maanantaina, syyskuuta 04, 2006

NewsFlash!! (Vol. 126--A)

Well Friends, a long and fruitful absence it has been, since last I cast my pearls before thee--how go things, at least in the general sense of the word? One can hope well, but suspects otherwise, as the good guys have been under unrelenting assault of late, despite which, and against all odds, we stubbornly persevere. Karmic intuition tells us that what goes around, damned well ought to come around: that life is a sort of cosmic boomerang, and yet...why are the fattest cats still so morbidly obese and the dispossessed still unable to find a quiet spot away from baleful gaze of the lidless eye? Comeuppance delayed might make it more pronounced, maintain the preternaturally patient, like some Tantric yogic kind of pressure-building, if you follow my unintentionally graphic drift, but if so, then a hard rain is truly going to fall when the meek finally do inherit the earth.

As above, so below. (And if so, then sometimes the macro can be divinated in the micro.) Consider the case of consequence finally catching up with Steve Irwin, the irrepressible Crocodile Hunter. All those close calls, snapping jaws, roughneck falls; and his end, when it finally sneaks up on him? The unheard of sting of the deathly ray? The more judgmental of us might conclude that, cause needing some effect, it took two years for the dangling baby incident to catch up with him:


I find it odd in the extreme to imagine that the Cosmic Wheel has dealt with Steve so quickly, so harshly, when the grandiose, death-dealing hypnocrats who've lashed themselves to the wheel of the ship of state suffer no worse fate than vented blogslpeen and mocking video productions...but then again, maybe this sort of causal connecting is something that always occurs in the mind of the connector. Why would the universe give a rat's ass whether Steve was a righteous nut who thrilled the masses, or even if our leaders bring us to the edge of disaster. 'Cuz the holy books say it's so? Or is it because we want it to be so, so that we don't have to accept the benign indifference of the universe?

In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.
-- Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden

Okay, and Dawkins was the friend of the late, great Douglas Adams, as well as the inspiration for the dark humor of the ridiculously chipper Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy, which explains something about that whole trip...but it's just too bleak for most folks. They seem to need more meaning in life. Did you hear the one about our intellectual president (I wonder how he pronounces that word?) reading The Stranger, by Albert Camus? For those of you who are unfamiliar with the book (or the Cure song, Killing an Arab), it's the classic existentialist novel about this French guy who kills an Arab for no particular reason, in a world which exists for no particular reason. Finally, just as the book ends, Monsieur Meursault has this cosmic epiphany on the meaning of the meaninglessness of life:

It was as if that first great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.

Unlike Dawkins' "blind pitiless indifference," Camus ends up calling it "benign"--small consolation for those hoping for a grand scheme of things, and a far cry still from the Cosmic Wheel, but at least the universe isn't actively cruel in this version. So which do we choose--a logical, but unknowable universe, a cruelly indifferent one, or one which doesn't really care about us specifically, but is sort of vaguely wishing us well, like a toothless old hag whose just opened a slightly rancid can of dogfood for us, mistaking us for Herbert, her loyal and equally toothless old flatulent terrier.

I suppose we could ramble on, viewing the great parade as a frustratingly paradoxical adventure where just desserts don't seem to get served on time, but we still have some not entirely unfounded hope they will one day soon. In which case, Steve Irwin seems to have met his end in a most unexpected manner. He was killed by a sting ray while filming an underwater documentary off the coast of his beloved Australia, only the third recorded case of such a death in all of history. Now, if we can extrapolate from this odd incident, what fate might await the arrogant rulers who've been strutting on the world stage during the last decade of looming crisis and doom?

Following the Irwin Incident, one would expect fate to crash the ruling party in unexpected guise, and there's all sorts of unexpected stuff cropping up from hitherto unsuspected angles. Before launching into any of my particulars, let me start by reminding the faithful audience that life is not always what it seems; it's like living in a dream. (Wishbone Ash paraphrasing William Shakespeare.) We live in an unstable age, this much is certain, but beyond this "safe" knowledge, we quickly tread into quick sands. The world seems to been dividing itself into antagonistic dualities, from the classic split between Right and Left (where the Left seems to be locked in a death spiral and the Right all but triumphant) to the clash between Science and Religion (which is played out in countless, pointless debates as the rich continue to get richer and the poor poorer). Quietly insinuating itself into the non-debate of these issues is a startling old/new idea, that all such dualisms are false, empty, and meaningless.

The as yet mostly unfelt intrusion of a third way comes not from Science or Religion, but from the forgotten art of Philosophy, where Religion was long ago exposed as essentially man-made and Science is apparently succumbing to a similar diagnosis. The first "doubts" as to the primacy, or even the veracity of Science came in the wake of the widespread acceptance of Materialism and its application to Psychology in the form of B.F. Skinner's Behaviorism. For many years it was believed that we humans were no more than Pavlovian dogs salivating in response to external stimuli. In the landmark Milgram Study, a group of highly educated college students were set in a prison-like "school" environment and divided into the two camps one expects to find there: uniformed teachers ( guards) and learners (prisoners). The "guards" were told to administer electrical shocks to the prisoners in ascending severity to the appearance of not learning (defiance). The study had to be stopped when, after onlt a few days, half the of the guard population had degenerated into savage torturers like veteran Gestapo agents as opposed to the liberal, New Haven, Connecticut residents they really "were".

At first, the shocking results of the Migram study seemed to confirm the "laws" of human behavior predicted by Skinner, but subsequent review has demonstrated something quite contrary to this interpretation. It turns out that just as many "guards" did not relish their roles, for no apparent reason, since there were no rewards built into the experiment for such a behavioral choice. The only firm conclusions from Milgram are that there is a high degree of suggestibility, a fundamental malleability of human nature, coupled by an innate sense of morality, as opposed to a learned response. Readers might recall a recent study which tried to duplicate the Milgram Study in primates, where it was found that chimpanzees would forego eating if it meant sparing other chimps the electro-shocks that were administered upon the control group's own eating.

Taken together, these studies have opened a whole new world of unforeseen possibilities. The first, "smaller" finding is that our primate cousins are far closer to us than we had suspected, that they share a basic compassion that has evolved as a mechanism for the survival of species as opposed to individuals. The "larger" implication is that consciousness (which the primates also have) is something very different from what has been assumed by the armed camps of Science and Religion. Materialism is, ultimately, is as incomplete as Faith in explaining the world and ourselves. In a fascinating new book (trust me on this one) called Fire in the Mind, George Johnson, a science writer who moved to New Mexico has examined the strange mixture of Science, Religion, and Occultism that thrive side by side in the area near Sante Fe. Johnson chose his new home as a setting for this book (from the review I'm quoting),

to explore the human mind's hunger for answers about the universe and the desire for control. It's a hunger to tell stories about "how and why we sprang from primordial waters -- and of what happened after the grand emergence." Johnson argues that this story-telling is much the same, whether it is in the dances of the Tewa tribe, the rituals of the Catholic Penitentes or the unfolding scientific theories at Los Alamos and Santa Fe. "The drive to seek and impose order on the world has given birth to the sciences of biology, geology, particle physics, astronomy, cosmology," he states; "it has generated grand cathedrals of abstraction like quantum theory and Tewa religion."

(Bear with me here--I realize this passage is sort of long, and that most of you have much to do, but there's a big sharp point to it, I promise.)

The book is in three parts, each of which addresses order in the world of nature, at different levels. In the first part, Johnson explores particle physics and astronomy, the sciences of the very small and very large, linked by their different expressions of the fundamental properties of matter; of the transformation of energy into matter, in the Big Bang, producing the organized structure we know as our universe. The second part deals with a puzzling paradox: the recognition that randomness, or chaos, exists in the workings of nature, and yet order flows from those workings. How does this happen? And the third part asks how was it that creatures like ourselves, complex and curious as we are, evolved in life's flow.

The "single mystery arching over the rest," says Johnson, is this: "Are there really laws governing the universe? Or is the order we see imposed by the prisms of our nervous systems, a mere artifact of the way evolution wired the brain? Do the patterns found by the scientific subcultures of Santa Fe and Los Alamos hold some claim to universal truth, or would a visitor from a distant galaxy consider them as culturally determined as those divined by the Tewa and the Penitentes?"

To many, it is little short of heretical to suggest that the scientific endeavor is anything but a search for the Truth, a concrete reality out there somewhere. Johnson takes an agnostic stance between science as discovery and science as construction. "In the end," he argues, "there is no way to know whether science is converging on a single truth, the way the universe really is, or simply building artificial structures, tools that allow us to predict, to some extent, and to explain and control."

Having gotten through all that (for which I thank you), you're probably wondering what all this has to do with the price of cheese and whether or not squirrel stew is still eaten in Central Illinois. A lot, and I'm not sure, respectively. It all depends on how you view coincidence. Do two highly unlikely congruences constitute a connection of some sort, or is it three? (Or are connections not to be made by insignificant, lowly commonfolk?) Let's see how far out on theoretical limbs you're prepared to go--it's lovely exercise, which keeps the mind as sharp as a knife and as full of holes as the afore-mentioned cheese.

In the Scientific News Section of this week's episode, we have some distinctly odd notions crawling up out the dark pools of the mind. I'll begin by saying that two of you gentle readers have told me (on occasions widely separated by geography, culture, and time) that your grandmothers never belived that man really landed on the moon. In both cases, each of you and I chuckled knowingly at the delusional notions to which our elders sometimes fiercely cling.

Imagine my surprise when I found the old, thoroughly discredited conspiracy theory gaining new adherents, apparently due, in large measure, to the astronauts either attempting to come out of some enforced silence or acting very strangely when asked about the possibility of such a monstrous possibility. Now, much has been made of debunking this obviously ridiculous notion, the most interesting part of which, to me at least, is that it's the very public deconstruction of a "safe" conspiracy, which tends to discredit all of the heretical ideas dismissed as conspiracy theories. More on this shortly. First, however, another lunar destination. Following in the grand, alternate history tradition of Robert Temple's The Sirius Mystery, another new book examines the startling coincidences involving the moon's "design".


In Who Built the Moon?The Possibility of Intelligent Design, Christopher Knight and Alan Butler "have opened a discussion for new questions regarding the existence of the Moon. They suggest that there are more than enough anomalies about the Moon to come to the conclusion that it is not a naturally occurring body and was quite possibly engineered to sustain life on Earth." This one is worth the one-page summary, which stands on its own, without any helpful commentary from me, except to ask, again, how many coincidences make a "connection"?

All of this looney business has been an exercise, as I said, to limber up the mind in preparation for the following, ever so much more serious items. The first is the Steorn Challenge, the big new development in the quixotic hunt for free energy, the holy grail of modern civilization. Again, as with the lunar exhibits, the interesting thing about this one is the reaction to it. Michael Kaku, the very trippy physicist who has no problems with advancing the claims of parallel universes and even concedes the possibility of a malleable universe, one in which our collective consciousness actually creates the "reality" we experience, has come out as the harshest critic of the Irish claim of an unlimited, non-polluting, free energy source, citing the inviability of the "laws" of physics. The conveniently overlooked premise of the Steorn group is that this energy source is not ex nihilo, out of nothing, but rather that they've tapped into a source not known or understood up to now, exactly as Tesla once described his vision. It's not just the arrogance of scientists and most of the public, 70% of which believes that scientists should not take Steorn's challenge, but moreover, the fear of what such a truth might bring which is most enlightening.

In Part II of this week's NewsFlash!!, we'll apply what we've seen thus far to something that is both real and fake.

(Check back for the exciting conclusion in five or six hours--I'll just go now and whip my production staff into a flurry of activity...)

NewsFlash!! (Vol. 126--B)

Many more than five or six hours later, I return to the thorny problem of what's what and what are we going to do about it. The reason I devoted so much pixel-dust above to trashing the false dichotomy of Science and Religion is two-fold. Firstly, dualisms do not reflect reality but, instead, the way our minds work, and as such they are worthless. Secondly, the concept of dichotomy is dangerous because it resonates so well in our bi-cameral brainpans that it lends itself to distorting the truth. Those whose business it is to molest the truth are quite cognizant of this fact of our nature and have exploited it systematically, ruthlessly and to our great harm. I'm going to expose a few of these false dichotomy propaganda campaigns (be forewarned; this stuff is ugly when you pull its pants down) and then I'm going to close this forever tirade with a picture so pretty you'll forget all about the ugly bits I made you look at.

Big Lie #1

America is the greatest nation on Earth, the oldest and purest democracy in existence, the land of the brave and the home of the free (and that's why everybody wants to come live here.) Let's put on our Ronald Reagan-issue cowboy hats and go back the Cold War for a moment, since our leaders still live there and it might help us understand their reptilian thinking. Capitalism is good; Socialism is bad. Simple, self-evident. Ubiquitous as air. According to the absolute mountains of propaganda, in every medium known to man, capitalist democracies like ours free the soul, provide unlimited opportunities (to the properly motivated), empower the common man and promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, right? And across the great divide, Socialism is the antithesis of all that good stuff,we've been told. Godless, soulless, it strips man of dignity, incentive, purpose and the very possibility of attaining the Good Life. That's why Stalin's five year plans never worked, that's why thousands died trying to sneak over the border into the golden West, blah, blah, blah. Let's unzip this zype by putting comrade Stalin where he belongs, which is on our side of that great divide.

That's right, boys and girls, Uncle Joe was a capitalist pig dressed up as a communist wolf. The Soviet system was not communist at all. It was state, single-party, monopoly capitalism administered by a bureaucratic elite for the sole purpose of sustaining its own (considerable) power and privilege. Dacha in the country, summary execution or gulag for the dissidents. The only real, fundamental difference between East and West was that we in the free and democratic West had much more clever masters. Soviet propaganda was as primitive as its state-sponsored artwork:


Notice anything, well, a little Nazi-like about the Soviet superman? This is the Big Secret, everbody: there never has been a socialist state. The whole Cold War hype was nothing more than hype. A terror campaign so thorough that we can't even see it for what it was/is without stepping back all the way to the edge of the cliff of disbelief. Can you make out what superman is saying there? "Tell your freinds they don't have to be scared or hungry anymore, comrades!" It's all about being scared.

They, the owners, are scared, very scared, of the ideas embodied by Socialism, since they represent the opposite of the greed, control and, well, slavery that is Capitalism. And so, they set up this phony socialism as a means of discrediting the real thing, and they made it as horrible and repressive as they possibly could. It's called co-opting a movement and there's another, related movement that also scares them very badly which has also been co-opted and distorted for the purpose of maintaining the status quo: Religion, specifically the Judeo-Christian variety. Ever wonder what Judaism is supposed to be all about? Look no further:

What is quite clearly the most consistent and all-embracing act of faith is called chesed, which means kindness and implies the giving of oneself to helping another without regard to compensation.

In a sense, the goal of the whole enterprise of Judaism is to develop human beings whose principal trait is chesed. The rabbis of the Talmud (Yevamot 79a) considered kindness to be one of the three distinguishing marks of the Jew.

A favorite Talmudic name for God is Rachmana, "the Compassionate One."

Every act of human chesed is an imitation of the benevolence of God. It appears on page after page of the Jewish Prayerbook, in chapter after chapter of the Psalms, and is implied in the legal and moral decisions on folio after folio of the Talmud.

The Torah begins with an act of chesed as God clothes Adam and Eve, and ends with it as God buries Moses. Jewish Law formally begins with the Torah at Mt. Sinai, but chesed begins with Abraham, centuries earlier. The world could not have endured so long without chesed; it would have imploded.

--Rabbi Maurice Lamm

And fast forward an age:

The Setting

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying...


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Light of the world

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Any questions? These ideas, chesed, for Jews and Compassion for Christians are very similar and, tellingly, very rare in Religious circles these days. In fact, while some religionists pay lip service to these "ideals," the great majority support the perpetual Wars On that have consumed and controlled life in the 21st century thus far. The idea of love informing our political, social and economic structures is very dangerous to thisae who control us through hate and fear, and this is why religion had to be co-opted and turned into what it is today: the bulwark of empire.

The problem for the controlling interests is that no matter how many tentacles they wrap around the truth, it has a way of bubbling up to the surface anyway. We're told everyday in countless ways that the world is in terrible shape and that worse is on the way. Wars On Drugs and Wars On Terror and Wars on all our problems are the only solution and if you're not behind this "solution" then you're part of the problem: you're either with us or against us, they say, knowing full well that no one in his right mind will side with the terrorists and the drug dealers. The irony of this situation is that the "they" we're talking about, the government which has given you this ultimatum, is the terrorists and the drug dealers. Shocking, ain't it? (I'll show how this is true when I return, and even what you can do about it. Til then, peace.)

sunnuntaina, elokuuta 06, 2006

Spilling Over from Rigorous Intuition (where this cuttlefish has been lurking when awol from this watery home...)

Here’s another darkling log for the fire. I was having an ethereal drink over at Billmon’s Whiskey Bar yesterday when I happened upon two connected unpleasantries. One was a startling bit of attempted humor from the boys and girls over at the Council on Foreign Relations. Apparently well aware of their sinister reputation, they made a strangely jeering jest at the expense of folks like us when they said (after introducing the luminous panel which was discussing the topic of “The Emerging Shia Crescent”):

"So for those of you who are conspiracy theorists and think that the council controls the world, this is further additional ammunition that we in fact do just that."

If the topic that the panel had embarked upon were just some run of the mill rich folks exploiting poor folks fodder, such a remark might have been merely arrogant, but since this Shia Crescent thing is anything but typical, the ‘joke’ really does take on sinister overtones.

The best explanation of the imminent Crescent Crisis actually comes, not from the den of those CFRers, but from the Whiskey Bar, a decidedly non-CFR site, , which Jeff has linked and which I’ve often visited in the past but normally find a little too focused on straightforward politics—the known unknowns are, I think, too seldom included in Billmon’s otherwise concise analyses. This time, however, he was zeroed right in on the CFR’s topic du jour and dark clouds quickly gathered, even without any extra dimensions. He started out by discussing the apparent “success” of the antiwar wing of the Democrats and “Left Blogistan” in putting ‘I-suck-chimpface’ Liebermann on the ropes in his race against Ned Lamont on Connecticut, which Billmon saw as deeply flawed because it only served to obfuscate a much bigger problem, which was the shift from Iraq to Lebanon in the mad designs of the desperately resurgent neocons. The reasoning goes like this: Lamont only opposes the war in Iraq and has, in fact, already pledged unconditional support for Israel, which, when coupled with Howard Dean’s recent and rather showy self-abasement at the feet of AIPAC and the insane lust for WWIII on the part of the mad dog neocons augers no good at all for the rest of the world. Read Billmon’s prediction:

The lesson learned from the Democratic reaction to Israel's war of choice is that the Dems are only likely to oppose war as long as the war in question can be framed as a fight against Iraqi insurgents and/or Shi'a death squads, rather than a fight for Israel. But the Iraq occupation isn't going to fit neatly into that frame much longer. In fact it's already slipped out of it. The Dems -- always a little slow on the uptake -- just haven't realized it yet. But when the time comes to choose (for Israel, or against war with Iran) I fully expect to see Ned Lamont in the front ranks of the pro-war phalanx, right next to the last great white Democratic anti-war hope, Howard Dean.

People tell me I shouldn't get hung up on this because, you know, if the Dems get in they'll make sure the seniors get their Social Security checks a little faster -- or they'll keep the Supreme Court out of the hands of legal madmen or do something about global climate change or save the whales or whatever else it is that's supposed to make the Democratic Party infinitely preferable to the Republicans.

It's not that I discount these differences entirely -- although they're easily oversold. But compared to the fate that awaits the republic, and the world, if the United States deliberately starts a war with Iran, those other considerations start to look pretty insignificant. I mean, we're talking about World War III here, fought by people who want to use tactical nuclear weapons. I'm supposed to put that out of my mind because the Dems might be a little bit more generous about funding the VA budget??? I'm sorry, but that's fucking nuts.

The truth is that on the most important issue of our time -- the cliff that drops into total darkness -- the only real opposition left in this country is in the Pentagon, where, according to Sy Hersh, at least some of the generals are trying to stall the march to war. Plus whatever scattered resistance is left in the intelligence agencies following the purges of the past couple of years.

It is a stunning testament to the political devolution of this country that the most effective anti-war movement in America is inside the walls of the Pentagon or buried deep in the bowels of the CIA! But that is the reality, thanks in no small part to the Dems and the Israel lobby.

I had hopes once that the Democratic Party could be reformed, that progressives could burrow back in or build their own parallel organizations (like or even Left Blogistan) and eventually gain control of the party and its agenda -- much as the conservatives took over the GOP in the 1980s and '90s.

But I think we've run out of time. Events -- from 9/11 on -- have moved too fast and pushed us too far towards the clash of civilizations that most sane people dread but the neocons desperately want. The Dems are now just the cadet branch of the War Party. While the party nomenklatura is finally, after three bloody years, making dovish noises about the Iraq fiasco, I think their loyalty to Israel, or their fear of the Israel lobby, almost certainly will snap them back into line during the coming "debate" over war with Iran.

I hope like hell I'm wrong about this, but I don't think I am. So I guess I'll just have to accept being labeled a traitor to the cause -- or whatever the hardcore partisans are calling it. Sure, why not. They're certainly free to follow their party over the cliff (we're all going over it anyway) but I'd at least prefer to do it with my eyes open. (Posted by billmon at August 3, 2006 10:45 PM)

You can read the whole thing for yourself,
(and it’s well worth your time, even--if you really have snerves of steel--this scary DoD flash animation of nuclear bunker-busters in Iran:, but despite the depth of this Whiskey Bar analysis, there’s still something missing, and that’s where the normal gets para. I know we’ve been dancing with unease around the issue of the upcoming Armageddon a lot of late, but there has to be more to it than what even the Whiskey Bar has given us. For example, where does the very public display of those giant triangles that Jeff wrote about fit into this insanity? Are they “ours” or are they something from very far away? Would the technology/intelligence behind these things allow us to blow ourselves up, as these assholes seem bent on doing? (Or are the neocons and their filthy military industrialist friends the “intelligence” behind the triangles?) How do we reconcile what we know about what we don’t know with what we can see as clearly as the writing on the Whiskey Bar’s walls?

keskiviikkona, maaliskuuta 15, 2006

Frank Zappa Lives! (And so does Frodo...)

Frank Zappa ponders the future, in 1976.

But now let's hear what he was pondering...

Inca Roads


City of Tiny Lights

News of the the Project/Object Tour has recently prompted some enthusiasts to proclaim

"Frank Zappa Lives!"

frodoLives The slogan "Frodo Lives!" has been appearing on subway walls since the '60's. So Frank Zappa lives, does he? I think Frank resides in much the same place, not the subway, but in the hearts and minds of people who either remember a time when we thought, just wait, as soon as our generation comes into its own the war pigs will finally be sent packing. Everything will be legal, everyone will be cool (in the old meaning of the word, as in not hassling other people, appreciative of interesting, enlightening ideals, etc.) Who would have guessed, back in, say 1976, that things would actually get worse? That we would look back on those days, when we did our thing with only a nominal degree of having to avoid the authorities, as a kind of golden age?


That the goddamned Young Republicans we used to laugh at would grow up to plant bombs in tall buildings, wrap themselves in the flag, and announce the dawn of the Fourth Reich/Crusade?


swastika (Reichssicherheitsamt, the office of the Gestapo, translates neatly to Homeland Security.)

frankzappa"There's no question in my mind -- the beer, the balloons and the bunting all start with 'B' for some cosmic reason."
(Words that start with B and remind Frank Zappa of the Republican party.)

As usual, Frank was way ahead of his time--he only left out "bombs" from his list of Republican B-words (okay, maybe bastards and...okay, I'll stop...)

Not sharing Frank's vision and foresight, the apparent abysmal failure of our most certain certainties in 1976 still seem as inconceivable to me now as it was then, if only because what Jim Morrison said was true then and must still be true now:

The old get old And the young get stronger
May take a week
And it may take longer
They got the guns
But we got the numbers
Gonna win, yeah
We're takin' over
Come on!

But then, and I had forgotten this, after the interlude of the chorus in the song (and 30-40 years in our lives) Jim comes back in, and the revolution has not yet taken place and we are old:

Your ballroom days are over, baby
Night is drawing near
Shadows of the evening crawl across the years
Ya walk across the floor with a flower in your hand
Trying to tell me no one understands
Trade in your hours for a handful dimes
Gonna' make it, baby, in our prime

And it still hasn’t taken place when our “ballroom days are over”! But then, when all hope has faded (and remember, Frodo was in this position, too) the long-awaited but no longer believed-in blessed event does occur after all:

Come together one more time
Get together one more time
(music rises, we do take over after all)

Now did you notice the pattern that emerges in Morrison’s liberation rant? We start out thinking we’re going to change all the bullshit we see growing up—Watergate can’t happen again because there are no more Tricky Dicks…except the next dicks are even trickier and we’re left in our hippie hobbit holes wondering what the fuck happened. But then, many more years later, when we’re trying to explain our hopes and dreams to our kids, who at first glance seem somehow different from us, the things we’re saying unexpectedly start to resonate and, Christ, maybe it’ll happen after all.

There is an actual scientific explanation for this phenomenon: Morphic Resonance, second cousin to Synchronicity. The basic idea is that it takes some repetition (generations?) for an emergent pattern to form and build resonance, but once it does, the whole thing crystallizes and voila! “We're takin' over… Come on!" It is going to happen; it’s just that it’ll be our kids’ generation that’s young and strong when it does. I know it’s hard to believe this, since everywhere we look it’s a prison planet that we see, but if you pay attention you will see cracks in the façade. In Europe the young and old are talking about the expansion and evolution of consciousness (remember when we were having such conversations?) and fuck the stupid Americans…except, and I remind them of this, we’re not all fascist robots. And we do have the numbers, even if they still have the guns…we don’t want or need the guns—when the universal mind, the collective consciousness (finally) asserts itself, the reptilian fucks will train their guns on themselves or just plain fade away. Want proof?

The doubling of information is accelerating, exponentially. It took 4 million years from the first stone tool in Africa to the state of knowledge in the Roman Empire in 1 AD. The sum total of available information doubled again in 1500, and again in 1750, and again in 1900, 1950, 1973…by 1991, when Robert Anton Wilson wrote The Cosmic Trigger (Vol. II) it was doubling every 18 months. By 2012, when we reach the critical mass for the event known as the Singularity, the “other face” of which is Mass Enlightenment, the sum of knowledge/information will be doubling a million times a second…


About now you might be asking yourself why we don't see the results of this acceleration in the growth of knowledge/information--the answer is two-fold. First, a great deal of the advancement of information accessibility is in computer science and nanotechnology. Yeah, we can see computers getting faster, cheaper, more powerful, but what about the real quantum leaps in applicable technology? This is an easy one. Is it in the interest of our "leaders" (those who plant the bombs, create phantom enemies and then use the fear they've induced in the populace to control them) to make things like free energy, anti-gravitation devices, etc. readily available to the public? Look, we wouldn't even need the free energy technology (about which there is so much speculation) in order to loosen the grip of the corporations which control us by controlling the government. There was a plan afoot in the 1980's to connect the world's electrical power systems into a world grid (one of Bucky Fuller's many big ideas). If the power infrastructure of every nation on the earth were thusly connected, two things would happen:

1.) Massive energy conservation would occur, as night-and daytime regions of the spinning globe traded off production and consumption, and

2.) No one in their right minds would think about bombing or invading other countries, since this would interrupt their own supply.

By 1990, everyone had signed off on this plan (G.E.N.I., or Global Energry Network International) except, and this will come as a shock, the U.S.

Shortly thereafter, Gulf War I commenced and the bombing and invading have gone on in one conflict or another ever since. As to what technological wonders are being kept under wraps, who could know, since secrecy is noe so deeply imbedded in government that it's now a crime to inguire about things that are classified. And since you can't know what's classified without asking, asking itself has been effectively outlawed. Despite all the gag-rules and dismantling of whistle-blower protections, scientists on the "outside" are making some interesting speculations about what's being kept from us on the inside. Try to remember Frank Zappa's attitude toward censorship and secrecy, about the inept agents creeping around Laurel Canyon trying to keep an eye on him--if Uncle Frank was suspicious, why wouldn't we be?

It’s a bit more difficult to see evidence of the evolution of consciousness (after all, those HAARP and ELF transmitters are trying to jam “something”) but just remember what Steve Hillage sang in Radio, from Motivation Radio: “…and when they beam and program noise pollution, the love and light will neutralize their rays…”


Spectroscopic analysis is discovering strange changes in the structure of our DNA, our blood, and our great blooming brains...

So, of course Uncle Frank lives! You see, if the Nazis never really went away but instead just infiltrated first the CIA, then the Republican Party, then the White House, etc, etc, then by the same Morphic Field Propogation, we are keeping Frank Zappa just as much alive, if not more so, since we've got the numbers...And, as it seems to turn out, we're discovering (at the very weird intersection of physics and consciousness) that we can deliberately create reality through the mechanism of Morphic Resonance by directing our mutating, expanding consciousness...Pretty trippy, eh? So celebrate this. And, as long as you’re celebrating, call it Christmas, the way Frank did:
(Just remember the thing with the yellow snow...)

tiistaina, maaliskuuta 14, 2006

An Open Letter to Howard Dean, all the Elected Democrats

Hi there!
Do you folks even make any pretense of being the party of FDR any more? Will you even consider the opinion of the common man, whose struggle has given you your present position? You owe us that. Do you read Molly Ivins, by chance, or are you keeping those eyes wide shut? You should (see Chamberlain in his role in the history of appeasement…or just ask any Czech—they remember.) Or, better yet, if that’s too heavy for you, check out Ed Helm’s piece on Paul Hackett (the Daily Show, 3/14/06). This captured everything that has made a laughingstock out of us—here you have a guy with credibility, integrity, passion and, most importantly, he’s got justice on his side! He’s right on the issues and not afraid to say so. How refreshing after watching you triangulating ass-clowns sell us down the pike!! And what do you do? You have Chuck (where’s the buck) Schumer pressure him not to run!! Are you in collusion with the Nazis on the other side of the aisle, are you completely beholden to the corporations which finance both of your “political parties,” or are you just that far out of touch with reality? Wake up, smell the manure (it’s all around you), kick Joe (I kissed the president) Lieberman the fuck out of our party and do your jobs!!!
Look, this is about more than short term political gain (your strategies have been working so well!!) this is about saving our democracy. Not since the ill-documented (attempted) fascist putsch in the’30s (see Smedley Butler) have we been this close to the edge. And what do you morons do? You leave Feingold hanging while you calculate your leverage!!! Harry Reid is a dried up, wispy geometry teacher, not a Senate Leader. Joe Biden can’t take his eyes off the nearest mirror—where is the inspiring leadership we need? We need a brave, principled, progressive voice, not another republican party—the one we already have has done enough damage!!
man praying
Please, please, please…oh yeah, if you even think about nominating “Hillary” I’ll jump, I swear I’ll jump!!
Most goddamned seriously,
Haeuptling Aberja

Eureka! Congress is Possessed (by the Echoes of its Doppelgänger!!)

Look no further, I've been struck in the head by the brick of insight: whereas all my internet brethren have been flabbergasted by the spinelessness of the alleged "opposition" party in their inscrutable non-reaction to the open perfidy of our pugnacious president and his reptilian cabal, as seen in the unapologetic abandonment of the quixotic Feingold in his recent censure motion, I just realized what's really going on here. Since life in these decidedly anti-Homo Homogenized States has been shown to imitate what passes for Art (The Price is Right?) it is there, in the world of counterfeit reality, that we must look for explications of the inexplicable. Specifically, I would posit John C. Wright as the oracle of this Dumbfounded Age, and not just because I like to read his books, which I certainly do. In the two-book series Mists of Everness and Last Guardian of Everness, Wright reveals, one would hope unintentionally, the fiendish plot concocted by dark agents of the mythic past to take control of the world by first bending the organs of American Democracy to their will. They do this by unleashing the Selkie, seal-like demons of the rancid deep who tend to speak in Pirate-ese, from their "encounters" with sailors over the centuries, on the already compromised, alright, open whores in Congress, who are easy prey due to their obvious lack of principles.
In a really creepy allegory of possession, the congressional sluts are sort of slit up the middle, their rotten entrails disengorged, and the Selkies "climb" in, generally avoiding detection except by those willing to entertain strange thoughts...In the great climactic scene (no, I won't give everything away) where the good guys take back Congress and unseat, literally, the pseudo-president, the deflated skins of the former congresspersons slide off the seal-body things onto the floors of the House and Senate, leaving the revealed Selkies barking and flapping their flippers most repulsively.

This explanation leaped to my mind yesterday as I watched Arlen Specter interrupting the Feingold-Hero like the crooked small town mayor in innumerable B-Horror movies--I could have sworn I saw his skin slip, sagging in a strange and unnatural way (I know the man's gravely ill, but if he's going to act like a demon-possessed agent of the Dark Side screw him, he's fair game.) Another interesting parallel between Wright's allegory and the "real" world is the significance cast on the necessity of those who've sworn to uphold the Constitution being made to defile it with bodily fluids or vile imprecations before they can participate in the sinister conspiracy--it makes you wonder what the Lizards made their accomplices do in all those acronymically known organizations (you know, CIA-FBI-NSA-FAA-NORAD, etc) before they could launch Operation Prison Planet...The only questions left are:

a.) who's going to save us?

b.) how do we unzip the Selkies in the Hall of Mirrors?

c.) how did Wright figure all this out, or was he doing it in the time-honored tradition of Samuel Coleridge, by ingesting laudanum before sitting down to write?

torstaina, maaliskuuta 09, 2006

The Immorality of Politics (and vice-versa)

Hi there! The spleen is a little understood and much feared organ residing inside of most people. The fear and occasional loathing it inspires is largely due to its periodic venting, which can be quite messy. Had lunch already? Good, now we can get started. What a crock! Here we've got the wealthiest country in the world, a pretty decent constitution (at least on the surface, but more on that later) and no natural enemies (ditto on the later thing...) If we didn't have our metaphorical heads rammed so far up our very real, lard-marbled arses, do you, gentle reader, know what we could do? Any guesses? Ever hear the phrase "leader of the free world"?

The most shocking truth of all that you might read here and in the many other similar blogs written by perfectly ordinary people is that instead of systematically building the perfect dystopian nightmare, we could be making heaven, right here on earth, right now. We have the technology, we have the capability to fix the awful ecological degradation we've inflicted on the earth, to clean up every single mess we've made and turn this planet back into Eden. And we could give every citizen of the world meaningful, well-paying employment in the process. Buckminster Fuller, a true visionary and practical scientist as well described such a process as simply changing our economic and political focus from weaponry to livingry. Among Fuller's many innovations was a new geometry, a new way of thinking about space. One of the great practical applications was a new type of housing that weighed from 1/100th to 1/1000th of a conventional home (so that it could be shipped anywhere in the world) and yet was stronger and much more aesthetically pleasing than the square boxes in which we all live. He pointed to the positive, charged atmosphere of the Epcot Center in Florida as an example of what industry could do if it just changed its mission to one of sustaining and venerating life.

The Philological Library in Berlin

Project Eden in Cornwall

Okay, so why haven't we done this, why haven't we shifted our focus toward the affirmation of life and away from the race toward death and destruction? I'll give you a clue: it's not because the people of the earth don't want to, can't live in peace with one another (as we've so often been told) etc. It's because we aren't allowed to. That's right, we could have heaven on earth, but the powers that be, whether because they're afraid they'll lose control of the world, or because they're just sick bastards who prefer to be the only ones living in the lap of luxury (maybe they feel that sick, hopeless humanity mired in its filth and poverty provides a nice contrast for their gorgeous lifestyles) will not let it happen. Oh, they'll say it's because there isn't enough money in the world, or because there's too much conflict and strife...That is a lie, a cruel perversion.

Wars are never, ever started by the people who die in them. Look up Smedley Butler's famous War is a Racket piece. In it, he lays out the essential, ugly truth of the reasons we have wars. Money. Mind-boggling, inconceivable profits. It doesn't even matter if your country loses if you're a titan of industry--after the war you'll quietly set up shop again with no losses whatsoever (see I.G. Farben, Siemens, Krupp, etc, etc. in postwar Germany.) In fact, if you really look into this business of war profits, you'll find something even more disgusting: the same companies provide the materiel and financing for both sides. Roosevelt was so angry about it when he discovered the treasonous actions of Prescott Bush and his friends that he suspended (some) of their operations and only stopped short of prosecuting the fat-cat's perfidy out of fear of creating panic and lowering morale among the troops. What about political conflicts and ethnic tensions as the causes of war, you might ask? Let's check with an authority on the subject:

"Of course the people don´t want war ...
But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship...
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II

Okay, what about the money to build heaven on earth--where's that going to come from, you might ask? "Where does it come from now?" I'd ask in reply.
Do you think "the markets" is some organic structure that represents actual wealth or production? Or that the banking system was put on earth by someone's God? It's a fiction, too. Absolutely, 100% arbitrary. If we wanted to, we could set up a system with a regulated, logical relationship between capital outflow, production of goods and services (which could include anything of intrinsic value, from replanting a hillside devastated by clear-cutting to working with the many damaged people suffering through life in this hellhole we've made on earth) and infrastructure needs. In a heartbeat we could set up such a system. Think of the change in people's attitudes if everyone loved their jobs, not just the ones with the corner office and the stock options.

Now, here's the rub--you knew it was too good to be true, right? We could change the world in the way I've mentioned here, but we'd have to change our governments to do it. Especially in the United States, where the concentration of the greatest wealth in the fewest hands is worse than anywhere else on earth. The income disparity in the US also points to a disparity in political power. Everyone knows the old adages: power is money, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. In order to change the system, we'd have to make such major reforms that, while certainly doable, it would be paramount to organizing another constitutional convention. There were things that our founders never anticipated. Avarice and greed they were familiar with, but the kind of sick and perverted "democracy" we have now would make them run for the colonial privy to retch their guts out in disgust. The biggest enemy of democracy is secrecy.

Government by secrecy is taxation without representation. We started the War for Independence over precisely this issue. In our founder's time, a despotic, arrogant king (George, for you coincidentalists out there) and a disdainful parliament presumed to take taxes from us without giving us input or oversight in the management of government. Guess what? It's happened again.

But that's impossible, you say, we have elected officials who safeguard our freedoms while working within the framework of the constitution...what have you been smoking this morning? Safeguarding your freedoms?! Wait, I've got a better one: "...spreading democracy in the world..." Boy that one gets a lot of mileage! Ever heard it?

Of course you have (we're also very good at marketing phrases, provided they're devoid of meaning and/or only intended to move merchandise.) So, how come we don't mean it when we, as a nation, "say" something? Because "we as a nation" do not exist. It's a fiction. It's a well-known marketing fact (is there any other kind that matters any more?) that if you repeat something often enough, it's as good as true. Peeling the rubbery scales off of an oft-quoted phrase to reveal its scabrous underbelly is not as easy (or appetizing) as it sounds.

On the surface of things we have this "great country" bringing "democracy" to the world, right? Bullshit. The reality is that democracy is the very last thing we want, around the world and especially at home. Just look at our track record. In Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua...the list goes on and on...we brought down democratically elected governments through assassination, kidnapping and torture and then installed repressive, right-wing dictatorships which we could then control. Anyone remember Patrice Lamumba? He was the Gandhi of the Congo, so we killed him, too.

Is anyone buying this Clash of Civilizations crap out there? How about the cartoon controversy? Did you also hear that the same right-wing Danish newspaper refused to publish a cartoon of Christ with fire-crackers in his crown of thorns standing in front of an abortion clinic because "the community might find it offensive"? Which community, you self-righteous bastard? Freedom of speech my digestive tract! So, just when you thought we had entered a modern era of diplomacy and democracy, we're back in the Dark Ages, off on another crusade.

It doesn't have to be this way. This sign held by
an Israeli Arab says, "We are all brothers, we will
not lose our lives in peace."

So why is this crisis being foisted upon us? Orwell, that brilliant, bitter oracle for our time laid down the roadmap to tyranny in the modern world. In order to control the population and crush any political opposition, you need to have a perpetual state of war. Think I'm just reading all this stuff into our current state of affairs? These bastards are so brazen they're even using Orwell's phraseology, or very near equivalents. Perpetual War is now The Long War. The Ministry of Truth is the Office of Strategic Information. Big Brother watching over you is Total Information Awareness, the agency that was so bold as to use the eye-in-the-pyramid symbol of secret societies everywhere as its logo.


Now, it's true that the modern office of Big Brother was "shut down" in 2003, mostly due to public outcry at the creepy logo (we don't have time/interest/intelligence to read words, but boy oh boy we know our logos!) However, surprise, surprise, it turns out that the people who set up TIA, Poindexter and Negroponte, the advocates for democracy who were convicted of lying to Congress in the Iran/Contra Hearings, pardoned by Poppy Bush (yes, the flower) and reinstalled in high office by Junior, just moved it underground with the rest of the secret apparatus of our real government.

And this is the reason that politics in America is a crock. What is the point of voting for the candidate of your choice when the CIA, or any of the 15-20 known clandestine organizations is just going to do whatever their bosses, whovever the hell they might be, tell them? It's secrecy and money which have turned this country into a despotic, empty-headed empire. I'll slow down a little to let this sink in: if things are done in secret, there's no oversight. Without oversight by elected representatives, it's not democracy. At present, even if there were oversight, it would be by professional prostitutes, not representatives of constituencies. In slow time: under the current "system," you can't get elected without big money from corporations. Therefore, if elected, you promptly spend your time whoring around for more money for your reelection, answering the demands of your paymasters and pretending to engage in the current political "debate" on behalf of your constituents.

There are a very few ethical politicians (Russ Feingold, the only one to fight the most un-American legislation ever passed, the Patriot Act, Cynthia McKinney, the only brave soul to question the farce that was 9/11 and who paid for it by being so viciously attacked by very big money groups that she lost a subsequent election, although, surprisingly enough, won her seat back again. One could add Representatives Waxman and Conyers, but they are effectively kept in the basement, so to speak, and then there's Ron Paul, but after that they're all pretty much whores, plain and simple.)

Now, it could be that if we were to somehow enact publicly financed campaigns, that is no money accepted from any donors, we might be able to have some semblance of representative government, but there would still be a few hurdles. (Publicly financed campaign laws, or "clean election" laws, as they are known, have been enacted in Maine, Vermont, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and North Carolina to great effect, but also at great cost. Paul Wellstone was murdered shortly after introducing similar legislation in the Senate. He is sorely missed.) The monied interests will not let this kind of reform take root and, even if it were to, they have other tricks up their tentacle sleeves. Let's look at Diebold for a moment. They promised to deliver Bush the State of Ohio in 2004 and they kept their word. No paper trail, no investigation, not even from Kerry, Bush's erstwhile "opponent."

No, the only way to really force the bums out would be to demand disclosure of all our covert operations, well, since 1945 at least, and then start Truth and Reconciliation work, just like in South Africa and Chile. It's the only way to truly change--by first acknowledging our past. More on that next time. Remember, we are capable of much more than they keep telling us...


(I'm writing this piecemeal by attaching edits to a single existing post, since I haven't figured out how to post in chronological order here at Blogger, so keep looking "under" what you've already read, if anyone other than my good and loyal nephew is actually following these external introspections, for recent "posts".)

Okay, just a few more words about secrecy and then it's off to some more interesting stuff. If you were to look back at our history with anything approaching an open mind, you'd soon see that it's pretty vile. To be fair, most of all history is the story of people being obscenely unkind toward one another, it's just especially galling that we in the States have been brainwashed into believing that we were somehow different, that our "little experiment called democracy" sets us apart from the other murderous bastards. Dr. Goebbels knew differently, and so would you if you'd just stop and think about it for a moment. In what country was it said, "The only good injun is a dead one"? (Our genocide claimed 12,000,000 lives--how big was yours?) Where was it not a crime to kill, torture or rape a black person because they were property and therefore not really human? In what proud nation could you find signs (in all regions of the country, in the 20th century) which read, "No micks, colored or mexican need apply"? In the 1930's there were "sunset" laws in the North as well as the South which made it illegal for african-americans to remain within the city limits after dark. Jews were not admitted to many clubs and associations, and still aren't where their "betters" can get away with it. Final word on our proud heritage: pick up any high school history book and compare it side-by-side with Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. One of them is propaganda.

Still, our ideals are laudable; we just haven't been able to get beyond our bias and hatred enough to actually implement them.