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27 March 2015


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"Kāli is strongly associated with Shiva, and Shaivas derive the masculine Kāla (an epithet of Shiva) to come from her feminine name. A nineteenth-century Sanskrit dictionary, the Shabdakalpadrum, states: कालः शिवः। तस्य पत्नीति - काली। kālaḥ śivaḥ। tasya patnīti kālī - "Shiva is Kāla, thus, his consort is Kāli" referring to Devi Parvathi being a manifestation of Devi MahaKali." Wiki on Kali My understanding is that Kali and Shiva are aspects of the same deity. In this picture Shiva is in front and Kali behind. pl



"So I disagree with your metaphor. IMO John Brown is in charge of foreign policy, with his bible of US civil religion in one hand and a flaming sword in the other. That IMO more properly reflects the zealotry that characterises US foreign policy these days. They don't want to create a desert and call it peace (that's only the outcome), the emphasis and motivation is that they want to cleanse it in order to redeem it." John Brown works. He is a truly detestable figure in US history but I must disagree with you as well. "They don't want to create a desert?" No, of course not but that outcome is the inevitable outcome of their search for perfection in human society. The film "Serenity" contains a similar metaphor. it is interesting that in the aftermath of WW2 the US was able to foster the growth of moderate government in Germany, Japan and Italy but no longer. IMO this has happened because the WASP centered political culture of the US that dominated then is no more. pl


"None of us are that important."

That is the problem.

To the extent we demos are "unimportant," or more appropriately, anonymous, we have little or no influence; we are atomized and ineffective.

Col. Lang has demonstrated courage and leadership, but a leader cannot accomplish the mission alone, he needs a team. We need to allow ourselves to be infected by Lang's courage, "out" ourselves, and organize around some effective plan to redirect US policy.

Alba Etie

Col Lang
This is a powerful , passionate & well written synopsis of the "deep sh-t" we find ourselves in These United States .But one possible good outcome from current affairs might be that we get to tackle these R2P ers et al head on in this national election cycle.
I would acknowledge that former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan , former Marine Combat veteran , and former Senator from Virginia Jim Webb would be one hell of a long shot to win the 2016 Democratic nomination , - but should he win that nomination he would I believe have a real chance of winning the Presidency 2016 . If we had Senator Webb as POTUS 2016 perhaps we could return to promoting the General Marshalls, - and have a more sane US governace .
PS - against all conventional wisdom I am still predicting HRC will not stand for the Democratic nomination 2016 . Furthermore I am deeply disappointed Sen Paul signed Sen Cotton's letter to the Ayatollah ..

dilbert dogbert

Viewed these photos and thought that they would bring back some interesting memories for Col. Lang: http://mashable.com/2015/03/27/yemen-photos/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link


@ PL
"... the WASP centered political culture of the US that dominated then is no more."

I've been thinking along similar lines. I suggest that our old WASP elites were kind of a quasi-aristocracy. Their personal and familial success was bound up in the advancement of the nation.

Now the success of elites is bound up in the advancement of institutional networks of larger than national scale, mostly multi-national corporates, either directly or by serving internationalist interests through nation institutions. Please note that this is not an implicit criticism of capitalism. Our nationalist version of capitalism worked fantastically for us before the WASP's folded.

more rambling: If one uses a corporate model to describe elites, one might say that our old WASP elites ran a company on behalf of their shareholders, the American people. It was in their interest to keep the shareholders happy. Our contemporary elites run an employee-owned company. What the American people need or want is now irrelevant. Any young go-getter who wants to join the new aristocracy has to serve team interests which are no long aligned with America's (however one wants to define them). That's why people who make it to the top of our national institutions are no longer patriots as Dwight Eisenhower might have recognized patriotism. It's now not only unnecessary to be an American nationalist, but a severe liability to career advancement.


But Kali is a more fitting icon for our Thugee policies. [/opinion]

Interesting how ideas and motifs cluster. Happens all the time in science. A week or so ago people were citing/quoting Hobbes. I noticed it because I had gone looking for Leviathan text the day before. A day or so ago I was thinking Kali-Thugee-Nataraja and tried to find my favorite Nataraja image.


kala also means time.


In 2006 Josef Joffe, then editor and publisher of Die Zeit, spoke before the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. His book, "The Imperial Temptation of America" had just been published. http://tinyurl.com/ox752qm

Among other things, Joffe said that after having been destroyed, Germany (and Japan) were "democratized" so readily because they had deep and long traditions of democracy and institutions based on rule of law.
In other words (or in my words), for all of the death and destruction that was carried out, Allies "imposed" very little on Germany, and what they did was built on a strong German foundation.

I am reminded that when Machiavelli was a diplomat for Florence's republican government (~1500 AD), he visited German cities and found some of their practices worth emulating to create a "stable and orderly" state, which should be the ultimate goal of the successful Prince.

C Span's archives are a treasure-trove: I sought background on Muravchik and found a 1987 AEI conference chaired by Richard Perle. It is titled "The Purpose of American Power." http://tinyurl.com/q69n3g3 Only the proper nouns changed; the ideology was the same then and now.

In similar fashion to the neocons, George H W Bush relied on the example of the democratization of Germany when he undertook the invasion of Iraq in 1990-91.

Most argue that democracy did not successfully emerge in Iraq because "these people don't know how to be democratic." That's intellectually misguided; the peoples and government systems of the Middle East do not have "Germanic" foundations but they do - or did- have their own, uniquely adaptive foundations that are, or were, consistent with their cultural values and were working for them. I hear so many Americans rail against Sharia law, as if they knew what they were talking about, and if it was their right to tell another sovereign state how its cultural foundation should be built.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, but where is the electorate in all of this?

And the decline of WASP does not account for the conformance of EU, Canada, and Australia to the same hare-brained policies.

I mean, EU states can dismantle their economic war against Iran today.

EU states can break diplomatic relations with Israel and impose sanctions.

US has its share of responsibility but so have other.

The only silver lining I see in all of this is that prospects of war in Europe seems to have concentrated - like the proverbial death sentence - the minds of Merkel and Hollander.

Perhaps a small beginning.

Babak Makkinejad


Saudi Arabia is doing this to hurt Iran and cause US to do something against Iran.

It is like the jilted mistress who does something crazy in a tiff.

And as effective.

Gulfies are truly pathetic - they could have invited Iran and Iraq to join the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council in 2006 or 2005 and revolutionized their relationship with Iran, the Iranian people, and the Shia.

They chose the other path.

I know their excuse: "US was against it."


Just looked at the image. In the 90s got a couple of [purportedly Tibetan] Mahakala thangkas, one of which was probably done on commission by a California hippie named Seth (attribution = playful). Didn't care about authenticity just captivated by the idea and the way they were done.

William R. Cumming

P.L> and ALL: Looks like PROXY WARFARE now semi-official US policy. With 150,000 S.A. forces massed on Yemen border. Will they invade?

If S.A. invades Yemen will Egypt invade Libya?

William R. Cumming

Can the US count on Israel in any way as its PROXY in MENA?

Ishmael Zechariah


Do you really think that neocons like Perle, Frum, the Kagans, etc. are prosecuting these wars for "civil religion"? Do you really think that they really want to cleanse the order "to redeem it"? Do you really think they really give a damn about the untermeschen and their fate? Do you really think that "civil religion" is not a convenient mask for "Auferre, trucidare, rapere"?

Ishmael Zechariah



Very true and mirrors my own sense of the road we are on....

But, I have an added concern.I know I have zero understanding of the military capabilities of our armed forces.

But even with such capabilities, I fear the suits in DC may still worm our way to some sort of defeat in the desert that will affect our own democracy here.



A very powerful piece of writing.

Hindus don't have Utopias; there is no "God's Plan" in Hindu cosmology and Shiva's Dance is part of the cosmic cycle.

Shiva is called "Bhole Baba" ("bhola" means simple, straightforward, innocent - could even mean "simpleton") because he is easily overkind to his devotees, granting boons without considering the consequences. This might be a metaphor for US aid to various countries.

Mark Logan

Patrick Bahzad,

I have to disagree with you on Somalia. We got a lot of food to a lot of people who otherwise would have been deliberately starved to death. It was the one non-nation building operation which somehow, ironically, became the most-cited argument against nation building operations. We stayed too long, yes, IMO and with the benefit of hindsight Adid would not have tried that again had we left in just a few months. Scared the hell out of him. Nevertheless he was a proven mass murderer so a decision to take him out before leaving was perfectly understandable to me at the time and still is.


Yes, we were lucky after WW-II that we had, except for the Morgenthau boys, US competents and pragmatists who helped German reconstruction, and we were lucky again that not the sort of guys who run the show today were at the helm back then.

I think that that fanatic streak was there already back then, only that it was indeed marginalised by the WASPs.

I think the fanaticism got worse, because both liberalism and the cause of human rights just like neo-liberal economic theory were weaponised to fight the the Cold War and, devoid of the counterweight of a rivalling ideology, have run amock ever since the end of the Cold War, resulting in things like the Washington Consensus, the GREAT LOOTING OF RUSSIA and so forth.

Add to that American Exceptionalism, boundless ambition and great power and you have a pretty plausible explanation for some of the ills at the root of the great volatility in contemporary US foreign policy.


I wouldn't want to load that on his shoulders, I am not even sure he would be interested. ;)

But concerning lodestar. I do need to know more about stars. In my parents home they are very visible. Apparently I combine something that should not be combined. We do not see the distances after all.


You're right on the picture, that Kali and Bhairava are shown. The point was, on the destruction/renewal part, is usually the Nataraja pic. Of course, in the picture you've got, the Kali pic is the avatar she takes when she gorily consumes demons which is mighty appropriate given the subject being discussed.



it is not a "Germanic" foundation it is the Roman one that predated those democracies by more than 1,000 years.


Thank you for your incisive polemic.
Once the Juggernaut of empire has been released is it necessary to decorate it with ideology? I think most Methodists and would be appalled to be implicated in crushing the world on their way to heaven or back to Eden. Yes, our leaders have hubris, but isn't their 'principled' reasoning only applied ex post. If it is truly ideological why is it not chiseled in stone at the Harry S Truman State Department Building, "We will purify the world!"?
These deep ideological motivations having not fallen off our leaders tongues or spilled from their pens makes me think they are unthinkingly pursuing the prerogatives of their power.

Juggernaut is from the hindu Jaggenath; Vishnu, lord of the universe. In Harihara he is joined with Shiva.

Patrick Bahzad

Mark we are probably talking about two different things ... Not sure they are compatible ! However I have been on the ground back then and have seen what is left of Somalia now ... It was always gonna be a difficult task but underestimating the difficulty of it is entirely the governments fault and responsibility. As for scaring the shit out of aidid, and taking him out, the U.S. have tried and it is ended up as a debacle. Time for a reality check !

Charles I

Thanks, I learn something here everyday although I think I was aware of this for about one day as an undergrad.

I can't be a real pagan, as I don't worship or attempt to propitiate, or ask any benefit of the little gods who after all, do manifest A Creator to me.

I keep a measly four Holy Days the focus of which is divining the mono-phenomanal imperative behind all these little godly manifestations in simplistic hopes of perception of It, never mind understanding of or unity with It. Simple Rites d' le Champignon.

All we have been able to determine is that whatever It is, apprehension of It is a very singularly current thing which like a second in time is fleeting yet potentially ever present during sentience.

It just occurred to me that this last sentence allows for an argument for and an understanding of the need for current temporal practice grounded in faith in the future of one's God. Faith remains beyond me. Apprehending and accepting a stick blown out of a tree bonks me on the head with a bit o' thanks is about as far as a I have made it in this area.

I just thank 'em for whatever they are doing and that works for me. When it doesn't, I thank the little buggers for showing me my place.

I have dug out some Marcus Aurelius for the next slow gloomy day. For now its out to parlay with the ice and fish gods in hopes of fresh pickerel dinner in lieu of frozen soulless lasagna with broccoli miraculously transported to my frozen home from southern climes. No sense actually praying for it, that seems to guarantee ling cod instead, and getting the skin off them is an Ordeal itself aside from the bones. Fishy hopes usually pass un-somethinged but it is very sunny out.

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