At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads

I was reading through the interview Bob Dylan gave to Ed Bradley and was curious about a couple of remarks:

So why is he still out there? Asks Bradley.

“It goes back to that destiny thing. I mean, I made a bargain with it, you know, long time ago. And I’m holding up my end … to get where I am now,” says Dylan.

And with whom did he make the bargain? “With the chief commander,” says Dylan, laughing. “In this earth and in the world we can’t see.”

Very strange thing to say. That led me to Robert Johnson. Did the legendary bluesman sell his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius at the crossroads of US 61 and US 49 in Rosedale, Mississippi? He had desperately wanted to be able to play the guitar but was a massive failure. He would sit around ‘noisin’ the people because he was just that awful. Eventually he went away for a while and returned with exceptional guitar playing skills which got him recognized around town. According to legend, it was during the time when he was away that he met a tall black figure at a crossroads who had taken his guitar, tuned it and handed it back to him. This can be seen as the devil.

What is one to think about, We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll, a compilation album by Black Sabbath back in 1975?

Then I read about musician Giuseppe Tartini who was born in 1692, his work is still popular, particularly his work, “The Devil’s Trill”, which was said to be inspired by a dream that he had that he was the Devil’s servant.

Or how about Niccolo Paganini? He is probably the first great example of legendary musicians who make a pact with Lucifer. He was said to be able to do supernatural things like sight-read music incredibly. His solos were notoriously difficult to play and his effect on audiences was said to be hypnotic and supernatural, like he was possessing the crowd.

Thinking about this, I sat down and wrote this poem over the weekend.

CROSSROADS

Between the worlds he bargained for
Fame, fortune and adoration;
Satan’s compact, he duly swore:
And sold his soul at the crossroads.

Once known—merely ordinary
Now an admired virtuoso
Musical gifts—extraordinary
The devil’s bargain, wouldn’t you know?

Give what, in exchange for his soul?
Sweet allure of the devil’s pact—
Gain the whole world—and lose his soul?
Snared by Satan’s aphrodisiac.

The time has come to pay his dues
Mephistopheles with the contract;
On his deathbed—time to collect,
What is owed on the devil’s compact.

The rock star curses his sacrifice,
His dying breath—what he has owed,
Paid his master a heavy price:
He sold his soul at the crossroad.

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Man of Peace

Under Obama the United States has been at war longer than under any other U.S. President, in fact every day of his presidency.

Since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (and the attendant $1M prize money) the community organizer / agitator, cum president has engaged in bombing 7 countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Syria – three more countries than George W. Bush bombed. During his presidency, the Obama administration as dropped over 100,000 bombs that have resulted in how many civilian deaths? That number is obscured in false and misleading reports, contradictory estimates and optimistic military claims. Is one or thousands justified?

Obama the candidate is often remembered for pledging to end America’s wars in the Middle East. But he didn’t oppose war outright; he said he was opposed to “dumb” wars. Personally, I would think most wars if not all wars are “dumb” wars. What say you? The Obama administration has skillfully skirted the issue by substituting ‘war’ with ‘kinetic military action’ launching two undeclared wars and deploying U.S, Special Forces to 85 countries around the globe.

Throughout all this the deafening silence of the anti-war protest is baffling.

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Ah, Cindy

Freedom at Last

It’s for my freedom she explained

Why she walked out on me

That winter day so long ago-

Oh, so unexpectedly

 

And now she’s finally free at last

-Her mortal mantle cast

Days no longer turned to night:

Exchanged for an Astral flight

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LIFE CHOICES

Transcendent One-who we call God

-expresses through all Life

Being! The foundation of all

Through the prism of Life

 

Infused by this One Energy:

Nature: identity-

Not fixed but transformational

By our Being-Internal

 

Freedom from Past experiences

Focused on the moment

Defines our future existence

Liberates our Lost lament

 

Moment by moment, choice by choice

Our future is ordained

Not by our past nor circumstance

-There’s no one else to blame

 

Free of chains that once bound my Way

Our pasts are past-that’s all-

Claim this Moment-at once, today

Instance Now! Emerges my Soul.

 

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Where have all the Anti-War Protestors Gone–Part III

Update regarding our anti-war president.

According to the Congressional Research Service, there were 32,800 U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan in January 2009, when Obama entered office. In February 2009, the U.S. deployment increased to 35,900. By December 2009 the U.S. forces in Afghanistan had increased to 69,000. And by September 2010 they had increased to 98,000.

Obama announced a second increase in the U.S. forces in Afghanistan on March 27, 2009.

1,575 of the U.S. casualties in Afghanistan–or 72.8%–have taken place since that March 27, 2009 announcement.

So I wonder again, where have all the anti-war protestors gone?

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The Sir Arthur Annals -Giveaway

Check out the Goodreads.com Giveaway for my latest book, the Sir Arthur Annals -My Brother Who Would be Sherlock Book I.

Follow the whimsical, mythical adventures of sleuthing in northwest North Carolina as Sir Arthur is confronted with and solves crimes and conundrums. As a bonus, included is a tale of Sherlock Holmes in Atlanta written by Sir Arthur.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18887054

Also available on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Arthur-Annals-Brother-Would-Sherlock/dp/0991198603/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385829626&sr=8-1&keywords=sir+arthur+annals

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Reporting Illegal Immigrants

First of all it is instructive to clarify the difference between immigrant and alien. An alien is someone who is a citizen of a foreign country. An immigrant in a country is someone who has relocated there from another country. An immigrant may or may not be an alien.

If the immigrant has applied for and received citizenship, then they are no longer an alien. An alien is subject to host country laws regarding non-citizens. These laws require registration and documentation defining their status while they are in the host country.

Those who sneak into the country are referred to as “entry without inspection” (EWI). Others enter with legal documentation and then violate the terms on which they have been admitted. Both types of illegal immigrants are deportable under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 237 (a)(1)(B) which says:

“Any alien who is present in the United States in violation of this Act or any other law of the United States is deportable.”

If you have evidence of illegal immigration, you are encouraged by the authorities to report illegal immigrants by contacting the main DHS Hotline for assistance at (866) 347–2423, or the Border Patrol Sector where the illegal aliens are located and ask them to investigate further.

Our laws also hold that even lawful permanent resident aliens (those with a “green card”) can be deported if they are convicted of committing crimes.

The Department of Homeland Security still doesn’t have a way to report illegal aliens over the internet.  But the Federal Bureau of Investigation does. All Special Agents of the FBI now have the power to enforce immigration law. You can report illegal immigrants by calling or writing one of the FBI field offices.

All male illegal aliens, as well as male permanent resident aliens, ages 18 through 25 are required by Federal law to register with the Selective Service System. If they do not register, they can be prosecuted for a felony and fined up to $250,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years. They may also be denied U.S. citizenship. You can also report draft registration violators to the FBI.

Many Illegal aliens and criminal alien residents are guilty of some type of fraud against the Social Security system.  For many false documents is a way of life.  The Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration operates a fraud hotline for reporting misuse of social security cards and false statements on claims either by employers or employees.

The greatest incentive for illegal aliens to come to the United States is to find work. If there are no employers willing to hire them, then the flood of illegal aliens will subside.

From the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986:

It is unlawful for a person or other entity to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an unauthorized alien. Violators are reported to the regional Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.

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Where are all the Anti-War Protestors Gone–Part II

What ever happened to the anti-war protestors –especially now, on the eve of another war act by the Nobel Peace recipient, Barak Obama?

Is there a note of irony here?

A day after Barack Obama vowed to put any intervention in Syria to a vote of both the Senate and House of Representatives, Kerry said the administration was confident of winning a motion of the kind that David Cameron unexpectedly lost last week. “We don’t contemplate that the Congress is going to vote no,” Kerry said, but he stressed the president had the right to take action “no matter what Congress does“.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, said today that President Obama “really ought to consider” returning his Nobel Peace Prize Medal immediately, including the “really nice” case it came in.

Jagland, flanked by the other four members of the Committee, said they’d never before asked for the return of a Peace Prize, “even from a damnable war-criminal like  Kissinger,” but that the 10% drawdown in US troops in Afghanistan the President announced last week capped a period of “non-Peace-Prize-winner-type behavior” in 2011.  “Guantanamo’s still open. There’s bombing Libya. There’s blowing bin Laden away rather than putting him on trial. Now a few US troops go home, but the US will be occupying Afghanistan until 2014 and beyond. Don’t even get me started on Yemen!”

The Committee awarded Obama the coveted prize in 2009 after he made a series of speeches in the first months of his presidency, which convinced the Peace Prize Committee that he was: “creating a new climate of…multilateral diplomacy…an emphasis on the role of the United Nations…of dialogue and negotiations as instruments for resolving international conflicts…and a vision of world free of nuclear arms.”

“Boy oh boy!” added Jagland. “Did we regret that press release!”

But, he revealed the committee members were all “legless drunk” the day they voted, as it was the start of Norway’s annual aquavit-tasting festival. The “totally toasted” members listened over and over to replays of Obama’s Cairo speech, tearing up and drinking shots to the glorious future: a black man leading America and the world into a new era of peace, hope and goodwill. “For a few hours we were all 18 year-old students again at the beautiful, occasionally sunny University of Bergen! Oh, how we cried for joy!”

The chairman said the committee weren’t “going to be pills” about getting the Prize back because they still “basically really liked” Mr. Obama and that sending it back in a plain package by regular mail would fine if it would save him the embarrassment of a public return. But added Jagland, “things could get nasty” if the committee didn’t see it by the time they announce the new Peace Prize winner in the fall. He and the committee then excused themselves to resume their celebration of Norway’s annual aquavit-tasting festival.

The White House had no comment. It later announced an aggressive new covert CIA initiative to identify and apprehend Al Qaeda operatives in Scandinavia.

 

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The Alarming Neo-Militarism of the United States

Looking around I can’t help but marvel at the national media veneration of all things military. It’s quite a change from the anti-war screech that greeted us returning veterans of the Vietnam Conflict (Kháng chiến chng M). Where is that voice today? From a self-styled pacifist president we see continuing (and historically failed) imperialistic policies executed around the world. Why? Perhaps a brief look at history will shed some light on our present prevailing darkness.

Because of the constraints of time and space, we will limit this brief journey through history to the recent 20th century, notwithstanding the lessons learned (or failed to learn) from the city state of Sparta, the Roman Empire, the Aztec nation, the Kingdom of Prussia or even our ally, the British Empire, to mention a few.

Militarism is commonly defined as the belief or desire of a government that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to aggressively use it to defend and promote national interests. The underlying implication is the glorification of the ideals of a professional military class and the dangerous predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state. Militarism is the significant element of the imperialist ideology of an expansionist state.

So what specifically are the dangers inherent in militarism?

Let’s take a quick look at Germany (often mirrored in the Italian fascist empire under Benito Mussolini; the Chilean Augusto Pinochet, the Argentinian dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, North Korea, Myanmar, Liberia, Nigeria and Uganda to cite a few). The roots of German militarism can be found in 19th-century Prussia and the subsequent unification of Germany under Prussian leadership. After Napoleon conquered Prussia in 1806, one of the conditions of peace was that Prussia should reduce its army to no more than 42,000 men. In order that the country should not again be so easily conquered, the King of Prussia enrolled the permitted number of men for one year, then dismissed that group, and enrolled another of the same size, and so on. Thus, in the course of ten years, he was able to gather an army of 420,000 men who had at least one year of military training. The officers of the army were drawn almost entirely from among the land-owning nobility. The result was that there was gradually built up a large class of professional officers on the one hand, and a much larger class, the rank and file of the army, on the other. These enlisted men had become conditioned to obey implicitly all the commands of the officers, creating a class-based culture of deference. Sound familiar?

This system led to several consequences. Since the officer class also furnished most of the officials for the civil administration of the country, the interests of the army came to be considered as identical to the interests of the country as a whole. (Can you see a parallel yet?) A second result was that the governing class desired to continue a system which gave them so much power over the common people, contributing to the continuing influence of the Junker noble classes (or as in the United States, the moneyed class).

Militarism in Germany continued after World War I and the fall of the German monarchy.  During the period of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933), the Kapp Putsch, an attempted coup d’état against the republican government, was launched by disaffected members of the armed forces. After this event, some of the more radical militarists and nationalists were subsumed into the NSDAP (The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), commonly known in English as the Nazi Party), while more moderate elements of militarism declined. The Third Reich emerged as  a strongly militarist state, the consequences of which are well known.

In parallel with 20th-century German militarism, Japanese militarism began with a series of events by which the military gained prominence in dictating Japan’s affairs. Under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks established the Soviet state on 7 November 1917, immediately after the Russian Provisional Government, which governed the Russian Republic, was overthrown during the October Revolution. We all know well the history of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and the resulting Cold War waged through the last half of the 20th century and the ensuing massacre of millions of dissenting voices.

Back to the United States and our present predicament.

After the end of the American Civil War the national army fell into disrepair. Reforms based on various European states including Imperial Britain, Imperial Germany, and Switzerland were made so that it would become responsive to control from the central government, prepared for future conflicts, and develop refined command and support structures; it led to the development of professional military thinkers and cadre. During this time the intellectual ideas of Social Darwinism propelled the development of an American overseas expansion in the Pacific and Caribbean. This required modifications for a more efficient central government due to the added administration requirements. The enlargement of the U.S. Army for the Spanish–American War was considered essential to the occupation and control of the new territories acquired from Spain in its defeat (Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba). The previous limit by legislation of 24,000 men was expanded to 60,000 regulars in the new army bill on 2 February 1901, with allowance at that time for expansion to 80,000 regulars by presidential discretion at times of national emergency. Again, U.S. forces were enlarged immensely for World War I.

Between the first and second world wars, the US Marine Corps (Semper Fidelis) engaged in questionable activities in the Banana Wars in Latin America. Retired Major General Smedley Butler, at the time of his death the most decorated Marine, spoke strongly against a trend to what he considered trends toward fascism and militarism.

Serious permanent buildups were a result of the Cold War. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a retired top military commander elected as a civilian President, warned of the development of a military-industrial complex, more complex than many traditional ideas of militarism. In the Cold War, there emerged many civilian academics and industrial researchers, such as Henry Kissinger and Herman Kahn, who had significant input into the use of military
force.

It has been argued that the United States has shifted to a state of neo-militarism since the end of the Vietnam War. This form of militarism is distinguished by the reliance on a relatively small number of volunteer fighters; heavy reliance on complex technologies; and the rationalization and expansion of government advertising and recruitment programs designed to promote military service.

And, as been counseled, follow the money.

Fiscal Year 2013 OCO funding by Military Operations exceeded $87 Billion dollars. In 2012, the total National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) exceeded $75 Billion dollars. That’s a combined $1.62 Trillion dollars.

One a final note for thought. Imperialism, as defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography, is “an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another.” It is often considered in a negative light, as merely the exploitation of native people in order to enrich a small handful. Lewis Samuel Feuer identifies two major subtypes of imperialism; the first is the “regressive imperialism” identified with pure conquest, unequivocal exploitation, extermination or reductions of undesired peoples, and settlement of desired peoples into those territories, examples being Nazi Germany (can someone say, the western expansion of the United States?). The second type identified by Feuer is “progressive imperialism” that is founded upon a cosmopolitan view of humanity that promotes the spread of civilization to allegedly “backward” societies to elevate living standards and culture in conquered territories, and allowance of a conquered people to assimilate into the imperial society, an examples being the Roman Empire and the British Empire. Does this sound like anything the United States is promoting throughout the Middle East and our stated goal of expanding democracy—whether they want it or not?

The term as such primarily has been applied to Western political and economic dominance in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some writers, such as Edward Said, use the term more broadly to describe any system of domination and subordination organized with an imperial center and a periphery. According to the Marxist historian, Walter Rodney, imperialism meant capitalist expansion. It meant that European (and American and Japanese) capitalists were forced by the internal logic of their competitive system to seek abroad in less developed countries opportunities to control raw material, to find markets, and to find profitable fields of investment.

Really, do we want to continue down this road in the United States today?

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Read history: Gun confiscation leads to mass murder by government

Democide

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

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