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

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."

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"