12 January 2005
Americans are inundated with information moment to moment...finely crafted, and spoon fed. It's not only that the corporately owned media slants newsworthy events...but pharmaceutical companies are given free space for the latest 'discovery'...politicians have photo opportunities on the nightly news. It's all so...well...sick. When I was a young boy my father gave me a wonderful gift...and it wasn't for my birthday, or as a present for some special holiday. He just gave it to me out of...well, y'know...love. It was a transistor shortwave radio. One of the best at the time. I scanned the airwaves nightly...listening to information from Radio Havana and Radio Moscow...Radio Deutschewelle, the BBC, Radio Netherlands...over the years there were many stations, too many to mention...covering every conspiracy theory, every real live event...slanting this way, spinning that way. I knew that within the context of these distant radio waves was the 'truth'. No one broadcaster gave it to me. It was only through the filter of my own discerning views...my education...that I could find what the 'truth' was. It is that way today. There are more places to receive information...and more to glean...but it is within our abilities to find some semblance of 'truth' in all the mish-mash. It is our responsibility. We travel to Mexico almost yearly for extended periods of time. Mexico city has about a dozen daily newspapers, all with different headlines, and all with a different idea of what is newsworthy. Sometimes the same event will make the front pages of a couple of papers with completely different "spins" on the event. The media is not corporately owned in the same manner as it is in the US... and the ownership groups have wildly different biases and structures... from the anarcho-syndicalist Excelsior to the intellectual Marxist Jornada to the business-oriented Reforma. There is room for all of us to grow...to learn...to listen, read and find the truth. Don't be buffaloed by sound-bytes.
09 January 2005
The devastation of the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean...GW's 100 million dollar advertising blitzkrieg against Social Security...a mounting deathtoll in the quagmire that is known as "Iraq"... I turn today to the American's National Football Conference playoff game at Lambeau field with temperatures in the 20s...and snow flurries. This is the third time this season that the Norris League's bitter rivals, the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, have met. The first two games had identical scores of 34 to 31, were decided in the waning seconds of the game, Green Bay the victor. This is the first time the Vikes and Pack have met in a post-season playoff game. My prediction? The Vikings will spend much time in preparation...ultimately deciding they should wear the Versace uniforms with Gucci gloves, and the fur collars rather than the stoles. Randy Moss will opt for 6 inch spike high heels, giving up his speed advantage for some extra height. Meanwhile, the Packers will hide behind referees and cheerleaders, wearing their street fightin' clothes and packin' brass knuckles and chains. The Viking's wide receiver's strategy is to distract the Packer's defensive backs (the ones who have gotten in touch with their feminine side...and some others who are having sexual identity crises). Shaking their collective booties may just give the Vikings the edge...unless Moss decides to go to the locker room early in the first quarter...his well known cooperative team spirit crushed. I have been surprised before.
08 January 2005
I disagree with assertions that dropping two atomic bombs on civilian populations was necessary to end WWII...the war was over, for all practical purposes...regardless of what you have learned. I believe it was meant to send a message to The Soviet Union, and was incomprehensibly fiendish. I also believe the war in Iraq is wrong. Men, women and children who had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein have died excruciatingly painful deaths...thousands upon thousands more have been maimed. The sanctions also killed thousands upon thousands of innocents, and achieved little to nothing else. Clinton was as much a bastard as the Bushes. The same with the unconscienable bombings in Kosovo. The history of the US involvement in VietNam is creepy, to say the least. Stanley Karnow wrote a great book on the history of that conflict...and PBS later did a series of episodes based on the book...with actual footage from the war. Another vulgar, anti-civilian adventure...that has yet to be explained in terms that anyone could comprehensibly understand and believe. (this is a very personal observation, having spent nearly two years in a combat role there). The reason that November 11th is set aside now as Veterans' Day (formerly Armistice Day) is that there was an agreement between all parties fighting in WWI that there would be an armistice signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918...whilst waiting for this 'significant' moment to come, many people died in sensless combat: "November 11, 1918. The final hours pulsate with tension as every man in the trenches hopes to escape the melancholy distinction of being the last to die in World War I. The Allied generals knew the fighting would end precisely at 11:00 A.M, yet in the final hours they flung men against an already beaten Germany. The result? Eleven thousand casualties suffered–more than during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Why? Allied commanders wanted to punish the enemy to the very last moment and career officers saw a fast-fading chance for glory and promotion. Joseph E. Persico puts the reader in the trenches with the forgotten and the famous–among the latter, Corporal Adolf Hitler, Captain Harry Truman, and Colonels Douglas MacArthur and George Patton. Mainly, he follows ordinary soldiers’ lives, illuminating their fate as the end approaches. Persico sets the last day of the war in historic context with a gripping reprise of all that led up to it, from the 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, which ignited the war, to the raw racism black doughboys endured except when ordered to advance and die in the war’s last hour. Persico recounts the war’s bloody climax in a cinematic style that evokes All Quiet on the Western Front, Grand Illusion, and Paths of Glory.The pointless fighting on the last day of the war is the perfect metaphor for the four years that preceded it, years of senseless slaughter for hollow purposes. This book is sure to become the definitive history of the end of a conflict Winston Churchill called “the hardest, cruelest, and least-rewarded of all the wars that have been fought.” This is a quote from the Publisher's release for Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: The War to End All Wars and Its Violent End by Joseph E. Persico. Immoral...or even amoral...each and every one of these dastardly events. What would Jesus, or your favorite demigod, say?
Nopales and Agave greet me when I rise Mesquite and Bamboo Shelter my cries Carmen, oh Carmen Why have you left me? You cast a long shadow From Tubac to Tumacacori Santa Cruz is heading north Santa Rita watches over me White caps on the Rio Kenmore There's a friend I wait to see Carmen oh Carmen Why have you left me? You cast a long shadow From Tubac to Tumacacori The Sonoran sun shines brightly Along the shores of the Kenmore Warm these bones, take my sorrow Say you'll stay forever more Carmen oh Carmen You cast a long shadow (we are camped near the Santa Cruz river, in the town of Carmen...and the Kenmore river is the grey water draining from our friend's washing machine)
07 January 2005
This is how history becomes so distorted, and this happened in our recent history...not 20 years ago...not 50 years ago...not 100 years ago. 19 guys with boxcutters and small knives hijacked some planes and crashed them into several buildings, killing people and creating general mayhem. We saw the images on our television screens. Our intelligence agencies apparently had no inkling that this was imminent. Our air defense agencies scrambled no jets to protect our soil. We were told what happened and how it happened. We were told what to believe. We only have a perception from someone else's perspective. A perception twice removed. Not an experience...but voices from a box...words on paper. And now we drop cluster bombs and napalm in Iraq. Now we ask, "shouldn't we develop even stronger, more powerful and more efficient weaponry?" "When we have a 'next time' do we lie down and roll over?" There's a major disconnect here. I often think we are dupes...dupes of the strongest military establishment ever to be assembled on this earth. And we tremble.
All of our ancestors stood around the same primal fire, and they were all in awe (and afraid) of the wonders around them. One night a dragon came to eat the moon...and they all fell on their knees, shaken. When the moon was released from the dragon's mouth they all shouted! "Arghh", said one..."Orgggggg", cried another..."yeeeeeeeek", yelled out another. That began the big argument that lasts until this day....Who was the great being that frightened away the beast? What is his name? And how do we achieve his favor? It's like listening to the rantings of the inmates of an asylum.
06 January 2005
The only Senator with the balls to stand up and be counted was Barbara Boxer. Take a bow...and thanks. But no debate ensued...the disenfranchised were still standin' out in the rain. Discussions with 'Pro-Life' people today..."every life is sacred...blah blah blah"...Well then, why is it alright for the US military to use cluster bombs and napalm? Why was it alright to drop two...not one, but two...atomic weapons on the Japanese? Capital punishment...the state killing in cold blood. No one is "pro-abortion"...abortion is a tragedy...every child should be educated as to the results of a moment of pleasure. Abortion should never be used as a method of birth control...but when a woman's health is at risk and she and her doctor make a learned decision...that decision is theirs to choose...not mine to dictate. People speak of history as if they were personally there. History is something you read about, or were told about...and is framed by the speaker or the writer. History of wars, history of exploits...conquests...Any conversation about history is merely regurgitation. What should we do now? Justice, peace and egalitarianism. Education and universal suffrage. Drop your guns, we've got you covered!
05 January 2005
So much hope...and so much money raised at the grassroots level to try and oust the current administration. Will anyone challenge the election results? Will one Senator have the courage to stand up and question the status quo? John Kerry won't. John Edwards won't. There were serious 'irregularities' in Ohio...in New Mexico...in Florida (again)...and yet very little has been said about any of it, aside from a few progressive publications, blogs and radio. GW swears he's going to 'spend his political capital'. He has a 'mandate' to reward the insurance companies (tort reform), Wall Street (social security reform) and the evangelical right wingnuts (judicial reform). Joe and Jane American are too busy shuffling their credit cards and shopping at WalMart, The Home Depot and other conduits through which China is sucking the lifeblood of the US...too busy to pay attention to what is going on around them, through them and in their names. Frogs in the water...they don't notice the temperature is rising day by day. Before they can wake up to reality and hop out, the water will have boiled them alive. What can we do? We can create change in our daily lives by being aware that our actions cause ripples. Support local businesses. Be kind to each other. Simple solutions to a very complex situation. Educate yourself and speak out against the madness. Information is available...but avoid the mass media that is corporate owned and operated. For now...I wish us all peace and justice.
As I write this, snow is piling up at elevations above 4000 feet. Tornado warnings were posted amidst a hailstorm in the Phoenix area. The celebrations of the NewYear and the devastation of the recent tsunami are hangovers. More of the same bs in Iraq, bombings and killings. The election of GW is about to be made a matter of record by the electoral college...the dollar is dropping like the mercury on the thermometer, but while I'm certain that there will be warmer days ahead...the dollar's future is uncertain. Meanwhile, sports and entertainment rule the day.
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