Sunday, December 09, 2012


Corrupt international power is flexing its muscle, spinning its propaganda, making ready its false flags, and salivating in anticipation of the truly biblical image of Damascus in smoke and utter destruction.

So many enemies have gathered from beyond the borders of Syria. And these enemies are operating on a tight, revised schedule now, after grinding away at the country for almost two years. Extremists of the al-Qaeda brand, freebooting their way to martyrdom, are fighting alongside the West's Special Services, fighting beside  hirelings and thugs whose paymasters include  the royal houses of Saud and Qatar, with the connivance and assistance of Turkey, with its leader Erdogan, who is absolutely stabbing a neighboring country in the back. 

War is not on the verge of breaking out; it is being escalated. War did not begin almost two years ago with the coordinated attack on Assad's government in Syria; and it will continue to exist to further the ongoing, fateful war against Iran. The attempted destruction of secular life, the most civilized part of life in Syria, is not an interlude; but it is, frankly, a continuum of war. And to speak frankly, acts of war by the United States on Iran, spurred by Israel and Israeli acts of war against Iran, may come short of overt war, but these verbal and deadly physical assaults always contain the threat lurking, in none too subtle language, of a final reckoning. 

Humanity advances and humanity retreats; and history with its cycles moves through the delusional idea of purification by violence, from one extremity to the next one. We are cycling down into a dark place now with Obama, one of the most deceitful US presidents ever, whose cards remain ever close to his vest, supported by Hillary Clinton, that harpy of eternal war, at the State Department, with Susan Rice, more viper than diplomat, rumored to be Clinton's replacement. How can we take any comfort in this? And then there is the depravity, also, of prominent European governments: France, Britain, even Germany--agreeable to finding a space on Syria's scrawny neck, where a boot heel can still crush down.

It's hard to say if most Americans realize that this is an international crisis that could lead to a World War; or that this thing was really kicked off when President Obama agreed to overthrow, by mostly outside military force, the Gadhafi government in Libya,--an operation which was planned within NATO,-- and carried out with a hoax, and by criminal misrepresentation in the UN Security Council, a resolution which Russia and China would never have agreed to let stand, and would have vetoed; if they had understood the hidden agenda behind the words, "responsibility to protect"; --if only they had been alerted to the deception and hypocrisy of those who used the language.

An international crisis exists because US, French, and British leaders, lied to the world about their intentions in Libya; and now with the manufactured crisis over the Syrian government, and the propaganda onslaught against its president's legitimacy, they are perfectly willing to partner with the instruments of terror that have been imported into that country; and the real corruption of these western men, the willingness to use any means available, is a most ugly truth. 

Syria's president, Bashar Assad, has no incentive to use chemical weapons inside his country. And if a NATO naval armada and its amphibious landing craft are gathering off the coast of Syria; it is not because our own Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, or French President Hollande, are expecting Assad to use chemical weapons indifferently, or to use them at all; it is rather because they are not content to let Syria's secular government stand for much longer.  And they have pressing business and violent work to do upon Iran.

The unholy alliance is disposed to create a hell in Syria; and this is borne out by the strategy NATO used in the Libyan operation, where extreme Islamist elements were a major part of the rebel cadre there, and where tons of advanced military hardware in Gadhafi's former depots, including shoulder-launched anti- aircraft man pads could migrate onward to the front in Syria, and who knows where else.

There is not a word coming out of the mouths of US and NATO officials, on the subject of President Assad or Syria, that the Russians or Chinese are bound to believe. And the US, and some European media, the major corporate ones, have just been mindless parrots, whenever they have helped to further the vilest kind of aggression, whose clear aim is to overthrow a government by force. This is all very dangerous; and no one knows yet how dangerous it is.

It is vanity, hatred, and greed,--always as it was before--that drags individuals and nations into the abyss. To hear something again that reminds us of the pure of heart is what always amazes us,  wherever or whenever it bears within it the seeds of redemption, like the words of Martin Luther King:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


The debates between the establishment contenders for president have finally ended; and the two men are still at pains to run on their public records. The foreign policy debate (which means war debate) as well as questions about the world's ecological crisis were constantly subject to evasion. Given the relationship of both these party mouthpieces to oligarchy, it was hard to avoid the conclusion that both men, Romney and Obama,  would remain committed to letting the corporations have their way. The further plundering of exploitable societies along the path to global feudalism, goes hand in hand with the militarization of our own society; and under either man,  this will surely extend the lawless and despotic methods we have already seen.

When Obama describes the United States as "the indispensable nation in the world" you can be sure that a principle like that is arrogant enough to satisfy the taste of any empire. Surely it is a provincial attitude not shared by any nation the US has savaged economically, or threatened with destruction, or delivered to chaos and madness. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama agree on these goals in the most fundamental ways. And the cockeyed framing of this empire's place in the world could not go on in its reckless way, if third party voices were admitted to our political debate.

The state's power of impunity, the regime of total surveillance, the slow dismembering of due process, and continual testing of the public tolerance for bullying and police state tactics, is more prevalent than ever  at home. The authorities right up to the highest level are less and less answerable to our legal rights; for they prefer secrecy to transparency; and they are satisfied to levy token fines on the worst corporate offenders.

By endorsing Jill Stein, I am declaring my eternal opposition to the corporate takeover of my government. This is because certain refusals are crucial to being a citizen now. That  means the rejection of war as a policy,  and it means rejecting the globalist race for profit which has slavery as the ultimate model.  This bad behavior defines global corporate despotism-- which is another name for a parasite that destroys and assumes the identity of its host--the former sovereign government of the people. These transnational corporations want to make it illegal to interfere with their profits in any way; and therefore we must act to protect our descendants' DNA, from those who would irradiate their genes, or tinker in dangerous ways with the genetic code of things we eat.

And with all of these necessary refusals it is good to endorse something, many things that are positive, such as political liberty and the ideals of justice. I endorse the campaign Jill Stein is making on behalf of us all. She is worthy of the presidency.

Chris Hedges has recently thrown his support behind Jill Stein. His warnings about the XL agenda should be heeded:
The XL pipeline, which would cost $7 billion and whose southern portion is under construction and slated for completion next year, is the most potent symbol of the dying order. If completed, it will pump 1.1 million barrels a day of unrefined tar sand fluid from tar sand mine fields in Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. Tar sand oil is not conventional crude oil. It is a synthetic slurry that, because tar sand oil is solid in its natural state, must be laced with a deadly brew of toxic chemicals and gas condensates to get it to flow. Tar sands are boiled and diluted with these chemicals before being blasted down a pipeline at high pressure. Water sources would be instantly contaminated if there was a rupture. The pipeline would cross nearly 2,000 U.S. waterways, including the Ogallala Aquifer, source of one-third of the United States' farmland irrigation water. [...]
Keystone XL is part of the final phase of extreme exploitation by the corporate state. The corporations intend to squeeze the last vestiges of profit from an ecosystem careening toward collapse. Most of the oil that can be reached through drilling from traditional rigs is depleted. The fossil fuel industry has, in response, developed new technologies to go after dirtier, less efficient forms of energy. These technologies bring with them a dramatically heightened cost to ecosystems. They accelerate the warming of the planet. And they contaminate vital water sources. Deep-water Arctic drilling, tar sand extraction, hydraulic fracturing (or hydro-fracking) and drilling horizontally, given the cost of extraction and effects on the environment, are a form of ecological suicide.

There's an attack on civic life and justice, that's been gaining momentum with the weakening of our safeguards on due process; and we cannot risk much more of this degenerative history we are seeing.  There are apparently signs in some parts of the country of of a new kind of capitalist adventurism that dissolves municipalities as it seizes municipal real estate: an evil process where the police stand down or fade away; and it sets up a sort of Twilight Zone, where anarchy is just another business opportunity. 

I thought of Jill Stein after she and her running mate were arrested at the site of that final ludicrous foreign policy debate, where Romney and Obama traded gusts of hot air. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, the national candidates of the Green Party, were detained in a warehouse, where it is reported they were shackled to chairs for eight hours. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

copeland morris ARCHIPELAGO

Old fishermen admit to dry mouth,
Perpetual brine soaking the seat
Of their pants, and never managing,
Absent some fish, or without
Fidgets and superstitions that
Mention the smell of land.

There is the regret of Ovid’s writing.
And his lines, mindful of correspondence,
Bubble suddenly in the busy waters--
Or churn with memories of banishment,
Remembered within the archipelago‘s
Ebbing counterpoint.

The sea describes miracles that confound all
Wherever boundless moments belong to men
When their catch overflowed with double
Bounties of shrimp; for as they hauled up nets
They slid uncertainly on the deck.
And what a flock of seagulls came!

The wild delight and swarming obscured
The long-sought messages of these friends,
These that had been forgotten in the mêlée
Of fishermen’s oaths and hands that
Couldn’t prevent the artful glee,
Pilfering through hungry beaks, the prize

Until an old mate says, “The way to be rid of
This nuisance is to kill one.” Then the seagulls,
The flock as one, forgot their hunger; they
Abandoned the chase at the moment, just as
Their flesh lay down in the water, trembling
Wing torn. So Ovid himself would have noticed--

Drifting off to port, the wings still pay homage,
Like a grimace above and away; and only
The new moon trails behind them
Singing of hunger and longing.

Out of your ignorance, you seek much more than
Even gods are able to control.

Monday, October 08, 2012


"The world is big enough to satisfy everyone's needs; but will always be too small to satisfy individual greed."
--Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, September 28, 2012


"They didn't know what America was, before drones."

A US president's primal obsession with military violence may soon be pursued with machines  which operate under autonomous programming, with detachment; and divorced from war and its horror completely, the circuitry will at last  be king, having taken over the scene of war crimes. And yet as far as the cold intelligences that authorize, and maintain, and program these appliances of murder are concerned, the meaning of terror has crossed into the domain of science fiction nightmare.

There are apparently some planners at the Pentagon who foresee this as an improvement over the remotely piloted drone bombers they have now.

Let me digress for a moment to explain or elaborate a little scene I witnessed while riding the bus home yesterday.  The driver was pulling out of the downtown station, and stopped at a little open air concession, at the curb that comes just before the bus would merge into traffic. The door opened at the vehicle's front, and the driver wanted a snack, some chips for the road.  This admittedly held up the progress of every bus behind us for a minute or two; and there was some peckish tooting of horns, little toots. Now it would be easy to imagine station supervisors barking orders to keep to schedule, or a policeman coming to unblock the snarl. Yet who should appear, instead, but a couple of Homeland Security uniforms?

This is a very odd example of the new and deformed chain of authority in our country. At least one of the two men was livid; and he was trying without success to flag down the bus. But speeding away, the driver just hollered back: "I don't know who you are!" Well this response is not surprising, since these agents of federal authority don't have real looking badges, but a kind of pseudo badge, that is not even a patch, but is printed on, like the transfer on a t-shirt. And worse, it appears rather crudely drawn, the way monopoly money is. Yet even a burlesque like this is preferable to some cyborg machine, in whose computer chips all options are on the table.

We are not being bombed by our own drones as of yet; but the militarization of our police is leading to the normalization and introduction of these machines in the States. In the far outback of Waziristan, segregated from Pakistan's influence, how could they know what America was, before drones?

 The fantastic four-legged war machines, that most of us saw in the Star Wars trilogy, are being introduced in the real world, as prototypes: machines that lumber along and gallop with the gait of familiar animals. We are beyond the Twilight Zone now, outpacing the dystopias of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley.

Coming back to my story, I recall a strong premonition that the bus would soon be halted by some means, as we were departing the station. And sure enough, it hadn't gone two blocks before the driver was called on the phone. Lifting up the clunky, huge handset, as big as those on our landlines of 40 years ago, our driver idled there for ten minutes at the light, showing visible distress, as she was being chewed out for disrespecting the Black Shirts. It was several stops later before her emotions could be put into words:

"They ain't nothing. It don't bother me unless they come after my kids."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Well, I devoted about five minutes this morning watching Mitt's Wife, dressed in blood red, give her speech at the Repug Convention about "love."  This she did standing before a backdrop of super-enlarged photos of her and Mitt at their wedding, and others of Mitt dating back to his youthful glory days as a bully of gays and other outsiders. That was about all I could handle without breaking out the booze, and since it was a little early for that, I chose to brave it without.  

Big mistake.  Five minutes in, I could no longer stifle the wretch urge.  I tore myself away from the computer and fled, not even pausing at the bathroom, but stumbling out into the yard--almost tore the screen door off its hinges.  Luckily, the urge passed.  But then, I turned and saw--horror of horrors--my innocent little kitty sitting outside the window, staring--zombie-like--at the computer screen, as Mitt's Wife blathered on about how she knows all those homeless and jobless people Out There Across America, those poor working mothers, the single dads Out There, working extra hours, and feels their pain.  The camera kept cutting away to show the audience of true believers watching her, dewy-eyed--like a legion of zombies--the living dead!  

"No! No!!  Poor little kitty, don't look!" I shouted, as I bolted across the yard intending to yank her away from the window.  But--too late!  Before I could get to her, to slam my hand in front of her eyes, I watched her head droop slightly, her rib-cage start to oscillate, like a bellows. Then--oh, the horror!--the poor creature began heaving up on the porch, spewing projectile lumps of yellow curd and bile all over the window. Poor stupid dumb animal! Sick, frightened little beast!  She should have known better, I guess. But how? How can you tell a kitty not to look at something?  (Go ahead, try it sometime.)  Oh, how could she possibly know not to watch anything so obscene, vile, and horrible? Alas, we cannot always shield our little innocent ones from all the smarmy, feckless, dung-slinging deceivers.  

I tell you this in hopes that you will spare yourselves this gruesome experience.  Whatever you do, don't watch ANY of it!  Turn away! Divert your eyes from the screen! Believe me, I know.  I lived through it.  My cat barely survived.  Even now, the poor dazed wretch is sprawled on the porch, her red eyes staring listlessly. . .at nothing. Sweet bleeding Jesus!
I won't let her watch the Obama convention either.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Outside the Balkans, the assassinations made the headlines for a few days, then dropped from sight. In England, the early summer of 1914 was warm and bright, perfect for tennis at Wimbledon and for the upcoming Henley Regatta; the cloud that threatened to spoil everything was the growing likelihood of civil war in Ireland. The Continent seemed far off. It was "difficult to discuss foreign affairs freely," said one member of the House of Commons, "when our home affairs were in such a particularly evil plight."
 --Adam Hochschild, TO END ALL WARS, p. 81-2 
Empires have come and gone; and after reaching their moment of pomp, they begin scratching in their death cycle, demanding more life blood as the end draws near. There were the Balkan wars of 1912, in the midst of the military rivalries: and in higher circles and even casually in public, there was talk about the General War in Europe that so many thought was inevitable, simply a matter of time.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Britain and France had a defense pact with Czarist Russia, but not much else in common with Russia, politically. The Central Powers stood against them: Germany and the Austria-Hungarian Empire. But some young Bosnians, organized by a Serbian Colonel of the Black Hand secret society, were being trained in their country as terrorists, and sent along to Sarajevo; and they arrived in Serbia on or about June 28, 1914, to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austria-Hungarian heir to the throne.

Gavrilo Princip, standing just off the street, suddenly saw his opportunity; and when the car carrying Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, stopped after making a wrong turn, Princip sprang up, leveled his pistol, and shot them both.

As Adam Hochschild goes on to observe in his new history, TO END ALL WARS:

If the Archduke and his wife had not been assassinated, might the war have been avoided? Possibly, but given Austria-Hungary's impatience to crush Serbia and Germany's ambitions to dominate Europe, it is hard to imagine a conflict of some sort not taking place--not when we listen, for example, to the Kaiser, at a court ball in 1913, pointing out the general designated "to lead the march on Paris," or asking, fruitlessly, two successive Belgian kings for the right to begin that march through Belgium, or when we read General von Moltke, in 1915, writing to a friend about "this war which I prepared and initiated."

Syria is under attack by foreign powers, in order to complete a process of softening up the battlefield, to open the way for war against Iran. The economic weapons are used first, followed by covert attacks, such as the recent assassinations of Iranian scientists, followed by an outright aggression against Iran's ally, Syria. And then, when the protections of the alliance are down, Iran will be attacked directly, and severely.

The real crisis, for the current Syrian government, is that it is up against an insurgency that is receiving communications and diplomatic help, as well as money and arms; and it has to cope with mercenary and jihadist soldiers entering the country, which is the most troubling aspect of foreign interference. Russia and China are opposed to direct military intervention and have vetoed Security Council Resolutions that might be used to depose the government by force.

Incredible as it seems, American officials have justified the recent terrorist explosion in Damascus, that killed senior Syrian cabinet officials; and they have further declared a willingness to assist, and arm, religious extremists; if that's what it takes to bring down the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. A statement out of the Council of Foreign Relations, praising the discipline of al-Qaeda, followed this!   This could have been predicted in Tripoli, where the final result for Libya was possible only through sustained rounds of NATO bombing and air support,--with an assist from Qatari irregulars, Saudi money and arms, and the Special OPS. And not long after the dust settled, they moved on; and Syria was lined up as the next target.

The US doctrine of dominance is dangerous; if it means setting up missiles on Russia's border, that can be used for a first strike decapitation of their government; also announcing historic future expansion of US Naval Forces into Asia, pushing into China's sphere of influence. All of this will be happening at the end of a long process in which the Empire destabilizes and topples governments, like it did to Libya and possibly will  Lebanon,-- playing out its hand of economic war and covert war already underway against Syria and Iran.

 The struggle over Syria, in 2012, is connected to something else besides the good or evil, or mixture of good and evil, that is President Bashar al-Assad. And the Syrian president has his side of the story. After a serious international incident, in which shore batteries shot down a Turkish jet, which was alleged to be in Syrian air space, there was an international conference in Geneva; and not long afterward, the national broadcast on SANA featured a Turkish journalist who interviewed Assad:

Journalist: I don’t know, Mr. President, if you followed Clinton’s statement in the press conference in which she said that she understood from what Kofi Annan said that President al-Assad should go. How did you understand what Clinton said? 
President Assad: For us, what American officials say has no credibility in general. Second, the American position is already hostile to Syria in this crisis. They are part of the problem. They support the terrorists very clearly. That’s why we are not very interested in what this or that official says during this crisis. 
Journalist: There was talk in the Geneva conference yesterday about a transition in Syria, with or without President al-Assad, and about internal, regional and international demands that should be implemented in order to complete the reform process. What is your position in that regard? 
President Assad: Regionally and internationally they have nothing to do with us. We do not accept anything imposed on us from the outside. Everything will be decided internally. If I personally were interested in just holding this office, I would have implemented America’s dictates and the demands made through petrodollars, I would have accepted to sell my stances and principles in return for petrodollars, and what’s more important, I would have accepted the installation of a missile shield in Syria. --Cumhuriyet 
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had struggled to put words into the mouth of UN peace envoy, Kofi Annan; but no one was fooled. And yet now, in the record heat of mid-August, there is much more to worry about because war fever in Israel seems to have a grip on the leaders: the obsession or urgency for crushing Iran soon, whatever the US president's inconvenience around election time.

George Galloway warns that we are on the eve of destruction.  "Crusader intervention and occupation of Arab land" is unacceptable;  and sectarian division that pits one religious faction against another is unacceptable; and these are the instruments of violence the empire is using to weaken the people. It is important to admit that the original uprising had every right to rebel against Assad; but they rejected foreign intervention, especially if it meant  salafists,  or al-Qaeda, or other mercenaries, might destroy the one thing that was best in Syria. The isolation of Iran, and the unending threats of war against it, are the costs to that country, for simply standing up to outside domination, and refusing to surrender to what Galloway calls "the big pirates, the big tyrants".

It's a surreal empire, where as many US soldiers are committing suicide as are being killed in the nation's wars. And a republican candidate for president recently ran on the promise to attack Iran, if elected.

Gideon Levy, the Israeli journalist,  warns about the "Escalating Talk of a Military Attack on Iran" going around Tel Aviv at this moment. Levy was interviewed Wednesday, on DemocracyNow!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Gideon Levy, before we conclude, is it the case that it’s been reported that a majority of Israelis are opposed to any Israeli action against Iran at the moment?
 GIDEON LEVY: No, it changes. The public opinion here is quite brainwashed, like in any other place, and things start changing. It depends how you ask it. There was another poll which showed that, I think, 47 percent of the Israelis are already in favor of an preparation, that over 50 percent believe that if Iran will have nuclear weapons, this means a second Holocaust for Israel. I mean, I wouldn’t go for this, because there is so much information, misinformation in the media that people are really confused and people can be shaken very, very easily. The matter of fact is that almost the entire military and defense establishment of Israel, the present one and the former one, is united in opposing an attack in this time. But still, the decision makers—mainly two, the prime minister and the defense minister, Barak—seem to be very, very devoted to do something.

For 14 hours yesterday I was at work--teaching Christ to lift his cross by numbers, and how to adjust his crown; and not to imagine he thirst till after the last halt. I attended his Supper to see that there were not complaints; and inspected his feet that they should be worthy of the nails. I see to it that he is dumb, and stands at attention before his accusers. With a piece of silver I buy him every day, and with maps I make him familiar with the topography of Golgotha.  
 --Wilfred Owen, (letter to Osbert Sitwell, July 4th, 1918)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

neil young LOVE AND WAR

When I sing about love and war 
I don't really know what I'm saying 
I've been in love and I've seen a lot of war 
Seen a lot of people praying 
They pray to Allah and they prey to the lord 
But mostly they pray about love and war 
Pray about love and war 
I've seen a lot of young men go to war 
And leave a lot of young brides waiting 
I've watched them try to explain it to their kids 
And seen a lot of them failing 
They tried to tell them and they tried to explain 
Why daddy won't ever come home again. 
Daddy won't ever come home again 
I said a lot of things that I can't take back 
But I don't really know if I want to 
There've been songs about love 
I sang songs about war 

Since the backstreets of Toronto 
I sang for justice and I hit a bad chord 
But I still try to sing about love and war 
Sing about love and war 
The saddest thing in the whole wide world 
Is to break the heart of your lover 
I made a mistake and I did it again 
And we struggled to recover 
Then I sang in anger, hit another bad chord 
But I still try to sing about love and war 
I've been in love and I've seen a lot of war 
Seen a lot of people praying 
They pray to Allah and they prey to the lord 
But mostly they pray about love and war 
Pray about love and war.

Listen to Neil Young's "Love and War"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Conundrum

The current argument between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney over Rom/ObamaCare is nothing but a smoke-screen, a fog that, unfortunately for the country, avoids what should be the real discussion: what a boondoggle this healthcare bill will be for the insurance companies, when the only thing that makes sound economic sense is Medicare for all. The President knows this, of course, even if Romney doesn't. But by targeting his opponent as the original champion for this fraudulent law, the President is merely pointing out how thin the difference really is between these two corporate shills now competing for the title of White House Occupant.

Monday, April 02, 2012


"There is no terrorism like state terrorism." --Arundhati Roy

"...The United States government is now structured so that, like an automobile needing gasoline, it needs war in order to function, in order to operate and be fueled. It's really, I think, best thought of as this insatiable beast, that needs as its primary nourishment, continuous war." -- Glenn Greenwald, Boardman Lecture (22 March) (my bold)

We have come further along now to the demise of democracy, with the gradual erasure of constitutional rights, rubbing out one piece and then another; while a charismatic African-American president just adds further irony to the loss.  He alone is not responsible; but is assisted by his own party; and also prevails with a nod from his republican adversaries in Congress. We wanted to turn to someone like Obama, in 2008, who spoke of law and respect for our rights under the Constitution; but whatever we might have expected of him, he didn't really curb state terror and lawlessness.

In his speech of last month, Greenwald starts with some fundamental ideas from military historian, Andrew Bacevich: America is currently in a state of endless war. And war is no longer one of the  practical instruments of foreign policy;--nor is it a means by which the policy is pursued,--so much as it has become "a foreign policy goal unto itself."

And Greenwald warns us that Obama has taken the abuse of power further than Bush dared:

The most tyrannical power that any government can possibly assert, which is the power to target its own citizens for execution far from any battlefield, without a shred of due process or transparency;--that's a power that the Obama administration has not only claimed for itself,--but now publicly justified, and in the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, exercised.
You cannot conceive of a more tyrannical power than the power to kill American citizens without due process. 

But how can we be sure the persons (even US citizens) that the president wants to assassinate now without any due process at all, are really guilty? They haven't been afforded real trials. How do we know if those assassinated were really affiliated with al-Qaeda?--if they were involved with "associated forces"?--or with those "belligerent" to the US? They could have been framed by some malevolent faction in their country, or condemned by faulty intelligence.

Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, got especially squeamish when reporters repeated the term, "targeted assassination"; for as he sees it, a real distinction applies; and he went on to say that "targeted killing"was the right way to describe it. Nothing to worry about. Killing is normal  government business; assassination, on the other hand, would be illegal.

Aren't American values just a twisted mutation after all this? The Attorney General thinks that secret life-or-death deliberations over the fate of an accused citizen, and the subsequent decision to carry out execution, and soberly assassinate/kill the person, is quite the normal thing to do. Eric Holder goes on the record, to add that executive due process requires no component of judicial due process. However, the founders of this country wrote due process into the Constitution; and they wrote it with no uncertain words, to include judicial due process as part of the rights of the accused.

Obama has signed terrible bills into law, voicing only some anemic words of protest. The NDAA, for example, which allows for the military to arrest US civilians on the "Homeland Battlefield", if it comes to that: and this new power permits indefinite detention of American citizens, when the president has a mind to declare an emergency.

"Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed". Remember those words?

But to come back to the question of state terrorism,  John Pilger writes:

Remember the tear-stained headlines when Brand Obama was elected: "momentous, spine-tingling": the Guardian. "The American future," wrote Simon Schama, "is all vision, numinous, unformed, light-headed ..." The San Francisco Chronicle's columnist saw a spiritual "lightworker [who can] usher in a new way of being on the planet". Beyond the drivel, as the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg had predicted, a military coup was taking place in Washington, and Obama was their man. Having seduced the anti-war movement into virtual silence, he has given America's corrupt military officer class unprecedented powers of state and engagement.   [...]
 On 5 January, in an extraordinary speech at the Pentagon, Obama said the military would not only be ready to "secure territory and populations" overseas but to fight in the "homeland" and provide "support to the civil authorities". In other words, US troops will be deployed on the streets of American cities when the inevitable civil unrest takes hold.
America is now a land of epidemic poverty and barbaric prisons: the consequence of a "market" extremism which, under Obama, has prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street. The victims are mostly young jobless, homeless, incarcerated African-Americans, betrayed by the first black president. The historic corollary of a perpetual war state, this is not fascism, not yet, but neither is it democracy in any recognisable form, regardless of the placebo politics that will consume the news until November.

The political class, riding on the inflatable US Empire, puffed up near to bursting, on petrodollars of uncertain worth, looks to be increasingly agnostic on the question of democracy. When their bosses (not us, but the 1%) demand their compliance, these politicos jump where they are told to jump. And it seems they are corrupt, operating with an indifference to human suffering, oriented in terms of the rewards they will reap for loyalty and their years of faithful service to the looters, embezzlers, and the officer class, and the defense lobby and war profiteers. When push comes to shove they are indifferent to democracy. The world according to decree is alright with them.

Dick Cheney's long-nurtured vision of the "Unitary Executive"is quite in style now in Obama's White House. Though this could be impeachable, or criminal on the face of it; the Defense Chief, Leon Panetta, nonetheless caused Senator Sessions some dismay, when the senator questioned him about where the administration would go, in order to find the legal basis for going to war. Panetta's evasive replies were aimed at avoiding the sticky issue--that is--the legal responsibility of the president to consult with Congress and obtain congressional approval, before going to war.

The aloof Defense Secretary was unconcerned about the senator's concerns, and less than concerned himself, about coming to Congress, in order to establish  a legal basis for going to war; although he took pains not to say so directly. The administration believes it has the authority, in and of itself, to decide which nation it attacks; and this is based on its conviction that it knows best how, and when to defend the United States. As far as the basis of legality was concerned, that would arise, Leon Panetta said, from the consensus of the "international community" or our NATO allies.

Senator Sessions might have been wondering if our president, a constitutional scholar, had known better than to ignore Congress when he ordered the bombing attacks on Libya--that went on for months--without ever bothering to establish a legal basis for war. But Sessions wasn't about to challenge the administration with that question.

Yes indeed, there's a beast already loose in this land. It extracts wealth and resources from people who can't defend themselves; and this same beast has been exporting misery and hideous violence to foreign lands for as long as any of us can remember. It runs on insatiable greed. It's been busy for decades with its obscene work: seeing to the dismantling of democracy, hammering on public education, corrupting information; and all the while pretending to make us safe. Hypnotizing us with its endless military bullshit. It's no problem for the beast to rummage through our computer disks, our financial and medical records; nothing to do but infiltrate our political life with spies and hostile agents who try to sabotage peaceful change.  Even the word, peace, has been evicted from our political vocabulary by this beast.

Speaking for the beast, Panetta's responses in the US Senate signaled the true apotheosis of imperial power;  and not just its supremacy, but what the word signifies, the real deification of this kind of power: murder premeditated in secret, and carried out by executive decree.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Random Thoughts On Going Insane

The Repug campaign has taken on all the aspects of a carnival nightmare, complete with gargoyles, spooky clowns, and a musical sound track by Saint Saens or Maurice Ravel. As I watch it unfold from day to day, the one thing about it that I look forward to is its shock and awe quality as a perversion of entertainment--its appeal to the baser instincts.

It's as if the entire American audience is massing nightly to witness a hideous traffic accident, to applaud and cheer at the sight of crunched metal, smoke and fire, severed limbs and decapitations. Thus, as one after another candidate breathes his or her last gasp and drops out, having spent millions for a brief star performance in what appears to be less a presidential campaign than a Jerry Springer reality show, I can't help but feel a little--how can I say it?--a little let down. A sinking feeling, like watching the air leak out of a cut tire. First Michele Bachman, now Rick Perry. Romney may be next. Gosh, I'm gonna miss all those crazy loons. But hey, Santorum's still in. And Ron (Let 'em die) Paul--God bless him! And look--is that Herman Cain peeking up from the swamp? Bless you, Stephen Colbert. There's hope for this thing, yet. But I do wish Trump would come back. At least Donald knew what it was really all about.

Meanwhile, it seems that Facebook is making people sad. Yes, it's true. According to some university studies--one from Stanford, for instance--people who spend a lot of time on Facebook tend on average to be unhappier with life and have a vague sense that life is not fair. Gee, I'm not on Facebook, and somehow I already knew that life wasn't fair. Well, I guess the Facebook people are not looking at life in quite the same way that I am.

At any rate, it seems that the more time one spends looking at hundreds of one's friends, near-friends, pseudo-friends, friends from the past, friends from the future, associates and pseudo-associates, one begins to get depressed. The reason for that is that finally, one can only take so much of: "Gee, look at me, look at my smiling face, look how happy and successful I am. See me playing, see me with my dog, see me on vacation, dining out, partying down with my friends, living it up. See me, see me, see me. . . ." The whole thing it turns out apparently gives off a false impression. So you begin to compare yourself. You begin to feel less happy and more like a miserable, pathetic excuse for a human being, compared with all those legions of leering grinning people. The same study showed that those who actually spend time with other real people out in the world, instead of vicariously sucking up pseudo-friendship on the web, tend to have a happier, or at least, a more realistic outlook on life.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

william skink TRANSIENT

he wasn’t dead yet
but he would die just a few hours later
after I left
after I sat there looking him over
feet gnarled from old frostbite
swollen ankles, those hobbled legs
and skin like wax paper colored by the quitting
of his liver—

and he quit that broken body broken by booze
on the seventh day of October
just a few days after the cold rain had finally begun to fall

Harley said he was there when Joe collapsed
so he waved down a cop
who brought the ambulance to take him along river Clark Fork
away from the streets he slept on
to at least have the dignity of departure
washed and laid out on soft fabric and plush drugs

his sea of blood leading slowly to that stillness—

the dark October clouds outside the window—
Joe knew he was drinking down death
but he honored certain codes
and though proud of hustling, insisted no cussing
during business hours because (he told me once)
there might be kids around

the local paper would call him transient and
be done with him

this local poet says fuck that, his name was Cock-Eyed Joe
and I hope he finds peace beyond
because there is none here

copeland morris ENTWINED SONNET

Her shaded eyes, her necklace black velvet, onyx. Anguish she spoke; and he carried on, obsessed As only a young man could. An odd harm...