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Big Brass Blog is a group blog founded in February of 2005 by Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend and Melissa McEwan of Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister). The mission of this collaborative effort is to stand as the premiere forum where strong, enduring voices of Progressivism provide what liberal politics has been missing: the unapologetic, unrelenting voice of liberalism in the darkness visited upon our world by Right-wing extremists, their ruinous policies, and their hypocritical beliefs.

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07 September 2012

Mircea Eliade on the Terror of History

by: Peter of Lone Tree

When man contemplates history, AS IT IS, he is forced to realize that he is in the iron grip of an existence that seems to have no real care or concern for his pain and suffering. Over and over again, the same sufferings fall upon mankind multiplied millions upon millions of times over millennia. The totality of human suffering is a dreadful thing. I could write until the end of the world using oceans of ink and forests of paper, and never fully convey this terrible condition in which mankind finds his existence.

The beast of arbitrary calamity has always been with us. For as long as human hearts have pumped hot blood through their too-fragile bodies and glowed with the inexpressible sweetness of life and yearning for all that is good and right and loving, the sneering, stalking, drooling and scheming beast of "real life" has licked its lips in anticipation of its next feast of terror and suffering. Since the beginning of time, this mystery of the estate of man, this Curse of Cain has existed. And, since the Ancient of Days, the cry has been: "My punishment is greater than I can bear!"

From Adventures With Cassiopaea
23 August 2012

Quote of the Day

by: Peter of Lone Tree

“There are periods in the life of humanity, which generally coincide with the beginning or the fall of cultures and civilizations, when the masses irretrievably lose their reason and begin to destroy everything that has been created by centuries and millenniums of culture. Such periods of mass madness, often coinciding with geological cataclysms, climatic changes, and similar phenomena of a planetary character, release a very great quantity of the matter of knowledge. This, in turn, necessitates the work of collecting this matter of knowledge which would otherwise be lost. Thus the work of collecting scattered matter of knowledge frequently coincides with the beginning of the destruction and fall of cultures and civilizations.” -- George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
22 August 2012

"Everything interested me but ultimately nothing satisfied me.....the canon was not all that interesting."

by: Peter of Lone Tree

The Forbidden Book: An Interview with Guido Mina di Sospiro
18 August 2012

Are they talking about amerikka?

by: Peter of Lone Tree

After years of vicious sectarian strife between [republicants and demicrumbs], individual cases are increasingly coming to court. But justice suffers because lawyers are an easy target in a country where rule of law remains weak, [party] loyalties take precedence and sectarian armed groups still operate.

he narrowly escaped death when three shots were fired at his car last year
16 August 2012

Hunger and other killers

by: Peter of Lone Tree

"More than 840 MILLION people on the Earth suffer from hunger. That's about three times the population of the entire USA. This is chronic, persistent hunger, which kills 24,000 people every day, or over 8 million each year. Three of four who die from starvation are younger than five years old.

"According to the Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century, during the past 100 years there have been approximately 2 BILLION deaths (including civilians) resulting from war, tyrannical governments, and man-made famine. When these figures are broken down into deaths caused by Communism vs. Capitalism, they are almost equal, with the figures slightly higher for Capitalism which may surprise some people."
25 July 2012

"For All We’re Worth and in Every Way We Can"

by: Peter of Lone Tree

A New Declaration

~ Derrick Jensen

"We hold these truths to be self-evident:

"That the real, physical world is the source of our own lives, and the lives of others. A weakened planet is less capable of supporting life, human or otherwise.

"Thus the health of the real world is primary, more important than any social or economic system, because all social or economic systems are dependent upon a living planet.

"It is self-evident that to value a social system that harms the planet’s capacity to support life over life itself is to be out of touch with physical reality.

"That any way of life based on the use of nonrenewable resources is by definition not sustainable.

"That any way of life based on the hyper-exploitation of renewable resources is by definition not sustainable: if, for example, fewer salmon return every year, eventually there will be none. This means that for a way of life to be sustainable, it must not harm native communities: native prairies, native forests, native fisheries, and so on.

"That the real world is interdependent, such that harm done to rivers harms those humans and nonhumans whose lives depend on these rivers, harms forests and prairies and wetlands surrounding these rivers, harms the oceans into which these rivers flow. Harm done to mountains harms the rivers flowing through them. Harm done to oceans harms everyone directly or indirectly connected to them.

"That you cannot argue with physics. If you burn carbon-based fuels, this carbon will go into the air, and have effects in the real world.

"That creating and releasing poisons into the world will poison humans and nonhumans.

"That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to create poisons for which there is no antidote.

"That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to create messes that cannot be cleaned up.

"That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to destroy places humans or nonhumans need to survive.

"That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to drive human cultures or nonhuman species extinct.

"That reality trumps all belief systems: what you believe is not nearly so important as what is real.

"That on a finite planet you cannot have an economy based on or requiring growth. At least you cannot have one and expect to either have a planet or a future.

"That the current way of life is not sustainable, and will collapse. The only real questions are what will be left of the world after that collapse, and how bad things will be for the humans and nonhumans who come after. We hold it as self-evident that we should do all that we can to make sure that as much of the real, physical world remains intact until the collapse of the current system, and that humans and nonhumans should be as prepared as possible for this collapse.

"That the health of local economies are more important than the health of a global economy.

"That a global economy should not be allowed to harm local economies or land bases.

"That corporations are not living beings. They are certainly not human beings.

"That corporations do not in any real sense exist. They are legal fictions. Limited liability corporations are institutions created explicitly to separate humans from the effects of their actions—making them, by definition, inhuman and inhumane. To the degree that we desire to live in a human and humane world—and, really, to the degree that we wish to survive—limited liability corporations need to be eliminated.

"That the health of human and nonhuman communities is more important than the profits of corporations.

"We hold it as self-evident, as the Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it. . . .” Further, we hold it as self-evident that it would be more precise to say that it is not the Right of the People, nor even their responsibility, but instead something more like breathing—something that if we fail to do we die.

"If we as a People fail to rid our communities of destructive institutions, those institutions will destroy our communities. And if we in our communities cannot provide meaningful and nondestructive ways for people to gain food, clothing, and shelter then we must recognize it’s not just specific destructive institutions but the entire economic system that is pushing the natural world past breaking points. Capitalism is killing the planet. Industrial civilization is killing the planet.

"Once we’ve recognized the destructiveness of capitalism and industrial civilization—both of which are based on systematically converting a living planet into dead commodities—we’ve no choice, unless we wish to sign our own and our children’s death warrants, but to fight for all we’re worth and in every way we can to overturn it."

Derrick Jensen via HecateDemeter
18 June 2012

Quote of the Day:

by: Peter of Lone Tree

"If Greeks go to polls and it shakes the World Economy, do you think the United States will have to go in and blow them up for not voting in someone who stabilizes the World Economy? It's total nincompoopery. The World Economy is an illusion based on puppeteering anymore. It's held together cause we keep going to the store for our processed intake. It's held together by the dull humdrum of our chemical lobotomized selves going back in forth reacting with fear, being good consumers, holding up the illusion that all is well."

Article: "Greek vote to keep tensions high on Wall Street"
07 April 2012

Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident

by: Peter of Lone Tree

31 March 2012

George Bernard Shaw:

by: Peter of Lone Tree

PETKOFF (with childish awe). Are you Emperor of Switzerland?

BLUNTSCHLI. My rank is the highest known in Switzerland: I'm a free citizen.

Arms and the Man
25 March 2012


by: Lisa Ranger

--Brandon Schaeffer

This year I'm not getting involved in any
complicated issues. I'm just voting my
regular ethnic prejudices

"Cause of Death: Hooked Nose"
--Heinrich Boll short story

I'm not a Roman, mum, I'm a kike,
a yid, a heebie, a hook-nose,
I'm kosher, mum,
I'm a Red Sea pedestrian and proud of it!
--Life of Brian (1979)

There is nothing more painful to me
at this stage in my life than to walk down the street
and hear footsteps and start thinking
about robbery -- and then look around
and see somebody white and feel relieved
-- Jesse Jackson

Greetings from the Gunshine State!

What's all this about Trayvon's killing being racially-motivated? We do not have the facts, yet the liberal blogosphere has been crying for vengeance since Day 1. Do you know why? Because a man named "Zimmerman" in a gated community shot a young black man.

Let's go straight to the presumptions:

Black people don't get to live in gated communities. Zimmerman must be a card-carrying member of AIPAC, and since they all hate the poor Palestinians it's just a hop, skip and a jump to hating blacks. That's what stoked the fire before any news beyond name and race of the deceased was known.

None of this is true, of course, but depending on your political skew you rushed to your own judgement. Is it fair to expect if I walk around in a Slutwalk uniform -- say, bra, panties and jackboots -- and want to enter a workingman's pub at midnight for a brewski, that I not get hassled? If you're high-minded and blissfully unaware of human behavior, you will say, "Of course it is!" No, it is not. That is not the world in which we live.

What is fascinating is that the family of the neighborhood watch shooter (Zimmerman) was quick to point out he was himself Hispanic -- a man of color. In other words, he could not have harbored the malevolent intent that surely a white would feel toward a black youth in a gated community. Moreover, we now know Mr. Zimmerman attended Catholic school and was an alter boy. Does this imply the Catholic religion was to blame for leading him astray?

And yet, blacks attend Catholic school, too. Their are dioceses in metro areas that are almost entirely black. So it can't be his religion that is the problem.

Nor can the problem be that only black people are shot unjustly for being in the wrong neighborhood. As a white person, it would not be wise to walk after dark in certain parts of, say, Southside Chicago. For some reason, such a shooting would not raise our national hackles; he had it coming to him/her. Because, you know, that would simply be folly.

What's the not-too-veiled subtext here? White people should control themselves better. I would argue, all people should control themselves better, and nobody should shoot anybody. fat chance that, right.

However, my deeper implication is rarely addressed: We are racist in that we EXPECT black people to go for their nine. That that behavior is neither shocking nor rare is what we should be addressing before, during and after the tragedy of Trayvon, because then you would be approaching a real solution rather than a cathartic feel-good chest-beating. There is some deep racism in this country among all races on a slow boil every day.

Geraldo Rivera was right when suggesting death by hoodie. When President Obama said that Trayvon could have been his son, I wonder if he would've allowed his son to walk alone in the wee hours to a convenience store and back in an unfamiliar community. I am not saying that activity is a crime (and we do not know the details of that engagement) but I am saying if you look like you're in the wrong neighborhood, you will be noticed. To pretend otherwise is folly.

A parallel example occurred for me when I attended a black university for a semester (Florida A & M). I will relate but one example of the prejudice which I encountered as a white person on that campus.

Walking to my car, I noticed a FAMU patrol car pulled in haphazardly behind my vehicle, blocking it's exit, ala Starsky and Hutch. I was then confronted by a FAMU patrol officer with his 9 mm drawn -- yes! Not pointing AT me, but drawn. I asked what was wrong -- NO LIE: He questioned the authenticity of my parking sticker, and accused me of forgery!!!

You must understand that Florida State University and FAMU had full reciprocity on matters such as parking, library privileges, etc. This was so surreal that I smiled and asked, "Are you serious?" Thank god it was daylight, and he did not have an itchy trigger finger. Sullenly, he holstered the gun and said, "I've got my eye on you."

The terror only hit me as I entered my car and made to drive away, shaking and weak. As an older adult, I am outraged at that inappropriate threat of force. I was a small white woman burdened with an armload of books approaching her 17-year-old Volkswagon. What insane bullying, and if I had known better or had support, I would have brought that matter to my local representatives, at the least. I did not know better, and just wanted to get the hell out of Dodge.

That said, I met some very fine and welcoming people at FAMU, as well. BUT, those introductions were usually facilitated by a black friend; unaccompanied, I was suspect. I was told by a black male study partner that he wished he could introduce me to his fiance, but that she would be antagonistic to my whiteness. (I later encountered them in a store and he looked away.)

I was enthusiastically asked by members of my African-American Lit class after I'd made a presentation of Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" -- how I could possibly have understood the trials of a black woman so well, they asked. I quoted Sojourner Truth ("Ain't I a Woman?) And so it goes.

That is the measure of the prejudice in your nation: Black-on-black -- or at least, dark-on-dark crime -- is permitted. It's expected; it is as old as the hills.

So, what do we call it when blacks murder blacks? We don't seem to call it anything. How about if a black person murders a white -- it does happen, you know? Are those racist occurrences, or simply pathetic and tragic murders?

The liberal pack is calling for everyone's head, but in order for the police to arrest a suspect they must have a court-issued probable cause warrant. Zimmerman is not a flight risk; he had called the police prior to the shooting event. He tried to coordinate with police, and they displayed negligence and a negative attitude by not responding.

This should be a problem of concern: Many police department are suffering budget cuts and a shortage of officers. Maybe several of them are on duty in Afghanistan. There was clearly a problem in the neighborhood. Zimmerman was following Florida Rules of Engagement as opposed to Afghan rules.

My main point is obvious:
We all come with preconceptions and fears, founded or un-, and how to countenance that is our mission. If all followed the rule of law and respected his fellows, and expressed honestly and clearly at the first sign of feeling threatened in the spirit of seeking consensus, we wouldn't have these shootings, would we?

Is this our country as you know it? Is this your house, as you know it?

We should suspend judgment until the facts are known.

For now, we can call it, "Death by Hoodie".

[cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar]

18 March 2012


by: Peter of Lone Tree

11 March 2012

"War Clouds On The Potomac. No Not Iran. War Declared On You."

by: Peter of Lone Tree

"All of the fear mongering about attacking Iran and launching WW III is a psychological ploy to keep you distracted from the ongoing theft of tens of trillions of dollars from you by the New York and London banks. This is a long term project to reduce us all to Debt Slavery. It should not take much longer for them to steal what little remains to be taken. All they need to do is to keep your mind focused elsewhere for a little while longer."

20 February 2012

Quote of the Day

by: Peter of Lone Tree

"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be." -- James Bond Stockdale

25 January 2012

Cautionary Note on Trying to Change the World:

by: Peter of Lone Tree

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's asshole.
07 December 2011

From Labrys' Blog:

by: Peter of Lone Tree

"Weep, And Tear Your Hair"
Dec. 6th, 2011 03:59 pm

"When a mother shoots her children and herself because she is desperate over being denied food stamps?

"It is December. This woman had been trying to get food stamps since July. You would think SOME fucking BODY at that goddamned office could have tracked down the issue and corrected it. But nobody did, and a desperate woman lost all hope. I almost hope her two wounded children die, rather than wake to live with the knowledge that their own mother shot them before dying by her own hand in desperation and despair.

"You know that the long dark night of America has begun."


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