...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



Transactional parasitism. Getting in between the subject and the object of desire, and retailing the gain. So that the relationship has to be initiated by the subject. So they take responsibility for it; it diverts the resentment back toward the self.
I noticed this years back when I'd played, I thought, particularly well for a month or so, and realized it was the new weed I'd been smoking. So to get to that place where I could play like that I'd need that weed. So then whoever had that, unless I grew it myself, also had the music I wanted to play. So they owned it, or they owned the path to it.
This is most effective when the subjects and their objects of desire are marginal to the culture in general. Creating a cultural milieu where blind obedience is the norm will mean virtually everything else is marginal and vulnerable to that template of commodification.
Prisons, these days especially, work this way. Witholding what are termed privileges until cooperation, and submission, are demonstrated. Getting in between you and what you want. Transactional parasitism.
It works on anything, not just electives or luxuries. Getting in between hungry people and food can be enormously profitable. Creating desire is productive as well, that segment of the transaction has become pretty much the modus operandi of American business life. It's helped tremendously that there is no traditional memory now, that history, what little most people know of it, is entirely a record of large-force conflict and political transformation; this is augmented by a kind of subliminally-conditioned scorn for the old - the stories of the old, what they remember of what they've seen, are valueless generally, so that the only living witnesses to how things were 80 years ago are discredited before they speak. We know nothing of how people lived their daily lives 100 years ago - we as a common, shared public. Our collective memory is amnesiac, colored-in by sanctioned details supplied by what's now the only valid voice of our elders - the television. The television sits in the place in the home our grandparents once occupied, central, revered, carrying the stories that teach the young about the world, and the television is the voice of retail transactionalism.
Spam, that anyone with an email account despises and complains of, is a handful of gravel compared to the avalanche of commercial hook and promise the television saturates our homes with. But we're used to that, and the young don't know any other world. The parasite is on its way to symbiosis.


the price

"It will make such an impact," said Crosby's father, Kevin."My son is in constant pain 24 hours a day. No amount of money can ever make up for that, but at least there's something for these people and their families who have been torn apart."baghdad
A rocket attack in Iraq last year left the younger Crosby, 20, paralyzed from the waist down. When he left Iraq, his combat pay was cut while he fought for his life.
The measure, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Malden), would give $430 a month to soldiers who are wounded and evacuated from the combat zone.
The special pay would continue until a soldier receives a new form of insurance for traumatic injuries received in combat - no less than a lump sum of $25,000 and as high as $100,000, depending on the injury's severity.
The measure is part of a $442 billion defense bill for fiscal year 2006. The Senate will take it up in June.

Noelle Straub/Boston Herald 28.May.05

Crosby-Puller Combat Wounds Compensation Act at
link Limited Inc.


De Beers strongly denies any link with the evictions

Why should the Botswana government, whose record is otherwise impressive, choose to damage itself in the eyes of the world like this?
Some of it seems almost personal. President Festus Mogai is a charming and intelligent man, but he has a particular hang-up about the Bushmen - "Stone-Age creatures", he once called them.
He believes they do not belong in a modern, go-ahead state, and should be forced to integrate into Botswanan society.
And then there are the diamonds.

John Simpson/BBC World 02.05.05

Oh. The diamonds.

"As crude a weapon as a cave man's club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life."
Rachel Carson

Scientists in America have found the first evidence that common chemicals used in products as diverse as cosmetics, toys, clingfilm and plastic bags may harm the development of unborn baby boys.

Researchers have long known that high levels of substances called phthalates have gender-bending effects on male animals, making them more feminine and leading to poor sperm quality and infertility. The new study suggests that even normal levels of phthalates, which are ubiquitous, can disrupt the development of male babies' reproductive organs.

Ian Sample
The Guardian 27.05.05
link path Majikthise


death spam:

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White House press spokesman Trent Duffy said the photos could have a similar impact on the insurgency in Iraq as revelations of detainee abuse at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.
Mr Duffy said: "This could have serious impact, as we talked about, with the revelations of prisoner abuse.
"What the United States did in both of those situations, however, is recognise that, take immediate steps to investigate and get to the bottom of why it happened and how it happened and take steps to make sure that people are held to account."

U.S. President George W. Bush tried to play down the impact of the publication, saying he did not think it would contribute to the insurgency.
"I don't think a photo inspires murderers," he said. "I think they're inspired by an ideology that is so barbaric and backwards that it's hard for many in the Western world to comprehend how they think."
Mr. Bush's wife, Laura, at the start of a Middle East goodwill tour designed to show a softer U.S. face, acknowledged that her country has an image problem in the region but insisted that the prison abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib was an exception.
"And people in the United States are sick about it. They're very sorry that that's the image that people in the Arab world got of the United States," she said.


to scream

In a separate incident uncovered in the Rifles Base investigation, the driver and passenger of an Iraqi fire truck were detained for failing to turn off the truck's headlights. Multiple soldiers reported that a captain kicked the detainees, threatened to kill them, and held a pistol to the head of one of the detainees, even though the detainees did not offer resistance of any kind. The detainees were released later that evening.
One document released indicates that a soldier at an internment facility in Iraq "wrongfully display[ed] the symbolic of the 'Star of David,'" threatened a detainee, and was "very disrespectful in gestures, which in turn insulted the Arabs that were present at the time." This latest document supports detainees' accounts that American soldiers routinely used religious symbols to degrade and humiliate them. In a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Human Rights First against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, one Iraqi detainee charged that soldiers taunted him by having a military dog pick up the Koran in its mouth. Another Iraqi detainee claimed that soldiers threw the Koran on the floor and stepped on it.

ACLU/Memory Blog 19.May.05

"Don't try and threaten me, Mr.Galloway, please,"

"I think he's a carpet bagger," said David Lammy, Labor's Constitutional Affairs Minister, on the same program. Lammy, who is black, said that Galloway "came down from Scotland to whip up racial tensions. He has inherited now the most divided and polarized constituency."
"The manner in which he won that seat, whipping up racial tension, dividing some of the poorest people in this country, I think was obscene, and I'm deeply sad," added Lammy.
"Listening to Galloway's News Night speech was almost like hearing Saddam Hussein speak," said Gil Gorev, former head of the Israel Society at the London School of Economics. "It's a victory for British democracy that Galloway could run, but it's very sad that someone like that, with his history, gets elected," said Gorev. "He doesn't represent tolerance, or mutual respect. He's very aggressive. It's really sad," he added.
Galloway, who is regarded as anti-Semitic by some in Britain's Jewish community, is not a figure Israel should be particularly concerned about, according to Gorev. "Most of Galloway's agenda is about British domestic issues, and attacking Blair for the Iraq war."

Yaakov Lappin/Jerusalem Post 08.May.05
Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader, and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf.
Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.
Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.
I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.
As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.
Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to be born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.
I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.
Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
George Galloway/counterpunch 18.May.05


a rain of glass

People from the area claim that the man was taken away not because he shot anyone, but because he knew too much about the bomb. Rumor has it that he saw an American patrol passing through the area and pausing at the bomb site minutes before the explosion. Soon after they drove away, the bomb went off and chaos ensued. He ran out of his house screaming to the neighbors and bystanders that the Americans had either planted the bomb or seen the bomb and done nothing about it. He was promptly taken away.
it is no longer a war against terror or terrorists- it is, quite simply, a war against Islam...

Baghdad Burning 18.May.05

war for national security

A legal motion filed in federal court in November 2004 and declassified on 5 January 2005, renews concern on the case of Australian detainee Mamdouh Habib. The motion begins:
"In October, 2001, the Unites States military - in cooperation with the Pakistani and Egyptian Governments - rendered Mamdouh Habib to Egypt, knowing and intending he would be tortured Mr. Habib spent six months in Egyptian custody, where he was subjected to unspeakable brutality. Afterwards, Mr. Habib was returned to United States custody, travelling first to Bagram Air Force Base, then to the U.S. military facility at Kandahar, then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he has been held since May, 2002."
The motion seeks a restraining order to prevent the feared transfer of Mamdouh Habib to Egypt or the Egyptian authorities . The document details the alleged torture to which Mamdouh Habib was previously subjected in Egypt, including electric shocks, water torture, physical assaults, suspension from hooks, and threats with dogs. It gives details about how US agents were present at his interrogations in Pakistan after his arrest, and during his secret transfer to Egypt. The details echo those given by others who claim to have been subjected to such "rendition". For example, Amnesty International is still awaiting a reply to a letter it sent to the US authorities in August 2004 on the case of Khalid El Masri, a German national of Lebanese origin who alleges that he was secretly flown to incommunicado detention in Afghanistan from Macedonia in early 2004, and that US agents were present during interrogations in secret detention in Kabul

Amnesty International Canada 06.Jan.05
The overall idea is it's not a sin if you get someone else to do it for you. Not crime, sin. This is not politics, it's religion.
And this article is directly related, in a tangential way:
"So once you begin to dabble with the idea that you want to bully people, that you want to order them around, that you want them to do what you say, you very frequently start to drift into anti-Semitism," he said. "I think that is what is happening in some of the cultural elites in Europe."
He said Jews have always promoted the primacy of the law over the leader, as evidenced by their dietary restrictions and dress.
"People hate Jews to very much the degree that they have come to realize that this notion of the rule of law is something that came to the world something between three and four millennia ago in the Sinai desert. The idea that the government is above the ruler, and that rulers, whether it's King David or anyone else, are to be held to account by the people, by great prophets, by whomever - that notion essentially came out of the Sinai desert," Woolsey said.

Woolsey neglects to mention God in his list of those to whom rulers are to be held accountable, which seems odd considering what he's talking about.
It's bizarre to think anyone could imagine there were no laws, in the sense of codified rules of behavior, before Moses. It's extremeley bizarre that a former head of the CIA talks like this in public. And it's frighteningly bizarre that he could suggest, and be quoted internationally suggesting, that anti-Semitism is parallel with a hatred of law.
But it fits together, you just have to turn the pieces upside-down.
We have laws against torture in the US, and we are great respecters of law here and we are not at all anti-Semitic - so we don't torture prisoners, not officially anyway. In the US. Because of the laws against that. So we farm them out to places that don't have those laws. Like Egypt, where they officially torture prisoners. Or surrealest of all localities, Guantanamo Bay, real estate on the south-western tip of Cuba, sworn enemy of the US. We have a naval base on their island. We torture people there. Because we respect the law. The law doesn't say we can't, so we can. This is how it works.
In the same article, sourced to the National Post, quoting Woolsey in a speech he gave at York University in Toronto in November 2003, there's this gleaming, gemlike paragraph:
Meanwhile, Arab countries have succeeded in neutralizing Israel's bid to have the United Nations show as much concern for Israeli children killed in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as it has done for Palestinian youth.
Children...youth. Israeli children killed...Palestinian youth.
Youth what? Just...youth.
The actual statistics are less vague:
Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces 643

Israeli minors killed by Palestinians 113

There are approximately 1.1 million Palestinians in Israel and the OT.
22% of the population. Though reducing the death toll to numbers is dry and too much like some kind of grotesque sports contest, it's the only way to counter the emotional dishonesty of equivalence.

And the houses. The houses destroyed are something like 4,000 to none.

So it's alright to lie, it's alright to torture, it's alright to kill.
Or it isn't.
And above the law there is something much greater than the law.
Or there isn't.


Relativism is poisoning the Western world
"...relativism is the holistic idea that all cultures have the same value, the same ethic dignity, or that each culture has its own values, which cannot be compared to other ones. I strongly oppose this culture. Relativism is false and immoral. Let's suppose that all cultures are the same. Let's suppose that a community is perverse, and in the name of its perverse culture, attacks us. Would we have the right to defend ourselves? Why should we? How could we if all cultures deserve the same respect?"
Marcello Pera/Agenzia Giornalistica Italia 16.May.05

World's Largest Maze
The Pineapple Garden Maze at Dole Plantation
Covering an area of more than two acres with a path length of 1.7 miles, it is made of 11,400 colorful Hawaii plants...
Native to southern Brazil and Paraguay (perhaps especially the Parana-Paraguay River) area where wild relatives occur, the pineapple was apparently domesticated by the Indians and carried by them up through South and Central America to Mexico and the West Indies long before the arrival of Europeans. Christopher Columbus and his shipmates saw the pineapple for the first time on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493 and then again in Panama in 1502. Caribbean Indians placed pineapples or pineapple crowns outside the entrances to their dwellings as symbols of friendship and hospitality. Europeans adopted the motif and the fruit was represented in carvings over doorways in Spain, England, and later in New England for many years. The plant has become naturalized in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Trinidad but the fruits of wild plants are hardly edible.
Spaniards introduced the pineapple into the Philippines and may have taken it to Hawaii and Guam early in the 16th Century. The first sizeable plantation 5 acres (2 ha)—was established in Oahu in 1885. Portuguese traders are said to have taken seeds to India from the Moluccas in 1548, and they also introduced the pineapple to the east and west coasts of Africa. The plant was growing in China in 1594 and in South Africa about 1655. It reached Europe in 1650 and fruits were being produced in Holland in 1686 but trials in England were not success ful until 1712. Greenhouse culture flourished in England and France in the late 1700's. Captain Cook planted pineapples on the Society Islands, Friendly Islands and elsewhere in the South Pacific in 1777.

Julia Morton, Purdue
There's a way the presence of Dole in the Hawaiian Islands, the plantations and what it took, what it takes, to make and run them, is morally no different than the transportation of native ancestral specimens by natives in pre-Columbian South America.
And there's a way it's absolutely different, and morally repugnant. It requires a location - you have to be somewhere to see it, and these days the moral viewpoint's been removed to abstract space, a-local space, or the attempt's been made to move it there.
It's why these questions lose their urgency when the scalpels and magnifying lenses come out. It's how men like Mendel and B.F. Skinner and their progeny and heirs can function with intact personalities. The dissolution of moral reference; there's no true compass once you take everything apart, no moral alignment that isn't subjective; but it depends entirely on that removal of locus, it can only work if moral distinctions are made in an abstract landscape.
In the world, the real one, this one, it's aesthetic, and that's where I'm taking my toys now - I don't give a shit about the moral equivalences, and the relativism and pragmatism. It's ugly what they've done, and that's all I need.
Aesthetics are completely subjective, relative, and momentary. So what?
They work. This other stuff doesn't.
It's wrong because it's ugly - and there's no underlying rule, no blanket coverage, no universal application, just aesthetic disharmony. End of story.
It means the eventual collapse of the rule of law, but hey, that's coming anyway.
Spengler, a columnist at Asia Times, is prissily fussing at the edges of this issue:
Power over nature is good, but it is not the good, for evil men can use this power for evil purposes; the case comes to mind of the physicist Werner Heisenberg attempting to build a nuclear weapon for Hitler. In some fashion music also involves a power over nature, or at least knowledge of nature's potential in the form of harmonies. I am not a scientist, but I am prepared to believe Einstein's claim that the beauty of nature reveals itself in harmony. In music, the capacity to move men by evoking their pre-conscious powers is good, but it is not the good.
Einstein for all his kindness gave the atomic bomb and its exponentially more Satanic offspring to whoever has it now. But the assumption is there's some universal good that's got Heisenberg and Hitler outside the gates, and Einstein and whoever Spengler thinks is the opposite of Hitler inside them.
The overall theme here is getting past the subjectivity of that, the biology of it. And Spengler sort of gets near it with "harmony" as he means it. Though "power over nature" is nowhere close, and "knowledge of nature's potential in the form of harmonies" is gibberish.
The conflict isn't moral, it's aesthetic, and its outcome rests on the architecture of reality, not subjective reality but the complete whole entire thing this is happening within.
It's impossible to know now but it's likely enough that the transport of the earliest pineapples from the places of their origin was done with a more accurate recognition of the harmonic, the larger vibratory pattern of existence, than the establishment and maintenance and expansion of the Dole empire in the Hawaiian islands. The facile attempt to reduce the issue to extractable, quantifiable universal principles is what I'm rejecting.
It's music, the rightness of one tone against alongside through and with another, a series of notes leading to absolute freedom, and out of that freedom a chosen note that was inevitable.
Rules won't work there. Blues was a fundamental rejection of musical rule-making at the same time it transcended the snares of anarchy, because it raised the magnitude of order. Rules won't work there in theory. An aesthetic response will.
The real laws of harmony have to be lived, they die in the abstract.
What you do isn't ugly because it's wrong, it's wrong because it's ugly.

This is why there's no comments here:

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Not exactly spam, not exactly not, but no original email was sent to that address, by anyone at this...


Farewell Neanderthal
Steven Johnson:
"But perhaps the most dangerous property of these books is the fact that they follow a fixed linear path. You can't control their narratives in any fashion-you simply sit back and have the story dictated to you... This risks instilling a general passivity in our children, making them feel as though they're powerless to change their circumstances."
Malcolm Gladwell:
"He's joking, of course, but only in part. The point is that books and video games represent two very different kinds of learning. When you read a biology textbook, the content of what you read is what matters. Reading is a form of explicit learning. When you play a video game, the value is in how it makes you think."
Steven Johnson quoted by Malcolm Gladwell in a review of Johnson's book Everything Bad Is Good for You (The New Yorker 16.05.05) which Gladwell calls at one point, "wonderfully entertaining".
It's also wonderfully entertaining the way a kind of debate can happen around television as it is in potential while the participants completely ignore television as it is in practice. Especially given the vital role television's played in the synthetic election of Bush and the Zionist campaign against Arabia.
But then that's kind of the point. The same anonymous untouchable cohort that's sacrificing white trash and brown folk in its cynical violence against the Islamic world is running television as it is now, so you'd expect there to be a certain amount of horseshit when the subject came up.
How many of the innocent dead in the holocaust of Fallujah went down to the twitch-conditioned kill-reflexes of some twenty year-old gameboy? Speaking of video games and the wonderful skills they bestow.
And let's not talk about what they don't bestow. Let's not talk about how much closer books are to the primal familiar storytelling experience that's been so thoroughly hijacked the idea of your grandmother trying to tell you a story she heard from her grandmother is cringefully embarrassing to most children, who are in turn watching four hours of commercial-symbiot TV programming every day.
When Gladwell reads a biology textbook he's not even on the same planet as I am when I read Milton's poetry, and there's never going to be a virtual reality program that can touch that experience.
Subhumans will always be trying to justify their existence by denying the existence of what's above them.


crypto-Nazi scum
A day before yesterday, in a Letter to the Editor in the local paper in Halifax, a Jewish resident of the area was appalled to read a claim by a Palestinian also from the area that the Israeli conduct in the OT is Nazi-like. Indeed, this self righteous indignation at the gall of critics of Israel in, at times, comparing Israeli soldiers behavior in the OT to nazi-like behavior has been seen quite frequently. However, not as frequently as the accusation of Anti-Semitism, Neoantisemitism, or what have you at any criticism of Israel.
Unfortunately for the Jewish writer to the Halifax paper, his letter coincided with the news about the Israeli commander emptying his magazine into the body of an already dead 13 years old Palestinian girl (Remember the scene in Polanski's movie The Pianist). The futile attempt by the Israeli propaganda machine to claim that the girl was trying to plant a bomb simply adds a Goebelsian halo to this affair.
Zalman Amit/Palestine: Information with Provenance 13.Oct.04
Zalman Amit asked to be added to the Campus Watch blacklist of academics

What I meant about Galton, why the paragraphs are red-fonted, was the naked intent expressed. You'd expect that intent to have disappeared from public view the closer it got to actualization. So it's a little far-fetched, and at the same time not likely to be too easy to see. Unlikely to be, and unlikely to be seen if it is.
One of the assumptions that hangs me up here is how clear the background is. A lingering sense that everybody else knows more about it than I do. But then why write? So the idea is writing toward something like an educative statement. Explication.
So here's a general outline:
In the US we think of slavery as a "southern" racist thing, and we think of it in strictly economic terms. So it's racist and economic. And it's got this aspect of force, violence, physical coercion. Without those terms and aspects we can't use the word slavery to describe a relationship. But what I'm talking about with Galton is as much domestication as it is enslavement. Because it isn't slavery, technically, if the slaves volunteer, if they submit willingly, if they can't see any alternative, or if the only alternative they can see is suffering and/or death. After a few generations of that, it just becomes how things are, a natural state. This explains some of the anti-evolution sentiment around, and its encouragement, because seeing that process, when you're in the middle of it, is pretty scary, and dysfunctional.
Slavery as it's defined now is in opposition to the way things are, it's distinguished by its contrast to what's normal - there's slavery, and here's things as they are. But the relationship Galton's after, and the relationship I'm trying to describe here, is older than money, it's deep in the biology of animate living. Using other forms of life to increase your likelihood of success. To get things done. Parasitic attachment, domestication, predator/prey, plain old everyday carnivorous behavior. It's the species aspect, doing it to your own kind, or what were your own kind, that makes it creepy. Slavery in that light is the beginning of separation, a species branching, splitting.
Seeing that purely as a racist economic gambit means being blind to it otherwise. What I'm trying to show here is something much bigger than simple racist slavery, or economic slavery, something closer to a parasitic infestation, a domestication process that leads to what's essentially a controlled intentional mutation, and if it's successful to a species differentiation like Wells' Morlocks and Eloi, in The Time Machine.
My overall stance isn't a moral one so much as it is a loyal one - loyalty to what's being tamed, to what it is, and was, in its wild state; and against what's doing the domestication, the breaking and control of that thing I can't, and don't want to learn how to, name.
Galton says, and this is a hundred years ago - what a wonderful opportunity for systematic research on human subjects the systemetized ranks of the school system present.
Galton is like Cortez there, like Balboa, Junipero Serra, like Kit Carson. He sticks out because he's early days. After a little while the territory's so crowded it takes exceptional attainment, or notoriety, to stick out. And, if this suspicion is accurate, the real successes of this inhuman research have had to be cataloged out of the public eye. So there's that.
General idea:
Organized ranks of children, with extensive records begun at birth - intelligence tests, behavioral analysis, submission to authority measured from year to year. And eventually, genetic patterns, correspondencies between relatives and localities. That's all available in the data with remote access. Access to specific subjects, especially for deep work, requires something closer to captivity.
Today's specific topic:
The use of drugs, especially marijuana, on the population bloom of American kids born between 1945 and 1960. Between say 1965 and 1980. Not that it's stopped since then. But like television, like Galton's eugenic lust for the ranked and cataloged children of the educational system, its infancy is where the raw intent's most visible, and where the potential of the device is most exposed.
I don't mean the use of the marijuana experience, I mean the use of the illegality of marijuana, and its ubiquity. What you need to imagine is the kids at the edge of the bell curve of intelligence and attitude. These would be dangerous and desirable to the kind of men Galton was spiritual heir to and that he sired spiritually, and the kind of thing those men would create in aggregate, what they are acting in concert.
Dangerous the way Che Guevara was dangerous, desirable the way the anonymous ronin that still flutter through the CIA back channels were desirable.
So you'd need a hook to get those kids, and busting them for what was an almost universal commodity was about as hard as a phone call. Pynchon's Vineland limns that relationship perfectly.
On a less intrigue-loaded plane, being able to harness the strongest threats in black street culture, by busting them for weed, makes it an effective gambit for general social control as well. Like most of the best eugenic tools, it works on a lot of levels and in a lot of crucial areas at once. And it works.
At the other end, this tangent - that down here in the future we have this little barrage of "Just say NO to drugs" messages, the constant anti-drug brainwashing of kids at school and in the media, and the distinct separation of "drugs" from "alcohol" in those messages; as though the presence of alcohol in the culture was for a different purpose than drugs.
This is all presented behind a shield of damaged lives, the image of harmed innocence being the ultimate protection scam - the protein-hoax that opens the cell interior to the virus. Automobile fatalities are the single greatest cause of death for people under 30 in the US, and that's been the case for decades.
You can't show someone on TV having a pleasant drug experience, let alone an illuminating one, though many of the best programs on TV were and are being written by people who've had illuminating drug experiences. The reason you can't show that is it gives kids the wrong message. Same with the naked female breast.
So we can assume that in the minds of the people making those prohibitions giving kids the message that driving a 400 horsepower SUV that gets 11 miles per gallon in four-wheel drive, tearing down a dirt road in some edenic wilderness is a good thing - is the right idea. Showing kids that message is giving them the right idea. Do this and be free.
Brief summary of today's topic:
There's a band of us, brothers and sisters, who were picked out of the lot for qualities we had in common that were rare otherwise. Testing high and off-scale, we were of value to something we were completely unprepared to recognize. Out of that auctioned lot there were those who co-operated and those who didn't, and those who compromised and those who resisted, and all the spectrum of possibilities in between. And like the seemingly bizarre but strategically practical and logical deployment of prohibition against something as innocuous as marijuana, those complicities and punishments are entirely behind the scenes, covered by stories that contain other stories, a cheap spook version of the Panchatantra.
I keep waking up to it, shaking with rage and terror, then something happens; then I wake up again. And sometimes I remember voices and hands that knew, clear eyes without guile; comfort and strength, and valor.
She picked me up in a pickup truck right over there on S_ R_ Avenue, and she said, while we were riding along, "They just keep pulling me in - it's like I have a fishhook stuck in my ass, and they can just pull me in whenever they want."
She's why I wrote this, trying to get to it, get all the way back down to it, past the fear. Back down to the real.

Army Reserve Specialist Aidan Delgado interview on DemocracyNow!

Singapore is already in hell.

Anyone aged 18 or over convicted of carrying
more than 500 grams (17.6 ounces) of cannabis
faces mandatory execution by hanging.

Letchumi Murugesu, la mere du condamne a mort Shanmugan Murugesu, prie chez elle, a Singapour, la veille de l'execution de son fils. La condamnation de Murugesu, pour contrebande d'un kilo de marijuana, a provoque des critiques contre la peine de mort.
Nouvel Observateur - Jour apres Jour 12.05.05
Shanmugam Murugesu, 38, was put to death by hanging at 0600 (2200 GMT) in Changi prison.
His twin 14-year-old sons, Gopalan and Krishnan Murugesu, had handed out hundreds of flyers in shopping districts to seek public support to stop Friday's execution.

Reuters 13.05.05


the religion of choice for urban atheists

The Climate of Man, Part 1
"Midway through it, Zwally told me that he had once seen spy-satellite photos of the region we were crossing, and that they had shown that underneath the snow it was full of crevasses. Later, when I asked Steffen about this, he told me that he had had the whole area surveyed with bottom-seeking radar, and no crevasses of any note had been found. I was never sure which one of them to believe."
Elizabeth Kolbert/New Yorker 18.04.05
Given the subject, and the message, and the inevitable effect it will have on most of those who read it - global warming, it's here, oh no - and given the intellectual prestige, earned by decades of journalistic integrity and diligent reverence for the written language that's still enjoyed by the magazine, that will give that message a weight it wouldn't get anywhere else - it seems odd that that paragraph was important enough to make it through the editorial process, which one assumes is still fairly rigorous at the New Yorker, even now.
Why throw that much ambiguity into it, when the tone of the rest of the article is so emphatically unambiguous? It's jarring, pernicious, it feeds the paranoia it seems no one can leave home without these days.
Maybe there is no global warming at all, maybe we've forgotten what the weather was like, last year or ten years ago, or when we were children. Maybe it's always been changing, and that's all it is - we're looking up from the narrow rows of our short lives and glimpsing the greater cycle of constant change and balance the seasons and the weather really are.
I don't think so. I think it really is changing, and fast and hard, and that there's a quality to the sunlight now - piercing, harsh, a shallowness almost, something not as warm as before even as it burns more quickly. It's not as yellow as it used to be.


[Updated 3:57 pm, 11.05.05]

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Mid'i-an and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebai'oth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.
Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?
Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.
And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee.
Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 60, verses 1-14

Paul Bremer, first American pro-consul in Iraq, viewing the treasures of Nimrud, antiquities from 8th century b.c. Nineveh.


One cannot attribute to these, however, a divine origin or an ex opere operato salvific efficacy, which is proper to the Christian sacraments. Furthermore, it cannot be overlooked that other rituals, insofar as they depend on superstitions or other errors (cf. 1 Cor 10:20-21), constitute an obstacle to salvation.
With the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by him be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity (cf. Acts 17:30-31).
This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism "characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that 'one religion is as good as another'".
If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.
However, "all the children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged". One understands then that, following the Lord's command and as a requirement of her love for all people, the Church "proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life".
Indeed, God 'desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth' (1 Tim 2:4); that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the promptings of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary. Inter-religious dialogue, therefore, as part of her evangelizing mission, is just one of the actions of the Church in her mission ad gentes. Equality, which is a presupposition of inter-religious dialogue, refers to the equal personal dignity of the parties in dialogue, not to doctrinal content, nor even less to the position of Jesus Christ - who is God himself made man - in relation to the founders of the other religions. Indeed, the Church, guided by charity and respect for freedom, must be primarily committed to proclaiming to all people the truth definitively revealed by the Lord, and to announcing the necessity of conversion to Jesus Christ and of adherence to the Church through Baptism and the other sacraments, in order to participate fully in communion with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thus, the certainty of the universal salvific will of God does not diminish, but rather increases the duty and urgency of the proclamation of salvation and of conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Prefect - August 6, 2000
Doctrinal documents, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Roman Curia, Vatican

The Vatican's top biblical scholars recently issued a report that for the first time in nearly 2,000 years apparently validates as legitimate the Jewish wait for the Messiah.
A 210-page document titled "The Jewish People and the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible," by the Pontifical Biblical Commission and authorized by the Vatican's top theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, reportedly states that "the Jewish messianic wait is not in vain."
It reportedly says Jews and Christians share their wait for the Messiah, although Jews are waiting for the first coming and Christians for the second.
The new document also reportedly contains an apology to the Jewish people for anti-Semitic passages contained in the New Testament, and also stresses the continuing importance of the Torah for Christians.
The book comes to light as anti-Semitism appears to be increasing around the world from Christian and Muslim sources.
Eric J. Greenberg/Jewish Week 25.01.02
"His election is confirmation of the cardinals on the issue of continuity," Rabbi David Rosen told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. "There's not a single issue in which the new pope will not be in complete accord with his predecessor. After all, his predecessor appointed him to the most important theological post in the Catholic Church.
"This continuity will be reflected in Catholic-Jewish relations. He has a deep commitment to this issue. And his own national background makes him sensitive to the dangers of anti-Semitism and the importance of Jewish-Catholic reconciliation," said Rosen, the international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee.
"He was also supportive of the establishment of full relations between the Holy See and Israel, and he cares deeply about the welfare of the State of Israel," added Rosen.
Rabbi Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress, called Ratzinger the architect of the policy that John Paul II fulfilled with regard to relations with the Jews.
"He is the architect of the ideological policy to recognize, to have full relations with Israel," Singer said.
In one indication of his respect for Judaism, Ratzinger authorized in 2002 the publication of a report that stated that "the Jewish messianic wait is not in vain." That document also expressed regret that certain passages in the Christian Bible condemning individual Jews have been used to justify anti-Semitism.
The 210-page document, titled "The Jewish People and the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible," says Jews and Christians share their wait for the Messiah, although Jews are waiting for the first coming and Christians for the second.
David Brinn/Jerusalem Post online 19.Apr.05
Ratzinger's grasp of Judaism is reflected by this passage from that document.
"I think we could say that two things are essential to Israel's faith. The first is the Torah, commitment to God's will, and thus the establishment of his dominion, his kingdom, in this world. The second is the prospect of hope, the expectation of the Messiah - the expectation, indeed the certainty, that God himself will enter into this history and create justice, which we can only approximate very imperfectly. The three dimensions of time are thus connected: obedience to God's will bears on an already spoken word that now exists in history and at each new moment has to be made present again in obedience. This obedience, which makes present a bit of God's justice in time, is oriented toward a future when God will gather up the fragments of time and usher them as a whole into his justice."

Joaquin Navarro-Valls was the official Vatican spokesman during the last days of John Paul II and after the election of Benedict XVI, but many of the news articles from Rome quoted the former Archbishop of Paris - Jean Marie Card. Lustiger, in their final paragraphs, rather than Navarro-Valls.
Lustiger, who is a French Jew whose mother and father were killed in the death camp at Auschwitz, was hidden in a convent in France when his parents were deported, disguised as a Catholic boy while Ratzinger was trying to avoid attending meetings of the Hitler Youth in Germany; he converted to Catholicism, became a priest, and rose through the ranks to become Archbishop of Paris - a position from which he recently retired - and was one of a handful of names mentioned as possible successors to John Paul II.
Lustiger had this to say about the founder of Opus Dei, after the announcement of Blessed Josemaria Escriva's canonization:
"Josemaria Escriva is one of those timeless figures who, in some way, shows the attentive observer what the Spirit is carrying out in the Church. The precise task that Providence entrusted to Blessed Josemaria coincides with one of these messages: to put into practice the call of all Christians to holiness."
Opus Dei is right up there with Masonry and the Tri-Lateral Commission as a purported conspiracy of the elect against the preterite. Rigorous Intuition is a good place to start looking into that corner of the room.
"...the expectation of the Messiah - the expectation, indeed the certainty, that God himself will enter into this history and create justice, which we can only approximate very imperfectly. The three dimensions of time are thus connected: obedience to God's will bears on an already spoken word that now exists in history and at each new moment has to be made present again in obedience. This obedience, which makes present a bit of God's justice in time, is oriented toward a future when God will gather up the fragments of time and usher them as a whole into his justice."

Erev Moshiach - the Eve of Redemption

Many people are talking about the end of days, the coming of Moshiach, the Messianic Era. But for most people, even those well-informed about the subject, there is a great lack of clarity.
The truth is found in the holy books of the Torah (Bible) and amidst the secrets of the kabbalists, where it remains obscured from the eyes of even learned scholars.
Yet the greatest of Jewish mystics, the revered sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (author of the holy Zohar) tells us in that when the Messianic era approaches, these mysteries will be revealed even to little children. We are rapidly approaching that era - and can we see Rabbi Shimon's words being fulfilled. Read for yourself the ASTONISHING statements of a young Jewish child which describe the redemption forseen by the ancient Jewish prophets.
You are invited to what we are confident is a glimpse of the long-awaited and soon to be realized redemption of the Jewish people and, through them, the entire human race and all of Creation.
NOTE: To protect his privacy we refer to the boy as "Eli", though this is not his real name.
Achdus (Unity) - Jews will cease to be individuals. While remaining in separate bodies, all Jews (including those who are not observant, but not the "tricker Jews" - see below) will feel as one with each other and with "all Jews who will ever be born and who were already born and who are alive now." All of us will know what is about to unfold. "We will ask other people 'do you feel me inside you?' If they say 'yes', they're a good guy. If they say 'no', they're a good non-Jew. If they don't say anything, they're a bad guy and we'll have to kill them in the war." Every Jew will know everything that every other Jew knows. We will have our own opinions, but we will know the opinions of everyone else. Eli says he thinks this will take place at dawn on the Tuesday of 7 Sivan (2nd day of Shavuos 5765/June 14 2005)
there are going to be simultaneous earthquakes ("everyday, everywhere") that shake the entire world, except the Land of Israel. All the highest skyscrapers will fall down. Eli thinks this will take place in Elul 5765 (September 2005) and continue for two months, through the end of Tishrei 5766 (October 2005)
Jews will not be nervous or scared from the earthquake, and will not be hurt. Among gentiles, only "not-nice guys" will be scared, only "not-nice guys" will be hurt.
The rainbow (mentioned in the Zohar) will tell the bad gentiles to run away because Moshiach is here. Bad gentiles will run away in fear, but we will "comfort them" to bring them out of hiding so that we can kill them once and for all ("otherwise they would still bother us and tease us.")
The great shofar of Moshiach will be the last thing, after we return to our places.
8) What should I do while I wait for Moshiach?

Most important is - DON'T JUST WAIT PASSIVELY. The coming of Moshiach "is dependent on our actions and [divine] service" (Tanya, ch. 37). As the Rambam says, all it takes is one mitzvah to tilt the scale of merit of the entire world. For Jews, the call of the hour includes:
Constant growth - meaning steady improvement in the quality and quantity of our observance of Torah and mitzvos. This applies to all Jews - those not presently Torah observant as well as those who are.
Whatever your present level of observance, take a step towards increasing your observance of G-d's commandments, because they are the divinely-given way of connecting to the Almighty.
Increasing our learning of the Inner Torah (the secrets of Torah primarily as revealed in the teachings of Chassidus) which is the way we "open our eyes" to the messianic reality and bring the redemption closer;
Exhibiting true Ahavas Yisroel (love of our fellow Jew), regardless of their politics, level of observance, etc. The Baal Shem Tov said that G-d loves every Jew like the love of a father for his only son - and there is no love of G-d without love of the Jewish people. While the Jewish people are in separate bodies, our souls are truly one (see Tanya, ch. 32);
Explaining to others that the Land of Israel is G-d's gift to the Jewish people in perpetuity. No leader - Jew or gentile - has the right to give any portion of it others. To attempt do so places the Jewish people (and thus the entire world) in great spiritual danger. Additionaly, the military risks involved in such actions should be obvious to all...
It would be a gross misrepresentation to imply that these are the views of Jews generally, or that any one perspective can be said to belong to Jews generally. There are serious Jewish
"movements, groups and organizations whose ideology regarding Zionism and the so-called 'State of Israel' is that of the unadulterated Torah position that any form of Zionism is heresy and that the existence of the so-called 'State of Israel' is illegitimate."
That doesn't mean they're taken seriously, in a political sense. In the same way Christians like Wendell Berry aren't taken seriously - they're ignored because of the absence of any immediate ability to harm or impede the larger groups who use their nominally shared beliefs as a shield.
In much the same way the innocence of millions of Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust is used as a shield by murderers who are themselves Jews; or the way the sacrifice of Jesus and the compassion and martyrdom of his early followers is used as a shield, by grasping selfish men who control institutions that were once Christian churches.
But that's the present.
We aren't going to stop the madness by following along behind it, documenting its crimes and hypocrisies. Not by that alone, as essential as it is.
"Eli" predicts the end is here. Fundamentalists are gorging themselves on dreams of fire and salvation. The glaciers are melting. The US is still burning nearly 400 million gallons of gasoline every day.
A lot of what seems pressing now will look like a temporary phase later on. A transition. And that's where the morality smears into utility. That's how men like Ratzinger and Lustinger and Negroponte and Cheney can be the men they are and still look in the mirror.
It shifts, and fades, and becomes something else.
America, the whole thing, North and South, as it is now was founded by treachery and murder no different except in its larger scale from the so-called "savagery" of its original inhabitants, yet at some point any good that happens on either of those continents has to come from that - in spite of it, yes, but from it, out of it.
So Ratzinger serves something he believes is higher than flawed humanity, and redemptive of his compromising. The ends, sanctifying the means.
That isn't as alien to Christianity as it first seems. The elevation of a crime to the primal radiance of redemptive sacrifice is the mystery at the center of Christian faith. The murder, or the unjustified execution of Jesus, is turned into the one act that will redeem the lost souls of the human race. So the means, the suffering and death of the holiest human being that ever lived - the intentional criminal torture and killing of that perfect being - is transformed into a necessity, something that had to happen so that the rest of us could gain eternal life. The ends absolutely justifying the means - so thoroughly justifying them that the dynamic of it is invisible in the midst of all the blood and glory.
Martyrdom is the elevation of something wrong into something holy, at least as it's been dogmatized by the Christian church.
And there are martyrs we don't know about, if you'll permit me a small tangent; there are martyrs whose refusal to compromise in the time and place they were forced to choose meant they would never be known for having done that; courageous men and women who went into it alone, and were gone; and that's what makes the remembering we can do more than just an accusation.
That's what makes the mothers of los desaparecidos more than just grieving women - in their witness they've shaped what we are.

Ratzinger on Liberation Theology:
In this connection I would like to mention the interpretation of death and resurrection given by one of the leading liberation theologians. First of all he once again opposes "universalist" conceptions by asserting that resurrection is in the first place a hope for those who are crucified, who make up the majority of men: all the millions who are subjected to a slow crucifixion by structural injustice. But faith also participates in Jesus' lordship over history by setting up the Kingdom, that is, by fighting for justice and integral liberation, by transforming unjust structures into more human ones. This lordship over history is exercised by repeating in history the gesture by which God raised Jesus, i.e., by giving life to those who are crucified in history. Man has taken over God's gesture - this manifests the whole transformation of the biblical message in an almost tragic way, when one thinks how this attempted imitation of God has worked out in practice and continues to do so.
One can understand, therefore, that this new interpretation of Christianity should have exercised an increasing fascination over theologians, priests and religious, particularly against the background of Third World problems. To say "no" to it must seem to them to be a flight from reality as well as a denial of reason and morality. On the other hand, if one considers how radical this reinterpretation of Christianity is, it is all the more pressing to find the right answer to the challenge which it presents. We shall only survive this crisis if we succeed in making the logic of faith visible in an equally compelling manner and in presenting it as a logic of reality, i.e., manifesting the concrete force of a better answer attested in lived experience. Since it is so, since thought and experience, interpretation and realization, are equally called for, it is a task for the whole Church. Theology alone is insufficient, Church authority alone is insufficient. Since the phenomenon of liberation theology indicates a lack of conversion in the Church, a lack of radical faith, only an increase in conversion and faith can arouse and elicit those theological insights and those decisions on the part of the shepherds which will give an answer to the magnitude of the question.

Ratzinger slammed the door in the faces of the poor of Latin America in his official capacity as a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. And somewhere in his heart he makes that justifiable by what he believes will come out of all this, eventually.
He saw the threat to the church of the legal, and public relations, reaction to the endemic pathology of pedophilia in the Catholic priesthood, and he slammed the door in the faces of its known victims. As an official representative of God.
It's morality as an evolutionary gambit, a strategy to ensure the survival of his institution.
Seeing the implicit threat in a valiant dedication to the welfare of peasants that transcends dogma, he insists on choosing the supremacy of dogma. A dogma whose emphasis has shifted away from the compassionate words and actions of Christ in the Gospels, to the intolerant eschatology of the Old Testament and Revelations and the business advice of the Epistles.
A simple answer to the reasonable statements he presents to defend his choices is the question - where was the church while the "Liberation Theologists", and the priests and nuns who were not Marxist idealogues but Christian idealists, were on the front lines being murdered for their compassion?
Preserving itself among the the coalescing Leviathans of economic rage and power. Waiting its turn in the dance. The coming-together of the pieces of the whole more important than the unpleasantness necessary to make it happen.
The binding together, out of many - one. A higher purpose. Justification.

exchange granddaughters
That's precisely why the Soviet Union solemnly declared throughout the entire world that never-never-will it use nuclear weapons first against any country. In general we propose to discontinue further production of them and to proceed to the abolition of all the stockpiles on earth.
It seems to me that this is a sufficient answer to your second question: "Why do you want to wage war against the whole world or at least the United States?" We want nothing of the kind. No one in our country-neither workers, peasants, writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor children, nor members of the government-want either a big or "little" war.
We want peace-there is something that we are occupied with: growing wheat, building and inventing, writing books and flying into space. We want peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the planet. For our children and for you, Samantha.
I invite you, if your parents will let you, to come to our country, the best time being this summer. You will find out about our country, meet with your contemporaries...
[letter from Yuri Andropov to Samantha Smith, April 1983]
Though many people in the U.S. expressed positive sentiments towards her, a certain part of its population, including many 1930s-1950s emigrants from the Soviet Union as well as other American citizens, looked unfavorably on her trip, arguing that she was only being used as propaganda.
Samantha Smith was mourned by about 1000 people at her funeral in Washington[1985] , including Vladimir Kulagin of the Soviet Embassy in Washington, who read a personal message of condolence from Mikhail Gorbachev. However, no representative of the American [Reagan Administration] government was present. She and her father were buried near Houlton where she was born.

Wikipedia entry
link Wikipedia featured article 11.May.05
Samantha Smith Foundation [dormant]
a diamond, a flower, a mountain, and a planet

by-products in the Ecuadorian jungle

Despite the contentions of Texaco's lawyers, there is nothing subtle about the way the contamination occurred. Above the small town of San Carlos, a rudimentary barbed-wire fence rings an unlined pit set among the trees. From there, it is a clear downhill run to the Huamagacu river, where the women of the town do their washing. Children often come here to swim, too.
"Seventy-five per cent of the children here have skin problems - abscesses and pus spots and raw, itchy skin," said Rosa Moreno, one of four field nurses in the town. "Plenty of others have skin or respiratory problems. Some of them lose their hair. We've had 12 people here die of cancer."
San Carlos, not far from a well and pumping station center called Sacha, has been the community most intently studied by medical professionals, thanks to a European couple, Miguel San Sebastian and Anna-Karin Hurtig, who have meticulously gathered data on the town.

It is almost impossible to make a definitive link between environmental blight and a cancer cluster - a point Texaco has rammed home in court at every opportunity - but the two doctors have demonstrated over and over that San Carlos's cancer rates are dramatically higher than in similar communities untouched by oil pollution. Conditions such as childhood leukemia were all but unknown in the area until the oilmen arrived. Now the leukemia has taken on the proportions of a small epidemic, with 91 confirmed cases and counting.

Andrew Gumbel/IndependentUK/commondreams 27.Apr.05


He rode the streets of America's capital in a big black limousine and wore black capes - one with a red lining and another covered with pictures of doves
"Shame is for sissies"
... in exchange for money and political influence ...

As part of Washington's image machinery for more than two decades, Edward von Kloberg III did his best to sanitize some of the late 20th century's most notorious dictators as they sought favors and approval from U.S. officials.
A legend of sorts in public relations circles, he counted as clients Saddam Hussein of Iraq; Samuel K. Doe of Liberia; Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania; the military regime in Burma; Guatemalan businessmen who supported the country's murderous, military-backed government; Mobutu Sese Seko of the former Zaire; and, in a figurative coup of his own, the man who overthrew Mobutu and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
link path xymphora

Here's one:
Moral bandwidth. The radius out from the self of things you'd sacrifice for; its depth being how much you'd sacrifice. Not what you care about.
We can't make it about caring because caring has been prostheticized, made into an artificial organ, an extension of the camera and the screen. People think they care about what they see on TV; a more accurate measure is what you'd be willing to give up in exchange for an increase in the well-being of someone or something else. It gets its 3-D from how far into the future you'd be willing to take it.
And no fair putting it on metaphysical ideas; saying you'll sacrifice for God is dishonest - when your received idea of God is of someone that puts more value on you than on anything else - and it's just as selfish as the more obvious selfishness of gimme gimme. Look at the appeal of fundamentalist religion - you'll go to heaven, you'll be saved. Your kids, your grandkids, are on their own.


Shorter version of the long post below:
De Beers started the brutally racist laws of apartheid to protect its lucrative diamond trade. It grew rich and powerful, and the men who owned and ran it grew rich and powerful directly through the brutality of apartheid.
Apartheid in Africa has ended, but their heirs get to keep the money, and the power. Just as the heirs of the victims of apartheid get to keep what they inherit.
The linkage of diamonds with engagement and marriage is recent, an artificial tradition instigated and perpetuated by the diamond industry; as is the economic value of diamonds themselves, which are only as valuable as they are rare, and desired.
De Beers implicitly owns the Botswana government and is 50% shareholder in Debswana Diamond with it. Botswana is the largest producer of uncut diamonds in the world.
De Beers, through its surrogates, has forcibly evicted the Kalahari Bushmen from their ancestral homelands, and resettled them in cinderblock "camps" where they are deteriorating spiritually and physically. The latest legal denial of their claims issued by the wholly-owned de Beers subsidiary Botswana government was accompanied by testimony from a government prosecutor that the Bushmen are being moved to "protect them from game".
An ecologist testified in a Botswana court to what every middle-class middle school kid in the US knows - that the Bushmen are good for the game, and the game are good for the Bushmen.
They're being evicted for the same reason apartheid was instituted, to protect the diamond industry.
The Bushmen have lived in the Kalahari for 20,000 years.

"Having spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising this product, De Beers is deeply concerned about anything that could damage the image of diamonds as a symbol of love, beauty, and purity,"
photo: Odd Andersen/AFPbling fever

The De Beers diamond cartel, which controls two-thirds of the $7 billion yearly trade in uncut diamonds and owns half the producing mines, has joined [in August 2000] the chorus against what are sanctimoniously called "blood diamonds," claiming it will not buy such stones and urging that all diamonds sold worldwide be attached to certificates of origin.
A number of liberal groups, most prominently Global Witness in London, have helped shape this campaign against the trade in "illegally" mined gems, which they say fuels wars on the African continent.
A closer look, however, demonstrates that this hullabaloo is not about halting wars and other conflicts in Africa--many of which the U.S., British, and French governments are deeply involved in. It is about [...] protecting the De Beers diamond cartel.

T.J. Figueroa
The Militant(Vol.64/No.33)



"We will make the most of all our resources especially our people and our country's diamonds. Planned and managed growth of our country's diamond industry will benefit the nation and it's people. Every employee will work hand in hand with the company to make the most of their opportunities for career growth and development with Debswana.
By looking at our world differently every day, we will find new and better ways of doing things. The way we do things today may not always be the best way. We are always ready to hear new ideas or try new and different ways of working. Our successes and mistakes are our lessons for the future."
Debswana (De Beers/Botswana) Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd

De Beers, based in South Africa and the United Kingdom, has dominated the world diamond trade for more than a century. Its ownership structures are closely bound up with those of the Anglo American Corp., the vast South African conglomerate, of which it owns about 40 percent.
Both companies raked in massive profits from the labor of superexploited Africans driven off their land and into the mines, starting at the end of the 19th century. Later this brutal system was codified under apartheid white-minority rule. Both companies were bastions of support for the racist regime.
Diamonds were discovered in 1867 near Kimberley, South Africa, which became the source of the De Beers empire. It was no coincidence that Kimberley was also the birthplace in 1876 of South Africa's notorious pass laws--and mass trials of Africans for violating them--as De Beers and other mining capitalists sought to brand labor in a black skin as rightless.
De Beers was founded by Cecil Rodes, the infamous British colonizer. By the opening of the 20th century, De Beers controlled 90 percent of the international diamond trade. In response to falling prices during the depression of the 1930s, the company initiated a policy of buying up virtually all diamonds mined worldwide and bolstering its fortunes through monopoly pricing of the rock, which is mostly sold as a luxury jewelry item. De Beers today dominates the diamond trade not only through mining, but through its Diamond Trading Company, until recently called the Central Selling Organization, which controls most of world output.

T.J. Figueroa, ibid.
Deeper History

In 1867 a pretty pebble found near the Orange River, in the wilds of South Africa, was identified as a 21-carat diamond. Placer diamonds were found between the Vaal and Orange Rivers later in the year, and in March 1869 an 83-carat diamond turned up. By the end of 1870 there was a diamond rush, and by the end of 1871 two well-defined areas were recognized as the source areas, or "pipes", for the diamonds. Four pipes were discovered all together at the town of Kimberley. In 1872 the pipes were giant open quarries worked by 2500 miners and 10,000 hired laborers.
The Kimberley workings were 190 feet deep by 1875, and miners were hauling material out of the hole on aerial ropeways which covered the pit like spider webs. Soon the hauling was driven by machinery on the edge of the pit, and in 1875 the first steam-engine was installed. The cost of clearing away debris increased as the mines deepened, and slowly steam engines became necessary rather than optional. The rock became harder with depth, and by the end of the 1870s, the costs of mining became too great for one-man operations. The number of claim owners in the Kimberley pit dropped dramatically as people bought out their neighbors.
New investment poured in in 1880. Cecil Rhodes and seven partners owned a block of 90 claims in the De Beers Mining Company Ltd, named for its land holdings on the old De Beers ranch.
Rhodes was a successful politician, and he helped to draft laws that protected the mining companies. Taxation on mining profits was kept very low. The Diamond Trade Act was aimed at diamond stealing and smuggling, but it also set two very dangerous social precedents.
First, anyone found with an uncut diamond was required to explain how it came into his possession, that is, guilt was assumed while innocence had to be proved. This is a European concept, but is not usually found in English or American law.
Second, the Diamond Trade Act allowed the companies to set up "searching-houses" in a system of routine surveillance, searching, and stripping by company police. This curtailment of private rights and personal liberty became a fact of South African society. The companies were forced by strikes to be more lenient to their white workers than to blacks. The logical extension of this policy was to set up segregated, controlled, fenced-off compounds to house Africans for the length of their work contracts with the company: the first apartheid.

Chapter 15 Diamonds, Gold, and South Africa
Richard Cowen

Wider History

In 1870, however, huge diamond mines were discovered near the Orange River, in South Africa, where diamonds were soon being scooped out by the ton. Suddenly, the market was deluged with diamonds. The British financiers who had organized the South African mines quickly realized that their investment was endangered; diamonds had little intrinsic value -- and their price depended almost entirely on their scarcity. The financiers feared that when new mines were developed in South Africa, diamonds would become at best only semiprecious gems.
The major investors in the diamond mines realized that they had no alternative but to merge their interests into a single entity that would be powerful enough to control production and perpetuate the illusion of scarcity of diamonds. The instrument they created, in 1888, was called De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., incorporated in South Africa. As De Beers took control of all aspects of the world diamond trade, it assumed many forms. In London, it operated under the innocuous name of the Diamond Trading Company. In Israel, it was known as "The Syndicate." In Europe, it was called the "C.S.O." -- initials referring to the Central Selling Organization, which was an arm of the Diamond Trading Company. And in black Africa, it disguised its South African origins under subsidiaries with names like Diamond Development Corporation and Mining Services, Inc. At its height -- for most of this century -- it not only either directly owned or controlled all the diamond mines in southern Africa but also owned diamond trading companies in England, Portugal, Israel, Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland.
De Beers proved to be the most successful cartel arrangement in the annals of modern commerce. While other commodities, such as gold, silver, copper, rubber, and grains, fluctuated wildly in response to economic conditions, diamonds have continued, with few exceptions, to advance upward in price every year since the Depression. Indeed, the cartel seemed so superbly in control of prices -- and unassailable -- that, in the late 1970s, even speculators began buying diamonds as a guard against the vagaries of inflation and recession. The diamond invention is far more than a monopoly for fixing diamond prices; it is a mechanism for converting tiny crystals of carbon into universally recognized tokens of wealth, power, and romance. To achieve this goal, De Beers had to control demand as well as supply. Both women and men had to be made to perceive diamonds not as marketable precious stones but as an inseparable part of courtship and married life. To stabilize the market, De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would inhibit the public from ever reselling them. The illusion had to be created that diamonds were forever -- "forever" in the sense that they should never be resold.

Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?
Edward Jay Epstein


Recent History

In early 1967, after a 12 year search, a team of De Beers geologists found abundant quantities of ilmenite and garnet - two of the chief indicators of diamondiferous kimberlite - near the village of Letlhakane in north-central Botswana. After further exploration, the pipe at Orapa was found later that year.
During the sampling and evaluation at Orapa, two smaller pipes were uncovered some 40 kilometres south-east of Orapa, near the Letlhakane village.
The De Beers Botswana Mining Company was formed on 23 June 1969 and in July 1971, Orapa Mine began production. By the time Letlhakane Mine was opened in 1975, the Government of Botswana had increased its shareholding in the company from 15 to 50 percent.
In 1973, De Beers geologists discovered the Jwaneng pipe, which would become the richest diamond mine in the world. It was officially opened by the former President of the Republic of Botswana, His Excellency Sir Ketumile Masire, in August 1982.
In 1991, the company changed its name to Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd and established its new corporate headquarters at Debswana House in Gaborone.
Damtshaa, the fourth Debswana mine, commenced production in October 2002. The mine is located some 25 km east of Orapa, from where it is administered.
The lucrative Debswana mines have contributed enormously to the economic growth of Botswana, not only in terms of direct foreign exchange and government revenues generated by diamond sales, but also through the multiplier effect on taxes, employment and infrastructure in remote areas.
Debswana produced approximately 28,4 million carats in 2002, making Botswana the largest producer of diamonds by value in the world.

Debswana (De Beers/Botswana) Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd

De Beers Rebuts Accusations

The De Beers Group issued a statement denying accusations by human rights organization Survival International that De Beers' mining and exploration in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve caused Botswana's resettlement program for Bushmen tribes in the vicinity.
Botswana says it is conducting the resettlement to better provide health care, education and other development needs for the Bushmen, who migrated to the Central Kalahari after De Beers produced water in the area as an offshoot of a drilling exploration.
"Diamond mining does not require the removal or resettlement of any community ... indeed we welcome the presence of local populations to whom we can offer employment." De Beers also said Botswana's resettlement program applies to Bushmen throughout the country, not just in the Central Kalahari.

Professional Jeweler 15.Jul.02

Forbes Lists > World's Richest People > #103 >Nicky Oppenheimer
Africa's richest man derives most of his wealth from De Beers, the diamond giant he took private in 2001.


diamonds and gold

Israel long has been an established leader in the market for polished diamonds, selling 50 percent of all the stones worldwide and exporting $5.3 billion worth in 2000, up from $4.5 billion in 1999.
Until recently, not much had changed since the industry was established in 1936 by two Romanian immigrants who learned the polishing trade in Belgium.
The fledgling industry burgeoned during World War II, when European diamond centers fell under German occupation. At the time, Israel became a haven for European diamantaires, as diamond dealers are known, and a source for polished diamonds.
The industry's growth has depended on a reliable supply of rough, uncut diamonds -- and that supply is now in jeopardy.
Israel had relied heavily on the De Beers Group diamond syndicate to obtain a steady supply of pewter-colored rough stones that could be cut and polished for sale.
Last year, however, De Beers began limiting its number of rough diamond clients in Israel as part of a worldwide campaign to focus on mining and marketing, making it almost impossible for small- and medium-sized dealers to buy the gems.
"The genius in diamond deals is getting the" largest "percentage of rough, uncut diamonds," said Moshe Schnitzer, chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute and one of the founders of Israel's diamond bourse, the self-contained, four-building complex in Ramat Gan.
At present, 95 percent of the world's rough diamonds are marketed by the De Beers Group, which has become known by its marketing arm DTC since partnering with the luxury products group LVMH - Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA - to create an independent company marketing premium diamond jewelry.

Industry changes put Israel's diamond trade in the rough
Jessica Steinberg/JTA
An Israeli tycoon is helping to force De Beers to surrender its control of the world's diamond market.
Economist UK

gold and diamonds

The 'Bushmen' are the oldest inhabitants of southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20,000 years. Their home is the vast expanse of the Kalahari desert.
There are many different Bushman peoples - they have no collective name for themselves, and the terms 'Bushman', 'San', 'Basarwa' (in Botswana) and so on are used variously. Most of those which are widely understood are imposed by outsiders and have some pejorative sense; many now use and accept the term 'Bushmen'. They speak a variety of languages, all of which incorporate 'click' sounds represented in writing by symbols such as ! or /.
They are fighting for their right to return to their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and to hunt and gather freely.
The case began in July 2004, but has faced severe delays. Nine witnesses have given evidence so far, and it took twenty days for the court to hear Albertson's evidence alone. This week government lawyer Sidney Pilane announced that he planned to call thirty witnesses to the box. Pilane seemed set to delay proceedings even further by objecting to every question posed by the Bushmen's lawyer.
The controversy surrounding the case recently took a new twist - the government is pushing a bill though parliament to remove Bushman protection from the Constitution. The clause to be scrapped forms the central plank of the Bushmen's case.
The government attorney in the Bushmen court case has explained the Bushmen's eviction by telling the court, 'It was decided that residents should be in areas where they could be protected against game.'
Survival International is a worldwide organisation supporting tribal peoples. It stands for their right to decide their own future and helps them protect their lives, lands and human rights. It receives no government funding and is dependent on donations from the public. To find out more or to help see -
Survival International

Until the beginning of the eighteenth century all known diamonds came from the Golconda region near Hyderabad in India. Pliny wrote an incredible account of how diamonds were found in an inaccessible valley. The locals threw meat into the valley and the diamonds stuck to it. Eagles carried off the meat to their nests from which the diamonds were recovered.

Bushmen and Diamonds: (Un)civil society in Botswana by Kenneth Good
reviewed by Richard Bartlett at African Review of Books

Exiles of the Kalahari
Mother Jones Magazine Jan/Feb 2005

The Diamond Invention
Edward Jay Epstein

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