Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Innocent until proven guilty?

I don't know about the Michael Vick case but he is pretty clearly regarded as guilty before there is any proof or trial. They may have enough already to prove that he is guilty but we do not know that. Trying to be faithful to the rule, "innocent until proven guilty," is not always easy. Consider the following case which is a true account of the trial of a burglar:

The defendant was a tall, slim, nice-looking black man of about thirty years of age. He was accused of multiple burglaries in a couple of very up-scale neighborhoods. He was facing 29 separate counts. His modus operandi was to break into the houses of wealthy old people, rough them up, take their money and jewelry. He went so far in some cases as to drag them around by the hair. He did not use a gun unless he found one in the home he was robbing. Refusing to confess, he had demanded a trial by jury.

The Prosecutor, a fairly young white lawyer, began the trial by enumerating the evidence he was prepared to demonstrate. As the burglar hadn't killed anyone there were many eyewitnesses to his crimes. In virtually all homes his fingerprints were found. He had no recollection of where he was on nights of the crimes and therefore no alibis. Two pairs of shoes were found in his apartment. The tread on both pairs matched perfectly with tracks found outside some of the homes. His girlfriend was caught leaving his apartment with a pillowcase from one of the houses filled with jewelry identified as that of the various victims. Now I submit that in order to believe this defendant was innocent you had to believe that the prosecutor was a pathological liar and would not be able to present the evidence he claimed. I do not believe any one of the twelve jurors, whether white or not, believed he was innocent. I certainly did not believe it. I am almost positive the judge did not believe it and was pretty obviously miffed that he had to preside over such a useless trial. Even so, I believe he did try to be fair and impartial, although I am sure it was difficult for him.

Our jury found him guilty on 28 of the 29 charges. The one charge on which there was one holdout was because one of the black jurors was talked down to by the white jury foreman and just stubbornly refused to give up. When this count was read out by the foreman I thought the judge might have a heart attack as there was no doubt whatsoever that the defendant was guilty.

Do I think we should do away with the concept of innocent until proven guilty. I don't think so. The worst thing one might say about a case like this is that it was a waste of time. The guy was so overwhelmingly guilty there really should not have been a trial - but as he refused to confess there was no other choice. However, on the basis of this experience and a few others, I long ago came to the conclusion that if I ever stand accused of a crime I did not commit, I would rather be tried by a competent judge than a jury (juries can be extremely irrational).

If they were ever to go to trial does anyone believe Bush and Cheney are innocent?

Why is it that everytime the MSM mentions the benchmarks they always mention the sharing of oil but they never mention with whom it is supposed to be shared. They obviously want us to believe it's all about sharing between the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites, when in fact by far the greatest share is to go to the huge Oil companies. I don't believe the Iraqis are going to fall for this attempted robbery no matter how long they remain under siege.

"The intellectual desolation, artificially produced by converting immature human beings into mere machines."
Karl Marx

Monday, July 30, 2007

Is Gonzo finished?

Apparently Fox "News" tried to get someone to appear and defend Gonzales and could find no one willing to do so. Tomorrow a move to impeach Gonzales is to be introduced. It is not clear this will succeed. But if no one is willing to come forward and defend the embattled A.G. how would anyone (read Republicans) dare to block the impeachment? I should think this will put Republicans in a truly awkward position and as only Bush and Cheney support him it looks like he will have to finally go. You can rise very high on incompetence in the Bush/Cheney administration but I guess there is a limit even there. Bush/Cheney could declare martial law and have us all arrested, cancel the 2008 election, and order some ermine robes and gold and jewel encrusted staffs. Don't laugh.

Another comment on the great cleavage scandal. Some Republican (I can't remember which one - they all look alike to me) said that as Hillary's campaign is so carefully scripted she never does anything without meaning to do it, implying, of course, that she revealed her cleavage deliberately. I wish I could remember his name as I would like to ask him just what it is he believes she is doing by this daring act. I don't think she can be trying to prove she's a woman, she's been around far too long for any mistakes to be made there. Perhaps he thinks she's trying to attract the lesbian vote (Republicans have tried for years to suggest she might be a lesbian). Maybe she's just trying to call attention to her pulchritude? Perhaps she's trying to divert attention from her petty squabble with Obama. I think the best guess is she's trying to appeal to the obvious and widespread prurient interests of Republicans and thereby attract some votes. Maybe sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a blouse is just a blouse. I don't think we should take our attention away from this monumental problem even for a minute, we might have to consider the disaster that is Iraq and the Bush/Cheney Presidency.

I see the great hypocritical loudmouth, windbag Newt Gingrich, is at it again, telling us all his views on what is what. Does he have any credibility? And if so, why? He has been exposed more than once as dishonest as well as super hypocritical, so why would anyone listen to him? He doesn't even stack up well against the multiple Republican candidates already announced, who have all lost out to "None of the above." If Newt the Pontificator does throw his hat in the ring they'll have to change that last category to "No, no, a thousand time no, I'd rather die than say yes."

Michael Vick is guilty until proven innocent. Unfortunate but apparently true, at least for many. I think the moral is, don't abuse dogs (stick to abusing children you'll get a better deal). While I certainly condemn cruelty to any animals, the killing of masses of innocent human beings is at least as bad if not worse, yet many people don't seem to mind the latter as much as the former. Strange, that.

"The priviledge of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject but man only"
Thomas Hobbes

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hillary has breasts!

Holy moly! Heavens to Betsy! Zounds! You must have all heard by now that Hillary Clinton has breasts! Two of them! Imagine that! I guess she has now progressed from candidate for President to femme fatale. What a controversy! Now Robin Givhans, who wrote the somewhat offensive piece in the first place, claims it wasn't about her newly revealed cleavage but, rather, about fashion. Hillary is a serious woman and a serious and leading candidate for President of the U.S. Why is concentrating on her wardrobe any the less absurd that her cleavage? I don't see anyone concerned about Bush's suits or neckties. Is anyone even aware if Cheney wears clothes? Gonzales I guess might be pretty nappy, I don't know. I don't care either. Are clothes going to be the standard for electing a President? I always thought the criterion was whether or not you might like to drink a beer with the President. I'd love to drink a beer with Hillary.

We certainly heard plenty about John Edwards haircuts (and Kerry's even before). Wow! Edwards has hair, and gets it cut. It's expensive. I guess he's too much of a spender to be President (he has a fine video out about what is actually important - I hope some of the MSM will look at it). How come we never hear about the grooming habits of Republicans? How about that guy caught on camera (I can't think of his name right now) licking his comb and then running it through his hair? Urk! I certainly wouldn't want him for President.

If it hasn't become obvious by now you must have been asleep for a long time. If you want any real news don't bother to watch the MSM. Indeed, they will resort to anything to avoid telling the truth about the Bush/Cheney administration, the situation in Iraq, the influence of the Israeli lobby, Iran, Syria, and so on. If you watch only the MSM you are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Why should Bush/Cheney be impeached? Alberto hasn't done anything wrong. Neither has Libby. The "war" is going well, we just need more time. Petraeus will save us all. Just total crap piled on the biggest accumulation of crap ever produced before by an American administration.

"In harsh and melancholy epochs free men may always take comfort from the ground lesson of history that tyrannies cannot last except among servile races."
Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, July 28, 2007

"Benevolent Assimilation...."

Forget the comparison with Vietnam. Consider the American-Philippine War of 1899-1903. I am just finishing "Benevolent Assimilation" The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903, by Stuart Creighton Miller, Yale U. Press, 1982. The comparison with what is now happening in Iraq is absolutely uncanny. First, an unpopular repressive administration (Spain) that needs to be overthrown. America steps in to help rid the Philippines of Spanish rule. The Philippinos want independence but America won't leave. There are insurgents determined to save their country. There is an undeclared "war." America doesn't send enough troops to do the job. There is an extended guerilla-type "war," although the U.S. is far superior in military firepower, etc. There are atrocities on both sides, terrible atrocities by U.S. troops compared with what were regarded as U.S. standards of warfare, the unwarranted killing of innocent civilians, including women and children, rape, the burning and destruction of entire villages. There is torture, including water torture. There is looting and profiteering. There is American arrogance and racism. There are continuing claims that all is going well and the "war" is over, when it is far from being over. There are the anti-imperialists and the imperialists. If you read this book you will certainly think of contemporary Iraq. The Philippine "war," like the present Iraq "war," are doubtless the most despicable of all U.S. endeavors along these lines, black marks against our country that will never be erased. The only difference I can see is that in 1900 we were not so coy about our arrogance and racism:

"Our 'little brown brother,' the Filipino pure and simple, whom we are so anxious to uplift to his proper plane on earth and relieve from the burden cast upon him by heredity and a few hundred years of Spanish dominion, is without doubt unreliable, untrustworthy, ignorant, vicious, immoral, and lazy...tricky, and as a race more dishonest than any known race on the face of the earth."

"Soon we had orders to advance, and we...started across the creek in mud and water up to our waists. However, we did not mind it a bit, our fighting blood was up, and we all wanted to kill 'niggers.' This shooting human beings is a 'hot game,' and beats rabbit hunting all to pieces. We charged them and such a slaughter you never saw. We killed them like rabbits, hundreds, yes thousands of them. Everyone was crazy."

"The town of Titatia {sic} was surrendered to us a few days ago, and two companies occupy the same. Last night one of our boys was found shot and his stomach cut open. Immediately orders were received from General Wheaton to burn the town and kill every native in sight; which was done to a finish. About 1,000 men, women, and children were reported killed. I am probably growing hard-hearted, for I am in my glory when I can sight my gun on some dark skin and pull the trigger."

This kind of behavior on the part of American troops was partly due to the fact that many of the officers and enlisted men were veterans of the Indian wars in the U.S. and were proud of having participated in the genocide of American Indians. They merely took the same tactics they were familiar with to the Philippines. Will the outcome of the American-Iraq "war" be similar to the outcome of the American-Philippine "war?" I don't think so.

"Sundays are gloomy. My hours are slumberless. Dearest, the shadows I live with are numberless. Little white flowers will never awaken you, not where the black coach of sorrow has taken you. Gloomy sunday."
Billie Holiday

Friday, July 27, 2007


There was no Morialekafa last night because of relatives visiting from Norway. I have many relatives in Norway, including one who still lives on and farms the original Langness farm (from which we received our name when arriving in the U.S.). They are all third, fourth, fifth cousins and such. Far to complicated for me to figure out or keep track of. What is the actual relationship between the daughter of my third cousin and me? Anyone? Marwell and Bjorn. Wonderful people. We had a great time.

Back to business. What can you call what is now going on between Congress and the White House other than simply shilly-shallying? So they are issuing contempt citations and more and more subpoenas. Even Rove has now received one. Does anyone actually believe that Bush/Cheney are going to allow Rove to testify? Of course not. Just as in the case of Meirs and Bolton, the White House will claim executive priviledge. Whether this is legitimate or not isn't really the point as it will surely drag on and on until the end of the Bush administration. Congress has to be aware of this. The only realistic way to get at Bush/Cheney is through impeachment. This is obvious even to dolts like me. So why continue to shilly-shally around? The latest excuse from Conyers and others seem to be they don't have the votes to convict. That might be doubtful. In any case, it won't matter a bit if they don't actually get convicted, the process itself will reveal so much wrongdoing the Republicans will become totally impotent for years. And, if the Democrats don't try to impeach them, they will likely become impotent themselves (I should say more impotent).

It remains hot, hot, hot here at Sandhill. We have never had weather like this before. We always had a few days of hot weather in August but never anything like this continuing heat. The garden is truly suffering even though being watered frequently. The corn and beans seem to be doing okay but most everything else is in trouble. I picked the first of the beans yesterday. If all goes well we should have a bumper crop of beans this year. I think we're going to need them now that the market is crashing once again. Way to go Bush!

I see the Republicans have started in already on their standard tax and spend accusations against the Democrats. You would think that any party that has run up the largest national debt in history might be more humble about this. Personally, I'd much rather have tax and spend than borrow and spend. But oh, I forgot, Cheney assured us that deficits don't matter (he learned this from Ronald Reagan who of course balanced the budget during his Presidency - ha, ha, that's a joke). There are those who believe Reagan's face should be added to the ones already on Mt. Rushmore. There are lots of really stupid people in the U.S. Almost all of them are Republicans. Personally, I believe Bush and Cheney's faces should be etched on the walls of all the public urinals in the country as a constant reminder of their evil crimes and wrongdoings. Just a suggestion.


"We talked of things one wants to know to take the measure of a man and discover if the cloth of friendship fits, where the pockets of admiration and respect are sewn, and where the seams."
Cornelius Osgood

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Tonight is the 3rd anniversary of Morialekafa. My first blog on this date three years ago had to do with "Bush aides are serial hypocrites." This had to do with their criticisms of John Kerry for getting $75 haircuts and wearing $250 shirts. I said they were carrying hypocrisy to entirely new levels (what with Bush wearing $2000 and $3000 suits, etc.). Little did I know that three years later we would still be putting up with this hypocritical bullshit and worse, much worse.

One would think that with contempt charges being brought against Bolton and Meir, the disgraceful performance of our Attorney General that might result in charges against him, the fact that the entire world knows now that Bush/Cheney and the neocons are blatant liars, the "war" in Iraq is a total disaster, and the continuation of it is simply a ploy to make further profits out of war profiteering, the White House would be in big trouble. That is, indeed, what many are saying, but the question is, what is anyone doing? So far they can't even get enough Congresspersons to sign on to the impeachment charges against Dick the Slimy, clearly the most impeachable person in the history of our country. There is talk of impeachment, to be sure, but nobody "walks the walk." Even John Conyers, who was all for impeachment a while back, seems to be opposed at the moment. What do you suppose Bush/Cheney might have to use against him? Gonzales is so obviously either completely incompetent or a terrible liar he should have to go. No President in history would have kept such a disgraceful person as Attorney General, but Bush refuses to let him go. This speaks loudly to Bush's contempt for not only Congress and the people, but also to his contempt for reality.

Gonzales's performance before the Senate was so outrageously ludicrous as to rival the best of the Keystone Cops. It was surreal in the extreme. It was (is) the perfect example of the situation we now find ourselves mired in. It is no longer a question of whether Bush/Cheney/Gonzales et al, committed all the vile, despicable, illegal, immoral, criminal, unconstitutional and unconscionable acts we know about, but, rather, will they get away with it? At this moment I have to say Bush/Cheney 1, Congress and the rest of us, 0. So far the opposition to Bush/Cheney is all talk and little action. Yes, they brought contempt charges against Bolton/Meirs, but they have to go before the entire Congress and, knowing them, they may not agree. Even if they do agree the whole thing will drag on and on until this administration is gone. This seems to be the strategy now - don't worry about admitting guilt, just keep on obfuscating until doomsday. And what will happen after doomsday? Will Bush/Cheney and their ilk live happily ever after on their obscene war profiteering? Will they be held responsible for their crimes? I hope I can live long enough to see them punished for what they have done. If not, it will be the greatest disappointment of my life.


"Ordinarily he is insane, but he has lucid moments when he is only stupid."
Heinrich Heine

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When you're slapped...

"When you're slapped you'll take it and like it." This line from one of Humphrey Bogart's films (I think The Maltese Falcon) perfectly describes Bush/Cheney's treatment of Congress and the American people. What else might one think when every request from Congress is simply slapped down and Alberto Gonzales thumbs his nose at them at every turn. Gonzales is lying, Congress knows he is lying, the country knows he is lying, and he does it with the same smirking grin he learned from Bush. He just goes on lying, they just go on knowing that he's lying, but they do nothing about it. They go so far as to tell him they don't trust him but he pays no attention as he knows Bush will protect him. Congress likes being slapped in the face, in public no less. I have always known that Bush/Cheney have no shame, I didn't think the same was true of Congress until just now. I would not have thought it possible to find so many completely spineless people and place them all in Congress at the same time. I have come to the conclusion that this entire exchange between the White House and Congress is nothing more than a charade. It is meant to distract and entertain and confuse the American public while our politicians (almost all of them)just keep on transferriang tax dollars from the people to their corporate masters.

I watched a reply of the "debates" last night. Pretty boring but the MSM is trying to make something of it. The much ballyhooed questions from the public were hardly spontaneous and direct. Obviously they had been selected from hundreds or thousands submitted. Some of the questions were pretty good and some were basically silly, but it didn't matter because the candidates didn't answer them without reframing them anyway. As usual it was basically a lost two hours of television time. They are trying to make a big deal about a 15 second exchange between Hillary and Obama when Hillary sort of one-upped Obama over a technicality. Like much of the MSM news it is much ado about nothing.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The basic question

I was just watching the Democratic "debates." I don't know why they are called debates as nothing is really debated. After watching most of the Democratic debates so far I have come to one conclusion. Although I am not mad about Hillary I have to confess that she comes across as quite a large cut above the others. She is always prepared, knows what she is talking about, and is very well-controlled and professional. I believe this is becoming more and more apparent to more and more people. Edelman's cheap shot at trying to roviate her is obviously helping her much more than hurting her. Hillary's biggest problem, as near as I can tell, is that those who do not like her will never change their dislike no matter what she does. Will their irrational hatred keep her from the Presidency? I doubt it.

I predicted long ago that Hillary would be the Democratic candidate. At the moment it looks like she is right on track. The only thing that might stand in her way would be if Al Gore decides to run. What do you think she might offer him not to run? I have no idea what relationship exists between Gore and the Clintons but I think if Hillary is way ahead of everyone else Gore would not be likely to run. I am often wrong.

We are in Seattle. Trying to blog on this portable machine is difficult as I am not at all used to it. The Republican candidates are such a bunch of hopeless liars and hypocrites, with no one else in sight, it looks like a dead dog Democrat might win the Presidency. But don't bet the Democrats won't figure out a way to blow it. I must say I was pleased with Edward's and Hillary's positions on nuclear power.

The most important question of all, for me at least, is: If you become President what do you intend to do about the blatant war crimes of Bush/Cheney and their administration?

A couple of recently seen bumper stickers:
"I'll vote for anyone but HER"
"Please get rid of the scary Republican"

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It just gets stupider and stupider

Not content with being involved in hopeless hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and threatening to get involved in further hostilities with Iran, Bush/Cheney are now going to get involved in hostilities in Pakistan. What a brilliant idea. Having completely botched the job of getting Osama bin Laden way back when, they have now waited years while he has dug himself into the Pakistan frontier where he can almost certainly not be removed. Remember, no one has ever conquered this part of the world. As they think Musharif has not done enough to capture the terrorists in Pakistan we are now going to help him. The plan, as I understand it, is not to send in any American troops but, rather, to bomb and bomb in support of Pakistani troops. Another brilliant idea. Bombing did not work in Vietnam, hasn't worked in Iraq, and most certainly won't work in Pakistan. Furthermore, there is some doubt as to how willing the Pakistani army is going to be when it comes to attacking the Pashtuns. Pakistani army brass is supposedly in favor of this plan but the troops, who come from the same backgrounds as the terrorists, may not feel highly motivated to follow them. When the bombing fails, what then? Taliban fighters who will not turn bin Laden in even for 50 million dollars are not very likely to allow Pakistani troops to come in and take him away, especially on their tribal territories that they know like the back of their hands. Like all of Bush/Cheney's ideas this is stupid. As long as the Taliban and bin Laden are holed up in a remote corner of Pakistan they can't do much damage elsewhere. The chances of success in trying to capture bin Laden at this late stage are probably zilch. Besides, if bin Laden was not important to Bush previously as he claimed, why has he suddently taken on this new importance? I guess they believe they have to shore up Musharif who is in more and more trouble. With the great satan helping him he will probably end up in a lot more trouble.

John Conyers has said if he gets three more Congresspersons to sign on to impeach Cheney he will go ahead with it, Pelosi be damned. Please, oh please, let us find three more brave souls willing to do what is right instead of what is merely expedient. No one, NO ONE, could possibly be more deserving of impeachment than Dick the Slimy. It shouldn't take long, Cheney's crimes and misdemeanors are so numerous and so blatant, with much of the evidence right there available on videotape, it should be over very quickly. If Republicans try to block or delay it, it will just be further evidence of their perfidy and apparent death wish. It might even send a message to George the Dim. What will the puppet do without his ventriloquist, move to Paraguay?

A few nights ago my son was coming in from outside. It was very dark. He thought he saw something moving suspiciously by the garbage cans. He walked over, bent down and peered into the darkness, suddently realized that his face was merely a foot from the skunk's. He didn't get sprayed. Lucky boy.


"The independence of the judiciary from the executive is the prime defense against tyranny."
Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Impeach or surrender

The time has finally come, I fear, to either impeach Bush/Cheney or just surrender to them. They have made it abundantly clear they have nothing but contempt for Congress and the American people. They are claiming executive priviledge in such a broad way that they believe they are untouchable. As Pelosi and the Democrats have basically promised not to impeach them there are no limits to the powers they claim. The latest Presidential Executive Order is basically a declaration of war on the public and the creation of an American dictatorship. They have repeatedly placed themselves above the law, thumbed their noses at us, and blissfully go ahead doing whatever they wish. No amount of negotiation over funds for Iraq or over their claim of executive priviledge is going to make any difference to them whatsoever. There is no recourse now except impeachment. To fail to do so means surrendering to their claim of absolute power. So what is it to be?

In the half-light of evening the huge ponderosa pines outside my study are silent for the first time today. They are huge to me but for their life spans I guess they are not much more than maybe second-graders. We had one nice day, yesterday, but now today it is hot once again. The garden suffers, the peas did not do well, the corn and beans and carrots are thriving, the tomatoes lag behind, we harvested our first zuchini, and the rutabegas, beets, and parsnips are kind of so-so. This has been a tough year so far and no end in sight for this unusually long hot spell. We used to have a few hot days in August but this year has been different, very different. I can only conclude that it has something to do with global warming that is giving us extremes of temperature. I cannot believe those who argue that this is just the normal cycle of the earth's climate. I refuse to believe that a billion or more internal combustion engines plus who knows how many coal plants and other industries belching their waste into the skies have nothing to do with it. I am all for alternative energy but totally opposed to all nuclear plants. Any species that would use an energy source that produces radioactive waste they don't know what to do with, and will last more than 10,000 years, is insane and has nothing but contempt for human life on this miserably small planet. Peeing in the rivers might have been innocuous enough a couple of hundred years ago, but it isn't any longer. We have been fouling our nest long enough, now is the time to stop or it will soon be too late. It is very quiet now. The coyotes will start soon as they do most every night. The skunks visit in the night and leave their little holes everywhere. Our friends' dog got sprayed the other evening. I wonder if cats ever get it? Once we were visited by a Fisher, extremely rare, that. Two very small fawns visit most every morning. We try to keep their mothers out of the garden but do not always succeed. I love all the creatures of the earth. It would be a great pity if they, too, had to suffer from our greed and ignorance. Churchill once said, "dogs look up to us, cats look down on us. Give me a pig. Pigs just look you square in the eye and treat you as an equal." Ah, Winston, where are you when we need you so badly?


"I have always considered that the substitution of the internal combustion engine for the horse marked a very gloomy milestone in the progress of mankind."
Sir Winston Churchill

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bird on a String - story

I have just seen the movie Ratatouille. I thought it was noisy and frantic. I don't have time to write a blog so here is a short story:

Bird on a String

Eopave was a fine boy, a bit taller than his peers, with an erect posture and a well-muscled body, smooth chestnut skin, and brown eyes that sparkled when he smiled his truly glorious smile. As he was the eldest boy in his age-grade, and as there were three to four years between the grades, I reckoned he was eleven or twelve. Eo frequently hung around my house and had proven himself to be bright and informative as well as useful. Sometimes, in the late afternoon, when my chief interpreter was not available, Eo and I would visit the village and catch up with the events of the day. In the four months I had lived there I had grown quite fond of him.
My little house, constructed of casuarina posts, had walls woven of flattened cane and a grass roof. There was a small kitchen/dining area, an even smaller bedroom, and a work room with windows on two sides that could be opened for a view of a generous village square. There was no village as yet, except for a couple of other houses under construction. People still lived in their old village two hundred yards to the south. They had been told to clean up the place, eliminate the ubiquitous pigs by fencing them out, and dig latrines. They interpreted this to mean they should build a new village and stop living like “kanakas.” My house was supposed to be the vanguard for changes to come, but they were coming very slowly. People in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, like most people everywhere, were resistant to change.
I loved the Highlands. It was a beautiful place with high mountains on both sides of the valley and shades of green that seemed infinite. The air was so pure and clear you could see for miles. Across the valley was the perpetually cloud-covered Mt. Michael where lightning storms were a nightly occurrence. Our village was built on a slight ridge- top in a sea of kunai grass, the result of centuries of burning and cultivating. In the distance to the east were two huge and solitary klinki pines, one a bit smaller than the other. The people said they were married. Our area was not as heavily populated as further to the west, but where there were villages you could see neatly patterned gardens of sweet potatoes, yams, beans, tapioca, bananas, and other staples. Near the villages were stands of bamboo and casuarina. Looking across the valley at night, villages were identified by fires and often singing. The songs were unintelligible to me but as emotional and moving and timeless as anything I had ever heard. It was a moving, even romantic experience.
Virtually every European I had encountered before I began my work had insisted the natives would steal everything I owned. Nothing of mine had been stolen. After an awkward beginning the people had proven themselves to be friendly and helpful although it was clear they had no understanding of why I was there. They provided me with food while I provided them with salt, tobacco, newspaper, matches, and an occasional shilling or two. I found them to be honest and fair with me and I tried to do right by them. Of course they had some habits and customs I found somewhat repugnant, but I strove to maintain my scientific objectivity. I recall one afternoon in particular.
It was a typical afternoon with sunshine and the usual humidity before the afternoon rain. The villages were mostly deserted as they usually were during the day. I was in my house typing field notes when I looked up and saw Eopave, alone, playing with something. At first I thought he was playing catch, throwing something in the air and catching it as he moved slowly around the bare earth of the square. Then I realized he had a small bird tied by one leg to a thin strip of bark cloth string about six feet long. He would throw the bird up in the air where it would flutter its wings hopelessly and then he would pull it roughly back. I was appalled. It was torture. I couldn’t help but feel for the poor creature. I started out of the house towards Eo to interfere but then thought better of it. He was obviously involved in his play, if one could call it that, and I had always strove not to interfere with whatever it was the natives were doing, preferring instead to simply observe and record their behavior. It sickened me to watch, but watch I did. Eo moved out of my vision for a few moments but then reappeared. The unfortunate bird was exhausted and hanging limply from the string by Eo’s side. It was obviously still alive as it still fluttered every few seconds. Eo had a few sticks and proceeded to make a small fire not far from my doorway. I watched in horror as he then plucked the little bird alive and then held it over the fire, still alive. Satisfied after a short time, he ate it. All of it. I began to feel nauseous and moved away from the window unable to watch any longer. It was the most repulsive thing I had ever seen. I could not identify with it in any way. I was both outraged and enraged. I wanted to grab him and shake him until he understood the enormity of his criminal behavior.
Criminal behavior? When I calmed down I realized, of course, that what was cruelty to animals to me meant nothing to Eopave. The people, being chronically short of meat protein, ate anything and everything: dogs, cats, rats, songbirds, grubs, whatever they could find. Knowing this however did not calm my emotions or lessen my feelings of horror and dismay. I tried to imagine what emotions, if any, Eo experienced as he completed this act. Was he proud of himself for having found a meal? Had he no empathy whatsoever for the tiny bird? Did he even think about it? I’m certain that had I interfered he would have thought there was something wrong with me. I was rather proud of myself for not having intervened. But I knew I would never look at Eo again in quite the same way.
A bit later that afternoon the people began returning to the village. Women came in from their gardens laden with heavy knit-bags of sweet potatoes hanging from their foreheads, bundles of firewood on their heads, and babies in their arms. Men returned, some from the gardens and some from hunting, carrying their ever-present bows and arrows and sometimes a bit of sugar cane, yams, or bananas that were the provenience of men. The women would build fires outside their houses and everyone would share the evening meal, including the pigs, while the children ran wild in play, a routine that had existed unchanged for centuries.
Eopave appeared at my door. “Masta, yumi go now,” he said. It was not a question, nor was it a command, simply a statement of fact, as this was what we often did. I hesitated, not certain I wanted to go, but then reached for my shoulder bag with my notebooks and flashlight, and joined him on our usual afternoon visit. It had proven to be a worthwhile endeavor and I often learned new things of interest. We walked quietly side by side down the bare path towards the old village. Here and there were traces of the palisade that had once protected them from their enemies. I could hear the murmured conversations coming from the village, occasional laughter, and sometimes an argument. The path took us within fifty yards of the men’s house. Located by itself in a dark grove of tall bamboo, it was silent, well hidden, mysterious, and foreboding, an area completely forbidden to women and children. Eo moved closer to me, then in a completely unprecedented act, timidly reached out and took my hand.


"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.
Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bush has a philosophy?

Bush is going to veto a bill (or maybe already has) that would have expanded medical care for children. He says he will (or has) on "philosophical grounds." What he means is he doesn't want to encourage people to depend on the government for health care because that would take away from the "private sector." In other words, if you're too poor to afford insurance for your children that's just tough (he didn't mention the horror of socialized medicine for some reason - he may have it confused with some kind of venereal disease). In any case, over the years it has become clear to me that he does have a kind of philosophy: "Be rich, sleep and vacation a lot, and screw 'em all" (it's part of being a "compassionate conservative").

I find it harder and harder to write a blog these days. I am weary of saying the same things over and over again. We have reached the point where nothing is news any longer. Gonzales lied to Congress - yeah, so what? Congressman so-and-so was caught soliciting sex in a public toilet - yeah, so what? Cheney is urging Bush to attack Iran - yeah, so what? Condi Rice is going to the Middle East - yeah, so what? Edwards got a $400 haircut - yeah, so what? Romney spent hundreds on make-up - yeah, so what? Bush is a liar - yeah, so what? Dick the Slimy is a disgusting creep - yeah, so what? Buish/Cheney say we should stay the course - yeah, so what? There are clear grounds for impeachment - yeah, so what? What is it they can do they haven't already done many times over? It seems to me a more interesting question at this point is, if these are the things we have heard about, what about the multitude of worse things they might have done we haven't heard about (secrecy, you know - they have to have it).

Roviating Hillary. Hillary apparently had the temerity to ask what the plan was (if any) for withdrawing from Iraq. Now she stands accused of promoting enemy propaganda and undermining our troops, the administration, common decency, international morality, mother and apple pie, and who knows what all else. A perfect attempt at roviation that, I believe, is going to seriously backfire. Hillary, as a Senator, indeed, even as an American citizen, has every right to question the administration about any plan to withdraw. This is especially true at the moment as the administration itself is considering plans to do just that. So there is absolutely no excuse for their intemperate and unjust attack other than to try to slime and smear her in the classic Rove manner. Of course the fact that she is the leading Democratic candidate for President has nothing to do with it. The Bush/Cheney/Rove administration is the slimiest, sickest, most dishonest and disgusting bunch of bastards in the history of the U.S.


"To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations--such is a pleasure beyond compare."
Yoshida Kenko

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The "Reaper"

I cannot get this out of my mind, it's been enraging me the last 24 hours. The "Reaper," the aptly named most recent weapon about to be unleashed on Iraq. I don't know the precise details or description of this weapon as I have seen at least two different descriptions. But it is definitely an unmanned aircraft, fair-sized, that will carry some (anywhere from six to a dozen) missiles, as well as a couple of 500 pound bombs. I think I saw somewhere that it will fly 300 miles per hour and can be controlled and directed by a headquarters in Las Vegas (fun city), some 7000 miles away. As it will be directed at Iraq, a totally helpless target with no air force or anti-aircraft batteries to defend against a relatively slow-moving target, it is sure to be a great success. It is unlikely to be used against Iran as they have an able air force.

This is the most obscene, despicable, filthy, immoral, unethical, disgusting, cowardly, miserable, horrible, evil, vile, outrageous weapon since the atom bomb. At least someone had to fly the bombers over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Think of it! They are going to use this nightmare weapon on helpless civilians in a country that is defenseless. What kind of ghouls would do such a thing? Who gave the order for this? What, in fact, is even the purpose of it other than killing perfectly innocent people? Is this just another chapter of "shock and awe?" Have we lost the "war" so badly all we can do now is just kill as many people as possible before we begin our less than honorable withdrawal? Talk about Dr. Strangelove, this is even more bizarre. I can only think of some military brass sitting in their hot tubs, surrounded by bikini-clad maidens, sipping their mai tais, saying, "just a minute girls, I have to send some more reapers, it'll only take a minute."

This does not make me proud to be an American. In fact, it makes me extremely ashamed.

Winston Churchill said it perfectly many years ago: "Science burrows its insulated head in the filth of slaughterous inventions."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Yesterday I read somewhere that our current Drug Czar (whoever he is) announced that those who grow marijuana are terrorists. So how about those who smoke or eat it? They must be terrorists as well, or at least seen as supporting terrorists. If this is so, then at least this part of the war on terror must be seen as unusually successful, just look at the hundreds of thousands of citizens incarcerated for pot. The fact that their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, are disrupted and sometimes ruined all for naught apparently bothers no one in the drug enforcement business. What I want to know is how someone like a Drug Czar gets selected in the first place. As near as I can tell they must look for the most ignorant, ill-informed, and rigid people they can find. They continue to spread the most ridiculous lies about marijuana, I can only guess because they really don't know anything about it and, in fact, don't seem to want to know anything about it. There is no compelling reason Marijuana should not be as legal as liquor and tobacco. This has been known for years and years, and yet some cling to the absurd claims made about this common weed. There is no space here to delve into this in detail but the facts are readily available if anyone wants to find out the truth.

I have always believed marijuana should be legal. Now, after careful thought on the subject (at least careful for me) I have concluded that all drugs should be legal. The so-called drug problem is a purely medical problem that should be handled between a doctor and a patient. It is not a political problem although that is what it has become. Not only is it the case that people's lives are being ruined by their use of drugs (who among us does not use one or more drugs routinely), but there are others whose lives are being harmed if not ruined by their inability to get the drugs they actually need. Doctors have become so fearful of prescribing drugs of certain kinds to certain patients they refuse to do it even though they know full well the patients would be better off for it. The benefits of legalizing drugs would far outweigh any deleterious effects. The fact that hemp cannot be grown in the United States has to be one of the single most absurd laws ever conceived. When I was a child none of the drugs now proscribed were prohibited, even housewives routinely used them, as did many others. Our current drug laws are no more than another failed case of prohibition, causing many to be labeled as criminals and others to be denied adequate medical care. They are, in short, ridiculous and unnecessary. In this country, where the blind continue to lead the blind, and to be stupid and uninformed seems to be no handicap to holding office, don't expect anything worthwhile to be achieved. We just continue on year after year in our abysmal ignorance and seem to take pride in it.


"If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them--peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on their shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends, let them at any rate be your acquaintances."
Sir Winston Churchill

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ready, Aim, Miss

I have just read somewhere that our troops have expended 250,000 rounds for every Iraqi killed. Now that's some marksmanship! The situation is so bad we have now had to ask Israel to furnish us with more ammunition (they apparently have plenty that we no doubt paid for). So what's the problem? Can't they shoot straight? Didn't they have to take basic target practice? Whatever happened to Sergeant York who killed 100 Germans with only 100 bullets? I guess he is no longer an inspiration for our military (who probably never even heard of Sergeant York). I don't know how much each of those rounds cost but I bet they don't come cheap. So who benefits from this apparently random shooting? Don't tell me, let me guess - the arms manufacturers! The military motto when it comes to shooting seems to be, blast away men, there's plenty more where those came from. That's the same attitude they have toward everything the military does. More tanks, more cannons, more planes, more submarines, more battleships, more, more, more. Spending more on "national defense" than all the rest of the world combined just isn't enough. We need more of everything all the time. We need all this equipment and stuff massed at our borders to keep out those guys with the boxcutters.

I hate to admit it but Gonzales was right, the Geneva Convention is indeed apparently quaint. It seems there no longer are any rules whatsoever when it comes to "war." Prior to WWII there were few, if any, civilian casualties and, as far as I know, there was no concept of collateral damage. Women and children, especially, were not targeted. The Nazis, I think, were the first to engage in carpet bombing and strafing. But we joined in quickly and bombed Dresden off the face of the planet when there was really no need to do so. And, of course, we followed it up with an even bigger show, the unnecessary atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since that time no one seems to have been interested in any kind of rules when it comes to wars. But how things have changed since the First World War. Technology has allowed us to kill masses of people without seeing them, engaging them in any way, or apparently experiencing any pangs of conscience or morality. Hey, you're thirty thousand feet up above them, you just press a button and bang, thousands die, including women and children. Collateral damage.

Now we have taken even this a bit further. An unmanned plane that can carry eight missiles and two five hundred pound bombs is about to be used against the Iraqis. This unmanned whatzit can be guided from Las Vegas to attack places thousands of miles away. Isn't this great? We can kill hundreds, maybe thousands, from very far away, all the while lounging in the hot tub or playing the slot machines. This is part of the new morality of war. Kill 'em all, they're just Iraqis. The best part of this new technology, I guess, is that it will only work on totally defenseless "enemies." If your intended victims had an air force of their own, or a sophisticated anti-aircraft system they could no doubt defend themselves from these new robot aircraft. Or if they were really sophisticated like us they could no doubt invent robot anti-whatzits. Think of he potential here - we could end up having robotic wars where no one actually gets killed, just the robots. The team with the best robot wins. Whee! Progress is being made. What country would boast of having robotic killing machines that can only decimate defenseless people? USA, USA, USA, USA! Makes you right proud to be an Amurican. Take your pick, you want universal health care or robotic machines to kill innocent and defenseless people. How about more nuclear bombs?

Bush now says he will convene a meeting of only those countries who want to see a Palestianian state in order to restart the Middle East peace process (the rest of the world doesn't count). For six and a half years he has done nothing whatsoever to solve the Israeli/Palestinian problem and everything to make it worse - and now he wants to host a peace meeting? Now that he has no credibility at all? Now that it is far too late to convince anyone that the US is a nonpartisan referee in what is the most serious problem in the Middle East, and has been all these years when he did nothing. Now that he has already agreed to starve Hamas in favor of the Abbas faction? He is obviously crazier than I think he is. No, that is not possible. So good luck Bushie boy, you've done a great job.


"In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose."
J. Robert Oppenheimer

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I have just had the misfortune to watch Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. I have never seen such a mishmash of complete and total bullshit in all my life. Gibson threw in every piece of left over crap from all the jungle/savage/Indian/fantasy/ridiculous movies ever made. Of course there was virtually nothing but violence, blood and gore from start to finish with knives, spears, clubs, bows and arrows, death traps, poison darts, you name it. All of this with a story line so absurd it could only appeal to ten year old boys who have never read a book except, perhaps, the most pathetic of the comic books. Mel Gibson should be put away someplace safe where he can deal with his obsession with violence without inflicting it on the rest of us. The dialogue, such as it was, seems to have been written by someone in a convent. They say thank you a lot. Savages, it appears, are highly amused by cruel jokes, mostly having to do with sex (mysteriously there is no actual sex shown). If you are a ten year old boy with time on your hands, a bit of money in your pocket, and want to indulge in an afternoon picnic of unadulterated gore, you might enjoy this garbage. Why has Gibson not made a picture about the Holocaust? It would seem to provide the ideal situation for him to display his violent obsessions to the fullest. Oh, I forgot, the Holocaust never happened. I'm sure he could make it up. He has a truly vivid imagination when it comes to complete and total schlock.

Saturday night. Not much happening. I guess this is the night our politicians make their rounds of the brothels and public restrooms. That's okay. They need to relax and be ready for monday when they can continue their work of doing nothing constructive and raising money. Poor Hillary and Edwards, if they just didn't have to put up with any of the other candidates think how they could collect even more money and stand out. I guess Obama isn't in on the conspiracy, at least not yet.

I never thought I would find myself rooting for Pootie Poot. But I am. Along with Chavez, he seems to be one of the major world leaders who has retained a bit of sanity and actually has his countrymen behind him. According to Bush and McCain, things continue to go well in Iraq and we are making progress (except for that pesky problem over their oil that they refuse to give up). McCain is now among the walking dead. How soon will Bush/Cheney follow?


"Is it wicked to take a pleasure in spring, and other seasonal changes? To put it more precisely, is it politically reprehensible, while we are all groaning, under the shackles of the capitalist system, to point out that life is frequently more worth living because of a blackbird's song, a yellow elm tree in October, or some other natural phenomenon which does not cost money..."
George Orwell

Friday, July 13, 2007

Real questions

Much ado about nothing and nothing to do about something, that seems to be the state of the media in this rapidly decaying country of ours. First the flap over the Hillary/Edwards whispering session. No one seem to have actually heard exactly what they were saying, and no one has claimed they named anyone in particular they wanted to eliminate (from the debate, that is - hold it, I have just been told that although they didn't name names, it was obvious who they had in mind. I'll have to look into this more closely). Hillary seems to have done most of the talking but someone said Edwards initiated the conversation. Wow! It's really important to know that. Hillary also said something to the effect that, "they're not serious." I cannot believe she was talking about Kucinich - or even Gravel for that matter. I think she must have been talking about the so-called "debates," in which case she is absolutely correct. They aren't serious, what with each candidate getting about three minutes to talk and answer questions. It is also true, I believe, that there are too many candidates (on both sides). Some of these candidates have no chance whatsoever of being elected, and they must know it, so they are just on their individual ego-trips. But of course they have every right to run if they wish. It's a free country (oops, I mean it used to be a free country). Someone, Hillary or Edwards maybe, suggested they should break up into smaller groups to debate and select the debaters randomly. That's not a bad idea. I wish it would happen. Here are the questions I would ask:

If you are elected President:

What would you do about the obvious war crimes of Bush/Cheney and this administration?

What would you do about the failed "war on drugs?"

What would you do about the problem of global warming?

What would you do about the failed "war" in Iraq?

What would you do about universal health care?

What would you do about the Israeli lobby and Israel's genocidal policies towards the Palestinians?

What would you do about Afghanistan? Iran? Syria? Lebanon? Darfur? Somaliland?

What would you do about our American "empire?"

What would you do about our obscenely bloated National Defense Budget?

What would you do about our decaying infrastructure?

What would you do about our failing educational system.

What would you do about the enormous gap between the rich and the poor?

What would you do about our immigration problem?

What would you do about our voting rights and questionable electoral system?

What would you do about the separation of church and state?

Don't expect anyone to actually ask any of these questions, at least not in such a direct way. And expect even less that anyone would answer them honestly (except Dennis Kucinich). The system isn't designed ot handle serious, important question like these. In fact, it's designed so the candidates don't have to answer real questions in a serious thoughtful manner. Even if they wanted to answer such questions they wouldn't have enough time. Our elections no longer have anything to do with what is right and proper for the national interest or the interest of ordinary citizens. They are really only about who is going to get the biggest slices of the corporate and taxpayer pies.

Don't count out Paris Hilton, at least not yet. She returned to the networks today once again. It seems she was given special priviledges such as being allowed to use a cell phone anytime she wished and had her mail delivered personally by one of the senior officers. And get this, she was give a new jump suit instead of one that had been previously used and reconditioned. This reminds me of the days when I was for a time a sort of half-assed administrator and had to listen to complaints about the relative size of staplers and whether or not someone was stealing hard-boiled eggs.

There was a very important development in the war on terror today, at least that part of it that involves Osama bin Laden. The Senate voted to increase the reward for his capture from a mere 25 million dollars to 50 million. I guess they felt that the multi-millionaires and billionaires they expect to rat on him would just turn their noses up at a mere 25 million. And I thought only the Lord moved in mysterious ways. Of course they keep insisting that we know where he is. If they know where he is and can't get him anyway, what's the point of the reward? Well, it's nice to know they are finally doing something (no matter how absurd).


"I do not mind lying, but I hate innacuracy."
Samuel Butler

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Delusional, you bet

John Edwards said today that Bush's speech bordered on the delusional. I don't think it bordered on the delusional at all, it was completely delusional. If telling us day after day that progress is being made and that we are going to "win," in direct contradiction to what we know from others who have been investigating the situation, is not delusional, what is? As far as I know the only people who think Bush is not delusional might be McCain and Cheney (but even Cheney probably knows Bush is delusional but doesn't care as it suits his purposes). Boehner and a few other hard-core Republicans still stick with Bush but they must be aware he is delusional. The 29% of people who still claim to support Bush are themselves so delusional they don't recognize it in Bush himself. I don't like to believe that 29% of my fellow citizens are mentally unbalanced but how else do you account for this? Of course there are those like my mother-in-law who would vote for Count Dracula if he were the Republican candidate. She doesn't follow the news (any news), knows nothing whatsoever of contemporary politics, but always votes Republican because she and her now deceased husband always did. I don't regard her as mentally unbalanced, just so disinterested and ignorant she probably shouldn't be allowed to vote. No doubt there are many others just like her.

What do you do when one of the candidates that might otherwise be appealing comes out with a statement so incredibly stupid you can't help but want to just write them off entirely. Hillary, for example (although by no means my favorite candidate) did this a few days ago when she came out with the Republican bullshit line that the probems in Iraq are the Iraqis fault for not being able to solve all their problems (which they didn't have before they were illegally attacked). Barack Obama made a similar statement so stupid that I was immediately turned off to his otherwise attractive candidacy. He said impeachment would be inappropriate and should be employed only for grave offenses (if the Bush/Cheney offenses are not "grave" or even far worse than that, what on earth would be). Not that I would ever vote for a Republican under any circumstances, but Romney is another case in point when he blurted out that we should double Guantanamo (ignore his other obvious lies for the moment). Giuliani says things often that are so incredibly stupid you can only wonder how he ever became more than a local dogcatcher someplace, like, if Democrats get elected we would have another terrorist attack, etc. Duncan Hunter came out with a real doozy: Ann Coulter is a good American citizen. Then there are the two who admitted they did not believe in evolution.

Of course almost all seem to agree with the absurd notion that what we need are 100,000 or more troops to expand our army. I guess they think that spending more on defense than all the rest of the world combined isn't enough, we need still more. I guess we just have to realize that they are all basically nothing but corporate shills, bathing in the hot tubs of greed and profit and demanding more and more cannon fodder. Kucinich, Gravel, and Paul, having scorned the invitation, are regarded as political lepers.

My wife and son are watching some movie in the other room. I cannot see the screen but only hear the sounds. I honestly cannot tell if they are having multiple orgasms, fighting off wild animals, torturing each other, having a cannibalistic feast, maybe on their way to heaven, or enjoying Babette's Feast. It must be some movie, thank god I missed it. On a similar vein, I live in constant fear that someone will somehow force me to watch Mind of Mencia. I suspect there was some kind of mix up in my karma and I was born in the wrong century.


"She was one of those elderly 'good sports' preserved by an imperviousness to experience and a good digestion into another generation."
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pink pistols?

I would like to know where I can get a pink pistol. A 9mm glock. According to Bill O'Reilly there are gangs of pink pistol packing lesbians all over the country, attacking men, abducting girls and raping them, indoctrinating children into homosexuality and so on. I had never seen O'Reilly in my life until just now when my son made me watch a clip of this astounding claim. I would have thought it was just a joke but I am told that it is apparently supposed to be serious. O'Reilly was aided in this presentation by some black man he addressed as "detective." I don't think the man was actually a detective but, rather, a "Fox crime analyst" of some kind. In any case, they are both crazy as loons (my apologies to ordinary loons).

It's not enough that we have had to endure Bush's "gut feelings" for the past few years, now we have to endure Chertof's as well. With no evidence whatsoever he has told us that his gut tells him we are about to be attacked by terrorists. My gut tells me that we are about to enter into an endless summer, fall, and winter marathon of hearings about one thing or another, one scandal or another, one legal wrangle after another, one more lie after another, until eventually the 2008 election will be over and some poor soul will be left to try to clean up after this horrendous mess. The failure in Iraq will be blamed on Democrats who refused to properly fund the war and retreated with their tails between their legs. Republicans would have won if it weren't for these Democratic wimps. Deja vue all over again.

It appears that McCain is finished as a candidate. Good. We don't need another warmonger in the White House. However, we still have a problem with Republican candidates. Giuliani is being exposed for the utter fake that he is, Romney has already been exposed as a liar and a hypocrite, Fred Thompson is going to sink like an overstuffed windbag with cement boots (what with his trophy wife, having lobbied for abortion rights, leaked right and left during the Nixon era, and so on), at least two of the others are evangelicals who don't believe in evolution (which, I suppose, might not keep them from the Presidency). But all in all I think it is fair to say the Republican candidates to a (white) man are pretty dismal. That is why Hillary will probably be elected. If the powers that be can't have a Republican they will settle for the next best thing, a Republican lite (I'm not so sure anymore if she is merely lite). Anyway, it doesn't look promising for the Republicans.

It seems to me that Bush is proving Nixon was right when he said, "if the President does it, it can't be illegal." Bush has done one illegal thing after another (mostly, I gather, at Cheney's behest) and nothing has happened to him (and it doesn't appear that anything is going to happen to him or Cheney). Stonewalling and litigation will take you a long way, especially when you are up against such timid opponents (if, indeed, they are truly even genuine opponents).


"What makes men happy is liking what they have to do. This is a principle on which society is not founded."
Claude Helvetius

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Stranger than fiction

Is our current political situation truly not stranger than fiction? Who would have thought there could be a country, supposedly democratic, where the leadership is known for months if not years to have committed war crimes and blatant violations of its laws and constitution, and yet nothing is done about it. This in spite of the fact there are rules and laws and mechanisms for dealing with just this sort of thing. Just today there were two more examples of how this administration runs roughshod over everyone and everything. The previous Surgeon General of the country testified before Congress that while he was in office he was muzzled by the White House when he wanted to speak out on matters of public interest like stem cell research, drug laws, and other such matters. Then it was discovered that Alberto Gonzales, our Attorney General, lied to Congress (again). This time when he claimed there had been no violations of the law under the Patriot Act when he had been informed before his testimony that there had been. So once again, he is either lying or too moronic to know what goes on in his own fiefdom. Many Senators and Congresspersons have demanded that he resign or be fired. Bush simply ignores them. And nothing happens. Bush pardons Libby which is said to outrage many, but nothing is done. Cheney runs the country from underneath a rock someplace as if it were his own private set of tinkertoys. Nothing is done. The vast majority of citizens, as well as a majority of our leaders in the Senate and House, rail against the "war" in Iraq. Nothing is done about it. A CIA agent is outed in a treasonous act of punishment. Nothing is done about it. A known male prostitute is given free reign to enter and leave the White House. No explanation has ever been offered. No one could ever have made up a story like this with no outcome in sight. It is surely stranger than fiction. If you had submitted the outline of a movie or book about what is going on it would certainly have been rejected as implausible.

It is true there is talk about doing something. But so far that's all it is, talk. I know the wheels of justice are said to turn slowly. But the violations involved under Bush/Cheney are so egregious they should long ago have been treated as an emergency. These stupid, greedy, evil men still have 18 months left in office. They can easily end the world if they choose (and what they might choose is entirely unpredictable now that they have been slightly wounded). No White Knight has emerged to slay these dragons. Indeed, their only challengers are just like them (except for a couple who are not allowed in the fraternity). We are trapped in a gigantic conspiracy run by huge international corporations that are dedicated to the status quo and will fight to the death to maintain it, little people be damned. Years ago it used to be common to hear people say, "when the revolution comes." You don't hear that anymore. Strange, that.


"If you can't beat it, don't knock it."
Anonymous gambler

Monday, July 09, 2007

Made for Idaho

Rex Rammell, as quoted in the Spokesman Review today:

"I think the Republican Party has drifted a little bit, to be right honest with you, to the center. I'd like to bring it back to the right, where it should be."

Can Idaho voters resist a guy who is "right honest" with them and who, perhaps as our next Senator, can join our Representative Bill Sali as another absolutely useless voice for the state? Of course one can't say that Craig or Crapo have been of much use either, simply rubber stamping anything Bush wants. But, really, someone who wants to be further right than the most far right group we've probably ever had? Maybe he was just kidding?

Karl Rove has reportedly said that 80 to 90% of the violence in Iraq is because of al Quaida. He also said the biggest problem at Guantanamo is weight gain! No doubt he will tell us next that he was captured by aliens from outer space, flown around in a flying saucer, and instructed to tell the truth.

There is an interesting situation with respect to Ms. Sarah Taylor. She has been supoened and says she wants to testify. But Bush doesn't want her to testify. As she no longer works for the White House she could testify if she wants to, but says she doesn't want to hurt Bush. Under the circumstances, if Bush doesn't want her to testify, he would have to get a court order to stop her. Now, if she wants to testify, and doesn't want to hurt Bush, doesn't that imply that she thinks she/they did nothing wrong? If she thinks they did nothing wrong how could she hurt Bush? So why does Bush not want her to testify? Obviously he doesn't think her testimony will be benign. His claim of executive priviledge is on very shaky ground. If, as he claims, he had nothing to do with the firing of the Federal Prosecutors, and did not discuss it, then how can Executive Priviledge even apply? In truth, it probably doesn't, but Bush can string it out in court until he is out of office, just as he is stringing out the "war" in Iraq until he is no longer in office. This is all so transparent as to be laughable, except, of course, murder, arson, rape, torture, and pillage are not really very laughable.

Ho hum. The Iraqis have not met a single one of the so-called benchmarks. I, for one, never imagined they would (well, maybe not fail on ALL of them). The most important failure is their refusal to sign off on the theft of their oil. That is one benchmark they will probably never reach (they are not stupid people). No doubt Bush/Cheney will now argue that we must continue to stay the course until they can reach the benchmarks (that is, perpetual "war"). It's a real money maker. So what will happen now? Will the Republicans who have now spoken out against this travesty actually vote to withdraw? Will the Democrats cave again and furnish even more money for this completely lost cause that continues to drain away billions, along with more and more lives?

I hate to be such a pessimist but it looks to me that Cheney will not even be impeached. Oh, how I hope I am wrong! If he isn't impeached we should probably all run for our lives, head for the hills, beat it outta here, whatever.


"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."
Blaise Pascal

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The idiotic accompanied by the absurd

I am waiting and hoping that this coming week will become "the week that was." The week when we finally began seriously to rid the country of these despicable Republican thugs who have led us inexorably toward the valley of national and cultural death. Let's hope that enough Congresspersons summon the courage to join Kucinich's articles of impeachment against the vile Dick the Slimy (a great place to begin). Given the nature and number of obvious charges against Cheney it shouldn't take more than an afternoon to conclude the obvious - Cheney is a war criminal and has to go. If enough join in the effort perhaps even the justice-blind Pelosi will have to pay attention.

There apparently is a move afoot to build a private nuclear reactor in the Magic Valley, an idea pretty idiotic in it's own right. Nuclear plants have been prohibited for years (and for good reasons) so why do we need one here in Idaho. Well, it turns out we don't really need one, some private firm wants one. Why do they want one? Better hold your breath - because they need the extra energy to make ethanol. In other words, they are going to build a horrible plant that will spew off nuclear waste for ten thousand years in order to make a product that will basically do little or nothing to help our energy shortage, will be bad for the environment, bad for the food supply, be taxpayer subsidized, and require as much or more energy to manufacture than it will produce. A they want to do this in a state that has enough geothermal and wind power potential to make ethanol and nuclear power obsolete. I'd like to say, "only in Idaho," could anyone come up with an absurd plan like this but I realize there are idiots all over, especially in Congress where they think ethanol is better than the second coming (it certainly will attract those corn state votes). Thank god this is not yet a done deal (at least I don't think it is) so there may be a chance to inject sanity where it might be needed (surely you know where that is). How much does Otter know about this?

We know now that Iraq is not going to meet its benchmarks (did anyone ever believe they would) and that September will not bring any positive news (except whatever they can manufacture out of wholecloth). We will be told again that we dare not leave as there would be chaos (as opposed to the law and order that prevails at the moment). Reid is threatening to...well, he's threatening to...well, I don't exactly know what he's threatening (he'll probably threaten not to leave the troops without further funds to prolong the war until he can threaten again...and again). I sincerely hope I am wrong and that he and Pelosi will actually do something this time to stop this dreadful and useless killing.

It is evening, and quiet. The giant ponderosas outside my study window are standing tall and somber against a light gray sky. There is no wind. At best I expect to hear a distant and romantic train whistle in the night. As always it makes me feel small and insignificant, something like a grain of sand on an infinitely huge beach (even that description may flatter my importance in the entire and mysterious scheme of things). I shall go to bed thinking of rosebuds. That always puts me to sleep.


"A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our languiage makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."
George Orwell

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Waiting for next week

How many Republicans does it take to change a dim bulb? I'm waiting patiently for next week to perhaps get a hint. There seems to be little doubt that the possibility of impeachment is growing more realistic at the moment. I think some thirteen or fourteen members of the House have now signed on to Kucinich's articles of impeachment for Dick the Slimy. Come next week will any more join the impeachment bandwagon, and how many more is it going to take? One might argue that Dick the Slimy is not really dim but, more realistically, bad, defective, or otherwise undesirable. But you have to start somewhere and Cheney is a good bet. Bush probably wouldn't last long without his evil Rasputin so we might get two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. If Bush/Cheney were honorable men they would resign (I have been saying this for months) but, of course, there is not a shred of honor between them (nor in the entire Republican party as near as I can tell). A few Republicans could have stopped this ongoing disaster a long time ago but to a person they have consistently elected to serve Bush/Cheney rather than the nation. Power to the party seems to be all they know (whatever happened to legislators who put the interests and needs of the nation foremost in their thoughts and actions). As they have presumably been visiting their home turfs we can only hope their constituents have made it clear to them that Bush/Cheney need to go NOW, before they can do any further damage.

Bush's stupidity and arrogance is about to finally catch up with him. If he pardons Libby, as he is under considerable pressure to do, Libby may be forced to actually have to at least partially "come clean." If he doesn't pardon him the case will drag on and on virtually paralyzing the nation (unfortunately, this may be his best option). Of course if they try to impeach Cheney that, in itself, will paralyze the nation and open the Libby/Bush/Cheney wounds for all to see. Wouldn't that be a happy day! It doesn't matter that nothing else could be accomplished - nothing is being accomplished at the moment anyway, thanks to Republicans apparent desires for more "war" and more loot. Ooooh, so close and yet so far from stealing all that Iraqi oil. It must be very frustrating for them. They'll no doubt try to solve the problem with more killing, a strategy doomed to fail, but what's a few more lives when that great puddle of oil is just waiting, waiting...

A truly sad day here at Sandhill. Our faithful cat finally had to be "put down." He was almost nineteen years old and experiencing kidney failure. There was no hope for our son's beautiful Boo Oboe Tramp. When my son was three or four he was told that T.S.Eliot had suggested that all cats should have three names. How he came up with Boo Oboe Tramp has always mystified me. He was an all black cat which might explain the Boo (what with Halloween), but the Oboe Tramp seems to have come out of nowhere. He slept on my son's bed virtually every night for all those years and will be sorely missed. He was duly buried next to the other cat he lost to cancer. Growing up is hard indeed.


"Freedom is an indivisible word. If we want to enjoy it, and fight for it, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with us or not, no matter what their race or the color of their skin."
Wendell Willkie.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The cost of doing business

You must certainly have heard by now that John Edwards paid $400 for a haircut. The Republicans are all in a snit about this and obviously think it is very important, so important they apparently think it should keep him from the White House. You may recall that three years ago they were all up in arms because John Kerry paid $75 for a haircut (he's apparently a cheapskate). And worse than that, he was wearing $250 dollar shirts (morialekafa 7-25-04). I find it interesting that no one, as far as I know, has questioned what Republicans pay for their appearances. I read somewhere that Bush pays between $2000 and $3000 for his suits (I guess they are cut special so he can wear that doohickey on his back). Anyway, as Republicans seem to be so hung up on these matters I have a suggestion. All candidates should have to report what they pay for keeping up their appearances. Now obviously you can't expect them to do this on a daily basis so I suggest that before they take part in any "debate" or whatever you want to call those dreary things they are doing nowadays, they should have to report on their accoutrements (I guess that's what you call such items). I want to know how much they paid for their haircut (do you think that perhaps Laura cuts Georgie's hair), their manicure, their pedicure (maybe they don't all have pedicures but if not they should have to report it), their suits, shirts, ties, socks, shoes, shoeshines (do you think maybe they shine their own shoes), in other words, a complete report. Oh, yeah, I forgot, they should also have to specify briefs, jockey shorts, or whatever (remember this was asked of Bill Clinton so it must be important). This is a particularly important issue when it comes to Romney. Mormons apparently are required to wear special underwear (why this is so I have no idea but no doubt it has important theological implications). I think the public is entitled to know if he wears this special underwear or not (and if not, why not).

I would also like to know if they can deduct these as business expenses (after all, if your business is conning the public you have to keep up appearances). And are these legitimate campaign expenses? That is, can you use the money you raise to keep up your appearance? I would be especially interested in the comparison between Democratic candidates and Republican ones. In terms of total expenses for appearances I bet Dennis Kucinich would come in dead last, no wonder he tends to be ignored. Besides, he's a peacenik, no one is interested in peace these days, there's no money in it. Remember image (appearance) is everything nowadays. This is why Bush pretends to be a macho cowboy, Hillary pretends to be a Democrat, Giuliani appears to be a snake-in-the-grass, Romney strives to appear honest, Edwards tries to be handsome, Obama is an oracle, and Kucinich just remains his wonderfully honest self (as there is no place for honesty in politics, Kucinich's image suffers accordingly, along with Ron Paul and Gravel).

I also think it might be a good idea, before each debate, to have the candidates report on what they had for lunch, where, how much it cost, and, most importantly, who paid for it. We can't have our candidates having $400 lunches, not after those expensive haircuts. I wouldn't pay $400 for a haircut even if I could (because I refuse to believe a haircut could possibly be worth that much). But I suppose if you are a multi-millionaire $400, relatively speaking, is about the equivalent of what most men pay for their haircuts. Republicans want you to believe that if you pay $400 for a haircut you couldn't possibly be for the "little guy." Obviously we've had extremely wealthy Presidents who did, in fact, stand up for the little guy. The Republicans problem with this is they can't imagine anyone being interested at all in the "little guy." They reserve their interest for the guys that can spend $8000 for a shower curtain or $40,000,000 for a Picasso. Hey, it takes all kinds to make a world.

It is very hot here at Sandhill these days. You have to do your gardening before 9:00 a.m. if you don't want to suffer. I think it's that pesky global warming with its extremes of temperature that Bush/Cheney keep pretending doesn't really exist (it might actually cost a few bucks to save the earth but what the hell...).


"Sociology is the study of how the masses are being exploited by an elite bourgeoisie."
Max Schulman

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Aw, C'mon, Quit Yer Kiddin'

One can only laugh when you read somewhere, "Bush won't rule out pardon," or words to that effect. Of course he won't rule it out because it's already promised. That Bush will pardon Libby is as certain as the sun setting in the west or that bears poop in the woods. There are strategic reasons for Bush's failure to pardon him right now. If he were to be pardoned he could not claim the 5th amendment in any further investigation. Furthermore, with the current situation, the commutation, Bush can claim that he is still being punished (even though they all know that the so-called punishment will never truly occur). Libby has already paid his $250,000 fine and there is some doubt that he will even have probation. And no matter what happens in the immediate future, he will ultimately be given a complete pardon, his reward, of course, for not spilling the beans on the guilt of Bush/Cheney.

And speaking of Cheney, the second absurd question making the rounds is, "did Cheney have any input into the Libby commutation?" Are they kidding us? Bush would no more have pardoned Libby without consulting with Dick the Slimy than Libby would have leaked Plame's name without Cheney's permission. Of course he consulted with Cheney, as far as I know he doesn't do anything without Cheney's input. And Libby was Cheney's chief aide and friend. Why would he not have been consulted? The idea that he wasn't is simply ridiculous. Bush doesn't seem to be smart enough to realize that Cheney has been playing him for the fool that he is for the past six and a half years.

And speaking of fools, consider the following quotation:

The most conservative geologists were gradually obliged to admit that man had been upon the earth not merely six thousand, or sixty thousand, or one hundred sixty thousand years. And when, in 1863, Sir Charles Lyell, in his book on The Antiquity of Man, retracted solemnly his earlier view -- yielding with a reluctance almost pathetic, but with a thoroughness absolutely convincing -- the last stronghold of orthodoxy in this field fell. (A. D. White, 1955)

Thus, since at least 1863 no reputable scientist has ever challenged the basic fact that the earth is exceedingly old (although precisely how many millions or billions old has been a question). So how is it that in 2007, in the United States of America, supposedly the most advanced human culture there is, there are those still unwilling to believe in this basic fact, and, indeed, are spending millions to build centers promoting ideas that were found ludicrous long ago? They are, in short, poisoning the minds of our children and filling their heads with utter nonsense. Personally, I'm not convinced this should be allowed, it's every bit as bad, and perhaps even worse, than falsely yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.


Levi-Strauss, commenting on one of his philosophy Professors: "I have never known so much naive conviction allied to greater intellectual poverty."

Ring any recent bells?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Past, Past all Dishonor

In July of 2005, almost two years ago (7-27-05), I wrote a blog entitled Past all Dishonor (a title taken from a James M. Cain novel). I suggested that the Republicans were letting Bush/Cheney take over the party, commit grievous crimes against the nation, and refusing to do anything about it, thus being past all dishonor. Well, by now, they have repeatedly demonstrated the same unwillingness to curb Bush/Cheney and thus have gone even past their previous dishonor. If Republicans don't join with Democrats to do something now about Bush's disgraceful commutation of Libby's crime (and yes, it was a crime) I think they will have dishonored themselves and their party for all time. I can't see how they could fall much further into the cesspool of American politics and history.

Libby lied to a Grand Jury and obstructed justice. Those are extremely serious charges. He was tried before a competent (Republican appointed judge) who rendered a seriously considered sentence. The sentence was reviewed by another court and found to be perfectly reasonable. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in jail, par for the course. Bush (probably acting for Cheney as usual) said the jail time was an excessive punishment (which, for the crime, it was not). But he cleverly did not grant Libby an all out pardon for if he had done so Libby would forfeit his right to claim the 5th amendment in any further investigation. Libby is left with a quarter of a million dollar fine and two years of probation. Of course he will never pay the fine (the money for it has already been collected for him) and his probation will end when Bush inevitably will pardon him once and for all. As Bush has no history of compassion when it comes to such commutations one might wonder why this case is different. The reason is obvious: Bush is protecting himself and Cheney from potential criminal charges. This should be an impeachable offense (along with the other dozen or so impeachable offenses they are already guilty of) but, of course, Republicans will not go along with impeachment even if Pelosi should change her mind and allow it to happen. If nothing is done this time, that is, if Bush/Cheney are not impeached or forced to resign, it will be an admission that they are, indeed, above the law (even though no one in the U.S. is supposed to be above the law, even the President). In other words they will have established a dictatorship (with the connivance and support of both Republicans and Democrats). Democrats are claiming to be outraged and will hold a series of hearings. Watch for the whole sordid episode to disappear amidst an avalanche of hearings (full of sound and fury, signifying nothing). God, I hope I am wrong about this.

It is now official that Larry Grant is running again for Congress against the mindless Bill Sali who just keeps on disgracing the State of Idaho with his meaningless minority votes against just about everyting and anything. Sali, who gets his money from the Club for Growth, apparently just votes their way no matter how ridiculous and stupid it appears. I don't think he gets much money from people in Idaho. Larry Grant does. If the citizens of Idaho can't see Grant as a superb candidate (especially compared with Sali) they obviously can't rid themselves of the garbage-mouthed voices they hear from the likes of Limbaugh and Coulter.


"We live under a system by which the many are exploited by the few, and war is the ultimate sanction of that exploitation."
Harold J. Laski

Monday, July 02, 2007

What does he have to lose?

Bush did what many of us predicted he would do, pardoned Libby. The only real surprise was that he did it so quickly. I have to give him (or someone) credit for the clever way he went about it. He can say that he didn't really pardon Libby because he still has to pay a $250,000 fine, will lose his license to practice law, and will be on probation for two years. Of course this is nonsense. Does anyone believe Libby will pay money out of his own pocket? And the pardon will inevitably come later when the fuss has calmed down. Libby will serve no time, pay no fine, lose no license, and will be free of any felony charges.

Bush will suffer no damage because his damage is already so monumental that another couple of points either way will make absolutely no difference. And as Pelosi has already announced he won't be impeached he has nothing to lose on that score either. Of course Bush didn't pardon Libby on his own, we can be certain of that. Behind every Bush decision lurks the influence of the evil Dick the Slimy who, for some inexplicable reason, seems to be immune from any sanctions whatsoever. Do you think Bush will ever wise up to the fact that his legacy would not be "worst President ever," if he had not allowed the malicious Cheney to lead him by the nose into the unpromised land? Like the lazy, marginally retarded individual he is, Bush just allowed himself to be used by Cheney for Cheney's interests which, as we know, were not benign and certainly not in the best interests of the nation or its citizens. Halliburton and the Carlyle Group certainly did well, as did GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and others. Cheney's "war" has been profitable indeed, and his obvious plan for endless war will be even better for business. Cheney has even sold Bush on the fantasy that what he has done will someday prove to have been the right thing and he will be compared favorably to Churchill. I guess Bush actually believes this fairy tale (and why not, he apparently believes he talks with God).

Now we will see, repeated again, the full force of Republican hypocrisy. When Clinton lied to a Grand Jury Republicans thought it was the end of the world, but when one of their own lies to a Grand Jury that's perfectly okay. They cling to their lie that Libby did nothing wrong (lying to a Grand Jury is wrong), or that his punishment was excessive (it was well within the legal guidelines for such a crime, handed down by an extremely competent judge and reviewed by an appeals court). It isn't really up to Bush to decide whether it was excessive or not although he clearly is within his right to grant a pardon. But has there ever been a case of a President pardoning someone to protect his Vice-President and himself from possible criminal charges? Bush/Cheney have made it clear they regard themnselves as above the law. Their Republican cronies seem to believe they are as none of them have been willing to ever break with the party line no matter how outrageously Bush/Cheney have acted. Will any of them stand up for the nation and its citizens this time?

What a tragedy for our nation! Had Bush surrounded himself with competent advisors interested in what was best for the country instead of a bunch of loyalist incompetent greedy sycophants interested only in power think how much better off we would all be, including Bush himself.


"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assasination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."
Robert Maynard Hutchins

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Themes of culture

Many years ago anthropologists were interested for a time in what they termed "themes of culture." Ruth Benedict was one who dabbled in this genre, attempting to categorize cultures in terms of characterists like Apollonian or Dionysian. Others quickly pointed out that was an oversimplification and there were probably more than one or two themes that might characterize cultures. Like so many fads this more or less just disappeared from the literature. But thinking back on it I was led to think about what themes might characterize contemporary American culture. I think there are two obvious ones: sex and violence.

I do not believe that I have seen a single ad for a motion picture for several months now that did not feature violence, and usually a lot of violence. As I am not a big TV viewer this could be obviously biased. At the moment I watch Olberman, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, an occasional sporting event, and once in a while I catch part of some other news station. I guess if I just watched soaps or the food channel or some other programs maybe I'd see something other than violence. But given what I do watch I assure you the ads are overwhelming violent. I notice also that most of the ads for motion pictures that I see in the newspaper are similarly loaded toward violence. Now I'm not overwhelmingly opposed to violence in movies. Obviously there has always been violence. Even as a child I remember the shoot-em-ups that were featured, as well as the primitive science fiction movies, and of course the gangster movies. But in those days the violence was at least somewhat limited and usually had to do with the good guys winning over the bad guys, the white hats over the black hats, and so on. It was nothing like the sort of indiscriminate almost non-stop violence we see nowadays, and it was certainly not featured in virtually every movie that was being made. Like I say, this may be a biased viewpoint, but that's the way I see it. I am willing to be convinced otherwise, I do not have a closed mind on this.

The other major theme I perceive to be sex. Everywhere we seem to be inundated with sexual themes. Sex is featured in movies along with violence (indeed, they almost seem to go hand in hand). Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store I peruse the covers of magazines: "Seventeen ways to please your husband in bed," "Sex tricks your husband will love," "How to look sexy," "How to be sexy," "So-and-so caught in bed with another man," "So-and-so found in lovers tryst with another woman," and so on and on (these are not necessarily actual headlines but they are representative descriptions of such headlines). On top of this we also have our annual contests to pick the sexiest man, the sexiest woman, and so on. Furthermore, the photos on magazine very frequently feature women in bikinis, low-cut blouses, sexual poses, and so on. Most everything can be sold nowadays with sex, especially products designed for men like automobiles, trucks, guns, and etc. Diets are mostly designed to make people look sexy rather than actually improve their health. "I'm a grandma and I think I'm as sexy as ever," "My husband calls me his trophy wife," "I haven't had such a hot body since..." and on ad nauseam. You live here, you must know what I'm talking about. As in the case of violence, I'm not opposed to sex, not even in movies or advertising, but when it reaches what strikes me as obsessional proportions I cannot help but wonder about it. Think viagra, cialis, male enhancement, maxiderm, and so on, as well.

It seems to me that if you tried to make a movie these days without sex and violence you would be regarded as some kind of pervert (or, yeah, perversion is also big these days, what with catching them on air and all). I know from personal experience that sex and violence have always been around, but I also know we were not completely saturated with them as we seem to be now. Hollywood can't even make a movie like the sinking of the Titanic without some kind of romantic interest. It seems that to Hollywood at least, all of the major events of history were merely incidental to romance. I confess, I don't know what to make of this. But are violence and sex really the only aspects of life worth all this attention?


"After years of this training, I now find myself intimately convinced of a few unsophisticated beliefs, not very different from those I held at the age of fifteen."
Levi-Strauss, commenting on the outcome of his training in philosophy.