Saturday, October 28, 2006

Greg Palast Website Hacked

Apparently, the website maintained for Greg Palast's books and articles, http://www.gregpalast.com, including his blog, has been hacked and largely removed from the web.

Palast is widely known for his investigative journalism for the Guardian, the Independent, and before Rupert Murdock censored his stories, the Times. His books on the US invasion of the Middle East and his most recent work, Armed Madhouse, have taken on the Bush admininstration, revealing the slimy underworld of US imperialism.

I've no doubt the website will be back up soon. And I have no doubt that the Bushies finally had enough, with Palast's recent Cut and Run editorial, so they took him out, at least in cyberspace.

Keep your head down Greg!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cell Phones Reduce Sperm Levels!



And here all this time I thought it was brain cells that were being affected!

Maybe this will do something to reduce the number of cell phone impaired drivers on the road. Then again, probably not. They'd have to read to find out about it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tor House

A long time ago, when I was in High School, 1967, Ed Abbey drove a fat Ford from San Francisco down the Coast Highway, stopping in Santa Cruz to see his sister Nancy, on his way to Carmel to visit Tor House, the home of Robinson Jeffers.

Ed had more to say about traffic, expensive houses and Growth than about Jeffers and his poetry in "A San Francisco Journal." I think they were opposite sides of a coin: Jeffers waxed poetic about pelicans, rocks and crashing waves, but had little to say about people. Abbey, though known now primarily as a "nature writer," wrote mostly about those who "peopled" what once was the wild, and thereby engineered its destruction.

Jean and I drove south today in our jaunty yellow 1972 VW bug, under the California sunshine fulfilling its mythic reputation, following Ed's path to our literary destination. We marveled at long strings of pelicans stitching the sky along Elkhorn Slough, unending fields of artichokes, Brussel sprouts and strawberries near Salinas, industrial agribusiness fueled with lines of illegal aliens stooping over future meals for us legal aliens on the other side of the grocery shelves.

We pulled off the highway on the outskirts of Carmel, the town not yet visible behind cypress and pine. Winding roads through modest cottages brought us to Tor House and Hawk Tower, unpretentious behind a modest, mossy picket fence. Secure in our place in the world, we parked the car and walked the pleasant mile and a half along the beach and to the edge of the Carmel business district, where we enjoyed a salad and some of those artichokes grown just beyond yon horizon. Our walk back out to Carmel Point and Tor House retraced the path of urban development that eventually grew to surround this rocky home on an isolated bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Tor House was built by a series of stone masons, including Robinson Jeffers and his son, Donnan. It's a marvelous, tidy, homey place, reminding me of a homestead cabin in the shadow of the Grand Tetons, built of local rocks hauled up from the beach below, laid in place with loving hands to a purely mental picture of the outcome desired. Indoors, the walls are filled with books and touchstones of the places and people the Jeffers, Robinson and Una, held dear. It's a lustrously warm home, inviting, embracing, oozing the human warmth and intellectual expression that filled it to the rafters.

The buildings speak of self-reliance, introspection and a wisdom delved from close association with the earth and all its living inhabitants. Fossils mark the rock walls next to ancient human artifacts imbedded in mortar. The furniture is worn and comfortable, the ceilings low to conserve heat, just high enough for Jeffers to stand fully erect as he paced the wooden floor. Writing desks and reading corners are graced with candle holders, since the Jeffers did not install electricity until 1946.

Walking through the house, reading the spines of the many books in book shelves throughout, touching the furnishings, looking out the windows at the ocean eternally crashing against the rocks left below, walking up the steep spiraling narrow stairs in Hawk Tower, looking out across the pacific and dreaming of far away County Antrim, I came to know Robinson and Una Jeffers and, in a way, to love them. They were my kind of people and I mourn their loss to this world.

I could hear Jeffers walking the floor of his upstairs study, encouraging the flow of words and images with the movement of his legs. Just as I must walk when the words elude me and movement brings them back into focus. I could see Una tapping a broomstick on the ceiling above her writing desk when the footsteps stopped, as her husband was distracted from his work by the view out over the ocean, by an interesting rock in the wall, or anything else to keep from facing the page one more time. Just as Jean gently encourages me back to the task of herding words into flowing columns of speech and imagery.

They lived in a world without television, without computers, without consumer distractions. They lived in a literary world, read to their children at bed time and to each other after. They read and they wrote and they lifted stones and they worked in the garden and they planted trees and they lived embedded in this place they called home. They touched twice life.

Nowadays, most folks float above life on a fog of material distractions, their lives strained through the filter of mediated experience: TeeVee, movies, automobile windshields, booming car stereos set on stun. Noise fills the senses everywhere, blotting out awareness of the subtle, gentle sounds of birds, wind in the eucalyptus leaves, the gentle sigh of the waves, the seductive pull of introspection. Few ever look up to see the wonder of pelicans drifting across the afternoon sky or windsurfing along the curling edge of a sea green breaker rushing along the shore.

For a short while this afternoon, we shared a bit of history, and perhaps, if we're very lucky, of taste of the future.

Michael
Leona Gulch
Pacific Plate

Monday, October 16, 2006

US Government Spreads Propaganda - in the US!

The CENTCOM email to bloggers

This is obviously a program designed to spread government propaganda to the citizens of the United States, a clear violation of federal law.

Since 1951, Congress has included a provision in the general government appropriations act which states the following: “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by Congress.” [Section 624 of P.L. 108-447]

In addition to paying "journalists" to author feel good, pro-US propganda pieces to air on US television, now the government is trying to steer bloggers and blog readers to their pro-Global War On Terror (GWOT) web site.

The War on Terror is as bogus as the War on Drugs. Terror is not a country, a continent or even a discrete ideology. One can no more declare war on terror than one can declare war on halitosis.

The War on Terror is an attempt to distract public attention from the true agenda of those now (temporarily) in control of the United States government; that is, world-wide imperialist subjugation of all nations and geographic regions that have significant reserves of oil. At the same time, the government is organized to favor large corporations that have contributed to Republican Party candidates for government office, and to create a world political and economic climate favorable to US corporate interests.

We are not fooled by the glitzy TV spots, the unending lies, the grand jingoistic panoply. The Global War on Terror is a lie, and the liars should be impeached and run out of our nation's capital on the nearest splintery rail.

If you are a blogger, don't allow comments from CENTCOM to appear on your blog, as their intention is to draw your readers to their propaganda site.

Delete 'em, send them off to the great boot camp in the sky, pour 'em down the porcelain parkway. Zero tolerance for the GWOT!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

God must be center of lives, or anarchy will prevail - The Clarion-Ledger

God must be center of lives, or anarchy will prevail - The Clarion-Ledger

I guess there's hope for us yet.

Anarchy is the absence of the state, the ultimate central authority, so it makes sense that a world without rulers would not have room for a god, or especially a God.

In fact, since 80-90% of the people in the united States "believe" in a god, only 10% are prepared to live in anarchy, taking responsibility for their own lives and their particpation in their communities.

Pretty depressing.

The author of this article claims that one cannot decide about morality and ethics without a central authority to tell us what constitutes "proper human conduct." Nonsense. We all know what is right when we grow up in a fully functional, living community, embedded in a healthy bioregion. The lessons are all around us. How could we not know?

When the central authority attempts to convince us that murder, rape, stealing, bullying and destruction of property are right and necessary to support the state, especially when sanctioned by the puppet god propped up for the occasion, we begin to question the authority of both the state and the god. We know these things are wrong.

The government of the united States has wound up a tin god to provide authority for its corporate oligarchy and its destructive imperialist subjugation of most of the rest of the world. Even further, they have cynically allied with fundamentalist Christians in a world-wide pogrom against non-Christians to gain control of world resources and to line the pockets of their corporate supporters. Some dare call this fascism, and they are correct in every respect.

Fortunately, "fantastic doctrines require unanimity of opinion" as Ed Abbey once said. Even the smallest voice of dissent casts doubts in the minds of millions of adherents. That's why we must always speak out and why we will always be marginalized and oppressed.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Big Question: Can America Ever be Weaned off its Love Affair with Guns?

CommonDreams article

There is an elephant in this living room that is never mentioned:

Guns are manufactured and sold for a profit. Human beings make money by manufacturing and selling machines that have only one purpose: to kill. Mostly to kill other humans.

There is no escaping the conclusion that responsibility for the deaths of children in schools across the united States, for hundreds of young people gunned down on the streets of our cities, for hundreds of thousands, no, millions, of innocent human beings slaughtered and maimed by tools of destruction, lies with those who created and sold those machines for a profit. Pecuniary recompense. Filthy lucre.

We have decided in our society that it is improper to sell drugs that cause human misery and death. We pass laws to make sale and possession of these drugs illegal. Yet, when it comes to guns, we turn away from the responsibility for manufacturing these machines of death and, worse yet, for their sale for a profit. We, as a society, have decided it's all right for members of our society to line their pockets at the expense of the lives of human beings and animals around the world.

Forget abortion, euthenasia and stem cell research. We can't even stop making and selling guns!

Monday, October 02, 2006

If not Theoconservatism, then what?

The ascendency of the Neocons in American politics begs several questions: What is this reactionary movement reacting to? If the Theocons have taken over, what have they taken over from? And what, if anything, lies in the wings to oppose this movement?

The first is pretty easy. Neocons consider our present government and society as overly secular, insufficently religious and devoid of moral compass, due to the lack of Biblical and theocratic leadership. They work for a "return" to a society and government based on religious principles, including appeal to authority and the intercession of a supernational being in the everyday affairs of humans.

The Theocans believe that the majority of Americans are religious and thus insufficiently represented in a government based on separation of church and state. They work to replace this secular state with a theocracy based on evangelical Christian religion of no specific denomnation, although the majority of Theocans and their doctrine is Roman Catholic (five members of the Supreme Court are Roman Catholic and attend a special mass at the begining of the Supreme Court season).

The last question is the most difficult and the one I struggle with the most. The obvious answer is a state based on separation of church and state so as to guarantee freedom of religion and freedom from religion for all citizens, no matter what their belief. This of course assumes, in a democratic society, that there exists no majority who believe that their brand of religion is the only brand of religion and everyone should think like they do.

What to do when a society is dominated by intolerance for those with a different belief or those who don't believe at all.

This is the danger of the state, which can be driven by any individual or group able to corral the most economic and/or political power. As long as the state exists, it is up for grabs by any and all, and the course of the state is determined by whomsoever holds the reins. In any control system, avenues of power are monopolized by those willing to use any and all means to grab and hold on to them. This leads to the inevitable anarchist conclusion that the state is inherently illegitimate and must be abolished in any free and independent society.

Anarchism is a sound philosophy that suffers from the inability of most humans to think and act rationally in their own best interest. At least in the human world as we know it, someone will always grab the reins and steer the buggy of society in a preferred direction. And someone will always follow. There seems to be no escape from the constant back and forth in this struggle for power.

As always, there are two options: struggle where we are to make change in the direction of rationality, or pack up and gather somewhere else where we can live in the society we prefer. Such intentional communities have rarely been sucessful, since they must exist in the greater millieu of a society that disagrees with them and enforces that disagreement through the authoritarian state. Remote unoccupied islands with sufficient resources are getting scarce these days, so it looks like we're stuck where we live.

It comes back then to what we have always done, living a rational life where we are, being the example, changing the world by changing ourselves. It's a long, long, lonely road, as we are few and they are so many. And they have more children than we do, because we understand the need to reduce human population hereabouts and they don't care.

We can speak out, on these electronic pages, in books, on progressive radio. In the end, we talk mostly to oursleves, because those who don't already agree with us don't listen and don't read. Appeal to authority denies the relevance of fact.

Pretty depressing, eh? It is encouraging, however to note that historically the Romans went through just the same cultural path that the united States is carving out now, bashing the neighbors and extending its empire.

And the Roman Empire fell.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Theocons Are Coming!

What we call civlization these days is threatened by the twin realities of global climate change and peak oil. No need to talk about these here; you can read about it in the archives or over at Hayduke Speaks. As bad as the future looks, from a civilized point of view, it seems like something we can weather in the long run. If not in our SUVs and McMansions, at least in our modest homes and gardens, pony carriages and on our own two feet.

It's going to be harder to get there from here, for a while, due primarily to one thing: reactionary human desire to maintain control. It's called Theoconservatism by some. I'm just studying up on it now. It's one important factor that's holding us back from cutting greenhouse gas emissions, getting off the oil tit for good and putting a stop to the human species' prediliction to pound each other back to the stone age. Hmmmm, maybe that's not such a bad idea after all...

The Theocons are led by a couple of religious radicals from the 60s who've gone over to the Dark Side; that'd be the Republicans. They're convinced, and they're convincing others that the united States should be a theocracy, run on religious principles, and that life in this country should be regulated according to Biblical doctrine.

This wouldn't be so scary if it weren't for the fact the 90% of the people in the uS believe in a God, and 50% of them are evangelical, fundamentalists who are working toward Armageddon in the Middle East.

This also means that the country is "led" (controlled) by people who choose not to think rationally, who look to a supreme central authority for guidance, and who believe that a book is the literal word of a supernatural being.

It's no wonder that Bush & Co. have yet to be impeached and run out of town on a splintery rail. Most of the people in this country don't question anything they do, because Bush is one of them! They been taught to believe in the supremacy of the central authority, to give over their lives to the image of a mythical being and to never question the word of theior authority figures. So whatever Bush says, no matter how inane, irrational and demonstrably false, it is, almost literally, gospel.

I constantly rail on about the ninnies and feebs, the sycophants, the toadies, the just plain stupid and the idiots, and they're not just politicians. They're everywhere! They're the majority! And they like each other, and they find comfort in their own company and they want the whole country to be just like them.

Where do we rational, thinking people get to hang out together? What social club can we rub elbows in, listen to uplifting speeches and have intelligent, rational conversations with others of like mind? How do we bring together the intellectual 10% in a country overrun by the unthinking 90%?

Wait! I have an idea! Let's meet on Sunday morning while they're all in church!