Monday, March 31, 2014

civilization's starter kit

NYTimes |  I’M an astrobiologist — I study the essential building blocks of life, on this planet and others. But I don’t know how to fix a dripping tap, or what to do when the washing machine goes on the blink. I don’t know how to bake bread, let alone grow wheat. I’m utterly useless with my hands. My father-in-law used to joke that I had three degrees, but didn’t know anything about anything, whereas he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Life. 

It’s not just me. Many purchases today no longer even come with an instruction manual. If something breaks it’s easier to chuck it and buy a new model than to reach for the screwdriver. Over the past generation or two we’ve gone from being producers and tinkerers to consumers. As a result, I think we feel a sense of disconnect between our modern existence and the underlying processes that support our lives. Who has any real understanding of where their last meal came from or how the objects in their pockets were dug out of the earth and transformed into useful materials? What would we do if, in some science-fiction scenario, a global catastrophe collapsed civilization and we were members of a small society of survivors? 

My research has to do with what factors planets need to support life. Recently, I’ve been wondering what factors are needed to support our modern civilization. What key principles of science and technology would be necessary to rebuild our world from scratch? 

The great physicist Richard Feynman once posed a similar question: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis that all things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.” 

That certainly does encapsulate a huge amount of understanding, but it also wouldn’t be particularly useful, in a practical sense. So, allowing myself to be a little more expansive than a single sentence, I have some suggestions for what someone scrabbling around the ruins of civilization would need to know about basic necessities.

tribalism in the modern era..,

american |  Tribal warfare, broadly construed, has afflicted human existence since the beginning of recorded time. Figuring out how to resolve conflict among conflicting groups — be they actual warring tribesmen, geopolitical rivals, partisan adversaries, or cultural warriors — can rightly be described as the key challenge facing social scientists, both in theory and in practice.

In his engaging, persuasive book Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them, Joshua Greene, a cognitive psychology professor and the director of Harvard’s Moral Cognition Laboratory, grapples with some of the thorniest socio-moral questions ever to have bedeviled political philosophers: When and why do we choose between “me” and “us”? When and why do we choose between “us” and “them”? How can we craft a common “meta-morality” that people of all different ideologies, religions, races, and cultures can share?

To call Greene’s project ambitious would be a massive understatement. “This book,” Greene writes, “is an attempt to understand morality from the ground up … It’s about understanding the deep structure of moral problems [and] … about taking this new understanding of morality and turning it into a universal moral philosophy that members of all human tribes can share.”

His framework for this analysis is a camera with automatic and manual modes, representing the reflexive and reflective capacities of the brain, our twin — and conflicting — abilities to act instinctually and think contemplatively in response to challenges we face. Greene skillfully maps these complimentary modes to particular portions of the brain that alternately process involuntary movements and purposeful thoughts.

Greene begins by exploring how “our moral brains evolved for cooperation within groups,” but not for cooperation between groups. He ably explains the Prisoner’s Dilemma and how a variety of different forces — direct and indirect reciprocity, concern for others, concern for one’s reputation, and commitments — enable two collaborators to find the “magic corner, where the aggregate outcome is optimal.

But these forces at times have nefarious consequences, as “some mathematical models indicate that altruism within groups could not have evolved without hostility between groups.” In his model, the human mind’s “automatic mode” applies to in-group interactions, where we instinctively protect and promote those within our tribe, including those outside of our nuclear families.

In order to overcome these inter-tribal differences, Greene maintains, we must turn to “manual mode” and carefully, actively, intellectually weigh the costs and benefits of any key decisions.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

unalienable vs. inalienable

adask |  We can debate whether all of our rights are unalienable, inalienable or merely illusory. But what we can’t easily debate is that The United States of America started with the legal premises that: “We hold these truths [premises] to be self-evident, that 1) all men are created equal, that they they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . . .” and 2) “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men . . . .” In those two premises we see the basis for the governmental system and nation envisioned by the Founders. In those two premises, we see the basis for America being deemed “the land of the free” and the basis for American exceptionalism.

Every governmental system starts with one or more spiritual and/or political premises. For example, a monarchy is based on the premise/belief that only one man or woman in the country receives his/her rights directly from God and he/she is therefore the only sovereign–all else are subjects. Communism rejects the idea that any individual or individuals can be “sovereign”. Communism is based on the premises that 1) God does not exist; 2) the State is sovereign; and 3) all of the people are, at best, subjects. The United States of America started with the premises that we all received an equal endowment of unalienable Right from God and that government’s primary duty was to secure those God-given, unalienable Rights.

The premises on which any nation is constructed will determine how well that nation prospers and how long it lasts. The premises underlying the Soviet Union led to poverty and national destruction in just a few generations. The premises underlying The United States of America led to prosperity and national longevity and even world preeminence. 

So, when a group of government officers or special interest steals or surreptitiously eliminates the premises on which a nation is built, the result is more than an intellectual debate. The result can be national destruction. Right or wrong, the two premises on which America was built were the “people’s premises” and should only be changed with the people’s knowing consent. However, we live in a society where our fundamental premises have been concealed and virtually denied. In my opinion, as a result of the loss of our memory of our basic premises (unalienable Rights, etc.) we are all worse off as individual men and women; the American dream is dying; our children’s futures are being diminished; and our nation is heading for hard times and possible disintegration. 

I am therefore in favor of restoring the two, original premises on which this nation was built. Other people–fascists and fools, in my opinion–are indifferent to those premises or even opposed to them. Our current government seems dominated by those who believe that might makes right. I disagree with that premise.

The premises are the “rules of the game”. When special interests unilaterally change the rules to suit themselves but don’t inform the people, they “cheat”. The cause a kind of treason. 

I am against that treason and the “Unalienable vs. Inalienable” article was intended to help people recognize those original premises, regain respect for those premises, and hopefully, encourage them to demand a restoration of those premises. 

If you disagree with the premise of “unalienable Rights,” what premise(s) do you think should constitute the foundation for our nation?

unfair play...,

NYTimes | IN his provocative, passionate, important and disturbing book — part memoir, part history, part journalism — William C. Rhoden, a sports columnist for The New York Times, builds a historical framework that both accounts for the varieties of African-American athletic experience in the past and continues to explain them today.

First, he wants to recast black sports history, transforming it from “the inspirational reel” featuring Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe and the later Muhammad Ali into “a more complicated tale of continuous struggle, a narrative of victory and defeat.” His alternative narrative focuses on the stories of successful African-American athletes who so wanted to be accepted by white society that they failed “to anticipate, plan and organize,” maintained their “wholesale dependence on a racist white power structure,” and showed “surprise and consternation when the money and support” were withdrawn. Even black athletic institutions like Negro league baseball in the 1940’s and historically black colleges in the 1960’s complacently, and fatally, assumed that segregation would assure them a steady supply of athletes.

Second, Rhoden argues convincingly that integration posed relatively few problems for the white sports world, which quickly gained access to a huge pool of cheap talent, but that it precipitated a disaster for a “black industry, practically eliminating every black person involved in sports — coaches, owners, trainers, accountants, lawyers, secretaries and so on — except the precious on-the-field talent.”

Consequently, most black athletes lost their connection to a “sense of mission . . . of being part of a larger cause.” Young athletes, in particular, “dropped the thread that joins them to that struggle” and became, instead, a “lost tribe,” adrift in the world of white coaches, boosters, agents, club officials, network executives — those profiting from black muscle and skill. 

Finally, Rhoden insists on the importance of black athletes and entrepreneurs gaining organizational and business power in college and professional sports: the path toward the “redemption” of his subtitle. His vision here is a little murky, but he knows too much history to feel sanguine about the one black-owned franchise in the N.B.A., Robert Johnson’s (and now also Michael Jordan’s) Charlotte Bobcats.

NFL and NBA should organize their own minor leagues and stop parasitizing and distorting higher-ed...,

WaPo | IT’S OFFICIAL, according to a preliminary ruling of the National Labor Relations Board: The college sports industry’s claim that it exists to serve student-athletes doesn’t hold, er, Gatorade. Teams are composed of full-time athletes who labor under highly restrictive, sometimes dangerous conditions, and they deserve a stronger voice in how colleges and universities treat and compensate them.

The hard truth for those who love watching college sports is that major-conference basketball and football teams, billion-dollar businesses, exploit many of their players. By pretending the system is designed to help them, the teams add insult to sometimes literal injury.

The labor relations board’s ruling cuts through the hypocrisy. Examining Northwestern University’s football program, NLRB Regional Director Peter Sung Ohr found that players spend far more time competing and preparing for games than they do studying. They are under the supervision of well-compensated sports professionals — in most states, the highest-paid public employee is a college football or men’s basketball coach — rather than faculty members. In return, Mr. Ohr noted, the players get scholarships holding economic value. That can’t reasonably be construed to be an academic relationship. 

In fact, the rot is more extensive than Mr. Ohr describes. The problem is not simply that some college athletes are treated more like employees than students. It is that too many of them are shortchanged. Most athletes on highly competitive teams aren’t superstars who will make millions after spending some time in collegiate servitude. Their compensation is in their scholarships — the education they are supposedly getting while putting in full-time hours on the field. But, according to the NCAA’s own numbers, this year’s top-seeded Division I men’s basketball teams have graduation rates that hover around 60 percent. There are ugly racial divides: The University of Central Florida reports that 89 percent of white players on all NCAA Tournament teams graduate, but only 65 percent of their African American teammates do. And those numbers follow an NCAA drive to graduate more players. 

Those who do get a diploma, meanwhile, ­haven’t necessarily gained much. HBO’s “Real Sports” recently dug up example after example of college players who got degrees in “general studies” or “multidisciplinary studies” from respectable universities and now work menial jobs. One could barely read. A University of Oklahoma professor admitted that he helped push players through to keep the football program running. “There’s one like me at every big-time university in the country,” he said.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

give it back...,

whitehouse |  Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, citizens of America, and citizens of the world:

I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility.  It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations -- that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate.  Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.

And yet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated.  (Laughter.)  In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage.  Compared to some of the giants of history who've received this prize -- Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela -- my accomplishments are slight.  And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened cynics.  I cannot argue with those who find these men and women -- some known, some obscure to all but those they help -- to be far more deserving of this honor than I.

frum distracted me, the endgame still means putting the bloodfunnel into ukraine

commondreams |  On Thursday, the IMF released the broad outlines of its terms and conditions for loans and other measures for the Ukrainian economy. What those terms and conditions mean is less a rescue of the Ukrainian economy than the onset of a Greece-like economic depression for the Ukrainian populace.

Ukraine’s economy had clearly entered a recession, its third since 2008, sometime in the latter half of 2013.  Some recent estimates of the likely contraction of the economy in 2014-15 have ranged from 5%-15% in GDP decline.

The ‘IMF Standby Agreement with Ukraine’ text released March 27, acknowledges the current severe economic instability of the Ukrainian economy. What it fails to acknowledge, however, is how the IMF package will further adversely impact that economy.

The IMF deal calls for $14-$18 billion in IMF financial support provided over the next two years, 2014-15. Another potential $9 billion reportedly will come from other countries, although in yet unspecified form. The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development apparently will provide $2 billion of that $9 billion. Presumably the US aid package of around $1-$2 billion now currently working its way through the US Congress represents another element of the $9 billion. The remaining $5 of the $9 billion non-IMF funding is yet unidentified.

The $27 billion total is well in excess of the $15 billion that was being talked about in prior weeks by the public press and more than the $20 billion Ukraine had asked the IMF for at the end of 2013—an indication that the economy has been deteriorating more rapidly than reported since the beginning of 2014.

In previous articles on the Ukraine economic situation a few weeks ago, this writer estimated that at least $50 billion would be needed to stabilize the Ukraine’s economy over the next two years. That figure may even rise by 2015.

Friday, March 28, 2014

no one who's spent time in courts believes trials are about truth

Vice |  Last week, I sketched an evidentiary hearing for a woman named Cecily McMillan.

Two years ago, I'd seen Cecily convulse in handcuffs as the police shut down an Occupy Wall Street protest. Cecily was an organizer. A plain-clothes cop had grabbed her breast from behind, hard enough to leave a bruise shaped like his handprint. Instinctively, she elbowed him. Most women would do the same if a man grabbed them from behind.

The cops beat Cecily till they broke her ribs. As she had a seizure on the pavement, the crowd screamed for the police to call 911. The police just watched.

Two years later, Cecily is charged with assaulting an officer. She faces seven years in prison.

In that fake-wood courtroom in lower Manhattan, the judge told Cecily's lawyer the fact that her arresting officer had beaten up other people was not relevant to her case. His records would be sealed. Afterward, addressing her supporters, Cecily tried to hide the tremor in her voice.

Courtrooms are a violent theater. The violence happens off-scene: in Rikers Island where a homeless man recently baked to death; in the shackles and beatings and the years far from everything you love. But the courtroom itself is the performative space, the stage where the best story triumphs, and where all parties, except (usually) the defendant, are just playing parts

deeply discredited neocon bum frum on a role at the atlantic....,

theatlantic |  Realistically, though, Ukraine cannot successfully resist Russia on its own. It needs help, and the West should provide it. “I really think you are more afraid of Russia than we are,” said the same senior official who told me about the enlistments. NATO’s power vastly exceeds Russia’s, and Barack Obama is right to call Russia merely a “regional power.” Yet when it comes time to make policy, his administration seems to lose sight of the president’s insight.

The Western world’s immediate goal should be to deter further armed aggression by Russia against Ukraine. Ukrainian forces need arms and training, and Ukrainian police may need support even more than the army; it shouldn’t be so easy for bogus Russian “tourists” to cross the border. Western governments must expand their presence in the parts of Ukraine under greatest threat with both consular services and military observers. The more American, British, French, and German bodies stand in the line of fire, the less likely Russia is to shoot. 

The next step is to reassure NATO countries in Russia’s neighborhood that the United States can and will defend them. To mollify Moscow, the alliance has not built much of a physical presence in Poland and the Baltic republics. The invasion of Crimea vitiates those promises. It’s time for NATO troops to deploy in the member countries most likely to experience Russian aggression; an occasional F-16 fly-by is laughably insufficient.

It’s also possible—in fact, probable—that Russia will move more cautiously going forward, reverting to its more familiar playbook of bribery, propaganda, energy blackmail, and trade harassment. (Russia has banned Ukrainian confectionary on purported health grounds. I ate some, and they’re fine—excellent in fact—but the loss of Russian sales has hurt one of Ukraine’s few competitive export industries.)

Ukraine will need a lot of economic assistance, and it will have to accept considerable oversight to ensure that the aid is used properly. Tightening anti-corruption practices and laws in Western Europe would help, too. It’s not just Ukrainian politicians who have been plied with Russian money—these funds have flowed through Germany, Italy, and, above all, Britain. Amid Russia’s fierce media war against Ukraine, private Western foundations should support Ukraine’s fledgling independent media. 

The redirection of George Soros’s philanthropy away from building open societies in Eastern Europe to drug legalization in the United States has done damage to democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.
As a more effective and accountable government takes shape in Ukraine, it will become time to renew its application for NATO membership. This time, the answer should be ‘yes.’

In the long term, the best hope for Europe—and, indeed for Russia itself—is to reduce European dependence on Russian oil and gas. Liquid natural gas from North America can replace pipeline gas from Russia. Carbon taxes—as opposed to goofy carbon-trading schemes—can reduce energy use and enhance the competitiveness of alternative sources of supply. The army Putin uses to bully Europe is an army paid for by European gas consumers. They have it in their power to deprive Putin of his force by denying him their trade.

"senior editor" at the atlantic? frum is the douchebag who coined the neocon "axis of evil"!!!

antiwar |  David "Axis of Evil" Frum first gained notoriety as one of George W. Bush’s more polemical speechwriters. During the run-up to the Iraq war, he was all over the media, agitating for the invasion and viciously denouncing anyone who questioned the wisdom of such a course. In an infamous article for National Review, entitled "Unpatriotic Conservatives," he attacked those conservatives and libertarians who counseled caution, smearing Robert Novak, Pat Buchanan, Llewellyn Rockwell, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, Scott McConnell, Joe Sobran, Charley Reese, Jude Wanniski, Eric Margolis, Taki Theodoracopulos, and myself as, variously, "defeatist," "conspiracy theorists," and "anti-Semitic." Here is Frum, in March of 2003:

"They have made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe. They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation’s enemies."

Frum went on for at least three thousand words, attacking his enemies as traitors and terrorist-sympathizers. It was all lies, of course, and I answered them here. Yet now we see Frum has reinvented himself as a "moderate" Republican, and has carved out a new career for himself as the kind of conservative who gets invited on NPR and CNN to snark at his former comrades. In a recent interview with Politico, he was asked: "What do you know now that you wish someone had told you 10 years ago?" His answer:

"That the Iraq War would be a disaster. Come to think of it, they did tell me."

In the accompanying photo, Frum is sitting on a patio somewhere, smiling and petting his golden retriever. Who, me worry? Such a blithe spirit, that Frum, who is wearing white pants with no socks. Deaf to the bitter cries of the dead and the maimed, not to mention those he accused of treason, he puts his feet up in a pose of summery relaxation. The memory of his hysterical smears – "They began by hating the neoconservatives. They came to hate their party and this president. They have finished by hating their country" – seems to have dissipated into the stratosphere. He’s put it out of his mind.

This is the New David Frum, the moderate, measured, wonkish would-be charmer, who only loses his soft edges when the subject of foreign policy is raised. After a well-publicized break with the American Enterprise Institute over his supposed opposition to Republican orthodoxy, he also broke with National Review, where he had once taken on the role of ideological enforcer, and underwent a makeover. He set up the "Frum Forum" as the online headquarters of the Frummian Republicans, a small but extremely self-satisfied gaggle of online bloviators, who sneered at the Tea Party and cheered as Frum announced the GOP was in danger of being taken over by anti-government "extremists."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

ukraine's phantom neo-nazis: frum puts his clear heels on in service to the man...,

theatlantic |  “When was the last time you personally experienced anti-Semitism?” I asked the executive director of the organized Jewish community for the city of Kiev. He gave me a puzzled look. “You mean, called me a Zhid or something like that?” “Anything.” He thought for a moment. “Back in Soviet times.”

I put the same question to a roomful of senior citizens in one of the country’s 32 Jewish social-service centers. The group, which was mostly women, laughed out loud. They faced plenty of problems: the standard old-age pension in Ukraine is only about $100 a month, pitifully little even in this poor country. But the Russian claim that gangs of neo-Nazis are roaming Ukraine, threatening its Jewish population, evoked unanimous scorn from every Jewish person I talked to in the country.

On the way out of the center, I stopped to talk to one of the two security guards in the driveway. As in all European cities, Kiev’s Jewish organizations take precautions. But this guard was nothing like the well-armed gendarmes you see patrolling Jewish institutions in France or Belgium. A friendly faced, middle-aged man armed only with a walkie-talkie, he told me that in four years on duty he had encountered not a single threat. I asked if the situation had changed in any way since the flight of the Soviet-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych, on February 22. “During the protests [in January and February], we had extra guards,” he said. “But now we’re back to normal.”

on legitimate, free, and fair elections...,

medialens | Prior to the March 16 referendum, the BBC website reported:

'Crimeans will vote on whether they want their autonomous republic to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.'

The title of the news report indicated the focus:
'Is Crimea's referendum legal?'

The answer:

'Ukraine and the West have dismissed the referendum as illegal and one that will be held at gunpoint, but Russia supports it.'

Legality was not an issue in BBC coverage of the January 2005 election held in Iraq under US-UK occupation. This was accepted on the main BBC evening news as 'the first democratic election in fifty years'. (David Willis, BBC1, News at Ten, January 10, 2005)

And the Iraq election was not merely 'held at gunpoint'; it was held in the middle of a ferocious war to crush resistance to occupation. Just weeks before the vote, American and British forces had subjected Iraq's third city, Fallujah, to all-out assault leaving 70 per cent of houses and shops destroyed, and at least 800 civilians dead. ('Fallujah still needs more supplies despite aid arrival,', November 30, 2004)

The US 1st Marine Division alone fired 5,685 high-explosive 155mm shells during the battle. The US 3rd Marine Air Wing contributed 709 bombs, rockets and missiles, and 93,000 machine gun and cannon rounds. There was much else besides, of course, and not just in Fallujah.

In the same month as the election, an Iraqi doctor, Ali Fadhil, reported of the city:

'It was completely devastated, destruction everywhere. It looked like a city of ghosts. Falluja used to be a modern city; now there was nothing. We spent the day going through the rubble that had been the centre of the city; I didn't see a single building that was functioning.' (Fadhil, 'City of ghosts,' The Guardian, January 11, 2005)

The BBC made no mention of the argument that the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis as a result of the invasion over the previous two years made a nonsense of the claim that the election was free and fair.
The US had in fact rigged the rules to ensure US-friendly Kurds had 27% of the seats in the national assembly, although they made up just 15% of the population. In a rare departure from mainstream propaganda, Naomi Klein commented in the Guardian:

'Skewing matters further, the US-authored interim constitution requires that all major decisions have the support of two-thirds or, in some cases, three-quarters of the assembly - an absurdly high figure that gives the Kurds the power to block any call for foreign troop withdrawal, any attempt to roll back Bremer's economic orders, and any part of a new constitution.' (Klein, 'Brand USA is in trouble, so take a lesson from Big Mac,' The Guardian, March 14, 2005)

Washington-funded organisations with long records of machinating for US interests abroad were deeply involved in the election. The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) were part of a consortium to which the US government had provided over $80 million for political and electoral activities in Iraq. NDI was headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine 'We think the price is worth it' Albright, while IRI was chaired by Republican Senator John McCain. (Lisa Ashkenaz Croke and Brian Dominick, 'Controversial U.S. Groups Operate Behind Scenes on Iraq Vote,', December 13, 2004)

pope francis today, medieval middle-eastern meshugenahs tomorrow...,

cnn |  The Saudi-American alliance has never been in worse shape.

That is why on Friday President Barack Obama will meet with Saudi King Abdullah, one of the sons of King Abdul Aziz, in an attempt to patch things up.

What went wrong? In recent months the normally hyper-discreet Saudis have gone on the record about their dissatisfactions with the Obama administration.

In December, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, took the highly unusual step of publicly criticizing the administration, "We've seen several red lines put forward by the president, which went along and became pinkish as time grew, and eventually ended up completely white...When that kind of assurance comes from a leader of a country like the United States, we expect him to stand by it."

It's inconceivable that Prince Turki, whose brother is the Saudi foreign minister, would make these public comments without approval from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Why are the Saudis going public with their dissatisfaction with the Obama administration? The laundry list of Saudi complaints most recently is that the United States didn't make good on its "red line" threat to take action against the Bashar al Assad regime in Syria following its use of chemical weapons against its own population.

Syria is a close ally of Saudi Arabia's archrival, Iran, and the Saudis are also growing apprehensive that the United States will not take a firm line on Iran's nuclear program -- which the Saudis see as an almost-existential threat -- now that the U.S.-Iranian relations have recently thawed.

The Saudi were also puzzled by the fact that the Obama administration seemed willing to let a longtime U.S. ally, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, be thrown overboard during the "Arab Spring" of early 2011. What did that say about other longtime U.S. allies in the region?

(Interestingly, these list of gripes look quite similar to those of another powerful player in the Middle East -- Israel.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

captain trips: the phenomenal power of singular personality...,

archive |  For such a pivotal character in recent history, Al Hubbard is remarkably little known. He is the unsung man who almost single-handedly introduced the world to LSD, as well as (to a lesser degree) mescaline and psilocybin. Albert Hoffman may have invented LSD, but Hubbard is the one who, in the very early years, gave it away like candy to some of the most influential people on the planet.
A true cipher, Hubbard was visionary, eccentric, friendly, and mysterious. At various times, he was an intelligence agent, an inventor, a millionaire, a clinical therapist, and more. There appear to be links between Hubbard and MKULTRA, the CIA program that researched behavior modification using LSD and other substances and techniques.

The definitive article on Hubbard is "The Original Captain Trips" by Todd Brendan Fahey, who also wrote a novel (Wisdom's Maw) that prominently features Hubbard. While researching Hubbard, Todd was given access to a cache of primary documents about the "acid messiah." This material has never been seen publicly until now. Todd has scanned these rare, one-of-a-kind documents and graciously sent them to us for posting.

to fathom hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic

whale | Psychedelics are the Fourth way spiritual path and people with this knowledge we call Shamans, although they may not.  The main LSD and Ketamine explorer and writer was John Lilly while Timothy Leary was the main man who spread the word about LSD with brilliant communication skills such as this interview: 1966 Timothy Leary interview.  The classic books are 'The Centre of the Cyclone (see original cover below)' by John Lilly, 'The Politics of Ecstasy' and 'Neuropolitics' by Timothy Leary.  Psychedelics have been suppressed by killing off the people with that knowledge, called Shamans and some Witches, and outlawing their use.  

These are called Power Plants or an Ally of Man by the Deer Tribe Metis-Medicine Society and Don Juan, the best ally after men, and can bestow immense personal Power if used wisely, partly by giving Visions and Knowledge, but also by being the greatest Aphrodisiacs, whose main gift is to open the Heart chakra and bestow great love/tenderness and intimacy, along with increased energy and pleasure, leading to great contentment and peace.  They also throw a big spanner into the works of the Mind Control agenda, put lucidly by Terence McKenna (although many users are Pyjama persons, they have a spirituality about them which is the greatest gift of psychedelics--spirituality).  This is is why Alcohol is that agenda's drug of choice, for us, along with Cocaine and Methamphetaminee (crystal meth) which opens you up to Possession, not forgetting all the Psychiatry nightmares, the biggest drug Addiction problem of all time. Cannabis prohibition feeds 50% of the Prison Industrial complex and costs $10 billion to enforce every year (USA) with an estimated $8 Billion in lost sales.  Psilocybin, LSD, or Ketamine would cut prison returns dramatically (Tim Leary cut the prison recidivism rate from 70% to 10% using Psilocybin) along with curing Alcoholism (Peyote on the Brain: Nature's Cure for Alcoholism, Ketamine Psychedelic Therapy), most other diseases with Cannabis Oil ("Our research indicates that hemp oil is an effective cure or control for practically any disease known to man"--- Rick Simpson), and other spiritual diseases such as despair from lack of Spirituality/Knowledge that feeds criminality, and cut the supply to Prison Inc from Alcohol abuse, and robbery from Methamphetamine Cocaine & Heroin abuse.

The Huichol Indians high up in the Sierra Madre Mountains of central-west MexicoHigh Sierra Indians, walk 400 miles every year to collect Peyote and then spend a few weeks, no doubt, crossing what Don Juan called the 'barriers of affection', or 'talking to Jesus' (your higher self or Spirit) to use Quanah Parker's term (Native American Church).  This would also destroy organised Religion and severely undermine the Church of Allopathy (Alcohol abuse fills most hospital beds), the two pillars propping up The Cult of Authority.  No wonder they are all illegal!!]

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ice, ice, baby too cold....,

zerohedge | While the NSA is busy justifying its spying of every American its existence thanks to famous Moscow resident Edward Snowden, its Russian counterparts have been busy intercepting even more phone Ukrainian conversations. 

After a month ago a leaked phone call between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and the US envoy to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt confirmed that it was the US that was pulling the strings in what was about to be a violent coup overthrowing Ukraine's president Yanukovich, "someone" has just leaked another phone conversation, this time between parliamentarian Nestor Shufrych and former PM and ideological leader of the Ukraine "revolution" Yulia Tymoshenko and most probable future president of West Ukraine, in which Tymoshenko is makes the following threats, "It’s going too far! Bugger! We must grab arms and go whack those damn katsaps [a Ukrainian word used to refer to the Russians in a negative tone] together with their leader", "I’ll use all my connections, I’ll raise the whole world – as soon as I’m able to – in order to make sure.. Bugger!.. not even scorched earth won’t remain where Russia stands" although all her empty threats collapse in the last sentence of the phone conversation in which she says, regarding the Crimea annexation, that "we are going to take it to the Hague International Criminal Court." Good luck with that. 

But the smoking gun, and where Putin once again shows just how masterful of a chess player he is, is the following statement by Tymoshenko, after asked, rhetorically, by her counterparty, "what should we do now with the 8 million Russians that stayed in Ukraine. They are outcasts"... to which she replies: "They must be killed with nuclear weapons.

Needless to say, that is not how you make Russian friends, or diffuse geopolitical tensions with your superpower neighbor, who just happens to be set on recreating USSR 2.0. Because just like that Putin has his provocation carte blanche, as the second something, anything happens to any ethnic Russian in east Ukraine, Putin can point to precisely this conversation as proof of how Ukraine's "government" feels toward the ethnic minorities in the east, and why "they deserve to be protected" the Russian bearhug. Which has been precisely Putin's plan all along. 

It is not surprising that after this recording was leaked, that Tymoshenko admitted the validity of the recording except for this part, because she knows just how greatly it can and will be used against her once Putin decides it is time to expand a little further beyond just Crimea.

is valodya putting europe on the brink of WW-III?

20Committee |  The Parisian daily Le Figaro has run an interesting interview about the situation in Ukraine with retired General Ihor Smeshko, who is well positioned to understand the realities at play. Once a Soviet Army officer, Smeshko served as Ukraine’s military attache in the United States in the 1990s, was promoted to general, then was head of military intelligence (HUR) from 1997 to 2000. He subsequently served as chief of the Security Service (SBU), Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency, from 2003 to 2005. While Smeshko is a somewhat controversial character, he remains active in politics and his insights on the current crisis merit consideration. The interview follows in toto, with my comments after.

Q: Moscow has annexed Crimea, and Ukrainian troops are to leave the peninsula. How do you feel?

A: I feel enormous humiliation. I have been an officer, first in the Soviet Army, then in Ukraine’s. Never could I have imagined what’s going on. Vladimir Putin is making a terrible mistake. In the long term, the aggression that Russia has committed will catch up with it, and will perhaps lead to its disintegration. What is more, I do not want to come out against Russia in general, nor do I want to lump the great Russian people — Tolstoy, Pushkin, and the others — together with Putin. Putin has opened  Pandora’s Box by breaching the bilateral treaty that recognized Ukraine’s frontiers in exchange for our giving up nuclear weapons in 1994. What will Russia do if China decides to protect the millions of Chinese already living in Siberia by annexing that territory? As I see it, Moscow is very afraid of a European-style democracy in Ukraine, which would put ideas into the Russian people’s heads.

Q: Putin is asserting that Ukraine is a geographical concept, not a nation.

A: Putin understands nothing about Ukraine. When he dared to claim that Russia won World War II without the Ukrainians, it was a terrible slap in the face. What about the seven million Ukrainians who gave their lives? Putin knows nothing about it and surrounds himself with servile advisers. He is unaware that the Ukrainians are old Russians, but bred on the freedom of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, who never submitted to serfdom. He cannot conquer us, but he has wounded us and has thus fallen afoul of the nation that gave the Tsarist empire its best troops. I know something about that: We have been soldiers, father and son, for five generations on my mother’s side. Instead of acting with the European Union to help the young Ukrainian state become democratic and prosperous – to build a bridge between Europe and Russia and make de Gaulle’s fantastic dream of a Europe stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals come true – Russia’s leadership has conducted military aggression against the territory of a sovereign state. It is placing Europe on the verge of a Third World War.

Q: Could the Ukrainian Army hold out in the event Russian troops enter eastern Ukraine?

A: Russia stands no chance of winning a war against Ukraine. To be sure, Ukraine is weakened by the twenty years it has spent laying the foundations of its state and by the total corruption of the machinery of that state. That is why part of the population has risen up against [ex-President] Viktor Yanukovych’s regime. Of course, we lack well-equipped divisions for the time being, but Russian ground forces are not in great shape. Russia has mobilized 150,000 men on our borders, but it’s not in a position to wage an offensive war against Ukraine or to occupy our territory. When the USSR fell apart, there was a highly trained military force of one million men here. Ukraine, for its part, has 700,000 reservists it can mobilize. Mobilization is under way. My twenty-one-year old son, who is a reserve lieutenant, has dropped out of university to sign up. If it persists in its adventure, Russia will stand no chance against a defense force of partisans.

Q: You say Crimea will remain Ukrainian, but former Georgian President Saakashvili said the same about South Ossetia.

A: We are not Georgia. For instance, part of the Russian nuclear shield is currently undergoing technical checks in a Ukrainian factory, Yuzhmash. We have not said to date that we are going to cease all cooperation, but that might change. Given our scientific expertise, we could even decide to resume building nuclear weapons.

do you remember this little vignette straight out of ian fleming?

radiofreeurope | The case surrounding the apparent poisoning two years ago of Viktor Yushchenko remains shrouded in mystery -- so much so that even Yushchenko himself routinely uses cryptic language to describe it.
Speaking to journalists in Baku on September 8, the Ukrainian president said the investigation into the alleged poisoning in September 2004 was "one step away from the active phase of solving this case."

Yushchenko's statement came as Ukraine's prosecutor-general, Oleksandr Medvedko, announced that investigators had determined the time, place, and circumstances in which the poisoning attempt took place.

All that remains, apparently, is to find the individual, or individuals, responsible.

Dioxin Poisoning

Austrian doctors responsible for examining Yushchenko several months after the poison was reportedly administered said the Ukrainian politician had ingested a concentrated dose of dioxin.

If investigators have in fact traced the time and place of the poisoning, it would mark a significant development in a seemingly stagnant case.

The powerful toxin caused bloating and pockmarks on Yushchenko's face, giving his skin a greenish hue and adding a macabre note to a tumultuous political season culminating in the mass Orange Revolution protests in December 2004.

Prosecutor-General Medvedko, confirming earlier allegations, said tests on the dioxins found in Yushchenko's blood showed they were highly purified and manufactured in either Russia, the United States, or Great Britain.

He declined to divulge other details. If investigators have in fact traced the time and place of the poisoning, it would mark a significant development in a seemingly stagnant case.

Intrigues And Disinformation

The mystery began on September 6, 2004.

Yushchenko, the pro-Western presidential candidate facing off against the Kremlin's preferred nominee, Viktor Yanukovych, became violently ill, suffering severe abdominal pain and facial lesions.

When he was rushed four days later to Vienna's Rudolfinerhaus clinic, his liver, pancreas, and intestines were swollen, and he was barely able to walk.

Doctors were initially baffled. But Yushchenko's supporters already had a theory: that the candidate had been poisoned during a dinner September 5 with Ihor Smeshko, the head of Ukraine's Security Service, at the summer home of Smeshko's deputy, Volodymyr Satsiuk.

Later that month, many were surprised to read a Rudolfinerhaus press release stating doctors did not believe Yushchenko had been poisoned.

But several days later, officials at the Vienna clinic publicly objected, insisting the press release was a forgery -- an episode that conjured up images of a Soviet-style disinformation campaign.

An Easy Target?

By December, doctors had confirmed that dioxin was behind Yushchenko's ailment, and that he had received the substance from a perpetrator who allegedly intended him harm.

Yushchenko's supporters immediately pointed to Yanukovych as the likely suspect, and accused Moscow of providing the dioxin.

Monday, March 24, 2014

modern art was cia weapon

independent | For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art - including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko - as a weapon in the Cold War. In the manner of a Renaissance prince - except that it acted secretly - the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years. 

The connection is improbable. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art - President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: "If that's art, then I'm a Hottentot." As for the artists themselves, many were ex- communists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing.

Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.

The existence of this policy, rumoured and disputed for many years, has now been confirmed for the first time by former CIA officials. Unknown to the artists, the new American art was secretly promoted under a policy known as the "long leash" - arrangements similar in some ways to the indirect CIA backing of the journal Encounter, edited by Stephen Spender.

The decision to include culture and art in the US Cold War arsenal was taken as soon as the CIA was founded in 1947. Dismayed at the appeal communism still had for many intellectuals and artists in the West, the new agency set up a division, the Propaganda Assets Inventory, which at its peak could influence more than 800 newspapers, magazines and public information organisations. They joked that it was like a Wurlitzer jukebox: when the CIA pushed a button it could hear whatever tune it wanted playing across the world.

The next key step came in 1950, when the International Organisations Division (IOD) was set up under Tom Braden. It was this office which subsidised the animated version of George Orwell's Animal Farm, which sponsored American jazz artists, opera recitals, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's international touring programme. Its agents were placed in the film industry, in publishing houses, even as travel writers for the celebrated Fodor guides. And, we now know, it promoted America's anarchic avant-garde movement, Abstract Expressionism. Fist tap Bro. Makheru.

jazz was a cia weapon

Dizzy Gillespie in 1956 in Zagreb, in what was then Yugoslavia, with the Yugoslav composer Nikica Kalogjera as passenger

NYTimes | HALF a century ago, when America was having problems with its image during the cold war, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the United States representative from Harlem, had an idea. Stop sending symphony orchestras and ballet companies on international tours, he told the State Department. Let the world experience what he called “real Americana”: send out jazz bands instead.

A photography exhibition of those concert tours, titled “Jam Session: America’s Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World,” is on display at the Meridian International Center in Washington through July 13 and then moves to the Community Council for the Arts in Kinston, N.C. There are nearly 100 photos in the show, many excavated from obscure files in dozens of libraries, then digitally retouched and enlarged by James Hershorn, an archivist at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. There’s Dizzy Gillespie in 1956, charming a snake with his trumpet in Karachi, Pakistan. Louis Armstrong in ’61, surrounded by laughing children outside a hospital in Cairo. Benny Goodman in ’62, blowing his clarinet in Red Square. Duke Ellington in ’63, smoking a hookah at Ctesiphon in Iraq.

The idea behind the State Department tours was to counter Soviet propaganda portraying the United States as culturally barbaric. Powell’s insight was that competing with the Bolshoi would be futile and in any case unimaginative. Better to show off a homegrown art form that the Soviets couldn’t match — and that was livelier besides. Many jazz bands were also racially mixed, a potent symbol in the mid to late ’50s, when segregation in the South was tarnishing the American image.

Jazz was the country’s “Secret Sonic Weapon” (as a 1955 headline in The New York Times put it) in another sense as well. The novelist Ralph Ellison called jazz an artistic counterpart to the American political system. The soloist can play anything he wants as long as he stays within the tempo and the chord changes — just as, in a democracy, the individual can say or do whatever he wants as long as he obeys the law. Willis Conover, whose jazz show on Voice of America radio went on the air in 1955 and soon attracted 100 million listeners, many of them behind the Iron Curtain, once said that people “love jazz because they love freedom.”

The Jazz Ambassador tours, as they were called, lasted weeks, sometimes months, and made an impact, attracting huge, enthusiastic crowds. A cartoon in a 1958 issue of The New Yorker showed some officials sitting around a table in Washington, one of them saying: “This is a diplomatic mission of the utmost delicacy. The question is, who’s the best man for it — John Foster Dulles or Satchmo?”
Powell arranged for Gillespie, his close friend, to make the State Department’s first goodwill jazz tour, starting out in March 1956 with an 18-piece band and traveling all over southern Europe, the Middle East and south Asia.

lsd was a cia weapon

salon | The idea that LSD could produce mental disorganization encouraged the CIA to start using it in experiments similar to those carried out by the Nazi doctors. CIA operatives began administering the drug in secret to different subject populations (or indeed to each other). Like the Nazis, the CIA used different populations of helpless individuals such as prisoners, drug addicts, and mental patients in their experiments, often with appalling results. The CIA not only performed experiments on individuals but also came up with schemes for contaminating the water supply of potential enemies with LSD so as to incapacitate entire hostile populations. For this they would need large amounts of the drug, at one point ordering the equivalent of 100 million doses from Sandoz. When they found out that obtaining such a large amount as this might be somewhat problematic they turned to Eli Lilly and Company, whose capable chemists broke the secret Sandoz patent and assured the CIA that they could produce LSD in tons or similar amounts. Thankfully for the future of humanity, this eventuality never came to pass. In the end the CIA concluded that the effects of hallucinogenic drugs like LSD were just too unpredictable for general use in the Cold War, and should just be reserved for very specific circumstances. Nevertheless, in the atmosphere of general paranoia that pervaded the postwar era, the CIA maintained an important role in manipulating the developing drug culture. CIA operatives acted as drug suppliers if they were interested in observing drug effects under particular circumstances, and infiltrated different drug-using groups with political points of view deemed to be of “interest” so as to relay information back to Washington.

However, it was not just the CIA who started the nascent drug culture simmering in the United States. As we have seen, Gordon Wasson had published his article on the use of psychedelic mushrooms in Mexico in Life Magazine in 1957, and this was very widely read and discussed. Aldous Huxley was another individual who greatly enhanced the awareness of the potential of psychedelic drug use. His interest in this subject clearly preceded the drug revolution of the 1960s as his famous book “Brave New World,” which had described the use of psychotropic drugs to control an entire society, had been published in 1931. Of course, much of the research on hallucinogenic drugs at the time was not just being performed at the behest of the CIA. There was enormous excitement in the psychiatric community about the possible uses of hallucinogens in psychiatry. Not only was there the idea that these drugs could be psychotomimetic and represented models of psychosis, but simultaneously other theories were being proposed suggesting the potential use of these same drugs in the treatment of mental disorders. Hence, LSD was simultaneously viewed as being psychotomimetic and a treatment for psychosis, reflecting the ferment in the psychiatric research community that the arrival of such a powerful drug had stirred up. LSD-mediated psychotherapy became highly popular and film stars such as Cary Grant were treated in this way, becoming propagandists for the drug.

In the vanguard of LSD research in psychiatry was Humphrey Osmond, whom we have already encountered as the man who introduced the word psychedelic and who, along with John Smythies, suggested the endogenous psychotogen theory of schizophrenia. Osmond attempted to use LSD as a treatment for a variety of disorders such as alcoholism, and claimed to have had considerable success. Aldous Huxley became aware of Osmond’s writings and volunteered to be a subject in one of his experiments. So, in May 1953 Osmond agreed and travelled to Huxley’s home in California to supervise his drug experience. Huxley was duly impressed and continued experimenting with the drug on subsequent occasions. Huxley’s final novel Island, published in 1960, summarized his views on the use of hallucinogens (called moksha in this novel) as an integral part of an ideal society. When he died in 1963 Huxley had his wife administer LSD to him on his deathbed as he slid into the hereafter. Other writers such as the “Beats,” including Allan Ginsberg and William Burroughs, also experimented with hallucinogens. Their book “The Yage Letters” (1963) details their sojourn in South America experimenting with ayahuasca.

It can therefore be seen that in the 1950s hallucinogenic drugs including mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD had become a widely discussed topic in medical, political, and artistic circles. However, in order for the use of hallucinogens to really take off in society in general, something else was needed. Proselytizing leaders were required, and one was soon at hand.

In 1960 Timothy Leary was a 39-year-old psychology lecturer at Harvard. He clearly had a bright career ahead of him, having carried out important basic research in behavioral psychology. Leary read Wasson’s article in Life Magazine and, like many others, was intrigued. That summer he traveled down to Cuernavaca in Mexico with friends and obtained some samples of psilocybin mushrooms. Leary was profoundly impressed with his experience. Basically, he was bored with the kind of life he was leading as a faculty member at Harvard and saw that hallucinogens represented an entirely new path for the exploration of the psyche. Soon after returning to Boston he was sharing psilocybin with students and faculty alike and, together with his colleague Richard Alpert, set up an entire psilocybin-based research project which included “experiments” such as the Marsh Chapel religious event discussed in the previous chapter. Eventually Leary was also introduced to LSD, and this became his experimental drug of choice. However, the authorities at Harvard had soon had enough of Leary’s antics, self-promotion, and his entire modus operandi. In 1963 both Leary and Alpert were dismissed from their faculty positions.

However, Leary was not deterred in the slightest. Initially he and Alpert started their own organization, the International Federation for Internal Freedom (IFIF) for the further study of the religious and psychological potential of hallucinogenic drug use. The IFIF was headquartered in a Mexican resort town. However, the reports of wild orgies and other unseemly behavior caused the Mexican authorities to evict the group, and Leary was back in the United States once again. By this time experimenting with LSD had developed a cachet that was attracting the attention of many high rollers throughout the country. Eventually Leary encountered the fabulously wealthy William Mellon Hitchcock (aka “Mr. Billy”), the grandson of the founder of Gulf Oil. Mr. Billy took to LSD and to Timothy Leary and offered him and his acolytes the use of his 64-room country estate. Here at the Millbrook estate Leary established the Castalia Foundation, named after the priestly sect in Hesse’s novel The Glass Bead Game, which was dedicated to the scholarly study of LSD and its spiritual applications. Apparently Leary saw himself as a latter-day Joseph Knecht and proceeded to hold court with anybody who cared to visit, partake of the LSD experience, and discuss the matter with him. As a guide to the direction and understanding of LSD-induced psychedelic experience, Leary used the Tibetan Book of the Dead which deals explicitly with different states of consciousness. Leary reinterpreted this so that it ended up as a sort of mixture of Buddhist wisdom and Scientology. Clearly at this point Leary had become the high priest of an LSD-fueled religion complete with its own bible. Millbrook was visited by a wide variety of high-profile individuals from the arts and politics, and its place in the general public’s consciousness rapidly increased.

However, it was not only Leary who catalyzed the popularity of LSD. In 1960 Ken Kesey, who had graduated from Stanford’s creative writing workshop, answered an advertisement for human guinea pigs to take part in one of the CIA-sponsored research studies on psychedelic drugs at a local hospital and ended up working there in the psychiatric ward. Here the ample availability of both psychedelic drugs and mental patients inspired him to write his first novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest”—a considerable critical and popular success. The money that he earned from the book allowed Kesey, like Leary on the East Coast, a certain degree of freedom. While continuing to write, a group of like-minded and frequently stoned associates began to form a loose association with him.

Kesey’s take on the use of the LSD experience, however, was very different from Leary’s. He saw himself as a sort of agent provocateur whose role was to shake up the entire bourgeois establishment. In 1964, together with his band of “Merry Pranksters,” he purchased a bus, painted it in bright Day-Glo colors and, with the Pranksters attired in outrageous garb, traveled across the country handing out LSD—or “acid” as it was becoming known—to anybody who wanted to try it. In this way Kesey began to democratize the use of LSD, and things began to take on the characteristics of the drug counterculture movement of the 1960s. While in New York, Kesey and the Pranksters visited Leary at Millbrook in what clearly could have been an interesting meeting. However, the presence of two egos as large as theirs was too much even for the 64 rooms of Millbrook. Indeed, Leary did not deign to meet personally with Kesey, and the latter was not impressed with the priestly atmosphere pervading the upper class Millbrook estate where, in spite of everything else, attempts were made to study the effects of LSD on behavior in a conventional sense. So, the result was a culture clash—East coast versus West Coast, upper class versus working class, exclusivity versus egalitarianism. Kesey wanted to popularize the entire “acid trip” in a way that was fundamentally different from what Leary was doing. Following his return to California, Kesey began to mount a series of “Acid Tests,” basically the precursors to hippie happenings where acid-laced “Electric Kool-Aid” was readily available accompanied by the latest music played by Kesey’s favorite rock group, The Warlocks, soon to reemerge as The Grateful Dead.

In 1965, when large amounts of easily available acid hit the streets of US cities, American society was a powder keg ready to explode. The combination of the Vietnam war, the assassination of Malcolm X, the race riots in Watts and other cities, and the volatile mood on US college campuses, all contributed to the general ferment. Society was becoming increasingly radicalized and many young people felt completely disillusioned with their government and society in general. They sought to distance themselves from the status quo and to distinguish themselves as revolutionaries in as many ways as possible.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

did the fbi plan to assassinate occupy wallstreet leaders?

chron | A federal judge has ordered the FBI to explain why it withheld some information requested by a graduate student for his research on a plot to assassinate Occupy Houston protest leaders.

Ryan Noah Shapiro, a doctoral student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., filed a lawsuit April 29, 2013, against the U.S. Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer issued her order, with an accompanying memo, on March 12.

The FBI, as part of the Department of Justice, controls the records Shapiro wanted for his study of "conflicts at the nexus of American national security, law enforcement and political dissent," the plaintiff's complaint stated.

Houston was among hundreds of U.S. cities where protesters occupied outdoor spaces as part of the Occupy Movement that started in New York's Zucotti Park on Sept. 17, 2011.

"The movement has sought to expose how the wealthiest 1 percent of society promulgates an unfair global economy that harms people and destroys communities worldwide," the complaint stated.

Shapiro said in his complaint that the existence of an assassination plot against Occupy Houston's leaders became known through the FBI's earlier release of information in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

"According to one of the released records, ... [REDACTED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles...," Shapiro stated in his complaint.

Shapiro requested additional information from the FBI in January 2013.

"There is presently a vigorous and extraordinarily important debate in the United States about the authority of the government to conduct extrajudicial killings on American soil," the complaint stated.
"The records sought by plaintiff would likely be an invaluable contribution to the public discourse on this issue," Shapiro's complaint said. "It would also be a significant controversy if it was revealed that the FBI deliberately failed to act to prevent a plot to assassinate American protest leaders."

In response to Shapiro's request, the FBI identified 17 pages of records and turned over five partial pages while entirely withholding 12 pages, according to court records.

Shapiro filed the suit because, his complaint stated, the FBI's search was inadequate and failed to produce relevant records, and the agency improperly invoked certain exemptions as reasons not to disclose information.

government captive to the vampire squid

forbiddenknowledgetv |  In this interview on C-SPAN, Glenn Greenwald cites a Sammy Johnson Op-Ed in the Washington Post that basically says that the New York investment bank, Goldman Sachs, "...seems to have a virtual lock on the Treasury Department. Positions: The Clinton Administration's Secretary of the Treasury was a former Goldman CEO, Robert Rubin and of course, of course, under President Bush, the CEO who designed the bail-out packages was the former Goldman-Sachs Ceo, Hank Paulson. The current Secretary, Tim Geithner is a protege of Robert Rubin - his Chief-of-Staff is a Lobbyist with Goldman-Sachs - and that's just one firm.

"But you look across the government, you see the financial industry, through its enormous financial resources, pouring money into the campaign coffers of the members of Congress, controlling members of the Executive Branch - and so each and every policy that the Executive Branch, under both President Bush and Obama have promulgated and advocated, as a response to the [World Financial] Crisis - has as the primary beneficiaries, the financial elites who have funded them and who control them and to whom they are inextricably linked - and it's a form of extreme corruption, in general - and I think that in a case where there's a real crisis, it's a particular problem.

"Another thing that I would underscore is that, if you go look back at how the [World Financial] Crisis began, in the 1990s, the financial industry was advocating, vigorously that many of the limitations on what they were able to do, many of which had been in place since the Great Depression - to prevent another Great Depression - were abolished one-by-one - and why? On a bi-partisan basis, because they fund both political parties and they were able to write the laws and those regulations were abolished, at their behest; that's what CAUSED the Financial Crisis - and that same corrupt system is still fueling what is intended as the solution."