TERRORISM AND TRUMAN

 

Shame on Leonard Pitts for his column suggesting that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified. He uses stories of atrocities against us (as if we were pure of having done similar), to justify terrorism. They are two different things and he should know that if he would consult the dictionary. He should also consult his conscience.

 

We all were horrified to witness 9/11 and the loss of over three thousand lives. That was an act of terrorism. Suicide bombings are and act of terrorism. Terrorism is defined as: “The use of violent acts to frighten the people …  as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.”

 

The use of atomic bombs to devastate two cities that hadn’t even been bombed, not seen as targets of importance, was one of the most hideous examples of the terrorist act that we continue to justify. The firebombing of Dresden, another example not often discussed. Hundreds of thousand civilians were killed unnecessarily when we were in command of the war but the victorious get to write or rewrite history.

 

Japan was beaten, no navy or air force and down to using children to protect what was left of the country. There was no rush to necessitate the invasion of the country. The rational that we could have lost 250 thousand lives can’t hold water. The truth in my opinion is that we wanted to test the bombs against a real city, terrorize the Japanese and intimidate Russia.

 

Truman was a callous terrorist, never having a second thought of the human suffering he caused without remorse. Harry said “the buck stops here.” And it does. We can’t continue to justify acts of terror as good when we do them and bad when done against us. We should act responsibly but when we become emotionally involved we tend to make poor decisions that we will regret. I would apologize and I hope the president will too.

 

Ben Perrone

MURALS

This weeks article about a mural done by two Baltimore artists has really emphasized that the Albright Knox’s role in bringing art and artist from outside of the city is insulting to the Buffalo art community. We do have a great community of artists in the city who have more than enough talent to fill the role of placing art in public spaces. Little or none of these spaces have been given to the Buffalo artists.

 

This community of artists is realizing how much they miss former director Louis Grachos. Louis was and active director, one who loved art no matter where it was conceived. He brought some great art to the AKAG, purchased local artists for the collection and was always present at art openings, and a visitor to many art studios. None of this can be said about the current director or board of directors who assume the role of elitists, looking down on the locals while asking for funding from taxpayers.

 

Ben Perrone

TO CARL PALADINO,

 

I read your text and have some thoughts on your reasons for your rant. One may criticize and have some concerns about President Obama but him throwing caution to the winds is not one. There are consequences as 'W' might tell you, to the after effects of our actions. There are limits to our sphere of influence, our treasury and our precious lives that would be lost. 

 

I'd like to think that facts matter. Your hero doesn't seem to be concerned about facts and lies his way, in politics and business, to his own ends. That's a fact! I'm sorry but it's true. Are you interested in facts? You are when it comes to the many things about education and other social problems but some of the facts you cherry pick or don't want to believe. 

 

Here are some facts that you ignore in your quest to beat back the liberals. On the very first day that Obama held office Mitch McConnell said that they would do everything they could to make him fail. He didn't say that he would do everything he could to make the country succeed, which is why government is there.

 

Instead of working to make healthcare better the Republicans spent many wasted hours blocking reform to give a better health plan to the nation. That was only one of many examples of despicable Republican governing. If you think Obama failed, do you think that the House and Senate succeeded?

 

Do you believe in transparency in government? Would you or have you revealed your tax forms when running for office? Should the Donald do that?

 

Do you believe in paying the people who work for you? Should the Donald do that?

 

Do you believe in speaking truth? Should the Donald do that?

 

Do you believe in facts? Donald doesn't seem to care about truth so how would you expect him to care about the things you care about. The minorities? Education? About Aleppo? About lost American lives and the fleeing refugees? 

 

The Donald says he's smart not paying his share of taxes. Look forward to him not living up to his many campaign promises, he doesn't have to, because he's smart. 

 

Finally and this is a reality check, Do you really think that he can bring jobs back to the country? Jobs that have been lost to robotics and mechanization since Ford's first assembly lines. If you believe in facts you're attacking the wrong party.

 

Ben Perrone

TO NO ONE IN PARTICULAR,

 

   It hadn’t happened in a while but I woke thinking about time again. My time or what’s left of it. Thoughts merged and for some reason I remembered a diptych painting done years ago titled “The Birth and Death of the Dag”. It was a homage to Dag Hammarskjöld, an early Secretary of the United Nations who’s ambition to build the UN into an active and important leader in world matters led to his ‘mysterious’ death in the trees of an African jungle. Ambition. I guess I was thinking of my own chances of completing large work, nowhere nearly as important as the Dag’s.

 

So I leapt out of bed, hardly, and lumbered down to the kitchen to record some rapidly dissolving images that early awakening brings when the mind is unhampered with daily minutia.

 

   I get pessimistic more often as each day unfolds, haunted by the image of time, grains of sand so easily slipping away. I’ve been thinking of the thousands of those grains and wishing I could buy them back, rearrange their order, dump a few maybe. It’s an existential experience to roll back the years on your computer when asked to scroll down to your date of birth. In a clash with pessimism I would want to live another life just to see what happens.

 

 I should be more than satisfied with having lived at this time in history and take what has been mine. After all whoever reads this will have to agree that we were born at the pinnacle of easy living, certainly at a time that in this country life is and has gotten better for most of us. Not so for some but we wouldn’t want to retreat to 1900 either.  

 

If history is written by the victors, as they say, what is real? It is funny concept that we even have a history, our personal actions and lives can be disputed and re-written. Almost everyone disputes facts with siblings or friends that shared the same experience. What motives lie within our recollections of the past as we build our history and shape within us, the image of who we are? Maybe this is why we now have “alternative facts”.

 

I’ll never be satisfied with my life. Not being important enough as an artist to move others to take chances on my ideas has left several of them to melt into the darkness of the cosmos, so to speak. Now, the several years spent pushing mud uphill, has worn away the crispness of my ambition and like sand again, in an alliance with the gods, wears down the body and mind and grinds away at chances of success.

 

   It’s important when looking at the stars or checking out the layers of time imbedded in this planet, to see the folly of what we think is important. None of those hopes and works that we think of as great will show up in those layers of time if there is anyone looking. So there is some solace in not being important enough to change history and our lives, to make a small scratch on the pages of what we think of as history.

 

Bent out of shape by our mistaken ideas of improving our lives, our country, our families, we may look to the past, our rosy misconception of greatness. We may have been great, if you think so, but it was at the expense of others suffering. Time and history push forward even if we don’t like it.

 

Ben Perrone

LETTER TO EDITOR

 

   The recent trend in business is to take your corporation overseas in order to avoid taxes. There is talk about how to restrict these companies and force them to comply and pay taxes but that is a wasted effort. There are already many loopholes in the tax laws that the larger companies use to get around these laws and get ‘reimbursed’ in other ways. A better way to solve this problem would be to eliminate taxing them at all.

   Taxing corporations is just another way to tax ourselves since it’s just added on to their bottom line and we end up paying more for the products. Cost of living is higher because these taxes are passed on to us. There is no guarantee that after being relieved from taxes prices for products would drop but it would produce an incentive for competition. Another benefit to us is that these corporations would be more competitive in world markets and that the trend to leave the states could be reversed. We could see European and Asian companies making moves to relocate to the states.

   The loss in tax revenue however has to come from somewhere. We desperately need a new tax code to reflect the disparity of wealth balanced by the ability to pay. Either we tax the middle class or we add tax to the people who run or own the stock in these corporations. Their income has risen by leaps and bounds to the point where they have a hard time finding somewhere to spend their income.

   With a few exceptions of wealthy largess like Bill and Melinda Gates, a lot of money sucked out of our economy ends up sitting in offshore accounts instead of circulating within the economy where it can do some good. You may think that increasing taxes on the rich may drive them out of the country and that may be true. If they love their money more than they love this country then good riddance. Give them a one-way ticket including the caveat that they sell their property and never return. They can decide whether they love their bank accounts more than they love all the great things that this county has to offer. Let them decide if living in boring Switzerland is worth the move.

 

 

Ben Perrone

TODAY AND YESTERDAY

Today people are demonstrating in the streets of France, while in England austerity moves by the government bring loud calls of resistance from the opposition. Here in the U.S. angry sentiment flows from mostly Republican and Tea Parties. They don't want to bite the bullet or take responsibility for the eight years of Bush's mishandling of the economy and the war and Ronald Reagan's economic and tax policies. Am I wrong in thinking that almost all of the Republicans and Tea Party followers voted for that catastrophe? Now the results of those years have come home to roost. Deregulation of industry, the stock market and banks, trickle down economics, tax breaks for the rich and anti-environmental policies have all resulted in a dysfunctional government and huge debt obligations. One can make some judgments about the rich and their 'patriotism' as they carp about paying a little more in tax after decades of reaping tax breaks that vaulted them so far ahead of the middle class.

 

Do we see any remorse or responsibility from the Republicans and Tea Party factions? No! What we get is complaint and an anti-government response. The Republicans, the party of NO, are in lockstep, not to help fix the problems, but to sink the administration and return to power. They offer no remedies or compromise. The Tea Party offers much more of the same including sinking the government. They all act like brats, caught with their fingers in the pie, and then protesting their innocence and refusing punishment. I can only believe that it is the failure of the educational system that produces an electorate that can so easily be duped into believing repeated mantras of the right wing that ignore their responsibilities but feed on latent class and racial bias. It's too bad that our 401s tanked along with the stocks and the many, mostly the middle and lower class, lost jobs, but we weren't promised a rose garden and we haven't learned from history.

 

Roosevelt, like Obama, inherited a huge economic mess from Hoover, wasn't able to turn things around in two years. Outcries from business and industry were sharp, betraying a loss of status, class insecurity and loss of self-esteem. Even people who benefited from Roosevelt's early reforms complained. They railed against the cost of reform and benefits to the unemployed and wanted to return to past failed policies. Big business, Republicans and even some who benefited attacked the New Deal, the W.P.A. and N.R.A. It took Roosevelt and the country many years and a war to recover the prosperity that we now take for granted as a birthright. Does this sound familiar? We like to think of ourselves as tough and resilient but we're acting like brats throwing a tantrum. We want our immediate gratification like political food junkies. 

 

We may not like it, but there are historical ebbs of countries and their power. The flow of manufacturing to other countries, the dissolution of the middle class and the continuous costs of wars since WW2 have resulted in failing infrastructure, education, social structure and moral strength. How can we think ourselves moral when jails house more inmates per capita than any other country? How can we count our actions moral while we send our youth to die in foreign lands so we can have big cars, burn and waste oil, run industries that pay millions to CEO's and produce enough guns and munitions to arm the world. It's time for this country to give up its quest for greed and show real patriotism through actions that replicate our togetherness during World War Two.

VOTE GREEN?

 

Compromise can have positive or negative connotations. We seem to be stung by

the practice, the Republicans using it to stop any forward progress in governing, and

now we see that it has given us the worst possible candidate in modern times.

How? Many good hearted people that want to progress with environmental causes

or people that were disheartened about Bernie loosing the primary, have stood up to compromising their ‘values’ and voted for the Green Party or Independent candidates. 

Voting for Hillary Clinton would be a compromise in their minds. In doing so they have shot

themselves (and many, many others) in the foot if not in their hearts. They have

set back any environmental and social progress many years by their vote.

 

In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania the votes were so close that voting for the alternate party gave the election away. If history tells us anything contemplate the election of ‘W’

and the aftermath of his terms in office. Voting for Ralph Nader was the difference

 in two small states that would have made Florida’s outcome irrelevant. We lost

many good lives and a treasury of funds that could have done some good and

changed the history of this country and the world. We now sadly stand again ready to

loose much that had been gained.

 

Ben Perrone

ILLUSION/DELUSION

When asked about the meaning of the Illusion/Delusion sculpture I have to admit that I didn't at first know what the meaning was. The form came to me one very early morning when I was unable to sleep. I had wanted to build a modular wall of bags and do some sort of art on its surface. I mulled over the ways bags could be used. Then this idea came to me. By dawn I had resolved all the problems of building it. It was like I had been presented a gift. The meaning was unclear. I had this powerful form composed in a unique way, solid in a way, yet mysteriously transparent. My first thought was that it was a ships bow coming through the wall. Looking up at it, it seems to be a space ship and in some way it is. It plows its way into our subconscious memories, into the dark sea of the mysterious unknown.

What could it symbolize? Is it a metaphor for the ship of state that sent these casualties to war? Ships are transporters and bags are also transporters. They allow us to move all sorts of goods. We know that body bags transport the remains of the dead back to their homes. In this sculpture these black bags contain names of Iraq casualties. These bags move the four thousand plus spirits through this life and into another state of energy, another state of being or not being. This ship transports the names/spirits/souls of the mostly young casualties moving them through the wall/curtain/membrane of our short mortality to an afterlife that we feel will give us meaning. It becomes a memorial, a warning too of things and actions we don’t want to repeat. The form is a digital expression of a subconscious desire to end the waste of lives. This digital form made of aliened bags is a formation, like soldiers at parade. It suggests an obedience to follow the orders that took their lives and their futures, all lost.

ANSWER

Yes, from Swift.

Feeding our children to the rich and greedy is a quicker and therefore less painful death than dragging them through this sad educational system with no promise of improvement. The rich send their kids to private schools and elect politicians who feed pap to the working class about capping their real estate tax and shrinking government. Face it. The rich don't want to spend money on education (while their children are in the best schools) if the choice is improving the country or their having more and more wealth. The top 1 percent eat up almost 25 percent of pre tax income and still that's not enough. They think that God is the almighty dollar and screw the rest of the country and patriotism.

 

As far as the proposal goes, we should all think out of the box and devise an idea of our own. Picking apart this idea is counter productive. You should design a better one. 

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