And why aren't Supreme Court sessions televised? That would be a great gain for democracy. As it is, we have to imagine gentlemen in robes being real dignified as they eviscerate our civil rights. But we have freedom of speech, and are we ever going to use it! No more nice nice from the liberal camp!
In out and out dictatorships, as my favorite professor at Reed, Darius Rejali, puts it, they just throw a few bodies in the street, and that tends to shut people up. Here, much as they hate it, the fascists have to go through the motions of democracy. It's a constant fight to preserve freedom, because democracy is inherently unstable, and fascists always want to take over completely. We came close to losing democracy alltogether under Nixon and Bush II. As Bush said, he really wanted to be a dictator but was stuck with darn old inefficient democracy.
So think of that whenever you want to believe that Bush is just a lovable old retired guy.
In that spirit, I will now have to point out that our ex-President Bush was the worst president we have ever had and deserves to be in prison for life, along with his henchmen Rumsfeld and Cheney, for lying us into war. The charge: mass homicide. Colin Powell should be serving a sentence too. Lying to the U.N. like that! And then coming around and expecting respectable people to forgive and forget. What a nerve. And Bush should also receive an added sentence for criminal negligence in his treatment of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and should lose all his property and possessions. That would be justice served!
Furthermore, Bush is an absolutely riviting outsider artist. His paintings totally reveal his alienation and lack of affect. I've seen work similar to his among other criminals I've known, such as the prisoners in an art class we had up at Kulani Correctional Facility. There. Come and get me, goons! There's no way you can touch me legally, thanks to Bush appointee Justice Roberts.
More: It occurs to me that we may be seeing a new genre. Retired people often take up painting. Perhaps some of them are really outsider artists. There is (was?) a fashion for faux outsider art by serious artists, but true outsider art is never self-aware or ironic. This kind of art, also, is not like naive art or folk art. I have written about outsider art here. I was wrong in saying that it is "historical," no longer done, and basically European. And since we assign money value to everything, this art will sell because Bush painted it. Think of it. Bush has restored and commodified an entire art genre, now carried forth by American retirees. He really is a world changer.
From streets full of houses to the buttons on your trousers
There is nothing that the wompom cannot do!
That in which we all sincerely believe: I refer, of course, to money. As Tom Lehrer said.
In other legal news: The Ninth Circuit Court has ruled that the State of Hawaii is no longer responsible for providing Medicaid to Marshall Islanders. These victims of nuclear tests and military buildup must receive care for their many ailments, and the feds should pay for it.
It was nice to see Brandon Haleamau this a.m., however briefly. I borrowed his copy of Shaping History: The Role of Newspapers in Hawai'i, by Helen Geracimos Chapin. And I lent him my copies of Ordinary Menby Christoper Browning and Global Transformations by Michel-Rolph Trouillot. We share an interest in social history. His dad took this picture of us. Too bad Brandon has his eyes closed. I'll try to get a better photo at our next Nation Magazine meeting.
Luckily, the tsunami passed us by, but we are on the alert just in case there is another, stronger quake.
The people I respect most are out there, taking chances, win or lose. They can be charismatic and have followers, but they are totally upfront. A good example of a person like that is Big Island Chronicle's Tiffany Edwards Hunt. There are many many things I disagree with her about, but I know where she stands. She is aware of us, too, the League of Women Voters group who work so hard to foster open government. She's running in her District for County Council, and she would be a wonderful, dynamic addition to this body.
League was among the organizations that worked to get public financing for Hawaii Council Elections. She will be able to use this financing . Probably without this help it would be impossible for her to run.
Frankly, I don't know how she does it. She has enormous energy, but still, helping run the family business, bringing up her two children and putting out a blog and newspaper is a pretty full plate already. But she just keeps adding on and getting stronger. This is seeing a powerful person in action moving from strength to strength and is quite exciting to watch.
Republicans have made a fatal error, counting on the ACA to fail. What are their constructive suggestions for improving the lot of the American people anyway? This doesn't mean that the midterm elections are not going to be a battle for Democrats. Too much is going wrong, especially where the economy is concerned. And the Republican noise machine is turned up to full volume.
But what if McCain had been elected? Or Romney? We'd probably be in worse shape and maybe even at war somewhere.
It's been wonderful here, with sun, clouds and rain and lots of new life around us. The baby chicks are thriving. When they get larger, we can put the movable chicken coop in our backyard inside of a dog pen. I'm glad we did not remove it or sell it after our dogs died. We'll need to put extra chicken wire around, but this is perfect. It even has a concrete pad. Oh happy happy chickens they will be!
On Sunday we went out to the Maku'u Market, which is very much like open markets everywhere, these days, I guess: a combination food court, farmers' market, crafts and trinket sellers, second hand wares, plants and flowers, musicians and lots and lots of cars and trucks in the parking lot. People come from all over the vast Puna area to hang out on Sunday a.m. I think the market outdraws the churches even in this very pious part of the world. We met Mary and Jim there. Mary is, she says 95% recovered from her bad fall and broken leg. She looked fine and is walking without a limp. I had Peruvian tamales for breakfast. Excellent they were, too. Here are a few pix.
Terry and Jim strike manly poses.
A perfect fit
Later we went over to Jim and Mary's for lunch and enjoyed cooling off in their above ground pool and picking mulberries off their bushes and eating them right then and there. So today it's back to work!
The news is its usual bleak self. I'm reading Stefan Zweig's memoir, The World of Yesterday, about his experiences as a self-described "European" in the years before and between the two world wars. This memoir was published in 1942, when everyone knew that things were bad but did not yet know how bad.
Among the many many illuminations of this book is the thinking of Jewish intellectuals that led to the formation of the state of Israel. This is a reminder that Zionism did not begin with the idea of a special country for the Jews but was originally simply the desire to settle in Palestine. Also, the notion of the "rootless cosmopolitan" originated with Zweig and his peers. So there was this tension about Jewish identity and nationalism going on long before the horrors of the Holocaust. More to say later, after I finish the book. It was published in 1942.
There is a review of Teju Cole's latest book in the NYT, which seems to be criticizing him for being a "rootless cosmopolitan," no longer able to communicate with his own people. This is silly. Bookish people like Cole live in books. That's his home country. It's an anti-intellectual attack and covertly racist, too. Like he's not supposed to enjoy western literature, art and music because his family is from Nigeria!
With my background, I guess I can't enjoy anything but tales of the brave takeover of the American continent from indigenous peoples, going by that logic. Cowboys, trappers, soldiers of the Spanish crown, simpering senioritas, bold Irishmen who could turn their hands to anything. And women cranking out the babies. Right. Urbanization, travel and education gave me a chance to move beyond all that and become "rootless."
I'm reading now about how Zweig went to Berlin in order to experience the cosmopolitan atmosphere there before WW I. The mileau in his native Vienna was cultivated but stultifying, and all his friends had the same background as he did. He had never stopped to consider, until he was in an atmosphere truly open to the world, as Berlin was then, how the Viennese Jewish community was, while rich and culturally advanced, excluded from the power structure. There is so much to talk about in this book, but I must get going.
Why is The Nation Magazine running this? I may turn in my Nation t-shirts if I see any more of this stuff. What an obnoxious ad.The current issue was bad, too. Not a single thing in it I felt like reading.
I thought maybe it was satire, but it's to0 clunky and serious for that.