Wednesday, May 29, 2019

 

Remembering George Duke


Fabulous recording of...:
George Duke was born in San Rafael, California and raised in Marin City. At four years old he became interested in the piano. His mother took him to see Duke Ellington in concert and told him about this experience. "I don't remember it too well, but my mother told me I went crazy. I ran around saying 'Get me a piano, get me a piano!'" He began his formal piano studies at the age of 7 at a local Baptist church.




Talk about musical empathy among band members!

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Friday, May 17, 2019

 

My message is simple: VOTE FOR BERNIE


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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

 

The Outcome of the Special Counsel Investigation (ie. "Russiagate")


It is time for the final word on the Special Counsel investigation conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller from May 2017 to March 2019. The report, which purported to get to the bottom of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and suspicious links between Trump associates and Russian officials, was finally released, hence the curtain can finally be brought down on the whole affair. In this respect, the assessment by British former diplomat turned political activist, human rights campaigner, blogger and whistleblower, Craig Murray, hits the nail squarely on the head:
Mueller, as a matter of determined policy, omitted key steps which any honest investigator would undertake. He did not commission any forensic examination of the DNC servers. He did not interview Bill Binney. He did not interview Julian Assange. His failure to do any of those obvious things renders his report worthless.

Unfortunately, we know ahead of time that the curtain most certainly won't be brought down on this whole affair. In fact it will fester and grow well into the future. The reason for that is laid out succinctly in the following *MUST-WATCH* video.



By the way, as a footnote, there is something absolutely profound that Gabor Maté says at 25:33 on the above video concerning 'disillusionment': "Would you rather be illusioned or disillusioned?". I recognized it right away as the identical point made by my mentor and friend Calvin Hernton during a discussion in one of the Black Literature classes he gave us in college back in the late seventies.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

 

The Old and the New in the Year of the Pig


With the new year almost upon us, some green shoots are appearing to signal the renewal of the (human) spirit:
The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity; the feeling of shame and dislike is the beginning of righteousness; the feeling of deference and compliance is the beginning of propriety; and the feeling of right or wrong is the beginning of wisdom. ~~ Mencius

Of course, the new "geen shoots" I am referring to are these: "Kudos to the New York Times for hiring [Michelle] Alexander as a columnist and letting her say this...:"
[Martin Luther King’s] was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.
I have not been alone. Until very recently, the entire Congress has remained mostly silent on the human rights nightmare that has unfolded in the occupied territories. Our elected representatives, who operate in a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds well-documented power, have consistently minimized and deflected criticism of the State of Israel, even as it has grown more emboldened in its occupation of Palestinian territory and adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States.
Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.
Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers.
More HERE.

Elsewhere, however, things remain unperturbed in their darkness:
We now have proof that the U.S. has been dispatching New Zealand human intelligence officers, sending them on overseas missions. And not simply to Afghanistan or Iraq. But in one case, to infiltrate a multitude of political parties contesting the 2012 Presidential elections of an ally – France.

I seem to recall officials of the U.S. government accusing another government of precisely this behavior.

What more can we witness amidst this darkness?:
A further WikiLeaks release shows that the U.S. weren’t only involving New Zealand in spying on France for political reasons alone. They were ordering us to steal commercial and trade secrets as well.

Oh, really?

Wasn't a foreign firm accused in the U.S.A. of doing just that?
According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, U.S. federal prosecutors are preparing a criminal indictment against Huawei for stealing trade secrets. The report, which cites sources with knowledge of the indictment, specifically mentions Huawei’s actions surrounding a T-Mobile smartphone testing tool known as “Tappy.” The report notes that the current investigation is far enough along that an indictment may come soon.

Pot bottom calling the kettle black? Whence will renewal be complete?

Friday, December 07, 2018

 

The Coming War on China - A film by John Pilger


U.S. Imperialism doesn't sleep.



And on the "other end" you have a modernized version of Halford Mackinder's Heartland Theory:
Mackinder is best known for his doctrine of the “Heartland.” Geopolitical strategy was about the endgame of controlling the Heartland—or the enormous transcontinental land mass of Eurasia, encompassing Eastern Europe, Russia through Siberia, and Central Asia. The Heartland, together with the remainder of Asia and Africa, made up the World Island. The Heartland itself was defined by its inaccessibility to sea, making it “the greatest natural fortress on earth.”7 The Columbian Age dominated by sea power, Mackinder argued, was coming to an end to be replaced by a new Eurasian age in which land power would be decisive. The development of land transportation and communication meant that land power could finally rival sea power. In the new Eurasian Age whoever ruled the Heartland, if also equipped with a modern navy, would be able to outflank the maritime world—the world controlled by the British and U.S. empires.
Monthly Review

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

 

Remembering the Attacks on the Twin Towers


No words necessary...

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Monday, June 25, 2018

 

Central Asia


I had been planning to visit Central Asia with much enthusiasm for quite a while and I managed a first incursion into Kyrgyzstan for an academic conference in Bishkek during the early part of the summer of 2017. That visit only whetted my appetite to see more (especially since I hadn't been able to visit the neighboring countries of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan).



Hence, upon my return, I began planning for my trip to Western China as an ambitious follow-up. My trip took me to Ürümqi, Kashgar, Turpan, Dunhuang and partially down the Chinese side of the famed Karakoram Highway. It was everything I had hoped it would be.

My interest was twofold. First of all, I had been following closely the details surrounding the unfolding of the One Belt-One Road Initiative as part of my academic research agenda. I particularly wanted to see the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway, but I eventually became intrigued with the history of the region. I bought Peter Frankopan's "The Silk Roads: A New History of the World", and devoured as much of the book as I could during the 14 hour flight from the United States' East Coast to Beijing. I couldn't put the book down, even after landing in China:
"Urban centers spurred each other on, with rivalry between rulers and elites prompting ever more ambitious architecture and spectacular monuments. Libraries, places of worship, churches and observatories of immense scale and cultural influence dotted the region, connecting Constantinople to Damascus, Isfahan, Samarkand, Kabul and Kashgar. Cities such as these became homes to brilliant scholars who advanced the frontiers of their subjects. The names of only a small handful are familiar today--men like Ibn Sīnā, ... Al-Bīrūnī, and al-Khwarizmi--giants in the fields of astronomy and medicine; but there were many more besides. For centuries before the modern era, the intellectual centres of excellence of the world, the Oxfords and Cambridges, the Harvards and Yales, were not located in Europe or the west, but in Baghdad and Balkh, Bukhara and Samarkand." --- Peter Frankopan, "The Silk Roads: A New History of the World", Vintage Books, March 2017.


Ürümqi


Kashgar


Karakoram Highway


Turpan


I must say, I'll be back in the near future.

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