...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



and lemme tell ya they got some big ones:

Pelosi raised the shackles of the White House after her aides announced she would make a groundbreaking visit to Syria, which the United States accuses of harbouring terror organisations
AFP/Yahoo 31.03.07


I may get around to more about whatever this is, but for now the oddness of people reacting so adamantly and sometimes violently to "threats of violence" etc. at the near-cartoon level they're being made in the very marginal venues they're being made in, and though recognizing the immediate concern and potential for fear unchecked in the nature of the threats having been made to people unused to the experience of real, non-theatrical, non-remote, non-mediated violence, still, watching that unfold while at the same time, publicly, and with the full volume and saturation of the nation's vestigial news media broadcasting every mad word of it, the President of the United States George W. Bush - who is right now in the middle of proving beyond any shade of doubt that he is willing and able to kill and maim, or cause or set in motion the machinery for the killing and maiming of, hundreds of thousands of people in another country, real human beings with real human lives, with sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and all the needs and wants and hopes and hungers of human living, and who has willingly sacrificed tens of thousands of people from his own country, life and limb and promise, or proved that he will willingly be the public face of the machinery that causes them to be sacrificed, leaving aside for purposes of brevity the fact of his, or his as representative of the machinery he willingly is the public face of, negation of nearly every principle of liberty and justice in America that America was supposedly about, that Americans have fought for, sacrificed for, championed and preserved and protected as well as they could see to, negating it all except for those laws guaranteeing the freedoms that protect the wealthy and powerful and their sycophants and would-be successors - while this man publicly and repeatedly threatens to do it again, to someone else, to someone new, to someone different, making the same noises as he did last time and striking the same belligerent poses as he did then, only toward Iran this time, with no evident remorse for the deaths he's caused already, that continue to this minute to accumulate in a place and by extension a world that edges nearer hell every day, that those same valiant cries for punishment of photoshopping vandals and misogynistic trolls, the little sadistic ghosts that haunt the cluttered attics of the internet, and those outraged cries for action from the FBI and legal punishment and something must be done, that those same loud voices are stone silent or near enough to it when it comes to the President and the Administration and a complicit and toothless Congress and whatever machinery that mess really represents now, that in regard to that "threat of violence" those same clamoring-for-justice voices are in the main as silent as well-fed sheep out in green pasture on a warm spring day - and it is, you could say, more than a little ironic.

Call, shout, sit down, march, donate, write, protest
report suspicious activity
Death Swamps
drunk myself silly on absinthe then went and jumped from the Eiffel Tower


ineffectual kibitzing:

You need not reduce social ills to personal morality — or let Bush off the hook for his wholly owned war — to acknowledge the complicity attached to mere citizenship in a war-making, imperial nation.
James Carroll/ Boston Globe/CommonDreams 26.03.07
So how does someone who can barely speak coherently put together enough power to get this whole Iraq nightmare thing up and running? How does a man who's failed in every business venture he's been handed create the circumstances and conditions that bend the wills and elicit the acquiesence of men who are proved powerful cunning and massively self-interested? Are we expected to believe George Bush himself is sitting on enough bad footage to blackmail the American power elite and get them to go along with "his" war?
And doesn't the constant iteration of that "Bush's war" mantra mean that as soon as he's out of office the trouble's pretty much over?
Even if it means there'll be some inevitable cleaning up after him?
Sean Penn, God love him, a man who can deliver like this -
"Iraq is not our toilet. It's a country of human beings whose lives that were once oppressed by Saddam are now in Dante's Inferno."
Yet, he's been sounding that same three-note chorus over and over, and it's really starting to bother me. Great to get out there in front of everybody and talk hard and valiant, but then whoa, what happened?
"Bush's war" my ass. My royal Irish ass.
Even someone as connected and paid for as Joe Klein, God love him, back in 2003 - in February of 2003 - was saying things like:
"In service of the neoconservative fantasy — and of the Likud government, which was handily re-elected last week — the Bush Administration has been dangerously out of touch in the Middle East."
"...because a stronger Israel is very much embedded in the rationale for war with Iraq. It is a part of the argument that dare not speak its name, a fantasy quietly cherished by the neo-conservative faction in the Bush Administration and by many leaders of the American Jewish community."
In Time Magazine, God love it.
And as mealy-mouthed as that is, still it draws the obvious line between the obvious dots.
It's called "the Bush Administration" because George Bush is its public face, not because he has anything to do with originating and setting its policies, or, God forbid, implementing them.

and had spoken about breaking the law:

The documents show that the Police Department's Intelligence Division sent undercover detectives around the city, the country and the world to collect information on political activists and others...
"The documents were not written for consumption by the general public," wrote Peter Farrell, senior counsel in the city's Law Department. "The documents contain information filtered and distilled for analysis by intelligence officers accustomed to reading intelligence information."
Dwyer/NYTimes/CommonDreams 26.03.07

there are still wise people in the US

A[n] heroic effort has been launched to keep the toads out of the state

the woman who is shopping for Easter shoes for her kids works at Wal-Mart

a sandwich, two juice drinks, two cookies, an apple and an orange


Israel accused of apartheid by South African lawyer
life goes on, but the scars are still deep
"We are handling them with kid gloves," said one official. "After all, they are only little children..."

Cherry Blossoms in Boston

Collapse of Arctic Sea Ice 'Has Reached Tipping-Point'

dala: The Queensland lungfish

World Water Day March 22

Giant catfish, one of the world's largest freshwater fish, have not been caught in the Mekong in northern Thailand since 2001.

...big-money water-infrastructure projects with the backing of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other lending institutions, usually with multinational conglomerates from the richer nations as project partners...

...more than 45,000 large dams - those that are more than 60 meters high - are operational in more than 150 countries, while another 1,500 or so are under construction...

We've assumed that water is a limitless resource. It's not anymore

Observations are in the very upper edge of the projections


But it's going to take years for the software to get installed.

If there's a hope for surveillance-as-deterrent, it may lie in places like Chicago. Instead of forcing squads of monitor jockeys to make sense of confusing, overlapping video feeds, the city is installing video understanding algorithms into its spycam network. Come too close to a restricted government building, leave a package on an El platform, or even hang out for too long on a ghetto street corner and - smile! - you're on Criminal Camera.

Jeff Wells on the real thing


So I know the world:

Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do and how you do it.
Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani III, KBE
Protesters were demanding that the Planning Commission (chaired by the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh) take immediate action to curb the severe water shortages being experienced by communities across India as a result of Coca-Cola and Pepsico's mining of groundwater.

"We are here on World Water Day to bring attention to one of the world's worst abusers of water, the Coca-Cola company," said Nandlal Master of Lok Samiti and National Alliance of People's Movements, one of the organizers of the march and also detained. "The Coca-Cola company has destroyed the lives of thousands of people in India as a result of its thirst for water."
Coca-Cola's operations in India have come under intense scrutiny as many communities are experiencing severe water shortages as well as contaminated groundwater and soil, directly as a result of Coca-Cola's bottling operations. The company has also been found to sell products in India with dangerously high levels of pesticides.
Over 40 Detained for Protesting Coca-Cola on World Water Day - ScoopNZ

AMY GOODMAN: I'm looking at a piece in the Canadian press, headlined "Canadian Boy and Iranian Parents Arrive in Toronto After Release from Texas Jail." And it says that just as they were leaving Houston, they said Iranian security police came onto the plane and escorted them into a room - this is when they were deported back to Iran, where after a while Kevin was released to the care of his grandmother. So, when they were deported from Canada to Iran, both parents were detained - is this right, Andrew? And when they got out, they escaped and then tried to head back to Canada through Turkey?

ANDREW BROUWER: Yeah, that's right. They were detained on arrival at the airport in Iran. Both parents were detained and tortured - Masomeh for about a month, and Majid for six months - where they were both brutally treated. And that's why they eventually decided they had to try again to get out...
9-Year-Old Canadian Citizen and Iranian Parents Arrive in Toronto After Six Weeks in Texas Immigration Jail - Democracy Now!


The End of the Future of Reason:

Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence. The rest is self-deception, set to music.

Out further still, one meets religious moderates and liberals of diverse hues — people who remain supportive of the basic scheme that has balkanized our world into Christians, Muslims and Jews, but who are less willing to profess certainty about any article of faith. Is Jesus really the son of God? Will we all meet our grannies again in heaven? Moderates and liberals are none too sure.
Those on this spectrum view the people further toward the center as too rigid, dogmatic and hostile to doubt, and they generally view those outside as corrupted by sin, weak-willed or unchurched.
The problem is that wherever one stands on this continuum, one inadvertently shelters those who are more fanatical than oneself from criticism. Ordinary fundamentalist Christians, by maintaining that the Bible is the perfect word of God, inadvertently support the Dominionists — men and women who, by the millions, are quietly working to turn our country into a totalitarian theocracy reminiscent of John Calvin's Geneva. Christian moderates, by their lingering attachment to the unique divinity of Jesus, protect the faith of fundamentalists from public scorn. Christian liberals — who aren't sure what they believe but just love the experience of going to church occasionally — deny the moderates a proper collision with scientific rationality.
Sam Harris/LATimes/CommonDreams 16.Mar.07
Everything that people get from the grocery store can be had more readily, more healthily if they grow it themselves. Without relying on faceless corporate entities that don't have their best interests at heart.

Of course they'll have to actually grow it, which takes time and depends on things like rain and frost etc. and if we shut down the grocery stores tomorrow there's going to be hell to pay until that all gets sorted out, because the transition will be neither smooth nor timely in its completion.
Theoretically science, or scientific reason, or rationalism, or rational/positivism, or some form of non-metaphysical, non-faith-based, non-outside-the-system-ish thought can as readily come up with a moral system whose laws and spirit - or whatever we're going to call that intent behind the making of regulations - will be more tuned to the exigencies of human life on earth as it is actually lived, now, and as it will be lived once we get all this religious claptrap out of the way.
Theoretically, sound reason will make better laws than mumbo-jumbo ever could. Of course it will.
But you better hurry up and get them in place, because everything that drives your scientific engines is coming directly out of the bizarre yet complex social architecture religion has made possible over the years and centuries. And every single last one of the hunter-gatherer societies that preceded whatever this is, or that parallels it out on its margins, had or has religion of some kind holding it together. In case you were thinking of some kind of retro-atavistic fall-back-and-start-over high-tech nomadic clad thingie.
But hey you can do it, in spite of the odds and obstacles. Have at it.
I have a few questions though.
Do you think that'll be before, or after Bush invades Iran at the behest of the delusional religionists that pull his strings behind the scenes?
Is there a "continuum", or a "spectrum" just like the ones Harris draws for believers, on the rational side of the polarity? Where the fanatics of the rational, like Joseph Mengele and Sidney Gottlieb and thousands of more anonymous but equally heartless scientific pragmatists take shelter in the benevolent shade of "progress"?
Does science have a justification, outside the burrows of academia and its erudite suburbs for placing rationality above delusional belief?
Evolution doesn't, we know that. We know evolution's all and only about success, through any means. Thus the poisonous frog, the poisonous butterfly and the not poisonous butterfly but looks-just-like-it. The carnivorous plant, with its enticing trap. The leaf-colored snake. The liar, the con-man, the politician, the - well you get the idea. Nothing in nature says you have to tell the truth. Nothing in nature says telling the truth will even improve your odds of surviving. That's beaten into you at school, or in church, or at home, and home and school's the only places that holds - the real world doesn't care if you're honest or not
But don't let that stop you. Honest people have just as much right to live as bullshit artists, any day. Will we have some Inquisitional determinations? Will it be against the law to teach kids to believe in an afterlife? Since we have no rational basis, no proof of that other world. The main complaint against religious delusion is it doesn't work - for the complainers. It works for the delusional, so where's that argument?
How hard is it to imagine a sci-fi dystopia where rationalism's the dogma, and scientists its priests, and heresy condemns you to the primate "research" camps? Will our new morality cover that specifically and strongly enough to protect us, the way compassion as dogma has protected us from at least some of the degradation of inhuman cruelty?
And how many people will be allowed to continue, you know, existing, once the rationalists assume control and it becomes clearly obvious there's way too many of us humans around demanding resources of which there aren't enough?
Ever stop to think maybe the delusionalists recognize that cull sitting just over the horizon, before you even think of it?
That that may be the single biggest payoff religion's providing them? Protection.
Survival. Hey.
Everybody's raison d'etre, c'est vrai.


to transcend this kind of madness:

The conclusion we are meant to draw ... is that our planet's climate system has been altered in harmful ways that we as a community need to address.
Each day we fail to take responsibility for the mess we are in compromises our communities.
Joe Brewer/CommonDreams 14.Mar.07
"...has been altered..." By whom?
Not to mention any names, you know. Not to say, "...has been altered by..." except well of course everybody. So now everybody has to feel guilty and hopeless, or responsible and hopeful, but never, not ever never can you say, "These particular individuals did this." It's why I think the tobacco thing fell out like it did, legally I mean, personal responsibility being the main escape clause in the contract, because this is rather bigger than smoking, one would think, all in all.
It's like there's this king see, and he's like really really stupid? But he's the king? So you have to kiss his ass to get anything important done? But carefully and with lots of simple and easily understood moves? Because, you know, he can have his royal constabulary chop your head off if you make him too angry. And he gets angry really easy.
Plus you know with global warming and everything being well at least some of his fault, if not basically really mostly his fault, that's making him feel extra bad and guilty which with most people in positions of power and responsibility which you know being a king is pretty much all about - they get angry not only when you make them angry because of not saying and doing things they like or saying and doing things they don't like, but they get worse mad when they're the ones making the mistakes? So the king is right on the edge of the royal anger volcano?
So you have to tiptoe around and play it all easy nice p.r. and stuff; so you can't say things like, "Well, this horseshit about how we all have to take responsibility for global warming is like wanting veal calves to take responsibility for not getting enough exercise."
You can't say that because then the king will get too angry to think straight, not that he's all about the clear and sound decision-making anyway.
But let's not forget in case we ever do get a chance to talk about what's really really really going on - that people were tricked and conned into doing this to the world, and to themselves, that the average person would never in a million years have minded all that much doing without the internal combustion engine and its bizarrely unpredictable by-products, like all that exhaust gas having to end up somewhere - like I mean who could have predicted that, that it would rise, being lighter and warmer than air, and that billions of cars with their engines running every day and puking out exhaust gases could ever be seriously harmful? Or like cars being the #1 killer of children in the US right now at this very moment, plus of course the topic subject here, which is global warming, or as the scientists were saying for a while among themselves - anthropogenic climate forcing. Nobody would have minded you know going without the highways being like these rivers of poisonous gas that no one in their right mind would ever try to walk down for any length of time except in an emergency and even then let alone try to get across 8 lanes of and of course most animals can't being much smaller, and not nearly as smart as us.
People were conned into doing that, to the world and to themselves, in a way that's a lot like using cocaine or amphetamines, the power upgrade to the personality and the feel-good pseudo-strength, the energy and the upful feelings of being a certified dynamic individual which you have to admit sitting on your ass and going 80 miles an hour wrapped in a protective suit of steel that weighs a ton or more is pretty darn dynamic - and the real and true beneficiaries of that con are still running things, right now. But don't tell the king that, because he'll freak out. Plus you know the reason that there's been so much resistance to the idea in the first place is because of that, that the people running things now are the people who did it, who accomplished the amazing feat of changing the weather of the world, though admittedly in unpredictable and not so human-friendly ways not to mention mammals and amphibians etc. - so they had to have time to get their ducks in a row so to speak, before the shit hit the fan, so to speak. The people who did it who are running things did, have to.
It's like democracy? Like if we really had one we wouldn't have the President and most of the Senators we do. Not to mention the unspeakable war, or the dying world all around us.

reading the news:

Regrets of the Statue Man
drop by drop, into a spoon that the children passed round
The American people have lost confidence in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) said House Leader John Boehner (news, bio, voting record) the Democrats "slow-bleed scheme" to choke off troops Bush said January he sending 21,500 more troops to Almost nine in 10 of those surveyed said they feared Iraq, mostly to secure while only 5% said they worried "hardly at all" Baghdad, a number that has since climbed to around But a majority of respondents said that they did not believe 30,000 with the addition of Only 26% of people said they felt safe in their own neighbourhoods support troops His address appealing for more time for his plan to send in nearly 30,000 additional troops, mostly to stabilize Baghdad He acknowledged, however, that "prevailing in Iraq is not going to be easy" came after the deaths of 12 people in a wave of near-simultaneous bomb blasts around the northern city of Kirkuk and A CNN solace from the finding that only 35% believed foreign troops should leave poll showed support for the war had fallen to while more than half said they had sometimes avoided markets or other crowded places 32 percent, with 63 percent opposing Anti-war protests mounted in U.S. cities over the weekend outside the New York 40% surveyed in 450 places in all 18 of the country's 40 protesters were arrested provinces said things were generally their lives Stock Exchange Less than In contrast a similar poll has killed more than 3,200 U.S. military personnel and tens of thousands of Iraqis conducted in late 2005 came up in late 2005 with an equivalent figure in late 2005 of 71% which in late 2005 have been targets for suicide bombers, in late 2005. they or a family member could become the killing of six by a suicide victim of violence, about this bomber at a Baghdad mosque Bush's cautious tone contrasted sharply with the swagger shown when he stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier weeks after the 2003 U.S.-led after the invasion after the Iraq was after the in a state of after the civil war. Only 38% of 2,200 Iraqis polled said the situation was while 50% said it was better than it was worse Mr Bush before the 2003 war to remove Saddam Hussein could also take Iraq now, with a further 63% wanting them to depart after security has improved
Nearly three months after Saddam was executed, legal sources said his former vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, would be hanged on Tuesday for crimes against humanity.
dire consequences
by the autumn of 2008


March 2003:

In that bright world
He knew he'd hit rock bottom
Seven points, average
After a while it got hectic so we sat down

Bible Study, rivers:

Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars,
if thou be able to number them:
and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark,
behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
In that same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,
Unto thy seed have I given this land,
from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphra'tes

Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: that sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!
All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.
Isaiah 18
And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.
The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.
The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.
For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry; and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.
But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.
Isaiah 32
By the rivers of Babylon,
there we sat down, yea, we wept,
when we remembered Zion.

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song;
and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying,
Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget her cunning.

If I do not remember thee,
let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom
in the day of Jerusalem;
who said, Rase it, rase it,
even to the foundation thereof.

O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed;
happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth
thy little ones against the stones.
Psalm 137
And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.
And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well-favored kine and fat-fleshed; and they fed in a meadow.
And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill-favored and lean-fleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river.
And the ill-favored and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-favored and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.
And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.
And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them.
And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream.
And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.
Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day:
Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house, both me and the chief baker:
and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream.
And there was there with us a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret.
Genesis 41
also: Genesis 31
AMY GOODMAN: This latest story, the Anti-Defamation League calling on Georgia State Rep. Ben Bridges to apologize for a memo distributed under his name that says the teaching of evolution should be banned in public schools, because it is a religious deception stemming from an ancient Jewish sect. The memo calls on lawmakers to introduce legislation that would end the teaching of evolution in public schools, because it's "a deception that is causing incalculable harm to every student and every truth-loving citizen."

CHRIS HEDGES: And there's a bill now in the Texas state legislature that will abolish all mention of evolution in school textbooks and make Bible study mandatory in public schools. And the role of creationism is extremely important in this movement. It's not just wacky pseudoscience. It is really a war against truth. It is not about presenting an alternative. It's about saying facts are interchangeable with opinions, that lies are true, that we can believe whatever we want. And once they successfully elevate creationism, which, of course, is a myth - I mean, teaching creation out of the Book of Genesis is an absurdity. The writers of the Book of Genesis thought the earth was flat with rivers of above and below us. But what it does is destroy the possibility or sanctity of honest, dispassionate, intellectual and scientific inquiry. And when they do that, they have made a huge step towards creating a totalitarian state.
Democracy Now! 19.Feb.07
"Tomorrow is zero hour"
I'm still having trouble integrating the rational scientific world-view with my admittedly vestigial but still-functioning moral sensibilities.
Why exactly is fascism wrong? From a scientific p.o.v. I mean. I can see where it would be a problem for individual scientists, it's hard to imagine Einstein or Huxley campaigning for Dick Cheney or his chosen successor, but Joseph Mengele's a fine example of adaptation and mutual benefit to a fascist government by an amoral investigator of life's mysteries.
Also who can forget stunning Sidney Gottlieb, hero of applied behaviorist methodologies, right in there cheek by jowl with the big guns of the American Herrenvolk, making the world better for good people.
Asking science to weigh in on moral questions like totalitarianism v. democracy is like asking a biologist to make a moral distinction between two species competing for the same niche.
This makes it a task of religion, or some humanist analog of religion, to decide and resolve moral questions.
But Hedges says, correctly, that the Christian right is itself the wide fuse through which the black flower of theocratic fascism is being driven. And there doesn't seem to be much possibility of a united humanist anything to oppose it, let alone convincing moral dogma with an enforcement arm capable of withstanding that God-given nightmare of children-of-the-corn style hive-mindedness. Better maybe to tear it down and build something from what's left. Tear it all down, and hope enough gets through to carry the dream.
And that's where we go back to Genesis, and Hedges' all-too-common facile dismissal of what's there. The first thing rational minds trip on is the compare-and-contrast between our perceptual array now and theirs back then, along with their respectively inferior processing capabilities. Bunch of grubby sheep-herders living in tents and making up stories about what little of the world they can see from where they are, without instruments or anything but the most rudimentary records, versus our near-occult grasp of the stellar firmament, and the tiny building blocks of everything nearly under our control, and hundreds of years of detailed research and painstakingly recorded minutiae. Their world-view compounded of ignorance, superstition, wishful thinking, and a smattering of the undeniable, ours the constantly refining evidence from our constantly refining instruments. The parallel would be that both systems are investigating something infinite and eternal, and in that context they're far more equal than not. Plus the writers and credulous believers of Genesis insist it's coming from out of the infinite and eternal.
What I'm trying to say there is the simplicity of the people back then doesn't preclude them having access to dreamtime instruction, input from outside the system, which it is purported they do, though they mask it, dress it up as communication from the one and only deity before which all others must fall, and the inconsistencies of that deity make it look intellectually indefensible - so rational minds discount the entire message.
But it's only irrational, and therefore inferior, in some abstract discourse. On the ground, science tells us, nature favors what works and disregards what doesn't. Rationality's only a generally superior method, not always - just most of the time.
Maybe theocratic fascism works, just not for you. Or maybe humanist fascism, or ethnic fascism, or some new form that coalesces unaffiliated mindless around the need to live as a big functioning kick-ass thing.
Then what? It would help to have a few thousand years of religious dogma telling you you're the chosen people of the one true ruler of everything, but that would be the Jews, not fundamentalist Christians, unless it's a mistake and the message was actually intended for the Christians and was just intercepted by the Jews. But either way you can see how that would help with the problem of foundational premise. Because what's needed is assertion not explanation. Out there past logic and morality, out where it's nothing more or less than the will to be that keeps you here. That's the issue all around, isn't it? People feeling like somebody else wants them gone? Some of that's true.
It could be more a question of replacing one kind of theocracy with another. Get the Christian right-wing to build the theocratic super-state, then step in quietly and take it away from them. Hostile takeover on the q.t.
Maybe that's what we should do, instead of opposing everything and not having much to offer in return. Easier than tearing down the biggest security apparatus the world's ever seen. Much easier than getting an alternative moral system up and running in the little bit of time we have. Replace the Judeo-Christian moral shipwreck with one that defends more than its own desperately collapsing self. One that says nobility is more valuable than anything, even survival, that integrity is worth sacrificing everything for, that those who choose craven acts to ensure their own squalid lives, who choose to sacrifice integrity and nobility for mere survival will always bear the mark of that flaw, numberless as the stars though they may be.


Que Dios les bendiga:

Schwarzenegger: Yes, it's fantastic. A short while ago, our office became the first in the country to receive the first BMW luxury 7 series hydrogen car. BMW made 100 of them and they gave them to 100 opinion-makers, stars and people with high visibility
it is what it is
a superstar on a hunger strike
Colombian prosecutors have ordered Magdalena province Gov. Trino Luna arrested on suspicion he colluded with the illegal militias who once fought a dirty war against the country's four-decade-old rebel insurgency.
The governor joins eight pro-Uribe lawmakers and a former security police chief who have been arrested on charges they cooperated with the illegal paramilitaries whose commanders have now been jailed after a peace deal with the government.
"There is an order for the capture of Magdalena's governor on suspicion of colluding to commit a crime," an Attorney General's office spokesman said.

Almost everything frozen on earth is melting

human sprinkler systems


The US president strongly defended a 700-million-dollar a year aid program for Colombia destined to support efforts to combat drug trafficking and a decades-old insurgency.
Laurent Lozano/AFP/Yahoo 12.Mar.07

Bush backs ally Colombia/Reuters backs Bush:

...promising to secure more aid and a trade deal for his close ally President Alvaro Uribe as he fights a rebel insurgency and drug traffickers
Uribe on Sunday repeatedly defended his U.S.-backed drive, which has reduced violence by weakening Latin America's oldest rebel insurgency and disarming 31,000 illegal paramilitaries who were set up by wealthy landowners to counter the rebels.
But some U.S. Democrats have said they want more guarantees before they approve the White House request for $3.9 billion in new aid and a trade deal signed with Colombia.
Matt Spetalnick and Patrick Markey/Reuters 11.Mar.07


I'm going to put up some more bits from March 2003, and talk about them, but meantime here's

Outsourcing Walter Reed by Philip Mattera in Tom Paine.
The first hit off that is, you know, when he says "...converting the once legendary Walter Reed into a symbol of the shameful treatment of people ...", that there were staff involved in the "once legendary" part who were still there as it began to erode and dissolve from the corrupt and amoral pathogenic takeover Mattera documents.
Anyone who's ever been around organizational activism knows the burdens that get carried silently and invisibly by the heroes in the trenches, and you can bet there were plenty of lower echelon folks at Walter Reed who were and are still dedicated and committed, who came up against the top-down cannibalism that changed it and left it the way it is now, anonymous regulars who fought that, trying to balance career and commitment, and getting tougher or getting ground up and beat by it.
Libby's gone down behind his minor role in the Plame scandal, itself a side act, though his complicity and especially his utility as symbol for much else is far greater, and most American public don't really understand who he is or what he did beyond lie to a court or two, but they know his name and they know what his wife looks like, and this is so far down the media concern list it didn't even show up until it was spotlighted by concerted efforts on the part of many.
So let's think about those unknown soldiers there, in that invisible battle between capitalist swine and what passes for humanitarian sacrifice among us now - charge nurses beat down for their complaints about supplies and procedures by bottom-line men and women from the world of who cares, middle-weight bureaucrats with consciences who made as much noise as they felt they could and just got pushed further out and away each time they did, orderlies soaking up the vibe as things got less and less cohesive and more and more dismal and unhygienic. As Walter Reed devolved from sterling example to shameful evidence.
I have no documentation on this, but I know it happened, and so do you.

Kieran Healey at Crooked Timber:
Via Jim Henley I see there's a challenge from Brian Flemming:
If you are a blogger who was active in March 2003, link to that month's archive and write an entry called 'What I was wrong about in March 2003.'
I was wrong thinking that eliding capitalization would be that much easier that it would make up for the awkward reading experience and pretentiousness of it. Other than that, and some residual over-excitedness, the month is mostly links and quotes, as now - there's no attempt at actual forecast, but the main theses here now were there then as well.

I keep seeing the little guys, my side, us, the good guys, nice people, sane people - choose a description that works - responding to nonsense like the above 'Biblical' prophecy, and 'de-frenchifying', as though because it's obviously horseshit, it somehow should go away once it's been called horseshit. but just like real horseshit, it doesn't matter what you call it, until somebody comes along with a shovel, it stays right where the horse left it.



Propaganda 101

Big Push:
Separately, U.S. troops raided a mosque in Baghdad and captured three suspected insurgents hiding inside. The detainees included a man believed to be responsible for distributing weapons to build bombs for attacks on American and Iraqi forces, the military said.
U.S. rules of engagement allow troops to enter mosques only in rare cases.
"We do not enter mosques for the sole purposes of disrupting insurgent activities or conducting a show of force. Mosque entries occur only as a last resort," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman.
U.S. soldiers "respect the sanctity and holiness of all places of worship," he said


U.S. forces extend Baghdad push to militia haven:
...stronghold of the Mehdi Army of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
Dean Yates and Claudia Parsons/Reuters/Yahoo
Several terrorists killed, U.S. says
Al-Sadr condemns joint security plan:
[1.] Several al Qaeda in Iraq insurgents who had focused on U.S. helicopters were killed in an air strike north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said ...A second strike killed members of another al Qaeda cell that has orchestrated car bombings.
[2.] Meanwhile, three U.S. soldiers on patrol in central Baghdad were killed by a roadside bomb, the military said.
[3.] Just days before U.S. and Iraqi troops are expected to establish a permanent presence in Baghdad's Sadr City, anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stepped up his rhetoric against the plan
Sudarsan Raghavan/Washington Post/SFGate
US forces open push into Sadr City:
...stronghold of the Mehdi Army of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
Dean Yates and Claudia Parsons/Reuters/Yahoo
Maliki warns insurgents of wider crackdown/
Iraq's Maliki offers olive branch to insurgents
Speaking at a conference aimed at speeding up reconciliation among Iraq's warring factions, Maliki said political consensus could be achieved only if Iraq was stable.
"We present in our hand a green olive branch, and in the other hand we present the law ...
Operation Imposing Law started in Baghdad, it will cover every inch of Iraq," Maliki said.
Maliki has been pleased with the early results of the security crackdown
An operation involving US-led forces is under way
U.S. forces enter Sadr City
Hundreds of U.S. soldiers
Hundreds of U.S. soldiers entered
Hundreds of U.S. soldiers entered the Shiite
Hundreds of US soldiers entered the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City today
Hundreds of American and Iraqi soldiers patrolled
More than 1000 US and Iraqi troops met no resistance on Sunday
Though no shots were fired, emotions still ran high in the neighborhood today.
Video shows killing of 18 Iraqi officers:
An al-Qa'ida-affiliated group said it killed 18 kidnapped Iraqi government security forces yesterday[Saturday] in retaliation for the alleged rape of a Sunni woman by members of the Shia-dominated police, posting an online video of the officers being shot in the back of their heads while kneeling in a field.
The authenticity of the three-minute video, posted on a website previously used by the Islamic State of Iraq, could not be immediately verified.
The group also said it had killed 14 policemen, whose bodies were found at the weekend in the northeast province of Diyala, in retaliation for the alleged rape. Some of the victims were decapitated.
The Sunni Muslim atrocity came before hundreds of US troops last night entered the Shia stronghold of Sadr City, in the first major push into the area since an American-led security sweep began last month around Baghdad.
Soldiers conducted house-to-house searches, but met no resistance in a district firmly in the hands of the Madhi Army militia of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
AP/Shanghai Daily
Sadr disavows a planned U.S.-Iraqi crackdown:
When the security plan launched Feb. 13, Sadr agreed to cooperate by reeling in his militia, and evidence of that was clear Saturday on the streets of Sadr City. Regular traffic police were at intersections and directed lines at gas stations, instead of the fearsome masked Al Mahdi gunmen who used to roam the streets and peer into cars. City workers were even planting some public gardens.
But on Saturday, Sadr said in his statement, "There are no negotiations with the occupation forces, not before and not later."
His whereabouts remain unclear.
Sadr has not been seen publicly for weeks. His office says he is in Iraq, but U.S. officials have said he went to Iran to avoid the security crackdown.
Tina Susman and Raheem Salman/LATimes


Independent UK

The Emergence of a Global Infrastructure For Mass Registration and Surveillance: 10 Signposts

the edge of the wedge

a clean image:

Carbon dioxide emissions from ships do not come under the Kyoto agreement or any proposed European legislation and few studies have been made of them

90% of the world’s goods are carried by sea and world trade is increasing all the time.
Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are double those of aviation and increasing at an alarming rate which will have a serious impact on global warming, according to research by the industry and European academics.
Separate studies suggest that maritime carbon dioxide emissions are not only higher than previously thought, but could rise by as much as 75% in the next 15 to 20 years if world trade continues to grow and no action is taken.
The figures from the oil giant BP, which owns 50 tankers, and researchers at the Institute for Physics and Atmosphere in Wessling, Germany reveal that annual emissions from shipping range between 600 and 800m tonnes of carbon dioxide, or up to 5% of the global total. This is nearly double Britain's total emissions and more than all African countries combined.
John Vidal/Guardian UK 03.Mar.07


among this wreckage:

Two children from the Guarani Kaiow√° tribe have died of starvation, and several dozen are being treated in hospital for severe malnutrition.
Within days of the children's deaths, Valdinez Souza, a Guarani health worker and father of two children, hanged himself. He left a note by his body saying he had killed himself because children in his community are suffering from acute hunger.
Despite this alarming situation, the Mato Grosso do Sul state government has cut food aid to the Guarani.


The Malaysian government claims that Sarawak is being logged sustainably - but in fact its forests are being destroyed at one of the fastest rates in the world. As the forests are logged, the rivers are silted up, killing the fish. The game is being scared deeper into the few remaining forests.
Since 1987, the Penan have been fighting back by blockading the logging roads - and suffering acute food shortages as a result.
The Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands has long captured imaginations around the world, especially among other tribal peoples like my people, the Innu of north-eastern Canada. Since the final years of the twentieth century, when they stopped resisting with lethal arrows any contact with outsiders, the world has watched the Jarawa with fascination.

We don't know why they stopped shooting at the settlers and poachers encroaching on their land. Perhaps they felt overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of settlers from the Indian mainland now living on their islands. But for indigenous peoples who have already lost their land, the drama unfolding before our eyes is far too familiar.

We are holding our breaths as we watch the future of this strong, proud people balancing on a knife-edge.
George Rich/Times of India 14.Feb.07
The Mato Grosso do Sul [Brazil] state government has cut food aid to Guarani Indians. This is a severe blow to thousands of Guarani families who rely almost entirely on monthly food rations to survive.

In 2004, at least 21 Guarani children died from severe malnutrition. It was the scandal of these deaths that pushed the government into supplying needy families with food parcels.

This crisis highlights the Brazilian federal government's failure to tackle the underlying cause of hunger among the Guarani - the lack of land. Over the last seven decades, thousands of Guarani have been evicted from their lands by soya planters and cattle ranchers; barely 1% of the Guarani's original forest remains.

Today the Guarani are crammed together onto tiny reservations; as a result, suicide, alcoholism and internal violence are rife.

Blog Archive