Juvenile red tailed hawk with clean and pristine feathers

Friday, November 30, 2012


I was in a house full of clocks today. French clocks, wall clocks, vienna regulators, mantle clocks, the gamut. Pulled out a wonderful 1820 circa Silas Hoadley tall case clock from Plymouth, Connecticut. I will post pictures of the grandfather one of these days. I am starting to love that period so much. Very pure and graceful, not overly ornamented, completely American.

It is hard to think about clocks and the early 18th century frankly without thinking of my late friend Tony Duchi. Teacher, mentor, surrogate father, sailor, yachtsman, inventor, industrial designer, nautical and New England antique collector, a man that treated me better than family. Liz and Tony were the family that you would pick if you had a choice in the matter.

Tony and I were on different sides of the aisle politically yet never had a cross word. He treated me with respect and what more can you ask of a man? Tony was from New England originally or his family was, I believe Boston. We did a lot together, judged the car shows, ate and drank, laughed, cried, the whole megillah.

I wish he was here so that I could show him my new swag. He would love it. My consigliore, I miss him a lot.

Wrap it up

Deep Tar

I have always felt a bit queasy about the proposed Keystone Pipeline. I fail to see the wisdom of routing a gigantic pipeline through the Ogallala aquifer so that North American crude could be more easily transported to global markets.

People like to trumpet the need for national energy independence but research has shown that Keystone production will hardly cause a blip in our gasoline and oil costs. Of course, the unions love it as a make work project and the drillers are on board because there is a lot of money to be made. Seems like the environmental risk is a bit high for me.

In any case, the State Department has been a real cheerleader for the project since inception. The U.S. ambassador in Canada was practically on their payroll last year with  unfettered arm twisting. Read Blue Heron Blast - Keystone Kapers 12/17/11 for my early take on the pipeline.

Today I read an interesting article at The Hill, Liberals blast Susan Rice's 'outrageous' investments in Canadian pipeline firm by Julian Pecquet. Apparently the embattled United States Ambassador to the United Nations and the apparent heir for the soon to be vacant job at State has a sizable holding in TransCanada Corp, somewhere between 300k and 600k. The State Department, in a strange twist, not the EPA, is the final arbiter of this project and required to sign off on it.

OnEarth.org say the Rice family owns more than $1 million in stock in four of Canada's top oil-producing companies.

No wonder they are pushing so hard for this project. Give it a read.
Green groups are pressing the White House to require that any nominee for the position divest themselves of any stock in TransCanada or other oil sands companies.
“It's indefensible that Rice has millions of dollars invested in oil companies and banks that will make huge profits if the State Department gives approval to the XL pipeline,” reads the petition from RootsAction.org, which claims almost 200,000 members.
“As a high-ranking administration official — and a potential replacement for Hillary Clinton early next year to run the State Department — Susan Rice shouldn't have any stake in corporations that are doing all they can to plunder tar sands in Canada and send carbon emissions soaring even faster.”
Senate Republicans have had questions about Susan Rice's honesty and demeanor and now there is also uncertainty from the left. One would hope that the merits of the Keystone XL project would be judged honestly on its impact and not be approved merely as a politically expedient out for the state department or even worse, to enrich its public servants.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

White Boy Lost in the Blues

War goes on.

"If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other."

From Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961-79), 1:106. [Hamilton is quoting Blackstone’s Commentaries, bk. 1, ch. 2:] Hamilton made the argument for limiting voting rights to adult males who own property: so that voters are excluded who are dependent on the wills of others for their livelihood. You know, like women and poor people.

Mitt Romney's chief campaign strategist Stuart Stevens took to the Opinion page of the Washington Post yesterday to make a rather strange argument; that by winning a majority of votes from white and wealthy Americans, his candidate had secured some sort of pyrrhic victory. 

“On Nov. 6, Mitt Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income,” Stevens wrote. “That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters under 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift.”“The Republican Party has problems, but as we go forward, let’s remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right.” As a result, “Republican ideals — Mitt Romney — carried the day.”

Call me a fussbudget but I find such talk frankly appalling. For months Republicans have accused the Democrats of stoking the fires of class and caste divisions and now we see what they really feel, post election. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. From Limbaugh and O'Reilly laying blame for the defeat on not enough white voters coming out to now this.

Stevens is promulgating a dangerous canard that a poor and minority person's vote is not as important as those of white males. This type of thinking is both disturbing on its face and to my mind, quite anti-american. It is also a difficult argument to understand politically as half of the nation's population have a median income of 50k or less.

There have been quite a few echoes of this type of thinking going around of late. Like this teaparty website's headline "What would this country be like of only taxpayers could vote?  Restrict voting to only those that pay taxes, sounds like a great way to disenfranchise the poor and the economic underclass, who tend to have both a high minority representation and vote democrat.

I have heard versions of this theme quite often lately, quite surprising, even in our supposedly color blind, post racial society.

The theme is actually not new. Federalists and Hamiltonians argued for a country where only a patrician class would have a vote. Andrew Jackson expanded the vote so that voting rights should be extended to all white men .

By 1820, universal white male suffrage was the norm, and by 1850 nearly all requirements to own property or pay taxes had been dropped.

The Fifteenth Amendment (Amendment XV) extended the right to vote to people of color. The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" (for example, slavery). It was ratified on February 3, 1870.

The Twenty-fourth Amendment (Amendment XXIV) prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.

Poll taxes had been instituted in the south to keep blacks from voting. Such taxes had been held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1937 decision Breedlove v. Suttles. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) that poll taxes for state elections were unconstitutional because they violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
There was also a religious test. From Wiki:

In several British North American colonies, before and after the 1776 Declaration of Independence, Jews, Quakers and/or Catholics were excluded from the franchise and/or from running for elections.[11]
The Delaware Constitution of 1776 stated that "Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust, before taking his seat, or entering upon the execution of his office, shall (...) also make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: I, A B. do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.".[12] This was repealed by article I, section 2. of the 1792 Constitution: "No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, under this State.".[13] The 1778 Constitution of the State of South Carolina stated that "No person shall be eligible to sit in the house of representatives unless he be of the Protestant religion",[14] the 1777 Constitution of the State of Georgia (art. VI) that "The representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county (...) and they shall be of the Protestant religion".[15]

Women were even given the right to vote in 1920, finally ratifying an amendment drafted 41 years earlier. From Wiki:

The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920. The Constitution allows the states to determine the qualifications for voting, and until the 1910s most states disenfranchised women. The amendment was the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote. It effectively overruled Minor v. Happersett, in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply to women or give them a right to vote.

The whole pay tax to vote idea is so preposterous. Should really rich people who pay a lot of taxes get even more votes? Doesn't everybody pay sales tax? Doesn't the poor bastard who holds up the lantern on your lawn deserve to have his voice heard to, assuming that he is a citizen? Or the guy who cuts the lawn? These are the dangerous radicals, folks.

Funny, after all the protestations about wanting to be president of the 100% and not just the 47?, they lose the election and we see the true colors. We really only cared about the rich, white guys the whole time. Who knew? 

Midnight Rambler

The Rolling Stones played in London the other night to commence their 50 and counting tour. Joined by the great Mick Taylor. I was lucky enough to be at the Mick birthday show at the Garden in 1972 and saw the band several times afterwards, the Mick Taylor era was arguably the most musically satisfying, at least for me.

Here is a song from the show the other night. Taylor puts psychedelic blues back into the Stones mix. About time. Ron Wood stands around with his schmeckel in hand and Keith asks for the number of the freight train that just hit him. Stones haven't sounded this good since well, since Mick Taylor left the band.

I called Garn in New York and told him he would have to snag a ticket. I guess Wyman won't come, hates planes, but I heard on the radio that Taylor will supposedly play. He texted back that a single ticket is $750 $800 not to mention a $61 dollar service fee. I think not.

My favorite radio dj is ex stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham on Sirius's Garage #21 every morning. Bloody brilliant and ridiculously witty! Guy discovered the Small Faces too.

The Rolling Stones own website has some snarky things to say about Taylor, or at least Keith does.

Mick Taylor brought The Rolling Stones something new. Where Brian Jones and Keith Richards had jammed together, playing off the harmonies and chord structures and sharing rhythm duties as they wove a fabric for Mick Jagger’s melody to bounce off, Mick followed the singer and worked the wires to make his guitar a thing of tunes, not tones.
The sound was different. Did it work? Mick Taylor plays on the albums many Stones fans consider to be the greatest of the band’s career, with the possible exception of A Bigger Bang.

On the other hand, to quote the senior guitarist in The Rolling Stones, the originator and keeper of the band’s sound:

Mick Taylor wasn’t good for the Stones. It was a sterile period for us ’cause there were things we had to force through. Maybe it’s just me. It was a period we had to go through. Also, Mick is such a LEAD guitarist, which completely destroyed the whole concept of the Stones…”

You mean having somebody there that knew how to play guitar, Keith?

Dial a Prayer

Ralph sends this cool link over. To which gods shall I pray, sahib?
“...Stephanie,” whose real name is Reha Jain, is a Hindu woman who works at a call center in Mumbai and has prayed with “many satisfied prayer customers,” she says. “It’s like my old job at a Microsoft call center. The caller is happy if you deliver quality customer service.” Her fellow worker Rajneesh Tuwalla likewise had never heard of a single U.S. ministry, but was “sick of working at the Sprint call center,” he says. “The customers always got angry about their bill.”Tuwalla landed a job at a prayer center and learned to pray “Christian prayers” by watching Kenneth Copeland.“All the TV preachers pray good, but Copeland prays the best,” says Tuwalla, who mimics Copeland’s style on the phone with callers.Like many service reps, he uses an American name while on the job. In Copeland’s honor, Tuwalla calls himself “Ken.”

The Booster Bag Scam

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


For whom?

Bell and cross, Rubideaux, CA
I was finishing up the appraisal from hell, for an academic institution. I had tried to be the good guy and give a sweetheart price and forgot that no good deed goes unpunished. There had already been far too many changes and an interminable wait to get paid and now the deck was getting shuffled yet again and some items were now off the table and I was being required to sign an IRS affidavit.

I won't get into too many details but will tell you that the appraisal required me to take a trip into some of the funkier parts of the inland empire today. As I pulled off on my off ramp I noticed two panhandlers in the dingy dirt barrier. The man on my immediate left had deeply set eyes, eyes that long ago stopped connecting to anything that resembled what normally passes for human emotion. Tombstone eyes, as John Kay once penned in the song. He held a crude sign fashioned from a battered Corona 12 pack container. I would be lying if I said that I remembered the exact wording.

I averted my own eyes, fidgeted with my stereo and my vision ran squarely into the older woman directly in front of me who purposely held my stare. I may be mistaken but the look may have been "it could even be you standing here, buddy" and I suppose she was right. I did not avert my eyes this time, felt sorry about straits that could lead people to such a dire circumstance.

Of course there are now people standing in similar circumstances at practically every inner city offramp in the country and I am just not financially equipped to deal with the problem myself. Worrying about my own sorry ass. I quickly accelerated and left the two panhandlers to their eventual fate but the poor woman stayed on my shoulder for the better part of the day.

Jubea Chilensis Palms - White Park, Riverside
The appraisal went swimmingly, quickly finishing up all of the finalities except of course, my bill and I decided that I would antique shop the once proud city of Riverside and surroundings. In the old days Riverside was part of my regular flight plan but I hardly ever get up there anymore. Shops have vanished, pickings have got slim, gas is expensive. Ebay has cut out both the middleman and the allure. Kids today don't have much use for old stuff. What is left in the shops is now mostly garbage.

I went to eight or nine shops, almost bought a little painting of a snowy mountaintop but thought better of it. I walked up to one of the better used bookstores on the rout, a block up from the old Mission Inn. They always have a great selection of beat stuff and counterculture there, you can tell that they really love books.

The whole area around the Mission Inn is notable for its once glorious architecture and now much faded beauty. Riverside has such amazing remnants of the peak of both mission, spanish and spanish revival architecture. If I had been just a little bit more gung ho I would have spent the day shooting old buildings but I just didn't have it in me. It is shocking to me that an area that was once so beautiful was now so battered and worn.

I mostly watched people. I traveled south to a slightly seedier area. A young and quite tough looking couple walked by, both pierced and unwashed, he heavily tatted, with a very large pit bull in tow. Pit bulls are the dogs of choice in these kind of neighborhoods, the state over. Project the ultimate "don't fuck with me vibe" in an environment where you might not survive if you show weakness.

I passed Goodwills and pawn shops, a section of town where the hope is getting by, maybe another day. Termites sorting through the piles to find anything of value to buy or sell to feed the family hive. Not much different than what I do frankly. Area didn't look too much different from downtown Bakersfield actually, or take your pick of a large handful of other inland and central valley cities.

It is hard not to surmise that many of the trolls, billy goats and assorted characters that you find in neighborhoods like these and in encampments across America have been damaged beyond repair. I assume much of it is self inflicted.

The reality is that it wouldn't take much of a left turn for most of us to be knocked off our perch. Certainly could be me. People have been there to support me at critical times in my life. What if they hadn't been?

In search of a wayward shop, I found myself in a pirouette around an old donut shop that caused me to take a left turn off the main drag and into a low income neighborhood of tall white metal fences that seemed to be overwhelmingly black and mexican. Decent, hard working people by the looks of it but also very wary. I got lots of looks and saw a bunch of beware of dog signs. People in their driveways, eyes and ears at attention, very sensitive to any tremors in the force or temperature.

I have been had a penchant for walking and driving into poor and slum neighborhoods since I was a kid. Got fleeced for a camera while taking pictures in alphabet city when I was no older than 12. Used to love Harlem and Spanish Harlem.

It may just be a personal peccadillo of mine but I think that one can take a measure of him or herself when confronted with an awareness of what it looks like closer to the human edge and bottom. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are, how good we got it and watching the people who have to live it every day gives us a little reality check.

I passed the beautiful White Park and noticed the two beautiful specimens of my favorite palm tree, Jubea Chilensis, that had somehow eluded me all these years, right behind the gate.

Stopped off at Miguels Jr. on the way home. Famished, I hadn't eaten all day. A couple was caring for an autistic kid who was wildly flapping his arms in the air and mouthing unintelligible phrases. I realized that my problems were in fact minimal, imagined the burden that some people face every day.

Hit Granny's Antiques in Temecula, nothing there either except jelly beans, a strike out day. Drove back to deposit a check in the bank at the ATM. Found a whole bunch of money gone from my account, the modern day freakout nightmare. After a half hour inside trying to figure it all out I see that the check to me for the biggest sale from Del Mar has bounced. A 10k swing since I already paid the consignor. Mr. Bad Pay's out of the country and can't be reached. Looks like I will be faced with my own challenges this month. Shit Creek, the most prominent waterway on the whole fucking planet.

Never that far from the edge.

Moon almost full 11/27

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Morning Glory Pool

Downpressor Man

Blue Heron Gallery 20th Anniversary Sale

I sent this out to my client list and might as well post it here. Brought a lovely oak mantle in today and bringing in a wonderful period Massachusetts tall case clock from Plymouth next week. Stop by some weekend.

I want to invite everybody back to the Blue Heron Gallery. After a few months of being on the road my plan is to be open every weekend December 1st through the holidays, 12 to 5. I have a huge selection of paintings, antiques, prints and silver, one of the best selections of vintage San Diego area paintings anywhere. Many fresh items that want to come home with you in the worst way.

If there is anything that you have had your eye on, I will give you both the best price possible and as always, easy terms if necessary. I am also working on a new website and look forward to sending you a link when it is completed. I have only survived for the last twenty years because of my loyal customers and I want you all to know that I appreciate every one of you from the bottom of my slightly enlarged heart.

If you plan on coming up and need to call first, my cell phone is 760-xxx-0595.

Hope to see you soon!

Robert Sommers

Blue Heron Gallery
113 N. Main Ave.
Fallbrook, CA 92028


On sunday, Leslie, the accent and I cruised down to Jasmine for dim sum. There was no pause, as soon as we sat down in the large crimson room, carts started flying by and we commenced gorging like an angry locust swarm.

Barbecued pork made way for roasted duck, salted prawns, chi sau buns, spare ribs. lotus wrapped rice, shumai, it just went on and on. We fell back in our chairs, fat tummies near bursting, talking about our inability to consume a single other bite and then lo and behold another cart would roll by and we would have another go at the old feedbag.

Not exactly proud but we destroyed the place. Think we set a personal record for consumption. Felt embarrassed for the pikers next door, daintily sampling, couldn't even begin to hang with the pros.

On the way down we passed this car and the accent cracked up, spotting the new post election bumper sticker.

Powerball is up to a gazillion million. Well, really $500,000,000 at the time I write this post.

Unfortunately the game is sold in 42 states and California is not one of them so I will not be the next happy winner.

If I won I would immediately change my phone number, give each and every family member a one time stipend and then disappear into the cosmos, probably find a smallish latin american municipality that I could buy and whose people would lovingly call me king. Nothing too elaborate, maybe get carried around in a macaw feather encrusted rickshaw by a select group of luscious amazonian bodyguards adept at the finer arts of grape peeling for their beloved despot.

The odds of winning powerball are now smaller than the odds of getting hit by lightning on the way to buy the ticket, a cool 175 million to 1. So I think if not for the geographic problem, I stood a fairly good chance of winning.

Went to a soft opening/tasting at the new incarnation of Le Bistro in Fallbrook last night. Six or seven couples got to try the new appetizers, entrees and beverages gratis and give the new owners our critical feedback.

While it was not perfect, it was pretty darn good and I think with a little tinkering and time they will be able to pull it off and make it a first class dining destination. My hat is off to Colleen and Steve Aichle, who get serious points for trying to save and resurrect this long time Fallbrook landmark. Will let you know when they go into full swing. Hoping that they will serve brunch.

 I had to excise the Robert Sommers is Arafat's love child missive that I received unsolicited from points east. It was pissing a few people off and some even thought that I wrote it, spelling errors and all. Please...

Basketball fans who are watching the mighty and 25th ranked San Diego State Aztecs basketball team play the 13th ranked UCLA Bruins this Saturday at the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim will want to keep their eyes peeled for yours truly, who was just turned on to a ticket for the game.

In the old days the Bruins might have provided the Aztecs with a bit of competition but I fear that they will get mowed down this weekend, like their Pac 10 pals the Trojans did the other day. Jamaal Franklin and the Aztecs are for real.

Man Faces Death Threats and Jail for Pointing Out That Weeping Jesus "Miracle" Is Just Faulty Plumbing

"When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage."

When Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as a clogged storm drain, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland. Sanal has spurned an offer from a senior Indian Catholic bishop to apologise for the exposure of the "miracle". The Catholic archbishop of Bombay, Oswald, Cardinal Gracias, has said that if I apologise for the 'offence' I have caused he will see to it that the charges are dropped. This shows that he has influence in the situation but he will not use it unless I apologize which I will not do as I have done nothing wrong," he said.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I spoke not a word though it meant my life...


As an antediluvian cave dweller, on some issues I am strictly old school. Take peanut butter. Call me a trog but when I eat peanut butter, it has to be Skippy super chunky. I hate Jiff, Peter Pan, any pretenders to the Skippy throne.

And worst of all of course, is the organic peanut butter. The tasteless stuff with two inches of oil at the top of the jar that you have to stir forever and it still tastes awful. And maybe deadly too.

News today that the Sunland Inc., the New Mexico company that makes organic peanut butter for Trader Joe's, has been shut down by the gubmint. 41 people in 20 states have been stricken with salmonella after consuming their products.

Time to come back to Skippy, people.
Sunland Inc. is the nation's largest organic peanut butter processor, though it also produces many non-organic products. The company recalled hundreds of organic and non-organic nuts and nut butters manufactured since 2010 after Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter was linked to the salmonella illnesses in September.
In addition to Trader Joe's, Sunland sold hundreds of different peanut products to many of the nation's other large grocery chains, including Whole Foods, Safeway, Target and others.
In a monthlong investigation in September and October, after the outbreak linked to processor Sunland and to Trader Joe's, FDA inspectors found samples of salmonella in 28 different locations in the plant, in 13 nut butter samples and in one sample of raw peanuts.
The agency also found improper handling of the products, unclean equipment and uncovered trailers of peanuts outside the facility that were exposed to rain and birds.
The FDA said that over the past three years, the company shipped products even though portions of their lots, or daily production runs, tested positive for salmonella in internal tests. The agency also found that the internal tests failed to find salmonella when it was present.

Getty window #2

Once Upon A Time In The West

Twenty cent bullet

Homicide victim Deborah Ross
Nathan Burris was pissed. His girlfriend, a Richmond Bridge tollbooth attendant named Deborah Ross, had broken off their relationship and started dating a bus driver, Ersie Everett. So he showed up one rush hour at her toll booth and killed Everett as he sat in his truck and then turned his gun on Ross, killing her as well. Nathan was obviously very angry.

He told the jurors to hurry up with their deliberation and do what they had to do so that he could get back to watching Monday Night Football.

After finding him guilty, he turned to one of his victim’s families and said laughingly, “I blew your brother’s brains out. Nothing you can do about it. Ha. Ha.”

Homicide victim Ersie Everett
The jury in Burris's case could have given him a life sentence without possibility of parole. They didn't. They gave him the death penalty. And I agree. Would even offer to pull the switch.

It goes against the grain of my anti capital punishment liberal brethren when I advocate for the death penalty. I understand that there is a disproportionate sentencing that tends to execute minorities. I know that with DNA testing the Innocence Project has cleared a lot of people on Death Row who have been wrongly charged. It is an imperfect system and needs to be streamlined, improved and where applicable, corroborated with mandatory DNA testing.

Knowing that, I still think that the Nathan Burris's of this world do not deserve to share our planet's oxygen with the rest of us. I don't want him walking back to his cell so that he can watch Monday Night Football. He simply deserves to die. There are too many murderers walking around cell blocks with smiles on their faces. Their victims don't get the luxury of worrying about insanity, or bad childhood or parenting or anger issues. They are simply dead.

It bothers liberals to think that some people are beyond redemption. Unfortunately there are a lot of Nathan Burris's out there. Unrepentant killers and baby killers. Working a system, then out after a too short stretch to prey and kill again.

I was glad to see the Supreme Court disallow an insanity defense case in Idaho today (12/26/12).

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to evaluate a modification Idaho adopted for criminal defendants who claim insanity to avoid the death penalty.    The three-page dissent notes that Idaho is one of several states to have modified the traditional insanity defense, which holds "that criminal punishment is not appropriate for those who, by reason of insanity, cannot tell right from wrong."
"Indeed, Idaho provides that 'mental condition shall not be a defense to any charge of criminal conduct,'" Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
He added: "the difference between the traditional insanity defense and Idaho's standard is that the latter permits the conviction of an individual who knew what he was doing, but had no capac­ity to understand that it was wrong." (Emphasis in original.)
Breyer's dissent was sparked by the court's refusal to entertain the petition for certiorari submitted by Idaho prisoner John Delling, who said that Idaho's modification of the insanity defense conflicts with the due pro­cess clause of the 14th Amendment.
Quoting briefs submitted to the court by amici curaie, or friends of the court, Breyer said that "the American Psychiatric Association tells us that 'severe mental illness can seriously impair a sufferer's ability rationally to appreciate the wrongfulness of con­duct.'"
"And other amici tell us that those seri­ously mentally ill individuals often possess the kind of mental disease that ... [in which] they know that the victim is a human being, but due to mental illness, such as a paranoid delusion, they wrongly believe the act is justified," he added. 
Why do I hate the insanity defense? Because the way it works, they send the murderous perp to a nuthouse. When an equally nutty psychiatrist declares that they are now sane and cleared, the state has no option but to release them and unfortunately, the cycle usually just starts again. It is a sad fact of life. Some people are nuts. And when they exhibit sadistic and evil behavior and take other people's lives, they forfeit the right to their own.

They just gave a guy named Stutzman 417 years in prison for a local rape. He had already done a ten year stretch for rape and just couldn't get it out of his system. He blamed the victim, who testified that he held a knife to her throat like the earlier rapes, he says it was all consensual.

I don't want to pay for 417 years of incarceration for this sicko. I say fry him and better luck next incarnation, Stutzman. Some guys just can't be fixed.

Death row inmate Ronald Post, an Ohio inmate who weighs more than 400 pounds, is asking the courts to stop his January execution on the grounds his weight could cause him to suffer severe pain during the procedure. Anybody crying for him? Buy him a week of Jenny Craig and then flambe his corpulent ass. Post toasties.

Post, 53, was sentenced to die for the 1983 shooting death of hotel desk clerk Helen Vantz in Elyria. His execution is scheduled for Jan. 16.

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik is  complaining that conditions in his three bedroom suite are intolerable.  Breivik has been given a box to store his designer sweaters after he complained to prison chiefs that his human rights were being derived. The neo-Nazi, who slaughtered 77 people in a shooting spree in Norway last year, claimed that the Lacoste jumpers he wore at his trial were losing their shape because he had nowhere to keep them in his cell.

According to the Mirror, Breivik, 33, will also be given a CD player and have a bookshelf installed in his maximum security cell. His lawyer, Tord Jordet, called the isolation and ‘deprivation’ of recreational and social activities inhumane and said that his client's freedom of speech is being violated. Being deprived of this freedom of expression breaches the constitution and human rights.'

His victims, now dead, have no voice or advocate to complain about their loss of human rights.

And of course there is the matter of Breivik's pen:
In his letter to prison officials Breivik protested that the censorship of his letters was so strict that his freedom of expression was being impinged upon, Jordet said.
Norwegian tabloid VG, which said it had acquired a copy of the letter, quoted Breivik as saying he was allowed to use only a soft and bendable safety pen described by its manufacturer as "stab-resistant" because it yields at the slightest pressure and cannot be used as a weapon. Breivik was seen making avid notes with it during his 10-week trial at the Oslo District Court that ended in August.
He has said he wants to write books in prison, but claims the special pen cramps his hand, describing it as "an almost indescribable manifestation of sadism," VG reported.
Prison officials would not comment on the letter as they were still considering the complaint. 
Justice Brennan started the liberal bleating in his 1976 dissent Gregg v. Georgia."Death is... an unusually severe punishment, unusual in its pain, in its finality, and in its enormity... The fatal constitutional infirmity in the punishment of death is that it treats 'members of the human race as nonhumans, as objects to be toyed with and discarded. [It is] thus inconsistent with the fundamental premise of the Clause that even the vilest criminal remains a human being possessed of common human dignity.' [quoting himself from Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238, 257 (1972)]

Sorry Justice Brennan, some people's actions are so heinous and vile that they no longer qualify for "human" status. Incarcerate them at your pad for a while. Maybe they can babysit the grandkids.

I like Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on the subject; Fair trial on Sunday, hang them on Monday. All this talk about the millions of dollars spent keeping prisoners on death row seems so misplaced. Twenty cent bullet. A.M.F.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nuclear Time Lapse Music

A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 - by Isao Hashimoto


We can't go into this December without talking a little bit about the late Terence McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000.) McKenna was a writer and an explorer of inner space, a self termed "psychonaut." The one time hash smuggler and Berkeley grad did a lot of psychedelic experimenting in the sixties and seventies. Never touched the stuff myself but I did read the book several times.

Not the first guy to go off on a bender and then start to believe his own shtick. Or did he? McKenna laid out the i ching in a novel way, fed it into a computer and claimed that cataclysmic world events could be divined through the charted peaks and valleys.

Throw in a little mayan calendar and a bit of apocalyptic mishigoss and you get the December 21, 2012 end times scenario. My memory isn't that good but didn't we go through this with Kohoutek? Or Robert Anton Wilson's 23 conspiracy?

McKenna was a psychedelic fakir, much more reasoned than predecessor Leary, a bit of snake oil to be sure but also very intelligent and willing to test his vision on the holy alembic of the moment. How many grand visions can stand the test of a morning sunrise?

The Maya recorded time in a series of cycles, comprised of  400-year chunks called baktuns. On Dec. 21, 2012  a cycle of 13 baktuns will be complete. But there are four baktuns left in the larger cycle and many larger cycles left ahead. Then again who should a person believe, Terence McKenna or a bunch of old indians?

From Wikipedia:

In 1969, McKenna traveled to Nepal led by his "interest in Tibetan painting and hallucinogenic shamanism."[6] During his time there, he studied the Tibetan language and worked as a hashish smuggler, until "one of his Bombay-to-Aspen shipments fell into the hands of U. S. Customs." He was forced to move to avoid capture by Interpol.[6] He wandered through Southeast Asia viewing ruins, collected butterflies in Indonesia, and worked as an English teacher in Tokyo. He then went back to Berkeley to continue studying biology, which he called "his first love".[6]
After the partial completion of his studies, and his mother's death from cancer in 1971,[7] McKenna, his brother Dennis, and three friends traveled to the Colombian Amazon in search of oo-koo-hé, a plant preparation containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Instead of oo-koo-hé they found various forms of ayahuasca, or yagé, and gigantic Psilocybe cubensis which became the new focus of the expedition.[6] In La Chorrera, at the urging of his brother, he was the subject of a psychedelic experiment which he claimed put him in contact with "Logos": an informative, divine voice he believed was universal to visionary religious experience.[6] The voice's reputed revelations and his brother's simultaneous peculiar experience prompted him to explore the structure of an early form of the I Ching, which led to his "Novelty Theory".[6] During their stay in the Amazon, McKenna also became romantically involved with his interpreter, Ev.[6]
In 1972, McKenna returned to Berkeley to finish his studies.[4] There he decided to switch majors to a Bachelor of Science in ecology and conservation, in a then new experimental section of the same university called the Tussman Experimental College.[1] During his studies, he would also develop techniques for cultivating psilocybin mushrooms with Dennis.[6]

I was first introduced to him while reading his mushroom cultivation book, written under the pseudonym Oss and Oeric if I remember correctly. Later I read his other books and listened to his Lux Natura lectures. He was definitely brilliant and doomsday ramblings aside, worth checking out.

Jerry Garcia was a proponent of McKenna and his theories. I know this because Jerry told me himself, once, in a rather involved conversation in 1991. He also discussed McKenna in a Rolling Stone interview. I called him the apostle of dope and Jerry said that was why he liked the guy.

Anyway McKenna is the guy most responsible for this 2012 Mayan business. Have serious reservations about the veracity of information gleamed from DMT experiments or anybody who claims to have seen the grand intelligence behind the curtain. But hey, maybe he was on to something, we will have to wait and see. Religions have been started with less and McKenna was nothing if not intelligent. I think that he may have backed off on the exact date at some point. Throw the old sugar cube at the wall and see what sticks.

The Novelty theory is interesting. McKenna postulated that the events of any given time are recursively related to the events of other times. 'Novelty' proceeds in a periodic cycle, with a time period of 67.29 years.

He was certainly not the first or the only man forecasting a Mayan end time. I don't think he really believed it either, but that doesn't mean he isn't an interesting read if you feel like stretching your noggin. I personally think that we will awake on December 22 to a beautiful sunrise.

We'll see.

 6 billion people standing on each other's shoulders trying to kick each other's teeth in...


Pillar of Defense

“The resistance groups have achieved a historic victory and paved the way for the battle of liberating Palestine." Hamas official Ahmed Bahr

“The occupation and its army were forced to accept our conditions for a cease-fire,” said Abu Ataya, spokesman for the PRC. “This is a great victory.”Ataya said that the Palestinian armed groups have taught Israel “a lesson that it would not forget for a long time.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised what he called Palestinian "resistance and perseverance" against Israel, which he said must now "bow" to Palestinian rights, IRNA news agency reported.

Anyone who thought that Israel's cessation of its Pillar of Defense operation in Gaza and the resultant ceasefire would lead to a beating of swords into plough shares will be disappointed. Israel seemed to have gotten the upper hand in this one, assassinating a top Hamas leader, re stabilizing relations with Egypt and pulling the fangs of an entity that was lobbing hundreds of missiles into the south on a daily basis.

The whole thing started when Hamas shot an anti tank weapon at an Israeli jeep, wounding four soldiers. Israel said enough is enough and took out Hamas Chief of Staff Jabari, hundreds of strategic missile locations and successfully tested its Iron Dome missile system. They were poised to start a ground invasion but in the final analysis it proved unnecessary.

167 Gazans were killed in the conflict by the Israelis and eight by Hamas, who labeled them spies and collaborators. Wiki has a pretty comprehensive and even handed breakdown of the conflict.

Hamas of course calls the whole thing a major victory, the martyrs blood bringing them closer to the eventual liberation of Palestine. Mashaal is calling for a return to pre 1967 borders, something that will never happen. Hamas shot a missile at Tel Aviv, and even at Jerusalem, an event that has heretofore never happened, being a holy city to three faiths. Wouldn't that be something, if they hit the Dome of the Rock with their own missile? Anyway we now have a cease fire, and I would like to put money up with anybody who thinks that it will hold and is not merely a prelude to greater conflict.

Hamas refuses to stop arming itself with Iranian missiles and is in no way talking peace. Israel finds itself negotiating with a partner that has vowed to drive them into extinction and a proxy for an Iranian power on the verge of some very sophisticated weaponry.

Hamas is beating their collective chests proclaiming their "victory", an allowance by the Israelis to enter a three hundred yard buffer zone. Their ability to hit and kill the occupier ( the Israelis lost three citizens to missile attacks) is an immense point of pride.

Is there any way that the Israelis can negotiate with these people and forge a deal that does not in reality amount to national suicide?

The one thing I get from all this is a sense of hate. A deep palpable hate felt by people on both sides, like the nastiest divorce you have ever seen. They just want to inflict pain on each other at this time, even if it means absorbing nasty blows. And Hamas has now seen that violence does pay off, marginalizing the more moderate Palestinian Authority and showing the Palestinian people that armed resistance pays tangible benefits.

Israel is already seen as an oppressive pariah in the majority of the world, propped up militarily by Uncle Sam and acting like a goliath to the Palestinian's outgunned David. An escalation of force and pressure on the Israelis by Iran, Hezbollah and its proxies will make prospects for peace unlikely and prospects for full scale conflict and mutually assured destruction for all parties concerned seemingly inevitable.

Richie Barrett

Words Of Love

An odd encounter

racist cartoon from anti semitic website
I think that at some point in my life I have probably told a joke or made a comment or reference that is a slight to each and every particular ethnic group, the list is long but here's a start; Dagos, sheenies, shvuggies, spics, gooks, beaners, wops, kikes, mackerel slammers, wasps, spearchucking maumau's, heebs, well you get the idea.

We are a melting pot and we like to goof on each other in this country, coming more from a place of frat house bullshitting than any real racial animus. Of course there is a backdrop of real racism as well but I think most people find it repugnant.

Anybody that has never made a racially negative comment needs to raise their hand and then we can all call you a liar together.

Anyhow this preamble is actually leading to something, an experience I had earlier this week that caused me to pause.

One of my friendly acquaintances works in law enforcement. Earlier this week he captured the daughter of a major Mexican drug lord. He was telling us about some of the ins and outs of the arrest at coffee the other morning. The girl, her sister and the driver bodyguard was apprehended. He figured at least six support vehicles got away.

He is telling me about this and I wasn't ready for the next statement.

"They had their jew lawyer down from Los Angeles in two hours. Guy's nose was so big I was surprised he didn't fall over and hit the ground."

Now I really didn't know how to react to this. I was tempted to ask if the jew lawyer's nose was as big as mine was but I instead chose not to say anything. What can you say? He obviously didn't know my tribal affiliation or didn't care. I don't dislike the guy, almost felt glad that he felt comfortable enough to spill like that but it was still strange.

Saw him the next day and everything seemed real copacetic. I can't get up in arms, I have said some pretty vulgar things about people in my life and don't want to be a hypocrite. Probably have enough karma stored up just from my comments about oriental drivers. Better people come right and say this stuff then say it behind your back, I suppose.


Would you like to make a small contribution so that thai and burmese refugee kids can enjoy a circus? A friend sends this link to the Spark! Circus.

"Spark! is an international volunteer circus organization that teaches playshops, performs spectacular fire shows, and donates toys, tools and art supplies to disadvantaged children along the Northern Thai-Burmese border. Our amazing team of twenty volunteers gives over 6 weeks of our time to bring play, creativity and laughter; reaching over 4,000 refugee and migrant children each year.  We are going from January 5 to February 22nd, 2013.

Spark! Circus has done this for the last 7 years. We pay our own way. We pay our own food and accommodation. Each of us raises funds in our own communities to donate to project costs. We work hard, travel on local buses and sometimes sleep rough. We volunteer to perform for and teach children who have nothing, not even identity papers..."

Spark needs to raise ten grand so that these children, many suffering from post traumatic stress can break out of difficult conditions and laugh and have a good time. No donation is insignificant, no matter the amount.

Show your thanks for the bounty that you have received by helping these kids have a good time.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bad Shape

Got me a date with Botticelli's niece.

I guess that I had owned the lamp for a couple years. I had seen it pictured in a book, purple frosted glass and lovebirds, figured it was one of those Consolidated or Phoenix Lalique copies of the 1930's. Very nice and feminine, I never did display it right or put the correct shade on it.

About two months ago I saw that Wanda, the glass lady from Arizona, had the red version in her booth and it was marked Lalique. Glass looked pretty much identical. I made a mental footnote to myself, finally unscrewing the thing a few weeks ago but not finding a mark of either or any kind.

It has been a maelstrom in here and I have been struggling to find a way out of my self created chaos. Moving a painting yesterday, my right toe caught a loop in the cord and sent the expensive glass vase hurtling through the air and crashing to the floor in many fat, sharp pieces. I resisted the urge to look for a mark in the shards.

As if this wasn't enough, today brought the final indignity, as I grabbed the trashcan with said bits of now worthless frosted glass, a small piece reached out and bit my thumb, not one of those gentle nibbles where the blood takes seconds to rise to the level of skin, but the instant gush that sent me quickly to the faucet and a generous wrap of paper towels. Avenging some forgotten sin, the lamp replied that revenge was surely a dish best served cold. Nursed a tyrosine post thanksgiving headache all night as well, one of those days maybe I should have stayed in bed.

The morning was a parade of friends, associates and remoras, and all of my plans for the day lay quickly in the dust by midmorning. I tried to vacuum but sucked up a screw or two and burned out the belt and maybe motor. Whole place has a dreadful stench.

There were several tasks that rose to the level of triage. My first task was to pay the poor lady with husband and brother both wracked by dementia. I had taken some consignments from her and sold them this weekend. It was her birthday today and the pressure of life has lain hard on her of late. She needed cheering up.

I came through at the perfect time. When I left she gave me a small locket as a gift. I told her to save it and give it to somebody she loves and she said, I just did.  I said that the sky doesn't have to be always falling and her husband rose out of his dementia and laughed with us, perfectly lucid for one perfect moment. In the final analysis people sometimes make it worth the effort.

After M I took my first ride over to J's new pad, a granny flat located high on a hill. J is the friend who blacked out on his motorcycle and hit the wall. His wife evidently saw the writing on the wall, literally, and split while he was in the hospital. Not her fault, he was always hurting something, wouldn't go to church, she's been planning on leaving anyway. Of course I never judge.

Another buddy of mine had a house and a marriage in a tony beach community of San Diego for many years. Wife found a new Daddy Warbucks, whose own wife had sclerosis and moved into the guest house and filed for divorce. Friend found a wonderful girl who moved in with him. Wife is now getting weird, woman in her space, strangled by her own perfidy. I told my pal that the best revenge is having her see a woman treat him the way he deserved to be treated all these years, respectfully, right in front of her. Final icing on the cake. Old sugar daddy's wife has a mysterious recovery and girlfriend is jettisoned into the wilderness herself. Karma is a beautiful thing indeed.

Anyway I visited my friend today who was in the accident, almost losing his leg, sporting all these screws and plates on his lower extremity now. As I moved a shade too quickly for the dog's liking in the living room, I felt the small clamp like pincers bite down on the top and bottom of my left foot. The kind of day that I should have just stayed in bed. I forgot how hard little dogs bite. Pain keeps my mind off my thumb.

Cops arrested the new bartender at MaGee's Tavern the other day, stole a thousand dollars worth of a newlywed's gift cards from the office. Caught her on video buying paint on Home Depot. Why do we have such a stupid class of criminals these days?

New owners are going to give Le Bistro a go. I have been invited to a soft opening but have been told to be on my best behavior. I asked the host to put me next to a conservative evangelical. Just to be sure that we had something to talk about.

Cheers. Hope thanksgiving was great for you. The light dims, the suicide/holiday/solstice season starts, converging on Terrence McKenna's psilocybin inspired planetary death and resultant psychic lift off on the 21st and the swami says that you kids better fasten your seatbelts for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. About time the whole lot woke up from this strange nap we are having. Think anybody's steering?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Quarter chicken dark

Listen to Yo Yo play on the last cut, here and heaven. I wish that I had kept up with the cello, baseball was more important to me at the time. Also wish I had taken piano lessons.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Funky Kingston

Cecil Gant

My friend Gary gave me this old photo the other day, knowing how much I love the blues. The words Cecil Gant are written under the 30's era photograph in pencil.

I wasn't familiar with Gant but now know that he was a piano player. Could this be him as well? With the guitar? A mystery. Any blues aficionados out there that can set me straight?

Hear that train a comin'

After two months of vacations, multiple shows and general neglect, my shop looks like a post nuclear dump. What else is new, you say? The shop that now, to the consternation of some of my better clients, is only open by appointment anyway?

Paintings are stacked in every corner, the bathroom needs a  hazardous waste unit and corridors have been shrunken so that navigation must be sometimes maintained by doing a sideways crab motion version of the hully gully.

The Blue Heron Gallery is known far and wide for its vaunted friday night parties, a curious mix of sterling and lace elegance coupled with Boone's farm style barnyard debauchery. I am afraid that they will be on hiatus for a while as there is simply too much inventory to make things work. Will let you know if I ever manage to narrow down the herd.

All of this work really interferes with my writing, both in terms of finding my voice and in its quality. I end up coming up for a short breath and then lumping everything together in a general mixed grill of non sequiturs that leave neither author or reader ultimately satisfied. But as I said in my last post, what do you want for the price? Sometimes it has to be enough to just cover .

I have been experiencing a minor epiphany of sorts, triggered by an event in San Francisco. I was having drinks in an italian restaurant with friend Dan and he said, "Robert, do you think you could say hello to my assistant Diana when you come up to the booth?" I was chagrined. First of all, I really like Diana and hadn't realized that I had been neglecting the basic human courtesies and pleasantries. I get so focussed on the deal and maybe I lose a little bit of manners on occasion.

I felt terrible and went out of my way to small talk the next day. Because a person is always the last to know. To see themselves as you are viewed by others. I thought about all the bit players in my life's movie that maybe I had given short shrift to in my evident haste.

The next day I was at the deli across the way I asked a girl, a girl who had been serving me for a freaking year at least, what her name was? She laughed at me after she gave me her name, said she had only been taking my order,  like forever. I had compartmentalized her, made judgements about her persona that turned out to be totally inaccurate upon closer inspection, and ultimately reinforced my far afield misperception, which had no bearing in reality.

It is well known among my confidantes that I give terrible phone, often hanging up mid sentence when I have judged that all relevant information has been exchanged.

I have a friend who criticizes me a lot. Hypercritical. I was thinking about cutting the friend out of the herd, or at least having a serious heart to heart about the constant complaining. I heard from a mutual friend the other day who was telling me about recently meeting this person, how much this person openly admits to loving me and realized that I could never cast this person away. Friends are supposed to put up with each other's shit. It's part of the deal.

I was very angry with a friend who broached an agreement with me last week. Snitty angry. And then the friend saved my ass, finding something that I had mistakenly left behind at a show, a consignment that would have cost a grand to replace. Almost told him off and then he goes and saves my ass...

Coming to grips and taking inventory of these deficiencies at my advanced age, I have been making an attempt to not be such an asshole in the last several weeks. Let me know how I'm doing.

I have been on this age kick since I recently reached the 55 mark. The coffee shop breaks down on loose age lines. There is a middle age table and then you get shipped off to the older guys table.

After that you have a choice in Fallbrook of the Burger King, Denny's or Donut shop. One of the older guys asked me when I was going to grow up recently. A fair question. I never had to mature, not having progeny I needed to set any good example for.

Never had to do the pampers, bible study, cul de sac living, orthodonture, none of the other joys of parenthood.  Cultivated a cadre of similar non breeders. And left myself in a state of emotional retardation that keeps me flying around the warm stage lights - think Cathy Rigby doing Peter Pan. My immaturity is an immense source of pride.

Not really feeling like an adult yet, at a time when many of my peers are sporting grandchildren puts me in an interesting quandary. I had another profound moment at the show this weekend. An older couple walked into the booth looking at a particular painting. I mentioned that the canvas was created in 1958 and the guy brightened up. "Great year! I was born in 1958." My jaw fell and I winced. You mean to tell me that this old fossil is a year younger than I am? I was crestfallen. There was no way that I looked that old. Do I? My god, that guy looked old.

I have been taking a lot of shit from Arizona of late. KJ told me yesterday that the blog has been just okay... So sorry to disappoint. Fresh out of profundity, trying to survive. Maybe I'm just not that good.

National Fascist Headquarters - Italy 1934
Read Walter E. Williams over at Townhall, making his pitch against democracy and majority rule.
Let's not think so much about the election's outcome but instead ask: What's so good about democracy and majority rule?Democracy and majority rule give an aura of legitimacy and decency to acts that would otherwise be deemed tyranny...
The founders of our nation held a deep abhorrence for democracy and majority rule. The word democracy appears in neither of our founding documents: our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wrote, "Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority."
John Adams predicted, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
Is this how the insurrection starts? Or is it the fourth reich?


We went to see Toots Hibbert and the Maytals at the Belly Up last night. Met D and N there. Simply amazing. Acoustic with his old band and great back up singers. Anders Osborne guesting on rhythm. Toots is like Willie Nelson, pure whisky and honey. The show started off nice and slow and then went ballistic with a firey Funky Kingston and 54 - 46 is my number. Even did the wonderful John Denver song Country Roads, Denver being an old friend of his. One more show on the tour and they go back to Jamaica. If you get a chance to see them one day, please take it. D shot the pic and video on his cell phone and sends it along.

Maytals music is a powerful message of love and we left feeling both blessed and invigorated. Toots shook our hands and blew Leslie a kiss.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Far Side

© Gary Larson

Long time gone

Stop children, what's that sound?

It is hard not to be deeply conflicted regarding the goings on in Gaza. Hamas, which has always called for the total liberation of Palestine and the right of armed resistance, launches hundreds of missiles at Israel. Israel decides it has had enough and not only assassinates their military leadership, but also initiates strikes that kill large numbers of civilians. They threaten a ground war to finish the job.

Now Hamas is daring Israel to launch an invasion.

Both sides deserve ample blame. Hamas is behaving like a child that kills their parents and then cries about being an orphan. They want the right to resist but not to pay the eventual bill.

Israel, or at least some Israelis, have ceased to see the jailed as human beings. Like old testament warriors of yore, they want to smite the infidel. Perhaps some feel that they have a biblical mandate, I don't know, not being a particularly religious person.

Ariel Sharon's son Gilad wants to flatten Gaza.
We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.
Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.
If the government isn’t prepared to go all the way on this, it will mean reoccupying the entire Gaza Strip. Not a few neighborhoods in the suburbs, as with Cast Lead, but the entire Strip, like in Defensive Shield, so that rockets can no longer be fired.
There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip. Otherwise there will be no decisive victory. And we’re running out of time – we must achieve victory quickly. The Netanyahu government is on a short international leash. Soon the pressure will start – and a million civilians can’t live under fire for long. This needs to end quickly – with a bang, not a whimper.
I think that this type of thinking is very shortsighted. While the Palestinians can be rightly blamed for snatching defeat away from victory many times, the longer Likud chips away at a deserved contiguous national homeland for the Palestinians the longer both parties existence will teeter on such a precarious cliff.

The Palestinians will get nothing from provoking Israel with constant missile barrages and the Israelis are deluding themselves if they think that the status quo, jailer relationship in the occupied territories is in any way sustainable. I hope that we will see fresh thinking from both sides before the whole region turns into a denuded wasteland. Everybody will soon have the nasty weapons. Make a deal.

Washington Post writer David Ignatius was on the radio today discussing Israel. Yesterday on Face the Nation yesterday he talked about his surmise that the Gaza incursion is a way for Israel to test the Iron Dome missile system prior to a strike on the real target, Iran. Whole thing has been well calculated in his opinion. Very interesting. Expose and pull the fangs of the snake to the south before you take on the more dangerous adder to the northeast.

*Stratfor Global Intelligence Israeli analysis.