Thursday, February 20, 2014


States that are "Anti the American ideal" are ones with large & powerful unions in them, because unions are communistic, socialistic, and yucky and we don't want them hia.

Letters come from down in Bam, all the way from Birmingham, and everywhere that Uncle Sam has rural free delivery, and they all say "Remington Firearms, send us your poor, your desperate, suckers and badass who will do anything for a job. States and municipalities down hia pave the way for good relations between bidness and labor.

The tendency, in the dreadful, potentially violent, anti-government atmosphere currently prevailing in this country is away from unions, or any kind of protection for workers at all. Welcome to 21st century neo-feudalism, and serfin' USA.

Proud 2 b a venusian

Am I proud to be American? Not particularly, but I'm not ashamed of it either.

I am proud of some of the accomplishments of our gov't, particularly the civil rights legislation of '64 & '65', which came just as we were making a wrong turn toward Vietnam.

I can't imagine being that proud again unless & until we hang a youie and go back to that spot, & take a different direction.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Unions make very easy targets. In countries with military dictatorships the union guys might as well walk around with bullseyes painted on their backs.

Of coarse, we're not like that in this country ´cause we have checks and balances. The corporate branch of government balances the military branch, and the other part, the part that used to be called the government just is there for comic relief mostly.

Anyway, it´s textbook fascism, dressed up all technocratic and wise, but with a deep seated grudge against labor unions, which are a potential political workers´ movement. The animosity of our rulers to organized, militant, and politicaly demanding workers can break into violence or ooze into blanket survellance at the drop of a beany.

The USA today has an exceptionally bad and stinking government, as was pointed out this week by Dmitry Orlov, in which a decrepit, 18th-century plan of government has been peverted into the sole task of legitimizing privilege, and institutionalizing violence.

Begin with a congress founded on corruption, where the legislators enact laws written by lobbyists which run thousands of pages, which no one, least of all Joe Congressman, can read or understand.
Naturally, nearly all this legislation tneds to shore up the status quo, and leave things exactly as they are. As a result, the president of the US, Barack Hussein Obama, has announced he´ll begin ruling by decree (called an "executive order" or some such in the jargon), the natural response of a competent executive to a moribund legislature.

So, there went your Constitution. Thanks for nuthin, Congressfolks.
Now, who´s gonna stand up for working people?
You know, I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night standin in the prison yard,
And he was goin up the very next day to face a Utah firin squad.
Joe said ¨They framed me on that murder charge, and you know I wouldn´t lie to you,
But the only thing that Joe Hill ever done was three chords and the truth."

Three chords and the truth, three chords, and the truth,
Well the only thing Joe Hill ever done was three chords and the truth.
Well he sang his good old union songs and he got his message through,
And it´s a cryin shame what they done to him for three chords and the truth.

Ry Cooder
"Three Chords and the Truth"

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I must bid my readers adios, at least for a while, as I don't like a number of things that are happening about the internets at all.

Monday, January 13, 2014

afghan war rugs

Afghan war rugs are made in refugee camps in Pakistan, settled by Afghanis fleeing the war which has consumed their land for generations now. The rugs combine centuries-old techniques and materials with the reality of contemporary warfare Afghanis experienced in their daily lives. The image here could easily be a 21st-century tarot card.

A beautiful border with 28 hand-stitched hand grenades encloses more grenades, stinger missiles, and three tanks as well as three helicopters, an automatic pistol firing a round, and the inevitable Kalashnikov rifle.

This picture is also a document, an indictment of the powers that have made that war

First published on June 16, 2011, at

Saturday, January 11, 2014

tim the baptist

Timothy Francis Leary was born

In the 28th year of what today we call the current era (formerly known as AD, or Anno Domini, "the year of our Lord"), a strange figure appeared in Palestine. He came out of the desert wearing animal skins, eating only grasshoppers and wild honey -- no bread, and no wine -- and began preaching and baptizing people in the Jordan River.

John the Baptist's message was clear and simple: the end was near, and the people of Judea needed to cleanse themselves of the corruption and materialism of the times, and prepare to meet their maker in a state of purity and innocence.

The ministry of the Baptist had a political as well as a spiritual aspect, since the land of Palestine was occupied by the Romans, who, in the view of the Jewish subjects, had imported the corrupt practices and impious attitudes which infected heir daily lives and their holy temple in Jerusalem.

In the one-thousandth and sixty-fourth year CE, another bizarre preacher arose, this time in the United States, the seat of a mighty empire, and at the time the most powerful nation on earth, just as the Romans had been in their time. Abjuring the comfortable life of a tenured professor at a prestigious university, Timothy Leary baptized his fellow citizens not with water, but with a few hundred micrograms -- not milligrams but micro-grams -- of lysergic acid diethylamide. LSD, the baptismal substitute for water and sacramental meal combined, produced ecstatic visions and intense, frenzied states of mind in the converts to the new faith.

Both men sought to induce a new way of seeing the world in the converts who flocked to them. Both were revolutionaries whose disgust with and contempt for the established order of society was mitigated by the realization that overthrowing the system was impossible, due to its overwhelming strength and universal reach. And both sought to effect an undermining of the establishment through a program of individual liberation.

For both these singular men, the spiritual regimens they prescribed were vague, unfocused, and not completely worked out. Individuals were left to find their own definitions of the better life, free of the corruption and the shallow, childish materialism that characterized the cultures of both eras.

John had grown to manhood in a Judea where the highest priest of the Jewish cult performed daily sacrifices to the Roman Emperor, in the holy temple itself. Jews were required to pay tribute to this human being, who demanded of his subjects that they worship him as a god. Timothy's world was dominated by a war machine which even as he appeared was gearing up to invade a small country in southeast Asia, and this infernal machine's operators demanded the absolute allegiance and half the tax revenue of a cowed and baffled population.

Two prophets, coming of age in societies very different from one another, but experiencing similar manifestations of degeneracy, arrived at similar conclusions. Considering the overwhelming strength of the corrupted established orders they opposed, the only means of revolution open to people who saw things clearly had to be intensely personal.

"Already, the ax is laid at the root of the tree," John warned his listeners, "and every tree which does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." That part of the message was clear -- you'd better get right with God and bear good fruit, because God is coming, and boy, is he pissed!

"Turn on, tune in, drop out," Timothy advised, and the unspoken part of the message was that those failing to see things as they truly are would suffer grievously in the time to come.

Both prophets attracted many followers, but the huge majorities of the subjects of both Roman Palestine and the Pentagon either ignored them, or greeted the news of their coming with hostility, derision and contempt. For those of us who received the message, there is a certain satisfaction, imbued with a heavy dose of sang-froid , in watching the dissolution of those forces against which the prophets feebly arrayed themselves, only to triumph in the end.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

money money money money money

A recent conversation at my favorite political discussion board went like this:

Jan 6, 2014 -- 7:35AM, Bodean wrote:

You do know that Bill Gates is a HUGE Democrat, with ties to the UN, and is the primary funding source for implementing Common Core in the US, which is an education system designed to dumb down the US public so to gain acceptance of Liberal Ideology.
So much for the constant lie of "GOP.. party for the rich".  Of course, you guys already know that is B.S. ... you just say it because that is what you are told to say.


I wouldn't call him a HUGE Democrat, but he is a Democrat with some liberal tendencies. So's his old man, the rich Seattle attorney.
Likewise, I seriously doubt that Common Core is "designed to dumb down the US public."

As for the rest of the bullshit here, a few months ago I consulted Forbes Magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans, then researched the political money each of them gave, and to what party. It took a lot of hours, and I published the results here.

I can see my work had a tremendous effect on the wingers who screech here about how most of the super rich are Democrats.
What I found was that a surprising number of the super rich ARE Democrats -- something like 45 percent. However, the political dollars donated in the US are overwhelmingly Republican, starting with the Brothers Koch (Charles, at left above, and David, right) whose contributions in support of fascist politics and corporate dictatorship dwarf everyone else's.

Facts don't mean much on this board, however, and for our winger platoon, if the facts conflict with the ideology, the ideology always wins.

I'll no longer spend hours collecting the facts to refute these egregious lies. I might spend five hours working to find the truth, post it here, and the next day the jackasses will be back braying the same party line.

It's positively enough to gag a maggot.

(Illustration by DonkeyHotey; schnorred from Charlie Pierce's politics blog at

Saturday, January 04, 2014

tj faulkner's all-white blues band

(Originally published here on October 6, 2007.)

We were a garage band without the garage.

The guitarist David Higginbotham e-mailed me earlier today and asked me to recall and write down everything I could about a bizarre chapter in our lives, a short-lived association with an improvised and seat-of-the-pants blues band we were part of in San Francisco forty years ago. Its official name was Mother Blue, but I always thought of it as T.J. Faulkner's All-White Blues Band.

In 1968 I was working the sandwich counter at a well-established, sleazy, and sometimes frightening dive on Upper Grant in North Beach, the Coffee Gallery. T.J. Faulkner was one of the local musicians who played there frequently for a chance to pass the hat. T.J. was tall and emaciated, with sandy blonde hair and huge John Lennon-style glasses which constantly slid down his nose. He played only slide guitar and always in the key of open D, usually the Roll and Tumble Blues, an old Delta standby, and often the first tune young kids in Mississippi learning that style try to imitate. His guitar sounded kind of like farm machinery, and his vocal style was that of a man whose feet hurt. It was definitely bluesy, and boozy.

I don't know how T.J. got wind of the fact that I knew how to play drums (although I hadn't played or owned a kit for six years). Probably my girlfriend, a plump, pretty, black-haired Jewish girl just arrived on the west coast from New York City, told him. She was always trying to promote me, even after we were married and she knew better.

T.J. introduced me to his partner, a harmonica player named Albert Ponzi who performed under the stage name Albert Rush. He had a fat wife whom he loved passionately, and was a mild and harmless person. I offered to rent a kit and show up for a rehearsal, and when I did I was surprised to discover that I could play as well as I had when I stopped drumming, six years earlier, as if I'd never missed a day.

We rehearsed, amazingly enough, in T.J.'s second-floor San Francisco apartment, and even more amazingly, never got any noise complaints, even though rehearsals were frequent and amplified. We'd show up at about ten in the morning to be greeted by T.J., trembling and shaking from heavy drinking the night before, trying to roll a cigarette and scattering Top tobacco all over the place. Then he'd give one of us fifty cents to go downstairs to the corner store to get him a quart of beer. It was the only way he could steady himself enough to play. I remember the ritual well -- a puff on the cigarette, simultaneously pushing his glasses up to the bridge of his nose, then a quick swig on the quart bottle.

T.J. lived with his wife, a pretty woman with a shriveled leg and a perpetually fear-stricken look on her face, as if catastrophe was about to strike at any moment. She seemed to consider it her lot in life to be living with an alcoholic street singer.

There were four of us. I never figured out how we secured the services of David Higginbotham, a young, blonde, neat and fastidious North Beach hippie who managed to give the group a fairly fat sound. He played a conventional guitar -- a Telecaster I think -- with a heavy emphasis on the bass strings, to compensate for our lack of a bass player.

Our first job (if you could call it that -- we mostly played for free beer, which was fine with T.J.) was at an all-black bar across the street from the Cow Palace. That was a nerve wracking night, but it actually came off pretty well. We had about 20 songs, about half of which were variations of the Roll and Tumble Blues. We also covered "No Expectations" by the Rolling Stones, and Robert Johnson's "Walking Blues," as well as an obscure twelve-bar goodie called "Duckin' and Dodgin'" by an obscure prison singer, Hog Man Maxie. The name was soon applied to David the guitarist, whom T.J. ever after referred to as Hog Man Higgins. Probably our best songs were covers of Savoy Brown's version of "Shake 'Em on Down" and Bo Diddley's "Don't Let it Go."

After the Cow Palace job we had another beer gig in Berkeley, and then a job that actually turned into something down in Palo Alto. By that time we had an ersatz manager named Jim Rose, and when he saw a film crew shooting in the Palo Alto bar while were playing, he cornered the guy in charge and shook him down. We got about 50 bucks apiece that night.

There were also a couple of bass players, but they didn't last. One guy showed up for rehearsal, sang and played well, and obviously felt like he was better than the group, which he was. He came along for a free-beer matinee Rose fixed up for us at a little bar in Bernal Heights, and sang about half the tunes. Afterward, T.J. accused him of "trying to take over," and that was the end of him.

About this time the three-month rental on my little three-drum, one-cymbal kit was up, and I'd had enough of T.J.'s delicate condition. Whenever we played, we'd always have to get enough alcohol into him so that he'd stop twitching and be able to play fluently, then work to keep him from downing so much that he ended up on his lips. He also fought with his poor wife a lot, and the drama was beginning to get on everyone's nerves. Plus I'd just been indicted for refusing the draft and I was expecting to go to jail soon for a fairly long stretch.

I never did go to prison (I was eventually acquitted), but I was glad to be done with T.J. Faulkner's All-White Blues Band just the same. I didn't lose contact with Higginbotham (we were practically neighbors) and later on he and I were together in even stranger adventures. But that's another story.