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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Big Insurance, Republicans, Teabaggers, and Fox News: You Are All Now Cordially Invited......

...........To Kiss Our....
......and say hello to a new promise that The Greatest Nation On Earth will no longer tolerate ruthless, insatiably greedy corporate beasts denying children healthy lives.

No, Cigna, et shalt not kill, henceforth.

We'll now celebrate the assurance that those of us extorted monthly payments for the "guaranteed health care" will NOT have it suddenly stolen by relentless corporate gangsters.

No, Aetna, et also shalt not kill, any more.

This American "new and improved" health care bill was just passed only hours ago in a Congress divided, by Democrats who apparently give a damn about the public well being vs. Republicans that only care about serving the corporate oligarchy.  The GOP has an unquestioned talent for rambling on with oxymorons such as "compassionate conservatism."  Their members sandwich this into nauseating, empty rhetoric about serving "God & Country," when the actual record shows, time and again, Republicans have a distinctively Godless appetite for shooting down positive change that will help, not hinder, families struggling to survive.

The bill is far from perfect.  There are still many concerns, such as why on earth must we wait four long years for it to kick in?

Nevertheless, it's a start.  The lesser of the two evils, by a landslide.

The greatest evil has been that for SO long our people have been dying painfully from a stranglehold by the monopoly of a cruel Medical-Industrial Complex that has cared for one thing--and one thing only--profit.  Rising profit, in fact, that drove these parasites to do despicable things to people, as graphically revealed in the film, "Sicko."

The most pathetic sight, of course, was witnessing that "Tea Bag" congress of cretins that played before the cameras.  They hooted and screamed, and even hurled racial epithets at legislators who wouldn't swallow the Big Insurance/Fox News propaganda about how providing health care to those denied amounted to "communistic tyranny."                             

What a sorry, pitiful spectacle.

Of course, then that's what makes this place a free country--the great diversity, and the freedom for fools to really act out.

And putting on a big act was the only thing these deluded hordes of yokels could manage.

Still, much more work needs to be done to enhance our new promise of REAL health care.  The Republicans and their bottom feeding allies will surely continue to battle it out, to sabatage things so  their corporate masters can still hope for preservation of the reprehensible but oh-so enriching status quo .

I want to be the optimistic one on this wonderful night, like one famous man was in the glow of a great victory of a different sort long ago.

"Now this is not the end," Winston Churchill famously remarked after the fateful 1942 victory at El Alamein. "It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." 
You tell 'em, Winston......

Three Cheers For American Students' Big Broadside Against Israeli Savagery

Bravo, UC Berkeley Students!

May your couragous student senate vote last Thursday opposing any more UC investments in companies providing military support to Israel be the real clarion call for other universities to finally step forward and put an end to the support for Tel Aviv's war criminals.

Let it happen now, let the flow of assistance and lethal hardware to Israel's storm troopers dry up like a desert.

This bill focuses on two companies--General Electric and United Technologies--that help provide the hardware for the Israeli attack helicopters that have a nasty habit of bombing and murdering women & children in Gaza, West Bank, and Lebanon.

With impunity, of course, courtesy of our shameless U.S. "we respect human rights" government that not only stands by to cheer it on but supplies world class murder weapons to these gangsters in IDF garb.   Profit?  Geopolitical gain?  Raw power politics?  Or just a system, administered by self-serving, spineless politicians, who can be "played" by another country bent on conquest?                           

Commercial companies still doing business with this homicidal regime, along with the rest of the American death & destruction export companies and the Pentagon's own facilites, MUST be accountable for their actions.

How can we allow the subsidization of mass murder and oppression of the Palestinians to continue?  The grieving father in this picture has a name, as did his three murdered children.  All three were killed with the help of our tax dollars and high-tech American weapons.  How could anyone possibly support such a status quo?  But by sheer inaction, by the fact that our "honorable" elected officials in Congress go right on rubber-stamping support for such things, this is the ultimate enabler.  It has GOT TO STOP. 

There must be some other company other than Caterpillar, Inc. in which to invest in bulldozers--the same brand used by the Israeli ethnic cleansing brigades to demolish thousands of homes and olive trees on the West Bank.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, one of the Zionists' most insufferable shills, immediately went out of his way to denounce the UC students' stand against Israeli Aggression.

“Divesting from Israel is immoral, bigoted and if done by a state university illegal,” Dershowitz said. “It encourages terrorism and discourages peace. Any university that would actually divest from Israel will be subjected to countermeasures—financial, legal, academic and political. We will fight back against this selective bigotry that hurts the good name of the University of California. This misuse of the university’s name does not represent the views of students, faculty, alumni and other constituents of the greater Berkeley community. Instead it represents the hijacking of the university for improper ideological purposes. It must be rejected immediately and categorically.”

Vintage Dershowitz, it is.  Typical that he would call divestment from a state that carries out immoral, bigoted, illegal policies, "immoral, bigoted.....and....illegal."


Notable are Dershowitz's ominous threats against UC-Berkeley, which is right out of the Israeli lobby's playbook.  ANYONE who stands up decisively against Israeli war crimes can count on vicious reprisals from AIPAC, which is precisely what this detestable, unscrupulous, and utterly dishonest Harvard shyster is blathering about.

The most interesting part of Dershowitz Diatribe #6,889 for Israeli war criminal clients is his accusation of the UC student senate "hijacking the university for improper ideological purposes."  Now that's genuine chutzpah.

Especially considering how deadly effective has been the highjacking of the U.S. Congress to do any and all bidding on behalf of the Greater Israel Project, i.e., continue and complete ethnic cleansing of the, homes, and lives expendable.

The only truly virtuous thing about such a revolting thug as Dershowitz is that he provides the perfect embodiment of the ruthless, corrupt business of Zionist politics.

Keep up the good work, courageous Berkeley students.  May the rest of our highjacked nation be so inspired.

Want to really end the continuing tragedy of the 60 year-old Nakba?  

Boycott & Divest from Israeli War Criminals, Inc..  Start today!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hobbes's "Brutish" Life Scenario Just Keeps On Ticking -- Must We Let It?

When the mother of philosopher Thomas Hobbes was pregnant with her son in the late 16th Century, she got some frightening news.

In early 1588, Mrs. Hobbes received word that a ferocious monster called the Spanish Armada was on its way to destroy her home, England.  So traumatized by the impending storm--and not knowing that her country's famed fleet would annihilate the Spanish--she gave premature birth to Thomas on April 5th.

"My mother," reflected Hobbes,  "gave birth to twins: myself and fear."

It's easy to get overwhelmed with pessimism, watching humanity's never-ending production of war, conflict, and unspeakable suffering.

Start with the Lagash-Umma War of 2525 B.C., where the victor erected "Stele of Vultures,"  a charming stone monument featuring carvings of the birds feeding on enemy corpses.  Pass through the next several thousand years of countless bloodbaths, working all the way up to today's spotlighted killing fest in Afghanistan.

No wonder the prematurely born Hobbes came up with his famous line about life's "nasty" and "brutish" nature.

Another powerful Hobbesian insight was this:  "I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death."

On war, his view was unequivocal:

"To this war of every man against every man, this also in consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the cardinal virtues."

Force and fraud.  Or rather, first the powers-that-be provide fraud an irresistible ad campaign and then unleash all the merciless force to their hearts' content.  Moreover, lots of victims pile up not just from "hot wars," but "cold" ones, terrorism of all stripes, economic oppression and enslavement, on and on and on.

Borrowing a title phrase from Led Zepplin's classic (visions of WW I bombing, naturally), almost invariably "the song remains the same." 

Many thanks to my Facebook friend, peace activist Sue Thompson, for sharing this outstanding short video graphically capturing the syndrome.

Painful as it is, keep in mind the obvious first step out of the Hobbesian Horror Shop is this "if you know" part.  Tragically too many people don't.

Or don't want to.  These kinds of things "will never happen to them."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Taking Flight With A Guitar God

“Music," remarked Beethoven, "is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”

For many, it comes in one, two, maybe more assorted flavors that will fit that mood. You might just toe tap and nod your head for a while. Maybe harmonize softly. Or if the tune is just right, caterwaul like hell.

You know exactly what I'm talking about cause you do it in the car and sometimes a cappella in the shower, blessed by the sweet resonance of magic ceramic tiles.

Classical, country, rock, hip hop, blues, folk, or blue grass. Grab the right genre that'll work.

I'm eclectic, like probably most. But no question, it's that electric guitar rock that really mesmerizes. This instrument in the hands of a certified guitar god always gets me to the promised land.

True, Beethoven never saw one. But I'm pretty sure he would've called it a mediator, if not just for the same kind of raw power it packs as his Ninth Symphony.

That's right. So let the classic music buffs go into a double tizzy. It's absolutely true.

There are so many guitar gods, past and present. The one I'm reveling in is thankfully very much alive today and kicking arse.

Virtuoso is one way to describe Joe Satriani. Rated one of the top ten greatest guitarists on earth, he's part of that noble breed called the "shred guitarist." Guitar One magazine describes "shredding's" evolution:

"....This fast playing style, speed or blind speed guitaring with it's many influences, combined with the heavily distorted tone of heavy metal music resulted in a new nickname, 'shred'....Guitar shredding techniques played usually on a 'super strat' include: Alternate picking, Economy picking, Hammer-ons, Hybrid picking, Legato, Pull-offs, String skipping, Sweep picking, Tapping, Tremolo picking, and Wide intervals...."

Okay, whatever, "Hammer-on" or "Tremolo pick" that thing. Just gimme a sound that blasts me out of my seat.

One of "Satch" Satriani's most spectacular works is the rightfully titled masterpiece, "Flying In A Blue Dream." A title song from one of his many albums, it's beautifully captured in a filmed live performance.

You tell me. Can this man make a guitar a dream?

Truly a "dream" indeed. Hearing him and the rest of the other "gods" produce such melodies elevates the spiritual side of me.

One guitar technophile remarked how this magnum opus "revolves around lydian mode."


"Lydian mode"?? Our Wikipedia friends describe it--brace yourselves, please--this way:

"The Lydian mode is named after the ancient kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia. In Greek music theory, there was a scale or "octave species" based on the Lydian tetrachord, extending from parhypate hypaton to trite diezeugmenon, equivalent in the diatonic genus to the modern major scale: C D E F | G A B C. (In the chromatic and enharmonic genera, the Lydian scale was equivalent to C D♯ E F | G A♯ B C and C E E↑ F | G B B↑ C, respectively, where "↑" signifies raising the pitch by approximately a quarter tone.) [Does it maybe resemble something like THIS???]

Placing the two tetrachords together, and the single tone at bottom of the scale produces the Hypolydian mode (below Lydian): F | G A B C | (C) D E F. Placing the two tetrachords together, and the single tone at the top of the scale produces the Hyperlydian mode (above Lydian), which is effectively the same as the Hypophrygian mode: G A B C | (C) D E F | G."

So THAT is how "Satch" does it.

Glad we could get a clearer understanding.

Carry on, rockers....