A Christmas Haiku
A year without an
“I Love You” so to hide that
The USA has fought many monsters in its short history as a Nation.
Religious persecution, a battle which continues to this day. The British Monarchy which was a successful battle. Slavery where they had to fight themselves with mixed results. Spain and Mexico in successful American Imperialism. German Imperialism which was not quite so successful so they had to do it twice. Russian Communism which eventually worked after unleashing many potential horrors upon an undeserving world.
The Founding Fathers of the USA set up an apparently fool-proof process so that the citizenry could see what was happening within a tripartite form of Government.
An elected President limited to two terms. An elected Congress subject to the will of an informed electorate. An appointed Supreme Court where the best minds in the country could rule, in Law, on the decisions of the first two branches.
All open and visible to the public.
Successfully fighting against the casual cruelties of Nazism and the secret arms of Eastern Europe’s tyrannical Governments.
Yet somewhere along the way the USA lost its integrity.
The cruelty of mid-Century Germany was mirrored in the drug experiments by the CIA in the 50’s and 60’s.
The secrecy of the KGB became the norm in the CIA and the Gulags of Russia have found an echo in the creation of the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The stop and search and constant inspection of its and other Nation’s citizens, the intrusion of the NSA into every corner of the cyber-world and the use of drones to remotely kill people are all symptoms of the USA having tipped over the edge into becoming one the monsters it was trying to eradicate.
After looking into the Abyss created by megalomaniac rulers throughout the world; After counteracting the terror unleashed upon the world by those with extreme religious and secular ambitions; After close association with the worst the world can produce, the USA has become infected with the evil virus it has spent so long trying to eradicate.
Consider this new step in the sickness and hubris of the secret American State.
“In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data . . . . . the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court’s classified decisions.“
So now there are secret laws, secret courts and secret committees and people making the rules Americans have to live by.
The one lesson we, as a species, have learned is that bureaucracies outlive people.
They outlive nations.
The new American intelligence bureaucracy has an un-elected leader.
One whose name we will never learn.
In the coming struggle between America and China and between America and its people, there will be many casualties.
Not the least of which will be truth and freedom.
As well as those brave people who try to lift the lid on this new terror organisation.
Daniel Ellsberg, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Thomas Drake and Edward Snowdon are just the tip of the iceberg. There will be many more who who will try to save the ideals of honesty, openness and accountability and who will pay the price.
Yet the Abyss will almost certainly win. And the contagion which now infects America will spread, in epidemic form, to all of America’s allies.
St Jude, Pray for us indeed!
Filed under: Australia, Introspective | Tagged: bradley Manning, Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowdon, Freedom, Gitmo, Guantanamo, Guantanamo Bay, Gulag, julian assange, NSA, Secret agencies, Thomas Drake, USA | 2 Comments »
As a blogger interested in history, I find it illuminating to look back over old newspapers and find just what was thought important at the times we consider worth remembering.
From the Sydney Morning Herald, 11/11/1915, remembering the news was always late to the antipodes and that Remembrance Day had not yet been invented.
Hmmm. War was still a glorious enterprise. Rewards for the Officers and profound statements from the politicians.
So, had we learned anything by 1941, with Remembrance Day a part of the calendar?
Again from the Sydney Morning Herald, 11/11/1941
Armistice Day, as Remembrance Day was originally known, is well down the list of events although that event was highly significant.
In other news, while we still acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of those who go to war, it is becoming more acceptable to question the need for war. Why should the young be sacrificed for the ambitions of the old?
Are we all Isaac, without the provision of a lamb?
Tim Minchin (not to be confused with noted Climate Denier and all-round arsehole, Senator Nick Minchin) has the sort of rant I have to my mirror the morning after.
I am one with Calvin who once told Hobbes, “Well, remember what you said, because in a day or two, I’ll have a witty and blistering retort! You’ll be devastated THEN!”
This is that response!
Thank you, Trucie @NorwichRocks
And thank you also to whoever mentioned this on Twitter.
Go Christopher Hitchens.
Filed under: Introspective, lifestyle | Tagged: afterlife, alternative medicine, aspirin, butterfly, Christopher Hitchens, fairy, homeopathy, left-over hippy, love sprituality, medicine, natural medicine, natural remedy, Nick Mitchen, opinion, psychic, rant, Reality, science, shakespeare, soul, storm, Tattoo, Tim Mitchen | 4 Comments »
If liberty and equality, as is thought by some are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), Politics
Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they’ve told you what you think it is you want to hear. Alan Corenk
The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. Art Spander
Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking. Clement Atlee
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time. E. B. White (1899 – 1985), New Yorker, July 3, 1944
Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950), Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”
The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois. Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880)
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right. H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)
Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame. Laurence J. Peter (1919 – 1988)
Democracy is the name we give the people whenever we need them. Marquis de Flers Robert and Arman de Caillavet
In democracy it’s your vote that counts; In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965), Hansard, November 11, 1947
I had a bit of a travel today and visited some foresty places.
One of them, Serpentine Falls, has falling water. A bit of a rarity in Western Australia’s flat landscape.
It also has rocks. Not old weathered rocks nearing the end of their life like the ones in the desert I have left behind. Solid, hard old rocks which will still be older and harder and even more solid when the sun finally goes nova.
Then a walk through the surrounding forest led me to think of the forests of my ancestors in ancient Europe. Thinking of the Gods which lived in rocks and trees and water. Who inhabited the quiet places. Whose voices are heard in the susurrus of the wind in the leaves, in the chuckling of the little streams and the splash of water landing on water. In the voices from unknown sources which we hope are unknown birds.
Then I saw a sight which made me wonder.
Is this a hamadryad? Do those ancient demi-urges still exist in the old, quiet places where mankind has not yet imposed his careless dominance?
It is in justice that the ordering of society is centred.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)
Justice is a contract of expediency, entered upon to prevent men harming or being harmed.
Epicurus (341 BC – 270 BC)
Liberty, equality – bad principles! The only true principle for humanity is justice; and justice to the feeble is protection and kindness.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968), Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
Groucho Marx (1890 – 1977)
Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919)
It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.
Earl Warren (1891 – 1974)
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), (attributed)
Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed.
The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79.
Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001), “Mostly Harmless”
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946)
[Common sense] is the best sense I know of.
Lord Chesterfield (1694 – 1773)
The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.
Matthew Arnold (1822 – 1888), ‘God and the Bible,’ 1875
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891
Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), ‘Art,’ 1841
If an idea’s worth having once, it’s worth having twice.
Tom Stoppard (1937 – )
How helpless we are, like netted birds, when we are caught by desire! Belva Plain
I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. Charles Lindbergh (1902 – 1974), Interview shortly before his death, 1974
Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees. David Letterman (1947 – )
I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven. Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)
The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing. Eric Berne (1910 – 1970)
Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. Henry Van Dyke
God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages. Jacques Deval, Afin de vivre bel et bien
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them? Rose Kennedy (1890 – 1995)
No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings. William Blake (1757 – 1827)
A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. Chinese Proverb
Why is this well loved song even more important to me at the moment?
Because next Friday, for nearly two weeks, I leave the desert for Perth. There I will meet up with Buff and on Sunday (Valentine’s Day) we board a heavier than air flying machine to travel to our nation’s capital, Canberra.
There, on the Monday and Tuesday we will be walking around the Australian National Gallery where we will be able to study many of the originals of the images above.
Along with over 140 other original works by legendary French Impressionists.
I promise to attempt to avoid boring you all with my visit to some very old Gallic gentlemen.