Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Death in Cairo, Part 2

Today continues to be Wednesday, 30 August 2006.

Because of recent movements, the Library of the Museum of the Bourgeois is somewhat out of order.

Which gives me the excuse, for a moment, from approaching the shelf, on which sits the works of Mahfouz, and saying:

"Are you orphans now, now that your father has died? I’m sorry for bringing you this news in such a stark way, but you are his words, and he never shrank from looking pitiless facts in the face, and so I must honour him and you by doing the same, even though it hurts you."

Let’s just sit down by the waters, and weep, and I will try to comfort you by recalling Auden on the death of Yeats: “He became his admirers.”

A Death in Cairo

Today is Wednesday, 30 August 2006.

It is with great sorrow and profound shock that the Museum of the Bourgeois has received news of the death of one of the greatest writers ever, Naguib Mahfouz.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Sound of Thunder

Today is still Tuesday, 29 August 2006.

On this date in 2005, Hurricane Katrina whacked the Gulf Coast.

A few days later, Duh Bush flew over, in Air Force One, one sweet pimped ride, on his way home from vacation, looked out the window: “Bushie, you’re doing a hellavuh job”.

Free form from The Third Man:


George Bush (as “Himself”), HH (As “Anguished Helpless Observer”), Orson Welles (as “Harry Lime”), and Joseph Cotton (as “Holly”) are in the cab of a Ferris Wheel in Vienna, ca. 1946, temporarily stopped at the apex. The camera looks down at the ground.


Harry Lime: Look down there. Those little specks on the ground are people. What would it really matter, if one of those specks stopped moving.

George Bush: Heh heh.

Harry Lime: The Swiss had 300 years of peace, and what did they produce? The coocoo clock. Goodbye Holly.

George Bush: Heh heh.

A Good Idea

Today is Tuesday, 29 August 2006.

The MoB is back in black.

Ingrid Bergman died on this date in 1982.

Lee Marvin died on this date in 1987.

On this date in 1931, Gandhi arrived in London for the Second Round Table Conference in London.

He was asked, “Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilization?”

His reply, and all together now:

“I think it would be
A good idea.”

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Extra! Read All About It!

Today is Thursday, 23 August 2006.

Yes, dear friends, for the first time in its history, The Museum of the Bourgeois is going ex cathedra.

In a loud, resounding, firm voice, We Declare: Pluto remains a planet.

Take that!, you foolish voting majority of the International Astronomical Union, who shortly ago demoted and decertified Pluto.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

In Solidarity With the Transport and General Workers' Union (UK), the Museum of the Bourgeois Demands: "Save Our Sauce"!

Today remains Wednesday, 23 August 2006.

The MoB thanks “Wondering”, who commented:

“Why does it challenge the mind that the author of the The Martian Chronicles was a Reaganite? Educate me here, because I have not read The Martian Chronicles. Is it a vehicle for political commentary? And, educate me here, too, on indications that Mr. Bradbury "became" a Reaganite or what difference his political bent had on anything or anyone.”

Well, friend “Wondering”, thank you for educating me (I.e. making me think more deeply about my statements.) I’ve not read The Martian Chronicles for … well, as Carl Sagan would say, “Billyuns and Billyuns of years”. I’d take it down from the shelf right now and re-read it, so I can make an answer worth your inquiry, but … alas, your author once had a fine sci fi paperback collection, but, back in the G. Ford Era, he loaned it to a friend, who your author didn’t realize was slipping into paranoid schizophrenia, and, after the friend got on meds and became sorta OK, he couldn’t remember what happened to the books. And TMC is one of the volumes your author hasn’t got around to replacing.

But, tonight I’ll go to the bookstore and get a copy, re-read it, and return your comment.

Short comment off the top of my pointy head: my recollection of TMC is of deep humaneness, which I don’t associate with Reagan.

And the chapter where the folks on Mars, looking back at Earth, see the bright flashes of a nuclear war. (I’m 54 now, was 10 during the “Cuban Missile Crisis”, so apprehension of nuclear war is something always floating around in my brain.)

And my source for RB becoming a Reaganite is a review of a recent biog of him.



Those corporate fascists at Heinz are closing the HP Sauce factory at Birmingham, UK, and moving production abroad.

In this world of pain, it’s of no big moment, by comparison, that HP, the Sauce of Choice for Anglophiles, will now be made “abroad”, but for the 120 employees now canned … well, damn straight we’ll be serving another catsup than the 57 in the MoB Staff Cafeteria.

And, by the way, “Damn British Imperio-Fascism”, but, for those of us who adore anchovy-tinged products, made by unionized workers: HP RULES!

Or, as the John Cusack character says in Grosse Pointe Blank (a MoB Top Ten Movie): “You can’t go home again, but at least you can shop there”.

Life Is:

Today is Wednesday, 23 August 2006.

On this day in 1966, the American spacecraft, Lunar Orbiter One, took the first photograph of Earth taken from a lunar orbit.

Just learned Ray Bradbury turned 86 yesterday.

One of those things that really … challenges the mind. How could the author of The Martian Chronicles end up becoming a Reaganite?

Doesn’t diminish the permanent glory of his writing, but … what the *&$%^$#%^^& were you thinking, or not thinking, Ray?

Is that why The Who sang, “Hope I die before I get old”?

Of course, chrono-age has no correlation to anything but itself. Many go off the beam at a tender age. Associating any particular mind-frame with an age is chrono-chauvanism.

Maybe that’s why one of the most popular posters I pasted up in NYC (based on how many were carefully scraped off and stolen) was: “Life’s an intolerant straight white male neoconservative, and then you die”.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Today is Sunday, 22 August 3006.

Our friend\Da D
B da Bomb.

Da D know why.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

They Say It's Your Birthday!

Today is Monday, 21 August 2006.

Happy Birthday to SC!!!

Also, the day in 1972 when your author was con-victed of draft resistance.

And Damn Harry S Truman Too

Today is still Sunday, 20 August 2006.

Right U R, RtR.

Truman got us/US/USA/USE/USSA originally into the Indochina quagmire.

I didn’t mention that because: A) didn’t want to be a pedantic historian boor (guess it’s a tad late for that, huh), and B) Ike was the fool, along with J.F. Dulles (all together now: Dull, Duller, Dulles!) who put us on the fatal path of creating the Diem dictatorship.


Today is Sunday, 20 August 2006.

For those of us of a certain age and political bent, the life of Lyndon Baines Johnson is a tragedy, in every classical dimension, in a way which the life of Richard M. Nixon is not.

LBJ, stuck in agony to the flypaper of Dwight Eisenhower’s Vietnam War …

When LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, he remarked to his press secretary, “I’ve just put the Republican Party in power in the South within your lifetime”.

Young’uns wouldn’t necessarily get that. Yes, the Solid South was once white-supremacist Democratic, not white-supremacist Republican.

So thanks to Prof. Alan Brinkley, for bringing to my attention, in a review in The New York Times today of a book on LBJ, the following quote:

“Let no one delude himself his work is done … While the races may stand side by side, whites stand on history’s mountain and blacks stand in history’s hollow. We must overcome unequal history before we overcome unequal opportunity.”

Full Disclosure: In 1964, at the tender age of twelve, your author was already politico simpatico, and suggested to his parents that a proper family outing would be the inauguration of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in Oklahoma. He shook the hand of Lyndon Baines Johnson.


On this date in 1968:

The armies of the Warsaw Pact (the USSR equivalent of NATO, and equally wicked), invaded Czechosolvakia, destroying the Prague Spring of "socialism with a human face". As if there were any other kind.


Free Association Zone: By the by: if you don't own Neil Young's classic R & R album, After the Gold Rush, run, don't walk.

And, While W'e're at it: Damn George Pataki Also!

Today is Saturday, 19 August 2006.

One had meant the theme of the day to be, “Damn Tony Boar/Blair! Damn George Patacki also!”

Events have a way of way-laying reality.

My Fair Lady.

Showed up on a cable channel last night, I told Mrs. MoB, it’s a sign, we must dance all night.

Well, it’s a great flick, took a snooze, and let's get down and back to damning George Pataki.

In New York state, the highest court is styled “The Court of Appeals”.

Not quite known as a venue of diversity.

George Pataki has declined to re-nominate to the Court the Hon. George Bundy Smith,
Who just happens to be a … gasp … well, the Gov. wants to tap dance around this … shall We just say … thanks to the Gov., the Court will look like January Sale Day at the White-Wash Store.

Judge Smith had the temerity to write the judicial opinion, in 2004, striking down the blood-thirsty (vote-thirsty George? Running for President) New York death penalty law.

“Due Process” may be in the Constitution, but it ain’t G P’s middle name.

Don’t know the fellow Pataki nominated (Justice Eugene F. Piggot, Jr. – Buffalo). SO, I’ll not run the cheap shots (PIG-out, we been buffaloed, shuffle off this mortal coil to Buffalo), ‘cause here at the MoB, we always go for the High Road and the money shot.

But, Mr. Piggot obviously has no scruples, since otherwise he would not be a part of Pataki’s plot to Aryanize the New York High Court.

Well, let the circle be unbroken: Back to My Fair Lady, and G P is neither.

Sit back, relax, and imagine your author’s not-unpleasing bass-baritone singing:

“I have often walked, down this street before, But the pavement, always stayed
Beneath my feet before, All at once am I, several stories high, Knowing I’m .. on the street ... where you live …”

Sorry, my bad.. In 1964, that was Broadway. In 2006, sounds like stalking.

WORD --- word up: The Museum of the Bourgeois is ubiquitous.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Damn Tony Blair

Today is Friday, 18 August 2006.

Thanks to for pointing out this story by Matt Weaver in the (UK) Guardian:

“Breastfeeding mothers are being separated from their babies for several days in the government's drive to deport failed asylum seekers, Guardian Unlimited can reveal today.

Immigration officials have been accused of flouting several UN conventions by detaining mothers away from pre-weaned infants in at least two cases this spring.”

The only positive aspect of the separated-at-birth, joined-at-the-hip, special relationship, hands-across-the-Big-Pond Bush/Blair duo: bash one, one bashes both.

Cold comfort.

Reminds one of the good old days of the Reagan/Thatcher odd couple.

Your author didn’t trust Blair from the get-go: New Labour smelled of Old Tory.

There is a certain subset of British politicians who just can’t get over the days when a quarter of the world map was colored pink. Of course, since the Suez Canal debacle of 1956, when Harold MacMillan was cut down to size (“Over to you”) by Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower, British prime ministers have had to face the harsh reality: the UK can play a significant role in geopolitics only by furiously paddling its canoe in the wake of its steroidal former colony.

Bless Harold Wilson (Real Labour PM, 1964-1970, 1974-1976), who wouldn’t play that game.

Damn Tiny Tony, who will, with a vengeance.

"Iraq? Why not?"

The gratuitous, cruel, petty nature of the violence of separating nursing children from their mothers … that’s the style of never-GI George to a T.

From the above story, it might seem that littler Tony is learning a thing or two from little George.

In reality, of course, I doubt Tony needed to model himself on Big Brother.

Most likely: Little Tony, like WarGeorge, long ago extinguished the last embers of humaneness in his shriveled, avaricious soul.

Full Disclosure: On the maternal side, your author is descended from countless generations of sturdy English yeopersons.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

In Memory of Karol L. Hujsak

Today is Thursday, 17 August 2006.

On this date in 2005, Karol L. Hujsak died. He was your author’s father-in-law.

Karol was a person of intense goodness and kindness, faithful to his family and principles. He is deeply missed.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Modern Electrics, or An Amazing Story

Today is Wednesday, 16 August 2006.

Hugo Gernsback was born on this day in 1884 (died, 19 August 1967).

In 1909, Gernsback founded Modern Electrics, the first magazine about electronics. In 1926, he created Amazing Stories, the first science fiction magazine. He was an inventor and a pioneer in amateur radio.

Your author despises literary snobbery/snottery.

“Oh, that’s just chick-lit. Oh, that’s just gay-lit. Oh, that’s just science fiction. Oh, that’s just Knee-grow fiction. Oh, that’s just [whatever one wishes to disparage here].”

Every piece of writing stands or falls on its own.

What resonates in my brain is not even an echo in your brain.


My good, your bad? My bad, your good?

Given the circumstances of his times, ‘tis no wonder that Shakespeare sucked up big time to the Tudors. You want to get your works on the stage in such Stalinist circumstances, you pay the piper.

Go to your local library, and check out, or better, buy at your local independent bookstore (give the author his due, pay your dues): find an anthology by J. G. Ballard which includes the classic short story, The Voices of Time.

Then tell me science fiction can’t be poetry.

All these labels for types of literature are artifacts of the industrial process, mere brand-marketing tools.

Read every piece of writing on its own merits, on its own terms, in context.

Just don't ever read any piece of writing under the bigoted shadow of brand-marketing.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Inner Life of a Microbe

Today is Tuesday, 15 August 2006.

One of the traditional con-servative criticisms made of socialists, Marxists, anarchists (in the proper political sense, not the “smear” sense) is that they share a mistaken belief in human perfectibility.

Con-servatives generally hold to some version of Original Sin, the belief that there is, deep within human beings, a fatal flaw which inevitably propels them toward evil, and that this impulse must be restrained by self-discipline, violence, or whatever it takes.

So, what are we to make of George Warlord Bush’s great Crusade for Freedom and Democracy? (Particularly given that GWB initially claimed the Crusade had Accomplished the Mission in Iraq after not even three months of struggle.) Was he just hosing us? Or is he simply delusional, living in a mental bunker where the light is always shining at the end of the tunnel, the corner has just been turned, and Freedom and Democracy will shortly dominate the world?

During the Cold War, a “branch” of political science was known as “Kremlinology”. The following from Wikipedia gives a good sense of it:

“Kremlinology is the study of Soviet politics and policies based on efforts to understand the inner workings of an extremely opaque central government, named after the Kremlin, the seat of the Soviet government. Kremlinologist refers to media, academic and commentary experts that specialized in the study of Kremlinology. Sovietology/Sovietologist describes specialists of the country more broadly.”

“During the Cold War, lack of reliable information about the country forced Western analysts to "read between the lines" and to use the tiniest tidbits, such as the removal of portraits, the rearranging of chairs, positions at the reviewing stand for May Day parades, and other indirect signs to try to understand what was happening in internal Soviet politics.”

I have long argued for the need for a complementary “discipline”, which I have named, for lack of a snappier term, “Blancology”: ‘…the study of American politics and policies based on efforts to understand the inner workings of an extremely opaque central government…’

In the case of the Soviet government, the opacity was caused by a paucity of information. In the case of the White House, the opacity results from the torrent of (often contradictory) pronunciamentos of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Snowjob, et al.

Americans like to imagine they understand the inner workings of their Executive Branch. But, without the accident of the White House Tapes, would we ever have known that Richard Nixon was a foul-mouthed racist who enjoyed trading anti-Semitic slurs with Billy Graham?

Likewise, how can one know if Bush really believes the smug follies he spouts in public? Is he a cynical opportunist who will say anything? Is he a true believer who lives in a world whose dimensions are circumscribed by the short-circuit of fanaticism?

I fear not even Blancology can tell us.

The inner workings of the American government are as mysterious as those of the former Soviet government, or the inner life of a microbe.

In Memory of Bertolt Brecht

Today is Monday, 14 August 2006.

On this date in 1956, the great German playwright Bertolt Brecht died, at the age of only 58.

Brecht has been a major influence on your author, as on all of modern theatre.

One of your author’s plays, Galileo in Washington, concerns Brecht’s appearance before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in 1948. I’ll return to this subject in a few weeks. Significant renovation is currently occurring in the kitchen and dining room here at the Museum of the Bourgeois, and I want to do justice to Brecht.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

In Memory: Gilgamesh, RD, All of You and Me

Today is Sunday, 13 August 2006.

Elias Canneti died, this date 1994.

Thanks to him, I really got, for the first time, The Epic of Gilgamesh.

It’s a good thing.

The following is from the 1970 verse narrative version, by Herbert Mason:

Enkidu, the friend of Gilgamesh, is dying.

“Everything had life to me, Gilgamesh heard his friend Enkidu murmur,
The sky, the storm, earth, water, wandering,
The moon and its three children, salt, even my hand
Had life.
Enkidu looked at his friend, Gilgamesh, and said,
“You will be left alone, unable to understand
In a world where nothing lives anymore
As you thought it did.

Enkidu drew closer to his friend’s face.
“My pain is that my eyes and ears
No longer see and hear the same
As yours do. Your eyes have changed.
You are crying.
You never cried before,
It’s not like you.

Why am I to die,
You to wander on alone?
Is that the way it is with friends?

Gilgamesh sat hushed as his friend’s eyes stilled.
In his silence he reached out
To touch the friend whom he had lost.”

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Taliban Republicans

Today is Saturday, 12 August 2006.

Whenever I read the columnist Cal Thomas, I am reminded of a Herblock cartoon of Richard Nixon, arriving at a campaign rally via sewer.

Cal’s latest flush (11 August) is titled, “Lieberman defeated by ‘Taliban” Democrats”.

“But they have now morphed into Taliban Democrats because they are willing to “kill” one of their own, if he does not conform to the narrow and rigid agenda of the party’s kook fringe.”

It’s obvious that Ned Lamont defeated Joementum Lieberman largely because of the latter’s blinkered support for the Bush regime’s conquest of Iraq. Given that the latest polls show that ca. 60% of Americans support the Lamont position, precisely what percentage of Americans, less 60%, are not the “kook fringe”, according to Cal?

Of course, war-lover Cal, a charter member of the 82nd Chairborne Fighting Keyboardists, is hunkered-down in his D.C.-area command post, hardly to be bothered with joining the troops in Iraq. Not a surprise for one who flacked for the Moral Majority.

Cal lives in Orwell’s “memory hole”. The Taliban are, of course, the creation of the CIA as directed by the Republican Ronald Reagan, as an instrument to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. So what if the Taliban, and that other grateful recipient of Reagan-dispensed American taxpayer largesse, Osama bin Laden, got a tad out of hand?

It’s obviously the fault of the Democratic Party.

Get real, Cal: the proper term is “Taliban Republicans”.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Today is Friday, 11 August 2006.

On this day in 1984, President Ronald Reagan, during a radio broadcast voice check, uttered in jest the immortal words, “My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes".

Now that is knee-slappin’ funny: nuclear genocide begins in five minutes.

Yesterday, Little Georgie Warlord denounced “Islamic fascists”.

During The Sixties, when dissidents denounced Nixon and Agnew as “fascists”, we were condemned by con-servatives, and sternly lectured. “Fascism was a political movement peculiar to a particular time and place: Germany and Italy from the Twenties to the Forties. To throw the word around with abandon now is inaccurate and irresponsible”.

Now, “Islamo-fascism” is the common currency/all the Rage on the Right.

Ain’t that a caution. What’s sauce for the goose isn’t sauce for the gander.

As part of an on-going dialogue, on 9 August “John McKenna” posted the following comment.

“Agreed, that war is a tragedy for all concerned. My thoughts are that it would take some major Divine intervention for any side (no matter what war you name) to really see the folly of their ways. We humans have small minds and think in small ways. Yes, even war is small when compared to all of creation. My view is that war is a tool by which the Supreme Being is testing/enlightening us. Obviously, we are not too far along in the learning process.

Unfortunately, rape and child molestation are products of the Supreme Being's gift of "free will." This does not infer that the Supreme Being made an error in giving us free will. Likewise, this does not condone the acts nor does it mean that we should ignore them nor try to prevent them.

Yes, you are right, it is better that we wring our hands rather than wring each other's necks. That would indicate that we have begun on the long path to conquering the multitude of elements that cause war.”

I reject the “Deity is testing” concept. Merely a reflection of industrial society: testing the product to determine the limit at which it fails. Surely, if I can conceive of better, less damaging, methods of enlightenment, any Supreme Being worth their salt should be far ahead of me. Sentient beings should not be treated as if they were VCRs in a Henry Ford hell.

“Even war is small when compared to all of creation”. War is death. I prefer to stand with Talmudic tradition: ‘Save one, it is as if you’ve saved the whole world. Kill one, it is as if you’ve killed the whole world’. To me, the point here is that every person is an entire world, and, if we extinguish a person …

As to “free will” and the “problem of evil” (if you’ve not figured it out by now, one of your author’s scholarly especialites is philosophy), I’ve just now entered them as subjects for future columns, in my trusty Moleskine ® notebook.

Also on 9 August, “anonymous” wrote: ”Most wars throughout history have been waged for religious reasons. Perhaps by giving up religion we could all live in peace”.

I beg to differ. Most wars have clearly been motivated by avarice, that is, the appetite for material gain. Even those “branded” (and I refer not to the classic Chuck Connors TV series, but to advertising and promotion lingo) as “religious” … I ascribe to Laurence’s First Law of “Religious” War: “The proof of a “religious” war is in the pudding. If the pudding ends up on the Deity’s table, OK. If the pudding is consumed at the war-maker’s table, it’s just avarice with a tacky veneer”.

And all the people said, “Amen”!

[SOUND EFFECT: CUE John Lennon, "Imagine"]

Also on this day in history:

480 – King Leonidas of Sparta and his three-hundred-strong royal guard die at the pass of Thermopylae, delaying the invading Persian army and laying the groundwork for its eventual defeat

1937 – Novelist Edith Wharton dies

1956 – Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock dies in a car crash

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Kantian and Kant

Today is Thursday, 10 August 2006.

By way of commentary on current events, your author presents his translation/adaptation of a piece delivered in public performance on 8 May 1917 in Vienna, by Karl Kraus, “patron saint” of this column.

Kaiser Wilhelm II had shortly before delivered a speech to his troops which contained the following. Kraus juxtaposed it to a passage from Kant.

Wilhelm the Second, by Grace of God, the King of Prussia and Emperor of Germany:

1917 has been a year of miracles! God has proven himself a worthy ally of the German people! The Voice of God speaks, and our cannon answer!

No one can see the future; what will be will be. But in the past four years, the world has seen the Hand of God punishing traitors and rewarding the righteous. Plot it yourself: If our enemies refuse peace, we shall smash down their doors with our pieces!

Our latest victories on the Eastern Front suffuse me with profound humility and gratitude. It is not given to all to see the Hand of God fashioning human history. And we couldn’t have done it without our strong moral fiber and family values!

You folks in East Prussia know what I mean. Your native son, the great Immanuel Kant, the sage of Koenigsberg, bequeathed to us the spiritual sinews and Categorical Imperative which will, Gott mit uns willing, deliver to us the final victory!

Immanuel Kant:

It is not unseemly, when war ends and peace begins, that thanksgiving be succeeded by penance, and we beg mercy for the foolish and false hubris which causes us to treat our next-door neighbours lawfully, and our neighbours abroad unlawfully.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

In Memory of Nagasaki

Today is Wednesday, 9 August 2006.

On this date in 1945, an American atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

As noted in this column on Hiroshima Day, the notion that the bomb was used to avert unacceptable American casualties in an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands is untenable. The motivation was to establish the radically new parameters of American power for all the world, and particularly the Soviets, to see. It was necessary that the second of the two bombs available to the USA/USE/USSA be employed, to demonstrate the first device was not a one-off.

Which brings me to further thoughts on war crimes.

As has been noted, both Hezbollah and Israel are committing war crimes in the present war in Lebanon. Most people tend to think of war crimes exclusively in terms of atrocities such as My Lai, the Katyn Forest Massacre in Poland (1940), the killing fields of Cambodia, etc. Under the laws of war, belligerents are prohibited from using weapons systems which do not discriminate between combatants and civilians.

Given the technologies available to modern combatants, from radar-targeted artillery to GPS-guided aerial bombs to the nuclear bomb, it is a given that a certain number of civilians will be murdered. Of course, both sides would prefer to hit military targets, but, if civilians are killed, the terror effect thus produced is so much gravy and hardly to be regretted, except perhaps for some crocodile tears for the media.

A good example is harassment and interdiction fire (H&I), practiced by the Americans in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan. At pre-determined or random intervals during the night, artillery would fire on pre-selected coordinates, knowing only there were no US (or USSR) troops in the area, without consideration that there might be civilians. This was meant to keep the enemy on their toes, with the possible bonus that troops might be passing those coordinates. Of course, it was often civilians.

Likewise, the rockets of Hezbollah, and the aerial bombs and artillery of Israel, may well strike the geographic locations at which they were aimed, but they cannot distinguish between combatants and civilians. Their use therefore constitutes war crimes.

It is ironic and tragic indeed that stricter mechanisms exist to enforce the anti-doping regulations of competitive cycling than to enforce international law regarding war crimes.

It is estimated that at least 115,000 people died as a result of the Nagasaki atomic bombing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Middle East: 4, Supplemental

Today remains Tuesday, 8 August 2006.

A comment (following) posted by “John McKenna” (to whom thanks) to today’s column deserves thoughtful consideration and response, hence this supplement.

“Proportionality can also be viewed as "Does your suffering outweigh my suffering?" If yes, the war is just. If no, the war is unjust until I make you suffer more.”

An interesting approach to proportionality, ‘though I confess I don’t know what to make of it. In the just war tradition, which originated among Christian theologians hundreds of years ago, “proportionality” means strictly, does the benefit to humanity of a particular war (not just to one belligerent) outweigh the suffering and damage inflicted upon all concerned? If benefit outweighs suffering, it is just. If not, it is unjust.

This approach derives from such Biblical passages as “an eye for an eye”, meaning that the limit of violence which the one who loses an eye can inflict in retribution is to put out an eye --- one cannot take a life in exchange for an eye. Such passages don’t mean one must take an eye; it means one can only exact retribution in exact proportion to the damage suffered.

“This is an interesting take on supposed-support of Israel - that it must exist and be a firm entity so God can wipe it (and all Jews) out on Judgment Day. I have yet to hear that as a reason for supporting either side of this conflict. Again, I say, interesting take on it.”

I am only referring here to the support for the State of Israel by certain conservative/evangelical types (J. Falwell and P. Robertson come to mind), whose theology holds that certain things must come to pass before the so-called “Second Coming” of Jesus.

One of those preconditions is the re-establishment of Israel in the Holy Land. Of course, what possible relation the modern State of Israel could have to the Israeli Kingdom which existed before the Roman occupation … your guess is as good as mine. If you want to hear that as a reason for supporting the modern State of Israel, tune into The 700 Club or its ilk.

“Your point for this whole post is what? Why even discuss/debate the topic of war theory? There is no logic to any of it. You are wringing your hands about war, which is probably one of man's earliest "activities." Boo, hoo. Get over it.”

Part of the point would be that this war is a tragedy for all concerned: for the Israeli and Lebanese civilians being slaughtered, for the Israeli and Hezbollah combatants dying for folly, and so on.

There is much logic to just war theory, to which I emphatically do not ascribe: the logic is to justify murder. I prefer St. Cyprian: “When a man kills for his own interests, it is called “murder”. When a man kills for the interests of The State, it is called “glory”."

Certainly, war is one of humanity’s earliest activities. But then, so is rape. Shall we say to victims of rape, “Boo, hoo; get over it”? But then, so is child molestation. Shall we say to those victims, “Boo, hoo; get over it”? I’m sure that’s not how Mr. McKenna thinks, but it seems to me his logic leads there. The entire “argument from inevitability” is a craven cop-out.

I should prefer we wring our hands, than wring one another’s necks.

Good night, and good luck.

Middle East: 4

Today is Tuesday, 8 August 2006.

Just war theory is slippery as an eel. There are as many theories as there are people wishing to justify or condemn particular wars. However, “proportionality” has traditionally played a major role.

Simply put (and a bullet in your head or a rocket down your chimney is a simple thing): proportionality asks the question: Do the human sufferings of a war outweigh the human benefits to be gained? If they do, the war is unjust.

Already, you see the problem. Don’t the benefits for US always outweigh the sufferings of THEM? Or so the argument goes.

There is no doubt that Israel is attempting to defend itself against Hezbollah, a neo-fascist, racist organization which would like nothing better than to exterminate all Jews in this world. Self-defense.

(By the by, one should note that many, if not most, conservative Christians have a similar, but more extensive, neo-fascist, racist agenda: they await Judgment Day, when all Jews will be consigned permanently to Hell, a sort of Eternal Holocaust. That’s why many conservative Christians support the State of Israel --- their version of the requirements for apocalypse demands a “Jewish State” before Jesus comes back and sends all the Jews to Hell.)

Alas, the means the Israeli government has chosen is war not only against Hezbollah, but also against the people and nation of Lebanon, since Hezbollah has insinuated itself into the interstices of Lebanese society. The Israeli government has ordered all civilians out of southern Lebanon (and anywhere else it chooses), and declared all those who remain in the free-fire zones as fair game. (A maneuver copied from the USA/USE/USSA war against the people of Vietnam.)

The Israeli government has destroyed the road bridges in the north which connect to Syria. This has the effect of impeding ground supply of Hezbollah from Syria, and of choking off life-giving relief supplies for Lebanese civilians. It has destroyed bridges to isolate the city of Tyre, where it has declared all vehicles moving in the streets may be assumed to be aiding Hezbollah, and therefore fair game. It has destroyed the last major crossing of the Litani River, isolating southern Lebanon.

“Oh, but we’re using precision weapons”. No such thing. Precision simply means more bucks expended in hopes that the bangs will be more exactly deposited on the intended target. No guarantees. Thus, CEP. “In the military science of ballistics, circular error probability or circular error probable (CEP) is a simple measure of a weapon system’s precision. It is defined as the radius of a circle into which a missile, bomb, or projectile will land at least half the time.” [Wikipedia]

And no bomb is smart enough to know if a car or apartment building is really filled with Hezbollah or desperate civilians.

Does the use of such methods constitute war crimes? Undoubtedly. Is the use of such methods accepted as standard operating procedure the world over? Undoubtedly.

Has the principle of proportionality been violated? Undoubtedly. Is such a violation accepted as standard operating procedure the world over? Undoubtedly.

International law is for losers (to whine by). The race belongs to the strong. “Justice” is in the eye of the victors.

How little progress the human race has made since we climbed down from the trees.

To be continued.

On this day in history:

1974 – In a televised address, Richard M. Nixon announces he will resign as president, effective at noon EDT the next day

Monday, August 07, 2006

Middle East: 3

Today is Monday, 7 August 2006.

It has become glaringly obvious that the current Israeli government, like the governments of so many nations before it, has been suckered by its own Air Force. Before the current war in Lebanon began, the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force had advised Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that bombing would be sufficient, along with a smattering of infantry, to drive Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon.

Hermann Goering once told Hitler that, if the Luftwaffe failed in an assigned task, “You can call me Muller”. Before long, the German public was derisively referring to Goering as … “Muller”.

The British and American air forces in World War II assured their respective political leaders that strategic bombing would single-handedly bring Germany to its knees. (Strategic bombing attacks the economic underpinnings of a war machine (factories, transport nets, etc.), as opposed to tactical bombing, which is direct battlefield support.)

The findings of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey after World War II: strategic bombing often caused the Germans to become more efficient in protecting their physical plant, and often led to increases in productivity.

The failure of American strategic bombing to pound the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (“North Vietnam”) into submission is well known.

During the American conquest of Afghanistan, a three-part strategy was adopted: massive American smart-bombing, sparing use of American ground forces, and wide-spread employment of Afghan mujahadeen mercenaries. The continued resistance by the Taliban indicates how effective this approach was.

In the years after World War One, such theorists of airpower such as General Billy Mitchell of the United States and General Giulio Douhet of Italy made extravagant claims for the virtues of strategic bombing, both as a means of destroying economies and an instrument for terrorizing civilian populations. (They also claimed airpower made ground troops the icing, not the cake.) Their ideas did not begin to be put to the test until World War II.

While the sight of dozens of German and Japanese cities bombed into smoking rubble was photogenic and dramatic, strategic bombing, as noted above, did not decide the war.

Prior to World War One, French military doctrine held that “the artillery conquers, the infantry occupies”. (One can guess which branch of the army coined that slogan!) But this was never true: even after the opposing artillery batteries had mown down swathes of the enemy, the infantry still had to decide the day. And what good would it do to destroy the enemy armed forces, and not take over the land?

This is also the great strategic error made in Iraq. (The great grand strategic error was attempting to conquer Iraq at all.) Von Rumsfeld and minions believed in a relatively meager infantry force (an early draft of the war-plan was for 10,000 soldiers!); the heavy lifting would be done by the flying artillery --- B-52s, Stealth bombers, etc. (Wolfowitz couldn’t grasp why one would need more troops to occupy a country than to defeat its military.) The result: with insufficient infantry to occupy all of Iraq and to seal the borders, you get multiple insurgencies partially supported by supplies from Iran and Syria.

A more correct maxim would be: Even if the artillery and airpower can conquer, the infantry must still occupy.

The head of the Israeli military believed the latest war in Lebanon would be short and sweet: airpower would flatten the physical infrastructure of Hezbollah, and a small number of infantry would sweep up the dazed survivors. Partly this was an intelligence failure: they just didn’t realize that Hezbollah had dug in as deeply as it had. But it was also, and probably more so, the result of hubris: our first-rate technology can defeat any tenth-rate rag-tag guerilla force.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, indeed.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

In Memory of Hiroshima

Today is Sunday, 6 August 2006.

Most in this nation tend to forget that the competition between Japan and the USA/USE/USSA, which culminated with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on this day in 1945, began with aggression by the USA/USE/USSA against Japan.

In 1852, Japan was a nation which was, by choice of its rulers, closed to the outside world. The American government decided this was an offense to free trade, and sent a squadron of warships to demand that Japan open itself to the world and to trade, or suffer the military consequences.

At this point, the Law of Unintended Consequences reared its head. As a result of the American action, Japan’s rulers not only opened Japan to the outside world, but also soon decided to modernize its economy along Western technological lines, and become as imperialist as the West. One consequence was Pearl Harbor.

One of the commonly-held opinions about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is that, by averting an American invasion of Japan, it saved the lives of 1,000,000 American soldiers who would otherwise have died in the invasion. Is this true?

In 1946, Henry Stimson, who had been Secretary of War during World War II, was convinced by colleagues that he should write an essay (which would appear in Harper’s in 1947) justifying use of the atomic bomb. He agreed, providing it was ghosted for him, and the task fell to McGeorge Bundy, who was assisting Stimson in writing his memoirs. (Bundy would later become Special Assistant for National Security Affairs to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson from 1961 to 1966.)

Bundy asked the military to furnish copies of the briefings Stimson had received on projected invasion casualties, but for some reason the military never responded. Bundy and Stimson therefore settled on the nice, round figure of 1,000,000.

In fact, the actual projections which had been provided to Stimson were 220,000 casualties, of which 42,000 would be killed in action. In the context of total war, this would have been regarded as an entirely acceptable level of casualties to achieve final victory.

In fact, for some months, the Japanese government had been communicating, through third parties, its willingness to surrender, provided it was guaranteed that the Emperor would remain on the throne. The Americans who advised Truman to use the Bomb knew this; they also knew that the ability of the Japanese economy to sustain war-making was almost exhausted, and Japan must soon fall in any event.

So why was the Bomb used?

Certainly, there must have been enormous psychological pressure to use such a weapon after the colossal expense of its creation. After long study of the available evidence, and in agreement with many other scholars, I can only agree with what Bundy later wrote in his book, Danger and Survival: Choices about the Bomb in the First Fifty Years, was the primary motivation for use of the Bomb: “What is true --- and important --- is that these same decision makers were full of hope that the bomb would put new strength in the American power position.”

The Bomb was not dropped to save American lives. It was dropped because only the exemplary results of actual use would guarantee that the Bomb would be the capstone of the greatest power, economically and militarily, in the history of the world.

A minimum of 150,000 people died at Hiroshima, immediately and of radiation aftereffects. As many as 250,000 may have perished.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

In Honour of Nelson Mandela

Today is Saturday, 5 August 2006.

On this day in 1962, Nelson Mandela was captured by the neo-Nazi white supremacist government of South Africa, assisted by the CIA.

(Lest you think “neo-Nazi” is mere rhetoric, consider that the apartheid regime was modeled directly on Hitler’s infamous Nuremberg Laws for the repression of Jewish Germans.)

The African National Congress had struggled nonviolently for years. After the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, declaration of a state of emergency, and the banning of the ANC, the decision was taken that only an armed resistance could force the white supremacists from power. Mandela led the organization established to implement this policy, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation).

At the great trial of ANC leaders in 1964, Mandela ended his opening statement with the following:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment; he would not be released until 1990.

And became president of South Africa.

I don’t believe in the “Great Male Theory of History”.

I suspect that, from time to time, human endeavor … the hopes and dreams and aspirations and justices of millions unite, and, for brand purposes, one person is held up as the flag, the banner …

When humans have more maturity, if that time is left to us, we won’t have to do the archaic/capitalist personification thing.

What astonishes, is that Mandela was 28 years in prison, and did not emerge full of hate, malice, and violence.

Shall we count the ways, that American presidents, oh so beset by tiny hardships, and never in the prison of neo-Nazis, let alone for 28 years …

Oh the presidents …

Who morally diminished themselves
Without suffering to
At least in part
provide a spurious justification.

Nixon always pretended he grew up impoverished:
He went to college free, tariff paid for by his maternal grandfather,
And, in the Great Depression’s depths, owned two,
not one,
but two,

(As Casey Stengel said: “You could look it up”.)

Measure our “president” against Mandela, and against ourselves.

Strategic Failure in Iraq

Today is Friday, 4 August 2006.

Had one lived in Winnetka, Illinois around 1940, a common sight would surely have been that of boys playing soldier, and surely none more avidly or competitively than eight-year-old Field Marshal Donnie von Rumsfeld.

In war-like societies such as ours, early socialization to the demands of violence invariably involves young boys in such role-playing. Most, of course, as adults, will never progress past the “glamorous” stage of “shoot-‘em-ups”, to the more sophisticated thinking which the context of war demands.

Like Caesar’s Gaul, the theory of war-fighting is traditionally divided into three parts: the tactical, the operational, and the strategic.

The tactical element is that which most people think of as “playing soldier”: the level of individual soldiers, small units, the sharp end of the spear, the immediate confrontation and conflict on the front line of battle.

The operational element concerns the handling of large aggregations of units (corps and field armies), so maneuvered as to attack and overwhelm the opponent’s centre(s) of gravity.

The strategic element concerns the entire constellation of resources (people, materials, transport networks, etc.) which must be properly coordinated in all theatres of operations to achieve the goals set by a nation’s political leadership.

And finally, grand strategy: the political dimension, the goals set by the national leadership which violence is meant to achieve.

Disaster nearly always ensues when the grand strategy is muddled, misguided, or nonexistent. This is the case in the conquest of Iraq, for which the final blame must be assigned to the Triumvirs: Bush, Cheney, and von Rumsfeld.

The goal of the grand strategy in Iraq was to topple the Ba’athist regime, with the expectation that the grateful and fawning people of Iraq would then spontaneously embrace Americanism and create an American-style “democracy”. Only those ignorant and arrogant enough to discount the history of Iraq could have set such a fanciful, nay, delusional goal.

As has been previously pointed out in this column, the circumstances of the creation of modern Iraq were such that a de facto civil war existed from the beginning, pitting against one another Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis. Sometimes the conflict was carried out by political, social, and police repression, and sometimes by military means, as when the Bush 1 regime allowed the Ba’athists to slaughter Kurds and Shiites in the aftermath of the War of 1990-1991.

Anyone not living in cloud-cuckoo-land (in Trevor-Roper’s delicious phrase) understood very clearly that, once the repression of the Sunni Ba’athist regime was eliminated, only overwhelming military force could prevent the outbreak of full-scale armed civil war. “Stuff happens”, indeed, in von Rumsfeld’s G-rated phrase.

By misunderstanding the political reality in Iraq, concentrating only on toppling the Ba’athist regime, and failing to commit the large numbers of troops that might have installed a new regime capable of repressing the latent animosities, the Triumvirs guaranteed that Iraq would immediately collapse into civil war.

Bush, Cheney, and von Rumsfeld never intellectually matured beyond the stage of boys playing soldier, and so assumed that “shoot-‘em-up” was the alpha and omega of war-making. By thinking only tactically, combined with the focus of the military high command on the operational to the exclusion of the strategic, the Triumvirs consigned the people of Iraq to the hell they now inhabit.

History and humanity are already judging them harshly.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

3 August 2006

Today is Thursday, 3 August 2006.

A day which will live forever in irony.

Just take a look at the juxtaposition of the following:

1492- Columbus sets sail upon the ocean blue, from Spain, bound for China

1492 – The “Christian” monarchs of Spain, who financed that voyage, expel Jews from their realm

1904 – Clifford G. Simak, “science fiction” author, born (d. 1988); author of City, etc.

1929 – Great American economist Thorstein Velben (“conspicuous consumption”, etc.) dies (b. 1857)

1940 – Martin Sheen born

1958 – USS Nautilus, first nuclear-powered submarine, achieves “90 degrees North”, arriving at the North Pole underwater

1964 – Flannery O’Conner, great American writer, dies (b. 1925)

1966 – Lenny Bruce, American stand-up philosopher-comic, dies (b. 1925)

Obviously, your author started work on this column too late to do JUSTICE FOR ALL, so I’ll begin and add to it later._______________________________

So, I’ll start with Clifford D. Simak. Many have a problem with science fiction. All that crap about the future, hope for the future, despair for the future …

Get down with reality: Draw a breath in the Present, and you’re already in the Future.

Sur-prise: the Future is the only place we live, and it’s always happening: The moving Finger having Writ, moves on …

From the “Editor’s Preface” to City, connected stories about Dogs and Humanity, which Simak wrote as a series of Tales from the Dogs and their philosophers, from 1944 to 1951:

“These are the stories that the Dogs tell when the fires burn high and the wind is from the north. Then each family council gathers at the hearthstone and the pups sit silently and listen and when the story’s done they ask many questions:

“What is Man?” they’ll ask.

Or perhaps: “What is a city?”

Or: “What is a war?”

There is no positive answer to any of these questions. There are suppositions and there are theories and there are many educated guesses, but there are no answers.“

From Simak’s foreword to City:

“I, personally, was not so much struck with the massive destructiveness of the [nuclear] weapon concept as I was by this evidence that man, in his madness for power, would stop at nothing. There was, it seemed, no limit to the horror that men would inflict on one another.”

From “Notes on the Fifth Tale”, from City:

To most readers it will be easy, after reading this tale, to accept Rover’s [an eminent Dog philosopher] theory that Man is set up deliberately as the antithesis of everything the Dogs stand for, a sort of mythical straw-man, a sociological fable.

This is underlined by the recurring evidence of Man’s aimlessness, his constant running hither and yon, his grasping at a way of life which continually eludes him, possibly because he never knows exactly what he wants.”

Well, friends, as violence and madness continues to be the theme of us, Man [it was a different time, when one said that, with the dumb “male-o-centric-terminology”: I mean Humanity, not to be confused with Humane-ity], spreading as always across the Globe: don’t the views of Rover woof us down to size, in the evolutionary-ecological-ethicological scheme-a-thangs?

In 1963, Simak wrote another of the great novels, and damnation, if we admit that Tudor-Stalinist flack Shakespare to The Canon, why not Simak?

Way Station, much more hopeful.

Have to make a point about Columbus, and Europeans, which includes Us Euro-American-"Whites".

C. Columbo was fascinated, about arriving in THE NEW WORLD, among other things, to find that the “primitives” there resident didn’t live in their own waste.

In the Europe of Columbus, Humans just, as we say of Dogs, “did one’s business” and threw it out the window into the street or the yard (not that a Dog would intentionally Do It where one lived and ate). Disease, of nature, ensued.

Not that the people of the Caribbean knew The Scientific Method exactly, but it seems they figured out if One Did One’s Business at a distance from where one lived, one was healthier.

How many millions would have not died of disease, if Euro-White-Proto-Americans had figured this simple, easy-to-notice-fact, out?

When, late in the 19th Century, the concept of “Public Health” happened in the Euro-World, life spans increased dramtically.

Who da primitive?

This column is composed in the method of Walter Benjamin.

And another relevant homage:


This non-novel was brought to you by John Brunner using Spicers Plus Fabric Bond and Commercial Bank papers interleaved with Serillo carbons in a Smith Carona 250 electric typewriter fitted with a Kolok black-record ribbon.”

Tracking with closeups (32)

Every now and again there passes through his circuits a pulse which carries the cybernetic equivalent of the phrase, “Christ, what an imagination I’ve got.”

MY RIFF on Brunner, RIP: It has been estimated that every human on earth could currently stand on the island of Zanzibar, that is, upon 640 miles of earth surface, though granted that many of you UnFortunates will be standing in the sea up to your necks.

Good night, and good luck.

Civil War in Iraq

Today is Wednesday, 2 August 2006.

Yes, Clayton, perhaps I was a bit harsh on Anderson Cooper yesterday, or just not clear.

I’m just infuriated that the question, “Is there a civil war in Iraq?” is still being debated. Same as debating the equivalent question after the Battle of Gettysburg.

The stage was set for the civil war by the British, when they attempted to turn Iraq into a colony after World War One. The Brits combined Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis into one country, then favored the minority of Sunnis in their standard didine-and-rule. This Sunni ascendancy led finally to the military coup of 1958, after which things went to hell in a handbasket and have remained there ever since.

The match was really put to the powder barrel in 1991, when the first Bush regime encouraged the Kurds and Shiites to rise in rebellion, then stood by and watched while they were butchered.

So, no one with any sense or decency can claim not to have expected a civil war when the Hussein regime finally fell.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A "Civil" War?

Today is still Tuesday, 1 August 2006, at 10:53 P(ost) M(ortem) CDT.

Well, of course we have a "free press."

When Anderson Cooper on CNN has to phrase it this way, more or less: 'Do you think there's a civil war in Iraq, when you've got people kidnapping other people and drilling holes in their heads with chain saws and electric drills?'

The press is so intimidated by Warlord Bush, they've got to edge around the question this way.

Good night, and good luck.


Today is still Tuesday, 1 August 2006.

Blessings upon: “Bangles Fan”.

As you may have noticed, most of the time your author chooses to beat the world over the head with weighty issues, thus the column on slavery, earlier today.

But, “Bangles” raises an important issue, and OK, so I’m taking a heavy spin on the fact that, yes, today is MTV’s 25th Anniversary. So sue me. (‘Though I prefer indictments to suits. Line forms to the right – snark!) So go on VACATION and WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN. What else to do while LIVING WITH WAR. MASTERS OF WAR. WAR: WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?



Walter Benjamin, one of the stars by which I steer the ship, and a representative work: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

(And yes, we’re trying to replicate the quick-cut,-short-attention-span look of MTV, only in prose. Prose, dude: so Old School. Showin’ yr gray .)

OK, so I’m a Martha-Quinn-era primitive, MTV-wise: I liked it when they just played MUSIC, videos, and didn’t try to be a bad imitation of ABC back in the (bad ol’) day.

But I’m doing the same thing perhaps: I make a one-off piece of art/artifact (this column) and, thanks to mechanical wizardry; it’s duplicated “ACROSS THE UNIVERSE”.

A hundred years ago, before the invention of T.A. Edison (vastly inferior to Tesla, but that’s a horse of a different colour to beat another day), “ordinary people” made music for one another, that being the only way.

“Amateur” music. “Amateur” being a word derived from “a lover of”. And “professional” is so much better, right. The difference here is The Industrial System. The latter values that which it pays for, not necessarily that which is “better”.

“Bad” news: we’re running out of petrolmania, so we have to construct a “civilization” on another basis. Downside: hot summer, cold winters, lots of starvation.

Upside: The return of everybody-makes-music-and-art-in-general, which is to say, the bard Homer returns, only this time I hope he doesn’t spend all his time sucking up to “HEROES”.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Your author is not only a Bangles fan, but a fan of The Go-Go’s, E. Piaf, Bach, Mozart, Sousa, Stockhousen, The Weavers, N. Young, Leadbelly, Howlin’ Wolf, The Blind Boys of Alabama … hell, just come over to the house and check out the platters.

This would be the point to commend to youse one of the finest novels, A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr, for reasons you realize if you read/have read same.

Surely one of the Terminal Documents compiled by Kaldren (in The Voices of Time, by J.G. Ballard).

Following I just found, by The Anti-Idiot-President-Coalition Band. Don’t know whom they are, but right on.

Hey, Mr. President, Don't You Kill for Me!

(By Ron and Tom Piechota)

Hey, Mr. President, don't you kill for me!
(Don't use my taxes for your insanity)
I said, hey, Mr. President, don't you maim for me!
(This fixation needs psychiatry)
You've got the whole world hating us
From sea to shining sea

The economy's in the toilet so what do you do?
You make Ritchie Rich richer while we get the screw
And banging them war drums won't drown out that tune
Your legacy's soon to be pissed away too

I said, hey, Mr. President, don't you kill for me!
(Don't ruin my country and say you did it for me)
I said, hey, Mr. President, don't you maim for me!
(After Iraq what will we see?)
Cause in your New World Order
They hate us from sea to sea

You say you're "sick and tired" but who gives a damn?
Our boys will soon be dying, just like down in Vietnam
And collateral damage will be hard to ignore
When it's a monument of corpses bigger than Hoover dam!

I said, hey, Mr. President, don't you kill for me!
(They're not toy soldiers, they have family)
I said, hey, Mr. President, don't you maim for me!
(Cruise missiles are WMD)
You've got the whole world hating us
Burning more flags you'll see

100,000 dead was your dad's legacy
How many more Osamas will come from your lunacy?
Sharon's "a man of peace"? I'm in "shock and awe"
The stem cells are all safe but the humans want mercy

I said, hey, Mr. President, don't you kill for me!
(Kill Osama not civilians for me)
I said, hey, Mr. President, don't you maim for me!
(Little children aren't able to flee)
Cause in your New World Order
They hate us from sea to sea.

In Memory of the Slaves

Today is Tuesday, 1 August 2006.

As I like to say, “Ain’t that a caution”.

(Now if that sounds like a Southern White Male talkin’, “ain’t that a caution”. FULL DISCLOSURE: your author was born, by an accident of history and no choice of his own, in Mississippi, where his father was mustering out of the United States Air Force, instead of in Kansas. As Don Rumsfeld would say, “Stuff happens”.)

Maybe the following is a coincidence, or perhaps To Whom It May Concern exists, and planned the following thusly.

Why did the puppy of our canine horde begin to woof at 4 AM, this AM, setting in train a set of circumstances (three more woofs and a meow) which led to the crewe here at the MoB watching, at that unholy hour, an excellent movie, The Big Kahuna?

All about “salesmanship”, marketing rep-ism. Miller and Mamet territory. Based on Hospitality Suite, a play by Roger Rueff.

At any rate, a theme appropo for THIS DAY IN HISTORY:

1619- Caucasian entrepreneurs put upon sale the first African slaves at Jamestown, Virginia.

When your author lived in NYC, he perpetrated upon the city a series of political posters, one of the most popular of which was:

White America
Cannot forgive Blacks
For the Crime of Slavery.

Now, I’m not necessarily implicating all whites, but just making a polemical point about the origins of white racism.

One thing leads to another.