the cluster project

The Gift of the Great Artist

In the age of terror and annihilation, it’s inspiring to see how the most mighty of contemporary artists speaks powerfully to the tumultuous world.

After the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris killing 130 people, Jeff Koons, America’s very own Francisco Goya, responded to the atrocity with this uplifting vision, his gift to the world.


It is the epitome of grace, of majesty, of sublime peace.

Of course, it hasn’t been created yet. This is merely the design. The actual sculpture will require some 30 tons of metal and cost upwards of $4 million dollars to construct — proof of its awesome power. The sacred artist provided the gift of the concept, leaving the French to merely find the money. All French people are overcome with gratitude.

How, you ask, can an artist be so generous?


He cares. That’s all. He cares about us all. We may consider that Christ too was a radical artist, one with an equally transformative vision.

Still one wonders where this depth of vision comes from? Koons himself says the work was inspired by Picasso and Monet, but those artists made nothing this grand, this anointed. Indeed, Koons has worked with the form of tulips before, and the results have always been stunning.


Here is Koons’ magnificent Tulips in New York, stately placed in front of Christie’s. The famous auction house subsequently sold the work for $33,682,5000 to a hotel and casino mogul who displays the work reverently in one of his fine establishments.


Yes, some celebrated artists are in it for money, audacious swindlers who create soulless, fatuous works that mimic the most craven qualities of a commodity culture.

But not Jeff Koons, no, not Jeff Koons. His work is profoundly spiritual.

He is the master who awakens us to our shared humanity and offers us a bold vision for the gloried future.

koons dog

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Don’t Worry about Nothing!

Aren’t there silly people who are always spreading false rumors
about one thing or another?


Why, if you listened to them, you wouldn’t go out your front door!


And you might be afraid of the very thing that makes us safe!


Know the facts and you’ll be way more comfortable.


And make sure your family knows the facts too. You’ll be happy that you did.

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Take the Bad with the Good

As any child knows, weapons bring peace,
security and harmony wherever they go.
That’s why it’s so disheartening to hear that the
global arms trade went down last year.


But thank God, there is reason to cheer!

U.S. arms trade went up!!!
About half of the weapons sold last year
were made in the good old USA!


Next year, we can even do better!

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General “Mad Dog” Mattis

Retired General “Mad Dog” Mattis is said to be a leading candidate for Secretary of Defense. Recently, he has been on Board of Directors of General Dynamics – a good start. But what about his lust for blood? Thankfully we found this heartwarming video from 2005 where he says “Actually, it is a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.”

Just to be clear, later he adds “it’s a helluva a lot of fun to shoot em'”

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Passing That Torch

The future awaits.


President Obama’s tragically flawed drone war program, which involves regular meetings to secretly select “targets” for global assassination, will now continue unchecked under the wise and discerning command of Mr. Donald John Trump.

What could possibly go wrong?

(The Intercept: Donald Trump is about to Inherit Obama’s Unchecked Drone Program The Guardian: Obama will not restrict drone strike ‘playbook’ before Trump takes office)

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Militarization is Cute

How do you sell intensified militarization to a population that prizes peace and abhors war? If you’re Japan, you do it with adorable creatures, like this little fellah.

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While every other military in the world seem to use strength, macho, power, and grit for its war propaganda, the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) has chosen pure pop culture cuteness – kawaii.

Awww…look at that funny figure standing in front of the Patriot missile battery. And that Cobra helicopter is super cool!

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Kawaii, in various forms, is enormously popular among young people in Japan, and throughout the world. It is a part of anime, manga, video games, toys, bands, fashion…the list goes on. And now it is a part of the military, and remilitarization.

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Kids, do you like to play games on your smart phone? Sure you do! And here at the Self Defense Forces, we’ve got the funnest one yet — your mission is to protect your house with the most up-to-date weaponry on the planet.

In every case, the effect of this kawaii campaign is to soften the violence of military hardware, and signal that the Japanese self-defense forces are harmless and beneficial. Below please find the JSDF Okayama Provincial Cooperation Office’s gleeful military mascots. They’ve helped boost recruitment by 20%.


To get a sense of why Japan uses cute iconography to push the military, we have to consider its unique history. Less than a century ago, the Japanese Empire was fiercely militarized, conquering surrounding nations in a frenzy for control and expansion. Its power was marked by atrocities such as the Rape of Nanking in 1937, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Chinese capital were assaulted, raped, or killed.


By the end of World War II, the military aggression of the Japanese empire came full circle. Japanese civilians faced both war-time deprivations and ferocious bombing by the United States. 60 cities were hit with incendiary bombing raids and effectively burned to the ground. The firebombing of Tokyo alone killed over 100,000 civilians. Finally, the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought radioactive devastation to the empire of the rising sun. War decimated the entire nation.


The post-war constitution of Japan brought an enduring commitment to peace. And so it has stood for almost 70 years. But the current government under Shinzo Abe wants to change all that. With the prodding of the USA, they want to manufacture popular consent for a more potent military force. Part of this campaign involves a systematic campaign to revise the past and give a makeover to the Empire’s past crimes.

The Abe government has denied accusations of an international campaign that the Imperial Military systematically used “comfort women” or sex slaves, during its historic reign. At home, it has revised textbooks to minimize war crimes, and legitimize war aims. The 1910 annexation of Korea with its thorough subjugation of the Korean people is described by new textbooks as “necessary to protect the security of Japan and its interests in Manchuria.” The Japanese military aggression of WW2 is glorified and depicted as honorable.


But it’s the cute characters of kawaii that make the most insidious propaganda for war. Former JSDF member and author Takumi Yanai wrote a fantasy series called Gate, where the JSDF travel through a portal to another world to team up with cute girls and take down monsters. It became a manga (illustrated) version, and more recently was made into an anime TV series. In style, the illustrations feature realistic JSDF hardware and soldiers — along with elves and dragons. The JSDF has made its own promotional posters that reference the fantasy series, and is almost indistinguishable from commercial publicity for the series itself.


Even the Japanese Defense Industry has used kawaii to highlight its deadly technology. Its neon pink and yellow poster, complete with sparkles and oversized cartoon eyes, announced its defense technology symposium, a showcase of industry military wares, organized by the government’s new department of military procurement.


Will Japan succeed in remilitarizing? It’s not clear. There is strong, popular opposition to this campaign. In July of 2015, 120,000 protested in Tokyo against removing pacifist passages from the constitution. Protests also occurred in over 200 more locations, making it the largest antiwar protest in decades. Nevertheless, in am middle-of-the-night vote, the ruling Abe government was later able to remove the constitutional prohibition on overseas military operations


Will the future of Japan be a cute figure in military fatigues?

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[This entry was sparked by Matthew Brummer’s excellent article Manga, the Japanese Military].

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Our American Church

Behold the giddy orgasmic moment before the opening NFL football game, complete with flags, roars, anthems, and the twisted appearance overhead of a B-2 bomber.

How much did it actually cost the American people to provide this holy vision of the glorious B-2? Well, the stealth bomber has a $2 billion price tag. Then it costs $170,000 an hour to fly. And of course, we’ve got to give the NFL a hefty financial cut for providing the sacred stage.


In short, it’s totally worth it.

God bless America!

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Pretty Good Deal


When candidate Bush visits a group made up of weapons manufacturers and their minions — naturally called Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security — he asserts that “taking out Saddam Hussain turned out to be a pretty good deal.”

A good deal indeed! The Iraqi War has given us the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, religious and ethnic stability has fallen to bitter and violent conflict, advanced health care, science, education, technology, and the professionals that provided them have disappeared, and museums, artifacts, and the history of ancient human civilizations have been looted and destroyed.

What more good deals are on the horizon?!!

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The Dream Made Real

One of the world’s most famous paintings generates a profound turbulence.

Black and white on a huge canvas, Picasso’s Guernica

imagines the frenzied destruction of an aerial bombing.

It has become an iconic image of the madness of war.


But while Guernica is an image of war, there are no soldiers to be seen.

Instead, the painting depicts a very particular kind of war.

A war against humanity.

The bombs that fell in 1937 on the small town of Guernica

in the Basque region of Spain fell on women and children

and old men and animals.

It was no accident. They were excellent targets.


Which reminds me, have you ever dreamed of flying?


In his masterful The History of Bombing, Sven Lindqvist shows us

that when man first began to dream of flight…

He began to dream of bombs.

Early popular fiction depicted bombers high in the sky,

safe and dedicated to their sacred mission:

the absolute decimation of entire cities and races below.


And then, the dream became real.

Man learned to fly, and quickly, very quickly,

he learned to bomb.

It proved an impressive way of keeping order.


Let’s say you had valuable colonies filled with inferior people

who possessed an entirely different skin color and religion than your own.

And say the colonies were disobedient. They opposed your occupation.

Or interrupted your removal of their resources.

Or gave comfort to your enemies.


You merely had to fly over the homes where their children

played and their wives cooked and their elders sat,

and drop your bombs.

The fiery transformation was considered most effective.


You had delivered a clear message on the law of civilization:

Never resist your superiors. Never think of resisting.

Submit and serve.


In this way, early aerial bombing massacred civilians

in the villages and cities of Morocco and India and

Iran and Ethiopia and many, many other countries.

Only you never heard of these bombings.

They had no Picasso to tell the tale of their devastation.

Their stories went up with the smoke.


Of course, the civilized powers dropping the bombs

did not endorse the brutal killing of innocents. They would never do that.

They were nations of laws and justice and religion.

They enacted strict international laws forbidding such actions.

Only these laws applied to humans like themselves.

Humans unlike themselves,

Africans or Arabs or Asians or Indians,

were naturally inferior and fell outside such legal constraints.

They could be slaughtered for their own good.


That’s what was interesting with Guernica.

Europeans bombed innocent Europeans.

That was new in 1937. And deeply unsettling.


Picasso began working on his masterpiece almost immediately

after hearing reports of the atrocity, and his Guernica painting

soon toured widely through Europe.

When viewers gazed upon it, did they sense

it was an image more from the future than the past?

No matter. A single painting, no matter how strong, no matter

how celebrated the artist, was not enough. Not enough at all.

Soon the people of the civilized nations would learn

what their darker-skinned brothers already knew.

Everyone was at risk from the sky.


In a few short years, civilians living in huge cities

would be incinerated by the tens of thousands.

Dresden, Hamburg, and Tokyo would be

decimated in a new kind of war where everyone

was a target and innocence was irrelevant.

Of course, that was another time, another world.

Nothing like that could happen today.


The important work of our greatest artists tell us so.

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Team America!

Like you, we’re in full patriotic bliss when the Super Bowl comes. It’s thrilling to watch the stirring tributes to the American warrior and our noble cause overseas.

It’s just a shame that the corporate makers of war machinery don’t air their own commercials on the big day. They’re the real heroes. But “defense companies” just don’t run multi-million dollar Super Bowl ads.

Until now. This year’s Superbowl features a commercial from Northrop Grumman, one of America’s most beloved weapons makers. Northrop is eying a contract that may eventually run tens of billions of dollars, all to make America’s next great bomber.

It will be awesome to behold.

Like God, any deadly emblem of global power must remain elusive. But you can bet that it will be futuristic, stealthy, and will defeat terrorism.

You may be surprised to know that Northrop Grumman has created a slew of advertisements in the last year. But why exactly? While you adore bombers and would gladly buy one of these babies — after all, Valentine’s Day is coming up — you can hardly afford one with its projected price tag of $600 million per unit.

But you can do the next best thing and invest in the corporation! And that means scoring some big cash. It’s a bull market for weapons, and Northrop Grumman’s stock is soaring. As Bloomberg News reports, “Military contractors have rallied on increasing global instability and the prospect for rising sales of missiles, drones and other weapons.”

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And you thought world murder and mayhem are bad things!

I can hear your concerns. Yes, I want to invest my money in the war and weapons market, but didn’t President Obama talk about cuts to the defense budget?

Hey, turns out he was just kidding!

The Pentagon is seeking an increase of $20.4 billion (13%) for weapons and research, and Obama will be removing defense budget caps that prevent these critical needs. So we can buy more weapons and be safer and safer. And you can rake in the dough! It’s a great game — shouldn’t you be on the winning team?


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