Sunday, February 18, 2007

Random Photos and Remarks


1. Mother and Child, the first relationship – and then …

2. Family and Father,

3. Father and Son, and

4. Brothers and Sisters.

5. Consider how the human has been altered to become a cog in a machine in some gigantic system – turning humans to ants.

6. Do not be dominated by the computer, or other mechanical devices; they are but servants to our Humankindness, which is our true Genius.

7. And let us not linger, mourning, amid the ghosts that linger in the new morning.

8. People can learn.

9. Think of such a Human Nature and realize it in political will.

10. Resentment and Murder is the alternative.

11. Conquer technology with brains, by not being afraid to use it quickly and get the growing pains behind you: Get out into the bloody Bloom of things.

12. The voice of an Elder [such as Margaret Meade]

13. Our Family is the Earth.

14. We cannot save the Earth unless we save the nation. We cannot save the nation unless we save the family – the larger one: It is smaller than nation-size, and larger than little-white-bungalow-size (families extended and families maverick – our social and political network).

15. There must be ways to remember, without despair, our dangerous place.

Mural off Gough Street, San Francisco (on Eddy?):

Images of the tiny person visible in the peanut-sized embryo make one marvel, but the woman who brings that embryo to term will not be taking on a peanut-sized task; after 18 years of parental labors and obligations the cumulative weight of that little peanut will be equal to the weight of 500 elephants. Not a fate that should be imiposed on anyone who does not want to take on such a mountain-sized commitment.

I know that if I had the patience, some of the messages in Rap Music might be meaningful, but I find the repetitious rhythm and the sing-song rhyming boring as hell. "This is the very false gallop of verses," a Shakespeare character said of doggerel rhyming, "Why do you infect yourself with them?" (Touchstone, Act III, scene ii, As You LIke It)

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Hoping they will support Speaker Pelosi in the following matters, I am sending this letter also to my Representative Barbara Lee, Representative John Murtha, and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

Ms. Pelosi:

Having a progressive woman from our Bay Area elevated to the high position of Speaker of the House gives us such great hope, but that hope arouses great anxiety: You have the chance to do so much, and I am certain you will do your best, but I hope you can bear the fact that those who should most be on your side will be your most extreme gadflies – and I hope that will not prevent you from hearing what they have to say. I suppose I am among them when I say that I fear you will not recognize it when you have put on the blinders of those who live and work within that globe-embracing, yet insular and provincial world, the Beltway.

So willing to state your positions strongly, with such refreshing candor, will you use that determined attitude on behalf of a great “new” place beyond the political machinery that is in that place? Are you too much a lifelong product of that very machinery (and too much affected by longtime personal prestige and property) to really understand the intense needs and problems of many citizens (and soldiers) who have only you, or street demonstrations, on their side?
Can we place our hopes with you and your cohort?

(1) Although it would be the last thing members of either the Democratic or the Republican parties will want to support, I hope you will not force the public to go through long petition drives to establish ranked voting for national positions, including the presidency, the Senate, and the House. You must recognize that the two-party impasse is strangling us. With ranked voting, people could show their support for alternate candidates with alternate ideas (that members of the major parties will always fear to support for fear of losing elections) so that votes for someone like a Ralph Nader will not cause the defeat of someone like an Al Gore. In their current state of frustration, people will continue to make such dangerous pyrrhic choices so that you yourself as an individual citizen lose as the rest of us are losing. Propose ranked voting, and you win by winning great approval from American citizens for acting beyond fear; it would be a plus for you and the Democratic Party.

(2) Perhaps this is an “aside,” but I hope you and the representatives and senators to whom I am sending copies of this letter will ask that the existence of two films be placed in the Congressional and/or Senate records. It would be better yet if you could set up times and places for senators and representatives to watch them, or could get PBS stations to show them. I hope you have seen or will see WHY WE FIGHT and THE GROUND TRUTH (I believe Representative Murtha is supportive of the latter). You might mention that THE GROUND TRUTH would indicate the nature of true “support for troops,” removing them as soon as possible from their experience in Iraq, destructive to them and destructive for the average Iraqi. (I also hope you will help in any way you can Lt. Ehren Watada, the first officer to refuse to serve in an illegal war.)

(3) Typically, our liberal politicians decry the diminishing numbers in “the Middle Class,” the implicit message being that everyone below the middle class is not worth our concern. While democracy depends on a thriving and healthy middle class (although those who feel no pinch are apt to have little empathy—that is, will be Republicans), acceptance of the current mass of homeless people is proof that our democracy has gone into permanent decline as I cannot see how a great democracy will go on tolerating a heartless attitude toward any group of its citizens. (Pockets of the Great Depression, recreated, have existed in the U.S. for so long now that people think it is a normal part of U.S. life.) Are we deluding ourselves to think that those in the American political system, so tied up with big money and the powerful, can comprehend the extent of our nation’s cold-hearted nature? Can that cynicism and hard-heartedness be part of the reason why U.S. service people are committing extensive atrocities in Iraq? End dehumanization.

(4) Along those lines currently would be assuming a politic attitude about the war in Iraq. To themselves, I am sure the Republicans sound very “adult” and “responsible” about the war in Iraq. Getting firsthand reports, or seeing the reality in a film like THE GROUND TRUTH, demolishes the bland patriotic sentiments and rhetoric the Republicans use to promote the insane invasion and occupation of Iraq. You need something so far beyond a “compromise” with the Republican Party. You need to conceive something that so clearly leaps beyond the sophomoric debating society mentality of the Democrat/Republican game – another reason why you might do your best to see a wide broadcast of THE GROUND TRUTH and WHY WE FIGHT. Few will listen to sweet Dennis Kucinich, and I dare not hope that his Department of Peace will come to pass any time soon, but someone with a more forceful manner needs to let the public know that nothing short of a psychological and cultural revolution will resolve our problems (supplanting our culture of violence and its perpetuation). Unfortunately, revealing the backward thinking of Republicans may be necessary. Metaphorically, if not really, we need something like a split screen presentation – the images of THE GROUND TRUTH on one side, and the empty macho rhetoric of Republicans arguing warrior mentality on the other side.

(5) Speaker Pelosi, you may have already become inextricably a part of that giant collective mind-octopus of the beltway where politicians and journalists, no matter what their private differences, become members of the same club (out of some simple-minded version of civilized dialogue – always backing away from the prickliness of truth), becoming part of that one world in the beltway that has no connection to citizens of the U.S. There is a great desperation in U.S. citizens that only an empathetic passion in their representatives can address or respond to adequately, but such true empathy does not exist in the watered-down getting-along of “My good friend, my worthy opponent,” where both sides of the political dialogue are on the same side, more in love with their mutual membersip in the power club than dedicated to the service of the average American who elected them – or to the average citizen in all territories on earth that America occupies or controls.

(6) Speaking of that, it is time to get rid of the slave status of the citizens of Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico and the other members of the so-called U.S. commonwealth: We have a mass of citizens who are denied the small portion of power that other citizens are allowed. Those exclusions create festering wounds. Those exclusions also make members of the U.S. commonwealth the victims of U.S. military and drug experiments (the newspapers recently celebrated how a new rocket launched from the U.S. landed successfully in the Marianas) – Ask Puerto Ricans what they have suffered at the hands of the U.S.

(7) I guess I prefer “progressive politics,” looking ceaselessly and always toward improvements extending into the future. I hope that if you are a “liberal,” you will not let the word stand for “half-assed progressive.” The problems faced by the planet and the U.S. do not allow for any more pussyfooting around. Don’t learn that the hard way by helping us to continue to drift into national impotence – and crimes against other nations and the earth itself.

(8) Was there once a democracy? Was I too much a child when I thought the FDR era was great, and can I trust that my memory is accurate that the urban school I attended was a clean place where families liked to gather, as if it were a town hall as much as a school? Have you been in any urban schools lately? Seen the filthy bathrooms? Felt the oppressive fear in the halls?

As a child, I witnessed the Democratic Party as experienced by my parents in the interwoven complex of Gary, East Chicago, and Chicago, and all the cities around and in between them called “the Region,” where local Democrats were part of a system that allowed local problems to move up through the system so that solutions could work their way back down. That was some form of democracy where every voice could, in some sense, be heard.

Now we have the imperial state, so that someone like me feels there is no way that what he has to say can reach those who can see that problems are addressed and solved. It feels as if we live in the world of Kafka’s GREAT WALL OF CHINA, where someone with an important message for the Emperor travels a long distance with his message, passes through many gates, but can never reach “the distant Emperor” and never speak his message into the ear of the Emperor – a message that might even be some kind of solution, not a cry for help.

Our government has become that Emperor that will never truly hear the voice of ordinary citizens as there is actually no true set-up that would represent democratic participation with the permanent presence of the electoral college (our only hope being organization through the internet, and we know the day will come soon when the powerful will destroy that breath of freedom also).

(9) Of great importance is the elimination of President-As-Dictator. It is maddening to witness a President who is a destroyer on such a vast scale that the people of the earth will never forgive or forget the America-as-Criminal-Oppressors he has made of us – yet he presents his actions in a manner that is mind-numbing and banal – the stunted soul at the center of the horrendous ramifications of his regime: So why does anyone now wonder how Hitler held power? And who are closest to helping Bush hold such destructive power? You.

Listening to President Bush’s Valentine’s Day press conference, I was compelled to write the following that I hope will provide you a laugh at the end of this sober letter:


An unknown group kidnapped the President of the United States. When they removed the hood from his head, he recited from a piece of paper, as ordered, “We will not permit Iran to have any kind of nucular program.”

The leader of the kidnappers said, “Nuclear – Say ‘nuclear.’”

“Nucular,” said the President.

After a few more attempts, the kidnapper said, “Now – pronounce it one syllable at a time: new – klee – er.”

“Nucular,” said the President.

“So it’s true – No matter how many people explain to you how you are wrong, you will stubbornly continue in an error forever.”

-- Jim Eilers

Sent to

Senator Barbara Boxer (1) 1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 240, San Francisco, CA 94111. (2) 112 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (1) One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104. (2) 331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative John P. Murtha (1) 647 Main Street, Suite 401, Johnston, PA 15901. (2) 2423 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515-3812

Representative Barbara Lee (1) 1301 Clay Street, #100N, Oakland, CA 94612. (2) 2444 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515-0509

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (1) 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 14th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102. (2) 235 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515-0508

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Westfield Centre

The long view in the new Westfield Centre:

The old Emporium dome survives in the Westfield Centre, that also houses the new Bloomingdale's: