Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rob Breszny's Newsletter

(Photo courtesy of the lovely air-ono)
22ND-CENTURY PRONOIA THERAPY Part One Experiments and exercises in becoming a bewilderingly enlightened, ecstatically grateful, unselfishly proud Master of Fiendishly Benevolent Tricks 1. Philosopher Robert Anton Wilson has proposed that the single greatest contribution to world peace would come from there being six billion different religions--a unique spiritual path for each person on the planet. The Beauty and Truth Laboratory urges you to get started on doing your part to make this happen. What will your religion be called? What rituals will you perform? Write down your three core tenets. 2. You'll also need a new name for the Creator. "God" and "Goddess" have been so overused and abused that most of us are numb to them. And given the spiritual opportunities that will open up for you as you explore pronoia, you can't afford to have an impaired sensitivity towards the Great Mystery. Here's an idea to stimulate your search: The Russian word for God is "Bog." The Basques call the Supreme Being "Jingo." To purge your psychic dockets of built-up fixations about deity, you might try singing improvisational prayers to "Jingo Bog." Here are a few other fresh names to inspire you: Blooming HaHa Wild Divine Whirl-Zap-Gush Sublime Cackler Chthonic Riddler 3. Since ancient times, China has hosted three religions: Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. The typical Chinese person has cobbled together a mélange of beliefs gathered from all three. This is different from the Western way, which is to be faithful to one religion or another, never mixing and matching. But that's changing in certain enclaves in North America, where growing numbers of seekers are adopting the Chinese approach. They borrow elements from a variety of spiritual traditions to create a personalized path. Religious historians call this syncretism. As you meditate on conjuring up your own unique mode of worship, think of the good parts you'd like to steal from other religions. 4. Most religions designate a special class of people--priests, rabbis, ayatollahs--to oversee official communications with the Source. This has led to a prevailing assumption, even among those who don't follow an established faith, that we can't initiate a divine conversation without the aid of a professional class of trained mediators. Among some sects of the ancient gnostics, in contrast, everyone was regarded as a potential prophet who could experience epiphanies worthy of becoming part of the ever-evolving doctrine. As you create your own spiritual path, experiment with this approach. What might you do to eliminate the middleman and commune directly with the Source? 5. The chorus of an old Depeche Mode song goes like this: "I don't want to start/ Any blasphemous rumors/ But I think that God's/ Got a sick sense of humor/ And when I die/ I expect to find him laughing." I have a grudging respect for these lyrics. In an age when God has been co-opted by intolerant fundamentalists and mirthless sentimentalists, I appreciate any artist who suggests there's more to the Infinite Spirit than the one-dimensional prig described in the Bible or Koran. On the other hand, Depeche Mode's notion of the Blooming HaHa is also disinformation. It's as much a hostage to pop culture's knee-jerk nihilism as the right-wing bigots' God is to their monumental hatreds. One thing I know for sure about the Supreme Being is that while she does have a complicated sense of humor, it's not cruel or vengeful. Your assignment: Pray to be granted a healing sample of her comedic genius--a funny, shocking miracle that will free you of any tendencies you have to believe the age-old lies about her. 6. Will there be prayer in your new religion? If so, we suggest that you avoid the body language traditionally used by Christians in their worship. The gesture of clasping one's hands together originated long ago as an imitation of being shackled; it was thought to be the proper way to express submission to divine power. The prayers you make, however, may be imbued as much with reverent exuberance or ecstatic gratitude as somber submissiveness. An example of a more apt gesture is to spread your arms as wide and high as they'll go, as if you're hugging the sky. Any other ideas? 7. What if the Creator is like Rainer Maria Rilke's God, "like a webbing made of a hundred roots, that drink in silence"? What if the Source of All Life inhabits both the dark and the light, heals with strange splendor as much as with sweet insight, is hermaphroditic and omnisexual? What if the Source loves to give you riddles that push you past the boundaries of your understanding, forcing you to deepen your perceptions and change the ways you think about everything? Close your eyes and imagine you can sense the presence of this tender, marvelous, difficult, entertaining intelligence. 8. At a candy store one Easter season, I heard a philosophical debate about Jesus-themed confections. "It's just not right to eat a symbol of God," one woman said as she gazed at a chocolate Christ on the cross. A man agreed: "It's sacrilegious. An abomination." An employee overheard and jumped in. "I'll ask my boss to take that stuff off the shelf," she clucked. I was tempted to say what I was thinking: "Actually, the holiest ritual of Christian worship involves eating Christ's body and blood." But I held my tongue; I wasn't in the mood for a brouhaha. Where do you stand on this issue? Do you or do you not want to eat a symbolic embodiment of your deity? If you do, what food will you choose? 9.At one point in James Michener's novel *Hawaii,* a native Hawaiian tells ignorant missionaries, "You cannot speak to the gods with your clothes on." Whereupon he strips and prepares for prayer. Test this theory. Find out if your communion with the Divine Wow improves when you're naked. 10. A few Christian sects now enjoy a new addition to their once-staid church services: holy laughter. Parishioners become so excited while worshiping that they erupt in uncontrollable glee. Some crack up so profoundly that they fall on the floor and flop around like breakdancers. Others repeatedly leap into the air as if on pogo sticks, or wobble and zigzag as if trying to dance while drunk. 11. In Judeo-Christian cultures, many people associate the sky with the masculine form of God. According to this bias, the Supreme Father rules us all from on high--up, away, far from here. But if you were an ancient Egyptian, the sky was the goddess Nuit, her body its very substance. She was a loving mother whose tender touch could be felt with each new breath. For one day, act as if you and the sky goddess are in constant contact. ++++++++++++++++++++++++ To read other news and features from Rob's book, go here: You can buy the book here: AMAZON BARNES & NOBLE

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Anti-war protesters spray paint Capitol building

by Jackie Kucinich Anti-war protesters were allowed to spray paint on part of the west front steps of the United States Capitol building after police were ordered to break their security line by their leadership, two sources told The Hill. According to the sources, police officers were livid when they were told to fall back by U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Phillip Morse andDeputy Chief Daniel Nichols. "They were the commanders on the scene," one source said, who requested anonymity. "It was disgusting." After police ceded the stairs, located on the lower west front of the Capitol, the building was locked down, the source added. A second source who witnessed the incident said that the police had the crowd stopped at Third Street, but were told to bring the police line in front of the Capitol. Approximately 300 protesters were allowed to take the steps and began to spray paint "anarchist symbols" and phrase such as "Our capitol building" and "you can’t stop us" around the area, the source said. Morse responded to these claims in an e-mail Sunday afternoon explaining that the protesters were seeking confrontation with the police. "While there were minor instances of spray painting of pavement by a splinter group of Anarchists who were seeking a confrontation with the police, their attempts to breach into secure areas and rush the doors of the Capitol were thwarted," Morse said. "The graffiti was easily removed by the dedicated [Architect of the Capitol] staff, some of whom responded on their day off to quickly clean the area." He added, "It is the USCP's duty and responsibility to protect the Capitol complex, staff and public while allowing the public to exercise their First Amendment rights … at the end of the day, both occurred without injury to protestors or officers." Yet, the sources who talked to The Hill were furious that protesters were not stopped before reaching the Capitol. "To get that close to the Capitol building, that is ridiculous," the second source said. "[Police] were told not to arrest anyone." The second source added that police had to stand by and watch as protesters posed in front of their graffiti. Tens of thousands of people rallied on the Mall and the Capitol complex Saturday in protest of the increased troop deployments and the war in Iraq.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Attorneys for jailed blogger file motion for his release

*Video blogger Josh Wolf's attorneys argued in a new motion this week that Wolf should be released from federal prison since there is "no substantial likelihood" that the confinement will influence him to testify before a grand jury.* Jan. 25, 2007 Attorneys for Josh Wolf, the California video blogger and self-proclaimed anarchist who has spent more than 150 days in federal prison for contempt of court, have filed a new motion for his release at the trial court level. The motion asserts that Wolf, who was held in contempt of court last year for refusing to respond to federal grand jury subpoena, should no longer be held in prison since "further incarceration will not compel him to comply with the subpoena." Wolf was first jailed for contempt of court Aug. 1 after refusing to testify and declining to turn over a videotape federal officials think might contain footage of crimes committed at a July 2005 anarchist rally. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Wolf. Wolf's lawyers appealed the order of contempt and he was granted bail Aug. 31 pending a decision by a panel of appeals court judges. The panel affirmed the contempt order Sept. 8, and Wolf returned to prison later that month. A motion for a hearing in front of the full appeals court was denied. If Wolf remains behind bars until Feb. 6, he will have spent more time in prison for contempt of court than Vanessa Leggett, the author/journalist who currently holds the dubious record of being the longest-jailed journalist for contempt of court in recent years. "Despite his tenure in jail, his resolve is stronger than ever," his attorneys wrote in this most recent motion. "Wolf continues to believe, just as he did six months ago, and indeed a year and a half ago, that journalists should not serve as investigative tools for criminal investigations." Since Wolf has refused to testify after more than five months in prison, his attorneys argue, it is clear that further confinement will not convince him to do otherwise. In the filing, the attorneys also emphasize that all since all underlying criminal charges relating to the rally in question have been dismissed, "the need for Wolf's testimony has diminished." According to James Wheaton, one of Wolf's attorneys and senior counsel at the First Amendment Project, U.S. District Judge William Alsup could choose to release Wolf based only on these filings. However, Wolf's attorneys have requested an evidentiary hearing and an oral argument on the issues as well. Although it is unclear when any hearing might take place, Wheaton said that Alsup has "issued an order requesting any response to our motions be filed by the government by Monday," he said. "We take this as a sign that judge is viewing this seriously." (In re Grand Jury Subpoena; Media Counsel: Martin Garbus, Davis & Gilbert, New York; Amicus Counsel: Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles) -- ES * Free at Last, By Martin Kuz J, the 24th Blogger Josh Wolf has earned status as a living First Amendment martyr by cooling his sideburns in a federal prison for the past six months. His "crime": He refuses to give authorities the unedited version of the video he shot during an anarchist rally in the Mission District in July 2005, so a judge has held him in contempt of court. Meanwhile, Gabe Meyers, a featured player in the portion of the video Wolf posted on, can finally exhale — his own legal ordeal quietly ended earlier this month. Cops cuffed Meyers the night of the march on charges of inciting a crowd, rioting, and resisting arrest. The bust occurred after a squad car rolled up on a splinter group of protesters near 22nd and Mission streets. Police accused Meyers of throwing a large Styrofoam sign under the wheels to force the vehicle to stop. Meyers insists he dropped the sign in fear and ran as the car — traveling 30 mph, he estimates — barreled toward the crowd. After a short foot chase, an officer tackled Meyers and held him on the ground for several minutes, then placed him in a chokehold. Protesters yelled at the cop to release Meyers; authorities claimed the activist's gasped pleas for help were an attempt to foment unrest among bystanders. Meyers spent 10 days behind bars before he could post bail, and, over the next 18 months, made some three dozen court appearances. He refused to plead guilty to lesser charges, confident that eyewitness accounts, photos snapped by onlookers, and Wolf's video — which shows the cop pinning Meyers like a rodeo calf — would prove his innocence. Two weeks ago, county prosecutors blinked, asking a Superior Court judge to toss the case against Meyers. (Neither the District Attorney's Office nor the SFPD responded to requests for comment.) "They knew the charges were utterly ridiculous," the 29-year-old Oakland resident says. "They just wanted to drag this thing out." During the protracted legal struggle, Meyers missed so much time from his job working with the disabled that he's now unemployed. But he's angrier over Wolf's incarceration. The feds say they want to view the blogger's raw protest footage in hopes of identifying who injured a cop that night. Meyers sees another motive: "They're trying to limit freedom of the press."

a r t - by artists

by Nobody by George Leutz

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Romantic Movement, Phil Lamantia

[Thanks to Cyclopian for bringing Phil] to Nancy

The boat tilts on your image on the waves between a fire of foam and the flower of moon rays, these the flags of your dreaming lips. I'm watching Venus on the ogre sky and a continent in cocoons.

Soon all the butterflies of desire shall manifest o prescience of life becoming poetic... and poetry the incense of the dream. A street and a forest interchange their clothing, that tree of telephones, this television of nuts and berries - the air edible music.

King Analogue

Queen Image

Prince Liberty...

... Garden of imperious images, life is a poem someday to be lived: the feast of our hearts on fire, the nerves supplying spice, blood coursing a glow of insects, our eyes the dahlias of torrential ignition.

The whisper of the inter-voice to wrap you in the mantle of marvelous power, with the secret protection of the forest that falls asleep in fire whose ores become transmined only for love - all your steps will lead to the inner sanctum none but you behold, your shadow putting on the body of metaphoric light.

The stone I have tossed into the air of chance shall come to you one great day and exfoliate the original scarab, the carbuncle of delights, the pomegranate inviolate, the sonorous handkerchief of the Comte de Saint-Germaine, all the reinvented perfumes of ancient Egypt, the map of the earth in the Age of Libra when the air shall distribute our foods, the sempiternal spectrum of sundown at Segovia (the stork carrying the golden egg from the Templar's tower) Chief Seattle's lost medicine pouch, our simultaneous presence in all the capitals of Europe while traveling Asia and listening to the million-throated choir of tropical birds, your lost candlewax empire, a madrone forest to live inside of, which we can wrap in a set of "secret bags" and open on our wanderlust, the turbulent cry beneath the oceans, the extinct bird calls in a magic vessel Christian Rosenkreutz dropped on his way out of the Damcar, beads of coral dissolving the last motors, the redolent eyes of the first born seers, the key to the bank of sanity, the ship of honey at the height of storms through which we sail to new islands rising from the sunken continents and the bridge between sleep and waking we will traverse in constant possession of "the great secret" become transparent as a tear drop - with no other work but the genius of present life.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

D.C. Pro Peace Rally Live!

In DC? Looking for some fun with 1,000 close friends?

[Thanks to ToniD for this link] by Kagro X

The people who brought you this:

... are looking to do it again.

The organizers of the San Francisco "Impeach at the Beach" event are looking to recreate their feat on the Mall tomorrow, with the Capitol in the background.

If you're in DC and want to take a load off and maybe make the news while you're at it, then:

Show up on the sidewalk on the MONUMENT side of 14th Street, at the Mall, no later than 11:50 a.m..

More detail from an earlier diary by dsb:

On Saturday, Jan 27, we are going to repeat the event here in Washington on the National Mall at noon. Please come and be part of this historic event -- meet at 11:50 a.m. just east of the Washington Monument – specifically, on the sidewalk on the Monument side of 14th Street. A photographer at the top of the Washington Monument will take a picture of 1,000 of us lying down in the grass, spelling out "IMPEACH!" with the Capital Dome in the background. Please come – bring anyone and everyone you can.

We need 1,000 people to fill the lettering, but can accommodate thousands more. It will be a bang-bang affair –- no more than 15 minutes from start to finish. If we pull this off, it will be huge (possibly NY Times, Washington Post, etc...) and it will be historic. Don’t be late -- arrive by 11:50 a.m., look for volunteers handing out flyers with directions, follow the flyer’s directions and also the voice commands of the nearby volunteers. Stay off the grass, keep to the sidewalk, until the ropes that outline the lettering are in place. At 12 o’clock sharp, if all goes as planned, you will see a volunteer in the middle of the crowd raise a green flag. Walk slowly please into the lettering that you will see outlined in ropes and lie down (it’s a good idea, but not necessary, to bring a small tarp or blanket to lie down on), and wait until you see the red flag indicating that the photographers up in the Monument have gotten what they need, and that the event is over.

The guy said he needed to get 1,000 people together overnight. And I was like, "Hey, I know where I can find 1,000 people..."

What the hell, eh? Rest your weary feet, and get your picture taken for free.

InterTubes, represent!

Helping Lara Logan

Sometimes it’s hard to swim in the mainstream.

There has been much heated debate over the past few years over media coverage of the Iraq War. The Bush administration has repeatedly attacked the ‘liberal bias’ of the mainstream news industry, claiming that it doesn’t report enough of the “good news” from Iraq, and focuses instead on the sensational and violent.

Those critical of the war and the occupation say just the opposite; that the mainstream news media has ignored much of the ‘bad news’ coming out of Iraq, leaving Americans with an impression of the war based more on a desire to follow the official White House narrative than facts on the ground. MediaChannel has long been in the latter camp, sponsoring (for example) last year’s ‘Show Us the War’ project, which published video pieces showing an Iraq overrun with violence and chaos –and an administration that seemed more intent on faith and ’spin’ than reality. We at MediaChannel believe that an informed citizenry is necessary to keep our democracy viable, and we have been strong advocates of the call for all news outlets–mainstream or independent–to produce and distribute accurate stories on the situation in Iraq.

Which brings us to Lara Logan.

One would assume that Ms. Logan, as CBS chief foreign correspondent, has a fair amount of influence as to what stories she gets to cover, and that most of her important stories, once produced and delivered, will be broadcast. But when the story comes out of the mean streets of Baghdad, and doesn’t fit the officially-sanctioned narrative of Iraqis and US soldiers working arm in arm to help protect thankful Iraqi citizens, even chief foreign correspondents sometimes need to ask for help in getting it seen. Imagine our surprise recently when–over the digital transom–we received a copy of an email from a frustrated Lara Logan (see below)

In it, Logan asks for help in getting attention to what she calls “a story that is largely being ignored even though this istakingplace everysingle [sic] day in Baghdad, two blocks from where our office is located.”

The segment in question–”Battle for Haifa Street”–is a piece of first-rate journalism but one that only appears on the CBS News website–and has never been broadcast. It is a gritty, realistic look at life on the very mean streets of Baghdad, and includes interviews with civilians who complain that the US military presence is only making their lives worse and the situation more deadly.

“They told us they would bring democracy, they promised life would be better than it was under Saddam,” one told Logan. “But they brought us nothing but death and killing. They brought mass destruction to Baghdad.”

Several bodies are shown in the two- minute segment–”some with obvious signs of torture,” as Logan points out. She also notes that her crew had to flee for their lives when they we were warned of an impending attack. While fleeing, another civilian was killed before their eyes.

Logan’s email, with the one-word subject line of ‘help’, was sent to friends and colleagues imploring them to lobby CBS to highlight that people are interested in seeing the piece. In it, Logan argues that the story is “not too gruesome to air, but rather too important to ignore… It should be seen. And people should know about this.”

We agree. And we’d like to help Ms. Logan and CBS get the piece seen, although that task would be made immeasurably easier if CBS News chief Sean McManus simply made the decision to broadcast it.

Ms. Logan, who is embedded with US forces in Iraq, was unavailable for comment. But CBS News spokeswoman Sandy Genelius told us that the segment in question was not broadcast but only run on the web because “the Executive Producer of the Evening News thought some of the images in it were a bit strong­ plus on that day the program was already packed with other Iraq news.”

Regarding Logan’s unusual email plea for “help” from friends and colleagues, Genelius said she and other CBS executives were unaware of its existence until contacted by MediaChannel. About Logan’s contention that the segment is “not too gruesome to air, but rather too important to ignore,” Genelius said “There are discussions and even disagreements everyday about what goes on air,” and noted that “One of the characteristics that makes Lara so special is her passion for her job. Of course she wants her pieces to be broadcast!”

In conclusion, Genelius added that “CBS News has aired countless hours of coverage about Iraq. It is the single most important part of our news coverage, and I hope that people will look at the sum total of what we have put on the air.”

On an average night, eight million people watch the broadcast version of the CBS Evening News. CBS company policy prohibits the disclosure of “internal analytics,” so no figures are available for the number of viewers Logan’s web-only segment has had–but it is undoubtedly far less.

See for yourself what the controversy is all about. You can watch the video here (RealPlayer required):

And don’t forget to let CBS know what you think about this outstanding example of video journalism–and help Lara Logan by telling CBS what you think about them keeping those images of the battle for Haifa Street–no matter how strong, no matter how gruesome–far from the eyes of their prime-time audience.


From: lara logan Subject: help

The story below only appeared on our CBS website and was not aired on CBS. It is a story that is largely being ignored, even though this istakingplace verysingle day in central Baghdad, two blocks from where our office is located.

Our crew had to be pulled out because we got a call saying they were about to be killed, and on their way out, a civilian man was shot dead in front of them as they ran.

I would be very grateful if any of you have a chance to watch this story and pass the link on to as many people you know as possible. It should be seen. And people should know about this.

If anyone has time to send a comment to CBS – about the story – not about my request, then that would help highlight that people are interested and this is not too gruesome to air, but rather too important to ignore.

Many, many thanks. Video

Friday, January 26, 2007

You will remember the smell of autumn air... , by Penelope

Jane Roberts had an ESP class in her home every Tuesday night for a number of years, and occasionally Seth would make an appearance. In Eastern religions and current New Age thought, we're supposed to crave 'ascending' and becoming part of Nirvana and losing our desires and individuality completely. That idea has always terrified me!! I knew I was supposed to really want this end of the ego into blissful nothingness, but it never quite appealed to me...that's why I love this quote from Seth--it's the most comforting thing I've ever read. Seth (ESP Class, 5-18-71): "I have tried to explain the God concept in many ways, using different vocabularies, speaking very simply; and yet because of the subject matter I see that it is not understood. You must also know that what I am telling you cannot be translated into words, and so you are getting at best a second-hand translation. Words cannot convey the message but working from the words you can obtain a portion of the reality behind them. "Now each of you is a part of All That Is, highly individual and unique, like no other, and that like no other-ness will never be taken from you. You will not melt into some great golden bliss in which your characteristics will disappear. You will not be gobbled by a super-god. On the other hand you will continue to exist, you will continue to be responsible for the way in which you use energy, you will expand in ways now impossible for you to understand. You will learn to command energy of which you now do not know. You will realize that you are more than you realize that you are now, but you will not lose the state of which you are now aware, and regardless of the fact of reincarnation and regardless of probable selves the unique self that you now call yourself has eternal validity even though the memories that you cannot now consciously recall will be yours in their entirety; and physical life in its reincarnational self is not some chaos thrust upon you, some evil from which you must shortly hope to escape. It is a particular reality in which you have chosen to know your existence, in which you have chosen to develop yourself, and it is indeed a system, again, like no other system, a unique and dear and beloved portion of reality in which you have decided to flourish for a while. And in denying it, again, you deny the reality of experience. "In other terms, you will leave this system for others, but there will be a portion of you yet, no matter how many eons pass, that remembers a spring evening and a smell of autumn air; and those things will always be with you when you want them. You make your own flesh and your own world as now en mass you form the evening. These are creations of yours and of your kind. They are not prisons to be escaped from."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Illusions - The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah", by Richard Bach - 1977

Quotations From The Messiah's Handbook ~ "Reminders for the Advanced Soul" Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that. Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place. You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them. You're always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past. Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers. Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah. Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully. The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change. Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years. The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof. There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts. Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect. Then be sure of one thing: The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have. The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't. A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons. You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however. Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours. If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats. The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages. Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you. In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice. The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities." The truth you speak has no past and no future. It is, and that's all it needs to be. Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind. Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution it not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy. Everything above may be wrong!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Are demons and devils real? In my view, it doesn't matter whether or not they exist in an objective or literal sense. The point is that we are all plagued by split-off, unintegrated portions of our own and other people's psyches. They behave exactly as if they were diabolical entities--demons, djinns, dybbuks, and devils--working at cross-purposes to our conscious desires. In dealing with their hassling interventions, I endorse the approach described by Paul Foster Case in his book *The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages.* There he suggested that mirth is the best way to beat the devil. "Laughter is prophylactic," he wrote. "It purifies subconsciousness and dissolves mental complexes. In a hymn to the sun god Ra we read, 'Thy priests go forth at dawn, washing their hearts with laughter.' This is a prescription we may all follow to advantage." My friend and teacher, Vimala Nostradamus, echoes Case. "The best way to neutralize the devil is to laugh at him," she says. "Satan's most effective recruiting technique is to get people to take themselves too seriously." To exemplify her argument, she once told her daughter in my presence about a foolproof way to avoid being hassled if you're a woman walking by a crew of construction workers: "Pick your nose." The novels of Tom Robbins provide spiritual guidance about dealing with diabolical spirits, both those that originate within us and those that come from without. Here's a sample tip from his *Jitterbug Perfume*: "Play-- more than piety, more than charity or vigilance--is what allows human beings to transcend evil." We regret to report that further help on this matter is not available from the holy books of the world's major religions. None of their authors ever figured out that an excellent weapon against the fragmented, shadowy portions of our psyches is humor, tomfoolery, and laughter. This ignorance may be the greatest mystery in history. But Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, and Jainism aren't the only spiritual traditions that have failed to take advantage of evil's primary weakness. The esoteric spiritual paths of the West, including Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, and alchemy, also suffer from an inexplicable lack of jokes and fun at the heart of their practice. Shamanism, paganism, yoga, and tantra are, for the most part, similarly bereft. There are rare exceptions. The Sufis have cracked a few funny stories down through the ages. The Fourth Way teacher, George Gurdjieff, had a sense of humor that he used pedagogically. And 20th-century America spawned two authentically comic religions, Discordianism and the Church of the Subgenius. Unfortunately, their combined flocks are smaller than the crowds drawn by any popular evangelical preacher in one night of mean-spirited pontificating.

Tell the Corp Media to Go Fuck Themselves....then tell them to put Sam Seder back on the air! Free Sam Seder post from Eschaton on 24 January 2007 10:39:00 AM. © Eschaton WWRL pulled Sam Seder off the air in NYC because he said mean things about Armstrong Williams. New Yorkers, you know what to do... UPDATE Call WWRL (over and over again) tell them you want the sam sedershow! office: 212-631-0800 listener call-in line: 212-868-0975 send them a letter... WWRL 333 Seventh Avenue, 14th Floor New York, NY 10001 fax 212-239-7203. or email Read The Full Article: * WWRL dumps Sam Seder radio show Here we go again...WWRL, the Air America radio affiliate in NYC is playing games again... On Tuesday, Sam Seder criticized Armstrong Williams who mischaracterized Senator Jim Webb's brushup with President Bush on his morning radio and this morning, WWRL appears to have retailiated by dumping The Sam Seder show and replacing him with non AAR radio personality Stephanie Miller. Update - whatever WWRL is doing today, it appears limited to Sam Seder, so far.

~Information & Knowledge~

The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country. ~John Adams * Pramana (IAST Pramāņa) (sources of knowledge, Sanskrit) is an epistemological term in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. Pramana forms one part of a tripuţi (trio) concerning Pramā (the correct knowledge of any object arrived at by thorough reasoning, Sanskrit), namely, 1. Pramātŗ, the subject, the knower 2. Pramāņa, the means of obtaining the knowledge 3. Prameya, the object, the knowable * Hypertext as a means for knowledge acquisition ABSTRACT The most time consuming portion of constructing an expert system is the knowledge acquisition phase. A general knowledge acquisition tool designed around a hypertext concept could allow a knowledge engineer to list important concepts, create nodes attached to these concepts which explain their relevance, connect related concepts by linking their nodes, use graphics to explain difficult concepts, and even critique information entered into the system previously. In such a system, knowledge acquisition would not be confined to linear input of information. The knowledge engineer could use the hypertext system to compile knowledge gathered from an expert after interviewing, or s/he could enter the knowledge into the system as the expert sits there telling her/him what information to encode. The advantage of a hypertext knowledge acquisition tool is that all knowledge relevant to the expert system would be centralized into a hypertext knowledge base which the expert, or experts, can peruse and verify before the knowledge is encoded into a representation scheme. Then when the knowledge engineer does transfer the knowledge into a scheme suitable for use by an expert system, s/he can be sure that the knowledge is complete, sufficient, necessary, and correct. * KNOWLEDGE STRATEGIES: BALANCING ENDS, WAYS, AND MEANS IN THE INFORMATION AGE by Lieutenant Colonel William R. Fast, United States Army Means. Knowledge as a resource is not included in the current resource paradigm of manpower, materiel, money, forces, and logistics. Knowledge, the "ammunition" of information war, is inexhaustible. Once produced (at a cost), knowledge can be used repeatedly -- it will not disappear. In fact, it only increases! Digital knowledge can be copied and never missed. It can be given away but still kept. Digital knowledge can be distributed instantly. It is non-linear; it defies the theory of economy of scale. Knowledge is the key element of wealth in the information age. Compared with industrial age manufacturing, information-based industries can produce more with fewer resources, less energy, and less labor. Production runs of one are possible and even economical with intellectual capital (knowledge) encoded in software and used by smart machines. The result is an explosion of personalized products and services. Moreover, knowledge to inform people, coded as digital bits, can be turned into audio, video, or even graphics -- it is "mediumless." Manpower, materiel, and forces, on the other hand, possess none of these characteristics. Knowledge as a resource is often cheaper than materiel. It uses limited manpower or forces and may require little or no logistics. Thus the information age opens the doors to the resource poor. Knowledge diffuses and redistributes power to the weaker actors. It redraws boundaries and time and space horizons. It enables organizations to open up. When it comes to balancing means with ends and ways, knowledge as a resource offers an economical solution. In sum, it is difficult to apply the ends, ways, and means paradigm of strategy to information age security. Unlike traditional means, knowledge is relatively cheap and easy to balance with ends and ways. Unlike conventional ways, cyberwar defies the military principle of mass. And its primary objectives are control and paralysis. Unlike the clearly articulated ends of Cold War security strategies, national objectives in a globally networked information age are more difficult to define and thus to achieve. Clearly, we need a new framework for formulating information age knowledge strategies. * While one may agree that investment of intellectual capital must be safeguarded, however, one must distinguish this issue from the sharing or creation of knowledge. As argued elsewhere (Malhotra 1997), knowledge is created by the humans when they interact with information. "To conceive of knowledge as a collection of information seems to rob the concept of all of its life... Knowledge resides in the user and not in the collection. It is how the user reacts to a collection of information that matters." Churchman (1971, p. 10). In this context, most kinds of 'information products' (intellectual property) are appropriated by the users who go about creating and sharing knowledge using such products. Given the premise of the non-linear, discontinuously changing environment, the only assurance against 'hardwiring of assumptions' is through dialog that encourages surfacing of assumptions... that makes individual knowledge explicit... allows social appropriation of individual knowledge... and social interaction that translates explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge of the various members of the 'community of practice.' * What is the Knowledge Lab? The Knowledge Lab is an attempt to provide a collective space for anti-capitalist reflection. It is located at the margin of the university, an institution essentially geared towards the production of knowledge as a resource for corporate interest and as justification for particular constellations of power relations. The Knowledge Lab is hence also an attempt to claim back some of the university's space, resources and know-how from the military-industrial complex and make them available for people concerned about and working against the status quo of unceasing commodification, exploitation, war, and biospherical destruction. * Jainism: The Five means of knowledge by Jayaram V According to Jainism there are five ways in which the jivas obtain knowledge of the things and the world in which they live. Of them the first three are imperfect means of knowledge and prone to error, while the last two are perfect means of knowledge and convey the truth without error. These five means or instruments of knowledge are explained below: 1. Mati: Matignana is the knowledge that you gain through your mind, your senses, your memory, your remembrance, your cognition, and your deductive reasoning. It is something which you know with the help of your mind and its various faculties. 2. Sruthi: When you learn something from other sources, other people or beings, through your observation of signs, symbols or words, we call it sruthignana or the knowledge of sruthi or hearing. This type of knowledge is gained through association, attention, understanding and naya or varied interpretations of the meaning of things. Avadhi: You gain this type of knowledge not through any physical means such as the senses or the mind, but through your psychic abilities, or through your intuitive awareness, by overcoming the limitations of time and space. It is beyond the boundaries of your ordinary awareness and faculties and is not generally available to every one. Mahaparyaya: This knowledge is gained through the reading of others' minds and thoughts. It is the knowledge of others that you gain through some extraordinary process like telepathy or mind reading. Kevala: It is the highest knowledge that you gain when you transcend your ordinary self and become a Jina or Kevalin. It is knowledge itself that does not require any outward means for its awareness. It is always there, unattached, unlimited, and without any constraint, in the consciousness of the enlightened Jina. It cannot be described to others satisfaction, but can be experienced when the soul becomes liberated from earthly bondage. As we can see, the first two are indirect means of knowledge since we have to depend upon some external source to know things, while the other three are direct, where you do not have to depend upon some external source to know about things.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Anarchism Without Adjectives: From Yesterday To Today

by Floreal Castilla Fernando Tarrida del Mármol (1861-1915), was a 19th-century Spanish-Cuban anarchist intellectual who wrote about libertarian tactics in a letter sent to "La Révolte", a French anarchist journal. In it, he states: "I would like to explain more clearly the idea that I have of the revolutionary tactics of French anarchists; therefore, being unable to write a series of articles as should be necessary, I send this letter to you, hoping you will extract what you believe to be worthy of publication in it. Revolutionary decisiveness has never been lacking in the French character, and anarchists have demonstrated, on an infinite number of circumstances, that they do not lack propagandists and revolutionaries. The number of militants is quite large but - with its great thinkers, determined propagandists and adept enthusiasts - France, in truth, is the country where the fewest important actions for the good of Anarchy take place. This makes me think. This is why I have said that I do not believe your revolutionary tactics to be sound. Nothing fundamental divides the French anarchists from the Spanish anarchists but nevertheless we are, in effect, at a great distance from each other. We all accept Anarchy as the integration of all liberties and its only guarantee as the impulse and sum of human well-being. No more laws nor repression; spontaneous, natural development in all actions. Neither superior nor inferior, neither governors nor governed. The cancellation of all distinction of rank; only conscious beings that look for each other, attract each other, discuss with each other, resolve together, produce together, love each other, without any other aim than the well-being of all. This is how we all conceive Anarchy, how we all conceive the society of the future; and it is for the accomplishment of this idea that we all work. Where, then, are the differences? In my opinion, enraptured by contemplation of the ideal, you have drawn up a line of ideal conduct, an unproductive puritanism in which you squander a good deal of your forces, forces that could destroy the strongest organisms and that, thus badly used, produce nothing. You forget that you are not surrounded by free beings, jealous of their freedom and their dignity, but by slaves who hope for release. You forget that our enemies are organized and every day seek to grow stronger in order that their reign may continue. You forget, in short, that even those that work for good live in the present social disorganization and are full of vices and prejudices. From all this it can be deduced that you accept absolute freedom and expect it all to come from individual initiative, taken to the level that no pact or agreement can be possible. No agreements, no meetings at which decisions are made: what is important and essential is only that each one does as he pleases. The result? Someone would like to do something good but lacks the means to join up with others who think as he does, in order to carry out their initiative, to listen to their advice and accept their assistance; he is forced to do it all alone, or not at all. Creating commissions for administrative tasks, fixing dues so as to be able to face certain needs, is an imposition. And this way, if a comrade or a group wants to get together with all the other anarchists in France or throughout the world for such-and-such an initiative, they will not have the means to do it and must resign themselves to the idea. Everything that is not The Social Revolution is a triviality. But should it not matter to anarchists that wages become even more insufficient, that the working day is being extended, that workers in the factories are insulted or that women are prostituting themselves for the bosses? While the bourgeois regime lasts those things will always happen, and we need only worry ourselves about the final goal. But in the meanwhile, the masses of proletarians who suffer and who do not believe in the coming liberation, do not listen to the anarchists. If I were to continue along these lines, there would be countless examples, each one with the same result: impotence. Not because they lack anything, but because they are scattered, with no link between them. In Spain we have followed a completely different tactic. Certainly, for you it will be a heresy worthy of excommunication at the highest level, a deceptive practice that must be separated from the anarchist field of action; but nevertheless we think that only thus can we ensure our ideas penetrate the proletariat and destroy the bourgeois world. Like you, we long for the purity of the anarchist programme. There is nothing so intransigent and categorical as Ideas, and we admit no middle ground or any sort of extenuating circumstance. We have therefore tried to be as explicit as we can in our writings. Our pole star is Anarchy, the goal we seek to reach and towards which we direct our steps. But our path is blocked by all classes of obstacles and if we are to demolish them we must use the means that seem best to us. If we cannot adapt our conduct to our ideas, we let it be known, and seek to come as close as possible to the ideal. We do what a traveller would do when he wishes to go to a country with a temperate climate but who, in order to reach it, has to go through tropical and glacial zones: he would go well-furnished with furs and light clothes that he would get rid of once he arrived at his destination. It would be stupid and also ridiculous to want to fist-fight against such a well-armed enemy. Our tactics derive from what has been said. We are anarchists and we preach Anarchy without adjectives. Anarchy is an axiom and the economic question something secondary. Some will say to us that it is because of the economic question that Anarchy is a truth; but we believe that to be anarchist means being the enemy of all authority and imposition and, by consequence, whatever system is proposed must be considered the best defence of Anarchy, not wishing to impose it on those who do not accept it. This does not mean that we ignore the economic question. On the contrary, we are pleased to discuss it, but only as a contribution to the definitive solution or solutions. Many excellent things have been said by Cabet, Saint Simon, Fourier, Robert Owen and others; but all their systems have disappeared because they wanted to lock Society up in the conceptions of their brains, despite having done much to elucidate the great question. Remember that from the moment in which you set about drawing up the general lines of the Future Society, on the one hand there arise objections and questions from one's adversaries; and on the other hand, the natural desire to produce a complete and perfect work will lead one to invent and draw up a system that, we are sure, will disappear like the others. There is a huge distance between the anarchist individualism of Spencer and other bourgeois thinkers and the individualist-socialist anarchists (I can find no other expression), as there is between Spanish collectivists from one region to another, among the English and North American mutualists, or among the libertarian communists. Kropotkin, for example, speaks to us of the "industrial town", reducing its system, or if one prefers its concept, to the coming together of small communities that produce what they want, thus making a reality, so to speak, of the biblical heaven-on-earth out of the present state of civilization. Whereas Malatesta, who is also a libertarian communist, points to the constitution of large organizations who exchange their products between them and who will increase this creative power even more, this amazing activity that is unfolded by the 19th century, purged of all injurious action. Each powerful intelligence gives its indications and creates new roads to the Future Society, winning supporters through some hypnotic power (if we can say so), suggesting these ideas to others', with everyone in general formulating their own particular plan. Let us agree then, as almost all of us in Spain have done, to call ourselves simply anarchists. In our conversations, in our conferences and our press, we do discuss economic questions, but these questions should never become the cause of division between anarchists. For our propaganda to be successful, for the conservation of the idea, we need to know each other and see each other, and for this reason we have to set up groups. In Spain these groups exist in every locality where there are anarchists and they are the driving force of the whole revolutionary movement. Anarchists do not have money, nor easy means to find it. To get around this, most of us voluntarily make a small weekly or monthly contribution, so that we can maintain the relations necessary between every member. We could maintain relations with the whole World, if other countries had an organization like ours. There is no authority in the group: one comrade is appointed to act as treasurer, another as secretary to deal with correspondence, etc. Ordinary meetings are held every week or fortnight; extraordinary meetings whenever they are necessary. In order to save on expenses and work, and also as a measure of prudence in case of persecution, a commission of relations is created on a national level. But it does not take any initiative: its members must go to their groups if they wish to make proposals. Its mission is to communicate the resolutions and proposals that are communicated to it from one group to all groups, to keep lists of contacts and provide these to any group that should ask for them, and to make direct contact with other groups. Such are the general lines of the organization that were accepted at the congress of Valencia and about which you spoke in "La Révolte". The benefits that are produced are immense - and that is what stokes the fire of anarchist ideas. But rest assured that if we reduced action to anarchist organization, we would obtain very little. We would end up transforming it into an organization of thinkers who discuss ideas and which would certainly degenerate into a society of metaphysicists debating words. And this is not unlike the situation you find yourselves in. Using your activity only to discuss the ideal, you end up debating words. The ones are called "egoists" and the others "altruists", though both want the same thing; some are called "libertarian communists" and others "individualists", but at the root they express the same ideas. We should not forget that the great mass of proletarians is forced to work an excessive number of hours, that they live in poverty and that consequently they cannot buy the books of Buchner, Darwin, Spencer, Lombroso, Max Nordau, etc., whose names they will hardly even have heard. And even if the proletarian could obtain these books, he lacks the preparatory studies in physics, chemistry, natural history and mathematics that would be necessary to understand what he is reading well. He has no time to study with method, nor is his brain exercised enough to be able to assimilate these studies. There are exceptions like the case of Esteban in "Germinal", those whose thirst for knowledge drives them to devour whatever falls into their hands, though often little or nothing is retained. Our field of action, then, lies not within these groups, but among the proletarian masses. It is in the societies of resistance where we study and we prepare our plan of struggle. These societies will exist under the bourgeois regime. Workers are not writers and care little whether there is freedom of the press; workers are not orators, and care little for the freedom to hold public meetings; they consider political liberties to be secondary things, but they all seek to improve their economic condition and they all seek to shake off the yoke of the bourgeoisie. For this reason there will be labour unions and societies of resistance even while there still exists the exploitation of one man by another. This is our place. By abandoning them, as you have done, they will become the meeting places of charlatans who speak to the workers of "scientific socialism" or practicism, possibilism, cooperation, accumulation of capital to maintain peaceful strikes, requests for aid and the support of the authorities, etc., in such a way that will send the workers to sleep and restrain their revolutionary urges. If anarchists were part of these societies, at least they would prevent the "sedators" from carrying out propaganda against us. And furthermore, if, as is the case in Spain, the anarchists are the most active members of these societies, those that carry out whatever work is needed for no reward, unlike the deceivers who exploit them, then these societies will always be on our side. In Spain it is these societies who buy large amounts of anarchist newspapers every week to distribute free of charge to their members. It is these societies who give money towards supporting our publications and aiding prisoners and others who are persecuted. We have shown by our work in these societies that we fight for the sake of our ideas. In addition, we go everywhere there are workers, and even where there are not, if we think that our presence there can be useful to the cause of Anarchy. Thus is the situation in Catalonia (and increasingly so in other regions of Spain), where there is hardly a municipality where we have not created or at least helped to create groups - be they called circles, literary society, workers' centres, etc. - which sympathize with our ideas without describing themselves as anarchist or even being really anarchist. In these places we carry out purely anarchist conferences, mixing our revolutionary work together with the various musical and literary meetings. There, seated at a coffee table, we debate, we meet every evening, or we study in the library. This is where our newspapers have their editorial offices, and where we send the newspapers we in turn receive to the reading room; and all this is freely organized and almost without expense. For example, in the Barcelona circle it is not even required to become a member; those who so wish can become members and the monthly contribution of 25 centimas is also voluntary. Of the two or three thousand workers who frequent the circle, only three hundred are members. We could say that these places are the focal point of our ideas. Nevertheless, although the government has always sought pretexts to close them down, it has never come up with anything, because they do not describe themselves as anarchist and private meetings are not held there. Nothing is done there that could not be done in any public café; but because all the active elements go there, great things often arise over a cup of coffee or a glass of cognac. We nearly forgot the cooperative societies for consumption. In almost every town of Catalonia - except Barcelona, where it is impossible due to the great distances involved and the way of life - consumption cooperatives have been created where the workers can find foodstuffs that are cheaper and of better quality than at the retailers, where none of the members considers the cooperative to be an end in itself, but a means to be taken advantage of. There are societies that make large purchases and that have credit of fifty or sixty thousand pesetas, that have been very useful in strikes, giving credit to workers. In the literary societies of the "gentlemen" (or wise men, as they are often known), they discuss socialism; two comrades then register as members (if they do not have the money, the corporation will see to it) and go to stand up for our ideas. The same happens with our press. It never leaves aside anarchist ideas; but it gives room to manifestos, statements and news which, although they may seem of little importance, serve nonetheless to allow our newspaper - and with it our ideas - to penetrate into towns or areas that know little of our ideas. These are our tactics and I believe that if they were adopted in other countries, anarchists would soon see their field of action widen. Remember that in Spain most people cannot read; but despite this, six anarchist periodicals, pamphlets, books and a great many leaflets are published. There are continually meetings and, even without any great propagandists, very important results are achieved. In Spain, the bourgeoisie is ruthless and rancorous, and will not allow one of its class to sympathize with us. When some man of position takes our side, all manner of means are unleashed against him to force him into abandoning us in such a way that he can only support us in private. On the contrary, the bourgeoisie gives him whatever he wishes, if he moves away from us. Therefore, all the work in favour of Anarchy rests on the shoulders of the manual workers, who must sacrifice their hours of rest for it. While there are a great many fine elements in France, Britain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and North America, think of the progress we could make with a change of tactics! I think I have said enough for my ideas to be understood. Yours, for the Social Revolution, Barcelona, 7th August 1890" (Translated from French to Spanish by Vladimiro Muñoz) In this memorable letter, Tarrida del Mármol successfully sets out the problem of how anarchists can become an influence on the mass movements and stop being small groups of individuals who have inherited the Bakuninist principles of the 1877 International without regressing, of course, into the "propaganda by the deed". The matter is of the utmost relevance today, at the start of the 21st century. However, it must be stressed that syndicalism today is no longer what it was at the end of the 19th century, with French revolutionary syndicalism and the period leading up to the foundation of the Spanish CNT in 1910. A series of other observations also needs to be made. The practice of "anarchist terrorism" (1880-1910) did not lead to anything and was in fact counter-productive for the anarchist movement. Then, after the defeat of Russian anarchism in the revolutionary process in the land of the Urals, an attempt was made to present the emergence of platformism (1926) as a "deviation", when it was in fact nothing less than a landmark in the organizational evolution of anarchism. In reality, platformism had already been practiced in Spain, which had produced the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) in 1923, though it can also be traced back to the syndicalist defence groups that faced the terrorism of the bosses in the 1920s. The libertarian concept of discipline or "organic responsibility", was already practiced by anarchist organizations albeit implicitly rather than explicitly: delegates adopted resolutions that the membership accepted, adopted and implemented, even when it did not agree with them. When Buenacasa tells Francisco Ascaso that his opinion differs from that of the organization, the impetuous Ascaso replies: "that's as may be, but although the organization says the opposite to me, I am the one that is right". And so "organic responsibility" came to be adopted in the Spanish CNT in Exile at a time when the development of conspiratorial activity against Francoism required it. For that reason, Gino Cerrito (b. 1922), the Italian historian, attacked the concept of "organic responsibility", stating that anarchism was not the theory of a social class but an individualist philosophy. But Cerrito was wrong. Anarchism is a philosophy that is individualist and associative at one and the same time. It is individuals who associate, and this is true even there where anarchism was an influential mass movement, as was the case with the port workers of Buenos Aires, the Dutch Provo movement, the Catalan textile workers or the Ukrainian farmers: associative individuals, that is the key to anarchism. That is why the idea of a hierarchical "party" is rejected by anarchists, because it is nothing less than a hierarchical replica of State apparatuses. In reality, the anarchist party is the confederation or federation. And it has always been so. Federations confederate, affinity groups federate and, to a great extent, the affinity group is a federation of individuals as well as the local union federation is an association of unions. For the anarchist organization, the federal principle replaces the executive principle. But treatment of the legislative principle is more delicate. One assumes that, in groupings where there are natural inequalities of whatever origin, anarchists accept the principle of the majority, as in the unions for example. But what distinguishes platformism is that while the legislative principle is not adopted within the anarchist organization, it must be adopted in the mass organizations in the interests of public anarchist politics. Such a thing would be totally unacceptable for any hardened anarchist individualist. Nevertheless, this cannot allow us to forget the rights of the minorities, who Malatesta tried to save by proposing that agreements of the federation of associates be adopted only by those who were in favour of them but not by those who were against. This, though, would go against the principle of organic responsibility. Platformism developed in the years following 1926, becoming greatly enriched with the contributions of many people: Fontenis, Guérin, etc. But at heart, it is a means whereby anarchism can leave its own imaginary universe and make contact with the people in the street, with a large part of the population, with "the masses". Nowadays, platformism is an alternative to the insurrectionalism that instead seeks to vindicate 19th-century nihilist, gang-ridden, mafia-like "anarchist terrorism". It is also an alternative to the visible and extraordinary disorganization that permeates "other-worldist" anarchism, that continues to announce that we are partisans of chaos, disorder, vandalism and violence. That is, of course, untrue; but similar actions could be carried on if they are accepted by "the masses". And by accepted we also mean directed, coordinated and decided by them. The key, in my opinion, is to stop being a minority and become the majority or the best possible majority. Otherwise, defeats always lead to dark rooms and ivory towers. Platformism has become a specific element within today's broad anarchist movement. The adoption of "historical materialism" by sectors within anarchism is nothing new: it was common during the development of the movement over seven decades, at least since its foundation. Bakunin was a historical materialist and not, indeed, in the restricted sense. Only the crisis of 1940, with the world war and the appearance of McCarthyist anti-communism - which also spread within the anarchist movement - gave a foothold to certain influences of the old individualist liberalism which was then able to colonize certain sectors of anarchism, as was the case with anarchism in Italy, in the River Plate area and in several other places. But those influences are returning, as can be seen even in Spanish anarcho-syndicalism today. What is happening is that the influence of North American anarchism - based mainly on a strange mixture of old-fashioned insurrectionalism and incurable Yankee liberalism - is being used by certain elements who are specialized in the subject, to intensify the general confusion. The word "libertarian", for example, no longer means what it did when it was coined by Sébastian Faure, for the very simple reason that French culture does not have the influence it once had for over a century; what is influential now is North American culture, in which "libertarian" stands for both the anarchist sense and for those who are in favour of the "free market". Hence "anarcho-capitalism", the very negation of anarchism, which has always been anti-capitalist. This confusion is also to be seen within the anarchist movement. Murray Rothbard (1926-1995), the father of anarcho-capitalism, an enemy of the State but a supporter of the "free market", really is the ideologist of many so-called "anarchists" or "libertarians" around the world. Clearly Rothbard was also against the multinationals, like all liberal radicals: he was against private monopolies that prevent the free operation of the market. But the anti-capitalism of anarchists does not stop with the fight against the multinationals. By no means. Nor in the social-democratic or unionist method of expropriating the capital gains that the bosses snatch from the workers, be it through laws or dictatorships, or even agreements. No. Anarchist anti-capitalism is based on the belief that nobody can sell their labour to create capital gain, for the State or for private industrialists. That is the point. For anarchists, the creation of capital gain by means of work is related to the contribution to the collective wealth of the communist association. That is to say, of the communist society. For that reason, anarchists have never accepted the idea of wage-slaving, be it in a "free" or "planned" market. In other words, anarchism does not accept capitalist profit, be it private or public. Neither does it accept "universal suffrage" (in the words of Kropoktin), not because this suffrage was non-viable, but because it is not our masters we should be choosing but our rotating and recallable delegates. So, Anarchism without adjectives. We do need to re-read - and remember - the classics from time to time, including Tarrida del Mármol. Floreal Castilla Venezuela, 31st December 2006

Love Is Not All, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

* Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain; Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink And rise and sink and rise and sink again; Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; Yet many a man is making friends with death Even as I speak, for lack of love alone. It well may be that in a difficult hour, Pinned down by pain and moaning for release, Or nagged by want past resolution's power, I might be driven to sell your love for peace, Or trade the memory of this night for food. It well may be. I do not think I would. *

Monday, January 22, 2007

Soldiers taunt crippled dog in Iraq

by repost Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007 The poster of a web site said, they found this horrible video on a blank CD in the Green Zone, Baghdad. What is the saying, if someone would harm an animal; imagine what they would do to you? Please be warned, this is disturbing.

Silence, by Belle

Is this how you do it? Passionatly, seductivly tantric Visions of entanglement Run through my mind Deeply, intensly dancing inside The touch the sin The sensation the smell of our skin Wrapped, tied pressed a kiss behind an ear; then lips upon on my breast Fingers tracing length Hands exploring fire Bodies finding strength Voices expressing desire

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Catching up with Noam

CHOMSKY: Yeah, but what I'm arguing is this : if we have the choice between trusting in centralised power to make the right decision in that matter, or trusting in free associations of libertarian communities to make that decision, I would rather trust the latter. And the reason is that I think that they can serve to maximise decent human instincts, whereas a system of centralised power will tend in a general way to maximise one of the worst of human instincts, namely the instinct of rapaciousness, of destructiveness, of accumulating power to oneself and destroying others. It's a kind of instinct which does arise and functions in certain historical circumstances, and I think we want to create the kind of society where it is likely to be repressed and replaced by other and more healthy instincts. Human Nature: Justice versus Power, Noam Chomsky debates with Michel Foucault, 1971 * "Anti-American!" with Noam Chomsky. Just because someone opposes US government policy does not mean they oppose the American people. The term "anti-American" is being used to suppress legitimate criticism and dissent in the same way tyrants throughout history have done so (and so whittled away democracy). Video link here

Artistic Memetic Magic,

by Kirk Packwood
Opening the Portal to the Astral-Daemonic Planes Artistic Endeavors as Representations of Complex Memetic Structures: Spirit = Symbol = Complex Memetic Structure Symbols embedded within works of art are re-presentations of complex memetic structures which in many cases can be correctly labeled thought viruses. Since all human beings who have had any prolonged contact with society are programmed to some degree, large portions of the human mind (especially the thinking portion of the psyche which utilizes language) are constructed almost entirely of complex memetic structures. The complex memetic structures which form the cognitive linguistic (language using) portions of the human mind possess strong defenses, both passive and active, against contamination by invading thought viruses and memetic structures. A human mind will resist any ideas which do not bind correctly within the existing memetic structures which form the framework of its linguistic consciousness. Programmed minds will only listen to what they want to hear. Therefore, it is seldom possible for an idea to be taught to another person directly. Ideas which do not fit into the binding points within a mind will be resisted and rejected. In many cases an individual will desire to convey a specific idea to other human beings, but finds, when offered in their most diluted form, his ideas will be rejected. Oftentimes the solution to this problem is to create a work of art in which the artist's message, or root meaning, is embedded. By work of art is meant any artistic endeavor which is traditionally considered to reside within the artistic sphere; be it literature, painting, music, movies, sculpture, etc. The artwork serves to focus the attention of the programmed conscious mind, while the root meaning (thought virus or memetic structure) embedded within slips unnoticed into the subconscious. There is no inherent goodness in art. The idea to be conveyed in a work of art can have any quality from a startling revelation intended to better the human condition to a blatant deception designed to conceal truth and take power. On many occasions an artist will embed a root meaning into his art which he believes will serve the greater good, but in reality the artist's concept of the greater good may be nothing more than an unusually complex example of the replication phase of a thought virus of which the artist has been infected without his knowledge. Most artists, like most people, are programmed by the dominant memetic structures, or cultural ideal types. Dominant memetic structures are only concerned with maintaining their dominance by replicating to as many minds as possible, not with the greater good of humanity, except in how the greater good of humanity serves to benefit the replication possibilities of the dominant memetic structure. All artwork, even the most rudimentary, contains complex memetic structures residing at many different levels within the work of art. An intelligent mind can dilute a work of art much as a chemist can dilute a uniform mixture of diverse chemicals. Recognition of the root meanings inherent in artistic endeavors can lead an individual to a source of great understanding and power. Artistic Symbolism Every artistic endeavor contains numerous symbols embedded at many different levels within the work of art. Some of these symbols are imbedded into the art with willed conscious intent while others are the result of subconscious communication. Of the two types of symbols inherent in artwork the subconscious symbols are the most interesting. The consciously created symbols within artwork are complex memetic structures which can be correctly labeled thought viruses or thought contagions, depending on whether the memetic structure attempts to use the mind it has infected for the purpose of further replication. An individual wishing to spread fashioned thought viruses would do well to consider imbedding personal creations into a work of art and releasing that work of art to a target population. The artwork serves as an outer guise concealing the true form of the thought viruses contained within. The entertainment or aesthetic value of a work of art engages the attention of the conscious mind of the individual partaking of the work of art, allowing the thought viruses embedded within to penetrate the defenses of the unaware target's complex mental memetic structure. Once the thought viruses have penetrated, instructions can be disseminated and replication can commence. The symbols contained within a work of art can assume a variety of different forms depending on the type of art being examined. For the sake of brevity, this chapter will focus primarily on literature and paintings. But the principals contained herein are equally valid in regards to any variety of artistic endeavor. Symbolism in Literary Fiction A literary novel will in most cases contain numerous elements of similarity with other literary works. Novels often contain theme, setting, moral, and characters. Each of these individual elements contributes to creating the artistic whole, or the novel. The artistic whole, the creation itself, contains a meta-layer of symbols. This uppermost layer contains the embedded symbolic structures in their undiluted form. A deeper examination of any work of art will convey the uppermost layer of undiluted symbolic structures. In fact, such deeper examinations of literary works occur daily in university literature courses. The problem is most of those engaged in the discussions focusing on the symbolism (root meanings) inherent in literary work project their own programmed symbolism into the literature, thereby missing the meaning behind the symbols they discuss. Many college students can spot the upper level symbolism inherent in literary work and name the symbols they have uncovered, but very often fail to consider why the symbols are actually imbedded into a work and what the presence of inherent symbols in literary works means in regards to human mentality and society as a whole. Most will project their own preprogrammed false interpretations in place of the truths the symbols re-present. Children's fairy tales can be examined as a case in point. Most people can spot the morals embedded within the tales, but few truly understand what a moral is. A moral in a fairy tale is the instruction portion of a thought virus which uses the cover of the fairy tale to penetrate and infect the minds of young children. These young children then grow up and repeat (replicate) the very same fairy tales to their own children, thus spreading the thought virus to a new generation. The writers of fairy tales knew what they were doing. Fairy tales can be correctly labeled engineered memetic thought viruses. But all symbols embedded within art are not purposefully fashioned. Though fashioned memetic contagions embedded within artwork make an interesting study in their own right, such a study pales in comparison to the study of the hidden root symbols embedded within art. Oftentimes when a writer rereads a novel he has recently completed he will discover elements of theme, plot, setting, character, and moral he had not intended to embed within his work. Many times during the course of writing a novel a character will take on a life of his own; speaking and performing actions unforeseen by the author. Unplanned subplots will be discovered weaving through the symbolic tapestry of the work which possess unique theme, setting, characters, and morals. How is it possible for unintended symbols to become embedded within an author's work? The unintended symbols are the work of the artist's subconscious mind. The act of writing is a magickal act of evocation. Evocation is the art and science of summoning spirits; in this case the spirits are elements arising from the author's subconscious mind. Writing or painting directs and focuses the full attention of the conscious mind. While the conscious mind is focused on the mechanics of the work, the elements of the subconscious mind (the realm of the spirits) can slip past the conscious defenses and embed themselves into the work unknown to the artist in the form of symbols. A symbol is a re-presentation of a particular spirit embedded (or embodied) in artistic form. What is a symbol? A symbol is a complex memetic structure. What is a complex memetic structure? A complex memetic structure is a collection of memes. Thus even spirits are complex memetic structures which can be broken down, or diluted. Thus, one spirit will contain many spirits. Spirits, like the artistic works in which they are captured, are multi-tiered hierarchal entities. To disregard a spirit as something less than a potentially powerful entity is a mistake. Spirits are the embodied symbolic aspects of unified portions of the human subconscious mind. But this definition in no way discredits their reality and power. After all, what is the unconscious mind? What even is the conscious mind? A Theory of Mind In simplistic terms, the human consciousness consists of three collaborating parts: sensory input, thought, and emotion. The brain combines the filtered input from the five senses regarding the objective (outside) world and presents the information to the ego, or the I. Vision is presented as a three dimensional full color display in the mind, into which are integrated the senses of sound, touch, taste, and smell. The ego views this sensory display and considers the derived re-presentation of the objective universe with thoughts. Thoughts take up no space, yet they do appear to occur over definite periods of time. Thoughts can take the form of any of the five physical senses, especially the sight sense, but most often thoughts manifest linguistically. Language is a learned symbolic system where certain sounds accompanied by word signs represent distinct elements in the objective universe. Not only do humans use language to communicate with other humans, human beings also rely on language to a large extent to communicate with themselves. By manipulating and comparing word signs or mental images in new and novel arrangements the results can be mentally transposed out onto an imaginary subjective universe for the purpose of setting courses of action which will likely achieve a desired end. The human consciousness: * Senses the objective universe * Filters the results of the sensory scan of the objective universe * Re-presents the objective universe as a subjective re-presentation to the ego (the I which views) * Assigns symbols to divide the subjective universe * Rearranges the subjective symbols in order to form a new configuration of the subjective universe conforming to the desires of the ego * Reenacts the symbolic manipulations of the subjective universe out onto the objective universe through physical means, thereby affecting the desired change in the objective universe Emotions enter into this process by reacting to certain configurations of the subjective universe which trigger their activation. The activation of an emotion can then alter the desired outcome necessitating a further rearrangement of the subjective universe before objective physical action is taken. The Subconscious Mind If the human mind where to be viewed in the shape of a pyramid the consciousness would occupy only the summit. The ego represents only a very small fraction of the total mind. Almost the entire mind operates subconsciously, that is, outside of the sphere of conscious awareness. The conscious mind is not a separate mind in its own right. The conscious mind is the creation, evolution, or projection of the subconscious mind to better allow the human organism to survive in a sometimes hostile physical world. But though the conscious mind is not separate from the unconscious mind it can in certain circumstances dominate the totality of the mind much as a dictator might dominate a subjected population. This is one of the underlying principals of magick: to cause effective magickal change in the objective universe a magician must unify his will. Total unification of the will means a temporary alliance between the ego and all of the elements of the subconscious directed toward a singular purpose. Total unification of the will is extraordinarily difficult. Fortunately, total unification of the will is not always necessary to perform magickal acts. In many cases partial unity will suffice to cause willed change in the objective universe. Only the highest magickal acts require complete unification of the will. The subconscious mind is a massive structure containing numerous thoughts, personalities, desires, memetic structures, emotions, instincts, powers, and many other elements scientists have yet to name. None of the structures is physical. The realm of the subconscious is an entirely mental construct. But because the ego can only perceive symbolic structures, any conscious contact with the unconscious realm will be perceived by the ego as symbolic physical representations of that which is not physical in nature. Therefore, since spirits (entities within the unconscious) are not physical in nature they can only be perceived through the symbols in which they make themselves manifest. The various elements of the subconscious realm struggle amongst themselves for control of the greater mind and the ego. In most cases the ego functions as a simple robotic initiator of willed actions arising from the subconscious. This is analogous to memetic programming. The ego thinks it is acting of its own free will when in reality it is responding to the manipulations of some subconscious force, or entity. It is only in the rare moments when an ego frees itself from memetic influence that it is able to make its own decisions. These moments of freedom of thought and action which are so rare in the population at large are purposefully created by the Memetic Magician through the development of the eyes. The development of the eyes allows the ego to see the memetic programming influencing its decisions and cut off or manipulate that very same programming in order to achieve a desired goal. The ego must isolate itself in order to produce a willed change in the universe. Anything less than total isolation results in change which is correspondingly less attributed to the will of the ego and more attributed to the will of something else, whether this something else be an infectious memetic structure or the will of a portion of the subconscious. The Subconscious Landscape When the ego comes in contact with the subconscious mind the varied forces contained within are perceived as symbolic structures. Symbolic because what the ego perceives is a re-presentation of an existing force present but not present physically. Structures because all but the most basic forces of the subconscious are hierarchal alliances which could theoretically be broken down into smaller elements. Just as a memetic structure is the result of a complex combination of memes, a spirit is the result of a complex unification of spirits. Large potions of the human mentality are incredibly complex memetic structures, or frameworks, composed of vast numbers of memes, or ideological structures. This suggests that if memetic structures become complex enough, they can form consciousness out of nothing more than the correct configuration of memes. Spirits are memetic structures which have become so complex they have evolved limited forms of consciousness. The most powerful of spirits may have evolved within the evolutionary accelerator of the subconscious mind to such heights that their conscious structures are superior to those of the traditional human conscious. Such spirits may have developed psychic powers. It may be that when a human physic uses his or her power, what it really happening is the ego of the psychic is coming into contact with, or evoking, a spirit within his or her mind which has acquired, through spiritual evolution, a type of ultra-consciousness. If the spirit theory of conscious evolution is accepted, it leads one to consider the possibility that a memetic engineer could theoretically fashion a memetic structure so complex it would create a new form of consciousness which would coexist within or replace the current consciousness utilized by a human being. This new consciousness could theoretically contain the keys which would unlock human psychic potential. In other words, a sufficiently skilled memetic engineer could transform a normal human being into a psychic. The unconscious landscape is truly massive; far too large for the ego to explore in a lifetime. The landscape is formed by a combination of inherited mental traits and environmental input. Every instinct, thought, memory, or idea we hold assumes a fairly constant symbolic form somewhere within the vast expanse of the subconscious landscape. For example, a fear of flying might take the form of a busy airport. A love of gems might be symbolized by a vast network of subterranean caverns whose walls are filled with precious stones. A particularly enslaving memetic structure might assume the form of a cruel slave master donning garments which symbolize his powers. Again, though these forces are symbolic, they are nevertheless very real, and in many cases have evolved to the point of becoming self-aware entities. Spirits are real whether they are projections of the subconscious mind or not. But though the underlying structure of the subconscious landscape remains fairly stable (except in rare circumstances where massive mental change has occurred) the details are constantly changing. Our mental defenses are under constant assault as numerous thought contagions attempt to bind to our subconscious mental structures. A steady percentage of thought contagions affect successful penetrations. Each successful thought contagion penetration alters the mental landscape. The elements of the subconscious possess quasi-independent wills of their own. In many cases elements of the subconscious mind possess a measure of free will equal to that of the human ego. In both cases, be it ego or spirit, free will is possessed, but this free will is often influenced by other portions of the mind. In a very real and somewhat disconcerting sense spirits are as real as we are ourselves. Being a landscape populated by quasi-independent entities, the subconscious mind is often the site of power struggles between spirits (unified self-directed and sometimes self-aware portions of the subconscious). While the ego goes about its business considering and manipulating the objective universe spirits go about their business attempting to manipulate and influence the subjective universe. Memories, thoughts, and ideas do battle and the losers are subdued, incorporated, transformed, or destroyed by the winners. Complex memetic structures take on a life of their own once inside the subconscious. They can grow and change in power and influence, subduing or being quelled by other forces within our minds. All of this occurs without our conscious knowledge. A simple memory absorbed in our childhood might grow to become a dominant force of our personality, its form so irrevocably altered through time as to be wholly unrecognizable in the present day. Subconscious Mind as the Portal to the Astral-Daemonic Planes The portal to the astral planes resides somewhere within the depths of the subconscious psyche. Occultists speak of many levels, or planes, of existence. The material plane is at the bottom of the spiritual planer hierarchy (though in most traditions there are lower planes than the material, such as Hades). In Gnostic and Hermetic traditions the material plane is the end result of a long spiritual filtering process. Physical objects are the solidified remains of once pure spiritual energy. The astral plane is the next plane of existence above the physical plane. The astral plane is the home of potential reality. Thoughts assume dreamlike form on the astral plane, some small portion of which eventually filter down to affect and form material reality. The astral plane is home to many varieties of entity, including elementals, daemons, spirits, and thought forms (complex memetic structures). These denizens of the astral plane are able to change form at will, effecting transformations in the dreamlike fabric of the astral plane by thought alone. Skilled magicians are able to fashion physical reality before it occurs by manipulating the fabric of the astral plane, thereby assuring the images created on the astral plane will filter down to materialize on the material plane. The line between the subconscious mind of an individual and the astral plane is blurred. It may in fact be the case that most, or the entire mental framework of the subconscious mind resides within the astral plane. Both esoteric philosophy and Jungian scientific research assert that the collective unconscious (that portion of our subconscious mental structure which is inherited by all humans at birth, and which forms the foundation, or building blocks, of the mind itself) of the human species resides within the astral plane. Though Jungians would not claim that the collective unconscious resided within the astral plane, they would assert that it resided within the subconscious mind. If the reader accepts the proposition that the gateway to the astral plane resides within the human subconscious mind, then the differences between scientific theory and occult philosophy become one of terminology only. All conscious minds, human and animal, are connected at the subconscious level. So, in summary, access to the subconscious mind of any human being would allow access to the astral plane. Access to the astral plane would allow access to the collective unconscious. Access to the collective unconscious would allow access to the collected knowledge of the human race and its non-human ancestors. Therefore, any system which serves as a mechanism for drawing blueprints of the human subconscious psyche has the potential to unlock the secret of human history and evolution. This leads us to Artistic Memetic Magick proper. Evocation through (Automatic) Painting The simplest variety of artistic memetic magick is practiced through methodical painting. The term painting is used as an inclusive label referring to any form of picture composition. Every variety of artistic composition; from acrylic, watercolor, and pencil sketches all the way to rudimentary cave paintings are included within the picture composition sphere. A high degree of painting skill is not necessary; anyone who possesses workable hands and even rudimentary painting skills can both evoke spirits and embed complex memetic structures into paintings. Of course, the greater the skills of the painter the more aesthetically pleasing the paintings will be, but even low quality paintings can and do achieve desired effects. Evocation is the art and science of calling forth spirits. It should be recalled that the term spirit and the term complex memetic structure, when used in relation to the human subconscious, are synonymous. When a spirit is evoked, a complex memetic structure is summoned from its home within the subconscious mind out to the attention of the ego. Within the subconscious mind the spirit is fairly impervious to the desires of the ego. The ego has no means of direct contact with the spirit. In most cases, the ego does not even know the spirit exists. While a spirit remains locked within the subconscious mind, the ego is unable to subject the spirit to its will. Rather, the situation is reversed; the ego is often subject to the will of the spirit. But when the spirit is summoned out to the attention of the ego, it can be manipulated according to the powers inherent in the ego. The spirit will often be possessed of powers and knowledge unknown, or under normal circumstances inaccessible, to the ego. The spirit, operating under the guide of its own will within the subconscious mind, in effect steals a certain percentage of information which would under other circumstances be relayed to the ego. In addition to this siphoning of mental energy, the spirit is able to interact with other spirits and aspects of the subconscious mind and the astral plane, thereby gathering further information and power inaccessible to the ego. This information remains bound to the memetic structure which constitutes the spirit's form. Unless the spirit decides, for whatever reason, that the information and powers it contains should be shared with the ego, the only way for the ego to access the knowledge and powers of the spirit is by bringing (evoking) the spirit to the attention of the I consciousness. Therefore evocation of spirits through methodical painting allows a magician to unlock or access the information and powers which have been withheld and developed within his subconscious mind. The power locked within the subconscious mind is considerable and theoretically holds nearly infinite potential. In occult terminology, the subconscious mind contains the portal to the astral plane, and the astral plane contains the portal leading to the higher planes. A sufficiently strong ego using the proper magickal techniques could theoretically summon and control any spirit. The process of evocation through methodical painting is fairly simple. Most people have evoked many spirits without realizing they were so doing. The danger of unknowingly invoking a spirit rests with the spirit's potential to affect both the ego and the objective universe (the material world). When a spirit is evoked, with or without conscious intent, it is brought into direct contact and manifestation with the material world. Under normal circumstances the spirit's powers to affect the material world are diluted; most spiritual actions on the material plane are checked by, or channeled through, the ego. But when summoned, a spirit can directly wield its sometimes considerable power to affect change on the material plane. Thus, a spirit evoked unknowingly may affect direct change on the material plane according to its will; these changes may be judged good, neutral, or evil with regards to the ego (the I) and the human organism. In many cases a spirit will be out for its own benefit irregardless of the good of the human organism as a whole. Thus if a spirit is unknowingly evoked, the ego will not be properly equipped (or forewarned) to handle sudden abnormal change in the material world. In the case of a spirit acting with evil intent toward the magician, a battle will be fought between a spirit who has a willed plan, and an ego that has no idea a battle is even being fought. Thus it is important for a magician to always be aware of spirits she may evoke. Any artistic process will contain the very real possibility of eliciting spirits. The danger is limited to some degree as the most powerful spirits, who correspondingly possess the greatest danger to the unwary magician, are often the easiest to spot. Powerful spirits are capable of causing considerable change in the material world, and large-scale change rarely passes unnoticed to the ego. Therefore, before a magician attempts to willfully evoke spirits, he should become adept at the fundamentals of magick. A magician needs to develop self-control. Self-discipline is an essential element both for causing willed change and protecting oneself from such change. Before a magician can control the universe he must be able to control himself. Magickal fundamentals serve to protect the magician from the sometimes dangerous spirits which may be evoked. Magicians cause change in the material world according to their will. Changes in the material world can be beneficial, neutral, or harmful to the human organism. Even the most powerful magicians make occasional mistakes. Causing an inappropriate alteration in either the organism or the material world can result in profound detriment and even lead to the annihilation of the magician. Self-discipline is essential to the magickal arts. Without self discipline a magician is meddling with forces which may destroy him and others. Though very often magick is about removing or clearing impedimentary memetic structures to free oneself from sociocultural control, it is also very important to retain those memetic structures which serve to allow the organism to survive and function well within a particular social system. A magician would want to remove a control meme commanding him to always wear fashionable clothes, thereby freeing himself of social control in a positive manner, but he would not want to remove a control meme which commands him to always wear his seatbelt when operating a motor vehicle. The magician must learn to accurately weigh the benefits of a memetic structure against its hindrances. Before a magician attempts a powerful working, it would be wise to determine if the appropriate control memes exist within the psyche. If the appropriate control memes do not exist, they should be created and implanted within the mind of the magician. Assuming that a magician has properly constructed his circle (his protection mechanisms) he can then proceed to the evocation of spirits through painting. The next step in the process is to decide upon an appropriate variety of painting (paint, watercolor, pencil, etc.). The author prefers colored pencils and has found the colored pencil method an effective and inexpensive means to practice artistic memetic magick. The method described will refer to the colored pencil method but it should be noted that the same principals can be utilized for any type of picture composition. The proper materials should be gathered, including colored pencils (the greater the variety of colors the better), and a medium on which to draw. Standard stationary is perfectly acceptable. If greater permanence is desired any physical object can be utilized as a canvas. Once the proper materials have been gathered, a location should be selected where the evocation is to be attempted. In Artistic Memetic Magic location is not considered a vital element of the process, with certain exceptions. Traditionally many works of magick are thought best attempted in secluded locales. Though there are definite benefits to choosing a secluded location where concentration can be maintained due to a lack of interruption from the outside world, there are also some advantages to evoking a spirit in presence of others, whether they be cognizant or not of the work at hand. In most varieties of magick concentration is desired, but in artistic evocation distraction of the conscious mind produces more consistent quality spirit manifestations which are easily recognizable as such. The act of drawing itself distracts the conscious mind sufficiently to allow the evocation of spirits. But the greater the degree of conscious distraction, the stronger will be the manifestation of the spiritual form. Thus, a magician is free to choose either a secluded temple or a crowded shopping mall to perform an evocation. The working will be successful in either case as long as proper distraction of the conscious mind occurs. In crowded locations the crowd itself and the noise generated by the crowd will serve to distract the conscious mind to some degree, while in a secluded locale purposeful distraction techniques should be utilized. Oftentimes combining both environmental distraction with purposeful distraction techniques will achieve the best results. For instance, a solitary room in a house might be selected to perform an artistic evocation, with the door and windows shut to block off distractions from the outside world. The radio and the television might be purposefully maintained at a medium level of volume to provide environmental distraction. Once the proper materials have been assembled and environmental conditions realized, the actual evocation is a fairly simple matter. It may come as shock to many how easy it is to actually evoke a spirit. Any human being without serious physical or mental impediments should be able to achieve some noticeable success with evocation. A small percentage of humans will possess natural talents conducive to the evocation of spirits, and an equal percentage will possess natural inhibitions which serve to stifle any evocational abilities. But the vast majority of human beings, probably well over 90% of the human population, are fully capable of evoking spirits through the practice of some form of Artistic Memetic Magick. The evocation occurs while the drawing is being drawn. While the conscious mind is focused on the act of drawing, spirits are able to assume a degree of control over the physical body which is sufficient to cause minor alterations in the drawing itself. When the drawing is finished, it should be examined, whereby these minor changes and their effect on the whole will be comprehended. Numerous micro-changes in a drawing often add up to single, noticeable, macro-change. The macro-changes are the bodies of the spirits. It's that simple. No arcane words of power or ritual other than the act of drawing are necessary. Thus, every work of art ever created can be examined for evoked spirits, and every single work of art of any complexity will contain them. A high percentage of unintentionally evoked spirits are difficult to spot with an untrained eye, but nevertheless they do exist, embedded within the artistic tapestry. Once one knows what to look for spotting embedded spirits is not a difficult matter. Of course, the simple act of drawing evokes only the most rudimentary spirits which will often be difficult to recognize for what they are. To summon greater spirits a couple of further techniques need to be incorporated into the drawing process. These techniques should be utilized whenever possible for there seems to be a real correlation between the manifestation level of a spirit and its power. In other words, the clearer the re-presentation of the spirit the more change it is likely to produce in the material world. To evoke greater spirits a process of automatic painting should be used. An automatic painting is a painting composed more or less completely by the subconscious mind. It is commonly assumed that automatic painting can only be accomplished by rare individuals who possess some natural talent toward such obscure arts. This is not at all the case. Most anyone can be taught to draw decent to high-quality automatic paintings. Automatic drawing with a pencil can be achieved fairly easily when certain rules are followed. Automatic painting faithfully follows memetic magick principals. The conscious mind is distracted to allow the subconscious mind control over the body. With this control over the body the denizens of the unconscious mind, the spirits, take the hands and force them to draw pictures representing the spiritual beings in control. The more control a spirit has over the physical body, the clearer the picture of it (the manifestation of its form) will be. Every evocation session will not be the same. Some will be more successful than others, owing to a number of factors, some of which are beyond the control of the artist. Biological (the health of the human organism, lack or excess of nutrition or exercise), environmental (indoor or outdoor, time of day, magnetic and gravitational fields, city or rural area, moisture in the air, season), and spiritual (mental health, current landscape of the astral plane and subconscious mind, current dominance by one particular spirit) factors can play major or minor roles relating to the quality of an evocatory undertaking. But on an average day under common circumstances the described process of automatic painting should result in the successful evocation of a spirit (or many spirits, as the case may be). The automatic painter follows the same rules and procedures as would a regular painter. The only alteration in the ritual is the actual physical manner in which the pictures are drawn. While a regular painter would likely have a general idea of what it was he was attempting to draw, an automatic painter would purposefully clear his mind of any preconceived images. In fact, an automatic painter should attempt not to consider his painting at all. At the moment he begins to paint, he should purposefully turn his attention away from the work at hand toward some other distraction, such as conversation with another person, the television, or the radio. The drawing should commence without any preconceived goal. The actual act of drawing should follow two general rules. These rules are not absolute and can be broken on occasion but the artist should attempt to follow the rules whenever possible. General Rules for Automatic Drawing: 1) The painting should be composed in an outline form. 2) The outlines should be composed of tiny back and forth continuous line segments. The initial picture should be drawn in outline form. That is, the entire drawing will be an outline of a complex figure or intersecting outlines of complex figures. These outline borders can be numerous and close, even touching and passing through each other, but by no means should the artist attempt to color in empty sections, except the occasional shading of an empty area between the outlines if the artist is compelled to do so. After the picture is complete, detail and color can be added to emphasize particular areas of the drawing. (click on image for a full sized version) "Master of the Jaguar" by Kirk Packwood, a magickal painting The outlines should be drawn with quick, tiny, back and forth movements of the pencil. On a macro scale these tiny back and forth movements will combine to form what appear to be continuous, purposeful lines, but on a micro scale, if the lines are examined closely, they will be seen for what they are; tiny connected chains of ostensibly random and chaotic lines. On the first few occasions automatic drawing is attempted, the artist should purposefully not directly look at his picture while drawing. Rather, the gaze should be focused toward a television set or another part of the room. The picture being drawn should only be visible in the corner of the artist's visual field. Directing conscious attention toward the picture tends to disrupt subconscious spiritual control, though with experience the eyes can be focused toward the picture without disrupting the subconscious intent. The artist is striving to draw the picture at a level just below willed conscious intent. As lines are drawn with tiny, swift, back and forth motions of the pencil, and conscious attention is focused on something besides the picture, the hand with the pencil will begin to stray on its own. If a strong spirit is being evoked, the hand can literally be guided by the evoked spirit to such an extant it will appear to move without any conscious intent. The conscious mind will not give the hand any commands to move, yet the hand will move on its own, drawing a picture which on many occasions will contain more complexity and artistic merit than any picture the artist could have consciously drawn. Strong evocations are rare, but even within evocations of lesser degrees of magnitude noticeable subconscious control will be evident... (Warning: Automatic drawing and painting summons real spirits. DO NOT fool around with automatic drawing until you understand what spirits are and are capable of doing, in both a positive and negative sense...)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Scene, by Kalith

Reminds me of this book I read, "Memetic Magic: manipulating the root-social matrix of reality" About evoking the powers of the subconscious through art, by a drawing process where you get out of your own way and let "it" speak through you. Like the automatic writing of the surrealists. And Austin Osman Spare and the sigil magicians that are influenced by him.

there you go.

Posted by: dada

"The Gods Wrote" by Keorapetse Kgositsile

[Thanks to Star Vox on mrr for the poem, and to Cyclopian on deoxy for the images] * The choice is ours So is the life The music of our laughter reborn Tyityimba or boogaloo passion Of the sun-eyed gods of our blood Laughs in the nighttime, in the daytime too And across America vicious cities Clatter to the ground. Was it not All written by the gods! Turn the things! I said Let them things roll To the rhythm of our movement Don't you know this is a love supreme! John Coltrane John Coltrane tell the ancestors We listened we heard your message Tell them you gave us tracks to move Trane and now we know The choice is ours So is the mind and the matches too The choice is ours So is the beginning 'We were not made eternally to weep' The choice is ours So is the need and the want too The choice is ours So is the vision of the day

Friday, January 19, 2007

~ Author Unknown ~

* Thoughts are boomerangs, returning with precision to their source. Choose wisely which ones you throw. *

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Vine, by Robert Herrick

I dreamed this mortal part of mine Was metamorphosed to a vine, Which crawling one and every way Enthralled my dainty Lucia. Methought her long small legs and thighs I with my tendrils did surprise; Her belly, buttocks, and her waist By my soft nervelets were embraced. About her head I writhing hung, And with rich clusters (hid among The leaves) her temples I behung, So that my Lucia seemed to me Young Bacchus ravished by his tree. My curls about her neck did crawl, And arms and hands they did enthrall, So that she could not freely stir (All parts there made one prisoner). But when I crept with leaves to hide Those parts which maids keep unespied, Such fleeting pleasures there I took That with the fancy I awoke; And found (ah me!) this flesh of mine More like a stock than like a vine.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jackson C. Frank: the most famous folksinger of the 1960s that no one has ever heard of....

[Thanks to Pink Moon for turning me on to Jackson C. Frank, and to Fishgrease for diggin up more information]

Rumors. There's a new one once a month. He died in a plane crash back in 1967. He fled America for Sweden and married a woman there. He tends bar somewhere in Montana. Or the best one... he's living in Detroit under an assumed name where he manages a gas station.

Jackson C. Frank. He's the most famous folksinger of the 1960s that no one has ever heard of. As an American singer-songwriter looking for adventure, he left for England in 1965 and while in London influenced scores of young, impressionable Brit folkies with his songs and melodies. He played at numerous folk clubs all over England and stories have been told that he was one of the best performers of his time. Landing a quick record deal, he cut an album of his songs with Paul Simon as producer. The album was an immediate hit over in England and Scotland, but when the album was released in the United States it was a commercial disaster. The album, Jackson C. Frank, has long been out-of-print and is impossible to find. Many have heard of Frank by way of Sandy Denny, who covered his material in concert and on record, and who was also an ex-girlfriend of his. Other artists who have tried their hands at "covering" a Frank song include Nick Drake, Tom Paxton, Bert Jansch, and Dave Cousins. David Fricke, music editor at Rolling Stone, calls him one of the best forgotten songwriters of the 1960s. Where is Frank and what has he been doing for the last 30 years?

After numerous phone calls and quite a few dead-end leads, I finally made contact with Frank himself. He was down on his luck and living in a senior center. We immediately made arrangements to do a phone interview.

Because he is severely disabled (both of his legs are crippled and he has lost his eyesight in one eye), he has been living on state aid. For many years, especially in the 1980s, he was homeless and roaming the streets of New York City or in the hospital receiving treatment for depression. For the past year he has been residing in the Woodstock area. He still makes it to a few clubs on occasion.

Frank's voice is steady and his words are clear, direct, and carefully chosen. "I was born in Buffalo, New York in 1943," he said. "We soon moved to Elyria, Ohio, and it was way out in the country. I was headed in the direction of singing as a kid. I had a very high tenor voice, and it was quite beautiful compared to the way I sing now."

He hesitated, just a little, when he talked about the most catastrophic event of his life. "A few years later we moved to an upstate New York town called Cheektowaga, when I was 11. The brand new school there was made out of brick but it had a wooden annex that was used for music instruction. It was heated by a big furnace. One day during music lessons in the annex the furnace blew up. I was almost killed on that day. Most of my classmates were killed in that terrible fire. I still am badly scarred because of that accident. I spent seven months in the hospital recovering from the burns experienced during the fire."

Recovering from the fire was painfully slow for Frank. His school tutor, Charlie Casatelli, came to the hospital to help Frank with his lessons. He brought along an old guitar to help keep his student's spirits up. It was then that Frank decided that he wanted to play the guitar. He bought a Montgomery Ward guitar with some money his mother let him borrow, and he soon knew a few chords. He practiced until he convinced his mother to buy him an electric guitar. With his first "real" guitar -- a Gretsch Streamliner -- under his arm, he was able to learn enough chords to play rock and roll.

Elvis was a major influence on Frank at the time. His mother took him down south and to Graceland when he was 13 to help him recuperate. The King not only came walking down the driveway and shook hands with Frank, he took him inside Graceland to meet his own parents. It was a highlight for Frank, and an experience that stayed with him long after they left Tennessee and headed back to New York State. By the time he was 16 he had hooked up with a drummer and was appearing as a rock and roll duo in small clubs and concerts throughout the Buffalo area.

Frank had an early appreciation and love for folk songs, especially historical folk songs that told a story. "By the time I was seventeen I was recording songs for friends. I had a whole album of Civil War tunes. I began collecting old Civil War songs with a passion, and I would record the ones I could sing. I remember going into a studio back then and cutting a side of tracks for $7."

One little known fact about Frank was his involvement with Steppenwolf's lead singer, John Kay, back in the 1960s. He met Kay through his involvement with The Limelight, a local Buffalo area coffeehouse. The two of them would hang out there and catch the local folk and blues musicians that would drop in. After watching a local favorite, Eric Andersen, make it big as a singer-songwriter, Kay and Frank thought that they, too, could strike it rich on the folk circuit.

But Frank was also practical enough to think about applying to college in case the folk singing career didn't pan out. He was accepted at Gettysburg College and was thinking about majoring in journalism when another event changed his life forever: insurance money poured in to compensate Frank for the injuries he received at the Cheektowaga fire. College and journalism suddenly didn't matter much any more. "When I was 21 years old I was awarded $100,000 in insurance money. At the time, it was a small fortune. John Kay and I took off to Toronto and we tried to spend as much money as fast as possible. I bought a Jaguar straight out of a showroom. We went all over the Northeast dropping into clubs and meeting musicians. We were heavily into the blues back then. We listened a lot to John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, and the Library of Congress collection of blues artists."

Frank headed to England originally not to play music, but to buy a car. He had read in a car journal that the best car values were in England, so he went to London to look for some fancy cars. He brought his guitar along and on board the Queen Elizabeth, Frank began taking his singing and songwriting seriously. As the days went on, Frank found that he had one particular melody in his head. Grabbing his guitar and a notebook, Frank wrote the words and music to "Blues Run the Game," a song that describes how he felt about life and his future at the time. "Blues Run the Game" continues to be, even today, the song that seems to mean the most to Jackson C. Frank fans. The story of a young man haunted by his past with too much money and gin leaves a deep impression.

Arriving in England in 1965 with his guitar, a suitcase of money, and a craving to pick up a new Jaguar, Frank was soon interrupted by the sights and sounds of "Swinging London." He quickly forgot about buying cars and instead concentrated on the folk scene there. Outgoing and friendly, Frank made a number of good contacts while visiting the folk clubs. "I met this wonderful woman named Judith Piepe. She told me she wanted to introduce me to two singers who were staying in her flat. They were Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. By this time I was writing and performing my own material. So I played my stuff for the two of them. Simon liked my songs so much he offered to produce my next record. I quickly said, 'Yes!'

"I recorded my album in under three hours in a CBS studio on New Bond Street in London. I remember hiding behind a screen while I was singing and playing, because I was just a little nervous and I didn't want anyone to see me. 'Blues Run the Game' didn't take long to record. 'Don't Look Back' was inspired by a murder down south and how the criminal was free on bail. Back in the 1960s there was a lot of injustice down in Alabama, so the song deals with white and black issues. It's my one and only protest song.

" 'Kimbie' is a traditional song, and I gave it my own touch. I heard the song a lot when I was traveling up in Canada, so I decided to include it on my album, too. Paul was including a lot of traditional material like 'Parsley, Sage' in his performances, and I wanted to use an old melody, too. 'Yellow Walls' is about an old house I used to live in near Buffalo. It's about leaving home and taking off for the big cities and colored lights. Al Stewart can be heard doodling in the back on guitar. He never received proper credit for that, I'm afraid, but that's him.

" 'Here Come the Blues' is pretty much a straight-ahead attempt at writing a blues song. It's got some good chord changes. I've always liked 'Milk and Honey.' I know Sandy Denny's version, and it's great. If you listen to my recording, you can hear a real blooper. I wanted to say 'four' seasons, but it came out 'three.'

" 'My Name is Carnival' is one I'm still very proud of. I'm surprised that it wasn't picked up as cover material because it's got a great tune and the lyrics are interesting. The song points out the bittersweet nature of being part of a traveling circus. My first attempt to do a very serious song was 'Dialogue,' a song that seems like cabaret now. I was headed toward a European influence with weighty lyrics. In the other direction, 'Just Like Anything' is a pure nonsense song. I was aiming for a some comic relief after 'Dialogue.' The last song on the album, 'You Never Wanted Me,' is all about a break-up in a relationship."

When Frank's first album came it was enthusiastically received by the folk community. John Peel played it on his BBC radio show quite often, and talked it up. His listeners called so many times that Peel invited Frank to come into his studio to record a live radio show. This was the beginning of a series of radio concerts that Frank did in the United Kingdom. He was also invited to do television shows and play songs from his first album.

Frank also met, around this time, another young folksinger who was trying to strike it big in the coffeehouses. He remembers she had this powerful voice and a real ability to interact with the audience, a special talent for capturing hearts while she sang. Her name was Sandy Denny, and right from the start they became close friends. "When I first met Sandy Denny she was a little insecure and somewhat shy. We were both hanging out at a club in London called Bunjies, which is still there, by the way. Sandy was working as a nurse and she was just starting out on the folk scene. She was learning the ropes about performing in front of an audience and she was building up her songs. She slowly built up confidence and expanded her material. She became my girlfriend and I got her to quit the nursing profession and stick to music full time. I remember Sandy trying out her new songs for me, like 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes' and 'Fotheringay,' and I saw right away that she had tremendous potential."

In 1965, London was the rock music capital of the western world. The rock scene was firmly established by the Beatles and the Stones, and already the word was out that the folk scene was going to be the next happening trend. Dozens of the most influential American folk artists of the day were going to London, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Tim Hardin, and Big Bill Broonzy. Frank managed to rub shoulders with many of them as he made the rounds of folk clubs. "Tom Paxton was another folksinger I met back in 1965. We hung out together. I also recall meeting up with Mike Seeger and Dave Van Ronk, giving them tours of London in my car. I was helping out the owner of the Cousins Club by booking American acts. I met a lot of famous artists and performers just by being involved with Cousins. I remember also booking some of the better known folkies in Great Britain like John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, and John Martyn. I tried my best, because I had money at the time, to give some meals to some of the poorer singer-songwriters who came tramping through Cousins."

Frank spent from 1965 to 1967 playing clubs and venues and doing well on the concert circuit. Around 1968, he tried putting together songs for a second album, but he found the audience less attentive and responsive with his new material. The record-buying public was shifting away from quiet and introspective folk songs toward hardcore rock. This trend didn't help his album sales, and soon he found that people simply stopped buying Jackson C. Frank. He was so despondent that he shelved his new songs and any thoughts about making a second album. And the news from America was far from good. The album didn't sell at all, and his management company soon dropped him. By this time, with his insurance money running out, Frank was forced to live on meager wages from playing the occasional gig as an opening act. His songwriting creativity was missing, and songs that at one time took minutes to write were now left incomplete and half scrawled on torn paper. He began a slow slide into despair as he wrestled with problems of depression. He took a bus into New York City, hoping to find Paul Simon, and ended up sleeping on the sidewalks. A series of medical problems struck Frank, which left him destitute. He became a ward of the state, moving from one tenement building to the next. For awhile, his depression became so severe that he was institutionalized. He dropped out of sight completely. Friends from England looking for him were told he was "gone."

By 1977, with his health somewhat improved, his depression under control, and a new outlook on life, Frank tried to release a second album. He tried to market the album to several record companies and publishers, but they were not interested. They told him his songs lacked market appeal and weren't commercial enough. Instead of working on newer and better songs and touring to promote them, Frank fell into a new, harsher depression. His medical problems, initiated by the Cheektowaga fire, got much worse, until he once again was hospitalized for both physical and emotional reasons.

Until Jim Abbott came into his life. A local Woodstock area resident, Jim had heard some of the stories surrounding Frank but assumed, like everyone else, that Frank was no longer alive. His interest in Frank was aroused when, shopping in a small record store, he found an album by Al Stewart bearing the inscription: "To Jackson, all the best, Al Stewart." Making inquiries, he discovered that Frank would come into the store every so often from NYC and sell used records. Abbott was able to make a connection with Frank and bring him out of a state housing project in the Bronx and into a senior center in Woodstock. He also tracked down past royalties owed Frank to help supplement Frank's welfare check.

In January, 1995, Frank made yet another tape of demo material. He is playing open mikes now in the Woodstock area, and is anxious to practice his new songs. He is still picking up some royalty money, very limited, from countries such as England, Germany, and Denmark, where his songs from 1965 still enjoy a measure of success amid singer-songwriters there.

Those wishing to contact Frank can do so through Jim Abbott [47 Sidney Street/ Kerhonkshon, NY 12446].

Jackson C. Frank's first album, Jackson C. Frank [Columbia 33SX 1788 (1965)] was repackaged and reissued as Jackson Again on B&C Records in 1978. The back sleeve has a letter from Frank to Karl Dallas, an English music critic, describing his non-existent career. There is also a very rare single "Blues Run the Game"/"Can't Get Away From My Love" on Columbia DB 7795... if you can find it.

by T.J. McGrath (From Dirty Linen #57 April/May '95)

* Sadly Jackson C. Frank died in 1999 from natural causes, he was cripple and half blind.

Jackson C. Frank: the most famous folksinger of the 1960s that no one has ever heard of....

[Thanks to Pink Moon for turning me on to Jackson C. Frank, and to Fishgrease for diggin up more information]

Rumors. There's a new one once a month. He died in a plane crash back in 1967. He fled America for Sweden and married a woman there. He tends bar somewhere in Montana. Or the best one... he's living in Detroit under an assumed name where he manages a gas station.

Jackson C. Frank. He's the most famous folksinger of the 1960s that no one has ever heard of. As an American singer-songwriter looking for adventure, he left for England in 1965 and while in London influenced scores of young, impressionable Brit folkies with his songs and melodies. He played at numerous folk clubs all over England and stories have been told that he was one of the best performers of his time. Landing a quick record deal, he cut an album of his songs with Paul Simon as producer. The album was an immediate hit over in England and Scotland, but when the album was released in the United States it was a commercial disaster. The album, Jackson C. Frank, has long been out-of-print and is impossible to find. Many have heard of Frank by way of Sandy Denny, who covered his material in concert and on record, and who was also an ex-girlfriend of his. Other artists who have tried their hands at "covering" a Frank song include Nick Drake, Tom Paxton, Bert Jansch, and Dave Cousins. David Fricke, music editor at Rolling Stone, calls him one of the best forgotten songwriters of the 1960s. Where is Frank and what has he been doing for the last 30 years?

After numerous phone calls and quite a few dead-end leads, I finally made contact with Frank himself. He was down on his luck and living in a senior center. We immediately made arrangements to do a phone interview.

Because he is severely disabled (both of his legs are crippled and he has lost his eyesight in one eye), he has been living on state aid. For many years, especially in the 1980s, he was homeless and roaming the streets of New York City or in the hospital receiving treatment for depression. For the past year he has been residing in the Woodstock area. He still makes it to a few clubs on occasion.

Frank's voice is steady and his words are clear, direct, and carefully chosen. "I was born in Buffalo, New York in 1943," he said. "We soon moved to Elyria, Ohio, and it was way out in the country. I was headed in the direction of singing as a kid. I had a very high tenor voice, and it was quite beautiful compared to the way I sing now."

He hesitated, just a little, when he talked about the most catastrophic event of his life. "A few years later we moved to an upstate New York town called Cheektowaga, when I was 11. The brand new school there was made out of brick but it had a wooden annex that was used for music instruction. It was heated by a big furnace. One day during music lessons in the annex the furnace blew up. I was almost killed on that day. Most of my classmates were killed in that terrible fire. I still am badly scarred because of that accident. I spent seven months in the hospital recovering from the burns experienced during the fire."

Recovering from the fire was painfully slow for Frank. His school tutor, Charlie Casatelli, came to the hospital to help Frank with his lessons. He brought along an old guitar to help keep his student's spirits up. It was then that Frank decided that he wanted to play the guitar. He bought a Montgomery Ward guitar with some money his mother let him borrow, and he soon knew a few chords. He practiced until he convinced his mother to buy him an electric guitar. With his first "real" guitar -- a Gretsch Streamliner -- under his arm, he was able to learn enough chords to play rock and roll.

Elvis was a major influence on Frank at the time. His mother took him down south and to Graceland when he was 13 to help him recuperate. The King not only came walking down the driveway and shook hands with Frank, he took him inside Graceland to meet his own parents. It was a highlight for Frank, and an experience that stayed with him long after they left Tennessee and headed back to New York State. By the time he was 16 he had hooked up with a drummer and was appearing as a rock and roll duo in small clubs and concerts throughout the Buffalo area.

Frank had an early appreciation and love for folk songs, especially historical folk songs that told a story. "By the time I was seventeen I was recording songs for friends. I had a whole album of Civil War tunes. I began collecting old Civil War songs with a passion, and I would record the ones I could sing. I remember going into a studio back then and cutting a side of tracks for $7."

One little known fact about Frank was his involvement with Steppenwolf's lead singer, John Kay, back in the 1960s. He met Kay through his involvement with The Limelight, a local Buffalo area coffeehouse. The two of them would hang out there and catch the local folk and blues musicians that would drop in. After watching a local favorite, Eric Andersen, make it big as a singer-songwriter, Kay and Frank thought that they, too, could strike it rich on the folk circuit.

But Frank was also practical enough to think about applying to college in case the folk singing career didn't pan out. He was accepted at Gettysburg College and was thinking about majoring in journalism when another event changed his life forever: insurance money poured in to compensate Frank for the injuries he received at the Cheektowaga fire. College and journalism suddenly didn't matter much any more. "When I was 21 years old I was awarded $100,000 in insurance money. At the time, it was a small fortune. John Kay and I took off to Toronto and we tried to spend as much money as fast as possible. I bought a Jaguar straight out of a showroom. We went all over the Northeast dropping into clubs and meeting musicians. We were heavily into the blues back then. We listened a lot to John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, and the Library of Congress collection of blues artists."

Frank headed to England originally not to play music, but to buy a car. He had read in a car journal that the best car values were in England, so he went to London to look for some fancy cars. He brought his guitar along and on board the Queen Elizabeth, Frank began taking his singing and songwriting seriously. As the days went on, Frank found that he had one particular melody in his head. Grabbing his guitar and a notebook, Frank wrote the words and music to "Blues Run the Game," a song that describes how he felt about life and his future at the time. "Blues Run the Game" continues to be, even today, the song that seems to mean the most to Jackson C. Frank fans. The story of a young man haunted by his past with too much money and gin leaves a deep impression.

Arriving in England in 1965 with his guitar, a suitcase of money, and a craving to pick up a new Jaguar, Frank was soon interrupted by the sights and sounds of "Swinging London." He quickly forgot about buying cars and instead concentrated on the folk scene there. Outgoing and friendly, Frank made a number of good contacts while visiting the folk clubs. "I met this wonderful woman named Judith Piepe. She told me she wanted to introduce me to two singers who were staying in her flat. They were Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. By this time I was writing and performing my own material. So I played my stuff for the two of them. Simon liked my songs so much he offered to produce my next record. I quickly said, 'Yes!'

"I recorded my album in under three hours in a CBS studio on New Bond Street in London. I remember hiding behind a screen while I was singing and playing, because I was just a little nervous and I didn't want anyone to see me. 'Blues Run the Game' didn't take long to record. 'Don't Look Back' was inspired by a murder down south and how the criminal was free on bail. Back in the 1960s there was a lot of injustice down in Alabama, so the song deals with white and black issues. It's my one and only protest song.

" 'Kimbie' is a traditional song, and I gave it my own touch. I heard the song a lot when I was traveling up in Canada, so I decided to include it on my album, too. Paul was including a lot of traditional material like 'Parsley, Sage' in his performances, and I wanted to use an old melody, too. 'Yellow Walls' is about an old house I used to live in near Buffalo. It's about leaving home and taking off for the big cities and colored lights. Al Stewart can be heard doodling in the back on guitar. He never received proper credit for that, I'm afraid, but that's him.

" 'Here Come the Blues' is pretty much a straight-ahead attempt at writing a blues song. It's got some good chord changes. I've always liked 'Milk and Honey.' I know Sandy Denny's version, and it's great. If you listen to my recording, you can hear a real blooper. I wanted to say 'four' seasons, but it came out 'three.'

" 'My Name is Carnival' is one I'm still very proud of. I'm surprised that it wasn't picked up as cover material because it's got a great tune and the lyrics are interesting. The song points out the bittersweet nature of being part of a traveling circus. My first attempt to do a very serious song was 'Dialogue,' a song that seems like cabaret now. I was headed toward a European influence with weighty lyrics. In the other direction, 'Just Like Anything' is a pure nonsense song. I was aiming for a some comic relief after 'Dialogue.' The last song on the album, 'You Never Wanted Me,' is all about a break-up in a relationship."

When Frank's first album came it was enthusiastically received by the folk community. John Peel played it on his BBC radio show quite often, and talked it up. His listeners called so many times that Peel invited Frank to come into his studio to record a live radio show. This was the beginning of a series of radio concerts that Frank did in the United Kingdom. He was also invited to do television shows and play songs from his first album.

Frank also met, around this time, another young folksinger who was trying to strike it big in the coffeehouses. He remembers she had this powerful voice and a real ability to interact with the audience, a special talent for capturing hearts while she sang. Her name was Sandy Denny, and right from the start they became close friends. "When I first met Sandy Denny she was a little insecure and somewhat shy. We were both hanging out at a club in London called Bunjies, which is still there, by the way. Sandy was working as a nurse and she was just starting out on the folk scene. She was learning the ropes about performing in front of an audience and she was building up her songs. She slowly built up confidence and expanded her material. She became my girlfriend and I got her to quit the nursing profession and stick to music full time. I remember Sandy trying out her new songs for me, like 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes' and 'Fotheringay,' and I saw right away that she had tremendous potential."

In 1965, London was the rock music capital of the western world. The rock scene was firmly established by the Beatles and the Stones, and already the word was out that the folk scene was going to be the next happening trend. Dozens of the most influential American folk artists of the day were going to London, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Tim Hardin, and Big Bill Broonzy. Frank managed to rub shoulders with many of them as he made the rounds of folk clubs. "Tom Paxton was another folksinger I met back in 1965. We hung out together. I also recall meeting up with Mike Seeger and Dave Van Ronk, giving them tours of London in my car. I was helping out the owner of the Cousins Club by booking American acts. I met a lot of famous artists and performers just by being involved with Cousins. I remember also booking some of the better known folkies in Great Britain like John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, and John Martyn. I tried my best, because I had money at the time, to give some meals to some of the poorer singer-songwriters who came tramping through Cousins."

Frank spent from 1965 to 1967 playing clubs and venues and doing well on the concert circuit. Around 1968, he tried putting together songs for a second album, but he found the audience less attentive and responsive with his new material. The record-buying public was shifting away from quiet and introspective folk songs toward hardcore rock. This trend didn't help his album sales, and soon he found that people simply stopped buying Jackson C. Frank. He was so despondent that he shelved his new songs and any thoughts about making a second album. And the news from America was far from good. The album didn't sell at all, and his management company soon dropped him. By this time, with his insurance money running out, Frank was forced to live on meager wages from playing the occasional gig as an opening act. His songwriting creativity was missing, and songs that at one time took minutes to write were now left incomplete and half scrawled on torn paper. He began a slow slide into despair as he wrestled with problems of depression. He took a bus into New York City, hoping to find Paul Simon, and ended up sleeping on the sidewalks. A series of medical problems struck Frank, which left him destitute. He became a ward of the state, moving from one tenement building to the next. For awhile, his depression became so severe that he was institutionalized. He dropped out of sight completely. Friends from England looking for him were told he was "gone."

By 1977, with his health somewhat improved, his depression under control, and a new outlook on life, Frank tried to release a second album. He tried to market the album to several record companies and publishers, but they were not interested. They told him his songs lacked market appeal and weren't commercial enough. Instead of working on newer and better songs and touring to promote them, Frank fell into a new, harsher depression. His medical problems, initiated by the Cheektowaga fire, got much worse, until he once again was hospitalized for both physical and emotional reasons.

Until Jim Abbott came into his life. A local Woodstock area resident, Jim had heard some of the stories surrounding Frank but assumed, like everyone else, that Frank was no longer alive. His interest in Frank was aroused when, shopping in a small record store, he found an album by Al Stewart bearing the inscription: "To Jackson, all the best, Al Stewart." Making inquiries, he discovered that Frank would come into the store every so often from NYC and sell used records. Abbott was able to make a connection with Frank and bring him out of a state housing project in the Bronx and into a senior center in Woodstock. He also tracked down past royalties owed Frank to help supplement Frank's welfare check.

In January, 1995, Frank made yet another tape of demo material. He is playing open mikes now in the Woodstock area, and is anxious to practice his new songs. He is still picking up some royalty money, very limited, from countries such as England, Germany, and Denmark, where his songs from 1965 still enjoy a measure of success amid singer-songwriters there.

Those wishing to contact Frank can do so through Jim Abbott [47 Sidney Street/ Kerhonkshon, NY 12446].

Jackson C. Frank's first album, Jackson C. Frank [Columbia 33SX 1788 (1965)] was repackaged and reissued as Jackson Again on B&C Records in 1978. The back sleeve has a letter from Frank to Karl Dallas, an English music critic, describing his non-existent career. There is also a very rare single "Blues Run the Game"/"Can't Get Away From My Love" on Columbia DB 7795... if you can find it.

by T.J. McGrath (From Dirty Linen #57 April/May '95)

* Sadly Jackson C. Frank died in 1999 from natural causes, he was cripple and half blind.

Pentagon Research To Beam “Voices” Into Your Head

by Sharon Weinberger IF HARLAN GIRARD IS CRAZY, HE DOESN’T ACT THE PART. He is standing just where he said he would be, below the Philadelphia train station’s World war II memorial — a soaring statue of a winged angel embracing a fallen combatant, as if lifting him to heaven. Girard is wearing pressed khaki pants, expensive-looking leather loafers and a crisp blue button-down. He looks like a local businessman dressed for a casual Friday — a local businessman with a wickedly dark sense of humor, which had become apparent when he said to look for him beneath “the angel sodomizing a dead soldier.” At 70, he appears robust and healthy — not the slightest bit disheveled or unusual-looking. He is also carrying a bag. Girard’s description of himself is matter-of-fact, until he explains what’s in the bag: documents he believes prove that the government is attempting to control his mind. He carries that black, weathered bag everywhere he goes. “Every time I go out, I’m prepared to come home and find everything is stolen,” he says. The bag aside, Girard appears intelligent and coherent. At a table in front of Dunkin’ Donuts inside the train station, Girard opens the bag and pulls out a thick stack of documents, carefully labeled and sorted with yellow sticky notes bearing neat block print. The documents are an authentic-looking mix of news stories, articles culled from military journals and even some declassified national security documents that do seem to show that the U.S. government has attempted to develop weapons that send voices into people’s heads. “It’s undeniable that the technology exists,” Girard says, “but if you go to the police and say, ‘I’m hearing voices,’ they’re going to lock you up for psychiatric evaluation.” The thing that’s missing from his bag — the lack of which makes it hard to prove he isn’t crazy — is even a single document that would buttress the implausible notion that the government is currently targeting a large group of American citizens with mind-control technology. The only direct evidence for that, Girard admits, lies with alleged victims such as himself. And of those, there are many. IT’S 9:01 P.M. WHEN THE FIRST PERSON SPEAKS during the Saturday conference call. Unsure whether anyone else is on the line yet, the female caller throws out the first question: “You got gang stalking or V2K?” she asks no one in particular. There’s a short, uncomfortable pause. “V2K, really bad. 24-7,” a man replies. “Gang stalking,” another woman says. “Oh, yeah, join the club,” yet another man replies. The members of this confessional “club” are not your usual victims. This isn’t a group for alcoholics, drug addicts or survivors of childhood abuse; the people connecting on the call are self-described victims of mind control — people who believe they have been targeted by a secret government program that tracks them around the clock, using technology to probe and control their minds. The callers frequently refer to themselves as TIs, which is short for Targeted Individuals, and talk about V2K — the official military abbreviation stands for “voice to skull” and denotes weapons that beam voices or sounds into the head. In their esoteric lexicon, “gang stalking” refers to the belief that they are being followed and harassed: by neighbors, strangers or colleagues who are agents for the government. A few more “hellos” are exchanged, interrupted by beeps signaling late arrivals: Bill from Columbus, Barbara from Philadelphia, Jim from California and a dozen or so others. Derrick Robinson, the conference call moderator, calls order. “It’s five after 9,” says Robinson, with the sweetly reasonable intonation of a late-night radio host. “Maybe we should go ahead and start.” THE IDEA OF A GROUP OF PEOPLE CONVINCED THEY ARE TARGETED BY WEAPONS that can invade their minds has become a cultural joke, shorthanded by the image of solitary lunatics wearing tinfoil hats to deflect invisible mind beams. “Tinfoil hat,” says Wikipedia, has become “a popular stereotype and term of derision; the phrase serves as a byword for paranoia and is associated with conspiracy theorists.” In 2005, a group of MIT students conducted a formal study using aluminum foil and radio signals. Their surprising finding: Tinfoil hats may actually amplify radio frequency signals. Of course, the tech students meant the study as a joke. But during the Saturday conference call, the subject of aluminum foil is deadly serious. The MIT study had prompted renewed debate; while a few TIs realized it was a joke at their expense, some saw the findings as an explanation for why tinfoil didn’t seem to stop the voices. Others vouched for the material. “Tinfoil helps tremendously,” reports one conference call participant, who describes wrapping it around her body underneath her clothing. “Where do you put the tinfoil?” a man asks. “Anywhere, everywhere,” she replies. “I even put it in a hat.” A TI in an online mind-control forum recommends a Web site called “Block EMF” (as in electromagnetic frequencies), which advertises a full line of clothing, including aluminum-lined boxer shorts described as a “sheer, comfortable undergarment you can wear over your regular one to shield yourself from power lines and computer electric fields, and microwave, radar, and TV radiation.” Similarly, a tinfoil hat disguised as a regular baseball cap is “smart and subtle.” For all the scorn, the ranks of victims — or people who believe they are victims — are speaking up. In the course of the evening, there are as many as 40 clicks from people joining the call, and much larger numbers participate in the online forum, which has 143 members. A note there mentioning interest from a journalist prompted more than 200 e-mail responses. Until recently, people who believe the government is beaming voices into their heads would have added social isolation to their catalogue of woes. But now, many have discovered hundreds, possibly thousands, of others just like them all over the world. Web sites dedicated to electronic harassment and gang stalking have popped up in India, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Russia and elsewhere. Victims have begun to host support meetings in major cities, including Washington. Favorite topics at the meetings include lessons on how to build shields (the proverbial tinfoil hats), media and PR training, and possible legal strategies for outlawing mind control. The biggest hurdle for TIs is getting people to take their concerns seriously. A proposal made in 2001 by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to ban “psychotronic weapons” (another common term for mind-control technology) was hailed by TIs as a great step forward. But the bill was widely derided by bloggers and columnists and quickly dropped. Doug Gordon, Kucinich’s spokesman, would not discuss mind control other than to say the proposal was part of broader legislation outlawing weapons in space. The bill was later reintroduced, minus the mind control. “It was not the concentration of the legislation, which is why it was tightened up and redrafted,” was all Gordon would say. Unable to garner much support from their elected representatives, TIs have started their own PR campaign. And so, last spring, the Saturday conference calls centered on plans to hold a rally in Washington. A 2005 attempt at a rally drew a few dozen people and was ultimately rained out; the TIs were determined to make another go of it. Conversations focused around designing T-shirts, setting up congressional appointments, fundraising, creating a new Web site and formalizing a slogan. After some debate over whether to focus on gang stalking or mind control, the group came up with a compromise slogan that covered both: “Freedom From Covert Surveillance and Electronic Harassment.” Conference call moderator Robinson, who says his gang stalking began when he worked at the National Security Agency in the 1980s, offers his assessment of the group’s prospects: Maybe this rally wouldn’t produce much press, but it’s a first step. “I see this as a movement,” he says. “We’re picking up people all the time.” HARLAN GIRARD SAYS HIS PROBLEMS BEGAN IN 1983, while he was a real estate developer in Los Angeles. The harassment was subtle at first: One day a woman pulled up in a car, wagged her finger at him, then sped away; he saw people running underneath his window at night; he noticed some of his neighbors seemed to be watching him; he heard someone moving in the crawl space under his apartment at night. Girard sought advice from this then-girlfriend, a practicing psychologist, whom he declines to identify. He says she told him, “Nobody can become psychotic in their late 40s.” She said he didn’t seem to manifest other symptoms of psychotic behavior — he dressed well, paid his bills — and, besides his claims of surveillance, which sounded paranoid, he behaved normally. “People who are psychotic are socially isolated,” he recalls her saying. After a few months, Girard says, the harassment abruptly stopped. But the respite didn’t last. In 1984, appropriately enough, things got seriously weird. He’d left his real estate career to return to school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was studying for a master’s degree in landscape architecture. He harbored dreams of designing parks and public spaces. Then, he says, he began to hear voices. Girard could distinguish several different male voices, which came complete with a mental image of how the voices were being generated: from a recording studio, with “four slops sitting around a card table drinking beer,” he says. The voices were crass but also strangely courteous, addressing him as “Mr. Girard.” They taunted him. They asked him if he thought he was normal; they suggested he was going crazy. They insulted his classmates: When an overweight student showed up for a field trip in a white raincoat, they said, “Hey, Mr. Girard, doesn’t she look like a refrigerator?” Six months after the voices began, they had another question for him: “Mr. Girard, Mr. Girard. Why aren’t you dead yet?” At first, he recalls, the voices would speak just two or three times a day, but it escalated into a near-constant cacophony, often accompanied by severe pain all over his body — which Girard now attributes to directed-energy weapons that can shoot invisible beams. The voices even suggested how he could figure out what was happening to him. He says they told him to go to the electrical engineering department to “tell them you’re writing science fiction and you don’t want to write anything inconsistent with physical reality. Then tell them exactly what has happened.” Girard went and got some rudimentary explanations of how technology could explain some of the things he was describing. “Finally, I said: ‘Look, I must come to the point, because I need answers. This is happening to me; it’s not science fiction.’” They laughed. He got the same response from friends, he says. “They regarded me as crazy, which is a humiliating experience.” When asked why he didn’t consult a doctor about the voices and the pain, he says, “I don’t dare start talking to people because of the potential stigma of it all. I don’t want to be treated differently. Here I was in Philadelphia. Something was going on, I don’t know any doctors . . . I know somebody’s doing something to me.” It was a struggle to graduate, he says, but he was determined, and he persevered. In 1988, the same year he finished his degree, his father died, leaving Girard an inheritance large enough that he did not have to work. So, instead of becoming a landscape architect, Girard began a full-time investigation of what was happening to him, often traveling to Washington in pursuit of government documents relating to mind control. He put an ad in a magazine seeking other victims. Only a few people responded. But over the years, as he met more and more people like himself, he grew convinced that he was part of what he calls an “electronic concentration camp.” What he was finding on his research trips also buttressed his belief: Girard learned that in the 1950s, the CIA had drugged unwitting victims with LSD as part of a rogue mind-control experiment called MK-ULTRA. He came across references to the CIA seeking to influence the mind with electromagnetic fields. Then he found references in an academic research book to work that military researchers at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research had done in the 1970s with pulsed microwaves to transmit words that a subject would hear in his head. Elsewhere, he came across references to attempts to use electromagnetic energy, sound waves or microwave beams to cause non-lethal pain to the body. For every symptom he experienced, he believed he found references to a weapon that could cause it. How much of the research Girard cites checks out? Concerns about microwaves and mind control date to the 1960s, when the U.S. government discovered that its embassy in Moscow was being bombarded by low-level electromagnetic radiation. In 1965, according to declassified Defense Department documents, the Pentagon, at the behest of the White House, launched Project Pandora, top-secret research to explore the behavioral and biological effects of low-level microwaves. For approximately four years, the Pentagon conducted secret research: zapping monkeys; exposing unwitting sailors to microwave radiation; and conducting a host of other unusual experiments (a sub-project of Project Pandora was titled Project Bizarre). The results were mixed, and the program was plagued by disagreements and scientific squabbles. The “Moscow signal,” as it was called, was eventually attributed to eavesdropping, not mind control, and Pandora ended in 1970. And with it, the military’s research into so-called non-thermal microwave effects seemed to die out, at least in the unclassified realm. But there are hints of ongoing research: An academic paper written for the Air Force in the mid-1990s mentions the idea of a weapon that would use sound waves to send words into a person’s head. “The signal can be a ‘message from God’ that can warn the enemy of impending doom, or encourage the enemy to surrender,” the author concluded. In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: using microwaves to send words into someone’s head. That work is frequently cited on mind-control Web sites. Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the research laboratory’s directed energy directorate, declined to discuss that patent or current or related research in the field, citing the lab’s policy not to comment on its microwave work. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed for this article, the Air Force released unclassified documents surrounding that 2002 patent — records that note that the patent was based on human experimentation in October 1994 at the Air Force lab, where scientists were able to transmit phrases into the heads of human subjects, albeit with marginal intelligibility. Research appeared to continue at least through 2002. Where this work has gone since is unclear — the research laboratory, citing classification, refused to discuss it or release other materials. The official U.S. Air Force position is that there are no non-thermal effects of microwaves. Yet Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, tagged microwave attacks against the human brain as part of future warfare in a 2001 presentation to the National Defense Industrial Association about “Future Strategic Issues.” “That work is exceedingly sensitive” and unlikely to be reported in any unclassified documents, he says. Meanwhile, the military’s use of weapons that employ electromagnetic radiation to create pain is well-known, as are some of the limitations of such weapons. In 2001, the Pentagon declassified one element of this research: the Active Denial System, a weapon that uses electromagnetic radiation to heat skin and create an intense burning sensation. So, yes, there is technology designed to beam painful invisible rays at humans, but the weapon seems to fall far short of what could account for many of the TIs’ symptoms. While its exact range is classified, Doug Beason, an expert in directed-energy weapons, puts it at about 700 meters, and the beam cannot penetrate a number of materials, such as aluminum. Considering the size of the full-scale weapon, which resembles a satellite dish, and its operational limitations, the ability of the government or anyone else to shoot beams at hundreds of people — on city streets, into their homes and while they travel in cars and planes — is beyond improbable. But, given the history of America’s clandestine research, it’s reasonable to assume that if the defense establishment could develop mind-control or long-distance ray weapons, it almost certainly would. And, once developed, the possibility that they might be tested on innocent civilians could not be categorically dismissed. Girard, for his part, believes these weapons were not only developed but were also tested on him more than 20 years ago. What would the government gain by torturing him? Again, Girard found what he believed to be an explanation, or at least a precedent: During the Cold war, the government conducted radiation experiments on scores of unwitting victims, essentially using them as human guinea pigs. Girard came to believe that he, too, was a walking experiment. Not that Girard thinks his selection was totally random: He believes he was targeted because of a disparaging remark he made to a Republican fundraiser about George H.W. Bush in the early 1980s. Later, Girard says, the voices confirmed his suspicion. “One night I was going to bed; the usual drivel was going on,” he says. “The constant stream of drivel. I was just about to go to bed, and a voice says: ‘Mr. Girard, do you know who was in our studio with us? That was George Bush, vice president of the United States.’” GIRARD’S STORY, HOWEVER STRANGE, reflects what TIs around the world report: a chance encounter with a government agency or official, followed by surveillance and gang stalking, and then, in many cases, voices, and pain similar to electric shocks. Some in the community have taken it upon themselves to document as many cases as possible. One TI from California conducted about 50 interviews, narrowing the symptoms down to several major areas: “ringing in the ears,” “manipulation of body parts,” “hearing voices,” “piercing sensation on skin,” “sinus problems” and “sexual attacks.” In fact, the TI continued, “many report the sensation of having their genitalia manipulated.” Both male and female TIs report a variety of “attacks” to their sexual organs. “My testicles became so sore I could barely walk,” Girard says of his early experiences. Others, however, report the attacks in the form of sexual stimulation, including one TI who claims he dropped out of the seminary after constant sexual stimulation by directed-energy weapons. Susan Sayler, a TI in San Diego, says many women among the TIs suffer from attacks to their sexual organs but are often embarrassed to talk about it with outsiders. “It’s sporadic, you just never know when it will happen,” she says. “A lot of the women say it’s as soon as you lay down in bed — that’s when you would get hit the worst. It happened to me as I was driving, at odd times.” What made her think it was an electronic attack and not just in her head? “There was no sexual attraction to a man when it would happen. That’s what was wrong. It did not feel like a muscle spasm or whatever,” she says. “It’s so . . . electronic.” Gloria Naylor, a renowned African American writer, seems to defy many of the stereotypes of someone who believes in mind control. A winner of the National Book Award, Naylor is best known for her acclaimed novel, The Women of Brewster Place, which described a group of women living in a poor urban neighborhood and was later made into a miniseries by Oprah Winfrey. But in 2005, she published a lesser-known work, 1996, a semi-autobiographical book describing her experience as a TI. “I didn’t want to tell this story. It’s going to take courage. Perhaps more courage than I possess, but they’ve left me no alternatives,” Naylor writes at the beginning of her book. “I am in a battle for my mind. If I stop now, they’ll have won, and I will lose myself.” The book is coherent, if hard to believe. It’s also marked by disturbing passages describing how Jewish American agents were responsible for Naylor’s surveillance. “Of the many cars that kept coming and going down my road, most were driven by Jews,” she writes in the book. When asked about that passage in a recent interview, she defended her logic: Being from New York, she claimed, she can recognize Jews. Naylor lives on a quiet street in Brooklyn in a majestic brownstone with an interior featuring intricate woodwork and tasteful decorations that attest to a successful literary career. She speaks about her situation calmly, occasionally laughing at her own predicament and her struggle with what she originally thought was mental illness. “I would observe myself,” she explains. “I would lie in bed while the conversations were going on, and I’d ask: Maybe it is schizophrenia?” Like Girard, Naylor describes what she calls “street theater” — incidents that might be dismissed by others as coincidental, but which Naylor believes were set up. She noticed suspicious cars driving by her isolated vacation home. On an airplane, fellow passengers mimicked her every movement — like mimes on a street. Voices similar to those in Girard’s case followed — taunting voices cursing her, telling her she was stupid, that she couldn’t write. Expletive-laced language filled her head. Naylor sought help from a psychiatrist and received a prescription for an antipsychotic drug. But the medication failed to stop the voices, she says, which only added to her conviction that the harassment was real. For almost four years, Naylor says, the voices prevented her from writing. In 2000, she says, around the time she discovered the mind-control forums, the voices stopped and the surveillance tapered off. It was then that she began writing 1996 as a “catharsis.” Colleagues urged Naylor not to publish the book, saying she would destroy her reputation. But she did publish, albeit with a small publishing house. The book was generally ignored by critics but embraced by TIs. Naylor is not the first writer to describe such a personal descent. Evelyn Waugh, one of the great novelists of the 20th century, details similar experiences in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. Waugh’s book, published in 1957, has eerie similarities to Naylor’s. Embarking on a recuperative cruise, Pinfold begins to hear voices on the ship that he believes are part of a wireless system capable of broadcasting into his head; he believes the instigator recruited fellow passengers to act as operatives; and he describes “performances” put on by passengers directed at him yet meant to look innocuous to others. Waugh wrote his book several years after recovering from a similar episode and realizing that the voices and paranoia were the result of drug-induced hallucinations. Naylor, who hasn’t written a book since 1996, is now back at work on an historical novel she hopes will return her to the literary mainstream. She remains convinced that she was targeted by mind control. The many echoes of her ordeal she sees on the mind-control forums reassure her she’s not crazy, she says. Of course, some of the things she sees on the forum do strike her as crazy. “But who I am to say?” she says. “Maybe I sound crazy to somebody else.” SOME TIS, SUCH AS ED MOORE, A YOUNG MEDICAL DOCTOR, take a slightly more skeptical approach. He criticizes what he calls the “wacky claims” of TIs who blame various government agencies or groups of people without any proof. “I have yet to see a claim of who is behind this that has any data to support it,” he writes. Nonetheless, Moore still believes the voices in his head are the result of mind control and that the U.S. government is the most likely culprit. Moore started hearing voices in 2003, just as he completed his medical residency in anesthesiology; he was pulling an all-nighter studying for board exams when he heard voices coming from a nearby house commenting on him, on his abilities as a doctor, on his sanity. At first, he thought he was simply overhearing conversations through walls (much as Waugh’s fictional alter ego first thought), but when no one else could hear the voices, he realized they were in his head. Moore went through a traumatic two years, including hospitalization for depression with auditory hallucinations. “One tries to convince friends and family that you are being electronically harassed with voices that only you can hear,” he writes in an e-mail. “You learn to stop doing that. They don’t believe you, and they become sad and concerned, and it amplifies your own depression when you have voices screaming at you and your friends and family looking at you as a helpless, sick, mentally unbalanced wreck.” He says he grew frustrated with anti-psychotic medications meant to stop the voices, both because the treatments didn’t work and because psychiatrists showed no interest in what the voices were telling him. He began to look for some other way to cope. “In March of 2005, I started looking up support groups on the Internet,” he wrote. “My wife would cry when she would see these sites, knowing I still heard voices, but I did not know what else to do.” In 2006, he says, his wife, who had stood by him for three years, filed for divorce. Moore, like other TIs, is cautious about sharing details of his life. He worries about looking foolish to friends and colleagues — but he says that risk is ultimately worthwhile if he can bring attention to the issue. With his father’s financial help, Moore is now studying for an electrical engineering degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio, hoping to prove that V2K, the technology to send voices into people’s heads, is real. Being in school, around other people, helps him cope, he writes, but the voices continue to taunt him. Recently, he says, they told him: “We’ll never stop [messing] with you.” A WEEK BEFORE THE TIS RALLY ON THE NATIONAL MALL, John Alexander, one of the people whom Harlan Girard holds personally responsible for the voices in his head, is at a Chili’s restaurant in Crystal City explaining over a Philly cheese steak and fries why the United States needs mind-control weapons. A former Green Beret who served in Vietnam, Alexander went on to a number of national security jobs, and rubbed shoulders with prominent military and political leaders. Long known for taking an interest in exotic weapons, his 1980 article, “The New Mental Battlefield,” published in the Army journal Military Review, is cited by self-described victims as proof of his complicity in mind control. Now retired from the government and living in Las Vegas, Alexander continues to advise the military. He is in the Washington area that day for an official meeting. Beneath a shock of white hair is the mind of a self-styled military thinker. Alexander belongs to a particular set of Pentagon advisers who consider themselves defense intellectuals, focusing on big-picture issues, future threats and new capabilities. Alexander’s career led him from work on sticky foam that would stop an enemy in his or her tracks to dalliances in paranormal studies and psychics, which he still defends as operationally useful. In an earlier phone conversation, Alexander said that in the 1990s, when he took part in briefings at the CIA, there was never any talk of “mind control, or mind-altering drugs or technologies, or anything like that.” According to Alexander, the military and intelligence agencies were still scared by the excesses of MK-ULTRA, the infamous CIA program that involved, in part, slipping LSD to unsuspecting victims. “Until recently, anything that smacked of [mind control] was extremely dangerous” because Congress would simply take the money away, he said. Alexander acknowledged that “there were some abuses that took place,” but added that, on the whole, “I would argue we threw the baby out with the bath water.” But September 11, 2001, changed the mood in Washington, and some in the national security community are again expressing interest in mind control, particularly a younger generation of officials who weren’t around for MK-ULTRA. “It’s interesting, that it’s coming back,” Alexander observed. While Alexander scoffs at the notion that he is somehow part of an elaborate plot to control people’s minds, he acknowledges support for learning how to tap into a potential enemy’s brain. He gives as an example the possible use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, for lie detection. “Brain mapping” with fMRI theoretically could allow interrogators to know when someone is lying by watching for activity in particular parts of the brain. For interrogating terrorists, fMRI could come in handy, Alexander suggests. But any conceivable use of the technique would fall far short of the kind of mind-reading TIs complain about. Alexander also is intrigued by the possibility of using electronic means to modify behavior. The dilemma of the war on terrorism, he notes, is that it never ends. So what do you do with enemies, such as those at Guantanamo: keep them there forever? That’s impractical. Behavior modification could be an alternative, he says. “Maybe I can fix you, or electronically neuter you, so it’s safe to release you into society, so you won’t come back and kill me,” Alexander says. It’s only a matter of time before technology allows that scenario to come true, he continues. “We’re now getting to where we can do that.” He pauses for a moment to take a bite of his sandwich. “Where does that fall in the ethics spectrum? That’s a really tough question.” When Alexander encounters a query he doesn’t want to answer, such as one about the ethics of mind control, he smiles and raises his hands level to his chest, as if balancing two imaginary weights. In one hand is mind control and the sanctity of free thought — and in the other hand, a tad higher — is the war on terrorism. But none of this has anything to do with the TIs, he says. “Just because things are secret, people tend to extrapolate. Common sense does not prevail, and even when you point out huge leaps in logic that just cannot be true, they are not dissuaded.” WHAT IS IT THAT BRINGS SOMEONE, EVEN AN INTELLIGENT PERSON, to ascribe the experience of hearing disembodied voices to government weapons? In her book, Abducted, Harvard psychologist Susan Clancy examines a group that has striking parallels to the TIs: people who believe they’ve been kidnapped by aliens. The similarities are often uncanny: Would-be abductees describe strange pains, and feelings of being watched or targeted. And although the alleged abductees don’t generally have auditory hallucinations, they do sometimes believe that their thoughts are controlled by aliens, or that they’ve been implanted with advanced technology. (On the online forum, some TIs posted vociferous objections to the parallel, concerned that the public finds UFOs even weirder than mind control. “It will keep us all marginalized and discredited,” one griped.) Clancy argues that the main reason people believe they’ve been abducted by aliens is that it provides them with a compelling narrative to explain their perception that strange things have happened to them, such as marks on their bodies (marks others would simply dismiss as bruises), stimulation to their sexual organs (as the TIs describe) or feelings of paranoia. “It’s not just an explanation for your problems; it’s a source of meaning for your life,” Clancy says. In the case of TIs, mind-control weapons are an explanation for the voices they hear in their head. Socrates heard a voice and thought it was a demon; Joan of Arc heard voices from God. As one TI noted in an e-mail: “Each person undergoing this harassment is looking for the solution to the problem. Each person analyzes it through his or her own particular spectrum of beliefs. If you are a scientific-minded person, then you will probably analyze the situation from that perspective and conclude it must be done with some kind of electronic devices. If you are a religious person, you will see it as a struggle between the elements of whatever religion you believe in. If you are maybe, perhaps more eccentric, you may think that it is alien in nature.” Or, if you happen to live in the United States in the early 21st century, you may fear the growing power of the NSA, CIA and FBI. Being a victim of government surveillance is also, arguably, better than being insane. In Waugh’s novella based on his own painful experience, when Pinfold concludes that hidden technology is being used to infiltrate his brain, he “felt nothing but gratitude in his discovery.” Why? “He might be unpopular; he might be ridiculous; but he was not mad.” Ralph Hoffman, a professor of psychiatry at Yale who has studied auditory hallucinations, regularly sees people who believe the voices are a part of government harassment (others believe they are God, dead relatives or even ex-girlfriends). Not all people who hear voices are schizophrenic, he says, noting that people can hear voices episodically in highly emotional states. What exactly causes these voices is still unknown, but one thing is certain: People who think the voices are caused by some external force are rarely dissuaded from their delusional belief, he says. “These are highly emotional and gripping experiences that are so compelling for them that ordinary reality seems bland.” Perhaps because the experience is so vivid, he says, even some of those who improve through treatment merely decide the medical regimen somehow helped protect their brain from government weapons. Scott Temple, a professor of psychiatry at Penn State University who has been involved in two recent studies of auditory hallucinations, notes that those who suffer such hallucinations frequently lack insight into their illness. Even among those who do understand they are sick, “that awareness comes and goes,” he says. “People feel overwhelmed, and the delusional interpretations return.” BACK AT THE PHILADELPHIA TRAIN STATION, Girard seems more agitated. In a meeting the week before, his “handlers” had spoken to him only briefly — they weren’t in the right position to attack him, Girard surmises, based on the lack of voices. Today, his conversation jumps more rapidly from one subject to the next: victims of radiation experiments, his hatred of George H.W. Bush, MK-ULTRA, his personal experiences. Asked about his studies at Penn, he replies by talking about his problems with reading: “I told you, everything I write they dictate to me,” he says, referring again to the voices. “When I read, they’re reading to me. My eyes go across; they’re moving my eyes down the line. They’re reading it to me. When I close the book, I can’t remember a thing I read. That’s why they do it.” The week before, Girard had pointed to only one person who appeared suspicious to him — a young African American man reading a book; this time, however, he hears more voices, which leads him to believe the station is crawling with agents. “Let’s change our location,” Girard says after a while. “I’m sure they have 40 or 50 people in here today. I escaped their surveillance last time — they won’t let that happen again.” Asked to explain the connection between mind control and the University of Pennsylvania, which Girard alleges is involved in the conspiracy, he begins to talk about defense contractors located near the Philadelphia campus: “General Electric was right next to the parking garage; General Electric Space Systems occupies a huge building right over there. From that building, you could see into the studio where I was doing my work most of the time. I asked somebody what they were doing there. You know, it had to do with computers. GE Space Systems. They were supposed to be tracking missile debris from this location . . . pardon me. What was your question again?” Yet many parts of Girard’s life seem to reflect that of any affluent 70-year-old bachelor. He travels frequently to France for extended vacations and takes part in French cultural activities in Philadelphia. He has set up a travel scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Art in the name of his late mother, who attended school there (he changed his last name 27 years ago for “personal reasons”), and he travels to meet the students who benefit from the fund. And while the bulk of his time is spent on his research and writing about mind control, he has other interests. He follows politics and describes outings with friends and family members with whom he doesn’t talk about mind control, knowing they would view it skeptically. Girard acknowledges that some of his experiences mirror symptoms of schizophrenia, but asked if he ever worried that the voices might in fact be caused by mental illness, he answers sharply with one word: “No.” How, then, does he know the voices are real? “How do you know you know anything?” Girard replies. “How do you know I exist? How do you know this isn’t a dream you’re having, from which you’ll wake up in a few minutes? I suppose that analogy is the closest thing: You know when you have a dream. Sometimes it could be perfectly lucid, but you know it’s a dream.” The very “realness” of the voices is the issue — how do you disbelieve something you perceive as real? That’s precisely what Hoffman, the Yale psychiatrist, points out: So lucid are the voices that the sufferers — regardless of their educational level or self-awareness — are unable to see them as anything but real. “One thing I can assure you,” Hoffman says, “is that for them, it feels real.” IT LOOKS ALMOST LIKE ANY OTHER SMALL POLITICAL RALLY IN WASHINGTON. Posters adorn the gate on the southwest side of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, as attendees set up a table with press materials, while volunteers test a loudspeaker and set out coolers filled with bottled water. The sun is out, the weather is perfect, and an eclectic collection of people from across the country has gathered to protest mind control. There is not a tinfoil hat to be seen. Only the posters and paraphernalia hint at the unusual. “Stop USA electronic harassment,” urges one poster. “Directed Energy Assaults,” reads another. Smaller signs in the shape of tombstones say, “RIP MKULTRA.” The main display, set in front of the speaker’s lectern has a more extended message: “HELP STOP HI-TECH ASSAULT PSYCHOTRONIC TORTURE.” About 35 TIs show up for the June rally, in addition to a few friends and family members. Speakers alternate between giving personal testimonials and descriptions of research into mind-control technology. Most of the gawkers at the rally are foreign tourists. A few hecklers snicker at the signs, but mostly people are either confused or indifferent. The articles on mind control at the table — from mainstream news magazines — go untouched. “How can you expect people to get worked up over this if they don’t care about eavesdropping or eminent domain?” one man challenges after stopping to flip through the literature. Mary Ann Stratton, who is manning the table, merely shrugs and smiles sadly. There is no answer: Everyone at the rally acknowledges it is an uphill battle. In general, the outlook for TIs is not good; many lose their jobs, houses and family. Depression is common. But for many at the rally, experiencing the community of mind-control victims seems to help. One TI, a man who had been a rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard before voices in his head sent him on a downward spiral, expressed the solace he found among fellow TIs in a long e-mail to another TI: “I think that the only people that can help are people going through the same thing. Everyone else will not believe you, or they are possibly involved.” In the end, though, nothing could help him enough. In August 2006, he would commit suicide. But at least for the day, the rally is boosting TI spirits. Girard, in what for him is an ebullient mood, takes the microphone. A small crowd of tourists gathers at the sidelines, listening with casual interest. With the Capitol looming behind him, he reaches the crescendo of his speech, rallying the attendees to remember an important thing: They are part of a single community. “I’ve heard it said, ‘We can’t get anywhere because everyone’s story is different.’ We are all the same,” Girard booms. “You knew someone with the power to commit you to the electronic concentration camp system.” Several weeks after the rally, Girard shows up for a meeting with a reporter at the stately Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where he has stayed frequently over the two decades he has traveled to the capital to battle mind control. He walks in with a lit cigarette, which he apologetically puts out after a hotel employee tells him smoking isn’t allowed anymore. He is half an hour late — delayed, he says, by a meeting on Capitol Hill. Wearing a monogrammed dress shirt and tie, he looks, as always, serious and professional. Girard declines to mention whom on Capitol Hill he’d met with, other than to say it was a congressional staffer. Embarrassment is likely a factor: Girard readily acknowledges that most people he meets with, ranging from scholars to politicians, ignore his entreaties or dismiss him as a lunatic. Lately, his focus is on his Web site, which he sees as the culmination of nearly a quarter-century of research. When completed, it will contain more than 300 pages of documents. What next? Maybe he’ll move to France (there are victims there, too), or maybe the U.S. government will finally just kill him, he says. Meanwhile, he is always searching for absolute proof that the government has decoded the brain. His latest interest is LifeLog, a project once funded by the Pentagon that he read about in Wired News. The article described it this way: “The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read. All of this — and more — would combine with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audiovisual sensors to capture what he or she sees or says, and biomedical monitors to keep track of the individual’s health.” Girard suggests that the government, using similar technology, has “catalogued” his life over the past two years — every sight and sound (Evelyn Waugh, in his mind-control book, writes about his character’s similar fear that his harassers were creating a file of his entire life). Girard thinks the government can control his movements, inject thoughts into his head, cause him pain day and night. He believes that he will die a victim of mind control. Is there any reason for optimism? Girard hesitates, then asks a rhetorical question. “Why, despite all this, why am I the same person? Why am I Harlan Girard?” For all his anguish, be it the result of mental illness or, as Girard contends, government mind control, the voices haven’t managed to conquer the thing that makes him who he is: Call it his consciousness, his intellect or, perhaps, his soul. “That’s what they don’t yet have,” he says. After 22 years, “I’m still me.” Sharon Weinberger is a Washington writer and author of Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon’s Scientific Underworld. She will be fielding questions and comments about this article Tuesday at * I am the victim of the actions which you speak of. The use of voice to skull implants and the terrorists who use voice to skull weapons against me are documented at and and I am listed as a national representative for victims of voice to skull terrorist weapon use. We contacted all US Senators to bring them the information which local and national law enforcement has refused to allow us to introduce. Christopher R. Phillip

SACRED UPROAR, Excerpt from Pronoia, by Rob Brezsny

Pronoia is closer than your breath and older than death. It dreams like a mountain, laughs like a river, prays like the sun, and sings the way the animals think. It's always as fresh as the beginning of time. * Life is a vast and intricate conspiracy designed to keep us well supplied with blessings. What kind of blessings? Palatial homes, attractive lovers, lottery winnings, career success? Maybe. But just as likely: interesting surprises, unexpected challenges, gifts we hardly know what to do with, conundrums that force us to get smarter. Novelist William Vollman referred to the latter types of blessings when he said that "the most important and enjoyable thing in life is doing something that's a complicated, tricky problem for you that you don't know how to solve." * The Christian writer C.S. Lewis once said: "I thank God that He hasn't given me all the things I've prayed for, because as I look back now I realize it would have been disastrous to have received some of them." Pronoia provides the gifts your soul needs, not necessarily those your ego craves. * Pronoia works because there is a Divine Being who comprises the entire universe. When I say, "Life is a conspiracy to shower us with blessings," I understand that this Divine Being is the Chief Architect, Builder, and Manager of the conspiracy. She oversees the evolution of 500 billion galaxies and every single thing in them, yet is also available as an intimate companion and daily advisor to each one of us humans. Some lovers of pronoia don't like this part of my rap. They want pronoia to be free of anything that smacks of God. Atheism works better for them. That's OK with me. No hard feelings. Other lovers of pronoia don't appreciate me referring to the Creator as "She." They either want to stick with the pronoun that has been used for hundreds of years, or else don't want any gender associations whatsoever. That's OK with me. No hard feelings. * The Maker of the conspiracy constantly tinkers, always keeping the big picture in mind and moving in the direction of ultimate blessings for all concerned. But the Maker also loves getting help from us. To the degree that we co-conspire, the inevitable blessings ripen more lyrically and in greater fullness. * Pronoia asks us to be awake to the shifting conditions of the Wild Divine's ever-fresh creation. It encourages us to be quite happy about regularly divesting ourselves of the beliefs and theories that guided us yesterday so that we can see clearly what's right in front of us today. * As much as we might be dismayed at the actions of our political leaders, pronoia says that toppling any particular junta, clique, or elite is irrelevant unless we overthrow the sour, puckered mass hallucination that is mistakenly called "reality"— including the part of that hallucination we foster in ourselves. The revolution begins at home. If you overthrow yourself again and again, you might earn the right to help overthrow the rest of us. * Pronoia will change your past if you let it. It's the language you study at night in your dreams, the open secret of how to live forever, the last judgment transformed into a daily gift. ++++++++++++++++++++++++ To read other news and features from my book, go here: You can buy the book here: AMAZON BARNES & NOBLE

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Can - I'm Too Liese (1974)

Bill Moyers: "Big Media is Ravenous. It Never Gets Enough. Always Wants More. And it Will Stop at Nothing to Get It.

These Conglomerates are an Empire, and they are Imperial." BILL MOYERS: Benjamin Franklin once said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. “Liberty,” he said, “is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote.” My fellow lambs -- it's good to be in Memphis and find you well-armed with passion for democracy, readiness for action, and courage for the next round in the fight for a free and independent press in America. I salute the conviction that brought you here. I cherish the spirit that fills this hall, and the comradery that we share here. All too often, the greatest obstacle to reform is the reform movement itself. Factions rise, fences are erected, jealousies mount, and the cause all of us believe in is lost in the shattered fragments of what once was a clear and compelling vision. Reformers, in fact, often remind me of Baptists. I speak as a Baptist. I know whereof I speak. One of my favorite stories is of the fellow who was about to jump off a bridge, when another fellow ran up to him crying, “Stop, stop, don't do it.” The man on the bridge looks down and asks, “Why not?” “Well, there's much to live for.” “What for?” “Well, your faith. Your religion.” “Yes?” “Are you religious?” “Yes.” “Me, too. Christian or Buddhist?” “Christian.” “Me, too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?” “Protestant.” “Me, too. Methodist, Baptist, or Presbyterian?” “Baptist.” “Me, too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Savior?” “Baptist Church of God.” “Me, too. Are you Original Baptist Church of God or Reformed Baptist Church of God?” “Reformed Baptist Church of God.” “Me, too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God Reformation of 1879, or Reform Baptist Church of God Reformation of 1917?” “1917.” Whereupon, the second fellow turned red in the face and yelled, “Die, you heretic scum,” and pushed him off the bridge. Doesn't that sound like a reform movement? But by avoiding contentious factionalism, you have created a strong movement. And I will confess to you that I was skeptical when Bob McChesney and John Nichols first raised with me the issue of media consolidation a few years ago. I was sympathetic, but skeptical. The challenge of actually doing something about this issue beyond simply bemoaning its impact on democracy was daunting. How could we hope to come up with an effective response to any measurable force? It seemed inexorable, because all over the previous decades, a series of megamedia mergers have swept the country, each deal bigger than the last. The lobby representing the broadcast, cable, and newspapers industry was extremely powerful, with an iron grip on lawmakers and regulators alike. Both parties bowed to their will, when the Republican congress passed and President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. That monstrous assault on democracy, with malignant consequences for journalism, was nothing but a welfare giveaway to the largest, richest, and most powerful media conglomerations in the world. Goliaths, whose handful of owners controlled, commodified, and monetized everyone and everything in sight. Call it “the plantation mentality.” That's what struck me as I flew into Memphis for this gathering. Even in 1968, the Civil Rights Movement was still battling the plantation mentality, based on race, gender, and power, that permeated Southern culture long before, and even after the ground-breaking legislation of the 1960s. When Martin Luther King came to Memphis to join the strike of garbage workers in 1968, the cry from every striker's heart, “I am a man,” voiced the long-suppressed outrage of people whose rights were still being trampled by an ownership class that had arranged the world for its own benefit. The plantation mentality is a phenomenon deeply insinuated in the American experience early on, and it has permeated and corrupted our course as a nation. The journalist of the American Revolution, Thomas Payne, envisioned the new republic as a community of occupations, prospering by the aid with which each receives from the other and from the whole. But that vision was repeatedly betrayed, so that less than a century after Thomas Payne's death, Theodore Roosevelt, bolting a Republican Party, whose bosses had stolen the nomination from him, declared, “It is not to be wondered at, that our opponents have been very bitter, for the line-up in this crisis is one that cuts deep to the foundations of democracy.” “Our democracy,” he said, “is now put to a vital test, for the conflict is between human rights on the one side, and on the other, special privilege asserted as property rights. The parting of the ways has come.” Today, a hundred years after Teddy Roosevelt's death, those words ring just as true. America is socially divided and politically benighted. Inequality and poverty grow steadily along with risk and debt. Too many working families cannot make ends meet with two people working, let alone if one stays home to care for children or aging parents. Young people without privilege and wealth, struggle to get a footing. Seniors enjoy less security for a lifetime's work. We are racially segregated today in every meaningful sense, except for the letter of the law. And the survivors of segregation and immigration toil for pennies on the dollar, compared to those they serve. None of this is accidental. Nobel laureate economist, Robert Solow, not known for extreme political statements, characterizes what is happening as “nothing less than elite plunder,” the redistribution of wealth in favor of the wealthy, and the power in favor of the powerful. In fact, nearly all the wealth America created over the past 25 years has been captured by the top 20% of households, and most of the gains went to the wealthiest. The top 1% of households captured more than 50% of all the gains in financial wealth, and these households now hold more than twice the share their predecessors held on the eve of the American revolution. The anti-Federalist warning that government naturally works to fortify the conspiracies of the rich, proved prophetic. It's the truth today, and America confronts a choice between two fundamentally different economic visions. As Norman Garfinkel writes in his marvelous new book, The American Dream vs. the Gospel of Wealth, the historic vision of the American dream is that continuing economic growth and political stability can be achieved by supporting income growth and economic security of middle-class families, without restricting the ability of successful business men to gain wealth. The counter-belief is that providing maximum financial rewards to the most successful is the way to maintain high economic growth. The choice cannot be avoided. What kind of economy do we seek, and what kind of nation do we wish to be? Do we want to be a country in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, or do we want a country committed to an economy that provides for the common good, offers upward mobility, supports a middle class standard of living, and provides generous opportunities for all? In Garfinkel's book, “When,” Garfinkel says, “the richest nation in the world has to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to pay its bill, when its middle class citizens sit on a mountain of debt to maintain their living standards, when the nation's economy has difficulty producing secure jobs, or enough jobs of any kind, something is amiss.” You bet something is amiss, and it goes to the core of why we are here in Memphis. For this conference is about a force, the media, that cuts deep to the foundation of democracy. When Teddy Roosevelt dissected what he called “the real masters of the reactionary forces” in his time, he concluded that indirectly or directly, they control the majority of the great newspapers that are against us. Those newspapers, the dominant media of the day, choked -- his words -- the channels of the information ordinary people needed to understand what was being done to them. And today, two basic pillars of American society, shared economic prosperity and a public sector capable of serving the common good, are crumbling. The third pillar of American democracy, an independent press, is under sustained attack, and the channels of information are choked. A few huge corporations now dominate the media landscape in America. Almost all the networks carried by most cable systems are owned by one of the major media common conglomerates. Two thirds of today's newspapers are monopolies. As ownership gets more and more concentrated, fewer and fewer independent sources of information have survived in the marketplace; and those few significant alternatives that do survive, such as PBS and NPR, are under growing financial and political pressure to reduce critical news content and to shift their focus in a mainstream direction, which means being more attentive to establishment views than to the bleak realities of powerlessness that shape the lives of ordinary people. What does today's media system mean for the notion of an informed public cherished by democratic theory? Quite literally, it means that virtually everything the average person sees or hears outside of her own personal communications, is determined by the interests of private, unaccountable executives and investors whose primary goal is increasing profits and raising the country's share price. More insidiously, this small group of elites determine what ordinary people do not see or hear. In-depth coverage of anything, let alone the problems real people face day to day, is as scarce as sex, violence, and voyeurism are pervasive. Successful business model or not, by democratic standards, this is censorship of knowledge by monopolization of the means of information. In its current form, which Barry Diller happily describes as “oligopoly,” media growth has one clear consequence. There is more information and easier access to it, but it's more narrow and homogenous in content and perspective, so that what we see from the couch is overwhelmingly a view from the top. The pioneering communications scholar, Mary Edelman, wrote that opinions about public policy do not spring immaculately or automatically into people's minds. They are always placed there by the interpretations of those who most consistently get their claims and manufactured cues publicized widely. For years, the media marketplace for opinions about public policy has been dominated by a highly disciplined, thoroughly networked, ideological noise machine, to use David Brock’s term. Permeated with slogans concocted by big corporations, their lobbyists, and their think tank subsidiaries, public discourse has effectively changed the meaning of American values. Day after day, the ideals of fairness and liberty and mutual responsibility have been stripped of their essential dignity and meaning in people's lives. Day after day, the egalitarian creed of our Declaration of Independence is trampled underfoot by hired experts and sloganeers, who speak of the “death tax,” “the ownership society,” “the culture of life,” “the liberal assault on God and family,” “compassionate conservatism,” “weak on terrorism,” “the end of history,” “the clash of civilizations,” “no child left behind.” They have even managed to turn the escalation of a failed war into a “surge,” as if it were a current of electricity through a wire, instead of blood spurting from the ruptured vein of a soldier. The Orwellian filigree of a public sphere in which language conceals reality, and the pursuit of personal gain and partisan power is wrapped in rhetoric that turns truth to lies, and lies to truth, so it is that limited government has little to do with the Constitution or local economy anymore. Now it means corporate domination and the shifting of risk from government and business to struggling families and workers. Family values now mean imposing a sectarian definition of the family on everyone else. Religious freedom now means majoritarianism and public benefits for organized religion without any public burdens. And patriotism has come to mean blind support for failed leaders. It's what happens when an interlocking media system filters through commercial values or ideology, the information and moral viewpoints people consume in their daily lives. And by no stretch of the imagination can we say today that the dominant institutions of our media are guardians of democracy. Despite the profusion of new information platforms on cable, on the Internet, on radio, blogs, podcasts, YouTube, and MySpace, among others, the resources for solid, original journalistic work, both investigative and interpretative, are contracting, rather than expanding. I'm an old-fashioned -- I’m a fogy at this, I guess, a hangover from my days as a cub reporter and a newspaper publisher. But I agree with Michael Schudson, one of the leading scholars of communication in America, who writes in the current Columbia Journalism Review that while all media matter, some matter more than others. And for the sake of democracy, print still counts most, especially print that devotes resources to gathering news. “Network TV matters,” he said. “Cable TV matters,” he said. But when it comes to original investigation and reporting, newspapers are overwhelmingly the most important media. But newspapers are purposely dumbing-down, “driven down,” says Schudson, by Wall Street, whose collective devotion to an informed citizenry is nil and seems determined to eviscerate those papers. Worrying about the loss of real news is not a romantic cliché of journalism. It’s been verified by history. From the days of royal absolutism to the present, the control of information and knowledge had been the first line of defense for failed regimes facing democratic unrest. The suppression of parliamentary dissent during Charles I's eleven years of tyranny in England rested largely on government censorship, operating through strict licensing laws for the publication of books. The Federalist infamous Sedition Act of 1798 in this country, likewise, sought to quell republican insurgency by making it a crime to publish false, scandalous, and malicious writing about the government or its officials. In those days, our governing bodies tried to squelch journalistic information with the blunt instruments of the law: padlocks for the presses and jail cells for outspoken editors and writers. Over time, with spectacular war time exceptions, the courts and the Constitution have struck those weapons out of their hand. But now they have found new methods in the name of national security and even broader claims of executive privilege. The number of documents stamped “Top Secret,” “Secret,” or “Confidential” has accelerated dramatically since 2001, including many formerly accessible documents which are now reclassified as “Secret.” Vice President Cheney's office refuses to disclose, in fact, what it is classifying. Even their secrecy is being kept a secret. Beyond what is officially labeled “Secret” or “privileged” information, there hovers on the plantation a culture of selective official news implementation, working through favored media insiders to advance political agendas by leak and innuendo and spin, by outright propaganda mechanisms, such as the mis-named public information offices that churn out blizzards of factually selective releases on a daily basis, and even by directly paying pundits and journalists to write on subjects of mutual interest. They needn’t have wasted the money. As we saw in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the plantation mentality that governs Washington turned the press corps into sitting ducks for the war party, for government, and neoconservative propaganda and manipulation. There were notable exceptions, Knight Ridder's bureau, for example, but on the whole, all high-ranking officials had to do was say it, and the press repeated it until it became gospel. The height of myopia came with the admission -- or was it bragging? -- by one of the beltway's most prominent anchors that his responsibility is to provide officials a forum to be heard, what they say more newsworthy than what they do. The watchdog group FAIR found that during the three weeks leading up to the invasion, only 3% of U.S. sources on the evening news of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, and PBS expressed skeptical opinions of the impending war, even though a quarter of the American people were against it. Not surprisingly, two years after 911, almost 70% of the public still thought it likely that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the terrorist attacks of that day. One Indiana school teacher told the Washington Post, “From what we've heard from the media, it seems what they feel is that Saddam and the whole al-Qaeda thing are connected.” Much to the advantage of the Bush administration, a large majority of the public shared this erroneous view during the build-up to the war, a propaganda feat that Saddam himself would have envied. It is absolutely -- I’m doing a documentary to air this spring called Buying the War on this period, leading up to the invasion -- it is absolutely stunning, frightening how the major media organizations were willing, even solicitous, hand puppets of a state propaganda campaign, cheered on by the partisan ideological press to go to war. But there are many other ways the plantation mentality keeps the American people from confronting reality. Take the staggering growth of money in politics. Compared to the magnitude of the problem, what the average person knows about how money determines policy is negligible. In fact, in the abstract, the polls tell us, most people generally assume that money controls our political system. But people will rarely act on something they understand only in the abstract. It took a constant stream of images -- water hoses, and dogs and churches ablaze -- for the public at large finally to understand what was happening to black people in the south. It took repeated scenes of destruction in Vietnam before the majority of Americans saw how we were destroying the country in order to save it. And it took repeated crime scene images to maintain public support for many policing and sentencing policies. Likewise, people have to see how money and politics actually worked and concretely grasped the consequences for their pocketbooks and their lives before they will act. But while media organizations supply a lot of news and commentary, they tell us almost nothing about who really wags the system and how. When I watch one of those faux debates on a Washington public affairs show, with one politician saying, “This is a bad bill,” and the other politician saying, “This is a good bill,” I yearn to see the smiling, nodding, beltway anchor suddenly interrupt and insist, “Good bill or bad bill, this is a bought bill. Now, let's cut to the chase. Whose financial interests are you advancing with this bill?” Then there's the social cost of free trade. For over a decade, free trade has hovered over the political system like a biblical commandment striking down anything: trade unions, the environment, indigenous rights, even the constitutional standing of our own laws passed by our elected representative that gets in the way of unbridled greed. The broader negative consequences of this agenda, increasingly well-documented by scholars, gets virtually no attention in the dominant media. Instead of reality, we get optimistic, multicultural scenarios of coordinated global growth. And instead of substantive debate we get a stark formulated choice between free trade to help the world and gloomy-sounding protectionism that will set everyone back. The degree to which this has become a purely ideological debate, devoid of any factual basis that people can weigh the gains and losses is reflected in Thomas Friedman's astonishing claim, stated not long ago in a television interview, that he endorsed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) without even reading it. That is simply because it stood for “free trade.” We have reached the stage when the Poo-bahs of punditry have only to declare that “the world is flat,” for everyone to agree it is, without going to the edge and looking over themselves. It's called reporting. I think what's happened is not indifference or laziness or incompetence, but the fact that most journalists on the plantation have so internalized conventional wisdom that they simply accept that the system is working as it should. That documentary I told you about, Buying the War, I can't tell you again how many reporters have told me that it just never occurred to them that high officials would manipulate intelligence in order to go to war. Hello? Similarly, the question of whether or not our economic system is truly just, is off the table for investigation and discussion, so that alternative ideas, alternative critiques, alternative visions never get a hearing. And these are but a few of the realities that are obscured. What about this growing inequality? What about the resegregation of our public schools? What about the devastating onward march of environmental deregulation, all examples of what happens when independent sources of knowledge and analysis are so few and far between on the plantation? So if we need to know what is happening, and big media won't tell us; if we need to know why it matters, and big media won't tell us; if we need to know what to do about it, and big media won't tell us, it's clear what we have to do. We have to tell the story ourselves. And this is what the plantation owners feared most of all. Over all those decades here in the South, when they used human beings as chattel, and quoted scripture to justify it, property rights over human rights was God's way, they secretly lived in fear that one day, instead of saying, “Yes, Massa,” those gaunt, weary, sweat-soaked field hands, bending low over the cotton under the burning sun, would suddenly stand up straight, look around, see their sweltering and stooping kin and say, “This ain't the product of intelligent design. The boss man in the big house has been lying to me. Something is wrong with this system.” This is the moment freedom begins, the moment you realize someone else has been writing your story, and it's time you took the pen from his hand and started writing it yourself. When the garbage workers struck here in 1968, and the walls of these buildings echoed with the cry, "I am a man," they were writing this story. Martin Luther King came here to help them tell it, only to be shot dead on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. The bullet killed him, but it couldn't kill the story, because once the people start telling their story, you can't kill it anymore. So I’m back where I started with you, and where this movement is headed. The greatest challenge to the plantation mentality of the media giants is the innovation and expression made possible by the digital revolution. I may still prefer the newspaper for its investigative journalism and in-depth analysis, but we now have it in our means to tell a different story from big media, our story. The other story of America that says, free speech is not just corporate speech. That news is not just what officials tell us. And we are not just chattel in the fields living the boss man's story. This is the great gift of the digital revolution, and you must never, never let them take it away from you. The Internet, cell phones and digital cameras that can transmit images over the Internet makes possible a nation of story tellers, every citizen a Tom Payne. Let the man in the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue think that over, and the woman of the House on Capitol Hill. And the media moguls in their chalets at Sun Valley, gathered to review the plantation’s assets and multiply them, nail it to their door. They no longer own the copyright to America's story. It's not a top-down story anymore. Other folks are going to write this story from the ground up. And the truth will be out that the media plantation, like the cotton plantation of old, is not divinely sanctioned. It's not the product of natural forces. The media system we have been living under for a long time now was created behind closed doors where the power brokers met to divvy up the spoils. Bob McChesney has eloquently reminded us through the years how each medium -- radio, television, and cable -- was hailed as a technology that would give us greater diversity of voices, serious news, local programs, and lots of public service for the community. In each case, the advertisers took over. Despite what I teasingly told you the last time we were together in St. Louis, the star that shines so brightly in the firmament the year I was born, 1934, did not, I regret to say, appear over that little house in Hugo, Oklahoma. It appeared over Washington when Congress enacted the 1934 Communications Act. One hundred times in that cornerstone of our communications policy, you will read the phrase “public interests, convenience, and necessity.” I can't tell you reading about those days: educators, union officials, religious leaders, parents were galvanized by the promise of radio as a classroom for the air, serving the life of the country and the life of the mind – until the government cut a deal with the industry to make sure nothing would threaten the already vested interests of powerful radio networks and the advertising industry. And soon, the public largely forgot about radio's promise, as we accepted the entertainment produced and controlled by Jell-O, Maxwell House, and Camel cigarettes. What happened to radio, happened to television, and then it happened to cable; and if we are not diligent, it will happen to the Internet. Powerful forces are at work now, determined to create our media future for the benefit of the plantation. Investors, advertisers, owners, and the parasites who depend on their indulgence, including many in the governing class. Old media acquire new media and vice versa. Rupert Murdoch, forever savvy about the next key outlet that will attract eyeballs, purchased MySpace, spending nearly $600 million, so he could, in the language of Wall Street, monetize those eyeballs. Goggle became a partner in Time Warner, investing $1 billion in its AOL online service. And now Goggle has bought YouTube, so it would have a better vehicle for delivering interactive ads for Madison Avenue. Viacom, Microsoft, large ad agencies, and others have been buying up key media properties, many of them the leading online sites, with a result that will be a thoroughly commercialized environment, a media plantation for the 21st century, dominated by the same corporate and ideological forces that have produced the system we have lived under the last 50 years. So what do we do? Well, you've shown us what we have to do. And twice now, you have shown us what we can do. Four years ago, when FCC Commissioner Michael Powell and his ideological sidekicks decided it was ok for a single corporation to own a community's major newspapers, three of its TV stations, eight radio stations, its cable TV system, and its major broadband Internet provider, you said “Enough's enough!” Free Press, Common Cause, Consumer's Union, Media Access Project, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and others working closely with commissioners Adelstein and Copps, two of the most public, spirited members of that commission ever to sit there, you organized public hearings across the country where people spoke up deeply felt opinions about how poorly the media was serving their towns. You flooded Congress with petitions and you never let up. And when the court said Powell had to back off for then, the decision cited the importance of involving the public in these media decisions. Incidentally, Powell not only backed off, he backed out. He left the commission to become senior advisor at a private investment firm specializing in equity investments in media companies around the world. And that firm, by the way, made a bid to take over both Tribune and Clear Channel, two media companies, that just a short time ago, were under the corporate-friendly purview of -- you guessed it -- Michael Powell. That whooshing sound you hear is Washington's perpetually revolving door through which they come to serve the public and through which they leave to join the plantation. You made a difference. You showed the public cares about media and democracy. You turned a little publicized vote, little publicized because big media didn't want the people to know, a little publicized and seemingly arcane regulation into a big political fight and a public debate. Now it's true, as commissioner Copps has reminded us, that since that battle three years ago, there have been more than 3, 300 TV and radio TV stations that have had their assignment and transfer grants approved, so that even under the old rules, consolidation grows, localism suffers, and diversity dwindles. It's also true that even as we speak, Michael Powell's successor, Kevin Martin, put there by George W. Bush, is ready to take up where Powell left off and give the green light to more conglomeration. Get ready to fight. But then you did it again more recently. You lit a fire under the people to put Washington on notice that it had to guarantee the Internet's First Amendment protection in the $85 billion merger of AT&T and BellSouth. Because of you, the so-called Internet neutrality, I much prefer to call it the “equal-access provision of the Internet” -- neutrality makes me think of Switzerland -- the equal-access provision became a public issue that once again reminded the powers-that-be that people want the media to foster democracy not to quench it. This is crucial. This is crucial, because in a few years, virtually all media will be delivered by high-speed broadband. And without equality of access, the net can become just like cable television where the provider decides what you see and what you pay. After all, the Bush Department of Justice had blessed the deal last October without a single condition or statement of concern. But they hadn't reckoned with Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, and they hadn't reckoned with this movement. Free Press and orchestrated 800 organizations, a million and a half petitions, countless local events, legions of homemade videos, smart collaboration with allies and industry, and a top shelf communications campaign. Who would have imagined that sitting together in the same democratic broadband pew would be the Christian Coalition, Gun Owners of America, Common Cause, and Who would have imagined that these would link arms with some of the powerful new media companies to fight for the Internet's First Amendment? We owe a tip of the hat, of course, to Republican commissioner Robert McDowell. Despite what must have been a great deal of pressure from his side, he did the honorable thing and recused himself from the proceedings because of a conflict of interest. He might well have heard the roar of the public that you helped to create. So AT&T had to cry “uncle” to Copps and Adelstein, with a “voluntary commitment to honor equal access for at least two years.” The agreement marks the first time that the federal government has imposed true neutrality -- oops, equality – on an Internet access provider since the debate erupted almost two years ago. I believe you changed the terms of the debate. It is no longer about whether equality of access will govern the future of the Internet. It's about when and how. It also signals a change from defense to offense for the backers of an open net. Arguably the biggest, most effective online organizing campaign ever conducted on a media issue, can now turn to passing good laws, rather than always having to fight to block bad ones. Just this week Senator Byron Dorgan, a Democrat, and Senator Olympia Snow, a Republican, introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2007 to require fair and equitable access to all content. And over in the House, that champion of the public interests, Ed Markey, is once again standing there waiting to press the battle. But a caveat here. Those other folks don't give up so easy. Remember, this agreement is only for two years, and they will be back with all the lobbyists money can hire. As the Washington Post follows George Bush into the black hole of Baghdad, the press in Washington won't be covering many stories like this because of priorities. Further caveat, consider what AT&T got in the bargain. For giving up on neutrality, it got the green light from government to dominate over 67 million phonelines in 22 states, almost 12 million broadband users, and total control over Cingular Wireless, the country's largest mobile phone company with 58 million cell phone users. It's as if China swallowed India. I bring this up for a reason. Big media is ravenous. It never gets enough. Always wants more. And it will stop at nothing to get it. These conglomerates are an empire, and they are imperial. Last week on his website,, Danny Schechter recalled how some years ago he marched with a band of media activists to the headquarters of all the big media companies concentrated in the Times Square area. Their formidable buildings strutted with logos and limos, and guarded by rent-a-cops, projected their power and prestige. Danny and his cohorts chanted and held up signs calling for honest news and an end to exploited programming. They called for diversity and access for more perspectives. “It felt good,” Danny said, “but it seemed like a fool's errand. We were ignored, patronized and marginalized. We couldn't shake their edifices or influence their holy business models. We seemed to many like that lonely and forlorn nut in a New Yorker cartoon carrying an ‘End of the World is Near’ placard.” Well, yes, my friends, that is exactly how they want you to feel. As if media and democracy is a fool's errand. To his credit, Danny didn't give up. He’s never given up. Neither have the early pioneers of this movement: Andy Swartzman, Don Hazen, Jeff Chester. I confess that I came very close not to making this speech today, in favor of just getting up here and reading from this book, Digital Destiny, by my friend and co-conspirator, Jeff Chester. Take my word for it. Make this your bible, until McChesney's new book comes out. As Don Hazen writes in his review in AlterNet this week, “It's a terrific book. A respectful, loving, fresh, intimate conversation, comprehensive history of the struggles for a democratic media. The lost fights, the opportunities missed, and the small victories that have kept the corporate media system from having complete carte blanche over the communication channels.” It's also a terrifying book, because Jeff describes how we are being shadowed online by a slew of software digital gumshoes, working for Madison Avenue. Our movements in cyberspace are closely tracked and analyzed, and interactive advertising infiltrates our consciousness to promote the brand-washing of America. Jeff asks the hard questions: Do we really want television sets that monitor what we watch? Or an Internet that knows what sites we visit and reports back to advertising companies? Do we really want a media system designed mainly for Madison Avenue? But this is a hopeful book. “After scaring the bejeezus out of us,” as one reviewer wrote, “Jeff offers a policy agenda for the broadband era. Here is a man who practices what the Italian philosopher Gramsci called the ‘pessimism of the intellect and the optimism of the will.’ He sees the world as it is, without rose-colored glasses and tries to change it, despite what he knows” So you'll find here the core of the movement's mission. You'll agree with much and disagree with some. But that's what a reform movement is about. Media reform -- yes. But the Project in Excellence concluded in its State of the Media Report for 2006, “At many old media companies, though not in all, the decades-long battle at the top between idealists and accountants is now over. The idealists have lost. The commercial networks are lost, too, lost to silliness, farce, cowardice, and ideology.” Not much hope there. You can't raise the dead. Policy reform, yes. “But,” says Jeff, “we will likely see more consolidation of ownership with newspapers, TV stations, and major online properties in fewer hands.” “So,” he says, “we have to find other ways to ensure the public has access to diverse, independent, and credible sources of information.” That means going to the market to find support for stronger independent media. Michael Moore and others have proven that progressivism doesn't have to equal penury. It means helping protect news-gathering from predatory forces. It means fighting for more participatory media, hospitable to a full range of expression. It means building on Lawrence Lessig’s notion of the “creative common” and Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archives with his philosophy of universal access to all knowledge. It means bringing broadband service to those many millions of Americans too poor to participate so far in the digital revolution. It means ownership and participation for people of color and women. And let me tell you, it means reclaiming public broadcasting and restoring it to its original feisty, robust, fearless mission as an alternative to the dominant media, offering journalism you can afford and can trust, public affairs of which you are a part, and a wide range of civic and cultural discourse that leaves no one out. You can have an impact here. For one thing, we need to remind people that the federal commitment to public broadcasting in this country is about $1.50 per capita, compared to $28 to $85 per capita in other democracies. But there is something else I want you to think about. Something else you can do. And I'm going to let you in here on one of my fantasies. Keep it to yourself, if you will, because fantasies are private matters, and mine involves Amy Goodman. But I'll just ask C-SPAN to bleep this out and… Oh, shucks, what’s the use. Here it is. In moments of revelry, I imagine all of you returning home to organize a campaign to persuade your local public television station to start airing Democracy Now! I can't think of a single act more likely to remind people of what public broadcasting should be, or that this media reform conference really means business. We've got to get alternative content out there to people, or this country is going to die of too many lies. And the opening rundown of news on Amy's daily show is like nothing else on any television, corporate or public. It's as if you opened the window in the morning and a fresh breeze rolls over you from the ocean. Amy doesn't practice trickle-down journalism. She goes where the silence is, and she breaks the sound barrier. She doesn't buy the Washington protocol that says the truth lies somewhere in the spectrum of opinion between the Democrats and the Republicans. On Democracy Now! the truth lies where the facts are hidden, and Amy digs for them. And above all, she believes the media should be a sanctuary for dissent, the underground railroad, tunneling beneath the plantation. So go home and think about it. After all, you are the public in public broadcasting and not just during pledge breaks. You live there, and you can get the boss man at the big house to pay attention. Meanwhile, be vigilant about the congressional rewrite of the Telecommunications Act that is beginning as we speak. Track it day by day and post what you learn far and wide, because the decisions made in this session of Congress will affect the future of all media, corporate and noncommercial, and if we lose the future now, we'll never get it back. So you have your work cut out for you. I'm glad you're all younger than me and up to it. I'm glad so many funders are here, because while an army may move on its stomach, this movement requires hard, cold cash to compete with big media in getting the attention of Congress and the people. I'll try to do my part. Last time we were together, I said to you that I should put my detractors on notice. They might just compel me out of the rocking chair and back into the anchor chair. Well, in April, I will be back with a new weekly series called Bill Moyers’ Journal, thanks to some of the funders in this room. We'll take no money from public broadcasting because it compromises you even when you don't intend it to - or they don't intend it to. I hope to complement the fine work of colleagues like David Brancaccio of NOW, and David Fanning of Frontline, who also go for the truth behind the news. But I don't want to tease you. I'm not coming back because of detractors. I wouldn't torture them that way. I'll leave that to Dick Cheney. I'm coming back, because it's what I do best. Because I believe television can still signify, and I don't want you to feel so alone. I'll keep an eye on your work. You are to America what the Abolition Movement was, and the Suffragette Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. You touch the soul of democracy. It's not assured you will succeed in this fight. The armies of the Lord are up against mighty hosts. But as the spiritual sojourner Thomas Merton wrote to an activist grown weary and discouraged, protesting the Vietnam War, "Do not depend on the hope of results. Concentrate on the value and the truth of the work itself.” And in case you do get lonely, I'll leave you with this. As my plane was circling Memphis the other day, I looked out across those vast miles of fertile soil that once were plantations, watered by the Mississippi River, and the sweat from the brow of countless men and women, who had been forced to live somebody else's story. I thought about how in time, with a lot of martyrs, they rose up, one here, then two, then many, forging a great movement that awakened America's conscience and brought us closer to the elusive but beautiful promise of the Declaration of Independence. As we made our last approach, the words of a Marge Piercy poem began to form in my head, and I remembered all over again why I was coming and why you were here: What can they do to you? Whatever they want. They can set you up, they can bust you, they can break your fingers, they can burn your brain with electricity, blur you with drugs till you can t walk, can’t remember, they can take your child, wall up your lover. They can do anything you can’t blame them from doing. How can you stop them? Alone, you can fight, you can refuse, you can take what revenge you can but they roll over you. But two people fighting back to back can cut through a mob, a snake-dancing file can break a cordon, an army can meet an army. Two people can keep each other sane, can give support, conviction, love, massage, hope, sex. Three people are a delegation, a committee, a wedge. With four you can play bridge and start an organisation. With six you can rent a whole house, eat pie for dinner with no seconds, and hold a fund raising party. A dozen make a demonstration. A hundred fill a hall. A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter; ten thousand, power and your own paper; a hundred thousand, your own media; ten million, your own country. It goes on one at a time, it starts when you care to act, it starts when you do it again after they said no, it starts when you say We and know who you mean, and each day you mean one more. Thank you

Can - Paperhouse

Damo Suzuki & The Early Years, Sonic Cathedral, 02.11.06

Can - Vernal Exuinox B.B.C 1975


Playwright Tom Stoppard is New President of the London Library

His first play made his fortune but still he keeps writing. Czech-born British playwright Tom Stoppard, new president of the London Library, talks about his Jewish roots and why he's quite keen on working in hotels.

Sir Tom Stoppard stands on the steps of a London townhouse. The building behind him is crammed with books: seven-storey stacks of them, a million or more and growing, requiring an extra half mile of shelves every three years. This is the London Library in St James's Square, founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle and friends. Stoppard, a member for 35 years and former trustee, recently became the library's president. More from Jewish-Theatre News.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence

Random Exerpts: Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such. Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. 04:27:11 #373 We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries. The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism Martin Luther King, Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence, April 4, 1967 And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. -end- Best Part: We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.

Creative Physical Freedom

Your concept looks terrific and I wish you the best of luck with it. -- Daniel Ellsberg (2007)

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. Many governments would benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information. Historically that information has been costly - in terms of human life and human rights. Wikileaks will facilitate safety in the ethical leaking movement.

Wikileaks opens leaked documents up to a much more exacting scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency could provide. Wikileaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability. They will be able to interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document comes from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident community can freely scrutinize and discuss it; if a document arrives from Iran, the entire Farsi community can analyze it and put it in context. Our first sample analysis is available from the news page, providing a look into the future of what Wikileaks can provide.

In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court ruled that "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government." We agree.

The ruling stated that "paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell."

We believe that it is not only the people of one country that keep their government honest, but also the people of other countries who are watching that government. That is why the time has come for an anonymous global avenue for disseminating documents the public should see.

Volunteer to help. Almost everyone can be of some assistance. See the FAQ for further details.

Help Wikileaks.

Billionaires Head for the Closet: The Class War's New Map, By Ralph Nader

The boiling, surging, churning and corporatizing economy of the United States is racing far ahead of its being understood by political economists, economists, politicians and the polis itself. Tidbits from the past week add up to this view, to wit: --The giant, shut-down Bethlehem steel plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania will soon become a $600 million casino and hotel complex. With tens of millions of Americans lacking the adequate necessities of food, fuel, shelter, health care and a sustaining job, this project is part of a 25 year trend by the economy, moving away from necessities and over to wants and whims. Among the fastest growing businesses for three decades in America are theme parks, gambling casinos and prisons. --Our Constitution launched "we the people" to "establish justice, Špromote the general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves." We're losing ground year after year on all three accounts. Yet to what does Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. devote his entire annual report on the federal judiciary this January 1, 2007? He called for a pay raise for judges, calling the current pay ranging from $165,200 to $212,000 (with a great retirement plan) a "constitutional crisis." -- General Motor has introduced yet another prototype electric car-called the Chevrolet Voltto distract attention from its ongoing engine stagnation and provide a little cover for its gas guzzling muscle cars displayed at the Detroit Auto Show. This procrastinatory tactic by GM has been going on since the 1939 New York World's Fair to keep people looking far into the amorphous future so as to not focus on the dismal today year after year while gasoline prices sky rocket and oil imports swell. We're still waiting for some of GM's engineering prototypes from 1939 to hit the road in the 21^st century. -- Just as there are stirrings behind more shareholder rights over the companies they own and more disclosure by management of large corporations relating to executive pay and accounting information, the rapid rise of huge pools of capital controlled by private equity firms and Hedge Funds are buying larger and larger public companies and taking them out of the regulatory arenas into secrecy. Corporate morphing to escape public accountability has been going on for a long time. Note the coal corporations digging deep under residential streets in Pennsylvania and other neighboring states decades ago. As the homes began to cave in (this is called 'subsidence'), the coal companies disappeared by collapsing themselves only to be succeeded by their next of (corporate) kin. Today, this corporate morphing is far more ranging and far larger in the economy, drawing trillions of dollars from pension funds and institutional investor firms which themselves are largely closed off from workers and small investors whose money they shuffle around. Corporate attorneys are super-experts in arranging ways for corporate capital to escape not just the tax laws of the U.S. but also the public regulatory frameworks of the Securities and Exchange Commission and other public "law and order" entities. Independent and academic corporate analysts have barely begun to figure out the consequences of this seismic shift of capital structures. -- "Private Firms Lure C.E.O.’s With Top Pay" was the headline in the January 8 edition of the New York Times. The subtitle was astonishingly worded as "Less Lavish Packages at Public Companies." The reporters go on to say, in essence, that if you think that Home Depot's departed C.E.O., Robert L. Nardelli's $200 million plus take home pay package was a lot, you haven't seen what's happening behind the curtains at the large private equity firms buying up ever bigger public companies. "Public company chieftains are deciding that they no longer want to be judged by their shareholders and regulators, and are going to work for businesses owned by private equity," write the authors. One such migrant executive, Henry Silverman, went from big riches running the conglomerate Cendant, to making $135 million just from selling one piece of Cendant, Realogy, to a private equity firm. "There is no reason to be a public company anymore," said this happy corporate prophet. Now go to the other side of the tracks. In the last quarter century the value of the U.S. corporations has risen 12-fold, according to the Wall Street Journal. C.E.O. pay has skyrocketed similarly. But workers today, on average, are still making less, in inflation adjusted dollars, than workers made in 1973 -- the high point of worker wages! Citing data from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, New York Times' columnist, Bob Herbert, reports that between 2000 and 2006 the combined real annual earnings of 93 million American workers rose by $15.4 billion. That rise is "less than half of the combined bonuses awarded by the five Wall Street firms for just one year." Class warfare in reverse is what's going on. The super rich and their corporations against the workers, redistributing the workers' wealth into their own pockets and coffers. Mr. Herbert frequently frets about no one in the political parties saying or doing anything about this state of despair. He defines "political parties" as the two major parties, though knowing full well that there are smaller parties and independent candidates who have campaigned across the country trumpeting the need for economic justice in very specific terms. So long as most progressive writers ignore these people in the electoral arenas who are laboring to break down the barriers that keep these issues of economic justice over corporate power abuses from moving into elections and government, they will be bellowing in the wind. Social justice movements in the United States have come from small starts that are duly recognized.

Her Skin, by Dylan Roberts

Her skin, I love to touch, I love to touch her skin. Soft, succulent, delicious skin on legs, belly, breasts, her folds. I love to touch her skin. Our mouths, with gentle suction, pulling and drawing, Our tongues, entwined in rhythmical dance, sliding, swirling, simulated movements when united. Thick protrusion enters her skin, Her skin, I love to touch.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Scientists recreate Dante's face

The face was modelled from skull measurements taken in the 1920s
Meet Dante. Not the best looking man in the world, but certainly better-looking than he has often been depicted in famous paintings.

Scientists believe this face is the closest match to the poet's skull found in his tomb.

And for Dante scholars it has thrown up a few surprises. They always imagined him to have a long aquiline nose.

But the team from the University of Bologna, who remodelled this face, believe it was bent and crooked.

He looks as if he had been punched.

"We all had our ideas of what Dante looked like," said Professor Giorgio Gruppioni, the anthropologist behind the project.

"But if this is right, it shows his face was quite different from what we had envisaged."

'Psychological renditions'

The popular conception of what Dante looked like came from classical portraits.

Professor Gruppioni said most were done by Renaissance artists after he had died.

They are what he calls "psychological renditions" - impressions artists had formed of Dante, from his work they had read.

A number of death masks also exist but historians believe these, too, were sculpted after his death.

"No human face could stand having 30 death masks made of it," said Professor Gruppioni.

Dante died in 1321 shortly after finishing Paradise, the last book of the Divine Comedy.

Dante's skull superimposed on a Botticelli portrait
Scientists superimposed Dante's skull on a portrait by Botticelli

His bones were moved to the northern town of Ravenna in 1509 by monks who feared they might be stolen from his home town.

The face has been modelled from measurements taken of the skull when the crypt was opened in the 1920s.

The measurements are thought to be correct but the jawbone, which was missing from the crypt, has been engineered to fit the skull.

Forensic techniques

Once a complete cast had been re-created the artists began applying the flesh.

They used computer technology and new forensic techniques to simulate the muscles with plaster, plastic and other materials.

Professor Gruppioni concedes that superficial details on the face, such as wrinkles and the expression around the eyes and mouth, are slightly speculative.

But he is confident that the shape of the head, the proportion of the eyes, nose and mouth were as you see them.

"It was the closest we could come to it," said Professor Gruppioni.

"We put no expression on the face just its form," he added.

"When we finished it, he looked more ordinary, like the guy next door. I thought this would have caused a scandal but most people think he looks more human."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

LOVE, ALONE, by Alan Dream

Divine essence of passion pulling distance idols legendary insanity. Ancient art conversations transcend blood, loves remarkable bloom. Trapped seas of beauty possess significant treasures, the keys to familiar favor. Something new wishing your hearts conquest to last the flow of forever.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Saved Lion Hugs Rescuer

Through the bars of his cage, an African lion named Jupiter stretches his giant paws around the neck of Ana Julia Torres and plants a kiss on her puckered lips. It could be a kiss of gratitude: Since Jupiter was rescued six years ago from a life of abuse and malnutrition in a traveling circus, Torres has fed and nursed him back to health at her Villa Lorena shelter for injured and mistreated animals. "Here we have animals that are lame, missing limbs, blind, cross-eyed, disabled," said Torres, 47, who relies on donations and her own modest teacher's salary to run the shelter in a poor neighborhood in the southern city of Cali. "They come to us malnourished, wounded, burned, stabbed, with gunshots."
Torres said her work rehabilitating animals began more than a decade ago when a friend gave her an owl that had been kept as a pet. Later, when she asked her students to bring their pets to school, she realized many families illegally kept wild fauna from Colombia's biologically diverse jungles in their homes. The number of animals under her care grew, and today Jupiter is among 800 recovering creatures at Villa Lorena - from burned peacocks and limbless flamencos to blind monkeys and mutilated elephants. Most of the animals are caged, though some, like iguanas, roam freely around the impeccably clean grounds enclosed by a 13-foot wall. Inside is a monument that the state governor dedicated in recognition of Torres' work. Torres said many of the animals were rejected as infants by their parents in the wild or found abandoned on the streets of Cali, a city of 2 million. Others were rescued from cruel treatment by owners. One mountain lion kept illegally as a pet had its two front legs cut off by its owner after it clawed a family member's face. Torres said that of all the animals she has cared for, she is proudest of having rescued Yeyo, a now-deceased spider monkey who had suffered violent, drunken beatings at the hands of an alcoholic owner. "The monkey would scream every time it was beaten, until one day the police came and found the wall covered in blood," she said. Two veterinarians saved Yeyo from death, though it lost an eye and its teeth from the abuse. Yeyo remained terrified of people, cowering in the corner of the cage at the sound of footsteps, she said. Torres said she opposes exhibiting animals in circuses and has therefore kept her shelter closed to the public. "We want the animals to live in peace," Torres said. "All their life they were shown at circuses and shows - this is a paradise where they can finally rest."

For Spocko!!

National Conference for Media Reform - VIDEO STREAM

The National Conference for Media Reform is for anyone who is concerned about the state of our media and committed to working for change. This energizing weekend presents ideas and strategies for winning the fight for better media and connects you with thousands of media reformers from across the nation. January 12th - 14th, Memphis, TN Live Video
We currently plan on offering live video streams of these conference events (all times CST). Please consult the schedule for descriptions of these sessions.
9:30 – 10 a.m.
Welcome Session
10 – 11 a.m.
Opening Plenary with Bill Moyers
12:15 – 1 p.m.
Afternoon Plenary with Rev. Jesse Jackson
8 – 11 p.m.
Memphis Music Showcase Concert & Rally
8 – 8:45 a.m.
Morning Plenary with Sen. Bernie Sanders
8 – 10:30 p.m.
Keynote Session: Make the Connection
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Closing Plenary
Please note the above streaming schedule is subject to change. Talk with others on their BLOG

Thursday, January 11, 2007

U.S. forces raid Iranian consulate in Iraq - Tehran

by Shamal Aqrawi ARBIL, Iraq, Jan 11 U.S. forces stormed an Iranian consular office in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil early on Thursday and arrested five people, including diplomats and staff, Iranian officials said. The U.S. military made no direct mention of Iranians but in answer to a query issued a statement saying six "individuals" were arrested during "routine" operations in the area. As the overnight raid was in progress, President George W. Bush was vowing in a keynote address on American television to disrupt what he called the "flow of support" from Iran and Syria for insurgent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini condemned the raid -- the second such operation in the past month as tensions between Washington and Tehran have mounted -- and said it was a violation of international law. "The activity of all those people at our office in Arbil was legal and was in cooperation with and had the approval of the Iraqi side," Hosseini told Iran's state-owned Arabic language satellite channel Al-Alam. "There is no justification for this behaviour of the Americans, particularly because Iraqi officials were not informed about this move." In a statement, the U.S. military said it had detained six people around Arbil on suspicion of being "closely tied to activities targeting Iraqi and coalition forces". "This operation was part of an ongoing effort by coalition forces targeting individuals involved in activities aimed at the killing of Iraqi citizens and Coalition forces," it said, adding the suspects surrendered without incident. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while not commenting on the operation in Arbil, told Fox News: "The president made very clear last night that we know that Iran is engaged in activities that are endangering our troops, activities that are destabilising the young Iraqi government and that we're going to pursue those who may be involved in those activities." TEHRAN DENIES MEDDLING Witnesses in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous northern region of Kurdistan bordering Iran, said Kurdish security forces sealed off the area after the Americans left. The Kurdish regional government made no immediate comment. The official Iranian IRNA news agency said documents and computers were seized after the 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) raid and Iranian state television said the arrested included "diplomats and staff". U.S. officials have repeatedly accused non-Arab, Shi'ite Iran of interfering in Iraq, where the long-oppressed Shi'ite majority is now in power. Tehran denies U.S. charges of supplying Shi'ite militias with weapons. In December, U.S. forces in Baghdad arrested a number of Iranians they said were suspected of planning attacks on Iraqi security forces, including diplomats who were later turned over to Iraqi authorities. A British official told the BBC this month that the Iranians arrested in Baghdad were senior intelligence officers on a covert mission to influence the Iraqi government. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, whose boss Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki travelled last year to Tehran as part of a series of high-level contacts that have sealed a warming of relations between former enemies Iraq and Iran, said Baghdad had demanded an explanation from Iran and Washington on the matter. (Additional reporting by Edmund Blair)

Top 10 for a More Perfect Union, by Katrina vanden Heuvel

The "thumping" taken by the Republican Congress on election day was not just a rejection of K Street corruption and the catastrophe in Iraq. It was a call to action on issues that are more immediately relevant to people's lives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will begin to answer that call by pushing a "100 Hours" agenda--including common-sense legislation to increase the minimum wage, cut interest on student loans and open the way for Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

That's a good beginning, but it's only a down payment on a broader agenda. As Bill Moyers writes in this issue, progressives now have the opportunity to develop a new vision that returns power to the American people for the first time in generations. Moyers is right that to-do lists don't add up to a vision. But Democrats must show they are serious by passing bold measures that define a new "people's agenda." With that in mind, here are ten existing pieces of legislation that deserve to be passed by our new Congress. Some of these bills are eminently passable, a few are related to the "100 Hours" agenda and others can be seen as long-term goals. But all would help return our nation to the path to a more perfect union (note: Bill numbers may change in the new Congress).

1. Healthcare for All

More than 47 million Americans are now living without health coverage. Representative John Conyers's United States National Health Insurance Act (HR 676) would create a single-payer healthcare system by expanding Medicare to every resident. All necessary medical care would be covered--from prescription drugs to hospital services to long-term care. There would be no deductibles or co-payments. Funding would come from sources including savings from negotiated bulk procurement of medications; a tax on the top 5 percent of income earners; and a phased-in payroll tax that is lower than what employers currently pay for less comprehensive employee health coverage. With seventy-eight Congressional co-sponsors, and the endorsement of more than 200 labor organizations as well as healthcare groups, there is muscle and momentum behind this bill. To get involved, check out

2. Counting Every Vote

Representative Rush Holt has introduced the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 550) requiring all voting systems to provide a voter-verified paper trail to serve as the official ballot for recounts and audits. It would also insure accessibility for voters with disabilities. The bill, which was introduced in February 2005 and which currently has 222 bipartisan co-sponsors, was tied up in committee by the Republican Congress. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer and Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones introduced the Count Every Vote Act (S 450 and HR 939), which also calls for a voter-verified paper trail and would improve access for language minority voters, illiterate voters and voters with disabilities. Co-sponsors of that legislation include Senators John Kerry, Frank Lautenberg, Patrick Leahy and Barbara Mikulski, and seventy-nine House members.

3. Healthy Families Act

According to Washington Post columnist Amy Joyce, "nearly half of all private-sector workers in the United States do not have a single day of paid sick leave. And more do not have a paid day off that can be used to care for a sick child." Seventy-five percent of low-wage workers lack paid sick leave--the very people who can least afford to take a day off and still be able to pay the bills. In 2005 Senator Edward Kennedy and Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced the Healthy Families Act (S 932 and HR 1902)--a bill that would require employers with fifteen or more workers to provide one week of paid sick leave for those who work thirty or more hours a week. Employees who work less than that would receive prorated leave. The leave could be used to care for family as well. The new Democratic Congress is expected to hold hearings on the legislation, which has fifteen original co-sponsors in the Senate and seventy-one in the House, in early 2007.

4. The Right to Organize

The Employee Free Choice Act (S 842 and HR 1696) would strengthen workers' freedom to organize by requiring employers to recognize a union after a majority of workers sign cards authorizing representation. It also would create stronger penalties for management violations of the right to organize when workers seek to form a union. Currently there are 214 co-sponsors of Representative George Miller's House bill (including fourteen Republicans) and forty-four co-sponsors of Kennedy's legislation in the Senate (including Republican Senator Arlen Specter). This legislation would go a long way toward helping the 57 million nonunion workers in the United States who, according to polls, would form a union tomorrow if given the opportunity.

5. No Permanent Bases in Iraq

Representative Barbara Lee, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has proposed House Conference Resolution 197, which declares that it is "the policy of the United States not to enter into any base agreement with the Government of Iraq that would lead to a permanent United States military presence in Iraq." By passing this bill, Congress can send a clear and immediate signal to the Iraqi people and the international community that the United States has no intention of staying in Iraq indefinitely. There were eighty-six co-sponsors of Lee's legislation, including three Republicans.

6. Stop Outsourcing Torture

Representative Ed Markey's Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act (HR 952) directs the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an annual list of countries where there are substantial grounds for believing that torture or cruel and degrading treatment is commonly used in detention or interrogation. The bill prohibits the direct or indirect transfer or return of people by the United States for the purpose of detention, interrogation, trial or other purposes to a listed country. Given the recent history of black sites, torture flights, innocent victims and suspension of habeas corpus, this legislation should be an immediate priority. It is one modest step in the right direction. It currently has seventy-seven co-sponsors.

7. Access to Higher Education

Senator Richard Durbin and Representative George Miller's Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act (S 2573 and HR 5150) would cut interest rates on college loans for student and parent borrowers. The legislation would save $5,600 for the typical student borrower, who currently graduates with $17,500 in student-loan debt. The Durbin-Miller legislation cuts interest rates in half, from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent, for students with subsidized loans, and from 8.5 percent to 4.25 percent for parents. Earlier this year, the GOP Congress cut $12 billion out of federal student aid programs to help finance tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. The average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges have risen 40 percent when adjusted for inflation, since 2001, according to the College Board's Annual Survey of Colleges. And the average student debt has increased by more than 50 percent over the past decade, according to the Project on Student Debt. With economic inequality and the concentration of wealth reaching unprecedented levels, improving access to higher education is essential. It also is critical if we are to reverse the trend of the US workforce lagging behind other nations in education.

8. Free and Independent Media

Representative Maurice Hinchey sponsored the Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA--HR 3302), which seeks to restore a diverse media by significantly lowering the number of media outlets one company is permitted to own in a single market. Since 1996 the Federal Communications Commission has promoted massive media consolidation by increasing that number, allowing telecommunications corporations to buy up a larger share of television and radio stations, newspapers and other media outlets, and forcing independent and local media owners out of business. There are sixteen co-sponsors of MORA in the House.

9. Public Financing of Campaigns

Representative John Tierney introduced the Clean Money, Clean Elections Act (HR 3099) last year with thirty-nine Democrats and one Independent as co-sponsors. The bill establishes a voluntary system that offers candidates an option for public financing and reduced rates on broadcast advertising in exchange for self-imposed limits on campaign financing and spending. Participating candidates get a dollar-for-dollar match, up to a set limit, if a nonparticipating opponent spends more than the basic public-financing grant. This system would free candidates from the burden of continuous fundraising; allow those who obtain a prescribed number of contributions to run regardless of their economic status or access to large funders; and, perhaps most important, eliminate the skewed priorities caused by the financing of campaigns by special-interest contributors.

10. Clean Energy

Last May Senator Maria Cantwell introduced the Clean EDGE Act (S 2829) with twenty-four Democratic co-sponsors. The bill sets a goal of reducing US petroleum consumption by 6 million barrels a day by 2020--or 40 percent of America's projected imports. It mandates that 25 percent of new vehicles sold in the United States by 2010 be flex-fuel capable (able to run on higher blends of biofuels, which help to displace petroleum), rising to 50 percent by 2020. It also sets a national goal of installing alternative fuels at 10 percent of US gas stations by 2015. The bill also makes gas price-gouging a federal crime. It ends subsidies for major oil companies and extends incentives for renewable energy and efficiency technologies. To shrink US dependence on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the bill requires that 10 percent of all US electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. A report by the Apollo Alliance and the Economic Policy Institute estimates that the Clean EDGE Act would create more than 500,000 jobs, including tens of thousands in states hit hardest by the loss of 3 million manufacturing jobs.

This list is by no means all-inclusive. But these are good and important initiatives that address longstanding and formidable challenges.

From: Left-Handed Leftist blog

BUSH IS FULL OF IT I decided to have some fun with his speech and pretend I'm Mike Malloy or Sam Seder and injecting commentary while playing a recording of this speech (I'm in italics):

Good evening and fuck you. Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror - and our safety here at home. But mostly the safety of my failed presidency. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror. Because it makes perfect sense to fight a war against a tactic, don't it--heh, heh. When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. Purple fingers, purple fingers! You remember those carefully staged propaganda photos, right? The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together - and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops. And continue to build our giant-ass embassy in Baghdad because we're never going to leave. But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq - particularly in Baghdad - overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. That are totally different than our outrageous acts of murder--don'tcha know they're terrorists? They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam - the Golden Mosque of Samarra - in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran (that's who we're attacking next, by the way--heh, heh), formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today. That's right, I'm still not gonna call it a civil war--I make my own reality. ... Continued at link...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Art by Rosina Wachtmeister

Bill Could Make Sending Sexually Explicit E-Mail A Crime

Proposed Legislation Would Make Sending Porn Pics A Misdemeanor LINCOLN, Neb. E-mailing someone a pornographic picture would be a misdemeanor, and sending it to a child would be a felony under legislation proposed Monday. "The Internet is a cesspool," said Sen. Mike Friend of Omaha, who introduced the bill (LB142) at the attorney general's request. Current law prohibits using a telephone to intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend a person. The new bill would add computers and other electronic devices, and would make illegal sending a "visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct." "It is an area of criminal code that is antiquated," Friend said. "Laws aren't static, and they should change with the technology." The bill would allow prosecution for harassment of adults and children alike, although the consequences increase exponentially if kids are involved. Telephone, computer and other electronic intimidation would be a misdemeanor, which could land a perpetrator up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. But if the violator was over 18 and knew or had reason to believe the recipient was younger than 16, he could spend five years in prison on felony charges and pay a $10,000 fine. "The thing that interests me -- just like any father -- is we're looking to add a layer of protection" for children and other vulnerable people, Friend said. The bill is one of four being pushed this session by Attorney General Jon Bruning. Another (LB143) would protect victims of sex offenses by preventing the use of polygraph testing as a condition for continuing with a criminal investigation. "The tools criminals use to victimize Nebraskans, especially children, have gone high-tech," Bruning said. "We must update our laws to protect our families." People who send spam, or unsolicited junk e-mails, could also be prosecuted, Friend said, although it would be difficult to find the senders and pin the crime on them. "You have to give a tool to prosecutors, and then you have to let a prosecutor do his or her job," he said.

Daddy Yankee Gasolina

Neural time travel

Science and Consciousness Review has a new feature article on how the brain allows us to revisit past times or predict the future, and how this sense can break down after brain injury.

The article is by new SCR staffer, Alice Kim, who works in the lab of pioneering memory researcher Endel Tulving.

Tulving developed the concept of autonoetic consciousness, a 'feeling of remembering' that allows us to distinguish when information is coming from memory compared to when it is coming from the senses.

Kim has written an article looking at how autonoetic consciousness helps memory, and how it is damaged in a patient with 'chronesthesia', a condition where the awareness of personal past and future is lost, despite a sense of the present being intact.

As well writing for SCR, Kim has also created a wonderful online archive of every Tulving publication, from 1959 (wow!) to the present.

As an aside, Science and Consciousness Review has now fully relaunched after a period of rebuilding since a nasty database crash last year.

Everything seems in perfect working order, so head on over if you want to keep tabs on all things consciousness related.

Link to 'Which brain regions enable us to remember our past and anticipate our future?'. Link to SCR front page.


Consummation Of Grief, by Charles Bukowski

I even hear the mountains the way they laugh up and down their blue sides and down in the water the fish cry and the water is their tears. I listen to the water on nights I drink away and the sadness becomes so great I hear it in my clock it becomes knobs upon my dresser it becomes paper on the floor it becomes a shoehorn a laundry ticket it becomes cigarette smoke climbing a chapel of dark vines. . . it matters little very little love is not so bad or very little life what counts is waiting on walls I was born for this I was born to hustle roses down the avenues of the dead.

South Africans Urge the Recall of the Ambassador From Tel Aviv and Sanctions Against Israel

by repost Tuesday, Jan. 09, 2007 at 10:10 AM
At a press conference held on the 18th of December in South Africa the Palestine Solidarity Committee, COSATU (the Congress of South African Trade Unions representing 1.2 million workers) and the South African Council of Churches called on the South African government to recall the ambassador to Israel and to implement sanctions against Israel.

Speakers at the conference included Willie Madisha (president of COSATU) Eddie Makue (general secretary of the South African Council of Churches), Ali Halimeh (Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa), Virginia Tilley (academic and author), Na’eem Jeenah (chair), Salim Vally (Palestine Solidarity Committee and Patrick Craven (spokesperson for COSATU). They released the following joint statement: We, delegates of organisations and movements that represent and have the support of the majority of South Africans, oppose and condemn the Israeli atrocities in Palestine and we make the following call: * We call on the South African government to immediately recall the South African ambassador from Tel Aviv and to begin the process of ending diplomatic relations with Israel. * We call on all South Africans to establish a strong, forceful and determined boycott and sanctions campaign against the Israeli apartheid state until the end of the occupation. * We call on South Africans to identify a national day of action in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to observe it with rolling mass action around the country. * We call on the South African government to ensure that no South African serves – in any capacity – in the Israeli Occupation Forces and that any South African citizen doing so will be prosecuted under the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act. * We demand that Israel immediately withdraws all Israeli Occupation Forces from Gaza and ends the occupation of Palestinian lands. * We demand that Israel abides by the provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and refrains from imposing collective punishment on Palestinian civilians (as per the UN Human Rights Council declaration issued on 6 July 2006). * Call on Israel to release all detained Palestinian ministers and legislators and to release all political prisoners – including hundreds of women and children. * We call on the EU to stop the severe sanctions imposed by Europe on the Palestinian Authority as a penalty for exercising their democratic right and electing a government of their choice. This by itself is a brutal intervention on behalf of the occupation. * We call on the United Nations to implement the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s Apartheid wall. * We call on the United Nations to ensure that Israel fulfils its obligations in terms of international law.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Chakra Yoga from The Open Pie Hole

Monday, January 08, 2007

Welcome to the Working Class Movement Library

The Working Class Movement Library (WCML) is a collection of English language books, periodicals, pamphlets, archives and artefacts, concerned with the activities, expression and enquiries of the labour movement, its allies and its enemies, since the late 1700s.

Join Sean Bell Vigil

by Kevin Powell I was just out at the 50-day Sean Bell Vigil in Jamaica, Queens, New York, the other night, across from the 103rd precinct. In spite of the rain, the Bell family, friends, and folks looking for basic justice were there. It was incredibly moving, and it made me think of Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, as well as those four college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960. In both instances, it was just a few dedicated individuals and their very simple acts of civil disobedience, which brought attention to very serious human and civil rights violations. They made sacrifices to their own comfort and their own safety, and changes did happen, as manifested in the Civil Rights Movement. Well, here we are again, as the struggle for real justice and real freedom in America never really ended, in spite of what some of us have been led to believe. It has been over a month since Sean Bell was murdered, and his two friends, Trent Benefield and Joe Guzman, were badly wounded in a barrage of 50 shots from undercover New York Police Department officers. There is still no indictment, and there is a growing concern, in communities around New York City and throughout America, that these police officers will get off completely, if a trial even occurs. Let me make it very clear that the Bell family, from my conversations with them last night, understand that there are good police officers. Let me also make it clear that they do not want the rhetoric of violence or revenge or disrespect for the NYPD in general around their vigil. Nor are they interested in having individuals or organizations trying to use the tragedy of Sean Bell's death for outside agendas. They simply want justice for what happened to Sean Bell. Moreover, they certainly could use the help and support from concerned human beings such as yourself. Here is how you can support the 50day Sean Bell Vigil in Queens: It is a 50-day, 24-hour, 7-day a week vigil, begun on Monday, January 1st, and concluding on Monday, February 19th. I think it obvious that the 50 days symbolize the 50 bullets fired at Sean Bell and his friends. The vigil is taking place directly across from the 103rd precinct, on 168th Street, right off Jamaica Avenue and 91st Avenue, in the Jamaica, Queens section of New York City. You can use Mapquest or Google to get directions either via public transportation or by driving.

Wayne Dyer - The Power of Intention 2/12

Wayne Dyer: Power of Intention 1/12

What Holds The System Together?

by Harold Barclay Number 97 - Apr 1999 Those who are used to living in a society governed by policemen and legal sanctions often fail to appreciate the significance of the sense of obligation to play the game as motivating force for social order even within their own society. We must not forget that in all human societies most members chose to follow rules because they want to and because they believe in them. They would resist any attempt to lead them into nonconformity. In any society, sanctions of whatever kind are for the tiny minority. Were all law enforcement to be removed tommorrow there would probably be an initial burst of crime, but after the novelty wore off it would dissipate. At the same time, the vast majority would not be involved, but would go about its business as usual. To hold, as some apparently do, that were the law to be removed there would occur some momentous explosion of brutish and murderous behavior among all the populace is, in the first place grossly to overestimate the present power of the police. More importantly, it is grossly to underestimate the years of conditioning about right and wrong to which all have been exposed and the power of the internalized censor or conscience. In those cases where traditional techniques for social control have been removed suddenly, or greatly relaxed, two consequences are noteworthy. One is the extent to which voluntary mutual aid spontaneously appears and spreads - people begin helping each other. The other consequence is the opposite response - the one the 'law and order' supporters would predict. That is, there is rioting, looting and mayhem. But the reason for this reaction is not because there is no police to keep order. The reason is suggested by the kinds of people who engage in such behavior. The people are definitely not the members of society who have prospered from it, nor are they the ones in positions of prestige, power and influence. On the contrary, they are always from the ranks of the disadvantaged and frustrated. And the revolt - which is what it is - is an attempt at catharsis, to relieve pent up aggression and hostility generated by a system perceived to be oppressive (whether it is 'in fact' oppressive is beside the point; it is seen to be such and that is what counts). It is an error to think of humans as 'naturally' good; it is equally erroneous to condemn them as monsters. And radicals, of all people, should appreciate the extent to which people are conformist. Some criticize anarchy because its only cement is something of the order of moral obligation or voluntary cooperation. But democracy, too, ultimately works in part because of the same cement. And it works best where the cement is the strongest. That is, democracy ultimately does not operate only because of the presence of a police force. The free elections and two-party system could never survive if they depended upon the army and the police to enforce them. They survive because participants have a belief in the system and a feeling of obligation to play according to the rules. Hocart has said that government depends on "spontaneous and incessant goodwill. Without it governments would collapse." De la Boétie, Machiavelli and Spooner among others would add however, that in any system of government submission is induced by fear and fraud. In The Politics Of Obedience: The Discourse Of Voluntary Servitude Étienne de la Boétie devotes himself entirely to the question of why people submit to rulers. He makes the following points: 1. People submit because they are born serfs and are reared as such. 2. People are tricked into servitude by the provision of feasts and circuses by their masters and because they are mystified by ritual practices and religious dogmas which aim to hide the vileness of rulers, imbue reverence and adoration as well as servility. 3. The 'mainspring' of domination is not physical force so much as it is chain effect: the ruler has five or six who are his confidants and under his control; they in turn control 600 and these in their turn control 6,000. "The consequences of all this is fatal indeed. And whoever is pleased to unwind the skein will observe that not the six thousand but a hundred thousand, and even millions, cling to the tyrant by this cord to which they are tied. According to Homer, Jupiter boasts of being able to draw to himself all the gods when he pulls a chain." Also suggestive of why people obey is Lysander Spooner's classification of "ostensible supporters of a constitution": knaves, dupes and those who see the evil of government but do not know how to get rid of it or do not wish to gamble their personal interests in attempting to do so. In anarchy there is no such delusion for there is a priority placed upon individual freedom which is absent in democracy. Democracy - granted its concern for liberty and individualism - nevertheless like any other system of rule, puts its ultimate priority in the preservation of the state. When in a democracy one group threatens to withdraw - to secede - there is always the final recourse to a 'war measures' act to compel compliance and suppress 'rebellion'. To summarize, order in the anarchic polity, is founded in diffuse sanctions. It is maintained through self-help, self-regulation and self-restraint and these devices are channeled by fear as well as by the motivation to make the system work and to play the game with a minimum of friction. -- Harold Barclay, People Without Government (1982, pp. 116 - 117). Harold Barclay is professor emeritus in anthropology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. Barclay's research has focussed on rural society in modern Egypt and the northern Arab Sudan as well as political anthropology and religion. He is the author of several books including "Buurri al Lamaab: A Suburban Village in the Sudan", "Culture: The Human Way", "The Role of the Horse in Man's Culture", People without Government :An Anthropology of Anarchy,Culture and Anarchism, The State" and "Longing for Arcadia: Memoirs of an Anarcho-Cynicalist Anthropologist.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The tent of the Bedouin

Synopsis: Captured, bound and compelled to submit against her will, miel finds her feelings confused when faced with the seemingly merciless Bedouin. LINK


Peace activists beach at Bush Volunteers gather to form 100-foot letters stretching 450 feet across the sand on Ocean Beach in San Francisco on Saturday to spell the word "impeach" for the benefit of aerial travelers. The Beach Impeach Project was organized by activist Brad Newsham. Beach Impeach Project photo by John Montgomery

Something in the Way You Remix

When Cirque du Soleil needed music for a Beatles-inspired theatrical performance, the call went out to George Martin, the Beatles’ longtime producer. Now in his 80s, Martin asked his son, Giles, for help. And the two of them set out to remix the group's classic songs, first for the performance and then for an album. Creating a new Beatles album using only old four-track recordings was no easy task. Giles Martin said that for him, the project all started with a demo tape he put together, adding percussion to Here Comes the Sun and I Am the Walrus. He let Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney listen. "You know, they loved it. In fact, [they] came in and said maybe you should go a bit further," Giles Martin says. An accomplished producer and musician in his own right, Giles was still nervous about tweaking the Beatles catalogue -- a sacrilegious act in some music circles. But with his father by his side, he plowed ahead. "The two of us sat down and I went through stuff with him. I played him stuff that he couldn't remember. And I certainly wasn't aware of most of it. And I wrote down keys and tempos and interesting parts," Giles said. The father-son team reimagined the Beatles, merging bass lines and guitar riffs and choruses from old favorites. And in the end, it all comes together on Love. Listen


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Ecstasy 'relieves Parkinson's Disease'

Tim Lawrence has found a drug that is far more effective at controlling the symptoms of his Parkinson's Disease than any prescribed by a doctor.

The only problem is that it is Ecstasy, the illegal and dangerous stimulant much favoured by night-club ravers.

His discovery could overturn 30 years of medical thought, and eventually lead to a new treatment for Parkinson's.

However, some scientists fear the short term effect might be outweighed by longer term severe damage to his health.

Tim used to be a film stuntman performing feats of physical bravery.

It is illegal, but there is not really a punishment out there that could match what I go through on a day to day basis
Tim Lawrence
Now he spends much of his day either unable to move at all, or twitching uncontrollably.

Tim suffers from young-onset Parkinson's Disease, a rare form of an illness that usually hits the elderly.

The condition is slowly freezing up his body.

Side effects

Tim can perform gymnastic feats while on ecstasy
Like many people who contract the illness early in life, Tim suffers just as badly from the drug he takes to combat the disease.

The drug, L-DOPA helps to unlock his frozen limbs, but it also gives him wild, flailing movements called dyskinesias.

L-DOPA replaces the vital brain chemical called dopamine that is in short supply in Parkinson's patients.

The drug is highly effective at first, but within a few years side effects begin to appear.

These are particularly severe in those who get Parkinson's early - of whom there are 8,000 in the UK alone.

However, until now scientists have failed to come up with an effective alternative for L-DOPA, or any treatment to moderate its effects.

Chance discovery

Tim Lawrence
Tim used to have a daredevil lifestyle
Tim made the discovery about Ecstasy completely by chance. He had taken the drug while on a night-club visit with friends.

He said: "I was just suddenly aware that everything was completely smooth, as though I never had the disease in the first place."

The drug appears to tame his body and give him back control over his limbs.

Within two hours of taking an Ecstasy tablet, Tim is able to do backflips, somersaults and swallow-dives in a gym.

He said: "We take risks every day of our lives. It is illegal, but there is not really a punishment out there that could match what I go through on a day to day basis."

Despite the positive effects he derives from Ecstasy, Tim only takes the drug a couple of times a month - usually when he is out clubbing.

"I would not want to feel like that all day every day. It is an unreal state."

Dangers of the drug

There are serious health risks associated with taking Ecstasy.

It is rarely fatal, but it can cause memory black outs and depression. Research also suggests it might be particularly damaging to people with Parkinson's.

There just may be in his experience a clue - a vital clue - that is going to help us find a way forward
Mary Baker, Parkinson's Disease Society
The challenge for scientists is to find a drug that will replicate the effect of Ecstasy with none of the attendant dangers.

Professor David Brooks, of Hammersmith Hospital, said Tim's discovery was fascinating.

He is particularly intrigued because Ecstasy appears to have no impact on dopamine levels. It does, however, trigger the release of massive amounts of another brain chemical, serotonin.

High levels of serotonin stimulate a feeling of euphoria, but it had not been thought to have any impact on movement.

Yet tests carried out by Professor Brooks show that Ecstasy alone is enough to unfreeze Tim's limbs - in fact dopamine appears to play no part in the process at all.

Mary Baker, of the Parkinson's Disease Society, said: "The society has to say that it absolutely cannot condone in any way the taking of an illegal substance.

"But the society has a moral obligation to ensure that some research follows Tim's experience because there just may be in his experience a clue - a vital clue - that is going to help us find a way forward in the better management of Parkinson's Disease."

Tim's story is told in BBC television's Horizon programme broadcast on Thursday 15 February at 2100 GMT.

Friday, January 05, 2007

SUZANNE SWIFT: For Female Soldiers, Sexual Assault Remains a Danger

by Celina R. De Leon, AlterNet According to the Pentagon, there were 2,374 reported cases of sexual assault against women in uniform over the past year. But as the saga of military police officer Suzanne Swift shows, numbers alone don't tell the whole story. "I fear that she will kill herself. I fear that she will never have a happy life because she's been so damaged by all of this," said Sara Rich of Eugene, Ore. Sara Rich's daughter, Suzanne Swift, is the internationally known American military police officer facing a possible dishonorable discharge for going AWOL. Swift, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), did not want to rejoin the superiors who sexually harassed and assaulted her. As a result, she has been charged by the U.S. Army with being absent without leave and missing movement for not being present with her company when it left for Iraq in January of 2006. Swift, 22, was sexually harassed by one sergeant and coerced into a sexual relationship by another sergeant while on duty in Iraq. After she was arrested at her mother's home last summer, Swift was stationed at Ft. Lewis in Washington, where she was sexually harassed by another commanding sergeant. Swift was offered a "deal" but decided to complete her court-martial and served 30 days in prison and was stripped of all her rank. She was released Wednesday. According to Sara Rich, "The deal was that Suzanne stay in the military for her remaining 19 months, no reduction in rank, a summary court-martial, no assurance she would not be redeployed and here is the kicker, Suzanne would sign a statement saying she was not raped in Iraq." According to reports released by the Department of Defense, within the last calendar year, there were 2,374 reported cases of sexual assault. This includes about 400-plus cases in which the victim was a civilian and the alleged offender was a military personnel. "Over the two-year period of time in which Congress has been requiring this mandated reporting to the Armed Services Committees, it's about a 60-percent increase," said Anita Sanchez, of the Miles Foundation based in Newtown, Conn., a private nonprofit organization that provides services and research on interpersonal violence within the military. "And our offices have received over 500 reports of sexual assault in the central command area of responsibility [Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Bahrain]." Women and men confront particular challenges when faced with sexual assault and harassment in the military. Unlike in the civilian world, it is illegal to have a consensual relationship while on duty in the military. It's called "fraternization." And unlike many parts of the United States, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy reigns supreme. It is illegal to be gay and/or have same-sex relations while serving in the military. This, combined with the fact that the military does not adhere to rape shield laws, makes reporting one's sexual assault case particularly difficult. "If you go into a court-martial -- whether you're heterosexual or homosexual -- it doesn't matter. Your sexual history, your relationship history even, can come into view," said Sanchez. "The military continues to be behind the rest of our society in revising our sexual assault statute." The Miles Foundation worked to get Congress to pass revisions to the rape statute Article 120, but those don't go into effect until October of 2007. The time frame is to ensure the Manual for Courts Martial, essentially the rules of evidence in the military, will also be revised. The revisions include the recognition of a variety of types and severity levels of sexual assault. Previously, the only changes made to the statute were in 1992: the recognition of same-sex sexual assault and the recognition of marital rape. Before that, the Uniform Code of Military Justice hadn't been revised since 1950. "Once you report, your career is at risk for taking a different path," said Kathleen A. Duignan, executive director of the National Institute of Military Justice in D.C. "It's almost as if you're guilty until proven innocent because everyone is saying, 'Well, before I take this as a real case, the victim and the accused generally know each other. Has this come to light because of their own misconduct?'" In addition, if you're a woman, and your case is brought before a military jury, the probability is very high that it will predominantly be made up of male officers. The sheer number of men in the military outdo the number of women who become senior enough to serve on courts-martial. Very often, many women are also encouraged not to file a formal report that will go into the file of the accused. She's told often, "You don't want to ruin a good officer's career, do you?" As a result, many women agree not to file formally; or are transferred by their command; or the accused perpetrator is transferred; or nothing is ever done. Maricela Guzmán, 29, still hasn't told her family or her ex-husband, about the sexual molestation she experienced eight years ago while serving in the military. She just started coming out to fellow activists she's met through her counter-recruitment work in Los Angeles, Calif. She just began to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with PTSD. "It's not that I'm afraid of telling [my family]," said Guzmán. "I'm afraid that they're going to get hurt because I'm Mexican-American and for my family -- if that happens to a woman, a daughter or a sister -- it's going to be hard for them ... especially for my father. I know that he would feel like he did something wrong by supporting me and not saying anything when I joined the military." Guzmán was 21 when she joined the U.S. Navy as an information system technician from 1998-2002. She was sexually molested by a commanding officer during boot camp; Guzmán had never had any sexual experiences prior to the molestation. She was on night watch and dispersing laundry when the molestation occurred. "The corner was very dark and everybody was sleeping, and I walked through that area and he got me into a corner," said Guzmán. "I knew he was one of the [superiors] because he had the special badge ... But I knew he wasn't our direct commander because he was much taller and definitely thinner. He grabbed me and he molested me. I was so scared I kept very quiet. After it was done, he left through the back door. I just remembered closing my eyes and not looking at him. I don't even have a name or a face. I think I was trying to cope with what was happening to me at the time." The next day, Guzmán was reprimanded because she didn't follow the proper procedures the night before. She doesn't remember how many times she was instructed on how to do the proper procedure before she was able to again. From then on, until the completion of her boot camp, Guzmán remained silent. "It was hard because I needed somebody to talk to and I didn't have that space. And because I didn't follow proper procedures, I didn't feel comfortable enough to talk to [my superiors.] So, I just stayed quiet ... And whenever a commander from a different division came, I would always look down because I didn't want to recognize him ... I didn't want to make it real." Guzmán immersed herself in her work and does not recall much about the rest of her boot camp experience. But she does remember sexual assault being a normal way of life for many women the duration of her military experience, and that many did not report them. Many women do not report their assaults because they hear it through the grapevine the negative results other women have received for trying. Guzmán has recently come to terms with how her PTSD affected her four-year marriage. While she was married she suffered bouts of depression, PTSD moments, and did not want to engage in sexual intimacy. Since her divorce, she has been in one relationship, on and off for about a year. But after two major PTSD moments with the person she was dating, her partner ended the relationship. "Some women do fairly well while they're in the military and don't fall apart until after they've been discharged," said Callie Wight, a psychotherapist who has been treating trauma survivors, including veterans, for 16 years. "Some women can't hold it together while they're in the military because of the PTSD they've begun to experience, and so begin to fall apart while they're in the military ... PTSD symptoms are a normal reaction to an abnormal experience." PTSD is often associated with mental symptoms: inability to sleep, extreme nervousness, anxiety, and the ability to be easily startled. Wight has found from her work over the past 10 years with female survivors of sexual trauma, that many women also suffer physical symptoms, especially when they don't seek medical help for their PTSD. "She's desperately trying to forget about what happened to her, get over it and get back to what was her normal style of functioning," said Wight. "But what happens with psychological trauma experiences is unless that trauma is really dealt with consciously, in a therapeutic way, all of those attempts to put it behind her only serve to suppress the information, not eliminate it." Physical symptoms can include chronic pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome. Some women also become bulimic, compulsive eaters, and abusers of drugs and alcohol -- their attempts to "self-medicate" rather than seek professional help. "Frequently Latinas are less sure that psychotherapy may be useful. And many times women from a working-class background where family and friends may not have gone to college. Often there is the association that anyone who goes to therapy is crazy," said Wight. Susan Avila-Smith, director of Women Organizing Women based in Seattle, Wash., has been helping survivors of military sexual trauma across the country for 12 years get their VA benefits. Avila-Smith served in the U.S. Army from 1991 to 1995. She suffered sexual assault while at a military hospital having surgery. Her husband, who was also a member of the Army, battered her. It was when she sought services at the Seattle VA that she realized many women are sexually assaulted in the military. "You can't sue the government. So, what I try to do is get veterans their benefits, which includes medical and emotional support, and money to stabilize their futures," said Avila-Smith. "I focus on what I can do, not what I can't do." The Feres Doctrine prevents anyone from suing the government for damage that's been done to them while serving in the military. In addition, the McDowell Checklist includes 57 questions that victims of any crime are required to answer according to the service they are working for. There is no way to complete the Checklist truthfully without being accused of something. The questions include: Did you wake up during the assault? Did the assailant wear a mask? There are also five laws of immunity, which protect the accused perpetrator, making it difficult for a victim to legally acquire justice over the perpetrator or the system. In order to file a claim and receive monetary compensation for a sexual assault suffered in the military, what's often referred to as a "service connection," the victim needs to show that her/his illness is related to or connected to her/his work during service. According to Avila-Smith, you don't have to present hard evidence to the VA that you have experienced some kind of sexual assault because it is common knowledge that many assaults go unreported and files are often cleansed of evidence. As a result, the VA accepts Article 15s and other "soft signs" of traumatization, which they refer to as "markers." Often, when a soldier reports an assault, s/he is accused of adultery or under-aged drinking, gets reprimanded, and then receives an Article 15, which may also result in the loss of rank or pay. Apart from filing a case, veterans can walk into any VA facility, and are entitled to the counseling and medical benefits they need related to the types of trauma they have experienced. The VA does not provide abortions but does treat STDs. Based on the 650-plus cases Avila-Smith has filed, many veterans do not know they can receive medical benefits for their sexual trauma. If female veterans have any trouble receiving their VA services, another resource is the women veterans program manager (WVPM) at their Veterans Health Agency (VHA). Every major VHA has a WVPM. She is usually a nurse practitioner who manages women veterans' care as well as advocates for women veterans' within the VHA system. Avila-Smith's cases have included a Vietnam veteran from Puget Sound, Wash., who was gang-raped during a mock prisoner war camp exercise by his entire unit. He then received ridicule and harassment when he became a she and went to receive her VA benefits. Photos of her genitals were attached to the front cover of her medical file. Avila-Smith has been working with her since 1997. Avila-Smith has filed three cases in 2005 and 20-plus cases in the 1990s of veterans, who while serving in the military, were sexually assaulted or harassed because of their race. A case of justice Sexual assault is the most underreported crime, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. Sixteen percent of sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement authorities. The reporting rate for the U.S. Armed Forces in sexual assault cases is 22-23 percent, substantially greater than the reporting rate within the civilian community. April Fitzsimmons, 38, was 17 when she enlisted in the Air Force to be an intelligence analyst. The oldest of six kids, living in Montana, she didn't see any other options for her future. Her roommate was working the night shift when she awoke one night to find a fellow soldier she thought she knew fondling her. She screamed at him to leave and spent the rest of the night crying. "I wasn't 1000 percent sure of who it was, so I kept quiet," said Fitzsimmons. A few weeks later a military police officer who was a friend of hers advised her to use the deadbolt at night because a male soldier had the key to the women's dorm rooms and was letting himself in. He also told her he had three suspects. April asked if the man she thought fondled her was one of the suspects and the officer answered in the affirmative. She went on to file a report and the perpetrator went to trial, was found guilty, and shipped off the base. Fitzsimmons considers herself lucky, and spends a lot of her time advocating other soldiers who have experienced sexual assault to come out. She performs a one-woman show entitled, "The Need to Know," every Wednesday night in Los Angeles, Calif. She's been performing it for four years; she wrote the play after Sept. 11. But Fitzsimmons is still debating whether to seek VA benefits for her PTSD. Her commander in the Air Force encouraged Fitzsimmons to receive therapy, but she did not think it was necessary at the time. "I don't know if I will," said Fitzsimmons. "I don't know if I want the government's money to be honest."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tenderness, Songs of Bilitis

Softly clasp your arms, like a girdle, about me. Touch, oh, touch my skin like that again! Neither water nor the noon-time breeze is gentle as your hand.

Today you shall fondle me, little sister; 'tis your turn. Remember the caresses that I taught you last night, and kneel beside me who am tired, and do not say a word.

Your lips sink from my lips. And all your unbound ringlets follow them, as the caress follows fast upon the kiss. They fall upon my left breast; they hide your eyes from me.

Give me your hand, it is so warm! Press mine and do not leave it. Hands join with hands more easily than mouth with mouth, and nothing can compare with their passion.

Spocko Rocks ABC! Micky Mouse blinks! Updated: Spocko jumps in

Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 06:18:41 PM PST

Update [2007-1-3 23:15:4 by Mike Stark]: Spocko comments

When I started CallingAllWingnuts, one of the hundreds of bloggers that came by to introduce themselves was Spocko of Spockosbrain (now defunct, for reasons soon to become revealed). Spocko was doing some work related to my own in his own market in California's Bay Area. His target? KSFO, home of Melanie Morgan, Lee Rogers, Brian Sussman and other poisonous 2nd rate talk show wingers.

Since this is Spocko's gig, I'm gonna pretty much use his words to explain what's gone down. Before the flip, to give you something to chew on as you click to the full story, I can tell you this much: you're gonna love what you read. Spocko has actually cost Disney money - he chased away advertisers and forced them to pay a law firm to intimidate his ISP. The story isn't all good though - Spocko's broke and can't afford to wage the legal battle, so he's shut down. That said, maybe we can use this space to buck up his spirits a little bit and see if there are any lawyers that want to file a Rule 11 motion against Disney's unscrupulous lawyers...

anyway, flip for the complete story.

First, here's what Spocko did to piss them off:

To: Wendy Clark, VP-advertising, AT&T

Dear Ms. Clark:

Thanks to radio hosts from KSFO your brand is being associated with torturing and killing people. Would your marketing people be happy to hear your commercial ran after Lee Rogers said this about a black man in Lincoln, Nebraska?

"Now you start with the Sear's Diehard the battery cables connected to his testi*les and you entertain him with that for awhile and then you blow his bleeping head off. " (Audio link)

You should know the person calling for the execution and torture of the black man in that clip READS THE AT&T commercials on the air. Right now on KSFO Lee Rogers is THE VOICE of AT&T to the SF Bay area. (Audio Link)

Sadly, calling for the death and torture of individuals and groups of people is a regular occurrence on KSFO 560 AM, owned by ABC Radio Disney.

Another example: immediately after the 6 am ABC Radio news on October 27th:

Lee Rogers: I say they catch the person, tie 'em to a post and burn 'em. Set 'em on fire.

Officer Vic: Yeah.

Lee Rogers: Let 'em know what it feels like.

Melanie Morgan: Hog tie 'em first. That would be good.

Next, Lee Rogers talks about a protester at a Cindy Sheehan event:

"Whoever did that should have been stomped to death right there. Just stomp their bleeping guts out." (Audio link).

Within three minutes they called for someone to be burned alive and a protester to be stomped to death. If you dismissed the first clip as a "joke", note that in this clip they were clearly not joking:

Melanie Morgan famously called for Bill Keller of the New York Times (and nine editors from other papers) to be hanged. (Audio link)

On Nov. 14th Melanie Morgan said this about Nancy Pelosi:

"We've got a bulls-eye painted on her big laughing eyes."

(Audio link)

Also note that Morgan reads the Cingular Wireless commercials on KSFO.

Of course political speech is protected, but I believe the FBI and the FCC frown on targeting elected officials for death or inciting violence toward leaders of any political party.

Because of how ads are purchased, your ad placement agency probably didn't know that Tom Brenner (the "comic relief" called Officer Vic) regularly mocks advertiser's products. Listen as he:

  • calls Chevrolet's product "shi**y"
  • (audio link)
  • suggests an anti-virus product is part of a protection racket (audio link)
  • pretends a cold pill is really a suppository (audio link)

The odds are your product will be mocked. If they don't respect a big client like Chevrolet, will they respect your brand?

And it's not simply calls for killing specific people or mocking products, the radio hosts at KSFO proudly talk about their anti-Muslim views. Based on my research, your business has rules about discrimination against people of other religions, so what message are you sending when your employees or customers hear your advertisements right after Brian Sussman demands of a caller:

"Say Allah is a Wh*re!" (audio link)

Or when Lee Rogers says,

"Indonesia is really just another enemy Muslim nation. ... You keep screwing around with stuff like this we are going to kill a bunch of you. Millions of you. " (audio link)

Maybe you haven't heard any complaints. Would KSFO management let you know about complaints? Doubtful. Morgan's husband, Jack Swanson, is KSFO's operations manager. The president of KSFO, Mickey Luckoff, started the station format and has a history of defending hosts like Michael Savage until he was forced to fire him.

I understand you can't listen to all the shows you advertise on - no one can. You rely on the accurate representation of the sales reps and the show description. But you don't need to take my word, listen to the programs. You probably won't have to listen long to hear something that offends or disgusts you. If you wish to hear the complete context on any clip or the audio during a date your ad ran contact me I have an educational archive of audio clips, I've listed a few below.

I want to emphasize that if you withdrawal your ads you aren't limiting their free speech, just removing your paid support of it. Some other company without the values you describe on the AT&T website can support them. You can choose to advertise elsewhere. This is really about YOU. Do YOU want to be associated with these comments? Do you want your company and brand to be associated with these comments? I urge you to discontinue advertising on KSFO during the shows hosted by Melanie Morgan, Lee Rogers, Tom Brenner and Brian Sussman.

If you want to contact KSFO here is a link to their website. If you wish to express your displeasure to their parent company contact Zenia Mucha, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company PHONE: (818) 560-5300 CA, (212) 456-7255 NY or email Heather Rim, Vice President, Communications, ABC, Inc. Sincerely,

P.S. I would appreciate hearing your final determination in this matter.

Heh. Heh. This has got to be one of the best constructed letter to any advertiser I've ever read. He hits every point of weakness.

So what happened?

Again, here's Spocko:

ABC Radio Lawyer tells Spocko to Shut Up Two days before Christmas I got a Cease and Desist letter from ABC regarding my use of audio clips from KSFO radio hosts Melanie Morgan and Lee Rogers on my blog, Spocko's Brain (see attached PDF).

KSFO is a Disney affiliate whose radio hosts broadcast violent rhetoric directed toward journalists, liberals, Democrats, Arabs and Muslims all over the SF Bay Area and to the world via the Internet. I commented about the content of these host's broadcasts on my blog and informed KSFO's advertisers about what they were supporting by letting them listen to the exact audio quotes from the hosts.

Why the C&L Letter Now? In mid-December I got confirmation that a major national advertiser, VISA, pulled their ads from the Melanie Morgan and Lee Rogers show, based on listening to audio clips I provided them. I also think that FedEx, AT&T and Kaiser are considering pulling their ads. Visa isn't the first advertiser who has left KSFO, multiple advertisers have left the station, especially from the Brian Sussman show. In July of this year when KSFO lost MasterCard as an advertiser someone from KSFO "outed" me on a counter-blog (which I won't link to). This same person has also threatened me with local and federal criminal action for using the audio (which I clearly used under the fair use portion of copyright law). And because they have suggested violence toward me (in addition to talking about suing me "for everything I have") I have chosen to remain anonymous. As Thers has said, 95 percent of blog fights don't mean anything, but I think this one does since KSFO is using the full weight and force of an ABC/Disney lawyer and copyright law against a private citizen blogger. I dared to use the audio content in question for nonprofit educational purposes (I don't even have ads on my blog!), and thus under the protection of the Fair Use Doctrine set forth in Section 107 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C.§107.

It's about Money not Ideology Talk Radio is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is also a regulated industry because the public gave the broadcast airwaves to radio stations. There are rules. First there are FCC rules with fines of $325,000 for obscene and indecent speech, thanks to the Christian Right. Interestingly, the radio union, (which KSFO hosts hate so much) worked very hard to stop those fines from being directed to individual radio hosts. So the corporation will bear the burden of any fines. Next, there are guidelines at the local station level, the network level and the parent company level. So even if the inciting of violence and hate speech is ignored by the FCC, the continued violent rhetoric has been, and continues to be, approved at the station level (KSFO) the group level (KGO-KSFO) the company level (ABC Radio) and the parent company level (Disney). They are ALL aware of this speech, and because they have not acted in a meaningful way, they all are giving approval for it to continue.

No Management Action When Keith Olbermann and Media Matters ran Melanie Morgan's comments about "putting the bull's-eye on" Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, management did nothing. Morgan did a jokey non-apology where she never even mentioned she used the term bull's-eye.

I'm guessing Lee Rogers may have gotten a memo telling him to stop talking about burning people alive, torturing them and blowing their brains out, because on November 30th, he defiantly said to management and advertisers, "Nobody is gonna tell me what to talk about or not talk about or in what fashion on this radio program. It ain't gonna happen!" ABC/Disney acted only when they lost revenue. Then they went after ME with a cease and desist letter.

Why me? I'm not the one saying journalists should be hanged, thieves should be tortured and killed, people should be burned alive, stomped to death or have their testicles cut off. I'm not the one saying that millions of Muslims should be killed on the presumption that they are extremists or just because they live in Indonesia. I'm not the one who says that lying is as natural as breathing to Egyptians and Arabs or demanding that a caller "Say Allah is a Whore" to prove he is not an Islamist. I'm simply documenting this speech and providing it to the people who are paying KSFO hosts on commercially supported broadcast radio.

They have Lawyers, Guns and Money. I've got a 5th tier blog and no money Because I and some other listeners hit right-wing talk radio in the pocket book, they are acting like wounded animals and brought out the big guns, Corporate Lawyers. Am I scared? Hell yes. They can easily squish me like a bug and tie me up in legal battles for the rest of my natural life (and Vulcans live a long time), not to mention that unlike KSFO radio hosts, I'm not getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and generating millions of revenue for a multibillion-dollar parent company. If I pursue this further I expect the next step is a "CyberSLAPP" suit.

I don't want to consider the possibility of Morgan's good friend Michelle Malkin deciding to publish my address and real name so that her minions can send me death threats or "white powder" in the mail. Chad Castagana, was charged with mailing more than a dozen threatening letters containing white powder to liberals. He got the idea from someone that journalists, liberals and democrats were the enemy and deserved to die.

Brian Sussman proudly poses with his handgun in KSFO publicity shots and says that he thinks that everyone should have the right to have a machine gun. Maybe I'm over reacting, why would they attack me? I'm not famous, I'm not an elected official, I tried very hard to be accurate about what THEY said BY USING THEIR OWN WORDS.

I tried to help companies protect their brands from being tainted with the violent rhetoric and anti-any-religion-but-right-wing-christianism speech. I wanted to help the VPs of marketing avoid being associated with Lee Roger's "testicle talk" or Sussman talking about cutting off a finger and a penis of an Iraqi in his imaginary torture sessions.

It's about Brands: All the Blessings, None of the Taint I have found out that KSFO is sold to advertisers as "a Disney affiliate" with all the associated family-friendly connotations. So KSFO is getting all the benefit of the Disney name as well as the massive infrastructure of ad sales at the national level. Clearly ABC Radio doesn't want KSFO hosts' horrific comments to actually reach advertisers. Advertisers are kept in the dark so KSFO can benefit from the Disney brand glow (ABC Radio News creditability glow?). Advertisers should be able to decide if they want to keep supporting this show based on complete information. We already know that management at ABC and Disney support these hosts, which means that the ABC/Disney Radio brand now apparently includes support for violent hate speech toward Muslims, democrats and liberals.

But instead of directing the hosts to refrain from violent rhetoric and hate speech, they go after the weakest person with the fewest resources. It's cheaper and easier. Bottom line: ABC/Disney is supporting and profiting from this violent speech, they should at least also accept any negative connotations or financial impact it might have to their image.

What can you do?

  1. As El Gato Negro suggested, let's distribute the audio clips of violent rhetoric and hate speech to multiple locations on the internet so that the ABC/Disney lawyers will have to find and send cease and desist letters to ISPs with stronger policies than the nice people at 1&1.
  2. Crank this up around the blogosphere, if you have a blog link and post about this.
  3. Let's see if anyone in the mainstream media cares. Sadly they have a hard time writing about people who want them dead. I would think that at least the PUBLISHERS and MANAGEMENT at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associate Press would want to at least defend their own journalists and photojournalists. To date only the LA Times has called Morgan out for accusing them of photojournalist misconduct...

    Some members of the press HAVE covered this. When Joe Conason at Salon did a story about Morgan and KSFO he got called a hack by Morgan. When Todd Milbourn of the Sacramento Bee did a story about Move America Forward he got called a liar by Morgan.

  4. Donate to groups who would defend bloggers, journalists and others that Morgan, Rogers and Sussman attack. Specifically I'm recommending you donate money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Committee to Protect Journalists , and Media Matters.

    You can also support the journalists who are doing their jobs and are threatened with death from talk radio hosts.

  5. Write the advertisers of KSFO. I have a list of SOME of the advertisers who advertise on KSFO. Drop me a line at spockosemail @ and I'll send you a link to an updated list.

As always, be polite, let them know what they are supporting and how it is impacting their brand in your eyes. They often times have their own stated values that they want to maintain, you may want to ask if their corporate values align with what is being said on KSFO (often times the hosts are the VOICE of their brand in the Bay Area, so it's not just the fact that their ad is run right after some violent hate speech, but that the person who is reading their copy is the person who is spewing the violent rhetoric.)

I'm open to other ideas too.

I'd like to thank everyone who has written letters to advertisers, especially PTcruiser and BP. Thanks Blog-Integrity folks for the forum, and special thanks to El Gato Negro. LLAP, Spocko

I've got visions of Micky Mouse with his snapped neck caught in a mousetrap of Spocko's making. Spocko took on a giant and so far, is winning.

How'd he do it? He did it the way it's always done - by working within the law, identifying points of weakness, exploiting them and being absolutely tenacious.

At this point I'm not sure what Spocko's next steps will be. I can tell you what I think though.

I'm hoping somebody more trained in the law than I can reach out to him and offer him some representation. It appears to me as if Disney is attempting to bully a little guy in an unethical manner. Any media lawyer worth the air she breathes knows that Spocko's use was well protected. What I'd like to see is somebody step up and file a counter-claim against Disney on Spocko's behalf. Don't rest until Disney is ofrced to publicly apologize and either stand behind the work of Melanie Morgan (who also wrote the book that called Cindy Sheehan an internet sex-addict) and Brian Sussman, or condemn it. This has the potential to be an enormous black eye for Disney. The most wonderful thing about this? They brough it on themselves. The corporatist wingers stepped in thier own shit again.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Sound of Rushing Water

by Michael J. Harner Natural History, July 1968 He had drunk, and now he softly sang. Gradually, faint lines and forms began to appear in the darkness, and the shrill music of the tsentsak, the spirit helpers, arose around him. The power of the drink fed them. He called, and they came. First, pangi, the anaconda, coiled about his head, transmuted into a crown of gold. Then wampang, the giant butterfly, hovered above his shoulder and sang to him with its wings. Snakes, spiders, birds and bats danced in the air above him. On his arms appeared a thousand eyes as his demon helpers emerged to search the night for enemies.

The sound of rushing water filled his ears, and listening to its roar, he knew he possessed the power of tsungi, the first shaman. Now he could see. Now he could find the truth. He stared at the stomach of the sick man. Slowly, it became transparent like a shallow mountain stream, and he saw within it, coiling and uncoiling, makanchi, the poisonous serpent, who had been sent by the enemy shaman. The real cause of the illness had been found.

The Jivaro Indians of the Ecuadorian Amazon believe that witchcraft is the cause of the vast majority of illnesses and non-violent deaths. The normal waking life, for the Jivaro, is simply 'a lie,' or an illusion, while the true forces that determine daily events are supernatural and can only be seen and manipulated with the aid of hallucinogenic drugs. A reality view of this kind creates a particularly strong demand for specialists, who can cross over into the supernatural world at will to deal with the forces that influence and even determine the events of the waking life.

These specialists, called 'shamans' by anthropologists, are recognized by the Jivaro as being of two types: bewitching shamans and curing shamans. Both kinds take a hallucinogenic drink, whose Jivaro name is natema, in order to enter the supernatural world. This brew, commonly called yagé, or yajé, in Colombia, ayahuasca (Inca 'vine of the dead') in Ecuador and Peru, and caapi in Brazil, is prepared from segments of a species of the vine Banisteriopsis, a genus belonging to the Malpighiaceae. The Jivaro boil it with the leaves of a similar vine, which probably is also a species of Banisteriopsis, to produce a tea that contains the powerful hallucinogenic alkaloids harmaline, harmine, d-tetrahydroharmine, and quite possibly dimethyltriptamine DMT. These compounds have chemical structures and effects similar, but not identical to LSD, mescaline of the peyote cactus, and psilocybin of the psychotropic Mexican mushroom. ...

The Relayers

Pirate Song Say Somethin Slow Jimmy

I See

Fried Piper

Zebra - Tell Me What You Want


by Jim R. Schwiesow January 2, 2006, A recent poll by WorldNetDaily asked the question, “Whom should be the Constitution Party nominate?” A list of names was presented, which included the following patriotic Americans: 1. Tom Tancredo 2. Ron Paul 3. Alan Keyes 4. Jim Gilchrist 5. Jerome Corsi 6. Howard Phillips 7. Chuck Baldwin There were several other choices on the menu, which included some alternative choices to the naming of a particular candidate, they were: 1. “The name doesn’t matter so much, I’ve had it with the two major parties, and will vote for a third party.” 2. “Someone of even more profile than these names.” 3. “A vote for any Constitution candidate will virtually assure that Hillary or another Democrat will win.” Guess which of the ten options the majority of the respondents selected. You guessed it; they chose number three from the alternative options. Nearly forty percent of the poll participants expressed that they would cast their vote for the lesser of the two evils presented by the two national parties. What an extraordinarily sad state of affairs this is. To ignore a superior third party candidate in order to vote for the less deficient of two clearly deficient candidates is ludicrous. This is just the silliest justification for a vote that I can think of. To illustrate the absurdity of such thinking, consider the following. Suppose that you had a daughter, a beautiful young lady who was the apple of your eye. And since she was your pride and joy, you wanted only the very best for her. Now suppose that your nubile young daughter was being courted by three eligible young men about town, two of who came from very rich and influential families, but who you knew to be of reprehensible character. In fact one of these was, if possible, a tad bit more reprehensible than the other. The third suitor came from modest circumstances, and although he was not from a wealthy and powerfully influential family, he was nevertheless possessed of wonderful intelligence and character, and was imbued with unquestionable integrity. Would you, in deference to the wealth and influence of the families of the two young men with no moral scruples, encourage your daughter to marry the lesser of these two reprobates, or would you do everything in your power to see to it that your beautiful young daughter, the apple of your eye, was delivered into the capable and loving hands of the young man who would care for her, provide for her, and cherish her? That should be a simple question to answer. If you chose the former over the latter, then there is something wrong with your thinking. You are not going to reform a reprobate, and if you think that you can, you are in for many years of misery and grief. When we choose a president, why would we not want the very best to represent our interests, and to act as our commander in chief? If we think that we can elect the lesser of two evils, and then reform him once he is in office, we deserve the grief that will surely follow. This should be clearly evident when one assesses the damage done to the people’s sovereignty by the current administration, which is headed up by a lesser of two evils. The fact is that the political tenets of our national two-party system are contributing to the rapid decay of society, and have been doing so for some time. This necessary and brilliant contrivance ensures that the corrupted will endeavor to limit the choices for national office to a choice between the perverted and the likewise perverted. The differences in the two parties are cosmetic at best. They are horses of the same likeness internally, but with different outward appearances. These appearances are carefully devised and cultured so as to fool the people into believing that they have alternative choices within a limited two-party system. This is brilliant and effective and has serious implications for the nation. Any of the above named potential third-party candidates would be infinitely superior to those who comprise the long list of prospects of the two national parties. Unlike all of the potentials of the Republican and the Democrat parties they are not internationalists, and are not motivated by a quest for one-world governance. They understand the implications of our continual drift into a socialistic system, and they understand the dangers of flirting with the inducements to abandon a commitment to a governance, which is guided by the principles set forth by the Constitution in order to chase after the godless dogma of international new world order advocates. Above all else these people, unlike their contemporaries of the national parties, have a sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose in regard to the absolutes of morality, and are able to differentiate between right and wrong. The likes of Obama, Clinton, Kerry and ilk of both parties represent the evil of the godless one-world internationalists. A look at their voting habits on moral issues should convince even the most intractable that they are devoid of moral scruples. Their consistent pursuit of the legalization of abortion under any circumstance bespeaks a deviant soul. Only the most wretched of medical practitioners can coldly, and with human detachment, push a sharp instrument into the soft malleable skull of a fully-formed living baby and suction the brain in the perpetration of a most heinous act of murder. And that political leaders of any persuasion would not only condone, but also encourage, such an act points up an utterly depraved inner being. I have repeatedly stated my belief that we are on the cusp of tipping over into a communistic form of governance. In fact the unsophisticated internationalists among us, whether they know it or not, promote the doctrines espoused by Marx and Lenin when they advocate for a one-world order. They are, most assuredly being used by the true believers in this evil doctrine, which advocates the destruction of humanity and the institution of worldwide slavery to a Godless system of communism. Too many of our political leaders are unwitting dupes of truly evil men who would build their utopian world upon the carcasses of untold millions of God’s people. And others are not so unwitting; they push for a one-world order knowing full well the consequences. If you, as a voter, want to hasten the fulfillment of the wishes of the utterly depraved, and usher in that new world order, keep voting for the lesser of two evils, and you will surely help bring to fruition the ultimate destruction of not only this nation, but the slavery of all mankind.

European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs

by Matthias Schulz


Are streets without traffic signs conceivable? Seven cities and regions in Europe are giving it a try -- with good results.

Drachten in the Netherlands has gotten rid of 16 of its traffic light crossings and converted the other two to roundabouts.
Ben Behnke

Drachten in the Netherlands has gotten rid of 16 of its traffic light crossings and converted the other two to roundabouts.

"We reject every form of legislation," the Russian aristocrat and "father of anarchism" Mikhail Bakunin once thundered. The czar banished him to Siberia. But now it seems his ideas are being rediscovered.

European traffic planners are dreaming of streets free of rules and directives. They want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren -- by means of friendly gestures, nods of the head and eye contact, without the harassment of prohibitions, restrictions and warning signs.

A project implemented by the European Union is currently seeing seven cities and regions clear-cutting their forest of traffic signs. Ejby, in Denmark, is participating in the experiment, as are Ipswich in England and the Belgian town of Ostende.

The utopia has already become a reality in Makkinga, in the Dutch province of Western Frisia. A sign by the entrance to the small town (population 1,000) reads "Verkeersbordvrij" -- "free of traffic signs." Cars bumble unhurriedly over precision-trimmed granite cobblestones. Stop signs and direction signs are nowhere to be seen. There are neither parking meters nor stopping restrictions. There aren't even any lines painted on the streets.

"The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We're losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior," says Dutch traffic guru Hans Monderman, one of the project's co-founders. "The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people's sense of personal responsibility dwindles."

Monderman could be on to something. Germany has 648 valid traffic symbols. The inner cities are crowded with a colorful thicket of metal signs. Don't park over here, watch out for passing deer over there, make sure you don't skid. The forest of signs is growing ever denser. Some 20 million traffic signs have already been set up all over the country.

Psychologists have long revealed the senselessness of such exaggerated regulation. About 70 percent of traffic signs are ignored by drivers. What's more, the glut of prohibitions is tantamount to treating the driver like a child and it also foments resentment. He may stop in front of the crosswalk, but that only makes him feel justified in preventing pedestrians from crossing the street on every other occasion. Every traffic light baits him with the promise of making it over the crossing while the light is still yellow.

"Unsafe is safe"

The result is that drivers find themselves enclosed by a corset of prescriptions, so that they develop a kind of tunnel vision: They're constantly in search of their own advantage, and their good manners go out the window.

The new traffic model's advocates believe the only way out of this vicious circle is to give drivers more liberty and encourage them to take responsibility for themselves. They demand streets like those during the Middle Ages, when horse-drawn chariots, handcarts and people scurried about in a completely unregulated fashion. The new model's proponents envision today's drivers and pedestrians blending into a colorful and peaceful traffic stream.

It may sound like chaos, but it's only the lesson drawn from one of the insights of traffic psychology: Drivers will force the accelerator down ruthlessly only in situations where everything has been fully regulated. Where the situation is unclear, they're forced to drive more carefully and cautiously.

Indeed, "Unsafe is safe" was the motto of a conference where proponents of the new roadside philosophy met in Frankfurt in mid-October.

True, many of them aren't convinced of the new approach. "German drivers are used to rules," says Michael Schreckenberg of Duisburg University. If clear directives are abandoned, domestic rush-hour traffic will turn into an Oriental-style bazaar, he warns. He believes the new vision of drivers and pedestrians interacting in a cozy, relaxed way will work, at best, only for small towns.

But one German borough is already daring to take the step into lawlessness. The town of Bohmte in Lower Saxony has 13,500 inhabitants. It's traversed by a country road and a main road. Cars approach speedily, delivery trucks stop to unload their cargo and pedestrians scurry by on elevated sidewalks.

The road will be re-furbished in early 2007, using EU funds. "The sidewalks are going to go, and the asphalt too. Everything will be covered in cobblestones," Klaus Goedejohann, the mayor, explains. "We're getting rid of the division between cars and pedestrians."

The plans derive inspiration and motivation from a large-scale experiment in the town of Drachten in the Netherlands, which has 45,000 inhabitants. There, cars have already been driving over red natural stone for years. Cyclists dutifully raise their arm when they want to make a turn, and drivers communicate by hand signs, nods and waving.

"More than half of our signs have already been scrapped," says traffic planner Koop Kerkstra. "Only two out of our original 18 traffic light crossings are left, and we've converted them to roundabouts." Now traffic is regulated by only two rules in Drachten: "Yield to the right" and "Get in someone's way and you'll be towed."

Strange as it may seem, the number of accidents has declined dramatically. Experts from Argentina and the United States have visited Drachten. Even London has expressed an interest in this new example of automobile anarchy. And the model is being tested in the British capital's Kensington neighborhood.

- Alan Watts -

It was, as I remember, in 1959 that I was asked to speak before a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Los Angeles. Learned statistical papers had dragged on and on, overtime, and my turn came when we were already late for lunch. I abandoned my prepared remarks (being what the press calls a textual deviate) and said: "Gentlemen, this is not going to be a scientific paper because I am a simple philosopher, not a psychiatrist, and you are hungry for lunch. We philosophers are very grateful to you for showing us the unconscious emotional bases of some of our ideas, but the time is coming for us to show you the unconscious intellectual assumptions behind some of yours. Psychiatric literature is full of unexamined metaphysics. Even Jung, who is so readily repudiated for his 'mysticism,' bends over backward to avoid metaphysical considerations on the pretext that he is strictly a physician and a scientist. This is impossible. Every human being is a metaphysician just as every philosopher has appetites and emotions—and by this I mean that we all have certain basic assumptions about the good life and the nature of reality. Even the typical businessman who asserts that he is a practical fellow unconcerned with higher things declares thereby that he is a pragmatist or a positivist, and not a very thoughtful one at that. "I wonder, then, how much consideration you give to the fact that most of your own assumptions about the good life and reality come directly from the scientific naturalism of the nineteenth century, from the strictly metaphysical hypothesis that the universe is a mechanism obeying Newtonian laws, and that there is no other god beside it. Psychoanalysis, which is actually psychohydraulics following Newton's mechanics, begins from the mystical assertion that the psychosexual energy of the unconscious is a blind and stupid outrush of pure lust, following Haeckel's notion that the universe at large is a manifestation of primordially oafish and undiscriminating energy. It should be obvious to you that this is an opinion for which there has never been the least evidence, and which, furthermore, ignores the evidence that we ourselves, supposedly making intelligent remarks, are manifestations of that same energy. "On the basis of this unexamined, derogatory, and shaky opinion as to the nature of biological and physical energy, some of your psychoanalytic members have this morning dubbed all the so-called mystical states of consciousness as 'regressive,' as leading one back to a dissolution of the individual intelligence in an acid bath of amniotic fluid, reducing it to featureless identity with this—your First Cause—mess of blindly libidinous energy. Now, until you have found some substantial evidence for your metaphysics you will have to admit that you have no way of knowing which end of your universe is up, so that in the meantime you should abstain from easy conclusions as to which directions are progressive and which regressive. [Laughter]" It had always seemed to me that, by and large, psychotherapists lacked the metaphysical dimension; in other words, that they affected the mentality of insurance clerks and lived in a world scrubbed and disinfected of all mystery, magic, color, music, and awe, with no place in the heart for the sound of a distant gong in a high and hidden valley. This is an exaggeration from which I will except most of the Jungians and such occasional freaks as Groddeck, Prinzhorn, G. R. Heyer, Wilhelm Reich, and others less well known. Thus, writing of American psychology in 1954, Abraham Maslow remarked that it was overpragmatic, over-Puritan, and overpurposeful.... No textbooks have chapters on fun and gaiety, on leisure and meditation, on loafing and puttering, on aimless, useless, and purposeless activity.... American psychology is busily occupying itself with only half of life to the neglect of the other—and perhaps most important—half.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Binaural Frequencies

by Peter Sysko I created some of my own binaural frequencies and added explanations of the frequency differentials while you are listening to them. As you may or may not know, binaurals work under the postulation that your brain makes frequency calculations if you hear similar tones but at different frequencies in each ear. Thousands of people say their life has improved by raising a tolerance threshold to their hearing simply by listening to binaural frequencies.

The flash file I created is online swf Here (put on your headphones before you click)

Monday, January 01, 2007

From: John Ratcliff's Weblog

The Nature of Personal Reality

... This afternoon I wanted to do 'something' but I wasn't quite sure what. So, I picked up one of my books and started reading. I didn't get very far at all before I decided I wanted to share it with the blog. Once again, I went back into computer mode and figured out how to use my OCR software to scan in a few excerpts that I hope to share. I have spoken on and off about 'Seth' on this blog as well as on various religious discussion forums. I have also brought Seth up to my friend John Miles when we are out at dinner getting philisophological. The problem with Seth is that there is no easy way to explain it. I usually keep it simple and say 'It speaks to me' and try to leave it at that. Different people are inspired by different sources. I am always surprised, and thoroughly pleased, when I read some ancient religious document or philosophical treatise and find that it exactly matches something in my own ideology. I especially enjoy this when it comes from the Vedas since they are the oldest religious documents in the world. It reminds me that none of this stuff is 'really new'; we just keep rediscovering it generation to generation within the context of our own culture. Many people know me as a rational and scientific minded individual; which I am. So, how do you explain an attraction to material written by a ghost? (I always refer to Seth as a ghost since, technically, that is what he is.) The reason I am attracted to the writings of this ghost is because the material is often presented using scientific terminology and is deeply logical and rational. That said, sometimes you have to slog through a lot of verbiage to get at the 'good stuff'. Seth has no problem saying what he has to say. The ghost is responsible for thousands upon thousands of pages of material. To add to this, the man who transcribed this material (Robert Butts) felt is necessary to annotate every single paragraph with every niggling detail. When I pulled together the excerpt I am about to post I removed all of that extraneous material and I was pleased to see how much smoother it reads. Few people can sit down and read a Seth book beginning to end. It is a difficult task. You read it in bits and pieces, a chapter at a time. That is why I can say I have never actually read an entire Seth book. I have, however, read a lot of material. The most recent book I am reading, bit by bit, is titled 'The Nature of Personal Reality : Specific Practical Techniques For Solving Everyday Problems and Enriching the Life You Know'. I can't speak for the entire book, since I haven't read it. However, the first few chapters speak with great clarity. It is true that much of the Seth material is in close correlation with recent discoveries and philosophical observations made about modern physics. Especially as it relates to Bohms view of the implicate and explicate order, the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, and even the multi-dimensional nature of reality as hinted at by superstring theory. Fortunately the following excerpt doesn't touch on any of that. Instead it is pure philosophy that could have been lifted out of any book by Robert Anton Wilson. For those of you who are fans of RAW you will find this material extremely familiar but coming from a distinctly unique voice. I should offer a brief explanation of where this material comes from. This lady, named Jane Roberts, started 'channeling' in trance some material in the late 1960's. This personality referred to itself as 'Seth' and throughout the 1970's produced an unbelievable amount of written material that comprised many books. She always maintained she was an agnostic as to whether the material truly came from a ghost named Seth, was a product of her subconscious, or a mixture of both. The problem for me is that she is hardly the only person to have channeled religious gibberish in a trance state. Such material has a long history, including Edger Cayce, the Book of Urantia (which I wrote about before), sections of the Bible (The Book of Revelations) and, of course, zillions of New Age bubble heads who hopped on the channeling wagon once Jane Roberts made it popular. I am a wide read individual and I find the vast majority of all channeled material to be the highest order of nonsense and tripe. I have always tried to maintain an open mind on these matters, but I have never, and I mean never, found any source material that spoke to me the way the Seth material does. As they say, each to his own. The reason for this post is that in this book I found a portion of one chapter that I think anyone would find interesting to read. As I said, for followers of Robert Anton Wilson, you will find a great deal in it that is familiar as the Ghost touches on all of the same topics of reality assimilation. The reason I really want to post it here is because I believe it eloquently expresses the key principle of the Seth philosophy that is distinct from so many others. While you can find much that is inspirational in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Gnostic Christianity, they all fall short in important ways; in ways that I think Seth eloquently expresses. What Seth tries to communicate so clearly is HOW BLESSED WE ARE TO HAVE MATERIAL EXISTANCE! So many Judeo-Christian ideologies view material existence as 'unclean', as 'punishment' and even the more enlightened Eastern philosophies promote a view that the goal is to 'disengage ourselves from the flesh' or Maya of the world. Seth embraces physical existence as a great gift that we are each given; that it is a great privilege, one that is to be reveled in with the greatest creative spirit. My point in posting this excerpt is not to convince anyone of a 'truth' or not. It is merely to demonstrate that, wherever this material came from, it at least has a message to convey. Note: Everything that follows is 100% from Seth/Jane Roberts. All parenthetic from Seth, the one footnote is by Robert Butts. Excerpt from “The Nature of Personal Reality” by Seth/Jane Roberts, Chapter 2 : Reality and Personal Beliefs. Reprint permission granted by the spirit realm.

You form the fabric of your experience through your own beliefs and expectations. These personal ideas about yourself and the nature of reality will affect your thoughts and emotions. You take your beliefs about reality as truth, and often do not question them. They seem self-explanatory. They appear in your mind as statements of fact, far too obvious for examination. Therefore they are accepted without question too often. They are not recognized as beliefs about reality, but are instead considered characteristics of reality itself. Frequently such ideas appear indisputable, so a part of you that it does not occur to you to speculate about their validity. They become invisible assumptions, but they nevertheless color and form your personal experience. Some people, for example, do not question their religious beliefs but accept them as fact. Others find it comparatively easy to recognize such inner assumptions when they appear in a religious context, but are quite blind to them in other areas. It is far simpler to recognize your own beliefs in regard to religion, politics or similar subjects, than it is to pinpoint your deepest beliefs about yourself and who and what you are - particularly in relationship with your own life. Many individuals are completely blind to their own beliefs about themselves, and the nature of reality. Your own conscious thoughts will give you excellent clues. Often you will find yourself refusing to accept certain thoughts that come to your mind because they conflict with other usually accepted ideas. Your conscious mind is always trying to give you a clear picture, but you often allow preconceived ideas to block out this intelligence. It has been fashionable to blame the subconscious for personality problems and difficulties, the idea being that early events, charged and mysterious, lodged there. In this country several generations grew up believing that the subconscious portions of the personality were unreliable, filled with negative energy, and contained only locked-up unpleasant episodes best forgotten. They grew up believing that the conscious mind was relatively powerless, that adult experience was set in the days of infancy. These concepts themselves set up artificial divisions. People learned that they should not be aware of "subconscious" material. The doors to the inner self were to be shut tight. Only lengthy psychoanalysis could or should open them. The normal individual felt that he had best leave such areas alone, so in cutting off these portions of the self, barriers were also set up against the joy of the inner spontaneous self. People felt divorced from the core of their own reality. The concept of original sin was a very poor, limited and distorted one, but at least along with it went rather simple procedures: Through baptism you might be saved, or through certain words or sacraments or rituals redemption could be found. (See the Gospel according to Mark, 1:1-11, for instance.) The idea of the tainted subconscious, however, left man no such relatively easy way out. The few rituals possible required years of analysis, which only the very wealthy were privileged to experience. About the same time that the idea of the unsavory subconscious arose so strongly, the idea of the soul went out the window. Millions of people therefore believed in a reality in which they were deprived of the idea of a soul, and burdened by the concept of a very unreliable, if not definitely evil, subconscious. They saw themselves as vulnerable solitary points of egos, riding perilously and unprotected upon the tumultuous waves of involuntary processes. At about the same time many intelligent persons were realizing that organized religions' ideas of God, and of heaven and hell, were distorted, unjust, and smacked of children's fairy tales. For these indi¬viduals there was no place to look for help. Under the circumstances, to look within would have seemed foolhardy, for they had been taught that this within contained the source of their problems to begin with. Those who could not afford therapy tried the harder to inhibit any messages from the inner self, for fear they would become swallowed by the savage infantile emotions. Now first of all, there are no limitations or divisions to the self, though for purposes of discussion a word like "ego" may be used here because you understand what you think it means. You can indeed depend upon seemingly unconscious portions of yourself. As you will see later, you can become more and more consciously aware, therefore bringing into your consciousness larger and larger portions of yourself. You breathe, grow, and perform multitudinous delicate and precise activities constantly, without being consciously aware of how you carry out such manipulations. You live without consciously knowing how you maintain this miracle of physical awareness in the world of flesh and time. The seemingly unconscious portions of yourself draw atoms and molecules from the air to form your image. Your lips move, your tongue peaks your name. Does the name belong to the atoms and molecules within your lips or tongue? The atoms and molecules move constantly, forming into cells, tissues and organs. How can the name the tongue speaks belong to them? They do not read or write, yet they speak complicated syllables that; communicate to other beings such as yourself anything from a simple feeling to the most complicated information. How do they do this? The atoms and molecules of the tongue do not know the syntax of the language they speak. When you begin a sentence you do not have the slightest conscious idea, often, of how you will finish it, yet you take it on faith that the words will make sense, and your meaning will flow out effortlessly. All of this happens because the inner portions of your being operate spontaneously, joyfully, freely; all of this occurs because your inner self believes in you, often even while you do not believe in it. These unconscious portions of your being operate amazingly well, frequently despite the greatest misunderstanding on your part of their nature and function, and in the face of strong interference from you because of your beliefs. Each person experiences a unique reality, different from any other individuals. This reality springs outward from the inner landscape of thoughts, feelings, expectations and beliefs. If you believe that the inner self works against you rather than for you, then you hamper it’s func¬tioning - or rather, you force it to behave in a certain way because of your beliefs. The conscious mind is meant to make clear judgments about your position in physical reality. Often false beliefs will prevent it from making these, for the egotistically held ideas will cloud its clear vision. Your beliefs can be like fences that surround you. You must first recognize the existence of such barriers - you must see them or you will not even realize that you are not free, simply because you will not see beyond the fences. They will represent the boundaries of your experience. There is one belief, however, that destroys artificial barriers to per¬ception, an expanding belief that automatically pierces false and inhibiting ideas. I told you that the self was not limited, yet surely you think that your self stops where your skin meets space, that you are inside your skin. Yet your environment is an extension of yourself. It is the body of your experience, coalesced in physical form. The inner self forms the objects that you know as surely and automatically as it forms your finger or your eye. Your environment is the physical picture of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs made visible. Since your thoughts, emotions and beliefs move through space and time, you therefore affect physical conditions separate from you. Consider the spectacular framework of your body just from the physical standpoint. You perceive it as solid, as you perceive all other physical matter; yet the more matter is explored the more obvious it becomes that within it energy takes on specific shape (in the form of organs, cells, molecules, atoms, electrons), each less physical than the last, each combining in mysterious gestalt to form matter. The atoms within your body spin. There is constant commotion and activity. The flesh that seemed so solid turns out to be composed of swiftly moving particles - often orbiting each other – in which great exchanges of energy continually occur. The stuff, the space outside of your body, is composed of the same elements, but in different proportions. There is a constant physical inter¬change between the structure you call your body and the space outside it; chemical interactions, basic exchanges without which life as you know it would be impossible. To hold your breath is to die. Breath, which represents the most intimate and most necessary of your physical sensations, must flow out from what you are, passing into the world that seems to be not you. Physically, portions of you leave your body constantly and intermix with the ele¬ments. You know what happens when adrenalin is released through the bloodstream. It stirs you up and prepares you for action. But in other ways the adrenalin does not just stay in your body. It is cast into the air and it affects the atmosphere, though it is transformed. Any of your emotions liberate hormones, but these also leave you as your breath leaves you; and in that respect you can say that you release chemicals into the air that then affect it. Once you understand this you have only to learn to examine the nature of your beliefs, for these will automatically cause you to feel and think in certain fashions. Your emotions follow your beliefs. It is not the other way around. I would like you to recognize your own beliefs in several areas. You must realize that any idea you accept as truth is a belief that you hold. You must, then, take the next step and say, "It is not necessarily true, even though I believe it." You will, I hope, learn to disregard all beliefs that imply basic limitations. Later we will discuss some of the reasons for your beliefs, but for now I simply want you to recognize them. I am going to list some limiting false beliefs. If you find yourself agreeing with any of them, then recognize this as an area in which you must personally work. 1. Life is a valley of sorrows. 2. The body is inferior. As a vehicle of the soul it is auto¬matically degraded, tinged. You may feel that the flesh is inherently bad or evil, that its appetites are wrong. Christians may find the body deplorable, thinking that the soul descended into it -"descent" automatically meaning the change from a higher or better condition to one that is worse. Followers of Eastern religions often feel it their duty, also, to deny the flesh, to rise above it, so to speak, into a state where nothing is desired. ("Emptiness" in Taoism, for instance.) Using a different vocabulary, they still believe that earth experience is not desirable in itself. 3. I am helpless before circumstances that I cannot control. 4. I am helpless because my personality and character were formed in infancy, and I am at the mercy of my past. 5. I am helpless because I am at the mercy of events from past lives in other incarnations, over which I now have no control. I must be punished, or I am punishing myself for unkindness’s done to others in past lives. I must accept the negative aspects of my life because of my karma.* 6. People are basically bad, and out to get me. 7. I have the truth and no one else has. Or, my group has the truth and no other group has. 8. I will grow frailer, sicker, and lose my powers as I grow old.

*In Hinduism and Buddhism, karma is thought of as the total moral sum of an individual's acts in any one life - thus determining the person's fate or destiny in the next. Seth sees reincarnational lives as all existing at once, so there is constant give-and-take among them. A "future" life, then, can affect a "past" one, so karma as it is usually considered does not apply. 9. My existence is dependent upon my experience in flesh. When my body dies my consciousness dies with it. Now: That was a rather general list of false beliefs. Now here is a more specific list of more intimate beliefs, any of which you may have personally about yourself. 1. I am sickly, and always have been.

2. There is something wrong with money. People who have it are greedy, less spiritual than those who are poor. They are unhappier, and snobs.

3. I am not creative. I have no imagination.

4. I can never do what I want to do.

5. People dislike me.

6. I am fat.

7. I always have bad luck. These are all beliefs held by many people. Those who have them will meet them in experience. Physical data will always seem to reinforce the beliefs, therefore, but the beliefs formed the reality. We are going to attempt to knock down such limiting concepts. First of all, you must realize that no one can change your beliefs for you, nor can they be forced upon you from without. You can indeed change them for yourself, however, with knowledge and application. Look about you. Your entire physical environment is the materialization of your beliefs. Your sense of joy, sorrow, health or illness - all of these are also caused by your beliefs. If you believe that a given situation should make you unhappy, then it will, and the unhappiness will then reinforce the condition. Within you is the ability to change your ideas about reality and about yourself, to create a personal living experience that is fulfilling to your¬self and others. I would like you to write down your beliefs about your¬self as you become aware of them. Later you can use this list in a way that you do not now suspect. Your conscious beliefs direct the functioning of your body. It is not the other way around. Your inner self adopts the physically conscious, physically focused mind as a method of allowing it to manipulate in the world that you know. The conscious mind is particularly equipped to direct outward activity, to handle waking experience and oversee physical work. Its beliefs about the nature of reality are then given to inner portions of the self. These rely mainly upon the conscious mind's interpretation of temporal reality. The conscious mind sets the goals and the inner self brings them about, using all its facilities and inexhaustible energy. The great value of the conscious mind lies precisely in its ability to make decisions and set directions. Its role is dual, however: It is meant to assess conditions both inside and outside, to handle data that comes from the physical world and from the inner portions of the self. It is not a closed system, then. To be human necessitates fine discrimination in the use of such consciousness. Many people are afraid of their own thoughts. They do not examine them. They accept the beliefs of others. Such actions distort data from both within and without. There is no battle between the intuitive self and the conscious mind. There only seems to be when the individual refuses to face all the infor¬mation that is available in his conscious mind. Sometimes it seems easier to avoid the frequent readjustments in behavior that self-examination requires. In such cases an individual collects many secondhand beliefs. Some contradict each other; the signals given to the body and to the inner self are not smoothly flowing or clear-cut, but a muddied jumble of counter-directions. These will immediately set off alarms of various natures. The body will not function properly, or the overall emotional environment will suffer. Such reactions are actually excellent precautions, meant to be taken as a sign that change is needed. At the same time, the inner self will transmit to the conscious mind insights and intuitions meant to clear its sight. But if you believe that the inner self is dangerous and not to be trusted, if you are afraid of dreams or any intrusive psychic material, then you deny this help and turn aside from it. If you believe, moreover, that you must accept your difficulties, then this belief alone can deter you from solving them. I repeat: Your ideas and beliefs form the structure of your experience. Your beliefs and the reasons for them can be found in your conscious mind. If you accept the idea that the reasons for your behavior are forever buried in the past of this life, or any other, then you will not be able to alter your experience until you change that belief I am speak¬ing now of more or less normal experience. Later we will discuss more particular areas, such as circumstances in which illnesses date from birth. The realization that you form your own reality should be a liberating one. You are responsible for your successes and your joys. You can change those areas of your life with which you are less than pleased, but you must take the responsibility for your being. Your spirit joined itself with flesh, and in flesh, to experience a world of incredible richness, to help create a dimension of reality of colors and of form. Your spirit was born in flesh to enrich a marvelous area of sense awareness, to feel energy made into corporeal form. You are here to use, enjoy, and express yourself through the body. You are here to aid in the great expansion of consciousness. You are not here to cry about the miseries of the human condition, but to change them when you find them not to your liking through the joy, strength and vitality that is within you; to create the spirit as faithfully and beautifully is you can in flesh. The conscious mind allows you to look outward into the physical universe, and see the reflection of your spiritual activity, to perceive and assess your individual and joint creations. In a manner of speaking, the conscious mind is a window through which you look outward - and looking outward, perceive the fruits of your inner mind. Often you let false beliefs blur that great vision. Your joy, vitality and accomplishment do not come from the outside to you is the result of events that "happen to you." They spring from inner events that are the result of your beliefs.

posted by John

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