Sunday, September 21, 2014

The World Against Monsanto!

I first saw this video on French television a few years ago. It was extremely instructive and the implications are horrific. Since then, the product, RoundUp has been identified as the reason for the cause of the deaths of thousands of Central American agricultural workers. It causes systemic kidney failure, but Monsanto does all it can to suppress any information about them and their products. Clarence Thomas was a lawyer for Monsanto and yet refused to recluse himself from Supreme Court cases including one where he was instrumental in overthrowing a decision from a lower court which Monsanto appealed. They believe and they know that they are bigger than any government. They believe they can make or break governments.
I am a great admirer and fan of the Spanish Musician, Manu Chao, who has become a very prominent activist in the fight against Monsanto! Here is a video of a very recent huge event in Argentina he helped organize and participated in.
Okay, watch the Monsanto piece if you can...it's really well done and hopefully you might want to comment. I'll look forward to reading them when I get back, but now I really am leaving to go back to the 19th century...a bientot!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A helpful little chart which might assist you in keeping track of things while I am away.

Department of One Last Thingie....

La Gadou

I wanted to post more before I leave for Vendange, but, I received an update on the conditions, so I am leaving even sooner. We have had a lot of big storms here in France over the last few days. Luckily, where I live there have been no problems except for the occasional power outage. My wife's doggie is a nervous wreck, the ultimate little drama queen!
I got an email telling me to expect mud. Mud? No problem. I've carried grapes through mud pits that sucked the boots off of my feet! I'm ready! Mud? The video above was taken by my friend Christian Ferry last year when entire portions of the fields turned to knee deep mud...My big feet can be an asset sometimes! See you in about 12 days or so!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

That Time Already

I just got an emergency message from Chateau Vieux Chevrol where I have worked for the last 12 years that the vendange will be starting earlier than they thought. That's the usual procedure! So I'm doing a bit of scrambling here trying to assemble my survival kit for the next 2 weeks. Hopefully I can get a train ticket tomorrow for Libourne and leave on Sunday afternoon! It is supposed to be a pretty good year here and hopefully the weather will hold out! Above is a video from last year that will give you an idea of what I will be doing for the next 2 weeks. My buddy Paul had a gps watch last year a calculated that we walk about 26 kilometers a day and end up carrying over a ton of grapes on our backs each day! I have a reputation to uphold as the meilleur porteur Americain en France, but I think this year I am in the running for the oldest porteur.....
First day of school, Sept. 15, 2014
Gaza, Palestine
Och, mon, nae this explains it all!
Ah seem to have misplaced me haggis! pe'haps it's hidin'
under me wee sporran!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Le Fete de Saint Cloud 2014!

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!  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Peace Caravan


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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Atlas Wanked And Wanked And Wanked....

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!

Click here to view the embedded video.

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:

Click here to view the embedded video.

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.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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 since tried to repudiate Objectivism, but no one actually ever accused Ryan of being part of her cult - just a rabid fan of her ideas.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Oh yah, I was given this special message for Rand Paul:
Hey Rand, Ayn told me she wants her pubic hair back,
NOW!

Very Scary Marionettes....

Hey, man, shit happens!

Polling, Perception and Manipulation

I found this very interesting as an example of how history can be manipulated politically and polling can be used to to re enforce perception.
Which nation contributed most to defeating Germany in 1945? French polls from 1945, 1994, 2004

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Just sayin'.....

Again And Again


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 life and 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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I listened to this last night while I was painting.
The Acid/Animal/2013

Monday, September 08, 2014

Holy Smokin' Toledos

The eruption of Mount Tavurvur volcano in Papua, New Guinea on August 29th, 2014.
Pixies - Isla De Encanta. Track 3. from Come On Pilgrim.

Mission Accomplished


They’re back! John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney – the people who pushed the U.S. into the devastating mistake that was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, have discovered yet another existential threat ready and able to destroy the world. Back then it was Saddam Hussein and his mythical cache of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Now it is ISIS and its army of fanatical jihadists who are torturing, raping, crucifying, decapitating and genocidally killing anyone who stands in the way of the new caliphate they are building in what is left of the nations of Iraq and Syria. It is precisely because there is a political, military, and economic vacuum in the heart of the Middle East that ISIS is able to thrive and expand.
The tragedy of American foreign policy is that the people who helped create that vacuum – who set into motion a war of aggression and choice – have never been held accountable for their mistake. So here they are, this time doing the bidding of ISIS, spreading terror and fear into the hearts of the American people, priming the country for yet another war of aggression. The foreign policy of these cheerleaders is encapsulated in one sentence, which ought to be carved on the tombstone of Bill Kristol, the man who said this: “What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?”
American warmongers assume bombing is a clinical, dispassionate, coldly accurate, and ethically neutral part of modern warfare. It’s just so easy to push a few buttons in New Mexico, and drones rain bombs half a world away, from Pakistan to Afghanistan, Iraq, The Sudan, and if Bill Kristol has his way – Syria. Yet even the Pentagon admits it is not so easy as all that. You need someone on the ground to identify a target, and then hope that the computer operator in New Mexico can see the target clearly on their screen. Inevitably, much of the time, someone dies who is “peripheral, collateral damage.” Who is accountable for the collateral damage? The soldier on the ground who didn’t have accurate information on how many innocent people were with the target? The computer operator who should have seen a child playing next to the building about to be blown up?

 The Iraqis wanted Americans who committed war crimes in Iraq to be brought to justice in Iraqi courts.  The Pentagon would have none of this, and the decision to leave Iraq to its own defenses was made.  Many months later, when ISIS conducted its blitzkrieg into Iraq from Syria, it was too late for the al-Maliki government.  The defense forces of Iraq fled in fear, partly because most of them were Sunnis and had no loyalty to a government in Baghdad which promoted only Shi’ite interests.  It didn’t help matters that ISIS was given a welcoming hand by Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq, who also were fed up with the al-Maliki government.
Most of those Sunni tribal leaders now regret their decision, having seen firsthand the barbarism of the ISIS jihadists.  Iraq is not simply home to Sunnis and Shi’ites.  There are Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, and other tribal groups that have their own religious identities – and these are the groups ISIS is targeting for extermination on the grounds of apostasy.  Shi’ite soldiers are immediately executed, and civilians are given the “right” to convert to Sunni Islam or pay a crippling tax (a practice that does indeed go back to the days of the eighth century caliphates).  If you want to experience an existential crisis, try being a member of a non-Sunni group in northern Iraq.
There is certainly a sense developing in Iraq that an existential crisis is upon them – all of them, Sunni or Shi’ite, Arab or Kurd.  Tens of thousands of Turkmen were surrounded by ISIS troops in the town of Amerli, but rather than surrender, the town arranged its own defense, even to the point where food and water were running out.  The Iraqi government in Baghdad came to the support of Amerli, accompanied by Iranian-led Shi’ite military, with additional bombing help from the US military.  The critical factor for the US was that the Pentagon had a clear idea where the ISIS offensive forces were amassed, and they were receiving ground help from the Iraqi military in setting targets.  ISIS was pushed back, the siege was lifted, and the US was able to air-drop food and supplies to thousands of people who were in desperate condition.
At about the same time, the US began coordinating with the Kurds, who lost the major city of Mosul to ISIS, and whose Pesh Merga military force has proven far less formidable than everyone had thought.  With this coordination, ISIS was forced to give up control of a critical dam on the Euphrates River, and the next step appears to be to oust ISIS from Mosul.
Immediately after these events, ISIS began fulminating about the US attacks made on them.  ISIS vowed revenge, and the videotaped beheadings of two American journalists seemed to be a direct consequence of the US “taking sides.”  The beheadings served their terroristic purpose.  They spread virally on the internet, and proved to the world that a new horror had been unleashed in the Middle East.  American politicians called for counter-revenge, warning that ISIS was ready to cross the border from Mexico, that sleeper cells might already exist in America, that more than 100 Westerners have joined ISIS and are being groomed to perform acts of terrorism in Europe and America.  And yes, Republicans began talking about an existential crisis facing the US.
There is no doubt such a crisis is facing Iraqis – Shi’ites, Kurds, minorities, and any Sunnis who stand in their way.  There is also evidence that Iraqis, Kurds, and Iran are now taking the crisis very seriously.  But exactly who else is being threatened by ISIS?  Turkey at this point seems to have tightened up its border with Iraq, but so far no grand coalition of Arab, Turk, or Iranian countries has come together to fight ISIS.  You could argue that a lot of Middle East countries are too self-absorbed to come to anyone else’s assistance, until the menace is at their doorstep.  But one country that has the capacity of the US to do something significant militarily against ISIS is sitting on its hands.  Israel is in critical need of credibility among its Arab neighbors, so why hasn’t Israel sent troops to Iraq and joined the US in a bombing campaign?
The answer to that question is easy: the Israelis never take military action if they can get the US to do it for them.  Benyamin Netanyahu doesn’t even have to crank up the AIPAC lobby in the US to goad the Americans into deeper involvement in the area.  Lindsey Graham and John McCain are doing just fine, terrorizing the US all on their own, displaying for everyone to see how frightened they are of ISIS, and how frightened we all should be as well.  At the same time, since it’s an election year, the Republicans and neocon warmongers are all over Barack Obama for his lack of a strategy, and failure to defend the US.
We’ve heard all of this before, 11 years ago as the Bush Administration was unveiling its public relations campaign for war in Iraq.  Republicans have consistently accused the Democrats of being weak on defense and leaving the country unprotected.
Obama did not pull the troops out of Iraq. They were removed from Iraq in accordance with an agreement reached between Nuri al Maliki and George Bush in 2008 before Obama took office. Obama tried valiantly to extend the troop presence in Iraq and was unable to do so.  The failure revolved around the Iraqi refusal to exempt American military from Iraq’s laws, which is a condition we extract from all nations which host our military bases.

Obama’s task would be much easier if he had held anyone accountable, including the media, for the debacle we have created in Iraq.  Instead, he wanted amity with the Republicans, and gave George W. Bush a noble sendoff which was completely undeserved.   He turned a blind eye to war crimes committed by America, because he wanted to move forward and not backward. 

Is Obama finally discovering the consequences of fostering a climate of unaccountability? And will he will reap the benefit of it when he leaves office and is not brought to account for his crimes, which is why he fostered the climate to begin with? It had nothing to do with noble thoughts of forward looking for the nation, it had to do with the sure and certain knowledge that if he brought George Bush to account that it would necessarily follow that his successor would bring him to account.
But really, based on the take no prisoners, scorched earth politics  of the Republicans, he’ll find it’s not a two-way street. If the next president is a Republican, Obama will be prosecuted for everything and anything they can come up with. Remember, this is basically a lynch mob mentality and they will never stop screaming BENGHAZI, because well, BENGHAZI!
If ISIS is the existential crisis it is said to be, we will know this to be true when you see the rich and powerful put not just their money, but their lives and the lives of their children, at risk in defeating the menace.  Until we see that happen, we are entitled to think that the same war-mongering scam that occurred in 2003 is being perpetrated all over again.
My wife's latest little video. Sort of Bovine Reality TV. 
Meet my neighbors.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Please don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me if I got angry...

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On His Head


Francois, Francois, Francois...I never really liked you, but I tried to find your good points, except you never did anything but let me down. Some politicians can get away with almost anything. Look at Sarkozy. When he lost the election to you after totally screwing up France and trying to turn it into a Right Wing Corrupt Banana Republic Dictatorship, every one said he was over. After Sarko paraded Carlita around for 5 years and everyone got sick of her...We didn't want to know about politicians private lives, but look over your shoulder. Who's that shadow pissing on your parade? He's back.
And it's your fault...as I said, some politicians can get away with almost anything but then again, it's a matter of style, I guess. Some politicians can't help from pissing on their own shoes in public. Thanks to you, the Socialists will lose the next presidential election. If we are lucky, Juppe will not be destroyed by the Sarko Boys and we have to choose between Marine LePen and who ever doesn't stink as badly. Hah, you empowered Marine and the Front National with your utter ineptness. Today, Marine is crowing that she would accept and invitation to become Prime Minister in your tawdry little government. Let's face it, after their last regional electoral victories, the Front National is quickly living up to it's reputation for ineptness, incompetence and petty corruption...nothing compared to the criminal conspirtacies that the UMP is dealing with (as far as the UMP is concerned, you have to admire the sheer audacity, and ambition of their corruption, these guys are the pros!)...but under the mismanagement of you, Francois, we have been subjected to a daily barrage of mini scandals and petty corruption that has snared  even your very popular Prime Minister, Manuel Valis, who just a few weeks ago was rated the most popular man in French politics in the muck of your ineptitude. Yes, it's nothing on the level of the role of money and influence in the corruption of the American political parties, but you promised to be above corruption and to be A President Normal. NORMAL? Ne trouve-toi c'e que c'est normal? That's how we ended up with Chirac back in the 90's! We ended up with Sarko because you sabotaged Segolene Royale's presidential campaign because of you soggy little ego. You left Segolene after having 3 kids with her for Valerie. You must have known that Valerie was totally nuts, but you let her spend hundreds of thousands of Euros redecorating her own office in the Elysee to keep her out of your hair. You let Valerie sabotage Segolenes last political campaign out of her sheer jealous spite. The irony is, now Segolene is defending you against Valerie. What a tawdry trail you are leaving behind you. A 14% approval rating at a time when we really don't need this shit as a distraction. You let Valerie totally use you, then started cheating on her. Now she's pissed and you don't piss off Valerie. How do you get out of this self created marsh of muck? You don't...it's a negative energy vortex...a law of political physics. Now we are stuck with Marine LePen and we are just going to have to put up with this shit until she destroys herself.

I dedicate this song to you, Francois Hollande:

Saturday, September 06, 2014

But, I Am Lord Monckton!

In this video, the character popularly known as Lord Monckton, cleverly tries to deny that he is in fact a character played by Sascha Baron Cohen. He tries and almost succeeds, but he upstaged himself with by clever satirical piece he published in The World Net Daily warning Americans that voting for Democrats is "close to treason". He never really explains what he means by "close to treason" but that 's the beauty of being an upper class twit. No one expects you to know what you are saying about about anything anyway!
Here's an excerpt from this brilliant satirical piece:

"There is a chance – it cannot yet be put any higher than that – that the GOP may recapture control of the Senate. The future of civilization itself may depend upon its succeeding.
No one should underestimate just how much the United States is respected, admired and even loved worldwide as an example and a beacon of freedom. But if the “Democrats” get their way, the flickering torch carried by the Statue of Liberty may yet be snuffed out forever, together with the nation of which it has long been the symbol.  By little and little, the “Democrats” have become the implacable enemies of everything for which the Founding Fathers so nobly and so successfully strove. Their increasingly close ideological links with international anti-capitalist, anti-democratic, anti-libertarian Marxism and its sinister bedfellow, pietistic environmental extremism, have become an existential threat to the very survival of the United States as an independent nation.
The threat is real – so real that even to vote “Democrat” comes close to being treason. Lest that statement should sound too extreme, let me explain. The ideologies of Marxism and its modern disguise, environmentalism, are explicitly internationalist – or, rather, anti-nationalist. The very idea of nation states whose citizens might wish to be free is utterly alien to the totalitarian mind, which considers that on all matters of politics only one opinion – that of Big Brother – has any value. All opinions contrary to the Party Line are not merely anathema: they are punishable, often by death.
Just as the savage brutality of Marxism and its twin, Fascism, killed 100 million people in the 20th century, so the active hatred of Man that is the defining characteristic of that 21st-century species of totalitarianism that lurks behind the fig-leaf of environmentalism is bidding fair to kill 100 million more by denying them affordable electrical power.
See how this murderous hatred of all that is human is the very antithesis of the Founding Fathers’ devotion to the idea that each individual soul is of unique value; that, therefore, each individual should have the right to contribute to deciding the future course of his nation by regular secret ballot; and that the State exists to serve the family, which exists to serve its individual members.
They then say the planet will be doomed unless capitalism is destroyed by the simplest of all expedients – denying our industries the affordable energy that is the lifeblood of a free-market economy. For they know there is no surer way to make the bankruptcy of America complete than to choke off her industries and make them internationally uncompetitive.
These three destructive policies – excessive national debt, excessive cuts in the armed forces and excessive regulation and taxation of energy use – have not come together by accident. They are elements in a deliberate strategy, pursued by the international left not only in the United States but worldwide, to destroy the very notion of the nation state – and, in doing so, to overthrow the very notion of democracy and of the individual liberty of which the ballot box is at once the ultimate expression and the ultimate guarantor."

This is brilliant, the Monckton character has cleverly created a non sequitur drooling rant of nonsense linking his Climate Change Denial with the decidedly non conservative position of voter suppression, but I did think it was interesting that he used the pronoun "his" in relation to the individual. Evidently only the men are entitled to be free. Now it all starts to make sense. It all comes down to the three things that aggravate oligarchs the most: national debt, policies to rein in global warming, and cuts in military funding. World Net Daily is so proud to have Lord Christopher Monckton as their new expert on almost anything, after all he does have a title...Let's not let on that we are already onto the fact that they havejust hired the man nominated as The Upper Class Twit of The Year!

Friday, September 05, 2014

The Name Is al-Baghdadi, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.....



 The well-known photo of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader, with an exquisite Swiss watch on his arm, is here emblematic: ISIS is well organized in web propaganda as well as financial dealings, although these ultra-modern practices are used to propagate and enforce an ideologico-political vision that is not so much conservative as a desperate move to fix clear hierarchic delimitations. However, we should not forget that even this image of a strictly disciplined and regulated fundamentalist organization is not without its ambiguities: is religious oppression not (more than) supplemented by the way local ISIS military units seem to function? While the official ISIS ideology rails against Western permissiveness, the daily practice of the ISIS gangs includes full-scale grotesque orgies, including robberies, gang rapes, torture and murder of infidels.  It is worth noting that ISIS is engaging a strategy to re engage all of the super powers into their more well defined path to political and ideological supremacy in the Middle East? As Syria crumbles, as Iraq fumbles, as Israel alienates and spends most of it's sympathetic support in the west...These guys seem to have their eye on the ball, and it is more and more obvious, the concept of Islamic Fundamentalism is only a manipulative tool they use to recruit supporters to create the Super Power Islamic State they envision. In recent days, they have begun to taunt Vladimir Putin and draw the Chechens into their circle of influence. This is not about Islam, Islam is the tool used to recruit, as Christian Fundamentalism is and Jewish Fundamentalism is being used as tool to inflame and manipulate the naturally unstable masses for support of redefining the geopolitical realities of our planet.  You almost have to stand back and give al-Baghdadi respect as a strategist for the over all strategy he seems to be employing in the realization of his aims, He has to be stopped, but stopping him cannot be accomplished unless we really understand what he is. I am reprinting this following piece by one of my favorite living philosophers, Slavoj Zizek, which was recently published in  The Stone.

By SLAVOJ ZIZEK
If these so-called fundamentalists believe they have found their way to Truth, why are they threatened by nonbelievers?

It has become a commonplace in recent months to observe that the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is the latest chapter in the long story of the anticolonial awakening — the arbitrary borders drawn after World War I by the great powers being redrawn — and simultaneously a chapter in the struggle against the way global capital undermines the power of nation states. But what causes such fear and consternation is another feature of the ISIS regime: The public statements of the ISIS authorities make it clear that the principal task of state power is not the regulation of the welfare of the state’s population (health, the fight against hunger) — what really matters is religious life and the concern that all public life obey religious laws. This is why ISIS remains more or less indifferent toward humanitarian catastrophes within its domain — its motto is roughly “take care of religion and welfare will take care of itself.” Therein resides the gap that separates the notion of power practiced by ISIS from the modern Western notion of what Michel Foucault called “biopower,” which regulates life in order to guarantee general welfare: the ISIS caliphate totally rejects the notion of biopower.
Does this make ISIS premodern? Instead of seeing in ISIS a case of extreme resistance to modernization, one should rather conceive of it as a case of perverted modernization and locate it into the series of conservative modernizations which began with the Meiji restoration in 19th-century Japan (rapid industrial modernization assumed the ideological form of “restoration,” or the return to the full authority of the emperor).
The well-known photo of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader, with an exquisite Swiss watch on his arm, is here emblematic: ISIS is well organized in web propaganda as well as financial dealings, although these ultra-modern practices are used to propagate and enforce an ideologico-political vision that is not so much conservative as a desperate move to fix clear hierarchic delimitations. However, we should not forget that even this image of a strictly disciplined and regulated fundamentalist organization is not without its ambiguities: is religious oppression not (more than) supplemented by the way local ISIS military units seem to function? While the official ISIS ideology rails against Western permissiveness, the daily practice of the ISIS gangs includes full-scale grotesque orgies, including robberies, gang rapes, torture and murder of infidels.
Upon a closer look, the apparent heroic readiness of ISIS to risk everything also appears more ambiguous. Long ago Friedrich Nietzsche perceived how Western civilization was moving in the direction of the Last Man, an apathetic creature with no great passion or commitment. Unable to dream, tired of life, he takes no risks, seeking only comfort and security: “A little poison now and then: that makes for pleasant dreams. And much poison at the end, for a pleasant death. They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health. ‘We have discovered happiness,’ say the Last Men, and they blink.”
It may appear that the split between the permissive First World and the fundamentalist reaction to it runs more and more along the lines of the opposition between leading a long satisfying life full of material and cultural wealth and dedicating one’s life to some transcendent cause. Is this antagonism not the one between what Nietzsche called “passive” and “active” nihilism? We in the West are the Nietzschean Last Men, immersed in stupid daily pleasures, while the Muslim radicals are ready to risk everything, engaged in the struggle up to their self-destruction. William Butler Yeats’ “Second Coming” seems perfectly to render our present predicament: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” This is an excellent description of the current split between anemic liberals and impassioned fundamentalists. “The best” are no longer able fully to engage, while “the worst” engage in racist, religious, sexist fanaticism.
But are the terrorist fundamentalists really fundamentalists in the authentic sense of the term? Do they really believe? What they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the United States — the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the nonbelievers’ way of life. If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe they have found their way to Truth, why should they feel threatened by nonbelievers. Why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued and fascinated by the sinful life of the nonbelievers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation. This is why the so-called fundamentalists of ISIS are a disgrace to true fundamentalism.
It is here that Yeats’ diagnosis falls short of the present predicament: The passionate intensity of a mob bears witness to a lack of true conviction. Deep in themselves, terrorist fundamentalists also lack true conviction — their violent outbursts are a proof of it. How fragile the belief of a Muslim must be if he feels threatened by a stupid caricature in a low-circulation Danish newspaper. The fundamentalist Islamic terror is not grounded in the terrorists’ conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identity from the onslaught of global consumerist civilization.
The problem with terrorist fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but, rather, that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior. This is why our condescending, politically correct assurances that we feel no superiority toward them only makes them more furious and feeds their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite fact that they already like us, that, secretly, they have already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them. Paradoxically, what the fundamentalists of ISIS and those like them really lack is precisely a dose of that true conviction of one’s own superiority.


Slavoj Zizek is a Slovenian philosopher, psychoanalyst and social theorist at the Birkbeck School of Law, University of London. He is the author of many books, including the forthcoming 

At My Job

Mister Politeness pointed out that the GIF I used in my last post post was also used in his favorite 
Dead Kennedys video...At My Job, a cur fro their 1985 recoding, Frankenchrist, The original release included a controversial poster by the great Swiss artist, H.R. Geiger, which was censored by most music stores.  I forgot how much I liked this song, so I checked it out and here it is. The scenes are from Fritz Langs Masterpiece, Metropolis!
Thank you Mr. Politeness!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Beatnik Party



Come Fly With Me

Instant Karma

A simple explanation of the positions of America and Britain in the Mid East:
We support the Iraqi government in the fight against ISIS. We don’t like ISIS, but ISIS is supported by Saudi Arabia whom we do like.
We don’t like Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but ISIS is also fighting against him.
We don’t like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIS.
So some of our friends support our enemies, some enemies are now our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies, whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.
If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they could be replaced by people we like even less.
And all this was started by invading a country to drive out terrorists who were not actually there until after we went in to drive them out.
I've lived in this country for almost 20 years and the only change I would make to this map is to change the title, Plus Belle La Vie....in the Marseille vicinity to Poubelle La Vie....
Plus Belle La Vie is the longest running French Soap Opera Series on French TV...Set in Marseille, but the running joke for the last 15 years is Poubelle La Vie...I guess that would translate to Life Is a Trash Can...to be specific, I live in the are with the big WINE and Foie gras  label, slightly to the west of NOTHING!

But, please, don't get me wrong. There is no other place I would rather be, somewhere beyond the sea. This is the only place that has ever felt like home to me.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Shantytown

An old friend, poet, performance artist, film maker Elmer Lang made a film, life Never Begins Life Never Ends, about his departed friend, Gerald Loomis. Loomis was great musician songwriter and all around strange human. This is a song Loomis wrote.  I lived in this building in the East Village of Manhattan, on the top floor for over 25 years and saw it go from decaying slum to highly desirable expensive real estate. When I moved there, the rent was about 100 bucks a month, but the landlord let me live there for 2 months free because I said I had to fix the place up a bit. The last time I looked, 2012, it was renting for over $2,000 a month with very chic eateries on the ground floor.  The street action was five floors below me on Ave. B. Yes, it's depressing, but all too real. Check out Elmer Langs other videos on his YouTube channel. I even play bass guitar and scream in some of them.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Happy Labor Day, America!
Use It Or Lose It!
My First Water Color Painting After Too Many Years.
The Best Dog Ever, J. Edgar....