Friday, August 31, 2007

Suffer the Children

... unto me. Jesus said it. Beethoven MEANT IT, in the means of simplicity. Holy Cow, this kid is great! A Patriot and Artist, and he doesn't know it yet. There is an awesome and simple beauty about that. So watch this, and these following video posts in order.

In an age where we have inherited the likes of this;

What I am saying is this, and it's ME saying it:

Support Art. You're supporting life and real shit at that point. Support the Dems? Let's do that later, after a little more soul examination. You totally know what I mean.

I'm going to jump on SBT's SPP posts later

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays....

To the chase. My sister Jennifer died last year, this time last weekend.

I so miss her.

A couple things here:

  • I was with Jen till her end. Literally. The last damn minutes, seconds of her life, I was there
  • We played music the entire time she was conscious/unconscious. Where I was on duty and at the time she passed, it was Karen Carpenter, whether you like it or not

Enough. There is one last thing of this that I do believe everyone would want, were they in the same circumstance. "Take my hand, my darling."

And Jen, I may not take your hand, but I will take your soul to my heart. You nut job. I miss you,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Connect the Dots, and Run Like Hell

This has been a tough news week, and it's not even over yet.

Today, I learned that White House office that handles freedom of information requests is free no longer.

"...According to the Washington Post, "The Bush administration argued in court papers this week that the White House Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act as part of its effort to fend off a civil lawsuit seeking the release of internal documents about a large number of e-mails missing from White House servers."
Having locked up FOIA, The Chimp clowned around at this photo op, and bravo to Christy Hardin Smith for how she took him to task for his inaccurate historical context.

Juan Cole who is entirely reliable, and this AP article do not bode well either. WTF? We go to liberate Iraq, and a non democratic form of government is the answer?
While we're at it, let's just walk away from the Utah Miners. Time is money after all.

These unrelated stories, when looked at through the lens of Thomas Jefferson's thoughts become crystal clear and undeniably intertwined:
"In America, no other distinction between man and man had ever been known but that of persons in office exercising powers by authority of the laws, and private individuals. Among these last, the poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire, and generally on a more favored one whenever their rights seem to jar." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786
The rights we so cherish are being eroded at a much faster pace. Eroded is not even the right word. How about TRAMPLED UPON? Makes you just want to Run Like Hell

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What happened in Quebec, and ANIMALS

This is a supplement post to SadButTrue's post below.


I'll get back to them but "Sheep" first.

(Note the time cues are if you double click and look at the Youtube to verify the words)

Here are the first words/parts of "Sheep"

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You better watch out,
There may be dogs about
I've looked over Jordan*, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem.

What do you get for pretending the danger's not real?
Meek and obedient you follow the leaders
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise! A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream.

This takes the listener through 3:48

*"...Jordan? ...Things are not what they seem..."? AIPAC, the "Lord Voldemort" of PACs as I have heard it at other sites. And you already know "this is no bad dream." Next, the musical development is fantastic, but the words begin again at 6:28 - and echo the 23rd Psalm.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by.
With bright knives He releaseth my soul.
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.
He converteth me to lamb cutlets,For lo,
He hath great power, and great hunger.
When cometh the day we lowly ones,
Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of karate,
Lo, we shall rise up,And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

This ain't the 23rd Psalm by any account. What I'm getting at is: did we NOT see fascism rising in power? I say We Did.
What we must do is call a pig, a pig.

Really, most of the lyrics apply. What I want to call your attention to are these words in the 3rd verse:

Hey you, Whitehouse Ha, ha, charade you are
You house proud town mouse Ha, ha, charade you are
You're trying to keep our feelings off the street!
You're nearly a real treat
All tight lips and cold feet...'re nearly a treat
But you're really a cry

Bottom line; are you a LAUGH or a CRY?

Dave Coles is neither a laugh or a cry. That brave man stood right there, in the lines between tyranny and violence to make the point. Liberty lives in his heart. So does truth. Let us act the same, and ensure that Liberty lives in our hearts. Grim as the mission might feel, peeling masks, challenging police, the joy in the result is where we will find our revel. Done so intelligently as Dave Coles, we shall NEVER find ourselves on the "Animals" plane.

Yet, should we find ourselves at that converged violence spot, remember what Coles did. Be the line, and hold for peace.

Bravo Dave Coles!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Giant Sucking Sound in Washington - Turd Blossom Flushing

John Stewarts take:

And some words from Bill Moyers:

"...Karl Rove figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God’s anointed in a state where preachers and televangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits. Using church pews as precincts Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat -- a battering ram, aimed at the devil’s minions, especially at gay people.

It’s so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber, and if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew that, in politics, you better bet on fear and loathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion. At the same time he was recruiting an army of the lord for the born-again Bush, Rove was also shaking down corporations for campaign cash. Crony capitalism became a biblical injunction.

Greed and God won four elections in a row - twice in the lone star state and twice again in the nation at large. But the result has been to leave Texas under the thumb of big money with huge holes ripped in its social contract, and the U.S. government in shambles - paralyzed, polarized, and mired in war, debt and corruption."

Stewart and Moyers really get right to it. Stewart demanding that Rove ask for forgiveness, and Moyers with "..war, debt and corruption." After much ado, I now get to it.

Adios, mofo. You are no boy wonder, genius, brain, nor do you bear any resemblence to any blossom, turd or not.

The amount of work you have created for us to fix this Country, so dear to me and others, is beyond belief. It's not just monetary, which is a tragedy on its own. Restoring civil discourse in the country and returning it away from this fragile splintering state which YOU devised for it will take untold and heroic efforts to repair.

The worst thing you have done is to write the playbook to keep everyday ordinary electorate polarized so that you and people like you may turn this country into a personal treasury to plunder, and you have not minded one whit that it has cost so much American blood, much less Iraqi blood.

History will indeed judge you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pink Floyd Political Science University – Part 2

“Did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it riding the gravy train.”

This particular Pink Floyd song, from 32 years ago (ouch – I remember buying the album) is a famous indictment of the recording industry. And when you stop to think about it, the recording industry is a lot like how our government is today. While the Patriot Act deprives us of privacy and other freedoms, how different is
Sony and it’s root-kitting? Not much. Spying is spying, after all.

Where I want to draw particular emphasis is the riding of the gravy train. This is exactly what the politicians want. An Easy Ride. They consistently prove this by offering platitudes, and mealy mouthed nothingness in terms of positions on real issues. This is my acid test for the difference between a politician and a leader:

If there’s a plan about making a plan, it’s a politician you smell. If it’s a bold stake on a position, with only a nod to cost, be it moral or monetary, that’s a leader. I call this the FDR test. You might find that unsettling, and fine. Leaders are constantly unsettled and that’s the mental reference. Hang on here, Pink Floyd is coming back into this mix, but;

We must be fair, and you must recall; the Department Of Dirty Tricks is a moniker coined during World War II about the fine brained folks at
Bletchley Park in Britain. The Polish stole the Enigma coding device the Nazis were using and handed it over to Bletchley folks. (We may thank Sir Collin Gubbins for this effort, and the mighty Polish underground, fighting a mad retreat in the face of the Blitzkrieg.) They then used Enigma information to their advantage, without a moral guidance, only a tactical or strategic effect. This lead to more than one bombing disaster on friendlies revealed only years later.

Was that right or wrong?

In that case I say it was right. There was such limited use of secrecy, and then the “sunshining” of it relatively immediately after the fact. These are not the purposes, methods or procedures of today’s misadministration. The only thing these folks are doing is UNDOING the Constitution and the system of checks and balances of power. So there’s your second acid test.

The “why” of it? Money. To quote the Floyd:

“Money, get back.
I'm all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it's a hit.
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit.
I'm in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.”

Do ya REALLY need a Lear Jet? And exactly HOW MANY MILLIONS must you have? After you get, oh, I dunno, 4 or 5, ISN'T THAT ENOUGH!

Evidently, Hell No.

So come in, and have a cigar. We got a deal and a bunch of money to make. Politics is GREAT!

Next in the series, Pink Floyd deals with the political war pigs directly from a bygone time, and also makes mention of the sheeple. But hey, at the end of the series I do totally lighten up. I ride a Bike and remember friends.

We become and are the America we deserve. Step up!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pink Floyd Political Science University – Part 1

It dawned on me the other day; if a modern pop song/message can survive 3 going on 4 decades, in some cases, it must have a certain human elemental truth about it beyond mere entertainment. There are not a lot of these 30, 40, 50 year old gems lying around in current consciousness. But there are still some Diamonds. Pink Floyd notably among them.

So I came to think of this as “Everything I’ve learned about modern politics I have learned from Pink Floyd.” This is part one of a series. There will be at least three of these entries, maybe more. As I continue to match up Pink Floyd songs with current issues, the potential list just keeps growing. While the entries vis-à-vis the song topics are not in Pink Floyd chronological order, the method by which the band looks at politics and justice is very well laid out, and that’s the order I’ll tackle the topics in.

Modern domestic politics after WWII begins with the Politics of Division; "Us and Them."


Us, and them
And after all we're only ordinary men.
Me, and you.
God only knows it's not what we would choose to do.

Forward he cried from the rear
and the front rank died.
And the general sat and the lines on the map
moved from side to side.

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.
Up and down.
But in the end it's only round and round.

Haven't you heard it's a battle of words
The poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There's room for you inside.

Down and out
It can't be helped but there's a lot of it about.
With, without.
And who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about?

Out of the way, it's a busy day
I've got things on my mind.
For the want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died…

Take a good listen and a good look at the lyrics. Each A and B section goes together. The A sections are nominally the musings of an ordinary person, and they develop in the song. First - “Hey, we’re only ordinary, and look at the shit going on.” Second – “The message I get is incoherent.” Third – “Nonetheless, I can tell what’s going on. It’s really about have and have not.”

The B sections. Here is the voice of the “Power”, and this voice develops along and against the lines of the sane person. First – “Go and die when I tell you to.” Second – “Do what I say, or else.” Third is most interesting since it’s the end phrase for the whole piece, and becomes a blend of the Us and Them sentiment. It is both the Sane and the alleged “Power” – first is the fully throated message from having detoured the life and values of the sane person “Out of My Way!” yet the sane voice returns with the result; for the war of the haves and have-nots, it is the have-not who is paying with his life. This snip from the American Political Science Review in it's conclusion about the influence of political science theory offerings of theirs from 1906-2006 says it:

James Fearon and David Laitin (2003), for example, argued in the Review that the material factors that favor insurgency are better predictors of civil and ethnic conflict than measures of ethnic or religious diversity, an argument that has great relevance for U.S. military tactics and strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Power voice is always countering against the normal, ordinary person voice. This is both the observation and the recipe to create an Us and Them frame of reference for the Politician to get what he/she really wants. Money and Power.

More on that behavior when we
Have a Cigar and talk about Money.

Monday, August 6, 2007

FISA Disaster - Heart vs. Intellect

I know how this ends… I hope.

But we all see where it’s at right now. Today’s FISA business in Congress has me boiling with rage for lost Liberty. You? But hang on here. Let’s move this to the emotional frame rather than the reading of words. Frankly, that’s where I believe these blog arguments need to go; to the emotional and visceral elements in a person’s soul versus the reading and links so welcomingly and dutifully provided by all who blog. The heart is what counts here, for that’s where Liberty lives. My attempt ensues:

There is nobody better to illustrate feelings musically than Beethoven, the deaf guy who couldn’t hear the following pieces of this post. You don’t have to know, like, love him. I bet it still will move you. He made one and only one Opera; Fidelio. Guess what? It’s about Love and Liberty. Forget the story, except for two small bits:

1 – it’s a State prison that a guy goes to, because of dastardly people, who also plot his death to keep their own hides and
2 – it’s his wife that get’s him out, and exposes the whole deal.

There you go. Love and Liberty. They go together. To unabashedly try to move your heart, here’s where I start.

Today’s cave in on the FISA bill feels like the first 2 minutes of this: “Gott! Welch Dunkel hier!” or “God! It’s So Dark Here.” Alone. Shackled in a dungeon. No such thing as Habeus Corpus. You might be interested to know however, that he (Florestan) starts singing of hope by about 2:15 into this. (If you’ve a strong opera stomach watch the whole 7 minutes.)

BUT WAIT! Revphat made a most excellent reminder that (to paraphrase) Dr. King did not have a complaint; he had a DREAM. And here is how my dream for this FISA and other rights abuse madness ends: (observe in the first 2 seconds of this video, the shackles are thrown OFF and the joy only continues to swell!) You do not have to be opera friendly to get this video in the least. 3:47 and it’s the finale.

Look again! What has happened? Between Love, Dedication, Liberty, those forces have joined together to produce this fabulous result. The common folk are all represented here because they are now free too, concomitant with what has happened with their brother and their sister.

At the end of the last acknowledged fight against fascism, Conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler said it best:

[Salzburg, 1948] No, it is the music, it is Beethoven himself. It is this 'nostalgia of liberty' he feels, or better, makes us feel; this is what moves us to tears. His Fidelio has more of the Mass than of the Opera to it; the sentiments it expresses come from the sphere of the sacred, and preach a 'religion of humanity' which we never found so beautiful or necessary as we do today, after all we have lived through. Herein lies the singular power of this unique opera.... Independent of any historical consideration ... the flaming message of Fidelio touches deeply.
We realize that for we Europeans, as for all men, this music will always represent an appeal to our conscience."

Look, I’m like everybody else. For the instant, a keyboard warrior. But the smell of the challenge to these times, emotionally put, makes me feel differently. You? I don’t know what exactly else to do this very minute, but to feel hugely, heartwise and strongly cannot be bad. One Day More. Alors! Off with their pants!
Oh and BTW, the President of the United States at the time of the first performances of this piece? Thomas Jefferson. Not a coincidence.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Art Informs life - REALLY

One of the worst natural disasters to touch our shores was Hurricane Katrina.

Imagine the desolation. Be "Alone. Lost. Abandoned."

UPDATE: Appelate Court Rules Against Katrina Flood Victims (Hat tip to Wordsmith.)

Well, you barely need imagination. There was an opera about someone frikking dying and desolate in New Orleans and the first performance of it was in 1893. That would be Puccini's "Manon Lescaut."

"Manon" was a wayward, so to say, French chick. Forget that for this post. The whole thing becomes unfair, and despite my cheek, is entirely relevant. She ends up "Alone. Lost. Abandoned." in New Orleans. Sound familiar?

This is a demanding post; click the youtube video, but watch the words. I made a time correlation to help watch where what is being said in the words, but the important part is the emotional part.

(Beautiful introduction first…The time counts down -6:12 to 5:06)

Sola, perduta, abbandonata
in landa desolata...
Alone, lost, abandoned
in desolation…

Intorno a me s'oscura il ciel.
Around me the sky is obscured.

Ahimè, son sola!
Oh no, I am alone

E nel profondo deserto io cado,
And in the deep deserted state I fall

strazio crudel, ah sola, abbandonata,
io, la deserta donna.
Stranded, ragged, alone, abandoned,
An abandoned woman.

Ah, non voglio morire! Ah, non voglio morire!
I do not want to die! No, I do not want to die!

Tutto dunque è finito.
All is ended

Terra di pace mi sembrava questa…
Terra di pace mi sembrava questa…
A peaceful land this seemed to me, a peaceful land
A peaceful land this seemed to me, a peaceful land

Ahi, mia beltà funesta,
ire novelle accende! Strappar da lui mi si voleva,
or tutto il mio passato orribile risorge
Oh, my lost beauty and youth, new angers ignite!
To tear him who wanted me from me, or even my horrible past

e vivo innanzi al guardo mio si posa.
Ah, di sangue ei s'è macchiato!
It revives HIM, and still yet alive, I watch as my past and future are put down.
Ah, my blood, I see now is marked!

Ah, tutto è finito!
Ah, all is ended

Asil di pace
ora la tomba invoco…
The hour of peace
calls for the tomb…

No, non voglio morire.
Non voglio morire!
No, non voglio morire!
Amore… aita!
No, I do not want to die.
No, I do not want to die.
No, I do not want to die.
Love, come for me!

Now don't you just find that crazy, that an Opera, you never knew of, from over 100 years ago, would describe folks trying to get out of New Orleans, much less an individual situation there?

And BTW, substitute this "Manon Lesacaut" for the "Statue Of Liberty."

It's pretty much how I think of it these days.