January 26, 2010

Democracy Blues

“Democracy is dead!” let us cry, let us shout,
Democracy ist tott, let us whale, let it out.   
Our North, our South, our East and West,
Our working week and Sunday rest,
It’s dead, “its deeeaaaaad!!!” in theory and in deed,
Our noon, our midnight, our talk, and our lead.
So let airplanes and fighter jets, and even a drone
Go moaning way up high, yes, and make known,
By scrawling on the sky, “You suckers ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”  

Not exactly Auden.
But consider the latest Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, as the last nail in the coffin. As pointed out by The Center for Public Integrity, the still-existing ban on foreign involvement in political advertising and elections does not refer to corporations operating within the US but are controlled by those who are overseas. “With the corporate campaign expenditure ban now being declared unconstitutional,” says J. Gerald Hebert, executive director and director of litigation at the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center, “domestic corporations controlled by foreign governments or other foreign entities are free to spend money to elect or defeat federal candidates.” As Greg Palast writes, “there is nothing that stops, say, a Delaware-incorporated handmaiden of the Burmese junta from picking a Congressman or two with a cache of loot masked by a corporate alias.” The implications of what Palast refers to as the “hidden money funding, whether foreign or domestic” unleashed by the Court’s 5-4 decision means that foreign investors, like the Chinese, who hold mortgages on our Treasury will raise alarm about the costs of government spending, and have a direct inroad into buying the White House and Congress for opponents to government spending.

January 22, 2010


de•moc•ra•cy \di-‘mäk-rə-sē\ n from the ancient Greek : literally rule by the people 1 a : in practice confined to the perfunctory routines and formality of elections which every four years or so coronate figure heads for several of the competing oligarchies  b : a thoroughly compromised regime that is bought, sold, and administered by those eager to get on with business once the campaigns are over, the floors swept, and the balloons popped  2 : a slogan worth aspiring to if only to appease the better angels of our nature, disgruntled and despondent they may get at times : heard occasionally during PBS pledge drives : seen as a halo worn by Ken Burns and Doris Kearns Goodwin  3 : found increasingly in “developing” states around the world  4 : a wild animal  5 : a howling mob
de•moc•ra•cy \di-‘mäk-rə-sē\ n from the ancient Greek : literally rule by the people 1 : an ignoble lie  2 a : one of many simulations invariably displayed to hide its disappearance  b :  the selling of populist packaging and garish noise : nihilism  3 a : a rarely used punch-line told in the lingua franca of an elite class  b : an understated yet celebratory nod to autocracy, the willful disregard of laws, exploitation, powerlessness, and often human misery. See SCHADENFREUDE 4 a : a Muslim woman from the “developing” world with blue ink on her thumb  5 :  a creature born in infirmity but taken off life support at an early age to be embalmed and dressed soon thereafter for customary viewing during the recital of public opinion polls and election season. 
de•moc•ra•cy \di-‘mäk-rə-sē\ n from the ancient Greek : literally rule by the people 1 a GET BACK TO WORK

January 7, 2010


“Nothing in the world can be compared to the human face. It is a land one can never tire of exploring. There is no greater experience in a studio than to witness the expression of a sensitive face under the mysterious power of inspiration. To see it animated from inside, and turning into poetry.”
Carl Theodor Dreyer, “Thoughts on My Craft”

"The artist alone sees spirits. But after he has told of their appearing to him, everybody sees them."                    
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
But what of hearing voices, sounds?  

The oratorio you hear was written by Richard Einhorn in 1994 for Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent-movie masterpiece, La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, starring Reneé Falconetti. Just turn down the volume to see Dreyer’s vision as he conceived it….I highly suggest watching this cinema classic in its entirety in full-screen. Here is its finale.