January 26th, 2011

Death Notice:
Palestinian State finally stillborn.
Now begins the Terror?

The Palestine Papers are clear: Obama gave the Cairo Speech, then promptly sold the Palestinian state down the river.

( Here is Al Jazeera’s search page for the approx 2,000 diplomatic cables and the like, chiefly out of Israeli and Palestinian Authority offices. )

The extent of the collapse — complete — of support for the UN resolution that recognized Israel in sync with a plan for a two-state solution … Shocking.

It’s now clear that when the Israeli foreign minister gave the UN the finger on Palestine this past September, he had the American president in his pocket.

No wonder Knesset member Zaneen Hoabi simply said “No chance” last year.

And no wonder the New York Review of Books (our finest periodical) has just published a notice of surrender:

It’s now clear that the American war in the mideast, pinched upon Iran’s eastern and western borders, was coeval and is conjoined with a final solution in Palestine.

Alan Sabrosky, a Vietnam combat vet, former intelligence officer with the Marines and former director of the Army War College, talks plainly about how the American war got off the ground.

And it’s now clear how the Army of God comes to appoint the Prime Minister of Lebanon. I wonder if Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Zakheim et al. — the creators of the American war under Bush-Cheney — are laughing or crying.

These are the days of miracles and wonder. These are the days when the Justice Department proceeds beyond the bounds of law against Anti-War demonstrators and the free press.

Little wonder, of course, that the American media are all but silent on the truth of 9/11 and, now, the Palestine Papers.

One effect of the latter’s publication in freer worlds abroad seems all but certain: A true war of terror, born of final despair re the fate and treatment of the Arabs of Palestine, in the angry half of the Islamic world. Hope dies last, as Alexander Dubcek observed, but now it is dead.

No more Mr Shoe Bomb. No more Mr Underpants.

It’s well known amid intel types that nuclear devices are loose in the underworld. Every now and then an attempt to sell one surfaces. 1994 was the beginning of this game. It now seems to me only a question of time before angry young men try to set one off in Tel Aviv or New York.

January 26th, 2011

Alan Sabrosky re Israel, Mossad and 9/11

For files.

From Kevin Barrett‘s excellent radio show.

Sabrosky is a Vietnam combat vet and a former director at the Army War College.

Also in the news today, the American ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, a Chicago friend of Obama, calls for the head of a UN official who had the temerity to write that the US government seemed to be involved in a coverup of the 9/11 events.

January 25th, 2011

State of the Union:
Activism is a crime

M

Maureen Murphy writes:

I have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on January 25. But I will not testify, even at the risk of being put in jail for contempt of court, because I believe that our most fundamental rights as citizens are at stake.

I am one of 23 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists in Chicago and throughout the Midwest who are facing a grand jury as part of an investigation into “material support for foreign terrorist organizations.” No crime has been identified. No arrests have been made …

January 24th, 2011

Everything will be alright

This Grasshopper’s got me all Zenned down, I love the guy.

January 24th, 2011

Dying of Cancer — the Film

Posted in Death, Movies, These United States by ed

A somber documentary. How to Die in Oregon.

The cancer business is a travesty in the US. We DO have Death Panels. They’re called Oncology Practice Groups.

Perhaps this is one reason the film is (by reports) so hard to watch.

January 23rd, 2011

FBI and Fracking company contra woman in Pennsylvania

Fracking — a method of drilling for natural gas — poisons groundwater yet is steaming ahead under Obama.

Here is an ACLU video about a Pennsylvania woman active in trying to prevent local Fracking getting targeted by Homeland Security, which lumped her with terrorists and proceeded against her as such, and passed intelligence about her to the corporation doing the local Fracking.

We are so far gone down the road to perdition. That fracking is alllowed to occur anywhere is itself something out of dystopic science fiction.

January 23rd, 2011

FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley re new American gestapo

Posted in American Gestapo by ed

She was a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2002.

Now sees 1984 in our future.

Demonstrations are scheduled at FBI buildings in 30 cities on January 25 re the anti-war activists who were raided by Mueller’s Maulers in the fall.

January 22nd, 2011

Obamarama: Internet IDs
coming this year

Obama will be unveiling a “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” in the next few months.

The “White House Cybersecurity Coordinator” practiced Doublespeak while breaking the news a few weeks ago, pointing out that the Commerce Department:

is “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet ….

“We are not talking about a national ID card. We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”

January 22nd, 2011

Greenland melts
all the more

The year lately passed saw by far the worst melt in Greenland since worrywarts started watching in 1979.

Some background here.

M

January 22nd, 2011

From the Archives:
Is Ideology a good idea?

Some fun from the Summer 1992 issue of The New Combat: a Dialogue Game played around the notion of the need for ethical and political ideologies. Camus. Bertrand Russell. Ayn Rand. What a party.

(Comments to the game text may be posted here below.)

So … The Summer of ’92. Jennifer O’Neill, what a babe …

Bill Clinton and Al Gore were running against incumbent Papa Bush and Dan Quayle.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War were yesterday and the day before.

People were looking forward to them Peace Dividends.

The working class still had representation in Washington.

Hardly anyone knew what the internet was or might be.

January 22nd, 2011

Rouault:
The Little Dwarf

Posted in Music, Painting by ed

M

Rouault called him Le petit Nain.

Not merely a dwarf, but a little one at that.

And yet, even so, he seems cramped by life. Painted into a corner, as it were.

I find myself now and then in sympathy with the poor fellow.

He’s one among perhaps two dozen circus players that Rouault painted in similar style as a collection called The Circus of the Shooting Star.

I have them in a Mondadori book of the same name in Italian — Il Circo Della Stella Filante — a copy of which I once gave to Rickie Lee Jones on her birthday, recalling her sad daring Deep Space equestrienne in the show of same name:

DEEP SPACE
(AN EQUESTRIENNE IN THE CIRCUS OF THE FALLING STAR)

These stars
no one else can see
trapeze the height of thee
vanish as they call

These blues
no one else can hear

No one else can sing
this one for you
can they, dear?

Things that you do are always with me
when you’re laughing you’re always here
What’s the use in crying?
It won’t matter when we’re old.

This tear
will finally fall

Keep your eyes here
when there’s no net at all

Where the Lord’s face
is an all-night cafe

There’s a woman who will wait on
what you have to say

And your dreams are like marbles
in the pocket of a little boy

And they whisper when you hold them
like a beautiful girl

January 21st, 2011

Pasternak’s granddaughter loathes the new translation of
Doctor Zhivago

asdfasd

January 19th, 2011

Twin Tower tenants throughout their history

For Files.

All the tenants of WTC 1 and 2, it would seem, just released thru FOIA.

January 19th, 2011

Patriot Act in Great Kills:
Joyous Jets fan snow coasts down Cleveland to eternity

Posted in Death, These United States by ed

Minutes after the Jets shocking victory over the Patriots, he ran out in a fit of joy and took a leap with a snow coaster that seconds later had him skidding into heavy traffic on Cleveland Avenue, and there he died.

The Times recall the man:

Mr. Larsen was best known for things big — indeed, he did everything big. Big decorations at Halloween and Christmas. Big Sunday afternoons with big groups of friends watching the big games.

He would mount a 12-foot inflated snowman, wearing a top hat and a Jets jersey, on his truck when tailgating at Jets games.

“He was just always having fun.”

January 17th, 2011

Mother and Child
Father and son

Posted in Painting by ed

Jacopo Bellini, father of Giovanni, late in life, learning something of Naturalism from his son, I’ve always surmised.

The blend of old and new — byzantine icon and the italian naturalism — has always struck me as perfectly beautiful.

January 16th, 2011

True Grit rides anew and leaves Stanley in the dust

The characters in the Coen brothers film are geared to work against both the Old Testament bleakness of the novel and the Waynesian joie de vivre of the first film.

Mattie in the film, at fourteen, is a relentless robotic harridan-to-be, expressing thru caricature the bleak worldview that Stanley Fish here extracts from the novel and offers as the spiritual key to the new film.

Mattie’s been trained as a bookkeepper and, we find, knows nothing about life and justice on the great frontier. Most comico-tragically, she badgers the tumbleweeds of the prairie with threats or promises of treatment by her lawyer. Finally poor Ned shuts her up, for us all, by responding that what he needs is a “good JUDGE” — yearning, it seems, for the Good News god and His mercy as deadly accidents set in train by Mattie’s thirst for revenge snake about his neck like a noose.

Cogburn steadily provides the antidote of worldly experience to Mattie’s booklearning and naive rationalism. Eg, he instructs and insists that Ned Chaney hung in Texas for shooting a senator is as good as Arkansas for shooting Mattie’s pa — and that the financial benefits of the former settle the case. Let’s be reasonable.

The only bit of this Cogburn we see in Mattie is when she goes a bit soft on LaBoeuf, who, at the extreme from her take-no-prisoners egomania, espouses the chivalrous naivete of the Cavalier society that settled Texas. Cogburn, in between, does his best to moderate the romance, but Mattie’s headstrong stone-hearted quest for vengeance must leave Quixote in the dust. “Ever stalwart,” he sadly affirms, too late to be heard, as she rides into the sunset in search of her devil.

A quarter century thence, at film’s end, we see that Mattie’s blindered pursuit of her ideal brought her to a barren life. She is, at 40, an echo of Miss Gulch — from The Wizard of the Oz — an irredeemable witch peculiar to the frontier who demonstrates no more curiosity or compassion for things human than she did at fourteen. She strides through the colorful marvels of a city and a circus without a sidelong glance, and her very last line is an imperious insult — “Keep your seat, trash!” — to an old man who failed to rise in her bristling presence.

The film’s coda, then, cements the notion (which sprouted for me about halfway thru) that the last thing one must do with this story is respect the barbaric worldview of its motor-mouthed bookkeeping upstart protagonist.

Naturally, then, one looks elsewhere — to Jeff Bridge’s Cogburn, who shares the joy of John Wayne’s but whose every decision is shot through by social psychology, and who recognizes a good deal of himself in all the bad guys: “I know him!” he keeps moaning to Mattie as the hapless of the earth wander into his crosshairs.

In short: The last thing I see in this Cogburn is the amoral gunslinging paraclete that Stanley Fish is at such pains to paint.

Affinities between the Old Testament and the amoral Predeterminism of certain Christian schools are oft remarked. And it’s a familiar turn in American letters to use the Old Testament to gloss the New World.

Alfred Kazin was a master of this, and his essays on Lincoln — whom he finds caught between the South’s fundamental sin and the relentless paracletes of Abolition — are among the assessments of the American character that I treasure.

But Mr Fish, falling short of Kazin, offers an impoverished reading of the new film, whether out of doctrine (his distinctive nihilism) or innocently, as it were, I don’t know. What seems clear is that the Coen brothers set out to Deconstruct the novel’s heroine, as a spiritually barren witch — and it’s odd that Perfesser Fish of all people would not notice.

By film’s end I even wonder if she was telling the truth about her devil Ned Chaney.

However that may be, it’s odd to find her, twenty-five years later, venerating Cogburn’s memory and yet so unchanged, so blindly made of stone after all these years. T’would seem that authentic veneration might have tenderized her hide a hair. Perhaps we are to sense that subterranean guilt, for having dragged Cogburn and the rest into her hell, is the real reason she transports his grave to the barren hilltop where her parents lie.

In any case, I mourn for this Cogburn as he tries to rest in peace with Mattie Gulch’s blank stare and recitations from the Bible falling upon his bones.

January 13th, 2011

Leader of Spanish communists mad that FBI used his photo
to concoct Most Wanted pix
of Osama Bin Laden

You can’t make this stuff up.

Or …

January 12th, 2011

A Free Man:
Mark Landis, Master Forger

Posted in Painting by ed

Ah, to be free.

January 9th, 2011

Tombstone
Arizona

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Pentagon boss, whom I admire, is worried about the declining character of the armed forces:

“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last decade; some of it’s been pretty unpleasant stuff,” Admiral Mullen said in an interview. “I want us to understand what we’ve seen, to a depth that we can ensure that our moral compass stays true, our ethical compass stays true.”

Mullen’s worries bear relation to the mass assassinations yesterday in Tucson, in that across the past decade the society has being trained to accept perpetual war as a way of life.

Our kids, our soldiers, growing up, are trained to envision life as a video game. And Obama’s Secretary of Education spent most of the past decade turning five Public Schools in Chicago into military academies.

The Spectre of the Gun haunts the society’s blood, born as we were coeval with Industrialism, with no time, as in Europe, to prepare for that onslaught, in a protracted war for control of the continent against nature and its natives.

Armies destroy countries — often their own.

Japan and Bismarck’s Germany — reduced to cinders by 1945, having provoked with their martial successes and crimes the remainder of the industrialized world into alliance.

The Russian empire in its Soviet phase — an elephantine Military-Industrial Complex riding the backs of an impoverished and well policed working class, an inverted pyramid, an unstable equillibrium nevertheless held in place for several generations by secret police, radio and television.

For people like Gore Vidal, whom I admire, it’s a given: the American empire was born in 1898 with our adventurism contra Spain in the Philipines and the Caribbean. We then built a huge permanent army to help win the world wars. That work done, the monster turned upon Dr Frankenstein. The republic’s cancer exhibited itself in 1963. We’ve been watching it die all our lives. The installation of Bush-Cheney, in retrospect, seems the end. The full-page tombstone in the New York Times.

However one might parse our history, no Western society could withstand in perpetuity the things we’ve done here and abroad for the reasons we’ve done them since October 2000. Mullen seems to sense this, and indeed, almost to be saying as much out loud.

And the eloquent Sheriff Dudnick of Pima County yesterday echoed him:

“This has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in and I think its time we do the soul-searching,” he said. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately, Arizona has become the capital. We have become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry.”

January 8th, 2011

Abraham Bolden, Secret Service agent of JFK’s day

Hero Mark Lane will have a documentary this year featuring hero Abraham Bolden, former Secret Service agent and author of THE ECHO FROM DEALEY PLAZA, who was imprisoned for trying to publicize the story of the attempted assassination of JFK in Chicago in early November 1963.

Here’s the two of them speaking.

And here — perhaps more informative — is Mr Bolden with Thom Hartmann (three clips total there on youtube).

And here’s a panel with James Douglass, author of the excellent JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE – Why He Died and Why It Matters (2008), with Oliver Stone and Lisa Pease (latter whom has dropped here a few times in the past …) Five clips total.