Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 03, 2008

OT 08-41

Open threat: If you don't comment, the WMD terrorists will win!

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 3, 2008 at 18:28 UTC | Permalink

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Why is it so easy to scarce people these days? Say that a "terrorist" might possibly hide something on their person and board a plane --- and we will stripe search granny with everyone's approval. Why is this? Has modern man become terrified of life itself?

Do we not know that everyone dies someday?

Posted by: Buckaroo | Dec 3 2008 19:05 utc | 1

I just heard an interview with the head of Saab (the auto maker), who cited one of the reasons that his firm hasn't turned a profit in 20 years--the longevity of his firm's vehicles.

But he said the company had a plan to return it to profitability. I suspect, to begin making garbage that won't last at all.

There's something wrong with an economic system where making and selling junk is rewarded, but making carefully-crafted long-lived products is penalized.

Posted by: Obelix | Dec 3 2008 19:33 utc | 2

Open threat

Nah. Just plain ole German word final obstruent devoicing.

Posted by: Hamburger | Dec 3 2008 20:48 utc | 3

nightmarish designs

There is no such "condition" as "schizophrenia," but the label is a social fact and the social fact a political event.-R.D.Laing

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 3 2008 21:00 utc | 4

Ob 2) "Junk" is purely relativistic elitism. The ant and bee make things that last only one year, they've been in business a couple million years longer than we have.

The "junkness" of modern technology is partly obsolescence, partly longevity elitism, but I think for most people, junk is poorly made crap, hole-in-the-bucket kinda stuff.

A well-made auto that barely exceeds five-year depreciation is still well-made, but a Volkswagen that survives 500,000 miles with multiple engine changeouts is still junk. Third-cylinder oiling:heating problem everyone knew was junk going into production, whereas Datsun modified the junk MG engine design and made it into a masterpiece.

Posted by: Tiber On | Dec 3 2008 22:28 utc | 5

We are, or they are, on the brink of the verge of the ability to forestall death's inevitable hand, indefinitely. Very close now.
Which means if you qualify you'll be extending your corporeal self toward the moment when total immortality becomes available.
The longer you live the more likely you'll be alive when the big breakthrough comes.
This isn't being promised overtly anywhere, but it's burned into the Zeitgeist, tattooed on the species' modern surface. All that horseshit about "think of the lives we'll save!" wasn't about lives saved it was about lives extended and fortunes made etc.
Notice how all that talk of cloning has disappeared completely, suddenly, from the MSM?
Some sympathy for the poor little creatures perched on the verge of the brink of immortality.
How desperately they cling to what they have, hoping soon it will become so much more.

Posted by: roy belmonst | Dec 3 2008 22:37 utc | 6

5: Tiber- Yes, but what do you call the product of a company who markets their product not on the basis of longevity, safety and economy, but rather the styling, sound system and electronic gizmos, such as GPS and built-in TV?

I own a Volvo "Brick" that's going on 18, has about a quarter-million miles on it and gets 27 MPG on the highway and still looks very nice (the paint's in great condition, as is the interior). It'll transport a double-bass as well as a tuba with room to spare. I bought it second-hand 8 years ago for $6,000. If this is elitism, it's rather strange sort.

Why is it unreasonable to ask for 500,000 miles out of an auto?

Posted by: Obelix | Dec 3 2008 23:08 utc | 7


tho i my/self am not so well in this moment - i am able to work & in the work i do here i respectfully adapt the lessons of r d laing & david cooper to the practical work i do in the communities. tho i my/self suffer - i have witnessed this methodology year after year being the only effective way to work with the suffering of others. it rests for me the only consideredapproach; it indeed is the only healthy approach

i've worked for nearly 30 years with pyschiatric communities of one kind or another - & i can remember as a young poet in my early 20's walking through the 'cold storage' facilities in australian hospitals where large groups of people were locked up & had been locked up for decades - who had been lobotomised or leucotomies which were still being practiced until the late 70's there. or they were on massive doses of halperidol, thorazin or other 'antipsychotics' that made functioning the most brutal existence possible. i would often leave those units weeping. i did not think i could help them in the slightest way; i tried & there were some successes. i witnessed in the 80's the willy nilly use of medications on people that had no more proof of their efficacity than insulin treatments, electroshock, lobotomies - for a scientific field - there was little science - & what little was there was vulgar. to work in thos institutions at that time was a deeply disturbing experience & taught me a great deal how capital functions. as the saying goes a society ought to be measured by how it treats the least of us. in fact it treated the least with the greatest neglect & sometimes with the most absolute cruelty

i witnessed the birth of therapautic ommunities - & these were largely invented by the work of reich & of laing/cooper - tho no one wanted to asknowledge that debt. already for me there was an intellectual dishonesty in not acknowledging the pioneering work of laing cooper & some others. in any case these communities were used to handle the people that were emptied from the hospitals so that the valuable lands they were situated in the 19th century - (very often inner city) - in fact the so called liberalisation was the excuse to not give any care for those amongst the least of us. i was asked to be the writer of a oral history project at the time of the soi-disant 'liberalisation' - & i refused because i knew that it was meant to sanitise a movement that had even less consideration for health in the community

in france in the last 20 years there has been a greater opening than in the english speaking world - simply because it is a public health system & other methodologies are allowed but the great chemical companies have continued with their catastophe of re representing without a great deal of empirical evidence - new medecines - that will cure this & that in mental illness - but do little - in fact too little

i despair of the crudity of what passes for care with the mentally ill. france is better than most - but there is a long long way to go & i feel that the chemical companies control so much - so that a healing space - is very difficult to create or find

& now, for the first time in my life - & it is quite clear that it is caused by the medication i take for heart & diabetes - that i sometimes swing from my usual transforming melancholy into moments that are clearly - clinical depression. fortunately i work & i read for work because i can contextualise all the time but it does not stop the pain. not at all. & yes i suppose it is a pain i have a difficulty to deal with because there is nothing i can do

i wonder if that magnificent documentary, 'Didn't You Used to Be RD Laing'? is still available - watching this film once a long time ago - the demonisation of rd laing had just begin - & i found his wisdom & rage in this film, heartbreaking. it is perhaps not ironic - that this was real man of science who possessed a troubled but open heart

& while whole worlds are going mad before our eyes - the common sense & deceny of laing seems more & more appropriate

genuine compassion or insurrection

( my colleague told me tonigh he hear that gordon brown was going to issue lie detectors to be used with the unemployed so they wouldn' defrauf 'public monies' - what kind of mad fucking world is that - whole the rich pillage day after day night after nigh without the slighest hint of awareness- - that stupid fat fuck gordon brown wants to penalise the poor onece again - -- what kinf of world is this - is not only hamlet's question but ours)

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 3 2008 23:12 utc | 8

The love of money is the root of all evil, and by chance the largest concentration of evil anywhere resides in Washington D.C.
Speaking of planned obsolescence it's amazing just how fast a shift key stops functioning these days.

Posted by: James Crow | Dec 3 2008 23:49 utc | 9

#9, JC: I've used IBM Model M keyboards since they first came out. I've never had one fail on me. As far as I'm aware, modern keyboards lack the double-shot molded keys and clean reliable action of the M.

Posted by: Obelix | Dec 4 2008 0:29 utc | 10

Ob 10) The Unicomp version of now obsolete IBM Model M retails for $69. It's loud, heavy and slow, but apparently will survive longer than the computer it's attached to. The ?? KBJ-006UB keyboard I use cost $5.95, and although the key names have rubbed off and had to be replaced with silver pen and scotch tape, it's quiet, good tactile feel, and will clearly survive longer than the inevitable obsolescence of the laptop it's attached to.

So which is the junk? The $70 brick that outlasts the future, or the $6 version that gets its fur rubbed off, but still outlasts the future?

And that's an analog for everything, if I've ever heard one.

I've got German FDick chef knives that are 60 years old an you could hardly afford to buy today at $100 a pop, but my favorite knife is a little white handle jobbie I got for $10 from an online slaughterhouse supply catalog. So which is the junk?

I'd venture "junk", in all it's aspects, junk bonds, junk housing, junk science, has at its root "crap", that is, worthless at any price. Once you're above that level, then my suggestion as a survivalist is to buy the cheapest useful objects, houses, cars, science you can find, and save the rest of your fortune for cat food, because inevitably, life become junk, nothing but junk, and a simple backpack with cat food and water bottle may be the most useful item in your survival collection.

Not to denigrate your Volvo, you can always sleep in it after it craps out, and really, when it comes down to it, that's what we're debating here at MoA. The end.

Posted by: Cher Nobel | Dec 4 2008 1:28 utc | 11

Remembereringgiap, I am sorry your health is not good...You are an extraordinary man and you obviously had an extraordinary life. I have great respect for you even when (very rarely) I do not agree with you...
Roy Belmont, are you talking about physical immortality? I can't imagine who would really want to live for ever in this type of existence? Even if it's possible (medically) you obviously forgot about violence (engraved in our DNK), WARS ...How it would be medically possible to put together body blow in to the pieces by bomb? It is so silly that people on this Earth can even dream about (physical) immortality...

Posted by: vbo | Dec 4 2008 1:32 utc | 12

Yeah, I've heard that posting song lyrics is teh ghey (sic), but this one hit me hard.

" the memory of men the search for happiness has never ended.
But the gates of Eden will ever be closed for those Conquistadors, who are only hungry for power and might.
Because the real El Dorado isn't made out of diamonds and gold.
It’s the emotional yearning for peace, love and understanding in the hearts of everyone." ~from El Dorado,Goombay Dance Band

On the face of it, it just seems too simple and too much like crispety-crunchety, feel-good, pop-psychology to have any real weight to it. So where is this stirring resonance inside me coming from? Why is this beautifully simplistic and superficial message so gorram compelling to me?

I have to admit, the archetypes from the western hemisphere aren't my strong suit. I can go on and on about Myrrdhin and the Earth bear, Vortigern, the transmutation of Avolakitisvara into Kuan Yin, Lailoken, Inari-Kitsune, the corruption of the Aesir-Vanir by Gulveig, and a million others that I have no special relationship with. They're interesting and they're safe. I have the distance from them which is necessary in order to satisfy myself that I am having profound insights in noticing what should be obvious. Closer to home, and I'm as clueless as anyone.

Dreams are this way, I've found. Dreams are communications and observations, not necessarily earth shattering ones, that your unconscious mind makes. Your conscious mind takes these simple messages and makes them entirely unintelligible. There seems to be an art involved in dumbing yourself down enough to understand what you were communicating to yourself in the first place. We want to make things more difficult and we sacrifice meaning in the process. In sleep or in wakefulness, we will ourselves to miss the point. There are many things in this life which should be pretty obvious, and I am continually impressed with those, like b, who are consistently able to view past themselves.

Uncle $cam once linked to an article about the Chapel Perilous. Here, knights questing for the Holy Grail become trapped until they make peace with the fact that what they are questing for is not what they thought. Some, maybe most, never leave and become trapped in their anguish. It's not meant to describe a real place; it's a metaphor for an internal construct. It's also where the myths of El Dorado, the expulsion from Eden and a million other compelling legends of failed attempts to reach the stars seem to intersect.

However, the North American versions of these basic, universal stories seem especially compelling because we accept that Juan Ponce De Leon actually did seek out a Fountain of Youth and Pizarro, von Hutton, de Quesada, Raleigh and a host of others actually did engage in the futility of seeking out a fabled City of Gold. These morality tales are no mere metaphors to us; they are real because they did not occur in some misty, murky past... they happened less than 500 years ago.

Perhaps I shouldn't call them morality tales since they did not come to us from Aesop. They are just tiny tragedies of history, which we all know is nothing more than a "litany of villians and victims". Nothing to see here. Nothing to be learned. Just as nothing will be learned from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, which are really nothing more or less than another epic tragedy in the classical mold filled with antiheroes blinded by their hubris and greed. Yes, real people suffer and die to give us our newspaper filler from which we will learn nothing. History, both and ancient and modern, is just like dreaming, it seems to me. We are too sophisticated to understand it, and too obsessed by our personal quests to see the world as it is.

This latter point is dramatically illustrated by the Obama phenomenon. Obama the Man is inconsequential. I'll never meet him. However, Obama the Man is not what people fight about. Since he has not yet assumed office, there is nothing beyond cabinet appointments to discuss. But Obama the Symbol has tremendous importance. He represents to some of us their hopes and to others their fears. The slobbering praise and the angry condemnations would be embarrassing if we were actually discussing a fellow human being. We aren't, thankfully. We are discussing yet another internal construct.

Anyway, the things going on in the world around us really are not metaphors any more than the Grail Saga or Der Nibelungenleid are simple metaphors. Human nature and history have shown us that we actually do put on blinders of greed and hubris to pursue our own destruction. Our pursuit of what we convince ourselves should be blinds us to the mortal dangers of what is. There are none of us immune to this effect and few of us humble enough to save ourselves.

At the end of the day, the Holy Grail does exist. There is a Fountain of Youth and a City of Gold. There is a Paradise. They exist within us, and they are no less real than any other reality... skyscrapers, telecommunication, cars and airplanes... that we, ourselves, manufacture and place into the reality outside of ourselves. Our internal realities are made corporeal and can nourish or poison the realities of everyone else. So why, then, is it so difficult for us to manifest those beautiful, golden realities and so easy for all of us conquistadores and knights errant to "discover" (and subsequently create) the equally real destinations of Hell, Chaos and Oblivion?

I apologize for the ramble. I'm just touching base here and this is where I happen to be at the moment.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 4 2008 4:19 utc | 13

Nice to see your name up there Monolycus.
It's always good to hear from ya, ramble are not...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2008 4:29 utc | 14


review this: 'Pakistani Security Consultant Calls Mumbai Attacks A “Botched” False Flag'

Posted by: Al | Dec 4 2008 4:32 utc | 15

A telling quote from the Dalai Lama on BBC news:

The Dalai Lama said he had met President-elect Barack Obama years ago and had kept in touch during the campaign.

On Tibet, he said: "I'm quite sure it will be a new face in the White House but the same policy."

I'm afraid that he just may be right.

Posted by: Obelix | Dec 4 2008 5:35 utc | 16

nice one, monolycus. for whatever reason, the following passage appeared in my mind:

He was in despair again.

"Dear me - to think that there can be an ostensible Mind that cannot conceive of so simple a trifle as that! . . . . Look here, August: there are really no divisions of time - none at all. The past is always present when I want it - the real past, not an image of it; I can summon it, and there is is. The same with the future: I can summon it out of the the unborn ages, and there it is, before my eyes, alive and real, not a fancy, an image, a creation of the imagination. Ah, these troublesome limitations of yours! - they hamper me. Your race cannot even conceive of something being made out of nothing - I am aware of it, your learned men and philosophers are always confessing it. They say there had to be something to start with - meaning a solid, a substance - to build the world out of. Man, it is perfectly simple - it was built out of thought. Can't you comprehend that?"

"No, I can't! Thought! There is no substance to thought; then how is a material thing going to be constructed out of it?"

"But August, I don't mean your kind of thought, I mean my kind, and the kind that the gods exercise."

"Come, what is the difference? Isn't thought just thought, and all said?"

"No. A man originates nothing in his head, he merely observes exterior things, and combines them in his head - puts several observed things together and draws a conclusion. His mind is merely a machine, that is all - an automatic one, and he has no control over it; it cannot conceive of a new thing, an original thing, it can only gather material from the outside and combine it into new forms and patterns. But it always has to have the materials from the outside, for it cannot make them itself. That is to say, a man's mind cannot create - a god's can, and my race can. That is the difference. We need no contributed materials, we create them - out of though. All things that exist were made out of thought - and out of nothing else."

It seemed charitable to me, also polite, to take him at his word and not require proof, and I said so. He was not offended. He only said -

"Your automatic mind has performed its function - its sole function - and without help from you. That is to say, it has listened, it has observed, it has put this and that together, and drawn a conclusion - the conclusion that my statement was a doubtful one. It is now privately beginning to wish for a test. Is that true?"

"Well, yes," I said, "I won't deny it, though for courtesy's sake I would have concealed it if I could have had my way."

"Your mind is automatically suggesting that I offer a specific proof - that I create a dozen gold coins out of nothing; that is to say, out of thought. Open your hand - they are there."

And so they were!

mark twain, no. 44, the mysterious stranger

Posted by: b real | Dec 4 2008 6:17 utc | 17

Bartender! Double, no ice...

youtube vid: Bush honored with FIRST "International Medal of P.E.A.C.E."

p.s. fuck Bono too...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2008 6:49 utc | 18

& while whole worlds are going mad before our eyes - the common sense & deceny of laing seems more & more appropriate

Indeed comrade, I have often found it telling how we study pathology, and disease, instead of health and vibrancy. I've concluded we have a necro fetish. Thus the reason, I have deemed our bipartisan leaders as Necrocons.

R D Laing on the Politics of Psychology

“Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!” As Willy Shakespeare wrote.

Listen Christopher, the world needs people like you, I need you, we need you, now more than ever. Though I have never told you specifically, many times over the years I have been at the point of turning off the lights. And came to this bar to read your biblio therapy, your astute, healing and compassionate words, and they have given me strength to battle on another day. Please be at ease with yourself, my friend and get some rest, and recoup. My thoughts are with you.


For me, an area of moral clarity is: you're in front of someone who's suffering and you have the tools at your disposal to alleviate that suffering or even eradicate it, and you act. -Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer and a recipient of the MacArthur " genius" grant for his work treating tuberculosis in Haiti.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2008 8:36 utc | 19

@ Cher Nobel, #11

Junk may be junk (here's one solution), but some crap is good sh*t.

Posted by: catlady | Dec 4 2008 8:56 utc | 20

wrt catlady's awesome #20 and DeAnander excellent essay...

I felt obligated to repost this:

Slavoj Žižek on toilets and ideology

From an unknown source. You've probably heard this already in some of Zizek's lectures. German ideology - reflective, philosophical
French - revolutionary, dismissive
Anglo-American - intermediate, passive

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2008 10:10 utc | 21

Beautiful de/construction and diagnosis of the ideological despair of late capitalism, Monolycus. The prism view within which resonates much with me, and I'm quite sure with others here.

I have spoken before of my own dealings with being stuck in Samara. Lost in the labyrinth of my own mind. Disassociated and alienated which is what the corporate egregore feeds on.

This tulpa uses us as it's host.

Chapel Perilous.yes, but also there is this...

Campbell speaks of the Monomyth of 'the hero's journey', and it's different stages:

"...At heart, despite its infinite variety, the hero's story is always a journey. A hero leaves her comfortable, ordinary surroundings to venture into a challenging, unfamiliar world. It may be an outward journey to an actual place: a labyrinth, forest or cave, a strange city or country, a new locale that becomes the arena for her conflict with antagonistic, challenging forces.

But there are as many stories that take the hero on an inward journey, one of the mind, the heart, the spirit. In any good story the hero grows and changes, making a journey from one way of being to the next: from despair to hope, weakness to strength, folly to wisdom, love to hate, and back again..."

- Christopher Vogler, The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters.

there is the departure, the initiation and finally the return. within the return is often where we get stuck be it refusal to return, or in my case in inability to find the rescue from within. Leaving me in a liminal frozen state of hypoarousal and all it's inhibitory mechanisms. Yet, the struggle goes on. Perhaps,the victory is in the struggle, I really don't know, however, I do know this, I have done and continue to do much analysis on myself, and have reached the conclusion that the problem isn't always me. It's a bifurcation.

The biopolitics of the system perpetuates the purgatory. The undead system bunts the senses of wonder at the mystery and sanctity of nature at the root of reverential ecology.

It has no respect for reciprocity, culture nor life itself.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2008 11:47 utc | 22

R'giap. Take care of yourself.

Monolycus (13). Good one. Thank you.

Posted by: beq | Dec 4 2008 12:37 utc | 23

I hate ticker-lines on TV video (funny)

Posted by: b | Dec 4 2008 12:43 utc | 24

b - had a laugh with that one
Uncle$cam - You had me going with that fake Bush video. Gee - they can do some real shit-hot CGI Graphics these days ...

Posted by: DM | Dec 4 2008 13:15 utc | 25

Nothing like work to lead a guy to goof-off and post a comment ☺

It seem inherent in our world view that most of us are pretty pessimistic, but we also must have a skunk’s stripe of hope or we wouldn’t be reading drivel such as this website.
We’d be off doing what ever the rest of the flock does while the shepard is sharpening his knife…

That said, this is the finest vintage drivel I’ve consumed in quite sometime. I snuck in the back door via and have been sucking out the dregs of bottles all ya’alls left. Damn those cigarette butts!

For hope, read Richard Bach’s book Illusions.
For truth, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s A diamond as big as the Ritz.
To really freak yourself out, place yourself and five televisions in a room about six p.m. Then turn-on all the televisions to different evening news programs, shut your eyes and see if you can figure out which is which.
I shouldn’t have to explain why

The craziest thing about being self-aware, and creating a “language” to go with it is how important our species can feel because we can “communicate.” I cry bull feces about the importance of language and everything that goes with it.
Language does wonders for leaders, nothing for the led.

Another interesting book that will take your mind off this interesting moment of modern human history is by a fellow named William Calvin; the book is called The Throwing Madonna and is a collection of his essays on the brain. is his website-good feces.

I really want to thank everyone who has posted on this site—if the MSM was promoting this depth of dialogue imagine how much better informed everyone would be.

Our perception is our reality and we inhabit that reality alone. It is this realization that drives the poets mad.

Just remember we are alone, TOGETHER! YeeHaw!

Dave da FreAk

Posted by: David | Dec 4 2008 14:41 utc | 27

Uncle $cam,

Watching the clip of key figures in the Saddleback Church awarding Bush with a prize for peace reminds me that I have no faith in us using faith-based solutions to tackle any of our societal problems, AIDS included.

Posted by: Cynthia | Dec 4 2008 14:58 utc | 28

Why is it so easy to scare people these days?

In a way, the fear is ersatz fear, a superficial, exploitable thrill, something ppl know they are supposed to exhibit, to support their Gvmt, etc. It is TV show, TV news, acted out on the ground, in lovely homes with green lawns, 3 bathrooms, and 4 TVS, and with more (or no) conviction in poor homes...There are layers of pandering and pretense...

You know the terrorist came in through Canada the border is not safe we have to be out.. there can be terrorists all over, you have to come home right after school

Some ppl in other countries hate the US, they hate us for our freedom, those ppl are crazy but they might use an atom bomb, but don’t worry, Daddy will keep you safe, he is fighting for America

(real quotes, shortened)

and so on.

I.e. many ppl are not scared at all but understand that fear is to be exploited as a justification of aggression, following Bush, etc. and think that is just fine. They understand, if you dig in, that the US has an energy problem, and that is it is not right or fair that the ME - despots, dictators, ppl who don’t respect the rights of women (etc.) *sand niggers, Islamic terrorists*, have the power the hold the US over a barrel (sic.) Very dispiriting.

Posted by: Tangerine | Dec 4 2008 17:16 utc | 29

David says: I cry bull feces about the importance of language and everything that goes with it. come now, david, you can't really believe such things after citing Fitzgerald's excellent story, now can you? then david says: Language does wonders for leaders, nothing for the led. now that is a tremendous load of bullshit, and as a poet i couldn't disagree more.

poetry might not mean a whole lot anymore in the states, saturated as it is with diligent parrots in MFA programs regurgitating the swill of their professors, but language--and its abuse by our leaders--is one of the most important components of imperial/colonial control, and it takes artists to keep moving language beyond the grasp of the people who serve the imperial interests, whether an ad-man or a speech writer.

language is one of the few tools left for a disenfranchised populous to use against its oppressors. if more people took language more seriously, and questioned the "official language" used to justify murdering and destroying entire civilizations, then there would be a lot fewer sheep to lead to slaughter.

anyway, david, you apparently think hope and truth can be found in the pages of authors who have effectively composed their thoughts to effect a beneficial alteration in your own consciousness, so me thinks you value language as much as i do.

Posted by: Lizard | Dec 4 2008 17:36 utc | 30

There's something wrong with an economic system where making and selling junk is rewarded, but making carefully-crafted long-lived products is penalized.

For the change in heart -- see GM's ownership of SAAB. Who was just seeking free Fed money for designing intentionally short-lived low-value vehicles? Was that GM?

Naaaah. Couldn't be.

Does anyone ever bother questioning whether materialistic capitalism is sustainable, WITHOUT cheap-shot reference to Marx, Lenin, Communism or Socialism?

Posted by: micah pyre | Dec 4 2008 18:09 utc | 31

rgiap, Laing, Cooper and Co are still somewhat known heroes here. Thomas Szasz is perhaps the most read. Got a mail yest from a 22 year old - long story - could he use them as refs? (he is doing a masters thesis on binge drinking in teens.)

Did you used to be RD Laing is available at Amazon, 39 dollars, in stock.>link

The pity of it is that the ‘new’ medications, for schizophrenia, for ex, do help *some* people. The deal that requires meds for all, and indiscriminate prescription, the rapid switching between drugs and over use, etc. means that no careful research can be done, no conclusions drawn, etc. Of course, it is a hit and miss enterprise, purely empirical, but even hit n miss could be analyzed properly, in good conditions. Those patients who do well following appropriate drug taking, in my experience, limited to be sure, are those who have ONE primary physician/psychiatrist who tracks all this over years; these patients, their families, have money to afford that kind of treatment, and their primary care-taker must have some clout (e.g. patient is hospitalized by police, psych. goes and gets them out.)

This is not an argument for Big Pharma, or against any other kind of care, which will always be the most important. Just to state - whatever drug advances exist - and they do - they will never be worked out because that would be to the detriment of Big Pharma, as it would restrict use drastically. Only some particular patients would be put on 3 mo. trial on a proper protocol, then it would be given up.

Posted by: Tangerine | Dec 4 2008 18:19 utc | 32

It is true. Language and the control of language is what controls our perceptions. And it is true disenfranchised people have found ways to express themselves outside of the accepted norms of communication and this has given language its glorious breadth and depth.

For the physical truth I think animals have it better than we do–sniff a butt and you know how your buddy is doing. Forgive me, but I drove dogsleds for many years and because of this I have an anal fixation about what truth really means.

For animals it is easy because they really can get most of what information they need from smells and their wacky sixth sense. This is fine if the most complicated group activity you engage in is hunting. Building pyramids and civilization requires a conceptual depth much deeper than rectal secretions and it probably needs something more than a sixth sense too. Of course I might be wrong about this and animals haven’t created anything like man because maybe they’re just smarter.

I admit I wrote what I did partially for arguments sake and also to try and cheer-up a discussion so full of the depressing truths. Yes, that is a big civilized screwing we’re all getting. And it has been going on for as long as there have been enough brain cells to realize it is better to gather food and store it than it is to go hungry during times of hardship. Humans are wired like any animal for survival and that is exactly how we act trying to insure we will.

As long as the western world is the upstairs maid to the NWO (or what ever name you give the elites) we won’t do anything about anything. Humans are socialized to believe they’re getting screwed and it is what we’re used to. As long as we are allowed to occasionally eat from the masters table and wear the master’s old clothes we won’t change a thing. Because we can see what it’s like to be one of the whores lower-down on the pecking order. They get gang-raped and still have to scrub the toilets.

A funny thing about language is that you can tell someone they're great and if you do it enough and with enough sincerity they’ll believe you and start acting this way. Unfortunately for humans, in order for you to be great, someone has to be less great and too often this is the distinction we end up focused on.

Why does it seem throughout history 15% of the population is the only sane wedge between the dumb and the angry?

It is so much easier to make a monster than a miracle.

Dave da’ FreAk

Posted by: David | Dec 4 2008 18:25 utc | 33

Tangerine: "many ppl are not scared at all but understand that fear is to be exploited as a justification of aggression, following Bush, etc. and think that is just fine."

In that case, do you think that institutionalised fear is the fulfillment of a state of mass hypnosis? It's been noted that many people under hypnosis will unconscously fulfill what they understand is expected of them. For many, it's not just a state of heightened suggestibility, but rather, a state in which they provide the suggestion automatically based upon their own preconceptions.

In this case, all it would take is for the stage mesmerist to provide a minimal degree of coaching (for example, bringing up Iraq, al Qaeda, terrorism and 9-11 in the same breath), but leaving it to the audience to connect those dots for themselves. I know that this sort of thing has been suggested before as a heavy-handed illustration of group behaviour, but I am discussing hypnosis or a similar state in a very literal sense... are you suggesting that the majority of us go through life in a trance or fugue? I'm not prepared to disagree if you are.

b real and Uncle $cam: Thank you both for providing those thought-provoking responses. Uncle, I wasn't specifically referring to late capitalism or really any single particular period of human development, but, on reflection, I can see how it is apt. I missed your post on suadade when you originally contributed it, but it is a timely one for me to read now as I have a major move coming up in the near future, and I am evaluating the degree to which many things I yearn for actually can exist.

And b real, I'd never really considered your sn as anything other than a clever play on words, but in light of my recent thoughts on reality, I have to say that it is exactly what I am trying to do.

David: Joseph Conrad assures us that "(w)e live as we dream; alone." I've been aware of that for many years. It's odd, one of the cruelest things we can legally do to other human beings is to put them into solitary confinement, yet many of us live in desolate isolation all of our lives. I wrestle with this daily.

I welcome you aboard.

Finally, no, beq. Thank you for your continued contributions, support, awe-inspiring art, and presence. You are valued, and you should know that.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 4 2008 18:26 utc | 34

David: "...animals haven’t created anything like man because maybe they’re just smarter."

Douglas Adams certainly felt that way. At least about dolphins.

As far as I am able to prove, the only thing unique about humans is that we might be the only species that is able to formulate the question "Am I happy?"... and merely posing this question is enough to change the answer.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 4 2008 18:34 utc | 35

Monolycus --

Since he has not yet assumed office, there is nothing beyond cabinet appointments to discuss.

Hmmm. What about (1) voting record as a US Senator; (2) sources of funding; (3) known advisory team; (4) demonstrated perspectives; (5) educational background; (6) work history?

These are inconsequential, is that what you're saying?

Posted by: micah pyre | Dec 4 2008 18:39 utc | 36

Of course I might be wrong about this and animals haven’t created anything like man because maybe they’re just smarter.

meet the bowerbird

Posted by: b real | Dec 4 2008 18:45 utc | 37

The bowerbird must have a virus that is transmittable to man because we seem to do the same crazy things for love...

Posted by: David | Dec 4 2008 18:58 utc | 38

micah pyre: "What about (1) voting record as a US Senator; (2) sources of funding; (3) known advisory team; (4) demonstrated perspectives; (5) educational background; (6) work history?

These are inconsequential, is that what you're saying?"

I had considered his voting record after I had already posted, yes. I was typing as I was drinking my morning coffee and getting ready for work, so I was writing a bit hastily and not especially coherently. I would also grant that your #2 is a fairly reliable diagnostic. I would say your #'s 3 and 4 are not clearly diagnostic at all since the nature of modern politics is to conceal rather than to reveal. Your #'s 5 and 6 are entirely irrelevant and nit-picky.

None of that changes my basic observation. We are not discussing a human being here. We are discussing a memetic. Like you, apparently, the symbol of Obama does not represent my hopes as much as my fears, however I'm not prepared to base lengthy debates upon prognostications. I'll condemn when there is something concrete to condemn.

At any rate, the Obama phenomenon was just an illustration of another point entirely. I apologize if it struck a personal nerve and derailed you from what I was actually discussing. I do tend to digress. I'm working on it.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 4 2008 19:08 utc | 39

Geez, projection is paramount!

Nothing "struck a nerve." I asked you a question. Apparently it hit closely for you, as you have to dismiss 5 of my 6 points by denigration, rather than by reasoning.

The smugness of e-forum experts, it's worth cultivating as a cultural phenomenon. I'd like to preserve your "reply" in amber, if possible. Should be just like a scarab beetle in a few thousand years. Future humans can look back on your post and say, "gosh, Monolycus sure fancied himself a genius!"

Posted by: micah pyre | Dec 4 2008 19:21 utc | 40

"...projection is paramount!"

Apparently. I was simply answering your question. No incivility was intended and I'm not sure after reviewing my response where you picked that up from.

I'll forgive your interpretation that I was denigrating if you forgive my interpretation that you're just looking for a fight here.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 4 2008 19:34 utc | 41


They're transfering title of ANWR to the State of Alaska, for a
50% cut of the royalties. Now I get the Sarah Palin connection!


Posted by: Joe Pulukaana | Dec 4 2008 19:50 utc | 42

Monolycus: i have alway enjoyed your articulations. obviously someone is trying to pick a fight. damn trolls.

Joe: there is more going on in Alaska than any of us probably realize. Sarah Palin won't be leaving the national stage any time soon.

Posted by: Lizard | Dec 4 2008 20:26 utc | 43

Speaking of Obama. Some friends watched Spearhead do a concert in Denver recently and said that there was a long, drawn-out Obama song. The audience was chanting and though my friends cringed as they said it, “It felt a little bit Nazi like.”

I wasn’t there and hence–remember the phrase; only believe half of what you see and nothing that you hear. But in the interest of dialogue I’ll include it because it is one of my fears about any man who people worship, rather than admire.

There is a long tradition of tales of brave heroes saving his or her world from some monster.

The funny thing about heroes is that without monsters there is little need for heroes. Hmmm, makes you wonder who has the biggest motive to find monsters? Or maybe it doesn’t.

It isn’t the way movies like Caligula depict leaders that worry me. It is movies like Dead Poets Society that give the audience an illusion of some benevolent father figure inspiring us to be inspired. It works and it’s worked for me. But like steroids, it is a false way to achieve a goal of independence and at some point leaves you shrunken and even more under the thumb of the next father, leader, Messiah or what ever takes the place of the fallen figure.

That statement is a little off subject (I think I’m always a little off subject ☺) but it brings me to the fact that Obama was elected in America which, if he was really a figure of change, instead of The Figure of Change, he never would have been. He is going to fill a roll that the real brains have already figured out. The people scripting the show have been doing it a longtime and are several chapters ahead of anybody watching.

What is going to be heartbreaking is when we wake-up and our funny little American way of life has become radically different. It has happened to every empire and it will happen to our too. It looks like it might be in our lifetime.

The game is stacked against the individual human. They print the money. They control our information. They, Them, Those Guys, whoever, whatever.

Try and enjoy the sunsets, the moonrises and anything else you cherish because we’re a long-time dead.

The dreamer in me wishes we could take the bombs from the governments and maybe most of these horrible, silly killings would stop. That will be the day we don’t have to pay taxes anymore.


Posted by: David | Dec 4 2008 22:12 utc | 44

So I'm a troll if I wonder why Monolycus is a shape-shifter in his responses to me?

That's an interesting theory. I guess I needed to know the Clubhouse Handshake to have Monolycus behave more appropriately toward my insouciant questioning of his ultimate authority.

That, my friends, was sarcasm. Dripping, weeping sarcasm intended to convey ironical observation of a strange about-face in Monolycus's posts in response to my innocent question about why and how to judge ANY politician, with Obama as exemplar.

Sorry if you're unprepared to deal with sarcasm or irony. Better luck next time to all of us, eh?

Posted by: micah pyre | Dec 4 2008 22:14 utc | 45

pyre, i agree with you there is more than just cabinet appointments to criticize, but i think Monolycus has made his position at other times here pretty clear, so excuse me if i misinterpreted your behavior as trollish.

that said, if anyone wants to "own a piece of history" i would suggest buying an Obama commemorative plate. Just watch this advertisement and see if you can deny the allure of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Posted by: Lizard | Dec 4 2008 23:15 utc | 46

It is amazing that I could own a priceless plate for $19.99. I wonder if by priceless they mean no value. I suppose a can of Spam would fit nice upon it–perfect for Christmas/Kwanzaa/Chanuka/Solstice celebrations this year.


Posted by: David | Dec 5 2008 0:48 utc | 47>Megathrust earthquake could hit Asia 'at any time' 18:00 03 December 2008 by Tamsin Osborne

A devastating "megathrust" earthquake could occur at any time off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to new research. Previous quakes have failed to release all of the energy that has built up over hundreds of years, leaving the fault zone vulnerable to another large earthquake.

Using GPS, field measurements, radar data and seismological records, a team of international researchers investigated the parameters and reconstructed the events of two massive earthquakes, measuring 8.4 and 7.9 on the Richter scale, which occurred in the Mentawai area in 2007.

Previous models of how earthquakes work had suggested that the same fault would rupture in the same way and at regular, predictable time intervals. But the researchers found that the 2007 quakes ruptured only a fraction of the area affected by the giant 1833 earthquake, indicating that a tectonic plate boundary can rupture in different patterns depending on local differences in stress.

"What we see here is that the 2007 earthquake had at least a very big overlap with the 1833 earthquake, but it was very much smaller; in other words, it was an entirely different earthquake," says John McCloskey, a geophysicist at the University of Ulster, UK.

Fault at fault
The GPS data enabled the researchers to create a map of the fault zone, showing which parts were locked tight and which parts were slipping freely. This allowed them to estimate where the most strain has built up, and where the next big rupture is most likely to occur.

The results suggested that the 2007 events released only a quarter of the energy that had accumulated since 1833, leaving enough pent-up energy to trigger another giant earthquake at any time. This event could be anything between magnitude 8.2 and over 9, says McCloskey.

The earthquake that led to the devastating Asian tsunami of 2004 occurred in a different part of the same fault and measured between 9.0 and 9.3. The 2004 event is thought to have increased the strain on the Mentawai region, making an earthquake there even more likely.

Posted by: plushtown | Dec 5 2008 0:53 utc | 48

from a very young age i understood deeply the maxim that,He who speaks of revolution without living it in their daily life speaks with a corpse in his mouth

other than marx who stays with me still - there are only the work especialy the last two books by david cooper, the letters & passages of walter benjamin, lettres à franca of louis althusser - that explain the world to me & that explain me to me

uncle, there are nights where your researches have hrld me closer to the ground because even besieged i will not relinquish it. struggle is to sacred & beautiful a sense & word to diminish. enemies of one kind of other have for 30 years sought my end, desired it - to sanitise & apologise for their own - my understanding of that is so strong that i will go only when the body ceases, the breathing can no longer continue

when i read here i am aware of all the other brother & sister soldiers down the line who need each other & their works too much - to submit to the sqalid submission of dominant ideology or soiled social relations. i will never do that & from the force i feel from your posts, i know you never will

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 5 2008 1:28 utc | 49

I'm still not clear as to how it is that you interpret me as "shape shifting", but you, micah pyre, have been a paragon of consistency. When I conceded two of of your points, said that two were iffy and only rejected the last two out of hand, you replied that I had "...dismiss(ed) 5 of (your) 6 points by denigration, rather than by reasoning." (Mind you, the points were actually raised with no reasoning initially, but that's not a prequisite for posting as far as I'm aware.)

There's a continuity of nit-picking and indignation in your replies that indicates you will not be satisfied until you have fulfilled your expectation that people are being rude (or at least not deferential enough for your liking)to you. I wish you luck with that.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 5 2008 3:49 utc | 50

Incidentally, Karl Rove believes financiers are significant... and would fit right in here with his bemoaning of the "broken" system of campaign financing.

I can't argue with such an indisputable authority as this, even if I'm not entirely able to follow his line of reasoning. He states that the travesty of the Republican loss was due to a tantamount purchase of the White House by the Democrats, bemoans the fact that money rules elections, and concludes that the remedy is to remove all spending limitations. That's just not the kind of cognitive dissonance I have a place for in my personal reality, but it will naturally be brought up that I am not qualified to in the first place. (although, yes, the message behind the message is to establish a federal database so that the DHS can track who is sending how much to whom. I get that.)


To diminish criticism, Mr. Obama's campaign spun the storyline that he was being bankrolled by small donors. Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, calls that a "myth." CFI found that Mr. Obama raised money the old fashioned way -- 74% of his funds came from large donors (those who donated more than $200) and nearly half from people who gave $1,000 or more.

But that's not the entire story. It's been reported that the Obama campaign accepted donations from untraceable, pre-paid debit cards used by Daffy Duck, Bart Simpson, Family Guy, King Kong and other questionable characters. If the FEC follows up with a report on this, it should make for interesting reading.

Mr. Obama's victory marks the death of the campaign finance system. When it was created after Watergate in 1974, the campaign finance system had two goals: reduce the influence of money in politics and level the playing field for candidates.

This year it failed at both. tells us a record $2.4 billion was spent on this presidential election. And with Mr. Obama's wide financial advantage, it's clear that money is playing a bigger role than ever and candidates are not competing on equal footing.

Ironically, the victim of this broken system is one of its principal architects -- Mr. McCain. He helped craft the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform along with Sen. Russ Feingold in 2002.

No presidential candidate will ever take public financing in the general election again and risk being outspent as badly as Mr. McCain was this year. And even liberals, who have long denied that money is political speech that should be protected by First Amendment, may now be forced to admit that their donations to Mr. Obama were a form of political expression.

It is time to trust the American people and remove limits on how much an individual can donate to a campaign. By doing that, we can design a system that will be much more open by requiring candidates to frequently report donations in an online database. Technology makes this possible. Such a system would be easier for journalists to use and would therefore make it more likely that fund raising would be included in news coverage. That would give voters the tools they need to determine if a candidate is getting too much from unattractive people.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 5 2008 4:32 utc | 51

bernhard, any word from typepad on these irritating matters?

It still really is a pain in the ass to battle this bot sometimes, especially after spending time on a comment, essay or link dump.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 5 2008 5:25 utc | 52

From AGAINST FORGETTING: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, edited by Carolyn Forche.

Nicanor Parra was educated in Chile, England, and the United States, imparting to his poetry a quality of multiple estrangement. Trained as a physicist, with strong leftists leanings, Parra refused to leave Chile after the coup that brought Pinochet to power. Instead he established himself as a voice of dissent within the university and within Chile itself.


These are calamitous times we're living through
you can't speak without committing contradiction
or keep quiet without complicity with the Pentagon.
Everyone knows there's no alternative possible
all roads lead to Cuba
but the air is dirty
breathing is a futile act.
The enemy says
the country is to blame
as if countries were men.
Accursed clouds circle accursed volcanoes
accursed embarkations launch accursed expeditions
accursed trees crumble on accursed birds:
it was all polluted to begin with.

and here's something i stumbled across the other day: tip your glasses back for Brecht!


I saw the old god of war stand in a bog between chasm and rockface.

He smelled of free beer and carbolic and showed his testicles to adolescents, for he had been rejuvenated by several professors. In a hoarse wolfish voice he declared his love for everything young. Nearby stood a pregnant woman, trembling.

And without shame he talked on and presented himself as a great one for order. And he described how everywhere he put barns in order, by emptying them.

And as one throws crumbs to sparrows, he fed poor people with crusts of bread which he had taken away from poor people.

His voice was now loud, now soft, but always hoarse.

In a loud voice he spoke of great times to come, and in a soft voice he taught the women how to cook crows and seagulls. Meanwhile his back was unquiet, and he kept looking round, as though afraid of being stabbed.

And every five minutes he assured his public that he would take up very little of their time.

and for what it's worth, god damn it, here's my contribution:


It builds until it doesn't
then it ebbs.

Play another card until
you bust.

What else is there

To build, to play,
to end.

Posted by: Lizard | Dec 5 2008 6:25 utc | 53

It seems that some attitudes toward
labor relations
never change. Outrages of this type
have been the norm since day 1 of the great American effort to bring "free market economics" to Iraq, and McClatchy has been a rare draught of fresh air wafting through that mephitic "market"

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 5 2008 7:14 utc | 54

Hannah K. O'Luthon, regarding your #54

As above so below, as abroad so at home:

VC2: Convicts on Fire

We've all heard about the firefighters who have come from all over to help fight the California wildfires that have been raging for over a month, but there are a large group of firefighters that we haven't heard much about, and they are the main ones fighting the fires.

Prison inmates have been taught firefighting skills and are working in great numbers to contain all of these fires that are breaking out. These low-security inmates are getting obvious confidence and joy from being given a chance to contribute positively to the community.

Don't let the stagecraft here fool you. This is pure emotional prop-agenda of the prison indust complex capitalizing on privatized expendable slave labor.

Compare and contrast this w/#54.

Anyone want to wager on when the necrocons implement debtors prison?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 5 2008 8:05 utc | 55


exhibit A

The Apex of Slavery

Face to face with modern day Slavery

Benjamin Skinner went undercover in Istanbul to negotiate the purchase of slaves from human traffickers. What he found was a thriving trade in human misery.

Caroline E. Winter
March 27/2008
Eliot Spitzer's high-priced prostitute, Kristen, is not a slave; she's a prostitute. Or so says Benjamin Skinner, author of the new book A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face With Modern-Day Slavery. Skinner's opinion is informed by his definition of "slave": someone who is forced to work, under threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence.

Going by this definition and the desire to humanize one of the globe's most devastating injustices, he spent the past five years traveling between five continents to infiltrate slave trafficking networks—at times negotiating sales undercover (but never buying human life)—and collecting the searing stories of more than 100 victims.

The point of the book is loud and clear: Slavery is far from dead, and there's not enough being done about it. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history, with estimates ranging from 12 to 27 million, and we're not talking about those laboring for less than a dollar a day in developing countries or choosing to charge thousands for an hour of intimacy. The statistic refers only to those who truly have no choice.

Skinner took time to speak with Mother Jones from his home in Brooklyn about how some evangelicals and a small subset of academic feminists have distorted America's already skewed understanding of slavery, the hypocrisy of the Bush administration's soaring anti-slavery rhetoric, and what constitutes the "typical" slave.

Perhaps I'm being an alarmist here, but I argue that there is a thread that weaves through all these ventures like a tapestry or a carpet; a magic 'free market' carpet ride. Djinn & tonic for the elite robber Barron wardens.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 5 2008 8:31 utc | 56

Hey! Oil seems poised to fall back into the $30's/bl this next week. (25% of where it stood in July)

How about another Peak Oil thread?

Or why not one about the value of NPR's reporting, who spent an hour covering experts who predicted $250 oil the very day it peaked at $147 (I knew it was time to short, but when you're broke, who cares what you know?) Anyway a thread about the value of supporting public radio might be in order.

Or why not one about the Miracle of the Marketplace and how it allows Democracy to flourish by letting the ordinary investor have a say?

We certainly don't want a thread about intentional demand destruction under Capitalism -- that reeks of conspiracy theory!

And this is a democracy, after all, where informed people like --------- ----- continue to make a difference in our world.

We must feel we have some control. To admit we have none is too scary for most people -- even on this blog -- to admit.

More to the point -- "Breakaway" nations like Russia, Venezuela, Canada (which still thinks of itself as an independent nation) and even Maliki's Iraq have seen their earnings disappear and face the prospect of domestic unrest, in addition to new heavy oil projects becoming unsustainable below $50-60/bl.

There once was a school of investing called value investing, where one analyzed the underlying value of a corporations assets. Is there any connection between stock price and value anymore? Or has it been manipulated away to force more financial transfers to corporate entities?

When people are in the service of capital, rather than the other way around, sometimes we end up in Bizzaro world.

Posted by: Malooga | Dec 5 2008 16:52 utc | 57

I'm sorry Uncle $cam the issues you raise are of import but we shouldn't divert the thread on detroit over them, well that's what I think anyhow

OK uncle you are looking at an issue that has vexed all of us that post to MoA because it seemed in the lead up to the amerikan prez elections that more and more restrictions - allegedly to prevent spam were being placed on blogs by the proprieters of blogdom's backends (fair dinkum that's what they call that part "the Backend" such as Typepad, Wordpress or google's Blogger). The restrictions seemed, to us anyway, to be aimed more at preventing us from constructing the lengthy articles replete with hyperlinks to justify our point of view, than stopping spammers who usually only carry one link back to their own site or blog.

I have had my share of 'discussions' with b about it - some here and some by email, but we have to look at it from b's point of view too.
If b turns off the spam trap he will get inundated with crap that will rapidly overwhelm the site. Once it became apparent the filters have been taken off, every man and his dog with an unpopular blog, a baldness cure or penis enlarging remedy would hear of it and drop by here with links galore. Some of the bot driven exploits could destroy the doamain forever, cause once loosed they would keep hammering away at the address incessantly from all over the world.
So B has to use the spam trap and try and work within what the typepad asshats are doing. Remember there is only one b, so a manual system could never work not unless our proprietor decided this sleep thing had been going on far too long or maybe found that a real life outside of MoA was vastly over-rated.
Really the issue is indicative of something much bigger that I was trying to touch on in my earlier post about the need for activists do do some organising on the net as well as the local community work many of us already do.

This isn't something bernhard can solve on his blog- the simple fact is that in the decade and half that the internet has been widely available the elites have gone to a great deal of trouble to construct an edifice that meets their needs (ie is controllable, censor able and traceable) while we (us the average joe net user) has been hoping that it isn't really happening.

I have only found one publication devoted to this issue Access Denied The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering edited by Ronald Deibert, John Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski, and
Jonathan Zittrain. This book (made available for download as a zipped up PDF) expends a deal of energy worrying about the raw deal the peeps in Uzebekistan get but doesn't worry too much about the more nefarious techniques being used on those of us taught to believe that our society is free.
There is a fairly telling piece at the conclusion of the amerikan section:

Although the United States and Canadian Internet are often thought to be relatively free from technical Internet filtering, Internet activity is far from “unregulated.” With respect to online surveillance, the United States may be among the most aggressive states in the world in terms of monitoring online conversations. Lawmakers in both countries have imposed Internet-specific regulation that can limit their citizens’ access and view of the Internet. In addition, they have empowered private individuals and companies to press Internet intermediaries for content removal or to carry out the filtering in the middle of the net-work. Although the laws are subject to legislative and judicial debate, these private actions may be less transparent.

As you may have read in here before Uncle, my personal bugbear has been the degree of deliberate blocking I have suffered when trying to access english weblogs especially when trying to post to english media blogs.
Without boring with reams of technical explanations, I managed to prove that the chief identifier used by the blocking system was the MAC (media access control) address, a unique 48 bit hexadecimal code attached to every network interface card at manufacture. This network interface card (wireless connected, fibre or UTP) and it's unique identifier is essential for communication between computers - be it your room mate's across the hall or mine down here at the top of the world.
The blocking preventing those declared 'undesirable' or whatever may be a more recent iteration of ECHELON or may just be an arrangement between english media proprietors eager to cop an invite to lunch with england's movers and shakers, who knows or cares?
In the end it doesn't matter who it is that is trying to control the circulation of what is said on the internet, what is important is how it is being done and the best way to defeat it.

Obviously publicity helps although we need to accept that by the time the inertia of politicians is overcome those seeking to limit our expression will have moved onto new methods.

My conclusion is that arguing amongst ourselves and/or blaming those on our side such as b who has been caught between the rock and the proverbial on this, is just playing into the hands of those who are trying to shush us.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 6 2008 2:48 utc | 58

great post, did. But aren't there blogging systems where the user has more control over comments than typepad? Joomla, drupal, plone, etc? This is a death by slow cuts. Surely there are blogs with longer more involved posts? Typepad, Wordpress, and blogger -- as per the dictates of concentration capitalism -- are behaving like coke, pepsi, and..... -- well, they'll get down to two eventually.

Posted by: Malooga | Dec 6 2008 3:33 utc | 59

Imagine for a moment-24 hours without technology. How about a week? Or a month?
I suppose I should define technology better.
How about just your communication technology; computer, cell phones, pagers (do they even still exist?) anything that requires electricity for one.
Do you realize how dependent we’ve become to very few methods of communication? What happens when the electricity goes away or someone flips the switch on one or more of the main Internet servers? So much of our lives are tied to being able to communicate quickly and efficiently that if it breaks down, imagine how alienated many people would become. It is hard enough to find others to communicate with online, but for many people doing so in person is impossible.
I’m lucky. I live in a small enough place that my Internet will disappear for a couple of days and because of this I don’t depend on it for much of my social life. But I’ve started a small publication and I rely on the Internet for much of my content.
The first few hours of not being able to log-on will make me wonder if this is start of never being able to log on again unless I mind my manners. But I soon figure it is just my provider and I feel better.
I’m a kook who wasted much of my youth reading complicated spy novels rather then good literature. This has given me a rather jaded worldview and I tend to expect government malfeasance as opposed to normal human stupidity.
I’m a sucker for most of my technological toys/automations. I love my Sirius radio, but I know that somewhere a computer knows what I listen to, when I listen to it, what volume I listen to it at and where my exact geographic location is while I’m listening to it. Spooky, but then there’s my cell phone…
And my computer, bankcard, maybe my Nikon camera? That big pimple on my ass?
How simple to pull the rug out from under a dude and leave him practically alone (imagine if you couldn’t get gas? It’s a long walk from my house to most of my local friends—what of the distant ones?)
And if turning off the networks not enough, how much easier to plant a bunch of kiddy porn on someone’s computer—hell it might be standard on every hard drive, lurking back there waiting for you to fuck-up and BAM! You’ll never have a friend again. So much easier to label a person with the ultimate scarlet letter. Who would help or believe such a pariah?
I’m thinking of a fellow who built a machine that challenged the thinking of physicists. I’d been assigned to photograph the guy and his machine and I spent three or four afternoons hanging out in his shop trying to get enough interesting photos for a spread in the paper I worked at. He was one of the cool, self-taught, mad-scientist types I find fascinating and it wasn’t difficult to hang around listening to him talk about all his inventions and experiments. Not a bad way to pass the time and get paid too.
The reason I mention this is a few years after I left that paper I’d heard the guy had been accused of child molestation, which might be an easy sell to someone who’d never talked to the guy. But after those three days spent shooting, I really doubted it. I figured it had more to do with his invention.
I never did check back to see how he had fared during the brouhaha, but I found on the Internet he is still trying to perfect his machine so maybe he won.
At the time I’d heard it, something clicked in my brain and I realized even if the story was true, I realized how easy it was to ruin a person and it scared me.
Our cages are pretty tiny, if you care to pace the distance between the walls. But if you ignore the walls and look inside there is an endless wilderness waiting to be explored.
I don’t know what that means, it just came out.
Fahrenheit 451.


Posted by: David | Dec 6 2008 4:51 utc | 60

Monolycus' thoughtful post touched on the internal construct that mediates what Obama is to various people. I suppose I have seen, in the recent campaign, our American Swan Song of Enlightenment values. It may come to nothing. But I have said to friends that the Obama administration is pretty much the tipping point, our last chance to think our way out of the problems and obstacles, that seem ready to sweep our social structure into the ashcan.

Beq and annie were telling us at the end of the campaign that it was the empowerment of ordinary people through the extraordinary grassroots effort, that was the important thing, not Obama himself. When we were moved to tears or we felt as though we were on Cloud Nine on election night, and experienced a colosal, nationwide sense of release and elation, when thousands of gallons of endorphins were rushing through the body politic; we were meeting any number of our myths head on.

But the vulnerability of an increasingly inelastic system, when it comes to fault lines and fracture, cannot be ignored. With all the aglomerated powers of the presidency, Obama may assume the form of our last great Emperor, an American Marcus Aurelius, fighting the modern day incarnation of those old Germanic tribes. Decline is assumed in a system like that.

Obama might even possess real political greatness. Many of us in this country have thought of that; but the pitfalls in this system have the capacity to wear down and destroy integrity in office. He may really pay a price, if his goal is to save the Republic.

What is harder for the hopeful to accept is a break with hope. A break with our unsustainable way of life. A break with outmoded automobiles that no one can afford to buy. A break with carrier groups prowling the world's oceans. A break with empire handed over to tidy, and more or less, virtuous administration.

Harder for me to grasp is the kind of institutional betrayal, or charge of betrayal, that is pointed at the memetic Obama; it is the suffocating belief, fatalistic in type, that we can't think, or vote, or campaign, or organize our way, out of our predicament. That we might as well forget trying to separate man from chimera.

Whether a hope is a patient one, or not, it is not certain to survive an encounter with real diaster.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 6 2008 5:05 utc | 61

I'm referencing the post Monolycus wrote @ 13.

Sorry for the typo in the final paragraph, the last word should be disaster.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 6 2008 5:09 utc | 62

always informative, mahmood mamdani has a new essay on the socio-political history of land redistribution/reform in zim @ london review of books - Lessons of Zimbabwe

Posted by: b real | Dec 6 2008 5:46 utc | 63

somewhat misleading headline, but
Italy to host AFRICOM headquarters

NAPLES — Italy has agreed to host the Army and Navy headquarters units of the recently created U.S. Africa Command.

The official announcement was made Wednesday evening in a joint statement at the U.S. Embassy in Rome by the U.S. Ambassador to Italy Ronald P. Spogli and the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

The headquarters units might see slight personnel increases over the next few years. The Army’s Southern European Task Force — located in Vicenza — could increase by about 50 active-duty personnel, bringing the active-duty staff to about 300 soldiers, according to Col. Marcus De Oliveira, SETAF chief of staff.

In Naples, Naval Forces Europe was expanded to include the AFRICOM component. The new Navy designation is NAVEUR NAVAF. With a staff of about 500, that number could increase over the next few years by about 140, according to Navy officials.

Posted by: b real | Dec 6 2008 6:34 utc | 64

Copeland, lets hope Fredrick, Marcus, Paul, Malcom, and Martin whisper into Barack's ear when he's asleep at night.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 6 2008 10:05 utc | 65

Monolycus at 34 asked: In that case, do you think that institutionalised fear is the fulfillment of a state of mass hypnosis? It's been noted that many people under hypnosis will unconscously fulfill what they understand is expected of them. For many, it's not just a state of heightened suggestibility, but rather, a state in which they provide the suggestion automatically based upon their own preconceptions. ...

My orig. point was in the opposite direction, just to clarify... That ppl understand that the fear is ridiculous - or not serious, a frill - but is reinforced nonetheless, for personal purposes (low level ex: controlling a child, selling security cameras..) or because they perceive that convention demands it. For ex. worker in small biz. does not dare to stand up for Muslims, speak out against mindless prejudice, state that religions are similar, or whatever. I.e. they bow down to the group, the ambient atmosphere, and most often, the boss. All such instances show ppl accepting the fear as a given at some level (even if only to exploit dupes) but keeping their personal distance from it. They themselves know better, preserve, they feel, their personal integrity, and either vaguely in their own minds, or in public, take pains to distinguish the ‘real’ from the ‘zeitgeist’.

For others, the mention of AlQ is immediately terrifying, in an automatic reaction way. Ppl can, and do, feel real pain and anguish facing triggers about 9/11, the anthrax attacks, etc. Is this hypnosis, or are they just reacting to what they have been told, as a child may scream and back away from a snake?

The commemorations of 9/11 have been empty and hollow. It is, I think, something that the Bush admin has tried vaguely, weakly, to keep up. One can explain that in various ways, the best is probably framed in advertising terms, a media-op has some sharp effect which then gradually sinks. Ppl forget, ignore, become bored, or disbelieve, or become scornful, the campaign for DRANO or copper bracelets dies a natural death and a new angle of attack must be found.

The institutionalized hate is imposed. That *can* lead to mass psychosis, crowds under hypnosis, so to speak. Yet, it has not worked. One big contradiction is that instilling that kind of hate is against the US’ founding principles, as well as the modern anti-racism, tolerance, individualism, free marketism, liberty, etc.

The usual comparison ex. is Germany, in a different social context..Hitler aimed to extirpate the enemy within (not in Iraq) and moreover compensated the proper citizens financially thru expropriations and very generous Gvmt. stipends etc. It was also more of hard sell, imho, than is generally put forward in potted history.

But what of the Rwandan massacres or genocide? How to explain that? Would that be a case of mass hypnosis? I have no answer.

Posted by: Tangerine | Dec 6 2008 17:45 utc | 66

Mass hypnosis I doubt it, I expect that the ability to exterminate 'outsider' members of our species - every last one of outsider men women and children, conducted by nearly everyone within the society, is an evolutionary hangover, one that can only be triggered under certain quite specific circumstances and unfortunately there are those humans within every group who make a study of such things and who for their own ends set about creating the circumstances necessary for their group to reach 'killing point'.
I mean would we really be surprised if the zionist communities on the West Bank of Palestine suddenly rose up and slaughtered every Palestine man, woman and child they could find?

There have been many smaller sparks - gangs of these 'settlers' made up of men and women of all ages descending on some ancient Palestinian village then attacking anyone they kind find - usually the elderly that were too slow to get into hiding. The official reaction used to be denial that such a thing had occurred but now since there is a project putting video cams into every village to film this animal violence, has caught the israeli govt out a couple of times, the new method is to blame the victim while confiscating cameras as espionage items.

'Rogue' zionists have descended on mosques with automatic weapons and killed every living person they can find and the Israeli society has acted 'shocked' but the penalty handed out to these massacrers hasn't been as bad as say, what a Palestinian kid throwing a stone would cop, so we know that the zionist approbation is purely for the cameras - deep down many agree with the exterminators.

One of these days some sociopath zionist loon will succeed in rousing a large group of fellow zionists to slaughter hundreds of Palestinians, (probably tear them limb from limb after ripping their faces off first) the classic way other primate tribes deal with outsiders when in a massed rage.
When it happens it won't be because of any sort of group hypnosis it will be because humankind hasn't come nearly as far socially or psychologically as we like to imagine.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 6 2008 20:14 utc | 67

a well-made 8 minute video by the resist africom campaign. spread the link around to increase exposure, if you like it.

also recommended is daniel volman's essay Africom: From Bush to Obama

Posted by: b real | Dec 7 2008 0:12 utc | 68

hell to pay

Observations on what happened in Hebron
Each person has his own style, and this was illustrated today in the coverage or otherwise of the pogrom by Jewish fanatics against Arab residents if Hebron, described in detail in this Haaretz piece.

An innocent Palestinian family, numbering close to 20 people. All of them women and children, save for three men. Surrounding them are a few dozen masked Jews seeking to lynch them. A pogrom. This isn't a play on words or a double meaning. It is a pogrom in the worst sense of the word. First the masked men set fire to their laundry in the front yard and then they tried to set fire to one of the rooms in the house. The women cry for help, "Allahu Akhbar." Yet the neighbors are too scared to approach the house, frightened of the security guards from Kiryat Arba who have sealed off the home and who are cursing the journalists who wish to document the events unfolding there.

The cries rain down, much like the hail of stones the masked men hurled at the Abu Sa'afan family in the house. A few seconds tick by before a group of journalists, long accustomed to witnessing these difficult moments, decide not to stand on the sidelines. They break into the home and save the lives of the people inside. The brain requires a minute or two to digest what is taking place. Women and children crying bitterly, their faces giving off an expression of horror, sensing their imminent deaths, begging the journalists to save their lives. Stones land on the roof of the home, the windows and the doors. Flames engulf the southern entrance to the home. The front yard is littered with stones thrown by the masked men. The windows are shattered and the children are frightened. All around, as if they were watching a rock concert, are hundreds of Jewish witnesses, observing the events with great interest, even offering suggestions to the Jewish wayward youth as to the most
effective way to harm the family. And the police are not to be seen. Nor is the army.

Ten minutes prior, while the security forces were preoccupied with dispersing the rioters near the House of Contention, black smoke billowed from the wadi separating Kiryat Arba and Hebron. For some reason, none of the senior officers of the police or the army were particularly disturbed by what was transpiring at the foot of Kiryat Arba. Anyone standing hundreds of meters away could notice the dozens of rioters climbing atop the roof of the Abu Sa'afan family home, hurling stones. Only moments later did it become apparent that there were people inside the home.

I quickly descend to the wadi and accost three soldiers. "What do you want from me? The three of us are responsible for the entire sector here," one said, his hand gesturing towards the entire wadi.

"Use your radio to request help," I said. He replies that he is not equipped with a radio.

A group of journalists approach the house. A dilemma. What to do? There are no security forces in the vicinity and now the Jewish troublemakers decided to put the journalists in their crosshairs. We call for the security guards from Kiryat Arba to intervene and put a halt to the lynch. But they surround the home to prevent the arrival of "Palestinian aid."

The home is destroyed and the fear is palpable on the faces of the children.One of the women, Jihad, is sprawled on the floor, half-unconscious. The son, who is gripping a large stick, prepares for the moment he will be forced to face the rioters. Tahana, one of the daughters, refuses to calm down. "Look at what they did to the house, look."

Tess, the photographer, bursts into tears as the events unfold around her. The tears do not stem from fear. It is shame, shame at the sight of these occurrences, the deeds of youths who call themselves Jews. Shame that we share the same religion. At 5:05 P.M., a little over an hour after the incident commenced, a unit belonging to the Yassam special police forces arrives to disperse the crowd of masked men. The family members refuse to calm down. Leaving the home, one can hear a settler yell at a police officer: "Nazis, shame on you." Indeed. Shame on you.

more at links @ badgers

driving me crazy

Posted by: annie | Dec 7 2008 0:25 utc | 69

Government signed protocol putting Iraq shores under US control without parliament's approval

The Iraqi government has signed a protocol with the U.S. forces to protect merchant ships and Iraqi shores along the Persian Gulf without first referring it to the Parliament for approval, a spokesperson fro the Sadrist bloc said on Saturday.

“Before approving the security pact, the Iraqi government had signed a protocol with the United States, under which the latter shall protect Iraqi shores overlooking the Persian Gulf as well as merchant ships from piracy,” Ahmed al-Masoudi told Aswat al-Iraq.

“The Iraqi government has not submitted the protocol to the Parliament,” Masoudi noted, accusing the government of “acting outside the bounds of the law.”

Posted by: Alamet | Dec 7 2008 0:44 utc | 70

anyone know more about this?
96 NATO trucks torched in Pakistan§ionid=351020401

Posted by: Rick | Dec 7 2008 7:24 utc | 71

If its true, it sounds like a new Pearl Harbor. I guess we'll just have to go in and straighten things out.

Posted by: Malooga | Dec 7 2008 7:51 utc | 72

Tangerine: "My orig. point was in the opposite direction..."

Yeah, I had read you that way the first time through, but that implies that people are making conscious decisions to surrender their rationality, so I thought I must have been mistaken.

I do go back and forth on this one, though. I was convinced for years that the participants in daytime and reality television must be trained actors because it seems to me statistically impossible to cull from the bottom-of-the-barrel so regularly without depleting that resource. I am either selling the majority of my fellows short in my appraisal that they could not play these roles willfully with such mastery, or I'm giving them too much credit for basic sapience and self-awareness. I can't decide on which side of this equation I am more comfortable erring.

Honestly, I don't know. I think that on some level they actually have to be True Believers in order to fulfill the roles and behaviours that they do. It is difficult for me to imagine a single individual who is cognizant of how cartoonish, hyperbolic and misplaced their ostensible responses are, that would still be willing and capable of playing the part. The tiniest inhibition or scrap of self-awareness would derail these otherwise flawless performances.

Most of the people I know can't get through the premise of telling a joke without subtly revealing their intention by the tiniest of twinkles in their eye, but those who embrace the roles of panicky idiots never so much as give their audience a knowing wink or gentle nudge with an elbow.

A few years ago, I actually heard the phrase "If we hadn't gone into Iraq, we could all be speaking Muslim right now!" escape the lips of a fervent Bush enthusiast. I can't accept that the speaker had the sheer brilliance necessary to make such a preposterously absurd statement and deliver it with an impeccable stony face in any kind of premeditated way. I could never in a million years have spontaneously crafted such a gem as that one without first stripping myself of all conscious inhibition and fully embracing the role of the two-dimensional tool. That is but a single example of the twaddle that those who embrace The War Against Terror produce daily, and it's never done with any indication that they know any better. I don't know of too many people so secure that they could play the buffoon so comfortably without giving some small indication that they are aware of themselves and that this is just a social role they are playing.

I think George Orwell dealt with precisely this sort of thing at the end of 1984. It is not simply enough to mouth the slogans, you do actually have to believe it or none of it works. Hearts and minds, or at least what's left of them, can in fact be won in this hideous way.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 7 2008 7:53 utc | 73

David: you mentioned in another thread your appreciation for the simplicity of canine behavior; how dogs through their senses gather all they need to know without the burden of language. you mentioned this in response to my defense of language, and since then i've been thinking, about animals and poetry, and a few other things i'll try and juggle. forgive me if i drop a few.

just yesterday, at a local online haunt, i cited our animalistic ugly side in the wake of the year anniversary of a homeless veteran getting brutally stomped to death by two young men, one 18, one 20. incidents of young men beating and murdering homeless people has been on the rise for the last few years. just google bum fights and you'll see a component of what's fueling angry young men and teenagers in this country to lash out at the most vulnerable.

so this local haunt is a liberal leaning coterie of commentators who mostly display, as far as i've seen, fairly standardized reactions to big national events, like THE BIG O's coronation, but cover local issues amazingly well. certainly better than our local dying corporate toilet paper.

anyway, one of the main bloggers posted a personal recollection of the homeless man who was beat beyond recognition and left to die in the cold, and part of that recollection entailed the predictable lament about what kind of culture could create these murdering monsters.

the thread should be here.


back to poetry. i hear the word and still some part of me cringes. i can't say it full force because that word, like so many others, is too full of lead to float.

this article from Seattle's The Stranger asks an important questions: why does Seattle support bad public poetry?

it's an important criticism of bad poetry, questioning why city money is being spent on, maybe arguably, inferior material.

what resonated, for me, was how the author microscoped what i feel is a macro trend in a majority of the contemporary poetry i've come across; the difficulty and incongruity leading everywhere and no where delivered with unearned urgency.

that is almost certainly an unfair and horribly limited characterization, but i offer one of my favorite glimpses of clarity behind the veil of confusion words can be (for clever people with nothing relevant to say)

this poem is from an anthology called The Poetry Connection


My father was never allowed to get dirty.
Underneath he wasn't ever a little boy
Dad, when will you be born?

i've recited that poem, not always verbatim, at all kinds of social gatherings, even strangers on the street when i get talking about the potential of poetry...

because it was written by an 8th grade girl, Aimee Rosen, and the first time i read it, it gave me shivers, and still does.

Posted by: Lizard | Dec 7 2008 8:01 utc | 74

#72, ”If its true, it sounds like a new Pearl Harbor. I guess we'll just have to go in and straighten things out.”

Whose is "we"? I ain't going. If you mean the U.S. or NATO by “we”, it sounds like “we” is already there.

Posted by: Rick | Dec 7 2008 13:21 utc | 75

#72, ”If its true, it sounds like a new Pearl Harbor. I guess we'll just have to go in and straighten things out.”

Who is "we"? I ain't going. If you mean the U.S. or NATO by “we”, it sounds like “we” is already there.

Posted by: Rick | Dec 7 2008 13:22 utc | 76

well typepad works wonders - got another double post trying to fix a preview.
Last post was meant to look like this-

#72, ”If its true, it sounds like a new Pearl Harbor. I guess we'll just have to go in and straighten things out.”

Who is "we"? I ain't going. If you mean the U.S. or NATO by “we”, it sounds like “we” is already there.

Posted by: Rick | Dec 7 2008 13:27 utc | 77


There are horrors in the world that is true enough. Bad poetry isn't one of them, at least not for a guy like me whose grasp of english might make folks think it's my second language.
Jokes aside, I wrote what I did about dogs because hanging out with a pack of 300 gave me a pretty good grasp of the animal's culture. I found that dogs aren't much different than humans, more honest probably, but mostly about the same.
Researchers have said that a domestic dog is the only animal that will fight to the death of its opponent but I find this hard to believe. I don't trust statements that have "only" in them.

As a kid I'd tortured lizards. I still cringe thinking about those poor reptiles suffering because a couple of kids didn't choose better activities to engage in. Why is there this streak of just plain meanness in our species? I'd never want to hurt lizards again or any living thing (unless I'm going to eat it.)
I'm still trying to figure out why things need to die so we can live. Yes plants do "scream" when they're cut. At least I've read that this is the case. Sometimes I feel the truest saints are the stillborn.

As far as killing the monsters in the world--I'd rather have a mob storm the jail and pull the criminal out and kill criminals that way then institutionalize it and let the "state" do the killing. Yes, some innocent people would die, but they do now anyway.

Someone pointed out to me, back when I was a strong advocate for the death penalty, that the state shouldn't be allowed to kill its citizens. It gives the state more power than the people who form the state.
I agree there are some sick folks, that to kill them, would probably make the world a bit better. I just don't agree we should be giving the state that much power over us.

I'm weird in my belief that as humans we should do our best to try and fit into what ever segment of society we choose to live in. I wish that it were different but I don't think humans have come far enough for us to automatically accept those who challenge the group-think of a place. I'll admit this is confusing to me, but I try to explain it.

If I move to a new place I should try and slowly fit into the ways of that place. It isn't good to move into a town and try to change everyone there. At least not right away. Those that try to change a place too quick will run into a wall and any local thugs will recognize the agents of change as their next victim because they always victimize the people who don't fit-in knowing that the locals will allow the abuse to happen.

The other hand of this, is that given enough time, the locals might be willing to accept about any odd freak into their fold if the that person tries to be part of the community. I think of my parents as examples.

My parents were long-haired, pot smoking twenty-year-olds when they moved to the place I grew-up. The rednecks who lived there were appalled and things were hard for my parents. They stirred-up the place fighting the school district regarding education and the county fighting building codes. In the end they won their battles but lost the wars they wanted to win.

They wanted to be taken seriously, they wanted to be part of the community and after enough time had passed they were. But it wasn't because of their activism, it was because they were nice people and hard working and it was time that won their war. The funny thing is it wasn't many years that passed before they were worried about some of the new people moving in. And the cycle continues.

Good poetry is the magical moment when an universal thought is birthed from the perfect collection of words.


Posted by: David | Dec 7 2008 14:58 utc | 78


I agree. I catch myself accidentally typing "we" for US imperial policy many times a day. I slipped up and you caught me.

Posted by: Malooga | Dec 7 2008 15:29 utc | 79

Malooga #79: The results of love of chaos, contracts and cash aren't even "US imperial policy" but multinational business imperial policy. No "we" in there at all, just things done to "us".>Curs of Zenda>Uncle Sam Went to Vietnam

Posted by: plushtown | Dec 7 2008 15:51 utc | 80

from david to lizard: "As a kid I'd tortured lizards."
..: this is bloging poetry, folks!

lizard, the Aimee Rosen poem is amazingly touching, almost, how can i say, unbearable..

Posted by: rudolf | Dec 7 2008 17:18 utc | 81

b real, exquisite bowerbird video on #37.

uncle #21..i died laughing @ your slavoj zizek video! where did you find this guy. did you see 'love is evil' or the vegetarian. lol, 'degenerates degenerates, you'll turn into monkeys'! lol

Monolycus, thank you for #13..just beautiful, you are so precious.

and this
the only thing unique about humans is that we might be the only species that is able to formulate the question "Am I happy?"... and merely posing this question is enough to change the answer.

might, just might. we certainly imagine we are the only species however as you mention thinking about happiness (or questioning) is a whole other kettle of fish than experiencing it and i'm just going to keep on assuming we aren't the only species that experiences it. and what of love and companionship? why is it the bower bird prepares his nest if not to seek that which makes him content or happy (or merely satisfied). this represents forethought and a plan.. maybe to be happy?

Posted by: annie | Dec 7 2008 18:01 utc | 82

annie #82,

Yeah, I think animals plan in some basic ways to "be happy". Of course, the best plans of mice and men...

Posted by: Rick | Dec 8 2008 3:10 utc | 83

CNN: Rice takes responsibility for troubled Iraq occupation

Rice said “the war started well”
Huh??? Started well?

Posted by: Rick | Dec 8 2008 3:18 utc | 84

[b - i have a post from around 7 or 8 hours ago trapped in the spam filter. thanks!]

Posted by: b real | Dec 8 2008 5:37 utc | 85

David, you said There are horrors in the world that is true enough. Bad poetry isn't one of them, at least not for a guy like me whose grasp of english might make folks think it's my second language and i agree; as this house of cards crumbles harping on poetic trends seems pretty pointless...but then you conclude with: Good poetry is the magical moment when an universal thought is birthed from the perfect collection of words and that's what keeps me fascinated with the power of language.

in my previous comment i must admit i bit off more than i could chew for an indulgent saturday night and had to erase many aborted beginnings just to get what i did blearily formulated. but i wanted to get that poem out there in a meaningful context because it reinforces my belief that good poetry can come from anyone, and will always exist, no matter how many well-read clones the university system churns out, publishes, and praises (this coming from an unpublished poet who only has his own fear of rejection to blame for not actively pursuing publication)

it seems we can't get past our evolutionary origins, even though we've invented so many clever things to convince ourselves we have (which is why the posturing here sometimes reflects a hierarchical social order where newbies get nipped at and the use of language is really just enhanced ass-sniffing)

but i think that's okay we never get over being animals. i love my insanely neuroticcatahoula hound dog and his sidekick our karelian bear dog mix

Posted by: Lizard | Dec 8 2008 7:31 utc | 86


That was a nice poem and well worth the effort to post. It is a challenge to type ideas when they could be talked about without the silly foolishness of fingers.

Writing is an odd exercise. Sitting and talking to yourself with your fingers and trying to tap into the great pool of ??. Often when I re-read what I wrote, I question who wrote the good parts. I feel that there is a mysterious other that uses me to communicate from the beyond. When it works right, I call it channeling Elvis, but I'd prefer F. Scott Fitzgerald or Hunter Thompson to borrow my fingers and write from the beyond. Elvis always makes me want to shake my pelvis and I can't sit still to write–I wanna dance!

I too hate rejection. I found the easy way to avoid it, is to avoid it.

My talent has been photography since my senior year in high school. I got a job at the local daily paper right out of school and a year later I was the chief photographer and continued to move around working at papers for a few years.
During this time I felt pretty insecure about my talents because I hadn't been to college and everyone I worked with had. I was even turned down for a job because I didn't have a college degree. That rejection letter was funny because it had so much whiteout on it you knew the kook writing it was at least typing-challenged. I later got a job at a paper that competed against that paper. It was fun to look that guy in the eye at an assignment and then publish a sweet photo for him to look at in the next day's paper. Success is the best revenge.

It was while working for this paper I met a guy who used to shoot photos at the paper. He was now a commercial photographer making big bucks in a different state. This guy's name is Bob Ginn and he had a couple of college degrees, one in psychology. When I bemoaned the fact I was uneducated, he laughed and told me it wasn't that I hadn't been educated it's that I needed to think differently about it.

He told me it was good I hadn't been to college because I hadn't been institutionalized...This statement changed me more than any degree could have. Imagine going from thinking you're dumb to realizing you haven't been programed.

After that conversation I started to feel sorry for all my friends who'd been to college and wasted all that money on a degree.

I quit working for papers after ten years because I could see it was a fools game. Low pay, long hours and the compensation was suppose to be helping the community. I realized the only thing newspapers did was make money for their owners and screw the community.

There is a publication for professional photographers called Photo District News. They used to have a funny ad that had a group of people dressed as waiters, nurses, workman ect and the words read, " Jobs for photographers who don't read Photo District News. I think of this ad whenever I think of my life after photography--I went and got one of them jobs for photographers that didn't read the PDN. It is funny to me, but the humor is probably lost on anyone reading this.

I became a guide for rich folks in a ski town and it was on one of these trips I had a jeep full of folks that were the publishers of several papers owned by the New York Times. We all agreed that the only way to make money in journalism is to own the journal. An idea we all laughed about then, but I doubt any of those folks are laughing now. Heck, some of them might be in an unemployment line right now and it is their fault.

Big newspapers are dying, not because they aren't wanted, but because corporate vampires have bled them dry.

I met my first catahoula hound dog a couple of years ago--what a great beast! The pair I met seemed to always be smiling and were very nice animals. I don't have the room for dogs, but when I do I've been thinking of getting a couple of those critters. They seem like a great breed.

Don't suffer fools judging your poetry. If you like it and it brings you joy than to hell with the rest.

I just started a publication, something I've secretly wanted to do, but never had the confidence for. It is great! I love it and I'm having fun doing it. All I really needed was to get over my fear of my fear and the rest has been easy. At least compared to over coming internal obstacles.

Thanks for the post lizard, and scratch those pooches on the ear for me.


Posted by: David | Dec 8 2008 13:59 utc | 87

when i read here i am aware of all the other brother & sister soldiers down the line who need each other & their works too much - to submit to the sqalid submission of dominant ideology or soiled social relations.

and to add:
"dominant ideology" will always be with us but thankfully, we are blessed to live in a time of increased ability to check it.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Dec 8 2008 15:29 utc | 88

terror poetry

Posted by: Lizard | Dec 8 2008 17:11 utc | 89

our greek comrades are far from timid

this week there will be a general strike perhaps the gvot will fall

the wounds of the civil war, & of the u s supported colonels junta have never healed

the evidence is on the streets of evert major greek city

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 8 2008 19:27 utc | 90

I don't think anybody "owns" art. Most especially "artists". Good art arrives despite the filters of self consciousness, expectation, craft, or career. Often, the last place to look for good art, is from those that depend on it for something other than its designed purpose. Our society produces bad art relative to its sense of excess, or excessively. Art for art's sake is a fools errand.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 8 2008 19:28 utc | 91

"Art for art's sake is a fools errand"



Posted by: David | Dec 8 2008 19:46 utc | 92

Karl Rove found dead in car at busy intersection
Political hack man had vowed to 'name names'
Posted: 02:14 PM ET

(CNN) – Enemies of President Bush take heed: Karl Rove is set to name names.

The man widely credited with Bush's two presidential victories says his new book will include an accounting of those in Washington who never accepted the president as a legitimate commander-in-chief.

"I've got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States," Rove told Cox News in an interview published Sunday. "I'm going to name names and show examples."

Rove signed a deal with publishing giant Simon & Schuster last year, reported be worth over $1.5 million.

In the wide-ranging interview, Rove also suggested the criticisms the president and his aides took were partly because they were not part of the Washington establishment.

"You'll notice there was outrage when it was thought that I was the person behind outing Valerie Plame. And then when it came out that it was the sainted [Deputy Secretary of State] Richard Armitage, there was no interest," Rove said. "I don't remember seeing anybody camped out on his doorstep like they were camped out on mine. [It's]because he was part of the acceptable culture of Washington, and I was not. I was one of those Texans who came up. He was one of those perpetual I'll-scratch-your-back-if-you'll-scratch-mine Washington leakers. "

Posted by: Jerry Mander | Dec 8 2008 20:23 utc | 93

because its sophism

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 9 2008 2:15 utc | 94

Fool's errand....

The Fool is the spirit in search of experience. He represents the mystical cleverness bereft of reason within us, the childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the world. The sun shining behind him represents the divine nature of the Fool's wisdom and exuberance. On his back are all the possessions he might need. In his hand there is a flower, showing his appreciation of beauty. He is frequently accompanied by a dog, sometimes seen as his animal desires, sometimes as the call of the "real world", nipping at his heels and distracting him. He is seemingly unconcerned that he is standing on a precipice, apparently about to step off.

The number 0 is a perfect significator for the Fool, as it can become anything when he reaches his destination.

Posted by: annie | Dec 9 2008 2:30 utc | 95

Ελευθερία ή θάνατος

Freedom or Death

Greece fights!

Posted by: Tantalus | Dec 9 2008 3:30 utc | 96

Anna missed-Just another foolish fallacy I've fallen for?

As to fools, I think of Coyote who plays the fool in native myths and is quite a character. Here is Wiki's def:

Coyote often plays the role of trickster, god of tricks, although in some stories he is a buffoon and the butt of jokes and in a few is outright evil. His positive traits include humor and sometimes cleverness. His negative traits are usually greed or desire, recklessness, impulsiveness and jealousy. Coyote is often the antagonist of his brother Wolf, who is wise and good natured but prone to giving in to Coyote's incessant demands.
Among the Northwest tribes, coyote stories were often highly sexualized.[1] White settlers may have known, but been too timid to recirculate these stories; there is evidence that tellings by native writers have been sanitized. These myths seem to have been edited out of history by the more sexually conservative European-Americans, and are now difficult to find. There is reference to the sexual myths of the coyotes though in original sources from the era, where an Indian Agency administrator might refer to the myths and then primly refuse to tell the tales. Some examples include Recollections from the Colville Indian Agency 1886-1889 by Major Richard D. Gwydir and Coyote Stories by Mourning Dove.

While I was searching for the above coyote reference I came across this website. I thought these two things belonged on the same page somewhere :)


COYOTE ("Call Off Your Tired Ethics") was founded by Margo St. James in 1973. COYOTE works for the rights of all sex workers: strippers, phone operators, prostitutes, porn actresses etc. of all genders and persuasions. COYOTE supports programs to assist sex workers in their choice to change their occupation, works to prevent the scapegoating of sex workers for AIDS and other STDs, and to educate sex workers, their clients and the general public about safe sex.

Posted by: David | Dec 9 2008 5:08 utc | 97

This rejoinder to a monetarist aetiology (available on the same page) for the current economic crisis seems rather cogent, although it acknowledges leaving the basic question unanswered.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 9 2008 6:42 utc | 98

anna missed: if by "own" you mean take full credit for, then i agree, but if by "own" you mean legally entitled to profits, then i disagree.

Often, the last place to look for good art, is from those that depend on it for something other than its designed purpose

does this statement apply to those who depend on art for providing income?

anna missed, you've been generous enough to share your work here, and i assume you've had public shows. were there ever pricetags? i'm just curious, because money and copyright issues are concerns i have regarding publication of my own work. even posting stuff here probably isn't smart.


Jerry Mander: damn you for getting my hopes up.

Posted by: Lizard | Dec 9 2008 6:44 utc | 99

My idea of art is how indigenous cultures treat the activity, finding no need to isolate it from function, or to even call it art. Indigenous "art" has predated and informed/anticipated every major western "ART" movement from cubism to performance art without the criteria or the nomenclature, or the pretense or the commodification.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 9 2008 7:35 utc | 100

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