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text 2015-01-02 22:08
Quite aware of what they're going through
Bowie - Simon Critchley,Eric Hanson

Not a pop star biography, this is a loving philosophical investigation into the underpinnings of David Bowie’s many personas and why he has exerted a practically lifelong fascination over the author. Predictably my favorite elements of this book were the parts where the author talked about his own life and what individual Bowie songs meant to him. Like you would expect, Critchley covers gender, sexuality, creating identities, and dystopias. But what was different from everything else I’ve read about Bowie was the material about narrative identities and how Bowie “breaks superficial conventions between authenticity and truth.” Critchley explains how David Bowie uses utterly constructed, self-conscious fakery to be original and convey deep emotional truth, with just one example being an anecdote about how Robert Fripp watched Bowie trying to generate exactly the right emotion in his voice, playing the loop and trying different things over and over.


This same dynamic was unconsciously illustrated in a description of how David Bowie didn’t attend his brother Terry’s funeral after his death by suicide, because he didn’t want to turn it into a media circus. Critchley says, “The note on Bowie’s bouquet was extremely poignant: ‘You’ve seen more things than we can imagine, but all these moments will be lost—like tears washed away by the rain.’” My reaction to this was, yeah, it’s extremely poignant, especially if you’re a fan of the movie Blade Runner, since Bowie’s note is an unabashed rephrasing of Rutger Hauer’s character’s dying speech at the end, minus the bit about space travel. Always a pose to tell a true thing. Also, it’s worth noting that I had to look up what year Blade Runner came out and make sure it was first, because Bowie is such an influential icon that I thought it wasn’t out of the question that the screenplay writers were copying Bowie instead of the other way around.


What other book is this like? Every other book about David Bowie, but thankfully not too much so. Okay, it was also kind of like Uncommon: An Essay on Pulp by Own Hatherley


Theme Song? “The Secret Life of Arabia”

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text 2014-10-01 22:40
Why Modern Liberals Hate FoxNews




Everyday when debating issues with people I hear the same old tired complaints from leftists:


"Well, you get your news from Faux News/Faux Noise/(insert thinly veiled  insult disguised as pseudo witticism here)"


As if the only way I, an independent conservative former Libertarian, could ever develop an informed opinion without my conservative "masters" telling me what it is and how to present it. I find this highly insulting and, to be blunt, this is the epitome of the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. When I hear the same talking points ad nauseum and verbatim from so many different people, I cannot help but assume that they came from the same source, because it's virtually impossible that so many different people can parrot the same exact lines without harvesting them from the same orchard. I could be wrong, but a duck is a duck, after all.


So, is Foxnews really Satan's platform for spreading the subversive messages of modern conservatism? No doubt they have an agenda, no doubt that agenda is right leaning and no doubt there are scores of people who do indeed get their opinions from that single source, exactly the way left says they do. FoxNews viewers and right wing extremists share a common core; rejection of everything "liberal", in the modern sense, though not all are rabid extremists and not all agree on everything.


The main reason "liberals" hate FoxNews is that until FoxNews came along, the "liberal" left had a monopoly on so-called "news" coverage in this country and there was no outlet for the other side except Rush Limbaugh, and Ozzy knows that message is about as right leaning and shrill as any political entertainment program out there, but it was the ONLY one for a long time. FoxNews emerged as a conservative voice in a "liberal" wilderness of PC thuggery and right wing hating demagoguery that demonized anyone and everyone who dared speak out against anything "progressive" (which is another word bastardized into meaning exactly the opposite of it's original definition). Still, to this day, FoxNews pretty much stands alone as the only conservative based "news" media outlet, pitted against NBC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, the Huffington Post, Mother Jones and so many other left leaning "liberal" apologist sources that there are too many to name in this blog post. (Here is a link that lists most of them) *This same source has an equally long list of conservative news outlets, most of which are internet based*


And what is the message these "news" outlets want you to know? Conservatives are ALL racists, backward thinking, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging contrarians who want to keep you down, take all the "wealth" and hoard it so no one can ever hope to rise above the poverty level, leave your parents and grandparents destitute and steal their Social Security, deny children an education and food...basically we are all evil and hate anyone who isn't white and rich. Conservatives want to "...have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance..."; we are "tea baggers", neo-Cons, war mongers, homophobes and religious nuts and all we want is more, more, more...


So, is it really surprising that, in the face of this much raw hatred from the left, fomented by every "news" outlet on television, in print and on the radio, conservatives would flock to the one place where they can have their beliefs and their ideals championed? I was bullied as a child, mercilessly, because I was a skinny little runt with big ears and because children are the cruelest creatures on this earth until they learn what it feels like to be on the receiving end. I was beaten, ridiculed, terrorized and tortured for most of childhood, until I found a friend who decided I was worth talking to, worth being with and once I found that one friend, I knew for sure that no matter what happened to me, I always mattered to him. He was there when I needed him (and still is), so I stuck to him like glue. FoxNews emerged as that one friend for conservatives, when the rest of the media world was bullying them. And "liberals" hate Fox, not because of the message itself, but because it isn't THEIR message, because it offers a different (though not necessarily always correct) choice than "fall in line or f**k off". 


To be fair, "liberals" these days are no less demonized, no less the subject of hate filled diatribes from the right leaning pundits and ideologues and have every right to be as insulted by what some on my side throw at them, the caveat being that the vast majority of right wing mudslinging occurs on social media and the internet rather  than from institutionalized and highly regimented "traditional" news outlets. 


But if you're reading this far, if you haven't automatically fallen into the trap of dismissing my message because it's true but it's different from yours, then read this:


DON'T get your views from television shows, DON'T base your opinions on the same misinformation others in your "party" spoon feed you and DON'T let your default position be whatever the news media you watch tells you it should be if you want to be a "good American", because America wasn't born with that mindset, it was born with the mindset that WE ALL, "conservative", "liberal" or whatever, have an equal say in the direction the country takes, we ALL are important and we ALL have a voice...don't let yours be silenced by FoxNews, or MSNBC or me or ANYONE...the future of the country depends on it.



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text 2014-10-01 02:39
A Bigger Piece of Pie

The pie analogy, wherein the ideals of any one thing are compared to a pie, and the equitable sharing of that pie is the metaphoric device used to parcel out such grandiose notions as "fairness" and "equality", is a favorite of the modern "progressive" ideologue.

So, as an exercise, let's explore this analogy using its own device.


Our pie, in this exercise, is "wealth" and for the sake of argument we'll call "wealth" the amount of money one must accrue before they no longer need concern themselves with whether the bills are covered or the groceries are covered and they have a home and a conveyance (or maybe even two). "Wealthy" people in our little play could be considered "rich" or in the "1%". Got it? Good.


"Poor" people, by comparison, could be considered as living "paycheck to paycheck", maybe they have a car, maybe they don't, but it's not a good one and the roof over their heads is over the heads of the immediate  neighbors on either side and may well be the upstairs neighbors floor. They call themselves the "99%".


These two groups, the "wealthy" and the "poor", have cross sections within their respective groups that share much of the same demographics, but one group is comprised of one dominant subset and the other group a different  dominate subset. These distinctions have been drawn along racial, gender and economic lines by the political class which play one against the other for political gain and corporate favor.


So, we've got a big ol' hot, steamy American pie, "wealthy" people and "poor" people all with plates and forks in their hands, each blaming the other for either having too much pie or for insisting on pie simply because they're in the kitchen. And in the middle, the politicians and their cadre of willing apologists in the media on television, on the the radio, in the papers and on the internet fan the flames, twirling the ends of their moustaches and laughing behind their sleeves.


Here's what they don't want you to learn.


The pie is there for everyone to share in, as much as you can grab. Capitalism is the oven and the desire to earn a bigger share of pie is the fire that bakes it. The ingredients are simple; hard work, education, perseverance and a dash of stubbornness, with a little pride sprinkled in for taste. And there's plenty of pie, plenty of ingredients and plenty of fire; unfortunately, the politicians control the gas to the oven and so we all have to go out for pie, pie that doesn't taste as good, isn't made from the right ingredients and costs ten times as much.


Of course, some people, "wealthy" and "poor", don't care about anything but getting all of the pie and they'll beat their own mother's with a rolling pin to get it. They feel like they deserve as much pie as anyone else and more. They'll cheat people out of their shares, hit people over the head and just take it or they'll tiptoe up when no one's watching and steal the pie right from the window ledge and it seems like no matter how many times they get caught, they never get burned. The politicians know this, too and they love it, they love it because it distracts attention away from the legal theft they perpetrate by creating and passing laws that benefit no one but themselves and their corporate concubines, all the while looking the other way while pie just disappears into the ether. And to make it all even worse, they didn't earn a SINGLE SLICE...they get all of their pie from the Community Bakery, where pie is taken from everyone's share (as if it wasn't small enough!) at the point of a gun whether they like it or not. "LEGALLY". So, what can be done?


If you find out someone's been sneaking up to the window sill and stealing your share of pie, we have another dessert, a just dessert called the Rule of Law and we can let those thieves and criminals and politicians have the whole thing, right in the face, because the Founding Father's Bakery knew there would be some unsavory pie makers cutting corners and using inferior flour and Aspartame and flouride and GMO's, so they whipped up a recipe never before attempted called a Constitutional Democratic Republic, where "wealthy" and "poor" all have access to the ovens and the ingredients and, if they have the fire, can make as much American pie as they can hold, even give some away to those who can't for some reason go out and make their own.


So, tired of working your fingers to the bone kneading the dough and only getting bony fingers? Put your Big Boy/Big Girl chef's hat on, gather your ingredients together and get to bakin' ! Oh, and wash your hands first...


How's that for a pie analogy? Too crusty? A little sour? Overbaked? Not flaky enough?



#politics #democrat #republican #obama #money #america 

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text 2014-09-15 19:30
The Iraq War in Perspective

The following is an article written in 2008 by the late Christopher Hitchens and is reprinted from an article in Slate Magazine:



An "anniversary" of a "war" is in many ways the least useful occasion on which to take stock of something like the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq, if only because any such formal observance involves the assumption that a) this is, in fact, a war and b) it is by that definition an exception from the rest of our engagement with that country and that region. I am one of those who, for example, believes that the global conflict that began in August 1914 did not conclusively end, despite a series of "fragile truces," until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is not at all to redefine warfare and still less to contextualize it out of existence. But when I wrote the essays that go to make up A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq, I was expressing an impatience with those who thought that hostilities had not really "begun" until George W. Bush gave a certain order in the spring of 2003.


Anyone with even a glancing acquaintance with Iraq would have to know that a heavy U.S. involvement in the affairs of that country began no later than 1968, with the role played by the CIA in the coup that ultimately brought Saddam Hussein's wing of the Baath Party to power. Not much more than a decade later, we come across persuasive evidence that the United States at the very least acquiesced in the Iraqi invasion of Iran, a decision that helped inflict moral and material damage of an order to dwarf anything that has occurred in either country recently. In between, we might note minor episodes such as Henry Kissinger's faux support to Kurdish revolutionaries, encouraging them to believe in American support and then abandoning and betraying them in the most brutal and cynical fashion.


If you can bear to keep watching this flickering newsreel, it will take you all the way up to the moment when Saddam Hussein, too, switches sides and courts Washington, being most in favor in our nation's capital at the precise moment when he is engaged in a campaign of extermination in the northern provinces and retaining this same favor until the very moment when he decides to "engulf" his small Kuwaiti neighbor. In every decision taken subsequent to that, from the decision to recover Kuwait and the decision to leave Saddam in power to the decisions to impose international sanctions on Iraq and the decision to pass the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, stating that long-term coexistence with Saddam's regime was neither possible nor desirable, there was a really quite high level of public participation in our foreign policy. We were never, if we are honest with ourselves, "lied into war." We became steadily more aware that the option was continued collusion with Saddam Hussein or a decision to have done with him. The president's speech to the United Nations on Sept. 12, 2002, laying out the considered case that it was time to face the Iraqi tyrant, too, with this choice, was easily the best speech of his two-term tenure and by far the most misunderstood.


That speech is widely and wrongly believed to have focused on only two aspects of the problem, namely the refusal of Saddam's regime to come into compliance on the resolutions concerning weapons of mass destruction and the involvement of the Baathists with a whole nexus of nihilist and Islamist terror groups. Baghdad's outrageous flouting of the resolutions on compliance (if not necessarily the maintenance of blatant, as opposed to latent, WMD capacity) remains a huge and easily demonstrable breach of international law. The role of Baathist Iraq in forwarding and aiding the merchants of suicide terror actually proves to be deeper and worse, on the latest professional estimate, than most people had ever believed or than the Bush administration had ever suggested.


This is all overshadowed by the unarguable hash that was made of the intervention itself. But I would nonetheless maintain that this incompetence doesn't condemn the enterprise wholesale. A much-wanted war criminal was put on public trial. The Kurdish and Shiite majority was rescued from the ever-present threat of a renewed genocide. A huge, hideous military and party apparatus, directed at internal repression and external aggression was (perhaps overhastily) dismantled. The largest wetlands in the region, habitat of the historic Marsh Arabs, have been largely recuperated. Huge fresh oilfields have been found, including in formerly oil free Sunni provinces, and some important initial investment in them made. Elections have been held, and the outline of a federal system has been proposed as the only alternative to a) a sectarian despotism and b) a sectarian partition and fragmentation. Not unimportantly, a battlefield defeat has been inflicted on al-Qaida and its surrogates, who (not without some Baathist collaboration) had hoped to constitute the successor regime in a failed state and an imploded society. Further afield, a perfectly defensible case can be made that the Syrian Baathists would not have evacuated Lebanon, nor would the Qaddafi gang have turned over Libya's (much higher than anticipated) stock of WMD if not for the ripple effect of the removal of the region's keystone dictatorship.


None of these positive developments took place without a good deal of bungling and cruelty and unintended consequences of their own. I don't know of a satisfactory way of evaluating one against the other any more than I quite know how to balance the disgrace of Abu Ghraib, say, against the digging up of Saddam's immense network of mass graves. There is, however, one position that nobody can honestly hold but that many people try their best to hold. And that is what I call the Bishop Berkeley theory of Iraq, whereby if a country collapses and succumbs to trauma, and it's not our immediate fault or direct responsibility, then it doesn't count, and we are not involved. Nonetheless, the very thing that most repels people when they contemplate Iraq, which is the chaos and misery and fragmentation (and the deliberate intensification and augmentation of all this by the jihadists), invites the inescapable question: What would post-Saddam Iraq have looked like without a coalition presence?


The past years have seen us both shamed and threatened by the implications of the Berkeleyan attitude, from Burma to Rwanda to Darfur. Had we decided to attempt the right thing in those cases (you will notice that I say "attempt" rather than "do," which cannot be known in advance), we could as glibly have been accused of embarking on "a war of choice." But the thing to remember about Iraq is that all or most choice had already been forfeited. We were already deeply involved in the life-and-death struggle of that country, and March 2003 happens to mark the only time that we ever decided to intervene, after a protracted and open public debate, on the right side and for the right reasons. This must, and still does, count for something.


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text 2014-08-21 22:00
The Eternal Resonance

In my book, Ad Infinitum, reincarnation is a means to an end, a tool used by generations of humanity to pass along knowledge through the commonality of our sentience, which binds all of the higher orders of life. We are all of us made from the same cosmic and multi-universal material and we all resonate with our own unique signature, a bioelectric wavelength as unique as our DNA that literally pulses with life. It is the Eternal Resonance.


#AdInfinitum by #WilliamFripp


Those wavelengths, once accessed, transcend spirituality and connect us through as pure a natural process as could possibly exist. So, the passing on of those signatures through time by the reincarnation of what we, for lack of a better term, call souls, is a natural thing that happens regardless of our intention or beliefs.


It isn't spirituality; it's life.



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