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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hail, Portland

Just another sunny May day in Portland - and I mean literally, sunny - with a sprinkling of WTF hail. I've only been here for 10 months - not quite a full cycle - so I don't know what to think. The locals seem to be OK with it, but I hear a lot of comments that the spring weather this year is a bit, ah, different - I just can't say how different myself, as yet.

(Please forgive the setting and the crappy cam handling. It's the content, not the form. Focus, people.) ;)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's The Death, Really

War Casualties

My complaints:
Oh, what is being done in my name.
Oh, what my government is doing.
Oh, the warmongering capitalist corporatist elite!
Oh, what is being done in my name!
Other, um, complaints:
Oh, where is my family?
Oh, where is my home?
Well, fuck - you get the idea.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Ogre And The Mother

Mother and Children
Sharon Sayegh painting found at Highland Park Artists
The mother tries to calm her two young children. They've been in their beds for almost an hour and are still very upset. At school earlier in the day, they heard another rumor about some teenagers who had gone missing in a town several miles away.

"Now, now, we didn't even know them. And you can't believe everything you hear...
So begins a poignant metaphor of our complicity in the evils of our times. Arthur Silber can often be difficult to read, insofar as he writes with unflinching judgment on our nature and ourselves. One wishes to look away, think of something else already. Many clearly cannot read his essays, if one is to believe Arthur's expressed frustration on this matter - some even go so far as to attack him for his writing, an action so unforgiveable one need not say anything more on the matter.

The device of dystopian fiction, used by writers like Poe and Orwell, and all great science fiction authors, offers a little trick of momentary distance between the reader and the tale, so that the lecture Arthur has prepared for us will hold us for a moment longer, past where the retching might otherwise begin.

Really, if you haven't visited Arthur's place before, go read it. Or rather, especially if you have been there before and have found yourself turning away.
Here is a note for those who write and talk about these issues. If you write on these subjects and if you talk about them regularly on radio and television, and if you do not state -- repeatedly, with all the conviction and passion that you can command -- that actions of this kind are insane, monstrous and deeply evil, you are not opposing the monstrousnessness. You are accommodating it, seeking excuses for it, trying to minimize it -- or, to use the phrase I often employ in my own notes -- you are "making friends with evil."

If you do this, you are not fighting against the monstrousness. You are part of it.
Unflinching judgment.

Note: As I post this, I see that Chris Floyd is thinking along similar lines.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Conservative In My Midst

Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium
Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, by Chris Floyd
My prior post brought in a thoughtful comment from "the other side," as it were, and Chris deserves another book plug.

My wan apologies to Conservative In Your Midst for front paging him/her, but it is this sort of jujitsu that we bloggers are infamous for.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Poetry Of "Patterns," By Courtesy Of Chris Floyd

Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium
Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, by Chris Floyd
Chris deserves a book plug for this post - The Poetry of Death: Patterns of State Terror (excerpting and yes, yes, go read the whole thing):
This "pattern" is put together from clumps of data gathered by surveillance robots hovering high in the sky above Pakistani towns and villages, watching people as they go about their ordinary business, and from whatever bits of local gossip the CIA can glean from paid operatives raking through their neighbor's private lives...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Real Hope, From America Del Sur

Socialist Hero: Evo Morales

[Aside: It is a relief to get Noriega's mug off of the top of my blog. Gratifyingly, he is replaced by someone more representative of the hemisphere.]

I must share my pleasure with this article from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (h/t quebecdude commenting at FireDogLake.)

Go read it, of course. I am excerpting liberally, as it were, some of the more gratifying passages (yes, FaveB, I am baiting you.) Any emphases are mine.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Improbable Martyr

Improbable Martyr: Manuel Noriega

Well, Manuel Noriega's sentence has run out before his heart has, so he has been whisked off to pursue this end in another dark place.

Chris Floyd, of Empire Burlesque, comments (excerpts follow, emphasis mine, and of course read the whole thing):
...Noriega, who had been a CIA "asset" since the late 1950s, carried on his yeoman service on behalf of his new bosses for awhile – but the assumption of formal power went to his head. He forgot he was a servant, was surly with his masters, and finally crossed the line: refusing to take part in the secret terrorist war that Reagan and Bush were waging, with Iranian money, against Nicaragua. Suddenly, Noriega's manifold crimes and massive corruption, which Washington had tolerated – indeed rewarded – for decades, suddenly became matters of urgent concern. Noriega went from imperial pet to "new Hitler" in fairly short order...