Friday, July 30, 2010

Walking Tango


I like to go for walks with my horse.

On the ground, I mean. Side by side.

We have a hill that’s pretty steep and that’s good for his hindquarters.

Mine, too, I suppose.


I prefer to have his eye at my shoulder so I can look past his nose to see what’s happening on the opposite side. That puts me slightly ahead of him, but not much.

As we walk, I try to stay in synch with him so that my feet are coordinated with his rear feet. My left falls when his left rear falls, my right falls when his right rear falls.

For one thing, this lets me walk close to him without getting stepped on.


There’s a slight downward bob of his head as each rear foot falls, just as there’s a slight lowering of my center as each of my feet falls.


There’s a rhythm to it.

It’s a pleasant groove to be in.

Feels very connected.

You can imagine a four count drum beat with the bass drum on one and three, as each rear foot falls, and the snare on 2 and 4. Boom-chick-boom-chick, boom-chick-boom-chick...


Whether we speed up or slow down, I try to keep us in synch. After a while you can feel it, if you’re not together. It just feels awkward.



I guess it doesn't take much to keep me entertained...



But this is pretty much what I do on his back too. Try to keep my feet connected to his rear feet, just as if his feet were my feet. I want to feel his walk, his trot his canter in my legs as if I was wearing the bottom half of a two-piece horse costume.

I don’t believe I’ve ever heard or read anyone mention walking in synch. Maybe it’s so obvious everybody just naturally does it and I’m the last dummy to figure it out.

Thoughts?

sj


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In Case You're Not Sure...


Here's a little hint to help you figure out the situation America is in.

sj

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Unforgivable




Duty to Warn:
Hiroshima and the Mythological Glorification of American Militarism

Gary G. Kohls, MD

This August 6, 2010 is the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, an event that has been mythologized by millions of Americans who were happy that the awful war was finally over. Of course most Americans were also willing to swallow the post-war propaganda about the end of the war, false information that was orchestrated by a multitude of war-justifying militarists, starting with General Douglas MacArthur and his attempts at total censorship of post-war information coming out of Japan, especially the photographic documentation of the horrors of the atomic bombs.

Back in 1995, the Smithsonian Institute was preparing an honest, historically-accurate display dealing with the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings. Amid much right-wing reactionary wrangling from various ultra-patriotic veterans groups all the way up to the Newt Gingrich/GOP-dominated Congress at the time, the Smithsonian was forced to eliminate all of the painful but contextually important parts of the story, especially the Japanese civilian stories. So again we had another example of politically powerful conservative groups heavily influencing public policy - and altering real history - because they were afraid of revealing unpleasant and potentially “unpatriotic” historical truths.

The historians did have a gun to their heads, of course, but in the melee, the mainstream media - and therefore the public - ignored a vital historical point. And that is this: The war could have ended quickly without the atomic bombs, and therefore there would not have been a bloody American land invasion of Japan as the subsequent propaganda campaigns (that tried to justify the use of atomic weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations) had claimed. American intelligence, with the full knowledge of President Truman, was fully aware of Japan's desperate search for ways to honorably surrender weeks before Truman gave the fateful order to incinerate, without warning, the nearly 100,000 innocent and unarmed civilians of Hiroshima.

American intelligence data, revealed in the 1980s, shows that the contingency plans for a large-scale US invasion (planned for no sooner than November 1, 1945) would have been unnecessary. Japan was working on peace negotiations with the Allies through its Moscow ambassador as early as April of 1945. Truman knew of these developments, the US having broken the Japanese code years earlier, and all of Japan's military and diplomatic messages were being intercepted. On July 13, 1945, Foreign Minister Togo said: "Unconditional surrender (giving up all sovereignty) is the only obstacle to peace."

Truman knew this, and the war could have ended through diplomacy by simply conceding a post-war figurehead position for the emperor – who was regarded as a deity in Japan. That reasonable concession was - seemingly illogically - refused by the US in their demand for unconditional surrender. Still, the Japanese continued searching for an honorable peace through negotiations but the devastating bombs were dropped anyway. And after the war, interestingly, the emperor was allowed to remain in place as spiritual head of Japan, the very condition that made the Japanese leadership refuse to accept the surrender terms of the Potsdam Declaration. So the questions that need answering to figure out what really happened are two. 1) Why did the US refuse to accept Japan's only concession concerning their surrender, and 2) with the war already at an end without needing to use the bombs, what were the reasons to proceed?

Shortly after WWII, military analyst Hanson Baldwin wrote: "The Japanese, in a military sense, were in a hopeless strategic situation by the time the Potsdam Declaration (insisting on Japan’s unconditional surrender) was made on July 26, 1945."

Admiral William Leahy, top military aide to President Truman, said in his war memoirs, I Was There: "It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. My own feeling is that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages."

And General Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a personal visit to President Truman a couple of weeks before the bombings, urged him not to use the atomic bomb. Eisenhower said: "It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime."

Truman proceeded with the plans to use the bombs, but he never officially ordered the Nagasaki bomb that followed Hiroshima only three days later. There are a number of factors that contributed to Truman’s decisions.

1) The US had made a huge investment in time, mind and money ($2,000,000,000 in 1940 dollars) to produce three bombs, and there was no inclination - and no guts - to stop the momentum.

2) The US military and political leadership – as did many ordinary Americans - had a tremendous appetite for revenge because of Pearl Harbor. Mercy wasn't in the mindset of the US military or the war-weary populace, and the missions against Hiroshima and Nagasaki were accepted – no questions asked - by those who only knew the sanitized, national security version of events.

3) The fissionable material in Hiroshima's bomb was uranium and Nagasaki’s was plutonium. Scientific curiosity was a significant factor that pushed the project to its completion, even if the peace was at hand. The Manhattan Project scientists and US Army director of the project, Leslie Groves, wanted answers to the multitude of questions raised by the project, including “what would happen if an entire city was leveled by a single nuclear bomb?” The decision to use both bombs had been made well in advance of August 9. The three-day interval was unconscionably short. Japan’s communications and transportation capabilities were in shambles, and no one, not even the US military, much less the Japanese high command, fully understood what had happened at Hiroshima on August 6. The Manhattan Project was so top secret that even General Douglas MacArthur, commanding general of the entire Pacific theatre, had been kept out of the loop about the existence of the bombs until five days before Hiroshima.

4) The Russians had proclaimed their intent to enter the war with Japan 90 days after V-E Day (Victory in Europe, May 8), which would have been Aug. 8, two days after Hiroshima was bombed. Indeed, Russia did declare war on Japan on August 8 and was advancing eastward across Manchuria when Nagasaki was incinerated. The US didn't want Japan surrendering to Russia (soon to be fingered as a future enemy) so the first nuclear "messages" of the infantile Cold War were sent. Russia indeed received far less of the spoils of war than they had anticipated, and the two superpowers were instantly mired in the Cold War stalemate that eventually resulted in their mutual moral and economic bankruptcies that happened a couple of generations later.

An estimated 80,000 innocent and defenseless civilians, plus 20,000 essentially weaponless young Japanese conscripts died instantly in the Hiroshima bombing. Hundreds of thousands more suffered slow deaths from agonizing bums, radiation sickness, leukemias and infections for the rest of their shortened lives, and generations of the survivor's progeny inherited horrible radiation-induced illnesses, cancers and premature deaths. What has been covered up is the fact that 12 American Navy pilots, their existence well known to the US command, were instantly incinerated in the Hiroshima jail on Aug. 6.

The 75,000 Nagasaki victims who died in the August 9 carnage were virtually all civilians, except for the inhabitants of an allied POW camp near Nagasaki's ground zero. They were incinerated, carbonized or instantly vaporized by a scientific experiment carried out by obedient, unaware scientists and soldiers who were just doing their duty. The War Dept. knew of the existence of the POWs and, when reminded, simply replied: "Targets previously assigned for Centerboard (code name for the Kokura/Nagasaki mission) remain unchanged."

So the official version of the end of the war in the Pacific contained a new batch of myths that took their place among the long lists of myths that Americans are continuously fed by our corporate, military, political and media opinion leaders, the gruesomeness of war being altered to glorification in the process. Some of the other censored out realities, of course, include what really happened in the US military invasions and occupations of the countries of North Korea, Iran, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Granada, Panama, the Philippines, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, etc. This list doesn’t cover the uncountable Pentagon/CIA covert operations and assassination plots in the rest of the known world, where 135 nations host American military bases (usually paid for by bribery or threats of economic violence).

But somehow most of us still hang on to our shaky "my country right or wrong" patriotism, desperately wanting to believe the cunningly-orchestrated myths that say that our nation only works for peace, justice, equality, liberty and spreading democracy while being blind to the obvious reality that the US mainly supports right-wing quasi-military dictatorships that make the world safe fo exploitive predatory capitalism.

While it is true that the US military has faced down the occasional despot, with necessary sacrifice from dead and dying American soldiers, more often than not our methods of rationalizing the atrocities of war are identical to those of the "godless communists" or "evil empires" on the other side of the battle line. August 6 and 9, 1945 are just two more examples of the brutalization of a "total war” political agenda, which is always accompanied by the unforgivable human slaughter that is euphemistically called "collateral damage" and "friendly fire".

It might already be too late for Americans to stand up for real justice and real peace to effectively confront the usually well-hidden ruling elite. Rather than being silent about the bankrupting and insurgency-provoking war-making that our conscienceless multinational corporations (with the eager assistance of the Pentagon and the heavily-lobbied Congress) are provoking all over the planet, people of conscience need to start acknowledging, and then courageously teaching, the whole truth of history. We need to start owning up to the innumerable international war crimes that have been orchestrated in our names by the multitude of war profiteers, both foreign and domestic, that have been in positions of power and influence during the last 65+ years. And then we need to go to the streets, publicly protesting and courageously confronting the criminals and their Hiroshima-caliber crimes against humanity.

Doing what is right for the whole of humanity for a change, rather than just doing what is advantageous for our over-privileged, over-consumptive and unsustainable American way of life, would be real honor, real patriotism and an essential start toward real peace.
________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care, dealing extensively with the totally preventable and difficult to treat reality known as posttraumatic stress disorder, which is always a consequence of violence. He is also a student of European fascism and writes about issues of war, peace, mental health, brain nutrition, the dangers of many psychotropic drugs and the power and practicality of nonviolence. He is a member of the Community of the Third Way (a local Every Church A Peace Church affiliate) and the Just Peace Committee of Peace Church UCC in Duluth, MN. On August 8, 2010, these two organizations will be sponsoring a public showing of “White Light Black Rain” the powerful documentary about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings as told from the perspective of the hibakusha, the survivors of the bombs.
_______________________________________________

Friday, July 23, 2010

If He Doesn't Love Horses


Here's the lyrics to a new tune, just released and available now from CDBaby.
I hope you'll enjoy it.

sj

If He Doesn’t Love Horses

I’m proud of you, darlin’

Goin’ out on your own

I want you to know I’m always here

You’re never alone.

You’ve always been my

Sugar and Spice

And since you’re askin’ me

I’ll give you my best advice:


If he doesn’t love horses

He can’t love your heart

If he doesn’t love freedom and gentle strength

There’s no place to start.

If he doesn’t love horses

Loyal and true

If he doesn’t love horses, my darlin’

How could he ever love you?


Yeah, I’m so proud of you, darlin’

All that you’re gonna be

Thank God, you look like your mama

But inside, you’re like me

When you’re lookin’ for true love

You best not be blind

So when you think you’re fallin’ in love

Keep one thing in mind:


If he doesn’t love horses

He can’t love your heart

If he doesn’t love freedom and gentle strength

There’s no place to start.

If he doesn’t love horses

Loyal and true

If he doesn’t love horses

How could he ever love you?

If he doesn’t love horses

He could never love you.


http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/SpartacusJones3
or just click on the title of this post

First Date With Brigitte


Her name is "Spree," but I call her "Brigitte" because her mane seems to favor falling over her left eye. Reminds me of another Brigitte, another time, a lifetime ago.

She's a flea-bitten grey Arab, just like my partner, and looks like she could be his little sister.
Just came in.

The flies are bad and they've found a playground on her face.
I thought a little marigold spray might discourage them a little, save her tossing her head and snorting them away quite so much.

I soaked some on a rag and stepped into her paddock with her.

It took a little while.
I didn't assume anything.
I approached as long as she showed me one eye; when she showed me two, I backed off.
If she wanted to bolt, I helped her bolt.
When she approached me, she got a nibble of apple.
She paced, pranced, bolted, reared, zig-zagged...
Me, I just walked, cutting off the ring on her, keeping her attention on me.

Eventually, after much slap and tickle, she stood and let me scratch her withers, and up her mane. Then neck and ears. Casually, I hooked up a lead rope.
My rag had dried out some, so I recruited a friend to re-soak it for me.
Brigitte wasn't 100% sure about that rag.
But I took it slow and she did all right with it.

After I wiped her face and neck, we walked together a little and I scratched her withers some more. Then I released her.
She stood there a moment, peeking at me with one eye from under her mane.
Then, tossing her head like a California girl, she went about her business, munching hay.
I stepped out.

I guess we got to first base.

sj

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It isn't too late...




There's no statute of limitations on murder.
And Obama can have the next cell over as an accessory after the fact.

sj

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

DEJA VU



Look.
Listen.
Feel.

And stop it.


Thanks to my friend Sarah for hipping me to this tune.

sj

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sultry Summer Knight



A classic from one of my favorite guitarists.
I hope you dig it.

sj

Ojo de Dios


When I look into his eyes
I see everything I am
And everything I want to be.
I wonder what he sees
When he looks into mine.


sj

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grew Up on This Groove



One of my favorite tunes.
Hope you'll dig it.


sj

Saturday, July 10, 2010

FREEDOM

Everything else is second.



sj

Friday, July 9, 2010

Think About It




Another stand-up moment from John Lennon.
He was one of the good guys.


sj

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stand Up for People Who Stand Up

Lynne Stewart could have gotten rich feeding at the corporate trough like so many other lawyers.
But she didn't.
Instead, she stood up for the rights of the poor, the oppressed and the powerless.
Now, she's the target of government retaliation for it.
Maybe you'd like give her your support.


sj

"Radical human rights attorney Lynne Stewart has been falsely accused of helping terrorists. On Tuesday, April 9, 2002, she was arrested and agents searched her Manhattan office for documents. She was arraigned before Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl. This is an obvious attempt by the U.S. government to silence dissent, curtail vigorous defense lawyers, and install fear in those who would fight against the U.S. government’s racism, seek to help Arabs and Muslims being prosecuted for free speech and defend the rights of all oppressed people."

--www.lynnestewart.org

http://lynnestewart.org/LindaAllenWhereIStand.mp3

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Standing Up



What would YOU do?


sj

Bet You Didn't Hear THIS One.



A Muslim who's a good guy?
Hey, we can't have THAT going around...

sj

Serve and Protect?




Kiss that good-bye.
It's shoot first and ask questions later.
Want these goons coming to YOUR house on an anonymous tip from somebody you pissed off?
They might just as well start wearing those sharp-looking armbands --- you know, the ones with the swastika?
Every one of these sob's should do some hard time.
It's inexcusable.

Meet the future.


sj

Searching




Viktor Frankl.
Survivor of the holocaust.
Author of Man's Search for Meaning.
One of the Good Guys.

sj

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tell it, Howard,,.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Of Dogs and Men



I had a dog.
Her name was Danika.
She was a beautiful fawn Great Dane who would zoom around the yard at full tilt just for fun. She let kittens pounce on her tail, but wouldn’t hesitate to let the other dogs know who the queen was, curling her lips back to expose teeth in a manner that made you very glad she wasn’t directing that expression at you. More than 38 inches tall at the shoulder and easily 150 pounds, she still thought she could curl up on my lap for a nap, and sometimes, somehow, did exactly that.
When she shook her head, she actually made that sound that cartoon dogs make when they shake their heads

When she was five, she fell prey to leukemia.

Rapidly, she weakened.
I fixed a bed for her downstairs and slept beside her. Fed her by hand and then with a syringe until she refused to eat. I cleaned her up when she was no longer strong enough to get up and go out to urinate and defecate. When I could, I dragged her bed outside so she could lay in the sun (her favorite thing), feel the breeze, smell the day’s doings on the air.
She went down fast.
Overnight, it seemed, though I know it was weeks.
I loved that sweet dog.
And as much as I loved her, I hated the disease that took her strength, her energy and finally, her life.
There was nothing I could do to save her --- I tried everything including the impossible—nothing I could do but watch her go down and stay beside her until she was gone.
And I miss her.

I think of Danika today because it’s much the same feeling I have now about America.
The disease – a combination of greed, cowardice and hubris -- has stolen her strength, her energy, and, unchecked, will finally take her life.
And there appears to be nothing I can do to save her – I’ve tried everything including the impossible. There’s nothing I can do but watch her go down and stay beside her until she’s gone. I’ll stay beside her for the same reason I stayed beside my beautiful Danika.
I love her. And as much as I love her, I hate the disease.

I’ll miss her when she’s gone.

sj


I will go down with this ship
And I won't put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I'm in love and always will be

“White Flag,” by Dido

Thursday, July 1, 2010

If You Think Politics-As-Usual is a Joke...


...Then support former stand-up comic Randy Credico.

It isn't often that somebody running for office shows up with a platform that looks like my own "To Do" list.
But Credico is a good guy from way back. His platform includes:
  • Immediate pull out of Afghanistan
  • Immediate pull out of Iraq
  • Immediate pull out of Colombia
  • End Drug War at home and abroad
  • Repeal Patriot Act
  • Legalization of Marijuana
  • Abolish Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
  • Repeal 1996 Omnibus Crime Bill
  • Constitutional amendment abolishing death penalty
  • Ban on racial profiling
  • Promotion of jury nullification
  • National ban on private prison
  • Decriminalization of all drugs
  • Ban on torture and rendition
  • Law prohibiting federal prosecutors from becoming judges
  • Clemency for all immigrants
  • Closing of ICE units
  • Stiff penalties for prosecutors who suborn perjury
  • Repeal Gatt and Nafta
  • US return of Guantanamo to Cuba
  • Full lifting of Cuba Embargo
  • Clemency for political prisoners and all prisoners convicted for nonviolent drug offense
Credico's running against the incumbent pro-war, pro-Israel, pro-corporation Chuck Schumer.

Even if you don't live in New York, remember that those "state" senators are making national decisions that effect you, and everything and everyone you love, every day.
If there's a peaceful political solution to the mess we're in, it's in making sure guys like Credico get into office.



Don't whimper.

Bite.



sj