Archive for December, 2008

Z-Big Calling Them Like He Sees Them

December 31, 2008 Leave a comment


Joe  Scarborough gets pwnd by Z-Big.  Sadly, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has nailed the status of understanding of many people that proffer commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  And my hat’s off to him for it.

Meanwhile, as Israel continues to “defend’ itself against the city that they have had an embargo and a blockade on keeping the occupied people from even getting the bare essentials for living , the people of Gaza are trapped and helpless.  It’s not good for the kids, too.

Children Traumatized As Israeli Bombs Rain Down On Gaza

GAZA CITY: “We are scared … that we can die at any moment,” said 11-year-old Mohammad Ayyad, still terrified hours after a massive Israeli bombardment of Hamas government buildings next to his house in the Gaza Strip. Like the rest of Gaza’s children, he has been traumatized by the four-day assault on the coastal enclave that has transformed many areas of the overcrowded territory into piles of rubble and shattered glass.

“As they were hitting the center [of Gaza City], we heard an enormous explosion and our house was filled with dust,” he said. “We immediately ran toward the ground floor.”

His 6-year-old brother Ahmad “peed his pants. We were all scared because the planes are in the sky all the time and we could die at any moment.”

Schools in Gaza have been closed since the Israeli strikes began on Saturday and children have passed the time examining the damage caused by the raids.

Ah…how mighty and righteous Israel is with our weapons and approval and their willingness to be barbaric against a trapped civilian populace.  Truly they are a great nation.


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Thugs Are As Thugs Do

December 30, 2008 Leave a comment


Israel having goaded and pushed Hamas into a reaction got their reaction and now they are having their own little holocaust.  Gaza is the most densely populated city on earth and the Israelis have told the Palestinians to separate themselves from Hamas.  To help them do that they are using air strikes to kill and separate  innocent men, women and children from them.  We, of course, stand by their thuggery.

Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! has some excellent commentary on what is happening.  I know there are good people in Israel.  I know too that many oppose what their country is doing as many of us oppose what our country is doing.  But…goddamn those bastards!  Will there never be any justice for the Palestinians?  Will it always be the one way street of aggression, abuse and occupation?  Clearly as long as we support them right or wrong there will not be.  Nancy Pelosi made me want to puke when she chimed in with her support of this atrocity that Israel is involved in now.  GW has given them a green light and is hiding out in Crawford doing, and what a surprise, nothing to mediate and bring about a cease fire.

I try not to write too much about Israel (Isis, Ra, El from this “monotheistic” religion) because the bile is too quick to rise in my throat.  The only upside to this recent act of aggression and brutality is that Hamas will gain support, Israel will be shown to be yet again just a rogue and brutish nation and the U.S.  again an accomplice to their murder and barbarity.  But there will be no penalty phase, no accountability and no reining in of the viscous and murderous Israelis.

They learned well from the Nazis because now the Israelis are like them.  They learned well from the lessons of the  Warsaw Ghetto and now apply them to the occupied territories.  They learned well from the Shoa and now murder with impunity their very own untermensch.

May the first nine of the ten plagues visit them soon…

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A Passing Note

December 30, 2008 1 comment


Meow.  Catwoman.

Eartha Kitt played Catwoman in the campy and totally dorky Batman TV series.  Normally the passing of entertainment personalities does not impact me.  I have, however, heard several interviews with Ms. Kitt and found her to be an inspiring person.  She passed away on Christmas this year and her meeting with Lady Bird Johnson got this write up in the Chicago Tribune:

Eartha Kitt: The Patriot Who Was Right All Along

….But the most direct and powerful anti-war statement of the period was delivered by singer Eartha Kitt at the height of her celebrity.

Kitt, the sultry singer of hits such as “Santa Baby” who died at 81 on Christmas, was, in 1968, an internationally acclaimed music star who had begun making major stage and screen appearances.

So it came as no great surprise when she was invited to a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson. But the first lady was surprised when she asked Kitt about the Vietnam War. “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed,” the singer told the first lady and the 50 other women at the luncheon. “They rebel in the street. They don’t want to go to school because they’re going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam.”

The first lady reportedly burst into tears. The president was furious. Kitt was blacklisted. She was investigated by the FBI and the CIA and ended up on the “enemies list” of Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon.

Kitt spent the next decade performing mostly in Europe until, in 1978—after a triumphal return to Broadway in the musical “Timbuktu!”—she was invited back to the White House by the great healing executive of the postwar era, Jimmy Carter.

Years later, Kitt recalled her White House visit in an interview with Esquire magazine, saying, “The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth—in a country that says you’re entitled to tell the truth—you get your face slapped and you get put out of work.”

Well, that sums up America fairly well.  We preach freedom but when it is excercised it really pisses us off.  At least some of us.  I read once that Jefferson had a guest from France waiting for him at the White House and when he finally received him the guest noticed with some astonishment that the salon where he waited contained newspapers from many places which contained negative commentary about Jefferson.  He asked him why he would allow such papers at his Capitol.  Jefferson said it was to show visitors such as him that America is the kind of place where one can criticize even the President without fear.

How far we’ve come.  The Dixie Chicks can attest to that.

But we remember Kitt as one of those remarkable Americans who was patriotic enough to speak truth to power. And she spoke in such a remarkable voice that it will linger far longer in our memory than those foolish politicians and misguided media moguls who were wrong about Vietnam—and wrong about Kitt.

And that’s the thing, too.  All of the suppressors of free speech, the complacent and complicit media, the elected officials, the alphabet agencies of anti democracy such as the FBI, CIA, DIA, NRO, NSA etc…they were and continue to be wrong about our wars and conflicts and the peoples reaction to them.  The pathetic bandwagon that was jumped on when Bush invaded Iraq and the efforts that were made to minimize and trivialize the massive world protests of February 15 2003 against the upcoming war, the “you’re with us or agin’ us” rhetoric from the White House…all wrong.  The many years that we were in Vietnam the voices of opposition were right.  The dogmatic defenders of idiocy and bad plans were wrong.

The voices that urged caution and restraint against Iraq, who had done NOTHING to us were ridiculed, suppressed, marginalized and drowned out.  It went to the point where protest themed music up to and including John Lennon’s Imagine could not even be played on the radio by self censoring corporate media.  GW’s press secretary Ari Fleischer even warned America that it had better watch what it said.  And got away with it:

Q As Commander-In-Chief, what was the President’s reaction to television’s Bill Maher, in his announcement that members of our Armed Forces who deal with missiles are cowards, while the armed terrorists who killed 6,000 unarmed are not cowards, for which Maher was briefly moved off a Washington television station?

MR. FLEISCHER: I have not discussed it with the President, one. I have —

Q Surely, as a —

MR. FLEISCHER: I’m getting there.

Q Surely as Commander, he was enraged at that, wasn’t he?

MR. FLEISCHER: I’m getting there, Les.

Q Okay.

MR. FLEISCHER: I’m aware of the press reports about what he said. I have not seen the actual transcript of the show itself. But assuming the press reports are right, it’s a terrible thing to say, and it unfortunate. And that’s why — there was an earlier question about has the President said anything to people in his own party — they’re reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.

Eartha Kitt.  Thanks for taking the opportunity when you had it to tell it like it was.


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Ya Tah He

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment


As the Navajo say… it was a good morning to get in my roadwork.  A  nice 46F and no breeze I got a little over three miles in and some shoulder work with weights afterwards.  I did some visualization of aiki techniques to Ravi Shankar (thanks Marcus for this) and now I am ready to go slay some dragons and rescue some damsels in distress.

I have an array of swords and was working with my long sword yesterday.  Before I started looking at European medieval sword work, I envisioned the long sword as a slow and cumbersome weapon.  Then I got introduced to ARMA and found that I could not have been more wrong.  Here is a clip of some practitioners:

You can see a wide variety of swords in use here.  These guys are diligently trying to learn and recreate swordwork of the medieval period.  I have learned that there is the same truths in all sword work.  Control of the center line, creating and seizing openings, utilizing the proper distnaces, and simple foot work.

I have found that the study of aikido and Japanese swordwork has helped me to understand and move well with the varied European swords.  I enjoy trying to figure out the way to move with the various swords and to sense the strategies and tactics that would be needed to use them efficiently.  I feel this helps my overall understanding of movement.  Movement is what aikido deals with and the techniques are just incidental.  The truths in movement are the same whether they be empty handed, with a katana, a long sword, a battle axe or a pole arm.

Today I think I will work with my scimitar.  It is nice and heavy and I like to pretend that I am battling Christian crusaders when I train with it.  Somehow that gives me satisfaction. : )

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We’re Taking the Short Yellow Bus…

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment


We seem to be having difficulty learning from past mistakes.  That R Us.

Try harder.  That’s the ticket…

Obama is about to go down the same road.  For what I don’t know.  Takin’ the short lil bus and drooling out the window we will continue to make the same mistakes.


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Truth and Reconciliation

December 28, 2008 Leave a comment


I have little hope that we would hold any real truth and reconciliation hearings here in the U.S.  They were quite successful in South Africa and they are proving to be so as well in Central and South America.  Without them, there is no full understanding and contextualization of the human and civil rights abuses that have been committed..  Also, the abscence of them allows for the implied consent for the next regime to continue them.   It appears that at least some people are trying to bring some truth and reconciliation to the abuses of Bush/Cheney and their cartel.

The Noose Tightens

Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and other top Bush officials could soon face legal jeopardy.

The United States, like many countries, has a bad habit of committing wartime excesses and an even worse record of accounting for them afterward. But a remarkable string of recent events suggests that may finally be changing—and that top Bush administration officials could soon face legal jeopardy for prisoner abuse committed under their watch in the war on terror.

In early December, in a highly unusual move, a federal court in New York agreed to rehear a lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft brought by a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar. (Arar was a victim of the administration’s extraordinary rendition program: he was seized by U.S. officials in 2002 while in transit through Kennedy Airport and deported to Syria, where he was tortured.) Then, on Dec. 15, the Supreme Court revived a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld by four Guantánamo detainees alleging abuse there—a reminder that the court, unlike the White House, will extend Constitutional protections to foreigners at Gitmo. Finally, in the same week the Senate Armed Service Committee, led by Carl Levin and John McCain, released a blistering report specifically blaming key administration figures for prisoner mistreatment and interrogation techniques that broke the law. The bipartisan report reads like a brief for the prosecution—calling, for example, Rumsfeld’s behavior a “direct cause” of abuse. Analysts say it gives a green light to prosecutors, and supplies them with political cover and factual ammunition.

I have seen the depth of the teflon protecting these thugs.  To think that a chunk of it has been removed and some accountability might be forthcoming  is an exciting prospect.  Of course, GW could pardon the lot of them including himself.   Still, there needs to be hearings to repudiate  what has gone on and hopefully raise our national consciousness and send warnings to future administrations.

I’m not holding my breath though….

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Time for Training

December 28, 2008 Leave a comment


I will be focusing on preparing for my last aikido test, sandan,  which will be in May.There have been a lot of delays in my being able to perform it due to work and injury.  The test will be in Montreal at the USAF Spring Camp at Aikido de la Montagne.  There are no more tests in aikido after sandan. I believe this will take time from my writing as I will be training during my normal writing time.  I am up and reading/writing at 0300 and that is the optimal time for me to get my road work and weight training in.  I will be doing a lot of sword work , too.  The sword leads the way for aikido techniques.

I have been practicing aikido since 1987 and Iaido since 1997.  They are both very interesting and challenging disciplines.  After a long time training the saying that “Aikdio is a feeling” makes sense.  As my sensei says, aikido is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.  The magic wand to higher levels of control and performance is everyday training.  That is a fantasy kill to a lot of would be practitioners.  Seen in movement aikido looks almost choreographed.  But that is because the attacker and the defender are connecting with each others centers and flowing with each other.  Also,there can be in some techniques an unseen drama being played as first the attacker becomes the defender as the defender becomes then the attacker, continued till one takes control.  Like a series of muscle cells firing from positive to negative and back again…and again.  And this daily practice enhances that “feeling” of connectivity.

There are millions of words written by many people in regard aikido.  It is something that must be done to understand, though.  The simple becomes the complex and the complex becomes the simple in aikido.  Moving your foot from point A to point B while moving through a technique and keeping ones structure intact is a challenge that takes a long time to conquer, simple as it is.  Intricate, flowing technique become simple when seen a series of basic movements where one moves from point A to point B while keeping ones structure intact…

Physics rule in aikido yet personalities manifest through it as well.  The living aspect of it allow one to have their technique be representative of ones self.  Big and open, sweeping and flowing or small and closed and short and direct. It can be  done with compassion and control or with bad intentions and no sense of ones self.  The latter do not last long in aikido I have found.  There is a saying in aikido, “now its my turn.”

So, I will be focusing on a lot of things in regard my training for the next five months and hopefully I will be able to still provide some input here as well for those of you that honor me with your presence.

The picture above is the technique Sankyo.  That basically means Third Technique, though waza is the word for technique.  I found the picture at Stefan Stenudd Sensei’s web page Aikido: The Peaceful Art.

Here is a nice clip of the man that I will be testing under, Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, the head of the USAF East.  His uke, or attacker is Donovan Waite Sensei, 7th Dan.

So, I hope my journey from now till my test is not too boring, but I will be writing about some of it as well as my social commentary.

Pax y amor a todos.

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