Monday, May 31, 2010

Corporations Are People, Too....

In the controversial Supreme Court Ruling on Freedom of Speech, corporations were judged to have the same rights as individuals. Since, we are now granting corporations the same rights and privileges that we the people of the United States enjoy, then is stands to reason that they should be bound by the same standards that apply to all of us.
Now, I do not support or defend the death penalty, but there are 37 states which currently have a death penalty and all of the Gulf Coast States engage in the practice of Capital Punishment.
Texas seems to dole out capitol punishment on the level of entertainment for the masses. There are 37 inmates on death row in Louisiana. It's a matter of money, of course, racial and class politics.
You could be liable for the death penalty for example in Texas if you were driving a car and say, your friend in the front seat asks you to stop at a 7/11 and wait while he goes in and decides to rob it...and kills the clerk. You could find out later on the news what happened, but you still could be liable for the death penalty just on the off chance tht you might have known something about what your friend was planning and you could have prevented it. 
Now say, through your negligence and deliberate manipulation of information, you caused  a catastrophic accident which destroys the lives of millions of people and an ecological nightmare that will forever change the Gulf of Mexico.
You'd have to hire an army of pretty slick lawyers to get you off and as an individual, you'd probably fail. After all if you were responsible for an incident that was beyond the imagination of any decent terrorist organization, the public would demand a scapegoat.

Now, we're hearing all kinds of stories that indicate that BP executives, managers, regulators and engineers either knew or had serious concerns that the Deepwater Horizon rig was at risk for an explosion.
And what else have we seen? A "Three Little Pigs" memo where BP makes it clear it's cheaper to pay long-shot damages than to make the rig safe. Memos where engineers warned of danger. Interviews with BP employees who talked about how the safety tests were rigged.

Think how much it would do to clean up corporate corruption if employees could say to their managers, "I could get the death penalty for covering that up -- and so could you." Imagine if they were required BY LAW to report their bosses for telling them to cut corners on high-risk products because it was cheaper - or risk being tried if something goes wrong.
Talk about (finally) being held accountable. Wouldn't you love to see it happen?
In China, when executives are found to have manufactured items that are killing people -- well, at least they have the good grace to kill themselves. We can't count on that; we don't have enough healthy shame left in this country.
But after all,  aren't corporations people now, too.?

What Can Israel Be Thinking?

This video went up on YouTube 45 minutes ago. It documents lst night's attack by the Israeli Navy on the Relief Flotilla bringing a symbolic 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip which has been blockaded by the Israelis. The Israelis claim that they allow 15,000 tons of relief materials into Gaza each week, but this is hardly a drop in the bucket.
The attack on the peaceful flotilla sunk one boat and left 16 people dead. The Israelis claim they were attacked when they tried to board. The videos now being released by Al Jazeera show the force the Israelis used in their boarding attempt.
The protesters say the only force they planned to use was peaceful resistance and to try to block entrance into the steering room and the engine room.
You will hear more about this today, I am sure, lots of spin as Netenyahu prepares for his visit to Washington later this week, but make no mistake, this was a massacre, another tragically wrong choice by Israel.
What was Israel thinking? Even if stopping the ships was the mission, killing 16 people in the process is a complete PR disaster.
Update: The death toll has gone to 19 or 20, depending on the reportage with at least 30 wounded. The Israelis are being condemned internationally and mounting a very aggressive defense. Could this be a turning point?
For the latest updates, click here.

Les Orties

Yes, I'm sure we've all had an experience from time to time with the plants in the picture.
The burning tingle of nettles is something we eventually get used to if we work in a garden or do landscaping. These are some nice specimens by my pond. 
There are many species of nettles, these are European stinging nettles. I seem to remember the nettles in Northwestern Ohio as having rounder leaves, but the same sting.
The sting can be extremely dangerous in some tropical and Australian species of Urtica. It is caused by a mix of irritants and toxins delivered by hairs, like tiny hypodermics. 
Here in the Dordogne, old people claim that nettles or ortie can relief the pain of arthritis and you can develop a resistance to them over time. I believe this, as my personal discomfort from touching them seems to be diminshing. 
They spread by seeds and develop very deep and intricate root systems. The roots are yellow and very hard to eradicate if you've ever tried, you know what I mean.
But, what seems to be a curse is actually a blessing. 
Nettles are one of the most useful garden plants. They can eliminate the need for commercial fertilizers and insecticides. This is ancient knowlege, but now, it is being systematically proven.

A horiculturalist, Jean-Francois Lyphout near here has been championing the use of Ortie Slurry for years and one of the major local strawberry farmers has turned his entire operation into an organic hydroponic system with raised beds and uses ortie as his major fertilizer. This was a big gamble, but in the last few years, it has really paid off.
The strawberry farmer, Didier Clerjoux is also using Comfrey slurry and a Fern slurry.
The Nettles should be cut before they go to flower and broken and crushed. The crushed orties are steeped in water. The water turns deep green from the chlorophyl. Ideally, the water should be filtered and kept in dark sealed bottle sfor long tuerm use.
It is pretty powerful stuff and can burn sensitive plants, but I have never had this experience. When the slurry is kept in a bucket too long, it starts to really stink, so it is important to filter it, the stink doesn't develop if it is filtered. Do not store the finished ortie liquid in metal containers! I use plastic liter water bottles and keep them in the barn in the dark.
This year, for the first time, I put crushed ortie in the holes I planted my tomato plants in. So far, the plants look great, but it's very early in the season for me to tell you jhow much better they are. 
The slurry is rich in nitrogen and can be used to occasionally water plants and when it is sprayed on, it makes the plants resistant to diseases and insects like mites and aphids.
In Europe, the nettle is traditionally a food source. The sting disappears after cooking.
The ortie is high in protein and very high in vitamin C and Phosphorus.
We make ortie soup occasionally by boiling the ortie leaves in a little chicken broth, then making a puree in the processor and adding a little cream. When made this way, the soup tastes a like advocado. 
We have been using ortie for years on flowing plants, but this is the first time I have really started to use it in our vegetable garden. 
Recently, I aquired some comfrey plants which are another very powerful "green manure" source as well as having many other medicinal uses. They are very attractive, and they don't have a sting...
I used to wage a war against the Nettles on my property, of course all I have to do is go to road side and their are fields of them, all for me and my raspberries!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

For Heavens Sake, Don't Make The Republicans Mad...

I would like to preface my post by reiterating my my sincere belief that nuclear energy is not the answer to mankinds is the simple solution that is in fact a dead end.
Nuclear weaponry makes life on this planet a precarious entity. There is still no realistic long term solution for the use and disposal of the waste products of nuclear energy. It remains a destructive and suicidial gift for the future generations on our planet. But insane problems demand insane solutions!
We have entered an age of unreal disasters and ecology of The Gulf of Mexico has been destroyed and as the oil spill and the inept and obscene attempts of BP to disperse it cosmetically with chemical disperssants, the ocean is taking the plume of destruction into the Florida keys and soon we will be seeing the effects reaching the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. This is not a local problem, this is a global disaster with far reaching consequences. The Gulf has been ecologically altered forever.
British Petroleum has been allowed to act as an independant entity. They have tried to control the information and the reaction to the oil leak as if they were an independant  soveriegn state. Due to the special relationship that was estalished under the Cheney energy management policies, they have engaged the use of Whakenhut, the poor mans "Blackwater", the guys who brought you the Afghani Hazing scandals last year, to enforce theri media black out.
Plan Nine From Outer Space, the "TOP KILL" latest last resort has failed. BP is begging fopr understanding and patience. Time has run out. Now we discover that there is another, potentially bigger plume of oil that they have been hiding.
If BP chosses to act as an independant sovereign entity, ti is time for us to start treating them as a rogue terrorist state. After all, the disaster they have enabled by trying to protect their "investment" is beyond the imagination of any decent terrorist organization.
Let's face it, what ever Barack Obama does, it will make Republican mad. Doing nothing? Republicans are mad! Doing something? Republicans mad. Fuck the Republicans!
It is time for heroic action. It is time to seize control and definitively seal the well. Then we can get on to other business like prosecuting BP and Halliburton and making them cough up every penny in their coffers to eradicate the mess...which, no matter how much money is spent, will never be eradicated...this was THE BIG ONE!
I stand with the scientists who say that destroying the well with high explosives, effectively permanantley sealing it is the only way to go here. BP has to be supressed, they have no more opinions, they have had their last word...GOODBYE! GET LOST!
Insane problems demand insane solutions..............

Publish Post

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Freedonia Goes To War!

In the most tragic sense, sometimes, I can see the making of a nightmarish futuristic version of the Marx Brothers Movie,  Duck Soup based on the Presidency of Geroge Bush Jr. In fact the night that the Iraq war started after we marched in the huge demonstration in Paris, we consoled ourselves by watching Duck Soup....
The true empty and inane idiocy of George Bush's grasp of reality comes to full bloom in this excerpt from Oliver Stone’s new documentary South of the Border, which interviews several left-wing leaders of Latin American countries. It includes a startling new allegation from Argentina’s former president NĂ©stor Kirchner. During his interview with Stone, Kirchner said he once discussed global economic problems with former President George W. Bush. The former Argentine president says that when he suggested a new Marshall Plan, referring to the WW II-era European reconstruction plan, Bush “got angry” and suggested that “the Marshall Plan is a crazy idea of the Democrats.” Instead, Kirchner says, Bush suggested that “the best way to revitalize the economy is war”:
KIRCHNER: I said that a solution for the problems right now, I told Bush, is a Marshall Plan. And he got angry. He said the Marshall Plan is a crazy idea of the Democrats. He said the best way to revitalize the economy is war. And that the United States has grown stronger with war.
STONE: War, he said that?
KIRCHNER: He said that. Those were his exact words.
STONE: Is he suggesting that South America go to war?
KIRCHNER: Well, he was talking about the United States: ‘The Democrats had been wrong. All of the economic growth of the United States has been encouraged by wars.’ He said it very clearly.
Watch it:

It is worth noting that despite the prosecution of two major wars, there was very minimal net job growth during Bush’s tenure as president. And of course, he bequeathed an economy that suffered massive job losses in his wake.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Suggested Responses

It doesn't really make up for the problems and the response to date, but this is a start and as it becomes clear that this is the biggest environmental disaster in United States History,  the biggest part of the problem of mounting a real response was the continuing level of dishonesty and  spin control by British Petroleum as they tried feverishly to  "protect their investment".  On this blog I have repeatedly demanded that the well be destroyed immediately. BP has acted so irresponsibly and with such arrogantly tantamount greed, that I would not be surprised if they tried to claim that the oil that is cleaned off of the beaches is their "property".
He strode into the East Room to mount a robust defense of his handling of the largest oil spill in American history, reassuring the nation that he was in charge and would do “whatever is necessary” to stop and clean up the BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico. But by the time he walked out an hour later, he had balanced that with a fairly unusual presidential self-critique.

He was wrong, he said, to assume that oil companies were prepared for the worst as he tried to expand offshore drilling. His team did not move with “sufficient urgency” to reform regulation of the industry. In dealing with BP, his administration “should have pushed them sooner” to provide images of the leak, and “it took too long for us” to measure the size of the spill.

“In case you’re wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility,” Mr. Obama said as he concluded the news conference. “It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right away or the way I’d like it to happen. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to make mistakes. But there shouldn’t be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged, and I’m fully engaged."
Jeff Zelaney of the NY Times commented on Barack Obama's press conference yesterday:
... it remains an open question whether the measured tone that has become the soundtrack of Mr. Obama's presidency -- a detached, calm, observational pitch -- served to drive the point home that he is sufficiently enraged by the fury in the Gulf Coast.
At least he resisted the urge to compare Obama to Spock.

... Kevin Drum watched the CNN coverage, and saw the various on-air personalities "solemnly advising us one after one that Obama really needed to be more emotional because that's what the American people want." ...

Hey, the press has a point -- there are a lot of other things Obama could do besides calmly demonstrating a grasp of the situation. He could:

* loudly and melodramatically suspend the entire federal government, demanding a combined legislative/executive branch summit to deal with the problem, at which he'll prove to be thoroughly unprepared.

* put up a bunch of Facebook posts with lots of capital letters and exclamation points.

*break down and cry.

Any one of those approaches would make the oil dissipate faster -- right?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Diane Linkletter Story

A short experimental improvised film made in 1969 by Baltimore, MD filmaker, John Waters, starring Divine as Diane and David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pierce as Art and his wife Barbara Linkletter.
Somehow, today, this film seemed so appropriate.
UPDATE: Sorry to say, John Waters yanked the film from YouTube. It was posted only yesterday. Too bad, it was buried for years and now this bizarre and hilarious piece of work goes back to dusty obscurity. Big Mistake, Mr. Waters!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

She Demons

Finally rain! Lots of heat, and suddenly too dry. I had to call on the arcane and mysterious powers of
The She Demons to drum up some rain! It worked like a charm!
Dig that thunder!

The Comedy Harmonists

A few years ago, a friend gave me a cd compilation of the Pre WW2 German singing group, The Comedy Harmonists. The Comedy Harmonists were immensely popular and able with their close harmony ensemble style to let the various members drift in and out as the lead voice. They were able to convey the effect of a small orchestra and usually worked with only a piano accompaniment.

The last concert by the original group was in 1934. Three of the members were Jewish and another had a Jewish wife. As the Nazis enforced their anti Jewish laws, first, they were not allowed to perform any compositions by Jewish composers and then it became harder and harder for them to perform any where in Germany, in spite of their popularity.
Finally the group disbanded, the Jewish members made it to the States and the others tried to regroup under the name, Das Miestersextette as they were not allowed to use
foreign language words during the Nazi rule.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Don't Mess With Texas

“We are fighting for our children’s education and our nation’s future, in Texas we have certain statutory obligations to promote patriotism and to promote the free enterprise system. There seems to have been a move away from a patriotic ideology. There seems to be a denial that this was a nation founded under God. We had to go back and make some corrections.”
The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous “Atlantic triangular trade” . .
. . but they’re atomically pretentious. The mere attempt to re-brand slavery properly abominates the school board. It indicts the Texans as a suspect bunch harboring an unhealthy obsession with evil and, likely, a latent disappoint with the abolition of it.
Buying, selling, working to death, killing human beings — these are at least tolerable to the Texas Conservatives. Otherwise, there would be no need to protect or rehabilitate any of it, right? There’s no way to view centuries of human trade as scandalized unless it were possible to scandalize it somehow. It’s the liberals, we’re left to assume, that are to blame for putting a stink on it, not the events themselves. And this word that’s a remnant of the conspiracy, it’s not fair or patriotic any more to let it go.
They simply have to put it right. This considerable slice of American history deserves to be free from the recriminations of History intellectuals and the self-righteous — the politics forced upon school books as “slavery.” The British are “Redcoats,” Sacco and Vanzetti are still “Anarchists” and the Holocaust remains “The Holocaust.” But you better leave the Atlantic Triangular Trade alone.
American History/God and Guns/Don't Mess With Texas

The Rumors of My Death.....

When Mark Twain died, he left a curious item in his will. He stated that he had written a 5,000 page autobiography. Indeed it was well known that he was working on it for the last 10 years of his life.
His will stated that it could not be published for a century. The century is up!
In November, The University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript has been stored in a vault, will release the first volume.
The eventual triology will run to half a million words.
Why did he stipulate the wait? We will find out!

"He had doubts about God, and in the autobiography, he questions the imperial mission of the US in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. He's also critical of [Theodore] Roosevelt, and takes the view that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. Twain also disliked sending Christian missionaries to Africa. He said they had enough business to be getting on with at home: with lynching going on in the South, he thought they should try to convert the heathens down there."
In other sections of the autobiography, Twain makes cruel observations about his supposed friends, acquaintances and one of his landladies.

I can't wait....for more information check out yesterdays article in The Independant.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


A mugshot of composer and conductor, Igor Stravinsky after his arrest on April 15, 1940 in Boston for an unauthorized chord!
He had created an orchestral arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner which used an unconventional major 7th chord. He seems to have violated a little known and up until then unenforced Federal law that prohibited the reharmonization of the anthem. 
I guess no one ever tried to turn in Jimi Hendrix.

No, I Don't Have A Problem...

No, I really don't care what the cows do as long as they keep it quiet after 10pm...
I really hate being wakened at 3 am in the morning with their damn blasters blaring:

Sex Cow Sex Cow
You're my Sex Cow
And baby you can turn me on
And baby you can turn me on
Sex Cow Sex Cow
You're my Sex Cow

It's maddening, I tell you, udderly maddening.....aside from that, I don't have a problem.
Do You?

Le Petitrenaud

I was disappointed to find that there is no way I can give you a way to view this program in North America. It isn't on cable and the satellite Astra 2 beams it to Asia and North America is not in the footprint.
Too bad, because this is my favorite TV Show. Jean-Luc Petitrenaud has been traveling around France for years visiting cities and regions celebrating traditional French cuisine by its masters. When I first discovered it, the program was Carte Postale Gourmet, but now it is L'escapades du Petitrenaud and it airs on France 5 at noon on Sundays.
You can sample the show at the France 5 website, click on voir le video, but it is in French. I wanted to share it because of Petitrenauds unresistable spirit and a joy of cuisine and the appreciation for the people who create it that translates into any language.
The show is not so much about recipes, though if you are interested, there are some on the website, it's about the spirit, the food, the people who create it....
Bon Apetite!

Death Car

After quite a few years, I just had a chance to see the film, Arizona Dream again.
The film was made in 1993 by the Serbian Director, Emir Kustarica and starred Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway and believe it or not, Jerry Lewis. Of course, any film by Kustarica is a leap into a surreal alternate version of reality and the fact that Kustarica made a film about Arizona only makes it more surreally brilliant.
As in most of Kustaricas work, the music is a collaboration between him and the brilliant Serb composer, Goran Bregovic. This piece pops up in the film a few times, a collaboration with Iggy Pop called Death Car. Great film, great music.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fossil Fuel Chernobyl

Today, BP admitted after bragging on their oil recovery operations that are now siphoning off what they claim is 5,000 barrels a day of oil from the leak, that the leak is much bigger than they have been admitting. We all knew that. They have claimed from the beginning that the leak was "only" 5,000 barrels a day. The 5,000 barrels they are recovering are only a minute proportion of the ongoing disaster.
This photo is from Louisiana Gov. Jindal's tour of the environmental devastation in coastal marshlands caused by the BP oil disaster. As a friend said, this thing isn't a "spill," it's a fossil-fuel Chernobyl, unfolding in slow motion, thousands of gallons a day.
As I have said before, the only responsible action is to shut this leak down now...use high explosives to seal the well NOW and ban BP from the Gulf of Mexico!
Barack Obama must take command and prove he is the decisive leader we want to believe in! Call your representatives and demand action, NOW!

Urban Beekeeping

About 8 years ago, I became friends with a Dutch man named Josh. He was retired and had worked for a Dutch Energy Company and had spent a lot of time in Northwestern Ohio working with the extraction of oil from the old oil belt that extends through the area and still produces around Bowling Green.
Now he lives in the Dordogne and raises fruit trees and is one of the leading authorities on BeeKeeping in this part of France. Through him, I became interested in the discipline and he taught me alot. We have had many discussions regarding the world wide plight of honeybees, their disappearance and the repercussions.
Interestingly enough, the regional wild specie, a smaller black honeybee seems to be resistant to the CCD (colony collapse disorder) that is plaguing the bee population all over the world.
The research into the problem has produced many answers. There are parasitic mites, there are the effects of pesticides, there is the effect of monoculture agibusiness coupled with pesticide use and then there is the problem with the business of breeding bees. Breeders breed bees and produce queens which they sell. The commercial breeding is manipulating the genetic pool of bees. There are many species of bees and subspecies, but the commercial breeding produces stock from a specific breed and the intense proliferation of this breed, which is selected for its honey production and habits has created a bee that is uniformly subject to the same problems on a world wide basis.
Last winter, the United States experienced a die off of over 30% of hives. This is catastrophic and has made it neccessary for the monoculture almond growers in California to import commercial bees from all over the country.
The reasons for CCD are varied, but I believe that they all can be traced to the monoculture commercial agiculture and the commercial large scale bee breeders.
The use of pesticides are a huge factor in the weakening of bee populations. The proliferation of OGM crops with their genetically manipulated resistance to pests have been a factor.
I see it here, in the profound country side. I grow raspberries on a pretty big scale and other fruits as well. I see plenty of the little black bees, but there has been a dramatic decline of honey bees in the last 4 years.
We also have the problem of Asiatic Hornets which were inadvertently introduced here 7 years ago. I try to do my part with hornet traps when the colonies are migrating in the early spring. I make hornet traps out of old liter water bottles, which I cut and invert the tops. I fill the bottom of the traps with sugary water and hang them from tree branches. During the season, I catch about 10 Asiatic bee killing hornets a day. Later in the summer, this number goes astronomic!
So, we are left with the dilemma of how to encourage a healthy bee population. I have assembled my first hives and got 2 queens from Josh and seem to have had success in starting 2 colonies.
But, there is a big movement, world wide, to encourage urban beekeeping. The advantages to Urban Bees are an environment free of industrial agricultural pesticides and an environment free of the mono culture that seems to be a real factor in the weakening of bee colonies.
If done properly, bees are not a nuisance. With a minimum of work, they can provide a really rewarding hobby for an urban naturalist. Then of course, the harvest of honey from the hives.
I realize that this is not an option for many people, but you would be surprised at how many people are doing it on roof tops in urban settings! If you are interested, you could be one more positive influence in keeping our world healthy.

Crack Maniac

Here is a piece by the French Artist, BabX. 
A gifted young pianist, composer and poet.
I saw him do a piece last night called Sous Surveillance which defied categorization.
It was all at once jazz, classicism and hip hop with intelligent political poetic content.
This, Crack Maniac, gives a hint of the style and the crossover genre he creates.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nifty Idea Of The Day

I spend a lot of time on my bike and somehow I seem to methodically destroy the foam hand grips on a regular basis. They just disintegrate.
Today, one fell off on the road and the other was cracked and getting ready to.
I live many miles from a bike or sports supply I had an idea. I had some foam sleeves for insulating pipes. They are so cheap, and I buy it by the meter but basically, the same kind of foam. I cut 2 pieces to size and wiggled them on. They fit snuggly and are more comfortable than the official foam bike grips plus the kind of silvery grey color of the foam matches my bike finish.
When they disintegrate, I'll just cut some more!

Save The Stockholders

On May 11th, I posted a few thoughts about the BP Oil Rig Disaster in a post called Plan 9 From Outer Space. In it, I spoke of how the Soviets had used nuclear bombs on a number of occasions to deal with petro chemical disasters. 
In the last few days it has become apparent that the oil plume has hit the Loop Current and is being carried into the Atlantic and will start hitting the Florida Keys very soon. Then, it starts to travel up the East Coast and possibly across the Atlantic.
The European Space Agency reported today that they have satellite images of the oil being dragged into the powerful Gulf Stream.
This in the short term could be disasterous for the coral reefs around the southern tip of Florida.

Since the Oil Rig sunk on April 22, 28 days ago, we have been lied to repeatedly by BP with their claims of being prepared, the seriousness of the spill, the amount being released and the number of actual plumes.
They have ineffectively tried one bright idea after another to deal with the leakage. The latest labored attempt is a pipe line sucking up a microscopic amount which took three attempts get  working.

The stories of predisaster warnings, such as the explosion which shut the well down a week before the big one, the disregard of protocol by Halliburton in the cement capping procedure and the actual over ruling of Deepwaters concerns by BP which immediately preceded the explosion are all irrelevant now. The blame game is for later.
Let's face it. This is the big one. This is a man made disaster that has the impact of a nuclear accident in immediate and long term effects.
The reason it has not been treated as such in the media is basically the release of information by BP and the treatment of the information by the media because this is corporate, economic catastrophe.

The main reason that it isn't being dealt with in an authoritive and immediate manner is because BP wants to protect its hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. If the well was shut down and destroyed, BP would not only lose its immediate investment, but would probably be banned from drilling in the region.

The imperative, responsible course of action, the only course of action at this point in time is to shut and seal the well as quickly as possible. This could be accomplished with high explosives and though I jokingly referred to the Russians use of Nukes, that isn't neccessary. The President must take command of this situation and use a disaster control protocol to destroy the well immediately.

I don't know about the rest of you but this story seems like it should be the final straw:
Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet
thick. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.
“There’s a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water,” said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia who is involved in one of the first scientific missions to gather details about what is happening in the gulf. “There’s a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column.”
The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes.
 BP has had its chance to save its well. The time has run out. It's time for the president to seize control of the situation and blow this well up.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Qui de Nous Deux?

Sometimes pop music proves it's greatness, or it's utter banality becaue it embeds itself in your head...And it won't go away! This piece has been in my head since I first heard it in 2003.
The artist was known at the time as M. A great original songwriter and a great guitarist and pianist. He sings with a trademark trilling falsetto and during the course of his early career, created a fantasy persona which he later explained helped him to overcome his shyness on stage.
He is the son of Lebanese/French musician Louis Chedid and the grandson of the Egyptian/Lebanese poetess/writer Andree Chedid.
I posted this piece, Qui de Nous Deux?, because it was the first piece I ever heard by him and it was a monster hit in France and it has stuck in my head for years now....
I saw him last night perform a piece from his latest release Mister Mystere, called Amssetou, which for me was a revelation. The piece was really Malian African Pop and he had the Malian guitar style down.
He recently officially buried the M persona and is now Matthieu Chedid. If you go to YouTube there are few videos of his recent work with Sean Lennon including a live accoustic cover of Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing. It's pretty cool.
I will post Amsseto when I find a video that does it justice, but for now you are left with the song that has driven me nuts for the last 7 years.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bricks Verses Volcanoes

Today I read an article in The Daily Mail about the continuing Icelandic Volcano eruption. The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull is not abating, it seems to be a slow motion event which ebbs and flows. It is still affecting air travel over Europe.
The aviation industry is coping, but again we realize how dependant we are on our planet and the conditions we consider normal. But what is normal? 
I have been reading for weeks that the neighboring volcano, Katia, which is much bigger is threatening to erupt. Many scientists are now putting forth the model of Icelands volcanic activity based on a 140 year cycle. We are now entering into another period of activity which coud see at least three other volcanoes besides Katia erupting in the next few years. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the healthful, relaxing effects of a sea voyage, or as I have metioned before...bring back blimps!
The three others are  Grimsvton, Hekla and Askja, which are all bigger than Eyjafjalljokull. Incidentlally, Hekla was the volcano in Jules Vernes novel, Journey To The Center Of The Earth, which ejected the subterrenean travellers when it erupted in the 1880's. 
What I found interesting about the article was the comments.
 I found some of the comments at the end of the article interesting because they reflected the ignorance and the desparate grasping at straws by climate change deniers.
They all tried to minimize the impact of human activity in the generation of CO2 by comparing it to the release of volcanoes.
Yes, it is true that volcanoes release a loincredible amounts of CO2, but we know that our activity on earth has released CO2 and other Greenhouse gasses on a continuing incrementally increasing level constantly. To try to deflect the consequences of our activity and deny the need to change because of volcanoes is tragic.
Which brings me to a very interesting and positive item. We know that the aviation industry is one of the major generators of atmospheric CO2 pollution and jet travel increases daily, but, the coal-fired baking of bricks generates more CO2 annually than the entire aviation industry. A biomanufacturing process aims to change that, replacing fire with a mixture of non-pathogenic bacteria and sand. It's cheap, and the inventor, Professor Ginger Dosier, says it produces better and more sustainable bricks.

There are over 1.3 trillion bricks manufactured each year worldwide, and over 10% are made by hand in coal-fired ovens. On average, the baking process emits 1.4 pounds of carbon per brick - more than the world's entire aviation fleet. In countries like India and China, outdated coal-fired brick kilns consume more energy, emit more carbon, and produce great quantities of particulate air pollution. Dosier's process replaces baking with simple mixing, and because it is low-tech (apart from the production of the bacterial activate), can be done onsite in localities without modern infrastructure. The process uses no heat at all:mixing sand and non-pathogenic bacteria (sporosar) and putting the mixture into molds. The bacteria induce calcite precipitation in the sand and yield bricks with sandstone-like properties. If biomanufactured bricks replaced each new brick on the planet, it would save nearly 800 million tons of CO2 annually.
Biomanufactured Brick: Bricks Without Clay or Carbon (via Beyond the Beyond)

Civil War Or Insurrection?

I have tried to give a little information on the situation in Thailand over the last year. I have 2 nephews living in Bangkok and have been getting periodic updates.
Last year we saw the old Prime Minister Thaksin deposed in a Yellow Shirt protest. The Yellow Shirts represented the urban, educated Thai population who viewed Thaksin as the embodiment the corrupt system which has governend Thailand for years.
Of course, the new government wasn't much better. Abhisit Vejjajiva, the present prime minister is less visibly corrupt, but he has managed to enrage the rural, less educated population that Thaksin sees as his power base. Now, through a number of mis managed programs, Vejjajiva has alienated the urban poor as well.
The Thaksin inspired movement are the Red Shirts. They moved into Bangkok over a month ago and have managed to shut the city down. The movement is now an anti government movement that has drawn in many fringe groups. The movement was originally funded by Thaksin, who is still immensely wealthy and powerful. He has paid groups of thugs who have fomented violence as the protest grew.
Thaksin, has since vanished along with the billions he has reputed to have stolen from the Thais. He actually has been granted Montenegran citizenship, which seems a fitting place for a criminal ex prime misiter thug to retire to.
On Wednesday, he was attempting to conduct his own negotiations with the government when he was shot in the head by a sniper. Whether the sniper was a government agent or a member of one of the Red Shirt factions remains to be seen.
So, the Thai governemnt has vowed to shut the protest down. Now there are over 40 dead and hundreds wounded. If you know Thailand and the Thai people, this kind of violence is hard to understand. The King, who is a revered figure and usually can calm the people down has been strangely silent these days.
I expect that with the removal of Commander Red, and the attempts of various Red Shirt leaders to negotiate with the governement now that the army is closing in, we will see the insurrection fade this week.
The media is trying to present this as a civil war, but perhaps this is more hype than reality.
What is evident, is that the problems that have caused the general discontent that grew into the Red Shirt Movement are not going to go away. If the Thai government doesn't agree to hold new elections and adopt reforms, this will only repeat itself in a bigger and uglier and perhaps more organized fashion.
Here are some more up to date links about the violence in Bangkok: 
Latest update from is exceptionally well written, balanced, and gives a fantastic insight into how things got so bad so quickly.
 A link to an editorial in the Bangkok Post, which effectively mirrors what I have personally been thinking all weekend - that this "Protest" has actually turned into a rebellion or insurrection.
Here is "citizen journalist" video from "Ace Wushu" [embedded above]. He's updating at least every hour or so from his apartment complex, where it sounds like he's barricaded in with a bunch of frightened Thais.
And this video, "Red Shirt Got Shot" is just... so distressing. I am literally in tears at most of this footage. Din Daeng, earlier on Saturday, May 15. I don't think I can stand to watch any of this stuff anymore. I'm so upset at what is happening. Tonight I'm meditating on peace for Thailand very very hard.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Classics

So, I don't post serious, classical music, by serious classical musicians, eh?
Where here are a few serious, classical musicians having a serious classical musical discussion. Actually, this is pretty cool, Anton Rubenstein and Peter Tchaikovsky goofing around with an early Edison Cylinder recording device like kids who are playing with their new computer back in 1993....

This Edison phonograph cylinder recording from 1890 was made by Julius Block, a Russian Businessman of German descent (The Old Man with the Umbrella in this video) who became fascinated with the phonograph (and even convinced Tchaikovsky to sign an endorsement). The recording was re-discovered in the Pushkin archive of St.Petersburg, Russia in 1997, and was labelled with the names of the participants: Anton Rubinstein (composer), Elizaveta Lavrovskaya (singer), Peter Tchaikovsky (composer), Vassily Safonov (pianist and conductor), Alexandra Hubert (pianist), Julius Block (the host himself). One can imagine the scene - a group of eminent musicians each standing around this new 'wonderful invention', being gently encouraged to say something. So there are a few words of banter, some musical scales, whistles, etc., much of which is only just audible.
Here is the translated contents of this recording:
A. Rubinstein: What a wonderful thing [the phonograph].
J. Block: Finally.
E. Lawrowskaja: A he dares slyly to name me.
W. Safonov : (Sings a scale incorrectly).
P. Tchaikovsky: This trill could be better.
E. Lawrowskaja: (sings).
P. Tchaikovsky: Block is good, but Edison is even better.
E. Lawrowskaja: (sings) A-o, a-o.
W. Safonow: (In German) Peter Jurgenson in Moskau.
P. Tchaikovsky: Who just spoke? It seems to have been Safonow. (Whistles)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Funk U.....

This clip is from David Sanborns late 80's music program, Night Music. It was a great program that featured a mix of rock, jazz and relatively unknown artists and then let them play together. Sanborn is a friend of the Drummer Manu Katche who appeared on his program and played with him often. Now Manu Katche is carrying on the tradition with his program, OneShotNot, on the French/German network ARTE in Europe.

I saw this episode when it aired and, if you follow this blog, you know that the artist known as Bootsy Collins is the guy I want to be when I grow up. Bootsy raps with Sanborn about his early career and experience playing with James Brown that started when he was teen. A very interesting insight into daily life in the late 60's. ahem....
The musical interlude is even more interesting for me because it features Carla Bley, who I adore! Passionately. She plays her composition, Healing Power with a searing guitar solo by Robert Cray. Bootsy raps....
This is a Bootsy extravaganza post because, in addition, Professor Bootzilla Collins
(best known for performing with James Brown in the '60s, and Parliament/Funkadelic in the '70s), has announced that he will soon open "the world's first Funk University for bass players of planet Earth." Classes start on July 1, 2010, and will be geared towards intermediate to advanced level bass guitar players.
Because a groove is a terrible thing to waste, this sonic learning institution will be unlike anything before, as Professor Collins and the finest bassists in music will unleash an intense curriculum, on the web, for intermediate to advanced funk disciples within the program.

Here's a cut ,What So Never The Dance, from his Cincinatti based band in the late 60's after he left James Brown and before he started playing with Funkadelic...After 30 years, I finally nailed this bass line down...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Time Machine

Yesterday was the French Feast day of the Ascension. It's one of the many holidays in May making it a month of 4 day week ends for the people fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of them. We went to one of my favorite villages, Allassac, in the Correze, North East of Brive-la-Gaillarde. Allassac has been around since the 10th century and has a magnificent "Tour de Cesar" which looks like a giant chess set rook, made out of uniform "bricks" of black ardoise slate. Most of the village is constructed out of the black ardoise bricks, including the magnificent eglise, Jean le Baptiste on the central place.
The set of pictures are about 120 years apart....The biggest change is the existence of automobiles. On week ends and market days, the streets are still filled with people. 

The church is an eccentric solid Correzien gothic masterpiece which dates from the 14th century. There is a little cafe on the other side of the church which has seating in the square. The little cafe, Le Cafe de Tour is deceptively small. In side there is an ancient zinc bar and standing room for about 15 people. But there is a stairway and upstairs is a huge room that extends through 3 separate buildings. The room is a convivial dining room and there is no sign, but it is one of the best lunch time bargains I have ever experienced.
The way I found the place was standing in the square at noon, smelling food, hearing voices and the sound of clinking plates. I walked around the area looking for the source of the sound, then into the cafe and asked if there was a restaurant nearby. The barman smiled and pointed at the stairway.

The last time I ate there, I had perfectly done roast lamb, dauphin potatoes, a small salad, then the cheese platter came to the table with a selection of the regional cheeses. If you are familiar with this area, you know that cheese is serious business here. There are too many different varieties.Oh, yeah, a bottle of table wine is on the table whether you want it or not...then there is dessert. The restaurant is above a bakery....
Unfortunately, coffee is extra...but still not a bad deal, because the price of this repast was only 8 wonder the place is always packed!

Many of the villages in the Correze are like stepping into a time machine. They are relatively unchanged over the centuries, still lively commercial centers and fiercely traditional and proud. This week end, I am stepping into the time machine again and going to Brignac-la-Plane.

Big Noise From Winnetka

I had the pleasure of seeing Kyle Eastwood play last night. He has a small, young jazz ensemble and the drummer was the incomparable Manu Katche. One of the pieces they performed was the classic Big Wind From Winnetka and I found a version live on YouTube from last year. Kyle plays a lot in France and works with his father scoring Clints films. Kyle, though is becoming one of the virtuosos of modern bass. Tis guy will carry the Clintwood reputation for artistic integrity far into the 21st century.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Time Lines

 I discovered this link to these maps of the geological history of the Mississippi River and was awed by the sheer beauty of the work that Harold Fisk created through the attempt to document the thousands of years record of the meandering river.
It's calligraphic, abstract and formal at the same time. This particular map in the series is from  cape Giradeau, MO to Donaldsonville, LA, Plate 22-10. Really worth checking out.
Harold N. Fisk's 1944 monumental tome on nature at its most mundane and sublime is, amazingly, available online and free. Landscape architects in every specialty have much to glean from it, not the least of which are water engineering techniques, ecological and geological processes, graphic representation, and the ideological and philosophical implications of reconstructing the Mississippi River.

The maps, scanned at high resolution and full scale, are some of the most beautiful I've seen.

The following files are hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

1. Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River - Fisk, 1944 Report (197MB)
2. Oversized Plates - Fisk, 1944 Report (686MB)
3. Oversized Plates Rectified - Fisk, 1944 Report (369MB)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Upper Class Twit Of The Year Award

Here's an 1987 photo of Prime Minister David Cameron (back row, 2nd from left) with fellow members of the "notorious" Bullingdon Club, which Martin Lewis describes as "a UK equivalent of Yale's exclusive Skull & Bones Society ... an ultra-exclusive clique that admits only the nation's richest and brattiest trust-fund kids."
The New York Times reported in 1913 "The Bullingdon represents the acme of exclusiveness at Oxford; it is the club of the sons of nobility, the sons of great wealth; its membership represents the 'young bloods' of the university." (Source: Wikipedia)
What do these sons of nobility do for fun? The same thing they've been doing for centuries -- terrorizing peasants with impunity:
A well-documented typical evening while Cameron was a member in the late 1980s consisted of the members taking over one of Oxford's fanciest restaurants for the night, eating the priciest food on the menu, ordering and quaffing copious quantities of the most expensive wines and champagnes -- and then totally trashing and destroying the entire restaurant, furniture and fittings. The coup de grace at the end of each such excursion was to go up to the traumatized, distraught restaurant owner and, in a gesture that dates back to the aristocrat-peasant relationship of centuries passed, contemptuously throw wads of banknotes at the hapless owner as recompense for the massive damage caused.
As we have witnessed in America, Conservatism doesn't neccessarly rely on making sense. It relys heavily on an inhertited sense of entitlement. In lieu of the narrow victory of the Tories in Britain and their utter unpopularity in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, perhaps Nick Clegg is the true victor here. He is deputy Prime Minister and his third place Liberal Democrat Party has gained the electoral reform concessions they were asking for and perhaps, after the inevitable next set of elections, Clegg will be the real next Prime Minister of Great Britain.....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Plan 9 From Outer Space

While the companies involved drag their feet and play the blame game over the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Disaster, BP has made enough profits in the last 4 days to pay for the present estimated cost of the spill, but latest reports hint that they may try to file for bankruptcy to evade the fiscal responsibility that they claim they are committed to.
Now, it is common knowlege that at the time of the explosion, BP execs were on the rig celebrating the safety record. They all made it off safely and there are no details of how they were evacuated. Workers who survived and were evacuated, found that they were herded into a makeshift drug testing facility before they were even allowed to tell their families they had survived.
Here's a report from the May 10th New Orleans Times-Picayune, a report that a particularly intense burst of natural gas caused the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to be shut down over fears of an explosion "just weeks before a similar release succeeded in destroying and sinking the platform and sent millions of gallons of oil on a collision course with Louisiana and the rest of the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico."
As BP scrambles from Plan B to System D...collecting golfballs and tires to plug the well, they might as well take a lesson from the Russians. As long as we are hell bent on systematically destroying our planet,
Here's an idea! Let's nuke the Gulf oil spill!  Yes! It's so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities. The first happened in Uzbekistan, on September 30, 1966 with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb and at a depth of 1.5 kilometers. In fact, subterranean nuclear blasts were used as much as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals."

Obstructionism Means You Don't Have To Make Sense

When the Bush administration had the opportunity to select Supreme Court Justices, they didn't feel the need to find centrist candidates that would be acceptable to progressives. We got Alito and Roberts, both hard line conservatives. The Democrats put up a token resistance, but they were nominated and appointed in the end.

On the other hand the Obama Administration has its second opportunity to challenge the conservative bent of Supreme Justice, Antonin Scalia's conservative court. Neither Sotomayer or the present candidate, Solicitor General, Elena Kagan are very liberal. 
This fits the pattern of the last 25 years. The Republicans pick the most conservative when they have the chance and the Democrats seem to be bent on appeasement with candidates who disappoint their liberal base. Believe me, I think Obama is a step in the right direction, but he is nowhere near the characature of liberal. progressive, socialist radical the conservative obstructionists caterwall about...if he was, perhaps I'd be a much happier man.

Of course, the Obstructionist Conservatives are going to attempt block anyone the Obama administration offers, just in the general principle of their chosen path to derail and deligitimatize this administration. They don't feel the need or think they have to make sense. They are not governing, they are engaged in a "cunning plan" to resieze power.

I was beginning to wonder what had happened to Michael Steele in all of this. He seems to have laid low ever since the LA Bondage Bar Expense account debacle.
But he was back yesterday defending the criticism of Kagen for her support of Justice Thurgood Marshalls criticism of the Constitution for its support of slavery. Was Steele forced to parrot a party line of talking points handed to him?
Can he really disagree with Marshalls statement?

"I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe the meaning of the Constitution was forever "fixed" at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite "The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.
For a sense of the evolving nature of the Constitution we need look no further than the first three words of the document's preamble: “We the People.” When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America's citizens. "We the People" included, in the words of the Framers, "the whole Number of free Persons." On a matter so basic as the right to vote, for example, Negro slaves were excluded, although they were counted for representational purposes at three-fifths each. Women did not gain the right to vote for over 130 years. These omissions were intentional."
 What part of this statement does Michael Steele reject? And if he is, indeed, a self-demeaning fool who believes that the originally drafted Constitution was not defective, why doesn't he seek membership in the Ku Klux Klan?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Koko's Earth Control

Sometimes, you just gotta break the rules...
Fleischer Brothers 1928....

Theoretical Girls

In late 1977, I finally permanently moved to New York City. I had a new lime green Toyota Pick Up Truck...and was very interested in the punk/no wave music scene. I started moving equipment for bands. The first job I had was for The Theoretical Girls at Max's Kansas City. I had no idea what I was in for.

I became their permanent "roadie"...and the connections I gained through the music led me into a detour of playing in bands for about 20 years.
In retrospect, I think that Theoretical Girls was the most under recorded and perhaps the most influential of the New York No Wave bands. The guitarist was Glenn Branca, who is still performing his Symphonic guitar noise pieces. Glenn is theater and a real classicist, who played at times with Theoretical Girls an actual slab of a 2x4 with strings and electic pick ups.

The keyboard player and conceptualist of the band was Jeffrey Lohn, who is till composing. The Drummer was Wharton Tiers, who went on to be an influential producer and multi instumentalist composer who is still working. Wharton produced the first recording session I did.
The bassist was Margaret DeWys. She went on to work as a film maker and composer in her own band Ping Pong.
I think that the fact that they were all serious composers, modern classicists and not self destructive in a charismatic way somehow derailed the attention they deserved in a sensationalized pop world, yet the music they made still influences and is the germination of much of the experimental, modern classicism that we hear today.
There isn't a lot of stuff on YouTube. I read that Jefferey Lohn has issued a collection of Theoretical Girls live performances remastered. I would recommend listening to the work of Glenn Branca, though I feel that there is no way that a recording could capture the sonic "hallucinatory" effects that he creates in person.
Glenn works with loud masses of guitars that create symphonic effects with overtones that give the sensation of musical parts that exist only as a sonic hallucination.
Great American Music!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

C'est Fini!

So, I have this big 200 or so year old stone barn. I have written a bit about it recently because after the big storm, Klaus in February 2009, the slate roof which was new in 1960 really got had been in state of slow disintegration since the big tempest, really a European hurricane of 1999. We contacted our insurance company, but while we were waiting for a reply, the rear wall of the barn began to shift, slowly at first with a few visible cracks, then it developed a very pronounced bulge.
As soon as I began to realize the immediacy of the problem, it collapsed, leaving a huge hole which got bigger everytime there was nice storm.  These are huge rocks so the entire site became a dangerous place to be.
I won't go into the legal issues, but we got a settlement for the roof. We had the estimate made for the most expensive solution, which would be rebuilding the wood work and replacing the very expensive ardoise slate. I could have let it collapse, but it's a matter of patrimonie! This is the heritage of this region. It is my duty to maintain it.
By settling for  a new style of clay tile which looks very much like traditional black ardoise, we saved enogh money to have the back wall rebuilt. It took about a year to finesse the details, but, as of last Tuesday, the entire job was done. My phone line was attached to the barn wall and it got destroyed in the collapse. That's fixed.
We even were able to save enough of the old slate tiles to insure that we can repair the house and we had our chimney repaired and covered as well.  Sometimes things work out just fine. The Mason and Roofer, Mr. Canat and Mr. Bugeaud are top notch craftsmen in my book. Look at the corner of the barn. Mr. Canat did such a fine job that I want to rebuild the rest of the barn to look as good as his restoration.......
(Click on the pictures if you would like to see them enlarged.)

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Here in this obscure corner of Southwest Central france where I live, many people still speak and are reviving the traditional pre French language, Occitan. It's a patois, and it changes from one region to another. In fact in the late 1800's it varied from village to village, so people from region to another had a very hsrd time understanding each other. Basically, it declines like latin and it is a degraded form of latin with many Celtic, Germanic and yes, French words.
The culture is very much alive and today I spent the afternoon in a place called Yssandon, which is a hilltop village in the Correze that is clustered around the ruins of huge fortress. The villages in this area are like little islands on the top of the hills that jut out of the valleys.

I listened to some great amateur musicians playing bourrees on the vielle, cornemuse and violin between rainstorms this afternoon.
Bourrees are for dancing. The cornemuse is the local version of a bagpipe and the vielle has a disk which is turned by a crank which vibrates a drone strings. There are wooden keys which depress the strings to create the notes. A great vielle player can inject a lot of vibrato and rythmnic accents to the sound.
There were a few pieces on YouTube, notably quite a few by Patrick Bouffard which really show the range of Occitanian music, but I thought that this rather informal piece here portrayed the wild sound of the players I saw today.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Ronald Reagans Secret History Of America

As Ronald Reagan drifted into the haze of Alzheimers during his presidency, it was no secret that both he and Nancy consulted astrologers daily. Nancy became more and more protective of access to the president and was active in pushing policies and deciding who was in or out. Reagan Administration Secretary of State,Jim Baker was just one victim of Nancy's vindicativeness.
Reagans involvement with the occult started early and he was well versed in the writings of occult scholar, Manly P. Hall. Hall is most noted for his book, " The Secret Teachings Of All Ages". This is from Mitch Horowitz's book, "Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation". An interesting counterpoint to the conservative christians who insist that the christian religion is the guiding force behind the formation of The United States.
Hall's concise volume ("The Secret Destiny of America") described how America was the product of a "Great Plan" for religious liberty and self-governance, launched by a hidden order of ancient philosophers and secret societies. In one chapter, Hall described a rousing speech delivered by a mysterious "unknown speaker" before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The "strange man," wrote Hall, invisibly entered and exited the locked doors of the Philadelphia statehouse on July 4th, 1776, delivering an oration that bolstered the wavering spirits of the delegates. "God has given America to be free!" commanded the mysterious speaker, urging the men to overcome their fears of the noose, axe, or gibbet, and to seal destiny by signing the great document. Newly emboldened, the delegates rushed forward to add their names. They looked to thank the stranger only to discover that he had vanished from the locked room. Was this, Hall wondered, "one of the agents of the secret Order, guarding and directing the destiny of America?" At a 1957 commencement address at his alma mater Eureka College, Reagan, then a corporate spokesman for GE, sought to inspire students with this leaf from occult history. "This is a land of destiny," Reagan said, "and our forefathers found their way here by some Divine system of selective service gathered here to fulfill a mission to advance man a further step in his climb from the swamps."
Reagan then retold (without naming a source) the tale of Hall's unknown speaker. "When they turned to thank the speaker for his timely words," Reagan concluded, "he couldn't be found and to this day no one knows who he was or how he entered or left the guarded room."
Reagan revived the story in 1981, when Parade magazine asked the president for a personal essay on what July 4th meant to him. Presidential aide Michael Deaver delivered the piece with a note saying, "This Fourth of July message is the president's own words and written initially in the president's hand," on a yellow pad at Camp David. Reagan retold the legend of the unknown speaker - this time using language very close to Hall's own: "When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors."