Friday, October 31, 2008

A Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue

Today is Friday, 31 October 2008.

Happy Halloween!

As the McCain campaign stumbles, staggers, and slimes its pitiful way to a (hopefully!) inglorious conclusion, how fitting that its choice for symbol, metaphor, and mascot is a phony and a crook: Joe the Not-a-Plumber.

The entire affair would be simply comical, were it not for the insight it affords into McCain.

So what’s really the big deal that Joe plumbs without legal license? Simply, there are certain trades, professions, whatever, such as plumber, electrician, physician, etc., which must be regulated by the State for the good of society. An incompetent doctor can kill you. An incompetent electrician can burn down your house with you and your family in it. An incompetent plumber can flood a house, destroying much of the economic value of the most valuable investment most Americans will ever own.

That McCain, in his desperate greed for power, is willing to elevate a con man into a hero reveals his true ethics/morals: anything and everything must be sacrificed to pander to his lust to dominate the nation. (Compare and contrast the unbridled sexual lust which led him into numerous infidelities and to kick his wife to the curb. Once again, it is proved: in itself, consistency is not always a virtue.)

The same is true of his choice of Sarah Palin for vice president. Like McCain and W. Bush, Palin is under-educated and under-cultivated in the issues on which a president must decide, preferring, like the twin flyboys, to navigate by the seat of her designer pants, instead of by reason. Palin is moderately capable of spewing canned garbage on the stump and in “debate” (the “debates” of presidential campaigns are merely dueling sound-bites, not true debates), but, in one-on-one interviews, she has demonstrated that she can’t think originally, and, when pressed, screeches vacuities in marginally proper English sentences.

Palin isn’t a “pitbull with lipstick”: just bull with lipstick.

You betcha!

A Palin presidency would imperil the peace and prosperity of the planet. By selecting Palin, McCain illustrates that his bad judgment would also imperil the peace and prosperity of the planet. That selection alone renders him permanently unfit to be elected to any public office, let alone president.

A true scare: a three-headed presidency of John W. McPalin.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Shape of the Arc of Life

Today is Thursday, 30 October 2008.

Let’s take another day of break from the Presidential campaign. (Not really: you may detect themes of the current campaign in the following.)

I hope McCain continues such a fine job of self-deconstruction/demolition that even many of Sarah Palin’s Americans Like Us give him the back of their hands.

(At an Ohio McCain rally, for various reasons, Joe the Plumber, who is, of course, not a real plumber, failed to show as promised, and McCain in vain canvassed the crowd for him. McCain then ranted: "You're all Joe the Plumbers!"

Not quite the ethical and emotional impact of:


On this date in 1932, was born the great French cinema director, Louis Malle, who perished far too young, on 23 November 1995.

Among his triumphs: Atlantic City, Vanya on 42nd Street, and, mayhap my favourite, My Dinner With Andre:

And how about another dinner:

A natural progression, for we are all Number 6:

From a 1977 interview with Patrick McGoohan, creator and actor of The Prisoner:

"I think progress is the biggest enemy on earth, apart from oneself… I think we're gonna take good care of this planet shortly… there's never been a weapon created yet on the face of the Earth that hadn't been used…"

"…We're run by the Pentagon, we're run by Madison Avenue, we're run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don't revolt we'll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche… As long as we go out and buy stuff, we're at their mercy. We're at the mercy of the advertiser and of course there are certain things that we need, but a lot of the stuff that is bought is not needed…"

"…We all live in a little Village… Your village may be different from other people's villages but we are all prisoners."

Herewith, the theme from The Prisoner:

Herewith, what the Museum of the Bourgeois is all about:

"I am not a number. I am a person".

Your weight and fate.

Today's mournful oatmeal: Seize the day!

The shape of the arc of life is up to us.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"What hath God wrought"

Today is Wednesday, 29 October 2008.

These words were, of course, not the first transmitted by telegraph, but the most famous, in 1844.

On this date in 1969, at 10.30pm PST, the first message was sent over ARPANET, the direct ancestor of the Internet.

In 1962, the great computing scientist J.C.R. Licklider wrote memos outlining his concept of an “Intergalactic Computer Network”, which outlined what would be implemented as the Internet.

Licklider’s ideas were brought to fruition through ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense, thus ARPA Network. The original web was comprised of computers at UCLA, Stanford Research Institute, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Utah.

The first message was sent from UCLA to Stanford. “l” and “o” arrived successfully and then, appropriately and prophetically, the system crashed. Those at Stanford were left in suspense: would the first message be “login” or “lol”? An hour later, “gin” arrived.

Welcome the networked world.

For more, see, including a map of the net in 1977.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Testy McCain Wasn't Tested

Today is Monday, 27 October 2008.

Much has been made of Joe Biden’s recent comment that he expected enemies of the USA would “test” a President Obama during his first six months in office, as if this were a “gaffe”.

What Biden should have said was that, regardless of whether Obama or McCain is elected, it is possible, perhaps even probable, that one or more USA enemies would “test” him. This is so obvious as to be platitudinous.

McCain shamelessly sought to exploit the situation, claiming “I’ve been tested!”

What McCain meant is that he sat in the pilot ready room on board an aircraft carrier in 1962, waiting for orders to bomb Cuba. McCain had no command responsibilities of any kind, so this doesn’t qualify as a “test”.

Significantly, the Navy never entrusted McCain with combat command responsibilities. His career after returning from detention in Vietnam was comprised of study at the National War College, commanding a training squadron, and lobbying for the Navy in the U.S. Senate, after which he resigned his commission.

McCain was never tested.

Of course, McCain couldn’t even command his own sexual appetites. McCain’s rampant promiscuity after his return from Vietnam means he habitually chose to flunk the test of fidelity to his marriage vows.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reading, Remember Your Greatest Loss

Today is Saturday, 25 October 2008.

Yesterday's dawn my husband set to sea to set

Upon your table
(his only crime)
That our family table might be set.

A rogue wave his ship drove down.

I stood today on the beach,
Look'd east,
And that wave,
Concluding as his life,
His message Atlantic voyaged 600 miles,
Four inches high,
Kiss'd my feet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Guitar, Gentley Weeps

Today is Thursday, 23 October 2008.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Freddie and Francois

Today is Tuesday, 21 October 2008.

Francois Truffaut: 6 February 1932 - 21 October 1984.

The Cost of Love

(A Poem for Sandy upon the Death of Freddie, Her Dog)


The Nobelist for Literature,
Jose Saramago,
What we all know
But forgot to write:
“All that dogs want
Is that no one should ever leave”.


The cost of love:
Everyone leaves.


Freddie's afoot!
Under foot
His delight at morning when you wake
Beautiful mourning eyes:
"Is this all we have?"

(From HH's collection, Life Is Bless-ed Fragments: Poems Wake Wide at 3:02 in the Mourning with Four Dogs, One Cat, and Too Many Bottles of Guinness)

Monday, October 20, 2008

In Memory: Freddie

Today remains Monday, 20 October 2008.

The Museum of the Bourgeois mourns the passing yesterday of Freddie, dog friend of my high school teacher, Ms. S.


A Warm Puppy Moment for Those of You Who Like When I Do Music, Art, and Recipes

Today remains Monday, 20 October 2008.

Let’s begin with this:

The Four Tops, with Levi Stubbs on lead. Mr. Stubbs just died, and time itself is impoverished.


(So many Tops songs from which to choose; I think that's my fav.)

During most of the ‘60s, through no fault of mine own, I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Grade 3 to Grade 12.

In my childhood/youth bedroom/office was a radio I’ll talk about in a future broadcast, which my parents had bought in Topeka, Kansas in 1946 or ’47. Every night, as I did my homework, I closed the door so as not to disturb, and tuned in the wide world.

Music-wise, my favourites were the R&B/soul stations beaming in from New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Especially the ones that were funk around the clock, except on Sundays, when they sold some time to local Black churches, which were way cooler than anything I experienced on the white side of Tulsa.


An essay in itself, which I'll write one of these days.

To put it in context for the moment, The Greatest Rocker of All Time:

Compare and contrast.

(Completing the bucolic image: today, in betwixt writing, researching, finishing up tree pruning, and canine management, in the oven is a Yankee pot roast, a chuck, with potatoe, onion, carrot, and corn on the cob.)


Today remains Monday, 20 October 2008.

My apologies: I meant to hit "Save" and instead hit "Publish". Following is complete column.

From yesterday’s Meet the Press interview with Colin Powell:

MR. BROKAW: “And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.”

Can one imagine (save perhaps on the sort of really fine acid one can’t seem to find anymore) Brokaw asking Rudy Giuliani: And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is a white-American, distinguished American, supporting another white-American because of race?

That Brokaw felt the need to allow Powell to address that question, which would never be put to Caucasian candidates, is a fine exemplar of the extent of white racism in America: the widespread assumption that persons of color, like Jews, are thuggish and clannish, favouring their own, unlike the even-handed and big-hearted Anglo-Saxons.
Today is Monday, 20 October 2008.

From yesterday’s Meet the Press interview with Colin Powell:

MR. BROKAW: And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

McCain's Just Desserts

Today is Sunday, 19 October 2008.

“Senator Obama is more interested in controlling who gets your piece of the pie than he is [in] growing the pie." (John McCain)

John, pies don’t grow on trees.

"John McCain thinks that giving these Americans [“the waitresses who work double shifts, the cashiers at Wal-Mart, the plumbers fighting for the American Dream”] a break is socialism. Well, I call it opportunity, and there is nothing more American than that." (Barack Obama)

On this day in 1950, died the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (born 1892). Her poem (1931):

The Conscientious Objector

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabouts of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man's door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me
Shall you be overcome.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

John McJoe

Today is Saturday, 18 October 2008.

From John McCain’s Radio Address to The Nation [cue ECHO CHAMBER EFFECT: Nation ... Nation ... Nation] of this date:

“His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to "spread the wealth around." …

“You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe [this would be “Joe the “plumber””, who, in his plainspoken way, isn’t a real plumber, but just a guy who does plumbing work without bothering to obey the law requiring him to be licensed], in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism. And a lot of Americans are thinking along those same lines. In the best case, "spreading the wealth around" is a familiar idea from the American left. And that kind of class warfare sure doesn't sound like a "new kind of politics." …

“At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives.”

Pardon me, John, but isn’t “spread the wealth around” the whole point of the “trickle-down effect”, by which the tax cuts for the rich you so fervently advocate and vote for somehow magically spread the wealth down the socio-economic scale?

The News Behind the News:

McCain is so desperate he made a midnight trip to Appleton, Wisconsin for a séance at the grave of another “Senator Mc”: Senator Joe McCarthy.

“John, remember the speech in West Virginia in 1950 that put me on the map? When I said: “I have here in my hand a list of 205 — a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.”

“Of course, those 8.5 by 11 pages I was waving around were blank, but who knew.”

“John, call him a socialist, call him a Commie”.

But John is so coy.

As McCain hides behind Palin, he hides behind the living Joe.

And channels the dead Joe.

Friday, October 17, 2008

McMisogynist 2

Today is Friday, 17 October 2008.

Of course, McCain comes by his hatred of women honestly.

McCain grew up (to the extent that he has grown up) socialized in a phallo-centric nation. He was socialized in one of the most chauvinistic situations: the officer corps of the US Navy, which has always preened itself as the most elite of the military branches, and the most “manly”.

Never forget that McCain is no “Outsider” or “Maverick”: he was born into the Washington elite, as the son and grandson of 4-star admirals. He knew from an early age that the blood of command and dissipation, caprice and cruelty flowed in his veins. To be Supreme Leader is his birthright. His blood all but visibly boils when in the presence of Obama, who would steal the Grand Prize from this Prince of the Blood: McCain remembers when those of the colour of “that one” were fit only to wait the tables of naval officers.

So it is fitting that McCain picks on an unqualified female to fill the bottom of the ticket on which he is the top. She might lure some votes. She has unlimited ambitions, and will therefore be willing to humiliate herself by smearing Obama in any way possible.

McCain knows how to put ‘em in their place. An example. When he decides to abandon all attempts to win in Michigan (now John, seriously boy, isn’t early withdrawal a tad pole unmanly?), he lets Palin find out through the newspaper.

McCain could have made the decent ethical choice to reject his phallo-centric socialization.

McCain refused.

McCain is committed to degrading and enslaving women.

Seen the bumper sticker?

McCain: "Health of the mother? That's an extreme pro-abortion thing."

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Today is Thursday, 16 October 2008.

What's with the air quotes, John?

"Health of the mother"?

Have issues with "health", John? Have issues with "mother", John? Have issues with "women", John?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Red Sarah and Bad Judgment John

Today remains Wednesday, 15 October 2008.

Gazprom is the world’s largest producer of natural gas. It is also, in all but name, a subsidiary of the Russian government.

(For example, until Dimitri Medvedev became President of Russia in May, he was Chairman of Gazprom. He was replaced by Viktor Zubkov, who had been Prime Minister of Russia. Zubkov was replaced as Prime Minister by former Communist and KGB thug Vladimir Putin, the actual head of the Russian dictatorship.)

At a June shareholder meeting, Gazprom announced its desire to invest in the consortium aiming to build a natural gas pipeline from Alaska to Canada.
On Monday, elite Gazprom officials met with the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Tom Irwin. Irwin, an appointee of Governor Sarah Palin, said the Governor had been notified of the meeting.

Why would Palin even briefly entertain the thought of Alaska granting, to an anti-American dictatorship, partial control over and profit from American natural resources? (And Palin must be entertaining the thought, or she wouldn't have allowed the meeting.) Will her lackeys next be pitching deals and woo to Iran and North Korea?

John McCain claims that “national security” is his strong suit. So why did he choose a running mate who will consider selling America out to an enemy? Once again, McCain illustrates the depths of his erratic personality and bad judgment.

As to Palin: Is she red state, or just plain Red?

More on the meeting at :

Breaking News!

Today is Wednesday, 15 October 2008.

This just in:

WASHINGTON (Loiters News Service) --- Senator John McCain has called for the postponement of tonight’s presidential debate, saying he has suspended his pants and is flying to Washington to solve the global economic crisis. McCain is scheduled to sit in a corner of the Cabinet Room in the White House, talking to no one, including himself.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Plague on Both Your Houses

Today is Tuesday, 14 October 2008.

On this date, the Great 1962 Missile Crisis begins, as a CIA spy plane photographs over Cuba.

Previously, the USA/USE had installed nuclear missiles in Italy and Turkey, on the doorstep of the USSR. Now, the USSR returned the compliment.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Today is Monday, 13 October 2008.

To expound on a theme from yesterday.

Whipping was the primary form of violent punishment employed by white supremacist slavers against their African-American victims. For McCain to employ the construction “after I whip his [Obama’s] you-know-what” reveals, at best, a tone-deafness amounting to a totally coarsened ethical sensibility, if not downright racism. It’s as if a candidate running against a Jewish opponent were to say “after I gas his [euphemism]”, or a candidate running against a female opponent were to say “after I beat up her [euphemism]”.

But this is in keeping with the immoral tone of Palin, sanctioned by McCain, when the former described Obama as “palling around with terrorists”. In the current American imagination, “terrorists” are persons of colour, inviting the chain of thought: terrorists are persons of colour, Obama is a person of colour, therefore Obama is a terrorist.

Of course, pandering to white racists by Republican presidential candidates is nothing new, and hardly “maverick”. Both Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1980 explicitly endorsed the doctrine of states’ rights, and therefore segregation, and therefore white supremacy.

It is indicative of McCain’s constantly increasing desperation that he is now not leaving the pandering to his running mate, but has become panderer-in-chief.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whip It!

Today remains Sunday, 12 October 2008.

John McCain said today, “…after I whip his [Barack Obama’s] you-know-what in this debate” …

Did McMacho mean to say, Obama’s “a*s”?

McCain, the straight-talker, lacks the “b***s” to say “a*s”?

Imgaine McMacho standing up to Russia, which he can see from wherever: “Mess with the USA, and I’ll you-know-what your you-know-what”.

Putin trembles.

(And McMassa reminds me of the Old Days in Dixie!)

A Tipping Point?

Today is Sunday, 12 October 2008.

This may prove to be one of the most important days in the present global economic crisis.

Iceland’s banking system is seriously wounded; Japan has begun to realize its banking system is not immune from the subprime contagion; Russia’s stock market is choking so badly it seems to close at least part of every day and is requiring massive government financial investment, etc. One of the few national economies unaffected to this moment is, ironically, that of Iraq: the government and the barely-functioning banks have little foreign exposure, the stock market is miniscule, and most citizens keep their savings in cash at home, not in banks.

The whole world last week finally began to realize the extent to which America’s lax regulation, and voracious appetites, private and governmental, for living wildly and irresponsibly beyond their means, has damaged the financial systems and economy of the entire interconnected globe.

The Bush-Cheney regime’s ballyhooed $700 billion rescue has yet to come online, and may never to that extent. Today’s news reports indicate the regime is finally considering what it should have attempted from the beginning: direct injection of taxpayer funds into the capital structure of the financial system, thus taking the state capitalism which has always existed in this country to a higher level which may staunch the bleeding.

Until now, the Bush-Cheney regime has exhibited all the backward-gazing intelligence of Hooverism. What is now required is a vision beyond even that of FDR.

It may well prove to be of the utmost importance that such a vision be articulated and begin to be implemented before the Asian markets open for their Monday session, lest the mindless panic of last week deepen further.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

In Memory: Che

Today is Thursday, 9 October 2008.

On this date in 1967, Che was assassinated by my country.

Further deponent saith not.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"That One" 3

Today remains Wednesday, 8 October 2008.

Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had "a second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament."

Herewith, a temperament vile:

"That One" 2

Today remains Wednesday, 8 October 2008.

John McShame supports the Bush Tax Cuts, which he was against before he was for them (and is thus a John Kerry flip-flopper?), which devote 80% of the cuts to the richest 20% of the population. (So much for Jo/Joe Sixpack.)

John McWayne supports squandering at least $3 trillion on the conquest of Iraq.

John McCain, in the debate last night, damned Senator Barack Obama, “that one”, as McSmear would say, for voting to spend $3 million for a “projector for a planetarium in Chicago”.

It will come to me in a moment, the title of a classic sci fi novel, in which is said, “Give my children the stars”.

Why is John McCain, born a Washington elitist insider, who betrayed his first wife and kicked her to the curb so he could marry money, opposed to such a basic and magical educational tool as a planetarium projector?

"That one"

Today is Wednesday, 8 October 2008.

More on the debate last night to come, but here's a question: Why doesn't McCain, who churlishly refused to look at Barack Obama in the first debate, just get it off his chest and call Obama "boy"?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mission: Accomplished!

Today is Tuesday, 7 October 2008.

On this date in 2001, the Bush-Cheney regime began the conquest of Afghanistan.

They botched it from the start.

The Rumsfeld Doctrine of Transformation: The combination of small numbers of US troops, billions of dollars in high-tech weaponry, and bribed tribes who were formerly allied with Bin Laden (this is sound military strategy?) would sweep all before them.


The Bush-Crusader regime loved the concept, as it preserved the bulk of troops for the conquest of Iraq.

After 7 years, the Taliban is strong, Bin Laden is still thumbing his nose, and Afghanistan is still heroin capitol of the world.

And the people of Afghanistan suffer more than ever in their history, which is saying a lot.

For the dead, and the dead, and the dead:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pals Around With Terrorists?

Today is Monday, 6 October 2008.

Given that Sarah Palin is smearing Barack Obama for “paling around with terrorists”, this is an apt moment to amplify a previous column in which I judged John McCain (and other supporters of the Indochina War) to be a war criminal.

Let’s begin with members of the military who served in Indochina or in out-of-country support roles.

Draftees. Draftees were males who were forced at gunpoint, and under threat of imprisonment, into the military. Some will regard “at gunpoint” as cant and hyperbole. Consider: if one refused to acknowledge that one’s life and body were government property, and refused to be drafted, one could be arrested by the FBI. Be assured, FBI agents carried guns and were authorized to use them. If one were tried for draft resistance, the security officers of the court carried guns. If one were convicted and imprisoned, prison guards had guns. Hardly cant and hyperbole.

Never forget: the ultimate sanctions of any extant government are violence and death.

(I will note in passing: I’ve long been disgusted by the hypocrisy of conservatives who crow about the absolute virtue of small governments with strictly limited powers, while believing that the ability of males to commit violence and of females to reproduce are government property.)

Draftees bear the least guilt. If they believed it was right to slaughter in Indochina, they were victims of their country’s cruel, neo-fascist socialization. If they believed it was wrong, they were victims of their inability, for whatever reason, to resist.

Enlistees. They enlisted because they believed the War was right, because they came from impoverished areas (e.g., inner cities, depressed rural areas) and were thus victims of an economic, as opposed to a political draft, or both, or they were forced to enlist to escape jail time.

Enlistees also bear relatively little guilt. If they enlisted in good faith, they were victims of their country’s cruel, neo-fascist socialization. If they enlisted for economic reasons, they were victims of a political system which mandates the manufacture of poverty as well as prosperity. If they enlisted to escape jail, they were victims of a political system which forced upon them, at a too-young age (like other enlistees and draftees), the cruel choice between degradation by a penal system meant for retribution, not rehabilitation, or degradation in an unjust war.

The previous refers to those below the rank of second lieutenant: non-officers. The officer class is a different question.

(It is instructive to note that some 80% of all males serving in Indochina, below the rank of officer, whether draftees or enlistees, were from the lower 1/3 of the population, as determined by economic background, and would thus have had, in most cases, more limited educations than the officer class, excepting those officers who were promoted from the ranks by graduating from Officer Candidate School.)

Let us consider those officers with college diplomas. In college, they should have acquired the logical skills and factual knowledge enabling them to reject the Cold War falsehoods inculcated by socialization. That they did not is testimony to the powerful and degrading impact of socialization, and perhaps to a certain lack, either in the content of educations, or in individual applications to the discipline of learning.

(In regard to socialization, it is worthwhile to note the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the eminent German theologian and martyr of the German resistance movement: “It is not that people are born stupid, are born full of folly and foolishness, but that, under the impact of overwhelming power, they are made stupid, and full of folly and foolishness”.)

These officers bear much more guilt.

Consider the elite among officers: the graduates of the military academies, which latter may be regarded as the military equivalent of the Ivy League. Their schooling combined levels of understanding of the tactical and strategic aspects of war usually unavailable to others (except those willing to undertake intensive self-education), with an even higher level of socialization than imposed on the general population.

These officers all bear much higher guilt, and the higher the rank the higher the guilt.

Consider the civilians, in government or out, who supported the War with their mouths and taxes (while frequently whining about the taxes, as if one could make omelets without requisitioning and breaking eggs), yet refused to enlist, refused to leave jobs and careers for employment in war industries, and refused to serve as civilians in Indochina, while demanding, under penalty of law, that others submit to forced service.

These cowards and hypocrites bear the highest guilt.

Those civilians, including HH, who opposed the War and chose to remain in-country and actively struggle against it, bear guilt because we paid taxes. (While some few refused to pay war taxes, and some were imprisoned for it, so few were willing to take this step, that it was never a viable tactic; it simply diminished the number of those trying to mount a meaningful struggle.)

Perhaps McCain was a “patriot”, precisely whatever that is. He engaged in a criminal war of aggression, from whatever motives, murdering the innocent and ethically damaging his country in the process. His suffering at the hands of those he would murder cannot absolve him of his weighty guilt, nor transmute him into a war hero. McCain also supported, as a member of Congress, criminal wars of aggression in Central America and Iraq.

McCain is a war criminal.

It's Palin who pals around with a terrorist.

In reference to the short story, “I, Too, Wished to Walk on the Moon”. It was inspired by a short story, “The Man Who Walked on the Moon”, by one of my favorite authors, J. G. Ballard, which may be found in the collection, War Fever (Farrar Straus Giroux: New York City, 1990), which includes “War Fever” and “The Secret History of World War 3”.

The film Empire of the Sun is based on Ballard's novel of the same title, based on his childhood experiences during World War 2 in a Japanese internment camp near Shanghai. I believe I’ve previously commended his most recent work, an autobiography, Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton (Fourth Estate: London, 2008).

Originally ghettoized as “merely a sci fi writer”, Ballard has always deployed speculative fiction to explore psychological and sociological spaces. No less than The Sunday Times of London names him “Britain’s number one living novelist”.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sorrow is the Final Duty

Today is Sunday, 5 October 2008.

Sorrow is the final duty we owe to those we love.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I, Too, Only Ever Wished to Walk on the Moon

Today remains Saturday, 4 October 2008.

I, Too, Only Ever Wished to Walk on the Moon

[Homage to J.G. Ballard]

I, too, was once an astronaut.

Until that day, I was a mere government accountant.

Sums and numbers. That which is allowed and not allowed. I guard the treasures for the taxpayers.


Then I flew into space.


My wife was Tess, my daughter was Rachel.


I received a summons. I was required at the Hotel Luxe, 94th and Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, Room 476, to verify the accounts of an American intelligence service.

I was seated before the books, and served a soda. It tasted funny.

Our dog is named “Bone”.


Into the soda slipped the minions of that American intelligence service a wild experimental drug.


Slips. Slows. Suspends.



I have always loved them.

I will always love them.



Bends around the clock, and Time Itself.

Such beauty I see out the window.

I launch!

[Glass breaks.]

Such freedom is weightlessness and flying.

Darlings, I love you.


“Houston: Trajectory perfect”.



“The Eagle has landed”.


I only ever wished to walk on the moon.

Space Race Begins!

Today is Saturday, 4 October 2008.

On this day in 1957, the USSR launched the first artificial satellite of Earth, Sputnik-1.

Here is a link to the signal it sent:

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sarah Crashed and Burned

Today is Friday, 3 October 2008.

For those with a formal background in classical debate, Sarah Palin’s performance last night was familiar. Like W. Bush and McCain, Palin obviously learned very little in her college career about how to think logically. Like the former, Palin didn’t even bother to learn much in the way of facts about history, economics, etc.

Thus, her debating style: memorize talking points and sound bites, and regurgitate them rapidly when triggered by terms such as “national security”, “the economy”, etc. This provides the gullible with the illusion of “statesmanship”, when it is no more than a parrot “talking”. Even the sound bites are memorable only for their plethora of code words and vague generalities.

(When Palin tried to get clever, she made a fool of herself, as when she admitted the Bush regime had made many major blunders, but condemned Joe Biden for “playing the blame game” when he pointed out those blunders. Also the howler describing the McCain-Plain duo as a “team of mavericks”, when the whole point is mavericks aren’t team players.)

Tack on her aw-shucks phony hick act, Josephine Six Pack (though Sarah and Todd seem to have a net worth of some $1.2 million, perching them far above the majority of working Americans).

Season with Barbie/Gidget. The question of marketing Palin’s appearance isn’t something insubstantial I cooked up: those thousands of buttons and signs distributed at the Republican National Convention, reading, “Sarah is a Hottie!”, were the creation of her own handlers, part of the strategy to exploit her alledged sexiness.

And what was the winking at the audience about?

Some will conclude Palin exceeded expectations, by doing more than showing up breathing. The debate format was friendly to her: an opportunity to rattle off short canned responses to questions one is expecting in a controlled environment. (If there was a question about Palin's cutting Wasilla city funding of rape kits, while spending taxpayer dollars on a mayoral SUV, I missed it.) The real Palin is on display in the ABC and CBS (unscripted) interviews: rambling, stumbling, and clueless.

McCain revealed the depth of his contempt for this country and humanity when he proposed such a featherweight to have a hand near the nuclear button.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

VP Debate Highlight

Today remains Thursday, 2 October 2008.

PALIN: And, speakin' of that qualifiedcation thing, I look like Barbie. Only I'm not blond and I blink lots.

BIDEN: Governor, I knew Barbie, and you, ma'am, are no Barbie.


Today is Thursday, 2 October 2008.

Perhaps more to say, but until then:

Did he really die that long ago?

"I just turned around, and he's gone".

The Contest!

Today is Wednesday, 1 October 2008.

Herewith, another new pome. The Contest: How should it be titled??

[Your Title Here?]

The heart is a thicket beset.

We seek a path to exit the burning forest.

Beside a river whose floods
Deposit silts of guilt
In the estuary of our lives:
Worn tires
Drown-ed dogs
Foolish harsh words said to you
A doll’s plastic head:
Yesterday’s flotsam and jetsam.

The moment of birth.
The moment you walked out the door.
That bowling trophy from 8th grade.
The crisp dawn sunshine streaking across sand where he lay dying.
Buddhist monks burning in Saigon streets.
A child abandoned.
Polar bears drowning on melting ice.

The heart is a thicket beset.

A path to exit the burning forest is what we seek.