Tuesday, May 31, 2011

@ 100

Robert Johnson, here are.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

When We Were Men

Happy 96th Birthday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kentucky vs. King

Chris Floyd.
Can cops now invade your home without a warrant anytime they feel like it?

Sure they can.

Doesn't this completely and literally eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and specifically requires the use of a warrant?

Sure it does.

So, was there really any point in having an American Revolution, if we have ended up with a tyranny far more implacable, intrusive, violent and extremist than anything in the wildest dreams of the most retrograde royalist serving King George III?

Reckon not.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Springtime for Chomsky







And his lengthy reaction to the OBL mob hit.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Publisher

Harper's great John MacArthur on Murder Inc. and its worshippers.
There’s much to criticize about the bloody pageant surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden: the assassination of an unarmed man apparently in front of one of his unarmed wives; the unseemly displays of patriotic fist-pumping by Americans who feel themselves superior to chanting Islamic radicals; the brazen exploitation of the killing by a president already campaigning for re-election, and America’s “alliance” against “terrorism” with Pakistan, a country led by corrupt, double-dealing oligarchs who sell themselves to the highest bidder. (Bin Laden’s “hideout” near the Kakul Military Academy sounds like off-campus housing for a visiting professor.)

But I’m even more disturbed by watching Obama, the supposed anti-Bush, becoming the ex-president — playing the “straight talker” and “decider” on “60 Minutes” better than Bush himself: “Justice was done, and I think anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn’t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.”

That includes me, since I would have preferred to see bin Laden walked to his arraignment in handcuffs and then placed on trial in a pop-up courtroom in the desert, somewhere between Reno and Las Vegas. Most Americans, including the former constitutional-law professor Obama, believe that our system of justice is better and fairer than, say, Afghanistan’s. So why not demonstrate that equal justice under the law applies to mass murderers, including ones who brag about their crimes? Timothy McVeigh got his day in court, as he should have. Isn’t that what’s supposed to make us more civilized than al-Qaida?

Obama would have been wiser to follow the French government’s example in its treatment of Carlos the Jackal, a notorious terrorist and killer of French intelligence agents who is now mouldering in prison, a largely pathetic and ridiculous figure. Alive but incarcerated for life, Carlos will never be seen as a martyr like bin Laden. But since this is a French idea, it’s clearly crazy, like refusing to invade Iraq. Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin certainly should have had their heads examined.

To be fair, there may also be people in President Obama’s Cabinet who need to have their heads examined. Hillary Clinton best expressed the administration’s increasingly delusional thinking when she suggested that bin Laden’s execution will help the war effort: “In Afghanistan, we will continue taking the fight to al-Qaida and their Taliban allies. . . . Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have even greater resonance. You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us. But you can make the choice to abandon al-Qaida and participate in a peaceful political process.”

That’s a great idea, especially the “peaceful political process” that surely would ensue when Hamid Karzai and his warlords started settling scores with Mullah Omar and his warlords around a conference table. As for the Taliban, it has little interest in al-Qaida’s international aspirations and will also “continue taking the fight” to America to rid Afghanistan of foreign occupation. I want to believe that Clinton is sane enough to read this sort of information in her intelligence reports (or at least in the newspaper), but then she also says that Pakistan is a “democracy.” Maybe the secretary of state had her hand over her mouth in the famous Situation Room photo because Obama’s national-security team was really watching “Patriot Games,” with Harrison Ford. It is a very exciting movie.

Of course, there’s nothing new about U.S. leaders playing tough-guy jingoes and justifying our history of “extra-judicial” killings. It’s no coincidence the CIA gave bin Laden the code name Geronimo, since America’s Wild West culture long ago concluded that the only good Indian is a dead Indian (though at least the real Geronimo was taken prisoner). And it’s clear that our justice system is so degraded by 9/11 and its aftermath that putting bin Laden on trial was probably a political and practical impossibility. Since the CIA used him in the 1980s to help drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan, imagine the character witnesses his lawyers might have called.

Even if there were a few courageous members of Congress to make the case for simple justice, or for prompt exit from Afghanistan, the gibberish gushing from the media would have made it impossible for them to be heard. What can we possibly learn from the bin Laden affair when even the serious press functions as facilitator for self-interested politicians? The best example of this appeared in The New York Times, the day after the government admitted that Osama was unarmed and that he didn’t use one of his wives as a shield, contrary to the previous day’s version in the “paper of record.”

As The Times explained it, “haste” had led to “discrepancies” in the official account. “But the episode also reveals the pressures as the White House, intent on telling a dramatic story about a successful operation, sought to manage a 24-hour news media ravenous for immediate and vivid details.” Oh, those dreadfully ravenous reporters, forcing counter-terrorism chief John Brennan and his bosses to invent things that never happened. Perish the thought that there was a political or P.R. motive in the telling of the bin Laden “take out” tale. Anyone that cynical should have his head examined.

But of all the fantastical media stories on the rubbing out of bin Laden, the most preposterous concern the Pakistani government. One minute they’re our loyal allies; the next they’re perfidious coddlers of evildoers. Recalling the words of Capt. Louis Renault, in the film “Casablanca,” Gen. Ashfaq Parvaiz Kayani, the Pakistani army’s chief of staff, was “shocked, shocked” not only that America invaded his country’s air space uninvited but also that bin Laden was hiding under his very nose. Let’s be honest: The only plausible explanation for the raid’s “success” is that the U.S. finally agreed to pay the Pakistanis more in cash or in kind than they were getting from bin Laden himself or his friends in Saudi Arabia.

What’s more, the nearly $450 billion already spent on Afghanistan in America’s Terrorist Games has been a complete waste of money — exactly the sort of self-defeating expenditure that terrorists like bin Laden have hoped to provoke.

Sadly, American justice and candor — the old-fashioned Humphrey Bogart, Harrison Ford variety — lie at the bottom of the ocean with Osama bin Laden’s corpse.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Penultimate

The next-to-last episode of Haibane Renmei, "Reconciliation"



The previous eleven.

Friday, May 13, 2011

More

Sonny Clark.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Purple Haze


What the heck happened to the Los Angeles Lakers?

In a season of irregular menstrual cycles (no offense to Pau Gasol) -- starting the year 8-0, losing four-in-a-row, winning seven-in-a-row, losing four-in-a-row, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning seventeen-of-eighteen, then going on a five-game-losing streak toward the end of the regular season, struggling distractedly against a mediocre New Orleans Hornets club in round one of the playoffs -- the Lakers ended 2010-11 not only being swept by Mark Cuban's Mavericks (losing the final "win or go home" game by 36 points) but also by becoming a group of guys who would clearly rather go on vacation than spend another second in each other's presence. Or with their (now gone) head coach.

As a Lakers fan since before they got Magic Johnson, I've never felt the emotional attachment to the post-Shaq "Kobe Lakers" I had with the Showtime teams of the 80s (not even close) or the Shaq Threepeaters of 2000 - 2002 (or the goofy Nick Van Excel clubs of the 90s). The problem is Bryant. His spirit has dominated the team since 2004, even with the chastening of Phil Jackson's return in 2006. There is no joy in Kobeville. Whether L.A. is on a five-game losing streak or repeating as NBA champs, with Kobe is it always grim, grim, grim. While absolutely one of the greatest players (and winners) of his time, Kobe Bryant is a tight-ass bore. Not someone easy at all to like in the way we like our athletes, sometimes close to a crush. When the 80s Lakers would lose to the Celtics or Sixers or Pistons, I would feel bad as a fan but even worse for Michael Cooper, Mychal Thompson, and James Worthy. It's impossible for me to feel bad for Kobe Bryant.

Many of the current Lakers perhaps feel the same way. The club became wholly unglued at the end. Imagine. Two-time defending champs. Three-time defending Western Conference champs. The last run for your 11-titles-winning head coach. One-game -- win it or not only go home but send Phil Jackson on his way in the most embarrassing manner possible. And the team -- with the exception of a first-half Kobe Bryant, who then also seems to pack it in -- shows up sullen, petulant, in a snit. And quits.

Obviously a team with a very delicate sense of purpose and togetherness. Maybe Gasol just got sick of playing with Bryant. Or Odom with Gasol. Or Gasol with Andrew Bynum. Gasol, of course, has taken the most heat from the sports media, as well he should. Something funky was happening with him and the league must have smelled it. Beginning in early April, when the Lakers were still playing their best basketball, several players around the NBA, from separate teams and divisions, began to whisper (publicly) about Pau Gasol's manhood -- the manhood of the starting center on the NBA's two-time defending champions. First, Kendrick Perkins of OKC said something. Then A'mare Stoudemire of the Knicks. Other players went with it, off the record. What was going on here? The Lakers were playing great and there weren't any "Pau Gasoft" cracks since L.A. lost to Boston in the '08 Finals. Gasol himself won the championship last year by his very tough and focused Game 7 performance (while Kobe was melting) against the Celtics. So what were the April remarks all about?

Somebody knew something, because beginning with those remarks the team went into emotional free-fall, and Gasol became punked. He became scared and confused on defense, passive and hesitant with the ball. Perhaps he announced to the team he was coming out. Another rumor has Kobe's wife saying something to Gasol's steady girlfriend which caused Gasol to be dumped. (Yet, how does this compare to Steve Nash in December witnessing the birth of a black baby to his white wife? These guys are human. . .) How does the Gasol situation explain the clear separation taken from his teammates by Lamar Odom? By Andrew Bynum? The aghast frustrations of veteran Derek Fisher?

What happened this spring could very well have happened the two previous springs. A few more timely Houston Rockets baskets in '09 would have knocked the would-be champs out in the opening round. A couple Laker misses in 2010 would've sent Phoenix ahead to the Finals instead of L.A. So let us all now send a red-hot poker to GM Mitch Kupchak's house, the man who sat on an aging and very charmed team when so much movement was happening around the league, except for helping to create a bench dominated by the "Killer Bs" -- Barnes, Brown, and Blake -- standing for very BAD and beyond them the likes of Luke Walton, the 62-year-old Joe Smith, and Phil Jackson's pot-dealer. And dear old Derek Fisher, still starting at point guard. . . a wonderful guy, a fine union leader, and currently worth less than zero as a basketball player. Why didn't Kupchak pick up O.J. Mayo or Corey Brewer (or Ronnie Brewer) for chump change? Or Stojakovic? Or Tony Allen? Perhaps Kurt Thomas would've slowed down Nowitzki or Jason Terry. . .

Phil Jackson must also take his medicine, along with his peyote. His inflexibility must have stoked the fires of dissension. Why did he refuse, since the Fisher situation was not going away, to play Kobe and Artest together more in the backcourt? Why wasn't Odom, Bynum, and Gasol on the court more often? Artest, Bryant, Gasol, Odom, and Bynum for 34-38 playoff minutes per game seems pretty unbeatable to me. And the terrible misuse/underuse of Andrew Bynum. . . After the Carmelo-for-Bynum rumors went away in January, Bynum was the best player on the Lakers and the best center in the league aside from Dwight Howard. Yet the offense never went through him. No offensive adjustments were made. He continued to sit out the last six minutes of each game. Why, Phil?

The worst part of the collapse is Jackson going out this way. I'll miss him very much. The easy thing about being a Lakers fan, aside from all the winning, is that it's an organization of class, wit, and intelligence. Unlike the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dallas Cowboys, there's nothing piggish or underhanded or cynical in how the Lakers win titles. Phil Jackson embodies these good qualities (as Kobe does not) in ways which are true and unique. (The Laker teams between Jackson's two coaching reigns were drab and grim -- they took on Bryant's aura instead of their head coaches. Detour ahead. . .) While Game Two of the Mavs series was coming to its dispiriting close, the fans at Staples Center booed, left, yelled bad words. And no one acknowledged they may have been seeing Phil Jackson for the last time. And they were.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Glee

All of it.

The widespread bloodlust reaction, as if millions of Muslim lives hadn't already been destroyed, with trillions of dollars spent destroying them.

The "24" sort of way the Killers killed the killer. (Those 25 commandos have book and cable deals already signed.) And our stylish Ivy-educated Peace Laurete proving true the wisdom and leadership qualities of another Ivy-educated prize-winner (Commander of the Order of St. Sebastian, in his case):

You indeed can kill anyone.

The further exposure of the Pwog malignancy, with the likes of Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, and Commander Kos cheerleading the way for cold-blooded murder of an unarmed old man (yes, I know he was the Evil One), several guards, and a guard's wife.

The lies told afterwards, extrajudicial executions not being enough: that the Evil One was shot while defending himself with a sawed-off shotgun, and using one of his wives as a body shield. (The woman was critically wounded by commandos, of course.) No one could possibly be a he-man hero, unless it's a couple dozen psychopaths who can only operate when the odds are 10 to 1 in their favor.

All this coming the day after the murder of three of Muammar Gaddafi's grandchildren and one of his sons, in yet another attempted assassination of a world leader, thousands of miles from Abbottabad.

Mission Accomplished announced via Twitter.

The event telewaved into the White House of the United States, for personal private viewing by Killers of the killer. (When George Clooney in Syriana [2005] included a scene showing members of the White House micro-organizing and viewing the blowing-up of a Muslim Sheik, the Bush White House publicly condemned the movie as an "immoral lie." Now Obama wallows in such things, as all things Bush/Cheney are intensified.)

U.S. media jackals foaming at the mouth over Pakistan allowing the Evil One to live comfortably and securely in its midst, as if the U.S. hasn't taken over much of the Pakistan military and security service (I.S.I.) and caused thousands of Pakistani deaths from Obama drone strikes.

Worst of all is the hailing of our cold-blooded Assassin-in-Chief, just visiting "Ground Zero" to suck as much political blood from this as possible (as he did with the Tulsa shootings). Obama's Historic Moment. The Day the Obama Era Was Defined. Not defined by his appointments of no one but Establishment collaborators these past 20 years in the War of Terror or in the takeover of all systems of U.S. power by corporate totalitarians. Not the crushing of everything he ran on in 2007/08. Not the continuance and/or expansion and/or creation of wars in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Libya. And not as overseer of the final national dismantling of public, social government in the United States. No, Barack Obama'a historic legacy is the murder of an elderly sand nigger.

All of it, so sickening and heartbreaking. After the ten most criminal, anti-democratic, and economically fearful years in U.S. history -- the country can still get punked and manipulated by something like this.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

He Made the Pants Too Long

Two days after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passes the United States Congress, LBJ takes care of serious business.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Got