Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Options: Heat or Eat

In his quest for the Presidency, Barack Obama offered visions of HOPE. In electing Obama, we were led to believe costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would end. We were promised Guantanamo's limitless incarceration and abuse would stop. People hoped for government in service to the wider community, not a government serving the wealthiest. For most Americans, however, conditions have gone from bad to worse.

Failed States

Those using violence and intimidation are corrupt.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I Am Spartacus

Saw ten minutes of the classic film Spartacus a few nights ago on TV. Slaves are being asked to betray Spartacus on offer of reward, but instead the many proclaim "I am Spartacus!"

Struggle against Empire continues through the centuries...

Today the secret mechanics of our governments are slightly open to view via Wikileaks, assisted by major media channels throughout the world. At this moment, the authenticity of leaked official cables has not been denied; the process was condemned as "dangerous" but Wikileaks is not yet a banned organization. As we struggle against our rulers, each of us individually quite powerless in the face of behemoth government wielding illegal kidnapping, torture & assassination, please remember:   "I am Spartacus!"
== "I am Wikileaks"

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Provocation or Peace

The Republic of Korea (ROK) and USA plan to continue military exercises and naval drills in a disputed area bordering the DPRK (North Korea).

Heavy-handed military operations are a provocation; knuckleheaded "war games" can quickly lead to war.

I've no opinion on where the border is or should be. But the huge South Korea coastlines (east, south & west) offer many alternative venues. Focusing live-fire operations in the northwest border area adjoining the DPRK invites trouble. How important are these military exercises? Why provoke hostility?

We common folk can't know what's up or why. Published maps differ & mislead; we're forced to think them others are evil...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks for Rot?

Thanksgiving is a special time for reflecting on good fortune, family, community, and our wider world. Some helpers volunteer to feed the homeless or disadvantaged. It's likely few Americans consider our untried tortured captives at Guantanamo, or the treacherous autocrats we fund around the world (at the cost of human rights & basic investment in US domestic infrastructure & education).

I know that my blogging and talking about political problems is unlikely to make much positive impact. On the contrary, I lived in Japan long enough to wholly understand "the nail that sticks up gets pounded down" (出る杭は打たれる).

Yet perhaps perversely, I also feel it's important to speak up, not to accept bullying or quietly acquiesce to antisocial chauvinism. Perhaps my persistent interest could be labeled a hobby; more importantly, I hope when the smoke clears to have stood on the side of justice, and have worked for integrity.

After WWII, many emerged from the rubble of defeat wondering how they'd been fooled; blaming their leaders or the military for excess, ignorance, cruelty & genocide. Some falsely claimed to have always been anti-fascist (some weasels claimed active resistance when instead they'd prospered as toadying sycophants). As many ignore horrors, we all suffer escalating indignities. I believe it's important to work for peace, with our God(s) & ourselves.

University: Who Pays?

Many parts of Europe are "reforming" their educational fees systems; seeking to assess higher tuition fees for university. (In Sweden, where I live, university students still pay no tuition fees). Educational access to all who are qualified, regardless of family wealth, is a worthy goal threatened by high tuition fees.

There are assorted good arguments for raising tuition, but good arguments against the practice are often unheard. Many functions of university, most university costs and investments, have little or nothing to do with undergraduate education. Why should prospective students pay?

The people making the decisions, politicians and others throughout society, have already received heavily subsidized education. Many of their arguments for "students paying their way" are also relevant to their own educational backgrounds. Why not consider retroactive cost assessment? Noisy proponents of higher fees can themselves "pay their way" - reducing higher education costs for teenagers.

[When I submitted this letter to The Independent, they cut out the last paragraph - perhaps guiltily unwilling to advocate repaying the educational benefits editors had themselves received.]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chalmers Johnson, RIP

Chalmers Johnson is dead at 79. The world has lost a great voice. He was a person who thought & fought prolifically, a modern Thomas Paine. This note is not eulogy or panegyric - I didn't know Chal well enough; he was a brilliant policy analyst; he was hard-working, inspired & pugnacious; he was a great mentor; and he regularly irritated the petty powerful. If only our world had hundreds such!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life as an Outsider

I never liked the Bush Declaration: "You're either with us - or against us."

The 1987 film "Wall Street" (rewatched last night) had one early takeaway line: "If you're not inside, you are outside."

In the USA now, the top 1% hold 34% of the nation’s wealth; the bottom 40% own nothing (and the bottom 50% hold just 2.5%)...

Too many in America fail to recognize: they have become outsiders. A feeding frenzy is going on; they're not invited - they are obedient servants or in danger of being consumed.

Social services insure the rich by maintaining civilization. Hoodlum society has high costs and terrible dangers for the wealthy. Social investments are important!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Validation & Fellowship

It feels good to receive dozens of birthday greetings. Small niceties can be valuable. I've lived thirty years as a foreigner, and appreciate smiles and greetings and hospitality as many others can't. I've been fortunate, cultivating good lifestyle & integrity. The process of achieving many personal goals has developed composure to wholeheartedly delight with others at their joys. My family has been fundamentally healthy. Challenges, pain & perplexities are always near at hand; such is life. Yumbo!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Paying for Corporate Crime

Collusion in the airline industry led today to fines of over US$1 billion. Airlines have already been fined more than US$1.5 billion by the USA for fixing fuel surcharges.

This problem has many dimensions, but a key facet is who should pay. Corporate bonuses and salaries have been "earned" (and paid) based on fraud & illegal activity.

Governments can shake down corporations: fishing for revenues, overcharging for licenses, reinterpreting rules & changing laws to bolster treasuries or aggrandize crusading individuals. Arrogant corporations & government both can gouge consumer-citizens. We little people seem pawns in a bigger game.

Corporate executives & bankers enjoy a system where "white collar crime" brings great personal reward at little personal risk. This stinking system must change.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


"The Muslims are the new Redskin. We Americans occupy, subjugate and take responsibility for their lands & resources. We're working to help them. It's criminal that our brave men & women doing military service are being injured and killed."
        -- Millennium meme of Right America

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just Government

"Just government has nothing to hide."
      -- Dr. Bruce Henry Lambert

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Watching Civility Burn

Firefighters from South Fulton (Tennessee, USA) recently watched Gene Cranick's home burn down; they refused to assist since the owner hadn't paid $75 protection money.

The city requires rural residents to pay in advance for protection. Attempts on the spot to pay - after the fire began - were refused. Fire crews only responded to limit the fire's wider spread, the neighbor next door had paid the protection fee.

Is this proper? Many Americans side with the fire services, with comments such as: "Dude should have paid; otherwise it ain't fair for those who did pay." or "Isn't his family worth $6.25 a month." and also "When firemen are busy saving the home of a freeloader, they can't protect those properly contracted for services."

While this case may be otherwise, many libertarians proclaim individualism, fighting against taxation, yet eagerly use social services if they're allowed. Those who turn their backs on society & civility shoulder risk. But Darwin's dog-eat-dog world is harsh; when misfortune appears, it's best to have help.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Rick Sanchez - RIP

CNN anchorman Rick Sanchez was fired today from his network after Pete Dominick's satellite radio interview labeled Jon Stewart a minority:

RS: "C'mon. How is he a minority?"

PD: "He's Jewish."

RS: "Yeah, very powerless people." [laughs]

PD: "Whoa."

RS: "You're such a minority. I mean, you know. Please. What? Are you kidding?"

PD: "You're telling me that -- "

RS: "I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart. And a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish are oppressed minorities? Yeah."

Revolting comment! Bye Rick. Anyhow, your reports ran too right-wing for my taste.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Imperialist Folly

"It matters not whom we elect. The Pentagon and the military contractors call the shots. The title 'Commander in Chief' is ceremonial, like 'Employee of the Month' at your local Burger King..."
    --   Michael Moore    (full text: "Dwight Was Right")

Americans serve corporate masters ... pushing the world to similar slavery.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Take a Haiku

Turn your TV off
Leave those small minded bigots
Yelling to themselves

How much have I missed?
TV commercials unwatched
An uncounted glut

Clever talking head
TV's reasonable voice?
Or corporate shill?

Mainstream media
Profits in monitoring
Our stupid decay

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer & Laughing

Funny things are all about
For those who listen
I heard a toddler lecture
His grandma
Super serious!
I could smile
Grannie couldn't

Funny things are all around
For those who'll see
I saw a bird nest
In a Yankee's cap
I ain't no fan
My heart gladdened

Funny things are near at hand
For those with time to feel
Laughter tinkled
Through my open window
I felt happy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Dream of Obama

Take a look at the Election Day victory speech of Barack Obama:

Hope expressed by the crowd, and by the President-elect, is gone. It seems so long ago. "The Dream" remained ephemeral. Not much has changed in America's foreign wars. Most Americans remain under the boot of corporate systems, knowing not what keeps them down. Ultra-right extremist activism continues to subvert the Middle East and the USA.

Obama spoke well prior to taking office, his acts since then are feeble. His failure to inspire America is heartbreaking.

Jesse Hagopian was a public elementary school teacher in South East Washington, D.C. who complains (link here) of political mischief:

"...the cynicism of our nation’s ability to bomb children halfway around the world but not able care for them in the shadow of the White House. Soon too, it became apparent in all of the No Child Left Behind rhetoric about accountability that I was being asked, from inside of the classroom, to correct for all of the mistaken priorities of the politicians."

Fat cat politicians, bloated oil executives, rogue bankers and shifty defense contractors share riches... while public school teachers getting minimal resources are blamed for America's decline...

Excellent comments here:
When Did Teachers Become Bums?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Insurance Marketing

Allstate Insurance: the Mayhem Campaign is creepy. Total protection -- if it were possible, great... but impossible, and unaffordable. Thanks for the disquiet -- - not.

Wax Poetica

Wax Poetica
by Genki

The joys of living
Too often overlooked
Fun is simple

What's the Business of Leisure?
Opportunities abound
Free time increasing
Yet unstructured living
offers challenge

Patterning enthralls
Planning predominates
Yet try hang loose attitude
Makes all weather good weather
Hawaiian climate

Living. or:
Living it up?
Living large?
Each a growth possibility
But best is simple


Local enthusiasm
Move, or don't
...maybe sleep
Yet appreciate:
this chance now
is fleeting
Dig deep
Living art
An extra breath or two
Here & there
Adds into a Life
b4u no it

Friday, July 09, 2010

Terrorist Agents?

Disguised foreign agents infiltrated USA communities. Pundits joke of meager risk to important intelligence. We uncomfortably recognize the familiar is not as it seems. An extensive admitted conspiracy is declared ended via government negotiation; we’re stung by deceit. How many other such people remain undetected, perhaps trained to kill? Such people can control the émigré community or widely destabilize. Should illegal agents or assassins be so quickly released? Speedy extradition is insufficient deterrence to criminal espionage. The face of terror remains among us, a young family on a shaded street, true mission unknown.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Promises, Promises

Now visiting the USA. I quickly notice consumers should exercise great caution. Many services are scams. Expensive pitfalls are everywhere.

I notice a strong tendency to over-promise. In advertisements and speeches we're promised much, but delivery is often much more feeble.

American people are accustomed to being fleeced. Nobody wishes to be labeled a sucker or schmuck, yet as sheeple bleat of cheating, we allow it to happen again.

Politicians, financial service firms, military recruiters: all adept at the flim flam...

Yankee Stay Home

USA warfare and overseas occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq must stop. The "helpful hand" of the Yankee is not. Our forces are bumbling and deadly; the people of those nations don't want our solutions; our own nation has become improverished by foolish wars and lack of attention to domestic infrastructural gaps.

Thousands have died. Let's not sacrifice more. Bring home the US Armed Forces.

President Obama and other scheming weasel politicians who fail to promote peace should never be reelected.

Those voting against the Obey-McGovern-Jones amendment (that sought to schedule a wind-down in Afghanistan) are wasting American money & lives. Vote them out of office.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Health Insurance is not Health Care

Health insurance is not health care.
We suffer.

False promises add more suffering.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Korean Hostilities Ignored

Received this morning from the Korea Tourism Organization LA Office (Newsletter):
"Please be assured that it is completely safe for foreign visitors to enjoy their tour in South Korea even though there is a bit of tension between South and North Korea over the sinking of a South Korean ship. A daily average of 20,000 foreigners continue to visit Korea without any inconvenience or exposure to any type of harm. If you have any questions about the safety of traveling in Korea, please feel free to contact us, and we will do our best to provide you with the most accurate information. Thank you."

I was in South Korea last week, and the great majority of people are (as typically) unconcerned about the possibilities of sudden hostilities.

This does not mean there's no danger. Most people in Seoul and throughout South Korea live with strong urgency, busy being busy; onward & upward, often to unknown purpose. "Groupthink" is strong. Many cultures systemically ignore or neglect warnings & problems, but the security threat on the Korean peninsula is substantial. If trouble occurs, the foreign tourist is highly exposed, without good survival tools, liable to harm from any direction.

North Korea is unpredictable, and KTO's "bit of tension" could suddenly erupt into shooting or invasion. As mentioned, I was there last week. But make no mistake, there's danger of death or injury; the threat is recently elevated.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Settlers or Squatters?

Settlers or Squatters?
Imposing a New Order.
Grandma is perplexed

New maps, new place names
Refashioned by media
We're redeveloped.

Tribal heritage
Vies with consumer mindspace
I go to the mall.

The Mavi Marmara Massacre

Israeli commandos have stormed a group of ships bringing aid to the people of Gaza. Many people on board the Mavi Marmara were killed; hundreds more are now held in Israeli custody. It seems they tried to resist highly-armed commandos forcibly boarding their ship underway in the Mediterranean Sea. In the USA we're told the ship passengers are activists, radicals, militants and terrorists... as are the people of Gaza. Welcome to the land of spin. Yes, we live in spin.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Squatting in Arizona

Human migration?
Is it proper a community restricts access to its resources?

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

These words are not part of the International Declaration of Human Rights, or the U.S. Constitution, but are from a sonnet contributed in 1883 by 34-year old Emma Lazarus toward building New York's Statue of Liberty. The poem offers "world-wide welcome" for the homeless. So are communities in the USA now obligated to accept all comers?

I don't think so.

Miss Emma had no authority to open the land to everyone. At that time, many indigenous communities and nations within the Americas were being forcibly subdued, destroyed or purged. Large-scale ethnic cleansing was taking place; settlers were wanted to repopulate native territories. Asian and "colored" prospective settlers were discouraged.

Another dimension is continuing community investment since colonization. Community members invest in roads, bridges and other infrastructure through taxes. Some provide time & sweat, some are killed for defense. When sacrifice is disregarded, people become discouraged from participation and community-building. Big government for big corporate interests has sucked the vitality of local communities. Americans are taxed to support wars in the Middle East and Asia; they are taxed to bailout giant corporations, while their own communities are dismantled, services cut, resources extracted. Expect some people to fight - protecting the little they have.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The Poet snatches time
As focus, appreciation, reverie...
Give way to work,
cleaning, grooming,
social camaraderie,
family affairs

The Poet snatches time
To describe, interpret, transcribe
Beauty of Living

Perhaps for a time-snatcher
Moments of Appreciation
Become longer or more frequent.
But focus, joy and emotions
Are experienced by all
Natural understanding.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hawaiian people need help

Korea and Kuwait were occupied nations that regained independence. But the Korean and Kuwaiti people do little for those nations & peoples still subject to Colonialism.

Hawaiian people need help.
Hawaiian lands are occupied, stolen without compensation.

Clarify Hawaiian inheritance.
link:   HI Alliance

Monday, May 03, 2010

Price Gouging?

A Boston store was accused of "price gouging" for pricing a case of water at $16. We normally would say, "so what?" - if a potential customer doesn't like prices, they can go elsewhere.

(article here)

Why should this case be any different? Boston was facing a water emergency... does that mean nobody offering drink can profit? It seems "price gouging" is always all around us; it's the basis of capitalism.

Perhaps life & death situations might be different, but otherwise, the pursuit of private profit is the bedrock of U.S. society. Income motivates work, and resources shift to take advantage of high returns. Of course, some people feel a moral focus to volunteer, or to help others without receiving payment. But can we demand selflessness from everyone? Is it right that society confiscates and reallocates valuable resources that some people prepare with risk and foresight? Is the US capitalistic? Needs are motivators. Capitalism is cruel & indifferent...

(Florida's price gouging law)

(Illegal price gouging in Texas)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let's Tea Party !

The USA "Tea Party" movement against wasteful big government is gaining momentum. But a key problem is that many don't recognize the benefits received from collective action. Taxes pay for public services. Libertarians hoping to pay less tax find that overall costs can quickly rise - as they're preyed upon by the unscrupulous, and buffeted by natural selection, accident and disaster.

Taxes pay for public safety. Taxes protect public health. Taxes provide the regulators who verify standards for food, water, air and other necessities. When fueling a private vehicle, we can't each verify receiving a claimed fuel volume at proper octane - we trust the pump, in part thanks to regulatory inspection. Putting ourselves at the mercy of corporate providers is a poor solution. As we cut-corners, we're more likely to crash & burn, becoming pickings for scavengers or better-organized pirates. Beware!

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Great Satan makes war
Indefinite detention
Without charge or trial


Today I noticed
Hundreds of joys in living
Small significance


"Elect another..."
No accountability!
Crooked statesmen scum


Now home is quiet
Each day I close the shutters
Detached Encroachment

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Aggressive War

The British Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot has been generating revisionist arguments over the invasion of Iraq. Some people now claim they were ignorant at that time, or that they were deceived. But in mid-March 2003 it was very clear that arguments for invasion were a sham.

The invasion of Iraq was planned with no clear & present danger, and without multilateral agreement. The governments of Britain and USA knew they were embarking on an illegal war, and key people were communicating this to the wider population. When British MP Robin Cook resigned on 17 March 2003 as Leader of the House of Commons in protest over the planned invasion of Iraq, he delivered a well-reasoned and impassioned speech to Parliament. Cook's speech (which received a standing ovation from both sides of the House) is crystal clear, and condemns the planned war.

Here is an mp3 version of that famous speech:
Robin Cook resigns over Iraq attack plan 2003-03-17.mp3

and a transcript:
Robin Cook resignation speech

This was a mainstream warning by a key insider against unilateralism, bullying and wielding war in doubtful circumstances (Robin Cook had been Foreign Secretary for more than four years under PM Tony Blair). Those who ignored his warnings, and waged illegal war, should be convicted of criminal acts.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Just War

When U.S. President Barack Obama grabbed his Nobel Peace Prize last month, he attempted to justify U.S. involvement in its wars. He spoke directly of the concept of "just war" and necessary use of force.

(US government transcript)

Nobel Laureate Obama spoke about right conduct in war, and about brutalization. He bluntly claimed "America has never fought a war against a democracy..." -- which is a rich lie, yet his polite audience barely fluttered.

He next praised the wonders of hope.

"Clear eyed" and facing "the world as it is" we must recognize that America's ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are wrong. They are illegal and unwinnable, against bogeyman enemies such as foreign "weapons of mass destruction" (weapons more horrible than our own?) or the bad bad man Saddam Hussein (captured 7 years ago, executed 3 years ago - yet still our forces remain in Iraq)...

Obama has committed America to fund a military surge in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Growing armament funding & materials flows are directed to dozens of places around the globe, for social control, often at great cost to local populations (with costs America can't afford). America itself is being dumbed-down and locked-down, splitting the domestic funding scraps between law & order, policing & prisons. Little money remains for schools, parks, or people. Science & technology, and the arts, are afterthoughts - except if linked to warfare.

Yes our industries thrive on the violence. Yes our contractors profit. Where is the redesign of Baghdad's huge US Embassy Precinct, or reversion of US-colonized military bases around the world to local use by local people?

Obama's wars are   "just wars" -- just, only, simply wars.