What did I do last week end? Why, I was at the Fete de Saint Cloud, the patron of my village, Badefols d'Ans! Who was Saint Cloud? (that's pronounced: Sahn Clue) He was a son of the Merovengien KIng of Frankish Gaul, Clodomir, who was the son of Clovis, the great Merovengien king of France, died fighting in a battle with his brother Gondomar around 520 AD. The kingdom of the Francs was a fluid thing...it all depended on heritage and splitting the legacy between the heirs. Cloud's uncles conspired to split the kingdom between themselves, so they murdered Cloud's brothers, who would have inherited their father's kingdom. Cloud escaped and became immune from their plots by becoming a tonsured cleric. The Merovengien Kings of early France are referred to as the long haired kings, because long hair was the symbol of their power. Tonsuring was considered a renunciation of the power. Cloud travelled through France and reputedly founded many early monasteries including the one on the puys of Chatre and Badefols, which are in eyes view of each other. The Monastery in Badefols was dedicated to St. Vincent and the Romanesque church was built around 1000 AD. Of course it was modernized around 1450 and it has some pretty interesting murals from the late Renaissance. But here in Badefols d'Ans, the clock seemed to have stopped ticking around 1917. We are pretty much set in our ways. Even the name of our village, Badefols is a story in itself. The roots of the name are Oc...the pre French language that is a melange of germanic, celtic and latin influences. It is a fluid language. Until the early 1900's it was the language most people spoke here. It parses like latin, but Oc spoken in Thenon and the variety of Oc spoken here, (we are talking of a distance of approximately 40 miles) could be radically different. For centuries, the means of connecting to the outside world was through the traditional network of market days in the villages. So, I digress, the name Badefols is based on the roots, Bade: barking, yelling...and Fols: idiot, fool....Badefols: Screaming Idiot....there was a hermit monk who lived in one of the caves on the hill Badefols was built on who made it his duty to wake everyone up on Sunday morning and get them to go to the church! He irritated everyone and became a legend and the legend gave us our name! I'm rather proud of this history, it seems like fate that a truly obnoxious (and I worked hard to be truly obnoxious) punk rock musician ended up here. I am truly the perfect screaming idiot! At the beginning of the middle ages, as the network of agricultural culture developed here, the Fete de St. Cloud became an important harvest event. Every year since perhaps 1000 AD , we have a three day festival that traditionally includes a veal calf auction and a market selling garlic, onions, squashes, pumpkins and melons. I don't know when the parade of tractors started. We have dances, communal feasts, fireworks, parades and exhibitions of livestock and farm machinery. There are awards for the best livestock. I mention the veal calf auction with reservations, because Americans do not know what veal is. This is one of the biggest veal regions in France. It has nothing to do with what you think is veal. The production is all free range and the calves are raised on their mothers milk. The cattle are the huge Limousin race, who I am surrounded by. Almost all of the valleys around my home are pastures for Limousin cattle. So enjoy this little slice of rural France. Who knows how long we will be privileged to experience this reality. The Banda d'Objat rocked the house!
For the last 3 years, I have been trying to help my friends, the NGO, Groupe Coordination Aude Mali, who are working with Malian Touareg tribal people and their village in the Sahara near Timbuctu. They were displaced and living in refugee camps in Burkina Faso and Mauritania while AQMI...the Malian version of Al Qaeda tried to seize power. I installed a Paypal donation button on the side panel of this blog to help raise awareness and money to assist in the basic survival needs of this displaced community. They have one of the most ancient continuous cultures on the planet. With the intervention of the French, slowly, stability is being restored and these people are beginning to feel able to return to their abandoned villages. GCAM, is a small NGO and virtually every cent donated is spent on the projects that are based on the needs and desires of the Tuareg villagers they have been working with for over 30 years. The members of the NGO have put their lives on the line and suffered the same hardships as the villagers in helping them escape the dangers of AQMI and in their return. The village is being rebuilt, the latest update of the information on the sidebar is that the schools are being reopened and rebuilt. Soon, I will have some great pictures to share of the progress of the resettlement of the ancient villages. We still need donations. Every little bit goes a long, long way. This is a great video of Malian Touareg musicians who have been helping to resettle and restore the villages. Some of the most powerful and beautiful music from Africa comes from this tradition which the AQMI tried to ban and wipe out. Hopefully, when I return from my work at the vendange in Lalande de Pomerol in a few weeks, we will have more interesting stuff to show you. Meanwhile, watch this video and if you feel moved, donate a few bucks to GCAM! Here's a link to a great suite of recent photos of life in Timbuctu published yesterday in the Guardian Observer.
I've written a few posts on my feelings about the philosophical poster girl for the Republican Party, Ayn Rand. An atheist, an early abortion rights advocate,drug addict and fan girl of an admitted and convicted mass murderer. and worst of all in the minds of her fanboys, a welfare queen! But none of the facts about Ayn seem to matter to the politicians who have adopted her political and economic fantasies as the basis for justifying their pseudo libertarian "theories". One interesting critic of her work was the flamboyant founder of the church of satan, Anton Lavey. He said, "Satanism is just Ayn Rand's philosophy, with ceremony and ritual added" My observation has been that Ayn Rand is most popular among emotionally immature, sexually frustrated, early-teen boys who are trying to come up with a reason why nobody realizes how SUPERIOR they are! They are at that developmental stage where they are looking for a simplistic map to greatness that doesn't require empathy or social skills, but that is "hard" on those whom they view as "losers." Hmmmm -- sounds a lot like many evangelical Christians! That's why I found this piece by Matt Osborne from the Breitbart Unmasked blog so compellingly delicious! Posted with permission from Breitbart Unmasked Republish Reprint Atheist abortion-rights advocate Ayn Rand would seem to be a hard sell for the religious right in America, but her ideas about money as the root of all good in the world have a surprisingly-strong appeal to the white evangelical Christians who form the Republican Party's most active voting base. They have proven perfectly capable of ignoring everything they ought to dislike about Rand to embrace her ideas about poverty, charity, and the role of government in promoting the general welfare. Of course, what Rand has to say on these topics is very different from what Jesus says in the gospels. Here are six videos which demonstrate the way Rand's philosophy has been slipped into the right wing bible somewhere between Romans and Revelations.
1. Pat Robertson tells an 80 year-old woman to get a job rather than stop tithing to his church. Because nothing means more than gifting what you can no longer afford to people who already have more than yourself - it's the ultimate act of faith in the divine invisible hand!
2. Lakewood Church co-pastor Victoria Osteen tells her flock to "do good for your own self" instead of for God. Because the good you do should make YOU feel good, since that's what's really important here, right? Rand and her cultists are sincerely anti-volunteerism, discouraging any kind of charitable work that isn't personally fulfilling. This is classic Objectivist philosophy restated as a Christian sermon:
3. Glenn Beck's favorite pseudo-historian includes "capitalism" in the Ten Commandments of voting. David Barton is not a credible witness. He is a peddler of ahistorical nonsense disguised as historical research, but conducted according to ‘biblical principles.' In his mouth, the words ‘private property' should be understood as mammon.
4. Congressman Paul Ryan tells the Atlas Society in 2005 how Rand influenced his personal and political philosophies. Ryan's every scheme involving Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, etc. is grounded in Rand's view of such programs as subsidies for moochers. He's sincetried to repudiate Objectivism, but no one actually ever accused Ryan of being part of her cult - just a rabid fan of her ideas.
5. The Republican governor of North Carolina appoints an Environment & Natural Resources Secretary who believes in magic oil. Ayn Rand was hardly all-rational, all the time. Her novel Atlas Shrugged makes clear references to abiotic oil theory, a thoroughly-discredited geological conspiracy theory that she genuinely believed at the time. Right wing evangelicals love abiotic oil theory because it lets them disbelieve in fossils - and fossil-fuels. Click here to view the embedded video.
6. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Wingnuttistan) says that "we are living in the days of Ayn Rand." You don't get a more religious Republican than Cruz, but his ‘End Times' have more in common with John Galt than Jesus Christ.
I have nothing but utter contempt for the has been Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent. I would probably pity the sucker, but it's hard to have pity for person who has chosen to capitalize on hate as the only way to keep his hackery profitable. I am a Motor City Madman in my own way. Ted was in the local band, The Lourds, playing high school dances in Northwest Detroit before the Amboy Dukes. I knew him back then and I could tell you some pretty bizarre tales that Ted would rather keep hidden about his drug fueled brain damaged past. I try to ignore him, but last week he managed to ooze onto my windscreen with his out of control obnoxious hate fueled rant about todays anniversary of the terrorist destruction of The World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He insulted all of the victims and desecrated their memories with his asinine attempt to use the disaster to promote gun insanity and racist hate. This was his facebook post from September 4:
"9-11-14 is the day of infamy again. Unarmed & helpless Americans and Europeans will be viciously ambushed when they least expect it, and the death toll will be more brutal and widespread than all the peace & love dreamers could ever imagine. Those who carry guns had better gun & ammo up no matter where you go, carrying at least 10 spare mags or 10 spare speedloaders because the allahpukes are confident they will once again methodically slaughter walking cowering whining cryin helpless sitting ducks capable of zero resistance. To gullible naive embarrassing ill prepared targets, there is still time to firepower up ASAP. Head for cover but retain an attentiveness in order to identify the evildoers and dbl tap center mass, then two to the head. Then take cover and prepare your next evasive escape, taking dwn known jihadists to the best of your ability, Aim small miss small center mass & headshots, This is going to be the real deal & absolutely survivable against these 4th world allahpuke zombies. STAND! Go heavy, Only assholes are outgunned, Dont be outgunned or out ammo'd. Goodluck. Be safe, Shoot straight & OFTEN, Godspeed, killemall"
I get comments and criticism from people who read my comments on America stating that I don't have the perspective to write about America because I have chosen not to live there. I lived there for 50 years.I was an eye witness to the Trade Center Disaster. I lived in the zone that was under martial law in Lower Manhattan. I smelled the smell and saw the results up close everyday. I have lost a few friends to the toxic after effects of the bombing. I feel Nugent smeared me, and my friends with his disgusting comments. Frankly,my 9/11 experience changed my lifeand opened my eyes. I have tried to use it to understand why it happened and open doors instead of shutting them. I told my story once and I won't go over it again and again, but there is a 9/11 industry out there. The disaster is being used by the manipulators over and over, again and again to lead America down the road to making the same tragic mistakes that the NeoCons led America into Afghanistan and Iraq. The same tragic mistakes that created the present reality we are dealing with today with ISIS and we haer the smae monsters like Dick Cheney beating the drums to suck you into the same traps of fear and revenge AGAIN AND AGAIN!
Remember after 9/11/2001, when politicians and commentators talked about how we couldn’t let the terrorists win?
News flash: The terrorists won. Hands down!
Did that attack make us crazy? Certifiably. Bonkers, whacko, cuckoo, and loony tunes. Since that nightmarish day when the World Trade Center towers crumbled to earth, this country has become an insane asylum. How crazy are we? Let me count the ways. 1) We established a vast new bureaucracy called The Department of Homeland Security. Total expenditures on Homeland Security from 2001-2011 have totaled an estimated $649 billion. In its first year of existence, we got a color-coded chart meant to tell us how scared we should be. We were also told, rather unhelpfully, that duct tape was one of our best home defense tools against the people who “hated us for our freedoms.” 2) We amped up the spy apparatus to previously unimaginable levels, throwing money at people who began eavesdropping on our phone calls and checking our email messages without much oversight. Massive amounts of information were collected, far beyond anything that could ever be sanely monitored, most of it from Americans who posed no conceivable threat. And, like Topsy, the gathering of information grew. When a whistleblower named Snowden raised an alarm about this, he was seen as the problem by most of politicians and our media. 3) Like a lunatic running amok, we attacked a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorists who had struck us, but was said to have weapons of mass destruction. In order to begin bombing that nation, we had to pull out the weapons inspectors who had been searching for that weaponry without success. There were no such weapons to be found. Still, more than a decade later, the architects of that “shock and awe” campaign insanely argued that the weapons were there. Reality is not an obstacle to crazy people who build an imaginary world and then move into it. 4) Like lunatics, we fell to fighting among ourselves, and while we’ve been thus preoccupied, the craftiest crooks have been robbing us blind, laughing all the way to their banks, showered with tax breaks, saved from irresponsible investments because they were too big to fail and too connected to put in jail. 5) Driven mad by fear, we armed ourselves to the teeth, and we killed far more of one another on our own ground every month than we lost when the terrorists struck us in 2001. We also spent more on military junk and corporate defense contractors, much of it stuff that had no sane connection with keeping us safe, but lots of connection with making a few people very wealthy. 6) Saudi Arabia, harboring a bunch of oil sheiks who helped fund the 9/11 terrorists, stayed on our best friends list, as did Pakistan, a nation that helped harbor Osama bin Laden, the guy who organized the hit on New York and the Pentagon. The intention of those attacks was to get us to do precisely what we did as we drained military resources, spent a fortune even a rich nation can’t afford, and radicalized untold millions of Muslims throughout the Middle East. 7) Corporations were defined as people, money was transformed into speech, and our political system was adjudicated as being a commodity that could be sold to those who could best afford to buy it. Meanwhile, the gap between haves and have nots widen exponentially. 8) Our roads and bridges continued to crumble, ambassadorships went unfilled as our system of government seized up insanely, and while we were told that racism was largely a thing of the past, it was the hidden driver of much of what was going on, from our prison system, our immigration policies, and the irrational hatred of the man in the White House. 9) Meanwhile, our culture became more nutso each year as we turned ignorance and backwardness into laudatory iconography, from Honey Boo Boo to Duck Dynasty, from the most irresponsible rappers to the most inane pop stars. We mass produced movies for grown ups aimed at the mentality of twelve-year-olds, and our best selling books were mostly crap. We elected the nuttiest politicians we could find, from Michelle Bachmann to Louie Gohmert. We put people on important committees who couldn’t pass 7th grade science, and our media touted the understanding of biology offered by guys who seemed clueless about where babies come from. 10) Insanely, we turned our back on science. From man-made climate change to evolution, we became deniers. 40% of us rejected the fossil record, by far the highest percentage of such rejection of reality to be found anywhere in the industrialized world. And, on both ends of the political spectrum, large numbers of people begin to stop having their kids vaccinated against once-dormant communicable diseases that began, as a consequence, to resurface. 11) Frightened, alienated, lonely, and more than half nuts, we dove into cyberspace, seeking a time out from reality, looking for “friends” on social media, and finding instead the trolls, stalkers, and arguments we’d sought to evade. Meanwhile, face-to-face conversations became an ever more quaint vestige of the past.
Did the terrorists win? What better results could they have imagined?
America became a padded cell, a place where lunatics re experience the same recurring mass nightmare.
OVER AND OVER! AGAIN AND AGAIN!
To get the image of Terddy Boy out of my head and stop the inevitable mental loop of Wang Dang Sweet Poontang from starting in my insane brain, I have to listen to another Michigan Mad man, this is a piece from 1966 from a young 17 year old drummer from Ann Arbor, Michiogan. A kid named Jimmy Osterberg singing his own composition with his band The Iguanas.
Again and Again:
Did we go crazy? Well, we re-elected the moron who inflamed our fears and invaded the wrong nation, spent ourselves mad, and the intensity of our internal squabbles intensify as we remain crazy after all these years. And, apparently, getting crazier.