Category: Authors

Today, I Am the Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth

No, I’m not dying…well, not yet. A series of events have conflued and I am able to take an extended sabbatical from all forms of wage-earning to pursue some things in my personal and artistic life. I anticipate at least a month off, but more likely, I will be off work until the end of the year.

It’s a beautiful opportunity to write, shoot photos, dive and vacation, and release some of the stress that working some 40 years (since sophomore year of college) has built into my body. Mostly, I get to clean up the rat hole I live in and ride my bike to boot.

I’m excited and terrified, at the same moment. This is now on me. I don’t have a boss to complain about – the Bag of Salted Rat Dicks was fired, altho his tenure will outlast mine, but only by dint of some legal wrangling on his part – and while I don’t have a routine, I have to put one into place until I’m comfortable being busy doin’ nothin’, as the old Beach Boys tune put it.

As events have unfolded over the past four months, it seems more and more likely that I picked the perfect opportunity to walk out, because my suspicion is I would eventually have been carried out on my shield.

I paid attention, and the world told me what to do, is the message.

I’ll still be blogging, perhaps even more frequently and at more places. One cannot tell these things in advance. My first adventure awaits in two weeks, and then the looking glass is entered upon my return.

Wish me luck, gang!

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”…

Film director John Singleton grew up in a very different part of the country. But he remembers the effect Angelou’s poem “Still I rise” had on him as a kid. It begins:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

more at the links.

Welcome to the New Syria – Reprise

syriaflagThe destruction of Syria, in many forms, is proceeding according to plan and on time.  When the Western powers and their pals, the oil oligarchs, target your country, it’s time to run just as fast as you can.

I wrote Welcome to the New Syria on August 27, 2012.  Based on known events and outcomes from the UN-NATO military action against Libya, I offered a number of predictions about the governance of the New Syria presuming a victory by Syrian rebels.  At that time, the United States, Turkey, the United Kingdom, France and Gulf oligarchies, Qatar in particular, were full of themselves for their destruction of Libya in the name of democracy and progress.  Given the Libya template, it seemed obvious the following would occur in Syria.

Unfortunately, four of the six post-Assad predictions have come true even though the Syrian government retains power.   The predictions in the article are quoted below with italicized links.  The reporting demonstrates that even with the Syrian government in place, the rebels have done an exceptionally efficient job of inflicting horrors on those parts of the nation under their control.  Continue reading

Robert Parry asks – Should Cruise Missiles Target Saudis?

Over at ConsortiumNews.com, Robert Parry has done an outstanding job of covering the Syrian conflict.  He’s offered his Swiftian question is the spirit of intellectual honesty.  Saudi Arabia is a threat to peace based on the oil kingdom’s behavior in Syria and also with Russia’s President Vladamir Putin.

Bush, Bandar Meeting
Bush, Bandar 2002 Meeting

“September 23, 2013 Exclusive by Robert Parry: Saudi Arabia – confident in its leverage over energy and finance and emboldened by a de facto  regional alliance with Israel – is throwing its weight around with threats against Russia. But this muscle-flexing is drawing a tough reaction from President Putin, reports Robert Parry.

“All across Official Washington – from politicians to pundits – there has been much swaggering about the geopolitical value of threatening to bomb people as a way to extract concessions and enforce compliance. Think Syria on chemical weapons and Iran regarding its nuclear program. So, if that’s the case, maybe it’s time to put “on the table” a bombing threat against Saudi Arabia.

“It now appears that the primary obstacle to peace talks that could resolve the bloody Syrian civil war is the obstruction from al-Qaeda-connected jihadists who are beholden for their military and financial support to Saudi Arabia and other oil sheikdoms operating under Saudi Arabia’s political/diplomatic wing.” Should Cruise Missiles target Saudis, Robert Parry, August 22   Continue reading

Decline and Fall – Republicans to Uninsured – Drop Dead, Sensei Putin-Grasshopper Obama

Rep. Alan Grayson - Republicans to public - Drop Dead!
Rep. Alan Grayson – Republicans to public – Drop Dead!

We live in a nation ruled by a dimented power elite, aka The Money Party.  The Republican and Democratic wings of the party are showing more unity than ever lately as they both return to first cause solutions for domestic and foreign challenges – death on a large scale.

The Republicans spearhead the domestic die-off strategy.  Fifty million or so citizens are without health insurance.   In case anyone skipped class the day this was covered, here is the impact of no health care.  You get sick, suffer more, and die earlier without health care.  Since you need insurance to get health care, lack of health insurance promotes suffering and death.  So, here’s the Republican solution.

Continue reading

To win dirty war in Syria, Obama admin ignores Al Qaeda chemical weapons program

Al Qaeda has a chemical weapons program, revealed in a United States Attorney’s case, reported on CBS (see video).  This has real implications for the Obama administration’s Syria policy of supporting rebels that include Al Qaeda groups.  It also raises questions as to who perpetrated the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21.

In their rush to war, the Obama administration downplayed the importance and the numbers of Al Qaeda fighters involved in the attack on Syria. Kerry told Congress that Al Qaeda constitutes just 15% to 25% of the rebels attacking the Syrian government. That’s at odds with many  observers of the war who maintain Al Qaeda is the best performing fighting force among the rebels.  The dominance of Al Qaeda was demonstrated this week when the Al Nusra faction in Syria attacked and expelled the “good rebels” in the Turkish border town of Azaz.

The Obama administration just can’t admit that its strategy in Syria is a complete disaster.  As a result, facts like these go largely unmentioned:  Continue reading

U.S. and Russia in material breach of Chemical Weapons Convention

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Organization for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The United States and Russia missed the deadline for the destruction of their chemical weapons, April 29, 2012, required by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) treaty.   The U.S. reports destroying 90% of its chemical weapons and promises to complete the process by 2023.   Russia reports 57% of its stockpile destroyed and a promise to complete the process between 2015 and 2020.

Georgetown University law professor David A. Kaplow summarized the meaning of this noncompliance:

“[T]he ostentatious failure [to complete destruction on time] places the United States and Russia into a position of material breach of the CWC, even if their violations are not the result of bad faith or deception and even if the retained CW inventories carry little true military significance.”  David A, Kaplow, [Vol. 6:319 Journal of National Security Law & Policy, 6:319

Continue reading

The people spoke through the eloquence of unity on Syria

4thjulyI rejoice that America has resisted
William Pitt to Parliament, 1766

Sixteen years before the British gave up their war effort in the American colonies, William Pitt and others told King George III that he was absolutely wrong to kill and maim Americans seeking freedom. (Image)

Every day of every year from Pitt’s warning in 1766 through the end of the British effort in 1782 was wasted time for the people on each side of the Atlantic.  Lives and opportunities were lost.  The only beneficiaries were the war merchants and the insane monarch, George.  His madness was florid, without any restraint.

A leading newspaper characterized Parliament’s action in 1782 to stop funding the war as the end of “an offensive war in America, for the impracticible object of reducing the Colonies to obedience by force.”  Continue reading

We are not shown the ‘slam dunk’ Syria intel because it is not there

Magical mystery tour of 'slam dunk' blame Syria intel
Magical mystery tour of ‘slam dunk’ blame Syria intel

Robert Parry is an outstanding researcher and reporter.  His site, ConsortiumNews.com is a great source of information.  He has a devastating analysis piece out on the Obama administration claims of decisive evidence against the Syrian government.  If you want a well reasoned narrative of what may turn into the scandal of the new century, I would recommend this article.

“One intelligence source told me, after President Barack Obama’s Tuesday night speech on Syria, that the reason for the unreasonable secrecy should be obvious by now: that the evidence would not withstand scrutiny. He said it is viewed as flimsy even by some of the CIA analysts involved.  Continue reading

Colbert Rapport Report

Allegedly Michael Collins in line for Colbert Reort
Allegedly Michael Collins in line for Colbert Reort

Colbert and Jon Stuart are my Mecca and Medina.  So, I was naturally more than willing to head for New York City at 6am yesterday for a ticket to Monday night’s taping of the Colbert Report (aired 7pm tonight, 11pm last night).  It was well worth it highly recommended.   The whole operation is very professional and it all leads up to entering the studio to see the master.  We, the audience, were informed that we’re the other key element that makes the show work.  Colbert is a solo performer and “feeds” off of the audience.  So, the message was cheer and laugh your hearts out.  We value appearance over substance — cheer wildly so Stephen is in the right mood.   It was more fun than I’ve had in months.  Watching them put the show together was a real treat.

Syrian Conflict Action Plan  The Real Reagan

It’s happening, the House leans strong against Syria attack authorization

What news goes forth from the capital?

As we slip and slide toward another violation of international law, the only hope is that “the people’s House” will reflect the true will of the overwhelming public opposition to the attack on Syria.Michael Collins, 9/5 
From Think Progress Whip Count at this link
From Think Progress Whip Count at this link


As members of Congress consider President Obama’s request to authorize military force in Syria, following evidence that President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons killed over 1,400 people, a ThinkProgress analysis of the public statements of 407 Representatives found that 213 lawmakers have either decisively ruled out supporting the measure or say they are unlikely to back it. Just 44 of the 400 members of the House of Representatives said they will definitely or likely vote in favor or the resolution.”  Think Progress, September 5

“I didn’t join the Navy to fight for Al Qaeda in a Syrian Civil War”

When the attacks on Christians by Al Qaeda and other jihadist fighters in Syria come to the forefront, it will be nearly impossible to vote for the president’s authorization.

Alleged image of military protest
Alleged image of military protest

Business Insider just published this image along with two others that alledgly show military personnel protesting the proposed Syrian attack.   The provenance of these images is important.  However, the larger point is clear.

The Achilles heel of the administrations authorization request is the alignment of Al Qaeda fighters with the Syrian rebels, the Free Syrian Army (FSA).  It makes no sense to just about anyone.  Why would we support any rebel group that was aligned with Al Qaeda?   Republicans in the House will divide over this issue and Democrats will join Republicans on this point and the larger issue of military aggression as a tool of perpetual imperialism.

The Al Qaeda issue should have surfaced in the NATO attack on Libya.  Prior to the insurrection in that country, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (2007) identified Al Qaeda’s affiliation of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LGIF).  The LGIF was the dominant force in the Libyan insurrection.  That’s why Gadaffi said Al Qaeda was leading the attack on his regime: “Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s leader, has said that al-Qaeda is responsible for the uprising against him, amid attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces against anti-government protesters in several cities.”  Guess what, he was largely correct.   Continue reading

Approval of Syria Attack by Congress – No Slam Dunk

While the al-Qaeda-allied Syrian rebels murder Christians and desecrate churches, Pres. Obama sends them weapons to continue their rampage—all while the President fights to restrict Americans’ gun rights here at home and treats all Americans as terror suspects who must be constantly spied on. Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), June 15 at 2:40pm

Secretary of State John (Shock & Awe) Kerry - less than a "slam dunk"
Secretary of State John (Shock & Awe) Kerry – less than a “slam dunk”

Congressional approval of the Obama administration attack on Syria is no slam dunk.  McClatchy News cited the concerns of Rep. Peter King (R-NY) who said, “If the vote were held today, it would probably be a ‘no’ vote”

The mood of the House of Representatives was reflected in two open letters to President Obama

Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent the president an open letter urging caution on Syria, stressing the requirement for congressional approval,  and arguing that the administration should work through the United Nations.  Fifty-three liberal Democrats signed it.   Republican Rep.  Scott Rigell (R-VA) sent an open letter to the president stating the requirement for congressional approval prior to any military action in Syria.   One hundred and forty members of Congress signed the letter.  Twelve signatories were Democrats who also signed the letter from Rep. Lee.  Continue reading

Does Obama have Evidence to Blame Syria for Chemical Weapons Attack?

doubtThe intelligence assessment sent to Congress by President Obama supports the president’s request that Congress authorize military action against Syria.  The assessment consists of a series of assertions about evidence available without any display of that evidence.  The materials are “classified,” according to the document.  That means we won’t see the evidence.  It also means that Congress can’t investigate or debate the quality and reliability of the evidence in public since that would reveal classified information.

Since the chemical incident on August 21, the White House has argued with increasing confidence that the Syrian government was responsible for initiating the attack.

Continue reading

‘Insider Threats’ Sabotage Obama’s Syria Attack

cruise2As he prepares to launch cruise missiles against the sovereign state that poses no threat to the United States, President Barack Obama’s administration is spouting leaks of major proportion. (Image)

The Associate Press reports that

“… multiple U.S. officials used the phrase “not a slam dunk” to describe the intelligence picture —  a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a ‘slam dunk’ — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.”  Associated Press, August 29

President Obama couldn’t launch even one cruise missile before multiple U.S. officials began undermining the intelligence report that was to form the basis for confidence in military action against the Syrian government.
Continue reading