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

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott - WISDOM, LAUGHTER, AND LINES.

Great to get a second collaboration release so quickly after last year's WHAT HAVE WE BECOME which was my favorite record of 2014 and one of the best I have heard this decade so far. WISDOM is a little bit less grand than BECOME - Sightly less ambitious lyrics and smaller arrangements (although there is still plenty of studio diversity). Not a criticism though - This is a beautiful record - brings to mind Squeeze/Costello/later XTC/The Divine Comedy and baroque pop as well. Superior to the music Heaton made with The Housemartins and on par with the best records he (and Abbott) made with the Beautiful South. I like every song but the notable ones after a couple listens - I Don't See Them, Lonesome and Sad Millionaire, The Horse and Groom, When Love For Woman Stops. Also all four extra songs on the extended version are excellent especially Real Love which may be the best tune on the record. 


Martin Phillips's (who for all intents and purposes is The Chills) first record in 19 years is spiritually not much different than The Chills heyday and their 1990 masterpiece SUBMARINE BELLS that is pretty 60ish guitar pop but soundwise this is a fairly stripped down low budget affair. The guitars have twang rather than shimmer. However, it's hooky music and in tunes like Tomboy Phillips shows he still has his musical prowess intact plus a songwriting maturity.


This may be heresy but I must confess I think at this stage Small Faces were a better band than the Who....Steve Marriott a better singer than Roger Daltrey and a better guitarist than Pete Townshend, the band as a whole - more the sum of its parts than individual freestylers/showboaters, and they really had some great tunes. This collection is everything they did prior to changing labels and making their greatest record OGDEN'S NUT GONE FLAKE. There are a few weak points - didn't realize the Faces had so many instrumentals and they were never a very good cover band but the original songs are fantastic full of desire, anger, celebration, teenage articulation for the society at large. Some faves - All or Nothing, Patterns, In My Mind's Eye, Understanding, among many others. The live at the BBC disc shows how great they were in concert too with the illusion of being out of control but tighter than a duck's backside.

Friday, October 30, 2015


What the hashtag I Stand with Russia means to me is support for Russia in Syria against ISIS which is a creation of the United States and Israel to affect regime change in Syria but also to create destabilization that will ensure continued American hegemony in the region along with US client states Israel and Saudi Arabia.

But it also goes deeper than that. There is a conflict coming - The sides are not drawn along such clear ideological separations as they were during the Cold War. Rather this conflict will be over whether we are going to remain a unipolar world with American dominance and all the negative results of that or whether we are going to have a truly bipolar world or more likely a world where American empires fades ( as all empires do) to be replaced by another - China seems the most likely prospect. I do feel America is a dying empire now - All financial and cultural indicators point to this as does overextension abroad.

On one side is America, Israel of course, Saudi Arabia and other US vassal states, a large part of Europe although I think that might change as on issues like austerity and support for Israel the European populace may be going in a different direction....On the other side, we have Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, any country that feels threatened by America's bully boy tactics. In between are countries like India, Malaysia (where I live) that are sort of in the US sphere but could easily switch based on world events and the economy.

What is specifically being fought against is US imperialism, the US overthrowing governments it doesn't like. This type of practice seemed to disappear after the Cold War but has resurfaced with a vengeance in the last decade or so as the coup victims in the Ukraine, Egypt, and Honduras and the victims of attempted coups/regime change in Venezuela and Syria can attest to. The battle here is for the IMF and other groups to apply loansharking principles that keep poor countries disenfranchised and allow the West to exploit them. They call it austerity but it is really just soaking the poor to prop up the 1% - Gangster capitalism. Whether or not a country has valuable natural resources is also a justification for monkey business. Islamic fundamentalism (often created and funded by America itself) is another excuse for America to insert itself not just in The Middle East but increasingly in Africa too. The Iraq war mindset - preemption, the vestiges of colonialism (of which Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is the primary example), water rights, all issues America is on the wrong side of.

Of course, China is also moving in to Africa and I am certainly not holding up China or Russia as moral paragons although neither poses as much a threat to the world's well-being as America. For now, the bigger problem is America and as far standing up to the USA, I'll take what I can get.

Will this new conflict be a hot war or a cold war? There will be  warfare involving Israel at some point perhaps Iran too. American provocations in the South China Sea could lead to conflict as could Ukraine but I tend to think like the cold war, most battles will be between surrogates.

It is clear that after a decade and a half of playing possum (other than responding to Georgia's provocations in 2008), Russia is back and that is a good thing for the world.  This time around the evil empire is the United States (to some of us it always was).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


First and foremost, Elvis Costello's autobiography's greatest strength is the way that it is told. Instead of going in chronological order, Costello will start off talking about a subject at a particular point of time then jump to another time connected by the same subject. For example, he describes the first time he heard The Beatles which was when his father, Ross MacManus, a big band singer, brought home the single of All My Loving to learn for his own act then he jumps ahead through his relationship with Paul McCartney to actually performing this song with Sir Paul at a tribute to Linda McCartney in the late 90's.

The most important person in the book (other than Costello) is his father whose life story and also the life stories of his grandparents are rendered in great detail covering world wars and immigration from Ireland. Costello's parents separated when he was a young man and he seems to view his father with a mix of admiration and disappointment, exasperation and pride. His love of all kinds of music was instilled by his father just as Costello's grandfather who worked as a cruise ship singer did the same for Elvis's dad.

Probably what most surprised me most was the lack of vitriol or anger. Elvis is a genuinely happy, well-adjusted person despite his claims of moments of sadness. Even Bruce Thomas, the Attractions bass player, whom Elvis has feuded with on and off is only complimented for his playing. Hardly a nasty word said. The angry young man thing was largely an invention of the media.

Elvis mentions a lot of other famous musicians he met over the years - All the Beatles (except John Lennon) and especially Paul McCartney who he really likes and respects, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, Nick Lowe, Paul Weller, The Clash (especially Joe Strummer), George Jones, Van Morrison, Burt Bacharach, Levon Helm, Elton John, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Richard Hell, Graham Nash.

Some of the best parts of the book are when Elvis writes about music especially country music, music minutia, trivia, connections and when he describes specifically how one song by an artist influenced a song he wrote. I liked the part where he discussed writing his symphony IL SOGO and then performing it with an orchestra in Italy - A humorous comedy of errors. I found where he wrote of recording The River in Reverse in New Orleans with Allen Toussaint immediately after Hurricane Katrina to be very moving.

Not much in the way of gossip here. About the only dirt is that Elvis slept with a LOT of women in the early Attractions days In fact, Little Triggers and Party Girl are both written about one nights stands he had with fans. This is mostly described to offer a comparison of how infidelity broke up his father's marriage to his mother and also his own marriage to his first wife. Also I didn't know Elvis was left-handed for everything besides playing or that John McFee played the guitar intros to Alison and (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes as Elvis says he was not musically competent enough yet to do that ( I did know McFee played on MY AIM IS TRUE just not to that extent).

Only negative thing I would say is that some of the stories about recording certain records I have read before as the various reissues of Elvis records have always come with extensive written background notes from Elvis himself but in the context of the greater story, it's okay to read it again.

What I took from UNFAITHFUL MUSIC AND DISAPPEARING INK is that Elvis Costello is blessed or lucky (however you choose to look at it). He had a musical lineage, was exposed to a lot of good music when growing up, lived in places (Liverpool and London) that were musical hot beds, lived in a time when music was reinventing itself. Of course, it helps that he is one of the most talented songwriters of all time. He is also an intelligent, quick-witted, intuitive person which reveals itself in the reading. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


1.) Overall, I wouldn't vote for any of these people although there were times where I agreed with one or the other on isolated specific issues. Interesting to see which of my questions came up - Guns for Bernie Sanders, Zero Tolerance for Martin O'Malley, Race for Jim ebb, and Iraq War and Flip Flops/Trustworthiness for Hillary Clinton.  My dem debate questions -

2.) Bernie Sanders had a rough night. Started off weakly (He took a terrible beating on guns) also his continual shifting back to income inequality talking points on a number of the questions made him look scripted, unprepared. His habit of speaking in a louder than necessary voice to answer questions makes him look like a kook (compare him to the way O'Malley and Webb speak). That being said when the question really was income inequality, his answers were passionate and powerful as was his answers on maternity leave and worker issues. He is also right on immigration - Guest worker programs that make slaves with no rights out of immigrants are what countries like Dubai have.

3.) I'd forgotten about Glass-Steagall (glad they asked the question) but it is a defining issue, an important one - Separating the trading/securities aspect of banks from the consumer savings side. The fact Hillary Clinton opposes its reinstatement (The original law was overturned under the leadership of her husband in 1999) should be a disqualifying position for her (like her foreign policy views). It's not debatable that its overturning was a major cause of the 2007/2008 recession. O'Malley did a good job on this issue describing the law as a "firewall".

4.) All the candidates answers on Syria were incomprehensible and completely divorced from reality No fly zone? Vladimir Putin already has that in place. Destroying ISIS military capability? I think Putin is doing that now. Saving the non-ISIS Syrian resistance? No such animal exists. Wish Putin could have appeared via satellite and queried the debaters.

5.) Sometimes a debate like this is good because it smokes out a candidate's beliefs, forces him to take a stand. I have a lot of respect for Jim Webb but his views on gun control, the Iran Deal, get tough on China talk, shakiness on affirmative action makes his campaign a non-starter. Maybe he should run as a Republican - Bring that party some sanity.

6.) An irony - If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump get their respective party's nominations, could have a situation where the Democratic candidate for president supported the Iraq War and the Republican was opposed to it. Also if marijuana decriminalization, out of control NSA surveillance, and reforming the criminal justice system are important issues to you, Rand Paul has more progressive views than any of the candidates on that stage. Edward Snowden is a hero despite what Hillary Clinton says and he should not only be given full immunity but also given the congressional medal of freedom.

7.) Regarding Sanders free college education plan, Hillary Clinton is right (give the devil her due). Taxpayers should not be subsidizing the education of the children of wealthy citizens who can afford it. Also yes students should have to work. It didn't come up in the debate but there are real questions about how Sanders would pay for his plan. His corresponding tax proposals may be too timid. Maybe the next debate they will follow-up on this. Martin O'Malley's plan, which also addresses tuition costs as does Hillary Clinton's education plan, is much better.

8.) Overall, I thought Anderson Cooper did a good job as moderator. Kept the candidates within time and called them out when necessary - I liked how he pointed out to Sanders the relative size of Denmark compared to the USA. Only problem was same as Republican debates - The uneven distribution of speaking time - seems to be no way around this.

9.)When asked who she was happy to have as an enemy, Hillary Clinton said the Iranians (perhaps to impress her Jewish donors). That is a strange answer considering America just concluded the negotiation of a major nuclear deal with Iran (Done by John Kerrey NOT Clinton). A more honest answer would have been all the women her husband sexually assaulted and she helped smear and cover up for him. Hillary Clinton = Camille Cosby.

10.) If you force me to pick a winner (if you one must use the whole winner/loser language), I would say Martin O'Malley did well tonight. His strength is compared to the others on the stage he actually did things, accomplished a hell of a lot as Governor of Maryland - Tax reform, ending the death penalty, gun control (He has the best record on guns by far), criminal justice reform, marriage equality, paid leave, you name it. His foreign policy is still largely a mystery which is a big problem - really hope they hit him on this in the next debate. Also he comes off a bit of a milquetoast - Don Knotts would look like Ron Jeremy next to O'Malley.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Once again, the Zionist run Western media omits recent history in their coverage of Palestine and Israel acting as if events occur in a bubble, coming out of nowhere.

In particular, I am talking about the recent stabbings of Israelis by Palestinians. These are discussed in the biased news media of America and Europe without the provocations and violence that have been committed daily against the Palestinians which came first.

For example 1.) The failure of Israel to charge anyone in the deaths of members of a Palestinian family (including a baby) who had petrol bombs thrown in their house by settlers despite having suspects in custody. The rumor is those suspects are enjoying the high life in wealthy domiciles. 2.) The recent shootings of two Palestinian women, one accused of having a knife although the Amnesty International report on the matter says that was fictitious, the other a victim of settler harassment who chose to hit her attacker and then was shot and called a terrorist 3.) The continual murder by Israeli troops of unarmed protesters. No, throwing a rock is not the same as shooting someone with a gun.

In general, the problem of the continuing violence against Palestinian both in Israel and in the Occupied Territories by settlers in a form of lynching. The relationship between Israeli settlers and the Israeli Government is very similar to that of local governments and police departments with the KKK and other white supremacist groups in the Jim Crow South.

Overshadowing all of this is ongoing attempts by the Israeli Government to limit access to Islam's third most holy site, the al-Aqsa Mosque, to deliberately create strife so the Zionists can murder more Palestinians

Of course, acts of individual violence are blown up by the news media and treated like they are greater than the daily constant state violence of the colonialist racist state Israel.

Truth is I could care less about dead Israelis. In fact, I consider in this case violence to be morally permissible.

In February of 1945 for two days, the Allies over 3,900 pounds of explosives on the German city of Dresden inflicting heavy civilian casualties. Kurt Vonnegut Jr was therE as a POW at the time and wrote about in his novel SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE. I don't have any problem with this. The allies had to defeat the threat of Nazi Germany completely despite collateral damage.

Israel itself has used Dresden as a moral argument in the past for bombing Gaza but I also think it's an argument for targeting Israelis.

In a supported democracy built on the theft of land from others, everyone is guilty. As far as I am concerned, legitimately every Israeli citizen is a target.

Death to Israel? Yes but also death to Israelis until they stop killing Palestinians or even better until the Zionist colonialist scum, the equivalent of a modern day Nazi state, are finally forced to change their behavior by force or economic pressure. Even better if Israel ceases to exist and the land goes back to its original inhabitants not European settler colonialist filth.


Monday, October 12, 2015


Bare with me.... Squeeze is my favorite band and  it's been a long time since a new record so I dare say I'll be talking about them a lot.  Some more thoughts about CRADLE TO THE GRAVE 

1.) It really seems like Glenn Tilbrook's voice has dropped an octave or so with age which gives his singing a smokey, mature quality - I like his younger higher McCartney on helium voice but I like this too.

2.) At first I was sad about the lack of Difford alone vocals but I must say the Difford and Tilbrook harmonies, low vs high, are prevalent throughout - no prettier vocal sound for me in music. 

3.) My current favorite song is Nirvana but every song is a good one.  Oddly enough, my least favorite would be the first single Happy Days  

4.) It gets better with each listen.  I'd rank CRADLE as a better record overall than PLAY, UK SQUEEZE (debut record), BABYLON AND ON, RIDICULOUS, and FRANK but not as good as EAST SIDE STORY, ARGYBARGY, SOME FANTASTIC PLACE, COSI FAN TUTTI FRUTTI, SWEETS FROM A STRANGER, COOL FOR CATS, DIFFORD AND TILBROOK and DOMINO. 

5.) Chris Difford is my favorite lyricist in all of music.  Every song here is a mini-story tempered by maturity.  Ray Davies without the self-pity.



1.) Yesterday they were reporting that Russian jets hit the convoy of Al Baghdadi the leader of ISIS. He was initially reported dead but this morning they are saying he was present but managed to escape and is still alive. Funny how Russia could move so quickly to find him while America took years to find Bin Laden. Like Bin Laden, Al Baghdadi is a mysterious guy (not sure if he even exists) with a lot of odd connections in his past which I would like to see fully investigated.

2.) From the Department of Defense website, here's the complete rundown on stats on America's military actions in Syria since this begun As of 4:59 p.m. EDT Oct. 6, the U.S. and coalition have conducted a total of 7,323 strikes (4,701 Iraq / 2,622 Syria).

U.S. has conducted 5,718 strikes in Iraq and Syria (3,231 Iraq / 2,487 Syria)Rest of Coalition has conducted 1,605 strikes in Iraq and Syria (1,470 Iraq /135 Syria)

The countries that have participated in the strikes include:

In Iraq: (1) Australia, (2) Canada, (3) Denmark, (4) France, (5) Jordan, (6) The Netherlands, and (7) UKIn Syria: (1) Australia, (2) Bahrain, (3) Canada, (4) France, (5) Jordan, (6) Saudi Arabia, (7) Turkey and (8) UAE

As of Oct. 6, U.S. and partner nation aircraft have flown an estimated 57,843 sorties in support of operations in Iraq and Syria.

Cost of Operations

As of Sep. 15, 2015, the total cost of operations related to ISIL since kinetic operations started on Aug. 8, 2014, is $4 billion and the average daily cost is $10 million for 404 days of operations.

And this does not include Syrian operations or the Russian operation, just doesn't make sense that they still have massive capabilities after what the US threw at them unless it was all a big show.

The answer is clear - America should outsource all future wars to Russia.

3.) One part of the Russia/Syria story not getting much attention is the role of China who is providing material support and even sending a battleship or two. This is for two reasons a.) Like the schoolyard bully that got slapped down by a kid who it thought was weak and is now looking to pick on someone perceived as weaker, America is trying to cause trouble for China in the South China sea sending battleships and challenging territorial water claims. This is a message to them. Expect America to be humiliated more in the weeks ahead b.) China has a larger population of Muslims than either Syria or Russia and just like in the Russian provinces of Chechnya and Dagestan, Jihadists who went to Syria are now showing up particularly in the Northwest provinces of XinJiang, Gansu, and Ningxia. And they want to stem the tide.

4.) President Obama said this on Russian military action in Syria " The administration is debating the merits of taking further action or whether we are better off letting Putin hang himself" which means we declare victory and then run away with our tail between our legs. What a load of complete bullshit!


I consider myself a fair person, that is, I like to look at something thoroughly before making up my mind and try to use the Buddhist mindset of eliminating preconceptions. Too many times I've been burned on the Internet wherein a story comes out and seems terrible and unfair on the face of it but then more information comes out later and what happened is much more complicated.

Case in point is the Tamir Rice police shooting. Now out of control police are definitely a problem in America. I think it's as much a class problem as a race problem - Those without financial influence treated with less respect by law enforcement that behave more like an occupying military than public servants. About this subject, I wrote this before

However, after reading the report issued by a retired FBI agent as well as other available info, I think this was a tragic accident but I don't see this as a crime like other far worse truly egregious examples of police violence such as the cases of John Crawford III and Kendric McDade.

Three reasons based on the information I've read

1.) I have posted a photo below of the "airsoft" (toy) gun in question Rice was waving around shortly before he was shot. I am no expert on guns but that looks pretty real to me! In addition, this gun is sold with an orange tip so police can recognize it as a fake gun. At some point, which has been confirmed by witnesses, Rice removed the orange tip prior to the encounter with the police.

2) Initial stories made it sound like Rice was minding his own business in a park when shot. In fact, Rice was pointing the airsoft gun at people entering and exiting a nearby recreation center and pretending to pull the trigger . It was this threatening behavior that caused someone to call the police initially and the police made the decision to drive up on the grass rather than approach him on foot as they were concerned he could start shooting at any moment.

3.) It is of course terrible that Rice was 12 years old. Just reading that conjures up a picture of a 12 year old boy in your mind. But it is worth noting Rice was five foot seven and he weighed 195 pounds (by comparison I am about six foot one and I currently weigh 190 pounds). In addition, he was dressed in the way gangbangers often are dressed in an area where there is a lot of crime.

So 12 year old boy who looks older and is dressed like a gangster is pointing and shooting a very real looking firearm in an area where there are a lot of people ?

I don't see this as a violation of someone's civil rights although I do think the question of giving him no time to surrender and shooting him immediately should be investigated by an outside body NOT the police themselves (which I think it is) .

Food for thought - Although America doesn't feel the need to enact gun control despite the ever present wave of mass shootings, it can at least look at toy guns that look too real. No second amendment protecting them! 


Saturday, October 10, 2015


I really like Jeremy Corbyn and his views on so-called austerity, on education, on taxes, and most importantly on foreign policy. The frothing at the mouth of his critics in the United Kingdom and beyond show only the desperation of 1%'er fat cats, neo-conservative and neo-liberal globalists, zionists, etc. who in an increasingly globally aware world are being exposed for the force for evil they all are.

However, America is behind the curve on this what with its echo chamber of ignorance, kneejerk indoctrination against anything that fits under the catch all description "socialism", its racism and xenophobia, and most of all its self-deception that the Democratic Party's version of liberalism is really liberal and not neo-liberalism masquerading as progressive thought.

The latter point is important because Hillary Clinton tried to slander (in her mind) Bernie Sanders by comparing him to Jeremy Corbyn. Sanders, who is miles away from Corbyn on foreign policy, gun control, immigration and other issues (and his distance is not only a result of the differences between the UK and the USA political systems and social problems). The fact that someone who could have been considered a Republican a couple decades ago describes himself as a Socialist is only another indicator of how right the pendulum has swung in America and how clueless Americans are about this especially American progressives.

Specifically, A Clinton PAC is running ads attacking Bernie Sanders for his support of Corbyn by trying to link them to Hugo Chavez and Hamas, both democratically elected leaders of their own people. This ad tells us more about Hillary than it does Sanders - Voting for her for President (if she does manage to stagger through the primaries)would be no different than voting for a Republican on the issues that really matter. At least the Republican is more honest.

But Hillary recognizes this and is flip flopping wildly

Hillary Clinton announced today that she is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (answering half of one of my questions in my dem debate questions post of last week - see below). What's funny about this is that Clinton helped create this agreement when she was the Secretary of State. She negotiated its terms and conditions and helped draft the language. Considering both Clinton's past enthusiasm for trade deals that sacrifice workers and working conditions for profit, I don't believe for a second that in her heart she is anything but totally 100% for the TPP but she recognizes the political realities - Every other Democratic candidate currently in the race opposes it as does a number of Republicans including Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Ben Carson. The only people who support it are the Obama Administration (including Joe Biden) and establishment Republicans like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. A lot of what's in the TPP has been kept from public view but we do know it is yet another attempt to elevate private companies to equal legal status with sovereign nations and allow them to supersede local law on things like workers rights, environmental law etc. It would also force national agencies to become Internet policemen to enforce intellectual property law making for a much more intrusive government. As far as Clinton goes, all politicians are shameless to a certain degree but the Clintons have elevated the audacity of shamelessness to hitherto unknown new levels.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Squeeze has been my favorite band since the 1980's the reasons for which I discuss here (along with Chris Difford's lyrical genius)

Finally heard the long awaited (16 years) new record in its entirety today. Favorite songs on CRADLE TO THE GRAVE after a couple listens - The title track, Nirvana, Snap, Crackle and Pop. I love the instrumental touches - The ukulele on the title track, the Eleanor Rigby-type strings on Sunny and the pedal steel on Haywire not to mention the sitar-y guitar on Nirvana and the cathedral-like keyboards and harmonica on Honeytrap. Everything is a beautiful old time Squeeze type ballad. Just a really comfortable record by my favorite band that feels like no time has passed.

As far as Difford's lyrics go, Beautiful Game is a delicate, well-put together comparison between a sports team losing badly on TV and the dying of the narrator's relationship as well as the opposite - winning and success at love. Open is a clever variation on the "here's the church here's the steeple" little kid trick as a life affirming statement of positivity.

For fans of Glenn Tilbrook's quick-fingered guitar solos, there are less here. He does get in a couple good ones - Open and Top of the Form are the most flashy.

Only complaint I have with CRADLE is I wish Difford sang lead on at least one new Squeeze song rather than just harmonizing on Tilbrook leads. He does sing cover versions of Lou Reed's Hangin' Round and Tom Wait's I Don't Wanna Grow Up on the extended version which also includes cover versions of Harper Valley PTA and The Kinks rarity A Strange Effect both sung by Tilbrook but those cover versions, while interesting, are nowhere near as good as the original Difford and Tilbrook songs and add nothing to the record.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


As the first Democratic Party Presidential Debate is next week, I would like to propose 15 questions for the moderators to ask (fat chance of that happening though).  These are questions I, Raj Dronamraju, would ask.


1.) You voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. You supported the bombing of Libya and Yugoslavia. During a September speech at the Brookings Institute, you made a number of bellicose statements including the US should confront Russia directly militarily. You have also in the past compared Putin to Hitler. How are you different than Republicans like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in your foreign policy views? Why should a foreign policy progressive support you?

2.) In a letter to Jewish billionaire donor Haim Saban, you condemned the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement (BDS). Considering your cozy history with Israel, how would you bring resolution to the Israel/Palestinian conflict especially when faced with an intransigent Israeli government like the current one led by Benjamin Netanyahu?

3.) The Democratic Party has talked of a "war on women" being conducted by the Republican Party. You yourself have said that the victims of sexual assault deserve to be believed. Your husband, former president Bill Clinton, has been accused by scores of women of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to indecent exposure, sexual assault, and rape. Do these women have a right to be believed?

4.) Once and for all, without mincing words, what are your positions on the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership? Also in the past, you have supported fracking. Do you still support fracking and if so why considering the amount of evidence available on the damage fracking does to the environment?

5.) Poll after poll shows that large numbers of voters neither like nor trust you. From the email scandal to the generous speaking fees you took from Goldman Sachs while talking about income inequality, your public life is seemingly filled with untruths and hypocrisy What could you say to win over a voter who has these feelings?


1.) You have described yourself as a Zionist in the past and spent time on a Kibbutz in Israel as a young man and your voting record in both the house and the senate has been unabashedly pro-Israel do you honestly feel as president, you could be a fair and impartial arbiter in helping resolve the Israel/Palestinian conflict? If so why and how?

2.) You joined many Republicans and Democrats in supporting NATO expansion in Eastern Europe. Considering the deteriorating relations between the US and Russia, in retrospect was this a mistake? and if not why?

3.) You voted against the Brady Bill and against giving the consumers the right to sue gun manufacturers. You voted to allow guns to be checked through in luggage on buses and trains. Considering the recent mass shootings in America, why should a voter who considers themselves a gun control advocate vote for you?

4.) You have called for a free college program financed by a new tax on Wall Street trades. However, many economists who have studied your proposal on this say that you will not collect enough money through the Wall Street tax for a plan as ambitious as this. How do you plan on paying for a free college system if revenue projections made by your campaign end up not being correct?


1.) Your foreign policy views are largely a mystery other than your comments that security comes from a prosperous economy first. Would you pick three important foreign policy issues of the day (for example- Russia/Syria, Israel/Palestine, and US/China relations) and explain your positions on each.

2.) During your time as Mayor of Baltimore, you advocated both the Broken Windows theory of law enforcement and Zero Tolerance polices, both of which have contributed to the incarceration epidemic and reports of police brutality most notably the death of Freddie Gray. Do you still support these policies and if so why? If not what would you change about how you handled law and order issues when you were Mayor of Baltimore?

3.) In 2012, as governor, you signed a "rain tax" into law for the state of Maryland. This tax is an annual fee on impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, garages, and any other surface that could create drainage problems and water contamination situated on property owned by an individual or a business. Critics of this tax have called it regressive, overreaching, and a discouragement to home buyers as well as unfair as not every county in Maryland must pay it. Polls show it was a major reason why your would be Democratic successor lost to a Republican candidate in 2014. Would you promise right now on this stage not to push for a national rain tax or other similar punitive and ridiculous taxes not based on earning or output?


1.) After the Charleston shooting, you gave a vigorous defense of the confederate flag as part of "southern white culture". Where does racism figure into "southern white culture"? If you feel it doesn't, how can you separate the two based on the history behind the confederate flag?

2.) During your time in the Senate, you described yourself as a "non-interventionist". You were an early opponent of the Iraq War and was also against US involvement in Libya and Syria. During the shelling of Gaza by Israel, you said a senate resolution supporting Israel was "incomplete". However, since running for president, you have consistently used more pro-Israel rhetoric in your speeches. You have also come out against the recent Iran deal. Who is the real Jim Webb? Are you trying to appear like more of an interventionist to get votes?

3.) You are the only person on this stage to have served in the military. In fact, not just served but to have seen combat as well. Do you feel this gives you any special insight other candidates who didn't have this experience might lack? If so, what are these insights?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


The symbolism is telling - At the same time that Vladimir Putin sent the Russian military into Syria guns blazing, President Obama was hosting an events for transgender people and their bathrooms entitled "A safe place to pee". I do not mean any disrespect to transgender people but the priorities shown here are lacking.

Truth is the creation of ISIS was a two step process 1.) The Iraq War eliminating the secular dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and destabilizing Iraq 2.) Training anti- Assad rebels under the guise of regime change in Syria but instead empowering Jihadists with their own agenda. You can argue whether or not 2 was deliberate. I believe it was as the Pentagon documents obtained through legal action by Judicial Watch leave very little room for thinking this was the result of incompetence, an accident.

Couple this with the anti-Russian provocations of the Bush and Obama administrations from the so called Orange revolution to NATO renigging on agreements about how close they would be to Russia physically to the US actually siding with Neo Nazis and blocking a UN resolution condemning their rise in Europe to the Ukraine coup against a democratically elected government which I wrote about here

The bottom line - poke the bear with a stick sooner or later it is going to bite you back.

In addition, the Jihadists of ISIS are starting to spill into Chechnya and Dagestan creating problems for Russia there.

The biggest problem in the world today is an out of control dying empire the United States. In its death throes it causes more and more destruction and disorder around the world. Maybe Russia can save the world again like they did in World War II both through force and through setting up an alternate banking system with China which I wrote about here


The reason the season finale of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD was so successful is that it finally revealed what the show is actually about - The effect of the zombie outbreak on individuals in particular Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis).

Manawa's journey from pacifist school teacher to shell shocked survivor unafraid of using violence happened quickly but it made sense. His two actions in the finale a.) Beating the soldier they had kidnapped to a pulp after she shoots b.) Killing his ex-wife Liza per her request after she reveals at the conclusion of the episode she had been bitten by a zombie were perfect expressions of what has changed in him.

I enjoyed the storylines of the original WALKING DEAD comic book more than the black and white art which I always thought looked unfinished. However, I find the cast and the pre-zombie narrative of FEAR as it turns into a full fledged epidemic to be potentially more interesting than the TV version of the original WALKING DEAD. Curtis as Manawa, for one, is a vastly superior protagonist than Rick Grimes as played by Andrew Lincoln who IMO just doesn't fit the Rick character. He doesn't seem hardened nor particularly expressive as he encounters all types of horrors and conflict and death.

I really look forward to where this show is going with Manawa's transformation as well as what the sinister Strand is up to. I almost gave up on the show earlier in the season as it seemed nothing was happening but I am glad I didn't as it is now well on the way of realizing its potential. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Happy to say my poem JOAN OF ARC KILLED BY DRONES is included in the October issue of the art and poetry e-zine The Bitchin' Kitsch - It appears on Page 30

My recitation