Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The evidence is now overwhelming. The United States government has facilitated the theft of trillions of dollars of national wealth and 99% of the US population no longer has political representation.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Doubtful information on Zapatistas published in La Reforma
La Reforma, one of Mexico’s leading right wing newspapers closely linked to the Calderon administration, published a series of articles this weekend on the Zapatistas, supposedly based on an 83-page account provided by a former leader in the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). The articles included a photo of a thirty-something, bearded man who the informer claimed was Subcomandante Marcos. The articles also included the military structure of the EZLN, their financial sources, cellular telephone numbers of commanders, and a list of weapons.
From the beginning, the articles rang false. Why would a deserter from the EZLN command structure write an 83 page report and then turn it over to a newspaper? Even the language in the report sounds fabricated. It includes lines like, “The insurgents, known as guerrillas, can be found in the mountains and have high caliber weapons” (Los insurgentes, conocidos como guerrilleros, se encuentran en la montaña y portan armas largas de altos calibers).
The report claims the Juntas de Buen Gobierno receive substantial donations from Pais Vasco, though even the deserter is dubious in his assertions: “Foreign visitors, Italians and people from Pais Vasco supposedly delivered 150,000 Euros to the Autonomous Consejos. In recent days there are commentaries that they delivered 750,000 and later 350,000 Euros to the Junta de Buen Gobierno en La Garucha, where the most important encampment of the EZLN is established.” The report claims this is evidence of relations between the EZLN and the ETA, an organization that utilizes terrorism in its struggle for a homeland, despite the fact that the vast majority of residents of Pais Vasco reject the ETA’s violent tactics. Several years ago the Zapatistas offered to act as intermediaries between the ETA and the Spanish government, but the ETA rejected the offer out of hand, demanding that Marcos mind his own business. In any case, the claims sound ludicrous. Who could imagine a delivery of over a million Euros, presumably in cash, to a remote indigenous community in Chiapas?
The report appears to be planted by federal authorities, with several possible goals in mind. First, nearly everyone in Mexico is expecting “something” to happen in 2010, the centennial of the Revolution and the bi-centennial of Independence, under the leadership of the Zapatistas. The Calderon administration may be trying to deflate any new political initiative before it gets going. Second, Calderon may be trying to blur the differences between the EZLN, an army, and the Juntas de Buen Gobierno, civilian authorities. Over the years, the Zapatistas have carefully constructed a distinction between the two entities, in part to protect civilians from the kinds of attacks launched by the army and air force on indigenous communities during the first days of 1994. Third, Calderon may be laying the groundwork for expelling foreign supporters of the civilian Zapatista movement who relate directly with the Juntas de Buen Gobierno. The federal government may even be planning a replay of the 2007-2008 expulsions of foreign human rights observers, leaving hundreds of indigenous communities isolated from the world’s eyes and ears. Fourth, Calderon may be laying the groundwork for increased paramilitary attacks against Zapatista communities. Paramilitary activity has increased dramatically this year, with dozens of attacks against Zapatista communities or groups aligned with the Otra Campana by Opdicc and several right wing religious groups aligned with the Chiapas State government, police and local army troops. Fifth, this may be an effort to discredit a movement that has a great deal of moral authority throughout Mexico by linking the Zapatistas with a terrorist organization. Right wing politicians led by the PAN played their expected role in the unfolding drama by demanding an investigation of ETA-Zapatista links. And finally, the Calderon administration may be trying to draw attention away from its failed “war on drugs.” With dozens of assassinations every day, particularly along the northern border, this may be an effort to displace the attention of an increasingly restive public.
It is noteworthy that at least some major Mexican newspapers, including La Jornada, have ignored the reports in La Reforma, apparently finding the claims so dubious as to not be newsworthy.
The Mexico Solidarity Network sees an ominous, if ham-handed, warning in the Reforma articles. Any intelligent reader can see that the information is based on hearsay and rumor, the kind of “evidence” that historically has the fingerprints of federal intelligence agencies. Whatever the quality of the information, the fact that it was published in one of Mexico’s most widely distributed papers and picked up by media around the world with little skepticism leads us to believe that the Calderon administration may be planning something dramatic.
Monday, March 29, 2010
The golden calf of public health was smashed in this recent flu
season as many in the United States outright rejected the H1N1 vaccine.
Pharmaceutical companies are now holding the bag, as millions of doses
of the vaccine are rotting on shelves or being discarded as hazardous
waste. Or are they? The manufacturer may find it more cost effective to
dump them into the arms of our public school systems.
would revolt if they knew that the pharmaceutical industry, the
Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control
have allocated millions of dollars in funding to establish vaccine
clinics in the public schools. Pumping children with experimental
vaccines in public school is about to be pursued as a matter of policy.
Public Schools the Target
Recently, a news article (http://www.denverpost.com/commented...) in the
Denver Post highlighted two grants issued by the Centers for Disease
Control totaling $1.6 million dollars to vaccinate students attending
Denver Public Schools (http://communications.dpsk12.org/an...).
grant (http://communications.dpsk12.org/an...) funds an
effort to establish a sustainable school-based vaccination program
utilizing the yearly influenza and experimental H1N1 vaccine. The hope
is to create a partnership between public health (Denver Health), school
personnel (Denver Public Schools), and an entity (Kaiser Permanente)
that would bill third party payers.
The second grant (http://www.cdc.gov/od/pgo/funding/I...)
provides cash for vaccinating children with the newly approved
diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap), meningococcal
conjugate vaccine (MCV4), and human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV). The
new vaccines for adolescents are among the most expensive vaccines (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/program...) recommended
today for any age group.
Lead investigator of Denver In-School
Immunization Project, Dr. Judith Shlay, of Denver Health, readily admits
that if all goes well, plans are in place to implement school-base
vaccine clinics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHji... ) nation-wide
(a high level overview of this plan (http://www.nasbhc.org/site/c.jsJPKW...) was
presented to the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care by Dr.
School Based Health Clinics As the Conduit
Denver In-School Immunization Project (http://denverhealth.org/portal/Serv...) has long
been in the works. It was paved in the late 1970s and early 1980s by
incrementally creating School-Based Health Clinics (SCHC). In 1978, The
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a non-profit organization funded
by the Pharmaceutical Company, Johnson and Johnson (http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/d...),
contributed $2.3 million dollars to the state of Colorado, (http://www.rwjf.org/reports/grr/032...)
making SBHCs a reality.
Illnesses such as ADD/ADHD, Cervical
Cancer, diabetes, asthma, obesity, and learning disabilities were of
little consequence in the '70s. However, these disabling syndromes and
the medications aimed at treating them have all reached epidemic
proportions and astronomically profitable sales.
In the past,
parents have discovered challenging a school-based medical model can be
extremely dangerous. In September, 2000, Ms. Patti Johnson, a former
Colorado State education board member, testified before Federal Congress
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). In the 1990s, the
much-hyped drug, Ritalin, was maneuvered into public schools to address
the growing epidemic of hyperactivity. Mrs. Johnson testimony was
prophetic and foreshadowed a future scenario where parents could be
charged with medical neglect if they refused to medicate their child per
the school's request.
Vaccines for All School Children is
If School Based Health Clinics are being used as the
conduit to vaccinate children, the federally-funded Vaccines For
Children (VFC) (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/program...) program and
third party insurance coverage provide the finances. According to the
grant approved by the CDC, the VFC program would provide "free" vaccines
to an estimated forty percent of children in the United States who are
not covered by third party insurance plans.
"The goal is for
this (Denver In-School Immunization Project) to be a sustainable
program that can immunize all children in the schools regardless of
their insurance. And we need to see at the end of the day, when all
the dust settles at the end of this school year, whether the amount that
was reimbursed for all these different insurance companies, adds up to
the amount of time and effort it took to actually have the clinic."
Dr. Matthew Daley
Evaluator of the Denver
In-School Immunization Project
February 17th, 2010
into context, the implications of the Denver In-School Immunization
Project are enormous. We are speaking of a captured market for vaccine
manufacturers (guaranteed purchase of vaccines), insurance companies
(guaranteed rise in premiums), and government funding (VFC) all footed
by taxpayer dollars. The total price per vaccinated adolescent in the
private sector is approximately $500 (http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/au...). That's a
lot of cash.
What Does Pharma Know?
Dr. Matthew Daley is
very aware that a paltry 1/3rd of adolescents receive their yearly
influenza vaccine, for example. In a semi-recent presentation, (http://www.preventinfluenza.org/NIV...) Dr. Daley
shows obtaining parental consent is a barrier to mass vaccination in a
school setting. Furthermore, the presentation suggests improved
financial incentives for providing influenza vaccinations. Dr. Daley
must be sharing his notes with RAND Corporation because it is almost the
exact message RAND pitched to the pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi Pasteur.
2007, a study performed by RAND Corporation, funded by Sanofi Pasteur,
investigated the most efficient way to vaccinate (http://www.rand.org/pubs/documented...) low-income
adolescents. Nicole Lurie,(http://www.opensecrets.org/revolvin...) one authors
of the white paper, is now an adviser to Kathleen Sebelius, the
Secretary of Human Health Services (HHS). Mrs. Lurie has a long history
of traversing the revolving door between private industry, government
duties, and academic appointments (there is no difference from the
former head of the CDC, Julie Gerberding, (http://vactruth.com/2010/01/04/juli...) becoming
President of Merck Pharmaceuticals Vaccine Division).
report identifies barriers that would obstruct "alternative vaccination
campaigns," otherwise known as "in-school vaccination programs." The
list of legal issues includes parental consent laws, absence of a
reliable medical home (where an adolescent receives medical treatment
such as a doctor's office), and access to vaccine registration
That's right, mom and dad. Your current ability to
refuse vaccines, which is protected by most state laws, is considered a
barrier to Pharmaceutical Interests!
*As a side note, many
states are taking steps to move parents out of the way and allow public
officials the right to vaccinate children, without parental consent. By
example, legislation is being considered in New York that would give
absolute authority to health professionals to vaccinate children under
18 years old without the parental consent. Another bill in New York (http://vactruth.com/2010/02/12/new-...) seeks to
mandate the controversial HPV vaccine (Gardasil) for school entry.
Public Relations at the foreground, The RAND paper further recommends
that Sanofi Pasteur create "Vaccine Champions" or "Registration
Champions." Vaccine champions are "ardent supporters of a cause … They
can bring about change by educating those around them and spurring
others into action through local events, meetings, or publications."
Coincidentally, non-profit organizations such as The Immunization
Partnership are following lockstep with the RAND Corporation's
group-think. It also has "Immunization Champions." (http://www.immunizeusa.org/iz-champ...)
If vaccines are mandated for public school attendance, and most
likely they will be, you can bet that it won't matter whether the
vaccine is experimental or not. With rising awareness of the chronic
effects of mass vaccination, public skepticism and outcries will likely
be countered with fear mongering (http://www.scribd.com/doc/19212191/...)
by fanatical vaccine advocates and lobbying groups funded by Big Pharma
interests. The only real way to protect the safety of our children is
to fiercely safeguard state exemption laws that uphold parents' freedom
to choose whether to vaccinate or not.
Yet, by blending society's
Federal Educational Framework with a superficial medical model, vaccine
proponents have a road map to overcome any damaging future resistance
to experimental vaccines. Could it be any clearer that if left
unchecked, the pharmaceutical industrial complex soon will be calling
the shots instead of parents?
About the author: Jeffry
John Aufderheide is the father of a child injured as a result of
vaccination. As editor of the website www.vactruth.com he promotes well-educated
pediatricians, informed consent, and full disclosure and accountability
of adverse reactions to vaccines.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
From the wonderful blog: God Spotting, by Jenine
Terrifying turtles is not cool, I don't care if you are a couple of
cute, white, nanny-schooled seven-year-old boys.
Relaxing in a public park after a long walk, I found myself forced to
observe two tikes across the man-made mini-lake tormenting a turtle.
Squealing with joy, Johnny repeatedly scooped one shell-dweller out of
the protected depths and held her (him?) high above a cement-rimmed
pond, then plunked her back down into several feet of water, again and
again, while Cody cheered him on. Truly, I was proud of myself for
directing my objections to their cruel circus not at the unapologetic
ruffians, but toward the so-called caretakers, cooling their heels
shore-side. One of two women yelled to the little dears "Don't pick up
the turtles! They may bite you!" I may bite them, I thought, if it
doesn't stop soon. Obviously, I would be planted on that bench like the
lilies in the mud until order was restored.
After several stare-downs with the supervisors and their mop-top
charges, the motley mob finally left the grounds, and we, the turtles
and I, had a break from their idea of "entertainment." I stood long over
the smoothing surface, a bird's-eye view of little leaf-like heads
pointing above and below the ripples, doing the breaststroke freely
about the pool once more . Yes, the loud and scary giants are gone, I
Within a minute, one especially large turtle with a distinct, golden
shell swam in a bee-line toward my feet. Upon inspection, I recognized
her as the high-flying, unwilling acrobat from the spectacle earlier in
the afternoon. I hesitated to move, not wishing to cause any further
distress, but decided to kneel down for a closer look. She turned
sideways, paddled in one spot a foot from my face, and gazed into my
eyes with her own. Wise Lady T offered me a brief but tender, crinkled
wink of her deep brown eye. Then, under the waterfall she dove, bobbing
among the bubbles to her own song and dance, as she has, and will, for
eons, with or without any help from me.
From: Dan @www.openculture.com
Warnings of dictatorship are nothing new in America. We have them now,
and we’ve had them before, and we’ve even had them come from the
intelligentsia at times. Above, Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New
(get free text
), talks with Mike Wallace in 1958 — smack in the middle of the
Cold War — about the major threats to American freedom. Who were the
villains? Not elected representatives who passed laws with a majority in
Congress. No, it was a different set of characters: overpopulation,
bureaucracy, propaganda, drugs, advertising, and, yes, television. Part 1
of the interview appears above, and you can continue with Part 2
and Part 3
For more interviews from The Mike Wallace Interview (1957-1960)
please revisit our
. You’ll find some more thought provoking interviews
there (and lots of cigarette peddling).
Saturday, March 27, 2010
* This song is also known as "Adriatic Sea View" or "SeaView"*
This is probably one of the rarest songs you will ever hear. It was ONLY released on a promo tape that circulated in the Midlands in 1968..... ENJOY!!!
This song is different in the lineup from the other released Band of Joy. . The 2 songs released on Plant's 66 from Timbuktu, (Hey Joe and For What its Worth) have
Vocal - Plant, Drums - John Bonham, Guitar - Kevin Gammond, Organ - Chris Brown, Bass - Paul Lockie
The last line up of The Band Of Joy consisted of Robert Plant, John Bonham, John Hill and Mick Strode in 1968. John Hill was a great friend of Bonham, they were at school together, he was playing bass in a band called Uncle Joseph. Robert and John co-opted Hill and strode into the band to complete a tour of Scotland for the infamous promoter Duncan McKinnon.
The following is a recent letter from John Hill:
Hi, my name is John Hill.
You may or may not know that the very last line up of the Band of Joy consisted of Johny Bonham, Mick Strode, Rob Plant, and myself. We did a tour round Scotland and the north in 1968. This was for the infamous Duncan McKinnon "Drunken Duncan", a superb man with a wonderful warm heart. It was right after this that Robert went to London and whilst stopping with Alexis Corner he was put in touch with Jimmy Page. The rest as you know is history.
This didn't help me and my best mate Bonzo at the time as we were about to rehearse a new line-up consisting of John, myself, Reggie and Chrissy Jones and a keyboard player that John found from a Liverpool band - I think they were known as the Peeps ?. I went on to join a band called the Wellington Kitch Jump Band with Chris Brown on hammond. Chris is also ex Band of Joy from the more well known line-up. Anyway, Bonzo finally got the message after several telegrams and wisely got his ass down to London.
Oh yes - I am still playing in a band called the Notorious Brothers. Check it out sometime - maybe the Monday of the fill your head with rock festy.
All the best and keep on rockin - John
Friday, March 26, 2010
Professor Susan L. Aberth's
illustrated lecture on the history of women in Freemasonry is tomorrow
evening at OBSERVATORY at 8pm.
Women in Freemasonry: An
illustrated lecture by Professor Susan L. Aberth
Friday, March 26th
Although Masonic iconography is full of female
representations, membership is forbidden to women. Established in
1850,The Order of the Eastern Star is a Masonic offshoot open to both
men and women, although female members must have some familial
affiliation to Freemasons and members do not have the same rites and
privileges as Freemasonry itself. Why is it that women are
forbidden entry to Freemasonry? What exactly is The
Order of the Eastern Star? What role do women play in the
Independent Order of Oddfellows? How does French Masonry differ in
regards to women? What is Co-Freemasonry and why is it
growing in popularity? Utilizing
rich visual material, this presentation will outline the history of
women within the various fraternal orders and will also trace their
occult affiliations with Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, The Order of the
Golden Dawn and other secret societies.
You can get
directions by clicking here.
You can find out more about OBSERVATORY here, join
our mailing list by clicking here, and join us on
Facebook by clicking here.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
[I agree with her completely...]
No More Michael Moore
By SANDY MAYES
Dear Democracy Now!,
After giving myself the day to cool off, I just revisited Michael Moore's segment on today's show and find that I'm still as outraged over it as I was when I heard it this morning.
I have a hard time understanding why the Left in general, and Democracy Now! in particular, regards Michael Moore to be a credible or meaningful voice of progressive causes. This morning, he made some pretty strong yet obvious observations about the general state of things but, as usual, he didn't really add any new information or analysis. Not really anything any number of us might have been able to come up with.
If that alone is enough for people get a charge out of listening to him, I would normally have no particular beef with it. But when he launches in to an ugly, baseless, ad hominem rant, then I have a problem.
On the show today, Democracy Now! played a video clip of Moore and Bill Maher ambushing and humiliating Ralph Nader by kneeling in front of him and begging him to withdraw his candidacy for President on Maher's TV show in 2004.
One might have hoped that Moore would use this as an opportunity to publicly apologize for that shameful display. But instead he used it as a forum to further elevate himself as the True Grassroots Champion of the people. He is after all the Star of his own commercially successful “documentaries” and often appears on TV stating his opinions, while Ralph Nader, despite a lifetime of activism, and spearheading innumerable non-profit organizations, and exposing the corruption of our political process through his presidential campaigns is —according to Moore— merely a “poser” who “likes to hear himself talk.”
"And, you know, unlike Ralph, I guess maybe I’m not in this for just to say it so I can hear myself talk or to be some—or to take some poser position. And I hope that doesn’t sound too harsh, but I don’t see him ever working with the grassroots or with the people or being in touch with the people in any way, shape or form.
"Ralph’s approach is, put his name on the ballot and run for office. Where are we as a result of that? I don’t—you know, I don’t see us anywhere other than in the same pitiful state we’ve been in for some time.”
By that flawed logic, considering the “pitiful state we’re in,” anything ANY of us has EVER done has been a complete waste of time – including Michael Moore.
Again, Moore’s rant against Nader was ugly, baseless ad hominem. And as is so often the case with Moore, it was self-serving, intellectually lazy, and reckless. There should be no place for that on Democracy Now! or anywhere in serious progressive media.
Sandy Mayes lives in Olympia, Washington.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
AbeBooks loves librarians.
Librarians love AbeBooks. (And we think everyone else loves librarians
too aside from the bean-counters who keep cutting their budgets.) This
email salutes those great lovers of books, literacy and reading - the
world’s librarian community - and we’re highlighting some wonderful
books written by librarians themselves.
Who but a person surrounded by books could be better qualified to
write? Many an author has been born and developed in the stacks. The
list does not feature the following librarian/writers - John
, and Ina
- but we could easily have included their books.
Top 10 Books Written by
(PS - if you work as a librarian, please email your recommendation
for the best book written by a fellow librarian to firstname.lastname@example.org)
The 1955 poetry collection that made his name - Larkin was a
librarian at the University of Hull.
Wrinkle in Time
Her 1962 sci-fi/fantasy classic (rejected by many publishers) -
L’Engle worked as a librarian in New York.
Aleph and Other Stories
Jorge Luis Borges
The Nobel Prize winner was a municipal librarian in Argentina -
this 1949 collection is one of his best.
This 1964 novel became a movie in 1970. Berger worked as a
librarian and journalist.
Alice Mary Norton
A post-apocalyptic tale from 1952 - Norton was a librarian in
Cleveland and the Library of Congress.
An ex-librarian AND bookseller, Petterson’s novel was one of the
NY Times’ books of the year in 2007.
This former librarian won the National Book Critics Circle Award
in 1985 with this novel.
Middle Age of Mrs Eliot
A librarian in the British Museum, Wilson’s 1958 novel won the
James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
Taylor was a governess, teacher and librarian - At Mrs
Lippincotes was her debut novel in 1945.
in the Snow
Breem was a legal manuscripts librarian in London - a Roman
General is the hero of this historical novel.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I Forgive You, Dennis, By wagelaborer
When Dennis Kucinich caved to White House (insurance corporations) pressure, many progressives screamed with disappointment.
"Et tu, Dennis?"
I watched Democracy Now,with Dennis and Ralph Nader, and Ralph pointed out that so many people look up to Dennis as the great dissenter, and look to him to be the One who will save us.
But Dennis isn't going to do that. He's going along with Obama and the corporate plan, even though he knows it's wrong.
At first I thought that Obama got Dennis on Air Force One, and threatened him with death. But now I don't.
Watching Obama give his speech in Ohio, with thousands of people cheering his lies, and Dennis there to witness it, I think I know why Dennis caved.
Obama railed against the insurance companies, against greed, against profiteering on sick people. He even used his own mother's death as propaganda. It was like arobocallthatI received. And the crowd roared! The more he orated, the louder they roared. Someone called out "Vote yes!" And Obama turned to Dennis and said "Did you hear that?" And the crowd roared.
As Charles Krauthammer pointed out about Afghanistan, "the liberals get the speech, and the neocons get the policy". This could be Obama's Presidential motto. The sad part is that the liberals don't realize that they're only getting the speech.
So, I forgive you, Dennis.
Obama works the crowd to a populist frenzy in support of a corporate bailout. They are too stupid to stop cheering when he slides from attacking insurance company greed into giving insurance companies millions more customers and billions more dollars. The crowd is worked into a frenzy and pointed off a cliff, and they cheer as they pour over it.
What defense does Dennis have? The truth? The facts? Yeah, right. He can look to Ralph Nader to see what the Democrats can do to demonize an uncorrupt human being. The truth doesn't matter. The Democrats who voted for Bush (more than voted for Nader) are left undemonized, (just like the Blue Dogs who voted against the insurance enrichment bill are left untouched). Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris, and the purging of Black voters in Florida is left untouched.
The Supreme Court coup is left untouched. Even the fact that Gore actually won the election is unmentioned!
And millions of idiot Democrats fall for it. The venom spewed by these unthinking puppets is vicious. Dennis Kucinich doesn't want to be a target. He knows that the Democratic elite will target him, and he knows that enough Democrats will be misled that he will lose his seat.
Raul Emmanuel was right when he said that progressives are f***ing retards. Not all of us, of course, but we have no voice compared to the Presidential bully pulpit and mass manipulation tactics.
At some point Obama learned that he can lie without consequence, just like Cheney learned that he could steal without consequence. Our Orwellian society is complete and the President can say Black is White (or in his case, White is Black), and the corporate media will amplify it and the liberal cheerleaders will wave their pom poms in support.
The Enlightenment experiment is long gone, and we live in a country which wages perpetual war for perpetual peace, with corporate subsidies in the name of "the people" and a President who never fails to end his speeches with religious ritual.
My main interests are in promoting a better world. As they say, it is possible. If we can feed, clothe and house people with fiat currency, we can do it without it. I am appalled at the carnage done in my name, and I want to stop it.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Wikipedia is now opening the online encyclopedia to video, giving
contributors a new way to convey information in a richer way. And
they’re making a point of using video in an open format (Ogg Theora).
Among the confluence of factors coming together in 2010 are: 1) the
growing awareness that video is the dominant medium of the web and that
video can help make Wikipedia articles even richer; 2) the development
of open source players and codecs (alternatives to Flash, Quicktime,
Windows Media, and H.264, 3); the introduction of public browser
tools—Firefox’s Firefogg extension, for example—for uploading and
playing nonproprietary video formats; 4) the willingness of nonprofits
like the Participatory Culture Foundation and the Open Video Alliance
and for-profits like Kaltura and Intelligent Television to dedicate
themselves to open video; and the provision of strategic funding from
the Mozilla Foundation and Ford Foundation, among others, to support
developers, programmers, and activists.
As Wikipedia board member S. J. Klein
explains in a recent Open Video Alliance video short
, the day is
fast coming where video will be as easy for users to write, edit,
annotate, and remix as text is today. (You can find more details on the
What are the recommendations for video contributed to Wikipedia? They
should be related to current articles, short and under 100 MB, free,
and available to share and reuse (offered under a Creative Commons
or equivalent license). In coming weeks new videos are
expected to proliferate and new strategies will be unfurled for working
with educational repositories of legacy video.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
On the seventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq,
thousands of people from across the United States on Saturday converged
on Lafayette Square, opposite the White House in Washington DC. The
rally then marched through downtown DC, halting en route at the premises
of military contractor Halliburton, the Mortgage Bankers Association
and The Washington Post offices.
protest drew a smaller crowd than the tens of thousands who marched
during the final years of the Bush administration, the ANSWER coalition,
the main organiser, said momentum was building due to disenchantment
with President Obama's troop surge decision for Afghanistan. Other
participating groups included Veterans for Peace, Military Families
Speak Out and the National Council of Arab Americans and activists such
as Ralph Nader and Cindy Sheehan.
In a statement the
ANSWER coalition said,
“People from all over the
country are organising to converge on Washington, D.C., and on the West
Coast to demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S.
and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.”
of war, we will demand funds so that every person can have a job, free
and universal health care, decent schools, and affordable housing, said
the coalition statement.
According to some reports
the rally could prove to be significant as it was the “first massive,
nationally coordinated effort to challenge U.S. foreign policy since
President Obama took office.” Though the costs and scope of U.S.
military engagements have expanded under Mr. Obama, the anti-war
movement has thus far been largely silent since January 2008.
However with Saturday's protest march, the movement
signalled that it had revived and was capable of challenging the Obama
administration on its foreign policy strategies.
ANSWER coalition said though “the enthusiasm and desire for change after
eight years of the Bush regime was the dominant cause that led to
election of a big Democratic Party majority in both Houses of Congress
and the election of Barack Obama to the White House… [it was now]
obvious to all that waiting for politicians to bring real change… is
simply a prescription for passivity by progressives and an invitation to
the array of corporate interests from military contractors to the
banks, to big oil, to the health insurance giants that dominate the
political life of the country.”
It is time to be
back in the streets, the ANSWER 0statement added.
Join Peace Blimp Radio
to listen to an all day marathon of great speakers and musical artists advocating an end to the U.S. wars of aggression in the Middle East.
Saturday’s show runs from 10am to 10pm. Guests will include include U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, U. S. Congressman Alan Grayson, Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, Former Head of the CIA’s Osama Bin Laden Unit Michael Scheuer, Best Selling Author Tom Woods, Best Selling Author Charles Goyette, Former Governor of NM Gary Johnson, Daily Paul founder Michael Nystrom, Antiwar Radio’s Scott Horton, Future of Freedom Foundation’s Jacob Hornberger, Radio Host Robert Scott Bell, Liberty Activist Vijay Boyapati, Author & BloggerDavid Swanson, Senior VP Campaign For Liberty Jesse Benton, Distorted Soul’s Nadir, Iraqi-American Peace Activist Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, AntiWar Radio’s Angela Keaton, Kelly Jane Torrance – Literary Editor at American Conservative, Kevin Zeese of Voters For Peace, Tracey Harmon,Marketing Director of LOLA, Congressional Candidate and Iraq War VeteranAdam Kokesh (NM-3), Congressional Candidate John Dennis (CA-8), Congressional Candidate RJ Harris (OK-4), Congressional Candidate Jake Towne (PA-15) Gubernatorial Candidate Warren Redlich (NY) and more!
The radio marathon will be hosted by: Jack Hunter, Kurt Wallace, Wess Messamore, Rahn Skipper, Delia Lopez and John J. Sottilare
And don’t miss the Live performance by Nadir at 4:00pm
Friday, March 19, 2010
"When you do a competent, aggressive job, it's something government can't tolerate."
Herb Denenberg, 80, longtime consumer advocate
Herbert S. Denenberg, 80, who transformed an obscure state office into a high-profile platform for consumer-advocacy and went on to become a local media legend, died Thursday at his home in Wayne.
Mr. Denenberg had not been ill and apparently suffered a heart attack, said his wife of almost 52 years, Naomi.
As Pennsylvania insurance commissioner in the early 1970s under the late former Gov. Milton J. Shapp, Denenberg helped revolutionize the auto-insurance industry by championing the "no fault" concept.
Mr. Denenberg became a household name for his firebrand approach and his various "shoppers' guides" - plain-English explanations of complicated insurance concepts.
With his signature oversize glasses on a face that always seemed too big for his diminutive body, Mr. Denenberg later became a fixture on local television. His acidic, animated reports and critiques skewered a wide variety of products and public issues. He was rewarded by winning 40 local Emmies.
"He wasn't afraid of taking on anybody, any politician, any company, any multinational," said Gov. Rendell. "He didn't care. If he thought things had to be changed he went after it with a vengeance."
Said activist Ralph Nader, a friend for over 40 years, "He was a great consumer advocate."
Nader said that he first came in contact with him in the late 1960s after reading an academic paper on insurance that Denenberg had written while a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1960s. Nader said Denenberg clearly knew his subject and that he had ambitions beyond the academic press.
"He decided he wasn't just going to write for 100 specialists," he said. "He became a real hell-raiser. His was a hell-raising language, but his mind was a steel-trap academic mind. You rarely get a combination of the two.
"He helped expand the definition of what the public should expect from an insurance commissioner," said Nader.
Denenberg later was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission but left state government in 1975 after the legislature failed to confirm him as a permanent member of the commission. "I think I'm permanently disqualified for government service," Denenberg said at the time. "When you do a competent, aggressive job, it's something government can't tolerate."
"Here was a guy who was the system, protesting so effectively against it," recalled Inquirer reporter Howard S. Shapiro, author of a 1974 biography on Denenberg, How to Keep Them Honest. "That was remarkable."
After leaving Harrisburg, Denenberg began a new career as gadfly in 1975. For more than two decades he was a consumer reporter and commentator on Channel 10, covering subjects as varied as asbestos in schools to the questionable sanitary qualities of pretzels sold by street vendors.
"He really, really was one of a kind," said Ed Dress, his producer for 17 years. "When you were sick and tied of something, he was just getting started."
In 1984, the trade journal Adweek wrote, "If there were an award for best consumer reporter in the Northeast, WCAU's Herb Denenberg would take it in a walk."
After departing Channel 10 in 1998, Mr. Denenberg continued to write consumer columns for several newspapers, including the new version of the Philadelphia Bulletin.
Mr. Denenberg was born, fittingly, in the insurance capital of Omaha, Neb., in 1929. His Russian-born father and Romanian-born mother raised eight children. His father died when he was 12, said Naomi Denenberg, and young Herb helped take care of his siblings.
He once related that he had a life-changing experience while working at a meatpacking house in Omaha. "I was appalled at the filthy working conditions," he said. "You'd go into the company cafeteria and it was just unbelievable. ... The spoons were nicked all over and incredibly filthy. You'd go in there, there'd be slop on the floor and it was never cleaned up." He complained to his employers, who did nothing.
"The meatpacking house had a very profound impact on me. I remember saying to myself, 'I've really got to excel, I have to succeed. I have to be number one. I just can't run the risk of spending the rest of my life in a place like this meatpacking house.'"
After graduating from Omaha Central High, he attended the Universities of Nebraska and Chicago, received law degrees from Creighton and Harvard University and a PhD. from Penn.
While serving in the Army, his widow recalled, Denenberg also studied biology at Johns Hopkins University, where he had another life-changing experience.
One day the class was dissecting frogs, something for which the woman sitting across from him had no stomach. Herb Denenberg said he would do it for her.
That woman, Noami Glushakow, became Mrs. Herb Denenberg.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Denenberg is survived by two brothers, Dr. Michael and Norman, and a sister, Anne Feinberg.
He is predeceased by four brothers, Marshall, Warren Dr. Daniel, and Bernard.
Services will be private.
Aleksandr Herzen, speaking a century ago to a group of anarchists about how to overthrow the czar, reminded his listeners that it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: "We think we are the doctors. We are the disease." All resistance must recognize that the body politic and global capitalism are dead. We should stop wasting energy trying to reform or appeal to it. This does not mean the end of resistance, but it does mean very different forms of resistance. It means turning our energies toward building sustainable communities to weather the coming crisis, since we will be unable to survive and resist without a cooperative effort.
These communities, if they retreat into a pure survivalist mode without linking themselves to the concentric circles of the wider community, the state and the planet, will become as morally and spiritually bankrupt as the corporate forces arrayed against us. All infrastructures we build, like the monasteries in the Middle Ages, should seek to keep alive the intellectual and artistic traditions that make a civil society, humanism and the common good possible. Access to parcels of agricultural land will be paramount. We will have to grasp, as the medieval monks did, that we cannot alter the larger culture around us, at least in the short term, but we may be able to retain the moral codes and culture for generations beyond ours. Resistance will be reduced to small, often imperceptible acts of defiance, as those who retained their integrity discovered in the long night of 20th-century fascism and communism.
We stand on the cusp of one of the bleakest periods in human history when the bright lights of a civilization blink out and we will descend for decades, if not centuries, into barbarity. The elites have successfully convinced us that we no longer have the capacity to understand the revealed truths presented before us or to fight back against the chaos caused by economic and environmental catastrophe. As long as the mass of bewildered and frightened people, fed images that permit them to perpetually hallucinate, exist in this state of barbarism, they may periodically strike out with a blind fury against increased state repression, widespread poverty and food shortages. But they will lack the ability and self-confidence to challenge in big and small ways the structures of control. The fantasy of widespread popular revolts and mass movements breaking the hegemony of the corporate state is just that a fantasy.
My analysis comes close to the analysis of many anarchists. But there is a crucial difference. The anarchists do not understand the nature of violence. They grasp the extent of the rot in our cultural and political institutions, they know they must sever the tentacles of consumerism, but they naïvely believe that it can be countered with physical forms of resistance and acts of violence. There are debates within the anarchist movement such as those on the destruction of property but once you start using plastic explosives, innocent people get killed. And when anarchic violence begins to disrupt the mechanisms of governance, the power elite will use these acts, however minor, as an excuse to employ disproportionate and ruthless amounts of force against real and suspected agitators, only fueling the rage of the dispossessed.
I am not a pacifist. I know there are times, and even concede that this may eventually be one of them, when human beings are forced to respond to mounting repression with violence. I was in Sarajevo during the war in Bosnia. We knew precisely what the Serbian forces ringing the city would do to us if they broke through the defenses and trench system around the besieged city. We had the examples of the Drina Valley or the city of Vukovar, where about a third of the Muslim inhabitants had been killed and the rest herded into refugee or displacement camps. There are times when the only choice left is to pick up a weapon to defend your family, neighborhood and city. But those who proved most adept at defending Sarajevo invariably came from the criminal class. When they were not shooting at Serbian soldiers they were looting the apartments of ethnic Serbs in Sarajevo and often executing them, as well as terrorizing their fellow Muslims.
When you ingest the poison of violence, even in a just cause, it corrupts, deforms and perverts you. Violence is a drug, indeed it is the most potent narcotic known to humankind. Those most addicted to violence are those who have access to weapons and a penchant for force. And these killers rise to the surface of any armed movement and contaminate it with the intoxicating and seductive power that comes with the ability to destroy. I have seen it in war after war.
When you go down that road you end up pitting your monsters against their monsters. And the sensitive, the humane and the gentle, those who have a propensity to nurture and protect life, are marginalized and often killed. The romantic vision of war and violence is as prevalent among anarchists and the hard left as it is in the mainstream culture. Those who resist with force will not defeat the corporate state or sustain the cultural values that must be sustained if we are to have a future worth living.
From my many years as a war correspondent in El Salvador, Guatemala, Gaza and Bosnia, I have seen that armed resistance movements are always mutations of the violence that spawned them. I am not naïve enough to think I could have avoided these armed movements had I been a landless Salvadoran or Guatemalan peasant, a Palestinian in Gaza or a Muslim in Sarajevo, but this violent response to repression is and always will be tragic. It must be avoided, although not at the expense of our own survival.
Democracy, a system ideally designed to challenge the status quo, has been corrupted and tamed to slavishly serve the status quo. We have undergone, as John Ralston Saul writes, a coup d'état in slow motion. And the coup is over. They won. We lost. The abject failure of activists to push corporate, industrialized states toward serious environmental reform, to thwart imperial adventurism or to build a humane policy toward the masses of the world's poor stems from an inability to recognize the new realities of power. The paradigm of power has irrevocably altered and so must the paradigm of resistance alter.
Too many resistance movements continue to buy into the facade of electoral politics, parliaments, constitutions, bills of rights, lobbying and the appearance of a rational economy. The levers of power have become so contaminated that the needs and voices of citizens have become irrelevant. The election of Barack Obama was yet another triumph of propaganda over substance and a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by the mass media. We mistook style and ethnicity an advertising tactic pioneered by the United Colors of Benetton and Calvin Klein for progressive politics and genuine change. We confused how we were made to feel with knowledge.
But the goal, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand for an experience. Obama, now a global celebrity, is a brand. He had almost no experience besides two years in the senate, lacked any moral core and was sold as all things to all people. The Obama campaign was named Advertising Age's marketer of the year for 2008 and edged out runners-up Apple and Zappos.com. Take it from the professionals. Brand Obama is a marketer's dream. President Obama does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertisers want because of how they can make you feel.
We live in a culture characterized by what Benjamin DeMott called "junk politics." Junk politics does not demand justice or the reparation of rights. It always personalizes issues rather than clarifying them. It eschews real debate for manufactured scandals, celebrity gossip and spectacles. It trumpets eternal optimism, endlessly praises our moral strength and character, and communicates in a feel-your-pain language. The result of junk politics is that nothing changes, "meaning zero interruption in the processes and practices that strengthen existing, interlocking systems of socioeconomic advantage."
The cultural belief that we can make things happen by thinking, by visualizing, by wanting them, by tapping into our inner strength or by understanding that we are truly exceptional is magical thinking. We can always make more money, meet new quotas, consume more products and advance our career if we have enough faith. This magical thinking, preached to us across the political spectrum by Oprah, sports celebrities, Hollywood, self-help gurus and Christian demagogues, is largely responsible for our economic and environmental collapse, since any Cassandra who saw it coming was dismissed as "negative."
This belief, which allows men and women to behave and act like little children, discredits legitimate concerns and anxieties. It exacerbates despair and passivity. It fosters a state of self-delusion. The purpose, structure and goals of the corporate state are never seriously questioned. To question, to engage in criticism of the corporate collective, is to be obstructive and negative. And it has perverted the way we view ourselves, our nation and the natural world. The new paradigm of power, coupled with its bizarre ideology of limitless progress and impossible happiness, has turned whole nations, including the United States, into monsters.
We can march in Copenhagen. We can join Bill McKibben's worldwide day of climate protests. We can compost in our backyards and hang our laundry out to dry. We can write letters to our elected officials and vote for Barack Obama, but the power elite is impervious to the charade of democratic participation. Power is in the hands of moral and intellectual trolls who are ruthlessly creating a system of neo-feudalism and killing the ecosystem that sustains the human species. And appealing to their better nature, or seeking to influence the internal levers of power, will no longer work.
We will not, especially in the United States, avoid our Götterdämmerung. Obama, like Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the other heads of the industrialized nations, has proven as craven a tool of the corporate state as George W. Bush. Our democratic system has been transformed into what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin labels inverted totalitarianism. Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism, a free press, parliamentary systems and constitutions while manipulating and corrupting internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens but are ruled by armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington, Ottawa or other state capitals who author the legislation and get the legislators to pass it.
A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion. Mass culture, owned and disseminated by corporations, diverts us with trivia, spectacles and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. "Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true," Wolin writes. "Economics dominates politics and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness."
Inverted totalitarianism wields total power without resorting to cruder forms of control such as gulags, concentration camps or mass terror. It harnesses science and technology for its dark ends. It enforces ideological uniformity by using mass communication systems to instill profligate consumption as an inner compulsion and to substitute our illusions of ourselves for reality. It does not forcibly suppress dissidents, as long as those dissidents remain ineffectual. And as it diverts us it dismantles manufacturing bases, devastates communities, unleashes waves of human misery and ships jobs to countries where fascists and communists know how to keep workers in line. It does all this while waving the flag and mouthing patriotic slogans. "The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed," Wolin writes.
The practice and psychology of advertising, the rule of "market forces" in many arenas other than markets, the continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the saturation by mass media and propaganda of every household and the takeover of the universities have rendered most of us hostages.
The rot of imperialism, which is always incompatible with democracy, has seen the military and arms manufacturers monopolize $1 trillion a year in defense-related spending in the United States even as the nation faces economic collapse. Imperialism always militarizes domestic politics. And this militarization, as Wolin notes, combines with the cultural fantasies of hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility to sever huge segments of the population from reality.
Those who control the images control us. And while we have been entranced by the celluloid shadows on the walls of Plato's cave, these corporate forces, extolling the benefits of privatization, have effectively dismantled the institutions of social democracy (Social Security, unions, welfare, public health services and public housing) and rolled back the social and political ideals of the New Deal. The proponents of globalization and unregulated capitalism do not waste time analyzing other ideologies. They have an ideology, or rather a plan of action that is defended by an ideology, and slavishly follow it. We on the left have dozens of analyses of competing ideologies without any coherent plan of our own. This has left us floundering while corporate forces ruthlessly dismantle civil society.
We are living through one of civilization's great seismic reversals. The ideology of globalization, like all "inevitable" utopian visions, is being exposed as a fraud. The power elite, perplexed and confused, clings to the disastrous principles of globalization and its outdated language to mask the looming political and economic vacuum. The absurd idea that the marketplace alone should determine economic and political constructs led industrial nations to sacrifice other areas of human importance from working conditions, to taxation, to child labor, to hunger, to health and pollution on the altar of free trade. It left the world's poor worse off and the United States with the largest deficits which can never be repaid in human history.
The massive bailouts, stimulus packages, giveaways and short-term debt, along with imperial wars we can no longer afford, will leave the United States struggling to finance nearly $5 trillion in debt this year. This will require Washington to auction off about $96 billion in debt a week. Once China and the oil-rich states walk away from our debt, which one day has to happen, the Federal Reserve will become the buyer of last resort. The Fed has printed perhaps as much as two trillion new dollars in the last two years, and buying this much new debt will see it, in effect, print trillions more. This is when inflation, and most likely hyperinflation, will turn the dollar into junk. And at that point the entire system breaks down.
All traditional standards and beliefs are shattered in a severe economic crisis. The moral order is turned upside down. The honest and industrious are wiped out while the gangsters, profiteers and speculators walk away with millions. The elite will retreat, as Naomi Klein has written in The Shock Doctrine, into gated communities where they will have access to services, food, amenities and security denied to the rest of us.
We will begin a period in human history when there will be only masters and serfs. The corporate forces, which will seek to make an alliance with the radical Christian right and other extremists, will use fear, chaos, the rage at the ruling elites and the specter of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to ruthlessly extinguish opposition movements. And while they do it, they will be waving the American flag, chanting patriotic slogans, promising law and order and clutching the Christian cross. Totalitarianism, George Orwell pointed out, is not so much an age of faith but an age of schizophrenia. "A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial," Orwell wrote. "That is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud." Our elites have used fraud. Force is all they have left.
Our mediocre and bankrupt elite is desperately trying to save a system that cannot be saved. More importantly, they are trying to save themselves. All attempts to work within this decayed system and this class of power brokers will prove useless. And resistance must respond to the harsh new reality of a global, capitalist order that will cling to power through ever-mounting forms of brutal and overt repression. Once credit dries up for the average citizen, once massive joblessness creates a permanent and enraged underclass and the cheap manufactured goods that are the opiates of our commodity culture vanish, we will probably evolve into a system that more closely resembles classical totalitarianism. Cruder, more violent forms of repression will have to be employed as the softer mechanisms of control favored by inverted totalitarianism break down.
It is not accidental that the economic crisis will converge with the environmental crisis. In his book The Great Transformation (1944), Karl Polanyi laid out the devastating consequences the depressions, wars and totalitarianism that grow out of a so-called self-regulated free market. He grasped that "fascism, like socialism, was rooted in a market society that refused to function." He warned that a financial system always devolves, without heavy government control, into a Mafia capitalism and a Mafia political system which is a good description of our financial and political structure. A self-regulating market, Polanyi wrote, turns human beings and the natural environment into commodities, a situation that ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. The free market's assumption that nature and human beings are objects whose worth is determined by the market allows each to be exploited for profit until exhaustion or collapse. A society that no longer recognizes that nature and human life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves until they die. This is what we are undergoing.
If we build self-contained structures, ones that do as little harm as possible to the environment, we can weather the coming collapse. This task will be accomplished through the existence of small, physical enclaves that have access to sustainable agriculture, are able to sever themselves as much as possible from commercial culture and can be largely self-sufficient. These communities will have to build walls against electronic propaganda and fear that will be pumped out over the airwaves. Canada will probably be a more hospitable place to do this than the United States, given America's strong undercurrent of violence. But in any country, those who survive will need isolated areas of land as well as distance from urban areas, which will see the food deserts in the inner cities, as well as savage violence, leach out across the urban landscape as produce and goods become prohibitively expensive and state repression becomes harsher and harsher.
The increasingly overt uses of force by the elites to maintain control should not end acts of resistance. Acts of resistance are moral acts. They begin because people of conscience understand the moral imperative to challenge systems of abuse and despotism. They should be carried out not because they are effective but because they are right. Those who begin these acts are always few in number and dismissed by those who hide their cowardice behind their cynicism. But resistance, however marginal, continues to affirm life in a world awash in death. It is the supreme act of faith, the highest form of spirituality and alone makes hope possible. Those who carried out great acts of resistance often sacrificed their security and comfort, often spent time in jail and in some cases were killed. They understood that to live in the fullest sense of the word, to exist as free and independent human beings, even under the darkest night of state repression, meant to defy injustice.
When the dissident Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken from his cell in a Nazi prison to the gallows, his last words were: "This is for me the end, but also the beginning." Bonhoeffer knew that most of the citizens in his nation were complicit through their silence in a vast enterprise of death. But however hopeless it appeared in the moment, he affirmed what we all must affirm. He did not avoid death. He did not, as a distinct individual, survive. But he understood that his resistance and even his death were acts of love. He fought and died for the sanctity of life. He gave, even to those who did not join him, another narrative, and his defiance ultimately condemned his executioners.
We must continue to resist, but do so now with the discomforting realization that significant change will probably never occur in our lifetime. This makes resistance harder. It shifts resistance from the tangible and the immediate to the amorphous and the indeterminate.
But to give up acts of resistance is spiritual and intellectual death. It is to surrender to the dehumanizing ideology of totalitarian capitalism. Acts of resistance keep alive another narrative, sustain our integrity and empower others, who we may never meet, to stand up and carry the flame we pass to them. No act of resistance is useless, whether it is refusing to pay taxes, fighting for a Tobin tax, working to shift the neoclassical economics paradigm, revoking a corporate charter, holding global internet votes or using Twitter to catalyze a chain reaction of refusal against the neoliberal order. But we will have to resist and then find the faith that resistance is worthwhile, for we will not immediately alter the awful configuration of power. And in this long, long war a community to sustain us, emotionally and materially, will be the key to a life of defiance.
The philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote that the exclusive preoccupation with personal concerns and indifference to the suffering of others beyond the self-identified group is what ultimately made fascism and the Holocaust possible: "The inability to identify with others was unquestionably the most important psychological condition for the fact that something like Auschwitz could have occurred in the midst of more or less civilized and innocent people."
The indifference to the plight of others and the supreme elevation of the self is what the corporate state seeks to instill in us. It uses fear, as well as hedonism, to thwart human compassion. We will have to continue to battle the mechanisms of the dominant culture, if for no other reason than to preserve through small, even tiny acts, our common humanity. We will have to resist the temptation to fold in on ourselves and to ignore the cruelty outside our door. Hope endures in these often imperceptible acts of defiance. This defiance, this capacity to say no, is what the psychopathic forces in control of our power systems seek to eradicate. As long as we are willing to defy these forces we have a chance, if not for ourselves, then at least for those who follow.
As long as we defy these forces we remain alive. And for now this is the only victory possible.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Here’s a little nugget for you. The great inventor Thomas Edison visited the home of Mark Twain in 1909, and captured footage of “the father of American literature” (says Faulkner) walking around his estate and playing cards with his daughters, Clara and Jean. The film is silent and deteriorated. But it’s apparently the only known footage of the author who gave us Huckleberry Finn
and Tom Sawyer
. Twain would die the next year. Quite the find by @ebertchicago
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Posted By topeditor On March 16, 2010 Siv
Capitalism is indeed dying in
our midst, but, regrettably, political systems do not leave the stage of
history (and power) without struggle. They have to be pushed off the
centerstage. And that’s the task for the planet’s revolutionists. To
act as the midwife for a new, far more just and rational global
By Siv O’Neall || Dateline: March 16,
The curtain is going down on the lone-superpower world we know
and it is now a most urgent question if and when and how forces for true
democracy, human rights, peace and civilization can come out and
dissipate the cloud that has spread over what was once an almost decent
way of life.
long-time descent into totalitarian capitalism and neglect for anything
but corporate profit has just about finished its course. The party is
over. Bankruptcy is next. What we don’t know yet is how far-reaching
this economic freefall is going to be.
such as the German Reich are brought to mind, but the similarities are
far from parallel. The inhumanity is on the same scale but the hypocrisy
is even worse than in the worst fascist regime. Hypocrisy rules the
world. No slogans the rulers of the United States or the rest of
the Western world pronounce as their ideologies and goals can be taken
for their face value. Lies are the only things that come out of the
mouths of our so-called leaders and that is the way they have set up the
sordid game to their own advantage.
people are not supposed to be aware of how we are being treated like
dregs to be discarded. The powers that be imagine that, as long as we
are not told the truth about how we are being cheated out of our birth
rights, we will lie down like whipped dogs and lick the feet of our
we have come from the somewhat civilized society that the Founding
Fathers had in mind for the people of the thirteen states can only be
measured if we consider the abysmal lack of basic needs and basic rights
that is now the norm in the United States. In fact, there are no areas
left in the year 2010 that have been spared from the general decline,
cultural, economic or humane. Human rights are in tatters, the standard
of living for the vast majority of American families can go nowhere but
further downhill, the voices of the people are left unheard, the
standard of cultural institutions, quality education and all the
privileges that are linked to it are being starved out of existence.
prostitutes of the mainstream media [with their right-wing confreres
leading the way] are making the utmost possible din so as to effectively
drown the voices of reason. The general
sluggishness of people is being enhanced by the non-stop propaganda fed
them through the mass media, the fake view of the world as a place where
satisfaction can only be had from over-consumption and from
participating in the violence that is constantly displayed to us as a
model of life via these mass media, the artificial uppers and downers
that are offered to us by the entertainment industry to fill in the void
of our souls.
environment is being plundered savagely with no concern whatsoever for
the survival of mankind, the survival of the planet and all its millions
of different species. Biodiversity is a forgotten concept, except for
the rare rebels who go against the stream and try to make their
life-saving voices heard over the din of the machines of the killer
Those predators are clearly only out to maximize their
profits without the slightest concern for the catastrophic effects on
majority of people never see what the real world is all about. How can
they? The distorted “values’ that money can buy are the only ones that
are real to them.
sunrise over the ocean, a maple leaf swirling in clear spring water, the
little hand touching your cheek, the beauty of words coming from a
writer’s soul what happened to the marvels of life? What happened to the
how did this Ersatz world come about?
question must be asked: WHO gave this fascist megalomaniac his media
Capitalism, the way it is playing
out today, is incompatible with true democracy.
This insanity, this absurd form of capitalism is altogether negating a
humane system of running the world with any consideration at all for the
people on the planet.
Market capitalism, the Chicago School of Economics professor, Milton
Friedman’s brainchild, globalization, the catchword for the Empire’s
total domination over the rest of the world, Washington’s New World
Order, enriching the very few and strangling the masses call it what you
like but it’s a fantasy that is now finally crumbling. It all amounts
to “screw the people’ and “greed is the power that makes the world go
round’. The religion in the U.S.A. is greed and it’s the only true
religion there is.
the giant is crumbling. A fast-spreading gangrene is eating away at the
interior of the nation, its elite-oriented and half-starved educational
system, its sad excuse for a working healthcare system, its decaying
infrastructure. The very souls of the people are withering away, as
their jobs are lost, their homes are foreclosed, their constitutional
freedoms no longer respected, civil rights being increasingly downplayed
by the police and federal authorities.
this is adding to and interacting with the economic meltdown and the
destruction of the environment, which at this point doesn’t even
guarantee a livable future for the coming generations.
multi-lateral world can not be stopped, as the giant is playing out its
last trumps in case it has any left. Emerging countries are becoming
emerged countries. There have not been many signs of awareness of this
evolution of the geopolitical reality from President Obama, but rather a
continuation of the Neocon imperialism, which will, if allowed a free
rein, lead the planet to disaster. It will render the environment
unlivable and thus destroy the way of life of the billions of people all
over the world. With the environment in ruins, there is just no way
back. The corporations whose greed is responsible for the current
situation do not seem to realize or care about the direction in which
they are steering our planet.
portrait of Milton Friedman, Free Market missionary, and one of the most
toxic intellectuals of the 20th century, an unrepentant apologist for
murderers and mass exploiters of all kinds till the bitter end.
The Free Market
was set up with unilateral power for the giant in the West and unheard
of wealth for the very few as its unique goal. The tools would be the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which were working
on the single track of stealing the national resources of the greatest
number of countries possible and squeezing money out of financially
strapped nations by lending their governments money at a high interest
The ultimate condition for the nations in dire economic straits,
was always the cutting back on social services, devaluing the national
currency and increasing taxes on the already half-strangled people, thus
starving the beast. Such is the ever-present major strategy of these
Washington henchmen; the super-tools for U.S. world domination. And, of
course, along came the accumulation of further wealth to add to the
already astronomic wealth of the corporations. Madness! To what end?
which had previously enjoyed a fairly good standard of living, but had
gotten squeezed by the Free Market economy, free trade agreements, such
as NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA  and bilateral agreements, saw their relatively
comfortable lives wither away, such as many Asian nations in the
nineties during the Asian financial crisis . Poor 3rdWorld
nations were suddenly rendered more impoverished than ever before,
having their national resources taken over by the multinational hydras.
Wherever the heavy boots of the IMF and the World Bank get a foothold in
a financially troubled nation, they manage to suck the blood out of the
nation’s resources and their financial independence.
capitalism can not possibly go along with true democracy. The concepts
represent opposite poles in the running of the economic systems of the
world. The most outstanding mark of run-away capitalism is its denial of
any civic and human rights to the working people. Privatization, which
is the principal gospel of this decadent world order will eventually
make us pay for the air we breathe and the polluted water we drink.
national elections are allowed to survive in order to make for a
semblance of democracy, it is only because they have no real meaning the
way they are run today. They constitute no real danger to the system
that is running the world since they are strictly controlled by
corporations that are hand in glove with the imperialists. They are part
of the system.
yet, a majority of U.S. citizens are under the impression that their
votes count for something in the running of internal and external
politics. They seem to be slowly waking up, however, to the fact that
their opposition to the ongoing wars and the tax cuts for the wealthy
count for nothing.
creation of the lone superpower
At the end of World War II, with
Europe exhausted and virtually powerless as a commercial partner, the
U.S government saw clearly that they would have to shore up the
war-damaged European countries in order to create a market place for
their newfound wealth. The Great Depression was over at last thanks to
the boost to the economy that the war had brought to the nation. Now the
U.S. needed commercial partners. So the Marshall Plan was born. Later
on came the Hollywood Superman Ronald Reagan and as his megalomaniac and
expansionist plans for the country were set in motion, the kernel of
the Neoconservative movement was simultaneously taking shape.
all this time a handy bogeyman was created in the Communist fiend. From
the McCarthy era in the fifties to the Kennedy fiasco of the Bay of Pigs
attempt to invade Southern Cuba in 1961, to the horror of the Vietnam
war, to the criminal meddling in various Central American and Latin
American countries, it was always the Communist threat that served as a
pretext for invasions of countries that stood in the way for U.S. power
and expansionism. Those countries that could not be bought up or
propagandized into cooperating with the Empire were simply invaded and
taken over. A blaring exception was of course the great embarrassment of
the Vietnam War, when no country was ever taken over. But that didn’t
even teach the imperialists a lesson. The people, yes, but the psychotic
neocons, no. If anything, the lesson drawn by the neocons from that
insane war was on the contrary that the U.S. had to show the world that
it was still the Lord of the planet, including outer space.
crush, kill and take over national resources was the trademark of U.S.
foreign policies. Until the Soviet Union imploded and the vastly
overblown propaganda about the giant in the east that was threatening to
end the supremacy of the number one superpower finally became open for
all to see. Ever since the end of World War II, with a powerful boost
given to it by the Kennedy brothers, the Communist scare has been
hovering over the Western world, based on a minimum of reality but above
all hysterical propaganda. It was the octopus that was spreading its
tentacles all over the world. If the Soviet military power was in fact
impressive, it was because they put all their rubles into the arms
industry and neglected the well-being of their people.
and eternal war are the capitalist tools
the Soviet Union disintegrated, the U.S. suddenly found itself bereft of
a handy target to blame the evils of the world on. A new enemy had to
be created and we all know how the “War on Terror’ came about, based on
the absurd theory, touted hysterically, that the Muslims were now all
set to take over the Western world. Al Qaeda may well have been a
creation by Washington but, as could be expected, it then became a
Continuous war is of the essence to a superpower to sustain
the fear that is necessary to keep the people in blinders. Hysteria and
ignorance are the sine qua non for an eternal war. Non-stop propaganda
is also a major tool without which the slogan “Pax Americana’ would have
been a laughing stock from its very creation. And of course the mass
media played the game since they were being paid to do so.
was the tool that was needed in order to fool the people of the world
and draw a veil of emotional blindness over their minds. What made the
creation of this visceral fear and anger at all possible was of course
the attack on the World Trade Center and the following 9/11 hysteria.
Without this enormous propaganda tool, the major wars that have
followed, the total contempt for U.S. citizens’ constitutional rights
and the U.S. Constitution in general would have been just wishful
thinking by the neocon thugs.
course we can’t know how much longer the “lone superpower’ is still
going to be breathing. It is now on life support and we can only vaguely
guess what the world is going to be like after the colossus stops
breathing. No words of reconciliation to the rest of the world by
President Obama will save the shipwreck that is the United States of
arrogance, what hubris, to believe that the United States would be able
to create the millenary Reich where all other nations would be willing
allies, due to the propagandized “cultural, moral and military
superiority’ of the Master behemoth. If not allies, they would become
subdued and subservient because they would have lost their internal
strength, as was the intention with Iraq, Afghanistan and probably now
also with Pakistan. The Empire was going to appear so unbeatable that no
other nation would ever be able to go against their formidable power.
They were to be God on earth and everybody who looked into the shining
light of their claim to divine power was going to see that resistance
would be useless.
minute haven’t we seen this before? It seems to be a lesson never
learned that even an Empire is bound for a swift fall when the winds
turn and the scales fall from the eyes of the people in the rest of the
world. And, as is perfectly obvious, the hubris was not born with the
Neocons plotting in the underground during the Reagan presidency. It
goes all the way back to the cruel near wiping-out of the native
American population. Nobody can stand against the superpower. It is the
bearer of God-given authority to rule the continent, to rule over
war-torn Europe, to rule over the Americas, to rule over the
resource-rich countries, to rule the world.
psychopaths who created this absurd fantasy should by all rights be the
first victims of the downfall of the Empire. In the long row of
history’s empires, has there ever been one that so misjudged the power
of national pride and the firm decision by the invaded people to go on
running their own nation, running their own lives on territories that
had been theirs for millennia?
is coming together
world is changing however. We will find out one day if it is already too
late or if there is still a chance that people and the environment
might be saved.
organizing to become increasingly independent of the West. They are
creating their own economic cooperation organizations, such as AFTA  (ASEAN
 Free Trade Area), born out of ASEAN, the “Association of
Southeast Asian Nations’, a”geo-politicaland economic organization of
ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August
1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, thePhilippines, SingaporeandThailand”. This
organization now includes ten countries located in Southeast Asia.
AFTA project was launched in 1993 with the objective of creating a Free
Trade Area in eastern Asia. It undertook some bold measures during the
Asian financial crisis in the nineties, which clearly showed up the need
for mutual economic interdependence between Southeast and Northeast
November 2001 an ambitious plan was submitted to create a regional bloc.
It recommended that East Asia would move from a region of nations to a
cohesive regional community where collective efforts would be made for
peace, prosperity, and progress. They identified the following sectors
for cooperation: economic, financial, security, environmental, social
and cultural. 
the next superpower?
economy is the third-largest in the world and it is the biggest holder
of U.S. Treasury bonds. It is the top owner of U.S. government debt and
it is also one of the “emerging nations’ that can be said to have
already emerged. It is now in a full-fledged position to become a
superpower. The day the United States of America declares bankruptcy,
China will probably be ready to take over in conjunction with other
now, China is giving Obama the cold shoulder. It is a fact that trade
with the U.S. has recently picked up, but basically China is
economically so much ahead of the former superpower that they can well
shrug their shoulders at the hypocritical demands that Washington puts
forth. Who is to urge China to respect civil rights and to diminish
pollution to save the environment? Or to convince China that there
should be more equality of living conditions? Washington’s hypocrisy
knows no limits.
we can not be looking forward to a world where one inhuman superpower
would be replaced by another one. We are not blind to the kind of life
we would be living under Chinese rule. But such a thought seems so far
from realistic that the solution we have to look forward to as a new
World Order would rather be a multi-lateral organization where no one
power would have too much influence over the rest of the world.
the other emerging nations, such as India and Brazil, they still have a
way to go. A low quality of education, an average low standard of
living, faulty healthcare, a sadly insufficient fight against pollution
and contempt for human rights are among the major problems for these
countries, as well as for China. However, the United States could well
be pointed to as equally lacking in every one of these areas. There is
also a horrifying lack of equality in all these countries, but then
again, the richest country of them all, the U.S. of A. shares the guilt
of these only relatively wealthy countries.
America Is Gathering Strength
another part of the world, there is Latin America that is currently
fighting for its independence from the Empire. The birth of Mercosur
, the Common Market of the South, took place on March 26,
1991. Since its creation including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and
Paraguay, Venezuela also joined on 17 June 2006. Bolivia, Chile,
Colombia, Ecuador and Peru currently have associate member status.
and Mexico have also announced their intention to join Mercosur.
other hand, Venezuela has also initiated ALBA (a symbolic acronym since
alba means dawn), Venezueal’s answer to imperialist free trade
agreements (”Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas’ or “Alianza
Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América’), which, to begin with,
comprised Venezuela and Cuba. Later, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua
have joined the alliance. Some islands in the Caribbean are also
members. Honduras became a member in August 2008, but, interestingly
enough, after the coup in June 2009 to overthrow President Manuel
Zelaya, its membership was withdrawn.
“On December 16, 2009, the Honduran congress met to withdraw
the country from theALBA , claiming a “lack of respect”
from Venezuela since the country’s joining in 2008, citing in
particular Hugo Chavez’ remarks about a potential invasion of Honduras
to restore Manuel Zelaya to office, after he was removed on 28 June 2009
in the2009 Honduran coup d’état. Withdrawal from ALBA was ratified by
the Honduran Congresson January 13, 2010. Economic relations with
Venezuela continue, including viaPetrocaribe.
and ALBA are the Latin American answer to NAFTA, CAFTA and FTAA, the
U.S.- sponsored so-called free trade agreements, which are for anything
but free trade, constantly raising trade barriers against foreign
nations for the profit of the United States.
United States, the lone superpower is no more. The sooner the leaders
realize this, the softer will be the fall when the giant finally breaks
down. Barack Obama gave Europeans and many others some kind of hope for a
change of path by the callous behemoth. But no such thing has happened
and no such thing will happen. Only the downfall of the Empire can now
save the world. Unless it is already too late.
seeing the emergence of another kind of New World Order, one of less
arrogance, one of multi-lateral cooperation? The world is crying out for
a new order where life-and-death issues will be handled by all the
world’s nations and not trampled on by one greedy colossus that imagines
it is the monarch of the planet.
’s political philosophy, which he considered classically
liberal and libertarian, emphasized the advantages of free market
economics and the disadvantages of government intervention and
regulation, strongly influencing the opinions of American conservatives
and libertarians.” His influential bookCapitalism and Freedom was published in 1962.
La Riva/Puryear: Abolish NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA, WTO, IMF, World
Bank. Also see NAFTA/FTAA/CAFTA page
financial crisis – There is no basis for the claim that the Asian
financial crisis was due to a lack of sound economic fundamentals. The
currencies of the affected countries were forcibly devalued and their
financial systems were brought to ruin by the activities of speculators.
The crisis has, however, revealed one glaring weakness: the absence of a
lender of last resort for the region. (by Chandra Hardy)
name “is now just a loose label for a movement that seems to ta rget the
west”, says Marc Sageman, a psychiatrist who
has long studied terrorism networks. “There is no umbrella organisation.
We like to create a mythical entity called [al-Qaeda] in our minds but
that is not the reality we are dealing with.” (The Financial Times)
“From the inception of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN
) in 1967 to 1991 economic cooperation among its members
was virtually non-existent. However, in January 1992 the leaders of the
member states agreed to work towards an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
Following an uncertain initial phase the leaders rededicated themselves
in 1995 to an accelerated implementation of the AFTA agreement.”
about this geo-political and economic organization at Wikipedia
information about ASEAN and AFTA at What Is Integration
Siv O’Neall was born and raised in
Sweden where she graduated from Lund University. She has lived in
Paris, France and New Rochelle, N.Y. and traveled extensively throughout
Europe, the U.S. and other continents, mainly several trips to India.
Siv retired after many years of teaching French in Westchester, N.Y. and
English in the Grandes Ecoles (Institutes of Technology) in France. In
addition to her own writing, Siv has also provided Axis of Logic with
translation services. She has been living in France, first Paris, then
Lyon, for 30 years. In addition to her political activism and writing,
her life is filled with family, music, animals, reading, traveling and
she also feels that ‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever’.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Posted By topeditor On March 9, 2010
to Sheehan: “We are not anti-American, we are anti-Imperialism”
Sheehan: My request to interview President Hugo Chavez Frias of
Venezuela was finally granted March 2 while we were down in Montevideo,
Uruguay with President Chavez for the inauguration of the new left-ish
President and freedom fighter, Jose Mujica.
Bylined to: Cindy
Sheehan Published: Sunday, March 07, 2010
THE REASONS I WENT DOWN TO VENEZUELA with my team of two
cameramen were two-fold:
of all, I just got tired of all the misinformation that is spread in
the US about President Chavez and the people’s Bolivarian Revolution. In
only one example, the National Endowment for Democracy (another
Orwellian named agency that receives federal money to supplant
democracy) spends millions of dollars every year in Venezuela trying to
destabilize Chavez’s democratically elected government.
other reason we went to Venezuela was to be inspired and energized by
the revolution and try to inspire and energize others in the states to
rise up against the oppressive ruling class here and take power back
into our own hands.
Empowerment of the poorest or least educated citizens
of Venezuela is the goal of the Bolivarian Revolution. President Chavez
said in the interview that “Power has five principles” and the first
one is Education and he calls Venezuela a “big school.” Indeed since the
revolution began 11 years ago, Venezuela’s literacy rate has risen
significantly to where now 99% of the population is now literate.
In that sense alone, Venezuela has already been totally transformed, to
the chagrin of conservatives.
Power is another principle of power and we witnessed this in a very
dramatic fashion in the barrio of San Agustin in Caracas. San Agustin is
a shantytown built on the sides of some very steep and tall hills — the
only way the citizens could get to and from their homes was to climb up
and down some very steep and treacherous stairs. Well, two years ago,
the neighborhood formed a committee and proposed that the government
build a tram through the hills and on January 20, the dreams of the
citizens of San Agustin became a reality and the Metro Cable was
christened. Not only did the residents get a new tram, but many of the
shacks were torn down and new apartments were built. Residents had
priority for low, or no, interest loans to buy the apartments.
though I am very afraid of heights, I rode the Metro Cable to the top of
the hill and we were awarded with amazing views of Caracas and the
distant mountains. All the red, gleaming tramcars are given names of
places in Venezuela or revolutionary slogans. But our “treat” was still
ahead of us when we made our way down the side of the hill by those
steep and treacherous stairs. In combination with the stairs and the
heat, by the time we were at the bottom, my legs were shaking like Jello
and my heart was thumping. I could not even imagine walking up those
stairs! Young children, pregnant women, pregnant women with young
children, old people, etc, had to go up and down the stairs to get to an
from their homes! With the installation of the tram, the lives of the
people of San Agustin were improved immeasurably and it is all due to
the education and sense of empowerment that comes from organizing and
Metro Cable serves about 12,000 people per day at a cost of ten cents
per round trip ticket — and all of the employees come from the barrio.
the trip up the hill and steep climb down, we met with the community
organizers after a traditional Venezuelan lunch of beans, rice, fried
plantains and a little bit of meat for the meat eaters. Note: the
“traditional” Venezuelan lunch is identical to the traditional
Venezuelan breakfast and is very yummy.
98% of the organizers were women who spoke very articulately and
passionately about how their lives have improved since Chavez arose to
power from the people’s revolution and how they would defend Chavez and
the revolution with their very lives.
is power and perhaps that’s why before the Revolution, only primary
school was free and fees were charged for secondary education. Now in
Venezuela, school is free all the way through doctoral studies. We see
how the ruling class in our own country is gutting education and are
tying to make it as difficult as possible to get a University education.
A smart and thinking public is a dangerous public.
is so much to write about our trip and about the Bolivarian Revolution
that this will have to be a series of articles by necessity. We learned
so much! Also, my complete interview with President Chavez will be
available soon in audio and video and then a full-length documentary
entitled: TODOS SOMOS AMERICANOS (We are all Americans) will hopefully
be available and premiere by June 1.
is a very touching scene at the end of my interview with President
Chavez when President Evo Morales of Bolivia comes in the room.
President Morales was also in Montevideo for Mujica’s inauguration.
asked both the Presidents if they had any words of inspiration for the
people of the US. They both emphasized the need for grassroots unity,
but they especially wanted to stress their affection for the people of
President Morales standing by his side and nodding vigorously, President
Chavez said: “We are NOT anti-American, we ARE anti-Imperialism.”
tambien, mis hermanos.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
It's shaping up to be a banner year for Peter Gabriel. The
progressive-rock icon just turned 60. Genesis, the band he founded, will
be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gabriel is also
kicking off New Blood, a limited concert tour with full orchestra. And
he's just released his first solo album in eight years.
My Back features Gabriel performing a dozen cover songs by younger
artists such as Bon Iver and Regina Spektor, as well as more familiar
faces like Talking Heads and David Bowie. Gabriel set a single creative
restriction for this project: "No drums and no guitars." In the coming
months, some of these artists will release covers of Gabriel's songs, as
In an interview with Weekend Edition Sunday guest host Audie
Cornish, Gabriel talks about the role of lyrics in deciding which songs
he wanted to interpret.
"There are so many more things that I
love the music of than the lyrics," Gabriel says. "The lyrics was often
the reason I didn't do a lot of songs that I like. 'Cause when you
actually sort of strip them naked, it's not always that they're going to
stand up. You know, some rock lyrics work well in one environment, but
don't hold up if you separate them from their roots. And I think all of
these lyrics are great lyrics regardless of the music."
Gabriel and his team drastically re-orchestrated many of the songs on
Scratch My Back, stripping them down and scoring them anew.
me, it's quite a grown-up record," he says. "It's not easy listening.
And I love stuff like that: that you don't necessarily like at all at
first, but grows on you. And I think some of these songs are like that,
or particularly these arrangements.
"And I think it's a record
that we see as a journey," Gabriel adds. "I know records are being seen
very much as a selection of songs right now. And this is obviously, in
its origin, a selection of songs. But I think the way we put it
together, it's an old-fashioned album in the sense that you start at one
point and end up at another."
Gabriel also talks about recording
songs by The Magnetic Fields, Regina Spektor and Paul Simon. He calls
Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble," from the album Graceland, "one
of the great pop lyrics of the last century."
"We sort of sucked
out all the African elements, and you're left with the skeleton, which
is an extraordinary thing in itself," he says. "And I think a lot of
people, myself included, heard the lyrics in a different way, in a new
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Reading Is Sexy t-shirts and gifts
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Rachel Corrie, a twenty-three-year-old student from Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza seven years ago as she stood before a Palestinian home facing demolition. Today, a trial opens in Israel in a lawsuit brought by Corrie’s family against the Israeli government. The eyewitness testimony is expected to challenge Israel’s version of events with evidence that she was clearly visible to the soldiers, standing before the bulldozer in her florescent orange jacket. We spend the hour with Rachel Corrie’s family: her father Craig, her mother Cindy, and her sister Sarah.
MP3 of the segment
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Aung San Sun Kyi, Nelson Mandella, Chief Joseph, Harvey Milk — teach us!
Revolution aint what it used to be.
Emma Goldman, Cesar Chavez, Leonard Peltier, Sojourner Truth –teach us! The President used the word “change” to stop it. The change we seek couldn’t be clearer, but it is mimicked by Presidents and corporate marketing. By the time we shout “Justice” we’re in a commercial selling underwear, perfume, votes…
Revolution aint got the same song. Paul Robeson, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Public Enemy, Joe Strummer — please pull our songs into a new valley, a new union hall. The songs we thought would change everything become Muzak before they get to the elevator speakers. And the words. If we read the words in a library our reading room is privatized before turn we the page. We look down and logos cover our feet like leeches in the 18th century.
Che, Subcommandante Insurgente Marcos, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Judi Bari from Earth First — teach us! The change we seek is clear to the reactionaries too, and they discovered the disguise of scale. On the one hand they remove mountaintops and change the climate. So our citizenship is a slow state of shock. Then they go tiny, too. The corporations search for the DNA that makes us shop. They want to throw that switch. They look forward to the deletion of any mental dissent.
Walt Whitman, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King — please prepare us for the strangeness, the mystification of entrenched power. The killers hide in the air that we breathe and lurk in the dreams of our children. Where is the dirty coal executive? Where is the banker? Who do we push against? We swat at the pixels that buzz at our eyes like flies on the eyes of corpses. No, not corpses – consumers!
Could we be as brave as the heroes from revolutions past? We are facing a different foe. The powers-that-be are shape-shifting constantly. Consumerism and Militarism are so ambient, so plastic, so media-become-real. Resistance itself must be re-invented, in the sense that each of these heroes we’ve prayed to – each was a creator. Angela Davis‘ strategy for change was different than that of Bernadette Devlin, or the students in Tiananmen Square, or Toussaint L’ouverture.
Isn’t another name in revolution’s hall of fame — the Earth? We can pathologize all of these recent natural disasters as feverish seizures of a delirious planet. Then sometimes the earth seems coolly intelligent, as media-savvy as any video-taped underground movement – in its response to the poisoning from its human species.
Life on Earth — teach us! After all the heroes and martyrs and risings-up of the people, we sometimes feel as if we’ve gotten nowhere. The power of the corporations grows every hour and we don’t seem to have a response. You, the Earth where we live, you are responding. We sense that you are making your move, feverishly rising, interrupting, killing some of us and saving us all.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Women of all races bring home less income and own fewer assets, on
average, than men of the same race, but for single black women the
disparities are so overwhelmingly great that even in their prime working
years their median wealth amounts to only $5.
In a groundbreaking report released Monday by a leading economic
research group, social scientists turned a spotlight on the grave
financial challenges facing an often overlooked group of women, many of
whom could not take an unpaid sick day or repair a major appliance
without going into debt.
"It's rather shocking," said Meizhu Lui, director of the Closing the
Gap Initiative based in Oakland, Calif., who contributed to the report
"Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America's Future."
Among the most startling revelations in the wealth data is that while
single white women in the prime of their working years (ages 36 to 49)
have a median wealth of $42,600 (still only 61 percent of their single
white male counterparts), the median wealth for single black women is
"Even for those of us who have been looking at the wealth gap for a
while, we were shocked and amazed at how little women of color have,"
Ms. Lui said.
Researchers at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development,
based in Oakland, Calif., analyzed data from the 2007 Survey of
Consumer Finances, a voluminous report the Federal Reserve Board issues
every three years that examines household finances in this country.
Wealth, or net worth, measures the total of one's assets -- cash in
the bank, stocks, bonds and real estate; minus debts -- home mortgages,
auto loans, credit cards and student loans. The most recent financial
data was collected before the economic downturn, so the current numbers
likely are worse now than at the time of the study.
Black women, in general, were more likely to have participated in the
subprime loan crisis with upper-income black women being five times
more likely to have received a high-cost mortgage than upper-income
"The popular image is they spend too much, which is the reason they
are running up credit card and consumer debt, but the cost of living has
risen faster than income, and they need to go into debt for basic daily
necessities," Ms. Lui said. "It's compounded because unemployment is
twice as high in the black community than it is in the white community."
For all working-age black women 18 to 64, the financial picture is
bleak. Their median household wealth is only $100. Hispanic women in
that age group have a median wealth of $120.
"That means half of [black women] have a net worth of more than $100
and half have a net worth of less than $100," Ms. Lui said. "So that
gives you an idea of how far in debt some women of color are."
Married or cohabitating white women have a median wealth of $167,500.
Married or cohabitating black women have a median net worth of $31,500.
The reasons behind the daunting financial challenges black women face
are numerous and complex.
"There are excuses and circumstances that have evolved in society,
which put black women where they are," said Esther Bush, executive
director of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, who said in
Pittsburgh more than 70 percent of African-American families are headed
by single women.
The recession has hit single mothers especially hard.
According to a recent report by the Institute for Women's Policy
Research and the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania,
more than four out of 10 families headed by single mothers in Pittsburgh
and more than one in three in Pennsylvania, live in poverty.
In Pittsburgh and across the country, the financial burdens of single
parenthood fall mostly on women, but black women are more likely to
endure the work and responsibility of raising children on their own.
They are more likely to be the backbone of their families and
communities, with greater responsibilities to support struggling friends
In a 2008 study of black women and their money, the ING Foundation
found that black women -- who frequently manage the assets of their
households -- financially support friends, family and their houses of
worship to a much greater degree than the general population.
They also are more likely to be employed in jobs and industries --
such as service occupations -- with lower pay and less access to health
insurance. And when their working days are done, they rely most heavily
on Social Security because they are less likely to have personal
savings, retirement accounts or company pensions. Their Social Security
benefits are likely to be lower, too, because of their low earnings.
Rather than strictly comparing income, researchers in the Insight
study looked at the wealth gap. The current economic crisis has shown
that a person's wealth affects not only retirement security, but also a
person's ability to handle financial setbacks such as a job loss or a
High unemployment and high incarceration rates for black men also
lower the likelihood of single black women finding a partner to help
build a more secure financial future.
Ms. Lui said the Insight report would be used to encourage the
government to close the wealth gap and improve the outlook for women of
color, just as it did for Americans who received land through the
Homestead Act, and education through the GI bill.
"If wealth was based on hard work, African-Americans would be the
wealthiest people in our nation," she said. "It's not about behavior.
It's about government policies. Who does the government help and who is
it not helping?
"Our government knows how to build wealth for people. They've done it
for others and they can do it for all of us. They need to focus some
attention on women of color. Look at the situation and see what we
Tim Grant: email@example.com
Monday, March 08, 2010
All Women lets Unite!
We must never give up to fight for equal rights, only us women can ourselves can create a change.
The roots of International Women's Day are in the struggles of working women and their socialist/communist supporters.
History say that the mass protest by women garment and textile workers in New York City in 1857 occurred on March 8 & 2 years later also in march the same women won a drive to unionize. They were fighting against brutal working conditions, low wages, and the 12-hour day.
On March 8, 1908, socialist women organized a demonstration of 15,000 in New York. Their demands were pay raises, shorter hours, the vote, and an end to child labor. After that, the Socialist Party of America decided with a declaration to celebrate a National Women’s Day in the U.S, so the NWD was held in February 28 1909
Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
1910 a second International Socialist Congress of Working Women was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The attendees represented socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and unions, and included the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, at a time when few women had the right to vote.
U.S. delegates went intending to propose an international women’s day, but a feminist Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Party in Germany) did it first. 100 Women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties & the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, voted yes to Zetkin's suggestion & International Women's Day was created.
1911 on March 25, the 'Triangle Fire' in New York City shirtwaist factory, caused the deaths of 146 workers, mostly women, This disastrous scandal "helped" build the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, one of the first primarily female unions and became one of the largest unions in the U.S.
1913 many big IWD demostrations for peace took place in Europe & Russian women observed their first IWD, on the last Sunday in February 1913. IWD was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since.
World War I began in August 1914. But for many years IWD was suppressed by capitalist governments and a few socialist parties, that had betrayed international working-class solidarity by backing their own nations in the war.
1917 But the most memorably IWD so far was in Russia on March 8. Leon Trotskij’s "History of the Russian Revolution", describes it perfectly, (its a wonderful book) The last Sunday in February, Russian Women started a huge revolution"strike" for Bread & peace. 4 days later they overthrew the all-powerful Tsar's, who was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. This then led to Lenin's Bolshevik Party's revolution, eight months later, October 1917.
The only successful proletarian revolution in history, understood that Soviet women would never achieve political and social equality unless they were allowed out of the stultifying isolation of the home and into the workplace. Even in the midst of a civil war and foreign invasion, the early Soviet government did what it could to socialize ‘‘women’s work’’ while instituting, for the first time in history, full legal and political equality for women. Free abortion was available on demand; dining halls, laundries and day-care centers were established, and the new regime sought to ensure equality of economic opportunity in the civil service, in industry, in the party and in the armed forces.
Since those early years, International Women's Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women's movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women's conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point for coordinated efforts to demand women's rights and participation in the political and economic process. Increasingly, International Women's Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women's rights.
All my Love & Blessings goes out to every women in this world that are every day are abused in anyway.
For all women that do not have the chance to be a voice & whose efforts are not valued every day, for all women that are raising our new generation in this world.
We must fight for all these women in the world, fight for Dignity Justice & Equality.
International Women’s Day Marked Around the World
Thousands of events are being held around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day, an idea that was launched 100 years ago when a group of women from seventeen countries gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark to champion the rights of women. Activists across the globe are drawing attention to a variety of concerns, including discriminatory laws, the high rate of pregnancy-related deaths in many parts of the world, the skewed sex ratio in China and India, the disproportionately high number of women who are killed and victimized by wars, the comparatively heavier burden of poverty on women, and the continuing disparity between men and women in terms of the quality of available employment and wages received.
, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women
. She is following discussions at the United Nations as the Commission on the Status of Women
meets to review the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action that came out of the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
Saturday, March 06, 2010
The Michael teachings explore the spiritual philosophy of the mid-causal plane entity Michael, popularized in the best-selling book, "Messages from Michael" by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.
The Michael teachings provide a liberating set of tools that help chart our spiritual progress as we journey from first incarnation to last.
Learning about the roles (server, priest, artisan, sage, warrior, king, scholar) and the overleaves system, teaches us to validate our overall development in the reincarnational cycle (soul age), show where we are on the path, what lessons we will encounter, why we are here, and what is yet to come. It also helps us understand the unique qualities we bring to the world, and why people and societies are the way they are.
The teachings are very spiritual at their core, with many words and ideas that are primarily in Eastern religions, but unlike the religions and beliefs, seek to embrace the human experience in every form as a valid learning experience and an integral part of the whole being.
This site offers the largest resource of Michael teachings articles, Michael channeling, and related material available online, including monthly chats (where you can ask Michael questions), a database of students, a FAQ, and an active discussion list.
MichaelTeachings.com is a labor of love that was created for students, channels, and those wonderfully inquisitive souls still destined to discover the teachings.
Peace to you...
In a hurry? Try Michael in a Nutshell
Find it Fast:
Friday, March 05, 2010
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The akashic records (akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning "sky", "space" or "aether") is a term used in theosophy (and Anthroposophy) to describe a compendium of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence. These records are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos. They are metaphorically described as a library; other analogues commonly found in discourse on the subject include a "universal computer" and the "Mind of God". People who describe the records assert that they are constantly updated and that they can be accessed through astral projection. The concept originated in the theosophical movements of the 19th century. It is frequently used in New Age discourse.
In his books Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls, Evidence of Life between Lives, Michael Newton, a hypnotherapist who has worked with subjects in deep states, has many accounts of the akashic record, or "Book of Life". Souls prior to being incarnated go to a 'library' and view the pages associated with the life they are considering. The pages are not necessarily sequential. Although there may be definitive way points along the course of our lives, our free will can change paths, events and outcomes. As the soul prepares for a life with the intent of learning a particular lesson or satisfying a karmic debt, the soul will also choose a family and a body that will help them with the lessons for this incarnation. For many, some of those images survive "birth amnesia" and become our intuition serving them during their lives.
C.W. Leadbeater, who claimed to be clairvoyant, conducted research into the akashic record. He said he inspected this at the Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar (Tamil Nadu), India during the summer of 1910 and recorded the results in his book Man: How, Whence, and Whither? The book records the history of Atlantis and other civilizations and the future society of Earth in the 27th century.
Edgar Cayce stated that each person is held to account after life and "confronted" with their personal akashic record of what they have or have not done in life in a karmic sense. The idea is comparable to the Biblical Book of Life, which is consulted to see whether or not the dead should be admitted to heaven.
Ervin Laszlo in his books Science and the Akashic Field and Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos brings the latest new science of the akashic field and its function as the source of all manifestation and interconnectedness, flowing out and in via the vacuum field or zero-point energy, which he equates with akasha—cosmic mind, universal consciousness, and the field that unifies all things.
Jane Roberts in the Seth books describes a different version of a similar idea. Seth asserts that the fundamental stuff of the universe is ideas and consciousness, and that an idea once conceived exists forever. Seth argued that all ideas and knowledge are in principle accessible by "direct cognition". Direct cognition shares semantic congruency with intuition and allows for the possibility of direct knowing without time elapsing and without knowledge needing to be transferred e.g. in speech or text. This is similar to what Robert Monroe refers to as rotes in his out-of-body book trilogy.
Robert L. DeMelo in his theoretical physics ebook The General Principles of Reality A takes another approach. He uses implicit logic to deduce the potential existence of an infinite knowing universal consciousness of which we are all a part. Essentially each contributes to its own existence. His logical deduction compares the common properties between space and time and applies them to consciousness. He concludes his ebook by referring to this infinite consciousness as God.
According to Max Heindel's Rosicrucian writings, the "Memory of Nature" (akashic records) may be read in three different inner worlds. In the reflecting ether of the etheric region, there are pictures of all that has happened in the world. These may be of events at least several hundred years back, or much more in some cases, and they appear almost as pictures on a screen, with the difference that the scene shifts backward. The Memory of Nature may be read, in a higher world, in the highest subdivision of the Region of Concrete Thought of the World of Thought. Lastly, it may be read in the World of Life Spirit, covering events from the earliest dawn of our present manifestation. This is possible only for spiritual adepts or spiritual entities; it is through grace that access to the records is granted.
The Urantia Book asserts the validity and reality of these "living records" in several accounts. In Paper 25 is found the statement: "The recording angels of the inhabited planets are the source of all individual records. Throughout the universes other recorders function regarding both formal records and living records. From Urantia to Paradise, both recordings are encountered: in a local universe, more of the written records and less of the living; on Paradise, more of the living and less of the formal; on Uversa, both are equally available."
And in Paper 25:
"The Memory of Mercy is a living trial balance, a current statement of your account with the supernatural forces of the realms. These are the living records of mercy ministration which are read into the testimony of the courts of Uversa when each individual's right to unending life comes up for adjudication, when "thrones are cast up and the Ancients of Days are seated. The broadcasts of Uversa issue and come forth from before them; thousands upon thousands minister to them, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before them. The judgment is set, and the books are opened." And the books which are opened on such a momentous occasion are the living records of the tertiary seconaphim of the superuniverses. The formal records are on file to corroborate the testimony of the Memories of Mercy if they are required.
In The Law of One, Book I, a book purported to contain conversations with a channeled "social memory complex" known to humans as "Ra," when the questioner asks where Edgar Cayce received his information, the answer received is, "We have explained before that the intelligent infinity is brought into intelligent energy from eighth density or octave. The one sound vibratory complex called Edgar used this gateway to view the present, which is not the continuum you experience but the potential social memory complex of this planetary sphere. The term your peoples have used for this is the "Akashic Record" or the "Hall of Records."
"Future Life Reading" - Helen Stewart Wambach (1925-1985), who lived in Concord, California, claimed to be able to read the akashic record. She said she could hypnotize people and enable them to experience their possible future lives in various alternate universes.
In Thiaoouba Prophecy, Michel Desmarquet tells of being abducted in 1987 from Australia by supreme alien beings. During a visit of nine days with them, he is guided through the akashic record. He uses the synonym of psychosphere. He says the akashic record is like a "vibratory cocoon, which turns at a speed seven times that of light. This cocoon acts as a blotter, as it were, absorbing (and remembering) absolutely every event occurring on the planet. The contents of this cocoon are inaccessible to us on Earth - we have no way of ‘reading the land.’"
So far, the only presented evidence of akashic records has been the claims of those who purport to gather information from them. These claims cannot be empirically tested, and thus is not deemed a serious matter of scientific inquiry. Neither the Christian nor Vedic/Hindu traditions generally recognize their scriptures and beliefs as being rooted in the akashic record, though specific groups or individuals may subscribe to such a belief. However in Islamic belief, under the concept of Qadar, there is a notation of so called "the Book of Decree", or "Al-Lawh Al-Mahfud" which is also defined as a preserved tablet that holds the records of all the events that ever happened and also that are going to happen. (See: Predestination in Islam) Section 1 Jup Part 2 of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book) references an Akaashic ether, "the earth, its support, and the Akaashic ethers." Many translations have "Akaashic" capitalized.
In popular culture
According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apaurueya "not of human agency", are supposed to have been directly revealed to the rishis, and thus are called śruti ("what is heard").
• The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ
• Esoteric cosmology
• Store consciousness
• Terma (Buddhism)
• Seth Lloyd
Thursday, March 04, 2010
by Dan Colman
The place: A produce market in Valencia, Spain. The day: Just a day like any other. But then suddenly Verdi’s La traviata
booms out over the speakers, and opera singers, initially masquerading as shopkeepers, take center stage. Stick with it until the end. The customer reaction is precious. We’ve added this one to our YouTube favorites
Thanks Charlie for the tip …
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
The Violinaires: Groovin' With Jesus
Put Your Hand in the Hand
From Groovin' With Jesus (197?)
One of the best known gospel funk songs out there is the appropriate titled "Groovin' With Jesus" by the venerable Violinaires. This Detroit-founded group has a long, deep history - Wilson Pickett was once a member and the Rolling Stones apparently wrote for them. This comes out of their early '70s catalog (and if you've ever perused the gospel section at a record store, you know how prolific they could be) and they're very clearly experimenting with some secular flavor. Frankly, I have yet a hear anything even remotely on this level, at least in terms of how well it kicks that '70s funk sound. Humble Pie and the Lifesavas knew the real.
I included a second song off the same album...one that you would have assumed might kick a little break based on experience but no. Yet, this is probably one of the best versions of the song I've ever heard. Despite the opening drum break on other versions, they tend to slide in campy country rock and the Violinaires keep their version quite soulful throughout.
Rev. Carlton Coleman: Rockgospeltime Pt. 2
From Rock Gospel Time (Brunswick, 1970)
Coleman is probably best known in soul circles for having worked with James Brown on the novelty cut, "The Boo Boo Song". By 1970, Coleman...no longer "King Coleman" but Rev. Carlton Coleman, was on Brunswick and recorded one of the more eclectic albums for that label (which is saying a lot). That LP was a mix of long (and I do mean long) monologues about Coleman's unique "Rock Gospel Time" philosophies with a few really funky cuts, among them "Share It" and this mostly instrumental jam, "Rockgospeltime Pt. 2"
The William Singers: He Lifted Me
From He Lifted Me (Checker, 1973)
Thought I'd finish off with another Checker release (the studio seemed to be encouraging these kind of gospel-meets-funk fusions), this one from the William Singers. I think it's safe to say this cut, in particular, borrows heavily from Chicago's dense music scene with a classic funky blues riff powering the cut.
Monday, March 01, 2010
Playwright Lillian Hellman said: “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”
The statement was in a letter to the House Un-American Activities Committee. The year was 1952. We tell ourselves that the McCarthy era was vastly different than our own -- but what about the political fashions of 2010?
This year’s fashions cut mean figures on Washington’s runways. Conformities lie, and people die.
While the escalating disaster of war in Afghanistan keeps setting deadly blazes, the few anti-war voices on Capitol Hill usually sound like people whispering “Fire!”
In 2010, this is what the warfare state looks like: a largely numbed state, mainlining anesthetics that induce routine torpor. In that context, the conformity of mild dissent is apt to be mistaken for outspoken moral acuity.
On the back of an envelope, or anywhere else, check this math:
$1,000,000 x 100,000 = $100,000,000,000
In round flat numbers, that’s the cost of deploying 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for one year -- $100 billion. The initial “cost” includes none of the human consequences.
In a numbed process, filtered through media and political buzz phrases, we talk about one number, then another. Numb and number.
For domestic acceptance, a far-off war depends on the pumped-up anesthetics of verbal abstractions and hollow numbers, permeating news media and political discourse. Wooden words and figures, bolted together; every number a lie when wrenched into claiming to tell a human truth.
The number we get, the farther from warfare’s human consequences. While more lives are being shattered elsewhere, conscience hems and haws to fit this year’s fashions.
When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “Beyond Vietnam” speech on April 4, 1967, he told listeners that he had moved during the course of two years, finally, “to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart.”
At the podium of Riverside Church in New York City, he said: “I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.”
Dr. King noted that the human spirit has “great difficulty” moving against “all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world.”
In his own way, King was saying what Hellman had said 15 years earlier -- when she declared herself unwilling to “cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”
This year, with the escalating occupation of Afghanistan widely believed to be on automatic policy pilot, conscience is fashionably cloaked with acquiescence. Many in Congress who say they don’t support the war keep voting to fund it -- and keep their voices muffled. The brandished wrath of the House Speaker or the
White House chief of staff is most effective as a preemptive club.
A dozen years after Hellman defied HUAC, a senator defied the fearful conformity of 1964. Seeing the escalation of the Vietnam War on the near horizon, Wayne Morse spoke truth to -- and about -- power. The contrast with today’s liberal baseline on Capitol Hill is painfully evident if you watch footage of Senator Morse
for two minutes.
Norman Solomon is the author of Made Love, Got War.
The mystery of Chopin's birthday
Fryderyk Chopin was born at Zelazowa Wola in Mazovia, in the Warsaw region of Poland. His father Nicholas had been born in France in 1771 in Marainville, a village in Lorraine – a area which at that time was ruled over by the Polish King Stanislas Leszczynski.
Nicholas, of humble origin, but very able and intelligent, had accompanied the Polish agent of his village to Warsaw in 1792, and from then on identified totally with Poland, preferring to speak Polish rather than French.
|The Manor of Zelazowa Wola|
In 1802 Nicholas Chopin was engaged by Count Skarbek to be tutor to his four children at his estate of Zelazowa Zola, and in 1806 he married a poor relation of the family, Justyna Krzyzanowska, then living with the Skarbeks and acting as their housekeeper. The couple had a daughter in 1807 and then moved out of the main house into a thatched cottage close by, where their only son was born on possibly the 22nd of February and possibly the 1st of March 1810.
The child was named Fryderyk after Fryderyk Skarbek, the Count’s eldest son, who was to be godfather. Actually they had to wait some time to receive the 18-year old Count’s consent, as he was studying in Paris, and when the christening eventually took place on the 23rd April at the parish church of Saint-Rock in Brochów, a proxy stood in for young Fryderyk Skarbek. The date of the birth was duly entered as the 22nd of February in the baptismal register. (It is interesting to note that Chopin’s godfather was to become a distinguished economist, historian and writer, and that he and Chopin became good friends in later life).
Despite the date in the parish register, Chopin’s family always celebrated his birthday on the 1st of March.
To complicate things further, Jane Stirling – his Scottish pupil and benefactor – said that Chopin had told her she was the only one who knew his real birth date. She wrote it down, put it in a box, and this box was apparently placed in Chopin’s grave in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.
Some sense can be made of this. In the nineteenth century people were much more vague about actual birthdays than we are today, and in a Catholic country such as Poland the name day would have been just as important, if not more so. However, in Britain it is the birthday which counts, and one can imagine Jane Stirling asking her beloved Master when his birthday was, so she could give him a present. He may have told her, adding that she was not to tell anyone else, as he did not want a lot of fuss.
Whether the writing in Jane’s box would even be legible now is dubious, so even if it is the real date we may never know the truth.
The Chopin Society celebrates the 22nd of February, as our Founder, Lucie Swiatek, favoured that date, though generally the 1st of March is more frequently regarded as correct.
© Copyright Rose Cholmondeley 1998 (with acknowledgements to Iwo and Pamela Zaluski).
Etude Op10 #1
Click here for a ton more Chopin tunes to listen to...
Bill Maher recently told Larry King that the Senate is where "legislation goes to die." Well, not this time.
Wednesday night, after all the cameras were gone and the Senate was filled just with senators, a voice vote was taken sans debate and a resolution passed that extends provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which were scheduled to sunset on Sunday, for another year.
The Democrats who are said to have worked hard to neutralize this legislation that had a built-in sunset clause did little more than wring their hands.
Republicans, so adept at lip synching that same old song about national security, were quick to point to Ft. Hood, and the bungled bombing of an airline on Christmas Day as the rationale behind the Patriot Act. But, what these strident proponents of homeland security neglected to mention is that both the Ft. Hood incident and the aborted bombing of a Southwest Airlines jet happened after the Patriot Act had been in full play for nearly a decade. Go figure.
The House Judiciary Committee passed a measure intended to protect against abuse of library records by the FBI, as well as restrict the use of National Security Letters,governmental demand letters for information. The House bill was also meant to challenge carte blanche surveillance of someone designated as a "lone wolf."
But, thanks to Senate Democrats' temporary state of paralysis, there will no doubt be more warrantless police searches of a suspect's home after their arrest as happened in San Diego, U.S. v. Lemus, a case that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit refused to hear last week with another prominent George W. Bush-era figure, Jay Bybee, sitting on the bench. Bybee, you'll recall, was one of the masterminds of the 2002 "torture memos."
Does anyone know why legislation mired in controversy wasn't subject to full debate in the Senate? Why were the Senate Republicans allowed to bully Democrats into submission? Maybe Democrats don't want to look weak on national security right before a major midterm election. But, in the end, are they more interested in facades than facts?
Here are some facts. According to the Associated Press, those parts of the Patriot Act given a reprieve for another year "Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones, Allow court-appointed seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations, and permit surveillance against a so-called 'lone wolf,' a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group."
Boiled down to the lowest common denominator, all three provisions amount to neutering the Fourth Amendment, as well as eradicating the legal presumption of innocence.
But, facts aren't always convenient. Just ask Mr. Cheney. After all, it is he trying to convince us that the U.S. is no safer today, under President Obama, than it was before 9/11, despite the Patriot Act, so why then should the law that was conceived, and launched on Cheney's watch continue to see the light of day?
Yet, after a historic televised debate on the need to overhaul national health care and in the quiet of the night, a gang of fear-mongerers were allowed to shout down, by voice vote, changes that would have provided a modicum of insulation against FBI, and law enforcement excesses making one thing crystal clear: Congress is now a refuge for cowards.
With any luck, the three important parts of the Patriot Act just extended will meet their maker next February, but not unless Democrats draw a line in the sand. There can be no national security where there is erosion of constitutional protections.
Jayne Lyn Stahl is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.
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