Here, John Oliver displays his ‘weapons grade’ comedic talents to the FULL !!]]>
As Scots go to the polls today, they decide on whether they should remain a part of Great Britain or become a fully independent nation. With close to 100% voter registration, it appears that everyone 16 yo or older has the opportunity to have their say.
YEA = SPLIT
NAY = STAY
Here, the very English band The Clash put it pretty succinctly:
This latest spasm of ‘independence-ism’ is chiefly political. The Scots (bless them) can’t stand the Conservative (‘Tory’) party*. English PM David Cameron and the current British government are Tory of course, else no vote today.
Being of both Scots and English heritage, I’m rather divided on the issue. Heart says ‘Split’, head says ‘Stay’…
Either way, it’s way better than bloodying up a perfectly good sheep pasture over the issue! We’ll know by late tonight or tomorrow.
* The British ‘Conservatives’ are nothing like the American variety. We would likely classify them as ‘right of center’ Democrats.]]>
I will assume that we all remember these magnificent Americans.
Don’t miss Ken Burns’ 7-part examination of ‘The Roosevelts: An Intimate History’ which begins tonight on PBS!
For now I’ll just include this rather freaky picture of a mountain lion peering in through some lady’s window in Mendocino.
You need a scorecard just to keep track of how many times she’s just flat empirically WRONG!
No American alive on that lovely Tuesday morning will ever forget what happened that day. Imagine CNN covering Pearl Harbor ‘Live’ as the battleship USS Arizona blew up and sank… taking nearly twelve-hundred men with it to the bottom of the bay – where droplets of oil still leak to the surface even today.
I remember thinking how very much like Pearl Harbor were these attacks on NYC and The Pentagon as I stared agape at my TV, not quite believing what I was seeing with my own two eyes…
As in most disasters, whether natural or manmade, we witnessed both the best and the worst of humanity on that dreadful September morning and in the days that followed. Selfless bravery on the part of many (viz. FDNY)… and people dancing in the streets across certain mideast cities, gleeful that ‘they’ had at last struck a blow ‘for’ Islam against the decadent ‘infidel’ ‘West’. The ‘Great Satan’ had been laid low.
The horrible images of 2001 September 11 are seared into our memories, both individual and collective. I needn’t review them here.
We lost nearly 3000 people that day – a grievous toll to be sure.
But as we struggled to recover – and to lay to rest what remains of our dead could be recovered, a far different sort of attitude began to gain ascendency in America – that of VENGEANCE and ‘payback’.
America has many positive characteristics – of which we are justly proud. We also possess many less attractive traits for which we are roundly criticised – and properly so.
Our National tendency toward ‘knee jerk’ or reactionary responses does not commend us well to the world of the 21st Century. It is a natural reaction – but almost NEVER helpful. At any rate, and regrettably (but predictably), America almost immediately fired up our fighters, bombers and Special Forces and initiated a so-called ‘War on Terror’ in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
We then hurried to pass a National ‘Patriot Act’ as well as massively expanding our already bloated intelligence services. We (some of us) took to calling ‘french fries’ ‘freedom fries’ in response to a perceived slight from the French for questioning some aspects of the American response. To my way of thinking, this is childish behaviour better suited to a schoolyard than to international relations.
Then President ‘Dubya’ Bush and his ‘neocon’ cohorts shamelessly conned us into invading Iraq… for which ill-advised action we are continuing to ‘reap the whirlwind’ (see ISIS) as it were.
So. Welcome to 2014 and we’ve nearly broken the bank and exhausted (or killed/wounded) many thousands of military personnel (not to mention hundreds of thousands of blameless civilians). And despite constant protestations to ‘Support Our Troops’, we see a broken VA that is incapable of caring for our damaged vets. It is a disgraceful state of affairs.
Are we safer and/or more secure? I submit to you that we are NOT.
In my opinion, much of this is due to the corporate interests controlling both foreign and domestic American Policy. That’s (not to put too fine a point on it) a textbook definition of Fascism. Guiding any nation through the turbulent world waters is not one for the feint of heart – let alone for a country as large and as powerful as the United States. So I can offer no sure-fire prescription for peace, security and happiness.
Sorry. All I can advise is to Vote Democratic!]]>
The horror of the Spanish Inquisition is here made light of by Monty Python.
In actuality, especially in the Iberian peninsula, the Holy Roman Catholic Church reached its depths of depravity in the 15th century with the Church’s attempts to eradicate the Cathars or ‘Good Christians’ of that region…
The source of this ‘heresy’ is unclear, but probably grew out of Eastern Byzantine concepts. Cathars believed in two principles, a good creator god and his evil adversary (much like God and Satan of mainstream Christianity). Cathars called themselves Christians; their neighbours distinguished them as “Good Christians”. The Catholic Church called them Albigenses, or less frequently, ‘Cathars’. Later, the Church’s forced removal of both the Moors and Jews constituted the so-called ‘Reconquista’ of nascent ‘Spain’ in 1492.
The same year as Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. Coincidence?
The vast hypocrisy of the Church in its hunts for the least deviation from strict Roman Catholic dogma is perhaps best known to us through the tribulations of Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno, but reached its widest infamy during the campaigns against the Cathars and the Templar order.
“Convert or Die!” was the choice most often tendered to the targeted unfortunate, though they were often tortured to death in spite of forced conversion.
Since the 8th century, the Muslims had established rule in most of Iberia – and Christians, Moors (Muslims) and Jews had managed to co-exist more or less peacefully… creating a cross-cultural ‘stew’ which still enriches us today.
We see [IMHO] that the Early Christian Church was created by Rome to perpetuate Roman hegemony by cynical and brutal means. The ‘Holy Mother Church’ is thus only ‘Rome’ re-packaged for easy control of its subjects by ‘other means’.
The myth of ‘Jesus Christ’ was a confabulation of Rome’s as their more conventional power waned. And Rome persists to this day as the ‘Roman Catholic Church’… Pretty clever gambit, n’est ce pas?
Wikipedia: The Inquisition
YouTube: Secret Files of the Inquisition: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
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At least SOMEBODY still likes him!]]>
The inimitable Modern Jazz Quartet: SPACE
The word is ELEGANT, my peeps. The most oft played Jazz record of my misspent youth… STILL works! TGIF!]]>