Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I Quasi-Hate Anarchists

Well, a tragedy has occured. That great vassal for open political and social dialogue called Understanding Politics has been taken out by hackers. Damn them. Civil disobedience is one thing, but striking out at a forum that provides a conduit for open and honest discussion is downright stupid and represents a complete mis-application of resources.

Self proclaimed "Anarchists" are even more ignorant than the blind "moral elite" which feed oppression and perpetuate dogma. "The System" is necessary for all human life, including the anarchist's. Ideological tendencies which seek to undermine "The System" in chaotic ways are latently suicidal.

If you get your kicks from destroying "systems" of free and open dialogue, then you should place a gun to your own head and promptly pull the trigger. This will MAXIMIZE your addictive fix for "suicidal" destruction.

This rant has been brought to you by:

ENTROPY! Wears the World Away!

and by:

The Carbon-Based Corporation for Bodily Genetic Regeneration

and by:

Homogenous Minds Like Yours!

Monday, December 20, 2004


On my other blog, synthetic_universe, I've been compiling information describing the function of psycho active plant consumption on the evolution of human civilization. This is an idea that fascinates me because it involves many of my favorite themes: anthropology, history, and consciousness... i.e. the human condition. In my readings this past semester I found many examples of shamanic practices lying at the root of many of our cultural systems. An example is the pagan history of "Christmas" before it merged with the Christian celebration of Christ's birth. As it happened, this past week my wife returned from a visit with her extended family in San Antonio and brought back some trinkets of her Grandmother's German past. These were three German incense smokers shaped like little villagers smoking pipes. They looked a little like this:

I told her that one of them symbolised a "shaman", and to top it all off, later at a local book store I found this book:

I guess the point of this is that our cultural traditions in some ways extend backwards in history for several centuries, if not millenia. This is probably something eveyone knows, but how often do we actually consider what this means?

So, it's Christmas again, and I'm feeling conflicted. On the one hand, I love to see family and give gifts, but on the other hand, I hate the "BUY BUY BUY!" from the commercial sector which bombards my mind on a daily basis. I heard an economist suggesting that stock holders should "do their part" to assist the struggling economy this Christmas.

So, since when did Christmas become Chri$tma$?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Freakin' Amazing

Published on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 by Reuters
New York Art Shuttered After Bush Monkey Portrait
by Larry Fine

NEW YORK - A portrait of President Bush using monkeys to form his image led to the closure of a New York art exhibition over the weekend and anguished protests on Monday over freedom of expression.


"We had tons of people, like more than 2,000 people show up for the opening on Thursday night," said show organizer Bucky Turco. "Then this manager saw the piece and the guy just kind of flipped out. 'The show is over. Get this work down or I'm gonna arrest you,' he said. It's been kind of wild."


"This is much deeper than art. This is fundamental American rights, freedom of speech," Savido said. "To see that something like this can happen, especially in a place like New York City is mind boggling and scary."

So, what's the big deal? I think the picture is brilliant. The human creative spirit never ceases to amaze me.

Art is entirely subjective. If art is offensive, it's because the offended have interpreted art in an offensive manner. The choice that defines meaning is up to you.

To be offended, or not to be offended. That is the question.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Destructive Ideologies

On Receiving Harvard Medical School's Global Environment Citizen Award
by Bill Moyers

A 2002 TIME/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations or in the motel turn some of the 250 Christian TV stations and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same god who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"

Because these people believe that until Christ does return, the lord will provide. One of their texts is a high school history book, America's providential history. You'll find there these words: "the secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie…that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece.' however, "[t]he Christian knows that the potential in god is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in god's earth……while many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that god has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people." No wonder Karl Rove goes around the White House whistling that militant hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers." He turned out millions of the foot soldiers on November 2, including many who have made the apocalypse a powerful driving force in modern American politics.

I read that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment. This for an administration that wants to rewrite the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act protecting rare plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act that requires the government to judge beforehand if actions might damage natural resources.

That wants to relax pollution limits for ozone; eliminate vehicle tailpipe inspections; and ease pollution standards for cars, sports utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment.

That wants a new international audit law to allow corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public.

That wants to drop all its new-source review suits against polluting coal-fired power plans and weaken consent decrees reached earlier with coal companies.

That wants to open the artic wildlife refuge to drilling and increase drilling in Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and the last great coastal wild land in America.

I read the news just this week and learned how the Environmental Protection Agency had planned to spend nine million dollars - $2 million of it from the administration's friends at the American Chemistry Council - to pay poor families to continue to use pesticides in their homes. These pesticides have been linked to neurological damage in children, but instead of ordering an end to their use, the government and the industry were going to offer the families $970 each, as well as a camcorder and children's clothing, to serve as guinea pigs for the study.

I read all this in the news.

I read the news just last night and learned that the administration's friends at the international policy network, which is supported by ExxonMobil and others of like mind, have issued a new report that climate change is 'a myth, sea levels are not rising, scientists who believe catastrophe is possible are 'an embarrassment.

I not only read the news but the fine print of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress, with the obscure (and obscene) riders attached to it: a clause removing all endangered species protections from pesticides; language prohibiting judicial review for a forest in Oregon; a waiver of environmental review for grazing permits on public lands; a rider pressed by developers to weaken protection for crucial habitats in California.

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer - pictures of my grandchildren: Henry, age 12; of Thomas, age 10; of Nancy, 7; Jassie, 3; Sara Jane, nine months. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, 'Father, forgive us, for we know now what we do.' And then I am stopped short by the thought: 'That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world.'

And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice?

What has happened to out moral imagination?


The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called 'hocma' - the science of the heart…..the capacity to see….to feel….and then to act…as if the future depended on you.


Friday, December 03, 2004

Life on Mars?

Microbes on Mars pose risk to Earth
By Paul Sims, Evening Standard
Earth's defences may need to be boosted against the risk of potentially deadly microbes returning on board space probes sent to study Mars, according to leading scientists.

The warning follows a detailed scientific analysis of data sent back by the roving vehicle Opportunity, which landed on the Martian surface on 25 January this year.

Okay, so life on Mars would be BIG news, right?

I can understand why scientists would hesitate to announce finally that life exists there. It would be one of the biggest news stories ever. They're just waiting untill all the evidence is in so they can confirm conclusively that something is currently alive in Mars.

So, is this "warning" a hint of things to come?

Is there really life on Mars?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Life imitates Art

The U.S. spends over $400 billion every year in the military industrial complex, which is more than every other nation COMBINED.

Why are we making so many tools of war?

Why are we starting wars we don't need to fight?

Well, if you like war, then here's some GOOD NEWS!

More Robot Grunts Ready for Duty

That's right! Fully automated killing machines!


BTW, anybody see the "Terminator" movie series?

how about the "Matrix" trilogy?

Fiction? Not anymore.

As our "brilliant" government officials continue to roll out the red carpet for souless killing machines, we humans still haven't come to grips with WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN. Artificial Intelligence is in it's "insect" stage now, but in a century (or much less), A.I. will challenge the definitions for what it means to be "human".

I am reminded of an article I read in Scientific American magazine. The author was considering a computer program which answers questions by inventing and seeking questions related to the final answer. It was, in effect, a rough "thinking" machine. To make a long story short, the computer programmer asked it a kind of "ontological" question, and the computer responded by asking "Am I Human?"

So, for the sake of PROTECTING THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE, and with great sarcasm, I suggest that we Americans CONTINUE to manufacture the weapons of genocide, be they nuclear weapons, nanotech bacteria, radiological material, autmoated killing machines, and, perhaps the most important of all, THE EXCUSES FOR WAR!

May God bless us as we destroy ourselves!

I say we raise taxes and give the military ANOTHER $400 billion. There, now am I patriotic?