Thursday, November 28, 2013


Here is the king of article (Huffington Post) that sours me on the Democratic Party. Bob Menendez is so anxious to continue sanctions against Iran. Sanctions partly affect the militaries of a country, but don't they mostly punish the citizens? Isn't the idea simply to make an innocent population suffer as a means toward achieving the United States' political/military ambitions? At what point does it become appropriate to make citizens suffer for the acts of their government, over which the citizens may have little control? 

Jeb Bush is running for President, appealing to the Radical Right

Here is the latest article I've seen about Jeb Bush taking a Radical Right viewpoint. And below is a short blog from July 15, 2012. I think I was just too early in my prediction.

I first thought this in late '09 when I read that Jeb Bush had attended a Rand Paul fundraiser. Everywhere I've posted it someone says,  "No way." Well, way.  This criticism of Romney from fellow Republicans is unprecedented. Republicans don't do that; they hold coronations. I still think that Romney is a dark-horse, willing or unwilling, for the next King Bush. I think he (Bush) will incorporate just enough of the Ron Paul libertarianism for Rand Paul to accept the VP slot and to gather votes that Romney just can't get. If I'm wrong, I'm only wrong, but if I'm right I claim 2 (now 4) years of braggin' rights!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

more about John Fahey

Yesterday's post told, briefly, what I know of the story of John Fahey and the Intregal Yoga Institute in Los Angeles. I did not specifically point out, as I will now, that the story begun by John is that he was trying to get close to a lady in the ashram. My close friend Tiramal was in overall charge of the ashram at that time and the lady in question was a secretary. Tiramal never said a word about this. He said that John had called the ashram with suicidal thoughts and was reaching out for help. I believe Tiramal. I'd have to hear from the lady in question before I could believe the story. This woman was a serious devotee and I can't see her joking around with John. That may be why he picked her to tell that story.
John was an exasperating person. He was contrary. Read Glenn Jones' liner notes for The Epiphany of Glen Jones here and you'll get the idea. I think it's safe to say that only his supreme artistry (when he was on) could account for his friendships over the years. Like Picasso or Dylan, he was hard to deal with, but his art saved him.
A few years after I hung out with John a bit in '72 I saw him perform at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Afterwards, I was among a few folks backstage waiting to see him. We waited and we waited. Finally, some dude, said, "This is ridiculous" and pushed open the restroom door. Instantly, we heard loud voices - "Hey, man, how you doin'?" "What the hell are you doing in here?" "Hiding out, man." They burst out together with talk of a party somewhere. John didn't talk much to the rest of us backstage. He gave me a look like "who the hell are you?" I was too embarrassed and shy to say anything.
Want a guitar lesson from John? Go here for a fascinating story and a lesson in open C tuning.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

about John Fahey

The Guardian has an article about the American guitarist John Fahey. Read it here. John's best music is so radical that I somewhat disagree with characterizing him as a blues player. He would hate the term "New Age," but he invented a New Age in steel-string guitar playing. I like the term someone came up with - "American Primitive Guitar." If one tunes to an open tuning (such as G, Keith Richard's favorite tuning - DGDGBD), and then fingerpicks Travis Style (alternating thumb on the bass and use of the first two fingers) - it's hard to go somewhere John did not go first.
I bought "Dance of Death and other Plantation Favorites" sometime around 1965 just because the cover and title were so unusual and the store clerk spoke highly of the music. I instantly fell under the spell! One of my friends who I turned onto the music was named Steve Clark.
Fast forward to 1972. My son was born in November and the three of us went to Los
Angeles to visit Steve, only his name was now Tiramal. I might be misspelling it, but that's
phonetically correct. Tiramal was the director of the LA Integral Yoga Institute, Swami Satchidananda's ashram. Tiramal invited my wife, son, and I to live there in a beautiful old mansion that was
the Institute. So we started getting up at 4 am for meditation, then Hatha Yoga. Steve, I
mean Tiramal, told me, "You'll never believe who I'm giving private yoga lessons to." He
said that one day he got a phone call from a man who told him he was at the end of his
rope. He was depressed and drinking too much. He called the Institute with the remote
hope that there was help there. The caller was John Fahey. Tiramal had been going to John's house for a few weeks. One night he told me that John  might come that night for Kirtan (sacred chanting). I had never seen a photograph of  John, but when I walked into the room and saw this man in rolled-up blue jeans I knew who he was!
I started visiting John's house. I just hung around his house a few times talking. One day I asked him how often he changed strings. He answered,
"Everytime I play" Wow, I said, can I have your old strings? "Why, they're dead." That shut
me up.  Another time he picked up a guitar, fingered an A chord in standard tuning and
stretched his little finger up to the fifth fret on the high E string. He looked at me with
rather arched eyebrows. I thought the unspoken message was- do you know this move?
I felt funny that he was showing me such a simple thing and didn't know at all how to
Well, you can see that I wasn't a close pal, but that every single moment with him was
special for me if not for him.
I'll end this post with day at the Yoga Institute John told me that his guitar was
upstairs and I could play it. I went up. It was tuned DADGAD, a tuning often used in Celtic guitar playing. I'd played in DADF#AD of  course but this DADGAD was new to me. Of course I instantly recognized the sound from some of John's pieces. I was wrapped up in this special moment when John walked in and  lay down on the floor. I kept playing not daring to look at John. When I stopped I looked over and heard the gentle sleeping snore of my hero.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

it's time for a new Populist movement and we won't get it from Democrats

A piece by Michael Lind here on Salon does an excellent job of analyzing the economic issues dividing and uniting the Republicans and Democrats. I won't paraphrase; I'll just add my two bits.
It's especially encouraging to read, near the end of his article, a rational analysis of Populism. Populism has been portrayed far too often as some kind of fascist/racist aberration of American politics. Yeah, right. Then explain to me such aspects of the Populist group the National Farmer's Alliance which gladly accepted black farmers. Of course the "moneyed interests" still have reason to paint Populism with the black brush of fascism. The Populists fought against banks and the government subsidized railroads. Sounds anti-fascist to me.
The Populists understood class warfare and were not going to lie down and take it.
In today's America, the Democrats are like the Republicans of my youth. And the Republicans are kinder and gentler fascists. The entire basis of the Democratic Party is to compromise with the fascists in order to prove to the fascist's media that they are playing ball.
Republicans have taken a shotgun approach to their agenda. They shoot; see what sticks (resonates) and, with the help of the corporate media, run with it. Yes, Michael Lind you are right -  the Democrats merely react. They have no agenda other than to cooperate. Through their fear of being proactive in continuing the progressive Roosevelt Democratic agenda, they have turned into a party that merely compromises, and compromises our prosperity away. The Democrats enable the Republicans.
I would like to add this to Mr. Lind's thinking: By aligning themselves so successfully with the Religious Right, Republicans have picked up the tone of a Baptist preacher in a high emotional state of righteous wrath. If a Democrat uses that tone they are shot down as crazy and hateful people. Remember Howard Dean and his yell/scream of euphoria while he was running for president? He was painted as a crazy man and all he did was shout out a most excellent Rebel Yell!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

one must use one's gut feelings when lies prevail - JFK was killed by the US government

This link to an excellent article says more than I can about the assassination of JFK. I've read the author's book "Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years." The author, David Talbot, is the founder of Salon.
In times and on matters wherein we the people have no access to facts, when government actions become secret, we must turn to our gut feelings. This is dangerous if one has no "feelings" based upon thought and research, if one, in other words is a mere tool of America's media. It also is a difficult thing if one has no guts.
I have read books about the assassinations of the 1960s, mostly the ones that occurred on on American soil. I was 13 when JFK was gunned down. I have talked with many people over the years about JFK in particular and ALL of these people believe the Warren Report was a lie. The people I began talking to were mostly pro-Viet Nam Republicans and later were pro-Reagan Republicans. Our collective gut feeling: the US government was selling us a lie.
The differences come when one asks, "What should we do?" I have always been dismayed by the answers: "There's nothing we can do." "Why does it matter now?"
If a nation can NOT care that its popular leader was gunned down by his own government, then that nation not only suffered a coup d 'etat, it has lost its honor. The military/industrial//intelligence/prison complex has grown exponentially.  It will continue to grow. It has eaten the soul of my country.
There must be an influx of young military veterans who enter politics because they have seen and experienced the waste of blood and money over the last 13 years. The expressed soul of the United States has been transferred to soldiers. There are all kinds of soldiers. Some of them know that to do unto others as you would have them do unto you (see Matthew 7:12) is so wise it could rise above its humble religious beginning, a mere utterance of Jesus, to the highest level of respect, the ultimate object of worship in the United States - military policy.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

about dueling, and not with banjos

I just read a bit of this article on Huffington Post wherein Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky bemoaned the fact that he could not challenge someone to a duel and still be a United States Senator. You know what? I'd vote for a return to dueling in the United States and I swear to God, I MEAN it!
Dueling, as I understand it from history books and novels (mainly novels) was considered a gentlemen's activity. It was governed by strict rules of protocol. A man could lose his reputation for life if he cheated in a duel or shrank from an honorable challenge. I would not change all of this. However, there were some people who were so scorned by "gentle" society that it was permissible for a gentleman to ignore the challenge and not lose face. I would absolutely change this for the United States. We are, excuse me, we claim to be, a democracy. Therefore, I, as a lower middle class adult could be spurned by, say, Donald Trump if I challenged him to a duel. No, no, no. If I challenge Donald Trump or Rudolf the Red-Nosed Giuliani to a duel, and they refuse, they MUST possibly face a lifetime of humiliation - titters, giggles, averted eyes as they enter the five-star restaurant. Subtle insults from humble desk clerks as they check in to their over-priced hotel. Outright insubordination from underlings who are willing to face a duel with the proven coward. Oh, yes. I am serious as death on this.

As I am only recommending a return to dueling in the States, I insist that only guns be allowed in duels. After all, we are the Kings of Guns. Sure, we are also the Kings of Small Landmines, but what the hell - do we really want it legal to plant landmines on hiking trails and children's playgrounds? I mean within our borders, of course. Hell no!

We Americans probably provided every single gun that killed the tens of thousands of innocent Mexicans in their recent drug wars. Our drug habits and phony "War on Drugs" provided the gangsters with the motivation to use those guns. Yes, only guns for American dueling. It just makes sense. American pragmatism. What, we're going to stand by with our hands in our pockets while innocent children are slaughtered by guns and then say, no, no, Samuri swords are ok, too? Bullshit. That is unAmerican, and as the entire world BETTER Goddamn know by now, "Whatever America wants, America gets" (sing it to the tune of "Whatever Lola Wants.")

Now we DO have a few issues to address here with the use of guns in duels. I'll start with big clips and auto- or semi-automatic weapons. It is very distasteful to me to allow these, however, as they are American as apple pie, it's hard to think of the proper argument against them. How about this - any American hunter who went after an elk or deer with an AK-47 would be laughed out of Idaho, right? So, I think it is reasonable to put into law that no dueling gun is legal if it's use on an elk or a deer would tear up the meat of that game animal beyond respectable dining. Don't get me wrong, now. This is not an anti-Second Amendment essay. I understand that it is perfectly Constitutional to buy and use guns that could kill an entire elementary school population in under a minute. I'm not arguing that point. It's, what's the word? Generally accepted criteria? Settled law? Something like that.  Anyway, this essay is NOT about protecting children for God's sake; it's about honor.

Another thing I find distasteful in this modern, enlightened era is the Old West-style facedown on the streets. You know, holstered six-shooters, men standing with their hands near the gun until one of them makes the move and then - BLAM. But then, you know, this is not the old West. This is modern America. We have laws here about the rights of handicapped people, and is that old style fair to the handicapped? No way. You can't run a business in the United States without providing a wheel chair ramp so why should the winning of a duel depend upon who can move the fastest? That's not the American Way. We're too civilized to allow any old able-bodied asshole to go around challenging paraplegics and racking up notches to impress the saloon girls. No, no, no. The speed of drawing the gun out of the holster must not come into play. However, one can't help the fact that SOME degree of physicality is involved, so let's just stay with the old-school single shot pistol held casually by one's side until the permission to fire is given. Then we can keep the drama of the drawn out battle of nerves. I love that. You know, the nervous guy raises his pistol and fires quickly, misses, and then must stand still while the better man takes careful aim and - Blooey! Yeah, one shot, but if both men survive they can always take off their gloves, slap the other's face lightly - whap, whap - and do it all over again! Now that's cool!

I do apologize to the ladies for my constant use of the masculine pronoun. I do believe in equal rights; I do! Therefore, any adult over the age of, say, 18, must have the right to challenge any other adult, male or female. And we must not only forgo sexism; we must also forgo ageism. For instance, just because Pat Robertson is an old fool, must I allow him to continually offend my sensibilities? NO!! Now, if I ONLY challenge old, feeble folks I risk a loss of reputation, so it behooves me to challenge Pat one day and Franklin Graham the next. Or, I can take on Laura Ingraham and then Ann Coulter.

There are no other rules of engagement then, other than the fact that one is offended and, if that offensive adult accepts the challenge, what will be will be. There will always be some people who will refuse the challenge without losing face among the people they care about. Damn Anabaptists! Damn hippies! You and your separate little peaceful loving communes! This is America! Love it or leave it!

I could go on about the economic benefits (a sky-rocketing use of gun ranges, etc.), population control, reality TV shows ... But the primary issue here is a free expression of Constitutional Rights, God Bless 'Em.