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Music for an Empire in Decline

NOTE:  All but the last two videos in this diary are YouTube finds.  The final two are compilations of my own (please forgive the poor quality – I’m still learning), and the last one features some prominent kossacks from last year’s Yearly Kos in Chicago.

It is all too easy to idealize an age, especially if sufficient time has passed to blunt the pain and obscure the harsh realities of the day.  It is too tempting to look back in longing for a past that never really existed.  We all seem to have a tendency to do this – ah the good old days we say.

“Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”

Franklin Pierce Adams

“Things ain’t what they used to be and probably never was.”

Will Rogers

“The good old days. I was there. Where was they?”

Moms Mabley


Skating Scot-Free

The likely outcome of the Bush-led Republican raid on America astonishes me.  As America’s national nightmare approaches the eight-year mark, the Bush administration is apparently going to escape unpunished.  They are going to skate scot-free.  They have brazenly committed major crimes against the people of the United States, not to mention the terrible things they have done to much of the rest of the world…and these bastards are going to skate scot-free.  


The Great Betrayal

For 40 years I have been told be patient, work within the system, elect more Democrats.  In all that time I have seen few victories and most of those merely symbolic (ooh, they increased the minimum rage by 15 cents an hour), and these anemic victories have been overwhelmed by the horrendous losses the American people have suffered time and time again.  There has been a steady erosion of our Constitutional rights, economic inequality has increased, the working poor and the middleclass have been robbed at every turn by the filthy rich and our government has become more corrupt, more warlike and more evil.  We now openly torture our prisoners and publicly argue that it is our right to do so.


Humanity’s Last Chance

This is not a criticism – it’s a plea.

We are at a time unlike any other in the 250,000-year history of our species.  What we do now will determine the fate of our kind.  We may soon know whether or not we deserve the name we have given ourselves, homo sapiens sapiens – wise or knowing human.


The Mirrors of Reason

“Modern man likes to pretend that his thinking is wide-awake. But this wide-awake thinking has led us into the mazes of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason.”

Octavio Paz


My Life in the Martial Arts

My father was a soldier and a drill instructor who trained briefly with a Japanese jujitsu master during WWII in preparation for teaching hand-to-hand combat to Army GIs.  He taught my two brothers and me some basic techniques so that we might have an edge in dealing with schoolyard bullies – and the training stood me in good stead.  I used what he taught me on more than one occasion to inject a little homegrown justice into an unpleasant situation.  Those experiences left me with two lasting gifts, an antipathy for bullies and a love for the martial arts.

I began formal training in Judo at age eleven on the Army base at Ft. Benning, Georgia where I trained for a year.  I continued my training in Paris and for a brief time competed on the French National Judo Team as a brown belt (sankyu).  


Take One Last Look


Take one last look at this sacred heart before it blows


I am so ashamed of my country, and it just keeps getting worse

I came of age in the time of Nixon and Vietnam.  I learned then that our government was not to be trusted, that they lie to us whenever it’s convenient and that there is nothing pure about their motives.  I also learned to suspect that elements of our government played an active role in the assassination of John Kennedy and possibly others.  I’m not saying they did, just that I’ve pondered that possibility for most of my life and not without reason.  I still have to wonder.  The possibility that our government is that fucking evil shouldn’t seem like such a stretch to anybody these days.


What Ever Became of Democracy?

In looking back at the Bush debacle, one thing stands out.  It would never have happened, at least not so blatantly and egregiously, had there been a healthy opposition party in America.  Up until 2000 there was at least the illusion of the Democrats as a party in opposition to the Republicans, however ineffective.  And the Republicans, though always venal, have never been so nakedly predatory, never so in-your-face ‘I’m going to take your shit and you’re going to like it’, never so openly disdainful of the Constitution and the law.  Somewhere along the line, the notion of the Democrats as the voice of sanity counter-balancing Republican lunacy has become just so much political vaporware.  What happened?    


Iraq war could cost taxpayers $2.7 trillion


Must be a sign of the apocalypse.  The MSM catches up to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, a former senior official in the US Department of Commerce, who wrote The Three Trillion Dollar War.

Let’s Impeach the President for Lying

And misleading our country into war

Abusing all the power that we gave him

And shipping all our money out the door

Neil Young

On Monday of this week Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment.  On Wednesday it finally was acknowledged by CNN.  In fact it was, for a time, the third most popular story right after Incest girl reunited with family and ‘Idol’ runner-up lands record deal.


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