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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Brotherhood's New Jahaliya

I have to take back everything good I ever said about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

I never said they were very sharp, though.

In my thrill of seeing a new Egypt, I forgot that the Brotherhood was a backward-looking group, looking to reclaim splendors of the past...

They tend to overshoot Egypt's past splendors and end their backwards time travel in a new period of Jahaliya stupidity, where the institution of religion itself has become the New Idolatry.

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The Surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King




From  garry's subposthaven:
http://sub.garrytan.com/martin-luther-king-jr-was-wiretapped-and-sent-an-anonymous-letter-from-j-edgar-hoover-encouraging-him-to-kill-himself


[President John F. Kennedy]admitted later he asked the FBI to make an intensive investigation of Martin Luther King. And that on October 10th, 1963, he personally authorized the FBI to begin wiretapping King's phones. The Kennedys were most certainly not alone in these attitudes toward Dr. King in the 1960s, much of the security apparatus of the cold war American state was obsessed with the idea that the civil rights movement was infiltrated by communists, and working to tear down U.S. society from the inside. And no single person captured the fear and paranoia of the security apparatus more than Dr. Martin Luther King.

So faced with what they perceived as a threat, the security state did what all security states do when faced with a perceived threat. They surveilled Dr. King around the clock. They stalked his every move, broke into and bugged his office. They bugged his hotel rooms and they tapped into his phones. The FBI and Jay Edgar Hoover were obsessed with ruining Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

In 1964, after Hoover called King the most "notorious liar in the country" in a press conference, a package was sent to King in the mail, a package the House select committee ultimately traced back to the FBI. Inside this package, one of the most remarkable artifacts in American history was an anonymous letter addressed to Martin Luther King and a copy of an electronic surveillance tape apparently to lend credence to threats of exposure of derogatory personal information made in the letter. We don't know to this day for sure what was on that tape. The heavy speculation throughout the years it was of personal and sexual nature recorded by a device planted in Dr. King's hotel room. 

The letter that came with the tape read in part, "you know you are complete fraud and a great liability to all of us negroes. The American public will know you for what you are, an evil abnormal beast. King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation." The committee considered it highly likely that Director Hoover had before the fact knowledge of the action. 

So that's a letter encouraging Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to kill himself, sent to King from the FBI. This happened in American history.

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We, the sheep, like to say that if we have nothing to hide, we should not care if the government invades our privacy to keep us safe.
Remember this; remember what governments are like.

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We Need An NRA For Our Privacy

The Fourth Amendment states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
"Shall not be violated..."

If the US government wishes to spy on its allies in the EU, fine. That's just the way Washington wins "hearts and minds".

But it shall not violate the constitution further.

And I thought we did not need guns to protect ourselves from the government...

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The Shape Of Flash Crash To Come

A Flash Crash need not take the form of a financial flash crash.

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Washington's Failure

The dilemma in Washington now is for the Obama administration to find a middle path in dealing with the political crisis in Egypt. It has been refraining from pushing the Muslim Brotherhood or the Egyptian presidency from making real concessions to the opposition, and at the same time it has abandoned earlier conditions for its support for the new government, especially regarding human rights and the rule of law...
This is from Al Ahram Weekly, and it chronicles Washington's ineffective policies on Egypt; these policies are a good example of the absurd policies to the entire Middle East.

What does Washington do well?

Washington can send troops, collect emails, and create a electronic surveillance dictatorship, but it fails miserably at just helping human beings...

If you doubt me, remember than when tornadoes tore through Joplin, Missouri two years ago, Rep. Eric Cantor wanted to hold off disaster aid until cuts elsewhere could be found to offset them.
Disaster aid is basic helping other human beings, and many of the minds in Washington wanted to hold up that aid. Well, Joplin would still be waiting, and this does not even take into consideration Hurricane Sandy.
Basic kindness and helping the sick and hurt takes a back seat to arguments of Power and Money.

Both sides have been corrupted thoroughly. They are not our representatives anymore, not Congress, not the Administration. Everything is Power and Money, Gold and Oil. There is no basic human kindliness that exists in the Byzantine framework called Washington D.C.
Politics, Money, and Power.

Whenever politicians want to mix religion and politics and cry about culture wars, they haul out the Ten Commandments...
Not once do they invoke the Sermon on the Mount; not once are the Meek to be Blessed!
They do not believe it.
They do believe Commandments. That is something those in Power understand.
But they do not understand those who hunger and thirst for justice sake.

Our Washington D.C. is the Dismal Future In Waiting...

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Egypt Discovers



Egyptians have known that Prayer is better than Sleep, and they seem now to have discovered that electricity, jobs, gasoline, and basic services are better than politico-religious ideology:

Ahram Online:
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentP/1/75341/Egypt/Live-updates--Millions-pour-onto-Egypts-streets-fo.aspx
Millions pour onto Egypt's streets for anti-Morsi protests; 1 killed in Beni Suef

“Mubarak repressed us, but at least he gave us services; at least he didn’t cut the electricity, water and petrol like now.”...

“Nothing has changed; my salary didn’t increase. My wife is pregnant, how will I provide for my baby?” added Nabil...


Crowds are chanting: “national unity against the Muslim Brotherhood” and “you who rule in the name of religion, where is justice and where is religion?”...

 “Abdel-Nasser has said it before, the Muslim Brotherhood are not to be trusted,” a famous chant referring to former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser...
Islam is facing two crises: the place of religion in the modern world, and the disastrous fratricidal war between Shi'a and Sunni.

There are no guarantees,   رفاقي

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Prescience and Prophecy

Prophecy is not a statement of future facts, whereas Prescience is.

There are a lot of people who go around saying bad things are going to happen rather soon, and it is all due to whatever behavior they disapprove of. Donald Trump says that everyone will lose their money, NewsMax habitually has disaster in their view, morals are declining and the day of reckoning is at hand...

Well, since we are all prone to death and decay, some day of reckoning is always at hand.
To be precise, bad things are always happening, so it takes no particular brains to be on the gloomy side.

It is a trivial statement to prophesy doom.
Many of the Prophets themselves got it a bit wrong, and things did not work out according to their exact words.

Prescience is a different matter. It depends upon Intuition, and that depends upon losing the predispositions inherent in the structure of the overweening Ego.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Golden Calves

The Genius of Electronic Surveillance


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God The Businessman

My mother liked Mitt Romney because he was such a successful businessman.

That logic only goes a short way, however.

Were God a businessman, the Universe would still not yet be created...

The Return On Investment would not be right, the turn around would not be fast enough, and the whole project would just be too, too speculative.
Better to have a committee as the Divine Designer and let them take some collective responsibility...

When we write our tithing checks, we are treating God like some divine Creditor or Holy vendor already, aren't we? 10% due 10th mo. prox.
The deal is He gives us life and blessings... and some bad stuff... and we give him praise and 10% tithing. A solid quid pro quo, if there ever was one.

That's probably why we changed "Forgive us our debts..." to "Forgive us our trespasses..."

The check is in the mail.

--

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Middle East Nuclear Spiral?




There is a possibility of losing control of matters, particularly in the Middle East. To lose control of nuclear technology is like being a member of the serving staff standing outside the oaken dining room door of Destruction Abbey, waiting to carry in the salmon in aspic just as the Duke of Hell is twiddling with the detonator.

Good article:
Al Ahram Online
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/74582/World/Region/Preventing-a-nuclear-spiral-in-the-Middle-East.aspx


Hans Blix is there.
I consider him to be a stormy petrel of the first order, since he reminds me of Mr. Bush's Iraq adventure; he reminds me frighteningly of our ability to deceive ourselves in a large-scale disaster:
Addressing an audience of 800 international nuclear technology experts, Blix also touched on the question of the alleged possession of nuclear weapons by the regime of Saddam Hussein, used to justify the US war on Iraq.
Iraq did not even have a nuclear programme to begin with, he said. The IAEA inspection teams that went to Iraq did not produce a trace of evidence of the existence of nuclear weaponry or material.

... In interview with CNN, after a nine-year silence, he said that Washington was bent on invading Iraq, regardless of the existence or non-existence of nuclear weapons. After 11 September, the Bush regime was determined to steer the affairs of the Arab world, beginning by creating a model for democratic transformation in Iraq. The plan backfired drastically...
I know you'll wonder why I keep harping on old news... Karma, kid. It's Karma.
We are all ancient mariners with our albatross necklaces of guilt...

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Ecology and Ali ibn Abi Talib

I meditated yesterday on the Nahj al Balaagha  ( نهج البلاغة )  and it reminded me of a very appropriate sermon on our "strategy" of living on the earth:

This world is a place for which destruction is ordained and for its inhabitants departure from here is destined.
It is sweet and green. It hastens towards its seeker and attaches to the heart of the viewer.
So depart from here with the best of provision available with you and do not ask herein more than what is enough and do not demand from it more than subsistence.
 I find it interesting, and I think of it both as a military metaphor and just good advice to be ready to leave, and do not ask for too much, and be satisfied with enough to maintain life.

These are concepts rather alien to us.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

An Adventure In Art (31)

Morning Light in Liberty Village


C.A. Jeffrey
Postcards From The Hammer

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Sinbad Running Upon Asphalt Rivers


An Asphalt River of a Sinbad Runner



نهج البلاغة

Finally, after two years of troubles: problems with the knee ligaments, then problems with the ankle tendons, I have reached a point where I have no particularly unusual pain during and after running. And this is a real mitvah, I think, a real blessing.

Given my advanced age, I have to be focused while running; I cannot blithely "pick 'em up and put 'em down" willy-nilly, like a young kid. I have to preserve the tendons and ligaments for another few years. I have been more or less doing this for more than 50 years, so I would miss the sweaty treat of the morning wind and the peppery smell of pollens and the asphalt river upon which we Sinbad runners sail...

I meditate while running. I have to keep it along the lines of the jogging endeavor, so as not to lose sight of what I am doing. When I forget I am running, I wobble, waiver, and disaster awaits.

Today I meditated on a sermon from the Nahj al Balaagha  ( in Arabic above left)  of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son in law of the Prophet. This is a sermon that, for me, is very appropriate and often the object of attention. These words were delivered to large groups and often in a military setting, so keep that in mind if some of the expressions seem to sound odd, such as "Your last ones are being awaited...", which makes a good deal of sense if we think of the rear guard of an army - or, in my case, the stragglers in a running race who lag behind.
Your goal - reward or punishment - is before you.
Behind your back is the hour of resurrection which is driving you on.
Stay light and overtake (the forward ones). Your last ones are being awaited by the first ones (who have preceded).

--


Friday, June 21, 2013

Ricin Syndrome

When Elvis impersonators and soap opera actresses obsess about producing the poison ricin from castor beans and sending envelopes full of it to government officials.

No one cares that I got an e-mail with ricin in it...

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Things To Never Say When Leaving A Public Lavatory



From the BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22998915
An Israeli Jew has been shot dead near Jerusalem's Western Wall after a guard mistook him for a Palestinian militant, police say.
Gunfire was heard on Friday morning at the wall - one of Judaism's holiest sites where hundreds of worshippers were attending prayers at the time.

Police say the guard shot the man after hearing him shout "Allahu Akbar".
The area, which is patrolled by armed guards, closed to visitors for about an hour but has now reopened.
The incident took place at about 07:40 local time (04:40 GMT) as the man emerged from a public toilet at the wall compound.

A police spokesman said the guard drew his weapon and fired a number of shots at the man after hearing him shout "Allahu Akbar" (God is great, in Arabic).
The man had his hands in his pockets at the time he was approached by the guard, the spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said.
 I guess that counts as profiling:  A guy with hands in pockets shouting "God is great!"
He was emerging from a public toilet, the story says. That in itself is an important detail, I guess. I do not think I shall ever understand those crazy Palestinians... and those mad people who shoot them...

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The Mist


















The Mist at Jones Beach, NY


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Winds of Jurassic Park




GM wheat  (genetically modified wheat) was found growing wild in Oregon last month. This is some years after test fields had been removed.

Anybody who had seen Jurassic Park knew that the probability of the same GM wheat popping up somewhere nearby was greater by quite a bit than the probability that the GM wheat was strictly under control, and it would never occur in that area again - unless somebody planted it deliberately.
Nature abhors a vacuum and stretches itself out to fill in all the voids in the genetic landscape.

The wind blows free...

--

The House of Treasure





From Mosaic:
http://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/2013/06/fossilized-judaism/
Perhaps the most important book on the Jewish bookshelf is the Shulhan Aruch. Composed by Rabbi Yosef Karo in 1563, the Shulhan Aruch is the code of Jewish law and Judaism’s most authoritative book. It sets down precisely what the law is in the myriad of circumstances in which a Jew can find himself. I remember as a boy, my rabbi told me that if a Jew could take one book with him to a desert island, it should be this one...
I remember a line from a Dean Koontz novel:
"Did you find Jesus in jail?"
and it referred to the frequent experience of being withdrawn from society, incarcerated, and finding religion and redemption.

However, in our Society, we do not merely "find Jesus" or merely find a religious point of view; we also find an entire corpus of catechism, sacred writings, canon laws, and theologies.

When we go on our solitary questing, when we find a point of inspiration, we expect to find a treasure house filled to the brim with gold, diamonds, and rubies.

The quest is, then, over and done with; who wants more than the treasure house teeming with riches?

But the quest is not over. When we seek the Holy, what we should find is a House of Treasure, mostly empty as yet, but which is filled with the potential to be the receptacle of the gold of our good actions.
The House of Treasure is the possibility to be Good, overwhelmingly Good, and to write the novel cathechism of our age.

--


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friendship and Love

'L'Amitié est l'Amour sans ailes.' wrote Charlotte Smith once. 

"Friendship is Love without wings"

But she knew that sometimes those wings had talons, so it is not always clear where Mrs. Smith stood on these matters of the heart.

--

Time Travel




Back in the days when I was Top Dog Roadie for the concert of shows called The Tour - and I think I have written about this: it dealt with religious apparitions, rather like Fatima in its day - I learned a good deal about the world and the flesh. This is a story about the world; the world of physics to be exact.

Most venues required an entire build-up of facilities, from high-tech sound equip to the banal matter of porta-potties. We had contacted local vendors months ahead, and as the hands of time tore off the pages of the calendar, our contacts increased, and we spelled out in excruciating detail our needs: we were an infinite paint-by-numbers-project that had a ravenous appetite, and would their "palette" suffice our needs?
We left nothing to chance.
Actually, we left randomness to chance. We were not aware of that at the time.

As a result, I was not ready for Hessel, Michigan.

Each year, Hessel has a classic boat festival, and it goes back to the time of when the witch king of Angmar was still a jolly good fellow (...and so say all of us!).
Hessel is located in the UP (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan, and it is a small village, and it is not at all the usual venue one might assume desirable for our "concerts", but we "answered to a higher power", and Hessel was one of the places listed on all those t-shirts...

We were there the week after the boat show.

Long story short, during the first evening I get a call from Security that there had been a "skirmish" out yonder by the porta-potties. Details were sketchy, and I thought it best to leave the A/C comfort of my Southern Comfort trailer and wander over to check things out.

We had ordered 15 potty units. We had received 15 units, and we had placed them more or less in a row under the oak trees on the northeast corner of the property. When I arrived in my The Tour Golf Cart © , I could pretty well see what the problem was; there were only 7 potties under the trees. Some of those were tilted at precarious angles.
Eight units had been stolen.
Except Security told me they had been around the area, and if a truck had come and lifted off eight potties, someone would have seen it. No, the potties had vanished. So... like, who wants - or needs - eight porta-potties, laden with their unique chemistry?
Was there a new drug manufactured from the potty chemicals and uric acid and what-all-else is in a porta-potty?

Security directed my attention to a couple small groups of agitated folks. It turns out they had witnessed the whole thing: while their pals and buds were using the porta-potties, everything disappeared in a flash of light. Now their friends were not here.
They wanted to know if this was, like, part of the show, and I assured them it was not. Just then, John Constable, the local sheriff drove up with all lights flashing. As an aside, I always refer to the local cops by nicknames based on the names of English painters. It helps keep me focused. The NYPD was run by a nice guy named Gainsborough, as I recall.

After stories had been taken, I went back to the office, the sheriff following me, and once there I put in a emergency call to Benny's Porta Johns, from whom we had rented these units. Benny had a 24-hour hot line, which was his home phone, and the missus answered on the 10th ring: it was almost 11:00 PM and she sounded as if she were hot, indeed, about being disturbed at that time of night.

I eventually got Benny on the phone.

There was about 10 minutes of fuzzy-wuzzy, sleep-befuddled slapstick we had to wade through to begin our conversation, but he eventually began to get up to speed.

"Oh... I see." he said.
"Good..." I said.
"Porta-Potties..." he said with emphasis.
"Indeed." I said.

There was a pause, a hiatus that extended out through a series of saxophone-like coughs.

He was back. "I thought you said you wanted Portal-Potties...", he said with emphasis.
"What the heck?!" I said with emphasis.

Short story long, it turns out that the potties shipped to us were time portals - future and past... sorta like Star Gate and The Time Machine and what have you - and they were definitely not standard issue porta-potty. Not by a long chalk. Portal-Potties... simple as that.

The sheriff took a while to come around to the new view of the sitch (situation), since he was not as used to the types of other-natural events that came around all the time in my line of Roadie work.
He wanted to know why - exactly! exactly, why! -  terlets (toilets) or potties should be time travel devices, or more important, why should a time machine be made in the shape of a potty?

He had a good point.

I mean, why would anyone want to travel in time while their pants were down? Pants open or down? It would give one a bad rep in whatever time one traveled to, unless, of course, it was one of those rare times when such things were the style, but those eras were few and far between.

Summing it up, John Constable (Yes, he told me. Yes. My Mother named me after the painter.) was not easily persuaded, since, as he put it, he was born at night, but not the immediately previous spell between dark and dawn.

I gave him some coffee, and then started on the computer.
I motioned him over as I Googled "sudden appearances toilets..." and amazingly we found references to events of people floating into a shocked and appalled view while seemingly taking care of "business".
We looked for a historical event we were familiar with, finally finding something in the travels of Lewis and Clark in the area known as the Badlands... something about a mad shaman pelting the explorers with what appeared to a later and wiser age to be blue colored urinal cakes.

John Constable called Benny back.  "Get down here! We gotta get them folks back!... I see... I see... Yes! Yes! Isee... Yeah we gotta do it now, Benny!"
He hung up the phone.
"Can he do it?" I asked.
"Hmm...?" John Constable said.
"Get them back?" I asked.
"Yeah. I think so."
John was silent for a second, mulling over something he had trouble putting into words.
"Benny said he thinks he can do it. Said the portal-potties flush both ways."
I nodded approvingly.

It had been a long day, and it was not over. I wondered about the past... and the future, too! I was sure we'd get a handle (no pseudo-pun by association intended) on it; the evil of the past and future days are sufficient thereto, and need none of our help.

--

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Weapons Trade

The international trade in weapons, whether it takes the form of an outright sale or whether it is disguised as some form of military aid, is as destructive and as immoral as the opium trade of the past, with which Britain paid for her imperial adventures in India.

We are deeply involved in the Capitalism of Violence, Wars, and Weaponry; we justify our involvement by saying that everyone is doing it, even our enemies, and we therefore must take part in a Mutually Assured Weaponry, in order to safeguard the precious ideals of our country.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Limits Of Reason

MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction, is a strategic concept that came into being with the atomic bomb. The only way to control nuclear arms is all sides having enough weaponry to destroy everyone else many times over. It is a rational concept.

Yet, even given that MAD is a concept of strategy arrived at by strict application of rationality, it is still insane, is it not?

Furthermore, did not Adolf Eichmann administer the Holocaust in a most rational manner, with extensive planning and record keeping?

Reason has its limits.

--

Friday, June 14, 2013

Syria And The Future

I have to meditate on our involvement in Syria. I have found it most disturbing.

More wealth and money is spent on establishing ongoing spots of discord, and the goals are nebulous. I do not think that the objectives of our leadership would stand up under the light of day. Ask them, President Obama and Senator McCain: "What are your goals?"

Human rights?
By what imperative do we go around forcing our view of rights down peoples' throats? Did George Washington counsel us to do so?
No, I fear our purported interest in other peoples' freedoms is nothing more than a desire to subject them to our views of freedom, and to control them with our system of "Freedom under Surveillance".

But these are all political statements.

Now I seek the spiritual. The answer is there, staring us in the face, but we can't recognize it yet.

I have to meditate on it now, because I have a very distinct unsettling feeling that we are entering a the End-Game of the Chess Game with Death we have been playing for a century or more.

--

Freeport High School, Illinois




I have come into possession of a silver water pitcher awarded to my great-grandparents, David and Sophronia Parsons, from the students of the Freeport, Illinois, High School in 1867.

I suppose it was due to their being outstanding teachers. My grandmother was a teacher, also, before she married... played ladies basketball at Ypsilanti Normal School, too.

David and Sophronia were the parents of William T. Parsons, who married Anna Owen from New York, and they two were the parents of my grandmother, Myra. William T. also had two sisters, Lorena and Lulubell.

What was the mascot for the Fighting Freeport Illini ?

--
photo:  Robert Bike,   http://www.robertbike.com/

--

Syria

The decision to send military aid to the rebels will come back to haunt us.

--

Democracy vs. Surveillance 1

1.0
Democracy and Surveillance are at odds.

1.1
Democracy seeks to have a society with fulfilled and integral individuals.

1.2
Surveillance society practices alienation.

1.3
In the present situation, the Surveillance hierarchy seeks to alienate an Individual from that Individual's Communication; i.e., to make the Expression of the individual mind a commodity which is open to scrutiny at any time.

1.4
In its essence, Surveillance creates a prison of the Inquisition, similar to Poe's The Pit and The Pendulum, wherein it is not the individual's body that is imprisoned and subject to torturous scrutiny, but the expressions and communications of the individual which are imprisoned and subject to inquisition.

1.5
Since one can never be sure whether one is under surveillance, it is safest to always "toe the line".


(Note to section 1
For most of history, human society's creativity has been bipolar, incorporating creative impulses in pairs: a thesis and its antithesis.

In this time of history, we see the unparalleled growth of Surveillance, which works to create a docility based on the possibility of always being under observation, and we see the growth of its antithesis, which is a great burst of creative individuality often fed by a desire to separate the creative artist from the drabness of docile sameness.)



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Syria Is A Symbol For Failure

In a civil war between brothers in religion, Syria is a symbol and an actuality of the failure of the modern theology and modern politics of present day Arab culture.

Religion has been turned into hatred, and politics into confusion.

Will this failure be reversed?

--

Lies My Government Told Me


http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-02-130613.html
... In March, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper flatly denied the NSA collects "any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans". That was a flat out lie. And Senator Dianne Feinstein let it pass.

We expect better lies from our government, don't we?

Anyway, just as we invented drones and use them to kill the top dogs of Al Qaida... and whatever civilians may be standing around, and thereby invite further hatred and further violence against the US population, so also we invented the internet, use it to eavesdrop and hack foreign governments - who return the favor and we loudly cry "Foul!" - and guarantee that we ourselves will be the targets of foreign tech attacks.

The government does not tell us that, because it ain't a lie.

--

Is Philosophy Dead?



Analytic philosophy is, certainly.
But is all philosophy dead, its functions usurped by science?

Consider the paradigmatic atom bomb.

Headed by Niels Bohr, science took the lead in trying to stave off an arms race and atomic war. Still the bombs were made and used and they multiplied until there were enough bombs to destroy the earth over and over again.

Consider the internet.

Another scientific advance being used to free people subtly being diverted into ways to oppress them.

Scientists do not have control over their creations.
The job of Philosophy is to advance the cause of freedom and equality, to be the mujahideen for the democracy which governments wish to water down and control.

Philosophy lives, and its greatest battles are ahead of us!

--

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Problem With Snooping

As I see it, the problem with the enormous domestic intelligence gathering program lies in our human nature.

Just as we see human difficulties in these systems now, the potential for future abuse, break-downs, and outright criminal activity is brought back to us, reminding us that everything devised by man will sooner or later be degraded into a scam.

Whether future politicians will abscond with our liberties, or future IT specialists will come up with schemes that mirror a Die Hard film, any such outcomes are of high probability; the probability of long term good shepherding of personal data and honor and rectitude are very small: one reason being that the standards of what is "correct" and "good" by NSA dictate are already breached.

Therefore, the probability of abuse is extremely high, in my opinion.

--

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Permafrost Carbon


Terra Daily:

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Is_a_Sleeping_Climate_Giant_Stirring_in_the_Arctic_999.html
Is a Sleeping Climate Giant Stirring in the Arctic
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jun 11, 2013

Over hundreds of millennia, Arctic permafrost soils have accumulated vast stores of organic carbon - an estimated 1,400 to 1,850 petagrams of it (a petagram is 2.2 trillion pounds, or 1 billion metric tons).
That's about half of all the estimated organic carbon stored in Earth's soils. In comparison, about 350 petagrams of carbon have been emitted from all fossil-fuel combustion and human activities since 1850. Most of this carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable topsoils within 10 feet (3 meters) of the surface...
Even our politicians might be able to get together and seriously address things like this that are going to figure in that "grand scheme of things".

--

American History



One of the Foundling Fathers.

--

Monday, June 10, 2013

Atomic Age Mythology

Excellent article in Foreign Policy:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/05/29/the_bomb_didnt_beat_japan_nuclear_world_war_ii?page=0,0
The Bomb Didn't Beat Japan... Stalin Did
Have 70 years of nuclear policy been based on a lie?
BY WARD WILSON | MAY 29, 2013

I approached it very skeptically, ready to argue every point, but the author did a fine job. It is a piece well worth reading, if not for History, then for getting a sense of how Mythology rules our lives.

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A Basic Contradiction Of Secret Operations



Who can evaluate secret ops, when all the pertinent information is secret?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/06/09/edward_snowden_why_did_the_nsa_whistleblower_have_access_to_prism_and_other.html?wpisrc=most_viral
If the NSA Trusted Edward Snowden With Our Data, Why Should We Trust the NSA?
By Farhad Manjoo
Posted Sunday, June 9, 2013, at 7:44 PM
Edward Snowden sounds like a thoughtful, patriotic young man, and I’m sure glad he blew the whistle on the NSA’s surveillance programs. But the more I learned about him this afternoon, the angrier I became. Wait, him? The NSA trusted its most sensitive documents to this guy? And now, after it has just proven itself so inept at handling its own information, the agency still wants us to believe that it can securely hold on to all of our data? Oy vey!

--

The Fatal Cup Of Coffee




http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/06/201369175918244221.html
Syrian rebels 'execute teenager' in Aleppo
Fighters reportedly shot dead a boy they accused of committing blasphemy in the northern city of Aleppo.
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2013 18:45
Rebels fighting the Syrian regime have shot dead a 15-year-old boy in front of his parents and siblings after accusing him of blasphemy, an activist group said.

Al Jazeera was told that the boy, a street vendor selling coffee, was from the Shaar neighbourhood of the northern city of Aleppo. He has been named locally as Mohammad Kattaa.

Reports indicated that he was arguing with another boy on Saturday and used the name of Prophet Muhammad in a common phrase used by Syrians at which point he was picked up by fighters, beaten, and then shot.

"An unidentified Islamist rebel group shot dead a 15-year-old child who worked as a coffee seller in Aleppo, after they accused him of blasphemy," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.

I can hardly wait for the Administration to arm "select" Syrian rebels, who will make a solemn promise not to let crazed, foreign mercenaries use their arms. Crazed, foreign mercenaries will undoubtedly respect their promise, too, so everyone will be safe.

--

ps.


The blasphemy was "Even if the Prophet Muhammad (saws) were to come, I would not sell him coffee on credit."
Essentially, no cash, no credit, no coffee, and expressed in an obviously very old emphatic and humorous form.

--

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Whose Nation Is It?



AP sources: US close to OK on arming Syrian rebels
Associated PressBy BRADLEY KLAPPER 
| Associated Press – 1 hr 23 mins ago

I have been reading the comments. It seems that they are 100% against this madness of arming future terrorists, just like we armed bin Laden in Afghanistan against the USSR, and in the future he changed into our favorite terror.

100%.

But it is just like the Congress on background checks for guns: the majority of the people are by far and away in favor of a plan of action, and the Government, whether Congress of the President, deliberately ignore the wisdhes of the people, wishes that have been formed from pain and long suffering.

It's not our nation anymore.

--

Ships

Russian Icebreaker TAYMYR


--

O, Canada !

I attended University in Canada.

I was with Raoul Caouette in the early days ( "With" meaning I was fascinated by his politics, all of which was a by-product of my adoration of the Hon. Maurice DuPlessis of Quebec.)

I lived near the Hon. Paul Martin, and also had MacKenzie King as a hero.

I dated a daughter of one of the Canadian Supreme Court Justices.

Why don't I have any Canadian readers?

--


San Souci Doings
























This was last year, 2012.
It was the first - and, I guess, the last - First Nations Festival to be held in San Souci, Harsens Island, Michigan.
There is no such First Nations Festival scheduled for this year. There is a Tashmoo Days on July 20, 2013.

It has not been well publicized, however, and I had to find reference to it in the Spoke 'N Word publication of the Downriver Cycling Club, Trenton, Michigan  (www.facebook.com/DownriverCyclingClub).

According to the invite forwarded to the Downriver Cycling Club, Tashmoo Days on Harsens Island will feature:

o Live Music...all afternoon,
o First Nations singers, drummers, dancers and their Arts and Crafts.
o There will also be ‘lectures’, on the Tashmoo Park and Steamer,
o First Nation/Native American Museum Exhibit,
o Games for the Kids,
o Other Arts & Craft vendors,
o Trap Shooting and Gaming at the Lions Hall,
o A Square Dance in the street,
o Food, Beer Tent, Wine Tasting

So the First Nations are a subset of activities in the Tashmoo Days. This is the time when I am supposed to say that, having lived around here all my life, the lack of beer and wine last year at the First Nations Festival 2012 probably restricted the size of the crowds.

There is a Powwow at Bkejwanong,  or Walpole Island Reserve, which is unceded territory occupied by the Walpole Island First Nation and is directly across the St. Clair River from Harsens Island:



































However,  the Walpole Island Powwow - a long tradition, by the way - has already taken place in May.

See Ya In San Souci ! Or in Bkejwanong!
--





Why I Stopped "Discussing" Guns

Patrick Henry in the House of Burgesses



This business of the government's collecting millions and millions of phone calls and e-mails per day is the reason I shut up reasoning about guns.

I do not reason.  I try to point out the implications of where we are and where we are going; I try to make us all realize that the choice to live in a weaponized society is ours and ours alone, just as the choice to live in a future totalitarianism where the government fully uses the Patriot Act and its crimes to destroy our liberties.

I do not discuss nor do I reason.
I do not think we can discuss or reason. Our society does not give reasons in the form of debate, rather, it assassinates the characters of the opponents.

I shut up because I suddenly saw the NRA, given its vision of a weaponized society, was quite correct.

And I had known for a long time that the Intel and Police function were being melded together with Weapons and War to create a future dictatorship of Constant War and the Policing and Intelligence Gathering that War necessitates.
Add to that the fact that habeas corpus has been suspended often during the course of wars, and we have the 1984 we thought we had left behind forever.

We are on the horns of a trilemma: we are between a Patriot Act which will enslave us, the weapons which will ensure constant war, and present and future government who will have at their fingertips powers to control our intimate lives far beyond anything imagined by the Founding Fathers.

--


There's A Little Bit Of Chemist In Each Of Us

According to the FBI, the toxic poison Ricin is easily available to Elvis impersonators and soap opera actresses.

In Wikipedia:
Ricin is easily purified from castor oil manufacturing waste. The aqueous phase left over from the oil extraction process is called waste mash. It would contain about 5–10% ricin by weight, but heating during the oil extraction process denatures the protein, making the resultant seed cake safe for use as animal feed. Ricin can be isolated from fresh seed by chromatographic techniques similar to those routinely used for purification of many other plant proteins.
It is those chromatographic techniques that make it so easy for the Elvis impersonators. The actresses tend to use the waste mash.

--


Saturday, June 08, 2013

Navy



Faith, Courage, Service True
With Honor Over, Honor Over All !

--

Old Age




As I tip-toe down the foyer to senectitude, I find that age is not life attenuated, but filled up with a new wine - frothy and intoxicating and exotic - yet, alas, poured into old wineskins.

A patch here, a patch there, and the old wineskins will endure.

--

None Dare Call It Treason

“Congress has forgotten its role. They have the ability to decide what’s classified: They make the laws, they write the laws,” said Edwards, who’s the director of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership.

 http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/07/193360/in-setting-limits-of-secrecy-congress.html#.UbM40dgQPnA

--
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/07/193360/in-setting-limits-of-secrecy-congress.html#storylink=cpy

Dispatches From The Weaponized Society

Gun dudes and dudettes! It's time again to give Thumbs Up! to an acceptable statistic of a weaponized society, or a big Thumbs Down! to an act that is truly beyond the pale of weapon-mongery.

CNN
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Santa Monica, California (CNN) -- Rifle fire cracked through the air just before noon Friday in Santa Monica. Minutes later, when police responded, a house was ablaze.

The gunman was gone.

By the time officers caught up with him, he had killed four people and wounded five more on a nearly mile-long shooting rampage, said Sgt. Richard Lewis, a spokesman for the Santa Monica police.
Remember that just as a society based on automobile transportation usually accepts a certain mortality level as an "acceptable statistic", so also must a truly weaponized society...

The results are in. It's a big  Thumbs Up!


--

PRISM

The PRISM data collection run by the NSA and with full co-operation of the great majority of our elected Judases is not government "snooping", as it has been described by some.

It is a vicious violation and attack, and it was brought about by bullying the least competent and the weakest among us: our elected representatives in Washington D.C.

For Shame!
--

Another Record To Break



We shall soon trample all over the target temperature increase due to Climate Change set at 2 degrees Celsius.

Victory blowout venues will be announced later. BYOI !
(Bring Your Own Ice)

--

Die "Neue Wand" in der Nähe von Bethlehem



The "New Wall" near Bethlehem; it is inscribed with Kennedy's quote "I am a citizen of Berlin", which is only a memory now.


source: lumabytes.com
--

Friday, June 07, 2013

It's The Enitre Washington Establishment

The Ministry of Intelligence
Eerie and Frightening



It is not the IRS alone, it is not the NSA alone, it is the entire Government and establishment in Washington D.C. that has decided to ignore the wishes of the people and to institute a authoritarian regime founded on Intelligence Gathering, a Weaponized Society, and Economic Inequality.

Every politician in Congress and the administration is part of this, all of them. Everyone who will be elected in the future will be inducted into this vast conspiracy, and they will blindly follow in the name of national security.

In 2004, Josh Benson wrote about how the Government ignores the express wishes of the people:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0404.benson.html
Born Again
Where government's unpopular programs go to live.

By Josh Benson / 2004

When officials at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency--the Pentagon office that helped invent everything from the stealth bomber to the Internet--launched a "data mining" project to uncover terrorist plots, it was bound to cause consternation. It wasn't just the program's ominous name (Total Information Awareness), menacing logo (an all-seeing Masonic eye), or disreputable director (Iran-Contra conspirator John Poindexter). The proposed system would tap into commercial and government databases across the country, download every bit of personal information stored--credit card statements, medical records, travel plans, phone bills, grocery receipts--then scan through it all in search of "suspicious" activity. Designed to catch, say, someone flying from the Middle East to the Midwest and then buying a lot of fertilizer, it might finger a farmer vacationing in Jerusalem as easily as it did a terrorist building a truck bomb. Worse, the planned system would have virtually no oversight, no safeguards, and no privacy guidelines to protect the people being snooped on...

By February of last year, Congress had passed legislation reining in TIA. The administration, desperate to save the program, went into "high damage control," notes Dempsey. Pentagon officials formed showy "privacy advisory councils," testified before Congress extensively, changed the name of the program (to the more innocuous "Terrorism Information Awareness), and even fired Poindexter--but none of it ended the controversy. "No one wanted to defend what the Bush administration was doing," Dempsey says.
Last fall, Congress voted to close down the program for good; a House-Senate conference committee declared TIA "terminated." Privacy activists cheered, as did most Democrats and many Republicans. The New York Times announced, simply, "Surveillance Program Ends." Thus resolved, the issue disappeared.

But TIA did not. As Dempsey eventually learned, a program can survive even when the media, the public, and most of Congress wants it killed. It turns out that, while the language in the bill shutting down TIA was clear, a new line had been inserted during conference--no one knew by whom--allowing "certain processing, analysis, and collaboration tools" to continue. At the time, Dempsey didn't know what the new language meant.

But the intelligence establishment did. Thanks to the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, which had lobbied for the provision, TIA didn't die--it metastasized. As the AP reported in February, the new language simply outsourced many TIA programs to other intelligence offices and buried them in the so-called "black budget." What's more, today, several agencies are pursuing data mining projects independent of TIA, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the CIA, the Transportation Security Administration, and NASA. Airline passengers will soon get their first taste of the new technology once a system called CAPPS II goes online, which will sort through passengers' travel histories, rental car arrangements, methods of payment, and destinations to locate "high risk" flyers. And even with TIA ostensibly shut down, many of the private contractors who worked on the program can continue their research with few controls.
 You cannot kill this monster.

While we amuse ourselves with our electronic toys, those toys and devices track us and report on us to agencies that are outside the democratic state of this USA!
It is as if the Founding Fathers, after having fought the American Revolution, found that George III was elected the first president of the Union. Or the French found King Louis leading the Directorate.

We have as political parties Republicans and Democrats who are accomplices in the police state, and a Tea Party too compromised by racism and know-nothing-ism.

It is time for a new politics.
--

Weaponized Society

The NRA has a vision of a Weaponized Society. And they are perfectly correct in saying that in such a society, all teachers should be armed, for it is the only way to exist in a Weaponized Society.

There are many other visions of a society. Many who support gun controls do not have a vision of a weaponized society, and it is this divergence that makes conversation between them and the NRA im[possible, for it is a discussion about what kind of society does one want.

--

Great Moments On Bravo

Script from some show on Bravo that deals with real estate types running around Manhattan. It is, from concept to execution, tedious and mundane, so this type of writing is needed to perk it up.

"You don't steal my customers!! I steal yours!!"

--

Hezbollah Don't Take No Mess!

Pepe Escobar has a good piece on Syria and the Battle of Qusayr. I like it because it gives a pretty good ironical look at the bizarro world of policy as an Al Qa'ida Terror Theme Park idea for Syria of Netanyahu and the EU and US policy: a weak Syria constantly prey to internal strife... just as Shia Iraq is now.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-060613.html

--

Perfect Timing

 Hanaan's Diner: Two Members Of The TYBALTs


Just before the news broke of The Guardian's exposure of the NSA telephone call grab, I was at Hanaan's Diner, spouting off about Syria and how ridiculous the US policy was, and - by the way - thank heavens Russia was serious about not allowing a terrorist theme park to be built right next door to the Chechen Republic.

I was being taken to task for my outspoken support of Russia, whom many in my circle, the TYBALTs - The Young Buck At Lunch Together, the opposition to our mortal enemies, the ROMEOs - Retired Old Men Eating Out - still see as some sort of commie threat.
Jakubowski said that Putin was restoring the police state, and yadda-yadda-yadda. Thank goodness he did not mention "Pussy Riot".

Then Levine looked up from his Tablet, smiled, and shoved the Tab over, and we saw Glenn Greenwald's exposure of the Verizon-NSA hookup.

"Where's the police state now?" I said.

Jakubowski said "I'll be damned!", and plucked his iPhone from his pocket, and threw it across the room.

--

Where Do They Come From?

People who work in medical offices?

My wife not only has a case of poison sumac on the arms, but was making ice tea Tuesday, pouring the hot water into the usual Pyrex glass pitcher, and the bottom blew out of the pitcher, and she received a burn on the leg.

(Note:  this whole business of Pyrex needs everyone's attention, because Pyrex of the future - meaning now! 2013 - is not the same as the Pyrex of the past. Today's space age Pyrex is inferior. The cause? The usual suspects, mostly Modern Mega-Capitalism, which buys companies, and maintains or gooses profits by lowering the quality... check it out by reading about Pyrex on Google.)

Anyhow, she called her doctor and the office people said they were booked up and could not see her that day... nor in the near future.

She went to a New Baltimore (I purposefully include the location name) urgent care, waited 30 minutes for the girl in charge to end her chit-chat with friends before signing her in, waited 4 hours surrounded by New Baltimore types - one of which was a man in a wheel chair who got out of his wheel chair, pushed the chair around, bumping into things, cackling "I'm as blind 'z a bat!"
Apparently dementia is considered an emergency room situation in New Baltimore.

Everything we read about second-degree burns mentions that for people over 60, it should be under the treatment of a doctor, who can keep a weather eye on the situation, so she is going to call her doctor again.

"Everything we read...."!

What do the people in the doctors' office read? People Magazine, apparently. You would think that the medical establishment for which they work might have a rudimentary Power Point presentation for the staff, giving them some elementaries on Hippocratoc oaths and how to help people.

If you have a medical problem, demand that the office staff ask the doctor about whether you should be seen immediately or not. The doctor has to make the decision. If the medical professional declines timely help, then change your doctor, and do it now!

--

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Thank Heavens For Russia!



Now that the Syrian civil war is finally being somewhat portrayed in the US media as the sectarian civil war that it really is - not some struggle of freedom fighters of sterling reps - I think the world owes a debt of gratitude to Russia, who refused to be swept up in to dim-witted foreign policy of "Arab Springtime for Everyone" that pretty much defined US policy hitherto.

Even the USA is not infallible ( Really! I know it's hard to believe!), and it is a good idea to have a good friend to keep one on an even keel... and vice-versa.

--

Verizon

Can you hear me now?

We ask the government, can you hear us now?

Verizon has been turning over millions of daily calls to the NSA. The administration defends it. It is all part and parcel of the Patriot Act and the destruction of our liberties.

If Mr. Obama cannot get back on a true course, he and his administration are going to be lame duck for 3 years.

--

Later:

Sorry, Mr. Obama. The Congress was the one who passed the Patriot Act, keeps on renewing it, and is right up to date on how our lives are invaded.

BBC:
Paul Adams BBC News, Washington

After years of allegations, lawsuits and sporadic, vaguely-worded warnings from members of Congress, finally there is a piece of hard evidence, a window into the reality of post-9/11 intelligence surveillance.

The breadth of this dragnet is breathtaking. The thought that the phone records of millions, this reporter included, have been collected on an order of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is a little creepy, to say the least.

Should we demand action to stop it? Some civil rights activists say absolutely.

Such behaviour, they argue, simply runs counter to the letter of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which says there has to be "probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized", before any of this can happen.

The reality is that since 9/11, the national security establishment and telecommunications firms, with the aid of Congress, have constructed a new surveillance environment.

We just haven't been told about it.

Congress, Ho!

--

Keystone Pipeline, Aquifers, and Long-Term Consequences




Risk.
The risk of a spill, and the aftermath.
Governments come and go, but the residents live with the long-term aftermath of the accidents left by governmental policies, such as the nuclear facility in Hanford, Washington, which has been a potential problem since 1943.

Read about long-term consequences, on the ground and below the ground where an aquifer would be, in a ral-life situation:

AGU Blogosphere
Terra Central
http://blogs.agu.org/terracentral/2013/03/21/epa-to-enbridge-dredge-more-submerged-oil-from-the-kalamazoo-river/
21 March 2013
EPA to Enbridge: Dredge More Submerged Oil from the Kalamazoo River

Posted by John Freeland
The EPA has ordered additional dredging at three locations shown in red (Source: USEPA)

On July 25 2010, the 30-inch diameter Enbridge 6B pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Michigan. Roughly 1 million gallons of diluted bitumen (DilBit) from Canadian oil sands spilled into Talmadge Creek, a tributary to the Kalamazoo River. Nearly three years later, the cleanup continues.

Last week, the U.S. EPA issued a final Administrative Order requiring Enbridge, the owner of the pipeline, to conduct additional dredging to remove submerged oil from three portions of the Kalamazoo river and from sediment traps installed after the spill. EPA’s Cover letter and supporting documents are available here.

Rationale for Additional Dredging
Briefly, the EPA’s rationale for more dredging comes from data collected after extensive and ongoing monitoring of oil sheen and sludge. Analytical chemistry has identified the ruptured Enbridge 6B pipeline as the source...

Results of the poling identified three areas of submerged oil accumulation, as shown on the above map... The three areas are located in segments of the river with relatively low flow velocities, consistent with a hydrodynamic model of the river’s variable current along its length. Sampling over the past year has shown that the oil is not stationary, however, but is slowly moving downstream and into portions of Morrow Lake.

Weak Natural Attenuation and Net Environmental Benefit Analysis
An EPA bench study found that potential biodegradation of the oil in the Kalamazoo River, under optimum conditions, is only about 25 percent. Cold, dark benthic conditions make for slow decomposition. This undoubtedly played a major part in the decision to order additional dredging. Most cleanup operations inflict some kind of negative impact on the environment...

Concerns over DilBit
Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Risks, a 2011 joint report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club and the Pipeline Safety Trust, raises concerns over the chemical and physical properties of DilBit. The diluents added to reduce the viscosity of tar sand crude in pipelines contain benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Benzene is a carcinogen and levels found in the air following the Enbridge 6B discharge prompted a voluntary evacuation of nearby homes.

(note: emphases mine; :benthic" = deep earth)
--

Monday, June 03, 2013

Turkish Life

To get an idea of conservative ways in Turkey, read some Turkish news, such as the following which is crazy enough to have occurred in Saudi Arabia:

Hurriyet Daily News
Why kissing is bad (but rape can be just fine)
BURAK BEKDİL
Last week, when about 200 Turks held a mass kissing protest at an Ankara subway station in response to a public announcement at the same station that had requested passengers “to behave morally,” conservative religious groups attacked them with machetes, shouted religious slogans and injured some of the protestors. The metro incident in Ankara is merely a more violent repetition of the “sex bus affair” in Istanbul. Apparently, with the newfound state/police power they arrogantly rely on, the conservative Turks will never learn to mind their own business...
It gets much worse than this. It makes one feel the terrible ambivalence about such matters.

--

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Fate of the Krel




In Forbidden Planet, it was the fate of the Krel to achieve the ability to create objects with the force of mind alone, and thus to unleash their monsters from the unconscious onto their civilization, destroying it in one night of unimaginable madness.

It takes us a bit longer, but good things often do require more time.

From The Globalist:
http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=9554
Limbaugh, Lipitor and the Incivility of American Political Life (Part I)
By Edward Bernton | Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Rush Limbaugh's rant about the purported sex life of a female law student may have been nothing more than a ploy to boost his radio show's ratings. But perhaps the angry rhetoric is emblematic of a larger issue affecting American civic life. As Edward Bernton points out, the rise of political incivility has coincided with the widespread use of drugs like Lipitor...

Perhaps not coincidentally, these developments (like the phenomenon of road rage) parallel the unprecedented widespread use of potent new drugs by millions of men and women over the age of 40. These drugs are called statins, and include the commercial blockbusters Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor, which now account for over $30 billion a year in global pharmaceutical sales...

A large study by Bristol-Myers Squibb, known as PROSPER, showed that patients over age 70 who were at high risk but didn't yet have heart disease saw no cardiovascular benefit from taking statins, and had no decrease in mortality. Yet the immense yearly expenditures on marketing statins has assured that over the past decade most of the medically insured, over-50 population of the United States has been prescribed statins...

Overlooked in the developed world's rush to medicate cholesterol to lower and lower levels have been profound questions about the relationship between cholesterol and cognitive function, mood and behavior. The pre-statin scientific literature provided numerous hints of a link between low (or lowered) cholesterol and violent death, as well as aggression. Reducing cholesterol reduces levels of serotonin, a critical brain neurotransmitter, and low brain serotonin is well known to be linked to violence, impaired impulse control and aggression in both humans and animals..

Dr. Beatrice Golomb, lead researcher on the single U.S. study currently investigating the side effects of statins (including effects on cognition and behavior), published an alarming medical paper in 2004. This "case report" study documented personality changes involving extreme aggression and irritability (including road rage incidents and homicidal impulses), which occurred in six patients (four male and two female) on cholesterol-lowering drugs. The personality changes resolved when the patients stopped the drug. In four patients, they recurred when doctors assured the patients that the changes could not be statin side effects and restarted the drugs.

A study published in 2000 looked at the cholesterol measurements of 79,777 individuals and subsequent police records for violent crimes. The study found that violent criminals had significantly lower cholesterol than others identical in age, sex, alcohol indices and education...

These dramatic behavioral responses to statins may represent the tip of a much larger iceberg. While only a small percentage of patients may be unusually susceptible to the behavioral effects of lowered cholesterol, how likely are scientists and physicians (not to mention patients) to associate less pronounced increases in aggression and irritability with a medication their doctor prescribes for their heart?...

Read 'em and weep.
And so it goes...

--

King Stork

Qatar's Grand Mufti, Yusuf Al Qaradawi, Who Believes
Shiites and Alawites are worse than Christians and Jews



In the fable, the frog community had grown tired of their old King Log, who really did not do very much. Things pretty much stayed the same year after year, a little good, not too much; a little bad, not too much. Things were pretty ho-hum.
So some of them wanted things to change and formed a coalition to elect a new king. After some time, they managed to get Stork elected as the new king of the frogs. Things went OK for a brief period, until feeding time wandered into sight, and King Stork began to eat some juicy frogs.
Some of the frog community registered their complaints.

This is my fabulish view of Syria. I admit I am not as smart and educated as the leaders of the Western world, but I also do not have a resume of catastrophes trailing behind me.

In Syria, we are being asked to trade King Log for King Stork, evidenced as follows:

AhlulBayt News Agency
http://www.abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=425426
Date: 2013/06/02 - 12:19                         source: News Agencies
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Qatari controversial grand Mufti, Yusuf al-Qaradawi has blamed himself for not taking a hostile stance against the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah before, in line with the Saudi Wahhabis.

Qaradawi who is seen as the religious and inspirational leader of the militants and terrorists fighting against the government of Syria, told attendants at the Friday Prayers in capital Doha that Alawites, particularly Shiites are even worse than Christians and Jews.

He called on all his supporters around the world to gather in Syria’s town of al-Qusayr and help the terrorists and fight along with them. He claimed that they would be facing with Lebanon’s Hezbollah in Qusayr.

Qaradawi further slammed those who supported the Syrian government, including Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s resistance and called them “parties of Satan”. ..
So we trade a dictatorship that allows the minorities to exist on its terms for a dictatorship that will "consume" them all. Nice trade-off.

--

An Adventure In Art (30)

Tangerine With Leaves




Abbey Ryan
Ryan Studio:  Paintings by Abbey Ryan
http://ryanstudio.blogspot.com/

--

Myths We Die By

King David Hotel, 1946, After Irgun Bombing



One of the most shockingly memorable experiences of an intelligent entity must be the realization that the myths we learned as children are mere fluffery... and often iniquitous, to boot.

In particular, myths about situations where at least two parties are in dispute, or what we may call the Bipolar Separation Myths, wherein one party is thoroughly good, the other thoroughly vile.

We spend much of our adult life learning that "it takes two to tango", and attempting to overcome our Edenic visions of hero myths about family, state, and nation.

There were myths of particular salvation; we learned that people of our faith would go to heaven, and people of other creeds were doomed.
We also learned that certain nations were saintly underdogs, veritable Davids fighting against villains that were the worst of Goliath and Saul.

Yet in our heroic myths of Israel, never once did the bombings of the King David Hotel enter in, a disaster where the Zionist terrorist group Irgun had planted bombs at the busy hotel and killed many people on July 22, 1946:  91 deaths and 46 injured.

Wikipedia: King David Hotel bombing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_David_Hotel_bombing
The hotel was the site of the central offices of the British Mandatory authorities of Palestine, principally the Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and the Headquarters of the British Forces in Palestine and Transjordan.
In July 2006, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center organized a conference to mark the 60th anniversary of the bombing. The conference was attended by past and future Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former members of Irgun. A plaque commemorating the bombing was unveiled, stating "For reasons known only to the British, the hotel was not evacuated."
The British Ambassador in Tel Aviv and the Consul-General in Jerusalem protested, saying "We do not think that it is right for an act of terrorism, which led to the loss of many lives, to be commemorated", and wrote to the Mayor of Jerusalem that such an act of terror could not be honoured, even if it was preceded by a warning. The British government also demanded the removal of the plaque, pointing out that the statement accusing the British of failing to evacuate the hotel was untrue and "did not absolve those who planted the bomb."
 (the mention of "evacuation" refers to a part of the story that Irgun telephoned the British beforehand to alert them to the coming blast. Awfully sporting of Irgun, what?)

I never learned of the slaughtered British and Arabs in my myths, and I believed my heroes hands unsullied.

What do you say to such murderous nonsense? I made up a song in 2006:

Hello, Central, Irgun calling,
are the Britsh there?
Get them out - but leave the Arabs! -
down the old back stair.

It is hardly as thoughtless and nasty and 70 years of ongoing conflict in this Hundred Years War... and counting.

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Milagros





I saw Moonrise Kingdom again.
It is rather like letting loose another miracle upon the world.






I promised to write of the novel Bel Canto.
I was enchanted and fully drawn into its world. What I liked most was the fact that it was a jewel set between two acts of violence, a kidnapping and a rescue, both stupid acts. However, we live our lives in an embrasure bookended by stupid acts of brutality, and we find therein jewels of love, friends, and family, do we not?

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Saturday, June 01, 2013

In The Catacombs of Disaster




Mass Palestinian grave found in Tel Aviv
Skeletal remains of dozens of Palestinians killed by Israelis during 1948 have been found in a mass grave in Tel Aviv.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/06/20136104317486359.html

The remains of dozens of Palestinians killed by Israelis in fighting during the war of 1948 which led to the creation of the state of Israel have been found in a mass grave in Tel Aviv's Jaffa district.
An official at the Muslim cemetery there told AFP news agency that the grisly find occurred on Wednesday when ground subsided as workers carried out renovations, revealing six chambers full of skeletons.
Jaffa fisherman Atar Zeinab, 80, says that as a teenager during the final months of fighting in 1948, he helped to collect the Arab dead in the area south of Jaffa and bring them for hasty burial in the cemetery, the area's main graveyard.
"I carried to the cemetery 60 bodies during a period of three or four months," he told AFP. "We used to find the people in the street and most of the time we didn't know who they were."
...
Jaffa was at the time a Palestinian town, but there was a forced exodus of most of its Arab population when it fell to the fledgling Israeli army and rightwing Jewish armed gangs.
There are terrorists on every side of every conflict.

This story is repeated for my Evangelical Christian friends who believe that the kingdom of Israel was restored in one day in 1948, even though they know that before the Lord a year is like a thousand, and a thousand years like a year.

Sometimes we worship Moloch... sometimes we don't.

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Wrath Of God


On May 28:
http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2013/05/28/liberal-media-trying-to-exploit-tornado-oklahoma-senator/

The liberal media and Senate colleagues are “trying to exploit” Oklahoma’s deadly tornado to advance their “agenda” on climate change, according to Oklahoma’s Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, famous for describing human-caused global warming as a man-made “hoax.”
Inhofe was on climatologists’ case early this month when Oklahoma experienced below normal temperatures. “Global Warming Alarmists Should Send Some of their Hot Air to Warm Up Oklahoma,” Inhofe declared in a May 3 statement. But that was almost three weeks before a Level 5 tornado tore through Moore, Okla., killing 24 people.
But this week, Inhofe is reacting to speeches by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that climate change is a possible cause of such weather violence as late-season super hurricanes, mile-wide tornadoes and prolonged drought.
The liberal media are “trying to exploit a tragedy and advance its (sic) own agenda, and believe me, the victims all know this,” Inhofe told the right-wing Newsmax website. “We were being hit by tornadoes long before anyone talked about climate change, and even before it was called ‘global cooling,’ before it became ‘global warming’ and then climate change.
But today his fellow Oklahomans were not seeking blame, merely seeking shelter:
Yahoo News
Frightened Okla. residents opt to flee tornadoes
Associated PressBy SEAN MURPHY | Associated Press – 33 mins ago

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It's a warning as familiar as a daily prayer for Tornado Alley residents: When a twister approaches, take shelter in a basement or low-level interior room or closet, away from windows and exterior walls.
But with the powerful devastation from the May 20 twister that killed 24 and pummeled the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore still etched in their minds, many Oklahomans instead opted to flee Friday night when a violent tornado developed and headed toward the state's capital city.
It was a dangerous decision to make.
Interstates and roadways already packed with rush-hour traffic quickly became parking lots as people tried to escape the oncoming storm. Motorists were trapped in their vehicles — a place emergency officials say is one of the worst to be in a tornado.
I have lived through such things, in which our welfare is politicized by idiotic politicians.

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Science of Poetry: Trembling on the Edge of Meaning

 Taquamenon Falls, Michigan


 This week I wrote a poem about stuff, one stuff of which was Taquamenon Falls, and I finished with:
 
... every drop of falling water
is canonized ecology haunting to
our daedal palimpsest nostalgia!

and it was a bit of a tussle to write what I wanted to say.

"canonized" has hues of holiness,
"haunting" intimates spirit movement,
"daedal" is for intricate workmanship,
"palimpsest" means rewritten, reused, written over, and reeks of novelty over antiquity,
"nostalgia" literally mean homecoming + pain;

and the idea of a holy quest of return to well-constructed homes, which we miss greatly, and where we shall start things over anew.
I don't say this straight forward, but I do not try to obscure. Rather, I try to mix the meanings together and make a new whole which will carry the meaning in a new way.

I am not saying I succeeded in this, and that the poem is a great poem, but I did experience quite a feeling of sudden clarity. It was exactly the same feeling I get when I am reading or speaking a new language, and suddenly the sounds and movements of the speech muscles come together in a feeling of understanding that is deep and profound and seems to be like jumping into the world with a totally new seeing and breathing and smelling and touching.

I think that poetry is this trembling on the edge of meaning.
Meaning is in motion and it reminds me of Brownian motion, random flickering, until a quick collapse into a shining seeing when one says "aha!"
As in the poem for Mothers' Day day, there was "... so much all-utterly song" which is a English language novelty that requires not a piecemeal pecking at, but a meditative embrace that gathers in one all the meaning, feelings, and emotions of the expression.

The difference between Shelley and a limerick lay in the one is filled with potential to deeply understand reality and the other is rather straight forward and has little potential beyond what is immediate and obvious.

I think that if the phenomenon were to be studied in the lab, the areas of the brain engaged in reading good poetry would be the same as those used by learners of a new language, who are finding new things everywhere - like children just learning - and who have not yet fallen into the rut of everyday usage and the mundane chatter of media.

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