Wednesday, April 30, 2008

While you were distracted.....,

by the media spectacle du jour - efforts to initiate a shooting war with Iran continued in earnest.

Justin Raimondo gives political backstory undergirding the likely next phase of escalation.
In a world where "benevolent global hegemony" is the goal of U.S. foreign policy, there is no right to self-defense; that, along with national sovereignty, has been abolished. Defiance is met with an implacable campaign for regime-change in the offending nation. By all indications, Iran is the next victim to be made an example of, sometime in mid-summer, or so the rumor goes.

We know where the presidential candidates stand on this issue. Hillary looks forward to the "obliteration" of Iran and takes up Charles Krauthammer's demand that we extend our nuclear shield over Tel Aviv just as we would do the same for, say, Toledo. Indeed, there are not a few who would argue that we would be fully justified in sacrificing the latter in order to save the former, and not all of them are to be found among Rev. Hagee's deluded flock. In any case, we know what the McCain-Hagee position is without even having to ask.

We also know where Obama stands on all or most of this: he advocates a policy of engagement with the Iranians, just as he has endorsed talking with South American caudillo Hugo Chavez, and for the same very sound reasons: because it's talk or fight. He clearly realizes waging perpetual war is hardly in our interests, even if we had the financial and military capacity to carry out such a crazed policy. Yet, if he's speaking out about this, at this crucial moment – when the chairman of the Joint Chiefs is practically declaring war on the Iranians – then I just can't hear him: he must not be speaking very loudly, or perhaps this gets lost amid all the soaring rhetoric about Change and Hope and A Better Tomorrow.
Nah Justin, it's a lot more prosaic than that. While the domestic economy crumbles and the foreign resource war grows, Baraka is caught up in a good old fashioned American coonshow pitting bad negros against responsible negros in a futile, staged struggle to placate implacable anti-negro sentiment. Good old-fashioned American comedy gold and a tried and true mechanism of domestic governance. ABC and Fox News, talk radio, and all the other proponents of Obamamandian anti-Americanism have succeeded beyond their wildest imaginings, or maybe not...., maybe in fact the calculus of distracting and managing the enfeebled memory, attention, and emotions of the herd has become so exacting, that there's really no guesswork involved any longer?

Albert Hofmann - RIP

From Erowid;
Albert Hofmann

Jan 11, 1906 - Apr 29, 2008
Summary - Albert Hofmann was born in Baden, Switzerland in 1906. He graduated from the University of Zürich with a degree in chemistry in 1929 and went to work for Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland. With the laboratory goal of working towards isolation of the active principles of known medicinal plants, Hofmann worked with Mediterranean squill (Scilla maritima) for several years, before moving on to the study of Claviceps purpurea (ergot) and ergot alkaloids.

Over the next few years, he worked his way through the lysergic acid derivatives, eventually synthesizing LSD-25 for the first time in 1938. After minimal testing, LSD-25 was set aside as he continued with other derivatives. Four years later, on April 16, 1943, he re-synthesized LSD-25 because he felt he might have missed something the first time around. That day, he became the first human to experience the effects of LSD after accidentally ingesting a minute amount. Three days later, on April 19, 1943, he decided to verify his results by intentionally ingesting 250 ug of LSD. This day has become known as "Bicycle Day" as Hofmann experienced an incredible bicycle ride on his way home from the lab.

In addition to his discovery of LSD, he was also the first to synthesize psilocybin (the active constituent of 'magic mushrooms') in 1958. Albert Hofmann, known as the 'father of LSD', continued to work at Sandoz until 1971 when he retired as Director of Research for the Department of Natural Products. He continued to write, lecture, and play a leading role as an elder in the psychedelic community until his quick and relatively painless death from a heart attack at the age of 102.

Peak oil at Bush press conference

U.S. President George W. Bush addressed peak oil in a roundabout way at a press conference yesterday that was largely devoted to gas prices and the economy. Several quotes clearly indicate that he understands the current state of world oil.

The answers? Explore more, drill more, buy new cars that can use electricity, grow more biofuels, add more refineries, and hope for cellulosic ethanol.

Meanwhile, a long-time Bush supporter groans but resolutely engages in wishful thinking and continued reality evasion.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Modern day capitalism is manifestly not a free market, but a system created and sustained by massive central government interventions in the economy. As such, not only would it not thrive in the absence of government intervention, it would collapse without it. In the 20th century, the symbiotic relationship of corporation and government is even more obvious—though it goes strangely unnoticed by many people. Examples include the military industrial complex, the widespread subsidizing of transportation and communication, the for-profit corporate benefits of government pharmaceutical and other research, tax breaks and incentives for favored industries, the myriad direct and indirect subsidies of suburban sprawl, agricultural subsidies, etc. Here's a book in progress that examines the reality of our system of production.

Organization Theory Outline: Expanded Version

In the absence of such overwhelming intervention, what would the economies of industrialized nations look like?

Mission Accomplished?

The seizure of Iraq is widely perceived to be have been a blunder. From the strategic standpoint of the US elites it was no such thing. The oil reserves contained within Iraq are gigantic, and thus its acquisition was a major economic and security leap forward for the United States. In this piece, a compelling case is made for U.S. Global hegemony. Please go read the entire article, it's lengthy but well worthwhile.
According to their logic the US elites have good reason to feel pleased with themselves following the successful takeover of Iraq, even if the general public in the United States is unable at this stage to grasp what a "glorious achievement" it is. Iraq is known to have over 100 billion barrels of oil reserves. In addition to this the country is still relatively unexplored and there are an estimated 200 to 300 billion barrels more waiting to be discovered. Given that this is largely light crude, the most valuable type of oil, it doesn't take much effort of the imagination to figure that US forces have seized control of one of the world's greatest treasures, whose value dwarfs the cost of the invasion. The invasion of Iraq would therefore be a strong contender for an entry in the Guinness World Records as the greatest act of piracy in the history of the world. It makes the exploits of Blackbeard and Captain Jack Sparrow look decidedly tame. With this being election year in the US, various politicians try to curry favor with the voters by talking about "bringing the troops home". So let's be clear about this - the troops are not coming home until the infrastructure has been built to fully exploit Iraq oil resources, and to this end to partition off the local population who might otherwise interfere with production. In fact, a background level of violence is actually desirable at this time, in order to provide the excuse to keep the troops there. We should also not overlook the reality that the US elections are pure spin anyway, a charade. The United States is not a democracy and has not been for a long time. Its political system is a duopoly of power, with the same plutocratic forces controlling both the Democrat and Republican parties, the election being a 4-yearly circus to fool the masses into thinking that they live in a democracy. In one sense democracy is an absurd concept anyway - how can you allow ignorant, uneducated people the same vote as intelligent, discriminating people? The answer is that that you can - and then you program them to do what you want them to anyway via their favorite entertainment and media inputs. If you spend an hour of your time going down to the polling station to vote, you have just wasted an hour of your life, except that it can be amusing to watch the other fools wasting their time lining up - thinking that they are going to make a difference.

Complete control of the Mid-East, which the United States and the major oil companies are now close to having achieved, of course confers massive power over the rest of world, in particular over rising economic powers such as China and India and the immense leverage that this will in time afford can be used to steer these countries in whatever direction is desired. The US is believed to be involved in a strategic race against time to corner the bulk of the world's remaining oil reserves, the control of which can then be used to dissuade countries like China from resorting to the wholesale dumping of dollars or US Treasuries, along the lines of "Try it and we'll cut off your oil supply", which one would expect to be couched in more diplomatic language. Because of its gargantuan levels of debt the US is acutely vulnerable now, but with time it plans to tip the scales back in its favor partly by sales of its recently acquired plunder. Anyone who has watched those David Attenborough nature programs about seal colonies on beaches will know that the US is like the "beach master", the huge bull elephant seal, taking possession of all of the females on the beach and jealously guarding them, while China and Russia are the other strong contenders, who don't quite have the strength or size to try to assert dominance and as a result can only make gains when the beach master suffers some drastic reversal of fortune. The irony is that China now has the power to stop the US in its tracks, by dumping its vast dollar and Treasury holdings, which would send the US economy straight over a cliff, but it is unlikely it will do this because it can't stomach the consequences to itself or its people of doing so.
It's a dazzling assessment of the geostrategic current state. Fundamentally, it's about the consolidation of power rather than an increase in the wealth of the nation, much less the world. Furthermore, it is very consistent with the logic and history of TEP intrigues. You be the judge...,

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Big Payback

This message is posted as a public service to any still pretending to be confused about the specific meaning of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's big payback to ABC, Fox News, and Talk Radio today - and over the weekend. One only hopes Baraka will take the message and get up off his knees and stop trying to placate the most atavistic and uncompromising elements in American society.

Uh! With your bad self!

Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!

Some people say we've got a lot of malice
Some say it’s a lot of nerve
But I say we won't quit moving until we get what we deserve
We have been bucked and we have been scorned
We have been treated bad, talked about as just bones
But just as it takes two eyes to make a pair, ha
Brother we can’t quit until we get our share

Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!
One more time!
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud!

I worked on jobs with my feet and my hand
But all the work I did was for the other man
Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves
We're tired of beatin' our head against the wall
And workin' for someone else

Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud

We're people, we're just like the birds and the bees
We'd rather die on our feet
Than be livin' on our knees

Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud

Don't Hate the Player...,

Last week, I posted an interview of Michael Klare discussing the rise of an energy driven New World Order. In his book, Rising Powers Shrinking Planet, Klare outlines the situation thus;
Surveying the energy-driven dynamic that is reconfiguring the international landscape, Michael Klare, the preeminent expert on resource geopolitics, forecasts a future of surprising new alliances and explosive danger. World leaders are now facing the stark recognition that all materials vital for the functioning of modern industrial societies (not just oil and natural gas but uranium, coal, copper, and others) are finite and being depleted at an ever-accelerating rate. As a result, governments rather than corporations are increasingly spearheading the pursuit of resources. In a radically altered world— where Russia is transformed from battered Cold War loser to arrogant broker of Eurasian energy, and the United States is forced to compete with the emerging “Chindia” juggernaut—the only route to survival on a shrinking planet, Klare shows, lies through international cooperation.
Former Russian president Vladimir Putin can very well be credited as one of the leading architect's of this New World Order - and he has also has written very clearly about the nature of the situation going back as far as his purloined 1997 PhD thesis;
Generally speaking, all of us should recognize and admit that “energy egotism” in a modern and highly interdependent world is a road to nowhere. Therefore, Russia’s attitude toward energy security remains clear and unchanged. It is our strong belief that energy redistribution guided wholly by the priorities of a small group of the most-developed countries does not serve the goals and purposes of global development. We will strive to create an energy security system sensitive to the interests of the whole international community. Basically, all it takes is for mankind to create a balanced potential in order to provide every state with sustainable energy supply, and international cooperation opens all avenues for that. Russia is ready to contribute actively to further progress in this direction.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a beloved, strong man leader of a reinvigorated Russia. Understanding this man, his background, credentials, and priorities - can help to understand a very great deal about why the U.S. has a Russia scholar for secretary of state, and much more importantly, about the possible shape of things to come as the pace and intensity of flux within the elite echelons of the Trans-European Project continue to unfold.

Warsocialist Proliferation

With much less fanfare than the early days of the Cold War, the world is entering a new arms race, and with it, a dangerous new web of military relationships. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks international armed forces spending, between 1997 and 2006 global military expenditures jumped by nearly 40 percent. Driven mainly by anxiety over oil and natural resources, countries are building their arsenals of conventional weapons at a rate not seen in decades, beefing up their armies and navies, and forging potential new alliances that could divide up the world in unpredictable ways.

Much of this new arms spending is concentrated among the world's biggest consumers of resources, which are trying to protect their access to energy, and the biggest producers of resources, which are taking advantage of their new wealth to build up their defenses at a rate that would have been unthinkable for a developing country until recently.

This power shift comes with enormous implications for the United States and its Western allies. With more military power in the hands of authoritarian and sometimes unstable states, the arms race creates a growing possibility for real state-to-state conflict - a prospect that would dwarf even a major terror attack in its power to disrupt the world's stability. It also will force the West to change, to make its own plans to shore up resources, and to get used to a world arsenal it can no longer dominate.

Rearming the world - Why nations are suddenly locked in an arms race unseen since the early days of the Cold War.

The Unbearable Cost of Warsocialism

There are three broad aspects to the U.S. debt crisis. First, in the current fiscal year (2008) we are spending insane amounts of money on "defense" projects that bear no relation to the national security of the U.S. We are also keeping the income tax burdens on the richest segment of the population at strikingly low levels.

Second, we continue to believe that we can compensate for the accelerating erosion of our base and our loss of jobs to foreign countries through massive military expenditures -- "military Keynesianism" (which I discuss in detail in my book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic). By that, I mean the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy. The opposite is actually true.

Third, in our devotion to militarism (despite our limited resources), we are failing to invest in our social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of the U.S. These are what economists call opportunity costs, things not done because we spent our money on something else. Our public education system has deteriorated alarmingly. We have failed to provide health care to all our citizens and neglected our responsibilities as the world's number one polluter. Most important, we have lost our competitiveness as a manufacturer for civilian needs, an infinitely more efficient use of scarce resources than arms manufacturing.

Chalmers Johnson in Le Monde.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Blessed Pascha

Today is Easter Sunday in the Orthodox Church. NPR did a story this morning on one of the most interesting and ethically futurist of my co-religionists whose way of life centers on reuse and recycling and participation in the global interpersonal communion.

The Zabbaleen
(Egyptian Arabic: زبالين "garbage people") are an Egyptian community of mainly Coptic Christians who are employed in the city of Cairo to collect and dispose of much of the city's waste. The Zabbaleen generally perform this service very cheaply or for free, making a living by sorting the waste materials for reuse or recycling. Waste food is fed to livestock (most often pigs) or poultry. Other materials, such as steel, glass and plastic bottles, are sorted by hand and sold as raw materials. Other items are repaired or reused. Some material is burnt as fuel. Traditionally, donkey driven carts are used by males to collect waste from homes, which is sorted by female members of the family in zabbaleen homes. It is claimed that zabbaleen reuse or recycle 80-90% of the waste they collect (a figure that the most modern waste management systems in the world aspire to), however this must be put into context of the fact that the zabbaleen do not collect all the waste, and concentrate on wealthier areas.

Until the 1980s, there was no formal system of waste collection in Cairo. All collection was performed by zabbaleen. This informal garbage collection system is still a fundamental part of the city's solid waste management. The zabbaleen collect between a third and a half of the 6,500 tonnes of Municipal solid waste that Cairo produces every day, with half being collected by the city and private companies and the remaining 1,500 tonnes left uncollected, generally in the poorest areas. Any uncollected garbage that is burnt will severely exacerbate the air pollution problem in Cairo.

Department of PreCrime?

Last month we found out that Scotland Yard is at the bleeding edge where science meets fiction - in wanting to establish it's own social darwinian version of Pre-Crime law enforcement capability.
Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain's most senior police forensics expert.

Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

'If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,' said Pugh. 'You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won't. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.'
Comes now my man Big Don with real news you can use on exactly how the 8th largest nation (California) might actually go about implementing yet another intriguing part of this paradigm;
California will adopt the most aggressive approach in the nation to a controversial crime-fighting technique that uses DNA to try to identify elusive criminals through their relatives, state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown announced Friday.

Employing what is known as familial or "partial match" searching, the policy is aimed at identifying a suspect through DNA collected at a crime scene by looking for potential relatives in the state's genetic database of about a million felons. Once a relative is identified, police can use that person as a lead to trace the suspect.
Knowing (or believing as some of us do) that not only intelligence, but entire ranges of behavioral traits and proclivities can be ascertained from the genome, can't you already begin to see shape of things to come as genetic precogs scry the DNA runes to determine if you or your relatives have "tendencies", and, whether you or your relatives comprise "valid" investigative leads? Protect and serve indeed......,

How Hard? Real Hard!!!

Submariner looked out past that signpost up ahead and asked and answered one of the fundamental kwestins;
The United States currently faces the same challenge that Germany had in the Thirties. How does a state create an economy to support a military superpower yet meet fundamental human needs beyond physical security? The answer, of course, is that it can't and the ensuing scarcity management requires a Darwinian approach.
That red pill is helluva drug ain't it? But in the end, it's better to know and be in some position to deal - than to be taken by surprise. Once you've solved the equation for "what's going to happen" - you're free to examine the corollaries of "how it's going to happen" and you don't even need to sweat the "when" - because you know it's already work in progress.

This is what I like about Big Don. He knows what's coming and even though he's exposed a false ideas vulnerability - which leaves him vulnerable to certain nefarious forms of exploitation - I believe that from a practical perspective, the man is otherwise ready for the clampdown and is thus a natural ally in this dot connecting game we like to play. At the end of the day, the best we can do is to exchange information and ideas that help us each to discern the shape of what's happening and how best to respond for the wellbeing of our friends and families out here on what will be a systematic implementation of a very hard right Darwinian threshing floor.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Like Glasses for Not Sees....,

This interview underscored the extent to which ABC, Fox News, and conservative talk radio have functioned as agents of racial arson. From the outset, it was clear that this was a manufactured controversy, and one which exceeded the pale of hardball politics. The mainstream and corporate media enterprises responsible for the nakedly deceitful, exploitative, and propagandistic abuses of viral audio and video - now exposed by this interview - should have some explaining to do. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting....,

It is now an established fact that Baraka's candidacy is yielding a bounty of unintended consequences in its unprecedented capacity as a collective rorschachian emetic

Friday, April 25, 2008

Senate Passes Genetic Discrimination Bill

People learning through genetic testing that they might be susceptible to devastating diseases wouldn't also have to worry about losing their jobs or their health insurance under anti-discrimination legislation the Senate passed Thursday.

The 95-0 Senate vote sends the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

The bill, described by Sen. Edward Kennedy as "the first major new civil rights bill of the new century," would bar health insurance companies from using genetic information to set premiums or determine enrollment eligibility. Similarly, employers could not use genetic information in hiring, firing or promotion decisions.

"For the first time we act to prevent discrimination before it has taken firm hold and that's why this legislation is unique and groundbreaking," said Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who sponsored the Senate bill with Sens. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. back to the House, which could approve it early next week. President Bush supports the legislation.

Mapping the Individual - Cheaply

In yesterday's Guardian;
The cost of sequencing an individual genome is falling exponentially - just as the cost of hard disk space or transistors on a chip did when computing took off. Plotting the numbers on a graph suggests that by 2012 it will take a few hours and cost less than $100. A few years after that it will cost perhaps $10.

That's when you should expect an explosion in personal sequencing. Jason Bobe, the director of community for the Personal Genome Project, based at Harvard Medical School, writes the Personal Genome blog and reckons that by 2015, 50 million people will have had their own DNA sequenced. He says: "My rationale is simply to assume that the trend line for the personal sequencing market might look a lot like the one experienced in the personal computer market" - which grew from a few thousand units sold in 1975 to 50m in 1995. "If the personal genome sequencing market follows suit, we might say that 2007 for personal genome sequences was like 1979 for PCs, and we've just turned the corner into 1980 where units sold remains below 1m, but growth is noticeable."
The rapidly falling cost and time needed to map your DNA

13 years to map

4 years

4 weeks

2 days


"How far down the cost [of sequencing] will go will be determined by the final size of the market and its applications." But if the whole population is sequenced from birth, and your DNA becomes your passport and benefit ID, that will expand the market - perhaps making it a self-fulfilling prediction.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Doomsday Police Units to Patrol City Subways

No, I didn't make that up, that's the tagline in today's New York Daily News. I'd actually be a little embarrassed to be that over the top, and mind you, I'm simply observing and briefly commenting on what I see.
NYPD cops armed with rifles, submachine guns, body armor and bomb-sniffing dogs will start patrolling the city's subways on Thursday - a first for mass transit in the United States.

Teams of six officers and a dog will patrol subway platforms and trains in 12-hour shifts.

The TORCH teams are being paid for by $151 million from the feds announced in February.

Similarly equipped NYPD units, known as Hercules teams, have patrolled Wall Street and other aboveground icons as part of the NYPD response to the World Trade Center attacks.

"The TORCH teams are Hercules teams with a MetroCard," a police source said.
As cinematic as this hypermilitarized policing is, it hasn't yet reached the top of what it takes to show patriotic tough love and really, really mean it. See, nothing says protect the homeland - and lets folks know you really mean it - like fixed bayonets or even swords.
It's a fist[sic] for mass transit in the United States. NYPD officers, armed with rifles, submachine guns, body armor and bomb sniffing dogs will begin patrolling the city's subway system thanks to a 50 percent increase in a homeland security grant.
Don't fret thinking that perhaps you've been left out. According to Secretary Chertoff:

Beefed Up Security A 'Model For Entire Country'

There, don't you feel safer already?

I know I do.....,

Nontarget Effects of Genetic Manipulation

Having gotten the energy and economic casserole bubbling along nicely this morning, I'd best turn my attention to grating some of that funky genetic engineering cheese to sprinkle on top. You know, the totally random technological variable on which our future prospects quite possibly depend? (that, and our possible psychological evolution.....,)
Putting the matter plainly: when foreign genes are introduced into an organism, creating a transgenic organism (commonly called a genetically modified or genetically engineered organism), the results for the organism and its environment are almost always unpredictable. The intended result may or may not be achieved in any given case, but the one almost sure thing is that unintended results - nontarget effects - will also be achieved.

These facts have been, and are being, widely reported in the scientific literature. While they are correcting our understanding in important ways, they are not at all controversial. And they bear directly upon the wisdom of virtually all the current genetic engineering practices. If there has been limited reportage of nontarget effects in the popular press, it may be because the facts are often buried in technical scientific articles. And within genetic engineering research itself, scientists are mainly concerned with achieving targeted effects and not with investigating beyond the range of their own intentions and reporting unexpected effects. But when they do investigate, there is usually plenty to see.
While I remain bullish as ever about the imperative necessity of the deepest possible interrogation of the biotic realit - this reference site is furnished persuant to the subrealist ethos of providing fair and balanced coverage of the fringes of consensus reality.

Oil Rules

or The End of the World as You Know It …and the Rise of the New Energy World Order. Having now reviewed the underlying shape and motive forces of the world as you know it, Michael Klare presents a pithy synoptic preview of the new world order aborning - and it's quite different from what the normative political narrative (consensus reality) would lead to you to think that it is. This should be borne in mind as the pure comedy gold of the current presidential election cycle plays itself out while our existing socio-economic order disintegrates with shocking rapidity.
It's strange that the business and geopolitics of energy takes up so little space on American front pages -- or that we could conduct an oil war in Iraq with hardly a mention of the words "oil" and "war" in the same paragraph in those same papers over the years. Strange indeed. And yet, oil rules our world and energy lies behind so many of the headlines that might seem to be about other matters entirely.

Take the food riots now spreading across the planet because the prices of staples are soaring, while stocks of basics are falling. In the last year, wheat (think flour) has risen by 130%, rice by 74%, soya by 87%, and corn by 31%, while there are now only eight to 12 weeks of cereal stocks left globally. Governments across the planetary map are shuddering. This is a fast growing horror story and, though the cry in the streets of Cairo and Port au Prince might be for bread, this, too, turns out to be a tale largely ruled by energy:
I believe Maclean's incentive for formulating the notion of the TEP comes into play here;
My notion of the TEP was stimulated by an undergraduate research paper in which I sought to prove the truth of Norman Angell's claim, viz., that imperialism failed to contribute to the wealth of imperial powers. For example, I observed that the most impressive economic growth in 19th century Europe had occurred in countries that either had no colonies, or else, had them for a short time or had small colonial empires.

Maclean's Trans-European Project

We frequently use the acronym TPTB (the powers that be) in discussion of that trans-national polity whose activities play themselves out on the global scene and are rationalized to the public via a collection of conventional narratives. Easily the most sweeping and illuminating account of this polity that I have encountered here-to-date is James R. Maclean's Trans-European Project.
This series of posts is intended to introduce the concept of the Trans-European Project (TEP), a quasi-national entity that comprises Western Europe, North America, and some various settlements elsewhere in the world. The TEP in some respects can be described as a space of intra-colonial activities, in which the various empires of the past would constantly ebb and flow, like eras of glaciation.
Given that we are now in the midst of a period of historically unprecedented glacial flux, (at least in terms of scale and speed), it may prove helpful to have an encompassing map of the existing structures that will be melting down and flowing before our very eyes. Please read the TEP in its entirety.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Phoenix Lights 8-21-08

At approximately 8:20 PM Arizona time 4 bright red lights hovered in the night sky. The lights moved creating several different shapes for around 7-8 minutes before 1 by 1 disappearing. The last light left much slower than the others moving upward until it was gone. Here's some really good, steady, home video of the phenomenon. Here's a youtube of local coverage and too much time on the hands of a windows moviemaker auteur

Globalization's Twilight

In light of real trouble in the world, the tone of this article seems a little "extra", until you stop and think about what it means when a wealthy country's economic clout is meaningles in the face of an actual, underlying commodity shortage;
While soaring food prices have triggered rioting among the starving millions of the third world, in wealthy Japan they have forced a pampered population to contemplate the shocking possibility of a long-term — perhaps permanent — reduction in the quality and quantity of its food.

A 130% rise in the global cost of wheat in the past year, caused partly by surging demand from China and India and a huge injection of speculative funds into wheat futures, has forced the Government to hit flour millers with three rounds of stiff mark-ups. The latest — a 30% increase this month — has given rise to speculation that Japan, which relies on imports for 90% of its annual wheat consumption, is no longer on the brink of a food crisis, but has fallen off the cliff.

According to one government poll, 80% of Japanese are frightened about what the future holds for their food supply.

Last week, as the prices of wheat and barley continued their relentless climb, the Japanese Government discovered it had exhausted its ¥230 billion ($A2.37 billion) budget for the grains with two months remaining. It was forced to call on an emergency ¥55 billion reserve to ensure it could continue feeding the nation.

"This was the first time the Government has had to take such drastic action since the war," said Akio Shibata, an expert on food imports, who warned the Agriculture Ministry two years ago that Japan would have to cut back drastically on its sophisticated diet if it did not become more self-sufficient.
Japan's hunger becomes a dire warning for other nations

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

America's Role in Haiti's Hunger Riots

Haiti used to be the lushest island in the region; rice and coffee were major exports. But political turmoil, mismanagement, lack of planning, deforestation, and natural disasters have taken their toll. Today, less than 2 percent of the country is forested.
"Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed. What happened?

In 1986, after the expulsion of Haitian dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Haiti $24.6 million in desperately needed funds (Baby Doc had raided the treasury on the way out). But, in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff protections for Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some industries, to open up the country's markets to
competition from outside countries. The US has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF.

Doctor Paul Farmer was in Haiti then and saw what happened. "Within less than two years, it became impossible for Haitian farmers to compete with what they called 'Miami rice.' The whole local rice market in Haiti fell apart as cheap, US subsidized rice, some of it in the form of 'food aid,' flooded the market. There was violence ... 'rice wars,' and lives were lost.""
With the vast majority of Haiti's 8.5 million trying to survive on just $2 a day, eking out even an extra penny is as difficult as the government's challenge of providing electricity – or potable water, inaccessible to 75 percent of the population. It is the poorest country in the hemisphere.

Out of Touch

Most people believe oil is running out and governments need to find another fuel, but Americans are alone in thinking their leaders are out of touch with reality on this issue, an international poll said on Sunday.

On average, 70 percent of respondents in 15 countries and the Palestinian territories said they thought oil supplies had peaked. Only 22 percent of the nearly 15,000 respondents in nations ranging from China to Mexico believed enough new oil would be found to keep it a primary fuel source.The current tightening of the oil market is not temporary but will continue and the price of oil will rise substantially, most respondents said.

"They think it's just going to keep going higher and a fundamental adaptation is necessary," Kull said in a telephone interview.

In the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer and among the biggest emitters of climate-warming pollution from fossil fuel use, 76 percent of respondents said oil is running out, but most believed the U.S. government mistakenly assumes there would be enough to keep oil a main source of fuel.


Cornucopian Political and Economic Delusions

Over at Bookerrising blogspot, I just now saw the single most ignorant, preposterous and delusional comment I think I've ever seen online;
The new US geological survey of the Bakken reserve in North Dakota together with the technological advancements that allow for horizontal drilling, provided the anti-capitalist environmentalists (as opposed to true ecologists) don't stop the drilling, will increase known US reserves by a factor of almost 5, from 174 billion barrels of known economically recoverable barrels of oil, not including ANWR or outer continental shelf oil, to nearly 1 trillion barrels of economically recoverable oil, roughly equivalent to half of the proved reserves in Saudi Arabia.

There is no possibility of running out of oil in 500 years with economic growth projections double what we've experienced over the last 50 years.
This type of ludicrous nonsense underscores the dizzying challenge facing any politician confronted by the challenge of attempting to communicate the actual terror of the situation by which we are now faced. This commenter is quite clearly a denizen of an entirely different reality than the fact based version in which the rest of us are obliged to reside.

Democracy, Governance, and War in Oil Exporting Nations

So I've got Crude Awakening playing in the background and one of the recurring interviewees is Prof. Terry Lynn Karl. Professor Karl is bringing a perspective on the political dimensions of fin d'siecle black gold unlike any I've previously heard. She's taking names and dropping science.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Radical Reengineering - Boo-shoot Rhizomes

Comes now Big Don making a locally showcased donation to the collective offering plate of radical reengineering solutions. This is actually pretty cool in the context of who'da thunk type initiatives.
Before tissue culture, it wasn't feasible to farm bamboo on large-scale plantations because it was hard to find enough seed or divisions to plant. Despite their invasive reputation, bamboos are in short supply because most species flower and produce seed only once every 60 to 120 years, and propagation by division is labor intensive and iffy.

That all changed with the advent of cloned bamboo.

"We've never had a true supply of bamboo," Heinricher says. "We don't know how big the market will be." Boo-Shoot is the main commercial player in America, successfully cloning bamboo types that can be used for horticulture, agriculture, industry and carbon mitigation. A Belgian company, Oprins, clones mostly landscape bamboo. This winter, Heinricher retrofitted her greenhouses, enabling her company to produce 4 million plants a year.

Heinricher sees bamboo as an alternate lumber and source of pulp for paper, a way to ease pressure on trees. Bamboo plantations on unused agricultural land could be sustainably harvested while simultaneously functioning as carbon sinks. And, she asks, what about highway plantings for erosion control and noise reduction?
Cracking the code to 'the perfect plant' opens a path to saving the planet Since the primary up-front challenge has been met, this now sounds like a business with low-capital cost franchise opportunities written all over it. It's been my experience that picking up the phone or dropping an email is typically all that's required to get a good-faith bidnis dialogue spun up in earnest. Sounds like this one has at least some of the benefits of hemp cultivation with none of the associated social stigma and legal downside risk.

Pimp Hand Strong....,

OPEC member Venezuela, under President Hugo Chavez, has spearheaded a global trend towards resource-holders seeking to maximise their returns from their energy wealth.

International firms have found themselves faced with tougher terms and shut out of the best energy territory.

During the 1970s, the international oil companies controlled nearly three-quarters of global oil reserves and 80 percent of production, Scaroni said.

Now, they control 6 percent of oil and 20 percent of gas reserves, and 24 percent of oil and 35 percent of gas production, he said. National oil companies hold the rest.

There is little sign the trend will reverse. "The relative positions of international energy companies and national energy companies are changing -- and not in our favour," Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Italian oil and gas company Eni said in a speech at the opening of the International Energy Forum (IEF). Reuters report yesterday via

Orlov's Reinventing Collapse

Media theorist Marshall McLuhan was wont to say:
We don't know who discovered water, but we know it wasn't the fish.
Apropos the most recent commentary with Bros. Makheru and Submariner in which I expressed my view of the permissible limits of public questioning to the former - and the utility of unconstrained private questioning to the latter - participants in a culture are not the best ones to uncover widely held assumptions.

Amanda Kovattana goes straight to the heart of Orlov's treatment of our predicament, uncovering at least one of the fundamental assumptions inherent to being a fish in these American waters;
Along the way, he reveals pithy insights to explain how the American system works in contrast with the Russian one. For instance the story of the classless society is exemplified by the concept of a middle class — something Americans have proudly espoused — which he points out is held together by the common denominator of everyone owning a car. That's right, not education, not equal opportunity, or equal rights but the one-ton behemoth that we must have to get around the wasteful geography created by suburbia.

We know about this waste from the film The End of Suburbia and James Kunstler's Geography of Nowhere and all the other peak oil fellows, but Orlov points out that
because we are so identified with owning a car as part of this American middle class identity we will be hard put to let it go. And when we are forced to (due to diminishing and increasingly expensive gasoline supplies) so will go the myth of the middle class. In turn he explains how the Russians lost faith in the classless worker's paradise because they could clearly see that there was an elite strutting around in cool Armani threads. Meanwhile the lack of consumer goods and trendy fashions meant that a good life for all never became a reality.

And because our ideologically indoctrinated minds are so closed to such deep seated change and so invested in our "can do" innovation, we will, like Napoleon, be unable to retreat from the overextended, oil fueled, debt based economy which is poised to come crashing down, financed as it is by foreign investment that will eventually decide that we are not a good credit risk.
And there it is in a nutshell. Few national politicians dare give voice to what's just beyond the signpost up ahead. Being unwilling and unable to discuss reality, how then could they ever go about proposing, much less implementing, any of the radical engineering redesigns required to genuinely rebuild along viable and sustainable lines? The patient is as yet utterly unwilling to hear an objective and accurate diagnosis. With no diagnosis, how can she participate in her own treatment, much less get on board with the radical measures required to effect an actual cure?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Reading is Fundamental

Pulling my children away from the television and video games, I've instituted a daddy book club during which we read science fiction and fantasy novels which interested me when I was a child. (and which naturally, by extension, must interest the children, as well - though 90 minutes of reading with freewheeling discussion-Q/A may be the real attraction) In any event - it beats the hell out of passive viewing and thumb-twitching - and thus far, they both seem to greatly enjoy it.

Since the children will be beginning taiji and their first fledgling sword lessons next week - I thought we might begin with Elric of Melnibone. As any fan of Elric knows, a big part of the attraction to this anti-hero is his sentient, soul-stealing sword Stormbringer. Since I'm short two lent-out and long-ago lost books from the original series, I went by the library and to my surprise discovered there was a more recent Elric related novel called The DreamThief's Daughter - presciently published in 2001 and set in the context of pre-Nazi and Nazi germany;
Nazis... controlled the media. On the radio, in the newspapers and magazines and movies, they began to tell the people whom they should love and whom they should hate... This is by no means a new phenomenon... The American Puritans characterised everyone who disagreed with them as evil and godless and probably witches... The British and the Americans went into China to save the country from the opium they had originally sold it. The Turks had to characterise Armenians as godless monsters before they began their appalling slaughter of the Christians.

Frightened nations will accept too easily the threat of civil war and the promise of the man who says he will avert it. Hitler averted civil war because he had no need of it. His opposition was delivered into his hands by the ballot boxes of a country which, at that time, had one of the best democratic constitutions in the world, superior in many ways to the American.

It is a mark, I think, of the political scoundrel who uses the most sentimental language to blame all others but his own constituents for the problems of the world. Always a "foreign threat", fear of "the stranger". I still hear those voices in modern Germany and France and America and all the countries we once thought too civilised to allow such horror within their own borders.
Moorcock pulls no punches in his treatment of the socioeconomic context giving rise to German fascism. The literary treatment in turn provides us with a fantastical backdrop over which to discuss 20th century history and current events as these unfold with breathtaking speed all around us.

The Changing Game

quoth Submariner;
By not attacking HRC on her many and obvious personal misdeeds, Obama is already changing the game. These guys, Hannity, Dobbs, Scarborough, and others realize that they are in the process of becoming extinct.[...]

Obama's vision is not MLK's but his tactics are. These white political gangster rappers will persist but they will become minor figures speaking to a marginal and extremist audience. This is why I hope a President Obama would continue his boycott of Fox. As the promoter of this bestiality, to appear on Fox gives white political gangster rappers and their audience legitimacy. Obscured in the current campaign is the considerable courage Obama has shown by not appearing on Fox.
As much as I would enjoy agreeing with your analysis Sub, and I am currently inclined to think that you may be correct as regards Baraka's having outflanked the dominant memetic morphology du jour, methinkst you perhaps underestimate the open-ended and generative metamorphic nature of the beast(s) in question. We are, after all, talking about "conservatism" as identity politics.
Here’s my thesis: Conservatism is a form (indeed the original form) of identity politics. It is expressed through multiple forms of political ideology based on justifying elite rule and the division of the human race into dualized classes (ideal and counter-ideal) in terms of some “natural” moral order.

Conservatism appears in various forms as the rationalizations and dualized classes shift over time, and in three distinct states of realization, reflecting different levels of development of the self. The overt rationalizations commonly mistaken for conservative ideology are, in fact, derivative phenomena—tertiary at best. The primary phenomena is the creation of a conservative identity, the subject of conservative political narratives. The secondary phenomena is the supporting ideology of superior and inferior groups, casting conservative identity as something to be preserved, promoted, and defended against the forces of evil, embodied in its demonized others. The primary and secondary phenomena are relatively constant over time, while the tertiary phenomena vary considerably.
Baraka may indeed have managed to evade tertiary formations in the current, prevailing, collective convervative phenotype. This remains to be seen in the Pennsylvania and Indiana primaries. Let the record show, however, that over the past 7 years, several attempts have been made to reapportion the tertiary characteristics of the conservative narrative in America.

1. GWOT (global war on terrorism)

2. Islamo-fascism

3. Illegal immigration and the Culture War
As I've said previously, progressive/populist movements from William Jennings Bryan to John Edwards have always sought to include outright racists in their coalitions. An Obama victory finally extirpates them from political consideration. For if you tell me, like Howard Dean did during his run in 2000 and Edwards did this year, that I have to get down with a straight up cracker, I say fuck that. I don't give a damn about their economic struggles. Sailors on the slave ship endured high mortality and terror inflicted on them by the captain but they never saw the slaves as human and rebellious slaves took no pity on them.
While tempermentally, I'd be strongly inclined to agree with this assertion, morally and tactically, I am compelled to disagree. First and foremost - I believe that it is imperative that we take into consideration the economic struggles of the poor, white, and pissed - as much as we take into consideration and engage around the economic struggles of the Black underclass - as I wrote at VisionCircle;
Not only must we Work hard on increasing and enriching the level of interpersonal engagement within our own communities, the next evolutionary push will have to involve education, outreach, and socialization - interpersonal communion - with and among the masses of the poor, white, and pissed. This will not be easy. But it is most definitely necessary.

Not only will this enrich both our respective communities, it will comprise a bulwark against the genuinely evil predations that the backers of the present administration have in store for America.
If the poor in America remain divided, the impending economic collapse will subject all Americans to a political reality and danger unseen since the economic collapse of post-WWI Germany and the rise of National Socialism. The emergence of a genuinely and overtly fascist formation in America would not require significant investment or effort. In fact, it has been a vividly imagined ethnonationalist fantasy now for the past 30 years. While the wizards of minimal regret population scenarios and forecasting had other mechanisms in mind than did the physicist William Pierce - the history of the rise of the Third Reich stands as phenomenally instructive as regards the actual ways in which an advanced democratic society, when buffeted by severe economic privation, can be transformed into a genocidal fascist dictatorship via the rules of the democratic system itself.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Busting the "Rev. Wrighting" Tactic

It's been a minute since I had an opportunity to showcase the interlocutory brilliance of Rachel Maddow. In no uncertain terms, she is the most gifted debater on the media mainstream today. She handles hypocritical and propagandist blowhards like a master cavaleira.

In this case, she does a tremendous job of pointing out the contrived nature of what is transpiring in the illusory choice-making process now passing itself off as a democrat party presidential primary...,

Bottomline - "Rev. Wright"
ing = "Swiftboat"ing - and it's an obvious and tired political propaganda tactic.

"We" need to begin calling it out whenever and wherever we see it in use - case in point - being the ABC presentation of Hellury and Baraka wednesday night that passed itself off as a debate.

Recall that ABC has the dubious distinction of having originated the "Rev. Wright" meme that has been seized upon by Faux News and its ideological bedfellows as a non-issue-related cornerstone of the partisan attack on candidate Baraka.

A Theory of Power

Last night I came across an earlier and far better developed version of Blackmore's Gene-Meme-Teme proposition - applied in the abstract - to the current world problematique.

The free booklet is called A Theory of Power. It appears that its author Jeff Vail (who blogs here) was well ahead of his time with the thesis of the booklet. While I've only skimmed it, I see nothing on the face of it with which I fundamentally disagree. In addition to A Theory of Power and the Rhizome blog, I also found a summary of the theory posted at Energy Bulletin a couple of years ago. (I disagree with a few things the reviewer states in his own theory of communes and social organization, but I find the summary and review itself most helpful.)
* The best representation of our world, of what 'is', is not matter, but the connections between matter.

* These connections define 'power-relationships' -- the ability of one entity to influence the action of another.

* The 'law' of evolution can therefore be restated as: if new patterns of forces can survive their impacts with one another, if they tend to hold together rather than tear apart, they then represent a stable collection of power-relationships which survive, self-replicate, and mutate into further new patterns which are in turn subject to the same law.

* This law applies to physical (matter), biological (gene) and cultural (meme) patterns; all matter and life and consciousness, and their evolution, are 'creatures' of their/our material, genetic and cultural constituents, created for the perpetuation of these patterns and sustained through their stable power-relationships.

* Because of the evolutionary success of memes (due to their ability to adapt and change much more quickly and successfully than genes), culture has come to play an increasingly dominant role in our planet's power-relationships.

* Most significantly, the advent of agriculture, which was provoked by climate change (the ice ages) brought about a necessary power shift from the individual to the group in the interest of memes' survival, to the point the individual became largely enslaved to the culture, and the survival of the civilization culture now outweighs in importance the survival of any of its members or communities.

* A consequence of that has been the advent of the codependent cultural constructs of market and state, and, as agriculture has enabled exponential growth in population and created new scarcities, egalitarian societies of abundance have given way to hierarchical societies of managed scarcity.

* This hierarchy has been further entrenched with the cultural evolution of technologies that enable even greater self-perpetuation of the memes that gave rise to it, and have led to the 'efficient' subjugation of the human individual to technology -- that's the power-relationship that most supports the survival and stasis of the culture, and under it even those at the top of the hierarchy become slave-hosts to the memes and culture.

* These memes and culture can now self-perpetuate and thrive more effectively with technology and the artificial constructs of market and globalizations than they could with inefficient and unreliable human hosts, so technology growth is now even outstripping human growth, to the point that humans are becoming commodities and could even become redundant.

* So: if we are now becoming slaves to the machine-powered perpetuation of memes that are outgrowing their need for us (to the point that although catastrophic global warming and human extinction now seem inevitable, this is not something our meme-culture 'cares' about) can we, the human slaves, thanks to the genetic and memetic evolution of self-awareness, 'liberate' ourselves and defeat the meme-culture before it destroys us? In other words, can we consciously, collectively take control for the first time over power-relationships, and establish new power-relationships that put the genetic survival of the human race (and, hopefully, the survival of all other life on Earth on which that genetic survival depends) ahead of the reckless survival of the Frankenstein 'civilization' culture we have created?
I believe that successful rhizome instances can only be established organically. In other words, you have to engage with others around project oriented efforts that give rise to a sustainable framework for interpersonal communion, cooperation and collaboration. It's a lifestyle choice after all, not simply a theory of "how then shall we live?"

Apocalypse Scale

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Psychological Import of An Attractive Black Candidate

Wherein we humbly yield the microphone to the mighty Submariner, promoted from always tasteful and classy oyster perpetual, to now honorary prince of the lost kingdom of Atlantis (that'd be Visioncircle LOL!!!).
As I've told my friend Temple3, there is a definite difference between pericarditis, angina, and a heart attack. If you or someone in authority could make a selection, then you would much rather not have a straight up heart attack. This is where we are.

I'm not one of the deluded who calls Barack a prophet. If anything he is a modern day King David. A lowly, goodhearted shepherd who uses superior guile and strategic alliances to usurp the throne.

Barack has a supple feel for power. No one can aspire to enter the political architecture without approval of the American Jewish lobby. That's a major reason why Pat Buchanan will never be down.

"Unless America figures out how to meritocratically embrace the attractions of an unimpeachable black candidate like Oprah Winfrey or Colin Powell, with all the requisite stateswoman/gangsta cred required to silence any and all detractors, AMERICA WILL FAIL!"

When Craig Nulan presciently averred this on 06 February 2005, Barack was a political neonate. Nulan captured what I've been clumsily articulating since Obama's ascendancy. If America has a minimal chance to be redeemed it will be done by black people.

As a physician I see miracles nearly everyday. Two weeks ago I witnessed a ninety-something year old have a cardiac arrest. We did CPR with her family at the bedside who decline having her intubated. We stopped resuscitation efforts after three minutes. She had a thready pulse and I told her son that that she was checking out. An hour later the lady was sitting up talking to her family saing her chest hurt, presumably from us doing CPR.

When you experience things like this nearly every week, like I do, you develop a certain optimism or faith. It is this hope, like that of the African in the bowels of a 18 Century slave ship, that sustains me.
Out of the comments and straight to the top. It just doesn't get any better than that on the Soul Conviction tip. As a matter of fact, I did, I did say something to the effect of what the good doctor brother Submariner referred to, the punchline for which was this;
Here's the rub. It's not about what an Oprah or a Colin might personally bring to the office, they're superstars without a doubt. Rather, it's about what the POTUS exemplifies about the collective American unconscious that matters here. Until and unless the American collective unconscious evolves considerably beyond its current state, it's simply not fit to imperially preside over the rest of the world in the manner Cobb describes here.
almost makes one nostalgic for the halcyon days of group political commentary....,