THE ABSENT - out now!


Out Now - For sale on Amazon and other onlne book sellers


Out Now


My first book of poetry available through Amazon and other online booksellers

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The recent controversy regarding Amnesty International’s working with Moazzam Begg and his group Cageprisoners which is working on behalf of the prisoners held without trial as detainees under The War on Terror is IMO nonsense and masks other intents.

First, off both of my parents were members of Amnesty International and wrote letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience….I recall firsthand a letter received back from an African man who had been in custody most of his adult life and his sincere thanks....AI is one of those groups like the Salvation Army that seems beyond politics.

The current controversy is about Mr. Begg’s associations and beliefs as well as those of his organization….Now I am going to take a different tack on this than some….There are those who argue about the veracity of Mr. Begg’s account of his experiences in Afghanistan and connection to terrorist groups as well as the Islamic fundamentalist beliefs of himself and his organization….Their argument is how can Amnesty International back a group that hold beliefs that go against basic human rights?....Actually I should use the word “alleged” here as many of the accusations against Mr. Begg and his group are not proven

Well , Amnesty International is not officially approving of or endorsing any of Cageprisoners individual religious beliefs….It does however agree with and support Cageprisoners basic mission which is to promote awareness about the unlawfully held combatants in Guantanamo and other places and what they have been and are experiencing (including torture) .

And that’s all that matters….Those who argue against Cageprisoners and AI working together are essentially arguing that what’s happening in Guantanamo is okay since they deny the right to protest to a group of ex-detainees (which is what Cageprisoners are).

Who is going to speak for these people then?....And rest assured they need someone….While their numbers are gradually shrinking, we still have no assurance that everyone held in this way is actually guilty of a crime and what about people who were seized when they were still juveniles?

In the 1970’s, Amnesty International broadened its mandate from helping prisoners of conscience to also helping those held without trial or due process….This clearly covers the detainees held as part of the War on Terror….Allying themselves with a group of ex-detainees on this issue alone does not make AI Islamist sympathizers.

AI was right to suspend Gita Saghal, the head of its gender unit, after she spoke publicly on this….There are channels to follow within an organization and she clearly didn’t follow them….Such selfish public behavior undermines the good work they do….The creepy belligerati who have championed her, such as Salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens, are themselves supporters of the Iraq War and neo conservatives….What is really going on is here is a hidden agenda of those who can no longer speak publicly due to the failure of their interventionist beliefs….Attacking a group that aids Muslims held illegally and subject to torture is all they can do now….How pathetic!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I imagine that Bruce Chatwin’s career as a travel writer and prior to that as a director at Sotheby’s gave him the necessary attention to detail that allowed him to produce a novel like ON THE BLACK HILL.

This story of twin brothers, Lewis and Benjamin Jones, who grow up in the Welsh countryside takes place in a relatively small area but is still a sprawling epic covering World War I and II, the 60’s, hippies, religious prejudice, poverty, class struggle, the treatment of the Welsh by the English and any number of other topics.

What impresses me the most about this book is Chatwin’s description of interiors, what makes up the living room of a dilapidated farmhouse for example….He lavishes loving attention on the description of old furniture and baked goods, sweaters, and scarves and jackets.

I also like how he lets the narrative flow without trying to strangle it….An important character might turn up in the last 20 pages whereas another character introduced in the beginning might turn out not to be so important after all….It feels like how life naturally goes.

In addition, he throws in all manner of other details about the neighbors, other people in the village even that one of the brothers might be homosexual….He does this so nimbly and within the relatively short length of 250 that the book flew by and I was done before I realized it.

It flows so fast sometimes I had a hard time remembering who was who but that’s a small complaint for such a well put together book….I definitely plan on reading some of Chatwin’s travel writing.


When Doug Fieger, frontman and main songwriter for the band The Knack, died last week, a few of the obituaries referred to him and his band as the group that ended disco….That’s a bit of a simplification but The Knack are deserving of a better place in history that their initial treatment.

I’m not ashamed to say that I have owned and enjoyed the first three Knack albums GET THE KNACK, BUT THE LITTLE GIRLS UNDERSTAND, and ROUND TRIP….The bottom line for me is they wrote a number of catchy early Beatles songs with middle 8's etc. and they were a fun listen.

I never thought much of the backlash against them….The Knack were overhyped in a marketing campaign that ultimately proved disastrous to their career but they were not manufactured in the boy band sense….They did write their own songs.

The NUKE THE KNACK people, the people who burned records and all that were generally those who liked "classic " rock not necessarily people who listened to new wave and punk.

And while their record company tapped into the power pop scene which had been burbling under the surface in the late 70's (kind of the way Nirvana's did with punk in the early 90's), their appearance signaled the beginning of guitar oriented pop music once again as British bands such as Squeeze and XTC had not caught on yet in the US.

They made satisfying power pop and The Knack prove what I've always believed that using any phase of The Beatles career as a taking off point for your own music is a good thing....

Their best album was probably their first….

And I always liked these two songs….

Sunday, February 14, 2010


The recent passing away of two congressman with very different approaches to foreign policy problems of their times when compared and contrasted show that bravery can still make a difference but also that support for an interventionist us policy has led us to the problems we face now.

Charlie Wilson of Texas was known as “the liberal from Lufkin” but in fact was anything but on foreign policy….He was the perfect example of the cold war Democrat who later morphed into the neoconservative….Wilson was a great friend of Somoza, the dictator of Nicaragua, and pushed stronger for the US to get more involved during the revolution of the Sandinistas….And of course the he was a big supporter of the Contras, the gang of criminals the USA funded to destabilize the Sandinista government.

But Wilson was probably most known for being the principal congressional cheerleader for the funding and creation of the Muhajideen in Afghanistan….Their plan to indirectly thrash the Russian bear by trapping them in a Vietnam type of situation was the early rallying point for the Reagan era cold warriors ….Seemed like a good idea at the time but out of the Muhajideen came Al Qaeda armed with all the special training they’d received courtesy of the CIA….In retrospect, this was one of America’s worst foreign policy decisions of all time.

Wilson, being a politician, took no blame for what happened afterwards-the growth of Al Qaeda, the Taliban etc….Instead he blamed America for pulling out after the Russians gave up on Afghanistan and not staying behind to rebuild the country….This was a valid concern but the real problem was being there to begin and America’s interference in the affairs of other nations.

Charlie Wilson seemed to be such a foe of communism and revolutions because he had the best intentions (although it’s hard to imagine a supporter of autocratic dictatorships like The Shah and Somoza to be a great humanitarian) but this is what paves the road to Hell.

John Murtha, on the other hand, will always be known for taking a stand against a flawed and disastrous US policy during a time of war-not a popular thing to do but the right thing often isn’t….The Bush administration was competent at one thing-the character assassination of those who disagreed with its neo-conservative agenda….This despite the lack of military experience in its chief people-Bush, Cheney, Karl Rove….Presidential candidate John Kerry, a decorated military veteran and a hero, was slandered by this crew of draft dodgers….However, when Murtha spoke up about the horrific failure that is The Iraq War the same thing could not be done to him not only because of his sterling military record in the Marines but also because of his fierce determination to get the truth out despite attacks on his character….Here’s how he dismembers one critic, one pansy Republican on the floor of the house….

John Murtha’s bravery should be remembered and Charlie Wilson’s pre-neoconservative thought should also be remembered….Murtha’s being the type of behavior brave men will emulate and Wilson’s hopefully placed in the trash heap of history.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


THE WORLD IS TOO WITH US by William Wordsworth is a poem that warrants its own Wikipedia entry….The meaning according to them is about man’s increasing destruction of the natural world and his only on focusing on the material.

This is undoubtedly what Wordsworth had when he wrote this but I can also find another meaning in it.

When Wordsworth writes the line “Little we see in nature that is ours”, he is talking about mankind’s rejection of its origins with the earth in favor of the consumerist lifestyle….Here I daresay he was talking about the beginning of the industrial revolution but it could also be talking about one’s own mind.

We lose control over our thought processes and focus just on our day to day lives losing track of who we are….We do need to focus on life in order to improve and I’m not suggesting one slips into a state of non-reality and daydreams but we also need time to clear our mind to make room for other priorities but also to strengthen our mind through meditation and other techniques.

When I was younger, people always told me I think too much meaning that I tended to over intellectualize things or worry rather than just let things happen or as Nike says “Just do it”. …”We lay waste to our powers” in this way….We become free if we don’t get too hung up on the daily grind.

Here’s the poem….

Friday, February 5, 2010


It is clear that all the horrible genocides of the last century were preventable….That is enough warning signs were given by those who participated in them that they could have been stopped had the world the collective will to do so….This is true in Germany, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Armenia, etc.

At the same time, the fact that the world has been less than successful in fighting genocide has at least provided a wealth of information on how to recognize when genocide is going to occur.

Right now, activists continue to make an uproar about Darfur but as I’ve noted before this is a phony issue Darfur to me is more about the CIA attempting to destabilize the Sudanese government with unfortunate villagers caught in the middle than a clear policy of extermination of a group of people based on race or religion etc.

However, there is one place where genocide is very likely unless the world does something and that is Israel and the Occupied Territories.

First let’s look at the conditions as they relate to genocide – A large population of people whose land has been taken away from them and who are now confined in a small space (Check!)- Violence committed against these people by the state under the guise of fighting terrorism (Check!)- A desire from the state to take away what belongs to the people they are oppressing (Check!)- The sense that a group of people who have been displaced by the actions of the state have become a burden (Check!)- An increasing demonization (some might say it’s always been there) of the group of oppressed people by the state and the feeling their life is meaningless (Check!)

The only thing that has stopped Israel so far is the attention of the world but any country that can elect a genuine war criminal and killer of women and children like Ariel Sharon to two terms as prime minister is a country without a conscience or any sort of collective morality.

I think the day could be coming where Israel decides on the final solution to solve its problem Why? Because there is really no solution to the problem of the Palestinians. The Zionists stole their land and what’s left is two areas, two potential states that are not geographically attached. That is not a sustainable or realistic answer to the problem. In addition, Jewish immigrants are still streaming into Israel. Where are they going to go? Add into the mix that fact that some land in the West Bank that would go into part of any proposed Palestinian state has been illegally used for settlements and you have a problem that cannot be solved.

The Palestinians rejected the unconnected Bantustan approach in 2000 despite a push and a shove by Bill Clinton. They are a people of strong will and I respect them greatly for holding tough despite the atrocities and injustices committed against them by the Zionist colonialists.

It is clear Israel is not willing to help create a truly viable Palestinian state and they are certainly not going to give up any land for this purpose and what about the question of Jerusalem?

There is only one answer and we have seen Israel, a soulless nation of thieves, move in that direction. The now commonplace Zionist military actions shows that Israel sees no difference between combatants and non-combatants. Their willingness to use phosphorus bombs and other weapons of terror in crowded civilian areas, the mass murder of civilians by the Israeli military in Gaza whenever they feel they are provoked (and a lot of these provocations are manufactured), and the living conditions of the Palestinians-the prison state they live in, the Polish ghetto wall etc. is a slow genocide in and off itself.

The only bright spot here is the projected Arab birth rate which will see them become a majority in the not too distant future. However, this could further enflame the push for a final solution.

All this potential fire would need is a spark such as a suicide bomber or an assassination or even a few more Katusha rockets. I’ve blogged before about Israel’s false flag operations and this type of Reichstag fire is well with in their capability.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I was not much of a JD Salinger fan I must admit….I always found THE CATCHER IN THE RYE to be a paean to oversensitivity in keeping with its adolescent narrator but when your narrator is superficial and relates an obvious truth with debatable merits as to whether it needs telling in the first place, the work you produce ends up seeming superficial.

However, JD Salinger exposed something that maybe wasn’t as big a problem when he wrote CATCHER but clearly became more of a problem in the decades that followed and that is the obsession with adolescence that America seems to have.

The post World War II discovery that youth culture and the youth market was a viable market to target for consumer goods especially clothes, entertainment, and beauty products aided and abetted by rock and roll launched a different way of thinking about spending of disposable income.

This coupled with much of the social experimentation of the 1960’s but not retaining the 60’s generation sense of social responsibility has created the modern day middle-aged adolescent who has a very different sense of what are boundaries and responsibilities than past generations.

One of out every two marriages ends in divorce, credit card debt has skyrocketed, unhealthy habits such as eating and smoking and other societal ills-these are all part and parcel of a society where the adults refuse to grow up.

I’m all for “you’re only as old or as young as you feel” and also understand that we forgive adolescents and children when they make mistakes as they are not yet equipped to always make the best decisions about their own life….However there is a point in one’s life where the excuses have to stop.

One can see the attitude of the perpetual adolescent in American foreign policy….The idea that everything is black and white and that there are only heroes and villains is a very na├»ve notion….Forgetting about history and focusing on only the now is another juvenile trait

It can also be seen in domestic policy where people want things like good schools, healthcare, safe neighborhoods, etc. but are unwilling to have their taxes raised to pay for them….This is the logic of a child.

I’m not sure JD Salinger knew what he was tapping into and predicting with THE CATCHER IN THE RYE but his reclusive behavior could have been a result of what he saw and how he related it to his own work….After all, the culture of celebrity is yet another example of American perpetual adolescence


Roger Federer wins his 16th grand slam in straight sets….This was fairly predictable I say….Why? Because while Federer’s opponent Andy Murray has achieved much and worked very hard especially on his fitness there are real problems with his game.

It was once said that Andre Agassi played like a man who was six and a half feet tall despite being under six feet….The reason for this was because Agassi took the ball so early he gave his opponents no time and they were forced to move around to retrieve his shots which were given a lot of extra MPH because he took them on the rise.

Conversely, I would say that Andy Murray who is six foot three plays like a man who is under six feet tall retrieving balls and running around the baseline instead of trying to dictate with either his backhand or his forehand or approaching the net….He has the perfect build for a successful volleyer but yet almost never comes in.

A tall, lanky guy like Murray may be able to win a lot of matches through sheer stubbornness and force of will despite playing this self-defeating backcourt game but he won’t beat the best in the world consistently or in the big tournaments where a guy like Federer will raise his mental level from smaller tournaments like Doha or Cincinatti (where Murray had beaten Fed in the past).

It might be too late in the game for Murray to change much (if I had been his childhood coach, I would have definitely urged him to change to a one-handed backhand)….However, he could at least be more aggressive….Playing the role of a retriever works for Rafael Nadal because of his wicked topspin….Murray hits the ball considerably flatter and this allows Federer to impose his own game….In addition, the occasional short Murray ball is an easy put away.

Watching Andy Murray is like watching someone you know would be a really good dancer or singer do tax accounting for a living….He’s playing the wrong style of tennis for both is physique and his goals/aspirations to be the best.

I was also going to mention something about Federer winning the grand slam this year but I don’t want to jinx it!!!!!