Concerto for blunt instrument

An irregular heartbeat from d.o. to you. Not like a daily kos, more like a sometime sloth. Fast relief from the symptoms of blogarrhea and predicated on the understanding that the world is not a stage for our actions, rather it is a living organism upon which we depend for our existence.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Brief & incomplete review of DNC bloggers

While the AP stated something to the effect that"without established rules for Web journalists, the convention staff has had to review each blogger to evaluate their qualifications, originality, readership and professionalism", others have said the anointed DNC bloggers are waaaayy white and waaaayyy male. We know all about those arguments of "qualifications" and "professionalism" here at Indy, but how about the bloggers' outlooks and analysis? Are they equally waaaayyy Dem? Let's have a peak at some of the DNC bloggers listed in today's New York Times special supplement on the DNC.Other than a few seemingly out-to-lunch or re-directed sites, this writer found:

"We're in! Blogger Alley is for real. We're high up on the 7th floor directly above the stage. The floor is still pretty empty. We have scored a desktop and we're sitting next to David who is the CEO of Technorati who is blogging for CNN--and Steve Olson who is blogging on Stakeholder for the DCCC.There's McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts stations downstairs if we get hungry. We've got our camera hooked up and our cell phone seems to be working.""Update: Jenny 8. Lee from the New York Times is here--she's great, so spirited. She's wearing orange fishnet stockings to match her escape hood. You can read her article about the bloggers in today's New York Times here."(right, let's they say)

"Patrick Belton of Oxblog, an Oxford graduate student and self-described centrist who worked for Bill Bradley in 2000, sees the convention as "a wonderful time to take a snapshot of all different factions, who's on the rise and who's on the relative wane."(yuh)

(the chatty librarian; nice but...)

(very commercial; where's the meat??; who cares about anonymity?)

(Along w/all the ads a Dem reformer sez):
"Over the past year, I have moved from being a strong defender of the national Democratic Party, to being increasingly disillusioned....It's not just a bunch of bloggers screaming into the wind anymore. It's now famed Venture Capitalists and entrepreneurs like Andy Rappaport and the ridiculously deep pockets of others like George Soros. It's MoveOn and ACT (formed by pervious rivals from the labor and environmental movements), and dozens or hundreds of new organizations rushing to fill the void created by an ineffective party.This election is the last gasp of the old establishment, not because we the bloggers declare it, but because the smart money has cast its lot outside the party hierarchy."

(spends too much time in front of a monitor):

"On the streets of Boston, the police presence is palpable. But it's mainly street cops on the corners and stuff like that. I'm sure the souped-up security is there, probably in places I haven't been. But it hasn't been as visible as you might expect." (Say what? There's more heat on the street than citizens to arrest)

(reportedly blogging for MTV and talkin' trash to beat the band....substance? viscous fluids)

(carried Aljazeera's banner theft story, go girl!and covers things of interest)

That's it. I get a one out of eight, not including the lunch crowd. Of course there IS 30 of them and we trust at least one or two more are worth reading, yes? Please tell us yes.In any case, the DNC bloggers are the "human interest" buzz among the media corporados this time around, which may be both a good thing or a bogus thing depending on how one views it. To their credit, even some of shall we say? lite bloggers? are quick to point out that they are NOT the story, the event is. Be that as it may, this blogger would just love to see more text about just who really does and does not qualify (and just exactly why) to be among the chosen high above the assembled masses, way inside the gates and fences, beyond the robo-cops and feds w/earpieces. There's nothing like a little self-examination to enhance one's diary, after all.

See also:

Monday, July 26, 2004

Prison of protest

I’ve just returned from a close encounter with a “free speech” zone. In the city, in the state advertised as the birthplace of American democracy, free speech (a constitutional right, if I’m not mistaken) has been placed in chains. Boston, the alleged home of the American Revolution and all the flag-waving, patriotic hyperbole that goes with it, has fabricated what may well be the most ironic replica of the state of democracy in the U.S. today: the “Free Speech” Zone.

 I know, you thought the continental United States itself was a free speech zone, right?  Well, times have changed in the so-called post- 9/11 world. Like so many of our constitutional rights, free speech and freedom of assembly have been repackaged, restricted, and regurgitated through the machinations of the security state and shadowy operations like the Secret Service, the FBI and the Department of Fatherlan…umm..., Homeland Security  . The result in Boston is the erection of a completely enclosed steel cage, totally isolated from the street and surrounded by guards, holding only 1,200 citizens who must enter and exit its small gateways nearly on their knees to exercise their supposed right to free speech. Orwell would be pleased. The irony seems lost on no one but those who create such a monstrosity.

Frankly, even though I’ve been an eyewitness to the ongoing erosion of our constitutional rights over the past decade or so, I’m finding this all very hard to believe. I guess, in a way, it’s like watching those planes fly into the World Trade Towers: it’s surreal, like watching a film of reality. Now we are watching a film about the end of democracy. And, to add irony to irony, this is done by the hand of those who claim to be bringing democracy to the rest of the world; at the hand of the Bush regime and their minions who seldom miss the opportunity to say that terrorists “hate our freedom”.

After taking part in a protest march Sunday with a few thousand fellow citizens by the fortified Fleet Center in Boston where the Democratic National Convention begins today; after viewing the prison of protest where free speech has been incarcerated, this citizen is now fully prepared to believe that we, as a nation, are on the cusp of becoming a total police state. Last year I would not have said “total”. This year I’m not so sure.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Return of the Sun God

Attention dreamers, blasphemers and schemers
there's a blue-light special in the seventh aisle
there's a good chance the 2nd coming came and went
that Jesus got whacked by the FBI
that the anti-christ is really a head of state tempting fate
that the Rapture lost stature, the saved are actually lost
sinking daily into dull cardboard boxes
full of single old gloves and soiled eyeglass cases
There's a good chance none of that matters
that the lark will sing regardless who listens, the fly or flea
will bite both sinner & savior, that the laws of physics will
remain the same and believers will believe in unbelievable tales
of things they've never seen. 
Come millions of years, when your god is history
the Sun will expand beyond any command and
toast every marshmallow in sight
The stars have no interest in investments or vestments,
quarterly reports are mere fuel for the fire, so the liar
the broker, the barker, the joker are
all in the dustbin together, forever.

Monday, July 19, 2004

A Case of mistaken identity – Dems cave on Iraq in platform

You've got to wonder what the Democratic Platform Committee was thinking when they recently refused to own up to the fact that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a monstrous mistake of unrivaled proportions. Maybe it was due to their proximity, at the time, to Disney World. While the Dems sharpened their pencils and dulled our political discourse down in Hollywood, Florida, the vibes from Fantasyland up in Orlando may have drifted southward and effected their deliberations. What other explanation could there be?

Given that the presumed candidate, himself, stated on 60 Minutes just a week ago that King George was mistaken in his invasion, why should wonkey little Dems in non-smoking backrooms be second-guessing him? We know these guys are shall we say...removed from the real world? as they ponder the drawbacks of truth and honesty in the never-ending search for the most advantageous piece of political turf on which to launch their candidate from and thus make the world a… what?.. better place? But, we are told it was Kerry's own who sought to have the term "mistake" become an out-take of the party platform, and that they cut a deal with the Kucinich crowd in exchange for rhetoric on a timeline for an eventual U.S. withdrawal from Iraq (and we thought Kucinich was integrity personified). So, what’s with Kerry? Didn’t he learn anything from his past duplicitous behavior in the Senate over Iraq? 

Given that a majority of citizens in the U.S. feel the invasion was a mistake, why should Kerry and his minions continue straddling the fence? The New York Times said the invasion was a mistake. Registered Republican and national security advisor, Richard Clark has called the invasion an “enormous mistake”. The Pope thinks it was a mistake. Most of the civilized world thinks it was a mistake. Hell, even William Buckley thinks it was a bad idea! What more in the way of cover does Kerry want??

As the opening gavel for the Democratic National Convention lurks in the wings, many of us in this alleged Commonwealth of Massachusetts are feeling mighty cynical about our “favorite son” and his handlers. Being good citizens, most of us will, of course, voice our strong opinions in the proper public venues (read: protest pens) and here on the internet (where no one’s listening anyway) just so we don’t muck things up so much that the Bush neo-cons end up further entrenched in DC making America safe for shoppers and billionaires. But Big D democrats would do well to recall that Massachusetts is no stranger to rebellion, rebellion that changes the landscape quite substancially in the long run. It might serve them well to run a google on “Shays Rebellion” and “committees of correspondence”. And, while they’re at it, they may as well look into “founding principles of the Democratic Party”. Somewhere in there they may be able to identify with something, if I'm not mistaken. 

Class warfare

Speaking of so-called class warfare, here's a thought provoking piece by the editor of The Baffler:
The essay is, of course, waaaayyy more nuanced than any screed i've dashed off here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Shoot-out at the Not So OK Corral

In case you haven’t figured it out yourself by now, I’d like to mention that the upcoming presidential election is THE most important one in this nation’s history. Sound like an over-statement? Hardly. Check your history. Never has this country faced such threats to its constitutional structure; its ecological health; its internal civility and goodwill; or its position within the international community. Each of those critical aspects to our nation’s well-being has been under constant assault by the neo-con Bush regime in Washington. Another four years of this dismantling, this far-right extremism, will destroy the United States of America as we know it.

Constitutional scholars and human rights advocates have pointed toward the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay as indicators of the present administrations’ disregard for international treaties, the rule of law, and common decency. Ill-conceived legislation rammed through a crisis-stricken congress by right-wingers like the so-called Patriot Act; the increasing suppression of our civil rights under the guise of national security, and now talk of possible suspension of the upcoming election itself casts a dark shadow across the land.

Speaking of the land, (as well as the water, the air, and those who inhabit them), they are daily subjected to the whims of an administration that has the worst environmental record of any in this nation’s history. Their total disregard for the health of the planet and its inhabitants is matched only by their disregard for people of little means.

The Bush regime, so quick to accuse workers of engaging in class warfare when they demand their due, is itself THE ultimate instigator and perpetrator of class war. They serve and are of the wealthiest among us, while sending young low-income Americans to die in needless wars that enrich the corporations and sap the nation’s strength. Adding insult to injury, they tax the poor for their folly and pay little or none themselves. Not since the 1930s have the disparities in the U.S. been so obvious. Class warfare? You bet! It’s time for the showdown. Obviously the field of honor is not a level one. We are facing into the Sun and they have all the weapons. Only a massive volley of resistance and non-cooperation by the have-nots will be able to overcome THESE bad guys. It’s almost high noon. Are you ready?

Monday, July 12, 2004

Later for Nader

This from Daniel Shays on WMass Indy(a rebellious nom de plume, we assume):

"We are not living in normal times. Even many mainstream political observers are finally waking up to just how VERY dangerous the fundamentalist neo-con onslaught really is in Washington (see Republican Kevin Phillips' "American Dynasty", as one example). Unless you want to court the very real possibility that you (and perhaps your children) may spend your remaining years under some form of marshall law or in some dingy internment camp, you'd be a fool to have anything to do with Ralph Nader at this point in time.

This is no exaggeration or the ravings of some paranoid conspiracy theorist. I too, campaigned and voted for Nader in 2000, partly in the hope that if Bush did win (which he didn't), the neo-cons would galvanize the left. That actually happened (witness millions in the streets last year), but I vastly under-estimated how really dangerous the Bush regime could be. Now we all see and if you don't feel the chill you're not paying attention. I'm looking 60 in the face and i've NEVER seen anything in this nation that looks remotely as threatening to freedom, democracy, the U.S. Constitution and the well-being of the biosphere as the regime that is now occupying Washington. Simply said: there's zero room for Nader on the precipice of the new fascism that now threatens to engulf any freedoms we have remaining.

Another four years of the Bush regime? Not on your life. If we have to take Ralph down in the effort to save this land from the neo-con fundamentalists, so be it. The lives of my children and my grandchildren are far more important; your lives and those of your loved ones are far more important. We can deal with the duopoly and the corporados under Kerry or whomever, but under an entrenched Bush regime we won't even have the space. Join the resistance to Bush and Nader. It's truly a matter of life and death."

Alarmist? I don't think so. Even a cursory scan into the Bush regime's record during the past four years reveals how extreme these guys are. Is it any wonder so many real conservatives are jumping ship? Even people from the Cato Institute have bailed on Bush! Today we learn that the so-called Department of Homeland Security is huddled w/the so-called Department of Justice looking into the mechanics of possibly postponing the elections in case of a well timed "terrorist" attack. Hell, even if the vote takes place as planned the process is so corrupt and open to tampering it's no wonder some members of congress are seeking international observers! Soooooooo, what are we going to do about it, huh?

Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Penis Parables: The Little King

Once there was a little man from a wide, flat land. He was neither wise nor smart, but there were smart people who knew him and they hoped to make the man king so they could rule the land they lived in. The little man would do as they advised because they were his advisors. That’s how it was.
One day many of the people in the land went to their town squares to select a new king. The little man’s advisors carried him on their shoulders throughout the land, calling out to the people: “Look! Here is your king!” And the people looked about them to see what their neighbors did or to hear what they said. Many of their neighbors repeated what they had read or had seen elsewhere. Others simply repeated what those people said. And some said nothing at all or made jokes about the weather. Many people never even went to their town squares. They stayed home and watched the pictures on the wall or went to work. Some said: “One king is like another. I still need to feed my family.” Some just yawned and went back to sleep, because many of the people in this land liked very much to sleep. When they slept everything seemed better.
Soon it was time for the people to decide who would be king, the little man or some other man. So, the little man’s advisors lowered him from their shoulders and placed him on a giant mechanical tortoise, saying: “See how much he is like a king!” and the tortoise was led by the advisors to the great white castle by the river, not far from a tall, tall tower. “The people have spoken!” the advisors said. “Here is our king!” And the somber judges in their somber robes agreed. And, most of the people who were not sleeping said: “Yes, I guess he must be the king. He looks like the king and he acts like the king.” And those next to them, not wanting to appear troublesome, repeated what the others said, except for a few who no one wanted to listen to because they were always complaining.
So, the little man became the little king and all the advisors became the king’s advisors, and most of the people went back to sleep or off to work. Then, the little king rode the giant tortoise, led by his advisors, all across the land. Every time he left the great white castle and passed by the tall, tall tower, the little king looked up and said: “This is mine because I am king and I can do anything!”
Now, nearly everything in the land seemed to need the sunny syrup in order to work. Everyone used sunny syrup. It ran the giant tortoise. It ran their wagons and their mowers. It heated their homes and businesses. It even unstuck their sticky hinges. Without sunny syrup most everything would stop. The land would grow quiet, the air would become still. Sunny syrup ruled, and whoever ruled sunny syrup seemed to rule the land; and the little king’s advisors ruled the syrup and so, seemed to rule the land. But, the little king’s advisors were not content. They were greedy and wanted more. They wanted to rule the whole world! “We need ALL the sunny syrup!” they said. So, they set about making sure the world’s sunny syrup would be theirs. However, there were some problems.
One of the problems was that most of the sunny syrup was in other lands where other people lived. This wasn’t a big problem though, because they were OTHER people and didn’t need the sunny syrup as much as the people in the land of the tall, tall tower. The little king’s advisors made sure they could get as much sunny syrup as they wanted and if the other people objected the advisors advised the little king to send soldiers to the other lands to convince the other people otherwise. Some of the people in the land of the tall, tall tower objected too, but they were mostly the ones who always complain and no one paid much attention to them.
Another problem was that the sunny syrup made the sky grow dark. The more the people used, the darker it got. There was a big debate between the king’s advisors and the king’s magicians about this. The magicians said: “One day the sky will grow so dark we will not be able to see!” But the king’s advisors said: “Nonsense! The sky is vast and forever. It only gets a little dark at night. Besides, sunny syrup gives us light!” The magicians grumbled and mumbled among themselves, some of them not wishing to upset the little king’s advisors who might take away their magic castles, some wishing they could find another place to do their magic, and some not wishing at all because wishing is very unmagicific.
Still another problem was the elves. Among the people there were elves that always caused mischief. They made the people uneasy, disturbing their sleep. Elf messages were always appearing in the town squares or attached to the trees saying outrageous things like: “Sunny syrup sucks!” or “See the light!” or “Down with the king’s thing!” Also, elf pranks were forever being discovered, like the time some of the king’s advisors slipped on a slick of sunny syrup secretly slathered on the sanctimonious Senate’s slippery steps. But, worst of all, said the king’s advisors, were those vile little doubtables, kernels of doubt slipped into the sleeping people’s dreams. “Bad enough the people are losing sleep over all those stupid messages”; the little king’s advisors said, “Those damn elves are disturbing their dreams as well!”
So, the king’s advisors called upon the king’s guards to find the elves and punish them. But the guards were people too (at least most of them), and they had their own doubts. Elves, you see, are invisible. “When you think you’ve caught one”, said the corporal of the guard “It just turns out to be another person.” “Nonsense!” barked the king’s advisors, “They are bad people who disturb the people’s dreams. They are nightmarists!” And the little king was encouraged to make a proclamation declaring war on nightmares. He appeared before the people on the back of the giant tortoise saying: “All for one! Obey today!” waving his sword in the air. Many of the people became excited; their lives were kind of boring anyway and the new war seemed like something nearly everyone was cheering about so they put up flags and decorated their wagons and said bad things about elves.
Meanwhile, the sky was growing darker. Nights seemed to be getting longer and people were using more and more sunny syrup to keep the lights on. Some of the little king’s magicians begged him and his advisors to find other syrups to make things run, to use less sunny syrup so it would last longer and not make the sky so dark. The little king’s advisors scowled at the king’s magicians who said these things. They sent them away and hired new magicians who said things they liked to hear. They told the little king that the old magicians had been encouraging nightmarists, and they boarded up their magic castles.
Then one day the little king was returning to his great white castle on the giant tortoise after a long day of cutting off mountaintops with his shiny sword. As he approached the tall, tall tower he saw something that made him mad. Someone had painted “DOWN WITH THE KING’S THING!” in big, bold, black letters right on his tall, tall tower. “What’s this??” demanded the little king. But, no one knew how it got there, not even his advisors or magicians. The little king was very upset. When he got back to the great white castle he called for his father. The little king’s father told him not to worry, that he would fix everything as he always did, and he tucked the little king into bed, patted him on the head, and said goodnight.
The little king soon fell fast asleep and all seemed well. He began to dream about riding the great tortoise into the sky. Dark acrid smoke poured out from the back of the mechanical tortoise making it hard to see from behind where he had come from, but the little king didn’t care because up ahead of him were mountains of gold and valleys filled with silver. He dreamed it was all his and that he could fill storehouses with them forever. He dreamed the little birds and animals flocked to him and that he could play with them until he grew tired and then throw them away for newer, different ones. He dreamed he could do whatever he liked, wherever he pleased, and that everything would be as he wished for as long as he wanted, all because he was king of the vast, vast land.
But then he noticed a small tingling on the back of his neck. He began to feel uneasy for some reason. The little king quickly looked around for his advisors, but he was all alone on the back of the giant mechanical tortoise. He was all alone and up ahead loomed the tall, tall tower and it was getting closer and closer, faster and faster. Now the little king was becoming afraid. He called out to the tortoise to turn away or slow down, but the tortoise, as always, was silent. It floated closer, heading right toward the tall, tall tower. The little king was now very frightened, just like when he was a child. It seemed there was nothing he could do to stop the tortoise. If he jumped off he would surely fall to his death. Just as the little king was about to cry out in terror, as the giant tortoise neared the very tip of the tall, tall tower, he heard a loud hissing sound. To his amazement, the tortoise had impaled itself upon the tip of the tall white tower and had punctured. All the sunny syrup was running out of the tortoise and its deflated skin was draping itself around the tall, tall tower like a giant sheath, and the little king was perched at the tippy, tippy top, hanging on for dear life.
Soon, the great tortoise had completely deflated. It wrapped the tall, tall tower all the way around, and the little king was stranded way, way up on top. He looked down far below. It was a long, long way down, but there at the base of the tall tower stood his advisors on the grass looking up at him, scratching their heads and discussing among themselves what should be done. The little king called down to them, but they seemed not to hear. “What can I do?” wondered the little king. “It’s a dream”, said a soft voice from nowhere, “You can do as you wish, remember?” The little king was very amazed to hear a soft voice from nowhere way up on top of the tall, tall tower. Perhaps the voice was smart like his advisors far below who seemed not to hear him. So, the little king asked: “What’s the best way to get down?” But the voice from nowhere was silent. The little king was a little confused. He thought he might have heard a sigh, but it was high up where he was and it could have been just the wind blowing along the tortoise’s skin. The little king asked once again: “What’s the best way to get down?” This time the voice answered softly: “Use your common sense”.
Just then the little king saw one of his advisors below raise a megaphone. He heard his voice call out: “Stay where you are. We’ll get help.” The little king did not want to stay way up high where he was. The wind was getting stronger and his grip on the tip of the tall, tall tower seemed to be getting weaker. “What shall I do??” he cried. “Do the right thing”, the voice from nowhere replied and just then the little king felt his grip loosen and began to slip downward. He became VERY afraid, but suddenly he was awake. It was a dream, after all.
The days grew darker and the people slept on as well as they could. The war against nightmares continued, but the people’s enthusiasm had waned. There were fewer flags and decorations, many were limp and fading and beginning to look drab. The little king found excuses for putting off speeches and briefings. His advisors seemed to be talking among themselves more, falling silent when the little king entered the room. He tried to find some of the old royal magicians, but they seemed to have disappeared. He wanted to ask them about the darkening sky. The little king told some of his advisors to find some magicians who knew about the sky, but there were other matters that required his attention and his advisors were concerned about the upcoming reselection for king. The little king felt out of sorts. He tried to act like nothing was bothering him. He tried to tough it out. His advisors continued to talk quietly among themselves.
The elves were still leaving messages and planting kernels of doubt. There seemed to be more and more of them: elves, messages, and doubts. The sky also seemed to be getting darker and darker. No one, not the little king, nor his advisors, nor the magicians, not even the elves seemed to know how it would turn out. No one seemed to know how the story would end.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Where the buck don’t stop – The Bush Whitehouse and the culture of arrogance

How many times must the people of the United States have to endure another portion of cowboy rhetoric and belligerent posturing from the present occupants of the Whitehouse as they stubbornly seek to convince citizens that their regime didn’t drag the nation into another hopeless quagmire of death and destruction in a far off land. George W. Bush and his handlers must be tuned-in to a whole other reality. They’re still trying to convince voters that invading Iraq made the U.S., and the world in general, safer from terrorism, when in fact, just as so many people warned, it had the opposite effect.

Remember that poster of Osama that ran in the New York Times and appeared all over the place prior to the invasion? Pointing at the reader like old Uncle Sam, bin Laden says: “Go ahead. Send me a new generation of recruits. Your bombs will fuel their hatred of America and their desire for revenge. Americans won’t be safe anywhere. Please, attack Iraq. Distract yourself from fighting Al Qaeda. Divide the international community. Go ahead. Destabilize the region.” Well, there you go. That’s exactly what the Bush regime has done: they’ve dragged us down into the quicksand that has taken the lives of over 800 U.S. soldiers and maimed nearly 5,000, while reportedly killing close to 10,000 Iraqi civilians, all of it making the world less safe from terrorism..

Will the boy emperor ever own up to his team’s monstrous miscalculation? I guess first one has to ask if it even was a miscalculation; many believe the Bush regime actually wanted to increase the threats against the so-called homeland, better to keep U.S. citizens in line, a trick as old as government itself. But, owning up isn’t exactly the regime’s high card, is it? Note their utter failure to take any blame for allowing Al Qaeda to initiate their deadly plan on September 11, 2001. During a recent press performance, Bush avoided an apology to the American people or any possible admission of failure with such staggering effort we thought the man might meltdown. No such luck. And viewers and listeners in the U.S. got the same act, albeit more polished, when National Security Advisor, Condi Rice went before the 9/11 Commission pointing fingers of blame in every possible direction other than the Oval Office. Just as the bogus “growing threat” of Saddam was the party line for invading Iraq, a highly suspect no “imminent threat” from Al Qaeda is the line for not connecting the dots regarding 9/11.

The two issues, Iraq and 9/11, are of course interconnected both in their relation to terrorism (the invasion of Iraq leading to more horrifically potential 9/11 scenarios) and in their exploitation by the neo-cons as invented rationality for the invasion. But, the people don’t need a Project for a New American Century kick-off event like 9/11 to know there’s something rotten beneath the Beltway. All they have to do is turn on their TV or radio and listen to their hearts. That’s where the buck really stops.