City Abstract No.2

November 30, 2010

City Abstract No.2” — sunset on Burrard Street.

The Real Revelation From Wikileaks

November 30, 2010

There has been endless ink spilled this week on and about the latest release by Wikileaks of diplomatic correspondence that we were never supposed to see.  There have been the predictable hoorahs from progressives and predictable hang-’em-high sentiments from the right and from governments.  Amid the thousands of column inches I picked out Glenn Greenwald’s interesting piece in Salon.

The WikiLeaks disclosure has revealed not only numerous government secrets, but also the driving mentality of major factions in our political and media class.  Simply put, there are few countries in the world with citizenries and especially media outlets more devoted to serving, protecting and venerating government authorities than the U.S. Indeed, I don’t quite recall any entity producing as much bipartisan contempt across the American political spectrum as WikiLeaks has:  as usual, for authoritarian minds, those who expose secrets are far more hated than those in power who commit heinous acts using secrecy as their principal weapon.

He shines a hot spotlight at the media:

[W]e have the group which — so very revealingly — is the angriest and most offended about the WikiLeaks disclosures:  the American media … On CNN last night, Wolf Blitzer was beside himself with rage over the fact that the U.S. Government had failed to keep all these things secret from him … Blitzer demanded assurances that the Government has taken the necessary steps to prevent him, the media generally and the citizenry from finding out any more secrets:  “Do we know yet if they’ve [done] that fix? In other words, somebody right now who has top secret or secret security clerics can no longer download information onto a C.D. or a thumb drive? Has that been fixed already?”  The central concern of Blitzer — one of our nation’s most  honored “journalists” — is making sure that nobody learns what the U.S. Government is up to …

It’s just so revealing that the sole criticism of the Government allowed to be heard is that they haven’t done enough to keep us all in the dark.

Greenwald notes another group, those with a close tie to government, that is fronting many of these attacks on Wikileaks:

It’s hardly surprising that people … who work for the Government and depend upon staying in its good graces are screeching all sorts of fear-mongering claims … That’s what the Government, its enablers and royal court hangers-on do:  you wind them up and they insist that any restraints on, or exposure of, the U.S. Government will help the Terrorists get us, and subject us to other scary dangers.

Finally, Greenwald notes that much of the reactionary response ignores the rule of law:

First we have the group demanding that Julian Assange be murdered without any charges, trial or due process … The way in which so many political commentators so routinely and casually call for the eradication of human beings without a shred of due process is nothing short of demented … After a decade’s worth of American invasions, bombings, occupations, checkpoint shootings, drone attacks, assassinations and civilian slaughter, the notion that the U.S. Government can and should murder whomever it wants is more frequent and unrestrained than ever …

These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves “pro-life” and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life.

Greenwald notes that there can be dangers in leaks of such magnitude. However, he is clear that:

[O]ur government and political culture is so far toward the extreme pole of excessive, improper secrecy that that is clearly the far more significant threat … It’s staggering to watch anyone walk around acting as though the real threat is from excessive disclosures when the impenetrable, always-growing Wall of Secrecy is what has enabled virtually every abuse and transgression of the U.S. government over the last two decades at least.

And he concludes:

WikiLeaks, for whatever its flaws, is one of the very few entities shining a vitally needed light on all of this.  It’s hardly surprising, then, that those factions — and their hordes of spokespeople, followers and enablers — see WikiLeaks as a force for evil.  That’s evidence of how much good they are doing.

I couldn’t agree more.


What Makes The Mad Hatters Look Good?

November 30, 2010

I came across this site — — quite by chance. I may have seen it on a tweet. Anyway, it starts out looking like a typical alternative media feed. But pretty quickly we come across paragraphs like this one:

“It might be of some interest to some that 43 American presidents are genetically related. It might also be of some interest that many have been MASONS and that ALL OF THE ONES that have been assassinated have been by the Illuminati/jesuit conspiracy as historical evidence demonstrates.”

Or this:

“It amazes me how after all these years the Masonically and Zionist controlled government still lies about JFK. These two former secret service agents are up in their years and yet they still try to cover up the assassination by lying even in their aging years. It would be my guess that they are Masons just like the Astronauts are made to be Masons.”

It is worth reading some of this stuff if only to recognize that the members of the Mad Hatter Tea Party are the “sensible” ones of the right-wing cloud.  Lord help us!

One Beautiful Chair

November 25, 2010

I’m posting this for no other reason than that I think it to be a gorgeous chair and I wish I had one.  The image and report are from Luxist:

Certainly not a chair for the conservatively decorated home this Cappellini Proust Armchair by Alessandro Mendini is a re-edition of the 1978 original and is an absolutely beautiful style statement. I can’t take my off its endlessly flowing lines and the mesmerizing print that flows seamlessly over both frame and upholstery. Honestly it looks like something straight off the set of Alice in Wonderland.  The wooden frame is intricately carved and hand painted and is available in this light blue/grey/yellow color combination or black/green/red. Furniture might not be the most common gift idea for Christmas but this would be a great idea for a couple to give each other this holiday. $12,804

Turtle Floating By

November 24, 2010

Turtle Floating By

Buy Nothing Day

November 24, 2010

This coming Saturday is the 2010 edition of Buy Nothing Day, an event that we have long supported. But it sure is an uphill battle.

I have noticed this year that many of the large retailers are starting their sales at 5:00am, 4:00am and even 3:00am on Friday morning!  At least one of those retailers is having a toy sale beginning at 12:01am and then starting their “real” sale at 5 in the morning.  How whacked is that, really, to stand outside a store in this freezing November weather in the middle of the night just to save a few bucks on a completely discretionary purchase?

The whole value system that people seem to operate under is simply backwards to me and difficult to comprehend. Of course, I am obliged to participate in the market system on a daily basis, so I understand it.  What I cannot understand is volunteering for extra duty.

Street Art No.1

November 18, 2010

Street Art 1” is of a scene from history. This wonderful old bench on Commercial Drive has now disappeared. I still miss it.