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11/28/2002

Thank you

      12:40 pm

    In the midst of the perpetual freak out state humanity is enjoying, we can all benefit by taking a moment to be grateful for all the great gifts and accomplishments of our ancestors, of which we still reap the benefits today. It’s no small job to raise a kid or a civilization, to create buildings and roads or grow all the food. So much effort has gone into the creation of this world. In every direction you look you will see the results of this human presence and dramatic change.

    And we should celebrate once in a while before we descend into our never ending complaining. I’ve heard the population is over 5 billion - or is it 6 now? Well whose counting anyway? Anything over about one or two thousand doesn’t really register anyway. The point is this, we won, not the elephants, the tigers, or the lions, nor the locusts, the beavers, or the spotted eagle.

    WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIEND!! WE’LL KEEP ON FIGHTING TO THE END!!! NO TIME FOR LOSERS FOR WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS…OF THE WORLD!!!! Queen

    Back on track here, each human being is an amazing accomplishment, a marvel of nature. Now we can really say, we did it, yes we did, and celebrate!!! God said be fruitful and multiply, and by God we did it! Happy thanksgiving to one and all, near and far, rich and poor, kind and cruel, depressed and happy, included or excluded, democrat or republican, those who agree with my point of view, and everybody else besides me, but most importantly, the children. We shouldn’t forget to be grateful for them, for they are the future. Isn’t that true? Oh yes, and the farmers, especially the organic farmers, you know, the ones who are grown in organic soil that hasn’t had pesticides used on it for 7 years.

    11/21/2002

    No Jokes about God

        2:12 pm

      Over 50 people reported killed in anti Miss World pageant riots in Nigeria
      From Associates Press

      The protests were triggered by a newspaper article suggesting Islam’s founding prophet might have chosen a wife from among contestants in the Miss World beauty pageant in Nigeria.

      Hoping not to offend anyone (for obvious reasons)… I would humbly and with all due respect like to offer an opinion. Since God is after all the greatest, why can’t we let God defend himself? Who are we to enforce moral righteousness when God himself might be better suited to that job? And what’s so bad about peace, love and understanding?

      Warning!

          1:58 pm

        The arrogance of science knows no bounds. We can’t even manage to get along with our neighbors and now we imagine we can solve our problems by inventing new life forms.

        From Yahoo:

        The goal, said Venter, is to build a bacterium that is capable of making hydrogen that could be used for fuel, or to develop a microbe that could absorb and store carbon dioxide, thus removing a surplus of that greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.

        This is madness. How small an error in judgement could upset the entire environmental balance and that would be the end of our participation in this planetary experiment. What if the little CO2 eating microbes these madmen are proposing are a little too successful? What if there isn’t enough CO2 left for the crops? WHOOPS!! Until we get a little better at planning for the future we should try to learn from the past. Anyone remember Kurt Vonnegat’s “Cats Cradle"? Just as relevant today as it ever was!

        11/18/2002

        Identity Crisis

            8:08 am

          Here’s a bombshell in a nutshell.
          1) All communicable identity is based on relationship(s)
          2) All relationships change, and therefore this type of identity is unstable
          3) We are identified with our identity, which means we try to defend these relationships to maintain a sense of self.
          4) Because we are using external relationships as props to define and maintain identity, and because the same props are often shared by lots of different people, conflicts arise around these props.
          5) This is the foundation of the fundamental concepts “us” and “them", as groupings arise from shared identity props, such as nations around land or religious movements around certain ideas and practices.
          6) The “us” and “them” construction is the foundation of war.
          7) The alternative identity is incomprehensible and unspeakable and is common to all existence. This commonality is the source of love and compassion.
          8) Most people only allow themselves to experience this commonality of identity very rarely and with those who they also share common identity props.
          9) Rhetoric such as this piece will not solve anything. Direct observation however is helpful as new impressions will contradict and undo historic conceptualized notions of identity, loosening up the identification with the transitional “I” and “us".
          10) The witness program is perfect! Take a look around!

          11/13/2002

          What does the military do to a human being?

              9:24 pm

            The D.C. Sniper as well as the Arizona Student who shot a few professors were both in the Gulf War. When someone becomes a killer, it is a traumatic experience for them. I briefly met someone last winter returning from a short term of duty in Afganistan. He was very young and looked very troubled. He did not say in the few brief minutes of our meeting whether he had killed anyone or not, but he did say “I feel like I’ve been f…ed in the head for life". I know a lot of the attacks carried out over there turned out to be upon “friendly targets” who were sometimes intentionally misreported as “enemies” to the U.S. military by competing factions. That would be very strange, to have to face a whoops of that magnitude, to have to live with that.

            All ethics go out the window in war. Now we’re in the planning stages. Where are those ethics now? A nation run by so called Christians, planning not to turn the other cheek but to turn loose hell on earth. And for what? What principle is being defended in a pre-emptive strike?
            Murder in some religions is called a cardinal sin, isn’t that right? The military takes a man and by converting him into a killer condemns him, according to the some not uncommon religious beliefs, to a pretty serious downfall, not their physical death, but the destruction of their ethics.
            Is there any truth in this? Perhaps we cannot know, yet still it is an important question to consider, not just the more common tactical question being asked which is, can we get away with it?

            11/12/2002

            About the goal of a more equitable distribution of wealth.

                12:58 pm

              Boil it down

              First off, economic equality with individual ownership is impossible, much in the same sense that “seperate but equal” was ultimately declared invalid. So why should a primary goal be founded on an unachievable premise? Or is it possible that humanity will someday be ready to abandon individual ownership?

              There are other implied goals inside opening statement. One goal is ending starvation:
              1) Some folks feast while others have famine. In some cases a nation undergoing famine will be simultaneously exporting food to more affluent nations. Many nations facing impoverished conditions grow non-edible cash crops. This is because written down on paper and in databases across the world there are a collection of symbols indicating that there is an imbalance on the accounting sheet that needs correcting, that is there is a loan to be serviced, this is the priority.

              2) Inequality is seen as the cause of starvation. The first goal is to eliminate starvation, the chosen method, the next goal, is to reduce inequality.

              This simplistic attempt to describe how things work is going to take all day. So many theories can be made up to explain the same conditions.

              The two solutions:

              Enforced equality: communism’s early incarnations. Didn’t really work out. Power inequalities and top down authoritarian structures caused structural problems, bad judgement often went unchecked. Costly military conflict with capitalist nations ruined the economy, allowed police state politics, distrust, power hungry leaders to gain control. Impatient and overambitious. State didn’t wither away! Pride arrogance obiedience cruelty all remained intact. Despite serious shortcomings though, some impressive achievements were made. How can you summarize? American history’s summary of communism is: it didn’t work. A sad and incomplete under-representation.

              Safety net: welfare state. Establish a minimum standard of food, medical, education, water, shelter, what else? Why not?

              Conclusion:

              1)Starvation exists because feeding everyone is not a priority.
              2)Starvation is an example of collective violence and hatred. (You might as well call it “terrorism” since everyone loves to use that word for whatever and whoever they don’t like these days).
              3)We can do better

              11/10/2002

              NOT IN OUR NAME statement

                  7:03 am

                For the complete text of the not in our name statement. See http://www.nion.us

                “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

                A STATEMENT OF CONSCIENCE

                NOT IN OUR NAME

                Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their
                government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of
                repression.

                The signers of this statement call on the people of the U.S. to resist the
                policies and overall political direction that have emerged since September
                11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world.

                We believe that peoples and nations have the right to determine their own
                destiny, free from military coercion by great powers. We believe that all
                persons detained or prosecuted by the United States government should have
                the same rights of due process. We believe that questioning, criticism, and
                dissent must be valued and protected. We understand that such rights and values are always contested and must be fought for….

                see the rest at the link below
                http://www.nion.us

                11/9/2002

                Let’s see if the networks pick this one up

                    6:22 am

                  From BBC:

                  Hundreds of thousands of protesters from across Europe have joined a rally in the Italian city of Florence to voice their opposition to any war with Iraq


                  Yahoo now headlining the reuters report of 450,000 demonstrators: Yahoo

                  If the size and scope of this keeps up we may see how the war administration reacts, probably something like, “how wonderful that we have freedom in the west, demonstrations like these in Iraq would be impossible! Thanks for expressing yourself and now excuse us we have a war to fight”

                  11/8/2002

                  Attack of the Drones: U.S. victim

                      9:46 am

                    Start with a detail and the whole picture emerges: latest CNN story.

                    Officials said the CIA did not know that the American, Ahmed Hijazi, was in the vehicle before it launched the “Predator” unmanned aircraft.

                    This report confirms that the CIA is acting using the same methodology as Israel does against key terrorist suspects. That is, whoever happens to be with them is essentially guilty and dead meat. The CNN article goes on to quote the nameless official as saying “it doesn’t change anything… if you’re an American citizen, it doesn’t mean you get a free pass to be a terrorist.” Perhaps they can confirm post mortum that the killed American was on their list of suspects, or perhaps the meaning is that if you happen to be with a suspected terrorist, you will be targeted as a terrorist. Does anyone remember the McCarthy era expression, “fellow travellers"?

                    Why would the United States, which for so many years has maintained costly jury trials and the principle of innocent until proven guilty, abandon it’s publically held policy against political assasinations and start a series of drone attacks without even knowing who all the victims will be?

                    Well the obvious and practical answer is, it isn’t easy to find these targets and one shot may be all they can get, they took the shot, got a terrorist, and really, even if there were 5 completely innocent riders in the car it would be a good deal compared to the thousands of innocent Afgans that lost their lives in the Bin Laden hunt or the tens or hundreds of thousands who will lose their lives in the upcoming hunt for Sadam. But there is yet another context to consider.

                    What will happen to the United States and in turn the world economy if more terrorist attacks occur? If the stock market is any indicator I’d estimate the U.S. economy took at least a sustained 15% hit with the loss of the twin towers, 3 airplanes, and around 3000 civilians. Those losses though incredible in terms of human suffering and shock are rather small in economic scale, no where near 15% of the United States economy.

                    But the financial system has many foundations, and one of them is confidence. In one sense money has value only because we as a group believe it has value. Yet before Sept. 11, that belief was already going through dramatic fluctuations. The roller coaster markets clearly reflect tremendous instability in the collective perception of value.

                    Unfortunately it can and might get much worse. The average American has a rather large credit card dept. As long as most of them keep working and getting paid at a certain level we expect the debt can ultimately be paid, or at least the interest will continue to be paid. At a certain low point in the shifting economic evaluation drama, it is possible that a new economic projection will begin to emerge - debt implosion. Behind the very tough militaristic facade there lies this everpresent insecurity.

                    In the event of another terrorist attack or even perhaps as continued economic fallout from the first attack, we may face a situation where the economy begins to implode much like the towers themselves did, with one floor crashing upon the next, that is, one projection of bankruptcy and debt failure leading to the next, until all loans and the value of capital itself become meaningless. Akin to the crash of ‘29, this can happen rapidly and catastrophically, and there are no contigency plans.

                    Despite the high popularity of the President and the Republican party, the mistrust in government is much higher than it was in the sixties, when many honestly did not believe that Richard Nixon could possibly lie to them. After Vietnam, Watergate, Lewinskygate(?), the last bizarre Presidential contest, the reservior of trust is very thin. If tragedy comes, as many in the military are constantly predicting, there is very little to prevent widescale panic, especially around money. People will gladly help each other out, rush into burning buildings, etc. But if the President asks people to keep their money in the market for the sake of America, most will not do it. Those who obey will lose and then later get out, adding to the avalance.

                    I have not yet begun to speculate as to what will emerge out of the chaos, but certainly there in no guarantee it will be peaceful or benevolent.

                    This system wide failure is unneccesary and undesireable. However unfair and unjust the current economic order is, an uncontrolled collapse would be extremely destructive and could allow for even less equitable and far less productive economic models to emerge. Ironically, the policies of the Bush administration, despite what appears to be an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks, are unfortunately provoking them. Even for the simple and selfish motive of self-preservation an attitude of compassion needs to be displayed quickly, abundantly and very publically. The impression the United States is making on the Islamic world is particularly destabilizing.

                    11/6/2002

                    The blank check for war just got blanker

                        12:20 pm

                      What can stop the war now? This third of the electorate election is going to be seen as a mandate, and the big tank carrying warships are already moving out from the docks. Remember that popularity does not confirm worthiness, unfortunately. Even Adolf Hitler was tremendously popular at one time, but eventually he brought destruction to his nation, after inflicting terrible calamity on the surrounding nations and the jewish people. He brought war to the world. It was hell. And tremendous crowds cheered him on.

                      One possibility is that the United States will fight a devastating war against Iraq and emerge without terrible losses, much like it did in the Gulf war not so long ago. The U.S. military superiority is overwhelming after all. But even in that quick war, so many vets later developed gulf war syndrome, and now we find out that the maniac sniper from the DC area was a sniper in the gulf war, as was the disturbed student in Arizona who shot a few professors. Furthermore, the terrorists who finally took down the twin towers may have hardened their political hatred of the United States as a result of that war. The point is that the long term results of violence are difficult to predict and account for in the ongoing cost/benefit calculations going on in the minds of military planners. Perhaps this type of cause and effect projection should ultimately be abandoned, as it is bound to miss a more fundamental point. Violence is wrong because it is, not just because of the terrible side effects. But for those who seem oblivious to the ethical implications of killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians in order to remove their disobiendient dictator, or to eliminate a man who might decide to attack the United States someday, this exploration of possible scenarious, even of best case (from their perpective) outcomes can bring a rude and uncomfortable awakening. Once you let loose the dogs of war, who will build a kennel big enough to reign them in?

                      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?

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