Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Procession during the retreat

This is the 3rd of 3 videos released byChagdud Gonpa video project, and this one covers the procession around the temple that concluded the first three days of Padmasambhava´s Pureland Consecration and the aspirations expressed by Chagdud Khadro at the moment the Pure Land was introduced to the authorities and the press on the morning of the 8th of December.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More photos from my Brazil trip

These are just a few more photos taken at Khadro Ling in Brazil. The above is of the eight stupas there. Just below you get a view of the yard in front of the lhakang, and the Padmasambhava palace is up on the hill.

The picture below gives an idea of what the view is like there, and of the flora in the area:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fire Puja while at the Consecration

This video shows scenes from a Fire Puja, a traditional Tibetan Buddhist ceremony, which was performed on the third day of Padmasambhava's Pureland Consecration at Khadro Ling, in Brazil.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Photos from Brazil

Was in Brazil for the Essence of Siddhi retreat, plus the Consecration of the Padmasambhava Palace from Dec. 3rd through til Dec 11th.
Here are a few photos from this event:

the first one shows a lot of the benchs used inside the tent where practice was conducted.

the third one shows the lhakang (shrineroom) at Khadro Ling{Tres Coroas, Brazil}

- view of the lhakang from atop the Padmasambhava Palace

From my Brazilian adventure:A video take of the event

This is a video produced by Chagdud Gonpa Videos, and covers and provides atmosphere of the first 3 days of the event I was attending in Brazil. This would be from Dec. 5th, 6th and the 7th.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thoughts on Time

This year I have not been able to blog as much,because working a full time job, it was different from say back in 2005 when I was unemployed and had time on my hands.So finding the time to blog is problematic as it were.

And the other thing, so much has happened in recent months, it is all a bit overwhelming. By the title of this blog, it suggests reports from the coast of time. But what if the coast is inundated with events crashing against the shore?

It brings to mind for me what Lama Govinda said about Time in one of his essays. In his analogy Time, is like some giant cosmic maw, constantly gnawing away at the present moment, thereby eating away at the future, and digesting it, and converting it into the Past.

We all live at the edge of Time, maybe without thinking about it too much. One can, for example live in the past, say read novels set in the 1880s, watch movies of the same period, buy articles, antiques from the era, yet, while one could do this, the modernity of the 21st century swirls us along.

Recently, I was reading Thomas Laird's book, The Story of Tibet, and came across a startling passage, I am still trying to digest, and understand.

There are several direct interviews with the Dalai Lama in this book, and in the one in question, Laird is talking with His Holiness, about Tibetan History and Time.

On page 150 they are talking about interdependent factors that shape the course of historical events.

And I am going to quote nearly 4 paragraphs just to get the full effect, and I hope this is not too much to quote, but let me at the same time recommend any readers of this blog buy the book.

In response to the above the Dalai Lama says,

"Yes, thats right - I think that the collective energy of myriad sentient beings who inhabit this world system, their collective energy shapes this whole universe. And one of those factors is the Tibetan people's karma.

He continues," Yes, but not only the Tibetans at that time, but the future Tibetans, including myself. Our karma now, and in the future, also made these things, in the past.

Laird: The future affects the past. My mind was reeling. Physicists speculate that seeing the past, present,and future separately is a delusion. Past, present, and future may be parts of one reality, which our limited senses are so far unable to glimpse. The Dalai Lama reached a similar conclusion through spiritual insight. His words opened many worlds all at once, in every direction. Political motivations are never more than one thread in the infinitely complex web of human affairs. I was shaken, unprepared for the Dalai Lama's lesson to affect me so profoundly. What did I think I knew about any of this? The Dalai Lama watched me and waited in silence.

" When we talk of karma or the future," the Dalai Lama responded, "thousands of different sorts of opportunities are there that could be, since all these emerging possibilities are interdependent. You see the events in Tibet are often related to America, or even lives on other supposed planets. Now, for example, I feel the coming Tibetan generations or future Tibetans. Some of them may come from a great distance. So their activities on that planet, or in that galaxy, in the future, that also makes a difference here and now, and in the past."

Well, okay, the Dalai Lama is getting pretty cosmic here. I'll leave to the reader of this post to ponder this, at this point, and you can check out the book if you care to. Just think though, the future could effect the past.

Adios for now,

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Obama

Well I know he is now President Elect Obama, but already it is time to start getting used to saying President Obama, and wow, it is a very unusual thing.

My congratulations to Senator Obama. It feels like a new day dawning in this country, and I think for many it is just beginning to sink in.

I thought how interesting that the celebrations should take place in Grants Park in Chicago, where 40 years ago Daley's forces went on a rampage knocking over chairs and people and busting heads.

And now we see Democrats united, and experiencing a more positive page in our history.

I was also thinking how interesting it will be to see a American President visit Europe, and not only be greeted by heads of State, but also by cheering crowds. We haven't seen anything like that since Eisenhower really, well John F. Kennedy some.

And also I imagine a President Obama will have a positive effect on Africa. He can shower attention on countries there that embrace democracy, and his snub, to the harsh autocrats there will be felt so keenly, that they may even change there behavior some.

I lived in Saudi Arabia for a while, and I believe it will have a very different effect, when a man of color visits those countries. His election also showcases democracy in a different way. In otherwords we had a peaceful election, with no riots at least, no one murdered for making the wrong vote as under Mugabe.

I myself have been waiting 40 years for this to happen, having voted for McGovern in 1972, and thought RFK was the best in 1968.

Well it is late on election night, and though I have more to say, I have to go to work in the morning.

There is something really stunning about this, I have to keep reminding myself that it has really happened.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Tide turns.....

In honor of the occasion of Barack Obama about to become the first African American to become President , here is a YouTube of the group Tomorrow, playing a song from 1967:

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Surge success Mythos in Iraq

Been surfing as usual, and I can pretty easily find articles that suggest that the so-called successful surge in Iraq is not all that it would seem.

I was looking for the quote about making a desert and calling it victory, and found at TomDispatch, it has already been used at the beginning of an excellent article by Michael Schwartz -Tomgram: Michael Schwartz, Iraq in Hell

It begins:
"The Roman historian Tacitus famously put the following lines in the mouth of a British chieftain opposed to imperial Rome: "They have plundered the world, stripping naked the land in their hunger… they are driven by greed, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor… They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire. And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace."

and then :
" Or, in the case of the Bush administration, post-surge "success." Today, however, success in Iraq seems as elusive as ever for the President. The Iraqi cabinet is now refusing, without further amendment, to pass on to Parliament the status of forces agreement for stationing U.S. troops in the country that it's taken so many months for American and Iraqi negotiators to sort out. Key objections, as Juan Cole points out at his Informed Comment blog, have come from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, which is [Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki's chief political partner, the support of which he would need to get the draft through parliament." That party, Cole adds tellingly, "is close to Tehran, which objects to the agreement." The Iranian veto? Hmmm

Among Iraqis, according to the Dreyfuss Report, only the Kurds, whose territories house no significant U.S. forces, remain unequivocally in favor of the agreement as written. Frustrated American officials, including Ambassador Ryan Crocker ("Without legal authority to operate, we do not operate… That means no security operations, no logistics, no training, no support for Iraqis on the borders, no nothing…"), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ("Without a new legal agreement,'we basically stop doing anything' in the country…"), and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen ("We are clearly running out of time…") are huffing and puffing, and threatening -- if the agreement is not passed as is -- to blow the house down.

Without a mandate to remain, American troops won't leave, of course. At year's end, they will, so American officials insist, simply retreat to their bases and assumedly leave Maliki's government to dangle in the expected gale. Clearly, this is a game of chicken. What's less clear is who's willing to go over the cliff, or who exactly is going to put on the brakes. "

Then over at Salon an excellent article by Gary Kamiya- entitled:Remember Iraq?

" With Congress rejecting the $700 billion bailout package, the Dow falling 700 points and the U.S. economy on the edge of a cliff, no one is paying much attention to Iraq. Money talks, and incomprehensible and endless wars walk. From a purely financial perspective, that dismissive attitude makes no sense. The Iraq war has already cost almost $700 billion, and as Joseph Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes have argued, its total cost, factoring in huge back-end costs like disability payments, could end up exceeding $3 trillion. As Tom Engelhardt and Chalmers Johnson point out on TomDispatch, the money we've poured and are continuing to pour down the bottomless pit of Iraq, to the tune of $10 billion a month, could have bailed us out many times over.

and ..." McCain's entire position on Iraq boils down to two words: the surge. According to McCain, Gen. Petraeus' counterinsurgency tactic worked to perfection, and after years of failed approaches, victory is now within our grasp. McCain endlessly attacks Obama for not supporting the surge, painting his rival as a craven defeatist who, as McCain's top foreign policy advisor put it, "would rather lose a war that we are winning than lose an election by alienating his base."

The media has largely bought into this rosy view of the surge. Violence has fallen sharply in Iraq and U.S. casualties are down, and the media and the U.S. public have tacitly accepted both that the surge was largely responsible for these laudable outcomes and, to a lesser degree, that the underlying situation in Iraq has fundamentally improved. Unfortunately, neither claim is true.

... it concludes: " McCain's talk of "victory" is not just logically false, it is morally obscene. Our unprovoked invasion destroyed Iraq. Up to a million Iraqis may have died. The infrastructure is dreadful, far worse than in Saddam's time. Most of Iraq's doctors have fled or been killed. Vast numbers of Iraqis have been forced into exile, and few have dared to return. The sectarian war our invasion let loose has ripped the country apart. Iraq remains one of the most dangerous and violence-torn countries in the world. (On Sunday, five bomb attacks in Baghdad killed at least 27 people.) "

And may I also mention again the 4.5 million Iraqi refugees living outside of Iraq at present.

Thus literally Iraq has become a desert in all respects - a state that hobbles along. A far cry from the type of victory that McCain keeps declaiming about.

For further reading I also recommend Patrick Cockburn over at Counter Punch for example see: Pogrom Against Mosul's Christians

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chuckle of the Day

"Republicans are showing signs of worry about the state of the presidential race.

Conservative Republican William Kristol wrote in The New York Times that the McCain campaign is "close to being out-and-out dysfunctional."

"If the race continues over the next three weeks to be a conventional one, McCain is doomed," Kristol said. "

Sunday, August 03, 2008

McCain and Winning the Vietnam War

One of the scariest things that John McCain goes around saying, is that "we could have won the Vietnam War". At the very minimum he shows that he hasn't reflected on this question very deeply.

Here is an exact quote of what he has said, on more than one occasion:

" In 1998, he spoke on the 30th anniversary of the Tet Offensive. "Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, I believed and still believe that the war was winnable," he said. "I do not believe that it was winnable at an acceptable cost in the short or probably even the long term using the strategy of attrition which we employed there to such tragic results. I do believe that had we taken the war to the North and made full, consistent use of air power in the North, we ultimately would have prevailed."

And at a speech on Iraq at the Council on Foreign Relations on Nov. 5, 2003 he said," "We lost in Vietnam because we lost the will to fight, because we did not understand the nature of the war we were fighting, and because we limited the tools at our disposal."

It is here that John McCain stands history on its head. As Joe Conason notes at Salon in his own article entiltled, What John McCain didn't learn in Vietnam, :

" Very few military historians agree with McCain's bitter analysis, which suggests that a ground invasion and an even more destructive bombing campaign, with an unimaginable cost in human life, would have achieved an American victory." and " More than 58,000 Americans were killed in action between 1965 and 1973. More than a million and a half Vietnamese died during that same period, including hundreds of thousands killed by American bombs like those dropped by McCain during the mission that led to his capture, imprisonment and torture. Prosecution of the war diminished American prestige, as did our eventual defeat -- and the price paid by our armed forces and the returning veterans is still painful to recall. The economic cost of the war, calculated in current dollars, may have been as high as $1.7 trillion. "

At this point I would add that U.S forces also suffered " 303,635 WIA wounded in action,(including 153,303 who required hospitalization and 150,332 who didn't)".
And that by mid 1968 there was no consensus for pursuing the war further.
At that time Gen. Westmoreland wanted an additional 200,000 troops as an increase to the some 500,000 U.S. armed personnel already in Vietnam.

At the time say, we did try to launch an invasion of North Vietnam, that is suppose Westmoreland got his additional 200,000 troops, and a land & sea invasion of North Vietnam begins. (Taking the war to the North as McCain mentions.)

Even if this was done, in 1968 or 1969, it has to be remembered that Maoist China was supplying aid to North Vietnam. Suppose U.S. forces are able to grab part of North Vietnam, and then Communist China oks say a million 'Volunteer' cadres to cross into North Vietnam and help the NVA.
A lot of the NVA could have retreated further westward into the jungles of northern Laos. So then you would have had a guerilla war of attrition in the North also, with the added burden of fighting Chinese army volunteers, which is what happened in late 1950 in the Korean War.

And by 1972 US air power had already dropped on North Vietnam more tonnage of bombs, than they did on Germany and Japan, during all of World War II. One can only imagine US combat deaths and the cost and stress on American society of an invasion of the North.

In On Strategy: A critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, by Col.Harry Summers, I believe he quotes a North Vietnamese General, (after 1976)who says about the American presense in the South," How long were you willing to stay? 10, twenty, 30 more years? We were prepared and willing to fight another thirty years or more if necessary".

And as Conason notes further,"

What vital American interests required so many deaths and so much suffering? There were none, but presumably, again, McCain thinks that we were forced to push back against communist expansion in Asia. That too was an awful misconception, based on cultural ignorance, since the Vietnamese accepted Russian and Chinese assistance only to expel the American occupation. Within the decade that followed the American defeat in Indochina, our diplomats were opening a new relationship with China while the Soviet Union, along with communism as an ideological threat, was on the verge of disintegration. "

The reality is that the war in Vietnam was not winnable, short of a kind of Goebbels type " Total War", invasion of the North, with all the mobilizatiion, consequences and costs this would have entailed. And further, in the 1971 incursion into Laos the South Vietnamese army, even after 9 years of training and assistance by the US, showed itself incapable of even being an ally in any sort of projected invasion of the North.

Now McCain did sacrifice around 6 years of his life in a NV prison "hotel", to the cause. In doing so he missed out on all the debate, and rendering of the social fabric that went on in this country from 1967 to 1973. As Mark Benjamin notes in another Salon article:

"He set about learning the lessons of the conflict in Southeast Asia soon after he got back to the United States. McCain spent a year at the National War College at Fort McNair in southwest Washington pursuing a "personal tutorial" on Vietnam, according to Robert Timberg's "John McCain: An American Odyssey." He read everything from David Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest" to the Pentagon Papers. "

But whatever he learned from this he still thinks the Vietnam War was winnable. He perhaps needs to set down his ideas in an article, about how you win the Vietnam War.

As Conason notes at the end of his article," it is easy to understand why a man who thinks that we should have escalated the Vietnam War after 10 futile years would talk about occupying Iraq for a century. And it is hard to imagine why voters would elect a president who still believes that 60,000 American dead and more than 300,000 wounded in Vietnam were not quite enough. "

What John McCain didn't learn in Vietnam -

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Street Song

Well, be away from the blog for a while; here is Street Song in the meantime

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Significant Progress" in Iraq

Came across an interesting post at the Salon War room on the use of the phrase " significant progress" in Iraq. Also posted by Steve Beren at Crooks and

Since it is about two paragraphs and some lines here it is in toto:

About that "significant progress"

This morning, speaking from the White House, the president boasted, "American and Iraqi forces have made significant progress" in Iraq. It got me thinking, haven't we heard that phrase before in relation to the war?
White House press secretary Scott McClellan on Oct. 27, 2003: "In the north and south [of Iraq], we have made significant progress."

President Bush on Nov. 13, 2004: "Fighting together, our forces [in Iraq] have made significant progress in the last several days."
President Bush on June 28, 2005: "In the past year, we have made significant progress [in Iraq]."
Vice President Cheney on Oct. 19, 2006: "We've made significant progress [in Iraq]."
President Bush on Feb. 23, 2007: "I think we have made significant progress in Iraq."

Indeed, it's a phrase the White House has used to describe events in Iraq several hundred times over the past five years. I can't imagine why anyone would be skeptical about the claim now.

And at this point am adding a few more examples drawn from Google:

"McCLELLAN: There are two democratically-elected governments now in Iraq and ..... We have made significant progress in the first four months or so of this ... May 25, 2005

"McClellan: And we're making significant progress on the five-point plan that the President outlined for success in Iraq. You have a sovereign government, you have an interim leader in Prime Minister Allawi who is strong and determined to complete the mission in Iraq. He is coming to the United States to talk about the progress that has been made.- September 20, 2004

"Bush: We're seeing significant progress from our new strategy in Anbar province, as well. - May 2, 2007

"Cheney: We're making significant progress. The Iraqis have put together their government . - June 15, 2006

McClellan: And we are also coming up on some important milestones and events in Iraq. One, on June 28th, that's going to mark the one-year anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi people. And in that one-year period, there has been significant progress on the political front. - June 16, 2005

It goes on and on like this. If you just use the keywords significant progress Iraq, you get 829 hits.

Interesting because if there had been that much significant progress in Iraq since 2003, why must troop levels remain the same until 2009?

To paraphrase James Thurber," Your World and welcome to it".

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Continuing struggle in Tibet

Well, apparently the demonstrations continue to go on in Tibet. Just found this over at Google News from the Times Online:
"Tibetans wounded as Chinese police fire on pilgrim protest "

"Ten people were wounded when Chinese paramilitary police opened fire on a crowd of Tibetans protesting against limits on a prayer ceremony and demanding the return of the Dalai Lama, witnesses said.
The violence was in a remote town in western Sichuan province on Saturday, where monks at the Lingque temple had been joined by several hundred pilgrims for an annual ceremony, the Torgya, which is meant to exorcise evil elements from society.

One witness said that the police appeared to grow anxious about the size of the crowd in a region of China where there have been demonstrations since protesters stabbed and stoned ethnic Han Chinese in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, on March 14.

At about midday security forces ordered a halt to the ceremony but the demonstrators, including about 400 nomads, refused to leave. The crowd included monks, residents, students and even civil servants, who wore dust masks over their mouths as a rudimentary means to conceal their identity, one witness said" - Tibet: Chinese police wound 10 demonstrators at Lingque temple 3694762 - 4/7/08

Then Time magazine has a very interesting article this week that looks at how continual protests, especially along the Olympic torch route, are going to burn the Chinese leadership, and their totally unflexible response to it:

"China is dealing with visible and invisible opposition in the months before the Beijing Olympics begin. The visible was front-and-center in the world media as the OIympic torch made its way through various countries on a circuitous route to the Games. Everywhere Chinese security is on guard against activists prepared to disrupt the flame's progress to protest China's human rights record in Tibet and in the enormous province of Xinjiang. In London, a protester tried to grab the flame away from its official bearer; at one point, the torch had to make its way through the city within the protective confines of a bus. Earlier, when the flame traveled through Istanbul, Turkish police arrested a man who made a move toward the torchbearer.

But it is the invisible opposition, what Beijing prevents the rest of the world from seeing, that elicits the most concern. Recent reports indicate that sporadic violence in Tibet continues despite a massive Chinese military crackdown that has now lasted almost three weeks. According to Tibetan exiles and activist groups, Chinese police on April 3 fired on monks from the Tongkor monastery in Ganzi, Sichuan Province, killing an unknown number. China's official Xinhua News Agency confirmed that disturbances had taken place but did not report any deaths. Meanwhile, in what is certainly a deeply worrying development for Beijing, the unrest has spread to other ethnic minority areas, the Chinese authorities confirmed, this time in the far western Muslim-dominated province of Xinjiang. As usual, accounts of what happened by overseas activists and the Chinese authorities were poles apart. But there is no doubt that significant unrest over Chinese rule has occurred in Xinjiang involving hundreds and possibly thousands of protesters. There have also been round ups by security forces in which scores have been detained.

The puzzle is what are the Communist Party cadres in Beijing feeling as they watch these events unfold ? Anger certainly. And worry about how the staging of the Olympic Games in August could be affected. But by all accounts, they have also been surprised, shocked at how resentment over Chinese rule has suddenly exploded, threatening to spoil what was supposed to be a positive, peaceful run-up to the Games.

The article concludes:

" The authorities will no doubt make it virtually impossible for journalists to enter Tibet in the months leading up to the Olympics. But it remains unclear exactly how they intend to deal with the estimated 30,000 foreign reporters expected to witness the event, all of them eager to take advantage of Beijing's own regulations specifying that they can interview anyone Chinese who agrees to talk. "They still don't have any idea what is going to hit them or how bad they will look to the outside world," comments one senior Western academic who has close ties to the upper echelons of the Beijing establishment. If its conduct over the past year is anything to go by, Beijing's instinctive reaction to new problems will be to use its heavy hand once more."

for further see: Will the Olympic Torch Burn China?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

This is different from 1989

What is happening in Tibet right now is different from the uprising there in 1989, in that in addition to Lhasa, there are uprisings or protests or incidents happening all over what could be called Historic Tibet.
This map from shows what has been happening up and through to Mar.17, 2008.

Also one of the better articles I have seen about the deeper issues in Tibet is:
In Tibetan Areas, Parallel Worlds Now Collideby Howard W. French, New York Times .

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pictures from Tibet

With Lhasa being in the news, here are some photos I took while in Tibet in October 1993.
For example here is the Jokhang Temple , at the heart of the Tibetan quarter in Lhasa:

And this is a photo of the Barkhor neighborhood in which the Jokhang is located:

Notice the small vendor stalls; likely some of these were attacked if they were run by Chinese in the recent protest.

Then here is the square in the middle of the Drepung Monastery; the monks there have been under heavy manners since 2006:

The next is a beautiful view looking from Sera Monastery to the back of the Potala Palace. You get some idea of the valley Lhasa is in:

Tibet is beautiful. It is too bad the Chinese only response is to crack down, be severe, and be inhuman.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Protest in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

The above photo is of a Friday protest in the city of Xiahe, in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous region, what the Tibetans would call Amdo. It is just an incredible photo because you see Tibetans waving Tibetan Flags, within China, or what you could call Chinese occupied Amdo.

I haven't seen a follow up story on this, but given the huge protests and rioting in Lhasa recently,my heart, and the hearts of many here, especially in Santa Fe, go out to the Tibetan people at this time.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

South Central New Mexico Time Warp

Recently, well two weeks back, upon going down through south central New Mexico, and upon my return trip along about the Socorro area, I was at the mercy again of whatever FM stations I could bring in, and naturally I tend to gravitate towards whatever irritates me the least. In other words the FM station of my dreams doesn't even exist.

At any rate on both occasions, I encountered an oldies stations, and sure enough on both the coming and going, a week a part, over the dial came Louie, Louie, by the Kingsmen. Catchy little tune that, sort of the primordial rock'n' roll song. And it sort of bends Time around, and since the Time Coaster is naturally fascinated by Time, and also I have been hitting YouTube more now that I have broadband, I am adding a vid of Louie, Louie just to mark this time warpian moment. Here it is:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Cautionary Aside

Have been searching the web, for quite a while to find a more realistic take on what is going on in Iraq, and moreover a take on what happens when the "surge" comes to an end. The mainstream press has now downplayed Iraq, and seems to have concluded the surge is triumphant.

But I find a more cautionary note from Joe Conason over at
see under McCain's risky strategy

He starts off by noting of McCain: "His presidential hopes depend on a perception of "victory" in Iraq. If things turn worse by summer with fewer U.S. troops, will he still argue for more of the same?"

In his third paragraph he notes: "
The impulsive gloating of McCain and his fellow hawks is premature but understandable. Reporters and statistical analysts both believe that local violence has diminished markedly in Iraq since last fall, thanks to the additional troops as well as shifts in U.S. strategy against insurgent forces. Although the number of American casualties per week in 2007 was about the same as in 2006 (and worse than 2005) that number declined toward the end of the year, along with the number of civilian casualties, bombings and death squad killings. The result was to soften opposition to the war among independent and Republican voters -- and to revitalize McCain's candidacy."

Then in the latter half of the article he concludes: " According to the present schedule, American forces are supposed to be drawn down by next summer to the same strength they were at in 2006 -- primarily because there are no more troops to deploy -- and there is a strong likelihood that the levels of violence will rise. Little or no progress has been achieved in reducing tensions among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities, which have been increasingly segregated by the Iraqi version of ethnic cleansing and are increasingly dominated by sectarian militias that do not necessarily answer to the feeble government in Baghdad. Many Iraqis fear that those armed groups simply await the withdrawal of American forces to resume a civil war that only seems to have paused, without resolution."

His next key point is: " By July, the U.S. troop presence will return to the pre-surge strength of approximately 130,000 -- and remain there indefinitely somehow, until either this president or the next one decides how to cope with the damage the war is wreaking on the armed forces, the federal budget and the international prestige of the United States."

And here are the concluding two paragraphs of the article:

"The surge had changed public perceptions of the war enough to bolster McCain and dampen antiwar sentiment, but now the price of that strategy is coming due. We cannot bring more troops home without risking a renewed conflagration because the Iraqi government has done so little with the "breathing space" bought by American lives and treasure.

Has the surge succeeded? That is what McCain says everywhere he goes, but by next summer he may have to explain why the American occupation has returned to the status quo of 2006, as if the surge had never occurred. He will have to tell us why we should not seek a way out of Iraq -- and why, after losing more than 4,000 American lives and spending a trillion dollars, he insists that our best choice is more of the same. "

Thus he says it better than I could, or states it very succinctly, and gets to the heart of the matter. I recommend the article as a correctal, to the way the mainstream media moves away from a story, and buys in to the 'establishment' version of events.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Less Jobs, More Wars- the idée fixe of McCain

John McCain Channels Dr. Strangelove

"Inspired by Arianna's observation about John McCain channeling George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove, the team at Brave New Films has put together this video (with a hat tip to MSNBC's Joe Scarborough for providing the final voice over -- and the best campaign slogan ever!)"


Talk about going thru the looking glass, if McCain keeps up this patter he'll petrify voters in the fall.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hillary's Inner Tracy Flick -Found over at Slate V

"Don't you just hate when some upstart comes along and threatens your best-laid plans? We were struck by how well one of Reese Witherspoon's monologues from the film Election fits the narrative of Campaign 2008." from Slate Magazine

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moltar returns to the Time Coast- Moltar vs Space Ghost

Well, Moltar returns to my Blog courtesy of YouTube. It is a very short clip so should not take that long to get to play even if one doesn't have broadband. Something wry and humorous about it.

Meanwhile we are approaching a New Tibetan New Year. Losar is Feb. 7th, after which the Year of the Earth Rat begins.
Happy Tibetan New Year soon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You Don't Know - How young you Are

Yes, well, this is a YouTube of Acid Tomb, - a 13th Floor Elevators tribute band in Austin, Texas at Rupa Maya, shot on Oct. 26th, 2007.

One of my favorite songs, and it is nice to see this song come back around. Song was written by Powell Saint John. I love the use of diminished sevenths in the song to invoke this ancient , archaic feel to the song; it suggests a different time, or like an overlap of something from 400 years ago into the present. Enjoy!