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. 

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Still think George Bush "won" the Presidential Elections?

It is now a documented fact that 100% of the Exit Polls, done by professional pollsters across the political spectrum and including the most extreme of the neo-conservative vote-mongerers, in 2000, and in 2004, came up with "results" which showed that a candidate other than Bush had won the Presidency. (In 2000, it was Gore, in 2004, it was Kerry).
The National Election Pool, which is a consortium of the five broadcase and cable networks with the Associated Press that commissions exist polls, has clearly published the data showing this fact. However, in a remarkable or at least curious inability to draw rational conclusions from this data, the NEP decided that all of the Exit Polling was somehow flawed. So they have studied the "problem" of flawed polling -- claiming that the exit pollsters had trouble getting older people to answer the surveys, or that Democrats are intrinsically more willing to participate in surveys.
In the history of Exit Polling, there are only TWO ELECTIONS which have not been accurately predicted. There are only TWO ELECTIONS in which the results as "counted" were not accurately projected from the data gathered by professional Exit Polling. Exit Polling in US Presidential Elections has not been a haphazard lark performed by amateurs since Jackson.
Why, in the face of a legion of voters who have testified that the voting machines did not respond appropriately, and with technicians logging up failed tests for the voting machines manufactured by Bush patrons, do they presume that the pollsters failed to obtain correct information? The fact that 100% of the Exit Polls had projected a NON-Bush victory, does not point to "a flaw" in the independent pollster methodology. The discrepant results clearly point to the possibility that the machines which created the "winner", are themselves flawed!
This logical conclusion is of course corroborated by the fact that the ACTUAL COUNT of the uncounted ballots in Florida in 2000 (not yet counted by the time that the Republican Registrar of Voters, declared "victory" for George Bush, but thereafter counted under the auspices of the Associated Press with bi-partizan representatives in full control) shows that Gore won the 2000 Presidential Election.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Former NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso, and Greed

The LA Times reported a pleasant congruence of newsworthy events, in its 10/20/2006 Business Section: The Dow Jones closing above 12,000 for the first time, and the release of State Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos' ruling that the former New York Stock Exchange Chairman, Richard Grasso, might be forced to return $100 million to the Exchange.
Justice Ramos made a point of basing the restitution order on the fact that Grasso was serving as Chairman, an office with "fiduciary" standards owed to the organization he purported to serve while milking it with a stratospheric "compensation package" in excess of $187.5 million per annum. The Court rejected Grasso's argument that the NYSE board made up of top Wall Street executives was "informed" and approved his pay. Interestingly, Grasso contended that he himself did not know how much he was making, a fact that Justice Ramos labelled shocking: "That a fiduciary of any institution, profit or not-for-profit, could honestly admit that he was unaware of a liability ofo over $100 million...is a clear violation [of fiduciary duties]."
In the May 2004 law suit brought by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Grasso was proved to have stocked the Board with cronies and then misled them about the magnitude of his ballooning pay, including more than $100 million in retirement benefits quietly accrued in his last few years on the "job".
Greed is not necessarily good or bad, and it is not a quality which is going to disappear, not matter how much it is condemned. However, where it is compounded with fraud -- concealments, misdirection, misrepresentation, and violation of fiduciary duties -- the act of benefitting oneself at the expense of others who are in no position to object or even realize what is happening, is simply a form of theft. It is a crime, a wrong, a violation of laws, and a distortion of the "free" market. For a "business" person to indulge in thievery, instead of exchange, is to destroy the market. His act is tantamount to market murder, in that it puts fear into the marketplace, and obstructs the transactions that otherwise would occur, killing them.
Equally shocking, however, is how LITTLE the "sanction" really is, relative to the scale of the offense. As sharply critical as Justice Ramos is of Grasso's testimony, he is still limiting the sanction to restitution. His ruling seems limited to a species of disgorgement. In other words, Grasso (and future Grasso's hiding in other grass) had NO RISK: Either he gets away with stealing, or he is caught and has to give up what he stole. Mere disgorgement is not a disincentive.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tempting Faith - believers are being USED by religious hypocrites; corroboration.

LAT 10132006 A19, Wallsten. "President Bush's top political advisors [Rowe] privately ridiculed evangelical supporters as 'nuts' and 'goofy' while embracing them in public and using their votes to help win elections."
The reviewer, Wallsten, interviewed Paul M. Weyrich, a Bush-conservative, about Kuo's book. The Bush administration denies Kuo's account of the "faith-based" program. Speech-writer Michael Gerson claims it is "laughable", and Jim Towey, another former director of the faith-based program, claims Kuo's description is unrecognizable. However, neither critic denied that politics factored predominantly into the program which has significantly failed to supplant community needs although it hosted numerous "conferences" appealing to pastors prior to elections.
Kuo is a second insider to document the political use of religious conviction by people who are themselves not righteous ones. Kuo's observations now corroborate those of John J. DiIulio Jr, the first director of the "Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives", a uniquely Rowe-based bureaucracy formed when Bush first took office. DiIulio was the first official to resign 7 months after his appointment in the Bush-Rowe-Cheney administration, stating that the White House was run by "Mayberry Machiavellians" who put political ends over everything else.
With this published corroboration by Kuo, who made the same accusation when he resigned from the same program in 2003, it appears that the leadership of our country has been "hijacked" (to use Kuo's term) by a cabal of religious hypocrites. The Christians are being fed to the lions, at their own expense inside the arena, while the lions outside the arena are gathering with impunity. In making this analogy, no disrespect to lions is intended.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The President Impeaches Himself

Columnist Al Martinez, LATimes 9/28/2006, referring to a story by Paul Richter concerning the growing alliances of people who now hate Americans:
"Richter's piece was the first time I had seen a story that laid out so clearly the predicament our cowboy leader has gotten us into. We can demand impeachment for a president's embarassing sexual dalliances but not for a president who has dragged a once respected nation into the slime. No one died when Bill Clinton reached out for Monica Lewinsky. Many have since George W. Bush reached out for Iraq."

PRJ: Insitutionalized Fraud

Washington-based SoundExchange released a list of 9000 recording artists which it claimed it was unable to locate in order to distribute $500,000 worth of "royalties". SoundExchange was creating by the recording industry to collect and distribute royalties. They could not find Rapper Mos Def, producer T-Bone Burnett, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The artists forfeit the money to SoundExchange if not claimed.

Filmed! "King Leopold's Ghost", based on the Adam Hochschild book.

In less than 10 years since 1998, an estimated 3.9 million Congolese have died in armed conflicts. This is but the latest link in the bloody chain going back to Belgium and that peculiar "king" so carefuly described by Adam Hochschild.

Leopold killed an estimated 10 million. In the 150 years since, has anyone been able to recover? Viciousness creates such a closed circle.

Congo is now gearing up for a final round of elections -- the first in 40 years. Will the people flourish? In one of the most beautiful and naturally endowed regions of our planet?

Moazzam Begg, a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay

The LATimes 9/29/2006 printed an article by MB who was apparently taken prisoner in January 2002 by abduction from his home in Islamabad, Pakistan. He had fled Kabul, Afghanistan where he had "helped" establish a girl's school and dig water wells. Held captive for 3 years.
The use of "Guantanamo" by this Administration to avoid the Constitution fools no one. And what is the point? How can we claim to be fighting FOR the Constitution when in fact we are ignoring it?

Stateswoman Ayaan Hirsi Ali

My hat, all my hair, everything...is off to people who speak truth to fanaticism. Anybody can bad-mouth the President. But to take on the Mafioso, or the Pharisees, or to speak out against the subjugation of women, the cruelty of religious "law", and the intolerant "religions", takes even more courage, of a purer form.
The nomination of Ayaan Ali by Victor Davis Hanson for a Nobel Peace Prize is not only appropriate, but it elevates Hanson as well. He is a senior fellow and professor of military history, at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Asbestos, the "miracle mineral"

Silvery malleable but crisp, incredibly "useful". You could add it to almost any other material to make them stronger and more heat resistant. Long term exposure to asbestos is known to cause some terrible diseases, even in extremely small amounts. But not until the 1970's did we stop adding it to everything we could, even clothing, utensils, bedding. The last US asbestos mine closed (pause) in 2002.

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.


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


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'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.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Soldiering seems to have drifted away from its essential slog. The Warrior cult which always looks so promising when it is dancing around the Big Fire the night before, is now in disarray.

Technology has simply outperformed the levee en masse, and the Army has become a thing of the Previous Technology, no longer able to dress smartly, much less solve, the "problems" as they arise. Of course, there is still an Op4 that needs to be eliminated. In the Blog of War, there is always a new front opening up which is little understood. The Pentagon is not just fighting the last war – the one with armies in uniforms, blowing up things – it has joined the Other Side. It conducts fire fights that burn everyone.

The Entertainment Industry understands the red weapon-shift. It does not even bother with "big war movies" anymore, except of course, by way of exception. Who cares about “million man armies” anymore? The films now are all personal combat – Miami Vice (Colin Farrell), Collateral (Cruise), Rambo type ambuscades, Bowling for Columbine (Moore), and Hero-es of various ilks going mano a mano with small arms. But this is not just a passing phase; historically the emphasis is always on the Warrior, although often he is hidden, and never more so than now.

The Entertainment Medium is the latest weapon of choice. It is penetrating, lethal, and yet does not expose your troops to dysentery. It does not wildly warm the planet or smoke entire cities. Do not be confused by its focus on action and its impact on fashion, or by its incidental "product placements" -- our "leading men" who turn out to be merely actors.

Do not be misled by the use of actual weapons in films – it is not the “weaponry” per se which is penetrating the defenses of The Enemy. For example, nobody seems to know or care that in his combat roles, Tom Cruise typically wields a .45 cal. Heckler & Koch USP fed with a 12-round clip. (That clip still throws me). The particular suit and tie, or the pair of loafers, which is out on a rampage with a sidearm, is not the “point”. The audience is swooning over the room-clearing house-pacifying impact of the Mossberg 12gauge shotgun.

All of the elements of the “scene” are replaceable – especially the movie stars themselves, and their toys, all of which are frankly over-priced. Understand that the “action” is the draw – the actors using their toys, whether they are climbing on the outside of their Adam A500 planes, or riding their Ferrari F430 Spiders or jumping out of Donzi speedboats, glancing at their IWC watches while shooting titanium SVI Infinity automatics. The “point” is not whether a man, or a machine that can put a 55-grain hollow-point slug at 2,700 feet per second into a man, is better. Both the drawing star and the drawn weapon together draw the crowd. A good pistol is designed to leap into the palm of the hand, and a hot weapon makes an actor look cool. When a Colin Farrell's Sonny Crockett delivers strategic impact with a Sig Sauer 552 Commando assault rifle, or a Jamie Foxx's Tubbs pulls the latter, and a snub-nosed Smith & Wesson, and then unloads a Benelli M4 shotgun, and gets away a Heckler & Koch 69 grenade launcher, you know you are in “action” heaven.

Compare our wars and our films. What is the vector? What impact does the mass appeal of filmed violence have on the massing of troops? Are we headed toward a better world of Technology? Or are we marching toward Death – the opposite of “action”? What is the learning of the burning, the “attacks” all over the world, the wielding of guns and rockets?

The real vector is the Medium, and the Medium is not what is being shot, but what is doing the shooting. The “real” action is behind, not in front of, the camera. Surely it is no surprise that the First Adopters of each civilization meeting another -- at any time or place in history, whether East/West, Cowboy/Indian, Arab/Persian -- are usually at the Weapon systems.

Well, do not be fooled. The modern weapon of choice is not actually the Cruise Missile or, on the ground, the always and overtly politically-self-correcting Barrett .50-caliber M107 semiautomatic sniper rifle. The real weapon of the true warrior is not an RPG, and certainly not the IED or the suicide vest. True warriors never target the weak and defenseless. The real weapon in today’s theater is the semi-cinematic wide-screen moving field of fire FILM! Headline: We shoot bulletins! The guy with the biggest CAMERA is who wins. It is not what was hit down-range from a Gun-sight, but what got the most “hits” on a Web-site, that determines who comes out ahead. The good soldier should blog, not slog.

It is true that there is always a Great War declared by, oh, shall we say, people who have power and want too much, or by people who have little and want more. Whoever seizes power, whoever understands the vacuum of power, whether George Bush, Osama bin Laden, or any of the post-Hitler post-Stalin post-Pot post-Castro contenders. Many people are still, and will always be, obsessed by things that go Boom. They are "stuck" in there. The age of "bombers" and assassins is SO pre-WWI, so pre-dot-com. People living in caves and Pentagons are still looking for Archdukes and scapegoats. The REAL WEAPONS, and the REAL WARRIORS know this, and are working the cameras and networks. They put video on their bloggerheads.

The guns are simply props. are no longer the REAL weapons. Of course, guns are bewitching. That is Why they are in the film. And Guns continue to play a role in luring us to that dream of a quick-fix, the real curative, the device which will annihilate all enemies. Of course, the weapon which will do this is not, and cannot be, a killing device. What can you annihilate with a gun? With an atomic bomb? Guns and bombs do not "destroy" the REAL ENEMY. They change nothing in the World. What the guns provide today are “special effects”. Their contribution is to the scene, basically the noise as they unload, with some visual interest particularly at night. At best, the guns are theater, extensions of the hand and a lethal personality. The suicide vest is effective as a crowd pleaser – yes, THAT crowd.

The Technology has already advanced far beyond mere firepower. Gun-running is like "farming" compared to what is now happening on the Net today: It may occur, it may even be necessary, but it is not what young men are actually trying to unleash -- Websites, MySpace, piracy on the high seas of the many-waved Web, adventure in wealth acquisition, the annihilation of enemies.....

Oh we still revel in the detonators and the infantile eagerness to “blow the bridge”, or the shopping mall, whatever. But pull on up: It is the stratospheric FILM of the missile dropping down the chimney of Saddam Hussein’s HQ that moved us, all of us.

We still remember Dirty Harry leveling that long-barreled Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum because it was a film in which Clint Eastwood played an avenging arch-angel for our beliefs! It is the Film, not the side-arm, not the star himself, which is the most effective “weapon” against the evil-doers. Theater as extension of our Mind: Make my Play.

Why doesn’t the Pentagon understand this? Why aren’t they subsidizing the use of new technology to introduce theatrical arts – compositions of music, of creativity, new ways to digitalize creation and destruction instead of actually destroying. Or...maybe they do. Maybe their combat teams are secretly billeting with film crews. Maybe the “talent” is secretly subsidized.

The tribes who have declared themselves our enemies, the Iranians and Arabs, and in various ways the Chinese and Russians. These are great peoples, with great civilizations. They long ago sent their finest to America, where these people gathered with the Indians and the Vikings, the Celts, and the kings of Ethiopia and Judea, and somehow all of them figured out how to depict their dreams on the stages of the world, on the sets they built out of historical scratch they found in their pockets, and come to digitalize it, and then to spin it on reels, and in 3-D DVD diskettes, in living room theaters everywhere, to play it, to dream it, again and again!

As violent, as funny and tragic as we get, what we are doing is sharing ... our dreams. We still have enemies, but they are personal, not tribal. Our tribal enemies can only weep. Because “we” – from every tribe of the world – have won. And now, they have no choice, to surrender and celebrate their victory.

We will blow them up. We will blow ourselves up. Again and again. Because it is a movie. It is our virtual destiny. It is not real. We can only weep and laugh. And play it again: Make my Play-Station.


Credits to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist sportsman Dan Neil for “identifying what the fashionable young man is killing people with this season” in the film industry. He has a quick eye for spotting, and indulging the pleasure of, the technological extensions we wear. My thanks to his article “Trigger Happy”, West Magazine (“magazine”!) August 27, 2006, page 45.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Myth as a Source...of What?

Now in this flowering node of time and space, at the Zwischenstufe or "between-ness" which all spans of consciousness inhabit, we continue to enjoy the story-telling of our elders, the scheming tales of our sachems, the comprehensive collections of the Brothers Grimm, the recent soupcon of the late Campbell on Heroes, and the "new" myths of Mohammed, Huehuemoxtezuma, Dante, Smith, and Mao woven into values, with appreciation for the breadth of our breathless chronicles, the invoked pastiche, the onion that flavors both the boil and the cooling broth of our bodies over which Odin's ravens -- memory and thought -- constantly circle, invisible, flying, emanating as they do, from a brain which is buried alive. Ultimately, of course, what we discover in Myth is not wisdom, but the cruelty and gratification of the hunting story. And the hunt continues....

The leitmotif of all myth is predation. The hunt is for a future. We hunt for our future, and we are greatly relieved to see that it resembles the past. But as we kill it, and our sustenance always involves death, we necessarily soak it in myth to disguise the act, to quiet the keening of the dying, the loss. Myth is our great In-source of Evil, the occupied land we are destined to call our hunting ground.

When we feed, we kill. To live, we must destroy something. We worry it to ground. For this, not for the task but for the consequences, we must find a redeemer. Redemption only comes from “feeling better” after our stomach is full. Redeemers rarely hunt, never bring wood or prey to our fire, but they eat our food, and then offer to make us "feel better" about what we had to do. It works. Because all the effective Redeemers – all our “authorities”– those we worship, respect, adore, and follow toward the promised Golden Age which is our perpetual myth – offer vengence, and revenge is the secret key to our relief. Consider this, that the hunt is about Taking life, and it is blaming or re-directing blame, which enables us to digest and keeps us alive. Vengence is the counterpoise. It is our only relief from the “sense” of justice which cries out. It muffles the screams, makes the killing humdrum. Vengence is normalcy restored.

We are trapped in Evil – on both sides of the coin, a bicameral guilt: We kill, and then we find redemption by calling the death revenge. We are deeply enamored of Evil. We are grateful to Evil. It buries our dead. The victim is always blameworthy, or worthy of killing, in an Evil homeland. Our Nibelungen hand-wringing cycle is met with a song. Myth is the marinade in which we soak our meat. Myth is our Memory working with its ravenous twin, Imagination, so that we can forget enough to successfully hunt again.

This is the badly-kept secret of all "homelands", hierarchies, “cultures”, and egos.

And now that Science has enabled as to utterly annihilate our prey, and has brought us Death on a platter, on a planetary scale, and we ourselves are hunted by "suicide bombers" with no appreciation for irony but only for Myth, for Evil, we can now clearly see what we die for. Now we arrive at the point were we require more of our Redeemers than we have in the past. We can no longer be content with vengence.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A moment of reflection:


1. DIGITAL LIBRARIES. Over publishers’ protests, Google is digitalizing large library collections: Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, the NY Public Library....

2. IMPERIAL JAPANESE MILITARY. Mindful of atrocities committed in the 1930's, and while sending armed troops to Iraq, Japan continues to surprise the world, almost as if it was not a part of the rest of the world....still no actual funded reparations or “apology” for Nanking, for stockpiles of WMD poison and gas weapons abandoned in China, for “comfort women”, for Bataan. For exterminating most of the whales, strip mining the Pacific. No apology? Is it because they suffered the worst civilian bombing, and the dropping of not one but two atomic weapons, and were lined up to receive 8 more, basically treated like insects by MacArthur? Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution still prohibits its use of armed forces except for defense? Should not ALL Constitutional countries insert such a Clause? Is there a sovereign “right” to invade others?

3. WHOSE RUNNING THE WEB? In the late 1990s, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) run by the US Department of Commerce was supposed to begin turning control of the servers underlying the Internet over to...well, no one ever figured out who.

4. ARAFAT’S SUCCESSOR. In 2005, Mahmoud Abbas took over after Arafat. We still do not know how Arafat became a billionaire several times over, where his fortune ended up, how Abbas got his wealth and built a 4-story mansion on land intended as a public park. Is corruption not clearly evident? In history, has any gang other than the “leaders” of the Palestinians ever taken larger sums of money – 100's of billions from the Saudis alone – with less to “show” for it?

5. THE MISRAHI JEWS. Millions of Jews have been forced to leave all of the “Arab” lands. Many more Israelis are “refugees” than Arabs, even if you count the Arabs who are fleeing Arab countries (countries other than Israel) for any reason. If you count the Christian Arabs – the maronites, the chaldeans – and if you count the Shiites and Sunnis who have been fleeing from each other – all of these exceed the number of Palestinians who “fled” – or voluntarily left, or some combination – from Israel during a time of war.

6. ARABS. The Arabs have always been important and have long been numerous. They are like Germans – gifted, brave, and quick to resort to tribal yearnings for a glorious past that never was. More fearful than Jews of the horrors of “humiliation”. Does the world really owe any people a dignity which they seem to gain only in conquest? Can’t we just be humble together? Do we have to worry about your failures, or worse, your conquests?

7. NO MENTION OF “JERUSALEM” IN THE KORAN. The Koran is now digitized and entirely searchable. No “truth” about it is more evident than that it is not what it is claimed to be by its adherents. Most of it contains very unclear Suras, proclamations which were at one time important, and even reformist; but which are now not ‘relevent’. In spite of the name of the “religion”, there are no suras about how to make Peace happen. None. Nor does it justify race-hatred against any People. Nor does it claim Palestine; not even Jerusalem, for Arabs. Nor does it tell women and men to cover themselves completely so that everyone looks like a sack. The name – Koran -- is used for ulterior motives by ignorant and cruel men.

8. THE GOSPELS. Such Good News here: bad advice--"love everyone"-- with a good example, but, worse for wear, and entirely ignored as to its finer points. Jesus, the Zionist, hell-bent to liberate Israel from the peace of the Romans, driven to try even the most extreme weapon of all: Love. They laughed this movement off the stage – there is no record of Jesus in contemporary archeological remains. However, human “story” often has an odd “twist”, and there is no better example in the history of religion: Jesus clearly, clearly, did not claim to be divine – “why callest me Good Master? None is good, save one, that is, God”. [Luke 18.19]. Jesus admonished all, but especially the rulers, to live a life of humility and indigency: “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor...and follow me” [Jesus was living without any possessions]. [Luke 18.22.] Just before crucifiction, three instructions. You can count the “Christians” doing even one of these things today, on one hand.

9. THE KURDS / KURDISTAN. Why is it so inconceivable that the Kurds should have their own country? What threat would a Kurdistan be to Turkey, as a buffer state between Iran.

10. KARELIA? DARFUR? HURONIA? Is it too late to remediate the abuse of all minority people by building among them separate “nations”?

11. FIGHTING TERRORISTS. Keeping in mind that over 180 “lords” and noblemen lost their lives to anarchist or communist “bombers” and shooters in the year just before WWI, when Archduke Ferdinand and his dear wife were assassinated by a small revolver. I do not see much difference in the technology between the roadside or hidden bombs and small arms used today in Iraq. It also appears more sensible to fight dispersed terror networks with roving counter-networks armed with neighborhood lists of names and a “full-employment” program for young men, rather than aerial bombardment and meaningless but endless traffic inspection stops. We should painstakingly work with defectors.

12. SHIFTING BLAME. Man is a political animal. What does this mean? The largest single practical outcome of this reality is that BLAME must be assigned; it must be re-directed; blame others for what You have done. Then seize the credit for what They were doing. Ah, how many Great Men were in fact good at nothing so much as sitting on the laurels gathered by others.

13. HOMELAND SECURITY. A Trillion dollars, give or take a few billion, has been “spent” on security in the United States alone. The highest echelon of the Party talks constantly about it. Yet one of my Republican friends was recently, in response to my inquiry, unable to name one thing that has been done since 9/11 that makes me feel more secure. Richard Clarke was in charge of security under George W Bush (former Bush) and Clinton and wrote a book: “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror”. He is very critical of George Bush and the policies now in place. For example, firearms policy is dictated by the NRA, the new Energy Act gives priority to building fossil and nuclear facilities, immigration is designed to provide low-wage domestic workers, and health care of the elderly requires so many choices you have to be a full-time lawyer to be old and sick.

14. LEGACY OF KATRINA. Al Gore, still ahead of his time, now leading a fine charge against the destruction of our blue boat home. But he is still not approaching the problem “politically”. I am not sure why a small handful of boys (Bush, Rowe, Cheney) with the social maturity of 11 year olds are such a problem to adult contenders.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Simple Concepts - Simplifying Politics should not be left to the Experts (paid specialists)

Immigration and "illegal" people. It should never (ever ever) be "illegal" to work for a living; it makes no sense to criminalize labor. It should never be "illegal" to migrate -- travel, along with Free Press, is one of only two guarantees of Freedom.

School. It should never be compulsory to attend school; that turns "education" on its head, and is why schools become devoted to Control instead of discovery and problem solving.

Pollution. Build anything anywhere -- products, factories, whatever. But if what you made has an "exhaust" pipe or chimney, or a "waste product" of any kind, including any solid, liquid, gas, noise, or smell, or if it creates an environmental impact such as a bottle-neck, traffic congestion, or nuisance to a neighbor, then you pay for the cost of that impact. Mitigation by the following design principal should always be recognized: Whatever you build that has an exhaust pipe, it must vent into the face of the user FIRST, before it vents into the faces of non-users; whatever is discharged, must first be vented into the water and air system of the maker/manager/owner, before discharging into the sewer or environment.

Religion. Redemption and Rapture can only be experienced individually; no priest or principal can "save" anyone else except upon proof that they have taken their own advice and have saved themselves. Anyone who proclaims a religious basis for killing any other person should be prosecuted for murder, as plainly as any other such solicitation made without the claim of sanctity.

Theft. Title to material goods never passes by theft. You steal something by force or fraud, it is never yours to use, sell, or profit from. You buy something without title, it is the same as if you stole it from the true owner yourself.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

IRAQ and a Hard Place

Raid Juhi, chief investigative judge for the Iraqi court now trying Mr. Hussein in another case, said during a visit here on Saturday that the court had documentary evidence, and statements from witnesses, showing that at least 100,000 Shiites, and possibly 180,000, died in the 1991 repression.


"possibly 180,000"???? In a period of months? Give or take 80,000?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fallability of Eyewitness Testimony - studies

The certainty of the conclusion that eyewitness testimony is not reliable has been with us for a long time. The obstacles of perception, recall, narration and bias have always been insurmountable and completely understood by those who "disagree". Look at the wide spectrum of "religious" points of view, all of which presume or claim to be Reality-Based, and yet maintain profound contradictory views on the "observations" made by various disciples, people wandering in the desert, and seeing things in caves.

Since the arrival of Scientific Method, our scepticism of eyewitnesses has received scientific validation. E.g. Seymour Orless, The Fallibility of Eyewitness Testimony, 86 O.D./O.S.L.J. 2020 (1961) [survey of studies].

And yet, the courts continue to rely almost exclusively upon the narrated recollection of "facts" -- including often unlikely details -- by witnesses. Little wonder, then, that we are where we are: Everyone complaining about justice, and not doing a thing about it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Oh I thot I knew what LIVE LOOPING was...!

Kid Beyond (San Francisco) explains it brilliantly.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ezekiel strikes the first note for Personal Responsibility for legal transgression

In 600 BC, writing from captivity in Babylon, the Prophet Ezekiel suggests a break with three fundamental tribal assumptions concerning Law: The Unity of Humans in the Natural World, Unity of the Tribe, and Unity of Motive and Action, the last sometimes extending to Cause and Effect.

The book of Ezekiel begins with a series of dream/visions and isolations: "This is Jerusalem" set in the midst of the nations and countries around her. This was a "sanctuary" which was defiled. 5:5, 9, 11. "I will make thee a waste". 5:14. "I send upon you famine and evil beasts". 5:17. These isolations and the analytic separation of Israel/Tribe/Jerusalem had been begun in the Pentateuch.

But the Prophet Ezekiel goes further. He writes in answer to the question which contained the cultural assumption of unity between the individual and the clan: "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father." This is drawn from the observation that we are each born and die separately-- as in "the soul that sinneth, it shall die".

Thus we find Ezekiel signaling a change from Group Responsibility -- the collective guilt which tribal people assume.

Ezekiel then goes on to presage another analytical separation of a tribal assumption relating to act and intent. At 18:24, "when the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits an act of iniquity as done by the wicked, shall he live?" Here, Ezekiel sees and suggests a separation between Act and Intent. This is a second revolutionary sidestep from tribal law, which assumes a unity of deed and motive in which any separation is moot.

SUM: Primitive or Tribe-oriented Law assumes a Unity or continuity between Man/Nature, Individual/Group, and Being(intention)/Doing(act). Ezekiel, in 600 BC presents an Analytic distinction of the components within the primitive "unities". This signatls the synthetic functionalism of modern law which seeks individual (human) responsibility (personal) for blameworthy consequences (depending further on the intention/negligence of the perpetrator).

Friday, April 07, 2006

Biblical IP / Cosmic Data baseline interpretations

We interpret the world. It is "natural" that we seek information, and translators of the information we find which is for the most part not exactly "spelled out" to us. We are in a permanent state of being UN-initiated to consciousness, to the bringing of our breath which is taken in trying to comprehend the data we gather.

Ah, and the point?

Our interpretation is historical. We learn what we take as known from the perspective of Period.

For example, in ancient times, our explanations were filled with gods who acted a lot like humans, on steroids. Olympians could fly, tranform, shape-shift, do battle with dragons and giants, while simultaneously creating everything. God used technology the ancients were familiar with -- like fashioning figures from clay, separating and sifting, breeding two by two. Birth was the big miracle and we used the mystery of coupling to explain the mystery of existence, how things and creatures came into being, using Words. Naming invoked the thing in a virtual way. Ancient explanations had an Animal Physicality: Nibelung, Baggavad-gita, PopoVul, Olympus, Genesis, these are all books of birthing and kinship structures, the begattings and creatings. We counted using fingers and toes, piles of pebbles, colored quipu, and an abacus sheet of sliding beads on a wire.

By the 17th century, the universe began to look like a clock, a mechanism, a marketplace transaction. Galileo's pendulum swinging in a Newtonian gear box opening spectrums of light and particles, with life as a moist oxidation on the surface of a cooling sphere. We counted using slide rules, orbits, water clocks, ratcheting gears, and trading companies. Thomas Aquinas was canonized for having converted Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle in the nick of time, while the Summa was still Theologica.

By the 19th century, the study of force fields was hot. Magnetic attraction and repulsion, the electrical pulse, the particle light wave, radio transmission, and radioactive emission, were all bent to the work of ontology. We measured differentials on gauges and things were counted inside sealed vacuum-tubes. It no longer mattered what anyone "believed" about the tides, the hidden hand of the market place, or the tribe and its gods.

As the 21st century unfolded, it is no surprise that the universe started to look like a computer. Compare, 1960's Edward Fredkin and Konrad Zuse. The "calculus", the little pebbles the Latins used to measure, sort, and compare alternative countings, were imbedded in sheets of silicon switches, forming a bank of abacuses. We began creating a 2d virtual reality communicating on networks. We counted using algorythms and bits. The trope of the priesthood adapts to the familiar, and life "evolved". The Pope declares Evolution to be divine. Our semi-conductor on the train of explanation takes us far beyond the Thunder God sitting astride the pile of pebbles.

Now we are staring at quantum phyics, and of course, a quantum computer (QC). We now take the universe as being not only built of atoms, but of atoms in a constant state of interraction -- exchanging, pardon the expression, "information". Compare, Seth Lloyd 2006. This QC is modeling its own complexity, each local part reflecting a greater part, computing itself. There appears to be plenty of room for an epistomology here.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Molecular Expressions: Science, Optics and You - Secret Worlds: The Universe Within - Interactive Java Tutorial

Molecular Expressions: Science, Optics and You - Secret Worlds: The Universe Within - Interactive Java Tutorial

Scientists examine things, sometimes using tools which enhance our native proprioception. Some things cannot be "seen" but are nevertheless observable through these tools. Nietzche said, perspective is all. Yet how do we keep our perspective in perspective?

University of Florida, viewing powers of 10.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

What made the Herring - red and dead?

TRUTH. Suppose Truth is a red herring. Sans the fish-wife, just the fish, of dubious provenance and well-passed its prime. We are holding something that smells, and that has a sell-by date that expired somewhere at the threshhold of the origin of language. When we tried to talk about it, it died.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Arts will fill the circle of the senses

Art used to fill the senses. In the village, you carved wood, you felt the grain and edge, and smelled the wood, and heard its crack and yawl. You smelled the food you cooked, you heard what you were creating, dipping, painting, playing.

Now, in the city "modern" art is in a sealed box. It is on the wall, walled off. The orchestra is "on stage" or in a pit. No interaction. The audience is a specialty.

In the future, as we are individualizing and interacting with art again by computers, the media are going to become MORE "traditional" in the sense that they will fill the senses once again. Pieces will smoke, smell, and sound you in the lobby, the interactive hallway, the kitchen midden of our lives. The courtyard of the future, still within cities, still urbanic, will be richer. Art will fill the senses, again.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

C S Lewis ReDoubt

I always start with A Grief Portrayed, one of the finest books written about mourning. Lewis lost a long-awaited and spirited spouse to bone cancer, and Shadowland gripped Lewis' last years. I am not a biographer -- and there are already more than five -- but you see the two sides of Lewis' mind already established -- bipedaling the desire to imagine and feel "Joy" (Narnia, Perelandria), and his responsibility to the God of residual dogma (Allegory of Love, Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity)-- before he came to be seduced by a married woman named Joy. And she dies. And he is CS Lewis, left to dry alive, not to die, and unable to return to privately priggish common room hearty bachelor life. He emerges, he does not emerge, he is living the Problem of Pain inside, and in trying to cling to a personal faith in the shadow of a personal insult to the entire continent of his belief, he finds his faith has no hands. He now KNEW that conversion was not real, and was not a means of joy in a real world.

He is left with the quest, living the questions. And here is where the believer and the nonbeliever meet -- in the realm of the imaginery, where everything important takes place, or doesn't. Where shared ritual unfolds, where the layers of allegory story each onion, and the petals of metaphor open up each rose.

Who knows what CS Lewis believed in his final hour, the author of magic Narnia slipping into the final resting Wardrobe. We cannot express enough gratitude for a man who gave us fairy tales and faith, and most comforting for those of us who escape into imagination, a permanent bed of doubt.

Why People Hate Lawyers.

Lawyers are formidable people.
I’ve always wondered why this is so.

Is it because a Bar Exam weeds out those who are thick as bricks, or plain stupid?

Is it because the Bar organization is powerful? Helping its members?

Is it because we are rich?

You know why. We may be the smartest profession with the biggest mouth, but we are not the only smart people on the planet, and many lawyers get stuck in perspective. The Bar is not a unified priesthood protecting its members from public inquiry. And most lawyers are not in the richest echelon of society. In fact lawyers are peculiarly despised by the rich, for their dependence, if nothing else.

The reason lawyers are formidable, is primarily because we listen to our opponents.

Like no other professional, we are the ones who have adversaries paid to play "enemy" to our ally, and who pay close attention to everything we do and say. No one else has this tool, this engine of criticism built into the work.

Politicians ignore criticism and attack their opponents no matter what they say.
If the Naziis had been capable of listening to their opponents, and learned something, we would be speaking German.

Artists want to express themselves, they are bored by dialogue, the interchange. No one created art in disintermediation, or by committee.

If religious people get into trouble, do they canvas other religions? They try to listen only to God, and to keep from hearing the Devil, and if they hear him they don’t listen and think it pious not to.

And that is what makes us formidable. We listen to what the adversary is saying, knowing that they are listening to us and will try to strip us naked in public if we cannot support what we are saying.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Carbon - nanotechnology

1. TUNGSTEN and CARBON - as light filaments. Surely it is not just the heat that makes a tungsten or carbon diode glow, but the voltage and current itself. So carbon should come out ahead eventually in a light per volt contest. If we can build a carbon filament out of nanotubes--by weaving and bonding the filaments with the right amount of radiation -- we may have a tough and brilliant lightbulb.

2. Carbon nanotubes are lightweight, stronger than steel, stiff as diamonds, and way better conductors of electricity and heat than any other known materials. This is carbon we are talking about. Thank you Sumio Iijima (NEC lab in Tokyo 1991). Picture chicken wire rolled into cylinders with an average diameter of a nanometer, or the approximate width of a DNA molecule. Now, how do we coerce these tubes, only a few micrometers long, into fiber? It took chemists 50+ years to make carbon-based polyethylene into usable material. It appears that nanotubes can be bonded together to unitize without congealing or losing strength by irradiating the line. Still, how do we get the line -- how do we "weave" the fiber? This is where I think we have to look at centrifuge or natural "spinning" effects. Not just chemistry.

Sources of Power

1. PLANTS. Are we exploring synthetic photosynthesis? Plants convert sunlight into sugar in a remarkably efficient manner, and using a variety of leaf macro-structures. Can a solar cell be developed out of protein instead of silicon?

2. BACTERIA. I still think the bacteria which glow inside aqueous cells inside animal/piscine hosts could be adopted and adapted to live in synthetic environments which need low level light. Consider the new materials -- for example, synthetic peptides developed by Shuguang Zhang (MIT). If we imbed the cells in plant hosts, we would have trees that provide shade in daylight and moonlight at night.

3. PROTEIN. Photosynthetic proteins from spinach and Rhodobacter sphaeroides imbedded in a peptide cell membrane on a silicon surface coated with indium tin oxide and an organic semiconductor topped with a silver electrode, create a current. Marc Baldo (MIT 2004). The beauty of this is the sandwich could be manufactured in a continous assembly line--a complex film. Even without solar cells, could be protein-based electronic devices. Protein may not degrade and could be self-repairing or replenishing.

4. NATURE. Solar energy collection and conversion has been optimized over a very long time by nature. We seem to understand this, yet we are so obsessed with burning carbon fuels we seem to overlook the model Nature presents. Nothing in Nature is burning fossil fuel for its energy source. Why do we?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

LINCOLN: “...the better angels of our nature.”

LINCOLN: “...the better angels of our nature.”

He said in his first inaugural address, "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict, without being yourselves the aggressors. ... We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

ALL wars are civil infractions, breaches in our brotherhood of arms, a betrayal of our genes, our culture, our ancestors and our children. A betrayal of our "better angels". The chorus of our Union, once begun, excludes no voice.

Valentine -- No Pesare No regrets

Valentine with Fur and Gold

Repent not. The lady is not for blaming.
Even sins would be forgiven, and we only pray
there were more of them.

No ribboned remorse is wrapped and stored
in the cupboard. Not there is the egg-shelled air.

Mi pesar please and thank you and
sweet heart my dear. No getting a rue over your head.

For you, a life in the provinces in the middle of all kinds
of march behind the cat on the queen victoria. My sweet.
No self-reproof of any pudding here. Her indoors, and
outdoors, and her compunction. The lady of the lake
and the forest, and the coming along the shore. Who could
ask for more and always will. Give me the dance, not
the guilt-tripping a lava-light fantastic. Who would know
is never done and the Be in your bonnet is a bonnie lass.
My sweet. My pudding. Ah it is you were meant for more
than scuttings, and woulds that dishes were never
ever dirty dirty dirty in our purty flirty midden kitchen
you middle march through.

You’ve walked those nights. You’ve talked those days.
Lonely no more, great beloved woman. You were meant
to inhale. All the mothers and fathers of the sure-would
forest and the imps of the everlasting glades only travel
for the hope of seeing you, and only leave on the back of their
spingling regrets, not of yours.

Penseverance pay, say it is not so. You were intended for
fur and feathers, and pockets you can reach into, and
those fingers, that arch, the justice of the piece matched set.
The guilt was all gold, no really, gold, oro de todo. A thousand
times–oh so many times–you still end up nowhere you
have ever been a stranger to.

Believe in the way of loving. It works with pastels, it works
with the tropical accents, it composes the seeing and
fills the being, and afterwards, when all introductions are
gone and the beginnings have exhausted themselves,
your love is the wow factor that every one remembers.
Your love. Wow. I factor this:
Your love is all that people see.
It is everything to me.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mary Ritchie Key, died peacefully with her remaining family September 5, 2003. We need help trying to figure what to put on the stone. Posted by Picasa

Huara - one of the most astonishing hunters. Very calm, confident, happily married, wore a woman's necklace/piece, bleached his dress. Cared for people. Posted by Picasa

Someday we will have stories to tell. Posted by Picasa

Order of the Condor - largest bird, flies the highest, hunts the widest range.  Posted by Picasa

Great swim, once you chase away the stingrays, snapping turtles, electric eels, pirana, small children... Posted by Picasa

Main house; logs were from back yard, but the lumber came in oxcart from the Ivon river boats. Posted by Picasa



The day leans against a midday melting sun. Sliding across a blue sky, the hour opens where it fell, and under the white glare, showers its cornucopia of hunger, emptiness, and waves of golden pain. “Here”, he says. I take the fruit. It is the sun’s plum, the orange, the banana. The vegetable. The sun is a generous vendor. “You like radish?” Always this red rimmed white-hot starter, the fireplug of the garden.

The day has no name. But there is the brown sack, the round fruit, the parable of the leaves spiraling up, twisting down. “You want apple?” This is pulpy or sour, not the waxed hybrid of the modern market. And it is little, the seeds chambered in a snarky skin that smells of almond. Did I say almond? “Hey, try this thing. Is new.” The day hands over a couple of peaches. Ah, the stone fruit, a whole school of orchards begins to form.

My teeth dive into the flesh of the snow peach. I pull a quenching meat away from the red arteries surrounding the glowing crimson pit. Interesting innovation. The stone fruit committee announces a successful marketing plan for peaches, in yellow, orange, and white...and peach. A skin as innocent as youth, a thing to touch and feel, as close to dawn as taste can get.

In my belly, the fruit received a standing ovation. The whimpering subsided, all the petitioners from the headlands and the outlands, and even those ingrates that hang around my heart, all rebounded with songs. They held hands and sang little songs. The words were worth remembering – something like

“Arger barger fine the burpo gurpo
how does the meal proceed?
“Willy filly buy the natcho
on sun fruit will we feed!”

My teeth chattered from hunger kept in its bay. I could imagine the pearls falling around in my head, and scampering to their positions at the last minute upon hearing a call from the crow’s nest – “food ahoy”! Oh, it’s only fruit. Well, not so bad. Not so bad at all.

So, by noon already, where the day was falling open, already we were squatting down together and passing the fruit bowl, the wattled basket, the string bag. The leaf-bag of brown fruit is torn open. We need words for this.

Back when the words were cutting edge. When we were looking for food and words and so often found them together, at watering holes. The game leaning down to dip their tongues and we would leap upon them in silence and come out with our arms full and our throats thrilling with victory and something would come out we wanted to repeat everything:

"OK, down this knoll, no, directly, on the hypotenuse, then between the two trees legs intertwined, and where the stream bends into the fingernail moon and wide and flat the riparian bank, behind the toyon bush– dense, dark, still, wait. At water’s edge, the forest buffalo out the canopy, and entire family wade in you jump on the little one quick like a spurt of death, like lightning strikning struck you hold on, hold on!
"And let us all then know, by giving great noise and still to hang on as we chase off the bulls and dive upon the calf to drown our food all around, and in the shout, what is the word for this, what is the word of it, what is the silent luring, and coming close, and the cast off, the brilliant leap, the blood all waiting, the great legs pushed into deep water, lock your fingers into its fur, grasp the limbs, all the up-endedness of a yalping calf, the word for this, the word for buffalo meat on the edge of its foodness, at the bank of its hoof and ready to bake flank, the organ meat grinder burger in its bucket of blanket about to be made! "

My plight was not what was its name. My sole concern was for eating’s sake. How to fill the mouth, and in-so-doing, the stomach, and still its little songs, quench its pathetic gassings, the way it pinches into the way of the day. Even by its noon and the fruit is fine.

Still, once that apple was Adam-ed, once my Eve consorted the snake, the fruit was on the plate. All the parts of the mouth were distributed so, the hard boulders, the cutting edges, the daggers and prongs, surrounding that tongue on three sides, and the tongue dancing inside the semi-circle, leading the morsel chorus into the dark gullet of happiness.

But was it over? The belly no longer in direct communication with the teeth, no longer chattering them, leaving them strangely alone. And the tongue, still dancing, but alone, now, no longer the consort of the morsel, no longer dancing to the rhythm of the bite. The hollow darkness no longer echoing in emptiness and pain, but palletizing satisfaction, gurgling the story, replaying the sounds of the buffalo consonant, and reprising the vowells of fruit.

And the buffalo was hunted and the fruit gathered by mastery, and then around the squat midden we came to share it all, and then the word came out by mystery. By the tongue done its escort service and the dancing begins in earnest, re-filling the mouth, with a thousand names for food.

There was no name for gratitude, for thank you, and for why we could speak. Why the hunt, the gathered fruit, and the chewed bone became words. Why we filled our mouths again. There was no name for the told story remembered with longing, for the morning pinch before the sun’s first pink blink, for the hope of breakfast, for the source of rivers, no word for wanting, for the measure of things, the stem, the stone, the stamp. So we called it God.

It is true that Things with no name still exist. They are out there, coming to water’s edge to drink, behind the curve in the river, perhaps where the banks are steep and deeply covered. Somewhere out there is a god of the ubiguitous, a god of mice, a god of the knats, and the drops of rain. We do not know its name.

Just as the belly communicates directly with the teeth, just as the skin shares a common nerve with fear and ice and fire, so does the word begin with God and God begins with having no name. At the cutting edge we named everything. Still looking, we catch everything in that net, the hook of a word. But God could not be speared. The first word for God was No Name.

Of course, the significance of this naming, and the point of naming the nameless “God”, is entirely lost on those who believe in things which do not exist.

Now, we are stuck with what is on our plate. Grabbing God down by the river where all Things come to drink, and having dunked the lesser god under water, and drowned it fair and square, not one of the big ones sitting in the Sun, but a downy-fur little youngster, a mouse-god, we started filling our mouths with it. The mouth-feel was addictive. The little bites became lessons we wanted to learn. We wanted to write home to mother. We wanted to have a mother. We wanted a father and a little family of gods.

The addictions became ways of life. We rolled dice. We worshipped intravenously. God got bigger. The sun began to look like a candidate. Thunder was clearly begging for an explanation, and when lightning struck someone we all knew, further introduction became moot. The rest was just development. A little matter of bribing the one-eyed artist to draw the bulls on the wall, or trick Michaelangelo into lying on his back on a scafold, and next thing you know it’s the papacy and we’ve got hell-fire religion just waiting for a bit of sprinkling from an unsuspecting heaven.

Futurist Forum Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tax Cuts and Jobs for Pirates

It's true. Tax cuts really do create enormous opportunities. As we speak, pillagers and pirates are descending upon us in unprecedented numbers, and boy do they ever have jobs, big jobs with big scores. In the recent past, Con-Men used to sell bogus pens and maybe roofing material. They often lived in efficiency apartments or even motels, or trailer parks, like the Williams families, or the gypsies. They worked hard to take our money.

Now, the pillagers are rich. And they do not work hard to take our money -- they let the institutions they now manage do it for them. We have the highest paid "executives" in the world, and what do they have to show for their seat upon the laurels of leadership?

Not content with grabbing the largest profits in the history of business the Executives have achieved tax cuts -- they pay very little for their prosperity which the middle class subsidizes. The economy is not in a recession -- it is in a blowout. Rich people are milking so much out of our institutions, very little is left for any growth. Labs are underfunded, research money has dried up, and there are virtually NO wonderful "start up" enterprises, projects or hiring booms on the horizon.

Look at it this way: After the rich people bought the elections which enabled them to "enact" tax cuts, were jobs created? Do Executives spend time developing and implementing Vision for their companies? No. They are too busy crafting sham accounts for their thefts -- there is just no time left in their busy golf and vacation schedules -- "lobbying" -- to build companies and hire the disenfranchised labor forces.

Here are the US statistics: During the first six years of the Clinton administration, 18 million jobs were created. During the first six years of the Bush administration, 4 million jobs have appeared, but 2 million people lost their jobs. 2.8 million new jobs have been created as a direct result of the expansion of government spending -- mostly in the military {Lee Price, Economic Policy Institute} . If you subtract the government employment from the total, our private economy produced a negative 800,000 new jobs.

The private business Executives achieved this negative growth in the face of huge tax cuts, rock bottom interest rates, completely dismantled government regulation, widely-disregarded environmental precautions, and unprecedented government spending while cutting back on criminal prosecution for Board room breaches of fiduciary duty.

Is there anything unclear or ambiguous about the numbers?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

words to conversation to civilization to globe to blog

“Blog” says it all.

First we wandered the riparian migration routes of buffalo and birds. If we caught food, we squatted around the fire hoping there would be some gristle left on the grilling buffalo bone and while waiting we amused ourselves with fixing words to our hopes. As others gathered around the interest created by the fire and meat, we created the virtual reality of language to maneuver and “know” each other.

Then we sat in chairs around a long board hoping there would be a bowl of gruel left and while waiting we gamed the meal into an occasion, a plan, a tribal plot among our invited guests. We created the virtual reality of the social network, as if there was a society, as if we were individuals within it. A civilization began to form around dialogue.

The mobile seat – the saddle, bucket, deck chair – physically expanded the social net. We waited for take-out, for the “board” of our room-and-boarding pass, for the inn-keep to serve at odd hours a line of strangers on the run. Now the sun never sets on the table. The conversation is in byte-size mouth-fulls. Memes migrate across dishes the size of continents. We have globalized, and our bridges are golden arches, our words are franchises distributed by marketing departments “framing” our consumption. We are virtually imprinted at birth.

Now full circle. We are wandering around the personal computer, googling the heights and sewers of a planetized idea of communication. As if there was a there there, we “search” and “send” across our Mother Board, degreasing the keyboard of our finger food prints. There is no table, no fire to gather around, and “wait time” is considered old technology. We are back to wandering alone trying to follow the virtual herds and birds. We blog through.

Full circle. The ratio the diameter of a conversation bears to the circumference of a civilization is always an undecipherable number symbolized by the marketing pie in the sky.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

This is what Life is about.
Life is not limited to actuality -- it arches across virtuality to that bridge of Art to a transcendence, that is not even merely alive. THAT is what life is about -- the sum that is more.

HEALTH is too important to be left to the Drug Companies

Billions of dollars are spent every year in the USA alone on over-the-counter cough syrups. Apparently, this cost is the result of false advertising. Most cough syrups do little if anything to relieve coughs, according to the chest physicians conducting studies quoted in the Monterey County Herald, picked up by FOX News - Scripps Howard News Service - Reuters.uk - Consumer Affairs.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Shorn Again Believers : PRJ - Singularity - the Last Big Thing



PRJ: Greatness of Cuba after the old guy dies

Fidel Castro still lives, but decent people are patient. Still it is sad to see not only what is lost because he stole it and suppressed it, but that so many of his victims are dying without having seen liberation Cuba.

Our Cervantes "... de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme"

I will try to post pictures of Cervantes, or at least cite to the ones that are most interesting. Of course, no one knows what he looked like--no paintings or drawings of him are contemporary.

Friday, January 06, 2006

PRJ - Singularity - the Last Big Thing

Remember when the Toflers came out with the idea of "future shock"? And what they described just kept coming on, and now we are in post-post-future shock and awe....

This Project (PRJ: Singularity) is to focus on the convergence of specialized fields resulting in amazing tools extending human capacity in a great leap into a qualitatively different "culture".

For example, the shift from H&G (hunting and gathering) to Agriculture, or the age of medieval chivalry into Guttenberg/Renaissance. As water reaches a boiling point, as the J-curve goes completely vertical...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Renaissance

There was a time when centralized authority had collapsed, and all the institutions upon which society depended were shown to be fraudulent and misused. There were three Popes, two of whom had children, and they maintained private armies which lived off the land wandering between various "countries". Livelihoods were destroyed overnight by pirates, pillagers, and thugs parading as Princes.

At the same time, the Arts flourished. And students came from all over the world to study "law" and business management from famous scholars.

We now look back at this time as the Italian Renaissance.

Today, we have a high level of institutional collapse coupled with the same astounding scientific and creative achievement. The Sacred Cows of our society -- our political institutions and parties are fractured, hypocritical and impotent, our religious are not "believed", even our "juries" are suspect, and nothing is stable, regular, and secure. And yet, the "story" is being made in ever richer ways, and our science is bursting on the verge of a Singularity. That event is like the Italian Renaissance -- we are in the midst of a qualititative shift from our own past.

Epic Stories

The Plots tell us nothing about the Story, but they are necessary to it. It is comforting, in an uncomfortable epic, to know there is a Plot. For examples....

GILGAMESH. Warrior-king of Uruk, terrorizes his own people, battles monsters, seeks immortality. Recorded in cuneiform by a Babylonian scribe named Sin-leqi-unninni on tablets found in the ruins of Ninevah, near Mosul.

ABRAHAM. Rises up with his gods (plural) out of the land of Ur to settle the Sinai and the Levant with his Semitic descendants. The migrants lived peaceably with each other and began worshiping One God -- under various names (Astarte, Jehovah, Yahweh, Baal, Zoroaster) -- for centuries. [Note: Occasionally outsiders persuade his children to fight each other, and indeed they do so intermittently and without any conviction -- most often only threatening to do their worst.] There were giants, chimera, child-slayers, and angels encountered in the land.

BEOWULF. A heroic youth saves a neighboring people from a monster, Grendel, eventually becomes the king of his own people, and dies defending them from a dragon.

HIAWATHA. Choctaw/Huron origins, rejected by his own tribe, accepted by Iroquiois as a great leader-warrior after defeating WitchDoctor.

YELLOW EMPEROR. Both the Taoists and the later Confucians strongly believed that the exemplars of earlier ages were wiser, more powerful and righteous.

LORD OF THE RINGS/ HOBBIT. Many critics now consider Lord of the Ringsto be one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written. It's the story of Bilbo Baggins, a lowly hobbit who sets out on a quest to destroy a magic ring so that it cannot fall into the hands of the evil Sauron. {Description clipped from Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac}

NARNIA. Aslan. In these stories, brotherly Love is woven into the adventures of children. The agape includes the talking animals, centaurs, and oddly revenant spirits.


The X PRIZE Foundation

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis made a personal wish with global implications. Founder and chairman of the X PRIZE FOUNDATION, he set up an organization that rewards tangible scientific achievements: For example, manned space flight (awarded Oct 4, 2004), fuel-efficient vehicles, rapid human genome sequencing, and nanotechnology.

Outlines of 13 Speeches

The 13 Essays -- Titles:









9. A MODEST AMOUNT OF MONEY: How to Avoid Fraudulent Business “Deals” 7



12. MILLION-DOLLAR IDEAS - forty six of them! 9