‘Let’s Go Back Jack and Do It Again’

Now that’s what I call taking back the commons!

“You go back, Jack do it again
Wheel turnin’ ’round and ’round
You go back, Jack do it again


Danny Glover and “The Love That Will Not Die”

Danny Glover is one of our great ‘Statesmen.’ One of the men who state the truth about the state of our state in a state of grace.

Mr Glover is ‘a brother from another mother’, to use the parlance of our times. Mr ‘G’ Lover Danny Glover is an old soul and old school all the way. His performance in ‘Lethal Weapon’ is comedic genius, and his range of characters and depth of portrayals speak for themselves. Lethal Weapon, Predator, The Color Purple and The Royal Tannenbaums are all great films for their respective genres, but his work outside Hollywood is what’s really impressive.

Link to wonderful interview here with much more info on his work: http://www.abilitymagazine.com/glover_interview.html

Our fictional “2012″ President, is actually one of our great unheralded leaders in ‘unvirtual’ reality. He co-founded  Los Angeles’ The Robey Theater in 1994 in memory of Paul Robeson, carrying on the fine American tradition of stage as social engagement and upliftment.

The vivacious 63 year old has been heavily involved in many humanitarian and social causes over the years. Like many of our great artists, Danny was able to transcend a ‘dis-order’. He suffered from epilepsy as a teenager and young man, but was able to overcome it through the sheer force of will and grace.

While you will hear the ridiculousness of Mr Glover’s more popular and quite insane partner in crime-stopping Mel Gibson paraded all over our ‘media’, Danny is doing very important and unheralded work. Another blatantly ironic example of how the corporate media pollutes the waters of public discourse and debate, and to top it all off it seems purposeful. Why do we hear that crazy jerkwater Aussie Mel Gibson’s rants ad nauseum over and over again while the valuable work and spirit of the great American Danny Glover goes relatively unrecognized by the MSM?

There would be so many obvious segues to use…one of which is the recent racist rants of Melly Mel which include the N-bomb. What better way to soft fade into a story about Mr Glover and what is going on in neighborhoods like Detroit and with people of color all over the world. I guess the Mainstream Media missed that one, as they do over and over again. Oh well.

For an idea of the type of character assassinations the media like to do go here for some BS.   http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/05/09/danny-glover-booed-not-putting-hand-over-his-heart-during-flag-ceremony

He is gettin’ way to old for this shit! Let’s let him retire and give him the accolades he deserves while he is still here. I am afraid that until we start honoring the people who are helping us instead of those who are hurting us, we will not be able to transcend our collective dis-order. Let’s not let our great American Statesmen end up marginalized like Paul Robeson was and is.  It pains me to see this happening to Danny Glover in 2010.

Here he sits with Shihab Rattansi for “Fault Lines” from Al Jazeera English TV. Trance-scripts follow Pema’s words.

He sits like Sitting Bull and speaks like Black Elk. He is one of those wonderful peaceful warriors who seems honored to speak for the disenfranchised and dispossessed. I feel enlightened and elevated by watching people like this, I feel moved and inspired to be a better person. I am making a citizens arrest on ‘Detective Murtaugh’ and charging him with being a wonderful and courageous individual who deserves to be honored and acknowledged. We could at least send him some virtual hugs and support the causes that he works so hard for.

Danny is someone who can speak from the heart on a tragic and sad scene but is somehow able to hold the emotion of the people and their stories in witness and testimony. As a master storyteller and cultural ambassador, Mr Glover is doing the important work of what the Buddhists refer to as tonglen.

In Pema Chodron‘s wonderful book, “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times“, she de-scribes the Buddhist practice of tonglen, “sending and receiving.” It is a breathe and mindfulness technique that allows you to transcend pain and suffering through connecting with our deeper shared truths.

In Chapter Fourteen entitled “The Love That Will Not Die” she speaks beautifully of the art and heart of tonglen, and it’s connection to Bodhichitta-“an awakened heart.”

The beatific sage Pema Chodron is a foremost student of Choygam Trungpa and the Shambala School of Buddhism, which may qualify them as the “Coolest Buddhists.” Shambala is Jazz Buddhism. The soundtrack would be Coltrane’s and Kerouacs ecstatic Waxxstax.

“I can tell my sister by the flowers in her eyes
On the road to Shambala
I can tell my brother by the flowers in his eyes
On the road to Shambala”

Three Dog Night

From Wiki Tiki Tavi:

“Shambhala Buddhism partly derives from the teachings of Shambhala, as originally proclaimed by Chögyam Trungpa, which state that “there is a natural source of radiance and brilliance in the world, which is the innate wakefulness of human beings. This is the basis, in myth and inspiration, of the Kingdom of Shambhala, an enlightened society of fearlessness, dignity and compassion.” Furthermore, Shambhala vision applies to people of any faith, not just people who believe in Buddhism… the Shambhala vision does not distinguish a Buddhist from a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu. That’s why we call it the Shambhala kingdom. A kingdom should have lots of spiritual disciplines in it.”[2]

These are the Pema Chodron quotes from Ch 14:

I ended up typing the entire chapter except for a few paragraphs, but it is only six pages.

My notes are in bold as they are bold notes.

And away we go!

pg 86. “This kinship with the suffering of others, this inability to continue to regard it form afar, is the discover of our soft spot, the discovery of “Bodhichitta.” Bodhichitta, is a Sanskrit word that means “noble or awakened heart.” It is said to be present in all beings. Just as butter is inherent in milk and oil is inherent in a sesame seed, this soft spot is inherent in you and me.”

pg 87. “We awaken this bodhichitta, this tenderness for life when we can no longer shield ourselves from the vulnerability of our condition, from the basic fragility of existence. . In the words of the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, “You take it all in. You let the pain of the world touch your heart and you turn it into compassion.”

“It is said that in difficult times, it is only bodhichitta that heals. When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time when healing can be found in the tenderness of pain itself. This is the time to touch the genuine heart of bodhichitta. In the midst of loneliness, in the midst of fear, in the middle of feeling misunderstood and rejected is the heartbeat of all things, the genuine heart of sadness.”

“Just as a jewel that has been buried in the earth for a million years is not discolored or harmed, in the way this noble heart is not affected by all of our kicking and screaming. the jewel can be brought out into the light at any time, and it will glow as brilliantly as if nothing had ever happened. No matter how committed we are to unkindness, selfishness, or greed, the genuine heart of bodhichitta cannot be lost. It is here in all that lives, never marred and completely whole.”

That is the trick they play, the trompe l’oeil or what I like to call the ‘trompe de la soul.’ Mos Def are we caught up in a trick of the senses…defenseless and desensitized, the eyes and ears are all up for sale…if they could send you smells through the TV to sell you they would. They are all excited about 3D, but are we?

Their is a jewel within. Original sin? The origin of sin is not within or without you.  Fear is used to doubt you.  Don’t be distracted, the truth is didacted. These false statements of  hate need to be retracted.


“We think that by protecting ourselves from suffering we are being kind to ourselves. The truth is, we only become more fearful, more hardened, and more alienated. We experience ourselves as being separate from the whole. This separateness becomes like a prison for us, a prison that restricts us to our own personal hopes and fears and to caring only for the people nearest to us. Curiously enough, if we primarily try to shield ours-elves from discomfort we suffer.”

Is this the same modality that expresses itself in the strengthening of our immune system by adapting and working with bacteria in our natural environment? It seems as if it might not be in our best interest as a species on so many levels to sanitize everything. A la, playing in the mud might actually be good for you.

pg 89

“Yet when we don’t close off and we let our hearts break, we discover ourkinship with all beings. His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes two kinds of selfish people: the unwise and the wise. Unwise selfish people think only of themselves and the result is confusion and pain. Wise selfish people know that the best thing they can do for themselves is to be there for others. As a result, they experience joy.”

Selfish joy. The joy of self-lessness. Sell fish of joy not fish of hate. In other words, don’t be a fishmonger, unless your name is Molly Malone.

“When we see a woman and her child begging on the street, when we see a man mercilessly beating his terrified dog, when we see a teenager who has been badly beaten or see fear in the eyes of a child, do we turn away because we can’t bear it? Most of us probably do. Someone needs to encourage us not to brush aside what we feel, not to be ashamed of the love and grief it arouses in us, not to be afraid of the pain. someone needs to encourage us that this soft spot in us could be awakened and that to do this would change our lives.”

We are told pain is bad, to be avoided at all costs. Maybe pain can teach us things about ourselves. We need to ask ourselves if avoiding pain all the time is preventing us from the discovery of a higher self.

“The practice of “tonglen”-sending and receiving-is designed to awaken bodhichitta,to put us in touch with genuine noble heart. It is a practice of taking in pain and sending out pleasure and therefore completely turns around our well-established habit of doing just the opposite.”

“Tonglen is a practice of crating space, ventilating the atmosphere of our lives so that people can breathe freely and relax. Whenever we encounter suffering in any form, the tonglen instruction is to breathe it in, with the wish that everyone could be free of pain. Whenever we encounter happiness in any form, the instruction is to breathe it out, send it out, with the wish that everyone could feel joy. It’s a practice that allows people to feel less burdened and less cramped, a practice that shows us how to love without conditions.”

“When we breathe in pain, somehow it penetrates that armor. The way we guard ourselves is getting softened up. This heavy, rustic , creaking armor begins to seem not so monolithic after all. With the in-breathe the armor begins to fall apart, and we find we can breathe deeply and relax. A kindness and tenderness begin to emerge. We don’t have to tense up as if our whole life were being spent in the dentist’s chair.

When we breathe out relief and spaciousness , we are also encouraging the armor to dissolve. The out-breathe is a metaphor for opening our whole being. When something is precious, instead of holding it tightly, we can open our hands and share it. We can give it all away. We can share the wealth of this unfathomable human experience.”

What is this tightness and tension? Is it caused more by our confusion then the actual fear itself?  This indecisiveness  may be the cause of most of our tension and the MSM, or ‘Main-Stream-Media’ seem to  be confusing the situation even more and adding to the tension of an already chaotic world by inflaming our fears with their inflammatory ways. How much of the tension is real and how much is caused by our confusion and inaction, or wrong-action?

pg 90.

“Awakened heart can always be discovered like that. It does not take gearing up or struggling to achieve. when strategies are not yet formed and we feel uncertain about which way to turn, in those moments of vulnerability, bodhichatta is always there. It manifests as basic openness, which Buddhists call shunyuta It manifests as basic tenderness, basic compassionate warmth. When we walk around like we’re expecting to be attacked, we block it. When we release the tension between this and that, the struggle between us and them, that’s when bodhichitta will emerge.”

“At the relative level, our noble heart is felt as kinship with all beings. At the absolute level, we experience it as ground-lessness or open space.”

pg 91.

“When we experience the soft spot of bodhichitta , it’s like returning home. It’s as if we had amnesia for a very long time and awaken to remember who we are. The poet Jalludin Rumi writes of night travelers who search the darkness instead of running from it, a companionship of people willing to know their own fear. Whether it’s in the small fears of a job interview or the unnameable terrors imposed by war, prejudice, and hatred; whether it’s in the loneliness of a widow or the horrors of children shamed or abused by a parent, in the tenderness of the pain itself , night travelers discover the light of bodhichitta.

“Bodhichitta is available in moments of caring for things, when we clean our glasses or brush our hair. It’s available in moments of appreciation, when we notice the blue sky or pause and listen to the rain. It is available in moments of gratitude, when we recall a kindness or recognize another person’s courage. It is available in music and dance, in art, and in poetry. Whenever we let go of holding on to ourselves and look at the world around us, whenever we connect with sorrow, whenever we connect with joy, whenever we drop our resentment and complaint, in those moments bodhichitta is here.”

“Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top. At the peak we have transcended all pain. The only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all the others behind-our drunken brother, our schizophrenic sister, our tormented animals and friends. Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.”

“In the process of discovering bodhichitta, the journey goes down, not up. It’s as if the mountain pointed toward the center of the earth instead of reaching into the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward the turbulence and doubt. We jump into it. We slide into it. We tiptoe into it. We move toward it however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes , we let it be as it is. At our own pace without speed or aggression we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.”

Is their a almost total suspension of self-judgment when we confront our highest and ultimate reality? Pema, is a shining example of what confronting the sorrows and heartaches of life can do for your spirit. To be a witness and to teach this to others is her beautiful way.

It is a concept and breathe-work that goes deep down. That allows us to feel and honor the suffering of others without becoming hopeless or despaired.

And back to Danny:

When I watch someone speaking in a spiritual way about a political subject, a point of view that is never expressed in the mainstream media or often in independent media, I feel and see our false socio-political compartmentalizations dissipate and dissolve.

This is a challenging interview, while I don’t love Mr Rattansi’s tone I think he does a good job here. His skeptical and pointed questions allow Danny to show his wisdom and depth. The first part is Danny speaking on the domestic scene, the paradigm of the Social Forum. In the second part, Mr Glover speaks on Latin America, Haiti and Education.

Is there a more generous and gracious person on the planet? One of our great actors and humanitarians, Mr Danny Glover on “Fault Lines”.

And away we go!

Mr Shihab introduces Danny:

“In 1968 he took part in the longest campus strike in US history at SF University, fighting for and succeeding in founding the first school of ethnic studies in the country. His activism spans HIV awareness to union organization, to peace and justice in the middle east. In 2004 he was arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington DC at a protest over Darfur”

The beautiful and brilliant Danny Glover speaking from the McDougal library in downtown Detroit, MI.

“This library is an edifice of the dysfunctional-ism of the collapse of an idea, of a way of life. Forty percent unemployment in Detroit, so there is a different connection to 40% unemployment and this right here, this library a very functional library, and the significance of what a library means in people’s lives, a communities lives.”

“With this collapse, which is the obvious collapse of a paradigm, a failure of a paradigm, what happens now? What do we do now, how do we begin to reconstruct and re-imagine our world.”

“One of the disconnects that we often have in this country is the disconnect between ideas, ideology and real practice, and using that ideology to move forward in some proactive practice.”

“How do we now activate ourselves, and begin to plan the world and plan communities we envision.”

“Since history is about stories and who’s storied are elevated, who’s stories are validated. How do we validate our story? And those validations of the story could be in the midst of this forty percent unemployment here, but in the midst of this something is happening here in Detroit.”

“I think it is important for us to acknowledge our victories and sometimes our victories don’t show up in the electoral process , sometimes our victories don’t show up in the decisions that’s made in Congress and the President. Sometimes the victory shows up in the level and intensity of mobilization that comes as a result of that and I think the intensity and mobilization is coming up cause across this country it is vital for real action and real change. “

In an analogy to Chavez and MLK, Danny speaks on how the movement of the people rose these figures up. It was not a ‘cult of personality’ which the media like to promote.

Dr King would tell you this, ‘I may have been a simple preacher but the movement itself rose me to the heights I’ve rose, I’ve come. So the question becomes, at this particular time in Latin America this change is occurring. How it changes within the framework of changing attitudes, relationship to people within respective societies and respective countries. What it means in terms of consumption, what it means to bettering their lives, those are real things. People went from the vantage point that we want a better life, labor aligned with things that they did not have alliances before saying we want a better life, indigenous people aligning themselves.”

“My interest came out because in this hemisphere there are 150 million African descendants in this hemisphere, only 35-36 live here here. The majority of them live in Latin America….90% of them live in poverty, how do they begin to signify their own presence in this whole changing apparatus that is happening. That’s what important, that’s what I am watching. I am not a rock star worshiper, I am watching what the people are doing.”

And about Haiti.

“I think Haiti is very capable of managing it’s own affairs, if they are given the opportunity…my argument is that they have never been given the opportunity to manage their own affairs.”

“Haiti could be a real model for what we talk bout ecological redevelopment, development. It could be a real model of when we think about how does a country from the global south, a underdeveloped country develop itself, it could be a real model for that. I am afraid it is not going to be that model but models that we all envision and what we would like to see is an inclusive model, that also involves the Haitians in Haiti but also the expatriate community. I think it has to be a model that involves Latin America. Cause as much of Latin America’s history and current political situation, the arc revolves around Haiti.”

“There has to be an encompassing discourse about development, poverty, education, health…given the enormous technology we have, insight we have and information we have. So when we talk about Haiti at this time and how we frame this agenda. Haiti is a country of only 8 million people, think and imagine if we were able to support the Haitian’s own action for development. When I say support, we know what happens with NGO’s (Non-Government Organizations), with what USAID has done, what has happened with USAID since it’s inception. We know that most of the money doesn’t go to the project itself but to those contractors and sub-contractors who manage the problem. So how do we get the money to people who begin to shape the context of their own lives and begin to shape the way they become the architects of their own rescue.”

And on childhood education Danny just shines. No script, no teleprompter, just someone speaking from the heart in a beautiful way about  a painful subject. So rare and so uplifting.

“Everyone who talks about education from Jonathan Corsaw to all of the great people who talk about education, will tell you what it means and what it takes to educate a child. Why do we talk about a child losing their curiosity by the 4th grade? What is the magic about that? You look at a third grade class, 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade class you find these incredibly creative kids, by the fourth grade they’re zombies. What is happening here in this process, how do we reverse this process? It takes the resources and political will to do it.”

“How do we institutionalize that change as well. How do we institute the sense that people have the right to have expectations and how do we do that in such a way that we create the new communities of the 21st Century. To remind you, we haven’t even talked about what’s happening to our precious planet here and what we done to that.”

“The answer comes with forcing our will. The question always becomes, is that if we mobilize that will we can win…That will has been mobilized on numerous occasions. That will has been mobilized during the Civil Rights Movement, mobilized in our activities to bring about the election of Barack Obama. That will has the capacity to be mobilized. If we organize that will and move that will in a way in which we talk about the practical things that we have to deal with in life. How do we get food, how do we service our communities, how do we raise our children, how do we create an atmosphere of love and compassion.”

“That’s what is being talked about in this room right here, in these room right here.”

And scene.

Here are some of  my notes in closing.

When I look at a man like this I see someone who has achieved a high level of understanding and compassion because of what he has to overcome. Danny is a large, dark-skinned black man living in a society where a large percentage of the population views the African American struggle as threatening. If Danny was in college at SF State back in the late sixties, it means he grew up in the fifties and early sixties in a pre-civil rights era, where Jim Crow still dominated culture and society. While I hope Danny and his family were spared, I am sure he at least saw first hand the hatred and violence that came with being regarded as a second class citizen, as being less than human.

And instead of using his size and strength to intimidate or influence people he uses a gentle kindness and child like wonder and hope to help open our eyes. When I close my eyes I hear the Dali Llama or Mahatma Gandhi. Then I laugh and hear him say, “I am getting too old for this shit!”

The African American experience is one of “soulforce” as MLK put it. Just because the AA experience is “loud” or “in your face” does not mean it is not spiritual. The cultural contexts may be Afro-centered, but the spirit is one that is found in all cultures, Gaelic, elvesBraveheart you name it. It is not a “black thang.” It’s our shared struggle against negative forces that joins us.

The sad thing is that the corporate media likes to introduce and reinforce negative psychological paradigms at the expense of our beautiful and historically valuable stories and people. We have way more in common, no matter what culture or race or religion we come from with each others stories than the ‘corporatized’ version of events.

Think Howard Zinn’s “Peoples  History”, of which Danny took part in recently. These are our stories, important stories that your Mother or Grandmother might have told you, if you were lucky enough. These are stories that weave the fabric of our neighborhoods and societies. These are the fibers that strengthen Ariadne’s Thread.  She is the great grandmother that weaves our story and brings us together in our shared humanity.

Kerouac from “America’s New Trinity of Love.”

“There is the need all around to be recognized and adored by some other human being, the need all around for kindness, for the ideal of love which does not exclude cruelty but is all-embracing, non-assertive, simply lovely. Not necessarily the Dionysian orgy but the tender communion.”

It is this thread that is woven in the hearts and minds of our shared fate, along with our beauty and so called ugliness into an amazing tapestry of human potential and courage. At the heart of this design is love and compassion reinforced by the strong bonds that a shared fate instills in an engaged and just society.

If we can put aside our fears of whatever, and begin to see how a corporatized society with overwhelmingly corporate values may not be the best thing for building strong bonds that reinforce our communities strengths, we can then reach out to the rest of the world with more openness and understanding. And it will return.

A corporate owned infrastructure cares not for our history or stories. Walmart may hire Grandpa as a greeter, but they don’t care one nit about him.

Let’s stop being nit-wits and start being knit-wits.

Capitalism wants to pave over our history and struggle with a cleaner and more sanitized version of what it means to be human. Humans need to feel safe but we are sacrificing our cultural and historical identities to only feeeeel safer. This isn’t a bummer, it is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Three Dog Night has a beautiful story of love from the early 70’s called “Shambala.” And here are some shiny happy people sharing their story of  Shambala with us now.

Astroturfing Populist Anger-How and Why Republicans are Tea-bagging America.

John O’Hara appeared on the Daily Show April 20th, 2010 to promote his new book, “A New American Tea Party: The Counterrevolution Against Bailouts, Handouts, Reckless Spending and More Taxes”.

Things went pretty well for the 25 year old Vice President of External Relations at The Illinois Policy Institute. But never mind that mouth of marbles, John O’Hara will have you know that he is just a garsh darn man of the people.

Here is the link from Huffington Post, Utube video could not be found.


And O’Hara is the guy, along with Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks, who was one of the big promoters/speakers of the Washington Tea Party rally on April 15th, 2009, which is the big spring board from which The New Tea Party movement started. Of course at that time, there was much anger against the trillion dollar Bank Bailout and people were ‘up in arms’that the economy was in ruins because of something called ‘derivatives’.

Way back in the winter of 2009 Fox News was rallying their troops to combat the health care plan at those famous town hall meetings and negatively spinning anything that came out of the White House. ‘The Sly Fox’ was also going after ACORN in a big way, while trying to frame the financial crisis as a Fannie and Freddie ‘poor people are to blame’ narrative. This suits the suits, who get scared when the light is shone on them and their world. Think cockroach…but creepier.

And into the spotlight scurries John O’Hara, who has continued to be active in the media, mostly locally in Chicago but some national spots mostly on Fox. The 2010 rally in Washington was a bust, but many people turned out for vague anti-spending or anti-big-government rallies. It seems that the astro-turf that O’Hara and others have used to try and co-opt real people’s anger towards the government is not sticking so well. And it starts with the Santelli Rant.

That is why O’Hara’s ‘Daily Show’ interview is so important, in it you will see O’Hara distort the famous ‘Santelli Rant’ in order to develop a false back story for his subsequent promotion of the Tax Day 2009 Chicago Tea Party protests. The rant is distorted to frame Santelli’s anger as directed at the Banks and Wall Street when he was specifically and vehemently yelling about a bill that was designed to bail out homeowners who he accused of being irresponsible. Rick Santelli, CNBC Chicago Snake Oil Salesman.

Here is the famous’Santelli Rant’. Are he and his cohorts “a pretty good cross-section of America” as he puts it?

The quote that stands out here for me is, “Do we really want to subsidize the losers mortgages?”

That to me is the gist of it. In Santelli and CNBC’s world of stock brokers and cable news pundits who like to refer to themselves as “that good cross section of America”, well if you fall for their hype, and CNBC is the capitalist pusher of pushers…then you are on your own.

While I buy the nebulous theory of ‘personal responsibility’ for the most part, when you are talking about Main Street Banks pushing mortgages to people they knew would not be able to afford it, then you are talking about hiding the risk and dumping the damage on alot of decent hardworking people who aren’t aware that they are being set up to fail.

And that is just what Wall Street did. Big banks gladly got into the derivatives scheme and these portfolios were bet on to fail. That is what a derivative is, a banal attempt to cheat. The bank employee may not have been aware of what was happening, but the executives sure did. But according to Santelli we should, “reward people who would carry the water instead of drink the water.” You know, like those hardworking people who are busy moving money around on Wall Street and pumping up the volume on places like CNBC, they are carrying the water. The hardworking people who were sold mortgages they could not afford because of the Wall Street derivative scheme, they are just freeloaders to him.

Santelli emphatically talks about how dirty Washington is without a peep about all of the corporate and Wall Street money that is corrupting it. And the founding fathers that he mentions, Franklin and Jefferson were a very sophisticated lot who would easily have seen through this sideshow man.

But Santelli is the guy that O’Hara wants to point to as an American Hero, as some patriotic bellringer. And according to Santelli’s distorted view, Franklin et al, was just a capitalist who had little interest in the common good. Benjamin was all about manipulating the American people into making billions for corporations. Franklin wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac to manipulate the poor and working class, not to help them, in Santelli’s world. I think he is confusing history with gangsta rap, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby!”

Now if we compare the ‘Santelli Rant’ video with what Mr. O’Hara said about it on the Daily Show, there is a serious disconnect on Ohara’s part. Here is O’Hara spreading it thick to make sure the Astro-turf sticks. He is really good. Think Jimmy Stewart meets Karl Rove.

“I got involved in February of last year, after that ah..famous Santelli on air rant about you know he got up on the Chicago Board of Trade and started talking about the moral hazards of..of.a..bailing out irresponsible corporations. And..lot of folks, and he…he,called for a Tea Party, and alot of folks said hey why if we really get one of these together. And a couple of friends and I got on the phone and we were going to be in DC, and about a week later.”

O’Hara is implying that Santelli called for a ‘Tea Party’ in response to bailing out the banks, but in reality Santelli was ranting about the bailout of the irresponsible homeowners, not the banks. It was aligned to fan the Fannie and Freddie flames into a smoke storm so the corporate ninjas could disappear in the night. These people and organizations are playing a shell game with us, using the media which they partly control. And it does seem like a game to them, almost as if they are having fun. Damn those corporate ninjas!

Santelli talks about how corrupt Washington is without mentioning the lobbying efforts of Wall Street which led to the overturning of the 1933 Glass/Stegal Act, which led to banks getting involved in the derivatives market. It is complicated enough to confuse the average American, and the punditry are adept at manipulating the truth with a smile. They are paid very well. They need it for all their beauty treatments.

To corparatist, false libertarians like Santelli and O’Hara, using words or phrases that always seem to be slanted in corporate favor is a telling sign that they are professionals. For instance, Santelli used the word ‘Washington’ several times to describe the heart of the problem. Now, ‘Washington’ seems to me to be the perfect term to name the problem while taking the spotlight off of Wall Street. He never mentions Wall Street, or lobbying, but only ‘Washington’ is used, at least twice, as if Wall St didn’t own Washington, or at least greatly influence it. Gheitner, Paulson, Summers, these are all Wall Street guys who are in Washington to control it.

Using ‘Washington’ over and over conveniently hides the fact that Wall Street and corporate America are behind the corruption. Lobbyists outnumber congress 20-1, in Washington, but Santelli and O’Hara don’t like to talk about that too much. Yes, most people do know that ‘Washington’ is bought and sold by ‘Wall Street’, but the pundits strategy is to frame the debate in the right way, to help change the overall paradigm, slant it towards ‘corporatism’, where the only thing that matters is the bottom line.

These media massages push the argument towards the corporate agenda, while manipulating the public consciousness and debate to be more corporate friendly. For instance, the arguments for ‘individual responsibility’ are very persuasive, the concept is part of the socio/political landscape of American frontierism and heroism. ‘Patriotism’, ‘free markets’ and others are buzz words used to push the public to support things that they don’t really want. Think Iraq. Or Martha Stewart.

While there is of course much public anger at the government, the new Tea Party Movement which O’Hara is a big part of, is much more of a Republican right-wing sponsored and corporate funded front than a backwoods barbecue. They co-opted the anti-government anger and anti-Wall Street bailout backlash. But hopefully the backlash will backwash…are we tired of being Bushwacked and whitewashed.

They are hitching their corporate wagon to a populist star. While made to look like it is was about America and the “founding fathers”, it is more likely than not that the Santelli rant itself was a staged event. Probably part of a plan that was orchestrated by the Brunswick Group in tandem with Dick Armey’s ‘FreedomWorks’.

The term ‘Freedomworks’, gives you a clue to how they run their operation. Yes, ‘freedom works’, ‘freedom is good’, but also ‘freedom works’, as in to be free is to work. It is a double entendre which implies an American work ethic that the conservatives like to exploit over and over. It aligns with their so called values system. The more you work, the more freedoms you deserve.

Somehow the oligarchs found a way to convince the working people of America and much of the world, that wealth and beauty and fame are the end all be all to a healthy and vibrant society. The elites have used media and mis-education to promote their greedy and plastic model of living to a bewildered and befuddled populace. These modern day conservatives are adept at merging this with a fundamental view of Christianity where the Old Testament seems to usurp the New.

Jim Wilkinson and his Brunswick Group were the organization behind the selling of the Iraq War back in 2002. Things went so well of course that they were hired to work for Wall Street to do a make-over. Lipstick on a pig. Wall Street was concerned about it’s public image, “Damn that Gordon Gecko!”, and it needed to help stem the tide of public anger and alter public opinion in their favor. Wilkinson brushes the sand and egg off his face and keeps going.


Back to John O’Hara though. His folksy stammering thing really amused me. After all this kid is 25 years old. Did he learn this stuff on a farm in a small town? Did he feed chickens, or is he just chicken shit? As it turns out, he went to Chicago and London schools and seems to be connected to FreedomWorks. Mr. O’Hara has quite an impressive resume for such a young man. He has been making the TV pundit round for a year now, defending and rallying the ‘New Tea Party’ movement that he claims was inspired to begin when,

CNBC business reporter Rick Santelli ranted from the Chicago Stock Exchange floor about the Bank bailout and called for a “tea party” in Chicago.” Uh-huh. Why shouldn’t we believe this hung over frat boy?

And the rant happened around the same time that the Fannie and Freddie homeowner fiasco was all over the news, and the Main Stream Media talking points were revolving around ACORN and it’s evils. To Fox, bake sales are communist.

Santelli seems to be channeling this anger, but for O’Hara and his cohorts in the right-wing noise machine this is the best they could do. Mr. O’Hara is groomed to be the heir to the Carl Rove Machiavellian everyday man. Good for him.

I checked out his website, http://johnmohara.com/ , and he has a bunch of Fox appearances of course, but the Newsmax video has to be the best. It is pure chicanery, but I suppose everyone lies on his resume. And if I were a right wing think tank I would groom him to go on the Daily Show and say things like, “Social security is bankrupt. It is essentially a Ponzi scheme.” This guy is bank.

O’Hara started out making appearances on the local Chicago news scene as part of the conservative think tank, The Heartland Institute. His main objective seemed to be getting viewers to align against a union, or tax increases. He speaks against nothing that would upset the corporate status quo. He likes to frame his narrative to look as if he is pro-middle class, when they all seem to be corporate points of view.

As it turns out the Heartland Institute, which is a conservative think tank in Chicago was behind the April 15th, 2009 Tea Party in Chicago. The Tea Party in 2009 was a politically staged event originally intended to launch a Chicago big wig’s campaign for governor. It was in concert with launching Dan Proft’s gubernatorial bid, but the Young Republicans were having a Tea Party of their own on the same day, with a ship and tea and everything. In the end Proft did not speak, but it all went down as an orchestrated event that wanted to hide it’s Republican ties. O’Hara was a big part of it of course, and his ‘friend’ at another right-wing think tank as well.

After all we are in the post-post-modern age now. We have Colbert, who supposedly not only appeals to ‘jaded hipsters’ but to conservatives as well, who see his character not as a parody of a Bill O’Reilly blowhard, but as a conservative who is just having fun, who is just entertaining. Serious cognitive dissonance.

I think conservatives like that Colbert wins all the time. Even if he is talking crazy, he is louder and funnier than the guests and though it’s absurd, it is all about winning. And this is the right wing strategy, to use absurdity to it’s advantage because winning is everything. Non true-believers are not privy to the truth, the truth that comes when you conduct foreign policy according to Revelations and conduct your private life like a Jaycee on crack.

The internets has allowed people who care enough to do their own research and want to connect with others and get to the bare bones to choose sides. Like making a gumbo. It is harder to hide the truth now, and this is why things are getting more and more absurd.

Obama won because people wanted positivity instead of negativity. People choose common sense and pragmatism almost every time when confronted with harsh realities. Hyperbole though wins every time when it is left unchecked. It appeals to fear and our worst qualities related to patriotism and socio-biological tendencies. So, now that the fear-mongers, who happen to be exaggerated on the Republican side of the aisle, find that the only way to win is with ‘absurdity’, we are going to see more unreal news.

After all, the whole media paradigm is skewed. The right portray the media as ‘left-wing’ when it is clearly not. To the right, The New York Times is liberal, New York is liberal town. Rudy Guliani and Mayor Bloomberg are liberals. Obama is a leftist when he talks about healthcare even though 70% of the population want Universal Healthcare, so he is actually to the right of them.

But the media frames it as a spy vs. spy cartoon.

The media is set up like a court of law, but there is no real verdict. Both sides represent their own interests for the most part, not many real progressives are even allowed in the MSM. You are left with a demented political version of ‘good cop, bad cop’ and the Republicans are willing to play the bad cop, so they get the juicier and more villainous role. But both sides are culpable.

So, in the post-Orwellian, post-post-modern age of disinformation and truth for sale and the propaganda machine in full throttle and threatening to take over the people’s last real form of expression-the internets, we are left with the emptiness of pageantry, the hyperbole of false drama and the cover up and obfuscation of all that is sacred. It is happening all over in this increasingly chaotic world, and I guess we will all wait for 2012 to see what happens. It is barely two years away and will be taking over the zeitgeist of the American political landscape very soon. You thought Y2K was big? Religion, New Age, Political Theater of epic proportions will run amok if allowed.


Bill Maher Tea-bags the Tea-baggers.

Funny video of one of our best political satirists showing the hypocrisy of the Tea Party movement.

It does seem that the New Tea Party has strong right-wing corporate ties, which could be one of the reasons that teabaggers don’t protest Wall Street or even Republicans nearly as much as Democrats. If the teabaggers are going to mainly focus on Obama and his administration while pretty much ignoring the role and responsibility of the Bush/Cheney cabal and the Republicans presently in Congress, then they should not be surprised that their movement’s sincerity is being questioned.

Billy also scolds all of the American people for their denial of our bloated empire around the world. Mr Maher carries on the fine tradition of biting socio-political satire that Lenny Bruce and George Carlin did so well.

His HBO shows and specials will go down as some of the best political comedy of the modern age. One of the most dangerous men in America.

Mario Savio’s 1964 Berkeley ‘Gears’ Speech and the 2009 Remembrance and Reaffirmation

December 2, 1964 Mario delivers his famous ‘Gears’ speech at Sproul Hall UC Berkley. The video shows the last 1:26 of a short 3-4 minute opening salvo by Savio. He then introduces Joan Baez at the podium and shortly thereafter, leads his fellow students in a peaceful sit-in of a building or two on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, California, USA.

Transcript from the very end of speech:

“We have an autocracy which runs this university. It’s managed. We asked the following: if President Kerr actually tried to get something more liberal out of the Regents in his telephone conversation, why didn’t he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received — from a well-meaning liberal — was the following: He said, “Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his board of directors?” That’s the answer! Now, I ask you to consider: if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the board of directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I’ll tell you something: the faculty are a bunch of employees, and we’re the raw material! But we’re a bunch of raw material[s] that don’t mean to have any process upon us, don’t mean to be made into any product, don’t mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We’re human beings!”

[Wild applause.]

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

[Prolonged applause.]

“Now, no more talking. We’re going to march in singing “We Shall Overcome.” Slowly; there are a lot of us. Up here to the left — I didn’t mean the pun.”

One of the great moments from the Berkley/San Francisco scene.  Mario was old school, the son of a New York Sicilian steel worker who had the mettle to make rousing and heartfelt speeches like this. Mario is speechifying at a Berkley Free Speech Movement rally on the steps of Sproul Hall on the UC Berkely campus.

He introduces Joan Baez before he gives up the mike.  Saint Joan was there every step of the way along the road to civil rights. She was MLK’s white angel. She stopped the cops from letting loose the water cannons but she was arrested quite a few times. Saint Joan the Archangel of Bohemia.

Mario was a bit of a saint too. He became the de facto leader of the FSM after he jumped atop a police car to speak in defense of a fellow student who was being arrested for passing out CORE literature on campus. CORE, or The Congress of Racial Equality had a very radical agenda. They were a congregation of people who wanted racial equality.

Mario took his shoes off before he climbed up on the police car. He was afraid that the heels of his shoes would dent the roof. Mario wanted to be a priest all his life and he almost went to divinity school. My guess is that he felt more of an affinity for the divinity of man than anything else.

He graduated from Manhattan and Queens College and moved with his family to Los Angeles. He enrolled in Berkeley and had already been arrested for civil disobedience in support of civil rights in San Francisco when he joined the Freedom Summer projects in Mississippi. He helped register black people to vote and taught at a Freedom school for black children.  When he returned to Berkeley he found that all political activity and fund raising had been banned. So he carpe diemed it and jumped on the police car and peacefully staged a 32 hour sit in right thar.

But Mario’s ‘Gears’ speech is his shining moment. A brilliant paré, he uses the shallow metaphor that Dean Kerr thought would shut the students up and turns it into one of the greatest turns of phrase and poetic undoing of dry cold propaganda in the history of western civ.

Here is the dean’s cognitive dissonance which I guess was just a smarmy way for him to shush the pesky students questioning his authority.

“Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his board of directors?”

Dr Kerr.

Dr Kerr issued this statement of ridiculousness that addressed the students objection to their free speech being inhibited, to their voices being silenced,  because the regents, the bored mis-directors don’t want their corporate donors, or the conservative parents to stop giving them money. The fact is though, that they would get more money from the left if people from the right, or corporations backed out. But it is not just about money, it is also about control.

Well Mario, being the good catholic Sicilian was incredulous that the dean would just ‘blow them off’, using the parlance of the day, and the words he spit back were some of the most inspired in the annals of Beserkley or anywhere else in the universe of saying what needed to be said.

If Dr Kerr’s words were a direct hit to the midsection of the rights and freedoms of students at Berkley, then Mario’s were a thousand beautiful ninja stars of light into the hearts and minds of those in attendance and radiating exponentially on. Inspired and delivered with the emotional intensity of a young warrior poet he thrust back:

“That’s the answer! Now, I ask you to consider: if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the board of directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I’ll tell you something: the faculty are a bunch of employees, and we’re the raw material! But we’re a bunch of raw material[s] that don’t mean to have any process upon us, don’t mean to be made into any product, don’t mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We’re human beings!”

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”


Well, not only did Super Mario rebut Kerr’s reptilian-brained metaphor, he showed Mr Kerr and the world what an insult his metaphor was to the intelligence and depth of the Free Speech Movement and the Berkley students. Mr Kerr’s reply was a patronizing and small-minded response to the students desire to express their support for the Civil Rights Movement.

Not only did Mario show that the students that Kerr dismissed were a bright and determined bunch but he delivered a powerful metaphor that still resonates today. The University need not be run like a firm, a factory, or a corporation where profit was the highest motive and free speech and constitutional rights were subjugated to a corporate like board of directors.

And Mario’s eloquence was a poetic display of the power of protest, of civil disobedience. They were going to lay down on the gears, lay down in the street to show that they were exercising their constitutional rights. They demanded debate. It was a metaphor for walk-outs and sit-ins and peaceful run-ins with the law. Mario, with his religious upbringing came up with this metaphor and it’s sacrificial imagery.

Mario was saying that his generation was willing to lay upon the machine to stop it. They would find out if those in charge were willing to sacrifice our children to the needs of the machine. Was the machine that odious? Were those in charge that cruel and calculating? I think we have been shown the answer. The metaphor of man vs machine cut to the heart of the matter.

A few years later Pink Floyd announced ominously, “Welcome to the Machine”. I am sure that was inspired by Mario somehow.  Playing at the psychedelic juke joints with the Yippie and Beat scene in high gear at the high end of the free love scene, Pink Floyd were stalwarts on the Haight in the late sixties, creating space travel and ascension  music and vibrating the place to a higher consciousness. Floyd warned us about the danger of the machines, and money and becoming ‘Comfortably Numb’.

What about now? Are we somehow enslaved by machines? Is their some hope on the horizon? Will the people finally rise up once and for all and demand that their rights be respected. For some, many, it is a matter of life and death. Even for some of our neighbors or friends, people we know and see in the bad part of town, or in a bad place in their life. Illness, poverty, depression. The death by thousand cuts.

Here is the video from the Remembrance and Reaffirmation December 09.

Is their a possibility of a resurgence in free love and a willingness for collective peace and justice even if we feel uncomfortable some times? Is it worth having to go to town hall meetings once a month to not have a fascist government run by corporations? Tough call I guess for most, but when it comes down to it, that is all it would take. Town by town referendums. Go door to door. Take a year, take two. If it were the actual will of the people it would get done.

But I guess that is crazy. People are resilient. They can bear the burden of capitalism, they will trudge on like good soldiers. Besides, we are waiting for the miracle, the miracle to come.

These videos and the millions of other works of ecstatic life art will be a testament to our collective struggle for the democratic ideal of  “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” It is a flame that cannot be extinguished.

And these cats in Berkley, in 2009, young and old are keeping the torch lit. Paying tribute to these giants that too many of us smugly stand on with our entitlements and our digitized and plasticized disposable culture.

Saint Mario stood like a giant and spoke. He became a heroic figure to those who dare mythologize this world. Remember the Titans.

Erykah Badu’s New Video, Upping the Ante on Modern Verite Art

Artwork from inside the album. Makes me want to start collecting vinyl again.

Ms Badu is an artist of the highest caliber. She has been at the forefront of the spiritual African American and World Music scene for over a decade now.

She has been trivialized in the mass media as some ‘far out stoner chick‘ for her views and her refusal to play the game, but in reality she is a gifted and unique artist with an enlightened socio-political critique of our modern landscape.

Her video for “Window Seat” proves she is one of the few artists who can and will take it to another level. She is in Dallas TX with obvious allusions to the JFK assassination, to what can happen to the individual who stands for something in this world.

Her message addresses those on both sides of the fence, we are all at once a perpetrator and victim of ‘group think.’ Her poem at the end of the video encapsulates this thesis.

Ms Badu is one of the few big artists out there willing to sacrifice for her art. She had to plead guilty to ‘public indecency’ charges for this crime. But was there a crime? Why is this important and non-violent social statement being punished as a crime? The charge may be trivial, and maybe she already shows up on a ‘no-fly list’ somewhere, but there is real social and financial burdens when you have a record, no matter if there is any real jail time.

Then to add insult to injury, the real perversion and violence that is pushed on our youth and our collective consciousness gets rewarded in the media and in our everyday milieu, with the excuse that “the youth demand it.” Yet when the youth take to the streets to agitate for peace and justice, to lift a voice of “NO!” to war, or to engage in civil disobedience for their cause, they are treated like criminals or even terrorists.

I believe these examples of the hypocrisy in our ‘mainstream media’ show us that the powerful corporate owned public media will use any excuse to make money off of the manipulation of art and artists to further their goals.

Their goal is to make money but at what cost? When the price is a distraught and confused population who are  in a constant state of fear and insecurity, then we have paid too much. When ethics fly out the door, when the ‘corporate media’ resort to sinister manipulation of the populace so they will be easier to control,  so they will be good and obedient consumers, then something has gone wrong.

How else to explain these and other examples of twisted logic?

Even scientists are in on the game, so called experts claim that kids support violence with their dollars, as if it was not obvious to all that violence for children is a last resort of other choices seemingly unattainable.

These days violence and the need to be able to at least withstand it is a necessary survival skill, and anyone would be foolish not to learn self-defense, but when violence pervades a culture, when young children grow up knowing only violence as resolution to conflict, we are in trouble. The infrastructure of our communities and social bonds will crumble under the weight of losing our shared visions and history.

We need to support Ms Badu and other artists who are willing to make deep and bold statements, who are still willing to stand for something other than ‘the almighty dollar.’

Artists like Ms Badu make bold statements not usually for themselves, but to push forward a dialogue. Ideas such as ‘Think for Yourself’ somehow always get twisted by theMSM to seem like an agenda, as if slogans like “Free Your Mind” have ideological leanings. Of course if you belong to the legion of ‘Non-believers in a Free Mind’ club  members, you might believe otherwise.

Her poem from the end of the video reads:

“They play it safe, are quick to assassinate what they do not understand. They move in packs, ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups, less guilt to swallow. They are us. This is what we have become. Afraid to respect the individual. A single person with inner circumstance can move one to change, to love herself, to evolve.”

Universal Music Group wont allow me to post it here but you can still see it on utube. I think the best place to go to view it is Erykah’s website, erykahbadu.com

Just click on the Ankh.

Naomi Klein Announces Call to Action for Tim “Bidder 70” DeChristopher

The trial of Tim DeChristopher is happening next month in Utah. As Naomi Klein states in her “Call to Action” article that I came across on the great site itsgettinghotinhere.org, this could be a turning point for the Climate Justice Movement. Seriously, this is a very unique case and will go a long way to showing how the Climate Justice Movement will be framed in national and local media.

I am sure that there will be lots of people headed to Utah and it should be an overall positive vibe there, so I think the main issue will be how the press handles the situation. Solidarity Actions are planned around the States and I think these will be more revealing as to the numbers and pizazz of the movement.

This does have all the rings to it of an important litmus test of the mettle of the Climate Justice Movement. Will there be real celebrities, and not just celebritologists in attendance? I would guess that Robert Redford and his Sundance Posse will be there since they are based in Utah, so at least it should be well documented. How about George Clooney, or even better Brad Pitt to play Butch Cassidy to RR’s The Sundance Kid. How about they ride in on horseback to the courthouse with the CNN camera’s rolling? Then a close up of Clint Eastwood squinting and walking up the courthouse steps as Ennio Morricone’s music plays? I will stop there.

My guess is that the MSM are going to play this as a legal case and not let it be turned into an argument of moral imperatives, dictates of conscious. I hope that the “climate campers” and the Indymedia pressure the MSM to have moral arguments about this case so it does not get too bogged down in legal and judicial proceedings. Things are complicated but if we ignore the plight of this kid and allow it to set precedent for the future treatment of climate activists we are allowing our present-day John Brown’s and Rosa Parks’ to be thrown under the bus.

Although the G20 protests received little positive mass media attention, global summits are hard to relate to but Tim DeChristopher and this trial should get a bunch of coverage. The MSM has no excuse to not cover this thing. It is about “global warming” and a “human interest” story with a likeable main subject. A lack of coverage will only prove they are really afraid of the Climate Movement. Let’s all pray for nice weather at least.

Godspeed Youth Climate Movement!

Here is the article.


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