It isn’t like I don’t have severe reservations about Fidel Castro. In power, he was as brutal and remorseless as any previous Spanish-American caudillo of the past 200 years. He hitched the Cuban wagon to the Soviet star, and proved unable to change with the times even after his Soviet mentors were gone and his Chinese mentors had begun following a different path.

On the other hand, he is plenty smart, and he has good sources of information and a long lifetime’s acquaintance with the ways of power. He certainly has proved that he knew how to survive politically, economically and personally, in the face of 50 years’ worth of hostility from the greatest military and financial power on earth. In the past few years, since he gave up power to his brother, he seems to have adopted the elder-statesman role, devoting himself to longer-term ruminations. So it would be folly not to consider what he has to say.

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Lindbergh in 1927

March 26, 2012

Courtesy of my friend Wayne Goodwin, URL’s for a four-part short film comprising actual footage of Lindbergh’s preparation, flight, arrival and aftermath. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. And if it whets your appetite, try Lindbergh’s pulitizer price winning book The Spirit of St. Louis. I read it first when I was a teenager, and have never fallen out of love with it.

Ventura on Mabel Normand

March 26, 2012

Some time ago, Michael Ventura bought a collection of early silent films that have been put onto DVD. His own interest in film being life-long – he wrote more than one screenplay, including “Roadie” – he brought an educated eye to what he was looking at, and every so often he writes a column letting us look over his shoulder, a century after the age of film began.

This column appeared in the Austin (Tx) Chronicle, part of his “Letters at 3 a.m.” series that he has been writing for decades. That’s a long time to be writing a column. As Hemingway used to quote (in French), “first, above all, one must endure.”

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“Sell all you have and give to the poor,” Jesus said. He didn’t say, “sell all you have and give it to me.” He didn’t say give it to my treasurer, either.

Let’s see, who was it who was the treasurer for the apostles? Oh yes, it was Judas. Big surprise, eh?

The only really big televangelist I know of who did not let himself be corrupted by a flood of money was Billy Graham, who  privately and publicly warned the televangelists that handling that much money was just asking for a fall. In his own ministry, he established a strictly arms-length relationship to the financial end of things, to save himself the temptation.

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A friend sent me the first part of this quotation from Woodrow Wilson (thanks, Wayne) and Wikipedia ( provided more of it:

Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.

They know that America is not a place of which it can be said, as it used to be, that a man may choose his own calling and pursue it just as far as his abilities enable him to pursue it; because to-day, if he enters certain fields, there are organizations which will use means against him that will prevent his building up a business which they do not want to have built up; organizations that will see to it that the ground is cut from under him and the markets shut against him. For if he begins to sell to certain retail dealers, to any retail dealers, the monopoly will refuse to sell to those dealers, and those dealers, afraid, will not buy the new man’s wares.

Section I: “The Old Order Changeth”, p. 13

It has become the fashion to deride Woodrow Wilson, but the more you come to know of him, the more you will admire his intelligence, his breadth of vision, his very practical idealism. Herbert Hoover, in his long retirement after his unhappy presidency, wrote an excellent book titled The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson, in which he admiriingly described the performance in office of the man who first brought Hoover to national – international — prominence.

Who knew there was such a thing as a forensic astronomer? This is fascinating new information about a 100-year-old disaster that never ceases to interest us.

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Just 20 years old, and this kid understands what our beloved Congress pretends not to understand. Ditto our president, if he signs it. As so often, Ron Paul is on the right side, in a miniscule minority. I’m surprised that Dennis Kucinich wasn’t, though.

The Criminalization of Protest: Say Goodbye To Free Speech in America
By Devon DB

Global Research, March 9, 2012

URL of this article:

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