Essays

American-Style Democracy Wins in Iran

Clifton Ross

The End of History: Part Two
Or, The Victory of American-Style Democracy in Mexico, Nicaragua and Iran


The poor, benighted left and Latin American Solidarity movement in the U.S. throughout the 1980s found it impossible to decipher the highly-sophisticated language of empire in its “B-Movie” phase under the senile actor from Hollywood, Ronald Reagan. Those who were alive and conscious in those years as History approached its End were told that the mercenary wars and official repression of the day in Central America, Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere were simply aimed at “stopping the spread of Communism” and bringing about “American-Style democracy” (ASD)

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The Crisis in Bolivia: Cleaning Up the Bull Ring

Clifton Ross

September 19, 2008

The bull, among the Persian Zoroastrians as well as the Huichol people of Mexico, represents the sun which comes to earth and bleeds to give life to the earth. This powerful creature is a symbol, therefore, of divine power which is willing to bleed for the good of humanity and all life. In Hispanic (meaning, Spanish and Spanish (speaking) America) the running of the bulls is an exciting and dangerous festival where the Anglo game of Chicken takes on the bulk of a mighty mammal with horns and mighty power. In some places, like rural Ecuador, it’s usually a game of young men with too much testosterone jumping in a makeshift bullring with a puzzled bull and antagonizing it until it charges. The bull usually has something tied to its back – it might also be just a rope girding the bull -- and the young man daring, stealthy or stupid enough to untie the knot wins a prize. In the stands are hordes of spectators, all secretly hoping the bull will gore someone and they may even witness a death as they eat fried fava beans or peanuts and swill their favorite drinks. The game never stops as one bull follows another and the young men do their best to get its attention for just enough time to be pursued just so far. Virtually no one ever unties the knot and wins a prize since most of the young men who were driven into the ring by testosterone, flee it just as quickly in a rush of adrenaline when the bull charges.

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A Loan Application Scenario

Eric Robertson
A Good Investment

Three executives of the big automakers come to Washington to apply for federal loans, hats in hands. Let's call the federal loan officer Big Sam. Coming to the loan officer's table they have shown humility traveling by car instead of company jets. By arriving in cars their companies have manufactured they show thriftiness and pride in their business. Still, Sam likes to know that they have jets. In the loan business these assets are called collateral.

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Tree Sitters

Eric Robertson
UC Berkeley Oaks, Summer 2007

The Berkeley campus tree sit ended a month or so ago. The long, nonviolent direct action of dozens of individuals ended in a day and was quickly consumed by other news like bank bailouts and the presidential election. I haven't been back to see if anything is left of the grove, but I understand the trees started coming down quickly before anyone could go back up them. 

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Ballooning Creature Lands on Foreign World

Eric Robertson
Web on Azaleas

My partner Leah got something in her eye this weekend. The wind was gusting pretty strong. I was in the back yard hanging up laundry. She was going in the backdoor when I heard her call me. Something had flown in her eye.

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Cat Box

Eric Robertson
OldSandbox.JPG

This is a picture of what is left of a children's sandbox in our backyard. The wood box is gone and just the sand remains. Grass leaders make their way up from the edges, taking over this minidesert. Would this be called undesertification?

I am using up the sand by mixing it with cat litter in our cat's litter box. It was easy shoveling at first, but now the grass has taken hold so I must use a garden rake first to clear it.

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Breakfast

Eric Robertson
Breakfast

The picture you see here is a meal from a few weekends ago. It is of a bagel (an everything bagel most likely) and some tea (black). This is one of my favorite meals. I like it with butter and jam(orange marmalade, apricot, blackberry and strawberry are my favorites).

You can see that there is a danger (not great,of course) of a blog being something of little consequence. I could tell you about when I first started eating bagels. Where I was and who I ate bagels with. It could easily turn into a Monty Python-like skit. 

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¿Drill Baby Drill?

Eric Robertson
Polar Bears
George Bush and John McCain's VP running mate, Sarah Palin, want to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling. I guess I don't have any problem with that anymore than I do with slashing and burning the Amazon Rain forest to grow crops, or damming the Colorado River to make electricity, or draining the Everglades to grow sugar cane. It's easy to sacrifice things that are far away and don't seem connected to me. But it doesn't make me feel good.
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A Pitch for a Water Saving Device - the QuietFILL

Eric Robertson
A Little Gift of Modern Times

In the course of experimenting with my toilet this summer, I broke the part where the float ball stem screws into the fill valve inside the tank. I managed to glue this part back together with some strong epoxy, but it finally gave out the other day. Good things sometimes come by accident. This is one such case.

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Toilets

Eric Robertson
My toilet which just happens to sit right next to my sink!

Question: What do people use thousands of gallons of fresh water for each year? Washing dishes? Cooking meals? Watering gardens? All of these answers are correct. But I was thinking of flushing toilets. That's right, we use thousands of gallons of fresh, clean, drinking water just to flush our feces and urine down the commode. It's pretty nifty and hands free, but it is an awful waste of good water when other methods are just as good.

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