Search This Blog

Loading...

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Au Revoir, Les Enfants Du 20e Siècle




When I watch the film Au Revoir, Les Enfants, I watch the young Jewish boy, Bonnet, doing the geometry problem on the blackboard, just before the air raid siren, just before they descend into the Avernus of the air raid shelter; there they study algebra by flashlight.

I think of the waste of lives and the waste of mind - such as Germany driving Einstein away and German science being run by Phillip Lenard, himself a Nobel laureate as well as a fervent Nazi who believed German science to be degraded by "Jewish" concepts, such as the Theory of Relativity.


Then I think of American Exceptionalism, and find that I am not to averse from the notion, for is it not a quasi-supernaturalism, postulating that the Powers of the Earth - Powers which most of modern day Americans call "angels" in their popular writings - did bestow benefits and powers.

The trouble, however, with Powers, is that what they give, they can also take away.

We live in the time of retribution.

ISIS is the form of the destroyer called forth by the lie of the Iraq War.
We have no answers for this karma.
We try to come to an accommodation with Iran, yet the ghosts of all the years since 1948 sit in cacophonous assembly and screech cat-calls in our minds... as if nothing has changed since the time of the mutual killing, the large killing, the whole-burnings over and over again.

We sit in the Bazaar of Samarra and sell our very long carpets of death....



--

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Politics And Parasites


 Fluke Parasite


Capitalism is a vast and large concept.

Upon the basis of the freedom of markets and the economic freedom of individuals, there exists layers upon layers of parasitic verminous philosophies and behaviors, all of which claim the status of capitalism, but which are exploitation and devastation.

Similarly with Democracy: upon the democratic ideals of Washington, Jefferson, and the Founding Fathers, we find the parasitic lichenous growths of Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism, not to mention the atrocity of corporate citizens  - a heresy fostered by a Supreme Court of Dunces.

 Lichens on a Tree

You find it everywhere: upon the healthy structure, the parasitic leeches on and drains away the life blood.
Sort of like the so-called "capitalists" better known as the Robber Barons.

Jay Gould


Make no mistake: the growth of Inequity within our society is due to the parasitic preying of a privileged elite, which elite renders no service - except clamors for war! - to society as a whole.

--


Yemen

Sa'dah, Yemen


Saudi Arabia and it allies launch an air campaign in Yemen against the Houthis rebels.

The US declares support for Saudi campaign.

Wikipedia sez:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houthis
...The Houthi movement began as the Believing Youth (BY), which was founded in 1992 in Saada Governorate by either Houthi family member Muhammad al-Houthi, or his brother Hussein al-Houthi.

According to Ahmed Addaghashi, a professor at Sanaa University, the Houthis began as a theological movement that preached tolerance and peace that held a considerably broad-minded educational and cultural vision. Western sources report that BY established school clubs and summer camps in order to "promote a Zaidi revival" in Saada. By 1994–1995, 15–20,000 students had attended BY summer camps.

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, BY-affiliated youth began chanting anti-American and anti-Jewish slogans in the Saleh Mosque in Sana'a after Friday prayers. This led to confrontations with the government, and 800 BY supporters were arrested in Sana'a in 2004. President Ali Abdullah Saleh then invited Hussein al-Houthi to a meeting in Sana'a, but Hussein declined. On 18 June 2004 Saleh sent government forces to arrest Hussein. Hussein responded by launching an insurgency against the government, but was killed on 10 September 2004. The insurgency continued intermittently until a ceasefire agreement was reached in 2010...

Could be another tolerant group made radical by the Lies of the Iraq Campaign of 2003.
We despise tolerant and peaceful groups. We aid killers.

I always said that we would paid for our support of the perfidious neo-conservatives and their Iraq War... You know, like Karma and its brothers... returning like prodigal sons of ill mien.

(Of course, it is sectarian: Shi'a versus Sunni.)


--

note

I have to report that I met a nephew of Muhammad Al Houthi once. This was Abdu-l-llah al-'umari
who once laid claim to the Moon or Mars or some other item of the Solar System.

There was no fighting, no bombing, and no rioting. I think we were in Canada in some bar or tea shop. It's hard to tell. I was never on the front lines of conflicts, unlike other news people.

--

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Feast Of 21............عيد واحد وعشرين



I do not know about the rest of the world, all religions and all peoples, but I shall now observe February 12 as The Feast Of 21, the 21 fishermen executed in Libya as martyrs  - شُهَدَاء

I will not wait for any organized religious group to proclaim them so.
My calender of new feasts and holidays is rapidly filling in.

--

Weekend At The Cinema




We went Sunday to see Hitchcock's Rear Window on the big screen. I have seen it at least 3 or 4 times on a large TV screen, but never in a movie theater before.

Grace Kelly is exquisitely beautiful. Having seen her on TV, I have never received the full packet of information about her. She was an arrest of the breath. I had to remind myself to inhale, exhale. Her large image on the screen was vast with intimacy.
And her presence was so very less-is-more.
Consider the hags one sees today on TV: The Housewives of New York or Los Angeles...
Think The Kardashians...
Think Bruce Jenner....  ( and I first saw The Kardashians about 3 or 4 years ago, and I asked who that spinsterish maiden aunt was, only to have She-who-must-etc. tell me that that was Bruce Jenner, Olympian!  And today it seems people are surprised that he is trans-gendering into Aunt Selma.)
Think how thick the make-up is, and how much work is done on the face, and the arcane technologies of poisons injected into sagging muscles!

James Stewart was blue-eyed iconography, middle-aged and restless; Thelma Ritter played She-who-must-be-obeyed's Aunt Stella, the visiting nurse in Manhattan; Wendell Cory was a detective who provided the male counterpoint to Miss Kelly's exquisitely appointed presence ("he was a gentleman from soul to crown..."); and Raymond Burr was the creep.
The set consisting of 31 or so apartments placed around a central green square was terrific, and the tableau presented was deep and populated in a way that TV just shakes it head and laughs at the notion of recreating it.

The color!
I have written recently about the color in La Grande Belleza, penetrating color.
We have been awash in films that are drab, khaki, grey, and dark. Even those films of the present which are not noir-ish are washed out.


Next...




Similarly, the color in Agnes Varda's Le Bonheur was startling.
I watched that film Sunday night. Color and camera.
However, it struck me as an Elvira Madigan that has hidden well any sense of life's pain and suffering. It was decidedly an "odd" film: oddly conceived and scripted, and that quirkiness of story hurt the film.
(Both Agnes Varda (Bonheur) and Bo Widerberg (Madigan) uses Mozart in their sound track, which may explain why I thought them so close.)

The NY Times reviewer wrote
A.H. WEILER
Published: May 24, 1966

"LE BONHEUR," officially translated as "Happiness," landed like a cinder in the eye at the Fine Arts Theater yesterday.


The film starts with the family of Francois, a carpenter; his wife, Therese, a dressmaker; and their two children.
A review in IMDb:
A Brilliant and Provocative Film
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.
8 July 2002
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058985/reviews
When Francois is away on business, he meets an attractive telephone operator named Emilie. Soon he declares his love for her and claims that he has enough love within him to include her in his life, "I love you both and if I met you first, you would be my wife". Being honest and open, Francois tells Therese that he has loved another woman for over a month, but says that his love for her and his family remains stronger than ever.
The love that Francois experiences is - the film states again and again - a natural occurrence, an addition, not a subtraction. However, Therese cannot separate herself from what has become her identity as wife and mother, leading to tragic consequences. She was, in the words of the lovely song, "Tree of Life", "only known as someone's mother, someone's daughter, or someone's wife."

This review, I think, repeats the error of the film.

Therese was a wife; she was a mother; she worked actively as a dressmaker.
She was a being who was actively in life.
Only in our talking about the film does she become one "known as someone's mother, someone's daughter, or someone's wife". There is no indication that Therese reflects on her being-in-life as one of motherhood, wifehood, or anything else. She is engaging with life actively!

In the film - and in the minds of many of us - Therese has become an icon which can be taken down and substituted for by a newer icon.

Therese is embodied in Life, and the film treats her as if she were not.
It treats her as a disembodied concept: "mother", "daughter", "wife".

So in the film, when Francois openly tells her about his new love, which is an addition to, not a subtraction from his love for Therese, she makes love with him in the wooded park, then while he is asleep, conveniently drowns herself.
Funeral, another marriage, a new mother, and life goes on.

I must say this film was disturbing, but I could  not put it into words beyond those which I have already written, and I felt there was more to say about it.

Then......!





Then I saw White Zombie, with Bela Lugosi.

IMDb Storyline:
Young couple Madeleine and Neil are coaxed by acquaintance Monsieur Beaumont to get married on his Haitian plantation. Beaumont's motives are purely selfish as he makes every attempt to convince the beautiful young girl to run away with him. For help Beaumont turns to the devious Legendre, a man who runs his mill by mind controlling people he has turned into zombies.

Zombies, Stepford Wives, and people without souls, only monikers and roles that they play.

To be successful, a film must leap beyond the roles it creates and render the characters alive. A story needs characters, people to play the role of hero, villain, lover; it needs morals and philosophy, and religions.
But it must make them alive as beings-in-the-world, not as zombie icons without soul.
Le Bonheur was White Zombie transferred from Haiti to Paris, from black-and-white to color.

This error is repeated in much of our art, much of our philosophy, much of our religion (which interposes a church between God and mankind), and most of our politics.

--






Sunday, March 22, 2015

Be Happy!

Gamel Abd-en-Nasser (Hussein) of Egypt


What you think of as troubles and wars in today's Middle East are merely the aftermath of the USA's almost 50 year Cold War against the USSR.

The early leaders of Arab society in the post-World War II era were educated both in Islam as well as the studies of Western politics, economics, or military operations. Gamel Abdel Nasser Hussein in Egypt  was a leader who was such; he was a leader in pan-Arab nationalism, who early on tried to forge an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, but soon cast them aside. The antipathy was such that a member of the Brotherhood tried to assassinate him afterwards, resulting in the banning of the Brotherhood and the trial of a number of members, including Sayyid Qutb, who was sentenced to prison.

The West find him intolerable because of his anti-colonialism, which threatened the areas where Britain and France still had power. The US found him to be a threat because of his socialism and agrarian reforms. Then there was Israel Conflict between Israel, the West, and the Arabs,  all throughout the era from 1948 to the present, this conflict being a continuing bottleneck and strangulation of the region for 67 years and counting.

Even though President Eisenhower did not support Britain, France, and Israel in their attack against the newly nationalized Egyptian Suez Canal, this support soon changed:

Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamal_Abdel_Nasser

In January 1957, the US adopted the Eisenhower Doctrine and pledged to prevent the spread of communism and its perceived agents in the Middle East. Although Nasser was an opponent of communism in the region, his promotion of pan-Arabism was viewed as a threat by pro-Western states in the region. Eisenhower tried to isolate Nasser and reduce his regional influence by attempting to transform King Saud into a counterweight.Also in January, the elected Jordanian prime minister and Nasser supporter Sulayman al-Nabulsi brought Jordan into a military pact with Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
 Of course, the CIA participated in trying to advance the interests of the house of Sa'ud against the interests of Nasser's Egypt. This created the path to 9/11 and eventually to ISIS.
The freezing out of Egypt resulted in its turning to the USSR, whose backing helped to finish building the High Dam at Aswan.

This is a gross simplification of history, but delve into it and see that we should indeed be happy, for the state of Iran is nothing but the fulfillment of our designs to impose a corrupt Shah upon a country, and 9/11 was the result of the rise of fundamentalist Wahhabism which flourished in the hothouse of support for Sa'ud.

What appears to be deviltry and beheadings is merely celebrations of a job well done.



--

note

I have adopted a new form to write the anglicized version of Arab nomeclature.
For example, Mr. Nasser's name:

1) the correct spelling appears to be Nāsir or sometimes anglicized Naasir, meaning "helper" and full meaning "helper to victory",

2) Abd  means "servant",

3) "en" is the form of the definite article "al" spoken with a barely pronounced  " ə " instead of "a"
before a word beginning with "n" , where the "l" becomes a doubled "n" sound.

4) since the phrase means "servant of He who helps (to victory)", it is all one expression of noun modified by a noun in the genitive case, and they should not be separated,
hence:
Abd-en-Nāsir  or Abd-en-Nasser" as above.

You can see this spelled a number of ways:
Abd en Nasser,
Abd el Nasser,
Abd al Nasser,
Abd an-Nasser
and the list goes on.

Since grammatically these expressions are treated as one whole grammatical utterance, Abd-en-Nasser seems logical to me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Misters Turner, Gallagher, and Shean: The Second Verse; John Constable

John Constable's Chain Pier, Brighton


There is a film Mr. Turner about the painter Turner, and I hope I may still get to see it in the theater. She-who-must-be-obeyed saw it with one of her friends on the distaff side, and I was nowhere to be seen.

However, I did manage to compose a ditty about the great English painters, Turner, Constable, and Gainborough,  all based on the vaudeville duo of Gallagher and Shean. This second verse is that of John Constable.


So the second verse goes - and it is sung as if I were a Yiddish stage presence, sort of like Yakum Yakum. (He did vaudeville, then ended up in Detroit doing Burlyque.)


Oh, Mr. Constable! Oh, Mr.Constable!
your studio is a great distress!
clean your brushes for a starter,
with a brand new wiping shmatta ...

Positively, Mr. Constable?
Absolutely, Mr.T!


--

note

schmatta   -  a rag     שמאַטע

The Future Is Now......




How tedious it is to repeat the same thing over and over: future is now! What nonsense!
Tedious, tedious, tedious.

Once more, when 10,000 died from the heat in Europe, the scientists who compiled the official report on the summer of unusual mortality said they expected climate change... but not today!

And I said it will work fast and quick, like the Quick and the Dead.

Thus, we see today that Senator Ted Cruz, one of the nemeses that will destroy the year 2017, wants NASA to stop investigating the Earth. If they don't look back, they won't see climate change, only Mars.
How utterly noble of Cruz.

And then this in Slate:
Welcome to Global Warming’s Terrifying New Era
By Eric Holthaus
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/03/19/thirty_years_of_above_average_temperatures_mean_we_re_entering_a_new_era.html

On Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that Earth’s global temperature for February was among the hottest ever measured. So far, 2015 is tracking above record-warm 2014—which, when combined with the newly resurgent El Niño, means we’re on pace for another hottest year in history.

In addition to the just-completed warmest winter on record globally (despite the brutal cold and record snow in the eastern U.S.), new data on Thursday from the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that this year’s peak Arctic sea ice reached its lowest ever maximum extent, thanks to “an unusual configuration of the jet stream” that greatly warmed the Pacific Ocean near Alaska.

But here’s the most upsetting news. It’s been exactly 30 years since the last time the world was briefly cooler than its 20th-century average. Every single month since February 1985 has been hotter than the long-term average—that’s 360 consecutive months.

More than just being a round number, the 30-year streak has deeper significance. In climatology, a continuous 30-year stretch of data is traditionally what’s used to define what’s “normal” for a given location. In a very real way, we can now say that for our given location—the planet Earth—global warming is now “normal.” Forget debating—our climate has officially changed...

And in The Conversation:
Let’s call it: 30 years of above average temperatures means the climate has changed
http://theconversation.com/lets-call-it-30-years-of-above-average-temperatures-means-the-climate-has-changed-36175
... Each month, the US National Climatic Data Center calculates Earth’s average surface temperature using temperature measurements that cover the Earth’s surface. Then, another average is calculated for each month of the year for the twentieth century, 1901-2000. For each month, this gives one number representative of the entire century. Subtract this overall 1900s monthly average – which for February is 53.9F (12.1C) – from each individual month’s temperature and you’ve got the anomaly: that is, the difference from the average.
The last month that was at or below that 1900s average was February 1985. Ronald Reagan had just started his second presidential term and Foreigner had the number one single with “I want to know what love is.”
These temperature observations make it clear the new normal will be systematically rising temperatures, not the stability of the last 100 years. The traditional definition of climate is the 30-year average of weather. The fact that – once the official records are in for February 2015 – it will have been 30 years since a month was below average is an important measure that the climate has changed...

 Temperature history for every year from 1880 to 2014

--

Kyoto Sketches: Page 4






You may read the captions by enlarging the page, using "Ctrl +"  to make bigger,
"Ctrl -"  to reduce,
and "Ctrl 0" (zero)   to return to default size.




Beck Comes Out Of The Closet




As far as I can tell from the Glenn Beck news this morning, Mr. Beck has decided to follow Grover Norquist into joining the Muslim Brotherhood (?!)

I often thought Mr. Morsi had a very strong resemblance to Mr. Beck... as if they were long (lost?) siblings.


Maybe not too strong a resemblance, but Mr. Beck has discernible stubble on his face, the beginnings of his new beard.

--

YAHOO's Email Is Awful!

YAHOO's email was updated and made shiny and brand-new a couple of months ago, and it is absolutely awful.

It does not have sorting by name of sender, if you can believe that.
Furthermore, trying to track threads of emails is horribly difficult. I cannot believe they tested this mess. I have never gotten used to it, and I do not think that has ever occurred before for me and my computers.

YAHOO... fix it, or I go to Gmail!

--

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Misters Turner, Gallagher, and Shean



There is a film Mr. Turner about the painter Turner, and I hope I may still get to see it in the theater. She-who-must-be-obeyed saw it with one of her friends on the distaff side, and I was nowhere to be seen.

However, I did manage to compose a ditty about the great English painters, Turner, Constable, and Gainborough,  all based on the vaudeville duo of Gallagher and Shean.


So the first two verse goes - and it is sung as if I were a Yiddish stage presence, sort of like Yakum Yakum. (He did vaudeville, then ended up in Detroit doing Burlyque.)


Oh, Mr. Turner! Oh, Mr. Turner!
your paintings, they hit me like a bomb!
like being struck with a mallet
when you schmear it with your pallete ...

Positively, Mr. Constable?
Absolutely, Mr.T!

--

The Trouble With Celebrities




Raven Symone, appearing on The View, has defended a television personality's right to say that the First Lady resembles an ape. Freedom of speech and all that. At least no one started up a contest of wits featuring quotes from The Planet Of The Apes, or from The Simpsons Stop The Planet Of The Apes... I Want To Get Off!  (  "I hate every ape I see, from chimpan A to chimpan Z !"  )


Meanwhile, we read about Stephen Smith:
http://news.yahoo.com/stephen-a-smith-black-americans-should-vote-republican-gop-election-140317220.html
ESPN host Stephen A. Smith says that if every African-American voted Republican for one election, it would send a strong message to the GOP that their vote is important.

“What I dream is that for one election, just one, every black person in America vote Republican,” Smith said Tuesday during an appearance at Vanderbilt University, according to audio published by Breitbart.com.

During the 2012 presidential election, an overwhelming 93 percent of black voters supported President Barack Obama, while just 6 percent voted for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

“Black folks in America are telling one party, 'We don’t give a damn about you,’” Smith said. “They’re telling the other party, ‘You’ve got our vote.’ Therefore, you have labeled yourself ‘disenfranchised’ because one party knows they’ve got you under their thumb, the other party knows they’ll never get you and nobody comes to address your interest[s].”

Smith compared voting with “shopping around” to let store owners know they have to cater to you to win your business.

“We don’t do that with politics, and then we blame white America for our disenfranchisement," he said.

The “First Take” commentator is known for being outspoken.

Earlier this month, Smith suggested that Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly was racist for trading away black players like LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin while keeping Riley Cooper, a white receiver who was fined by the team in 2013 for using the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert.

“Chip Kelly makes decisions over the last couple of years that, dare I say, leave a few brothers feeling uncomfortable,” Smith said. “I think that's fair to say. I mean, we’re sitting here looking at some of the decisions that Chip Kelly makes, and I’m like, what is up? What’s up with that? I mean, it’s like you've got to be his kind of guy, you know? And I’m like, well, Riley Cooper’s your kind of guy?”

Last year, Smith was suspended by ESPN after he made controversial comments suggesting that Janay Palmer, the wife of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, could have done something to prevent the domestic violence incident that was caught on tape in an Atlantic City elevator.

Smith later apologized.

“I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career,” Smith said. “My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent. It is not what I was trying to say.”

1) Mr. Smith does not think to suggest that the Republican Party go 100% in support of Blacks... for a day or s0... let's not make a habit of it.
I mean, one party in America telling one group of people, "We don't give a damn about you!"
For Blacks to vote for the Republican Party seems a lot like Frodo and Sam agreeing to pop over for tea at Sauron's in Mordor in order to send a message.

2) It is hard to trade players in the NFL without including a few black players. There is a large population in the league, so I'm told.
As for Riley Cooper's use of the N word, I suppose Mr. Smith never heard that racial epithets are part of the early training even in the Kids Touch Football League, where the players are 5 years old and up. Agility in racial epithets count, man!

3) Janay Palmer could really not do too much to prevent the violence once she was in the elevator... unless she had a ladies' pearl handle automatic with one in the chamber.


The trouble with celebrities is that they assume that the brilliance of the one facet of their lives which led to their enshrinement in the 24/7 pantheon easily slides into other areas, like politics, logic, philosophy, religion, etc.
I does not.
--


Kyoto Sketches: Page 3






You may read the captions by enlarging the page, using "Ctrl +"  to make bigger,
"Ctrl -"  to reduce,
and "Ctrl 0" (zero)   to return to default size.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What I Really Hated About The Film "Django Unchained"



There is a scene where Django is being transported along with a few other slaves in a cage. They are being moved by a bunch of roust-abouts, one of whom is the director, Tarantino, playing an Australian ne'er-do-well.

Django outwits these murderous bumpkins, goes back and opens the cage, and not one other slave jumps out to freedom; not one slave embraces a revolt for freedom.

Then, at the plantation run by Leo DiCaprio's Calvin Candie, where Mr. Candie holds forth in a scientific vein about how blacks are pre-disposed biologically to being slaves. (It is interesting how often monsters of evil seek to give honor to their depravity by science, philosophy, or religion.)
Only one in ten thousand black folks would be an exception to this rule of the subjugation of the black spirit.
Django steps right up and claim the status of that one in ten thousand.

Even as I sat in the theater watching this film the first time, I was aware of the fact that Tarantino was asserting the truth of Calvin Candie's philosophy by his decision to portray only Django as having the spirit to resist oppression and to revolt.
Only one; all the other black men are, indeed, seemingly pre-disposed to their lot of slavery.

And this blatantly racist tripe followed upon Inglorious Basterds, in which a whole battalion of Jewish soldiers rise to destroy their oppressors.



Django Unchained would have been truly vile had it not obviously been the product of a juvenile mind which lacked the discipline clearly to think through what it wanted to say. It was the product of too many bull sessions with a bunch of actors, smoking, drinking, and deciding what tomorrow's script was going to be.

--


Welcome To The Past


 Ibn Al Wahhab (second from right)


When I was very young, living in a USA that led the Free World, we were often frightened by stories of the Socialist trans-national Arab philosophies of Nasser and the United Arab Republic, of the Ba'ath ("resurrection") party with its desire to secularize and modernize Arab society.

We feared the secular socialists.

So we spent time and money.

Now the entire Middle East is sectarian, not socialist; it is parochial, not trans-Arab; it is rife with violence and destruction. The Afghanistan which was Communist and secular was destroyed in a war in which we supported Osama bin Laden as one of our surrogates against the USSR.

Having fought since the Second World War, we look around and see how we have spread our carpet of death, intolerance, and compulsion: any hope that the Middle East might benefit from Western thought - albeit in the heretical form of Marxism - has been utterly destroyed, and we have hoisted into place a new Ottoman Empire of group against group and neighbor against neighbor.

We have managed the Middle East back to a time when Ibn Al Wahhab first appeared in Arabia in the 18th century.

And it is the sign of the decay of empires that not only do they decay from within, but all the ecumene which is in touch with it goes extremely retrograde...

However, maybe this is but a cleansing breath as Islam readies itself for a future without the West.

من يعرف؟
--

The Grey And God And..... דער שׂטן




I watched the film The Grey again. This was the second time, and I could pay closer attention to details of its inspiration and building.
In the IMDb, the is a synopsis and a comment:

In Alaska, a team of oil workers board a flight home; however, they cross a storm and the airplane crashes. Only seven workers survive in the wilderness and John Ottway, who is a huntsman that kills wolves to protect the workers, assumes leadership of the group. Shortly after they learn that they are surrounded by a pack of wolves and Ottway advises that they should seek protection in the woods. But while they walk through the heavy snow, they are chased and attacked by the carnivorous mammals.
Written by Claudio Carvalho
and
... When it comes to issues of faith and the will to survive, that's when "The Grey" really jumps up and above the bar for its genre. The story is told in such a way that when people die, it's not for our entertainment, but to highlight the unpredictable nature of ... nature, and life and death. As Ottway wrestles with these same issues, its Neeson's performance that makes it hit home...
In the final minutes, Liam Neeson's Ottway character yells to the skies that now is that time when divinity - if there be anything divine in this feral universe - show itself to him... for he is at that point the very last man standing.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a thought in Latin in my head and no scrap of paper nearby, so I scribbled it down on a Yiddish copy of Isaac Singer's    דער שׂטן אין גאָרייַ
(Satan In Goray) which has been on my night stand
all this brutal winter:



and on the back I wrote:

illi credentes mortui sunt;
currentes cum Deo vivunt.

which translates as Those who believe are dead; those running with God are alive.

Now this is probably heresy to half the population, but it underscores the difference between Language: talking about, having a belief system, arguing, etc.  and the real fact of Being-in-the-world.

Liam Neeson's Ottway was very much alive and in a terrible world. He sought a word or a sign, as we have all been taught since childhood. When people are killed in The Grey, this does not serve to highlight "the unpredictable nature of ... nature, and life and death.

When we met these men at the beginning, they were workers after hours getting drunk in a bar and having fistfights. Later in the film, the character Diaz says that his life was meaningless and depraved.
It was not life. It was the coarse-grained simulacrum of life reserved for minorities and marginalized and those who are meek and not blessed.

Ottway believed enough to cry out to God.

But, as the Grey head-wolf awaited him minutes later, Ottway lived beyond belief.....

He became a totem animal....

He placed glass vials and bottles and sharp metals between his fingers, then bound his hands tightly with bands, forming mortal claws with which to combat the Grey. Then he turned and leaped into the fray.....







So-o-o-o, this morning I find Netanyahu has 30 seats in the Knesset, and will probably form a government devoted to apartheid.



Unless.... unless... Mr. Netanyahu forgets his own bio, and leaps into life and finds some precious jewel which has escaped the eyes of the rest of us.

If not, then there is a point when historical parallels take over, and we become totemistic figures.

--

Monday, March 16, 2015

Caligula's Stalking Horse?




Mr. Margolis, writing in David Stockman's Corner,  has compared the US Congress' bizarre beatification of Mr. Netanyahu to the Roman Senate's clueless and cowardly embrace of Caligula's horse:
http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/congress-groveling-before-bibi-worst-since-roman-senate-embraced-caligulas-horse/
Congress’ Groveling Before Bibi Worst Since Roman Senate Embraced Caligula’s Horse
by Eric Margolis • March 15, 2015

Be proud, America! You have the very best Congress that money can buy.

It’s no secret that many in the House and Senate have long been corrupted by money and special interests. The constant need to advertise on TV makes all politicians slaves of the money lenders and other big donors...

... One of the biggest outrages has been the way Wall Street money lenders swindled the public and wiped out the nation’s retirement savings – yet escaped all punishment thanks to their huge political contributions to Congress and the White House.

But then came the triumphant visit to Congress by Israel’s right wing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Congress put on a truly revolting display of sycophancy, servility...  for Bibi that included 23 rapturous standing ovations.

This for a foreign leader who had come to insult and humiliate America’s president and drive the US into war with Iran.

Not since a groveling Roman Senate voted to approve Emperor Caligula’s favorite horse, Incitatus, as imperial consul has there been such a embarrassing spectacle...

I do not think he is comparing Mr. Netanyahu to a horse, nor his worth as a man to that of an animal; rather he is comparing the cravenness of Congress to the cravenness of the Roman Senate. (The Republicans in Congress are getting ready for their 2017 EOT [end-of-times].)
Furthermore, the Roman Senate merely approved the appointment of Caligula's horse, Incitatus, as a Consul.

What comes from the Congress in the way of settling the question of the Palestinian State?
Not much. Nothing, actually.
No one has yet told them what to think nor what to say.

If the West Bank remains occupied, if the Golan remains occupied, and if Netanyahu truly believes - as he has said recently - that ISIS is a real danger to the Palestinian Authority, thus preparing the way for a possible pre-emptive strike against that Authority for its own good...

then the lie of Democracy we may have lived since the late 1940s will be exposed.
Will we be able to live with it?


Secretary of State Clinton and Mr. Lieberman

Consider the following:
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-foreign-minister-calls-beheading-palestinians
... Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has taken his campaign of violent incitement against Palestinians to new extremes with a call for those disloyal to Israel to have their heads chopped off.

He also repeated his long-standing demands for expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

“Anyone who’s with us should be given everything – up to half the kingdom. Anyone who’s against us, there’s nothing to do – we should raise an axe and cut off his head; otherwise we won’t survive here,” Lieberman said at an election event Sunday, in reference to Palestinian citizens of Israel...
The future is filled with some interesting possibilities. There are some very bizarre possible time lines, and the edge between the hum-drum, the dystopian, and the millenial is blurring as we jump back and forth  between the exigencies of life.
--

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bigger Than We Can Even Imagine !!!!!!!!






We read in the Causasian Knot

More and more Russian Muslims among North-Caucasian militants
04 March 2015, 13:07
The fact of identification of Oleg Shalyapin among those killed in a special operation in Dagestani Kizilyurt District indicates a growing number of Slavs among militants in Northern Caucasus, said the experts questioned by the "Caucasian Knot"....

The presence among those killed in the special operation in Dagestan of a man with a Russian name and surname – Oleg Shalyapin – "shows the international nature of the militants' groupings acting in Northern Caucasus," Akhmet Yarlykapov, a senior fellow-researcher at the Centre for Problems of the Caucasus and Regional Security of the IMI MGIMO, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

In recent years, "we can state a rather mass conversion of Slavs to Islam," said Alexei Malashenko, a member of the Scientific Council of the Moscow Carnegie Centre.

"There are a lot of cases all over Russia, when Russians become imams and preachers. From single cases, it has grown into a trend," he said.

According to the journalist Orhan Jemal, "among militants, there are rather many Slavs." He gave an example of the so-called "Buynaksk Jamaat" that existed several years ago. "There was only one local – an explosion expert; the rest of them were Russian," he said.

Just think about "Jihadi John" and "Jihadi Jane" and the concerns about young people in Europe and other places traveling to Syria to join ISIS; think about how much you have read about it, and that indicates the scale of concern.



What the article is implying is that there is a Millenarian Movement afoot, presently under the guise of Islamic jihad, which potentially appeals to all  peoples by its promise of change: sweeping away the old order and establishing a new.
This movement is just another unfolding of the Millenium, which we have already viewed in the US and other places: prophesies of end-of-times, Dominionist Christian religious beliefs, and even something like the Left Behind series of books.



Societies cannot comprehend the urge to the millenium, for they cannot envisage how they have marginalized vast sections of their populations.
They cannot visualize this, because it is in their elitist nature to view life as a computer simulation, wherein the poor and meek are coarsely-grained representations.......
http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2015/03/are-we-living-in-computer-simulation.html

Nevertheless, there is always a Thrill Of Being, as we slip from fantasy to reality; as the vampires and zombies of our dreams become the weapon carriers of the neighborhood; as the End-Of-Times comes for us in an Uber taxi....
... and we just stand there flat-footed and googly-eyed wondering what the LaHaye happened to that Rapture thing !!!!!!
And why are we still in harm's way ?!?!?


--

Who Killed Boris Nemtsov?

Boris Nemtsov
(God rest his soul)


In the year 2000, Boris Nemtsov was a supporter - but not an enthusiastic one - of Mr. Putin's leadership in Russia:

Russia's Best Bet
By Boris Nemtsov and Ian Bremmer
Published: January 5, 2000
Vladimir Putin has seamlessly replaced Boris Yeltsin as leader of Russia, moving quickly to take advantage of his high approval ratings and his party's bolstered support in parliament. This is quite an accomplishment for a government that lacked a popular mandate only a month ago.

Yet many in the United States have expressed doubts about Russia's new acting president.

For one, it has been widely noted that Mr. Putin, a former K.G.B. officer, was a virtual unknown until Mr. Yeltsin made him his prime minister in August and that his Unity Party did not even exist then. The truth is, being an unknown is not only a distinct political advantage in Russia, it was a necessity for Mr. Putin, who had to amass credible popular support in a political culture tarred by cynicism and disillusionment. He neither made nor carried out government policies in the last few years, so he wasn't responsible for any of the mistakes.

Some critics have questioned Mr. Putin's commitment to democracy. True, he is no liberal democrat, domestically or internationally. Under his leadership Russia will not become France. The government will, however, reflect the Russian people's desire for a strong state, a functioning economy, and an end to tolerance for robber barons -- in short, a ''ruble stops here'' attitude. Russia could do considerably worse than have a leader with an unwavering commitment to the national interest.

And it is difficult to see how to do better...

It is true that 15 years may make a large difference.
However, the history of modern Russia is an area most of us ignore; we are total dimwits about it. There was a large fire in a mall in Kazan recently.  Where is Kazan, what might its connections be to the Crimea, and what link may there be to global terrorism... if any?

Bet you don't have an idea.

Yet you jump to the conclusion that Mr. Nemtsov was killed by the "megalomaniacal" Mr. Putin.

And even those who live and breathe on the tropes of the US Media being slanted, twisted,and biased accept the story full cloth... for their deep, deep ignorance is such that it would take too long to research, and who really cares? Right?

--
note:
Mr. Nemtsov hailed from Sochi in the Causasus region.

Republican Foreign Policy




Representative Tom Cotton (right in camo) lectures a leftist State Department fop about the realities of the situation in the Middle East, and the true story about the Iranian government.

--

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Are We Living In A Computer Simulation?





I have to admit that Nick Bostrom's paper on whether we are living in a computer simulation or not is not really about whether we are living in a computer simulation or not.

I mean, I like the paper, only most people seem to give it a meaning and an importance which it does not seem to merit.
It is about 3 statements and the probability of each under various major-type assumptions.
It is logic and probability and deduction.

There is no real Ontological Commitment; i.e., a statement that such simulations really do exist.
The best we can get is that one of the statements must be true, one of which is that we are living in a computer simulation. Even so, because a statement is necessarily true in a Logic, that need not carry over into Being.
We like to think it does, because that is a fine bit of housekeeping, and a job well done, and God is in His heaven, and all is right with the world...
There's some nice logic, and that is no small bit of genius. We need not extend the thing to greater issue.

Anyway, Mr. Bostrom's speaks of the finely-grained computer simulations of the possible futures, finely-grained meaning that the detail is almost of the infinity that we perceive our lives to be: an endless ladder from immense island universes to smaller and smaller particles, and energies that constrain and release on cue, without some gaffe-stop-action of lost seconds of feed due to a slow down in the flow of visual data.

Which brought to mind the fact that we already have good examples of simulations of large numbers of lives, only in a coarse-grained manner:

the marginalized!

the homeless! the displaced! the refugees! ......  the victims!

I mean, the detail of their simulated lives is in no way sufficiently fine as to make us feel their anguish, is it?
Their pain and suffering is more iconic, I'd say, rather than immediate.

And I suppose this is what Mitt Romney was talking about when he did cleave a line in society; he thought in terms of the finely-grained simulations versus those coarsely-grained ones, who - really, we must admit - are just too poorly rendered that we may feel compassion for them.

They are more like stick figures.




Tragic stick figures, granted, but stick figures no less.

Not quite Emoticons....
More like Schmo-ticons

--
note
Mr. Bostrom does not say one of the three statements must be true, merely that it is highly likely to be true.
My gaffe... but also a gaff to skewer philosophical... stuff.

--

Ironic Karma



Wikipedia
Smiling Buddha was the assigned code name of India's first nuclear weapon explosion on 18 May 1974. The device was detonated on the army base Rajasthan Pokhran Test Range by the Indian Army under the supervision of several key Indian army personnel.

Perhaps this was to balance out J. Robert Oppenheimer's reference to Shiva the Destroyer at the Trinity test in 1945.

Perhaps it was an ironic karma.

--

Kyoto Sketches: Page 2


Dark Matter Explains Soccer Ball Theory!



What a thrill it is to live in such exciting times!
Our understanding of the universe in which we live has undergone more changes in 100 years than it has in the previous 100,000. Even now Science tries to discover the secrets of Dark Matter. Dark Matter is supposed to be a prime constituent of the universe, but it has never been observed and was originally included into theories to explain why the universe was, after all, not literally flying apart in its rush of expansion.

Dark Matter has mass and is invisible. When the "matter" is settled, another revolution in thought will have occurred; that's about the 344th paradigm shift in my lifetime. The Dark Matter is so preponderant that some scientists have described the observable entities of the universe as floating within a wash of Dark Matter, this dark matter keeping everything compact, so to speak. If this is not the ancient - not to say discarded-notion of the Aether, then I don't know what is.
The Aether goes back to prehistory, I'm sure, and we catch on to the grab bar of its careening trolley about the time of Heraclitus. The Aether is a medium in which the entities of the universe swim about in ptolemaic regularity. Newton saw no need for the Aether. Subsequent generations saw no proof for the existence of the Aether, and so it was consigned to the dustbin of thought. In fact, I think the Aether hung around the old pool hall of Natural Philosophy, hustling games from kids, until J.J. Thompson proved that the speed of light was a constant.

Not so fast, pally.

We are digging that concept back out of the tip, dusting it off, and bringing it into the house. The story of Dark Matter and Aether reminds me mightily of Boudou Sauvé des Eaux, or Down and Out in Beverly Hills, take your pick. wherein the disreputable downer-on-his-luck is samaritaned, brought in and fed, and is taken to buy a new suit of clothes.
And the old guy looks pretty good when you dress him up.
And, pace my grandfather, you apparently may make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

I touched on this refurbishment of old concepts- sort of Flip This Paradigm or Conceptual Intercession-once before in http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2007/02/football-of-pythagoras.html wherein we see :

More precisely, we may inhabit a dodecahedral cosmos. It is, according to the scientists, the best way to account for the latest satellite observations.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3175352.stm

and a dodecahedron is but a soccer ball, and this soccer ball was what Pythagoras said was the Holkos, the prime element which contained all the other elements of the universe. So Pythagoras beat Science to the punch and had to wait 2,500 years for royalties.


Also Democritus with his Atomic Theory.
People will say that the ancient ideas had no connection to the modern scientific ideas. This claim is based on the fact that the ancient did not have a scientific method with which to cast their theoretical nets wide upon the face of the Deep, so to speak. (This view ignores the Antikythera device, as well as Archimedes and many others.)

However, I find it striking that the same essential ideas recur in grossly differing milieus. It is as if the human mind is constituted to be aware in certain ways and certain ways only, just as the eye sees only in the visible spectrum. Thus, certain great motifs, emblems, paradigms and templates of understanding are repeated throughout history.

Thus, the Aether as the medium wherein we all bathe. If I were to say "...wherein we all float," then the effect is transformed into something alien and frightening: Pennywise of Stephen King's IT. However, the medium where we swim, bathe; that is comforting. The aetherous medium has both aspects of Love and Comfort versus Fear and Flight, combining these opposites within its meaning. It is a very wide ranging concept, therefore.

We live our lives between The Fear of God and The Love of God. There will always be an Aether and there will always be a Vacuum; the Full and the Void; the Plethos and the Kainon. We fast to purge, to empty, to be void in body and to be abased and humble in the mind. We eat to fill, to feast, to be sated in body and to be exalted and drunk with nutrients! All life is what we already know, see, do, and feel.

We only have to try to pick Life back up from the dirt ( or from the River Seine or from the backyard swimming pool as in the films mentioned above), brush it off (or blow-dry it out), and everything will be...not necessarily fine, but everything will be better........

--

Lest We Forget

In order to understand the 20th Century, we have to look deeply.
I think it is important to remember Ayn Rand, who as recently as Paul Ryan choice to be Mitt Romney's Vice President was being mentioned as a brilliant young thing in economics and politics back in the day.

But all was not so brilliant...
It was the 20th Century, after all... the doorstep to the 21st.

I reprint this.





If you recall, Mr. Paul Ryan, the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 2012, had a favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand.
Libertarians, some conservatives, Sean Hannity, and Paul Ryan extolled her philosophy of Objectivism.

Ms. Rand was very deep, indeed.
From Romancing The Stone-Cold Killer: Ayn Rand And William Hickman
http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/romancing-the-stone-cold.html

In her journal circa 1928 Rand quoted the statement, "What is good for me is right," a credo attributed to a prominent figure of the day, William Edward Hickman. Her response was enthusiastic. "The best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I have heard," she exulted. (Quoted in Ryan, citing Journals of Ayn Rand, pp. 21-22.)

At the time, she was planning a novel that was to be titled The Little Street, the projected hero of which was named Danny Renahan.According to Rand scholar Chris Matthew Sciabarra, she deliberately modeled Renahan - intended to be her first sketch of her ideal man - after this same William Edward Hickman. Renahan, she enthuses in another journal entry, "is born with a wonderful, free, light consciousness -- [resulting from] the absolute lack of social instinct or herd feeling. He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people ... Other people do not exist for him and he does not understand why they should." (Journals, pp. 27, 21-22; emphasis hers.)

"A wonderful, free, light consciousness" born of the utter absence of any understanding of "the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people." Obviously, Ayn Rand was most favorably impressed with Mr. Hickman. He was, at least at that stage of Rand's life, her kind of man.

So the question is, who exactly was he?

William Edward Hickman was one of the most famous men in America in 1928. But he came by his fame in a way that perhaps should have given pause to Ayn Rand before she decided that he was a "real man" worthy of enshrinement in her pantheon of fictional heroes.

You see, Hickman was a forger, an armed robber, a child kidnapper, and a multiple murderer.

Other than that, he was probably a swell guy.

In December of 1927, Hickman, nineteen years old, showed up at a Los Angeles public school and managed to get custody of a twelve-year-old girl, Marian (sometimes Marion) Parker.
Marian Parker's dead and dismembered body was found soon after.

Further on,
[...]

Now here are some of Rand's notes on the fictional hero she was developing, with Hickman (or what he "suggested") as a model:

"Other people have no right, no hold, no interest or influence on him. And this is not affected or chosen -- it's inborn, absolute, it can't be changed, he has 'no organ' to be otherwise. In this respect, he has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.' "

"He shows how impossible it is for a genuinely beautiful soul to succeed at present, for in all [aspects of] modern life, one has to be a hypocrite, to bend and tolerate. This boy wanted to command and smash away things and people he didn't approve of."

Apparently what Hickman suggested to Ayn Rand was "a genuinely beautiful soul." The soul of Marian Parker, the murdered girl, evidently did not suggest any comparably romantic notions to her.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there is a term for a person who has "no organ" by which to understand other human beings -- a person who "can never realize and feel 'other people.'" That word is sociopath. I mean this quite literally and not as a rhetorical flourish. A sociopath, by definition, is someone who lacks empathy and cannot conceive of other people as fully real. It is precisely because the sociopath objectifies and depersonalizes other human beings that he is able to inflict pain and death without remorse...
Leopold and Loeb come to mind immediately.

The story is ghastly, and we almost had a new national philosopher who reveled in such horrors.
Some have put it down to youthful infatuation with Nietzsche in European philosophy. There was a good deal of interest in the Nietzschean Superman in Europe at the time, just as there was in genetic purity in America under the aegis of the Euthanasia Society of America (which itself is a history worth reading).

Read it and vomit at how close we came to a new low.

(Note:  I do not for one minute think Paul Ryan ever got further than watching the movie with Gary Cooper. Hannity probably did not get that far.)

--
you may also read a post in The Daily Kos,
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/19/968385/-Hero-or-Monster-Ayn-Rand-and-William-Hickman#

--

The Corruption Of A Concept




Train-and-Equip: Fight for Pluralism in Syria
Posted by Matthew Barber on Monday, March 9th, 2015
written by Nicholas A. Heras
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/train-and-equip-fight-for-pluralism-in-syria/

(my comments are italicized in dark purple.)
This month, the United States and several of its Middle Eastern allies will begin training Syrian fighters through a revamped train-and-equip program that will form the core first class of Syria’s non-jihadist armed opposition. At this stage, the program will seek to identify, train, and support 5,000 Syrian rebel fighters a year for three years, and will likely involve the cooperation of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and could also include Jordan. Optimally, the end game of this reportedly more robust train-and-equip program will be a Syria that emerges from its civil war with a pluralistic government, the Assad regime removed, and the more ideologically radical elements of the Syrian rebel movement defeated and marginalized.

(From our experience over the last 40 years - going back to our support of rebels in Afghanistan fighting the Afghan government which was backed by the Soviet Union.
We have been fighting there since 2001.
We instituted regime change in Iraq, and have been fighting there since 2003.
We supported regime change in Libya, and there has been chaos ever since.

We do, however, keep warning ourselves of the dangers that come from these chaotic areas.)

The need for a competent rebel force on the ground is heightened by the reality that the large segment of the Syrian population that supports the uprising will continue to need protection and security, but will want it provided by an alternative to the Assad regime. (unproven assumption... are surveys being taken throughout the war zones of Syria? Or are these opinions held by the Syrian "Chalabis" who are living and lobbying in Washington?) This force will also need to be strong enough to secure the local areas in which it is located and to impede the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), currently the major policy objective driving the revamped program. As proposed today in a Foreign Policy article by former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, a refashioned rebel army with a unified command and control structure that can enforce discipline within the ranks will be vital, as will its need to appeal to Syria’s minority communities.
(Admirable technical discussion. Now all we need is a reference to "winning hearts and minds".)

Ford referred to the current train-and-equip program as “too little, too late,” and he makes a compelling argument for the administration’s need to either “undertake a major effort or walk away.” But while a target of 15,000 fighters trained over three years may sound insufficient to fundamentally shift the conflict, the effort can have great impact if it serves as a standard-bearing “train-the-trainer” model that builds up over time, from community to community.
(Good. There is a model:  "train-the-trainer". Now I feel that I can see the "light at the end of the tunnel.)

From the outset, however, the train-and-equip program will have to answer questions about how its objective for the state will be an improvement over the current Syrian republic which encompasses diverse sectarian and ethnic backgrounds, despite the authoritarian power of the Assad family, the corrupt Ba’ath syndicate deep state, and its brutal security system. (The use of perjorative descriptions - authoritarian, corrupt, etc. - is an example of politicking and rhetoric, not any kind of intelligent analysis.)  Nevertheless, the current Syrian republic, its advocates point out, has a longer and more practiced history of relative pluralism than that of the Syrian opposition, which has largely been splintered by factionalism and its armed groups heavily influenced by militant Islamist ideology. These are valid points, and the United States and its allies will need to address them in order to build up the capacity of the opposition to participate in a transition from the Assad regime.

Thus, United States’ strategic objective for guiding the train-and-equip program should be to build into the training a firm ideological component that seeks a pluralistic and democratic order in Syria, promoting the equal rights of all of Syrians. This will be a challenge, as the U.S.-led effort must reconcile the previous influence of its participating partners, particularly Qatar and Turkey, who have much-criticized records of influencing the armed opposition toward a more militantly Islamist ideological position. It will also need to respect and incorporate, but also moderate, the conviction of many Syrian rebel fighters that they are on a religious mission to fight a corrupt regime. Achieving the right balance in this ideological model, and making it stick for the entirety of the rest of the conflict to follow, would be an accomplishment with potentially exponential effects on the course of the war and its aftermath...
(This paragraph has admirably described a situation which present policy makers have no idea how to go about achieving, other than civil war and hope for the best.)

Is it, or is it not, a corruption of the very concept of Democracy to spread chaos under the guise of well reasoned  campaigns of violence?

Is it not a diseased notion of Democracy to establish regimes of perpetual instability, to flood the population of refugees and displaced persons, and to condemn generations to lives of bare subsistence?

All the logic of the Best and the Brightest brought us to disaster in Vietnam, and it seeks to do so ever and ever again.

--


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Picking-Up Teams For The Level-Playing Field

A Level Playing-Field for TeleComm, Suh! 
An Equal Opportunity for All and Sundry...



Inside the Major Political Fight for Broadband Internet That's Brewing Across America
Republicans are fighting hard against the idea of public networks.
By David Morris / AlterNet
March 9, 2015

...The decision arose from a petition to the FCC by Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina asking it to overturn state laws that prevent them from extending their highly successful publicly owned networks to surrounding communities eager to connect. The FCC’s decision affects just those two states’ laws but will undoubtedly become a precedent to evaluate most of the other 17 states’ restrictions on municipal broadband.

Republicans grumbled at the net neutrality decision but they positively shrieked their dismay when the FCC ruled in favor of local authority. Within hours of the vote Republicans introduced a bill stripping the FCC of its authority to do so. A year ago Republicans introduced a similar bill that would have prevented the FCC from even taking up the issue. That bill passed the House. Republicans voted 221-4 in favor. The bill died in the Senate.

The Economic Argument: Protecting Shareholders and Taxpayers

Republicans marshal both economic and political arguments in their case against public networks. The economic argument is simply put: By pre-empting local authority Republicans are protecting shareholders from unfair competition and taxpayers from unwise investments by local governments.

That municipal telecommunications networks have unfair advantages is a well-worn trope of telecom giants and Republicans. On the face of it, the proposition is preposterous. Does anyone truly believe that Salisbury, North Carolina whose public network at the time North Carolina passed its law had only 1,000 customers and whose municipal budget was only $34 million could have a competitive advantage over Time Warner, with 14 million customers and annual revenues of $18 billion?

[...]

Preposterous or not, Republicans and telecoms are sticking with the argument. Indeed North Carolina legislators unblushingly titled their bill the Level Playing Field/Local Gov't Competition Act.

In this debate about unfair competition private telecoms would like us to forget about the enormous subsidies gifted to them in the past. In 1991... Telephone companies enthusiastically applauded the Vice President’s vision and rushed to request permission of state regulatory commissions to boost prices and increase profits in order to generate the capital needed to rewire the country. Most promised to achieve the rewiring within 20 years. ..

State legislatures and regulatory commissions almost uniformly acquiesced, agreeing, in effect, to tax phone (and later cable) customers to finance a new privately built and owned state of the art telecommunications network...  by 2014 Americans were collectively charged about $400 billion by Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink. In the mid 1990s cable companies pushed their snouts into the public trough with an agreement called the Social Contract. Kushnick estimates that from 1996 to 2014 cable customers paid about $61 billion extra.
By now, if the telecom companies had kept their promises we might well have a national broadband network that would be the envy of the world. Instead many consider the United States a laggard in high speed, affordable broadband.
 That's what I like about Republicans.

There's always a free lunch... if you have the right ancestors, or if you know the right people.

--

Edge Of The Future

?

I forgot whatever portentiously meaningful fluff I intended to write here.

The title is, however, too good to merely trash.
Therefore, imagine a deeply perceptive post here.


--

2014 Survey Of Muslim Communities




We read in The Hummus:

7 Lame-Ass Muslims Who Did Absolutely Nothing in 2014
By Yahya Ridwan
http://www.thehummusnews.com/843/

#5      Rollah “Marry Me Yesterday” Hossain (photograph above)

Rollah wants to get married yesterday. She’s been on muslima.com and halfourdeen.com, and is starting to look into using Tinder. Rollah is looking for a sugar daddy that can support her fake Prada addiction. She figures investing her time tricking an eligible Muslim bachelor into marrying her is much easier than hitting the gym and trying to graduate.
She has been considering a shift in strategy toward aunt-based solutions, since one of her ugly cousins owns a few dealerships. Meanwhile, she continues to refine her go-to recipes in preparation for her Food Network cooking show, which she assures us is forthcoming. She has only food-poisoned her family three times in the last two years, making her one of the better cooks in her house, second only to her eleven-year-old little know-it-all sister.

--


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Why Johnny Can't Read Virgil Nor Star Trek




I was reading about chocolate:

When Chocolate was Medicine: Colmenero, Wadsworth and Dufour 
http://publicdomainreview.org/2015/01/28/when-chocolate-was-medicine-colmenero-wadsworth-and-dufour/

and I came across this:

...The very first translation of the Tratado  ( Colmenero’s Curioso Tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate )  was published in English by army captain James Wadsworth, whose travels to Spain had introduced him to the wonders of the cacao beverage: A Curious Treatise of The Nature and Quality of Chocolate. Written in Spanish by Antonio Colmenero, Doctor in Physicke and Chirurgery. And put into English by Don Diego de Vades-forte (1640).
Wadsworth published it under the feisty pseudonym Don Diego de Vadesforte, which may well be a metaphor for the drink: vādēs forte is Latin for “you will go” and “strong one.” Whatever the source of the name, the Latin offers the modern reader a good sense of the reputation with which chocolate entered British culture.
And I stumbled, quite sure that "forte" was not the vocative "O, strong one!" as if addressing a person, but was used as an adverb "strongly, bravely".

So vades-forte should mean "you shall bravely go".

It is most likely derived from Virgil when Dido, Queen of Carthage, addresses Aeneas, her new lover, thus:

"You shall boldly go... where no man has gone before"

which is the source of some puzzlement, given the reading and interpretation of the line. We wonder endlessly about Dido's remark of   more ferae   "the customs of the wild and untamed animals" in [Aeneid 4.550-52]





--





Tuesday, March 03, 2015

To Speech Or Not To Speech 4






Peace!

A little peace for West Bank,
A little peace for Golan;

A little peace for Gaza,
and to all a bisl shalom!


--
note:
bisl shalom is how I would yiddishly say "a little peace", and pronounce "bisel SHA-lum" with emphasis on the first syllable, pronouncing the "a" as in "father",  and a short ending syllable

If anyone asks, the only people on my mind are Bibi and Mel Brooks.