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What is to be done? Not much, if we're asking what the current administration can do before January 20. Obama has had eight years to do - and not do - the things which really had to be done.

As I understand it, anything substantive he might now accomplish, with an executive order or interim appointment, would be erased as soon as he's gone.

The only concrete thing he could do which would survive him is to pardon existing whistleblowers (although this would not protect the next ones, or the republic, going forward).

He actually could shut down Guantanamo (before it becomes an off-shore political prison for Americans). Since its existence itself is a war crime, executive fiat is enough for the task.

There are any number of moves he could make while still president, including immediately halting his ramped-up deportation programs and the use of drones in countries with which we are not at war, but the relief they could offer, while hugely welcome to the victims, would only be temporary.

He could speak out, and not just to help dress in sheep's clothing the monster he condemned until just two days ago (and who did what he could to rob him of his humanity).

There are plenty of things he could say to us all, beginning with, 'forgive me'.

In the last few days we may have learned that much of Obama's popularity was a fiction, potentially minimizing the effect of a bully pulpit, even one delivered from a dying administration. Yet if he were he to address the nation now, with honesty, transparency, and contrition, on the policies with which he abandoned his most fervent constituencies, and, presumably, his own principles, for eight years, he would at least leave office with personal integrity.

Most of these are merely nostrums, unlikely to have a long-range effect on the survival of the republic - and by extension, the world - but there is one thing Obama could do.

The Democratic party has still less popularity than he does, and also should be recognized as the greater culprit. It should be dismantled altogether.

Obama should immediately summon a major, transparent, national gathering of true progressives, with large minds and great hearts, an assembly which would be open to public input, to discuss, found, and organize a replacement, one which would eschew the failings, the remoteness, and the fatal dysfunction of the one which has now been spurned by the people it has itself spurned for so long


The image is of Karl Marx speaking before at assembly which founded the International Working Men's Asociation, at a St. Martin's Hall meeting, London, 1864.


[the image is from The Socialist Review]

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Blood, so much blood.



Did the Syrian civil war begin with George W. Bush?

Who started it? Americans don't like looking back, but when the subject is a war without end and a complete failure to address it, or the damages that continue to mount up internally, the question has a real and present urgency.

All of the wars in the middle east for the past 15 years (and which, by definition of the umbrella 'War on Terror', have no foreseeable end) will forever be the shame of this country. Both political parties, and, apparently, most Americans, have affirmed them and adopted them as their own.

At least to the extent that we have not demonstrated against, or at least vocally opposed these wars from the beginning, and regardless of the fact that we are not the specific, immediate agents of the death and destruction, we are all responsible for their creation, and for their continuing horrors,

This is true also of the formation of ISIS, and the character of the civil war in Syria. The Bush regime's obsession with Iraq, and its decision (with the concurrence and assistance of others inside the country and abroad) to invade that nation, was the fundamental impetus for ISIS, and the continuing civil war in Syria.

In this May, 1915 New Yorker piece, Dexter Filkins makes the connections, but unfortunately he begins with the invasion of Iraq as a given, pretty much absolving the Bush regime of the blame for ISIS and Syrian horrors.

If Bush gets off scot free, then obviously nobody did anything wrong, and nobody is still doing anything wrong.

Shit just happens.


We had dinner at a creative restaurant, Thermroc, in Mitte, on Torstraße.

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untitled (Flatfix) 2015


This is an image of a streetscape I found on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick this beautiful afternoon, on a walk between Los Ojos and Interstate Projects.

If I'm going to restart this blog, maybe I should be carrying around a camera other than my old iPhone. I like this image, but I can't help thinking Mr. NIKON could have done it better.

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untitled (snow) 2015


Barry looked through the window onto our snow-covered roof garden this morning and announced, "you can see the snowflakes!" Since he was a few feet away from them, I was a bit skeptical, . . . until I got up and looked for myself, and there they were.

I hadn't re-set the ASA or the image quality before I took a few shots from one foot above the blanket lying right outside the breakfast room with my little Nikon, so the picture above, while it does show some snowflake shapes, became less a meteorological document than an art abstraction. Other than darkening it, in order to make out the shapes even better, I played very little with the image.

I see stars, galaxies maybe.

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Some of Kristen Jensen's sculpture is currently part of an interesting group show, 'The Curve', at Wallspace Gallery in Chelsea. The works are shown above, almost certainly in the artist's own elegant arrangement. They are made of porcelain or stoneware, with the exception of the piece on the left, whose materials are described as campfire ashes and brass. They are titled, clockwise from the left, 'Portable Black Hole', 'Steady, Steady Man', 'Dad Nose', 'Shim', and 'Bell'.

The other artists in the show, which closes January 14, are Jan Groover, Zachary Leener, Rebecca Morris, Monique Mouton, and Matt Paweski.

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untitled (golden light) 2015


I continue to be amazed with what phone cameras can do, so thank you Steve.

But, no, this image isn't a photo-edited collage, but the effect produced by at least three pieces of a broken mirror reflecting some other debris and surrounding building facades. There's also a bit of a plastic bag of trash, and some sidewalk elements at the top and the bottom, I think, but even I no longer can be sure, and I was there.

Whatever. But it made for a fun kaleidoscope as dusk approached West Chelsea this afternoon.

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untitled (afghan) 2015


I was changing a setting on my camera while standing over the bed when something close to this image appeared on the screen. It thrilled me, so I captured its like.

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the first page of Stockhausen's piano score for 'Kontakte', seen seconds before 'Originale' began


I've uploaded 347 iphone images I had captured - with the enthusiastic encouragement of the curator, Nick Hallet - during the performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Originale" on November 7 at The Kitchen. They are of varying quality, but I show virtually every picture I shot, including a few blanks, or near-blanks, because the bricolage suggests the beautiful energy of the evening, along with its [suggestion of] mayhem.

I virtually grew up listening to Stockhausen. His music was broadcast by Westdeutscher Rundfunk [WDR] in the 1950s, and that station's avant garde music programs (which included the music of Hans Werner Henze, among other composers considered late-20th-century giants today) were carried by the CBC, to which I listened in Detroit, via their Windsor, Ontario outlet across the river.

While I missed the first performance of this piece, Stockhausen's first venture into theater, in Köln, in 1962, and was living in Germany when "Originale" was produced at Judson Church. I wouldn't have missed this one for the world, and I felt deeply honored to be at The Kitchen on Friday, where I rewarded far beyond all my expectations. I was in heaven, and when it was over, I didn't want to leave.

It was a very funny, and a very happy evening. Because of that I think I have a much better understanding - and even more love - for the composer's cycle of seven operas, "Licht", than I had before being immersed within this fantastic musical theater piece, and I already loved those operas dearly.


Unfortunately I'm unable to credit everyone, but this is a list, in order of their appearance, of the performers who appear in the album, together with the official description of their roles:

Rachel Mason (Action Musician)
Stephen Drury (Pianist)
Stuart W. Gerber (Percussionist)
Raul de Nieves (Child)
Nao Bustamente (Performer I)
Justin Vivian Bond (Model)
Nick Hallett (Singer)
Alexandro Segade (Performer IV)
Ishmael Houston-Jones (Performer II)
Lucy Sexton (Performer V)
Niv Acosta (Performer III)
Zach Layton (Conductor)
Saori Tsukada (Newspaper Seller)
Narcissiter (Animal Handler)
[unidentified photographer as one of two disco balls]
Joan Jonas (Action Painter)
Eileen Myles (Poet)

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Loren MacIver Fishers Island ca. 1952 oil on masonite 44.125" x 57"


The Loren MacIver painting above jumped out at me while I was lazily scrolling through the Brooklyn Museum Bot (@BklynMuseumBot) this morning while still lying in bed. I thought it was very beautiful. Once awake and at the table with my laptop, I looked for more about the artist and her work. Very interesting, both.

Shortly after I began browsing, I thought of another modern seascape. Marsden Hartley's "Evening Storm, Schoodic, Maine No. 2". That painting became a favorite of mine the moment I first saw it somewhere else on line. Some time after that I actually saw the Hartley in real space, at the Brooklyn Museum, which also happens to shelter the MacIver painting. The latter however is not currently on public display, except in an online image.


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Marsden Hartley Evening Storm, Schoodic, Maine No. 2 1942 oil on fabricated board 30" x 40.5"