Thursday, May 31, 2012

Twenty One Guns

Nick Consoletti

Yes, you could say I'm being slightly sardonic, as Nick was quite far from expecting military rituals.

However this is a use of firearms that I, as a Quaker, can respect. We honor a person and their service. I will have much more to say about Nick as time goes on. Salute.

Against doctor's orders, Nick braved the Seattle folk arts festival and reported to Johnny Stallings that he had a blast.  He was not eligible for dialysis, having bucked the establishment, and returned by Amtrak in an exhausted state.  Last time he was this low energy, I took him to the ER.  This time Johnny Stallings took him home, meeting the train in Vancouver, WA.

Nick and Johnny called the on-duty nephrologist about whether to move up the next dialysis appointment, but Nick was too exhausted to want to deal with a consultation and chose to wait for the next regularly scheduled appointment.  He expired soon thereafter, though I do recall chatting by phone.  He sounded pretty good.

He'd been weakening though.  Bob Quinn, Johnny Stallings and I compared notes on his decline.  We're happy he got to Seattle and immersed himself in music, taking his dulcimer in an especially ordered soft case.  He died on Walt Whitman's birthday, poetically enough.

From Quinn, with a little help from his friends:
Nick Consoletti, Ph.D. passed away May 31st in his home. He was an original and courageous soul who lived a life of integrity in a unique fashion. Those who knew Nick admired his exuberant and generous spirit. Early on, Nick was influenced by the teacher Krishnamurti, whose message he took to heart when he said that it is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society. Nick chose knowledge and wisdom above all else. He read widely but was particularly influenced by David Bohm, Gregory Bateson, John Cage, and R. Buckminster Fuller. Nick's own degree was in the philosophy of whole systems. He was an accomplished  musician and poet, who traveled with his Mac laptop to coffee shops and cultural events from San Francisco to Seattle. It seems fitting that he passed away on Walt Whitman's birthday. Nick had just  returned from his beloved Folklife Festival days before he passed away. He leaves a trail of friends along the West Coast, (and indeed around the world) a stepmother, and a half sister in Massachusetts. Nick will be sorely missed.
Nick Consoletti

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

AFSC Program Committee Meeting


Fortunately I have good hearing and am tuning in most of what's going on in the other room.  Carol (my mom) is running the meeting.  I'm being more the deck hand / stage hand for this one, as there's not much space and there's quite of bit of logistics involved, what with projecting, conference call, Middle Eastern food from Hoda's etc.  Eddy Crouch did a lot of the leg work to get this one organized.  She's the event director I'd say.

I've spent a lot of time in this house on East Burnside, but not recently.  I've not sat in this front downstairs office since my last meeting with Dan (I was showing Lindsey around -- she ended up volunteering with Laughing Horse Books and Video Collective for many reasons).

When ESI (then Electro-Measurements, Inc.) gave Quakers their building (sold it for one dollar goes the story), there was a stipulation that AFSC could stay there as long as it liked.  In my early childhood, AFSC was the office you walked through on the way to the meeting room, now the social room.  However, the AFSC found this house on East Burnside and moved there.  Arthur Dye fits in here, as a previous regional director.

After I returned to Portland in the mid 1980s, I was groomed by Paulette Wittwer to gradually assume the editorship for Asian Pacific Issues News.  In many ways, that chapter ended when the Compact of Free Association (COFA) was finally enacted (the election was restaged until it came out right), and Pelau joined the other occupied states in the region in submitting to "Fourth Reich" / Business Plot authorities (a lingering / dying LAWCAP), who insisted on their right to park their WMDs anywhere in tropical paradise.

LAWCAP, studied by AFSC under the heading of NARMIC is what Medal of Freedom winner Bucky Fuller credited with hijacking the USA in the post FDR era, forcing us into a Cold War with former allies in order to keep the profitable wartime economy going.

Congress teamed up with a new kind of soldier-bureaucrat (e.g. McNamara's crew) in dividing the pork among the 50 states.  A jet fighter the Pentagon might not really need for strategic reasons might still be needed for employment reasons.  Likewise those bases around the world.

Post WW2, coherent military moves took a back seat to more twitching "head bit off" activities, such as basing soldiers in Saudi Arabia after spazzing out in Kuwait (was Gen. Schwarzkopf like Gen. MacArthur, with less civilian resistance? -- Eisenhower had been a general, which gave him the guts to fire that guy).

Bush Sr. only just managed to avoid disaster that first time (an attack against Baghdad), but the Idiocracy still wanted its day in the sun, and Bush Jr. had no way to contain the neocon bozos other than to give it a ridiculously comic spin, given the corroded state of DC's system of "checks and balances".

Congress had caved, too weak and corrupt to steer a responsible course in the wake of 911, while the UK had Tony Blair.

The military is a jobs program, first and foremost, mostly for guys.  LAWCAP moved that obvious reality from spoof status, an "Iron Mountain" distopia, to an "everybody knows that" fact of life, through just a few short presidencies.  The greed behind war profiteering became legitimized as the Beltway Junta settled in for the long haul.

Back to the present, the AFSC would like better access to the same data the military has in terms of opt in versus opt out rates, among high schoolers.  Shouldn't that be public information, another polling result? Currently the program is opt out, while the military services have a default blanket invitation to come onto school campuses -- unlike in Afghanistan where this would be regarded as a provocative and reckless act.

This open campus policy makes more sense within the USA itself, as the USA is a militaristic society that shows signs of wanting to eradicate any democratic institutions that might frustrate its most belligerent players.  Schools are a good place to showcase your true colors.  If you're a bully, you know how to kick the schools around, make them kowtow.

Anyway, these are very far from being official minutes of anything.  I'm more just musing, recalling.

Eddy mentioned AFSC was supportive of Occupy but I don't know if she means the move to celebrate our Islamic / Arab Spring heritage e.g. in the form of Muhammad Ali.  His principled defiance of authorities in the Viet Nam chapter makes him a great American hero.

Gen. Smedley Butler is another big name around Occupy Portland (if you've been paying attention at all), given the Bonus Army connection.  He joins Bayard Rustin as another "speaking truth to power" type person.  Self respecting military (e.g. Col. Fletcher Prouty, Gen. Eisenhower) are and were highly suspicious of Business Plot / LAWCAP motives and many of them have given us their support, logistical and otherwise.  There's nothing in the Constitution that says we can't treat LAWCAP as an enemy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wanderers 2012.5.16


David DiNucci is holding forth regarding his newly published book on scalable planning.  His focus is giving people concepts and language for planning activities that take place in parallel.

Planners have been grappling with such problems for a long time, with operations research kicking in around the time of World War 2.

The logic is supposed to assist computer programmers who are increasingly looking for ways to maximize / optimize jobs / tasks.  His language is deliberately generic, not too focused on either hardware or software.

Holden took off early this morning for Chicago, doing the legwork to get OpenDjango off the ground.

Yesterday, John Driscoll and I had a meeting about fractals and the systems stuff he's doing, at Common Ground.

The reason I was late this time, and sat in the naughty chair (not really, it's an especially nice chair and Glenn helped me plug in), is I was watching the making of the movie Ghosts, wherein Michael Jackson tries to get inside the skin of someone who looks like our Buzz.  Jackson intimates he's been using this gringo suit as a gad about around town sometimes, a way to get away from the stares.  Kinda like scuba.

David Tver asked if I wanted to talk about Quakers in the wake of Duane Ray doing something on Mormons.  This is for some other group, not Wanderers.  I expressed a willingness.


Saturday, May 05, 2012

Insider Gossip

I've been seeing indications that the popular press is becoming more aware of Iran's PR / diplomatic initiative.  They say it's not about building nuclear weapons, or winning the right to do so, but about standing for peaceful / civilized uses of the technology and questioning the right of arrogant superpowers to lord it over others with their arsenals.

Iran has joined the Countdown to Zero campaign in other words, at least in this computer model.

Since that's a campaign with deep roots in WDC as well, it's becoming easier to fast track the "bomb Iran" crowd into retirement circuits.

The XY-dominated hierarchies need a lot of such fast tracks just to help more qualified XXs gain positions of influence, so this becomes a women's rights issue as well.

Such changes in the background will be reflected a little bit in the foreground if the past is any guide.  Those hot and bothered pundits who've been calling for bombing get to mug for the video anthologies that go around, of shrill talking heads who role model what is worst and weakest in people.

We can all feel glad we're not them.  A primary function of television is to help us feel superior to most who go on it, especially "opinion makers".

President Obama has been aware of this rift, but then so is any president confronted with a mutinous Beltway Junta that's about keeping Gitmo open, and not just for BP executives who might more belong there.

The USA is supposed to just shut up about its desire to not be the imperialist puppet slave of those accustomed to having their way through force and threat.

These junta people tend to be loud, armed, and not particularly interested in any feedback.  At least half of them are privately employed mercenaries who, if caught behind enemy lines, will try to involve the CIA in some way (ala the crack cocaine dealers in LA, who used the war against Nicaragua as their cover).

The rest are college grads with cubicle jobs or corner office jobs, who submit analysis sometimes.  They may have traveled and gone to fancy academies with high tuition.

Again, the safest path, when doing diplomacy, is to remind people that WDC is just one more city (on the east coast, so behind the times, closer to Europe), not even a state, and the Beltway Junta should not be mistaken for the White House, which it surrounds and besieges.

We'll still get Gitmo closed one of these days, when it's not controlled by Retirement City and cruise ship wannabes.