Thursday, July 28, 2011

Remember Athens, Tennessee

Looks like it's up to the citizens of Quartzite -- along with the mayor, those 9 officers -- to step up and place the police chief, his goons and the town council members under arrest. There's sure enough probable cause.
This is EXACTLY why we have the second amendment in the Bill of Rights.

liberty & justice,


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Les Feuilles Mortes

After hearing this rendition of "Autumn Leaves" by the impeccable Eva Cassidy, I may never be able to do this song again,myself. And I'll certainly never play it, or hear it ever again without thinking of her.

She died in 1996.
Only in her 30's.

I never heard her or heard of her before the other day.
Never had a chance to tell her all the feelings she conjured up in me with her styling of this song, all the pain of all the memories of all the losses of a lifetime.
And add to them one more: that I missed her.

I hope you dig her.


This is What Heroism Looks Like

Veterans take the point.
Standing up.
Speaking out.
December, 2010.


“Hope will only come now when we physically defy the violence of the state. All who resist, all who are here today keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair, and apathy become an enemy of hope. They become in their passivity agencies of injustice.”

-- Chris Hedges

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Got Ya Covered

I really dig this Beatles cover of Smokey Robinson's hit tune.
The early stuff by the Fab Four is my favorite. It had a raw, simple,honest quality that appeals to me.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Not Good


Saturday, July 23, 2011

May it Always Be So

To those who would be king, a word of warning.
To those who would extinguish the rights of the People, and establish a new Fascist state with privilege for the few and slavery for the rest;
To those who think there would be enough enforcers -- police, soldiers and mercenaries -- to protect them:

Look to history.
Take a long look.

And understand that Yamamoto's admonition applies to oppression from within as well as to invasion from without.

The fight for freedom, for that dream of "liberty and justice for all," will never end, not while there is a single soul remaining who has the desire to be free, and the strength, courage --- and the means -- to resist.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ooooo, right there.....

Don't get me wrong; I enjoy riding.
Feeling the thunder of a gallop pounding up through my loins and into my soul.
Wind in my ears.

But that's not the best, in my opinion.
What I enjoy most is finding a horse's sweet spot and giving it a good rub.
I believe they enjoy it, too.
I do this a lot.
A LOT more than I ride.
At that moment, I'm asking nothing of my horse.
Nothing at all.
I'm there for him.
And I'll spend almost as much time itching him up as he would stand there and have me do.
It's all give and no take.
And it feels wonderful.
For both of us.


photos by Pat Miran

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ride Away

Listening to my favorite tune by one of my favorite songwriters.
I was just a kid when this came out, singing in interchangeable rock & roll bands.
But there was something about the restless spirit of it, the epic feel of became my unheard anthem for a time.
Even these many years later, it stirs up that old feeling of wanderlust.

Great "unknown" song.

I hope you dig it.


Monday, July 18, 2011

A Long Road Home

Ever been a stranger in a strange land?
Ever long for the sights and sounds of home?
Ache to hear your own name spoken in your own language?
Ever lost, with no idea which way to turn, wondering how to backtrack to get back to where you started from?

I grew up in a mythical place called America.
The Land of the Free, they liked to call it.
And The Home of the Brave.
With liberty and justice for all.
According to the travel guide.

It wasn't a perfect place.
Far from it.
But it was, at least, possible to do right.
It was possible to see justice done.
Every once in a while, the underdog would win won, the good guys would come out on top, truth would prevail, and things would be just a little bit better because of it.
We'd take a step closer to seeing our Dream come true.

Now, I ache for home, but home is no more.
It's "homeland" now.
Another mythical place that looks a lot like Nazi Germany
In those old movies.

A wise man once told me,
"No matter how far you go in the wrong direction,
Son, turn the hell around!"

I don't know if there's a way to backtrack.
Probably not.
But if there's any chance there's a road home
No matter how long that road is
No matter how steep or narrow
We'd better take it.


Human Rights Watch, in a new report, “Getting Away With Torture: The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees,” declared there is “overwhelming evidence of torture by the Bush administration.” President Barack Obama, the report went on, is obliged “to order a criminal investigation into allegations of detainee abuse authorized by former President George W. Bush and other senior officials.”

But Obama has no intention of restoring the rule of law. He not only refuses to prosecute flagrant war crimes, but has immunized those who orchestrated, led and carried out the torture. At the same time he has dramatically increased war crimes, including drone strikes in Pakistan. He continues to preside over hundreds of the offshore penal colonies, where abuse and torture remain common. He is complicit with the killers and the torturers.

The only way the rule of law will be restored, if it is restored, is piece by piece, extradition by extradition, trial by trial. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice and John Ashcroft will, if we return to the rule of law, face trial. The lawyers who made legal what under international and domestic law is illegal, including not only Rizzo but Alberto Gonzales, Jay Bybee, David Addington, William J. Haynes and John Yoo, will, if we are to dig our way out of this morass, be disbarred and prosecuted. Our senior military leaders, including Gen. David Petraeus, who oversaw death squads in Iraq and widespread torture in clandestine prisons, will be lined up in a courtroom, as were the generals in Argentina, and made to answer for these crimes. This is the only route back.

America's Disappeared by Chris Hedges

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Make you proud?

It should make you puke.


The Tao of Spartacus Jones

Love many.
Trust few.
Wrong none.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pleasure v. Violence

I recall when this study was published.
And it's still the news.


Friday, July 15, 2011

The Lemonade Gestapo

Is it just me, or is the both the stupidest -- and the scariest -- thing you've ever heard.
More brain-dead cops with too much time and too little real crime?


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Out of Control

More out-of-control Cops murder yet another innocent citizen.
When something like this happens the officer(s) involved need to be made to pay for it.
And I don't mean money.

Liberty & Justice,


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Unanswered Questions and Unquestioned Answers

The WTC arson/murders was the raison d'etre for the war on Afghanistan, the War on Iraq and the war on YOU. It gave Bush and the Obama the wink and nod needed to scrap the Bill of Rights.

Now, you've got the "war on terror," a war with undefinable objectives and without end.
And now you've got nazi-style checkpoints on the roads.
You've got stop-and-grope searches at the airports -- and soon at train and even bus stations.
You've got police whose tactics, as well as uniforms and equipment, have become indistinguishable from the military.
You've got an increased tax burden -- while the elite who own the corporations making dizzying war profits pay none at all.
You've got a tap on your phone and a tap on your computer.

What you haven't got is liberty.

Remember liberty?

When it finally dawns on you what you've lost and you're wondering how the hell it happened, go back over the evidence re: "911." Half sham, half scam, and 100% flim-flam.


The Tao of Spartacus Jones

If the Creator made anything more beautiful than the horse
He kept it for himself.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

There's Nothin' Better for the Blues.....

....than playin' the blues.

Clapton at his best.
I hope you dig it.


Supporting the Troops

This should come as no surprise.
The Pentagon is also lying about how man Americans have been killed in action -- they're only counting as KIA's the ones who die where they're hit. If one dies after being transported, that's not counted as "killed in action."
Hitler was big on hiding the actual casualty rates among German troops, too.


Quote du Jour

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.

~Ronald Duncan, "The Horse," 1954

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Too Good Not to Share

This piece by Chris Hedges is right on point.
While I must disagree, to some extent, on the role of using force (which he calls "violence"), I am in complete agreement with the rest of what he has to say.


Ralph Nader Is Tired of Running for President

The most important moral and intellectual voices within a disintegrating society are slowly discredited when their nonviolent protests and calls for justice cannot alter intransigent and corrupt systems of power. The repeated acts of peaceful civil disobedience, efforts at electoral and political reform and the fight to protect the rule of law are dismissed as useless by an embittered, dispossessed and betrayed public. The demagogues and hatemongers, the purveyors of violence, easily seduce enraged and bewildered masses in the final stages of collapse with false promises of vengeance, new glory and moral renewal. And in the spiral downward the good among us are reviled as naive and ineffectual fools.

There is no shortage of courageous dissidents in America. They seek to thwart the imperial disasters, looming financial insolvency and suicidal addiction to fossil fuel. They have stood in small knots on street corners week after week, month after month, year after year, to denounce the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have occupied banks, shut down coal-fired power plants, attempted to halt mountaintop removal, interfered with whaling ships and walked in blustery weather to the White House, where they were arrested. They are struggling to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza on a ship called the Audacity of Hope. But because the corporate state and the two major political parties are indifferent to principled calls for reform, and because the mass of the public still buys into the myths of globalization and the American dream, the plundering and destruction continue unimpeded.

When most Americans face the nightmare before us, when they realize the irreversible devastation unleashed on the ecosystem and the economic misery from which they cannot escape, violence will have a broad and terrifying appeal. Those of us who demand a return to the rule of law and remain steadfast to nonviolence will find ourselves cast aside—the useful idiots Lenin so despised. I watched this happen in the social and political implosions in El Salvador, Guatemala, the Palestinian territories, Algeria, Bosnia and Kosovo. I watched the same cocktail of despair, economic collapse and callousness from a corrupt power elite mix itself into potent brews of civil strife. I watched the same untiring efforts by those who detested the violence and cruelty of the state, and the nascent violence and intolerance of the radical opposition. I covered as a reporter the disintegration that tore these societies apart. Those who held fast to moral imperatives, including Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador and Ibrahim Rugova in Kosovo, were thrust aside and replaced with killers on both sides of the divide who embraced violence.

“Wait until October,” Ralph Nader said when we spoke this weekend. “That’s when the budget cuts will hit home. It is one thing to have the governors of Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida and the legislators saying we will cut this and that. We don’t know what will actually happen when the guillotines are put in place. You may have a different kind of surge of public resistance and protest.

“There will be more and more people in the streets, homeless and hungry,” he said of the looming cuts. “Babies will be sick. Everything will be overloaded from the free food to the clinics. You never know where the spark will come from. Look at the guy who robbed the bank for a dollar. That was not quite the spark, but that is what I am talking about. This is what you have to do to get health care. Let’s say 50 people did that. There are a lot of dry tinder piles like that."

The death of liberal institutions that once made incremental and piecemeal reform possible, which once could respond to the suffering of the poor, the unemployed and working men and women, which once sought to protect the Earth on which we depend for life, means the last thin hope for reform is embodied in acts of civil disobedience. There are no established institutions that will help us. The press ignores the cries of the underclass and the poor. The labor movement is atrophied and dying. Public education is degraded and being rapidly dismantled. Our religious institutions no longer engage in the core issues of justice. And the Democratic Party is on its knees before Wall Street. The most basic government services designed to ameliorate the pain, including Head Start and Social Security, are targeted by our corporate overlords for destruction. The Kyoto Protocol, which was not nearly ambitious enough to prevent environmental collapse, has been gutted so companies like Exxon Mobil can continue to amass the largest profits in history.

Radical reform, including a breaking of our dependence on fossil fuel, must happen soon to thwart the effects of dramatic climate change and economic disintegration. And this radical reform will come only through us. I will join, for this reason, those planning the prolonged occupation of Washington on Oct. 6. Acts of civil disobedience are our last, thin line of defense against chaos. Make a resolution this Independence Day to join us. You owe it to your children and to the generations who come after us. I am not naive enough to promise you we can reverse these trends. I know the monolith we challenge. But I do know that if we do not begin to take part in these nonviolent protests then we have, in effect, given up all realistic hope of change and succumbed meekly to corporate enslavement, environmental catastrophe and severe social unrest.

“The first sign that there is a real breakdown is that the bridge between the people you mentioned and the people who should be speaking out as a result of their professional status is not there,” Nader said. “I am talking about the deans of law schools and law professors, as well as leading members of the bar. The obverse of that is that in 2005 and 2006 there was a bridge built. It was the president of the [American Bar Association] Michael Greco. He thought the destruction of the rule of law by George Bush was historically very dangerous. He commissioned three reports, using members of the ABA who were formally in national security agencies such as the FBI, the NSA, the CIA and the Justice Department. They came up with three white papers on three subjects, one of them being signing statements. They concluded that the recurrent violations by President Bush had risen to the state of serious violations of our Constitution. These papers were made public. They sent them to President Bush. He never replied. Apart from The Associated Press, the press, including the [New York] Times and the [Washington] Post, ignored it. That to me was a much bigger litmus test. It showed how deep the institutionalized official illegality has become, more important than the ignoring of people like Chomsky and us.

“Usually people who are candid in calling things as they are, are viewed as people on the outside who want to change the system,” Nader said. “In the historic past they were socialists. They were radical labor leaders such as the [Industrial Workers of the World]. This time those people who are speaking out want a restoration of the rule of law. This is a pretty conservative goal. The extreme radicals are now in charge of our country, the military-industrial complex and the White House. It is not so much the military as the civilian leadership, the neocons in the White House. The military does not like to get into wars, but once they are in it is very hard to control them because they want to win.

“It’s not like Japan in 1939, which really was a militaristic society,” Nader went on. “It is exactly the opposite of what the constitutional founders thought would be the case. They put the civilians in charge to restrain the military. In effect, these people are activating and pushing the military into places the military does not want to go. They use a volunteer Army, flatter it, give it a lot of weaponry and send it abroad. Only about 5 million people, soldiers and their families, feel what is going on. Once it is entrenched, once you accept this neocon ideology, which is a vitriolic, aggressive, empire-spreading ideology, run largely by draft dodgers who in their youth gung-hoed the Vietnam War but wanted their friends to go and die for it, then democracy is too weak to overcome that. Two dozen people plunged this country into war. The first arena designed to stop this is the Congress, but it does not observe its constitutional duties or require a declaration of war.”

While protests are useful, Nader does not see any possibility for reform until there is a widespread effort to organize a sustained and radical opposition movement. This will come by building a movement that offers an alternative ideology and vision to that of unfettered capitalism, consumerism, empire and globalization. It is something Nader tried and failed to do during his own presidential campaigns.

"There is a tremendous asymmetry,” Nader said. “Seven hundred thousand people demonstrated in London. But where are they the next day? And where are their adversaries? The next day their adversaries are on the job. Where are the 700,000 people? They are out of there. How many organizers are on the ground in the 435 districts? Could labor unions have been organized without organizers? Could the suffragist movement have been organized without organizers? Could the anti-slavery movement or the civil rights movement been organized without organizers? If you don’t have organizers on the ground you know ipso facto that your demonstration is going nowhere.”

When I asked Nader, who mounted campaigns for the presidency in 2000, 2004 and 2008, if he would consider running again, he answered that it was “very unlikely.”

“You have millions of people who say run, run, run,” he said. “Then you put yourself out there and find they are voting for Obama. Until they become mature, until they realize that if they generate 5 to 8 million votes behind a progressive third-party candidate for leverage, what is the point? Why should people try four or five times? Let someone else do it.

“The people who go out there with some credibility and record, go into 50 states, sweat it out month after month, beating back ballot access obstacles, fighting the Democrats who are trying to suppress free speech and candidate choices for the voters, and then you still can’t get on the air to discuss civil liberties,” he said. “Never mind that they do not want to upset dear Obama or dear [John] Kerry. They don’t give you airtime to discuss the simple issue of the denial of civil liberties and the crushing of third parties.”

If elections were that effective, as the anti-war activist Phil Berrigan used to say, they would be illegal. We must follow the path Nader forged, attempting to sway enough people with conscience to sever themselves permanently and unequivocally from the mainstream and especially the Democratic Party. This defiance will again be dismissed as counterproductive and ineffectual. The sacrifices we are called to make will be real, uncomfortable and immediate, while the goals will be distant and uncertain. It will remain hard, for this reason, to jolt people awake. The expediency of the moment has a habit of subsuming the moral imperatives of the future. But time is not on our side. The impending disasters that await us, ecological and economic, are already visible on the horizon. If we do not sever ourselves from established systems of power, if we do not become in every action we undertake agents of rebellion, then the ecological, economic and, finally, human distortions that arise in times of confusion, suffering and collapse will overwhelm us.

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Lady Sings the Blues

Step back a moment from the parades and fireworks and Bar-B-Q's and beer.
Just for a moment.
And then tell me, just what the hell are you celebrating?
I'm not going to make a laundry list of all the liberties recently lost.
If you're not aware of it by now, you're obtuse beyond redemption.

Those liberties were never enjoyed by Blacks, Indians, Women, or the Poor, anyway.
The only real change now is that middle-class white folks are being treated as if they were poor black folks.
Equality at last.

Now, exercising your "rights" is a felony and you can't sweat, spit or scratch without being taxed, tasered, or surveilled.

Today should be a day of mourning for a dead dream of freedom.
Once upon a time there was an American Revolution.
But we lost.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Still Fits

And I regret that it still does.


Our New National Anthem?

I wish I'd written this.


Stormtrooper Warning

"The missing fact in most of the controversy is that TSA is neither truly designed nor institutionally structured to protect us. We are not really surrendering our gels, forgoing our bottled water, or taking off our shoes for our own good. That’s all a ruse. The TSA is an agency whose function, if not intended purpose, is to condition obedience and subservience into the population. It is an arm of the federal police state and cannot be reformed into anything else. It must be abolished totally and nothing short of that will bring liberty back to air travel."

TSA Abuses: Seeing the Forest and the Trees

by Anthony Gregory, June 30, 2011

The American Revolution: Join it!