Friday, September 28, 2012

Writer's Dilemma

Contemplating Vases*    

                                                                      On choosing one's voice:
                                                                      not unlike picking a road.
                                                                      Go the known - or leap?


*Playing with the art program today; throwing out a few playful po-art (art-po?) frisbees.
At the end of every road you take, alas, there you are again (the "are" part debatable).
We are what we do, but sometimes more so what we ... don't.  Guidebook, please.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sea Bottom Art

Untitled sculpture
The artist: a male puffer fish

A design that is not only 'artful' but that has an intended function:

The male puffer fish takes small shells, cracks them, and lines the inner grooves of his sculpture as if decorating his piece. Further observation revealed that this “mysterious circle” was not just there to make the ocean floor look pretty. Attracted by the grooves and ridges, female puffer fish would find their way along the dark seabed to the male puffer fish where they would mate and lay eggs in the center of the circle. In fact, the scientists observed that the more ridges the circle contained, the more likely it was that the female would mate with the male. The little sea shells weren’t just in vain either. The observers believe that they serve as vital nutrients to the eggs as they hatch, and to the newborns.   [Source].

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


   Étincelles du soleil    
                                                          sautant dessus d'un étang.        
                                                          Dance d'éclat.      

                                                                       sun sparkles
                                                                       skip-ping 'cross a pond -
                                                                       flash dance.

This was an old photo from April, 2010, taken in the woods behind the Moulin Seigneurial in Pointe-du-Lac, QC.  It inspired me to try to describe the actual scene with as few words as possible, and then see if I could render it into French.  

It'd been nearing sundown,we had just come from watching windsurfers on Lac St. Pierre. The grounds of this ancient flour mill are a favorite walking spot: starting with the stone steps cascading up past the water chute to the mirror-like pond surrounded by tall, silent trees leading to hidden pathways, little brooks and silent, leafy enclaves. It was getting chilly and I remember wondering what it'd be like to be there in winter, except no one does that (not impossible, just highly impractical) but this was mid-spring and we were just leaving when the dance of light began on the water (which if you moved to a different position you'd miss entirely).  My mate hurrying me along, "Time to go, Time to go", but the dancing light kept beckoning. The flatness of a photo image sans animation, the 'What-the-heck-is-that-white-stuff-on-the-water? almost guess  (debris? popcorn? leftover, chopped-up ice floettes?)  None of the above.  Sun flashes hitting pond water, pure and simple.  

Sometimes a pond is just a pond but sometimes, when you're not even paying attention, you get to see such a mini-light show, sun sparkles skipping, dancing, bouncing off the waterwaves to some invisible music only the universe hears and you foolishly try to capture it, on film, in words.  But it's never quite the same, is it.

Monday, September 24, 2012


The stellar wind sweeps by
o'er bluff, dale, rock,
blazing the trail o'er land, sky and sea --
sees every thin thread or
            deep-web nook

They go look
there behind every door
          (t'would be good t'know how they got a key) --
they'll rarely knock.
Big shock.  They'll just deny.


Syllabic verse in 6-4-9-6-3, repeated backwards 3-6-9-4-6
using words associated with the process, program and/or location described in
the following references re: matters that may interest those
who may have an interest in such matters:

Scope of Surveillance

In secret listening rooms nationwide, NSA software examines every email, phone call, and tweet as they zip by.  [1]

The Utah spy center will contain near-bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency. This includes the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails — parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases and other digital "pocket litter. "The NSA has constantly denied that they’re doing things, and then it turns out they are doing these things."  [2]

Even Congress Wants to Know What the NSA is Doing with this $2 Billion Utah Spy Center [3]

Some historical background on the datamining programs - for more details, go here.

Whistleblower Goes Public:

Over the past year Binney has gone fully public, detailing what he believes is a massive effort under the Obama administration to collect virtually all electronic data in the country, from  Facebook posts to Google searches to emails.

It is a deeply secret programme, Binney says, that is called Stellar Wind. He points to the NSA's creation of a giant data centre at Bluffdale in Utah as part of the system.

The gigantic building is set to cost $2bn and be up and running by 2013.

It is being designed to store huge amounts of accessible web information – such as social media updates – but also information in the "deep web" behind passwords and other firewalls that keep it away from the public.

As an example of Stellar Wind's power, Binney believes it is hoovering up virtually every email sent by every American and perhaps a good deal of the people of the rest of the world, too.
. . .

Obama has renewed the Patriot Act, tried to broaden the powers of detention of American citizens for national security reasons, and deployed the anti-spy Espionage Act more times than all other presidents combined.

"They are still continuing the same programmes – actually, Obama is doing more in some areas," Binney said. Nor is Binney optimistic of rolling back the surveillance.

Last week the House of Representatives voted for a five-year extension to the controversial 2008 FISA amendments.

Read more: here

[And let's not even mention how much energy it takes to run these proliferating, increasingly larger data centers.]  [4]

Monday, September 17, 2012

Some random thoughts on

At the Moulin Seignurial, Pointe-du-Lac, QC, walking thru woods

Inching toward Autumn

The other day, early in the morning, I heard this sound coming from outside.
Yesterday evening, I heard it again.
The geese are leaving?!!  Already?!!
Do they smell winter coming ... ALREADY?

It was the neighbor guy, in the house below ours,
out in the yard, 
practicing his hunting calls.
To shoot them noisy honkers out of the sky I guess.
And probably eat them.
He's ready.
(And no, you can't warn them.) 

Sounds that bring joy to some
but for different reasons.
"Old friends passing by again!" 
(I run forth, rushing to see.)
"Ready-aim-fire!" anticipates the future bush hider,
gun cocked and ready, salivating with glee.

Come now, be real. Life, death ...  change  - everything to its season
no rhyme no reason.  No great big deal.  Just the way it is.  But look -

                   The first leaves are turning  -  red first then brown,
                   a few yellows leap tentatively forth here and there.
                   Rustle of the wind, chill in the air.       So be aware:
                   geese going south means bring out the wool socks

                         thick scarves, 
                                   big pluffy sweaters.
                                      Flannel, too.
Get ready.

Brilliant Reds, Yellows, ORANGE!  Bring it on!!
then the trees they'll disrobe and 
frost'll crunchify the lawn.

I imagine a fireplace exuding toasty warmth
(wishing I had one).
            Think hot chocolate
                familiar sweeping white blankets of snow
                     the quiet darkness of evenings too soon there -
                         my anchor my home.
                             (Is that a smile I feel slowly
                                 unleashing itself  'cross my face?)

-- awyn

Droning for Transparency

 Definition of the verb "drone""making noise continuously"
                 (as in repeatedly asking, requesting, pleading, demanding Transparency ....)

                         Antonyms: "be quiet, silence" (as in, government response to the above).

President Obama, upon taking office in 2009:  "I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness .... Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

So, how come:

The government refuses to formally acknowledge that the CIA even has a drone program, let alone discuss its thornier elements, like how many civilians have been killed, or how the CIA chooses targets.

Officials have given speeches on the legal rationale for targeted killing and the use of drones in broad terms. The administration has also acknowledged “military operations” outside the “hot” battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, but again, details have remained under wraps.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times have both filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests for documents relating to the CIA’s drones. The agency has responded by saying that it can “neither confirm nor deny the existence of records.”  [Source ]


Whether or not the CIA has authority to or does in fact conduct targeted lethal operations, however, remain classified and protected from disclosure....To the extent the ACLU Request seeks records specifically about the CIA's use of unmanned aerial vehicles, to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records would also reveal whether the CIA possessed a particular 'advanced technological platform.'

[From a motion filed by the Department of Justice  in response to lawsuits from the ACLU and the New York Times over FOIA requests seeking information about the killing of Al-Awlaki, June 20, 2012.]      [Source]

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Obama administration has launched 293 drone attacks in Pakistan alone, as compared to 52 strikes under the Bush administration. The bureau estimates that between 2,565 and 3,329 people have been killed, among whom 474 to 884 were civilians. However, distinguishing militants from civilians in the drone war is notoriously difficult, both because militants have an incentive to exaggerate the civilian death count and because, according to The New York Times' sources, the administration "in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants ... unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent."  [Source]

 The drone strikes continue.

So do the questions.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Eyes Have It

Down to the States for 10 days, and the second night there
there they were, a group of folkdancers outside Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square.
Come join us they said, so I did.
 I was wearing new shoes that hadn't yet been broken in. 
Still, my feet heard the music and that's all it took.

Two hours. 
I actually danced (along with about 40 other people) Every. Single. Kolo.
for two hours, on concrete and brick, without stopping. 
To live music, from Rakiya, a Balkan band.
Although I walk and bike a lot with never a bit of stiffness, ache, pain or whatnot
I found myself hobbling to the bus afterwards -- and the next day I was reduced to limping.
I could not bend my left knee without excruciating ouchness  What was I thinking
I think you're supposed to do this kind of thing g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y. 
It's been decades since I fast-hop-'n-kicked with a group like that.
Could do that in my 20s (and did, three nights a week then). Notsomuchso at 70. 
(Remembered most all the steps, though! Like a forgotten language, it all comes back.)

 I notice very few people visit this blog.  Which emboldens me to experiment with words and art that I might not otherwise post.  I still haven't found my voice when writing poetry.  The stories just
seem to flow; the poems, however, need to be coaxed out, and once on paper they seem to
want to rush back inside the head, unsure, akin to stage fright.  Sometimes the words  are ill fitting, the delivery wooden.  Or strugglingly imitative.  So I spent time today instead playing with shapes and color on a computer Paint program. 

It started out as random shapes, until I gave one a pair of eyes.  Then the crow appeared, not as predator but benevolent protector, of body-less blobs - a blue walrus, yellow salamander, giddy red worm, grey-green bird, and brownish bear sans ears.  Images one might find in a children's book, where noses don't have to resemble real noses, and missing limbs can go unremarked upon.

The first thing I noticed when done were their expressions. Group portrait under protest (say the eyes).  Sorry guys.  Next time it'll go smoother.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why Won't They Answer These Questions?
September 11, 2012

In his latest weekly address to the nation, President Obama asserts that America’s questions about 9/11 have been answered. If only it were so.

The questions of 9/11 have only continued to pile up higher since that fateful day, and despite official platitudes we are no closer to having those questions answered today then we were when they first arose. In fact, for some of the most important 9/11 questions, the government’s own documents and records that could conceivably answered them have been destroyed, meaning we may never have answers.
The unanswered questions of 9/11 are too numerous to enumerate, but they include:

-    Why has NIST classified the data that they used to make their computer animation of the WTC7 collapse? Would knowledge of how NIST believes the building collapsed really “jeopardize public safety“?

-   Why did the DIA destroy more than 2.5 terabytes of data on their Able Danger investigation that reportedly identified four of the alleged hijackers years in advance of the attack?
    Why did the Pentagon buy up and burn the entire first print run of Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer’s book on the program?

-   Why did the SEC destroy their records on the 9/11 insider trading question, presumably the most important investigation in the agency’s history?

-   Why did the alleged “mastermind” of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, confess not only to plotting 9/11 “from A to Z” but also confess to masterminding numerous crimes that he could not have committed?

-   Why did Osama bin Laden repeatedly deny any involvement in the attacks until a series of mistranslated and otherwise manipulated videos came along appearing to portray him as taking credit for those attacks?

-   Why was the report of US State Department official Frank Taylor supposedly proving the case for Al Qaeda’s role in 9/11, which NATO used to justify its invasion of Afghanistan, presented in a classified briefing?
     Why is that report still classified to this day?

-   Why did the 9/11 commission rely so heavily on the confessions extracted through torture which even the Senate’s Armed Services committee points out is specifically used to extract false confessions?

-   Why did the CIA destroy 92 videotapes of their illegal torture sessions after being specifically ordered by a court not to do so? Why did the courts eventually absolve the CIA of any culpability for this crime?

-   Why did Donald Rumsfeld announce a new “war” on September 10, 2001? What was the reason for the 2.3 trillion missing dollars which the Pentagon had lost up until that point, what did Rumsfeld’s “war on bureaucracy” hope to achieve, how was that “war” hindered when the budget analyst office in the Pentagon was destroyed the following morning, and where are the public records into this accounting scandal?

-   Why did Rumsfeld go into a regularly scheduled meeting with a CIA officer in his office on the morning of 9/11, after both of the Twin Towers had been struck by airplanes and it had been determined that “America was under attack.”?
     Why did the highest ranking official in the US military remain in that meeting and unavailable for contact even by his highest staff members as the worst attack on US soil in history continued to unfold?
     Why did he suddenly come out for a photo op on the Pentalawn after the explosion instead of helping to coordinate the defense of the nation?

-   Why is there such a massive discrepancy between the 9/11 commission’s official finding of the time of entry of Dick Cheney into the Presidential Emergency Operation Center on the morning of 9/11 and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta’s testimony of the timing of that arrival?

-   Why did the US government contract with Ptech, an enterprise architecture software firm, to install its backdoor access software on some of the most sensitive databases in the US government?
     Why did they continue to use Ptech even after it was discovered that its sweetheart investor was a specially designated global terrorist on the Treasury’s own terror list?
      Why did they declare that there was nothing untoward in the software mere hours after raiding Ptech’s offices in 2002? And what was Ptech doing in the basement of the Pentagon on 9/11?
      What interoperability tests was it running on the link between FAA and NORAD systems on 9/11, and how did that interfere with the FAA and NORAD’s response?

-   And, perhaps most tellingly of all, how did four highjacked aircraft fly so wildly off course for such lengthy periods of time without being confronted by a single fighter interceptor?
    Why did the Pentagon admittedly and on the record lie to the American public about the timing of its response that day?

These and many, many questions like them have been asked by the victims’ family members, the first responders, members of the US military, American congressmen and women, intelligence agents, foreign dignitaries and heads of state, and concerned members of the public across America and around the globe. And still, 11 years after the events themselves, the American president has the gall to suggest that all questions have been answered and it is time for Americans to move on.

. . .


I'm with Corbett here.  These questions are not going to go away. 

Why can't they just answer them?