Friday, April 25, 2008

Viva Banksy

In my travels around 'the Sphere', I find some gems. I think it was on Gary's site that I discovered for the first time a controversial (well, in the words of mainstream media) art provoceur Banksy. This illusive graffiti artist who leaves his political commentary either spray painted or dressed up not only in his native England (we'll assume it's a 'he') and here in the US. Here is a short exchange from LA's public radio's "Market Place":

KAI RYSSDAL: Art is big business and getting bigger. Christie's did more than $2 billion in sales in the first half of this year. That's up 39 percent from 2005 and this week begins a new cycle of buying and selling. It's the fall art season. Thousands of artists are displaying their wares, mostly at upscale galleries. But on Friday, here in Los Angeles, there's an art event of a different kind. From a different kind of artist. It's being called a "vandalized warehouse spectacular." Marketplace's Rico Gagliano has more.

RICO GAGLIANO: On Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, Christophe Loiron stands in front of his vintage clothing store. On the wall near the door is the spray-painted stencil of a rat.
CHRISTOPHE LOIRON: When I first moved into this building, I saw some graffitis on my wall, and to be honest with you, when I first looked at them, I wondered what color paint I was gonna use to repaint the walls.
Then he noticed people stopping by to take pictures.
LOIRON: And asking me if I knew the artist. Some people mentioned his name, Banksy, and it took me a while to figure out how to spell it.
It's B-a-n-k-s-y. And when Christophe Googled the name, he discovered his store had been vandalized by one of the world's most elusive and sought-after artists.

[ Anchorman from UK Channel 4 News Video: Subversive graffiti artist Banksy has now created nine spray paintings on the controversial barrier which separates Israel from Palestine. Channel Four news has exclusive footage. ]

Much of Banksy's work combines edgy political commentary with ironic humor and criminal derring-do. Last week he dressed a mannequin like a Guantanamo Bay prisoner and somehow installed it beside a railroad ride in Disneyland.

Read the rest. bold added by yours truly.
Note how one becomes 'subversive' when protesting the barrier that separates Israel from Palestine.

choochoo, look mommy, why is that man in the red outfit wearing a big black scary mask?

The sculpture, consisting of an inflatable doll dressed in an orange jumpsuit with its hands and feet manacled remained in place for one and a half hours before Disneyland's security staff shut down the ride and removed it amid fears over public safety. The Wooster Collective.ROTFL!!! hehe...snif..ehm yeah, bold added by yours truly hehehe...boy, what a safety issue that was!

Anyhow, in this political world of paranoia and government abuse in the Western worlds of the US and the UK with increased domestic terror laws limiting people's rights and freedoms, it is ALL important for this kind of art (political commentary out in the open for everyone to see) to not only exist, but for it to be encouraged. Yes, I said encouraged. What speaks more to the collective mind when passing a building and suprise surprise, it has a message you can't ignore. Anything to shake people out of their complacencies. Ok, not just anything for those sticklers who'll think in the extremes of death and gore. We're talking Banksy. Viva Banksy. May he never be found out. Or she. Or they...

The Wooster Collective - a celebration of street art


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Independent Thinking

The Future Was Yesterday was very happy with my previous post. In fact, of all the things to laud me for he mentioned in his enthusiasm that he "ran into the most profound shock I've had in a long, long time!! Not that she posted, or even posted about a subject near and dear to my heart, But the research!........" (bold added by yours truly)

Now the 'research' is not so much the key to some of my findings. I've always been an Independent, politically and otherwise. That makes your antennea for/of information set to all that info that speaks to you as equally, independent, thoughtful thinking. Not thinking contrary for the sake of it, but not agreeing with everything automatically with those who you share similar or the same values and opinions with.

Living in Austin Texas has been a blessing. It's been the most fun place I've lived since moving to the States; it's a great place to raise a family AND have a life as an adult/grown up as well; it's politically diverse (read, in a sea of Republican red there's plenty of Blue dems, ranging in hues and of course, don't forget Independent Texans and those ornery Libertarians, not Rogel though!!) with many great Austin/Texans icons, noted musicians, writers calling this place home. Never mind the acting celebs that come here or even live on the outskirts in the fancy mansion land, although they do make up the whole 'Keep Austin Weird' thing.(aka collaborative fission of coordinated individualism) Austin City Limits show and festival. That and all the running events, lots of 5Ks, like for example the upcoming "Get Your Rear in Gear" where the proceeds go to the TX chapter of the Colon Cancer Coalition.

But I digress... (do get it in gear though)..
One other Austinite, besides Davidson Loehr that deserves thought and attention, is Robert Bryce, a political writer who writes for amongst others the Texas Observer and who's work has been in numerous noted American and British publications. I will not editorialize but let you find out for in, do your own research but really what I am saying is, with no preconceived notions, read, reflect and think.

An excerpt from Bryce's interview in US NEWS: Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence

Where did this notion of energy "independence" come from?
Energy independence is not a new idea in American politics. Richard Nixon first started talking about it in 1974. The problem is it's no more feasible today than it was then. We live in an interdependent world, from jet fuel and gasoline to fresh flowers and iPods. In 2005, the U.S. imported crude oil from 41 countries. Virtually every cellphone and running shoe Americans use is imported. And yet, all the presidential candidates are touting the same line. In December, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The American people are simply being lied to. Energy independence is neither doable nor desirable.

Why has it become so popular?
In my book, I cite a memo that was put out in 2006 by James Carville, the political strategist. He said energy independence is the one issue out there that gives people hope. It's a two-word phrase that trumps all these other issues, that gives people a sense that we can somehow address all their biggest fears—the Iraq war, peak oil, global warming, and terrorism—in one shot. But it is a false hope.

The best analogy I've seen of this is one put forward by Fred Singer from the University of Virginia. He said the global oil market is like a giant bathtub. All the producers dump their oil in the bathtub and all the consumers pump their oil out of the same bathtub. And the level in the bathtub is the price. So yes, we could consume less oil by finding something else—we don't know what yet. But in the meantime, we're still going to be tapping into that same bathtub and paying that same price that the rest of the world's global consumers do. This idea that we can detach from this market is craziness.

As long as the United States is buying oil, in other words, it will be vulnerable to political upheaval in the Middle East. But isn't it worth investing in alternative fuels now, so we can be more self-reliant later?I suppose energy independence could be possible within a century, but that's not what we're being sold. We're being sold energy independence here and now. And that's just a lie. There's no polite way to put it.

To 'research', read and think some more, here's the REST.

Something that begs to be discussed honestly and openly, whether it suits our opinion or outlook or not.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Future was Yesterday..this is for you!

Davidson Loehr, minister at Austin's First Unitarian Universalist Church

One, very enjoyable, hilarious and passionate blogger, The Future Was Yesterday, loathes fundamentalism. Does not particularly care for 'religion' and like most reasonable people, knows and appreciates the distinction between 'religion' and 'spirituality',people who like to control others using their respective Bibles or Korans, and people who quietly live their faith, being the true believer that they are and walking the talk.

I told TUA..that reminds me of Austin's own Davidson Loehr. He participated in a large study called "The Fundamentalist Project" that was sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For five years, from '88 till '93, 100 scholars from around the world reported on their findings on fundamentalism. Here are some 5 basic commonalities between fundamentalism of ALL faiths, and I quote;

The fundamentalists' agenda starts with insistence that their rules must be made to apply to all people, and to all areas of life. There can be no separation of church and state, or of public and private areas of life. The rigid rules of God—and they never doubt that they and only they have got these right—must become the law of the land. Pat Robertson, again, has said that just as Supreme Court justices place a hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution, so they should also place a hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible. In Khomeini's Iran, and in the recent Taliban rule of Afghanistan, we saw how brutal and bloody this looks in real time.

The second agenda item is really at the top of the list, and it's vulgarly simple: Men are on top. Men are bigger and stronger, and they rule not only through physical strength but also and more importantly through their influence on the laws and rules of the land. Men set the boundaries. Men define the norms, and men enforce them. They also define women, and they define them through narrowly conceived biological functions. Women are to be supportive wives, mothers, and homemakers.

A third item follows from the others. (Indeed each part of the fundamentalist agenda is necessarily interlocked, and needs every other part to survive.) Since there is only one right picture of the world, one right set of beliefs, and one right set of roles for men, women, and children, it is imperative that this picture and these rules be communicated precisely to the next generation. Therefore, fundamentalists must control education by controlling textbooks and teaching styles, deciding what may and may not be taught.
Fourth, fundamentalists spurn the modern, and want to return to a nostalgic vision of a golden age that never really existed. Several of the scholars observed a strong and deep resemblance between fundamentalism and fascism. Both have almost identical agendas. Men are on top, women are subservient, there is one rigid set of rules, with police and military might to enforce them, and education is tightly controlled by the state. One scholar suggested that it's helpful to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism. The phrase “overcoming the modern” is a fascist slogan dating back to at least 1941.

The fifth point is the most abstract, though it's foundational. Fundamentalists deny history in a radical and idiosyncratic way. Fundamentalists know as well or better than anybody that culture shapes everything it touches: The times we live in color how we think, what we value, and the kind of people we become. Fundamentalists agree on the perverseness of modern American society: the air of permissiveness and narcissism, individual rights unbalanced by responsibilities, sex divorced from commitment, and so on. What they don't want to see is the way culture colored the era when their scriptures were created.

Good biblical scholarship begins by studying the cultural situation when scriptures were written in search of their original intent, so that we can better discern what messages they may still have that are relevant for our lives. But if fundamentalists were to admit that their own scriptures are as culturally conditioned as everything else, they would lose the foundation of their certainties. Some scholars see evidence that St. Paul, for instance, had severe personal hang-ups about sex that may account for his harsh teachings about homosexuality and women. Many biblical scholars treat some of Paul's teachings as rants rather than revelations. But for fundamentalists, their scriptures fell straight from heaven in a leather-bound book, every jot and tittle intact.

Except for the illustrations I've added in laying out the agenda that the Fundamentalism Project discovered, you can't tell what religion, culture, or century I'm describing. The scholars discovered this a dozen years ago while they were presenting abstracts of their papers. Several noted that all their papers were sounding alike, reporting on “species” when studying the “genus” was called for, that there were strong family resemblances between all fundamentalisms, even when the religions had had no contact, no way to influence each other.
bold and italics added by yours truly.

Interesting psychology isn't it? All the people who do not function on the basis of that many fears are all in the same boat the world over. Now if that is not saying something for 'we're all the same'!
At any rate'd love reading the whole article;
The Fundamentalist Agenda
is absolutely natural, ancient, and powerful—but the liberal impulse makes us humane.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Hillary's qualifications questioned..

Hat tip to my Cali Tejano for this find. Something that has been echoed by others but heaven forbid that will be brought up in MSM. Here's the observations of Camille Paglia as to why women shouldn't vote for Hillary:

Is Hillary Clinton the saviour of feminism? Or its albatross, dragging feminism backwards under a weary weight of old-guard victimology and male-bashing?

The scrum is on! Feminist grand panjandrums like Gloria Steinem have leapt back into the arena, while younger women have seized the feminist banner to proclaim Hillary the messianic Wonder Woman, destined to smash the glass ceiling of the presidency.

All women, on pain of excommunication from the feminist claque, must now support Hillary. Never mind her spotty record or her naked political expediency. Any woman with the temerity to endorse Barack Obama (as I do) is condemned as a "traitor" to her sex. "Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life," trumpeted Steinem earlier this year in an article promoting Hillary in the New York Times. Barriers of race, class or economics are waved away as mere frippery.
As a resident of Philadelphia, I am currently under siege by the firestorm of political adverts heading toward Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary, which Hillary has long been expected to win. She has roots in this state: her grandfather was a Welshman who settled in the coal-mining city of Scranton, which remains conservative and working-class. Women there are tough and blunt, with few illusions about life.

Hillary's voter base consists of middle-aged to elderly white women who identify with her caustic, stubborn, bulldog resilience. Humiliated and upstaged by her philandering husband, Hillary is the champion of an army of women who were stymied, betrayed or outmanoeuvred by men. Over the past year, whenever her cowed male opponents mildly rebutted Hillary in debate, her campaign jumped into über-feminist mode: male bullies, they screeched, "ganging up" on a helpless damsel.

Losing ground with other core groups - notably her own cohort of upper-middle-class, baby-boom career woman - Hillary played the gender card to the max. When polling showed she had seemed too harsh to the caucus-goers of Iowa, she rolled out teary eyes for New Hampshire, which handed her a primary victory. Hillary will scratch, claw, and morph through every gender trick if it rakes in votes.

This symbol of raw female ambition has never comfortably fitted into a conventional sex role. As the first child of a hard-working and authoritarian father, Hillary absorbed his willfulness, competitive drive and suspicion. Excelling academically, Hillary felt ill at ease with the feminine persona so deftly deployed by pretty, popular girls in that era. Frumpy, stumpy and myopic, she identified with the new idolatry of shiny careerism promulgated by the second-wave feminism of the late 1960s, when she emerged from posh Wellesley College.

Though she would specialise in women's and children's issues, Hillary's public statements have often betrayed an ambivalence about women who chose a non-feminist path. "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies," she sneered during Bill's 1992 presidential campaign. Then, defending her husband against the claims of a 12-year affair by Gennifer Flowers, Hillary snapped: "I'm not sittin' here like some little woman, standing by my man like Tammy Wynette" - a sally that boomeranged when Hillary had to make an abject apology. The irony is that Hillary had offended the very group of stoical, put-upon, working-class women who are now proving to be her staunchest supporters.
(highlight added by yours truly)

Read the rest here.

Of course, Cali Tejano focussed on some other interesting issues namely, Hillary's lack of actual experience. The very issue that she tries to distinguish herself from Cali Tejano's highlights here.

If you're on the fence and wonder why you should or should not vote for Hillary, check out this blog; 100 reasons not to vote for Hillary. They/he/she is onto number 13. I guess it sounds like a good number but the number of reasons that 'are' up there are plenty.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Intelligent analysis from the tub...

Bathtub Admirals promo

I am still off and on visiting blogs on my long list of favourites. Today, I realized I hadn't visited 'Pen and Sword' for the longest time. Imagine my surprise to see that Jeff Huber is out with a book worth checking out; Bathtub Admirals. It is fictional but no doubt has some great insight. Please visit his blog and browse through his many great posts. Some of his observations have been echoed by other bloggers, but he's no ordinary blogger. He's a retired U.S. Navy Commander with an extensive cv. What better observer than someone with his background?

Enjoy your Sunday.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

give unto Cesar..

A lot of people have gotten turned off of 'religion' since the Bush administration abused the separation of church and state edict. For those who see every American Christian expression of faith with weary and distrustful eyes, take heart. There are plenty of Christians who not only believe in the separation of church and state, but are watching carefully at the media and legal proceedings around this country, safeguarding people from the encroachment of fundamentalism.

Check out Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and see what they are doing to preserve EVERYone's freedom of religion. Not the enforcement of just one, very abhorrent, fundamental, ignorant form.

Reverend Barry W. Lynn responds to Georgia Governor's Prayer for politicians should not pray for anything...

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

YouTube's Best Political Video Award

I am on's list and this global non profit organization works:
"to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva." this is their 'stop the clash of civilizations' video.

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Viggo Mortensen reads Howard Zinn's account

"what the classroom didn't teach me about the American Empire.."

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Renewing interest in China


China is being irked and made uncomfortable with all the negative press regarding Tibet and the numerous attempts at snuffing the olympic torch all over the world. All these protests are great, but China ought to have continued pressure all over the world for all their human rights abuses, domestically AND internationally as in Tibet. Sadly, many countries' economies are tied into China's and depend on the cheap goods that come out of there. China has a lot of American dollars bought up and the US is big time in debt. Here is a one stop blog that exposes all things China; China View.

China-US dollar connection; F. William Engdahl explains: Crisis of the U.S Dollar system

China and Walmart

Chinadependence; how effective will any protest be if money talks?

America's dependence on China; America's Suez moment?

Now tell me, which government will stand up to China in terms of its human rights abuses?

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