Category Archives: New York

A FAN AND YOUNG PUBLISHER BRINGS OUT SCREAM OF THE WHITE BEAR

Well, people have enquired many times here, and it has taken eight or more years, but a fan here, supporter, young author himself and online US publisher, Jonathan Thurston, will publish SCREAM OF THE WHITE BEAR by David Clement-Davies, in 2018. Actually it is to be entitled CRY OF THE WHITE BEAR, in the spirit of a new adventure, and leaving behind the really terrible battle that was fought over it and other principals of art, law, truth and decency, with the major New York publisher Harry N. Abrams.  Which, because so much is about money over principle in the world today, has sky-rocketed to success with Young Adult books like A Diary Of A Wimpy Kind, that has sold over 180 Million copies.  The real story of its delay is probably as powerful as the book, but although David is sceptical about so much about the Internet world, or indeed how you really publish without the powers that be, or how much people are truly reading and connecting now, it is entirely appropriate that a young man of talent and passion like Jonathan tries to bring it to the world, with a quiet apology from the author for having disappointed his fans and readers for too long.

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GRACE UNDER KICKSTARTER FIRE OR ANOTHER STORY TRYING TO COME OUT

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Hello all,

I’m attempting to wrestle with showing grace under Kickstarter fire, not to mention bad hair days, and so sorry a blog has become a tedious repetition of links and reminders. I’m a little surprised though many readers have not backed the great Light of The White Bear fight and seem to be here only for the un-allowed and long gone private lives of authors and editors, and the gossip too. Not to mention the laughable poison that can sometimes lurk in the immediate neighbourhood of dear old Facebook. It was a delight to see that jumped on by other supporters.

Very well though, as the project seems to fail at last, though 40 backers is damn good, you can have the whole story of Harry N Abrams, (very rarely the whole story of anyone’s innards), in both a film and the updates, by CLICKING HERE

They really are very welcome to disagree, and of course still almost publish Fell, one reader blogged he could not find in the shops, but I should be telling the story of Uteq of the Black Paw! Another glimpse is in an Update, but then off to study St Cuthbert and get a bloody life.

David

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THE MUZZLED BLOG

27th September 2012 –

I had a weird dream last night, about a great, ancient house, and a beautiful woman seeking love, yet my failure to reach her! Something’s terribly wrong then, and out of a story that might give actual proof of what Jung called The Collective Unconscious, with so many connected dreams, I think it’s about my own family name, and a ‘house’ I’m very proud of. My father and grandfather’s house. The third post below has been removed then, not in again backing down on it here, but because there are ‘Calibans’ out there, in the lost cyber world, and it’s too specific and too invasive to my family. It’s also too long. I’ve been very ashamed in terms of harm to that name, having had to talk about my fear, internet addiction and a nervous breakdown, although the term’s too easy. As for Fifty Shades of Grey stuff, just let it be some warning about what it does to real love, although I think the psyche will find any way it can to heal itself and I try not to judge. Anyone can come here just to talk about it, in trust. A writer is on a reader’s side, as editors should be on a writer’s side. You cannot be labelled mad and evil by a major editor though, at the heart of a department, and it just be left there at any serious publisher. A cry for help has been completely wrong, I would rather help, and this isn’t, it is open protest.

As for miracles, it’s enough to know some ‘bad’ miracle happened, if only in the relationship between my novel, and real events with a real child, concerned with eyesight and seeing. But then I did write The Sight. It’s written not just across one but several novels, and strange events too, as Fell involves people at my own publisher Abrams, in happier days. The novel commented on by an ex and my own editor, as it was being written and real events being turned to fiction, but which an ex refused to even read, as she slammed a door. It’s tragic that at a Children’s and fantasy publisher, Amulet, a wing of Abrams, and with people who mouth ‘God’, they could not have given the spirit of love to at least try a real miracle, when I cried out in the middle of Scream, or something good for a family, in those terrible circumstances. I think that’s why a CEO reversed a decision to cancel a book, he had no right to cancel, only when a family member called, so not to been seen to be awful, yet the way they tried it was even more Kafkaesque. I resisted that too, but had to walk away.

Two people there, my editor, the now Vice President, and the President of Abrams, should answer it, and say why they destroyed a lauded writing career, with no regard to writing process, award-winning story or fans at all. With no regard to the meanings in my books, trying to address Global Warming, endangered animals or a climate of World Terror, much about America, that must affect our children as much as us all. They are not simple issues, as Man is not a simple animal, and need addressing in story. Perhaps they have to ask if an ex is only capable of malice. Why the former Vice President and my publisher was removed, but no redress made to me, or just no action taken to stop it, and where they think real ‘evil’ lies too. Whether it might be more related to terrible American labels like ‘Evil’, their legal abuses, appalling human cruelty, over so long, and to the obsessive privacies of a woman, my ex and so-called friend, who comes from a family involved in real child abuse and a death from Aids, but who caused such much harm in her selfishness and mounting arrogance. That does not ignore my own rage, or pleading.

The CEO admitted both Civil Conspiracy inside a department and breach and repudiation of contracts. I’m loosing my home now, but no US lawyer will touch the case, because I can’t afford to pay, and perhaps because of my so-called ‘harassment’ of someone I loved, had spent two years with, and discussed a life and future with. A Pro Se, self respresenting action 3000 miles away is too difficult, and could take years, while only 7% win, but never say never. The truth is it was harassment of me too, by my editor too, in a place I could not walk from, with five novels at a firm and a career just taking off in the USA, although something tore out of me, in despair at what people can do, and what she did. Their lie though that my ex, simply as an officer of company, had no better duty of care to me than “Hew, Screw and Glue” was first used in a cover up, I exposed, then described as ‘tedious’ by a CEO, then returned to as a legal manoeuvre to further harass me and a blog right up to 2011, and hide the truth.

Every time they have backed down, when I found the strength to stand up, if sometimes I just appealed to love or spirit and hate invasion, and I have invited them to challenge in court. They should be shamed into action, but have no shame. It was humanly appalling that a woman I had a natural right to trust, let alone loved, could not show any sensitivity to my asking for help over addiction too, or to protect delicate privacies, from a medical issue, to other secrets. Think of ‘David’ in ‘One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest‘ and Jack Nicholson getting labelled mad and lobotomized. Perhaps I should be happier being ‘the bad boy’. The response she put in a Company email was collusion too, inside a small department I loved, incredibly cruel, and harmed several people’s lives. It’s human and artistic cynicism is disgusting.

I am stopping a blog though, because it is harmful to me psychologically, going back and back to the issue. But also in silent protest at what happened and is happening everywhere, although this is just one publishing story. There’s no respect nor protection for the artist though, unless money is involved, but all over we see abuses of power. Abrams’s abuses became monumental, but Macmillan UK were in specific breach of contract too, just handing electronic rights to Penguin US, and have no respect for a classic novel either, letting Fire Bringer fall out of hard copy print after 12 years, and with amazing reviews, and resounding love and praise from readers. Penguin UK keeps classics in print, even if the turnover is not huge. I wonder what they will do to The Sight. It sounds arrogant to say it, but when a friend of my brother’s asked what her daughter might think of Fire Bringer and I said she’ll say it’s “the best book she’s ever read“, in three weeks she came back to say “she said it’s the best book she’s ever read!” I’m not arrogant, but very confident as a writer and storyteller, or was, when I was allowed to do it, with proper and legally contracted support. I just can’t survive this now and cannot find an agent or the right support. No simple sob story, just an awful story.

Culture is in danger though when no one stands up, but then my own editor was allowed to breach my rights to Privacy and Seclusion to another publisher at Penguin US, treating everything I am as owned commodity, while literally using a threat to my own career to muzzle me. “The one thing in life I have learnt, David, if anything, is to keep my mouth shut,” she had already said. As well as warning “we will protect our girl” and being intimately involved both with my ex and her new man, as I saw when I flew out to New York. Fine, but you are a protected editor, behind the scenes, living off share schemes in your writer’s work, using The Sight in your job interview, not an author hired and risking everything to write truthful or inspiring stories. What she said on the phone to my former agent Ginger Clarke in 2009 must be considered to have involved some kind of criminal libel. “Loyalty is a tricky thing,” she once told me too. It certainly is at Abrams.

She put Abrams in specific breach of written conditions of contract too, fighting absurdly for her “power over her list”, nothing else, and admitted to seeing it was all”holding my life to ransom”. But then did nothing except exploit the situation to get to the top as Vice President and try and force a novel into print she mangled, to try and keep a secret from a CEO. The Calibans are definitely at the heart of Abrams, and these are bald facts. That is why ‘culture’ is being given mass market books like Diary of A Wimpy Kid and Hello Kitty, which drive the money machine and so editorial power too.

I was born to write and am rather addicted to blogging too now, earning nothing here, if we’re all addicted to the Internet these days. That needs debate itself but the truth is Phoenix Ark, including most design, was built single handed. Readers’s letters and support were extremely important to that. There are brilliant stories here though, about many things, especially real London in the late 16th Century and Edmund Shakespeare, and other artists and writers might have come in, if everyone was not so wary of being linked to a ‘scandal’, or just looking for cash.

That is the sadness of watching supposed friend’s reactions too, though it is quite hard to stand up to what I did stand up to, in such circumstances. You fight into a place of love and it harms the Self. It was quite hard to get my sanity back, at a point of the most enormous metaphysical grief and fear. I challenged Abrams, God and Heaven, like a loony, when I wrote to them and went on pilrimage, but it reconnected me, heart and soul, and Heaven’s inside and only on earth. Like Hell. I’ve committed to readers to try and get Scream out and will, but everything stops now, until something dramatic changes, which I fully expect, in our frightened, frightening and faithless world, melting ice caps and all, it will not.

Just to stress who I am, to resist any more fear or shame here, and show how the sad years have rolled on, a new author photo is going up in the page headed “The Beginning” too. Pity it’s most likely the end, but it was not for want of trying. Perhaps it’s been too much about me, but its spirit is about the times. I’m not Paulo Coehlo, nor a Catholic, am fascinated by science and nature, the writing power is really there, but I’ve seen true darkness and could help too, in a world that needs balance back, and the language of love, that breathes out of literature, religious and secular. Perhaps in six months time some miracles of the human heart will be allowed, because that is what storytelling is about too.

David Clement-Davies

Phoenix Ark Press

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PHOENIX AND THE MAN FROM OXFORD!

Just a little play on the Stratford-Oxford thing, but we wonder if that other man from Oxford, the man from Manches Law firm, is still on the Abrams’ payroll and following the blog. We say Hi, if he is. For his information, most interest, though we have had a wonderful response to the Shakespeare work, is now firmly directed to the Phoenix-Abrams thing, headlining a blog. So you see, our so called libels are well and truly ‘out there’. Attack, or apologise and compensate, end of story. Then even an apology admits liability, and since all they care about is money and their bits of ‘power’, that’s why a chain of lies or half truths began long ago from Abrams editors, in the business of mangling their own very distressed author, and removing a publisher who tried to do the right thing.

We know life should not be about the law, especially the business of publishing good stories, not even contracts, but it would take Homer Simpsons on acid not to understand why those relationships went wrong, and where it really started, in the Hew, Screw and Glue care and respect for nothing. As for the dreaming spires, no doubt what our Manches friend loves is the payroll, quite understandably for a jobbing lawyer, and we do commend his love of The Flaming Lips, like dear old Tara Break, or bad old DCD. Although none of that had to happen and could have stopped so easily, nothing is inevitable, each one of us is extraordinary, if we try, and we also remind him what Mercutio said of fingers and lawyers who “straightway dream on fees.” Oh, now I see Queen Mab hath been with you…

PA PRESS

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US PUBLISHING PRESIDENT MIKE JACOBSON ACTED CORRUPTLY

The simplest proof of corruption at Abrams is the fact that publisher Harold Rove is no longer Vice President, but David Clement-Davies’s career was held to ransom, he was ‘mobbed’, his work destroyed but no apology or compensation ever given, for what Harold Rove’s removal surely proves was so wrong and unnecessary. Unless CEO Mike Jacobson simply manipulated everything for his own ends and Harold should not have been removed. Harold was liked by all his authors, was exceptional in his liaison skills, unlike often arrogant and aggressive Sarah Van More, new Vice President, but he, like David, was made a scapegoat for Mike Jacobson’s dislike of him and Sarah Van More’s conflicts and vaulting ambition. Welcome to the world of Amulet children’s’ books, that produce huge bestsellers at Abrams like Hello Kitty and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The long-term actions of CEO Mike Jacobson though were extraordinary. Over a situation that could have been resolved but was used to bully an author and he would not go on, could not, a half-hearted ‘enquiry’ was held, until Mike Jacobson tried to bully, his natural instinct, and a glaring stitch up and lock down was attempted, that within a week reversed words of promised support, right in the middle of a hopeless galley edit. That glaring lack of objectivity, even corruption, was resisted, repudiation of contract effectively admitted and work began again, in a situation where Sarah Van More should never have just removed support from a contracted author, on three books, because of her ‘power over her list’, bullied both personally and professionally herself, left a word like ‘evil’ at the centre of a creative firm, or masked a long-standing alliance with Tara Break, personal and professional, loudly sounded in the threat “we will protect our girl” months before. If she took revenge for Harold Rove’ slight amusement at the pressure she was under, David tried to move away, her sins became far greater, and perhaps a savage company culture in New York is to blame, fully justifying David’s fears, and experience of other publishing cyncisms, that makes the ideals fought for in fantasy literature, in any real writing, that authors not editors have to undertake, completely meaningless, despite the pretty covers. It had all started with the betrayals and personal and professional arrogance of Tara Break though, for any ensuing loss of control or despair on David’s part. A personal unilateralism, over-projected fear and blindness, that became an entire firm’s and in fact had to, once Susan Van Metre absolutely synthesised issues into “US” against “YOU”, that should have been kept separate, somehow, and Tara Break so arrogantly and destructively kept them there too, after an apology, in a situation that could be considered illegal and certainly psychologically damaging.

But CEO Mike Jacobson’s actions over a personal and professional nightmare, where David asked for the wisdom of Solomon and got Saddam Hussein, became dreadful, and in the end are also proved by a highly regarded and committed author having to force dialogue and any say in the work already at Abrams, via the US Authors Guild. It was appalling. As Abrams used an Oxford lawyer to intimidate, pretend it was just about Tara Break, which so long back it was not, and try and silence an author and publisher on far bigger issues, instructing an entire department not to read a blog. But David had left because of the breach of a hardly acceptable agreement and the unilateral arrogance of new Vice President Sarah Break, in refusing to respect purely the work she had held there so long, or to heal the impossible atmosphere they kept there, to mask their admitted legal mistakes, and in ransoming his life and work, as she said she could see at the time. So perhaps a CEO and VP should stand side by side in taking responsibility for how Abrams disrespected work, fundamental principles of contract law, basic justice, equity, truth, the essential humanity literature should be about, especially children’s’ literature, and destroyed the excellent spirit that was once there at Amulet under Harold Rove. Tara Break’s irresponsibility underwrote the lot, but they ignore that issue, since it undermines their defence of David’s ‘bad’, they would never just put away in some act of mutual forgiveness and working peace. But the only buck that ever stops at Abrams is with over kind publishers, or vulnerable authors trying to work into walls of threat and nonsense, proving the power of editors over writers and money over justice. Why did Sarah Van More leave Dutton and why did both she and Tara Break not stand up to defend the man who hired them both, and who cared deeply about Tara Break, let alone Susan Van Metre defend the proper, indeed essential working conditions and spirit with an author whose work she said so good? Tara Break’s own ever cowardly silence, selfishness and in-action throughout, indeed long before, made an entire firm dance around her. Perhaps they tried, we hope they did, but ambition, back stabbing, cynicism and the failure to respect the truth and value of the writing itself are written right across that story. David was the one who wrote to say he would not work there if anyone was harmed, and look what happened. Roll on the next pulp instalment of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but throw literature and ten years work in a dustbin!

Phoenix Ark Press

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TARA BREAK, DAVID ROSEN AND THE BATTLE AGAINST ABRAMS

One of the things that became so extraordinary about Tara Break standing behind the cloak of an entire publishing firm, and standing over the destruction of an ex’s career too, one just taking off in America, was her own obsessive privacy and secrecy. It has an intimate cause, we believe, but was matched by an ability to seek permission for her actions among others, underlined by her warning of how ‘political’ work can be, but not face the music on things that really matter. Is that Abrams, New York, Tara Break or modern life? So she asked David once what she should do about an Abram’s colleague on the slide there, David Rosen, she said was drinking too much, as she would later say, like Sarah Van More, of the man who hired her and also loved her, Harold Rove . Tara Break had once been so seemingly sensitive to people, but over David Rosen, David C-D did a mime into a swimming pool once about being stabbed in the back, with teasing laughter at the time, but the point was perhaps being able to be a little tougher, yet to take responsibility for that yourself, and not ask everyone else. It became an issue about really standing beside the people you are with too and say you care about. Little did he suspect…

The crisis at Abrams though was always both personal and professional, but the so-called ‘protection’ of an employee at the expense of a contracted author, meant that vital aspect of the situation was blocked and denied and it totally distorted ensuing arguments about books too, and the right working relationship and conditions back. Instead a kind of ‘mobbing’ happened, that for a time was later supported by a CEO, as he started to see where the chips were falling. So a literally unanswerable ‘stalking’ charge was held in place, partly on grounds of privacy, and used to bully, in breach of fundamental principles of justice and ultimately the US Constitution. It was underlined by the arrogant words and actions of Sarah Van More, in so many ways, especially in accusing of betrayal and puting Satelite Tours into a catalogue that completely undermined a contracted author’s ability to promote and function in the US, as he had done so well, and support his future and past work properly and forcefully. Both valuable to a firm and essential to him, not to mention the deep emotions involved anyway. Also supporting Tara Break’s claim he alone was in the wrong.

The open threats to a contracted author, who had asked for help, apologised – though never put yourself even slightly in the wrong in New York business – and was seeking some power back in his work, including a novel that would have been held there four incredible years, were harmful and outrageous, David needed a way back to a far lighter storytelling and positivity too, like the wasted proposal he offered, but the fundamental issue was a senior editor refusing to allow any professional peace. Just go on hiding instead and stick your easy labels on others. Yet now the issue became a fight with his own editor too, that she saw wrongly as some attack on her “power over her list” and because he got so close to the heart of a firm over two years, David was talked to in a way they would never have dared get away with compared to any American author. Then there was the effective conspiracy that developed between people in a small department, to keep a secret from a CEO, that would have pushed a book into print that his own editor did not think good enough. Before that, they knew about it as it happened, and people David had worked with for years did nothing. That was surreal itself, as it was his own editor admitting she “saw what he meant” when he argued they were holding his entire life and work to ransom, but what later happened would make Kafka blush.

Tara Break ‘stabbed David in the back’ in several ways though. First over a ‘private’ medical issue, then over a relationship itself she spoke about to colleagues without asking him first. Then in her bizarre responses and failed priorities, when he was coming on tour to New York, and she was a major firm representative too, that made it so difficult to function. With words from her like ‘porn is evil’, from a woman who edits books on Rock n Roll, some real writing was on the emotional wall. That’s what makes the claim to privacies such a joke though, and it included Sarah Van More’s breach of private trust to an outside publisher at Penguin US. In Sarah Van More telling David once “loyalty is a tricky thing”, you might wonder where Sarah Van More’s loyalties lay, in terms not only of people, but basic editorial duties, now Tara Break was supporting her over her own personal crisis, but she could come out with a line like “we will protect our girl”, months before David’s issue reached a head, work dialogue already drying up, and she was hand in glove with Tara Break’s new man too. At the point where Susan Van Metre developed pneumonia, perhaps it was the atmoshpere inside New York firms that was very much to blame.

Tara Break knew something of previous publishing fights and difficulties though, why Abrams support had been so important and special to him, not to mention America, but seemingly nothing at all about the psychology of authors, the process of writing, the wider value of it, or someone she had been with two years, who had specific issues with the high handedness of some editors. One was the fact Macmillan had swapped editors on a third novel the same day he told them his father had died. But as ever intimate shared trusts were abused and then used in ‘evidence’ against the ‘bad guy’, behind the scenes. Try working in front of that. It seems Abrams editors are allowed absolute protection of their ‘private’ lives, but not expected to show one iota of professional care, intelligence or respect for working author’s private or professional lives. When they first met she came out with the line “don’t make me the last to know”, then did just that to David in every way imagineable. Just as they had shared ‘trusts’ about being hurt in other relationships, but she took a pick axe to real trusts, personal and professional, in her own ‘growing up’. If a relationship with a publisher itelf is like a kind of working marriage, especially in the language used in America, she should take a leaf out of the calendar book she did with the artist Donny Miller!

Then not only saying things that might have given anyone hope personally, yet going behind his back to friends in London, reversing even a friendship she asked for, admitting she had a fear of any kind of ’emotional confrontation’, and in the complete breach of professional trust too in allying with someone in London David specifically warned her about to do a ‘book’. That spat on a ten year fight to produce work of value and meaning, and to him a very ‘special relationship’ with an American firm. Her indigant claim “now you’re not respecting me” may have become true, but was laughable in terms of everything she had so disrespected in a life, friendships and work too. But then in the slam door absolutes there, she refused to even read Fell, or other obviously worthless work, compared to the ‘Hew, Screws and Glues’ she was producing at Abrams. She might by now have read “War and Peace”!

So the crisis happened, which was actually an argument both about love and friendship too, but also about work, surreal in the way it was pinned into one bad moment in time, or ‘truth’, voiding any honesty that ‘side’ about why it had happened or how, while David found it almost impossible to write. It was bloody obvious he went too far, but in comparison to Tara Breaks’s astonishing failure to ever take one single positive action, beyond the months of silent passive aggression of sitting at the heart of a firm, that David had also once so loved, and was doing so well at, culminating in a meeting where she told him “I give myself permission to change my mind”, before she took the whole thing to another guy in the background, he had to make all the gestures, when the real harm was all on the other side.

Espcially when it became “US” against “YOU”, so quickly, courtesy of Susan Van Metre, synthesising delicate personal issues and judgements and so-called working ‘rights’, as David was forced to work under contract, into a situation that was almost killing. His agent told him categorically “they will sue you” if he tried to walk away, days before she walked away on him, as he was about to take her professional advice, though he thought the principle of threatening a contracted author and blocking proper working conditions and dialogue wrong. That happened after whatever was said to her on the phone by his own editor Sarah Van More. Then a CEO’s right response was they had been in effective working repudition of a contract and potential defamation with regard to all previous working standards on his front. David has noticed how they talk merrily about ‘kicking ass’ at Abrams now, but you are not actually supposed to do that to your own authors, under contract and in the middle of three commissions, with two novels already at a firm.

He had apologised, and too generously, into a wall of complete silence from his publisher and editor too, in the next door office to Tara Break, but even then nothing could come back from the person who had declared “life is unfair”, to help just a work situation. But then the issues went on and at any moment Tara Break could have stood up at work and put them away, or even privately before a so-called ‘enquiry’, but again used the group, with ensuing damage everywhere. The cruelty of it became astonishing. Oh yes, but of course a contracted and supposedly valued and supported author at ‘Family Abrams’ was to blame for everything, trying to bring out his own truths or meanings in complex books, losing a persion, under conditions they could see were doing harm, or find some balance in his working life and respect again, as Sarah Van More replaced Harold Rove! In one way, in knowing the point of going wrong, he was to ‘blame’, he lost his better self, though he no longer thinks his better half, but in everything else that happened, welcome to Abrams, or Amulet, and the story of the scapegoat, although it seems Harold Rove became one too.

It was never just about Tara Break though. Why could Sarah Van More not even show the respect to an author, in looking at his rewrite of a second novel, or Abrams stick to its own forced agreements, in announcing to readers, in breach of that difficult agreement, a book was still cancelled? If it was all so obvious about ‘new people sending out emails by mistake’, or already failed trusts, how could they maintain such an appalling, military style insistence on contracts they themselves had already breached? Because basic publishing contracts are hardly worth the paper they are written on, as Ginger Clarke warned “you will destroy trust” if you even mention them. For reasons of deeply breached trusts on that side of the fence, it was already gone. There are two very simple questions though, if ‘they’ were right why is Harold Rove no longer Vice President, and why has David not been compensated for such unnecessary harm, to life and work, over so long, despite repeated attempts to make peace, and get on with work under the right conditions? The authors do not matter, unless right at the top, the publishers do.

DCD

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Protected: US PUBLISHER ABRAMS BREACHED THE PRINCIPLES OF THE US CONSTITUTION

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9/11

A post dedicated to Dinah, in Texas, because we may be grumpy, but we don’t forget friends.

After so much re-examination and seeing the photos of survivors and the fallen at 9/11 in the Sunday Times Magazine, Phoenix Ark Press want to remember the people inside, and the lives touched and harmed in so many unseen ways. We pray some other moron doesn’t try and ‘commemorate’ today with more horror and fear. Sometimes war is necessary too, the fight against evil or for freedom, but nothing is an absolute and be careful where the rage is directed and how. One of the most moving things about the 7/7 attacks in London was just the silence of Londoners, in Parliament Square, on balconies across the city, just standing side by side, to resist together. The way the War on Terror has been operated, and used as a catch all too, to mask the real movements of money and power, has many deep flaws and generates much fear. It is the principles of freedom you stand by that truly matter, not the force you use or the rules you break, and even the Arab Spring suggests one man’s terrorist is often another man’s freedom fighter. Fear itself is one of the first things you have to fight inside yourself too, because it has a natural escalation and is corrosive.

Did the philospher Francis Fukayama make a grave mistake when he wrote his thesis on The End of History though, believing in the final triumph of the Nation State and Liberal Democracy? We seem to have been in shock ever since. The world, like history, never stops turning, but those liberal values are right and must be defended. With the proviso that we understand we are on a completely interconnected planet, man, animal and biospheres, and must all wake up to it. No freedoms without responsibilities, no rights without awareness, no power without connection, and as little as possible – ‘them’ and ‘us’. To commemorate 9/11 too then, with a full knowledge of how sad and terrible it was, some other events in History, on 11th September. If you look at those ‘Today in History’ websites it is interesting how many of them are American, and so of course see the world from that perspective. So many things have happened and are happening all the time, and actually, in a dating perspective, time zones have shifted too, especially with the arrival of The Gregorian calendar, so those dates, at least the further back you get, are not exactly right either, but it makes you think. Like that song from the Flaming Lips though, that Phoenix have blogged before, today of all days, perhaps we also need a love song for the human and the beauty of nature too. There’s a power and a burning love and light in all of us if we find the courage to reconnect, and do not swallow the dark, the loneliness and the hurt.

THE FLAMING LIPS
One, two, three, four
Do You Realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize – we’re floating in space –
Do You Realize – that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize – that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don’-go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

2010 Pastor Terry Jones announces that the Dove Outreach Center will not burn the Koran, ‘not now, not ever’
2010 The Medal of Honor is awarded for the first time since the Vietnam War; U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta in Afghanistan
2001 19 Islamist terrorists hijack four commercial jets, killing nearly 3,000 in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania
1995 Soyuz TM-22, lands
1992 Hurricane Iniki hits Kauai Hawaii; 3 die and 8,000 injured
1991 14 die in a Continental Express commuter plane crash near Houston
1988 1/3 of population argues for Estonia autonomy
1988 Sports Aid – jogging to feed the world
1987 Shoot out at Jean-Bertrand Aristides’ church in Haiti, 12 die
1986 President Mubarak receives Israeli premier Peres
1986 U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1986 Dow Jones Industrial Avg suffered biggest 1-day decline ever, plummeting 86.61 points to 1,792.89. 237.57 million shares traded
1983 U.S.S.R. performs nuclear test at Semipalitinsk, Eastern Kazakhstan U.S.S.R.
1980 Chile adopts its constitution
1973 Chile’s President, Salvador Allende, deposed in a military coup
1969 U.S.S.R. performs nuclear test at Semipalitinsk, Eastern Kazakhstan U.S.S.R.
1967 French president De Gaulle visits Poland
1967 Indian/Chinese border fights
1967 U.S. Surveyor 5 makes 1st chemical analysis of lunar material
1966 France performs nuclear test at Muruora Island
1965 Beatles’ “Help!,” album goes #1 and stays #1 for 9 weeks
1961 Bob Dylan’s 1st New York performance
1959 Congress passes a bill authorizing food stamps for poor Americans
1958 Great Britain performs atmospheric nuclear test at Christmas Island
1952 West German Chancellor Adenauer signs a reparation pact for Jews
1951 Stravinsky’s opera “Rake’s Progress,” premieres in Venice
1951 Florence Chadwick becomes 1st woman to swim English Channel from England to France. It takes 16 hours and 19 minutes
1946 1st mobile long-distance car-to-car telephone conversation
1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt and Churchill meet in Canada at 2nd Quebec Conference
1944 U.S. 5th pantzer division is 1st to enter nazi-Germany
1943 Allied arm forces conquerors Salerno
1943 Jewish ghettos of Minsk and Lida Belorussia liquidated
1943 Last German Q/pirate ship sinks near Easter Island
1943 U.S. and Australian troops join in Salamaua, New Guinea
1942 Transport nr 31 departs with French Jews to nazi-Germany
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt orders any Axis ship found in American waters be shot on sight
1941 Charles Lindbergh, charges “British, Jewish and Roosevelt administration” are trying to get U.S. into WW II
1940 Hitler begins operation-Sealion (invasion England)
1939 Iraq and Saudi Arabia declare war on nazi-Germany
1930 Stomboli volcano (Sicily) throws 2-ton basaltic rocks 2 miles
1926 Spain leaves League of Nation due to Germany joining
1923 ZR-1 (biggest active dirigible) flies over New York’s tallest skyscraper, Woolworth Tower
1922 British mandate of Palestine begins
1919 U.S. Marines invade Honduras
1914 T Handy publishes “St. Louis Blues”
1909 Max Wolf rediscovers Halley’s comet
1900 President Kruger crosses border with Mozambique
1881 Triple landslides bury Elm, Switzerland
1831 Charles Darwin meets with Captain Fitzroy at Plymouth
1773 Benjamin Franklin writes “There never was a good war or bad peace”
1741 Queen Maria Theresa addresses Hungarian Parliament
1714 French and Spanish troops under duke of Berwick occupy Barcelona
1709 Battle at Malplaquet: England/Austria/Dutch Great Alliance beat France
1697 Battle at Zenta: Prince Eugen van Savoye beats Turkish superior power
1649 Massacre of Drogheda-Cromwell kills 3,000 royalists
1645 Thomas Fairfax’ New Model-army occupies Bristol
1557 Catholic and Lutheran theology debated in Worm
1297 Battle at Stirling Bridge, Scottish rebel Wm Wallace beats English
813 Charles the Great crowns Louis I emperor

The image of the WTC is a public domain photo from Wikepedia

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THE 9/11 MOSQUE

The documentary on the 9/11 mosque was rather sad. Firstly the anti camp, begun in a blogging campaign, fully using and enjoying the media hunger for story, it seemed to me, and talking about a ‘Victory Mosque’, and how Islam has always built on places of Jihad, and their conquest of ‘our’ holy sites. There is obviously a strain in unreformed Islam that has produced appalling militancy and extremism, and that needs to be talked about – isn’t it inevitable when you hold to Sharia Law? – but if we are talking about an ancient ‘clash of civilisations’ that those voices want to stress, try studying the history of the Crusades. One of its great lessons is the Christian Crusaders, armed with their own concept of Holy War, were astoundingly brutal and a lot more tolerance came out of Islam, at different times, not least allowing Christian and Jew to live and worship as ‘people of the book’, taxed of course! Look back in history and you can find many justifications for your argument, but try living in the now and the future. History is not a ‘fact’, it is a way of deepening, civilising and creating a living culture but their point, I suppose, is they enjoy that clash of civilisations.

One of those antis also mentioned another clash of civilisations, capitalism versus communism, and it is perhaps the key to modern American side-based thinking. But then you got the half polish New Yorker who is trying to establish it, two blocks from Ground Zero, saying ‘I’m naard (Not) a humanitarian, I’m a capitalist’, clearly seeking a meaning and community though, and comparing himself, as a property developer, to a ‘shark, used to gobbling up the seals’. So suddenly having to deal with something far more sensitive, was clearly a shock. In fact, though there is a lot commendable in protecting those innocent and frightened Muslims in New York who went underground, he did seem rather naive, and insensitive to the families of all those people who died, and others. Though I am not sure about the blogger’s comment ‘we’re all the families of nine eleven, they just took the hit for us.’His first Imam sponsor though was apparently talking about an ‘interfaith’ centre anyway, not a mosque, while another moderate Imam stressed that his own concept of Islam meant ‘peace‘ and demanded respect for other’s wishes and pain, so it was an insult to put it there. One of the best was the American father of one of the victims, saying something loudly about freedom and responsibility. ‘We know you have the right, but sometimes a hero is made by not exercising that right.‘ The fact is the guy’s personality did him very little favours and why not establish the right, on private property, as Obama supported, in a country that crucially defends the freedom of worship for all, but still take it somewhere else. If that is hard, in New York, seek help for it, and don’t worry about others who try to gloat.

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OF MEL, MENTORING AND MANKIND – Mmmm?

A long time ago I blogged something on standing up for Mel Gibson. Not because I know who he really is, but because the quickness of people to disassociate themselves with the difficult is often filled with an awful hypocrisy. Also because he did a very good Hamlet! I don’t believe he’s a racist, but above all it was extremely painful hearing that pain and rage that came out of him, the collapse of language, since it echoed my own loss of self down the phone to New York. The delight of the public trial, seeing someone brought low, the quickness of the tape to get out there, and the stoneiness of that passive, judging and rather superior American voice ‘You don’t love me,’ sent shivers down my spine. Shivers of shame, but also sympathy.

How he went wrong, but how people might understand why and how men can go wrong, so rage, or get lost. How the force of a strong spirit can get so tyrannical and so wounded too, projecting the feminine outwards entirely, but desperately trying to hold on to it. Look inside first. That is not to commend what can happen, but surely thugs on the streets in London might point to the need of good male role models nowadays. It was one of the things that odd crew called The Mankind Project is talking about, not about ‘them’ and ‘us’, but difference and finding male respect for the really masculine, and using it to mentor and grow. One friend who did it made a telling comment, which was ‘I thought I had a problem with women, but it was really with men.’ If you don’t respect men, for whatever reason, how can you find the confident one in yourself and take it to the person you want? He had not grown up with a father, but is now a father himself. So dads, remember to mentor and even initiate your sons in how to hold onto the truly strong, and so gentle and confident male stuff. But as for the Save Mel Campaign, he really should not play with glove puppets!

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