Monday, July 31, 2006

ORIGASMI THE SENSUAL ART OF FOLDING PAPER

by SCOTT STEVENS TOKYO "Now you fold the paper this way, and then you fold it over like this -- and then, if you've done it right, you will barely be able to concentrate!" So exclaimed Miraka Yong, demonstrating the ancient art form she made famous in her Japanese best-seller, Origasmi -- The Sensual Art of Folding Paper. "Paper is like a lover, very soft, very sensual," Yong told Weekly World News. "Yet it has a cutting edge if you mishandle it. The secret to achieving sexual gratification through paper -- as with a lover -- is to handle it slowly, building the tension and then press -ing down firmly to take control." Origasmi is becoming so popular with young Japanese women that government officials are worried about a population fall-off. "Young Japanese women arebored with Japanese guys who spend all their time working, playing video games or entertaining clients in karaoke bars," said a member of Japan's Ministry of Social Trends, who insisted upon anonymity. "Now they're taking matters into their own hands." As can be expected, many Japanese men are quite upset by the fad. "My girlfriend replaced me with rice paper," said Toby Akiro. "I've lost all respect among my friends and colleagues. Except for Akira, whose wife left him for a piece of corrugated cardboard. He said she liked it rough. He understands." According to Yong, Origasmi began centuries ago, when Japan was ruled by warlords. "While the men were away fighting, the rulers gave the women paper so that they could write to the soldiers and improve their morale," she said. "But not all women knew how to write, and as they folded the paper to make tokens for their men they found the experience stimulating." The paper industry is under- standably ecstatic about Origasmi. "With the growth of e-mail and the Internet, paper use has been way down," said Barry Cobbs, a paper magnate. "This has made paper sexy again -- in a whole new way." As Yong put it, "Origasmi would definitely be something to write home about -- if I wasn't so busy using the paper for another purpose."

J.Vita
Truth, Beauty, Goodness

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Quote by DH Lawrence....

"They threw off their clothes, and he gathered her to him, and found her, found the pure lambent reality of her for ever invisible flesh. Quenched, inhuman, his fingers upon her unrevealed nudity were the fingers of silence upon silence, the body of mysterious night upon the body of mysterious night, the night masculine and feminine, never to be seen with the eye, or known with the mind, only known as a palpable revelation of living otherness." -D.H. Lawrence - Originally published by M. Secker (1921), Women in Love, "They" are Rupert Birkin and Ursula Brangwen.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Nomads Land Films - The Art of Flight - Documentary on Sudan, Darfur Refugees

"...a harrowing and introspective documentary... an act of redemption..." - Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times "...a terrific-looking, polished exposé..." - Variety World Premiere - International Documentary Competition - AFI International Film Festival, Hollywood International Premiere - First Appearance Competition - International Documentary Festival Amsterdam Asian Premiere - Documentary Competition, Bangkok International Film Festival DVD Available: http://www.customflix.com/210814 Original Soundtrack Available on iTunes The Art Of Flight is a guerrilla documentary that was shot illegally in Egypt on camcorders and a laptop. The film serves as a back story to the 2006 massacre of Sudanese refugees in Cairo. The filmmaker was nearly arrested three times during the course of shooting. The film essentially summarizes the events leading up to the January 2006 killing of protestors outside UNHCR's office in Cairo and the brutality inherent in the regime of Hosni Mubarak. The Art Of Flight features artwork of Sudanese painters living in exile. In addition to paintings from Sudanese artists and torture victims, the film also features an original soundtrack by Al-Khafiyeen, a musical ensemble of refugees who played together for a single night to score the film.

Friday, July 28, 2006

!

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love. There's nothing you can do that can't be done. Nothing you can sing that can't be sung. Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game It's easy. There's nothing you can make that can't be made. No one you can save that can't be saved. Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be in time It's easy. All you need is love, all you need is love, All you need is love, love, love is all you need. Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love. All you need is love, all you need is love, All you need is love, love, love is all you need. There's nothing you can know that isn't known. Nothing you can see that isn't shown. Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be. It's easy. All you need is love, all you need is love, All you need is love, love, love is all you need. All you need is love (all together now) All you need is love (everybody) All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thanks Again Miss Anne Thropic

* Sting, Fragile *

Surfing the Web with nothing but brainwaves

by Chris Taylor Kiss your keyboard goodbye: Soon we'll jack our brains directly into the Net - and that's just the beginning. SAN FRANCISCO Two years ago, a quadriplegic man started playing video games using his brain as a controller. That may just sound like fun and games for the unfortunate, but really, it spells the beginning of a radical change in how we interact with computers - and business will never be the same. Someday, keyboards and computer mice will be remembered only as medieval-style torture devices for the wrists. All work - emails, spreadsheets, and Google searches - will be performed by mind control. If you think that's mind-blowing, try to wrap your head around the sensational research that's been done on the brain of one Matthew Nagle by scientists at Brown University and three other institutions, in collaboration with Foxborough, Mass.-based company Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems. The research was published for the first time last week in the British science journal Nature. Nagle, a 26-year-old quadriplegic, was hooked up to a computer via an implant smaller than an aspirin that sits on top of his brain and reads electrical patterns. Using that technology, he learned how to move a cursor around a screen, play simple games, control a robotic arm, and even - couch potatoes, prepare to gasp in awe - turn his brain into a TV remote control. All while chatting amiably with the researchers. He even learned how to perform these tasks in less time than the average PC owner spends installing Microsoft (Charts) Windows. Decoding the brain Nagle was able to accomplish all this because the brain has been greatly demystified in laboratories over the last decade or so. Researchers unlocked the brain patterns for thoughts that represent letters of the alphabet as early as 1999. Now, Cyberkinetics and a host of other companies are working on turning those discoveries into real products. Neurodevices - medical devices that compensate for damage to the brain, nerves, and spinal column - are a $3.4 billion business that grew 21 percent last year, according to NeuroInsights, a research and advisory company. There are currently some 300 companies working in the field. But Cyberkinetics is trying to do more than just repair neural damage: It's working on an implantable chip that Nagle and patients in two other cities are using to control electronic devices with their minds. (Check out this demonstration video). Already, the Brown researchers say, this kind of technology can enable a hooked-up human to write at 15 words a minute - half as fast as the average person writes by hand. Remember, though, that silicon-based technology typically doubles in capacity every two years. So if improved hardware is all it takes to speed up the device, Cyberkinetics' chip could be able to process thoughts as fast as speech - 110 to 170 words per minute - by 2012. Imagine issuing commands to a computer as quickly as you could talk. But who would want to get a brain implant if they haven't been struck by a drastic case of paralysis? Leaving aside the fact that there is a lucrative market for providing such profoundly life-enhancing products for millions of paralyzed patients, it may soon not even be necessary to stick a chip inside your skull to take advantage of this technology. What a tale your thoughts could tell Brain-reading technology is improving rapidly. Last year, Sony (Charts) took out a patent on a game system that beams data directly into the mind without implants. It uses a pulsed ultrasonic signal that induces sensory experiences such as smells, sounds and images. And Niels Birbaumer, a neuroscientist at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, has developed a device that enables disabled people to communicate by reading their brain waves through the skin, also without implants. Stu Wolf, one of the top scientists at Darpa, the Pentagon's scientific research agency which gave birth to the Internet, seriously believes we'll all be wearing computers in headbands within 20 years. By that time, we'll have super fast, super tiny computers that make today's machines look like typewriters. The desktop will be dead, says Wolf, and the headband will dominate. "We already know we can trigger neurons mechanically," he says. "You can interact directly with the brain without implanted electrodes. Then the next step is being able to think something and have it happen: Flying a plane, driving a car, operating household machinery." Controlling devices with the mind is just the beginning. Next, Wolf believes, is what he calls "network-enabled telepathy" - instant thought transfer. In other words, your thoughts will flow from your brain over the network right into someone else's brain. If you think instant messaging is addictive, just wait for instant thinking. The only issue, Wolf says, is making sure it's consensual; that's a problem likely to tax the minds of security experts. But just think of the advantages. In the office of the future, the conference call, too, will be remembered as a medieval form of torture.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Peace

Peace XVIII
The tempest calmed after bending the branches of the trees and leaning heavily upon the grain in the field. The stars appeared as broken remnants of lightning, but now silence prevailed over all, as if Nature's war had never been fought. At that hour a young woman entered her chamber and knelt by her bed sobbing bitterly. Her heart flamed with agony but she could finally open her lips and say, "Oh Lord, bring him home safely to me. I have exhausted my tears and can offer no more, oh Lord, full of love and mercy. My patience is drained and calamity is seeking possession of my heart. Save him, oh Lord, from the iron paws of War; deliver him from such unmerciful Death, for he is weak, governed by the strong. Oh Lord, save my beloved, who is Thine own son, from the foe, who is Thy foe. Keep him from the forced pathway to Death's door; let him see me, or come and take me to him." Quietly a young man entered. His head was wrapped in bandage soaked with escaping life. He approached he with a greeting of tears and laughter, then took her hand and placed against it his flaming lips. And with a voice with bespoke past sorrow, and joy of union, and uncertainty of her reaction, he said, "Fear me not, for I am the object of your plea. Be glad, for Peace has carried me back safely to you, and humanity has restored what greed essayed to take from us. Be not sad, but smile, my beloved. Do not express bewilderment, for Love has power that dispels Death; charm that conquers the enemy. I am your one. Think me not a specter emerging from the House of Death to visit your Home of Beauty. "Do not be frightened, for I am now Truth, spared from swords and fire to reveal to the people the triumph of Love over War. I am Word uttering introduction to the play of happiness and peace." Then the young man became speechless and his tears spoke the language of the heart; and the angels of Joy hovered about that dwelling, and the two hearts restored the singleness which had been taken from them. At dawn the two stood in the middle of the field contemplating the beauty of Nature injured by the tempest. After a deep and comforting silence, the soldier said to his sweetheart, "Look at the Darkness, giving birth to the Sun." Khalil Gibran

Georges Bataille - Supervert

From the Introduction to The Bataille Reader, which Dirtnap & Osmosis so kindly sent to me: Batailles texts could be subdivided under numerous disciplinary categories: literature, criticism, philosophy, art history, numismatics, history, anthropology, economy, sociology, eroticism, theology, among many others. While contesting and transgressing boundaries and styles of different disciplinesm Batailles nonetheless addresses, with rigour and consistency, the sacred elementals of erotic,mystical and economic activity so that his writing has been said, by Jean Baudrillard, to constitute "a single mythic thought" For Roland Barthes, Bataille exemplifies the excessive object called "Text".... ....the Text does not stop at (good) Literature; it cannot be contained in a hierarchy, even in a somple division of genres. What constitutes the Text is, on the contrary (or precisely), it's subversive force in respect to the old classifications. How do you classify a writer like Georges Bataille? Novelist, poet, essayist, economist, philosopher, mystic? The answer is so difficult that the literary manuals geerally prefer to forget about Bataille who, in fact, wrote texts, perhaps continuously on single text... * Bataille Quotes: A judgment about life has no meaning except the truth of the one who speaks last, and the mind is at ease only at the moment when everyone is shouting at once and no one can hear a thing. * Crime is a fact of the human species, a fact of that species alone, but it is above all the secret aspect, impenetrable and hidden. Crime hides, and by far the most terrifying things are those which elude us. * Each of us is incomplete compared to someone else - an animal's incomplete compared to a person... and a person compared to God, who is complete only to be imaginary. * Eroticism is assenting to life even in death. * I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction. * Intellectual despair results in neither weakness nor dreams, but in violence. It is only a matter of knowing how to give vent to one's rage; whether one only wants to wander like madmen around prisons, or whether one wants to overturn them. * Life has always taken place in a tumult without apparent cohesion, but it only finds its grandeur and its reality in ecstasy and in ecstatic love. * Naturally, love's the most distant possibility. * Pleasure only starts once the worm has got into the fruit, to become delightful happiness must be tainted with poison. * Sacrifice is nothing other than the production of sacred things. * Sanity is the lot of those who are most obtuse, for lucidity destroys one's equilibrium: it is unhealthy to honestly endure the labors of the mind which incessantly contradict what they have just established. * The anguish of the neurotic individual is the same as that of the saint. The neurotic, the saint are engaged in the same battle. Their blood flows from similar wounds. But the first one gasps and the other one gives. * The essence of morality is a questioning about morality; and the decisive move of human life is to use ceaselessly all light to look for the origin of the opposition between good and evil. * The sovereign being is burdened with a servitude that crushes him, and the condition of free men is deliberate servility. * To place oneself in the position of God is painful: being God is equivalent to being tortured. For being God means that one is in harmony with all that is, including the worst. The existence of the worst evils is unimaginable unless God willed them. *

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How can we stop all this crazyness, Ajax?

christ, who knows, we're deep in the grip of these fascist pricks and getting their claws out is going to be no easy task. I would say the first step is to become awakened to the situation we are in and to become aware of the brain washing you are subject to everytime you turn on a TV set. When I say fascist media proganda brothels I'm not trying to be cute, it's the truth, they're everywhere, on every channel and they try to scrub your brain clean 24/7. Accept a few basic truths and be aware of them in you daily life: 1) Truth and the knowing of it is good. 2) There are those who wish you to be their slaves to satisfy their greed for riches and power. 3) To question authority is the duty of a thinking person. 4) Do not allow newspeak to define your view of the world, death is death, suffering is suffering, those trying to destroy your life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are doing just that regardless of the newspeak they try to use to convince you otherwise. Trust in well founded examples of good and evil, good is kind, generous and empathatic to others evil is cruel, greedy and uncaring, regardless of what it says or what names it gives its actions. Choose good and know what is evil. 5) The enlightened person walks in today's world very much alone, be brave and walk enlightened in this world around you because it's the Cool Hand Luke thing to do. * Posted by: Ajax at July 24, 2006 08:43 PM * They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

-1984


2 Swans


Monday, July 24, 2006

The Three-Faced, by Robert Graves

Who calls her two-faced? Faces, she has three: The first inscrutable, for the outer world The second, shrouded in self-contemplation; The third, her face of love Once for an endless moment turned on me. *

According to this book I'm reading, Robert Graves was "raging with grief and jealousy of imagined rivals.." when he wrote that poem.

It was about one of his muses, named Margot.

*


Lovers of Democracy

The Problem Everyone loves the idea of democracy - a genuine union of true individuals - but there are very few lovers of democracy -- people devoted to achievement of the democratic ideal who possess deep knowledge of the meaning of democracy-in-action with a clear perception of a viable means to achieve this goal. The Goal To develop a community engaged in the building of 21st Century Agoras of the Global Village through teaching, learning, and practicing the SDP methodology. The Plan In only five hours over five days this independence season learn how everyone everywhere can Harness Their Collective Wisdom & Power. Free Trial For Five Groups of Ten Persons. A Global Boundary-Spanning Dialogue, all together in the world of Cyberspace, at different local times and places

Tonights Game Is Called Let's Debate the Jews for Hours on End....

The coup attempt that started a war: Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, its causes and consequences. By Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar 16 July 2006 Posted: 20-07-2006 , 12:39 GMT ...On June 8, the Israeli army assassinated the recently appointed Palestinian head of the security forces of the Interior Ministry, Jamal Abu Samhadana, and three others. On June 13, an Israeli plane fired a missile into a busy Gaza City street, killing 11 people, including two children and two medics. On June 20, the Israeli army killed three Palestinian children and injured 15 others in Gaza with a missile attack. On June 21, the Israelis killed a 35-year old pregnant woman, her brother, and injured 11 others, including 6 children. Then came the Israeli capture of two Palestinians. The next day (June 25) militants raided the Israeli army post at Kerem Shalom near Gaza and captured an Israeli soldier. They demanded the release of Palestinian women and children in Israeli jails in exchange for the Israeli soldier. Israel refused to negotiate and responded with an overwhelming show of force, destroying bridges, electric power generators, and generally, heavily damaging the civilian infrastructure of Gaza. Later the army invaded Gaza and cut it into half. Now the stage was set for a Palestinian coup. Already by July 7th the news media were reporting of the Israel’s moves to remove Hamas by force. According to Israeli military analysts the move into Gaza and the arrest of Hamas legislators were the first step in an Israeli plan to induce the collapse of the Palestinian government. Among those arrested were eight members of Hamas' 23-member Cabinet and 20 of the 72 Hamas members of the 132-seat parliament. Posted by: dada at July 21, 2006 02:21 PM

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Challenge of Mondragon

by George Benello In the Beginning . . . . The Basque region of Spain has, in recent years, seen the rise of a system of cooperatives that is unparalleled in its dynamism, growth, and economic impact on a region. The system, which spreads throughout the surrounding Basque region, is named after Mondragon, a town in the mountains of Guipuzkoa Province near Bilbao, the place where the first cooperatives started. Since its start over thirty years ago, it has gained an international reputation, with similar models now being developed in England, Wales, and the United States. While its explicit connections to the anarchist tradition are unclear, the Mondragon system is an example of liberatory organization which, like its predecessors in the Spanish Civil War, has achieved success on a scale unequaled in any other part of the world. The Mondragon network was founded by a Catholic priest, Don Jose Maria Arizmendi, a man who had narrowly missed being put to death by Franco as a result of his participation in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. With the help of collections from citizens of Mondragon, he founded an elementary technical school in 1943. The first graduates numbered among them five men who, in 1956, founded a small worker-owned and managed factory named ULGOR, numbering initially 24 members, and given to the manufacture of a copied kerosene stove. This cooperative venture proved successful and developed into the flagship enterprise of the whole system which later was to come into being. At one point ULGOR numbered over 3,000 members, although this was later recognized as too large and was reduced. The structure of this enterprise served as the model for the latter enterprises forming the system. Following the Rochedale principles, it had one member-one vote; open membership; equity held by members and hence external capitalization by debt, not equity; and continuing education. Additional Principles It adapted and added additional principles which are responsible for its dynamism and success, in contradistinction to almost all industrial cooperatives which preceded it. The additions can be summarized as follows: 1. It developed a system of individual internal accounts into which 70 percent of the profits (a more accurate term is surplus) of the cooperative were placed. Each member had such an internal account. 30 percent were put into a collective account for operating capital and expansion, with a portion of that being earmarked for the community. The individual internal accounts noted receipt of the potion of the surplus earmarked for it, but this was then automatically loaned back to the cooperative, with interest paid. Upon leaving, members receive 75 percent of the accumulated funds credited to their internal account, while 25 percent is retained as the capitalization which made the job possible. This system essentially allows the cooperative to capitalize close to 100 percent of its yearly profit and gives it a capacity for internal capital accumulation unequaled by any capitalist enterprise. It also establishes an ongoing flow-through relation between the individual and collective portions of the surplus. 2. A membership fee was determined, now about $3,000, which represents a substantial investment in the cooperative, and which could be deducted from initial earnings. This too is credited to the internal account. Both the membership fee and the share of the surplus represent methods of ensuring commitment through financial incentives. Unlike older cooperatives, which often determined the membership fee on the basis of dividing the net worth into the number of shares, hence making the membership fee prohibitive, the fee is arbitrary and fixed at an affordable amount. 3. Unlike traditional cooperatives, members are considered to be worker-entrepreneurs, whose job is both to assure the efficiency of the enterprise but also to help develop new enterprises. They do this in their deliberative assemblies and also by depositing their surplus in the system's bank, described below, which is then able to use it to capitalize new enterprises. There is a strong commitment on the part of the membership to this expansive principle, and it is recognized that the economic security of each cooperative is dependent on their being part of a larger system. 4. A probationary period of one year was instituted, to ensure that new members were not only appropriately skilled, but possessed the necessary capacity for cooperative work. Whereas in a capitalist enterprise workers are considered factors of production, in a cooperative they are members of an organization with both the rights and duties of membership, sharing also in the ownership of the organization. Thus while there is open membership, members must be able to participate not simply as hired hands but must be able to discharge their membership duties by sharing in the management of the enterprise. This requires a capacity for responsibility and group participation that in turn implies a certain level of maturity. 5. The anticipo or earnings that would in a conventional enterprise be considered as wages, was fixed at prevailing wage levels, minimizing conflict with other local enterprises. Also, the wage differential - the difference between the lowest and highest wage - was set at 1 to 3. This ensures an egalitarianism between workers and the management (selected by the General Assembly of workers) that makes for high morale. Wage levels are determined by a formula which takes into account the difficulty of the job, personal performance, experience, and interpersonal skills. Relational skills have been given greater weight recently out of a recognition that in cooperative work they significantly affect group performance. (Editors' note: the wage differential was subsequently increased.) 6. Above all, Mondragon represents a systems approach to cooperative development. In addition to the base-level industrial cooperatives there are a set of so called second degree cooperatives which variously engage in research, financing, technical training and education, technical assistance, and social services. In addition there are housing and consumer cooperatives which collectively are able to create a cooperative culture in which the basic activities of life take place. Members can operate within a context of interdependent and cooperating institutions which follow the same principles; this makes for enhanced efficiency. A Credit Union is Added To continue the story, three years after ULGOR was founded, Don Arizmendi suggested the need for a financial institution to help fund and give technical assistance to other start-up cooperatives. As a result, the Caja Laboral Popular (CLP), a credit union and technical assistance agency was founded. The CLP contains an Empressarial Division, with a staff of over 100, which works intensively with groups desiring to start cooperatives or in rare cases to convert an existing enterprise. It does location studies, market analysis, product development, plans the buildings, and then works continuously for a number of years with the start-up group until it is clear that its proposal is thoroughly developed and financially and organizationally sound. In return, the CLP requires that the cooperative be part of the Mondragon system, via a Contract of Association, which specifies the already proven organizational and financial structure and entails a continuing supervisory relation on the part of the CLP. The surplus of the industrial cooperatives is deposited in the CLP and reinvested in further cooperatives. This close and continuing relationship with the financial and technical expertise of the CLP is both unique and largely responsible for the virtually 100 percent success rate within the system. The CLP is considered a second degree cooperative, and its board is made up of a mix of first level or industrial cooperative members and members from within the CLP itself. In addition to the CLP there are a number of other second degree cooperatives: a social service cooperative which assures 100 percent pension and disability benefits, a health care clinic, and a women's cooperative which allows for both flex-time and part-time work; women can move freely from this to the industrial cooperatives. Also there is a system of educational cooperatives, among them a technical college which includes a production cooperative where students both train and earn money as part-time workers. This, too, is operated as a second degree cooperative with a mixed board made up of permanent staff and students. Mondragon also features a large system of consumer cooperatives, housing cooperatives, and a number of agricultural cooperatives and building cooperatives. Today the total system's net worth is in the billions. Mondragon consists of 86 production cooperatives averaging several hundred members, 44 educational institutions, seven agricultural cooperatives, 15 building cooperatives, several service cooperatives, a network of consumer cooperatives with 75,000 members, and the bank. The Caja Laboral has 132 branches in the Basque region and recently opened an office in Madrid. This is significant, since it indicates a willingness to expand beyond the Basque region. The CLP's assets are over a billion dollars. Mondragon produces everything from home appliances (it is the second largest refrigerator manufacturer in Spain) to machine tool factories and ferry boats, both of which it exports abroad. It represents over one percent of the total Spanish export product. With its 18,000 workers, it accounts for about 15 percent of all the jobs in Guipuzkoa Province and five percent in the Basque country. Although a major part of its products are in middle level technologies, it also produces high technology products. Its research institute, Ikerlan, regularly accesses U.S. data bases including that of M.I.T., and has developed its own industrial robots for external sale and for use in its own factories. This is typical of its approach to technology, which is to assimilate new technologies and make them its own. Mondragon has spent considerable time studying and implementing alternatives to the production line; its self-managed organizational system is now being complemented with the technology of group production. The internal organization of a Mondragon cooperative features a General Assembly which ordinarily meets annually and selects management. In addition there is a Social Council which deals specifically with working members' concerns. There is also a Directive Council, made up of managers and members of the General Assembly, in which managers have a voice but no vote. This system of parallel organization ensures extensive representation of members' concerns and serves as a system of checks and balances. Mondragon enterprises are not large; a deliberate policy now limits them to around 400 members. ULGOR, the first coop, grew too large and at one point in its early history had a strike, organized by dissidents. The General Assembly voted to throw the ringleaders out. But they learned their lesson: size of its own accord can breed discontent. To obtain the benefits of large scale, along with the benefits of small individual units, Mondragon has evolved a system of cooperative development. Here, a number of cooperatives constitute themselves as a sort of mini-conglomerate, coordinated by a management group elected from the member enterprises. These units are either vertically or horizontally integrated and can send members from one enterprise to the other as the requirements of the market and the production system change. They are able to use a common marketing apparatus and have the production capacity to retain a significant portion of a given market. This system was started initially by a set of enterprises in the same market banding together for inter-enterprise cooperation. Now Mondragon develops such systems from the outset. Effectiveness of Mondragon If one enters a Mondragon factory, one of the more obvious features is a European style coffee bar, occupied by members taking a break. It is emblematic of the work style, which is serious but relaxed. Mondragon productivity is very high -- higher than in its capitalist counterparts. Efficiency, measured as the ratio of utilized resources (capital and labor) to output, is far higher than in comparable capitalist factories. One of the most striking indications of the effectiveness of the Mondragon system is that the Empressarial Division of Mondragon has continued to develop an average of four cooperatives a year, each with about 400 members. Only two of these have ever failed. This amazing record can be compared with business start-ups in this country, over 90 percent of which fail within the first five years. I have seen a feasibility study for a new enterprise. It is an impressive book-length document, containing demographics, sociological analysis of the target population, market analysis, product information -- just about everything relevant. When a new prospective cooperative comes to Mondragon seeking help, it is told to elect a leadership. This leadership studies at the Empressarial Division for two years before they are allowed to start the cooperative; they thus learn every aspect of their business and of the operation of a cooperative. Mondragon is not utopia. While it does not produce weapons, useless luxury goods, or things that pollute the environment, it does produce standard industrial products using a recognizable technology of production. It does not practice job rotation, and management is not directly elected from the floor -- for good reason, since experiments elsewhere that have tried this have not worked. Members vary in the nature of their commitment. In fact there is something of a split in Mondragon between those who see Mondragon as a model for the world and those who prefer to keep a low profile and have no interest in proselytizing beyond their confines. Mondragon has also been faulted for failing to produce mainly for local consumption. It is in the manufacturing, not community development business, and, while it creates jobs, its products are exported all over the world. It has exported machine tool factories to eastern European countries, to Portugal and to Algeria; a Mondragon furniture factory is now operating in New York State. Mondragon does not export its system with the factories however; they are simply products, bought and run by local owners. In general, it makes little attempt to convert the heathens; at present, it is swamped by visitors from all over the world, and it finds this hard enough to deal with without going out and actively spreading the word. Mondragon has awakened worldwide interest. The Mitterand government in France has a special cabinet post for the development of cooperatives, the result of its contact with Mondragon. In Wales, the Welsh Trade Union Council is engaged in developing a system of cooperatives patterned after Mondragon. In England, the Job Ownership Movement along with numerous local governments, developed both small and large cooperatives on the Mondragon model. Progressives in the Catholic Church, seeing Mondragon as an alternative to both capitalism and communism, have helped establish industrial cooperatives in Milwaukee and in Detroit; and in Boston this writer worked with the local archdiocese to develop a system of cooperatives based on the same model. Why does Mondragon work so well? Part of the answer lies in the unique culture of the Basque region. Members of the staff of Mondragon with whom I have talked (those of Ikerlan, the research institute, and of ULARCO, the first of the mini-conglomerates) have doubts about whether the model can be exported, arguing that the cohesiveness and communitarian traditions of the Basque culture alone make it possible. But Anna Gutierrez Johnson, a Peruvian sociologist who has studied Mondragon extensively, believes that basically it is the organizational pattern that makes the whole system work, and that this is exportable. I share her opinion, but also believe that in the United States our culture of individualism and adversary worker-management relations is a major impediment. Workers have little ideological consciousness in this country; moreover, they have very largely bought into the capitalist system and often see work as a ticket into the middle class. But their lack of ideology is nonetheless a plus in one way, for the secret of Mondragon is, above all, organizational, not ideological: it is how-to knowledge that makes it work. Knowledge, for example, of how specific industry sectors work, of how to facilitate cooperation between the CLP and worker-entrepreneurs, of how to ensure that individual enterprises are integrated into the Mondragon community. Mondragon has revolutionary implications, primarily because its structure of democratic governance, with worker ownership and control, challenges the capitalist system at its very heart. Where capitalism awards profit and control to capital and hires labor, Mondragon awards profit and control to labor. In the process, it has developed a worker-centered culture which, rather than infantilizing, empowers. Mondragon members are citizens of a worker commonwealth, with the full rights that such citizenship confers. This can be seen best in the steps that have been taken to make the formal system of participation into a working reality: different systems of leadership have evolved, and with them, a growing sense of teamwork. For example, a furniture factory now operates completely through work teams. Thus the formal system has led to the ongoing evolution of a democratic process which is the real indicator of its success in revolutionizing the relations of production. Also, Mondragon has created a total system where one can learn, work, shop, and live within a cooperative environment. (On such total systems, see Antonio Gramsci.) In such an environment motivation is high because members share an overall cooperative culture which integrates material and moral incentives, and which extends into every aspect of life, work, community, education, consumption, and family. A member of the Empresserial Division has underlined the uniqueness of Mondragon viewed as a total system, pointing out that this system goes far beyond what can be found in the Basque culture. The proof of this is to be found in the efforts needed to socialize new workers into the system; the simple fact of being Basque is hardly enough to guarantee effective participation. Lessons of Mondragon Perhaps one of the most brilliant achievements of the Mondragon organizational system is the way in which it has combined collective ownership with the incentives of individual ownership in a mixed system which recognizes both the individual and the collective side of human motivation. The system of individual accounts with automatic loan-back, along with the partitioning of the surplus into an individual component and a collective component, represents a method of giving the worker a sense of individual ownership along with a sense of collective participation in an organization which provides more than simply a meal ticket, even as it expects more than simply job performance. A strong argument can be made for the importance of creating more networks like Mondragon, if one is to move toward social liberation. Its systems approach to job creation confronts the problems of economic organization and development head-on, managing at once to create freedom in work and enough jobs to have a powerful impact on a regional economy. Until it happened, it was easy to write off experiments in economic democracy as marginal and unrealistic utopian ventures, totally irrelevant to the task of affecting any sizable portion of an existing economy. This can no longer be said, and hence both state socialist and capitalist arguments for the economic necessity of oppressive work are given the lie. Moreover, Mondragon contains an important lesson: it demonstrates that to achieve freedom in work, a high level of organizational skill is needed, and that when such skills are present, the traditional opposition of democracy and efficiency vanish, and the two reinforce rather than oppose each other. Mondragon is important because it serves as a model of how this can be done. Here, ideological debate gives way to concrete know-how and another false dilemma bites the dust. Centralization in concert with modern technologies, entirely apart from the further coercions of capitalist ownership, contains pressures toward an oppressive machine form of organization. This is true both because of its large scale and its productivity requirements; these pressures are greatest in the case of mass production. Taming this contemporary organizational beast thus represents a challenge which must be met if one is to create freedom in work. This type of organization, moreover, is central to advanced industrial societies. It would be nice, utopian fashion, to simply be able to leap over the problem and go back to small-scale craft production, thereby, admittedly, eliminating piles of semi-useless junk. But the first step in deciding what is to be produced or not produced is to regain control of the system. What should or should not be produced is after all not a given but a decision to be democratically arrived at. If the control is there, people may indeed decide in good time that mass production simply is not worth the effort -- or they may not. With control of the production process one can then at least begin the process of educating consumers to better products, or less products, or craft products, or whatever one happens to feel is an improvement over the present system. Moreover, one cannot change a whole culture in a day; if one wishes to wean people from an over-dependence on cars, for example, one way is to build better trains, which is at least a step beyond building more fuel-efficient cars. The fact that one cannot do everything should not be made into an argument for doing nothing. I recall a debate a few years ago in the pages of Social Anarchism where Len Krimerman described his efforts to create a poultry processing cooperative. In the main his anarchist respondents were horrified: he had borrowed money from the government (the Small Business Administration)! Also, he had foremen and supervisors, rather than pure and total self-government! He trafficked with capitalist distributors! The whole thing was a desecration of anarchist principles, being centrally involved with capitalism, hierarchy, and the state. This is of course an old debate, but it is reminiscent of the Marxist's argument that, until the objective conditions for revolution exist, nothing can (and hence need) be done. One can indeed preach purity, but talk is cheap, and moreover, people know that. The significance of Mondragon is twofold: it represents a positive vision of freedom in work, a community that is democratically controlled by its members. The ideal of democracy, to which everyone gives lip service, is actually practiced here. But it also represents something that works, and that in turn constitutes a statement about human nature, establishing beyond controversy that people can manage complex social tasks via democratic organization. If a picture is worth a thousand words, an effective working model is worth at least a thousand pictures. Probably the most frequent criticism of utopian thinking is that it flies in the face of human nature, which has powerful propensities for evil as well as good. This argument is not one that can be settled in the abstract. The value of Mondragon is that it speaks to the claim of the weakness and fallibility of human nature in specific and concrete ways. Whereas the Webbs and others have long argued against the viability of worker cooperatives on the basis that they tend to degenerate into capitalist enterprises, Mondragon has clearly shown that this is not true. Not only does Mondragon work, but it works a lot better than its capitalist counterparts, and it grows faster. By showing that one can combine democracy with efficiency, it gives the lie to a basic article of capitalist dogma about human nature: that people are naturally lazy and irresponsible and will work only when given the twin incentives of the carrot and the stick. Another objection has been raised: Structure is brainlessly equated with hierarchy and bureaucracy, and hence the complex organizational structure of a system such as Mondragon is written off out of hand. But structurelessness breeds tyranny: informal cliques develop, hidden leaders emerge who wield power behind the cloak of an espoused equality. Mondragon is worth studying because it works, and the argument can be made that utopian theory must always confront the practical since the burden of proof is on the theorist. The problem with capitalism and, more generally, with coercive industrial systems of whatever persuasion, is not that they don't work; they do deliver the goods, but in the process grind up human beings. The only answer to this state of affairs is to prove that a better system also works; theory alone simply will not do. And, if we wish to claim that something better than Mondragon needs to be built, then it is incumbent on us to do it. * Related

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Ok, I Have To Say Something Outloud Finally

Pretentious people bug. Big time. Liars bug. Also big time. =End Transmission=

Friday, July 21, 2006

Israel violating law on US weapon use in Mideast

by Thalif Deen Israel is in violation of U.S. arms control laws for deploying U.S.-made fighter planes, combat helicopters and missiles Israel is in violation of U.S. arms control laws for deploying U.S.-made fighter planes, combat helicopters and missiles to kill civilians and destroy Lebanon's infrastructure in the ongoing eight-day devastation of that militarily-weak country. The death toll, according to published reports, is over 200 people -- mostly civilians -- while the economic losses have been estimated at about 100 million dollars per day. "Section 4 of the (U.S.) Arms Export Control Act requires that military items transferred to foreign governments by the United States be used solely for internal security and legitimate self-defence," says Stephen Zunes, professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. "Since Israeli attacks against Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and population centres clearly go beyond legitimate self-defence, the United States is legally obliged to suspend arms transfers to Israel," Zunes told IPS. Frida Berrigan, a senior research associate with the Arms Trade Resource Centre at the World Policy Institute in New York, is equally outraged at the misuse by Israel of U.S.-supplied weapons. "As Israel jets bombard locations in Gaza, Haifa and Beirut, killing civilians (including as many as seven Canadians vacationing in Aitaroun), it is worth remembering that U.S. law is clear about how U.S.-origin weapons and military systems ought to be used," Berrigan told IPS. She pointed out that the U.S. Arms Export Control Act clear states that U.S. origin weapons should not be used for "non-defensive purposes." "In light of this clear statement, the United States has an opportunity to stave off further bloodshed and suffering by demanding that its weaponry and military aid not be used in attacks against Lebanon and elsewhere, and challenging Israeli assertions that it is using military force defensively," she added. That would demonstrate the kind of "utmost restraint" that world leaders called for at the G8 Summit of the world's most industrialised nations, which just ended in St. Petersburg, Russia. The 25-member European Union has said that Israel's military retaliation against Lebanon is "grossly disproportionate" to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers last week by the Islamic militant group Hezbollah, which is a coalition partner of the U.S.-supported government in Beirut. Israel has accused both Syria and Iran of providing rockets and missiles to Hezbollah, which has used these weapons to hit mostly civilian targets inside Israel. Israel's prodigious military power -- currently unleashed on a virtually defenceless Lebanon -- is sourced primarily to the United States. Armed mostly with state-of-the-art U.S.-supplied fighter planes and combat helicopters, the Israeli military is capable of matching a combination of all or most of the armies in most Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The air force has continued to devastate Beirut and its suburbs with no resistance in the skies during six days of incessant bombings, causing civilian deaths and infrastructure destruction. "The Israeli Air Force now flies only U.S.-origin fighters, a mix of F-15s and F-16s, and the rest of the service's fleet is almost completely of U.S. origin," says Tom Baranauskas, a senior Middle East analyst at Forecast International, a leading provider of defence market intelligence services in the United States. While in earlier years Israel bought from a variety of arms suppliers, with the French in particular being strong sellers to Israel of such items as Mirage fighters, over the past couple of decades the United States has developed into Israel's preponderant arms supplier, he added. "The U.S. domination as Israel's arms supplier can be seen in the Congressional Research Service's (CRS) annual study of arms sales," Baranauskas told IPS. He said the latest CRS survey shows a total of 8.4 billion dollars of arms deliveries to Israel in the 1997-2004 period, with fully 7.1 billion dollars or 84.5 percent coming from a single source: the United States. A major factor in this trend was the rise in U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) -- outright U.S. grants to Israel -- which now totals about 2.3 billion dollars a year paid for by U.S. taxpayers. By U.S. law, Baranauskas said, 74 percent of FMF assistance to Israel must be spent on U.S. military products. This U.S. assistance has now become the main source of financing for Israel's major arms procurements, especially its fighter planes. From a historical perspective, he said, U.S. assistance to Israel during 1950-2005 has been staggeringly high: Foreign Military Financing (FMF) amounting to 59.5 billion dollars; 27 billion dollars in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mostly government-to-government arms transactions; and eight billion dollars in commercial arms sales by the private sector. Berrigan of the Arms Trade Resource Centre said the United States is undoubtedly the primary supplier of Israeli firepower. In the interest of strengthening Israel's security and maintaining the country's "qualitative military edge" over neighbouring militaries, the U.S. Congress provides Israel with annual FMF grants that represent about 23 percent of its overall defence budget. Israel's 2006 military budget is estimated at 7.4 billion dollars. According to the Congressional Research Service, FMF levels are expected to increase incrementally by 60 million dollars a year to a level of 2.4 billion dollars by 2008 compared with 2.2 billion dollars in 2005. "Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid every year since 1976," Berrigan said. Additionally, the United States provides Israel with billions of dollars worth of weaponry. She pointed out that recent military sales to Israel include propulsion systems for fast patrol boats worth more than 15 million dollars from MTU Detroit Diesel; an eight-million-dollar contract to Lockheed Martin for high-tech infrared "navigation and targeting" capabilities for Israeli jets; and a 145-million-dollar deal with Oshkosh Truck Corp to build more than 900 armour kits for Israeli Medium Tactical Vehicles. In December of last year, Lockheed Martin was awarded a 29.8-million-dollar contract to provide spares part for Israel's F-16 fighter planes. Berrigan also said that Israel has one of the world's largest fleets of F-16 fighter planes, made in Fort Worth, Texas and also in Israel by Lockheed Martin Corporation. Israel has a total of over 378 F-16s, considered one of the world's most advanced fighter planes -- besides 117 F-15s, 94 Skyhawks, 110 Phantoms -- all supplied by the United States. IPS News

~


Yonatan Shapira, on Democracy Now

Yonatan Shapira, a former Captain in the Israeli Air Force Reserves. In 2003 Yonatan initiated the group of Israeli Air Force pilots who refused to fly attack missions on Palestinian territories. He is also one of the founders of the organization Combatants for Peace.

... JUAN GONZALEZ: What was it that brought you to that conclusion during your time of service? What were the particular incidents or situations that you can confronted that led you to conclude that?

YONATAN SHAPIRA: You know, it’s a long process. And I give lectures here in the United States and in Europe and in Israel, sharing my process of transformation and realizing that in order to contribute to the security of my country and to the security of all the people who live in this region, I must refuse. I can talk to you about that for hours and hours. But if I have to put some particular events, it was the assassination policy that was led by Prime Minister Sharon and the same general who is now the commander of the Army, General Dan Halutz, who was the commander of the Air Force. And they started to use my friends and my fellow pilots in the F-16 pilot squadrons and Apache squadrons, in order to assassinate suspects in Gaza and in the Judean-Samarian Occupied Territories.

And that process brought us to the situation where we finally understood that we are just part of this circle of mutual violence, circle of revenge. And once you understand that you are part of this circle, you understand that there is no much difference between the terror that you are suffering from and the terror that you are involved in. And it’s a very, very hard thing for one to understand and to go through. It involved personal crisis sometimes, and it involved with a lot of things that now connecting to each other, not just in the issues in the Middle East, but all over the world.

But now the idea is we believe that people like us who were part of the Israeli Army, who were part of the core of the Zionist enterprise and still care about their country and their people and love Israel, and I’m talking out of love to my country and my family. I’m going to be back there in a few days. I have friends that are now sitting in shelters and all this kind of stuff. I know the suffering also of my people. But we believe that it’s our obligation now to shout this and to call the world: if you care about my country, if you care about the Israeli people, as well the Palestinian and the Lebanese who are now suffering, you must put massive pressure on the Israeli government, and putting pressure on the Israeli government means putting pressure on your government. ...


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dieting? Watch this.

FuckTard molests the German Chancellor

Lebanon Israel Facts the Media Isn't Telling You
Chomsky explains the facts about Lebanon, Israel Gaza Hezbollah and the Palestinians Noam Chomsky reveals facts like the abduction of the two Gaza civilians June 24, BEFORE the Israeli soldiers were captured. Learn other background facts that the mainstream media doesn't report.

Like Snow, by Robert Graves

* She, then, like snow in a dark night, Fell secretly. And the world waked With dazzling of the drowsy eye, So that some muttered 'Too much light', And drew the curtains close. Like snow, warmer than fingers feared, And to soil friendly; Holding the histories of the night In yet unmelted tracks. *

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Feline Femme
by Dan Vita

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Coming Age of Ecological Medicine

by Kenny Ausubel Human and environmental health are inseparable. Among the many immigrants who arrived in New York City in the summer of 1999, none made a name for itself more quickly than West Nile virus. Traced to a virus spread by mosquitoes, the disease had never been seen in this country, or even in the western hemisphere. It first struck birds, then people, killing seven and sickening dozens more. The city hoped to control it by killing the mosquitoes with malathion, a pesticide chemically related to nerve gas. Though many protested, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani insisted the spraying was perfectly safe. Within months, scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were debating just how wrong the mayor had been. The EPA was on the verge of declaring malathion a “likely” human carcinogen when its manufacturer protested. The EPA backed off, saying malathion posed no documented threat, though some in the agency continued to insist the dangers were being downplayed. More suspicion was raised upon news of a massive die-off of lobsters in Long Island Sound, near New York City. Malathion is known to kill lobsters and other marine life, but officials denied the connection. Though no direct causal link can yet be drawn, some infectious-disease experts say anomalous outbreaks such as that of West Nile may be tied to human impacts on the environment, which have resulted in climate change and the destruction of natural habitats. Dr. Paul R. Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, has noted, “West Nile is getting veterinarians and doctors and biologists to sit down at the same table.” What they are unraveling is a complex knot linking human health and the state of the natural world. Welcome to a preview of the health issues awaiting us in the twenty-first century. Indeed, we’re already living at a time when vast social and biological forces are interacting in complex ways—and with unpredictable results. War, famine, and ecological damage have caused great human dislocations, which in turn have transformed tuberculosis, AIDS, and other modern plagues into global pandemics. Even more disturbing, many of our efforts to fight disease today are themselves symptoms of a deeper illness. Spraying an urban area with a substance whose health effects remain unknown is one glaring example, but there are many others. Think of certain compounds used in chemotherapy that more often kill than cure. Or the 100,000 people who die in hospitals every year from drugs that are properly prescribed. Or the many IV bags and other plastic medical products that release dioxin into the air when they are burned. That last example contributes to perhaps the most heart-breaking metaphor for our environmental abuse and its unforeseen consequences—the discovery that a human mother’s milk is among the most toxic human foods, laced with dioxin, a confirmed carcinogen, and other chemical contaminants. All of these cases suggest our culture’s deep dependence on synthetic chemicals and our long refusal to acknowledge how profoundly these have disrupted our ecological systems. There’s a widespread sense that mainstream medicine is blind to this reality and is even part of the problem. Growing disillusion over this, coupled with the fact that high-tech medicine costs too much and often doesn’t work, has led to a widespread public search for alternatives. One result is the rise of complementary medicine, which combines the best of modern health care with other approaches. Add the immense new interest in traditional healing methods, herbs, and other natural remedies, and you get a sense of how much the health care paradigm has changed over the past thirty years. What I see happening is a deeper shift that all of these approaches are edging us toward, even if we don’t fully realize it yet. It’s a new understanding of health and illness that has begun to move away from treating only the individual. Instead, good health lies in recognizing that each of us is part of a wider web of life. When the web is healthy, we are more likely to be healthy. But the environmental illnesses we see more and more of these days—rising cancer rates spring to mind—are constant reminders that the web is not healthy. How did we reach this tragic place? And more to the point, where do we go from here? The first step toward a healthier future, I believe, lies in ecological medicine. Pioneered by a global movement of concerned scientists, doctors, and many others, ecological medicine is a loosely shared philosophy based on advancing public health by improving the environment. Its central idea is that industrial civilization has made a basic error in acting as if humans were apart from, rather than a part of, nature. Just as the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone, human and environmental health are inseparable. And in a biosphere that is rampantly toxic and woefully depleted, a mounting number of our health problems can only be understood as part of a larger pattern. Ecological medicine could well emerge as a dramatic force for cultural change. It proposes to reshape how industrial civilization operates, in part by redefining the role that the public plays in making the decisions that affect all life on earth. Simply stated, improving human health is inextricably linked to restoring ecological well-being. The interconnectedness of all life is a fundamental biological truth. What’s more, all life is under threat. There simply is no “elsewhere” to dump the hazardous by-products of industrial society. Eliminating them from our production systems is the only real solution, and a well-informed public is absolutely crucial to realizing it. In the words of Carolyn Raffensberger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN), a “truly holistic medicine extends beyond the mind-body connection to the human-planet whole.” Here are some basic tenets of ecological medicine: * The first goal of medicine is to establish the conditions for health and wholeness, thus preventing disease and illness. The second goal is to cure. * The earth is also the physician’s client. The patient under the physician’s care is one part of the earth. * Humans are part of a local ecosystem. Following the ecopsychological insight that a disturbed ecosystem can make people mentally ill, a disturbed ecosystem can surely make people physically ill. * Medicine should not add to the illness of humans or the planet. Medical practices themselves should not damage other species or the ecosystem. The main tool for putting these ideals into practice, ecological healers say, is what they call the precautionary principle. As articulated by Raffensberger and others, the precautionary principle basically argues that science and industry must fully assess the impact of their activities before they impose them upon the public and the environment. Societies around the world have begun to incorporate some version of the principle into law, hoping to rein in bioengineering and other new technologies. That science should objectively prove the safety of its own inventions might seem like common sense, but that’s not how most science operates today. For decades, the scientific and medical communities have operated on the principle that a certain amount of pollution and disease is the price we have to pay for modern life. This is called the risk paradigm, and it essentially means that it is society’s burden to prove that new technologies and industrial processes are harmful, usually one chemical or technology at a time. The risk paradigm assumes that there are “acceptable” levels of contamination that the earth and our bodies can assimilate. It also allows a small, self-interested elite to set these levels, undistracted by the “irrational” fears and demands of the public. The “science” behind it is driven by large commercial interests and can hardly be considered impartial or in the public interest. Viewed with any distance at all, the risk paradigm is at best a high-stakes game of biological roulette with all the chambers loaded. There is a global effort afoot today to replace the risk paradigm with the precautionary principle, which is based on a recognition that the ability of science to predict consequences and possible harm is limited. The precautionary principle acknowledges that all life is interconnected. It shifts the burden of proof (and liability) to the parties promoting potentially harmful technologies, and it limits the use of those technologies to experiments until they are proven truly safe. The idea is not new—a version of it first appeared in U.S. law back in 1958 in the Delaney Amendment, which governed pesticide residues in food and set standards for environmental impact statements—nor is it radical. At its essence, the principle harks back to grandma’s admonitions that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that we’re “better safe than sorry.” The model is already used, in theory, for the drug industry, which is legally bound to prove drugs safe and effective prior to their use. Critics call it anti-scientific; they say it limits trade and stifles innovation. Advocates disagree. “The precautionary principle actually shines a bright light on science,” says Dr. Ted Schettler, science director of SEHN. “It doesn’t tell us what to do, but it does tell you what to look at.” Germany and Sweden have incorporated the principle into certain environmental policies. The United Nations Biosafety Protocol includes it in new guidelines for regulating trade in genetically modified products, its first appearance in an international treaty. As people and their governments face ever more complex scientific decisions, the precautionary principle can serve as what some have called an insurance policy against our own ignorance. After all, we can’t predict next week’s weather or the economy a year out, much less the unfathomable complexity of living systems. The Greek physician Hippocrates urged doctors to “do no harm,” yet our medical practices often pose serious environmental threats. In 1994, for instance, the EPA reported that medical waste incinerators were the biggest source of dioxin air pollution in the United States. Dioxin finds its way into our food and accumulates in our fat; it’s been linked to neurological damage in fetuses. Even a simple thermometer contains mercury, another potentially deadly neurotoxin. The medical waste problem does not stop there. Along with generating radioactive waste from X rays and other treatments, the medical industry is now the source of a new peril: pharmaceutical pollution. Creatures living in lakes and rivers appear to be at special risk as antibiotics, estrogen, birth control pills, painkillers, and other drugs find their way into the waste stream. Fish are already affected; intersex mutations (in which the fish show both male and female characteristics) have been reported in various species around the world. And humans are not immune. The war on drugs may soon take on a new meaning as entire populations are subjected to constant low doses of pharmaceuticals in the water supply. Groups like Health Care Without Harm have made it their mission to halt or curb such damaging medical practices, especially the use of mercury thermometers and the industry’s reliance on burning its waste. Health Care Without Harm, with 443 member organizations in 52 countries, has made great strides in this area, in part by directly confronting companies that engage in environmentally harmful practices. Another group, Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, has published a report with the Clean Water Fund, “In Harm’s Way,” that documents the many toxic threats to child development. Ecological medicine suggests first doing no harm to the environment, then going further, creating a medical practice that itself minimizes harm. Like virtually all earlier healing traditions, it emphasizes prevention, strengthening the organism and environment to avoid illness in the first place. (Ancient Chinese healers, for instance, expected compensation only if their clients remained well, not if they got sick.) But an ecological approach to healing also looks to deeper tenets embedded in nature itself and how it operates. Again, the new vision reveals itself to be in many ways an old one. It borrows from the insights of indigenous healing traditions, many of which are now being confirmed by modern science—including the fact that nature has an extraordinary and mysterious capacity for self-repair. However resilient the biosphere may be, it’s crucial to understand that the planet’s basic life support systems are in serious decline. From climate change to plummeting biodiversity to gargantuan quantities of toxic wastes, ecological stresses are reaching dangerous thresholds. Much of the damage can be traced to the twentieth century’s three most destructive technologies: * Apart from helping induce potentially cataclysmic climate change, the petrochemical industry has unleashed 80,000 or so synthetic compounds that now permeate our land, water, and air, as well as our bodies. While some may be benign, the truth is that most have never been tested adequately enough to ascertain their safety—and even fewer have been measured for their cumulative effects on people and the environment or how they interact with other chemicals as they occur in real life. * Nuclear energy use has led to the spread of radioactivity and virtually indestructible toxic-waste products into living systems worldwide. While public dread may focus on catastrophic accidents like the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, other ill effects may come from steady exposure to low levels of radiation. * Genetic engineering is introducing biological pollution that literally has a life of its own, a gene genie that cannot be put back in the bottle. In addition to instructing healers first to do no harm, Hippocrates counseled physicians to “revere the healing force of nature.” For years, that’s been my quest: to work with nature to help nature heal. I founded the Bioneers Conference in 1990 to bring together people exploring ways of doing this—biological pioneers from many cultures and disciplines, and from all walks of life. All had peered deep into the heart of the earth’s own living systems to understand what we can learn from 3.8 billion years of evolution. Their common purpose was to heal the earth. Their basic question: How would nature do it? They were using their knowledge of living systems to devise solutions to our most pressing environmental and societal problems. These people are modern healers too. As their work repeatedly illustrates, many of the technologies we need to retool our industrial system already exists. Many of the Bioneers show how we can replace existing industrial practices with sustainable alternatives that run on clean, renewable energy sources and eliminate toxic emissions. Government has a role to play in this process too. Several years ago Sweden imposed a steep tax on pesticides, a measure that greatly reduced their use. Europe recently banned four antibiotics from animal feed. On the other side of the equation, governments are looking to promote tax subsidies for benign alternative technologies such as chlorine-free paper production and organic farming. (The city of Munich pays German farmers to grow organically in the watershed that supplies the city’s drinking water.momma The ecological medicine movement proposes to green the practices of the health care industry and help mainstream medicine become safer. The ethic of preventing harm that prevails both in environmental protection and ecological medicine will continue to spread, but what about existing messes? Many treatment methods modeled on living systems have shown dramatic capacity for bioremediation—that is, for detoxifying land, air, and water. Visionary biologist John Todd’s “living machines” mimic natural ecologies by utilizing bacteria, fungi, plants, fish, and mammals to purify water and industrial wastes. The work of mycologist Paul Stamets has show that fungi can help digest diesel spills and even chemical and biological weapons components, Similar success stories are found across many fields. By looking into the principles of ecological healing to restore the earth and ourselves, we create not only the conditions for individual health but also the basis for healthy societies and robust economies. Biology is not rocket science. Rather, it is the superb art of relationships in the fantastically complex web of life. By mimicking nature, these approaches foster the healing that is the essence of living systems. Consider again the relationship between a nursing mother and her child. Despite the toxins that are now found in mother’s milk, it is still the best food for babies. Children fed breast milk are healthier because it confers immunity and unmatched nutrition. Which brings us back to the essence of ecological healing: In the wisdom of nature also lies the solution. Alternative medicine is arguably the single largest progressive social movement of our era. As it becomes ever more mainstream, those working to advance public health are increasingly collaborating with those working to restore the earth’s ecological health. Growing public awareness of the direct links between our personal health and environmental health is arising as a potent force in global politics. As suggested by Michael Lerner, founder of Commonweal, environmental health could well emerge as the central human rights issue of our age. We have the right to be born free—free from poisons. As human beings, we have a remarkable ability to reinvent our societies very rapidly. Our task now is to create an earth-honoring culture founded in the sanctity of life and the sacred human-nature relationship. Along with many others, I herald for this new century a Declaration of Interdependence flowing from the simple recognition that all life is connected. At its heart is ecological medicine, teaching us that we are the land and water and air. By restoring the earth, we restore ourselves.

Monday, July 17, 2006

David Gilmour Blog - Round-up

Last week was a miserable one and, for obvious reasons, nothing seemed to matter very much. We're going to move on now, but first, in case you've missed anything, here's a brief round-up of what we would have reported in more detail last week were it not for the tragic news about Syd. There's now a seating plan for the Venice concert. Please see the Live Dates page for the plan in PDF format. You'll also see ticket details for the Gdansk concert on the Live Dates page. That's going to be an amazing show. David will have a 38-piece orchestra behind him, conducted by Zbigniew Preisner. As we were discussing the 'P.U.L.S.E' DVD (yes, we're spelling it this way from now on), we've added a poll for you to cast your vote and let us know how you rate it. There'll be a new poll added on a regular basis. Please see the Stuff & Nonsense page for that. David's first two solo albums have been delayed. They're now out on 14 and 15 August in Europe and North America respectively. Please note that the various fansites are incorrect in stating that there will be extra tracks. There is no bonus material included with these albums. Lastly, a few words in response to certain comments received last week. Above all, our deep thanks once again for the great many kind, thoughtful and incredibly moving messages that were left. They were vastly appreciated and responsible for plenty of tears. But frankly I have been sickened by the number of people who have used this forum - and, more importantly, Syd's name - to insensitively and shamelessly push their own agenda, be it advertising their tribute act, plugging their website or banging on about a Pink Floyd reunion. I don't care if it was for the sake of a charitable cause. It was the wrong time and the wrong place and I strongly object to a space set up in Syd's memory, purely for people who cared about him to pay their respects (not people merely seizing an opportunity to tell David what he ought to be doing to save the world), being targeted and bombarded with demands. You are, of course, free to tell us how you will honour Syd's memory if you want to. But don't tell us what you think David, or the other members of Pink Floyd, should be doing. That is for them to decide, not fans who so desperately want to see a reunion, they don't care how it comes about. For God's sake, have and show some respect. We have lost the man who gave the world the band you claim to love so much. Is a concert of any importance? Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but there's a time and a place to express it. To start spewing out the usual tired demands last week was wholly inappropriate and, on behalf of anyone with a heart and more than half a brain, I say shame on you for not realising it. © All rights reserved. * Syd We are very sad to say that Roger Keith Barrett - Syd - has passed away. Do find time today to play some of Syd’s songs and to remember him as the Madcap genius who made us all smile with his wonderfully eccentric songs about bikes, gnomes and scarecrows. His career was painfully short, yet he touched more people than he could ever know. If you're one of those people, and would like to leave your thoughts, please feel free to do so. Posted by Features Editor at July 11, 2006 03:18 PM

Sunday, July 16, 2006

...::R::...

http://www.zhentemple.com

Voynich Manuscript

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Description of the manuscript
3. Origin of the manuscript
4. Known history of the manuscript
5. Past analysis and proposed solutions
6. Analysis of the illustrations
7. Analysis of the writing (script)
8. Analysis of the text
Link to mp3's

Saturday, July 15, 2006

V

* Come to my heart, cruel, insensible one, Adored tiger, monster with the indolent air; I would for a long time plunge my trembling fingers Into the heavy tresses of your hair; And in your garments that exhale your perfume I would bury my aching head, And breathe, like a withered flower, The sweet, stale reek of my love that is dead. I want to sleep! sleep rather than live! And in a slumber, dubious as the tomb's, I would lavish my kisses without remorse Upon the burnished copper of your limbs. To swallow my abated sobs Nothing equals your bed's abyss; Forgetfulness dwells in your mouth, And Lethe flows from your kiss. My destiny, henceforth my pleasure, I shall obey, predestined instrument, Docile martyr, condemned innocent, Whose fervour but augments his torment. I shall suck, to drown my rancour, Nepenthe, hemlock, an opiate, At the charming tips of this pointed breast That has never imprisoned a heart. * Lethe, by Charles Baudelaire

Air America-KOMY

by cp In summer of 2005, KOMY 1340FM in Santa Cruz/Salinas/Monterey Bay became an Air America radio network affiliate. They play about 9 hours a day of AAR programming - the Al Franken Show, 3 hours of the 4hr Randi Rhodes show, and the majority report. The station is owned by the Zwerling family, which openly advertises that they have a conservative perspective. They own a second radio station KSCO, which has mostly right-wing shows including Limbaugh, Savage Nation, and O'Reilly. Recently, the owner announced that they will sell hours of the Majority Report with Sam Seder/Janeane Garofalo for $250 for infomercials and so forth. Many of the pre-Air America shows on KOMY were reported pay-for-play, and the weekends and noon hour also are paid programs, advertising things like vitamin supplements, music, Las Vegas vacations, and fishing. However, KOMY also had one of the nation's only commercial left/anarchist talk shows by Peter Werbe, which was suddenly cancelled in a controversial move http://slash.autonomedia.org/article.pl?sid=01/10/25/1733235&mode=&threshold= It is unclear what effect the switch to infomercials during the previous Majority Report has had on ratings. One might guess that many listeners would just turn the dial to something more interesting and they'd be left with people who accidentally happened on the station, and weren't bothered by the talk-show style of the paid program on health remedies. One issue that I wonder about is the fact that the Zwerlings claim that they have been able to sell *zero* local advertisements on their station, and they take this to mean that the listeners are hypocritical liberals who refuse to pay for Air America. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2005/September/12/local/stories/04local.htm A friend of mine worked for a small city newspaper that was mostly filled with AP articles, the older version of the Berkeley Daily Planet, and he was able to sell tons of ads to local businesses. He bragged about stealing accounts from the Eastbay Express. Unless they are charging high amounts for ads, or aren't paying someone to try to sell advertisements (and are waiting for people to call them), I cannot believe that they are truly unable to sell ads. However, the station really does play the same dozen ads and public service announcements over and over. The Monterey Bay area is filled with local nonchain businesses that would like to sell things to the Air America listener population. While younger people often listen to music stations (or 101.1:)), and working upper-middle class yuppies are likely to listen to NPR for 15 min on the way to work, talk radio has always been popular with older people and retirees. And everyone knows that the Monterey/Santa Cruz area is filled with retired folk who are house-rich and have lots of wealth that they aren't paying on rent or children. During the past couple days, Michael Zwerling, the owner, has played an ad during the Al Franken show saying that he has been getting "vicious" nasty letters about his recent changes, and will be reading these letters on his own talk show at 10am Saturday. This ad stood out to me because he was using such funny and extreme language in describing the email response he's been getting. Most other radio stations don't let the listener know anything at all about the management of the station, but KOMY/KSCO really lays their background dynamics out in the open. Michael Zwerling advertises his own show by talking about how he's loud and politically correct, but that everyone deserves free speech. The station airs editorials by Kay Zwerling that typically take a conservative perspective. They aren't that bad, but they really stand out because hardly any other stations do such a thing (sample editorials: http://www.ksco.com/kay/index.cfm/2006/5/23/KAY-ZWERLING-COMMENTS-ON-FHA-LOANS-20060520 ) They aired another announcement that they have been receiving nasty, nasty letters critizing the Kaye Zwerling editorials, and saying that they want hypocritical Air America listeners to send in money and then they will take them off the air. http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/07.16.98/ksco-9828.html My own perspective is that I wonder why it is so absolutely difficult for the area to get a normal Air America station. You might think that there is limited space on commercial FM/AM radio, but if you look at the AM ratings, there are a lot of really low listenership stations, that are the 5th station with the same format in the market. There are several other good stations in the region. Music at UCSC 88.1 is good, Pacifica Radio at 94.1FM has good news shows in the early evening, 101.1FM often has great music and creative mix shows. The primary reason why someone would want to listen to talk radio, and why I sometimes like talk radio, is the feeling that you are hearing a sampling of other people's perspectives. NPR has to be non-politically biased. Pacifica has dense news during the 5-7pm hours, but you aren't hearing the opinions of regular people, but just the show host or special guests. 101.1FM has some great hosts, and a few call in shows, but it can also be irregular at the times you can listen when you're at work. Plus, much of the community might like a normal schedule or more mainstream hosts and callers. Why does it seem like Air America is such a precious service that it can't be afforded in this area?

Friday, July 14, 2006

*


Dr Seussities

* Poems * Quiz: Which Dr. Seuss Character Are You? * [WAR & PEACE ] Anti-War Poem: aka The Grinch Who Stole the Whitehouse

The Whos down in Whoville liked their country a lot, but the Grinch in the White House most certainly did not.

He had not arrived through the will of the Whos but stole an election he really did lose.

He vowed to "rule from the middle" then installed his regime. Did this really happen? Was it just a bad dream?

He didn't listen to voters, just his friends was he pleasin', now please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason.

Could be his heart wasn't working quite right. Could be perhaps he wasn't too bright.

But I think the most likely reason of all is both his brain and his heart were two sizes too small.

In a time of great turmoil, it was very bad news, A government leader who ignored his Whos.

But the Whos shrugged their shoulders and went on with their work, Their duties as CITIZENS they did casually shirk.

They shopped at the Mall, they watched their TV, and drove a big fat shiny gas-guzzler SUV Indifferent to the future being decided in Washington DC, Ignoring the threats to democracy.

Instead, they read different newspapers that ran the same leads, mostly reporting "news" that served corporate needs.

For policies affecting lives in all nations were created by giant international corporations.

Big business grew fatter, fed by its own greed But also by people shopping for what they don't need.

Then amidst all the apathy came signs of unrest -- And the Whos came to see they were fouling their nest.

The people who cared for ideals of the nation Began to discuss and exchange information. Events they could not find in corporation-owned news, Like top secret meetings and CIA coups, Drilling for oil and restriction of rights. The Whos published books and made some websites, started writing letters and using e-mail -- though Homeland Security might send them to jail!

What began as a whisper soon grew to a roar, These things going on they´d no longer ignore!

They began to rise up and to fight City Hall, Let their voices be heard, they rose to the call To vote, to petition, to gather and dissent, To question the policies of the "president."

As greed gained in power and power knew no shame The Whos came together singing "Not in our name."

As one-by-one from their sleep they awoke, The old, the young, and all kinds of folk: Red, Black, Brown and White, bi, trans, gay and straight, All united to sing "feed our hope, not your hate!"

Stop stockpiling weapons and aiming for war! Stop feeding the rich and start feeding the poor.

Stop storming deserts to fuel SUVs While telling us lies on our mainstream TVs.

Stop treating our children as a market to sack. Stop feeding them BARBIE, BARNEY and BIG MAC.

Stop trying to addict them to lifelong consuming In a time when environmental disaster is looming.

Stop the sanctions and killing of kids in Iraq And deal with those of our own who are strung out on crack.

Then a mighty sound started to rise and to grow-- "The old way of thinking simply must go!"

Enough of God versus Allah, Muslim against Jew. The state things are in this simply won't do!

No American Dream caring only for wealth while ignoring all our communities´ needs for health.

Rivers and forests are demanding their pay. If we're to survive we must walk a new way.

No more excess of mindless consumption. Let's sharpen our minds and strengthen our gumption. For the ideas are simple but the practice is hard and our future´s not saved by a poem on a card.

It needs ideas and actions of every & each Who So let's get together and plan what to do!

And so folks gathered from all 'round the Earth And what came from this was a miracle of birth.

The hearts and minds of Whos they did grow To fit what they felt and reflect what they know.

While the Grinches´ shrank from their hatred and greed, Under the weight of their every foul deed.

From that day on, the new standard of wealth was whatever fed the Whos´ spiritual health.

They gathered together to revel and feast, And to thank all who worked to conquer the beast.

For although our story pits Grinches against Whos, The true battle lies in what we daily choose.

For inside each Grinch is a tiny small Who, And inside each Who is a tiny Grinch too. One thrives on Love; the Other on Greed.

Who will win out? It depends whom you feed.

* Ted Geisel found that shaving inspired creative thoughts and ideas. He even kept a file of ideas called the “Shaving File.” While shaving one morning, Ted pondered the swank party from the night before and compiled what he calls his first poem:

Mrs. Van Bleck Of the Newport Van Blecks Is so god damn rich She has gold-plated sex Whereas Miggles and Mitzi And Bitzie and Sue Have the commonplace thing And it just has to do.

* .WAVs.

"I hope..."Ted Geisel "From There to here..."Ted Geisel "My name is Ted Geisel"Ted Geisel "...like looking through the wrong end of a telescope..."Ted Geisel "Santy Claus why?"Cindy Lou Who "Unless..."The Onceler "I am the Lorax..."The Lorax * Dr. Seuss Went To War


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happiness doesn't cost the Earth

Vanuatu sunset (BBC)
Happiness in the Pacific: The small island state of Vanuatu
People can live long, happy lives without consuming large amounts of the Earth's resources, a survey suggests.

The 178-nation "Happy Planet Index" lists the south Pacific island of Vanuatu as the happiest nation on the planet, while the UK is ranked 108th.

The index is based on consumption levels, life expectancy and happiness, rather than national economic wealth measurements such as GDP.

The study was compiled by think-tank the New Economics Foundation (Nef).

Size doesn't matter

One of the authors, Nef's Nic Marks, said the aim of the index was to show that well-being did not have to be linked to high levels of consumption.

'HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH'
Map of Vanuatu (Image: BBC)
Population: 209,000
GDP/capita: $2,900 (£1,575)
Climate: tropical
Resources: forests, fish
Economy: agriculture, tourism
Environmental issues: deforestation and clean water
Source: CIA Handbook 2006
"It is clear that no single nation listed in the index has got everything right, but it does reveal patterns that show how we might better achieve long and happy lives for all while living within our environmental means," Mr Marks said.

The small island state of Vanuatu is situated in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, and has a population of 209,000. Its economy is built around small-scale agriculture and tourism.

Latin American nations dominate the top 10 places in the index, while African and Eastern European nations fill most of the bottom 10.

Among the world's largest economies, Germany is ranked 81st, Japan 95th, while the US comes in at 150th.

Woman carrying shopping bags
Retail therapy will not bring happiness, according to the study
Richard Layard, director of the Well-Being Programme at the London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance, said that the index was an interesting way to tackle the issue of modern life's environmental impact.

"It reminds us that it is not good enough to be happy today if we are impoverishing future generations through global warming.

"Over the last 50 years, living standards in the West have improved enormously but we have become no happier," Mr Layard told the BBC.

"This shows we should not sacrifice human relationships, which are the main source of happiness, for the sake of economic growth."

Although Vanuatu tops the happiness index, it is ranked 207th out of 233 economies when measured against Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Simon Bullock, economics co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth, which helped compile the data, said the findings showed that happiness did not have to cost the Earth.

"The UK economy hoovers up vast quantities of the world's scarce resources, yet British people are no happier than Colombians, who use far fewer," he said.

"The current crude focus on GDP is outdated, destructive and doesn't deliver a better quality of life."

Nef is calling for the adoption of a "global manifesto for a happier planet" that will list ways nations can live within their environmental limits and increase people's quality of life. The recommendations include:

The index builds on a report that Nef published earlier this year that warned if annual global consumption levels matched the UK's, it would take 3.1 Earths to meet the demand.

A Thing of Beauty (Endymion), by John Keats

* A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its lovliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing A flowery band to bind us to the earth, Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, Some shape of beauty moves away the pall From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon For simple sheep; and such are daffodils With the green world they live in; and clear rills That for themselves a cooling covert make 'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake, Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms: And such too is the grandeur of the dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead; An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink. *

Top 10 Power Brokers of the Religious Right

by Robert Boston The United States is home to dozens of Religious Right groups. Many have small budgets and focus on state and local issues; the most powerful organizations conduct nationwide operations, command multi-million-dollar bank accounts and attract millions of followers. They have disproportionate clout in the halls of Congress, the White House and the courts, and they wield enormous influence within the political system. What follows is a list of the nation's Top Ten Religious Right groups, as determined by publicly available financial data and political prominence. Additional information describes the organizations' leaders, funding and activities. 1. Christian Broadcasting Network Founder, CEO and Director: The Rev. Pat Robertson 2004 Revenue: $186,482,060 Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia Web site: www.cbn.com Overview: The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) airs Robertson's "700 Club," an incendiary daily mix of Pentecostal faith-healing, lifestyle advice and far-right politics. He calls church-state separation a "lie of the left" and thinks Christians like him should lead the world. With his withdrawal from the Christian Coalition in 2001, Robertson uses CBN as his primary political soapbox. The show, which according to Nielsen Media Research has 830,000 daily viewers, opens with a "newscast" that parrots Robertson's views, often followed by commentary from the televangelist himself. Top leaders of the conservative movement regularly pontificate on the program, and Republican members of Congress appear to tout legislative goals. Robertson, 76, has a history of controversy. His 1991 book The New World Order was based on a host of anti-Semitic sources, although Robertson has always been pro-Israel for end-times theological reasons. The same book opines that former presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush may have been unwitting dupes for Lucifer. On his TV show, Robertson once charged that Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians represent "the spirit of the Antichrist." In a Sept. 13, 2001, diatribe, he asserted that the terrorist attacks on America happened because of the Supreme Court's rulings in favor of church-state separation. In the ensuing controversy, Robertson shifted the blame to Jerry Falwell, who had been on the show with him. Over the years, the failed presidential candidate has often dallied with brutal dictators. He celebrated Guatemala's Pentecostal strongman Efrain Rios Montt, lauded Frederick Chiluba of Zambia as a model for American politicians, hunted for gold with Liberia's Charles Taylor and did business with Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire. (He was caught using relief airplanes owned by his charity, Operation Blessing, to ferry diamond-mining equipment in and out of Zaire.) Despite all of this, Robertson retains a close relationship with the Republican Party establishment. Operation Blessing has received $1.5 million in taxpayer funding through the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. CBN is Robertson's flagship tax-exempt operation. He also founded and runs the American Center for Law and Justice, a Religious Right legal group (see below); Operation Blessing and Regent University, a school offering degrees in law, business, journalism, theology and other disciplines. Added up, Robertson-related groups brought in $461,475,115 in tax-free donations in 2004. Robertson Quote: "The fact that [the courts] are trying to ignore this country's religious heritage is just horrible. They are taking our religion away from us under the guise of separation of church and state. There was never any intention that our government would be separate from God Almighty. Never, never, never in the history of this land did the founders of this country or those who came after them think that was the case." ("700 Club," July 19, 2005) 2. Focus on the Family Founder and chairman: Dr. James C. Dobson 2005 Revenue: $137,848,520 Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado Web site: www.family.org Overview: Although sometimes mistakenly identified as a minister, James Dobson is a child psychologist who founded Focus on the Family in 1977. Dobson, 70, rose to national prominence after the release of his first book, Dare to Discipline, a controversial volume that lauded corporal punishment for children at a time when many child-rearing experts were recommending against it. He came to the attention of aides to President Ronald Reagan and during the 1980s served on various White House commissions, including a 1985-86 stint on Attorney General Edwin Meese's Commission on Pornography. From modest origins, FOF has expanded into a huge ministry with a worldwide presence. Dobson's radio broadcasts are heard daily by an estimated five million Americans. According to its Web site, "Focus on the Family hasbecome an international organization with more than 74 different ministries requiring nearly 1,300 employees" with a "daily broadcast heard on over 6,000 facilities worldwide." FOF produces ten magazines that are mailed to 2.3 million people and responds to as many as 55,000 letters per week. The ministry also produces various DVDs, books, pamphlets and other materials. It has political affiliates in 32 states that lobby and monitor state legislation. A product of the strict Church of the Nazarene, Dobson is a hardcore fundamentalist who refers to church-state separation as the "phantom" clause in the Constitution. He frequently lambastes gays, legal abortion and the teaching of evolution in public schools. FOF sponsors controversial "Love Won Out" conferences run by an "ex-gay" ministry that seeks to convert homosexuals into fundamentalist Christian heterosexuals. Although he poses as an avuncular family counselor, Dob son and his empire spread Religious Right propaganda and ex treme rhetoric. In a 1996 radio address, he attacked the concept of tolerance, calling it "kind of a watchword of those who reject the concepts of right and wrong.It's kind of a desensitization to evil of all varieties." Two years before that, an FOF magazine attacked the Girl Scouts for being agents of "humanism and radical feminism." More recently, Dobson lashed out at a pro-tolerance video produced for public schools that featured popular cartoon characters, among them SpongeBob SquarePants, because the group that produced it put a "tolerance pledge" on its Web site that included gays. Dobson has promoted right-wing politics for a long time, but in 2004 he took the step of forming a more overtly political arm, Focus on the Family Action, and began personally endorsing candidates for public office. According to information on the FOF Action Web site, the group collected just under $25 million in 2005. Figures such as these give Dobson major political clout. He regularly threatens Republicans with retaliation if they do not do his bidding and claims credit for knocking U.S. Sen. Tom Dashle (Dem.-South Dakota) out of the Senate in 2004. Dobson also issues regular threats to other Democratic senators representing "red states." In June of 2004, during a visit to Colorado Springs to speak at the U.S. Air Force Academy, President George W. Bush took time out for a private half-hour meeting with Dobson. Dobson Quote: "Do we as Christians need to be liked so badly that we choose to remain silent in response to the killing of babies, the spreading of homosexual propaganda to our children, the distribution of condoms and immoral advice to our teenagers, and the undermining of marriage as an institution? Would Jesus have ignored these wicked activities?... No, I am convinced that he would be the first to condemn sin in high places, and I doubt if he would have minced words in making the point."(Christianity Today, June 19, 1995) 3. Coral Ridge Ministries Founder and President: The Rev. D. James Kennedy 2005 Revenue: $39,253,882 Location: Fort Lauderdale, Flordia Web site: www.coralridge.org Overview: D. James Kennedy, a former dance instructor who was converted to fundamentalist Christianity after hearing a sermon on the radio, founded Coral Ridge Ministries in 1974. Kennedy, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (PCA), is now seen on about 600 U.S. television stations on Sunday mornings. His "Coral Ridge Hour" mixes fundamentalism with strident attacks on public education, gays, evolution, legal abortion, "secular humanism" and other Religious Right targets. Kennedy, 75, has a strong presence on radio as well through "Truths that Transform," a daily half-hour commentary heard on 744 stations. In addition, he has authored several books that promote far-right views. Kennedy is a big promoter of the "Christian nation" view of American history. Every year, his Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, hosts a major Religious Right conference in Fort Lauderdale. The event attracts a mix of activists and politicians. In 2006, Arkansas Gov. (and 2008 presidential hopeful) Mike Huckabee spoke. In 1995, Kennedy decided he wanted a presence in Washington and opened the Center for Christian Statesmanship. The Center hosts regular events for Capitol Hill staffers to instruct them in the proper "biblical worldview" and works closely with far-right GOP lawmakers. Kennedy Quote: "This is our land. This is our world. This is our heritage, and with God's help, we shall reclaim this nation for Jesus Christ. And no power on earth can stop us." (Character & Destiny: A Nation in Search of its Soul, 1997) 4. Alliance Defense Fund President, CEO and General Counsel: Alan Sears 2004 Revenue: $17,921,146 Location: Scottsdale, Arizona Web site: www.alliancedefensefund.org Overview: The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) was founded in 1993 by a coalition of 30 Religious Right leaders, among them James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Donald Wildmon and the late Marlin Maddoux and Bill Bright. The original idea was to create a funding pool that would subsidize the Religious Right's courtroom activity, and as its Web site proclaims, "reclaim the legal system for Jesus Christ." ADF head Alan Sears served under Reagan-era Attorney General Edwin Meese, leading the Meese Commission on Pornography. While the ADF still supports lawsuits spearheaded by other groups, it has begun directly litigating in court as well. The org anization also sends intimidating letters to government officials and public schools, containing thinly veiled threats to sue unless ADF demands are met. Last year, the group launched a campaign to derail the alleged "war on Christmas" and bragged that it had 800 attorneys standing by. (In the end, only one lawsuit was filed.) Some ADF cases are filed merely to generate publicity. In 2005, the ADF sued a public school in California on behalf of a teacher who claimed he had been ordered to stop using the Declaration of Independence in class because of its reference to the "Creator." The ADF arranged for intense media coverage of the case but quietly dropped the suit once it became obvious the teacher's claims were not true. Aside from threatening public schools, the ADF also diverts a lot of money into opposing same-sex marriage and what it calls the "radical homosexual agenda." It also opposes legal abortion and supports cases filed by employees seeking the right to proselytize on the job. The ADF sponsors regular training for lawyers under its National Litigation Academy. In exchange for free instruction, "each attorney pledges 450 hours of pro-bono time to the Body of Christ," says the ADF Web site. More than 900 lawyers have reportedly participated. The group also sponsors Blackstone Legal Fellowships where law students "receive intensive training in Christian worldview principles and how they apply to the study and interpretation of law." Sears holds extreme views. He was the first Religious Right figure to assert that the cartoon character SpongeBob Square Pants might be gay and has criticized the 1959 comedy film "Some Like It Hot" for promoting cross-dressing. Sears Quote: "One by one, more and more bricks that make up the artificial wall of separation' between church and state are being removed and Christians are once again being allowed to exercise their constitutional right to equal access to public facilities and funding." (January 2004 e-mail alert) 5. American Family Association Founder and Chairman: The Rev. Donald Wildmon 2005 Revenue: $17,595,352 Location: Tupelo, Mississippi Web site: www.afa.net Overview: Donald Wildmon, a Methodist minister, founded the American Family Association in 1977. Its original name was the National Federation for Decency. His goal, Wildmon boldly stated, was to rid the television airwaves of "anti-family" programming, mainly through boycotts and threats of boycotts of companies that advertised on shows Wildmon dislikes. The AFA has since branched out, engaging in typical Reli gious Right activities like attacking gays and bashing evolution. It now includes a lucrative radio empire with 176 affiliates in 34 states, a fundamentalist Christian news service and a legal group called the Center for Law and Policy. In 2000, Wildmon launched a nationwide campaign to urge states to pass laws mandating the display of "In God We Trust" posters in public schools. Wildmon, 68, has flirted with anti-Semitism, suggesting that Jews control the entertainment industry. The AFA's Journal has also reprinted articles from The Spotlight, an anti-Semitic newspaper. In December, Wildmon said evangelicals may stop supporting Israel if Jewish leaders don't stop criticizing the Religious Right. Wildmon Quote: "Anti-prayer/Anti-Christian groups like the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have teamed up with liberal judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and are stripping away our religious freedom." (Fall 2000 fund-raising letter) 6. American Center for Law and Justice Founder and President: The Rev. Pat Robertson Chief Counsel: Jay Sekulow 2005 Revenue: $14,485,514 Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Web site: www.aclj.org Overview: The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) was founded by TV preacher Pat Robertson in 1990, originally as a joint project of Robertson's Christian Coalition and Regent University. Closely modeled on its nemesis, the American Civil Liberties Union --- the organization whose name it mimics --- the ACLJ was among the first Religious Right legal groups in the nation. Headed by Jay Sekulow, a Jewish convert to evangelical Christianity, the group seeks to roll back Supreme Court rulings upholding church-state separation, abortion rights and gay rights. Although it claims to be non-partisan, the ACLJ works closely with far-right Republicans in Congress and even tried to intervene in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that awarded the 2000 election to George W. Bush. Sekulow has a close relationship with Bush, and several media accounts have reported that he is among a small group that helps select and promote Bush federal court nominees, including appointments to the Supreme Court. Sekulow, 49, hosts a television show, "ACLJ This Week," that airs on several Christian cable networks. (His son Logan hosts a Christian variety program as well.) In November, Legal Times reported on a series of shady financial deals involving Sekulow. His salary at the ACLJ, for example, exceeds $600,000 per year and he is listed as an independent contractor so the figure does not have to appear on financial disclosure forms. Sekulow maintains control of a separate legal group, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, with annual revenues of $14 million, that also solicits donations. He often hires family members to help run his various operations, and the groups he works for have leased or purchased three homes for him. Sekulow Quote: "The fact is the phrase separation of church and state' is not found in the U.S. Constitution, the framework of our freedom. Too often, the separation of church and state' phrase is allowed to take the place of our actual constitutional provisions." (Ministry Magazine, Fall 2004) 7. Family Research Council Founder: James C. Dobson President and CEO: Tony Perkins 2005 Revenue: $9,958,115 Location: Washington, D.C. Web site: www.frc.org Overview: The Family Research Council (FRC) was founded by religious broadcaster James C. Dobson in 1983 to give his views a presence in the nation's capital. For many years, the group was merely an arm of Focus on the Family. In 1992, Dobson severed the official ties, although he says they remain "spiritually one." Gary Bauer, a former Reagan administration official, ran FRC for several years. The group's current president is Tony Perkins, a 43-year-old former Louisiana state legislator and anti-abortion activist. The FRC focuses on culture war issues such as abortion, gay rights and end-of-life care. Recently, it has led the Religious Right effort to attack the federal courts and strip judges of their ability to hear church-state cases, sponsoring a series of anti-court rallies called "Justice Sunday." Headquartered in a 10-year-old building on the edge of D.C.'s Chinatown, FRC has become the leading Religious Right group in the nation's capital and enjoys a close relationship with the GOP leadership. In March of 2005, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay spoke at an FRC briefing. DeLay made controversial remarks about Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman in a persistent vegetative state. (Americans United released a tape of the remarks to the media.) Perkins Quote: "The [Supreme] Court has become increasingly hostile to Christianity. It represents more of a threat to representative government than any other force more than budget deficits, more than terrorism." ("Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference, March 7, 2005) 8. Jerry Falwell Ministries Founder and Director: The Rev. Jerry Falwell 2005 Revenue: $8,950,480 Location: Lynchburg, Virginia Web site: www.falwell.com Overview: Jerry Falwell is perhaps the best-known Religious Right leader in America today, if only due to his long service to the cause. His Moral Majority is long gone, but Falwell remains on the scene and continues to attack church-state separation through several vehicles. Falwell's empire includes his congregation, the 20,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg; Liberty University; "The Old Time Gospel Hour" television program; the Liberty Alliance and a legal group headed by Mat Staver called Liberty Counsel. Although no longer in his prime, Falwell continues to be a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and regularly cranks out fund-raising mail touching on all the standard Religious Right themes. Falwell, 72, has a long track record of intolerant and bizarre pronouncements. His newspaper labeled the children's show character Tinky Winky a stalking horse for the gay-rights movement in 1999. He has asserted that the Antichrist is alive today and is Jewish. Two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Falwell appeared on Pat Robertson's "700 Club" and opined that God had lifted his protection and allowed "the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve." The comments sparked nationwide revulsion. Despite all of this, Falwell continues to be embraced by leaders of the Republican Party and makes regular media appearances. Falwell Quote: "Separation of Church and State has long been the battle cry of civil libertarians wishing to purge our glorious Christian heritage from our nation's history. Of course, the term never once appears in our Constitution and is a modern fabrication of discrimination." ("Falwell Fax," April 10, 1998) 9. Concerned Women for America Founders: Tim and Beverly LaHaye 2005 Revenue: $8,484,108 Location: Washington, D.C. Web site: www.cwfa.org Overview: Formed in 1979 by Beverly and Tim LaHaye, Concerned Women for America brings "biblical principles into all levels of public policy." It was originally intended to counter feminism, including opposing ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. When that issue died with the failure of the amendment, CWA focused on opposing communism. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the group has dealt mainly with culture war issues such as abortion, gay rights, sex education and alleged "secular humanism" in public schools, pornography and opposition to church-state separation. The group adds a heavy dose of United Nations-bashing to the list. It claims 500,000 members, although the figure is probably exaggerated. CWA regularly brings volunteer lobbyists to Capitol Hill under an effort called "Project 535." As the group Web site puts it, "These ladies fearlessly speak with the member or his staff to discuss a particular piece of pro-family legislation." Despite its name, men hold some leadership positions at CWA. Mike Mears is executive director of CWA's political action committee. Bob Knight heads the group's Culture & Family Institute. Wendy Wright, 43, serves as president. Now in semi-retirement, the LaHayes, now both 80, are less heavily involved with day-to-day operations. Tim LaHaye has a long history of involvement in far-right politics. He lectured on behalf of the John Birch Society throughout the 1960s and 70s and later helped found the Council for National Policy. More recently, he is known to most Americans as the coauthor of the best-selling Left Behind novels. These apocalyptic potboilers have made LaHaye a very wealthy man. Tim LaHaye Quote: "America's public education is purposely designed to eradicate Jesus from the scene and replace Him with the likes of John Dewey, Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Wundt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and many more." (Mind Siege: The Battle for Truth in the New Millen nium, 2001) 10. Traditional Values Coalition Founder and Chairman: The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon 2005 Revenue: $6,389,448 Location: Anaheim, California and Washington, D.C. Web site: www.traditionalvalues.org Overview: The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon founded the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) in 1980 primarily to work on issues in California. The group later branched out, establishing a Washington beachhead. The D.C. office is run by Sheldon's daughter, Andrea Lafferty. The organization is a 501(c)(4) group, which means donations to it are not tax deductible. However, it maintains a fully tax deductible arm called the TVC Education and Legal Institute. (Sheldon also runs a small political action committee that in 2006 gave all of its money to Republican candidates in California.) Sheldon, 72, claims to represent 43,000 churches, but critics dispute that figure. In the world of the Religious Right, the Presbyterian minister has a reputation as something of a money-grubbing huckster. He has been criticized for acting as a front for gambling interests on at least two occasions. An aide to disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff once called Sheldon "Lucky Louie" in an e-mail when the two worked together on a lobbying project on behalf of the legalized gambling industry. Sheldon's rhetoric is shrill, even by Religious Right standards, and he makes no efforts to moderate his extreme goals. His daughter is equally florid, once claiming in a 1999 fund-raising letter that she had confronted a "witch" who had sown a "spirit of confusion" over the Senate. For many years, Sheldon carved out a niche for TVC by engaging in unrelenting gay bashing. When other Religious Right groups began moving in on this turf in the 1990s, Sheldon diversified, ramping up his assaults on church-state separation, public education and the federal judiciary. None of this has hurt TVC's standing in Washington. After Bush's re-election in 2004, Sheldon held a "Christian" inaugural event that drew White House strategist Karl Rove, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and others. Sheldon Quote: "A dangerous Marxist/Leftist/Homo sexual / Islamic coalition has formed --- and we'd better be willing to fight it with everything in our power. These people are playing for keeps. Their hero, Mao Tse Tung, is estimated to have murdered upwards of 60 million people during his reign of terror in China. Do we think we can escape such persecution if we refuse to fight for what is right?" ("The War on Christianity," column, TVC Web site, December 13, 2005) Robert Boston is the author of Why the Religious Right is Wrong and The Most Dangerous Man in America: Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition. Lauren Smith, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, communications assistant, provided research for this article.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Drunk as Drunk, by Pablo Neruda

* Drunk as drunk on turpentine From your open kisses, Your wet body wedged Between my wet body and the strake Of our boat that is made of flowers, Feasted, we guide it - our fingers Like tallows adorned with yellow metal - Over the sky's hot rim, The day's last breath in our sails. Pinned by the sun between solstice And equinox, drowsy and tangled together We drifted for months and woke With the bitter taste of land on our lips, Eyelids all sticky, and we longed for lime And the sound of a rope Lowering a bucket down its well. Then, We came by night to the Fortunate Isles, And lay like fish Under the net of our kisses. * Translated from the Spanish by Christopher Logue *

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett dies aged 60

Syd Barrett in 1967
Barrett went on to release two solo albums after leaving Pink Floyd
Syd Barrett, one of the original members of legendary rock group Pink Floyd, has died at the age of 60 from complications arising from diabetes.

The guitarist was the band's first creative force and an influential songwriter, writing their early hits.

He joined Pink Floyd in 1965 but left three years later after one album. He went on to live as a recluse, with his mental deterioration blamed on drugs.

"He died very peacefully a couple of days ago," the band's spokeswoman said.

"There will be a private family funeral."

Pink Floyd in 1967
Barrett (second right) would become reclusive in the 1970s
A statement from Pink Floyd said: "The band are naturally very upset and sad to learn of Syd Barrett's death.

"Syd was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire."

He was born Roger Barrett in Cambridge and met future bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour at school in Cambridge.

He originally busked folk songs around Europe with Gilmour before enrolling at the Camberwell School of Art in London.

Upon joining the Pink Floyd Sound - as they were originally known - he composed See Emily Play and Arnold Layne, both from 1967, as well as most of their album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

'Mental breakdown'

However, his drug intake soon began to affect his place in the band.

I don't think we would have the David Bowie we have today if it wasn't for Syd
Tim Willis, Syd Barrett's biographer

Often he would be seen standing on stage with his guitar dangling from his neck, staring into the crowd.

At one stage he was unhappy about appearing on Top of the Pops and walked out of a session recording in July 1967 after "freaking out".

"That really was the first sign of his complete mental breakdown," producer Richard Buskin wrote later.

"He never did come back into the studio any more after that, meaning that I had a hell of a hard time with the recordings".

He did turn up again, ironically on the day the other band members were recording a tribute to him, Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

Just as Pink Floyd were about to achieve worldwide success, he retreated from public life to return to Cambridge.

'Influence continues'

Members of the band felt his breakdown might have happened even if he had not used drugs but felt that along with the pressures of fame, the substances he took probably acted as a catalyst.

After he finally drifted out of the music scene, his whereabouts were unknown for two decades, until he turned out to be living with his mother.

Syd Barrett's biographer Tim Willis paid tribute to Barrett's legacy, saying: "I don't think we would have the David Bowie we have today if it wasn't for Syd.

"Arnold Lane is still one of Bowie's favourites. He sang it the other day, I believe. And in fact Bowie was very much a kind of clone of Syd in the early years," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"His influence is still going. New bands discover him all the time, there's always a Syd revival going on.

< style="font-family: trebuchet ms;"> "If it wasn't the punks, it was REM, and I'm sure that Arnold Lane and Emily Play as pop songs will live forever." * http://pscelebrities.com/mrr/pinkfloydshineon1.mp3 http://pscelebrities.com/mrr/pinkfloydshineon2.mp3 http://pscelebrities.com/mrr/pinkfloydfearless.wma http://pscelebrities.com/mrr/pinkfloyddogsofwar.mp3 http://pscelebrities.com/mrr/pinkfloydpigsonthewing.mp3 http://pscelebrities.com/mrr/pinkfloydhaveacigar.mp3

Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour, by Wallace Stevens

* Light the first light of evening In which we rest and, for small reason, think The world imagined is the ultimate good. This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous. It is in that thought that we collect ourselves, Out of all the indifferences, into one thing: Within a single thing, a single shawl Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth, A light, a power, the miraculous influence. Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves. We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole, A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous. Within its vital boundary, in the mind. We say God and the imagination are one... How high that highest candle lights the dark. Out of this same light, out of the central mind, We make a dwelling in the evening air, In which being there together is enough. * [Thanks to Dirtnap for turning me on to Wallace Stevens]

Monday, July 10, 2006

HALLELUIAH! THE CATECHISM OF DIANUS, by Georges Bataille

... 3 Battered by frozen despair, by the majestic horrors of life! At exasperation's end. Today I find myself at the edge of the abyss. At the limit of disaster and an intolerable happiness. At the very peak of a vertiginous height I sing a HALLELUIAH: the purest, most dolorous you could hear. Calamity's solitude is a halo, a veil of tears with which you will be able to cover your dog's nakedness. Listen to me. I speak softly in your ear. But don't misunderstand my soft tone. Go out into the anguished night, naked, go to the place where the path turns. Press your fingers into your moist folds. It will be sweet to smell upon you the viscous, bitter scent of pleasure: the damp, stale odor of flesh made happy. Voluptuousness contracts the lips burning to open out onto anguish. The wind upon the small of your back makes you feel more than naked as you quake and quiver with the cartilaginous snap of your spine - that snapping which makes the whites of your eyes roll up to fill the voids between your eyelids. In a lonely forest far from your abandoned clothing will you hunch down carefully like a she-wolf. Lightning with its fierce stench and pounding rain are the companions of anguish and obscenity. Get up, and flee: childish, abandoned, howling in frightened laughter. ...

America and Iran: Three Nuclear Ironies

by Tad Daley Editor’s Note: Tad Daley is a fellow at Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a longtime nuclear analyst and disarmament advocate. This essay also appears in the July/August 2006 issue of Tikkun magazine. “With supreme irony,” historian James Harvey Robinson said of the First World War, “the war to ‘make the world safe for democracy’ ended by leaving democracy more unsafe....” With comparable irony, a nuclear war to make the world safe from nuclear peril could end by leaving America more exposed to nuclear annihilation than at any time since the dawn of the atomic age. A NUCLEAR ATTACK ON IRAN? In the April 17, 2006, issue of The New Yorker magazine, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons perhaps five to 10 years from now, Pentagon planners were preparing not just military strikes on that country but nuclear strikes. Some analysts, according to Hersh, insist that only our own tactical nuclear warheads can guarantee the elimination of Tehran’s nascent nuclear capability. President Bush had the opportunity to disavow Hersh’s stunning charge on April 18 when a reporter asked him directly if his administration was planning a nuclear strike on Iran. His reply? “All options are on the table.” Six weeks later, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that Washington was willing to negotiate directly with Tehran if it suspended enrichment and reprocessing of uranium, she was asked whether this meant that any plans to attack Iran had been shelved. Bush, she replied, “was not going to take any of his options off the table.” Death penalty opponents often display an unanswerable bumper sticker: Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong? Similarly, one might ask: How can we contemplate nuking people who might nuke people to show that nuking people is wrong? The United States is apparently considering the use of nuclear weapons to keep another state from obtaining nuclear weapons. A Western state appears prepared to employ the nuclear weapon to stop a Muslim state from even seeking the nuclear weapon. Witness the full depth of the irony here. It’s an irony so towering, so obvious and so unsubtle, that—if it happens—surely not a single member of the world’s Islamic community will fail to take notice. THE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION TREATY: THEIR OBLIGATIONS AND OURS Perhaps because the Bush administration displays such unconcealed disdain for international law, few since the Hersh story broke have mentioned that a U.S. nuclear strike on Iran would explicitly violate the regime of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The grand bargain of the NPT, of course, is that the 183 nonnuclear signatories agreed never to produce or acquire nuclear weapons, in exchange for a promise from the five nuclear signatories eventually to get rid of theirs. But the NPT regime also contains a number of other, smaller mutual pledges. When the treaty was originally negotiated in the 1960s, the nonnuclear states demanded—in return for their promise to remain nonnuclear—that the nuclear states promise never to attack them or threaten them with nuclear weapons. This, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and former U.S. arms control official Thomas Graham have observed, “could be the most reasonable request in the history of international relations.” The nuclear states refused, prostrating themselves before the altar of “military flexibility.” But 25 years later, at the NPT review conference in 1995, they finally declared their willingness to adhere to such a promise (with a slight caveat regarding retaliation against nonnuclear states aiding and abetting an attack by a nuclear state). Why? Because they were forced to do so in order to indefinitely extend the life of the treaty, which was set to expire that year. Three years ago, the United States defied the United Nations to show Saddam Hussein that he could not get away with defying the United Nations. Now, the Bush administration is apparently prepared to breach the NPT to show Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he cannot get away with breaching the NPT. Count that as nuclear irony number two. NUCLEAR DOCTRINES AND NUCLEAR CONSEQUENCES To those who have been paying attention to the Bush administration’s pronouncements on nuclear policy since 2001, Hersh’s revelations come as little surprise. During its first term, the Bush administration codified a new nuclear doctrine that identified several specific scenarios in which the United States would consciously choose to initiate nuclear war. The 2002 “Nuclear Posture Review,” almost wholly unnoticed by the peace and progressive communities, put forth explicit plans for launching nuclear attacks against nonnuclear nations. It even named seven states—including Iran—as possible targets of a U.S. nuclear first strike. Moreover, the administration intends to both retain and improve the U.S. nuclear arsenal for decades to come. It envisions new ICBMs—our long-range, land-based nuclear missiles that can incinerate entire cities, anywhere in the world, within the hour—coming on line in 2020. It foresees deploying both new nuclear submarines and new submarine-launched ballistic missiles in 2030. It plans to unveil a new intercontinental strategic bomber in 2040. Oh—and freshly designed nuclear warheads for all of them. Just in time for the centennial of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To the rest of the world all this is sanctimonious and self-righteous. Around the world, in barracks, bazaars and boulangeries, angry young men ask, “Why can the United States have thousands of nuclear weapons, but our countries can’t have even one?” Some, it must seem to them, both anoint themselves as able to be trusted with nuclear weapons and arrogate to themselves the task of assessing whether others meet their tests. President Bush has often let slip this conceit of cultural superiority. “We owe it to our children,” he said in August 2002, “to free the world from weapons of mass destruction in the hands of those who hate freedom.” So who will decide? Who will render subjective, ad hoc verdicts on whether certain leaders or certain peoples do not love freedom quite enough to be permitted the nuclear prize? Who will serve as prosecutor, judge, jury and enforcer? Why, of course, the Freedom Lovers in whose hands nuclear weapons already reside. In response to the Hersh revelations, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) conducted a study of the potential medical consequences of a nuclear first strike on Iran. PSR has a long history of such analyses after its groundbreaking research published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1961. Using unclassified software developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, PSR concluded that a U.S. nuclear attack on the Iranian facilities at Isfahan and Natanz would kill 2.6 million people within 48 hours. Soon thereafter, 10.5 million more would be exposed to catastrophic radioactive fallout in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Much of that fallout could make vast areas uninhabitable for decades to come. If the U.S. actually does roll out a few atomic bombs in the skies over Iran, there will be no turning back for any of us. The taboo that has prevailed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki will prevail no more. The distinction between conventional and nuclear war will forever be lost. The inhibition that has kept everyone from stepping over the nuclear precipice will disappear in a single flash. Once someone throws open the nuclear Pandora’s box that has been so precariously held shut since Aug. 9, 1945, it will never be shut again. NEW KINDS OF TERRORISTS AND NEW KINDS OF TERROR. If the United States does cross the nuclear Rubicon, who will be the next to do so? Probably not Iran itself, because it doesn’t have any nuclear weapons yet. Probably not any other state, for that matter, because of the logic of nuclear deterrence. But that logic doesn’t apply to the non-state nuclear terrorist, whom so many of us have so feared since 9/11. When a loosely affiliated global terror network does not actually control any dirt, deterrence becomes essentially meaningless, because there is no place or thing to threaten to retaliate against. How effective were America’s thousands of bristling nuclear warheads when they came up against 19 determined young men, armed only with box cutters, on 09/11/01? What were we going to do, dispatch a nuclear cruise missile through the window of Mohammed Atta’s bachelor apartment in Coral Springs, Fla.? Osama bin Laden, in his highly publicized statement in January of this year, claimed that his minions were already “preparing operations” inside the United States. If one actively tried to conjure up a motive for our enemies to take the next step to nuclear terror, it would be hard to come up with something better than a nuclear first strike—on a Muslim country, no less—to perpetuate the nuclear double standard. The greatest effect of such a first strike might be on those young Muslim men, both inside and outside Iran, who are essentially still on the fence. Who are still contemplating whether to buy themselves a one-way ticket down the dead-end road to jihadi martyrdom. Who have not dedicated their lives, yet, to getting their hands on one of the 30,000 atomic bombs floating around the planet, using it to slaughter all the inhabitants of a major U.S. city, and perhaps causing a panicked American nation—wondering which city might be next—to utterly unravel. Nothing could do more to provoke a nuclear terror attack on the United States than the use of nuclear weapons by the United States. Some of the military officers now planning the Iran campaign undoubtedly realize this, which must be why some of them, according to Hersh, are considering resigning over the nuclear option. If the United States pursues that option, it would arguably be striking the finest, purest Faustian bargain in all of human history. We are the ones who created these weapons in the past. We are the ones contemplating the use of these weapons in the present. We are the ones who vaingloriously insist that we—but not others—must perpetually possess these weapons into the future. And now, we are the ones who may soon feel the wrath of these weapons brought down upon ourselves. We are the ones who may be the authors of our own annihilation. We are the ones, perhaps, who will be devoured by our own creation. In the end, that could turn out to be the greatest irony of all.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Extract from Georges Bataille's Eroticism

From the introduction to Eroticism, translated by Mary Dalwood (London & New York: Marion Boyars, 1962 [1957]) As often as not , it seems to be assumed that man has his being independently of his passions. I affirm, on the other hand, that we must never imagine existence except in terms of these passions... ...We are discontinuous beings, individuals who perish in isolation in the midst of an incomprehensible adventure, but we yearn for our lost continuity. We find the state of affairs that binds us to our random and ephemeral individuality hard to bear. Along with our tormenting desire that this evanescent thing should last, there stands our obsession with a primal continuity linking us with everything that is... this nostalgia is responsible for... eroticism in man. ...In essence, the domain of eroticism is the domain of violence, of violation... The most violent thing of all for us is death which jerks us out of a tenacious obsession with the lastingness of our discontinuous being. We blench at the thought that the separate individuality within us must be suddenly snuffed out... We cannot imagine the transition from one state to another one basically unlike it without picturing the violence done to the being called into existence through discontinuity. Not only do we find in the uneasy transitions of organisms engaged in reproduction the same basic violence which in physical eroticism leaves us gasping, but we also catch the inner meaning of that violence. What does physical eroticism signify if not a violation of the very being of its practitioners? — a violation bordering on death, bordering on murder? The whole business of eroticism is to strike to the inmost core of the living being, so that the heart stands still. The transition from the normal state to that of erotic desire presupposes a partial dissolution of the person as he exists in the realm of discontinuity. Dissolution — this expression corresponds with dissolute life, the familiar phrase linked with erotic activity. In the process of dissolution, the male partner has generally an active role, while the female partner is passive. The passive, female side is essentially the one that is dissolved as a separate entity. But for the male partner the dissolution of the passive partner means one thing only: it is paving the way for a fusion where both are mingled, attaining at length the same degree of dissolution. The whole business of eroticism is to destroy the self-contained character of the participators as they are in their normal lives. Stripping naked is the decisive action. Nakedness offers a contrast to self-possession, to discontinuous existence, in other words. It is a state of communication revealing a quest for a possible continuance of being beyond the confines of the self. Bodies open out to a state of continuity through secret channels that give us a feeling of obscenity. Obscenity is our name for the uneasiness which upsets the physical state associated with self-possession, with the possession of a recognised and stable individuality. Through the activity of organs in a flow of coalescence and renewal, like the ebb and flow of waves surging into one another, the self is dispossessed, and so completely that most creatures in a state of nakedness, for nakedness is symbolic of this dispossession and heralds it, will hide; particularly if the erotic act follows, consummating it. Stripping naked is seen in civilizations where the act has full significance if not as a simulacrum of the act of killing, at least as an equivalent shorn of gravity. In antiquity the destitution (or destruction) fundamental to eroticism was felt strongly and justified linking the act of love with sacrifice. When I come to religious eroticism which is concerned with the fusion of beings with a world beyond everyday reality I shall return to the significance of sacrifice. Here and now, however, I must emphasise that the female partner in eroticism was seen as the victim, the male as the sacrificer, both during the consummation losing themselves in the continuity established by the first destructive act. ...Eroticism always entails a breaking down of established patterns, the patterns, I repeat, of the regulated social order basic to our discontinuous mode of existence as defined and separate individuals... The stirrings within us have their own fearful excesses; the excesses show which way these stirrings would take us. They are simply a sign to remind us constantly that death, the rupture of the discontinuous individualities to which we cleave in terror, stands there before us more real than life itself. ...suffering alone reveals the total significance of the beloved object. Possession of the beloved object does not imply death, but the idea of death is linked with the urge to possess. If the lover cannot possess the beloved he will sometimes think of killing her; often he would rather kill her than lose her. Or else he may wish to die himself. Behind these frenzied notions is the glimpse of a continuity possible through the beloved. Only the beloved, so it seems to the lover — because of affinities evading definition which match the union of bodies with that of souls — only the beloved can in this world bring about what our human limitations deny, a total blending of two beings, a continuity between two discontinuous creatures. Hence love spells suffering for us in so far as it is a quest for the impossible... We ought to take account of two conflicting possibilities. If the union of two lovers comes about through love, it involves the idea of death, murder or suicide. This aura of death is what denotes passion... Through the beloved appears something I shall refer to in a moment in speaking of religious or sacred eroticism, to wit, full and limitless being unconfined within the trammels of separate personalities, continuity of being, glimpsed as a deliverance through the person of the beloved. ...Erotic activity, by dissolving the separate beings that participate in it, reveals their fundamental continuity, like the waves of a stormy sea. In sacrifice, the victim is divested not only of clothes but of life (or is destroyed in some way if it is an inanimate object). The victim dies and the spectators share in what his death reveals. This is what religious historians call the element of sacredness. This sacredness is the revelation of continuity through the death of a discontinuous being to those who watch it as a solemn rite. A violent death disrupts the creature's discontinuity; what remains, what the tense onlookers experience in the succeeding silence, is the continuity of all existence with which the victim is now one. Only a spectacular killing, carried out as the solemn and collective nature of religion dictates, has the power to reveal what normally escapes notice... "There is no better way to know death than to link it with some licentious image" ...I think I can make my ideas on continuity more readily felt, ideas not to be fully identified with the theologians' concept of God, by reminding you of these lines by one of the most violent of poets, Rimbaud. Elle est retrouvée. Quoi? L'eternité. C'est la mer allée Avec le soliel. [It is now refound! What? eternity. It is the sea commingled With the sun.] (from A Season in Hell) Poetry leads to the same place as all forms of eroticism — to the blending and fusion of separate objects. It leads us to eternity, it leads us to death, and through death to continuity. Poetry is eternity; the sun matched with the sea.

Upanishads

Upanishad means the inner or mystic teaching. The term Upanishad is derived from upa (near), ni (down) and s(h)ad (to sit), i.e., sitting down near. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him the secret doctrine. In the quietude of the forest hermitages the Upanishad thinkers pondered on the problems of deepest concerns and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them..... The Upanishads translated by Max Müller Part I Part II

Thanks Dirtnap.....

"Through her dress I dug the tines of the fork hard into her thigh. She let out a scream and, in her agitated attempts to get away from me, knocked over two glasses of red wine. She pushed back the chair. In order to see the wound, she was obliged to pull up her dress. Her underthings were pretty; I found the nakedness of her thighs attractive. One of the tines, sharper than the others, had pierced the skin. Blood was flowing..." Georges Bataille BLUE OF THE MOON (pub 1957)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"Never Whistle While You're Pissing"

by Hagbard Celine Human society can be structured either according to the principle of authority or according to the principle of liberty. Authority is a static social configuration in which people act as superiors and inferiors: a sado- masochistic relationship. Liberty is a dynamic social configuration in which people act as equals: an erotic relationship. In every interaction between people, either Authority or Liberty is the dominant factor. Families, churches, lodges, clubs and corporations are either more authoritarian than libertarian or more libertarian than authoritarian. It becomes obvious as we proceed that the most pugnacious and intolerant form of authority is the State, which even today dares to assume absolutism which the church itself has long ago surrendered and to enforce obedience with the Church's old and shameful Inquisition. Every form of authoritarianism is, however, a small "State," even if it has a membership of only two. Freud's remark to the effect that the delusion of many men is religion can be generalized: The authoritarianism of one man is crime and the authoritarianism of many is State. Benjamin Tucker wrote quite accurately:
Aggression is simply another name for government. Aggression, invasion, government are interchangeable terms. The essence of government is control, or the attempt to control. He who attempts to control another is a governor, an aggressor, an invader; and the nature of such invasion is not changed, whether it be made by one man upon another man, after the manner of the ordinary criminal, or by one man upon all other men, after the manner of an absolute monarch, or by all other men upon one man, after the manner of a modern democracy.
Tucker's use of the word "invasion" is remarkably precise, considering that he wrote more than fifty years before the basic discovery of ethology. Every act of authority is, in fact, an invasion of the psychic and physical territory of another.

Friday, July 07, 2006

...:::XIX:::...ILI:::...


Israel steps up attacks on Gaza

The already dire situation in the Gaza Strip became even worse over the course of June as Israel stepped up it's attacks on the poverty stricken territory. Israel has been pounding Gaza with air and artillery strikes, and ground troops have also crossed the border.

According to the independant Palestinian Maan News Agency, 55 Palestinians were killed by the Israel army in June, with 304 injuries. On June 29, Israel also abducted 64 members of the Palestinian parliament. On the night of July 1, Israel also launched an air strike on the headquarters of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh.

The situation was escalated by Israel after Palestinian militants kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Sharit on June 25 following a fire fight on the Israeli side of the border near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. Israel's response was swift and brutal, with air strikes on Palestinian infrastructure and the invasion of ground forces to the east of Rafah in south Gaza.

Water shortage is also a huge issue in the Gaza Strip. With Gaza's only power station mostly destroyed by an Israeli air strike on June 28, the pumps which spread water throughout Gaza ceased to function. Dr Majid Abu Ramadan, the Mayor of Gaza, said that because of the cut in electricity, sanitation pumps and garbage collection have stopped functioning leading to mountains of garbage bieng piled high in the streets. He said that this situation will bring yet another machine with which to kill Palestinians, namely diseases.

June 28 also saw attacks on many of the bridges in Gaza, virtually splitting the territory in two and making already difficult travel even harder. All border crossings into Gaza have been closed, meaning much needed food and medicine cannot reach those who need it. On June 2, Israel reopened the Karni crossing for 150 trucks per day for four days, a move which many see as woefully inadequate. Salim Abu Safiyeh, the Director-General of Palestinian Crossings, said on July 3 "that it was imperative that food and other essential items be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip if the world wants to avoid a humanitarian disaster."

Another weapon Israel has used in it's latest offensive is fear. Israeli jets are flying across Gaza at all hours, sometimes striking and sometimes not, forcing Gazans to live in a permanent state of anxiety. Additionally, Israeli jets are deliberately creating sonic booms over Gaza, following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's order "to make sure no one sleeps at night in Gaza". The Maan News Agency states "The continuous sounds of shelling, warplanes and sonic bombs [sic] disrupts normal life both during the day, when it causes shock and fear, but even more so at night, when it induces real terror in Gazan residents who are enduring the sudden, loud and menacing sounds in the darkness."

Meanwhile in Israel, many anti-occupation activists and groups have voiced their concern and demanded an end to Israeli state terrorism. Renowned journalist Gideon Levy stated in the Haaretz daily newspaper that "A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization." He went on to state that "What we are doing now in Gaza has nothing to do with freeing him [kidnapped soldier Gilad Sharit]. It is a widescale act of vengeance, the kind that the IDF and Shin Bet [Israeli internal intelligence] have wanted to conduct for some time." Anti-occupation group Gush Shalom has continued it's call for the removal of Dan Halutz, commander-in-chief of the Israeli army, after having participated with local anarchists in a demonstration outside Halutz's home earlier in June. The group also held a demonstration of over 100 peace activists outside the Ministry Of Defense within 24 hours of the Israeli incursion beginning.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"I sat belonely", by John Lennon

* I sat belonely down a tree, humbled fat and small. A little lady sing to me I couldn't see at all. I'm looking up and at the sky, to find such wondrous voice. Puzzly puzzle, wonder why, I hear but have no choice. 'Speak up, come forth, you ravel me', I potty menthol shout. 'I know you hiddy by this tree'. But still she won't come out. Such softly singing lulled me sleep, an hour or two or so I wakeny slow and took a peep and still no lady show. Then suddy on a little twig I thought I see a sight, A tiny little tiny pig, that sing with all it's might. 'I thought you were a lady'. I giggle, - well I may, To my suprise the lady, got up - and flew away. *

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

!AMERICANS ARE BRAINWASHED!


Somebody to Love..........

Freddy and Friend.

A Stanza For Anarchist Feminists, Now Where's Mine...?

* by Michael Mularz * emblematic lipstick enkindled, melted bobbins and encrypted horoscopes stitched in the fabric of men broken dishes and pots rusted with soup de jour, fire set to kitchens, not just yours then watch the flame tips dance the apocalypso *

Monday, July 03, 2006

Manson desperate to cast Depp in Phantasmagoria

Washington: Aspiring filmmaker Marilyn Manson is desperate to cast Johnny Depp as the star of his upcoming film, that tells the tale about the life of Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll. Manson recently attended the premiere of Depp's latest film Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and is certain he can convince the star to sign on in Phantasmagoria as Jack Sparrow. "In less than two weeks, I'm going to France to start production on my film," Contactmusic quoted him, as telling MTV. "And maybe convince Johnny to be in it - I'll extort him to be in it!" he added. The duo have been friends for years and Manson thinks they would make a perfect team. "I don't pressure him. (British fashion designer) John Galliano said I was one of the true great pirates, and I told Johnny that. So it's like me, Johnny and (children's cereal character) Cap'n Crunch," said Manson. "I have hung out with Jack Sparrow, because Johnny is Jack Sparrow. We drink absinthe, that's what we do," he added.

Put away the flags, by Howard Zinn

07/02/06 "The Progressive" -- -- On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed. Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power. National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves. Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy. That self-deception started early. When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians. The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession." When the English set fire to a Pequot village and massacred men, women and children, the Puritan theologian Cotton Mather said: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day." On the eve of the Mexican War, an American journalist declared it our "Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence." After the invasion of Mexico began, The New York Herald announced: "We believe it is a part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful country." It was always supposedly for benign purposes that our country went to war. We invaded Cuba in 1898 to liberate the Cubans, and went to war in the Philippines shortly after, as President McKinley put it, "to civilize and Christianize" the Filipino people. As our armies were committing massacres in the Philippines (at least 600,000 Filipinos died in a few years of conflict), Elihu Root, our secretary of war, was saying: "The American soldier is different from all other soldiers of all other countries since the war began. He is the advance guard of liberty and justice, of law and order, and of peace and happiness." We see in Iraq that our soldiers are not different. They have, perhaps against their better nature, killed thousands of Iraq civilians. And some soldiers have shown themselves capable of brutality, of torture. Yet they are victims, too, of our government's lies. How many times have we heard President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tell the troops that if they die, if they return without arms or legs, or blinded, it is for "liberty," for "democracy"? One of the effects of nationalist thinking is a loss of a sense of proportion. The killing of 2,300 people at Pearl Harbor becomes the justification for killing 240,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The killing of 3,000 people on Sept. 11 becomes the justification for killing tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq. And nationalism is given a special virulence when it is said to be blessed by Providence. Today we have a president, invading two countries in four years, who announced on the campaign trail last year that God speaks through him. We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history. We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation. Howard Zinn, a World War II bombardier, is the author of the best-selling "A People's History of the United States" (Perennial Classics, 2003, latest edition). He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org

Excerpt from "Engorge", by Anthony Beal

* ...Every relished ridge And mutinous vein Of riotous violet Taken in. Claimed in strident streaks Of driven fuck... *

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Prisoner of The Knight, Author Unknown

* You know me not by day, The night is my domain, That is where you come for me. I long for your peaceful slumber, When the spinning of your mind ceases, No longer diverting the pursuit of pleasure. I wait impatiently, Lonely for your touch, Until you dream once again. That place beyond is where you find me, Forever there, I am drunk with anticipation, Writhing, ready for your touch. Impale me, That is what I'm pleading for, Pervasion, The surging passion of union, Divine intoxication; Is it ecstasy or madness? Rest in me; calm yourself in my still waters, Raging as a tempest against your shore, Awaken not, once more without me. A prisoner, existing only for your embrace, Reason erases remembrance when you arise. By day it holds me hostage, or is it you bound by this quest? Always retreating, I keep you with iron chains, Invisible, yet strong as spider's webs, That no man can tear asunder. Goddess, granting secret desires, With deathless lips I call out to you, Breathless, "Release me from this exile." Pierce deeply with your sword, Bring me forth into the dawn, To be scorched by the blazing sun, made One. But alas, day again, your memories fleeting, The feel of soft skin fading, Hard armor cracking, was it a fantasy? "No", I cry out, "It was real", Can you not hear me, even now, Beckoning from the void? Like an elusive thought, Skimming the outskirts of your mind, Torrid rustling, tantalizing imagination with desire. Logic banished me; he is king of Day, Contemplating the loss of his empire. He must not risk entrapment by a siren, a bewitcher of men, Who would captivate, fascinate This would be loner, stretching archer, Weakening defenses, distracting from his aim. After Sunset, you are mine, Always returning, Discernment cannot control you then, For I am Queen of Night, Reflecting like a silver moon, The word of truth, echoing faintly in your ears. How can Judgment be right to keep you from me? It tries to hold you torn, not knowing, Destiny unrecognized, longing, In the stirring silence of morning. You must decide, worthy virgin or scarlet whore, Treacherous vixen, or sacred priestess, Leading to a paradise not yet found? You will discover TRUTH, When you defeat Separation and deliver me, Allowing me to permeate your fortress. Only when Night and Day unite, And reign together as One, Will there be peace in your tormented land. Oh noble knight, see me as I am, Look into my eyes, face your fear. Mine is not a lying mouth, whispering sweet nothings. I beg you to release me; do not forsake me this time. Take me with you into the light, And I will guide you to a Nirvana of delight. ~ Please Re-Member Me ~ *

Saturday, July 01, 2006

..::Make LOVE not FEAR::..

You say the hill's too steep to climb Climb it. You say you'd like to see me try Climbing. You pick the place and I'll choose the time And I'll climb That hill in my own way. Just wait a while for the right day. And as I rise above the tree lines and the clouds I look down, hearing the sound of the things you've said today. Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd Smiling. Merciless the magistrate turns 'round Frowning. And who's the fool who wears the crown? And go down, in your own way And every day is the right day And as you rise above the fear-lines in his brow You look down, hearing the sound of the faces in the crowd.

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