Album Review: American IV: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash *****

This is one of my favorite all time records and my second favorite of his under “The Legend of Johnny Cash.” To me, it’s the best of the American Recordings Sessions. Thank you Rick Rubin for getting Johnny Cash in your studio with a guitar and a stripped down sound. It really lets his gravitas come out. The style he used in the previous almost 50 years got to be very standardized. Johnny Cash is my favorite musician. All ratings are from the 1 to 5 stars on iTunes. * – Terrible, ** – Meh/fair, *** – Good/solid, **** – Great, ***** – Superb. In parantheis is who wrote these songs.

1. The Man Comes Around (Johnny Cash) — Really strong first song that gets to why these American sessions are so good, although this song does have the full band. ****

2. Hurt (Trent Reznor) – The song that really got me into Johnny Cash. You can feel the pain of his voice from his addictions. He made a great Nine Inch Nails song so much more heart wrenching by slowing it down. You can absolutely feel how much of this song and it’s lyrics are about his own life. I think it also about losing his beloved wife June Carter Cash. Amazing song, still one of my favorite ten Johnny Cash songs. *****

Lenny is also helping me by being adorable and sitting on my desk, I really love having a portable keyboard. And even has volume, mute, fast forward, pause, rewind and a key to turn off the monitor.

3. Give My Love to Rose (Johnny Cash) — Another beautiful, sad song. About loss and love. Also about jail and lost lives and relationships. Johnny Cash can say so much in a few minutes. ****

4. Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon) — This is a song that is one of the key works of genius of Simon and Garfunkel. No one hits high notes quite like Art Garfunkel. But Johnny Cash turns this into an entirely different song. Much more full of pain and loss. I love both versions, they are both so different and beautiful. ****

5. I Hung My Head (Sting) — This is one of the songs on this album I don’t know as well. I usually have my music on shuffle. Still a very good song but one of the weaker ones on this album. ***

6. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Ewan MacCall) — Here come the tears, this is one of the songs that makes me think of my mom and dad. It’s only been 23 months since my dad Henry Edmunds Davis passed away on April 1st, 2013. It’s about love, and finding a life partner. So much beauty. So much sadness. *****

7. Personal Jesus (Martin Gore) — It’s amazing how this song has changed since Depeche Mode released in the 1980s. Becomes much of a spiritual when it’s on acoustic guitar. ****

8. In My Life (John Lennon and Paul McCartney) — Just a beautiful and heartfelt song. Another one that makes me think of me and my wife’s dearly departed fathers. My wife’s father Walter Maheux passed away in April, 2012. Losing a parent takes a long time to heal if it ever will. Another song with the original by the Beatles and this stripped down cover by Johnny Cash are both amazing. *****

9. Sam Hall (Tex Ritter) — Solid country song and definitely has the feel of a lot of his country career. Would be one of the stronger tracks on a lot of Johnny Cash album but not this one. Still very good. ***

10. Danny Boy (Frederick Weatherly) — Absolute standard. Johnny Cash’s version is beautiful. Another one where the spareness of much of the American recording series comes through. I forgot this version had the organ in it. I guess the pipes are calling in more than one way. ****

11. Desperado (Glenn Frey and Don Henley) — I like this version much more than the Eagles version. I guess I just like a more minimalistic style and of course Johnny Cash’s voice is like nobody else. Your prison is walking through this world all around says so much of loss with Johnny Cash’s voice. ****

12. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams) — So much slower and less honky tonk that the Hank Williams classic. There is a lot of loneliness in this song. Duet with Nick Cave which I think actually hurts it. Prefer the classic Hank Williams version. ***

13. Tear Stained Letter (Johnny Cash) — A good Johnny Cash but not up to the greatness of the rest of the album. ***

14. Streets of Laredo (Traditional) — A lovely song, it doesn’t have the emotional resonance of most of the album. ***

15. We’ll Meet Again (Hughie Charles and Ross Parker) — This is definitely about losing June and beautiful. It also makes me think of the absolutely genius end of Dr. Strangelove. Not sure who is part of the chorus. ****

This is without question one of my favorite albums and has a lot of songs I have played many, many times. Including We’ll Meet Again, Bridge Over Troubled Water, In My Life, Hurt, Personal Jesus and the Man Comes Around. .

Here is some more info from Wikipedia about this album if you are interested, Wikipedia is a fabulous resource.

Here is the liner notes about everyone who was on each song.

Absolute classic. A must own.

*****

Citizenfour ***1/2

The Patriot Act was without one of the most unpatriotic and unconstitutional laws in American history. The Bill of Rights, especially the the First and Fourth Amendments do not allow the insane and worldwide surveillance society we have that looks at 1,200,000 people at any time. That’s staggering. “Citzenfour” is an incredibly important and brave documentary, by the patriot who believes in the Constitution, liberty and privacy Edward Snowden. He’s just a soft spoken tech geek that thought things went too far and he had to expose some of it. The sad thing is all of the surveillance society keeps getting bigger and costs billions. At this point the American government is the biggest terrorist state in the world. Monitoring communications around the world with only a puppet court looking on, a Congress who is afraid to act, and an incredibly disappointing President on National security issues, Barack Obama. Mr. Obama promised that he would bring accountability to the security state. It hasn’t happened, it’s only getting bigger. And we have an insanely large military with bases around the world.

We need sanity. Instead of trying to be the only superpower and the “world’s policeman,” lets help those who have had life struggles get back on their feet.

It’s a must see documentary if you care about democracy, freedom, investigative journalism and liberty.

*** 1/2

I feel like I have a lot more to say about this topic, and I think I will be adding to this post.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band **** – The Beatles Track Review with YouTube links of covers

1. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band — Good but not great song. *** It does have some good silliness. Lenny wants to help me with this (my cat). [The stars are what I would give on iTunes from 1-5]

Here is a more fun version and cover from Big Daddy, the German host introduction even makes it more surreal. It’s like a doo wop version. They covered the whole album and it’s pretty awesome and silly. This version. ***

2. With a Little Help From My Friends — A good song that was made great by Joe Cocker. This is definitely a song where the cover version could be considered the classic one. *** The Beatles version still is nice, but doesn’t compare to Joe Cocker’s version. Joe Cocker’s version is ****. Almost seems strange to hear this as a Beatles song now. The Beatles version seems way too calm now.

Lenny thinks this is a good time for a break to play with the kitty so here in the Joe Cocker version.

3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds — To me the first really classic song on this album. A song I just love. **** Although the William Shatner version is hilarious.

I just decided I need to have YouTube videos of covers for every song on this album. Shatner version *** but hilarious.

I found another amazing cover by the Flaming Lips, featuring Miley Cyrus and Moby. This is fabulous and even weirder than Shatner’s version. (Warning includes nudity). ****

4. Getting Better — A solid song, but just a pretty average Beatles song. ***

Oddly hard to find to a good cover for Getting Better. Listened to a few that were entirely different songs from Brooks and Dunn and Tesla. This one is good but not great by Kaiser Chiefs for a BBC 40th Anniversary Special. *** And I am starting to really hate eInsurance from all the Youtube ads, been way too many tonight.

5. Fixing a Hole — Nice song, not amazing but good. ***

The cover I found is by the Fray for the same 40th Anniversary special as the Getting Better cover. ***

Intermission: while waiting for an Oasis version of “Within You and Without You”, this awesome and silly song “Diamond Sword” Minecraft animation came as an advertisement. It’s pretty awesome. Decided to pass on the Oasis cover found the great Sonic Youth cover later.

6. She’s Leaving Home — Actually a very cool song, not one I know all that well. *** 1/2 (but going to round up to 4 on iTunes) I like the choral play on this song. The Beatles harmonies are very underrated.

Found a nice version by the Andy Timmons Band, I like the guitar work, has a bluesy feel. Seems to just be an instrumental, basically guitar centered. It does miss the wonderful harmonies of the original. ***

7. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite — One of my favorite Beatles songs, I like the version on the Beatles Anthology even better. Gets trippier and richer in my opinion. ****

I thought there would a lot of good covers with this very fun song. I found one from AndyBoy63 on YouTube that is quite faithful.

8. Within You Without You – A nice with the sitar, but there are better Beatles songs like this. *** Honestly too long too.

Found a wicked awesome Sonic Youth cover that was released in 1988 on a multi-artist compilation album called ‘Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father’. I like the Sonic Youth cover quite a bit more. ****

9. When I’m Sixty-Four — More ironic when the Beatles are getting older. Of course sadly John Lennon didn’t get there, tragically being shot at 40. George Harrison died at 58. Paul McCartney is now 72. Ringo Starr is 74. It’s strange how aging changes perception. Many people today at 64 don’t feel that old, and will often live 20 more years. **** The song is good fun though. It of course makes fun of societal expectations. Does feel bittersweet now though.

This cover by Big Daddy is my favorite track on their album. It has a fun beat. **** Both versions are great, I think I have to go Beatles though.

10. Lovely Rita — Fun song. Feels like one the Beatles earlier, sillier songs. ***

Nice cover from the 40th Anniversary BBC Show from Travis. ***

11. Good Morning Good Morning — A good and pretty silly song. There are a lot of those on this record. ***

Fun, peppy cover from the Zutons.

12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) — Better than the original version, but still just okay. It is catchy and short. ***

I found this fun Cheap Trick cover, I guess they did a show in Vegas with Sgt. Pepper’s, time does weird things. ***

13. A Day in the Life — To me easily the best song on the album, I like the version on the Beatles Anthology even more. The Beatles Anthology Volume 2, Disc 2 is my favorite Beatles record which I know is an odd choice. I like having multiple versions of several of the songs. ****

The great Jeff Beck live, seems to just be guitar, but lovely. I would love to play guitar like this. It’s such an amazing instrument. He plays a lot with the whammy bar on his guitar too. I wonder if I should try one like that and if I would like it. ***

It’s a great record with some all time classic songs in “A Day in the Life”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” It’s a solid **** record I haven’t heard all the way through in a long time. And without a doubt incredibly influential.

The best cover of these by far is the Joe Cocker cover that took me down this rabbit hole. And then the insane and pretty awesome Flaming Lips/Miley Cyrus version (with a bit of Moby). And the Big Daddy cover of When I’m 64 is good fun. And Jeff Beck is an amazing guitarist.

This was a lot of fun and definitely a blogpost that took a while to write and have a lot of fun with.

Things I Miss About Portland, ME

Lots and lots of people. I made a lot of good friendships. There is a genuine quality to Mainers. Ayuh

My therapist
Pei Men Miyake, especially at lunch. I loved getting ramen and fried brussel sprouts
The potato pancakes, rye bread with delicious spread, beets and soups at Schulte and Herr. Such a treasure of Portland, Maine and BYOB.
The atmosphere and food at Saigon on Outer Forest Ave. If you haven’t been there you need to go. Lanna craved their spring rolls so much she is now making them since we moved.
The pork fried dumplings at China Villa in Westbrook. There is much better Chinese in Connecticut, with very good takeout American chinese, and fantastic and legit Chinese places like Iron Chef that is cash only and is what Taiwanese people would call food.
The atmosphere at work, going remote is not the same.
Seeing the Presumpcot Falls in Westbrook through my window, although my view across the Naugatuck Valley in Connecticut is spectacular.

The wonderful drive down the Fore River Parkway and down Commercial Street into Portland.
Tennis on the Eastern Promenade, there isn’t too many views better than that for a free park.
The atmosphere in Portland, Maine, it’s just so comfortable.
Having a car. Trying to share one is not the same.

Having family nearby, it was nice to have the in-laws crosstown.
Having that connection, and having dinner once a week was really nice. Also having someone to watch the cats.

Ansonia and the Naugatuck Valley is beautiful but I often miss Maine. It’s a special place.

Sports Stadiums

We are in the midst of the week of huge sports media for Super Bowl week. People are preparing for big feasts on their big screens with big TV coverage and big commercials. Everything big. Expensive commercials, huge security, insane media presence.

And I used to be a pretty big sports fan. I was always excited to have sports on the weekends, and enjoyed just settling into it. And I didn’t grow up with cable so it was just the free TV stuff.

I had DISH Network for a while in Maine until about a year ago. Partially so I could check out the regional sports networks. Not knowing that most of the games were blacked out and I just got to watch the Best Damn Sports Show period in dozens of markets. I loved and still love PTI. Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser have a special chemistry. It was something I DVRed and frequently watched while browsing the internet and it gave me a good idea what was going on in sports.

It’s funny though. When we gave up the DISH for Amazon Prime and saved ourselves around $1000/year (seriously). And the sports weren’t constantly available on the ESPN family of networks anymore. I didn’t have constant commercials, and I found my desire to know what’s happening in the sports pages just plummeted. I didn’t watch the NFC/AFC Championship games, didn’t watch the College Football playoffs and didn’t really know who was involved. And I think that is a good thing.

Sportsball as my friend Greg Daly calls it, takes a huge amount of attention. If you watch every Red Sox game in a season that is 500 hours of baseball, and that doesn’t even include the pre-game, post-game and sports talk radio. It’s the equivalent of 3 months full of full time work.

Sports makes a ton of money. Especially the NFL in the US, and soccer leagues overseas. Big TV contracts, and big shares on Sundays.

But, the billionaires that own these sports franchises seem to think they are giving a benevolent gift to cities and towns when they have a sports team. The franchises are often worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and often make tens of millions when in a big market. YES Network for the Yankees and NESN for the Red Sox are a huge reason they can afford big payrolls and tend to be among the best teams in baseball every year.

Part of the reason the NFL does well and has balance is there is basically one big pool of income for all of the TV and merchandising rights that are shared.

Yet, these billionaires who have the big shiny that is professional sports want huge, huge taxpayer subsidies. If you build they will come and there will be a huge economic boost to towns. In reality in places like Cincinnati or Phoenix it ends up where cities and counties not only give tens or hundreds of millions to build stadiums but tens of millions to run them every year. Glendale, Arizona spends $25 million a year on operating expenses for the Phoenix Coyotes, in a metropolitan area known for good golf in January. Hamilton County, Ohio which includes Cincinatti according to this Wall Street Journal article spent $540 million in 1996 to build new stadiums for the Reds (MLB) and Bengals (NFL). In 2010 the county spent “$34.6 million—a sum equal to 16.4% of the county budget.” Why? So billionaires could have the county pay for all the costs and operating expenses, while the owners made the money. The line used is about the huge “economic benefit” produced by stadiums. In truth, people go to see a ballgame instead of going to a movie, seeing a show, going camping, etc. There generally is no huge benefit. People drive into the stadiums, pay a fortune to park, see the game, get concessions.. and then go home in the car to their home in the suburbs. It’s madness.

I will give the New York Jets and Giants credit. They built their billion dollar plus stadium with private money. In this case, there is benefits to towns because people spending money on tickets for athletics and concerts and such to spend money in towns. And there isn’t the albatross of huge stadium debt.

I know in Portland, ME, the Portland Pirates, an AHL hockey club (think AAA in baseball), demanded that they get all the beer money in the recently renovated by the county taxpayers Cumberland County Civic Center (CCCC). I have gone to some Pirates games and it was good fun. The stadium wasn’t new but it worked okay. The Pirates weren’t selling out so you could sit close to the ice and watch good hockey. But, the CCCC deserves to make some money on their huge expenditure. Eventually they conceded because they didn’t want to lose the club. Such hardball tactics happen all the time.

For me, I am a Philadelphia sports fan. I have very fond memories of watching Michael Jack Schmidt, still my favorite baseball player, hit home runs at Veterans Stadiums. Critics said it was one of the worst stadiums in professional sports but it is full of good memories for me in the 6-8 times I went there as a kid. New and shiny isn’t necessarily better.

I thought Chicago Stadium which I got to see in it’s last year 1993-1994, unfortunately the year Michael Jordan tried out baseball. But, I remember being in standing room on the 2nd balcony for the last regular season game vs. the Knicks and I was very close to the court. The whole stadium was a city block. There was some obstructed view seats, but it was a great place to watch basketball and I am sure hockey. The new United Center I think is at least 4 times the size. I looked it up 240,000 square feet for Chicago Stadium vs. 960,000 for the United Center. The taxpayers spent millions to have seats that were 4 times farther away, so the rich could have luxury boxes.

Basically, sports leagues are for billionaires like Mark Cuban to have fun. They don’t need taxpayer money. It’s kind of like a lot of corporate welfare in the United States right now. Give millions and billions to the rich, and call them “job creators.” Use the term “trickle down economics” when the money just trickles up into bank accounts. Let’s spend less to give fancy houses to billionare sports franchise owners and more to build houses and help those in need.

edmund

Memories of My Father

I had a huge disruption in my life on April 1, 2013.

Had written everyday in the blog from I think Thankgiving, 2011 into mid-April.

I lost the rock of my life, my father Henry Edmunds Davis.

He always had a twinkle in his eye, incredibly intelligent and grounded with someone who wanted to be a farmer as a kid. He became an agronomist which means a weed scientist and a Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin. I was born in Madison while he was studying. We even had food stamps for a short time while my dad was in school and my mom was a full time mom. We all need help sometimes.

We moved to Dublin, Ohio near Columbus when I was a little kid and my sister was still a toddler around 1977 or so when my dad completed his Ph.D. She as born on June 2, 1976, me on June 23, 1974. I have very happy memories from our time in Ohio. I remember being awed by the coal mine exhibit at the COSI science museum in Columbus. I think there is a groundedness to the midwest that you don’t see in New Jersey and Connecticut but begin to see again in Maine.

We moved to NJ when I was in 1st grade, because my dad got a good job offer at Mobil in NJ. I remember I was way, way ahead in math and had already completed second grade in math at the more self directed private school that my parents took us to Ohio. New Jersey is very different. Beautiful, underrated, but more of a drive to look out and look to keep doing better. I think people sometimes look to get ahead without worrying about others. I think similar things like places like Greenwich, CT and Well Street where money is worshipped over people. I think I always felt like an outsider in New Jersey, even though I ended up going to Montgomery schools all the way through High School. And there are people I have known there for over 30 years now. I am someone who I think feels like an outsider even when I am a regular and I know people. Does anyone else get this feeling?

Unfortunately, not long after dad moved his job ended and he had trouble finding another job so he decided to open a business, the Weed Doctor, doing home lawn care. He did this for decades after and I helped him out in high school and college. We had a lot of bonding there. Like me he had a map of places he has been in his mind. It’s an interesting superpower to have. I think he often charged to little for his services, and certainly had a bunch of characters work for him, some of which embezzled, one of which propositioned me when I was in Junior High School. Which I think affected me for a long time.

His mom lived until 90, and I expected to him to have him so much longer than I did. We didn’t expect brain cancer, I guess nobody does. Got lucky with his first operation. He had 5 good years, and 9 terrible months after his second operation. And I feel like there is nothing I need to say to him, I have no regrets, I just wish he was around so much longer.

It’s amazing how the death of a parents changes you. I have still been very active on social media and am now up to 187 straight days of Three (or way more) Good Things but there is something different about sharing things on WordPress. I have been wanting to get blogging every day for a long time. Hopefully these posts come out a lot more than I got a computer again.

ed

Fear

There is a big storm coming, slow start this afternoon and then time to just be home.

I think we want to do too many things right now.

Have commercials that say guys shouldn’t just watch football on a Sunday, that they need to go to Home Depot for home improvement.

It’s not safe enough out there for children, so parents need to be chauffers for their kids.

It’s terrible to miss a little league game so parents move their schedules everywhere.

This isn’t safe, that’s not safe. It’s paranoia. There is a reason that FDR said “The only thing to fear, it fear itself.” Fear stops us from doing things. Fear of debt, fear of failure, fear of criminals, “stranger danger.”

So we have more cops, more prisons, lock your doors, protect your valuable, there is dangerous stuff out there.

And that can be true, I had my car broken into with tons of stuff for Rites of Spring when I lived in Harlem Heights. I was a naive kid who grew up in a rural/suburban area, where things were very safe. 151st and Broadway is not the place to leave anything in your car. Having things stolen is awful. My wife left an SLR in the car and the door was wide open. Maybe, we forgot, but it’s still terrible. But it’s mostly stuff.

South Park spoofed this in their 611 episode “Child Abduction is Not Funny,” they went to absurdity of the kids being only with Mongolians for all the dangers. And if you look at the statitics, there isn’t that much stranger danger:

Put it another way: The Department of Justice reports that of the 800,000 children reported “missing” in the United States each year, 115 are the result of “stereotypical kidnapping” — a stranger snatching the child. About 90 percent of abductees return home within 24 hours and the vast majority are teenage runaways.

So much work, so many lost opportunities to explore because of a very, very minor danger.

It used to be not long ago that school age kids would get a bike and freedom, running all over the place, doing their own thing, finding themselves.

Not the absurdities of helicopter parenting, where parents are there all the time. They even want to talk to employers for their kids. We need to let kids find their path, not the one you saw for them at 8. Everyone changes.

I guess I am just saying that if you believe things are safer, they become safer.

If you are paranoid all the time, you see things that aren’t there.

Be need to be excellent to each other. It’s getting insane, to the point of people like Doomsday Preppers.

What are your thoughts?

New Computer Wooo!

I am now up to 182 straight days of doing Three Good Things (or way more) posts, but it’s been a long, long time since I have posted in the blog.

I also haven’t had a computer in several months since my monitor died.

Got a new one today. May be a bit underpowered with a Pentium, 4GB and a 500GB hard drive. But it does have a touchscreen, does have a way to navigate songs and mute things and fast forward. And it only cost $289.99 part of which was paid by Christmas gift cards for Amazon.

Still getting used to the wireless keyboard, and wireless remote, but great to have a 19.5″ screen and nice to be able to make webpages bigger with a touch like on a smartphone.

I was dithering forever about getting a new computer, I really did want more memory, more processor and more hard drive but I couldn’t turn down this price for a touchscreen with a nice monitor.

And it really is so much nicer to use a keyboard than a smartphone when you are saying more than a few words, although I am getting much better with my thumbs. Ten fingers is most definitely a more effective way to type.

And I really didn’t use my laptop much out anyway.

I think I will like this new shiny, although if I had $700 I would have gotten the 8GB memory, iCore5, and 1TB Dell I saw for $700. It is definitely a good computer but I think this will do for using Google Chrome and iTunes.

edmund

A Walk in the Woods

This move to Connecticut has been strange for me. I grew to love Portland, Maine. The restaurants, the spirit, the beauty, the breweries, the poetry scene, the people. I liked having my in-laws closeby.

Connecticut is new. I don’t have enough people here and am home so much. Including work, it’s odd to be in a locked office the whole day. It’s also not kitty approved.

But there are beautiful parks and open space here.  We live less than half a mile from the Naugatuck State Forest. So many great walks. I’m looking out tp a clearing at the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path right now, a bird tweeting close and far. There is the Naugatuck Valley, the slopes, the rocks, the Naugatuck and rivers. The Osborndale State Park, even the ocean/ Long Island Sound a half hour away at the Seaside Park in Bridgeport. It’s lovely here. Far more trails and nearby public open space then Westbrook, Maine.

The crickets sing their songs of late summer, insects buzz, cars race. I think I will be very happy here eventually, but I need people.

Glad to have family here this week for Thanksgiving, glad to have a bunch of medical appointments setup, glad to be more settled. But still finding my place, I wish I did leave the house for work and had my old car again.

But, I love the woods, love the quiet, love birdsong, love beauty, as there are a few efferemal warm days before the coming winter.

Edmund

Some Thoughts on the War in Iraq and Terrorism

Was reading this outstanding article about how the word terrorism changes how states can act in the New York Times today “The Reign of ‘Terror'” and I had this response thinking about the War in Iraq that I posted in the comments:

If nothing else the War in Iraq was great at making terrorists. When the US took over Iraq militarily in a few days, a lot of people were prepared to like us. Then we made three terrible ill-considered decisions by morons like L. Paul Bremer. We didn’t protect the museums and sacred sites from looting; we fired the entire Ba’ath Party and removed the civil institutions of government, making things much less governed; and we disbanded the Iraqi Army. Instead of having a functional (if extremely corrupt) government and an army to keep the peace and rebuild, we had a population without governance, and hundreds of thousands of men with jobs and no work.

The war was good for the Kurds without question, and ISIS/ISIL makes it more likely in my view to see a Kurdish state. And we transferred power from the Sunni Ba’ath party to Shiite rule. Instead of being enemies, Iraq and Iran are closer to allies.

Hurting civilians to stop terrorism, just creates state terror, that “terrorists” fight back against like in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. It’s an Orwellian term that makes for many evils.

If you want to read more about the Iraq War see Charles Ferguson’s excellent documentary “No End in Sight.” If you want to see the effects of state terrorism from the Palestinian perspective I highly recommend Joe Sacco’s graphic journalism in “Palestine” and “Footnotes from Gaza.” Excellent piece by Tomis Kapitan in the New York Times.

While posting an update to Facebook about this I added a lot. Here are those thoughts:

It takes a surreal world for a “War on Terror” to create terrorists, but that is definitely what happened in Iraq. Was reading an excellent post in the New York Times earlier today called “The Reign of ‘Terror'” and this blogpost is mainly my comment. The Iraq War ended a strong dictatorial state run by a stalinist in Saddam Hussein and created a power vacuum with 3 people that don’t get along: the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunnis. With Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party the Sunnis had control and were vicious to Shiites in Iraq and Iran and evil to Kurdish people. The end of the Iraq War has created a virtual Kurdistan in Northern Iraq and a country ruled by the Shiites for now. And the radical Sunnis are now part of ISIS. Be careful of a power vacuum. I thought earlier it was the new Yugoslavia, Tito vs. Hussein but the current states of the former Yugoslavia, especially Slovenia and Croatia are much stronger states than modern Iraq. Will be curious to see what the coming years bring. It’s not good now.

Iraq is a mess. It’s not going to be pretty. I really hope that Kurdistan becomes it’s own state. Turkey helping the Kurds against ISIS now is a big deal. I think at some point the rest of Iraq may break up as well but that’s not clear. Kurdistan is already close to a self governed state already.