William Blum is an American author living in New York. His books include:
Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II; and
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
by Willian Blum
Gore Vidal has observed that America is not, contrary to popular mythology, a country founded by the religiously persecuted. It was started by Puritan zealots who left England because they were not allowed to persecute others. The Puritans (Pilgrims) went to Holland seeking a more compatible atmosphere, but then migrated to America because in Holland they saw themselves being absorbed into a society that had, by their lights, altogether too much freedom of all kinds, including real religious freedom.
The Marxist analysis has nothing to do with what happened in Stalin’s Russia; it’s like blaming Jesus Christ for the Inquisition in Spain.
"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian Archbishop
President Truman’s loyalty Oath: instead of asking whether the government was loyal to the people, the people had to swear their loyalty to the government.
Contrary to the image of Bill Clinton as a draft-dodging anti-war protester in the 60s, it seems, instead, that he was actually informing on his "fellow" protesters and Fulbright scholars in Europe for the CIA. Roger Morris, former National Security Council official, reports on this in his book Partners in Power. Almost as surprising is his revelation that wife Hilary — the great champion of children — was a strong supporter of the contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the same band that just loved to go around murdering women and children, raping, burning down villages, and singling out schools and medical clinics for destruction. The book further makes it clear that the Mena, Arkansas drug-trafficking charges against Clinton are not simply a conspiracy freak’s wet dream.
The artist, i.e., the painter of pictures, does not necessarily have anything more to say to the world of intellectual interest or social importance than the plumber, the accountant, or the cab driver, although he spends his time doing something which our culture has assigned a high status to. We are all taught early on and well that to be regarded as sophisticated, cultured, worldly, refined, educated, etc., one must learn to highly esteem pictures hanging in an art gallery or art museum, or at least learn how to pretend to esteem such things highly, dropping seemingly appropriate comments about color, form, art history, or "meaning".
"A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world." Edmond de Goncourt (1822-1896)
"Abstract art? A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered." Al Capp
… but the painting gave off the sanctified odor of serious art, so he hesitated to be candid …
The art-collecting spirit can be a variety of greed.
Art, like history, belongs to the winners.
Painting vases and flowers and other "still life" is comparable to writing a poem beginning "Roses are red, violets are blue".
Any institutionalized maniac is able to create chaos out of order, but is that art?
Critics of certain "obscene" art have objected to the NEA giving grants to the artists on the grounds that taxpayers who object to such work should not have their tax dollars supporting work they find obscene. "This is a novel theory," author Lawrence Weschler has observed. "I notice, for example, that such logic was never applied to funding for the Stealth bomber or aid to the regimes of El Salvador and Guatemala."
John Cage theorized that music does not have to have sound but can be anything that fills a space in time. He scored a piece that included the noise from 12 radios, and wrote scores that left choices of sounds to the performers. In "O’O" – he sliced vegetables, put them in a blender and drank the juice. In "4’33" he presented four minutes and 33 seconds of silence in which a pianist simply steps onstage, sits at a piano in silence and then walks off. In an interview, Cage said he had once listened to several mundane sounds and tried to figure out why he didn’t like them. He was forced to conclude that there was no reason why he didn’t like them. What, I wonder, if he ate some excrement and didn’t like it. Would he conclude that there was no reason why? Consider a patient in a mental hospital being examined by the psychiatrist to determine if he’s well enough to be released. The patient says he’s composed something. The psychiatrist is very interested and says he’d like to hear it. The patient sits down at a piano and sits there in silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. Would he be released? "I have nothing to say and I am saying it." John Cage, response to questions about his music and his musical philosophy.
Coming soon: minimal film — two hours of a completely white screen, with a long list of credits at the end.
"America is form opposed to content. Not just form instead of content. Form opposed. Often violently. There are few things resented so much among us as the suggestion that what we do means. Other cultures have argued over their meanings. We tend to deny that there is any such thing, insisting instead that what you see is what you get and that’s it. All we’re doing is having a good time, all we’re doing is making a buck, all we’re doing is enjoying the spectacle … Media is the American war on content with all the stops out, with meaning in utter rout, frightened nuances dropping their weapons as they run." Michael Ventura, journalist and author
The aesthetics of a revolutionary: being turned on or off by the nature or rationality of his society; he looks for beauty in the social arrangement as others may look for it in art.
Freud resisted music because he hated being moved by a thing without knowing how and why he was affected. Lenin avoided Beethoven because the music made him want to pat people on the head.
World War 1 — hundreds of thousands of previously rational animals lined up facing one another and doggedly shot one another to pieces, day after day, year after year. And no one could confidently or clearly say why it was happening or what it was all about. And it might still be going on if not for the Russian Revolution. Unlike World War 2, the First World War did not end because of any kind of invasion of Germany. It came to an end because the Bolsheviks brought the capitalist leaders who were fighting each other to their senses. They realized that if they didn’t stop fighting each other and work together against the new Bolshevik menace, their own people might rise up against them.
Remark made to a pacifist: "If only everyone else would live in the way you recommend, I would gladly live that way as well — but not until everyone else does." The pacifist replied: "Why then, sir, you would be the last man on earth to do good. I would rather be one of the first."
The question is not what pacifism has achieved throughout history, but what has war achieved?
Leading Nazi leader, Hermann Goering, at the Nuremberg Trials before he was sentenced to death: "Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
The Veterans of Future Wars — those intent upon preventing future wars
"Anti-conspiracists insist that, unlike the rest of us, the rich and powerful do not act with deliberate intent." Michael Parenti
In a roomful of smoking guns, they demand a smoking cannon.
The well-known term "conspiracy" may not actually serve us very well, since it suggests an arcane aberration rather than the normal workings of our ruling class.
The trivialization of conspiracism may itself be a conspiracy.
Humpty-Dumpty was pushed.
With the JFK assassination we gave up part of our democracy and we’re not going to get it back unless we find out who did it. Prof. Peter Dale Scott sees the JFK assassination as an "internal adjustment".
A common argument against a JFK assassination conspiracy is that by now someone would have talked. But at least two men have come forward with plausible stories of how they were directly involved with the assassination (one is the father of actor Woody Harrelson), and others have claimed other important connections. And what happened? They have all been completely ignored by the mainstream media. Only the tabloids have reported their stories.
Capitalism (or government of the Eons, by the Duponts, for the Chryslers)
Capitalism is the theory that the worst people, acting from their worst motives, will somehow produce the most good.
"The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." Alex Carey, Australian social scientist
Shooting your boss is guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence, under the provision for "the pursuit of happiness".
"Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business." John Dewey
"The drive for profit that determines capitalism at the end of this century fits like an iron mask on our cultural output." Andr