Friday, May 31, 2013

TBGO:According to Plan...

Actual Malice: We mistake them badly when we impute some lack or shortcoming to their activities. What we mistake as incompetence is actually malice. They--the paid minions and satraps of the Oligarchs and Plutocrats--are intentionally sabotaging the efficient and orderly functioning of the popular sovereignty of the Murkin people. It it were being done by folks with "foreign" features--the asiatic fold, say; or very dark skin--"we'd" be up in arms. It's not immaturity, it's not stupidity, it's not inability, it's not any lack or absence. It's intentional. They MEAN to do it. They WANT to poison the people on their own self-government by corrupting, toxifying, polluting it so thoroughly that "we" want nothing to do with it, and will willingly--hell, GLADLY--concede the whole dirty business (along with the treasury, and the military) to the management of corporate boardrooms. It's working...

TBGO: Traditional Marriage, and Peaceful Religions, Revisited

David Goes That EXTRA way!

David DOUBLED DOWN on Philistine foreskins, delivering not the one hundred ol' King Saul demanded, but returning with TWO HUNDRED Philistine foreskins. Ya gotta admire that kind of enterprise.
"Ol' King Saul was a bloody old soul, and he called for the suitor Davy...
Bring me a yard of Philistiners' smoothest parts,
And my daughter I'll give yee..."
Down-right BIBLICAL!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

TBGO: This Week In Science & Religion:

This week in science via IFLS

Hydrogen atom:
Icy bacteria:
Limb regeneration:
Alzheimer's disease:
This week in Religion:
The Pope said deeds were more important than faith. 

The REST of the Church said: "Yo Frank? You outta yer fuckin' mind?" and swiftly assured the faithful that atheists and other infidels were STILL gonna end up in Hell, no matter how good they are. 
The Vatican has quickly clarified that atheists  - they believe - are still going to hell, despite Pope Francis appearing to say non-believers could be saved through Christ if they do good.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Thomas Rosica said people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”
In an unprepared speech on Wednesday, the Pope emphasised the importance of “doing good,” for all people.

TBGO: Stop the Presses!
 Done Deal!

Dr. Woody'z Maxim of Mass Comm, #1: It is NOT necessary to exert influence to overtly constrain what the People think if you can quietly influence what they think ABOUT and the language or vocabularies they use to frame their thoughts.

Counterpunch has a story up about the discomfiture of the "Press" under the scrutiny of Prez. Shamwow F. LowBar's unprecedented whistle-blower investigations, and the fact that, apparently, the people are pretty blase about it all. 
 This leads me to more salient matters. While my local press corps was babbling about some ancient history-Michael Jackson-related minutia bullshit, another media storm was brewing. Apparently the Associated Press and Fox News recently found themselves on the business end of the Obama Administration’s hostility toward journalists. The AP learned the Justice Department searched troves of their phone records. Meantime, Fox News’ James Rosen had his personal email account scoured by the DOJ and he’s being called an “aider and abettor” and “co-conspirator” in a criminal case regarding classified document leaks.
 Oh, the twisting of pearls is nearly audible.

Woody'd say that the discrediting of the Press--it's reduction from a constitutionally protected source of civil/civic power and trasnsformation into a medium of trivia, titillation, and distraction--is not an accident. 

The "Press," along with ALL the popular institutions which once vouchsafed the sovereignty of the PEOPLE, have been under relentless, endless, ferocious attack by the Grasping Oligarchs and Plutocrats since 1971, at least. See, e.g., the Powell memorandum, in which (soon-to-be) Associate SCROTUS Justice Lewis Powell laid out the plan by which the CorpoRats could usurp "popular" sentiment and secure endless corpoRat hegemony (Note: It worked.)

The press has been reduced to its current state of limitless meretriciousness by the industry-wide program of CorpoRat consolidation under the guise of which nearly 95% of ALL domestic "media" have been captured by five (or possibly six, depending) gigantic corporate entities which always exert subtle (and sometimes direct) control over what counts as "news" and over what shall be recognized and discussed in Public Discourse. You don't have to control peoples' thoughts if you can control what they think about and the vocabulary in which they frame their thoughts.

There's no use complaining. The deed's done. The sales are complete, and the people who still contribute to the enterprizes are resigned to their fates.

Paraphrasing Upton Sinclair, under similar circumstances, almost 100 years ago:

"It is hard to get a man to see what his paycheck depends on his ignoring."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TBGO: "It Looks Good On Paper!"


Anarchy@! But HOW?  While Woody'z admired Forp Yksmohc for literally DECADES, and has been an ardent expostulator of his social and political interpretations throughout most of my own political life, I find his relentless defense of "anarchism" somewhat disingenuous at best, and almost frighteningly naive at worst.
Yes, "anarchism" would be wonderful. Ideally, "nobody'd be the boss of anybody else!" No coercion. No compulsion. No central authority. All agreeing on everything. Man Who WOULDN'T love that?
But Adam Smith maintained that markets, under Capitalism--under ideal conditions of perfect freedom and full knowledge--would be JUST as wonderful. Poinies for EVERYBODY!
You see the problem, doncha?
It's that "ideal conditions of perfect freedom and full knowledge" stuff. It just doesn't happen that way...
So, the single, relevant question, to me, is:
"When, in the (let's say) 10,000 year history of 'civilization' on Terra has there EVER been an enduring, practicable, LARGE-SCALE, successful example of such a form of society which engaged in regular relations with other, non-anarchistic systems.?"
I'd guess: Never?
It has to be 'large-scale,' given SEVEN BILLION humans rambling around the planet, eating everything in sight. Medieval monasteries and convents consisting of some few HUNDREDS of devoted, religious cultists might have brought it off, for a while. It would have to be GLOBAL in fact. You couldn't have enclaves of anarchist regions surrounded by non-democratic societies. Competing, adjacent societies of anarchists na theocrats, for instance, would be in constant conflict.
But large-scale, that is to say, even REGIONAL, efforts such as the Catalan rebellion and the Aragon collectives in the '30s were immediately beset from without, and only survived a very few years. The Paris Communes lasted fewer than 10 weeks.
I sometimes think Noam tosses "anarchism" out just to have something to say when folks ask him, after his critique of the current, corrupt, decrepit, exhausted system,: "Well, what would you replace it with?"
(I apologize if it seems I'm rehashing the same debate; I suppose I am, to a certain extent--a public rehearsal of a work in progress (consonant in every way with the presentation of self in everyday life).)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Bleat: Teach Me; Translation; Conspire

Teachable Moment:
Original photo credit: Emmanuel Huybrechts

Professor Woody spent 20 years, more or less, on this problem. Here's my conclusions in a nutshell:
Teaching is an intransitive verb.
"Teaching" only names the act of "pointing with purpose."
Learning occurs when those who have observed what has been pointed at gather to cooperatively discuss what they saw.
That can occur in person, or in company with a book.
Such discussion IS "education." Any education is necessarily "self-education." It's the only kind there is.

Chuy Jodido!

Since Nam: Woody'z detested this ass-licker since he helped try to cover up the My Lai massacre.
So my question isn't congratulatory or grateful. He isn't saying anything nobody doesn't already know.
My question is: why the FUCK, Colon, is it STILL "your party," you craven shitheel? Gettin' yer fill of the ol' 'self-hate?' Do ya enjoy the abuse?
Chuy jodido...
(Note: Somebody asked me what "Chuy jodido" means. First, let me explain: If you're saying it, it sounds like "Chewy Ho-DEEDoh!" As to meaning: "Chuy" is a nickname for an hispanic fella named "Jesus," of whom there are many. "Jodido" is a vernacular term in Spanish loosely translated as "Fuck!" There's a widely repeated aphorism: "Jodido, pero contento." It connotes: "Yeah, I'm fucked, but I'm okay widdit."
So "Chuy jodido" is my international way of saying: "Jeezis FUCK, man!?"
Then one further caveat: I cannot attest to ever having heard it uttered or seen it in print by anyone except me.

 The "C" Word

Today (Thursday, 5/16), in a piece on his "blog" for the NYTimes, Nobel-winning economist and gadfly Paul Krugman in which he approved and even endorsed the following sentiments:
I conjecture that “austerians” are concerned that anti-recessionary macro policy will allow a country to “muddle through” a crisis without improving its institutions. In other words, they fear that a successful stimulus would be wasting a good crisis.
(Aside: "Austerians" is a great word. I think Krugman himself coined it. It's genius is that is draws together the two contributing skeins of the meme and, having blended them, ridicules them: "Austerity" obviously, but thaen also the "Vienna School" economists of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, the "Austrians," whose theories, when implemented, such as in post-Soviet Russia, have NEVER shown the SLIGHTEST evidence of "success. A fine mockery...but I digress)

Krugman then says: "What Smith (the author of the quote) didn’t note, somewhat surprisingly, is that his argument is very close to Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, with its argument that elites systematically exploit disasters to push through neoliberal policies even if these policies are essentially irrelevant to the sources of disaster."

I wrote, in reply: "What neither Klein nor Krugman--nor ANYONE in the lapdog/corpoRat "press" on any side, of any stripe, and not at ALL not surprisingly--will venture to discuss is the consequent/subsequent speculation/possibility (probability?), that the 'elite' (because of their consonant and intimately shared interests and influences) will/might POSSIBLY have incentives to actually PROMOTE and/or PERMIT, even PERPETRATE crises in order to provide the public stimuli needed to ENACT their structural reforms.

Unthinkable, yeah. I know. What would YOU call the 400 or so people/families--which collectively own more of the national wealth than the 150 MILLION citizens occupying the 47%, combined--who might have reason, or at least opportunity and interest in colluding with one another to ensure their continued good fortune?

Elite interests are self-avowedly "trans" or "extra--national." They trade in passports like used apparel. They have no loyalties except to their own/class interests." Health INSURANCE suits their needs--not for care, but got spare change. Right-to-Work suits their interests: unions are SUCH a bother, and even the imported help are getting uppity. As Leona Helmsley remarked: "Rules are for the little people."

Wass Kapital?

In precis: Capitalism and democracy are incompatible. Capitalism--the corpoRat kind we now know, which is the only kind there is-- is authoritarian, arguably totalitarian, rigidly hierarchical. The very antithesis of democracy.
Marx said--and many others repeated--that capitalism is an intermediary step, during which the necessary wealth is created and thence directed into building civilization, thereupon to be overthrown by the proletariat and managed for the common good.
You can already see the problem widdat, I guess. Capitalism refuses to be overthrown, and has the means to resist.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Bleat: Perspective; Philosophy; Ineffable;

Time & Space
Plant more trees!

A continuum. Not 'separate." Related. The nearest star? 4.238 light-years away.
How far izzat? Light speed=186,000 mps. Voyager II, launched THIRTY FIVE years ago, at the greatest velocity of which our technology is capable, has traveled a distance of around three-quarters of ONE "light day." It has completed a journey of only one FIFTEEN HUNDRED FORTY SEVENTH the distance to the nearest star.

Practical Philosophy:

 Prof. Woody pedantically notez: The notion for the "panopticon" originated with Jeremy Bentham, the famed philosopher and economist of the late 18th Century in England. It was indeed a plan for a prison; or more accurately, a plan for the control of an imprisoned population. Bentham (also the 'father of utilitarianism," btw) reasoned that prisoners would modulate their own behaviors if they could never be certain of if they were being observed. So he designed a prison much like the one in the illustration here: a central, isolated, inaccessible island surrounded by the cells of the inmates, all in every way exposed to observation from without.
The panopticon was also one of Michel Foucault's favorite objects. It's the central image in his indispensable "Discipline & Punish."

That's the theory, anyway.
The difficulty izzat, of course, if there are so many prisoners, and there are fewer observers than observees, then the likelihood of being observed decreases, too, and so misbehavior, instead of being curtailed, may be encouraged.
Actual prisoners know this. Average citizens don't.
And the flaw in the plan--the need for enough observers to induce "docile bodies" from the inmates--explains the hyper-mediation of modes of surveillance and reportage.

Effing the Ineffable:
@[55238316899:274:The Zeitgeist Movement]

Woody thinkz: Depends on what the anaphora for "this shit" is.
If the products, the explanation is contained in the infamous "three Cs": Capitalism, Consumerism, and CorpoRatism."
With all of which, this poisonous fraud is intimately familiar and has ruthlessly exploited in his notorious, toxic, political career.
If, however, "this shit" refers to Ron Paul, himself, well then I may only revert to the truism: Shit happens

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Bleat: Slaves; Miracles; Dreams

"Good Times!"
Hidden History: Woody had ALMOST forgotten how deeply buried is the depraved, historical denial is in the South, but was reminded by this piece about Monticello, Jefferson's (slave-built, staffed, and maintained) plantation in Virginia, which notes just how MUCH the actual history of these places is distorted by time and tourism.
I lived 10 years down in Red Stick (Baton Rouge), and observed it close-up.
The whole "ante-bellum" tourism industry in the South is based on the same sorts of strategic elisions and euphemisms as are reported at Monticello. 
Hey, it's "awkward" when the man who is the icon of freedom. liberty, rights, and the rest of the democratic canon was a slaver and a rapist. Adjustments must be made.
There's an old plantation house right off the LSU campus in Baton Rouge--Magnolia Mound--where the house and grounds have been restored, there's been significant preservation, including a slave cabin, but there are some (not-so-curious) absences: for instance, the wagon-wheel buried half deep, to which slaves were tied to be flogged, and the stocks in which baulky slaves were confined, are nowhere to be seen.

You can, if you so desire, however, rent a room in a nearby 'plantation home' turned bed-and-breakfast, though I don't think they provide 'darkies' to shine your boot and bring your food or satisfy your other carnal desires, anymore... 


Woody reckonz:
Fire was once miraculous, mysterious, the "gift" of the gods, the provenance only of priests.
And eclipses! They were still regarded by many people as "miraculous" as recently as the 15/16th century. Columbus used his knowledge of a predicted eclipse to convince the Arawak natives that he could foresee and control the light of the sun.
And atoms! And Germs! And the speed of light...
All that stuff was formerly "God's" business.
Now it's science. And all that we now cannot comprehend, CAN BE REVEALED, once the scientific tools are available to examine them. 

Your Wildest Dreams?
Woody acknowledges the truthiness of the sentiment. ("Verisimilitude" was the pre-Colbertian word, but okay.) The gummint IS doing worse things than you know or want to know.
But of course the same can be said for the banksters, the businessmen, the ad men, the marketers, the industrialists, the manufacturers, the oil men, and the retailers. And they're doing it without the fig leaf/foliage of "national security." They're just in it for the money. They PROUDLY proclaim it.
And you get to pretend you can exchange the former without firing a shot; whereas the latter will take you down with 'em if you so much as threaten.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Bleat: Primavera; Catastrophe; Oooops; Harsh

Springtime in the Rockies:

Foto of the proceeds of a late storm in the Sangres, from yesterday, May 6, by my inveterate fotog pal in Santa, Jerry Kerr.

Falling Down:
Inevitable: Woody's sad to predict that nothing can or will prevent the next collapse..
Nothing can prevent another such tragedy.
There will ALWAYS be another.
The NEXT building which is gonna fail already is standing, occupied, and in operation.
It was made with sub-standard materials (cheap, untested concrete), and the builders skimped on the amount and quality of the rebar, and they didn't sink the foundations deep enough.
It would have been "too expensive" in Bangladesh's sandy, porous soil.
Plus: Inspectors can be bribed, permits can be faked, authorities can be made to look the other way.
So inevitably, there will be another catastrophe.


Findings: There was a funny piece in the Harper's Mag "Findings" section last month, wherein it was reported that scientists had not closely studied the amazing facility of male lions to make kills in dense brush because scientists were afraid of the effectiveness of the hunting prowess of male lions hunting in dense brush... Really... 

The question right now: Will he, or won't he? Will President Obama make good on his implicit electoral promises and full-throated enthusiasm for a new energy future, or will he capitulate to the power and greed of Dirty Oil? KXL (yes or no) will be his decision. 

These are composite stills from an OLB video coming soon, shot by filmmaker Dusan Harminc in three different locations around Wisconsin.
 Harsh: Woody'z NOT trying to harsh yer buzz, or anything, so early, but:
 It's OIL...
Oil rules.
It is the sine qua non of our 'civilization.'
NOTHING "human" stops or interferes with the 'production" of oil.
I repeat: NOTHING...
Oil is FAR more important than ANY "promises" made to suckers by some transient, make-shift pol.
Oil is the life-blood of commerce, industry, trade, agriculture, entertainment and communication systems of the ENTIRE planet. Without it, EVERYTHING stops, nations fall, millions starve.
There is NO 'world leader" of any significance who would NOT sell a child rather than thwart the global oil cartel in ANY of its designs.

The Bleat: Bang Bang; All Wet; Underwater.

Another One Down

Woody'z of the opinion:
There are no "accidents" with loaded guns. A child dead of gunshot inside the home is prima facie evidence of at LEAST negligent homicide or criminal indifference, or both. Parents should be prosecuted, every single time. In addition, anytime a child dies of violence in a home, the parents should be sterilized, as a matter of course--unless the result of a home invasion, or drive-by shooting, or some other random "act of god." Don't let 'em breed to kill again.

About Half The Fresh Water in the World
Woody'z pretty much resigned.
They're gonna fuck it up.
The Great Lakes, that is.
The States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and New York all border on the Lakes.
Of them, all but Minnesota and New York are governed by bat-shit crazy tea-baggers and fundie fux who are just itchin for the Apocalypse. Pat Quinn of IL is a Rahm Emanuel Dim. Indiana has reverted to its Klan roots, Ohio's Kasich is unspeakably assinine, seems intent on surpassing Indiana as the most "northern" confederate state.
All for the oil.
You can't (yet) run cars on water, and even if you could, it would be becoming a scarcity. They'd make you choose between mobility and food. That's "Free Will" in the marketplace.
Oh, I'm glad I don't have kids of my own. It would be unbearable...

Woody's Occasional Real(ity) Estate briefing:

A Bust! Well, it seems the highly touted foreclosure settlement iz considerably LESS than met the eye?
When announcing the National Mortgage Settlement, President Obama said that it would “end some of the most abusive practices of the mortgage industry, and begin to turn the page on an era of recklessness that has left so much damage in its wake.” It does not appear that any of those abusive practices have ended. And the government, at all levels, has basically walked away from its responsibility to protect homeowners. 
And I bet yore disappointed?
Well, bless yore lil hort...

You didn't actually expect Prez LowBar to cut off any CorpoRat income streams, did you? Really?
But never mind. Nothing's really gonna change,
That's cuz mortgages are the CorpoRat State's "goodest and bestest" hedge against revolution.
Ya see: Even with the rate of foreclosures as they are currently reported, WAY more than half of Ummurkin families live in houses they "own."
The surest way to prevent any violent overthrow is to make sure the majority have more to lose than to gain.
Home mortgages ensure that balance will remain generally steady in favor of passivity, even if some poor people get fucked at the margins.
They always do. They don't matter.

Monday, May 6, 2013

TBGO, Sunday: God A& Man
In answer to the rhetorical question, on another Wall, "what good is God," a correspondent wrote: Some would argue that belief (in God) fosters beneficial socialization among like-minded believers.

I replied: That is unquestionably true, but offers a further conundrum, because that necessarily erases any distinction between any objects of worship, and makes any belief which unites a given number of people the functional equivalent of any OTHER group. Those social entities we name 'religions' exist primarily to create and enforce distinctions--fundamentally between one's own god and all the other ones.

Then someone else wrote: The Ipad is the opiate of the masses.

I replied: The flickering, blue screen (television and it's scions) is the numinous outer limit of the national skinner box, inside of which the nation, each and every one of us, will-we, nil-we, is being led into the eternal double blinds of learned helplessness. Read up on learned helplessness. It was perefected by the guy who is now--or was until recently--the psychologist in charge of fguring out how to 'break' prisoners, and this is the preferred method. His name is Martin Seligman. He was president of the APA, for a term I think--which caused a schism in the group. The dogs on which he perfected the technique had to be destroyed.

Bang Bang:

Leave it: Woody's definitely ambivalent about "progress" like this.
We humans don't have sufficiently developed gray-matter to organize the regulation of fire-arms in ways that protect the innocent. The majority of USer citizens "believe in god" as described by a culture of bronze and early iron-age shepherds.  We have not mastered the (moral) technology of drone warfare. Almost 50% "believe in angels." We punish women for demanding control of their own bodies. 
There is no technological fix which does not also entail its own fatal contradiction. That is: We aren't smart enough to control what we can now do. Why should we want to add to the chaos with replicative technology which asks us questions we can't even decipher??
So we can live forever?
Ask Faustus about that...

It's true! Woody agrees: An admirable sentiment...Unfortunately, for us anyway, to them "we"--the USofA--ARE 'the top one percent.'