Fareed Zakaria and Coded Anti-Populism


Zakaria Thinks Trump is a Chump

This is in response to Fareed Zakaria’s blog post entitled, “Fareed Zakaria on Donald Trump and Coded Racism” which appeared on his Global Public Square blog on April 22nd, 2011, where he ‘mans the helm’ at CNN on Sundays at 10am and 1pm eastern time.

Fareed seemed to be an otherwise thoughtful analyst of the geo-political scene when he waded into the mainstream media pool back in 2002, but this piece from his blog is just egregious and requires immediate attention from yours truly. Zakaria has outdone himself here, he uses the ‘trump card’ of racism to taint Donald Trump as a racist in a banal Straw Man analogy, which at least unfurls as an ‘informal fallacy.’

Nobody rooted for Mr Zakaria more than I when he showed up on our TV screens in the scary post-911 world. We were happy to see an Indian born practicing Muslim with a kind persona and classy presence disagree with the neo-conservatives while getting smiles from other liberals. It promised to be a kindler, gentler world where more international liberal and progressive voices were to be heard along staunch US conservative pundits and the usual Euro-centric Imperialist drivel.

This of course was not to be the case, instead of a more diverse perspective full of international voices, we have more colorful faces and accents, but the same narrow liberal/conservative ideologues logging in long hours on our TV screens. The new class of media pundits and commentators are a more diverse ‘rainbow of colors’, but their rainbow does not arch toward justice, as Martin Luther King envisioned our shared path to be, but  arches toward the status-quo, and the further eroding of our civil rights. ‘We the people’ need to bend the Rainbow of Truth in the direction of our shared  vision of equal rights and protection under the law, with due process afforded  all.

You will have proof here that Mr Zakaria is unabashedly steering the conversation away from real ‘Populism’ from his podium atop CNN. It is egregious to say the least, especially when you consider the baton was passed to him and others by the likes of Edward R Murrow, Walter Cronkite and to an extent the investigative reporting style of shows like “60 Minutes.”

With the new corporate media and figures like Zakaria, we do not get any real investigative style reporting, but ’60 minutes’ of crosstalk interlaced with Democrat or Republican talking points book-ended by portrayal of the ‘startled masses’ as ignorant sheep or raging lunatics.

This is the landscape that our pundits like to wallow in, but for what reason? Our sons and daughters desperate lives used are used as spectacle,  to uphold the firmament of the great lie of ‘Social Darwinism’, with the uber-beautiful and super-rich are coronated and celebrated as royalty on the stage of rising and falling American Idols.

I have spent enough time working in marketing and media to understand that most if not all of these ‘talking heads’ are just paid actors who clamor for the glamor of their positions. Zakaria and others want to be judges and juries on this distorted socio-political scene. Whether Fareed is unwittingly misinforming the public or not is relatively unimportant, for he has willingly chosen to align himself with his corporate masters whom he so gleefully shills for.

Zakaria, or ‘Z’ as I like to refer to him, is no ‘Zorro’, he does not ride around on horseback gallantly supporting his countrymen in their struggle against ‘El Patron’, but rides around in Limousines and Private Jets sharing cocktails with his intelligentsia friends. Z’s compadres in the ‘Media Elite’ are now concerned that their usual Right/Left game-plan is going to be flanked by a new Populist movement, with the real players being Ron Paul, Donald Trump, Jesse Ventura, and possibly Dennis Kucinich.

There is a mass mainstream media movement afoot that smears and belittles anyone that is not part of the Duo-Oligopoly:

* Oligarchy:

“a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution : the ruling oligarchy of military men around the president.
• a state governed by such a group : the English aristocratic oligarchy of the 19th century.
• government by such a group”

* Oligopoly:

“a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers.”

A duo-oligopoly refers to the Oligarchs who have monopolized the infrastructure of our Democratic Republic, and are now behind a false Democratic/Republican Party paradigm that the Establishment Media push on the confused public. Think of it as good cop/ bad cop, a la “Hill St Blues” or “Law and Order CSI.’

But this real life soap-opera narrative we could call “Wash DC Spin BS” is professional socio-political theater where the frustrated actors and maladjusted social predators run amok with our country moneys and laws, paying allegiance to their gods of greed and power. Without mercy or shame they raid and plunder our cherished institutions, like any purveyor of empire would do.

It is high theater in the hallowed halls of our hollow Republic and the emperor has no clothes, yet we do nothing as Shakespeare and Moliere roll in their graves

The ‘establishment media pundits’ have to pimp for their corporate masters. The corporatised media are afraid of real populist movements, that is why they constantly try and smear the Donald Trumps and Ron Pauls of the world. I kid you not, Ron Paul, the front runner in many polls, running neck and neck with Romney in most states, is not even mentioned alongside other Republican contenders in Zakaria’s article.

Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and others, are treated like lepers by MSNBC, CNN, FOX, while the talking heads just love to blabber ad nauseum about a Sarah Palin or a Michelle Bachman, both fringe candidates at this point. While Palin was McCain’s choice for VP, everybody knows that the intent was to lure Ron Paul supporters to the Republican ticket in 2008.

Although Fox promoted the new faces of “The Tea Party” movement on it’s programs in the post-inagaural ‘health care town hall debate’ media frenzy, the original ‘Tea Party’ began with Ron Paul during the 2008 election and was astro-turfed by corporate Republicans for their own benefit.

The astro-turfing of those original Tea Parties was lead by the Fox News/Republican cabal which orchestrated the ‘big show’, but the left-wing of the duo-oligopical media monster is there to flap the other side of the behemoth. MSNBC, CNN on the other side, rails against Fox News for creating and/or promoting the New Tea Party, while failing to allude to the original Tea Party movement which had Ron Paul as it’s ersatz leader.

They are yelling at each other like sibling rivals, when they could be talking about the real issues and moving the conversation forward. After all, we share 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees, yet Royal Republicans and Democrats cannot see eye to eye on just about anything. These people would rather have you believe that the Halls of Congress and Business are filled with well-meaning people who would do otherwise if it were not for the ‘absurdity of human behavior.’

The Elites Architects would have us believe that ‘The Masses’ are the main cause of our own demise. The ignorant, huddled masses who are misled by shiny baubles and promises of instant wealth and happiness. According to Zakaria’s philosophy, the people’s immature “fantasies” are at the heart of most of our socio-political problems. Z might even believe in this nonsense, these modern elite media pundits are not as well-rounded and thoughtful as they would have you believe.

Z and his cohorts are not grizzled veterans with years of investigative reporting and ‘on the ground’ experience, but chiseled professional Ivy Leageurs who are groomed for the corporate boardrooms and game-rooms that are the revolving door of the Oligopolistic House of Cards.

The sad truth is, they treat us like spoiled children who watch too much TV because they live in the center of that TV World they are trying to project onto us. This is mostly a case of their projection, which when projected from their projection screen TV’s, projects their shallow understanding of reality onto our realities.

All this nonsense of theirs would be quite suspicious if the Duo-Oligopolics were not already outed by most political analysts who are already onto the fake Dem\Rep paradigm which hides the big players behind the scenes. Z is not only on the front lines of the debate, manipulating and distorting public opinion through his CNN show and GPS Blog, but is also deeply ensconced in the behind the scenes machinations that masquerade as public policy.

Z  belongs to this new breed of International Globalists, many of which are now foreign born but are still mostly Ivy League educated, and usually from prominent families who are already aligned with either a conservative or liberal ideology. If they toe the line, they are then recruited by the Think Tanks and Media Outlets who then push their well-crafted and researched ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ viewpoints from the left or right side of the aisle into the public discourse.

The names and faces may change but this type of modern media paradigm has been prevalent since the 1990’s, when the FCC allowed the corporate takeover of our media, and prevails with the mass monopolizing and gentrification of most of our beloved mind and soul-scapes at this point.

Now to the original article in question with a bit of background on Mr Fareed Zakaria.

Fareed was born in Mumbai, India in 1964 to a politician father and a journalist mother. He earned a BA from Yale and a Phd in Political Science from Harvard then of course worked for the major media outfits such as Newsweek and now sits atop his perch at CNN, where has hosted Fareed Zakaria GPS since 2008.

See the original article here at his sites blog:


Z all too willingly jumps on the Donald Trump bashing bandwagon and exposes himself as either a naive scrutinizer of the American political scene, or a sinister neo-globalist who is obviously trying to muddy the waters of an otherwise serious debate with the politics of obfuscation.

Ever since ‘The Don’ ‘threw his hair into the ring’ and brought up the ‘birther issue’, he has been under constant attack by the left-wing of the duo-oligopoly and their spin machines, while being pseudo-supported by the right-wing. Set your wash cycle for whites, or color safe, and spin spin spin.

Although I have not been following Z or any other of the MSM players on the field as of late, I am even more disheartened than usual at this ‘hit piece’ he has tried to pass off on the mostly unsuspecting public. Perusing the 1000+ comments under his article remind me that I am not the only one who is on to him. If I were to write a disingenuous piece that would smear Trump, while reducing the importance of American Populist figures and movements, this would be it.

The article begins here, in italics, with my commentary embedded for those who dare venture into the murky depths of this nefariousness, masking as otherwise wisdom and good-sense.

ARTICLE BEGINS-Bold headlines are his.

“A number of you have been asking me on Facebook, Twitter and iReport what I think about Donald Trump, the ‘birther’ issue and the Republican presidential field. Here are my thoughts:

1. Donald Trump’s appeal is based on a fantasy

“Americans have always had an appetite for a populist, non-politician who promises to cut through the mess in Washington and provide simple, commonsense solutions to the problems ailing the United States.”

“The peculiar American twist is that the populists tend to be billionaires. People think the very rich are immune to the usual pressures in government.  In some cases this turns out to be true (Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a good example).”

“But, fundamentally, this is wishful thinking bordering on fantasy. The mess we’re in is not a product of a handful of idiotic politicians engaged in venal behavior. The problem is that Americans want low-taxes and lots of government services.”

Z reduces everyone’s realistic desires for politicians to represent the people’s interests. While American Populists of the past such as Huey Long, or more recently Ross Perot have captured the naive “fantasies” of a large swath of the public, most American Populists have not been billionaires or even millionaires as  Z asserts. Huey Long was certainly not a billionaire, Kucinich neither. Let’s refresh Z’s memory with some definitions.

The popular definition of a Populist:

“a member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people.
• a person who holds, or who is concerned with, the views of ordinary people.”

“a member of the Populist Party, a U.S. political party formed in 1891 that advocated the interests of labor and farmers, free coinage of silver, a graduated income tax, and government control of monopolies.”

Z seems to reduce the American Populist Movement to Donald Trump, Mayor Bloomberg and Ross Perot, while recent Populists such as Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, John Edwards, Ralph Nader, Jesse Ventura, Ron Paul are ignored in his analysis.

The founders of legendary Populist parties, such as Teddy Roosevelt leading the Progresive Party of 1912, and Huey Long with his Share the Wealth movement of 1933-35 are the beginning of the American Populist movements, but even Ronald Reagan could be accused of populist tendencies.

Z reduces the Populist movements to suit his and his benefactors needs, hoping that most people will not do the research or have the ability to deconstruct his methods. This is the updated elitist philosophy that says “people only read the headlines” or “reality is too complicated for the masses so we must direct them,” both of which are shallow points of view.

What’s egregious is that Z dares to accuse the American people of living in a “fantasy world” where Populist heroes like Donald Trump or Ross Perot are merely caricatures of their naive distorted dreams, and it is his duty to remind of our ignorance.

You have to be wealthy to run as a Populist now because it is hard to raise money outside the Dem/Rep Big Tent System, which excludes most independents from even debating the chosen few handpicked contestants. Somehow Z misses this angle which really weakens his argument.

While people like Trump are a new breed of politician who have celebrity status, he is not one of the elite cadre of institutional professional politicians, but is a NY boy made international star. Donald Trump is a danger to the establishment, he likes to speak his mind and is a savvy businessman who is unafraid of the media.

‘The Don’ graduated from Wharton Business School, but according to Z, he is not educated enough in the reality of international politics that only a Harvard Phd can provide. Although Z might be concerned that Trump has little geo-political experience, neither does Mitt Romney, whom Z feels is a “credible guy.’

Trump is not a credible guy  according to Z, but what credentials is Z using? Is it that Trump does not know how to play the inside Washington game that well, that his business and TV experience will not be enough to deal with the political finesse that our Insider Politicians are so adept at. So where has all this political finesse got us, not any closer to solving any of the important issues of the day but further and deeper into the muck of economic and socio-political turmoil, now on a grand scale and continuing to spiral out of control. Not to worry though, Obama is at he wheel and Romney might create an interesting conversation about nationalized health care, so Z will be happy with his “credible guy” pageant…hmmm…no comment.

Z also tries to come off as good fiscal conservative and neo-liberal realist but behind his wide-eyed zeal and assumed expertise lies an opportunist. Zakaria is a transnational globalist who is more than willing to use his skills to help the Duo-Oligopoly hide their schemes behind our tele-vision daydreams.

Mr Zakaria constantly scolds and admonishes the ‘American People’ for not working hard enough, or not being realistic enough in their endeavors. I am sure Mr Zakaria knows about ‘tightening his belt’ of course, his Ivy League credentials and telegenics  are all he needs to get our heads to nod at the scoldings.

Next he wags his finger at us about how unrealistic we are to demand that Medicare be left alone and that there is no broad middle class increase in taxation.

“If you look at the recent polls, most Americans think there should be no changes to Medicare and no broad increases in taxation. This is magical mathematics. There is no way to make the budget work without doing both of these things – or at least one of them.”

Of course, that the tax cuts to the rich were extended and the out of control Military/Industrial/Prison Complex is off the table, the only reasonable solution is to cut Medicare. I am sure Z was out there on the front lines of the media establishment in their assurances that the ‘public option’ was magical thinking as well when the people petitioned for it.

Forget about the Wall St bailouts and the Iraq war, that is the cold hard hand of reality taking care of those who determine these things, the people in their fantasies are naive about geo-politics and are fiscally irresponsible. And guys like Z will steer us to accept things for how they are, and then admonish us when we get too optimistic or fall prey to our tendency towards “magical thinking.”

“The reason people like Donald Trump have appeal is they seem to promise that through their superior business talent they will magically solve problems and save Americans from having to make hard choices. That’s a fantasy. It’s never going to happen.”

Wrong Z.

People like Donald Trump have appeal because he is not part of the professional political and media establishment like Fareed Zakaria and his friends are. These socio-political priests who look down on us now from 52 inch Plasma screens think they are going to get away with this nonsense.  The emperor still has no clothes, even in high-def. Sorry.

Fareed desperately wants to get through our heads that we are fantastical “magical thinkers” who need to grow up. This is a line that a tired conservative like George Will would take, it is pure nonsense. Like so many others in the establishment media, Mr Zakaria likes to portray Americans as fantasists, who live their lives through a TV fantasy world, but the absurd truth is, he is the one living in the fantasy world.

His is a fantasy world where someone who has no real world experience outside Ivy League academia and mainstream corporate owned media is the harbinger of reality. Zakaria and others feel they are entitled to talk down to us, and he hopes we are all impressed by his credentials and telegenic demeanor and do not see through this ‘mirage’ of wisdom.

When the ‘hall of mirrors’ come down, we are left with just another banal attempt at mis-informing and manipulating information for nefarious purposes.

Next ‘Z’ uses a new tactic from the Demo-crat playbook, “When an opponent questions Obama, or any other Demo-crat who is of color, using the ‘race card’ is recommended. It is referred to as a ‘Trump Card’, in essence, Trump’s reputation is destroyed by his namesakes overt meaning. As if Z could ever be so clever, and one should know, “no need to be clever when your hand is on the lever.”

Now that Z has scolded you for your magical thinking, he is ready to show you the reality of Trump’s racism, which is of course ‘coded’…oooohhhhh!

2. The ‘birther’ issue is coded racism

“Then there is the ‘birther’ issue.  I regard this as coded racism, frankly. I don’t think there’s any other word for it.”

There are plenty of other words for it Fareed. While there are plenty of racists in this country to go around, the elite medias love to exaggerate the race issue on both sides. Z and others on the professional left love to hurl insults at the people on the right, knowing full well that the views of the actual people are closer to the middle. Social issues such as abortion or religion are used to segregate the lower classes into more manageable divisions. It all seems so real now, the media has been creating this divide for decades…people are desperate and angry, and it shows.


“For goodness’ sake, George Stephanopoulos displayed Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth on network TV and this rumor still doesn’t die. Put it this way: If the President was a white man named John Smith with the other background issues being the same – foreign student father, mother in Hawaii, etc. – would there be any of these dark insinuations? Trump should be ashamed of himself. But then, I suppose, he wouldn’t be Donald Trump.”

“For goodness’ sake”….really Z? I think “aw shucks” would be the colloquialism to ingratiate yourself  us silly Americans.

According to Zakaria’s logic, Obama is a person of color…Donald Trump questions the legitimacy of his birth certificate…that proves he is a racist. Zakaria”s “John Smith” argument is a “straw man”argument if there ever was one.

There is conveniently no modern American President who had such an international upbringing, but that is of course besides the point. If Obama was white, nobody would care that his father was Russian, and he was born in Alaska and raised for years in Denmark? Really, nobody would raise an eyebrow?

Z assures us that these are “dark insinuations”, which sounds a bit racist to me, it sounds like coded racism actually.

“I don’t think that the ‘birther’ issue the real appeal of Trump, anyway. It has just helped Trump get free media and rise up in the polls. His real appeal is the fantasy that he can somehow get us out of the mess we’re in.”

So Donald is in desperate need of negative attention, which is what he is mostly getting from the press now that he is outed as a ‘birther?’ Trump is a savvy businessman, he is not going to grasp at straws.

Of course the birther issue is not the main issue anyway but just happens to be the one that Z can use keep the Trump campaign grounded should it gain too much steam. While they may want to attack him with everything should he get a ‘hair of steam’ going, they know that he is good ratings, which at the end of the day is what matters. They will of course play this ping-pong game with us till the cows come home, just as their masters sell arms to both sides of the war.

“The reality, however, is that only we can get us out of the mess we’re in.”

Who is “we” Fareed?

He wants US in on the decisions maybe…not the same US that you have been accusing of magical thinking and living in a fantasy land? Oh, I guess he means “WE” as in “WE the people shall foot the bill? While the same time allowing “we”-him and his friends, to tell us where to send the money.

3. The Republican presidential field is weak

“I think the most serious Republican candidate is Mitt Romney. He has run a big business. He was the governor of a big state. But he’s probably disqualified from the Republican nomination because his healthcare plan is too close to Obama’s.”

Of course Mitt Romney, never mind that he is a Mormon, no problem, he is the establishment candidate par excelllance. Ron Paul is of course crazy because he is not approved by Harvard/Yale establishment, or even the Republican establishment, even though he is from Texas.

Funny, Fareed is always saying how bad the Republicans are, but he must mean the stupid voters, he still likes the establishment candidate. You would think that Z would like someone who was outside the establishment. Ron Paul is an astute politician who is is very popular with independents, and he is also a practicing medical physician.

“I think this is unfortunate because he would spur a serious debate if he were the nominee. I don’t agree with everything he says. (He’s said some pretty nutty stuff about Islamic extremism and terrorism). But I do think he’s a credible guy who could plausibly be a good President.”

Fareed does not need to say why he is “credible guy” but he would know.

“Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels strike me as minor figures who are unlikely to have the kind of firepower that you would need to take on a sitting President.

“And Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are ideological statements that fire up the base but would be overwhelmingly rejected by the American people. If either of these two were nominated, it would say that the Republican Party was more interested in being true to its perceived causes than in actually winning elections.  This has not historically been true of the Republican Party, which has tended to be a more practical party.”

Of course Ron Paul is not even mentioned. How odd…or rather…how obvious.

4.  President Obama is in good shape
“The single most important factor determining a president’s reelection is the economy. And through a combination of good crisis management and luck, I think Obama will end up entering the 2012 campaign stretch with an American economy that’s improving, which is probably more important than everything else.”

Of course Z, Obama is your man, Wall St loves him. All the bankers and corporate CEO’s love the man, why not you?

“So those are my thoughts. I’d love for you to continue the conversation below, and to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also send me video questions through iReport.”

Maybe I will send him a video question soon.



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.

Cyrus Safdari on Iran Air Flight 655 and US Hypocrisy


Some of Cyrus’ quotes from interview below.

Not only does Cyrus have a cool name, he seems like a reasonable individual. Unlike most Bush supporters, I believe words and ideas and how they are expressed actually say something about the individual uttering them.

I also tend to not go for the glitz and gloss that you find masquerading as sincerity and reasonable discourse in the Main Stream Media (MSM). They look great, talk great and have the world of technology at their polished fingertips yet the discourse and debate somehow go nowhere. Go figure.

Cyrus Safdari may not be the most polished person to speak on the Iranian situation, but as someone who speaks for his own culture and has been in Iran both before and after the 1979 Revolution, I respect his point of view much more than I would an overly-telegenetic ‘talking head.’

I honor the fact that Cyrus is able to speak in clear and sober terms to such a personally painful situation in this corporate and western dominated media. I listen with an open mind because mine is the paradigm which assumes that the closer you get to the heart of a story, the more truth you will find.

People may speak of RT, or Russian Television as a lesser or biased media but the facts speak for themselves. There are many arguments here depending on which paradigm you adhere too. As far as the MSM goes, the paradigm is pretty one-sided. A corporate agenda where the views and the needs of the majority of people no matter what their culture, are subjugated to the will of the corporate/government infrastructure. Follow the money honey.

Collectivism, the idea that we should use our government as a tool for the management of our natural and cultural resources is portrayed in the media as “communism” and linked to the downfall of man. While unregulated capitalism is portrayed as a “savior” of our democracy and way of life. And they are laughing all the way to the bank…in the Cayman Islands, so they are laughing on a jet or yacht…just to rub it in I guess.

Just as African Americans never were or deserved to be viewed as 3/5ths human under the law, other cultures and civilizations are no less valuable than our own. We may prefer our own culture of course which is only natural, but to say that another country or people do not deserve to be treated with respect because we don’t understand them is immature and irresponsible.

My Gosh! How do we not realize the chain of struggles and events that women, children, immigrants and minorities have gone through in modern society and not see the links to how we view and treat people in foreign countries and civilizations today.

The painful truth is that we have more in common with the poor and middle class in other countries such as Iran than we do with the wealthy and upper classes in our own countries.

With our own country we share a common language and cultural identity with the wealthy but upon closer examination it turns out that we don’t have the same world view that the power hungry and market Mouseketeers do.

Real people don’t identify with Disneyland, they identify with a camaraderie that is borne of a shared fate. More like “The Three Musketeers” or “Robin Hood”, books and now movies that are reinvented and retold every generation because they resonate so strongly with our innate human needs and desires. It only feels like a Revolutionary desire because the powers that be are constantly fighting us for the ability to govern ourselves. So we feel like we are constantly at war in the political realm.

As it turns out the overwhelming majority of the worlds poor and middle class just want to work, raise families and try to live peaceful and relatively uneventful lives. I think it is called being happy. But as it turns out their is a small percentage of our humanity who’s main goal is to gain wealth and power at the expense of the health and well being of the rest of the population and the entire planet. They are willing to do whatever it takes, to take over every facet of our lives, to overwhelm the commons with their fear and loathing and sway public opinion against itself.

This is not class warfare, people have a right to be rich if they have earned it, but to then use that wealth and power to subdue and take away the rights that our forefathers and mothers struggled with and fought for their whole lives seems a bit extreme on their part. It should at least should be allowed to be discussed, don’t you think?

From the RT Utube channel:

“Iran Air Flight 655, also known as IR655, was a civilian airliner shot down by US missiles on Sunday 3 July 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, toward the end of the Iran–Iraq War.The aircraft, an Airbus A300B2 operated by Iran Air as IR655, was flying from Bandar Abbas, Iran, to Dubai, UAE, when it was destroyed by the US. Is this an example of US policy hypocrisy towards Iran?”

Mr. Cyrus Safdar from the video:

“The Iranians are not silly or stupid, they are quite aware of the history of their country with respect to the US and so when the US tries to lecture Iran and the Iranians on Human Rights, Iranian actually wonder where this is coming from. Where was this concern for Human Rights when the US was backing Saddam (Hussein), or when they shot down IA Flight 655 or all of the other things that have happened between the two countries.”

“Everyday we are bombarded with the latest Iran news, however this news is never put in any kind of context which would allow it to be understood. Instead it’s constant fear mongering.”

“The US and Western medias are so dominant that it is hard to get independent voices heard.”

“Anyone who goes on the internet right now can see videos of Donald Rumsfeld the former Secretary of State shaking hands with Saddam Hussein at a time when SH was gassing the Kurds and the US tried to shift blame for that onto the Iranians.”

“We can talk about their (Iran’s) nuclear program which started with the assistance of the US and suddenly now the US is telling Iran that it has to give up it’s rights under the non-proliferation treaty”

“However the US is closely allied with countries who have nuclear weapons and have refused to sign the same treaty.”

“What we have here (in Iran) is a third world country that dare to rise up and overthrow a US backed dictatorship. If Iran can do than so can people in Saudi Arabia, so can people in other countries in which the US is closely allied with their ruling governments, and this presents a threat to others in the region as well.’

The original by the great Leon Russel

Nader Honors and Defends Helen Thomas on “The Real News”


“The Rabbi took down the original video in it’s edited form, but there happens to be a full video of the interview on utube where you can see the context of Helen’s statements in full view. It is completely clear that Ms Thomas was speaking specifically about the two state solution, a Gaza strip and occupied terror-tories where Israel has been demolishing Palestinian villages and creating new Israeli settlements in it’s place. This is against the UN agreed upon borders of 1967 and a violation of international treaty.

Would someone explain to me why is it not a rational point of view to consider the possibility that instead of Israel sending it’s population farther and farther into Palestine it consider other alternatives. What is wrong with living in Poland or the US instead of Israel as a Jewish citizen? I am not saying it is the best solution, if you want to stay in Israel by all means, but why is throwing this out there when you are approached by some young people in the park such a heinous thing?

Maybe she thought of another generation of kids growing up with an Israeli/Palestine situation at the heart of many of our worst issues as a planet, and wanted to think outside the box.

Not the “all the Jews need to get out of the Middle East” as many people would like you to believe. Helen was taken down by old enemies in the Bush White House who were insulted that a reporter would ask challenging questions about the Iraq War. Don’t believe me, well she was the only one to question Bush in the White House “out to im”Press Corps.

I am very happy that I was one of the few to defend Helen Thomas and I believe the Rabbi’s video exonerates her somewhat when you take into context her Lebanese background and the fact that she was maybe caught off guard a little. And I guess as an Arab American she is not to be upset by things like this.

From Wiki:

‘On 27 December 2008,[74] Israeli F-16 strike fighters launched a series of air strikes against targets in Gaza. Struck were police stations, schools, hospitals, UN warehouses, mosques, various Hamas government buildings, a science building in the Islamic University, and a U.N.-operated elementary school in a Palestinian refugee camp.[75] Israel said that the attack was a response to Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel, which totaled over 3,000 in 2008, and which intensified during the few weeks preceding the operation. Palestinian medical staff claimed at least 434 Palestinians were killed, and at least 2,800 wounded, made up mostly civilians and some Hamas members, in the first five days of Israeli strikes on Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces rejected claims the majority of those killed were civilians, providing evidence that Hamas deliberately hides weapons and fighters in “mosques, school yards and civilian houses” to deter an attack and exploit Israel’s rules of engagement.[76] Israel began a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip on 3 January 2009.[77] Israel rebuffed many cease-fire calls and both sides declared unilateral cease-fires.'[78][79]

In total, between 1,100-1,400[80] Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the 22-day war.[81].

After 22 days of fighting, Israel decided to stop fighting, while insisting on holding its positions, while Hamas has vowed to fight on if Israeli forces do not leave the Strip.[82]

The conflict damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes,[83] 15 of Gaza’s 27 hospitals and 43 of its 110 primary health care facilities,[84] 800 water wells,[85] 186 greenhouses,[86] and nearly all of its 10,000 family farms[87]; leaving 50,000 homeless,[88] 400,000-500,000 without running water,[89][90] one million without electricity,[91] and resulting in acute food shortages.[92]”

Or the Israeli block-aid of Gaza?

And of course she is still 90 years old, Okaaaaaaaay!

And the fact that she defended her parents neglecting to teach her Arab by pointing out that it was frowned upon by American uncivil society makes her even more endearing.”

Original article begins here.

It is pretty simple actually,

This is the infamous Helen Thomas video. The rabbi with a camera is leading Helen. Her comments, although simplistic sum up a rational point of view, albeit historical. Israel deserves of course to be a state, but I think Helen was saying, if you allow me to paraphrase, “It is Palestinian land, and if the Jews hate it so much there, if after all this time we cannot come to a ‘fair settlement’ (PI), then maybe it would be easier to avoid WW III and have the Jews go back to Europe.”

And I know in the video it sounds like she is talking about all of Israel but I believe she could be just referring to Gaza and the West Bank. There might be some confusion there.

I know, it is hard to defend her statement but she apologized immediately and retracted it. I just think that because she is 90 years old and has always been on the defensive with that cowardly White House Press Corps, coupled with the fact that she was led by the interviewer, that he was even paraphrasing her statements back to her…I mean she needs to be cut some slack.

A Washington Post poll came out showing 88% want her reinstated.

In my book, you do not take down old ladies like this after they have given so much.

Here is the Nader interview with his salient quotes underneath.

“She is a courageous journalist. She came here in 1942, blazed the way for women like no one did.”

“She demanded that all of these doors that had been closed to females be opened up.”

“She also set the standard for journalism, asking the tough questions on the minds of most Americans that the weak-kneed White House Press Corps would never ask. Like to Bush, “Why did you invade Iraq? A million people have died.”

Now this will be what she is remembered for? Not cool man! She is freakin’ 90 years old, okay!!! Tryin to take down grandma needs to be at least looked at closer.

My guess is that she was horrified at the flotilla raid and vented, saw the WWIII scenario unveiling and just let it roll. She was just thinking outside the box, as they say. I have no way to spin it to sound good but is it really that terrible? I will isolate and encapsulate what she was saying, “things are so bad in the Middle East and the Israeli/Palestine situation is the nexus of an existing and escalating situation which is leading to WWIII…let’s have a do over or something for Pete’s sake!”. That was the best I could do.

My family suffered greatly from WWII, their country was invaded and 2 million non-Jewish Polish citizens were killed in the war but I would not use this fact to drown out the debate. For some reason Israel is the only country that gets to use ‘their’ holocaust as “sacrosanct”, a word Obama used in reference to Israel in a major speech.

From Wiki:

Parallel to the Holocaust, the Nazis executed the General plan Ost (General Plan East) for the conquest, ethnic cleansing, and exploitation of the populaces of the captured Soviet and Polish territories; some 20 million Soviet civilians, 3 million Poles, and 7 million Red Army soldiers were killed. The Nazis’ aggressive war for Lebensraum (Living space) in eastern Europe was waged “to defend Western Civilization against the Bolshevism of subhumans”. Estimates indicate that, had the Nazis won the war, they would have deported some 51 million Slavs from Central and Eastern Europe. Because of the atrocities suffered under Stalin, many Ukrainians, Balts, and other oppressed nationalities, fought for the Nazis. The populaces of Nazi-occupied Soviet Russia who racially qualified as of the Aryan race, or had no immediate Jewish ancestors, were not persecuted, and often were recruited to the Waffen Schutzstaffel (Waffen-SS) divisions; eventually, the Nazi regime meant to Germanize the racially acceptable volk of occupied eastern Europe.”

And being of Polish descent, I am especially offended by the fact that the interviewer had to explain that Poland was a country that fought Germany. Wow! I thought that was really well known, but I guess with the way Polish people were portrayed in movies like “Schindler’s List”, you might not guess that Poland had the most Jews of any country and that would not be the case if it were not one of the friendliest, ok let’s say less hostile places for the Jewish diaspora.

It does not matter what group you are, no country or people should be regarded as “sacrosanct”, while the other is unfairly regarded as a terrorist. At the end of the day, people just want a decent life and to be left alone. Very few people hate. but organizations far and wide use ‘people’ as figurative and literal cover for their crimes.

Confucius say, “Make no organization sacred so as evil can hide behind it’s veil.”

And I most definitely applaud the interviewer for bringing up the Native American analogy. Bravo

Here is Nader explaining the hypocrisy of it all.

“You got Savage, Hannity, Limbaugh and the things they say about Muslims, Muslim Americans.”

“And what about Ann Coulter, and she said horrible things about slaughtering Muslims. But she didn’t lose one gig, one column.”

But for Helen, “One mistake and they have terminated her column, terminated her career?”

“Eleven year olds would ask tougher questions than the Washington Press Corps.

Even recently she asked Obama, “What country in the Middle East has nuclear weapons.”

A question so powerful and revealing that Obama refused to answer it. Only because it would show the hypocrisy of the Israeli and American stances on the Middle East.

I smell major hypocrisy here! Helen Thomas is a hero, her comments were stupid but I would hate to be judged every time a rabbi with a camera asked me a question about Israel. In fact, when I am 90, if this problem is still happening and a rabbi or a Hindu, or a Kutcher with a camera gets in my face about Israel or anything else I am going to say, “Anyone who isn’t a Scientologist should be shot into space.”

I might be so fed up when I am 90 that I hate everyone, everything. I already hate cell phones and I am still youthfullish.

Oh my goodness! We are all going to judged by what we say to people who bother us with cameras in the park when we are 90 years old! It is going to be awful!

I am gonna be like, “I am freakin 90 years old Holmes!”

From the movie, “TV Set”. One of the best comedies about Hollywood, and the media in general. If you like Duchovny you will love it, his dry wit and soulful sarcasm and verve versus the chasm of barren soullessness that is Holllyhood. Hilarious.

Hey Neurosky! I Do Mind!

From Neurosky website.

NeuroSky is the worldwide leader in bringing biosensor technology to the consumer mass market. Our well-known partners have utilized our technology to create some of the most exciting products of the year, including Mattel’s Mindflex and Uncle Milton’s Force Trainer.

Our Brain-Computer Interface technologies are available to developers and researchers across a range of different industries. Our advancements breathe new life into existing products and enable the birth of new innovations.

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While hopefully not enslaving us to robots in the process?

To me this video is just awful. Although it is a report from 2007, I don’t think it is that dated really. It shows everything that is wrong with the merging of science and media. To me recklessly merging neuroscience with children’s video games sounds like a science fiction nightmare.

Neurosky is a terrible name. Why not just Brain-Heaven? Too obvious?

Here is the CEO of Neurosky, Stanley Yang doing some feel good PR at 1:01:

“For industrial applications we have alot of inquiries about how to make construction workers safer..ugh..operating machines that are dangerous…if you lose your focus maybe you should stop the machine before it hurts you.”

First of all, this guy is the CEO? This is the BBC, and Neurosky  is one of the top companies right now going to market with a very high tech device. I mean Neurosky, who’s motto is “Do you mind”, is probably a front for a more nefarious organization, but the quote is delivered as if he just ate a two day old doughnut. His delivery is understandable when you consider that ‘this is for your own good’, or ‘this is to help people’ is just a marketing strategy used to ease your mind.

A good analogy might be pharmaceutical companies. Give them billions of dollars and what do you get? Sure, the guys in the lab coats come out and furrow their brow and show charts. There might even be applause, but what comes out on the market the next day? Not a breakthrough in any of the big killers, just a new viagra, a new drug to make you think you are happy… and a marketing campaign to sell it to you.

When are doctors going to stop bragging about curing polio?

Jonas Salk was against everything the pharma-corps stand for now. He refused to patent his vaccine and profit from it because he wanted to make sure as many people as possible were getting it. The pharmaceuticals do the opposite. They fight and fight for the right to party at our expense.

Second of all, if you think construction companies or any other company is going to invest in high tech equipment to keep their workers safer,  you are dead wrong. Many workers die on the job now because companies cut corners on safety as it is…”low tech” safety.

Miners and oil-riggers come to mind.

Third of all. His statement is terribly contradictory, to the point of oxymoronic absurdity.

“If you lose focus, maybe you should stop the machine before it hurts you”, he says.

So if you have the helmet on, and lose focus, you should focus harder with the helmet? Does he mean, if your leg falls asleep, you can tell the machine with your brain to move it? I know, maybe a buzzer will go off, when the ‘concentration meter’ is low? But a buzzer could be distracting, there are buzzers all over the machine. A warning light? Well, you have to watch what you are doing, sometimes looking in the opposite direction of the console.

Of course you could have some sort of vibration or slight shock to ‘alert’ you that your concentration is low. And that could be a good selling point too for the company. “It is mostly for safety but it will also increase efficiency.”

Of course, these statements from these companies are not meant to be taken seriously, but they are used to counter people’s criticism of the technology as in, “what, are you against helping the elderly and handicapped!?”

And who knows, these devices might actually make the work place more fun. This technology will make the water cooler chat even cooler.

“I think I set the record today for ‘zingers’!”, or whatever the slang will be for the electric shocks or jolts that will wake you out of your unfocused ways and back on the job.

“Sometimes I think I am addicted to ‘zaps’, I wonder if I stay up late just to get more the next day?”, says the poor strung out worker to his pal.

Now for some scary quotes by a British narrator. They always try and get a British guy to do it to make it seem less harmless. It even works on the British.

AT 1:21: “If you fancy your self as Darth Vader this helmet will read your brain waves. The meter measures concentration.”

And my favorite at 1:31:

“But scientists say there is still a long way to go before technology harnessing the power of thought becomes reliable enough for mind games and brain controlled devices to come into general use”

Darn! Now now now!

I think “mind games” and “brain controlled” devices need to be in everyone’s hands as soon as possible. I think children wearing brain-scanning helmets that read their devious little minds along with a viewable ‘concentration meter’ on the side is a good thing. Let’s try and see them squirm their way out of this one! Little bastards! We got em now!

Neurosky! To infinity and beyond!

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.


‘The Nation’s Chris Hayes Drops the ‘O’-bomb on Countdown

The ‘O’ bomb is OLIGARCHY.

If we are seeing a progressive journalist like Chris Hayes saying openly and almost whimsically that we have a totally corrupt, bought and sold government…an “oligarchy”, on prime time MSNBC, then isn’t the cat out of the bag?

What more has to happen for people to wake up and demand justice, or accountability or whatever buzz word you want to use for doing what’s right. And so much is on the line. There is serious death and dismemberment all over the world due to the collective unconsciousness of the American citizenry.

Any expert from the right or left who has an ounce of honesty will tell you that the government is bought and sold by the elites.

And if the entire government is bought and sold, as Tea-Partiers like to say, then why do they not display pictures of Republicans in effigy or as voodoo priests? There may be lots of genuine people in the Tea Party movement but they are being used and manipulated by corporate and quasi-republican party operatives. Dick Morris is an example of one of the buzzards, with my apologies to birds of prey.

Why does it take a progressive like Chris Hayes to state it? Will the threat of a right-wing popular revolt, a la the tea-partiers, bring progressives together? Or more likely, will progressives complain while the right organizes and grows and threatens to move the country even more to the right? We are on the doorsteps of fascism as it is, or rather fascism is on our doorsteps. My advice, don’t open the door.

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