Sunday, May 24, 2015


I wrote this essay in 2004. Unfortunately, its content is still relevant.

Many individuals still believe war created by nation states is a viable option to settle disputes.

Many individuals still believe nation states are a necessary institution.

And many individuals keep on believing the lies of confirmed liars.

The video at the bottom was created in 2011.

Ask ten people what Memorial Day is about and you’ll probably receive ten different responses. Mentioned are claims of "recognizing those who have served and fallen in defense or service to their country," "identifying patriots who unselfishly answered the call," and "acknowledging the heroes of battle." A common theme encountered in the discussion is remembrance. But, what else should be remembered? Are there not other aspects of war that need remembering?

Remember the architects of perpetual conflict, the schemers and tacticians who design the strategy, chart the acts of aggression, and lay the blueprints for other’s destruction.

Remember the plague of nationhood that infects the innate free spirit of men, disrupts the natural order of peaceful exchange and fuels the slavish obedience to political orders; regardless their legality or morality.

Remember the irresponsible who jump at the opportunity for conflict, forgetting reason, composure, and diplomacy. Remember how they delegate to others the duty to lead the engagement.

Remember the propaganda meisters who flood the airwaves with poisonous lies to reassure a wary, skeptical public; all carefully calculated to stultify the truth of war’s consequences.

Remember the Masters of War who profit from this heinous spectacle- those who gain power and tarnished wealth. Watch them flaunt their booty paid for with the bloody currency of children not their own.

Remember those who consider it essential that defense of a state’s borders requires committing pre-emptive acts of aggression against people on the other side of the globe.

Remember the cheerleaders who urge on "their" warriors with shouts of jingoistic fervor; yet refuse or find it unnecessary to give up their comfort of state side security.

Remember those who have witnessed, first hand, the horror of battle and tasted the acrid flavor of war’s experience.

Remember those who discover an epiphany, a life changing understanding that war is not the glorious adventure of Hollywood imagery, not the youthful pastime of an entertaining video game.

Remember those of this group who then fail to warn others of this newfound knowledge, who fail to convince compatriots of the needless sacrifice and stolen innocence.

Remember those on the sidelines who do not obey their conscience to speak out against the carnage, who hold their tongues through shyness or cowardice; who stand by silent as family, friends, and neighbors are whisked off to their inevitable doom.

Remember the children who witness war and its atrocities. Remember the confusion within young minds told killing is wrong, than struggle to comprehend the exception of war.

Remember their bewilderment when told to accept the killing of strangers that have done them no harm.

Remember the irreconcilable conflict within the hearts of Christians whose testament instruct "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" and "If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also (Luke 6:27-–29)." Remember their befuddlement when finding serving their state requires disregarding these principles. Remember the ideological clash when told serving their "country" preempts faithfulness to their God.

Remember the broken bodies and shattered psyches, still with us to remind us of war’s human cost. Remember the lost potential, the dashed dreams, the oceans of shed tears, the newly discovered war against desperation and hopelessness.

Yes, remember the fallen, the dead. Visit their resting places with solemn respect. Make note of their obscenely abundant and escalating numbers.

Remember that each grave has a face, a story, a soul represented by that slab of coldly etched stone or weathered cross.

Then, remember the graves throughout the world without adornment of a marker- a name, an individual, sentenced to a burial of eternal anonymity. Don’t the numbers now grow exponentially? Some were enemies, some were allies. Remember they also once walked the earth as those you honor. Remember they also aspired to a life of peaceful contentment, though driven by a different philosophy or creed as a means to obtain it.

Remember how, when living, all sides were compelled by opposing views of righteousness but now all are colleagues in death.

Do not only grieve for their loss but remember the lies and liars that killed them.
Resistance is Mandatory

No rulers

No masters


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

B.B. King- The Greatest Performer I’ve Ever Seen

B.B. King, 1925-2015
For most of us, it’s not often we have the opportunity to witness performance genius up close and personal. In the late 1980’s, over three consecutive Februarys, I was fortunate enough to see B.B. King in live performance.

He appeared all three of those dates at a small dance club, that to my knowledge, never had live music on a regular basis- let alone host a concert by one of the giants of popular music. This little club even had some of those disco-ish, metal cages that professional dancers would dance inside. How did B.B. wind up here, I thought? Was he good friends with the owner? Was he repaying a debt he owed? For whatever reason, it allowed me a chance to view the most soulful live performer I have ever seen.

Each of those dates I watched him perform, I sat closer to the small stage where he and his incredible band were perched. The final time, my table was no more than about eight feet from the stage.

B.B., at that time, was in middle age, but still had all the fire and passion of his younger days. But now, he also possessed the maturity of a seasoned showman after decades in the business.

To me, B.B. King is unarguably one of the best blues singers ever. You’ll get no argument from me if you claim he is the best. Couple that claim with another- one of the best (and certainly most influential) blues guitarists ever. I can’t think of another blues performer who was so talented at both voice and guitar. Certainly, no one was more soulful.

B.B. would sing his songs with such force and conviction there was no way you could not pay attention. He would play his guitar with so much feeling and lyrical beauty, he could make you weep. Literally. He didn’t play a lot of notes in a short amount of time to impress. Rather he had the genius to play just the right note at the right time to effectively communicate his musical message.

Being close to the stage, I could enjoy all the facial expressions and contortions that showed how he felt every single note that was transmitted from his brain to his fingers. There was never any just “going through the motions” to perform a song that he had already played hundreds of times before.

He played every song with complete conviction and emotional involvement.

The guitar is my favorite instrument to listen to. I love its versatility and the infinite variety of sounds it can produce. I enjoy listening to it play just about any genre of music, but the blues is my undeniable favorite. Play me some 12-bar git-tar blues and I am in heaven.

I’ve been able to see live, several of the great blues guitarists- Freddie King, Johnny Winter, Albert Collins, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Cray, JJ Cale, and Lonnie Mack, among them. But I never saw anyone with the combination of both raw power, sophistication, and showmanship than that offered by B.B. King. And I’ve never been able before or since to watch such beautiful brilliance from a mere eight feet away!

Thank you, B.B. King for all the great joy and amazement your music has provided over the years. Thank you for your unheard of 70 year career of superior artistry.

So many great and promising guitarists died young, never allowing their listeners to enjoy the apex of their craft. Fortunately, we were allowed to enjoy your genius until every ounce of life and vigor in your body had been consumed by time. Speaking for myself, we are both blessed.

Here’s one of my favorites. Don’t be fooled by the image- that’s James “Boogaloo” Bolden, B.B.’s wonderful trumpet player who plays a great solo:


Monday, May 4, 2015

Politicians Doing What Politicians Do Best........

......Pissing on the world while talking gibberish.

Then metaphorically flushing the lives of sovereigns down the proverbial toilet.