Sunday, December 31, 2006

Buddha With A Thousand Hands
May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. In simple words ............ May 2007 be the best year of your life!!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Alchemy of Trash: The West Coast Art of Spiritual Collage

The trivial is as deep as the profound because there is nothing in creation that does not go to the profound. — Robert Duncan

The symbols of the divine initially show up at the trash stratum. — Philip K. Dick

You have probably already heard the one about the yogi huddling in his mountain cave who believes he's finally cracked through the cosmic egg. Having reached enlightenment, he decides to clamber down to the village below and spread the love. As he wanders through the town's crowded market, some poor slob jostles him; without a thought, the holy man turns on the guy with anger. The point is that it's easy to get clear on a mountain top, but much tougher to manifest the light in the messy world most of us actually live in. But the tale also makes an ecospiritual argument, of sorts: mountains are the sites of mystical transcendence, while the human towns below embody the ordinary grind of this world.

In "Time is the Mercy of Eternity", the San Francisco poet Kenneth Rexroth — anarcho-leftist, Buddhist, and proto-Beat — describes his own mystic moment in the Sierras. This slice of time does not put him in touch with God or cosmic forces, but with the simplicity of ordinary material life: "The pale new green leaves twinkle / In the rising air." What he sees is the "holiness of the real," an experience he contrasts with the faraway city, "burning with the fire of transcendence and commodities." In a key Californian insight, Rexroth recognizes that the urban market, rather than the Zen mountaintop, is the zone enflamed with transcendent desires — or rather, that the desire that enlivens the commodities of the urban milieu is, at its essence, a desire for transcendence. Arising from the core of human suffering and dissatisfaction, the essential energy of desire is not separate from the sacred, even through it gets funneled into the secular and frequently crass fantasies that drive city life: lust, entertainment, distraction, power.

By the same token, spirituality, for us anyway, takes place in the midst of the market and its commodified fantasies. This feedback loop is especially true in California, where esoteric spirituality has long been a part of a feverish and mercantile popular culture rife with trash. What religious seeking and California culture share most essentially is an investment in fantasy — fantasy not simply as "illusion," but as the forms that fuse imagination and desire. As both ironic and populist fans of low-brow culture can attest, the ferocity of fantasy can lend a delirious dreamlike power to corny things like UFO cults and commercial entertainments like B-movies or comic books.

This paradox gets us close to the heart of sacred Los Angeles, a city that dreamt (and sold) itself into existence through real estate hype, Hollywood, and the siren call of the perfect bod. The very architecture of Los Angeles suggests this material dreaming: in the teens and twenties, the town exploded with "fantasy" buildings like Babylonian ziggurats, pyramids, witchy cottages, castles, teepees, and restaurants shaped like derbies. This slap-dash and often garish architectural raid on the collective unconscious looked forward to Disneyland, fast food signage, and the corporate "thematization" of contemporary urban space. The exotic imagination crudely stimulated by these buildings, which were often equally crudely made, also prepared the ground for the Orientalist moods and esoteric concepts that exerted enormous influence on LA's spiritual scene. In other words, the construction of trashy fantasy in the built environment created the cultural and psychic "space" for exotic, imaginative, and otherworldly faiths and experiences to grow.

Some fantasy architects were themselves active in California's spiritual fringe. The most notable was Robert Stacy-Judd, one of countless Brits who long ago transformed Los Angeles into a sort of London-on-Pacific. As a young architect in England, Stacy-Judd designed various Orientalist structures, but in California he discovered his deep and abiding love: the Maya. He built the amazing Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, which is well worth a visit, and used Mayan stylings for private homes, a Baptist Church in Ventura, and a Masonic hall in the San Fernando Valley. A kooky self-promoter, Stacy-Judd styled himself a Mayan explorer-archeologist; he also hobnobbed with Theosophists and the Philosophical Research Society's Manly P. Hall. Stealing a few pages from febrile crypto-archeologists like Ignatius Donnelly and Lewis Spence, Stacy-Judd argued in his Atlantis: Mother of Empires that the Maya descended from the Atlanteans. Presumably, Stacy-Judd believed that by creating a regional architectural style rooted in Mayan culture, the West Coast would tap into that mighty spiritual source, though it's tough to say whether the history of the Aztec Hotel — a brothel and speakeasy during prohibition — bears this out.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, a restless hunger for exotic fantasy and escape helped make Los Angeles ground zero for California's paradoxically popular esoteric scene — what I call its pop occulture. "No other city in the United States possess so large a number of metaphysical charlatans in proportion to its population," wrote local Willard Huntington Smith in 1913. "Whole buildings are devoted to occult and outlandish orders — mazdaznan clubs, yogi sects, homes of truth, cults of cosmic fluidists, astral planers, Emmanuel movers, Rosicrucians and other boozy transcendentalists." These groups drew from the creative imagination and a common pool of psycho-spiritual motifs in order to sculpt a range of sects, fads, and mental health regimens. Futuristic pseudo-sciences fused with the ancient lore introduced by Theosophists, astrologers, and encyclopedists like the afore-mentioned Hall, author of the classic omnibus folio The Secret Teachings of All Ages and collector of one of the world's greatest library of hermetic and alchemical texts (the best of which were recently pawned off to the Getty). Even Protestant fundamentalism was transformed into Hollywood spectacle by the evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who wore costumes, played jazz music, and hired Hollywood special effects guys for her "illustrated sermons."

Given all this activity, Los Angeles grew into a kind of theme park of the soul, a carnival of transcendence offering esoteric sources of entertainment, transport, and commodified wonder. Understandably, many of us react to this spectacle with mockery or befuddlement, sometimes leavened with pity for the poor dupes who get taken in. The metaphor of Oz lies heavy over California (L. Frank Baum wrote all but the first Oz book on the coast), and its pop occulture is dense with humbug and hucksters in wizard capes. But cynicism about this scene is the easy road. Such mockery usually comes from secular people--in other words, from people who believe that religion is just a cultural invention. But if this is the case, why not appreciate and enjoy the creativity? By recognizing religion as, at least partly a cultural creation, we can appreciate how, in a rootless place like Los Angeles, this creativity can and does run riot, generating novel and mutant forms for ever more deracinated souls. In its own plastic, Hollywood-backlot way, sacred LA came to resemble ancient Alexandria or modern India. Different times and places smashed into one another in a restless quest for the beyond. Syncretism reigned: esoteric notions and symbols mingled and mixed; forms of practice were nailed together as quickly as they imploded. By the time the counterculture arose, everything had become a potential source of mystic lore and spiritual intensity: surfing and comic books, sado-masochism and pharmacology, electric guitars and military research.

There is a gnawing absurdity at the heart of this mystic carnival, this tacky tinseltown of snakeoil simulacra. At its most extreme, LA's restless sacred imagination grows violent and apocalyptic; at its most banal it becomes the "spiritual supermarket," a California condition of mix-and-match cafeteria religion that has now gone global. But even the spiritual supermarket, with its Sufi audio books, Tibetan trinkets, and pre-packaged ayahuasca vacations, has a truth to tell. The truth is that the universe is pluralistic, down to its very marrow. There are many ways to God, and some of them dodge the Big Guy altogether. My way is not your way, and my way will probably change as my perspective, and the self that holds that perspective, changes.

In contrast with the absolute claims of traditional monotheism, a creative spiritual life is fundamentally relativistic. This does not mean that it denies the Beyond, only that it distrusts the packaging we give it. Whatever essential truths it seeks, such a life demands that we artfully shift between different forms, adopting multiple perspectives on a reality that remains an essential mystery. One is called upon to shake up the usual binary distinctions, like sacred and profane, trash and treasure, commerce and consciousness. Perhaps the spiritual culture that emerges from such a shake-up is, in the open-source software guru Eric Raymond's terms, not a cathedral but a bazaar. In any case, by the middle of the century, California's pop occulture was a popular market dominated by fragments, fusions, exotica, invention, and juxtaposition — a bazaar of the bizarre. But this garish and sometimes exploitative scene also suggested a more subtle lesson: that a conscious spiritual affirmation of relativism gifts us with creative uncertainty and an openness to ordinary things that can become, in the right hands, simply extraordinary.

IMAGES JUXTAPOSED

California's heterodox market of "transcendent commodities" helps explain why the best postwar California art of the 1950s and 60s was so overtly concerned with spirituality. Here I want to dodge the well-tramped territory of Beat mysticism and ramble around the formal territory of juxtaposition, particularly as it was manifested in assemblage, collage, and other appropriation-based arts and practices. Though rooted in any number of popular and folk practices, assemblage and collage represent distinctly modern artistic strategies that reflect the twentieth-century experience of a cultural landscape densely cluttered with signs, commodities, and urban detritus. Juxtaposition was important to Surrealist Europeans like Max Ernst and New Yorkers like Joseph Cornell, but, for a variety of reasons, it also flourished in the postwar West. As Peter Plagens noted in his book Sunshine Muse, "Assemblage [with its essential logic of juxtaposition] is the first home-grown California modern art." Simon Rodia's cathedral-like Watts Towers, constructed out of broken pottery, chicken wire, and the fragmentary flotsam of consumer culture, prophetically foreshadow a number of postwar artists — like Jess, Bruce Conner, Larry Jordan, George Herms, Wallace Berman, and Helen Adam — who appropriated and recombined images, styles, and materials in a variety of media.

If West Coast spiritual bricoleurs had a guru, that person would have to be Wallace Berman, a quiet but powerfully influential mensch whose work and life seemed to achieve the Beat blend of sacred and quotidian. Though he crafted some remarkable work, particularly a series of collages made with an old Verifax machine, Berman was less a formal trailblazer than a germinator of scenes and styles, a diffuse presence who influenced his peers with an underground Beat sensibility both hip and human. Berman was a disseminator. In a brief cameo appearance in his friend Dennis Hopper's film Easy Rider, he plays a sower of seeds.

Berman grew up a secular Jew in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights and Fairfax districts. Hebrew letters were scattered throughout his environment, on newspapers and in butcher shop windows. Later this alphabet became his signature sign, especially the letter aleph, which he painted onto his motorcycle helmet. In the 1950s, Berman created faux-Dead Sea Scrolls parchments using the alphabet, and placed the letters in assemblages; later he would paint them on rocks. But these letters never formed actual words; they remained conventionally "meaningless", at once surface decorations and hieroglyphs too deep for common sense. If you want to, you can go Kabbalistic on all this, though Berman himself was typically incommunicative about his intent. During one early show of the parchment paintings, Berman told the actor Dean Stockwell about the work's Kabbalistic dimensions; to the poet Philip Lamantia, who, unlike Stockwell, actually knew something about Jewish mysticism, he denied any connection.

In Kabbalah, language is not seen as a human filter that we overlay onto some more primordial reality; instead it is that reality. There are many visions of this original Torah, and a few of them anticipate Berman's linguistic assemblages. One eighteenth-century rabbi from Syria claims that, before creation, the original Torah was "a heap of unarranged primal letters." In response to Adam's actions, this original alphabet formed the particular words that made the world the way it is today. But it does not have to be this way; some kabbalists suggest that the messianic world will come about through a renaming. Berman's "meaningless" combinations are in a sense a kind of sacred "cut-up." Though he ignored the divinatory and synchronistic potential of the cut-up that so compelled Brion Gyson and William Burroughs, Berman does gesture towards the redemptive potential of hermetic nonsense. His letters are playful but profound mysteries - an attempt to invoke the creative plenitude of language as if it were the jazz scat singing that Berman imbibed as a zoot-suit-wearing hepcat in LA's 1940s jazz scene.

David Meltzer, the West Coast Beat poet and sometimes Kabbalist, approaches Berman's mysticism in a less literalistic way. Meltzer explains that his friend was acutely "aware of an unarticulated imperative to sacralize and somehow repair the broken post-war world." He compares the operation to tikkun, the notion, drawn from Isaac Luria's messianic Kabbalism, that humans must put back the fragmented pieces of creation. For many twentieth century mystics, this sort of labor is placed under the goals of unity and wholeness — noble goals that don't often make great art. More subtly, Meltzer compares the work of tikkun to the hipster trick of "digging" something, which he characterizes as "appropriating the most mundane object, the most vilified or rejected artifact, and restoring it to a primary glory." Meltzer describes in loving detail the marvelous bric-a-brac found at the Berman's home, and most of us know of or live in "bohemian" spaces whose poverty is redeemed by strange and gentle shrines constructed from marvelous ground scores or thrift store finds. Once these objects have reached the end of their life cycle as commodities, another kind of life is possible, the life of sacred appropriation. Explains Meltzer: "It was a hybrid kind of anti-materialism or counter-materialism, privileging the continuously-new beauty of a particular stone or a time-deformed mass-produced object found in the gutter in the same way it embraced Cocteau's Orphee or Vivaldi."

Berman actually made only a few assemblages during the 1950s, and many of those are arguably sculptures or installations. However you pigeonhole them, his most important mixed media show took place at the Ferus Gallery in 1957. His religious concerns were palpable. Temple resembled a large wooden sentry box or confessional. Inside, a robed figure stood with a key hung from its neck, while its head turned away from the audience. The floor beneath the figure was strewn with pages of Semina, a collage-like "magazine" of images and poems by friends and heroes that Berman sent for free to his circle of compatriots through the early 1970s. Though it came in different forms, Semina was essentially a folder of loose paper that had to be arranged, Tarot-like, by the reader; Michael McLure, whose "Peyote Poem" debuted in Semina 3, called it a "scrapbook of the spirit."

Panel were a much denser piece than Temple: a mysterious wooden cabinet that incorporated photos of his wife, hidden compartments, mirrors, letters, and a long narrow image of swimmers surfacing into the light. There was a hushed mystery to the piece, at once a wrestling and an opening. Cross featured a slender wooden cross; from its left arm dangled a small shadow box that included a mandala-like photo of a cock plunging into a cunt above the inscribed motto factum fidei (true facts). As Rebecca Solnit points out, in the hypermodernist American art world of the mid-1950s, such hieratic objects — which "pointed at something beyond themselves and drew their meaning from that beyond" — had the force of blasphemy.

Local law enforcement also found them blasphemous. Summoned to the gallery because of Cross' photo, they ironically overlooked the graphic shot, but busted Berman for an sketch included in the Semina issue scattered on the floor: a lusty, almost Frazetta-esque fantasy of a demon taking a woman from behind. The item was drawn by Cameron, Berman's most direct connection to LA's occult underground and a woman whose full story remains to be told. The red-headed artist, scenester and occultist had been married to Jack Parsons, the CalTech rocketman who led the Los Angeles Agape Lodge of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templar Orientis and took the Beast's sex magick even more seriously that Crowley himself. Cameron served as Parson's muse during the latter part of his apocalyptic "Babalon Working". Following Parsons' mysterious death in 1952 (he exploded in his garage lab), Cameron became LA's pre-eminent bohemian witch, making the odd talismanic art piece, upstaging Anais Nin as the Whore of Babylon in Kenneth Anger's 1954 "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome", and even frightening Dennis Hopper. She also clued Berman's scene into the power of magick (which, as Anger's film shows, is itself all about acute psychic montage). George Herms, whose assemblages would outpace Berman's tiny output in both formal power and enigmatic fire, said that Cameron "molded and formed me."

Berman's Ferus installation was a pretty hermetic deal; you get the sense that you kinda had to be there, maybe be part of the scene to really get it. But in the early 1960s Berman began to work on his most accessible and compelling works, a series of collages that seemed to tune directly into the collective mind. Using an obsolete Verifax photocopier, which used negatives and treated paper, Berman made a series of pieces that channeled the overwhelming spew of images, ads and information that came to define the 60s mediascape. Each image contains single or multiple repetitions of the same visual placeholder: a hand holding a small AM/FM transistor radio. Within the "frame" of the radio, Berman placed an enormous range of images, including magic mushrooms, cheetahs, astronauts, hermetic glyphs, naked ladies, pot leaves, Buddhas, airplanes, Indian chiefs, popes, starbursts, movie stars, dolls, and clocks. Originally Berman used a TV set for the frame, but the transistor radio fused speech and image into a deeper alchemy that Christopher Knight called "a visual chant." The resulting collages suggested that the emerging global mind, for all its image storms, had the magical intimacy that McLuhan called "acoustic space."

Berman's Verifax collages had a modest influence on the art world, earning Berman a spot in the gallery of oddballs that Peter Blake created for the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Berman's repeating figure and appropriated images also clearly anticipate Pop Art's later obsession with mechanical reproduction and commodity images. But as with other California artists, Berman's relationship to the signs on the street carries a more esoteric intensity and fragile sense of yearning than the self-conscious impersonality of Warhol, Lichtenstein or Rauschenberg. Part of this difference is environmental; New York was at the heart of the secular world of media, whereas California's strong media culture, however dominated by the culture industry, has always radiated an air of fantasy and transcendence, however garish. But much more important is the lived context within which Berman and his fellow friends and artists worked: a life authentically rooted in the noncommercial margins of bohemia, a magic circle of art and fellowship and esoteric romanticism that transmuted the objects and images it embraced.

Berman was by no means the only spiritual collagist on the West Coast. Another artist was Helen Adam, an obscure Scottish-born San Franciscan who wrote morbid ballads and, beginning in the mid-1950s, made simple but intensely witchy collages of women interacting with strange beasts; to these she attached textual fragments drawn from folklore and Victoriana. Adam's great inspiration was her friend Jess Collins, the godfather of California collage. Abandoning his career in atomic chemistry in the late 40s, Jess pursued abstract expressionist painting at the California School of Fine Arts until he gave himself over to making "Paste-Ups" out of pop ephemera. 1954's Goddess Because Is Is Falling Asleep — whose regal central figure sprouts a huge foot beside a lobster bouquet surrounded by text like "Of Nature and Art and a Puppy Pilgrimage" — is halfway between Max Ernst and Terry Gilliam. At the time Jess also made seven Dick Tracy comic-strip collages called Tricky Cad; by placing odd text in the dialogue balloons and mocking the authoritarian slant of a comic he had loved as a kid, Jess not only anticipated the Situationist detournement of comic strips but the vital postwar strategy of scrambling high and low art.

By the 1960s, Jess' earlier, more satiric and disjointed paste-ups had evolved into fantastic landscapes assembled from hundreds of puzzle-like fragments. Dense and fluid, and with an architectural sensibility lacking in many later pothead collages of this type, these worlds are chock full of visual puns, curious correspondences, and shining denizens of the archetypal otherworld. Even in reproductions, which make large scale collages look flat and busy, Jess' work still radiates an intense hallucinogenic suggestibility. Many, like his incomplete Tarot series, directly engage esoteric themes; others pursue a hermetic homoeroticism that reaches its apex in his late work Narkissos. In light of later hippie excesses, such esoteric subjects may seem banal, but in the late 1950s the material had not yet gone the way of mystical kitsch. Jess engaged the mysteries with a romantic intelligence both modern and anti-modern. On the one hand, he was an appropriation artist celebrating the possibilities that arise when art world hierarchies are inverted and fragments torn from the passing surfaces of modern life are slammed together. At the same time, these possibilities also suggest the old romantic heresies of magic and transcendence: faced with a jumble of resonant and juxtaposed images, our minds inevitably start playing the game of analogies and correspondences. As we connect fragments into hidden networks, the logic of those connections becomes dreamlike, even erotic. Such subconscious montage, which is what real magic entails, was well known to the Surrealists, but by using appropriated materials, Jess moves even closer to a direct enchantment of the ordinary fragmentary world.

For all their immersive intensity, many of Jess' collages are marred by the giddiness inherent in such dense and richly colored overlays, and they largely lack the clarity and power of his "Translations". This series of oil paintings, which he began in 1959, are based directly on images Jess would lift from old yearbooks, alchemical tomes, bubblegum cards, or moldy stacks of Scientific American. Strictly adhering to the outlines (though not the colors) of the original images, the Translations gesture towards Warhol's later by-the-number paintings. Though they are tinged with a similarly tart sense of belated irony, the Translations more closely resemble the internal theater of creative memory, which remakesÑor translatesÑ random but resonant snapshots of the world into internal phantasmagoria. When Jess reproduced the Translations in books, he paired them with texts from sources as wide-ranging as Plotinus, the Popul Vuh, and the American John Uri Lloyd's 1895 proto-psychedelic fantasy Etidorpha. Oftentimes these parings juxtapose modern and mythic, as when a somewhat bilious image of a nineteenth-century grinding machine is paired with a scene from Celtic lore where the hero Fionn mac Cumhal asks Finnegas for the craft of poetry. These pairings deepen the question of what, exactly, is being translated: is it the images, the words, or some more ineffable spirit behind such markers and correspondences? What fuses fragments when they remain, for all intents and purposes, fragments?

Like the Paste-Ups and his later Salvages (thrift-store canvases reworked on the easel), Jess' work relies on his own resonance with largely marginalized pre-existing images. "I salvage loved images that for some reason have been discarded and I come across them. I've, at times, found wonderful things on the street, just thrown away. If you find something that you really respond to that someone else has thrown away, it's a kind of mini-salvation." This is the alchemy of trash. Though recognizing his high art predecessors (the "Translations" quote Kandinsky and Gertrude Stein, and Surrealism looms large), Jess also tipped his hat to the popular and folklorish dimension of the art of appropriationÑan affirmation of premodern sources that set the West Coast apart from Europe and New York. When discussing influences, Jess would place San Francisco's Playland-by-the-Beach and John Neill's Oz illustrations alongside Ernst and Gaudi. Today this kind of hip populism is tediously de rigueur ("Margaret Keane and Esquivel are geniuses!"); in the 1950s, before the self-conscious ironies of Pop, it was scandalous, visionary, romantic, and, perhaps most importantly, rooted in the ordinary truth of modern experience. Jess, who grew up in LA, talked about visiting old mining towns in the Mojave Desert with his dad. The fabled prospector Old Sourdough was still alive, and Jess remembers the slapdash collage of calendars, posters, and ads that graced one of his ramshackle cabins: "a little palace assembled from scrap wood, pieces of aluminum, junk, tins, almost any type of found object you can imagine."

Jess was no gutter artist, though, and his most profound work of mythopoetic collage achieves a high tone of lyrical and philosophical intensity. Narkissos is an immense paste-up assembled from hand-drawn copies that Jess made, in pencil, of bits and pieces he had cataloged over the decades. Based on a sketch first made in 1959, Narkissos stands almost six feet tall and took Jess over twenty years of obsessive work to complete (and then only after he gave up the plan to execute a mirror image of the work in oils). Narkissos is a masterpiece, perhaps the single greatest work of collage by an American, and, for my money, the high peak of spiritual plastic art in California. It is a dark and playful palimpsest of fairy tales and heavy gnostic truths, a hall of hieroglyphic mirrors that reflects on the myth of Narcissus until the reflections — and the desires that motivate them — melt into the empyrean. Narkissos drips with allusions, inside jokes, puns, and echoes (including Echo). The figure of Pan, for example, is a composite figure drawn from a Pan-amanian flute player. Similar, if less corny, gotchas await those who contemplate the woman on the tricycle, or the ergot of rye that lies near the pool, or the figure of Eros himself, which Jess assembled from a Hellenist bronze, a hunk from The Young Physique, and a trippy design from the Symbolist painter Charles Filiger.

Behind all this archetypal ping-pong lies the mystical real deal: an elusive and many-layered invocation of the romantic imagination based on Jess' deep study of the hermetic, Neoplatonic and Romantic transformation of Ovid's classic telling of the myth. Of course, Jess doesn't hand you such meanings on a platter, and not just because he wants you to do your own conceptual and spiritual work to make the meanings real. In Jess' romantic conception, meaning itself is infinite, not in the endlessly deferred sense of the deconstructionists, but in the excessive, almost carnivalesque sense of dream's endless labyrinth. But even as Jess' esoteric reading resonates in the primal Platonic cave of myth-making and desire, its echoes can also be heard in the clamorous din of commercial culture. Metropolis and a Maurice Sendek frog both make an appearance in the work, and the figure of Narcissus prominently clutches a strip of Krazy Kat panels (whose creator, the brilliant George Herriman, lived and worked in Los Angeles). Myth-time is always ready to burst through modern time, or even the personal mythology of the individual, countercultural artist. In other words, if Jess' romance is true, then the forces he evokes are much larger than the individual artist: the imagination we discover working in this hermetic cartoon does not, as he once said, "stop where my imagination leaves off."

As with Berman, Jess wove together his work and his life. And that life in turn was thoroughly intertwined with the life of poet Robert Duncan, whom he first me in 1951. A Bay Area denizen whose poetic voice matured in the 1950s and 60s, Duncan's standing among popular readers of poetry has suffered unfairly from the fact that, while he wrote some of the most spiritually mighty poetry in postwar America, he was not a Beat. It also can be difficult stuff. As a poet, Duncan was more an heir of H.D. and MallarmÂŽ than of Whitman or William Carlos Williams, and, though he shared the romanticism of figures like Ginsberg and Snyder, his tastes and sensibility were almost anachronistic. The mountain-man populism and loud-mouthed, self-promoting sass of so much Beat poetry, which for all its marvels is largely to blame for horrors like the 1990s poetry slam scene, was alien to Duncan, who was deeply versed in hermeticism, mythology, and gnostic literature. Like Yeats, he was beholden to a high and esoteric romanticism, but a romanticism whose spectral beams he redirected through a postwar filter of Freudian self-consciousness, social fragmentation, and an acute awareness of the violent contradictions of eros and the mercurial inconsistency of the psyche.

Commentators often explain the Beat celebration of drugs, mysticism, and Zen as just ways that bohemians could resist the mundane values forced upon them by their upbringing. This pat reading, which tends to reduce transcendence to rebellion and the spiritual to "culture," does not work with Duncan, whose adoptive parents were bourgeois occultsts — members of a small Bay Area Hermetic Brotherhood that had spun off the UK's proto-Theosophical Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. Duncan's parents picked the baby based on his astrological chart, which suggested to them that his last incarnation occurred during the fading days of Atlantis. As a boy, Duncan had a recurrent apocalyptic dream that he came to believe was a memory of Atlantis; this dream later formed the psychic nut of one of his most famous poems, "Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow."

Though a lifelong acolyte of the romantic imagination, Duncan was never a true believer, and he never became a public mystic like Ginsberg or Gary Snyder. But though his appreciation for the occult was in a large part aesthetic — one senses that he loved Hermes Trismegistus the way he loved Tic Toc of Oz — he intimately understood that esoterica was, in essence, a spiritual assemblage. Syncretism was the name of the game. Duncan was fascinated, for example, by Madame Blavatsky's core texts Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, which are both frothing stews of astrology, alchemy, numerology, neo-Platonism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, and Vedic systems. He called them "midden heaps where, beyond the dictates of reason, as in the collagist's art, from what has been disregarded or fallen into disregard, genres are mixed, exchanges are made, mutations begun from scraps and excerpts from different picturesÉto form the figures of a new composition." While he did not believe Blavatsky's mystic claims, he still bought her basic line. As Duncan put it in his amazing H.D. Book: "until man lives once more in these awes and consecrations, these obediences to what he does not know but feels, until he takes new thought in what he has discarded, he will not understand what he is."

Duncan tried to live and write his life in obedience to these "awes and consecrations," thoses transpersonal forces that surround and in some sense compose the self. Rather than "express himself," like the heroic Beat soul, Duncan took the passive part, opening his soul to influences incoming from literature, dream, painting, the newspaper, the gods, and the spontaneity of language itself. Poetry was the "opening of a field" where such forces would meet, combine, and clash; as the poet, he was as interested as anyone to see how it all came out. Of course, there is an oracular dimension to all this. Duncan did not revise his poetry much, and his great "Medieval Poems" were essentially channeled a la surrealism.

On a more intimate level, this field is a frame of spiritual collage. Duncan's relationship to the forces of the psyche was essentially that of an appropriation artist who, as Jess once described it, allows found images to find him. On a broader level, Duncan believed his writing was part of a "grand collage" of aesthetic and imaginative life, a belief reflected not only in the numerous citations he weaves into his verse, but also to his poetry's almost Borgesian ambiance of allusion, reference, and bibliomania. His long series of "Passages" cite Emperor Julian and Ezra Pound, and occasionally simply lists cool books like The Aurora, The Secret Book of the Egyptian Gnostics and The Princess and the Goblin. "Apprehensions," perhaps his single most haunting and convulsive work, weaves quotations from Marcilio Ficino and Bruno of Nola into a poem that reads like the tendrils of a fast-fading revelation tickling you from the far sides of dream.

Duncan's citations and allusions are hardly bubblegum cards found at the side of the road, but his work is still an extension of the Californian alchemy of trash — the "midden heaps" of its pop occulture, the ugly bric-a-brac of a mercantile frontier awaiting transformation. In "Nel Mezzo Del Cammin Di Nostra Vita," written in 1959, Duncan reflects on this alchemy in his praise of the Watts Towers, built in the flats southeast of downtown LA by the untrained Italian tile-setter Simon Rodia:

scavenged from the city dump, from sea-wrack, taller than the Holy Roman Catholic church steeples, and, moreover, inspired; built up from bits of beauty sorted out-thirty-three years of it- the great mitred structure rising out of squalid suburbs where the mind is beaten back to the traffic, ground down to the drugstore, the mean regular houses straggling out of downtown sections of imagination defeated.

Unlike most writers on the Towers, Duncan recognizes the hieratic dimension of the three spires; in one of the poem's smattering of citations, he quotes Rodia himself claiming "They're taller than the church." For Duncan, these weird marvelous towers, which continue to stand today despite planning commissions and Rodia's own lack of architectural training, are icons of spiritual collage. The Towers are the cathedral of a scavenger's art, "dedicated to itself," that moves through but transcends the structures of religion as it jury-rigs its form of the realized imagination from "bits of beauty" and stones rejected. What results is scandalous to both traditionalists and moderns:

an original, accretion of disregarded splendors resurrected against the rules, having in this its personal joke; its genius misfitting the expected mediocre; an ecstasy of broken bottles and colored dishes thrown up against whatever piety, city ordinance, plans, risking height.

Nothing shocking here: these are good old twentieth-century Bohemian values. Duncan praises the outsider artist, who goes against the grain, risks height, ignores dogma. This is all part of our "alternative" myth these days, but it remains to be seen whether the margins still exist — culturally, economically, spiritually — that could allow such creative feats to flourish. Juxtaposition has become an advertiser's art. Trash is not the same thing today, in our belated self-conscious world of thrift-store savvy, mediated hipster rebellion, and omniverous collector mania. Before you know it, it's on Ebay. Many of us still hear the spiritual call of redemptive refuse, of glimmers, junk, and "bits of beauty." But it remains to be seen whether we can join the ranks of those who, in Ginsberg's howling words, "dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed..."


Friday, December 29, 2006

Illegal Art

From Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age, by Stay Free!

The laws governing "intellectual property" have grown so expansive in recent years that artists need legal experts to sort them all out. Borrowing from another artwork—as jazz musicians did in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators did in 1940s—will now land you in court. If the current copyright laws had been in effect back in the day, whole genres such as collage, hiphop, and Pop Art might have never have existed.

The irony here couldn't be more stark. Rooted in the U.S. Constitution, copyright was originally intended to facilitate the exchange of ideas but is now being used to stifle it.

The Illegal Art Exhibit will celebrate what is rapidly becoming the "degenerate art" of a corporate age: art and ideas on the legal fringes of intellectual property. Some of the pieces in the show have eluded lawyers; others have had to appear in court.

Play this page as an MP3 playlist

  1. NegativlandU2: Special Edit Radio Mix (5:46)
  2. Biz MarkieAlone Again (2:52) *
  3. People Like UsSwinglargo (5:20)
  4. CulturcideThey Aren't the World (4:30) *
  5. The Evolution Control CommitteeRocked by Rape (4:28)
  6. Beastie BoysRock Hard (4:53) *
  7. Dummy Runf.d. (1:23)
  8. John Oswaldblack (2:01)
  9. Corporal BlossomWhite Christmas (3:19)
  10. Tape-beatlesReality of Matter (2:37)
  11. Public EnemyPsycho of Greed (3:11)
  12. The VerveBittersweet Symphony (4:35) *
  13. WobblyClawing Your Eyes Out Down to Your Throat (1:21)
  14. De La SoulTransmitting Live from Mars (1:07) *
  15. Buchanan and GoodmanThe Flying Saucer (4:18) *
  16. The JAMsThe Queen and I (4:50) *
  17. ElasticaConnection (2:20) *
  18. Steinski and Mass MediaThe Motorcade Sped On (4:26) *
  19. Invisibl Skratch Piklzwhite label edit (5:30) *
  20. Xper.XrWu-chu-tung (1:43)
  21. Boone BischoffHappy Birthday To You (0:28)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ouija: A History

The following article appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of Esopus (www.esopusmag.com), a biannual of arts and culture. It is also available at: www.mitchhorowitz.com.

OUIJA!

How this American Anomaly Became More than Just Fun and Games

By Mitch Horowitz

Ouija. For some the rectangular board evokes memories of late-night sleepover parties, shrieks of laughter, and toy shelves brimming with Magic Eight Balls, Frisbees, and Barbie dolls.

For others, Ouija boards – known more generally as talking boards or spirit boards – have darker associations. Stories abound of fearsome entities making threats, dire predictions, and even physical assaults on innocent users after a night of Ouija experimentation.

And the fantastic claims don’t stop there: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill vowed until his death in 1995 that his most celebrated work was written with the use of a homemade Ouija board.

For my part, I first discovered the mysterious workings of Ouija nearly twenty years ago during a typically freezing-cold winter on eastern Long Island. While heaters clanked and hummed within the institutional-white walls of my college dormitory, friends allayed boredom with a Parker Brothers Ouija board.

As is often the case with Ouija, one young woman became the ringleader of board readings. She reprised the role of spirit medium that had typically fallen to women in past eras, when the respectable clergy was a male-only affair. Under the gaze of her dark eyes – which others said gave them chills – the late-night Ouija sessions came into vogue.

Most of my evenings were given over to editing the college newspaper, but I often arrived home at the dorm to frightening stories: The board, one night, kept spelling out the name “Seth,” which my friends associated with evil. (Probably connecting it with the malevolent Egyptian god Set, who is seen as a Satan prototype.) When asked, “Who’s Seth?” the board directed its attention to a member of the group, and repeatedly replied: “Ask Carlos.” A visibly shaken Carlos began breathing heavily and refused to answer.

Consumed as I was with exposing scandals within the campus food service, I never took the opportunity to sit-in on these séances – a move I came to regard with a mixture of relief and regret. The idea that a mass-produced game board and its plastic pointer could display some occult faculty, or could tap into a user’s subconscious, got under my skin. And I wasn’t alone: In its heyday, Ouija outsold Monopoly.

Ouija boards have sharply declined in popularity since the 1960s and 70s, when you could find one in nearly every toy-cluttered basement. But they remain among the most peculiar consumer items in American history. Indeed, controversy endures to this day over their origin. To get a better sense of what Ouija boards are – and where they came from – requires going back to an era in which even an American president dabbled in talking to the dead.

SPIRITUALISM TRIUMPHANT

Today, it is difficult to imagine the popularity enjoyed by the movement called Spiritualism in the nineteenth century, when table rapping, séances, medium trances, and other forms of contacting the “other side” were practiced by an estimated ten percent of the population. It began in 1848 when the teenaged sisters Kate and Margaret Fox introduced “spirit rapping” to a lonely hamlet in upstate New York called Hydesville. While every age and culture had known hauntings, Spiritualism appeared to foster actual communication with the beyond. Within a few years, people from every walk of life took seriously the contention that one could talk to the dead.

For many, Spiritualism seemed to extend the hope of reaching loved ones, and perhaps easing the pain of losing a child to one of the diseases of the day. The allure of immortality or of feeling oneself lifted beyond workaday realities attracted others. For others still, spirit counsels became a way to cope with anxiety about the future, providing otherworldly advice in matters of health, love, or money.

According to newspaper accounts of the era, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a séance in the White House – though more as a good-humored parlor game than as a serious spiritual inquiry. Yet at least one vividly rendered Spiritualist memoir places a trance medium in the private quarters of the White House, advising the President and Mrs. Lincoln just after the outbreak of the Civil War.

MAKING CONTACT

In this atmosphere of ghostly knocks and earnest pleas to hidden forces, nineteenth-century occultists began looking for easier ways to communicate with the beyond. And in the best American fashion, they took a do-it-yourself approach to the matter. Their homespun efforts at contacting the spirit world led toward something we call Ouija – but not until they worked through several other methods.

One involved a form of table rapping in which questioners solicited spirit knocks when letters of the alphabet were called out, thus spelling a word. This was, however, a tedious and time-consuming exercise. A faster means was by “automatic writing,” in which spirit beings could communicate through the pen of a channeler; but some complained that this produced many pages of unclear or meandering prose.

One invention directly prefigured the heart-shaped pointer that moves around the Ouija board. The planchette – French for “little plank” – was a three-legged writing tool with a hole at the top for the insertion of a pencil. The planchette was designed for one person or more to rest their fingers on it and allow it to “glide” across a page, writing out a spirit message. The device originated in Europe in the early 1850s; by 1860 commercially manufactured planchettes were advertised in America.

Two other items from the 1850s are direct forebears to Ouija: “dial plates” and alphabet paste boards. In 1853 a Connecticut Spiritualist invented the “Spiritual Telegraph Dial,” a roulette-like wheel with letters and numerals around its circumference. Dial plates came in various forms, sometimes of a complex variety. Some were rigged to tables to respond to “spirit tilts,” while others were presumably guided – like a planchette – by the hands of questioners.

Alphabet boards further simplified matters. In use as early as 1852, these talking-board precursors allowed seekers to point to a letter as a means of prompting a “spirit rap,” thereby quickly spelling a word. It was, perhaps, the easiest method yet. And it was only a matter of time until inventors and entrepreneurs began to see the possibilities.

BALTIMORE ORACLES

More than 150 years after the dawn of the Spiritualist era, contention endures over who created Ouija. The conventional history of American toy manufacturing credits a Baltimore businessman named William Fuld. Fuld, we are told, “invented” Ouija around 1890. So it is repeated online and in books of trivia, reference works, and “ask me” columns in newspapers. For many decades, the manufacturer itself – first Fuld’s company and later the toy giant Parker Brothers – insinuated as much by running the term “William Fuld Talking Board Set” across the top of every board.

The conventional history is wrong.

The patent for a “Ouija or Egyptian luck-board” was filed on May 28, 1890 by Baltimore resident and patent attorney Elijah H. Bond, who assigned the rights to two city businessmen, Charles W. Kennard and William H.A. Maupin. The patent was granted on February 10, 1891, and so was born the Ouija-brand talking board.

The first patent reveals a familiarly oblong board, with the alphabet running in double rows across the top, and numbers in a single row along the bottom. The sun and moon, marked respectively by the words “yes” and “no,” adorn the upper left and right corners, while the words “Good bye” appear at the bottom center. Later on, instructions and the illustrations accompanying them, prescribed an expressly social - even flirtatious - experience: Two parties, preferably a man and woman, were to balance the board between them on their knees, placing their fingers lightly upon the planchette. ("It draws the two people using it into close companionship and weaves about them a feeling of mysterious isolation," the box read.) In an age of buttoned-up morals, it was a tempting dalliance.

TRUE ORIGINS

The Kennard Novelty Company of Baltimore employed a teenaged varnisher who helped run shop operations, and this was William Fuld. By 1892, however, Charles W. Kennard’s partners removed him from the company amid financial disputes and a new patent – this time for an improved pointer, or planchette – was filed by a 19-year-old Fuld. In years to come, it was Fuld who would take over the company and affix his name to every board.

Based on an account in a 1920 magazine article, inventor’s credit sometimes goes to an E.C. Reichie, alternately identified as a Maryland cabinetmaker or coffin maker. This theory was popularized by a defunct Baltimore business monthly called Warfield’s, which ran a richly detailed – and at points, one suspects, richly imagined – history of Ouija boards in 1990. The article opens with a misspelled E.C. “Reiche” as the board’s inventor, and calls him a coffin maker with an interest in the afterlife – a name and a claim that have been repeated and circulated ever since.

Yet this figure appears virtually nowhere else in Ouija history, including on the first patent. His name came up during a period of patent litigation about thirty years after Ouija’s inception. A 1920 account in New York’s World Magazine – widely disseminated that year in the popular weekly The Literary Digest – reports that one of Ouija’s early investors told a judge that E.C. Reichie had invented the board. But no reference to an E.C. Reichie – be he a cabinetmaker or coffin maker – appears in the court transcript, according to Ouija historian and talking-board manufacturer Robert Murch.

Ultimately, Reichie’s role, or whether there was a Reichie, may be moot, at least in terms of the board’s invention. Talking boards of a homemade variety were already a popular craze among Spiritualists by the mid-1880s. At his online Museum of Talking Boards, Ouija collector and chronicler Eugene Orlando posts an 1886 article from the New-York Daily Tribune (as reprinted that year in a Spiritualist monthly, The Carrier Dove) describing the breathless excitement around the new-fangled alphabet board and its message indicator. “I know of whole communities that are wild over the 'talking board,'” says a man in the article. This was a full four years before the first Ouija patent was filed. Obviously Bond, Kennard, and their associates were capitalizing on an invention – not conceiving of one.

And what of the name Ouija? Alternately pronounced wee-JA and wee-GEE, its origin may never be known. Kennard at one time claimed it was Egyptian for “good luck” (it’s not). Fuld later said it was simply a marriage of the French and German words for “yes.” One early investor claimed the board spelled out its own name. As with other aspects of Ouija history, the board seems determined to withhold a few secrets of its own.

ANCIENT OUIJA?

Another oft-repeated, but misleading, claim is that Ouija, or talking boards, have ancient roots. In a typical example, Frank Gaynor’s 1953 Dictionary of Mysticism states that ancient boards of different shapes and sizes “were used in the sixth century before Christ.” In a wide range of books and articles, everyone from Pythagoras to the Mongols to the Ancient Egyptians is said to have possessed Ouija-like devices. But the claims rarely withstand scrutiny.

Chronicler-curator Orlando points out that the primary reference to Ouija existing in the pre-modern world appears in a passage from Lewis Spence’s 1920 Encyclopedia of Occultism – which is repeated in Nandor Fodor’s popular 1934 Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. The Fodor passage reads, in part: “As an invention it is very old. It was in use in the days of Pythagoras, about 540 B.C. According to a French historical account of the philosopher’s life, his sect held frequent séances or circles at which ‘a mystic table, moving on wheels, moved towards signs, which the philosopher and his pupil Philolaus, interpreted to the audience...’” It is, Orlando points out, “the one recurring quote found in almost every academic article on the Ouija board.” But the story presents two problems: The “French historical account” is never identified; and the Pythagorean scribe Philolaus lived not in Pythagoras’s time, but in the following century.

It is also worth keeping in mind that we know precious little today about Pythagoras and his school. No writings of Pythagoras survive, and the historical record depends upon later works – some of which were written centuries after his death. Hence, commentators on occult topics are sometimes tempted to project backwards onto Pythagoras all sorts of arcane practices, Ouija and modern numerology among them.

Still other writers – when they are not repeating claims like the one above – tend to misread ancient historical accounts and mistake other divinatory tools, such as pendulum dishes, for Ouija boards. Oracles were rich and varied from culture to culture – from Germanic runes to Greek Delphic rites – but the prevailing literature on oracular traditions supports no suggestion that talking boards, as we know them, were in use before the Spiritualist era.

OUIJA BOOM

After William Fuld took the reins of Ouija manufacturing in America, business was brisk – if not always happy. Fuld formed a quickly shattered business alliance with his brother Isaac, which landed the two in court battles for nearly twenty years. Isaac was eventually found to have violated an injunction against creating a competing board, called the Oriole, after being forced from the family business in 1901. The two brothers would never speak again. Ouija, and anything that looked directly like it, was firmly in the hands of William Fuld.

By 1920, the board was so well known that artist Norman Rockwell painted a send-up of a couple using one – the woman dreamy and credulous, the man fixing her with a cloying grin – for a cover of The Saturday Evening Post. For Fuld, though, everything was strictly business. “Believe in the Ouija board?” he once told a reporter. “I should say not. I’m no spiritualist. I’m a Presbyterian – been one ever since I was so high.” In 1920, the Baltimore Sun reported that Fuld, by his own “conservative estimate,” had pocketed an astounding $1 million from sales.

Whatever satisfaction Fuld’s success may have brought him was soon lost: On February 26, 1927, he fell to his death from the roof of his Baltimore factory. The 54-year-old manufacturer was supervising the replacement of a flagpole when an iron support bar he held gave way, and he fell three stories backward.

Fuld’s children took over his business – and generally prospered. While sales dipped and rose – and competing boards came and went – only the Ouija brand endured. And by the 1940s, Ouija was experiencing a new surge in popularity.

Historically, séances and other Spiritualist methods proliferate during times of war. Spiritualism had seen its last great explosion of interest in the period around World War I, when parents yearned to contact children lost to the battlefield carnage. In World War II, many anxious families turned to Ouija. In a 1944 article, “The Ouija Comes Back,” The New York Times reported that one New York City department store alone sold 50,000 Ouija boards in a five-month period.

American toy manufacturers were taking notice. Some attempted knock-off products. But Parker Brothers developed bigger plans. In a move that would place a carryover from the age of Spiritualism into playrooms all across America, the toy giant bought the rights for an undisclosed sum in 1966. The Fuld family was out of the picture, and Ouija was about to achieve its biggest success ever.

The following year, Parker Brothers is reported to have sold more than two million Ouija boards – topping sales of its most popular game, Monopoly. The occult boom that began in the late 1960s, as astrologers adorned the cover of Time magazine and witchcraft became a fast-growing “new” religion, fueled the board’s sales for the following decades. A Parker spokesperson says the company has sold over ten million boards since 1967.

The sixties and seventies also saw the rise of Ouija as a product of the youth culture. Ouija circles sprang up in college dormitories, and the board emerged as a fad among adolescents, for whom its ritual of secret messages and intimate communications became a form of rebellion. One youthful experimenter recalls an enticing atmosphere of danger and intrigue – “like shoplifting or taking drugs” – that allowed her and a girlfriend to bond together over Ouija sessions in which they contacted the spirit of “Candelyn,” a nineteenth-century girl who had perished in a fire. Sociologists suggested that Ouija sessions were a way for young people to project, and work through, their own fears. But many Ouija users claimed that the verisimilitude of the communications were reason enough to return to the board.

OUIJA TODAY

While officials at Parker Brothers (now a division of Hasbro) would not get into the ebb and flow of sales, there’s little question that Ouija has declined precipitously in recent years. In 1999, the company brought an era to an end when it discontinued the vintage Fuld design and switched to a smaller, glow-in-the-dark version of the board. In consumer manufacturing, the redesign of a classic product often signals an effort to reverse falling sales. Listed at $19.95, Ouija costs about 60% more than standards like Monopoly and Scrabble, which further suggests that it has become something of a specialty item.

In a far remove from the days when Ouija led Parker Brothers’ lineup, the product now seems more like a corporate stepchild. The “Ouija Game” (“ages 8 to Adult”) merits barely a mention on Hasbro’s website. The company posts no official history for Ouija, as it does for its other storied products. And the claims from the original 1960s-era box – “Weird and mysterious. Surpasses, in its unique results, mind reading, clairvoyance and second sight” – have since been significantly toned down. Given the negative attention the board sometimes attracts – both from frightened users and religionists who smell a whiff of Satan’s doings – Ouija, its sales likely on the wane, may be a product that Hasbro would just as soon forget.

And yet...Ouija receives more customer reviews – alternately written in tones of outrage, fear, delight, or ridicule – than any other “toy” for sale on Amazon.com (280 at last count). What other “game” so polarizes opinion among those who dismiss it as a childhood plaything and those who condemn or extol it as a portal to the other side? As it did decades ago in The Exorcist, Ouija figures into the recent fright films What Lies Beneath and White Noise. And it sustains an urban mythology that continues to make it a household name in the early twenty-first century. There would seem little doubt that Ouija – as it has arisen time and again – awaits a revival in the future. But what makes this game board and its molded plastic pointer so resilient in our culture, and, some might add, in our nightmares?

“AN OCCULT SPLENDOR”

Among the first things one notices when looking into Ouija is its vast – and sometimes authentically frightening – history of stories. Claims abound from users who experienced the presence of malevolent entities during Ouija sessions, sometimes even being physically harassed by unseen forces. A typical storyline involves communication that is at first reassuring and even useful – a lost object may be recovered – but eventually gives way to threatening or terrorizing messages. Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of the eminent American psychic Edgar Cayce, cautioned that his researches found Ouija boards among the most “dangerous doorways to the unconscious.”

For their part, Ouija enthusiasts note that teachings such as the inspirational “Seth material,” channeled by Jane Roberts, first came through a Ouija board. Other channeled writings, such as an early twentieth-century series of historical novels and poems by an entity called “Patience Worth” and a posthumous “novel” by Mark Twain (pulled from the shelves after a legal outcry from the writer's estate), have reputedly come through the board. Such works, however, have rarely attracted enduring readerships. Poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes wrote haunting and dark passages about their experiences with Ouija; but none attain the level of their best work.

So, can anything of lasting value be attributed to the board – this mysterious object that has, in one form or another, been with us for nearly 120 years? The answer is yes, and it has stared us in the face for so long that we have nearly forgotten it is there.

In 1976, the American poet James Merrill published – and won the Pulitzer Prize for – an epic poem that recounted his experience, with his partner David Jackson, of using a Ouija board from 1955 to 1974. His work The Book of Ephraim was later combined with two other Ouija-inspired long poems and published in 1982 as The Changing Light at Sandover. “Many readers,” wrote critic Judith Moffett in her penetrating study entitled James Merrill, “may well feel they have been waiting for this trilogy all their lives.”

First using a manufactured board and then a homemade one – with a teacup in place of a planchette – Merrill and Jackson encounter a world of spirit “patrons” who recount to them a sprawling and profoundly involving creation myth. It is poetry steeped in the epic tradition, in which myriad characters – from W.H. Auden, to lost friends and family members, to the Greek muse/interlocutor called Ephraim – walk on and off stage. The voices of Merrill, Jackson, and those that emerge from the teacup and board, alternately offer theories of reincarnation, worldly advice, and painfully poignant reflections on the passing of life and ever-hovering presence of death.

The Changing Light at Sandover gives life to a new mythology of world creation, destruction, resurrection, and the vast, unknowable mechanizations of God Biology (GOD B, in the words of the Ouija board) and those mysterious figures who enact his will: Bat-winged creatures who, in their cosmological laboratory, reconstruct departed souls for new life on earth. And yet we are never far from the human, grounding voice of Merrill, joking about the selection of new wallpaper in his Stonington, Connecticut home; or from the moving council of voices from the board, urging: In life, stand for something.

“It is common knowledge – and glaringly obvious in the poems, though not taken seriously by his critics – that these three works, and their final compilation, were based on conversations...through a Ouija board,” wrote John Chambers in his outstanding analysis of Merrill in the Summer 1997 issue of The Anomalist.

Critic Harold Bloom, in a departure from others who sidestep the question of the work’s source, calls the first of the Sandover poems “an occult splendor.” Indeed, it is not difficult to argue that, in literary terms, The Changing Light at Sandover is a masterpiece – perhaps the masterpiece – of occult experimentation. In some respects, it is like an unintended response to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in which not one man acting alone, but two acting and thinking together, successfully pierce the veil of life’s inner and cosmic mysteries – and live not only to tell, but to teach.

One wonders, then, why the work is so little known and read within a spiritual subculture that embraces other channeled works, such as the Ouija-received “Seth material,” the automatic writing of A Course In Miracles, or the currently popular Abraham-Hicks channeled readings. The Changing Light at Sandover ought to be evidence that something – be it inner or outer – is available through this kind of communication, however rare. It is up to the reader to find out what.

VOICES WITHIN?

Of course, the Merrill case begs the question of whether the Ouija board channels something from beyond or merely reflects the ideas found in one’s subconscious. After all, who but a poetic genius like James Merrill could have recorded channeled passages of such literary grace and epic dimension? Plainly put, this wasn’t Joe Schmoe at the board.

In a 1970 book on psychical phenomena, ESP, Seers & Psychics, researcher-skeptic Milbourne Christopher announces – a tad too triumphantly, perhaps – that if you effectively blindfold a board’s user and rearrange the order of letters, communication ceases. A believable enough claim – but what does it really tell us? In 1915, a specialist in abnormal psychology proposed the same test to the channeled entity called Patience Worth, who, through a St. Louis housewife named Pearl Curran, had produced a remarkable range of novels, plays, and poems – some of them hugely ambitious in scale and written in a Middle English dialect that Curran (who didn’t finish high school) would have had no means of knowing.

As reported in Irving Litvag’s 1972 study, Singer in the Shadows, Patience Worth responded to the request that Curran be blindfolded in her typically inimitable fashion: “I be aset athin the throb o’ her. Aye, and doth thee to take then the lute awhither that she see not, think ye then she may to set up musics for the hear o’ thee?” In other words, how can you remove the instrument and expect music?

Some authorities in psychical research support the contention that Ouija is a tool of our subconscious. For years J.B. Rhine, the veritable dean of psychical research in America, worked with his wife, Louisa, a trained biologist and well-regarded researcher in her own right, to bring scientific rigor to the study of psychical phenomena. Responding to the occult fads of the day, Louisa wrote an item on Ouija boards and automatic writing adapted in the winter 1970 newsletter of the American Society for Psychical Research. Whatever messages come through the board, she maintained, are a product of the user’s subconscious – not any metaphysical force: “In several ways the very nature of automatic writing and the Ouija board makes them particularly open to misunderstanding. For one thing, because [such communications] are unconscious, the person does not get the feeling of his own involvement. Instead, it seems to him that some personality outside of himself is responsible. In addition, and possibly because of this, the material is usually cast in a form as if originating from another intelligence.”

For his part, the poet Merrill took a subtler view of the matter. “If it’s still yourself that you’re drawing upon,” he said, “then that self is much stranger and freer and more far-seeking than the one you thought you knew.” And at another point: “If the spirits aren’t external, how astonishing the mediums become!”

TO OUIJA -- OR NOT TO OUIJA?

As I was preparing for this article, I began to revisit notes I had made months earlier. These presented me with several questions. Among them: Should I be practicing with the Ouija board myself, testing its occult powers in person? Just at this time, I received an email, impeccably and even mysteriously timed, warning me off Ouija boards. The sender, whom I didn’t know, told in sensitive and vivid tones of her family’s harrowing experiences with a board.

As my exchange with the sender continued, however, my relatively few lines of response elicited back pages and pages of material, each progressively more pedantic and judgmental in tone, reading – or projecting – multiple levels into what little I had written in reply (most of which was in appreciation). And so I wondered: In terms of the influences to which we open ourselves, how do we sort out the fine from the coarse, allowing in communications that are useful and generative, rather than those that become simply depleting?

Ouija is intriguing, interesting, even oddly magnetic – a survey of users in the 2001 International Journal of Parapsychology found that one half “felt a compulsion to use it.” But, in a culture filled with possibilities, and in a modern life of limited time and energy, is Ouija really the place to search? Clearly, for a James Merrill, it was. But there exists a deeper intuition than what comes through a board, or any outer object – one that answers that kind of question for every clear-thinking person. For me, the answer was no.

It was time to pack up my antique Ouija board in its box and return to what I found most lasting on the journey: The work of Merrill, who passed through the uses of this instrument and, with it, created a body of art that perhaps justifies the tumultuous, serpentine history from which Ouija has come.

♥ ~ £o♡e ~ ♥

"When cells band together they increase their awareness exponentially." "In order to survive at such high densities, the cells created structured environments. These sophisticated communities subdivided the workload with more precision and effectiveness than the ever-changing organizational charts that are a fact of life in big corporations." "Division of labor among the cells in the community offered and additional survival advantage. The efficiency it offered enabled more cells to live on less. Consider the old adage "Two can live as cheaply as one." Or consider the construction cost of building a two bedroom apartment in a hundred-apartment complex. To survive, each cell is required to expend a certain amount of energy. The amount of energy conserved by individuals living in a community contributes to both an increased survival advantage and a better quality of life. In American capitalism, Henry Ford saw the tactical advantage of the differentiated form of communal effort and employed it in creating his assembly line system of manufacturing cars. Before Ford, a small team of multi-skilled workers would require a week or two to build a single automobile. Ford organized his shop so that every worker was responsible for only one specialized job. He stationed a large number of these differentiated workers along a single row, the assembly line, and passed the developing car from one specialist to the next. The efficiency of job specialization enabled Ford to produce a new automobile in 90 minutes rather than weeks. Unfortunately, we conveniently "forgot" about the cooperation necessary for evolution when Charles Darwin emphasized a radically different theory about the emergence of life. He concluded 150 years ago that living organisms are perpetually embroiled in a "struggle for existence." For Darwin, struggle and violence are not only a part of animal (human) nature, but the principle "forces" behind evolutionary advancement." "You may consider yourself an individual, but as a cell biologist I can tell you that you are in truth a cooperative community of approximately 50 trillion single-celled citizens. Almost all of the cells that make up your body are amoeba-like, individual organisms that have evolved a cooperative strategy for their mutual survival."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You create your own reality

The deep meaning of these words can be understood by reading the excellent book “The Nature of Personal Reality” by Seth/Jane Roberts. Jane Roberts was one of the most well-known psychics in the world and lived to channel the teachings of the ’spirit’ Seth. Now, whether you choose to believe in that kind of ’set-up’ or not, Im sure you’ll find this to be a book that can actually change your entire life almost overnight. I did for me ! You will find yourself loaded with encredible powers, insights and love after reading this ‘out-of-this-world’ book. The mental stuff you can extract from this book will surely also make you a better and stronger runner (or anything else) that you ever - until now - thought possible. The challenge is yours - you create your own reality!

Miraculous Messages from Water

How water structure reflects our consciousness

by WellnessGoods.com

Water has a very important message for us. Water is telling us to take a much deeper look at our selves. When we do look at our selves through the mirror of water, the message becomes amazingly, crystal, clear. We know that human life is directly connected to the quality of our water, both within and all around us.

The photographs and information in this article reflect the work of Masaru Emoto, a creative and visionary Japanese researcher Mr. Emoto has published an important book, "The Message from Water" from the findings of his worldwide research If you have any doubt that your thoughts affect everything in, and around you, the information and photographs that are presented here, taken from the book of his published results, will change your mind and alter your beliefs, profoundly. How the molecular structure of water is effected...

From Mr. Emoto's work we are provided with factual evidence, that human vibrational energy, thoughts, words, ideas and music, affect the molecular structure of water, the very same water that comprises over seventy percent of a mature human body and covers the same amount of our planet. Water is the very source of all life on this planet, the quality and integrity are vitally important to all forms of life. The body is very much like a sponge and is composed of trillions of chambers called cells that hold liquid. The quality of our life is directly connected to the quality of our water.

Water is a very malleable substance. Its physical shape easily adapts to whatever environment is present. But its physical appearance is not the only thing that changes, the molecular shape also changes. The energy or vibrations of the environment will change the molecular shape of water. In this sense water not only has the ability to visually reflect the environment but it also molecularly reflects the environment.

Mr. Emoto has been visually documenting these molecular changes in water by means of his photographic techniques. He freezes droplets of water and then examines them under a dark field microscope that has photographic capabilities. His work clearly demonstrates the diversity of the molecular structure of water and the effect of the environment upon the structure of the water.

Discover how each source has an effect on the visual photographed structure... Snow has been falling on the earth for more than a few million years. Each snowflake, as we have been told, has a very unique shape and structure. By freezing water and taking a photograph of the structure, as Mr. Emoto has done, you get incredible information about the water.

Mr. Emoto has discovered many fascinating differences in the crystalline structures of water from many different sources and different conditions around the planet. Water from pristine mountain streams and springs show the beautifully formed geometric designs in their crystalline patterns. Polluted and toxic water from industrial and populated areas and stagnated water from water pipes and storage dams show definitively distorted and randomly formed crystalline structures.

Sanbu-ichi Yusui Spring water,

Japan Shimanto River, referred to as the last clean stream in Japan

Antarctic Ice

Fountain in Lourdes, France

Biwako Lake, the largest lake at the center of Japan and the water pool of the Kinki Region. Pollution is getting worse.

Yodo River, Japan, pours into the Bay of Osaka. The river passes through most of the major cities in Kasai.

Untreated Distilled Water

Fujiwara Dam, before offering a prayer

Fujiwara Dam, after offering a prayer

With the recent popularity in music therapy, Mr. Emoto decided to see what effects music has on the structuring of water. He placed distilled water between two speakers for several hours and then photographed the crystals that formed after the water was frozen.

Beethoven's Pastorale

Tibet Sutra

Kawachi Folk Dance

After seeing water react to different environmental conditions, pollution and music, Mr. Emoto and colleagues decided to see how thoughts and words affected the formation of untreated, distilled, water crystals, using words typed onto paper by a word processor and taped on glass bottles overnight. The same procedure was performed using the names of deceased persons. The waters were then frozen and photographed.

Heavy Metal Music

You Make Me Sick, I Will Kill You

Adolph Hitler

Thank You

Love and Appreciation

Mother Teresa

Note: Water structure effects all life on earth. See the dangers that lurk in contaminated water, and the healing effects of treating it. Visit our page on structured water for more information. Water is more effective when pure. Whether its for a human, animal or plant.
These photographs show the incredible reflections of water, as alive and highly responsive to every one of our emotions and thoughts.
It is quite clear that water easily takes on the vibrations and energy of it's environment, whether toxic and polluted or naturally pristine.

Masaru Emotos extraordinary work is an awesome display, and powerful tool, that can change our perceptions of ourselves and the world we live in, forever. We now have profound evidence that we can positively heal and transform ourselves and our planet by the thoughts we choose to think and the ways in which we put those thoughts into.


This article was written and published by Wellness Goods, where you can also order books written by Masaru Emoto. Photographs in this article are from "The Messages from Water" written and copyright protected by Masaru Emoto. Photographs are reproduced here by WellnessGoods.com under expressed permission and authority from the publisher.

To learn more about transforming water, click here.


More Messages in Water

The Spirit of Ma'at interviews Dr. Masaru Emoto

by Reiko Myamoto Dewey

REIKO: We have read your book The Message from Water, and we introduced it on our website in our August issue (see "Conscious Water Crystals: The Power of Prayer Made Visible"). It has been our most popular article, with its readership increasing every week, and has raised many questions.

You mentioned in your book how you would type out words on a piece of paper and paste these written words onto a bottle, and see how the water reacted to the words -- what kind of crystals were formed from the words. From your research, are you able to discern whether the reaction of the water came from the vibration of the actual words that were pasted onto the bottles, or whether the intention of the person who was pasting the words onto the bottle influenced the experiment in any way?

DR. EMOTO: This is one of the more difficult areas to clarify. However, from continuing these experiments we have come to the conclusion that the water is reacting to the actual words. For example, for our trip to Europe we tried using the words "thank you" and "you fool" in German. The people on our team who took the actual photographs of the water crystals did not understand the German for "you fool", and yet we were able to obtain exactly the same kind of results in the different crystal formations based on the words used.

REIKO: Have you found that distance made any difference when people were praying over water? For example, if people in Japan were to pray over water in Russia, would this be different from people praying over water that is right in front of them?

DR. EMOTO: We have only experimented once with that in the book. But from that experiment, distance did not seem to matter. The intention and prayers of the person still influenced the water. We have not yet tried further experiments from a long distance. However, my feeling is that distance would not make much of a difference. What would make a difference is the purity of intent of the person doing the praying. The higher the purity of intent, the less of a difference the distance itself would make.

REIKO: Have you seen any difference between one person praying over water versus a whole group of people praying over water?

DR. EMOTO: Since the water reflects the composite energy of what is being sent to it, the crystalline structure reflects the composite vibrations of the group. So one person praying reflects the energy or intention of that one person. In terms of how powerful the effect can be, if you have one person praying with a deep sense of clarity and purity, the crystalline structure will be clear and pure. And even though you may have a large group of people, if their intention as a group is not cohesive, you end up with an incohesive structure in the water. However, if everyone is united together, you will find a clear, beautiful crystal, like one created by the prayer of a single person of deep purity.

In one of our experiments, we had some water on a table, and 17 participants all stood in a circle around a table holding hands. Then each of the participants spoke a beautiful word of their choice to the water. Words like unity, love, and friendship. We took before-and-after shots and were able to obtain some beautiful crystalline structures as a result of this. I have some slides that I will be showing of these crystals in my upcoming European tour.

REIKO: Is the water influenced immediately, or is there a time lag?

DR. EMOTO: In these cases we would freeze the water right away, so we could say that the water is changed instantaneously.

REIKO: Have you ever tested other human body fluids, such as saliva, blood, urine etc?

DR. EMOTO: Yes, we certainly have. However, fluids with other elements in them, like seawater, blood and urine, do not form crystals. However, we can dilute them with distilled water to something like 10 to the power of -12 or -20 or so. This dilutes the component of other elements in the fluid to the point where we can freeze the sample and obtain crystals.

REIKO: Could you then see the effect that energetic healing or prayer has on a person by looking at the crystals formed by their blood or urine?

DR. EMOTO: As far as experiments related to the human body are concerned, there are a lot of subtle influences that also need to be taken into consideration. So although we are looking at this, we have not publicized any information yet. However, you can look forward to hearing about our findings on this in the future.

REIKO: If we could imbue water with the energy of various words, for example, with the word, "health", could we then use the water that has that vibration in it and use it to do things like grow food, water plants, etc?

DR. EMOTO: We have not tried this, but some people who have read the book are experimenting with bottling tap water and taping words like "love" and "appreciation" on the bottle and using that water to water their plants, or to put cut flowers in. They are finding that their cut flowers are lasting much longer, and that the plants in the garden are much more radiant.

REIKO: Once a certain vibration is introduced to the water, how long does the water "remember" that crystalline structure?

DR. EMOTO: This will be different depending on the original structure of the water itself. Tap water will lose its memory quickly. We refer to the crystalline structure of water as "clusters." The smaller the clusters, the longer the water will retain its memory. If there is too much space between the clusters, other information could easily infiltrate this space, making it hard for the clusters to hold the integrity of the information. Other micro-organisms could also enter this space. A tight bonding structure is best for maintaining the integrity of information.

REIKO: What kind of words would create smaller clusters and what kind of words would create larger clusters?

DR. EMOTO: Slang words like "you fool" destroy clusters. You would not see any crystals in these cases. Negative phrases and words create large clusters or will not form clusters, and positive, beautiful words and phrases create small, tight clusters.

REIKO: You say that some negatives do not form clusters, but we see from your photos that they do still form characteristic patterns. How would you classify these patterns?

DR. EMOTO: Think of it in terms of vibration. It's easy to understand that language -- the spoken word -- has a vibration. Well, written words also have a vibration. Anything in existence has a vibration. If I were to draw a circle, the vibration of a circle would be created. Drawing a cross would create the vibration of a cross. So if I write the letters L O V E, then these letters put out the vibration of love. Water can be imprinted with these vibrations. Beautiful words have beautiful, clear vibrations. But negative words put out ugly, incoherent vibrations which do not form clusters. Language is not something artificial, but rather is something that exists naturally. I believe that language is created by nature.

REIKO: Does that mean that every word has its own signature vibration or cluster that is unique to itself?

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DR. EMOTO: Yes. During our evolution, we learned what sounds were dangerous, what sounds were soothing and safe, and what sounds were pleasurable, and so on. We slowly learned about various vibrations of the laws of nature. We learned this through instinct and through experience. We accumulated this information over time. We started out with some simple sounds like "a" or "u" or "e," which evolved into more complex sounds like "love." And these positive words create "natural" crystalline structures -- which are all based on the hexagon.

In fact, the structure of all evolution in nature, from an informational perspective, is based on the hexagon. The reason hexagons are formed has to do with the chemical reaction of the benzene ring. I believe that anything that lacks this basic hexagonal structure is out of accord with the laws of nature and holds a destructive vibration. So when we look at things that do not exist naturally -- things that have been created artificially -- many of them lack this hexagonal structure and so they have, I believe, a destructive vibration.

This principle is what I think makes swearing and slang words destructive. These words are not in accordance with the laws of nature. So, for example, I think you would probably find higher rates of violent crime in areas where a lot of negative language is being used. Just as the Bible says, first there was the Word, and God created all of Creation from the Word.

So words actually convert the vibrations of nature into sound. And each language is different. Japanese has its own set of vibrations that differs from American. Nature in America is different from nature in Japan. An American cedar is different from a Japanese cedar, so the vibrations coming from these words are different. In this way, nothing else holds the same vibrations as the word arigato. In Japanese, arigato means "thank you." But even when there is this mutual underlying meaning, arigato and thank you create different crystalline structures. Every word in every language is unique and exists only in that language.

REIKO: Have you come across a particular word or phrase in your research that you have found to be most helpful in cleaning up the natural waters of the world?

DR. EMOTO: Yes. There is a special combination that seems to be perfect for this, which is love plus the combination of thanks and appreciation reflected in the English word gratitude. Just one of these is not enough. Love needs to be based in gratitude, and gratitude needs to be based in love. These two words together create the most important vibration. And it is even more important that we understand the value of these words. For example, we know that water is described as H2O. If we were to look at love and gratitude as a pair, gratitude is the H and love is the O. Water is the basis that not only supports but also allows the existence of life. In my understanding of the concept of yin and yang, in the same way that there is one O and two Hs, we also need one part yang/love to two parts yin/gratitude, in order to come to a place of balance in the equation.

Love is an active word and gratitude is passive. When you think of gratitude -- a combination of appreciation and thankfulness -- there is an apologetic quality. The Japanese word for gratitude is kan-sha, consisting of two Chinese characters: kan, which means feeling, and sha, apology. It's coming from a reverential space, taking a step or two back. I believe that love coming from this space is optimal love, and may even lead to an end to the wars and conflicts in the world. Kan-sha is inherent in the substance H2O -- an essential element for life.

REIKO: So if we were to develop a car that could run on water instead of gasoline, and return the water to the atmosphere and subsequently back into space in this way, would that be one way of fulfilling our task?

DR. EMOTO: I think that would be a wonderful thing, and for the sake of preserving Mother Nature it is the direction that we need to go. However, since water is the mirror reflecting our level of consciousness, a large percentage of the people on the planet, at least 10 percent of the people, need to have the love and the kan-sha awareness. When they do, then the time will come when water can be used to replace gasoline. And the reason I say 10 percent is that this ratio is mirrored in nature. When we look at the world of bacteria, for example, there are 10 percent good bacteria, 10 percent bad, and a majority of 80 percent opportunistic bacteria that could go either way. In looking at the various environmental issues we are faced with, and the tasks that we need to fulfill for the planet, if we could get more than 10 percent of the people consciously aware, than I believe we could pull the 80 percent in that direction, too.

And so I believe that the people who are following a spiritual path are promoting peace for the planet and for other people. If we could only unite on this level of consciousness, then we will be there.

I feel that my book The Message From Water has given birth to a convincing message through a common language for the whole world. Not because I wrote it, but because I know it was birthed through kan-sha toward mankind. I think this is why so many people from other countries want to interview me about the book. I am being invited to give talks at six different European locations. Things have been coming in non-stop from abroad.

REIKO: Do you believe that water itself is conscious and is reacting to the words?

DR. EMOTO: I understand that many of your readers are people interested in spiritual matters, and I would like to answer this question from that perspective. I believe that prior to Adam and Eve water itself held the consciousness of God -- that God's intention was put into the medium of water, and that this was used in the creation of Earth and Nature. In other words, all of the information needed for God's Creation was reflected in the water.

And then we -- Adam and Eve -- were placed on Earth to be the caretakers for this Creation of God. I believe that water held the consciousness of God until then, but that after the caretakers were placed on Earth, water became an empty vessel to mirror and reflect what was in the heart. It became a container to carry energy and information. Therefore, since this time, I think water has taken on the quality of simply reflecting the energies and thoughts that it is exposed to; that it no longer has its own consciousness. Water reflects the consciousness of the human race.

REIKO: Would you tell us your philosophical thoughts about what you believe these water crystals really are?

DR. EMOTO: After the book was published, I was wondering about this, and I came to the realization that these crystals are spirits. There are many parallels. When ice melts, the crystalline structure becomes an illusion. It's there -- and yet it's not there, because you can no longer see it.

Similarly, when a person dies their body loses several grams of weight -- what some people think of this as the weight of the soul. But then we can often visually see them. I think that the soul has mass, and that it returns to water molecules. And because it has mass, it is affected by the gravitational pull of the earth. And so sometimes the soul cannot transition over to the other side.

In Buddhism, we talk about attaining sattori, or reaching enlightenment. People who attain sattori do not become ghosts. They are able to achieve a certain stage of development at the soul level and return to God for a while before they move on to their next assignment.

We traveled here to Earth on the water crystals of spheres of ice [Editor's Note: You will hear more about this amazing phenomenon in an upcoming issue of the Spirit of Ma'at on the subject of water.] Earth is not our native home. There was nothing here. So these souls can return to their native homes for awhile. That is sattori, or enlightenment. However, most people on the planet are not able to attain enlightenment. To reach enlightenment means to be able to completely let go of the ego and our worldly attachments.

In the past 100 years the world's population has increased from 1 billion to 6 billion. During these 100 years, war and capitalism has dominated the planet. Rather than being able to detach from our desires, the opposite has been true. Our desires have grown and grown. Very few people have been able to attain enlightenment in this environment. Few souls have been able to go "home" and I believe they have remained on Earth in the form of water. This connects into the concept of reincarnation, where these spirits keep falling back to Earth and need to redo their lives here.

REIKO: So when a person dies, if they are unable to attain sattori at that time, their soul remains on this planet as water?

DR. EMOTO: That is what I believe, yes. The Japanese character for spirit is a combination of the words "rain" and "soul." People who have seen ghosts report seeing them in water or in places where there is a lot of humidity. It's as if the imprint of the soul, which is in the form of water, suddenly takes form when surrounded by water or moisture -- much like a mirage.

And so, looking at the pictures of the water crystals and the impact they are having, I came to the realization that these themselves are ghosts. Up until now, I had thought of ghosts as something to be frightened of, something that we could do nothing about. But watching these crystals, I realized that by simply projecting beautiful music and words onto them, the crystals or ghosts become beautiful. If that's the case, there's nothing to be frightened of. We need to let everybody know about this, and all use beautiful words and offer beautiful music, and create beauty in the environment.

By receiving beautiful thoughts and feelings and words and music, our ancestral spirits get lighter and are now able to make the transition "home." When we consider this, we can see the importance of traditions like Obon [a Japanese summer tradition where ancestral spirits are invited back to spend time with the family, and the ancestors are taken care of and respected].

When we are alive, the human body is at approximately 36 degrees Celsius. This is the temperature of the fluids in the body. When we die, this goes to zero degrees Celsius. When we die and go to the other side, crossing the river, we are no longer able to move our bodies. But the crystalline structure of our soul emerges. It's like water. When water turns to ice, the crystalline structure becomes visible, but it also becomes immobile. So "crystal" equals "spirit."

REIKO: Thank you very much.

See more pictures: http://www.adhikara.com/water.html

To learn more about transforming water, click here.


More Messages In Water

The Spirit Of Ma'at Interviews Dr. Masaru Emoto

By Reiko Myamoto Dewey, 07-04-2004

REIKO: We have read your book The Message from Water, and we introduced it on our website in our August issue (see "Conscious Water Crystals: The Power of Prayer Made Visible.") It has been our most popular article, with its readership increasing every week, and has raised many questions.

See how our structured water products can help you achieve greater hydration, better nutrient intake and toxin elimination. Read about the Quantum Tech water and BioRays water structuring devices that have received such high praise.

You mentioned in your book how you would type out words on a piece of paper and paste these written words onto a bottle, and see how the water reacted to the words -- what kind of crystals were formed from the words. From your research, are you able to discern whether the reaction of the water came from the vibration of the actual words that were pasted onto the bottles, or whether the intention of the person who was pasting the words onto the bottle influenced the experiment in any way?

DR. EMOTO: This is one of the more difficult areas to clarify. However, from continuing these experiments we have come to the conclusion that the water is reacting to the actual words. For example, for our trip to Europe we tried using the words "thank you" and "you fool" in German. The people on our team who took the actual photographs of the water crystals did not understand the German for "you fool," and yet we were able to obtain exactly the same kind of results in the different crystal formations based on the words used.

REIKO: Have you found that distance made any difference when people were praying over water? For example, if people in Japan were to pray over water in Russia, would this be different from people praying over water that is right in front of them?

DR. EMOTO: We have only experimented once with that in the book. But from that experiment, distance did not seem to matter. The intention and prayers of the person still influenced the water. We have not yet tried further experiments from a long distance. However, my feeling is that distance would not make much of a difference. What would make a difference is the purity of intent of the person doing the praying. The higher the purity of intent, the less of a difference the distance itself would make.

REIKO: Have you seen any difference between one person praying over water versus a whole group of people praying over water?

DR. EMOTO: Since the water reflects the composite energy of what is being sent to it, the crystalline structure reflects the composite vibrations of the group. So one person praying reflects the energy or intention of that one person. In terms of how powerful the effect can be, if you have one person praying with a deep sense of clarity and purity, the crystalline structure will be clear and pure. And even though you may have a large group of people, if their intention as a group is not cohesive, you end up with an incohesive structure in the water. However, if everyone is united together, you will find a clear, beautiful crystal, like one created by the prayer of a single person of deep purity.

In one of our experiments, we had some water on a table, and 17 participants all stood in a circle around a table holding hands. Then each of the participants spoke a beautiful word of their choice to the water. Words like unity, love, and friendship. We took before-and-after shots and were able to obtain some beautiful crystalline structures as a result of this. I have some slides that I will be showing of these crystals in my upcoming European tour.

REIKO: Is the water influenced immediately, or is there a time lag?

DR. EMOTO: In these cases we would freeze the water right away, so we could say that the water is changed instantaneously.

REIKO: Have you ever tested other human body fluids, such as saliva, blood, urine etc?

DR. EMOTO: Yes, we certainly have. However, fluids with other elements in them, like seawater, blood and urine, do not form crystals. However, we can dilute them with distilled water to something like 10 to the power of -12 or -20 or so. This dilutes the component of other elements in the fluid to the point where we can freeze the sample and obtain crystals.

REIKO: Could you then see the effect that energetic healing or prayer has on a person by looking at the crystals formed by their blood or urine?

DR. EMOTO: As far as experiments related to the human body are concerned, there are a lot of subtle influences that also need to be taken into consideration. So although we are looking at this, we have not publicized any information yet. However, you can look forward to hearing about our findings on this in the future

REIKO: If we could imbue water with the energy of various words, for example, with the word, "health," could we then use the water that has that vibration in it and use it to do things like grow food, water plants, etc?

DR. EMOTO: We have not tried this, but some people who have read the book are experimenting with bottling tap water and taping words like "love" and "appreciation" on the bottle and using that water to water their plants, or to put cut flowers in. They are finding that their cut flowers are lasting much longer, and that the plants in the garden are much more radiant.

REIKO: Once a certain vibration is introduced to the water, how long does the water "remember" that crystalline structure?

DR. EMOTO: This will be different depending on the original structure of the water itself. Tap water will lose its memory quickly. We refer to the crystalline structure of water as "clusters." The smaller the clusters, the longer the water will retain its memory. If there is too much space between the clusters, other information could easily infiltrate this space, making it hard for the clusters to hold the integrity of the information. Other micro-organisms could also enter this space. A tight bonding structure is best for maintaining the integrity of information.

REIKO: What kind of words would create smaller clusters and what kind of words would create larger clusters?

DR. EMOTO: Slang words like "you fool" destroy clusters. You would not see any crystals in these cases. Negative phrases and words create large clusters or will not form clusters, and positive, beautiful words and phrases create small, tight clusters.

REIKO: You say that some negatives do not form clusters, but we see from your photos that they do still form characteristic patterns. How would you classify these patterns?

DR. EMOTO: Think of it in terms of vibration. It's easy to understand that language -- the spoken word -- has a vibration. Well, written words also have a vibration. Anything in existence has a vibration. If I were to draw a circle, the vibration of a circle would be created. Drawing a cross would create the vibration of a cross. So if I write the letters L O V E, then these letters put out the vibration of love. Water can be imprinted with these vibrations. Beautiful words have beautiful, clear vibrations. But negative words put out ugly, incoherent vibrations which do not form clusters. Language is not something artificial, but rather is something that exists naturally. I believe that language is created by nature.

REIKO: Does that mean that every word has its own signature vibration or cluster that is unique to itself?

DR. EMOTO: Yes. During our evolution, we learned what sounds were dangerous, what sounds were soothing and safe, and what sounds were pleasurable, and so on. We slowly learned about various vibrations of the laws of nature. We learned this through instinct and through experience. We accumulated this information over time. We started out with some simple sounds like "a" or "u" or "e," which evolved into more complex sounds like "love." And these positive words create "natural" crystalline structures -- which are all based on the hexagon.

In fact, the structure of all evolution in nature, from an informational perspective, is based on the hexagon. The reason hexagons are formed has to do with the chemical reaction of the benzene ring. I believe that anything that lacks this basic hexagonal structure is out of accord with the laws of nature and holds a destructive vibration. So when we look at things that do not exist naturally -- things that have been created artificially -- many of them lack this hexagonal structure and so they have, I believe, a destructive vibration.

This principle is what I think makes swearing and slang words destructive. These words are not in accordance with the laws of nature. So, for example, I think you would probably find higher rates of violent crime in areas where a lot of negative language is being used. Just as the Bible says, first there was the Word, and God created all of Creation from the Word.

So words actually convert the vibrations of nature into sound. And each language is different. Japanese has its own set of vibrations that differs from American. Nature in America is different from nature in Japan. An American cedar is different from a Japanese cedar, so the vibrations coming from these words are different. In this way, nothing else holds the same vibrations as the word arigato. In Japanese, arigato means "thank you." But even when there is this mutual underlying meaning, arigato and thank you create different crystalline structures. Every word in every language is unique and exists only in that language.

REIKO: Have you come across a particular word or phrase in your research that you have found to be most helpful in cleaning up the natural waters of the world?

DR. EMOTO: Yes. There is a special combination that seems to be perfect for this, which is love plus the combination of thanks and appreciation reflected in the English word gratitude. Just one of these is not enough. Love needs to be based in gratitude, and gratitude needs to be based in love. These two words together create the most important vibration. And it is even more important that we understand the value of these words. For example, we know that water is described as H2O. If we were to look at love and gratitude as a pair, gratitude is the H and love is the O. Water is the basis that not only supports but also allows the existence of life. In my understanding of the concept of yin and yang, in the same way that there is one O and two Hs, we also need one part yang/love to two parts yin/gratitude, in order to come to a place of balance in the equation.

Love is an active word and gratitude is passive. When you think of gratitude -- a combination of appreciation and thankfulness -- there is an apologetic quality. The Japanese word for gratitude is kan-sha, consisting of two Chinese characters: kan, which means feeling, and sha, apology. It's coming from a reverential space, taking a step or two back. I believe that love coming from this space is optimal love, and may even lead to an end to the wars and conflicts in the world. Kan-sha is inherent in the substance H2O -- an essential element for life.

REIKO: So if we were to develop a car that could run on water instead of gasoline, and return the water to the atmosphere and subsequently back into space in this way, would that be one way of fulfilling our task?

DR. EMOTO: I think that would be a wonderful thing, and for the sake of preserving Mother Nature it is the direction that we need to go. However, since water is the mirror reflecting our level of consciousness, a large percentage of the people on the planet, at least 10 percent of the people, need to have the love and the kan-sha awareness. When they do, then the time will come when water can be used to replace gasoline. And the reason I say 10 percent is that this ratio is mirrored in nature. When we look at the world of bacteria, for example, there are 10 percent good bacteria, 10 percent bad, and a majority of 80 percent opportunistic bacteria that could go either way. In looking at the various environmental issues we are faced with, and the tasks that we need to fulfill for the planet, if we could get more than 10 percent of the people consciously aware, than I believe we could pull the 80 percent in that direction, too.

And so I believe that the people who are following a spiritual path are promoting peace for the planet and for other people. If we could only unite on this level of consciousness, then we will be there.

I feel that my book The Message From Water has given birth to a convincing message through a common language for the whole world. Not because I wrote it, but because I know it was birthed through kan-sha toward mankind. I think this is why so many people from other countries want to interview me about the book. I am being invited to give talks at six different European locations. Things have been coming in non-stop from abroad.

REIKO: Do you believe that water itself is conscious and is reacting to the words?

DR. EMOTO: I understand that many of your readers are people interested in spiritual matters, and I would like to answer this question from that perspective. I believe that prior to Adam and Eve water itself held the consciousness of God -- that God´s intention was put into the medium of water, and that this was used in the creation of Earth and Nature. In other words, all of the information needed for God´s Creation was reflected in the water.

And then we -- Adam and Eve -- were placed on Earth to be the caretakers for this Creation of God. I believe that water held the consciousness of God until then, but that after the caretakers were placed on Earth, water became an empty vessel to mirror and reflect what was in the heart. It became a container to carry energy and information. Therefore, since this time, I think water has taken on the quality of simply reflecting the energies and thoughts that it is exposed to; that it no longer has its own consciousness. Water reflects the consciousness of the human race.

REIKO: Would you tell us your philosophical thoughts about what you believe these water crystals really are?

DR. EMOTO: After the book was published, I was wondering about this, and I came to the realization that these crystals are spirits. There are many parallels. When ice melts, the crystalline structure becomes an illusion. It's there -- and yet it's not there, because you can no longer see it.

Similarly, when a person dies their body loses several grams of weight -- what some people think of this as the weight of the soul. But then we can often visually see them. I think that the soul has mass, and that it returns to water molecules. And because it has mass, it is affected by the gravitational pull of the earth. And so sometimes the soul cannot transition over to the other side.

In Buddhism, we talk about attaining sattori, or reaching enlightenment. People who attain sattori do not become ghosts. They are able to achieve a certain stage of development at the soul level and return to God for a while before they move on to their next assignment.

We traveled here to Earth on the water crystals of spheres of ice [Editor's Note: You will hear more about this amazing phenomenon in an upcoming issue of the Spirit of Ma'at on the subject of water.] Earth is not our native home. There was nothing here. So these souls can return to their native homes for awhile. That is sattori, or enlightenment. However, most people on the planet are not able to attain enlightenment. To reach enlightenment means to be able to completely let go of the ego and our worldly attachments.

In the past 100 years the world's population has increased from 1 billion to 6 billion. During these 100 years, war and capitalism has dominated the planet. Rather than being able to detach from our desires, the opposite has been true. Our desires have grown and grown. Very few people have been able to attain enlightenment in this environment. Few souls have been able to go "home" and I believe they have remained on Earth in the form of water. This connects into the concept of reincarnation, where these spirits keep falling back to Earth and need to redo their lives here.

REIKO: So when a person dies, if they are unable to attain sattori at that time, their soul remains on this planet as water?

DR. EMOTO: That is what I believe, yes. The Japanese character for spirit is a combination of the words "rain" and "soul." People who have seen ghosts report seeing them in water or in places where there is a lot of humidity. It's as if the imprint of the soul, which is in the form of water, suddenly takes form when surrounded by water or moisture -- much like a mirage.

And so, looking at the pictures of the water crystals and the impact they are having, I came to the realization that these themselves are ghosts. Up until now, I had thought of ghosts as something to be frightened of, something that we could do nothing about. But watching these crystals, I realized that by simply projecting beautiful music and words onto them, the crystals or ghosts become beautiful. If that's the case, there's nothing to be frightened of. We need to let everybody know about this, and all use beautiful words and offer beautiful music, and create beauty in the environment.

By receiving beautiful thoughts and feelings and words and music, our ancestral spirits get lighter and are now able to make the transition "home." When we consider this, we can see the importance of traditions like Obon [a Japanese summer tradition where ancestral spirits are invited back to spend time with the family, and the ancestors are taken care of and respected].

When we are alive, the human body is at approximately 36 degrees Celsius. This is the temperature of the fluids in the body. When we die, this goes to zero degrees Celsius. When we die and go to the other side, crossing the river, we are no longer able to move our bodies. But the crystalline structure of our soul emerges. It's like water. When water turns to ice, the crystalline structure becomes visible, but it also becomes immobile. So "crystal" equals "spirit."

REIKO: Thank you very much.

To learn more about transforming water, click here.


Iraq: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Michael Albert 1. Why did the U.S. invade Iraq? (And why did important sectors of the political elite, like Scowcroft, oppose doing so?) What are the U.S.motives for staying? The official reason was what Bush, Powell, and others called "the single question": will Saddam end his development of Weapons of Mass Destruction? The official Presidential Directive states the primary goal as to: "Free Iraq in order to eliminate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and associated programs, to prevent Iraq from breaking out of containment and becoming a more dangerous threat to the region and beyond." That was the basis for congressional support for the invasion. The Directive goes on with the goal of cutting "Iraqi links to and sponsorship of international terrorism," etc. A few phrases are thrown in from the standard boilerplate about freedom that accompanies every action, and is close to a historical universal, hence dismissed as meaningless by reasonable people, but there to be dredged up by the doctrinal system when needed. When the "single question" was answered the wrong way, and the claims about internationational terrorism became too much of an embarrassment to repeat (though not for Cheney and a few others), the goal was changed to "democracy promotion." The media and journals, along with almost all scholarship, quickly jumped on that bandwagon, relieved to discover that this is the most "noble war" in history, pursuing Bush's "messianic mission" to bring freedom and democracy to the world. Some Iraqis agreed: 1% in a poll in Baghdad just as the noble vision was declared in Washington. In the West, in contrast, it doesn't matter that there is a mountain of evidence refuting the claim, and even apart from the timing -- which should elicit ridicule -- the evidence for the "mission" is that our Dear Leader so declared. I've reviewed the disgraceful record in print. It continues with scarcely a break to the present, so consistently that I've stopped collecting the absurd repetitions of the dogma. The real reason for the invasion, surely, is that Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, very cheap to exploit, and lies right at the heart of the world's major hydrocarbon resources, what the State Department 60 years ago described as "a stupendous source of strategic power." The issue is not access, but rather control (and for the energy corporations, profit). Control over these resources gives the US "critical leverage" over industrial rivals, to borrow Zbigniew Brezinski's phrase, echoing George Kennan when he was a leading planner and recognized that such control would give the US "veto power" over others. Dick Cheney observed that control over energy resources provides "tools of intimidation or blackmail" -- when in the hands of others, that is. We are too pure and noble for those considerations to apply to us, so true believers declare -- or more accurately, just presuppose, taking the point to be too obvious to articulate. There was unprecedented elite condemnation of the plans to invade Iraq, even articles in the major foreign policy journals, a publication of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and others. Sensible analysts were able to perceive that the enterprise carried significant risks for US interests, however conceived. Global opposition was utterly overwhelming, and the likely costs to the US were apparent, though the catastrophe created by the invasion went far beyond anyone's worst expectations. It's amusing to watch the lying as the strongest supporters of the war try to deny what they very clearly said. There is a good review of the "mendacity" of neocon intellectuals (Ledeen, Krauthammer, and others) in The American Conservative, Jan. 07. But they are not alone. On the US motives for staying, I can only repeat what I've been writing for years. A sovereign Iraq, partially democratic, could well be a disaster for US planners. With a Shi'ite majority, it is likely to continue improving relations with Iran. There is a Shi'ite population right across the border in Saudi Arabia, bitterly oppressed by the US-backed tyranny. Any step towards sovereignty in Iraq encourages activism there for human rights and a degree of autonomy -- and that happens to be where most of Saudi oil is. Sovereignty in Iraq might well lead to a loose Shi'ite alliance controlling most of the world's hydrocarbon resources and independent of the US, undermining a primary goal of US foreign policy since it became the world-dominant power after World War II. Worse yet, though the US can intimidate Europe, it cannot intimidate China, which blithely goes its own way, even in Saudi Arabia, the jewel in the crown -- the primary reason why China is considered a leading threat. An independent energy bloc in the Gulf area is likely to link up with the China-based Asian Energy Security Grid and Shanghai Cooperation Council, with Russia (which has its own huge resources) as an integral part, along with the Central Asian states (already members), possibly India. Iran is already associated with them, and a Shi'ite dominated bloc in the Arab states might well go along. All of that would be a nightmare for US planners, and its Western allies. There are, then, very powerful reasons why the US-UK are likely to try in every possible way to maintain effective control over Iraq. The US is not constructing a palatial Embassy, by far the largest in the world and virtually a separate city within Baghdad, and pouring money into military bases, with the intention of leaving Iraq to Iraqis. All of this is quite separate from the expectations that matters can be arranged so that US corporations profit from the vast riches of Iraq. These topics, though surely high on the agenda of planners, are not within the realm of discussion, as can easily be determined. That is only to be expected. These considerations violate the fundamental doctrine that state power has noble objectives, and while it may make terrible blunders, it can have no crass motives and is not influenced by domestic concentrations of private power. Any questioning of these Higher Truths is either ignored or bitterly denounced, also for good reasons: allowing them to be discussed could undermine power and privilege. I don't, incidentally, suggest that commentators have much awareness of this. In our society, intellectual elites are deeply indoctrinated, a point that Orwell noted in his (unpublished) introduction to Animal Farm on how self-censorship works in free societies. A large part of the reason, he plausibly concluded, is a good education, which instills the understanding that there are certain things "it wouldn't do to say" -- or more accurately, even to think. 2. What, from the elite perspective, would be a major victory in Iraq, what would be modest but still sufficient success, and what would constitute a loss? More, for completeness, how much does democracy in Iraq, democracy in the U.S., the well being of people in Iraq, or the well being of people in the U.S. - or even of our soldiers - enter into the motivations of U.S. policy? A major victory would be establishing an obedient client state, as elsewhere. A modest success would be preventing a degree of sovereignty that might allow Iraq to pursue the rather natural course I just described. As for democracy, even the most dedicated scholar/advocates of "democracy promotion" recognize that there is a "strong line of continuity" in US efforts to promote democracy going back as far as you like and reaching the present: democracy is supported if and only if it conforms to strategic and economic objectives, so that all presidents are "schizophrenic," a strange puzzle (Thomas Carothers). That is so obvious that it takes really impressive discipline to miss it. It is a remarkable feature of US (in fact Western) intellectual culture that each well-indoctrinated mind can simultaneously lavish praise on our awesome dedication to democracy while at the same moment demonstrating utter contempt and hatred for democracy. For example, supporting the brutal punishment of people who committed the crime of voting "the wrong way" in a free election, as in Palestine right now, with pretexts that would inspire ridicule in a free society. As for democracy in the US, elite opinion has generally considered it a dangerous threat, which must be resisted. The well-being of US soldiers is a concern, though not a primaryl one. As for the well-being of the population here, it suffices to look at domestic policies. Of course, these matters cannot be completely ignored, even in totalitarian dictatorships, surely not in societies where popular struggle has won considerable freedom. 3. Why has the occupation been such a disaster, again, from the elite perspective? Would more troops have helped initially? Was it wrong to disband the army and order de-Baathification? If these or other policies were mistakes, why were the mistakes made? Why are calls to withdraw coming not only from sincere antiwar opposition, but also from elites with self serving agendas? Are the latter just rhetoric? Do they indicate real differences? There is plenty of elite commentary about the reasons for the disaster, which has few historical counterparts. It's worth bearing in mind that the Nazis had far less trouble running occupied Europe -- with civilians in charge of administration and security for the most part --than the US is having in Iraq. And Germany was at war. The same was true of the Russians in Eastern Europe, and there are many other examples, in US history too. The primary reason for the catastrophe, it is now generally agreed, is what I was told (and wrote about) a few months after the invasion by a high-ranking figure in one of the leading relief organizations, with rich experience in some of the most awful parts of the world. He had just returned from failed efforts at reconstruction in Baghdad, and told me that he had never seen such a display of "arrogance, incompetence, and ignorance." The specific blunders are the topic of an extensive literature. I have nothing particular to add, and frankly, the topic doesn't interest me much, any more than Russia's tactical mistakes in Afghanistan, Hitler's error of fighting a two-front war, etc. On withdrawal proposals from elite circles, I think one should be cautious. Some may be so deeply indoctrinated that they cannot allow themselves to think about the reasons for the invasion or the insistence on maintaining the occupation, in one or another form. Others may have in mind more effective techniques of control by redeploying US military forces in bases in Iraq and in the region, making sure to control logistics and support for client forces in Iraq, air power in the style of the destruction of much of Indochina after the business community turned against the war, and so on. 4. What has been the impact of the anti-war movement on policy and policymakers? Would choices by elites have been different if there were no antiwar activity? When compared with the Vietnam era, this war seems to have much more at stake, yet elite support is wobbling quicker and more deeply than it did with Vietnam. The opposition is less militant and passionate now, though arguably wider in its reach. What is your take on these matters? It's hard to make an informed judgment about the impact on policy. In the case of Indochina, there is an internal record; for Iraq there is not, so it is a much more subjective judgment. On the rest, I think we have to be careful in comparing the two wars. They are very different in character, and conditions have changed greatly. The Indochina wars began shortly after World War II, when the Truman administration decided to support France's effort to reconquer its former colony. The US then blocked a diplomatic settlement and established a brutal and corrupt client state in South Vietnam, which elicited resistance that it could not control, even after killing tens of thousands of people. By 1961, the JFK administration decided to attack directly. Within a few years South Vietnam was devastated, and by 1965, the LBJ administration expanded the war to the North in the hope that Hanoi would pressure the South Vietnamese resistance to desist, also sending hundreds of thousands of troops to occupy SVN. Through all this long period, there was virtually no protest, so little that few even know that Kennedy attacked SVN outright in 1962. The war was unpopular, so much so that Kennedy planners tried to find some way to reduce the US role, but only -- as Kennedy insisted to the end -- after victory. As late as October 1965, the first major public demonstration against the war, in liberal Boston, was broken up by counter-demonstrators, with the strong support of the liberal media. By then the war against Vietnam had proceeded far beyond the invasion of Iraq in scale and violence. Iraq is consumed by violence today, but it is radically different from Indochina, where the US was fighting an murderous war against the general population, who supported the indigenous South Vietnamese resistance, as US experts knew very well, and reported, sometimes even publicly. Very belatedly, a significant anti-war movement developed, by 1967-8, including direct resistance to the war, but it's worth remembering how long it was delayed, and how much more horrendous US actions were in VIetnam than in Iraq, by the time it did develop. And even at its peak, the anti-war movement mostly focused on the bombing of the North, and elite opposition was mostly limited to that, because of the threats posed to US power and interests by extension the war to the North -- where there were foreign embassies, Russian ships in Haiphong harbor, a Chinese railroad passing through North Vietnam, a powerful air defense system, and so on. The destruction of SVN, the main target throughout, passed with much less protest, and was regarded as relatively costless. The government recognized this. To take one example, internal records reveal that the bombing of NVN was meticulously planned, because of the feared costs. In contrast, there was only scanty attention to the far more intense bombing of SVN, which was already disastrous in 1965 when it was sharply escalated, and by 1967 led the most respected Vietnam specialist and military analyst, Bernard Fall (no dove), to wonder whether the society would even survive as a cultural and historical entity under the US assault. Quite unlike Vietnam, there were massive protests against the invasion of Iraq even before it was officially undertaken, and opposition has continued high, much higher than during corresponding stages of the US invasion of SVN. Turning to what was at stake, the pretexts concocted for the wars in Indochia were colossal: preventing the Sino-Soviet conspiracy from conquering the world. The near-lunacy of US planners, from the "wise men" of the Truman adminstration through the Eisenhower years and the "best and the brightest" of Camelot, was quite extraordinary, particularly with regard to the images they concocted of China, shifting as circumstances required. Though a lot had been known, the first major study of the National Security World in those years only recently appeared: James Peck's Washington's China. I haven't come across reviews. It is highly revealing. There were, of course, also saner elements in planning circles. They recognized that real interests were at stake, though not a "Slavic Manchukuo" (Dean Rusk) or "revolutionary China" as part of the "monolithic and ruthless conspiracy" to control the world (JFK), etc. The internal records reveal the usual concern about the rational version of the domino theory -- quite distinct from the fevered version served up to the public, but so rational that it is consistently invoked in internal planning records. The plausible fear in this case was that an independent Vietnam might pursue a path of independent development in a manner that would inspire others in the region. It might be a "virus spreading contagion," in Kissinger's rhetoric (about Allende), perhaps as far as resource-rich Indonesia. That might lead Japan to "accommodate" to an independent Southeast and East Asia as its industrial and technological center, reconstructing Japan's New Order outside US control (Kennan and other planners considered that to be fine as long as it was under US control). That would mean that the US had effectively lost the Pacific phase of World War II. The natural reaction was to destroy the virus and inoculate those who might succumb, by establishing vicious dictatorships. That goal was achieved, with great success. That is why National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy later reflected that the US might well have cut back its war effort by 1965, after the Suharto coup in Indonesia, which aroused unconstrained euphoria after he slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people, destroyed the only mass-based political organization, and opened the country to Western plunder. Without continuing, the real stakes were significant, and the US victory was not insubstantial; and the concocted pretexts, apparently believed, were not just significant but colossal. The stakes in Iraq are enormous too, but it is not at all clear that they exceed those perceived in Indochina. And they are very different in character. Despite some inflated rhetoric from Eisenhower and others, Vietnamese resources were of limited interest, while in Iraq they are an overriding concern. The US could achieve its major war aims in Vietnam simply by destroying it; not in Iraq, which has to be controlled, not destroyed. And while there was concern over the "virus" effect in Vietnam, that was never a consideration in Iraq. Looking more closely at the anti-war movements in both cases, I think, as noted, that it has actually been greater in the case of Iraq than it was during any comparable state of the Indochina wars. Furthermore, this country has significantly changed as a result of 60s activism and its aftermath. The movement against the war in Vietnam, when it finally developed, was not "diluted" by the wide-ranging concerns of activists today. I can easily elaborate even keeping to my own experience. Consider just talks. In the late 1960s almost all requests were about the Vietnam war. Today, only a fraction are about the Iraq war, not because the war is not a concern, but because there are so many other live and imporant concerns. Furthermore the deluge of invitations is far greater in scale, on all sorts of issues that were scarcely discussed 40 years ago, and audiences are far larger and much more engaged. And there are many other factors detracting from activism, such as the enormous amount of energy drained away by the "9/11 Truth Movement." There may be an impression of less anti-war activism today than in Vietnam, but I think it is quite misleading -- even though protest against the war in Iraq is far less than the crimes merit. 5. What policies are available to the U.S. warmakers, now? What options are plausible as what they would like to do, if they could have their way? Is withdrawal in the cards? Will withdrawal lead to even worse civil war? Will withdrawal lead to the victory of either Baathists or Islamic fundamentalists? What would be the effect of either? If there is no withdrawal now, forced by opposition or sought by some elites, or both, what do you think policy will be? One policy available to US planners is to accept the responsibilities of aggressors generally: to pay massive reparations for their crimes -- not aid, but reparations -- and to attend to the will of the victims. But such thoughts are beyond consideration, or commentary, in societies with a deeply rooted imperial mentality and a highly indoctrinated intellectual class. The government, and commentators, know quite a lot about the will of the victims, from regular polls run by the US and Western polling agencies. The results are quite consistent. By now, about 2/3 of Baghdadis want US forces to withdraw immediately, and about 70% of all Iraqis want a firm timetable for withdrawal, mostly within a year or less: that means far higher percentages in Arab Iraq, where the troops are actually deployed. 80% (including Kurdish areas) believe that the US presence increases violence, and almost the same percentage believe that the US intends to keep permanent military bases. These numbers have been regularly increasing. As is the norm, Iraqi opinion is almost entirely disregarded. Current plans are to increase the US force level in Baghad, where the large majority of the population wants them out. The Baker-Hamilton report did not even mention Iraqi opinions on withdrawal. Not that they lacked the information; they cited the very same polls on matters of concern to Washington, specifically, support for attacks on US soldiers (considerered legimate by 60% of Iraqis), leading to policy recommendations for change of tactics. Similarly, US opinion is of little interest, not only about Iraq, but also about the next looming crisis, Iran. 75% of Americans (including 56% of Republicans) favor pursuing better relations with Iran rather than threats. That fact scarcely enters into policy considerations or commentary, just as policy is not affected by the large majorities that favor diplomatic relations with Cuba. Elite opinion is profoundly undemocratic, though overflowing with lofty rhetoric about love of democracy and messianic missions to promote democracy. There is nothing new or surprising about that, and of course it is not limited to the US. As to the consequences of a US withdrawal, we are entitled to have our personal judgments, all of them as uninformed and dubious as those of US intelligence. But they do not matter. What matters is what Iraqis think. Or rather, that is what should matter, and we learn a lot about the character and moral level of the reigning intellectual culture from the fact that the question of what the victims want barely even arises. 6. What do you see as the likely consequences of various policy proposals that have been put forward: (a) the Baker-Hamilton committee recommendations; (b) the Peter Galbraith-Biden-Gelb proposal to divide Iraq into three separate countries? The Baker-Hamilton recommendations are in part just a wish list: wouldn't it be nice if Iran and Syria would help us out? Every recommendation is so hedged as to be almost meaningless. Thus, combat troops should be reduced, unless they are needed to protect Americans soldiers -- for example, those embedded in Iraqi units, where many regard them as legitimate targets of attack. Buried in the report are the expected recommendations to allow corporate (meaning mostly US-UK) control over energy resources. These are left undiscussed, perhaps regarded as inappropriate to bring to public attention. There are a few words recommending that the President announce that we do not intend a permanent military presence, but without a call to terminate construction. Much the same throughout. The report dismisses partition proposals, even the more limited proposals for a high level of independence within a loosely federal structure. Though it's not really our business, or our right to decide, their skepticism is probably warranted. Neighboring countries would be very hostile to an independent Kurdistan, which is landlocked, and Turkey might even invade, which would also threaten the long-standing and critical US-Turkey-Israel alliance. Kurds strongly favor independence, but appear to regard it as not feasible -- for now, at least. The Sunni states might invade to protect the Sunni areas, which lack resources. The Shia region might improve ties with Iran. It could set off a regional war. My own view is that federal arrangements make good sense, not only in Iraq. But these do not seem realistic prospects for the near-term future. 7. In contrast, what do you think policy should be? Suppose sincere concern for real democracy, sincere concern for populations in need, sincere concern for law and justice were to suddenly gain a hold on decision making, or suppose the will of an antiwar opposition could dictate terms, what should U.S. policymakers be forced to do? The answer seems to me pretty straightforward. Policy should be that of all aggressors: (1) pay reparations; (2) attend to the will of the victims; (3) hold the guilty parties accountable, in accord with the Nuremberg principles, the UN Charter, and other international instruments, even the US War Crimes Act before it was eviscerated by the Military Commisions Act, one of the most shameful pieces of legislation in American history. There are no mechanical principles in human affairs, but these are sensible guidelines. A more practical proposal is to work to change the domestic society and culture substantially enough so that what should be done can at least become a topic for discussion. That is a large task, not only on this issue, though i think elite opposition is far more ferocious than that of the general public.

@narchy is for everyone

by Whatthe There are actually enough resources to give everyone in the world to give free food, free clothes, free shelter, free education, and free health care to every living person. Although anarchists do not usually like to define their beliefs in terms of ethics, the anarchist emphasis on the need to maximize individual freedom can be seen as fundamentally rooted in utilitarian ethics. http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20061217153117411 If one is interested in minimizing global suffering or maximizing global happiness or maximizing the number of individuals who achieve self-actualization and creative fulfillment, as utilitarians are, it seems clear that one must first seek to maximize individual freedom. No one is better equipped, at any given time, to take action to reduce an individual’s suffering, increase an individual’s pleasure, or increase an individual’s feelings of self-actualization than the individual himself, because no one else can completely know the individual’s intimate desires or psychology. Anarchists take it to be an empirical fact that people who exercise the greatest control over their own affairs are the happiest and most fulfilled, and that community life is richer, more meaningful, and more pleasurable when everyone individual is autonomous. Anarchists believe that man’s greatest good—be it pleasure or fulfillment—can only be realistically achieved by individual autonomous action, and so, the pursuit of individual freedom must be the central concern of any ethical community which wants to increase global aggregate happiness and reduce global aggregate suffering. The need to maximize individual liberty and global happiness informs all anarchist thought about political, economic, and social issues. Anarchists oppose the state (defined as an organization with a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force in a given country) because the state exists for the sole purpose of limiting human freedom and imposing the will of a certain group of people (usually a tiny minority) on the rest of a nation’s citizens. Because of the state, millions of people are incarcerated—mostly for nonviolent and “victimless” offenses—and forced to live in totalitarian conditions in which they have absolutely no control over their own situations. Because of the state, untold multitudes are forced to alter their behavior for fear of enduring punishment and incarceration if they act autonomously. Because of the state, millions of people die in wars and genocides, and millions of others are forced to live under foreign occupation in which their liberty is severely restricted. It is obvious that, so long as the state exists, human beings can never attain maximum freedom or maximum happiness, and so, utilitarians and anarchists should oppose the state. While autonomous individuals certainly have conflicts of interest, these conflicts can be dealt with through compromise and consensus, rather than through institutionalized violence. In extreme cases, an antagonistic individual ought to be banished from a community, rather than incarcerated and deprived of his autonomy. Anarchists also oppose the existing economic situation, which they see as presenting another major barrier to the maximization of individual freedom and global happiness. In the existing system of industrial capitalist production, most laborers are treated as tools and are expected to follow orders at all times, and are prevented from engaging in any sort of autonomous decision-making. For as long as they are at work, they are owned by their employer, and nearly every aspect of their life is controlled: what they wear, what they do, and what they say. Some employers even attempt to control the personal lives of their employees: witness drug-testing at workplaces. Employers show no regard whatsoever for the dignity and autonomy of their employees, but because of the extremely centralized control of property in capitalist society, most workers are forced either to endure the pain of wage-slavery or the pains of crushing poverty. In a just economy, workers would be completely self-managed and self-employed. All workers would participate in decision-making at their workplace, and all workers would have the freedom to work in different sectors of the economy at different times and to split time between intellectual and physical labor. Productive property would have to be collectively owned, for if it was privately owned, the owner would inevitably place conditions on the right of workers to use the productive property, limiting worker freedom and autonomy. An autonomous worker, freed from the humiliating constraints of wage-slavery and completely in control of his own work experience, would reap all the fulfillment and enjoyment from growing food or building a house or making clothes that the poet reaps from writing a poem and the scientist reaps from discovering a new principle. The anarchist project to maximize freedom and global happiness extends to nonhuman animals as well. At present, billions upon billions of animals are forced to live lives of unceasing torture in factory farms, fur farms, and laboratories to produce nonessential consumer products. Nonhuman animals clearly have the capacity to feel pain—this much is scientific fact—and there is no reason to believe that the benefit a human derives from having the freedom to live as he chooses is any more profound than the benefit an animal derives from having the freedom to live as it chooses, so the liberation of animals from the cruel exploitation of the factory farm, the fur farm, and the laboratory must be an integral part of the anarchist project. Animals have as much a right to live autonomously and pleasurably as any human being does, so the enslavement of animals for nonessential purposes must be viewed as completely illegitimate, as it significantly reduces aggregate global happiness. _________________________________ ANARCHY IS FOR EVERYONE! WHAT IS ANARCHY? Anarchy is the idea that all people should be absolutely free, and that all forms of oppression, hierarchy, violence, and exploitation should be abolished. The word "Anarchy" literally means "no rulers." This means, in an Anarchist society, every single person would be in absolute control of his or her own life. All people would be free to live as they pleased without having to worry about starving to death or being killed or imprisoned by the government. In Anarchy, every person would be equally empowered to defend and advance his or her own self interests. This means that all private ownership of economically productive property would be abolished, and all bosses would be fired! People could share resources freely with one another, or could barter with the fruits of their labor, depending on what they felt like doing. People would have freedom to do any job that pleased them, or to do no work at all! In an Anarchist society, you can do whatever you want to, and don’t have to follow orders or deal with shit from anyone—not the state, not the cops, not your boss, not the school, and not the church. Conflict would be resolved organically through cooperation, compromise, and consensus, rather than through institutional violence Anarchy is rooted in one major philosophical idea: we’re anti-shit. No matter what shit prevents you from achieving your full potential and living your life like you want to—be it racism, sexism, homophobia, the government, capitalism, organized religion, your job, etc., etc., ETC.—we’re against it, and we’d like to work with you to destroy it! If you want to live under the iron fist of Eternal Fascism—if you want to be exploited, raped, colonized, and enslaved, or if you want to be the exploiter, the rapist, the colonizer, and the slave-master—then Anarchy is not for you. If this future does not appeal to you, then you’re an Anarchist, plain and simple! What’s not to like? Join the union of free beings today! We’ll figure out exactly how to organize the Anarchist system as we go along; the important thing is that we all agree to watch each others’ back when the Fascists come and try to force us back into submission to their system. We shouldn’t stand around idly by and watch while the world and its inhabitants are obliterated at the hands of oppressive social systems. It's time to join the project of mutual freedom, NOW! ~ Frequently asked questions note: for a more detailed and scholarly explanation of anarchism, read the pamphlet Isn't Anarchy just about terrorism, irrationality, and chaos? Anarchism is commonly associated with terrorism, chaos, and irrationality, among other unpopular things, not because these things have anything to do with Anarchist ideas, but because Anarchism is a real threat to the class of people that holds ideological power in the world, and the easiest way for this class to combat a threatening idea like anarchism is to slander the idea and its proponents, to marginalize it in public discourse using outright fabrications. Anarchy is, in reality, the safest, most rational, and least violent social system that has ever been conceived of. In the existing society, conflict is solved through institutionalized violence; in an Anarchist society, conflict will be solved through compromise and cooperation. Why do Anarchists oppose capitalism? Anarchists oppose capitalism because it necessarily causes extreme poverty, which limits the range of human freedom, because it is necessarily hierarchical, and because it must use violence and oppression to perpetuate itself. Capitalism encourages people to pursue infinite individual accumulation of material resources, regardless of the human and environmental costs of this accumulation. This necessarily leads to astronomic inequality, along with brutal warfare and state oppression. In a world ruled by capitalism, 8 million people die every year from poverty—2 million more than the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, and about 22,000 per day. One billion children live in abject poverty, 640 million do not have access to appropriate shelter, 140 million have never attended school, 400 million do not have access to clean uncontaminated water, 500 million do not have basic sanitation, 270 million have no access to health care, and 90 million are severely food deprived. Approximately 12.3 million people worldwide live in conditions of “modern slavery,” while over one billion people live on less than one dollar of income per day and over three billion live on less than two dollars per day. Meanwhile, the 50 richest people in the world have a combined income that is greater than the income of the poorest 416 million. At the end of the 20th century, the world’s 225 richest people had combined assets of over one trillion dollars, equal to the annual income of the poorest 47% of the world’s population, or 2.5 billion people; and the three richest people in the world had assets that exceeded the combined GDP of the 48 least developed countries in the world. It was estimated that it would cost only 40 billion dollars a year to provide universal access to basic education, health care, reproductive health care, adequate food, clean water, and safe sewers, which was less than 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people in the world. There are actually enough resources to give everyone in the world to give free food, free clothes, free shelter, free education, and free health care to every living person. For example, take food: we produce enough food every year to feed 9 billion people nutritious meals, 3 billion more than are even alive! Even so, 1 out of every 7 people is starving, including 90 million are children! Why? Because the rich criminals make more money by letting us starve than by feeding us. Poverty is the not the product of a natural scarcity of resources, rather, it is the product of a politico-economic system which prioritizes the interests of the wealthy minority over the interests of the poor majority. (see pamphlet for sources, see Introduction to Anti-Capitalism for more) Why do Anarchists oppose the state? Anarchists oppose the state because it is inherently violent and oppressive, and because it enforces artificial economic hierarchy. Throughout history, governments have been directly responsible for, quite literally, hundreds of millions of deaths (it has been estimated that during the 20th Century, governments were responsible for 262 million deaths!); they have created Holocausts, genocides, gulags, slavery, extreme poverty, and rampant warfare; they lock undesirables up in prisons, and children up in schools. They exist so that one group of people can dominate another. Anarchists obviously find this unacceptable. With that said, one shouldn't assume that, because Anarchists oppose the government, that we oppose all institutions. Anarchists have no problem with non-coercive, nonhierarchical institutions; indeed, we want them to run society. Many people will say things like "we need government, because it vaccinates children, provides schools, funds science, etc." I've never understood why we need the violent aspects of government, the ones which anarchists oppose—the police, military, and prison system—in order to have our children vaccinated and our schools funded, for example. Everyone in society benefits when there are institutions which provide education, health care, funding for scientific research, and so on. These beneficial institutions will exist whether or not our society has violent institutions. Why do Anarchists oppose all centralized power? Anarchists oppose centralized power because it is a threat to the liberty, prosperity, and safety of people everywhere, and because centralized power is incompatible with the Anarchist vision of a society in which all people have power over their own lives. All of the greatest political tragedies in history, without exception, have occurred when an excessive amount of power became centralized at the disposal of an elite minority. These plutocrats utilized their tyrannical power to exploit the rest of the human population in the desperate pursuit of material wealth, ideological goals, and further centralization of power. All of the most vicious and egregious empires have been ruled in this manner, by elites who were committed to infinite accumulation of material wealth. In the modern era, the capacity for such centralization of power is far greater than ever before, and the murderous consequences of such centralization are far more extreme, as was proven most infamously by the regimes of Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler, which consolidated totalitarian power and utilized modern technology to systematically execute millions of people they deemed threatening to their power. We must create a decentralized society if we are to avoid repeating the horrible tragedies of the past. What would an Anarchist society look like? An Anarchist society would have abolished all hierarchical and coercive institutions, and would replace these with voluntary, mutually beneficial institutions. All problems are solved organically through cooperation, compromise, and consensus, rather than through institutional violence. All people would be able to fulfill all of their fundamental human needs, and all people would have complete freedom of action. Isn't Anarchy impossible? No. There already have been many examples of Anarchies that have worked, not only in revolutionary Spain, the Paris Commune, in many indigenous societies, and in most prehistoric societies, to pick a few examples, but also in everyday interactions between people. Any time a group of people voluntarily come together to engage in mutually beneficial activities, they are proving that humans can indeed function without coercion and hierarchy. Furthermore, just because there has not been a sustained Anarchist experiment within a modern nation does not mean that it is impossible for Anarchy to work in a complex modern society. Before the French and American revolutions, reactionaries might have made the same arguments about democracy that they make about Anarchism today: it’s a nice idea, but it’s Utopian, and is without historical precedent in our modern time. Luckily, the American and French democrats dared to leave the past and fought to create a more libertarian and egalitarian world than the one they were born in to. Anyway, while Anarchism might not be perfect, it is hard to imagine that Anarchism could be any worse than state-capitalism or Marxist-Leninism, the two political systems which do have historical precedent in the modern era. We have a choice to either continue to live under one of these two brutal and anti-human systems, or to create anew and hope for the best. Wouldn't there be rampant crime if there was no government? No. First of all, it should be noted when discussing crime and its relation to politico-economic organization that on a global scale, the crimes perpetrated by centralized, hierarchical institutions such as states and corporations overwhelmingly exceed the crimes committed by individual citizens; therefore, if we want to create a safer, less violent society, we should begin by combating institutionalized crime, instead of focusing on individual crime which is extremely insignificant in comparison. However, an Anarchist society would also be able to keep its individual members safe from civilian crime at least as well as the existing system, as well as doing away with the far greater institutional crime. People in an Anarchist society would simply form reciprocal relationships with other members of their community to defend themselves, rather than relying on coercive and often predatory institutions for protection. This is how all people protected themselves throughout history until very recently, and it was at least as effective as the current system in keeping people safe. Anarchists assume that if a person was getting raped or assaulted, the person’s friends, family, and neighbors won’t allow it to happen, but would come to the person’s assistance and protect him or her. Because we think that people are willing to help each other out, we don’t feel that we need to rely on oppressive governments or police. Anarchists find it bizarre that in the present society people are more likely to trust impersonal strangers such as police, lawyers, and judges to protect them than they are to rely on their own friends and family. Of course, Anarchism can’t completely do away with crime and murder, but neither can state-capitalism or authoritarian Marxism, or any other political system thus conceived of. However, there is reason to believe that an Anarchist society would be far safer than a state-capitalist society. Anti-social behavior almost always arises in people who have been subjected to severe institutional repression, who have been frustrated in their pursuit of their fundamental needs. If all people had complete control over their lives, and had the opportunity to fulfill every one of their fundamental needs, cases of anti-social behavior would be far less frequent than in the current society. Humans are naturally competitive, so isn't any system that seeks to suppress the competitive urge bound to fail? Actually, Anarchism is about promoting competition, not stifling it; we just want change the focus of this competition. Under state-capitalism, the competitive urge which is almost certainly innate in humans is utterly squandered in a meaningless war of every individual against every other individual for the resources people need to survive, which have been made artificially scare by the capitalist economic system, and for commodities which provide a despicably inadequate substitute for identity and meaning in our culture. This perpetual struggle for wealth benefits no one; it only erodes the intelligence, strength, uniqueness, and adaptability of all individuals, rewarding those who are most obedient and most willing to conform to the roles that the politico-economic structure has prescribed for them. This system turns the human being into yet another mass-produced, interchangeable part. Under Anarchy, humans would be able to engage in competition over matters that are far more meaningful, beneficial, and interesting; the energy and potential of the competitive urge would not be squandered as it is today. When we have done away with the artificially produced inequity of resources, we will be able to devote our competitive energy towards perfecting ourselves and the world around us. We will compete as artists, as we will all have the time and energy to create and enjoy poetry, theater, music, and art that is truly exquisite and approaches perfection; we will compete as scientists, as we all attempt to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the universe; we will compete as philosophers, as well all strive to develop meaningful and entertaining stories which help us understand our existence; we will compete as philanthropists, as we all seek to give our own unique gifts to the world and its inhabitants. While there will certainly be differing forms of art, differing scientific theories, differing stories about existence, and different ideas about how to best help living creatures, and thus creative competition between different individuals working in these fields, the end result of the competition will be creative, rather than destructive as it is now. If two armies compete, the result is a field full of corpses. If two artists compete, the result is an enriched experience for both artists, and for everyone who views their art. This is really what Anarchy is about; it isn’t an abolition of competition, but simply a change in its focus, from destruction to creation. Wouldn't an Anarchist society become stagnate and fail to meet its full potential in science and art? No. It's absurd to suggest that development in science and art can only occur within an economically competitive social framework, and such development will ultimately raise the cumulative quality of life more than universal freedom. I think one would be hard pressed to find a truly gifted mind in science or art who was convinced to pursue his or her work solely by external rather than internal motivation. In fact, many geniuses were so internally motivated that they allowed themselves to fall into poverty or to be socially ostracized in order to continue their work. There is every reason to believe that uniquely talented people would continue to make their contributions to society whether or not they received material reward for doing so. If it is hard to imagine an artist or scientist motivated by external reward, it is nearly impossible to imagine that such a person would have anything worth contributing. I don’t think that people really need manufactured, commercial art, any more than they need the uninspired insights of a career intellectual who just wants to get tenure. It’s hard to imagine a social system more nurturing of art and science than an Anarchist society. Throughout history, the number of people who could spend their time creating art or pondering science was extremely limited, as only the richest had the time and energy to devote to such endeavors. In an Anarchist society, absolutely everyone would have the time and energy to devote to art and science; one would expect the number of scientific and artistic advances to increase exponentially. Is Anarchism relevant to modern society? Yes. Even though mass-scale Anarchist revolution seems like a remote prospect at the moment, Anarchism is still relevant and important in modern society. Without a vision of what a libertarian and egalitarian society could look like, a coherent critique of existing systems of oppression and exploitation, or an effective tactical strategy for destroying the existing society and replacing it with a liberated society, we have no hope of bringing about any social change whatsoever. Anarchism is important to any modern struggle for freedom and equality—be it the anti-capitalist movement, the anti-war movement, the feminist movement, the animal rights movement, the environmental movement, etc.—precisely because it offers a vision of a transformed society to strive for, a critique of state-capitalism, and a tactical strategy (direct action) which ordinary people can employ to achieve concrete social change. It is our hope that Anarchist revolution will occur in the future; however, until the day that this does occur, Anarchism will still play an important role in a diverse array of social struggles. If you have further questions about Anarchism, I'd be happy to address them. Contact information can be found at the bottom of this page. If the idea of Anarchy interests you, and you'd like to learn more about it, here are some other more detailed introductions to Anarchist, anti-authoritarian, and anti-capitalist thought. www.fuckauthority.org/

San Francisco: Journalists Say Free Press Threatened by Army Subpoena

by Release San Francisco, CA In a move which threatens the First Amendment rights of journalists, the U.S. Army has subpoenaed journalist Sarah Olson and placed another journalist, Dahr Jamail, on the prosecution witness list for the court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada. Both journalists are fighting back, saying the Army's attempt to compel their participation in the court-martial threatens press freedom and chills free speech. U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to refuse his orders to deploy to Iraq on June 22, 2006. In his upcoming February court-martial Lt. Watada faces one charge of missing troop movement, and four counts of conduct unbecoming an officer. Each of the later four charges relates to Lt. Watada's public explanations of his refusal to deploy to Iraq. If convicted of all charges Lt. Watada faces six years in prison, four of which would be for speaking to the press. Independent journalist Sarah Olson interviewed Lt. Watada last May. The Army says statements Watada made during Olson's interview constitute one charge of conduct unbecoming an officer, and wants Olson to verify those statements in a military court. Olson says: "It's my job to report the news, not to participate in a government prosecution. Testifying against my source would turn the press into an investigative tool of the government and chill dissenting voices in the United States." Independent journalist Dahr Jamail reported on Lt. Watada's address to the Veterans for Peace convention last August. The Army says it wants him to authenticate his reporting of the event. Jamail says: "I don't believe that reporters should be put in the position of having to participate in a prosecution. This is particularly poignant in this case, where journalists would be used to build a case against free speech for military personnel." The journalists say once the press is seen as the eyes and ears of the government, dissenting voices are less likely to express themselves publicly. A free and open exchange of ideas is the life-blood of democracy, and it is in the public interest to have a free debate on disparate views of current political issues. --- Contacts: Sarah Olson, Journalist: (415) 298-5573, solson75@yahoo.com Dahr Jamail, Journalist: (206) 384-6601, mail@dahrjamailiraq.com David Green, Attorney representing Sarah Olson: (510) 208-7744 Dan Siegel, Attorney representing Dahr Jamail: (510) 839-1200

That Da Da Strain, by Ethel Waters

Transcribed from vocals by Ethel Waters, recorded5/1922. From Ethel Waters 1921 - 1923, The Chronogical Classics, vol. 796. Have you heard it, have you heard it, That Da Da Strain? It will shake you, it will make you Really go insane. Everybody's full of pep, Makes you watch your every step. Every prancer, every dancer, Starts to lay 'em down, Everybody when they hear it Starts to buzzing 'round; I get crazy as a loon, When everybody hums this tune: Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Because the feeling Sets your brain a-reeling; Just like you're falling, That runabout refrain, [?] When everybody starts to Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, I want to do it once again, I'm simply wild about that Da-Da,Da-Da Strain! Oh, Da-Da Da-Da Da-Da Da-Da, Because this feeling Sets your brain a'reeling, Just like you're falling, That runabout refrain, [?] When everybody starts to Da-Da,Da-Da, Da, Da-Da I want to do it once again, I'm simply wild about the Da-Da,Da-Da Strain. Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Because that feeling Sets your brain a-reeling. Just like you're falling, That runabout refrain, [?] Oh, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da, I wanna do it once again, I'm simply wild about that Da-Da, Da-Da Strain! This text, with accompanying recording, makes a curious & little noticed connection to the European Dada activities that immediately preceded it. The melody, minus words, became a traditional jazz standard that persisted over the next several decades. The composers, when credited, are generally given as Mamie Medina (lyrics) & Edgar Dowell (music). More recently the title was used for a series of poems & performances by Jerome Rothenberg, but without reference to the lyrics themselves. (See http://www.ubu.com/sound/rothenberg.html.) http://ubu.wfmu.org/sound/ethno/waters/Ethel-Waters_That-Da-Da-Strain.mp3

WINEP prepares for war with Iran

by repost Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2006 at 9:36 AM Dispersed swarming tactics are most successful when attackers can elude detection through concealment and mobility, employ stand-off firepower, and use superior situational awareness (intelligence), enabling them to find and engage the enemy first. This accounts for a number of trends in Iranian naval force development in the past two decades. WINEP prepares for war with Iran. Washington Institute for Near East Policy PolicyWatch #1179 Iran's Doctrine of Asymmetric Naval Warfare By Fariborz Haghshenass December 21, 2006 For more than a decade, Iran has lavished a considerable share of its defense budget on its naval forces (which consist of both regular and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps units), believing that the Persian Gulf will be its front line in the event of a confrontation with the United States. Following a naval war-fighting doctrine that suits its revolutionary ethos, Iran has developed innovative, asymmetric naval warfare tactics that exploit its favorable geographic situation, build on its strengths, and target the vulnerabilities of its enemies. Revolutionary Naval Warfare During the Iran-Iraq War, the armed forces of Iran -- particularly the Revolutionary Guards (or Pasdaran) -- developed a war-fighting doctrine in accord with the country's revolutionary ideology. Based on Shiite religious concepts, the doctrine reflects Iran's Alavi and Ashurai heritage. It draws inspiration from Ali (cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammad), who chose to avoid confrontation when challenged by Arab rulers of his time, and waited for twenty-four years before assuming the caliphate, as well as from the devotion of his son Hussein, who faced a superior enemy and died in battle on the plains of Karbala on the tenth day of Muharram in the year 680 (Ashura). Revolutionary Shiite values such as stoic endurance and devotion to the cause are granted equal, if not superior, status to the traditional military principles of mission accomplishment and the achievement of a military objective. According to this doctrine, the mere act of fighting, exerting maximum effort, and fulfilling one's religious (and national) duty to the fullest is an end in itself. The result or outcome is of secondary importance. For adherents, martyrdom is a welcome prospect. A readiness to die, however, is not considered a substitute for lethality and effectiveness. On the contrary, the Iranian concept of Alavi/Ashurai warfare relies not just on spiritual commitment, but also on high-tech weaponry and innovative tactics -- a combination employed to great effect on the ground in southern Lebanon by Iran's protege, the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah, in its war with Israel this summer. The most prominent expression of this doctrine was a series of naval battles with the U.S. Navy in April 1988. These took place during the final phases of the Iran-Iraq War, when hopelessly outclassed Iranian forces battled U.S. naval units in the Persian Gulf. Iran incurred heavy losses in the process. The experience taught Iran that large naval vessels are vulnerable to air and missile attacks, confirmed the efficacy of small boat operations, and spurred interest in missile-armed fast-attack craft. It also allowed Iran to expand the use of swarming tactics that form the foundation of its current approach to asymmetric naval warfare. Naval Swarming Tactics Swarming tactics are not new; they have been practiced by land armies for thousands of years. Such tactics require light, mobile forces with substantial striking power, capable of rapidly concentrating to attack an enemy from multiple directions and then rapidly dispersing. Iranian naval swarming tactics focus on surprising and isolating the enemy's forces and preventing their reinforcement or resupply, thereby shattering the enemy's morale and will to fight. Iran has practiced both mass and dispersed swarming tactics. The former employs mass formations of hundreds of lightly armed and agile small boats that set off from different bases, then converge from different directions to attack a target or group of targets. The latter uses a small number of highly agile missile or torpedo attack craft that set off on their own, from geographically dispersed and concealed locations, and then converge to attack a single target or set of targets (such as a tanker convoy). The dispersed swarming tactic is much more difficult to detect and repel because the attacker never operates in mass formations. During the Iran-Iraq War, the Pasdaran navy used mass swarming tactics; as a result, its forces proved vulnerable to attack by U.S. naval and air power. Because of this, it is unlikely that such tactics would be used for anything but diversionary attacks in the future. In today's Iranian naval forces, mass swarming tactics have largely given way to dispersed swarming. Dispersed swarming tactics are most successful when attackers can elude detection through concealment and mobility, employ stand-off firepower, and use superior situational awareness (intelligence), enabling them to find and engage the enemy first. This accounts for a number of trends in Iranian naval force development in the past two decades. The first is the acquisition and development of small, fast weapons platforms -- particularly lightly armed small boats and missile-armed fast-attack craft; extended- and long-range shore- and sea-based antiship missiles; midget and diesel attack submarines (for intelligence gathering, covert mine laying, naval special warfare, and conventional combat operations); low-signature reconnaissance and combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and the adaptation of the Shahab-3 medium-range surface-to-surface missile armed with a cluster warhead reportedly carrying 1,400 bomblets, for use against enemy naval bases and carrier battle groups. Iran has also sought to improve its ability to achieve surprise by employing low-observable technologies (such as radar-absorbent paints), strict communications discipline, stringent emissions control measures, passively or autonomously guided weapons systems (such as the Kowsar series of television-guided antiship missiles), and sophisticated command-and-control arrangements. To support its naval swarm tactics, Iran has encouraged decentralized decisionmaking and initiative, as well as autonomy and self-sufficiency among naval combat elements. Wartime Operations In wartime, Iranian naval forces would seek to close the Strait of Hormuz and destroy enemy forces bottled up in the Persian Gulf; therefore speed and surprise would be key. Iranian naval forces would seek to identify and attack the enemy's centers of gravity as quickly as possible and inflict maximum losses before contact with subordinate units were lost as a result of enemy counterattacks. Geography is Iran's ally. Because of the proximity of major shipping routes to the country's largely mountainous 2,000-kilometer coastline, Iranian naval elements can sortie from their bases and attack enemy ships with little advance warning. Meanwhile, shore-based antiship missiles can engage targets almost anywhere in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. To achieve the latter capability, and to improve the survivability of its shore-based missile force, Iran has devoted significant efforts to extending the range of locally produced variants of a number of Chinese shore-based antiship missiles such as the HY-2 Silkworm and the C-802 (from 50 to 300 kilometers and from 120 to 170 kilometers, respectively). It has also introduced the use of helicopter-borne long-range antiship missiles. To ensure that it can achieve surprise in the event of a crisis or war, Iran's naval forces keep U.S. warships in the region under close visual, acoustic, and radar observation. The Iranian navy commander -- Rear Adm. Sajad Kouchaki, one of the architects of the country's naval doctrine -- recently claimed that Iranian submarines continually monitor U.S. naval movements, frequently at close range, and have even passed underneath American aircraft carriers and other warships undetected. Iranian UAVs also frequently shadow U.S. carrier battle groups in the area. Conclusion Current Iranian naval deployments are aimed at deterring an American attack and -- in the event of hostilities -- entrapping and destroying U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf, at which time U.S. regional bases would be targeted with rocket and missile strikes as well. Iranian naval forces would conduct simultaneous close-in and stand-off attacks, relying on swarming tactics developed and refined during the Iran-Iraq War and highlighted in recent naval exercises in the Persian Gulf. The performance of Lebanese Hizballah guerrillas, who used similar tactics against much larger and more powerful Israeli ground forces in southern Lebanon last summer, provides some insight into what the U.S. Navy should expect in the event of a confrontation with Iran in the Persian Gulf. Fariborz Haghshenass is an expert on the Iranian military. View this PolicyWatch on our website at http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2548

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

*yadda yadda*

kemikulorkistrahunguponalice.mp3

The History of Computer Role-Playing Games

The History of Computer Role Playing Games (1974-1983) - Part I The History of Computer Role-Playing Games: The Early Years (1980-1983) - Part II

The World's Most Beautiful Women Bloggers of 2006

by Amit Agarwal on 12/24/2006 04:17:02 PM
The World's most beautiful women bloggers of 2006 [English vlogs only] Karina Stenquist of Mobuzz TV, a daily vlog on web related stuff recorded in Madrid, Spain. Karina has some great sense of humor and she was recently spotted in a Google office jumping on massage chairs for Googlers. Karina Stenquist Cali Lewis of GeekBrief TV. The kind-of-daily show features interesting gadgets and web 2.0 services. Watch the GeekBrief TV bloopers where Luria Petrucci, her real name, frequently breaks into uncontrollable laughter. Cali Lewis Veronica Belmont is the producer of CNet Buzz out Loud and co-host of CNet TV and Crave, a new gadget video blog from CNet again. Wait, there's another gadget connection - Veronica is the girlfriend of Engadget's Ryan Block and as Scoble points, Gadget love runs deep in that house. Veronica Belmont Lindsay Campbell, the host of Wallstrip - Her daily shows on Wallstrip created by Howard Lindzon are short, entertaining and full of substance. Lindsay, a Stanford graduate, has looks, loads of style and knows her stuff just too well. Lindsay Campbell Related: Female Video Bloggers Move from Internet to TV Stations

FBI Considered "It's A Wonderful Life" Communist Propaganda

George and Mary Bailey looking happy

I love It's a Wonderful Life because it teaches us that family, friendship, and virtue are the true definitions of wealth.

In 1947, however, the FBI considered this anti-cosumerist message as subversive Communist propaganda (read original FBI memo).

According to Professor John Noakes of Franklin and Marshall College, the FBI thought Life smeared American values such as wealth and free enterprise while glorifying anti-American values such as the triumph of the common man.

The FBI specifically detested the way Mr. Potter was portrayed:

The casting of Lionel Barrymore as a "scrooge-type" resulted in the loathsome Mr. Potter becoming the most hated person in the film. According to the official FBI report, "this was a common trick used by the communists."
"What's interesting in the FBI critique is that the Baileys were also bankers," said Noakes. " and what is really going on is a struggle between the big-city banker (Potter) and the small banker (the Baileys). Capra was clearly on side of small capitalism and the FBI was on the side of big capitalism.
The FBI misinterpreted this classic struggle as communist propaganda. I would argue that 'It's a Wonderful Life' is a poignant movie about the transition in the U.S. between small and big capitalism, with Jimmy Stewart personifying the last hope for a small town. It's a lot like the battle between Home Depot and the mom and pop hardware store." Source: Franklin and Marshall College and Delilah Boyd

As you can imagine, Life is more than just a Christmas movie for us here at Wise Bread. Heck, George Bailey's life story is practically the blueprint for our mission statement!George and Mary Bailey almost kissing

Naturally I want to get to the bottom of this. I don't want to become an anti-consumerist, especially when our Commander in Chief has decreed that it is our duty as Americans to do more shopping.

So I fired up "The Google" and dug up the original FBI report just to make sure Professor Noakes was right. The original document was a bit hard to read so I transcribed it for your reading pleasure (I did this for free, maybe I am a pinko):

To: The Director

D.M. Ladd

COMMUNIST INFILTRATION OF THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY

(RUNNING MEMORANDUM)

There is submitted herewith the running memorandum concerning Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry which has been brought up to date as of May 26, 1947....

With regard to the picture "It's a Wonderful Life", [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a "scrooge-type" so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.

In addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. [redacted] related that if he made this picture portraying the banker, he would have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiner in connection with making loans. Further, [redacted] stated that the scene wouldn't have "suffered at all" in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown. In summary, [redacted] stated that it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and "I would never have done it that way."

[redacted] recalled that approximately 15 years ago, the picture entitled "The Letter" was made in Russia and was later shown in this country. He recalled that in this Russian picture, an individual who had lost his self-respect as well as that of his friends and neighbors because of drunkenness, was given one last chance to redeem himself by going to the bank to get some money to pay off a debt. The old man was a sympathetic character and was so pleased at his opportunity that he was extremely nervous, inferring he might lose the letter of credit or the money itself. In summary, the old man made the journey of several days duration to the bank and with no mishap until he fell asleep on the homeward journey because of his determination to succeed. On this occasion the package of money dropped out of his pocket. Upon arriving home, the old man was so chagrined he hung himself. The next day someone returned the package of money to his wife saying it had been found. [redacted] draws a parallel of this scene and that of the picture previously discussed, showing that Thomas Mitchell who played the part of the man losing the money in the Capra picture suffered the same consequences as the man in the Russian picture in that Mitchell was too old a man to go out and make money to pay off his debt to the banker.

FBI It's a Wonderful Life Memo

FBI It's a Wonderful Life Memo


We can look back at the FBI report with scorn and ridicule. But are we really that much more enlightened today as a society?

We live in an America where romantic love is defined by three-month-salary diamonds and parental affections are expressed through ridiculously-priced video games (don't forget to check out our report on the Wii and PS3 locator, by the way).

Perhaps the FBI was (and still is) correct when it said It's a Wonderful Life did not reflect American values. If you don't believe me, try telling your loved ones tonight that they won't be getting a materialistic gift from you, beacause your love for them already makes them the "richest man in town!"

Is it really true that every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings? I don't know. I do hope that every time a Christmas shopper cuts me off in the mall parking lot, God smites a kitten.

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The Liberal Avenger

It’s a Wonderful Life = Communist propaganda?

Apparently at least somebody at the FBI thought so.

If tha

Radio Left | 15 hours ago
FBI Considered "It's A Wonderful Life" Communist Propaganda | Wise Bread...
GoodShit | 1 day ago
Two articles I ran across today on popurls seemed to have impeccable timing: Christmas Eve. The first is an LA Times piece called 10 myths — and 10 truths — about atheism by Sam Harris, an authour on the topic of faith. The article states ...
ComingAnarchy.com | 1 day ago
According to Professor John Noakes of Franklin and Marshall College, the FBI thought Life smeared American values such as wealth and free enterprise while glorifying anti-American values such as the triumph of the common man.
http://www.bizzbites.com/story/659/ | 1 day ago
FBI documents from 1947 show that government officials believed the Christmas movie classic "It's a Wonderful Life" was Communist propaganda. About the FBI memo titled "COMMUNIST INFILTRATION OF THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY," Blogger Will Chen writes, I l
Boing Boing | 1 day ago

Comments

hey! leave the kitties out of this!
annie (not verified) | 1 day ago | reply
If you get the chance, watch this brilliant documentary http://video.google.co.uk/videosearch?q=century+of+self to see why the FBI was so against this film and its sentiments
Guest (not verified) | 1 day ago | reply
Every time a bell rings, an FBI agent gets on the case! Funny how back then it was the Commies, now its the Terrorists... anything to keep us in fear! Liberate your minds! Free yourself from fear! And have a Merry Christmahanufestivukwanazamas.!
CultivateGreatness.com (not verified) | 1 day ago | reply
Hi, I am one of many, that is instrumental in posting the weekly web blog for www.ArgentinaBrunetti.com Argy, as she is affectionately known by her friends, was one of the many actors (she potrayed Mrs. Martini in the film) that allowed this Christmas classic to become so close and dear to all of our hearts. This film is only now getting the acclaim that it has deserved all along. How dare they try to villilfy that. Visit http://www.argentinabrunetti.com/videoItsawonderfullife.html to see the trailer and do not let the FBI Grinch of Christmas' past steal this or any other Christmas from us.
Michael (not verified) | 1 day ago | reply

Thank you for sharing that little wonderful connection with us. Now I love the movie even more! Ms. Brunetti was great as Mrs. Martini. The scene where Mary hands over the bread and wine to Mrs. Martini is one of my favorite scenes in the movie (I remember how emotional my parents were when they bought their first house).

The Century of Self looks like a great documentary. Thanks for the recommendation guest reader.

Will Chen | 1 day ago | reply
I am the only son of one of the last surviving (ADULT) members (if not the last) of the Christmas classic film 'It's a Wonderful Life'. Argentina Brunetti, portrayed Mrs. Martini in the film and passed away at 98. After reading Mr.Chen's article, I can only point out how dangerous misinformation and personal opinion can be, if it is used maliciously by those in political power. This should be a lesson to all about the potency of the written word and to think twice before following blindly down a certain path just because something is written in a certain newspaper in bold print. But at least here in American we can thank God, (instead of trying to get rid of Him) that we can discuss such matters openly. We must also count one other major blessing during this period: in spite of all the misteps that our nation takes, we continue to be that 'Shining City on the Hill', because, as my mother, at 98 years of age, so aptly wrote in her bio-novel, 'In Sicilian Company', "God takes care of fools, drunks and the United States of America!"
Mario P. Brunetti (not verified) | 1 day ago | reply
After all the hard work and years of admiration for the film to call it a Commie plot. What is next ? Snow White ? Casablanca ? Dirty Harry movies ? www.tratfor.com
shaun Stevens (not verified) | 1 day ago | reply
Nice post. Come to think of it most holidays are communist plots. Thanksgiving, no gift exchange? We all need to get back to work for next year.
John Wesley (not verified) | 19 hours ago | reply
What a bunch of assholes they had back then.
Guest (not verified) | 17 hours ago | reply
What a bunch of assholes they had doing this stuff back then. Here's to your Family Values; the lies, the lies...all a sham.
True Faith (not verified) | 17 hours ago | reply
"Funny how back then it was the Commies, now its the Terrorists" Yes, funny. Funny how back then there really were Soviet agents in high government positions, and the Communists were just getting warmed up running through Europe conquering many nations and killing millions. Funny that extremist Muslims, employing terrorism as one of their main means of attack, really did make eight attacks on US soil in the 90's and then the 9/11 ramming planes into buildings. This FBI document reveals the opinion of one person, who is obviously wrong. American values are indeed hard work and free enterprise, but also family and friendship. The average FBI agent, the average person who was against communism and soviet spies in our government, did not hold the view that IaWL was communist propoganda. The majority of people who realise people who ram planes into our buildings might need to be stopped are not of the opinion that friendship and family are anti American.
Guest (not verified) | 11 hours ago | reply
The movie was entertainment. "In addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters." If the shoe fits then wear it.How do you think the rich gets rich, by being nice and caring about others....no. I think the government needs to get the hell out of movies, music and our lives. The only thing you can count on from the American goverment is lies. Buckel that seat belt or get a ticket...funny school buses have no seat belts. And yes they do un-buckle dead people. We have murders, rapist out on bail. While the prisions are full of people who were caught smoking a joint. This setting president has broken the law, lied to the American people, just as Nixon and Reagan did. Clinton allowed Reno to burn down a church in Waco Texas, when this FBI had walked with David the day before, and could have had him then. No they had to burn down the church. When the fire started the people inside took the children to the basement. When it was all over the children were photographed. The cyanide from the tear gas twisted their bodies. And the FBI was worried about a damn movie. Seems to me they have their priorities out of order, but that is the American way, is it not. Just like us invading Iraq, without justification all on a lie, that Bush knew was a lie. Colin Powell left because he knoew it was a lie. Which means that our great troops are dying in Iraq for a lie. Iraq is five thousand years old, we can not force our brand of democracy on the middle east. Hell even England discovered it could not control India. But like the good follower Blair was he went along with it. Right now the death count in Iraq has surpassed the amount of people killed in 9/11. Let me leave you with quote from a great writer. "Be nice to Americans or we will bring our brand of democracy to your country." Is it the American way, charge into another country with shouts, we bring you freedom...welcome us with open arms or put your hand up. If this is an example of our new values, then all that paid with their lives for our freedom, died in vain. The real terrorist are those who have forgotton, if we stand for freedom, we cannot be the invaders.
Mystic

Octavio Paz, Piedra de Sol

to love is to battle, if two kiss the world changes, desires take flesh, thoughts take flesh, wings sprout on the backs of the slave . . . amar es combatir, si dos se besan el mundo cambia, encarnan los deseos, el pensamiento encarna, brotan alas en las espaldas del esclavo . . . (trans. Eliot Weinberger)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Time saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy

by François Le Moyne, 1737 * ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪ ♪-♥-♫-♥-♪

Noam Chomsky: The Cambodia Industry

by Noam Chomsky Dec 21 Below is an exchange that took place in the ZNet Sustainer Forums where Noam interacts with the forum users. The question posed to Noam, and related material cited, is further below in this blog post. Here is Noam's response to the question...

Noam Chomsky: I have no record or memory of the posting below, dated in January. And I'm confident that I did not receive it, because it is the kind of posting I would have answered at the first opportunity, not because of its merit (on which, below) but because of the significance of the general phenomenon of which it is yet another illustration -- and, incidentally, an illustration that appears to have been dropped from the litany many years ago, I suspect out of embarrassment. ...MORE...


Sunday, December 24, 2006

La Gitana, by Aleister Crowley

Your hair was full of roses in the dewfall as we danced, The sorceress enchanting and the paladin entranced, In the starlight as we wove us in a web of silk and steel Immemorial as the marble in the halls of Boabdil, In the pleasuance of the roses with the fountains and the yews Where the snowy Sierra soothed us with the breezes and the dews! In the starlight as we trembled from a laugh to a caress, And the God came warm upon us in our pagan allegresse. Was the Baile de la Bona too seductive? Did you feel Through the silence and the softness all the tension of the steel? For your hair was full of roses, and my flesh was full of thorns, And the midnight came upon us worth a million crazy morns. Ah! my Gipsy, my Gitana, my Saliya! were you fain For the dance to turn to earnest? - O the sunny land of Spain! My Gitana, my Saliya! more delicious than a dove! With your hair aflame with roses and your lips alight with love! Shall I see you, shall I kiss you once again? I wander far From the sunny land of summer to the icy Polar Star. I shall find you, I shall have you! I am coming back again From the filth and fog to seek you in the sunny land of Spain. I shall find you, my Gitana, my Saliya! as of old With your hair aflame with roses and your body gay with gold. I shall find you, I shall have you, in the summer and the south With our passion in your body and our love upon your mouth - With our wonder and our worship be the world aflame anew! My Gitana, my Saliya! I am coming back to you!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Child's Christmas In Wales, by Dylan Thomas

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen. It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared. We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows - eternal, ever since Wednesday - that we never heard Mrs. Prothero's first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor's polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder. "Fire!" cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong. And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room. Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, "A fine Christmas!" and smacking at the smoke with a slipper. "Call the fire brigade," cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong. "There won't be there," said Mr. Prothero, "it's Christmas." There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting. "Do something," he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke - I think we missed Mr. Prothero - and ran out of the house to the telephone box. "Let's call the police as well," Jim said. "And the ambulance." "And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires." But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?" Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea." "But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards." "Were there postmen then, too?" "With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells." "You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?" "I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them." "I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells." "There were church bells, too." "Inside them?" "No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our fence." "Get back to the postmen" "They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the doors with blue knuckles ...." "Ours has got a black knocker...." "And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out." "And then the presents?" "And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill. He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on fishmonger's slabs. "He wagged his bag like a frozen camel's hump, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was gone." "Get back to the Presents." "There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths; zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o'-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o'-shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now, alas, no longer whinnying with us. And pictureless books in which small boys, though warned with quotations not to, would skate on Farmer Giles' pond and did and drowned; and books that told me everything about the wasp, except why." "Go on the Useless Presents." "Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor's cap and a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches, cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who, if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall. And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And then it was breakfast under the balloons." "Were there Uncles like in our house?" "There are always Uncles at Christmas. The same Uncles. And on Christmas morning, with dog-disturbing whistle and sugar fags, I would scour the swatched town for the news of the little world, and find always a dead bird by the Post Office or by the white deserted swings; perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out. Men and women wading or scooping back from chapel, with taproom noses and wind-bussed cheeks, all albinos, huddles their stiff black jarring feathers against the irreligious snow. Mistletoe hung from the gas brackets in all the front parlors; there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons; and cats in their fur-abouts watched the fires; and the high-heaped fire spat, all ready for the chestnuts and the mulling pokers. Some few large men sat in the front parlors, without their collars, Uncles almost certainly, trying their new cigars, holding them out judiciously at arms' length, returning them to their mouths, coughing, then holding them out again as though waiting for the explosion; and some few small aunts, not wanted in the kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edge of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to break, like faded cups and saucers." Not many those mornings trod the piling streets: an old man always, fawn-bowlered, yellow-gloved and, at this time of year, with spats of snow, would take his constitutional to the white bowling green and back, as he would take it wet or fire on Christmas Day or Doomsday; sometimes two hale young men, with big pipes blazing, no overcoats and wind blown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite, to blow away the fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two furling smoke clouds of their inextinguishable briars. Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils, when out of a snow-clogged side lane would come a boy the spit of myself, with a pink-tipped cigarette and the violet past of a black eye, cocky as a bullfinch, leering all to himself. I hated him on sight and sound, and would be about to put my dog whistle to my lips and blow him off the face of Christmas when suddenly he, with a violet wink, put his whistle to his lips and blew so stridently, so high, so exquisitely loud, that gobbling faces, their cheeks bulged with goose, would press against their tinsled windows, the whole length of the white echoing street. For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the sideboard and had some elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush. I would blow up balloons to see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o'-war, following the Instructions for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar. Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on to the seaward hill, to call on Jim and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge footprints on the hidden pavements. "I bet people will think there's been hippos." "What would you do if you saw a hippo coming down our street?" "I'd go like this, bang! I'd throw him over the railings and roll him down the hill and then I'd tickle him under the ear and he'd wag his tail." "What would you do if you saw two hippos?" Iron-flanked and bellowing he-hippos clanked and battered through the scudding snow toward us as we passed Mr. Daniel's house. "Let's post Mr. Daniel a snow-ball through his letter box." "Let's write things in the snow." "Let's write, 'Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel' all over his lawn." Or we walked on the white shore. "Can the fishes see it's snowing?" The silent one-clouded heavens drifted on to the sea. Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills, and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying "Excelsior." We returned home through the poor streets where only a few children fumbled with bare red fingers in the wheel-rutted snow and cat-called after us, their voices fading away, as we trudged uphill, into the cries of the dock birds and the hooting of ships out in the whirling bay. And then, at tea the recovered Uncles would be jolly; and the ice cake loomed in the center of the table like a marble grave. Auntie Hannah laced her tea with rum, because it was only once a year. Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house. "What shall we give them? Hark the Herald?" "No," Jack said, "Good King Wencelas. I'll count three." One, two three, and we began to sing, our voices high and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood close together, near the dark door. Good King Wencelas looked out On the Feast of Stephen ... And then a small, dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry, eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town. "Perhaps it was a ghost," Jim said. "Perhaps it was trolls," Dan said, who was always reading. "Let's go in and see if there's any jelly left," Jack said. And we did that. Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Event

http://www.globalorgasm.org/

The Event

WHO? All Men and Women, you and everyoneyou know.

WHERE? Everywhere in the world, but especially in countries with weapons of mass destruction.

WHEN? Winter Solstice Day - Friday, December 22nd, at the time of your choosing, in the place of your choosing and with as much privacy as you choose.

WHY? To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible surge of human energy a Synchronized Global Orgasm. There are two more US fleets heading for the Persian Gulf with anti-submarine equipment that can only be for use against Iran, so the time to change Earth’s energy is NOW!


Bread, Bread, Everywhere, Yet not a Morsel to Eat

by Jason Miller

Pelted by a perpetual hail of electrons fired through a cathode ray tube, the pixels on my PC monitor feed me a generous intellectual bounty of words and images emanating from virtually infinite points dotting the globe. Enabling me to interface with the Internet at will, my computer serves as my window to the world and as a portal through which I can unleash my writings upon the unsuspecting.

Earlier this week as I peered into cyberspace through my ostensibly one-way aperture, I happened upon a picture that my imperialist indoctrination had conditioned me to reflexively dismiss or ignore. However, I've grown increasingly resistant to the "charms" of the pathological delusions of American superiority, invulnerability, impunity, and entitlement to decadence. Something about this particular assemblage of glowing pixels left me flailing in a raging river of emotion.

As I negotiated the tempestuous feelings surging within me, I made the conscious decision to forgo the American Way of dismissal and distraction. Instead, I connected and contemplated.

Staring me in the face was the tragic image of a Kenyan child condemned to the abject suffering of death by starvation. A massive tear confirmed the depth of his misery, yet his angelic eyes still beamed with the radiance of his life force. Not even the brutal assault of famine could extinguish the persistent flame of the human spirit.

In sharp contrast to the enduring blaze of his inner being, his corporeal shell had withered in a macabre synchronicity with the plants of his drought-ravaged environs. Yet despite his region's temporary scarcity of food, like his metaphorical counterpart, this diminutive scare-crow existed in a world glutted with comestibles that were not meant for him. With leather-like skin stretched tautly over his protruding skeleton, the slightest breeze would surely have caused him to rustle like a dry corn husk. Blood seeped from my heart as I made a vain attempt to imagine his pain.

Despite experiencing nearly overwhelming pathos, I remained focused and probed for a deeper understanding of this tiny innocent's torment.

Until recently, starvation had been an abstraction so far removed from my reality that I had hardly considered it. But in that one poignant moment, my years of personal struggles, work with the homeless over the last eight months, and choice to immerse myself in the human suffering encapsulated in that simple JPEG steeled my determination to examine, explore, and understand a grim aspect of human existence.

Starvation is a Grueling Process….

Denying the human body adequate nutrition for a prolonged period results in an agonizing three stage process of physical deterioration, a host of nasty symptoms, the potential of numerous excruciating afflictions, and eventually, death.

In the initial phase, the body breaks down stores of glycogen to produce the energy it needs. In less than 24 hours glycogen stores are generally exhausted and fats become the primary fuel for the body. Once fat is depleted, precious proteins comprising human muscle are metabolized to produce energy. This third stage causes rapid muscle deterioration and eventually results in the extreme emaciation embodied by the starving Kenyan boy whose image was now deeply tattooed onto my cerebrum.

A starving person can look forward to listlessness, fatigue, skin rashes, extreme irritability, and a significantly compromised immune system. Add diarrhea, scurvy, severe edema (swelling) of the abdomen, and heart failure to the mix and you have a comprehensive recipe for human anguish. Perhaps it is a blessing that most sufferers fall victim to illness or disease before starvation runs its course.

Famine and the Grim Reaper….a match made in Hell….

Delving further, I was startled to learn how widespread hunger and famine are on our planet, particularly in the "developing world".

Mark Elsis offered this sobering perspective at Lovearth.net :

"On Tuesday September 11, 2001, at least 35,615 of our brother and sisters died from the worst possible death, starvation. Somewhere around 85% of these starvation deaths occur in children 5 years of age or younger. Why are we letting at least 30,273 of the most beautiful children die the worst possible death everyday? Every 2.43 seconds another one of our fellow brothers and sisters dies of starvation.

Starvation doesn't just happen on Tuesday September 11, 2001, it happens everyday, 365 days per year, 24 hours per day, it never stops."

On 12/5/06, the world human population was 6.4 billion. By that same day, 10.1 million people had starved to death in 2006. A human being dies from hunger-related causes every 2.43 seconds. Yet it doesn't have to be that way.

If all else fails, blame the victim…

Blaming starvation's victims for populating the planet beyond its capacity may assuage many people's guilt, but this heartless conclusion is based on pernicious myths. Humanity produces more than enough food to sustain the entire world population. The United States alone wastes a shocking 96 billion pounds of food each year even as we experience an epidemic of obesity.

In its rush to dominate, plunder and exploit "developing nations, the "developed world" (led by the United States), causes many of the famines it duplicitously attributes to irresponsible procreation.

"Free trade", "economic development", and IMF/World Bank "assistance" are prescriptions for disaster for the people of the "developing world". Having eliminated much of their own arable land for commercial or industrial use, the Neocolonial masters rely heavily on imported food from their servant states, significantly reducing these already impoverished nations' ability to feed their own people. Urbanization in "developing countries" (fostered by Western economic development) draws large populations into cities where people no longer have the means to cultivate their own food. World Bank loans usually result in projects that benefit the overlords and create a sea of debt for their underlings.

In its bid to oppress the world, the United States often installs and supports authoritarian leaders who implement Neoliberal policies that foment conditions leading to famine and starvation for their own people. Until the recent democratic successes of indigenous populists in Latin America, governments refusing to align with the United States were often comprised of ruthless elites whom the people initially embraced as a welcome respite from (or alternative to) US-style oppression. Either scenario generally results in profound misery for the poor and bliss for the aristocracy.

Budgeting priorities….spending $99.50 to kill them and 50 cents to keep them alive...

Not only does the United States contribute heavily to the atrocity of widespread starvation. Its economic aid for famine relief that many American apologists trumpet is negligible relative to the money it spends to wage war and kill innocent human beings.

Consider this excerpt from my inspiration for this essay, Andrew S. Taylor's brilliant piece entitled Moral Mathematics in the Post-Enlightenment Era (http://www.mendacitypress.com/12.2006Taylor.html):

"As of October 22, 2006 the total cost of the Iraq war is $336 billion. Let's do the math. Four years after Afghanistan, we had spent $1.62 billion helping the citizens of that nation to rebuild their infrastructure and secure their "freedom." Less than four years after invading Iraq, we have spent 207 times that amount to violate the rights of a society that wants us gone from their home.

Here's more:

'To date in FY 2006, the United States has committed more than $175 million for immediate life-saving interventions, targeting the most affected areas in the Horn of Africa with water and sanitation, health, nutrition, and food assistance.'

And:

'Congress has already appropriated about $850 million for aid to all of Sudan in 2005 and 2006, and the White House has requested another $880 million.'

Well goodness, that's almost more than we've given Afghanistan! It is almost 0.5% of the yearly budget in Iraq, where it seems we may have killed more than the 400,000 than have already starved to death in Darfur, and no doubt displaced a number comparable to the 2 million displaced there."

Directing my thoughts back to the tortured soul whose photograph had imbued me with a desire to dissect the subject of starvation, I wondered if by some miracle he had survived. Other questions rushed to mind. What was his name? How old was he? What was his favorite game? What did he like to eat, when he had food? What happened to his parents? If he died, then how or when?

Realizing I could do little more than conjecture or speculate, I directed my attention back to my feelings. My sadness for the boy had progressed into abhorrence of the elites, oligarchs, and plutocrats, both here and in the nations plagued by famines.

I also felt grateful that I had disciplined myself to pursue my thoughts and feelings elicited by that haunting image of a dying child.

And what conclusions had I drawn or reaffirmed?

1. Exercising empathy is both a balm for the soul and anathema to American Capitalism.

2. A significant portion of world hunger is intentionally perpetuated to ensure that a relative few can gluttonously self indulge.

3. Manipulation and subjugation via economic means are often the principal causes of famines and mass starvation.

4. Behind the United States' façade of benevolent superpowerdom lurks a craven pack of ruthless predators with the moral principles of Caligula.

5. And perhaps most importantly, my oft-expressed antipathy for many of the institutions, systems, policies, and actions of the American Empire is well-founded.

In the final analysis, the little wretch for whom I had grieved had not suffered in vain. He had starved so that the "people who matter" can revel in their opulence.

And on top of that, we have an Empire to run. Somebody has to make sacrifices. It might as well be "Third Worlders".

Sources and Further Reading:

http://www.lovearth.net/

http://www.mhhe.com/biosci/ap/vdgconcepts/digestive/reading5.mhtml

http://www.secondharvest.org/who_we_help/hunger_facts.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starvation

http://www.globalaware.org/Artlicles_eng/Famine_intro.htm

http://www.mendacitypress.com/12.2006Taylor.html

Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He writes prolifically, his essays have appeared widely on the Internet, and he volunteers at homeless shelters. He welcomes constructive correspondence at willpowerful@hotmail.com or via his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cop shooting protestors march on Wall Street

by Justin Rocket Silverman
Hundreds of peaceful protestors jammed the Financial District Thursday, calling for a criminal indictment of the police officers who fired 50 shots at Sean Bell and his two friends. "If we don't get an indictment, there is going to be an explosion," said City Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) about community outrage. "There are some people in our community who don't want to march anymore. I don't have any control over them, and you don't have any control over them either." Protestors were confronted by hundreds of uniformed and undercover cops, who set up barricades and blocked access to the stock exchange, but otherwise did not interfere with the march or make any arrests. The police did not flinch as marchers chanted, "Who's the number one enemy? The NYPD!" and carried signs calling for a war on the NYPD. "Business cannot go on as usual," Barron called from the plaza at Liberty and Nassau streets. "Unless we can get this city to fear [the black community] politically, fear us economically or fear us physically, they are no going to stop." The noontime protest coincided with the lunch break of countless downtown office workers, many of whom went out of their way to avoid the crowd. "Definitely protest for what you believe in, I have no problem with that," said Tammy Bush, 38, an employee at General Electric. "But I don't know about doing it near Wall Street. I don't really see the connection." Thursday's protest was the latest in a series of rallies prompted by the shooting death of unarmed Sean Bell, 23, in Queens on his wedding day. Protestors have taken to calling Bell's killing an "execution." "It could be my son or my brother who is shot by the police next," said Cynthia Brunson. "Nothing has changed since Amadou Diallo, and we're tired of it. Enough is enough." Video

Navajo Police Dismantle Elderly Barricade at Power Plant Site

President Shirley visits Resisters at the Blockade. Dec 18, 2006 (Photo: Lori Goodman) desert-rock-blog.com blog.
For immediate release Contacts: Dailan Jake Long 505-801-0713 Elouise Brown 505- 505-947-6159 Lori Goodman 970-259-0199 Navajo Grandmothers Intimidated While Lawfully Gathered Burnham, NM and the Navajo Nation, December 21, 2006 - Paddy wagons, police and other enforcers came and attempted to haul away members of the Navajo Nation - mostly grandmothers - during a prayer ceremony this morning. The women, members of the Dooda (Navajo for "NO!") Desert Rock Committee, have been keeping a vigil at the site of a proposed coal fired power generation station that they oppose for reasons of their families' health and well being. These women were brutally forced out, their food taken away, their camp dismantled this afternoon in clear violation of their constitutional rights and in absence of any form of restraining order or other legal mandate. Although they showed legal documents that protected them, Officer Demsey claimed they were meaningless. They have committed no crimes, were not interfering with any work going on at the location, and were acting within their rights to gather peacefully in the hopes of persuading our Navajo Nation government not to make this kind of mistake again. Their vigil has been going on since December 12th, near the site where Sithe Global Power, a Texas-based energy company, proposes to build the Desert Rock Power Plant. This plant will further damage the air, water and land in the four corners area of the American Southwest, in the heart of the traditional Navajo homeland. Two other plants in the immediate vicinity are among the worst sources of pollution in the United States. Mercury, sulphur dioxide, and dozens of other toxic chemicals are spewed from these plants each day. Incidents of cancer, respiratory disease, reproductive disorders and other illnesses occur here at much higher than average rates. The plants foul the water in a part of the world where water is already scarce. Sithe, in collusion with our Navajo Nation executive office, have strong-armed, threatened, lied to and otherwise coerced our local population to accept this proposed power plant throughout the past two years. Families have had their land taken from them with insufficient compensation to move anywhere else. We've been told, as we've been told many times in the past, that this polluting monster will bring "hundreds of jobs" to the Navajo Nation, and lots of economic benefits. Time after time, we've heard this same lie for too many projects just like this one. After over a hundred years of such development the Navajo people are among the poorest people in the entire United States. Nobody is calculating the costs - to our land, to our air, to our water, to our children. Members of the Dooda Desert Rock Committee, members of Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, and other organizations, have tried to offer alternative solutions. There are cleaner, more sustainable ways to bring prosperity to our people, without sacrificing the lives and well-being of our people. No one has listened. This is not just a local problem. This is big energy companies forcing themselves on the American people. This is a violation of civil rights and an illegal suppression of dissent here at home in the United States. This facility will further pollute the air and water throughout the area. And those who are speaking out in opposition, innocent grandmothers who only care about their families, are being silenced with violence. We ask that all who share our concern about our future, and are tired of being forced to pay the consequences of these corporations and government bodies, who care nothing for the lives of people, please lend us your support. ### The real facts behind Desert Rock by jsefick on Thu 21 Dec 2006 08:34 AM PST The assertion that Sithe would be using high-tech pollution control systems for Desert Rock is a blatant lie when considering that the proposed plant would emit up to 13.7 million tons per year of carbon dioxide, up to 220 pounds per year of mercury and create huge amounts of coal combustion wastes (in the form of ash) which would be disposed of on site (to pollute the air, water and land). Carbon dioxide emissions from the proposed Desert Rock plant would make it the seventh highest carbon dioxide emitter for coal fired power plants in the Western United States. The Four Corners region already has two coal fired power plants: the Four Corners Power Plant and the San Juan Generating Station which are notoriously filthy and rank in the top ten in the Western United States for carbon dioxide emissions. The proposed Desert Rock project is a huge issue for all United States citizens concerned about global warming, sacrifice energy zones to feed insatiable energy consumption and the public health cost to our communities. A third proposed power plant in the Four Corners region would decimate the environment and economy while providing few jobs. http://www.desert-rock-blog.com Important Video About Desert Rock Blockade by jsefick on Thu 21 Dec 2006 06:41 AM PST The Navajo people involved in this protest have produced a short video explaining their position. Please take a few minutes to view this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T88qZ5TbGrg * Desert Rock RED ALERT: DINE’ GRANDMAS ARE BEING ARRESTED! Please call President Shirely! If you are in the area or know anyone in the area please get out to the site and be a Legal Observer! RED ALERT! DINE' GRANDMAS ARE BEING ARRESTED! 21 Navajo Police Paddy Wagons and Police Vehicles Just Arrived at the Blockade! [Thursday, December 21, 2006, 12 Noon Mountain State Time] We have just received reports from ground zero of the Blockade site that the Navajo Police are making arrests! Grandmothers are being arrested. The men were not at the camp and were collecting firewood. We are asking that supporters – far and wide – immediately contact the tribal headquarters of Joe Shirley, who is the Navajo Nation President, telling him that if elders and supporters have been arrested, to please release them. The President of Navajo Nation must demonstrate compassion for the grandmother elders of his tribe. Ask President Shirley to issue an order to the Navajo Police Department to hold back on making any further arrests, and to release the grandmothers and any other persons arrested. **** Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley's Office P.O. Box 9000 Window Rock, Arizona, 86515 Phone: (928) 871- 6352 also George Hardeen, Navajo Nation Communications Director Office of the President Office #: 928-871-7000 Cell #: 928-380-7688 e-mail: georgehardeen@opvp.org Shiprock Police Department phone: (505) 368-1350, fax: (505) 368-1293 Yesterday morning (Wednesday), it was reported that the Navajo Tribal Court issued a temporary restraining order. As a result, it is unclear whether or not the Doodá Desert Rock Committee members were served the actual restraining order until now. The Navajo Nation Tribal Court took this action on behalf of the Diné Power Authority and Sithe Global who sought immediate injunctive relief. DPA and Sithe Global cited concerns of [so-called] unlawful entry of Burnham Navajo citizens and their interference with the process of the proposed Desert Rock power plant. It was reported that Alice Gilmore, a Navajo tribal member, and grazing permit holder for the site, also received a restraining order against her despite her continual outcry against the project. Gilmore has never relinquished her permit and has no plans to stop opposing the project. Other resisters are supporting her stance, and despite being served, there is no future of resisters backing down. "Restraining orders are not stopping us" states Lucy Willie, Vice President of the Doodá Desert Rock Committee, "we're here to stay." FOR MORE INFO CHEQUE OUT THE BLOG: http://www.desert-rock-blog.com Dooda Desert Rock Committee Contacts: Dailan Jake Long Mobile (Cell): 505-801-0713 Elouise Brown, 505-947-6159 Lucy Willie, 505-215-2644 Dine' CARE contact: Lori Goodman, Dine CARE, 970-759-1908 Other Support Contacts: Enei Begaye, Black Mesa Water Coalition, (928) 213-9760 Jihan R. Gearon, Indigenous Environmental Network, (218) 760-1370 Tom Goldtooth, Indgenous Environmental Network, (218) 760-0442

H. Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights


Principles of Spiritual Activism

The following principles emerged from several years' work with social change leaders in Satyana's Leading with Spirit program. We offer these not as definitive truths, but rather as key learnings and guidelines that, taken together, comprise a useful framework for "spiritual activism." 1. Transformation of motivation from anger/fear/despair to compassion/love/purpose. This is a vital challenge for today's social change movement. This is not to deny the noble emotion of appropriate anger or outrage in the face of social injustice. Rather, this entails a crucial shift from fighting against evil to working for love, and the long-term results are very different, even if the outer activities appear virtually identical. Action follows Being, as the Sufi saying goes. Thus "a positive future cannot emerge from the mind of anger and despair" (Dalai Lama). 2. Non-attachment to outcome. This is difficult to put into practice, yet to the extent that we are attached to the results of our work, we rise and fall with our successes and failures—a sure path to burnout. Hold a clear intention, and let go of the outcome—recognizing that a larger wisdom is always operating. As Gandhi said, "the victory is in the doing," not the results. Also, remain flexible in the face of changing circumstances: "Planning is invaluable, but plans are useless."(Churchill) 3. Integrity is your protection. If your work has integrity, this will tend to protect you from negative energy and circumstances. You can often sidestep negative energy from others by becoming "transparent" to it, allowing it to pass through you with no adverse effect upon you. This is a consciousness practice that might be called "psychic aikido." 4. Integrity in means and ends. Integrity in means cultivates integrity in the fruit of one's work. A noble goal cannot be achieved utilizing ignoble means. 5. Don't demonize your adversaries. It makes them more defensive and less receptive to your views. People respond to arrogance with their own arrogance, creating rigid polarization. Be a perpetual learner, and constantly challenge your own views. 6. You are unique. Find and fulfill your true calling. "It is better to tread your own path, however humbly, than that of another, however successfully." (Bhagavad Gita) 7. Love thy enemy. Or at least, have compassion for them. This is a vital challenge for our times. This does not mean indulging falsehood or corruption. It means moving from "us/them" thinking to "we" consciousness, from separation to cooperation, recognizing that we human beings are ultimately far more alike than we are different. This is challenging in situations with people whose views are radically opposed to yours. Be hard on the issues, soft on the people. 8. Your work is for the world, not for you. In doing service work, you are working for others. The full harvest of your work may not take place in your lifetime, yet your efforts now are making possible a better life for future generations. Let your fulfillment come in gratitude for being called to do this work, and from doing it with as much compassion, authenticity, fortitude, and forgiveness as you can muster. 9. Selfless service is a myth. In serving others, we serve our true selves. "It is in giving that we receive." We are sustained by those we serve, just as we are blessed when we forgive others. As Gandhi says, the practice of satyagraha ("clinging to truth") confers a "matchless and universal power" upon those who practice it. Service work is enlightened self-interest, because it cultivates an expanded sense of self that includes all others. 10. Do not insulate yourself from the pain of the world. Shielding yourself from heartbreak prevents transformation. Let your heart break open, and learn to move in the world with a broken heart. As Gibran says, "Your pain is the medicine by which the physician within heals thyself." When we open ourselves to the pain of the world, we become the medicine that heals the world. This is what Gandhi understood so deeply in his principles of ahimsa and satyagraha. A broken heart becomes an open heart, and genuine transformation begins. 11. What you attend to, you become. Your essence is pliable, and ultimately you become that which you most deeply focus your attention upon. You reap what you sow, so choose your actions carefully. If you constantly engage in battles, you become embattled yourself. If you constantly give love, you become love itself. 12. Rely on faith, and let go of having to figure it all out. There are larger 'divine' forces at work that we can trust completely without knowing their precise workings or agendas. Faith means trusting the unknown, and offering yourself as a vehicle for the intrinsic benevolence of the cosmos. "The first step to wisdom is silence. The second is listening." If you genuinely ask inwardly and listen for guidance, and then follow it carefully—you are working in accord with these larger forces, and you become the instrument for their music. 13. Love creates the form. Not the other way around. The heart crosses the abyss that the mind creates, and operates at depths unknown to the mind. Don't get trapped by "pessimism concerning human nature that is not balanced by an optimism concerning divine nature, or you will overlook the cure of grace." (Martin Luther King) Let your heart's love infuse your work and you cannot fail, though your dreams may manifest in ways different from what you imagine.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sean Penn Shocks Many With His 'Cum Stain' Speech

Actor Sean Penn shocked many when he publicly attacked the Bush administration during speech. Penn was Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award at the Creative Coalition ceremony in New York when he called for the impeachment on President George W Bush. He said during his acceptance speech: "Let's put his administration under oath. And then if the crimes of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours are proven, do as Article 2, Section 4 of the United States Constitution provides, and remove the president, vice president, and...civil officers of the United States from office. "Let's move forward and swiftly get out of this war in Iraq and impeach these bastards." "So look, if we attempt to impeach for lying about a blow job, yet accept these almost certain abuses without challenge, we become a cum stain on the flag we wave."

That George Walker Bush, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following Articles of Impeachment

[Thanks to Nobody for the link] * Resolved, That George Walker Bush, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following Articles of Impeachment be exhibited to the... (Introduced in House)

HRES 1106 IH

109th CONGRESS
2d Session

H. RES. 1106

Articles of Impeachment against George Walker Bush, President of the United States of America, and other officials, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

December 8, 2006

Ms. MCKINNEY submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


RESOLUTION

Articles of Impeachment against George Walker Bush, President of the United States of America, and other officials, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

ARTICLE I. FAILURE TO PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION

Manipulating Intelligence and Lying To Justify War

ARTICLE II. ABUSE OF OFFICE AND OF EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE

Failure To Uphold Accountability

ARTICLE III. FAILURE TO ENSURE THE LAWS ARE FAITHFULLY EXECUTED

Illegal Domestic Spying


Rob Brezsny's Free Will Newsletter

[Oh how I love this newsletter, this man & his book, Pronoia!] * * "Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius." - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart * THE MORE ACCIDENTAL, THE MORE TRUE "The more accidental, the more true," wrote Boris Pasternak in his poem "February." Scholar Mikhail Epstein expanded this observation: "The more accidental the phenomenon, the more divine its nature, for the divine is what has not been envisioned, what cannot be deduced from general rules, nor irreducible to them." If we pursue this line of thought to its logical conclusion, we may decide that the most useful sources of illumination are not always holy books, revered dogma, and great truths that everyone has heard. They might also be serendipitous anomalies that erupt into the daily routine and break the trance of ordinary awareness. "The tiny spark," Epstein writes, "is the precise measure of the holiness of the world." (Source: Mikhail Epstein, "Judaic Spiritual Traditions in the Poetry of Pasternak and Mandel'shtam.") * When you're an aspiring master of pronoia, you see the cracks in the facades as opportunities; inspiration erupts as you careen over bumps in the road; you love the enticing magic that flows from situations that other people regard as rough or crooked. "That which is not slightly distorted lacks sensible appeal," wrote poet Charles Baudelaire, "from which it follows that irregularity--that is to say, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment--is an essential part and characteristic of beauty." * Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that refers to a captivating work of art with a distinctive flaw that embodies the idiosyncratic humanity of its creator. An aqua groove in an otherwise perfectly green ceramic pot may give it wabi-sabi. A skilled blues singer who intentionally wails out of pitch for a moment may be expressing wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is rooted in the idea that perfection is a kind of death. * "The essence of Wabi-sabi is that true beauty, whether it comes from an object, architecture, or visual art, doesn't reveal itself until the winds of time have had their say. Beauty is in the cracks, the worn spots, and the imperfect lines." --Todd Dominey, HTTP://www.whatdoiknow.org * Wabi-sabi is a kind of beauty that's imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, says Leonard Koren in his book "Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers." It differs from Western notions that beauty resides in the "monumental, spectacular, and enduring." It's about "the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are almost invisible at first glance." * "When bread is baked, some parts are split at the surface, and these parts which thus open, and have a certain fashion contrary to the purpose of the baker's art, are beautiful, and in a peculiar way excite a desire for eating. Again, figs, when they are quite ripe, gape open; and in the ripe olives the very circumstance of their being near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the fruit. And the ears of corn bending down, and the lion's eyebrows, and the foam which flows from the mouth of wild boars, though they are far from being beautiful, please the mind." --Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations," translated by George Long * "I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillaries." --William James, "The Will to Believe" * "The great lessons from the true mystics, from the Zen monks, is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's back yard, and that travel may be a flight from confronting the sacred. To be looking everywhere for miracles is a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous." -- Abraham H. Maslow, "Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences" * "If you love the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion." --Lin-Chi, "The Taoist Classics," translated by Thomas Cleary * "The lesson that life constantly enforces is 'Look underfoot.' You are always nearer to the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Don't despise your own place and hour. Every place is the center of the world." --Naturalist John Burroughs * "We want to be God in all the ways that are not the ways of God, in what we hope is indestructible or unmoving. But God is fragile, a bare smear of pollen, that scatter of yellow dust from the tree that tumbled over in a storm of grief and planted itself again." --Deena Metzger, "Prayers for a Thousand Years," edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon * "Nature exults in abounding radicality, extremism, anarchy. If we were to judge nature by its common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed. In nature, improbabilities are the one stock in trade. The whole creation is one lunatic fringe . . . No claims of any and all revelations could be so far-fetched as a single giraffe." --Annie Dillard, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" * MOVIE *Scared Sacred* http://www.scaredsacred.org http://tinyurl.com/y8ckyq "Visiting the 'Ground Zeros' of the planet, filmmaker Velcrow Ripper asks if it's possible to find hope in the darkest moments of human history. He travels to the minefields of Cambodia; war-torn Afghanistan; the toxic wasteland of Bhopal; post-9/11 New York; Bosnia; Hiroshima, Israel and Palestine. In each place, he unearths unforgettable stories of survival, ritual, and recovery." *

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Imperial Ambitions (Chomsky with Barsamian)

This post was written by peterbroady Part 1 of 9

This is part 1 of 9 of an extended discussion of Imperial Ambitions, a collection of interviews of one of the the world’s leading intellectuals and foreign policy critics, Noam Chomsky (Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT) with journalist David Barsamian.

In the first interview in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 22, 2003, titled “Imperial Ambitions”, Chomsky first mentions that he agrees with world opinion outside the U.S. that the U.S. invasion of Iraq might be part of a disturbing “new norm in the use of military force” articulated in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, announced in September 2002 and followed by the administration’s PR and rhetoric which led almost half of the population to link Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden and the attacks of September 11, 2001. This link was known to be false (in fact bin Laden and Hussein are acknowledged enemies), and prior to administration rhetoric (repeated virtually without question in the media), almost no one in the American public, even after the hysteria of 9/11, thought Iraq or Hussein had anything to do with it. Chomsky also notes that “George Bush has succeeded within a year in converting the United States to a country that is greatly feared, disliked, and even hated” citing statistics compiled by the Christian Science Monitor and other news organizations and scholarly publications around the world [1].

Chomsky goes on to trace the history of regime change in theory to Dean Acheson, a senior advisor to the Kennedy administration in 1963 [2], but notes that now the kind of ‘extreme nationalism’ and ‘imperial violence’ [3] advocated by a few voices has now found it’s way into official policy [4].

Further responses from Chomsky led to explorations of the role of Iraq’s considerable oil fortunes in the decision to go to war, and Washington’s relations with other oil-rich countries, like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Colombia, and Nigeria. Chomsky thinks that in this other countries outside the Middle East, the U.S. wants access, but in the Middle East it wants control (p.7). He then suggested the Turkey-U.S.-Israeli opposition to Iran could lead Iran to be split up or even attacked, drawing off a 2002 report in The Times (London) [5] wherein Ariel Sharon advised the Bush administration to go after Iran “the day after” they were finished with Iraq. From there the discussion veered into the impact of the Iraq War and occupation for Palestine, where Chomsky argued that the current U.S. administration has been taking significant steps prolonging the conflict by ignoring much of the world’s call for the establishment of Palestinian state and an end to Israeli occupations declared illegal under international law [6].

Then addressing domestic matters, such as what Chomsky regards as the “unprecedented” [7] public protest and resistance to the Iraq war before the war began and the ”threats to and intimidation of dissidents” inside the United States, the veteran intellectual critic and activist compares U.S. wages, working conditions, and benefits to those in Europe and argues that the current administration’s extraordinary and largely unprecendented power grab and the undermining of social programs is damaging most of the population so that an elite few can become very rich and powerful, undermining meaningful democracy [8]. He states that what the current administration is trying to do is institutionalize “doctrines of imperial domination” and economic exploitation.

The final question Barsamian asks Chomsky is worth quoting in full, as encouragement to U.S. peace activists:

Barsamian: What do you say to the peace activists in the United States who labored to prevent the invasion of Iraq and who now are feeling a sense of anger, and despair, that their government has done this?

Chomsky: That they should be realistic. Consider abolitionism. How long did the struggle go on before the abolitionist movement made any progress? If you give up every time you don’t acheive the immediate gain you want, you’re just guaranteeing that the worst is going to happen. These are long, hard struggles. And, in fact, what has happened in the last couple of months should be seen quite positively. The basis was created for expansion and development of a peace and justice movement that can go on to much harder tasks. And that’s the way things are. You can’t expect an easy victory after one protest march.

I have long found Chomsky to be, at the very least, one of the most useful writers and commentators on U.S. foreign policy [9]. Certainly he cannot be said to be an expert in many of the fields on which he speaks, but his books [10] are filled with useful references to the scholarly literature and expert opinion on the subjects addressed, as well as the mainstream and alternative press from the U.S. and around the world. The scope of his reading and familiarity is really quite astounding, and his books offer a uniquely inter-disciplinary perspective on U.S. affairs that is very popular outside of the U.S. but has long been marginalized within [11]. Chomsky has been criticized by those most familiar with his political work as going further rhetorically than most scholars would, and in his public speeches and interviews one can certainly find examples of this; however, Chomsky is a scholar and astute moralist, indeed a somewhat ‘prophetic’ figure, and not a pundit, ideologue, or anything near your average American political personality, who many of us find uninformative, dogmatic, and downright frustrating, whether they be so-called “conservatives”, “liberals”, or “moderates”.

- Peter Broady

[1] See polls cited in Hegemony or Survival

[2] Dean Acheson, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, no. 13/14

[3] Chomsky, “Confronting the Empire” 2 February 2003 www.chomsky.info/talks/20030201.htm

[4] Referring to National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002

[5] Stephen Farrell, Robert Thomson, and Danielle Haas, The Times (London), 5 November 2002

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_law_and_the_Arab-Israeli_conflict

[7] interview with Cynthia Peters, ZNet, March 2003

[8] See “Power Grab” by Elizabeth Drew in The New York Review of Books, June 22, 2006 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19092

[9] Chomsky and collegue Edward Herman have written significant analysis of U.S. role in Indonesia and East Timor, as well as U.S. mass media, see The Political Economy of Human Rights Vol. I and II and Manufacturing Consent

[10] Most recently Perilous Power with Gilbert Achbar, Failed States, Hegomony and Survival, and collections of interviews 9/11 and Imperial Ambitions

[11] The New York Times Book Review has referred to Chomsky as “perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet”, which he has found ironic due to his little, and mostly negative, coverage in the Times or other American newspapers and media

* Part 2 of 9

This is part 2 of 9 of an extended discussion of Imperial Ambitions, a collection of interviews of one of the the world’s leading intellectuals and foreign policy critics, Noam Chomsky (Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT) with journalist David Barsamian.

This might be the most interesting chapter of the book, an interview from Boulder, Colorado on April 5, 2003 where Chomsky is at his best in exposing ‘propaganda’ and marketing, a subject on which he has written volumes [1]. It is in the area of dissecting political language that Chomsky has long been most astute and revealing [2]; and though some think that this would be expected of a great linguistic and philosopher [3], Chomsky argues that what he does is actually very simple common sense [4], and it is hard to disagree with him here.

The interview begins with a question about the term “collateral damage” (meaning the killing of civilians) and the role of language in shaping understanding. Chomsky notes that some manipulation is quite natural, as the principle means of communication have always been used ”shape attitudes and opinions and to induce conformity and subordination (p.18)”. But ‘propaganda’ was only created as a self-conscious industry in the last century, beginning in Britain during the First World War at the first propaganda ministry [5], the Ministry of Information, and then spreading to America through the creation of the Wilson Committee on Public Information [6]. The original plan in Britain was to convince American intellectuals “of the John Dewey circle” to convince the people of America to join in fighting World War I, something they didn’t really want to do. President Wilson, through his Committe on Public Information, was able to turning the pacificist population viciously anti-German (”the Boston Symphony Orchestra couldn’t play Bach”, notes Chomsky). The intellectual leaders of the propaganda agency (back then the term was used openly, as it’s negative connotations only came from the later association with the Nazis) were, Chomsky says, Edward Bernays and Walter Lippman [7] who spoke of the “engineering” [8] and “manufacture of consent” [9] as a way to control the public mind. Bernays called this “the very essence of the democratic process [9]”. Chomsky notes that this was also the beginning of the public relations industry, now an enormous industry in democratic societies, especially the U.S. (p.21), and ‘Taylorism’ in industry, meaning strict control of worker behavior both on and off the job [10], the imposition of a “philosophy of futility” which focused a person on “the superficial things of life, like fashionable consumption [11]”.

With the success of propaganda in Britain and American society during and after WWI, other countries adopted the same techniques, Chomsky notes, like Leninists and (most notoriously) Adolf Hilter, who praised Anglo-American propaganda in his book, Mein Kampf and of course later used his own techniques of propaganda against the German citizens, with well-known disasterous results [12].

After the discussion of the history and development of propaganda, Chomsky turns to the modern usages of persuasion, debunking “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, “imbedded reporting”, “Enduring Freedom”, “unlawful combatant”, “war against terror”, etc.

In doing this, Chomsky (and Barsamian) bring to light some facts not widely reported within the mainstream press that are worth mentioning:

1) Karl Rove’s role in inciting fear and shaping the president’s image before elections and in the run-up to war [13]

2) The attack on Social Security and other social support systems that help the poor

3) The gap between world and U.S. public opinion and the intentional manufacture of consent leading to the Iraq war [14]. Here Barsamian notes:

Bush gave a prime-time press conference, his first in a year and a half, on Thursday, March 6, 2003. It was actually a pre-scripted press conference. He knew in advance who he was going to call on. A study of the transcript reveals a constant repetition of certain phrases - Iraq, Saddam Hussein, threat, increasing threat, deep threat, 9/11, terrorism. On the following Monday, there was a sharp spike in public opinion polls in the United States, showing a majority now believe that Iraq was connected to 9/11.

Chomsky and Barsamian then turn to the analysis of propaganda and what Chomsky has elsewhere called “intellectual self-defense” [15]. Chomsky attempts to show, using simple examples, that regular people with a critical intelligence can easily expose propaganda:

“There are no techniques, just ordinary common sense. If you hear that Iraq is a threat to our existence, but Kuwait doesn’t seem to regard it as a threat to its existence and nobody else in the world does, any sane person will begin to ask, where is the evidence? As soon as you ask this, the argument collapses. But you have to be willing to develop an attitude of critical examination toward whatever is presented to you. Of course, the whole educational system and the media system have the opposite goal. You’re taught to be a passive, obedient follower. Unless you can break out of these habits, you’re likely to be a victim of propaganda. But it’s not that hard to break out (p.32).”

After addressing some of the culture of fear [16], U.S. aggression and war crimes [17], and the “disappearing” of American citizens [18], Chomsky notes that it is only in America among primarily wealthy audiences that he is ever asked What Should I Do?. The poor and oppressed in Turkey, Colombia, or Brazil, he says they just tell him what they are doing.

But people here are trained to believe that there are easy answers, and it doesn’t work that way. If you want to do something, you have to be dedicated and committed to it day after day. Educational programs, organizing, activism. That’s the way things change. You want a magic key, so you can go back to watching television tomorrow? It doesn’t exist.

- Peter Broady

[1] see Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media with Ed Herman, The Political Economy of Human Rights Vol I and II with Ed Herman, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in a Democratic Society, Media Control, and Propaganda and the Public Mind

[2] Chomsky has a long relationship with language and linguistics which goes back to his childhood; he is now professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and is often credited with ‘revolutionizing’ the field with his Syntactic Structures in 1957

[3] One is reminded of the work of progressive thinker and cognitive neuro-linguistic George Lakoff; see Moral Politics

[4] “Cartesian common sense”; see interview with Bill Moyers on The World of Ideas

[5] Randal Martin, Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion, p. 66

[6] The Orwellian nature of such names should be obvious, and it should come as no surprise that Orwell was very aware of these developments; see Orwell, 1984

[7] see Bernays, Propaganda, and Lippman, Public Opinion

[8] Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent; Chomsky, The Culture of Terrorism (South End, 1988). See also two-volume Political Economy of Human Rights (South End, 1979), an extension of an earlier study that was suppressed by the conglomerate that owned the publisher; see the author’s preface for details. See also Herman, The Real Terror Network (South End, 1982); Chomsky’s Pirates and Emperors (Claremont, 1986; Amana, 1988); and much other work over the past twenty years. Also James Aronson, The Press and the Cold War (Beacon, 1970); Michael Parenti, Inventing Reality (St. Martin’s, 1986)

[9] see Manufacturing Consent

[10] Michael Dawson, The Consumer Trap

[11] Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness

[12] This is how ‘propaganda’ came to be a pejorative term

[13] Martin Sieff, American Conservative, 4 November 2002

[14] Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor, 14 January 2003. Linda Feldmann, Christian Science Monitor, 14 March 2003. Jim Rutenberg and Robin Toner, New York Times, 22 March 2003

[15] see Necessary Illusions

[16] “Only in the United States do people fear Iraq. This is real acheivement in propaganda (p.28).”

[17] “The United States is invading Iraq. It’s as open an act of aggression as there has been in modern history, a major war crime. This is the crime for which the Nazis were hanged at Nuremberg…”

[18] Rachel Meeropol, ed., America’s Disappeared


Sonnet XXXIV (You are the daughter of the sea), by Pablo Neruda

* You are the daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin. Swimmer, your body is pure as the water; cook, your blood is quick as the soil. Everything you do is full of flowers, rich with the earth. Your eyes go out toward the water, and the waves rise; your hands go out to the earth and the seeds swell; you know the deep essence of water and the earth, conjoined in you like a formula for clay. Naiad: cut your body into turquoise pieces, they will bloom resurrected in the kitchen. This is how you become everything that lives. And so at last, you sleep, in the circle of my arms that push back the shadows so that you can rest-- vegetables, seaweed, herbs: the foam of your dreams. *

Come 2008, Will Kucinich and the “New Democrats” Fool Us Again?

by Kurt Nimmo It’s the old same old in Washington. Democrats, worried about not appearing “hawkish” enough—that is willing to invade small countries and slaughter large numbers of innocents—are attempting to out-neocon the perfidious neocons. “If you think a new wind is blowing in Washington in terms of security issues because the Democrats are going to take over Congress, you probably have another think coming,” Christopher Hellman of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation told OneWorld, according to Aaron Glantz. Of course, “security issues” translates into more war and more money squandered on antiquated defense systems, not needed since the fall of the Soviet Union, or rather not needed by the American people but certainly needed by the likes of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Science Applications International Corp., General Dynamics, and last but not least, Halliburton. “Escalating conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the all-volunteer force to the breaking point,” declares an October report by Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute, the policy arm of the “centrist” (read: neocon lite) Democratic Leadership Council. “Democrats should step forward with a plan to repair the damage, by adding more troops, replenishing depleted stocks of equipment, and reorganizing the force around the new missions of unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, and civil reconstruction.” Out of this murk steps, once again—call it a yawn-inspiring re-run—Ohio Democrat Congress critter Dennis Kucinich, who tells us he will seek the presidential nomination come 2008. “In announcing his candidacy, Kucinich voiced concern that the Democratic leadership’s continued support for the occupation of Iraq was discrediting the party and placing it on a collision course with tens of millions of voters who repudiated the war in the elections,” writes Jerry White. Of course, the Democrat leadership, aforementioned as neocon lite, care not they are on “a collision course with tens of millions of voters who repudiated the war in the elections.” Since when do Democrats and Republicans care about what the American people want? Poor Dennis. He actually believes, or expects us to believe, that pressure from below, from the Democrat rank and file, will force change upon Hillary and the War Party, neocon lite faction. Fat chance. As White notes, the “Democratic Party is committed to continuing the criminal occupation of Iraq and the escalation of violence against those who oppose US domination of the Middle Eastern country. While sharp tactical divisions exist within the US political establishment, the Democrats are just as committed as the Republicans to the use of military force to secure US domination over the oil resources of the Middle East and to prevent a Vietnam-style defeat in Iraq…. That is why any talk of a rapid withdrawal of US troops and ending the war has been taken off the table in the month after the US elections. The terms of debate set by both the Bush administration and the Democratic leadership concern the best means to crush the popular insurgency against the occupation and secure the interests of US imperialism in the region.” Kucinich represents a feeble attempt to reform the Democrats and turn them back to their supposed “people’s party” roots. He is joined by a predictable cadre of so-called progressives, including “left-liberal forces such as the Nation magazine and the ‘World Can’t Wait’ and ‘United For Peace & Justice’ coalitions, which promote the conception that protests and pressure will move the Democrats to the left,” a flight of fancy if there ever was one. You’d think these folks would have learned their lesson back in 2004. Recall the “New Democrats” sabotaging the candidacy of Howard Dean, who served as a rallying point for desperate antiwar Democrats. New Dems made damn sure Dean went down—he was characterized as some kind of grunting and howling neanderthal by a complaisant media—and the nomination went to Bush’s distant cousin and fellow bonesman, John Kerry, who presented himself as a neocon lite on steroids. In response, Kucinich closed down his antiwar campaign and called for Dems far and wide, high and low, to support Kerry. At the Democrat convention, Kucinich called on delegates and voters to “blaze a new path with John Kerry and John Edwards.” “Thus, Kucinich’s ‘anti-war’ candidacy provided a political cover for the right-wing policies of the Democratic leadership and helped contain the mass opposition to the war within the confines this big business party,” explains White. “Although he was exposed as an apologist for the selection of a pro-war Democratic candidate during the last presidential election, this is not stopping Kucinich from offering to play the same role once again.” Question is, as the pre-election games commence this coming year, will rank and file Democrats, the grist of the party, be fooled again? Or will they tolerate another parade of neocon lite warmongers, as they did last time around? Does a trained dog fail to jump for the biscuit every time, to the satisfaction of his master? In preparation for a new year chock full of political swagger, the usual suspects are talking the talk and walking the same old walk, ready to fool us again, or those of us who manifest signs of insanity, as Albert Einstein would have it, by doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Consider Gen. Wesley Clark, the mad bomber of Serbia, “presidential hopeful,” who informs us “you can” in Iraq, according to the New York Observer. “General Clark specifically warned against the idea of a timeline for troop withdrawal, because it would mean a loss of American leverage in fostering a potential political solution,” thus breaking with the “phased redeployment” scheme offered up by the likes of Harry Reid and Carl Levin. Clark’s basic adaptation of the Bush neocon line is billed as an “alternative” by the New York Observer. But, we are told, he is not alone. “Hillary Clinton, despite the maddeningly deliberate pace of her evolution on the issue, seems genuinely to be searching for a position on Iraq that will allow for eventual withdrawal but doesn’t leave the Iraqis entirely at the mercy of local militias and foreign terrorists.” In other words, as a whole lot of Americans, some of them Democrats, are really and sincerely pissed about the “war,” actually phase one of the Zionist and neocon plan to decimate the Arab and Muslim Middle East, Hillary is taking a wait and see approach, although it is obvious she is yet a “New Democrat,” like her husband, who killed around a million Iraqis during his tenure. Despite “criticism from anti-war liberals within the party, she has been consistently reluctant to talk about specific timetables for withdrawal,” that is to say she is reluctant to talk about what she and the neocon lite faction of the Dem party have in mind for average Iraqis—an influx of more troops, increasingly of the murderous and criminal yahoo variety, as all the good guys were long ago used up, as they are basically “dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy,” as Henry Kissinger would have it. Once again, the average American, far too bovine and politically incurious, will follow in peripheral and distracted manner the circus, as presented by the likes of Fox News and CNN, and come election day 2008 he or she will dutifully march off to the polls and vote for the selected candidate, never mind the unpalatable stench emanating from the entire process as it offers up Candidate A, Hillary Clinton, and Candidate B, John McCain, or whomever is selected by the ruling elite. Of course, most will not bother to vote, and this is fine and dandy for our rulers, as they call the shots anyway. Kucinich will be there, pulling off the scam once again, a flimflam gulped, as usual, hook, line, and sinker by “progressive” (shorthand for easily hornswoggled) Democrats. “Concern about the war runs deeper now than in 2004, but there is no guarantee that will improve Kucinich’s chances this time,” writes John Nichols for the Nation. “There may be another candidate—Barack Obama—who, while not as pure or precise on the issue as Kucinich, has a record of opposing the war from the start and supporting a redeployment timeline. If the media frenzy that greeted Obama’s recent trip to New Hampshire was any indication, it’s a good bet that the Illinois Senator will be given many more opportunities to deliver his message than Kucinich. If Obama does not run, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards is likely to position himself as the candidate with a plan to bring the troops home.” Oh, lordy, we are in serious trouble. Barack Obama and John Edwards are antiwar candidates? Obama, the rising star of the neocon lites, excuse me the Democratic Party, told the Chicago Tribune back in 2004 that “the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs.” Does anybody remember John Edwards back in 2002, as the neocons plotted the invasion of Iraq, writing in the Washington Post the small and sanctions-enfeebled nation was “a grave and growing threat” and thus Congress should “endorse the use of all necessary means to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction”? Or, as the unitary decider so eloquently said, “Fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again.” ****** Kurt Nimmo is the author of Another Day in the Empire: Life in Neoconservative America. Visit his blog at www.kurtnimmo.com.

Homeless under siege in Las Vegas

This is a boomtown, but it is also scattered with signs of bust -- namely, homeless people. And the city is taking a hard line against them. With mixed success in the courts and on the streets, Las Vegas has tried sweeping away their encampments, closing a park where they hang out, making it a crime to feed them, even passing a ban on sleeping within 500 feet of feces. Las Vegas, NV- This is a boomtown, but it is also scattered with signs of bust -- namely, homeless people. And the city is taking a hard line against them. With mixed success in the courts and on the streets, Las Vegas has tried sweeping away their encampments, closing a park where they hang out, making it a crime to feed them, even passing a ban on sleeping within 500 feet of feces. Mayor Oscar Goodman has been leading the charge in his effort to clean up and revitalize the city's aging downtown, north of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booming Las Vegas area of 1.8 million people expands by more than 5,000 a month but also counts 14,500 homeless people. Goodman, a former lawyer for the mob with a flair for the dramatic, said many of the homeless are ruining things for their neighbors by breaking the law while on drugs and alcohol, and "that's intolerable to me." He said the goal is to get homeless people to use shelters and other services available to the poor. The crackdown has alarmed the homeless and their defenders. Goodman "has the idea that every homeless person is public enemy No. 1," said Greg Malm, a 58-year-old homeless man. "He wants this city to be lily white, for the tourists." Prison site offered Over the years, the mayor has also proposed moving the homeless to an abandoned prison 30 miles outside the city and once accused Salt Lake City officials of busing the homeless to Las Vegas. "The sense that to be human is to help each other out, it's under siege," said Julia Occhiogrosso, an advocate for the poor with Catholic Worker. The current battleground is the city's public parks. Officials recently closed Huntridge Circle Park after a homeless man was killed there in a fight. Witnesses told police the scuffle started after a man broke sprinkler heads in the park because his belongings got drenched. Another homeless man told him the damage would make the homeless look bad, witnesses said. Park closed after stabbing A fight broke out and the man who objected to the vandalism was stabbed to death. Four days later, officials declared the park a safety hazard and closed it. In August, the City Council banned sleeping within 500 feet of feces not deposited in an appropriate sanitary facility. Officials said the ordinance was an administrative blunder and acknowledged that the distance between sleeper and deposit was unworkable. The law has since been repealed. In July, Las Vegas made it illegal to feed the poor in parks -- a reaction to homeless advocate Gail Sacco's practice of bringing homemade spaghetti, vegetable soup, sandwiches and water to Huntridge Circle Park. Before it was closed, the park had received a $1.5 million facelift. After residents complained that Sacco's free food was drawing the poor away from a neighborhood three miles away where most social services and shelters are concentrated, the City Council made it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 to feed anyone "who a reasonable ordinary person" would believe to be entitled to public assistance. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the ordinance, and a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. City officials promised to rewrite the law. 'Nobody wants it in their backyard' Sacco now brings food to the homeless in another park -- this one across the street from City Hall. On a recent afternoon, a dozen people huddled around a bucket of soup, sending steam toward the mayor's 10th-floor offices. "Nobody wants it their backyard," Sacco said. "Obviously, there are people there who are dangerous, but they don't have to be homeless to be dangerous. And being homeless does not make you a criminal." The mayor shows little patience for Sacco's work. "To give a sandwich in the park doesn't do anything," Goodman said. He called advocates like Sacco "enablers crying like bleating sheep." "I'm trying to get these people to a shelter, that's where the services take place, not in a park," he said. "I won't coddle them." As for the park, the mayor plans to keep it closed until someone comes up with a way to curb the problems. He is not alone in his frustration. "There's a lot of bluster, enacting policies and laws that really do nothing to solve problems," said ACLU Executive Director Gary Peck. The real problem is "a reluctance to dedicate the resources and time necessary to fixing these problems." Goodman insisted more money and services are not necessary. He noted that the city's 400 emergency shelter beds are often not full. "No one is turned away," he said.

Monday, December 18, 2006

PRONOIA

In the quest to insinuate pronoia into dinner table discussions taking place all over the world, we bring the following pieces of evidence to your attention. Exhibit a The bible of the mental health community is a 943 page textbook called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, or DSM-IV. Published bby the america psychiatric association, it's a standardized catalog of psychologicial disorders that therapists use to evaluate and treat their patients. Surprise! This ultimate word on the state of the human psyche describe countless pathological states, but there's not a single entry referring to good mental health. You might imagine that shrinks would be mildly interested not only in fixing what's wrong with their patients but also in helping them cultivate what feels good. But how can that happen if the feel-good states aren't even recognized as important enough to name? Exhibit b David G. Myers and Ed Diener authored an article called "The Science of Happiness." which appeared in the Sep/Oct 97 issue of The Futurist. "What causes happiness?", they inquired. "This question not only went largely unanswered during psychology's first century, it went largely unasked." They note that from 1967 - 1995, essays on negative emotions far outnumbered those on positive emotions in the psychologicial literature. The ratio was 21:1. Exhibit c Even those supreme perpetrators of pop nihilism, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, have a better ratio than psychological literature. They average only 12 negative stories to every one that might be construed as non-negative. Most other daily newspapers maintain a similar proportion. Many of their non-negative stories, however, cover success in two specific fields: finance & sports. For example: nasdaq is up today, the atlanta braves won their eighth straight game. Remove these feel-good-stories from the equation, and the media's curse quotient rises closer to that of the psychological literature. PRONOIA, The Antidote for Paranoia - How The Whole World Is Conspiring To Shower You With Blessings - by ROB BREZSNY

Anarchist Ethics: A Utilitarian Approach

http://www.fuckauthority.org Although anarchists do not usually like to define their beliefs in terms of ethics, the anarchist emphasis on the need to maximize individual freedom can be seen as fundamentally rooted in utilitarian ethics. If one is interested in minimizing global suffering or maximizing global happiness or maximizing the number of individuals who achieve self-actualization and creative fulfillment, as utilitarians are, it seems clear that one must first seek to maximize individual freedom. No one is better equipped, at any given time, to take action to reduce an individual’s suffering, increase an individual’s pleasure, or increase an individual’s feelings of self-actualization than the individual himself, because no one else can completely know the individual’s intimate desires or psychology. Anarchists take it to be an empirical fact that people who exercise the greatest control over their own affairs are the happiest and most fulfilled, and that community life is richer, more meaningful, and more pleasurable when everyone individual is autonomous. Anarchists believe that man’s greatest good—be it pleasure or fulfillment—can only be realistically achieved by individual autonomous action, and so, the pursuit of individual freedom must be the central concern of any ethical community which wants to increase global aggregate happiness and reduce global aggregate suffering. The need to maximize individual liberty and global happiness informs all anarchist thought about political, economic, and social issues. Anarchists oppose the state (defined as an organization with a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force in a given country) because the state exists for the sole purpose of limiting human freedom and imposing the will of a certain group of people (usually a tiny minority) on the rest of a nation’s citizens. Because of the state, millions of people are incarcerated—mostly for nonviolent and “victimless” offenses—and forced to live in totalitarian conditions in which they have absolutely no control over their own situations. Because of the state, untold multitudes are forced to alter their behavior for fear of enduring punishment and incarceration if they act autonomously. Because of the state, millions of people die in wars and genocides, and millions of others are forced to live under foreign occupation in which their liberty is severely restricted. It is obvious that, so long as the state exists, human beings can never attain maximum freedom or maximum happiness, and so, utilitarians and anarchists should oppose the state. While autonomous individuals certainly have conflicts of interest, these conflicts can be dealt with through compromise and consensus, rather than through institutionalized violence. In extreme cases, an antagonistic individual ought to be banished from a community, rather than incarcerated and deprived of his autonomy. Anarchists also oppose the existing economic situation, which they see as presenting another major barrier to the maximization of individual freedom and global happiness. In the existing system of industrial capitalist production, most laborers are treated as tools and are expected to follow orders at all times, and are prevented from engaging in any sort of autonomous decision-making. For as long as they are at work, they are owned by their employer, and nearly every aspect of their life is controlled: what they wear, what they do, and what they say. Some employers even attempt to control the personal lives of their employees: witness drug-testing at workplaces. Employers show no regard whatsoever for the dignity and autonomy of their employees, but because of the extremely centralized control of property in capitalist society, most workers are forced either to endure the pain of wage-slavery or the pains of crushing poverty. In a just economy, workers would be completely self-managed and self-employed. All workers would participate in decision-making at their workplace, and all workers would have the freedom to work in different sectors of the economy at different times and to split time between intellectual and physical labor. Productive property would have to be collectively owned, for if it was privately owned, the owner would inevitably place conditions on the right of workers to use the productive property, limiting worker freedom and autonomy. An autonomous worker, freed from the humiliating constraints of wage-slavery and completely in control of his own work experience, would reap all the fulfillment and enjoyment from growing food or building a house or making clothes that the poet reaps from writing a poem and the scientist reaps from discovering a new principle. The anarchist project to maximize freedom and global happiness extends to nonhuman animals as well. At present, billions upon billions of animals are forced to live lives of unceasing torture in factory farms, fur farms, and laboratories to produce nonessential consumer products. Nonhuman animals clearly have the capacity to feel pain—this much is scientific fact—and there is no reason to believe that the benefit a human derives from having the freedom to live as he chooses is any more profound than the benefit an animal derives from having the freedom to live as it chooses, so the liberation of animals from the cruel exploitation of the factory farm, the fur farm, and the laboratory must be an integral part of the anarchist project. Animals have as much a right to live autonomously and pleasurably as any human being does, so the enslavement of animals for nonessential purposes must be viewed as completely illegitimate, as it significantly reduces aggregate global happiness.

Greek anarchists run riot at Athens university

Greek police used tear gas early today to disperse about 60 suspected anarchists who rioted outside an Athens university, hurling petrol bombs and stones. The clashes began at around 3am (0100 GMT) when around 60 hooded youths went on the rampage outside Panteion University following a party, police said. The anarchists damaged eight parked cars and several shop windows near the university. A power cut was caused in the surrounding area when a fire extinguisher was hurled at a low hanging power line. Police detained six suspects and no injuries were reported.

Street clashes flare in Copenhagen, 300 arrested

COPENHAGEN More than 300 demonstrators were arrested in the Danish capital on Saturday after violent clashes between police and youths who were protesting against the planned closure of a youth center in the city. Several hundred demonstrators threw cobblestones, bottles and fireworks at police and erected blazing barricades made from Christmas trees, trash cans and bicycles, police said. "It was extremely violent. It looked like a war zone and it's been many years since we last had to use tear gas on the streets," police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch told reporters. Police responded with tear gas attacks and split the main crowd of demonstrators into several smaller ones using armored cars. Groups of demonstrators walked toward the city center smashing shop windows, leaving a trail of destruction. The conflict over the youth center has been brewing since 2000 when local government sold the building that houses the center. Left-wing activist have been using the center as a base since 1982. The current owners have a court order to have the squatters evicted but the youths have sworn to protect the house and have repeatedly called for a political solution. Danish media reported that at least four police officers and several demonstrators were injured in the clashes.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Scarlet Letter Archives


Friday, December 15, 2006

Activist recounts successful sustainable communities

by Stephanie Laird, Athens NEWS Campus Reporter International sustainability expert and Quaker activist Hollister Knowlton spoke Tuesday night in Athens on the development and prosperity of eco-villages and sustainable practices. In her presentation, "Four Communities and a 'Village to Reinvent the World,'" Knowlton shared her spiritual journey and knowledge on sustainable practices with a full audience in the conference room at the Athens Public Library. Knowlton, who said she has always been concerned about the earth, found Quakerism and a new way to heal the disconnect she felt between humans and the earth. During her presentation, Knowlton shared success stories on sustainable communities in Colombia and Costa Rica, celebrating these communities' commitment to harnessing the earth's resources to foster sustainable development. When Knowlton's position was eliminated, she said she decided it was time for her to pursue her true calling and became a full-time Quaker. Knowlton served as a Quaker delegate to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002. Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW), a spiritually centered movement of Quakers and like-minded people seeking ways to integrate concern for the environment with Friends' long-standing testimonies for peace and equality, sent Knowlton to the conference as an observer. What she saw there, she said, changed her perspective for the rest of her life. During the conference, Knowlton learned about the United States' position on energy, and saw the disparity of wealth and severe racial injustice that were occurring in the neighboring community of Alexandra, South Africa. This broken community, and her experience at the sustainability conference, fueled Knowlton's desire to visit and learn more about sustainable communities and developments, she told the Athens audience. The first sustainable community Knowlton visited and discussed Tuesday was Finca La Bella, "the beautiful farm," in the San Luis Valley in Costa Rica. Here lies a 122-acre Quaker experiment in sustainable farming for landless farmers in the area. From Dec. 26, 2004 to Jan. 3, 2005, Knowlton participated in a QEW work-camp on the farm, living in the homes of the parceleros and working on projects to further their sustainable development. The land is divided into 24 sections for families to live on and cultivate the land. The farmers live together cooperatively and cannot sell the land, said Knowlton, since it was purchased to preserve and protect this valuable natural region. The farm has established several sources of revenue, ranging from a structure for guests to stay in, to coffee farming, to development of the "Pacific Path Trail." In the summer of 2005, Knowlton was given the opportunity to travel with the Friends of Gaviotas in Colombia, to visit the Gaviotas sustainable community and the site of Gaviotas II with Paolo Lugari. In 1970, Lugari began creating his vision for a sustainable community on Los Llanos of Colombia. This savannah is plagued with acidic soil, and was generally inhabitable except for along the riverbanks, but Knowlton said that Lugari saw potential here for something beautiful, especially since so many people were crowded in nearby Bogota, Colombia. After 14 years of research with the help of Zero Emission Research & Initiatives, a symbiotic relationship was found between a fungi and a tree, the Caribbean pine, which was able to grow in the area, she said. The trees prospered and now cover 20,000 acres of forest. The debris and compost created by these trees have formed a layer of topsoil 4-6 inches deep on the heretofore barren ground, giving life to some 250 species that now live in the expanding forest, according to Knowlton. The Gaviotas village emerged through the use of small-scale technology and a commitment to the integrity of the region, its people and the community, Knowlton said. Sustainable revenue sources are key in this and in other sustainable communities, she explained, emphasizing the importance of diversifying revenue and energy resources. In Gaviotas, she said, Lugari has established a resin-processing plant, a biodiesel facility, a water-bottling plant and a small hydro-power plant, just to prove he could. Solar and wind power are harnessed here, and furnaces run on either wood or biodiesel; there is even a revolutionary air- conditioning system in place that relies on convection. Lugari has also hooked up the see-saws at the local school with a water pump, so children playing generates the power to pump water from below ground. This totally independent community is prospering and providing a model for other sustainable villages, she said. After a whirlwind tour of Lugari's sustainable oasis, Knowlton traveled to Marandua with Lugari and other luminaries to visit the site of Gaviotas II. The Colombian Air Force offered to donate 100,000 acres of land to this project, which will be modeled on the principles established in Gaviotas. The sustainable communities of Finca La Bella and Gaviotas illustrate the fantastic possibilities of sustainable development, according to Knowlton. They have created jobs, provided homes and land for those without, and are operating in a sustainable loop that should ensure their stability and success for years to come while preserving the integrity of the region and its inhabitants.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Microcredit: Solution to Poverty or False 'Compassionate Capitalism?'

While everyone praises Muhammad Yunus and his original intent of helping poor women in Bangladesh, some critics say microcredit is being misconstrued as a way of ending poverty. We host a debate with Susan Davis, founder and chair of the Grameen Foundation, and world-renowned environmental leader and thinker, Vandana Shiva. ... I think there’s a second context in which microcredit could actually create a problem. And it’s the kind of context in which we have been forced to work. As credit for unaffordable seeds moves nonrenewable seeds, genetically engineered seeds, hybrid seeds into rural areas in India, we are seeing a new kind of debt trap created. Farmer suicides, of which there have been 150,000 in the last decade of market opening made possible because of credit, micro and macro. 150,000 is a large number of peasants being wiped out. I have called this a genocide. And it’s being made possible by putting money available, credit available, so that they could get seeds of Monsanto. In fact, it’s a debate, old debate, I’ve had with Yunus, because there was a time he was going to use microcredit to move GM seeds and Monsanto seeds to the Bangladeshi women. And we had to have a debate, and thank goodness he backed out of that agreement. AMY GOODMAN: I remember this letter that you wrote many years ago. It was going to be called, what, Monsanto Grameen...? VANDANA SHIVA: Partnership. And it was announced at the big microcredit summit. So the point is, credit is a vector. Where does that vector lead you to? Does it lead you to participation in a debt cycle that you can never get out of? I think one of the key issues about credit has to be, is it a debt trap sucking people in to permanent dependence on more and more and more borrowing? And the case of nonrenewable seeds replacing farmers’ open-pollinated varieties, farm-saved seeds is an example where credit could actually create a new crisis. And I think we just have to see what is the credit for? What is it bringing? The second thing, I think, that’s very critical is, at least in India, we have witnessed how microcredit is being used to turn autonomous producers, sovereign producers into consumers. Levers has hijacked the entire microcredit system in Madhya Pradesh, this big giant agribusiness. And today, women who were producing their soaps and their potato chips are today sellers of Levers detergents. And they are called Shakti Ammas, when actually what microcredit has done is dis-empowered the women, in terms of robbing them of their productive capacity. ...

Indigenous Peoples were disposables to nuclear industry

By Brenda Norrell WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA, USA Arriving from every region of the earth, their stories are the same. They tell of the machinations of the global nuclear industries, corporations leaving behind trails of radiation, cancer, birth defects and death for Indigenous villagers. Stolen as an infant from her birth family, one Australian Aboriginal woman now speaks out against the massive expansion of a uranium mine that threatens her people with more misery in South Australia. She has received death threats for speaking out, as the mining industry promises tens of thousands of jobs. Money buys silence from others. Arriving from the other side of the world, villagers from India working in and living near the uranium mines tell how unborn children die before they are born and others are born with birth defects. One breaks into tears as he remembers his family members who have died from cancer after working in the mines. Here, on the Navajo Nation, many of those who worked in the mines are now dead from cancer and respiratory disease. Many of their children are dead. Still, at least 1,200 radioactive sites have not been reclaimed. Radioactive rocks and waste remain strewn where children play and sheep graze. Nearby, on Acoma Pueblo and Laguna Pueblo, Pueblos worked in the uranium mines. Like Navajos, they worked without protective clothing. Those who did not work in the mines ate the food dried in the sun, fresh food covered with blowing, radioactive dust. Far to the north, the Dineh of Canada, like their Dine’ relatives to the south on Navajoland, were the uranium industry’s canaries in the mines. The governments of the United States and Canada watched and studied Native uranium miners in order to determine the health effects of radiation, long after scientists warned of the deadly consequences. No where has the impact been greater than in Western Shoshone country, where the Nevada Test Site and the nuclear industry proliferate and elongate their scar on the earth. These are the stories of the people at the Indigenous World Uranium Summit on the Navajo Nation, Nov. 29 – Dec. 2. Regardless of the Navajo Nation’s new law which forbids more uranium mining, corporations now plan uranium mining near Crownpoint, N.M. It is the same area where the nation’s deadliest uranium mill tailings spill occurred in Church Rock, N.M., in 1979. The radiation then flowed downstream in the Rio Puerco, to the relocation homes of Navajos at New Lands and elsewhere in Arizona. From every region of the world, the people have arrived, not just with their stories, but also with a new resolve to fight uranium mining on Indigenous lands by every means necessary. They resolve to act, with the guidance of their elders, with prayer, direct action, lawsuits, information campaigns to stockholders and education campaigns. Through sovereignty and global networking, after watching too many relatives die of cancer and other diseases, a new campaign is launched to protect their homelands. Indigenous Nations -- Acoma, Laguna and Zuni Pueblo, Navajo, Hopi, Pawnee, Western Shoshone, Pima, Choctaw and First Nations from Canada -- joined with their allies from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan and Vanuatu in the South Pacific. Speaking of respect and living in harmony with Mother Earth, while warning of the consequences for those who violate the natural laws of the universe, their message was the same: “Leave the uranium in the ground.” The Declaration of the summit demands a worldwide ban on uranium mining and processing on Native lands around the world. “We reaffirm the Declaration of the World Uranium Hearing in Salzburg, Austria, in 1992, that ‘uranium and other radioactive minerals must remain in their natural location.’ Further, we stand in solidarity with the Navajo Nation for enacting the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005, which bans uranium mining and processing and is based on the Fundamental Laws of the Dine. And we dedicate ourselves to a nuclear-free future,” states the proclamation.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Personal Reality

Personal reality is a New Age conceptual framework espoused by the spirit medium, Jane Roberts. Within the range of people who subscribe to the philosophy of idealism, some believe we each create our own version of reality; that there isn't one single reality for each of us to become aware of in our own particular way. The physicist Amit Goswami explains his monistic idealism in terms of quantum mechanics and Eastern spiritual teachings, while Seth, a non-physical entity channeled by Jane Roberts, says that each person is basically a "unit of consciousness" (CU), that each CU is a part of "All That Is" (as in the holographic principle), and that we individually and collectively dreamt up the reality which we experience. In this worldview, the basic framework for physical reality is determined by the fundamental laws of the universe established by "root assumptions" which are agreed upon by all CUs that chose to participate in physical reality, while each person creates their own personal reality by adopting "core beliefs" and values and selecting probabilities from amongst the possibilities available to them in each instant. Thus, God is part of the reality of someone who has a core belief in the existence of God, while evolution is real for someone who believes that the theory of evolution explains the appearance on Earth of the wide variety of species. Likewise, life is fragile and uncertain for the person who believes life is fragile and uncertain, while heaven, hell and the devil are real for people who believe in their existence. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Personal Reality". This entry is a fragment of a larger work. Link may die if entry is finally removed or merged. # posted by Cliff Pickover http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_reality_(Jane_Roberts)

The History of Welcome, by a.h.s. boy

Twenty-three revolutionaries arrived at my door. One by one. And I welcomed them. One by one. And they never left. Well most of them. The fourteenth came just around midnight and stared in my window, said he was a psychologer, said he wanted to understand human behavior. I opened the window to converse "You mean 'a psychologist'?" I asked and he said "No, a psychologer." I don't understand either but I let him in, fascinated. The nineteenth let himself in and started talking what must have been seventeen blue streaks and explained very quickly very quickly that the essence of the human soul was poetic and not prosaic, that the truth of the spirit was consequently not constrained by the limits of structure and shouldn't our linguistic reality reflect the natural fluency of experience as it occurs in real and quantum worlds? I think it was a brilliant philosophical beat novel in progress so I offered him dinner. The twentieth said nothing. I gave him a closet in my house. The seventh, eighth, and ninth, who, incidentally, did not know each other, came dressed as punk rock versions of the three wise men, but none of them bore any special gifts because they'd hitchhiked 600 miles to visit, eating dumpster food and spouting slogans of future revolutions and obscene songs to pass the time. They are the gutter that works to clean the streets. The first knock on my door was an ambitious young man with a tongueful of good intentions and a hatful of tricks up his sleeve. I thought he had something to sell, invited him in to give me his pitch; he handed me his library card and said "Do it yourself, it's a bitch." The thirteenth visitor came as a cat, a black cat, in fact, with a suitcase packed with the history of symbols, which I read as he purred and I studied as he purred and I memorized as he purred and I catalogued as he purred then I purred and he purred back. Then a knock on the door was my twenty-first guest. It was an old man with a vestcoat he stood quite politely and I said "Are you a republican?" "No." "Then you're a Democrat?" "No." "Then you're a monarchist?" "No." "Then you're a Communist?" "No." "Well, then, what are you?" "I am an anarchist." And the twenty-second knock was a woman's knock, sounded just like a man's knock; who am I to say there's a difference to be made? She wasn't raised in a social Skinner box and neither was I (though they tried) and I know what a woman could do was only repressed by desire, not her desire, not my desire. "Come in, come in. That man by the window would like to speak with you." The seventeenth and eighteenth guests sat quietly at the typewriter tapping out poems and whimsical rants, mumbled dadadadadadadadadadadaDADAdadadadadadada. They wore monocles which represented the nearsighted vision of the present which is essential to the Now. The second, fourth, and fifth guests came disguised as unknown deliveries of blanket-wrapped babies too young to offer coffee or to ask demanding questions. I will nurture them until they come into their own. The third one to stop by called himself Jean-Paul and unloaded a mass of books which I read slowly while his tortured lips pulled on a pipe and I learned a new vocabulary for things I knew by heart: "There are no simple answers because there are no simple questions," said the sixth guest upon arrival, "and you're a genius if you understand." "You are not," said Jean-Paul, and smiled like the Buddha. The fifteenth approached with common sense and respect and helped around the house and kept the guest rooms clean and kept the guests in line. The sixteenth was sociological and semiotic and demanded metaphysical space to investigate the social construction of reality and housing. Ten, eleven, and twelve left rain checks but no umbrellas. Still I love them. I love them all. And the twenty-third visitor will never show up and has always already been here. It's confusing and keeps me on edge.

Arguing Anarchism: A Note On Some Varieties Of the Radical Libertarian-Egalitarian

by Kingsley Widmer Arguing with a slightly known neighbor, an also retired teacher (but of some business sort of flatulence) in a once rather proletarian California beach town that has gone upscale. Through no fault of mine, my dilapidated little house has price risen over the years more than 300%, soliciting realtors advise me. A certain politics goes with it. My neighbor wants to enlist me in his controversy as to whether the school district should market to developers some unused land, thus avoiding a property tax increase, in order to buy computer systems with higher paid administrators and/or develop a lavish competitive sports complex. Or, was I on the local "liberal" side of doing both by some fiscal manipulation at state and federal levels, which would raise other taxes? I gently mocked his tax views, the pious techies, the thugish jocks, the aggrandizing bureaucrats, the destructively expansive developers, and -- though in not quite these words to him -- the schooling devoted to complementary indoctrinations in competitive techno-hierarchies and their exploitations. I anti-politically concluded that the only sane stance was to resist all of them. With exasperation, he ended, "You're practically an anarchist!" Yes, indeed. "Sometime," he said in a conciliatory but patronizing gesture as he retreated, "you'll have to explain to me how you got that way." Now there is a real issue to mull: How to persuasively present a radical libertarian-egalitarian perspective? I conclude that probably there is no way to enlighten my neighbor's righteous petty bourgeois sensibility. Previous efforts with others where I live suggest that if I were to tell of the personal experiences which encouraged my anarchist-mindedness, that would just confirm my role as a weird intellectual. Of course I could pray to the absent deity that my neighbor occasionally invokes that he, too, endure some time as a field and factory hand, a combat infantry soldier, a felony convict, a bureaucratic trouble-maker, a street protester, and the like. But deities of social equality seem in short supply, and the others mostly in hypocritical bankruptcy. Perhaps not even a traumatic revolution would shake his religious sanctioned business-obsessed sensibility. Possibly, for others, there are ways to the anarchist mind cast. Would that be by reading the classic anarchist writings? From four decades of official teaching, I must have considerable skepticism. But even leaving aside institutionally induced incompetence, I intellectually feel that the usually identified anarchist arguments are far too narrow. I take, and argue for, a broader view. Say, from Diogenes, the fourth century BCE Athenian mocker of all authority, through Ivan Illich, the late-twentieth century Austrian-Latin American social critic of most prevailing institutions. From Taoist Chinese sages through Coyote figures of Native American tales. From dissident western European artists to American picaresque writers. From Saturnalian buffoons to punk rock and hiphop exhibitionists. Few identified themselves as anarchists but that cast of mind has been central and crucial. If texts be the issue, those be the ones, though also always critically. The parochialism of thinking of anarchism generally just in the Baukunin-Kropotkin nineteenth century matrix, even when adding, say, Stirner, Thoreau, Tolstoy or...what-turned-you-on-in-a-libertarian-way, just won't do -- not only in ideas but in sensibility, not only in history but in possibility. Put another way, anarchism has long been more than ultra-Jacobinism and the minority libertarian side of socialism, counter to authoritarian Marxism on the left, or syndicalism in the Jura and the Wobbly West, or revolution in the Ukraine, Catalonia and, recently, Chiapas (but that last perhaps doubtful, though with some libertarian style, led by longtime Marxist-Leninists). Either anarchism should be responded to as various and protean, or it is the mere pathos of defeats and the marginalia of political history. That re-defining emphasis noted, let me turn to a different kind of variety, that within moreorless recognized as contemporary American anarchism. For reconstructing strategy, let us say there are three tempers of anarchism: Revisionism, Revolutionism, and Resistance. Not intended as complete, the "three Rs" for liberation are also not mutually exclusive, rather dispositions and modes, all deserving some blessing. As banner for the revisionists, let me take as text "Anarchism is essentially a theory of organization" (Colin Ward). There is a considerable truth to that (the insufficiency I will get to later). It may especially apply to various libertarian projects, properly small-scale cooperative efforts on the margins of our competitive-exploitative society. Most of us at least know of, if not participated in, examples of non-hierarchical cast. Such as "free" or libertarian schooling, at various levels, pre-school to university, however rarely long-enduring but certainly still needed. Such as work-place democratization, until it is defeated, or twistingly absorbed into bureaucratic unionism and other hierarchical associations. Or little co-op service enterprises -- ones I knew of include a bike shop, a bakery, and a book store. Or libertarian media and art groups, at least until too successful and they become merely "progressive." Or collectives helping prisoners, street people, and other social marginals. And, of course, a variety of consensual-egalitarian protest groups. As I have previously argued (including in SA), some environmental groups, such as Earth First!, contrary to mainstream organizations, show an anarchist mindedness and reordering. There are, I am told, yet other such libertarian-egalitarian reordering of daily activities, such as with coop housing descendants of communes, though they decorously may not claim much anarchist rhetoric. But we should pay more attention to their orderings -- though some certainly deserve questioning -- than their announcements. However, some anarchist ideologues strongly object, such as the otherwise often antithetical polemicists Murray Bookchin and John Zerzan. They do so on several, usually revolutionist, grounds. Small scale liberations can't last for long against American globalism and giganticism (neither, of course, can even a lot of middling big as well as little profit corporations these days). And they are quite insufficient to significantly counter the competitive ethos, even when they don't implicitly succumb to it. Or, more specifically, mutual aid enterprises just mask what is more broadly wrong with consumerism and marketing. Work-place democratization and libertarian syndicalism just divert efforts to reject the whole system of unjust, misdirected, dehumanizing labors and its dominations. Libertarian media and artistic efforts come out as rather more the variant expression of cultural fashion -- be it collage, rock, documentaries, poetry, or somewhat reconstructing essays such as this -- rather than any thing really different. In sum, little anarchist efforts don't really make any change. They disguise what wrongly dominates. And they divert from the larger and more authentic social revolution. No doubt there is some truth here, too -- and a lot of arrogant dogmatism. The holy attitude insists on large but not little rebellion, which may be self-defeating hubris. The banner here might include "There never has been a good war or a bad revolution" (Edward Abbey), which on certain protest occasions I approvingly quoted. However, the better truth may be that revolutions become "good" wars, in which as usual mostly the wrong people get it in the neck. My general pragmatic definition of overt violence against people. Yet libertarian revolutionism may be true in another sense, in reminding us that anarchism as a theory-of-organization not only doesn't stand by itself but probably can't much exist without a larger vision, and passion, of radical social change, a general as well as a local sense of the libertarian and egalitarian society. In other words, ranging utopianism -- and the dystopianism which keeps it honest. Much of utopianism seems currently out of fashion, treated as bad myths (fanatic falsehoods, as with the religious right) rather than good myths (narratives of possibilities, speculations on better ways of doing things, as well as critical dramatizations against what is). The anarchist-minded, of course, should not only be anti-authoritarian skeptics but promote subversive narratives. Is grand revolution one of them? Possibly, in some places and some times, but, I suspect, not much here and not now. Are we left, then, only with little local efforts at protest and reordering? That is not my argument, which seeks to affirm a more various anarchism. And I want to at least suggest that many modes of resistance remain, and, as has usually been, seem essential to a radical libertarian-egalitarian perspective. I certainly won't claim much of a case by genteelly arguing with neighbors. But recently I wrote a brief tendentious memoir about my experiences in work-place sabotage (to appear in Fiction International). Retrospectively, I realized, after visiting some parallel work scenes, how some dominations and exploitations have taken on considerably different manners: more rationalized hierarchies, with computerization, temp work, tricky regulations, electronic surveillance, testing, psychological profiling, and all the rest I didn't confront. Others, with more immediate experience of these, can better report on the effective styles of current subversion and sabotage, which certainly remain necessary for proponents of liberty and equality in daily life. I am not suggesting that they just be individual, or done without discrimination, including relevant street smarts, and a concern for humane consequences while cheating the cheaters. Granted, such countering labors won't fit all, and thus are all the more imperative for those who can and will. They may not presumptuously make a social revolution but they may make an expressive and practical difference. Countering can be personally as well as socially liberating. Sovereignties and authorities extend into most areas, and you and I know none are more than momentarily legitimate. In nearly three-quarters of a century, I have never met an established hierarchy that didn't deserve considerable contempt, and usually in several ways. We anarchists don't deny all leadership, the temporary roles of those who can pertinently respond, do, and be, without enduring prerogatives and rewards ("nonce chiefs"). As for the rest, out them, delimit them, down with them! Some anarchists remain stuck in industrial age mythologies of the lower-class campaign, as I have sometimes been, and not where we are often actually at, though I would argue that anarchism must still speak especially for the lumpen, and our long central constituencies of libertarianism called bohemian, counter-cultural, marginal, in culture as well as work, and in various circumstances. It is now widely recognized that anti-culture itself is a large part of a culture that has not corpsed out. Blasphemy, parody, mockery, revived dadaism, new as well as old nihilisms, need cultivation. This is but another way of reading Baukunin's "Destruction is a creative act!" Radical little reordering and large social revolutionary visions may also be seen as but various forms of libertarian resistance. It won't pass for politics? I know (that is why I started this sketch with the anecdote of futilely arguing in the terms of my reactionary neighbor). We must to anti-politics, including that of many on the left. Some of my most vociferous arguments have been with self-identified "left liberals" who hold only to "equality of opportunity," as a kiss-ass certifying substitute for real equality of condition and result -- equal means much more than that, not some conservative jerking off, as, traditionally, with separating "liberty" from "licence." (Did I mention that my call for wide anarchist resistance includes less "niceness" and more revivified invective?) Or with those raise-all-boats bloating shitheads eager to inundate us with the flood of over-population-development-hitech-consumerism-deadly-growth. Will they drown us before they destroy the earth? They seem to even want we old ones to live too long, though only in a synthetic-parts decrepit drugged and wired institutional quiescence -- so to see the end of fortuitous humankind? Any sensitive anarchist must be more than a little misanthropic and nihilistic. I am arguing that the proper anarchist vocation is to the anti-, the protean countering. From "bad manners" through bureaucracy-baiting and scornful-blasphemous culture play and subversion and sabotage to defiant consciousness raising everywhere, and yet other resistances by those more ingenious than I am, as well as revisions of the daily round and revolutionary social visions. Ah, but you say we already have too much of some of these? -- and too much freedom and equality? I know you, neighbor, for what you are. Or you less fearfully say that I have a point or two but should convert them into more clever irony and appropriate cynicism and even appearance of prevailing pieties, so to be less offensive, more successful. Perhaps we are just of different tempers, but I'll go along with your flight from dumb earnestness and humorless submissions if you go along with mine. There is a lot of anarchism around, amidst the pervasive inequality and domination.. Let us variously contribute to it. But not much compromise radical libertarian egalitarianism, which can be left to all too many others.

Some words...

° Nine at the beginning means: The standard is changing. Perseverance brings good fortune. To go out of the door in company Produces deeds. ° from 13ben

*good morning*

a link from Sir Real

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Nobel Winner Warns of Dangers of Globalization

by Walter Gibbs
OSLO — The Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus, who invented the practice of making small, unsecured loans to the poor, warned today that the globalized economy was becoming a dangerous “free-for-all highway.”

“Its lanes will be taken over by the giant trucks from powerful economies,” Dr. Yunus said during a lavish ceremony at which he was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. “Bangladeshi rickshaws will be thrown off the highway.”

While international companies motivated by profit may be crucial in addressing global poverty, he said, nations must also cultivate grassroots enterprises and the human impulse to do good.

Challenging economic theories that he learned as a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville in the 1970s, he said glorification of the entrepreneurial spirit has led to “one-dimensional human beings” motivated only by profit.

Dr. Yunus, 66, then took a direct jibe at the United States for its war on terror, telling about 1,000 dignitaries at Oslo’s City Hall that recent American military campaigns in Iraq and elsewhere had diverted global resources and attention from a more pressing project: halving worldwide poverty by 2015, as envisaged by the United Nations six years ago.

“Never in human history had such a bold goal been adopted by the entire world in one voice, one that specified time and size,” he said. “But then came Sept. 11 and the Iraq war, and suddenly the world became derailed from the pursuit of this dream.”

He said terrorism cannot be defeated militarily and the concept of peace requires broadening. “Peace should be understood in a human way, in a broad social, political and economic way,” Dr. Yunus said.

He called for legal recognition of a new category of corporation that would be neither profit-maximizing nor nonprofit. It would be a “social business,” like Grameen Bank, the Dhaka-based microcredit institution he started 30 years ago. The bank has lent nearly $6 billion to help some of the poorest people on earth to start businesses, build shelters and go to school.

Grameen Bank — with which Dr. Yunus shared the prize today — is an interest-charging, profit-making business with more than 2,200 branches. But it is owned primarily by its poor clients and run for their benefit. Similarly structured institutions, he said, could bring health care, information technology, education and energy to the poor without requiring infusions of aid.

“By defining ‘entrepreneur’ in a broader way, we can change the character of capitalism radically and solve many of the unresolved social and economic problems within the scope of the free market,” he said.

He traveled to Oslo with nine of the bank’s board members. Four of them are among Bangladesh’s nearly 300,000 “telephone ladies,” each of whom once borrowed money to buy a mobile telephone and now earns money charging rural villagers to use it.

Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes called microcredit “a liberating force” for women and Muslims, many of whom have traditionally shunned interest-charging institutions.

“All too often, we speak one-sidedly about how much the Muslim part of the world has to learn from the West,” said Prof. Danbolt Mjoes. “Where microcredit is concerned, the opposite is true: the West has learned from Yunus, from Bangladesh, and from the Muslim part of the world.”


“General Pinochet at the Bookstore, Santiago, Chile, July 2004.”, by MARTIN ESPADA

AMY GOODMAN: We wrap up this segment with renowned poet and professor, Martin Espada, who many call the Latino Poet of his generation. Martin Espada teaches creative writing and poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is the Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. Just before the program, we spoke with him on the line from Amherst and asked him to read one of his poems to mark the death of Augusto Pinochet. He began by explaining why he wrote the poem. MARTIN ESPADA: In July 2004, I was invited to participate in a celebration of the Pablo Neruda centenary in Chile, as part of the US delegation invited to that country. About a week before we arrived, there was an incident that took place that caused quite a stir, involving General Pinochet. And the following poem came out of it. This poem was actually from a book called The Republic of Poetry. The poem itself is called “General Pinochet at the Bookstore, Santiago, Chile, July 2004.”
The general's limo parked at the corner of San Diego street and his bodyguards escorted him to the bookstore called La Oportunidad, so he could browse for rare works of history. There were no bloody fingerprints left on the pages. No books turned to ash at his touch. He did not track the soil of mass graves on his shoes, nor did his eyes glow red with a demon's heat. Worse: His hands were scrubbed, and his eyes were blue, and the dementia that raged in his head like a demon, making the general's trial impossible, had disappeared. Desaparecido: like thousands dead but not dead, as the crowd reminded the general, gathered outside the bookstore to jeer when he scurried away with his bodyguards, so much smaller in person.

Monday, December 11, 2006

In My Sky At Twilight, by Pablo Neruda

In my sky at twilight you are like a cloud and your form and colour are the way I love them. You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips and in your life my infinite dreams live. The lamp of my soul dyes your feet, the sour wine is sweeter on your lips, oh reaper of my evening song, how solitary dreams believe you to be mine! You are mine, mine, I go shouting it to the afternoon's wind, and the wind hauls on my widowed voice. Huntress of the depth of my eyes, your plunder stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water. You are taken in the net of my music, my love, and my nets of music are wide as the sky. My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning. In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begin.

1200-year-old problem 'easy'

Schoolchildren from Caversham have become the first to learn a brand new theory that dividing by zero is possible using a new number - 'nullity'. But the suggestion has left many mathematicians cold. Given the, er, light-hearted mathematical debate Dr Anderson's theory has generated, we're delighted to announce he will join us on Tuesday 12 December to answer questions and discuss some of the criticisms levelled against his theory of 'nullity'. You will be able to hear in more detail from Dr Anderson on this page later on Tuesday. Watch a video report from BBC South Today's Ben Moore, then let Dr Anderson talk you through his theory in simple steps on the whiteboard: video Dividing by zero: Ben Moore reports > video Dr Anderson's theory in detail > Dr James Anderson, from the University of Reading's computer science department, says his new theorem solves an extremely important problem - the problem of nothing. "Imagine you're landing on an aeroplane and the automatic pilot's working," he suggests. "If it divides by zero and the computer stops working - you're in big trouble. If your heart pacemaker divides by zero, you're dead." Computers simply cannot divide by zero. Try it on your calculator and you'll get an error message. But Dr Anderson has come up with a theory that proposes a new number - 'nullity' - which sits outside the conventional number line (stretching from negative infinity, through zero, to positive infinity). 'Quite cool' The theory of nullity is set to make all kinds of sums possible that, previously, scientists and computers couldn't work around. "We've just solved a problem that hasn't been solved for twelve hundred years - and it's that easy," proclaims Dr Anderson having demonstrated his solution on a whiteboard at Highdown School, in Emmer Green. "It was confusing at first, but I think I've got it. Just about," said one pupil. "We're the first schoolkids to be able to do it - that's quite cool," added another. Despite being a problem tackled by the famous mathematicians Newton and Pythagoras without success, it seems the Year 10 children at Highdown now know their nullity. Watch a video report from BBC South Today's Ben Moore, then let Dr Anderson talk you through his theory in simple steps on the whiteboard: video Dividing by zero: Ben Moore reports > video Dr Anderson's theory in detail >

Sunday, December 10, 2006

MM

She sits in the morning coolness strong brew with a touch of sweetness for the days start feeling the warmth begin from the sun’s rise Pondering upon love and the plan of the day thoughts to keep the dreams alive for deep within a lonely soul she still believes in fairy tales Trying several times to kill the dreams of passion burning the pages of ink would they would disappear but they still come just as day light rising to great the tormented soul None in the her land understands exactly what she means though far off a man from a different world seeing her dreams, inspires her She dubs him her Muse and prays he never goes away for a light has shown through her darkened world and she vows to protect the flickering glow for peace has come to the lady of dreams ~Lady of Dreams and Her Muse, by Patricia Gale~

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Dangerous Taboo

The Beauty and Truth Lab's ongoing exploration of pronoia is a conversation, not a dictation. It’s an inquiry, not dogma. We’re explorers in search of the ever-evolving truth, not authorities proclaiming doctrine from on high. We refuse to be salespeople intent on getting you to be like us or buy our ideas. In fact, let’s look at the downsides of the perspectives we celebrate. The first thing you should consider before leaping into a relationship with pronoia is that it is utterly at odds with conventional wisdom. The 19th-century poet John Keats said that if something is not beautiful, it is probably not true. But the vast majority of modern storytellers— journalists, filmmakers, novelists, talk-show hosts, and poets—assert the opposite: If something is not ugly, it is probably not true. In a world that equates pessimism with acumen and regards stories about things falling apart as having the highest entertainment value, pronoia is deviant. It is a taboo so taboo that it’s not even recognized as a taboo. The average American child sees 20,000 murders on TV before reaching age 18. This is considered normal. Every community has video rental stores filled with hundreds of multimillion-dollar films that depict people doing terrible things to each other. If you read newspapers, you have every right to believe that Bad Nasty Things compose 90 percent of the human experience. The authors of thousands of books published this year will hope to lure you in through the glamour of murder, addiction, self-hatred, sexual pathology, shame, betrayal, extortion, robbery, cancer, arson, and torture. But you will be hard-pressed to find more than a few novels, films, news stories, and TV shows that dare to depict life as a gift whose purpose is to enrich the human soul. If you cultivate an affinity for pronoia, people you respect may wonder if you have lost your way. You might appear to them as naive, eccentric, unrealistic, misguided, or even stupid. Your reputation could suffer and your social status could decline. But that may be relatively easy to deal with compared to your struggle to create a new relationship with yourself. For starters, you will have to acknowledge that what you previously considered a strong-willed faculty—the ability to discern the weakness in everything—might actually be a mark of cowardice and laziness. Far from being evidence of your power and uniqueness, your drive to produce hard-edged opinions stoked by hostility is likely a sign that you’ve been brainwashed by the pedestrian influences of pop nihilism. Before the onset of pronoia, you may feel fine about the fact that you generate much of your dynamic energy through anger, agitation, discomfort, and judgmental scorn. But once the pronoia kicks in, you’ll naturally want more positive feelings to be your high-octane fuel. That will require extensive retraining. The work could be arduous, delicate, and time-consuming. Are you truly ready to shed the values and self-images that keep you locked into alignment with the dying civilization? Will you have the stamina and inspiration necessary to dream up bigger, better, more original sins and wilder, wetter, more interesting problems? Do you realize how demanding it will be to turn yourself into a wildly disciplined, radically curious, fiercely tender, ironically sincere, ingeniously loving, aggressively sensitive, blasphemously reverent, lustfully compassionate master of rowdy bliss? * Try saying this aloud: "I die daily." It’s one of our favorite formulas for success. Is it right for you? Say it again, using a different tone of voice this time. "I die daily." Chant it in a fake foreign accent. Sing it to the tune of the nursery rhyme, "Frère Jacques." Play with it in the voice of the cartoon character you loved best as a child. Repeat it 10 times in a row, or try other vocal experiments. Then muse on these questions. What do you need to kill off in yourself in order to tune in to the beauty that’s hidden from you? What worn-out shticks are blinding you to the blessings that life is conspiring to give you? Which of your theories may have been useful and even brilliant in the past but are now keeping you from becoming aware of the ever-fresh creation that unfolds before you? "I die daily" means that it’s not enough to terminate your stale mental habits just once. The price of admission into pronoia is a commitment to continual dying. You’ll have to ask yourself rude questions and kick your own ass again and again. Today’s versions of beauty, truth, love, goodness, justice, and liberation will pass away. To keep abreast of the latest developments—to cultivate tomorrow’s versions of pronoia—you’ll have to immerse yourself regularly in the waters of chaos. Your relationship with pronoia will have to be a never-ending improvisation. The dream of a steady-state utopia is anathema to Beauty and Truth Laboratory researchers. We’re allergic to any paradise that resembles a spotless shopping mall within the walls of a gated community in heaven. * Pronoia is fueled by a drive to cultivate happiness and a determination to practice an aggressive form of gratitude that systematically identifies the things that are working well. But it is not a soothing diversion meant for timid Pollyannas strung out on optimistic delusions. It’s not a feel-good New Age fantasy used to deny the harsh facts about existence. Those of us who perceive the world pronoiacally refuse to be polite shills for sentimental hopefulness. On the contrary, we build our optimism not through a repression of difficulty, but rather a vigorous engagement with it. We understand that the best way to attract blessings is to grapple with the knottiest enigmas. Each fresh puzzle is a potential source of future bliss—an exciting teaching that may usher us to our next breakthrough. Do you want to be a pronoiac player? Blend anarchistic rebelliousness with open-hearted exuberance. Root your insurrectionary fervor in expansive joy instead of withering hatred. Enjoy saying "no!" but don’t make it the wellspring of your vitality. Be fueled by blood-red yeses that rip against the grain of comfortable ugliness.

A Spell to Commit Pronoia, by psychotherapist Jennifer Welwood

* Willing to experience aloneness, I discover connection everywhere; Turning to face my fear, I meet the warrior who lives within; Opening to my loss, I am given unimaginable gifts; Surrendering into emptiness, I find fullness without end. Each condition I flee from pursues me. Each condition I welcome transforms me And becomes itself transformed Into its radiant jewel-like essence. I bow to the one who has made it so, Who has crafted this Master Game; To play it is pure delight, To honor it is true devotion. *

Friday, December 08, 2006

"Power to the People": The Lost John Lennon Interview

By TARIQ ALI and ROBIN BLACKBURN

Editors' Note: It was twenty-five years ago today that John Lennon was murdered outside the Dakota building on Central Park West in New York City. We doubt many CounterPunchers have read the following 1971 interview with Lennon done by CounterPunchers Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn. It's a lot more interesting that the interminable Q and A with Lennon done by Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner. Tariq and Robin allowed Lennon to talk and spurred him on when he showed signs of flagging. Lennon recounts about how he and George Harrison bucked their handlers and went on record against the Vietnam War, discusses class politics in an engaging manner, defends country and western music and the blues, suggests Dylan's best songs stem from revolutionary Irish and Scottish ballads and dissects his three versions of "Revolution". The interview ran in The Red Mole, a Trotskyist sheet put out by the British arm of the Fourth International. As you'll see, those were different days. The interview is included in Tariq Ali's Streetfighting Years, recently published by Verso. AC / JSC

Tariq Ali: Your latest record and your recent public statements, especially the interviews in Rolling Stone magazine, suggest that your views are becoming increasingly radical and political. When did this start to happen?

John Lennon: I've always been politically minded, you know, and against the status quo. It's pretty basic when you're brought up, like I was, to hate and fear the police as a natural enemy and to despise the army as something that takes everybody away and leaves them dead somewhere.

I mean, it's just a basic working class thing, though it begins to wear off when you get older, get a family and get swallowed up in the system.

In my case I've never not been political, though religion tended to overshadow it in my acid days; that would be around '65 or '66. And that religion was directly the result of all that superstar shit--religion was an outlet for my repression. I thought, 'Well, there's something else to life, isn't there? This isn't it, surely?'

But I was always political in a way, you know. In the two books I wrote, even though they were written in a sort of Joycean gobbledegook, there's many knocks at religion and there is a play about a worker and a capitalist. I've been satirising the system since my childhood. I used to write magazines in school and hand them around.

I was very conscious of class, they would say with a chip on my shoulder, because I knew what happened to me and I knew about the class repression coming down on us--it was a fucking fact but in the hurricane Beatle world it got left out, I got farther away from reality for a time.

TA: What did you think was the reason for the success of your sort of music?

JL: Well, at the time it was thought that the workers had broken through, but I realise in retrospect that it's the same phoney deal they gave the blacks, it was just like they allowed blacks to be runners or boxers or entertainers. That's the choice they allow you--now the outlet is being a pop star, which is really what I'm saying on the album in 'Working class hero'. As I told Rolling Stone, it's the same people who have the power, the class system didn't change one little bit.

Of course, there are a lot of people walking around with long hair now and some trendy middle class kids in pretty clothes. But nothing changed except that we all dressed up a bit, leaving the same bastards running everything.

Robin Blackburn: Of course, class is something the American rock groups haven't tackled yet.

JL: Because they're all middle class and bourgeois and they don't want to show it. They're scared of the workers, actually, because the workers seem mainly right-wing in America, clinging on to their goods. But if these middle class groups realise what's happening, and what the class system has done, it's up to them to repatriate the people and to get out of all that bourgeois shit.

TA: When did you start breaking out of the role imposed on you as a Beatle?

JL: Even during the Beatle heyday I tried to go against it, so did George. We went to America a few times and Epstein always tried to waffle on at us about saying nothing about Vietnam. So there came a time when George and I said 'Listen, when they ask next time, we're going to say we don't like that war and we think they should get right out.' That's what we did. At that time this was a pretty radical thing to do, especially for the 'Fab Four'. It was the first opportunity I personally took to wave the flag a bit.

But you've got to remember that I'd always felt repressed. We were all so pressurised that there was hardly any chance of expressing ourselves, especially working at that rate, touring continually and always kept in a cocoon of myths and dreams. It's pretty hard when you are Caesar and everyone is saying how wonderful you are and they are giving you all the goodies and the girls, it's pretty hard to break out of that, to say 'Well, I don't want to be king, I want to be real.' So in its way the second political thing I did was to say 'The Beatles are bigger than Jesus.' That really broke the scene, I nearly got shot in America for that. It was a big trauma for all the kids that were following us. Up to then there was this unspoken policy of not answering delicate questions, though I always read the papers, you know, the political bits.

The continual awareness of what was going on made me feel ashamed I wasn't saying anything. I burst out because I could no longer play that game any more, it was just too much for me. Of course, going to America increased the build up on me, especially as the war was going on there. In a way we'd turned out to be a Trojan horse. The 'Fab Four' moved right to the top and then sang about drugs and sex and then I got into more and more heavy stuff and that's when they started dropping us.

RB: Wasn't there a double charge to what you were doing right from the beginning?

Yoko Ono: You were always very direct.

JL: Yes, well, the first thing we did was to proclaim our Liverpoolness to the world, and say 'It's all right to come from Liverpool and talk like this'. Before, anybody from Liverpool who made it, like Ted Ray, Tommy Handley, Arthur Askey, had to lose their accent to get on the BBC. They were only comedians but that's what came out of Liverpool before us. We refused to play that game. After The Beatles came on the scene everyone started putting on a Liverpudlian accent.

TA: In a way you were even thinking about politics when you seemed to be knocking revolution?

JL: Ah, sure, 'Revolution' . There were two versions of that song but the underground left only picked up on the one that said 'count me out'. The original version which ends up on the LP said 'count me in' too; I put in both because I wasn't sure. There was a third version that was just abstract, musique concrete, kind of loops and that, people screaming. I thought I was painting in sound a picture of revolution--but I made a mistake, you know. The mistake was that it was anti-revolution.

On the version released as a single I said 'when you talk about destruction you can count me out'. I didn't want to get killed. I didn't really know that much about the Maoists, but I just knew that they seemed to be so few and yet they painted themselves green and stood in front of the police waiting to get picked off. I just thought it was unsubtle, you know. I thought the original Communist revolutionaries coordinated themselves a bit better and didn't go around shouting about it. That was how I felt--I was really asking a question. As someone from the working class I was always interested in Russia and China and everything that related to the working class, even though I was playing the capitalist game.

At one time I was so much involved in the religious bullshit that I used to go around calling myself a Christian Communist, but as Janov says, religion is legalised madness. It was therapy that stripped away all that and made me feel my own pain.

RB: This analyst you went to, what's his name. ..

JL: Janov ...

RB: His ideas seem to have something in common with Laing in that he doesn't want to reconcile people to their misery, to adjust them to the world but rather to make them face up to its causes?

JL: Well, his thing is to feel the pain that's accumulated inside you ever since your childhood. I had to do it to really kill off all the religious myths. In the therapy you really feel every painful moment of your life--it's excruciating, you are forced to realise that your pain, the kind that makes you wake up afraid with your heart pounding, is really yours and not the result of somebody up in the sky. It's the result of your parents and your environment.

As I realised this it all started to fall into place. This therapy forced me to have done with all the God shit. All of us growing up have come to terms with too much pain. Although we repress it, it's still there. The worst pain is that of not being wanted, of realising your parents do not need you in the way you need them.

When I was a child I experienced moments of not wanting to see the ugliness, not wanting to see not being wanted. This lack of love went into my eyes and into my mind. Janov doesn't just talk to you about this but makes you feel it--once you've allowed yourself to feel again, you do most of the work yourself.

When you wake up and your heart is going like the clappers or your back feels strained, or you develop some other hang-up, you should let your mind go to the pain and the pain itself will regurgitate the memory which originally caused you to suppress it in your body. In this way the pain goes to the right channel instead of being repressed again, as it is if you take a pill or a bath, saying 'Well, I'll get over it'. Most people channel their pain into God or masturbation or some dream of making it.

The therapy is like a very slow acid trip which happens naturally in your body. It is hard to talk about, you know, because--you feel 'I am pain' and it sounds sort of arbitrary, but pain to me now has a different meaning because of having physically felt all these extraordinary repressions. It was like taking gloves off, and feeling your own skin for the first time.

It's a bit of a drag to say so, but I don't think you can understand this unless you've gone through it--though I try to put some of it over on the album. But for me at any rate it was all part of dissolving the God trip or father-figure trip. Facing up to reality instead of always looking for some kind of heaven.

RB: Do you see the family in general as the source of these repressions?

JL: Mine is an extreme case, you know. My father and mother split and I never saw my father until I was 20, nor did I see much more of my mother. But Yoko had her parents there and it was the same....

YO: Perhaps one feels more pain when parents are there. It's like when you're hungry, you know, it's worse to get a symbol of a cheeseburger than no cheeseburger at all. It doesn't do you any good, you know. I often wish my mother had died so that at least I could get some people's sympathy. But there she was, a perfectly beautiful mother.

JL: And Yoko's family were middle-class Japanese but it's all the same repression. Though I think middle-class people have the biggest trauma if they have nice imagey parents, all smiling and dolled up. They are the ones who have the biggest struggle to say, 'Goodbye mummy, goodbye daddy'.

TA: What relation to your music has all this got?

JL: Art is only a way of expressing pain. I mean the reason Yoko does such far out stuff is that it's a far out kind of pain she went through.

RB: A lot of Beatle songs used to be about childhood...

JL: Yeah, that would mostly be me...

RB: Though they were very good there was always a missing element...

JL: That would be reality, that would be the missing element. Because I was never really wanted. The only reason I am a star is because of my repression. Nothing else would have driven me through all that if I was 'normal'...

YO: ... and happy ...

JL: The only reason I went for that goal is that I wanted to say: 'Now, mummy-daddy, will you love me?'

TA: But then you had success beyond most people's wildest dreams...

JL: Oh, Jesus Christ, it was a complete oppression. I mean we had to go through humiliation upon humiliation with the middle classes and showbiz and Lord Mayors and all that. They were so condescending and stupid. Everybody trying to use us. It was a special humiliation for me because I could never keep my mouth shut and I'd always have to be drunk or pilled to counteract this pressure. It was really hell ...

YO: It was depriving him of any real experience, you know...

JL: It was very miserable. I mean apart from the first flush of making it--the thrill of the first number one record, the first trip to America. At first we had some sort of objective like being as big as Elvis--moving forward was the great thing, but actually attaining it was the big let-down. I found I was having continually to please the sort of people I'd always hated when I was a child. This began to bring me back to reality.

I began to realise that we are all oppressed which is why I would like to do something about it, though I'm not sure where my place is.

RB: Well, in any case, politics and culture are linked, aren't they? I mean, workers are repressed by culture not guns at the moment ...

JL: ... they're doped ...

RB: And the culture that's doping them is one the artist can make or break...

JL: That's what I'm trying to do on my albums and in these interviews. What I'm trying to do is to influence all the people I can influence. All those who are still under the dream and just put a big question mark in their mind. The acid dream is over, that is what I'm trying to tell them.

RB: Even in the past, you know, people would use Beatle songs and give them new words. 'Yellow submarine' , for instance, had a number of versions. One that strikers used to sing began 'We all live on bread and margarine' ; at LSE we had a version that began 'We all live in a Red LSE'.

JL: I like that. And I enjoyed it when football crowds in the early days would sing 'All together now'--that was another one. I was also pleased when the movement in America took up 'Give peace a chance' because I had written it with that in mind really. I hoped that instead of singing 'We shall overcome' from 1800 or something, they would have something contemporary. I felt an obligation even then to write a song that people would sing in the pub or on a demonstration. That is why I would like to compose songs for the revolution now ...

RB: We only have a few revolutionary songs and they were composed in the 19th century. Do you find anything in our musical traditions which could be used for revolutionary songs?

JL: When I started, rock and roll itself was the basic revolution to people of my age and situation. We needed something loud and clear to break through all the unfeeling and repression that had been coming down on us kids. We were a bit conscious to begin with of being imitation Americans. But we delved into the music and found that it was half white country and western and half black rhythm and blues. Most of the songs came from Europe and Africa and now they were coming back to us. Many of Dylan's best songs came from Scotland, Ireland or England. It was a sort of cultural exchange.

Though I must say the more interesting songs to me were the black ones because they were more simple. They sort of saidshake your arse, or your prick, which was an innovation really. And then there were the field songs mainly expressing the pain they were in. They couldn't express themselves intellectually so they had to say in a very few words what was happening to them. And then there was the city blues and a lot of that was about sex and fighting.

A lot of this was self-expression but only in the last few years have they expressed themselves completely with Black Power, like Edwin Starr making war records. Before that many black singers were still labouring under that problem of God; it was often 'God will save us'. But right through the blacks were singing directly and immediately about their pain and also about sex, which is why I like it.

RB: You say country and western music derived from European folk songs. Aren't these folk songs sometimes pretty dreadful stuff, all about losing and being defeated?

JL: As kids we were all opposed to folk songs because they were so middle-class. It was all college students with big scarfs and a pint of beer in their hands singing folk songs in what we call la-di-da voices-'I worked in a mine in New-cast-le' and all that shit. There were very few real folk singers you know, though I liked Dominic Behan a bit and there was some good stuff to be heard in Liverpool. Just occasionally you hear very old records on the radio or TV of real workers in Ireland or somewhere singing these songs and the power of them is fantastic.

But mostly folk music is people with fruity voices trying to keep alive something old and dead. It's all a bit boring, like ballet: a minority thing kept going by a minority group. Today's folk song is rock and roll. Although it happened to emanate from America, that's not really important in the end because we wrote our own music and that changed everything.

RB: Your album, Yoko, seems to fuse avant-garde modern music with rock. I'd like to put an idea to you I got from listening to it. You integrate everyday sounds, like that of a train, into a musical pattern. This seems to demand an aesthetic measure of everyday life, to insist that art should not be imprisoned in the museums and galleries, doesn't it?

YO: Exactly. I want to incite people to loosen their oppression by giving them something to work with, to build on. They shouldn't be frightened of creating themselves--that's why I make things very open, with things for people to do, like in my book [Grapefruit].

Because basically there are two types of people in the world: people who are confident because they know they have the ability to create, and then people who have been demoralised, who have no confidence in themselves because they have been told they have no creative ability, but must just take orders. The Establishment likes people who take no responsibility and cannot respect themselves.

RB: I suppose workers' control is about that...

JL: Haven't they tried out something like that in Yugoslavia; they are free of the Russians. I'd like to go there and see how it works.

TA: Well, they have; they did try to break with the Stalinist pattern. But instead of allowing uninhibited workers' control, they added a strong dose of political bureaucracy. It tended to smother the initiative of the workers and they also regulated the whole system by a market mechanism which bred new inequalities between one region and another.

JL: It seems that all revolutions end up with a personality cult--even the Chinese seem to need a father-figure. I expect this happens in Cuba too, with Che and Fidel. In Western-style Communism we would have to create an almost imaginary workers' image of themselves as the father-figure.

RB: That's a pretty cool idea--the Working Class becomes its own Hero. As long as it was not a new comforting illusion, as long as there was a real workers' power. If a capitalist or bureaucrat is running your life then you need to compensate with illusions.

YO: The people have got to trust in themselves.

TA: That's the vital point. The working class must be instilled with a feeling of confidence in itself. This can't be done just by propaganda--the workers must move, take over their own factories and tell the capitalists to bugger off. This is what began to happen in May 1968 in France...the workers began to feel their own strength.

JL: But the Communist Party wasn't up to that, was it?

RB: No, they weren't. With 10 million workers on strike they could have led one of those huge demonstrations that occurred in the centre of Paris into a massive occupation of all government buildings and installations, replacing de Gaulle with a new institution of popular power like the Commune or the original Soviets--that would have begun a real revolution but the French C.P. was scared of it. They preferred to deal at the top instead of encouraging the workers to take the initiative themselves...

JL: Great, but there's a problem about that here you know. All the revolutions have happened when a Fidel or Marx or Lenin or whatever, who were intellectuals, were able to get through to the workers. They got a good pocket of people together and the workers seemed to understand that they were in a repressed state. They haven't woken up yet here, they still believe that cars and tellies are the answer. You should get these left-wing students out to talk with the workers, you should get the school-kids involved with The Red Mole.

TA: You're quite right, we have been trying to do that and we should do more. This new Industrial Relations Bill the Government is trying to introduce is making more and more workers realise what is happening...

JL: I don't think that Bill can work. I don't think they can enforce it. I don't think the workers will co-operate with it. I thought the Wilson Government was a big let-down but this Heath lot are worse. The underground is being harrassed, the black militants can't even live in their own homes now, and they're selling more arms to the South Africans. Like Richard Neville said, there may be only an inch of difference between Wilson and Heath but it's in that inch that we live....

TA: I don't know about that; Labour brought in racialist immigration policies, supported the Vietnam war and were hoping to bring in new legislation against the unions.

RB: It may be true that we live in the Inch of difference between Labour and Conservative but so long as we do we'll be impotent and unable to change anything. If Heath is forcing us out of that inch maybe he's doing us a good turn without meaning to...

JL: Yes, I've thought about that, too. This putting us in a corner so we have to find out what is coming down on other people. I keep on reading the Morning Star [the Communist newspaper] to see if there's any hope, but it seems to be in the 19th century; it seems to be written for dropped-out, middle-aged liberals.

We should be trying to reach the young workers because that's when you're most idealistic and have least fear.

Somehow the revolutionaries must approach the workers because the workers won't approach them. But it's difficult to know where to start; we've all got a finger in the dam. The problem for me is that as I have become more real, I've grown away from most working-class people--you know what they like is Engelbert Humperdinck. It's the students who are buying us now, and that's the problem. Now The Beatles are four separate people, we don't have the impact we had when we were together...

RB: Now you're trying to swim against the stream of bourgeois society, which is much more difficult.

JL: Yes, they own all the newspapers and they control all distribution and promotion. When we came along there was only Decca, Philips and EMI who could really produce a record for you. You had to go through the whole bureaucracy to get into the recording studio. You were in such a humble position, you didn't have more than 12 hours to make a whole album, which is what we did in the early days.

Even now it's the same; if you're an unknown artist you're lucky to get an hour in a studio--it's a hierarchy and if you don't have hits, you don't get recorded again. And they control distribution. We tried to change that with Apple but in the end we were defeated. They still control everything. EMI killed our album Two Virgins because they didn't like it. With the last record they've censored the words of the songs printed on the record sleeve. Fucking ridiculous and hypocritical--they have to let me sing it but they don't dare let you read it. Insanity.

RB: Though you reach fewer people now, perhaps the effect can be more concentrated.

JL: Yes, I think that could be true. To begin with, working class people reacted against our openness about sex. They are frightened of nudity, they're repressed in that way as well as others. Perhaps they thought 'Paul is a good lad, he doesn't make trouble'.

Also when Yoko and I got married, we got terrible racialist letters--you know, warning me that she would slit my throat. Those mainly came from Army people living in Aldershot. Officers.

Now workers are more friendly to us, so perhaps it's changing. It seems to me that the students are now half-awake enough to try and wake up their brother workers. If you don't pass on your own awareness then it closes down again. That is why the basic need is for the students to get in with the workers and convince them that they are not talking gobbledegook. And of course it's difficult to know what the workers are really thinking because the capitalist press always only quotes mouthpieces like Vic Feather* anyway. [Ed. Note: Vic Feather 1908-76 was General Secretary of the TUC from 1969-73.]

So the only thing is to talk to them directly, especially the young workers. We've got to start with them because they know they're up against it. That's why I talk about school on the album. I'd like to incite people to break the framework, to be disobedient in school, to stick their tongues out, to keep insulting authority.

YO: We are very lucky really, because we can create our own reality, John and me, but we know the important thing is to communicate with other people.

JL: The more reality we face, the more we realise that unreality is the main programme of the day. The more real we become, the more abuse we take, so it does radicalise us in a way, like being put in a corner. But it would be better if there were more of us.

YO: We mustn't be traditional in the way we communicate with people--especially with the Establishment. We should surprise people by saying new things in an entirely new way. Communication of that sort can have a fantastic power so long as you don't do only what they expect you to do.

RB: Communication is vital for building a movement, but in the end it's powerless unless you also develop popular force.

YO: I get very sad when I think about Vietnam where there seems to be no choice but violence. This violence goes on for centuries perpetuating itself. In the present age when communication is so rapid, we should create a different tradition, traditions are created everyday. Five years now is like 100 years before. We are living in a society that has no history. There's no precedent for this kind of society so we can break the old patterns.

TA: No ruling class in the whole of history has given up power voluntarily and I don't see that changing.

YO: But violence isn't just a conceptual thing, you know. I saw a programme about this kid who had come back from Vietnam--he'd lost his body from the waist down. He was just a lump of meat, and he said, 'Well, I guess it was a good experience.'

JL: He didn't want to face the truth, he didn't want to think it had all been a waste...

YO: But think of the violence, it could happen to your kids ...

RB: But Yoko, people who struggle against oppression find themselves attacked by those who have a vested interest in nothing changing, those who want to protect their power and wealth. Look at the people in Bogside and Falls Road in Northern Ireland; they were mercilessly attacked by the special police because they began demonstrating for their rights. On one night in August 1969, seven people were shot and thousands driven from their homes. Didn't they have a right to defend themselves?

YO: That's why one should try to tackle these problems before a situation like that happens.

JL: Yes, but what do you do when it does happen, what do you do?

RB: Popular violence against their oppressors is always justified. It cannot be avoided.

YO: But in a way the new music showed things could be transformed by new channels of communication.

JL: Yes, but as I said, nothing really changed.

YO: Well, something changed and it was for the better. All I'm saying is that perhaps we can make a revolution without violence.

JL: But you can't take power without a struggle...

TA: That's the crucial thing.

JL: Because, when it comes to the nitty-gritty, they won't let the people have any power; they'll give all the rights to perform and to dance for them, but no real power...

YO: The thing is, even after the revolution, if people don't have any trust in themselves, they'll get new problems.

JL: After the revolution you have the problem of keeping things going, of sorting out all the different views. It's quite natural that revolutionaries should have different solutions, that they should split into different groups and then reform, that's the dialectic, isn't it--but at the same time they need to be united against the enemy, to solidify a new order. I don't know what the answer is; obviously Mao is aware of this problem and keeps the ball moving.

RB: The danger is that once a revolutionary state has been created, a new conservative bureaucracy tends to form around it. This danger tends to increase if the revolution is isolated by imperialism and there is material scarcity.

JL: Once the new power has taken over they have to establish a new status quo just to keep the factories and trains running.

RB: Yes, but a repressive bureaucracy doesn't necessarily run the factories or trains any better than the workers could under a system of revolutionary democracy.

JL: Yes, but we all have bourgeois instincts within us, we all get tired and feel the need to relax a bit. How do you keep everything going and keep up revolutionary fervour after you've achieved what you set out to achieve? Of course Mao has kept them up to it in China, but what happens after Mao goes? Also he uses a personality cult. Perhaps that's necessary; like I said, everybody seems to need a father figure.

But I've been reading Khrushchev Remembers. I know he's a bit of a lad himself--but he seemed to think that making a religion out of an individual was bad; that doesn't seem to be part of the basic Communist idea. Still people are people, that's the difficulty.

If we took over Britain, then we'd have the job of cleaning up the bourgeoisie and keeping people in a revolutionary state of mind.

RB: ...In Britain unless we can create a new popular power-and here that would basically mean workers' power--really controlled by, and answerable to, the masses, then we couldn't make the revolution in the first place. Only a really deep-rooted workers' power could destroy the bourgeois state.

YO: That's why it will be different when the younger generation takes over.

JL: I think it wouldn't take much to get the youth here really going. You'd have to give them free rein to attack the local councils or to destroy the school authorities, like the students who break up the repression in the universities. It's already happening, though people have got to get together more.

And the women are very important too, we can't have a revolution that doesn't involve and liberate women. It's so subtle the way you're taught male superiority.

It took me quite a long time to realise that my maleness was cutting off certain areas for Yoko. She's a red hot liberationistand was quick to show me where I was going wrong, even though it seemed to me that I was just acting naturally. That's why I'm always interested to know how people who claim to be radical treat women.

RB: There's always been at least as much male chauvinism on the left as anywhere else--though the rise of women's liberation is helping to sort that out.

JL: It's ridiculous. How can you talk about power to the people unless you realise the people is both sexes.

YO: You can't love someone unless you are in an equal position with them. A lot of women have to cling to men out of fear or insecurity, and that's not love--basically that's why women hate men...

JL: ... and vice versa ...

YO: So if you have a slave around the house how can you expect to make a revolution outside it? The problem for women is that if we try to be free, then we naturally become lonely, because so many women are willing to become slaves, and men usually prefer that. So you always have to take the chance: 'Am I going to lose my man?' It's very sad.

JL: Of course, Yoko was well into liberation before I met her. She'd had to fight her way through a man's world--the art world is completely dominated by men--so she was full of revolutionary zeal when we met. There was never any question about it: we had to have a 50-50 relationship or there was no relationship, I was quick to learn. She did an article about women in Nova more than two years back in which she said, 'Woman is the nigger of the world' .

RB: Of course we all live in an imperialist country that is exploiting the Third World, and even our culture is involved in this. There was a time when Beatle music was plugged on Voice of America....

JL: The Russians put it out that we were capitalist robots, which we were I suppose...

RB: They were pretty stupid not to see it was something different.

YO: Let' s face it, Beatles was 20th-century folksong in the framework of capitalism; they couldn't do anything different if they wanted to communicate within that framework.

RB: I was working in Cuba when Sgt Pepper was released and that's when they first started playing rock music on the radio.

JL: Well hope they see that rock and roll is not the same as Coca-Cola. As we get beyond the dream this should be easier: that's why I'm putting out more heavy statements now and trying to shake off the teeny-bopper image.

I want to get through to the right people, and I want to make what I have to say very simple and direct.

RB: Your latest album sounds very simple to begin with, but the lyrics, tempo and melody build up into a complexity one only gradually becomes aware of. Like the track 'My mummy's dead' echoes the nursery song 'Three blind mice' and it's about a childhood trauma.

JL: The tune does; it was that sort of feeling, almost like a Haiku poem. I recently got into Haiku in Japan and I just think it's fantastic. Obviously, when you get rid of a whole section of illusion in your mind you're left with great precision.

Yoko was showing me some of these Haiku in the original. The difference between them and Long fellow is immense. Instead of a long flowery poem the Haiku would say 'Yellow flower in white bowl on wooden table' which gives you the whole picture, really....

TA: How do you think we can destroy the capitalist system here in Britain, John?

JL: I think only by making the workers aware of the really unhappy position they are in, breaking the dream they are surrounded by. They think they are in a wonderful, free-speaking country. They've got cars and tellies and they don't want to think there's anything more to life. They are prepared to let the bosses run them, to see their children fucked up in school. They're dreaming someone else's dream, it's not even their own. They should realise that the blacks and the Irish are being harassed and repressed and that they will be next.

As soon as they start being aware of all that, we can really begin to do something. The workers can start to take over. Like Marx said: 'To each according to his need'. I think that would work well here. But we'd also have to infiltrate the army too, because they are well trained to kill us all.

We've got to start all this from where we ourselves are oppressed. I think it's false, shallow, to be giving to others when your own need is great. The idea is not to comfort people, not to make them feel better but to make them feel worse, to constantly put before them the degradations and humiliations they go through to get what they call a living wage.

Tariq Ali is author of the recently released Street Fighting Years (new edition) and, with David Barsamian, Speaking of Empires & Resistance. He can be reached at: tariq.ali3@btinternet.com

Robin Blackburn, a frequent contributor to CounterPunch, is the former editor of The New Left Review and author of the excellent history of the slave trade, The Making of New World Slavery and the new book from Verso Banking on Death: the Future of Pensions. * http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?pid=146264 John Lennon's Legacy by Jon Wiener

On the anniversary of John Lennon's murder (Dec. 8, 1980), I've been thinking about his famous argument with Gloria Emerson in December, 1969 – filmed by the BBC, and included in the recent documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon.

Emerson was a celebrated war correspondent for the New York Times who had just returned from the bloody battlefields of Vietnam; Lennon had just written "Give Peace a Chance" after he and Yoko declared their honeymoon a "bed-in for peace"--they had stayed in bed for a week, "in protest against all the violence in the world."

Emerson told him in her haughty upper class voice, "You've made yourself ridiculous!"

"I don't care," Lennon replied, "if it saves lives."

"My dear boy," she said, "you're living in a nether-nether land. . . . You don't think you've saved a single life!"

"You tell me what they were singing at the Moratorium," Lennon shot back – he was referring to the biggest anti-war demonstration in American history, which had been held in Washington DC a month earlier.

Emerson wasn't sure what he was talking about: "Which one?"

"The recent big one," Lennon explained. "They were singing "Give peace a chance."

"A song of yours, probably."

"Well, yes, and it was written specifically for them."

"So they sang one of your songs," she said with some irritation. "Is that all you can say?"

Now he was angry. "They were singing a happy-go-lucky song, which happens to be one I wrote. I'm glad they sang it. And when I get there, I'll sing it with them."


Delete the Borders


Thursday, December 07, 2006

An interesting conversation....imo.....

....remember that beginnings and endings are realities only within your own system of three-dimensional life. The energy of your being exists outside of your system, however, and impinges upon it in your terms, becoming "alive" physically at certain points of time and space. Your own greater energy dips in and out of the space-time continuum as you understand it. As it does, its experience becomes physical. Within that system then it leaves a life-trace. When you think in terms of reincarnation it seems that one tracing exists before the other, but the entire "chart" exists at once, with all the individual life-tracings. Since these offshoots or life-tracings each come from your entity, they are connected psychologically and in terms of electromagnetic energy patterns. Consider this analogy: Taking it for granted that you are indeed multidimensional, you can perceive only so much of your own experience at a time because of the characteristics of physical creaturehood; the three-dimensional system automatically specializes in before-and-after effects. - Seth, via Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 10:39 PM * Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 10:39 PM So what you're saying is that there are no true "outcomes" because there is no true finality? Posted by: Nobody at December 6, 2006 10:47 PM * Posted by: Nobody at December 6, 2006 10:47 PM I didn't say any of that, they said it. Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 10:50 PM * I didn't say any of that, they said it. Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 10:50 PM You posted it for what reason? What were you attempting to convey? Posted by: Nobody at December 6, 2006 10:51 PM * YOUR CHALICE Visualize a chalice—a ceremonial drinking cup. What's the first image that comes up for you? Picture it in your mind's eye. Is it silver? Ceramic? Plastic? What color? How big is it? Is it long-stemmed or squat? Does it have a wide, shallow cup or a tall, narrow one, or what? Close your eyes and spend a moment with this vision before reading on. Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 10:41 PM So you've pictured a chalice in your mind's eye. Here's an analysis of its possible meaning: What you envisioned represents your capacity to be filled up with goodies. It's a snapshot of your subconscious receptivity to favors and help and inspiration. For instance, if you imagined a shallow plastic champagne glass, it signifies that you may not be well prepared to drink deeply of the elixirs the universe is conspiring to provide you. On the other hand, a large-volume, gracefully shaped sterling silver cup suggests that you're ready and willing to receive a steady outpouring of wonders. A long-stemmed chalice may indicate you're inclined to be aggressive about filling your cup. A short, squat stem could mean you're not feeling very deserving of having your cup filled. Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 10:54 PM * You posted it for what reason? What were you attempting to convey? Posted by: Nobody at December 6, 2006 10:51 PM To convey what they said. Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 10:55 PM * Well what they said is that there are no true outcomes because there can be no true finality. Posted by: Nobody at December 6, 2006 10:56 PM * Now here's the fun part. If you visualized an inadequate chalice, you can change it. If you pictured a chalice you like, you can add more details to it. Take some time to picture a vessel that's perfectly worth of you. Imprint it on your imagination. Then, for the next nine days, conjure it up every morning for five minutes right after you wake up, and every evening for five minutes before you go to sleep. It will reprogram your subconscious mind to be ready and willing to accept all the favors and help and inspiration you need. That in turn will exert an influence on your surroundings, making it easier for the world to deliver its favors and help and inspiration. from: Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 11:05 PM * But I guess I should risk your ire one more time and point out that this is a rehashed and repackaged mash of prior and previous philosophical thought that's been over wrought with magical catch phrases to entice other's into spending money and doing great disservice to the original thought... I do not suffer plaguarists lightly...This is not original thinking. This is robbery. Posted by: Nobody at December 6, 2006 11:06 PM * A big danger signal is when you're asked to blindly accept what would come next...To have faith...Let your destiny rest in the hands of another force...To follow rather than lead... Those are things used by those that would have followers...and those are not the kind of people that should be followed. Posted by: Nobody at December 6, 2006 11:10 PM * Now here's the fun part. If you visualized an inadequate chalice, you can change it. If you pictured a chalice you like, you can add more details to it. ========================================================================= The more you look for from life.. The more you will find.. The beauty of this kind of thinking is that it allow you to fullfill you desires as well as your needs.. I am into desires..! Posted by: War (Blue) Dog at December 6, 2006 11:12 PM * At no point do you nor should you give over your own will to be connected to the universe...You're soaking in it. Posted by: Nobody at December 6, 2006 11:13 PM * I don't mind what you think about it now..I have no ire for you..none...I read what you write..& if I feel compelled I will further discuss things at that time... Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 11:14 PM * About whom are you thinking..? Posted by: War (Blue) Dog at December 6, 2006 11:14 PM He asked again... .. I think that life offers unlimited grown and opportunity.. It is all up to the individual... It is how I live.. Posted by: War (Blue) Dog at December 6, 2006 11:21 PM * I wish toni could learn more about the Chalice.. Toni is a good person.. But she is not open to bounty.. You can see how the news she posts wears on her.. You can be closed down and experience the world that is right in front of you.. Posted by: War (Blue) Dog at December 6, 2006 11:25 PM * Aren't you afraid of terrorists...? I'm not.... But aren't you? Isn't that why you think it's ok to kill civilians..right? Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 6, 2006 11:44 PM ==================================================================== You would see this a fine point.. But terrorist are civilians.. You could be in the military and use terror.. But all the terrorists I talk about are Civilian.. So there are guilty Civilians.. And there are innocent Civilians.. One does not fear terrorist attacks.. You must prevent them for the citizen of you country.. Few people knew the 3000 in the twin towers.. You must still protect them.. Posted by: War (Blue) Dog at December 6, 2006 11:52 PM * Posted by: War (Blue) Dog at December 6, 2006 11:52 PM If you're trying to prevent them, doesn't that indicate that you're afraid of them? Although, is that true even when speaking of tooth cavities? I don't know. & I'm not so sure that terrorists are civilians. They can be I suppose...But they aren't all.. But yeah technically.. In fact, wtf is a terrorist anyway. I & some, would call the US Government, terrorist...if terrorist means killing people.....So wouldn't everyone who has every killed be a terrorist..? How could you or anyone fall for such a lame term like terrorist? Or believe that we are getting rid of terrorists, as a goal & justification for killing, when there is still crime here? That's just silly...(in your terms)... :) Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 7, 2006 12:00 AM * How could you or anyone fall for such a lame term like terrorist? Or believe that we are getting rid of terrorists, as a goal & justification for killing, when there is still crime here? That's just silly...(in your terms)... :) Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 7, 2006 12:00 AM =================================================================== I look at is a person out of any countries uniform who attacks not military targets but random targets... 1. Belongs to no countries military.. 2. Does not target military objectives. Posted by: War (Blue) Dog at December 7, 2006 12:06 AM * Posted by: War (Blue) Dog at December 7, 2006 12:06 AM No wonder I don't get it...I don't believe in borders..I don't see why they seem to be so to others...I have to pretend I see em..so I can follow South America & Central American politics & people...but not really... http://deletetheborder.org Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 7, 2006 12:11 AM * ter·ror·ism /ˈtɛrəˌrɪzəm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ter-uh-riz-uhm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun 1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes. 2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. 3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government. Posted by: Nobody at December 7, 2006 12:11 AM * Based on what I've read, the "universe" doesn't judge if you are "good" or "bad"...if you, like War Dog, believe in "the abundance thing"...you just might get the abundance. Posted by: Beatrice Baudelaire at December 7, 2006 12:22 AM * The principle is "indeterminance" and the universe doesn't decide the fate of good and bad but bad and good determine the fate of the universe. Posted by: Nobody at December 7, 2006 12:25 AM * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=indeterminance&go=Go http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/indeterminance http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=indeterminance&btnG=Google+Search http://cfpm.org/~majordom/memetics/old/2767.html ... The problem with statistics is that it imposes these patterns rather than necessarily detecting them. If you exclude indeterminance or equivalence then you get a normal distribution curve. Thus behind all of these apparently different concepts is ONE method -- dichotomous analysis. * http://www.abo.fi/~rfuller/pgs97.pdf Property 2.2 Total indeterminance: if x is A then y is B x is ¬A y is unknown if pres. is big then volume is small pres. is not big volume is unknown * http://www.goertzel.org/dynapsyc/1995/TGERMINE.html But the characteristics of such a quantum realm indeterminance, non- locality, atemporality, universal interconnectedness are so fundamentally at odds with the attributes of the macroscopic world, that the ontological approach seemingly must engender yet another breach in the fabric of a unified reality this time in the selection of the appropriate dividing line between the quantum and classical domains. With his characteristic directness, Bohr had severed this Gordian knot by arbitrarily assuming, in the aggregate, a statistical convergence of quantum phenomena on purely classical behavior the so- called Correspondence Limit . Given this assumption, a macro- scale measuring apparatus may be viewed as purely classical, and the cut between the quantum and classical realms can be convenientiy located at the boundary between the experimental equipment and the subatomic particle. Unfortunately, the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, as developed by John von Neumann in the early 1930’s, failed to support the supposed existence of a bright line dividing the well- defined attributes of the measuring instrument from the indeterminate potentialities inherent in the Schrödinger wave function. Instead, von Neumann’s mathematical rendering of the universe completely jettisoned the twin Cartesian pillars of classical physics replacing four- dimensional Space/Time with infinitely- dimensioned Hilbert Space , and emphatically rejecting the paradigm of a divided reality.. Hence, the von Neumann formulation demands that all physical processes be described in terms of an infinite array of potentialities, inherently incapable of actualizing without the intercession of a non- physical entity associated with the measurement process an entity which von Neumann was logically compelled to identify with consciousness. Thus, we have the sublime irony of a rigorous mathematical elaboration of a purely materialistic model of the universe yielding a radically idealistic paradigm: Consciousness creates Reality! * Consciousness creates Reality! Posted by: Beatrice B. at December 7, 2006 1:14 AM -------- Sooo...if I'm unconscious -- war dog goes away???? Posted by: DemonDuck at December 7, 2006 2:08 AM * Carlos Castenada said there's an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans called "intent" and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is connected to it. You can call it spirit or soul or consciousness or universal mind or source. It is the invisible force that intends everything into the universe. It's everywhere. This source is always creating, it is kind, it is loving, it is peaceful. It is non-judgmental, and it excludes no one. In the Old Testament it says, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth and everything that God created was good." That leaves nothing out. So good and God are what it means to be connected to our source. If you go to the Gnostic Gospels -- you know, the gospels that Constantine in the fourth century decided shouldn't be in the New Testament -- if you study the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of St. Thomas, they don't refer to God as God, they refer to God as the "The Good." Whenever we are in harmony with that source from which we all emanated, which everything came from, we have the powers of the source. And when we let go of our connection and rusty up the link between ourselves and this connection, dirty it up by living at the lower levels of consciousness, then we create things like illness and poverty and sadness and fear and hatred. We have to take a look at every single thought that we have and ask ourselves, "Is it in harmony with source or isn't it?" Any thought that isn't loving, any thought that is filled with hatred, is a thought that is inconsistent with, not in rapport with source. Posted by: I prefer syrup at December 7, 2006 3:47 AM * Naw...Too narrow...Too finite...Too claustrophobic...Too much placing of spiritual worth on a particualr set of behavior... An infinite universe and therefore an infinite god by nature includes all things both good and evil...The source then becomes not one side or the other but the undecided...the swayable... When all things are possible to you how do you decide which it is to be?...When you are above the effects of either good or evil how do you choose?...and then what is good in one moment might be evil in another...Perhaps this would be the "intent"?...To be the tie breaker... Life is a funny thing...Too much of any one kind and life ceases...Life must constantly be driven to variation...Constantly driven to try all possibilities...Why? Too much light and you will die just as fast as too much dark...In the gray space is there balance...To be the judge the purpose...And in this you find the source... It's a responsibility that the mind shys away from...A burden...Easier to have your fate written and be absolved of any blame... Imagine a chessboard where the pieces choose their sides and not all of them even know there is a game about...All the other pieces around them try to influence the others for numerical advantage...Now imagine that these pieces may be aware of the game but are still unaware of the rules... Posted by: Nobody at December 7, 2006 4:15 AM They make guesses as to what the rules are and then describe the personalities of the players...and this is how gods are born... But what of the few that have figured out the rules? Awww for them it's a lot more complicated...They could throw the game to either side and they know that their existance is prerequisite of the game going on so they prolong it...keeping it forever in balance and undecided... This makes no friends of either side of the game... A similiar mythology was drawn upon by Tolkien...When the magician finally judges he is no longer gray but a paragon of the light...and the other judges and becomes a paragon of the dark... And one game ended and another game began and the pieces retired to keep score... Posted by: Nobody at December 7, 2006 4:30 AM * http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/12/06/MNGQFMQAMH1.DTL Dems warn Bush on Iraq funding New majority in Congress will seek to influence policy on conduct of war Posted by: Bob at December 7, 2006 8:31 AM * intention begets will Posted by: 13ben at December 7, 2006 8:32 AM * Posted by: 13ben at December 7, 2006 8:31 AM I think the "War on Terror" is just a cover for the Policy of Regime Change and Pre-Emptive War. Posted by: Bob at December 7, 2006 8:37 AM The "War on Terror" is just a phrase to gain Public support and unite us against a perceived common enemy. Hence they don't give a shit about making our Country safe. And the Dept. of Homeland Security is designed to take away our rights and extend the reach and scope of law enforcement. Not to keep us safer. Posted by: Bob at December 7, 2006 8:40 AM * Hiya, Bob --- I wonder about how ingrained it becomes. Perspective is such an important thought to me. Being able to appreciate some one else's, even if you can't quite see it. Without it, can we even see how arrogant we appear? Hell, not appear, are? (verb choices?) I consider myself pretty open minded, as I imagine most people do. What is the beam in my own eye (yes, I'm using xian imagery, keeping an eye out for a stray lightning bolt) that keeps me from seeing something from another perspective? What are the beams? What are everyone else's? Random musings, I guess Posted by: The Bastard Socialist Dane at December 7, 2006 8:41 AM * maybe bunnypants will nominate Jimmy Carter for our United Nations Ambassador.... then a swift confirmation and the world takes a collective, but brief, sigh as we once again avert total disaster..... and begin to work on the preventing the next.... Posted by: 13ben at December 7, 2006 8:41 AM * Posted by: The Bastard Socialist Dane at December 7, 2006 8:41 AM I realize that. I try to see things from the different perspectives. But, when one thing is said, and another is blatently done, intentionally, well........ you get my point. Posted by: Bob at December 7, 2006 8:43 AM * Posted by: Bob at December 7, 2006 8:37 AM dialog..... understanding.... communication.... these are the tools that have to be used if we want to survive the near future.... not missiles.... hate.... force..... those who will only try the latter, will sadly prolong the strife of Earth..... ~~~~~~~~~~~~ on the 20th day of the 2nd Moon, year of the Solar Seed (9/11/01), there were the people who cried "WHO?"..... and there were the people who cried "WHY?"..... Posted by: 13ben at December 7, 2006 8:50 AM

Scientists Levitate Small Animals

by Charles Q. Choi Special to LiveScience posted: 29 November 2006 10:28 am ET

Scientists have now levitated small live animals using sounds that are, well, uplifting.

In the past, researchers at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an, China, used ultrasound fields to successfully levitate globs of the heaviest solid and liquid—iridium and mercury, respectively. The aim of their work is to learn how to manufacture everything from pharmaceuticals to alloys without the aid of containers. At times compounds are too corrosive for containers to hold, or they react with containers in other undesirable ways.

Uplifting Experiences

Fish eggs hatch during levitation

"An interesting question is, 'What will happen if a living animal is put into the acoustic field?' Will it also be stably levitated?" researcher Wenjun Xie, a materials physicist at Northwestern Polytechnical University, told LiveScience.

Xie and his colleagues employed an ultrasound emitter and reflector that generated a sound pressure field between them. The emitter produced roughly 20-millimeter-wavelength sounds, meaning it could in theory levitate objects half that wavelength or less.

After the investigators got the ultrasound field going, they used tweezers to carefully place animals between the emitter and reflector. The scientists found they could float ants, beetles, spiders, ladybugs, bees, tadpoles and fish up to a little more than a third of an inch long in midair. When they levitated the fish and tadpole, the researchers added water to the ultrasound field every minute via syringe.

The levitated ant tried crawling in the air and struggled to escape by rapidly flexing its legs, although it generally failed because its feet find little purchase in the air. The ladybug tried flying away but also failed when the field was too strong to break away from.

"We must control the levitation force carefully, because they try to fly away," Xie said. "An interesting moment was when my colleagues and I had to catch escaping ladybugs."

The ant and ladybug appeared fine after 30 minutes of levitation, although the fish did not fare as well, due to the inadequate water supply, the scientists report.

"Our results may provide some methods or ideas for biology research," Xie said. "We have tried to hatch eggs of fish [during] acoustic levitation."

The research team reported their findings online Nov. 20 in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Editor's Note: Acoustic levitation has been used for many years. Click below to see a video of a micro-gravity experiment for a NASA-related project done in 1987 by David Deak.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Post from Catharine

Life is full of polarities and complexities. We must not let these polarities create division and dichotomy; these polarities can be synthesized. A spiritual human being knows how to create concord out of discord. We must explore the world within and the world without. Material progress by itself is a minus sign, like a horizontal line by itself. It becomes positive only when crossed by the vertical mark of the spirit. Only that harmony which is developed in spirit can help to transcend the polarties of life. Harmony and understanding come when we invite harmony within ourselves and have understanding of ourselves. -Gurudev Chitrabhanu Posted by: Catharine at December 4, 2006 9:38 PM

Noam Chomsky - Militarization of Science and Space -1 of 10
There are 9 more parts to this on you tube.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Inside, by Sylvia Parker

Inside are achings for pleasure colliding
swiftly with what mystifies and arrests attention then lets it go. Where? I want to ingest you but not to devour to touch in a way lightly that calls you to meet me in dark corridors in struck moments lit by breaths, kisses awakened deeply letting fly ghosts in fluttering vibrations rising through spines, throats flowing easily meeting in tensing and opened muscles holding onto warmth eyes flaring as recollections of feeling pass behind then through them and join the exchanging soft damp perimeters intently known remembered and exploded.

Randolph Bourne 1886-1918

[Thanks to dr from the mrr blog for turning me on to Randolph Bourne]
John Dos Passos wrote that if ever a man had a ghost, it was Bourne:

A tiny twisted unscared ghost in a black cloak hopping along the grimy old brick and brownstone streets still left in downtown New York, crying out in a shrill soundless giggle: War is the health of the state. Dos Passos, 1919 (N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1932), pp. 105-106.


Bigeye readers might also enjoy the following sites:

Randolph Bourne - The Heath Anthology of American Literature

"The Great Madness" by Scott Nearing

Randolph Bourne - Selections

A brief Bourne biography

The Randolph Bourne Institute

War is the Health of the State - Chapter from Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States

Our Enemy, the State by Albert Jay Nock

The Warfare State - A Brief Synopsis

Elections are a Scam

Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State

Waco and the Bipartisan Police State

The Antifederalists Were Right

Antony Sutton

Fascism: Clarifying a Political Concept

National Socialism in the USA


Monday, December 04, 2006

From: FreeDemocracy.blogspot.com

"In 1994, American voters elected Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time in forty years. This ascent to power gave Newt Gingrich and his colleagues the opportunity to launch their “Republican Revolution” with its signature “Contract with America” platform. The election was said to mark the end of an era—the era of big government liberalism that had dominated American political life since the New Deal. After struggling for almost half a century to gain political power, the conservative movement finally seemed to have reached the political promised land. In theory, the “Republican Revolution” proposed to “relimit” the powers of the federal government and to restore some of the basic principles and institutions of free-market economy. The preamble to the “Contract with America” pledged to the American people that the GOP would put an end to “government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money.”1 The political goals of the Gingrich “revolutionaries” were not revolutionary in any meaningful sense, but they did promise to begin some necessary reforms. As a rule, the Gingrich Congress preferred less to more government controls. In practice, the Republicans began to whittle away at the welfare state. Their first post-election budget proposed to eliminate three cabinet agencies (the Departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy) and more than 200 federal programs. Within a year, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives had reduced federal spending by almost $14 billion.2 Such early successes led even Bill Clinton to declare in his 1996 State of the Union address that the “era of big government is over.”3 A Republican Congress passed and Clinton signed far-reaching welfare reform legislation that promised to end “welfare as we know it.”4 By the end of the 1990s, America’s political fault line appeared to have moved considerably to the Right for the first time since the early 20th century. The advocates of limited government faced an historic opportunity to begin the process of dismantling the welfare state and deregulating the economy. .... --MORE-- posted by TOTAL KAOS INC.

The End of the Bush Dynasty, by Stephen Lendman

The Bush family has been characterized in various ways including the Bush dynasty, crime family or syndicate. George Bush is just the latest in a line of unsavory characters but clearly the bad or worst seed and, in the eyes of most honest observers, the least worthy of an unworthy lot. He was supposed to be the latest in the Bush family line chosen to lay another golden egg for the dynasty but turned out instead to be an ugly duckling who's just been an embarrassment and much worse because of the course he chose and his rigid ideological obstinacy to change even in the face of failure. The Bush family considers itself among the special chosen ones if based only on its royal heritage. The family is connected by blood to every European monarch on and off the throne including every member of the British House of Windsor. That relationship is more than familial and extends to the president's father having close business dealings with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip who themselves are connected to the notorious Carlyle Group that also employs GHW Bush as a "senior consultant" and master-rainmaker/fixer-arranger at a very high price for his services. George W. Bush, of course, is in the bloodline and is a distant cousin of the Queen and Prince Charles. This American "royal" family traces its heritage back to 15th century Britain at the time of Henry VIII or earlier, but its royal connection is not unique to Washington politicos as both Al Gore and John Kerry also have familial ties to the British crown, and ironically Gore is a distant cousin of his former presidential rival from having been a direct descendant of Charlemagne when he was emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Truth is indeed stranger or at least more ironic than fiction. The modern-era Bush family dynasty goes back four generations and was connected to the military-industrial complex of its day during and after WW I much like the most recent two Bush generations are to the present one. It began with George H. Walker and Samuel Prescott acting as duel founding fathers of what turned out to be a criminal enterprise run under the family name much like it is under a local Godfather except for much bigger stakes and with the government of the United States acting as protector, benefactor and enforcer. Walker was a St. Louis financier who later went to work for Averell Harriman as president of WA Harriman & Company, a banking business that invested in railroads, shipping, aviation and commodities like oil. Samuel Prescott Bush, the current president's other great grandfather, was a major Ohio industrialist and ran the Buckeye Steel Castings Co. that produced armaments. He later went to Washington to run the small arms, ammunition and ordnance section of the War Industries Board and became a close advisor to Herbert Hoover. The president's grandfather Prescott Bush, Sam's son, had a varied career as a US Senator, Wall Street investment banker with Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH and same Harriman) and as a director of various companies involved in war production including Dresser Industries where his son, the president's father, later worked for a time. A hundred years ago, the Bush family was also connected to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil and later with a number of Wall Street firms as well as with the US intelligence community since WWI. Above all, this is a family that formed strong ties to the institutions of power that began in industry and Wall Street and was parlayed to become a powerful political dynasty that included a US senator, two governors, a congressman, vice-president, CIA director and two presidents (the current president's father, of course, having been a congressman, CIA director and vice-president before being elected president in 1988). Prescott, the president's grandfather, had a particularly unsavory connection as recently declassified documents show. He was a director of New York based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that was a holding company for the Nazis and represented the German steel industrialist Fritz Thyssen who was intimately involved with the Nazi regime. He was also a director and shareholder of various other companies involved with Thyssen. UBC bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, oil, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany that helped build and support the Nazi war machine. Prescott was also with Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) when the firm did business with the Nazis during the 1930s that continued during the early years of WW II until the company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. What BBH did and paid a price for, many other US corporations did as well, prospered from and were never held to account for their lawlessness. Charles Higham documented much of it in his 1983 book called Trading with the Enemy in which he showed evidence of how major companies in America like the Rockefellers' Chase Bank and Standard Oil, Ford, General Motors and other corporate giants had no political or ideological problem doing business routinely with Nazi Germany during the war. It was just business with another good customer, no matter what the customer's business was. Particularly heinous was the role of IBM Headquarters System Engineering, Design Automation and Management (not covered in the Highman book) when it was run by Thomas Watson. The company used IBM tabulation equipment to set up a system for the Nazis to locate all the Jews of Europe and then sort, file and categorize them for extermination in the death camps using the company's equipment and whose camp personnel IBM employees trained. All the while this went on, IBM managed to fend off US War Department probes into its illicit activities so it could continue to profit handsomely from the Nazi genocide the company knew was taking place and was facilitating - all for the big "blood money" profits involved. Current shareholders of the company's stock might wish to take note of this and reconsider their investment choice. BBH had no problem cashing in either, and by the late 1930s claimed to be the world's largest investment banking firm in business like all others to make money, and like most others, as willing to do it with regimes like the Nazis as with any other customer. George Herbert Walker and Averell Harriman, who later became a prominent politician and diplomat serving under four US presidents, have been characterized by some as two evil geniuses who saw no difference in dealing with the Bolsheviks in Russia as with Hitler and the Nazis. For them, business was business just the way it is today and in the 1980s when GHW Bush as vice-president and president was willing and eager to be part of the scheme to arm Saddam Hussein who then became public enemy number one to be demonized for using the weapons supplied him by US and other western corporations when he was an ally. Before his son succeeded him in the Oval Office (8 years removed), GHW Bush was involved in a long laundry list of criminal activities he never could have gotten away with under a system of law and order with those violating it held to account. He never was. As CIA chief in 1976 under Gerald Ford, the elder Bush was in charge of covering up the Agency's involvement in coup d'etats and assassinations of foreign leaders including its connection to an earlier September 11 - the one in 1973 ousting and murdering democratically elected President Salvador Allende in Chile that established the 17 year fascist dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet who, despite his despotism, became a close US ally. The president's father was also deeply involved in the secret, illegal negotiations with Iran in the 1980s, when he was vice-president, that led to the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal that broke in 1986. With the help of friends in the Congress, including Dick Cheney who served then in the House and the corporate media that always looks the other way, he was able to escape investigation and scrutiny. They helped him get away with a strategy of lies and aggressive cover-ups to stay untarnished. It freed him to pursue and secure the Republican presidential nomination in 1988 and the highest office in the land he always wanted to hold, maybe because he felt his royal blood entitled him to it. In 1992, Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh (who took his job seriously unlike his successors) uncovered evidence linking the president to the illegal operation and lying to the public about it, but "trickier-than-Nixon" Bush pardoned six indicted Iran-Contra figures shortly before he left office to bury the evidence against himself and slither away unscathed again. He's now seen as an esteemed elder statesman, his past buried, forgotten and above rebuke. No matter the truth is quite another matter that went down "the memory hole" and is no longer part of the "official" historical record. That judgmental error paved the way for a member of the next Bush generation to ascend to the nation's highest office, a move not turning out as planned. A Dynastic Success Story Now on Shaky Footing A Bush family tradition of lying with impunity, operating freely outside the law and getting away with it was no obstacle for the next family member in line, George W. Bush, to be chosen by his party to enter the presidential race in 2000. He got the nomination after serving six years as Texas governor distinguished only by a record of indifference to the public and a total dedication to the business interests in the state. It meant giant corporations were salivating at the thought of having a man like this in the White House serving them in that capacity the same way he did it for the business community in Texas. Thanks to a fraud-laden election, he got the job the old-fashioned way - his influential friends and family stole it for him as arranged by family consigliere and master-fixer Jim Baker securing the necessary 25 Florida electoral votes helped along by the complicity of five friendly Supreme Court justices who had to be in on the scheme. The corporate interests got their main man in Washington, and for a short time seemed to be in "good hands" with him. But lying and getting away with it only works when the schemes lied about go according to plan. Bumps aside, the rise of the Bush dynasty to prominence and power, went well through the ascendency and tenure of George Herbert Walker Bush, the president's father, which included the election and reelection George W. Bush's younger brother Jeb as governor of Florida after an initial failed bid for the office in 1994 and George W's time as Texas governor. Nothing lasts forever though, and as best laid as the plans were, they went awry with the misguided selection of the younger George to carry the family banner as the rightful successor to assume the position of supreme leader of the free world and lord and master of the universe. He wasn't the family's first choice and only got bumped up to that spot in line after brother Jeb's initial gubernatorial defeat - one the family must now look back on as a major turning point in the family's political fortunes that going forward may be irreversible. It should have been an omen of things to come when if it hadn't been for the intervention of Jim Baker and those five arrogant High Court justices, in an election Al Gore clearly won, George Bush would have had to have found another line of work. The justices chose to rewrite the law giving themselves the power to annul the vote of the electorate to install their preferred candidate in the office they gifted to him the same way he's gotten everything else in his privileged life he never deserved and never had to work for. It's the way it's always been for a man of questionable ability and dubious character going back to his days as a youth when at best his behavior could only be charitably described as mischievous and without significant achievement. This is a man who rose to the top the way former Texas governor Ann Richards described it - as "someone born on third base (thinking) he hit a triple." Six disastrous years later, this man now must not only choose a new career path in two more years, he must also employ a good legal defense team at the ready for the inevitable law suits sure to be filed against him once he leaves office in January, 2009 - a time that can't come soon enough for most and that many wanting him impeached and ousted aren't willing to wait for and may press their demands he go a lot sooner and face the music for his high crimes of war, against humanity and against the people of the United States. As the current holder of the nation's highest office, George Bush is not unique. As Noam Chomsky rightfully observes: "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-(WW II) American president would have to be hanged (like the worst of the Nazi war criminals found guilty)." Other than the Vietnam era (that family influence let him bypass in a comfortable Texas National Guard slot he rarely showed up for), and arguably the Korean war one as well, the only difference about George Bush as president is the immensity of his crimes and his hard line arrogance and indifference about them and toward the people he's harmed at home and abroad. He's undeterred and committed to press on with what he sees as a messianic mission, or even royal prerogative, and that makes him stand out as a special rogue who's already surpassed all others before him holding the nation's highest office. Plans to Save the Bush Administration and Its Disastrous Misadventure in Iraq With a lot of help from the Congress and complicit corporate media that continues to shield him, George Bush not only took the nation to war against two countries that never threatened us based on lies, deceit and cover-up, he's determined to push on to a victory that can't be won and is listening to sinister advice from the wrong people telling him to do it. Proposals of what happens going forward are showing up in a number of reports (related to the work of the Iraq Study Group - ISG) including one on November 16 in the London Guardian and a later one on November 30 discussed below. They follow a meeting George Bush, the vice-president and key administration officials had with the ISG, or Baker Commission, that was formed in March to draft a new course in Iraq because the current one isn't working, and it's led many high level business and political figures to believe it's leading the country to an inevitable disastrous train wreck unless redirected. It's also trying to rescue the family's reputation and presidency of the current incumbent, but it will be hard-pressed to do either. The Guardian reported that the president told his senior advisors (or more likely Dick Cheney and other hard liners told him) the US military (with any help it can get) must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and instead of beginning a drawdown in force strength, he may send an additional 20,000 more soldiers into this cauldron even against the advice of his Central Command (CENTCOM) commander-in-chief on the ground General John Abizaid who testified before Congress the same day the president was ignoring his advice that now may be changing after hearing what his boss had to say. Whatever is said publicly or is released in the ISG report, all that matters is what, in fact, will happen going forward and that may be a clear example of a clinical definition of insanity - continuing to do the same things (more or less) that have failed, expecting a different result. It may also be more evidence that was first reported in Capitol Hill Blue on September 5 that Bush has gone over the edge and that Republican and Bush family insiders, including the president's father, are worried George Bush may be heading for a "full-fledged mental breakdown" judging by his bizarre or irrational behavior. Jeffrey Steinberg writing in Executive Intelligence Review said GHW Bush fears his son is obsessed with his messianic mission and is "unreachable" even by some of his closest advisors like Secretary Rice. That view was also stated by prominent psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank, who wrote Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. He said: "With every passing week, President Bush marches deeper and deeper into a world of his own making. Central to Bush's world is an iron will which demands that external reality be changed to conform to his personal view of how things are." Dr. Frank added that George Bush needs psychiatric help. The US military and the public along with all Iraqis better hope it comes soon before he inflames the entire Middle East and a lot more with it. That's what the Baker Commission and president's father are determined to avoid even though the plan they draft, or what we're told about it, will likely have no better solution in the end than the one Bush and his hard liners are now pursuing. According to the Guardian report, the ISG is circulating its recommendations in a four-point "victory strategy" developed with help from Pentagon officials advising them. It's also getting lots of advice from a number of influential conservative think tanks whose members are part of "working groups" dealing with issues of the military and security, the economy and reconstruction, the political structure, and fine-tuning geostrategy that includes no change in the country's imperial agenda meaning the US military is in Iraq to stay whatever the final ISG report says. Point One - calls for an initial increase in force size that may be the 20,000 George Bush is calling for to "secure Baghdad" where along with most all of al-Anbar province is where most of the country's violence is. Point Two - stresses the importance of regional cooperation that will have to include Iran and Syria along with Iraq's other immediate neighbors. It could involve convening an international conference requesting diplomatic, political and financial help - the latter mostly from the Saudis and Kuwaitis. Jim Baker knows without Iranian and Syrian cooperation, any hope for conflict resolution in Iraq is impossible, and even with it it's doubtful at best. Unspoken in the report and commentary is the one player with all the trump cards that's left out of the high-level consultations - the Iraqi resistance and great majority of Iraqi people who'll settle for nothing less than what the Baker Commission will never propose and George Bush and the neocons will never agree to - a full and unconditional withdrawal, no strings attached with reparations for the damage done that's almost incalculable. That reality is what all the high-level thinkers and planners are up against. Jim Baker surely knows this whatever his final proposal is. In another article on the ISG, this writer characterized Baker's efforts as a job for Superman and then some, and any hope for success is even more than the redoubtable Jim Baker and his high-level insider team are likely to achieve. Making it even harder will be the influence of the powerful Israeli Lobby that wants the US to press on at least with an attack against Iran and surely not engage the Iranians or Syrians in constructive dialogue about Iraq or anything else. Point Three - focuses on an effort toward reconciliation among the sectarian ethnic and religious groups to win over consensus among them. The report cited the belief that doing this is crucial to convincing neighboring countries that Iraq can again become a fully functioning state, but conflicting reports about this idea are now surfacing days ahead of the ISG report's release. If these ideas end up being adopted, they'll violate everything the Bush administration did since March, 2003 when the strategy was, and still is, to destroy all the institutions of a modern secular society in the country along with its historical treasures to transform this once modern and prosperous nation into an impotent desert kingdom populated by easily controlled serfs. It will take more than just a major effort, if one is even intended, to put that "Humpty Dumpty" back together again. Oddly, or maybe in just a momentary case of bad judgment, the Guardian writer said neocon ideas about "imposing" western-style democracy will have to be set aside. It's hard to imagine the writer doesn't understand that's the one thing US imperial strategy never tolerates and was never part of the plan for "the new Iraq." A nation of serfs is not one of democracy, and predatory capitalism and democracy go no better together than fire and water. The report goes on to say that partitioning Iraq into a tripartite loose federation won't be recommended as it would only lead to a large-scale humanitarian crisis. It's hard to imagine anything worse than the US-created one now on the ground that's out-of-control by any measure. Point Four - calls for increased resources to be allocated for additional troop deployments and to train and equip an expanded Iraqi army and police. It will also call for efforts to stem corruption that reportedly has involved the theft of billions, most of which has been pilfered by US contractors like Halliburton and Bechtel Corporation (closely tied to the White House) that either did shoddy work they were assigned (other than for US installations) or little or none at all but still pocketed many billions of US taxpayer dollars with nary a wink or nod of disapproval from the Bush administration that effectively gave them and others a license to steal. This point also will call for improving local government and curtailing the power of religious courts and mentions that Bush may be mesmerized by the "Svengali" or "Rasputin" advice of fellow war-criminal Henry Kissinger who believes winning in Iraq is just a matter of "political will" - just the way it worked for Henry in Vietnam. Bush echoed that advice ironically while visiting the capital of the country's last "Waterloo." When arriving in Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, he was asked about comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam and said: "We'll succeed unless we quit. We tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while." It's taking quite a long while as the US has now been at war in Iraq against a guerrilla resistance longer than it took the country to defeat the Nazis and Japanese in WW II, and those countries had a lot more going for them than car and roadside bombs to fight us. That reality and Bush's remarks show how in denial this man is just like the country's leadership was in the 1960s and 70s believing (in their public statements at least) staying the course would achieve the victory beyond their reach. But hold on - Bush's "Svengali" seems to be advising him one way and commenting another in a BBC November 19 interview where away from the US media spotlight he said he now believes military victory in Iraq is no longer possible, the administration's policy failed and is headed for "disastrous consequences (to haunt the world) for many years....we have to redefine the course ("stay" is now "redefine")....I don't think the alternative is between military victory....or total withdrawal," and there should be a regional conference of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Iraq's regional neighbors including Iran to work out a way forward - meaning the Bush administration got us into this mess so will Iraq's regional neighbors and other world powers please help get us out of it. Now which way is it Henry - will the real Henry Kissinger please stand up and show us who the real one is. He may or may not be helped by a November 30 report in the New York Times, Washington Post, online in Capitol Hill Blue and elsewhere. It cites a well-placed source saying the ISG decided to recommend a major withdrawal of US forces from Iraq in a process of transitioning from a combat to a support role over the next year or so but with no specific timetable recommended. It all depends "on a series of conditions and qualifications" governing the drawdown in language suggesting as much smoke and mirrors backside-covering fudging as any real substantive change of policy. That's apparently the message from national security advisor Stephen Hadley in a November memo to George Bush saying (the ISG report) "is neither 'cut and run' nor 'stay the course.' " It's also what an unnamed senior Pentagon military officer involved in crafting Iraq policy likely meant when he said: "The question is whether it doesn't look like a timeline to Bush, and does to (Iraq prime minister) al-Maliki." It's another example of what the New York Times calls "a classic Washington compromise" - meaning "now you see a change of policy, and now you don't." In harsher terms, it's what Newsweek magazine writer Michael Hirsh calls "A Bust in Bakerville" in his November 29 article subtitled "Iraq can no longer be won or lost. Why the study group won't solve anything." But Hirsh spoils his article toward its end by suggesting Iraq is "manageable" and what's needed, instead of consensus, is a "no-nonsense negotiator who can grapple with the reality of the American failure....and seek the most honorable way out (like a) Richard Holbrooke or Henry Kissinger....(or) the best hope for....an adult solution (from Defense Secretary-designate) Robert Gates." It all seems surreal at this point, but what it comes down to is an attempt to pacify the US public and critics of the war. It's to buy more time for a failed Bush presidency looking more all the time like a house of cards nearing collapse, hoping to save it along with the family's name and reputation. By couching recommendations in terms of possibilities to be decided later depending on conditions in the country, the ISG report apparently will be "much ado about nothing" signaling no real change at all and a faint hope at best to rescue George Bush from the fate he deserves. There's no hiding from the fact that conditions in Iraq are deplorable and out-of-the-control of the US military looking pathetic against an opponent it can't even see and impossible to subdue. It's not likely to fare much better going forward than it has up to now in the face of a determined resistance and mass Iraqi opposition to an occupation they want to end and will keep fighting against it until it does whether the US military stays in the streets or is hunkered down in its self-contained permanent super-bases. Still, with a brave face, the report apparently will recommend that US forces redeploy to its key bases inside the country and elsewhere in the region and turn over more responsibility to Iraqi security forces for frontline operations when and if they can handle them. So far they can't and aren't likely to do much better ahead as many recruited into them are from the very resistance forces the US military is fighting and most others joined up for a paycheck with no ideological commitment to the occupying power offered in return for it - not the best set of circumstances for building an effective satrap security force. The report will also call for convening a regional conference of Iraq's neighbors that will have to include Iran and Syria which the Israeli Lobby is fighting to prevent and so far the Bush administration has preconditions for unacceptable at least to the Iranians. Further, the report mentions recommendations being considered by the Pentagon Joint Chiefs who seem to be leaning toward a brief increase in force size followed by a partial drawdown and a shift, like the ISG plan, from a combat role to one involving training, advising and backup. The Pentagon option is called "go long" and apparently calls for a large US military presence in Iraq for five to ten years which sounds very much like cover saying there will be no exit strategy just the way it turned out in South Korea still occupied by about 30,000 US forces a half century after the war there ended, and there are no hostilities or threats unless the US provokes one. The Times and Post said the ISG report (said to be about 100 pages) will be released on December 6, at least whatever portion of it the public gets to see. One other supposedly "classified memorandum" on the war showed up on pages of the New York Times on December 3. It's from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent to the White House on November 6, two days before he was sacked from the job he showed he couldn't handle long ago. On the one hand, it's a rather surprising admission of personal failure and need for a change of course, but on the other it may more of a thinly-veiled, late-in-the-game attempt to burnish an image too tarnished for any public relations makeover at this stage. But you can't blame the guy for trying, and he'll probably get some media-directed help ahead for what little good it may do. In language trying to convey an image of elder statesman but dripping with mea culpas, Rumsfeld acknowledges "In my view it is time for a major adjustment....Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough." Of course, they're doing what he ordered them to do, and he, more than anyone else, bears the most responsibility for all that's happened in Iraq since the war began - but you won't hear that in the media-directed attempted makeover. The former secretary then lays out the policy changes he recommends in a set of attractive "Above the Line Illustrative Options" and less attractive "Below the Line" ones. Some of it sounds much like what the ISG will propose and the "new" direction the Pentagon seems to be leaning to in its planning. But Rumsfeld can't resist suggesting a lot of the blame goes to the Iraqi puppet government that must "pull up (its) socks" and change its "bad behavior." This kind of talk is now coming out of the White House and echoed in the corporate media - a shameless attempt to shift blame for what US forces have done and bear full responsibility for to an installed Iraqi government with no authority and no power to do anything more in the country than clear away the daily carnage on the streets caused by the US presence there. Mr. Rumsfeld and his administration allies planned, directed and lied their way into this mess, and now he and they are trying to lie their way out of it by shifting the blame to the Iraqis that had nothing to do with it with a lot of help from their corporate media allies. It's a classic example of Washington-spin dutifully picked up and echoed in the mainstream hoping to make the victim look like the responsible party. Cheerleading 101 - It's What the Dominant Corporate-Controlled Media Does Best, and They're At It Again When in trouble, as the Bush administration clearly is, it can count on its corporate media allies to step up and help out just as they did it during the Johnson-Nixon years when they backed their "stay the course" and "Vietnamization" agendas. They're always out in front delivering the "proper message" and leading the cheerleading as they are now for what's highlighted above and the new Bush rhetoric of "success" however Henry Kissinger and others define it. It's highlighted in a November 16 article by media critic and columnist Norman Solomon titled The New Media Offensive to Prolong the Iraq War posted on Counterpunch. In it, he says the pro-war cheerleading is being featured on the front page of the New York Times (as it always is) by columnist Michael Gordon just like it was in the run-up to March, 2003 by the now-disgraced Judith Miller in her daily hawkish screeds practically pleading for hostilities and echoing the propaganda handed her by the White House and Pentagon. This is the same Michael Gordon today who was the lead reporter on the Times front page in the lead-up to the Iraq war who wrote the false and discredited story (he never apologized for) about the threat of Saddam's aluminum tubes. Michael's back now and again doing what's expected of him as a paid propagandist for "the newspaper of record" that never met an act of US aggression it didn't support even when it turned out to be a hopeless debacle as is true now. The Gordon piece on November 15 is certain to be followed by more. It's another in a long line of thinly-veiled NYT empire-supportive kinds of "journalism" leading the media pack with its cheerleading even when war crimes are committed or the public interest is being ignored or harmed. The Times, as always, knows what it's role is, and no journalist need apply for work there without being willing to be part of the same dirty business that includes supporting all imperial wars the nation pursues. So it is now. And Solomon goes on to say many other journalists are joining the chorus against the pullout option in Iraq the same way they did during the Vietnam era. They go even further warning Democrats that, despite strong public opinion to the contrary, not to go that far "if they know what's good for them," and, right or wrong, it's the president's call in all cases whether to go to war or continue one, and the Congress should stay out of it - even if they have lie to the public to do it the way the New York Times does. These journalists need a lesson in constitutional law as that view is fraudulent on it face and contradicts what the founders stood for and put in the Constitution for those who care to read it. It's a further reckless endangerment of a democratic republic scarcely able to draw breathe anymore. It's the result of corrupted government officials and complicit corporate media journalists ignoring what Thomas Jefferson helped codify, teach us, believed in passionately and said: "The most effectual means of preventing the perversion of power into tyranny are to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people....Light and liberty go together.....Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day." Jefferson added no nation can ever be free if it's kept ignorant, and no part of the corporate-controlled media is more guilty of that sin than the "paper of record" that's the closest thing in the country to an official ministry of information and propaganda that's leading the way for all the others. It functions to serve the interests of wealth and power violating the Jeffersonian spirit and the constitutional law of the land he helped draft in 1787. It allows George Bush to sell his war agenda knowing it'll be supported in the echo chambers of major front page dailies and headlined on TV newscasts. It may be his last gasp, but he's at it again calling for a "last push" strategy for victory in Iraq in a futile attempt to refurbish his image and give Republicans time to regroup from their drubbing in the mid-term elections and prepare for the 2008 presidential campaign. It's hard to imagine how continuing what hasn't worked up to now and won't will accomplish anything more than raise the level of public anger wanting change and not getting it. The Real State of Things in Iraq the Corporate Media Won't Report To learn what's really happening in Iraq just read unembedded independent journalist Patrick Cockburn's November 28 column in the London Independent (and all his others there) called Slaughter House Iraq. In it he says "Iraq is rending itself apart. The signs of collapse are everywhere. In Baghdad, the police often pick up more than 100 tortured and mutilated bodies in a single day. Government ministries make war on each other." He goes on to explain the country is in an "ominous stage of disintegration" and may be approaching what the Americans call "the Saigon moment" when it's plain as day "the government is expiring." Covering the region, freelance journalist and author Nir Rosen is just as ominous in his latest article in the Boston Review on November 27, 2006 called Anatomy of a Civil War - Iraq's descent into chaos. Rosen says: "Shia religious parties such as the Iran-supported Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) controlled the country, and Shia militias had become the Iraqi police and the Iraqi army, running their own secret prisons, arresting, torturing, and executing Sunnis in what was clearly a civil war. And the Americans were merely one more militia among the many, watching, occasionally intervening, and in the end only making things worse." Almost everyone in Washington and Whitehall know all this except Bush and Blair and their most loyal acolytes who've lost all touch with reality and are in a state of denial that the longer the occupation continues the worse things will get. The human toll, according to Cockburn, is 1000 Iraqis killed each week and 1000 US forces killed or wounded every month, and these may be low estimates of even greater numbers unknown or carefully concealed preventing people at home from knowing how desperate things really are, what the human cost is, that the war in Iraq is lost, and the longer US forces stay in the country the worse things will get. And consider what publisher and editor Bob Chapman writes in his November 29 edition of his long-running, well-respected online publication The International Forecaster. He says "the insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, connivance by corrupt Islamic charities and other crimes the occupation has been unable to prevent." He believes they raise $70 - $200 million a year from these activities and concludes with the dramatic observation that the resistance groups can hold off the most powerful military in the world with that amount of money compared to $100 billion or more spent by the Pentagon with all their super-weapons trying and failing to defeat them. It can't and won't no matter how many more billions are spend or for how long. That's the dilemma mandarins like Jim Baker and the heavyweights on his Commission have to deal with. The spillage of six disastrous years under the younger Bush is so immense, and the fallout from it so beyond repair, that two years from now or sooner the rule and influence of a family dynasty will end and whatever succeeds it will inherit less power than any US administration since WW II as the American empire heads into an irreversible decline that didn't begin under George Bush but was measurably accelerated under his discredited leadership that turned out to be none at all. The Price of Imperial Overreach After a mediocre start to his presidency, fate, or more likely a sinister master-plan, handed George Bush and his allies their chance to be untethered from any restraint and be able to go for the big prize they wanted all along but needed public support to do it. It was the gift of the 9/11 tragedy his administration ruthlessly exploited as a launching platform to pursue an imperial agenda of permanent war against enemies invented for the enterprise including former CIA asset against the Soviets in Afghanistan Osama bin Laden in the lead role. With the help and complicity of round-the-clock daily corporate media fed invented terror threat warnings, color-coded on television for added impact, it scared the public enough and made the Congress willing enough to go along with the scheme the administration had in mind all along and had envisioned from the work of the right wing Project for the New American Century think tank (PNAC) document called Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century. Conceived by future key Bush administration officials, it was a grand imperial plan for US global dominance to extend well into the future to be enforced with unchallengeable military power - a blueprint for the current "war on terror" now rebranded as a "long war" against "Islamic fascism" with goals spelled out in the May, 2000 Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Vision 2020 calling for "full spectrum (world) dominance" that was code language meaning total control over all land, sea, air, outer space and information with enough overwhelming power to defeat any potential challenger or adversary with no restraint on the use of any weapons, including nuclear ones. This "Vision" was one of several imperial documents looking ahead that included the Nuclear Policy Review of 2001, the FY 2004 Air Force Space Command Strategic Master Plan, the Pentagon's 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and the National Security Strategy of 2002, updated in 2006. Together they laid out a "grand imperial strategy" that included the notion of "preventive war" updated to a "long war" against "Islamofascists" that was set in motion by the trigger of the 9/11 tragedy to target those parts of the world of greatest strategic value like the oil-rich Greater Middle East including Central Asia and its Caspian Basin riches. These plans were embellished on October 6, 2006 when George Bush quietly signed the National Space Policy superceding a September, 1996 version of the same directive. The plan lays out US space policy goals that include implementing an "innovative human and robotic exploration program" to extend the presence of humans in space. It calls on NASA to "execute a sustained and affordable human and robotic program of space exploration and develop, acquire, and use civil space systems to advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe." It supports the use of nuclear power systems and implies without so stating that includes nuclear weapons that will be deployed there to use when and if necessary. That's very much the message from the language that this policy is designed "to ensure space capabilities....to further US national security, homeland security, and foreign policy objectives (that include defending) our interests there....(and having The Director of National Intelligence) provide a robust foreign space intelligence collection and analysis capability....to support national and homeland security." With all the pieces of its grand imperial scheme in place, the best-laid plans, nonetheless, don't always go as designed especially when they encompass more than can be digested and the forces against them are determined enough to resist and do it effectively. What began with world support for a global "war on terror" began to unravel in the wake of the Bush administration's notion of endless wars and its unilateral intent to invade and occupy Iraq in spite of growing opposition to it that was ridiculed, spurned and arrogantly defied. Even the world's only superpower should have known no nation, no matter how powerful, can challenge the rest of the world and get away with it without enough support, especially when the two adventures it undertook in Iraq and Afghanistan unravelled so fast and the economic and political costs incurred from them are so enormous and increasing they've made visible fissures in the hegemon's superstructure making it vulnerable. The cost of Bush administration go-it-alone adventurism accelerated a decline of US imperial power that began, according to some astute observers, with its futile losing gambit in Vietnam. It's now repeating it and then some in the Greater Middle East and as a result lost its stature as a failed model of a once democratic state flaunting the rule of law and ignoring the values it claims to stand for while doing just the opposite in reckless pursuit of its own interests. It's now seen for what it is - an out-of-control rogue state threatening all others wanting no part of it and a growing number of them willing to challenge its supremacy in the process. This behavior fits the definition of what Noam Chomsky calls a "failed state" in his 2006 book titled Failed States while explaining the notion of what this means, in fact, is imprecise at best. It may be a nation unable to protect its citizens from violence or destruction but could also be one that flaunts the rule of international law and acts as an aggressor. The US uses this term for nations seen as potential threats to our security we feel justified intervening against in self-defense. Chomsky says if we evaluate our own agenda by that definition "we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of 'failed states' right at home." Blame much of it on how noted historian and author Gabriel Kolko characterizes the Bush administration - "the worst set of incompetents ever to hold power in Washington. It 'shocked and awed'....itself." Winston Churchill called himself an optimist and once remarked that "the United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative." Not a chance as long as George Bush is president and neocons are in charge. That's a hurdle even Churchill's optimism couldn't have cleared. It shows how a once proud country lost its legitimacy and with it the power to face down a growing number of nations willing to confront its authority and get away with it, even small players that once wouldn't have dared. In the hemisphere, Cuba has been joined by Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua on November 7 with the reelection of Sandinista FSLN leader and former US nemesis Daniel Ortega, and now in Ecuador on November 26 with the impressive election of populist candidate Rafeal Correa in the run-off presidential election against the Washington-backed billionaire oligarch. Elsewhere in Asia, China and North Korea have defied US authority as has Russia in Eurasia and Iran and Syria in the Middle East. Resistance groups everywhere have now learned the lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan and Hezbollah in Lebanon. These groups have asymmetrical guerrilla-tactic power that when used effectively can hold their own against the most powerful nation on earth beating it at its own game by outlasting it or rendering its super-weapons useless against an opponent that can't be seen until its bombs go off and bullets start flying and often not even then. They've also inspired the courageous people of Mexico and their epicenter of resistance in Oaxaca taking to the streets in their courageous fight against electoral fraud and an end to decades of abuse and injustice and doing it with little more than their bodies and a redoubtable spirit that won't quit. Add to this the growing unease and discontent of an aroused and angered public at home. It sent a powerful message of disgust and contempt for six failed years of imperial madness and corrupted right wing neocon Republican rule by drubbing its candidates in the mid-term elections. It wants change in Washington even though there's little chance to get it when the new leadership takes control of the Congress in January. Beyond the usual post-election continuation of campaign-style rhetoric, already it's clear the Democrat party mission is to move the ship of state forward with its agenda largely intact but with them in charge including in the White House if they can prevail in the 2008 election. It's the way things always work in the nation's Capitol where those holding power owe their allegiance to the interests of wealth and power that put them there, and, in the end, the people be damned and "let 'em eat cake" but the language is more subtle. It won't work for the new congressional leadership any more than it did for the president who brought down the house of Bush ending the family dynasty's reign while turning the nation's imperial dreams into its death throes by his arrogance and ineptness. He'll now live in infamy as the man who accelerated the American empire's decline. His imperial madness buried it in the caves and rubble of Afghanistan and the burning sands of the Middle East financing it with an unrepayable mountain of Federal Reserve-created debt in an age of aberrant capitalism gone wild and transformed into a fiscal weapon of mass-destruction that may end up throttling the US and world economies. It's what out-of-control greed and delusions of grandeur always lead to - self-aggrandizing excess that eventually undermines the "irrationally exuberant" dreams of fools and despots that go well beyond the limits of reason or any hope for success. If George Bush lasts another two years, it'll be thanks to the kindness of his dwindling number of hard core friends and strangers who still think they can pick something from the bones of his tenure before payment for his imperial overreach comes due. When it does, it'll be high, painful and inevitable just like it always is the way it was for that French queen of "let em eat cake" fame who along with her husband, King Louis XVI, lost their heads for their misdeeds. "King" George may keep his, but the family dynasty has been undone and defrocked by the sins of the unworthy scion ill-chosen to carry its reign forward to pass on to the next in line after him. It wasn't to be as the dominance of another powerful family passes into history, never to be trusted again with the seat of power in a nation accelerating in decline in the new century that was planned to be an American one but already is not six years into it. Whereto from here with a disgraced head of state and unindicted war criminal already an artifact or relic of an era past, his power ebbing and marking time going through the motions despite the same bravado, smirk and all, that resonates less with each public appearance. It's intended to keep his weakened presidency from collapsing that may just take one more good shove to do it. Despite desperate efforts to save it, in the end who but the family will care if it does and who will ever again believe a serial liar once exposed and disgraced making him unwelcome in the halls of power that once embraced him. Success, as they say, has many parents and friends, but failure is an unwanted orphan, and it's showing up as some of the hard core faithful voice their displeasure openly and walk away. It now remains for his final exit that can't come soon enough for most who want him out now and may act to force it if the Congress won't act as a majority of the public demands. Whatever happens from here, the king is dead (even with his head in place), and with it the power and influence of a family dynasty brought down by the poisoned chalice of its ill-chosen successor, unworthy and unable to wear the crown and pass it to the next in line. Henceforth, all will know what should have been clear all along. Behind every "Bush," there's a crime, and some of them are too great to hide, make up for or overcome. So it is with the lesson of George Bush, a very bad seed and a president only a mother can love. And even that's in doubt in a family that doesn't take defeat very well. Give them time, they'll acclimate. Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. http://www.sjlendman.blogspot.com

Jenise Treuting: Invitations and Ultimatums

A look at the perceptions Japanese and Americans have of each other against the backdrop of the Iraq invastion and occupation (English/Japanese bilingual) http://invitations.bravenewtheaters.com/

Interesting Things from "NEWS CONSUMER"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shango Shango

In Yorùbá mythology, Shango (Xango, Shango), or Changó in Latin America, is perhaps the most popular Orisha; he is a Sky Father, god of thunder and the ancestor of the Yoruba. In the Lukumí (O lukumi = "my friend") religion of the Caribbean, Shango is considered to be the center point of the religion as he represents the Oyo people of West Africa. The Oyo Kingdom was sacked and pillaged and its residents brought in chains as slaves to the Caribbean and Brazil. All the major initiation ceremonies (as performed in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela for the last few hundred years) are based on the traditional Shango ceremony of Ancient Oyo. This ceremony survived the Middle Passage and is considered to be the most complete to have arrived on Western shores. This variation of the Yoruba initiation ceremony became the basis of all Orisha initiations in the West.

The energy given from this Deity of Thunder is also a major symbol of African resistance against an enslaving European culture. He rules the color red and white; his sacred number is 6; his symbol is the oshe (double-headed axe), which represents swift and balanced justice. He is owner of the Bata (3 double-headed drums) and of music in general, as well as the Art of Dance and Entertainment. * http://www.religion-cults.com/art/chango.htm

Chango-St. Barbara is the most popular god-orisha of the Santeros and Macumba.

Notice that Chango is a "male" Character, and St. Barbara a "female" Christian Saint, holding the Eucharist.

The behavior of Chango is absurd when applied to St. Barbara:

- Chango, in the yoruba legend, is an adulterous male, with two main lovers: Oshum (Virgin of Charity of Cuba), and Oya (Virgin of Candelaria)!... The Christian St. Barbara would be an impossible lesbian, having sex and children with two Virgins!... a horrible impossible sacrilege!.

- But Oya (Virgin of Candelaria) is the wife of Oggun (St. Peter), so, St. Peter hates Changó (St. Barbara)... in fact, in the legend, Chango and Oggun hate each other to death!...

When you ware the medal of St. Barbara, you are not honoring nor seeking the protection of a Christian Saint, but of a Santeria god-demon!... take it out!.

When you ware the collar of St. Barbara, you are warring the one of Chango, not the one of a Christian Saint.

For the "Paleros", Chango is known as "Nsasi".


Center Unveils Unprecedented Investigation into President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Abroad

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2006 — On the eve of World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), the Center for Public Integrity today released "Divine Intervention," a year-long investigation into how President Bush's $15 billion initiative for care, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS abroad has failed countries struggling with the pandemic. The special report, the first of its kind to examine the policies, politics and goals of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), looks at its effects on specific "focus countries," as well as India and Thailand, where the sex-trade industry is driving high rates of infection. Reporters affiliated with the Center's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Haiti, India and Thailand found that faith-based ideology – including abstinence – often trumps science in the guise of federal rules, regulations and support of the organizations receiving taxpayer money. More than three years after PEPFAR's creation, about $8.3 billion has been spent with less than $1 billion going to prevention in the 15 focus countries. Meanwhile, the number of people with HIV continues to rise internationally, with 75 percent infected through sexual intercourse. More than 450 people contracted HIV each hour last year, resulting in more than 4 million new cases. "The goals and directives established by PEPFAR have stifled HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in countries such as Thailand and Uganda, formally recognized as success stories, and disregarded countries such as Swaziland, Lesotho and Zimbabwe," said Wendell Rawls, Center interim executive director and Divine Intervention project manager. "Sadly, 'compassionate conservatism' seems not to have been the most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease." Interviews with scores of activists, people living with HIV/AIDS, physicians, health care workers, government officials and academics, and an examination of thousands of pages of incomplete documents also reveal a pattern of contradictory, conflicting and confusing policies. ...

More from Rob Brezsny

GLORY IN THE HIGHEST Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you’ve been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs, as it was before you fell asleep. You can see! Light of many colors floods into your eyes, registered by nerves that took God or evolution or some process millions of years to perfect. The interesting gift of these vivid hues comes to you courtesy of an unimaginably immense globe of fire, the sun, which continually detonates nuclear reactions in order to convert its body into light and heat and energy for your personal use. Did you know that the sun is located at the precise distance from you to be of perfect service? If it were any closer, you’d fry, and if it were any further away, you’d freeze. Here’s another one of the sun’s benedictions: It appears to rise over the eastern horizon right on schedule every day, as it has since long before you were born. Do you remember when you were born, by the way? It was a difficult miracle that involved many people who worked hard on your behalf. No less miraculous is the fact that you have continued to grow since then, with millions of new cells being born inside you to replace the old ones that die. All of this happens whether or not you ever think about it . . . . On this day, like almost every other, you have awoken inside a temperature-controlled shelter. You have a home! Your bed and pillow are soft and you’re covered by comfortable blankets. The electricity is turned on, as usual. Somehow, in ways you’re barely aware of, a massive power plant at an unknown distance from your home is transforming fuel into currents of electricity that reach you through mostly hidden conduits in the exact amounts you need, and all you have to do to control the flow is flick small switches with your fingers. You can walk! Your legs work wonderfully well. Your heart circulates your blood all the way down to replenish the energy of the muscles in your feet and calves and thighs, and when the blood is depleted it finds its way back to your heart to be refreshed. This blessing recurs over and over again without stopping every hour of your life. Your home is perhaps not a million-dollar palace, but it’s sturdy and gigantic compared to the typical domicile in every culture that has preceded you. The floors aren’t crumbling, and the walls and ceilings are holding up well, too. Doors open and close without trouble, and so do the windows. What skillful geniuses built this sanctuary for you? How and where did they learn their craft? In your bathroom, the toilet is functioning perfectly, as are several other convenient devices. You have at your disposal soaps, creams, razors, clippers, tooth-cleaning accessories: a host of products that enhance your hygiene and appearance. You trust that unidentified scientists somewhere tested them to be sure they’re safe for you to use. Amazingly, the water you need so much of comes out of your faucets in an even flow, with the volume you want, and either cold or hot as you desire. It’s pure and clean; you’re confident no parasites are lurking in it. There is someone somewhere making sure these boons will continue to arrive for you without interruption for as long as you require them. Look at your hands. They’re astounding creations that allow you to carry out hundreds of tasks with great force and intricate grace. They relish the pleasure and privilege of touching thousands of different textures, and they’re beautiful. In your closet are many clothes you like to wear. Who gathered the materials to make the fabrics they’re made of? Who imbued them with colors, and how did they do it? Who sewed them for you? In your kitchen, appetizing food in secure packaging is waiting for you. Many people you’ve never met worked hard to grow it, process it, and get it to the store where you bought it. The bounty of tasty nourishment you get to choose from is unprecedented in the history of the world. Your many appliances are working flawlessly. Despite the fact that they feed on electricity, which could kill you instantly if you touched it directly, you feel no fear that you’re in danger. Why? Your faith in the people who invented, designed, and produced these machines is impressive. It’s as if there’s a benevolent conspiracy of unknown people that is tirelessly creating hundreds of useful things you like and need. There’s more. Gravity is working exactly the way it always has, neither pulling on you with too much or too little force. How did that marvel ever come to be? By some prodigious, long-running accident? It doesn’t really matter, since it will continue to function with astounding efficiency whether or not you understand it. Meanwhile, a trillion other elements of nature’s miraculous design are expressing themselves perfectly. Plants are growing, rivers are flowing, clouds are drifting, winds are blowing, animals are reproducing. The weather is an interesting blend of elements you’ve never before experienced in quite this combination. Though you may take it for granted, you relish the ever-shifting sensations of light and temperature as they interact with your body. There’s more. You can smell odors and hear sounds and taste tastes, many of which are quite pleasing. You can think! You’re in possession of the extraordinary gift of self-awareness. You can feel feelings! Do you realize how improbably stupendous it is for you to have been blessed with that mysterious capacity? And get this: You can visualize an inexhaustible array of images, some of which represent things that don’t actually exist. How did you acquire this magical talent? By some improbable series of coincidences or long-term divine plan, language has come into existence. Millions of people have collaborated for many centuries to cultivate a system for communication that you understand well. Speaking and reading give you great pleasure and a tremendous sense of power. Do you want to go someplace that’s at a distance? You have a number of choices about what machines to use in order to get there. Whatever you decide—car, plane, bus, train, subway, ship, helicopter, or bike—you have confidence that it will work efficiently. Multitudes of people who are now dead devoted themselves to perfecting these modes of travel. Multitudes who are still alive devote themselves to ensuring that these benefits keep serving you. Maybe you’re one of the hundreds of millions of people in the world who has the extraordinary privilege of owning a car. It’s a brilliant invention made by highly competent workers. Other skilled laborers put in long hours to extract oil from the ground or sea and turn it into fuel so you can use your car conveniently. The roads are drivable. Who paved them for you? The bridges you cross are potent feats of engineering. Do you realize how hard it was to fabricate them from scratch? You’re aware that in the future shrinking oil reserves and global warming may impose limitations on your ability to use cars and planes and other machines to travel. But you also know that many smart and idealistic people are diligently striving to develop alternative fuels and protect the environment. And compared to how slow societies have been to understand their macrocosmic problems in the past, your culture is moving with unprecedented speed to recognize and respond to the crises spawned by its technologies. As you travel, you might listen to music. Maybe you’ve got an MP3 player, a fantastic invention that has dramatically enhanced your ability to hear a stunning variety of engaging sounds at a low cost. Or maybe you have a radio. Through a process you can’t fathom, music and voices that originate at a distance from you have been converted into invisible waves that bounce off the ionosphere and down into your little machine, where they are transformed back into music and voices for you to enjoy. Let’s say it’s 9:30 a.m. You’ve been awake for two hours, and a hundred things have already gone right for you. If three of those hundred things had not gone right—your toaster was broken, the hot water wasn’t hot enough, there was a stain on the pants you wanted to wear—you might feel that today the universe is against you, that your luck is bad, that nothing’s going right. And yet the fact is that the vast majority of everything is working with breathtaking efficiency and consistency. You would clearly be deluded to imagine that life is primarily an ordeal.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

How to Love a Monster, For Peter Lorre, by Sylvia Parker

Only when I'm lost in your embrace do I forget the horrible thing you are. Though at times I think it's only in your mind that you actually formed yourself like a god out of a steamy mixture of boredom and frustration. I know you could from the way you touch me the way you inhale. I watch you taking it in each breath a consideration, each sensation its own opinion. I hang on to every particle you breathe the way you hang on to every grain of morphine in your blood. I hang on to your lugubrious smile, your passionate futility. I've lost you so many times and lose you each consecutive second then tear myself apart trying to find you again. It's my devotion which matches your futility. I'm trying to listen. Meanwhile, my ears tuned to the noises outside my window which make me think of a choir going through a meat grinder and how this whole ritual is the psycho-killer of my thoughts my best judgements. My fingers slide along the saliva on your hip they uncover a snail trail. Its lacquer shininess divides you into shapes that wish they could rest together more closely. You are still impossibly beautiful. I make noises when I look at you; your roundness the static in your eyes, the angles of your blanched details. It's your beauty that effects that perfect dissolution that causes people to tense when they see you to talk to you as though you could take possession of their tongues by grabbing their words.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

America’s Secret War: Victims of sexual assault while serving in the military are the unknown casualties of war

by Joe Piasecki At a forum held earlier this month at Pasadena City College, women vets of the U.S. military went public with their own personal stories to raise awareness of the least-acknowledged casualties of the wars in the Middle East: rapes of U.S. servicewomen by their fellow soldiers. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs records obtained by CityBeat show that more than 20 percent of female veterans who used VA health care services nationwide between October 2001 and September 2005 – that’s nearly 44,000 women – reported being victims of sexual assault or harassment, sometimes by fellow servicemembers. Los Angeles-born Maricela Guzman was attacked and raped while on night watch duty during her Navy boot camp training, she explained before some 150 students at PCC. “It was so dark I couldn’t recognize the person who attacked me,” she recalled of her assailant, still unknown after nearly a decade. Guzman, who nonetheless went on to have a decorated five-year career while stationed in Naples, Italy, did not immediately report the crime. When she initially tried to speak with her supervisor, Guzman was punished for not following military procedure, and when finally given the chance to speak was so distraught that she didn’t. April Fitzsimmons served as an intelligence analyst in the Air Force from 1985 to 1989. Going to sleep in the barracks one night after having a few drinks, she was attacked and fondled by a large man who had been hiding in her room. Fortunately for her, she turned on the light, screamed at him to leave, and he ran. But a short time later, another woman on base was raped by the same man, whom Fitzsimmons later identified for military police. “I realized by my silence, my inactivity, passivity, fear, and unwillingness to come forward, that someone else had taken the hit,” said Fitzsimmons, currently a student at Antioch University and the author of a play about her experiences. For years, she said, “I never talked about it. I never told my parents – kept it a little secret like my bulimia [caused by that trauma] all that year.” The same VA records show that only about one percent of men reported sexual harassment or assault to the VA between 2001 and 2005, but that figure accounts for more than 47,000 vets. Hardly any of these cases are discussed publicly or in the media, but in 2004 The Boston Globe reported that a Pentagon study found that 9 percent of more than 2,000 military sexual assault victims in 2002 and 2003, including some serving in Iraq, were men. Unlike Fitzsimmons, Army Specialist Suzanne Swift did tell someone right away, but it didn’t help. In February 2004, the then-19-year-old Oregon native was sent to Iraq where she was harassed and then assaulted by a commander and could find no one willing to intercede, according to her mother, Sara Rich. After going AWOL in January rather than be sent back to Iraq to serve under her alleged attacker, Swift was arrested at her home and taken to Fort Lewis in Washington, where she awaits court-martial on January 7 for missing a troop movement. In the meantime, Swift is suffering from anxiety and depression and is allowed to go home once every two weeks to visit with her psychologist. “I want my daughter to get an honorable discharge because she is a victim here. The military has said she is not a victim, or only a victim a little bit – not enough for her to go AWOL. I want Congress to be asking for her honorable discharge and people that have been getting victimized to get the benefits they deserve,” said Rich, who spoke at PCC on behalf of her daughter. Currently, there are more than 200,000 women on active military duty, and more than 140,000 female reservists and National Guard members. Simply by serving in the military, these women have increased their risk of suffering at least some sort of sexual trauma, says Callie Wight, a therapist who serves as the Women Veterans coordinator for the U.S. Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. She spoke at PCC and to this newspaper in an unofficial capacity, specifying that her comments should not be attributed to the VA. Wight did say, however, that at the San Fernando Valley’s VA Ambulatory Care Center she leads sexual trauma therapy sessions for more than four dozen female veterans and currently has at least 10 patients who served recently in Iraq or Afghanistan. Several were assaulted by a commander, some were raped by fellow servicemembers after drinking, and one was repeatedly beaten and sexually abused by her husband while they served together in Afghanistan. VA statistics from October through December 2005, the most recent available, report that 1,360 males and 1,618 females who sought government health care said they were sexually assaulted or harassed. While these numbers could refer to incidents not perpetrated by members of the military, Wight and others fear the problem may be quietly growing. “It’s not as easy for the Department of Defense to deal with sexual trauma issues while they wage a war for which they don’t have enough troops to begin with,” she said. “I’m not seeing that many [victims] returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but I think they just haven’t been discharged yet.” Since late 2003, nonprofit victim advocates the Miles Foundation documented more than 500 cases of sexual assault on women serving in Middle Eastern countries, according to a story posted by Alternet.org. Colleen Mussolino, national commander of the advocacy group Women Veterans of America, says she has been contacted over the years by more than 1,000 female veterans and some current servicemembers about sexual assault in the military. From those conversations and her own experience, Mussolino, who served as an Army cook in the 1960s, has learned that perpetrators often go unpunished in an effort to play down the prevalence of assault and harassment. “I was gang-raped by four guys, and I was left beaten and badly scarred in many areas, including the mind. The criminal investigation division of the military picked me up and took me to headquarters and treated me as a prisoner of war for six weeks. I was interrogated from 7 a.m. to four in the afternoon for six solid weeks and threatened with a dishonorable discharge if I pressed charges. I finally signed the papers [to not press charges],” Mussolino said. Currently, claims of sexual assault are dealt with by a soldier’s direct supervisor, but Women Veterans of America are pushing for the creation of a special judicial process within the military to investigate all allegations of sexual assault. Rich, meanwhile, is focused mainly on getting people to visit her web site, SuzanneSwift.org, and to write to newspaper editors and their representatives in Congress about her daughter’s case. She’s also urging young women to think twice before joining the military. “The Army has some great things to offer people, but I really encourage people to wait until they’re 21,” she says, believing that level of maturity is needed to better prepare for the lifestyle and potential dangers that come with serving in the military. “I’m not anti-military, but I think we’re abusing our military.” Fitzsimmons and Guzman are also working to raise awareness and encourage others to speak out, but still find it hard themselves to deal with the trauma. At the PCC event, a student asked Guzman if it was difficult for her to talk to her parents about being raped. “I never told them,” she said. “I’m going to tell my siblings pretty soon.” * http://www.kimsoft.com/kr-japan.htm Japan's Crimes Against Humanity Why Japan's Hitler, Hirohito, Not Hanged? Crimes Against Women Beginning in 1931 or 1932 and continuing throughout the duration of the Asian/Pacific wars, the Japanese Government instituted a system of sexual slavery throughout the territories it occupied.1 During that time, women were recruited by force, coercion, or deception into sexual slavery for the Japanese military. These women were euphemistically referred to as "comfort women" by the Japanese Imperial Army. Although historians often disagree about the number of "comfort women," the most widely used figure is estimated at 200,000.

Photo: A young Chinese girl raped and murdered by Japanese soldiers. Korea's last Queen was raped and killed in a similar way.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter

PRAYER FOR YOU This is a perfect moment. It's a perfect moment because I have been inspired to say a gigantic prayer. I've been roused to unleash a divinely greedy, apocalyptically healing prayer for each and every one of you— even those of you who don't believe in the power of prayer. And so I am starting to pray right now to the God of Gods ... the God beyond all Gods ... the Girlfriend of God ... the Teacher of God ... the goddess who invented God. DEAR GODDESS, you who never kill but only change: I pray that my exuberant, suave, and accidental words will move you to shower ferocious blessings down on everyone who reads this benediction. I pray that you will give them what they don't even know they need—not just the boons they think they want but everything they've always been afraid to even imagine or ask for. DEAR GODDESS, you wealthy anarchist burning heaven to the ground: Many of the divine chameleons out there don't even know that their souls will live forever. So please use your brash magic to help them see that they are all wildly creative geniuses too big for their own personalities. Guide them to realize that they are all completely different from what they've been led to believe about themselves, and more exciting than they can possibly imagine. Make it illegal, immoral, irrelevant, unpatriotic, and totally tasteless for them to be in love with anyone or anything that's no good for them. O GODDESS, you who give us so much love and pain mixed together that our morality is always on the verge of collapsing: I beg you to cast a boisterous love spell that will nullify all the dumb ideas, bad decisions, and nasty conditioning that have ever cursed the wise and sexy virtuosos out there. Remove, banish, annihilate, and laugh into oblivion any jinx that has clung to them, no matter how long they've suffered from it, and even if they have become accustomed or addicted to its ugly companionship. Please conjure an aura of protection around them so that they will receive an early warning if they are ever about to act in such a way as to bring another hex or plague into their lives in the future. DEAR GODDESS, sweet Goddess, you sly universal virus with no freaking opinion: Please help all the personal growth addicts out there to become disciplined enough to go crazy in the name of creation, not destruction. Teach them the difference between oppressive self-control and liberating self-control. Awaken in them the power to do the half-right thing when it is impossible to do the totally right thing. Arouse the Wild Woman within them—even if they're men. DEAR GODDESS, you pregnant slut who scorns all mediocre longing: I pray that you will inspire all the compassionate rascals communing with this prayer to kick their own asses and wash their own brains. Provoke them to throw away or give away all the things they own that encourage them to believe that they are better than anyone else. Show them how much fun it is to brag about what they cannot do and do not have. Give them bigger, better, more original sins and wilder, wetter, more interesting problems. Most of all, Goddess, brainwash them with your freedom so that they never love their own pain more than anyone else's pain. O GODDESS, you wildly disciplined, radically curious, shockingly friendly, fanatically balanced, mysteriously truthful, teasingly healing, lyrically logical master of rowdy bliss: Cultivate in yourself a fervent yearning for the intimate companionship of these budding messiahs. Play with them every day. Answer their questions. Listen to their stories. Inspire them to love you so much they lose all their hatred forever. DEAR GODDESS, you psychedelic mushroom cloud at the center of all our brains: Bless the insanely poised creators out there with lucid dreams while they are wide awake. Provide them with their own spin doctors, and vacuum cleaners for their magic carpets, and solar-powered sex toys that work even in the dark. Give them a knack for avoiding other people's hells, and a thousand masks that all represent their true feelings, and secret admirers who are not psychotic stalkers. Arrange for a racehorse to be named after them, or an underground river, or a thousand-year-old storm on Saturn. Teach them to be their own prophets and pray to themselves and right their own wrongs and sing their own songs and be their own wives and save their own lives. DEAR GODDESS, you riotously tender, hauntingly reassuring, orgiastically sacred feeling that is even now running through all of our soft, warm animal bodies: I pray that you provide all the original sinners out there with a license to bend and even break all rules, laws, and traditions that keep them apart from the things they love. Show them how to purge the wishy-washy wishes that distract them from their daring, dramatic, divine desires. And teach them that they can have anything they want if they'll only ask for it in an unselfish way. And now dear God of Gods, God beyond all Gods, Girlfriend of God, Teacher of God, Goddess who invented God, I bring this prayer to a close, trusting that in these mysterious moments you have begun to change everyone out there in the exact way they've needed to change in order to become the gorgeous geniuses they were born to be. Amen. Awomen. P.S. Goddess: And please also give them each an emerald green parachute, ruby slippers, a canoe covered with jewels, a black-market orchid and a bouquet of organic broccoli, a donkey clown piñata full of crickets, a protective gargoyle lifted from the Chartres Cathedral, a guitar string actually played by Jimi Hendrix, a strawberry chocolate cake baked in the shape of a question mark, a human DNA map drawn up by the Human Genome Project, fistfuls of sparklers, a bottle of holy water from the River Jordan, photos of lightning on a giant poster, a refrigerator magnet cast in the likeness of the Dalai Lama, and the key of life accidentally placed inside a box of Cracker Jack.

PEACE:The Untold Story with Dr. Elise Boulding

by Susan Barber
Elise Boulding, PhD has been an important peace activist since World War II. Author of eleven books (see book list) and contributor to many more, she built the Peace Studies program at Dartmouth College, and both she and her husband, Dr. Kenneth Boulding, were active all their lives in conflict-resolution studies and in the more important groups that have been working for world peace. Although she has been retired for some time, and was widowed in 1993, Elise Boulding spent the mid-nineties writing Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History (see Source Books). And she still makes her peaceful presence felt in the corridors of power. We called Elise Boulding at her home in Massachusetts, near Boston, in order to learn about peace efforts during the latter half of the 20th century, and to gain her experienced perspective on where the world is tending now. But perhaps even more importantly, we wanted to paint for our readers a portrait of one woman's life dedicated to creating a world in which children might feel safe.
No Safe Place on Earth The course of Dr. Boulding's adult life grew out of a childhood perception. "I was born in Norway in 1920," she said, "and we came to this country when I was three. My early memories were of war movies, and Mom being homesick for Norway." As a little girl, Elise was frightened by the images of war, so she decided on a plan. If war broke out again, she would return to Norway. The peaceful homeland for which her mother longed. Where she knew she would be safe. "Then came World War II," she said, "and the invasion of Norway. And that was when I realized that there was no safe place on earth. And I knew that I had found my life's mission." Like all of the thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of peace-people who are truly making a difference, Dr. Boulding has primarily focused on what's right with the world, not on what's wrong with it. Rather than opposing war, she has studied what can be done to prevent it – how to resolve conflicts without fighting. "We Had No Sense of Strategy" During and after WWII, Elise Boulding began to become involved in various efforts to bring an end to all wars. She became a Quaker, and she and some of her fellow "witnesses against war'' wrote what she calls a ''seditious public letter.'' The letter simply said that we should not be in the war, that people should just lay down their arms. ''We had no sense of strategy. And we expected to go to jail. But nobody paid any attention to us.'' Soon, marriage and five children captured most of her time, but she remained active during her childbearing years, teaching peace to children and participating in activist projects of the fifties. She also joined Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and started a newsletter to unite women in behalf of world peace. ''When we went to Japan for a year, from 1963 to 1964, my kids were in school – they used to walk to school through the rice fields. I had some time, so I decided to find out how things work. In those days, Japanese women were demonstrating in the streets.'' But the research she sought to undertake needed resources, and she could not obtain them with her master's degree. So upon returning to the states, she took a PhD at the University of Michigan. ''Then I could get funds. It made a ridiculous amount of difference,'' she said. The Dartmouth Years She was in the Sociology Department at the University of Colorado when Dartmouth College invited both Elise and her husband, Kenneth, to become Scholars in Residence. This program offered room and board plus a stipend; all they had to do was spend the year talking to students and faculty. Although Kenneth eventually returned to Michigan because of the research staff he had there, Elise Boulding remained behind at Dartmouth, where she chaired the Sociology Department and developed the college's Peace Studies program. ''We had a long-distance marriage,'' she said. ''And we were both traveling so much, we were just as likely to run into each other in some foreign city as anywhere else.'' ''Some . . . Have Lost Their Husbands and Children to Each Other's Men'' When asked what she felt was the most important thing to creating world peace, Dr. Boulding answered without hesitation. ''We need more women in decision-making positions, both in government and in the public sphere. Especially in the United States.'' Dr. Boulding talked of an Africa-wide peace council, an offshoot of the International Fellowship for Reconciliation, that includes groups of women in every country in Africa. ''These women are always in contact with each other,'' she said. ''Some of them are being trained to work with the elders, to point out to them the ways that exist already in their traditions to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way. ''They are saying to the elders, 'We have to sit down in a circle and talk.' These are ways that the men have always known and have forgotten. Some of these women have lost their husbands and children to each other's men. Yet they come together, to share, and to strengthen each other.'' Wherever there is genocidal conflict in Africa, Dr. Boulding said, these women are there, too, trying to end it. ''The Women's Movement has worked hard, but other countries are way ahead of us,'' Dr. Boulding says. ''And it's been proved in all peace organizations that when women are in a coordinating role, it works better. I don't think this is a genetic thing. It's cultural. Partly, I think, it's because women's culture involves a lot of listening.'' ''There is a generation of women who are full professionals coming into conflict resolution,'' Dr. Boulding said. ''This new cadre of women can change the direction of how we handle conflict. We're learning to create the governing structures that would make disarmament possible.'' A hopeful thing that's happened recently, Dr. Boulding said, is that the United Nations Security Council has finally acted upon the knowledge that women are more effective than men at this peacemaking business. ''After years of effort trying to make this happen, the U.N. have finally made it an official policy to have women on all peace projects,'' she said (see U.N. Resolution 1325: A New Landmark Initiative for World Peace). The Back-and-Forth People The second most important thing to improving efforts at peace, according to Dr. Boulding, is for us to become aware of the sheer size of the peace effort that is happening in today's world. If we knew what was actually happening – how many thousands of individuals and groups were working to create peace – this in itself, she feels, would change world consciousness. And the peace-seekers do not have an easy job. One of the big stumbling blocks, she said, is that representatives to the United Nations and other bodies do not usually have the power to sign agreements. ''Every little change requires an intensive process, back and forth. The representative goes home or across town and talks to his own country's officials, then returns to the conference table, then it's back to his own people, and back to the conference table, on and on.'' Dr. Boulding paints us a vivid picture of the huge cadre of dedicated civil servants spending their lives in taxis, on buses and airplanes, or walking – from country to country, city to city, hotel to hotel, room to room – all trying to bring peace to our planet. ''The only reason any positive change ever comes about is because of these thousands of people, going back and forth, back and forth. And the only way they can do this is that they have a Vision.'' This, Then, Is the Untold Story Until we ourselves at the Spirit of Ma'at began to research the world's efforts to create peace, we had no inkling of the sheer size of the peace movement. The subject of peace has become bigger than the subject of war – the reason it doesn't seem so is that it's not reported in the media. The great, untold story of the peace movement is how many people and organizations are involved in it. Not only people, but newsletters, conferences, councils, committees, elderly groups, youth groups, celebrities, art, music, websites. The untold story is the sheer weight of the numbers of those who have the vision of a world without war. What we need, Elise Boulding insists, is more awareness of what's going on. Identify the players. Realize the expenditures of energy.
Dr. Boulding concluded by describing a Buddhist worship service that she attended during the holidays. ''I could see the whole room – several thousand people. And I was thinking, 'These are my neighbors, and I never see them.' We were chanting together, lifted in the Spirit together, to a new place. ''I remember reading in the New York Times about biomusic – how human beings did not invent music, every living thing makes music. ''I love to think,'' she said, ''of all the world singing. Every living thing.''
Books by Elise Boulding, PhD:

The Future: Images & Prophecies, Sage Publications, Incorporated(1994) [with Kenneth Boulding]; One Small Plot of Heaven: Reflections on Family Life by a Quaker Sociologist, Pendle Hill Publications(1993); New Agendas for Peace Research: Conflict & Security Reexamined, Rienner, Lynne Publishers, Incorporated(1992); Building a Global Civic Culture: Education for an Independent World, Syracuse University Press(1990), Peace & Conflict Resolution (Paperback) Series; Women: The Fifth World, Foreign Policy Association(1980), Headline Series; Children's Rights & the Wheel of Life, Transaction Publishers(1980); The Family As a Way into the Future, Pendle Hill Publications(1978); The Underside of History: A View of Women Through Time, Sage Publications, Incorporated(1992), Westview Press(1976), Westview Press(1977); Born Remembering, Pendle Hill Publications(1975); Children & Solitude, Pendle Hill Publications(1962).


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