Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

06
Apr
10

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02
Feb
10

Timeless: “Love vigilantes”

“Love vigilantes” came around on my ITunes while I was fixing dinner. A Laura Cantrell song I must have downloaded ages ago, but only tonight popped into the foreground. It was haunting, about a homesick soldier who finally gets his “leave” and flies home–to find his wife on the floor clutching a telegram that “said that I was a brave, brave men but that I was dead.” It was strangely familiar, but weirdly hard to pinpoint, as if from some distant era. World War I? The Korean War? Vietnam?

Actually you only have to go back to 1985. The band: New Order. I didn’t recognize this stripped-down version. I had heard it countless times before, but never, to my shame, paid much attention to the lyrics. At first I thought Persian Gulf War, but the years didn’t line up. The Falklands seems the most likely, though it could be any war.

It took Laura Cantrell (much beloved of John Peel, who of course also loved New Order) to find the beautiful, sad, ghostly ballad inside New Order’s Wall o’ Sound.

What an unearthly, powerful song, in both versions.

New Order, live in Japan 1985

Laura Cantrell, 2008

26
Dec
09

Rahm sez: “NAFTA = Good Times!”

Easy credit ripoffs. Good times!

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been telling Democrats a win on the health issue will reverse the slide in public opinion, just as passage of another controversial proposal, the North American Free Trade Agreement, lifted President Bill Clinton in the polls.

Wall Street Journal, “Democrats pin 2010 hopes on bill”

In an only slightly different context a wise person said, “It’s scary to think that people this obscenely stupid are running the country.”

04
Dec
09

“Obama’s Anti-MacArthur moment”

Truman sacks MacArthur

Tom Englehardt has a spot-on analysis of what went down last Tuesday night. Obama’s West Point speech announcing the Afghanistan escalation was a Big Moment in America’s recent history, and one that shows just how desperate straits we’re in. Who among us thought that when the Democrats swept into power in the 2006 midterms, presaging their control of everything in the 2008 election, that the Dems would not only NOT end Bush’s wars and Constitutional crimes, but that they would extend them?

But nobody talks about it. I see and hear a lot of chatter about the last spasms of health care reform, Wall Street excesses, and New York state’s gay marriage doublecross, but I’m not hearing a lot of “what the fuck is he doing with this Afghanistan bullshit?”–in spite of the fact that no one–NO ONE–thinks there’s a chance in hell of this mini-surge succeeding.

With my usual gratitude for Englehardt’s keen powers, but with an unusually heavy heart because what he says is so fricking depressing, I present “Meet the Commanded in Chief”, in which a very convincing case is made for this being Obama’s “anti-MacArthur moment”:

In April 1951, in the midst of the Korean War, President Harry Truman relieved Douglas MacArthur of command of American forces.  He did so because the general, a far grander public figure than either McChrystal or Centcom commander Petraeus (and with dreams of his own about a possible presidential run), had publicly disagreed with, and interfered with, Truman’s plans to “limit” the war after the Chinese intervened.

Obama, too, has faced what Robert Dreyfuss in Rolling Stone calls a “generals’ revolt” — amid fears that his Republican opposition would line up behind the insubordinate field commanders and make hay in the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns.  Obama, too, has faced a general, Petraeus, who might well have presidential ambitions, and who has played a far subtler game than MacArthur ever did.  After more than two months of what right-wing critics termed “dithering” and supporters called “thorough deliberations,” Obama dealt with the problem quite differently.  He essentially agreed to subordinate himself to the publicly stated wishes of his field commanders.  (Not that his Republican critics will give him much credit for doing so, of course.)  This is called “politics” in our country and, for a Democratic president in our era, Tuesday night’s end result was remarkably predictable.

The dysfunction here is quite intense. There is an unquestioned trend toward increased presidential power in the last half century or so, but not for a president who wants to buck the consensus in Washington. I’m not defending Obama, but I also really can’t imagine ANY president doing the right thing and sacking his insubordinate subordinates in the Pentagon for their brazen challenge to his authority.  One wishes for more from the guy, but he never led us to believe he’d do anything different than what he’s doing. Still, the landscape is pretty dismal.

Unfortunately, the most essential problem isn’t in Afghanistan; it’s here in the United States, in Washington, where knowledge is slim, egos large, and national security wisdom is deeply imprinted on a system bleeding money and breaking down. The president campaigned on the slogan, “Change we can believe in.” He then chose as advisors — in the economic sphere as well, where a similar record of gross error, narrow and unimaginative thinking, and over-identification with the powerful could easily be compiled — a crew who had never seen a significant change, or an out-of-the-ordinary thought it could live with — and still can’t.

As a result, the Iraq War has yet to begin to go away, the Afghan War is being escalated in a major way, the Middle East is in some turmoil, Guantanamo remains open, black sites are still operating in Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s budget has grown yet larger, and supplemental demands on Congress for yet more money to pay for George W. Bush’s wars will, despite promises otherwise, soon enough be made.

A stale crew breathing stale air has ensured that Afghanistan, the first of Bush’s disastrous wars, is now truly Obama’s War; and the news came directly from West Point where the president surrendered to his militarized fate.

20
Nov
09

Camera Obscura: More lush, orchestral melancholia …

… and it adds up to the sweetest thing.

Not to mention the fact that this video is absolutely wonderful. Attending  a costume do at a country house as Simon & Garfunkel, and meeting friends there dressed as the cover art from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors?!  Someone please invite me to these parties!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

04
Nov
09

Gaza: “Amal, two and a half years old. All her insides were outside…”

Congress votes (334-36, with 22 “present” and 30 “not voting”) to condemn the Goldstone report. It’s nonbinding, but “[calls] on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the ‘Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ in multilateral fora.”

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Amal, two and a half years old. All her insides were outside… and she was giving her last breath and she said, ‘I love you and I want sweets.’ Can you imagine, the last thing she said was, ‘I love you mom.’

Play this video  from beginning to end. How can anyone oppose an investigation into how the bodies of little children came to be riddled with bullets? How can anyone oppose an investigation into a campaign in which Amnesty International states “1,400 Palestinians were killed, including some 300 children, and hundreds of other unarmed civilians, including more than 115 women and some 85 men aged over 50”?

Well, most of your Congressfolk oppose any “further consideration” of the topic. Maybe you should ask them why.

This video was even more heartbreaking. And you can read the transcript of the Bill Moyers video with Goldstone here.

The Israeli government, for its part, is indeed taking action. According to this AFP report, “The prime minister instructed the relevant government bodies to examine a worldwide campaign to amend the international laws of war to adapt them to the spread of global terrorism, his office said in a statement.”

In other words, change the rules of engagement to allow the firing of machine guns into the stomachs of three-year-old girls.

Remember These Children memorializes both Israeli and Palestinian children killed since 2000.

more about “UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza C…“, posted with vodpod

28
Oct
09

Camera Obscura – “French Navy”

Nothing to add. Camera Obscura’s sweet and melancholy sound is perfect for a gray day, such as today, here in Kentucky.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 




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