Archive for July, 2011

Way Back Machine To The Future

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Remember when we thought we were on the ascendant? Way back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. You could see the roots in the beatnik culture of the 1950’s. Every generation since the mid-19th century has had it bohemians, but bohemianism merged with social progressivism and broke out and became the social norm for a period of 20 years or more. There is still a certain ‘do your own thing’ aspect of modern culture, the concept of the ‘road trip’ the prevalence of marijuana use, rock and soul music, generally loose dress codes and acceptance of tattoos and piercing, the acceptance of minorities as more or less equal to the majority group, the “Great Society” social reforms, these are all residue from that period.

Some of the high-brow considerations are the development of post-structuralism and deconstructionism in philosophy and their application in political theory, architecture, literary and film criticism and the emergence of popular art forms such as pop art and graffiti as something more than what you see on bathroom walls.

Technically we saw the space program and the moon landings, computers, more advanced missiles, communications satellites, environmentalism, the awareness of the planet as a unitary body, concerns about population growth, advances in medical treatments and increased reliance on pharmaceuticals. There came the supersonic jet and bullet trains.

Economically we reached a watershed, growth stopped being such a sure thing as resource providing nations such as OPEC began to demand a bigger cut. Oil became a weapon with the boycotts after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Stagflation became a problem. Growth in the first world became more complex and a conscious war against labor was developed in the USA, the premier world economy with the emergence of outsourcing in the 1980’s as a way to break the power of labor and lower costs. First the Southern states in the USA, then Mexico and eventually China became the place to send manufacturing and assembly of products to sell back in the domestic markets.

Politically there had been the reemergence of the radical left, the emergence of China as the vanguard replacing the Soviet Union with its Cultural Revolution. This was the high water of the modern communist movement around the world with student revolts on campus in the 1960’s merging with labor struggles, including the famous French 1968 near revolution. Anarchism was reborn as a movement, and revolutionary cells ready to fight emerged in Germany, Italy, Japan, and among the Palestinians. This was a heady time for radicals especially as the USA tried to defeat nationalists in Vietnam and a resistance movement developed in the USA that was the largest leftist movement since the 1930’s.

After the Vietnam War the left in the USA began to lose its unity and began to focus on special interests of minorities rather than push for social revolution. Feminism, gay rights, minority rights all became the issues of the day. Some leftists joined unions in an attempt to radicalize them. But the whole movement became more diffused. Some went for anti-nuke power after the Three Mile Island reactor failure. Some became more involved in environmental issues and saving species became a big thing with groups like Greenpeace emerging to save the whales. The left had become deconstructed by the time that the right wing reaction under Reagan came to power in the 1980’s. The American Empire and its allies were under pressure from the Socialists and the populace turned to support the hardliners among the capitalists instead of joining their socialist brothers.

What happened? How did the world of revolutionary youth and militant working classes become the weak, anemic, passive forces we see now. How did we lose the offensive? In some areas such as academia and civil service unions the left continued to advance. The feminist and gay rights movements moved from victory to victory. But there were countervailing forces from the right. Abortion became a major social issue, cooked up by some right wing Christians, they decided to make coming to term of fetuses a right instead of a natural process. Many tactics were borrowed from the left and they used the churches to motivate their troops, with prayer meetings and Bible classes where they beat the conservative drum, family values it was called. They provided day care, and youth groups and fought the spread of drug use. The war on Drugs became a model for intervention in family life to begin to propagandize youth and to incarcerate potential trouble makers.
AIDs emerged as a vindication of the evil of homosexuality and promiscuity in general. The celibacy until marriage movement emerged to try to curb the sexual aspects of the youth rebellion. Rock and roll was diffused with Christian rock and satanic rock, losing its connection with the radical left it became merely a business, a show, like the circus, another distraction for the public, no longer a force cheering on the revolution. MTV with its faux hipness, hipness you watched passively was the epitome of this coopting of radical youth culture into a marketable commodity that was safe.

Reagan diverted resources from social services to defense and returned to the arms race that had been quieted by dente. The Soviet’s couldn’t keep up, caught up in their own economic stagnation, they tried to implement reforms, which got out of hand and ended up with the ruling classes panicking, turning to the west for financial support and then their betrayal as early Neo-cons were able to implement unregulated capitalism in Russia as they had done in Chile after the Pinochet coup.

Labor was attacked with the destruction of the Air Controller’s union by Reagan, this signaled to industry that the government would support their union busting efforts. Jobs were shipped to Mexico and the maquiladoras were born.

China dropped its pretense to developing socialism in our time and pushed market reforms, destroying the Iron Rice Bowl policies of guaranteed employment and health benefits. Capital accumulation became the name of the game instead of equitable distribution of wealth. China wanted to become a world power and t do that rapidly would mean developing the mechanism for rapid wealth accumulation and that meant entering the world market selling its cheap and disciplined labor force to the capitalists of the world. From there they would learn how to do it themselves and then they would become the world’s economic powerhouse replacing the USA. Political power would then come like ripe fruit dropping off a tree. They hoped that development would out pace inequality and the vast majority of the populace would be included. They had a braking mechanism in that they kept the majority of the population as peasants in the country, only allowing new entrants into their developed economy as needed.

Well the elites have corralled the social revolution temporarily, but as the Middle East shows, people will rebel and attempt to gain some control over their lives as soon as they have an opportunity. The contradiction between wealthy overdeveloped countries spouting their superior military, semi-democratic governments, economic cartels and liberal religion, and the oppressed states that are supposed to provide the cheap labor and resources for these over-developed economies, is, in this age of instant communications, simply too much to bear for any self-respecting human being.

There will either be an attempt to escape to these oases of prosperity or to attempt to create conditions at home that the locals assume will bring those benefits. With Soviet style communism discredited and the communist movement around the world in disarray, some form of liberal capitalism seems to many people the only alternative, with some reactionary elements trying to sabotage, or to superimpose a social system that resembles their own traditional ideals on the technological wonder world that the over-developed countries have projected to the rest of the world.

Technology and population growth, environmental collapse and the green-house effect are the main drivers today. They are the underlying forces that affect all human efforts at control. Capitalist means of production have reached a point where the complexity of the system has begun to demand a more socially planned methodology. Earlier attempts at social planning, the various communist experiments have simply muddied the waters, but as the waters clear they will be seen as what they were, experiments for a future society. That future is rapidly approaching, we need to learn from the past and develop for the future with the needs of humanity and the planet taken into consideration if we are to survive as a species.

Crisis And Analysis

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

The country, ie, the USA, is going through what has been described as a manufactured crisis. Republicans want to make shrinking the size of government a major issue. They think because of the election of 60 tea party members to Congress in 2010, that they have a mandate to bring about the right wing agenda that previous presidents have toyed with but have never been able to impose due to opposition from the left and center. Most Americans like their benefits. They count on Social Security and Medicare being there for them and even though the media has propagated the myth that these benefits will probably disappear in the next twenty or thirty years, most Americans will fight to keep that from happening.
Question is how hard will they fight? Unions were out maneuvered by corporations that threatened to send jobs overseas if labor did not cooperate and accept lower wages and benefits. There are no laws on the books in the USA to prevent companies to up and leave whenever they want, disrupting communities, destroying tax bases and lowering the standard of living, all in the name of seeking to maximize profits.

The international labor organization is weak and consequently there are large sectors of the world with no effective labor organization, thus wages are low and because of population pressure, the countries with cheap labor are willing to let corporations get tax breaks and other incentives to come and set up shop. Governments actively work to suppress labor organizations and international bodies look the other way unless a case is made by an NGO from the developed world working with local labor.

The rule of law, initially designed as a check on the power of kings by the gentry, and a mechanism to disarm the gentry by the kings in Europe, with the goal being to consolidate power and establish a centralized state with less violent conflict between power blocks. Also rule of law provided a more rational means of repressing peasants seeking redress by establishing a mechanism that established hurdles to suppress demand for rights, and also a means to identify and imprison or execute troublemakers before they became too dangerous and a threat to the state. All ruling class elements have made a fetish of the rule of law and citizens are indoctrinated in acceptance of the system at an early age.

There probably will always be a need for governance, as long as there is complex society. But it does not have to be one so biased in favor of the wealthy. Since the political and economic systems are so tightly intertwined, there is no reason why a more equitable method of social control and wealth distribution cannot be devised. I prefer a form of socialism that tends to communism and direct democracy. But for that to work it implies an educated citizenry not distracted constantly by concerns over survival, war, bread and circuses. There needs to be the space and time to consider the issues of the day in a fair and balanced manner. Whatever we have now, it is not that.

Moneyed interests using lobbyists influence the passing of legislation. Wall Street sends it warnings and the executive winces and bends to its will. The media circle this small group of elected officials and mirror their interests and decisions, worrying over them like a piece of road kill meat. Analysis is reduced to digestion and regurgitation.

The system is broken, we all know that. Question is where are the people willing to replace it with something that reflects the will of the people. Or have the people become so corrupted and stunted that we need philosopher kings? A dictator over the proletariat, or a dictatorship of the proletariat?

Math, Sin And Consciousness

Friday, July 29th, 2011

I have never been a fan of math. I just finished a refresher algebra class where I basically repeated my performance from high school, that was some forty years ago. I started out getting A’s and then about half way through I get lost and end up getting F’s.

I realized that there was some trauma behind this because there is no logical reason why I should have such a hard time. As a child I had trouble with the switch between long division and short division. That must have been in 5th or 6th grade. Instead of seeking help I felt shame and sought escape. I can distinctly remember my face heating up and turning red as I turned in a paper that was wrong. I knew it was wrong but I could not get over the shame of not understanding something that everyone else was seemingly getting.

Shame, guilt and hiding. These are Biblical themes, Adam and Eve hid from the Lord when they became ashamed of their nakedness. I was ashamed of my ignorance. Math had become work, in the sense of causing one to sweat and strain. Work was the punishment Adam and Eve received as part of being exiled from the garden. Math was now part of my punishment for waking up from the dream of childhood into the beginning awkwardness of adolescence. What did I know? I only knew that I was all of a sudden aware of my failing and it was not good.

At about that same time in my childhood I had a series of these events that were traumatic. I had gone through a period of incontinence when I could not walk all the way home from school without getting the uncontrollable urge to urinate. I would stop at a farm along the way home and go behind a barn. This gave me anxiety, wondering if I would be seen. It was embarrassing. But I did have anyone I could talk to about it, my mom was too busy and my dad was not around. So I dealt with it and moved on. It was around this time that I was most fervently a Catholic, making the other kids be quiet in church and praying a lot.

Somewhere around that time I had my experience with the aliens, this must have been in 4th grade. For three nights running I had the experience of being taken up in a space ship. It was like conscious dreaming. There were cartoon characters who made me watch a screen that was projecting images of the history of the world into my subconscious mind. I liked being with them. They were like a more pleasant version of my family.

I became a history buff around that time and read through the set of encyclopedias my mom had bought and any history books I could get my hands on. At one point, about the time I quit being a Catholic in 7th grade, I invented my own religion. I believed that I could find a time/space portal in ancient Crete. I think I found the Minoan people highly erotic. I thought if I imagined myself to be there, by immersing myself in their culture, I could be transported there and then I could enter the portal and visit other worlds. I thought they were more advanced than their neighbors because of their use of the portal. Nothing happened and I became more interested in politics and the world around me after that.

Socrates does not deal with the fall or with work. He assumes a society with leisure and slaves to do menial tasks. Unjust and hostile people could in his mind be enslaved. Slaves were best treated with common courtesy but not familiarity.
At least according to Plato’s writings compiled in the link below.

http://www.mesacc.edu/~yount/text/plato-slavery.html

Specialization is in the nature of things and Socrates through Plato believes in a natural specialization based on the needs of society and the inclinations of the person. There is no talk of original sin being the cause of work. Only that lust for gold and silver can be corrupting and that those who specialized in such things should not be allowed to be citizens. That would be bankers and financiers in today’s world.

http://mises.org/journals/jls/4_1/4_1_3.pdf

Ultimately I believe that I should be able to draw from that knowledge the aliens placed in my subconscious mind. Alternately, I should be able to learn by following my inclinations. When I have to try to learn something that I am not inclined to, or have no subconscious connection with that is positive, then it is work, work in the sense of punishment, a falling out of the garden. Math has become a punishment because of its association in my subconscious mind with a fall from grace, or an embarrassment because of a failure to properly control my facilities. It is as if my mind runs away like a horse that has shyed at the sight of a snake in the road. The snake may be dead, or harmless, but to the horse its instincts say run. That is how my mind acts around math.

Ironic it seems, because I have worked as an estimator for years. Math has been part of my job. That must be why it is work. In the Hindu world, work, at least manual labor, is seen as something for shudra’s, or low caste people. Mental effort is considered the domain of the Brahman. But work for wages, that is not a Brahmans lot. He is to be assigned an allowance from the state to perform his tasks as the upholder of virtue and wisdom. In their view it is a degenerate state that makes its intellectual caste work for wages. For Plato, one should do the work that is natural to one’s inclination.

Here is an interesting conversation between a devotee of Krishna with knowledge of Socrates and Prabhupada his guru.

http://krishna.org/prabhupada-on-socrates-part-one/

In the Krishna view all material world associations a futile and generate karma. They see the way out of this trap is to do everything from a sense of association with the divine, as they see it Krishna.

It could be said that I am lazy, unwilling to learn what I don’t like. I tried, this math class I worked at it, and it was work, hours every night doing problems and studying examples and rules. It was a real struggle. Yet I failed. I did not love what I was doing. I was the horse led to water. I rolled in that water, but I could not drink more than a few sips. It was brackish to the taste. I went through it all and will get a grade. But I am not happy with the results. I will not get an A and I expect that I should be able to get all A’s, like in my other classes. I developed headaches and could not sleep while taking that class. I became somewhat neurotic about it. I remembered the embarrassment as a child and became somewhat aware of my condition. But it did not help make learning math any easier, at least algebra. So I will have to mull this over more and see if any wisdom comes from this experience. I didn’t run, but I didn’t fly either.
For those of you expecting writing on the state of the world, well consider my mind a macrocosm and extrapolate to your own condition. That is math, in a sense. Look for the universal in the individual. It is a form of deductive reasoning if you can see a pattern and follow it to see if it is true in your case. Then there may be something gained. If not then I hope at least to have been entertaining.

Goodbye Great Society and So Long New Deal.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Bugged out! Why is the government playing with our heads? It’s because they want to pull the wool over our eyes and do what Bush could not do. They want to privatize social security and put that chunk of change in the hands of Wall Street investors.
Obama seems to have sold out to Wall Street. The Republicans have long been the party of Wall Street, but with the Tea Party faction swinging them to the right, they are now the party of destroying what remains of the New Deal and the Great Society. Medicare and Social Security are their targets. What I don’t understand is how they will get retired people to go along. Probably by promising not to touch current benefits and cutting future benefits down the road, say 10 years from now.
That allows them to get the next generation of retirees ready for the big switch. Young people will like it, more money in their pockets, but woe unto those who do not save for their retirement, the Government won’t be there with a monthly check.

The weak Obama plan starved of funds, or outright dismantled, Medicare privatized, and deregulated, will give the insurance companies total control. Law suits will be the only recourse but with tort reform passed there will be little in the way of compensation even if plaintiffs win. This vision of America is one where the corporations and their flunkeys have total control. Unions will be virtually non-existent and people won’t want to join them because they are perceived as being powerless and continuous propaganda in the corporate controlled media will portray them as corrupt and/or driving jobs away.

The Tea Party has a nationalist wing that is strongly against immigrants working in the USA. This will mean there will be emphasis on border control and stronger laws demanding a national ID card. This is interesting because traditionally conservatives were in favor of preserving liberties, but now they are at the forefront of curbing liberties in the name of controlling immigration. This is a continuation of the anti-terrorism laws and before that the anti-drug laws. These ultimately are designed to control minority populations and poor whites, are seen as likely to rebel and riot if not closely controlled and kept under surveillance.
Criminalizing the poor is one way to deal with them, keeping the lively elements in prison, the more authoritarian elements in the police, military and as prison guards. The brighter ones are allowed to become flunkeys for the rich by gaining education. There will still be large numbers of the poor who will be given low wage service jobs and will have their basic needs taken care of by the Walmart’s of the world. The middle class, having been reduced to the higher civil service, technical jobs, professionals and some managers will be better known as the flunkey class.

The question is will there be enough trickle down from the wealthy classes to keep the majority of the new peasantry employed? It may be simpler to let them become true peasants, working land for the wealthy, growing crops to feed their local lords and eating the scraps themselves. This would provide employment, but it would mean making adjustments in agribusiness, probably this could be best done under the guise of promoting organic, locally grown produce. It is already happening in deindustrialized cities like Detroit where empty lots become gardens. This model could be repeated around the country, creating urban islands of technocrats surrounded by serfs in the old suburbs with the wealthy living as always in isolated retreats.
As fossil fuels become scarce and rationing becomes the norm, this new peasantry will be reduced to homemade fuels and returning to animal powered vehicles with some public transport to get certain service workers to their employment in the urban centers and as servants for the wealthy. This may be the solution to the environmental crisis. Are you ready to be a serf? This is still a fantasy, but it becomes easier to see happening that even a decade ago.

Norwegian Killer And Sexy Stories

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

What is the big news? We have the Oslo killer with 92 or so dead. Mostly from his turkey shoot on that Island. He sure didn’t like the Labor party. He seems to have killed off much of their future leadership. I knew there was a Black metal scene in Norway, but this is a bit extreme. There is a record of a murder by a certain Varg Vikernes of a fellow bandmate. But mass killing, although perhaps advocated in lyrics, seems to be simply a stage pretense, a fantasy. Although there have been church burnings and association with neo-Nazi groups and pagan groups. But this seems to have nothing to do with Black Metal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varg_Vikernes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_metal

Our interest is in the 32 year old mass murderer who is promoting a right wing pro-zionist agenda according to the JTA. The article presents a fairly clear idea of what Mr. Breivik believed. His manifesto “2083 A European Declaration of Independence” is quite long and if you want to read it I found that this site has the text as a word and pdf document.

Link to text of manifesto
http://www.curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1838331

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Breiwik

This is an excerpt from his introduction. Note: Andrew Berwick is a pseudonym of Anders Breiwik.

“The compendium, - “2083 – A European Declaration of Independence” - documents through more than 1000 pages that the fear of Islamisation is all but irrational.

It covers the following main topics:

1. The rise of cultural Marxism/multiculturalism in Western Europe

2. Why the Islamic colonization and Islamisation of Western Europe began

3. The current state of the Western European Resistance Movements (anti-Marxist/anti-Jihad movements)

4. Solutions for Western Europe and how we, the resistance, should move forward in the coming decades

5. + Covering all, highly relevant topics including solutions and strategies for all of the 8 different political fronts

The compendium/book presents advanced ideological, practical, tactical, organisational and rhetorical solutions and strategies for all patriotic-minded individuals/movements. The book will be of great interest to you whether you are a moderate or a more dedicated cultural conservative/nationalist.”

This from the JTA Article.

“In numerous online postings, including a manifesto published on the day of the attacks, Breivik promoted the Vienna School or Crusader Nationalism philosophy, a mishmash of anti-modern principles that also calls for “the deportation of all Muslims from Europe” as well as from “the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”"

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/07/24/3088679/norway-killer-espoused-new-right-wing-pro-israel-philosophy

From Godlike Productions this is an excerpt on Crusader Nationalism.

“April/May 2002

I am the Norwegian delegate to the founding meeting in London, England and ordinated as the 8th Justiciar Knight for the PCCTS, Knights Templar Europe. I joined the session after visiting one of the initial facilitators, a Serbian Crusader Commander and war hero, in Monrovia, Liberia. Certain long term tasks are delegated and I am one of two who are asked to create a compendium based on the information I have acquired from the other founders during our sessions. Our primary objective is to develop PCCTS, Knights Templar into becoming the foremost conservative revolutionary movement in Western Europe the next few decades. This in relation to developing a new type of European nationalism referred to as Crusader Nationalism. This new political denomination of nationalism will become the foremost counterweight to National Socialism and other cultural conservative political denominations, on the cultural right wing. Everyone is using code names; mine is Sigurd (the Crusader) while my assigned mentor is referred to as Richard (the Lionhearted). I believe Im the youngest one here.

I am going to discontinue my involvement in the Norwegian Progress Party as I have lost faith in the democratic struggle to save Europe from Islamification. After 65 years of harsh political oppression, demonization and ridicule from the communist-globalist cultural establishment, directed at any and all who opposes multiculturalism, there are still no indications that this communist-globalist hegemony will ever allow PP to take control. My party is systematically vilified and sabotaged by a united media before every single election. And even if they ever did manage to form a majority government with Høyre (the Conservative Party) their principles and party program would not be conservative enough to halt the ongoing Islamic demographic warfare OR increase the ethnic Norwegian fertility rate from 1,4 to 2,1. The only thing PP has achieved so far is to give false hope to Norwegians. They say that democratic struggle is the only solution, when it is clearly already lost. How can we democratically compete with a regime that is mass-importing hundreds of thousands of new voters? The PP is pacifying Norwegians by giving them false hope and I refuse to continue to have any involvement in this. Armed struggle appears futile at this point but it is the only way forward.”

http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1571211/pg1

From the Telegraph

Scotland Yard’s domestic extremism unit is trying to identify the seven other people who attended the inaugural meeting of the “European Military Order and Criminal Tribunal” of the “Knights Templar” in London in April 2002.

He wrote: “The order is to serve as an armed Indigenous Rights Organisation and as a Crusader Movement” and said the session was hosted by an English Protestant. Another English extremist was also present as well as French, German, Greek, Dutch and Russian delegates.

He also said an Englishman became his mentor. “He was the one who first described the ‘perfect knight’ … let’s call him Richard.”

He added that most of those at the meeting “were successful entrepreneurs, business or political leaders”.

A Scotland Yard source said Breivik was not thought to have visited Britain this year, but police were “making inquiries into any possible links to British extremists and liaising with the Norwegian authorities”.

MI5 is not currently involved in tracking down Right-wing extremists but sources admitted the attacks could force a change of tactics. One of the largest arms caches found in recent years in England was in the possession of a Right-wing terrorist in Yorkshire two years ago.

Breivik claimed to have had online conversations with members of the English Defence League and urged “them to use conscious strategies”. However, he dismissed the group as “naive fools” for refusing to sanction violence.

The EDL issued a statement saying: “We can categorically state that there has never been any official contact between him and the EDL.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/8658664/Hunt-for-Britons-linked-to-Norway-killer-Anders-Behring-Breivik.html

I wonder if the president gets a secured porn access on the internet, or if they just put everything he likes on a disk and he gets to watch while in the bathroom on Air Force One. Who knows? Does the President wipe his own butt? In the Philippines, rich people have servants to do that for them, at least when they are kids. That must be some job description.
What we have here is a Christian soldier who romanticized the medieval battle of Christianity against Islam and wants to be a modern day crusader. But to do that he has to get rid of all the forces of multiculturalism and socialism that have in his view mucked up the European mind. The Labor party was a target because it was in the way. It was spreading the multiculturalist and socialist view and thus in his mind preparing the way for a Islamic take over. Other than the fact that no Islamic state has the power to take over Europe, and that the most powerful ones, are only oil based and at most will invest in the European economy with their oil profits. Since Norway is an oil producer it actually has more economic interest in supporting OPEC nations than supporting any Crusader war against Islam.

This is simply a mixed up romantic view of history that is based more in fantasy than historical reality. The fear of the Muslim is a fear of the other. It is simple fear of change. This reflects nostalgia for a simpler time when things were more clearly black and white. That time never really existed, but there was a time when things moved at a slower pace. It is interesting that he has chosen to use the tactics of his enemies. It seems he has studied the IRA and Fatah. Since he did not commit suicide he seems to be serious about his Christian prohibition against it.

Too bad he wasn’t a Black Metal dude then we would be gathering for a witch hunt against Pagans. Wouldn’t the fundamentalists love that? Instead they have to duck and cover, or perhaps pretend the whole thing was a government plot. Interesting that he is willing to work with Neo-Nazi’s but considers their National Socialism as reprehensible as Communist Socialism. He likes their racism and anti-multiculturalism though. The question is, is this a movement or simply a lone nut with delusions of grandeur. I suspect there are more wackos of this ilk all over Europe and North America waiting for their chance. One nut at a time, please. I think the History Channel should ease up on its Knights Templar episodes. Some people are taking that crap seriously.

On a more personal note, I am getting more comments lately. People must either have more time on their hands, or the sheer number of postings it beginning to show up in searches. I suppose if I put porn, or sex, or teen sex, in the tag section I would get lots more hits. Sort of like the Marquis de Sade who wrote porn mixed with philosophy and a geographic sexual tour of the world, from his French prison cell no doubt. I have thought of that. Perhaps I should have a sex scene in every other paragraph or use some kind of randomized porno cut up, inserting porn site links in my stories about the Oslo killer or starvation in Somalia. Why not Obama porn? He would look better than old Bush there in his cowboy hat going at it butt naked. Perhaps if he was toking on a joint, Harold and Kumar style. Too bad they still have Guantanamo Bay for the sex scenes. Obama could go there and have sex with an inmate, sort of an initiation ritual just like Bush. Clinton probably had to pay since he was a former prez. That is presidential porn.

I wonder if the president gets a secured porn access on the internet, or if they just put everything he likes on a disk and he gets to watch while in the bathroom on Air Force One. Who knows? Does the President wipe his own butt? In the Philippines, rich people have servants to do that for them, at least when they are kids. That must be some job description.

After Midnight On The Dialysis Machine

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

It’s about 12:30 here in Southern Cali. Funny, I used to hate LA. When I came here as a youth I had the east coast attitudes that were typified in a Woody Allen movie, “Annie Hall” partly about Los Angeles. But as much as I intellectually loathed the region, I found it fascinating. The sheer volume of space taken up by suburban monotony was overwhelming and soothing, in the same manner as a Philip Glass piece with its endless variations on a very limited theme.

Just mentioning someone like Philip Glass, or even Woody Allen, immediately labels me as some kind of pseudo-intellectual and worse, perhaps even the real thing. Yes I admit to enjoying the cartoons in the New Yorker, to the extent that the first thing I do when I come upon one in the more enlightened Dentist or Doctor’s office, I read the cartoons. Kaiser must have a policy against publications, I have noticed that their waiting rooms are conspicuously empty of all by Kaiser propaganda, even the TV’s. My dialysis doctors waiting room is positively subversive with Channel 5 on the monitor and the local paper instead of Kaiser material on the table.

But I am distracting myself from the subject at hand, my day. Ah yes, ego wins out over the news of the Oslo killer, or the budget impasse, or the war in Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan. I spent the afternoon and evening with my girlfriend. We went to the trashed out Borders in Torrance, there was nothing in the history section I was interested in except a book about a killer wolf pack in 18th century France, “Beast of Gevaudan” which was interesting but not enough to buy. We then headed to Walmart where she surprised me with a request for a new cell phone. $100 later we headed out to lunch, which was reduced to a fast food place, Popeye’s, with drinks from the 99 Cent store. After that we made a visit to the movies in the mall where we saw a perfectly forgettable Harry Potter movie in IMAX. I have already forgotten it. All of this was my making up for taking her to two adult movies, Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris” and Terrance Malick’s “Tree of Life.” Generally we alternate between my movies and activities like going to museums, or parks, and her activities, seeing movies for 12 year olds, and shopping or eating junk food. I have yet to get her to go into a Sushi restaurant.

We ended up driving over the hill to the Palos Verdes cliff road where we stopped to look at Catalina Island in the fog and then freezing our asses in the July cold, we went back to the car, turned on the heater and headed back over the hill to southern California. I enjoy going over there, its like being in another continent.

I took her home to her mom’s, I then went home stopping to get some vitamins at CVS where I got to watch a girl fight beginning in the driveway. It was fun to watch. I then headed home, changed and went out for my daily walk, buying eggs and strawberries at Ralph’s. Then I came home, made dinner, and then hooked up to this dialysis machine. I did my algebra homework, and now I am watching Adult Swim as I type. That’s all I can type. My body is rebelling. Perhaps tomorrow I will be ready to go back to the issues of the day.

Not so intellectual after all am I?

Five AM, No Sleep Reflections

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

It’s five in the morning. I have not been able to sleep. I took an Ambien a couple of hours ago, it just made my head feel fuzzy. I don’t like to take more. So now it is almost dawn, I can hear birds chirping, but distantly, as my dialysis machine is louder than the birds.
I have a math test today. I am not the best at algebra. I haven’t studied it in over thirty years and as back then, most of the problems seem unrelated to anything I will do outside of school. I guess it is nice to be able to do them. Although it is frustrating to be working on abstract math problems when I would rather be writing my blog or working on a story. Since my writing doesn’t bring in an income it is hard to look at it as much more than a somewhat obsessive hobby. I keep telling myself I need to set up a donate button or advertising banners, but I must admit, the effort required to figure out how to do it, is a barrier to my ever doing it.

I have become an extreme creature of habit. Now that I have a routine that must be done every day to preserve the health of the body, I find myself accepting the limitations and working around them with school, chores, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. Work is still out of the picture. I have a job interview Friday, but I am not sure I am ready for prime time. Going back to being an estimator when I have illusions of being a writer makes it a tough move.

As long as I can come up with funding sources, I will continue to work on my projects. My girlfriend seems to prefer me working for some reason. I think it is reassuring to have a partner who earns a paycheck. Up until last month my disability income was almost as great as my after tax work income. The new job will have to be paying a decent salary, or I will have to be desperate indeed to go back to work and abandon school. Even though math is a bitch, the other classes are more fun.

Earlier today I was thinking about the way the world no longer seems to value beauty. Deconstruction, tearing things apart to get at the good parts and discarding the rest as rubbish, with value placed on economic usefulness. It is a bit sad. I can’t say if it is a trend or an ever present condition. But even in the arts value seems to be on the juxtaposition of chaos and destruction, with the more sublime states. Cacophony, perhaps is a reaction to the introduction of the machine into daily life, with its constant noise. Even this morning at school I thought ‘does it really save that much time or effort to use mechanical hedge clippers, when the old fashioned manual ones were so much less intrusive.

The invasion of our daily lives with cars, alarms, sirens. and now the ever present week wacker operated by the army of low wage gardeners that have turned every middle class home into a picture of horticultural perfection. Yet we suffer the buzzing and clanging and dogs barking and stereos blasting all in the name of some strange aural Armageddon. Noise pollution seems to be the most pervasive now. At least it is the most noticeable. But is it the worst or only the easiest to identify? What of all those bits of plastic we release into the atmosphere every moment of every day? Like radiation, with long half-life and no use beyond forming lawn chairs and playground equipment in the case of plastic and depleted uranium weapons in the case of radioactive materials. Just thinking in the quiet of the morning while my body refuses to sleep.

Malick’s Movie Misses Mark

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life, his new movie, is a mess. There are some good points; Brad Pitt does a good job of acting. The kid who plays the troubled youth is good. The rest of the actors are bit player, or like the wife, silent most of the time. Shawn Penn looks dazed and confused most of the time and the rest of the ensemble are often standing around staring off into space. There is a lot of space in this movie. Twenty-five minutes of science channel type images of planets, microbes, clouds and waves, is way overdone, especially at the beginning of the movie when we just discovered that somebody died, who we don’t know, a son, but then we go into this space loop of pretty colors before we return to earth with Shaun Penn wandering around in an office tower having flashbacks of his childhood that take up most of the rest of the movie.
This is the real movie, forget the dinosaurs, the red molecular beaches, for about an hour and a half we have a movie about a family growing up in Waco, Texas. There are too long sequences of cute babies that eventually evolve into pre-pubescent 8-12 year old boys, three of them, a mom who is virtually silent and a dad who is a frustrated classical musician. This is Brad Pitt, he shines as he descends into rage over petty errors on the part of his children and argues with his wife over her lack of support for his program, which seems to be some variant of “only the strong survive”.
The movie mostly takes place in the 1950’s. In a segregated, forever summer world. There is one scene of them visiting the black neighborhood to by Brisket of Ribs. My girlfriend who is black, and grew up in LA didn’t catch the segregation. I had to point out the fact that the schools, playgrounds and pools were all white. Also I had to remind her that historically Texas was part of the South.
The boys are hanging out in packs, randomly causing trouble, breaking windows of abandoned buildings, shooting bb guns, swimming. Someone drowns. Then there are two, but then there are flashes of all three of them being together. It’s a bit confused in chronology. Nothing much happens but tension builds between the oldest son and the dad. The middle son is a guitar player and artist, he is the apple of his dad’s eye. The older son is the one that has to have the devil knocked out of him. The oldest son and father compete for the attention of the mother, who is reduced to being the meal provider in dresses that look like they came out of I love Lucy. The dad is always complaining about money and in the end the company lets him down, closes the plant and forces him to take a “job nobody wants”.
Then we are given a scene of the adult Shaun Penn wandering around a city, a beach, some mountains, when he finds his youthful self and follows him to a beach where all the family and friends are standing around hugging and staring off into space. It is seemingly a resurrection scene, but for what is debatable. The one biblical reference is a quote from Job at the beginning of the movie. There are sermons in the background on the days they go to church and the pacing of the movie is such that is seems like we spend days waiting for it to make a point, or be over.
At the beginning there is a voice over saying there are two paths in life, that of Nature and that of Grace, the implication being that the husband chose nature and the wife chose grace. Both of them suffered. I didn’t see any advantage of one over the other. Whatever point Malick was trying to make, he didn’t succeed in my book. A simple outline of the plot: unknown son dies, family grieves, there is a long sequence of visual effects, then adult son shows up at work, spaces out, has a flashback on his childhood and comes back to the present where he goes to a beach with all the people from his childhood and the movie ends. Oh, god shows up as a bunch of lights and there are dinosaurs. One dinosaur steps on another but doesn’t kill it. Sort of a dinosaur turning the other claw, if there is such a thing. Messy, too long at 2 ½ hours and even when there is some kind of action or plot development it is at a snail’s pace. Nice cinematography, some interesting camera angles, but not enough of a story to hold attention. Malick, we waited so long for this? What happened to the director of “Thin Red Line”?

Drone Attacks Illegal?

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

The USA, as it is reducing its manpower footprint around the world is trying to replace the physical presence of troops with the technical presence of drones and other means of surveillance and assault. The other view is simply that the US is not withdrawing but upgrading technology and capability and thus is simply removing redundant forces. The ultimate test will be in the budget, does the military get cut or does it keep on growing?

Meantime there is a group of lawyers in Pakistan that is attempting to bring the CIA drone commanders and operators to justice as perpetrators of homicide against Pakistani civilians. It will be interesting if the international court picks this up and runs with it.

=====================================

From Guardian.UK

Campaigners seek arrest of former CIA legal chief over Pakistan drone attacks

UK human rights lawyer leads bid to have John Rizzo arrested over claims he approved attacks that killed hundreds of people

Peter Beaumont
guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 July 2011 15.57 BST

Campaigners against US drone strikes in Pakistan are calling for the CIA’s former legal chief to be arrested and charged with murder for approving attacks that killed hundreds of people.

Amid growing concern around the world over the use of drones, lawyers and relatives of some of those killed are seeking an international arrest warrant for John Rizzo, until recently acting general counsel for the American intelligence agency.

Opponents of drones say the unmanned aircraft are responsible for the deaths of up to 2,500 Pakistanis in 260 attacks since 2004. US officials say the vast majority of those killed are “militants”. Earlier this week 48 people were killed in two strikes on tribal regions of Pakistan. The American definition of “militant” has been disputed by relatives and campaigners.

For more of this article see link
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/15/cia-usa

================================

Washington Post

Posted at 04:52 PM ET, 04/21/2011
Drone attacks in Libya: A mistake

By David Ignatius

Drone attacks have become an addictive tool of U.S. national security policy, as illustrated by Thursday’s unfortunate announcement that President Obama has authorized their use in Libya.

Armed with Hellfire missiles, the Predator drone is a tool for assassination from 10,000 feet. It has been used by the CIA, with a paper-thin veneer of deniability, to attack al-Qaeda operatives and related targets in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where other weapons do not reach. One would like to think that’s a special case, born of the extreme threat posed on Sept. 11, 2001, and the remoteness of the tribal areas where the attackers are hiding.

But now we have Defense Secretary Robert Gates, accompanied by Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating at a news conference that Obama “has approved the use of armed Predators” over Libya—and, indeed, that the first mission was launched Thursday but aborted because of bad weather.

They did not state what targets the Predator had been assigned to strike. But surely it’s likely that the goal was to kill Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi or other members of his inner circle.

For more of story see link

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/drone-attacks-in-libya-a-mistake/2011/03/04/AFtZrRKE_blog.html

=======================================

Reuters

As U.S. wars wind down, drones gain new prominence

By Warren Strobel and Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON | Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:13am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In many ways, it’s the perfect weapon for a war-weary nation that suddenly finds itself on a tight budget.

Missile-armed drones are playing a greater role than ever in U.S. counter-terror operations, as President Barack Obama winds down land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington’s focus expands to militant havens such as Somalia and Yemen where there are no U.S. troops permanently on the ground.

The CIA now operates Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft, armed with Hellfire missiles, over at least five countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya.

The agency does not publicly acknowledge the program. The U.S. military uses drones, primarily for surveillance, in Iraq and elsewhere.

And there’s every likelihood the use of drones to attack suspected anti-U.S. militants will spread further, current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.

“The CIA’s role could very well expand over the coming years as the government deals with emerging terrorist threats,” said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/15/us-usa-war-drones-idUSTRE76E0RT20110715?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

Oceans Threatened, CO2 Culprit

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

The oceans are dying. Remember the line from Soylent Green? It seems that sci-fi movie was pretty dead on to the way things have developed. We have dead zones in the oceans caused by pollution feeding bacteria which consume all the oxygen in a given area. Anyone who goes to a beach before the clean-up crews remove all the trash will be aware of how much plastic debris is being dumped there continuously. We have open sewage from urban areas, rain run-off with oil from cars washed to the sea, ships dumping trash overboard and all of it has turned the oceans into a giant cesspool. Sooner or later this will all add up to a dead ocean and loss of life. The lack of oxygen producing algae leaves us dependent on trees and grasses for our life giving air. Soon enough that will be untenable and air will be sold commercially in canisters. We will have to live in bio-domes and only emerge into the atmosphere in protective suits. What may have seemed to be science fiction fifty years ago; is now science fact. We have maybe one or two decades left to get it right or head for Mars, it will be more habitable in another century that the earth.

===========================================

From Terraviva

Q&A: “Urgent CO2 Cuts Critical to Save Our Oceans”
Verena Schälter interviews ALEX DAVID ROGERS, Scientific Director of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 13, 2011 (IPS) - The health of the world’s oceans is much worse than is widely believed, but it is not too late to change tack and help this critical ecosystem recover, at least in part, experts say.

Marine scientists from all over the world recently came together at Oxford University to review new research under the auspices of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Their results, outlined in a report released in June, came to an alarming conclusion: If the current course of damage continues, marine species are at high risk of entering a phase of extinction unprecedented in human history.

Professor Alex David Rogers, IPSO’s scientific director, spoke to IPS about the reasons for the disastrous situation and what actions must be taken to avoid the worst. Excerpts from the interview follow.

A: One of the central themes of the meeting we had was the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems. Many people think about this as something that will happen in the future. But we are already seeing the effects of climate change in many ecosystems mainly caused by elevated sea surface temperatures.

These include mass coral bleaching and changes in the distribution of marine species.

The cause is mainly elevated CO2 in the atmosphere caused by human activities. CO2 is a greenhouse gas and it causes warming of the atmosphere and therefore also the oceans.

We have recently become aware of another phenomenon associated with CO2 emissions, ocean acidification. The oceans absorb about a third of our CO2 emissions, where it forms carbonic acid, reducing the pH of the oceans.

An effect of this is to reduce the concentration of carbonate in seawater, a major component of the skeletons and shells of many types of marine organisms including reef-forming corals. Studies of natural CO2 vents, usually associated with volcanic areas, suggests that this will negatively impact many organisms, including corals and molluscs.

A: There are many levels of action that can be taken.

These range from our actions as individuals, whether that is reducing our own CO2 emissions, choosing only fish from sustainable sources, getting involved in conservation action for the marine environment or making ourselves aware of these issues and writing to policy makers to ask for action.

At the level of national and international policy urgent action on the reduction of CO2 emissions is critical.

The longer this is left, the worse the impacts will be on marine ecosystems and the more expensive will be the measures to reduce our CO2 emissions and take remedial action on the environment.

Some of these issues, such as overfishing, are clear and the answers to them relatively straightforward although they appear to be politically difficult.

For more of story see link below.

http://ipsnews.net/newsTVE.asp?idnews=56471

=================================

From New York Times

Utility Shelves Ambitious Plan to Limit Carbon

American Electric Power’s Mountaineer carbon-capture plant in New Haven, W.Va. Plans for a larger project are now on hold.

By MATTHEW L. WALD and JOHN M. BRODER

Published: July 13, 2011

WASHINGTON — A major American utility is shelving the nation’s most prominent effort to capture carbon dioxide from an existing coal-burning power plant, dealing a severe blow to efforts to rein in emissions responsible for global warming.

American Electric Power has decided to table plans to build a full-scale carbon-capture plant at Mountaineer, a 31-year-old coal-fired plant in West Virginia, where the company has successfully captured and buried carbon dioxide in a small pilot program for two years.

The technology had been heralded as the quickest solution to help the coal industry weather tougher federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions. But Congressional inaction on climate change diminished the incentives that had spurred A.E.P. to take the leap.

Company officials, who plan an announcement on Thursday, said they were dropping the larger, $668 million project because they did not believe state regulators would let the company recover its costs by charging customers, thus leaving it no compelling regulatory or business reason to continue the program.

The federal Department of Energy had pledged to cover half the cost, but A.E.P. said it was unwilling to spend the remainder in a political climate that had changed strikingly since it began the project.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/business/energy-environment/utility-shelves-plan-to-capture-carbon-dioxide.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

======================================

Recent hearings in US Congress

http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=bc9e9485-df04-5fb0-8621-ac3afa2b26a6

Webcast of Hearings

http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.LiveStream&Hearing_id=bc9e9485-df04-5fb0-8621-ac3afa2b26a6

======================================

From National Academy of Engineering
Article on Carbon Sequestration

http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/cms/8996/9077.aspx


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