Monday, September 24, 2007

The General Speaks

"... We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together... "
-- Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ret.)
17 Jan. 1961; Farewell Presidential Address

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Holy See

After many entries here critical of politicians, it is perhaps time to be critical of those managing religion.

The Roman Catholic Church, governed by the Holy See at Vatican City, has had many ups and downs over it's history. If we shine the light of critical inquiry on what (still) goes on in the fancy palaces of the Pope, we quickly uncover much that is indefensible. That's sad, because the Church is mostly well-meaning.

In fact, the topic is still politics when dealing with the Holy See. While many believers see their Church as incapable of doing wrong, there is too much bad.

Thanks to widespread reforms, the unbeliever is no longer threatened with torture and death. The final agonies of too many people were amplified by the sight of a fat priest chanting sanctimoniously of divine pity.

Yet there are key internal reforms still wanting:

The Church is sexist: women are wholly banned from priesthood.

The Church is unscientific: key works somehow inconvenient are condemned: Copernicus (for 215 years his work was banned by the Index Librorum Prohibitorum), and Galileo (grabbed by the Inquisition, required to recant his views and all were forbidden to publish his work), etc.

There are various other areas that provide ample dissatisfaction. Declaring Meister Eckhart's work 'heresy' is one, the massive and sometimes corrupt Roman Catholic bureaucracy another. I reject teaching that the Church is a necessary mediator, and sole access to God. Some would support the revival of this Church as Holy Roman Empire. All the best to believers, but don't tread on me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Guns not butter

Guns not butter, by Genki

The high school has no music class
Our younger kids lost art
To play school sports requires cash
The poorer never start

"I can't care less" say many folk
"It's not a lot we've lost"
Get-rich-quick mirror tricks with smoke
Cheap goods in bulk near cost

A flimflam artist cheated me
His White House friends are quiet
My pension's gone; so's referee
I'm being forced to diet

Our leaders with a bit of wit
Give us the roundabout
Deny deny just don't admit
Uncertainty or doubt

My nation's got no sympathy
For stupid, slow or lame
The USA should charge a fee
To watch our growing shame

"No child left behind" has meant
We're going nowhere fast
Yes with democracy's consent
Our time on top has passed

World rankings show our sharp decline
Some titter it's a stain
But as I feed the drive-thru line
My ignorence is pain

It's "guns not butter" experts say
"Hava-gudday" to all
As dreaming proles, we've lost our way
Just bred to fight and fall.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Escalation, surge, occupation forces = dumb

Americans in their nervous Homeland have been taught to use the terms 'surge' and 'weapons of mass destruction' - alternative phrases are now forgotten.

Too few Americans have read the below story:
>>> Experiment... failed

describing the neo-con social engineering policies of Bush's government. Wow!

Another great article interviewed Gen. Jay Garner (Ret.), the first US administrator in Iraq (three week term; replaced by more radical visionaries). Readers might overlook what to me was a key point in the below article: Many Iraqi people are educated, urbane and clever. These are people exposed for years to Western ideas, many with overseas family members or education abroad. Let them build their own nation; it ain't the business of the U.S. of A.
>>> Gen. Garner interview

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Myku by Genki

Tray of coarse red foods
Lone Seoul diner, tepid soup
Floating chili oil

Carafe of water
Cool and clean, full and sweating
Absorb; Refresh; Thanks !

Remove fingernails
Enhanced interrogation
Undamaged organs

today gone wasted
was the bright tomorrow craved
by yesterday's corpse
- (derived from Kim Yai Hee)

artists share with me
new worlds perhaps mean or trite
the sound of water

Friday, September 07, 2007

Colin Powell: Cat got yer tongue?

Rats now abandon the sinking ship Bush. Many keep their mouths shut, or work to obscure mendacity and lies. Until now, Colin Powell has been quiet - might we hope he'll speak out?

Try transparency. Please.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Thanks for spurning Easy Street

On 4th April 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was already a world famous Nobel Prize winner when he delivered an important speech at Riverside Church, New York City. Rather than resting on his laurels, Dr. King spoke out - "A time comes when silence is betrayal."

He spoke about war and violence and the need to work for a better world. Forty years later his words still resonate; the same violence continues, fueled by greed and ignorance. (A year after this speech, Dr. King was murdered).

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence
full text and audio at: