Thursday, January 31, 2008

We are Lost

Note to readers: The greatest show in the history of electricity has returned to TV. Tips to new Lost adepts:

- The island is in unique time which relates forward and relates back but has its own (cosmic) time qualities. Like Brahma, which links Shiva, the Destroyer, with Vishnu, the Creator but is neither: It is the center of time; the point at which all time revolves. In this, one can see time not going ahead in a line as it appears on a clock or calendar, but going in a circle or a mandala. Much as chronos is understood in the Greek Orthodox – all moments are many aspects of one moment.

- Ben is evil, but remember, in an earlier season he was identified as the Christ by spear mark, torture episodes and specific references to The Brothers Karamazov.

- Different characters have representative names identifying themes in time and history; Rousseau, John Locke, etc. Ben’s chief assistant, Richard Alpert, is the actual name of a Harvard psychology professor and associate of Timothy Leary in the 1960s who took the name Baba Ram Dass and started the LSD hippie movement to which Dharma Initiative relates.

- Lost can be seen as a story told on two levels: Danielle, for example, will have her 16 years on the island explained in practical terms. But she can also be seen as a wood spirit; the spirit of the earth or as in the Tibetan lore; a female deity who appears when she is conjured. Likewise, there is a logical explanation for the Polar Bears, but they also serve as mythical guide animals, much like the white Spirit Bears of British Columbia. Each of these stories is true; either level can be ignored and the other level stands well by itself.

Here are some notes from Quigley in Exile on former seasons of Lost. For your reading pleasure.

The Brothers Karamazov meets Night of the Living Dead: Lost is a Taoist Masterpiece

God doesn't know we're here. No one knows we're here. - Henry Gale

Note to Readers: Viewers of Lost will appreciate Miss3's dreams as well.

Like Shiva, Henry Gale casts aside his old body for a new Dance of Creativity - a dance of rebirth; the eternal dance of life and death. Hidden in its center of Lost is a contemporary Quaternity. With pseudo-ads for Hanso's Corp.'s (see Hans in Thomas Mann's 1924 classic, The Magic Mountain, for Lost prototype) "subliminal advertising" and spin offs like the Bad Twin book, Lost brings the Trickster forth like we haven't seen him since Sgt. Peppers or the Surrealist Movement of the 1920s.

Buffy is Prophecy - Lost is a "Returning to Earth" myth for our day

For young viewers who have not yet read The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, there is no better beginners guide to the tv show Lost. The Prisoner in Lost, marked by the Christ wound in the right chest, is Jesus, indicated by this book which is given to him by Locke. It comes from a chapter called The Grand Inquisitor. After the Bros K, go quickly to the classic spooky film, The Night of the Living Dead, for advanced insight into the Hatch & the Others. The X Files also has a Grand Inquisitor episode in which Jesus is an Alien, imprisoned and tortured by The Cigarette Smoking Man. (As it is with Dali's Orange Monk, and the Alien Christ of The X Files, Henry Gale comes from the sky - it is the mark of the Aquarian, from an air sign in the zodiac.)

Derived from Jefferson and the Enlightenment (John Locke), ours is a culture based on happiness and its pursuit and on individualism. It is an outward moving journey disconnecting each from the other. It may be reaching its outer limits. (What do people want on the outward journey? My spam mail suggests they want a loan, a college degree and a large penis.) Dharma is just the opposite; an inward moving journey connecting each to the other and those past and future as well. Dharma implies duty and a path to the state of being outside of our individual ego. It is the path to ultimate innermost state of consciousness shared by everyone and by all things in the Universe. Each individual who enters enters through a gate and leaves behind what she or he had or was before. When you enter you first enter a circle. The family is a circle, the place where you live is a circle. The world is a circle. Time is a circle. Within circles there are other circles and all circles (Chronos). It is the path to Enlightenment. Misteps cause madness or death. But everybody dies. In Lost, as Claire opens the gate to Dharma, here is a caution from Kushog Wanchen, a holy man of Eastern Tibet, told to Alexandra David-Neel: "It is only prudent to beware of opening channels without due consideration. Few, indeed, suspect what the great storehouse of the world which they tap unconsciusly, contains. One must know how to protect oneself against tigers to which one has given birth, as well as against those that have been begotten by others." (Note: The stacks of lines around the Dharma insignia represent the sticks of the I Ching. No doubt, Hurley's number sequence has references there. And the clicker in the hatch which counts to 108 and repeats implies the Tibetan beads in a string of 108 on which the sylable hri! is repeated again and again. As David-Neel states: "Some understand it as signifying an inner reality hidden under the appearances, the basic essense of things.")

Lost fans might be interested in my "Three Sisters" essay in this blog about Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. In the last Buffy episode, The Slayer is revealed to be the Earth Mother incarnate, scion of the Triple Goddess & the Lady of the Lake, the ancient-most archetype of the English-speaking people. She who put King Arthur's Sword into the Stone. (Buffy pulls it out.) I wrote the essay several years ago. (I just ran into Lost last month, when it came to my country store on DVD.) Buffy is prelude to an Awakening of the Earth Mother, the essay claims, to come in the first days of the new millenium. "But today, as it is heard in a song/a prayer by Amy Lee, Evanescence and 12 Stones, she falls in sleep and has been sleeping a thousand years. She cries to have her eyes opened again and to see again and to Awakened Inside Again and to Saved Again from the Nothing that she has become."

A Visit from Spirit Bear

“I have looked into the eye of this island and what I saw was beautiful.” - John Locke on Lost

Among the Haisla people of British Columbia the Kermode Bear; called Spirit Bear because it is a black bear that is colored white, is considered a sacred animal. The tribal elders say that when you meet with Spirit Bear the Creator has a message for you and your tribe, or some healing is needed. It is a sacred moment and a moment of transition. The TV show Lost begins with an encounter with Spirit Bear.

Synchronicity is an idea developed by physicist Wolfgang Pauli and Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung after a consultation with Albert Einstein. It means a relationship between Inner life and Outer life – parallel events expressed by coincidence. In the late 50s Jung wrote that the UFO dreams and visions of his patients were predictors of a new relationship with Space – a Space Age. Today prominent dreams are of returning to earth. All the prominent and forceful dreams I have heard of the last two years are of returning to earth. Likewise these dreams predict a new period of awareness of the Earth – psychologically a “return to earth” and an Earth Age. This psychological change is reflected in Lost. Spirit Bear, the Magical Animal, leads to a door and the door is called Dharma. It is a Creation Myth (a parable of Awakening) for the new millenium. (See Returning for "returning to earth" myth.)

Lost has the same psychic tone as early UFO dreams and movies of the 1950s. Naïve (popular, entertaining - the common stone of the culture) and unpretentious art and stories always reflects these changes. The Survivor TV series and all of its knock offs are a reflection of this “return to Earth” theme in the naive culture (as Close Encounters, E.T., Alien and The X Files were "entering the Universe" dramas in the Space Age). Lost is the mythic drama which portends a new period of cultural awakening to the Earth, just as Close Encounters did to space. The Earth shares consciousness with the humans and the humans are part of the earth. This is the natural state of humans in their natural environment. Princess Mononoke, the film by Hayao Miyazaki, the computer game Myst and Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen - three of my children's favorites and mine - make a contribution. And common themes from Jane Eyre, Women in the Dunes, Gilligan's Island, The Wizard of Oz (Henry Gale), Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, Gurney's Dinotopia ("Each person who arrives in Dinotopia becomes reborn, and the birth is different for each individual," says Levka) and multiple others are applied and suggested. Notice that there are only two old people in the story; an old African-American woman named Rose (who sits closs-legged and quiet on the beach) and an old shamanistic guide name John Locke. Rose the symbol of Inner Life and the Unconscious (Yeats, Jung and the Alchemists - the Rose and the "Rosy Cross" was their symbol - Rosacrucians, Templars; y'all seen The DaVinci Code?), John Locke the father of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason. They are the yin and yang (Love and Power; in the narrative voice on Lost, "faith and reason") represented occationally throughout the story by two stones, one black and one white.

Lost is a generational story - all the characters are young, and it is a story marketed to teens. Notice as well that except for the child, Walt, all of the characters wear long pants all the time (on a tropical island - compared say, to Survivor). It is a sign of responsibility and serious intention. It is geared to the fourth post-war genertion; the first generation which will take full responsibility in the new millenium (see William Strauss and Neil Howe, The Fourth Turning).

Most of the names and relationships in Lost appropriately suggest the spiritual and psychological condition at the end of the Second Millenium after the brith of Christ and the awakening of the Third Millenium, which awaits the second face of the avatar. The baby born on the island is Aaron, for example, who started the Judeo-Christian procession millenia back, incarnate again in the awakening age of Aquarius (which began, technically, on January 1, 2001). Some of these relationships are quite uncanny. The birth of Aaron restores and reunites the Earth and the Earth Mother (Claire) to its human occupant and natural child, after 500 years of separation. The island itself has a yin spirit (a Dakini in Tibetan culture), a French woman named Danielle Rousseau (like John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau was father to the Enlightenment), who has been driven to madness because she "lost her baby." This is the core theme of the rise to the Renaissance as it found flower in philosophers Locke and Rousseau, discussed earlier in Madonna/Child portraiture in which the Christ Child, representing the human race, is snatched from the arms of the Divine Mother (or Earth Mother or Mona Lisa - who represents the Earth), causing 500 years of alienation, division and divorce between earth and human.

Jung and Pauli’s book on the subject of synchronicity is The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche, published in 1955. The tragic mine accidents taking place today in West Virginia and Saskatoon all in a sequence are synchronistic events reflecting the prevalent “returning to earth” myth – the prominent and directing myth in the culture today. Of course, no government officials will view this prognosis seriously, and increased shifts in the mines is an obvious contributor, but just the same, they should shut down the mines until they have reviewed all safety procedures as West Virginia is doing and look at safety for the miners with new eyes to insure their safety throughout the industry in The United States and Canada. Congress should also reconsider its proposed spending for Space exploration and use as a barometer for public interest in these efforts evidence in the pop culture. The only space story generating interest today is that of an empty space suit, silently orbiting the earth, which was thrown out of the international space station. Space exploration is a scientific venture. If adventurism and novelty are removed from these projects they will be safer and more successful.

Notes on Lost – 3rd Season, Episode One: Lost is an Aquarian Creation Myth

Ahead, Mr. Eko has been shown to be the man of unequivocal faith, while John Locke’s faith is all in the head. Locke fails, but Eko will bring the Dharma Inistative forward – Locke to be his second, following in Eko’s faith. Ben as a Christ figure is way interesting because although he is identified by the Christ wound and the Bros. K book, we see him and we know him to be a bad character – manipulative and self centered – he leaves his girl to die in the prison and Jack saves her. Easy to see that the entire Others cult is tired of Ben and the whole Dharma deal. But Mr. Eko does not see the bad parts & could take him – Ben – as the second Christ; the second face of Christ in the new Platonic month. FYI Lost is about a shift in Platonic Months, a 24,000 year journey around the sun under 12 signs of 2,000 years apiece. The procession started with the Birth of the Christ, 2,000 years ago. We have just left the Age of Pisces, the age of Christ and Mohammed (the dual fish in the zodiac sign) and entered the Age of Aquarius on January 1 of this year. From Madame Blavatsky to Salvador Dali, there has been the suggestion of the Second Christ as a Buddhist monk. Eko, most sincere of the faithful, is making the transition from traditional Roman Catholic to New Age Buddhist/Taoist (the 108 clicker suggests the Tibetan rosary which has 108 beads – the Dharma insignia is the Ba Gua, sing of the tai chi).

Notes on Lost: 10/18/06 episode - Hurley, Locke and Mr. Eko Encounter Spirit Bear They always call them Polar Bears, but like many things in this thoughtful TV show, it works on two levels. In Dharma culture, these two levels are Nirvana (the Unconscious or inner life) and Samsara (the Conscious or outer life). The white bear can best be understood as a Spirit Bear. Hurley fears the bear. Mr. Eko has a full encounter with the Spirit Bear. Spirit Bear is actually a white black bear which is sacred to the Haida Indians of British Columbia. Spirit Bear finds those in the forest who are psychologically Lost, as all the characters on the island are. When Spirit Bear finds you it will take you on a devastating adventure of transformation & awakening. You come out a transformed person with heightened sensitivities and spiritual awareness. Walt has had a Spirit Bear encounter. Now Mr. Eko has had an encounter with Spirit Bear in a cave (and encounter with the Earth). He finds a preternatural sense and is able to see John Locke’s true nature (“You will find them John because you are a hunter.”) Notice the cross has been torn from Eko’s neck. Eko’s faith is pure as it must be with a shaman, but he will find now a fuller context for his newly awakened state. Perhaps Locke is unable to undergo a Spirit Bear transformation as his faith is thin and based on intellectual properties. He needs “signs” and proofs. Mr. Eko’s faith is innate. Locke will anchor in Eko’s faith. Notice that Locke turns Mr. Eko's church into a sweat lodge, a house of transcendence of North American First People. Notice that Mr. Eko also loses his Jesus Stick to Desmond during the explosion. Desmond, Mr. Eko and John Locke are sure to evolve as the Three (see "Three Celestial Ones" on this blog). See Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kennedy, Obama, Webb, Sebelius: The New Democrats

By Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network on 1/29/08

I began my journals here several years ago when the country was at the breach between generations. We were at that classic 60-year shift between the third and fourth post-war generation; a time, say historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, when the country falls apart and reformulates – saved by the bell by the fourth and last post-war generation which begins the world again. In this case, they are called Millennials.

In her excellent response to the President’s State of the Union speech last night, Kathleen Sebelius, Democratic Governor of Kansas, made reference to this new generation in the abstract. In the last historical period the saving generation was dubbed “the Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw who named a book that and who understands and has written well about the Strauss & Howe theory of generational breaks and politics. Sebelius referred to Brokaw’s “greatest generation” but made the case that the “greatest generation” is not behind us but ahead of us.

And we have seen it awaken these last few weeks.

I first made the claim here several years go that the new generation could form a new political party and/or one of the existing parties could split in half and eventually jettison its baggage and fully restructure, much as the Whigs dropped from view in the mid-1800s and found a replacement in the Republican Party.

Ron Paul offered such a direction and long term he still does. As the Republicans go home in tatters, they will look for an entirely new direction. The recent bonding of Ron Paul and Richard Viguerie of the Christian Coalition promises to incubate this embryo into a new formula. Viguerie built the Christian Coalition into a vastly influential political movement which has now fallen to ruin. He took his first cues from Ronald Reagan and a perceived vision of states rights which proved an illusion when the Reagan Republicans went Federalist and sent America into debt beyond the wildest imaginings of Alexander Hamiltonian. Paul offers Viguerie a better fit and a new direction; one based on Jefferson and the organic Southern traditions rather than Hamilton.

Mike Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, did and still does offer a path; one of straight-ahead management, excellence and competence. But it hinges on events immediately before us. If Romney wins today in Florida and if Hillary wins Tuesday, Bloomberg, with a brilliant cast of “post partisan” operatives including the California Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, will offer a better option than both parties and could well find success in a country sick of war and fully disgusted now with the Clintons.

Another path opened up when Mark Warner, Governor of Virginia, considered briefly running for President several years ago. Warner offered a fork in the road for the Democrats.

Warner, Yankee-reared and Harvard Law School-educated, ran successfully in the Old Dominion by ignoring and condemning the polarization that had occurred in small-town Appalachia since the 1960s dividing people by class and religion.

We [Democrats] can’t take a pass on region or religion, said Warner.

“We’ve never believed that some people count and some people don’t,” he said. “So we need to stop acting that way. That’s not who we are, and we’ve got to make that clear.”

Warner and Sebelius were voted by Wall St. groups as two of the five best Governors in the country. Warner pioneered what he began to call “across the isle” politics, working with Republicans, working with Democrats, working with everyone willing to work. It was a new idea for the Democrats: Democrats with advanced management abilities and without ideology. My Governor here in New Hampshire, John Lynch, brought the same approach to New Hampshire with great success and was reelected in a landslide.

These Governors were joined by a new wave of Democrats in ’06, including Iraq veterans called Fighting Dems. Some, like Carol Shea-Porter of NH and Joe Sestak of PA, entered Congress in ’06. Jim Webb, the fierce new Senator from Virginia, was in the avant garde of this new movement. As Sebelius said last night, this new group in Congress has brought a new spirit of cooperation to Congress. Her speech last night brought the “across the isle” spirit of the New Democrats pioneered by Warner and Lynch to the mainstream. And in sequence with Jim Webb who did the post-State of the Union speech task last year, a theme begins to develop. No doubt Obama, who claims the mantle of “post partisanship,” will be looking to Sebelius when he is thinking of a Vice President.

Warner was also the first to breach the generational divide. He had a great appeal to a younger generation just rising to politics; Sebelius’s “greatest generation” just ahead. Jim Webb, novelist, warrior and former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, brought almost avatar qualities to the new generation. Political blogs like Daily Kos were given some large responsibility for his successful victory against big odds in Virginia.

But ‘twas ever thus: The old generation refused to move out of the way.

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, who coined the phrase Fighting Dems, suggested in an op-ed article in The Washington Post in May of 2006 that there were now two Democratic parties; old Democrats, and he mentioned Senator Clinton, and new Democrats, and he mentioned Russ Feingold, Senator from Wisconsin and Mark Warner, who had recently scored one and two in his monthly survey of readers. (Hillary hovered around zero.) In ’06 Moulitsas actively promoted the new wing of the Democratic Party, featuring a new Fighting Dem every week.

“Hillary Clinton has a few problems if she wants to secure the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination,” wrote Moulitsas in the Post article. “She is a leader who fails to lead.” She does not appear "electable." But most of all, he wrote, Hillary has a Bill Clinton problem: The New York senator is part of a failed Democratic party establishment -- led by her husband -- that enabled the George W. Bush Presidency and the Republican majorities, and all the havoc they have wreaked at home and abroad.

Moulitsas was right then and he is right today. The Clintons, who claim to have offered a “bridge to the 21st century” now offer a bridge back to the 20th century. In fact, the ’08 race is rapidly becoming a farce because of the Clintons. For anyone who cared to look, it was then and is now always about Bill as has became crystal clear these past few weeks.

Peggy Noonan of The Wall St. Journal writes that John McCain makes the mocking, red-faced Bill Clinton “look old.” The former President race-baiting Obama, is an embarrassment to the country. He could very well have lost the whole absurd drama for his wife (and himself) this past week.

The older Democrats are rapidly coming out of "Clinton Denial.” This week The Nation and key writers for The New Republic have turned against the Clintons, using phrases like, “maybe the conservatives were right about Bill all along.” So have virtually every important Democrat - Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and most important of all, Carolina Kennedy.

This week brought the major turning point for the Democrats. Ted Kennedy has found his status as venerable senior statesman. He was right about the war on Iraq from the beginning and now the fourth post-war generation is beginning to look at him as their Gray Champion; the senior statesman who stood up to Billary and a corrupt political machine and sent them to marginalia. This week endorsements for Barack Obama came in from every major newspaper in the country except The New York Times which endorsed Hillary but was trumped by Caroline Kennedy endorsing Senator Obama in the Sunday edition.

For people of the age which heard of the death of JFK over the loudspeaker in high school, nothing goes deeper than Caroline Kennedy. It goes to the beginning. We saw her and her brother as children in the White House at the time of our first awakening; the First Family was our family and the first children were our American family. And time is a savage: when C Span and The Jim Lehrer Newshour cut between the thin elegance and grace of Caroline Kennedy on the stage at American University with Uncle Ted, it held a dreary contrast to the Senator from New York, prowling the stage cornered and alone like a predator cougar, as aggressive as Big Nurse, a commissar or party aparatchik, threatening and demanding her entitlement, and virtually trying to steal Florida in defiance of party rules.

The contours of the New Democrats are now coming clear through a glass darkly: Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, Jim Webb and Kathleen Sebelius. A new party is awakening with a new generation. The old party is the Clintons and a couple of party-bound Kennedys, secondary family members whose names we can’t quite place.

The Democrats could finally push Elvis from the building and begin again with a fresh slate. The question now: Is there time before Super Tuesday?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pats 21, Chargers 12: Tom Brady and Randy Moss

The New England Patriots should never play at home under the full moon; ok for the Red Sox; they got the Old Soul and know how to deal (and pray). But there is the witch spirit in Boston; the reason they can't properly give directions or post signage (comes from those crazy Puritans, who stood up in church for 14 hours). Brady and Moss have become symbiotes; like Lennon and McCartney, Fred and Ginger – hence on, when they are apart they will always feel somewhat alone. The one is part of the other's Dance of Creation - the Irishman feeling the Confusion and Pain of his Dual Nature who lives on the Edge of Trouble, and on the Edge of Awakening. But Moss is the Celestial One: He is Hanuman, Trickster and Monkey King. Brady will never miss; Welker will always be on spot; but Moss extends the Creation to realms we thought not possible or never imagined - the most fragile and delicate of all artists and the Original Force from which all Creation arises. They will win big, big on Super Bowl - 20 points at least, and the Patriots will have rounded the Puritans’ square hole in New England and sent Karma, which has been meandering through Texas, the Deep South and Crazy Places these dark years since the death of JFK; a turn from which we here have never felt quite right – back to the True Home of the organic and original American Condition. In that, Tom Brady is Avatar and he has changed us. And likewise, Randy Moss.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Mike Bloomberg Quarter: Bloomberg, Christie Whitman, Sam Nunn, Arnold Schwarzenegger

By Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network on 1/15/2008

In politics, the gut has to be satisfied and that has been the job of Fox News these past few years. In a recent interview with Mike Huckabee, the Fox staff got a big kick out of it when Huckabee made a joke out of Fred Thompson, calling him constipated; telling Fox that Fred forgot to take his Metamucil in the last debate. Great for a laugh; great for bonding; satisfying to the gut. It is standard Huckabee charm; more than charm; it is a burgeoning new political genre – Ozark political shtick.

Bush is a gut President: The gut has been telling the Republicans since 1992 to git Saddam. In my old neighborhood of Tobaccoville, NC, where we lived for ten years, when they finally nabbed him someone xeroxed and photo-shopped a picture of Barney Fyfe driving a patrol car with Saddam in the back seat.

This bonding they are doing here with Huckabee will however finally destroy the Republican Party because the gut cannot lead and when it tries it will only lead to disaster as it has is Iraq: It is or should be axiomatic in war and management in general that the head leads and the heart and gut follow.

Huckabee, traveling New Hampshire with Chuck Norris by his side these past weeks has been big entertainment for us. But it has also brought us an aye chi wawa moment. Chuck Norris? Mike Huckabee? Aye chi wawa! We are talking about the President of the United States here.

We had such a moment in the early fifties as we settled into post-war complacency but with an out-of-control state department and an economy which threatened to spiral back into recession. Truman had already nuked the Japanese and State was panting to nuke Russia. Likewise, on the Democratic side, today we have people in the Presidential race with no war experience nor any management experience of any import whatsoever, casually threatening to nuke Islamic tribes which they suspect of hosting terrorists (and not folkloric Ozark hoots like Huckabee or too-tighted-wrapped civil servants like the Dulles boys; some of them and their direct advisors – at least two of them - with advanced degrees from Yale and Oxford).

Back then, a very decent old New Hampshire gentleman who happens to live three doors down from mine quietly seized the moment and teamed up with Governor Sherman Adams to draft Eisenhower and send him to the Presidency. At least for a term while we came off our WW II victory high which was rapidly leading us to Armageddon. (Those were the days. Sherman Adams, who became Eisenhower’s Chief of State, lost his position in a scandal over a fur coat. Today, a million dollar bribe barely raises an eyebrow to Clinton Tribe.)

It was a moment when the entire world threatened to spiral out-of control. We may be there again but this time Mike Bloomberg is watching. Talk of Bloomberg entering the Presidential race has reached the daily main stream after he appeared with Sam Nunn, David Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma, Christie Whitman, former Governor of New Jersey, Susan Eisenhower and others recently at a forum in Oklahoma. Bloomberg is watching Huckabee, Clinton, Romney and a political system which has descended into the politics of personality cult; two parties, each of its own family and each with a political machine which would put Boss Tweed to shame. And he has enough cash on hand to possibly put one or the other or both out of business.

But maybe what Bloomberg is planning is not so much a third party as a replacement party. There is really nothing left of the traditional Republican Party, at least as we came to understand it through men like Sherman Adams and even Nelson Rockefeller up here in the cold parts. And the Democrats had lost their purpose and perspective even before Clinton went Wall St. Today, there is no Democratic Party perhaps. There is only the Clintons. Picture a replacement party with Bloomberg as POTUS, Christie Whitman as VP, Sam Nunn as Sec. of State and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Chief of Staff. And picture a team like this with endorsements from George Schultz, Warren Buffett, Gary Hart and Ted Turner, running against Hillary on the one hand and Huckabee with Jeb Bush as VP on the other.

Much of the commentary on Bloomberg has centered on Ross Perot’s third party run against Bush Sr. and Clinton, and on Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose effort. I think both these comparisons misread the times, the Perot comparison in particular. Perot was a trickster who is said to have disliked the Bush family. The country was in a fairly healthy balance rising to that day. The only surprising thing about the Perot effort was that at one point he led with 39% in the polls and in 1992 he received almost 19% of the popular vote.

I was taken to the third party idea several years ago when Unity 08, led by former Independent Maine Governor Angus King and Jimmy Carter Chief Ham Jordan got together to try to find the middle in a political realm which was rapidly polarizing. Unity 08 is recently defunct, but rumor has it that part of it has morphed into a Draft Bloomberg group. I felt it was a good suggestion because the conditions in America in the 1990s had begun to resemble those in the 1840s and 1850s when the Republican Party was born and the Whigs collapsed. We saw internal contention in the 1800s between North and South all century - Jefferson expected invasion from the North from as early as 1797; New England moved to secession in 1812 at the Hartford Convention and Jefferson and Madison prepared secession papers for Virginia and Kentucky during the John Adams Presidency.

North/South contention arose again in our time and turned the states Red and Blue during the Clinton administration. But that contention (the so-called “culture wars”; Civil War by other means) had been building since the 1960s. In his very good biography of George Wallace, historian Dan Carter writes that the rise of the Christian Right from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty forum in Virginia was largely a nationalization of the Wallace idea, which was from the start a reaction to the Sixties and the perceived decadence of the hippies.

The Republicans of the 1860s restored the purpose and identity of a good part of the country and sent it back to the dynamics of governing. The Whigs had become effete, abstract, self absorbed and ineffective. Organic decline can be seen in both parties today; they have become the politics of families rather than political ideas and strategies; the politics of personality cults.

But at the same time in 1985 we also had a new movement going on in this country. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. writes that in the American tradition local governance has always been suspect and weak, and beholding to local interests. Federal politicians were always better. That may or may not have been so in an earlier day when Presidents would draw their staff and Cabinets from an elite WASP establishment, but by the 1990s we began seeing better governance in states than we were seeing in the federal government.

Suddenly, we were getting great local people including independent-minded Governors with advanced management instincts; Christie Whitman in New Jersey, Angus King in Maine, William Weld in Massachusetts and others in the South and Middle States, while the feds were descending into a culture of incompetence. That condition of regional excellence is advancing to new strides today with Mike Bloomberg in New York and Arnold Schwarzenegger in California.

Under the Bush administration it has become a maxim that when the feds try to do something big and important as they tried to do in New Orleans after Katrina and in Iraq, they will fail. But the Clinton administration should not be let off the hook either as the culture of incompetence got its head start with the Clintons. My personal highlights were the Rwanda slaughter in which a million were killed by knife, ax and club while the President did nothing. He later apologized and his apology for the death of a million satisfied his constituents and that was more or less the end of it. (I wonder how Telford Taylor would have felt about this?) Then on a trip to China, First Lady Clinton gleefully endorsed China’s “reaching out” to religious groups after visiting a phony synagogue – something the Chinese had set up for American political visitors such as her which no one actually went to - while the government was literally sweeping Taoists off the streets by the thousands never to be seen again and imprisoning and executing Tibetan Buddhists by the tens of thousands.

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell and Schwarzenegger have made the point that the federal government now holds the states back and retards their progress on environmental issues and in other areas. This is the sign of the times and the path of the American future.

The new vitality of the states and these new Governors brings us possibly to a turning point in our history. Perhaps we are becoming regionalized; perhaps we are outgrowing “one-size-fits-all-federalism”; perhaps we are becoming more Jeffersonian and less Hamiltonian. Whatever the reason, the good governors who started this movement were self-reliant and independent and Bloomberg as Mayor of New York and Schwarzenegger as Governor of California have advanced this same independence and set the model for other states and regions.

It is a good contrast experience to listen (posted on his site) to the California Governor’s State of the State the other day and compare the strength and discipline and positive charge of the “post partisan” California Governor to the tired rhetoric we have been hearing on the campaign trail and the tried-and-failed strategies of both parties hoping to repeat the past.

Bloomberg is an ace in the hole. The government cannot go another eight years with random, unresponsive and irresponsible management. Bloomberg, Whitman, Nunn and Schwarzenegger have the vitality and élan to reawaken us and to awaken the new generation which will bring us with character and fidelity into the new millennium.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bill Clinton is Boss Tweed: Recount the Votes in New Hampshire

for The Free Market News Network on 1/12/08

Kid, to run a crew like that you have to be completely rotten, Ben Wade, 3:10 to Yuma

Although it is obvious that the machine-counted votes in the heavily-populated industrial regions of the state will yield results different than those of more independent-minded voters here in northern NH where they are counted by hand, Dennis Kucinich’s call for a recount in New Hampshire should nevertheless be heeded.

We are seeing the same corrupt practices growing again today in the Democratic Party here in the Northeast that we saw in Boston in the '30s and '40s and in New York's ethnic neighborhoods during the Tammany Hall scandal. And we are seeing the same machine politicians.

Hollywood producer David Geffen has suggested that the Clintons are some of the most corrupt politicians ever to enter American politics.

“Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling,” he told Maureen Dowd of the NYTs.

Geffen clearly states what most Democrats have conveniently repressed: The Clintons are crooks. Possibly the worst in the modern history of the Democratic Party. In an interview with Dowd, Geffen cited a pardon granted to Marc Rich after he gave Bill Clinton a million dollars as a sampling of Clinton corruption which would even impress Boss Tweed.

Senator Clinton’s ride has been appalling from beginning to end; from her questionable winnings in real estate in Arkansas to her endorsement of China’s “reaching out” to religious groups in a trip to China as First Lady while China was literally sweeping Taoists off the streets by the thousands never to be seen again and imprisoning and executing Tibetans by the tens of thousands. Her Senate ride has been entirely scripted and her record on Iraq is indefensible.

The Democrats have been crippled by Clinton Personality Cult. Whether it is Bill tapping the undergraduates in the Oval Office or his undergraduate staff pulling the keys off the computers or Hillary stealing White House trinkets and historical artifacts on the way out the door as First Lady, for almost two decades now the Clintons have constantly put the Democrats in the position of defending the indefensible.

Now may be the time to review. When Bill left office in 2001, The New York Times asked prominent Democrats their opinions:

Robert B. Reich, Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, said: “The seemingly interminable Clinton scandals are not the Democrats biggest problem, and merely distancing themselves from Bill Clinton (and Hillary Rodman Clinton) won’t restore the party’s soul. The Democratic establishment in Washington is no longer connected to the grass roots. The national party is nothing but a fund-raising machine.”

Author Kevin Phillips said: “Ralph Nader was right about the Democratic Party losing its soul to big donors and corporate money.”

Warren Beatty, actor and political activist said: “The Democratic Party has abdicated much of its soul to raise the money necessary to be elected . . . the party must, above all, face the fact of its own culpability in the odor of the legalized bribery that constitutes the way we finance our campaigns.”

Bill’s disgraceful slander and character assassination of Barack Obama just prior to the New Hampshire primary last week, his New Hampshire and national operatives race-baiting and insinuating drug issues and Islamic sympathies, and Senator Clinton’s sleazy new site “Hillary is 44,” virtually a Swift Boat operation set up specifically to attack Obama, bring a new sense of élan to an old political game played best perhaps in my old neighborhood, South Boston.

Bill Clinton is Boss Tweed but his loyal following is not this time a recent immigrant group fighting for turf and survival, but his own dedicated personality cult of people his own age, which George Will correctly identifies with geezer musicians like Led Zeppelin pitifully trying to stage a comeback.

Roll up a jumbo, Bill. But don’t inhale.

It is always Personality Cult which sends the electorate to a wife, daughter or secondary family member. It won't hold. Like Peter the Great's Catherine, John’s Yoko, Mao's Madame Mao and Bill's Hillary, the afterglow gives a sense of loss in an age rapidly deteriorating to all but the adoring idolaters. The Shining House on the Hill is in hindsight and the age has descended into shadow.

Note to Democrats: Let go.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Hampshire Votes: (Waiting for Arnold, Bloomberg and Obama)

By Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network on 1/9/08

Hillary wins NH: America is descending to politics of the heart rather than the head; the politics of families rather than parties; the politics of personality cult; the return to generational tribe and monarch and the abandonment of commonweal and republic - that which you would expect in Spain under Franco, in Pakistan under Bhutto, in Argentina with Fernandez and today in America under Bush or Clinton.

A constant problem here in New Hampshire comes from the recent movement of people across the border from Massachusetts to the industrial cities in the south of New Hampshire. They are cautious and defensive – afraid of change, afraid of life, simply afraid. They come from industrial Massachusetts and are representative of a working class people who have risen a little ("upper working class") and are terrified of losing their slight purchase and can’t go no further and don’t want to.

If you took away those southern counties which I have said should be renamed North Massachusetts (or maybe North South Boston), Obama would have won (the real) New Hampshire in a landslide. Same in '04 - Wes Clark was way ahead in the northern regions and Howard Dean was doing well, then when they voted in the southern counties it was all John Kerry. I really don't see these dynamics so fully expressed elsewhere other than the Northeast and particularly in the extended Boston region. I have opposed the New Hampshire primary altogether because today it only gives a picture of people of post-industrial Massachusetts and how they vote when they move across the New Hampshire border to avoid paying taxes and to get away from black people.

I voted at 8 am for Obama and all morning there were calls and calls and visits to the door - all supporting Obama. The crowds were overwhelming to see Obama - (and as the Washington Post reported, they walked out on the Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love, who brought the Big Hair to the same building in Hanover).

New Hampshire is certainly the quirkiest state in New England and probably in the country. We always seem drawn to the outsider and it is not a surprise that we in the quirky part of the state would go for Obama. What I find amazing is that we are confluent in this with conservative, consistent, conventional, white, faith-based, uniform, farm folk, Okie from Muscogee, did I say white (? - 97%) Iowa.

If an African-American from Chicago's South Side who still has sisters in Kenya can win in Iowa I don't see why he can't win everywhere. If Iowa no longer cares about race we are a free country. I think it might be easier for my friends and family in Tobaccoville, NC, and Poplar Camp, VA, to vote for a black man today than it was to vote for a Catholic in 1960.

But frankly, Iowa's heartland farmers seem to be less afraid of a black man from Chicago than my cousins at the bottom of New Hampshire holding signs saying "Irish for McCain" and what not all over national television these past few days.

This is the politics of Fear and Anti-Hope (which is right to the edge of Panic and Despair), and Clinton, who calls Obama’s hopeful visions “unrealistic expectations” is certainly its avatar. It is a celebration of no-can-do America and the Culture of Incompetence. It is likely to pull a good crowd in the post-industrial Northeast, where most everyone had a father or grandfather, aunts, great aunts and uncles who worked in the cotton mills (I have at least 31 possibly half of whom died from their tasks – the rest were cops and Vaudeville performers).

This quote from my local newspaper this morning by an excellent political reporter, John P. Gregg, gets to the point:

"Sullivan County (bottom of the state - bq) County Treasurer Cynthia Sweeney, who is in her mid-60s, said she voted for Clinton in part because the youthful Obama ‘scares the daylights of me’ and reminded her of ‘those same young Turks’ (Islamic slur? - bq) Sweeney blamed for the decline of her former employer . . . . ‘It's the attitude of we know, we can do it better, get out of our way and let us do it.' said Sweeney . . ."

I was raised up here with South Boston people but spend half of my life in Virginia and North Carolina. People outside forget, but - particularly in the industrial cities of northern New England - time has left us behind to allow the South, the Southwest and the West to rise economically and culturally. I did not find this same general negative orientation in North Carolina or Virginia possibly because there was no such vast industrial class sent upward in so short a time; only two generations.

I'm feeling two things at this point:

One: The South is still a rising boat and rising boats don't express this cautionary tale we saw from Clinton idolaters last night in New Hampshire’s industrial cities; the South and the newly empowered economic regions will rise to Hope and not succumb to Fear and the Democrats there will rise to Obama and Edwards.

I am looking forward to South Carolina and the South primaries. One of the things that happened in Iowa is that black people nationally had pledged to Hillary in loyalty to the Clintons prior to Iowa thinking that Obama didn't really have a chance. Then when he won Iowa it was clear that he did have a chance and he does. So Obama's support went up 20% in South Carolina among blacks overnight and in a state like that which is half black, it will make a difference. Iowa should still bring it to South Carolina in spite of New Hampshire.

There is also rapidly growing up here in NH and I think everywhere a stark generational turning; a contrast between Bill Clinton - he no longer draws crowds - and Obama (they faint). As reporter Gregg said in his article, we actually LOVE Obama and Michelle now in the northern valleys. I think that is correct (in the mountains but not in the southern cities). The Clinton supporters up here yesterday all use the same phrasing - I heard this again and again on the C Span reports - they want to bring back the past because, it was " . . . better then." So this struggle between Clinton and Obama is a struggle between the past and the future and it cannot be seen any other way. As always, the engine of that struggle is generational conflict. Earth to Clintons: the young generation always wins.

Second Thought: Mike Bloomberg, who appeared with former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia and David Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma, at a conference in Oklahoma last week to encourage “post partisanship” was widely thought to be there to begin a movement toward a third-party bid for the Presidency. Wisely, he left quickly when he saw Obama's flame ignite in Iowa.

When Obama hatched in Iowa, Bloomberg saw his gate close. Then last night he saw Hillary open the gate for him again.

Bloomberg is all about being the anti-thesis to Billary's Politics without Passion – a weird political aberration spawned from rapid and uniform post-war birth rates and the subsequent inevitable demographics - which John Kenneth Galbraith called a “Culture of Contentment.” And he is from the same neighborhood as my Irish cousins in Boston who vote for Hillary. The gate opened again for Bloomberg to return us to mature and rational governance and the enlightened tradition from which all our Boston tribes emerged. If he wants to do this he might bring along his best bud, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Yesterday afternoon, when we were voting up here in New Hampshire and listening to the Silver Tongued Devils cautioning us to go forward without hope and rely on the sure ways of the past, Californians were listen to their dynamic Governor give his State of the State speech.

“Sometimes you have to be daring because the need is so great,” said the Governator.

If Obama is elected he might first hire Bloomberg and Arnold. They are all three on the same page and live in the same millennium. If Bloomberg is elected he might first hire Obama and Arnold. Such a grouping would satisfy the “post partisan” vision and leave the pessimists in the dust.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hillary’s "House Negroes"

By Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network

I’s a free nigra, just the same I follow Massa Frank. Pomp, the Free Negro side kick of Frank Reade, Jr., pulp fiction adventurer of the 1870s

We are people who were formally Africans who were kidnapped and brought to America. Our forefathers weren’t the pilgrims. They didn’t land on Plymouth Rock. The rock was landed on us. Malcolm X

One of the most interesting aspects of the Iowa results is the surprise and enthusiasm of conservative commentators – David Brooks and even Rush Limbaugh – for Barack Obama. Perhaps they are not old enough to experience an authentic political awakening like that which occurred with the rise of John F. Kennedy.

Ronald Reagan is their closest memory, but that was different. That was stabilization and a return to reason by a country marred by chaos and assassination which for a dozen years before was making America ungovernable. We are at a critical change now like that between Eisenhower and Kennedy and again between Kennedy and Reagan. Those of us who heard the Obama stump speech a month before anticipated win in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those of us who brought our kids: Mine had never, not for a moment, shown any interest in any politician. But they rushed the stage after Obama’s stirring oration; legend now even before the New Hampshire primary.

Perhaps the long campaign cycle has done some good after all. It took a long time to get to know Ron Paul who at the end of the day gutted what was left of the Republican Party, leaving its entrails strewn across the Plains. It took a long time to get to know Obama. With Paul, the heart which brought forth the Republican rise of Ronald Reagan has shifted. Ron Paul is the new ride, leaving Fox News, the Rottweiler Republicans, Richard Viguerie and the Christian Right in the dust. And with Obama the political world begins again.

In hindsight, Senator Clinton was possibly the best contender for Obama. Her husband has brought the silvered Everly Brothers hair up here at every instance and it is clear by now to everyone up here that this is Bill’s ride. His is the Elvis curse; he refuses to leave the building and will be a continuing embarrassment to himself and to the country- like Elvis in Winter in the god suit in Los Vegas - to the bitter end.

Polls up here and elsewhere show Hillary to be the candidate for women over 40 – 45% of whom support her in New Hampshire. The ads that come to my mailbox every day to pitch Hillary always feature such a woman; neither old nor young, neither particularly smart looking nor dumb. But all white, all women, all from the same moment in time between old and new but not either.

Clinton’s was exclusively a generational package. It scorned the older generation and kicked it aside – including the wise men and great men in the party like John Kenneth Galbraith and George Kennan. And it is fully apparent to the young ‘uns that they have no relevance to the Clintons. Voters under 30 voted 60% for Obama in Iowa.

Reports up here in New Hampshire now are all about the calm in Obama’s camp while the Clintons are in a panic. As always, they send in Bill – described this week as a “relic” by one of the papers. 40% percent of Hillary’s bid was the free ride which came from marketing potential by venues like CNN and Fox – CNN had at least three stories about Hillary “not running” even before the ’06 races. It’s gonna be a hard rain with these guys. But if you watch generational demographics which would occur naturally on say Daily Kos, a young person’s political blog, Hillary had a zero rating as of last summer and the Clintons never had a chance.

Like the tides, the generations cannot be stopped: When Obama passed Clinton last April in fundraising; when Mobil gas put an Obama look alike in their gas ads last February, the Fates had cast their spell and even the Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love can’t save the crusty vessel.

The Democrats began a new ride in the world when Jim Webb was elected to the Senate in Virginia in ’04. It is Webb, who would make a great VP with Obama; it is Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost a race for the Senate in Illinois; it is Mark Warner, who pioneered “post partisanship” or “across the isle” politics in Virginia before Arnold stole the fire; it is John Lynch, governor of New Hampshire who follows in Warner’s path with enormous success; it is Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania and Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire. It was a small flame cupped in the hands in ’06 before the Clintons attempted to snuff it out.

Too late. History begins with one person and only one or two are remembered: Washington, Lincoln, Grant and in our time Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan. And now Obama and in a year – maybe by February – no one else will matter.

Bill, Hillary and myself grew up with the fierce people; the best and most beautiful among us died before 30 and if they didn’t die of their own passion they were gunned down, like Malcolm X and John Lennon. But strangely enough, the fierce ones, more than the rest of us, seemed to die anyway, like Otis Redding, killed in a plane crash and Jerry Rubin, run over by a car. So today it is odd – even tiring – to see a generation remembering itself in a selection of blue-eyed, blond mousy hair, slightly over middle-aged women who all looked like they went to Mount Holyoke or Wellesley – segregated schools for rich white girls back when – pitching Hillary for President. In Obama’s great stump speech he says they want him to wait until the passion is boiled out and this, they say, is experience. (Experience? Was not the medical health care management plan of Hillary the totality of her White House experience? Was it not the greatest federal management fiasco of modern times before Katrina? Was her fierce support of the war on Iraq for two years leadership?)

But what I want to know is how can a group of black Baptist preachers in the South unite to show their support for Hillary at the historic moment when a black man is running a juggernaut, in the words of David Brooks, to the Presidency of the United States. In the days of the fierce people, Malcolm X, the fiercest of the lot, used to call people like this “House Negroes.” They are free men, as Pomp says, just the same they vote for massa. He’s got the silver hair. He plays the saxophone. And he loves the colored girls don’t cha know. And to show their loyalty, they’ll even vote for the Arkansas governor’s missus. “He loved his master more than the master loved himself,” Malcolm said of the House Negro, and identified fully with the master: “If the master was sick, the House Negro would say, ‘What’s the matter, boss, we sick?’” That will be something to tell the grandchildren.

When I saw Obama speak up here last month I knew our country and the world which has been waiting us for the last ten or more years was on to a new awakening. And the three people who came to my mind were the fierce people who died in their moment way back: Otis Redding, Malcolm X and Jack Kennedy. They are all different but they shared a moment that lit something which remains: Otis Redding brought the soul of a sleeping South; a soul which had formed faith, love and oratory in the South white and black for hundreds of years to Detroit and to the rest of us and made us a part of that soul; Malcolm who was not afraid to die and not afraid to live; the Field Negro, he called himself, who came to push the House Negroes out of their fawning, complacent and submissive spot in the white man’s parlor. And Jack Kennedy who brought élan and world spirit and a change in America from Head to Heart.

These three were prelude to the moment; to this moment which awakened in the world again last week in Iowa. And we will be finished for awhile with politicians who hire technicians and stylists to teach them how to smile. And the world will begin again with Obama whose smile reveals an inner state of joy as its soul’s beginning and primal life force.

The first President we have had who had that smile since JFK.