Tuesday, September 27, 2005

- The Solution according to Brecht

The Flag of the former GDR
Berlin, 1953. - In the month of June, a strike by East Berlin construction workers escalated into a general political uprising with thousands of protesters calling for the resignation of the East German government. On June 17, the protesters were brutally subdued by the Volkspolizei with the help of several Soviet T-34 tanks (an eerie foreshadowing of the incident in Tiananmen Square in 1989).

In the aftermath of the 1953 event, Bertolt Brecht (1998-1956) writes:

"Die Lösung" - The Solution

After the uprising of June 17th
The Secretary of the Writers' Union
Had leaflets distributed all along Stalinallee
Proclaiming that the people had squandered away and lost
The government's confidence in them
And could gain it back only
Through redoubled efforts.

"Would it not be easier, then, for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?"


[See also: The History, Politics and Culture of the former GDR]
[Current topic September/Oktober: The 2005 Elections in Germany]


[Related Post : - A Theodore Roosevelt Quote -]

[Also check out "DEMOCRACY"]


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"Let them eat Cake"

InstaPLANET's heart-healthy Pound Cake - Bake one today
-:- Heart-friendly Pound Cake -:-

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup margarine
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients should be at room temperature. Sift flour before measuring, then sift together with baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Combine sugar and margarine. Stir until creamy. Add vanilla.
Separate eggs. Whip egg whites until stiff. Beat yolks and add to sugar and margarine. Add sifted ingredients to this mixture, a third at a time, alternating with adding the buttermilk.
Fold in egg whites and pour into two well-greased small loaf pans, or into one large one.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes and enjoy the aroma wafting through your kitchen.
Let your pound cake cool before serving.

Tip: - Forget the frosting, serve slices topped with plenty of fresh fruit and/or yogurt instead. - ENJOY!

PS: - No, we do not run a Cooking Show. The food you find here is primarily Brain Food. Please read on. -

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Friday, September 23, 2005

- Bundestagswahl 2005 - Elections in Germany

Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder
On September 18, 2005, the 16th Bundestags (federal) election (since 1949) was held in Germany in order to establish the Bundeskanzler (Chancellor) and his or her Cabinet, who will be directing the course of national and international German politics and policies for a term of 4 years. In this special election, which was called by the Bundespräsident to be held 17 months prior to the end of the regular four year cycle, seven distinctive political parties were on the ballot and 77.7 percent of all eligible voters participated.

In a bitter fight of rhetoric and ideology the two major rival parties, the SPD as embodied by Gerhard Schröder, and the opposition party CDU as represented by Angela Merkel, had vied for the mandate of the German voter. The outcome, in percent of votes cast, is as follows:
The Social Democratic Party SPD 34.3% - the right-of-center Christian Party CDU 27.8% - the CDU-affiliated CSU 7.4% - the Green Party 8.1% - the classical liberal FDP 9.8% - The Leftists 8.7% - and miscellaneous fringe parties 3.8%.

In accordance with German Parliamentary law, in cases where no single party has a majority on its own, a coalition government must be formed. At present rumors abound as to which party the CDU/CSU will choose for their coalition partner. This choice will affect the appointments to all government posts, and will dictate the political platform of German national and international policy. As of now, this momentous decision has not been made.

Germany, along with Great Britain and France, is a powerful member of the EU (European Union) and, by extension, the German heads of government will exert significant influence on global issues. The formation of the new German government will be a strong indicator of the future role Germany will play on the World Stage.

Meanwhile, AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES encourages you to seek out European and International media resources in order to stay informed on global issues, as we find the American media coverage of international events to be minimal, simplistic and all too often biased.

[See also: Bundesrepublik Deutschland - a Federal Representative Democracy]

[Read the Follow-up Article: "Whois the German Chancellor?"]


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Friday, September 16, 2005

^^On Cruising the Blog-Scene^^ (OP-ED)

Bruno, the Big Blob, blogs big time. Bravo Bruno! The question is: Does anybody care?
EDITORIAL by Ana Elsner

"Crank up your espresso machine, you’ll need all the caffeine you can stomach, as the hours go by while you click your way through an endless labyrinth of diaries and diatribes.
Pull up your emotional bootstraps and be prepared to wade through a vast pool of heart-wrenching exposés on the minutiae of a million private lives.
This journey is not for the faint-hearted.

As you deftly maneuver around the spam sites, the porn sites, the 404s,
as you dodge the incoming barrage of pop-ups,
as you turn down the volume so you don't get blasted out of your chair by various midi, wav and other sudden sound effects,
you find yourself getting snagged by this blog, sucked into another, turned off by the third, turned on by the next ... and, sooner or later, depending on your stamina, utterly exhausted.
You have just embarked on a Kafkaesque rollercoaster ride minus the pink cotton candy.

Yes, it is all in there, right there in the digital box in front of you, coming alive at a mouse-click.
The entire panoply of human caricature is mirrored in these web-logs:
There is the recluse, the addict, the whiner, the cynic, the former hippie, the former inmate, the fallen angel, the pollyanna, the eternal optimist, the borderline illiterate, the borderline schizophrenic, the self-proclaimed genius, the frustrated poet, the con-artist, the babe-in-the-woods, the narcissist, the tattler, the prowler, the punster, the pundit, the proselytizer, the producer and the prosecutor - the sexy, the nasty, the desperate.
All of them are busily pouring their hearts out to no-one-in-particular: Sigmund Freud would have a field day in the blog-o-sphere.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, 'All the Web's a Stage'. The curtain goes up each time you go blog-surfing. The players strut their stuff, many of them stripped of all restraint and modesty.
Their voices echo eerily in cyberspace. No audience steps forward in applause. Their pages are devoid of comments. Their hit-counters stalled out at 106, their email boxes empty. No dialog ensues.

And here you sit, the anonymous voyager, unbeknownst to those whose posts you just read, whose lives you looked in on. You've had all that you can take. Your head's still spinning. Time to log out of blog-o-rama."


Are you a blog surfer or a blog owner? Give us some feedback via the 'COMMENTS'/'Post a Comment' Link below:

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: In his own Voice :

A page from Leonard Cohen's scrapbook
In his notes on his song "The Partisan" Leonard Cohen says, "I developed the curious notion that the Nazis were overthrown by music".

Excerpts from a Song by Leonard Cohen, written in 1992

It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on

[©Leonard Cohen - Macklam/Feldman Management. Reprinted by Permission]


[See also : The Solution - by Bertolt Brecht]


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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Quote-of-the-Month: September 2005

The Satellite InstaPLANET Quote-of-the-Month Icon
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt


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A Picture is worth a thousand words: Lady Liberty looks down in dismay at what has become of these United States.


:: A Picture is worth a thousand words: Lady Liberty looks down in dismay at what has become of these United States ::



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Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Amalgamated Perspectives is a public forum. Its focus is and shall remain on you, our Fellow Web-Citizens. Our platform is multinational and independent. We strive to present material that is cutting-edge, informative, well-researched and of journalistic merit. The links which we build into our posts will take you to sites that explore our topics in greater detail. They do not constitute our endorsement of those site-holder's opinions, products or services. We rely on your good judgment when following a link trail that extends beyond our original referral.

The Amalgamated Perspectives site is always safe and free of advertising. The selection of topics presented here is designed to promote continuing education and critical thinking. We aim to induce discussion either with us by way of the comment feature below each posting, or among you, our readers. In some cases we provide our email address to enable direct correspondence."

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Film-of-the-Month: September 2005

This film is an absolute MUST-SEE. It should be made part of every high school curriculum nationwide.



Directors: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott
Writers: Joel Bakan, Harold Crooks, Mark Achbar
Year: 2003

This documentary film examines the historical development of the 'corporate entity' over the 150 year span from its inception to its present-day manifestation and worldwide impact. Reaching back to the early days of the republic, when corporations were consortiums sanctioned and limited by the government to perform a specific task (such as building roads) it points to the fateful event that occurred in the latter part of the 19th century when, in a series of bizarre decisions, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were legally defined as persons and therefore subject to equal-protection provisions under the 14th Amendment.

This momentous Supreme Court ruling opened the floodgates of uncensored corporate avarice and shameless exploitation on a global level. Based on hard-hitting interviews and graphic factual research the film demonstrates how this newly defined 'person' perfectly matches the profile of a psychopath in its ruthless pursuit of power and profit coupled with callous indifference to the harm it causes to individuals, to the community, to the environment, to animals, to the oceans and to the global eco-sytem. -


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Monday, September 12, 2005

? Who profits from Destruction ?

YOUR tax dollars going straight into corporate deep pockets. The profits to be made from the hurricane devastation give new meaning to the phrase: hitting PAY DIRT. Congrats, Bechtel & Halliburton - Condolences to the People of America.
People worldwide who watch the tragic events unfolding on the hurricane-stricken Golf Coast of America will form their own opinions based on media coverage. Yet, who is more qualified to speak the truth than one of the residents directly affected by this disaster and its aftermath? - Michael Tisserand is one such resident who escaped the flood waters that destroyed his city. He currently lives in exile 200 miles away. Let us hear what he has to say:

"New Orleans is gone. The exotic destination where tourists could carouse Bourbon Street and act the fool, gone. The troubled and cherished home where we worked and raised our children, gone. The birthplace of Louis Armstrong, the muse of Tennessee Williams, the wellspring of the rhythms of the Neville Brothers, gone."

"Thousands of my neighbors are now dying in the streets due to bad policy and official neglect."

"In one long week, my city has become a national disgrace and a symbol of a shameful presidency."

Thank you, Michael Tisserand, for your powerful testimony.

Our own Editorial Commentary:

Realistically speaking, the rebuilding of New Orleans will require a massive public sector, federally funded effort. The preliminary estimate of the reconstruction cost lies at $100 billion for that city alone:

---> Lucrative no-bid contracts have already been awarded to Bechtel and to a subsidiary of industry giant Halliburton, both closely aligned with the Republican Party.

"How very un-surprising is it, that - once again - the LOSS suffered by the 'poor huddled masses' is about to be transformed into the PROFIT made by a select few..."


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Sunday, September 11, 2005

: Bloggers-of-the-World: UNITE and HELP

Total Wipe-Out: This family stumbles out of the flood waters and into an uncertain future.
When everything that can be said has been said, when blame has been shifted around and the political finger-pointing has stopped, one fact still remains:
that of human SUFFERING and LOSS.

Amalgamated Perspectives asks you to join us in reaching out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina: Please reach into your wallets and donate generously to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund or to a Charity of your choice. Do it now.-

We thank you.

[Photo credit: John Makely/Sun]

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An EDITORIAL by our French Correspondent, the Renaissance Man

"Hurricane Katrina has shattered the levees in New Orleans, and flooded that centuries-old city which was started by the French. Tens of thousands are displaced, homeless. Thousands are dead, floating in the muddy waters of the lake.

I won't comment or repeat the news which have been seen on the globe. But I would like to point out that a levee has also been breached in the American psyche; a levee that was keeping our society to forget, or avoiding us to see that poverty is alive and well in America in 2005.

Yes, the people who did not leave are black and poor. No, they could not afford to leave: with no car, or, for that matter, no future elsewhere, why bother?

The hurricane Katrina has shattered more than the walls and the levees of New Orleans. It has shattered the bold and egotistical "self-assurance" of a red, Republican America by showing to, and reminding all that tens of millions of people live in poverty.

In individual psychology like in the egos of Nations, it is when you become vulnerable - and admit that you are - that you open yourself up to being healed.

I hope that the U.S. will learn to pause for a second, and ask itself: how do we want to address poverty, which is the real question - instead of pointing fingers at why rescuers were late to arrive.

Ultimately, the voice of the Left has to make this question clear - and propose solutions. Maybe that now, the millions of poor or disadvantaged people who voted for the Right at the last elections (and thus against their own economic interest) will choose to see the real challenge: fixing poverty and the social and economic divide in America - instead of focusing on impeaching gay marriages and the crumbling of moral values in America.

With the levees crumbling in New Orleans, I hope that prejudice will also crumble, and help us focus on the real questions."


[Discover WHO it is that PROFITS from Destruction and Loss]


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9 - 11 - 2001, A Day Which Will Live In Infamy

When this newspaper was first printed the full extent of the damage and the loss of lives was not yet known.
Four years ago today, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by militant Islamic terrorists who hijacked two commercial flights and crashed them into each tower of the World Trade Center in NYC shortly before 9:00 AM at the start of a workday, causing both towers to collapse and kill a total of 2,595 unsuspecting people plus 157 passengers onboard the two aircraft.

Please observe with us FIVE MINUTES OF SILENCE in Memory of all those who perished, and in Honor of those who gave their lives so that others may live.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

- Not "Art for Art's Sake", but "Art for OUR Sake"

'A' is for ART. Art is a Balm for the Soul: Surround yourself with art. Benefit from its healing power.
Everybody knows at least one person who collects art. Perhaps you yourself have bought a picture that caught your fancy, and have hung it on your wall, and then another, and then a third…

Far from being a necessity of life, art can nonetheless lift us up from our daily grind. Looking at it can make us smile, or think, or day dream. Art has a very personal and often magical effect on us. It can even give a certain sense of wellness and healing to the battered soul and to the malnourished human spirit. We recognize its benefit intuitively and that is why we bring art objects into our homes and work-spaces.

The visual arts span a wide range of media: photography, sculpture, drawing, oil on canvas, just to name a few. We want to shine the spotlight on one as yet little known art form: that of Russian Lacquer Miniature Painting on papier-mâché.

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- Follow the Quiet Collectors - Discover Russian Lacquer Art

See another Kholui RUSSIAN LACQUER Masterpiece. Click on this image.
This winter village scene was painted in egg-tempera on a papier-mâché surface of 14 x 4 cm (5 ½ x 1 ½ inches) using special single-haired brushes to accomplish the finest of details. The artist who created this superb Russian Lacquer box is Vladimir Kiselyov (Kiselev) of Kholui (Kholuy, Kholuj, Holui - Холуй), a Master Russian Lacquer miniature painter.

Like Palekh (Palech - Палех) and Mstera (Mstyora, Mstiora - Мстера), the Village and School of Kholui is located in the Ivanovo Region in Central Russia and uses egg-tempera in their miniature painting. Compositions show a boldness of execution and a more realistic style than the other two tempera villages, which is perhaps influenced by Revolutionary (propaganda) prints and images and by other non-iconographic sources. Subjects range from 'bylini' (popular Russian heroic sagas), 'skazki' (Folk-lore and fairytales) and epic historical events to architectural and nature scenes (see illustration above).

[See also : Russian Lacquer Miniature painting by a Master Artist from MSTERA]


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This is the Russian Lacquer CATALOG Icon: click it and you will see an excellent Portrait from FEDOSKINO
The Russian Lacquer Fine Art Catalog site has a good summary of the historical background of this art form. We reprint it here by special permission from catalog.instaplanet.com and with our thanks to the author.

"The art of Russian lacquer box miniature painting is a unique aspect of decorative and applied art and one that is closely linked with national history and tradition. In Russia the first lacquer work dates to the early 18th century when (in 1716) a chamber in Montplaisir Palace at Peterhof was richly decorated with lacquered panels, the work of early Russian masters. The practice of applying detailed painting skills to objects made from papier-mâché started in the late 18th century in the village of Danilkovo, which later became Fedoskino(Федоскино). After the Revolution the three former icon-painting villages of Palekh (Palech - Палех), Kholui (Kholuy - Холуй) and Mstera (Mstiora - Мстера) also adopted this practice as a means of survival for their resident artists. All four villages, while easily distinguished in style, soon excelled in miniature painting technique and creative execution and achieved world-wide recognition. Formal art schools were established in each village to give bright young talent the proper training, tools and discipline. Throughout the political and social turbulence in 20th century Russia (from monarchy, to socialism, to capitalism) the art of miniature painting has not only survived but has flourished. Fine Art enthusiasts are taking notice and have begun to assemble important Russian Lacquer Art Collections of their own. As the demand for exquisite Russian Miniatures increases, the artists are continually encouraged in the inspired process of free and individual creation, which lends each finished work its unique quality."


[See also : Miniature painting by a Russian Lacquer artist from KHOLUI]


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Friday, September 09, 2005

- Das Rheingold : Wagner, anyone?

Team InstaPLANET goes to the OPERA. Frequently. While writing code we usually have a wonderful Tenor or an excellent Soprano singing in the background - on CD, that is, and not in person...
Attention OPERA Lovers:

After enjoying countless opera performances on several world-class stages, even the Veteran Opera Enthusiast might find himself/herself at a loss to cite chapter and verse of each piece in a vast repertoire of operatic works.

...What was the name of the Georges Bizet opera we saw in Paris in the late 80s? - Oh yes, it was "Les Pecheurs de Perles", of course!...

Amalgamated Perspectives encourages those who appreciate music and theatre to explore the World of Opera and to read about the composers, librettos and premieres.

[Illustration above: 'Rhinemaidens' from Wagner's Ring Cycle]


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? Do you know what time it is?

Click here to search for TIME & INFO on ANY Place in the World. (We use this nifty link a lot.)

When Natalia Leonova in Fedoskino, Russia, clicks on our site in the morning, Dave Christensen in Minneapolis, USA, is ready to log off the Internet and go to bed.

- So, at what time did this happen? You find the answer when you consult The World Clock.


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: Quotes of Introduction and Contemplation :

No human being is ever 'illegal'.

"One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams." - Salvator Dali (1904-1989)


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