Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Censorship and the blame game

Douglas Preserve Sunset © Robert Sommers 2014
I haven't felt real sociable of late, engaging in a bit of self pity, wound licking and mostly enjoying my own sorry company. The last two shows weren't real terrific. Palm Springs was a lot better than Santa Barbara, a very expensive place to stay with surprisingly lousy food. I have killed there many times before but we all have our day. Even the millionaires are complaining that they are broke. Rocky times.

I fell asleep four or five times on the way home the night before last, arriving just after midnight. It was pretty brutal. At one time I actually turned my lights off on the freeway for a second, don't ask me why, a major synaptic fail and what the fuck moment. My sudden brain melt probably gave me enough energy to make it home in one piece.

Still fighting the cold too.

If you aren't really feeling into people, sometimes books are the next best thing. I read a good one yesterday, Obscene in the Extreme, The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. The book was written by Rick Wartzman, who wrote another book that I want to read, The King of California.

This book starts its mission by acquainting the reader with the nuts and bolts of the Bakersfield banning of the Grapes of Wrath. But it does so much more.

It fills in a lot of the history of the titanic battle between big agribusiness and a migratory labor force that they bought on the cheap. The huge growing concern, Associated Farmers, the goliath in this play, had law enforcement and the cities in their hip pocket and they ruled with an iron fist, even enlisting the KKK on occasion. Anyone that championed the rights of the poor or the worker or who tried to unionize was immediately branded a communist and dealt with harshly and in some cases terminally.

There were a mess of shootings and tear gassings by the growers and their proxies that people have now basically forgotten. Oklahoma dust bowl refugees were treated like blacks in the south.

I drive the Highway 99 a lot. This book brings the little company worker towns like Arvin, Shafter and Weedpatch into a different light. Highly recommended.

Klinghoffer- photographer unknown
I have been a bit transfixed with the controversy surrounding the staging of the John Adams' Opera The Death of Klinghoffer at the Met.

I wrote several letters to the New York Times in reaction to this article but they unfortunately didn't make it past the censor.

If you are not aware, Leon Klinghoffer was the elderly gentleman, an american jew, who was shot in the head and chest, then pushed off the Achille Lauro into the sea by the Palestinian Liberation Front in 1985, in his wheelchair.

I have not seen the now 23 year old opera but it has inflamed passions with its apparent mission to rehumanize the terrorists so that we can better understand their grievances and actions.

The woman who wrote the libretto, Alice Goodman, feels a bit persecuted by the reaction to her work and claims she hasn't been able to get a job in decades since, ostensibly because of the power of that big jewish lobby that we hear so much about.

By the way, Alice was raised jewish but is now an anglican deacon or vicar. She shares the zeal of the newly converted with Bob Novak, Bobby Fischer and Mendelssohn, the hebrews evidently making her life totally miserable.

Just to be on record, I do not favor censorship of any kind. People have a right to view the piece and to peacefully protest the piece as well. What bothers me is the question of moral equivalence and the tendency of blaming the victim.

Many of the comments to this article showed a deep bigotry in regards to a certain population. Two of the comments in the Times caused me to raise an eyebrow.

Shaun says murder of Klinghoffer was terrible but the murder of thousands of Palestinians was correspondingly worse. Tough luck, Leon. You're not going to escape responsibility for this one.

Rubout thinks that the old man probably had it coming for opening his mouth and his purported abrasive personality. You just don't do that around terrorists. You know how they act out. Blame the 69 year old man.

I find Alice Goodman's opinions and musings most disturbing. This is a two year old interview with the Guardian. Interesting read.
"...But her libretto gave voice to his murderers' motives. "Yes. It was suggested that I was making excuses for murder." Which she wasn't? "No, I don't think there's any excuse. All the hostages had been moved on to the top of a covered swimming pool. Mr Klinghoffer's wheelchair would not go up there. He was shot below decks and his body thrown into the sea. I think in many ways he was killed as a wheelchair user more than anything else."
So Klinghoffer didn't die because he was a loudmouth jew or worse, zionist, he was merely an invalid and therefore inconvenient. Interesting. You exhibit an astounding sense of empathy there, vicar.

There was another telling interview with Goodman in 2005 in the Los Angeles Times.
"The important thing for me," she has said, "was to make everyone human. That doesn't mean abdicating moral responsibility or even abdicating judgment, but it did mean not putting a finger on the scales."
I have two immediate reactions. One is that this is an all too common liberal indulgence these days, everybody is human, everyone has good reasons for their perfidy, no matter how heinous their crime.

But it would be interesting to substitute Osama Bin Laden, Charles Manson, the killers of Matthew Shephard for the killers of Klinghoffer in this passion play and imagine the hue and outcry that would arise. Tell me, why did Klinghoffer have to die for our sins again?

It is fashionable, especially in enlightened liberal circles, to excoriate you know who, those genocidal jews. Everybody is responsible for the barbarity of the victimizer, there is no act so heinous that it can not be justified. It is like a visit to Strasberg or Stanislavsky, what exactly is their motivation? Because all humans are, of course, equally guilty.

But Goodman does in fact tip the scales. Here is a recent tweet of hers:

She is obviously free to despise Israel, jews, her parents or herself, or frankly anybody else she wants to. But she should not pretend that she is a neutral party. I am also free to find her and her ilk despicable and detestable.

I think that I should also note that I do not know of a single jew that thinks he or she is perfect, infallible or incapable of being just as big an s.o.b. as anyone else in this world. You don't need to spend so much time pointing it out. We get it.

The Danes have a new way of dealing with returning terrorists, they are making them feel comfortable.
"... in Denmark, a country that has spawned more foreign fighters per capita than almost anywhere else, the port city of Aarhus is taking a novel approach by rolling out a welcome mat. In Denmark, not one returned fighter has been locked up. Instead, taking the view that discrimination at home is as criminal as Islamic State recruiting, officials here are providing free psychological counseling while finding returnees jobs and spots in schools and universities. Officials credit a new effort to reach out to a radical mosque with stanching the flow of recruits."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Racer X breaks the G barrier outrunning the dreaded ebola ravaged bats of Hyperion

© Robert Sommers 2014

Wide berth

Angelfood McSpade - Snatch Sampler © Robert Crumb 2014
I haven't watched the whole vid but the "era of big booty" headline cracked me up this morning.

The white man put them on ships, kept them in chains, stole their jazz and blues, and now they wants to steal deyz big asses too. Lawdy.

No End

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tesla S

A man from Tesla brought an S model to the Calm Antique Show in Santa Barbara. He let me sit in it and check it out and I am here to tell you it is pretty sweet. Missing something though, an engine.

The Tesla man said this car will top out at a governed speed of 134 mph, much slower than the newest car model, the recently rolled out P85D, which is supposedly the fastest thing on wheels.

I liked the way the flush door handles popped out. The interior was very nice and it felt good sitting in the front seat.

This car will set you back a cool 120k. Lots of room for luggage too.

The car I sat in was the performance model. Receives a half charge in 20 minutes. About 10 hours to fully charge. 416 hp. 0 to 60 in 4.6 although that probably understates the car's performance. It has a near instantaneous top speed and no transmission.

Due to its advanced regenerative braking system, the brake is almost nonessential, braking being accomplished through the accelerator pedal.

I know that money can't buy happiness but if I ever get the chance to rent it a while, I might spring for one of these. And hint, hint, my birthday is coming up.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Strange days are calling.

It has been over 30 years since I stayed at a Motel 6. I swore them off after an ill fated incident in Albuquerque. I had been accepted to architecture school at UNM and took my ex out there to check it out. She said the climate was too dry and ixnayed the whole deal. Should have let her go back home by herself, would have saved myself a lot of grief in the long run but we just never know how these things will turn out.

Anyway it was a horrific hotel. The mattress was covered in blood. Lots of blood. No other rooms, nothing else around. Blood on the floor, too. We dragged the mattress onto the floor , place felt haunted, maybe a suicide, maybe a murder, very bad juju. Lots of other problems. Ended up trying to sleep on towels. Night from hell. Couldn't sleep - got our asses out of there at first light. Promised myself I would never stay there again.


Cam decided not to do this show in Santa Barbara with me so I didn't grab our normal room. The only thing under a hundred bucks was Motel 6. I took a big gulp and booked it on Hotels.com.

Hotel is very strange. I hesitate to call it spartan for fear of insulting the greeks. But it is obviously not your parents Motel 6. Feel a bit like a rodent in a lab experiment. This is sort of the stripped down Yugo of the hotel world. Who knew?

Turns out that they had a big image remodel a few years ago, hired the prestigious London firm Priestmangoode to give the place a makeover. Definite european feel, like a dump I once stayed at in Spain. They tore out the carpeting, added bamboo flooring, ditched the floral comforter. No pictures on the wall. Brought it up to date, albeit to a time I don't exactly recognize and might feel slightly queasy living in...

It is really like Malthusian worker housing, sort of like my room at the kibbutz only with hot water. No amenities, no drawers, no kleenex, no shampoo, no tub. No clock. No free wifi. No maid today either, at least when I arrived at 4. When she finally showed up later in the evening I told her to come back tomorrow. Mirror shelf falling off the wall. Hey, it's a motel 6 - supposed to be a shithole, part of the charm.

There are a lot of construction workers staying at this one, cheapest rest around, a mexican guy was complaining of being discriminated against for one reason or another when I checked in. I inquired about the thickness of the towels and they handed me some decent ones. Television is okay.

There is a cabinet under the tv with a hanger rod and Gideon's bible perched on the bottom. wired for a bunch of connections I don't recognize. A side table and a minimal desk. Nowhere to put dirty clothes, no closet, broken thermostat. And this one is supposed to be $199 a night according to the sticker on the bathroom door.

Supposedly the sheets have a higher thread count, I couldn't tell. Bed isn't very comfortable, definitely ain't the Westin. Trendy rust and pumpkin color scheme. Not bad, but a little strange. Must buy shampoo tomorrow.

Slowly but surely

In 1976 Jerry Garcia invited a down on his luck James Booker to San Francisco to play a few dates with his band. This is a rehearsal. Rest of the band were John Kahn and Ron Tutt. Great musicians, still feeling each other out, or sniffing each other's butts as musician friend Dave B. calls it.

All going to shit department...

It hasn't been a great couple weeks. ISIS, Ebola, stock market dumping, seems like everything is going to shit. Personally I have been working my ass off, Palm Springs last week, Santa Barbara this week, my immune system has taken a serious hit and I have been suffering a terrible cold. Sixteen tons what do you get...

Today I read that the mosquito that carries yellow fever has been found in Southern California, hantavirus has been located in deer mice in Fallbrook, a hurricane is bearing down on the big island, and clowns are outraged over a new movie that is going to further stoke the fires of coulraphobia.


I have been having serious irrigation problems on my old ranch, after 40 years plus, stuff is breaking down. I was at Grangetto the other morning buying a gate valve when a guy was yammering about Obama bringing Ebola to this country because he has a vendetta against Texas. Brilliant strategy, Barack.

Seriously there was quite a disconnect this week. The same time Obama was mouthing that protocols were in place, the Texas nursing group was saying that there were in fact no protocols whatsoever and that it took three days to even get hazmat suits.

Of course the Texans have apologized. Not to hard to imagine Ebola starting to really work the exponential algorithm, start knocking people out like dominos. It's of course a different story when it starts killing white people. Then it is serious business. But if there were 100 people on the plane...Reminds me of a science fiction story I read once where a guy infected money with a toxin that ended up killing everybody. Greedy bastards couldn't keep their hands off it.

Anyhow thinking about Texas made me think back to my recent trip through there, all of the pollution present in a place where any government regulation is hated and resisted and "bidness" is everything. Remember the fertilizer explosion in West, Texas? Think anything has changed?

I was thinking about this stuff because the Senate candidate from Iowa, Joni Ernst has been spouting off on all of the government agencies she wants to kill if elected. First the EPA.
“I do believe our states know best how to protect their natural resources,” the state senator said. “I believe this can be done at the state level, rather than at a national level with the federal EPA.”
I wrote last year about the problems with this local approach to environmental problems, specifically the problems in North Dakota where businesses are spilling oil like crazy or dumping radioactive waste in landfills. It is the wild west out there. Maybe a state like California could take care of its pollution problems but you think it will fly in Alaska, Wyoming or Mississippi?  Money always wins. Look what happened in North Carolina last year  with the coal ash. Ms. Ernst approach is a recipe for disaster.

And not content to kill the environment, she wants to do away with the Department of Education, the Clean Water Act and the IRS as well. Looks like she might win too.

The Justice Department is fighting the release of video showing the force feeding of Guantanamo prisoners that a judge has granted permission to be released. Methinks it is going to look a hell of a lot like torture and this administration, ever conscious of optics and perception, would rather not deal with the expected blowback.

Same administration that did nothing when CIA operative Jose Rodriguez illegally burned the torture tapes and covered agency tracks. What a bunch of mealy mouthed pussies. If we are going to engage in this type of behavior let's all see what we are doing in the light of day. Maybe then we will all buy in.

Name Game

There's been a lot of back and forth on the propriety of names of sports teams lately, obviously the Washington Redskins moniker causing the greatest consternation. I have heard all the arguments and could give you for and agin on both sides of the issue quite easily but think that after a bit of thought, I have to come down on the sides of the offended indigenous folks on this one.

There are various theories about when the term redskin actually came into being but it is indisputable that it was found in print at least as far back as 1813.
The earliest known appearance of the term in print occurred on October 9, 1813 in an article quoting a letter dated August 27, 1813 from a "gentleman at St. Louis" concerning an expedition being formed and to be led by Gen. Benjamin Howard to "route the savages from the Illinois and Mississippi territories." "The expedition will be 40 days out, and there is no doubt but we shall have to contend with powerful hordes of red skins, as our frontiers have been lined with them last summer, and have had frequent skirmishes with our regulars and rangers.
Some have made the claim that the term arose out of a bounty for native scalps. In any case, true or not, it was most often used historically as a slur.

I realize that at least three native american sports teams have adopted the sobriquet. No matter, many native americans are offended and I think that we should be more sensitive to their feelings than the wounded umbrage of fans of the Washington football team.

I think that you only need imagine someone invoking the Brooklyn Kikes or the Harlem Niggers teams to get a feeling for the impropriety of the name.


Having said that I think that we can take this mascot stuff way too far. Recently a group of San Diego State (the institution where I got my credential) students petitioned to do away with the Aztecs name and mascot.

A group called the San Diego State University Queer People of Color Collective has filed a resolution asking the student body to end its association with the term "Aztecs" as it mounts to racism and inappropriateness.

Come again? What is racist about invoking a name of a tribe of warriors? Why do we not hear similar outcries from angry groups of Spartans, Trojans or Fighting Irish? The latter definitely invokes bad stereotypes, the irish being known as drinkers and fighters. Nobody seems to have a problem with the Louisiana - Lafayette Rajin' Cajuns. Does it invoke the misimpression that cajun americans have anger issues?

What are we going to be left with, just animal names, or is Peta going to go after the Panthers, Lions and Bears too? Talk about ridiculous political correctness gone awry. From the resolution:
WHEREAS, the continued use of the name “Aztec” and the “Aztec Warrior” mascot perpetuate harmful
stereotypes of Native Americans, including the notion that Native Americans are innately violent,
dangerous, and “savage” which is demonstrated by the Aztec Warrior’s aggressive body language, the
Aztec Warrior’s use of a spear at special events, the use of a spear on the SDSU Athletics Logo which is
printed on uniforms and SDSU memorabilia, and the slogan “fear the spear...
The spear apparently really bothers the collective as they have also inserted this language:
5. Weapons Ban (The mascot will not be allowed to use, hold or operate anything resembling a man-made weapon)
What a load of crap. By the way, the University adopted the Aztecs as their mascot in 1925 and the Montezuma figure made his appearance in 1941.  The mascot enjoys a 95% popularity rating on the campus, engenders widespread support and pride amongst a large latino population and the sports arena received major sponsorship from the local Viejas Band of Mission Indians.

So what is my point and am I drawing too thin a line? My point is that adopting a name of a tribe of warriors, be they greek, native american or from who knows where is cool, invoking a name that has been used colloquially to degrade a people is not.

U. C. Santa Cruz Banana Slug

Roy Hamilton

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Truth The Dead Know

Friends like this...

Well, Turkey has finally decided to fight. Today Turkish jets launched their first airstrikes during the global conflict with the group formally known as ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State. Their target?

Their own kurdish population.

Note that Turkey has been the preferred gateway to the conflict for many of the members of the Islamic State, who enjoy some support in the country.

On Monday, Turkey denied that it had reached an agreement with Uncle Sam to allow the use of the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey for attacks on the Islamic State, despite suggestions from the Obama administration that a deal had been reached.

While NATO is admittedly a joke, as we witness in both the Ukrainian conflict and now with Turkey, I would say it's long past time to throw the Turks' mercenary and duplicitous asses out of NATO.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

North of Xorasan

Weighing the Kurds

The group known as the Islamic State have a three pronged position on the outskirts of Kobani, a Kurdish town on the Syrian border. Largely undeterred by Western air strikes, the soldiers for the new caliphate are pressing and without massive help on the ground, the inhabitants of the town are facing total annihilation.

The blame for the current debacle in the Mideast can be placed on so many people. Certainly the Turks, whom will not allow the Kurdish brethren in Turkey to come to the defense of their proper.

1897 map of Turkey, Kurdistan and the Caucasus

It seems interesting that the Turks, who have been fighting the guilt and specter of the Armenian genocide for the last hundred years, would wish to be so closely connected with a new genocide. Perhaps it's in their nature? In any case, Erdogan tried a clumsy triangulation/extortion strategy or pinion against Syria as a deal point before he would consider committing his own ground troops. World leaders are justifiably enraged.

Where is Europe? Where is Russia? Where is China? Do not all supposedly civilized countries, many facing their own brand of islamic terrorism at home, have skin in this game? Where, come to think of it, is Ben Affleck? Why is it always the United States responsibility to wipe the world's ass? Who will finally come forward to bell the ISIS cat? The Germans have long had relations with the Turks, they are awfully quiet.

And finally to our own President, Obama. This guy may have a wicked baseline jumper from the left side, but I don't think that he is a natural military leader or tactician. When Jimmy Carter is calling you a pussy, you must really be a pussy. Where are the contingency plans?

Leon Panetta, a longtime centrist democrat, who has held every job imaginable, certainly not an apologist or a man with an axe to grind, was this President's Secretary of Defense, recently wrote a new book pillorying Obama's role in the mideast. I think he was dead on. When Obama drew a red line on chemical weapons and then let Assad gingerly step over it he showed that he could be punked on the world's battlefield. That never would have flown in the neighborhood I grew up in in New York. Maybe things are different in Chicago but it would have been  quite maricon in the boroughs as the Puerto Ricans might say.

When people are about to get exterminated, you either say fuck it, it's none of my business or you step up to the plate and do whatever is necessary. Because nobody is going to be interested in hearing your or anybody else's excuses later. We can not be half assed. The world needs to vanquish the virus that is ISIS.

Take your dirigible for a walk week.

© Mike Reardon 2014

Mike Reardon was on the beach in Cardiff with his girlfriend last week when the hot air balloon went into the drink. You may have seen the story on the news. People actually had to bail out into the ocean.

He didn't have his camera with him (dead battery) but managed to take some really outstanding shots with his ipad. This one is my favorite, a surfer holding his pet balloon on a leash. I touched it up a bit in Adobe Lightroom, with his permission.

Great shot, Mike!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Republicans Are People Too?

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the current ad campaign that attempts to re-humanize the Republican image and retool the GOP brand. Did you know that Republicans drive Priuses and recycle? Shocking! They have beards and tattoos, too. Shop at Ikea. Quite the gourmet cooks, I hear... Mac computers? Come on, now.

I am not going to pile on. Enough people already have. The twitter comments over at the Advocate are pretty priceless.

It certainly didn't help matters when it was discovered that all of the "normal" republicans in the campaign were simply stock photos of people whose actual political affiliation is unknown. A bit of a credibility gap if you ask me.

Like they couldn't find one black republican that drives a Prius?

This ad campaign segues nicely with the new Repub ad campaign in Florida, ostensibly geared to simple minded young women, where picking out a candidate is compared to picking out a new dress. You can get a plain old dull dress like Charlie Christ or the new, hipper Rick Scott model, which happens to be bald and never blinks.

This one really is so insulting, offensive and gratuitous, if I was a young person and was treated like I was this stupid, where candidates are merely the fashion statement, I think I would go running for the exit door screaming.

And how about Florida GOP member Steve Southerland. He can't be a sexist because he has been to a lingerie party. You convinced me, Steve.
"Tell the Misses [sic] not to wait up," he told the "small group of concerned men," adding: "Good men sitting around discussing & solving political & social problems over fine food & drink date [sic] back to the 12th Century with King Arthur's Round Table".

"I live with five women. That's all I'm saying. I live with five women," Southerland said. "Listen: Has Gwen Graham ever been to a lingerie shower? Ask her. And how many men were there?"

Is it just me or does anyone else sense a major disconnect with these people?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Paws de deuce

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham says that Florida compatriot Marco Rubio isn't quite ready to be President but suggests that the country might actually be ready for one Lindsay Graham. Are you sure, Lindsay? You saw how poorly some sectors reacted to a black president…


"American execptionalism (sic)"

In Colorado, protests continue over changes to the A.P, history curriculum, with conservative school board members claiming that the standards stress too much of the "icky" negative stuff and not enough about "noble" American exceptionalism. They floated a proposal calling for promoting "patriotism" and downplaying "civil disorder," basically a rerun of what recently went down in Texas.

Pam Mazanec, elected to represent Colorado's 4th Congressional district on the state school board, stated recently on Facebook that we Americans deserve some credit for voluntarily stopping the practice of slavery.

Uh, Pam, voluntary? You ever hear about the little skirmish called the Civil War?  A lot like the Nazis voluntarily deciding to stop gassing the jews after they ran out of any left to kill. The problem with being stupid is that you have no ability to know the difference.

Speaking of education, Wisconsin House Member Paul Ryan wants to use some of that fancy "new math" in order to justify continued tax cutting. The name of this arithmetical pixie dust Ryan is peddling is "dynamic scoring."

Dynamic scoring says that you can fudge all sorts of economic positives by presupposing that tax cuts generate economic growth and make up for lost revenue. I suggest that any proponents of this style of chicanery look into what has happened to the state of Kansas since Brownback lowered taxes and cut revenue. Be forewarned, it ain't pretty.
"In practice, dynamic scoring is just another way for Republicans to enact tax cuts and block tax increases. It is not about honest revenue-estimating; it's about using smoke and mirrors to institutionalize Republican ideology into the budget process." Economist Bruce Bartlett

Supreme Court Justice Scalia says that the constitution allows the United States to favor religion over non religion. And if you don't like his view, tough, he's got life tenure.
“What can they do to me? I have life tenure,” Justice Scalia said. “It’s even better than academic tenure.”

I don't want to belabor this but I can't go a day or two without reading some conservative spout about the "Alinsky playbook." The right has created a bogeyman named Saul Alinsky, a man that few on the left have ever heard of.

I consider myself a pretty "with it" guy. I grew up in a household with Ramparts and Evergreen on the coffee table. My sister was in SDS, my mother active in civil rights. I read the Voice when it meant something, the East Village Other, all sorts of leftist tracts. Never once did I hear about any Saul Alinsky guy.

So who was Saul Alinsky, that schmendrick from Pinsky? A Chicago community organizer, whose seminal work Rules for Radicals is given out by the Freedom Works and the Tea Party, both right wing groups. A guy who wanted to improve conditions in black urban ghettos and refused to join a political party. A man whose work was praised by none other than William F. Buckley.

Hillary Clinton wrote him a letter as a college student so suddenly he is the devil incarnate. Conservatives have succeeded in making a hero and folk legend of a fellow who was largely unknown and who lived a fairly uncredited life.

The rules

•RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.

•RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.

•RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.

•RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

•RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

•RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.

•RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.

•RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.

•RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.

•RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.

•RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.

•RULE 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.


Kudos to San Diego State University's Men's Basketball coach Steve Fisher for winning the John Wooden Legends of Coaching award. The accolade is long overdue for this outstanding coach and even better human being. Wooden and Fisher are a lot alike, my two favorite coaches. Bravo, coach!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Minstrel Boy

Hammer and sickle

Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.
Mao Zedong

It hasn't been a great couple weeks for communism. In Venezuela, President Maduro is continuing his predecessor's massive nationalism campaign, announcing plans to take over Clorox.

The Venezuelans are surviving by being on the serious dole from Beijing and have also refused to pay an estimated $3.5 billion dollars the country owes the international airlines. Inflation is at 63% in the latin american country and it looks like things are really going to hell in a hand basket.

Why would anyone want to do business with people like this? And you may want to think twice before doing business in Cuba, a country that has been arresting opposition figures and dissidents at an alarming rate.

Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicarauga's socialist rulers are, in the best authoritarian tradition, all changing the laws so that they can be perpetual Presidents for the rest of their lives.

An interesting conundrum for the Argentinians as well, a New York judge holding the country in contempt for not paying off the vulture capitalists who have plundered the country by buying their debt for pennies on the dollar. The tone of the New York judge has been rather strange, wagging his finger in the face of a sovereign country. I would tell him to piss up a rope, personally.

Still the left wing Peronistas running the country have not helped the economy which is currently in catastrophic economic free fall and there have long been serious allegations of self enrichment schemes.

Mainland China shows us that you can never trust the word of a communist regime, backtracking on explicit promises to instill one person, one vote by now requiring Hong Kong to elect candidates that have been "pre cleared" by Beijing. This thing could get very ugly very quickly.

Russia seems bent on fomenting aggression with the neighbors to the west, they are also now talking about cinching up repression and "securing" the internet. Putin is a throwback to the Stalinist type Russian boss. Absolutely ruthless. Lenin would be so proud. They just love him in Beijing.