Saturday, June 20, 2009

Zen and the Art of Fly Smashing......

President Obama made Letterman, the Daily Show and others this week by pausing during an interview and smashing a fly.

PETA went nuts.....Fox News went nuts and accused Obama of hypocrisy somehow.

I like PETA way more than Fox News.....well, until Fox produces supermodels clothed in lettuce writhing around in steel cages in daylight in Times Square anyway......

Even so.....take a fucking valium, Pam. Baywatch was sponsored by Hormel and McDonalds.

A couple of years back, my guy....the Dalai Lama....did the same thing during a TV interview and got no press whatsoever.

I say "My guy" because I love the Dalai Lama. He is a charismatic religious figure who is beyond the normal dogmatic religious bullshit. And, as an Irish Catholic....I know all about dogmatic religious bullshit.

Especially after a week of being personally plagued by dogmatic, ignorant Cachagua Christian fuckheads....thinking about the Dalai Lama is like taking a smoke break.

When a Dalai Lama dies, the supreme council of the Tibetan Buddhist crew gets together and does a physical and spiritual search all over the Kingdom for the new guy.

My Dalai Lama.....#14....was born in some crappy town in a crappy house in Bumfuck, Tibet in 1935. His original name was Lhamo Dhondrub. No loss there on becoming "Dalai Lama".

The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve and enlighten the people. Lhamo Dhondrub was, as Dalai Lama, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso - Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the Wishfulfilling Gem or simply Kundun - The Presence.

If you ever get to meet the guy.....he really is The Presence. I hear Bill Clinton has this same kind of aura....but Bill chose to use his gifts mostly in trailer parks. Buddhists are supposed to be abstemious and austere in their personal habits.....but, as the Dalai Lama says : "Everything in moderation....especially moderation."

The Dalai Lama appreciates a rich, malo-lactic Chardonnay. His brother is more of a good gin guy (Boodles), and the sister-in-law can get all crazy and go for a Paso Zin or another thick red wine, if there is one on offer. They have been in Carmel. They have people here. If you are nice, you would donate to the Tibetan Nuns' Project. Or at least buy a calendar.

Anyway.....a bunch of years ago Geraldo Rivera actually got an interview with the DL in Dharamsala at the DL's residence in exile in India.

Geraldo lived across the street from my brother on Long Island....and, to be generous....Geraldo is not yet an enlightened being who has chosen to be reborn to serve the people. Well.....maybe the people on Fox.

Geraldo's interview with DL is excruciating to watch. It was like watching my Cachagua Christian Dumbfuck talk Chinkee talk to Jeremy from Tassajara.

Geraldo: "Why do you think your beliefs are better than say the Christians or Jews?" (Geraldo had to mention the Jews because he lives on Long Island....not that any Jews watch Fox).

DL: "I don't actually think our beliefs are better than anyone else's. Our practice works very well for our people....and many people. But, really.....I am open to suggestion. If anyone has a better idea, I am happy to listen. I welcome instruction and inspiration."

You don't get this kind of talk from Pat Robertson....or Monsignor McMahon.

In the course of the interview there was a fly....several flies....buzzing around Geraldo and the Dalai Lama. It was hard to tell which was more annoying to the viewer....Geraldo, or the fly.

As Geraldo pushed his silly format, and the fly buzzed around.....the Dalai Lama waved it away, and succeeded in responding politely.

Finally, Geraldo pushed his dumbest question yet....and the Dalai Lama smacked his hands together and crushed the fly.

Geraldo nearly leaped from his seat: "Omigod....I mean, Your Holiness, Your Excellency.....I thought Buddhism was about reverence for life, and the value of the spirituality of all creatures.....How can you, the leader of all Tibetan Buddhists.....kill a fly on international television?"

The Dalai Lama replied:

"Well.....I gave him three chances......."

Irony is not part of the Fox repetoire, obviously.

And you gotta love the DL.....

Oh....that is Che Guevara's granddaughter posing in rev gear for a PETA ad.

Letter from a Bride.....

Dear Mike:

Danny and I would like to be a part of your memorial event on the beach from here on out..Danny is former military and his father served in Vietnam. In fact, great story. People always ask if Dannys legal name is Daniel when it is actually Danny Brian Christensen on his birth certificate. His father, Gary was a newlywed with his first son on the way. Gary had just been accepted on a golf scholarship to some prestigious school and was expected to be a professional golfer. However, when his two best friends signed up to go to vietnam he immediately did the same. He told his young wife that he was the strongest of the three and someone had to watch out for them. Danny and Brian never made it back. In fact they were gone before his son was born and thus his name.

Gary was far less than an ideal father when he returned to war. In fact, Danny never really got a chance to be close to him until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year. When he passed last November, Dannys mother wrote him a letter it said " I only wish you could have known your father before the war, it changed him. It may not have taken his life, but it stole his soul... please forgive him".

Nuff said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Panetta: Sicilian for "I have no testicles......"?

You could look it up..... My Sicilian isn't that good.

I am a pretty old guy....born just four years after Truman dropped the atom bombs and ended World War II. I remember the first TV's....tiny fuzzy things in giant mahogany boxes that mostly showed pro wrestling and ice hockey and boxing from the Olympic Auditorium in LA.

And war movies.....I always tell my fussy Republican clients that we are not Martha Stewart, we are Jimmy Stewart: and it is a WWII black-and-white bombing movie.

We played as kids in the orange groves of Orange County (you probably thought the name of the County came from bad tanning salons, huh?) with stick rifles and machine pistols. We had little plastic army men we would melt with magnifying glasses when we ran out of ants.

I spoke some German long before Frau Sigrid found me: "Raus!" "Hande hoch!" "Unterzeeboot."

And we knew all the ditties that somehow kids always teach each other. Do sociologists track this stuff?

"Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts........"

And: "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me....I'm going to go to the garden and eat some worms!" sung by kids who have no idea what a "garden" is.

The Bosco Song is probably more obscure: "I hate Bosco....Bosco's bad for me; Mommy put it in my milk to try and poison me; I fooled Mommy.....I put it in her tea; No there's no more Mommy left to try and poison me!"

And the war stuff: "Whistle while you work; Hitler was a jerk; bit his weenie, tiny eeny; now it will not work....."


"Hitler had one big ball.....
Goering had two but they were small.....
Himmler had something similar....
And Goebbels had no balls at all!"

Even six year olds in Orange County knew that Hitler had one testicle bit off while trying to piss on a goat as a ten year old (there is a pretty interesting "One Nut Club" in history....JFK for instance); Goering ran the Luftwaffe that tried to shoot down Jimmy Stewart; Himmler killed the Jews; Goebbels told the lies that made it all possible.

I am reflecting on this as I read about our dear local Neon Leon Panetta once again tracking back into Torture Land. Neon Leon is the point man in the Obama Administration's efforts to put oil on the waters.....and deflect inquiry into and criticism of an American President's having acted.....well, like a Nazi. Concentration camps. Horrific torture leading to deaths.

That kind of thing.

Routine horrific torture leading to deaths.

Amongst all our other problems.....most Americans, me included.....could give a rat's ass about more embarrassing photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo coming to light.

Why stir up the natives, after all......Fuck those raghead motherfuckers.

Trust me.....Sigma Chi's fraternity intiation was much worse.

Abu Ghraib had Dobermans.

Sigma Chi had DG's....If Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.....DG's come pre-scorned, in their own minds.....

At eighteen, fresh from the Jersey suburbs.......I was dosed with Ex-Lax, handcuffed to a similarly dosed DG (Delta Gamma for you non-Greeks.....blonde, rich, connected) and dropped off miles into the Upstate New York countryside with only a role of toilet paper and a Hearty Hi Ho Silver!

Believe me......I would have confessed to 9/11, given the opportunity to escape that experience. There is a play in it....but Samuel Beckett is dead.

Anyway......I hate it when I actually read the news........

Facts are so annoying.
Here is a post from my friend Greg Palast......feel free to read it if you are really bored and low on Ambien.

Greg is one of those guys....a horse-fly....who keeps us all honest. Completely annoying....the kind of fellow you back away from if you meet him at The Rio bar after 10pm and he is on a rant. Never mind that he is always right, and always has his facts in order. Who needs to hear this shit?

I think they used to call these guys "journalists" or something.
I know one other actual journalist.....

Neon Leon is now in charge of the CIA...and probably no longer running to Kasey's for cigarettes for Sylvia as he used to do, back in the day. I am sure the CIA has people for that....(and apparently robustly heterosexual people for that kind of duty....since the fags have all been shit-canned, whatever their other speaking actual Arabic).

Here is the old Neon.....Monterey Herald: March 8, 2008

"Americans Reject Fear Tactics"

Panetta wrote that "all forms of torture have long been prohibited by American law and international treaties respected by Republican and Democratic presidents alike."

"Our forefathers prohibited 'cruel and unusual punishment' because that was how tyrants and despots ruled in the 1700's. They wanted an America that was better than that. Torture is illegal, immoral, dangerous and counterproductive. And yet, the president is using fear to trump the law." The Washington Monthly last summer:

"No Torture, No Exceptions,"

Panetta wrote, "there are certain lines Americans will not cross because we respect the dignity of every human being. That pledge was written into the oath of office given to every president, 'to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.' It's what is supposed to make our leaders different from every tyrant, dictator, or despot. We are sworn to govern by the rule of law, not by brute force."

And here is President Obama......the guy many of us busted our humps and embarrassed our selves publicly to try to get elected.....two days after his inauguration:

"The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears," Obama's order said. "In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public." turns out that the embarrassing photos the Government are seeking to withhold from publication this month are NOT all more boring shots of Iraqis with Dobermans and Iraqis in naked dog piles.

There are videotapes of waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation" techniques of guys like Abu Zabaydah and this other scumbag Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri.

Both these guys suck, are murderers.....and should be gassed, zapped, or locked in a box forever.

After a trial.

That is how we roll over here. we used to roll.


All the pros....professional interrogators....agree that torture is bullshit, and results in no credible, actionable intelligence. Our finest, bravest and most loyal military veterans from both sides of the political spectrum (John McCain and Phil Butler come to mind) agree that torture is bullshit.

As a nation we...... each and everyone of us through our representatives...... signed the Geneva Conventions declaring that such actions and techniques are against the law of God and the law of Man.

Here is Neon Leon on the subject now:

"The information in these documents would provide future terrorists with a guidebook on how to evade such questioning," Panetta's declaration said. "Additionally, disclosure of explicit details of specific interrogations where [enhanced interrogation techniques] were applied would provide al-Qa'ida with propaganda it could use to recruit and raise funds."

Correct me if I am wrong.....

If we have all agreed that torture is a crime and useless as a military technique....why would we want to deny Al Qa'ida the opportunity to train against techniques that we have all agreed we will never use?

Waterboard away, motherfuckers! Practise that shit all damn day!

That ought to thin the ranks of volunteers.......

If we have walked away from and denounced this kind of does this ancient history help Al Qa'ida recruit and fundraise?

I have read that power corrupts....and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I did not think it applied under our Constitution.

And not to Democrats.

What a dummy.

I voted for this crew because I thought they had balls, courage, integrity....and a brighter vision for our future that reflects the values of our past.

Oh, well.


"Panetta" really means "tiny little bread".

So.......Why is this guy taking out his tiny little bread......

And pissing all over my Constitution?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Happy, Happy, Peace Love Tie-Dye....

Meanwhile….. The way you tell there is a recession in Cachagua:


Notice that I did not say “The way you tell there is a depression in Cachagua.”

Cachagua is an Esselen Indian word meaning “Land of the Clinically Depressed Whack-Jobs.” Clinical depression spreads out from Cachagua like swine flu spreads from the pig farms on the Mexican Highlands.

Anyway….my buddy Jeremy came in to visit tonight. I was in the middle of turning two weeks’ (a metric tonne) of compost.

I needed to do this, but I started the project at 7pm tonight to rid my parking lot of redneck drunks hanging out by their pick-up….and not spending money. How to get rid of redneck drunks? Smoke salmon….and turn a metric tonne of compost.

It is a wretched, stinking process. My compost is actually in good shape….not anaerobic, burning hot and steady….but there are the smells of Mother Nature in her most private moments. Filling the air, clinging to my body, my clothes, my shoes, my hair.

In the midst of this….Jeremy arrived and gave me a giant hug. A kiss on the cheek, even. The drunken rednecks were long gone.

Jeremy has lived at Tassajara for seven years. On one of his breaks from there…..Jeremy worked for us as a caterer.

Jeremy is a classic. Born in North Carolina…complete with the accent….but come of age in Queens in some ghetto junior college. Jeremy was our gang-sign redneck monk prep chef.

Still….the man is a serious Buddhist…..Seven years on the program. And he still loves us enough to give us hugs and kisses when covered in maggots and stench.

Jeremy is now the kitchen manager at Tassajara. Not the Tenzo….which is technically “the Chef” in Tassajara talk. In my twenty year association with the Tassajara kitchen….I have only known one actual food person who has been a Tenzo at Tassajara.

Tassajara is a Zen monastery. And a busy hotel five months of the year. The Zennies still assign jobs not based on skill or aptitude, but based on the possibility for growth in the individual assigned to a specific job. Kind of like the US Army.

Tassajara will assign some random, horrible person the job of Tenzo….for their own personal growth. And accept the collateral damage to the community that results as something karmic or whatever who knows.

But…not being dummies…they usually have a dynamite, hard-core kitchen manager below the Tenzo who can actually produce the 150 meals, three times a day on a strict schendule. So….Jeremy is a baller. Giant balls….however that fits into the whole Buddha thing. Buddha had giant balls…it’s fine.

Some of my most transcendent moments as a chef have been in the Tassajara kitchen. I used to drive out the 16 miles of 4wd road in the middle of my 96 hour work week at my restaurant (Silver Jones) to do an extra couple of 18 hour shifts with the Zennies just to ground out.

Tia was the Tenzo….and she insisted in 1989 on eggs from chickens with beaks (egg farmers cut the beaks off chickens so they won’t peck each other to death in the Auschwitz style quarters that layers are doomed to). I found her the beakful chickens.

One day…after a two day charge through the gardens…feeding 140 people, guests and monks….three meals a day…we kitchen folk all came to a screeching halt.

Tenzo Tia: “My God….all of the herbs we have been using for the last six meals have been square-stemmed salvias! We are in a horrible rut! We have to fix this!”

Of course, all the herbs were grown in the Tassajara gardens by other monks…and we would pick them as needed fresh….and bitch at the garden monks for the lack of non-square stemmed salvia herbs.

Square stemmed salvias are all the herbs with square stems. It turns out that these are basically all the herbs: lavender, basil, marjoram, fennel, oregano, sage, borage, etc. We then got into a philosophical argument about the definition of herbs vs. spices.

The mere fact that we were having this discussion tells you all you need to know about the Tassajara kitchen.

Oh…and Jeremy worked for us as a caterer for a year in the middle of his monkdom. Jeremy was there to catch The Mormon when she dropped from heat stroke when the kitchen temps hit 130 degrees. Jeremy sat with her in the walk-in until she came back around and could go back to work.

So……tonight we were thrilled to see Jeremy. He was on a break from the Monastery…doing laundry, doing mail, shopping…getting away. Going to see his foodie friends.

After the compost hug and kiss…I brought the lad into The Store for at least a beer. I offered him a fat red steak….but he passed.

Also sharing the room were some Christian Evangelical folk who had come for the Cachagua Fire spaghetti feed and hung around drinking wine.

The guy is a developer and a lawyer. We sparred about Bush v Obama in years past…and they are the kind of folk who walked up Cachagua Road in their McCain/Palin t-shirts the Sunday before the election.

Fine. We won. Suck a dick.

But….while I was trying to talk to Jeremy….in the middle of prep for a $1000 a head party at the Packard Ranch in Big Sur tomorrow….the Christians settled in on either side of my guy.

They discovered that Jeremy lived at Tassajara.

And the yuppie evangelical Christian started making speaking in a racist Chinesesy sing song: “Oh, you likey my country. No tickee no shirtee."

Jeremy was cool.

“You guys are the ones who jump around and wear orange, right?"...

To my friend Jeremy...the manager of the Tassajara kitchen…..a retired redneck, retired gang guy from Queens.

I wanted to hit the guy with a bottle.

Jeremy is an actual Buddhist…and was amused. Well, kind of. You could see the old gang, redneck currents running under the skin……

Christian Dickface continued in Chinky-chinky sing-song: You peepy gotty greeny cardies? I used to worky with Iranians who escaped the Shah….and they were actually very smarty and got jobsy as waiters when they were engineersy in Iransy.”

I walked back into the kitchen and looked for weapons. Knife….quick and skillful. Kill this fuck and put him in the dumpster…or the compost.

Or…..Full bottle of wine crushing the skull…..sends a message….leave him in the middle of Cachagua Road as a warning.

Then, I realized. Christian Fuck actually thought in his dimly evolved lizard brain......that Buddhists need green cards to be in America. Even Buddhists from North Carolina by way of Queens.

Organic poisons….problematic. Lots of drama and bodily fluids everywhere.

Gasoline…..just....flames of hell and all that.... but probably controversial….QAnd really a pain in the ass for the Cachagua Volunteers. And…I don’t think I have my own fire insurance.

Meanwhile….Jeremy just sat there, trying to enjoy his first beer in six months…with his friends….and was completely fine with the whole aggressively ignorant, insulting racist, horrible thing. Jeremy is a Buddhist.

Jeremy had a nice Buddhist time with his friends….us…….and drove back to Tassajara.

Jeremy was fine….I am the one trembling with rage. And gratitude in the realization that for the last eight years….rich, ignorant, obtuse, stupid, self-important, racist fucks like this douche bag were actually in control of America.

And worse…the whole world thinks that Americans are just like this fucking wretched excuse of a humanoid.

Oh….I almost forgot: How you tell the recession has hit Cachagua......

I did not actually bury a full bottle of wine into Christian Yuppie Fucks ignorant head.

He will be here for a while…..and is good for a few bottles of wine on a Friday in the bar.

We need the money.

When the recovery comes…….

I am really good at compost. The long bones do take some time burn up, though.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Can't we all just get a bong?

In the fortnight that encompasses my oldest friend's death from heroin.....the strangeness continues.

Five days after Peter's wake in Oakland.......he would have been dead anyway.

Peter and his real estate partner turned insurance money from a house burned in the Oakland hills fire into most of a city block down by the wharves...up near Emeryville. Gnarly neighborhood....big fences and locked gates. They developed the perimeter of the block into apartments and condos and the hole in the donut was a communal garden.

Part of their block was the Duck Kee Market.....which old people will remember as the site of the photo shoot for a Creedence Clearwater album in 1969....

The Market is now a condo. $2500 a month, 2k square feet. Communal garden.

Meanwhile....trying to drive there through the 'hood in a bright red Jaguar......watchful guys on every corner, sitting on bicycles with cell phones handy....

The American Dream.....

The wake was nice....everyone cried. Shitty meal in an overpriced steakhouse after. I gave the gorgeous waitress an Uncle Ben.....just because Peter would have. I did not get her phone number....or fuck with her head. Hey, close enough.

Five days later......two thugs broke into Peter's apartment with guns. Looking for....Cash? Drugs? Cell phone records? They zip tied the brother-in-law to the radiator and stripped the place.

If Peter were not already dead....he would have fucked with them, and they would have shot him.

Almost forty years ago, Peter and I got robbed by two thugs at The Colony in New York. Peter fucked with them....and they wanted to shoot him.

The Colony was a famous old restaurant: a Jacque Kennedy/Truman Capote/Salvador Dali kind of place.

Meanwhile, two thugs just walked in off 61st Street one day during our break and robbed us. Pulled a gun and herded us all into the ladies room. The ladies room was a full-on lounge, not just a there was plenty of space.

The thugs put a gun to my head and had me empty the cash register, then cleaned out our wallets at gunpoint. Peter started asking them questions about their gun. Where they got it, where they many feet per second the rounds could do, how much muzzle energy.....and if they shot a guy, how many rounds it took to keep him from taking the gun away from them.

"Wanna find out, muthafucka?"

I took them back to the bar...gave them all the quarters and dimes and a bottle of Crown Royal and got them jingling on their way back down 61st Street.....and away from Peter.

Later that summer we got mugged after a concert in Central Park.....BB King at the Schaefer Summer Music Festival. Just as we left the Park at 61st Street a van full of Puerto Ricans pulled up and emptied out. They surrounded any white people waiting for the light.

"Got any change?"

"Got the time?"

"Gimme your fucking wallet or I will stick you, muthafucka....."

I dodged across Fifth Avenue the second I saw the van pull up. Peter actually turned and walked up to the gang guys, tapped one on the shoulder during the action, and said: "It's one fifteen. I have five ones for a five......" He was instantly surrounded.

Fuck. I dodged back across Fifth against traffic and ran up to the mob to save my buddy.

Who instantly ducked under the gangsters and sprinted across Fifth to safety.....leaving me with the gang guys. I was I only got stabbed a little on the arms.

Later, Peter yelled at me: "Why did you come back? I was timing the light!"

So....which is a better way to the Arms of the Angel......or a couple of quick pops in the head from some angry thugs?

I gotta go with The Angel......Just my opinion.

I left the whole funeral thing and jumped right back into memorializing not just one dead lunatic.....but 5,000 dead military kids.

This extended grappling with the Demon Death is exhausting. I understand why almost no one does it.....Memorial Day is more about sunburn, hotdogs and crappy beer than dead soldiers. I mean, who knows anyone in the Army, anyway....much less a dead guy?

Which is why we insisted on doing it. Get a grip, people. Get a clue. Have your fun, but there is a cost....and mostly the cost is nineteen years old and is from Iowa.

No one can figure out why we do this, really. We are broke hippy liberals....why spend thousands of dollars we don't have and weeks of work we can't afford to memorialize victims of a war we have opposed from the beginning?

Good question. But, during the work of lining up rows and columns of crosses....and seeing name after name after name as the stakes and identity cards transform into people before your is a no brainer.

This year we worked with the military: Army and Marines did most of the serious lifting, organizing and painting. I just wrote checks.

Meanwhile, Sarah the Marine carried twenty stakes every time....down the stairs and across the sand 70 my seven or eight stakes. And she did this for six hours without a break and always with a smile. Anyone who thinks that women can't be in combat needs to meet Sarah. God forbid I ever have to choose a combat team....but if I did, I would pick Sarah.....and she would not be playing right field. of our co-workers was an officer, I think. He was better at the order giving thing than the cross carrying thing. One time when we were at the far end of the field lining things up a reporter came up and started interviewing me.

Blah, blah, blah, why?

"Well, this is not a protest. It is a memorial. Everybody is anti-war....but we are all pro-soldier. This is about the soldiers."

The officer gave me the dead look....and stopped talking to me. This was a young officer....and I have the feeling a new one. I seriously doubt that DJ is pro-war, after taking that RPG in the chest.....and watching all his friends get blown up. A seriously competent and courageous warrior.....but not one who engages in this shit lightly.

Just like with the Abortion Wars. Isn't everybody anti-abortion? I would hope one wants to go through that. It is just that some of us are pro-choice.

My Peace Movement buddies seem to have stopped talking to me since I have adopted my new friends in the military.


I am encouraged that the Obama tide seems to be floating the thoughtful, intelligent crew with actual experience in battle over the chickenhawks of the Bush years.

I have a reading list that would probably bore all of you to tears. Or not. There would be tears....

Here is the opening quote from my latest read:

"America...goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy....She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. Ther frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an Imperial diadem, flashing in false and atrnished lustre the murky radiance of dominon and power.

She might become the Dictatress of the World.....She would no be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."

OK. Who wrote that? Medea Benjamin? Phil Butler?

Nope.....John Quincy Adams. US Secretary of State, and President, and son of a President. 4 July, 1821.

And who quoted Quincy Adams? Medea Benjamin? Ariana Huffington? Rachel Maddow?

Nope....David Kilcullen. Aussie counter-insurgency guy, fellow at the Center for New American Security. One of the main voices reshaping our counter-insurgency, and therefore our entire military stategy for the coming years.

In 2006, in the midst of the Bush insanity.....pounding in the stakes that represented 2,500 dead young Americans seemed hopeless, futile and a sad, sad waste. And a harbinger of worse to come.

Sure enough, in 2009, we had twice as much work......but there was still a feeling that sanity might be returning.....and that finally these lost 5,000 smart, brave, loyal, hardworking souls might finally be getting leadership worthy of their sacrifice.