About Me

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

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

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Renewal of the Mind - Romans 12:2

"And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...".

Paul of Tarsus, Letters to the Romans 12:2

What will it take for Christians to understand that their hopes and fears have been betrayed? The Cheney-Bush-Rowe crowd, crowing over the billions of dollars they have appropriated to themselves, are not merely traitors to the United States whose coffers they emptied.

They are not merely hypocrites, claiming to act in the name of the Christ while violating virtually every precept of Christ ever uttered.

There are not merely criminals, acting under color of the Law and the Constitution which they have sought to re-write and ignore, in order to engage in public plunder.

I ask every day, what MORE could the triumvirate do to destroy the Dream of America and the hope of prosperity and peace in this vale of tears? Surely the landscape is exhausted. There is not an institution, a cultural or political power left which they have not corrupted and destroyed. They took the legislature, the Courts, and the Presidency. They destroyed corporate America. They took the schools, converting them to content-free test-taking factories. The Churches, a moral wasteland after their pilfering and immorality.

Still, it seems that every day, they find a new icon to compromise, to steal from. Today it was announced that Bush is going to "restructure" the financial institutions, which, just last month, he had declared to be "structurally sound".

No longer content with stealing all the money, now he is going after the Credit. He is stealing from tomorrow. When the Nazis realized they were losing Berlin and the War, they ordered their generals to destroy everything. Just so, Cheney-Bush-Rowe are resigned to losing Power, and not content with destroying the Republican Party, they want to make the next Presidency impossible. An irrelevancy.

I am only hoping for a small renewal of mind.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Your Point is a Rough Draft

People act upon their beliefs.
They believe they act in their own self-interest.
Most of their beliefs are wrong.

I am a rough draft.

Almost all beliefs are false. And your point is...?

Almost everything we believe is false, but we are Believers....

1. RELIGION. Religion is a continent in the landscape of credulity, and all of its content depends on the existence of Divinity. Yet, the only Truth about the Divine is that Any God is un-name-ably beyond vocabulary, is Not a He, and is nowhere or everywhere.

The threshold question is why this or that Any God is so spectacularly indifferent to the prayers of even the Most Pure Most Suffering Saints, not to mention the daily supplications of yours and mine.

The next question is why we believe it is necessary or even possible to “believe in” such an indifferent Creature (as it is “created” for us as an artifact of every culture).

No one ever examines the existence of God any more. While this was the Huge Inquiry before Galileo-Newton-Darwin and our understanding of Physics, the proof lies in the pudding already cooled in the wake-up window: God serves only Fund-raisers who need to buy something else for themselves. And the Fund-raisers themselves do not raise the question – even for evangelism and jihad, the existence of God and Hell and Heaven and the 74 Virgins is moot. The divines are the Last to bring up the Subject, seeking only the subjection of the Believers, who of course, are immune to proof.

2. SUBSISTENCE. One would think that people would place a robust premium on correct information about What They Eat. In fact, almost no one knows what they are eating or where it came from.

Who would recognize a sesame seed in the wild? Who would eat a strawberry that no insect will touch because it has been poisoned?

Who could imagine that Salmon caught in Norway, is frozen and shipped to Qingdae in China for removal of the pin bones with tweezers wielded by low-paid women in cold rooms, and then distributed to Supermarkets in Europe and America.

What parent would serve their children at home the food that both public and private schools provide daily to their students, and with no choice, filled with sugar and trans-fats? How many eaters know the calories in a Big Mac (600c)? A sugar-drink?

3. HEROES. One would think that those we admire are worthy of admiration – the Great Ones of history, the leaders of our respective communities. In fact, however, our “role models” are either complete fictions or we are entirely ignorant of the facts of their lives.

Islamic Youth from the barrios of Spain through Morocco to Egypt report the following three heroes atop their pantheon: (1) Soccer star Ronaldinho, (2) Osama bin Laden, (3) Arnold Scharzenegger “the Terminator”, and in that order. 99.9% of these adherents know absolutely no facts about the personal life of these three living icons.

How about American icons? Most of us sensible educated people now deeply appreciate ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Among his peers, however, he was widely reviled and not more than a few even in his family thought he was a Great Man while he lived. Lincoln was a lawyer. He first ran for political office, knowing he had little chance of victory, just to get a name for himself. He began making speeches publicly, simply because so many of the Judges thought he was a simpleton.

4. THE IMPORTANCE OF MONEY? One would suppose that Money matters to people. Apparently, however, it doesn’t. Examples: Gambling, Foreign Aid, WWII plundered gold, oil revenues, Iraq:

Gambling. Given a chance to gamble it away – to hand it over to a complete stranger who has 100% control of the risk and pay-out – most people will roll dice or stupifyingly pull the handle on a box of spinning baubles. Billions of dollars are handed over to dictators, to privatized utilities, without accountings or evidence of how they spend the money.

Gold. After the thugs of Nazi Germany and the Imperial Japanese seized 80% of the world’s known gold reserves to themselves, their control was shattered and their conquests were rolled back. Books about WWII abound, and we know the maneuvers of every Division, and most of the Companies engaged in the combat. However, the gold has never been publicly accounted for. Where is it? Simple question.

Haliburton. Libyans live in poverty while oil revenues pour into the coffers of Khadafi through the entrenched constructions of a Texas-based company named Haliburton. Billions were distributed to Pakistan through Haliburton operatives, with no visible difference in the lives of Pakistanis or the security of the world.

War Spending. Two Trillion dollars have been spent so far on a War in Iraq, and you can count on one hand the members of the US Congress who seem inclined to think someone should account for some of it.

No accounting. Clearly, people do not really believe that money is important. The IRS cannot account for its collections -- it has never balanced its books. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, with a fiduciary duty to act in the interests of very dependent and poor people, has never been able to account for its income and expenditures. It is rare that any citizen, journalist, lawyer, or even a paid investigator “Follows the Money” trail. They all stop. No one has ever obtained a real "accounting". Money must not be important?!

5. DRUGS. Speaking of money, the top-selling drugs in America are “mood enhancers” – cocaine and crack (un-prescribed), and Valium and Prozac (prescribed).

Curiously the drug companies claim to be curing AIDS and cancer, but in fact they devote their resources to the development of copy-cats of Thorazine, a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI). Thorazine had been shelved as an ineffective allergen remedy until French scientists tried it on psychiatric patients and found it to be efficacious.

The biggest agricultural producer is California and its biggest crop is Marijuana. Marijuana is the largest crop exported from California -- beating out rice, fruit, etc.

Americans spend more on money on “recreational drugs” and mood-enhancers than all other medications combined. This expenditure has made billionaires out of scofflaws, and neuro-pharmaceuticals suck the academic and financial resources out of our medical schools and laboratories.

Americans believe they get good medical care. They don’t. What they get is what the pharmaceutical industry and poppy-growers produce. In the 1990's the most profitable industry in the world was pharmaceuticals, and antidepressants were the most profitable of the most profitable. For over a hundred years, a Mexican farmer above the age of 8 has had a longer life expectancy than an American-born man being “treated” with block-buster copy-cat pharmaceuticals. Valium was the top-selling drug in the 1970's, and Prozac is now the top-selling drug in history.

With industrial medicine, Doctors are required to see a new patient every 8 minutes – and any actual “treatment” is monitored by drug salesmen and insurance protocols. Phen-Fen and Vioxx were marketed like candy to millions of people, most of whom suffered and many of whom died of known side-effects.

Government and Corporate Medicine have divested themselves of almost all “care” facilities, and neighborhood clinics were wiped out by HMO’s. When I was a teenager in Orange County, there was literally a medical clinic on every block of the towns that had a "downtown". The clinics are completely gone. The monthly cost of “medical care” for a household is as high as the inflated mortgage payments, and no one is “treating” patients in America. The meaning of "treatment" has been hollowed out by Prescription. Doctors dispense the drugs that industrial pharmaceutical companies "prescribe"; that's it.

6. ENERGY. What do people believe about “energy resources”? Surely they understand that prosperity depends upon access to energy. But how many people actually contribute to producing or adding value to things and services?

Most people would be surprised how spare the producing percentage of the population is. Farmers are now less than 3% of the population, and almost all “industry” and labor is either off-shore or performed by subcontractors who hire illegal aliens.

The “security industry” – which includes soldiers and sailors as well as police and watchmen – does not produce anything and it is the big growth sector in employment. The wealthiest and most robust unions in the country are the Prison Guards.

Enron was the fastest growing and one of the largest companies in America when President Bush took office. Enron drew billions of dollars out of the economy as a “energy” company, but it did not produce energy and did not make anything. It bought power from utilities, manipulated the price, and sold it back to the same utilities who were producing it. The cost of electrical power has decimated since the utilities were de-regulated, but no new sources of Power and no new Power infrastructure has been built.

Most people understand that Oil is a depleting resource. Do people believe that somewhere, a great leader is setting aside a portion of petrol profits for the development of “alternatives”? The biggest energy companies in the world have just enjoyed 7 years of the biggest profits in their history. Is there any plan? What do people, or the billionaire energy executives, believe will happen as the price of Oil products continues to escalate?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Gasoline from waste

Great Idea "#43". Biogeneticists in Emeryville (Amyris) and San Carlos (LS9), California, are developing bacteria which produce OIL. The modified bacteria actually excrete hydrocarbons. http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=biofuels&id=19128&a=.

Let's be clear: It is scientifically possible and economically sensible to gather Human Waste from sewers and feed it to our industrial bacteria who will convert it into hundreds of different types of hyrdocarbon molecules we can use for everything from jet fuel to roof tar to plastic.

The technology is already several years old. Apparently we are strung out on the "politics": The crisis-profiteering, the power-mongering, these things just have to get worked out. The "fix" from Science, with a bit of help from our old friends, the e coli, is IN.

Soon, we will be treasuring our population centers (old folks homes, schools, skyscrapers) for their PRODUCTION of the necessary raw material!