Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big Don's Library

"We have an excellent library here. You can use your viewer to zoom in on the titles. Turner Diaries has a hallowed spot on the top shelf next to The Bell Curve."

this picture is worth all the words I could ever muster, and well, some things you just can't make up and must be seen in order to be believed......, (click on the image to view detail)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

on the next Jerry Springer.....,

Newsweek covering Sarah Palin's Troopergate scandal;
An Anchorage judge three years ago warned Sarah Palin and members of her family to stop "disparaging" the reputation of Alaska State Trooper Michael Wooten, who at the time was undergoing a bitter separation and divorce from Palin's sister Molly.

Allegations that Palin, her husband Todd, and at least one top gubernatorial aide continued to vilify Wooten—after Palin became Alaska's governor and pressured state police officials to take action against him—are at the center of "Troopergate," a political and ethical controversy which has embroiled Palin's administration and is currently the subject of an official inquiry by a special investigator hired by the state legislature.

Court records obtained by NEWSWEEK show that during the course of divorce hearings three years ago, Judge John Suddock heard testimony from an official of the Alaska State Troopers' union about how Sarah Palin—then a private citizen—and members of her family, including her father and daughter, lodged up to a dozen complaints against Wooten with the state police. The union official told the judge that he had never before been asked to appear as a divorce-case witness, that the union believed family complaints against Wooten were "not job-related," and that Wooten was being "harassed" by Palin and other family members.

Court documents show that Judge Suddock was disturbed by the alleged attacks by Palin and her family members on Wooten's behavior and character. "Disparaging will not be tolerated—it is a form of child abuse," the judge told a settlement hearing in October 2005, according to typed notes of the proceedings. The judge added: "Relatives cannot disparage either. If occurs [sic] the parent needs to set boundaries for their relatives."
Remember that this case sheds light on the pettiness and vindictiveness of Palin who has already demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that the well-being of her own teenage daughter and infant son takes a backseat to her personal and political ambition.

A theocrat is a theocrat...,

John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the "transcendent challenge" of the 21st century, "radical Islamic extremism," contrasting it with "stability, tolerance and democracy." But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God's will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

m e a n i n g i s l i k e t e l e p a t h y

Continuing from the same McKenna talk given in 1987;
Our cultural crisis is deepening. Deepening mainly because we have very poor connections among our fragmented and autonomous psychic structures -- within ourselves as individuals and within ourselves as a society. Our whole problem is that we can't communicate with each other, we can't express intention. Yet the psychedelics are sitting there waiting to unify us, to introduce us to the trans-linguistic intention. To carry us forward into a realm of appropriate cultural activity, which is to my mind, the realm beyond history. Beyond history lies effortless and appropriate cultural activity. And nature has proceeded us, as it always does, by laying out models that can be followed to realize this.

As an example, I'll point out that the 19th century had a titular animal. Its titular animal was the horse, idealized as the steam engine, the Iron Horse. Marx talked about the locomotive of history, and there was a whole focusing on the horse archetype. Which in the 20th century, gave way to the titulary animal, the raptor, the bird of prey, as exemplified by high-performance fighter aircraft, as the kind of ultimate union of man and machine in some kind of glorification of the completion of a certain set of cultural ideals.

In thinking about this and in thinking about how language is the cultural frontier of our species, I went to nature looking for models of how we might move beyond the bird of prey, which when you think about it, is the American symbol. It was also the symbol of the Third Reich. A lot of creepy scenes have actually been into birds of prey, when Alleric the Visigoth burned Eleusis, it was the crow that fluttered on his battle standard as the greasy smoke swept by. These dark birds have been ever with us.

In looking for a new titulary animal and drawing the conclusion of what it would mean, I was drawn to look, strangely enough, at cephalopods, octopi. Because I felt, first of all, they are extremely alien. The break between our line of development in the phylogenetic tree, and the mollusca, which is what a cephalopod is, is about 700 million years ago. Nevertheless, and many of you who are students of evolution know, that when evolutionists talk about parallel evolution, they always bring out the example of the optical system of the octopi. Because, isn't
this astonishing? -- it's very much like the human eye, and yet it developed entirely independently. This shows how the same set of external factors impinging on a raw gene pool will inevitably sculpt the same organs or attain the same end, and so forth and so on.

Well, the optical capacity of octopi is one thing. What interested me was their linguistic organization. They are virtually entirely nervous system. First of all, they have eight arms in the case of the octopods, and ten arms in the case of the squid, the decapods. So coordinating all these organs of manipulation has given them a very capable nervous system as well as a highly evolved ocular system.

But what is really interesting about them is that they communicate with each other by changing the color and texture of their skin and their physical shape. You may know that octopi could change colors, but you may have thought it was camouflage or something very passive like that. It isn't that at all. They have a vast repertoire of traveling bars, dots, blushes, merging pastels, herringbone patterns, tweeds, mottled this-and-thats, can blush from apricot through teal into dove gray and on to olive -- do all of these things communicating to each other. That is what their large optical system is for. It is to be able to see each other.

The other thing which octopi can do -- besides having these chromatophores on the surface of their skin --they can change the texture of the skin surface: can make it rugose, papillaed, smooth, lobed, rubbery, runneled, so forth and so on. And then, of course, being shell-less molluscs, they can hide arms, and display certain parts of themselves and carry on a dance.

When you analyze what is going on here, what at first seems like merely fascinating facts from natural history, begins to take on a more profound aspect. Because it is an ontological transformation of language that is going on in front of you. Note that by being able to communicate visually, they have no need of a conventionalized culturally reinforced dictionary. Rather, they experience pure intent of each other without ambiguity because each octopus can see what is meant -- this is very important -- can see what is meant. And I think that this heralds, or could be made to herald, a transformation in our own definitions of language and communication.

What we need is to see what we mean. It's not without consequence or implication, that when we try to communicate the notion of clarity of speech, we always shift into visual metaphors: I see what you mean, he painted a picture, his description was very colorful. It means that when we intend to indicate a lack of ambiguity and communication, we shift to visual analogies. This can in fact be actualized. And in fact, this is what is happening in the psychedelic experience. There we discover, just under the surface of human biological organization, the next level in the organization of language: the ability to generate some kind of acoustical hologram that is manipulated by linguistic intent.

Now don't ask me how this happens, because nobody knows how it happens. At this point it's magic. Nevertheless, the fact is it does happen -- you can have this experience. It represents a synesthesia in the presence of ongoing communication. It is, in fact, telepathy. It is not what we thought telepathy would be, which I suppose if you're like me, you imagine telepathy would be hearing what other people think. It isn't that. It's seeing what other people mean. And them also seeing what they mean. So that once something has been communicated, both parties can walk around it and look at it, the way you study a Brancusi, or a Henry Moore in an art gallery.

By eliminating the ambiguity of the audio signal, and substituting the concreteness of the visual image, the membrane of separation, that allows the fiction of our individuality, can be temporarily overcome. And the temporary overcoming of the illusion of individuality is a much richer notion of ego-death than the kind of white-light, null-states that it has imagined to be. Because the overcoming of the illusion of individuality has political consequences. The political consequences are that one can love one's neighbor, because the commonalty of being is felt. Not reasoned toward, or propagandized into, or reinforced, but felt.

i n t h e b e g i n n i n g w a s t h e w o r d

In Understanding and the Imagination in the Light of Nature - Terrence McKenna sez;

In fact, nature ultimately resolves itself into a self-reflecting, syntactical metasystem, right down to the DNA. DNA working as it does, with nucleotide sequences that code -- that means arbitrarily assign association -- code for certain amino acids. It means that organic objects are essentially utterances in three dimensional space and express of some kind of universally distributed linguistic intent. This is what it means when it says, "In the beginning was the word." Nature is that word. This infinitely self-adumbrating, fractal, syntactical hallucination with an infinite number of facets for potential regarding and self-regarding.

And having said all of this, I might invoke here Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, which as I'm sure many of you know was Kurt Godel's brilliant contribution to theoretical mathematics where he showed that the possible set of true formal statements generated by any formal system exceeded the possible set of true formal statements which the rules of that system allowed. He showed this for simple arithmetic. And what this means, friends, is that what was called truth up until the beginning of the twentieth century, is absolutely impossible. That's what Godel's Incompleteness Theorem secures. It shows that there is no ultimate closure in an effort to describe a formal system.

And so in a way, my take on nature, and culture, and man, is that human language is a meta-linguistic system, generated out of the necessary formal incompleteness of nature. Nature is a self-describing genetic language and yet out of it arises something which is not formally predicted by its constraints and rules. There's a symmetry break there, and a so-called emergent property comes into view. This emergent property is our unique ability to provisionally code sound to meaning so that we then can freely command and reconstruct the world. We imagine that we do this for our own purposes of communication. The analysis that I'm suggesting would seem to indicate that actually we do it because we are complicated enzyme systems that are moving linguistic charge around inside some kind of metasystem. A metasystem that is very important for the emergence of new order out of nature.

The fact that it is contrived, provisional, is very interesting. It doesn't arise out of the gene structure. Rather it is agreed upon by individuals who are living at the time that the linguistic structure, whatever it is, emerges into consciousness. Since individuals are replaced, the language is much more in flux than the genome. The genetic component of an organism is a physical structure stabilized by atomic bonds -- possibly stabilized by a phenomenon like room-temperature's superconductivity. In that the way nature works is to conserve the genes. Molecular machinery has evolved to do that. But there is no mechanism in nature with the same kind of binding force that conserves meaning. Meaning is some kind of freely-commanded, open-ended, self-evolving system. The rules are that there are no rules.

Meaning consequently addresses itself to a much larger potential modality of expression than the genes. The genes basically repeat themselves, over and over. Almost like Homeric poetry, where the idea is that it be memorized and repeated. And that's what sexuality is about: memorizing and repeating gene structures, handing on parts of the story. But the epigenetic domain is different, the creation of linguistic systems, where meaning can be freely commanded, allows very rapid evolution of cultural forms.

Biologists on the Verge of Creating New Form of Life

Wired Magazine sez - Biologists on the Verge of Creating New Form of Life;
What most researchers agree on is that the very first functioning life would have had three basic components: a container, a way to harvest energy and an information carrier like RNA or another nucleic acid.

Szostak's earlier work has shown that the container probably took the form of a layer of fatty acids that could self-assemble based on their reaction to water (see video). One tip of the acid is hydrophilic, meaning it's attracted to water, while the other tip is hydrophobic. When researchers put a lot of these molecules together, they circle the wagons against the water and create a closed loop.

These membranes, with the right mix of chemicals, can allow nucleic acids in under some conditions and keep them trapped inside in others.

That opens the possibility that one day, in the distant past, an RNA-like molecule wandered into a fatty acid and started replicating. That random event, through billions of evolutionary iterations, researchers believe, created life as we know it.

Palin's Churches

Sarah Palin has refused to acknowledge belonging to any specific denomination or any particular religious stream. However, it is now well documented that she spent her youth in an Assembly of God church and has regularly attended another AoG church, as well as two Independent Churches. At least three of four of these churches have close ties to prominent organizations and leaders in the Third Wave movement, also known as the New Apostolic Reformation.

This is a worldwide movement so completely ignored by the press that there is no single accepted term that has been coined for the identification for the group. In addition to Third Wave and New Apostolic Reformation, it is also referred to by the names of some of its more extreme theologies, such as Joel's Army and Manifest Sons of Destiny. Its roots are in a revival of the manifestations and beliefs of the New Order of Latter Rain which has been repeatedly condemned by the General Council of the Assemblies of God since 1949.

Palin's Churches and the Third Wave Part One (Background on Third Wave)

Palin's Churches and the Third Wave - Documenting the involvement of Palin's specific churches in this movement.

Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp was a documentary about the "Kids On Fire School of Ministry," a charismatic Christian summer camp formerly located just outside Devils Lake, North Dakota and run by Becky Fischer and her ministry, Kids in Ministry International.

The film focused on three children who attended the camp in the summer of 2005—Levi, Rachael, and Tory (Victoria).

The film cuts between footage of the camp and a children's prayer conference held just prior to the camp at Christ Triumphant Church, a large charismatic church in Lee's Summit, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Eurasian Alliance Against the U.S.

To put this in the right perspective, this image shows the Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - Russia, China, Kazakstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the observers countries - Iran, Pakistan, India, Mongolia and the Moscow-friendly Belarus.

Russian nationalist advocates Eurasian alliance against the U.S. - Aleksander Dugin, a popular theorist in hard-line circles, advocates an alliance between the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. He says Georgia crisis could be start of a real conflict with U.S.

Writer, political activist and father figure for contemporary Russian nationalism, Aleksandr Dugin is the founder of Russia's International Eurasian Movement and a popular theorist among Russia's hard-line elite. He envisions a strategic bloc comprising the former Soviet Union and the Middle East to rival the U.S.-dominated Atlantic alliance. The Times interviewed Dugin this week at his Moscow office, a room draped with flags bearing the slogan "Pax Russica." The following are excerpts. Megan Stack in the Los Angeles Times.

t h e b r a i n i s a c t u a l l y a l a n g u a g e

Tractate 36:

In summary; thoughts of the brain are experienced by us as arrangements and rearrangements - change - in a physical universe; but in fact it is really information and information-processing which we substantialize.

We do not merely see its thoughts as objects, but rather as the movement, or, more precisely, the placement of objects: how they become linked to one another. But we cannot read the patterns of arrangement; we cannot extract the information in it - i.e. it as information, which is what it is. The linking and relinking of objects by the Brain is actually a language but not a language like ours (since it is addressing itself and not someone or something outside itself).

Tractate 37:

We should be able to hear this information, or rather narrative, as a neutral voice inside us. But something has gone wrong. All creation is a language and nothing but a language, which for some inexplicable reason we can't read outside and can't hear inside.

So I say, we have become idiots. Something has happened to our intelligence. My reasoning is this: arrangement of parts of the Brain is a language. We are parts of the Brain; therefore we are language.

Why, then, do we not know this? We do not even know what we are, let alone what the outer reality is of which we are parts. The origin of the world "idiot" is the word "private." Each of us has become private, and no longer shares the common thought of the Brain, except at a subliminal level. Thus our real life and purpose are conducted below our threshold of consciousness.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Seeing and Hearing is Believing...,

Some folks are bound and determined not to believe that the GOP is staging a pure identity politics campaign. Others clearly recognize it for what it is and accept it as part of the ugly necessity involved with winning an election. Lobbyist and McCain campaign executive Rick Davis spells out what they're doing in no uncertain terms. Chris Wallace does an astonishing job of trying to hold Davis' feet to the fire here. Something has changed in the climate of consciousness at faux noise....,

Elite Consensus

Joe Bageant dropped another gem from the APC titled Moving to the Center of Elite Consensus. Well worth reading in its entirety as a Rosetta Stone to the current presidential election.
It is important to understand that elite consensus itself is not static and can shift in moderate degrees, but it has definitive boundaries of which you can not cross and still be a viable player within the electoral system. These boundaries exist to the left and right within that consensus, but the institutional bias of the system is much harsher towards any moves to the left. This is because in its essence elite opinion is anti-populist and primarily concerned with protecting the fundamentals of the established economic order.

Every national campaign is in fact a dual conversation, one targeting voters while the other is directed towards the political, media, and economic elites. The purpose of the message targeting the first group is to win votes. The messages to the latter group is designed to form elite consensus, first for it not to correlate against you and secondly to have it help you win and eventually govern.

Surviving the contradictions of these dual dialogues is the primary element that makes a successful national campaign.
Should be very interesting to see how the three senators jockey for advantage around the sweet spot of elite consensus on the political talk shows this morning, and no wonder why the "girl from the hood" is being kept under wraps.

Missing From Action this Morning?

I can't wait to see Gov. Palin hold it down on one or more of this morning's news talk shows. Wait, there must be some kind of mistake;
As is The Ticket's custom, a post listing the entire roster of appearances on this Sunday's interview programs will pop up Saturday at noon PDT (3 p.m. EDT).

But here's an advance heads up, in part because of who WON'T be found on any of the chat shows.

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin campaigning with the top of the Republican ticket, John McCain Three of the four now-official candidates on the major-party presidential tickets are scheduled to sit down for questions: Democrat Barack Obama on ABC's "This Week," his running mate, Joe Biden, on NBC's "Meet the Press" and Republican John McCain on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Absent from this list, of course, is the GOP's star of the moment, the not-so-long-ago obscure governor of Alaska who is McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin.

Since she was thrust onto the national stage a week ago, her appearances on it have been tightly regulated by the McCain campaign: a few side-by-side campaign stops with him and, of course, her big speech to the GOP's convention Wednesday night.

Today, top McCain aide Rick Davis indicated the campaign isn't in any hurry to slot Palin for a Sunday show appearance -- and will do so only if he and other strategists determine it serves the ticket's purposes, not because some may view it as a required initiation for a major political player.
But we all have so many questions for the veepee select. Surely she's ready to drill, drill, drill - here, there, and everywhere to give us deeper glimpses into her vast wealth of experience and subject matter expertise in economics, foreign affairs, national security, energy and so forth - you know - all those pressing issues the electorate needs to mull over in order to arrive at a fully informed decision.

Letter About Palin Goes Viral

All Things Considered, September 5, 2008

This week in Wasilla, Alaska, a woman named Anne Kilkenny sent a letter to some college friends about her former mayor, Sarah Palin.

By week's end, the letter was pinging around the country and Kilkenny's phone was ringing off the hook. Waiting for the mainstream media to vet this person may be about as productive as waiting for the Alaskan legislators to issue their report on troopergate.

Why squatter cities are a good thing

Rural villages worldwide are being deserted, as billions of people flock to cities to live in teeming squatter camps and slums.

Stewart Brand says this is a good thing.

Why? It’ll take you 3 minutes to find out.

Stewart Brand's TED talk on squatter cities.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Girls in the Hood....,

Any carefully observant person watching Sarah Palin's body language during her speech reading performance at the GOP convention probably noted a lot of telltale signs of serious moral malfunction. There was the sneer, the wrinkled lip, and the evident malicious glee with which she cast aspersions.
Like “yeah, I said it”. Arrogance and hatred are not leadership qualities.
Anyway, it looks like that other shoe, you know, the one accompanying troopergate, illegitimate OOW pregnancy, earmarks, budget busting, separatism, and rank opportunism - dropped very loudly on friday. Didn't take very long either.

Alaskans Speak (In A Frightened Whisper): Palin Is “Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, And Mean”
“So Sambo beat the bitch!”

This is how Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin described Barack Obama’s win over Hillary Clinton to political colleagues in a restaurant a few days after Obama locked up the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
Before you ask, "well really a little bit after my man Rembom asked" here's the accompanying backstory from the original story's author, Charley James.
Alas, more often than not, the reality is that in a highly-explosive story such as my piece about Sarah Palin published here on Friday, granting anonymity may be the only way to get a source to agree to be interviewed.

So I am not surprised that a number of readers who wrote comments about the article raised questions about my sources. It has happened before, especially when I tackled a subject that raises a lot of dust, and it will happen again. Although I won’t reveal any sources – I honor promises of anonymity – let me explain how the story unfolded and sources came to my attention as I did the reporting.
Only time will tell, but at this juncture, in light of everything else that has emerged and in consideration of what I witnessed with my own eyes, I'm highly inclined to believe that Mr. James and his source Lucille are on the level.

This Sucks....,

Infectious, test tube-produced prions can jump the 'species barrier' - Researchers have shown that they can create entirely new strains of infectious proteins known as prions in the laboratory by simply mixing infectious prions from one species with the normal prion proteins of another species. The findings are reported in the September 5th issue of the journal Cell.

This new insight has profound implications for public health, according to the researchers.

"One of the scariest medical problems of the last decades has been the emergence of a new and fatal human prion disease--variant CJD--originated by cross-species transmission of BSE from cattle," the researchers said. BSE has also spread to other animals, including exotic cats, other primates and domestic cats, after they ate feed derived from diseased cows.

Keep it on the Down Low.....,

WASILLA, Alaska — Shortly after taking office as governor in 2006, Sarah Palin sent an e-mail message to Paul E. Riley, her former pastor in the Assembly of God Church, which her family began attending when she was a youth. She needed spiritual advice in how to do her new job, said Mr. Riley, who is 78 and retired from the church.[...]

One of the musical directors at the church, Adele Morgan, who has known Ms. Palin since the third grade, said the Palins moved to the nondenominational Wasilla Bible Church in 2002, in part because its ministry is less “extreme” than Pentecostal churches like the Assemblies of God, which practice speaking in tongues and miraculous healings.

“A lot of churches are about music and media and having a big profile,” Ms. Morgan said. “We are against that. That is why it is so attractive to politicians because they can just sit there and be safe.”
Say what you will, as far as I'm concerned, It Speaks For Itself and I quote here; I believe Alaska is one of the refuge states in the last days.., while I have no qualms about religion or religiosity -the intersection of politics and eschatalogical dominionism is cause for tremendous concern - as I've previously documented.

If you elect to believe that Palin is an American Cinderella story, you may also want to consider who specifically her fairy godfathers are...., particularly given the extent to which Obama has been charged with "hanging out with radicals". From what I can see, the Palin klan is about as radical as they come - so there may be a fair amount of projection going on with regard to Baraka....,

Dominionist Stalking Horse?

Sarah Palin is found to have some very interesting and very disturbing connections - among them, being potentially the first Assemblies-linked VP candidate and having a number of links to dominionist groups targeting kids via "bait and switch" evangelism.

There are quite a number of extremely troubling links between Sarah Palin and neopentecostal dominionists--enough that, in truth, she may be ultimately as much of a "dream candidate" for the dominionist movement as Mike Huckabee was. Even worse, she's running in a manner that has been frighteningly successful for dominionist groups since the early 80's--specifically, as a "stealth candidate".

Elite Fundamentalism - The Fellowship's Gospel of Capitalist Power

The Family (or the Fellowship as it is also known), is a shadowy organisation founded in the United States in the 1930s to promote a gospel of theocratic capitalist power and American empire.

Like a Protestant version of Opus Dei, the Family is best known for founding the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC in the 1950s, and its invisible network has not only penetrated the highest levels of political power in the United States but wherever in the world America has political or economic interests.

On ABC National Radio - Audio and Full Transcript

Fannie and Freddie Seized

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to be taken over by the government as soon as this weekend in a bold move designed to protect the mortgage market from the risk the companies could fail, a person briefed on the matter said Friday night.

Some of the details of the intervention, which could cost taxpayers billions, were not yet available, but are expected to include the departure of Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd and Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron, according to the source, who asked not to be named because the plan was yet to be announced.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and James Lockhart, the companies' chief regulator, met Friday afternoon with the top executives from the mortgage companies and informed them of the government's plan to take over the troubled companies in a process known as conservatorship.

The news, first reported on The Wall Street Journal's Web site, came after stock markets closed. In after-hours trading Fannie Mae's shares plunged $1.70, or 24 percent, to $5.34. Freddie Mac's shares fell 95 cents, or almost 19 percent, to $4.15.

Friday, September 05, 2008

China’s Central Bank is in a Bind

It has been on a buying binge in the United States over the last seven years, snapping up roughly $1 trillion worth of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed debt issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Those investments have been declining sharply in value when converted from dollars into the strong yuan, casting a spotlight on the central bank’s tiny capital base. The bank’s capital, just $3.2 billion, has not grown during the buying spree, despite private warnings from the International Monetary Fund.

Now the central bank needs an infusion of capital. Central banks can, of course, print more money, but that would stoke inflation. Instead, the People’s Bank of China has begun discussions with the finance ministry on ways to shore up its capital, said three people familiar with the discussions who insisted on anonymity because the subject is delicate in China. Full Monty in today's NYTimes.


Too Volatile to be POTUS

McCain said "fight" 29 times and "change" 10 times last night....,

Politics is the Problem, Not the Solution

Paul Chefurka brings a carefully argued essay with an altogether too optimistic conclusion. I like Chefurka's writing and I definitely consider him a "reality aware" oasis of good faith and good intentions. I believe, however, that he would profit by spending a little time contemplating the Hypertiger Wisdoms....,

Guardian Institutions
Over the centuries an interlocking system of guardian institutions has grown up to protect and defend the two key ideas of growth and hierarchy.
  • Our economic and financial institutions cooperate with business and industry to set the value of work and control the money supply (thereby controlling access to food). In this role it doesn't make any difference whether an economy is capitalist, socialist or communist. The core belief it guards is always the same one.
  • Our educational institutions teach successive generations how the system works, giving them the tools to integrate into it and manipulate it, while at the same time training them to see this as the only possible way the world can work.
  • Our communications media reinforce this message by enlisting people in the growth paradigm. They do this both through overt messages like advertising and covert messages embedded in the story lines of entertainment.
  • Our religious institutions (as distinct from the religions they purport to enshrine) are primarily normative social structures. Many incorporate an overt message that we should be content with things as they are. There are often injunctions against questioning authority, as all authority is seen to devolve from the supernatural – just as it did for the shamans of the early agricultural era.
  • Our legal institutions enforce the norms of hierarchy in ways too numerous to count. These range from the protection of privilege (one law for the rich, one for the poor) to the preferential defense of property rights over human rights.
  • Our political institutions sit at the tip of the pyramid. Political institutions encode, enshrine and manage the application of social power. Politics is the institution that legitimizes all the others. Because of its unique ability to make laws and its access to legalized violence to defend those laws, politics is the fullest expression of the power hierarchy of modern civilization.
At the base of the hierarchy, supporting it all, are an ever-diminishing number of farmers who apply ever-increasing amounts of knowledge, technology and petroleum to ensure an ever-expanding supply of food. Because at the core it is their food that makes the whole edifice possible. (sounds exactly like Hypertiger)

So where does this put us in relation to the array of wicked problems we listed at the beginning? Simply put, every one of those problems is the result of unbridled growth. They are the logical results of the continual exercise of the first precondition of modern civilization, the drummer of growth we have been marching to for ten thousand years since the invention of agriculture. (I believe that Hypertiger would point us toward the extortionate control of agriculture by the TOP - otoh - as the preconditioned mechanism undergirding *civilization* as we experience it)

Politics is the problem, not the solution
In light of this analysis it should be obvious why we are repeatedly failing to address any of these wicked problems. The only permanent "solution" to any of them is the secession of growth. That idea is anathema to our guardian institutions. And as the occupants of the pinnacle of power, our politicians have every reason to derail efforts in that direction, no matter how small.

Politics, regardless of party or ideology, is part of the problem and can never be part of the solution. While it may be easier for the average person to live under the rule of a more humane parcel of rogues, at its heart politics is the primary guardian institution of modern civilization. The role of all politics is to manage power, and power is always managed for the benefit of the holders of power. It doesn't matter whether the power managers are Democrats, Republicans, Tories, Grits, Social Democrats, Communists or a military junta. They all fulfill the same role in service of the same beneficiaries.

In order to fulfill that role they unite with the other guardian institutions – the economic, industrial, legal. religious, educational and communications organizations. Together they create, maintain and guard a noetic milieu (a globalized intuitive, non-rational consciousness) in which any values that challenge the two fundamental preconditions to modern civilization are seen as incomprehensible, self-evidently absurd, dangerous or even insane. Since the primary value system these guardians protect is the paradigm of continuous material growth, the most dangerous of all radical ideas are any proposals to limit, halt or reverse that growth.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Beyond the Palin

Ian Williams in the Guardian online today;The speech was almost certainly inspired by HL Mencken's thought: "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron". But that is unfair. Both she and her speechwriters are very clever, and unscrupulous, and they want to make her fit that role. They are basing their campaign on the premise that the American electorate wants a president on the edge of Alzheimer's and a vice-president who is auditioning for a part in a schmaltzy soap opera.

Polls suggest that the American public oppose almost every one of Palin's concealed policies. This speech casts the forthcoming telection as an IQ test for the American electorate. If it fails, I foresee long lines outside Canadian and European consulates as the elite (anyone with an IQ over a 100) tries to get out.

Learn to Speak Redneck!!!

Bageant in tuesday's Guardian. The comments are more illuminating than the editorial piece, but by all means, read it all because it's genuine news that you may really be able to use. Up from the comments there;
The US redneck is downtrodden, exploited, screwed over and spat upon, and he knows it. He's no fool, he can see through the BS better than any fancypants liberal. But there isn't a single molecule of social solidarity, of trust in his fellow man, of faith in collective action, left in his ultraindividualistic body that can transform his lumpenproletarian rage into progressive politics.

The redneck is almost an anarchist except that anarchists believe the state is unnecessary for maintaining social order and cohesion because mankind is innately social and cohesive. But the redneck believes that mankind is innately animal and that the state just a way for the fat and pampered rich and the weak to protect themselves from the law of the jungle, in which otherwise he, the strong individualist-survivalist with all the guns and ammo, would rule.

It wasn't always so. The collective struggle of the granddads and grannies of today's rednecks against the gun-toting robber barons of America was epic. It's that struggle that May Day celebrates. Where today's rednecks revel when the US bombs and destroys other countries, the US working class of the late 19th and early 20th century was resolutely antiwar. The Anti-Imperialist League militated against America's genocidal invasion of the Philippines. The IWW - the so-called "wobblies" - mobilized against the US entry into WWI and its members were carted off to concentration camps or dumped in the desert for "sedition" by Woodrow "make-the-world-safe-for-democracy" Wilson.

But the very successful strategy of the ruling class against America's immigrant poor was to pit them against each other, nation against nation and race against race. As Martin Scorsese epically depicted, the immigrant poor gouged each others' eyes out under the shadow of Lady "give me your downtrodden" Liberty. Factory bosses sent immigrant strikebreakers from another country, speaking another language, on strikers, provoking bloody gunbattles that left lasting divisions in the working class.

The modern redneck is a mutant created by a thousand violent traumas, from the machine-gunning of workers by troops and Pinkertons, Sacco & Vanzetti-style executions, and Bisbee-style mass deportations to starvation during the Depression, red scares, McCarthyism, and mob control of trade unions. He is the ultimate antisocial lumpenproletarian, imprinted with a thousand hatreds and mistrusts, whose ultimate faith is in the survival of the fittest, and whose political ideal has far more in common with fascism than any progressive agenda.
Old girl read the hell out of that teleprompter last night. I'd be lying to you if I claimed that I didn't PIP the "speechifying" into the outstanding tennis. While I had next to no interest in anything written by the GOP counter-narrators - I was very curious about her capacity to function as the embodiment of their identity politics gambit.

Life in the Post Political Age

On Saturday, I tried to serve up my take on what's going on in these here presidential selections. In that post, I linked to an article by one of the thinkers for whom I have the greatest continuing amount of respect, Joe Bageant. Today, in light of what has transpired in our political theatre over the last five days, and the extent to which underlying critical issues are now completely off the American political table, it's time to share more of Joe's sage socio-political insight.
In the post political world the candidates who can best thrive in it have tremendous appeal to the economic elites; these candidates thrive in a system that does not dwell on issues and will never ask the question, "who has power and why", but simultaneously creates a social and media environment of stupefying distractions while destroying traditional social mores (under-credited as a source of much social solidarity). This can only benefit their continued rule of that society.

In such a setting our political choices like our consumer choices, regardless of the product, are primarily about what makes us more fulfilled and feel better about ourselves.
Have you witnessed anything in the unfolding psychodrama that fits these observations?

A Match for the Ages....,


Helicopter-borne American Special Operations forces attacked Qaeda militants in a Pakistani village near the border with Afghanistan early Wednesday in the first publicly acknowledged case of United States forces conducting a ground raid on Pakistani soil, American officials said.

Until now, allied forces in Afghanistan have occasionally carried out airstrikes and artillery attacks in the border region of Pakistan against militants hiding there, and American forces in “hot pursuit” of militants have had some latitude to chase them across the border.

But the commando raid by the American forces signaled what top American officials said could be the opening salvo in a much broader campaign by Special Operations forces against the Taliban and Al Qaeda inside Pakistan, a secret plan that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has been advocating for months within President Bush’s war council.

It also seemed likely to complicate relations with Pakistan, where the already unstable political situation worsened after the resignation last month of President Pervez Musharraf, a longtime American ally.[...]

By killing civilians, General Abbas said, there was now a great risk of an uprising by the tribesmen who supported the Pakistani soldiers in the border area. The tribesmen, who oppose the Taliban and support the Pakistani forces, will now be extremely angry, he said.

“Such actions are completely counterproductive and can result in huge losses, because it gives the civilians a cause to rise against the Pakistani military,” he said.

The governor of North-West Frontier Province, Owais Ahmed Ghani, said the helicopter attack occurred about 3 a.m. and killed 20 people. Local residents said most of the dead were women and children, but this could not be confirmed.

One American official said that at least one child had been killed, and that several women who died in the attack were helping the Qaeda fighters. NYTimes - American Forces Attack Militants on Pakistani Soil

Regression to the Mean

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Family Values

It Speaks for Itself....,

Making a Big Election About Small Things

Jonathan Freedland writing in today's Guardian gets it;

Everything that liberal, blue-state America can't stand about her makes conservative, red-state America swoon. It's not just about "Jesus babies and guns," as Rush Limbaugh pithily put it. Palin also wants "intelligent design" - creationism - taught in school. When she was mayor of the small town of Wasilla, "she asked the library how she could go about banning books," according to a local official quoted by Time. Palin was worried about "inappropriate" language. "The librarian was aghast" - and was later threatened with the sack.

In his stirring speech last week, Obama urged America not to "make a big election about small things". Yet here we are, discussing not Sarah Palin's record or programme but Jesus, guns, and as one feminist blogger put it yesterday, "the uterine activity of her family". This is a setback for women, especially in a year that seemed to promise a breakthrough, but it is also a setback for America itself.

Obama made his name four years ago with a speech that called for an end to the civil war of red against blue. In 2008, he urged a different kind of election, one that would match the gravity of the hour. But the naming of Sarah Palin, and the reaction it has provoked, has dashed that hope. Americans are, once again, fighting over the questions that politics can never really settle - faith, sexuality - and pushing aside the ones that it can. And which it must.

Rally for the Republic

I dropped in at this part of his speech because he winds up talking about the folly of the war on drugs and the necessity of cultivating hemp for energy. He warms to this theme after a rousing round of "Go RP, Go RP" at about the 6 minute mark.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


He's a superhunky bad-boy ice hockey player from cold country; she's a chestnut-haired beauty and popular high school senior.

The all-American teen twosome will make GOP vice presidential pick and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a grandma at age 44 - just in time for Christmas.

Doe-eyed Bristol Palin, 17, and ruggedly handsome Levi Johnston, an 18-year-old self-described "f---in' redneck," have been dating a year, locals in Wasilla, Alaska, told the Daily News.

And the pregnancy? An open secret in the close-knit town of 9,780.[...]On his MySpace page, Johnston proudly declares: "I'm a f---in' redneck."

"I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing," he says on the site.

He also warns that if anyone messes with him, "I'll kick ass."

The Web site, before it was removed, appeared not to have been accessed for a year.

On it, he admits to having a girlfriend.

On the part where it asks about children, he wrote, "I don't want kids."

Mark Okeson, the assistant principal at Wasilla High School, told the Chicago Tribune that Bristol started her junior year last fall, in the town where Sarah Palin grew up.

He said Bristol inexplicably transferred to an Anchorage high school midyear, leaving Levi behind.

"I never heard the story why," he said. Full-monty here in the New York Daily News...,

Prospective Civilization Superpowers


Oil as the cheap energy source has stoked industrial society for a century. However, ominous signs of oil depletion are beginning to appear, in fulfilment of M. King Hubbert’s “Peak Oil” theory. The implications of increasingly scarce oil supplies are catastrophic for the maintenance of industrial societies’ economic development. Even more, the anticipated economic development of the less developed countries is critically threatened. These less developed countries have set their will towards becoming industrialized, similar to that of the Western more developed countries. However, the stark facts of oil depletion herald considerable barriers to thwart the universalization of economic development to the less developed nations as oil prices skyrocket. This may all come together to facilitate civilization clash, as each political bloc frantically strives to secure the world’s oil resources, or at least the reliable supply of oil at the best price. Cohering nations may forge continent-wide civilization superpowers, for self advantage in the imminent new worldwide post-oil era, when abundant and cheap supplies of oil cannot be taken for granted. This may prove to be a contest of how the newly formed superpowers will cooperatively work together or aggressively compete with each other.

Future world scene and conclusion

Many are predicting the USA, in tragic economic decline, is about to plunge from its zenith position as the world’s voracious and massive consumer that has helped keep the world afloat economically. This free-fall (and possibly terminal) descent of the USA will have dramatic repercussions economically, by producing international financial chaos, as the world’s rapacious consumer, and receptacle for world investment, disappears, along with much of the international capital invested there. Such a massive economic catastrophe will rapidly lead to a rocky transition period. The world will be left without a great politically and militarily pre-eminent superpower. Just as nature hates a vacuum so does the political realm, and so newly forming superpowers will vie for advantage and even supremacy in the newly forming world order.

Out of international mayhem, with severe decline of some nations, and the collapse of the international financial system, a newly world-dominant economic and political superpower may arise, with its currency as the international convertible currency of choice.

This superpower, and any other remaining viable superpowers or civilizations, will need the reliable supply of oil, at cheapest possible prices, and it appears OPEC will be the most likely supplier of significant quantities. It remains to be seen whether the two oil-hungry, but oil-deficient civilization superpowers – Europe and the Asian conglomerate – can secure their supply of oil by the soft power of diplomacy, or whether the hard power of military force will be required – as oil is increasingly scarce against escalating demand.

Without a doubt, these oil-hungry superpowers will go to great lengths to maintain oil supplies and so sustain economic development and the viability of their civilizations.

This is an imminent state of affairs and may prove to be a testing ground for how the superpowers will compete for advantage, and how vociferous they can be for each to maintain, and even improve, its level of economic development, civilization greatness and world influence.

Go read the whole article - A geopolitical tsunami: Beyond oil in world civilization clash - at Energy Bulletin.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Palin the Alaskan Separatist

Alaskan Independence Party

1994, Convention Best Western Wasilla

Chairman Edgar Paul Boyko Anchorage
Vice-Chairman Doyle Holmes
resigned 5-95

Bob Logan Two Rivers
Secretary Lynette Clark Fox
Treasurer Rita Leake Fairbanks
Parlimentarian Dee Roberts Fairbanks


no need to fight Russia - just harness an alternative to oil

In this morning's UK Telegraph - yet another impotent appeal is given to a non-existent deus ex machina.
Yet again, the Bush administration has misjudged events. Moscow has drawn a line in the sand over Georgia and Ukraine. To push this issue is to poke the world's biggest energy producer in the eye.

Washington is lucky that China is not taking advantage of this crisis to help Russia inflict a crippling lesson. Russia holds $580bn of foreign reserves. China holds $1,800bn. Together they own a third of the $1.5 trillion stock of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other US agency bonds. They are holding a gun to the head of the US Treasury, and the US financial system.

So how should we handle the bad-tempered bear? Data from the International Energy Agency suggests that oil prices will fall back for a couple of years as the global downturn squeezes demand, and new deliveries come on-stream from Brazil, Africa, Central Asia and the US itself.

Russia's leverage as supplier of 6.5m barrels per day of crude exports will slip, but not for long. But oil may well climb to a new equilibrium price above $150 a barrel once the next global cycle starts in earnest.

If so, Russia will become an even bigger headache. It is willing to use the oil weapon. It cut off 50pc of crude deliveries to the Czech Republic in July after Prague signed a deal with the US on the missile shield.

Obviously, we must cut our reliance on oil and gas even faster than we are already doing. Nuclear and clean power stations must be built with more urgency than we have seen so far. Tide and wave power technology should be given the same strategic priority as aircraft carriers.

If I were an American citizen, I would expect Washington to sponsor a Manhattan Project to harness the solar power on a mass scale. My apologies to the CIA/Pentagon if such a blitz is under way. Jim Woolsey, the former CIA director, told me last week that the US will end its strategic dependence on oil much more quickly than people realise. "We can defeat oil as a transport fuel. Russia won't be able to push us around any more within a decade," he said.
A deus ex machina (lat. IPA: [ˈdeːus eks ˈmaːkʰina], literally "god from a/the machine")[1] is an improbable contrivance in a story characterized by a sudden unexpected solution to a seemingly intractable problem.

Sense and Reality on Energy

Floyd Norris in the NYTimes;
High oil prices have helped to bring down the American economy and to devastate Detroit. Politicians are talking about energy policy, although they seem to be talking past each other.

So it is now, and so it was in 1974, after the price shock that arrived after the Arab oil exporters started an embargo in retaliation for America’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War, and learned that they could sell oil for a lot more than they had thought.

From the perspective of 2008, what is most remarkable is that in 1975, the country had a president who actually wanted to confront the issue. The answers he proposed seem highly relevant now, even if the steps needed are much larger than would have been necessary if action had been taken back then.

Can you imagine hearing the following statements from either Senator John McCain or Senator Barack Obama?

“To provide the critical stability for our domestic energy production in the face of world price uncertainty, I will request legislation to authorize and require tariffs, import quotas or price floors to protect our energy prices at levels which will achieve energy independence.”

“Increasing energy supplies is not enough. We must take additional steps to cut long-term consumption.”

“Obviously, voluntary conservation continues to be essential, but tougher programs are needed, and needed now.”

Those are excerpts from President Ford’s State of the Union address in 1975.
Jimmy Carter, great as he was, was NOT the only president who attempted to grab this bull by its horns. Over, and over, and over again, the American people have been exhorted by sensible leadership to do better. Sadly, these exhortations have all fallen on deaf ears. They threaten to do so again.

Medvedev outlines five main points of future foreign policy

SOCHI, August 31 (RIA Novosti)

Speaking near the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Medvedev also said that Russia would not alter its decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia. He also said that Moscow's agreements with them envisaged military as well as economic support.

The five points, Medvedev said, were firstly, the superiority of the fundamental principles of international law.

The second point was that the world must be multipolar.

"A uni-polar world is unacceptable," said Medvedev, adding that Russia could "not accept a world order where all decisions are made by one side, even such a powerful one as the U.S."

"Such a world is unstable and threatened by conflicts," he added.

Thirdly, he said, Russia does not seek confrontation with any other country.

"Russia is not looking for isolation," he said. "We will develop, in as much as is possible, friendly ties with Europe, the U.S., and other countries in the world."

Fourthly, Russia will protect the lives of its citizens, "wherever they are."

The fifth point was that Moscow would seek to develop ties in friendly regions.

On the topic of Moscow introducing sanctions against other states, he said that these would be unproductive, adding that sanctions should only be used in "extreme situations."

Medvedev was speaking the day before an EU emergency meeting on Georgia. The 27-nation organization is expected to discuss future relations with Russia. A number of member states, including Britain and Poland, have called for sanctions against Moscow, as well as the postponement of talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement with Russia. - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev outlined on Sunday the five points upon which Moscow's future foreign policy will be based, and also said that it could if necessary introduce sanctions against other states.