Just Another Friday – Well Maybe Not

21 11 2013

50 years ago November 22 was a Friday and my classes were over for the week. If memory serves my 8AM Friday class that term was “Shakespeare’s Plays.” How appropriate for the day to begin with Shakespeare considering the true tragedy that was to follow. I was in my room listening to WHAT-FM, Philly’s 24 hour-a-day jazz station, when an announcer said (probably Gene Shay for those familiar with the station), “The President’s been shot.”
A little more than 2 years before I stood beside a deuce-and-a-half (soldier lingo for a 2.5 ton truck) waiting to get word “to get in” from the Commander-in-Chief’s representative – my 1st sergeant – and head to Berlin to remove the Antifaschistischer Schutzwall 240px-BerlinermauerWe called East Germany’s Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart (the German translation) the Berlin Wall. Maybe East Germany was right. There were Fascists among us we didn’t know about. If it were up to them I would have torn it down. To JFK I’m thankful. I didn’t go and I’m still here and can visit my grandchildren next January on MLK weekend.
Why is it we find it so hard to believe our government and/or our military can do bad things? Much of the world has acknowledged their governments and military have. In the USA when someone points to evidence that counters the government’s sanctioned view they are put in the “conspiracy theory” trash can. Let me point to something myself – Operation Northwoods.
Operation Northwoods was a series of FALSE FLAG PROPOSALS that originated within the United States government in 1962, but were rejected by the Kennedy administration. The proposals called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or other operatives, to commit perceived acts of terrorism in U.S. cities and elsewhere. These acts of terrorism were to be blamed on Cuba in order to create public support for a war against that nation, which had recently become communist under Fidel Castro. It stated:

The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.

Several other proposals were included within Operation Northwoods, including real or simulated actions against various U.S. military and civilian targets. The plan was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed by Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and sent to the Secretary of Defense. Although part of the U.S. government’s Cuban Project anti-communist initiative, Operation Northwoods was never officially accepted; it was authorized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but then rejected by President John F. Kennedy. Operation Northwoods proposals included hijackings and bombings followed by the introduction of phony evidence that would implicate the Cuban government. If you want to know more surf the web. You might end up at the Mary Ferrell Foundation.ferrell2
When I look at the photos below sadness still wells. My children and grandchildren weren’t alive in 1963 but the USA was in a different place that it is now. I was there. I stood on a streetcorner in Washingon and heard the sombre horse hooves, the mournful drumrolls. I am not a political person. That day in Washington I cried for a man, his woman and his children – not a Democrat, not a Republican.

My opinion is that the truth will set us free and we don’t know the truth. I won’t say how I feel about where we are today, but I can say that it would help if I knew the truth about JFK, MLK, RFK, JFK jr. and Malcolm X. May you all Rest in Peace and I miss everyone of you.



Frozen Assets – Image of the Day

8 11 2013

“I’ve never believed in God but I believe in Picasso.” – Diego Rivera


As strong as statement of religion as you’ll get from the man shown in the self-portrait and photograph below. The mural shown above is my image of the day. I’ll tell you why…


Frozen Assets was one of the murals painted in 1931 when Diego was in New York. It is now in Mexico City at the Dolores Olmedo Museum. If you’ve seen Selma Hayek in Frida you might remember there was some controversy stirred up by Diego’s refusal to tone down the communist/socialist spirit of his work. In the mural’s bottom panel he depicts John D. Rockefeller sitting in spats waiting for his money to come from the vault. In the middle is a homeless shelter for the unemployed near the East or Hudson River. At the top a view of the skyscrapers that were built in many cases by the cheap labor of the Great Depression. No wonder Rivera’s work has been adopted by the Occupy Movement. Eighty years ago in an economic time much like our own Rivera saw how wide the gaps were in society. Today numbers like the “Other 99%” tell the story but being a man of few words and believing that a picture is worth a thousand I prefer Diego’s visual story.
I “heart” NYC and believe it or not so did Diego, but like so much of life it has an underbelly or in this case an underground of the “rich and famous.” We all have our dreams and at my advanced age I still have mine. One of them is that the metaphor of the American Dream gets renewed, recalibrated and renamed so that the financial, racial and social distances among us all are reduced all around the world.

Viva Diego! You truly were Mexican art’s Gift from God.

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