I heard Agee speak in Portland years ago. I'm trying to remember the details. He did indicate that neo-fascism was a worry in the former East Germany, but aside from that I can't recollect much.
Correction: OOps. The article mentioned above was in the Times. I may not be able to find it. More: Not to be conspiratorial, but it looks as if they have scrubbed Hersh's December 1974 article on Agee from their archives. I'll keep trying to find it. If I can't I'll have to wait until I can get to a good library to track this down. I'm going to buy his book where he outed CIA operatives.
Katha Pollitt takes on Ayers and his friends, who gave Nixon & co. the opportunity to characterize the entire anti-war left as violent crazies. As she says, it was all about them and their romanticized notions of revolution. I walked by that house that blew up in the Village, a week or so after the event, in 1970. It was right next door to Dustin Hoffman's house. There was a young woman's torso found in the building, all that was left of her. Everyone was horrified, real violence being what it is. Here is the Wikipedia entry on this ridiculous disaster.
As Pollitt points out, you can't compare the scale of the damage the Weather Underground did to the murder of millions of Vietnamese. I think they were sincere in wanting to stop the war, but violence begets violence, always. The Black Panthers were terrible, too, in the way they glamorized violence. We are still paying the price for their nonsense.
More: There are No Sunglassesis one scrappy blog, but at this point I'm starting to feel that we are living in an unparalleled time of troubles. I found There are No Sunglasses on Alpha Inventions, nestled among the mommy blogs and I hate my parents blogs and my new gadget blogs, and angry Dad blogs, etc. Stuff on NS is taboo in the mass media, which is all about exchanging favors and getting as big a piece of the American pie as possible. This is not a good time. And I had some hopes. Now I don't.
Disclaimer: I don't like their racist and anti-Semitic take on Obama! Nor comparing Obama to Hitler!
More: I'm sorry I have to find important information in a place like There are No Sunglasses, such as that Israel is using bunker busters and that they are poised to invade, with tanks massed on the border. But if so-called respectable press is sitting on its hands, so to speak, about what's really going on, that kind of forces me to look on seedy blogs for better information.
More more. Oh boy. I can't stand it. I've been socializing or watching one mindless movie after another, just to keep from worrying myself to death about Gaza, the economy, my huge doubts about Obama, all of it. I'm really frightened, and that's no lie. It's like everything is spinning out of control.
Not even to mention: This is all the New York Times has to say about anti-war demonstrations: that a few "pro Palestinian" demonstrators waved signs in front of Obama's vacation residence. What about the demos all over the country and the world? Not a peep. Wouldn't a casual reader get the idea that opposition to the bombing and pending invasion of Gaza was a fringe phenomenon? That's how the Mainstream press works.
Huge Catholic sponsored anti-abortion and gay marriage rights demo in Madrid. Do these deluded souls actually believe that their troubles will vanish if they can abolish abortion and gay marriage? Photograph from Spiegel. Click on enlargement to get a good look at the scary nuns.
Dave Barry has spared me the trouble of providing a review of the events of 2008.
And here is a fine op-ed from Frank Rich on Obama and Warren, where he expresses some of the same doubts that have occured to many of us about Obama's seeming indifference to gay rights. It is amazing that Obama is willing to give such a prominent role in his inauguration to a man who believes gays are degenerates.
Naomi has posted a picture of Ron and me seeing eye to eye on a lovely day in Portland. How wonderful it has been to meet such outstanding people over the Internet. She and Ron live in Harlem and I live in Hawaii. We were visiting our grandkids in Seattle, and my husband had business in Portland. She and Ron were visiting their grandkids in Portland. So we met at Powell's. We talked for hours. I hope we can get together again soon.
Pinter died of cancer on Wednesday at the age of 78.
It's a bit much for us Americans to pat ourselves on the back about what great, wonderful people we are. We are very good at telling tall tales about our innocence. We are great liars. However, more and more we fool only ourselves. Now we hope that Obama will rescue white America from its racist past. That our imperialist adventures in poor countries will be seen as humanitarian.
The wars we have waged against people who stood up to us will be forgotten as the new American day dawns. Dewy eyed, we will reclaim our innocence.
For are we not the nicest people on earth?
More: All that horror in the Middle East, because our country insists on backing the Israeli warmongers. Hundreds killed. For what? Years ago I knew a Palestinian student who had come to Portland to study English. He called his father one day and asked if he should return home to help his people. His father said, "No, stay, we are doomed." Israel as it is today is a creation of the United States. This is not the Zion of idealistic 19th Century Jews, not the Jewish homeland. Liberal admiration for the communal experiments and "making the desert bloom" is cold coffee now.
And another bombing in Baghdad, which is just an everyday matter.
My current read is Manifest Destinies: the Making of the Mexican American Race by Laura E. Gomez. The mechanisms used to take over New Mexico (and Hawaii) are identical to the ones in use today in Iraq. A show of force. Illegal occupation. Destruction of important cultural symbols. Imposition of a rule of law that includes some prestigious local people while at the same time destroying the real power players. Confiscation of all valuable resources to produce wealth for a small number of white men.
How does Obama propose to put an end to all this? It seems that he is intent on continuing the imperial presidency that Bush has created. He believes in the promise of America, which has allowed him to reach the top. A good man, a good people. We can pat ourselves on the back for that. And now all the helpers have their hands out! They are running to Washington looking for jobs and money.
Read Tom Englehardt on Barbara's blog about this less than inspiring development, the continuation of the American imperium. I like this piece. It is in the old Ehrenreich vein, although she did not write it.
Bitter, fed up? Yes, pretty much. I'm glad I'm old and almost done as I contemplate the wearisome history and ongoing injustices of my country. In spite of my innate optimism, which is just my nature, I can't help but see the truth.
Some clever person came up with a way to randomly post various blogs, and for some reason, my blog is one of them. The site is called Alpha Inventions. It's fun, like a grab bag, to look at what's out there. You never know what you are going to see. I've found several really choice blogs through Alpha Inventions. And some that make me go, "Oh my." I'm getting hooked on this!
This article in the N.Y. Times about Obama's Christmas vacation in Hawaii is a perfect expression of the Hawaii as Lotus Land mythology. Hawaii is more than beaches, warm weather, nice homes and hotels, golf courses and laid back locals. Even the claim of being away from Waikiki in the "real" Hawaii is part of the mystique. Don't we all know what is good, and aren't we all a cut above the ordinary?
This is a complex place. It is highly militarized, especially on Oahu. There are vast differences in wealth, as on the Mainland. The cost of living is staggering for those who want a nice Mainland style of living. For that, you must be rich. Really rich.
The Big Island has its own set of complications, such as the lack of decent medical care even for those who are insured. We have the ongoing vog emergency, which impacts Ocean View and Kona very badly. The Kona traffic is terrible. Fancy resorts suck up the electricity, and household rates are astronomical. Puna continues to suffer from lack of planning and infrastructure. There is no public transportation worthy of the name.
Not that I would live anywhere else! But I think that all this puffery about Hawaii is just to jack up the tourist trade. And what dull stuff, compared to what we do around here. Nice beaches, golf, fancy restaurants? Yawn. That gets boring right away. We like rocky beaches, rough hikes, stargazing while walking the dog, the many farmers' markets, local restaurants and socializing with a few good friends, so we're in the right place We love our home over the Bay and our modest yet luxurious seeming way of life. The year round outdoor activities we enjoy keep us healthy and active in spite of our age. Even the roughest people here show kindness to the elderly. I think it's partly Asian culture and partly that aunties and grandparents often bring up the children. Whatever the reason, we enjoy not being looked down on because of our age. We are lucky.
Just got off a Skype session with the Seattle gang. I can't believe the winter weather there. For them it's fun with a cozy home and sledding and skiing for the kids and getting time off from work, but it's a real hardship for many. My daughter tells me that her friends report that Portland is immobilized under a foot of snow. They are not at all prepared for this. Even Chicago would grind to a standstill under such a burden, but Portland. Wow.
So many who worked on Obama's campaign and gave him money, some of them large sums of money, are shocked that Obama would give such a prominent role to a major enemy of every value he claims to stand for.
The comments are worth reading. They show that Obama has alienated his base while not in any way affecting the opinions of the Bible thumping hate mongers he wants to bring into the fold. How could he have made such a huge mistake? What other mistakes will he make in the coming years?