Saturday, August 31, 2013

Justice -- Building A Better Future

There is no term more perverted in recent history than the thing called "Justice."

Throughout the many wars of aggression perpetrated after 9/11, one term has constantly stood out:

"Bring 'em to justice."
What that's meant is death and destruction on the ground and from above, kidnapping, torture, gulags, and worse.

Justice? There's no hint of justice in these actions, in fact just the opposite. But then, these actions mirror so much of what is purported to be 'justice' in the civilian world, where millions are held in custody, tens of thousands in solitary confinement, where torture and brutality are routine, where the concept of a fair trial was long ago subverted, where everyone is subject to constant and often invasive surveillance and whole communities are routinely subject to terror campaigns by police. Where the High and the Mighty get away with just about anything, whereas the lowly Rabble is constantly -- and literally -- under the gun.


What a sad, sick joke.

Along with Dignity, Justice is the most frequently heard call of rebels and revolutionaries at home and abroad.


What would it mean if we were to build a better future?

The Red Flag In Kerry's Speech

As performance art, SoS John Kerry did a remarkable job yesterday laying out the government's "case against Syria." Just so, and in much the same way, David Cameron and the rest of the British government laid out their "case against Syria" before Parliament earlier.

Of course we're told that "stunningly" Parliament "rejected" going to war -- or indeed, taking any action -- against Syria (though if I understand the arcana of the Parliamentary game correctly, they weren't actually voting for or against a "Syria Campaign, " they were voting on whether to proceed toward such a vote... but never mind.)  The "stunning rejection" was fairly easy to predict once the debate got underway. It was clear that the Honorable and Right Honorable Members were not inclined to take the word of the Government on this matter. "Trust us" wouldn't do. They wanted to see the evidence, and they wanted time to evaluate it. They had been burned by previous demands based on purported evidence, and they were in no mood to comply this time. The level of fraud the British Government had perpetrated on the Parliament and People of Britain over the Iraq Invasion (and much else besides) still rankles, though the perpetrators will not have to face Justice. The Honorable and Right Honorable Members have decided, though, that they won't get fooled soon again. Not soon again.

Meanwhile, we are told that the President is pressing ahead with his determination to "send Syria a message" that the Assad regime cannot "gas its own people" without serious consequences.

Leave aside for the moment that there is no conclusive evidence regarding who was responsible for the attack on the 21st in the suburbs of Damascus. The Assad regime denies culpability. The UN has not made a report. And witness testimony is all over the map with claims and counterclaims flying. Who did what to whom in a civil war is frequently impossible to sort out until long after hostilities have concluded, and they may still be disputed into eternity. Cf. Srebrenica among so many examples in the civil wars concomitant on the break up of Yugoslavia.

John Kerry gave one of his better performances yesterday as he laid out the US Government's "case against Syria" for the public. He has tended to be mealy-mouthed and confused when publicly speaking for the last many years, but yesterday he was firm and coherent and stentorian. This is important for credibility, dontchaknow.

But the red flag for me was his precise figure of "at least 1,429" dead in the attack on the 21st, a number that had never previously been heard or reported. He also listed a precise number of children killed, a number never previously heard before as well.

These figures are far, far higher than any independent source had reported up to that time, which made Kerry's repeated statement that "we know" this or that more than a little problematical. If "we know" something that no one else on earth does, and those who are there "know" something quite different, then somehow someone isn't telling the truth or there is something else is going on that we, the Rabble, are simply not privy to.

Where did Kerry's numbers come from, and how have they been so precisely determined in the midst of the chaos of the attack and its aftermath? How is it that the US Government can so precisely determine what those on the ground cannot?

Yes, it's a big red flag.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Syria Thing, NSA, CIA and That Old Man's Hard On

I've been pretty strident about the NSA story that has dominated so much of the political media throughout the summer. I saw it and see it as a Summer Shark and Missing White Boy story that has been purpose made to obscure something else, something much more immediate and consequential -- and probably dreadful.

We now know what it is: A planned US attack on Syria which may well turn into an apocalyptic conflagration.

Jeebus Dancing Christo.

What the Holy Hell is wrong with these people?

While it's fun to make a whipping boy of the NSA -- or any other spookery -- the issue of domestic surveillance and the concomitant police state is far too serious for far too many people to let the singular issue of "NSA" surveillance overwhelm the reality of how deep-seated and pervasive the surveillance state really is in this country. It's far too serious to let NSA surveillance be seen as the only or even the most serious threat to privacy in the whole wide world -- as it has been promoted throughout the summer.

It's not. It's simply not. It never was. Other threats however...

We don't know what happened in Syria, nor do we know who was responsible. Because of the consistency of the falsehoods that emanate from our government and our spookeries, let alone the falsehoods that come from the Israeli "intelligence" (the source, apparently, for the claim that intercepted phone calls among Syrian officials were the "smoking gun" that "proved" the Assad regime was responsible for the CW attack), people must be skeptical of any pronouncement from On High about what they are doing, or anything they say about what anyone else has done.

They lie.

It's in their nature, and in the nature of the agencies and operations they have nominal charge of.

They lie, and they will do what they wilt, and they will do it without let or hindrance from We, the Rabble.

That Old Man's Hard On will have its release, no matter what.

Our government has now fully divorced itself from We, the Rabble.

The "intelligence" services will have their way. The MIC will have its way.

And that, as they say, is that.

Momentary Change of Pace: Hakim Bellamy, Sherwin Bitsui, and Lucy Tapahonso at 516 in Honor or LaDonna Harris

Air, Land and Seed Catalog Cover

Last night we enjoyed yet another in a long series of literary evenings since we moved to New Mexico nearly a year ago now. Some of the same artists were part of it, but the focus was quite different.

In some ways, I was reminded of some of the events we presented at our theater-cum-gallery space in Sacramento back in the day. But last night's event was ultimately intimately an aspect of the culture clash that lies at the heart of the social, political and economic reality of where we are now.

Albuquerque is far and away the Big City in New Mexico; size-wise no place else is even remotely like it. Yet by standards of California, Texas or even Arizona, for that matter, Albuquerque is still a pretty small town, with a Metro population of under a million. From my perspective and the perspective of more than a few environmentalists, that's still too many, for the water resources are so slender, that many people is about twice as many as can comfortably be accommodated for very long. Some of the experts will say that far more than twice as many live in the Abq Metro area as should do so. At some point, who knows when, but probably not so far in the future, the population will have to be reduced. Significantly.

That dark vision was part of what came to mind as I checked out the exhibit at the 516 ARTS gallery called Air, Land and Seed (pdf). It's a traveling show, in a sense, in that it debuted at the 2013 Venice Biennale before being installed at the 516. Or at least that's how I understand it. Luci Tapahonso, as Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation, got a gondola of her own, according to Sherwin Bitsui, who went to Venice for his second Biennale, a gondola in which she was swanned around the canals of Venice, perhaps becoming for a moment... someone else.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dignity -- Building A Better Future

DIGNITY has been the first call by just about every rebellion in the last many years.

It is the absence of Dignity that has been the proximate or precipitating cause of practically every recent rebellion,  including the Arab Spring actions and OWS and its many precursor rebellions in Europe.

In the absence of Dignity, one is bereft of means -- and often motivation -- to care for oneself and for one another, which has far-reaching negative consequences, not solely for the individual but for the whole of Creation.

In our own country, Dignity has been the call of so many for so long, including those who fought so valiantly for civil rights for all Americans, not merely for those born privileged.

As I think about building a better future, I think first of the necessity for Dignity, for basic human dignity, for all, without exception or reservation. This is a completely radical thought in our current social and political environment, as only those with money, clout, and power are afforded Dignity by right. Everyone else has none.

As bad, if not worse, is the lack of attribution of Dignity for the natural world.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So... uh... What Kind of Future Do We Really Want, Anyway?

This summer's shark fest is coming to a close with what could turn into an Apocalyptic Bang if all of the mutual threats and imprecations attendant upon the looming Syrian Aktion are realized. Bombast and chest thumping are the order of the day. Who will do what to whom is being wildly speculated upon. The leering joy of more bloodletting and the Miracle of Death From Above is taking over the mainstream newsrooms -- all of which are getting ready for the Labor Day holiday. If this doesn't turn out well, and quickly, there will be hell to pay.

Needless to say, for the hapless Syrians, hell will be paid as it has been paid throughout their civil war, no matter what they do or don't do. The Syrians are the sacrifice to the gods of war. The gods who overwhelm the common sense and sensibility of the High and the Mighty. Their bloodlust is never fully slaked. More and ever more must die, their blood must flow in the streets like water. To do less is to have less, and to have less is to have nothing.

Another hell will open up for the rest of us, and the glee about it in newsrooms and boardrooms couldn't be merrier. To subject the Rabble, any Rabble, but especially the American Rabble, to yet more fear, more uncertainty, more doubt, and to inflict yet more misery on so many more millions is the greatest joy of The Powers That Be. They feed on the misery of the millions. They flourish when misery is sustained.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Snowden Who?

All eyes are now on the upcoming American war of aggression against Syria/Iran (they're joined at the hip, dontchaknow) and the NSA Scandal has been all but forgotten. Of course the NSA would have provided all of the necessary signals intelligence for the successful prosecution of this war of aggression because that's what they do, what they're supposed to be doing at any rate, on behalf of the Department of (War)Defense, of which the NSA is a part.

You'd never know any of that from this hysteria over NSA surveillance of you'n'me, for none of that ever entered any of the stories about the agency and its whistleblower, Young Snowden. Of course not.

What the agency is supposed to be doing on behalf of the Department of Defense, of which they are a part, was never at issue. It was all the other things they had the potential to do and sometimes did as an exploit or lark that raised all the libertarian hackles out there. Yes, most of those hackles were libertarian, and most of the story-telling was typical of libertarian propaganda about government, criminal government employees, and potentials for government intrusion into all of our lives, yadda yadda.

I've seen it too many times to count on the internets.

But here we are, literally moments before the launch of yet another war of aggression in the Middle East, and the news cycle will admit of nothing else for the duration.

After Labor Day we will once again enter some vestibule of hell.

Had our attention been focused on the looming new war of aggression, we might have raised a stink about it well before now. But instead, we'll slouch into a killing spree in Syria, which may precipitate further hostilities with Iran, and That Old Man's Hard On may finally find release as he sees yet more brown people blown to smithereens. It's his greatest joy.

"Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

Propaganda and its uses have matured since Orwell's day; but the upshot of endless war is the same.

Monday, August 26, 2013

When the CIA Admits to Doing Something Bad, It's Best to Denounce the Secrecy of the NSA

The United States of God Damn has had an abundance of Spookeries for many a long year, sixteen of which -- the last I heard -- are supposed to report to the "DNI," one General James Clapper, Head Spook and Liar.

These reporting Spookeries are said to include the CIA and the NSA, both of which are tasked with surveillance and clandestine operations abroad. Neither, whatever else they do, are supposed to target Americans or conduct operations on the Sacred Soil of the Homeland (I'm sure it sounded better in the original German), but according to the occasional revelation from various whistleblowers and others, sometimes they do.

Bad Agencies!

Well, lately -- very lately -- the CIA (the Spookery that's been mighty silent and on the sidelines during the whole Summer Sharkfest featuring the NSA) has been *coming clean* about operations it engaged in when time was. Such as the Mossedegh overthrow in Iran in 1953 which became the precipitating -- if not the proximate -- cause of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 which led to the, shall we say, tense relations between Iran and the USofGD ever since. Oh. The CIA now, 60 years later, admits what's been known for decades. What about Guatamala while we're at it? Indonesia? Vietnam? Korea? The undermining and dissolution of the Soviet Union? Laos -- don't even get me started -- and so on? Hm?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Note on Format Adjustment and Blogger Comment Trauma

Thanks to a suggestion from WendyDavis in comments, I've adjusted the posting format to include more posts per page (ie: now 30) and to reformat (newish) posts to feature an intro and option to "read more". I'm not going to go through all 1500 or so posts and do the reformatting trick, but we'll see how it goes from this point.

As for the trauma inherent in the Blogger comment feature, I'm somewhat stymied. There are any number of options for posting directly, without going through the aggravation of the Blogger captcha. Of course, that means you're being tracked by the tracking bots and anything you say will be filed away in the Utah Warehouse by the NSA and doG knows what other security/surveillance operations. But that's true of any public comment feature, even if you use the "anonymous" captcha.

So I don't know the answer. If anyone has a functional suggestion/solution, I'm all ears.


I also put all the tags I've used in the righthand column for easy reference... or not as the case may be!

"There Can Be Little Doubt That Dr. King Would Not Have Been Allowed to Speak..."

I didn't watch the coverage of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington March, though I did read a thing or two about it. Here and there. Around the InterWebs.

Actually, there wasn't much about it from what I saw. It was as if the 50 year milestone of the March on Washington had turned into almost a non-event. Not even up to the standard of a Veterans' Parade of the handful of survivors of some doGforsaken war or other.

Of course those of us who have had anything to do with any of these things know how hideously the legacy of Dr. King and the rest of the Civil Rights community has been perverted in service to something else altogether, whether it be Rightist politics or Neo-Liberal Economics, or corporatism or imperialism or what have you.

A few words here and there, a few surviving icons, and that's pretty much it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Guess Nobody Has Heard That The NYT Has Long Been a Direct Conduit For The CIA (WaPo, too, for that Matter)

This would be bizarre if it weren't typical.

Yesterday, there was a grand and glorious Hoo-Hah when it was announced by the Guardian and the NYT that the two publications had a mutual agreement to publish matters pertaining to the now rather crusty leak of documents by the redoubtable Edward Snowden currently at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Soviet Union, er, the Russian Federation, er, Russia.

The New York Times!!!! Yay!

Yes, well.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Continuing Slaps in the Face

When His Serenity, the President, announced there would be an "outside review" of the spookeries, no one much believed him. Why should they? The spooks have long resisted the very idea of scrutiny of their own activities. That isn't how it works in these United States of God Damn, not even on a bet.

The way it works is this: The spooks tell their clients what they need to know to serve the interests of the Spookeries, and the interests of the Spookeries are ever greater levels of power and money. They claim, of course, that it's "protecting us from Communism" -- or whatever the enemy and/or bugaboo might be at the moment -- but this is a pious fraud. They offer "protection" for a price to some, those with whom they are aligned politically or financially or socially.

For the rest of us? Not so much. In fact, their actions, never benign, often jeopardize the well-being of the Rabble, sometimes it seems for the sheer thrill of it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

End of Summer Data Dumps and Exemptions From the Police/Surveillance State

As summer gets closer and closer to its conclusion, the NSA is furiously pumping out declassified documents to show... something. Exactly what it is we're seeing will take months or years of combing through and evaluation to clarify. It is in the nature of the beast.

The main issue -- that our lives are being surveilled and we're being spied upon by Our Rulers -- has been known and understood and talked about and so forth for years. We may not have known exactly what sorts of surveillance programs were in place or their names, but we knew they were there, and we knew that our personal lives were subject to all kinds of scrutiny by all kinds of entities, both public and private. We may not like it, but there is little we can do about it if we want to live in the material and modern world. Fact. Of. Life.

This summer's shark and missing white boy story over domestic and international surveillance has caused plenty of uproar and bombast, but there has been almost no effort to curb or restrict or abolish the Spy State under which we (all) live.

What there has been is a continuing effort to carve out exemptions from surveillance and the police state consequences of same. In other words, the continuing "civil liberties" campaign throughout the summer -- beginning with the AP Thing in May -- has been one to provide certain segments of the domestic and global population with assurances that they are not being (routinely) targeted and surveilled and that they will not be held to answer for matters that routine surveillance might disclose.

Starting with the Press and Media.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sitting Around Yakking With A Couple of Indian Women Up In Santa Fe

Suzan Harjo
Luci Tapahonso

As I reported previously, we attended Indian Market in Santa Fe for the first time on Sunday, and it was overwhelming.  There was so much talent, so many remarkable works, so many people and not nearly enough time to see -- let alone appreciate -- all of it. I can see why the regulars have to take it in stages, day by day, and why there are so many "invitation only" events which go on all week long.

Now that we're elders, it's tempting to leave events like Indian Market to the spry and the young and satisfy ourselves with Literary Evenings.

So last night we were back in Santa Fe for a get together at the Hotel Santa Fe with Luci Tapahonso and Suzan Harjo, two of the nation's premier Native American poets and writers, under the auspices of Southwest Seminars.

Tired Now

As at least 5% of Americans must know by now, the Guardian has been regularly publishing stories about domestic and international surveillance from the trove of NSA documents they got through Edward Snowden, who is now an asylee/exile in Russia.

There's been something peculiar about this story from the get, but just what is going on in and through the national and international spookeries continues to be something of a mystery. The fact that so much media attention has been focused on NSA!!! spying and almost none on the pervasiveness of domestic surveillance through many public sector and private sector operations is one of the reasons why I have suggested this is a Summer Shark and Missing White Boy Story, a time-honored summer media diversion from things that actually matter. This story is a classic of the genre, and I suspect it will go away and be all but forgotten (until next summer) right around Labor Day.

Ah but, before it goes away, there will be several more bursts of OUTRAGE!!!!™ and scare mongering like there was on Sunday when Greenwald's Brazilian life-partner was -- erm -- detained at Heathrow and his things were confiscated.

The hysteria was immediate and nonstop. Though I don't follow Greenwald on the Twitter -- don't follow anyone anymore -- I read that he was just burning up the Twit Feeds with accusations and imprecations that went on and on and on about abuses of power, tyranny, and intimidation. The usual Greenwald stuff.

I got tired of it a long time ago.

Actually, it was a little more than getting tired of it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On Having Buffalo for Dinner

"Back in the day, when the Lakota were strong people, there was no such thing as a fat Indian."

Twice this week we've had buffalo for dinner, the first time up at La Fonda in Santa Fe during the IAIA scholarship dinner and auction, and then last night just because we could do so -- with a steak from the market.

I have to confess, we like buffalo meat. Not only does it taste better than beef, it is seemingly much "cleaner" as well. Some of the Pueblos around here are breeding and raising buffalo with the intention of returning more of them to the range. Given the number of cattle that are currently range-raised in this area, returning buffalo to the high plains should be a no brainer -- though I'm not altogether sure the high plains of New Mexico were buffalo range back in the day. If they weren't they should have been. Or they might have been. Or they could have been.

I'm sure some of the ranchers in these parts would get a bit tense if someone started running buffalo instead of cattle on their range. There is a heavy weight of myth and fancy to overcome, after all. Buffalo were exterminated as pests in the 19th century, but more than that, they were seen as devil-beasts, scary creatures that couldn't be tamed. And they were food and clothing and shelter for the Indians. Which was even scarier.

Friday, August 16, 2013

"Yeah, but will I ever ride a horse again?"

Full day, full week, more than full. August is a whirlwind of things to do or get done. And then there's September.

We've been on the road a lot lately, always within New Mexico, Northern New Mexico at that, but still, much driving, yesterday especially.

There was a stop in ABQ to start the day, then it was out to Cochiti Pueblo for some chili and potato salad and oven bread at the Virgil Ortiz open house, the first time he'd opened his studio to the public. Interesting. Well, his studio had been turned into a showroom for his own works and those of family members.

I mentioned in a post last year that we attended the gallery opening for Virgil's Venutian Soldiers works -- photos, costumes, pottery -- in Santa Fe; yesterday was the debut of his "Evolution" series, which includes some of the Venutian Soldiers material and carries the story further.

The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 is the source point for the whole series and has served as the focus of Virgil's considerable output since he returned to the Pueblo from his whirlwinds among the rich and famous as a Big Time New York Designer, etc. Now the Pueblos have another one, Patricia Michaels, who was also having an event yesterday at Pojoaque, but she doesn't get so much into the Revolt as Virgil has.

There are many things I like about Virgil's stuff, and among them is that Anglos (who are the bulk of his customers and supporters) may have little or no conception of what he is doing or how ultimately subversive it is. Dude is on a mission.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Killing Fields in Cairo

Another Massacre in Cairo

So the Egyptian military -- after already massacring hundreds of protesters against the coup that overthrew elected president Mohamed Morsi and dissolved the elected parliament and suspended the ratified constitution -- has now "cleared" the protest camps of Morsi supporters, causing the death and injury of hundreds more and the arrest of thousands, many of whom will likely... disappear.

No doubt the Neo-Liberal forces behind the Egyptian coup against the Morsi government are hailing the carnage as a good job. Needed to be done. Something to teach the upstart Brotherhood a permanent lesson.

"Democracy is messy." Sometimes bloody, too.

Welcome to the New World Order.

Any questions?

These continuing massacres in Cairo and throughout Egypt are not just a message to those upstart "Brotherhood" people, oh no.

Make no mistake, the message is meant to resonate globally.

We are no longer in the era of: "Get out of line, the man come and take you away."

Oh, no.

We're now fully into the era of: "Protest your fate and you may just die. Too bad, so sad."

Let Freedom Ring!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Speaking of Privilege: Obama Addresses His Constituency

Right. I got this.

It can be interesting to watch and to parse Presidential Press Conferences especially as they have become rarer and rarer.

His Serenity doesn't much do the formal Press Conference routine, preferring appearances on teevee gabshows and one on one interviews to get his message across, no matter how imperfect, muddled or irrelevant that message may be.

I've long been of the opinion, of course, that His Serenity is the willing tool of others, particularly those who own his ass. Which means the banks and Wall Street together with a shadowy group of corporate execs and government "retirees."

For example, it was obvious that Obama became a tool of House Cheney right quick, as soon as Miz Liz started yapping about whatever it was her father was telling her to yap about. The clue was that Obama yielded almost instantly and has never deviated from his assigned course, for he is corrected promptly.

Exactly what command and control House Cheney has over The Government would be interesting to learn, especially what agencies they use to accomplish their nefarious ends (many say they operate directly through the CIA, which gives some perspective on the whole NSA Thing... but that's getting ahead of myself.)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

On the Question of Privilege

Let's talk about Privilege. Who has it. Who doesn't. And what it means -- and doesn't mean.

Of course I've benefited all my life from White Privilege, though not nearly as much as some may assume from the looks of my pale visage and all. No, I didn't really fit very well into the harmonious conformity to the Principles of Whiteness from the time I was little, so the privilege I experienced and experience to this day is the privilege of a White Rebel, not to be discounted in any way, but hardly what you might expect.

Though I have been shot, it wasn't by the cops. Though the cops have on occasion drawn firearms against me, they have never fired, and in fact have mostly been polite or at least civil with me. I was incarcerated once for three days, but I wasn't beaten or abused in any particular way by the guards (the experience inside was awful just the same), and I wasn't subjected to more than minor harassment and intimidation by the other suspects and detainees.

The White Privilege I have benefited from is mostly that of most any White Guy who can go practically anywhere whenever he wants and not be subjected to suspicion, random search and seizure, official brutality and potential summary execution. I can expect to be treated with courtesy and respect in hotels, restaurants, retail establishments, public accommodations of all kinds, I can rent a car or buy travel tickets with ease. I generally receive only the most cursory examination of my ID when ID is required for some reason -- which for me is very rare. I could go on and on about all the other privileges that accompany being White.

But I was only made aware of my own White Privilege when it disappeared, which it has from time to time. I've been rebellious all my life, but in the 1960's I broke with convention enough to be regarded a Hippie, which at the time was enough to be banished from polite company. "Out of the car, Longhair!" is no joke, it happened. Being refused service for one's appearance, being harassed by everyone, not just by the cops. Refusing military service was even worse at the time.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

On the Question of Exemptions

As the transformation of the nation accelerates, the question of who should be exempt from the strictures of the New Society comes more and more to the fore.

In discussions about the Surveillance/Police State that's been "exposed" this summer -- like sharks in the water and missing white women (sometimes men and boys) -- I've pointed out that the real issue is exemptions, whether they be for the press and media (the original demand, after all, when the AP Thing broke) or for the High and Mighty (such as our representatives in Congress Assembled), or for the idle rich or the superintendents of our digital lives.

At no point, at all, has it been suggested that We, the Rabble be protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Certainly not. Nor has it ever been suggested that the private sector be barred from collecting and storing the kind of information about us that the Nefarious Government does, nor have there been any suggestions that the private sector should be barred from trading and selling the information it collects with the government or anyone else it chooses to. Free Market solutions and all.

In other words, We, the Rabble will not be relieved of constant surveillance and police state tactics; fuggetaboutit.

But certain sectors of the population will be relieved to know that the exemptions they seek are on the way or already in place. Yay! Victory!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kochs Invade the Land of Enchantment

Hyatt Tamaya Resort

Saw on the teevee "news" yesterday that access to the Hyatt Tamaya Resort on the Santa Ana Pueblo, just  was barred to the public because some mysterious "private party" had booked the entire place for an event.


They wouldn't say. But valiant reporters ferreted out the truth:

The Koch brothers, both of them together, had rented the entire place for a do of some kind and demanded that no member of the public be allowed within a mile of the place. Prolly a good thing, too.

The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver was with them.

Golden Boy, eh?

Presidential timber.

The Face of the Future.

I am in awe.

New Mexico deserves better than this.

[Now they say that little weasel Cantor was there, too. Ick. And Susana La Tejana. Ew. Unclean.]

The New Reuters Thing

Not so long ago, Greenwald was spewing his patented form of venom at Reuters for daring to report accurately in English what he said so inartfully in a Spanish language interview for an Argentine publication.

Now Reuters has upstaged his NSA stories in the Guardian with reports of the DEA's use and sharing of intelligence -- some of which is apparently phony, and much of which is secretly funneled/stovepiped to local and state law enforcement -- ostensibly in service to the "War on Drugs" declared so many decades ago, a "war" which can never actually be won -- but which in fact is used for all kinds of criminal prosecutions.

I've been hammering the issue of the many other aspects of domestic surveillance and how the data is being used day in and day out for some time now, mostly to blank stares or outraged catcalls by those who insist that the ONLY important aspect of the domestic surveillance industry to pay attention to is the NSA. "NO. IT. ISN'T." I insist. In fact, to the extent we know anything about it, the NSA is a relatively minor player. So long as the focus is ONLY on the NSA, most of the real story of domestic surveillance and the police state it supports will be missed. And that may well be the objective of those who insist that the entire focus must be solely on the NSA.

Some of the intelligence referred to in the Reuters story is apparently from the NSA, but most of it seems to be generated from other sources, both public and private sector, as well as from informants. How much of it is absolute bullshit is hard to quantify, in part because so many of those who are targeted and accused thanks to these "sources" plead out, never go to trial, and once they are sentenced, they're forgotten. There have long been reports of railroading of the innocent (at least innocent of what they've been convicted of or plead guilty to), but there are very few conclusive reports of how frequently railroading of the innocent occurs, let alone what the consequences are.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Missing the Old Guy At Chimayó; Then Up to Dixon for the Recuerdos of Another Old Guy

El Santuario de Chimayó from Wikimedia Commons


I'll say.

We don't often travel very far from home base here in the Estancia Valley, partly because we only have one vehicle, and it's old, and if it breaks down out in the middle of nowhere, we're screwed. Well, someone will help of course, but still.

[A note on that "someone will help" line. When we got back to our little neck of the woods late last night, we noticed sheriff with its lights flashing and a police car were at the park in town, and as we got closer, we noticed an ambulance with its back door open and someone being treated inside. Just barely visible in the dark -- and it is dark out here in the country -- nearby was the silhouette of a helicopter, the kind that chopper patients to the hospitals Albuquerque throughout the day and night.  Emergency services at the ready. When I had a flat tire outside of Socorro one time the people who helped were AMAZING, and when I offered some money for their assistance, they absolutely refused. They said they were just doing what had to be done and didn't expect to profit from it. "Angels," my wife calls them.]

Sometimes we go off on adventures far from home, out to the Bosque del Apache, or to Los Alamos, or wherever, and yesterday we went off on a junket to Chimayó, and then way up the road to Dixon, which truthfully we didn't even remember existed based on the one time we'd been up to Taos decades ago.

We haven't been to Chimayó in at least fifteen years, probably closer to twenty, but because it is sort of on the way, and we really did want to see The Old Guy (Father Roca) at least once more before he passes on to his reward, we thought it wise to visit the Santuario on the way to Dixon where we planned to attend a staged reading of a new play based on the works of another Old Guy we've come to know and enjoy, Nasario Garcia.

Father Roca greeted us at the door to the Santuario when we visited that time before, and he was so warm and welcoming and helpful and open that he made it seem like we had (finally) arrived at the place we were meant to be. There weren't a lot of people at the pilgrimage site that day, so he walked us around and showed us some of the features of the little chapel and the graveyard in front, encouraged us to take a little vial of holy water with us and visit the sanctuary of the Holy Dirt. Take some if we wanted. If we had any questions, he would be available. We were welcome to look around, to pray, or simply to observe. God's home was our home. The only restriction was that we were not to take any pictures inside the chapel. "Take all the pictures you want outside!"

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sherman Alexie On Colonization, ReColonization, DeColonization, and Being A Privileged Indian in These United States of God Damn

Sherman Alexie speaking on behalf of the MFA Creative Writing Program

We were up in Santa Fe last night -- well, up at the IAIA, which is not quite in Santa Fe but outside town up on a ridge with a spectacular view of the Jemez and the Sangres and the Ortiz Mountains and the pageantry of Mother Earth and Father Sky all around. There were storms gathering in the south. It would be quite an evening.

We were attending a fundraising event for the new MFA program in Creative Writing that the IAIA had launched last year with 32 students in attendance. The entertainment featured the stylings of Sherman Alexie, American Indian Writer of Stories and Books and Poems and Screenplays and Such, now officially a Professor of Higher Learning at one of the highest profile Indian Schools in the whole wide world, the school where every Indian Writer and nearly every Indian Artist he's ever met has gone to at one time or another. This is the top of the Indian Educational Pyramid. The very Pinnacle of Indian Achievement. His comment about being selected to serve as one of the faculty of the MFA Program at IAIA?

"It took you long enough."
And we were off to -- or maybe through -- the races in several senses of the word. This Privileged Indian, Sherman Alexie, was going to give a talk, not so much for the Anglos who'd paid the cost of admission (perhaps a hundred of us or so) but "for the Indians"  in the room, another fifty or so, mostly students in the MFA program for whom the paid attendees were providing the money for scholarships. (For the record, though one of the Chés is an Indian, we paid the price of admission, and will probably wind up paying a good deal more in the by and bye.)

Not every Indian is a rich Indian like Sherman Alexie. How rich is Sherman Alexie? He told us. He's so rich, his house in Seattle has got two garage doors, one for his wife and one for himself, and both open and close with these little electric gizmos they keep in their cars. Note, their cars.  They each have one. They're that rich! Ha! He uses and IPad when he speaks! He's that rich!

Of course, many non-Indians wouldn't see those things as emblems of wealth at all. These are things that are basic to a (White) middle-class lifestyle. No doubt you can live without them, but why would you if you didn't have to?


Friday, August 2, 2013

Well, That Creeped Me Out

In the previous post I embedded the video of NSA Chief General Keith Alexander speechifying at something called "Black Hat" -- that before yesterday, I had never heard of, as I bet many, many others never had, either.

OK. So. He gave me the willies, the whole thing did, big time. These are supposedly the best "minds" in the IT/Security industry, all coming together in loving embrace of one another acting in one another's best interests. God save me.

Alexander I've seen in various congressional hearings spouting pious nonsense, but this was over the top, I mean REALLY over the top as The General transformed himself into an ever-so-humble and pious television preacher selling snake oil and salvation to the masses, if only they would believe. Yes, believe to save their mortal souls.


Part of what creeped me out about him and his presentation is the memories it evoked of when I was a federal employee handling sensitive and confidential data and otherwise private information and training others how to do it "lawfully." I am sworn to confidentiality for the rest of my life. I won't even mention the name of the agency that employed me, nor where I was assigned nor will I say specifically what I did  let alone will I reveal any of the information I was privy to (not that I remember that much any more!)

What I will talk and write about though is something about the environment and ethic within which I worked and what I was trying to train others to understand and... well, believe.


So The General is standing up there like a minister in church, telling his flock how humble and god-centered he is and how they, if they would only believe can be saved and ascend to heaven. I've seen this kind of performance too many times before from practically every superior I ever had, right up to the agency top dog. They are all so very pious.

Butter wouldn't melt, and you just know their shit don't stink like mine does.

And you know what? Most of them -- not all of them -- were absolute, stone liars. And it got worse, multiple times worse in my view, once the Obama regime settled in. I decided I was too old for this shit and I wasn't going to take it anymore, and I packed up and left. Buh-bye.

Some of the lies they told -- and they wanted us to believe, and me to tell every newbie I trained -- were abominations. They've been told so often, though, and are such a part of the fabric of the agency by now that I'm sure that most of those who tell them believe them implicitly -- even when they know they're false. Cognitive dissonance, as I've said, is a way to break down resistance and build faith. They tell lies, they believe them, and they know they're false. Do thou likewise, my son.


The lies filled the room whenever the top people paid a call on the field. And it really did get worse after February or March of 2009. For me it was too much, but for others... meh. They had careers.

Alexander at Black Hat was such a reminder of that shit. I was appalled all over again, and fascinated just the same watching his little performance.

He was heckled to be sure, but not very well, and it wasn't sustained. I also noticed that the crowd by and large, and certainly the hosts, loved them some Keith Alexander, whoo boy howdy. Their whooping cheers  chilled me to the bone.

I've thought from the outset of this affair that what we're really witness to is an Inner Party factional struggle for control of the Security/Police State -- which in time, I have little doubt, will become our defacto government, if it hasn't already -- and from what I could tell between the lines of Alexander's speech, it is a struggle between the Spookeries for dominance, dominance of the State, dominance of the Empire, dominance of the World. These Inner Party things are usually pretty boring, because the outcome will make no real difference below; we're fucked no matter what. But this time, I really wonder if it might make a difference which Spookery comes out on top.

The Revelations are obviously designed to cripple the NSA, and The General's pious defense of his actions and philosophy and those of the brave troops below him is clearly designed to stanch the hemorrhaging. So he's in full Limited Hangout mode, showing and saying things that he never would before, couldn't you know because it was all so very secret, and so to protect the remaining secrets, he'll reveal some of the "facts" to the whole wide world in front of a friendly -- very friendly -- audience of professionals and peers. You see?

Of course he's lying, of course he is.

Cocktailhag over at FDL suggested it was really cringe inducing to watch him, and he's right. Made my skin crawl. It was awful. And they loved him.

We are so fucked and we don't even know in how many ways.

In the WTF Department

All the hysteria about the NSA Spying Thing got a major boost yesterday when a Long Island writer posted her story of a raid of her home and questioning of her husband by police and sheriffs deputies over internet searches on terms like "pressure cooker" and the always suspicious "backpacks" and "bombs."

This story was all over the internets, of course, and it was heavily rotated by the Guardian, bless their heart, as a sort of spook-joke diversion because supposedly the raiders asked "What's quinoa?" when they were told that the household cooks quinoa in their rice cooker.

Because of all the hysteria ginned up over the NSA Thing, everyone assumed that the raid was triggered when the internet searches by this household on Long Island were flagged in the NSA's super-warehouse of internet data as "suspicious activity" to be analyzed and followed up on promptly -- or the terrorists would win.

But apparently it wasn't so.

Not  a bit.

Now I was skeptical of this thing from the get, simply because it was way too convenient a Summer Shark Story and it was being promoted by a rather well-known writer on the internet. The fact that the Guardian, of all outlets, was not only featuring it but making a joke of it, was the obvious tip off that this story was not at all what it seemed to be and one would be wise to simply let it marinate for little while for it to come to full flavor.

Sure enough.