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Category Archives: USA

barnet newman red lineBarnett Newman, Red Line

Having self-snookered himself into his own corner, our increasingly hapless President Obama, ham-strung with a recalcitrant House of alleged Representatives which seems intent on dragging the entire nation into some imaginary past – one in which a “Negro” would never be allowed to rise above a certain station in life (say, shoe-shine boy) – and abandoned by our “special-relationship” ally of the UK, and so forced into the arms of a French lover, is presently pondering an attack upon Syria for having crossed a certain “red-line” – to say having allegedly used chemical arms against his own population.  Claiming a highly dubious “moral high-ground,” the President asserts that Syria’s unsavory leader, Assad, must be punished for this transgression of supposed international “norms.”  Coming from the head of a country which not so long ago thought nothing of laying waste to Vietnam with chemical agents (Boehner Orange), or more recently winked and nodded when its then-erstwhile lackey, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, gassed Kurds and Iranians, this moral outrage takes on a tragically comic air.  America skates on ever thinner ice as it pontificates about ethics and morals, especially as it imprisons Chelsea/Bradley Manning for 35 years for revealing American war crimes, as according to the Nuremberg Convention he was duty-bound to do; or as it hounds Edward Snowden for revealing a vast conspiracy within the government to illegally violate the US Constitution.  On this day, as I write, tucked into the New York Times front page is the now every-day banner, “4 Killed in Pakistan Drone Attack.”   As was once said, Mr. Obama has a lot of “‘splainin’” on his hands.

ObamaMLK2

While trotting out last week for the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famed speech, and trying his very best to emulate the preacher cadence of same, Mr. Obama droned on double the length of King, and to 100th the effect:  smooth teleprompter reader that he is, despite his best efforts, Barack just can’t do it like the master did.  Perhaps because lurking behind the voice is a absence of passion and belief.   Not long before he was killed, Mr King said this:

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own

Government, I can not be Silent.”

 

gty_martin_luther_king_jr_ll_130115_wmainMartin Luther King

I think there is little room to doubt whether Mr. King would be silent in the face of the ever burgeoning military-industrial-media-security state which the American system has become.  [Below I print in full King's address, where his analysis of where America was, and was heading, has proved to be tragically accurate.]

And so, to pile irony on bitter irony, sent out in Obama’s stead, is his current Secretary of State, John Kerry.  If you will recall Kerry ran for President and was defeated by AWOL draft-avoider, rich man’s son, George W. Bush, in a campaign which ridiculed Kerry’s service (during which time he received medals for this and that) and “Swift Boating” became a verb.  During the Vietnam war Kerry became a hero of the American left when he spoke out against the war while still in service.  He became an anti-war icon, testifying in Congress.

Kerry

Today Kerry is the administration’s waterboy, its loudest and most aggressive voice calling for action – a military strike – against Assad’s Syria, while Obama, our Nobel “Peace Prize” laureate, stays relatively quiet in the background.   For America the middle-east’s oily tar-baby is proving Uncle Remus’ fable all too prescient.    The craggy faced New Englander has good reason for a few more worry-wrinkles.

ap_john_kerry_mi_130506_wgJohn Kerry

And as I write (noon August 31 2013), the NY Times headlines a sudden change in direction as Obama attempts to tip-toe out of his corner, and has now tossed the matter of attacking into the hands of what had been a largely silent Congress:  now they must decide, as some had demanded and requested, just what to do.  Somehow the chant “Bomb, bomb,  bomb Damascus” just doesn’t have the same jolly ring that old John McCain’s (chorused by Rush Limbaugh and others), “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” had.  And besides Congress isn’t back for another week and perhaps by then America will have forgotten about it all, we’ll have done a few more drone attacks in Yemen or elsewhere, and as school kicks in we can all discuss college football and basketball and then the pro games.

And this criminal, having lied to Congress, will slip away, perhaps retiring quietly from government service and back through the revolving door to head one of our NSA contract spy corporations.  Ah, America.

8302013black-blog480James Clapper, head of NSA, Congressional perjurer

Following is the full text of Martin Luther King’s address:

Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence

Delivered 4 April 1967, Riverside Church, New York City

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. I also want to say that I consider it a great honor to share this program with Dr. Bennett, Dr. Commager, and Rabbi Heschel, and some of the distinguished leaders and personalities of our nation. And of course it’s always good to come back to Riverside church. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it is always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit.

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I’m in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: “Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?” “Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people,” they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church — the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate — leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans.

Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath –
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be — are — are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 19541; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

 

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954 — in 1945 rather — after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China — for whom the Vietnamese have no great love — but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States’ influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers. What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing — in the crushing of the nation’s only non-Communist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. Soon, the only solid — solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call “fortified hamlets.” The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call “VC” or “communists”? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the North” as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.

Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than eight hundred — rather, eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called “enemy,” I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak of the — for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism (unquote).

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do [immediately] to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam. Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation. Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos. Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government. Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

Part of our ongoing — Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country, if necessary. Meanwhile — Meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service, we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality…and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala — Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.

And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years, we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.”2 We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”3

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing — embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate — ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.” “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.”4 Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says:

Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word (unquote).

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message — of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,In the strife of truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ‘tis truth alone is strong Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”5

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Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (May 25, 1878 – November 25, 1949) was an American tap dancer and actor of stage and film. Audiences enjoyed his understated style, which eschewed the frenetic manner of the jitterbug in favor of cool and reserve; rarely did he use his upper body, relying instead on busy, inventive feet, and an expressive face.

Yesterday President Obama emerged for a press conference and attempted to stick the genies of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden back in their top secret bottles.  In his best Harvardese shuck & jive mode, he tap danced around the blunt truth that the military-industrial-security-state is in constant violation of the Constitution of the USA (which its members are sworn to uphold), and instead put a smiley face on governmental intrusions into the privacy of everyone (American or not), all in the name of “protecting” Americans from the nasty nebulous “terrorists” who bedevil us, god only knows why since we are so very nice all around the world.   Seldom rattled by his job as cover for the Wizard of Oz system behind the curtain, Obama fumbled as he suggested that in order for Michelle to believe him, he had to take her back in the kitchen and show her he actually did the dishes.  This lame would-be metaphor found him foundering, probably aware that he was, well, lying, and that, well, the entire system which he represents is nothing more than a lie.

James ClapperJames Clapper, perjuror before Congress, Director of NSA

Trying his best to put lipstick on his pig, Obama did his smooth-talk routine, attempting to calm the roiling realization that Americans, as he said rather explicitly, just plain don’t trust the government (anymore).  Left or right, those who swallowed the cold-war Kool-Aid, and all the other trumped up jangle-your-nerves crises that seem to be the societal norm of our imperium, seem to have drawn a line in the collecting of their telecommunications, emails, visits to porn sites or whatever else it is they desire to keep “private.”  Snowden, for whom the government in the form of another shuck and jive artist, Attorney General Eric Holder – another culturally bleached-black – found itself having to issue an assuring word to Russia that it would not execute or torture him should he be returned to the USA (!), was accorded a one year asylum in Russia, as the US security system shuddered at what further revelations he might offer.  One could hear the murmuring, “This is all supposed to be secret… and how do those dang computer code things work, anyway?”

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Ironically, the security apparatus is at the mercy of the techies – many of whom incline to a libertarian slant, and many of whom follow the motto, “information wants to be free” – who understand the arcane matters of bits and bytes, encryption, code, etc., in a manner other than a “concept” to bandy about while not understanding it at all.  Those in the executive echelons of these systems are probably quite aware of their vulnerability on this account, and hence the draconian responses to those who let the beans slip.  Manning and Snowden are not the first to feel the harsh hand of the security agencies for letting out the word that America is not at all the America the government wishes you to think it is.   Long before General Smedley Butler wrote his “War is a Racket,” Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, and more recently Russ Tice and William Binney informed the public about the US surveillance abuses so clearly revealed by Snowden.

predator-weaponizedAmerica’s ambassador, the Predator

And so it is that while Bojangles and StepnFetchit did their duties, and tap-danced mightily to hide the ugly truths which keep slipping out of our Big Brother surveillance systems, and glossed over the long American history of governmental abuses of the citizenry, even former President Carter was found to say that we “no longer have a functioning democracy.”  Suddenly Senators and Representatives in Congress have found a new hobby horse to ride as a wave of public sympathy for Snowden and Manning builds.  What was formerly the turf of the woolly-eyed radical crazy now finds a home in the mouths of “respectable” politicos.  If interested, look up the quote of Mahatma Gandhi in this regard.

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Dazzling with his toes, Obama attempts to deflect attention from what he does with his hands.  This on-going show began with his “don’t look back” absolution of the war criminals and Constitution-abusers who immediately preceded him.  It began at the outset of his administration when the criminals of Wall Street were chosen as his advisers regarding the economic collapse of 2008.  It carries on in his hounding of whistle-blowers far in excess of all previous administrations.  And finally, with the present defense he offers of NSA-CIA-FBI violations of the law and Constitution, even his most faithful supporters begin to fall away, no longer charmed by the seemingly gentle and intelligent words of their black knight on a white horse, come to rescue them from the disappeared faux Texas cowboy.  Rather late (and with three years to go) they discover their guy is a kiss-ass Harvard tongued StepnFetchit to the hard powers that run the show.

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Keep tapping, Bo.  Just nobody believes in the change you can believe in anymore.  And why should they?  It was a PR line of pure-BS to con the liberals into thinking something would actually happen, and instead they got more Bush than Bush, all delivered in a hot package of 100% shuck & jive as done by well-educated criminals – like the ones who run Wall Street, the military-industrial-security state-media complex – and who pull your strings.  You offered “the most transparent” government, and instead you provided the most secretive.  The only thing transparent is that Obama is owned lock, stock and barrel by the ruling elite of the 1% who do what they want, legal or not.   That’s the secret they are worried about, and that you showed in your dismal press conference.  Trust us?  Are you kidding?

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July 28, 2013.  Butte Montana

A listless summer afternoon in the wake of the carnival air of Butte’s Evel Knievel days of bikes and beer-stoked mayhem  subsided into a Sunday quiet.  Up here in Walkerville dogs bark, a few kids can be heard in the nearby playground, and looking westward the sky is blanketed with smoke from a fire in Phillispburg, about 80 miles away.  Out in the far distant world the reverberations of large events seem to rebound, casting a similar gray blanket across the globe.  The Arab spring of not so long ago seems to have devolved into imminent multiple civil wars as Sunni and Shiite, and numerous other sects, recoil into terminal defensive stances as slaughters rip the giddy optimism of last years “spring.”  Elsewhere the Chinese economy seems to slow, sending fiscal ripples across the ocean, while worries build about their bubble and burst. The European community stutters along dragged by the rip-tides of “austerity” as pressures build on the streets and the famed post-war social contract shreds.

Here in America a mix of our usual self-administered shock and awe casts a sullen air across the summer landscape.  From wacky weather of too dry here, too wet there does in crops from West to South, to the after-shocks of  the Boston Marathon massacre and on to the “stand your ground” trial results in Florida, the nation seems transfixed and then numbed to the descending clouds of angst.     The revelations of Edward Snowden and the current trial of Bradley Manning, all these events combine to produce a vast self-doubt where not merely those of a radical bent such as myself (who called this shot long long ago), but now ordinary citizens as well as major political figures – such as former President Carter – mutter seriously of the fracturing of the American community and the faltering of our self-proclaimed “democracy.”  Calls are made to split the nation, and let the “red” states go and pay their own bills.  The Supreme Court rules still again to let money speak louder and louder, shielding corporations while assaulting voting rights in what is a blatant bit of racism on behalf of the GOP.  The summer calm carries a sullen tone, as it seems we await the next battering – a hurricane?  Fire?  Drought?  Flood?  The next revelation of our police-state reality?

James ClapperJames Clapper, Director, NIA, perjuror10leak2-articleLargeEdward Snowden82d8e21c-f33a-4b30-a220-fbb6dc525474-460x276General Keith B. Alexander, USA, Director NSABradley ManningBradley Manning

Lingering in the melange of this seemingly constant avalanche of frantic “news”  there seems an ever increasing sense of something having been lost, as if washed away in the fast moving currents of a flooded river.  What seemed reasonably certain now raises doubt, but so swift is the current that we almost forget immediately what trauma had preceded whatever the current one is.  The Sandyhook massacre in Connecticut, the furor over gun-control, the constant rancor sent charging through the public airwaves, the bombing in Boston — each new event folds in upon the next, numbing the mind and soul.   In the furious rush, too many things – whether one articulates it to one’s self or not – slip by, with a nagging sense of “forgottenness.”  Let’s take and example, the Boston Marathon bombing and its immediate aftermath.

You can try to ignore that the person who put this together is not a native English speaker and the cheesy closing.  But, indeed that was a man – even the police admit it – forced to strip, who looks very much like Tamerlan Tsarnaev and who, allegedly subsequently having been released, simply disappeared: no name from the police, no good old American suit against the police.  Nope, just disappeared.  And his body double then was dead, purportedly shot in a gun battle and then run over by his brother who managed to escape in a car and find his way to a hiding place miles away – or so said the police.  Or having found their second man, Dzhokhar, the police claimed a major gun battle with their target, only to report later that, well, uh, he didn’t have a gun.  Or whisking the now seriously injured man, who the police initially said had shot himself, away to a guarded hospital, he goes unheard and unseen for months while the “justice” system emits word that he’s admitted to the bombing, and then weeks after he was taken, that he’d scribbled last words on the interior of the boat, and those were released.  Or that an alleged associate of Tsarnaev was, gee gosh, just sorta accidentally killed by the FBI while being interviewed in his home in Florida.   Somehow the whole matter (never mind The Craft militarists seen at the site of the bombing, and too many myriad other fishy elements to dismiss out of hand) seems infected with the kinds of things which make one seriously doubt the word of our “authorities.”

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Following this spectacle, in which a major American city was essentially closed down in a boyhunt for an alleged dangerous terrorist, a grateful public flooded the streets with cheers for the assembly of militarized police who had saved them; following the filing of charges against him, the NY Times comments section was flooded with calls for skipping a trial, executing him, or better imprisoning him for life – Dzhokhar had long since been convicted by the press with more or less all the evidence, comments, and statements – much of it transparently false and much very questionable – coming from the police and FBI.  But it worked – a major American city closed down by a military occupation with nary a squeak.

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Not long afterward our attentions were yanked another direction.  Following in the footsteps of Bradley Manning, whose military trial verdict is expected today (found not guilty of “aiding the enemy”), another techie in the service of the government by way of an “outsourced” national security job at Booz Allen (spies for hire), Edward Snowden, absconded to Hong Kong, and now Moscow, having released through the UK’s Guardian, direct evidence of the National Security Agencies blanket surveillance of all American (and foreign) telecommunications.  All.  So much for the US Constitution in the hands of our corporatized security-state masters.  If they have the means – which they do – they will use all the tools at their disposal to “protect” us.  The ferocious response of the government and its security authorities suggests that they know full well there are many things which they have hidden from the citizenry which will cause major political problems, domestic and foreign, if revealed.  Indeed the response is already visible as the entire surveillance program has come under attack from left and right, including Mr. Carter who says simply that we don’t have a democracy now.  Snowden, in his public statements, has appeared eminently reasonable and sane, while the government and much of the press have sought to vilify him personally and deflect attention from the content of what he has revealed.  It is clear the government is truly scared of what he might further reveal.   Ironically, while the government has not hesitated to accuse Snowden of criminal and felonious actions, it’s own functionaries, have blatantly lied to Congress regarding their activities – lying to Congress under oath, which Mr. Clapper did, is perjury and a felony crime.  Yet nothing has been said or done to Mr. Clapper for this transparent public instance of crime, just as the crimes on Wall Street have been brushed aside.   It is such double-standards which have cast the grim cloud over America – one compounded by a long train of similar abuses instigated by our government – from the fake grounds for war with Iraq, to Obama’s executive decision that he is allowed to authorize drone attacks on American citizens by some magical legalistic mumbo-jumbo done in the back rooms.  Put simply, the US government has steadily undermined the source of its authority with its own actions, and in turn the public has steadily turned against it.  Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are hounded and prosecuted for revealing the truth of our government’s behavior; high up government and economic officials are absolved for serious crimes.   What were once considered the hysterical views of wild-eyed radicals now come from the mouths of former Presidents, Senators, and ordinary citizens who have had the wool removed from their eyes.

[Note: Mr Clapper, the perjuring Director of the NIA, back in 2000 was a government operative who proposed out-sourcing of the surveillance of the internet to private contractors; subsequently he became an executive of Booz Allen, such a contractor; now he is head of the NIA and lies directly in sworn testimony before Congress and is not prosecuted for this crime.]

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The case of George Zimmerman clarifies, as if it were needed, the heavy thumb of bias which animates the laws passed in numerous States regarding access to guns and their use, similar to the sudden surge of laws passed to govern voting rights – laws passed by and large by the same party.   Their purpose is in effect to license racism, in the old phrase of the South, “to keep them in their place.”

Mr. Zimmerman stalked his prey, did not follow a police department order to refrain from following Trayvon Martin, provoked an incident, and killed an unarmed 17 year old boy walking perfectly legally down a street.  Mr. Zimmerman walked away from his trial a “free man,” making a mockery of Florida’s laws and “justice.”   In many parts of the country there have been rapid attempts to construct a similar kind of justice for women,  workers, ethnic minorities; attempts built on political gerrymandering to assure that a majority is thwarted and that a social-political minority are able to deceitfully call the shots.  (Sound like Wall Steet?)

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But, worry not, Big Brother is watching (out for) you.  Trust in him and every thing will turn out hunky-dory, A-OK.  Meantime as glaciers melt, wild wacky weather does its number on you and yours, rest assured, the authorities know what they are doing, and are taking care of things.  You bet.

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“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief
“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth”

“No reason to get excited,” the thief, he kindly spoke
“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate

So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl

Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower, 1968

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Ours is an utterly corrupt era, to be seen at the highest levels of our society – in government, in business, and in the ethical and moral standards which are normal to corrupt societies.   A few decades ago (or even earlier) those – including myself – who pointed to the trajectory which our society was on were ridiculed and shunted aside as weirdos, conspiracy nuts, and all the usual epithets reserved for those who don’t “go along to get along.”  Today as those views are confirmed, even “ordinary” citizens can see it, and pundits and would-be authorities dare to say it and ponder the consequences.  The disquiet is palpable, the becalmed sea hints at storms to come.  “There must be someway outta here.”

linns smallFoto: Linn Ehrlich

26FBI photo of backback alleged to contain pressure-cooker bomb (note white patch)black_hat2Suspect #2: “Black Hat.” (Note lack of white patch.)white_hat1Suspect #2: “White Hat.”1QzeEqshTwo The Craft mercenaries, lower frame, within yard of bomb site.8VF5oh0crpThe Craft mercenary with full backpack (note: white patch, earplug)The_Craft_Two_Guys_Boston_MarathonBomb_Resembles_Black_Backpack

The_Craft_Three_Guys-600Same The Craft operatives at explosion; man at right no longer has backpack.After_BombBlast_Across_Street1

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The_Craft_Communications_Van-600The Craft mercenaries; note again, no backpack on same man.FBI_Arrives

FBI_Contractors_DisappearMercenaries disappear

Meantime after a massive manhunt, in which the entire city of Boston and surrounding areas were subjected to a total lock-down and martial law, one alleged “terrorist” is dead, killed in an alleged shoot-out and run over by his brother according to the police.  The other, a 19 year old young man, severely wounded, is seen exiting the boat in which he’d take refuge, with no gun in hand or suicide vest; he was then shot several times while the police claimed he had attempted suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.  The owner of the boat reported it appeared to be riddled with holes “like a Swiss cheese.”

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Meantime the FBI has now admitted it had contacts with the now dead Suspect #1 (Black Hat), and has quickly concocted stories of his recruitment as an Islamic jihadist.  His mother says they had him under surveillance for 5 years.  The mass media after attempting to utterly ignore the presence of The Craft operatives all around the bombing site have now been told, owing to the considerable evidence, that these were “normal” National Guard forces assigned to such events (curiously wearing a private mercenary company’s clothes, and whisked away by the FBI shortly after the bombing.)

The “official” story of the Boston bombing is more full of holes than the official versions of 9/11 or the Kennedy assassination.  It is the nature of our corporately controlled media that anyone raising questions regarding “official/authoritative” versions of events will be labeled as a tin foil hat wearing nut-case, etc., or if possible, simply ignored, as in an old-style Soviet tactic of making a “non-person”of dissenters.  From “magic bullets” to buildings collapsing on their own (WTC#7), and on through myriad lesser State lies, America has a considerable history of governmental malfeasance in the name of “patriotism.”

There are far too many “strange things” present in the Boston Marathon bombing, not least the servile behavior of our press which seems merely to parrot the government line while such obvious anomalies are present.  Were it not for the internet it is clear all these things would be simply erased from view.  The question is what purpose and for whom was this bombing intended to serve?

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20dzhokhar-thelede-blog480Dead men don’t talk.

Some sources:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/contractors-at-boston-marathon-stood-near-bomb-left-before-detonation/5332069

http://www.mediaite.com/online/fbi-website-shows-hi-res-photos-of-boston-marathon-suspects/

http://www.fbi.gov/news/updates-on-investigation-into-multiple-explosions-in-boston/updates-on-investigation-into-multiple-explosions-in-boston

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Having waited for several months for Boston University to respond to the previous postings, and to the on-line petition, with indications that they were doing something, the latest word is that they seem to have taken the usual corporate route, and done a CYA move: they tossed it into the hands of their legal counsel, and latest word from Mark indicates as far as the the university is concerned it is a private matter between Prof. Carney and Mr. Rappaport.

As Boston University requested that I provide copies of correspondence which Carney had had with me prior to my blog posting, My Brilliant (Academic) Career, of March 23, 2012, done at the behest of Carney, and as Carney has not seen fit to reply to the emails I sent him when the Rappaport case came to my attention, I have decided it is appropriate to publish those letters.  I print them below, intact.  As they indicate, Professor Carney carefully orchestrated the publishing of his letter in the post of March 23, though he requested I make it appear I did so on my own.  The truth is that he had me wait to print his long screed as he re-wrote and edited what he wanted to say.  If you will read through, and consider Carney’s behavior and actions, one could fairly say he is an extremely duplicitous and devious soul.  In light of these letters, his actions with regard to Mark Rappaport take on a certain ill logic.

Nov. 11, 2011

11/01/11

Jon,

Just an update on the general situation: Gerry Peary the BU booker turned me down on inviting you to speak and/or present a film. Just between us: I wouldn’t let it bother you. Gerry is only interested in chasing the latest fire engine in terms of media coverage and if someone is not on the “hot list” then it is almost impossible to persuade him of the value of an event. And (as can be predicted, and applies to people of his sort) he has NO OPINIONS/JUDGEMENT/INSIGHT of his own, but just looks in the Times or some Film mag for his ideas of what is hot or not. If you had an article about you in the Times, he’d suddenly be very interested!!

John Gianvito (I know you know him, but he’s been a friend of mine for more than 20 years at this point) told me that their speakers’ series at the College pays too little and would only be an insult to offer you something there, but did say that he was going to pursue thee idea of inviting you by approaching their booker for their professional-level subscription series arts program (something called ARTSEMERSON) and that that might or might not fly. Anyway, that’s still a possibility.

On my own private front: I’m still deciding how and when to “go public” with the BU stuff. Nothing has changed in terms of their treatment of me; in fact it’s prob. become a little worse than before. They have not only cut my salary and assigned my classes to awful rooms and times, but lately have issued all sorts of de facto censorship rulings against me. (E.G. when I travelled to Toronto about ten days ago, my Chairman said he “wanted to go on the record” that I was not to talk about anything bad about BU or the dept. or I would be in trouble with the university.) So they are actually shameless about the lack of intellectual freedom at BU. Suspending my web site (and screaming at me for hours and then lowering my evaluations and docking my salary about what was posted on it–where I actually uttered the heresy that “people who had spent their lives working in the industry might not be the best possible teachers for the next generation of artists”—outrageous, eh? but things like this were to them since they all came from “the industry” themselves….. Universities are big on supporting the expression of “liberal” opinions until they actually say something that affects or applies to them!!! Just like the US govt or a fascist regime.

So I’ll let you know about that one in a week or two.

Stay well. I’ll keep working the angles for you in the neighborhood. Another possibility is a retrospective at a local film festival in May. The Boston Indep. Film Festival. Really top notch and smart, and I’m on their board of advisors.

See you around.

Fondly,

Ray

Nov. 22,  2011

12/22/011

Hi Jon,

Sorry to have been out of touch…. but the term is over and I finally

have a minute. Here’s the deal (on several things):

1. Can you please use this email account, and only this account, in

the future for all mailings? I am convinced that BU is reading (or at

least considering reading) all of my university email. So use only

raycarney1@gmail.com

2. I finally had an hour to write out an account of the BU fiasco in

detail (about 4000 words, yikes!). But I did it carefully and it tells

the whole Godawful tale of torture and stupidity. I want to send it to

you as soon as I hear back that you can still post it in the

reasonable future. If you are able to do this, I will be in your debt.

3. Assuming you can post it, can I ask that you do it in the following

way? Just post the text that I am sending you (I wrote and will send

it in a MS Word docx file) as if it were merely an email I sent to you

that you decided to post. In other words, I would like the cover story

to be that I sent you and email and you decided it was important

enough to post and you just did it. I would like it if you didn’t say

that I asked you to post it. Is that clear? Is that OK? I am going to

be in a heap of trouble for this (when you read it, you’ll see why)

and don’t need to compound the felony by making it seem that I

deliberately had it posted. I’ll act like it was an accident of my

sending it to you. (These fuckers, like all professionals–doctors,

lawyers, etc.–regard the “going outside the system” as one of the

cardinal sins so I can at least say that I didn’t realize you were

going to post it, even as it will still scorch the proper parties.)

4. You can feel free to include a preface or note of your own to

preceded or follow it, whatever you feel moved to write. I leave that

up to you, but just don’t reveal that I wrote this particular email to

you asking that you post the material, just say that you received it

from me and thought it raised important issues that were worth calling

to people’s attention. Is that OK?

Finally, to repeat, use this gmail.com account for all future

correspondence. If the BU fuckers are reading my university email,

that is why I can’t possibly write the above stuff on the bu.edu

account or receive mail from you about it on that account or they will

bust me for certain…..

As you will see, the situation is almost unbelieveable and

unbelieveably horrible. It gives me insight into how close the Nazis

and Stalinists and Maoists are to all of us, or how easy it is for

even an upstanding institution to move down that road toward fascism

and censorship.

When I hear back from you, assuming the above is OK with you, I’ll

send on the MS Word file, which you can open and post to your blog. It

has italics in it, which sometimes don’t post well on the internet,

but I trust you to do whatever you see fit to make the posting

adequate. As I say I wrote it as a selfcontained email to you,

beginning with “Dear Jon” and ending with my name and signature box,

so you can just present it as a single long email on the scariness of

the American educational system…… or however you see it.

I may be out for part of tomorow afternoon, but whenever I am able to

access email again, I’ll send the file onto you, if the preceding is

acceptable.

Keep fighting the good fight. And thanks, Jon! You’re a mench!!

Ray

Ray Carney, Prof. of Film and American Studies

LOCAL COLOR 2crp

January 5, 2012

01/05/2012

Good to hear from you!

I’ll talk to this Adam Roffmann guy (the Indie Film Fest) and tell him

to give you some moola and that it will be a bargain at twice the

price! But God knows if he’ll take the bait… I find the Film Fests

(even of indie work) are hardly different from the suburban malls in

their desire to sell tickets, get press coverage, and score names…..

why do they exist if they don’t want to be any different from the

mainstream theaters???? But I shall let you know what turns out.

Sure, have Buck send me anything you or he thinks is worth it from

him. I teach my Indie Film course this spring and am always looking

for new “discoveries!” My goal is to assault my students and destroy

their bourgeois complacencies…. but short of that, just to give them

a few new insights and experiences!……My home address (BU is

mailroom hell, so avoid that one) is:

Ray Carney

8 Clarkson Drive

Walpole, MA 02081

The pickup/station wagon trip sounds just out there enough to be

fun…… Did you ever see my pal Robert Kramer’s Route One? He

travelled from Maine to Florida and filmed scenes along the way for a

portrait of America. A vision of insanity. Four or five hours in all.

Pretty good stuff. (Not, never, of course, on video, but I show it

every four or five years in my courses. Another reason to remove me.

It drives the students and faculty nuts. Their punishment!)

Thanks for the quick response. Late here.

Ray

Feb 27, 2012

02/27/2012

Jon, FYI, look at:

http://www.npr.org/2012/02/26/147455543/hallwalkers-the-ghosts-of-the-state-department?ps=cprs

This State Dept. story of expelling someone for telling the truth and

saying waht he thinks is much closer to my situation than anything

I’ve seen in an academic setting. The only differences are in favor of

the State Department actually:

1. I am not just walking the halls, but having my pay cut, and being

retaliated against in every possible way (terrible schedules,

classrooms, verbal and other abuse).

2. This is being done not by a government body like the State Dept.

but by an institution (a university) explicitly committed to free

inquiry and open expression.

3. The treatment I have received is endorsed at the highest academic

levels by the President and Provost and even the Ombuds person is

afraid to speak out against it…..

For what it’s worth. Censorship is the preferred policy of those who

have no reply to what is being said.

R.

March 5, 2012

03/05/2012

Jon,

I’ve been out of touch. Just checking in on whether you can see your

way clear to posting that email…… My main concern about the timing

is that Feb and March are the major months universities do hiring for

the following academic year and thus the best time for me to have any

leverage against them, if word gets out via my letter to you about the

anti-faculty, censorhip, retaliation policy in place at BU. If the

material goes up after that, they won’t care nearly as much since next

year will be in place.

But I totally understand and sympathize with your busyness. Just

thought I’d touch base.

Keep kicking against the you know whats!

Best wishes,

Ray

March 6, 2012

03/06/2012

Thanks for whatever you can do, Jon. Of course your endorsement and

anything you can say on my behalf will count for a lot, but I

understand how much you must be in catch-up mode, particularly after

the operation.

All best wishes. Six forty AM here. I’m off to BU to teach and won’t

be done till around 10PM tonight. (Part of their punishment of me is

my awful teaching schedule!)

Best wishes and thanks,

Ray

March 8, 2012

03/08/2012

Thanks, Jon, for sending me Jason S’s message and your mini-interview

reply. It all goes into the mill of my mind for thinking about you and

your important art. Some day maybe we can do a real interview for

publication in a major place, but not now when we’re both so damn

busy, you with your film and me with the semester (at its exact

half-way point this week).

Stay well. Keep going. And keep telling the truth, even if (and when)

people may not recognize it, or want to hear it. We have to both keep

giving our gifts, even if only a few people understand or want them.

Fondly,

Ray

March 27, 2012

03/27/2012

Thanks, Jon. And most people who read it on your blog won’t even

think, one way or the other, about the permission issue in my view.

It’s only the shit BU administrators who would use it to fry me, and,

as I noted, to doge what I say by “changing the subject” from the

issues I raise to the fact that I raised them “in public.” (Of course,

as you know and I re-certify to you again, I have raised them dozens,

nay hundreds of times, in memos,meetings, emails, etc. with them

already.) I appreciate your respecting my judgment on this one.

Bureaucracy does anything in its power to “change the subject,” so

this will (in my view) disarm that tactic.

Thanks,

Ray

CASUAL RELATIONS 1crp

Following these letters, I wrote to Carney a handful of times, inquiring if there had been any result from the publication, but he never responded.  This termination of correspondence on his part suggests several things – that he’d gotten what he wished out of me and I was dispensable, &/or, that as the situation with Mark Rappaport had taken a sharp turn towards a legal confrontation, he was either too occupied with that, or surmised where I would stand if I knew of it.   On hearing about what had happened with Mark I wrote Carney a number of times, initially in a friendly manner, asking for an explanation and that he promptly return Mark’s materials.  These have been posted in the first Chained Relations blog.  I have never heard in any manner from Ray Carney since the last note he sent on March 27, 2012.

If this matter has not been resolved in the coming month, I will proceed to publish letters written by BU to Mark Rappaport, and to myself, and will publish a letter Mark has sent to the President of BU and the head of Carney’s department.

The Boston Globe has been working on a supposedly long and in-depth article on this matter which is supposed to go to press in February.  IndieWire also has said it would do something, and has interview Mark and myself, but so far nothing solid.

As the spring term has begun and Professor Carney is evidently still in the employ of BU, and teaching his class, I would suggest that students either boycott his classes or inquire in each class when he is going to return Mark’s materials to him, and for him to explain in full his stance in this matter.  Any time Professor Carney raises matters of ethics, corruption, integrity, honesty and truthfulness, which he seems wont to do, he should be aggressively challenged to provide an explanation for the ethics of his actions with respect to Mark Rappaport.  Should he assert that he was “given” Rappaport’s materials, it should be demanded that he produce a legally viable written letter/contract to that effect.

Those following this are encouraged to contact Professor Carney directly, at the following emails, or at his address.

 dblcarneyProfessor Raymond Carney, Boston University

Ray Carney

8 Clarkson Drive

Walpole, MA 02081

Tel: 508 668 3483

raycarney1@gmail.com  rcarney1@yahoo.com  rcarney@bu.edu

boston-university

Also, emails to Boston University would be appropriate, especially from those with institutional ties.

Paul Schneider, Chair, Media  paulsch@bu.edu

Noreen Trahon

Finance & Administration Manager

Boston University

Office of the General Counsel

125 Bay State Road

Boston, Massachusetts 02215

T:  617-353-4699

F:  617-353-5529

ntrahon@bu.edu

You may also make a complaint, regarding “ethics” to the following

HotLine system.

BU’s Ethics stance is published here.

You may also submit a report by telephone through the EthicsPoint Call Center by dialing toll-free 1-866-294-8451. Alternatively, you may submit a report in writing to the following address:

Boston University, C/O EthicsPoint, PO Box 230369, Portland, OR 97223

 

It is a bit curious that in classic contemporary manner, the corporate organism which is Boston University appears to have out-sourced its “ethics” mechanism to a company on the other side of the country.

 

woman man dbl

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

They were very young, and in a sense they had no idea what hit them.  Nor, unlike those older, did they really understand what had been taken from them – the joys, sadnesses, the every day hum drum of life and the occasional ecstasies, all the things that make up a human life.  Their families and community will be traumatized and in some ways will never recover – lives altered in ways unexpected, with little defense for this kind of sudden shift, even if our country offers up repeatedly the example of its possibility.  “Normalcy” is shattered, sent into pieces with the rapid fire of a high-powered rifle which throughout America can be readily purchased at a hardware store, pawn shop or myriad other places.  The right is allegedly enshrined in the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution.  Whether in response to this tragedy, and the many which preceded it, we will, as a society, confront and materially deal with it, is an open question.  We will be drowned in prayers, which do nothing aside from delude the praying that they are doing something.  Whether real, material, actions will be taken seems doubtful – especially in a time when a million small-time drug users languish in prison, and the extremely wealthy managers of banks, laundering billions of dollars in drug (and weapons) money, when caught red-handed, are lightly slapped on the wrist and let go.  Or when the same society sits silent while drones patrol the skies of far away places, loosing Hellfire missiles on alleged “terrorists” which often prove to be wedding parties, and other gatherings of a social kind, or schools, like the one in Newtown, Conn.

.

16shooting-lanza-articleInline-v2fxAdam Lanza, aged 20

.

It is an irony that will doubtless be pointed out many times, that Adam’s mother, his first victim, was a gun fancier, and it was with her own gun with which she was slain.  What compelled her to keep an assault rifle, and several pistols capable of shooting many rounds automatically, along with a few run-of-the-mill hunting guns is something we won’t ever know.  Nor why so many other Americans seem to feel the same need despite the massive statistics which show they will most likely be their own victims.  But then living in a country of 300+ million which spends more than all the remaining 6.3+ billion people on the planet on “defense” makes such behavior seem in some way logical.  It is something evidently deeply ingrained in the American cultural DNA that God and Guns go together.  As does our propensity for simply deleting those who inconvenience us – from native Americans to the endless list of “others” who in varying manners find themselves on the wrong side of “our” interests.  Usually far away, culturally rather different, and in some way an affront to “the national interest” whether in Guatamala, Venezuela, Chile, Viet Nam, the Congo, or of late in some middle-eastern locale such as Iraq or Iran.  Once we sent the Marines to sing “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli;” now we send them if the drones and black bases and special service ops don’t do the job.

 .bushmaster

.

So the nation will weep some crocodile tears, the President may make some small tentative steps towards a modest bit of gun control (no, the 2nd Amendment did not authorize citizen owning of tanks or anti-aircraft missiles…), there will be the customary weeping and wailing, and the drones will drone on, the military-industrial complex will crank out more fantastical weapons and their corporate partners will peddle them around the globe, and likely we will follow the historical trajectory of an empire – over-extending ourselves, bankrupting the communal finances, and becoming decadent and corrupt along the way.  You need only turn on your TV set to have proof of the latter, see Federal and State budgets for the prior, and sneak a look at the “top secret” reality which is our government’s practice, and punishable, as Bradley Manning can tell you, with “legal” draconian treatment should you slightly lift the curtain on it, for proof of the the first.

.

predator-weaponized

.

Rachel Davino, 29

Teacher

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

School principal

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Teacher

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Teacher

Mary Sherlach, 56

School psychologist

Victoria Soto, 27

Teacher

.

Predator-Drone-Victims

.

Our national press did not see fit to publish the names of the 47 dead of this Afghan wedding party, “collateral damage” of a drone attack.

.

Nancy-LanzaNancy Lanza, 52

Mother of gunman

gty_bradley_manning_dm_121108_wgBradley Manning

While the Obama administration has seen fit to approve the treatment of Bradley Manning, when confronted with criminal actions on a huge scale by international bankers, laundering drug money in the billions of dollars, and trading with “the enemy” (Iran), the Department of Justice (sic) chose not to prosecute.  See this for full details.

The view from Walkerville, Montana

Perched at 6000+ feet in Walkerville, overlooking Butte, Montana, the view is a bit schizoid.  Perhaps it’s the altitude, messing with the brain.  Or perhaps it’s reality.  Walkerville and Butte are places which are archetypal American places, forerunners to contemporary Detroit.  Butte was once – 1880-1920 – one of the wealthiest cities in America, sitting astride “The Richest Hill on Earth.”  Today it probably ranks as one of the poorest places in the country, and the once bustling small city is now a nearly abandoned town, shrunk to 25,000 or so.  Empty houses and office buildings, warehouses and churches slowly crumble into the ground.  Walkerville, a thriving town in its heyday is now a place of derelict houses, and it seems, the kind of people looking for a cheap refuge from the world.  I’m setting my newest film, Coming to Terms, in this town.

The view in Walkerville

Out in the wider world the follies proceed.  Mitt Romney, in his inimitable style, went abroad to burnish his presidential stature and typically stepped promptly into dog doo of his own making.   That on his first day out, in a carefully plotted endeavor by his aids to avoid all problems.   The Republicans, after the circus of the primaries and the orchestrated endless “debates” seem intent on spending a billion and more dollars in super-PAC funds to hornswoggle the American people into believing that this guy is, as the cliche goes, “presidential timber.”   Sort of like the year 2000, when we elected a spoiled stupid rich frat boy to run the nation (into the ground.)   Well, actually we didn’t elect him – he was appointed by a corrupt Supreme Court.

Mitt, the man from Utah

Mr Romney, who emerged from the zany collection of Presidential wanna-be’s coughed up by the delirious Tea Party influenced primaries, as the choice of the back-room pols of the party, is, unfortunately for them, laden with some very heavy baggage:  he’s Mormon, which most allegedly Christians regard as a heretical cult, and the rest of humanity regard as a latter-day religious legend and hoax, echoing that of, oh, Christians, Muslims and about any other religion coming out of The People of the Book.  Then he’s rich, and courtesy of the Occupy Wall Street folks, (who, incidentally have not evaporated as our mass media would seem to indicate) he’s identified as part of the 1%.   These days that puts him in the company of bankers, Wall Street con men, and other currently frowned upon members of the “financial business” community.  And like his cohorts in fiscal flim-flam Mr Romney stashes much of his wealth off-shore, in the Cayman Island, Switzerland, and other dirty havens for dubiously obtained money.  And owing to this typical rich man’s practice, Mr Romney is loath to reveal his past taxes, likely because despite his reputed half-billion in wealth, he didn’t pay any.  He surmises, correctly, that such a revelation would not sit well with any but his 1%.  And he can’t win an election with only 1% of the vote.  Even if he tacked on the 30% or so of dyed-in-the wool racists who simply cannot abide an “N” in the White House, and will vote for any “Anglo-Saxon” who coos the correct euphemisms which the times seem to have forced our racists to take cover behind.   And then, alas, Mitt went forward to London (and then plans to go on to Poland and Israel), where in a mere 24 hours he managed to make an Olympian-scale foot-in-mouth act, which begot mockery from the Brits, and bled back to our shores as a grim electoral comedy.  I can’t imagine what goofs he’ll manage in Poland and Jerusalem, but the fields are fertile for yet more faux pas from fabulous Mitt.   Fox and the super-PACs have their work cut out for them trying to install their brilliant choice into the Oval Office.

Meantime here in Butte, the most famous somewhat recent citizen is being feated, post-humously, in the Evel Knievel Days, currently crowding our miniature downtown.

Bustling Butte.

For the coming month or two, this blog will go into a little rest period as I am rather occupied with the new film, and myriad other things.  For anyone wishing to follow the making of Coming to Terms, there’s a new blog which will follow as best I can the preparation, work, and I think I’ll keep it going as whatever happens with the film happens.  A little inside look at the process.  Just go here.

And as I start to dig in on this new film, just arriving in the email comes the tepid festival-speak notice from the Toronto Film Festival turning down Imagens de uma cidade perdida, Dissonance, and also The Narcissus Flowers of Katsura-shima.  I’m fully aware that neither film has the kind of warm-butt’s-in-seats sort of commercially qualities which our festivals, especially biggies like Toronto, seem these days to favor.    I suspect the new one, quite serious and I don’t plan on it being anywhere near sort of abiding by either film-world aesthetic or content conventions, will be any more welcome.

As the saga of George Zimmerman moves on, there has been a flush of “new information” which apparently has sent the right-wing into bloggeria mania.  Intent on proving that Trayvon Martin was just another “n-word” and that Zimmerman is some kind of heroic vigilante figure, they’ve gone bonkers over the purported “evidence” released by the Sanford FL police department.  Of course in this evidence, there’s some odd stuff, which the press, seemingly working in tandem with those out to twist the story.  The above tape was released early, and as noted by some, Zimmerman neither looks nor behaves as if he had just been in a life and death tussle, during which he admittedly shot Martin in the chest.  He claimed that he did so as Martin was sprawled atop him, pummeling him and making him fear for his life.   Note, though, that there’s no blood all over Zimmerman, which there certainly would be had Martin been above him (or actually anywhere in physical contact).  Nor in the tape is there any evidence of the alleged black-eyes and scratches which the police claimed were there.  Rather there is a rather casual and unharmed-looking Zimmerman, and similarly casual police behavior.   Zimmerman was released that night, and the “forensic” photographs which the police released were taken the next day.

This was the photograph taken the evening of the event.  Notice the lack of black eyes, any visible damage to head or face.   Also notice the civilian shirt, not the same as in the video.

And the next day, here is Mr Zimmerman, in prison jumpsuit, shaven, cleaned up and….  and sporting the wounds allegedly inflicted by Mr Martin the previous night. And this is how the New York Times reported it:

Mr. Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer at the gated community called Retreat at Twin Lakes, in Sanford, Fla., where the shooting took place. He suffered a broken nose, black eyes, cuts to the back of his head and back pains, all of which he said were the result of a struggle with Mr. Martin, who was unarmed.   NYT  May 18 2012.

None of the things I have read (not at all exhaustive) have pointed out that the above jump-suit photos were taken the day after Mr Zimmerman was allowed to return home.  For other’s views on this see this.

One of the officers to respond to the Retreat arrived there to find “George Zimmerman, in protective custody, which I know to be the head of the neighborhood watch,” the officer stated in a report.

“Zimmerman appeared to have a broken and a bloody nose and swelling of his face,” the report said.

According to a report by another officer, Timothy Smith, the police offered Mr. Zimmerman the chance to be taken to hospital at least three times — at the scene, during the ride to the police station and after arriving at the station — and he declined each time.

Nor do the reports make much of the fact that George Zimmerman’s father is a retired State Judge and lawyer, with close connections to the Florida legal establishment.   The above provides transparent evidence that the police and high up elements of the Florida State Justice system are engaged in an on-going cover-up of the murder of Trayvon Martin, presumably in the interests of Zimmerman’s father.

Ina Drew

Of course follies are not limited to Florida, though the Sunshine State has demonstrated a high capacity for jiggling the law in the interests of certain favored souls – recall the hanging chads and the Supreme Court’s decision to award the Presidency to the Governor of Florida’s brother after many dubious electoral antics.    The above charming woman is Ina Drew, formerly the 4th highest paid ($14 million) member of the JP Morgan clan’s executive.  She is now the somewhat disgraced scape-goat of the moment (along with The London Whale, one Bruno Iksil, a trader for JPM), canned for her part in the 3 billion and counting losses which Jamie Dimon chalks up to “stupid” actions.   Of course that those might also be illegal is another matter for our sterling courts to deal with.  And we can pretty much guess how they’ll be dealt with – in the same warped manner that Trayvon’s death is being handled.

.

Drawing thanks to Stephen Lack

Smug David Brooks

Having resumed with occasionally posting to the NY Times, yesterday I received the censor stamp yet again.  Thin skinned editor for the absurd David Brooks, who manages to be about as smarmy as on can be.  Below is my response to his item of the day, The Rediscovery of Character.   David is always amazed and in wonder when he discovers new things that have been around forever.

.

As usual, Mr Brooks let’s his blinders blind him. He casually dismisses the “Marxist” claim that people behave owing to “material” things. Nope, it’s some more nebulous thing called “character.” Grow up in a poor neighborhood, with lousy schools, no hope of a job, and you get bad character and broken windows. Grow up in a rock solid Republican one and you get classy schools (perhaps private), a ticket to Harvard, and then you can go on to Wall Street and bust balls and crash the entire economy with your greed: good character.

It doesn’t take a social scientist to figure out poverty begets poverty, nor does it take a Marxist to notice that in our wonderful plutocracy wealth begets wealth, regardless of the “merits” or the “character.”


In nuclear physics a half-life is the period it takes for radioactivity to decay by half.  Depending on the particular item, this might be in the nano-second realm or on the flip side it might be in the geological-eons realm.

The other day a close friend sent me a little something he’d bumped into on the net – on Blockbusters.  I virtually never watch films except in the line of duty, and I have never used Blockbusters (nor Netflix nor Mubi nor….) so it’s rather unlikely I would have come across this:

My friend noted this was a nice summary; I noted that it presumes I dropped dead somewhere around 1993, or at least in vanishing to Europe I’d stopped making films.   And it’s not only Blockbuster’s cut’n paste editing (as most the above can be lifted from various sites and regurgitated with a word or two shifted) which has done this, but in general it seems I’ve been relegated to “non-person” status, as in the old USSR.   Despite showing up somewhat regularly at festivals (Rotterdam, Venice, Jeonju, Yamagata, in the last decade and more, if not at many American ones – not that I didn’t send them to appropriate places, just they said nyet), it seems I’ve been “disappeared” by the American cultural apparatus, never mind the numerical reality that in the years since 1993, when I dropped off the radar, I’ve made more films than in the 20 years noted above.   And films which are, shall we say, even more innovative blah blah blah than those mentioned, and certainly in my view just as good or even better than those of the previous two decades.   Whether it was my early shift to digital video (well before the tsunami that followed and mostly uses it as a cheap substitute for film rather than for its own qualities), or my on-going political stance, or that I failed to morph into a kind of American Euro-art house director, which it seems to me those in the business sort of wished for, or because I have spoken publicly about certain dubious things of the middling artsy part of the film industry (and scathingly of the commercial sector), I don’t really know.   My guess is it’s been a mix of these, with perhaps some personal axes being distantly ground.   And then as well there was a major cultural shift of another kind, in which we are now fully enmeshed.

But, fact is, I didn’t disappear just yet, and haven’t been exactly unproductive -  here’s what I did in the years since 1993 – these are all from 65 to 112 minutes long each:


LONDON BRIEFNAS CORRENTES DE LUZ DA RIA FORMOSA6 EASY PIECESCHHATTISGAHR SKETCHESMURI ROMANIROMA RITRATTOOUI/NONVERGESSENSFUGEHOMECOMINGPASSAGESLA LUNGA OMBRAOVER HEREPARABLERANTSWIMMING IN NEBRASKAIMAGENS DE UMA CIDADE PERDIDADISSONANCETRINITY

And then some hours of short films.

I’d be the first to admit that most of these films don’t meet the current dominant sense of value – i.e., that they either cost a lot to make or they made a lot of money, or preferably both.   For some decades our national (and global) sense of values has been increasingly bent by the Free Market mantra, and step-by-step the talk of money has overtaken all other possible values.  We have seen it in the Supreme Court decision in Citizens vs United (and we see the consequences of that in the current primary election, in its deluge of lying vulgarity funded by superPACS).  We have seen it in the delimiting of “reviews” from newspapers or others being restricted to only those things given a “commercial” release, as occurred just the other day with the shift in Oscar rules for documentaries.    A few decades ago, had I gone to New York to show a film in one of the few venues possible (MoMA, perhaps the Whitney, Millennium or Anthology) I might have counted on a review in the NY Times, the Village Voice, and a few other alternative papers or even mainstream ones. Today, if  I can get a screening at all, it is almost assured there will be no review.   And why?  Because the work lacks artistic or creative merit?  No, because it lacks financial value and validation.  And therefore, socially and culturally, it more or less does not, and is not allowed to, exist.   To exist would in effect be an affront to the wonderful values of the supposed Free Market Economy.   If it doesn’t make money – more the merrier – it is not supposed to exist.  Just like poor people.  Or old people.  Or…

While I don’t feel quite as banged up as this geezer doubtless did -  as I begin to pop at the seams with a hernia bulge on the left which while not (yet) hurting still says “get it done soon,” and some kind of torn muscle tissue over on the right hand side where I had a hernia patch done 10 years ago and that I’d hoped would kindly heal itself but instead seems to be getting if anything a touch worse – I do feel the wave of time washing over, and the imminent descent into decrepitude.   Frankly I am not much thrilled by the idea, though as my father lived to 98 – he died three weeks or so ago, on Dec. 28 – the reality threatens.   Meantime I am mired for the moment in deadlines for more films for no one, packing to take a long American journey to make still more films for no one, and perhaps I question my sanity.

Helen Frankenthaler painting (she died in December, too)

For more information on the films above, and the 14 celluloid ones, see

www.jon-jost.com.

There’s a few new ones almost ready (except for a major computer crash the last 3 days, which normally I can solve but not this time it seems.)  Which, along with other pressures perhaps accounts for the glum air of the moment.

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