Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quebec Nation

by Bernie Quigley, for The Free Market News Network, 11/29/2006

Photo: Jean Henri Maurice Richard, known as The Rocket, the father of Quebec Nation

I blame Howard Dean. Was Creeping Deanism that sent Quebec over the edge.

Canada has identity issues. It wants to be like America. Then it wants to be not like America. And sometimes it wants to be anti-American.

At the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, under the leadership of Jean Chrétien, Canada stood up against American influence, alone in the Anglosphere to do so. But it left a feeling of being cold and alone, amplified by the bitter wind on the Winnipeg plains and a hockey strike sent - perhaps by God - to punish them or as many considered, sent for that same purpose by the American hockey commissioner.

But there is some awful thing gnawing at the heart of English-speaking Canadians that makes them want and need to be something like Americans. Distance causes anxiety. We are bound together somehow like the goddess with two faces. So slouching toward Bush, after Chrétien, Canadians next brought in Stephen Harper, a conservative from the western provinces, which are supposed to be something like Texas only cold as Ned. Harper is an evangelical church attendee as well. That brought a satisfying alignment for awhile and after stating boldly that Canada would defend the Northwest Passage against encroachment by American submarines – which brought great laughs on the excellent Canadian comedy hours – Canada rightly sent soldiers to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Quebec however, has none of these identity issues. As far as I can see, Québécois have never wanted to be like Americans, even though most French-speaking Québécois probably share blood with New Englanders like myself from the days of the industrial economy when Catholic French and Irish fought and married together. But they do not want to be like us and they do not want to be like Anglo-Canadians either. They have been going to the same stone churches since 1607 more or less without interruption or upheaval. They are not like anyone else on this continent or on any other continent. They are like themselves.

But big problems arose just recently. In the last few weeks Canada’s Liberals woke up again. The tide had turned again in American politics. Shouldn’t they turn as well? Strange as it seems, the Liberals, putting forth a Harvard professor for leader who has lived the last 30 years in the United States, then thought it would be a great idea to invite Howard Dean to speak to their national convention.

Howard Dean? There are some things that the French just cannot understand about the English-speaking Canadians. This is one of those things and they might share it with the rest of us. Why in the world would Canada invite a foreigner to speak at their Liberal convention? And why Howard Dean? Here in the United States, new Democrats elected in November have been calling for his removal from his position as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Maybe Canada is the new Vermont.

What is interesting about this is that when Howard Dean was Governor of Vermont, Vermont had a very practical and positive working relationship with Quebec, its next-door neighbor. Dr. Dean even did much to encourage regional relationships over federalism. But I cannot imagine in a million years the Bloc Québécois inviting him to their convention.

It was more of the same. In the last election there was some controversy when Bill Clinton came to speak – came to campaign – for liberal English-speaking politicians.

Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe proposed that Parliament declare Quebec a nation. And in a preemptive strike as ill conceived as his current Texas counterpart's recent tactics in the Middle East, Prime Minister Harper declared, “Quebec is a nation. But it will never be an independent nation.”

Commentators made the point that there are no legal or Parliamentary implications to Harpers’ statement. But the implications are myriad and go to the core of identity on our North American continent.

The Québécois movement started not long ago with contention boiling over at a hockey game between French and English speaking fans in Montreal. But Quebec is not a “new” nation like something drawn on the map by Winston Churchill between cocktails at the end of World War II (or by vegans “reinventing themselves” in the Pacific Northwest).

Quite the contrary. Quebec has an old ancient Acadian soul which precedes English presence everywhere on this continent outside of New England and Virginia, and it is something you sense right away when you visit there. Quebec takes modernism in stride; it takes all of the political trends, fashions and currencies in stride. It has something to return to when the trends pass. Quebec has an old soul, while the rest of Canada has a new soul; or a nervous soul; or a neurotic soul; or no soul.

Quebec has always been here and will always be here. Quebec is like Ukraine, older than Russia, way older that communism, political nihilism, capitalism and consumerism; still there when the rave passes and it awakens again. Quebec is like Ireland, once, future and always, watching Great Britain rise to the world around it and fall again. Quebec is like the Old Dominion, acquired and tamed and mastered by the New Man of the North, as the great historian W.J. Cash put it more or less, but a spirit bound to the land like a river.

What if Cromwell had declared Ireland to be a nation but never to be free as Harper did Quebec? What if Lincoln had declared the South to be divisible and autonomous?

Quebec is and always has been a nation. The question is now, what is Canada?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Jefferson Century: Libertarians Lead the Way

by Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network, 11/23/2006

In the beginning of Washington’s administration two men defined the fundamental principles of the two societies, Alexander Hamilton for the North and Jefferson for the South. The one was extreme centralization, the other was extreme decentralization; the one was nationalistic and the other provincial; the first was called Federalism, the other States Rights, but in truth the first should have been called Unitarianism and the second Federalism. – Frank Owsley, The Irrepressible Conflict

History enters the world hiding in plain sight. It is ignored at first, then patronized. Next, hostility builds against it, then panic. Canada is almost at the panic stage now that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called Quebec a nation. But Quebec will never be an independent nation, he added with patriotic fervor, crossing the floor of Parliament to shake on it with the resolute, fixed-jawed opposition. The three Canadian parties have bonded manly against the Quebecois now. But now it is too late. Eventually Quebec will be her own – ‘twas only fear of invasion by Ulysses S. Grant which bonded her with Victoria’s Brits in the first place. Scotland too, appears to be ready to go its own way, The Washington Post reports in an article titled The End of the United Kingdom. Victoria was the book, the Elizabeths I & II the book ends. Queen Elizabeth is a fair and decent monarch. But who could tolerate Charles’ and Camilla’s picture on their money?

If Victoria’s Commonwealth is on the verge of panic, Libertarians here in the Land of the Free are still between ignored and patronized. But anyone who watched the C Span debates for local offices across the country this month would see them hiding in plain sight and their influence spreading. They made the best of points, particularly about local control and local destiny. Libertarians still may be largely ignored by major press outlets but their ideas are being assimilated by both major parties. And Libertarians today are the primary purveyors of Jeffersonian ideals; ideals and ideas which call for state, local and regional control and local-grown culture rather than federally dictated policy and mandates. Could New England ever find its own nature and identity again and get its groove back? Hard to say. So much has come and gone since 1865 and dominance by the territorial imperatives of Wall Street, the Empire State and the Hamiltonian federalists, like the huge mother ship in the movie Close Encounters, hovering over our heads.

I first felt the new Libertarian influence just five years ago when Mitt Romney, the Republican Governor of Massachusetts who hopes to run for President, disparagingly used the phrase “one size fits all federalism.” The core of the complaint is that what is right for the Gulf States and the Katrina region is not right for New England. And what it good for Kansas is irrelevant to the Pacific Northwest. New visions of federalism like those of Jefferson and Madison were being fathomed at The Federalist Society where Romney had given a speech. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. became apoplectic when newly appointed Justice John Roberts was said to have had some relationship with The Federalist Society. Now Schlesinger’s political ally Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury, has started something called The Hamilton Project. The core of Hamiltonian thinking is One Size Fits All Federalism; a centralized government which controls all, aiding and abetting multinational corporations and aided and abetted by them.

But I predict that the Hamiltonian part of our American journey is drawing to an end. As Hamilton’s vision dominated from Jay’s Treaty in 1795 to the present, we will see now the Jefferson tendency arise in the century ahead. The better part is ahead. The rise of moderate heartland – red state – Democrats in the November election brings new and growing influence in the Democratic Party; Jeffersonian and Libertarian influence. Today, Republicans and Democrats are both expressing Jeffersonian tendencies; the only wholescale holdout of pure Hamiltonian federalism and global corporatism being the Clintons and Kerry; the Nor’easters.

They are still popular among the rank and file and among Democrat press operatives, idolaters and sock puppets, but time will show history began to pass them by in the November, 2006, mid-term election. Today, new Democrats are making inroads in red states, particularly in the South and the Midwest, and these new Democrats share more common ground with Reagan Republicans than they do with Clinton Democrats.

The Clinton Democrats, with their corporation identity adopted in the 1990s, have also been as susceptible to the most dangerous and near-sighted ideas of the neocons as the Bush-Rove Republicans. Ideas like NATO expansion with nuclear potential into Holy Roman Empire territory when Russia was perceived to be weak. This, called “a mistake of historic proportions” by the best foreign policy minds, is now proving to be so. Its strongest proponent was Vice President Al Gore. But the greatest danger of One Size Fits All Federalism is what we are seeing today in the Middle East; the smallest and quirkiest of well-funded political tribes can conjure influence and commandeer the will of the entire 300,266,521 of us, as they have in Iraq.

But political novelty descends quickly into historical oblivion. The leadership crisis is passing in the Oval Office: The able hand of James A. Baker, Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff and possibly the most competent public administrator since George Marshall, could be seen in the Oval office as early as last June, replacing the misbegotten twists and turns of Rove. With the arrival of Robert Gates to replacing Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, the leadership crisis is ending, although the disaster in Iraq will persist.

Of the major Democratic candidates with red-state potential, only John Edwards and Wes Clark remain. General Clark’s chances lessen; he was the best antidote to the leadership crisis now brought to equilibrium more or less by Baker’s Council of Elders and Gates (even Kissinger, who egged on the neocon adventurers, jumps ship before the Baker report is given). That leaves Edwards to rise. But what is most critical in this mid election is attitude change: “war fever” – the primal motivation of a war without strategy - has clearly passed; that is, the irrational but natural “gut” drive to blind revenge post 9/11 which led over 75% of the nation to support the invasion of Iraq even after Rumsfeld publicly stated that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, has dissipated across the country.

Americans will now seek to return to ourselves. John Edwards’ new book is most appropriately called Home. That is the natural direction of Jefferson's vision and all things arise from it. People are tired of war. Democrats will turn homeward to John and Elizabeth.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Note: With the turning of events in the last two weeks; Dem House & Senate & Jim Webb in particular as the avatar of the new paradigm . . . the fall of Rumsfeld and the complete capitulation of the Bush admin RE Iraq, we have reached the classic 60-year turning. I highly recommend William Strauss and Neil Howe’s book, The Fourth Turning, and furthermore Spengler and Arnold Toynbee, to anyone interested in diagnosis. I however, have promised wife & family & self that I would go to field and sheep now in preparation of the next season. But would like to pass on a few notes on Sunday morning.

Baker’s Council of Elders: I was there at the beginning of the idea of Council of Elders. Four bright and wonderful students at Wake Forest University came up with the idea during the killings in Rwanda and Bosnia, in hope of finding a solution to the problem by inviting world leaders from all fields to discuss the matter in a public forum. They coined the term Council of Elders, taking it from the Native American. Among the “Elders” the students invited the Dalai Lama, Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Spielberg, Maya Angelou, Michael Gorbachev and a dozen or so others I cannot recall. The student event failed, but the idea caught on with The Gorbachev Institute which held a similar event called “The State of the World” that same year. They continued with the phrase Council of Elders, and the Gorbachev initiative caught on at the UN which continued it for years thereafter. Shortly before his death, George Kennan, the great ambassador, took up the idea of Council of Elders and proposed that it become a permanent part of the American system of governance.

Now, for the first time, as far as I can see, Secretary Baker (here with Lee Hamilton) has done just that. His Iraq panel is indeed a Council of Elders, exactly what the students had in mind I would guess when they envisioned an Elder in the Indian tradition – wise beyond one’s own work, respected by all, non-divisive, non- partisan; committed to the peaceful flow of time through the generations. Some are famous, some are not. All are respected. Four Dems, four Repubs. Eight is the magic number here. For those viewers of Lost; it is the BaGua; the universe is eight; three Yang, three Yin, and to each with a Celestial Offspring of the opposite. The anticipated wait for the Baker’s Panel illustrates its original authority. It comes from nature. It is a Higher Force than Senate or the Supreme Court and one cannot advance to it by strategy. It is the ineffable force of wisdom in the Universe. I hope the Baker Panel becomes a permanent informal part of the American condition; like the Jedi Council, changing its players over the ages but giving balance and flow to the dangerous vicissitudes of change – if gives the country link to conditions past and conditions ahead. John Parker, now director of Good Work in North Carolina, was the leader of the student group which came up with the idea of Council of Elders in the beginning.

The Three Ones – As suggest in Spengler, Toynbee and in The Fourth Turning, groups form organic patterns. Is often described, as it was by Senator Allen these past weeks, that there is a season for all things, as per Ecclesiastes. “The pendulum swings . . .” etc. In the crisis in Iraq, primarily a crisis in American authority first, and the tragic disaster which sprang from it evolved from it, three individuals arose in direct response to the crisis: Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Arnold Schwarzenegger (This is analogous to the three gods in Hinduism; the god of Creation (Vishnu), the god of Destruction (Shiva) and the god between them which binds them together (Brahma) – the binary code is an approximation of this; there are positive numbers (Creation) and there are negative numbers (Destruction) and the number which holds them together: 0 (Zen). The Three Celestial Ones, as the Yang deities are known in Taoism are hidden in every change. Howard Dean looks back but too far, too fast - a desire to run away perhaps; Arnold looks forward but too far, too fast - a desire to get big perahps. General Clark is Zen (0), uniting the two: He will be the Tao stone of the ascending Democrats; the new force which will rise in the Fourth Turning as the fourth post-war generation Awakens. We see it now still in college and high school, as Harvard and Princeton graduates volunteer for the military (as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s son has and Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt's son). Here in New Hampshire my sons play with their high school band at Veterans Day events. In past years it has been all WW II veterans, dwindling with age. They even enlisted the cub scouts to march behind them last year because no other veterans did. This year there are four newly minted Marines who graduated with my son from high school two years ago, marching at the front of the parade. This is the Fourth Turning.

The Millennium is here. TV shows like Lost and Heros bring a dramatic change to the culture and leave behind European nihilism (still flourishing like potted plants at the universities). Heroes seems derived from the X Men, the X Men from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Can be best understood by Jung’s study of the archetypes (“ . . . what used to be called gods,” he said in his introductory essay in his essay, UFOs: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky.) We are not all equal. We are not in the sky anymore either. We have returning to earth. “By returning and rest we shall be saved . . .” – from the old, contraband, Book of Common Prayer. This is the fourth generation as well.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lost 11/09/06 John Locke Finds the Path

In this last episode of the season, Mr. Eko is buried, but John Locke reveals that in the explosion Mr. Eko's Jesus stick landed in his hand. Mr. Eko "passes the baton" to John Locke, who also found Mr. Eko's cross. At the burial, John Locke is struck by a quote from John's gospel on the Jesus stick which says, "Look to the North." When asked about the smoke which appears to have killed Mr. Eko, John Locke says, "maybe it is what brought us here." The smoke thing way resembles the visionary Princess Mononoke, my first impression when I first saw Lost. In Mayazaki's masterpiece the swirling force in the jungle suggests the "vegitation spirit" which Sir Isaac Newton wrote over a million manuscript words about as he was searching the alchemist vision - this the Green Man or the Earth Mother - the animated spirit of the earth which is prominent in early English culture and is pronounced in Tolkein, and also in Japan's Ainu indegeneous culture. Likewise, in Lost, the smoke can be seen as the spirit of nature. In Princess Mononoke, one of the characters refers to the forest after it had been occupied by the industrial Queen, saying it no longer has spirit or chi. As in most of Mayazaki's masterful tales, the earth has chi; the earth has an Unconscious - likewise, the Lost island. For more on Lost, see Quigley in Exile.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld Out, Jim Webb In: The Mudcat Paradigm

by Bernie Quigley - for The Free Market News Network, 11/08/06

When most prognosticators look to the future they see flying cars and colonies on Mars. I see the Latin Mass and politicians in tents, smoking cigars on the lawns outside their public buildings. Today we see the end of the Millennium. The Apocalypse has passed. My old country people in the western hills of Virginia and North Carolina no longer need to worry about being Left Behind in the war to jump start Armageddon, bringing in the Second American Century and Jesus too. The future is upon us and in many ways it resembles the distant past.

From its neocon conception, the war on Iraq was a War of Denial – its premise; we can invent history and a new century based on a New Jerusalem amidst oil sheiks and almost dead center in the middle of one billion Muslims who have never been our friends. After all, we are all Jews and Christians here in the Land of the Free, no? No wogs, frogs or macacas here.

And in the truest of orientations, Chicago, Houston and Washington, D.C. are not our centers. Israel is our center. Think of it that way – make it happen that way - and the rising economic tide of China and India will just go away.

But we do not invent history. History invents us. Today the war is over. I’m not sure who won, but I know who lost: George W. Bush.

When I went to bed last night I was a little depressed listening to Joe Lieberman drone on as if in a trance about his victory, telling us again how much he thanks God and quoting the Psalms and letting us know, don’t you know, that he, this most expedient and uncertain of all post-war politicians, keeps the Sabbath.

But as Wesley Clark pointed out in a dramatic political ad in Connecticut: “Joe Lieberman introduced the resolution authorizing the War in Iraq. That was a mistake. Joe Lieberman voted for that resolution without asking the tough questions. That was also a mistake. And now, three and a half years into a failing mission in Iraq, Joe Lieberman can't seem to say we should change the course. And that's a REAL mistake. Re-elect Joe Lieberman? Well, there's a word for it. ‘Mistake.’"

In the simple country church I grew up in we took our guidance from the Son. As I recall, the idea was that the things of the Father were not those of Caesar, and perhaps there was a special place in the Everworld for those who took the Lord’s name and forged it to their swords.

But it was good to see it end as it began. When Lieberman demanded a recount in Florida six years ago, standing behind Al Gore whose poor judgment brought him out of oblivion in the first place, The New York Times took an interesting tack. They brought in Dr. John E. Mack, Harvard’s most famous and infamous psychiatrist, whose clever mind converged alien dreams and all the daemons of the Unconscious. Mack said this about the Florida Recount: The Trickster is at hand. The Trickster brings turmoil and change to a world which doesn’t want to change. But so it has.

Late last night the venerables at CBS were asked who they thought the big losers were in this election. One said he thought Senator John Kerry's chances for 08 were weakened by his unfortunate comments a few days ago. E.J. Dionne Jr. of The Washington Post commented on Senator Clinton, saying she was actually boring and now that her campaign for President has officially started, she would be seen as a poor substitute for Elvis One. It is something we will experience increasingly in the next two years.

And that could pass now as well.

We are at a classic political turning, shifting politics and culture from third to fourth generations. The "turnings" are dangerous links between smaller historical periods. We began to see the positive rise in the last election, 2004. Here in New Hampshire General Clark and Howard Dean represented something entirely new to politics which had no prelude in the earlier three generations since 1946. But when the results were in, the mainstream candidates and the themes of the past dominated.

Today the "new force" is stronger and the Democrats have taken the House and possibly the Senate. But the most important observation of the venerables (Katie Couric’s) was that these new Democrats are in opposition to the old Democrats. They are cut of an entirely different cloth than the old Democrats. They are moderates. Many of them are veterans and some veterans of the Iraq war. Most are heartland people; people of the church supper and the patriotic main street parade. Many of them oppose contentious issues of the left like abortion and gay marriage and seek party cooperation and good management.

For the first time since Ronald Reagan rose to high office, Democrats have begun to appeal to the South and the Midwest. In the end, these new Democrats could replace the old Democrats. And if they wish to ever regain prominence in national politics, they must.

When Mark Warner ran for Governor of Virginia he first established this model for bringing Democrats in the South back to their traditional party with the help of Steve Jarding and Dave “Mudcat” Saunders. They have written a book about their strategy called, Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole the South and the Heartland and What the Democrats Must Do to Run 'em Out.

In a recent interview in the Augusta Free Press, Jarding said, "I don't think you necessarily have to be from the South to win in the South. I think if you've got the right message, I believe very strongly that a leader can go anywhere and rally people to his or her side.”

"Having said that, there are people,” he continued, “if you look at history, whether it's Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, there will be people who say that we have to go with somebody from the South. If that indeed is an important criterion, it helps potentially two people - John Edwards and Wes Clark, Edwards being from North Carolina and Clark from Arkansas.”

He thinks Edwards might be more on the outside looking in as far as his chance to top the ticket in '08 is concerned.

"Edwards lost North Carolina in 2004 - so it's almost hard for him to say, I can win in the South. He couldn't carry his own state in '04. Another issue for him is the Des Moines Register poll had him at 30 percent - which is probably a high-water mark for him. It's going to be hard for him, particularly if Hillary's in, to get much higher than that.”

Jarding says the interesting dark horse is Wesley Clark.

"He can make the case, one, that he's from the South, two, if the Democrats try to convince themselves that the '08 election is about the economy, they're crazy, because it's going to be about the war. It's not going well, it's not going to change - at least there's not anything in the cards that suggests that it's going to turn around, because Bush is stubbornly saying that he's going to stay the course.

"So I think the war is going to be the top issue - and here you have a very successful general in Wes Clark, and I think the upside to Clark is that he's Southern, and that he's a military guy.”

In 2008, this "new force" could well succeed. Warner, Jarding and Mudcat Saunders have opened the paradigm for the fourth generation of post-war politics. Jarding and Saunders next went to work for Jim Webb and now Saunders is working for John Edwards.

Alan Greenspan made the important observation last spring that both mainstream political parties are polarized, and have left behind the 80% of mainstream voters. Time is right for a third party to speak to that center, he said. But that third force could just as easily develop within one of the two existing parties and the Mudcat Paradigm could now prevail as a victorious new direction for the Democrats.

Since the 2004 primaries, the field of potential candidates for President has narrowed - Howard Dean is out, Warner is out, Kerry is possibly out, Senator Clinton is iffy. The moderate new Democrats could shift emphasis and Congressional support to John Edwards and General Clark.

This would be, in effect, a red-state strategy for the Democrats. Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas, who was voted with Warner to be chief of one of the best governed states, would be a good choice to expand the Mudcat Paradigm concept from the Old Dominion to the mid states and the heartland of the Midwest.

The Mudcat Paradigm should work in all red states. Such "Southern based" politics would be welcome here in New Hampshire as well, generally considered a red state in a sea of blue.

Indeed, in New Hampshire the tide has already turned. Both our Republican Representatives were replaced yesterday by Democrats and one of our new Reps, Carol Shea-Porter, a military wife and educator, well personifies the values of the new Democrats. And John Lynch, our Democratic Governor, who like Warner seeks bipartisan cooperation above all and brings management values and excellence to a party which sorely needs it, was reelected yesterday with an unprecedented margin of 77%.
Election day note to WesPAC - big winners; John Edwards, Wes Clark, Carol Shea-Porter, Jim Webb, Mudcat Democrats - 11/08/06

When I went to bed last night I was satisfied that the Democrats would take the House but that was all I saw. What I really wanted was for Jim Webb to take the Virginia Senate seat and he was behind 50% to 49%. Now it appears that he has won. That is a victory for all of us. A few early-morning scribbled and misspelled thoughts on perspective: Late last night one of the venerable at CBS was asked who he thought the big losers were in this election and he said he thought Senator Kerry's chances for 08 were weakened by his unfortunate comments a few days ago. Dionne of the WaPost commented on Sen. Clinton saying she was actually boring and a poor substitute Elvis One - my point is that since 04 the field of potentials has narrowed - Howard Dean is out, Warner is out, Kerry is possibly out, Senator Clinton is iffy and a new force has come into the Democratic Party. Same venerable said the important issue now is the rise of moderate Democrats. That would shift emphasis and Congressional support to John Edwards and General Clark. The front page of the WaPost this morning features a picture of Jim Webb, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner - this is a remarkable day; the birth of the Mudcat Democrats. Carol Shea-Porter's nice victory in New Hampshire shows that the Mudcat Paradigm in not only local to the South.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lost episode 11/1/06 – Mr. Eko Succumbs to Mara

In Buddhist lore, the Sidhartha’s first temptation was Mara – an illusion of the personality which Jungians call the Shadow. The Shadow contains the unexpressed contents of the person – Mr. Eko, the drug lord and his “brother” Yemi, the priest, are one. As it is throughout this show, there are two levels. There is the actual story of Eko and Yemi as brothers, and there is the underlying story of the two faces of Eko, light and dark - one the drug lord, one the priest. The black smoke on the island is similar to Mara, the first illusion and temptation of Buddha. Mara sends storms, hail, rain as weapons to shake Sidhartha from his quiet under the Bodhi tree. This image courtesy of Exotic India which is linked on my other site - Buddha wards off Mara. Note: The current movie Mission Impossible 3 is directed by J.J. Abrams, executive producer of Lost. The two have similarities; in MI3, Tom Cruise tortures his nemisis, the the tables flip and the nemisis tortures Tom Cruise. This is the situation with Jack and Ben Linus in Lost. Ben is the Shadow of Jack (they have the same "wife" - in Jungian terms, Anima) and they torture one another as the Shadow "tortures" the individual. But in an interview attached to the IM3 DVD, Abrams comments that the movie starts in Rome and ends in China. That is precisely the path of Awakening in our times and in Lost; it represents a shift in psychic or spiritual orientation from that from Rome (Yemi and Mr. Eko as Roman Catholic priests) in the last two millenia, to those from the East; Taoism, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen, with Jungian insights - it is the Dharma path ( RE Jung: . . . for example, when Sawyer and Kate swim underwater, they find another couple underwater - it is their Unconscious nature and their destiny). See Quigley in Exile. Note as well that it is a rabbit's foot - a talisman - which unites the three continents and the millenia as well.

The Most Provincial Town in the United States

by Bernie Quigley – for The Free Market News Network, 11/12/06

There is a political cartoon in today’s New York Times which gives a complete picture of what is dragging the Democratic Party into the sea of historical oblivion, even though it is showing signs of a new vitality in the November election.

Good luck with that. Old School is just waiting to pounce, to dominate, to territorialize and to control the young bloods coming into Congress, with Hillary waving the charge and that old Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love, First Person Bill, first on the float, whenever he’s not touring with the Rolling Stones. The problem is this: New York.

Bette Midler once said, “When it is 3 am in LA it is still 1938 in London.” To paraphrase The Divine Miss M, it is still 1964 in New York City.

The New York Times political cartoon is by Jules Feiffer. It is a comic homage to Barrack Obama, the new darling of the Democratic Party. There is nothing really that qualifies him to be President, President being a management thing, but he is a good-looking, well-educated and charming black man, and in a political climate that has been reduced over recent years to vaguest sensory impressions and the freest associations, it is good to look like someone you might remember from a movie or from The Ed Sullivan Show. And as Bill Clinton kind of looks like Elvis, Obama sort of looks like Xixo who played N!xau in the funny movie The Gods Must Be Crazy. If you are a certain age and of a certain culture, it bubbles imperceptivity to mind.

Remember N!xau? No? Remember Jules Feiffer?

There was a time in this country when the pulse was strongest and the life force of the Western world burned its very brightest at Junior’s on Flatbush Avenue, or at Harlem’s Apollo Theater or at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station and in the narrow streets and inexpensive bars and restaurants that converged Chinatown, Little Italy and The Bowery. You can see the last traces of that intelligence, integrity and almost boundless, spontaneous creatively in the terrific movie Pollock, set in the 1940s and ‘50s.

In Williamsburg, a Brooklyn neighborhood, political radicals left and right brought the greatest influence in post-war U.S., some of whom even today have the strongest influence on official Washington policy. Anyone who found their way to work and play in that environment with its Irish political drinkers and beautiful, young, Jewish intellectuals in pony tail, dark glasses and toreador pants was blessed. Pete Hamill captured the common essence of it when he wrote that boys (like him) returning home from the celibate Irish bars would pass the Flatbush apartments of Jewish girls above with lights still burning into the night studying Dostoyevsky. To be involved with one would be “to be involved in history.” Bob Dylan, coming in with the chilly wind of the border lands from Hibbing, Minnesota, wrote home to say he had come to “in the center of the world.”

In its last days, Norman Mailer and Dan Wolf founded The Village Voice and Jules Feiffer wrote a weekly cultural cartoon for it – droll and ironic, in the political fashion of the day, exactly like the one this morning in The New York Times.

But the Angel passed, as She always does. The last hurrah might have come in a bar called The Lion’s Head, just off Christopher Street, which was used as campaign headquarters when Mailer and Brooklyn-Irish journalist Jimmy Breslin ran for Mayor’s office with the campaign slogan, “No more bullshit.”

I think it was Jimmy Carter. In my experience as northern-born and reared, he was the first Southern white person that we ever liked and thought of as one of us, after Watergate heroes Sam Irvin of North Carolina and Howard Baker of Tennessee opened the gate.

In this most creative period the best New York editors were, strangely enough, Southerners; Willie Morris at Harpers, Harold T.P. Hayes at Esquire, Wayne King at the helm at The New York Times and Howell Raines. But after a rash of critical books from a New York state of mind, Mailer said he came to understand that New Yorkers like himself and his friends would no longer have any real influence on the country. The heartland had awakened.

The best and most influential sensed the change and moved on. Morris moved home to Mississippi. Hayes moved to California. The neocons moved to Washington, D.C. and began visiting places like Texas. (When I worked in North Carolina later my Jewish New York friends used to call and ask, “Is it safe for Jews?”) Mailer found a charming North Carolina artist wife and even attempted to write a translation of the New Testament for his father-in-law’s Baptist church. Dylan moved on to Big Pink, Nashville and points west.

If you don’t recall Jules Feiffer you are probably not from New York and didn’t read The Village Voice back in the Sixties. If you do, you are probably around 60 years old. Most editors in New York today are one or both of these things.

The demographic is troubling. Less than a year ago, The New York Times Magazine had a cover story about Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia, referring to him as “the anti-Hillary.” In this state of mind – a New York state of mind – there is no Democratic Party that is not synonymous with the Clintons. All is prelude to Hillary. And the things that are not Hillary are “the anti-Hillary.” Now that Warner has dropped out of the race Feiffer has nominated Obama as “not Hillary.” The only other big question to this crowd is can Bill legally become Vice President? In my little mountain paper here in the hinterland of New Hampshire (whose editors are all from New York, I think, and all around 60) this pensive issue made front-page news last week.

Not long ago The New York Times did a brief interview with Marcos Moulitsas of The Daily Kos, calling him a rising star, but with that patronizing tone that New York editors and journalists conjure when speaking to someone not of the realm – Foreign Devils - a realm that has become as narrow and provincial as the Saul Steinberg cartoon that shows New York City as an island in itself and makes no distinction between outlanders beyond the Hudson River, be they from Indiana, Indonesia or China. Why does the world need blogs and the new independent on-line journals like this one, the reporter wanted to know? What’s wrong with The Village Voice?

I think Marcos (most of whose four million weekly readers are way under 60 and don’t like or read The New York Times) responded: Ha Ha.

Before I moved to New York to work, I grew up in a segregated little town by the ocean in Rhode Island. I did not ever see a black person until I was about eight years old. Yet we loved black people, but kind of as an idea or an abstraction rather than as actual physical human beings like ourselves. In high school in Newport, we had one black boy in our class. We made him captain of the football team and president of the class. Indeed, we gave him every possible position we could think of.

That satisfied us and unfortunately, it satisfied him. Here is the key to this: We did not like Southern white people and as we were taught to love black people or at least the idea of black people instead of their actual selves, we were also taught at every turn that we were morally superior to Southern white people as they were slavers. And although slavery was most elementary to the ports of Newport and Rhode Island economy (as it was to the building and organization of New York City), we did not see ourselves involved or culpable because of it.

Our black student was “our favorite Negro” as black scholars came to call this condition. It was he upon whom we projected our pieties and our vision of ourselves as liberators and enlightened avatars: He, the black man, being the victim of some other kind of white people – people we opposed and did not like.

That was in 1964. And to there the Democrats in New York and the Northeast have returned again as Obama allows himself to be exploited again as the Democrat’s Favorite Negro.

From then to now, most anyone who has been to college might have read John Hope Franklin or W. J. Cash and learned something about race and the South. If we are to be a true federation of regions as Jefferson and some enlightened Libertarians propose, it would seem instrumental to know about these things to go forward without polarization.

Such a course of study might start with William Alexander Percy’s Lanterns on the Levee, about the fate of the white planter class in Louisiana after the Civil War and into the 20th century. You see as well his condition among the old high-church in Virginia and everywhere in the South, of those who lost their role in the South’s caste system when they were left them behind with little to do.

This old and irrelevant class developed and even evangelized a romanticized vision of Negroes as natural and joyful in song, true in prayer and organic and loving as help in the household; particularly during birthing and child-care tasks. And parallel to that the old planter class developed a hatred of the Southern whites on the smaller farms – the “white trash” and “crackers” whose rise in post-Civil War economy now threatened their livelihood and their authority.

Full economy came to the South in the late 1950s and early 1960s. We in New York and New England developed precisely those same attitudes when the Angel passed us by and we become irrelevant.