Sunday, June 12, 2011

the oldest representations of hallucinogenic mushrooms in the world

artepreistorica | Even though the ‘neuropsychological model’ put forward by Lewis-Williams & Dawson is not sufficient on its own to interpret that complex phenomenon which is poleolithic art, this model at least paves the way to supposing that mind-altering factors may have contributed to a prehistoric will-to-art.
At this point, we should remember Kaplan´s (1975) theory that mushrooms are represented in the Swedish cave art of the long Scandinavian Bronze Age.
It should also be pointed out that the explicit representation of psychotropic vegetals, as sacred objects (and therefore subject to taboo), is rare and the few cases of explicit representation make up but a small part of prehistoric art, as sacred art, associated with the use of hallucinogens. We must consider that, generally speaking, sacred cult objects will not be represented and that it is more than likely that these will be hidden behind symbolic devices, also of a graphic nature, whose meaning is indeed beyond us.

Further evidence in support of the idea that the relationship between Man and hallucinogens – in this case mushrooms – is indeed an ancient one comes from the ancient populations of the Sahara desert who inhabited this vast area when it was still covered with an extensive layer of vegetation (fig. 1) (Samorini, 1989). The archeological findings consist in prehistorical paintings which the author personally had the opportunity to observe during two visits to Tassilli in Algeria. This could be the most ancient ethno-mycological finding up to the present day, which goes back to the so-called ‘Round Heads’ Period (i.e. 9,000 – 7,000 years ago). The centre of this style is Tassili, but examples are also to be found at Tadrart Acacus (Libya), Ennedi (Chad) and, to a lesser extent, at Jebel Uweinat (Egypt) (Muzzolini, 1986:173-175).

Central Saharian rock art, apart from extensive concentrations of incisions, near the sites of ancient rivers, and rockshelter paintings among the large promontories or high plateaux which reach an altitude of some 2,000 meters, cover a period of 12,000 years, generally divided in 5 periods: the ‘Bubalus antiquus’ Period, the works of which were produced by the Early Hunters at the end of the Pleistocene period (10,000 – 7,000 years B. C.) – characterized by representations of large wild animals (Mori, 1974); the ‘Round Heads’ Period, in turn divided into various phases and styles, associated with the epipaleolithic populations of the Early Gatherers (7,000 – 5,000 years B. C.), whose works of fantasy have quite rightly become world famous; the ‘Bovidian’ or ‘Pastoral’ Period (starting 5,000 years B. C.), a population of animal herders and breeders whose art is predominantly concentrated on these activities and, after these, the ‘Horse’ Period and, lastly, the ‘Camel’ Period, the art works of which are stereotyped and of a lower quality.

Some rock art experts have already produced evidence supporting the idea that the art of the Round Head Period could be influenced by ecstatic or hallucinogenic states. According to Anati (1989:187), this art is produced by the Early Gatherers during the end of Pleistocene and the beginning of Holecene periods. Analogous works dating back nearly to the some period are to be found in various sites around the world (Sahara Desert, Tanzania, Texas, Mexico etc.). These areas were later to become arid or semi-arid when the lakes and rivers dried up. From the many works of art these peoples have left us we learn what were gatherers of wild vegetal foods: ‘people who lived in a sort of garden of Eden and who used mind-altering substances’. Sansoni too (1980) is of the opinion that ‘it might be that (the works of art of the Round Heads Period) are the works of normal consciousness or the results of particular ecstatic states associated with dance or the use of hallucinogenic substances’. The context, or rather the ‘motivations’ behind Round Heads art, just as with all the other periods of Sahara rock art, are generally of a religious and, perhaps, initiatic nature. Fabrizio Mori, discussing Acacus, stressed ‘the close relationship which there must have been between the painter and that figure so typical in all prehistoric societies whose main role is that of mediator between earth and sky: the wizard-priest’ (Mori, 1975). According to Henri Lohte, the discoverer of the Tassili frescoes, ‘it seems evident that these painted cavities were secret sanctuaries’ (Lhote, 1968).

Images of enormous mythological beings of human or animal form, side by side with a host of small horned and feathered beings in dancing stance cover the rock shelters of which there are very many on the high plateaux of the Sahara which in some areas are so interconnected as to form true ‘citadels’ with streets, squares and terraces.
One at the most important scenes is to be found in the Tin-Tazarift rock art site, at Tassili, in which we find a series of masked figures in line and hieratically dressed or dressed as dancers surrounded by long and lively festoons of geometrical designs of different kinds (fig. 2). Each dancer holds a mushroom-like object in the right hand and, even more surprising, two parallel lines come out of this object to reach the central part of the head of the dancer, the area of the roots of the two horns. This double line could signify an indirect association or non-material fluid passing from the object held in the right hand and the mind. This interpretation would coincide with the mushroom interpretation if we bear in mind the universal mental value induced by hallucinogenic mushrooms and vegetals, which is often of a mystical and spiritual nature (Dobkin de Rios, 1984:194). It would seem that these lines – in themselves an ideogram which represents something non-material in ancient art – represent the effect that the mushroom has on the human mind.

The whole scene is steeped in deep symbolic meanings and is a representation of a cultural event which actually happened and which was periodically repeated. Perhaps we are witnessing one of the most important moments in the social, religious and emotional lives of these peoples. The constant nature of the physical nature of the dancers and their stances reveals a coordinated will towards scenic representation for collective contexts. The dance represented here has all the indications of a ritual dance and perhaps, at a certain stage, this rite became ecstatic.

In the various scenes presented, a series of figurative constants lead us to imagine an accompanying conceptual structure associated with the ethno-mycological cult described here.

dr. barbara brown



Video - Final Minutes of One Step Beyond Episode The Sacred Mushroom

Wikipedia | Barbara B. Brown (1921-1999) was a research psychologist who popularized biofeedback and neurofeedback in the 1970s. "Brown was the biofeedback field's most prolific writer and most successful popularizer." [1]

Brown earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1950. She went from a technician at pharmaceutical company Merrill to heading their Department of Pharmacology. From there she went to Riker Laboratories and Psychopharmacology Research Laboratories. She became Associate Clinical Professor of Pharmacology at the University of California Center for Health Sciences in Los Angeles and at the University of California, Irvine. She lectured at the Department of Psychiatry at University of California, Los Angeles.[2]

Dr. Brown created and popularized the word "biofeedback". She did her ground-breaking research when she was Chief of Experiential Physiology Research at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Sepulveda, California.[3]

Brown was co-founder and first president (1969-1970) of the Biofeedback Research Society, which evolved into the Biofeedback Society of America and then into the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.

In later years she suffered a stroke and died in 1999 in Rancho Mirage.

Brown was featured in a 1960 episode of the television series One Step Beyond. The episode, titled "The Sacred Mushroom", was a rare documentary-style departure for the series and dealt with the search for psychedelic mushrooms in Mexico.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

rentiers rule...,

NYTimes | The latest economic data have dashed any hope of a quick end to America’s job drought, which has already gone on so long that the average unemployed American has been out of work for almost 40 weeks. Yet there is no political will to do anything about the situation. Far from being ready to spend more on job creation, both parties agree that it’s time to slash spending — destroying jobs in the process — with the only difference being one of degree.

Nor is the Federal Reserve riding to the rescue. On Tuesday, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, acknowledged the grimness of the economic picture but indicated that he will do nothing about it.

And debt relief for homeowners — which could have done a lot to promote overall economic recovery — has simply dropped off the agenda. The existing program for mortgage relief has been a bust, spending only a tiny fraction of the funds allocated, but there seems to be no interest in revamping and restarting the effort.

The situation is similar in Europe, but arguably even worse. In particular, the European Central Bank’s hard-money, anti-debt-relief rhetoric makes Mr. Bernanke sound like William Jennings Bryan.

What lies behind this trans-Atlantic policy paralysis? I’m increasingly convinced that it’s a response to interest-group pressure. Consciously or not, policy makers are catering almost exclusively to the interests of rentiers — those who derive lots of income from assets, who lent large sums of money in the past, often unwisely, but are now being protected from loss at everyone else’s expense.

Of course, that’s not the way what I call the Pain Caucus makes its case. Instead, the argument against helping the unemployed is framed in terms of economic risks: Do anything to create jobs and interest rates will soar, runaway inflation will break out, and so on. But these risks keep not materializing. Interest rates remain near historic lows, while inflation outside the price of oil — which is determined by world markets and events, not U.S. policy — remains low.

And against these hypothetical risks one must set the reality of an economy that remains deeply depressed, at great cost both to today’s workers and to our nation’s future. After all, how can we expect to prosper two decades from now when millions of young graduates are, in effect, being denied the chance to get started on their careers?

Ask for a coherent theory behind the abandonment of the unemployed and you won’t get an answer. Instead, members of the Pain Caucus seem to be making it up as they go along, inventing ever-changing rationales for their never-changing policy prescriptions.

While the ostensible reasons for inflicting pain keep changing, however, the policy prescriptions of the Pain Caucus all have one thing in common: They protect the interests of creditors, no matter the cost. Deficit spending could put the unemployed to work — but it might hurt the interests of existing bondholders. More aggressive action by the Fed could help boost us out of this slump — in fact, even Republican economists have argued that a bit of inflation might be exactly what the doctor ordered — but deflation, not inflation, serves the interests of creditors. And, of course, there’s fierce opposition to anything smacking of debt relief.

Who are these creditors I’m talking about? Not hard-working, thrifty small business owners and workers, although it serves the interests of the big players to pretend that it’s all about protecting little guys who play by the rules. The reality is that both small businesses and workers are hurt far more by the weak economy than they would be by, say, modest inflation that helps promote recovery.

No, the only real beneficiaries of Pain Caucus policies (aside from the Chinese government) are the rentiers: bankers and wealthy individuals with lots of bonds in their portfolios.

arnach tugs big don's sleeve

I would like to propose a subreal summer reading list:
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor
If you believe that there is meaning in the tone and manner in which words are said and stories told, then you have a compelling reason to listen to the audiobook recording of that last one as read by the author. In any case, you should have no problem getting through any of these books if you are able to read and comprehend at the high school level; there's nothing obscure or technical anywhere in any of them. What you may find, in fact, is that you are drawn into each as you might be by a good novel. You might also find yourself looking forward to reading (or listening to) them again, because you know you’ll get a little something more out of each the next time through.

I believe that, if you are able to understand and integrate the information in these books into your thinking, you will discover that you have a better understanding of, and better control over, how your own brain works and how your mind is affected by things that are presented to you in everyday life. Besides, what’s the most it’ll cost you? A little lazy time and a trip or two to the library? As you can see from the wikipedia page in the title link, you can read Gladwell’s book starting right now, for free, from his website!

The question, Big Don, is whether or not you’re actually man enough to do it? I can see from your bookshelf that you are not a man afraid of words. A whole summer should be enough time. Now, I have a feeling that the suggestion alone (particularly coming here on this blog) is likely to predispose you against both the action and the material. If so, that would be a shame. Particularly because, since you and I come from similar technical backgrounds (I think I might need to get myself a copy of Carrier’s fan book you got that ~1970 edition of on your bottom shelf there), I’m very interested to learn when the setting of one’s ways in stone will occur and when to expect to reach the point at which all new information becomes irrelevant (or perhaps worse, dangerous). I thought engineers were different than that. Not that I believe any of that is actually inevitable…just (unfortunately) common.

operating limits


Video - Prism Defense Ship-Helicopter Operating Limits Fist tap Arnach.

sounds a little like a hot mess...,

globalresearch | The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation.

Coinciding with the onset of the nuclear crisis in Japan, a new regional war theater has opened up in North Africa, under the disguise of a UN sponsored "humanitarian operation" with the mandate to "protect civilian lives".

These two seemingly unrelated events are of crucial importance in understanding both the nuclear issue as well as the ongoing US-NATO sponsored war, which has now extended its grip into Libya. The crisis in Japan has been described as "a nuclear war without a war". Its potential repercussions, which are yet to be fully assessed, are far more serious than the Chernobyl disaster, as acknowledged by several scientists.

The crisis in Japan has also brought into the open the unspoken relationship between nuclear energy and nuclear war. Nuclear energy is not a civilian economic activity. It is an appendage of the nuclear weapons industry which is controlled by the so-called defense contractors. The powerful corporate interests behind nuclear energy and nuclear weapons overlap. In Japan at the height of the disaster, "the nuclear industry and government agencies [were] scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan's civilian nuclear power plants".[1] The media consensus is that the crisis at Fukushima's five nuclear power plants has been contained. The realties are otherwise. The Japanese government has been obliged to acknowledge that "the severity rating of its nuclear crisis ... matches that of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster". Moreover, the dumping of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean constitutes a potential trigger to a process of global radioactive contamination. Radioactive elements have not only been detected in the food chain in Japan, radioactive rain water has been recorded in California:

"Hazardous radioactive elements being released in the sea and air around Fukushima accumulate at each step of various food chains (for example, into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow's meat and milk, then humans). Entering the body, these elements - called internal emitters - migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, continuously irradiating small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years often induce cancer".

a high cabal?

globalresearch | The control of the US, and of global politics, by the wealthiest families of the planet is exercised in a powerful, profound and clandestine manner. This control began in Europe and has a continuity that can be traced back to the time when the bankers discovered it was more profitable to give loans to governments than to needy individuals.

These banking families and their subservient beneficiaries have come to own most major businesses over the two centuries during which they have secretly and increasingly organised themselves as controllers of governhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifments worldwide and as arbiters of war and peace.

Unless we understand this we will be unable to understand the real reasons for the two world wars and the impending Third World War, a war that is almost certain to begin as a consequence of the US attempt to seize and control Central Asia. The only way out is for the US to back off – something the people of the US and the world want, but the elite does not.

The US is a country controlled through the privately owned Federal Reserve, which in turn is controlled by the handful of banking families that established it by deception in the first place.

In his interesting book The Secret Team, Col. Fletcher Prouty, briefing officer of the US President from 1955-63, narrates a remarkable incident in which Winston Churchill made a most revealing utterance during World War II: “On this particular night there had been a heavy raid on Rotterdam. He sat there, meditating, and then, as if to himself, he said, ‘Unrestricted submarine warfare, unrestricted air bombing – this is total war.’ He continued sitting there, gazing at a large map, and then said, ‘Time and the Ocean and some guiding star and High Cabal have made us what we are’.”

Prouty further states: “This was a most memorable scene and a revelation of reality that is infrequent, at best. If for the great Winston Churchill, there is a ‘High Cabal’ that has made us what we are, our definition is complete. Who could know better than Churchill himself during the darkest days of World War II, that there exists, beyond doubt, an international High Cabal? This was true then. It is true today, especially in these times of the One World Order. This all-powerful group has remained superior because it had learned the value of anonymity.” This “High Cabal” is the “One World Cabal” of today, also called the elite by various writers.

Friday, June 10, 2011

facebook's face-recognition "feature" draws privacy scrutiny

NYTimes | European Union data protection regulators said on Wednesday that they would investigate Facebook over a feature that uses face-recognition software to suggest people’s names to tag in pictures without their permission, and a privacy group in the United States said that it planned to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over the feature.

A group of privacy watchdogs drawn from the European bloc’s 27 nations will study the measure for possible rule violations, said Gérard Lommel, a Luxembourg member of the so-called Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. Authorities in Britain and Ireland said they are also looking into the photo-tagging function on the world’s most popular social networking service.

“Tags of people on pictures should only happen based on people’s prior consent and it can’t be activated by default,” said Mr. Lommel. Such automatic tagging suggestions “can bear a lot of risks for users” and the European data protection officials will “clarify to Facebook that this can’t happen like this.”

Facebook said on its blog on Tuesday that “Tag Suggestions” was available in most countries after being phased in over several months. When Facebook users add photos to their pages, the feature uses facial-recognition software to suggest names of people in the photos to tag based on pictures in which they have already been identified. Before the feature was introduced, users could tag pictures manually without permission from their friends.

The feature is active by default on existing users’ accounts, and Facebook explains on its blog how people can disable the function if they don’t want their names to be automatically suggested for other people’s pictures.

“We launched Tag Suggestions to help people add tags of their friends in photos; something that’s currently done more than 100 million times a day,” Facebook, which is based in Palo Alto., Calif., said in an e-mailed statement. “Tag suggestions are only made to people when they add new photos to the site, and only friends are suggested.”

In Europe, where personal privacy is protected by law more often than in the United States, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have also been pushed by data protection officials to limit the amount of time they store online users’ search records.

influence explorer

Influence Explorer | Influence Explorer now integrates with three other Sunlight projects: Party Time, Lobbying Registration Tracker and OpenCongress. Check out the updated lobbying sections, which now include links to bills lobbied on and daily updates of recent lobbying activity. The updated politician pages now include links to recent and upcoming fundraisers.

Influence Explorer also now shows data from the Project On Government Oversight indicating when federal contractors have a history of misconduct such as contract fraud and environmental, ethics and labor violations.

Inbox Influence

Your new favorite email tool since the spam filter

Inbox Influence is a new tool from the Sunlight Foundation that allows you to see the political contributions of the people and organizations that are mentioned in emails you receive. This easy-to-use tool can be used for researching influence background on corporate correspondence, adding context to newspaper headlines or discovering who is behind political fundraising solicitations.

Learn More


Checking Influence

When you shop, do you wonder where your money really goes?

Checking Influence shows you how companies you do business with every day are wielding political influence. By securely analyzing your online bank or credit card statement, Checking Influence shows your own spending alongside corporate spending on lobbying activities and campaign contributions, helping you be a more informed consumer and citizen.


Learn More


Poligraft

Dig up political influence


Feed in a news article, blog post or press release, and Poligraft will present you with an enhanced view of the people, organizations and relationships described in the piece. Poligraft allows you to connect the dots between money and politics in Congress and state offices.


Learn More

state seeks compensation for nevada test site contamination

LATimes | The Nevada Legislature wants the U.S. government to contain and mitigate about 300 million curies of radioactive contamination left in the soil and water of the former nuclear weapons testing site.

The Nevada Legislature has taken the first step in demanding that the federal government make amends for massive radioactive contamination left by decades of nuclear weapons testing on a swath of desert the size of Rhode Island.

In a joint resolution, the state's Senate and House are asking the federal government to contain and mitigate about 300 million curies of contamination left in the soil and water of the former Nevada Test Site, about 75 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The Energy Department detonated 921 nuclear warheads underground before testing ended in 1992. An estimated 1.6 trillion gallons of water in aquifers under the site are radioactively contaminated with the byproducts of the bomb tests.

The resolution will open the way for Nevada to demand compensation for the loss of its water resources, said Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, the resolution's lead sponsor. He said the resolution stemmed from a detailed examination of the radioactive legacy of testing that was published by The Times in November 2009.

"It is one of the largest contamination zones in the U.S., if not the world," Goedhart said. "If we are prevented from using our water resources, it is a taking and we should be compensated."

The Energy Department has said the contaminated water is moving very slowly downhill toward Death Valley National Park, but it could take thousands of years to reach any affected community.

Until then, it would be technically and economically impossible to purify the water, some of which is 5,000 feet below the land surface, Energy Department scientists have asserted.

"The test site has been declared a sacrifice zone," said , Joseph Strolin, acting director of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects. "The federal officials are basically taking the approach that this can never be cleaned up and will be monitored in perpetuity." Fist tap Big Don.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

the devil's experiment

Guardian | Marta Orellana says she was playing with friends at the orphanage when the summons sounded: "Orellana to the infirmary. Orellana to the infirmary."

Waiting for her were several doctors she had never seen before. Tall men with fair complexions who spoke what she guessed was English, plus a Guatemalan doctor. They had syringes and little bottles.

They ordered her to lie down and open her legs. Embarrassed, she locked her knees together and shook her head. The Guatemalan medic slapped her cheek and she began to cry. "I did what I was told," she recalls.

Today the nine-year-old girl is a rheumy-eyed 74-year-old great-grandmother, but the anguish of that moment endures. It was how it all began: the pain, the humiliation, the mystery.

It was 1946 and orphans in Guatemala City, along with prisoners, military conscripts and prostitutes, had been selected for a medical experiment which would torment many, and remain secret, for more than six decades.

The US, worried about GIs returning home with sexual diseases, infected an estimated 1,500 Guatemalans with syphilis, gonorrhea and chancroid to test an early antibiotic, penicillin.

"They never told me what they were doing, never gave me a chance to say no," Orellana said this week, seated in her ramshackle Guatemala City home. "I've lived almost my whole life without knowing the truth. May God forgive them."

The US government admitted to the experiment in October when the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, issued a joint statement apologising for "such reprehensible research" under the guise of public health. Barack Obama phoned his Guatemalan counterpart, Alvaro Colom, to say sorry too.

Susan Reverby, a professor at Wellesley College in the US, uncovered the experiment while researching the Tuskegee syphilis study in which hundreds of African American men were left untreated for 40 years from the 1930s.

The Guatemalan study went further by deliberately infecting its subjects. Not only did it violate the hippocratic oath to do no harm but it echoed Nazi crimes exposed around the same time at the Nuremberg trials.

The victims remained largely unknown but the Guardian has interviewed the families of the three survivors identified so far by Guatemala. They chronicled lives blighted by illness, neglect and unanswered questions.

"My father didn't know how to read and they treated him like an animal," said Benjamin Ramos, 57, the son of Federico, 87, a former soldier. "This was the devil's experiment."

Mateo Gudiel, 57, said his father, Manuel, 87, another ex-conscript, has syphilis-linked infections, dementia and headaches. "Some of this has been passed on to me, my siblings and our children." Children can inherit congenital syphilis.

More than half of the subjects were low-ranking soldiers delivered by their superiors to US physicians working from a military base in the capital. The Americans initially arranged for infected prostitutes to have sex with prisoners before discovering it was more "efficient" to inject soldiers, psychiatric patients and orphans with the bacterium.

Guatemala's official inquiry, headed by its vice-president, is due to publish its report in June. "What impacted me the most was how little value was given to these human lives. They were seen as things to be experimented on," said Carlos Mejia, a member of the inquiry and head of the Guatemalan College of Physicians.

The US scientists treated 87% of those infected with syphilis and lost track of the other 13%. Of those treated about a tenth suffered recurrences.

dr. cornelius p. rhoads

Wikipedia | Cornelius P. Rhoads (1898–1959) was an American doctor and pathologist who became infamous for allegedly performing deadly experiments on human beings.[1]

It has been claimed than in 1931, while working for the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University), Rhoads deliberately infected several Puerto Ricans patients with cancer cells. Accusations against him are based on a letter he wrote, which states in part:[2]

The Porto Ricans (sic) are the dirtiest, laziest, most degenerate and thievish race of men ever to inhabit this sphere... I have done my best to further the process of extermination by killing off eight and transplanting cancer into several more... All physicians take delight in the abuse and torture of the unfortunate subjects.[3]

He would, however, later state that the writing was done in a moment of anger - his car had been vandalized - and did not reflect anything he had actually done. In 1932, Rhoads was accused by Puerto Rican Nationalist leader, Pedro Albizu Campos of carrying out these experiments.

According to San Juan doctor Hector Pesquera, "At least 13 people died as a result of these experiments." [4] and Science Magazine reported that “13 patients…died during Rhoads's tenure” According to Susan E. Lederer, chair of the Medical History and Bio-ethics department of the University of Wisconsin , however, “Careful review of patient records at the Presbyterian Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Rhoads had performed his research revealed that no patients in the young pathologist's care had died under suspicious circumstances.” [5] The project Rhoads worked for "was studying hookworm-caused anemia and tropical sprue anemia” [6] and "Puerto Ricans who had hookworm infestation and anemia" had "high mortality" [7]. Rhoads was subject to separate investigations ordered by the governor of Puerto Rico and the Rockefeller Institute, “neither…was able to uncover any evidence that Dr. Rhoads had exterminated any Puerto Ricans.” [8]

According to his critics he was later placed in charge of two chemical warfare projects in the 1940s establishing U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah, and Panama.[9] After World War II Rhoads served as director of the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and an adviser to the United States Atomic Energy Commission regarding nuclear medicine [10]. He was also awarded the U.S. Legion of Merit by the government for his research.[11]

In 2002, controversy over the letter and the alleged experiments arose once again when University of Puerto Rico biology professor Edwin Vazquez contacted the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). In 2003 the AACR announced that the Cornelius P. Rhoads Memorial Award would be renamed, after an investigation commissioned by them and led by bioethicist Jay Katz "concluded that although there was no evidence of Dr. Rhoads' killing patients or transplanting cancer cells, the letter itself was reprehensible enough to remove his name from the award."[12]

altered consciousness is a many splendored thing


Video - Charles Tart discusses altered states of consciousness.

Journal of Cosmology | A discussion of altered states of consciousness (ASC), like one on politics or religion, invites strong emotional reactions. In this paper I question some assumptions about the accuracy and benevolence of the typical ordinary state of consciousness (OSC) while discussing some of the main functions of ASC. Three of the main arguments against ASC are that they: 1) go against what is normal and rational, 2) wreak havoc at personal and social levels, and 3) produce a delusional account of reality, as compared with the (OSC). Because we live in a monophasic (rather than polyphasic, see Laughlin, McManus, & d'Aquili, 1992; Whitehead, in press) society that primarily values our ordinary state of consciousness to the detriment of other states, these assumptions are rarely questioned.

1. Ordinary and altered states of consciousness

Regarding the first argument, we are immediately confronted by the relativity of what is "normal" and "rational." As various anthropologists have pointed out, what we consider "normal" in post-industrial, Western societies differs markedly from the experiences of other groups. Turnbull (1993, p. 74) gives a lucid example of how he could not even begin to understand the Mbuti of Congo until he transformed his consciousness to fully participate in their world:

"But the more it happened the more other things happened. Not only did seemingly incontrovertible oppositions disappear, such as joy and grief, noise and quietness… somehow the differentiation between my senses seemed to disappear and I began touching moonlight, smelling the sound of the songs, hearing the scent of the various kinds of woods blazing away... and seeing the truth, even if I could not understand what I saw."

As to rationality, Richard Shweder (1986) has cogently discussed how holding such ideas as reincarnation, which may at first blush strike the reader as irrational, may be based on a rational consideration of empirical evidence, although parting from different metaphysical axioms than those held by many in the secular West who hold different ones (and by definition axioms are not the result of rational consideration but a-priori assumptions).

As to the second issue, undoubtedly the search for and consequences of ASC can be destructive, as in the personal and social costs of drug addiction, which is why various traditional societies provide training on and ritualize the use of psychoactive drugs, which then cause no harm, in contrast with what occurs in our midst (Dobkin de Rios, 1984). Let me be clear that despite my cheery title it is not my contention that ASC are necessarily beneficent. Although evidence has accumulated that just having unusual experiences and ASC is not per se a sign of dysfunction (Cardeña, Lynn, & Krippner, 2000; Moreira-Almeida & Cardeña, in press), this does not deny that hellish ASC are also encountered in the ravines of a schizophrenic or otherwise seriously disordered mind (Cardeña, in press), or that ritually-induced ASC to form in-group cohesion may not be used for horrible purposes as in the Nazi Nuremberg rallies. The other side of the coin, however, is that the vast majority of atrocities have been planned while in an OSC, from decisions to wage unnecessary wars and genocides to the socially accepted mistreatment of non-human sentient beings to save some money.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic


Video - Impressive 3-D lightshow on administration building Kharkiv, Ukraine

simple harmonic (and non-harmonic) motion


Video - Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and (seemingly) random motion.

Harvard | What it shows: Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and random motion. One might call this kinetic art and the choreography of the dance of the pendulums is stunning! Aliasing and quantum revival can also be shown.

How it works: The period of one complete cycle of the dance is 60 seconds. The length of the longest pendulum has been adjusted so that it executes 51 oscillations in this 60 second period. The length of each successive shorter pendulum is carefully adjusted so that it executes one additional oscillation in this period. Thus, the 15th pendulum (shortest) undergoes 65 oscillations. When all 15 pendulums are started together, they quickly fall out of sync—their relative phases continuously change because of their different periods of oscillation. However, after 60 seconds they will all have executed an integral number of oscillations and be back in sync again at that instant, ready to repeat the dance.

Setting it up: The pendulum waves are best viewed from above or down the length of the apparatus. Video projection is a must for a large lecture hall audience. You can play the video below to see the apparatus in action. One instance of interest to note is at 30 seconds (halfway through the cycle), when half of the pendulums are at one amplitude maximum and the other half are at the opposite amplitude maximum.

Comments: Our apparatus was built from a design published by Richard Berg 1 at the University of Maryland. He claims their version is copied from one at Moscow State University and they claim to have seen it first in the US, so we don't know who made one first. The apparatus we have was designed and built by Nils Sorensen.

James Flaten and Kevin Parendo2 have mathematically modeled the collective motions of the pendula with a continuous function. The function does not cycle in time and they show that the various patterns arise from aliasing of this function—the patterns are a manifestation of spatial aliasing (as opposed to temporal). Indeed, if you've ever used a digital scope to observe a sinusoidal signal, you have probably seen some of these patterns on the screen when the time scale was not set appropriately.

Here at Harvard, Prof Eric Heller has suggested that the demonstration could be used to simulate quantum revival. So here you have quantum revival versus classical periodicity!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

have you discovered the beginning that you seek after the end?

Wikipedia | The tree of life (Heb. עץ החיים Etz haChayim) in the Book of Genesis is a tree planted by God in midst of the Garden of Eden (Paradise), whose fruit gives everlasting life, i.e. immortality. Together with the tree of life, God planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). According to some scholars, however, these are in fact two names for the same tree.[1] According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, both are forms of the world tree.[2]

The Biblical account states that Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to prevent them from eating from the tree of life:
“ And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (Genesis 3:22)[3] ”

By questioning God's word and authority, the serpent, who is regarded as Satan in Christianity but not in Judaism, initially tempted Eve into eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, an act explicitly forbidden by God. The serpent tempted Eve by suggesting that eating the fruit would cause her to become as wise as God, having knowledge of good and evil. Eve ate the fruit, against God's command to Adam and later so did Adam, despite God's warning that "in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:17). As a consequence of their transgression, the land, the Serpent, Adam, and Eve were each cursed by God. To prevent them access to the tree of life God separated them from the tree of life, casting them out of the Garden. The banishment from the Garden of Eden is balanced in the New Testament by the planting of the tree of life on mankind's side of the divide.[citation needed]

In the Book of Revelation, a Koine Greek phrase xylon zoës (ξύλον ζωής) is mentioned 3 times. This phrase, which literally means "wood of life" is translated in nearly every English Bible version as "tree of life", see Revelation 2:7, 22:2, and 22:19.

The Eadwine Psalter, Circa 1150 AD

Alfonso Vel Magnanimo and Ancient Crown of Aragon


Basilica de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao da Praia

St. Michael's Church, Hildesheim Germany 1192 AD

Monday, June 06, 2011

america (TM)


Video - Behold the birth of the first Avenger.

EnergyBulletin | “Though shaken, the United States remains the world’s sole superpower and its largest consumer and polluter. For global civilization to get through peak oil and fight climate change, the US must stop obstructing international efforts to power down from fossil fuels and to cut greenhouse pollution.

But our nation will never abandon its suicidal consumerism and profligate use of energy until citizens overthrow what Adbusters’ Kalle Lasn has called America(TM).

Less a country than an ad campaign, America(TM) is a lifestyle where “cool” as defined by Nike, Apple and Calvin Klein is the ultimate value. You become cool by buying stuff you don’t need and replacing it as soon as you can with the new and improved model.
Standing as it does for conspicuous consumption and criminal excess, America(TM) is destroying our ecology while it poisons its own people with toxins physical and mental.
The spread of America(TM) around the world means that China builds a new coal plant every day and that Indians can buy a $3,000 car.

If America(TM) is not stopped, global ecological overshoot and resource depletion will soon reach catastrophic tipping points.

We need a Second American Revolution to take the (TM) out of America. And not from today’s travesty Tea Party, which is nothing more than a front group for corporate welfare. The original Tea Party was the opposite, as much a revolt against the oligarchy of the East India Company and other corporations of the day as against British rule. In this spirit, today’s revolutionaries must revolt against the capture of the organs of the state by plutocrats from Big Oil to Wall Street, who will never forgo their profits even it means the end of our nation.

To recognize the oligarchs, citizens must free themselves from the consumerism that has become the true opiate of the masses.

We must take back our minds and our wallets from corporate cool. Only then can we take back our country and help our humanity to have a future.”

anti-branding - subverting advertising


CIFS | The struggle to win the attention and sympathy of the consumers is tougher than ever before. But where management gurus and marketing chiefs speak in pleasant terms about "conquering mind space" through the use of branding, the Canadian activist Kalle Lasn is more brutally frank: "I call it mindfucking".

Kalle Lasn speaks in headlines and images like an advertising executive. That is no coincidence. The Estonian born Canadian worked as the director of a Japanese advertising agency during the sixties, but he got fed up with the trade's ethical neutrality and switched sides. Kalle Lasn is no longer creating ad campaigns for the business community. Today he - along with other so-called Culture Jammers - is creating campaigns against the big companies and their brands.

He is primarily known as the author of the book Culture Jam and the editor of Adbusters Magazine. See also the box below. These are publications that, along with Naomi Klein's widely renowned book, No Logo, have contributed to giving voice to a new generation of anti-business activists.

The movement really achieved visibility towards the end of the nineties. It happened, among other things, in connection with critical media campaigns against multinational companies that were accused of a lack of ethics, and with the violent demonstrations in 1999 in the streets of Seattle during the World Trade Organisation's summit meeting.

According to Kalle Lasn, this was just a foretaste of the cultural struggle of a new age, a struggle that will play out on the market between activists and the business community. The Culture Jammers' goal is to reduce the great symbolic power that the companies have in today's society - partly due to their massive marketing programs and use of branding aimed at the consumers.

subvertising

Subvertise | Subvertising is the Art of Cultural resistance. It is the "writing on the wall," the sticker on the lamppost, the corrected rewording of billboards, the spoof T-shirt; but it is also the mass act of defiance of a street party. The key process involves redefining or even reclaiming our environment from the corporate beast.

Does Subvertising Really Work?

While the motivation behind subvertising is clear, the impact this advertising (of sorts) has on the consumer is a little less obvious. While a consumer may see the ways in which they have been duped, what does this bring into the conversation about consumerism? It seems that just the presence of subvertising is enough to create a stir and to begin a conversation about capitalism and its effects on the world.

It’s true that many may see subvertising as an anarchistic way of attacking marketing and advertising, but in another way, it does bring up some good points. Why are consumers so drawn to the idea of images and to an emotional connection with the things we buy? Why can’t we simply buy things because we need them, rather than buying things because we feel we should, because we feel like they will make us better people?

Advertising plays on the most basic emotion of wanting to feel like a part of a group. But once we begin to dismiss this idea, we can begin to see that advertising today is nothing more than a trick. While slick marketing campaigns may not go away, they can certainly be questioned, mocked, and presented as pieces to be criticized instead of immediately accepted.

Ways to Create a Subvertising Campaign

Many people find that creating their own subvertising campaign will not only get them noticed, but it can begin to create a conversation about marketing and consumerism. There are a number of ways in which to start a campaign to subvertise: banners, cheap signs, license plates, political signs, real estate signs, and other street signs. Find a marketing campaign that is already popular in the market, then change it slightly to promote the message you want to promote.

You don’t have to be an artist to accomplish a strong subvertising campaign. With computer picture manipulation tools, you can adjust any image to create a new form of an old design.

By creating a sign that emulates a popular advertisement, it will not only get noticed, but it will begin to create the realization that maybe we are too dependent on marketing to tell us what to think. Try adding a few yard signs and vinyl banners to your community in order to see what happens. While subvertising may be subtle in its design, its impact is not.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

silk road

Wired | Making small talk with your pot dealer sucks. Buying cocaine can get you shot. What if you could buy and sell drugs online like books or light bulbs? Now you can: Welcome to Silk Road.

About three weeks ago, the U.S. Postal Service delivered an ordinary envelope to Mark’s door. Inside was a tiny plastic bag containing 10 tabs of LSD. “If you had opened it, unless you were looking for it, you wouldn’t have even noticed,” Mark told us in a phone interview.

Mark, a software developer, had ordered the 100 micrograms of acid through a listing on the online marketplace Silk Road. He found a seller with lots of good feedback who seemed to know what they were talking about, added the acid to his digital shopping cart and hit “check out.” He entered his address and paid the seller 50 Bitcoins — untraceable digital currency — worth around $150. Four days later, the drugs (sent from Canada) arrived at his house.

“It kind of felt like I was in the future,” Mark said.

Silk Road, a digital black market that sits just below most internet users’ purview, does resemble something from a cyberpunk novel. Through a combination of anonymity technology and a sophisticated user-feedback system, Silk Road makes buying and selling illegal drugs as easy as buying used electronics — and seemingly as safe. It’s Amazon — if Amazon sold mind-altering chemicals.

Here is just a small selection of the 340 items available for purchase on Silk Road by anyone, right now: a gram of Afghani hash; 1/8 ounce of “sour 13″ weed; 14 grams of ecstasy; .1 gram tar heroin. A listing for “Avatar” LSD includes a picture of blotter paper with big blue faces from the James Cameron movie on it.

The sellers are located all over the world, a large portion from the United States and Canada.

But even Silk Road has limits: You won’t find any weapons-grade plutonium, for example. Its terms of service ban the sale of “anything who’s purpose is to harm or defraud, such as stolen credit cards, assassinations, and weapons of mass destruction.”

faith in self-regulating systems has a sinister history


Video - Adam Curtis All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace - How the idea of the ecosystem was invented.

Guardian | At the end of March this year there was a wonderful moment of television interviewing on Newsnight. It was just after student protesters had invaded Fortnums and other shops in Oxford Street during the TUC march against the cuts. Emily Maitlis asked Lucy Annson from UK Uncut whether, as a spokesperson for the direct-action group, she condemned the violence.

Annson swiftly opened the door that leads to the nightmare interview, saying: "We are a network of people who self-organise. We don't have a position on things. It's about empowering the individual to go out there and be creative."

"But is it wrong for individuals to attack buildings?" asked Maitlis.

"You'd have to ask that particular individual," replied Annson.

"But you are a spokesperson for UK Uncut," insisted Maitlis. And Annson came out with a wonderful line: "No. I'm a spokesperson for myself."

What you were seeing in that interchange was the expression of a very powerful ideology of our time. It is the idea of the "self-organising network". It says that human beings can organise themselves into systems where they are linked, but where there is no hierarchy, no leaders and no control. It is not the old form of collective action that the left once believed in, where people subsumed themselves into the greater force of the movement. Instead all the individuals in the self-organising network can do whatever they want as creative, autonomous, self-expressive entities, yet somehow, through feedback between all the individuals in the system, a kind of order emerges.

At its heart it says that you can organise human beings without the exercise of power by leaders.

As a political position it is obviously very irritating for TV interviewers, which may or may not be a good thing. And it doesn't necessarily mean it isn't a valid way for organising protests – and possibly even human society. But I thought I would tell the brief and rather peculiar history of the rise of the idea of the "self-organising network".

Of course some of the ideas come out of anarchist thought. But the idea is also deeply rooted in a strange fantasy vision of nature that emerged in the 1920s and 30s as the British Empire began to decline. It was a vision of nature and – ultimately – the whole world as a giant system that could stabilise itself. And it rose up to grip the imagination of those in power – and is still central in our culture.

But we have long forgotten where it came from. To discover this you have to go back to a ferocious battle between two driven men in the 1920s. One was a botanist and Fabian socialist called Arthur Tansley. The other was one of the most powerful and ruthless rulers of the British Empire, Field Marshal Jan Smuts.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

man vs machine


Video - a terracotta army equipped with modern weapons.

giving up the gun. japan's reversion to the sword, 1543-1879

SensibleOpenSource | This book takes a look at the society and the values this culture had to revert a technology that was unhealthy for the whole, the whole of society, environment and respect for life. The contrasts drawn in other societies throughout Europe also consider this technology an issue. However, the controlling of guns from these countries was from stance of oppression. Further, the control was not for the good of society with respect for life and the environment as a whole. It was simply, a control of power, in most cases government. The lack of focus on the proper control and Western Modernity propagates this unbalance. Even today, the majority of countries, Japan, inclusive, creates weapons that endanger human, environment and life with such intense focus the loss of their import is diminished by the weapon technology's shadow.

The author brings you through the Japanese history as well as accounts for other countries throughout the correposnding times. The few pictures present the reader with the reality of the nature in which the Japanese viewed the world of war and guns. Much like the art of swordsmanship for the Samurai. The greatest of all waste was tht a simple peasent, from a safe distance, could take the life of a highly Skilled, inteligent Samurai with very little practice. Not that dying by the sword in warfare was any better than with artillary. The rate in which killing could occur was staggering and to these people the first glimpse of WMD's were more destrcutive then any could imagine, at their time.

The greatest thought is that the 1.2M High Sumari and the 500,000 Low Samurai consumed the destruction, understood the cause and came to the conclusion that removal of this technology was far better for the whole. The reversioning to an older technology for the good of society. Could we do that today? Ever? With Nukes? It's a very interesting thought and one our leaders should contemplate with no disregard.

What would the Sumari think of carpet bombing, bunker busters or nukes?

Con
Pubmed | This delightful essay by Dartmouth English professor Noel Perrin indirectly challenges the relentless advance of science and technology by recounting a unique historical period in which one emergent technology was eschewed by a society favoring maintenance of the status quo ante. The author, without resort to allegory or polemic, gently cajoles his reader with an exemplary story-the story of firearms, or the lack of them, in Tokugawa Japan. This appealing episode ought to be evaluated, as the author insists, not solely by scholars of Japan, but by the rank-and-file of the scientific establishment. The thrust of Mr. Perrin's argument is to rebut by historical deposition the notion favored by many scientists that scientific revelation can never be ignored nor can its application for good or evil be held in abeyance. Indeed, our belief in the "manifest destiny" of scientific discovery has gained the weight of a law of thermodynamics.

Yet for over two centuries, from about 1637 to 1867, nearly the entire period in which feudal Japan was ruled from Edo (Tokyo) by the Tokugawa shoguns, the feudal lords (daimyo) and warrior class (bushi) ignored or disparaged the gun (matchlock) as a combat weapon. In Japan the sword was preeminent from the Shimabara Rebellion of 1637 to the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877-twenty-five years after Perry reintroduced Western firearms. This was a conscious choice not dictated by natural resources or skills in their manufacture or use. Mr. Perrin's thesis is that this period in the history of Japan, in which she was involved not at all with the outside world and banned Western Christianity, provides de facto evidence that mankind can turn his back on technological advance-if only he wishes.

Despite the charm and sincerity of this essay, its usefulness as an object lesson would necessitate a utopian vision that the author himself suggests in a postscript. Tokugawa Japan was the antithesis of utopian. Japan's turning away from guns was both aesthetic and pragmatic-the ruling class did not like them or need them-in fact, they were subversive. Japan "gave up the gun" shortly after its abortive occupation of Korea (1592-1598) and Shimabara Rebellion (1637), the "Alamo" of Christianity in Japan. It eagerly rearmed during its renewal of contact with the West (1852-1877) just before and during the Meiji Restoration. Nevertheless, it was precisely the same internal forces that determined both events. The sword and the dagger were endowed with ritual that marked the power of the bushi class, the samurai warrior, and noblesse oblige. Japan's first large-scale use of the gun in Korea was by the enlisted peasant-class soldiers (ui-samurai), not the samurai warriors. Soon after the Tokugawa shogun recognized that such "egalitarian" warfare was a dangerous, internal threat. In the great "Sword Hunt of 1597" Tokugawa Hideyoshi had the peasant class turn in all its weapons to be melted down to construct a statue to Buddha-a clever Machiavellian ploy.

Friday, June 03, 2011

eight families to rule them all - is this true?

GlobalResearch | The Four Horsemen of Banking (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo) own the Four Horsemen of Oil (Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP and Chevron Texaco); in tandem with Deutsche Bank, BNP, Barclays and other European old money behemoths. But their monopoly over the global economy does not end at the edge of the oil patch.

According to company 10K filings to the SEC, the Four Horsemen of Banking are among the top ten stock holders of virtually every Fortune 5http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif00 corporation.[1]

So who then are the stockholders in these money center banks?

This information is guarded much more closely. My queries to bank regulatory agencies regarding stock ownership in the top 25 US bank holding companies were given Freedom of Information Act status, before being denied on “national security” grounds. This is rather ironic, since many of the bank’s stockholders reside in Europe.

One important repository for the wealth of the global oligarchy that owns these bank holding companies is US Trust Corporation - founded in 1853 and now owned by Bank of America. A recent US Trust Corporate Director and Honorary Trustee was Walter Rothschild. Other directors included Daniel Davison of JP Morgan Chase, Richard Tucker of Exxon Mobil, Daniel Roberts of Citigroup and Marshall Schwartz of Morgan Stanley. [2]

J. W. McCallister, an oil industry insider with House of Saud connections, wrote in The Grim Reaper that information he acquired from Saudi bankers cited 80% ownership of the New York Federal Reserve Bank- by far the most powerful Fed branch- by just eight families, four of which reside in the US. They are the Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Lehmans and Kuhn Loebs of New York; the Rothschilds of Paris and London; the Warburgs of Hamburg; the Lazards of Paris; and the Israel Moses Seifs of Rome.

CPA Thomas D. Schauf corroborates McCallister’s claims, adding that ten banks control all twelve Federal Reserve Bank branches. He names N.M. Rothschild of London, Rothschild Bank of Berlin, Warburg Bank of Hamburg, Warburg Bank of Amsterdam, Lehman Brothers of New York, Lazard Brothers of Paris, Kuhn Loeb Bank of New York, Israel Moses Seif Bank of Italy, Goldman Sachs of New York and JP Morgan Chase Bank of New York. Schauf lists William Rockefeller, Paul Warburg, Jacob Schiff and James Stillman as individuals who own large shares of the Fed. [3] The Schiffs are insiders at Kuhn Loeb. The Stillmans are Citigroup insiders, who married into the Rockefeller clan at the turn of the century.

Eustace Mullins came to the same conclusions in his book The Secrets of the Federal Reserve, in which he displays charts connecting the Fed and its member banks to the families of Rothschild, Warburg, Rockefeller and the others. [4]

The control that these banking families exert over the global economy cannot be overstated and is quite intentionally shrouded in secrecy. Their corporate media arm is quick to discredit any information exposing this private central banking cartel as “conspiracy theory”. Yet the facts remain.

welcome to post-legal america

TomDispatch | Is the Libyan war legal? Was Bin Laden’s killing legal? Is it legal for the president of the United States to target an American citizen for assassination? Were those “enhanced interrogation techniques” legal? These are all questions raised in recent weeks. Each seems to call out for debate, for answers. Or does it?

Now, you couldn’t call me a legal scholar. I’ve never set foot inside a law school, and in 66 years only made it onto a single jury (dismissed before trial when the civil suit was settled out of court). Still, I feel at least as capable as any constitutional law professor of answering such questions.

My answer is this: they are irrelevant. Think of them as twentieth-century questions that don't begin to come to grips with twenty-first century American realities. In fact, think of them, and the very idea of a nation based on the rule of law, as a reflection of nostalgia for, or sentimentality about, a long-lost republic. At least in terms of what used to be called “foreign policy,” and more recently “national security,” the United States is now a post-legal society. (And you could certainly include in this mix the too-big-to-jail financial and corporate elite.)

It’s easy enough to explain what I mean. If, in a country theoretically organized under the rule of law, wrongdoers are never brought to justice and nobody is held accountable for possibly serious crimes, then you don’t have to be a constitutional law professor to know that its citizens actually exist in a post-legal state. If so, “Is it legal?” is the wrong question to be asking, even if we have yet to discover the right one.

rep. roscoe bartlett says "hide'ya kids, hide'ya wife"


Video - Rep. Roscoe Bartlett says you should get you and your family out of major cities.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

bitcoin vs. central bankers


Video - Jon Matonis talks about BitCoin. A method of paying each other which does not rely on your currency being smashed by the devaluations and printing of central banks and politicians.

BitcoinNews | Max interviews guest Jon Matonis who introduces Bitcoin to the RT audience.

“Overall though, I do think the exchangers are the weakest link in the chain”.

“On the government level I think what this is going to actually lead to is a move and a shift away from the model of taxing income and I think you’re going to start to see governments move towards some type of consumption-based tax or headcount-type tax and the reason is because the income levels of individuals are going to become more and more difficult to ascertain”

“I believe digital cash will do to legal tender what BitTorrents did to copyrights”. Fist tap Dale.

punk...,

paulchefurka | Once I understood and accepted that the disintegration of our civilization is already underway, I spent a number of years trying to get people to change their beliefs and their behaviour. I felt that if they made the changes I was proposing they could make a "good" outcome more likely. I was disappointed when my exhortations and hectoring fell on mostly deaf ears - whenever I wasn't just preaching to the choir, that is. It was Cassandra's dilemma too.

The more I tried to promote change, however, the more I suffered. But the suffering didn't spring simply from the pain of disappointment. It went much deeper than that, and eventually precipitated my Dark Night of the Soul. The Buddha was right when he taught that all suffering springs from attachment. In my case the attachment was to a particular outcome - my vision of a sustainable, just, ecologically conscious society that made room for all living things on the planet, not just our relatives and friends. When that outcome was thwarted through public indifference and even hostility, I suffered mightily.

Fortunately, I went through a transformation about three years ago. The shift was complete enough that it enabled me to detach from outcomes while still remaining committed to the awareness of what's going on. At the same time I adopted the position that this reality is co-created by all its participants, and that at some level the nature of reality and our individual roles in it have been consciously chosen by us all. At that point, I realized that I had been working at cross purposes to the reality that was unfolding. The ongoing transformation, even if it becomes a collapse of civilization, is not meant to be stopped. Rather, it is the vessel within which our conscious awareness is being nurtured, developed and annealed. This leads to the rather uncomfortable conclusion that the collapse is not to be lamented or prevented, but rather to be celebrated and engaged. It will come as no surprise to those on similar journeys that when I surrendered to this understanding, my suffering ceased.

From that perspective, I decided that the most useful thing I can do - something that is aligned with the point of the exercise rather than in opposition to it - is simply to contribute my little bits of awareness to the field. I try to do it without expectation or attachment, without trying to elicit a particular response or outcome. Just put the awareness out there. Those who aren't ready for it yet will ignore or reject it, those who don't yet see it but are ready may awaken a bit more, those who are already aware may find some fresh nuance to play with. Whatever role my observations and discussions play in the unfoldment is the part they are meant to play. This is what I call "vocal witnessing".

I still care very deeply about what's happening, but I now remain relatively unattached to how it might unfold in the future. As a result I avoid talking about solutions as much as possible, largely because I don't think there are any - at least at the level most people think of "solutions" (like new policies or new technologies) The point of all this apparently catastrophic unfoldment is not for us to "solve the problem", but for for us to wake up.

I agree completely with the writer Charles Eisenstein ("The Ascent of Humanity") and other observers - we do not have a soluble problem, we have an insoluble predicament. Because of that, our most useful response will be at right angles to the problem space. That means that the door out of this mess isn't going to be opened by a new version of our old ways (new legislation, clean energy and more recycling) although that will play a role. The real doorway out will be found by shifting into a completely new way of being - the revolution of consciousness that so many of us know in our bones is just around the corner.

These days I'm putting all my chips on abetting that r/evolution of human consciousness, by acting as a vocal witness to the unfolding collapse.

fighting a system designed to never put nature first

Alternet | It takes thousands of years for individual drops of rain to maneuver through silent passages and gently accumulate into underground aquifers. Purified and enriched over the millennia by mineral deposits deep in the earth, groundwater is the sacred lifeblood of local watersheds upon which all life -- including human communities -- depend. Yet it takes no time at all to destroy this delicate balance. In fact, all it takes is a simple piece of paper.

Steeped in colonial history, Nottingham, New Hampshire, could be a picture postcard of quaint village life in New England. Yet in 2001, this tiny rural village of 4,000 residents became the poster child for too familiar "site-fights" between small towns seeking to protect local water and large multinational corporations seeking to extract it. It was then that the USA Springs Corporation applied to the state for a permit to extract more than 400,000 gallons of water a day from Nottingham's local aquifer to bottle and sell overseas.

Corporate water withdrawals -- siphoning off hundreds of thousands of gallons a day from local aquifers -- impact both surface and groundwater resources. They deplete drinking water and can contaminate aquifers and wells. In addition, withdrawals dry up streams, wetlands, and rivers, as well as reduce lake levels, damaging habitat and harming wildlife.

For seven years the community of Nottingham came together to stop their water from being mined. Upon discovering that our own laws forbid communities from saying "no" to the wide array of dirty, destructive and unwanted practices allowed by law, they attempted to protect their local groundwater using all the tools available under the law. They did everything "right" by traditional, conventional environmental activism. They lobbied their state legislature, petitioned their government, testified at hearings, protested, rallied, educated and organized their neighbors and filed lawsuits. But as is so often the case, it just wasn't enough.

When the people of Nottingham beseeched their state environmental agency, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, to take effective action and protect the aquifer, their requests went unmet. Instead of helping them protect their water, the agency was in fact responsible for issuing permits to the corporation to take it.

Is the system broken or working perfectly?

The experience of Nottingham is shared by thousands of communities across the United States and around the world that discover that their government officials and agencies -- ostensibly in place to protect them -- are, in practice, serving other interests.

The question that the people of Nottingham were forced to ask is, "why?" Why are corporations allowed to override community concerns and put destructive projects in our midst? Why do our environmental laws and regulations, rather than put in place protections for the environment, instead seem to be written to exploit it? And why is our government helping a corporation to extract water from a community and sell it for profit, when the impacts from such projects are so significant?

These are the questions that people and communities find themselves asking when they face the threat of water extraction, mining, drilling, or a range of other activities. Based on the assumption that environmental legislation was in earnest set up to protect Nature, much of our environmental activism has logically been spent trying to "fix" what appears broken; seeking to improve the types of laws and regulations that Nottingham ran into.

24 more hours to help end the war on drugs

AVAAZ | Amazing! In just a few days, we blew past our goal of 500,000 voices calling for an end to the war on drugs. Our message will be hand-delivered to world leaders on Thursday, June 2 at a press conference in New York and to the UN Secretary-General on Friday, June 3. The event will feature a live counter of petition signatures, so every one of us counts -- let's keep spreading the word and building this campaign!

In 24 hours, we could finally see the beginning of the end of the ‘war on drugs’. This expensive war has completely failed to curb the plague of drug addiction, while costing countless lives, devastating communities, and funneling trillions of dollars into violent organized crime networks.

Experts all agree that the most sensible policy is to regulate, but politicians are afraid to touch the issue. In 72 hours, a global commission including former heads of state and foreign policy chiefs of the UN, EU, US, Brazil, Mexico and more will break the taboo and publicly call for new approaches including decriminalization and regulation of drugs.

This could be a once-in-a-generation tipping-point moment -- if enough of us call for an end to this madness. Politicians say they understand that the war on drugs has failed, but claim the public isn't ready for an alternative. Let's show them we not only accept a sane and humane policy -- we demand it. Sign the petition and share with everyone -- when we reach 1/2 million, it will be personally delivered to world leaders by the global commission.

For 50 years current drug policies have failed everyone, everywhere but public debate is stuck in the mud of fear and misinformation. Everyone, even the UN Office on Drugs and Crime which is responsible for enforcing this approach agrees -- deploying militaries and police to burn drug farms, hunting down traffickers, and imprisoning dealers and addicts – is an expensive mistake. And with massive human cost -- from Afghanistan, to Mexico, to the USA the illegal drug trade is destroying countries around the world, while addiction, overdose deaths, and HIV/AIDS infections continue to rise.

Meanwhile, countries with less-harsh enforcement -- like Switzerland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Australia -- have not seen the explosion in drug use that proponents of the drug war have darkly predicted. Instead, they have seen significant reductions in drug-related crime, addiction and deaths, and are able to focus squarely on dismantling criminal empires.

Powerful lobbies still stand in the way of change, including military, law enforcement, and prison departments whose budgets are at stake. And politicians fear that voters will throw them out of office if they support alternative approaches, as they will appear weak on law and order. But many former drug Ministers and Heads of State have come out in favour of reform since leaving office, and polls show that citizens across the world know the current approach is a catastrophe. Momentum is gathering towards new improved policies, particularly in regions that are ravaged by the drug trade.

If we can create a worldwide outcry in the next 72 hours to support the bold calls of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, we can overpower the stale excuses for the status quo. Our voices hold the key to change -- Sign the petition and spread the word.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

spooks pinning down and describing themselves


Video - Michael Jackson Man in the Mirror

Guardian | We now know that Wordsworth's idea of a writer being detached from the world, wrapped up in thoughts about nature and the imagination, was indeed ideological – as he warned us:
"The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.
Little we see in Nature that is ours."
So, straight away, our US allies can label early Wordsworth an anti-bourgeois subversive – someone who will need to be watched.

But what of Shakespeare? He poses the problem that we can never know for certain that this is Shakespeare talking or one of his many characters through whom he speaks: "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer/The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune ..." This is dense stuff: a cast of thought has to compress our interactions and outcome into one notion: "fortune", which then has to be personified into a form that can "behave" or have appurtenances, as in this case "slings and arrows". Aha, militaristic metaphor! Fortune is armed and aggressive. Clearly, Hamlet is a potential terrorist. And indeed he was. Or tried rather ineffectually to be. But the writer who conjured him up? Probably not.

In that tiny section of Hamlet's soliloquy, is what we might call a hidden metaphor: "nobler". Linguists have noticed that across the history of language some words start out as obvious, conscious metaphors and then slowly embed themselves in our daily usage in such a way that we're no longer aware that they are metaphors. Some extrapolate that even further to suggest that virtually all language is metaphorical. Behaving "nobly" is wrapped up one way or another with the position of being a "noble" (a highly ideological view) but, over time, moves free of that attachment. The word "window" meant in its original Scandinavian, "wind-eye" – a figurative view of the hole in the side of a hut through which the wind blew in and a person could look out. Excavating the original meanings in the Old English, Latin and Greek origins to modern English words often brings up such lost metaphors. Will the spooks be looking this deeply? Probably not.

Glancing over the words I've used, you will see many metaphors and some hidden: "further", "deeply" "daily". We often use space-and-time words with little regard for whether we really mean it. If I say, "far be it for me to ..." there isn't anything "far" about it. I don't really mean "daily usage". The word "day" has been enlisted by our metaphorising brains to mean anything regular or continuous. Working harder to understand something really doesn't take me anywhere "deeper'. Perhaps the spooks would spot in me here a dangerous attitude to the truth: someone who has rejected the principles of empirically proven knowledge.

And what of grammar? Can that be metaphorical? In Germanic languages we use the word "have" semantically to mean "possess" and grammatically to signify the past: "I have eaten ..." "Aha," cries our US agent, "bourgeois acquisitiveness is embedded metaphorically at a sub-conscious level even into our understanding of how time passes. Good. Greed is good. Good."

Those of us of a certain age were inducted into this discourse with an inspiring, frustrating book, William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity. The ever more windingly we wandered around Andrew Marvell's garden, the more some of us realised we were in fact wandering around Empson's mind. And this will be the spooks' main problem. The more they pin down and describe a metaphor, the more they will find that they have pinned down and described themselves.

for anarchist, details of life as an FBI target

NYTimes | A fat sheaf of F.B.I. reports meticulously details the surveillance that counterterrorism agents directed at the one-story house in East Austin. For at least three years, they traced the license plates of cars parked out front, recorded the comings and goings of residents and guests and, in one case, speculated about a suspicious flat object spread out across the driveway.

“The content could not be determined from the street,” an agent observing from his car reported one day in 2005. “It had a large number of multi-colored blocks, with figures and/or lettering,” the report said, and “may be a sign that is to be used in an upcoming protest.”

Actually, the item in question was more mundane.

“It was a quilt,” said Scott Crow, marveling over the papers at the dining table of his ramshackle home, where he lives with his wife, a housemate and a backyard menagerie that includes two goats, a dozen chickens and a turkey. “For a kids’ after-school program.”

Mr. Crow, 44, a self-described anarchist and veteran organizer of anticorporate demonstrations, is among dozens of political activists across the country known to have come under scrutiny from the F.B.I.’s increased counterterrorism operations since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Other targets of bureau surveillance, which has been criticized by civil liberties groups and mildly faulted by the Justice Department’s inspector general, have included antiwar activists in Pittsburgh, animal rights advocates in Virginia and liberal Roman Catholics in Nebraska. When such investigations produce no criminal charges, their methods rarely come to light publicly.

But Mr. Crow, a lanky Texas native who works at a recycling center, is one of several Austin activists who asked the F.B.I. for their files, citing the Freedom of Information Act. The 440 heavily-redacted pages he received, many bearing the rubric “Domestic Terrorism,” provide a revealing window on the efforts of the bureau, backed by other federal, state and local police agencies, to keep an eye on people it deems dangerous.

In the case of Mr. Crow, who has been arrested a dozen times during demonstrations but has never been convicted of anything more serious than trespassing, the bureau wielded an impressive array of tools, the documents show.

The agents watched from their cars for hours at a time — Mr. Crow recalls one regular as “a fat guy in an S.U.V. with the engine running and the air-conditioning on” — and watched gatherings at a bookstore and cafe. For round-the-clock coverage, they attached a video camera to the phone pole across from his house on New York Avenue.

They tracked Mr. Crow’s phone calls and e-mails and combed through his trash, identifying his bank and mortgage companies, which appear to have been served with subpoenas. They visited gun stores where he shopped for a rifle, noting dryly in one document that a vegan animal rights advocate like Mr. Crow made an unlikely hunter. (He says the weapon was for self-defense in a marginal neighborhood.)

They asked the Internal Revenue Service to examine his tax returns, but backed off after an I.R.S. employee suggested that Mr. Crow’s modest earnings would not impress a jury even if his returns were flawed. (He earns $32,000 a year at Ecology Action of Texas, he said.)

They infiltrated political meetings with undercover police officers and informers. Mr. Crow counts five supposed fellow activists who were reporting to the F.B.I.

Mr. Crow seems alternately astonished, angered and flattered by the government’s attention. “I’ve had times of intense paranoia,” he said, especially when he discovered that some trusted allies were actually spies.

“But first, it makes me laugh,” he said. “It’s just a big farce that the government’s created such paper tigers. Al Qaeda and real terrorists are hard to find. We’re easy to find. It’s outrageous that they would spend so much money surveilling civil activists, and anarchists in particular, and equating our actions with Al Qaeda.” Fist tap Nana.

leading world politicians urge 'paradigm shift' on drugs policy

Guardian | Former presidents, prime ministers, eminent economists and leading members of the business community will unite behind a call for a shift in global drug policy. The Global Commission on Drug Policy will host a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York to launch a report that describes the drug war as a failure and calls for a "paradigm shift" in approaching the issue.

Those backing the call include Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico; George Papandreou, former prime minister of Greece; César Gaviria, former president of Colombia; Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general; Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil; George Shultz, former US secretary of state; Javier Solana, former EU high representative; Virgin tycoon Richard Branson; and Paul Volcker, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve.

The commission will call for drug policy to move from being focused on criminal justice towards a public health approach. The global advocacy organisation Avaaz, which has nine million members, will present a petition in support of the commission's recommendations to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

The commission is the most distinguished group to call for such far-reaching changes in the way society deals with illicit drugs. Danny Kushlick, head of external affairs at Transform, the drug policy foundation that has consultative status with the UN, said current events, such as the cartel-related violence in Mexico, President Barack Obama's comments that it was "perfectly legitimate" to question whether the war on drugs was working, and the wider global economic crisis, had given calls for a comprehensive overhaul of the world's drugs policy a fresh impetus.