About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ants / myrmex - the Argentine ants as a supercolony

Of course I study ants. "Look to the Ant" is still a great admonition, and it still invokes many of the great Myths of our BELIEFS -- since almost everything everyone believes about ants is wrong. And since its arrival around 1891 in New Orleans, possibly aboard a coffee shipment from South America, the Argentine ant has been savaging the entire northern hemisphere. They are now the most common arthropod in California.

I was amazed to discover a laboratory right here at UCI devoted to the distillation of scents the ants use to communicate. The idea, I guess, is to try to convince them that they are not all members of one massive tribe. If they would feud amongst themselves like their South American cousins, perhaps the civil unrest in their colonies would allow natives to recover and flourish. On the other hand, aren't the fire ants already here as well? Given that choice, can't we suffer the Argentines?

Obituary: Oriana Fallaci (Age 77, 2006)

Makes one proud to be a human being, to see the courage of a questioner, a person who managed to rise above the burdens of celebrity while sharpening its cutting edge. She was both fearless and glamorous. Today, we note that she was almost alone in identifying religious fanaticism for what it is -- dangerous, intolerant, and intolerable.
Oriana was born in Florence (Tuscany), raised by a family of anti-fascists, and after a career of interviewing dicators and publishing books which are landmarks of historicism (for example, Interview with History 1976) against abuses of power, she moved to NY for a provocative retirement.
A few specific watershed achievements:
* Fought with the Justice & Liberty resistance, helping guide Allied soldiers escapes during WWII, while she was a teenager (eldest of 3 daughters of Edoardo).
* She practically invented an unsettling biographical interview style, usually taking people surrounded by sycophants by surprise. Kissinger wrote that his interview with her was his single most disastrous conversation with a member of the press.
* She was shot while covering a student revolt in Mexico City.
* She used journalism to confront abuses of power she felt were inevitable, even within journalism. "For this reason I like journalism. For this reason I fear journalism."
* She understood that often those in power simply do not deserve to be there.
* 9/11 jerked her out of retirement, although she was suffering from cancer. She saw Islam as the successor (from their own text, their own writings) of Nazi fascism. She described the dynamics of the suicide population bomber -- keeping women in the kitchen concentration camp having babies for Islam while European intelligentsia accommodate the mullahs claim that the chador is for "modesty".
* In her interview with Pope John Paul II, she acknowledged her own atheism, and asked the holy father "Is it true you apologized to the sons of Allah to forgive the Crusades? But...did they ever apologize to you?" for seizing the Holy Sepulcher.
* In The Force of Reason (2004), she described the colonization of Europe by Islamicists bent on the destruction of Western values. An Italian judge ordered her to stand trial on charges of insulting a religion. The trial was aborted by her death, and her books are now best-sellers.
* She never married, but she was an unapologetic enthusiast for love.
* She never had children, but she was devoted to those who choose life over death and annihilation.

NEW EVANGELS, FASTEST GROWING RELIGION

Unitarian Universalists, the vastest growing religious group.

There are always two dynamics in play: The force of division, and the tendency to merge. The blue-state bible-belt which we saw exploited so relentlessly in the last political epoch is now dividing. The old familiars -- Graham, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Richard Land -- are giving way to the fresh charisma of the new guard -- Rick Warren, Richard Cizik, and Ted Haggard. New talking heads of the Church victorious. Even inside the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant denomination), we see the platform of Frank Page moving the discourse from the cognitive dissonance of anti-abortion pro-death penalty, anti-gay pro-marriage obsessions, to the more topical and urgent and "get real" messages, such as social justice, globalization, and stewardship of natural resources.

In the larger world, forces of Unity are clearly at work in the Church Ascendant. The fastest growing congregations in the world among all religious communities based on "choice" (not merely the number of births in countries with State religions), are the Unitarian Universalist. Maybe most people who have the "choice" of beliefs, who understand who they are as human beings, maybe everyone, is a closet Unitarian.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Karl Rowe is a terrorist and we offer "therapy"....

Rosa Brooks wrote a brilliant review of three books by four distinguished authorities in our society who have addressed the 9/11 attacks. Brooks is counsel to the Open Society Institute and a law professor at Georgetown University, as well as a columnist.
In June 2000, Karl Rove came up with this sound-bite: "Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said 'We will defeat our enemies'. Liberals saw what happened to us and said 'we must understand our enemies'."
Brooks is heartsick. Despite the five years that have passed since 9/11, "we're nowhere near defeating our enemies -- in large part because we've never made the slightest effort to understand them." Brooks is too willing to think Rove/Bush/Cheney have simply erred, or that they lack understanding. Big oops. No, Ms. Rosa, the cabal KNOWS what they are doing. They are billionaires now. They never tried to defeat our enemies. They ARE our enemies.
Brooks summarizes three seminal documentations:
(1) Louise Richardson, is a Harvard Dean, who was raised Catholic in northern Ireland during bad times. In WHAT TERRORISTS WANT, she distills decades of research on terrorist movements and concludes that the Bush/Cheney policy is fatally flawed. Although terrorists are filled with invective and hatred, they are not "insane". Most terrorists believe themselves to be altruistic and noble, Davids fighting Goliaths, to reference an ancient Semitic standard. The rhetoric of "evil" and the war in Iraq coupled with genuine abuses of prisoners are tactics that backfire, not only giving Osama bin Laden more recruits, but legitimacy in the "complicit communities" required to sustain them. This point is obvious, but our administration is oblivious.
(2) Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton are two members of the 9/11 Commission who are genuine leaders. {I hope the members of the Commission find their way into public office to replace the scoundrels who have stolen our elections.} In WITHOUT PRECEDENT the Commission documents, blow by blow, how the Bush administration blocked the Commission at virtually every step. At the end of the struggle to identify the facts of why we were attacked, they were forced to ask themselves why "nobody within the government had not already done so".
The Bush adminstration thwarted all efforts, even natural ones, to understand what is needed to enhance our security.
(3) Richard Posner is an appellate judge. NOT A SUICIDE PACT is his review of Constitutional norms and he analyzes the degree to which fears about terrorism should trump civil liberties. Both his historical assessments and his legal theories are provocative, and he does not address the specific threats of "terrorism", speaking broadly of "threats" and "emergencies". He acknowledges not knowing much about the terrorists we face, and has no strategy for defeating them -- an inexcusable gap of information by an author on this subject. He has an academic grasp of the Bill of Rights, but seems to believe that torture may occasionally be useful, and he favors restrictions on individual rights during emergencies without grasping the fact that ultimately this leads to abuses of power which is what our Founders, facing terrorism and instabilities more serious than ours, seemed more anxious to restrain.
Rosa Brooks' review of these three books written by mainstream authorities with legacy research was printed 9/10/2006, LA Times Book Review, R5. I wept. We are facing the loss of all we hold dear, and people of understanding seem to know why: our government has been taken over by a cabal interested in restricting our civil rights, expanding their powers, and in the name of a "war" against impoverished people and the minions of oil billionaires abroad, our own leaders are plundering our treasury.
Is it just the money? I weep for the failure to understand our enemies, foreign and domestic. Our foreign enemies are billionaires -- their soldiers are simply desparate minions. Our domestic enemies are billionaires -- their soldiers are...well, us. Our billionaires seem to be rushing to their own aid.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

PRAYER

1. Vicarious Prayer. When a Priest prayers FOR you, is it YOUR prayer? "Come let US pray" and then he or she does it all. Is that a way to talk to God? Or is he or she just talking to us?

2. Prayer en masse. A large number of people pray together. Usually "led" in prayer by a Holy Person, is this the path to God? To be on a Prayer Network with 3 million people...is this linked to God? Who is communicating? Who decides?

3. Has God ever answered Prayer?

4. Richard Peace, professor of a spiritual formation at FTS (Fuller Theological Seminary) explained nicely why we pray: "We pray because we realize that, at the core of who we are, we are incomplete. We have been created to be in touch not only with the natural, but with the supernatural. There is that longing for the divine."

That "longing for the divine". This is biodynamic. It is no mystery, it is no mere matter of "belief". It is the meat of our matter, it is our Who-ness. We pray because we realize things, and these realizations fill us with need: The vaccuum created by the inchoate consciousness of consciousness.

We long for the divine because we imagine it, and as we "see" it clothed in our own cravings, our need begins to keen. Whether gods exists or not, our need exists. Even the desire to have no desires, is a desire. What is "in touch", needs to be "in touch". Of course, there is no touch. No thing touches any thing.

5. So, prayer is IN. Prayer is the organizer, the mission statement, the operating instructions. A covenant of the spirit can be made, and perhaps should be.

6. THIS CHANGES THE ROOM: The invocutor bows his head and speaks: "Lord [Father, Vishnu, Allah, Hananim aboji, Chakami] pour out your spirit upon this place, and make it holy. Make us care for one another, and make us feel safe." Talking to US.

7. In Korea-town, Los Angeles, 500 people fill the pews of the Oriental Mission Church on Western Avenue, at 5:00 a.m. every morning.

8. John Robb, chairman of the International Prayer Council [sic], a global prayer network set up on the Net, says that he worked in 120 countries.

9. The Presidential Prayer Team, based in Phoenix, claims 3 million participants in the United States, praying daily for President Bush. This really is "proof" of something.

10. Make everything a prayer. All thoughts must be holy. Surely the extremes of righteousness are no vice. (!) Hmmm. So this is the problem. Somebody must be praying for the wrong things....and THEIR prayers are being answered. (!)

"The Path to 9/11" ABC miniseries - political fiction

On the eve of the 2006 elections, the pillaging faction has unleashed a pretty darn effective tool for bringing in the votes: A surprisingly large-scale and nicely protracted projection of narrative designed to penetrate and preempt our collective "story" of September 11, 2001.
Curiously, Walt Disney Co's ABC, which breached its distribution contracts pertinent to Michael Moore's documentary FAHRENHEIT 9/11 on the eve of the 2004 election, is now actively pre-promoting and marketing, a "drama" about 9/11. Compare, Disney's deliberate effort to delay Moore from showing FAHRENHEIT until after the election, and but for Moore's extraordinary personal initiative would have succeeded. In FAHRENHEIT, President Bush was accurately depicted. He himself said and did the things he was shown to have done. By contrast, Disney is now "dramatizing" what Clinton, Madeline Albright, Sandy Berger, and other Democrats did. The "drama" is inaccurate, and Albright claims it is defamatory. (Always promising to civil litigators.) Reputation is the most valuable asset anyone has....
Twelve years after the Republican Party took control of the Federal Legislature, and a full six years after Bill Clinton was replaced by an ideological Executive cabal, the pillaging faction is blaming Clinton and the Democratic Party for its problems. This is scape-goating, pure and simple. Clinton is the Pillagers' Jew. We are all Jews now.

What State is Legitimate: Israel or Jordan? United States?

Among the unreconstructed physiocrats, we ask What Gives the State Legitimacy? L'Etat ce moi without the Sun King. Should "the problem" of Israel be resolved, like "the problem" of Jews? Many have tried this -- solve the real problems by creating a scapegoat which can be, successfully, bullied. Of course, a light scan of history will reveal that the scapegoat technique is at best a temporary patch. Real problems will not be solved by scapegoating, by blaming a minority group, by stealing from the weak, or...by destroying Israel. There is no Arab problem which can be solved by destroying Israel or Jews.
And yet, this idea that Israel is "a problem", continues to be a popular invocation in virtually all "Islamic" textbooks, mosques, newspapers, and websites pronouncing Arab interests. It is an "anti-semitic" perspective from the other great Semitic group.
In the previous generation, Jews who came to America changed their tribal names to try to avoid the prejudice against them in virtually all private clubs and societies. For example, I just read the obituary of Gerald "Condon", the lawyer who wrote the leading estate planning practice book that we use in California. I discovered that his family arrived from Wales, where they were not so troubled to bear the name "Cohen" for generations. But when they came to Santa Monica, the family changed its name because of the prejudice against Jews.
Now Dr. Maher Hathout, the 70 year old chairman of the Islamic Center of Southern California, has been nominated by Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, to receive a "prestigious" human rights award -- from the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission. (Commissioner Donna Bojarsky.) Hathout is a man "on record" claiming to be proud of his opinions and entitlements. His opinions include referring to Hamas and Hezbollah as freedom fighters, and Israel as an "illegal apartheit entity".
Curiously, Al-Marayati claimed that Supervisors Antonovich and Yarolslavsky supported the nomination, although both supervisors denied making the endorsements.
Is Hathout entitled to his "opinions"? Of course. Is it possible to disagree with his opinions? Not really. It is impossible to oppose racism in any effective way. Extremist opinions cannot be "opposed" without growing them on both sides. Tolerance insures more of them; opposition strengthens them, and drives them to make scapegoats. Here it is again. The scapegoat. Just scratch the surface, and there it is. Right here.
How do you deal with a person who "solves" his own problems by blaming others? How do you deal with a tribe that has only learned that it must hate its cousins? Is there enough Science to do this job? Is the First Amendment enough of a solution?
Neither Science nor a First Amendment was much help to the family of Gerald Condon. They changed their name because of people who hated their tribe, blamed their tribe for everything. And the hatred is still right here. How can we free people from oppression, so that they can lead the productive lives they really want to live?
The State of Israel is more legitimate, using any historical criterion, even using the Quoranic criterian of "conquest", than the "United States", which is now run by a President who stole two elections. Our Founders warned us about the power of factions, and the loss of liberty which will result when the "checks and balances" are compromised by a takeover by One Party.
The legitimacy of all States is at issue. The "entitlement" of anyone to a racist "opinion" is not at issue: It is scientific falsity and the basis for an action sounding in a species of fraud.

Martin Luther rose up against the Holy Roman Empire

95 Accusations in Wittenberg, perhaps invoking the 30 year War, but only AFTER the death of Luther. Somehow, while he was living, Luther kept the swords sheathed. He sought to reform, not kill.

We must do the same. Do not kill anyone, do not destroy the evidence which condemns them, their own lives. The policies, and the illicit profits, of Bush, Cheney, and Rove must be revealed, shown to be unlawful, and disgorged. All the "95 accusations", the facts must be posted on the door of every church. The hypocritical ruinous depredations of the Bush-Cheney-Rove cabal must stop.

We know that the falsities dispensed by Rove in his "72 hour squads" (operating just before the elections) are what brought the tainted "victories" to his candidates -- defeating the righteous. These falsities must become "accusations" against the perpetrators (traitors). Each lie is an Impeachment article, an indictment.

One RICH MAN pays his taxes...Walter Anderson pleads guilty to $365 million tax evasion

Bloomberg News report: Walter Anderson, the 52 year old who tried to merge Mid-Atlantic Telecomm without triggering taxes, pleads guilty to TWO COUNTS of federal tax evasion, in what the prosecutors describe as the "largest personal tax evasion case in US History". Interestingly, Anderson hired numerous lawyers who enabled and participated in his evasion using off-shore "businesses", and litigated his defenses for years.
It is not coincidence that we witness corporate CEO's in unprecedented numbers perpetrating frauds, at the expense of our country, which is AT WAR. We are harmed more by the CEO culture we harbor domestically, than by the "foreigners" who hate us. For example, the Bolivians, Bopal-ians, and Islamicists may be hostile to Americans, but are the CEO's not "responsible" by their activities for this "foreign" hostility?
And we see also that these same pirates have hijacked our own institutions as well -- we are attacked by the Islamicists, but we are impoverished by our own CEOs.
Frankly, the Arab warrior is a far braver and more honest than the Anderson "executive".

"Communist" Care...for the Rich

Nell Minnow, editor of Corporate Library (a shareholder rights advocate) gives an "F" rating to the publicly-traded NEWS CORP in which Rupert Murdock owns a 31.2% stake. She points out that "the people in the world best able to afford their luxury homes are the ones who don't have to pay for them." The "corporate state" subsidizes the rich.
This week NEWS CORP disclosed in an SEC filing that it paid $4.5 million in salary, and $21.2 million in bonuses. ON TOP OF THAT, it provides Murdock with a $50,500 per month housing/utilities "perk" -- another $606,000 value. According to Andrew Butcher, the NEWS CORP spokesman, this housing allowance is "for the convenience of the company" for Murdock to have a NY luxury apartment.
Clearly, "the Board" is not making decisions that could be justified by the Business Judgment Rule. The payment of a personal, and wildly excessive, expense of a highly paid executive who does not even live in NY, is inappropriate for a publicly-traded company. What is being traded is the gullibility of investors: I checked the paper -- NEWS CORP shares rose 16 cents on yesterday.

HALLIBURTON FRAUD - LAWSUIT

Halliburton's spokesperson, Melissa Norcross (who is not paid nearly enough), is publicly pointing out that the civil suit filed by Mr. Allen Grayson supported by the whistleblower Julie McBride "clearly demonstrates a misinterpretation of facts as well as a lack of understanding of KBR's contractual agreements with its customer, the US Army". Ms McBride's complaints were ignored by KBR before she became a whistle-blower. McBride's safety is in jeopardy and requires an armed guard.
How can the following facts by susceptible to "misinterpretation"? (1) That KBR charges its "customer" three times the cost of Gasoline/Diesel Fuel that the Army obtains from other sources. (2) That KBR bills double-time for Internet access, food, and gym services for soldiers, according to its own (and very troubling) "accounting" figures.
How can the plaintiff be faulted for not understanding "contractual agreements" which were not disclosed, remain hidden, and were never open for "bid"?
War-profiteering used to be immoral. Now, the pious Bush-men are piling onto the billion-dollar contraband wagon.

EMINEN T DOMAIN - private property rights and the future

We have a documented history of the dynamics and consequences of land development, whether administered by a government "Bureau" (eg Bureau of Land Management) or by private "homesteaders". Both forms of development have left us with disasters and a nasty Future. Ref: Fellmeth, POLITICS OF LAND.
Under the 1938 Small Tract Act, the BLM transferred thousands of small-acre parcels into private ownership. I have seen the results in San Bernardino and Imperial Counties. The desert is potted with piles of refuse, much of which is toxic (tires, motor oil), surrounding abandoned shacks.
The Classification and Multiple Use Act of 1964 classified vast areas for "recreation". This is a concept which means very different things to different people, from "hunters" (a literally extinct species superceded by Gunners) to get-rich-quick schemers, indulging perhaps the most popular form of "recreation". Over 1/7 of California has been "managed" by BLM as Multiple-Use land, often leased or sold to private parties.
We continue to face the dilemmas of How to appropriately exploit, or preserve, the Resources under our feet. The use of the powers of the government to evict or restrict owners -- the use of "blight" designations, Zoning regulations and Eminent Domain -- now driven by the hard realities of severe tax shortfalls for local governments after Proposition 13 -- has given us more layers of corruption. Ref: Greenhut, ABUSE OF POWER.
This week, as if we have no history or future, the contentious ED battle over the 17,300-acre Conaway Ranch in Yolo County, ended. The investor-developers of the pastoral island in the water delta of one of California's fastest regions are now free to build houses and sell off water rights -- although they promise not to "squander" the water supply. (!)
The Yolo County officials -- we should be thankful -- recognized that the government could not afford to "win" the Eminent Domain seizure; the FMV of the land would have been $100 million or more. We have no idea what land is WORTH. How can a government compensate an owner for its seizure?
So, what do we lack? Are we doomed to head straight to ugly in a basket of complexities which no vision of righteousness can correct?

WAR - leadership needed - Ilario Patano

Former Marine 2d Lt Ilario G Pantano was exonerated last year in a preliminary hearing conducted at Camp Lejeune, NC, of charges that he killed two Iraqi prisoners in cold blood. Although he was a veteran of the previous Persian Gulf War, serving in the front line as a sergeant, he had only been in Iraq for a few months. He had joined immediately after 9/11.
His accuser was Sgt Daniel Coburn, serving in the same rifle platoon under Lt Pantano's command. The military tribunal found that Sgt Coburn was "not credible" in his accusations. However, Pantano's military career options were ended.
Now, Pantano has written a book. Good move. It is entitled: WARLORD: NO BETTER FRIEND, NO WORSE ENEMY. The book describes the combat and the litigation.
One of the appeals of the Warrior Ethos is the fact that if you are deadly, you really can be potent as a friend. Most of us are "weak friends", and this is the place setting in which I find myself regretfully seated.
The worst that has been said of Pantano, and his response -- restraint, writing a detailed book -- convinces me of his greatness. I also notice that Pantano's former attorney, Mr. Charles W. Gittins of San Diego, is on record hoping Pantano runs for office. Attorneys know things about their clients and it's a good bet that a person who knows "things" about a former client, and having no duty or benefit to himself in expressing such a hope, would not make such an endorsement unless it was righteous.
My god it would be great to see men and women lead us who KNOW how gray and intense the choices in war can be. The LACK of military bearing on the part of Rowe/ Cheney/ Bush and their uninformed Congressional overseers may "explain" (but not justify) the chaotic disgrace which is their legacy to America.
Draft Ilario Patano into Office! Please. Now.