Archive for February, 2008

Life under Occupation

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

So here we go, military law rules the land. In the name of a fictitious war on terrorism, America is no longer the land of the free. Security trumps liberty in the new security state. Only the House of Representatives stands in the way of the President and his desire to make permanent the law that would exempt the communications media that have placed us all under surveillance, illegally in the past. He wants to make it permanent so that citizens have no right to contest this. Call or write or email your Congressperson tell them not to give the government the right to place us under surveillance with impunity.

Rule by fear or rule by law?
Lewis Seiler,Dan Hamburg

Monday, February 4, 2008

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“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”

- Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of “an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.”

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of “all removable aliens” and “potential terrorists.”

Fraud-busters such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, have complained about these contracts, saying that more taxpayer dollars should not go to taxpayer-gouging Halliburton. But the real question is: What kind of “new programs” require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people?

Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies,” gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the president is now authorized to use the military in response to “a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order.”

The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of “terrorist” organizations, or who speaks out against the government’s policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike.

Also in 2007, the White House quietly issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51), to ensure “continuity of government” in the event of what the document vaguely calls a “catastrophic emergency.” Should the president determine that such an emergency has occurred, he and he alone is empowered to do whatever he deems necessary to ensure “continuity of government.” This could include everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Congress has yet to hold a single hearing on NSPD-51.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice (Los Angeles County) has come up with a new way to expand the domestic “war on terror.” Her Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (HR1955), which passed the House by the lopsided vote of 404-6, would set up a commission to “examine and report upon the facts and causes” of so-called violent radicalism and extremist ideology, then make legislative recommendations on combating it.

According to commentary in the Baltimore Sun, Rep. Harman and her colleagues from both sides of the aisle believe the country faces a native brand of terrorism, and needs a commission with sweeping investigative power to combat it.

A clue as to where Harman’s commission might be aiming is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law that labels those who “engage in sit-ins, civil disobedience, trespass, or any other crime in the name of animal rights” as terrorists. Other groups in the crosshairs could be anti-abortion protesters, anti-tax agitators, immigration activists, environmentalists, peace demonstrators, Second Amendment rights supporters … the list goes on and on. According to author Naomi Wolf, the National Counter terrorism Center holds the names of roughly 775,000 “terror suspects” with the number increasing by 20,000 per month.

What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?

The Constitution does not allow the executive to have unchecked power under any circumstances. The people must not allow the president to use the war on terrorism to rule by fear instead of by law.

Lewis Seiler is the president of Voice of the Environment, Inc. Dan Hamburg, a former congressman, is executive director.

This article appeared on page B - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle

And then there is this…

Senate Authorizes Broad Expansion Of Surveillance Act

Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) speaks to reporters about the chamber’s expansion of the surveillance act. At right is Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). (By Dennis Cook — Associated Press)

Who’s Blogging» Links to this article
By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008; Page A01

The Senate yesterday approved a sweeping measure that would expand the government’s clandestine surveillance powers, delivering a key victory to the White House by approving immunity from lawsuits for telecommunications companies that cooperated with intelligence agencies in domestic spying after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

This Story
Senate Authorizes Broad Expansion Of Surveillance Act
Surveillance Powers
On a 68 to 29 vote, the Senate approved the reauthorization of a law that would give the government greater powers to eavesdrop in terrorism and intelligence cases without obtaining warrants from a secret court.

The Senate’s action, days before a temporary surveillance law expires Friday, sets up a clash with House Democrats, who have previously approved legislation that does not contain immunity for the telecommunications industry. The chambers have been locked in a standoff over the immunity provision since the House vote Nov. 15, with President Bush demanding the protection for the industry.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the president “will not sign another extension” of the temporary law, a decision that could force congressional leaders to reconcile their differences this week.

“The House is risking national security by delaying action,” Fratto said. “It’s increasingly clear Congress will not act until it has to, and a second extension will only lead to a third.”

But House leaders vowed again yesterday to oppose the telecom immunity provision until the White House releases more information about the controversial warrant less surveillance program it initiated shortly after the terrorist attacks.

Bush applauded the Senate bill and warned House Democrats to put aside “narrow partisan concerns” on the immunity issue and approve the Senate’s version.

“This good bill passed by the Senate provides a long-term foundation for our intelligence community to monitor the communications of foreign terrorists in ways that are timely and effective and that also protect the liberties of Americans,” Bush said.

The House and Senate bills both include major revisions to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to issue warrants for domestic spying on suspects in terrorism and intelligence cases. The National Security Agency, however, secretly bypassed the court for years as it obtained information from telecommunication companies, until media reports revealed the arrangement.

The most important change approved by the Senate yesterday would make permanent a law approved last August that expanded the government’s authority to intercept — without a court order — the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States communicating with others overseas. U.S. intelligence agencies previously had broad leeway to monitor the communications of foreign terrorism suspects but needed warrants to monitor calls intercepted in the United States, regardless of where they originated.

The House and Senate versions of the new FISA provisions differ slightly, but leaders on both sides acknowledged that the major stumbling block is immunity for the telecommunications industry, which faces dozens of lawsuits for providing personal information to intelligence agencies without warrants.

Senate Democrats’ split on immunity echoes past party divisions over national security issues, including how strongly to confront Bush on the tools the administration uses to target suspected terrorists and their allies.
“This is the right way to go, in terms of the security of the nation,” said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the intelligence committee, which wrote the Senate bill.

Rockefeller was one of 17 Democrats who joined 49 Republicans and one independent to reject an amendment offered by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) that would have stripped the immunity provision from the bill.

Two-thirds of the Democratic caucus opposed immunity. “It is inconceivable that any telephone companies that allegedly cooperated with the administration’s warrant less wiretapping program did not know what their obligations were. And it is just as implausible that those companies believed they were entitled to simply assume the lawfulness of a government request for assistance,” said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who co-sponsored the amendment.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who is locked in a tight race with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for the Democratic presidential nomination, opposed immunity for the industry, along with the entire elected Democratic leadership team. Clinton, who has publicly opposed immunity in the past, was campaigning during yesterday’s primaries and did not attend the vote.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the front-runner for the GOP nomination, supported the overall bill and the immunity provision. Neither Clinton nor Obama was on hand for the vote on final passage of the bill. McCain was.

Congressional leaders have until Friday — when a two-week extension of the temporary law that authorizes expanded surveillance powers expires — to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions. House Democratic leaders introduced a bill for another 21-day extension of the law, the Protect America Act, to provide sufficient time.

Republican leaders in both chambers have pushed for passage of the Senate bill without a House-Senate conference.

“I don’t think there’s a need to do a conference. This bill has been vetted and vetted and vetted,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the Republican whip.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, warned Democrats not to expect a softening of the administration’s position.

“I think the Democrats would be making a mistake if they felt the president was not going to be serious about vetoing any further extension or insisting that the immunity provisions be in there,” Smith said.

But House Democratic leaders continued pushing for more information about the warrant less spying that telephone companies aided after the 2001 attacks.

Available documents on the program “raise important questions, and it will take some time to gather enough information to make a determination on the issue of retroactive immunity,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.) said yesterday.

Staff writer Michael Abramowitz and washingtonpost.com staff writer Ben Pershing contributed to this report.

Candy Man and Clean Up Man

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Remember the Tax and Spend Democrats? They would spend money and then raise the taxes to pay for it. Or even worse they would raise the taxes so they could spend more money on government programs for the poor, or for education, or healthcare or something equally frivolous like the cleaning up the water and the air we breathe, or buying land for national parks so our children and grandchildren will have some wilderness left to visit. Totally irresponsible. They believed that you had to balance the budget, or run responsible debt that could be paid back without allowing the balance of payments versus income get too far out of hand. President Clinton, old “blow job Bill”, even balanced the budget in his second administration something this country hadn’t seen in the memory of most Americans. What were they thinking? How could people be so foolish? No wonder they lost control of the country with such ridiculous policies.
Now the Republicans, they are bold men, and when President Bush saw what a lot of nit pickers and bean counters he had inherited the country from, he couldn’t wait for an opportunity to show the world what a real man in the White House could do. He didn’t have to wait long, Nope, he had 9-11, a god send in some respects, dropped in his lap, It couldn’t have happened to a better man. No detail worrier this president, he is one who says damn the torpedoes full speed ahead, and full speed ahead he went. With the victims of the Twin Towers bombings as his shroud of Turin, he walked into the congress and demanded a free hand to declare war against Evil Doers the world over. Constitutional safe guards, forget it, he had to capture the assassins, he had no time for niceties of the law and safeguards for protecting the rights of the guilty. Everyone knows that the only people who hide behind the constitution are the bad guys and their buddies, those simpering sams who would hide behind the teacher when they deserved a good beating like any honest kid on the playground would take. What about the budget, well hells bells, we are at war man, don’t you see we have the new Hitler right in front of us raising Cain with the devil himself, the two of them Hussein and Osama, drove by my daughters this very day and leered at them and offered them drugs and wanted to take them for a ride in that beat up old 57 Chevy they drive around in. We have to put a stop to it now! Why Hussein threatened to bushwhack my Daddy when he was riding tall in the saddle one day while in our summer home over there in west Texas, near some town called Kuwait. Well we can’t allow it, would you allow a filthy sneaky Arab go out with your daughters!! No way, this is war man. How can you talk to me about petty things like budgets in a time like this!!! And no, I am not going to tax my buddies to pay for this little hunting expedition we are going on, No way, that is not the way we do things down in Texas. We call on our buddies Prince Faisel and Chairman Dung Ho and we tell them, listen here little buddies, if you want to keep in trawling in our waters selling your oil and transistor radios to our good citizens at those monopoly prices we give you, then pony up boys and lend us enough to cover our little trip to Iraq, It wont cost much and we will pay you back with interest on the money we get from Hussein’s oil wells, you know he has the number 2 amount of oil after you and your boys Prince Faisel.
And that is how the big boys play, they are the Spend and Spend Republicans, borrow from Peter and give a promissory note to Paul. And heh heh, in another 8 years those pussy Democrats will be back and guess who gets to clean up after this little party of ours, it sure ain’t me and my buddies down here in Flat Broke Alabama, nope it is those tax and spend democrats from up north, they got nothing better to do. Meanwhile Yeee Haww boys lets go get us some Iraqis!!!
Oh, I am exaggerating am I? Have you ever been to a redneck party? Isn’t it a bit ironic that the man who has to clean up after this mess is named Hussein Obama? Who gets to clean up messes traditionally in America, but the woman or the janitor? And isn’t that exactly what we have now a mess, and isn’t that what we are looking for, someone who can clean it up? No mere white man could clean up a mess this big, this demands professional cleaners people who have done it for generations, and that is perhaps why America is ready for a Black or a Woman president, because these are people who we subconsciously trust to do the job. I am not apologizing for the people who got us in the mess, but I am saying that we all bear a little guilt in this mess, and if you were not out there on the streets saying no to the war, or no to the waving of our civil liberties, or no to spending money and letting the next administration pay for it, then you and I are in our own way guilty for participating in this orgy of self indulgent patriotic frenzy It was not patriotism we have just seen, it was an orgy of good old boy back slapping racist, sexist, reliving of the good old days of some redneck fantasy, How could adult Americans in this day and age fall for that, is beyond ridiculous, it has made us the sad wonder of the world. Worst of all the same Arabs and Orientals that these power drunk lunatics were laughing at while they loaned us more and more money, they were secretly laughing behind the backs of these fools. They will have the last laugh as out credibility goes down the toilet and we have to sell the wealth of the nation at fire sale prices just to keep the creditors satisfied, There will be hell to pay, and we have not seen the beginning of the tears to come. Let us hope we can make the rich oil barons and their buddies pay and not the poor working shmuck in middle America who can’t pay for the $4.00 a gallon Gas and is being buried in the jacked up interest rates in that dream home that has become dream hell. Let us hope there is still mercy in this land and we will not have to pay the piper every cent that is his due. I pray we get a president that will represent our best hopes and not one that we deserve.

The Campaign goes on

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The Clinton and Obama campaigns are coming closer and closer to the decisive primaries. Obama seems to have won the debate in Ohio with his ‘Drive into the Ditch’ line according to the pundants on MSNBC. Hillary is down, in the view of the pundants, and the today Senator Dodd gave Obama his support. But here again if the women and main stream democrats follow her, they may give her the boost she needs. But Obama made the point that Clintons support for the war in Iraq made her an enabler for Bush and his bad policies when he stood against the war.
That is where I agree with Obama, I was opposed to the war in Iraq, I did not buy into the so called evidence of weapons of mass destruction and I was one of the organizers of the protests against the war in February and March 2003. I participated in the protests in San Francisco against the war in January, and in Los Angeles in February and March. It is unfortunate that even over a million Americans in the streets opposed to the war on February 15th did not make a difference for Mr. Bush or Hillary Clinton. The fact that Obama was opposed to the war is a decisive factor for me, even if I find his policies in other areas to be vague and unclear.
I like the fact that Obama says he will bring to peoples attention what the big oil companies are doing to wrest some of their profits out of their hands and into the hands of the people. How he plans to do that is what I would like to see. Hillary has become stronger about health care, and Obama has to firm up his positions and to fight for health care.
And this is the crux of the issue, we know things have to change, will either of them fight for Americans and who is the better fighter. Who will get health insurance for all Americans that is affordable? Who will keep us out of senseless wars and yet stand up for fairness and integrity in the world? Who will be able to fight off the right wing and the vested interests that want business as usual? I feel that Hillary may be a more dogged fighter, but I think that Obama might be the more inspired one. Will either of then be able to break the lock that the corporate elites have on Washington? I am concerned that Obama might have a problem the middle east, and he might over compensate by coming on too strong with regards to Pakistan by sounding too much like a strong man and not enough like the bridge builder that he claims to be. We need a president who is interested in more than securing the oil supply for the seven sisters (Oil Companies). They both claim to have a more well rounded view and Obama as someone who was raised in Indonesia should have a leg up there.
We need an energy policy that will develop alternative fuels rapidly. The Brazilians have done it and we should be able to do it also. We need to get the troops out of harms way in Iraq and into peace keeping in Darfur, we need to be helping the staving people in Haiti where they are eating mud. We need a national heath plan, a national energy plan and a peaceful foreign policy. We need a social safety network, a reduced military and to rebuild the infrastructure at home, including schools, transport and focus on conservation of energy. We need to clean up the environment, reduce the carbon footprint and make America a model of energy harm reduction in the world. Can Barak do it? Lets hope so.
What can we do? We cannot have a president who is left to do it for us. If we are fortunate enough to have a president who cares about the people, then we need to participate in that struggle to create the world we want to have. I know that I have been critical of this country and what it has become and I have been pretty much disappointed since Reagan was elected president, How is a chance for a change and that is what we may now have an opportunity for real change. Lets do what we can to participate in making it real.

Good Food & Bad Karma

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Two things strike me as I sit here writing my blog. One is the excellent dinner I prepared tonight. The other is the fate of the Indianapolis, the Battle Cruiser that sank just before the end of World War II.
What first, lets talk happy first I decided to make dinner because I was alone, and depressed to not be with my girlfriend, cooking takes me out of depression, so I got out a can of stewed tomatoes, poured it into a pan with about a half a can of tomato paste and a quarter of a jar of basil tomato sauce, I turned the heat on medium low, chopped up half a bell pepper and threw that in with half an onion and half a fresh carrot sliced up. I heated up my frying pan, put a liberal amount of olive oil in the pan, sliced up the rest of the bell pepper and put that in the pan, with the other half of the onion, 3 pieces of a garlic clove chopped up, and then I cut three cherry tomatoes in half and threw them in, then I started spicing. I threw in oregano, cloves, sage, thyme, black pepper and ginger into the frying pan, oregano, black pepper and cloves into the sauce. Then I got a little creative, I chopped up the rest of a carrot and put it in the frying pan, then I turned on the big pot and added some salt and olive oil to the water, let it boil and added the linguine. Meanwhile I stirred to sauce, and then I chopped up the pear I was eating, a nice ripe but firm and juicy Bart let, and threw it into the frying pan with a little add’l olive oil and then I drizzled some honey over everything in the frying pan, and turned the heat down, The Linguine was aldente, I took it off the pot, poured the water out and rinsed it in cold water to keep it from cooking more. I took a head of romaine lettuce twisted off half and put it in a dish with three cherry tomatoes and I put pieces of English Cheddar cheese with figs and oranges in it over the lettuce. I then poured some raspberry dressing on it and the salad was done. I then put a spoonful of sauce on the pasta and a spoon full of sautéed veggies and pear on it and that was it. The flavor of the pear was rich and sweet, the garlic was burnt and bitter and crunchy, the onions and bell pepper was sour and sweet, it was like a Chinese pasta almost, only the flavors were fresh and perfectly 5th taste sensation as they melted in my mouth, It was so satisfying that I did not feel the urge to stuff myself, instead I wanted to share. And so I did.
The other is the Indianapolis, it was sunk by a Japanese submarine at almost the end of the war. One wonders why, that ship, that crew, and then I listened to the documentary on the Military channel and there it was, this ship had delivered the bomb to Tinian Island that was dropped on Hiroshima. Here was a ship that delivered hell on earth to the Japanese people. The Karma occurred before the event happened. It was pre-karma. Is there such a thing? Is it possible to atone for a sin that you are not aware you are about to commit? Was the crew responsible when it was first loaded on the ship? When it arrived on the island where the plane was waiting? Should the captain have committed suicide sooner or at all? Or what of the pilot of the plane, the Enola Gay? Why was the Navy to pay the price and the Air Force let off so lightly. It could be because the Army Air Force was new in the world and the Navy was as old as warfare itself. This explosion that changed the course of history, this single blast that shook the world, that caused a scientist to quote not the Christian Bible but an older and more primal text, the Mahabarata, from the most ancient continuous civilization in the world, India, that was the one that was used to explain what had happened, for only in the Hindu texts are descriptions of creation and destruction so total and all encompassing described.
For now man had entered a new world, and an old one, we had entered the dimension of creation and destruction, Time itself could stand still, could move backwards, could be reversed, and for a few split seconds it has been, but not for the unfortunate masses of people who lived and breathed until totally turned to dust and shadows by the machinery of fate, And what of the ship, was it really karma, or was it simply the end of time and they were caught up a few split seconds before the end or after the beginning.

The Wonderful World of the Potatoe

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Did you know that before the 1600’s that almost nobody in Europe ate potatoes? They come from Andes of South America and were part of the legacy of the conquest of the region by the Spanish Conquistadors like Pizarro. He was only out to get rich but he stumbled upon something that helped keep many a poor family from starvation all over Europe in the 18th, and 19th centuries.
The native American foods, pumpkin, squash, blueberry, cranberry etc, helped keep the puritans from starving in those first few years in the cold new England winters. Thanks to the help of the native peoples that the Puritans thanked by converting to their religion or killing, Not a very good deal for the Native Americans, I mean, Christianity in exchange for thanksgiving dinner, no thank you. The natives should have told the puritans to shove off, head back for their own lands, but it was too late by then, disease brought by the Spanish had already ravaged the native lands, what had been populous cities had become mere villages of survivors 125 years after Columbus landed. It would be as if aliens from another planet landed here and began sleeping with human women and trading worthless space trinkets like gold and diamonds for valuable stuff like air and water and land. Then humans began dieing in the millions from the alien diseases and they just shrugged and said it must be the will of UGAH or whatever they call god and they started moving into the now empty cities where the humans had lived 50 or 100 years before and only half a billion humans were left on the planet after the diseases wiped out most of them and the remainder were demoralized and the Aliens shot them for trespassing on what used to be human land but was now being occupied by aliens coming in from space by the ship load bringing all their poor relations, criminals and deviants to the new “empty planet” earth.
That is about what happened when the Europeans came to America. Anyway, we have a wonderful world and a wonderful food the potato to thank the dead Indians for, the ones that Pizarro had murdered for the silver trinkets they wore. The Indians got back at him, they made him drink a milk shake of molten silver, Funny huh.

The Naked and the Dead

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

My girlfriend and I have been discussing the various attributes of the two democratic candidates left, we both tend to support Obama, she more vigorously than I, but that is only because there never has been a candidate that I could fully support except perhaps McGovern back in 72. I have to admit that I did vote for Clinton in 92, the only time I voted for the winning candidate. The rest of the time I voted for third parties, Green, Peace and Freedom, Communist or loosing Democrats if I bothered to vote, I know that in 1980 I was a believer in the Anarchist Vote for Nobody candidate. That was at a time when the left had reached its apogee in recent American politics with the election of Carter.
Speaking of Carter, I was talking recently with a coworker about recent political history and we both were lamenting Carter’s loss to Reagan. If he had only been able to ride out the whole Iranian Crisis debacle or if the CIA hadn’t sabotaged him in their botched hostage liberation attempt, then we might never have gotten into the mess we are in now. Think about it, we had a powerful new government department, Energy and where I lived in Colorado at the time there was a great build up of alternative energy industries. By now we would be energy independent, but Reagan gutted the department and went back to the old policy of guns for defending the sea lanes and securing foreign oil. Alternative energy was never taken seriously again until Al Gore began touting it after he lost an election where he failed to make it an issue. Bush would never have become president, we would be well on our way if not already have established socialized medicine and we would have reduced our military presence in the world. People forget that the Soviet Union did not fail because Reagan told Gorbachev to bring down the walls. The system collapsed due to internal problems, brought about by the passive resistance and lack of cooperation of millions of Soviet Citizens. It was a system that may have dragged on for another decade, but we would not have seen the massive displacements and misery that the Russian people suffered in the 1990’s. There might even still be a Soviet Union, but it would not have been the bad old one, that died out with Andropov and the death of the last of the youth raised under Stalin.
Certainly the confrontation with the middle east would not have turned out the way it did, Carter had just begun his negotiations for a middle east peace and with a second term he might have been able to see an independent Palestine or a reconciled multinational state there, instead of an apartheid state with Palestinian Bantustans like we have now.
But who can say what would have happened, all we can say is that we lost 30 years of opportunity to lead the way in alternative energy research and development and now we have to play catch up. We would not now just be beginning to deal with the problems of education and healthcare and collapsing infrastructure.
At least Obama and Clinton give lip service to the need to go green, let us hope they are willing to really give it a try and let the troops come home. To do that we need to end our dependence on cheap foreign oil, and if you think it is not cheap now, wait a year or two and do nothing and these will seem like the good old days.

Another Friday Nite

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

People like to read the bible, it is allegorical, it is metaphorical. It is some bodies literal take on a very confusing reality. Mostly it is a book of rather decent poetry, especially the vaunted King James edition.
What is it about this book, or the Koran, which I know not at all, or the Mahabarata, which I do like and the Ramayana, another good book, and I am reading a book about the Dogon, “Conversations with Ogotemmeli’, written by a real anthropologist ‘Marcel Griaule’, not one of those fake new age wannabes, but someone who walked the walk and so was able to talk the talk.
It has its moments, the Dogon have a system of beliefs that would lead one to believe that everything had a mathematical regularity to it. They have a clear system of reminders of original causes, but either they don’t know the real cause, or are keeping it hidden from the good scientists. The Dogon believe in a ship like cradle of life, aliens with webbed hands and a smithy that took the spark of life. The Nummo are the alien friends, amphibian people, they are the founders of humanity in their beliefs.
There are movies, that, like drugs mimic the experience of the creation of the world, or the end, but they cannot be comprehended any more than a drug vision can be realized. Some artists, like some poets are able to simulate and recreate the experience, but only through research and thinking and pondering these things, can the truth be seen in a manner that makes any sense. It is unfortunate that in the lives of most westerners we are so distracted by details of survival. Some of us have been tricked into a sort of sophomoric desire for liberation or salvation, but that is selfish and ultimately not truthful.
There are those who are tricked into a life of service, to a lesser god, and perhaps that is what most of us do, we worship money, fame, or one of the other lesser gods. But there are some tenacious souls who would like to become part of the mechanism, not just as unconscious cogs, but real voices with real vision. They want to be soldiers of god so to speak, and they live to serve. But god doesn’t want just to be served by good soldiers, so many Salvation army troopers, or good emissaries, nope, not in my mind, god is like a kid seeking adventure. There are plenty of lesser beings who live to serve, like so many robots, but man and woman, the crown of creation so to speak, we can dance, we can sing, we can enjoy and that is what god likes the most, to enjoy and to wonder and to explore, at least my god. Oh sometimes he or she or they like to be oppressed and faced with demons to overcome.
And the skies opened up and the there was war in heaven, And then there was a great demon king who oppressed the children and that is the kind of demon the gods like to cut the heads off of, or so I have been told. Jaya Nrsingadev
.

So I was thinking why is it that the Dogon circumcise men and women? They claim it is part of what we owe the gods or ancestors, and that until we have been cut, in early puberty, that we are not truly male or female but something between, Until this rite of passage we are not adults and cannot be treated as such. For men it is not such a big deal, lots of people practice the rite, On the other hand, a woman having her clitoris removed, is supposed to be unable to have an orgasm according to current sex theory. But why would whole cultures insist upon a practice that would remove such a source of pleasure, and even more interesting, why would so many women voluntarily submit to the practice? Is the cultural pressure so intense that a woman will put up with any indignity? Or perhaps is it that there is something missing in the focus on the clitoris for sexual pleasure, or perhaps is there too much focus in the culture on mechanics and not enough on the spirit or essence. The Dogon see the circumcision of men and women as equivalent, and if you were led to believe that you are not fully a woman or a man until this act has been performed, then you would probably want it to occur sooner than later, But does that leave the woman crippled and unable to enjoy her full femininity? I don’t know, but I doubt if humanity can be limited to a sliced organ. What is really is must be seen past the conditioning, one way or the other. Now if this doesn’t get a debate going, then I really am just talking to myself.

The Big O’s

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

I realize that my last blog might have been a bit over the top. There are moments when there are forces that are not to be trusted. Obama is proving to be a force that may be unstoppable, the primaries in Ohio and Texas will tell. If he wins any of them then the nomination is a virtual cinch. The trick is can he turn promises and rhetoric into a concrete agenda that will survive the meat grinder, if not then we have 4 years of a caretaker regime to look forward to. But Americans want change.

Every Dog Has Its Day

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Androgeny and the end of Symbolic Reality, or Entropy and la da dee da,,,Pretentious titles. But I am done fiddling with this message. So read it and weep. I am a working stiff, I spend way too much time in an office where, when I bring up the ills of the world and some patently simple solutions, I am called a communist (If only) or worse French!!! Being called French is probably the new term for commie, the epithet that I used to hear as a youth, now the phrase is to “go back to France”, something that is actually feasible in my case, just not currently feasible for personal reasons. The trick seems to be, to be accused of being a member of the evil people trying to destroy the American way. These people are alien, threatening, and yet, still human. As such they represent the opposite of what is, like a nightmare, or perhaps, like ones own better half. Perhaps the reason that Americans hate the Russians and now the French, is because these people are trying to be, what the Americans could so easily become, if only we were not so greedy, or lazy, or lucky. Perhaps….
Not that I am totally anti-American, there are some things about this country that I love, like, um, my girlfriend, her son, my Japanese car, the State of New Mexico, being able to speak my native tongue, not being laughed at for being a stupid American. I like native Americans, and I enjoy being able to laugh at the stupid Americans, oops, that is elitist, I am by nature an anti elitist, I believe in giving it all away, and sharing like the most grubby commune hippie there ever was.
I do admit that I like a hot shower in the morning, and that dear blog readers is my greatest addiction. Once we get our solar powered showers up to speed then I will be ready to go, yep, send me off to the commune. When I was a teenager I lived in a spiritual commune for a number of years where my only possessions were, my tooth brush, a few books and the clothes I wore. I drove the communal truck, worked in the communal construction/landscaping business, raised the communal chickens and turkeys, got paid according to my needs, at the time $.50 an hour and had to take a turn at making breakfast every few days. I was healthy, studied at the university and had almost no time for sex, drugs and Rock n’ roll although I did manage to see McCartney with his band Wings, and Bob Dylan during his Rolling Thunder tour. I cut my LSD intake from once a week to less than once a year. I did manage to read the Iliad under the influence and noticed the gods were playing hide and seek in the clouds. I married and lost my high school sweetheart in a crushing end to romance that was as romantic as it gets.
Oh but I am talking about my spiritual bon-afides, I studied the Bible, mostly the King James Version in this commune, along with the Bhagavad-Gita, Sufi texts, and various new ageism’s. Mostly they were bible freaks. Lots of long winded metaphoric tales relating incidents in the new and old testament with the real world as we lived it mediated by the communal lifestyle. That was in the last century, when there was still a large gap between knowledge and facts. People could say the most absurd things, like “Lemuria is where we lived first on this planet”, then “we moved to Atlantis after Lemuria sank” and then we ended up in Egypt, India and Central America. Could man have come here about 40,000 years ago, mating with the indigenous species and then getting involved in gardening? We were told that we were part of the guidance mechanism of the planet.
I am not particularly interested in the whole love and peace thing that one would expect of an unrepentant proto hippie. Although I do give a mean massage and I understand reflexology and aura balancing. I am more interested in the practical dynamics of creating a working spinning top planetary space ship. Plato believed it was probable that there was an Atlantis. He claimed to have access to ancient Egyptian records. Do these exist still, have they been destroyed or perhaps was Plato dreaming?
The desire for things like salvation, personal immortality and such are basically selfish motivations for the insecure who need to find a reason to justify a spiritual quest, as if it wasn’t in it self reason enough. If there is a god that cares then perhaps this god cares enough to keep individual spirits around, and if there isn’t, then why fret. But I am interested in the mechanism that would justify this continuity. For example, could humans be part of the mechanism that controls the rotation of the planet or more specifically the balance of the planet on its axis? If it is off slightly then there is a variance in the seasons. If we are part of the mechanism, then perhaps we would have a genetic memory of it and we would perhaps have a justification for the belief that man has a spirit that goes on after death. But why? As far as I can tell we don’t participate in controlling the climate consciously, but do we have a subliminal effect? Would that be a reason for keep this etheric entity in one coherent unit after the physical entity dissolved? How could one even verify such a line of research that may lead to a rational explanation for continuity of the soul or spirit of the human being?
Is there an eternal soul or spirit? I will now throw a series of seemingly unrelated questions at this subject. What were all those Tibetan monks doing in Berlin in 1945? Was Hitler able to generate enough of that psychic energy to transfer to another level of existence? Was that the point of the discarded body in the bunker and the discarded country he left behind? Was it merely the ravings of a lunatic? 30 million Germans were tricked into believing that this vegetarian was more than just a maniac missing one of his gonads.
How could a whole nation be led to believe in this nonsense and then follow such a leader into assaulting the rest of the world? One way is to demonize certain groups of people. The Jews and Communists on his part. Could the demonization of the Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein as the new Hitler, of the Muslims as the new Jews, and the Islamic fundamentalists as the new Bolsheviks be a repetition of recent history? Have we allowed ourselves to be led to demonize people like the Germans were in the 1930’s? Was 9-11 our Reichstag Fire?
Stranger things have happened. It is true that after the worst persecutions under Diocletian and his co-emperors, Constantine was able to flip this cult into the state religion of the greatest empire the world has known. Doesn’t it seem a bit strange? Were 30 million Roman citizens total fools who believed in false gods one day and then the next poof they found the true religion and every one said “AH”!! Seem a bit incredible to you? Well it is.
A couple of thousand years earlier an Egyptian Pharaoh had tried the same thing, one god, he was the priest, he tried to get rid of the old gods, he said, follow me, and what happened? He built himself a whole new city and it was a wonder to behold. The borders were abandoned, the empire forgotten, the city was built in a few years and for 20 years this was the new Jerusalem, the first one ever, perhaps, was created along the Nile.
What possessed all these people to give up the religion of their ancestors for this new cult and then to just as easily give it up. Ankenanton, was he the first Discordian, monotheist, or illuminati?
I don’t know what possessed him, but I do know that people do things because they are sleepwalking and are moving out of habit. It takes some deep and rewarding attraction to pull humans out of the comfort of their sleep into the unknown of creative experience.
I went to India because it was something that had been in the back of my mind, but the opportunity didn’t come until my life collapsed. My job disappeared. My apartment was taken over by zombies and my girlfriend was telling me to get out. It was a perfect congruence of circumstance and allegory. So I went with just enough money for the trip. Once on the flight I met other seekers and one gave me a 5 minute game plan, he said India is overwhelming and I would have to take it in steps. I went from Calcutta to Mayapore to get acculturated. There I saw the deities move at the Krishna temple. There among the chanting devotees I had the Zen moment of watching a farmer with his plow and ox working in a field across the Ganges from where I was chanting. It was dawn and in the early morning sun it was the eternal now, the presence of man doing the task he has always done with ox and soil and seeds. It was an act that was humble and yet functional, perfect. In this moment was the realization of all the symbols that I had dreamed. The peasant is allways there as a living symbol of the continuity of man in nature and will be as long as there is soil on space ship earth to fertilize
So what dear patient reader am I going on about? Am I really implying that Hitler was an advanced being who used the German people like so many sacrificial lambs. Was the entirety of Europe his alchemists laboratory? He was seeking the Spear of Destiny, the Holy Grail, the Templars treasure, he sent agents to seek out the secret wisdom, heck anyone who has seen the Indiana Jones movies knows that. But then what is so strange in the whole concept?
Jehovah used Moses to transform slaves into his chosen people. They were molded into a fighting force and took the promised land from the Canaanites. Prophets, Kings and High Priests, led the tribes of Israel, only a generation before mere slaves in the land of Egypt now a shock force of troopers capable of sweeping all before them in a biblical era blitzkrieg, Far fetched?
What I am suggesting is that there are things that with a slightly different perspective, become a different reality. I am saying that we in America have become propagandized by fear mongering capitalists who have an interest in keeping us afraid, isolated and willing to turn our liberties over to a government that is obsessed with security only balancing it with the interests of capital. The needs of the average person has taken a back seat. Comparing the quality of life of the average western European with the average American, leaves the American wanting.
For the first 40 years after the second world war the US was the leader in standard of living for most of the world. But over the last decade or so that has changed, Just as the Euro has become the new standard currency for world business, the American lifestyle is no longer the most desired in the world. The reasons are multiple, but one that is striking is the percentage of the economy that is diverted to the military, just as the Roman Empire in its later days spent more and more on its military,
Perhaps Obama with his message of hope and optimism is what is needed. One thing for sure, America must move away from the military state model to one that leads to a different reality, perhaps the hearty peasant with few needs and close to the land is not such a bad model to consider.

I am still not happy with this post, I have revised it 3 times, I don’t usually spend so much time on one item, I like to do let these things happen, but I feel as if there are too many complex ideas in this and they are not being treated with the justice they are due. I essentially believe we have a purpose for being here, but it is not to find salvation, salvation should be a byproduct of a well lived life, just as justice and mercy should be. But what we are and what we are supposed to be doing is buried in our subconscious minds. Or if not there, then they are encapsulated in our brains like scent capsules that release memories when they are properly activated. Unfortunately our lives are not lived to remember, they are lived to forget and to get on with the mundane tasks of accumulating stuff, something that I find to be immensely oppressive.
It is not that we are stupid, as much as we are being tricked, like Hitler tricked the Germans, and Bush tricked the Americans. We have been diverted from the path of righteousness. President Carter was on the path, he got diverted and his plan was destroyed. We could have been energy self sufficient by now. The reports were out in the 70’s that proved what we are now being forced to face. So much wasted time, so many willfully ignorant people. And now we have to pick up where we left off almost 30 years ago. There is much to catch up with, much history to rewrite and forget. Where there is no vision the people perish, that is what I am saying, we need vision. That part Obama has got right, but is he selling us Vision soap or is it the real thing?

The Broken Word

Monday, February 18th, 2008

There is no way to be lost in the world if there is no sun shining on your back door. Although that is a song lyric, there could be a reason for that thought. There might be a reason here, but how can one know if one has not tried. I have had my tooth pulled today and the dentist told me he is voting for McCain. Good dentist, knows what side of the class struggle he is on, but really doesn’t he know that people like me hold off on dental work for so long because we have limited dental insurance. My class interest would have been for Kucinich or a Green candidate because they all want national health care an a sane environmental policy based on renewable resources like Solar, wind, geothermal, energy coefficient ratios, and other methods of gaining power from differentials in common daily energy flows. <
There may be a rhyme to the universe, I have spent many years attempting to intuit the great intergalactic flow chart. But I have always been concerned with capture and replay, something that is not allowed in true flow time. Cartoons and the science channels seem to come closest to the sense of real play that is required to be a true player on the cosmic scale. History is a lot like pasta, it calms the nerves and sooths the troubled soul with its repetition of human error and heroism in an almost but not quite predictable pattern. Like reality itself history almost but doesn't quite make sense. History is like science, only with time, the almost total lack of evidence, and the irreproducibility of results that make it more difficult as a riddle or puzzle to solve than mere science. Although solving the mysteries in current time and space is no mean task and I admire those who seek to solve the current mysteries of the universe, but the past mysteries, now that is a serious puzzle.
Anyway I am suffering from too much medication after some serious dental work.
/p>


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