The Brothers Karamazov

"Actually, people sometimes talk about man's 'bestial' cruelty, but that is being terribly unjust and offensive to the beasts..."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tribute to a Gutsy Guy: Julian Assange

{Re-posted as a reminder the Web is hosted by Corporate Spiders eager to not displease bureaucrats, politicos or the military. The illusion of freedom and privacy is chimerical. A fatwa has been issued on the head of Julian Assange, dead or alive.}
Guardian photo
Internet Shut Down as Egypt Braces for Huge Protests

Search Warrants Executed in the United States as Part of Ongoing Cyber Investigation
The Internet / The SoapBox
We communicate via the web at the sufferance of the system. When we are no threat, perceived or actual, we are allowed to continue our harmless pursuit. The instant this usage is perceived as a threat to the elite; it ends. So keep on blogging; keep on ranting and raving, keep uttering anything that comes to mind, you are harmless by definition.

The much touted use of the net as a force majestueuse in the recent Presidential contest was pure chimera. If it really threatened to be anywhere near decisive, it would have ceased to be. Make no mistake, a culture that can fight 2 1/2 wars without provocation and with borrowed money, can pull the plug on all we hold sacred in a thrice if sufficiently challenged.

Societies love to be admired as generous and tolerant if the cost is small. The web today is no more than a soapbox was in Hyde Park, or Washington Square in the past. A leather lunged orator could bray to the crowd or to the wind as long as able but only as allowed by elites. Stray for an instant from the permissible and a minion of the law would call you down. And perhaps kick apart the soapbox for good measure. See Google v. China for splintered soapboxes.

So what is different today? Have people become nicer, friendlier, less murderous with the advent of the web? Not noticeably so, maybe a little worse. What is the corpse count by violent death in the couple of decades since Al G. or somebody set all those internet electrons in motion?

If you seek independence anywhere in web-land remember the Web is all Corporate and Corporate is all Government; ad nauseam. Wikipedia

Posted by Robert Magill at 11:25 AM

Monday, November 15, 2010

The View From Inside Juggernaut/ or

Watching Passively as Americanism Crushes the Infidel.

It matters scarcely a whit how one views our America these days, as we are now mere ballast inside a beast; the War Forever juggernaut. Each of us a solitary cell connected to other bits of the larger organism. If our particular cell has an eye...still, we cannot see clearly. A brain...we cannot think clearly. A heart...well, you know. Our dim view of reality is limited to opaqueness in the walls of the beast. Only if our little cell is attached to where the ego grows fat do we still, in roaring hubris, pretend to be of consequence..

Rest assured, it is pretense. Michael Vlahos of the United States Naval War College estimates the total defense community now approaches 30 million. If you are not part of the warrior class, its constituents and minions, riding on the juggernaut, nothing you say or do really counts for much. You ride inside as ballast to weight the beast and add to its power to trample. If you are part of that warrior class, but you have not "seen the elephant" as the boys said during the civil war (been in recent combat, that is) you have little voice and don't get to steer. Since Richard Nixon signed away Selective Service in favor of a standing army and thus quelling the Viet Nam war resistance movement, power and treasure has flowed nonstop to the military.

Now it is almost total. If the treasury has one dollar left or enough ink to print one, it is spoken for: to buy things that go boom. Not for food, nor clothing, not for shelter...only to defend the homeland against...whatever, whomever, wherever. Somebody will think of something that threatens us. They're good at that. The rest of us, the "shoppers", as we are dismissed in military circles, are out of the loop. Others know what is best for us. Recent executive power has been broadened to include the option of killing anyone who could be a threat to the implementation of this power... anyone. They will decide who is the threat.

Alas, our pious Americanism has bound us to the canon so completely we are unable to save ourselves from a War Forever machine which now qualifies as a dictatorship. There is no escape. The possibility of our defection through expatriation has been nullified with a pen stoke. The entire world is seen by the powers as potentially hostile and your presence anywhere abroad could be construed as hostile to the machine. A machine that always craves kinetic release frowns on any deviation from the credo. You are with us or, de facto, against us: ergo; enemy.

{juggernaut is a term used in the English language to describe a literal or metaphorical force regarded as unstoppable. It is often applied to a large machine or collectively to a team or group of people working together, or a growing political movement led by a charismatic leader, and often bears association with crushing or being physically destructive.}

Friday, September 10, 2010

Memories of Ole' King Koal

Trenton Chamber of Commerce Photo

Prior to and during WW II in Trenton, NJ, where I grew up, (State capitol, 100-150 thousand people), everybody burned coal. Once a month or thereabouts, the truck would pull up, and down a chute tumble several tons of black, shiny, anthracite coal. It even had a brand name, "Blue Coal", and sponsored a favorite radio drama,"The Shadow", (The weed of crime bears bitter fruit, the Shadow knows, heh, heh, heh).

Houses, factories, railroads, the local utility Public Service GAS & Electric, (accent on the gas part, a by- product of coal burning), before the Big Inch pipeline connected the northeast to the Texas natural gas fields and took the business away, they all burned coal. Some hard coal, some soft coal but lots and lots of it.

Now, it's true that on certain days in the winter, when conditions were just right, a stinky pall settled over the area. Like the smog in L. A., perhaps. What didn't add to the mix was any great amount of auto exhaust. No cars to speak of then. Depression on, remember? And later, wartime restrictions on passenger cars.

In my working class street, all of the men were employed at blue collar or white collar jobs. All, with the exception of my family and one or two others, did so without cars. People; women, kids and working men, walked, or rode the bus! Every day, for every purpose.

TRENTON MAKES, THE WORLD TAKES; reads the sign on the bridge over the Delaware river, leading to neighboring Pennsylvania. The sign is still there they tell me, but the world no longer takes since Trenton no longer makes. The jobs have vanished. Nada, all gone. EXCEPT, government jobs. State capital, remember?

All the decent paying work in factories, foundries, needle trades, or the railroad no longer exist. You work for the government, go on the dole, or eke out a two job existence.. Not much else remains that would support a family of working class people.

How did this terrible thing happen, we all ask?


At the end of WW ll, Washington was in a panic. The boys were coming home. What'll we do with them? There's no work except war work, and the girls, and the others are doing that. Oh my! Depression again. Can't have that.

Got it. Send the boys to school, anyway the ones who can read and write and... get the gals back in the kitchen. But how? They've all gotten so...independent these days. Put them in brand new houses at next to nothing down. Even less for vets. But where? Suburbs of course, nothing out there but corn fields. Get them to leave the city and drive back and forth to work and then, of course! ...sell them new cars! Eureka! But people love the city, grew up there, friends and families are there, how will we do that? They don't want to leave.

No problem. Scare 'em out! Tell them during the war while you were away fighting for the country, they moved in and took all the jobs and you know what that means.
No, ...what?

Your sister!

Okay, I'm ready to go. But how do I get back to my job in the city? The roads out there are all tiny country lanes and are jammed up all the time.

No problem! Since the commies are going to bomb us any day now we have planned smooth and wide super roads all over the place to move our strictly defensive guided missile launchers from place to place quickly. You can use these great new highways, free!.

Best of all, your new house on its own private grass patch will be state of the builders' art. Latest in all the new kitchen appliances and best, best of all, your furnace will run on natural gas or will burn oil. No more shoveling that messy coal and putting the ashes out on the curb. Welcome to the bold new world of Levittown! And in no time we'll move your job into another corn field so you won't have to go to the city at all.

And it worked. For awhile. While we, the USA, still had all the money and made and sold all our good stuff to the rest of the world. If you weren't able to buy our stuff and you were among the losers of WW II, well we'll give you the money to rebuild, then you could buy all our stuff. However, if you were our friend during the war but you were godless and didn't play our game, well, tough, nothing for you.

And it worked. For awhile. But then our new friends learned how we made our stuff and they made it cheaper, and often better. Well, that won't do. Too many cheap towels and sweaters on the market from our old enemies, oops new friends, okay close up the knitting mills in the old industrial North and ship the work down to the New South. Cheaper land, big tax dodges, lower wages. Great, that's done.

And it worked. For awhile. But soon the folks in Dixie wanted more. Fuggettaboutit! Lots of peons looking for jobs. Let's move further south.

And it worked. For awhile. They, those ingrates, wanted more. Let's move West, really far west. The good commies are really our friends now and they work for rice and noodles. Let's go West to the Far East!

And it worked. For awhile. Now, bigger ingrates, and they want it all! Instead of doing what we do and buying everything in sight, they save their money! Isn't that cheating?

In the beginning everything was peachy. They made stuff and made it cheaply and pretty good, too. The ships sped across the seas on tons of really cheap oil, and all was well. But things started to change a bit. Running all those big ships made sense when fuel was a giveaway but it got more expensive. Much more.
And people at home were going in hock to pay for all the new stuff because they hadn't saved enough to pay for it.

No problem! In the new world they won't need money. That's old style. All they need is lots of cheap credit and a computer to shop in the virtual world we have created for them. But ...that will require plenty of smart people who work cheap to take orders for the stuff, and we don't have enough. No problem. People in India speak English, sort of, work for a pittance so they get the job. And diction lessons as well.

And it worked. For awhile. In no time all, this coming and going became just going. A one way street of money...ours. So what! Our credit is AAA, well...AA anyway. What's the big fuss? We're good customers. So charge it! I'll have another hamburger and I will pay you Tuesday! Oops that's not right. That's what Wimpy said in the comic strip. Not what our Masters of the Universe would ever say. But maybe that's how it sounded to those too-clever-by-far commies, 'er, our good trading partners. Just because they saved their money, (the chumps), they are beginning to make noises saying we are not paying them enough interest on the money they lend us to buy all their stuff because our wonderful, spotless currency has gotten a tad faded. Hey, it was our money to begin with. And so what? More hamburgers please, I will pay you Tuesday...maybe.

Now, talk about gall, they say they will give us more money but in exchange they want our holy institutions, the very icons that separate us from the rest of the worlds' unwashed, our glorious cathedrals of commerce and culture, our banks. What insolence! What's with those people?

Okay spoil-sports, you can have the banks. They're empty. Ha Ha!

Now with the oil looking to become more expensive than say...water, everybody's getting worried. What to do? Can't burn coal. Too messy. Ah, we'll build more nukes! What... don't you remember Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, all that waste we can't take care of, half-lives out to forever?

Not to worry. Mankind is very clever and somebody will think of something. When the first nuclear plant was going up in India, they didn't even have a crane to hoist the containment vessel up into place. Well, they built a great big bamboo scaffolding and a bunch of guys with ropes dragged it up. See!
Somebody always thinks of something.

Remember, we don't need no stinking coal to boil our water when we got ...nucular!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Peace! Bah. There's no money in it." ...Uncle Sam

"My job doesn't make me a war monger, does it?"... Joe Everybody

The stacatto series of Money Panics of the nineteen thirties AKA, the Great Depression, which sounds a bit classier than Panic! Panic! Panic!, ended December 7, 1941 by Japanese airmen shouting Tora!Tora!Tora!, and, presto, War began decades of prosperity for us all.

We have done other things in the ensuing decades to make money, but we always fall back on old reliable Casus Belli . Make some money. Have a war. Make some more. Have another war. It's what we do because it works.

We sold some cars; used to sell a lot more until those other former war-mongers oops, Japan and Germany got into the act and ruined it. We made lots of airplanes, mostly war planes of course. Plus big machines and little machines of all kinds. Well, we actually gave that up years ago. Sent that work to the farm team, AKA the rest of the world, to manufacture, along with the needle trade, electronics, computers, wow! damn near everything when you think about it.

Not the ordnance, oh no, we still make most all of the stuff that goes boom. Let the farm-team buy that stuff from us, thank you very much. That's about all we have to sell these days, anyway.

There is one problem, however. All our war stuff and the boom-boom action that accompanies it, costs money. Runs at a loss. So we finally have had an old fashioned Money Panic! lately. Don't anybody call it that, though. Call it recession (will that be one dip or two, like ice cream) or retrenchment, 'depression lite', anything but Money Panic! But then, why-oh-why won't the banks lend out money anymore? Oh, so that's what happens when bankers hit the Panic button.

Yeah,yeah, but it's the fat-cats who are the war profiteers, not us. Well, the billionaires are not on the production line turning out fighters jets, or grenades or drone consoles, etc, etc. Somebody else is making a buck from the war machine, no es verdad? "Hey Man, only doing my job, man.", a million voices ring out, kinda miffed.

Our culture is as homely and normal seeming as apple pie and mother's milk to us, yet the US is the biggest war profiteer since the old Romans and we don't even realize it anymore. Just something we do (have always done?), in the lifetime of most of us, Yes. The sheer genius of the whole deal is ...we do it now with borrowed money. How's that for hubris! And delusion.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How the Anti-war Community Came to Love War/ or

Finesse those mothers!
2010 Master Plan

The earnest but essentially futile effort by the anti-war community over decades, even centuries, suggest a new approach is in order. Nothing is working. By using spoil-sport methods and banding about the dread Peace word, the message has fallen on deaf ears. What has been consistently overlooked is the propensity for young men to be so convinced of personal immortality they cannot hear anything to the contrary.
This elementary fact of life has enabled every army in history to exist.

I blame it all on agriculture. The women started it. For going on 12,000 years the chronically under-employed hunter class has been festering. Looking for something or someone to stalk. Ah, the thrill of the chase! Hard to give up.

So to accomplish its purpose the peace movement must begin to glorify war; the uniforms, the comradery and feats of daring-do. We must speak constantly of the nobility of armed effort in behalf of ones country and family, ones friends and loved ones; we all know the language. But this talk must not come from the usual suspects. It must be noised about enthusiastically, nay zealously, by the anti-war community

This 180 turn will not go unnoticed by the old guard supporters of the status quo.Resentment will quickly follow astonishment as a rush to defend turf is sure to ensue. After all, who are the true believers here, and what are these usurpers up to anyway? When the cacophony builds and the jingoism crescendo reaches critical mass, and it will, the time will be ripe for the next step which is...

Yes! That's the key. The anti-war folks agree to go back to the old stance if...the establishment agrees to a tiny change in the Military Code. If they do this one thing, both sides return to the old position. Not such a big change, really, mostly tweeking a number, that's all. Will they agree?

Do this and we have detente.
Just change the minimum age for entry into any of the armed services to thirty-five...and reinstate the draft ! That's all. Then loose the dogs-of- war to your hearts content and the movement will shut up. That we promise, (mission accomplished).

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Ground Zero Flap has Historical Roots

To the Shores of Tripoli, et al, et al ( Revisited)

With amazing regularity we have begun each new century of our existence as a nation by warring with Muslims. At the start of the nineteenth century, the fledgling United States, still unable to pay the debts incurred during the Revolutionary War, equipped a small fleet, manned by marines, to do battle with Barbary Pirates operating from North Africa. This was our first overseas military venture but would, of course, not be the last. The results were inconclusive but served to impress old Europe that the new kid was a player and to show the flag around.

It took another couple of decades to rout these bandits from those waters where they had preyed on shipping for years. Routed they were but it cost us dearly. It was not until 1815 that our involvement ended; the due bill showed up in 1819 with our very first Money Panic. The banks stopped lending to pay off war debts, the Louisiana acquisition and to get the international bankers off our backs. Starting to sound familiar?

Of course throughout the nineteenth century we had lots of wars with all kinds of people but right on schedule, at the turn of the Twentieth Century, we're back fighting Muslims again. This time it was the Moros. For a scary film depicting, not very accurately, and with typical Hollywood slanting of the bad guys as 'others' and therefore, demonic, see "The Real Glory". Gary Cooper, David Niven and Broderick Crawford star.The Moros, who are Muslim and live in the southernmost islands of the Philippines, resisted the American occupation of their homeland. The U.S. Army tried out a new tactic of training native Filipinos to take over the burden of putting down the insurrection so the Army could withdraw. These surrogates, of course, were Christian and had little in common with the Moros. Does that sound familiar?

In the course of the film, the Moro leader Alipang is captured. In order to break his will and cause him to suffer for his effrontery, the Troopers forcibly wrap Alipang in the skin of a slaughtered pig. This is a grievous insult to a Muslim and perhaps anticipates Gitmo and Abu Ghraib behavior. Nearly 100 thousand men, women and children were slaughtered in the Moro fracas; which falls just short of war crime numbers.

In 1907 the due bill was presented. It was known as the Banker's Panic and its legacy is the dread Federal Reserve Bank. Thus began a new Century which featured wars with just about everybody on the planet. We all know the history of the late, lamented, 20th Century with a total of about a quarter billion casualties to its discredit.That speeds us to a new marker, Y2K, The Age of Aquarius, Century of Hope, the beginning of the great 21st Century.

Okay, we're at it again with the Muslims. Now its Af-Pak-Men-istan that has our attention. The scenario is the same. We send in the troops and then attempt to train surrogates to do the clean up work but always pick the least likely candidates for the job. And, oh yes, the due bill. Depression, called... Recovery!

Makes us all feel better, doesn't it?If we somehow manage to survive until 2100, which seems highly improbable these days, and someone will stake us the cost of another war, odds are it will be with Muslims. It's our heritage.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Professor Chomsky Tells All...

We Started it.

Did Noam Chomsky give away the game in a Al-AlamTV interview on June 22?

Noam Chomsky:" We must bear in mind that the US is a very fundamentalist society, perhaps more than any other society in the world - even more fundamentalist than Saudi Arabia or the Taliban. That's very surprising."

What's all this? Is he nuts?

Well, a quick trip to Wikipedia might provide the answer.
"Until 1950, there was no entry for fundamentalism in the Oxford English Dictionary[5]; the derivative fundamentalist was added only in its second 1989 edition." Wikipedia

We also learn these inventions, spawned early in the Twentieth Century by fledgling Divines and Dons, at Princeton Theological Seminary, were social nemesesa skirmishes whose time had come. The creators were ambitious and zealous: to defend orthodox Protestant Christianity against the perceived threat of Darwinism and liberal theology. Sound familiar?

Wikipedia again:"The term has since been generalized to mean strong adherence to any set of beliefs in the face of criticism or unpopularity, but has by and large retained religious connotations."


"Fundamentalism is commonly used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase "Muslim fundamentalists" and "right-wing/left-wing fundamentalists").[7][8] Richard Dawkins has used the term to characterize religious advocates as clinging to a stubborn, entrenched position that defies reasoned argument or contradictory evidence.[9] Others in turn, such as Christian theologian Alister McGrath, have used the term fundamentalism to characterize atheism as dogmatic."

Yeah, yeah, but those other guys are really evil. We are peace loving and kind. A visit to the infamous "20th Century Corpse Derby" at might dissuade this notion.

So then, if we invented it, do we own it?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Are the Brass Asleep at Slate/

While Mice Play Editor?
From Slate:
Your Tax Dollars at Work—in West Bank SettlementsWhy is the U.S. Treasury Department subsidizing zealots who oppose our foreign-policy objectives?
Christopher Hitchens
Jul 12, 2010

Hitchens, a regular columnist for Slate, in this lengthy article wrote:
..."The U.S. Treasury Department passively allows tax breaks to vicious and fanatical groups whose activity, if conducted by Israelis, would be illegal under Israeli law! (It's more than a decade since Israel banned tax deductions for groups that devote themselves to the creation of unrecognized "outposts" on the West Bank.) This, in effect, constitutes an official American subsidy to outlaw zealot groups whose aim is to destroy any chance of accomplishing what is this country's declared foreign-policy objective.
Nor is that the most objectionable part of the sordid story. Take a glance at the rhetoric of the groups that are flouting local and international law. According to a Tennessee-based charity named HaYovel, which aims to fuse the efforts of Christian and Jewish fundamentalists in a settlement on disputed land in Samaria, the aim of its tax-exempt donations is to prepare for "the soon coming jubilee in Yeshua, messiah." I don't know about you, but I would prefer them to be using their own money, not mine, if they insist on rehearsing for the apocalypse on other people's property. Or try a few lines from the Rev. Hagee's brimstone rhetoric, claiming that "Israel exists because of a covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob 3,500 years ago—and that covenant still stands."

This brought to mind the inclusion of Hitchens in an extremely nasty, posssibly dangerous website. What follows is a mind blogging sequence that should alert responsible factions at Slate that all is not well. I posted the following comment:

"Dr. Goebbels would be staggered by how faithfully his virulent racist propaganda is being used today. As hard as he tried to make Jews look subhuman by selecting photos of people with microcephalia and odd looking others, as examples of 'Jewish vermin'; he has been outdone.
Now the authors of Jewish S.H.I.T List, translation: Self-Hating/or Israel-Threatening, have alphabetized a thousand-named screed, complete with the least flattering, to put it mildly, ad hominem assaults imaginable, on their victims.

Christopher Hitchens is listed along with Susan Sontag, Noam Chomsky, Nat Hentoff; on and on. The most striking aspect of this entire project is the use of the ugliest photos available, coupled with the vilest descriptions these fanatics could muster to hurl, assuming tribal authorship, at their own people.

Go at your own risk to: "

The comment was duly posted and appeared at once. A few minutes later it disappeared! Posted again; there it was. Not for long though. Four times this happened.

"This post was pulled four times. Explanation please...Slate." , was my plea. To no avail, down it came again. Busy mice, those. Finally on the sixth and last attempt it stayed up and remains so, I trust, not having checked for several minutes.

If you don't care to wallow in the muck at ' masada 2000', who could blame you. At least glance at the what was done to Eric Hobsbawn, distinguished historian and author of " Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism ."

"Hobsbawm, Eric J. (Prof.) Take a look at that face. It's the face of a evil, twisted Self-Hating Israel-Threatening Jew

Professor Eric J. (forJudenrat ) Hobsbawm is ashamed to be Jewish. He should also be ashamed for screwing a married woman and producing a bastard son, Jason... who opted to live with the married woman! The luckiest thing his parents ever did was to die before he turned thirteen. Too bad they didn't die BEFORE they created this monster!"

"Judenrat", classic Goebbels! They have no shame or originality.

Addendum: The posted comment was taken off sometime this afternoon, July 19.
It was dutifully reposted. Maybe it's the brass who are the mice,hmm.
If so, Slate has come a long way down since Michael Kinsley's time.

Addendum: It's gone.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Theft plus Murder Plus Chauvinism = Nationhood

There must be exceptions but unless we delve deeply into the arcana of history; they escape. Certainly the West reeks of this. Alas, we are no exception. Like misbegotten gains in commerce or finance, if the loot survives unto another generation, it's clean. All is forgiven; perhaps vaguely remembered. Probably not.

With us the list is painfully long, and actually quite recent. Only historians and history buffs of a certain bent, the late sorely missed, Howard Zinn, and iconoclasts such as Gore Vidal, keep accurate score. Sure, everyone knows the Indians and certainly the Blacks were treated murderously; those are givens. How about the dead Frenchmen, anybody remember them; do they count? Those Red-Coats, living targets weren't they; dead, murdered?, land stolen? Depends on how you look at it.

It goes on; a lot of blood and then we have California, et al,et al. We didn't exactly steal Dixie but we did make them give it back after it was stolen from us who stole it from... well you know. Hark! Do I hear the bleat of the dread jingo bird splitting the air at this point?
No, then you are still with me.

Let's go someplace warm and grow pineapples. Beautiful...a paradise. Good harbor for a coaling station. Let's have it for our very own. Sorry, Queen Liliʻuokalani. In fact let's have a string of little islands in all of the oceans. Spain has a bunch. Not for long.

But none of that stuff is 20th century. Colonialism is passe, we say. Okay world, give 'em up and don't do it anymore. And they did. With the exception of one sad spot in the Levant; but this is a family show. We won't go there.

Old habits die...not at all! Only the style changes a bit. Now we don't colonize, too gauche. But the itch is still there; sort of prurient but in a good way. (Heaven forbid). How to scratch it? Got it, send in the Marines... all over the planet. Not to take anything, you understand. But, as they say in New Jersey, just to be "connected".

Monday, July 5, 2010

GRUB: the Real Energy Dilemma

Restaurateur and Chef Jose Andreas of 'Julio' in Bethesda, Maryland was interviewed recently on NPR radio and made the most profound energy statement I have heard in years.

"But I think the most important is to remind everyone that the most important source of energy is not gas. The most important source of energy is food, because food is what keeps us - the humans - with energy. So we need to start thinking about food as the most important source of energy, because it's the energy that keeps moving us, the people - the people of America, the people of world.
... I hope that we're going to start taking seriously where our food comes from. Because right now I don't think we do. And we need to start making sure that our politicians understand that the most important thing is our food, period. And food should be un-negotiable..."

This basic fact of life has escaped the attention of nearly all the pundits and talking heads. I am neither but I am equally guilty. How simple his message. How profound. And how far we have all drifted from reality. David Suzuki said "We must reinvent a future free of blinders so that we can choose from real options." That ever so true, now.

I have read and written endlessly about Peak Oil, pro and con; King Koal, mostly con but currently indispensable, Solar, Wind, Tidal, Global Warming, the list is endless. Never, until today, has that simple concept of food as THE single most vital form of energy blasted through the noise and chaos attending the energy discussion.

The page six chatter we are given about the Gulf fishery loss from the oil gusher; the precipitous dropping of the Ogallala Aquifer level supporting dry land grain harvest in the American West, the failure of Salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest, or Chesapeake Bay and North Atlantic dwindling seafood harvest, is not sufficient to remind us these failures are the real deal in the energy picture. Unfortunately, Piggly Wiggly, Safeway or Gristides' fully stocked grocery shelves are a treated as a given and marginalized from the principal debate.

We seem to be riddled with tertiary technophilia, the lot of us. Always looking for the most complicated solution to the complicated solutions that started the mess in the first place. Too many generations raised on concrete perhaps. A hundred years of happy motoring doesn't help any. Maybe we, most of us, have become voyeuristic samplers, viewers of reality, not participants any longer.

Thus our worldly-wise take on basic reality, "Oh that's just food", has damaged our sure instinct of what matters most i.e., chow, victuals, staff of life, loaves and fishes, breakfast of champions...our daily grub. Why this matters the most, by far, gets a very low priority in the current dialogue.

Chef Andreas again: "In Spain, only two, three years ago, we had the same thing in the northern part of Spain, in Galicia, the same thing. It's the biggest producer of seafood in Spain, one of the biggest producers in Europe. We had an entire ship that broke in half. Oh, my God, was a disaster again. But this keeps happening, keep happening, keep happening. And I think, like, my God, we need to start fixing and finding solutions to make sure that this never happens again."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Neanderthal: the First Caucasian?

or ...Rethinking Damn Near Everything

Let's start by tearing up the current playbook of Anthropology. The following reports by paleogeneticists, if the evidence proves out, could put the lie to just about everything we hold sacred regarding human Genesis.

According to
"Researchers led by Paabo, Richard E. Green of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and David Reich of Harvard Medical School compared the genetic material collected from the bones of three Neanderthals with that from five modern humans.
Their findings, reported in Friday's edition of the journal Science, show a relationship between Neanderthals and modern people outside Africa, Paabo said.
"That suggests that interbreeding occurred in the Middle East, where both modern humans and Neanderthals lived thousands of years ago, he said." Associated Press

It is generally agreed that a large group of early humans left from Africa about sixty thousand years ago. We'll call them the Beta People. When they reached Sinai or the Levant; they met another group, the Alpha People, already in long time residence. Precisely nine months later another group was born. We will call them the Crypto People.


Alpha Person (A.K.A. Neanderthal)


Beta Persons (A.K.A. Cro-Magnon) With Crypto young.


The Alpha People had been living for perhaps 250 thousand years in the area from the Levant to Western Siberia, north to Southern Germany and East as far as the British Isles. These two groups apparently began to coexist and exchange DNA.

Perhaps as many as five thousand years later, from roughly Afganistan, a group split off from the main, settled South Asia and finally ended up in Oceana. Much later, a second large contingent skirted below the Urals Eastward; settled throughout Central Asia and ultimately, the Americas. Lastly, a third group continued to drift slowly throughout Europe, settling East of the Urals. All of these groups carried the Alpha (Neanderthal) DNA markers.

In time the later group began to occupy areas inhabited solely by Alpha People and as they continued to fill the area, the indigenous Alpha People melted away and eventually, 30 thousand years ago, disappeared from history. Does this indicate total assimilation, annihilation or were other, still to be uncovered factors, responsible?

In the succeeding eons the European contingent surely experienced an Alpha presence for infinitely longer periods than did the groups who struck out earlier. Therefore:

...the Neanderthals more like modern Europeans, with light skin and hair colour and language abilities..." said Dr Carles Lalueza-Fox, a molecular biologist at the University of Barcelona, in a commentary in Science.

So considering the recent finding of interbreeding between the Alphas and Betas and considering also the geographical area where the potential for cross-breeding lasted longest, should we not conclude that Neanderthal was indeed the First Caucasian?

"While many people think of Neanderthals as very primitive, they had tools for things like hunting and sewing, controlled fire, lived in shelters and buried their dead. We have met Neanderthal and he is us — at least a little. The most detailed look yet at the Neanderthal genome helps answer one of the most debated questions in anthropology: Did Neanderthals and modern humans mate?
The answer is yes, there is at least some cave man biology in most of us. Between 1 percent and 4 percent of genes in people from Europe and Asia trace back to Neanderthals." Associated Press

Question: Much is being made of the slight, 1 to 4%, Alpha (Neanderthal) DNA remaining with us today, as suggesting very little interbreeding occurred. Rather, should we not assume the progeny of this endless mating had a lot more than 4% Alpha DNA originally? And should we not conclude that after all the Alphas became extinct (or were assimilated) the next 30 thousand years of breeding sans Alphas, explains the low remaining Alpha DNA numbers in modern populations? Are we not, then, descendents and heirs of the Crypto children?

That big, not so dumb Troglodyte Alpha, standing in front of his cave throwing stones at the Hyenas, was he not your great-grand pere, at considerable remove?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Menstrual Synchrony or Does the Bunny Ranch Ever Close?

"The McClintock effect, also known as menstrual synchrony or the dormitory effect, is a theory that proposes that the menstrual cycles of women who live together (such as in prisons, convents, bordellos, or dormitories) tend to become synchronized over time." From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Menstrual synchrony seems to be noticeably absent in brothels. Bunny Ranches are open 24/7 year round and each lady is furloughed for one week each month. They don't find it necessary to bring in fresh replacements for a certain week, which would happen if they cycled together.

Therefore, cloistered women and segregated female dormitories may experience this phenomenon because of the absence of men which, of course, is not a problem at the Ranch. Perhaps any large community of women lacking a male presence would have the same result. We don't know yet.

"It is thought to be analogous to the Whitten effect, which is the synchronization of the estrous cycle and has been noted in small animals such as mice and guinea pigs. In contrast to the Whitten effect, which is driven by male pheromones, the McClintock effect is postulated to have only female pheromonal involvement."

"The phenomenon, sometimes referred to as the "social regulation of ovulation," was first formally studied by psychologist Martha McClintock, who reported her findings in Nature in 1971.[1] Another study experimented with 20 lesbian couples had results which showed that more than half of the couples tested had the same synchronization within a two day period of each other." [4]"From Wikipedia

The literature on synchronized female cycling is sketchy, at best. Since Martha McClintock published her initial report in 1972, followed up in 1998, little has been added to the body of knowledge on the subject.

"A prospective study by McClintock in 1998 was claimed to support her earlier findings by showing that underarm (or axillary) materials (collected from female donors), when wiped under the noses of (other) women, influenced cycle length.[2] Odors taken on the day that donors ovulated (and the next two days) delayed ovulation and hence lengthened the total cycle of the recipients. These phase-advancing and phase-delaying effects may show human axillary compounds regulate biological rhythms."[3] Wikipedia

Perhaps the human axillary compounds that most regulate female biological rhythms are of the male persuasion. Any savvy chicken farmer has the answer. If you want more eggs, keep a rooster somewhere in the neighborhood.

Also, we are told that Eunuchs were chosen to guard Harems to protect the serraglio residents from any male attention in the Sultan's absence. Maybe that's not the real reason that un-manned males were chosen. Maybe it was to keep the gals in sync for birth control and amatory purposes by removing all traces of the male aspect .

Consider: a bevy of wives and concubines all cycling pell-mell . What a strain that would put on our grandee! Synchronicity would solve the twin dilemmas of wanted/unwanted increases in the nursery and prevent any possible frustration in the amorous proclivity of the Pasha. Maybe he also looked forward to furlough week.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sasquatch means, "We missed one, get him!"

At last, proof. We are a special breed under the sun, a fallen angel, and we are made in the image of...Neanderthal! Is that where our finer impulse, our better nature comes from? Not from above or our native stock; our homicidal, genocidal, holicidal, selves?

So here's the deal. According to "Researchers led by Paabo, Richard E. Green of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and David Reich of Harvard Medical School compared the genetic material collected from the bones of three Neanderthals with that from five modern humans.
Their findings, reported in Friday's edition of the journal Science, show a relationship between Neanderthals and modern people outside Africa, Paabo said.
That suggests that interbreeding occurred in the Middle East, where both modern humans and Neanderthals lived thousands of years ago, he said."
Associated Press

Keep in mind when our lot straggled out of Africa sixty, or so, thousand years ago, we were newcomers. People were already living in the greater world and had been for tens of thousands of years. So they met. Probably in the Sinai; certainly in the Levant, there's evidence for that. We don't know what was said, or even if they had speech.

But we do know what Columbus remembered of his encounter with the Arawak Indians on a beach in the New World.

"They loved their neighbors as themselves and that their speech was the sweetest and gentlest in all the world. They would always speak with a smile." Not an auspicious beginning as they were almost extinct in eight years. Whereas it took our gang almost thirty thousand years to do the job in what was arguably the first genocide. Look.

The arrow in the first panel points to the probable departure point when leaving Africa.
Contact was inevitable soon after. The remaining panels show (the dark gray blob) our progress over eons and the light gray, the retreat of the Neanderthals. As you will observe in the last panel the' home boys' cease to exist at all. The universal legends of a lingering foe in secluded places, the yeti, bigfoot,m'ghira. etc. may be racial memories of an ancient pogrom. Thus Sasquatch could mean, "We missed one, get him!"

by Currat, Mathias; Excoffier, Laurent (December 2004)

"While many people think of Neanderthals as very primitive, they had tools for things like hunting and sewing, controlled fire, lived in shelters and buried their dead. We have met Neanderthal and he is us — at least a little. The most detailed look yet at the Neanderthal genome helps answer one of the most debated questions in anthropology: Did Neanderthals and modern humans mate?
The answer is yes, there is at least some cave man biology in most of us. Between 1 percent and 4 percent of genes in people from Europe and Asia trace back to Neanderthals."
Associated Press

That the Levant was the scene of all the trysting seems logical. One gang spread out from there to occupy South Asia and then Oceana using one route. Another bunch headed off to Central Asia and ultimately across to the Western Hemisphere. A third migration veered West into Europe. All groups carried the DNA markers for Neanderthal heritage.

If that tiny 4% represents the best of our blood, the fairest of the fair, our highest nature; then the sorry other part explains, well...human history.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The China Clipper...of Eagle Wings

A growing consensus among those who study these things is that China will surely go the route of the West, overbuild, overextend and then blow-up. That their central planners have a fear of citizen revolt and therefore use unsustainable GNP growth as a safety fuse. But...

China, by the time Nixon went back home, knew that those Western liberal consumer types would buy all the stuff they could manufacture. In an historical heartbeat, the Middle Kingdom left the third world wilderness, made stuff, sold stuff and saved the profits. Now, it is assumed, the Commissars, deathly afraid of the folks, build city after endless empty city simply as make-work for the minions. Crap! Such a conclusion is pure West-centric jingoism.

This is what we are told.

" 1. China Blows Up
Andrew Lawrence proposed the Skyscraper Index in the aftermath of the 1998 Asian Contagion. His theory says that the world's tallest buildings have risen on the eve of economic downturns. That is, countries that put up the world's tallest buildings enter an economic downturn shortly thereafter.

There is a lot of evidence to back him up: 1907 panic in the U.S. was marked by the Singer Building; the Great Depression followed the Empire State Building; the Asian currency crisis of 1998 - the Petronas Twin Towers.

The world's tallest building at present is the Burj Dubai, which will officially open on January 4, 2010. As you know, real estate prices in Dubai have been cut in half and their biggest company, Dubai World, just defaulted on $50 billion.

The next tallest building being built is The Shanghai Tower in China - expected to be 2,073 feet tall to be completed in 2014. "


"It seems that China is not playing by the same rules as the rest of the world when it comes to real estate development, China with its $2.3 trillion US dollar foreign reserves has the financial resources to spend without the restrictions of debt financing. It does not have to go out and borrow money to fund its developments.

In China economic growth is not an option, it is a government “strategy and target.” The Chinese Government seems to push these targets with a “cost is not a problem” approach. Developments in China do not appear to be restricted by either their financial or environmental cost."
.By Kris Cyganiak



"Ghost towns, theme parks and enough empty Beijing offices to fill 35,612 tennis courts: Revealed – what's REALLY driving the Chinese property boom... and why you're staking your financial future on bogus demand.

Chenggong – where there's no one home... Construction of this city in Yunnan province started in 2003. Seven years later this shiny new metropolis teems with pristine high-rise apartment blocks, marble tiled government buildings, state of the art high schools, a large university campus, and a CBD filled with shops, banks and municipal offices. It's got everything except for the one major ingredient a thriving city needs: people!

Brand China was a going concern when our folks were painting themselves blue and worshipping a big tree. Consider; the Soviet imploded and that new regime started about the same time China shifted into gear. Any comparison there? Aside from raw material and fossil fuels exports ,what have the Ruskies done financially in the same time frame? For that matter, what have we done except write checks 'pay to the order' of Beijing?

Maybe, when, not if, the Geenback and its pal, the Euro, fall off a cliff, China will go to The People's Plan B, 'B'... for Bye-Bye. " So long foreign devils, you should have saved your money. Now 'China for Chinese' is the new logo of Great Wall Motors Company! Let's see. One billion three of us, billion or so Indians, lots of other Asians...there's Russia, Brazil. All Chinese PhDs come back home now. Business is good. Plenty of brand new houses for everyone. Bye-Bye, broke-ass Nixon people."

Monday, April 12, 2010

The 'loyal opposition', Gone, gone with the wind

"The day of respect for the 'loyal opposition' has gone with the day of the gentleman class".
Richard M Weaver," Ideas Have Consequences"

This conclusion, written in the salad days of 1948, looks spookily omniscient six decades forward. Whatever societal rancor and ill will prompted Professor Weaver's jeremiad then, has mushroomed unbelievably since.

As I read Weaver, the somewhat archaic concept of a 'gentleman class' he is referencing is secular heir to a 'philosopher class'; a category of extreme rarity today. Indeed, since the passing of Emerson the philosopher ranks have been rather slim but, in the day, Weaver himself might have qualified as one. No known 'gentleman' exists in all of official Washington with the possible exception of one or two closeted specimens.

But that's okay as we've told ourselves historically; we are a 'can do' people. So we don't need bother with that other stuff like civility and productive discourse and such truck. Nah, we do it our way and it works. Or rather it used to do so. No more, I'm afraid. Nothing works well now. The total lack of respect or even common decency for the opposition, so visible in the halls of Congress, is projected by media onto a national screen. So much so that the public, never much given to thoughtful disagreement, lurches from one misplaced sentiment to the next. Lost, somewhere, is the ability to discern if a given decision or action is personally beneficial or not. This is true even when it could result in great loss or dire consequence.

Decades of assault first by radio and films, later by television and now the web, have sown massive confusion in the population. So much so, that a constant rise in literacy has been offset by an equal rise in credulity. The extensively, but narrowly educated consumer of goods and services, has morphed into a serf-like font of near medieval gullibility.

A goodly amount of national time has been spent polishing oafs to resemble a respectable middle class. This is no regard a 'gentleman class' effort, since as Nietzsche observed, the middle class would be moderate, even in virtue. With little chance of discovering philosophers lurking about any day soon, our best hope is an outburst of civility throughout the land. This might presage the arrival of a bevy of gentleman types arising Phoenix-like from the ashes of a burnt-out elite class and be an inspiration to us; the lumpen remainder.

Generations of pundits, preachers and educators can take credit for this melaise. A system based largely on treating constituents as mere consumers of material goods and arranging all of society around that maxim, has brought down the house on our heads.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Frontier Loss Angst; Grow Up, Folks

In 1893, three years after the superintendent of the Census announced that the western frontier was closed, Frederick Jackson Turner, a historian from the University of Wisconsin, advanced a thesis that the conquest of the western frontier had given American society its special character.
...Digital History

It didn't take long for that 'special character' to get really, really restless. No more frontier! A continent already totally subdivided and full up, drat.
That means we have to stay put! Make do! But we have always moved on. Abandoned homesteads. Conquered wilderness. Slain enemies! What will we do, we can't live this way? No more Westward Ho! No John Wayne?

. As the
Western United States was gradually becoming less of a frontier and more of a part of America, many believed that overseas expansion was vital to maintaining the American spirit.
The publication of
Alfred T. Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History in 1890, which advocated three factors crucial to The United States' ascension to the position of "world power": the construction of a canal in South America (later influencing the decision for the construction of the Panama Canal), expansion of the U.S. naval power, and the establishment of a trade/military post in the Pacific, so as to stimulate trade with China. This publication had a strong influence on the idea that a strong navy stimulated trade, and influenced policy makers such as Theodore Roosevelt and other proponents of a large navy

Let's look around, surely there's a frontier to conquer, somewhere. Didn't take very long, five years to be exact, and then...
Ah, Cuba. Always had our eye on that little gem. We can beat Spain, that's an 'old country', backward, not 'go getters' like us. And so it began. And continues still.
Part of our 'special character' to always expand, to grow... to metastasize? Seems that way. We can't help it. Think: Puerto Rico-Guam-American Samoa-Marianas-US Virgin Isles-Alaska-Hawaii, it goes on. Jack Kennedy touted a 'New Frontier', space, nah, not the same. Administrations come and go; some liberal, most not. Doesn't seem to matter. It's genetic, DNA American style.

Don't you see? That's our charm. Mark Twain spoke of ' The Innocents Abroad', that's us. Willfully innocent? Perhaps. Probably not. Jury not in yet. But a full Century of thrashing about the globe longing, oh so plaintively, for our 'lost cause', our liebestraume, is quite enough. Stay home, folks. Make do. Live simply; within borders, for a welcome change. The world thanks you in advance.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

It's the < . > stupid!

And yet it moves, in the words of Galileo, "Eppur si muove"

Stare at it 'till you're cross-eyed; won't see it happen. Gang team; and keep at it 24/7...nothing. Still, it moves. During these last glorious thirty plus years , it has had a constant rightward valency; will it last? Maybe it's starting to get itchy. Wants a change of direction. Beginning to drift?

Want to test it? See it in action, so to speak. Get a copy of your local daily of say 1970 and todays edition. Look them over. Check the price of a loaf of bread, for example. 1970 about $ .25, right? Now, today, $2.50. What happened? Look at a dozen eggs,1970 $.25 now $2.50. How can it be, you ask excitedly, what's going on.
The house I sold in 1968 for $10000. it's, OMG, $100000, they were giving stuff away in those days! Wait, this old pay stub. The gross pay, one week, $80. I make $800 now. Oh, oh.

Relax, nothing's changed. Well one thing has. It's possible to control a screaming jet, a cruise liner, even a two year old's temper tantrum but one small thing cannot be controlled. You can try as you will, nothing works. Even a parenthesis ( ), for containment, no help, a hat pin through the heart, nah, a splash of white-away only creates an illusion of control.

To maul shamelessly the words of Baroness Orczy in her classic "The Scarlet Pimpernel", 'They seek him here, they seek him there, those Frenchies seek him everywhere; is he in heaven or is he in hell, that damned elusive decimal point!'

There's your culprit; that sinister imp, that impudent little wretch, that damned spot. No mistake about it. Ignore John Maynard Keynes, the entire Austrian School of Economics, even the dread Chicago Gang, they know not what they are talking through their spread-sheets about. They are missing the point. But every lowly merchant in the third world knows about the point, and has one; sort of a family icon. Keeps it always handy. Currency changes; today up-tomorrow down, out from under the apron comes... the magic decimal point. Nothing changes except the point! Life goes on. All is well. No worry.

That's the third world. With us it's different. All in the control, we say. Got the printing press, no problem. We make the money. That's our freakin' point. And so we nod off, get complacent, forget to keep watching that 'damned elusive' decimal point, who cares, until, whoa! it moved. "Did you see that? Did you?". Nobody saw it for sure, but it moved. Not all that far. Just a the right.

There it stays. For ages and ages. Is this the new reality? Will it last forever? Wait, did you see something? Oh, no, unless my eyes are getting crossed again, it leaned a the left. Gad! What next?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Internet / The SoapBox

We communicate via the web at the sufferance of the system. Because we are no threat, perceived or actual, we are allowed to continue our harmless pursuit. The instant this usage is perceived as a threat to the elite; it ends. So keep on blogging; keep on ranting and raving, keep uttering anything that comes to mind, you are harmless by definition.

The much touted use of the net as a force majestueuse in the recent Presidential contest was pure chimera. If it really threatened to be anywhere near decisive, it would have ceased to be. Make no mistake, a culture that can fight 2 1/2 wars without provocation and with borrowed money, can pull the plug on all we hold sacred in a thrice if sufficiently challenged.

Societies love to be admired as generous and tolerant if the cost is small. The web today is no more than a soapbox was in Hyde Park, or Washington Square in the past. A leather lunged orator could bray to the crowd or to the wind as long as able but only as allowed by elites. Stray for an instant from the permissible and a minion of the law would call you down. And perhaps kick apart the soapbox for good measure. See Google v. China for splintered soapboxes.

So what is different today? Have people become nicer, friendlier, less murderous with the advent of the web? Not noticeably so, maybe a little worse. What is the corpse count by violent death in the couple of decades since Al G. or somebody set all those electrons in motion?

If you seek independence anywhere in web-land remember the Web is all Corporate and Corporate is all Government; ad nauseam.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wuss?

What the world desperately needs is a concerted effort to demystify the aura of invincibility and the untouchable posturing of Corporations; small and large. Especially the latter; which scare the crap out of damn near everybody. Our perceptions are somewhat garbled as regards the very nature of the Corporate beast.

" Despite not being natural persons, corporations are recognized by the law to have rights and responsibilities like actual people. Corporations can exercise
human rights against real individuals and the state, and they may be responsible for human rights violations." Wikipedia.

First of all, Corporate status is granted by a State. Not by a deity. And as such is subject to revocation for cause. So because little old Delaware is the birthplace of many rumbling behemoths and awesome brand names is not to say in time it could not become the equivalent of an corporate elephant graveyard; again, for cause.

But for Corporations to be brought down to size the myths surrounding them must first be downsized. We could start by reminding ourselves that basically we're dealing with just a bunch of guys, yeah and gals too. That's it. A bunch of folks who have managed to convince themselves and the rest of us they are something special and unique on the planet. Bull! It's legalese that created them, protects them and can banish them; always of course, for cause.

"In Oz, a Curtain conceals the wizard... In Corp., a Charter conceals the human." Twitter.

We only learn near the close of the Oz tale of the Wizard, a wizened little man, who has been manipulating reality as his own private game. Much the same is occurring in Corporations as human beings veiled behind 'The Charter' promote personal interests. Though the top brass are the usual objects of scorn, all involved, down to the lowest minions, profit from the illusion of being impregnable.

Even if the Corporate beast is more wuss than wolf, it can still be a formidable entity. This is e
specially true if not properly house-broken, overfed a diet of hubris and power and allowed a long leash. Properly controlled Corporations can become satisfactory neighbors.

Proper control necessitates removing the 'Person' status granted by a distracted Court generations ago. The recent benediction of the' Supremes' is more of the same nonsense. Personhood without accompanying mortality is a monstrous entity. How wonderful if we actual persons could exist without the probability of a ten-ton truck or nasty plague germ clouding our future prospects. Shouldn't Corporations share the same ultimate risk? They're persons, right?

Mary Shelly's rueful Dr. Frankenstein was compelled to journey to the ends of the Earth seeking to destroy the creature he had endowed with Personhood. Hopefully we will soon do better dealing with our strange new 'persons'.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nigerian Web Scam or April Fool's Gag?

A large impressive looking letter was received at our house addressed to Resident so naturally being the resident, we knew it was for us. It looked official enough bearing the message "Your Response Is Required By Law", which is what DMV always says. So we opened it.

It purported to be from the U.S. Census Bureau but the instructions, albeit with less garbled syntax, read like a Nigerian internet scam. The cover letter pleaded with us, keep in mind the date being March 15, 2010 to ..."complete and mail back the enclosed census form today". With pen firmly in hand I consulted the packet enclosed ready to begin as instructed.

Question 1. "How many people were living in this house,...on April 1, 2010?

Four pages later. "Thank you for completing your official 2010 Census form"

Needless to say, not being gifted with fore-sight I put down my pen and put aside the material to await April 1.

Well, a week later a postcard arrived. We knew right off we were the residents being sought out. This was from the big guy himself, Robert M. Grove Director U.S. Census Bureau. The director seemed concerned we hadn't as yet returned the completed survey. He said among other things,"If you have not responded, please provide your information as soon as possible". The card was dated March 22, 2010.

Those Nigerians in DC never give up. Their syntax is much improved but they still believe in occult powers apparently. I wonder if before April 1 arrives we'll get a personal visit wondering why our response is tardy?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Even Paul Craig Roberts Has Given Up

Today, his column in the outstanding online political newsletter, CounterPunch, was catalogued with a simple 'Good-bye'. Roberts, after a long career as a journo and in government, apparently gave up trying to caution us as to where we are being inexorably led and wrote in finale,"I am signing off". I use the term 'led 'advisably because it is probable that unconsciously or deliberately the powerful are attempting just that. Ultimately, they are pursuing a foolish course likely to destroy what remains of our way-of-life. Unfortunately, they accomplish this quite easily these days; more so with Roberts silent.

It's baffling to see why this rush to chaos is occurring since if they bring society down the result will not be any more advantageous to the perpetrators than the rest of us. I suspect what is happening is by keeping the power gene pool much too small a kind of mental inbreeding infests the elite particularly as regards ideas having consequences. What may seem a neat idea to an insider group may not play as well in the real world. It may, in fact, backfire and make life just as miserable for the commissars.

Paul Craig Roberts' political and philosophical voice will be missed; indeed, sorely. He has had a distinguished career matched by few others. In addition to having been a Business Week columnist, a former Wall Street Journal editor; he was also Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Until...he dared criticize the establishment at which point the mainstream media deemed him persona non gratis and he was banished off to blogland. The elite cannot abide one of their own getting uppity and spilling the beans, getting anywhere near...the truth. Apostate, begone with ya'!

In Robert's words, "Today I cannot publish in, or appear on, the American “mainstream media.” So after gallantly focusing his long experience, his first hand knowledge, on the shortcomings and venality of what our Nation has become, he is now silent. Perhaps exhausted by preaching solely to a sympathetic and conversant, but wholly powerless audience, he tired of his lonely voice.

Or maybe he realized the internet is simply the modern equivalent of the soapbox and just stepped down.

Note: Sometime after this posting Roberts began publishing again and continues to do so at CounterPunch and elsewhere.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A 'Peculiar Institution' Revisited?

As we rapidly edge toward the end of a surfeit of cheap and plentiful energy based on the consumption of irreplaceable fossil fuel, a bitter ' historical' reality begins to present itself for our consideration.

For three centuries we have developed a growing dependence on highly concentrated forms of what is basically solar energy, sunlight, to ease our burdens and grow our societies. Before the general use of coal and later, petroleum, we were limited to hydro, wind, firewood and, if the hunting was good, whale oil, to help us. But what formed the basis of our walking around energy usage was horse,and human, muscle power.

Human power, beyond the personal and familial, was augmented by hired help and/or owned help. History is rife with doleful accounts of the later. In fact it was only in the 20th century that chattel slavery was finally abolished worldwide. Legal human slavery existed in the lifetime of a few elderly people still alive today.

How fantastic is a scenario predicated on the gradual lead-up to a condition of want and coercion that would lead one or more societies to consider reverting to that 'peculiar institution'? And if conditions had so deteriorated as to make the unthinkable attractive who would take the first step?

This list shows a few of the principal players in the enslavement of humans in modern society and the year that people were finally freed from such bondage. Judging by the dates, this is really not such ancient history after all.

China 1906

Zanzibar 1897

Brazil 1888

Cuba 1886

U.S. 1865

Russia 1861

Romania 1850

French colonies 1848.
British Colonies 1834

Mexico 1829

England and Scotland 1777

Care to make a guess at the year and the place it all begins again?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let's All do as the Romans Did...Nothing!

Nothing at all. The Roman Empire slid into the backwater of history without a whimper. Will we, the 'can do' people, the inventors of damn near everything, the flyers to the moon; will we do the same thing? Very likely. Unless things change in a big hurry, a historical backwater is our likely destination,too.

With even a tiny clear glimpse of our future prospects America could wake out of it's trance and begin to prepare. Slowly, very slowly, in all probability. Committees, of course, endless committees, but that's okay. As long as they are realistic and not simply bent on returning to what cannot be sustained any longer. Hopefully the message that emerges from all this collective wisdom will be...

Stop! Stop everything!

We're broke. We're losing irreplaceable energy supplies rapidly. We're despised globally for bringing it all down on everybody's head by sheer hubris, endless war, and willful interference on a massive, Roman like, scale for a century or so. It's up to us, alone, if we intend to survive as a viable entity.

Where to start? Sensible priorities might help. The time has come for National Triage. It can't all be saved. So what's important? Food, clothing, shelter, fuel and transportation. What? That old stuff? Yep, exactly. That's were it's at.

Well, we can handle all that, we already do. Sure, but on credit, yours, mine and the government's; at the sufferance of others. Those days are ending rapidly. As a debtor nation and debtor society the barbarians can arrive at the gates any day in the form of creditors demanding payback. On that day it's all over. Backwater time for sure.

How do we keep those hordes at bay? Maybe by living for the future for a change. The future to a farmer means planting now for harvest later. It doesn't mean waiting by the dock for dinner to arrive from farmers thousands of miles away. It also means less crop planting dedicated to cow and hog (and automobile) gullets while planting more stuff that goes straight to human nourishment.

The future also would appreciate us saving a little something prior to its arrival. Like fossil fuel? If we made our own jeans, bath towels, footwear, etc.etc. ourselves (we did once, remember?) we could save a little petro for the future. Might come in handy, who knows? We could use what we manage to save now to keep the lights on, the food cold and the house warm, down the road. And put a little aside to carry us comfortably around instead of needing to walk everywhere.

But I have my car, you say. Sorry. It didn't make the cut. Fortunately we had the foresight to provide a world class public transportation network that provides trains, trolleys and busses everywhere imaginable. The future is secure. Empire is no more but the country continues onward; sort of.

If we don't make the call and plan ahead; if we continue with the nonsense that it's going to be alright, that somebody will come up with a fix, fuggedabout us. Backwater! Freezing in the dark and puzzled along with the rest of the Western world. The East? Well, what happened the last time it all fell apart in the West?

Monday, March 8, 2010

After the Deluge: One Nation Divisable

A doomsday global warming scenario such as is being wafted about currently
would forever change the parameters of our country if accurate. With predictions of a sea rise of up to 15 meters we could expect to find ALL of our coastal habitations and a great many interior areas that adjoin rivers rendered uninhabitable.

If a significant area of the Greenland Ice Sheet or the Antarctic Ice Cap were to dislodge into the sea the rise of sea level would be catastrophic. In addition to the necessity of millions to seek higher ground almost all of our refineries, fuel storage, power transmission facilities and seaports, would be lost. A way of life would vanish permanently.

This is what we have long considered a familiar and comfortable picture of our homeland, from sea to shining sea.:

With all of our coastline and the Mississippi River Basin uninhabitable or only marginally livable we would have to be content with the landlocked or higher altitude areas shown below. The new United States of America would be united by boat only, except Hawaii, which would no longer exist.

USA West USA East

maps by Google

With access to portable fossil fuels, petroleum and natural gas, and, of course, living space, gone with the waves, countless displaced denizens of the former continent- sized nation will roam about seeking residence and succor. Relocation of the seats of power and culture will be of primary importance only to the suddenly displaced elites.

Our candidate for the site of the de facto US government in exile is chosen because of its reasonably secure location. If the Treasury Dept. is underwater and the Fed. gone forever, no way will exist to maintain security except by, eureka, ...the Mormons! A glance at 19th century history will remind the elites that only the Latter Day Saints can provide the muscle and will to keep the hordes out of Deseret, the future US Capitol city.

Without fuel our car culture era will be over and the hot new industry will be horse and mule breeding and training. These activities have been, of course, long abandoned generally except by a certain few, among these the horse-and-buggy Amish, who will be the men-of-the hour.

Post deluge, the new US Capitol site could well be Salt Lake City, Utah, where militant Mormons will protect and nourish gentle Amish farmers and keep out undesirables:

photos by Panoramio by


OK, Government is now ensconced in the former Beehive State ( which it might come to resemble despite all efforts). Since culture and power were never known to exist together in the 'old" Federal District, we will separate them now in advance of the need. The question asked is:

Denver, Colorado. Is the 'mile high city' destined to
become the new Big Apple?

photos by Panoramio

Note: The railroad platform shown deserted above is expected to remain this way in our brave new, but necessarily Spartan, center of high culture.

Note: In the event the sudden onrush of fresh water released by the icecap melt is sufficient to stifle the flow of either or both the Gulf Stream and Japan Current the above choices are withdrawn. If this occurs the ice age sure to follow necessitates moving both centers much further South.

The State of Zacatecas, Mexico has been suggested. Any further recommendations?


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Heat, Mr. President, but not from fission

If the President can separate himself from the influence of his Exelon connected advisors he would do well to consider spending that $8.33 billion loan guarantee on greener and immensely safer technology than nuclear facilities.

Why is he even contemplating this action considering that nukes are so risky no insurance company will cover them; that they generate huge amounts of toxic waste no technology can safely store, and that they have caused 950,00 additional cancer deaths since the Chernobyl debacle?

A better use for these funds exists that offers safety and a much greener approach to helping with our energy needs. This technology has been shunted aside by the power industry until now.

A heat exchanger is a device built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. The medium may be separated by a solid wall, so that they never mix, or they may be in direct contact.

The following by the CEO of one of Britain's leading energy producers is instructive:

"At the moment the area where we waste the most energy is in heat," he said. "We waste more heat from power stations than we use in our buildings."Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).Dr David Clarke, chief executive of ET.

As is this article:

If You Can’t Stand the Heat….Capture It!
By Atlanta Fifty Forward

"When power plants generate electricity, a lot of heat simply goes up the chimney, so to speak. Estimates are that for every three units of fuel — like coal, natural gas or oil — that are burned to make electricity, two are lost in the process, most of it as waste heat that just drifts away. Likewise, many manufacturing operations such as steel mills produce waste heat.

Ten years ago, an Indiana steel mill began capturing heat above its coke ovens to make electricity. That operation, along with other energy recycling processes employed at the plant, creates about 250 megawatts of power every day, about half of the plant’s needs for electricity. In the process, the company says it has reduced CO2 emissions by 1.3 million tons a year.
What would happen if more companies and electric utilities captured heat and used it to make electricity? It’s a common practice in Europe. Denmark generates close to 55 percent of its electricity this way. In the Netherlands and Finland, the figure is closer to 40 percent, and in Germany it is 35 percent. But, energy recycling in the U.S. accounts for only 8 percent of the nation’s electrical power, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Recent EPA and Department of Energy studies suggest U.S. industries waste enough heat to generate an estimated 200,000 megawatts of power — nearly 20 percent of what this nation uses. That’s enough electricity to replace up to 400 coal-fired power plants.
So what’s the problem?
State and federal laws often prohibit companies like the Indiana steel mill from selling excess power, and few electric utilities have chosen to install energy recycling equipment at older power plants because under New Source Review, they will then be subject to newer, stricter environmental regulations.
We recycle beverage cans. Wouldn’t it make even more sense to recycle energy, to use the waste heat that goes up the chimney to produce electricity and, in the process, save millions of tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere?"

The day of protecting power companies from competition must end soon and laws prohibiting industry from selling off excess power should be repealed. Newer and stricter environmental regs. may be necessary to require power companies to recycle their own waste heat energy. If the government has money to invest, put it where it can do the least harm...not where the risk is greatest. A risk that only increases for countless generations into the future. Nukes of any kind are a risky and short-sighted legacy and should not be encouraged.

Quoth the Raving



Julius Caesar

Veni,Vedi,Vici...Sidi ( I stuck around )

Uncle Sam


....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

All I know, all any of us know, is what we're told.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

If it walks like a depression, talks like a depression, and looks like a depression; it's a recovery.

...Zero Gravitas

Nice paint job

Nice paint job
Watch your step!

Quoth the Raving

Full scale War in Korea; we called it a Police Action
Police Action in Iraq; we call it a War.

...Zero Gravitas


Gene Pool?

Gene Pool?

Quoth the Raving

Ecology is an impending Black Swan quagmire therefore incorporation is anathema to Economists.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

An incoming US President who does not immediately resign his office after having received eyes-only briefings of what's really going on is hopelessly co-opted or delusional.
....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

We are now a nation of middlemen. What becomes of us if the center cannot hold?

....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving


Why not use some of the red ink to make things Green?

....Zero Gravitas

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"