Let me be clear. Regulation is not negation. It is acceptance, within the bounds of liberty. Administration is control. Management is NOT an obscene or unconstitutional word. Licensing is NOT un-American. Accountability is not treason.  Face the facts. The government of the United States of American already has more weapons that are far deadlier than the civilian population.

To think otherwise leads me to believe that the Second Amendment is simply the acceptable method of birth control that’s sanctioned by some so-called “Conservatives.”

I will say this, however: If all social and political order breaks down and the U.S.A. becomes infested with anarchy from sea to shining sea, and each human being must go for whatever a person can do to survive, those humans in uniform will have more weapons than the others. So, what are we really fucking talking about?

From John Rickford (my friend)

In the many discussions of Trump’s crass and racist comments about Haiti and other countries, I have seen little if any awareness or acknowledgment that the two beacons of national liberation in the late 18th century–the USA (1766) and France (1789)–did not recognize the first Black Republic in the New World (Haiti, 1804) until decades later, and seriously undermined its development. (Compare Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.) The US only recognized independent Haiti in 1862, after the South seceded, and France did so in 1825, after forcing Haiti to begin paying them “reparations” for the slaves and property France lost after the successful struggle of Haitians for their freedom. Those reparations, in today’s dollars, amounted to $21+ billion dollars, and it took Haiti until 1947 to pay off the debt with interest! Imagine if America had had to pay off a similar debt to Britain after 1776. And the irony is that instead of Haitian slaves getting reparations for THEIR years of exploitation and unpaid labor, it was the other way around, with the victims paying the victimizers. Even so, Haiti has gone on to produce some of the most impressive intellectuals, artists, and men and women of distinction in every field, many of them (like my friend #Michel Anne Frederic DeGraff, professor of Linguistics at MIT) helping to give American students the education Donald Trump apparently never had. DT’s ignorance reminds me of Nathanael in John 1:46, who, hearing from Philip that “we have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote–Jesus of Nazareth …” said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” For info on Haitian reparations, see this Wikipedia entry. Michel and others mayl give us deeper historical references:

Haiti’s legacy of debt began shortly after gaining independence from France in 1804. In 1825, France, with warships at the ready, demanded Haiti compensate France for its loss of slaves and its slave colony. In exchange for French…

Roll Up You Pants Cuffs

Roll up your pants cuffs. It’s the fashion style for 2018. Why? The shit is really deep that we’re walking in, and if you don’t want to get your pants soiled, you’d better roll up the cuffs and watch you steps (to avoid the mess).

As one astute political observer said this morning, “See what happens when you make friends and mess with the Devil!”   He said he personally has lived his life, at all costs, to avoid that fatal error.  Woe to he (or she) who doesn’t.

Two points jumped out of my collective subconsciousness this morning: 1.  Greed causes individuals to abuse power for personal gain, when it’s really unnecessary and diminishes the public good.  2.  The president cannot claim “Executive Privilege” based on the “Cease and Desist” letter from his attorney.

a.  Executive Privilege would only apply to acts taken as president.

b. Ex-post facto law is illegal (thus the president cannot do whatever he wants about what he’s done, illegally)

In other words, the shit has gotten really deep. How, for example, can a Cease and Desist letter be written, the precursor of a legal action to prevent use of information or data, when the information is not about the president, but the president’s son?  Apparently, the lawyer doesn’t know who his client is.  Or, perhaps, he does!

I’m assuming Donald, Jr. is going to somehow utilize the attorney-client privilege to avoid disclosing what he knows as truth. Or, perhaps, plausibly not denying what he does not know to be a lie. Now, we know the intent of Shakespeare observation and words about lawyers.

Then, it’s on to the nuclear threat of North Korea.  Imagine saying that North Korea will not be allowed to be nuclearized, when North Korea has demonstrated (1) nuclear events can be created  and (2) nuclear events can be created. Who cares about missiles?  Don’t you think that there is more than one way of delivering a thermonuclear bomb?

So, why is the Twittering continuing on the subject.  Thus, my suggestion:  Roll up you pants cuff, keep on walking and making good vibes.  The shit we’re walking in is getting deeper.


Happy Holidays

This month, as usual, drives commercial intensity in the name of generosity. That attention moves us past the Winter solstice and into the so-called “new year.”

That there are many “new year” markers in so called time-space, reality dictates each moment an anniversary and new year. Thus, I wish all wellness and for peace on the planet, each day, each hour, each minute each second and moment of existence. That’s, obviously, idealization. But, it is my reality.

So, in the moment collective consciousness turns spiritual unqualified love and gifting, let it be my want that this view of holidays propel you through whatever anniversary that moves such love. Live it daily, moment by moment.

I give you, How Kondoo, the Curious Sheep, Brought Color to Gray Valley. It’s an unscientific tale of wonder that tries to answer questions about our world and beyond. Enjoy the ride. Peace.

Taxing Takeway

The reality is simple:

The tax system is a political fiction. Think of the U.S. (or any government’s money pot) treasury (where the treasure is kept) as a bucket. Around that bucket, at the bottom rim, are a bunch of holes. Money is water in the bucket. Fill the bucket to the top and water comes dripping, dribbling or flowing out of the holes around the bottom rim.

Each drip, dribble or water stream out of the bucket is cash flow. It goes as determined by some governmental (ruling) agency (whether it’s thought of as an agency supporting capitalism, socialism or plan corruption). The stuff flows into little cups. You can call them banks, which in turn determines who get the water and allocates how much of the money goes directly or indirectly to businesses or people. The businesses or people are supposed to use the water which then flows to others who are providing goods or services to meet the needs of people. A little bit is put back into the big bucket at the top to keep it flush with $$$.

Ultimately, the big bucket at the top must be, somehow, replenished. Otherwise, the common wealth dries up. That’s what taxes are supposed to do: refill the big bucket.  Obviously, to keep the outflow going, you’ve got to put waster in the top bucket.

That’s the system, in a nutshell.

The zero sum game, therefore, is simply to put more in than is going out, regardless of anything. At least that will hold the water level in the bucket at a constant mark.

Alas, there’s been more going out than is coming in. So, to solve the problem, the Republican administration feels the best way is to put in less. That way, there will be more stuff made or services rendered to people and, hence, more tax revenue raised.  That seems logical. And, it’s easier said than done!

I’m no accountant. However, I’ve heard that the fastest route to bankruptcy is to cut the price (and profit) and make up the short fall with volume. Thinking about it like that, it seems to me that the fastest way to economic collapse is to cut taxes with the (assumed hope) that increased economic activity will generate more business, more cash flow and, thus, more tax revenues.

Can someone explain how decreasing corporate taxes will result in more income to individuals, when — in fact — businesses are more profitable now and wages have simply not kept up with the cost of living.

Smoke and mirrors, that’s what they say: the illusion of political rhetoric every day.

Convergence @ 18

18 years old is where I would have been emotionally and in connection with my instrument at this moment in time.

If you’ve been reading my blog, to this date, you very well might be getting and understanding of who I am and the nature of human being i was destined to become and manifest.

This blog is actually nothing more than a eulogy to my life and time on the planet. No need for anybody to write anything, but i’ve no objection to you, or anyone else, sharing insights.

I was born to be a musician. But, I also wanted a family. Like most kids who want to be a fireman, a cop, a pilot, an astronaut, singer or dancer, I wanted to be a father and have a family.

I am a very lucky guy. I found a woman who consented to be on the family journey with me. And, we were blessed to have four healthy offsprings. Well, relatively healthy.

We lost one along the way at an early point in his brief life. Robin Nicholas brought so much joy and cohesion to our marriage that his loss at the age of 1 year and ten day is incalculable in my mind. The first midnight day without him left me in the darkest and longest night that questioned whether or not the sun would every rise again, whether or not there would be daylight dawning.

It did not dawn for what seemed an eternity. It’s unimaginable and incomprehensible. It is the point at which absolute zero exist, and time itself, ceases.

In that state for an eternity, it seems that it did come … evidently and eventually.

Family: my desire was seeing adultified children achieved in this lifetime, and when my life love and partner died, I was set free to pursue what i am, a musician.

At a later stage in life, knowing that time is limited in this sphere of the Universe, i asked what it would take to be what i felt i am: a musician who desires to be one of the best who has lived.

Four years old, that’s when it happened. I had total and complete understanding of where notes were on the piano. Any note i could think i could find and play on the piano. Any melody i heard i could see on the keyboard and play. That gift left me when i was around six years old. Maybe it was a marble game or a dog chasing me or something. Call experiencing life itself.

Thus, when i again pursuing my true nature, i put my mind in the state it was when i was four years old. Physically, i was and am not the same. But, the power is in the mind. Listen to Raul Midon’s in his performance of State of Mind. He tells you exactly what it’s about.

My progression since serious study and performance of music begana has been from that state about ten years ago. That got me to 16 years of age about 18 months ago.

When i was 16, playing drums, i found it. The place where in my heart and soul, i said i could to what i was doing (playing an instrument) until i die. Of course, i wasn’t accomplished as a musician at that point. And, perhaps, that will be the label that will characterize my state of evolution. i will be  an accomplished musician. As such, i don’t envy virtuosity. Virtuosity is for those who are. They understand what i’m saying. For those who don’t, it’s about the Muse. Period.

Today, 9:11 am on my computer clock, marks the documentation (this note of) convergence of left hand and right hand relative stability on the finger board of my upright bass. That means the ability to find and play notes.

Paul Powell, the musician who gave me my first music lesson, said, “You must master the instrument. You cannot left the instrument be your master.”

Convergence: i’m feeling the manifestation of mastery, knowing and finding the notes on the finger board what do not change their location. The inspiration and focus came from the Monterrey Jazz Festival of 2017.  A special thanks to John and Gerald Clayton. Common, Mr. Sippi, John Ingram, the USC Composers Collective, Linda Oh (who now has a couple of middle names) and Scott Colley, all those Tenor horn players and Mr. Heath … It’s easier to simply acknowledge everyone who attended and everyone who performed at MJF 2017. Thank you for helping me to find it and to manifest the freedom that elicits the “Bravo.” Special thanks to Francois Rabbath, David Allen Moore, Ray Brown (yes, I checked him out in Santa Monica a long time ago), Victor Wooten, and the deep list of humanity to evaporate the illusions of mind — particularly the political illusion.

I’m 18 years old now — fourteen years plus four — psychologically speaking, as a musician.


Monterrey 2017

This year’s Monterrey Jazz Festival will be remembered as a milestone in music, the same as when Hendrix burned a line breaking through barriers and pushing the Muse to the other side of reality.

The Clayton-Hammill “symphony” (yes I call it a symphony in Jazz that redefines the word, because that is what it was), with Gerald Clayton on piano did something that crossed all Western musical boundaries and illusions of the mind. John Clayton’s masterful work will live as a testament and monument of love and truth.

If you were not there, you truly missed it. I’m sure you’ll have an opportunity to hear and see what happened when MJF publishes the DVD.

Here are some pictures, provided by Carlos.


Mr. Sippi Blew the Top Off

Charlie, Carlos and Pascal … wonderful musical memories made!

Rodney …

Korea leads me to Rodney Collins.  Rodney was the brother of my best friend Marcellus Collins (from 1970 until he died around 2002).  Marcellus was from Dania, Florida — outside of Miami.  His Uncle was Wester Sweet, one of the first  African American attorneys in Santa Clara County.

In 1971 Rodney came through San Jose, CA. He had been deployed to South Korea and in 1974 Rodney was Honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. See, Rodney’s “claim to fame” will be that he was one of the last men to have been drafted by the U.S.  His number came up.  The draft was eliminated a few days later.

He served in South Korea.  He told me the day he hit San Jose, CA,  over too many beers, that all he and the others were in South Korea were canon fodder. If anything happened, everyone knew (and he knew for certain) that he was dead.  With my mother’s nephew’s experience, Rodney’s experience shapes my viewpoint of Korea. That thought leads me to the ship wrecks the U.S. Navy has had over the past months.  South Korea, North Korea and the U.S.

I served in the U.S. Navy. I chose that branch of the service as a matter of survival after being drafted. I figured I’d have a higher probability of surviving warfare in the U.S. Navy, more than the U.S. Marines and definitely the U.S. Army. Alas, for me, the armed forces lived up to their reputation as being a place where you’re going to get screwed over.  The reputation was that the recruiter will promise you what you say you want, but that means absolutely nothing.  So, from my perspective, I believed nothing. And, sure enough … although I always wanted to serve on a ship, I never did. That’s right, three years + in the U.S. Navy and I never set foot on a war ship.

I met guys who did. The best ship, I was told, was an aircraft carrier. ‘It’s a city,’ one of my shipmates said. ‘You can get anything you want on a carrier. Dangerous, too. But, the galley is always open.’

There were stories about guys who didn’t get along. Racists or simply real jerks. Sometimes, they just disappeared. “Fell overboard,” I was told. Fantale. Nobody knew anything or saw anything, except the guy wasn’t accounted for when the muster occurred.  The narrative was much like the stories of Fragging ROTC gung-ho order adventurers who everyone in the platoon knew was out to get everyone killed.

All of that gets me to the games played at sea. Sometimes, the game is chicken: who is going to change course based on what maritime rule is in effect and who is going to disregard it.

This year I had to tell a cop, tactfully, that he didn’t know what he was talking about in condemning Obama’s “weak” response to Russian aggression at sea. He was talking loudly to another cop about Obama. The cop’s patriotism was glowing red. And, overhearing his insults,  I asked him what he knew about being on a warship, and whether or not he’d served in the armed forces or on the open seas.

I had to let him understand he was ignorant of reality. I ended my conversation by letting him know what I heard from those who did: “They’re always playing chicken.”

What does that have to do with Rodney Collins?  Nothing, really, except the tensions over North Korean and the collision of two U.S. Navy destroyers (latest and greatest multi-million dollar war machines) makes me wonder exactly what’s going on?

My perspective, as a civilian without any maritime experience, is that the U.S. Navy captains must have been anticipating the behavior of other ships, and acting accordingly. That means some assumptions were made. And, as you know to assume is to make and “ass” our of “u” and “me.”

What I don’t understand is that with all the technology, the computing power and radars and personal watch or observations, how collision was not anticipated.

Sure, there are currents, wind, mechanical response or failure unforeseen at the time and other stresses. Still, collision avoidance must be fundamental to the operation of a vessel. In warfare, their are both enemy and friendly vessels that will be encountered. There must be a way to keep track (regardless of the number of vessels) and know friend from foe, and avoid unintended collisions.

So, the question, operationally is: What in hell happened? And, how did it happen a second time? There must be something related to operations and tactics used in the operation that is common to both collisions of the destroyers. After all, a destroyer is the fastest, most maneuverable and lethal weapons of naval warfare.

These are serious questions I think will be answered in time.  I thought about these matters in relationship to North and South Korea, geopolitical entities I can always look at and point to as examples of human insanity and proclivities.

The “north” hates the “south.” “White” hates “black.”  “Heterosexual” hates “homosexual.”  “English” hate “Spanish.” “Catholics” hate “Protestants.” “Arabs” hate “Jews.” Any and every excuse to hate and kill exists.  It doesn’t matter. Factor our one noun and somebody will find another reason to hate and kill. “Red” versus “Blue.” Someone will always find something to fight over and draw the line in the sands of time.

I write all of this looking at Trump’s conduct and wondering  who will get this all under control.


© 2003-2018 Jan-Robin Production and Publications.