Monday, July 31, 2006

In Memory of Primo Levi

Today is Monday, 31 July 2006.

One of those moments when life, memory, “whatever” … slaps one in the face.

I was consulting one of the several sources I use to note days in history …

On this date in 1919, Primo Levi was born.

(I have several hand-kept lists of dates, and I’ve often considered composing them into one Master Calendar, which I would enshrine on the walls of my study … but, thus far, I choose to rummage through my sources, hand-written, books (and O the Web!) each day by each day, so that, often, the anniversaries of the greatest moment sneak up on me, and can have, by surprise, something of the effect they once had upon me, years ago, when I first learned of a birth, a death, a battle, a discovery, and what each meant … I consider it a fact of the greatest importance that we each recall continuously that we live and move and have our being in the flow of time, of millions of lives, human etc., (I just saw one estimate that 7,000 generations of homo sapiens --- the jury is out on that characterization!) have lived since the brand was invented …)

If we all kept this fact constantly in our minds, had the proper reverence for life … The completion of the exercise is left for the student.

Primo Levi is remembered, I suppose, primarily, as an author of “Holocaust literature”. God, how I would burn all those brands at the stake. Because that’s all they are: “Holocaust literature”, “gay fiction”, “chick-lit”, “Dead White Males”, etc. Marketing considerations should not disfigure human life.

Everyone of us who writes, seriously, writes about the human condition. And, because we humans are part and parcel of the Universe, that also.

A few days ago, I finally acquired a biography of Levi, The Double Bond: Primo Levi: A Biography, by Carole Angier. Not had a chance to do more than sample, but looks excellent. There’s a coincidence for you.

Today I think that if for no other reason than an Auschwitz existed, no one in our age should speak of Providence”. Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwtiz

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Da Bomb for You Know Who You Are (Lady in Red)

Today remains 300 July 2006, 2.38 PM?CDT.

"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every moment of her life." Flannery O'Conner, A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955)

Da Bomb for Ms./Mrs. MoB

Today remains Sunday, 300 July 2006. Time is 2:32 PM CDT.

Your auteur and Ms./Mrs. MoB have been watching one of the great flicks: The Long, Hot Summer, with Orson Welles, Angela Lansbury, Joanne Woodward, and Paul Newman. If you haven’t seen it: run, don’t walk.

Once upon a time, we lived on the hill surveying the Staten Island Ferry, the St. George/Fort Hill/Etc. hood. When Paul Newman and Martin Sheen first came to NYC, they lived in the same hood, because it was cheap, which is why we lived there too, and incidentally it is scenic.

Da Bomb for SCW

Today remains 30 July, 2006, and it's now 2:15 PM CDT.

Again, from Our Town, by Thornton Wilder:


And they stay here while the earth part of 'em burns away, burns out; and all that time they slowly grow indifferent to what's goin' on in Grover's Corners.

They're waitin': They're waitin' for something that they feel is comin'. Something important, and great. Aren't they waitin' for the eternal part in them to come out clear?

Da Bomb For NT

Today remains Sunday, 30 July 2006, and the blog is rolling.

This one is for your author's friend, who is at the office today, NT, who is no "ordinary girl".

From The Skin of Our Teeth, by Thornton Wilder:


Mr. Antrobus, don't mind what I say. I'm just an ordinary girl, you know what I mean, I'm just an ordinary girl. But you're a bright man, you're a very bright man, and of course you invented the alphabet and the wheel, and, my God, a lot of things ... and if you've got any other plans, my God, don't let me upset them. Only every now and then I've got to go to the movies. I mean my nerves can't stand it. But if you have any ideas about improving this crazy old world, I'm really with you. I really am. Because it's ... it's ... Good night.

Da Bomb for DV

Today remains Sunday, 30 July 2006.

This one is for our friend, the Rev. Dr. DV, who shortly departs Tulsa, OK for Philadelphia, PA, in pursuit of an advanced degree.

When your author moved from T to NYC, some two decades ago, an adventure.

Your author moved to NYC to study at The New School for Social Research, and lived on 34th Street, just a couple of blocks down from Macy’s and the Empire State Building.

Your author arrived in NYC on Sunday, school started on Monday, and he took the subway down to the Village that morning, and had breakfast at Blimplie’s, across from the school.

He would do so all year, since it was a DEAL: 99 cents for two eggs, toast, French fries, and coffee. He always sat at Table 2, which was on the Sixth Avenue side, and every morning, during breakfast, a lady walked by with her dachshund, who invariably carried a large purple plastic bone in his mouth, so proudly.

He seemed to say, “I’m a New Yorker, I’ve got a damned big purple bone and you don’t, and my life is large.”

Godspeed to DV, and may her life be so large.

E. Waugh, Da Bomb at 8:38 AM CDT

Today is still Sunday, 30 July 2006, at 8:38 AM CDT.

From Brideshead Revisited, by E. Waugh, as cited by Ms./Mrs. MoB:

"These men must die to make a world for Hooper; they were the aborigines, vermin by right of law, to be shot off at leisure so that things might be safe for the travelling saleman, with his polygonal pince-nez, his fat wet hand-shake, his grinning dentures."

Yet Mo' Da Bomb: 7:39 AM CDT

Today is still Sunday, 30 July 2006, and Old Man River etc.

Your author is, for reasons which should be oblivious, inordinately fond of the works of Thornton Wilder, and esp. Our Town.


And my boy, Joel, who knew the stars --- he used to say it took millions of years for that speck of light to git to the earth. Don't seem like a body could believe it, but that what's he used to say -- millions of years."

Your author drives Mrs./Ms. MoB crazy, repeating this Wilder bit whenever we happen to be under the stars.

Guess it's time for moi to buy a new copy of 3 Plays by Thornton Wilder, since this one is falling to pieces.

Mo Da Bomb: 7:12 AM CDT

'Tis 7:12 AM, CDT, and still Sunday, 30 July 2006.

On this date in 1956, in an act of monumental hypocrisy, president Dwight Ike signs a joint resolution of Congress, establishing "In God we trust" as the National Motto of the USA/USE/USSA.

All others pay cash.

Mo' Bomb: 4:50AM CDT

Today is still Sunday, 30 July 2006.

4:50 AM, CDT.

Just heard on BBC about a fellow who walked for five hours in Congo to vote in presidential election, this day.

Breaks the heart that this citizen believes so much that it will matter.

This being the MoB, have to mention: the USA/USE/USSA supported/funded/enabled the Mobutu dictatorship in Congo which caused millions of deaths, all in the Great Cause of The Cold War.

Da Bomb

Today is Sunday, 31 July 2006.

On this day in 1945, the U.S.S. Indianapolis was sunk, having on 26 July 1945 delivered the active components to Tinian Island of the atomic bombs which would shortly be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of 1,199 sailors, only 317 would survive several days until rescued from shark-laden waters.

It’s 4:21 AM, CDT as the crow flies. Big news: 40+ civilians dead in bombing in Lebanon. A bomb, made-in-USA, delivered by Israeli Air Force. Soon Hezbollah, or someone, will return the favour, and Israelis will mourn.

Did I mention: MADE-IN-USA/USE/USSA?

I’m as guilty as you/they/them/etc. I/we/us pay our taxes and The Warlord Regime does with them/it/us/them what it will.

Rolling Blog Day is hereby declared.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Picking Berries in Alaska

Today is still Saturday, 28 July 2006.

Follows an e-mail to your author. Privacy yada yada. Tis so beautiful your author throws to the winds all journalistic considerations. Sue me.

It is the beginning of berry picking season in Alaska. Please be
forewarned that it is my single-minded intent to convince you that the
prosaic imaginations this opening statement might generate in the minds of
the innocent and suggestible persons of goodwill do not do full justice
to the actuality of the total experience.

The first wild berries to ripen are the salmonberries; so-named in
southwestern Alaska among the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta, a region
encompassing roughly the area of the combined states of Ohio, Indiana
and Illinois. To get some idea of the terrain, imagine the state of
Louisiana with the average height of vegetation at about ankle level,
devoid of trees, with occasional shrubs reaching perhaps to mid-calf, but I
mis-speak. Actually, the vegetation reaches mid-calf to mid-thigh soon
enough if you don't keep moving due to your rapidly sinking into the
spongy layer of waterlogged peat immediately below the surface vegetation
until your feet come to rest on the layer of ice that comprises the
foundation of the tundra.

Alaska is not particularly blessed with much diversity of insects due
to the apparent fact that the apex predator of Alaska probably hunted
them to extinction. This predator of which I speak is of course, the
piranha of the tundra, the Alaskan mosquito. In the same sense that
Darwin's Galapagos finches evolved from a single species to fill the various
available niches on the Galapagos Islands, the mosquito has evolved to
fill the available niches in Alaska. They range in size from being big
enough to stand flat-footed and fuck a turkey down to a species of a
size that can fly at speeds in excess of Mach 2 through mosquito netting
with their wings trimmed for optimal speed in a dive.

What they lack in discrimination, they make up for in numbers. I have
witnessed a cloud of moderately famished females drain the precious
bodily fluids from one unwary cheechako who never got so much as a hand
raised to slap them away and before his dried husk had fallen over, they
bodily lifted his friend and carried him off to snack on in their lair
at leisure, but I digress.

Salmonberries are a staple food of the tundra people and nothing brings
greater joy than the prospect of an extended camping trip to the tundra
to gather them. They are a traditional source of water soluble
vitamins and trace minerals. A five gallon harvest of salmonberries for a
household should be considered as a minimal survival level fo a year.
Salmonberries resemble boysenberries in forrm and size being somewhat
rounder like a blackberry. Their color resembles the color of canned pink
salmon, thereby the name. For another brief digression, there is
another wild berry found in more upland terrain in Alaska that is also
referred to as a salmonberry. Its habit, form and size is much like a wild
raspberry and in appearance and taste generally resembles overripe
yellow raspberries.

The salmonberry about which I sing, grows in low lying parts of the
tundra next to ponds, lakes or connecting sloughs. The gentle reader
should recall that water seeks its level, that the entire tundra is a
wetland and that as every plumber knows, water runs downhill. The biology
student will also remember that stagnant water is required for the
successful incubation of mosquito eggs and the development of mosquito
larvae. One might appropriately then consider the salmonberry patch to be a
vibrant stew of mosquito larvae and vegetation below patrolled by
legions of expectant adult mosquito mothers, mothers-in-waiting,
mothers-to-be, mothers-in-law and a host of mosquito motherfuckers above.

A few mosquitos does not intimidate the determined berry picker. We
laugh - ha, in contempt of the flying syringes because our evolved
cerebral cortex is more than equal to the challenge. Clothing is the answer.
However, it is not simply a layer of clothes that will do the trick.
No way Nanook! A mosquito can penetrate kevlar like a sharp knife
through warm butter. The answer is layers of clothing. Now if you are
thinking that if a mosquito can penetrate Kevlar, then what would a few
layers of clothing do, you would be right. However, body movement and
the different rates at which the various layers of clothing move causes
the sucking parts of the mosquito to flex and bend, making for a most
uncomfortable feeding experience and causing suckus interruptus.

There is no escaping Newton's third law however. On a calm day in late
July when the mosquitoes have entered the frenzy, the ambient
temperature will be in the mid to high seventies occasionally rising into the
low 80s. Recall that layering clothing is the same technique for
dressing warmly in extremely cold conditions due to the insulating properties
of trapped body heat in the air spaces contained by the layers of
clothes. This causes the body to perspire. Mosquitoes are attracted by
scent. The more perspiration, the more scent the more mosquitoes. It is
impossible to pick berries while wearing gloves. Clumsy netted head
gear similar to a beekeeper's apparel interferes with efficient
gathering. Did I forget to mention that salmonberries at the apex of ripeness
are somewhat less firm than a blackberry or boysenberry and their skins
are somewhat more tender. Salmonberries bruise easily and the
efficient gatherers hands become sticky with berry juice almost immediately.
The picking motion then consists of the following kinesthesiology:
while bending over at the waist to reach the ankle high plants and
gradually sinking into the tundra wearing the kind of rubber boots that a dairy
worker who mucks out cattle stalls wears, that do not breathe or
provide any arch support, pick a berry, put it in the berry bucket, slap
mosquitoes on exposed picking hand with bucket holding hand, slap bucket
holding hand with berry picking hand, wipe sweat off face with sleeve,
swat mosquito from face with berry picking and berry juice sticky hand,
repeat 563,782 times, give or take.

I forgot to mention, getting there is half the fun. One does not
simply pile into the car, buckets in hand and drive down to the local berry
patch, nor does one walk out the back porch into the idyllic Alaskan
meadow and share nature's bounty with the bears in peace, love and
harmony. The tundra is reachable by air if one has floats and more money
than sense. Otherwise, the tundra is only accessible by boat. So, the
gear is packed. Gear includes a wall tent, a mother-in-law, a favorite
aunt, your own children and spouse, a brother-in-law, assorted cousins,
nieces and nephews and perhaps a few of the family pets, food, sleeping
bags, assorted firearms, gill nets, a lantern, cook stove, a 55 gallon
drum of gasoline, a 30 gallon gas tank, a 12 gallon gas tank one or two
6 gallon gas tanks, boat motor oil, fishing poles, extra clothing,
berry buckets, pots and pans, flatware, cups, dishes, bait, ammunition and
other sundry necessities. The ideal size boat for a trip to the tundra
is a 16 foot skiff with a 25 HP outboard motor. If your boat is that
size, then the load may be reduced by the amount of the 55 gallon drum
of gasoline and 2.3 cousins or nephews.

Travel begins by leaving the village by way of the mighty Kuskokwim
River, which at this point of its flowage is approximately a mile wide
with a channels that are 30 feet deep and about 10 feet wide. The
remainder of the river width may vary from 6 inches to 24 inches deep
depending on location and the status of the tide. When the prevailing wind
reaches approximately 12 miles per hour, the waves on the river begin to
whitecap. Keep this arcane fact close at hand. After about a half hour
of travel at top speed in ideal river conditions with the current, one
comes to a slough off the main river that leads to the first lake of
approximately 15 that must be navigated before reaching the traditional
picking grounds (note that we will pass miles and miles of visible,
lush, ripe berry patches for which there is no legal, moral or ethical
restriction against stopping and picking). The name of the premier lake of
the series is named "Piss Me Off" lake. It is well named. It is over
a mile in length and its depth is such that it has a channel carved by
the .0321 mph current that is one inch deeper than the remainder of the
lake bed. The channel is over 8 inches wide at its widest point. The
channel is unmarked by anything other than custom. To reach the
channel upon entering the lake, one must pilot the boat at maximum speed in
order to keep it up on plane and keep the propellor just beneath the
surface of the water through 2 unmarked switchbacks that pass between
underwater reefs and come out of the last switchback with the boat in the
center of the channel and then stay in the channel until reaching the
slough connecting Piss Me Off Lake with the first beaver lodge lake a
mile and a half distant. In the event that the propeller touches the mud
bottom of the lake, the boat will descend from plane and the lake will
be too shallow to get the boat back up on step. In fact, the lake will
be too shallow for the propeller to idle the boat across the lake. The
recourse? Please understand that turning around and going home is not
an option at this juncture without risking eternal opprobrium against
the family for seven generation. It's a good thing we remembered to
pack the oars. Understand that we are not going to row. Nope, its time
to recall the Wonderful World of Disney, Davey Crockett and Mike Fink.
We pole our way across the lake.

After passing many lakes and connecting sloughs, all of which look
exactly the same having each the same number of beaver lodges marking the
entrance to the lake, we at last arrive some 4-6 hours later at our
destination where we pitch camp in eager anticipation of the picking.

Waltzing to War, or, 3/4 Becomes 4/4

Today is Friday, 28 July 2006.

Depending upon one’s perspective, on this date in history:

 1914 - The Great War, AKA World War One/I, begins, as the Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war upon Serbia

 1914 - The economic multiplier effect of modern war kicks in, producing, eventually and perhaps or not coincidentally, in association with World War Two/II, the consumerist heaven/hell in which we live and move and have our being

 1914 – The endless misery of modern industrial war, which will in time grind into dust and blood millions, debuts
 1794 - Maximilien Robespierre, leader of Jacobins in the French Revolution, assassinated (b. 1758)

 1887 – Marcel Duchamp, painter and Dadaist, born (d. 1968)

1914 - The Modern Age begins

And everyone who talks about "post-Modern" hasn't awakened and smelled the napalm.

Is Hezbollah committing war atrocities? Of course.

Is Israel committing war atrocities? Of course.

Is the USA/USE/USSA committing war atrocities? Of course.

Is al-Qaeda committing war atrocities? Of course.

The nature of war is atrocity.

From The Pogues, "Waltzing Matilda": [See comments: "rtr" corrects "hh": of course, The Pogues covered "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", but Eric Bogle composed it; what was your author not thinking?]:


When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said son
Its time to stop rambling cause theres work to be
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played waltzing matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the
We sailed off to Gallipoli.

How well I remember that terrible day
when the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called suvla bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He showered us with bullets, he rained us with
And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to australia
But the band played waltzing matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
And we buried ours and the turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

Now those who were living did their best to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for seven long weeks I kept myself alive
while the corpses around me piled higher
Then a big turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, christ I wished I was
Never knew there were worse things than dying
and no more Ill go waltzing matilda
to the green bushes so far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded and
And they shipped us back home to australia
the legless, the armless, the blind and insane
Those proud wounded heroes of suvla
And as our ship pulled into circular quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played waltzing matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
turned all their faces away

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving the or their dreams of past glory
I see the old men, all twisted and torn
The forgotten heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask me, what are they
Marching for?
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays waltzing matilda
And the old men still answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all.


The fruits of World War One: 9 million combatant deaths; 13 million civilian deaths; let’s say 1.5% of all human beings then living, dead as doornails, or, perhaps I should say, coffin nails.

Here at the Museum of the Bourgeois, we, the no one at all, march steadily along, to the beat of a different drummer, and shall forever.

Have a nice day.


Beatrix Potter

Today is Friday, 28 July 2006.

It is the birthday in 1866 of Beatrix Potter, who brought to our notice Peter Rabbit, etc. (d. 1943).

The Museum of the Bourgeois congratulates her namesake, Beatrix, Princess of Puddle-Ducks, daughter of Bonnie, Princess of Seafood City, and Richard, Prince of Seafood City, on the occasion.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

On Mythological Thinking

Today is Thursday, 27 July 2006.

Andrea Yates of Texas, charged with the murder of three of her children, was yesterday found not guilty by reason of insanity at her second trial. The jury is to be commended.

It was obvious from the evidence presented at both trials that she had been afflicted for years with the disease of mental illness, and had been poorly-served by both her husband and the state mental health system. She killed her children under the delusion she was thereby saving them from Satan and eternal damnation.

Many persons in this country and around the world don’t really believe in mental illness as a medical phenomenon. For example, many believe that insanity is caused by demonic possession and, since demons cannot possess people against their will, it is the fault of the insane, who out of moral depravity invited the demons in. How can people believe something so irrational?

The sad truth is that many people live mythologically in a scientific and technological world. By this I mean that they enjoy the fruits of science and technology, while grounding their thinking in myths rather than the scientific method.

For example, those who dismiss evolution as “just a theory”, and argue that other “theories”, such as creationism, should be taught in the public schools alongside evolution. They obviously don’t comprehend what a theory is in science.

Scientific method begins by assembling facts about a phenomenon, fashioning a hypothesis which seems to account for those facts, and then devising means to test the hypothesis. If the hypothesis passes the tests, it becomes a theory, or a rational explanation of the given phenomenon. The myth of Creationism, for example, fails because there is no way to test it; one is expected simply to believe it because one is commanded to do so.

What’s annoying is that many people who embrace irrational and anti-scientific mythologies can’t lay their hands on enough of the fruits of science. It is only common decency to expect that anyone who rejects scientific thinking would also refrain from the use of electricity, internal combustion engines, antibiotics, and so on. They should be proud to return to living in caves and dining on grubs and rats.

This same sort frequently thinks they’re making a logical argument when they say, “It just stands to reason”. Well, it if does, one must be able to present reasoning and reasons. What they are really saying is, “It’s just my irrational opinion or prejudice, foisted on me by aberrant socialization, and if you don’t bow down to it and me, I’ll knock your block off”.

This all becomes dangerous when mythological or magical thinking is introduced into public life as a norm or law. It then becomes acceptable, indeed virtuous, to burn witches at stakes, exterminate Jews, and treat the mentally ill as criminals instead of helpless victims of disease.

Is it any wonder that so many people are enslaved by irrational thinking? Throughout history, most people have never been exposed to education in logic and rational thinking. Is it not because ruling elites reserve that for themselves, knowing that the masses may be more easily controlled and exploited if they can’t think straight?

On this day in history:

1908 – Joseph Mitchell born (d. 1996); one of America’s greatest journalists, and a staff writer of The New Yorker from 1938 to his death; a collection of his work, Up in the Old Hotel and Other Stories (Vintage), belongs on every literate human’s shelves

1953 – a cease-fire suspends the “Korean War”; no peace treaty has ever been signed, and hostilities have never been legally concluded

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Middle East: 2

Today is Wednesday, 26 July 2006.

A central component of the “Middle East Crisis” is the fact that major elements of each of the three great Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) consider that “the Holy Land” belongs to them alone.

Judaism believes the land was given directly to them by the deity. Christianity believes it completed and superseded Judaism, and so inherited the claim to the land. Islam believes it completed and superseded both Judaism and Christianity, and therefore inherited the claim to the land. In a very real sense, the war for the Holy Land has continued since the time of Abraham, roughly 1800 BCE.

Given the inherent unprovability of any of these competing claims, it is unsurprising that they have been settled, and unsettled, by violence.

(One should not fall into the trap of imagining that the ambition of some Christians to dominate the Holy Land ended with the collapse of the Crusader Empire. George Warlord Bush claims that the USA/USE/USSA is a “Christian” nation, and his regime is attempting to impose the “fruits” of Yanqui-style “freedom” and “democracy” on the entire Middle East. This drive for global “Christian” hegemony is particularly clear in Dominionist theology, which is very open in claiming the right and duty of “Christians” to exercise a “dominion” over the whole of Creation which is indistinguishable from dictatorship.)

Further compounding the situation is that major social artifact of Christianity, anti-Semitism, which started with the slur-myth of “Christ-killers”, and later added racialist and financial components. It is tragic that, of all the things which Islam could have adopted from Christianity, anti-Semitism was one. However, we can never be surprised when totalizing ideologies demonize competing brands.

(In this dimension, Judaism is far more sinned against than sinning. Judaism does not evangelize, and therefore does not have the same motive to denigrate competing brands as do totalizing ideologies such as Christianity and Islam which do actively seek converts.)

So long as these three competitors maintain their claims, and maintain that the deity has given them exclusive right to enforce their claims by violence, I do not see how the war for the Holy Land will end. Perhaps this would be a fitting time and place for divine intervention.

To be continued.

On this day:

1947 – Truman signs National Security Act, establishing the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Council

1948 – Truman signs executive order desegregating armed forces

Hugo George Chavez Bush

Today is Tuesday, 25 July 2006.

I had intended to continue on the subject of the Middle East, but …

From BBC:

We see here a model social state like the one we are beginning to create," Mr Chavez [That would be Hugo Chavez, caudillo of Venezuela] said in Belarus' capital Minsk, before his talks with Mr Lukashenko. [That would be Alexander Lukashenko, faux-KBG dictator of Belarus.]

"Here, I've got a new friend and together we'll form a team, a go-ahead team," Mr Chavez said.

"We do not want to be deceived or exploited by anyone. We must defend the interests of the individual and not the hegemonic interests of the capitalists, wherever they may be, in Europe or Latin America," he said.”

Hugo, Hugo, Hugo.

First time Hugo tried to establish a dictatorship over the long-suffering people of Venezuela, he was a militarist gunman stylin' as a Peronist neo-fascist caudillo, and bombed at the box office. Then Hugo got religion, as it were, and became a populist friend of the people, as it were.

Hugo pretends to be a “revolutionary socialist”. Comrades, he’s Pinochet, not Allende. Expropriating the old elite to line the pockets of a new elite, while tossing scraps to the peasants, ain’t The Revolution.

Today, Hugo arrives in the Russian Federation, to suck up to ex-KGB dictator V. Putin, and squander $1 billion dollars of the poverty-stricken Venezuelan people’s money on what they desperately need most … helicopters and fighter jets.

See Hugo bash Bush. See Bush bash Hugo.

Two peas in a pod, only one of these Peronists is more powerful and dangerous than the other.

A plague on both you.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Middle East: 1

Today is Monday, 24 July 2006.

Somewhere I read recently that ‘Islam is an inherently imperial religion.’ The author seemed to be alluding to the extension of Islam’s early influence by the sword, but I think the point should be more nuanced and the net more widely spread.

Most religions are, by nature and necessity, totalizing ideologies. (By an ideology I mean a system of thought which purports to be the only true description and explanation of “the nature of things”.)

If a religion asserts that it has, uniquely, received the revelation from deity of the nature of things, then it usually believes it is charged by deity with the responsibility to make that revelation known to and accepted by all. The question is whether this responsibility shall be discharged through persuasion, coercion, or both.

“It’s for your own good.”

The historical fact is that adherents of Islam, like adherents of Judaism and Christianity (and many other religions as well), have employed both persuasion and coercion. There is, of course, no single monolithic “Islamic norm of thinking” on this subject, any more than there is a Jewish or Christian norm on this subject.

Violence has been an element in Islamic history, and in Jewish and Christian history as well. There are “Islams”, as there are “Judaisms” and “Christianities”. It is invalid to tar all Muslims with the brush of the violence of some, just as it is invalid to do the same with all Jews and all Christians.

The situation becomes even more complex when nation-states are added to the mix. A “State” may be defined as the entity which has a monopoly of legitimate coercion (violence) within a specific geographic area.

One must reject such categories as an “Islamic State”, a “Jewish State”, a “Christian State”, etc. The proper terminology is “Iran is a nation-state controlled by adherents of a particular brand of Islam”, “the USA/USE/USSA is a nation-state controlled by adherents of a particular brand of Christianity”, etc.

When adherents of one brand of one religion control the machinery of a particular State, we are not surprised when violence is employed to advance the interests of both State and religion. (One might on this point profitably compare, say, the (Christian) Roman emperor Constantine the Great (or GWB) with Mohammed.) It is impossible to functionally disentangle the motivations of a particular act of violence in these cases.

Continues tomorrow.

It's easy for me to say; no one lobbing munitions at me (yet).

The Museum of the Bourgeois memorializes all the dead and suffering:

Not one of us is an island, complete in ourselves. Every last one of us is part of the whole: like it or not, admit it or not, act upon the fact or not. You are harmed --- I am harmed. I am harmed --- you are harmed. Simple as that, like it or not.--- your author, after John Donne

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Tapas

Today is Sunday, 23 July 2006.

Since 2002, the NASA mission statement was “… to understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers …”

In February, that was changed: “… to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”

I don’t think I’m being overly-suspicious in seeing the fine hand of the White House here. Why drop protection of our home planet, if not to discourage research and action to counteract global warming?

The San Francisco Chronicle yesterday reported that Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R, MN), formerly a sure bet for support of the pacification of Iraq, had visited same, and said the situation there is far worse “than we’d been led to believe”. He now advocates the immediate commencement of American troop withdrawals.

Better late than never, perhaps, but best earlier than later. It will take Gil quite a while to wash the blood, caused by his ethical obtuseness, off his hands.

Congress finally passed and sent to the White House a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act. This occurred over the opposition of some Southern Republicans who claim the states of the Old Confederacy are being unfairly singled out.

Given their record (including widespread disenfranchisement of African-American voters in the 2000 presidential election in … golly yes, Florida), this claim is absurd. There are, however, ample grounds to warrant spending a decent fraction of the $1 trillion that the “democratization” of Afghanistan and Iraq are projected to cost on democratizing elections in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Once Upon a Distant War: Young War Correspondents and the Early Vietnam Battles, by William Prochnau (Times Books, 1995). (Vintage paperback under the title: Once Upon a Distant War: David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett--Young War Correspondents and Their Early Vietnam Battles.)

Vietnam is a graveyard of lost hopes, destroyed vanity, glib promises, and good intentions.” --- “The lead sentence filed by Time magazine correspondent Charles Mohr for an August 9, 1963 cover story. The sentence was not published.”

If their newspapers and magazines would have had the courage to publish the truths they saw, and the American people the decency to stop the war ... An excellent antidote to the 82nd “Fighting Keyboardists” Division of the right-wing, who claim liberal media back-stabbers are losing the conquest of Iraq. [RATING: 5 bullets]

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Variables Ate My Homework

Today is Saturday, 22 July 2006.

Thanks to for noting the following in the 2005 Department of Defense budget appropriation law:

"The President shall provide to the Congress a report detailing the estimated costs over the period from fiscal year 2006 to 2011 of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, or any related military operations in and around Iraq and Afghanistan, and the estimated costs of reconstruction, internal security, and related economic support to Iraq and Afghanistan… the report referenced above shall be submitted no later than January 1, 2005.” [Italics and bolding added, as also below.]

So where’s the report? In May 2005, then OMB director Joshua Bolton provided the following excuse: “there are too many variables to predict accurately.”

The variables ate my homework.

King George’s team knows they’re lying. As has been previously noted in these columns, a Nobelist and economist, using standard analytic methodology accepted world-wide, has demonstrated that the probable cost to the American taxpayer of the attempted conquests of Afghanistan and Iraq will total at least $1 trillion.

Because wars don’t cost just bullets and people, they cost wasted productivity, future medical costs, replacement of munitions and tanks, reconstruction costs, interest on the money borrowed to finance all of the above, etc.

King George knows from experience: if he conceals from and lies to the American people, most of them will blissfully close their eyes and ears and keep on guzzling gas and supersizing their meals (while downsizing their life expectancies). So long as they and theirs aren’t dying, so long as the bill is deported into the future, they’ll let George War destroy as many countries, slaughter as many hundreds of thousands of lives, as it takes for him to pursue his imperial fantasies.

King George may be breaking every law he can get his hands on, but many Americans are damning their souls for a mess of pottage.

As so often before, a plurality of Americans have achieved the kind of gangster chieftain their squalid crime family deserves.

Friday, July 21, 2006

In Memory of Karol L. Hujsak

Today is Friday, 21 July 2006.

The Museum of the Bourgeois memorializes the birth on this date in 1915 of the late Karol L. Hujsak, father-in-law of the Executive Director.

Karol was a great admirer of Thoreau, and worthy compatriot of him.

“A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance…” Thoreau [Civil Disobedience]

Monday, July 17, 2006

In Memory of Don M. Sutton

Today is Monday, 17 July 2006.

It is with great sorrow the Museum of the Bourgeois memorializes the passing yesterday of Don M. Sutton, long-time neighbor, friend, and esteemed member of the community.

The Executive Director and his wife extend our deepest sympathy to Don’s family and friends.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day of Trinity

Today is Sunday, 16 July 2006.

Should have given a "heads-up" yesterday. For all you out there up now, it's almost the 61st anniversary of the conception of the Atomic Age, as we quaintly once called it, before we knew enough to be afraid of nuclear ... oops ... nu-KU-lur war.

Yes friends, at 5:29:45 Central War Time in the year of Whomsoever It May Concern, on this day in 1945, "The Gadget", as they called it, proved E does = mc squared.

Here at MoB, we're doing a real-time countdown. And we'll publish at the exact moment, then come back at ya.



Well, here we are in the Atomic Age, once again.

Science Fact: the light from the Trinity Test erupted, of course, out into Space, the Final Frontier [I'm guessing: NOT!], and bounced off the surface of the Moon.

Yes, that Good Vibration is still bouncing back and forth from Earth to Moon, from Earth to all the Cosmos.

Am I talking Conservation of Energy here, folks? Lead me. The Big Flash of Trinity Test is the Big How-Do-Ya-Do we're sending out, as our message that we are civilized and can destroy like gods, to the entire Cosmos.

5:44 AM/CDT, seems like Old Times, Central War Time
Bread and Roses

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Rolling Blog Day

Today is Saturday, 15 July 2006.

Rolling Blog Day.

I suppose this is where I need a laptop, so I could access free Hi-Fi around town in hip cyber cafes, etc. As it is, I will update whenever we're at the Old Homestead, the Compound, Shangri-La, etc.

First up, word up: Put your hands together for B-Day Big 400 of Rembrandt van Rijn.

[Stormy applause in the hall.]

First reader to identify source of that last sentence wins a T-shirt custom-made by your author. HINT: If you've ever read transcripts of speeches by a certain world leader of a previous era, you'll recognize it.

5:38 AM/CDT

1995 - First sale on; this must have some significance in the Greater Scheme of Things

6:01 AM/CDT

“Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice.”

“In Memory of W.B. Yeats”, W.H. Auden (1939)

That quiet voice of history that sits on your author’s shoulder says this may be a good day for a rolling blog … because we can flash-cut from RvR to:

1099 – Terrorist gangster forces of the First Crusade, led by the odious Godfrey of Bouillon, conquer Jerusalem and massacre all the Jews and Muslims they can get their hands on, which is very many

The MoB has a litmus test for “religious” warriors: Into whose pocket do they put their spoils? If that of a deity, then they are sincere. Into their own, not sincere.

Since your author knows of no deity maintaining a bank account, IRA, mutual fund, etc.(THE LORD DBA (doing business as) “Rev. Billy Joe Bunco” doesn’t count), one must assume all “religious warriors” are insincere, at least as to the extent of dividing the proceeds.

WORD: If youse guys want to massacre for your own profit, or the profit of your narrow community, have the decency and good taste to stand up and say so: Greed R Us. Just don’t drag deities into the mix; they have their own problems enough.

6:27 AM/CDT

Sponsored Results
Nuclear Bombs
Whatever you're looking for you can get it on eBay.

You think I'm kidding? Look it up yourself. Just found this by accident, and couldn't resist posting. I'm not going there.

6:31 AM/CDT

While you're waiting for UPS to bring that eBay jewel, join your author in his breakfast today.

On one salt or onion or garlic toasted bagel, slather cream cheese, then add a layer of home-made shrimp salad, and top with a slice of tomato and a slice of sweet Bermuda onion.

Here at MoB, we make our drip coffee with espresso roast beans, the perfect way to wash it all down.

6:52 AM/CDT

(Jeff Buckley / Gary Lucas)

"There's the moon asking to stay
Long enough for the clouds to fly me away
Well it's my time coming, i'm not afraid to die
My fading voice sings of love,
But she cries to the clicking of time
Of time

Wait in the fire... "

The great singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley, lost so senselessly in 1997 at such an early age. Your author knew him in The Big Apple. Talent without pretension.

7:25 AM/CDT

The concept has several names.

To ruling elites in the USA/USE/USSA, and the USSR/RF (Russian Federation), it is known as “credible nuclear deterrent” and the felicitously named “mutually assured destruction” (MAD).

To ruling elites in Israel, it is known as “The Samson Option.”

I’m sure other nuclear weapons powers have equally quaint terminology.

I must hand it to the Israelis for this: their term looks nuclear genocide straight in the face.

“The Samson Option.”

Pulling the temple down upon oneself and everyone.

We all die together.

1:30 PM/CDT


Damn; that was that last time I posted.

Life becomes so complex.

We're back at Melody Ranch, and watching Armageddon.

We try to watch movies on cable in RealTime, sort of a throwback to Saturday Night At the Movies in, say 1967.

Six billion on earth.

Let's say 1% are really in a good situation.

The math is left to the student.

8:38 PM/CDT

Friday, July 14, 2006

"MR. SNOW: I can't -- look, I don't have a crystal ball. We'll just have to see what happens."


Bastille Day Bonus.

In response to appeals by Lebanon’s prime minister that George Warlord Bush call for a ceasefire in the attacks by Israel against Lebanon, White House spokesflack Tony Snow said, “The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel.”

Given: The current estimated USA/USE/USSA population is 299,217,933, as of 2:09 PM CDT on 14 July 2006.

Given: The current estimated military aid given to Israel by the USA/USE/USSA is $2.25 billion, as of 2:09 PM CDT on 14 July 2006.

Given: For every person in the USA/USE/USSA, $7.52 worth of military decisions are currently being made for Israel by George Warlord Bush.

Let's get one thing straight: We who are the USA/USE/USSA are making decisions for everybody, just by making them, not making them, just by BEING --- let's take some positive responsibility, on this Day of the Citizen, of all days.

Happy Quatorze Juillet!

Today is 14 July 2006, or Quatorze Juillet.

On this day in 1789, citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille prison and freed seven prisoners, the proximate cause of the French Revolution.

Many disparage the French Revolution as a misguided (if not wicked) carnival of blood, the unjustified rebellion of the ignorant and unwashed masses against their wise and judicious betters. These many, however, almost always embrace shedding blood for their own causes, so blood carnivals are for them not a matter of principle, but only a question of whose ends justify a common means.

Only the most reactionary, however, could decry the value of one of the most fundamental documents of the French Revolution, La Déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen, or The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

[For the full text in English, see this.]

By any standards, a milestone in the continuing struggle for human rights, peace, and justice.

The Museum of the Bourgeois and its Executive Director wish you and yours "Happy Quatorze Juillet!"

Don’t forget to epater les bourgeois.

1798 – Sedition Act becomes law, making it “a criminal offense to utter or publish any false, scandalous, and malicious writings against the federal government with intent to defame it, or bring it into contempt or disrepute or to excite hatred of people or stir up sedition against it” (Black’s Law Dictionary)

1912 - Woody Guthrie born in Okemah, Oklahoma (d. 1967)

1958 – In Iraq, a military faction led by Abdul Karim Qassim overthrows the British-imposed monarchy; Qassim becomes Prime Minister and Defense Minister; the regime is overthrown by the Ba’ath Party in 1963

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"The President is always right."

Today is 13 July 2006.

On 11 July, Steven G. Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The following transcript is of questioning by Senator Patrick Leahy (D, Vt.).

LEAHY: The president has said very specifically, and he’s said it to our European allies, he’s waiting for the Supreme Court decision to tell him whether or not he was supposed to close Guantanamo or not. After, he said it upheld his position on Guantanamo, and in fact it said neither. Where did he get that impression? The President’s not a lawyer, you are, the Justice Department advised him. Did you give him such a cockamamie idea or what?

BRADBURY: Well, I try not to give anybody cockamamie ideas.

LEAHY: Well, where’d he get the idea?

BRADBURY: The Hamdan decision, senator, does implicitly recognize we’re in a war, that the President’s war powers were triggered by the attacks on the country, and that law of war paradigm applies. That’s what the whole case —

LEAHY: I don’t think the President was talking about the nuances of the law of war paradigm, he was saying this was going to tell him that he could keep Guantanamo open or not, after it said he could.

BRADBURY: Well, it’s not —

LEAHY: Was the President right or was he wrong?

BRABURY: It’s under the law of war –

LEAHY: Was the President right or was he wrong?

BRADBURY: The President is always right.

Had Mr. Bradbury at long last some sense of decency, he would immediately depart to a society more perfectly enslaved to his way of thinking, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Third Reich being currently unavailable.

If Iraq, currently martyred by civil war, is what results when George Warlord Bush is right as always, then heaven help us if he is ever wrong.

On this day in history:

1934 – Wole Soyinka born; great Nigerian writer, first African Nobelist, and life-long activist for peace and justice

1973 – Congressional testimony by White House staffer Alexander Butterfield reveals existence of tapes of Richard Nixon’s presidential conversations; Nixon’s doom would be sealed the following year when a conversation was made public in which he schemed to use the CIA to falsely claim to the FBI that the Watergate break-in was a matter of national security

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

In Memory of Henry David Thoreau

Today is Wednesday, 12 July 2006.

Today is the 189th anniversary of the birth of Henry David Thoreau in 1817.

Thoreau is of course best-known for his intense interest in and concern for the environment.

Thoreau was also an opponent of the 1846-1848 imperialist war known in the USA/United States Empire/United and Subject States as “The Mexican War” and in Mexico as “La Guerra de Intervención Norteamericana” (“The War of North American Intervention”). The result was the theft of Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

This is also the day of the year when sunrise and sunset occur exactly along the east-west line of the street grid of Manhattan. I first discovered this for myself in a way Thoreau would have appreciated: devoting close attention to my environment.
During the time my family and I lived in New York City, in the ‘80s and ‘90s, one of the favorite spots of your author and his wife was The Café at Grand Central Terminal. It was located on the west balcony of the Main Concourse (the Vanderbilt Avenue side). (It has since been replaced by a Michael Jordan Steak House, the McDonald’s of steaks.)

Run by the owner of The River Café, it had a small rectangular bar and several dozen tables. Its menu was small but delicious. Above the cavernous Main Concourse, the ceiling is painted with a view of the night sky as it was several thousand years ago, complete with fanciful representations of the constellations.

The first summer we started going there, I noticed that the sunlight streaming through the two-story windows on the west side nearly lined up with the identical windows on the east side, and that, day by day, the coincidence became closer. Finally, on 12 July, the sunlight from the west windows streamed across the Concourse and exited the building precisely through the east windows, not a drop touching the wall surrounding the windows.

As you, dear readers, might expect, I cannot mark this day without noting the difference between Henry David Thoreau and George Warlord Bush, Dick Warlord Cheney, etc. in their respective values regarding the environment and imperialist conquest.

I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.” [Civil Disobedience]

How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.” [Ibid.]

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” [Walden, Conclusions]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Euro-racism Problem

Today is Tuesday, 11 July 2006.

In NationalReviewOnline, John Derbyshire writes:

“… The U.S.A. was born with two race problems: the African Americans and the Native Americans. We struggle with those problems still, and must continue to struggle. Would it be wise to import a new one? Mass immigration from (say) Indonesia or (say) Bangladesh would add a huge visibly identifiable minority to our nation. Given our past experience with huge visibly identifiable minorities, is that smart? Note that this question is simply one of prudence, and is independent of any opinions you might have about race. (Unless you think that the U.S. currently does not have a race problem, in which case you should ignore this paragraph. If you believe the U.S. does currently have a race problem to any extent, then I am inviting you to honestly ask yourself the question: Would it be smart to add another one? Note also that this applies to Central American immigration. A high proportion of immigrants from Central America are of aboriginal descent in whole or part…” [Italics added; thanks to for spotting this item.]

[For full citation, see this.]

Yes, the problem was and is those pesky African Americans and Native Americans. Everything would be just fine if greedy Africans hadn’t hijacked European ships and forced their way into North America. Everything would be just fine if those savage Native Americans had stayed in Siberia.

There is no "race problem" in the USA/United States Empire/United and Subject States: there is a Euro-racism problem, and the likes of Mr. Derbyshire are its exemplars.

“A high proportion of immigrants from Central America are of aboriginal descent in whole or part. “

“Aboriginal” is a racist term which has no meaning apart from the purely racist content. It labels a population of non-Europeans who are therefore, by definition, inferior, so do by all means feel free to conquer, rape, pillage, and mass murder them.

Wake up and smell the napalm, John: your ancestors, just like mine and everyone’s, were once “aboriginals” cowering and grunting in caves. I suspect your mind is still cowering in an unlit cave somewhere in the Third Reich.

How fitting that I write this column today: it’s the anniversary in 1935 of the death of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Captain Dreyfus was railroaded on a charge of treason by anti-Semitic elements in the French Army high command and government in 1894, and exonerated in 1899.

Monday, July 10, 2006

In Memory of Comrade Frank P. Zeidler

Today is Monday, 10 July 2006.

It is with profound sadness that the Museum of the Bourgeois records the passing of Comrade Frank P. Zeidler, Chairman Emeritus of the Socialist Party USA, and mayor of Milwaukee from 1948 to 1960.

Comrade Zeidler was born in Milwaukee in 1912, and lived there almost his whole life. At the age of 21, after studying various political ideologies, he chose to become a Socialist. In addition to his tenure as mayor, he was a teacher and labor activist.

The accomplishments of Comrade Zeidler’s three terms included establishing the first public television station in Wisconsin, construction of the Milwaukee Arena and nine fire stations, doubling the size of the Central Library and creating branch libraries, rebuilding the city’s infrastructure, and replacing horse-drawn garbage carts with trucks.

Comrade Zeidler’s administration was responsible for building 3,000 units of low-income and veterans housing. He said, “If it is the philosophy of any that the forces of government should not be used to overcome these conditions, which private enterprise did not overcome, that philosophy borders on the immoral.”

Comrade Zeidler was a life-long supporter of civil and human rights.

In an interview, Comrade Zeidler said, "I particularly picked socialism because of several things in its philosophy. One was the brotherhood of people all over the world. Another was its struggle for peace. Another was the equal distribution of economic goods. Another was the idea of cooperation. A fifth was the idea of democratic planning in order to achieve your goals. Those were pretty good ideas."

The Museum of the Bourgeois and your author extend their deepest sympathy to Comrade Zeidler’s wife and children. In the light of his life, and comrades like him, we continue the struggle for justice and peace.

On 10 July in history:

138 BCE – Roman emperor Hadrian dies (b. 76); a magnificent novel by Marguerite Yourcenar (pseudonym of Marguerite Cleenewerck de Crayencour) is The Memoirs of Hadrian

1806 – British painter George Stubbs dies (b. 1706)

1851 - Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre dies (b. 1787); invented Daguerreotype photographic process

1871 – French novelist Marcel Proust born (d. 1922)

1888 – Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico born (d. 1978)

1925 – Trial of John Scopes for teaching evolution begins in Tennessee

1941 – Ragtime composer and performer Jelly Roll Morton dies (b. 1890)

1947 – Singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie born

1985 – Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior blown up in New Zealand by French DGSE agents; one murdered

1989 – Mel Blanc, voice of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, etc. dies (b. 1908)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Connecticut Yankee in King George's Court

Today is Sunday, 9 July 2006.

"I know George Bush. I've worked against George Bush. I've even run against George Bush. But Ned, I'm not George Bush," said Joseph Lieberman recently to primary challenger Ned Lamont, in a not very clever rip-off of Lloyd Bentsen’s devastating putdown of Dan Quayle in 1984. No one is accusing you of being George Bush, Joe, just of doing his dirty work.

Some of Lieberman’s partisans say he’s been judged by an unfair litmus test on the Iraq War, such as con-servatives impose on judicial nominees regarding abortion.

The reason for this latter litmus test is that most con-servatives believe abortion is murder, murder is unconstitutional, and therefore anyone pro-choice is unfit to serve in the judiciary. Whether one agrees that abortion is murder, the argument is logical, given that premise.

The argument against Lieberman is that the War is illegal under the Constitution (since it has not been declared by Congress) and illegal under the Charter of the United Nations (which sanctions war in self-defense, but not war because another nation might attack one at some possible future time), and support for such a war in an offense of such gravity as to make one an unfit candidate for United States Senate.

To “refute” this argument by labeling it a “Republican-style litmus test” is a slur, not a response to the argument.

I must agree on the two counts of illegality. I further judge that it is a war which is harming the security of the people of Iraq, the peoples of the region, the entire world, and the USA/USE/USSA. I further judge that no probable outcome of this war can justify the harm it is causing.

By supporting this criminal war, Joseph Lieberman has shown judgment unfit for the United States Senate.

In supporting King George's War, Joseph Lieberman has neglected the counsel of the prophet Samuel, who warned what kings would be like: "He will take your sons to be soldiers and serfs, and your daughters to be cooks and servants. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of all you produce and give it to his servants. He will take the best of all you have, and you will be his slaves. In that day you will cry out because of the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you". (I Samuel 8:11-18)

If Joseph Lieberman wishes to adopt the values and actions of a George Warlord Bush Republican, let him join that party and run for its nomination.

By his support for this murderous, illegal war, Joseph Lieberman has left the Democratic Party. It should bid him farewell and good riddance without remorse.

On this day in history:

1440 – Flemish painter Jan van Eyck dies (born ca. 1385)

1789 – National Assembly of France re-forms itself as National Constituent Assembly and prepares to write a constitution

1868 – 14th Amendment ratified; all born in the U.S. or naturalized are citizens, whose rights cannot be abridged without due process of law

1932 – Donald Rumsfeld born; failed Secretary of War (1975-77, 2001- )

1951 – American writer Dashiell Hammet imprisoned for refusal to testify before House Un-American activities Committee

2002 – African Union established

2005 – Giant Panda Tai Shan born at National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Gods That Failed

Today is Saturday, 8 July 2006.

“President Bush has decided to permit extensive U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia for the first time, administration officials said yesterday, reversing decades of bipartisan policy in a move that would be worth billions of dollars to Moscow but could provoke an uproar in Congress. … A nuclear cooperation agreement would clear the way for Russia to import and store thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel from U.S.-supplied reactors around the world, a lucrative business so far blocked by Washington. … Bush has an interest in taking the agreement all the way as well. His new Global Nuclear Energy Partnership envisions promoting civilian nuclear power around the world and eventually finding a way to reprocess spent fuel without the danger of leaving behind material that could be used for bombs. Until such technology is developed, Bush needs someplace to store the spent fuel from overseas, and Russia is the only volunteer.” (Peter Baker, Washington Post, 8 July 2006)

The Russian Federation is ruled by a clique of former-KGB gangsters headed by Vladimir Putin. The autocrats of the Russian Federation have a dismal record, to say the least, in providing security for radioactive materials and safeguarding the environment.

Why is the Bush-Cheney regime recklessly choosing to endanger world security and the environment by pouring gasoline on a fire scene?

This latest move is of one piece with the delusional thinking epitomized by the failing conquest of Iraq. It appears the Bush-Cheney regime really believes it has a free hand to forcibly re-create the world in its own degraded and warped image.

Should not the creatures of this regime have long since learned that they are not gods?


On this day in history:

1680 – First confirmed death of a European from a tornado (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

1695 - Christiaan Huygens dies (b. 1629), Dutch mathematician, physicist, and astronomer; invented pendulum clock

1822 - Percy Bysshe Shelley drowns in Italy (b. 1792)

1885 – Ernst Bloch born (d. 1977), German Marxist philosopher and theologian

1932 – Dow Jones Industrial Average, hits 41.22, lowest point during the Great Depression (DJIA closed yesterday at 11,090.67, down 134.63)

1943 - French Resistance leader Jean Moulin dies after Gestapo torture (b.1899)

2002 - Ward W. Kimball dies (b. 1914), Academy Award winning Disney Studios animator; created The Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, and Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Modest Proposal

Today is Friday, 7 July 2006.

I once speculated that a war fought on American soil might cure the American people of waging imperial wars against others. I now think that would probably not be the case.

Instead, I have a modest proposal for a Constitutional amendment. It would relieve Congress of the power of declaring war, and put it in the hands of American citizens. The president would propose a war, and all citizens 18 years and older would be required to vote “yes” or “no”. The ballot would not be secret.

Each vote would be publicly recorded, and, if the vote were favorable, all those who had voted “yes” would thereupon and summarily become members of the armed forces for the duration, and subject to military law.

The required number would be trained for combat and dispatched abroad; the remainder would be occupied in support roles. Those not needed for direct support would remain in their previous occupations, but would be paid at the rate of a sergeant with 10 years service; their regular income would be drafted into the treasury to defray the costs of the war. Naturally, they could not quit their jobs, change residence, etc. without permission of their commanding officers. Infractions would be treated as desertion, punishable by life imprisonment or death.

Of course, such an amendment has no chance of success, since the majority of the people of the USA/USE/USSA are too cowardly and obsessed with material gain to take up full responsibility for their actions. They much prefer that fighting be done by marginalized groups, while they enjoy the spoils.


On this day in history:

1846 – U.S. Army begins conquest of California

1898 – McKinley formally annexes Hawaii

1937 – Japanese army begins conquest of China

1957 – Althea Gibson (1927-2003) becomes the first Black to win the single’s championship at Wimbledon; the previous year she had become the first Black champion in doubles; she had broken the racist barrier in tennis in 1950

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Nicholas burns, Under Secretary of State, describing Bush60 regime policy on North Korea:

"I assure you we can walk and chew gum at the same time".

[CNN, 6:36am CDT]

I feel butter already.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

WIth Apologies to Mutt and Jeff

Today is Wednesday, 5 July 2006.

Kim Jong-Il and George W. Bush: Now ain’t they as fine a pair of bookends as one could want.

Both are beholden to Daddy for their positions. Both are given to bluster, temper tantrums, abusing subordinates, and generally throwing their weight around. Both control nuclear weapons (though Bush thinks he has “nukular” weapons). Both delude themselves they are World Historical figures who bestride this narrow world like colossi.

Unfortunately, Bush commands enough nuclear/nukular weapons to destroy the world.

Kim and Bush resemble a well-tuned comedy team, such as Mutt and Jeff, Laurel and Hardy, or Martin and Lewis. Kim pretends he has state-of-the-art missiles posing a mortal threat to the USA/USE/USSA, Bush pretends to believe him, attempts to frighten the American public and threatens retaliation, and then Kim frightens his people with Bush’s bluster.

The best intelligence publicly available suggests that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been working on the Taep'o-dong 2 (TD-2) ballistic missile since 1987. If this is the case, the fact that both test firings seem to have failed miserably does not indicate a high threat level, to say the least.

(The TD-2 reminds your author of the PGM-19 Jupiter, an intermediate-range ballistic missile deployed by the USAF in the late ‘50s in Italy and Turkey (which incidentally was a main component in the Soviet decision to deploy equivalents in Cuba). One USAF official said of the Jupiter: “It’s guaranteed to hit Moscow, if it doesn’t blow up on the launch pad”.)

Most likely, this whole Independence Day flap has been a propaganda exercise on both sides. Certainly, Warlord W Bush is lusting after anything which can divert public attention from his abject failures in the conquest of Iraq.

But their fingers still caress their triggers, and, for some, happiness is a warm gun.

[Playful note to “Anonymous/Name Withheld”: DPRK can also stand for “Devolutionally Perverted Rathole of the Kims”. See, HH can lampoon the names of nations other than the USA/USE/USSA!]


Coming Attractions:

What or whom is a “rogue nation”?

What or whom is “an axis of evil”?

Professions of Politics and War (response to RtR)

Presidential Picks (response to Q of Clayton)

The Museum of the Bourgeois is a full-service entity. We aim to please. If you wish the blogmaster to bloviate on a particular topic, COME ON DOWN!


On this day in history:

1889 – Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau, poet, born (d. 1963); one "…to whom every great line of poetry was a sunrise, every sunset the foundation of the Heavenly City..." – Edith Wharton

1935 – National Labor Relations Act signed into law by FDR

1937 – Debut of Spam (the luncheon meat)

1962 – Algeria wrests independence from France

1975 – Arthur Ashe becomes first Black male’s singles champion at Wimbledon

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th July 2006

Today is Tuesday, 4 July 2006.

Your author’s thanks to “anonymous/name withheld” for the comment of 2 July which provides a launching pad for today’s column.

“HH would show some class if he would discontinue the practice of referring to the USA as the United States Empire/United and Subject States. There are other countries for which he shows disdain; however, I do not recall him referring to them by other than their proper names. I submit that HH should show a modicum of respect by referring to the USA as The United States of America. He chooses to use HH as his name; that is his choice, as it is my choice to sign my comments anonymously. Choosing to call the USA by, what HH apparently believes is, an inflammatory, contorted name is also his choice and his right under the 1st Amendment. However, referring to a county with its proper name would give a little more credibility to HH's words. "Naming calling" reduces the impact of his words.“

Here at the Museum of the Bourgeois, we try to practice “truth in advertising”, as it were, and so refer to The United States of America as “the United States Empire/United and Subject States”, or USE/USSA for short.

Today, the MoB adopts the usage, “USA/USE/USSA”.

USE/USSA “contorted”? Who’s to say? There are no standards. Isn’t “The United States of America” contorted compared to “George’s”?

“Inflammatory”? In the eye of the beholder. Crying “Fire!” in a crowded fire isn’t inflammatory, but “just the facts, ma’am”.

It’s not “name calling” to call the sky blue, or water wet, if in fact the sky is blue and water is wet.

“Empire”? The USA/USE/USSA was created by genocidal conquest of sovereign nations (Native American nations, First Nations).

The task or project of an empire is to base a large segment of its prosperity on stealing from other nations. “Naturally”, these ill-gotten gains are inequitably distributed. As an empire, the chief accomplishment of the USA/USE/USSE as compared to other empires is that more of “the little people” participate in sharing the spoils of empire. While "good" for “the little people”, it is not in any degree an ethical justification for theft, genocide, dictatorship, and exploitation.

“Subject States”? The USA/USE/USSA conquered Iraq, foisted former S. Hussein death-squad commander Ayad Allawi on it as Prime Minister, and so tightly controls the government that Warlord W. Bush recently visited, and the supposed top Iraqi government executive didn’t know George had sneaked into the country without authorization until minutes before the meet. (Talk about “broken borders”!) Counts as “subject” in my book, and international law.

So it’s not “name calling”, but truth telling.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

(And even if it were name calling (which would be something like “weenie” and not political terminology), it wouldn’t affect the validity of the reasoning. But that’s a course in logic for another day.)

As to showing “class”.

First, telling the truth is “class”, in the sense intended.

Second, as to “class” in the socioeconomic sense, HH is a member of the intelligentsia, and proudly a “rootless cosmopolitan”, as Stalin would say.

Water is wet,
Sky is blue,
US is an Empire,
Happy Fourth to you!

On this day in history:

1845 – Henry David Thoreau takes up residence at Walden Pond

Monday, July 03, 2006

In Memory of Iran Air Flight 655

Today is Monday, 3 July 2006.

As has been previously noted in this space, it was the policy of the Reagan-Bush regime to support, financially and militarily, the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’athist Party in its war of conquest against Iran (1981-1988). This war was a criminal war of aggression under international law, specifically as codified by the Nuremberg Trials.

Two key elements of this support were Operation Earnest Will (July 1987-December 1988), the Navy’s escorting of oil tankers carrying oil of nations (especially Kuwait) also supporting Iraq, and Operation Prime Chance (August 1987-December 1988), a largely-clandestine effort to prevent Iranian efforts to attack American-flagged tankers carrying oil in support of the Iraqi war effort. The latter also involved covert American military aggression against Iranian military assets.

On 3 July 1988, the U.S.S. Vincennes, an Aegis-equipped Ticonderoga Class cruiser, shot down Iran Air Flight 655, murdering all 290 aboard, including 66 children. (Aegis is an integrated surface-to-air weapons system, designed to neutralize airborne threats.) At the time, the Reagan-Bush regime claimed the Vincennes was in international waters, and had fired because radar showed the Iranian civilian airliner was turning toward the Vincennes, as if in attack mode.

It was soon known the Iranian civilian airliner was in an authorized civilian flight path, on a scheduled flight, and was turning away from the Vincennes; Admiral William J. Crowe later admitted the Vincennes was illegally in Iranian waters. On 6 November 2003, the International Court of Justice held that the Navy's actions in the Gulf had been unlawful.

The killings have been variously attributed to the aggressiveness of the captain of the Vincennes and to the generally aggressive character of Operation Prime Chance.

There can be no doubt where the ultimate blame resides: in the decision of the Reagan-Bush regime to conspire with Iraq in a criminal war of aggression.

A month after the murders, Vice President George H.W. Bush declared, "I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don't care what it has done. I don't care what the facts are.”

(It is evident that George W. Bush has inherited his father’s keen moral sense and values.)

Yes, war is a messy business, and you can’t make omelets without breaking eggs. In euphemism, it’s called “collateral damage”. The latter means that one has chosen to attack a target, regardless of the knowledge that one may also destroy noncombatants. In ethics, the Law of Unintended Consequences applies: once one acts, one is responsible for all consequences, intended or not. Period. End of story.

Collateral damage, as a doctrine, is remarkably elastic, since it pretends one is responsible only for the outcomes one intended. One could thus reasonably argue, under this doctrine, that the intended consequence of 9/ll was harm to the United States as a country, and that the deaths of “enemy noncombatants” were collateral damage.

I find such an argument absurd and repugnant, but then, I find the equivalent arguments of Warlord W. Bush, etc. equally absurd and repugnant. For most folks, ethics is reduced to merely a matter of whose ox is being gored.

On this day in history:

1863 – Pickett’s Charge fails to break the US Army lines at Gettysburg, the battle ends, and the Army of Northern Virginia soon withdraws south, ending the most serious threat of invasion

1883 - Novelist Franz Kafka born (died 1924)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"Independence" Day

Today is Sunday, 2 July 2006. Of the Independence of the United States Empire/United and Subject States, the 230th year.

Your author suspects that a survey of the USE/USSA citizenry would reveal that most don’t realize or recall that the Thirteen Colonies, assembled in the Continental Congress, declared independence from the British Crown on this date in 1776, by adoption of a resolution proposed by Col. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.

"Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

“July 4th” and the Declaration of Independence were the spin, the icing on the cake. It was the 2 July vote that created the rebellion and made the delegates to the Congress eligible for hanging for treason.

(“Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732–June 19, 1794) was the sixth President of the United States in Congress assembled under the Articles of Confederation, holding office from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785.” (Wikipedia) This position, somewhat analogous to Speaker of the House, was as close to an executive as the Articles provided.)

2 July 2006 is one of those interesting dates with an unusually diverse range of significant anniversaries:

1778 – Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau dies (born 1742)

1839 – Slaves aboard the Spanish vessel Amistad revolt off Cuba and commandeer ship; apprehended by the U.S. Coast Guard off Long Island, they sue, claiming their enslavement was illegal; Supreme Court (where appeal was argued by former President John Quincy Adams) agrees in 1841

1863 – Second day of the Battle of Gettysburg; repeated Confederate attacks fail to break the U.S. lines, setting the stage for the disastrous failure of Pickett’s Charge the next day, and Lee’s retreat south

1877 – Novelist and Nobelist Hermann Hesse born (died 1962)

1899 – Vladimir Nabokov, great Russian novelist, born; (died 1977)

1908 – Thurgood Marshall born; argued Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court (died 1993)

1925 – Medgar Evers born; Mississippi civil rights activist; assassinated 1963

1925 – Patrice Lumumba born; first prime minister of Congo; assassinated by Mobutu and CIA in 1961

1947 – Alien space craft purportedly crashes near Roswell, New Mexico; government allegedly conceals wreckage and corpses

1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Civil Rights Act of 1964; with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, provided the deathblow to legal segregation

The Amistad case is particularly of note in our time.

The creatures of Warlord W. Bush argued before the Supreme Court that the President is, not Commander-in-Chief, his Constitutional office, but Warlord-in-Chief, with unlimited powers when he pretends the nation is at war. They therefore argued that he had the power to unilaterally institute, by Executive fiat and whim, unConstitutional military tribunals to try such persons as he chose.

Contrast this with Amistad, when a former president argued in favor of the Constitution.

It is significant that the three InJustices who voted to confirm Warlord Bush in his attempted overthrow of the Constitution are three who pretend most loudly to strictly construe the Constitution. (The Treasonous Three are Alito, Scalia, and Thomas. Roberts would have joined them, save he had, as an appellate judge, ruled for Warlord Bush, and was thus disqualified.)

What a contrast between John Quincy Adams and the Genghis Khan of Crawford!


As your author has noted, he treasures the words and life of Hermann Hesse greatly, so much as to chose his initials as his nomme d’ blog.

Coming Attractions

Today is Saturday, 1 July 2006.

On this date in 1858, Charles Darwin publicly presented for the first time his views on natural selection and evolution, at the Linnean Society in London.

On this date in 1916, the British Army began the Battle of the Somme in France, an attempt to break the German trench lines; the battle would last five months and result in negligible gains. Some 20,000 British troops died the first day, the highest single-day casualty toll in the history of the British army. In all, over 300,000 British and German soldiers would die.

On this date in 1925, the revered French composer and pianist Erik Satie died; born 17 May 1866.

On 1 July 1,000,002,006 A.D./C.E., your Museum of the Bourgeois executive director will post a special report: Human Evolution -- The Last Billion Years. It will explore which of the above roads humanity chose to take: Somme or Satie.