Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yes. I will dance with the devil. The United States democracy must be attacked and overthrown.

Shall we dance with the devil?

"New Snowden Leak: NSA Program Taps All You Do Online."

You've never heard of XKeyscore, but it definitely knows you. The National Security Agency's top-secret program essentially makes available everything you've ever done on the Internet — browsing history, searches, content of your emails, online chats, even your metadata — all at the tap of the keyboard.
This latest revelation comes from XKeyscore training materials, which Snowden also provided to The Guardian. The NSA sums up the program best: XKeyscore is its "widest reaching" system for developing intelligence from the Internet.
The program gives analysts the ability to search through the entire database of your information without any prior authorization — no warrant, no court clearance, no signature on a dotted line. An analyst must simply complete a simple onscreen form, and seconds later, your online history is no longer private. The agency claims that XKeyscore covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet."
-CNN, from The Guardian.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I will say that there certainly is a lot of porn on tumblr. And red, the color red, there is a lot of red. Red seems to be the unofficial official color on tumblr.

Manning Found Not Guilty of Aiding Enemy, Convicted of Espionage, Theft.

Bradley Manning, the U.S. private charged over giving hundreds of thousands of pages of documents to Wikileaks, was acquitted today by a military judge of the most serious charge. The decision was a stunning rebuke to the U.S. government and certainly is comfort to Edward Snowden.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Private Occurrences

I almost wrote this post a couple of times today but chickened out each time. I took my sleeping pill about a half-hour ago and sometimes that addles my thinking but I'm going to do it anyway. Hu-humph...Okay, here goes. Today is a very special day in my life. Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Do you remember the exact date? Today, July 29, was the date for me. Long ago, when I was nineteen. I think of B today and tonight, not with longing, or regret, but as the first, and the most unfamiliar and the most intense, all characteristic of First Love. It was the most transcendent experience of my life. I have never forgotten and I will never forget July 29.

Riots in Los Angeles.

There were riots in Los Angeles yesterday.


Cops and everything.

You know what they were rioting over? The "US Open of Surfing."

Would I make that up?

L.A.'s weird, man.
Hasn't been much writin' here lately, just a lotta pitchers.

I am amazed at the number of high quality photographs on the various Tumblr subsites. When Dr. Mo sent me the Flickr photos I became curious. There was some problem with Flickr though, I couldn't save the photos or something, so I googled something like "21st century art photography." There were a bunch of great photos on Tumblr sites. The first site I saved was Ruines Humaines, that was the source for the photograph of the white painted woman posted here on July 18.  That is not a photograph of a painting; the model was painted and then photographed. Since then, I have spent hours and hours, I don't know how many, enough that my thumb joints ache from scrolling on my iPhone, going from site to site discovering the most extraordinary photographs. It led to the daily 11:00 p.m posts. There are times I will be on a site and moan audibly at some gorgeous photo. Look at that photograph of the Blue Grotto! A couple of months ago I looked at dozens of photos of the Blue Grotto and couldn't find one that was IT. Found it on Tumblr, along with those of July 18, 20, 21, 22, and 24. There are so many great photographs on Tumblr I have pre-set the 11:00 posts through August 10 already! Can't wait for you to see them.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

By the pale moonlight.
Dance...Dance! with the devil.

This is an important day in rock history. Mick Jagger is 70. That is amazing.

This is an important day in Fidel Castro's Cuba. Sixty years ago, Castro's band of rebels attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago. They failed, and the survivors fled. Six years later the 26th of July Movement succeeded and Fulgencio Batista fled. Castro became leader of the country and soon dictator. I have been to the Moncada Barracks museum in Santiago. I have seen Abel Santa Maria's blood-stained uniform. Very moving.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I was listening to a country music station on the radio when this song came on:

Don't my baby look good in them blue jeans
Tight on the top with a belly button ring
A little tattoo somewhere in between she only shows to me
Yeah we're goin' out dancin' she's ready tonight
So damn good lookin' boys it ain't even right

Adorable, right? I was smiling.

And when the bartender says for the lady
What's it gonna be... I tell him man..

She ain't in to wine and roses
Beer just makes her turn up her nose and

I didn't know where the song was going here, though. Can you be a southern girl and "turn up your nose at beer!"  "Is she going to be a tee toteler?" I thought. 

She can't stand the thought of sipping champagne
No Cuervo, gold margaritas
Just ain't enough good burn in tequila
She needs somethin' with a little more edge
And a little more pain
She's my little whiskey girl, 

I laughed out loud. Country music is funnier than pop or rock. It is less serious, less melodramatic, less affected. Southerners don't take themselves as seriously as do Northerners.  (I bet there are fewer bloggers in the American South than in the North, too.).  I remember reading Bell Wiley describe the difference between the the CSA soldier and the USA soldier from their Civil War letters. Both were endearing, Billy Yank was clearly smarter, but Johnny Reb was less affected, his letters were more emotionally sincere for their semi-literacy, the longing for home, for their girlfriends and wives, was  expressed more charmingly, funnier. You can't find a pop/rock song more charming and funnier than this. Enjoy the rest of Toby Keith's lyrics to "Whiskey girl:"

She's my little whiskey girl
My ragged on the edges girl, ah but I like em rough

Baby got a '69 mustang
Four on the floor and you oughtta hear the pipes ring
I jump behind the wheel and it's a way we go
Hey I drive too fast but she don't care
Blue bandana tied all up in her hair, just sittin there
Singin' every song on the radio

She ain't in to wine and roses
Beer just makes her turn up her nose and
She can't stand the thought of sipping champagne
No Cuervo, gold margaritas
Just ain't enough good burn in tequila
She needs somethin' with a little more edge
And a little more pain
She's my little whiskey girl, she's my little whiskey girl
My ragged on the edges girl, ah but I like em rough

She's my little whiskey girl, she's my little whiskey girl
My ragged on the edges girl, ah but I like em rough

That's President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, there. The president, 89 years old shaved his head in support of the two year old leukemia patient sitting on his lap. What a nice man. When President Bush was a boy his nickname was "have-half."  Why?  Because he was so generous. For example, when someone would say "What you're eating looks good?"  he'd say "Here, have half." I used that as an example to my own little boy: "Son, that's our president who did that."  His whole life has been devoted to public service. The whole family, too. Just nice, nice people. 

My God. Eighty people are now dead in a train derailment in Spain, outside the city of Santiago de Compostela. Ninety-five additional are in hospitals, thirty-six in critical condition. The accident happened at 8:41 pm local time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Strange Case of Anthony Weiner.

It is great sexual thrill for Anthony Weiner to send explicit text message photographs of himself to women not his wife. That is the .com era's variant on the sexual fetish of exhibitionism.  When Mr. Weiner's fetish first came to public attention he was a member of the United States House of Representatives.  He resigned. He underwent counseling. After only about a year he reentered politics, announcing his candidacy for mayor of New York City. He continued sexting. That is obsessive-compulsive. It is masochistic and, with regard to his wife, sadistic. There is pleasure for some in pain. Mr. Weiner's sext name was "Carlos Danger."

The case of Anthony Weiner is strange, and to this wanderer unfamiliar, variation on Henry Kissinger's maxim that "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac" for it seems it is fame rather than power that is Mr. Weiner's aphrodisiac. The thrill is proportional to the danger.

A flasher needs an audience. The danger that Mr. Weiner thrills to seek is public, the humiliation that he courts is public. These are social fetishes. Mr. Weiner's sexual partners are the people of New York City.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Eleven, twelve, thirteen are dead today alone in continued factional fighting in Egypt. How long has it been since the coup, July 3? Maybe it's not a coup. Maybe it's a civil war.

Monday, July 22, 2013


You mothers.


Arright, now this is not funny, don't laugh!...Yes it is. Take a look at this traffic video from Ma'anshan, Anhui province, sent courtesy of Dr. Mo. This is a father and son! The cars look they're trying to mate at first until dad gets a demolition derby hit on sonnie at the end. Dad then gets out of his car and chases his son with a belt! It is absurd!  Notice also how the TV report focuses repeatedly on the cars on the flatbeds after the crash, emphasizing that these are luxury cars, a Mercedes and a Beemer. "Wealth has its privileges" in officially communist China and that burns everyday Chinese. Anhui province is "real" China. It was largely rural, the setting for Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth," terribly poor, one of the areas hardest hit by the Great Leap famine. The powerful have abused Anhui for centuries. That this outrageous behavior of the wealthy occurred in Anhui is all the more galling to residents. My thanks to Dr. Mo.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'm thinking of Barack Obama today and the word that keeps coming up in my mind is "empathy." The man has got great empathy. He made me feel last week; he has made Chris Cristie feel. I thought, "Isn't empathy the most important quality in leadership?" And then, history racing through my head, I thought, "No." Is it in moral leadership? Yes, maybe, but we're talking about Barack Obama, the president of the United States, we're talking about political leadership here so I didn't think anymore about moral leadership. What are the important traits of great political leadership, is empathy one of them, does Barack Obama have any of them and to what extent, how would one characterize his leadership ability?

There's a book, Leadership, by James MacGregor Burns, I think, I read it years ago, it's on my bookshelf now as I write, but I don't remember much about it which is why I said "I think" it's by MacGregor Burns--I do remember "transformational"--and I am not going to take it down off my bookshelf yet. First, I'm going to "wing it," which is what I think Obama does, and consult Leadership later. I don't think Obama is a great political leader, that's the bias I start with but let's answer some of those questions and reevaluate.

"Important traits of great political leadership." History racing through my head as it was shortly ago, I thought, "Great leaders, great leaders," and then immediately thought, "Hitler," and then "Mao," not good leaders obviously, two hideously evil, immoral leaders, "great" as used here not as the superlative of "good" but sort of as the superlative of "big," like, I don't know, "The Great Smokey Mountains," which is the first thing that popped into my head maybe because I've been there, there being nothing morally "good" about mountains, they just "are,"  there being nothing "great" actually about The Great Smokies to me, it's just a name, an inapposite example that I wish hadn't been the first thing that popped into my head. "Great:" other examples, "The Great Seal of the United States." Goddamn it. "The Great Leap Forward," "The Great Hall of the People," "The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution," yes, "great" more like that, BIG things, movements, auditoria. "Powerful," not auditoria, but movements, people. "Great" as in "powerful" leaders. Thought of this way, "great" is almost synonymous with dictators like Mao and Hitler since dictators are always going to be more powerful than democrats unless democrats have the NSA. He-he-he, snuck that one in there before you knew it, didn't I, he-he-he. Thought of that way, maybe "great" isn't what we want to measure Obama by or against. Maybe there's another word more apposite to democratic leadership. Maybe "transformational," the only thing I can recall from Leadership, but I'm not clear on what that means, "transforming" the country I think, but that was exactly why I immediately thought of Hitler and Mao when I thought of "great," because they certainly "transformed" their countries didn't they, whooo doggie, they sort of created their countries, "created" here used as a superlative of "transformed." So I think I'm going to stick with "great" with the understanding that we're talking about democratic leaders and because "great" is more understandable than "transformational," with the understanding that we're not talking about mountains, seals, auditoria and like that.

I think "will" is an important character trait of great democratic leadership. "Will" as used here means to get what you want, not just to try, but to get it. You can't be a great leader just by trying, you have to win. You have to "work your will," use the "bully pulpit," you have to force, in a democratic kind of way, other people to go along with you, to "follow the leader." You can do that by moral suasion, by eloquence, but you must win and I think you're going to have to be "forceful:" intimidating, threatening, charming, promising, bribing (in an "honest graft" kind of way), begging, groveling, lying, to work your will and be a great democratic leader.

You have to know what you want before you can will it, right? That goes without saying although I said it. You have to have an "agenda." You have to consciously decide, "This is what I want." And then, "By God, I'm going to get it." Barack Obama has not worked his will on America. He cannot will the Republican Congress to do anything. Obama also reacts, that is, he has not set and pushed an agenda, his agenda, and that is because he does not deeply feel about many issues. In that sense, he lacks empathy, in addition to will. On that component of greatness, Barack Obama is lacking. He's a good man, though.


"The full picture won't be ready for several weeks."-LA-LA Times.

In other exciting science news a blob of tar pitch really. The "experiment" was set up in 1944. It finally happened this week. Now it can be used to measure the length of time it takes Barack Obama to make a decision.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Hey Saturn!...

I'm going back outside.

Here's your smile Saturn.
"Give Saturn the finger!"  "Give Cassini the finger!"
Screw them.


I'm going back inside. My frigging mouth hurts.


NASA, let me ask you something, okay: Where's the frigging pic? 


This one's called the "Cassini Wave." I can tell it's not taken from Saturn because it's not an "above" shot, it's a "ground-level" shot. 


That's not from Saturn, right? Duh. Well, it's called the "Saturn Wave!"  How the hell do I know; I don't know what they're capable of. Jesus Christ. Friggin' "Saturn Wave." 


It was supposed to be yesterday. Where's the pic?

"Smile! Cassini Wants to Take Your Picture."-USA Today.

This has been a headline for three days. I thought it was supposed to be last night? When the hell are they going to do this thing, I've been standing outside smiling at the sky.  The neighbors are going to call the cops.
Alexei Navalny was freed on bail pending appeal last week. Here is the url to his blog:
It was not so much happiness that I sought in the future as the infinite effort to attain it, and in my mind I already confounded happiness with virtue.
You are wrong, dear, I do not need so much happiness. Are we not happy enough as we are?

-Gide, "Strait is the Gate" (1909).

Friday, July 19, 2013

President Obama's Remarks on Trayvon Martin.

This was a significant day in American history.

President Obama's Remarks on Trayvon Martin.

That's a good thing. It is good to feel others pain. When you're at a distance--like the guys on the mountains--you can see better (When there are no clouds!) but you can't feel as well. Right? That's what we mean when we say we are at a remove from something. Earlier today, I was doing a little personal research and I ran across this image:
General Lee had a comprehensive view (no clouds) of the battlefield at Fredericksburg through his field glasses. I had never seen an image of this moment before but I know of the moment. Lee turned to Stonewall Jackson, I presume the bearded figure behind and to Lee's left, and said "It is well that war is so awful, we should grow too fond of it." It's a famous statement. I think it is interpreted as Lee paying tribute to the valor of the United States soldiers. I always interpreted it as one of the coldest, most unfeeling statements I ever read for down on that battlefield thousands of U.S. soldiers were being slaughtered in wave after wave of futile, senseless charges against a stone wall (not the Stonewall) and among those being slaughtered was one of my relatives. I personalized Fredericksburg.

It is a good thing to feel others pain. I think that the president and the attorney general were right to personalize the Trayvon Martin case this week.* As we let our "better angels" speak to us more, as we move toward "a more perfect union" we Americans wish to be a more "color-blind" society. We wish for beclouded vision. But we are a "colorful" society. You can feel without seeing only when? What is the one circumstance when you can feel without seeing: when the pain is inflicted upon you personally, right? The president and the attorney general were not color-blind this week, they did not wish for a color-blind America this week. They wanted white Americans to see so we could feel the pain of black Americans. For the first time in a long time I saw President Obama and General Holder as black men this week, and felt more than I had before their pain and the pain of black people with this case. It was reminder, to me at least, that they are not "just" the president and the attorney general, that they are Barack Obama and Eric Holder, with their own histories and personal experiences and joys and pains. And race. I think that that is good too. A color-blind society cannot feel as much as a color-beclouded society can.

*I do not feel it was right for the president to personalize it, as he did, before the trial because that could have affected the jury. The jury needed to be at a remove from presidential influence.

President Obama's Remarks on Trayvon Martin.

There is one other time I recall seeing President Obama in pain. It was during the last presidential campaign. He was holding a "town hall meeting."  And a little African-American boy asked him "Why do people hate you?"  I can still see the look on the president's face as he began answering that question, turning his face away from the boy and addressing the entire audience. I saw that look today when I watched the video.

This case is personal for the president, as it is personal for General Holder. As it is for the African-American community generally. The case is not personal for me, a white man. I am not in pain. The president and the attorney general made me "feel their pain." 

President Obama's Remarks on Trayvon Martin.

What an extraordinary moment in America. In American history, in the history of the presidency. 

President Obama's Remarks on Trayvon Martin.

Pain. My recollection is he used that word twice. The president of the United States is in pain. What an extraordinary thing to see and hear. 

President Obama's Remarks on Trayvon Martin.

What an extraordinary moment. 

President Obama's Remarks on Trayvon Martin.

Extraordinary. I have read the transcript.

Q: Hello.

President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press briefing today.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That’s so -- that’s so disappointing, man. Jay, is this kind of -- the kind of respect that you get? (Laughter.)

Q: Wake up!

Q: What brings you out here, Mr. --

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, on -- on -- on television it usually looks like you’re addressing a full room.

Q: (Laughs.) It’s just a mirage.

Q: There’s generally not --


(Cross talk.)

Q: (Inaudible) -- got the Detroit story.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I got you. All right. Sorry about that. Do you think anybody else is showing up? Good.

Well, I -- I wanted to come out here first of all to tell you that Jay is prepared for all your questions and is -- is very much looking forward to the session.

Second thing is I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks there are going to obviously be a whole range of issues -- immigration, economics, et cetera -- we’ll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.

The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week, the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gave an -- a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday, but watching the debate over the course of the last week I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.

First of all, you know, I -- I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s -- it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there are going to be a lot of arguments about the legal -- legal issues in the case. I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues.

The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a -- in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works.

But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling. You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that -- that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.

And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

And you know, I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.

The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

Now, this isn’t to say that the African-American community is naive about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact, although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.

We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

I think the African-American community is also not naive in understanding that statistically somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else.

So -- so folks understand the challenges that exist for African- American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or -- and that context is being denied. And -- and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.

Now, the question for me at least, and I think, for a lot of folks is, where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? You know, I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family.

But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do? I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government -- the criminal code. And law enforcement has traditionally done it at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.

That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation, we can’t do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.

Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it’d be productive for the Justice Department -- governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.

You know, when I was in Illinois I passed racial profiling legislation. And it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.

And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way, that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and in turn be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously law enforcement’s got a very tough job.

So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought bear if state and local governments are receptive. And I think a lot of them would be. And -- and let’s figure out other ways for us to push out that kind of training.

Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it -- if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.

I know that there’s been commentary about the fact that the stand your ground laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case.

On the other hand, if we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I just ask people to consider if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened?

And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

Number three -- and this is a long-term project: We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?

You know, I’m not naive about the prospects of some brand-new federal program.

I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I do recognize that as president, I’ve got some convening power.

And there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African-American men feel that they’re a full part of this society and that -- and that they’ve got pathways and avenues to succeed -- you know, I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we’re going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.

And then finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. You know, there have been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.

On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s a possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can; am I judging people, as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.

And let me just leave you with -- with a final thought, that as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. I doesn’t mean that we’re in a postracial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But you know, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they’re better than we are. They’re better than we were on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.

And so, you know, we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues, and those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days I think have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did, and that along this long, difficult journey, you know, we’re becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.

All right? Thank you, guys.

Q: Could you --

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Now you can -- now you can talk to Jay.

Manchester City are spending again. Stevan Jovetic arrived today from Fiorentina, Alvaro Negredo yesterday from Sevilla, and Jesus Navas and Fernandihno earlier, a total of 90 million pounds in new players for Manuel Pellegrini. Blue Moon Rising.

Another mountaineer? This guy has a better view. Being a guy does not explain this.

Image courtesy of Dr. Weimin Mo.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why? Why did Zhen's poet and Friedrich's wanderer make the effort to climb up a mountain?  At least why without checking the weather report? Maybe they like mountaineering.

Think he liked tanks?

He does not like prisons.

What is that guy going to do with that boulder if he dislodges it after all that l'effort.

Notice how all these individuals are men, incidentally. Men are stupid, stubborn. Yes, they (we) are. (That medal has been on my desk for years.) They, we, do these things because this is the alternative:

That's how we see it. If you're going to do me like that you're going to have to earn it. You either try, resist, fight, or just bend over and submit. We're not going to submit.

Neither the Poet nor the Wanderer can see much from their mountain tops. Clouds. They climbed all the way up there to get a better view of the world. Better perspective. Didn't work.


Germany supplanted China today as the country with the fourth most pageviews. A couple of months ago it bumped Canada. The T.T. countries:

1. U.S.
2. Russia.
3. U.K.
4. Germany.
5. China.
6. Canada.
7. France.
8. Australia.
9. Philippines.
10. Ukraine.

T.T. search keywords:

1. lebron james.
2. mermaids.
3. kiribati.
4. wang guangmei.
5. public occurrences.
6. song binbin.
7. lebron.
8. lebron james powder toss.
9. lisa randall vogue.
10. chinese women soldiers.

Have I ever claimed that anything written here matters? It doesn't. Maybe a little on Songie. The T.T. posts are at right sidebar. 156,000 pageviews since Google Stats began in 2008. Better: pictureviews.
Okay, don't miss me. More important--don't be idle.
-Alexei Navalny's last tweet from court, after sentence was imposed.

Alexei Navalny, the great Russian dissident and lawyer, who attacked the corruption of Vladimir Putin's state through his blog, has been convicted of embezzlement from a state-controlled company and sentenced to five years in prison.
"On a cold night sleep is very sweet. I woke in the middle of the night, my mind clear and untroubled, and as I was unable to go to sleep again, I put on my clothes and sat facing my flickering lamp. On the table were a few folders of books. I chose a volume at random and began to read, but tiring I put down the book and sat calmly doing nothing. A long rain had newly cleared, and a pale moon was shining through the window. All around was silence."

"Then after a long time absorbing the fresh brightness, I gradually became aware of sounds. Listening to the rustling of the wind stirring the bamboo gave one the feeling of going bravely and unwaveringly onward. Hearing the harsh snarling of dogs gave feelings of barring out evil, of opposing marauders. Hearing the sound of drums, large and small--the small ones thin, and the far ones clear and deep and uninterrupted--stirred restless thoughts that were lonely and sad. The official drum was very close, from three beats, to four and then five, gradually faster, hastening the dawn. Suddenly in the northeast the sound of a bell, a bell pure and clean through rain-cleared air, and hearing it, came thoughts of waiting for the dawn, rising and doing. It was inevitable."

"My nature is such as to enjoy sitting in the night. So I often spread a book under the lamp going back and forth over it, usually stopping at the second watch. Man's clamor is not at rest, and yet the mind is bent on learning. Seldom does he find the outside calm and the inner world at peace."

"Now tonight all sounds and shapes bring this stability and calm. Thus can one purify the mind and spirit and realize one's will. But one should remember that it is not that at other times these sounds and shapes do not exist like this, nor that they do not reach the eye and ear of man, but that appearance is the servant of a thing, and yet hastens to follow it."

"True perception through hearing lies concealed in sound like that of a drum and bell, whereas perception through seeing is hidden in any pattern. Thus things usually harm rather help men. Often is it like tonight's sounds and shapes, for they are really no different from other times, and yet striking the ear and eye they become so firmly and wonderfully a part of me. And so this existence of sounds and patterns is not what prevents me from gaining wisdom; for things are not enough to enslave men."

"When sound is broken and shape shattered and the will rises free, what is this will? Is it within? Or is it without? Or is it in a thing? Or does it cause the thing to be? Is there not a way of defining the difference? Most certainly, and I perceive the difference."

"How great is the strength to be gained sitting in the night. Thus, cleansing the mind, waiting alone through the long watches by the light of the candle becomes the basis of an inner peace and of an understanding of things. This, surely, I will attain."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke before the convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) yesterday in Orlando, Florida. In the context of the Trayvon Martin case, General Holder spoke poignantly and personally about racial profiling in America. I, not a person of color, have had a similar conversation with my own son for there is also gender profiling in America. A young man is much more likely to get stopped by the police than is a young woman. If one is young, male, and black, the odds increase dramatically. Here is what General Holder said:

Years ago, some of these same issues drove my father to sit down with me to have a conversation -- which is no doubt familiar to many of you -- about how, as a young black man, I should interact with the police, what to say and how to conduct myself if I was ever stopped or confronted in a way that I thought was unwarranted.

Now I'm sure my father felt certain at that time that my parents' generation would be the last that had to worry about such things for their children.

Since those days, our country has indeed changed for the better. The fact that I stand before you as the 82nd attorney general of the United States, serving in the administration of our first African American president, proves that. Yet, for all the progress that we've seen, recent events demonstrate that we still have much more work to do and much further to go.


The news of Trayvon Martin's death last year, and the discussions that have taken place since then, reminded me of my father's words so many years ago and they brought me back to a number of experiences I had as a young man, when I was pulled over twice and my car searched on the New Jersey Turnpike when I'm sure I wasn't speeding, or when I was stopped by a police officer while simply running to a catch a movie, at night in Georgetown, in Washington, D.C. I was, at the time of that last incident, a federal prosecutor. (Laughter, applause.)

So Trayvon's death last spring caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son, like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down. But as a father who loves his son and who is more knowing in the ways of the world, I had to do this to protect my boy. I am his father, and it is my responsibility, not to burden him with the baggage of eras long gone, but to make him aware of the world that he must still confront. This -- (applause). This is a sad reality in a nation that is changing for the better in so many ways.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Seeking the Soul of Islam.

We're getting a good look into the soul of Islam in Egypt, huh? Why no democracies in Islam? Look at Egypt! The new military-appointed cabinet was announced late today: there were liberals, technocrats, women, Christians. Not one Islamist, no one from the Muslim Brotherhood.

What do you need to make a democracy work? Tolerance. Certainly, tolerance. The ability to compromise. Big time, you need the ability to compromise. Even "liberal" Egyptians are intolerant and uncompromising, they were the biggest supporters of the coup! It's okay. We, we Americans, we-the-liberal-democratic world should be saying to the Egyptian people it's okay to be intolerant and uncompromising. We should be tolerant of the intolerant Egyptian people, just like we are at home, unless they pose a clear and present danger to safety. The Egyptian people, like the people at Revolution Books in New York City, do not pose a clear and present danger to America. We leave the people at Rev Books alone, we just should leave the Egyptian people alone. They are figuring this out in their own Islamic Egyptian way and Islam is not tolerant or compromising. Egypt is not going to have a democracy. That's okay too. There are other ways in which popular will is manifest. My God, have not the continuous protests of the last two and one-half years been manifestations of popular will? The current government is certainly not as reflective of popular will as was the Morsi democracy. The current government has a lot of support though and, like the Morsi government, is purely Egyptian-made. The Obamas should call a coup a coup, call a law a law, call a Muslim Egyptian a Muslim Egyptian and move on. No more aid, leave it to the Egyptian people to figure out the kind of society they want. They will do it. We will deal with that "New Egypt" just fine: with caution, respect, some friendship, some distaste. Let Egypt be Egyptian, we can deal with it.

"Man Found in US Hotel Awakens With Amnesia."-Sydney Morning Herald.

I have awakened in hotel rooms in the past myself and forgotten I was married. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


Yep, yep that's a dog.

A little unusual looking though, no? The ears.

That's a Carolina Dog. The ears are characteristic and so is that fishhook tale. The Carolina dog isn't "man's best friend" either, a friend, not just best friend. Hasn't had as much contact with people. The theory, becoming more widely accepted, is that the Carolina dog didn't come to the New World with Europeans and hence didn't become as man-friendly. The theory is the breed came much earlier, when there were fewer humans, when there was a land bridge connecting North America and Asia. Ladies and gentlemen say hello to "Lady Jane," a Carolina dog, the first American dog.

Rembrandt is the subject of Google's doodle today. Remmy also painted the flattering portrait of "The Scholar" above. There was a visitor from Lebanon yesterday and one from Zimbabwe a week or so ago. Never have gotten many from Africa. Scholars and others representing the below institutions have come hither in the last couple weeks:

-Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
-Academic Computer Center, Krakow Poland.
-University of Ohio., Ft. Meade.
-University of Washington., Library of Congress.
-University of Texas, Austin.
-Hogeschool, Antwerp Belgium.
-Texas A&M University.
-Georgetown University.
-Yale University.
-Wellesley College.
-American University, D.C.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


The Obama administration's thinking at this stage is as follows. They are working backward from a tentative, but consistent and solidifying, decision to continue aid to the Egyptian military:

-Continue aid to preserve American influence.
-It wasn't a coup, it was a euphemism-to-be-determined.
-It wasn't a coup because the Morsi government wasn't a functioning democracy.
     -The Morsis consolidated their power after their democratic election victory so as to exclude liberals. The Morsi government was an undemocratic power grab similar to communist and fascist power consolidations after electoral victories. Did the US not intervene in Allende's Chile? Should we have perhaps intervened in Mugabe's Zimbabwe? In Hitler's Germany?
     -Egypt was falling apart, could not have made it to a new presidential election in three years. The military had to act.  Mubarak holdovers frustrating Morsi's attempts to make the trains run on time concern us but we're on a roll here so don't harsh our mellow.
     -The intent of the law prohibiting American aid to coup governments that overthrow democratic governments is to not frustrate popular will.
     -It is not only in the democratic form of government that popular will can be found. Is the PRC government not popularly supported though non-democratic?
     -In Egypt does the military not have popular support?
     -In addition 22,000,000 people signed petitions opposing the Morsi government.
-For the above reasons the military thing had the support of the Egyptian people and was not a coup.
-The democratic election produced a non-democratic government.
-The election was not therefore a legitimate expression of popular will.
-The election did not express popular will because the Egyptian people were not ready for it.
-The Egyptian people were not ready for democracy, they are too doctrinaire, they are not ready for democracy now. The current military government is as good an expression of popular will as can be at the moment and good enough for the continuance of American aid to the military.
-To the Brotherhood, we regret the massacre and apologize for any inconvenience. To the military, don't do that again. To the Egyptian people, here's a copy of the Federalist Papers, keep in touch.

Thank you.
Did I tell you about my trip to Africa?

First brought to the subcontinent by the British in 1851, it soon blanketed the country, helped the British beat back India's first revolt for independence, and became the most important medium for ordinary Indians into the 1980's. The last telegram in India was sent today.


最近在擴音器通知起飛的機場,  我聽到一對母女最後一刻相聚的對話.
  Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said,
 "I love you and I wish you enough."
在安檢門邊, 他們擁抱在一起,  然後那母親說: " 我愛你.  希望你足夠." 
  The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough.
Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom."
女兒回答道:  "我們在一起共同分享的生活己是足足有餘了.
你的愛是我僅有的需求.  我也祝望你足夠." 
They kissed and the daughter left.
The mother walked over to the window where I was seated.
Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry.
I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking,
 "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?".
親吻後,  女兒就離去了.  母親走到我坐的窗旁,  我可以看出她很想,也需要放聲一哭 . 我不想打擾她的私事,但是她反而歡迎我加入似的問道:  "你有過和一個人道別 ,  而且心知肚明這是今生的最後一次嗎?"
Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking,  but why is this a forever good-bye?".
"有的." 我回答.  "不好意思, 可不可知道為什麼這是永遠的道別呢?"
  "I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead
and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.
他說:  "我老了,  她又住的遠, 我有很大的挑戰在面前.  事實是, 她下一次回來將會是參加我的葬禮."
 "When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough'.
May I ask what that means?". 
"當你們說再見的時候,  我聽見你說:" 我希望你足夠."  可不可以告訴我那是什麼意思呢?"我問道.
She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations.
My parents used to say it to everyone".
She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail
and she smiled even more.
"When we said , 'I wish you enough',
we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them".
Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.
 她笑了起來: "那是一個傳了許多代的祝望. 
她停頓了一會兒,  然後凝視上方好像是想記清楚細節. 
她笑的更燦爛的說:" 當我們說:' 我希望你足夠',
然後她轉向我. 好像從記憶中背誦似的,念出以下的句子 .            
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright
no matter how gray the day may appear. 
"我祝你有足夠的陽光, 使你在不論多暗淡的日子裡也保有明亮的心態,"
   I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more. 
"我祝你有足夠的陰雨, 因而更加感恩陽光的燦爛."
  I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting. 
"我祝你有足夠的快樂, 來保持你的精神常青."
I wish you enough pain
so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger. 
"我祝你有足夠的苦難, 以至生活中最微不足道的開心也顯得巨大."
  I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. 
"我祝你得償宿願, 滿足你的慾望."
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. 
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye. 
"我祝你有足夠的問候, 來協助你走過最後的再見."
She then began to cry and walked away. 

Seeking the Soul of America.

It is in the nature of the American people to want more in general: more happiness, more property, more influence, more money, more toys, more clothes, more orgasms, more of whatever. I, an American, wish for more: I wish the Declaration of Independence was more rational, more truthful. I can't have that "more." So I wish for enough. I wish for enough rationality and truth in the Declaration, I wish for enough happiness for myself, I wish for enough happiness for the American people. I have enough happiness, property and the rest. I wish that America thought it had enough too. If not, I wish that America would not spy on and deceive our friends to get more, nor look on others troubles as an opportunity to get more. I wish that America wished them enough too.

Seeking the Soul of America.

The United States seeks influence in other countries to pursue greater happiness for the United States and, if possible, happier local conditions. When those happinesses are in conflict, usually the United States will try "to get the most out of" the local situation for America. Thomas L. Friedman, Eric Cantor and others who urge continued aid to the Egyptian military apply the right to the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence to America's foreign policy.

It was a declaration of independence. It was a declaration that the American British had the right to be free from the "influence," the control, of Great Britain. It was a foreign policy document above all. The right to be left alone, to be free from others was the foundational right to secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This foundational concept of foreign policy restrained the United States sometimes. She was wary of "entangling alliances," of involvement in "foreign wars." The echo of this foundational concept of American foreign policy is found in the statute of the moment: America, in pursuit of its national interest, may dispense aid to a foreign country unless the government of that country was a democracy that was replaced in a coup d'etat. The American pursuit of happiness in foreign affairs gives way to the locals pursuit of happiness in that circumstance; America recognizes in the foreign country its own declaration to be left alone.

I wish the United States conducted its foreign policy more in keeping with the foundational right to be left alone. I wish the United States pursued its happiness abroad less aggressively. I wish the United States would call a coup a coup, suspend aid to Egypt and leave the Egyptian people alone.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The jury in the trial of the white man, George Zimmerman, for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a black youth who President Obama said his son would look like if he had one, has found Mr. Zimmerman not guilty.
Andre Gide was raised as a protestant. The narrator in "The Pastoral Symphony" is a protestant minister. The words are Gide's in 1919. Gide had many lives, one of them as a communist. He flirted with converting to Catholicism. In the end he kept the morality of Christianity without the resurrection. Gide's criticism of St. Paul went beyond what appears in "The Pastoral Symphony." St. Paul was responsible for the Cross, not the Crucifix, being the dominant early Christian symbol, Gide believed. I am interested in that; I wrote about it here a couple of years ago. I got it backwards apparently. I wrote, I guess on instinct, that the Crucifix came first and then became "stylized" later. In quick research I did today Wikipedia cites to a scholar who says the Crucifix did not become common until the 5th Century A.D. I have not been able to verify today at all that St. Paul was responsible for the Cross however I accept that he was based on Gide. The difference between the Cross and the Crucifix is important for some Christians. The Crucifix is the "official" symbol of Roman Catholic Christianity. It is not for protestants. The Cross is the predominant image of Christianity among protestants.

Gide, though a protestant when he was a Christian, felt strongly with the Catholic church that the Crucifix was the "true" symbol of the religion. Gide "blamed" St. Paul for the Cross. Christianity took the suffering, and hence the meaning, out of the Crucifix, when it took the body of Christ off the Cross. I saw that, I wrote that too here. I thought the Cross would have helped "sell" Christianity more than the Crucifix would have. I wrote that on instinct alone too. I don't know if I'm right about that. Quick research today supports the squeamishness, I felt (on hunch) existed among early Christians about their "logo," but that would be the Cross, not the Crucifix. Anyway, Gide all of his lives felt strongly that Christ had to be put back up on the Cross; Catholicism feels strongly that Christ belongs on the Cross. I don't feel strongly about it.

"Gertrude's religious instruction has led me to reread the Gospels with a fresh eye.  It seems to me more and more that many of the notions that constitute our Christian faith originate not from Christ's own words but from St. Paul's commentaries."
"I search the Gospels, I search in vain for commands, threats, prohibitions...All of these come from St. Paul."

-The Pastoral Symphony, Andre Gide.

Friday, July 12, 2013

"I suppose too that in each case the teacher must have been plunged into a similar perplexity by the question of colors. (And this subject led me to the reflection that there is nowhere any mention of colors in the Gospels.)" 
-The Pastoral Symphony, Andre Gide.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I shall dance with the green fairy tonight and hallucinate.

Everything that I have worked for, everything that I have hoped for, everything that I have believed in during my public life has crashed into ruins.
-Neville Chamberlain.

I'm having a crisis.
"America should use its aid and influence with the army to get the most out of this crisis."
-Thomas L. Friedman.

One people's crisis is America's opportunity!

No typos there, no inartful wording, he really meant that?

I'll be damned.
America's primary concern, as always, is how best to preserve its interests in the region. Calling a coup a coup would legally bind the US to withdraw $1.5bn in aid to the army – and it's the army, whose chief attended America's top military academy, that keeps the US and its regional ally Israel happy.
-The Guardian.

Do you know I never considered this? I thought the US was acting, or not acting, in the perceived best interests of the people of Egypt. I made you laugh at me again, didn't I. The above isn't fact, it's The Guardian's opinion...Listen to me, "It's not fact, it's opinion!...but I never considered it. It's more knowledgeable opinion than Public Occurrences! I hope to God this opinion isn't fact. I feel so bad. Maybe that sentence of Friedman's I instinctively corrected was accurate as written.
That is not "complex." The Obamas are dillying because they don't like the consequences for their
Egypt policy. The honest labeling comes first and they look silly dillying over the definition. If they massage this into not being a coup that will have consequences for US policy toward Egypt and all countries.

coup d'état (/ˌkuːdeɪˈtɑː/; plural: coups d'état), also known as a coup, a putsch, or an overthrow, is the sudden deposition of a government,usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to depose the extant government and replace it with another body, civil or military. A coup d'état is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance. When the coup neither fails completely nor succeeds, a civil war is a likely consequence.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It has been seven days since the military ousted President Morsi in Egypt. It has been nine days since the military gave notice that it would oust Morsi. The Obama administration has still not decided whether it was a coup (no aid) or not (aid). Time and again Obama has not shaped world events by acting, he reacts. Here, reaction, from lack of anticipation, is not the explanation. He had two days notice and has had seven days since. This is incompetence.


Why are so many important people supportive of the coup in Egypt? Mohammad Morsi received a higher percentage of Egypt's popular vote than Barack Obama did in America last year, in the first free election in Egypt's history. Yet, many American liberals, supporters of Obama, say the coup was necessary. They say the Muslim Brotherhood was bad, that Morsi could not govern; that Morsi promised inclusiveness and delivered exclusiveness, that Egypt would have gone over the cliff before the next presidential election. Why not leave it to the Egyptian "street" then? The street was about to to deliver a popular coup, as it did in 2011. The military then was widely praised for "not losing its bond with its people." It has lost its bond with its people now! The 52% who voted for Morsi are today a hunted people. The popularly elected president is under arrest and the military announced today that arrest warrants had been issued for top Brotherhood officials. Fifty-one Morsi supporters were massacred by the military two days ago. Including the Brotherhood in the next government is not included.

Egypt today presents liberals with familiar paradoxes: Should every democracy be supported? How tolerant should the tolerant be of the intolerant? Not every democratically elected government should be supported. Some, like Hitler's plurality, should be overthrown immediately. And some non-democratic governments, like the PRC, unquestionably have the support of their people. Democracies however assure liberals of some important things, like legitimacy. Democracies are legitimate representations of popular will. It should be, and it is, the exceedingly rare occasion, like in Hitler's Germany, that liberal-minded people should support a military, for godssake, overthrow of a democracy. Militaries are not democracies.  Mohammad Morsi's government, after one year, did not fall into that category of the exceedingly rare.

How tolerant should liberal-minded people be of the intolerant? Americans are tolerant up to the point that the intolerant pose a clear and present danger to America. Democracies assure liberals of something important here also: clarity. If a foreign democracy poses a clear and present danger to America, then it is the people of that country who pose the danger. It is not an unrepresentative dictatorship. Democracy clarifies who one's enemies are. The enemies of liberalism in Egypt are the Egyptian people. The Egyptian people did not present a clear and present danger to America under Mohammad Morsi. American supporters of the coup were too intolerant of the intolerant Morsi democracy and are now too tolerant of the intolerant Egyptian military. The supporters of the coup of whom I write are important writers, but just writers, not American governmental officials. No liberal-minded person can be supportive of this military coup under these circumstances.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

I did not see The New York Times editorial of yesterday nor Andrew Rosenthal's opinion article today, until just now. The post earlier today, "America Out of Control" was sourced by Wikipedia, an article in the Washington Post and a July 6 article in the Times.

Seeking the Soul of America.

The soul is a mutable thing and the soul of the American government mutated after the attacks of 9/11/01. It is more secretive...deceptive. What do those point to that is deeper. Defensive...deeper...Fear. I think America was more "offensive," so to speak, before 9/11/01, we attacked, we weren't afraid to throw our weight around. We attacked Iraq and Afghanistan, though. This whole NSA thing though is pure defense. It's putting our fingers in the holes in the dike. I think the American government got paralyzed by fear after 9/11/01, but this is the key thing: the American government got paralyzed by fear that it would have to attack Islam, and that was undoable. That would mean attacking Muslims in America, like FDR did Japanese-Americans who refused to profess their loyalty to America, and Muslim states like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The American government wasn't going to do any of that, so it declared defeat, it surrendered to Islam by falsely declaring and deciding that Islam was not the enemy, and it went defensive, sticking fingers in the dike and thereby preventing-how many times have we heard that word recently with NSA-other attacks. America went from being aggressive to being passive.
I do not know that legal system. I have been practicing law for thirty years and I don't recognize that as American law.

America Out of Control.

The United States government has a virtual parallel government not subject to constitutional safeguards, checks and balances or the separation of powers. The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, for example. That court is located here:

That is also the office of America's top prosecutor, the Attorney General. The judiciary is supposed to be separate from the executive and legislative branches. This is not even physical separation. The courts in America are supposed to hear from both sides in an "adversarial system". Not in this court. They only hear the prosecutor's side. In 1,800 surveillance rulings last year the prosecution's won-lost record was 1,800-0. When General Holder and his deputies want an order authorizing NSA to get domestic phone records, or when they want to get an order to bug a foreign embassy, they just take the elevator to the sixth floor. No line, no waiting.

NSA conducts virtual off-the-shelf foreign policy and "FISC" or "the FISA court," is a virtual parallel Supreme Court with jurisdiction over NSA activities.  It's a secret court, not open to the public as is the Supreme Court, its orders not open to challenge by, for example, a public citizen whose phone records have been seized. It has created its own body of law, applicable only to itself and its jurisdiction, that is not restricted by Supreme Court interpretations of, for example, what are and what are not constitutional searches and seizures. Could the Supreme Court hear a challenge to a FISA court ruling. Yes...I think but this parallel Supreme Court has its own parallel really supreme "Court of Review." Has a FISA court order ever been challenged in the Supreme Court?  No.