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1/25/2009

World Social Forum 2009

  6:27 am

“From January 27th to February 1st 2009, the city of Belem will host the World Social Forum. During six days, the city assumes the position of being the center of planetary citizenship and a global reference for those who don’t agree with inequality, injustice, intolerance, environment destruction and prejudice.”

Sounds a lot like a giant planetary council meeting! Should be interesting.

1/14/2009

Nuclear power and the economic collapse

  9:36 am

One critical consideration in the debate as to whether nuclear power can be safely considered as a climate friendly alternative to fossil fuels is whether or not our civilization will remain intact long enough to manage the radioactive waste and other threats.

Recently, a sudden downturn of the economy was so severe that even ‘free-market’ ‘thinkers’ joined the call for unprecedented massive bailouts to prevent global collapse. Obama will be calling for further bailouts, and really there is no guarantee that these measures will stabilize the situation.

If the economic system implodes and society begins to unravel, who will manage the radioactive threat these power plants pose? This type of question reveals the arrogance of nuclear proponents, who believe that our young and extremely experimental civilization is dependable in the long run. Even a relatively short lived failure of our ability to maintain solvency could result is severe environmental disasters.

For this and the usual laundry list of reasons, nuclear power remains a very dangerous idea, despite global warming. Public education and regulation towards energy conservation should be strongly encouraged by policy makers.

1/10/2009

War is Terrorism

  7:49 pm

Warning trapped civilians that the war against them is going to be escalated is by definition terrorism. This is basically what the Israeli military has just done, dropping leaflets into Gaza warning of an escalation - “brace yourselves - stay away from Hamas and do what we say". The goal is to break their tie to Hamas, their elected representation. Using violence against civilians to terrify them into behaving this way or that way is very close to the clinical definition of terrorism.

Humans are so prone to group identification and tell all sorts of stories to justify their group’s need for violence against the other. They are terrorists, but our state sponsored violence is ice cream.

Let’s make it simple. Stop killing people.

11/10/2008

All’s well that ends well

  6:51 pm

Well, Bush has successfully destroyed his repugnant party, as well as the military ’strength’ and readiness of the United States, the economy, and on and on. At least that is the illusion of the moment. Of course the elephant party will rebuild and return, just as so many old Nixon era cronies returned to poison boy Bush’s reign. There has been far too much accumulation of wealth and power over these record breaking exxon profit years to assume that a simple election can sweep that machinery under the rug. As for the bewildered boy wonder, you can pity him or not, but really the pity should be for his victims, which to some extent includes us all and of course the helpless unborn he would so dearly have liked to have protected.

Anyway, let’s see if the Obama hope balloon can fly. For now, perhaps I’ll relax and enjoy some potentially delusional positive thinking that change really might be possible despite some rather obvious policy contradictions and enormous economic handicaps which the dems now inherit. Perhaps a much needed spine could be found on that inheritance list. Anyway, now is the time to celebrate and set aside the cynicism. We can always deal with reality later.

10/29/2008

Election Song! Get Out The Vote!

  8:31 am

From a Saturday night party around the world in Beijing, a group of ex pats chime in on the election, with a rousing version of “Get out the Vote".

Features banjo, mandolin, guitar, and everybody singing. A few simple tweaks in the post production and it sounds compelling. Get out there and vote!

Short and sweet at 1:19, an easy download for high speed connections at 1.85mBytes.


Get out the vote mp3

Lyrics etcs

Pass it along! Get out the Vote!

9/30/2008

God’s Plan - Song for the Market Crash

  7:00 am

Here’s a song fresh off the press by Oakland based band llamachew which ties it all together. God, war, the economic collapse, and the worker on main street who can’t manage to pay all those bills. Starts with a Sarah Palin quote about how the war is God’s Plan!

llamachew God’s Plan webpage with lyrics

Download/Listen here

Download highest quality for broadcast (.wav - 43 megabytes)

9/24/2008

More of the McSame?

  6:46 pm

No, a Presidential McPain would be different, and in the event his temper flares, potentially much worse. We’ve had it very bad, the empire is flailing at the moment, but they didn’t use the bunker busters against Iran. In other words there are worse states of hell for those foolish enough to pursue them.

And in the event McCain’t is incapacitated by disease, he leaves ‘ready, willing, and able’ Pain to replace him, to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all. She is a frightening pit bull with lipstick in part due to her “God’s Plan” fundamentalism, which always seems to leave out the ‘thou shalt not kill’ part and embrace nationalistic militarism. An ideology of ‘end times’ and the suitcase shouldn’t be in the same room. Well neither should a torture survivor with an anger management problem.

9/23/2008

Greed Stampede

  5:54 am

To be brief:

Money is among other things, a form of power and a means to keep track of distributions of power.

Congress is preparing to promise to give away control over an enormous amount of money, hence power, in this moment of financial terror.

The value of money is not based on gold or silver anymore, but rather upon a widespread agreement or shared understanding that it has some value. In other words, there is a ’social contract’ of sorts that we will share power, resources, etc. based on the distribution of money. Our understanding of the value of money is like a language that we all speak.

Despite the tremendous inequality that this system of wealth maintains (and even exacerbates around the world), people generally accept this situation unquestionably and don’t perceive it to be unfair, despite the violent historical processes out of which the current distribution of wealth emerged (slavery, war, land theft, colonialization, etc).

This agreement isn’t working out very well at the moment. All the major investors are now fully alert to the possibility that all their assets will dramatically lose value. Soon the run on the imaginary money in the empty banks will begin in earnest, i.e., the greed stampede. In this extreme case, it can become apparent that money is basically a collectively maintained belief, a shared language of sorts. When the fear becomes strong enough, and everyone grabs for the pot simultaneously, this economic language fails and money has no value at all.

At that point we will experience financial anarchy, and a tremendous power vacuum will emerge, which would likely be quickly filled with some authoritarian military presence, martial law, etc. Perhaps some new form of temporary currency will be issued within nation states to coordinate production and distribution during the crisis, these could be called ‘coupons’ or ’stamps’ or whatever.

An interesting side point is that despite the crisis of a capital meltdown, the global infrastructure, material resources, and labor required to create all the things that people actually need and use remains intact. Perhaps that reminder isn’t very helpful. Even a perfectly functioning body can’t do any work when the mind goes into a coma. Would be nice to keep the heart beat and other vital functions working though.

9/21/2008

Fear and the blank check

  6:43 am

Private presentations by the Fed are terrifying congressional leaders, motivating a decision to commit some $700 Billion dollars to prop up failing financial institutions.

Their financial records are not transparent to the government, and it seems the banks themselves have no way to know with any certainty the extent of their own predicament. Perhaps the books have been overcooked so long as to be completely illegible.

Sadly, this is bailout request is reminiscent of the ‘blank check’ Bush was given by Congress to pursue the disastrous Iraq war. The cost of that war now includes an estimated 1 million murdered Iraqi people, 5 million displaced Iraqi people, over 4000 murdered and killed U.S. troops, an estimated financial cost of 3 trillion dollars, and many other costs which include a dramatic loss of U.S. credibility in the region. Bush’s ’smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud’ was in fact a dramatic propaganda ploy for which we will all be paying a hefty price for years to come.

Now the alarming news is that these secretive and under-regulated institutions have brought the entire U.S. economy, and potentially the global economy, to the brink of a cataclysmic breakdown. Despite the cruel inequalites and unjust priorities of our globalized economic system, certainly a meltdown of this order would result in untold hardships for countless people around the world, a severe punishment not limited to McCain’s “greedy” Wall Street investors.

The lost elephant in the room here is the question of trust. Just as the government of the United States deceived its own people to begin an unjustifiable war, these crumbling financial giants have hidden their unsound practices from external regulation and apparently even from themselves. Congress now proposes to solve the problem with a staggering commitment of $700 Billion dollars. If this problem is really just about bad housing loans, $700 Billion would be enough to directly enable every endangered homeowner become solvent enough to complete their mortgages, and that aspect of preserving bank solvency could be addressed. But of course the problem goes way beyond unrecoverable home loans, it’s just that the visibility and certainty of missed monthly mortgage payments has drawn attention to this corrupt house of cards and broken mirrors like a gust of cold wind, shaking the imaginary foundation.

This financial implosion can be likened to the collapse of the twin towers, with the momentum of the falling floors from above slamming through the ones below, ultimately bringing down the entire structure. The top floors of the economy have already begun to fall, and Congress is scrambling to stop the cascade, throwing billions upon billions of devalued dollars into the wreckage.

This is an historical moment where the ‘free’ market neo-liberal economic model has utterly failed. Without enormous government intervention, this economic system is broken, and therefore this is a critical turning point. When one model falls, others can and will emerge to replace it. Ideally the new economic model would be chosen carefully and democratically. More likely, in panic, both the democrats and republicans will capitulate to the demands of the power, writing yet another blank check for which future generations will be responsible for, while gaining little in the deal except perhaps breathing room to ascertain the extent of the damage before the next floor falls.

9/6/2008

Perot on McCain as “Opportunist”

  2:17 pm


“After he came home, he walked with a limp, she [Carol McCain] walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona [Cindy McCain, his current wife] and the rest is history.” Ross Perot

8/29/2008

McCaint’s VP choice

  6:33 am

McCain’t picks a younger woman - again!

4/14/2007

As predicted by Psychic Al Gore

  9:14 am

Will Global Warming drown us all in our own ignorance, reckless overconsumption and greed?

Sort of like a slow mo detonation of all that freeze dried nuclear nation state domination psychology.

11/9/2006

a crack in the ice

  5:18 pm

thank god

11/5/2006

Anti-War Songs

  6:54 am

Some interesting new anti-war songs from Oakland based rock band llamachew:

Nation at War (2:47)

You Bet Your Life (3:01)

Listen/Download here:

You Don’t Win A Mistake

  6:51 am

So the Repugnants are rhetorically accusing the Dems of not having a “plan for victory".

They pointedlessly ask in TV panel discussions “Do you want the United States to win?”

What the $&^! do they think this is - Monday Night Football?

This $*&%^$&# war is a mistake of unprecidented proportions. There is no winning a mistake. Best hope is to ‘fix it’ somehow. Do whatever can be done to protect the civilians living there. The mentality of ‘winning’ reflects the delusional cruelty of the warmakers. We don’t have good stats, but it looks like at least 100,000 dead, a country in civil war, millions of Iraqi civilians caught in an ongoing crossfire.

Problem is, to fix it, you need some legitimacy, which the U.S. occupying army, despite the best efforts of many trusting soldiers, sorely lacks.
Why? Several serious incidents eroded any hope of trust amoung the Iraqi people, including the rape and murder of a 14 year old girl by a group of U.S. soldiers, the Abu Ghraib torture and abuse, the endless harassment and violence at checkpoints, the ongoing miscalculations and accidents where civilians are shot, bombed, etc.

The United States doesn’t have the necessary legitimacy to fix this mess. The Iraq war, an experiment in the doctrine of pre-emptive war, is a tragic mistake, and the United States lacks the ability or wisdom to fix it. Everyday the war continues, more mistakes are made, and more Iraqi civilians are hurt. The troops are under severe stress, with a large percentage suffering from psychological effects of war. So let’s abandon the talk about winning a mistake and own up to what an awful mess has been created.

And as doctor Phil says, you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.

Election Time Again

  6:21 am

Amidst major collapses of the cornerstone of the Repugnantican empire, Americans are once again called upon to steer the course.

Unhappy Haggard suddenly goes down in flames scorching the already demoralized Christian right wing, Sadam is convicted of War Crimes, George Bush hasn’t even been put on trial yet, and the nuclear weapons remain safe in their silos for the time being. Global warming has progressed from a suspicious theory to an irreversable trend.

So feeling very empowered we all check off our electronic boxes and trust that good things will follow. May the best humanity win.

9/10/2006

Safe, Safer, Not Entirely Safe

  7:59 am

From AP: “I think it’s clear that we are safe — safer — but not really yet safe,” Rice said.

Perhaps the internal coordination of counter-terrorism intelligence has been improved, and we should take their word for it, for FEMA’s prompt and well coordinated response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the extent of this type of progress.

However, the perceived (and real) collapse of U.S. military ethics has dramatically undermined the security of US citizens at home and abroad. Remember, U.S. soldiers are implicated in rape, murder, humiliation, and torture. Furthermore, the U.S. government supported Israels bombardment and invasion of Lebanon, and thus is seen as sharing responsibilty for the resulting death of hundreds of civilians. This support include providing cluster munitions and vetoing UN motions to call for an immediate cease-fire.

The ability of the United States to detect and counter the efforts of terrorist cells may well have improved, but unfortunately, the aggressive military campaigns have made new enemies, as the popular bumper sticker proclaims, “faster than we can kill them".

7/21/2006

Goodbye cruel world

  7:48 pm

Sorry folks,

the mad rush to self-destruction is in full swing.

According to Wikipedia, the sixth commandment is as follows:

“Thou shalt not murder”
Killing an innocent human being is a capital sin.

What is the point in having a democracy when counting the votes is abandoned because it is inconvenient and time consuming?
What is the point in having a religous state if the violence of state policy sharply contradicts the foundations of the religion itself?

The fact is that greed and power have eroded all this away.

Perhaps the dangerous bait of civilian lives dangling in the balance is being used here to try to draw Syria or Iran into all this, as an excuse for a much broader war is sought. Then all the ugliness that we have been saving up for so many years could be revealed. What might appear to be an excercise in power by these military madmen is in fact an expression of supreme powerlessness - the inability to avoid becoming indistinguishable from one’s own worst enemy.

Peace begins with respect for the lives of others. On all sides. For example, even in the midst of this sickening horror, one could try to find something commendable even in one’s enemies: “those awful killers love their own people so much that they are willing to throw away their own sense of what is morally right or wrong to do what they imagine will protect them. Of course it is a dillusional state, but look at the courage and dedication to their friends". Is this ridiculous? Probably. I’m trying to find the bright side here, but really I fear that very little has been learned over the years. Where is the sense of principle that could prevent a world war? Is fear and the desire for self preservation the only ally of peace? I’m afraid that will not be enough.

Nationalism is based on a false identification, which of course needs defending precisely because it is false. Without tension it would dissolve. This false identity and resulting polarization is threatening the survival of our world. Sounds like an overly dramatic comic book story, but isn’t it true?

4/20/2006

All options for global suicide on the table

  6:12 am

When asked in the press conference to rule out a nuclear strike on Iran, Bush dodged a direct answer to the question, refusing to rule out any options, probably hoping to further pressure Iran to give up any nuclear ambitions and cooperate.

The only possible value in nuclear weapons in as a threat, since their horrific use is by any sane standard absurd. However, as the boy who cried Wolfowitz in Iraq knows, sooner or later a threat loses its impact if it is not used, and herein lies the real danger of this type of sloppy communication.

These cute vague references to a nuclear first strike are essentially weakening the prohibition of their use.

Again, another tragic mistake by the failing administation. Could the threat help in the short run? Maybe. But in the long run, it is suicidal.

And this isn’t the first time these vague threats of nuclear attack were imployed. Before the Iraq war, there were indirect threats to respond to the imagined chemical or biological threat with a nuclear attack.

The democracy supposedly based on checks and balances is constantly bouncing checks.

3/18/2006

SF demonstration for peace

  3:16 pm

SF demo
march 18, 2006
10,000 demonstrate in San Fransisco to commemorate 3 years of the Iraq war.

3 years later

  6:40 am

You start by saying “I’m sorry, I made a mistake”

3/12/2006

into the sea of humanity

  7:16 am

everyday now
a report of murder
a random bomb
another outrage by an outraged nobody
without a name

and everyday
military murders unspoken
the killers name is
the victims name is
the body count is

no victims
no killers
no act of killing
no fact of killing
numb and normal

we all live underwater
where every act
cruel or kind
floats off into the collective sea
colors the water
shades the mind

the floating dead feel nothing
absolute numbness of flesh
silence

but for the living in this ocean of death
our constant drink
decomposing waste
of wasted creation
our war for peace

can you remember the beautiful ocean?

2/9/2006

Overtime and no clear winner

  7:34 pm

Humans have the capacity to believe just about anything. Perhaps it is both a great blessing, for it enables tremendous creativity, diversity, and conviction, and on the other hand a terrible curse, as our obviously contradictory beliefs and ideas lead to horrific territorial violence.

The staw breaking the camel’s back these last days are some rather unimpressive attempts at political cartooning. The fact that so many Muslims are rallying around this symbolic slap in the face is largely because there has been a series of very real insults over these last years as the western world continues to (over) react to Sept 11., including pre-emptive invasion and occupation, torture and humilation.

Racism, culteralism, and nationalism are convient yet dangerous oversimplifications which people easily adopt in their incessant attempt to resolve an unresolvably complex global pecking order. These groupings are a futile attempt to find security at the expense of the well being of others.

Each group feels it’s own insult is supreme. The West lost the twin towers to an attack from so called ‘Islamic’ extremists and so insulting Islam may seem fair game to some. And then in reaction to cartoons insulting Islam, the Danish flag, a Christian symbol of a cross in an officially Christian nation, is burned by none other than religious people defending their beliefs, so you might say that we have a bit of a blasphemy battle going on.

Who do you suppose is going to win?

1/1/2006

Happy New Year!

  8:39 am

Happy New Year everyone! The clock has ticked again, so we can image this to be a new beginning, and another chance to set things straight with one another.

Peace is a choice. When a world is filled with resentments over historic injustices and fears or more of the same, the stress and tension lowers the quality of life for everyone.

This year, my wish is for global redistribution of wealth, disarmament, and a democratically chosen plan for a new world economic system. Why don’t we choose consciously how to produce and distribute wealth, rather than letting the no longer magic of the marketplace decide who will feast and who will starve, who will receive a hair transplant or face lift and who won’t get a malaria tablet.

A better world is possible. Best wishes to friend and foe alike, let’s start thinking about the process of sharing and reconciliation.

12/18/2005

Responsible? then resign or be impeached

  9:53 pm

The President wants to do the right thing and take responsibility for starting a war that has admitedly cost tens of thousands and in all likelyhood over a hundred thousand lives. And the criminality of starting this war goes beyond the obvious loss of life. Many have been tortured, and many have turned to indiscriminate acts of violence. The Iraqi society is in ruins and there are fears of outright civil war. Remember what happened when Yugoslavia fell apart?

Unfortunately, this claim of responsibility is rhetorical and hopeless. When a criminal murders someone and is found guilty, he goes to jail for the rest of his life. That is the solution society has come up with to assign responsibility for a capital crime. But when a president begins a war, over the objections of stong allies and despite the largest pre-war peace demonstrations in history, and wrecks havoc on a foreign land and ruins the reputation of his own nation, how can he with a straight face claim to be responsible and then show up the next day at work to continue the very same war? A more reasonable way to take responsibility would be to publically apologize to the world and resign. Perhaps Bush’s speech could begin like this:

“I have made one of the biggest mistakes a human being can make. There are no words to express the regret I feel. I can tell you that I believed what I was doing was the right thing. Yet in fact I was wrong and countless people who I never knew and had no argument with are lost forever. Many previously good people have turned to violence.

I have placed our young soldiers in situations where they were forced to kill or be killed, and there were many times when they discovered to their horror that they had killed non combatants. They will suffer these memories and live with feelings of guilt and shame, but in fact it is I who put them in such dangerous and chaotic situations that this could happen. I believed that the righteousness of our nation would guarantee a positive outcome, despite the obvious dangers and difficulties.

Unfortunately the results are catastrophic. Our continued presence in Iraq is not providing the stability needed, and in fact the ongoing occupation is agitating and inflaming a situation simmering with resentment. And yet if we were to abandon the country now and remove our troops, I fear an even worse outcome could emerge.

I am the face of the decision to start this war. The world must now know that this decision was a dreadful mistake, and I must step down. I believed we could use military force to eliminate tyrany, but in the process, I became more like my adversary than I ever could have imagined. I cannot say with certainty which course of action we should take now, but I know that I am not the one fit to make these decisions. I can only hope that new leadership will somehow find a way to bring peace to this awful situation I have created. I offer my heartfelt apoligies to the Iraqi people, to the people of the United States, and to the people of the world.”

As we may not soon be hearing anything like the above apology and resignation, the best face saving strategy for the United States is to begin impeachment procedings against Bush and discredit him the same war Richard Nixon was discredited as a way to disassociate the U.S. from the failing and widely unpopular Vietnam war.

11/26/2005

Genetic Tampering Reminder

  10:06 am

Humanity loves new technology, and no one can argue that it isn’t fun and interesting. But watch out here - genetic tampering is just as dangerous to human survival as nuclear weapons, the only difference is that the explosion may seem from our perspective to move in ultra slow-mo. The organic laboratory that we all live in has evolved over billions of years. This chop chop recombining may make plants resistant to a specific disease or the other, but the long term structural stability cannot be easily established. And this doesn’t even take into account intentional military applications. Once the genie gets out of the bottle it can’t be retrieved.

Curiousisty cloned the cat, and we may be next.

10/9/2005

Time to buy some appreciation

  9:14 am

Sadly once again a natural catastrophy has brought devastation to many in Pakistan and India.

The United States, having spent hundreds of billions creating havoc in Iraq, has an opportunity both to do the right thing for those who have been affected by this tragedy - and to buy some goodwill from people in a largly Muslim region. Due to the ongoing Iraq intervention, the U.S. is perceived by many in the region as anti-Muslim. Now is the time for the United States as a nation to give abundantly and immediately to the relief effort.

One billion dollars of aid right now could help countless people now and would serve as an investment in peace and security for the future as well.

9/4/2005

The Lost City

  7:57 am

I’m not an expert on civil engineering by any means, but to the my uninformed eye it looks like a case of severe neglect of the homeland infrastructure. New Orleans is a city largely below sea level, completely dependent on these aging levees for protection from catastrophy.

Why weren’t the levees up to date? Why wasn’t emergency repair equipment in place and ready to go? Why wasn’t there a clear evacuation plan?

This is clearly one case where prevention would have been exponentially cheaper than the devastation we see now. But public services fall under the catagory of big government, which goes against the current ideology. Yet in fact we have the biggest government of all now, playing the presumptuous role of global cop. Sadly, so many crucial resources which could have limited this devastation have been going elsewhere, where the results of misguided policies are similarly catastrophic.

8/7/2005

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.’s “the Drum Major Instinct”

  4:33 pm

“The Drum Major Instinct” - perhaps this and not “I have a dream” - is Martin Luther King Jr.’s greatest speech.

Why? Because in this speech he artfully integrates several topics which are not often combined: religion, psychology, economics, civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and the arms race.

“And if something doesn’t happen to stop this trend, I’m sorely afraid that we won’t be here to talk about Jesus Christ and about God and about brotherhood too many more years. If somebody doesn’t bring an end to this suicidal thrust that we see in the world today, none of us are going to be around, because somebody’s going to make the mistake through our senseless blunderings of dropping a nuclear bomb somewhere. And then another one is going to drop. And don’t let anybody fool you, this can happen within a matter of seconds. They have twenty megaton bombs in Russia right now that can destroy a city as big as New York in three seconds, with everybody wiped away, and every building. And we can do the same thing to Russia and China.

But this is why we are drifting. And we are drifting there because nations are caught up with the drum major instinct.

‘I must be first, I must be supreme, our nation must rule the world’. And I am sad to say that the nation in which we live is the supreme culprit. And I’m going to continue to say it to America, because I love this country too much to see the drift that it has taken.

God didn’t call America to do what she’s doing in the world now…”

The power of this speech is such that these words written so many years ago still add much needed insight to the situation we find ourselves in today, where the majority of Americans reportedly still support the Aug 6, 1945 decision to detonate a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima. This atrocious civilian attack, regardless of any arguments about whether it hastened the wars end and therefore ’saved’ lives, is by any reasonable definition of terrorism in fact a terrorist attack - for it was indiscriminate murder of civilians for a political objective.

The fact that many Americans still support their own historical use of a weapon of mass destruction sadly shows their opposition to Sadam’s aspirations for WMD in Iraq cannot be understood to based on opposition to WMD in principle, but rather a desire to feel safe and dominant. “Our” WMD are good because ‘we’ are good and ‘we’ trust ourselves to use them wisely. “Their” WMD are the problem because ‘they’ may be bad and cannot be trusted. Unfortunately this simplistic nationalistic us-good they-bad thinking is flawed, unworkable, and policy based on this reasoning doesn’t make anybody safer.

In the Iraq war, “we” are responsible, amoung other things, for starting a war on false pretenses, torture, destabilizing an entire country, thousands of civilian casualties, etc. And at home, “our” society has all sorts of ongoing problems, which from the outsiders perspective certainly weaken our credibility. Consider for example how Iraqis might interpret how corrupt our society must be to have churches where the pedafile priest appears to be not an isolated exception but a recurring pattern.

The “we” that so many feel needs protection also needs to reconsider itself. When FDR said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", he certainly couldn’t have forseen how our fear of the imagined weapons of a foreign country would lead us to the ethically untenable position of having started a pre-emptive war with no way to end it.

How can a nation extricate itself from a mistake of this magnitude?

6/11/2005

All we are saying…

  9:34 am

Fair enough that people have different interpretations of what ‘the problem’ is and how to solve it. The madness of war takes diversity of opinion and transforms it into toxic and contageous polarities. All sides see the autrocities of ‘the other’, overlooking or dismissing their own teams inhumanity as necessary or as an exception to an otherwise righteous rule.

The use of military violence in Iraq hasn’t helped, but rather has weakened the ethical fabric of humanity. A sad outcome is that so many young people have adopted the belief that violence against people is acceptable. Many have died, and many have killed. Yet despite this enormous cost, and perhaps as a result of this wasteful cruelty, progress is elusive.

All we are saying is “we told you so”

5/1/2005

Lost in the Shuffle

  6:42 am

The tasty food continues to arrive on our tables, delivered via hundreds of thousands of bigrigs across the country. And in our never-ending efforts to get out of debt and retire early, we are entirely too busy to think about the tragedy of an unnecessary war.

Yet the war was a mistake, and we need a government with enough common sense to admit that.

11/5/2002

Robocop

  11:56 am

Once upon a time the United States was the only nation to have atomic bombs. Perhaps some forethought and restraint then could have prevented the entire nuclear arms race. It’s all too easy to use a cutting edge weapons system when you don’t have to contemplate your enemy doing the same thing. And while the nerds happily exchange emails, chats, and mp3s, just wishing the boom times of the internet bubble would hurry up and return, the real boomtime plans involve the ongoing mechanization of warfare with computerized artificial intelligence.

A lot of people will be cheering to learn that those 6 al qaeda suspects got blown up in their car thanks to another mysterious CIA drone attack. A lot of people cheered when they heard the city of Hiroshima was blown up too, of course now the United States and Japan are friends, and perhaps sometime the United States and the undefineable evildoers will be friends too. The previous publicized drone attack in Afganistan took out an unknown “leader figure” who may have just been preaching to his friends for all we know. But he looked tall, sort of like Bin Ladin.. oh well… better luck next time. The requirements for employing the death penalty overseas are even more relaxed than in Texas.

A few more decades of this techno-madness and the cheering will be over, as many nations and terror cells and even corporate cells will have access to mechanized overhead drones and computerized remote viewing hybrid bionic rats filled with neurotoxins or viruses specific to a single individual or family’s DNA. There is no end to the madness of military weapons development and sales. The only real hope I see is for an attitude of international unity amoung the majority of the people of the world to emerge, and for those with that sentiment to insist on an end to violence, an end to a culture of violence, and an end to an economy of violence.

In a high speed technological age, mutual mistrust can quickly lead to pre-emptive mutually assured distruction. As populations, we are the acceptable tactical losses in that equation, and so far, most of us have been very lucky. The ethical winter of the born again get everybody ready for the second coming politicians has not become a nuclear winter. There have been far too many close calls that have not been publically reported. The present techno-violence is crazy enough, who could possibly be ready for the future?

10/29/2002

Peace demonstrations

  11:31 am

The peace movement is now officially revived, with demonstrations last Saturday all across the United States and around the world. Personal reports coming in include the small town under 50 people turnout in Chico, Ca, where one creative soul was said to be spinning a black and white yin/yang symbol with the words “good” and “evil” in the opposing yet forever interconnected color zones, to the enourmous Washington D.C. rally with between one and two hundred thousand demonstrators. From D.C., Joshua reports,

“The rally was great–Jesse Jackson spoke, Susan Sarandon the actress, and a great speech by the former attorney general Ramsey Clark. But the best thing was how many people were there and the diversity of the group! CNN said 200,000 were there at one point–the largest anti war demo since the Vietnam war! And the group was all ages, all colors, all classes, all religions, all sorts of liberal to radical ideologies. A group of pro-war types and a rally of about 20 (!) people nearby! oy! So the rally started out marching in this big three mile square of streets around the whitehouse.
As we began (we were at the front) the cops sort of melted back. We got all the way around to our start after an hour and there was still blocks and blocks of people who hadn’t even begun yet! The head met the tail of the demo and as we did we slowed up to watch them pass and a huge cheer went rumbling back through the whole crowd. It was so energizing to see so many people out!”

10/27/2002

Poisen Gas

  5:58 pm

Now tell me why a terrorist would tell their captives who they plan on executing to duck behind the chairs when the Russian army stormed the building? I thought they had plans to kill everybody should the shooting start. Now try to fit that in your catagories.

10/24/2002

Unknowingness

  5:07 am

The power of fanatical action often comes from devotion to fundamental beliefs. Those who say “I’m not sure” are often scratching their heads while others go on to convert the multitudes, and in the excitement of converting others their own hidden doubts are further assuaged.

Recently that fanatical certainty has again begun to express itself as international violence. “Holy” warriors crashing airplanes into skyscrapers, Bush declaring an ongoing war of good vs. evil according to his own subjective interpretation, and now snipers, exploding malls and discos and buses and people and on and on. We could also add to the list of fundamentalist beliefs the expectation of a profitable return on capital investment which is often invoked to justify withholding life saving supplies such aids medicines from impoverished peoples. A common and now all to acceptable feature of self-righteous certainty is the expendability of others.

It’s easy enough to have an understanding that these fundamental beliefs when tied up with violence are way off the mark, something is very dangerous and wrong, and to feel certain about that. That’s the certainty of criticism, which is realistically about all the critics of the current order have, an expanding list of criticisms. Bush did this, the corporations did that, conspiracies here there and everywhere. That is a start at least, and pehaps if there was more consistency in defining what we believe to be wrong and why, the implied “right” would eventually emerge. Or perhaps we have deconstructed our beliefs and identities to the point that notions of “right” themselves are suspect. We don’t want to have another concept to “defend” against the other concepts. But we do want peace, we want a sustainable environment, we want freedom, we want the people of the world to be fed, we want safety, justice, security, and of course, a prosperity!

So I would like in the spirit of allowing uncertainty to propose a new method, with less emphasis on preaching the next “ism” and a greater focus on subjectively observing the ongoing collective experience of humanity. Once certainty is achieved perception is no longer needed, and in fact it must be supressed as it may upset the preordained conclusions. What if we forgoe having an answer in the spirit of probing the breadth and depth of our human crisis. Yes, perhaps you know what I am referring to, some wiser souls than I have already referred to this new phenomena. They call it “I witness".

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