Wednesday, December 29, 2010

War Pigs

“Taking the new budget into account, the Defense Department has been granted about $7.2 trillion since 1998, when the post-Cold War decline in defense spending ended.”

That’s $7.2 Trillion that has been siphoned into the DoD's coffers and black hole during the past 12 years. And I don’t think this includes the astounding $2.3 Trillion Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld declared the Pentagon had misplaced (due to some accounting errors?) in a press conference on September 10, 2001. (

Heck, a Trillion dollars is a stack of $1000 bill 67.9 miles long, or high, depending on how one visualizes is. So, that’s 9.5 of those stacks for the DoD (ya, 9 long and one short stack of only half a Trillion dollars…lol). That’s 645 miles of thousand dollar bills. That adds up to some real money

Of course, there's this to put Buzsh’s (and now Obama’s) War in some perspective...

War monger Donald Rumsfeld and the missing trillions. 9/10/01

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Re: Two Views of “Avatar” (New York Review of Science Fiction, April, 2010 #260)

Yes, the whole kit-and-caboodle of “Avatar” is lifted from various SF tropes, as both authors aptly demonstrate. But for all of that, “Avatar” is a unique cinematic experience that does, indeed, evoke the sense of wonder that is at the heart of the SF experience. While Darrell Schweitzer rather pooh-poohs Cameron’s manifold clichés and none too subtly trivializes the Big Ideas evoked, it is all too easy for a jaded cynic to reduce “Avatar” to "Dances With Wolves" in Space. But even if it is, so what? Few if any of my high school students have seen the Costner film (released before they were born), so for them “Avatar” was a breathtakingly original movie with a moral lesson.

It is no secret that western industrial society has lost its primordial connection to Nature. The virtue of Cameron’s film is that this very idea is brilliantly evoked. We are a part of the Web of Life, and this is one important lesson at the heart of the film. A lesson, by the way, that young people (and not only young people) desperately need to learn. The evil Corporation that is willing to commit ecocide (not to mention genocide) to support its bottom line is playing out across this Planet every day. Was Cameron being trite by promoting the notion that there are higher values than economics? Or by suggesting that machines can turn human beings into drones? Or by dramatizing the idea that ‘progress’ comes at the cost of indigenous people’s lives?

It is all too easy to look at the surface tropes of “Avatar” and bemoan its lack of originality. But the deeper themes that this movie explores are not trite clichés. They are the real world nexus of politics, economics, corporate greed and exploitation, and the alarming rise of corporate mercenary forces.

Ultimately, “Avatar” was uplifting because Life overcame Death, the Gaiean biosphere overcame the corporate machine that would destroy it, and because ‘people’ triumphed over prejudice and madness. Lessons that neither I nor my students relegate to the trivial.
email joke....

A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of beer and a ham sandwich.

The barman looks at him and says, "Hang on! You're a duck!"

"I see your eyes are working," replies the duck.

"And you can talk!" exclaims the barman.

"I see your ears are working, too," says the duck. "Now if you don't mind, can I have my beer and my sandwich please?"

"Certainly, sorry about that," says the barman as he pulls the duck's pint. "It's just we don't get many ducks in this pub. What are you doing round this way?"

"I'm working on the building site across the road," explains the duck. "I'm a plasterer."

The flabbergasted barman cannot believe the duck and wants to learn more, but
takes the hint when the duck pulls out a newspaper from his bag and proceeds to
read it.

So, the duck reads his paper, drinks his beer, eats his sandwich, bids the barman
good day and leaves.

The same thing happens for two weeks.

Then one day the circus comes to town.

The ringmaster comes into the pub for a pint and the barman says to him, "You're with the circus, aren't you? Well, I know this duck that could be just brilliant in your circus. He talks, drinks beer, eats sandwiches, reads the newspaper and everything!"

"Sounds marvelous," says the ringmaster, handing over his business card. "Get him to give me a call."

So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the barman says, "Hey Mr. Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money."

"I'm always looking for the next job," says the duck. "Where is it?"

"At the circus," says the barman.

"The circus?" repeats the duck.

"That's right," replies the barman.

"The circus?" the duck asks again. “With the big tent?"

"Yeah," the barman replies.

"With all the animals who live in cages, and performers who live in caravans?" says
the duck.

"Of course," the barman replies.

"And the tent has canvas sides and a big canvas roof with a hole in the middle?"
persists the duck.

"That's right!" says the barman.

The duck shakes his head in amazement, and says …..

"What the fuck would they want with a plasterer??!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mayapan, Yucatan Peninsula,

Sat June 5, 2010

Imagining the End of Life as we know it. Not something we are wont to dwell upon, yet here it is:

By September, 2010 our ‘local’ Biosphere will be radically altered by the vast quantities of deadly toxins mixing in the Gulf of Mexico and heading out to Sea. The Ecology not just of the Gulf and the States that form it, but the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream will be negatively impacted. To what degree of harm no one can say yet. But over the course of this summer it will become increasingly apparent as the data becomes available.

The BP/Government nexus will no longer be relevant because Science will tell the tale. The evidence and data from marine biologists, ecologists, environmentalists, and all kinds of primary researchers will overwhelm “official” pronunciamento.

Generally marginalized in the media and by politicians, academics must get over being camera shy and come to the fore in the analysis of this catastrophy.

Addendum: November 19, 2010

5 months later....How naive and optimistic that an ongoing inquiry by academics and government agencies would be establishing the facts, refering the guilty to the Courts (and bringing the National Guard back from Afghanistan to rebuild the Gulf Coast. Hahahah....)
Irish jokes I got in an email back in March:

Six retired Irishmen were playing poker in O'Leary's home when Paddy Murphy loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead. Showing respect for their fallen brother, the other five continue playing standing up at the table.

Michael O'Connor ultimately looks around and asks, “Oh, me boys, someone got's to tell Paddy's wife. Who will it be?”

They draw straws. Paul Gallagher picks the short one. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse, and continued along those lines until he succeeded in convincing them he was the right man to convey the news.

“Discreet??? I'm the most discreet Irishmen you'll ever meet. Discretion is me middle name. Leave it to me.”

Gallagher goes over to Murphy's house and knocks on the door. Mrs. Murphy answers, and asks what he wants.

Gallagher declares, “Your husband just lost $500, and is afraid to come home.”

“Tell him to drop dead!” says Murphy's wife.

“I'll go tell him.” says Gallagher.


Into a Belfast pub comes Paddy Murphy, looking like he'd just been run over by a train. His arm is in a sling, his nose is broken, his face is cut, and bruised, and he's walking with a limp.

“What happened to you?” asks Sean, the bartender.

“Michael O'Connor and me had a fight,” says Paddy.

“That little O'Connor,” says Sean, “he couldn't do that to you, he must have had something in his hand.”

“That he did,” says Paddy, “a shovel is what he had, and a terrible lickin' he gave me with it.”

“Well,” says Sean, “you should have defended yourself. Wouldn’t it have been a fairer fight if you had grasped something also?”

“Well that I did,” said Paddy, “Mrs. O'Connor's breast, and a thing of beauty it was; but useless in a fight.”


An Irishman who had a little too much to drink is driving home from the city one night and, of course, his car is weaving violently all over the road.

A cop pulls him over. 'So,' says the cop to the driver, 'where have ya been?'

'Why, I've been to the pub of course,' slurs the drunk.

“Well,” says the cop, “it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening.”

“I did all right,” the drunk says with a smile.

'Did you know,' says the cop, standing straight, and folding his arms across his chest, 'that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?'

'Oh, thank heavens,' sighs the drunk. 'For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf.'


Mary Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears.

He says, 'So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?'

She says, 'Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night.'

The priest says, 'Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, Mary, did he have any last requests?'

She says, 'That he did, Father.'

The priest says, “What did he ask, Mary?”

She says, “He said, Please Mary, put down that damn gun....”


A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional booth, sits down, but says nothing.

The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention, but the drunk continues to sit there.

Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.

The drunk mumbles, “Ain't no use knockin, there's no paper on this side either.”
See how fast I can kick and punch. Blinding. A one-two kick and punch. That’s all I need to start/end a ‘fight’. But the founder of Aikido needed only to stand and his ‘opponents’ would respectfully withdraw. That is the essence of Ai-ki-do.

I love to kick, though, which is why Taikwondo appealed to me. But a broken foot, a cracked toe and a thumped toe convinced me otherwise. But I could do it. I loved it. But my hip and my newly broken bones held me up half way to the Black Belt. I made Camo with 2 stripes, but my bones thwarted me.

I still love the moves and they are now a part of my physicality, my existence. I have always loved kicking. Indeed, my most memorable kick was on a Beach north of Boston when my thigh knocked my glasses off and I lost them forever, and had to drive Val’s VW Beetle back home. Luckily, I had a pack Lucky Strikes to mitigate the stress.

That was one high kick!!

Straight up beginning with knee to shoulder, and then thigh to shoulder. Straight up. Punting as it were. A kick that raises you off the ground. That’s the Martial Arts (cf.

I was at a party at a Castle on the North Shore….this is the late 1970s or so…...and I was at the Shore and decided to practice my kicks and kicked my eyeglasses right off my face and lost forever. I was without glasses for a while until I was able to buy a new pair (Lenscrafter no doubt).

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is the essential Martial Arts defying Gravity film. From Amazon, “But the result is a seamless blend of action, romance, and social commentary in a populist film that, like its young star Zhang, soars with balletic grace and dignity. --Eugene Wei

Populist? Wow. Reading about the death of the populist movement after World War One and the subsequent Death of the Liberal Class (Chris Hedges, 2010) it seems a bit anachronistic not to say archaic to use the term ‘populist’ when describing anything - movies, movements, newspapers and periodicals, books and popular uprisings, anything as populist unless you want the stench of socialism attached.

That’s what we want to believe. What we are taught from cradle to grave. And despite commentators such as George Orwell, Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken and a slew of others we refuse to accept the facts in front of our faces. We’d rather believe the Lie, the fantasy that the Armed Forces of the World can sort things out for our benefit.

A Trillion a year since forever. What can We do with such nearly unlimited funding? Have a World rid of industrial/corporate Arms Merchants? Fat chance. Which is exactly the Problem. Why do the Masters of War hold sway over the rest of Us? The US seems to be in the grip of a Worldwide Military Hegemony of our own making.

I don’t get it. Since shortly after Nine Eleven Buzsh invaded Iraq and started a War...even though he had already commanded troops to scope out Afghanistan in the search for “bin Laden”. The latest “Hitler”. The Boogey Man in the shadows.

What fucking Bullshit. Show and Tell Puppet Theater for the benefit of Mr. Kite (there will be a show tonight on trampoline…)

Boy!! Reading Chris Hedges is mind blowing. Who is a better ‘reporter’ on the current State of Affairs afflicting Us? He rips the scab off by exposing the History of our Disease (dis-ease, cf. Being and Time). Hedges is the consummate term paper writer. His 200 some odd page discourses are models of philosophizing with an axe. For he is in a very real sense (cf, Monty Python and the Holy Grail) a kind of Socrates exploring the root of our ignorance, our forgetfulness because we have been beguiled by mind fuckers.

The propagandists, corporatists and bankers who emerged and who prospered during the 1914-1918 War. Death of the Liberal Class is, like the last two of his books, irresistibly good writing that explores America, explores Us. Like Mencken who went to Dayton, TN to witness the Scopes trial, Hedges reports from Reality [not from a studio. That’s the all important difference. Reporting from the field, so to speak, versus reading a script on tv.]

Reading versus viewing. Oi!!
I do both, no doubt. But I do both. I miss a lot of tv (and movies), but that’s a price I’m willing to pay in order to read. I strive for discretionary viewing and reading.

I want to read guys like Chris Hedges; I want to listen to guys like Noam Chomsky; I want to watch documentaries by guys like Adam Curtis, Jonathan Miller and Richard Dawkins and a multitude of other ‘outside the box’ thinkers. Just as, LOL, Charles Darwin is still outside the box. Which is why this massive archive of reasonableness is virtually unknown by the populace (cf, the populist movement of the pre-WWI America that Hedges reports on in this book).

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Gulf disaster has exposed the tip of the spear in terms of the incestuous and sickening relationship between Government and Corporation. Indeed, it certainly appears that the MMS was a cruel parody of Government played at our expense.

Were Tom Paine alive he would be outraged. Menken would be outraged. Mark Twain would be outraged. Frankly, I’m not getting as much outrage as I would like.

Listen, how and when will this madness end?

Will the madness end?

Because this is Madness. We have unleashed a deadly Horror from the Bowels of the Earth and cannot plug It.

Thursday, June 3

Holy Shit!! Just turned on “Countdown” (8:12pm) and an animation of the scenerio from day one to 90 or so days from now was aired. Wow. Up the East Coast and into the North Atlantic via the Gulf Stream. Wow.

Of course, it’s the Gulf Stream that brings warm water up America’s Eastern Seabord and then out to the British Isles As marine conservationist Rick Steiner said, it’d be ironic if it wasn’t so dire. []

Here’s what I say… I want more academics to get on this friggin Problem!! Forget the BP/Governement nexus. Ok? Let’s stick to independent academic analysis. That’s what I want. University scholars/professors/researchers need to get on this subject post haste and get the news out about their analysis, their findings, their speculations, their best guesses as to what this means in the short and long haul.
May 30, 2010
Now that scientists are saying that there may be at least as much methane as oil being released, why isn't the news media reaching out to environmental scientists to report on the effect of the massive quantities of this toxic greenhouse gas being released? Why also is no one discussing the short and long term environmental effects of nearly a million gallons of the toxic dispursant BP continues to use despite the EPA warning and the fact that it is banned in the UK.

Secondly, as university scientists determined more than a week ago (and reported both in the NYTimes op-ed and Sen Markey's committee), the total volume released may be anywhere from 50,000 to more than 100,000 barrels a day, yet we are supposed to trust BP and government when they say it's a fraction of that, some 19-24,000 barrels, just as we were supposed to accept it when they said it was a mere 1,000 or 5,000 barrels a day and refused to release video of the rupture? Even this latest report (May 30) continues to repeat the BP/government estimates that this gusher has “dumped between 18 million and 40 million gallons into the Gulf…” instead of qualifying it with the academic estimates.

Taking the most generally agreed upon academic number of 70,000 barrels a day, that is well over 100 million gallons, far more than the 'official' estimate.

Why is this extent of this catastrophic disater being consistently downplayed? Liability?

Tue Jun 01, 2010
"At least 20 million gallons of oil and possibly 43 million gallons have spilled since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sank in April."

Seriously? Did Matthew Brown of the AP just pull that number out of a hat? Where do you come up with 20 million gallons? Just do the math. 20 million gallons = about 47,000 barrels or just under 1200 barrels a day over 40 days. When was that ever a realistic estimate? Most independent academic scientists have estimated the flow from this gusher to be between 50,000 and 100,000 barrels a day and this has been reported in the NYTimes, the Telegraph UK, and testified to in Sen. Markey's Committee. Even taking the academic consensus of 70,000 barrels a day, that is well more than 2.8 million barrels, or some 116 million gallons, more than 5 times the low end estimate this report alleges.

In a recent report the Telegraph UK used a figure of 94,000 barrels a day. At this point the 11 million gallons in the Exxon Valdez sill is irrelevant as the gusher is apparently pumping out an Exxon Valdez every couple of days. It's a shame that AP disseminates misleading information and keeps the American public in the dark about the real scope of this disaster.

But the BP/Government cartel has consistently downplayed the seriousness of this unstoppable mini-volcano on the Gulf seabed. Why? One word, liability

June 5, 2010
Oilpocalypse indeed. And the "terrible reality" is that this is just the beginning.

Once again I ask, who cares what the BP/Government complex says about the volume of this 'spill'? The news media continues to report on "the roughly 24 million to 47 million gallons government officials estimate have leaked into the Gulf" as if the estimates of academic scientist are irrelevant.

Since the first videos were 'released' University professors have been way out front in the anslysis of this gusher. And since I have no idea who the BP/Government scientific 'experts' are on this issue, I'm going with the academic scientist who have made public their figures.

And if it has been more like 60,000 barrels a day for the past 45 days then that is 2.7 million barrels or 113 million gallons. A far cry from the anemic 24-47 million the anonmymous government 'officials' estimate.

Friday, April 02, 2010

March 28, 2010 (edited 4/2/10)
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is of:
Grant, R. Jeffrey - "Shadow Government" (DVD)

Title: A Mixed Bag

Welcome to the new world order where every internet key stroke….
"Every breath you take
And every move you make...
Every step you take
I'll be watching you"

The Shadow Government is all around if we could but perceive. It's surveillance cameras, implanted microchips, the UN, the NWO and its one world government police state, sinister "new age" forces arrayed against Christians and Jews, a grab-bag of secret and not so secret powerful corporate and government forces determined to erase national borders, decimate economic systems, exterminate 5/6 of all human beings on planet Earth and reduce the remaining population to a state of imbecilic indentured servitude to the global elites. The disclosure of which is, apparently, meant "to shine a light on God's incredible prophecies. It's meant to bring you closer to our eternal savior, Jesus Christ."
Some plan.

The real deception in this documentary is that for the first hour (more or less) we hear from university professors and bona bide researchers who delineate the current state of affairs insofar as even the most seemingly innocuous use of plastic cards records our purchases and other transactions, our comings and goings, and our affiliations. They offer astute analysis and speculate on the possible nefarious uses of the data collected every time our cards are swiped, our emails are sent and our internet searches are recorded, etc., etc. All this is well and good.

But then we begin to hear from, shall we say, the outside the academy religious folk who write newsletters or head quasi-religious `foundations'. And at that point the entire program goes off the rails into the bog of biblical end times prophecy.

The shift of focus is subtle at first, a few voices here and there railing against the UN or the persecution of Christians and Jews; eventually an entirely new theme emerges: the Bible. (Of course, I should have paid more attention to the DVD packaging as it is "From the Producers of Left Behind: The Movie". My bad.) At that point, the professors and PhD's are replaced by ‘foundationalist' Chuck Missler who leads a parade of christian apocylipitc missionaries quoting the Bible.

Instead of sober academic analysis, we now have bible class and its alleged prophecies into the context developed by the scholars. For instance, there is anti-UN, anti-environmentalist Michael Shaw railing against the nwo and who is absolutely freaked out because he believes that the UN Earth Charter is going to replace the 10 Commandments. It's all part of a conspiracy by these blasted Nature worshiping one-worlder environmentalists. But Shaw sees through it all. "The environment is the cover for the real objective of sustainable development which is to change our system of Justice and change our systems of economics to a system of social justice....Our whole foundation of the American experiment is being undermined by this environmental move."

Then a guy named Jack Kinsella chimes in with his excoriation of "anthropomorphic global warming....[because] this is ridiculous to begin with." No, Jack, to begin with, you are ridiculous. (Of course, now we know where Glenn Beck gets his ideas.) Heaven forbid there should be any sensitivity to the planet's eco/biosystems, or a commitment to social justice as the Catholic Church has been sporadically advocating since Vatican II. But, not for US this seemingly communistic idea of social justice and the socialistic, nwo hoax of climate change.

Of course, to be fair, Kinsella does say that if there is such a thing as global warming, it's the Sun's fault. See, the sun is getting hotter and therefore Earth and Mars are warming. And since there is nothing that can be done about THAT, the best course of action is to do nothing and wait for Jesus to return to rapture up the saved and doom everyone else to, well, Hell on Earth.

What is more egregious, though, is the peddling of the insidious myth that christers might be persecuted right here in America.
As if.

Some 76% of Americans identify themselves as christians (down from 86% in 1990, but who’s counting? It’s still a vast majority by any standard.). Who is going to persecute christians? The Pentagon? The local police? [I especially like the military option to exterminate christers because during the past decade the Pentagon has followed the lead of the Republican Party and gotten fundamentalist religion; a fact convincingly documented by Jeff Sharlet.

The pernicious implication is that just as the Jews were rounded up and sent to `death camps' by Hitler and the SS, so too in America christers will be persecuted, rounded up and sent to FEMA `detention centers'. It's as if the entire nation will turn into one big Waco or Ruby Ridge. To drive the point home, there is a lame ‘dramatic” scenario involving an office drone/fundamentalist christer who is interrogated by Homeland Security to drive home the point that christers are the one group that needs to be wary of governmental information gathering capabilities and policies.

Consistent with their persecution fantasy, these christers anticipate an End Time and welcome the Day of Judgment when they will be shepherded to Heaven's Gate by Jesus with their free passes. It's a mad fantasy, but they take themselves seriously. And that is precisely where the possible danger lies. Because then you get Sarah Palin (though, regretably, she wasn’t interviewed for this dvd).

Then there is Gary Kah, a first class know-nothing Manichean (though he’s not alone in subscribing to this ancient fanciful belief) who actually claims that "Pantheism leads to Satan worship." A risibly ignorant and preposterous remark. But certainly in keeping with the blinkered devotion he and all these christers have to distorting reality to fit their beliefs.

One of the difficulties of watching this film is that while on the one hand it seems to be an indictment of the neo-con Bush administration and it’s PNAC global hegemonic military mandate, and the Bilderbergers, and the UN World Government, etc. (cf, G. Edward Griffin, Daniel Estulin), on the other hand it also seems to endorse the weird extreme right wing Republicanism of the teabaggers (cf, Shaw etal). That is to say, there seems to be an undercurrent that is against the Patriot Acts (the infringement of liberty), yet that also promotes an anti-Progressive “biblical” view that History is predetermined according to some “divine plan”. Very jarring.

What's even more surprising is that after the scholars established the context, I don't recall any sustained discussion of the NSA, the Pentagon (and its intelligence gathering capabilities), the CIA, etc, etc. whose powers increased dramatically after 9/11 by the christers. It was just biblical quotations and how they “forcast” current events.

So, while the presentation was ‘balanced’, it fails to sustain itself. Using scholars to set the stage for Jesus freaks and bible literalists does not create balance, it creates confusion.

And finally, the DVD does contain a bonus feature called "Still Not Convinced?" This is additional interview footage that essentially follows the same format as the feature. To wit, commentary by academics followed by commentary by christers. Reasonable sounding scholars followed up by "church lady" spin meisters. If only Mr. Grant had made two documentaries: one with scholars and independent researchers and the other with christian fundamentalists one might have balance. As it is, it’one half verifyable knowledge, one half religious propoganda.

Ah….”My sweet Lord…”