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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Ben Carson Condescends...

Ben Carson's Idea of Protesting a Faulty Toilet Installation to the Plumbers' Union



PoliceBen Carson on the Baltimore Protests: If You Wouldn't Protest a Bad Plumber, You Shouldn't ProtestPolice
BY Jason Zengerle
http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-feed/2015/04/ben-carson-baltimore-plumber-police.html?mbid=synd_ypolitics
Before Ben Carson was a hero to Tea Partiers, he was a hero to African-Americans—nowhere more so than in his adopted hometown of Baltimore. When he wasn't in the operating room at Johns Hopkins, Carson, a retired Pediatric neurosurgeon, could often be found at Baltimore inner-city schools telling the remarkable story of how he rose from dire poverty to become a world-renowned doctor. He was even immortalized in an episode of The Wire. Earlier today, Carson—who is expected to officially announce that he's running for president next Monday—spoke to me about the unrest in Baltimore. A condensed and edited transcript of our conversation is below....

[...]

Do you think that's indicative of a larger problem?
It's certainly indicative of some problems. In no way am I saying that all the police are righteous, by no stretch of the imagination. And clearly we need to be dealing with that. But recognize that we're dealing with a people problem. When you look at the Baltimore police force, it's about as diverse as any police force you're going to find in a big city. There may even be more minorities on that police force than there are non-minorities. The point being that inappropriate behavior comes in all colors, it's not specific. And just because it comes by one color or another color doesn't mean it should be ignored. It needs to be dealt with.

We need to get to the bottom of any problems of discrimination. But the larger issue here is, how do you react when something is wrong? If you have an unpleasant experience with a plumber, do you go out and declare a war on all plumbers? Or teachers or doctors? Of course not. And it makes no sense to do that with police either.

I shall keep that in mind the next time my plumber, Clint, kills one of my neighbors by... oh, breaking their spines, suffocating them, or shooting them with a gun they thought "wuz a taser"

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

What's Happening In Baltimore?

As an aside, the Baltimore Nonviolence Center is a good source for what's is happening in Baltimore now:
http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

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The Yearning For The East !

! פֿאָרווערטס

Forward !

Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof
Justice, Justice shall you pursue.

The Push to the East in these times refers to the settlement effort of right wing Israel and the Likud, for the West Bank is actually East of the State of Israel.

They are being joined by the US Congress in all its unplumbed depths of amorality.

Originally published on  The Forward, an publication of The Jewish Daily Forward:
Published on Portside (https://portside.org)

In Stealth Move, Congress Backs Israeli Right's War on Settlement Boycotts
April 26, 2015
J.J. Goldberg Friday, April 24, 2015
http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/2015/04/in-stealth-move-congress-backs-israeli.html
http://forward.com/opinion/306743/congress-backs-israeli-rights-war-on-settlement-boycotts
The finance committees of the House and Senate have approved amendments to a trade bill that equate boycotts of West Bank settlement products with boycotts of Israel, strengthening efforts by the Israeli right to silence opponents of West Bank settlements.

Both committees approved the amendments unanimously. Each committee then approved its version of the trade bill on a split vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats divided for and against.
The nearly identical amendments [1] require U.S. trade negotiators to “discourage politically motivated actions” by foreign countries and international organizations that aim to “penalize or otherwise limit” commercial relations with Israel or “persons doing business in Israel or in territories controlled by Israel.” The Senate Finance Committee took its action on Wednesday evening and the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday evening.

A separate measure approved by the House panel as an amendment to the customs bill goes a step further and takes action against some foreign companies if they shun the settlements, as called for by 16 of the 28 member-states of the European Union.

A press release [2] issued Thursday evening by the main sponsor of the House measure, GOP Rep. Peter Hoskam of Illinois, said the amendments “aim to counter the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel by requiring U.S. trade negotiators to make rejection of BDS a principal trade objective in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the European Union.”

“This is nothing short of a historic win for the U.S.-Israel relationship and a hammer blow to the BDS movement — a campaign solely dedicated to the delegitimization and isolation of our ally Israel,” Hoskam was quoted as saying.

The phrase “in Israel or in territories controlled by Israel” is identical to the language of an Israeli anti-boycott bill that was adopted by the Knesset [3] in 2011 and upheld [4] by Israel’s High Court of Justice last week, punishing Israelis who advocate either type of boycott.

The addition of the phrase “or in territories controlled by Israel” is significant because “Israel” is defined — in both U.S. and Israeli law — as the area inside the pre-1967 armistice line known as the Green Line. Despite the insistence of many pro-Israel activists that the Green Line never constituted a border, most of the territory captured by Israel in 1967 remains under the administration of the Israeli military and outside Israeli sovereignty as defined by Israel.

The Knesset extended Israeli civil law to the captured areas of East Jerusalem in 1967 and 1980 and to the Golan Heights in 1981, but none of the measures spoke of “annexation” or of extending Israeli sovereignty to those areas.

Most nations regard Israeli civilian settlements in the post-1967 territories as illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which governs the treatment of territories captured by one nation from another nation in war and forbids transfer of the occupying nation’s civilians into the occupied territory. Israel says the convention doesn’t apply to the West Bank because the territory was captured from Jordan, which was not the legal sovereign. No other nation accepts Israel’s reading. The United States rejects Israel’s reading of the convention but has declined to label the settlements “illegal,” preferring to call them “obstacles to peace.”

This week’s congressional committee measures appear to be the first-ever formal step toward U.S. government recognition of the settlements’ legitimacy. None of the Capitol Hill sources contacted appeared to be aware of the explosive significance of the “territories under the control of Israel” clause.

The global BDS movement [5], launched in 2005 by a group of Palestinian non-governmental organizations, pressures governments, unions, companies, universities and others to end all commercial, academic and cultural ties with Israel “until it meets its obligations under international law.” It seeks to end Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” attain “full equality” for “Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel” and permit “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.” Proponents are divided on whether or not they seek to eliminate the independent existence of the state of Israel.

Advocates of boycotting settlement products, by contrast, seek to protest the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, on the belief that settlements make it increasingly difficult for Israel to contemplate withdrawing from the territories, which they see as essential to ensure Israel’s long-term security.

Israeli rightists have sought in recent years to conflate the two efforts — boycotting Israel as a way of weakening it, versus opposing settlements as a way of ensuring Israel’s future — by referring to both as variants of global BDS. The aim is to cripple opponents of the settlements, both inside and outside Israel, by painting them as anti-Zionists opposed to Israel’s survival. The passage of the 2011 anti-boycott law by the Netanyahu coalition was a major victory for the right’s pro-settlement effort.

Far-right groups in the United States, including the Zionist Organization of America and some smaller groups, have brought that effort into this country in recent years. Among other things they’ve sought to bar Labor Zionists from running candidates in the World Zionist Congress elections; prevent the New Israel Fund and Partners for Progressive Israel, the parent organization of the pioneering Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, from participating in New York’s annual Salute to Israel Parade; and remove New Israel Fund donors from leadership positions in New York’s UJA-Federation.

Leaders of mainstream organizations have dismissed the rightists’ efforts as marginal and doomed to failure. The new measures in Congress will undoubtedly add new fuel to the rightists’ efforts.
The congressional anti-boycott amendments are attached to bills easing White House efforts to negotiate controversial trade agreements. Both versions specify that the new anti-boycott provisions apply only to negotiations with Europe over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and not to the better-known Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asia.

European boycott efforts currently in effect or in the pipeline that might fall under the new congressional measures are nearly all limited to the settlements, not to Israel proper. Moreover, the United States already has stiff measures on the books, going back to the 1970s, that target boycotts against Israel. The sole effect of the new congressional measures, therefore, is to extend U.S. protection to the settlements “in territories controlled by Israel.”

The Senate amendment was cosponsored by Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. It was based on a stand-alone measure [6] introduced by Cardin in March.
The House amendment was sponsored by Roskam and Democrat Juan Vargas of California. The language was taken from a far more sweeping measure that Roskam submitted to the House in February, the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act (H.R. 825 [7]). It was adopted Thursday night as part of the Ways and Means committee’s markup of a customs bill.

Unlike the amendments adopted this week, Roskam’s larger bill wouldn’t merely “discourage” European boycotts of Israel and the settlements. It also would amend existing law to require direct federal action to prevent boycotts of Israel and the settlements.

Among other things, the Roskam bill would require the president to report to Congress on foreign efforts to boycott Israel or “territories under the control of Israel,” as well as on steps taken by the United States to combat boycotts. It would also amend the New Deal-era Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require that foreign entities issuing stocks or bonds in the United States report any participation in boycotts, as well as any effort by a foreign government to induce them to boycott.

I am now actually coming around to a  belief shared by my old evangelical friends that the re-establishment of Israel in one day presages the end of times.

As the right wing USA sells its soul alongside right wing Israel, there will be no shelter for 100 years or more.


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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Was The Indiscriminate Genocide Of The Iraq War Based Upon Lies?


You decide.

One of the major cheerleaders for Indiscriminate Genocide ("IG" - which is killing regardless of ethnic origin, religious persuasion, or any other characteristic jointly shared by the unlucky ones that are killed) is Judith Miller, who at the time wrote for The New York Times.



Consortiumnews.com
Judith Miller’s Blame-Shifting Memoir
April 7, 2015
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/04/07/judith-millers-blame-shifting-memoir/
On April 3, former New York Times journalist Judith Miller published an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Iraq War and Stubborn Myths: Officials Didn’t Lie, and I Wasn’t Fed a Line.” If this sounds a bit defensive, Miller has tons to be defensive about.
Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

In the article, Miller claims, “false narratives [about what she did as a New York Times reporter] deserve, at last, to be retired.” The article appears to be the initial salvo in a major attempt at self-rehabilitation and, coincidentally, comes just as her new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, is to be published today.

In reviewing Miller’s book, her “mainstream media” friends are not likely to mention the stunning conclusion reached recently by the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other respected groups that the Iraq War, for which she was lead drum majorette, killed one million people. {emphasis mine}   One might think that, in such circumstances – and with bedlam reigning in Iraq and the wider neighborhood – a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, so to speak, might prompt Miller to keep her head down for a while more...

[...]

Miller’s Tale in the WSJ begins with a vintage Miller-style reductio ad absurdum: “I took America to war in Iraq. It was all me.” Since one of us, former UN inspector Scott Ritter, has historical experience and technical expertise that just won’t quit, we asked him to draft a few paragraphs keyed to Miller’s latest tale. He shared the following critique:

Miller’s Revisionist History

“Judith Miller did not take America to war in Iraq. Even a journalist with an ego the size of Ms. Miller’s cannot presume to usurp the war power authorities of the President of the United States, or even the now-dormant Constitutional prerogatives of Congress. What she is guilty of, however, is being a bad journalist.

“She can try to hide this fact by wrapping herself in a collective Pulitzer Prize, or citing past achievements like authoring best-selling books. But this is like former Secretary of State Colin Powell trying to remind people about his past as the National Security Advisor for President Reagan or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

“At the end of the day Mr. Powell will be judged not on his previous achievements, but rather on his biggest failure – his appearance before the United Nations Security Council touting an illusory Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction threat as being worthy of war. In this same vein, Judith Miller will be judged by her authoring stories for the ‘newspaper of record’ that were questionably sourced and very often misleading. One needs only to examine Ms. Miller’s role while embedded in U.S. Army Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, hunting for weapons of mass destruction during the 2003 invasion, for this point to be illustrated.

“Miller may not have singlehandedly taken America and the world to war, but she certainly played a pivotal role in building the public case for the attack on Iraq based upon shoddy reporting that even her editor at the New York Times has since discredited...

[...]

“Ms. Miller’s self-described ‘newsworthy claims’ of pre-war weapons of mass destruction stories often were – as we now know (and many of us knew at the time) – handouts from the hawks in the Bush administration and fundamentally wrong.

[...]

Miller appears to have worked out some kind of an accommodation with George W. Bush and others who planned and conducted what the post-World War II Nuremburg Tribunal called the “supreme international crime,” a war of aggression. She takes strong issue with what she calls “the enduring, pernicious accusation that the Bush administration fabricated WMD intelligence to take the country to war.”

Does she not know, even now, that there is abundant proof that this is exactly what took place? Has she not read the Downing Street Memorandum based on what CIA Director George Tenet told the head of British Intelligence at CIA headquarters on July 20, 2002; i. e., that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” of making war for “regime change” in Iraq?

Does she not know, even at this late date, that the “intelligence” served up to “justify” attacking Iraq was NOT “mistaken,” but outright fraud, in which Bush had the full cooperation of Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin? Is she unaware that the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence at the time, Carl Ford, has said, on the record, that Tenet and McLaughlin were “not just wrong, they lied … they should have been shot” for their lies about WMD? (See Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.)

Blame Blix

Miller’s tale about Hans Blix in her WSJ article shows she has lost none of her edge for disingenuousness: “One could argue … that Hans Blix, the former chief of the international inspectors, bears some responsibility,” writes Miller. She cherry-picks what Blix said in January 2003 about “many proscribed weapons and items,” including 1,000 tons of chemical agent, were still “not accounted for.”

Yes, Blix said that on Jan. 27, 2003. But Blix also included this that same day in his written report to his UN superiors, something the New York Times, for some reason, did not include in its report:

“Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt...

“Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas day and New Years day. These inspections have been conducted in the same manner as all other inspections.” [See “Steve M.” writing (appropriately) for “Crooks and Liars” as he corrected the record.]

[...]

When Blix retired at the end of June 2004, he politely suggested to the “prestigious” Council on Foreign Relations in New York the possibility that Baghdad had actually destroyed its weapons of mass destruction after the first Gulf War in 1991 (as Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, who had been in charge of the WMD and rocket programs assured his debriefers when he defected in 1995). Blix then allowed himself an undiplomatic jibe:

“It is sort of fascinating that you can have 100 per cent certainty about weapons of mass destruction and zero certainty of about where they are.”

We have been debating about the Armenian genocide/killings. What about Iraq? One million is a fine datum that surely allows us to announce "Genocide!... mostly probably of the Indiscriminate type," and to laud Ms. Miller with comparisons to Josef Goebbels in the Media department.

Karma is wreaking havoc among the peoples of the globe. Why not now bring the malefactors to justice? End the regime of Null-Accountability.

Let Ms. Miller's next address to us come from a glass booth:




Kyoto Sketches: Page 5




You may read the captions by enlarging the page, using "Ctrl +"  to make bigger,
"Ctrl -"  to reduce,
and "Ctrl 0" (zero)   to return to default size.

Vrooman Kyoto sketches from World War II

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Michigan's Perfidious Proposal 1




Ctrl + will increase size and make reading easier.
Ctrl 0 will return to default size.

This is a summation of the proposal for roads in Michigan.
The legislature, being Republican,  could not possibly increase taxes, 'cuz they don't believe in 'em. So they allow the roads to fall into ruins, and then let the taxpayers raise their own taxes.

All the talk of securing this money to roads and education means nothing, because they have made such promises before and they have broken those promises before. They got a state lottery in by promising the monies would be sacrosanct for the schools, but once the politicians of both parties saw how lucrative the lottery was, they broke the covenant. 
(To be fair, they re-instated the funds to education.... after an enormous public outcry.)

The mention of tax relief is similarly a politician's promise.

As far as warranty protections, competitive bidding, and performance-based systems, they had most of that all before when I was working in construction.
I mean, am I to understand that there is no competitive bidding now ???!!!!

Meaningful warranties mean higher costs to cover the probabilities of problems and litigation in the future.
Have they given us a quantified amount of what part of the new monies the warranties will eat into?


If the legislature cannot balance the budget and provide services and make tough decisions, let them return home to whatever Michigan villages they are the crones, coots, and old scourges of, and save us the burden of paying them for nothing.



A Proust For Our Time




If I had a choice between watching Dr. Phil interview Kim Richards (who apparently was a child actor and related to Reed Richards of The Fantastic Four) and reading Proust, it would be no contest.

That is essentially why we are so clueless.

I thought 50 Shades Of Gray was a bad idea whose time had come, but I always had been too much influenced by a simple interpretation of Siegfried Kracauer's thesis in From Caligari To Hitler, and the notion that literature and cinema reflects and leads society.


In the first volume of Du Côté de Chez Swann, we read of Mademoiselle Vinteuil and her female lover:

Perhaps she would not have considered evil to be so rare, so extraordinary, so estranging a state, to which it was so restful to emigrate, had she been able to discern in herself, as in everyone, that indifference to the sufferings one causes, an indifference which, whatever names one may give it, is the terrible and permanent form of cruelty.

Take your time. I had to read this four or five times to make sure I got it.

Simply put, the flowers of evil are always greener on the other side of the fence.  Les fleurs du mal sont toujours etc., etc., etc.
Since we are insensible to our own indifference and the suffering it causes, we seek extravagrant sadisms to pique our jaded interests.
The divide between the wealthy and others is increasing. Flotillas of peoples fill the Mediterranean seeking a better life, and if they do not die at sea to fill the evening news for us, they will be sent back to where they came from.

As we become indifferent to the hungry and the homeless, we are actually honing our cruel fangs of indifference. But we hide this truth from ourselves, and seek novel evils elsewhere.

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Mozilla Madness




Go to Mozilla's Firefox site and try to register. I dare you.
The people who have managed to make it unanimously comment that it was very difficult to register; and if you want to ask a question or make a comment on a question, you have to sign in, and signing in requires that you have registered.

I wasted 20 minutes and gave up. There is Chrome, you know.

My problem:  four months ago I downloaded a Firefox add-on for saving files in MHT format.
My search engines were pasted with advertisements above, below and on the right side. Finally, Firefox pages were being deluged with Ads and warnings of various problems needing immediate corrective actions.

I refreshed Firefox and checked the Uninstall list of programs in Control Panel, removing obvious recent adware.

Fine.

I downloaded another version of MHT format, since the refresh got rid of the old one.

Ads again.

I did this 4 times.

I got everything working fine for a month.
Then there was a Firefox update. I ignored it. I kept on ignoring every day for 2 weeks. Finally today it downloaded itself, and Firefox was updated.

Immediate Adware all over Firefox. Immediate.

On the Control Panel, the ones listed that were installed today were:

dealLpeak
Flo Exible Shopper
Dropmark sidebar
Wow CoUppon 


and on the browser pages were "ads by dealpeak"

SO what's up, Firefox? I am not spending one more minute going in circles (you really do go in a circle trying to ask a question on Mozilla's site).

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Canada In World War II A5

Back cover of the ration book.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Flash Player




This morning I finally shut off Flash Player in Firefox.
I usually have at least 4 tabs open, reading and following links and looking up references. Every page has advertisements running and slowing things down to a crawl.

So I turned it off.
If there is something I want that requires it, Firefox asks me if I wish to activate it for just now or for automatic operation. There is not much I need to watch on it.


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Michigan's Proposal 1




I am vehemently opposed to Michigan's Proposal 1,  to be voted on May 5, 2015, and its promise to fix Michigan's roads, which have been in a poor state since the winter of 2013-2014 and earlier.

The "yes" side is spending millions. Every time I turn on the TV I see some establishment type bleating "yea"!

Proposal 1raises the Sales Tax to do so.
Not the gasoline nor the diesel tax; the Sales Tax, that people who do not even own a car pay.

It comes with assurances that the monies so raised will be only used for roads.
They have done that before, and the promises always are broken.

A Politician's promise... politician pinkie swear.

If a state government granted large tax cuts to its corporate friends years ago then suddenly finds itself without the fund to repair dangerous roads, I think they should abolish those tax cuts which they mistakenly instituted years ago.
If the treasury is short due to tax cuts to the wealthy, I do not think that the wealthy and the Poor should be called upon to pony up more money.

I read this in a progressive publication:
Proposal 1: The issue that has turned too many Michigan progressives into tea partiers
By Eclectablog on April 27, 2015
http://www.eclectablog.com/2015/04/proposal-1-the-issue-that-has-turned-too-many-michigan-progressives-into-tea-partiers.html
... Here’s the reality: the Republicans, a full 70% of whom voted FOR putting Prop 1 on the ballot, would like nothing more than for voters to kill it. Then, the “lesson” they will have learned, one they are counting on, is that Michigan voters don’t want their taxes raised. Once that has been established, they will feel free to start cutting our state budget. If you think that means rolling back the corporate tax cuts that we all fought so hard against, you couldn’t possibly be more wrong.

We already know where they will find the money to put into the roads because they have been showing us for the past four years. They will cut programs that impact those in the most need – the elderly, the young, and the poor – and they will continue to cut education. In fact, conservative Senator Patrick Colbeck has an 83-bill package of legislation waiting in the wings in the event Prop 1 goes down in flames to begin these cuts.

Failure of Prop 1 will also embolden them to continue to privatize crucial government services, a move that has lead to the debacle seen with prison food vendor Aramark, an unmitigated catastrophe that I have documented ad nauseum here on this site.

What we won’t get is constitutionally-protected funding for schools and local governments. We also won’t get a restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit, an important tax credit for our working poor citizens...

The events to which the writer refers are well known to me, and they are of such great magnitude and importance that merely voting "yes" on a sales tax increase will not make things better. More money for roads will reduce the number of deaths due to faulty roads,  but it will not save the State from a predatory group of ideologues.

If they have power now, let them destroy what they have!

We shall re-build upon the ashes of perfidious Republican Neo-Conservatism.

Let them bring their Deluge upon themselves, and then let us rise up like Noah with a new covenant of the future.


 Diluvian Michigan Republicans Trying to Climb the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan

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How To Avoid Strategic Blunders



George W. Bush just sharply criticized Obama for the first time
Business Insider By Colin Campbell
5 hours ago
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/george-w-bush-just-sharply-115420467.html

... Bush further criticized Obama for pulling US troops out of Iraq too quickly in 2011, though Obama has insisted his hands were tied on the matter. Both Rogin and The New York Times reported that Bush quoted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and said, "Pulling out of Iraq was a strategic blunder."

"Several attendees sensed a tacit critique of Mr. Obama and his failure to follow through on his threats to use force when Mr. Bush said 'you gotta mean it' when talking tough, and that America's allies and enemies needed to know where an American leader stood," The Times' Jason Horowitz and Maggie Haberman wrote...

"Too quickly" is what is meant by eight years of unplanned mayhem. The only thing that the Republicans had in place for the Iraq War was the lie to justify it.
So where did George Bush stand? Right behind the lie that the incompetent NSA and CIA and Pentagon fed to him.

Of course it was a strategic blunder, but how long can you allow things like the Iraq War to go on? It was based on a lie. It had no plan for governing Iraq after the war. There was nothing but nonsense, like Wolfowitz's bizarre statement that it would cost a billion dollars, tops.

How long can you allow something like that to continue? Until we get it "right"?!
What is "right" in such a misbegotten mess?

We might be able to get things right, if people that seriously got things wrong were held accountable. However, just like General Petraeus, there is no accountability above a certain level in Washington, no real accountability. It is the syndrome which Consortiumnews.com calls "Too Big To Jail".

Consider the head of the CIA who knowingly leaked classified information:
What's David Petraeus Doing Now? He's Been Pretty Busy Since His Resignation
April Siese    @ayetalian
2 months ago
http://www.bustle.com/articles/67914-whats-david-petraeus-doing-now-hes-been-pretty-busy-since-his-resignation
It’s been a little over two years since Gen. David Petraeus was forced to resign his position as CIA Director, and this week he pled guilty to exposing confidential documents to his mistress. So what’s Petraeus been doing in that time? Well, since his resignation, Petraeus has thrived in the private sector and taught at prestigious institutions like Harvard and USC; he’s also the chairman of KKR Global Institute, the international branch of KKR & Co., a global investment firm based in NYC.

His lone course at CUNY as Visiting Professor at Macaulay Honors College garnered attention from students and protestors alike; Petraeus himself earned thousands of dollars. To say his 2012 scandal has ruined his career would be false; arguably, it’s just allowed the decorated general to pivot from government work to the private sector.

Petraeus’ position with KKR & Co. — certainly his most steady, consistent job — is not unlike his previous experiences with the government, during which international policy was at the forefront. Earlier this year, Petraeus was in Kazakhstan to discuss financial investments at Nazarbayev University. The high-ranking international officials he regularly does business with — including Nazarbayev University’s namesake, whom he’d met years ago while serving as Commander of the International Security Assistance Force — certainly aren’t strangers...

A war based on lies : no one punished.
Over 4,000 American dead and countless Iraqi dead : no one punished.
Eight years spent tweak a mortal disaster : no one punished.

Every morning over breakfast, the Government and the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and every lobbyist for the military-industrial complex read the media reports about how great they are.
They might get a small column about the hungry and homeless.
They pause and let the crumbs of toast richly buttered with Swiss butter fall to their plate, breading the residue of their eggs and bacon.

They think to themselves, "Let 'em eat cake!"
Pause...
"Only... there ain't no free lunch...Hah! So let 'em eat cake with food stamps... at least until we cut them benefits, too."





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Haute Savoie

Annecy, Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, France



Le Splendide Voyage

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Canada In world War II A3

Alcohol Rationing Book, Province of Quebec, 1944-1945


Remaining Portion of Page 2 (Page 1 is gone, probably having been used.)



Page 3 Entire


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Sunday, April 26, 2015

General Petraeus, Conversion Events And ISIS


 General Petraeus


Friday just past, my mother and I found common political ground. She asked me what I thought of the General Petraeus sentencing. We both found it extremely odd that the ex-head of the CIA should be caught passing secrets out the door, and serve no jail time.

I said Edward Snowden was in exile, yet Petraeus will be on probation. She informed me that the someone on FOX has said the same thing, but with different emphasis: Edward Snowden was free as a bird, while poor Petraeus languished on probation.

That was a pathetic attempt, for it is apparent to people of every political persuasion that there are different justice systems: one for the run-of-the-mill citizens and another more lenient one for the elite, the politicians, generals, and the wealthy and powerful.

That is probably not a good development, but there's nothing I can do about it. So if the heads of the CIA and NSA and the Pentagon feel like passing secrets or taking bribes, I shall watch from afar, like Ausonius watching Rome collapse from his villa in Gaul.


Then my mother wondered why people were leaving fairly good lives to join ISIS.

I did not have an answer. If middle-class educated blokes and frails want to kill and maim for a caliphate, I do not know why.
She wondered what they blamed, society, their parents, Israel, poverty, etc.  I said I do not think they blame anything. That's what's scarey about it all.

I thought we should look at religious conversion events.
Even though we tend to think of conversion along the lines of St. Augustine's Confessions, detailing a long personal history of sometimes seeking God and sometimes not, but we think of it as the summation of a long history of life.
It is a story. I do not doubt Augustine's veracity nor his motives, but he tells a very good tale. And because it is a good story, it seeps into our consciousness.

However, consider St. Paul, who as Saul was intently going up and down persecuting Jewish Christians.
I asked my mother to think about if she had known Saul, and he said one day that he was going to Damascus, and he'd be back before supper Wednesday... and then you would never see him again! Or, if you did, his name would be Paul, and he'd be catching a ship to Cyprus or Athens.

Paul had a long history, too, but we do not have the same comprehensive story that Augustine gives.
Perhaps conversion events can be much more radical than we think.
Perhaps conversion can happen in the wink of an eye, even if the preceding history of divinity questing is rather exiguous.

What then?
What if there is no need of history for a man or woman to follow what they hear to be God tell them to do? What if it can happen over lunch, and to people who never gave much attention to such ultimate questions before? Or, if they did, seemed to confine themselves to one religion and fight against another, only to be thrown from their horses on the road to Damascus.

You know, come to think of it, we are mixed up in that civil war in Syria.
We are in times out of joint, where the leaders sift out secrets to their lovers.

We are on that Road to Damascus.



--

The Next Civilization: The Bards Of Cinema

Sign of the Times



When the present world order has gone away, there will be new societies upon the globe.
We wonder what they will be like.

Hopefully racism will have disappeared.
In our present societies, racism has never been able to be subdued. Racism is protean, having a new face all the time. In our time we see victims of racism turn the tables, then eventually oppressing other racial groups themselves.
Or they may transcend mere racism, and be generically oppressive to all and sundry.

Racism, hatred, violence... some of the poison pills that will do us in.

But what will The Next Civilization be like?

Well, for one thing, films will be studied as the enormous works of art that they are.

Far greater than the written word - the results of which engender Literature and the study of Literature and Doctors of Literature - the Cinema is a more profound study of humanity, for a film is a communal effort, in which numerous creative people contribute to the end result in an important manner.

Forget the theories which hold that Directors are the nexus of cinema; forget the view that actors rule the roost.
I was reading last week's New York Times Magazine's article on film editing, and it was an astounding piece of information, and left me with the distinct impression that directors have become little more than vast sources of film or digital data - rather randomized - and the Editor comes as a creator and imposes Order upon the face of the Sea of celluloid.
(I am still partial to the Foley Editors as primi moventes [et trementes] , or first movers [and shakers].)

I watch certain films over and over. These are the films that keep giving me more each time I view them. There is deep philosophy in film expressed by the means and grammar of each individual artist who has worked on it.
After the initial viewing of a film, you find yourself free to delve freely into the meaning of a film, no longer chained by the fascination and magic wrought upon you by the artistry of the cinema. You find more and more as you are able to percolate through the density of imagery and icons.

There is the writer who work in the forge of language, the director who creates the imagery and then executes it upon the film medium, the editor who organizes, those who work in music, those who specialize in photography, those who create the sets and costumes...
And none of these are subsumed under another creative artist; they are individuals, yet the sum of all these efforts is very much greater than a mere amalgamation of the parts.
The corporate effort makes a film, and Art is an emergent phenomenon.

I have a friend who teaches a film appreciation class in Toronto. I do not think he has had more than 25 people in one semester signed up, and a number of semesters were cancelled due to not having the minimal number of students.

Only in a throw-away civilization is that possible.

Each individual ought to have their totem film: the film that changed their lives, just as they should have their totem books, and just as they should have an artful instinct honed to help them respond to a universe of grace filled design.

And the cinema will survive the fall of civilization, and  bring the best of our world into that brave, new world!


Island Of The Hesperides Motel
--

Anti-Pillion Laws And Human Rights



Pakistani human rights activist shot dead in Karachi
Sabeen Mahmud killed after hosting a seminar on the disappearance of political activists in Baluchistan province
April 24, 2015 5:53PM ET
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/24/pakistani-human-rights-activist-shot-dead-in-karachi.html

Gunmen shot dead a Pakistani human rights activist on Friday after she hosted a talk on the politics of Baluchistan province, where security forces are fighting a separatist insurgency, police and associates said.

Sabeen Mahmud was leaving her Karachi bookstore and cafe, The Second Floor — which also holds exhibitions and talks — when gunman attacked her in her car. Her mother, who was with her, was wounded, police said.

"Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot her. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead," senior police official Tariq Dharejo said, adding police were investigating the killing.

Mahmud had just hosted a seminar called "Unsilencing Baluchistan," focusing on the disappearance of political activists in the southwestern province. The talk was originally due to be held early this month at a university in Lahore but authorities blocked it, media reported at the time.

You note that two gunmen on a motorcycle were the killers.
You may have noticed some articles coming from Asia recently about anti-pillion laws, laws forbidding two people riding of a motorcycle; the pillion being the extension of the seat behind the operator's seat upon which a rider may sit.

I thought it was for safety reasons.

However, the laws were designed to prevent violence and riots, because the motorcycle is actually like the get-away car in American gangster films: the operator drives and the passengers shoot or do whatever mischief they are free to do, or just pop off the seat and join a riot that is a-building.

--

Canada In World War II A2




First Sheet of the alcohol rationing book for Quebec, 1944 to 1945.

--

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Canada In World War II A1
















The cover of an alcohol rationing book for Quebec for 1944 to 1945.


--






Friday, April 24, 2015

Deprescient Days





Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
Adolf Hitler (22 August 1939)...  note that Hitler's quote was relating to his plans regarding his intention to attack Poland and kill masses of Poles and replace them with Germans as he saw the Ottomans had successfully done in the previous World War without adverse consequences or punishment.
Wikiquote

Reconciliation does not begin without the admission of the evil done.
It can go on for years: a hundred years, more or less.

Reconciliation is tricky. That is why it so often requires the efforts of a mediator, or μεσίτης, as one who goes beyond the limitations of consciousness of the contending parties. The contending parties will denounce each other, but also will avoid saying certain things among themselves; they will avoid certain images, certain actions; they will avoid anything which may cause them to let down their armor against the reality of a possible evil.

In fact, it is like addiction-rehab events or religious-conversion-events in the sense that the "continuing story" of the disruption must go on for a long time, and the individual must "hit rock bottom", as our present day wisdom puts it.
"Rock bottom" is another way to talk about a sudden change of consciousness. We use the expression "hitting rock bottom" to parallel a fall from a great height, implying that this process takes a lengthy period of time. Hitting the bottom happens very quickly, especially when contrasted to the long time of the fall. In fact, when we talk this way, we are mythologizing and creating a compact story of a course of events.

It may be compact; it may not be compact... it may be rather random.

A Change of Consciousness happens at the speed of light; it does not require years and years of effort. It only requires this much time when the parties are bound fast to their myths.
Reconciliation could happen within seconds if we could stand it.
We cannot stand it.
Reconciliation breaks the every bonds which tie us to our interpretation of who and where we are in the world. If we go into free fall, we quickly discover that we have no safety net. The hand of God which could have safely pulled us from danger remains unmoving upon our atheistic idolatries.


--

note:

Deprescient (duh-PRESH-int), adj.

Imagining the worst will happen.
“In her usual deprescient way, Irene assumed when her daughter did not call her back immediately, that she had been hit by a bus.”
http://tabletmag.com/scroll/190430/the-12-jewiest-non-words-you-should-be-using-right-now

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Strasbourg




In the Petite-France area on the Grande Île, Strasbourg.

--

Les Enfants Sauvés Par Le Gong

In Hollywood there is talk of an animation re-make of Louis Malle's Au Revoir, Les Enfants using the cast of Saved By The Bell  (Sauvés Par Le Gong).

I managed to procure this document for the Bonnet-Kippelstein character from Au Revoir, Les Enfants:


Bonnet



Screech - Sauvés Par Le Gong


with the resulting treatment:





Mixing The Holocaust and comedy is a bad idea.

Nul n'est sauvé...

--

St. Michael's

Bishop Logan of The Anglican Diocese Of British Columbia



I was reading a blog post
http://fracme.blogspot.com/2015/04/defined-by-eucharist.html
which began:
Defined by the Eucharist?
Some reflections inspired by something our Bishop, Logan, shared this Morning at our Chrism Eucharist. He shared a lot more than this, including a moving account of his experience at the demolition ceremonies around St Michael's Residential School (read the record of +Logan's apology at the ceremony here) and the place of ritual in healing and calling to a new way of being...

During my time at University, I myself did reside at a St. Michael's Hall, I was intrigued.
I lived next door to Gilles Gauvreau on one side and James Woods on the other, and I dined with my friends, Gil Gauvreau and Jimmy Wald.

 Remaining Sections of my St. Mike's

That was not the only odd reality-reflection that went on there. It was positively Odd Thomas or The Shining at times. That, however, is beyond the pale of this post, and we must abdicate any keen interest for the time being.

What were the  "demolition ceremonies", and why was Bishop Logan in attendance? Why was he moved?
I mean, my Alma Mater eventually tore down my wing of St. Mike's, and the accounts say that all the eyes in the house were dry; no handkerchiefs dabbed tears, no wails were heard. Nor "huzzahs", for that matter. No one did a victory dance around the ruins, either.

The Globe And Mail:


Alert Bay residential school survivors gather for demolition ceremony
Wendy Stueck
Published Wednesday, Feb. 18 2015, 9:32 PM EST
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 19 2015, 1:55 PM EST
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/alert-bay-residential-school-survivors-gather-for-demolition-ceremony/article23067233/
Josie Hanuse was five years old when she first came to St. Michael’s Indian Residential School, an imposing brick building in Alert Bay, B.C., off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island.

On Wednesday, she was back, carrying the same suitcase she’d been given as a parting gift by her parents in 1967, and sharing tears and embraces with other former students who had come from around the province and beyond to witness the symbolic demolition of St. Michael’s.

“I was one of those children who never came home,” Ms. Hanuse said after an emotional ceremony that included heavy equipment destroying the school’s front porch and the opportunity for former students to hurl rocks at the decrepit building’s façade.

The ceremony – punctuated by sobs, singing, prayers and drumming – was a symbolic watershed for former students such as Ms. Hanuse. It was also a reminder of the lasting, multigenerational impact of residential schools and the ripple effects in First Nations communities, decades after most schools have closed and years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a formal apology in the House of Commons in 2008.

Ms. Hanuse, for example, didn’t go back to live in the home where her parents had carefully packed the little suitcase for the journey they did not want her to take. By the time she left St. Michael’s at 14, her mother was dead and her father was deemed unable to care for his children because of his alcohol abuse. Ms. Hanuse went into foster care and began a cycle of drinking, gambling and drug addiction that ended 17 years ago, when she began what she calls her “healing journey.”

At Alert Bay, she took another step, along with others who threw rocks, lit candles and wept. One speaker urged survivors to see the ceremony as a turning point for aboriginal children, who are overrepresented in provincial child-welfare systems and at risk of being similarly overrepresented in prisons.

“I know the intergenerational impact,” Carla Voyageur, whose mother, father, grandfather and other relatives attended residential schools, told the gathering. “I have seen my share of dysfunction. I have seen my fair share of abuse. I have seen my fair share of addiction. And it is a direct effect of all of this,” she said, gesturing at the school.

More than half of aboriginal children live in poverty, and aboriginal youth are five times more likely to commit suicide than non-aboriginal youth, Ms. Voyageur said.

“We have to rise up and above the negative effects [of residential schools],” Ms. Voyageur said. “The time is now – to reclaim our children and ourselves.”

St. Michael’s, which was under administration of the Anglican church, opened as a co-ed facility in 1929 with a capacity for 200 students. Reports of abuse are common. Ms. Hanuse says she was sexually molested by a staff person at the school and hit so roughly on the head she was deafened in one ear.

Robert Joseph, a former student and current ambassador with the non-profit group Reconciliation Canada, says he was also abused there and, as a child, had no idea that other children across the country were going through the same thing. An estimated 160,000 children attended residential schools across Canada.

“We are here for all the other little children across the land who had to come to schools like this,” Mr. Joseph said.

St. Michael’s was part of a colonial system that removed children from their parents and made them vulnerable to physical, sexual, emotional and cultural abuse, Anglican Bishop Logan McMenamie told the gathering. “We failed you, we failed ourselves and we failed the creator,” he said, adding that the church was “sincerely sorry.”

Canada’s former department of Indian Affairs took over the school in 1969 and, after several years as a hostel, it closed in 1974 and was turned over to the Nimpkish Band. There was talk of redeveloping it, but its poor condition and bleak history worked against that idea. The building is expected to be fully demolished later this year.

“It was a release – a letting go,” Ms. Hanuse said of the ceremony. “It was the final part of my healing journey for my childhood.”

Bishop Logan was present at the demolition.

The Anglican Diocese Of British Columbia
Bishop Logan's Apology to Survivors in Alert Bay
Submitted by David.Brown on 26 February 2015 - 3:22pm
http://bc.anglican.ca/news/bishop-logans-apology-survivors-alert-bay
My name is Logan, I am Bishop of the islands. We have one community on the mainland, at Kingcome Inlet.

I am honoured and humbled to be with you today. I am honoured that I have been invited to be here; I am honoured to be invited onto your traditional lands; and I am honoured that I have the opportunity to speak to you today.

I honour all the survivors who are here today and thank you for your courage and fortitude. I came here today to do three things: to truth tell, to look for healing and to continue on the road of reconciliation. I want to open my heart to you today. When you look at my heart you will see a part of it which is dark and sad. It is dark and sad because we as Anglicans came here as part of a colonial power. When we arrived on this land we failed to see that the creator was present in the land, the sea and the sky. We failed to see the creator in you, in your customs, your traditions, your language and in the old ways.

We took your children away from you and placed them in schools like this one. In these schools these children experienced, physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and cultural abuse. On behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada and my diocese I am so very, very sorry. We failed you, we failed ourselves and we failed the creator...

Among the many impacts this had on me, I am most impressed by the time it takes for this reconciliation to come to pass.

We are told to turn the other cheek. I have said that that means to respond to an initial transgression with peace and love, since most people are, indeed, good people and will almost immediately realize that they have acted badly, and will apologize.

However, there are the few that do not, and hold off reconciliation between brother and brother for a long, long time; indeed for so long that those Temple offerings have passed away unused, for the brothers have not made up. (Matthew somewhere...)

Especially slow at reconciliation are large groups and corporate entities.

We are all human. We sin. We need to reconcile. If we do not reconcile, our sins denounce us in the parliament of the fullness of time. Our evils conspire to destroy us and all trace of us.
Evil is the urge to meaningless death, death without honor, death without courage.

And we really need to be speedy about the reconciliation, lest we breed generations of dysfunctional families, lest we create ghettoes of abuse, lest we create an atmosphere where the young may despair and wither, or where they may despair and pick up guns.

--

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pull The Dark Plug !


Ptolemaic Geocentric Universe



Scientific American
Dark Matter May Feel a “Dark Force” That the Rest of the Universe Does Not
Astronomers watching galaxies collide found evidence of nongravitational forces that could suggest dark matter interacts with itself

April 20, 2015 |By Clara Moskowitz

After decades of studying dark matter scientists have repeatedly found evidence of what it cannot be but very few signs of what it is. That might have just changed. A study of four colliding galaxies for the first time suggests that the dark matter in them may be interacting with itself through some unknown force other than gravity that has no effect on ordinary matter. The finding could be a significant clue as to what comprises the invisible stuff that is thought to contribute 24 percent of the universe.

“This result, if confirmed, could upend our understanding of dark matter,” says physicist Don Lincoln of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, who was not involved in the research. So-called “self-interacting dark matter” has been suggested for some time but it has generally been considered unorthodox. The simplest model of dark matter portrays it as a single particle—one that happens to interact with others of its kind and normal matter very little or not at all. Physicists favor the most basic explanations that fit the bill and add extra complications only when necessary, so this scenario tends to be the most popular. For dark matter to interact with itself requires not only dark matter particles but also a dark force to govern their interactions and dark boson particles to carry this force. This more complex picture mirrors our understanding of normal matter particles, which interact through force-carrying particles. For example, protons interact through the electromagnetic force, which is carried by particles called photons (particles of light).

Now scientists led by Richard Massey at Durham University in England report in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society the first signs that dark forces and dark bosons might really exist. Researchers used the MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile, along with the Hubble Space Telescope to examine the Abell 3827 cluster, where four galaxies are colliding in a cosmic car wreck....

I actually follow Dark Matter Research.
(I am not a scientist, but I do play one on TV.)
Every week I Google "dark matter energy" and set the search time parameter at "past week" and see what's come up. Every week without fail, there is a new hint, and new insight, a new possibility, a new trail to follow up.

Trouble is, so far, they have come up with nothing.

I say it is time to pull the dark energy plug on the dark matter "phlogiston" theory.
Then go back to the drawing boards and revolutionize Science, instead of wasting billions on nonsense.

Right now we are stuck in incessant cosmological theorizing with only the faintest connection to experimental evidence.

We are stuck in a Ptolemaic moebius strip.
Einstein could get away with it; we no longer can.

--

Play



This is more of a Play Stricture than a Play Structure.


--
photo: Hamrani

Ceci N'est Pas Cinéma Vérité...

Magritte's Ceci N'est Pas Cinéma vérité



Below the Line: The Design of ‘Anna Karenina’
By Mekado Murphy January 30, 2013 12:39 pm
http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/below-the-line-the-design-of-anna-karenina/
In his film adaptation of “Anna Karenina,” the director Joe Wright tried to capture the emotional journeys of its characters while conveying the epic scope of their surroundings. But instead of an elaborate (and budget unfriendly) shoot in the Russian locations where the story takes place, he opted to set the movie in a derelict theater, to give the feel of decaying 19th-century Russian society.

Mr. Wright worked with his longtime co-conspirators, the production designer Sarah Greenwood and the set decorator Katie Spencer. The two, designers for all of Mr. Wright’s films, were previously nominated for three Academy Awards, for “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement” (both directed by Mr. Wright) and “Sherlock Holmes” (by Guy Ritchie). They now add a fourth nomination, for their work on “Anna Karenina.” They have worked on more than a dozen film and television projects together and spoke about the collaboration by phone from Leavesden Studios in London, where they are designing a new Tarzan film.

“The nice thing is, because we have worked together so long, it does become like second nature,” Ms. Spencer said. “We have an understanding and both have similar visual tastes.”

They both also got their initial training in theater, so Mr. Wright’s concept for this adaptation suited them. The theater where the bulk of the film’s action takes place was built in 12 weeks on a soundstage at Shepperton Studios, outside London. Here is a look at some of the designs and sets from “Anna Karenina,” with commentary by Ms. Greenwood and Ms. Spencer.

The Moscow Burger King



The story involves a number of late night stops at a number of fast food places between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Given the theatrical setting, the designers wondered how they would create a sequence with eateries inside the theater.

“It suddenly came to me one evening,” Ms. Greenwood said, “that you don’t try to take the "burgers" into the theater. You take the theater into the 'Burger King' ”  So the team built a small version of the Teatralnyaya Square Burger King  “We then dressed the shed to look like the Bolshoi nearby. It was great because it gave us a kind of epic quality while still remaining theatrical.”

The St. Petersburg Pizza Hut



--

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Horrible And Costly Lesson


 Aqueduct to Nowhere



Weakness is measured not by not having "boots on the ground", as our media and politicians love to say, but by not having a clear purpose, not a clear idea, no clear principles. And that fecklessness sums up the USA in 2015.

A new report by ThinkProgress.com unearthed disturbing figures when it came to the number of police-related deaths that occurred in America in the month of March alone.
Just last month, in the 31 days of March, police in the United States killed more people than the UK did in the entire 20th century. In fact, it was twice as many; police in the UK only killed 52 people during that 100 year period.
When did we lose control of ourselves?
Why did we not care until now? Or, do we care even now?

And,
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-19/american-justice-fbi-lab-overstated-95-forensic-hair-matches-including-32-death-senthttp://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-19/american-justice-fbi-lab-overstated-95-forensic-hair-matches-including-32-death-sent
The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison.

“These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law,” Blumenthal said.
– From the Washington Post article: FBI Overstated Forensic Hair Matches in Nearly All Trials before 2000


And to this we may now return to "boots on the ground", and why that is not even an idiot's definition of World Leadership:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-19/credibility-bubble-bursting

US primacy seen ebbing at global meet
As world leaders converge here for their semiannual trek to the capital of what is still the world’s most powerful economy, concern is rising in many quarters that the United States is retreating from global economic leadership just when it is needed most.

The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have filled Washington with motorcades and traffic jams and loaded the schedules of President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jacob J Lew. But they have also highlighted what some in Washington and around the world see as a United States government so bitterly divided that it is on the verge of ceding the global economic stage it built at the end of World War II and has largely directed ever since.

“It’s almost handing over legitimacy to the rising powers,” Arvind Subramanian, the chief economic adviser to the government of India, said of the United States in an interview. “People can’t be too public about these things, but I would argue this is the single most important issue of these spring meetings.”

Other officials attending the meetings this week, speaking on the condition of anonymity, agreed that the role of the United States around the world was at the top of their concerns.

Washington’s retreat is not so much by intent, Mr. Subramanian said, but a result of dysfunction and a lack of resources to project economic power the way it once did. Because of tight budgets and competing financial demands, the United States is less able to maintain its economic power, and because of political infighting, it has been unable to formally share it either.

The most brilliantly abject demonstration of total lack of any sense of leadership was this country's response to 9/11.
The invasion of Iraq demonstrated the fallacy that "boots on the ground" will necessarily accomplish our aims. Yet even now people like Senator Tom Cotton have not learned that horrible and costly lesson.

To be a Hawk today is to be a bloodthirsty scoundrel, who well knows that all the blood spilled will not serve his cause, nor will all the balm in Gilead bind up the wounds.

--

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Alternate Endings

The Supreme Court is scheduled to make a decision on same-sex marriages soon.
It may change the future time-line. On the other hand, it may not, no matter which way they decide. It is hard to tell what will happen.

That is why they have alternate endings for films, in order to reflect the unknowns about what will happen, how people will react to films, to appeal to certain demographics, etc.

My researches have just come up with an alternate ending for Take Shelter, 2011, Jeff Nichols Writer and Director.

The mainstream showing had:




but the alternate for the LGBT audience had:





and things went in a totally different direction.


--



Memories Of World War II




In the place where dwells my mother, upon exiting from the elevator (or lift, in the UK) I literally stumbled across an old number sitting in her wheelchair in Xtreme proximity to the elevator door.
That is how they seem to gather, in tightly knit groups and ever so close to their objective; so focused upon their getting into the elevator, they quite forget that we riders (or, ascendants in France) must first exit.

Anyway, this day, this time, this old number was wearing a poppy.
I grabbed at my lapel in pseudo-mock horror, and asked where came that bit of flora incarnadine. Sprightly answers she that they were selling 'em at the front ( or front desk, in the parlance of those who like to link long stretches of nouns together).

But it was not the right time, was it? I mean, Memorial Day (USA) is May 25 this year. Poppy Day in the British Commonwealth is in November. The only thing I can think of as being holiday-imminent is Lady Day, or May Day.
And for the Roman Catholics of the neighborhood, the color back in the day was lady-blue, not blood vermillion poppy. However, for the IWW and wobblies, red was the color for May Day celebs; ditto for the USSR.

And to complexify things more, Victory Day is looming, also known as Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day.
In the British Commonwealth, VE Day is May 7. Among the other once allies it is May 8. Russia and many countries liberated in 1945 by the Red Army celebrate it on May 9, and this was due to the surrender papers being left on the train from Istanbul, necessitating an airlift back for the dossiers, and by the time they got to Stalin's door step - along with his morning Pravda and the three bottles moloko, one pasteurized - the world had become wiser and older by a day.
Further along the International Dateline,  ANZAC Day complete with poppies is April 25th. (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps... thank you, viv.)

So, Victory Day in Russia is May 9 this year.
And what would a 69 year old holiday commemorating the defeat of Nazism be without some discord?
Thus, the USA won't visit Moscow that day, and it hopes that many Western European countries will send regrets. It is that queasy feeling of déjà-1984-Olympics-thing-vu all over again.
Maybe we'll all get together later for VJ Day in August.

I think I shall observe Victory Day.
Although there may be animosities now, still do not my roots go back to Kievan Rus and Varangian overlords, swarming upon the Black Sea,



... who didst make Constantinople tremble,
and disconcert the children of Justinian...

as the poet said.

It looks like fun.
Some photos of Victory Day holidays past:



Russian veterans sing war songs as they celebrate Victory Day in the centre of Moscow, Russia
Ukrainian girls, dressed in second world war-era uniform pose in front of a line of cadets near the Motherland monument during the Victory Day celebrating in Kiev, Ukraine
 Belarus second world war veterans dance during Victory Day celebration in Minsk
Veterans chat during a Victory Day celebration in Tbilisi, Georgia
Antanina Cvetkova, a 93 -year-old veteran, receives flowers 
from a  girl at the Antakalnis  memorial in Vilnius, Lithuania