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Archive for September, 2009

The U.S. says it wants the meeting tomorrow in Geneva to be the start of a dialogue aimed at ensuring Iran doesn’t develop a nuclear weapon.
“The Obama administration is going into these talks with much more leverage than it’s had in a while,” said Gary Sick, who worked for Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

He said,“They’ve been caught with their nuclear pants down.”
I am glad to report that the USA was not red faced when Israel had its fly open. Mordecai Vanunu the whistle blower cried out,”Your fly is open!” For his pains he was bundled up on charges of treason among other things(18 years of prison). Now Mr. Sick has said of Iran’s pants being down. All that the US and others will do is stare at it long and hard. Would it not have been better for them to rid themselves of their nuclear arsenals that are poorly hung?
2.
This Iran issue shall certainly cause great ripples of unrest. Households of Israel shall spend many a sleepless night as the USA during the cold war did. It was an age of mass hysteria but of their own making.  Did it not play a part in loosening up moral restraints all around, thereby creating its own group waves that changed the outlook of the world forever?
Looking back we see Einstein was clueless as FDR to go on with the Manhattan project. Oppenheimer more of a savant than a cold-eyed scientist later admitted his error and for his pains he was hounded as a Pariah by his own countrymen. The Israeli who made the world know of the Dimona bomb actually did a great service to his nation. As always no nation or individual know what effect an individual will have, for good or evil.
We have not yet plumbed the end of this mischief. Who can ever tell if some ragtag terrorist group will not get hold of nuclear secrets? They may go nuclear and peddle their weapons from nation to nation to stoke disaffection in every part and create hotspots everywhere. Nations shall be too busy to contain them than work for the good of the people. The terrorist groups may want nothing to achieve except see a great conflagration as Hitler wanted to set the world on fire to the strains of the last act of Götterdämmerung.
Hitler revered Wagner too well for his own good. Whereas the Goths of the latter days want to hear or see nothing.

(Ack:news item on Iran secret plant -bloomberg.com Gregory Viscusi and Janine Zacharia Wed Sep 30)

benny

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The Mule or the Porpoise?

Before the Council of gods there were animals all lined up. Each god except Neptune  got what he wanted. Neptune found only two animals left to him and he said: Something tells me I am left with nothing but this mule and this porpoise. He was disappointed. “This porpoise hasn’t the face of a lion, it would have added to my majesty. Porpoise is not as magnificent as a leopard. I think I am unlucky”.
Jupiter said,”Tough luck.”
He suggested the mule. The Chief God was sure that the mule was direct. “This she mule is going to say what she says and if you don’t like it, that’s just too bad,”
Neptune hesitated. Jupiter urged, “She’s not going to lie, she’s not going to sugarcoat it — she’s just going to let it rip. I think that’s what she is.”
Neptune scratched his hair and said, “Still she is a mule. What I need is one who I can use under water.”
Neptune chose porpoise and it was a wise choice.
When I read the news item ‘GOP base is wild about Palin,’ I could not help thinking about Neptune’s dilemma.
(Ack:politico-Michael Falcone,Zachary Abrahamson, Sept 29)
benny

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7. merchand prince

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Roman Polanski arrived  in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award from a film festival. There was an arrest warrant pending and it had for more than 30 years not served on him. On a nod from the Swiss Justice Ministry the Swiss police arrested the famous director last Saturday.
A complicated legal process awaits all sides as the United States sought to secure his extradition for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl, and fleeing to France a year later.
Before law the famous, rich and ordinary people are all equal. The dirty heel of Law makes justice questionable when it has dragged its feet for so long. What if the 13 year old girl had expressed her unwillingness to pursue the matter? Should Law exact its pound of flesh or dispense justice to cases more pressing and important ? Roman Polanski, undoubtedly crossed the boundaries of decency to subject the girl to sex under champagne and drugs. Was he a habitual predator ever since?
Considering the long lapse of Justice to make an example of him for public morality when it could have had some weight, what this arrest serves her? OJ Simpson had it coming with a public outcry against him, and now Roman Polanski ise to be thrown to the wolves.  Yes his lifestyle sex,drugs are like rags before some bureaucratic busybodies. Isn’t there vindictiveness more than genuine love for law in operation here? Does this arrest gives a clear message Law is impartial? No I don’t think so.
Does it not smell rather foul given some unsavory circumstances of the director’s escape? I understand there was a plea bargain on the cards? I read also about vindictiveness of a minion of law who reneged on the bargain.
Given Roman Polanski’s childhood trauma and Law’s inability to serve Justice either on the director or to the girl in time he should be allowed to live out his life in self-exile. The USA is better off without him as he is better off being not  subjected to their peculiar notions of moral code. In treating art and the fallen alike France still earns my respect.This is my opinion.
Now I hold no brief for the Swiss notion of justice or for their cultural maturity. When I hear Switzerland all I can recall is Orson Welles summing up of their greatness in The Third Man. I  suppose strictly speaking cuckoo clocks come not from Switzerland proper but from the border around Black Forest area. Switzerland , in any case has for long spoken ill of. A similar fate awaits them if they are to play the cat’s paw for other nations.
benny

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6. ready to kill-1

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( Note: This post first appeared in cinebuff.wordpress.com. b)
The kernel of the film is same as what Machiavelli in his book The Prince seems to say. The book was meant for Lorenzo de Medici, the Magnificent. Of course the Medicis of another age and clime hold parallel to the Corleone family in as far as that they could acquire power and maintain it. As Medicis before them the Corleone family embody the American Dream and in it they didn’t have such taste or luck as the Medicis had. Michaelangelo under the aegis of the Corleone family surely would have churned out kitsch by dozens. The film has no pretensions to art and culture but is a crime drama. In order to ensure success what a bloody trail the Corleones leave in their wake? The Machiavellian methods dictated a course that is violent and amoral. After all given the stakes involved, the warring parties cannot then as now afford to let their objectives clouded by fine sensibilities. In this context the film quote “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” has the directness of a thrust from a stilleto or a spray of bullets from a machine gun. The second part of the Godfather is the saga of Vito Corleone from his childhood in Sicily (1901) to his founding of the criminal Corleone Family in New York City while still a young man (1917–1925) and like the Prince is a modern treatise for any one who would want to maintain his position acquired by fair means or foul.
The plot includes two parallel storylines. One involves Mafia chief Michael Corleone following the events of the first movie from 1958 to 1959 and the other his father is a series of flashbacks. In the present, Michael Corleone attempt to steer the family business towards respectability but at great cost to his own relationships. Even his own brother, Freddie (John Cazale) is sacrificed to Michael’s grim and ultimately pointless determination. The Godfather Part II became the first sequel ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and garnered and even bigger Oscar haul than The Godfather. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script co-written with Mario Puzo the film stars Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, and Talia Shire. New cast members include Robert De Niro( who won the Best Supporting Actor) , Michael V. Gazzo and Lee Strasberg.
Trivia: Paramount was initially opposed to name the movie The Godfather Part II. According to Coppola, the studio’s objection stemmed from the belief that audiences would be reluctant to see a film with such a title. The success of The Godfather Part II began the Hollywood tradition of numbered sequels.
Cast
Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone
* Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
* Robert De Niro as Young Vito Corleone
* Diane Keaton as Kay Corleone
* John Cazale as Fredo Corleone
* Talia Shire as Connie Corleone
* Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth
* Michael V. Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli
* Morgana King as Mama Carmella Corleone
* G.D. Spradlin as Senator Pat Geary
* Richard Bright as Al Neri
* Marianna Hill as Deanna Corleone
* Gastone Moschin as Don Fanucci
* Troy Donahue as Merle Johnson

The Godfather Part II ranks among the most critically and artistically successful film sequels in movie history, and is the most honored. Many critics praise it as equal, or even superior, to the original film.
…a sumptuous flamboyant entertainment – not a work of art perhaps but a rich, enjoyable wallow of a movie.

~ Barry Norman, 100 Best Films of the Century

benny

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11. found out

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