Curtains For Democracy10 comments
picture12 May 2004 @ 09:43
Freedom of Speech
by Norman Rockwell

It's not autumn's cold that keeps me awake,
but what I feel before the grasses and trees in my courtyard.
My banana tree has lost its leaves; my parasol tree is old;
and night after night---the sound of wind, the sound of rain.

---Chujo Joshin

The assumption behind democracy is that there is such a thing as community---men and women living a social life in associations of all kinds: that in such a community men can develop and express their personalities. Government, with all the power of organization it involves, is regarded by men in a democratic state as an instrument of this community, to protect it and preserve it from disharmonies of various kinds.

The Modern Democratic State, 1943

12 May 2004 @ 02:56: hahahahahahaha...
Ever hear of "The School Of The Americas?" How about "Wounded Knee?" or, this beats them all, the project for ''The New American Century?'' All the while our ''elected'' president, har har, hides under his cloak of gooseberry down.


As a result of the manipulations of this “Consortium,” the majority of Americans are inculcated into the fiction of a representative government - a democracy - and that our scientists and representatives are “taking care of business” for us, and even if they are sometimes corrupt, they aren’t as bad as a totalitarian regime. It has become most definitely obvious in the past couple of years that this is not the case - and probably never was. We don’t even really elect our representatives. It’s all a sham. But the fiction propagated by the media has clouded the ability of the American people to see their society and government for what it really is: an oligarchy that pretends to be a democracy to placate and deceive the public.

To those who suggest that it doesn’t really matter since it is an efficient way to organize and manage millions of people, let us suggest that it is suicidal to think that an oligarchy is not primarily interested in maintaining its own position to the exclusion of all other considerations. When we consider the evidence, we see that the groups in question have never acted in the best interests of the public. If you doubt this, spend some time reading about nonconsensual human experimentation. And so, logically speaking, there is no reason to even suggest that the secrecy surrounding the “alien reality” is any different.

---Vaxen Var  More >

 Trophies Of War19 comments
picture11 May 2004 @ 03:46
In a snowfall that covers the winter grass
a white heron
uses his own whiteness to disappear.


All religion begins with the cry "Help!"

---William James

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

---Jalaluddin Rumi

US Army Spec. Charles A. Graner, Jr (rear), and Pfc. Lynndie R. England are seen at Abu Ghraib prison.

The New York Times
May 11, 2004

Tourists and Torturers

So now we think we know who took some of the photographs at Abu Ghraib. The works attributed to Specialist Jeremy Sivits are fated to remain among the indelible images of our time. (Presumably this is the same Jeremy Sivits who will be tried on May 19th in a somewhat streamlined proceeding known as a special court-martial. ---jazz) They will have changed the course of history; just how much we do not yet know. It is arguable that without them, news of what happened within the walls of that prison would never have emerged from the fog of classified internal memos. We owe their circulation and perhaps their existence to the popular technology of our day, to digital cameras and JPEG files and e-mail. Photographs can now be disseminated as quickly and widely as rumors. It's possible that even if Specialist Joseph M. Darby hadn't gone to his superiors in January and "60 Minutes II" hadn't broken the story last month, some of those pictures would sooner or later have found their way onto the Web and so into the public record.

Leaving aside the question of how anyone could have perpetrated the horrors depicted in those pictures, you can't help but wonder why American soldiers would incriminate themselves by posing next to their handiwork. Americans don't seem to have a long tradition of that sort of thing. I can't offhand recall having seen comparable images from any recent wars, although before the digital era amateur photographs were harder to spread. There have been many atrocity photographs over the years, of course — the worst I've ever seen were taken in Algeria in 1961, and once when I was a child another kid found and showed off his father's cache of pictures from the Pacific Theater in World War II, which shook me so badly that I can't remember with any certainty what they depicted. I'm pretty sure, though, that they did not show anyone grinning and making self-congratulatory gestures.  More >

 Surviving The Digital Hospital18 comments
picture10 May 2004 @ 10:16
Why am I aging so
this autumn?
A bird flying into the clouds.


The quieter you become,
the more you can hear.

---Baba Ram Dass

Springtime light
fills the room

---Soen Nakagawa

First, I'd like to thank those who have encouraged me to get back to writing...and particularly an attempt to chronicle this past week. It's a daunting project for a number of reasons, but chiefly physical: I still tire easily, and my coordination is not always there when I look for it. But the longer I put this off the more difficult it becomes, so here goes~~~  More >

 More And More Emerging Wrong About 9/1124 comments
picture15 Apr 2004 @ 02:21
Cold geese calling in the sky.
Leaves tumbling over the empty hills.
Day is dwindling on the dark village road.
Alone, I carry my empty bowl home.


Vast solitude
My thinning body
transparent autumn.

---Soen Nakagawa

Worldly acquisitions of wealth and the need of clinging to them, as well as the pursuit of the Eight Worldly Aims, I regard with as much loathing and disgust as a man who is suffering from billiousness regardeth the sight of rich food. Nay, I regard them as if they were the murderers of my father; therefore it is that I am assuming this beggarly and penurious mode of life.


The picture is of Maureen Dowd receiving a Pulitzer for Commentary in 1999. Sometimes her columns in the New York Times are so insightful, precise, and brilliantly written that the reader actually is moved to take some responsibility for citizenship in this shaky republic. And in an age of Virtual Reality and It's All About Me, such an accomplishment is heroic.

I mean, I know a guy who recently spent $70,000 on a unique red Hummer. It gets 8 miles to the gallon. He spent $200 on gasoline just going to pick it up. He parks it where surveillance cameras provide an image of it at all times to his office---and remote screens at home. If anyone else drives it or fools around with it, computer codes let him know this has happened. He tells people he always wanted one, he had the extra money, so he bought it. Simple as that. I mean, there's a war on, so why not celebrate the advantages? I will not reveal what this man does for a living...unless you ask me privately.

But I digress: back to Ms. Dowd. To most conservatives she is among the most loathsome of individuals, and I must confess sometimes her work turns me off too. But not lately! She has been mightily up in arms about President Bush and his administration...and rarely more so than in her column this morning.  More >

 May I Have This Dance?11 comments
picture5 Apr 2004 @ 03:28
An intense love of solitude, distaste for involvement in worldly affairs, persistence in knowing the Self and awareness of the goal of knowing---all this is called true knowledge.

---The Bhagavad Gita

In the blue heavens,
cold geese calling.
On the empty hills,
leaves flying.


Again the blackbirds sing; the streams
Wake, laughing, from their winter dreams,
And tremble in the April showers
The tassels of the maple flowers.

---John Greenleaf Whittier

Dancing to the Big Band sound at the Penn State Senior Ball of 1936

I have reason to believe and report to you that the disappearance of the art form and social occasion known as the dance band now is complete. It has been the duty of my generation in America to preside over this evolution, and I have embraced it lovingly hoping hard and often I would not witness extinction. The final struggle took 50 years, which is not long in social or species history---but of course nearly a lifetime for this man. I have evidence, however, it has breathed its last.

There was a simple notice in the Events Calendar in Thursday's The Athens News that the Ohio University Jazz Ensemble would perform for dancing at the Athens Community Center on Saturday night. The band is made up of around 15 students playing the traditional instrumentation of this music (3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 5 saxes, 4 rhythm) and I was unaware they had developed a dance repertoire. In most parts of this nation, an opportunity to invite your partner to an actual dance in a ballroom is so rare that I jumped at the chance. I marveled at the wisdom of a teacher/leader to attempt to teach this tradition to a new generation of young people. When we got there, a table was set up at the door and they wanted $25 to get in---but "String Of Pearls" was playing inside, so I plunked down the cash and we walked through the door.  More >

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