Picks Commentary

Monday, December 19, 2005

Book Review

Rock 'n' Roll Radical: The Life & Mysterious Death of Dean Reed by Chuck Lasewski, Beaver's Pond Press, Inc., 2005, 245 pp.

A Former Classmate Heard a Different Drummer

How does a kid from a politically conservative family go from 1950s middle 'Merica to end his life in 1980's East Germany? And, oh, by the way, become a celebrated singer, entertainer, TV personality and film star in both Latin America and behind the Iron Curtain? It was by chance and circumstance, and it makes for a fascinating story, especially for someone who knew him.

There is some common ground between Dean and me. Near the same time in our lives, our 20s, we both were drawn to live in other countries. And, aside from graduating from Wheatridge High School in Colorado in the same class, we married women who were roommates at Colorado Women's College in Denver.

At another level, Dean and I shared another similarity, we were attracted to socialism as a reasonable alternative to capitalism as a result of our experience living outside the US. My transformation came after reading Erich Fromm's The Sane Society in 1968 and appreciating the value of Canada's universal health care and social welfare systems. The change in Dean was more dramatic and began by being befriended by a man who became his mentor, Paton Price. It was honed as a result of his exposure to the plight of the oppressed in countries like Chile and Argentina. As his political convictions grew, his role changed, causing him to become a champion of the downtrodden in addition to maintaining his celebrity.

In 1964, he said:

"'South America changed my life because there the difference of justice and injustice, poverty and wealth are so clear. So you have to take stand. I became a revolutionary. You were either for the status quo which means for the twenty percent who have all the wealth and all the power or you will stand with the eighty percent who were illiterate, who were hungry who somehow wanted a better future. I felt this fame, that by destiny I had in South America, had to be dedicated to this eighty percent.'"

Aside from politics, his growing anti-American tendencies were fueled by the marked contrast his performance efforts garnered in the US versus his experience abroad. Here, he had one record that barely edged into the top 100, Our Summer Romance. In Chile and Argentina, however, it made him a star.

It was curiosity that caused him, in 1961, to borrow money to buy a ticket to Chile to check out the sales his Capitol recording was creating. He was shocked to find himself a cause celebre when he got off the plane. The next 17 days were spent making appearances on radio and television and performing to adoring fans. Then, it was back to the US and anonymity.

Because of his popularity in Latin America, Reed continued to travel there. By 1964, he and his first wife, Patricia moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and his political activism increased.

In 1966, the Reeds moved to Europe, settling in Spain, which was still ruled by the fascist Franco. During his time in Argentina and now Spain, Reed began visiting and performing in the Soviet Union.

In 1970, Reed went to Chile and helped campaign for the election of Salvador Allende. When Allende won, Reed was invited to perform at the inauguration. Since Allende was a socialist, his days were numbered, and he was assassinated in a US supported coup in 1973.

In '71, Reed began spending time in East Germany and became attracted to Wiebke Dorndeck, an East German. This prompted a divorce from his now estranged wife, and in 1973, he married Wiebke and settled down in East Germany, which was to remain his home until he committed suicide in 1986 at age 48. He had remarried Renate Blume, another East German, in 1981.

In 1985, Reed returned to Colorado for a visit, and the trip kindled a desire to return to the US, but his wife, Renate wasn't in favor of leaving Germany, and increasing depression and addiction to pain medications and sleeping pills seem to have rendered Reed somewhat incapacitated or incapable of functioning clearly.

Given the times we now live in, a time when a non elected poseur proudly flaunts his stand above the law, there was one passage in a letter written by Reed to his daughter Ramona in the US on July 4, 1983, that resonated for me. It was written prior to a trip to Pinochet ruled Chile:

"I know there that there is some risk to my life and my well-being, but each human being must be willing to risk something so that other human beings have the possibility to live in freedom and in peace."

I hope the story that Tom Hanks is planning to produce a film of Dean's life is true. Dean may not have always lived well, but he certainly lived fully.

Dean Reed is buried back home in Colorado at Green Mountain Cemetery in Boulder.

Picks of the day:

Democrats plan sharp rebuke of pre-war intelligence, Iraq war in massive new congressional report

"The report, titled 'The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverups in the Iraq War,' is slotted to be made available to the public Tuesday. RAW STORY acquired a copy of the book’s cover and some additional information about the document today."

CIA's Polish concentration camp located

"Regular Polish intelligence employees had no access to this inner area, but the Americans apparently did. Furthermore, there were small cars with tinted windows parked at the camp site. The same kind of cars that employees at Szymany Airport told Stern were always driven to CIA airplanes, which were waiting with engines running at the end of the runway."

Excellent! Poland, the land of Auschwitz.

US operated secret 'dark prison' in Kabul

"Eight detainees now held at Guantánamo described to their attorneys how they were held at a facility near Kabul at various times between 2002 until 2004. The detainees, who called the facility the 'dark prison' or 'prison of darkness,' said they were chained to walls, deprived of food and drinking water, and kept in total darkness with loud rap, heavy metal music, or other sounds blared for weeks at a time."

Never mind; it's OK. The moral cretin is simply protecting us.

Bush proud of his big ears: He blames the New York Times for having revealed illegal wiretapping in the war against terrorism.

"On the normal scale of democratic values, setting wiretaps to spy on one's fellow citizens without a green light from the judiciary is not the most virtuous behavior; revealing the existence of such wiretaps is performance of an act of public health. But President Bush has decided to set this scale on its head. In his weekly message Saturday, he proudly acknowledged having authorized the very secret National Security Agency (1) to set up such wiretaps after the September 11, 2001, attacks to put under surveillance 'persons linked to al-Qaeda and other similar terrorist organizations.' This 'vital tool in the war against terrorism'"

Never mind; it's OK. The moral cretin is simply protecting us. Only, who will protect us from him?

Big Brother Bush / The president took a step toward a police state

"Without a serious leap of imagination, particularly with the list of those under surveillance not available to anyone outside the NSA and the Pentagon, it is also possible to project that political critics of the Bush administration could end up among those being tracked. The Nixon administration, a previous Republican administration beleaguered by war critics, maintained 'enemies lists.'"

Never mind . . . .

Bush defends illegal spying on Americans: the specter of presidential dictatorship

"By deciding, after the secret NSA program was revealed in Friday’s New York Times, to not only acknowledge it, but declare that it would continue so long as he remained president, Bush has escalated his administration’s attack on congressional oversight and the entire Constitutional setup in the US. His defiance of laws passed by Congress amounts to a bid to establish a form of presidential dictatorship."

US House wraps up budget with defense plan, spending cuts

"The U.S. House adjourned for the year after approving a $453 billion Department of Defense budget for fiscal 2006 and $39.7 billion in spending cuts over five years to benefit programs such as Medicaid and student loans.

"The defense budget faces opposition in the Senate, where Democrats plan to raise procedural objections because the legislation includes a provision to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration."

Presidential pipeline: Bush's top fund-raisers see spoils of victory

"Bush administration policies, grand and obscure, have financially benefited companies or lobbying clients tied to at least 200 of the president's largest campaign fund-raisers, a Toledo Blade investigation has found. Dozens more stand to gain from Bush-backed initiatives that recently passed or await congressional approval."

Thursday, December 15, 2005


December 15, 2005

I read today that Germany's ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroder has launched a corporate career. This isn't surprising; political hacks the world over are on corporate payrolls while in office. Gerhard is simply extending his corporate career, since governance is the corporate way. The masses are simply democratic window dressing serving as cannon fodder to expand and protect global enterprise when needed. Most of the time, we consume the output of our politicians' sponsors, especially, at Christmas.

I think it was in 2001, when Jim Hightower, the Texas maverick, wrote, "Politicians should be required to wear the corporate logos of their biggest contributors on their clothes like NASCAR drivers, so we'd know who they sold out to." Some politicians, like Bush, Cheney, DeLay, would have more logos than suits showing. Think how clarifying it would be to know, just by looking, what the game was all about. The posturing, the true meaning behind the piety would fall away. Might as well extend the practice to judicial robes as well.

As it stands now, corporate democracy has little in common with the roots of democracy established in the 18th century. Actually, military personnel should also be logo ensconced. They'd know why they were shedding their blood and the blood of others . . . Chevron/Texaco, Halliburton, Lockheed, GM, and so on.

I'm finding the Dean Reed book intriguing because it looks at the life of an individual I knew via the evolution of his political thought over a few decades. While his road would not be my road, at least he acted upon his concerns. While the word, corporatism, wasn't used during Dean's years, he saw the writing on the wall.

Picks of the day:

Bolivia's election deserves a history lesson

"The prospect of socialist peasant leader Evo Morales as Bolivia's next president disturbed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Charles Shapiro. 'It would not be welcome news in Washington to see the increasingly belligerent Cuban-Venezuelan combo become a trio,' he emailed on October 21, 2005 to the Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer (Dec 4, 2005)."

Good one to read through to remind us of US politicians pushing corporate interests. Maybe we'll have to sink further into a two class society before we appreciate what democracy really is.

Forest salvation

"The ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest are a multi-layered complex carbon storehouse to rival the tropical rainforests. If the US would join the rest of the world in implementing the Kyoto agreement, we could offset some of our greenhouse gas emissions with what is left of our old growth forests. But just like Papua New Guinea, the timber pirates, along with the oil men and other resource extractors 'have their tentacles in virtually every orifice of government, and to some respect can be said to be running the country.'

"Last week, the Washington Post reported that US chief climate negotiator Harlan Watson was essentially nominated for the position by Exxon Mobil. This is just one more indication of the extent to which the United States government has been body-snatched by corporate interests."
Talk about serendipity!

"Body-snatched by corporate interests" captures the reality of our government.

The real Christmas scandal

"Following the teachings of Jesus, who condemned the actions of those who put public piety before care for the poor, a group of over 200 religious leaders came to Washington yesterday to protest the House budget, which they called 'the real Christmas scandal.'"

Back in 60s, I had a pin that read, "Kill a commie for Christ." Now, under BushCo it would read, "Starve a poor person for Christ." Well, there'd also be the "Kill a terrorist for Christ" pin as well.

Does 30,000 mean anything to Bush?

"On Monday, for the first time, Bush acknowledged that his Iraq War has taken a large toll on the Iraqi people. But he fobbed it off as if it were nothing."

Because, for him, it is nothing. Anyway, some estimates are much higher, 100,000.

Global Eye

"So now we know: Next time the fire will come in Iran. The blow will be delivered by proxy, but that will not spare the true perpetrator from the firestorm of blowback and unintended consequences that will follow. Even now, the gruesome deaths of many innocent people in many lands are growing in futurity's womb.

"The Rubicon of the new war was crossed on Oct. 27. Oddly enough for this renewal of the ancient enmity between the heirs of Athens and Persia, the decisive event occurred on the edge of the Arctic Circle, at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, where a Russian rocket lifted an Iranian spy satellite, the Sinah-1, into orbit. This launch, scarcely noticed at the time, has accelerated the inevitable strike on Iran's nuclear facilities: Israel is now readying an attack for no later than the end of March, The Sunday Times reports."

Perpetual war fueled by insatiable greed and religious fervor.

Pentagon's domestic spying operations target opponents of Iraq war

"As Congress moves toward passage of a bill to extend the USA Patriot Act, scattered reports are surfacing in the US media of a massive expansion of domestic spying operations by the US military. The reports make clear that US citizens engaged in peaceful and legal political activity in opposition to the war in Iraq and aggressive military recruiting tactics are being monitored by military intelligence agencies and included in rapidly expanding secret data banks."

Assuming the mantle of the Gestapo in the war on freedom.

Pentagon rolls out stealth PR

"A $300 million Pentagon psychological warfare operation includes plans for placing pro-American messages in foreign media outlets without disclosing the U.S. government as the source, one of the military officials in charge of the program says."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

December 14, 2005

Ian in Buenos Aires

"Will also try and do some internet time giving you impressions of Chile and Argentina. Chile appears to be on the verge of electing the first woman in south American history to the presidency. Google Chile elections and read about Michelle Bachelet. a woman with a fascinating history....father murdered by Pinochet thugs and she and her mother were tortured.

"Buenos Aires is the soul of Argentina....almost 9 million people here. You know the history of the 80´s with the military dictatorship. In 2001/2002 the Argentine peso lost two thirds of its value...basically wiping out the economic hopes of the middle class. Hard to get a sense of that in 2005 as the city is alive with restaurants, shops, entrepreneurial pizazz. In many ways it is a European city with grand buildings, parks, major plazas and museums. We are going to take a ferry across the Rio de la Plata Friday to Colonia in Uruguay."

Dean Reed continued:

Last night, I read about Reed's final time in Argentina. Having been banned from the country, he snuck in through Uruguay, was involved in an anti-government press conference on his first day back and was imprisoned by the dictator, General Ongania. Spent 21 days, I think it was, in prison.

From Argentina, Reed returned to Europe and soon found himself living in East Germany.

Today's picks:

Bush job approval at 38%: After edging above 40%, it fades again

"President Bush’s job approval rating languishes under 40%, despite an upturn in the economy and a public relations onslaught defending the role of the U.S. military in rebuilding Iraq, a new telephone poll by Zogby International shows."

Increased exposure to offal doesn't make it more pleasant to the senses.

Congress expects up to $1[00]B wartime request

"The Pentagon is in the early stages of drafting a wartime request for up to $100 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan, lawmakers say, a figure that would push spending related to the wars toward a staggering half-trillion dollars."

Let's think for a minute, could half a trillion have been used in a more socially responsible way? Aside from schools, healthcare, roads, national parks, global warming, alternative fuels, etc.

Trade gap widens to record

"The U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly in October to a record $68.9 billion despite a drop in the cost of imported oil, as the deficits with China, Canada, the European Union, Mexico and OPEC all hit records, government data showed Wednesday."

'Never before!' The amnesiac torture debate

"The principal propagator of this narrative (what Garry Wills termed 'original sinlessness') is Senator John McCain. Writing recently in Newsweek on the need for a ban on torture, McCain says that when he was a prisoner of war in Hanoi, he held fast to the knowledge 'that we were different from our enemies...that we, if the roles were reversed, would not disgrace ourselves by committing or approving such mistreatment of them.'

"It is a stunning historical distortion. By the time McCain was taken captive, the CIA had already launched the Phoenix program and, as McCoy writes, 'its agents were operating forty interrogation centres in South Vietnam that killed more than twenty thousand suspects and tortured thousands more,' a claim he backs up with pages of quotes from press reports as well as Congressional and Senate probes."

Americans protest near Guantanamo

"It was the first demonstration allowed by Cuba near the perimeter of the US military enclave where 500 suspected members of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters have been held without trial for more than three years.

"Twenty-two Catholic activists of the Witness Against Torture group, including a nun and a priest, have camped out since Monday at a Cuban military checkpoint 8km from the US base, which is as close as Cuba had allowed them to get."

Row over CIA 'torture' flights engulfs Blair

"Tony Blair and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, were under pressure last night to refute convincingly claims that Britain has been complicit in alleged use of CIA planes to take suspected terrorists for torture in secret camps abroad."

12-13-05: Devastating hack proven

"Due to contractual non-performance and security design issues, Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho has announced that he will never again use Diebold in an election. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. On Tuesday, the most serious 'hack' demonstration to date took place in Leon County. The Diebold machines succumbed quickly to alteration of the votes. This comes on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, and the announcement that a stockholder's class action suit has been filed against Diebold by Scott & Scott. Further 'hack' testing on additional vulnerabilities is tentatively scheduled before Christmas in the state of California."

Wasn't O'Dell the Diebold exec who assured Smirk that he would "win" Ohio in 2004?

Processed chocolate contains dangerous lead concentrations, study says

"What's interesting is that cocoa beans tested had an average lead concentration of < 0.5 ng/g, 'one of the lowest reported values for a natural food,' the study points out. But, by contrast, 'lead concentrations of manufactured cocoa and chocolate products were as high as 230 and 70 ng/g.'

"In fact, a team of American and Nigerian researchers found that lead levels in raw cocoa beans were 60 times lower than lead levels observed in processed chocolate products, the Chicago Tribune reports."

Just in time for the holiday season . . . another addiction bites the dust. Green tea is OK, but it has its limits.

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"I have played guys who have killed people and I have played guys who made love with their daughters" --Donald Sutherland, on playing a conservative, Link

Reporter 1: Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis, I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.
Dubya: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion (of my greed and my lies) and the ongoing violence against Iraqis.
Reporter 2: Thank you --
Dubya: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up.
--Dubya, in Philly, Link

"How many people has Arnold pretended to killed during his film career? Now he can say he has done it for real..." Eddie B.

"60 years ago, my dad fought against the Japanese -- many of your relatives did, as well. They were the sworn enemy of the United States. I find it amazing -- I don't know if you find it amazing -- I find it amazing that I sit down with this guy [Koizumi], strategizing about how to make the world a more peaceful place when my dad and others fought him." --Dubya, trying to grasp the meaning of the "things change" concept, Link

"It's a myth to think I don't know what's going on." --Dubya, lying again Link

"Every morning I look at the newspaper I can tell you what the headlines are. I must confess, if I think the story is, like, not a fair appraisal, I'll move on." --Dubya, who knows what's going on - but only reads the good news, Link

"I think that Iraq is already a success story, and I think it's going to end up being remembered by historians as a huge success story." --Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Whore, Liar) Link

Republicans always like to predict how their policies will work 50 years from now because in the present, their ideas seem like such hopeless, bloody quagmires

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Karla Faye Tucker and Stanley Tookie Williams

My loathing for Dubya goes back to 1998, when the Smirkster failed to intercede in the death sentence of Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman to be executed in Texas. What was particularly loathsome was an incident recounted by Tucker Carlson in a Bush interview:

"Bush mentioned Karla Faye Tucker, who had been executed the previous year, and told Carlson that in the weeks immediately before the execution, Bianca Jagger and other protesters had come to Austin to plead for clemency for her. Carlson asked Bush if he had met with any of the petitioners and was surprised when Bush whipped around, stared at him, and snapped, 'No, I didn't meet with any of them.' Carlson, who until that moment had admired Bush, said that Bush's curt response made him feel as if he had just asked 'the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed.' Bush went on to tell him that he had also refused to meet Larry King when he came to Texas to interview Tucker but had watched the interview on television. King, Bush said, asked Tucker difficult questions, such as 'What would you say to Governor Bush?'

"What did Tucker answer? Carlson asked.

"'Please,' Bush whimpered, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'please, don't kill me.'

"Carlson was shocked.[4] He couldn't believe Bush's callousness and reasoned that his cruel mimicry of the woman whose death he had authorized must have been sparked by anger over Karla Faye Tucker's remarks during the King interviews. When King had asked her what she planned to ask Governor Bush, Karla Faye had said she thought that if Bush approved her execution, he would be succumbing to election-year pressure from pro–death penalty voters."

I vividly remember that night in 1998, waiting for the reprieve for Tucker that never came. It wasn't until 2000, prior to the stolen election, that I learned of Dubya's compassionate conservativism and his born again retooling. The clarity of his hypocrisy was highlighted in '98 and has been amplified and underlined in the past five years.

Now, seven years later, we have an admirer of Nazi fascism also refusing to give a changed person a chance at life in prison. "According to the transcript in a book proposal circulated six years ago, Schwarzenegger said when asked to name his heroes: 'It depends for what. I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education up to power. And I admire him for being such a good public speaker.' A consultant to the documentary, Peter Davis, later said the Hitler quote was taken out of context.

"In addition to the transcript, film producer George Butler wrote in the book proposal that in the 1970s, he considered Schwarzenegger a 'flagrant, outspoken admirer of Hitler.' Butler also said he had seen Schwarzenegger playing 'Nazi marching songs from long-playing records in his collection at home' and said that the actor 'frequently clicked his heels and pretended to be an S.S. officer.'"

It's unseemly to have two buffoons in control of life and death decisions.

Today's picks:

The execution of Stanley Tookie Williams

"Even if one were to assume that Williams was guilty of the terrible crimes for which he was convicted, there is no rational or humane justification for punishing him with 25 years in the shadow of the executioner, culminating in death by lethal injection. All the more so under conditions of growing popular opposition to the death penalty and increasing evidence of false convictions and a judicial system rigged against the poor and minorities."

Since he (and Tucker) would've spent the rest of his life behind bars, it's not like winning the lottery and heading for Vegas.

Iraq elections: a democratic facade for a US puppet state

"The entire US-controlled political process this year—the January 30 elections for a transitional government, the drafting of a new constitution and the referendum on October 15—has been aimed at giving the veneer of legal legitimacy to the plunder of the country’s oil and gas and the formation of a puppet government that will sanction an indefinite US military presence in Iraq."

Family upset over soldier's body arriving as freight

"Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.

"But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo."

Got to pay for the overly rich folks tax cuts some way.

GM to nearly triple India production

"The announcement came just weeks after the company said it would slash 30,000 jobs and scale back production in the United States.

"GM previously had announced plans to increase production in India from more than double the 25,000 cars a year it currently produces in the country. Lawrence Burns, vice president for research and development, said Tuesday that the number of vehicles made in India would eventually reach 80,000."

Chasing cheap labor like a pit bull looking for a good time.

Canada wants to protect itself from the Patriot Act

"According to a federal proposition, a Canadian governmental agency could annul a contract with an American company should the latter transmit personal information concerning Canadians to American agencies in the fight against terrorism.

"This measure aims to respond to the fear that the American FBI can now access confidential Canadian data that the government supplies to American companies working with the Federal Ministries in Ottawa."

At least some people in North America may be safe from the secret police.

Deal to renew USA Patriot Act extends police-state measures

"Republican negotiators in the House of Representatives and the Senate reached an agreement last week for the renewal of the USA Patriot Act, including the permanent extension of most of the provisions that had been set to expire by the end of this year. Once it is passed into law, the bill will extend sweeping attacks on democratic rights and consolidate a vast expansion of the powers of the state to spy on law-abiding individuals."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"This is no time to quit in Iraq - we're winning." -- Joe LIEberman, Bush's best friend Link

"Christmas and the New Year are actually two holidays. So there is a plural, which in the English language, necessitates the use of 's.' I suppose you could say 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy New Year,' but you probably have shit to do." --Jon Stewart, on the O'Reilly whore's objection to "Happy Holidays"

"Uncle Sam Wants You, Nigger." --Richard Pryor on the disproportionate number of black soldiers in Vietnam Link

"It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists [sic?], Iraqi Islamic extremists or al-Qaida foreign fighters." -- Joe LIEberman, Bush's best friend Link

Joe, actually it's 27 million PLUS 130,000 and the biggest, baddest military machine on Earth. Why can't Goliath whip David's ass after 1000 days of battle?

"Bush supporters are very upset about the TV show 'The West Wing.' They say there are too many Democrats on the 'West Wing.' That'll even out when 'Prison Break' comes back, there'll be a lot more Republicans then." --Jay Leno

Monday, December 12, 2005

December 12, 2005

December 12, 2005

My friend, Ian, recently sent me this from Buenos Aires. We taught school together in Canada, starting in 1965. Grade 9 Social Studies was part of our curriculum. Much anguish was shared over our lack of knowledge regarding Latin America.

Buenos Aires, December 7, 2005

"Sitting in a rather chaotic internet spot in Downtown Buenos Aires. Keeping my eye open for ladrons and other neér do wells. Buenos Aires has a lot of sizzle. Ñew York on uppers."

"Buenos Aires should have enough for us to keep ourselves occupied for a couple of weeks."Social Studies 9 didn´t really prepare me for this."

Dean Reed continued

I am still working my way through the Dean Reed book. Quite fascinating for me. While Ian and I were struggling with our lack of knowledge about South America, my former Colorado high school classmate was gaining first hand experience. His first visit to Chile and stardom was in 1961. Then, he lived in Buenos Aires in 1964, I think it was. Che Guevera was a houseguest. I'll definitely write a review of the book.

Word from a reader is that Tom Hanks bought the rights to the Reed story and plans to do a film.

Some news items:

Here's are news stories that jumped out at me today.

At FBI. frustration over limits on an antiterror law.

"'While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from OIPR's failure to let us use the tools given to us,' read the e-mail message, which was sent by an unidentified F.B.I. official. 'This should be an OIPR priority!!!'"

Damn those librarians and the Constitution!

French told CIA of bogus intelligence

"'More than a year before President Bush declared in his 2003 State of the Union speech that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear weapons material in Africa, the French spy service began repeatedly warning the CIA in secret communications that there was no evidence to support the allegation.'"

Never mind, the Midland Moron said today in Philadelphia that given what he knows now (and then), he'd illegally invade Iraq all over again.

Abuse cited in 2nd jail operated by Iraqi ministry

"An Iraqi government search of a detention center in Baghdad operated by Interior Ministry special commandos found 13 prisoners who had suffered abuse serious enough to require medical treatment, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday night."

As in all US misadventures in the politics of other nations, a new Saddam will emerge in Iraq.

Saddam & secret witnesses

"Now, the latest example of the U.S. media’s anti-Hussein blinders is occurring in plain sight during his trial for the slaughter of more than 140 men and boys in the Iraqi village of Dujail after a 1982 ambush that sought to kill him.

"While the media coverage has focused on outbursts by Hussein and his co-defendants, much less attention has been given to the unorthodox procedure of allowing witnesses to testify without using their real names and with their faces and voices obscured."

Question is, will Iraq have a US system of justissss or an Iraqi system. Will it make any difference?

Hunt continues for 1,300 children lost during Katrina

"While investigators believe most of the missing are safe somewhere, finding splintered families is proving a gargantuan task"

Looks like a lot of missing child milk cartons will be coming out soon.

Socialist Bachelet faces runoff after Chile Election

"If elected Bachelet, a separated mother of three who was tortured during Chile's 1973-1990 dictatorship, would extend the 15-year rule of a center-left coalition that has cut poverty by half and overseen the country's transformation into the region's star economy."

Thanks to Nixon and the CIA led assassination of Allende, people like Bachelet had the freedom to be torture by Pinochet. Freedom was on the march even then.

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"Some say by liberating Iraq we stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook the fact: We were not in Iraq on 9-11 and the terrorists hit us anyway." -- Unka Dick, still saying Saddam caused 9-11 Link

"The economy continues to move ahead, thanks in part to the Bush tax cuts, but that doesn't seem to be doing much for the president's standing with the voters. Over 60 percent of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going, and 58 percent say they expect economic conditions to worsen. For Bush, there is no balm in Washington." --Irwin Stelzer, Link

I doubt the BFEE [Bush Family Evil Empire] is very worried about "balm." They stole the $11 trillion from the Treasury and they're stealing over $100M a day in Iraq. Bush can't run again, Cheney's too old and sick to run, so what to they care about reputations?

They have trillions in stolen loot. Who needs a reputation when you've stolen trillions?

"I don't give a goddamn. I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way. Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!" -- Our Godly statesman President Monkey, on why we should bow to him. Link

Friday, December 09, 2005

Trial run

Friday, December 9, 2005

This is a test run to see if you can access the blog. Some were having trouble . . . so much for the aol attempt. Let me know if you can't get it.


Next year marks a high school reunion. Haven't decided if I'm going or not, but a book I started reading last night has me reflecting on my acne years. Rock 'n' Roll Radical: The Life and Mysterious Death of Dean Reed is a biography of a high school classmate who came to be known as the Red Elvis.

Some months ago, I was talking with a Russian emigre who is too young to have been caught up as part of Dean's fan base in Russia during the Cold War. But Anna knew of him and his fame as a singer and actor. It's hard to imagine the crew cut, freckle faced, skinny Dean becoming a rock star anywhere, let alone in the Soviet Bloc.

His international fame was kickstarted in Latin Amreica. It's interesting for me that one of our readers is currently visiting the cities where Dean first toured in 1961: Buenos Aires and Santiago to name two. Ian, if you read this, see if you can pick up a Dean Reed memento for me. An old poster, whatever.

Since I used to write book reviews for a newspaper, matbe I'll get my act together and review the book when I'm finished.

Another interesting twist to the story is another reader who roomed with Reed's first wife when they were students at Colorado Women's College in Denver. Judie, if you read this, maybe you can provide some insights via your continuing contact with Dean's ex.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Overheard in the gym locker room yesterday: "Whenever Bush is smiling, we're getting f----d!"

Later, Christina, who cuts my hair, "I cannot stand to watch Bush on TV."

This morning, some of us had the misfortune of listening to the misleader of the marginally free world lying about progress in Iraq. Perhaps his biggest whopper was saying that the rebuilding of Iraq was going well after the devastating governance under Hussein. Excuse me, was it Saddam who shock and awed Iraq's infrastructure into dysfunction? I thought it was primarily a result of an illegal invasion by an illegally placed dimwit and his band of pillaging neofascists.

Another projective lie catching my ear characterized Hussein as a bad man who was concerned about his own self aggrandizement and that of his followers! Wasn't it about a month ago that Bushco men were in Congress justifying their windfall oil profits?

A reader sent this in a few days ago:


By Richard Reeves Fri Dec 2, 8:13 PM ETPARIS

President John F. Kennedy was considered a historian because of his book "Profiles in Courage," so he received periodic requests to rate the presidents, those lists that usually begin "1. Lincoln, 2. Washington ..."But after he actually became president himself, he stopped filling them out."No one knows what it's like in this office," he said after being in the job. "Even with poor James Buchanan, you can't understand what he did and why without sitting in his place, looking at the papers that passed on his desk, knowing the people he talked with."Poor James Buchanan, the 15th president, is generally considered the worst president in history. Ironically, the Pennsylvania Democrat, elected in 1856, was one of the most qualified of the 43 men who have served in the highest office. A lawyer, a self-made man, Buchanan served with some distinction in the House, served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and secretary of state under President James K. Polk. He had a great deal to do with the United States becoming a continental nation -- "Manifest Destiny," war with Mexico, and all that. He was also ambassador to Great Britain and was offered a seat on the Supreme Court three separate times.But he was a confused, indecisive president, who may have made the Civil War inevitable by trying to appease or negotiate with the South. His most recent biographer, Jean Clark, writing for the prestigious American Presidents Series, concluded this year that his actions probably constituted treason. It also did not help that his administration was as corrupt as any in history, and he was widely believed to be homosexual.Whatever his sexual preferences, his real failures were in refusing to move after South Carolina announced secession from the Union and attacked Fort Sumter, and in supporting both the legality of the pro-slavery constitution of Kansas and the Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott class declaring that escaped slaves were not people but property.He was the guy who in 1861 passed on the mess to the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Buchanan set the standard, a tough record to beat. But there are serious people who believe that George W. Bush will prove to do that, be worse than Buchanan. I have talked with three significant historians in the past few months who would not say it in public, but who are saying privately that Bush will be remembered as the worst of the presidents.There are some numbers. The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever. Worse than Buchanan.This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record:# He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;# He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;# He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;# He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;# He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign (Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);# He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;# He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;# He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious. Besides, many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President Dick Cheney.


Last night I had a dream that wouldn't go away. It started off with reflections upon a seemingly simple concept I was exposed to in a management seminar years ago. The presenter drew three circle on the board. Written in the first circle was "The way it is", in the second, "The way I see it", and in the third, "The way you see it". If I remember correctly, the purpose was to illustrate truth, the way it is, and the difficulty in getting there in a universe of circles representing a myriad of differing frames of reference. In education, the goal is to collegially bring the circles together.

In a perfect world of the fully enlightened, there would be but one circle, the truth and concurrence about what that is. In the real world, however, information, versus knowledge coupled with wisdom, passes for truth. The way it is, becomes the way we are told it is. The center does not hold and chaos rules. It is our world. Intentional lies are pressed into service as a matter of course to shape the truth rather than unveil it

This dream had a centering influence upon me, an aha! moment. Like those moments, it's difficult to relate to others. After I woke up and was puttering with breakfast it occurred to me that the demented Christians whose circle of truth is confined strictly to the contents of the bible have no room for other circles but their own. They feel they own the truth, which is an empowering feeling . . . and dangerous.

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"Oh, there's pessimists, you know, and politicians who try to score points. Our troops need to know that the American people stand with them, and we have a strategy for victory." --Dubya, on Howard Dean Link

"A former prime minister of Canada said, 'It's not so much that we Canadians are anti-American, it's that we are very, very worried about a headless giant.' And that stuck with me because that is an apt metaphor in some cases for this superpower right now. It seems leaderless. It seems directionless." --Lawrence Wilkerson, Link

"We were abandoned. City officials did nothing to protect us. We saw buses, helicopters and FEMA trucks but no one stopped to help us. We never felt so cut off in all our lives. We were cursed when we asked for help for our elderly. We had guns aimed at us by the police who were suppose to be there to protect us." --Patricia Thompson, a victim of Bush's Katrina bungling Link

"I have no regrets that the U.S. toppled Saddam. I think we can finish our job there, and as part of it - really transform the Arab-Islamic world." --Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the toast of FOX News, to Sean Hannity, Link