About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Monday, December 31, 2007

Mother Teresa recognized she had no "Soul"

The letters of Mother Teresa were published in 2007, a decade after her death. In MOTHER TERESA: COME BE MY LIGHT, her confessors published her sometimes desperate, devoted, and canny letters which she specifically requested be destroyed. She writes in detail to her confessors and ecclesiastic superiors of the constant crisis of faith which plagued her mission from beginning to end. Of particular interest is how she turned to the Church Fathers for help, and they gave her NOTHING. She told them from the outset "Where is my Faith--even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness and darkness--my God--how painful is this unknown pain--I have no Faith...". And the Confessor suggested she address himself AS IF talking to Jesus. She responds: "I am told God loves me, and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul."
Mother Teresa's "superiors" then replied, recommending that she view all of this "as a sign" that she was sharing Jesus' suffering on the cross.
Talk about cold. This recommendation hermetically seals the suffering of Mother Teresa, using doubt to confirm a belief. The true color of this recommendation is also revealed by background information -- the Church was embarassed by Mother Teresa: She was doing what the Fathers talked about doing. The Church never supported her work. The Popes and Cardinals and Bishops all despised her for revealing their own hypocrisy and greed.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tardigrades - the oldest and most successful inhabitant of earth

Water bears are the most successful life form on earth. Over 750 distinct species, with their own Phylum, and no other creatures so ubiquitous or continuous. They survive man's exploitation of nature, thriving in cities. Scientists have found bear packs in hot springs, on top of the Himalayas, under 5 meter layers of ice, and in deep ocean high-pressure sediments. They can "resurrect" after a decade of freeze-dried dessication. Many species are found in a mild environments like lakes, ponds and meadows, while others prefer stone walls and roofs. But their most typical grazes are moss cushions.
Curiously, this life form is unknown to almost everybody. Even my Britannica Encyclopaedia has only 2" devoted to the water bears, with a poor gray tone photo of these colorful animals. The scientific name is Tardigrada, i.e. slow-walking animals. Although microscopists have been fascinated by the water bears for several hundred years, their size makes then hard for us to observe --just below unaided vision but too big for slide microscopes.
Finally, there is the aspect of Time. They have been found in ancient amber and are one of the oldest forms of life. Their lives are so small, so atomic, as to have less time at their disposal, and more. Time deconstructs as mass is reduced. Chris Impey writes in THE LIVING COSMOS, "Time's arrow seems to be an emergent property of large collections of atoms". The water bears, in their little moss gardens of Eden, are as invisible to us, but more perpetual, as any god.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Terrorism is a "policing" problem - not a "war-fighting" concern

In seven years of conducting a War on Terror, the Bush administration has yet to locate the top 150 Taliban leaders, not to mention stopping any of the top Al Queda operatives. Bin Laden remains at large. Not a single wealthy financier of the billion-dollar industries funding Al Queda has been arrested -- the blood diamonds, smuggling, opium, and oil. The Bush administration gave billions to the Pakistani military, and to various Iraqi fronts, and has operated a concentration camp at Guantanamo, and none of these efforts have produced results of any consequence.

Domestically, has the Administration located a single "terrorist"? Other than the four people who were already identified prior to the seizure of power by Bush in 2000? The Bush Administration has made much of the "necessity" for resorting to various erosions of civil rights under color of "tools for fighting terrorism". Taxpayers have apparently been billed billions for a few water-boards, and for "Homeland Security". Warrantless wire-taps are apparently needed, although Bush's Attorney General never bothered to hire Arab-speakers to conduct the listening surveillance.

So, the Federal Government cabal spends billions of dollars, violates the Constitution, and erodes civil rights all in the name of a "War on Terror".

Last week, a small suburban police force squelched a sophisticated plot by actual Islamic terrorists who planned on bombing targets in Southern California. The Torrance police did not need to send anyone on a black flight to Egypt for interrogation, and did not need any warrantless wire-taps or even a private concentration camp. They kept us safe with good hard police work, and adherence to intelligent and lawful police procedures.

How can we remain silent? There really ARE terrorists among us. We hear what Bin Laden is saying, we see the hate-mongers chanting "Death!" in their madrassas and mosques, and we have the Oklahoma City bomber to reflect upon. We foolishly elected a leader, in this time of crisis, who chose to profit himself at our expense during this "War". And the consequences continue to emerge.

The Torrance Police work is redemptive, and it exposes the criminality of the Terrorists -- the six ignorant pawns of the Saudi billionaires who were operating a terrorist cell, and the six ignorant billionaires who took over the US Government. The Bush Cabinet is a terrorist cell.

Coincidence as Proof of God's Hand

Coincidence has always played a wonderful part as proof of god. Our brains are predisposed to seek and find patterns -- we are walking metaphors, we are embodied hyperboles and we live inside mandalas. Every part of our "consciousness", which is the black box inside our incomprehensible existance, is devoted to "explaining", to "seeing connections", to linking our sites, to sorting categories of imperatives.
At the same time, Chance is rolling out its infinite die. Lady Luck accompanies us but her company is the only predictable thing about her. Yet so often, so many of the chance events in our life appear to be "more than coincidence" -- as if our lives were guided by god, even in the most mundane ways. As if a god would care if we were late to a hearing or a party, or as if our suffering is a punishment or an opportunity. Is it "God's Hand" that plays us? This thing that is all over us with serendipity?
Example of coincidence in a mundane matter: In May 1944, a cross-word puzzle was published in the London Daily Telegraph. The answers to the clues included such names as Utah, Omaha, Overlord, Mulberry, and Neptune. A few days later, those words were revealed as highly-secret code names for D-Day operations. After investigation, the extraordinary use of 5 words from classified war operations in a cross-word was ruled to be pure coincidence.
Clearly, the god of coincidence works full-time, and is not shy about war secrets or above cross-word trivia. The patterns we see in our lives may not be "real". It may just be chance, keeping its grip.

LMN Project: Law Marketing News - Journalism and democracy

Read Walter Lippmann's "Liberty and the News" as part of the LMN project. This is a small book published in 1920. It is either remarkably prescient or it just shows that nothing really changes. Lippmann invokes objective "news standards" for journalism, warning about the dangers of reporters with agendas -- in a society easily manipulated and misinformed. Shows how the press undermines democracy when it does anything other than "report" on events. The media corrupt the process if they hold themselves to ideals above clarity and directness in reporting about facts.
Lippmann was an advisor to Woodrow Wilson (and the Wilsonian Society), founder of the New Republic, spent 30 years writing a syndicated Pulitzer-prize-winning column for the New York Herald-Tribune, and later an editor of New York World. So, he was no wild-eyed romantic or naive kid.
He seems to understand the power of the press, although not all of his illustrations capture the Big Lie in the Big Picture. For example, the use of money to bribe 70 of the leading journalists of the world, by King Leopold as he pillaged the Congo. But he does note that the more the journalists lie, the more popular they often are in a mass culture, where public opinion is one of the "facts" journalists can distort.

One quote: "If I lie in a lawsuit involving the fate of my neighbor's cow, I can go to jail. But if I lie to a million readers in a matter involving war and peace, I can lie my head off, and, if I choose the right series of lies, be entirely irresponsible. Nobody will punish me...".

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Joel Osteen in the eye of the Hurricane of Heresy

60 Minutes: Why are so many people flocking to Joel Osteen? The most watched religious broadcast in America, the largest congregation and he says: "I try to leave them better off than they were before". A message of hope -- God has a good plan: The Prosperity Gospel, for rewarding Believers with health, wealth, and blessings. Time and Chance are coming together for you. The key is Do the Right Thing, and you are passing the test. Most people already know the wrong they've done. Is this misleading? In tough times, you have to embrace where you are. Sports arena seats 16,000, has no overt religious symbols. The ceiling changes color. Does not ask for money on TV. $43m, and $30m in mail, with book sales ("Become a Better You"), still on Best Seller List. Not one mention of God or Jesus Christ in there. Theologians -- Rev M Horton (Escondido) calls it Cotton-Candy, telling people there is going to be a windfall in your life. No sin, suffering or redemption. He calls it heresy to say God is a resource for You. What could be dangerous about giving people Hope? Deluding and dumbing down? Or keeping it simple. Help you have the right thoughts take action today. Joel broke down in tears on the 60 Minutes Interview, humbled that he can help "give them hope". He writes and memorizes his sermons. Yes, the Religion is now officially out of Religion. We are talking about Hope, and it is Hope Now. It appears likely that out of green-back envy, the pious Right will declare him apostate. There are no real Believers. But we need Hope.

Night light, pollution of the night sky

I remember looking up and seeing Sputnik. In 1957, I was in Tumichucua, and there were no lights, no adjacent sky glow or light pollution. One night we set up a camp-lamp (with kerozene under pressure fueling a glowing silk mantle that quite rapidly tore) behind a white sheet of tucuyo to catch insects. Bugs would come to the light, get disoriented and slide down the tucuyo into the catch basin or our nets.

It occurs to me that bugs must do the same to every "night light" in the world -- circle, get disoriented, and then weaken and die. Every city, every street light, must decimate the insect population.

I have hunted birds by shining a bright flash light at them. They wake up and stare and the light, unable to move, fixated by the light. I have heard that birds migrate at night. I wonder if the illuminations pointed into the sky from the increasingly urban planet disturb their migrations.

Full sunlight on a clear day has an intensity of about 10,000 foot-candles. City streets at night are typically lit to about 1.5 foot-candles, or 750 times brighter than moonlight. Everything that sees at night, or is hatched or flying by, must be disturbed by the UN-dark, the light pollution of our night.

As the sun sets, I still look for a place to lay my head and sleep. None of the things done at night, the melatonin-challenged activities, make much sense if we are not engaged in actual war or bank robbery. And even then.

Christmas Music - "secular" commercial

My favorite part of Christmas used to be the rich musical experience. The unique celebration of a child, a mass in honor of the virgin-birth, something mysterious, and infested with arch-angel hosts, wise-men, and awe-struck shepherds, who, as we all used to understand, happened to be on the unprecedented night-shift.

Lately, I have not heard the great 17 and 18th century religious music. The radio is "going secular" -- a Santa without the saint, a "white Christmas" without the Christ, a parade of Rudolphs and Frosty's and other horribles. I am beginning to really miss the insomniac shepherds.

How can a broadcasting industry famous for permitting "pimp" lyrics and gangster posturing by millionaire pretenders think that a few of us Non-Believers are going to be offended by wonderful music that happens to have a sweet religious message?!! I do not want to Rap or Hip-Hop to anyone's "bitch" subordination of women, but I would love to Rap or Hip-Hop or Holiday to almost any Religion's music other than crass materialism.

Disappointing Frauds - the year's top scams

The schemes of Con-artists are flowering here in Orange County. Newport Beach remains the leading "home" outside of Nigeria, for scamming the world. The impunity of the perpetrators continues to parallel the scale of their ill-gotten gains, although the election of our new Attorney General (former Governor Brown) is a huge gasp of fresh air on the prosecution front.

Various "scams": (1) Phone call claims to be from the Red Cross to spouses on behalf of soldiers serving in Iraq, claiming to need information, which is then used for identification theft. (2) "Natural Viagra" with unknown or the same ingredient as real Viagra. (3) Phone call to family members of elderly, seeking identity information, for "emergecy" care. (4) The IRS refund email. (5) Fake foreclosure redeemers, collecting fees to do nothing or falsely collect "rent". (6) Certified checks, which are deposited as "available funds", but not yet cleared. (7) In wildfire areas, fake contractors promising reconstruction or utility restoration. (8) And of course, high returns promised for investments in which there is no real "business" -- actual trade for value-added services or produced goods. Millions of dollars are lost by citizens, and the money invariably going "off-shore", a hidden hemorrage of financial strength facilitated by government agencies run by Bush appointees -- in other words, government agencies that see/ hear/ do nothing.

"Business" has been redefined. Stealing is "business" if you can get away with it, and of course, any idiot can get away with it in todays' environment.

Still, I am so disappointed in the quality of the Frauds this year. Even the smartest MBA's from the best business schools are coming up with the lamest crimes. The frauds are little more than thuggish takings. The smartest guys in the boiler-room turn out to be dumb-nut thugs. QUOTE OF THE WEEK -- "We had a scheme where the rich got richer. I did it, and I feel good about it. But I'm not planning to run for office". Marc B. Wolpow, former Bain Capital director, referencing his former Bain colleague, Mitt Romney. Bain Capital was a "business" which had no legitimate business and engaged in white collar theft. Call it what it is.

Third Pary theory of Liability - as "Enablers" of Crime

It "ought" to be difficult for criminals to carry out their predation. Unfortunately, as so many directors of corporations and even government institutions seem to think that "business" or "regulation" should be blind to frauds. This is a self-defeating attitude, since it erodes the Marketplace upon which our prosperity depends.

Criminals ought to have a more difficult time victimizing the weaker, poorer, and less informed or gullible members of our society. The large institutions -- banks, insurance companies, government agencies -- at this stage of our civilization are actually part of the victimizing culture; they do not prevent fraud on consumers, they enable it.

The only obstacle to wholesale consumer deception is the existance of a few law firms which still handle business frauds, taking cases one at a time. For example, in another suit similar to one I handled 20 years ago, an Orange County jury concluded that U.S. Bancorp "should have known" about fraudulent accounts it opened for fraud operators under the name DFJ Italia Ltd. and awarded $17.6 million. The Bancorp attorneys argued that it should not be held responsible for the actions of criminals. That defense makes great sense EXCEPT WHERE THEIR BANK ENABLED THE CRIMINALS TO DEFRAUD INVESTORS USING BOGUS "ACCOUNTS". This theory of "enabling" is a very strong cause of action.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Adult films books shops

I learned at an early age, I was at least 30, that Adults are not very adult. At the drop of the least provocation, Adults will resort to the nittiest sandbox behavior with very little gritty. Adults are often sad deeply-rutted creatures ruing the lost hopes of their youth and battling low-grade depression with stern hypocrisy and bottles of booze. A few, of course, have seized the various reins of power and cling to them with a single-mindedness that gainsays any possibility that they know or much remember what they are actually doing as they pull on those antique lineaments.

Some adults are sitting upon laurels won by others and bronzed by institutions devoted to arthritic decay and entropy. The "adult" part of their behavior is negative -- they are NOT young, growing, learning, seeking, or even doing very much.

I am astonished to see the word "adult" used as a caution, as if "adult" was to be warned against. Perhaps there is some truth to that. There are so many optimal characteristics of children, and for so many, maturation is a sad disaster. All the same difference, it just seems unseemly: "Beware! This Film contains scenes of grown-up and mature behavior!" "This book is of no help for infants or larva below the age of 21." Or the shop offering "Adult Toys" -- as if monished by a forbidding heaven that adults might be playing nearby.

Even more surprising, the "Adult" admonition usually flags pornography. This is even nuttier. Pornography is usually not mature. At its best it depicts the naked fantasies of juveniles. More often it simply displays preposterous postures and unlikely ordeals of endurance engaged in by childless people for money. The level of intercourse ranges from play to torture, and almost none of it is "Adult" behavior.

Admittedly, the audience for pornography is huge. And it crosses all borders and penetrates all age groups. Little children are curious about naked. Little elders are curious about naked. Everyone flies into reflection and longing at the sight of sex.

"Adult" is often coupled with the word "themes". When you have "adult themes", then the material is usually not pornographic enough to attract the huge audience for infantile fantasies. And that is also counter-intuitive. Fantasies around youthful or even (chillingly) "first time" sexual display are almost universally interesting. Do mature people REALLY want to be "young" again? Do they remember that when they were young, the one thing they most wanted was to be "adult"?

Does anyone, other than a few adherents of unnaturally pious apostles of a cult, WANT to be a Virgin? Is it actually a "turn on" to be fumbling with a person who is filled with uncertainties, concerns, or even fears? How "adult" is that?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

zeitgeist - the movie

"An organism at war with itself is doomed."

http://voiceyourbelief.blogspot.com/2007/09/zeitgeist-movie-truth-or-propaganda-you.html

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Leading Cause of Death - the Cost of Velocity

It always makes sense to look closely at Death; after all, our lives depend on it.

The phrase "cause of death" is deceptive, and invites serious second looks. Most of us die of SHOCK, as a result of trauma or disease, in turn caused by negligence or micro-organisms whose impacts are aggravated by a pre-existing condition, and all of which occur naturally.

The world's leading cause of death among adults is "heart disease"; the pump stops, and for lack of circulation, death ensues. The leading causes of death among children under the age of five years old are neonatal causes (37%), respiratory infections (19%), and dysentary (17%). Malaria kills one million people (and disables 500 million) annually. (Reference: World Health Organization Report 2005).

However, second only to heart disease as the world's leading cause of death is...{drum roll}...TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS. Based on projections from the number of passenger miles and manufacturing data on trucks and cars, in 2008 it is almost certain that 1.3 million lives and $500 billion in damages will be suffered as a result of increasing traffic carnage. Most of this harm is preventable, but almost none of it will be, and very little will be compensated. Millions of people's lives will be altered forever in the course of mundane traveling.

The carnage is deliberate, anticipated, and certain: Get in a car, increase your risk of death and crippling injury. These casualties are entirely artificial, having little to do with insect vectors, disease, or biology. It has everything to do with marketing -- few people would replace their bicycle with a car except for an appeal to irrational hopes and the juvenile emotional appeal of velocity.

Is there any REASON to replace "fun" (horses, bicycles) with high-risk comfort (sitting in a luxurious lazy-boy recliner moving at 88 feet per second...)?

Is it reasonable to risk your life to go to work every day? Is it reasonable to risk your life to go shopping for non-essentials? In the United States, more people are killed annually on highways than were killed in the Viet Nam War with people TRYING to kill them in a twenty-year war. More soldiers today are killed on our own highways than are killed IN IRAQ.

I will never understand why the parents and families of the dead are not screaming for compensation from automobile manufacturers. The cost of velocity is not built into the products. The people who profit from the suffering are deaf, those who benefit are indifferent and ignorant, and as a society we have not moved into the Industrial Age; we are forced to live irrational lives.

Most of what we Believe is Not True; especially in Court

Repeatedly, studies have shown that everyone believes at least a few things were are false, many believe a lot of things which are false, and a few believe a lot of things which are false.

Lets look at Courts of law -- every day, two sides of a dispute or event are put forth. A remarkable number of contests simply involve a misunderstanding. A definition of a word, or a concept of "business" that means something different to people with different expectations.

Melvin Pollner, in "Mundane Reason: Reality in Everyday and Sociological Discourse" wrote that we build our sense of reality "inside a bubble" made up of beliefs and assumptions. Inside this bubble is what a person believes, a version of reality that may be shared, or not. Pollner, a UCLA sociologist, thought that all of these versions of reality were subject to negotiation.

What happens when the bubble ruptures?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lonely, misunderstood, accused falsely, and in excellent company!

Another day of false accusations, and (no big surprise) the resurrection of battles lost at the threshhold of my career when Justice Gardiner first got wind of my "multi-professional" model for practicing law. Somehow the richness of my life, and the many victories since, all seem to pale against the pain of those old wounds, the crass and unjust misunderstanding of people in authority sitting upon laurels they do not themselves remotely deserve.

So, to fight off depression, what to do? To walk in beauty. Fine. After a brutal and utterly imbecilic Deposition, I took the Razor out for a spin, or a "scoot" to be precise, along the cliffs above the long beach for which Long Beach is drawn. The sun was setting over the Queen Mary, the Spruce Goose hanger, and the rippling bay. A gallery of portraits was showing in the Art Museum. And all the lonely people walking by, smiling at the bit of fun an old man is having on his scooter....

Picked up dum sum for dinner with my wonderful family. Then to the library to indulge, on this day, this particularly horrid day with a contemptible life, entering into the JUNGLE again. Find the Darwin quote - the one where he says there are no words, no way to convey the sublimity of the great rain forest.

Absorb those photographs, the pictures of things that will soon be no more. No More! So dear in being here, so scarce, so magical, so real to those who have the hope of conscious existence.

I remember seeing, hearing and smelling the great domino tree-fall as the swidden farmers notched the trunks along the lee, then felled the giant, and it pulled down an acre, left to dry, and then the burning. We collected orchids and ants, never again ever found. Oh where is that Darwin heart when we still forever need him!

So Darwin suffered the same. Hardly anyone to share on board a boat. The Captain was treasuring his soul to a jealous God, the crew was amused but saw no "use" - the crates and boxes were bilge at best. But then in lieu of a long-awaiting celebration, to be cast out of his church community on baseless lies? Then there were the whispered accusations -- kept Darwin from publishing, delayed his marriage/family, ruined his hopes for a small fortune.

And as righteous as...even as Spinoza, similarly cast out of his community of Sephardic emigrants in Holland, quietly grinding and polishing his optics, unknown really even to his landlord living below. And the ETHICS published posthumously. As if we can wait for Death? Again, the loneliness, the isolation, the accusations, the injustice never redressed.

What good company it is to be among those falsely accused!

And to further enjoy almost complete anonymity. This I do not share with Darwin and Spinoza, of course, but it is my special badge. Anonymity is my reward for being thick, sick, homely and having such little and so singular a talent....

I have only one talent: To be able to recognize those we must appreciate, and to distinguish those who are imbeciles. I recognize Darwin and Spinoza, for example, as people around me today, and as giants who lived 200 and 400 years ago (give or take).

This is my only talent, and it is so rare today, it can hardly be noticed. We are awash with pretenders to our offered arts of appreciation, and my peer group seems to fill all available posts with imbeciles. The thought that it has perhaps always been thus is of little comfort.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Military Veterans are "homeless" and wounded

The Bush Administration has created a wounded and marginalized class of poor -- the Veteran's who once fought for Liberty. One in four homeless people in the United States is a Veteran--where they are only 10% of the general adult population.

The lack of medical and transitional support for Service-persons, abandoned people, is appalling. I lobbied in Washington DC - summer of 2007.

The Necessity of Impeachment - Saving the Constitution

Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) sponsored a bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. Progress has been impeded, but not for lack of evidence. Pure "politics". Congressional leaders are clearly doing their best to avoid what the Cheney ideologues are probably promising them, "a bruising floor fight".

Here is a man responsible for an illegal WAR, and the Congress is afraid of a "floor fight"? Cheney has violated his oath of office to protect the Constitution, but do not the persons of Congress also violate their oaths to the same Constitution if they fail to root out the offense?

Interestingly, the majority of the People favor impeachment. LAT 11/8/2007 letter reporting 54% according to American Research Group, confirmed. Thus, although the "political" obstacle has stalled the process, it is only temporary.

The impeachment is necessary to remove and prevent this billionaire from continuing draw "public benefits". The criminal indictment should be right behind the impeachment, and a disgorgement of his war profiteering could go toward compensating his victims.

Injustice in Court - top to bottom injustice, racism - Play: "Dawn's Light"

"DAWN'S LIGHT; the Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi", a thoughtful one-actor Play by Jeanne Sakata based on the true story of the Nipponese student in Seattle who refused to turn himself into the internment camps set up for persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

Hirabayashi was arrested, tried, and found guilty of violating the Enemy Alien statutes passed by the US Congress. He himself took the case to the Supreme Court, seeking to declare the law Un-Constitutional. He lost, the Supreme Court refused to question the "military necessity". However, 40 years later, proof being shown that the government had suppressed key evidence at his trial, his conviction was over-turned.

Are we learning from any of this? Our immediate past, proof that leaders lead us astray, and Courts cannot make decisions based on law, but instead cave in to racist prejudices. The "top" is not good at correcting error.

Smokers and the 20% plateau, raising $77 million for education

LAT 11/9/2007: "After declining for seven years, national smoking rates have remained steady at nearly 21% from 2004-2006" and not much change since hitting a plateau in 2002, from the significant drops in previous decades from 43% in 1965.

States like California that have restricted the marketing of tobacco products, primarily by taxing cigarettes (Proposition 99) to pay for health programs and education, have rates below 13%. This tax was $77 million in 2007.

We need a Milton (he did not blame the royalists when the republic failed, he blamed the people who failed to do what had to be done) to declaim our own inability to do what is good for us and not to do things that are bad for us. Why is this so difficult?

And where is the enormous amount of money going? Is it making a dent in Ignorance?

Neil Bush is subsidized by Federal Government

Once again, evidence that the Bush-Cheney-Rove cabal is illegally profiting from the Big Government it claims to despise, and which it now runs. They took over the Federal Government and then they direct funds to private entities which they themselves control. This is hypocritical because they got into office under color of "conservative" values. They claim to be limiting government expenditures. Instead, while in public office, they are creating their own private "entities" to which they funnel Federal money. These entities could not otherwise survive in the marketplace without government subsidy. This is "privatizing"? It is theft.

For example, look at the "educational" program these thieves have spent long hours designing. Neil Bush, the brother of George Bush, set up not one but a series of firms which in fact received money from the Federal Government through the "Department of Education". Neil Bush has absolutely no experience as an educator or education administrator. Yet, suddenly this entities, which have no other source of money other than the Federal Government, are suddenly being funded with millions of dollars of taxpayers' money.

This is a program which has no "educational" function or special expertise. It is a politically-motivated profit center.

This gets worse. The Department of Education is itself run by Bush appointees. The Inspector General of the Department is a Bush appointee. Now the Bush appointees are going to "investigate" whether the Department has appropriately spent the money it funneled into Neil Bush's "programs". They have set up their own putative "watch-dogs" to pretend to investigate themselves. They are not even looking at the "political" content of Neil's "education" programs -- IGNITE LEARNING INC.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Trick of Writing

The auditory, and even visual, one-liner. The motto. The blurb. The trade mark phrase that "things go better with". People are working on their "language" skills. We look "it" up, and depend on "how you define it". Every commercial, a tidal wave which hunts you down and not content to find you, uproots and sells you. Every political wand, a spin-meister's spell. Every emotional outburst, an evolutionary scream for survival.

And all of this, all of "it", is manipulation. A trick. Every word is a haiku for a book for a colloseum for a universe for a god-packed Court of opinion. An under-hatted trick. Is there any REAL thing in a Word? Is there any REAL thing?

We obscure the dark with the light of words. We illuminate the ventilated with the blanket of vocabulary. Between the speaker and the speak-easy, a peep-hole of communication, of explosion, of re-birth, of coming out of the Cave in order to get drunk. The quarks and leptons of Nature are staggering into each others' charmed particulars.

All of this noise, filling up the broad-spectrum of analog digital dividings, and not a drop to think. So little time in an eternity of blink and bling. Between the ego and the cosmo, a kind of stuttering. All of this noise.

Has it been said already? Too much? Or not enough. Or?

It is true. This language is the boa of our constriction, and the bird of our release. Clad in scales and feathers, it haunts and liberates out thoughts. Positioned nowhere, released forever. Nos habebit humus, stardust. Like nothing so much as a metaphor.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jonah Lehrer calls for a new way of seeing the world, and he accomplishes it

Jonah Lehrer is a 26 year old science journalist with a degree in neuroscience. BLOG: http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/

His current book combines brain-science (a dynamic regenerating thing) with literature and the Arts, and is entitled PROUST WAS A NEUROSCIENTIST (2007). He traces the work of eight "artists" (Whitman, George Eliot, Auguste Escoffier, Proust with his re-remembered and altered memories, Cezanne, Stein, Woolf, and Stravinski) against clinical brain studies. Like his "modernist" heroes, he urges us look at the world anew. And again. Anew. And in his discovery of science and art, in which fields he reposes equal confidence and demonstrates equal appreciation for their respective beauties, he is doing himself what he urges of us.

John Gray's apocalyptic vision of ironic animals

John Gray is a professor with the London School of Economics. He has 19 books under his belt, including STRAW DOGS (2002) and BLACK MASS (2007). My notes from those two:

Primitive versions of religion are replacing the secular faith that has been lost. Gray identifies the ways secularism promotes this crude religious way of looking at the world.

Like Christianity in the past, the modern cult of science lives on the hope of miracles.

What would politics be like if science was taken seriously? No one would appeal to mastery of our destinies, no one would speak of "the progress of mankind", an abstraction cast-off from Christian hopes.

"Good politics is shabby and makeshift, but at the start of the twenty-first century the world is strewn with the grandiose ruins of failed utopias. With the Left moribund, the Right has become the home to the utopian imagination. Global communism has been followed by global capitalism. The two visions of the future have much in common. Both are hideous and fortunately chimerical."

Perhaps government can manage the tragic contingencies of life.

When a liberal society wages wars to promote its values, it corrupts those values. This corruption is the Bush Administration using torture--which had been prohibited since the 18th century--to promote democracy. The Bush Administration stands almost alone in American History side by side with the enemies of liberty, both foreign and domestic: The Saudis of Arabia (a clan which took over Arabia) are funding the terrorist camps and schools and are close personal friends of the Bush coterie. The arms-dealing war-profiteers and "privatizing" pirates pillaging the public coffers from the domestic front are also Bush appointees. This is all in corruption, in war, against the liberal values of the Founders.

Religion is a symbolic phenomenon, like culture or language. People use it to make sense of their lives.

The Greek etymology for the word "Apocalypse" shows that the End of the world was not referred to. Rather, it means "lifting of the veil", in keeping with the secret writing (Leo Strauss) of the ancients in their priesthoods, conveying secret knowledge, an excluding claim to Truth. Reference JOHN "the beloved", as the author of the gospel which begins "In the beginning was the Word", and Revelation, which is filled with inscrutable meanings inside signs. Baffling to outsiders.

Gray thinks that resource stresses (climate change, scarcities) will inspire new devotion to apocalyptic and violent religions. His vision of the future is bleak.

Yet, wonderfully, on the last page of BLACK MASS he sees the ironic fact that Judeo-Christian-Islamic Religion, with its overstatements, and its utterly false hopes, "can help humanity see more clearly". The Myth, the "story", is a vision tool:

"In the Genesis story humans were banished from paradise after eating from the Tree of Knowledge and had to survive by their labours ever after. There is no promise here of any return to a state of primordial innocence. Once the fruit has been eaten there is no going back."

Justice Delayed, Exxon Valdez, Oil Spill March 1989

Eighteen years ago, in March 1989, the Exxon Valdez tanker went aground off Alaska's Prince William Sound, and spilled 200,000 gallons of oil a minute. The trial, the inevitable replaying of disaster, the trial, took place five years later. The plaintiffs were the fishermen and natives whose livelihoods were destroyed by the spill. After months of trial and deliberation, the jury awarded 286 million, and in a separate proceeding, $5 billion in punitive damages. In 1994, Exxon quickly appealed the punitive award. Now, for 13 years the case has been on appeal. Now, the Supreme Court granted CERTIORARI (permission by a higher court to hear appeal). More delay.

Was it Gladstone who said that "justice delayed is justice denied"?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cave Paintings - what we learn about the future

Nothing ever starts or ends, but it has roots before and casts a shadow ahead.

We know of more than 200 European caves with Paleolithic paintings and carvings. Of these, 85% are in Southern France and Northern Spain, a striking concentration. Only a dozen in Italy and only one has been found in eastern Europe - the Kapova Cave in the Urals.

This concentration has much to do with the Ice Age, but here is the bottom line: Food was plentiful, and life was much more pleasant than has sometimes been imagined by their descendants. We know that 20,000 years ago at Les Eyzies on the Veyzere, 400 to 600 people lived side by side under the protection of a half-dozen rock shelters known as "abri". Some demographic evidence indicates the population was even much larger when mega-fauna were ranging in the neighborhood. We have evidence of mass kill-offs. For example, at a kill-site in Solutre, the remains of 100,000 horses. In addition, Salmon filled the streams--and are depicted on the caves, dried and stored. A rich and varied way of life is depicted, and which we are only beginning to understand.

What is the significance of Lascaux ("Sistine Ceiling of the Cave"), Altamira, Chauvet (oldest, at 30,000), Les Tres Freres (6-part shaman), the riparian region of Dordogne and Vezere, the coast of what is now Basque country in the Franco-Cantabrian heartland, the dotted horse and dance prints of Peche-Merle, the 500 footprints of children deep in the dark passages of the Niaux, the underwater Mediterranean gallery of Cosquer Cave?

1. Ritual - evidence of use other than for subsistence function. No one needs to paint a great auk (flightless relative of razorbill) to catch one or eat its eggs. No painting of a bison or mammoth helped bring one to ground. However, the symbols helped recall the Memory, wove the Dream, and told the Story. The Story passed to the children attempts to intervene in the future, attempts to create a future, insure prosperity in an environment of change and surprise.

2. Dance - flat rock spaces and seating areas with fire posts and fat lamps. The mud prints. Footprints in dance lines.

3. Acoustics - some chambers perdured the echoing, for example, of clapping. The staccato thunder perhaps emulating the stampeding herds depicted of aurochs, reindeer and bison; Pictures of big growling cats and bears in acoustically "dead" ends that resonate low sounds without echoing interference.

4. Fertility - again the tie to the future. More female parts. The earliest are all female, vulvular. Rising again, rebirth images, pregnant. All. Female. In fact, there is a dearth of "weapons", of depictions of killing other people. It is all about nurturing and beauty. All.

5. Totemism - system of clan organization distinguished by objects or animals with special relationships. There is an alphabet of relationships. A Story telling.

6. Mythology - many of the creatures are indeterminate or mixed, half-man, half woolly rhinoceros and feathered creature, the dominance of sexual symbolism (and gravid) and the relative scarcity of the game animals.

7. Dreams. Walk-about in the darkness, following the guide-string, with the fire-flickered shadows telling the story. Direct invocation of memory, hopes, visions. The re-emergence as awakening.

8. Eye-lid visions. The color and shape-shifting seen on the closed eye-lid after exposure to the high contrast black bison on the white rock.

9. Pharmacology. In the last two years, scientists have re-appraised the sites in terms of What to look for in light of the discovery of a high-level technology in pharmacological preparations among hunter/gatherers in Sur America (the Ayahuasca experience), and our own measuring and detecting technologies. Now we are looking for drugs in all the cave places, and finding them in spades, or more specifically, in mushrooms and vegetation. Of the 38,000 mushrooms, some 20 are seriously hallucinogenic as well as poisonous -- requiring a "technology" to ingest safely and a culture to want to, or to find some purpose in doing so. The abundant paintings of unidentifiable creatures, the half-man creatures (for example, the famous 6-part "shaman" at Les Tres Freres), may be readily recognizable portraits of things encountered as a result of ingesting amanita muscaria, or a muscarin or psylocibin compound. There is no question that hemp was in abundance and was actually used in the caves -- in the making of a "guideline" to hold onto in the dark.

10. Absences. Note the complete absence of ANY indication of wars, or gangs bent upon attack or annihilation of other humans. Very few depictions of men. No caudillo or personality worship. No gods. No virginity. No gross inequality -- pharoah and serf. No Big Man.

Some people, our people, were squatting around a fire, waving skin-reflector-shields, echoing drums and hunting calls, bringing their sons and daughters to the Story, to their senses, and hoping for a bountiful future for their children...and here we are.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dalai Lama, Armenian Genocide, moral outrage

>> The dictators of China are always pissed off at the West. Ironically, they are now falling all over themselves to emulate the individuals who give "capitalism" a bad name. China has now become the worst example of blind capitalism, out-westing the West, unleashing the forces of short-term greed and profit-taking at the expense of long-term values.

>> Bush, unfortunately, has deprived the West of any leverage with Moral Outrage. The West can no longer can speak for the victims of civil rights violations in China, with Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib on our watch. How can "we" help the Tibetans when our own President is suppressing the Natives of the United States -- under the same tainted aegis of "national security"?

>> Dalai Lama. President Bush, now, is suddenly giving this saint a Golden Medal. Absolutely no event reasonably triggered this gesture, no new policy accompanies it, and it appears to be a diversion. Tragically, our Congress and Bush have done nothing to actually help the Tibetan people, not to mention other victims of persecution in China -- Islamic minorities, Christians, Falun Gong, etc.

>> Turkey/Christian Armenian Genocide. President Bush, now, is suddenly jumping on this "recognition" of 1918 Genocide -- while continuing to ignore more recent slaughters. Absolutely no event reasonably triggered this gesture, no new policy accompanies it, and it appears to be a diversion. Tragically, our Congress and Bush have done nothing to address the underlying dynamic, and the fact that Islamic Jihadists continue to threaten genocide from Israel to Darfur.

Self-fullfilling Prophesy: Poor Governance by Believers

As President, George W. Bush has the Duty to appoint officials to be "in charge" of various government agencies. He has deliberately appointed people who have The Belief that Government is Bad: They have no concept of "public service". The Bush nominees, without exception, have been poor performers in the offices they "occupy" -- whatever this occupation is, it is not public service.

By filling public offices -- AT THE TOP -- with people who have no concept of public service, Bush has almost single-handedly created a Quagmire of dysfunction.

Interesting Comparison: Years have passed since New Orleans was drowned in the natural, predicted, and well-documented arrival of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and we are now able to assess the role played by Government in that continuing disaster. Interestingly enough, armed BLACKWATER troops by the hundreds were occupying the streets of New Orleans immediately, during the storm, and weeks before FEMA forces and programs began arriving (if they have even yet been put into place).

Under Bush, there is no Governance. The public is left to the wolves, "protected" either by other wolves or by gates left unguarded.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

TED Idea sharing - www.ted.com

Doctor/Researcher Hans Rosling with Gapminder Foundation developed animation software, Trendalyzer, recently acquired by Google. "Turns global trends into lively animations, making decades of data pop." Global trends -- life expectancy, child mortality, poverty rates -- become clear, intuitive and playful. Debunks myths.

Microsoft's Stephen Lawler and the Virtual Earth team, high resolution birds' eye view of 3d reality.

Jeff Han, built a high-resolution scalable multi-touch computer screen. Begins with a heat sensitive lava light, then turns into a photolight box he flicks photos across. New way to interact with machines without a mouse.

Stephen Petranek, former Editor of Discover, with 10 ways the world could end. How the universe works and could end suddenly. And of which we are in denial.

Steven Pinker, Harvard Linguist, with a brief history of violence.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Parable of the Rich Man.

A rich man was once content to live in his garden. Then poor people moved nearby to drink at his spring and pitch tents against the wall of his compound. When he was among these people, instead of helping them drink, or live in the shade of his wall, the rich man was no longer content with what he had. Now he wanted more. Everything he saw he wanted it, or ten of it. Not that he could use another spring or another wall, but he wanted all the springs, and more walls. He built more walls to keep people away from his walls, and capped the springs he could not use, buying all that he could buy.

Soon, all the buildings and springs in the area belonged to the rich man. Then the poor people moved away, and left to him everything the rich man owned. Now he wanted only to live in his garden. He had no use for the buildings and springs. He could only drink what he could drink, and could not enjoy even one compound when there was no one around who could see that he was the one who owned everything.

Retrieval of files and IRS standard

The Government Accountability Office ("GAO") issues reports on the Agencies of the Federal Government. This month the GAO reported on the IRS. According to the report, the IRS could not find -- could not locate -- 14% of the requested case files from two prior audits, and 19% of the randomly requested sample records. This is not a new problem, but what is new, is that it is much worse, and no one in charge at the IRS is recognizing (much less solving) the problem. THAT is what is new: the lack of leadership, the top-down collapse of infrastructure.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

PRJ: Lawyers List - the notorious practitioners

Between 1965 and 1990, the number of lawyers in the United States increased from 300,000 to 800,000, at a rate more than four times the increase in the general population.

In the world today, are there too many lawyers? Or not enough?

JACQUES VERGES. Born on the island of Reunion, of a French father and Vietnamese mother, Counsel for the Terroristes. Clients include Pol Pot, Carlos the Jackal, Klaus Barbie, HJ Klein, Magdalena Kopp, the PLO, various African dictators, and perhaps partially, Saddam Hussein. Began his legal career by defending the beautiful Djamila Bouhired, a bomber who had been tortured and sentenced to death. Verges created the "rupture defense" -- instead of pleading for sympathy, he refused any negotiations, and provoked the French government into incidents that turned the tables. Bouhired suddenly embodied Algeria, and she was not executed. It launched Verges to the forefront of idealistic struggles, often ironically. In the 2007 Barbet Schroeder film TERROR'S ADVOCATE, he appears, under his own control, transparently sybaritic, arrogant, humorless, and relentless.

MELVYNN I. WEISS. Co-founder of a law firm specializing in large class actions, including several on behalf of victims of the holocaust. At age 72, in 2007 he was prosecuted by Federal criminal prosecutors for alleged kickbacks to people who agreed to act as plaintiffs in lawsuits against corporations. The victims, supposedly, are the corporate investors. Another class action attorney, a former protege, William S. Lerach, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy, and with five others, made a deal to squeal on Weiss. (Query: Since there appears to be no "crime" and no real victim, is this a Bush-prosecution? A direct attack on Class Actions by prosecuting Counsel?)

MEDIA PERSONALITIES WHO ARE LAWYERS: Julio Iglesias, John Cleese, Geraldo Rivera, Howard Cosell, George Mikan (basketball),

POETS WHO WERE LAWYERS: James Russell Lowell, Edgar Lee Masters, Wallace Stevens, Archibald MacLeish, Heinrich Heine ("The Book of Songs" 1927), Czeslaw Milosz .

NOVELISTS WHO STUDIED OR PRACTICED LAW: Scott Turow ("Presumed Innocent"), John Grisham ("The Pelican Brief"), Richard North Patterson ("Lasko Tangent"), Lisa Scottoline, Jules Verne ("2000 Leagues"), Earle Stanley Gardner ("Perry Mason"), Gustave Flaubert ("Madame Bovary"), Jacob Grimm ("Fairy Tales"), Harper Lee ("To Kill Mockingbird"), Victor Hugo ("Les Miserables"), Owen Wister ("The Virginian"), John Galsworth ("Forsyte Saga"), Louis Auchincloss ("The Indifferent Children"), Franz Kafka ("Judgment"), John Sanford ("Citizen of No Mean City"), Carolina Maria de Jesus (diarist),

PRIZE WINNERS WHO ARE LAWYERS:

Shirin Ebadi - 2003 Peace Prize. Iranian jurist, takes the position that Islam and elections and civil rights are compatible.

Hauwa Ibrahim - 2005 Eleanor Roosevelt Award. Nigerian civil rights struggle, within framework of Islam, confronting the mullahs of Abuja (northern Nigeria) who are failing to conform to shariah in persecuting defendants.

Peter Benenson - founder of Amnesty International, which received 1977 Nobel Peace Prize, and now has 2 million members in some 70 countries.

Czeslaw Milosz - 1980 Nobel Prize for literature.

MARTYRS - LAWYERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY:

Jean Dominique -- owner of Radio Haiti, and the subject of the very moving Jonathan Demme film, THE AGRONOMIST. Gunned down by unknown thugsin 2000, he said "you cannot kill justice."

Khamis Ubaidi - one of three defense attorneys killed while defending Saddam Hussein.

Members of the Pakistani Bar - Lawyers in Pakistan have been killed in the boycott of proceedings during the March 2007 standoff between President Pervez Musharraf and the suspended Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Colors: The human eye is most sensitive to GREEN

IMPORTANCE OF COLOR

Among the eyes of Nature, the human eye is designed to distinguish colors. Cats eyes, for example are much better at detecting movement, the condor can see "death", and the dog can "read" our faces better than we can. But for colors, we seem to have the leading specimen eye. And among the colors, which ones do we seem most keen to observe?

More than any other color, we see green. Since color is a major quality factor to human beings, the fact that we are more sensitive to green than to other colors, must be significant. And what IS it about GREEN?

In terms of dialectic, it is not associated with an "opposite" -- such as "black and white", or "blue and red". It is not a primary color, but is the mix of blue and yellow. So why does our eye especially read for green?

THE "GREEN SENSITIVITY"

Is WHAT is green the important thing? -- the grass, the garden, the tree -- or is the prejudice merely the coincidence of the particular pigment or light wave to the shape of our eye? In all the perlustrations of color before us, in the parade of shade and light, is there an explanation for our green proclivity?

THE EYE

Because the sensitivity is indifferent to whether the green is pigmentation or wave length, solid or light, it is probable that our brain, not the naked physics of the peep-hole, the optic orb, is cue-ing the green. One test of this would be further experiments with creatures with eyes which are similar to human eyes -- such as squid, or even other primates. Do they have the same sensitivity, and can we test this differentiation? Squid live in an environment in which there is almost no ambient "green" light and few enough chorophylic plants, compared with the non-aquatic species.

GREEN THINGS

Assuming the brain is the organ which holds the sensitivity and is prejudiced in favor of the color green, is there anything about green things which explains the predisposition?

PLANTS. We do seem to take comfort in Gardens. It is almost an embarrassment how we putter in them -- and this is not simply explained as an association with our food sources. We rarely eat the foliage and flowers which populate our Gardens -- hanging and otherwise.

GRASS. The word for the color Green stems etymologically from "growing grass" -- compare CGerm/Goth "gronjaz". It is the color of growing, the fresh, young, unripe, immature and living forms. It seems curious that no fruit gets green with age, and meats which green do so because of new growth of bacteria and mold upon them. The primordial grassland, or open veldt, may at least partially be reflected in the origin of the word and its cognates -- greenery, greening, greensward, greenhorn (new ox).

EMERALD JEWEL. Emeralds are green, and are long and fondly regarded as the Queen of all precious gemstones. Emeralds adorned the Pharaohs of Egypt over 3,000 years ago, and Inka craftsmen worked it into their most prized jewelry. Of course, our attraction to a pretty rock would obtain no matter what its hue. As Beryllium with trace chromium, vanadium, and occasionally iron, Emeralds are also extremely hard -- making them an excellent jewel impervious to wear. Depending on Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight, they are more valuable by weight than diamonds, or any other stone. With respect to clarity, the natural inclusions in emeralds are often called ‘gardens’. These gardens -- the inclusions -- make the stone green, of course, since beryl is colorless. We draw from these green shades of jewels and gardens the descriptions of "enchanting" or "mysterious".

SHADES.

The human eye detects an extraordinary range of hues and shades -- 100's of thousands. Eye detection of green chromaticity appears to be scaled on par with other colors. This seems odd in light of the Color Chart, your rainbow of primary and secondary colors, and the Green Sensitivity.

Consider the various virescent Chlorochrous hues:

Bright or vivid green (emerald, smaragdine, day-glo, citrine);

Light green (apple);

Pale green (celadon, eau-de-nil);

Bluish green (teal, glaucous, some cerulean or sea-green);

Yellow-green (chartreuse, avocado, Kelly, leek, hunter, Nile, absinthe, pistachio,
verdegris, pea, grass, leaf, malachite, moss);

Gold-green (chrysochlorous);

Chrome-green (zinnober, viridian);

Gray-green (lovat, sage);

Blackish-green (olive, corbeau [raven-sheen], avocado, bottle, marine,
peacock, forest).

Dull green (olive, olive drab, )

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Art is the part that puts "we" in our life.

Loneliness. It comes and goes, but like pain is always ready to throw its wet blanket on the conversation. Of course, that conversation never gets anywhere. It takes Art, that parallel universe, that "talent" show, to stage and assemble us around the Now of our lives. In music, visual sense, the touch of a love-artist, our isolation collapses.

I play my music to no audience, no one listening. Those who inadvertently hear are able to steel themselves and rise above the noise. But still, the loneliness, the longing for connection, is stilled.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Springboard Story; the Myth of Us we can love

I know that the Story was false. The Story of progress. The Story of people coming out of caves and slowly learning to plant and "domesticate" themselves and some dignified dogs, then the noble horse, the ponderous ox, the amusing goat. The opportunist pig. The cuneiform clay, and then the flooding Nile, papyrus-lined, and then a mongrel tribe we now call Hebrews writing it down, and then Greeks asking questions, to Know Thyself. The slow dance of philosophy and science. Until even the Tartars and Vikings calmed down, and our riparian communities prospered and we all live happily ever after around little twinkling hearths. I know the Story is false.

But there were wonderful and compelling parts. The ideas. The Love of Truth, and the Truth of Love, the excitement of the cross-roads, the way we broke out of kinship structures and tribes, the way we found objects and made them better. The clarity of conscious life, the hope which seems to illuminate the vector of evolution.

And the way the world, the entire world, old and new, came to America. The way Power was "checked" and "balanced", just in time, and Liberty took root. This is the Story of small towns across the United States, a place where De Tocqueville marveled at the hold that Justice had over the sons of sot-weed factors, rum-runners and squaw men. Americans suffered serious lapses of provincial hatreds and intermittent hangings, but as a body, they absorbed everyone. And we all understood the Story - the one told all over the world.

Well, that Story is now in the dustbin. Since 2002, the Government of the United States has killed its own Story. The American Narrative is gone -- and it took the World Narrative with it. There is no longer a "Story" serving as springboard for hope, for progress, for grace. It all looks like greed now. It looks like those huge flat periods where one prince after another kills a predecessor and replaces him with the same. It looks like a Dark Age descending. The barbarians at the gate, and the gate guarded by people worse than the barbarians.

The Bush Administration began as a monologue - a newspeak. Bush-Cheney-Rowe moved from monologue/spin to withholding information, curtailment of the exposures in the forum, and a curious vetting for idiologues with hidden agendas. There has been ZERO dialogue. There is no "public" conversation.

The Past and Future of National Security "Secrets"

The present Administration has invoked "national security" as a shield to disclosure of what they are up to. The Bush-Cheney-Rove cabal has claimed a right to not respond, not even appear at hearings, to Congress.

Nowhere in the Constitution is there a "national security" exception to the absolute right -- the obligation -- of Congress to balance the Executive branch of government.

In fact, there is no law, no public policy, no logic and no cognizable justification for the position taken by the President. As a public official he has a duty to report what he has done while in office. Entirely, completely, and in a manner which is not misleading. National Security is only protected by a shield against FUTURE intentions -- in other words, the President does not need to tell anyone what he is GOING TO DO. However, once he does it, he MUST report WHAT HE DID.

This obigation is absolute. The Constitution demands it -- it is the essence of the balance of power -- the Congress has no other power other than to hold that purse string and REQUIRE ACCOUNTING. The President has the exclusive power TAKE ACTION. But the limitation is ACCOUNTING.

The minute we have an executive exercising the powers of the executive, we have a kind of dictator, or tyrant. The only difference between a constitutional President and a dictator is ACCOUNTING. It is not Voting, it is not whether office is held for life. The difference is that a constitutional President MUST account. His power is limited by the Purse and the Purse requires disclosure.

Any person pretending to be President of a constitutional government MUST account to those who hold his purse. If he seeks to evade his reporting and accounting, he is simply a common thief, taking money under false pretenses.

There is no "Enemy" foreign or domestic, who needs to know in advance what the American President is doing to protect us all. But there is no "Enemy" but the tyrant who wields power without authorization who gains by knowing history. We demand undistorted reporting and accurate history of exactly what he did, from George Bush, Dick Cheney, and all the members of the Cabinet and the Executive Department acting under color of their Public Service.

Religion: The Thing about Greed.

Let's be clear about our incentives.

Saint Francis, apparently alone among the "spiritual leaders", and one of the few who was both, pointed out that greed is really not a very appropriate incentive for genuine salvation. Belief must stand upon Truth, even Love, before it turns to vengance and aggrandizement.

Yet today -- perhaps in the Past as well -- all that can be seen on the "religious" horizon is the naked appeal to greed: The call to "heaven" to avoid "hell". Take the eternity of ease, while others suffer. And honor the images of "success" -- the biggest, the best-selling, the mullah-monopolist god-given right to prosperity exercised over the poor and the suffering of this world -- by GIVING your money to the most unproductive and richest people on the planet: The Saudis, the Crouches, the Osteens, the Warrens, the Pope.

This dynamic beggars "belief". Rich people, under color of religion, ask for money from working people, with the promise that the gods -- a panoply, for monotheism has never been established free of the angels -- will open the gates of heaven to them. For the rest of us, it is Hell -- operated by that other god, the Devil, who is apparently the book-end, and the answer to any pretense of monotheism.

Surely, a "spiritual leader" would NEVER EVER EVER EVER ask for money from a poor man. Ever. Surely there is no creator or potent God who blesses the rich and comfortable, or assigns wealth based on virtue. Are the Rich more humble than the poor? Are they more generous than the middle class? Have we been promised a bigger library in Heaven? Are we to suffer now, and give our property to the Crystal Wahabi Pope Cathedral for the pleasure of the richest people on planet so that we can be rich in The Hereafter?

Does ANYONE have a problem with the fact that Greed, our own manure, is being shoveled back upon us?

I would be all for praising a loving father, a nurturing mother, and a just God. But I have no praise for those who are envious, greedy, and manipulative, and eager to condemn the innocent, or point a finger at scapegoats instead of stepping up to the plate of responsibility in a world of suffering.

Let me suffer with those who suffer. If it is an eternity of suffering, I know I will be standing with Saint Francis who drew the same line. I do not have the stomach for glory, when I know others more deserving than I have suffered to give me what achievements have come to me. I will have no songs of praise cross my lips, while others are screaming or gaping with hunger. There is, and will be, no Heaven for me.

Religion: Chumps and Believers, Tyrants and Deceivers

Historians can document the sure reliance upon Religion placed by every tyrant. There are no exceptions. Every dictator intent upon deceiving others, will turn to Religion. Under color of "belief", loyalty to power is secured.

"In their greed they will exploit YOU with false {Greek 'plastok'} words." 2 Peter 2:3.

And the "believers" -- those who take up the false words? They are the slaves not only of their own appetites, but of those who have preached to them. Romans 16:18. They are the chumps. Again, no exceptions.

The apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was an eyewitness to the fact that almost no one was a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. He observed and predicted that most people would follow a materialist path and malign the way of truth. 2 Peter 2:2. Compare the great "Simon the Magician" who conducted self-improvement and business seminars in Samaria. Acts 8:9-11.

Very few of the "leaders" of ANY of the Religions today, are speaking TO power. Virtually all of these folks from so-called spiritual traditions continue to speak FOR power, and for the richest, FROM power.

These pseudo-leaders are not content with Love, or Peace, or Heaven. They want Stuff. Now. For themselves. The most "successful" are the worst -- look at the Wahabi alliance with the Saudi rulers in the misnamed "Saudi" Arabia. Look at the intimacy and the "Photo-Op" relationship between Billy Graham and every US President he could find. Observe the "crystal cathedral" of the Schuler dynasty, the global outreach into purse and pocket of the Crouch-occupied Trinity Broadcasting Station. Joel Osteen, with his Best-Selling (let me repeat "Best SELLING") books and the largest Church in the USA. Follow the Money. Really. Follow, the Money.

When tyrants take our stuff to themselves, they can no longer claim to be our "leaders" and they are certainly not "spiritual". They are our oppressors. We give them our stuff just like chumps. They are taking OUR stuff.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rumination and the "unlived life" a la Philip Roth

Not boasting, but "worrying" does not come naturally to me. And the related activities, such as obsessing (chafing, concern about picking the best of the lot, and all the infatuation or addictive behaviors) are really not my strong suit. First of all I am entirely too lazy to go to such efforts -- addicts are extraordinarily committed to their habit, and I have neither habits nor commitments to concerns which orbit around a cognizable Self. There is not enough "there" there. Nothing inside me is wringing its hands. Even when I weep and pray, it is vague and general. More lamentation than grief. More anger than petition.

But back to worrying: Before I married into the Burton family, the word "Pfaffing" was not in my vocabulary. Not for lack of time, but for lack of ability, I spend little time making decisions. In fact, I suspect that a decision-making process that tries to evaluate each fact may be so hag-ridden by detail that it distorts the priorities which facts have, the hierarchical architecture. Anyway, for me, intense immersion in the myriad of facts impedes observation. I try to remove obstacles and observe the Facts as keenly as possible. And then compare alternatives, make a selection, and move on. And the last step is enhanced by a native ability to forget -- as if the "fog of war" is not merely the excuse for confusion, but is also a redemptive cover, a chance for moments of repose in what would otherwise be an unbroken continuum of consciousness.

Here is where I was led to a new "window" into Consciousness by Philip Roth. I am now embarassed to admit, I had always avoided reading his work, right up until I actually read it. In my quick exposures to the "Nathan Zuckerman" character which lies at the center of his oeuvre, I just could not connect. The character is apparently, or claiming to be, in a struggle to define the Self. This is an agonist protagonist, engaged in internal dialogue, the watermark of meaningless. There is no "care" there. Writers who accomplish nothing but writing, and then they write autobiographies, or novels that are thinly-veiled Self-servers. That type screams "So What", to an ear I do not even have.

However, Philip Roth is now past the Zuckerman trilogy {THE GHOST WRITER (1979) depicted a 23 year old writer; cf. GOODBYE COLUMBUS, PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT}- and writing into his 5th decade -- Roth continues work in or on his imagination. And that connects with me. Roth's 2006 EVERYMAN, and his latest, EXIT GHOST, are still self in a struggle to define itself, but now it is opened to the landscape of death. It is not merely the narrative of Self.

Now the dimension of RUMINATION is opened up. Although it is still related to neurotic "worrying" and ego-display, the ruminating imagination has wings which lift it above the mud-puddle of infatuation. True, the life he describes is still the UNLIVED life. But it is the life of imagination, and in many ways MORE living than life lived without consciousness of itself.

Now I say this, almost with dismay, that Philip Roth is clearly in The Pantheon. No longer merely brilliant and notorious, with spotty appearances, unfurling in clever flashes the red cape in front of our thick bull of life, he has now graced us with Aging and the immensity and intimacy of Death. Zuckerman reenters from a retreat in the Berkshires, getting stability and distance from "everything I'd determined I no longer had use for" as a 73 year old who is no longer certain of his literary powers.

At the end of life, we observe the retraction of our powers by means of the retracting organs -- the forgetting brain behind eyes dimmed. This time, the description of a man becoming sexually fixated with a young woman rises above mere unseemliness. The grizzled introspection of Roth, as he describes an impotent elder becoming fixated by the physical charms of a much younger woman, is a kind of message to us, that is clearly more than "being" about himself. He is "reporting" from the longevity Front. Giving us notice, that "life" urges, continue. We age, we forget, but the last thing to fade is our horny urge. It outlasts our anatomy -- this is an incontinent Zuckerman, a survivor of prostate cancer and surgery. Zuckerman feels that he is UNABLE to pursue a relationship, and yet, he proceeds to do so, IN HIS IMAGINATION.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lawyers - Ian Ayres - author of SUPERCRUNCHERS

Lawyers contribute to our society in many surprising ways. Here is a professor at Yale Law School, writing a book on econometrics: SUPERCRUNCHERS; Why Thinking-by-the-Numbers is the New Way to Be Smart.

Ayres tells us there is some good news about data-gathering. In this only recently-enabled technology, "evidence reigns supreme": it is "data". He gives us a tour of this data-driven world.

Two statistical tools propel the screws: REGRESSION ANALYSIS ("RA") run on raw data which uncovers connections between different "subjects" or patterns, and RANDOMIZATION ("RZ") which reveals the influence of a single factor in the presence of multiple effects.

For example, RA can determine which characteristics such as gender, age, income, job, or pet food purchase are involved, influence, or correlate with people defaulting on mortgages. RZ is used by medical scientists to identify a life-saving therapy via randomized controlled trials offering alternative modalities.

Ayres is enthusiastic -- he likes "data" as a basis for making decisions. He also offers examples of the GIGO caution, and that "correlation is not causation". For example, several States changed laws to encourage gun ownership because of a putative correlation to lower crime rates, but this "evidence" was shown to be spurious.

Abramowitz QUOTING the great Actor Ashraf Bahrom

It does not get better than this:

The veteran in-depth Hollywood interviewer, Rachel Abramowitz {LA Times 9/23/2007}, has caught and highlighted the significance of THE KINGDOM. And she quotes one of the great Galilean stars in that film, ASHRAF BARHOM:

"I'm a mammal at the end. I breathe out and breathe in and eat.

"At the end when we go to sleep, nobody lives this political definition. It's something we connect by and we try to understand each other by, but at the end, we know that this is not who we are. We are more simple. I don't see much differences. We talk different languages, eat different foods, but all huymanity has one ancestor, which started from one person, which started from one God. I don't think politics can bring a better situation. They try, but you see how much corruption there is. I believe change should come from the real leader, who can make a real peace, and his name is God."

Arabs and Jews - Media Tribes

Nations have fallen. We suffer no more nationalities, no more pretensions to Kingdoms where there are no Kings, no States where there are no "moi" L'Etats {insert bow to the last fictional Sun, King Louis XIV}.

Sure, there remain the empty invocations. Remnant Nazi sympathizers still people the globe with scapegoats for their own alarming defalcations and failures -- for example, even IF there was a "bad Jew" somewhere doing something, is there anything WORSE than what Hitler/Himmler/Goebbels directly did TO THE GERMAN PEOPLE? Now, we appreciate the fact that Hitler's grandmother was Jewish, but it is not Justice to blame the victim for being the victim while claiming the predator is the victim.

There is great news coming out of the Media Tribes. Great news in terms of world peace, and the hope that men and women really love their families and want to prosper, that is, want peace, rather than suffering in constant war. The Media Tribes have supplanted the "nations". Granted they have the chaotic limitations of tribes, but the new tribes are inspired in ways that "nations" are not.

The new Media Tribes which form around the grand enterprise of making Movies, for example, have over-powered the narrow and self-defeating provincialisms of the old tribalisms. But one example, THE KINGDOM, a film made by a Hollywood tribe which has accreted a wonderful cast and team from around the world. Whether the film as film is any good is beside the point -- it took a magnificent tribe to make it. And this making is in the millions, and arches over borders and hatreds and old wars. Ironically, of course, it depicts the old wars.

ASHRAF BARHOM is an intense 30-year old Christian Arab-Israeli actor/poet who plays a Saudi Colonel "Al-Ghazi" teamed up with an FBI Agent Ronald Fleury, played in turn by the brilliant black American, JAMIE FOXX. The Islamic terrorist mastermind of the film is played by a Jew, and it was shot in Arizona, with exterior driving dub-shots done in Dubai.

Just the fact that this has happened, that this film-making is a consummated reality, is wonderful news from The-World-is-a-Better-Place-Than-It-Appears front. We are seeing waves of these new tribes-people -- new associations, new invasions, new nomads, new settlers. They are bringing their gifts and talents and hopes into areas of spent tyranny: Ironically, the "kingdom" referred to here is "Saudi Arabia". This is complicated, but Hollywood has found geopolitics. At last.

We are all Arabs. We are all Jews. We are all mongrel tribes, trying to raise our families in peace and looking for prosperity. We are all minorities -- especially those of us in Power at the Top. Minorities. And we move in a mob: The Pack, the Tribe, with its own hopes for the best.

Preserve us from those who would "save" us

Do you see a rise of "finger-pointing"? The recent welter of Rovian "attack ads" are nothing more than the application of mob-mongering scape-goating from the Dark Ages of every previous political disaster. Yet, in pointing this out, am I also doing that which I accuse Karl Rove of doing -- that is, "attacking" him?

The difference is that I BLAME HIM, not a scape-goat. I do not blame a Race, a party, a group with unalterable characteristics. He is to blame. He vigorously applied the "strategy" -- not original to him -- of spreading false rumors about other candidates so as to distort every campaign he touched. At the time he spread the defamation, he knew the truth -- for example:

(1) on the eve of George Bush's first race for Governor of Texas, Karl Rove knew that Ann Richards was not and never was a "lesbian";

(2) during the party nomination for President, Karl Rove knew that Senator McCain was not a "traitor",

(3) in the election of 2004, Karl Rove knew that John Kerry acted honorably in discharging his duties as an officer on a Swiftboat; and

(4) when Karl Rove, who never served in the military, never served his country in any capacity, and has lost no limbs or undertaken risks on its behalf, smeared Max Cleveland as a "sniveling defeatist", he knew the truth that Cleveland was a war hero.

Why has this man been able to "accomplish" so much for himself at the expense of the public? Because Rove spread the defamation under color of righteousness -- by claiming to be saving us from the Bad Thing he rumors of his opponent. And surely we need the redemption.

But now, what saves us from the false redeemer?

The Rise and Fall of Scape-Goading

Goading the mob, invoking a tribal hatred the embers of which have always warmed our fears, is a sure sign of tyranny afoot.

A bully, the one parading in the sand-lot of his infantilism, will always pick on the vulnerable, the tolerant, the ones whose humiliation brings no immediate consequences. Do you ever see bullies "picking on" the powerful?

It appears that certain people are out looking for a "scape-goat". Why? What oversight or error of their own are they trying to hide? Why goad the mob with fingerpointing and accusations against "others"?

We face the scape-goaders on all sides of the extremes:

The goaders from the CONSERVATIVE soap-box try to blame a "conspiracy" of change, as if anything ever stays the same. These goaders only replace others in power with themselves and nothing is preserved as a result of their false restorations.

The goaders from the COMMUNIST soap-box try to blame a "conspiracy" of stasis, as if anything ever changes. These goaders only replace others in power with themselves and nothing changes as a result of their false reforms.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The sudden disappearance of Great Rulers - the Moche

We have seen so many "civilizations" which have fallen. All people have "classes" -- the plebians and the patricians who rule them. But the "rulers" are rarely wise, rarely deserving of the special treatment they require. Tney "spell out" for us how worthless and empty the pretense to superiority is.

In South America, I have seen the Huacas. In the desert, the Moche built great cities. The Huaca del Sol and de Luna are the greatest structures built in the New World before 1500 A.D. The Moche were also the greatest craftsmen of the chaleolithic peoples. Their food was grown using wonderful brick aquaducts. But what do we know of their disappearance?

They left a record of images and stories on pots and walls, including the slow blood-letting and "sacrifice" of prisoners captured live in battle.

Dr. John Verano, Tulane University, was the bone specialist who studied a field of skeltons to determine cause of death. Thin slash marks to the front of the neck bones, some with hundreds of marks -- indicating the muscle was cut and removed from the bone. The images on the pottery were not "stories", they were pictures of actual sacrifice.

Around 650 A.D. the Moche quite suddenly vanished. El Nino - the name we give to the wet weather that hits the coast of Sur America -- strikes every five years or so, but at exactly the same time the Moche collapsed, the weather was going haywire. A major El Nino on the coast, with flooding and landslides, occurred, and drought and dust conditions followed in the mountains -- a mega-drought.

Here is a clear example of a huge and specialized civilization which was powerless before an epic change of weather.

Conquest of the Inca - by women, and Atahualpa's enemies

We are told that the pig-sty maker Pizarro, wielding steel and harquebus' from horseback, conquered tens of thousands of warriors and seized the Inca Empire. In fact almost everything taught about this event is untrue and so implausible that it is monument to human gullibility that it has stretched over our "education" for almost 600 years. Perhaps the true story some day will be told, and it will be revealed from two sources:

(1) archeology - which will reveal how the warriors in the great armies of the Inca actually died (Hint: few were killed by steel weaponry, most by native stone clubs and spears), and

(2) the law suits in which Pizarro's children, who were born of the great and largely unknown "wife" taken by Pizarro at the outset of his "conquest". His wife was a princess of one of Atahualpa's enemies. Curiously, the legal records completely contradict the so-called historias of the priests who recorded Pizarro's conquest.

Trumpeters - one of the mirroring leitmotifs of a culture

Most of us honor the Sunday Park "airing" of Arban in developing the trumpet as an outdoor instrument; we still use his book.

Then the black New Orleans/Chicago influences - brought mainstream by Bix Beiderbeck, and opened internationally with Sachmo - Louis Armstrong. A Big Band golden age led by Sachmo and "Big Bop" Maynard Ferguson, Dizzy Gillespie. Still dancing zydeco java jazz - Al Hirt.

Ralph Mendez - warmed up the Latin influences and showed that trumpeters could play continuously using circular breathing. The Cubano, Arturo Sandoval with the most beautiful sound, and Latin jazz.

Maurice Andre reached up into the C and G ranges, and the piccolo and classical trumpet. Maurice also gets credit for bringing out the "charm" of the instrument -- smooth, easy-listening, supple phrasing.

Tijuana Brass sound of Herb Alpert. His 1965 Album, "Whipped Cream and Other Delights" sold more than 14 million copies, and by 1966 he was bigger than the Beatles. From dancing to nervous breakdown and later, serious consciousness raising, always improvising off interesting melodies and rhythm structures.

Doc Severinson made it nightly with Johnny Carson's Tonite Show. One of the first of the great Monsters, and showing the power of space-age pop.

Jack "trying to get good" Sheldon broadened the play as Merv Griffin's superior sideman -- not only as a jazzman, but with a 17-piece orchestra, as a balladeer, goldening the age of Los Angeles Hollywood.

Miles Davis influenced Chet Baker, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Herb Pomeroy, Alan Dawson, Dave Lambert, Charlie Mingus. Eventually the incredible "screamers" (Ferguson) were surpassed with jazz fusion and smooth jazz.

Hugh Masekela - In the 60's introduced the 8-quarter runs echoed in traditional drum-song, and became a global music legend (with his sweet former wife vocalist). In 2000's he is still show-casing with the Chissa All-stars.

Chuck Mangione - opened up the range between elevator background and fluegel horn concert arrangements.

Finally, a kind of apotheosis: Wynton Marsalis - the first musician to win Grammy's in both Classical and Jazz performance. Top improvizations. Maybe the greatest combination of ear, talent, heart and intelligence.

Now, a new generation is stepping up. The English-woman, Alison Balsom is performing in 2008 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Walt Disney Concert Hall, not only from her Andre-influenced easy-listening honey-coated effortless high notes, but also with avant-garde jazz. Debut on Prairie Home/Keillor January 2008, showing how a gold trumpet can deliver "folk" melodies.

WADADA LEO SMITH. Leading brass instrumentalist composer and teacher. Working free jazz and world music for decades.

FESTIVAL OF NEW TRUMPET MUSIC. Trumpeter Dave Douglas has sponsored "FONT" for now its Sixth Year in New York City. Strong performances and compositions with Taylor Ho Bynum and Jeremy Pelt, Eddie Allen, Ralph Alessi, Mark Isham, Pheeroan ak-Leef, John Zorn. www.fontmusic.org.

CHRIS BOTTI. Album "Chris Botti in Boston" {Boston Pops}. With Josh [Berman? tenor], Sting (both had the nerve to start over on improvs that do not go right, and audience appreciated/remembers "Shape of my Heart" - squared, harmon mute), John Mayer, etc.

GREG ADAMS - works with mesmerizing vocalist Daryl Walker, composer, producer, player. Mix of jazz, pop, San Francisco funk since the 1970's, and just played Laguna Festival of Arts on 2010 tour. Soulful touches.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alan Greenspan documents the abandonment of fiscal restraint by the Republican Party leadership

Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Chairman who served as the leading economist of our once-respected Republican Party for 3 decades, has capped his service in his book, The Age of Turbulence. He documents the fact that President George W. Bush, and the entire GOP under the leadership of his cabal, completely abandoned the "conservative principle" of fiscal restraint. He expressly honors President Clinton for his intelligence, principles, and antideficit policies.

According to Bob Woodward (Washington Post), Greenspan has repeatedly expressed deep disappointment with the Bush-Cheney-Rowe Administration and its out-of-control spending. Greenspan frankly viewed the 2000 election "as a golden opportunity", with the GOP in control of the Courts, Congress, the Presidency and the Media. Like the rest of us who feel that the Republican Party was taken over by pirates, he feels betrayed. Like only he could do, however, he has documented the facts of the betrayal -- the occasions missed and miss-steps taken.

On his Watch - US Attorney General, Alberto R. Gonzales

"Over the past 2 1/2 years, I have seen tyranny, dishonesty, corruption and depravity of types I never thought possible."
Mr. Alberto R. Gonzales, appointed US Attorney General by his long-time friend, George W. Bush, at the ceremony "in his honor" on the occasion of his resignation from the scandal-scarred Justice Department. Under previous Administrations, the Department had the mission of ferreting out injustice. Now, it appears, we had an individual in charge of prosecuting injustice who by his own account was observing it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Personal Motto - official announcement of abeyance

Jahresbericht or Soup d’ Journal : REGARDING THE PERSONAL MOTTO

Maybe it’s a bad idea to have a personal motto. When it’s not a senseless burden, it gets me into trouble. I started with JURIS PRAECEPTA SUNT HAEC: HONESTE VIVERE,; ALTERUM NON LAEDERE; SUUM CUIQUE TRIBUERE (“The precepts of the law are these: to live honorably; to hurt nobody; to render everyone his due”). Of course, that never worked: my peers thought I thought I was better than they were. My superiors thought I was trying to hurt them by making them look bad. As for people subordinate to me, all of them seemed to think that I was trying to take away the nothing they had. Both of them savagely accused me of trying to render to them what they deserved.

So, I took as motto what became my shibboleth : SEEK TRUTH, BE LOVED, AND MAKE A LIVING. At least this motto was not in Latin, a language of arenal failures, and ancients who erst-whiled away their time burning libraries, and crucifying Zionists for which they blamed the Jews, triply victimizing their victims. Secondly, it contains a vector of direction from the tension of an expanding trinity, a sort of Hegelian dialogue, suggesting that in practical action (the artifice of “making” a living out of Doing and Being) can be found the common ground between the incompatible antipodes of Truth and Love.

But this has not worked either. A motto becomes a rut, a sewer, and not in a good way. The motto only reminds me of my flush, epidemic, broad, and abundant failures - my axle-broke cart dragged to the sunken shoulder. I am road killed, over-run by a million, count ‘em, Sport-Utility Vehicles. What I thought had utility has become someone else’s sport. My wheels are not merely broken, they do not fit any known chassis. I have not found truth. I have not glimpsed even a passing resemblance.

As for the second clause, it is harder to be Loved than I ever imagined. It feels like an un-natural act. It may even be that “crime against Nature” which is so often discussed in the literature of pricks. It is clear to me, it is often spelled out and spoon-fed to me, that I am not loved outside my immediate family members, a dwindling group which is calling in help as we speak . Most people have never even “liked” me – we are hardly in the swill ball-park of Love. The mutuality of open hostility appears to be growing. Large parts of me seem to have joined the “other” side of this issue.

As for my livelihood, it has never risen to the level of being a “livelihood”. There is no “there” there. I struggle for existence, overwhelmed by the details of survival. Just the other day I was accosted by a man who owes me money for services I performed at his request – and he wanted to know when I would pay him. Whatever I seem to have made, is not a “living”.

It does not appear productive to pretend to a motto more painful than aspirational. So, I am looking for a new motto, something more appropriate to a man of my station: A terminal station at the end of a parallel line of rust in a jungle of desert at the bottom of a dry sea. A slogan suitable to someone who has been handed the remote which controls no known appliance.

I am thinking of “To sow the sea, reap the tears, and fake a dying”. This ought to give pauze to myself as I plunge into the rigors of remorse, remonstration, and regret. It may also give bone to that jaw of steps, a run of landings in that “hindsight” of the brain – its espirit d’escalier – which can see patterns of Guilt emerge from the shadows of the past, and which is really the only window in my log-cabin.

Or perhaps the cheery bon-mot “Memento Mori”, for those of us who love life, but not particularly this life. Unfortunately, I do not think there is any other “life” – after, or extra-terrestial, or otherwise – so perhaps this adversion to death, as if it has consequences, is too hopeful.

Well, I have not found a suitable replacement. And having lived so long with the “tape” of a motto, replaying the worm so to speak, with the having of a motto, I will try to find one before I jettison my old one. But you should know, for the record, or for the DVD in the sky, that my old motto – Seek Truth, Be Loved, and Make a Living – is no longer, if it ever was, invoked.

Under the circumstances, no decent burial arrangements are being made. We cannot afford the fuel for a pyre. We were thinking of exposing it to the sky and letting eagles tear out its liver every day. Eagles eat fish and this one is fishy enough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pechanga Casino Indians are denying membership to documented clans

Pechanga Indian leaders hired anthropologist John Johnson in 2004 to determine whether or not the Madariaga clan were members of the tribe.

Generations of Madariagas had grown up on the reservation. Family patriarch Lawrence Madariaga, 90, built his home there. He also built the local clinic, served on tribal committees and lived on Hunter Lane, named after his great-grandmother, Paulina Hunter. He received a lifetime achievement award from the tribe.

However, now that the tribe receives significant monthly checks from casino profits, there is a motive among Members to restrict Membership. When tribes are paid royalties from oil or the BIA by head-count, then Membership was inclusive. Now, when the pot stays the same, and the more Members, the less each receives, some family members were found to be frauds unfairly pocketing income. Most receive $20,000 each in monthly checks from casino profits.

John Johnson, the curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, hired as an expert witness on Luiseno genealogy, concluded that the Madariaga family was indeed descended from Hunter. He presented the proof that Paulina was a Temecula Indian from the Pechanga reservation. He showed her lineal descent from an original tribal ancestor.

However, the tribal enrollment committee, chose to ignore the facts. Ignore the facts, and keep more money for themselves.

Apparently rich people are pretty much the same, whether they come from poverty, spiritual traditions, or have access to the clearest expertise and wisdom. When people get rich, they want to keep it, and they want to be better off than others. Why keep the eggs if you can kill the goose?

FOOTNOTE on the Law. In cases around the country, the State and Federal Courts are "deferring" to the Tribal Councils who are excluding competing clan members they don't like, even when the decision is clearly contrary to the facts. Funny, the courts never deferred to the Councils when they were claiming lost land, resources, damages for broken treaties. All of a sudden Federal Courts no longer have jurisdiction over disputes between local sovereignties?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cahokia and the 53 women in Mound 72

I am an apologist for the native and the immigrant, the builder of cities, and the nomad wanderer, or the brave immigrant looking for a place to raise a family. Still, let's accept the tangibles, the facts you can hold in your hand.

We have only recently unearthed the Mississippian cultures which reached a kind of apex in Cahokia -- at the confluence of three great rivers, and the soft riparian "bottom land" of America. The grayware is beautiful, the stone-ware stunning, the lay-out -- with its own solar Wood-henge -- is impressive. The symbols are almost all around the sun and fertility, almost none about war, and nothing has yet been unearthed that looks like blood-letting and human sacrifice.

Except there is that deep pit inside a charnel house with 50 men tossed contemporaneously and carelessly into it. There is the door-less stockade built by itself which appears to be a prison. While there is little evidence of war-loving or anthropophagous habits, there is this evidence of at least intermittent reprisal and severe punishment.

And Mound 72 -- at the edge, and askew by 90 degrees. The burial of a Lord, accompanied by four men whose hands and heads were removed, and by 53 women, laid in in two ranks, and apparently strangled.

There are many mysteries, but there should be no mystery about our Lords. They manipulate us with beliefs they themselves do not cherish, and they behave entirely differently than they require of us.

And we have only excavated less than 5%...? The past is the thing that haunts us. Is it possible to live? Knowing what comes out of the dirt of our past? The facts are damning.

Choice - choosing the Chooser

There are many perfectly helpful concepts for which we have no "word". There are many words we actually use, but which have lost all usability; they no longer "apply". Choice is clearly a residual "word" used by people who no longer believe in the concept. Or we do "believe", but we understand that the "chooser of the chooser", or the chemistry of desire, and the inner embedded story-teller, are all things that negate or neutralize the concept of "choice". It is of no consolation that the concept of "belief" is also horning the dilemma of our sit.

I want to suggest that the brain/personality is up to the task of finding "choice". Do not let yourself off this hook: You are choosing your life. Look at the exceptions that prove rules. And those desires -- how many of us would lose a head if our dreams were judged? How bitter, how salted, how merciless are our whims. Are they to be irresistable as well?

We are inside our story. Still, that next page is blank. There is really no law, no chemistry inside, and no judge, no tyrant, which can force the ending. Who knows.

Larry Craig, booked and pled guilty, taking a "wide stance" in a men's room

Curiously, a Republican Party which almost unanimously took the position that a Blow Job was "sexual intercourse" -- which would surprise most people who look up actual definitions and the definitions which were in play during Clinton's deposition -- is now claiming that expressly signaling for a Blow Job from a cute blonde police decoy is not "solicitation". I do not know why we bother with "definitions". People make up their minds based on ideology, prejudice and politics.

It is obvious that "family values" are not, and probably never have been, maintained by the elites who run things.

Where is the "moral outrage" of the Conservatives now? Jesus never directly decried the practices of Man-Loving. Read carefully about John the Beloved. It is not good enough to say that he adverted to the teachings of the Prophets, and some of them lived in a society which made homosexuality a capital offense. Or not -- there is a huge translation issue here, but it should be obvious to everyone that homosexuality is simply NOT one of the Ten Commandments. By ANY interpretation.

Jesus was not subtle, however, in condemning hypocrisy. Or untempered condemnation -- "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone", is the sound bite most of us come away with.

Pavarotti and the Requiem, Panis Panorum

The Music at Pavarotti's Funeral -- in Italy which adored him and had time to prepare -- these things do not always provide that luxury coupled with political opportunity -- should be listened to. I think they performed the LIBERA ME from Verdi's Requiem. It is almost an Opera on its own. The Introit, Dies Irae, the joy of the Sanctus. I think Placido Domingo was conducting it. Sting was there - did he sing? And I hear they played a video of two Pavarottis singing the Panis Panorum -- done as a duet with his Pappa. Andrea Bocelli sang deeply. And then there is that final C-major chord of the Requiem.