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A Magnificent Antidote: New Recordings from Playing For Change

By: wendydavis Friday July 18, 2014 2:46 pm
Manu Chao in concert, playing an electric guitar

Manu Chao: Musicians “Playing For Change.”

Dark days are upon us in far too many directions, both domestically and globally: from ethnic cleansings to massive poverty, hunger, no access to clean water, lack of health care, wars of choice and Empire…and more. And no, it didn’t have to be this way, and our task now seems to be to find a way through the morass, both individually and collectively, beginning anew when we falter and succumb to lassitude or depression, or even submerging into the dark and failing to appreciate what beauty and glories are available.  Camus called it a possible sin against life to do so.

If you live where you’re able to see the night sky, when it’s dark enough, go outdoors and look to the south toward the horizon, and gaze at the constellation Scorpio, a giant lazy J of a fishhook laid out before you; to the east of her is Sagittarius, and the Big Dipper is overhead and a bit to the north. The Milky Way is starting to rise again, and although faint just now, allows us to see the edge of our own galaxy, and she wondrously displays to us what small specks of stardust we actually are.

This is the ‘About’ page describing the Playing for Change movement that was created to inspire and connect the world through music, and to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. Mark Johnson, co-founder. (and h/t hotflashcarol for the new ones) The global Indigenous have foretold that humanity is on the cusp of an evolutionary leap toward higher purpose and consciousness, and most days I believe that they are right, and that as more of us see and know the dark, we will collectively offer one another reaching hands, and head toward the light. In concert, we are powerful, ‘they’ are few, and when we cooperate and empathize with one another, love each other as a choice, we can and must build a better, more just world. Song and dance and the celebration of life is key, as are art, poetry, and story-telling, especially our own stories.

Enjoy the music, and the folk at PFC advise: play it loud, boogie as you can!

La Bamba’, featuring David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, Andres Calamaro and La Marisoul, Baby-Black Ndome from Kinsha.  You’ll fall in love with Mariosoul and Baby-Black, the harp player…and the children, I guaran-damn-tee it.

 

Considering Love’s Importance to pre-Revolution & Creating a Better World

By: wendydavis Thursday July 10, 2014 2:05 pm

Occupy Love, Hella Love Oakland March (23 of 24)On May 19 Occupy activist Cecily McMillan was sentenced to serve ninety days in prison for being sexually assaulted by a cop at Zuccotti Park.  That day, her team left a message at the justiceforcecilly.com website, and it reads in part:

‘The Occupy Wall Street Movement has been a catalyst for social and economic change. But, while we claim to be “the 99%,” building a movement that truly represents the diversity and strength of the people will require a principled approach in our activism centered around a love ethic. bell hooks describes the love ethic in All About Love as:

The will to one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. Love is as love does, Love is an act of will—namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.

Allow me to submit that it’s possible and even more important to our present struggle, to choose to love people we don’t even like, or are our enemies, and that’s where it gets seriously hard.  Sages and prophets have explained many times over that the best love is essentially compassionate love, the sort in which we extend ourselves by choice in order to further not only the spiritual growth of others, but ourselves in the process.  Active, not passive love.  Martin Luther King spoke of it often:

‘Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’

And it may just be one of the hardest choices to actuate ever, along with taming our own egos, but they may also be somewhat related.  Some liken higher love to conferring a moment of grace on another, or the glorious way Kabir does.

‘The flute of interior time is played whether we hear it or not.
What we mean by “love” is its sound coming in.
When love hits the farthest edge of excess, it reaches wisdom.
And the fragrance of the knowledge!
It penetrates our thick bodies,
it goes through walls.
Its network of notes has a structure as if a million suns were arranged inside.
The tune has truth in it.
Where else have you heard a sound like this?’

~  Kabir, Indian mystic

 

Saturday Art by Bird, plus Birds ‘n Critters by wd

By: wendydavis Saturday July 5, 2014 7:55 am

P1120537 (2)Last week I found a portion of the thousands of photos I’d lost recently, and I thought some of you might like to see some of them.  The narrow ones are some I sized for the half-fold cards I sell in town, the large ones are sized for letter-sized printing.  Help yourselves to any you’d like for your own use.  The down arrow with a bar underneath in the lower right-hand corner will offer different sizes, choose Original, then you can right click for Save Image As, etc.

The Birds and Four-leggeds slideshow will open in it’s own window; slideshows are embeddable, but the photos often look rather too large and a bit garish.  Mine arguably don’t rise to the level of Art, but the Vogelcop Bowerbird’s seduction art certainly does.  Attenborough’s  ‘The Life of Birds’ series has a few even more incredible Bowerbird art designs, as I remember it.   Enjoy.  :)

 

‘The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro’ by Frederick Douglass

By: wendydavis Friday July 4, 2014 7:37 am

 

Via Black Agenda Report, bless them.  Douglass gave the speech in Rochester, NY on July 5, 1852.  If you don’t care to read it all, or don’t have the time just now, please at least read the closing  poem written by Abolitionist William Loyd Garrison sometime in the 1800s, ‘Triumph of Freedom‘.

 

“Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory….

…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Living in the Wasteland of the Free

By: wendydavis Wednesday July 2, 2014 8:21 am

Iris Dement recorded this in 1996; she saw things pretty clearly then, even though she must be shocked by the ever more egregious conditions have been ladled upon us eight years later, creating a toxic People’s Miasma that will be hard to set aright … later. If you’d rather see the lyrics while listening, you can.

My wish is that this might be a post on which you can tell your own stories of The Wasteland, and provide contextual narratives that reflect your experiences under such degrading capitalist corporatocracy. Many here are relatively comfortable, but may indeed have friends and loved ones who are suffering the slings and burning arrows of outrageous fortune being loosed upon us. Yes, we fear for own futures, but even more for those of our children, their children, and our big blue-green ball of a planet itself.

There are a few things Iris didn’t know back then, but she still was pissed enough to step out of her musical comfort zone to protest so passionately.  ‘Kissing asses for corporate cash’ is now an entrenched system of revolving doors between the public and private sectors; now they all kiss their own floggin’ asses and love it. No, ‘democracy’ is dead, as is the Rule of Law. And no, Ben Franklin; we weren’t even able to keep our Republic, were we? Fundie preachers not so Christ-like? Well, Hobbies Lobby against women’s health, and life begins with a zygote. Because: We.Say.So.

When I read a couple news items the other day, these lines just kept on reverberating in my head:

We got little kids with guns fighting inner city wars
So what do we do, we put these little kids behind prison doors
and we call ourselves the advanced civilization
that sounds like crap to me

Not only do we put these kid in prison, but Minors remain jailed for life despite US supreme court ban on such sentences,’ stir in unknown numbers of kids in solitary confinement, and it makes this nation exceptional indeed.

When I saw the photos of ‘unaccompanied’ kids having fled across the border from ‘Our Backyard™’, locked in wire cages on the AZ and TX borders waiting to discover their fates, I wept at our nation’s inhumanity, and its having turned the Statue of Liberty on her head, putting an automatic rifle in her hands for good measure.  But when I read this, smoke came out of my ears:

Today it emerged that despite the influx Vice President Joe Biden believes more, not fewer, immigrants should come to America.

Speaking to a National Association of Manufacturers’ crowd this week he called for a ‘constant, unrelenting stream’ of new immigrants — ‘not dribbling (but) significant flows,’ to bolster the national economy, The Hill reported.

‘We need it badly from a purely — purely economic point of view,’ Mr Biden said, The Hill reported.’

Pffft.  Yes, indeed: because profit, Mr. VP.  You and Your King of the Deporters sidekick Prez, though, and his plans for dis-in.cen.ti.viz.ing kids fleeing Central America for their lives might want to take a look at some of the underlying causes in ‘Child Migrants and Media Half-Truthsby Laura Carlsen, or Villeda/Zelaya’s ‘Why Are Honduran Children Leaving? (not that they can’t guess that ‘Free Trade agreements’ and US drug and foreign policy and the odd putsch might not be just a bit relevant here.

But it’s alright, ma; they’re only brown kids.  (Living in the wasteland of the free)

The poor haven’t just become  ‘the enemy’, but are fodder for the industrial prison complex, with trumped up charges for drugs, or failure to pay the fines ordered by the courts.  “Are there no prisons?  Are there no workhouses?”  Colorado, at least, has enacted some mitigation against the trend.  Ship their jobs overseas if they ask for anything more?  They killed the Commies, then the Socialists, then the unions (most recently by Democrat gate-keeping), and folks feel lucky to even have Walmartish jobs with no benefits, ‘Living in the Wasteland of the ‘Free’.  But woot!  The DOW’s at 16,970 (thank you, Fed), and we’re on the road to recovery again!  Another surge! 

And oh, those kids who can’t pass reading tests?  Or geography tests?  Do any of you live in or near a ‘school desert’ area, as Chicago has become thanks to Rahm and Arne, et.al. But it’s alright, ma; they’re mainly black kids (and teachers). 

Yesterday: The ABQ March to End Police Brutality. Remember, They Are Doing This for All of Us

By: wendydavis Saturday June 21, 2014 11:37 am

This post is courtesy of Tweets by David Correia, Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico and Guerrilla Journalist. He co-edits La Jicarita, an online magazine of environmental politics in New Mexico.

It wasn’t until a couple hours ago when I saw the photo of the coffin inscribed with the all of the names of those killed by the Albuquerque Police Department that the tears in my eyes brimmed over, and thought that I needed to share this with you. For background, please read here, here and here.  My admiration for these folks is extreme; they are in this important social movement for the long haul; their tactics have been precise and thoughtful; their social gospel unyielding and it is spreading among New Mexican citizens, and garnering international attention as well. I know all of our spirits are with them in solidarity, both today, and in the future.

Breaking: #WikiLeaks Publishes 19 Pages of the Mega TISA Secret Trade Agreement

By: wendydavis Thursday June 19, 2014 9:16 am

(This is strictly by way of a public service announcement; I’m not versed at all on TISA, so  I may not be able to answer comments.)

#WikiLeaks

Press Release – Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) – Financial Services Annex    2014-06-19

Today, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex, which covers 50 countries and 68.2%1 of world trade in services. The US and the EU are the main proponents of the agreement, and the authors of most joint changes, which also covers cross-border data flow. In a significant anti-transparency manoeuvre by the parties, the draft has been classified to keep it secret not just during the negotiations but for five years after the TISA enters into force.

Despite the failures in financial regulation evident during the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis and calls for improvement of relevant regulatory structures2, proponents of TISA aim to further deregulate global financial services markets. The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals – mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt – into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The leaked draft also shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.

TISA negotiations are currently taking place outside of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework. However, the Agreement is being crafted to be compatible with GATS so that a critical mass of participants will be able to pressure remaining WTO members to sign on in the future. Conspicuously absent from the 50 countries covered by the negotiations are the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The exclusive nature of TISA will weaken their position in future services negotiations.

The draft text comes from the April 2014 negotiation round – the sixth round since the first held in April 2013. The next round of negotiations will take place on 23-27 June in Geneva, Switzerland.

Current WTO parties negotiating TISA are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, which includes its 28 member states Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

China and Uruguay have expressed interest in joining the negotiations but so far are not included.

Updates on the Gruesome News from Ukraine and the Underlying Geopolitics

By: wendydavis Tuesday June 17, 2014 8:55 am

Historian and Russian policy analyst Stephen Cohen with Thom Hartmann (the nasty ads are about two and a half minutes long).  My.fdl operationmindcrime has the entire interview embedded, plus a few other links; I’ve clipped  the first 20 minutes.

Several notes on his interview: First, please note: ‘If you study Russian history with an open mind…as much as you may hate the ideology of the Kremlin under a given regime, or however much you may dislike the leadership of Russia, as long as you approach Russian history, its triumphs, its traumas, (etc.)…that the Kremlin would see this slow advance of NATO as a dangerous threat and a provocation and would react exactly as George Kennan said it would twenty years ago.’

This is Cohen’s companion piece Cohen on Ukraine civil war: ‘Lincoln didn’t call Confederates terrorists’, June 14, 2014.  It includes the ‘only heresy can break orthodoxy’ and ‘Obomba in a bubble with no matching counter-arguments’ themes.

Did he mean to say that Ukraine is one of the Kremlin’s ‘red lines’, or did he mean ‘Crimea’ and Georgia?  And he may indeed be right that Russia wanted to leave some of the border open to citizens trying to escape Kyiv’s constant shelling in some key locales.  Show of force in Poland and other nations on the periphery?  Oh, yes; NATO is proving that it’s mission is in no way passé, José.  But ‘pull your troops away from the border, Roosia!’