cases that "present the most serious challenge to US handling of the Iraq war since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal." Marc Garlasco, of Human Rights Watch, told reporters recently, "What happened at Haditha appears to be outright murder. The Haditha massacre will go down as Iraq's My Lai." Then there is the daily reality of sectarian and ethnic cleansing in Iraq, which is being carried out by US-backed Iraqi "security" forces. A recent example of this was provided by a representative of the Voice of Freedom Association for Human Rights, another Iraqi NGO which logs ongoing atrocities resulting from the US occupation. "The representative … visited Fursan Village (Bani Zaid) with the Iraqi Red Crescent Al-Madayin Branch. The village of 60 houses, inhabited by Sunni families, was attacked on February 27, 2006, by groups of men wearing black clothes and driving cars from the Ministry of Interior. Most of the villagers escaped, but eight were caught and immediately executed. One of them was the Imam of the village mosque, Abu Aisha, and another was a 10-year-old boy, Adnan Madab. They were executed inside the room where they were hiding. Many animals (sheep, cows and dogs) were shot by the armed men also. The village mosque and most of the houses were destroyed and burnt." The representative had obtained the information when four men who had fled the scene of the massacre returned to provide the details. The other survivors had all left to seek refuge in Baghdad. "The survivors who returned to give the details guided the representative and the Red Crescent personnel to where the bodies had been buried. They [the bodies] were of men, women and one of the village babies." The director of MHRI, Muhamad T. Al-Deraji, said of this incident, "This situation is a simple part of a larger problem that is orchestrated by the government … the delay in protecting more villagers from this will only increase the number of tragedies." Arun Gupta, an investigative journalist and editor with the New York Indypendent newspaper of the New York Independent Media Center, has written extensively about US-backed militias and death squads in Iraq. He is also the former editor at the Guardian weekly in New York and writes frequently for Z Magazine and Left Turn. "The fact is, while I think the militias have, to a degree, spiraled out of US control, it's the US who trains, arms, funds, and supplies all the police and military forces, and gives them critical logistical support," he told me this week. "For instance, there were reports at the beginning of the year that a US army unit caught a "death squad" operating inside the Iraqi Highway Patrol. There were the usual claims that the US has nothing to do with them. It's all a big lie. The American reporters are lazy. If they did just a little digging, there is loads of material out there showing how the US set up the highway patrol, established a special training academy just for them, equipped them, armed them, built all their bases, etc. It's all in government documents, so it's irrefutable. But then they tell the media we have nothing to do with them and they don't even fact check it. In any case, I think the story is significant only insofar as it shows how the US tries to cover up its involvement." Once again, like Abu Ghraib, a few US soldiers are being investigated about what occurred in Haditha. The "few bad apples" scenario is being repeated in order to obscure the fact that Iraqis are being slaughtered every single day. The "shoot first ask questions later" policy, which has been in effect from nearly the beginning in Iraq, creates trigger-happy American soldiers and US-backed Iraqi death squads who have no respect for the lives of the Iraqi people. Yet, rather than high-ranking members of the Bush administration who give the orders, including Bush himself, being tried for the war crimes they are most certainly guilty of, we have the ceremonial "public hanging" of a few lowly soldiers for their crimes committed on the ground. In an interview with CNN on May 29th concerning the Haditha massacre, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace commented, "It's going to be a couple more weeks before those investigations are complete, and we should not prejudge the outcome. But we should, in fact, as leaders take on the responsibility to get out and talk to our troops and make sure that they understand that what 99.9 percent of them are doing, which is fighting with honor and courage, is exactly what we expect of them." This is the same Peter Pace who when asked how things were going in Iraq by Tim Russert on Meet the Press this past March 5th said, "I'd say they're going well. I wouldn't put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they're going very, very well from everything you look at …" Things are not "going very, very well" in Iraq. There have been countless My Lai massacres, and we cannot blame 0.1% of the soldiers on the ground in Iraq for killing as many as a quarter of a million Iraqis, when it is the policies of the Bush administration that generated the failed occupation to begin with.

Botticelli - Nash / Boucher - Milligan, and a great thread

~My Dream, by Ogden Nash~ * This is my dream,

It is my own dream,

I dreamt it.

I dreamt that my hair was kempt.

Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.

<> * * * ~Mirror, Mirror, by Spike Milligan~

*

A young spring-tender girl

combed her joyous hair

'You are very ugly' said the mirror.

But,

on her lips hung

a smile of dove-secret loveliness,

for only that morning had not

the blind boy said,

'You are beautiful'?

*


Monday, May 29, 2006

Thanx 4 Tha Vizual w/ Muzical Interlude

INXS, Beautiful Girl

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Constitutional Right to Graft? The Moral Rot in Congress

by Lawrence Velvel We are currently being "treated" to more of the moral rot that infests both political parties and, consequently, to yet another example of why a third party is desperately needed. I speak, of course, of the spectacle of the bitter outrage expressed by Congressional members of both political parties over the FBI's search of the office of Congressman William Jefferson. (Too bad it wasn't the office of William Jefferson Clinton, isn't it?) The search was done on a quiet Saturday night (and all night). That is scheming and bad. But it was also done pursuant to a court authorized warrant, after Jefferson had refused to comply with subpoenas, after he had been caught on tape, says the FBI, accepting a $100,000 bribe, after the FBI found most of the money in a freezer in his home, after Jefferson has become suspected of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars more in bribes, and at a time when, it has become obvious, Congress has become an utter cesspool of corruption, including, of course, the particular corruption of bribery. The leaders of the cesspool, however, profess themselves outraged -- shocked, shocked -- over the supposed violation of their supposedly inviolable precincts by the FBI. Not just the expectable coterie of partisan Democrats (the usual suspects), but reactionary Republicans who lead Congress rushed to the defense of an African-American Democrat from Louisiana who appears to be a major league political criminal. It likely has not escaped these Republican heroes, of course, that if the FBI can search the offices of the Democrat Jefferson, then it can also search the offices of the numerous Republican bribe takers and grafters in the national legislature. That is a possibility the reactionary Republicans would devoutly wish to forestall. Needless to say, the Democrats and Republicans both wrap their selfish concerns in supposed principle, here the so-called Speech and Debate Clause -- the little-known subject of legalistics over the years -- and separation of powers. But let's forget the legalistics in favor of discussing what in reality is supposed to be at stake -- of what has historically been said to be at stake in analogous situations involving prosecution of legislators. What is said to be at stake in these kinds of situations are the institutional prerogatives, the institutional interests, of Congress, the very powers of Congress. In plain English, if the Executive can search Congressional offices and/or prosecute legislators, it is said, then it assuredly will have the power to intimidate, cow, and coerce the legislative lions. It will become all-powerful, and Congress, the branch that the founders intended to be preeminent, will (further) shrink in importance. Well, today that argument is a fine how do you do, isn't it? We have a Congress that jumped on the Executive's war-making bandwagon and allowed the Executive to go to war without exercising its own legislative authority by questioning WMD claims that were bushwa. We have a Congress that, as occurred before with Viet Nam, lacks the brains and guts to exercise its own power to stop the war. We have a Congress that has itself done nothing effective -- zippo -- to stop the Executive torture that violates Congress' own anti-torture statute, that has done nothing to stop rendering for the purpose of torture or to force the closure of secret prisons in awful foreign countries, a Congress that wouldn't even dream of -- and surely does not want to so much as mention -- exercising its power to curb these illegalities by impeaching and convicting their perpetrators. We have a Congress that has done nothing effective to stop the (impeachable) Executive electronic eavesdropping, in violation of Congress' own law, that was revealed over a year ago (all we ever got on this subject was more hot air from Arlen Specter), and that equally has done nothing to curb the NSA's mammoth, recently disclosed electronic domestic data mining of almost everyone's telephone (including, I imagine, the telephones of people in Congress) (and again all we got is hot air from Specter). We have a Congress that does not prevent the accession to higher benches of judges who, as lawyers, sponsored ideas for massive inroads on the power of Congress. We have a Congress that has done nothing about the Executive's 700 plus signing statements saying that it does not have to follow the laws being signed. And this Congress, which has allowed so many phenomenal, and phenomenally important, inroads upon its own power, is the same Congress that is complaining that its prerogatives have been invaded and its power threatened, because the FBI searched the office of a guy who apparently is a big time crook? Gimme a break. That this Congress could rise up to protect a crook, because a Congressional office was involved, and could do so under the completely phony guise of asserting principled institutional interests even though it has allowed those interests to be mercilessly trampled in far more important ways for years on end, is symptomatic of the selfish moral rot in the Congress and in the two political parties that run the country. As well, Congress has previously shown it will not rise up when other people and their offices are subjected to warrantless electronic searches, but God forbid that the Executive, using a properly authorized warrant, should search the office of one of Congress' own. The Congressional rising-up in this case is inevitably remindful of the prior political gutlessness of the Congress and the two parties in so many other cases. It is still another demonstration of why we desperately need a third political party lest moral rot, political spinelessness, raging hypocrisy, and plain lying take this country right down the tubes. Addendum: Still More Moral Rot After I had nearly finished writing this column, I learned that George Bush had ordered that the materials seized by the FBI from Jefferson's office be sealed for 45 days to allow the various contending parties to work things out. The Bushian order is, of course, just another example of his own apparently unlimited moral rot, which has been continuously thrust before us for years in so many ways. The order is also a nearly supreme irony. What has happened, of course, is that in this case Bush, very quickly, buckled extensively when Congress got really angry over actions of the Executive. Yet Bush has shown no compromise, no buckling, when it comes to war, torture, rendition, secret prisons, electronic spying, electronic data mining, signing statements that say the Executive doesn't have to follow the law, appointment of reactionary judges, or anything else where the Executive, under his leadership, has invaded, or has nullified, the powers of Congress. Yet in the Jefferson matter, Bush, like most bullies, who are fundamentally yellow, buckled as soon as someone really gave sign of standing up to him, and he buckled though the leaders of Congress, having truckled on everything else, are now standing up not in a good cause, but in a terrible cause. There is irony here, is there not? -- when Congress stands up, in a bad cause, the peerless leader falls down, but most of the time, no matter how good the cause, the Congress won't stand up. There also is moral rot here, is there not? Bush has stood up for one horrible action after another taken by him and his administration, from lying us into war, to torturing people, to spying on Americans, to whatnot. But when it comes to enforcing anti-bribery, anti-corruption laws against the morally and legally crooked politicians who are close to ruining our system, Bush does not stand up. He backs down. This is moral rot for sure. It also is symptomatic of another problem, one that is not often mentioned in plain, unvarnished terms. Bush doesn't care about law. He is perfectly happy to see the law broken when this suits his purposes, especially if he can get corrupt Executive Branch lawyers -- as he always can -- to write indefensible, morally retrograde legal opinions that give him cover. That is a lesson of torture and rendition, where such legal opinions became public, and, if and when other Executive Branch papers are ever disclosed to the public, perhaps as long as 50 or 75 years from now unfortunately, it is nearly 100 percent certain to be a lesson of a host of other Bushian actions. (Bush himself wouldn't have the guts to let us see the relevant papers. So, like Nixon, he will claim that national security precludes it.) Anyway, the point of this addendum is that Bush has now weighed in with his own moral rot, to match the moral rot displayed by Congress. Lawrence R. Velvel is the Dean of Massachusetts School of Law. He can be reached at velvel@mslaw.edu.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mahadevi

Sunlight made visible the whole length of a sky, movement of wind, leaf, flower, all six colours on tree, bush and creeper: all this is the day's worship.

Night and day in your worship I forget myself O lord white as jasmine.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

From http://oxomoxo.blogspot.com/ The Gospel of Mary Magdalene has Taoist and Buddhist concepts presented in first century Christian Semantics. Jesus is quoted as saying that "All natures, all formed things, all creatures exist in and with one another and will again be resolved into their own roots, because the nature of matter is dissolved into the roots of its nature alone."
This is very similiar to the Taoist concept of Oneness as expressed in Chapter 34 of Tao Teh Ching, Speaking of the Tao it says "All things derive their life from it [Tao] All things return to it, and it contains them."
Another portion of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene describes a soul's journey after death and the challenges it overcomes. These passages are much like The Tibetan Book of the Dead which reveals the Peaceful and Wrathful Dieties a soul encounters during its journey after it has separated from the body at death. This is very similiar to this portion of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, " When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, (which) took seven forms. The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven {powers} of wrath."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

FOURTH CHORUS

Eventually we begin to realize that Sade has never been understood. He cried out for liberty, and we accuse him of being a forerunner of Hitler. He dreamed of a world without punishment, and we attribute brutality to him. He spoke for the spirit of love, and we project every viciousness onto him. We are afraid of being seduced by him, we Hiroshima-makers. He showed us our own face in a mirror and we have screamed for 150 years that it was his face. Nothing could be more explicit than his actual words: Laws should be "flexible," "mild" and "few'' (Sade, p. 310). We must "get rid forever of the atrocity of capital punishment" (Sade, p. 310). Women must be equal with men: "Must the diviner half of humankind be laden with irons by the other? Ah, break those irons, Nature wills it" (Sade, p. 322). Property should cease to be monopolized by a few (Sade, p. 313-314). The present system of property-and-power rests on"submission of the people . . . due to . . . violence and the frequent use of torture" (Sade, p. 11). He gave up his post as magistrate rather than administer capital punishment — "They wanted me to commit an inhumane act. I have never wanted to" (Sade, p. 29). His principles are, as he says, quite correctly, not those that lead to tyranny but "principles to whose expression and realization the infamous despotism of tyrants has been opposed for uncounted centuries" (Sade, p.311). Even against the clergy, he maintains a solidly libertarian position: "I do not, however, propose either massacres or expulsions. Such dreadful things have no place in the enlightened mind. No, do not assassinate at all, do not expel at all.... Let us reserve the employment of force for the idols; ridicule alone will suffice for those who serve them" (Sade, p. 306). But these words are ignored. Because he committed one crime — the crime of reporting accurately the secret day-dreams and longings of the psyche of men and women in this civilization, men and women reared in the crucible of authority-and-submission, discipline-and-punishment — he has been portrayed as the endorser of these extremities. More truly than Flaubert said"Je suis Bovary," Sade could have said (did say, for those who read between the lines), "Je suis Justine." It is his voice that cries out continually in Justine's speeches, "Oh, monsters, is remorse and dead in you?" Just as it is his voice, undeniably, in the"Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man" which says simply, "Reason, sir — yes, our reason alone should warn us that harm done our fellows can never bring happiness to us . . . and you need neither god nor religion to subscribe to [it]" (Sade, p. 174). I dreamed I called Jesus Christ on the phone and asked him, say, Man, did you really forgive them for they knew not what they did? "Verily, verily, I say unto you," he replied, "I made my position on authority-and-submission as clear as I could: 'You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you.' — Matt. 20:25. 'Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.' — Matt. 12:25. 'If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' — Matt.15:14. 'For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them upon men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.' — Matt. 23:4. They be blind leaders of the blind, baby, and mechanical laws of punishment-and-conditioning lead them in little grooves of robot-life." But, but — I protested — is there anything outside conditioned behavior? Is there a real freedom, Man? Is there? "Find the place where Sade and I agree," he said, "and there you will find the beginning of a definition of liberty." And the line went dead with a sudden click like the sound of a bedroom door closing as a little boy is pushed outside.

Love will find a way.....

"...I wanted to run out and kiss her fanatastic beauty and say: 'June, you have killed my sincerity too. I will never know again who I am, what I am, what I love, what I want. Your beauty has drowned me, the core of me. You carry away with you a part of me reflected in you. When your beauty struck me, it dissolved me. Deep down, I am not different from you. I dreamed you, I wished for your existance. You are the woman I want to be. I see in you that part of me which is you. I feel compassion for your childlike pride, for your trembling unsureness, your dramatization of events, your enhancing of the loves given to you. I surrender my sincerity because if I love you it means we share the same fantasies, the same madnesses" ~Anaïs Nin~

Sex theme park to open in London

A £7m sex theme park, which has no rides, is to open in London's West End later this year. Visitors to Amora - The Academy of Sex and Relationships at the Trocadero in Piccadilly, will pass through seven zones including Pleasure and Orgasm. The 10,500sq-ft exhibit is designed to "separate fact from myth and educate everyone into being better lovers". You have to be aged 18 and over to get in and tickets will cost £15 for the attraction which opens on 7 September. Organisers expect to attract more than 600,000 visitors within the first year. The theme park will include life-sized silicone-made models which visitors can touch to discover erogenous zones. People will also be able to build their ideal partner from a series of body parts and there will be instructions on how best to kiss and how to talk more sexily. The seven zones will start with attraction, love and relationships and include a sexual well-being zone which looks at the dangers of unsafe sex. The academy's director of exhibits Dr Sarah Brewer said: "The more sex we have the more we want and the less sex we have the more we want. "This academy does push boundaries back and whatever your prowess when you come in we will give you all the information you need to become a fantastic lover."

Slaves to the "Free Market" Unite

by Jason Miller Can Humanity Make a Stand Against the Ruthless Onslaught of Capitalist Imperialism? Relentlessly delivering the triphammer blows of a youthful Mike Tyson, America’s imperialist ruling class of wealthy and corporate elites has been pummeling the poor, minorities, and the working class with impunity for years. As some of my readers have aptly pointed out, America and its White Christian patriarchy do not have a historical monopoly on abuse of power or exploitation of “lesser people”. It is also true that Anglos have been victimized at various points in history. Yet the United States exists and thrives almost solely because it obscenely exploited Africans to attain economic power and committed genocide against North America’s indigenous people to obtain and expand its territory. While other nations and races have committed similar atrocities throughout history, Anglos have suffered persecution, and slavery and the Native American genocide are in the past, the actions of the United States and its White patriarchal society were still morally reprehensible. Furthermore, many of the beneficiaries and descendents of the perpetrators remain unrepentant. Recent polls and events also indicate that about a third of Americans still support an entrenched American power structure which flourishes by practicing exploitation and conquest. The United States is not the only nation currently committing brutalities and injustices, yet Washington is home to a government which claims to be the ultimate moral authority on the globe. While invading and occupying nations which posed no threat to them, slaughtering innocent civilians, and torturing suspected enemies, the United States continues to mouth empty platitudes about spreading freedom and democracy, pompously lecture other nations on human rights, and hypocritically determine which nations are too “evil” to be trusted with nuclear technology. In his recent book, Overthrow, Stephen Kinzer wrote: There is no stronger or more persistent strain in the American character than the belief that the United States is a nation uniquely endowed with virtue…..This view is driven by a profound conviction that the American form of government, based on capitalism and individual political choice, is, as President Bush asserted, “right and true for every person in every society.” Time and again the United States has acted on this pathological belief, almost always spreading suffering and misery rather than democracy and freedom. Little deters them Despite remarkable strides toward social justice achieved by powerful leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eugene Debs, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the advent of international humanitarian laws like the Geneva Conventions, and the addition of amendments to the US Constitution expanding civil rights, the relentlessly acquisitive individuals manning the bulwarks of the Corporatocracy at Wall Street, Capitol Hill, Langley, and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave have continued to find myriad means to advance their malignant agenda on both the foreign and domestic fronts. They are employing direct intervention through invasion and occupation in Iraq as I write. Indirect intervention by the CIA has brought many ruthless dictators to power because they were friendly to corporate America’s interests. Multi-national corporations devastate weaker nations by grossly exploiting labor and resources. The World Bank and IMF enable the ruling elite of the United States to enslave developing nations economically. Nuclear intimidation rounds out the vast array of weapons at the disposal of the power mongers at the helm of the United States. Consolidating power into the Executive Branch, nullifying several Constitutional Amendments with the Patriot Act, packing the courts with “their people”, and conducting pseudo-elections are currently at the forefront of the domestic arsenal of America’s ruling elite. Tell me lies....tell me sweet little lies Utilizing the corporate domination of the mainstream media and educational textbook producers, the patrician class of the United States continues to white-wash history and current events to perpetrate one of the biggest hoaxes in the history of mankind. They have managed to convince many of their plebs of the virtuous, benevolent, and “democratic” nature of America, to the degree that some violently reject the truth when confronted with it. The under-funded No Child Left Behind legislation ensures that educators lack the resources they need to prepare their students for mandatory tests which emphasize rote memorization and basic skills. Teaching critical thinking, history, literature, and politics falls by the wayside in the mad scramble to prepare students to pass government-mandated exams. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for those atop the food chain in the American Empire if they could virtually eliminate domestic dissent without resorting to mass arrests or torture? Despite the widening wealth gap, the Wal-Martization of the economy, Katrina, Iraq, stolen elections, an $8 trillion national debt, tax cuts for the wealthy, and increasingly rapacious acts by corporations, many Americans are still oblivious to our descent into fascism. Sucking on the pacifier of conspicuous consumption, they “shop til they drop”, lining Corporate America’s pockets and freeing the ruling elite to pursue world domination, as outlined in the Project for the New American Century and the Bush Doctrine. Certainly there are some decent human beings who hold great wealth or positions of power in the United States, but their voices and actions are readily neutralized by the far more numerous spiritually hollow individuals whose existence is predicated on attempting to fulfill their insatiable lust for money and domination of other people. Slaves to "human nature" we are not Some argue that avarice, hatred, cruelty, territorial instinct, and deceit are inescapable aspects of "human nature" and define the human condition. Large scale human-inflicted injustice, misery, and suffering would indeed be inevitable if one accepted the notion that we are slaves to "human nature", our ids, and our Shadows. I refuse to accept this hypothesis for several reasons. Human beings possess highly developed frontal lobes and opposable thumbs so that we can problem solve and avoid subjugation to our animal impulses. As Scott Peck astutely observed in The Road Less Traveled, it defies human nature to use a toilet or a toothbrush, yet most people learn to do both. I spent some time acting on the dark side of my nature in the past, yet I managed to undergo a profound moral transformation over the last thirteen years, choosing to live a life based on basic human decency, dignity, non-violent assertiveness, and compassion. My life is full of family and friends who share similar values. While it is impossible to completely deny one's id or Shadow, it is possible to manage them and live a reasonably ethical life. There are also numerous examples of extraordinary people like Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama who achieved the peak of human moral development. The masters' kingdom would collapse without the slaves One of the wealthy ruling elite’s most poignant victories against progressive, humane forces has been their crushing blow to working people around the globe. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the birth of the prevailing virulent form of Capitalism, the working class has been a festering thorn in the side of their masters, motivating them to devote a great deal of energy to keep them subdued. Representing a necessary evil, workers in America and abroad are the engine of the Corporatocracy, as both the producers and consumers who power the Capitalist economy. While monstrous men like Henry Kissinger would move to shrink their numbers through starvation (or perhaps carpet bombing) if permitted, they still recognize that these “beasts of burden” are indispensable. Not surprisingly, political ideologies which seek to empower the poor and working class have been heavily vilified by those who hold a vested interest in keeping wealth and power in the hands of a few. Americans are inculcated with the belief that men like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Salvador Allende, and Evo Morales are (or were) our enemies. It is anathema, we are taught, to our “free market system” and “democracy” when leaders of other sovereign nations end the persistent grip of an entrenched oligarchy and raise a majority of their people out of abject poverty. With such beliefs, perhaps America’s moral deficit exceeds its fiscal one. Can I interest you in selling Amway? American Capitalism is the ultimate Ponzi scheme. For each of the four remaining Walton heirs to enjoy their billions, millions of human beings have to suffer abysmal poverty. Certainly, there are the occasional members of the Proletariat who infiltrate the exclusive world of the Bourgeoise, but they are so few and far between that they pose little threat to the dominance of the filthy rich resting at the pinnacle of the pyramid. Besides, thanks to Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and the inevitable repeal of the inheritance tax, America’s wealthy elite will be further insulated from threats to their virtual monopoly on excessive wealth. As a member of the working class, I am weighing in against the status quo multi-level marketing scheme. Despite my lower middle class upbringing and opportunity to obtain a college education, I went through hard times and quit school. For the next six years, I faced under-employment, unemployment and serious economic struggles. Intermittently working as an unskilled laborer in various manufacturing and service jobs, I received wages as low as $5 per hour, had limited or no benefits, endured miserable conditions, and suffered severe burns on my legs in an industrial accident. I experienced life in the lower stratus of the pyramid of American Capitalism first-hand. In a nation as wealthy as ours, it is a travesty that some people remain trapped in such wretched circumstances throughout their lives. Today my wife and I are fortunate enough to generate a middle class income together, enabling our family to live a modest lifestyle and for me to engage in my avocation of researching, writing dissident essays, and publishing my blog. However, as members of the middle class, we are part of a dying breed in America, balancing precariously on the edge of an economic abyss. Ethics, laws, justice? Who cares... Consider three examples of the fates of laborers who dared to defy the primary beneficiaries of America’s predatory economic system. During a peaceful pro-labor rally in May of 1886, anarchists were exposing the recent Chicago police slaying of two laborers striking against McCormick Harvesting. An unidentified individual detonated a bomb in the midst of the crowd, killing eight police officers and three demonstrators. In an effort to turn public opinion against the labor movement, the Land of the Free committed state-sponsored murder against four of the anarchists, publicly hanging them. The Illinois governor later concluded the executed men were innocent, the Haymarket Martyr’s Monument was raised in their honor, and wide speculation emerged that the bomber was a corporate agent provocateur. In 1894, when workers became fed up with rail car manufacturer George Pullman’s “welfare capitalism” (a euphemism for indentured servitude), they went on strike. Eugene Debs led a sympathy strike amongst thousands of railroad employees, whose refusal to handle Pullman cars seriously interfered with national rail traffic. President Grover Cleveland broke the strike with US Marshals and the military, leaving thirteen strikers dead and Debs in prison. It is small wonder that so many of America’s elite genuflect to Ronald Reagan and want to see his countenance emblazoned on the ten dollar bill. Reagan dropped a nuke on labor in the ongoing class war when he fired the PATCO air traffic controllers in 1981. When Reagan took office, union membership was 23%, down from its 35% peak in the 1950’s. However, his withering blow greatly accelerated the precipitous decline of organized labor in the United States. By 2005 only 8% of America’s private sector workforce was unionized. Brute force, propaganda, illegal firings, and state-sponsored murder imposed by the ruling class in the United States were not enough to deter the American labor movement from its diligent efforts to improve the lot of the working class. We can thank them for the eight hour work day, an end to child labor, increased safety in the work place, higher wages, and health and retirement benefits. Since the majority of the population is a part of the working class, a majority of people benefited from labor’s gains. Sounds like a logical outcome in a nation which espouses democratic values. However, the minority in the ruling plutocracy was not pleased. Determined as they were to protect their interests, the modern day Money Changers discovered new ways to impose their economic brutality. (Imagine what Jesus would do on the floors of the stock exchanges). Welcome to McDonald’s! Would you like fries with that? Arguing that American workers are overpaid, corporate elites have slashed pay, health benefits, and pensions. They contend that to stay competitive in the new “global economy”, they need to cut labor costs. Working people are to sacrifice with a smile since it is in their best interest to enable their masters to stay in business. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, massive layoffs pushed millions of middle class blue collar workers into service sector jobs which cut their incomes in half. According to Louis Uchitelle of the New York Times, 30 million Americans were laid off between 1984 and 2004. Starting in 2000, Silicon Valley and the telecom companies began a trend of massive white collar layoffs. Other industries have followed suit. In short, “overpaid” front line American workers have become highly expendable. Corporate America doesn’t care what color your collar is. Human beings are commodities to them, and if an employee’s existence is too costly, they eliminate them. Illegally firing employees who try to unionize, hiring temps to replace full-time employees (to eliminate paying those damn benefits), replacing seasoned employees with fresh college grads, and “off shoring” American jobs to exploit cheap labor in other nations exemplify the new paradigm in American business. While corporate profits soar at an annual clip of 30%, employee wages crawl upward at an average of 2%. Meanwhile, CEO’s earn an average of over 400 times that of their employees. While American workers struggle, multinational corporations, which are often guided by American executives and extremely wealthy share-holders, have introduced human beings in developing nations to the profound misery of Dickensonian Capitalism. When laws in the United States began making it prohibitive for the Social Darwinists to exploit employees and the environment to the extent that it engorged their bank accounts, they began moving their operations to countries which did not have these “harsh constraints”. It is time for labor to unite on behalf of humanity In a 1978 letter of resignation from his position of president of the UAW, Douglas Fraser wrote: I believe leaders of the business community, with few exceptions, have chosen to wage a one-sided class war today in our country --a war against working people, the unemployed, the poor, the minorities, the very young and the very old, and even many in the middle class of our society….I would rather sit with the rural poor, the desperate children of urban blight, the victims of racism, and working people seeking a better life than with those whose religion is the status quo, whose goal is profit and whose hearts are cold. We intend to reforge the links with those who believe in struggle: the kind of people who sat down in the factories in the 1930's and who marched in Selma in the 1960's. Unfortunately, Fraser’s inspiring words have gone largely unheeded. The two party American Duopoly continues to represent the interests of their wealthy and corporate benefactors. Grass roots mobilization and efforts to advance the interests of social and economic justice for the poor and working class have virtually fallen from the radar screen of organized labor. The larger labor unions continue their close ties with the Democratic Party, apparently believing the fiction that Democrats have the spine or the will to advance the interests of the working class. In July 2005, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Andy Stern took his 1.8 million members and broke ties with the AFL-CIO, an organization which has achieved few tangible advances for labor or the working class in recent years. A former social worker and present activist for social causes, Stern was recently profiled on 60 Minutes. Organizing workers, many of whom are minorities and women, in previously under-unionized industries such as day care and janitorial, Stern has created an agenda of global worker cooperation to end the disturbing trend of corporate exploitation. Stern and his followers have set out to rectify the gross economic injustices facing the working class and humanity in general. They recognize that collectively, the working class wields great power. Unionizing, strikes, and boycotts are the potent weapons they employ against the seemingly overwhelming forces of Capitalist domination. Last week, I asked SEIU’s online campaign manager, Anders Schneiderman, to share his thoughts on labor taking the lead in advancing the causes of social and economic justice. He responded: SEIU members believe that the only way we can build a better world for all of us is if we unite with workers across the globe. When corporations move around the world looking for opportunities to maximize their profits by driving down pay and benefits standards, no one is safe unless we work together. That's why school bus drivers, are joining together on both sides of the Atlantic to hold First Service accountable, and why on June 15 janitors from around the world will be celebrating International Justice Day and discussing where their campaigns to raise standards should go next. While the ruling elite have done an exceptional job of employing the concept of divide and conquer in human society (gay vs. straight, pro-life vs. pro-choice, red state vs. blue state, Christianity vs. Islam), a majority of the global population shares at least one common interest. Almost all of us need to trade our labor for our means of sustenance. A global unification of working people of all stripes is what we of the poor and middle classes need to overcome the tyranny of the moneyed ruling class. These modern day monarchs thrive by keeping their peasants in a perpetual state of unnecessary poverty, ignorance, war, and human suffering. Contrary to the lies of the elite, human nature does not doom us to high degrees of injustice and misery. Human beings are blessed with free will. As individuals, and ultimately collectively, we can choose to act in mostly reasoned, honest and just ways. We can avoid resorting to impulsive, reactionary responses to primal emotions like fear, lust, and anger (feelings propagandists love to trigger and manipulate). No one will make reasoned, fair choices all of the time, but I know from my own experience that through conscious effort, it is possible to do so much of the time. A revitalized labor movement on a global scale could very well be our means to snatch victory from the pitbull-like jaws of Capitalist Imperialism and to forge a reasonably just and humane society. Jason Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in liberal arts and an extensive self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite for reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid supporter of Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He welcomes responses at willpowerful@hotmail.com or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Municipal Gum, by Oodgeroo Noonuccal

* Gumtree in the city street, Hard bitumen around your feet, Rather you should be In the cool world of leafy forest halls And wild bird calls Here you seems to me Like that poor cart-horse Castrated, broken, a thing wronged, Strapped and buckled, its hell prolonged, Whose hung head and listless mien express Its hopelessness. Municipal gum, it is dolorous To see you thus Set in your black grass of bitumen-- O fellow citizen, What have they done to us?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

VA data files on millions of veterans stolen

The Veterans Affairs Department today revealed that personal, identifying data for as many as 26 million American veterans was stolen from a VA employee's home in May. The information is a list of all veterans who served in the military and were discharged since 1975. A VA employee took files home as part of department work on a data collation project to simplify some VA processes. Subsequently, someone broke into the employee’s home and stole the data. The career employee, a data analyst, was not authorized to take the files home, said VA secretary Jim Nicholson in a teleconference with reporters. He would not say what form the data was in. The data analyst, whom VA would not identify, has authority to access the information for his job but did not follow procedures to safeguard the data. He has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, the secretary said. “We do have people that telecommute. We have a system of policies and controls that are in place and operating, and this person violated those,” Nicholson said. The veterans’ personal information that was compromised included names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The data contained no medical or financial information, but there may be disability numerical rankings, he said. “Considering the pros and cons of going public, we’ve decided to come down on the side of making veterans aware. There is no indication that any unauthorized use is being made of this data or that they (the burglars) know that they have it,” he said The FBI, VA’s inspector general and local law enforcement are investigating the theft. Investigators believe the burglary was random and not targeted for the VA information. Several thefts have been reported in the community. The secretary would not pinpoint exactly when the robbery took place, only that it was sometime this month. Nicholson has taken initial steps inside and outside government to alert veterans and improve data security. He has briefed the co-chairs of the President’s Identity Theft Task Force, which is charged with better securing government-held personal data. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Deborah Majoras lead the task force and he will confer with them today in a previously scheduled meeting. “This will be the number-one topic,” he said. Other steps he has taken to alert veterans and tighten security include: * VA has established a Web site to inform veterans. * VA is notifying veterans, including checking with the Social Security Administration and the IRS for correct addresses. * VA will conduct an inventory of those with access to sensitive VA data and possibly ask the FBI for background investigations depending on the level of access and responsibilities. * VA will accelerate the requirement that all employees complete a cybersecurity training course to June 30 this year. * VA employees will have to sign an annual statement of their awareness of privacy and security responsibilities and consequences of disclosing personal information. Originally posted at 12:09 p.m. and updated at 3:18 p.m.

JFK library honors Murtha, Mora with Profile in Courage award

[And now for some bleh politics....]
BOSTON U.S. Rep. John Murtha, an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq, and Alberto Mora, a former Navy general counsel who clashed with superiors over abuse of terrorism detainees, were honored Monday as recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. The men accepted the awards from the president's daughter, Caroline, at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library attended by several members of Congress and the Kennedy family. Murtha, a decorated combat veteran and conservative Democrat with a long history of supporting the military, broke ranks with the Bush administration in November, when he called for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. "Today my words of Nov. 17, 2005, and the many that followed, reflect not only my gut consciousness but that of many in our military and the majority of this country," Murtha said. "I am proud to be the messenger of those who at one time had no voice." Murtha's change of heart helped shape the public debate over the war, because of his reputation as a Democratic hawk and retired Marines Reserves colonel who enjoyed easy access to presidents. The award committee said Murtha's decision "made him the target of withering political attacks and resulted in efforts by political opponents to discredit his Vietnam War decorations." Mora, formerly one of the Pentagon's top civilian lawyers, fought a two-and-a-half year behind-the-scenes battle with Pentagon brass and civilian leaders over U.S. military policies regarding detainees -- policies he said could invite abuse. "We need to be clear. Cruelty disfigures our national character," Mora said. "It is incompatible with our constitutional order, with our laws, and with our most prized values. Cruelty can be as effective as torture in destroying human dignity, and their is no moral distinction between one and the other." Mora retired this year and now is a general counsel for Wal-Mart. Among those in attendance were Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Massachusetts Congressmen Barney Frank and Stephen Lynch and various Kennedy family members including Robert Kennedy's grandsons, Matt and Joe, who are the sons of former U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, and William Kennedy Smith, son of the former president's sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, who shared the dais with the honorees. Sen. Kennedy, who spoke before the awards were presented, noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Profiles in Courage." He said the two honorees prove that "dissent, even in wartime, may well be the ultimate act of patriotism." The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, created in 1989, is presented annually to public servants who have withstood strong opposition to follow what they believe is the right course of action. The award is named for President Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Profiles in Courage," which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to fight for what they believed in. Past recipients of the award include President Gerald Ford, Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, and U.S. Sens. John McCain and Russell Feingold.

Monday, May 22, 2006

White and Black Erotic Photography

* In spring at midnight I was walking along the shore. A full moon glowed on the black ocean and rollicking whitecaps. The ocean was full of sparkling diamonds-- a black and white ballet. I thought: What a magnificent performance! * Black and White Ballet, Catherine May Greensides * http://pscelebrities.com/bw/index.htm

Ex -US soldier:

'If he didn't answer the way we liked, we would shoot his youngest kid in the head'
* Watch Film Here * Jessie Macbeth, a Former Army Ranger and Iraq War Veteran Tells All This 20 minute interview will change how you view the U.S. occupation of Iraq forever. I cannot possibly recommend this more highly. An Iraq war veteran tells of atrocities he and other fellow-soldiers committed reguarly while in Iraq. I have never seen this level of honesty from a U.S. soldier who directly participated in the slaughtering of Iraqis. Excerpts: "When we were doing the night raids in the houses, we would pull people out and have them all on their knees and zip-tied. We would ask the man of the house questions. If he didn't answer the way we liked, we would shoot his youngest kid in the head. We would keep going, this was our interrogation. He could be innocent. He could be just an average Joe trying to support his family. If he didn't give us a satisfactory answer, we'd start killing off his family until he told us something. If he didn't know anything, I guess he was SOL." and "For not speaking out, I feel like I'm betraying my battle-buddies that died."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Israelis Kill 4-Year-Old Palestinian Child, 3 Women, an Activist, in an Assassination Air Raid on Gaza, Amir Peretz Orders Grab of More Occupied Land

by Palestine Media Center – PMC Israelis Kill More Palestinian Women, Kids and Activists? Amir Peretz Orders Grab of More Occupied Land for Settlement Expansion Israel has grabbed 100 acres more of occupied Palestinian land for the expansion of illegal Jewish colonies as the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed three Palestinian women and a four-year-old son, acknowledged the extra-judicial assassination of a top-ranking anti-occupation activist on Saturday, but denied any attempt on the life of the Palestinian intelligence service chief, Gen. Tareq Abu Rajab, who survived a bomb blast on the same day. The IOF signed last week an order for the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Ilit, built on occupied Palestinian land, near Jerusalem by 100 acres, the leader of the Israeli “Peace Now” group, Yariv Oppenheimer, said on Saturday. Israel Radio reported on Sunday that, in addition to Beitar Ilit, the illegal Isrsaeli settlements of Givat Zeev, Oranit and Maskiot in the West Bank have been expanded by order of the Israeli “defense” ministry, the radio said. The orders were signed by “Defense” Minister, Amir Peretz, the radio said. Oppenheimer condemned the expansions, saying they were apparently an attempt to take more Palestinian land ahead of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to unilaterally lay down Israel’s final borders by 2008. 3 Women, Son and Activist Killed Meanwhile, the IOF acknowledged they had extra-judicially assassinated top-ranking Palestinian anti-occupation activist, Mohammad Sha’ban al-Dahdouh (Abu Obaydah), in an air raid that also killed Hanan Aman, 32, her four-year-old son Mohannad and female relative Naima Hamdi Aman, 25, in Gaza city on Saturday. The killing of al-Dahdouh, who was identified as a leading Islamic Jihad activist, “is certain to further exacerbate the anarchic security situation in Gaza, already tense following an attempt on the life of the Palestinian intelligence chief,” The Guardian said on Sunday. Yossi Beilin, the leader of the Israeli Meretz party, called for the government to stop its policy of assassination strikes that kill innocent people as well. He said on Israeli radio that the killing of al-Dahdouh was insufficient justification for the killing of a small boy, his mother and grandmother. Beilin was referring to the fact that the females and the son were bystander victims of the assassination of al-Dahdouh. Separately the IOF sporadic gunfire overnight Sunday killed another Palestinian woman in the northern West Bank refugee camp of Balata, near Nablus. Palestinian witnesses said the 48-year-old woman was shot by IOF troops who were patrolling the camp after she left her home to see what route her husband, a cleaner, should take to avoid the soldiers. Medics later pronounced her dead. An IOF spokeswoman denied the troops killed the woman and said the incident” will be investigated. Palestinian Intelligence Chief Survives Assassination The IOF missile strike on Gaza city occurred hours after Palestinian General Intelligence chief, Tareq Abu Rajab, 59, survived an assassination attempt. Israel denied any involvement. He was hit in the chest in an explosion that tore through his heavily-guarded headquarters in Gaza city Saturday and was first taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where doctors requested that he be transferred to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv due to the severity of his wounds. Abu Rajab, is a senior member of Fatah and survived another attempt on his life in August 2004, when he was hurt in a drive-by shooting. Abu Rajab’s bodyguard and nephew, Ali Abu Hassira, was killed in blast while more than ten others were wounded. Abu Rajab was appointed to his current post by President Mahmoud Abbas in April 2005. Last week, Abbas sent him to Jordan to look into accusations by its government that the ruling Hamas movement was trying to smuggle explosives into Jordan and carry out attacks there, charges that Hamas has denied. Attack’s Aim: ‘Civil War’ Abbas, attending the Economic World Forum in the Sinai resort on the Red Sea in Sharm e-Sheikh, Egypt, condemned the “assassination attempt,” and said that it “threatens the Palestinian Authority with grave danger.” “This a very unfortunate incident and annoying at the same time and threatens (the Palestinian authority) with grave danger,” Abbas said as he emerged from a meeting with US deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick. Palestinian lawmaker, senior Fatah legislator and former deputy premier and information minister of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Nabil Shaath, who was accompanying Abbas, told the Israeli daily, The Jerusalem Post, the attack was an attempt to push Palestinians into a civil war. “Some people want us to accuse Hamas,” he said, adding: “They want to push us into a civil war with Hamas. I don't know if Hamas did it, but if someone from Hamas did it they should be put on trial.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, which hit Abu Rajab as he entered an elevator with his aides and bodyguards. Al-Tirawi: We Are All Being Threatened Abu Rajab's deputy, Tawfik al-Tirawi, said that “mercenaries” had infiltrated the PNA security forces and were planning to kill top Palestinian leaders, including Abbas. “We are all being threatened,” he said. He said he was concerned for President Abbas’ safety. “We're concerned about the safety of the president and all the leaders and senior officials because of the anarchy and lawlessness,” al-Tirawi said in the West Bank town of Ramallah, where three vehicles of the Arabic satellite TV station Al-jazeera were torched at its offices on Saturday evening. Strongly dismissing claims by Interior Ministry spokesman, Khaled Abu Hilal, to the effect that the explosion may have occurred when Abu Rajab's bodyguard accidentally dropped a hand grenade, al-Tirawi confirmed the explosion came from a home-made bomb that had been planted beneath the private elevator of Abu Rajab. Abu Hilal later retracted his hand grenade theory. “This is a foolish and irresponsible statement,” al-Tirawi said, adding: “He (Abu Hilal) should have refrained from issuing such statements as long as the circumstances were unclear.” The assassination attempt was linked to “incitement and irresponsible statements” made in mosques over the past few weeks, he added. The Palestinian Minister of Interior, Saeed Siyam, said the ministry will launch an investigation into the incident and pledged to bring those responsible to justice, regardless of their factional affiliation. Ghazi Hamad, the spokesman for the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, said also the explosion would be investigated: “We are asking not to make early judgments, accusations or responses that might lead to tension in the Palestinian streets,” Hamad said.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

~Fingering the Ocarina~

MP3's

ArtSetFree.com

They pour more wine and drink in large sips and Tadeja crawls ontop of David and with eyes that shine from all depths of time she shines of life and glow and the erotic sense she express and she claws his hair and feels him and loves and she sucks him into a kiss and David squeezes her body tight kisses her and time vanishes as they embrace in hot springling singling mingling emotion and their love wrauuu! and they grow younger older brighter in all directions in a second and the world turns fresh and hot and sexy and Tadeja rips opens her dress and reveals her breasts as David slides his hands up her back and kisses her chest and dives onto the fullness of her breasts and she pours more wine down her neck and into daves mouth and they kiss wet and winy and she squeezes herself hard against him hands warm against his chins and their pupils grow large their eyes like the moon is in heaven and they feel around them enter a familiar kind of beauty, a beauty that always is new, a beauty that is alive, and they enter it more and more and more and they feel themselves feel it's stance as they open something that can only come forth by an act of will, by actually wishing it forth and letting it guide every motion and every sensation every shiver touch and breath and they breathe together as they kiss and touch and feel themselves around in the dance of beauty the dance of love that flowers forth from everywhere and the candles begin to give a more yellow shine, the shadows vanish, and they move and feel and love and touch, together, this beauty, this aliveness, their bodies warm together, irises revolving galaxies, pupils telling all, and they love, with every movement and every breath, the shivers through their bodies, the life of their eyes, in the beauty everywhere the all is alive and they breathe and feel and love and touch in the pace of nature the pace of Eden back in Paradise back to where it all begins

http://www.artsetfree.com/ero.htm * Xun


Muzical Interlude

David Bowie and Queen - Under Pressure

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mexican priest ordered to retire

The Vatican has told the Mexican founder of the influential Legion of Christ order to retire to a life of prayer after sexual abuse allegations. The Pope had approved sanctions against Marcial Maciel after seeing the results of an inquiry, a statement said. It added there would not be a Church trial because of Father Maciel's age - he is 86 - and poor health. Father Maciel - who founded the conservative order in 1941 - has long denied any wrongdoing. Accusations Friday's statement from the Vatican did not say whether the accusations against him had been found to be true or not. Instead, it said Father Maciel had been "invited... to a reserved life of prayer and repentance, renouncing every public ministry". The Mexican priest had been accused by some former members of the Legionaries of sexual abuses dating back to the 1940s and 1950s. In 1998, those accusations were taken to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who has since become Pope Benedict XVI. In 2004, the Congregation said it would look into the allegations. A year later, Father Maciel stepped down as head of the Legionaries citing his age. The order has about 600 priests and 2,500 seminarians, and says it has some 65,000 members around the world.

Spring, by Vinci Vin

* If spring were a woman, she would be arrayed in yellow and blue and red, not the colors of daffodils and hyacinths and irises, but blue for waning winter days, the yellow of daylight savings time, and the angry red of stormy skies. Her scent would be the fresh-ploughed earth, her breath the breeze of melting snow, and in her eyes of heavy clouds would be the promise of verdant fields. If spring were a woman, she would be a gifted woman, indeed! * Tom Waits - "Waltzing Mathilda"

Iran honors Georgia poet for his translations of Rumi

by TAREK AL-ISSAWI EHRAN, Iran - Setting aside its fierce anti-Americanism, Iran has honored a U.S. national who spent 30 years translating the legendary 13th century Persian poet Rumi into English. Coleman Barks is a "great poet, professor and scholar," said the chancellor of Tehran University, Ayatollah Abbasali Amid Zanjani, as he awarded an honorary doctorate in Persian language and literature to the retired English teacher from the University of Georgia. "You did a great job - magnificent," Zanjani told Barks in front of more than 100 professors and students who packed a university hall for the ceremony Wednesday. "You have introduced Rumi to English speakers around the world and we appreciate that very much." Tehran University honored a second American poet, Robert Bly, who introduced Barks to Rumi's poetry in 1976, encouraging him to retranslate the poems to bring them alive. Bly, who lives in Minneapolis, received a certificate of appreciation. Clearly moved by the award, Barks, 69, was almost reduced to tears as he recited a verse by Molana Jalaluddin Rumi that he had chosen to reflect his love for Iran: "What was said to the rose that made it open, Was said to me, here in my chest." Sitting beneath pictures of the founding father of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Barks said: "I love this country. I love this country. It feels like home." The difference between Barks' view and that of the U.S. government, which brands Iran a major sponsor of terrorism, was not lost on the audience, which gave Barks several standing ovations. "This is a good omen at a black time, when history is drawing an untrue picture of Iran," literature professor Ali Mohammad Haghshenas said during the ceremony. Haghshenas added Barks "should be considered at home in Iran because of his work." Bestowing such a prestigious award on an American is extremely rare for Iran. It is particularly significant in that since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office last year, he has hardened the country's international positions, deepening the confrontation with the West over Iran's nuclear program and calling for Israel to be wiped off the map. Ahmadinejad's predecessor, former President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate, had encouraged cultural and sporting exchanges with the United States as part of his policy of dialogue between civilizations. But, in the past two years in Iran, hard-liners have defeated reformists in parliament, as well as for the presidency, and imposed conservative policies on all the major state institutions. Barks said Rumi has been the most read poet in the United States during the past 10 years. "Rumi has given Americans a way to love Islam," he said. Barks, who lives in Athens, Ga., told the audience he had long felt that he was "secretly connected" to their culture. He said the state of Georgia was known as the Peach state in the United States. "Peach in Latin is "persica," meaning from Persia," he added.

George Soros Dumps Microsoft Stock and Redeploys into Stock Exchanges

by Alex Gabor A recent U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing from Soros Fund Management, billionaire financier George Soros' investment fund--which has investments in 286 companies and has a total fair market value of $2.72 billion shows some significant changes to the fund, which still holds large stakes in Sun Microsystems (SUNW), JetBlue Airways (JBLU), Hainan Airlines, Skyworks Solutions (SWKS), Lattice Semiconductor and EchoStar Communications (DISH)among others. Hi9s indirect stake in the gargantuan software company Microsoft (MSFT) has been cut to 251,750 shares from from 1.38 million during the past quarter. The sale of over 1.1 million shares gave Soros Fund Managers at least $30 million in cash to redeploy into other investments more promising than Microsoft. The sale may have been a small factor in the recent plunge of microsoft shares from a 52 week high of around 28 to closer to $22 in recent trading days. The SEC filing further discloses that Soros has acquired 857,400-shares of Boston Scientific--which recently completed its acquisition of Guidant--and a 698,500-share stake in communications equipment maker Cisco Systems. The Hungarian-born and London School of Economics-educated Soros is betting on the rumblings of global exhanges recent merger talks. Soros, who is the world's 71st richest man according to Forbes magazine, doubled his fund's stake in the Nasdaq Stock Market (nasdaq: NDAQ ) to 553,200 common shares and took on an 89,750-share stake in NYSE Group (nyse: NYX ). NASDAQ recently received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to begin operations as a national securities exchange. Exchanges continue to be under tremendous pressure to consolidate to boost volumes, create economies of scale that reduce trading costs and to attract more companies to list their shares. Talks between NYSE Group and European share markets operator Euronext and the German Bourse have been ongoing for the past few days signaling that a possible merger may be in the wings. NYSE Group, Inc. last week filed an 8-K announcing the combination of the businesses of the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. and Archipelago Holdings, Inc., making it the largest and most technologically sophisticated stock exchange in the world. At the same time, developments in Iran for the establishment of the Iranian Oil Bourse have speculators lining up in Europe on the side of the Euro as investors like Soros, Gates and Buffet continue to hold huge multi billion dollar short positions on the U.S. dollar as inflation rears its ugly head in the United States and Central Bankers are focusing on pulling away from trading oil contracts in dollars if the IOB begins operations any time soon. The dollar has slid more than 6% in the past month alone and as interest rates are raised to stem the loss in purchasing power, U.S. consumer confidence continues to slide, wholesale prices have begun to reflect what savy investors have been predicting for the past two years, and the U.S. and British real estate markets have seen notices of default increase by more than 50% during the first quarter of 2006.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Masque of Anarchy: Percy Bysshe Shelley

'Government is an evil; it is only the thoughtlessness and vices of men that make it a necessary evil. When all men are good and wise, government will of itself decay.'

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How Important Is A Kiss?, by Fantasy

A kiss can take you on a journey Into the recesses of your senses And into the secrets of your soul As it awakens your excitement And stimulates your desires A kiss will tell you immediately If you'll bond with someone or not You'll know if they share your passion Or if they miss the mark entirely It can lay bare your sensual nature When your lips first touch another's You'll know if they're gentle or they're rough You'll feel their heat or their coldness And feel another's lips stimulate you You'll know if they'll satisfy your needs And when their tongue starts to explore And begin a dance within your mouth You'll know if you match in your rhythm Or If your tempo's are way off key And if you'll make beautiful music together When your kisses match in passion And you're feeling each other's heat You will float in time and space And make time literally stand still You'll be transported to another place The importance of a kiss And the oral expression of your love Allows you to meet in a moment To stimulate your senses and drown And be introduced to another person's soul How important is a Kiss? You decide.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quote by, Karl Kraus (1874-1936), Austrian writer

"Christianity has enriched the erotic meal with the appetizer of curiosity and spoiled it with the dessert of remorse."

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sex, Love & Ecstasy, by Linda King

Sensual, Unrestricted nakedness, Erotic skin, My breasts slide along his sides. Feline, Claws out, Arched back, His body trembles under my sharpened nails. Offered, Eyelids closed, Mouth opened, His hands climb along my thighs. Opened, Smooth wet, Lips spread, His sex plunges passionately into me. Given up, Sublimated body, Ecstasy fusion, Love quivers in the deepest of me.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The invented world of J.R.R. Tolkien

Here

~Strange Brew~

* *

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Iran: Euro to replace dollar as oil currency

In July Iran will ditch the dollar in favour of the euro as the currency in which it will accept payments for its oil and natural gas exports, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Friday. The switch, first mooted months ago, was expected but Ahmadinejad's decision comes just as Washington is stepping up pressure on other United Nations Security Council members to act against Tehran for flouting agreements taken with the UN's nuclear watchdog. Ahmadinejad's announcement, made in Baku, Azerbaijan where the Iranian leader is attending a regional economics conference, appears aimed at weakening the United States' resolve to seek sanctions against Iran if it does not comply with the UN International Agency for Atomic Energy's demands. Some observers beleive the Iranian move could deal a severe blow the the American currency as many central banks from oil importing nations could choose to stock up their currency reserves with euros rather than dollars.

Porno Saturday

(Mysterious Death of Porno Queen Inger Stevens) *
We start by us standing and I am kissing you, a long deep passionate kiss. Then kiss you all around your shoulders slowly moving to the back of your neck. Making you shudder as my tongue glides across the sensitive skin between your shoulder blades. I am now nibbling your ear whispering to you how I love it when I fuck you, how amazing it feels to be inside of you, how you make me cum so hard. Telling you softly how good you taste and how much I love kissing and licking you all over. My hand reaches over and starts rubbing your breast. My fingers gently moving over your nipple, rubbing it making it hard. Moving my mouth on your breast, I need to kiss it and suck it, then my tongue circles around the areola, teasing it and then a deep suck. Mmmmmmmm While I am sucking your breast my hand slips down between your legs and starts massaging your inner thighs and teasing you. Just brushing against the outside of your pussy then touching your clit. I stop sucking your breast and go back to kissing your lips then French kissing you. My hand is now rubbing your clit, I push my finger in your pussy and finger fuck you then take my wet finger and it's back on your clit. My finger is making back and forth motions on your clit then rubbing it up and down till I feel it getting hard. I look into your eyes and tell you I love you. Then tell you I need you to get on the bed and bend over. I have you bend over, exposing that sexy ass to me, your soft pussy beautifully framed by your thighs. I gently slap your ass, leaving a warm mark on it. My lips press against your soft warm skin, I kiss and nibble your ass cheeks. I spread your cheeks and lick your pussy while slipping my finger into it. I find your clit and tease it while I tongue you, pressing my tongue deeper. Then licking your labia, pressing gently with my lips. I finger your pussy till my fingers are dripping with your sex. I pull them out and lick them, tasting your sweet sex. My other hand is rubbing up and down the length of the back of you legs, as I finger fuck you and lick your thigh I can see your wet sex dripping out of you as my finger goes in and out. I lick it and then start sucking your clit. I stand up and grab your ass and slide you all the way onto the bed, your ass is now in the air and your face is buried in a pillow. My hand push your thighs open more, I want you real open so I can fit my whole mouth on your pussy and suck it while my tongue goes inside you. I back off and tell you how I love eating you like that and I want you to cum for me Baby. I take a long lick going from your ass to your clit and then back. I start rubbing your clit as I am licking you up and down making stops to put my tongue in your pussy. I can feel your legs against my face and they tense and I can tell you are almost ready to cum. I again lick your ass as I stand up and start pushing my cock in you. I want to fuck you hard and tease your tight hole as I fuck you. But first I just grab your hair and pull you back towards me then slap your ass I as I fuck you. My hand has your hair and my other hand is teasing your tight hole. I tell you "Baby rub your clit" and you start rubbing it. I am fucking you faster and as deep as my cock can go. Mmmmmm I can feel all your wet sex dripping from you as my cock goes in and out, once I feel you are about to cum I slip my finger in your tight hole and pull your hair back harder so my cock is now in as far as it will go. I can feel my cum about to explode and I want you to feel it in side you. You are now cumming as I start fucking you fast and then shove it in as I hold it there as I cum., I let go of your hair and use both of my hands to rub your ass as I pump in and out of you. I can see sweat drops on your back and ass. So I bend down and lick them while pulling my cock out. ….. I cannot wait to clean you up and do it again.i

Friday, May 12, 2006

Organelle.org

[ORGANELLE is SO Cool...here's the front of the website] * As individuals, collectives, and a species we are heir to a living library far older than the Sun, and we were born to enjoy, celebrate and preserve our personal and unitive rights and expressions of access. A few thousand years ago, there was an accident — and the road to the library disappeared. : That road is open again. It leads to direct experiential contact with the living sources of the stuff we refer to as knowledge. We can together reMember a game of unity and mutual uplift our anscestors were adept with, and games of this nature will entirely change what we believe about what it means to be human — because what we believe is grossly misfounded, and our intelligence has potentials we’ve never seen examples of. There is a garden of stories we can share...which rapidly unlock learning potentials barely dreamt of in our religions and most imaginative fictions... by changing how we interact with a feature of representational experience. For thousands of years our ancestors were attempting to piece together a way to speak about a living riddle which they had constant and direct experience of. This riddle had to do with the source of Knowledge. and the meaning of Light, Darkness, Life and Death. Each of our cultures and their children of science, philosophy or religion express a different version as well as a modernized token of their essential experience and understanding — but there are ways of integrating the toys they left us that lead to a startling experience: Direct contact with what they were making stories about. If we can merely agree, we can play an ancient riddle-solving game together... that transforms into game of impossible rescue... ...and that’s only the beginning...

ANARCHIST JESUS Spoke to me....(thanks AJ)

'Darko' Director Investigated Over 'Terrorism Links' "Donnie Darko" director Richard Kelly could be forced to miss the Cannes Film Festival because his passport is being reviewed by the U.S. government. Homeland Security is investigating 31-year-old Kelly, reportedly because there is a James Kelly on the terrorist watch list. Fearing he will be unable to attend the premiere of his new movie, "Southland Tales," at Cannes later this month, Kelly has contacted a U.S. senator and has recruited his mother to hunt out documents to help him prove his American citizenship. The Virginia-born writer/director fears the issue could be connected to the plot of his new movie, which is in part about security measures taken by the U.S. government following Sept. 11. He says, "The paranoid conspiracy freak inside me is starting to think this has something to do with the film."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fuck the US Government for Fucking US or, STOP WATCHING ME, ASSHOLES

Potential Evidence Surfaces of Bush’s Illegal Spying, May 8, 2006 While the legal ins and outs of the NSA spy program may at times be complex, the essence of what Thomas Nelson is fighting for is simple: upholding the judicial tenet of "innocent until proven guilty" and the separation of powers laid out in the Constitution. In the coming weeks, the government must file a response to Thomas Nelson’s complaint. While the DoJ will inevitably try to push it from the courts, and from public attention, it is only a matter of time before the simplicity of what is at stake takes root. As Nelson explained, "It’s a question of whether one man can, as Commander in Chief, ride roughshod over all the protections in the constitution. If this is our response to 9/11, we’ve lost. If this kind of practice can occur because of 9/11, Osama won." * NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls by Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY. The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: The NSA record collection program

!Blissed Out!

* Voyage to Cythera * Free as a bird and joyfully my heart Soared up among the rigging, in and out; Under a cloudless sky the ship rolled on Like an angel drunk with brilliant sun. "That dark, grim island there--which would that be?" "Cythera," we're told, "the legendary isle Old bachelors tell stories of and smile. There's really not much to it, you can see." O place of many a mystic sacrament! Archaic Aphrodite's splendid shade Lingers above your waters like a scent Infusing spirits with an amorous mood. Worshipped from of old by every nation, Myrtle-green isle, where each new bud discloses Sighs of souls in loving adoration Breathing like incense from a bank of roses Or like a dove roo-cooing endlessly . . . No; Cythera was a poor infertile rock, A stony desert harrowed by the shriek Of gulls. And yet there was something to see: This was no temple deep in flowers and trees With a young priestess moving to and fro, Her body heated by a secret glow, Her robe half-opening to every breeze; But coasting nearer, close enough to land To scatter flocks of birds as we passed by, We saw a tall cypress-shaped thing at hand-- A triple gibbet black against the sky. Ferocious birds, each perched on its own meal, Were madly tearing at the thing that hung And ripened; each, its filthy beak a drill, Made little bleeding holes to root among. The eyes were hollowed. Heavy guts cascading Flowed like water halfway down the thighs; The torturers, though gorged on these vile joys, Had also put their beaks to use castrating The corpse. A pack of dogs beneath its feet, Their muzzles lifted, whirled and snapped and gnawed; One bigger beast amidst this jealous lot Looked like an executioner with his guard. O Cytherean, child of this fair clime, Silently you suffered these attacks, Paying the penalty for whatever acts Of infamy had kept you from a tomb. Grotesquely dangling, somehow you brought on-- Violent as vomit rising from the chest, Strong as a river bilious to taste-- A flow of sufferings I'd thought long gone. Confronted with such dear remembered freight, Poor devil, now it was my turn to feel A panther's slavering jaws, a beak's cruel drill-- Once it was my flesh they loved to eat. The sky was lovely, and the sea divine, but something thick and binding like a shroud Wrapped my heart in layers of black and blood; Henceforth this allegory would be mine. O Venus! On your isle what did I see But my own image on the gallows tree? O God, give me the strength to contemplate My own heart, my own body without hate! * Charles Baudelaire

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Way It Feels, by Jade

The way it feels. Leather, Cool and smooth Rubbing against your skin I like the contrast of my gloved fingers against the upraised cock that I revere. The way you grovel at my boots, naked, breathing heavy, begging for a taste of my tits or my pussy, makes me whole. My adoring slave, My reason For living.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

~*Venus*~

Mainland Europe, especially France, Scandinavia and the Netherlands has a reputation for sexual freedom unknown in the puritanical Anglo-Saxon world.

Paris is the capital of erotic art and the Netherlands has enjoyed freedom of the press since the enlightenment era.

Many British upper class Grand Tour travellers were shocked by the sexual explicitness of the artworks they found in Europe.

An example of such outrage can be found in the writings of American author Mark Twain:

In his 1880 travelogue A Tramp Abroad Mark Twain called the Venus of Urbino 'the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses'. He proposed that 'it was painted for a bagnio and it was probably refused because it was a trifle too strong', adding humorously that 'in truth, it is a trifle too strong for any place but a public art gallery'.


Monday, May 08, 2006

The Violet Flame

How the Violet Flame Works The violet flame works by changing "vibrations". In physics, vibration is the speed of oscillation - the speed at which something moves back and forth. On the atomic level, vibration can be understood to be the speed at which electrons orbit around the nucleus of the atom. The violet flame works by changing vibrations on this level. Atoms are mostly empty space. The empty space between the nucleus and the electrons is where negative energy and karma can become stuck. When the atoms in our bodies and auras become clogged with this negativity, the electrons whirl slower and slower, and we begin to resonate more with negativity, and less with light - we have a lower vibration, and become less spiritual. The violet flame transmutes this negative energy. It does not simply surround and remove the energy, but transforms it into light. Because there is less density within the atom, the electrons whirl faster and faster, thereby raising your vibration. When you have a higher vibration, there is more spiritual energy in your body. Acupuncturists and yogis know that optimum health comes when this spiritual energy flows freely throughout the body. The violet flame frees up this energy and re-establishes harmony and equilibrium, propelling you into a more spiritual state of being. * Previously, the Violet Flame had only been used in the retreats of the Great White Brotherhood. St. Germain offered for collateral the momentum of the Violet Flame garnered within his own heart chakra and causal body, that mankind might experiment with the alchemy of self-transformation through the sacred fire. When by your free-will, you call to the Violet Flame, the fire instantaneously begins the work of breaking down particles of substance that are part of the mass accumulation of hundreds of incarnations of thought, feelings, words, and actions of ignorance which are registered and retained within the four lower bodies. With the call to the Violet Flame, you surrender these unwanted conditions to the flame. The finite qualities of limitation are thrust upon the ethers, projectiles of the carnal mind, that have filled the wide open spaces between the electrons and the nuclei of the atoms with the densities of mankind's carnality. This energy can be sticky as molasses or hard as concrete as it registers in all of the four lower bodies, causing mental recalcitrance, hardness of heart, and a lack of sentitivity to the needs of others, creating a dense mass that prevents the soul from receiving the delicate impartations fron the Holy Spirit. When the Violet Flame is invoked, it loosens the dense substance and passes through and transforms the darkness into Light. The human consciousness is changed into the Divine and the energy that was locked in pockets of mortality is freed to enter the sockets of immortality. Each time a measure of energy is freed, a measure of man ascends to the plane of God awareness. This Flaming Presence causes the very atoms and molecules of your being to 'sing' as they resume normal frequency and are therefore brought into 'pitch' with the keynote of your lifestream, The keynote is the sounding of the chord of your own I AM Presence. By the action of the Violet Flame, you free the energies of your four lower bodies to respond to that chord, moving the microcosm into harmony with the Macrocosm of your I AM Presence and the causal body. The Violet Flame forgives as it frees, consumes as it transmutes, clears the records of past karma thus balancing the debt to life, equalizes the flow of energy between yourself and other lifestreams, and propels you into the arms of the Living God. The Violet Flame flushes out and renews your body of cells, the receptors of your mind, and the globule of your soul, polishing the jewel of consciousness until it glistens in the sunlight, dazzling as a pure molecule of Being offered upon the alter of the Sacred Fire. Violet-Flame angels from Zadkiel's retreat, direct the energies of the flame. It forms coils in the substance of the individual, coils of fire like curly shavings that fall from planed wood. These coils rise and fall, rise and fall, intensifying the action of transmutation. They burst into a wide circle of energy and then return to the center. This is the action-formation of the fires of transmutation, flaming fire moving up and down and in and out; and then following the circle of the cycles of individual karma in the electronic energy belt - a scrubbing action, a boiling action, a bubbling and bouyant energy. Scene by scene, step by step, the angels remove the records from the etheric body, the concepts from the mental body, the emotions from the feeling body, and the scars from the physical body. As ancient records are cleared from the consciousness, there is a release of love-filled energy from the heart and a new freedom of the soul. *

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Muzical Interlude

Nessun Dorma - by Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ghazal 119, by Rumi

i don't need a companion who is nasty sad and sour the one who is like a grave dark depressing and bitter a sweetheart is a mirror a friend a delicious cake it isn't worth spending an hour with anyone else a companion who is in love only with the self has five distinct characters stone hearted unsure of every step lazy and disinterested keeping a poisonous face the more this companion waits around the more bitter everything will get just like a vinegar getting more sour with time enough is said about sour and bitter faces a heart filled with desire for sweetness and tender souls must not waste itself with unsavory matters

American Soldiers Kill More Children in Ramadi

Iraqi doctors and neighbours in the Sunni Arab city of Ramadi accused U.S. troops of killing children in a missile strike on Thursday but the military said no civilians, only eight insurgents, were killed. US, Iraqis differ on civilian casualties in Ramadi * Iraqi doctors and neighbours in the Sunni Arab city of Ramadi accused U.S. troops of killing children in a missile strike on Thursday but the military said no civilians, only eight insurgents, were killed. Local television footage showed the body of a boy lying in the rubble of a house. Hospital and police officials gave death tolls ranging from five to 13, with up to another 15 wounded. Muhannad al-Fahadawi, a doctor at the main hospital, said two girls and a boy aged 8 were among at least 11 people he believed had been killed in the violence. A teenage girl was shown to reporters being treated for wounds in the hospital. The U.S. military said: "Coalition forces killed eight insurgents when they responded to an insurgent attack in central Ramadi... There were no Coalition or civilian casualties." Describing the incident, a statement said: "Marines ... were attacked multiple times with rocket-propelled grenades, medium machinegun fire and small arms fire from a building ..." "Coalition forces responded with small arms fire, heavy machinegun fire, grenades and precision-guided munitions." Disputes over the identities of those killed in U.S. attacks are not uncommon. U.S. commanders say they go out of their way to avoid civilian casualties and accuse rebels of intentionally operating from crowded neighbourhoods. Many Iraqis say U.S. forces do not take enough care to avoid killing civilians. "The American troops struck a house with two missiles in Maysaloon Street, then followed them with a third," said one man at the scene, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal. "They brought the house down on people's heads." "Is this the democracy that Bush wants? This is terrorism," he said, venting popular anger at U.S. President George W. Bush. Ramadi, 110 km (70 miles) west of Baghdad and the capital of the mainly Sunni Arab desert province of Anbar, has seen much rebel activity over the past three years. The U.S. military said American and Iraqi forces killed more than 100 insurgents in Anbar last week. The provincial governor survived a suicide car bomb attack on his motorcade by rebels in central Ramadi on Tuesday that left 10 other people dead. Read more about the "heros" here..

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Rosicrucians- Their Rites and Mysteries, by Hargrave Jennings

[4th ed., 1907] - [first published 1870] CHAPTER THE FOURTH INSUFFICIENCY OF WORLDLY OBJECTS IT is a constant and very plausible charge offered by the general world against the possession of the power of gold-making as claimed by the alchemists, who were the practical branch of the Rosicrucians, that if such supposed power were in their hands, they would infallibly use it, and that quickly enough; for the acquisition of riches and power, say they, is the desire of all men. But this idea proceeds from an ignorance of the character and inclinations of real philosophers, and results from an inveterate prejudice relative to them. Before we judge of these, let us acquire a knowledge of the natural inclinations of very deeply learned men. Philosophers, when they have attained to much knowledge, which wearies them of merely mundane matters, hold that the ordering of men, the following of them about by subservient people, and the continual glitter about them of the fine things of this world, are, after all, but of mean and melancholy account, because life is so brief, and this accidental pre-eminence is very transitory. Splendour, show, and bowing little delight the raised and abstract mind. That circuit of comfort formed by the owning of money and riches is circumscribed by the possessor's own ken. What is outside of this sight may just as well be enjoyed by any other person as by the owner, since all is the thinking of it; only granting that a man has sufficient for his daily wants, letting the 'morrow, indeed, take thought for itself'. One dinner a day, one bed for each night, in the alternations of sun and darkness, one of everything that is agreeable to (or is desirable for) man, is sufficient for any one man. A man’s troubles are increased by the multiplication even of his enjoyments, because he is then beset with anxiety as to their repetition or maintenance. Reduction of things to attend to, and not multiplication, is his policy, because thinking of it is all that can affect him about anything in this world. Plate 4. The Round Table of King Arthur

TheLogofaLibrarian.blogspot.com

On Cuba

(Note: All the links included in this text lead to documents written in Spanish. If you need a translation to English -and the on line translators cannot help you- don´t hesitate to ask me for one).
Check the new sections of the weblog on the right side!! I smoke my "Montecristo" cigar (the brand smoked by Ernesto Guevara, the famous "Che") brought from Cuba by my dear colleague and friend Silvia Natalonia, while I enjoy -along with the delicious taste of this tobacco- the sounds of the CD of Amaury Pérez sent by my unimitable Cuban friend and colleague Rosa Báez, the well-known editor of "Librínsula", the virtual Bulletin of the Cuban National Library "José Martí". A "Cohiba" cigar (the brand smoked by Fidel Castro) was already smoked with Silvia -a half and a half- a couple of hours ago, while we enjoyed some beer, celebrating her travel back from the Caribbean island. Even if I listen again and again a lot of contradictory opinions about Cuba, I wanted to know -at first hand- the opinion of a person who has been travelling through the whole island on hers own account for two weeks, renting a car and moving in an independent way, wandering around, eating where Cubans eat, sleeping where Cubans sleep and sharing their works and problems. My colleague Silvia Fois has also been travelling to these latitudes a month ago. But you can read the results of her journey in her own words, in an interview you can easily access on the Web. Since our professional spaces has been filled with discussions about the "Cuban issue", I wanted to know the truth and the lies about the whole thing. Even if, maybe anesthesiated by the effects of this tasty "Montecristo", I think now that, in the end, nobody can possess the Truth on a subject, but a particular opinion, a partial vision of reality. Anyway, facts are facts. Instead of telling me the details of her Cuban adventure, Silvia (a gorgeus independet thinker herself) had to answer all my questions (sometimes I become a little bit invasive). By this way, I knew that illiteracy rates in Cuba are extremely low (0.7 in youth during 200-2004); that education systems could give jealousy to ours because of its high quality; that the general culture of peasants is not very different from the one of university students (and vice versa, a very important thing...); that health systems are excellent (but we already knew that); that distance education is terribly valuable and that libraries -the so judged libraries- should be an example for the rest of Latin America. Silvia didn´t find a single impediment for travelling wherever she wanted and for doing whatever she wanted (always keeping some "civilized customs", of course...), not even for entering / exiting the country, or for reading, or for participating in the daily life of Cuban people. The impediments the Cuban suffer are the same that our societies suffer (oh, but... you didn´t know that a lot of our citizens have strong impediments for doing normal things in our own countries? Well, check that by asking a homeless to ask for a room in the Sheraton Hotel... You will discover that the "problem" is not just about his/her economic solvency...). My main question was: "What about the problems?". Yeah, yeah, I know, I am an ever-pesimistic man, right? But, well, that´s me. And this was my great doubt. Silvia smiled -she knows me very well- before answering me: "Their problems are the same that our problems". Funny: the answer sounded silly, but, after thinking about it a couple of minutes -while I drank my beer- I found that it wasn´t that silly. Actually, it was revolutionary. Cuban information is spread by means of the 4 estatal TV channels, for example... With this information, people speak about censorship and Government control. But... what country in Latin America (or wherever) could boast of receiving "true, non-filtered, non-manipulated information" through its public/private TV channels or throgh its news services? Which one is the true information? The one we receive from CNN and the international news agencies? I could speak you about Argentinean TV -a funny set of cheap shows, series and gossip-based programs- or about Argentinean news-shows -which hardly show other things but sensationalist events, ignoring sometimes the reality of the rest of the world- but I don´t want to get depressed tonight, specially because Silvia, the beers and this excellent cigar put me in a good mood. My friend told me that, among the open-shelves of the Cuban libraries (yes, open shelves everywhere... Do you have this in all your libraries, colleagues?) she found all the titles she wanted... and even more. She told me that the "second-hand" bookshops offer whatever you can desire (and Silvia is very eclectic in her intellectual tastes), and that libraries strongly support the distance university education. She told me that schools open their doors even for 3 students in the middle of the mountains or the fields... How many Latin American countries could be proud of such a thing? A lot of people is angry with the image of a "eternal and military-dressed dictator". Is that so? But, anyway... how many wolves disguised like sheeps do we have in our Governments? How many dictators disguised like good men we have, caressing people with a woolen hand and hiting them with a lead hand, like our mythical Argentinean goblins? It´s funny: a lot of people in this big continent is angry with the image of the Bolivian president, a normal guy always dressing with a common jacket and a cheap skirt, like a common peasant, even in "important" international official acts. "This is not a president, man !!!" I´ve listened. Is it necessary to dress in a good style and to keep a populist discourse, like the ones of the Argentinean or the Chilean presidents, just for being accepted in an international basis, just for becoming "good rulers"? (You should know that I am speaking about presidents who keep a left-wing discourse but who act folowing a right-wing way. In Chile, for example, Mapuche indigenous peasants are in jail because they are claiming fairly for the right to own their own lands). Is it necessary to kiss the ring of the USA president and of the Global Empire for becoming good, acceptable nations? It seems so. It seems that, in this issue, is happening something similar to what happens in our societies: if you´re faithful to yourself (even if this means to be different of the rest of the people), you´re discredited, and this includes an eternal condemn. It´s the same that happens with us, anarchists: we´re condemned as beasts of hell because we say and we do what everybody think but don´t say or do because "it´s not correct" or because "they´re scared". They are the same that, chatting in a café, will agree fully with us and, later, the ones who raise their accussing finger, labelling us a pariah and misfit people. They´re also the same that agree with us but close their mouths. Maybe the same thing is going on in Cuba. It´s the only country I know that is resisting the yoke of the Empire, something that this Empire has done with us long time ago. Do we condemn Cubans because we´re jealous? Do we condemn them because they´re acting in a different way, and different things always bother human beings? Do we condemn them because we don´t know anything about them, and we speak from our own ignorance? Silvia told me that the islander population who is "disconform" with Castro´s politics include people ranging from 30 to 50 years old. Old and young people don´t have doubt about their way of life. But the former have been deeply influenced by the waves of a consumist and globalized world. And these temptations are difficult to resist. It happens the same in some indigeous peoples, living quietly for centuries until the first "innovator white man" arrives with candies for destroying the children´s teeth. A present from "civilization". After this, children will want more candies, even if they will lost all their teeth. Attraction is very strong and the consequences are never measured or previewed. Inside these communities, they are taught (by white "educators", sometimes wearing a cross around their neck) that it´s very civilized to wear cheap shorts and T-shirts, and that wearing nothing but skin is "uncivilized, worthless, sinful and immoral". The identity and the welfare of these peoples vanish like smoke, and the whole community try to become a part of the world society... just for becoming another one of the infinite layers of slaves who try to accept a set of values that don´t even believe or understand. The parallelism with our own situation -even if my examples are exagerated- seems obvious. Maybe Cubans know this, and even if for a lot of them temptation is very strong, some of them still "think" (a forgotten sport in our societies) and recognize where are the fangs of the jackal. You, Latin Amerians, who are reading me... Can we say, honestly, that we live well, that our streets are safe after midnight (or even during the day), that we are educated as we deserve, that our governors are clean and loyals with us and that they represent us, that our society doesn´t oppress us and doesn´t push us to "pursue a carrot" forever, following a "success" that we never reach, and a way of life that never makes us happy (even if we believe it)? Can we say thay we have the information we deserve, that the Governments are afraid of their people -and that people is not afraid of their Governments-, that we can buy in our bookshops all the books we want, that we enjoy a wide, intelligent and plural cultural offer, that familiar violence doesn´t exist or is controlled, that Police doesn´t repress us, that we can struggle freely for fair causes without problems? Can we say, with a hand on our hearts, that, in our countries, it doesn´t exist political corruption? That it doesn´t exist discrimination, racism, poverty, hunger, misery and the oblivion of those who have nothing in order to favour those who have a lot? Can we say, sincerely speaking, that in our countries we don´t have richs and poors, that we don´t murders and thieves (even those well protected by the same laws they swore to keep and respect?). Can we? Can you say it, international colleagues who also read these pages? Can you, truly? Answer this question, and then, after assimilating the answer (it will be painful, I grant it), you can decide if you can raise your finger against Cuba. Because, as a Nazarene (a great guy, who surely would share some rhums with me if he were alive now) said centuries ago: "Anyone of you who is without sin can throw the first stone". One of the Great Books (there are several of them) says also... "And why do you see the chaff of straw in your brother’s eye and do not consider the log beam in your own eye?" (Matthew, 7:3, I think, even if I am not a Christian).
Do we remember this? What we should remember is that Cuba is not Fidel Castro. Cuba is a people, the Cubans, who live in the same way we do, who laugh and sing (in a marvellous way) like we do. And who struggle because they dont´want to become another province of the Empire, in a territory where the "owners of the world" can do whatever they want, wherever they want (something they do in all our nations, if you still don´t know it...). The struggle of Cubans is the same of the Venezuelans and Bolivians. They ask for respect, self-determination, freedom... They struggle in their own way, but they struggle. Do we do it? Do we fight for these goals? Or are we just unarmed and passive spectators of our social and political lives, managed by others according to their own interests? Cuba is the land of Cubans. Our countries, colleagues... are they our lands? Half of Argentinean Patagonia belongs to foreigners who hardly know what they have there, and who forbid us to visit some of our lakes (lakes, according Argentinean laws, are national property), and who carry away from our country the profits extracted from "their" lands, using our people as slave-workers. What do we do about this? Do we respect our country? Are we a free and sovereign nation? Western Formosa province (NE Argentina) has been bought by an Australian company (3.5 dollars the square mile) for cutting the rain-forest and selling the precious, expensive woods to rich Asians. These lands belonged to indigenous peoples (wichi, nivakle, yofwaja). These communities are Argentineans, these lands are Argentineans... Do we do something about this? Or maybe we are allowing others to steal us while we are sat in front of our TV sets, anesthesiating ourselves with our daily dirt? How many similar cases are there in Latin America, in the rest of the world? Can we raise our hands against a people who still fight, who still believe -in despite of the controversial opinions, a good sign of intellectual health usually silenced in other countries-, who still defend themselves against a system that has demonstrated to be totally unfair here and everywhere? My cigar is finished. What a pity: its taste was marvelous. While I look its ashes, I remember some discourses I have read in the Latin American LIS listservs, written by Robert Kent. Some of his ideas are supported by National Librarians Associations from Poland and Lithuania, which have signed claims (even for being addressed to IFLA) questioning the situation of censorship and libraries in Cuba... (Here, I want to stop for remarking that, if an International Organization -representing the librarians in the world- makes a document claiming / "condemning" censorship in Cuba (does it exist, actually?), it is like if every librarian is condemning this situation. Can we? Do we know what we are condemning? Just think about it...). Has Mr. Kent´s hatred a reason? If yes... is this a personal reason? Maybe Mr. Kent couldn´t get cheap sex, rhum and beaches in Cuba, as his compatriots did in older times? And the Associations? Do they know what they´re speaking about, or are they supporting another person´s opinion without having a direct, clear idea, or without listening another thoughts? Has Mr. Kent thought about the consequences of what they are asking for? Has Mr. Kent (and his friends) thought about the oppressions suffered in his own country due to the Patriotic Act, or to the racism felt in their streets? Has Mr. Kent thought about the murders rates in Minneapolis (which surprise even their Canadian neighbours), or about USA war systems, or about the blood storms his nation unleash daily all over the world? Has Mr. Kent checked his own garden before criticizing, judging and condemning the others´? Has he seen the socio-political problems that his nation and its system provocates in the so called "third world" before criticizing the "sadness" that Castro provocates with his "dictatorship"? Has Mr. Kent listened the voices of thousand of North American librarians, supporting Cuban libraries and system, and strongly cliaiming -with no results- against the violations to privacy and the censorship organized and hidden by the Bush administration? If we want to help Cubans in a real, practical way, let´s write to them, let´s ask them what they need, let´s support their work, let´s listen them. With respect, with solidarity. That´s the best way. (Those who are curious about Mr. Kent ideas can check his website. Cubans, don´t try it: Kent has blocked the access to his website from Cuba. Can anyone explain this to me? If you need the contents, I´ll send them to you by e-mail). Freedom of expression must be granted. Sometimes, we have to read this kind of hatred speeches. So, I guess we´ll go on reading these opinions condemning Cuba and its political regime (but remember that these opinions include Cuban people, too). The point, here, is not focused in what we read (everyone is free for writing / reading whatever they want) but in what we believe. These opinions should work for awakening us, for making us doubt, for being revolutions of our calm inner seas. They should work for helping us to build our own opinion. They must work for push us to know, to check, to create our own personality. O-w-n (it means "not borrowed, not imposed, not acquired from other person"). They must help as a starter for exercizing our criticism. I know, it´s a tiring exercise: sometimes it´s easier to take as ours the first opinion we listen without even evaluate it. But the first option is healthier.
And, believe me, it´s not so difficult. I exercised it -along witrh my invasive curiosity- tonight, with a couple of beers and a lovely friend, while I enjoyed the taste of a "Cohiba" cigar that I´ll never forget. And while Silvia told me about her cry when she visited Playa Girón....
posted by Edgardo Civallero at 5:55 PM

“Sounds of Healing", Interview with Dr. Mitchell Gaynor

Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, Director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the Strang-Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in New York. Author NT: How did you discover Tibetan “singing” bowls and their usefulness in healing? Gaynor: Well, I took care of a Tibetan monk in 1991. I’m a cancer specialist and also a hematologist and I had been working with guided imagery and meditation with my patients since the mid-1980’s. I was actually asked to see this Tibetan monk at Cornell Medical Center for a routine medical problem which was anemia. But he was suffering from a very severe disease that was destroying his heart muscle called cardiomyopathy. I talked with him about what we could do for his anemia and what diagnostic work-up we’d do. I always talk with my patients on an in-depth level about what’s going on in their lives and I noticed a tremendous sense of sadness and resignation in his eyes. So I asked him to tell me about his life and he recalled a time when he was 3-years old and was living as a Tibetan refugee in India. His parents were very poor and could no longer afford to feed him and his brother, so they had to take them to an orphanage run by Tibetan Buddhist monks. He recalled watching his parents walk away; he reached out through the fence and was asking them not to leave and you could really feel his sense of anguish. I didn’t think it was any coincidence that on an emotional level he had a broken heart and on a physical level he was suffering, literally, from a broken heart. He left the hospital about 2 weeks later and he gave me as a gift a metal Tibetan singing bowl. I had never heard one before. I didn’t even know they existed. But I was taken with the tones and the over-tones and I could literally feel them going through every cell in my body. I could not only hear it with my ears, but I felt it through-out my body. So, I figured that would be an excellent thing for patients who were dealing with serious illnesses. I started working with the bowls with my patients and the results were phenomenal. People who were dealing with a lot of fear and a lot of worry were able to go into their own inner harmony. That’s something all of us have, but most of us don’t know exists. That’s a harmony deep inside of us that when we learn to live from that and create from that...everything in our life begins to transform. I’ve seen it work with marital problems, job related stress or illness. Everything begins to look completely different. Sound effects us in so many ways. Sound effects us on a physiological level. The scientist in me wanted to understand how people were having such miraculous turnarounds in their whole perspective about life! People who were living in fear every day were suddenly able to really live in the moment. That’s when I started looking into studies on how sound can heal and transform. I found out Gregorian chants or classical music can change our brain waves to alpha and theta waves that are very relaxed. Sound can change our immune function. After either chanting or listening to certain forms of music, your Interluken-1 level, an index of your immune system, goes up between 12 and a half and 15 percent. Not only that, about 20 minutes after listening to this meditative type music, your immunoglobin levels in your blood are significantly increased. There’s no part of our body not effected. Even our heart rate and blood pressure are lowered with certain forms of music. So, it effects not only our soul and our spirit, but it effects us on literally a cellular and sub-cellular level. ...

Declassified FBI Files Reveal Years of Surveillance of Peaceful Demonstrations by FBI's Counterterrorism Division

ACLU and School of the Americas Watch filed for documents; much information blacked out, some pages not released Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia today released new evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting counterterrorism investigations into School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch), a faith- and conscience-based human rights group. SOA Watch, which organizes yearly nonviolent demonstrations calling for the closure of the School of the Americas, a controversial training school for Latin American soldiers located at Fort Benning, charges that the files demonstrate a clear attempt to stifle political opposition. “We gather yearly to remember those killed by graduates of this school, and to nonviolently call for a change in U.S. policy towards Latin America,” said Reverend Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest and founder of SOA Watch. “It’s clear that this surveillance is politically motivated, and it’s a disgrace that Instead of investigating any of the heinous crimes of graduates of the School of the Americas, our government is using its resources and time to monitor peaceful demonstrators, people who are working for true democracy in this country.” In the released documents, the FBI noted that "The event has grown dramatically over the past several years." The Bureau monitored the media attention that the annual November vigil and the trials of people arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience received, and agents noted which court tactics had chilling effects on people’s decisions to participate in civil disobedience. The documents released today show that after 2001, FBI surveillance of the demonstrations became “priority” and subject to “counterterrorism” monitoring –while repeatedly emphasizing that the protests were peaceful. An October 2003 memo even states that “[t]he leaders of the SOA Watch have taken strides to impart upon the protest participants that the protest should be a peaceful event.” “Clearly the FBI knew it was spying on a peaceful demonstration, activity protected by the First Amendment,” said Gerry Weber, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Georgia. “That vital protection includes those who express controversial beliefs.” The documents come to the ACLU as a result of a national campaign to expose domestic spying by the FBI and other government agencies. The ACLU has filed Freedom of Information Act requests in 20 states on behalf of more than 150 organizations and individuals. In response to these requests, the government has released documents that reveal monitoring and infiltration by the FBI and local law enforcement, targeting political, environmental and anti-war groups. The documents released today are available on the SOA Watch website at http://www.soaw.org/new/docs/SOAWFBIFiles.pdf, and more information, including a profile of Father Roy Bourgeois, is available online at http://www.aclu.org/spyfiles.

Corinne's Last Love Song, by Jane Francesca Lady Wilde ("Speranza", Oscar Wilde's mother)

I HOW beautiful, how beautiful you streamed upon my sight, In glory and in grandeur, as a gorgeous sunset-light! How softly, soul-subduing, fell your words upon mine ear, Like low aerial music when some angel hovers near! What tremulous, faint ecstasy to clasp your hand in mine, Till the darkness fell upon me of a glory too divine! The air around grew languid with our intermingled breath, And in your beauty's shadow I sank motionless as death. I saw you not, I heard not, for a mist was on my brain-- I only felt that life could give no joy like that again. II And this was Love, I knew it not, but blindly floated on, And now I'm on the ocean waste, dark, desolate, alone; The waves are raging round me--I'm reckless where they guide; No hope is left to right me, no strength to stem the tide. As a leaf along the torrent, a cloud across the sky, As dust upon the whirlwind, so my life is drifting by. The dream that drank the meteor's light-- the form from Heav'n has flown-- The vision and the glory, they are passing-- they are gone. Oh! love is frantic agony, and life one throb of pain; Yet I would bear its darkest woes to dream that dream again. *

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thanks 4 Tha Vizual


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

After Press Dinner, the Blogosphere Is Alive With the Sound of Colbert Chatter

By JACQUES STEINBERG Mark Smith, a reporter for The Associated Press who is president of the White House Correspondents' Association, acknowledges that he had not seen much of Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central before he booked him as the main entertainment for the association's annual black-tie dinner on Saturday night. But he says he knew enough about Mr. Colbert — "He not only skewers politicians, he skewers those of us in the media" — to expect that he would cause some good-natured discomfort among the 2,600 guests, many of them politicians and reporters. What Mr. Smith did not anticipate, he said, was that Mr. Colbert's nearly 20-minute address would become one of the most hotly debated topics in the politically charged blogosphere. Mr. Colbert delivered his remarks in character as the Bill O'Reillyesque commentator he plays on "The Colbert Report," although this time his principal foil, President Bush, was just a few feet away. "There was nothing he said where I would have leapt up to say, 'Stop,' " said Mr. Smith, who introduced Mr. Colbert and sat near him on the dais. "I thought he was very funny," Mr. Smith added, though there was hardly consensus on that point yesterday. At issue was a heavily nuanced, often ironic performance by Mr. Colbert, who got in many licks at the president — on the invasion of Iraq, on the administration's penchant for secrecy, on domestic eavesdropping — with lines that sounded supportive of Mr. Bush but were quickly revealed to be anything but. And all this after Mr. Colbert tried, at the outset, to soften up the president by mocking his intelligence, saying that he and Mr. Bush were "not so different," by which he meant, he explained, "we're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol." "Now I know there's some polls out there saying this man has a 32-percent approval rating," Mr. Colbert said a few moments later. "But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking 'in reality.' And reality has a well-known liberal bias." That line got a relatively warm laugh, but many others were met with near silence. In one such instance, he criticized reporters for likening Mr. Bush's recent staff changes to "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." "This administration is not sinking," Mr. Colbert said; "this administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg." In an online survey begun yesterday, the snarky Web site Gawker sought to boil down the matter to its essence by asking readers to vote on whether they thought Mr. Colbert's performance, broadcast live on C-Span and since then widely available on the Internet, was "one of the most patriotic acts I've witnessed of any individual" or "not really that funny." Meanwhile, on its Web site, the trade journal Editor & Publisher posted more than a dozen letters from readers under a headline that reflected the broad range of electronic opinion: "Colbert Offensive, Colbert Mediocre, Colbert a Hero, Colbert Vicious, Colbert Brave." Mr. Colbert's employer, Comedy Central, said it had received nearly 2,000 e-mail messages by Monday morning — a response, it said, rivaled only by the contentious appearance nearly two years ago of Jon Stewart, Mr. Colbert's comedy patron, on the now-defunct CNN shout-fest "Crossfire." Others chided the so-called mainstream media, including The New York Times, which ignored Mr. Colbert's remarks while writing about the opening act, a self-deprecating bit Mr. Bush did with a Bush impersonator. Some, though, saw nothing more sinister in the silence of news organizations than a decision to ignore a routine that, to them, just was not funny. "I'm a big Stephen Colbert fan, a huge Bush detractor, and I think the White House press corps has been out to lunch for much of the last five years," Noam Scheiber wrote by way of introduction on the New Republic's Web site. But a few lines later he said: "I laughed out loud maybe twice during Colbert's entire 20-odd minute routine. Colbert's problem, blogosphere conspiracy theories notwithstanding, is that he just wasn't very entertaining." In addition to the challenge of coming after the president and his doppelgänger, Mr. Colbert struggled to find common comedic ground in a room that included politicians across the ideological spectrum, as well as reporters and Hollywood stars. In that sense, he was in good company: many of his recent predecessors — who have included Cedric the Entertainer, Jay Leno, Mr. Stewart, Ray Romano and Al Franken — were knocked, at least in some quarters, for falling flat. "It's very, very tricky," Mr. Franken, a Democrat who played the dinner twice during the Clinton years but was not there on Saturday, said in an interview. "I thought that what Stephen did was very admirable." Mary Matalin, a Republican who has served the Bush White House as assistant to the president and counselor to the vice president, had a different take. "This was predictable, Bush-bashing kind of humor," Ms. Matalin, who was there, said in an interview. Of Mr. Colbert, she said, "Because he is who he is, and everyone likes him, I think this room thought he was going to be more sophisticated and creative." Mr. Colbert declined through a "Colbert Report" spokeswoman to comment yesterday. Similarly, another Colbert target, Mr. Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, said he had no comment, including on reports that Mr. Bush had appeared irritated by the end of Mr. Colbert's speech. "We'll let others be the entertainment critics," Mr. McClellan said by phone from the White House. "I know better than to insert myself into that one."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Muzical Interlude (courtesy of "NEWS CONSUMER")

Stevie Wonder - Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing * The worries that are the burden of which the privileged person makes an excuse in dealing with the oppressed person are in fact the worries about preserving his privileged condition. ~Franz Kafka~ *

Monday, May 01, 2006

~C~ C~ C~

“As we think in our hearts, so we are.” ~ Proverbs, 23:7

Dance like no one is watching.

Sing like no one is listening.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Live like Heaven starts tomorrow. * [quote courtesy of above Fishgrease's comode] ********************************************************************************************

 . . . CCC . . .

According to Seth, we are given the gift of the gods, the gift of
creativity. He says there is only one rule of physical existence, and that
is the fact that we create our individual realities. Events don't happen to
us; we cause them by what we expect to see in our world, and our lives.

Seth is not talking about us creating only a small selection of the events
we encounter; he's talking about us generating the whole of our existence,
including the problems we face, the successes we experience, the environment
we live in, the material objects in our possession, the condition of our
bodies. Seth is talking very literally when he says we create it all.

Our thoughts have creative power and they, combined with emotion, desire and
intent form what becomes known as our objectified world. This is an
important statement indeed, because once it's understood, we will no longer
believe in fate, circumstance, luck, conditions outside of our control. We
will know their true genesis, and by knowing that, we'll be free to make the
changes we deem fit and necessary because we will know the nature of
physical reality and how we can consciously maneuver within it by choice.


Worker-to-Worker Solidarity Committee to AFL-CIO: Cut All Ties with NED

by Kim Scipes On March 6th, over 50 union members from several unions and activist allies picketed the headquarters of the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC. This was to demand that the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center immediately break off all ties with the misnamed National Endowment for Democracy or NED. The NED is a leading component of the US Government's efforts to maintain the US Empire, and the Solidarity Center is one of the NED's four "core institutes," along with the international wing of the Republican Party, the international wing of the Democratic Party, and the international wing of the US Chamber of Commerce. Involvement with the NED is one of the AFL-CIO national leaders' efforts to use the name of American workers to undercut workers' efforts around the world, while never informing rank and file members (and many of our leaders) of such practices. This demonstration was the latest development in a series of actions that have placed increasing pressure on the AFL-CIO's national-level foreign policy leadership. Labor activists have been working for years to transform the AFL-CIO's foreign policy program from serving as "labor imperialism" to becoming a force for genuine international labor solidarity. To date, the AFL-CIO foreign policy leadership has refused to make such a change. Changes from previous activities that were charged as being "labor imperialism" appeared to have been made upon John Sweeney's assumption of the Presidency in October 1995. However, documented Solidarity Center activities in Venezuela established conclusively that the Solidarity Center was involved in bringing together its long-time right wing ally, the CTV (Workers Confederation of Venezuela), with the national business confederation, FEDECAMARAS, just prior to the attempted coup against democratically-elected President Hugo Chavez in April 2002: CTV and FEDECAMARAS leaders played prominent roles in the coup attempt. [This was a process that was very similar to AIFLD's (American Institute for Free Labor Development-the AFL-CIO's then-Latin American affiliate) operations in Chile in 1972-73, just before the coup against democratically-elected President Salvador Allende that led to the death of thousands and the establishment of the Pinochet Dictatorship.] Besides copies of reports of activities to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) about their activities in Venezuela, researchers found that the NED had provided the Solidarity Center with over $700,000 between 1997 and 2002 for its work in Venezuela. (See www.labornotes.org/archives/2004/04/articles/e.html .) A resolution was passed unanimously by the 2.4 million member California AFL-CIO in July 2004 in its State Convention that condemned the AFL-CIO foreign policy program. Its "Build Unity and Trust with Workers Worldwide" resolution was forwarded to the AFL-CIO for the 2005 National Convention in Chicago. (See www.uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=6394 .) A detailed discussion of the AFL-CIO foreign policy program under Sweeney was published in May 2005. It concluded, "In short, there are good reasons to believe that under AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, labor's foreign policy has reverted back to 'traditional' labor imperialism" (www.monthlyreview.org/0505scipes.htm .) Following that, an in-depth report concerning the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its work in Venezuela was published in July 2005. This article also explained the Solidarity Center's relationship with the NED. (See www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?sectionID=19&itemID=8268 .) However, AFL-CIO national-level leadership worked to ensure that the California AFL-CIO's "Build Unity and Trust" resolution would not reach the convention floor unimpeded. (See www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?sectionID=19&itemID=8150 .) Over 100 union members and our allies-a joint project of the Latin American Solidarity Committee and its Chicago affiliate, Organizing Group to Say No to the NED-demonstrated at Chicago's Navy Pier on the hottest day of the year, urging support for "Build Unity and Trust," and then marched over to the Sheraton Hotel, which was the headquarters for the Convention. Needless to say, the demonstration was ignored by AFL-CIO leaders. And then, on the Convention floor, Sweeney ally Gerald McEntee of AFSCME, refused to let speakers support the California resolution (www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?sectionID=19&itemID=8421 .) Subsequently, Jeb Sprague has reported that the Solidarity Center had been operating in Haiti. They had passed on almost $100,000 to Batay Ouvriye Labor Center, an organization that had not opposed the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Sprague, however, had not claimed that Batay had been involved in the coup, which had been led by the United States, France and Canada. (See http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/scipes250106.html .) The Washington demonstration on March 6 was a continuation of a campaign to force the Solidarity Center to break all ties with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Out of the National Solidarity Conference with Venezuela that took place in DC on March 4-5, union members and activists had launched the Worker-to-Worker Solidarity Committee, to mobilize support within AFL-CIO affiliated unions to break all ties with the reactionary NED. The Worker-to-Worker Solidarity Committee initiated a demonstration in front of the National Endowment for Democracy offices on 15th Street. Interestingly, despite several contacts, the Washington Post refused to cover the demonstration, even though the NED offices are literally just across the street. A very spirited rally was held for over an hour on March 6th. However, a suggestion was made that we should go to "another end of the funding pipeline," and that was when the demonstration moved about four blocks to the AFL-CIO headquarters. Marchers were significantly present, and with a bullhorn, were able to adequately convey their demands that the AFL-CIO cut all ties with the NED. AFL-CIO leaders were said to be "outraged," and apparently tried to get one participant fired from his union staffer job in an affiliated union, although to no avail. Needless to say, no AFL-CIO or Solidarity Center leader spoke to the protestors, although they had a building guard threaten a protestor carrying a Venezuelan flag who had stepped close to the building. Protestors took down their picket line after about 40 minutes of loud chanting and speeches. There will be a special meeting sponsored by the Worker-to-Worker Solidarity Committee on Saturday evening at this year's Labor Notes convention, May 5-7, 2006, in Dearborn, MI-see www.labornotes.org . Under the title, "International Labor Solidarity or Labor Imperialism?," members will briefly share developments with others present and seek to expand participation in the Committee, as the next step in developing the campaign to end all AFL-CIO connections with the NED. More information can be obtained beforehand from the Worker-to-Worker Solidarity Committee at workertoworker@gmail.com . A web site is in the process of being developed to enhance communication, and hopefully, its launching will be announced at the meeting.

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