Thrown Under the Bus!

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Wow, do I feel lucky today.  January 1st 2013 and my Congress and President kept me from falling off that dreaded fiscal cliff.  Whew, was that a close call: down to the wire, a frightening ordeal… especially the way those boys and girls in the newsrooms made our collective demise seem more than inevitable.  I thought for sure they would throw us all under the bus. But, I am lucky to have a wise Uncle Sam watching my back… just as Erika Menendez was watching the back of that poor Hindu-American businessman before she pushed him to his death in front of an onrushing subway train in New York City last week.  They say Sunando Sen was just chasing his American Dream.  Little did he realize that another American dreamer, one a bit more disillusioned and delusional, was chasing him as well; and then she did throw him under the… subway car. Well, perhaps she took all this talk about the fiscal cliff literally and decided it was time to take matters into her own hands.  She just didn’t want her fellow traveler to suffer through the final moments of collapse.  Of course, my Uncle Sam would never do that to me; throw me under the bus, I mean.

OK, so now the media is telling us that Erika was a little berserk – well, who isn’t these days, seems to be in style “from sea to shining sea;” and she understandably mistook the dark-skinned Hindu immigrant for a dreaded Muslim terrorist, you know, one of those bad guys that Uncle Sam and his media friends have constantly reminded us to be wary of. And this woman reiterated that same sense of dread in her own words when questioned earlier this week; she wanted to get back at all those Muslims who got us on September 11th.  She sounded no more irrational to me than GW Bush did to his fellow Americans over a decade ago.  In fact this woman said she has been “beating them (Muslims) up” ever since that dreaded day.  Well, what do you know, it is not unlike what Uncle Sam has been doing around the globe, especially in MENA, since that day as well.  After all, she thought the darker-skinned man was a Muslim so it was justified in her mind, never mind that she was mistaken and that he became just some collateral damage in her private war on terror: a minor error in judgment resulting from her rather hasty miscalculation.

That’s the price of war, declared or not.  And Uncle Sam knows all about collateral damage and the price of undeclared war; speaking of prices… here we are back to that fiscal cliff thingy again.  Perhaps that’s what all the deaths are about the past few years in the good old USA, just a lot of collateral damage resulting from the disillusioned judgment of brainwashed and delusional citizens defending their misguided conception of rights and entitlements – home and homeland. The average American has had it drilled into her/his head that the enemy must be stopped at all costs. Sieg heil!  That message has gone hand-in-glove with the general background noise of American exceptionalism, manifest destiny, might makes right, infinite expansion, continual progress, perfection, and an ontological apperception of guilt that haunts every John or Jane Doe who feels themselves under-appreciated, devalued, debased, abused, unsuccessful, virtualized, or otherwise marginalized by the dominant psychotic culture of competitive consumption.

I think the incidents in Connecticut and New York this holiday season aptly summarize the state of our nation and the spiraling lunacy characterizing our self-destructive descent.  They seem to encapsulate the speed and trajectory of our decline, just as hurricane Sandy made it clear that our technologies and our systems will not survive the onslaught of a scorned mother nature.  If the dominant culture is focused on extracting the last pound of flesh from each and every citizen-subject, as it clearly is on sucking the life out of Gaia, then one cannot expect all of the body politic to remain quietly in line waiting for their next beating.  There are a certain percentage of folks already on the edge and struggling to make sense (or find a place) in a world where only the senseless (those without feeling) survive.

Don’t misread me.  I am not trying to defend the heinous acts of Erika Menendez, James Holmes, Jacob Tyler Roberts, Adam Lanza, et. al.  Nor, am I suggesting that their motives were by any means identical. What is apparently the case, I fear, is that our culture is leading more and more individuals over the edge: hyper-rationality breeds insanity.  Hyper-individualism breeds contempt.  Hyper-nationalism breeds fear and reprisal.  Hyper-competitiveness breeds jealousy.  But, on top of these diseases of the soul, our political system itself is a joke, with fattened hucksters living off their wealthy sponsors and power-brokered relations.  The financial system is a sham, with other fattened hucksters sucking the life-blood out of us, its victims.  The economic system is a con-game of indentured servitude within a labyrinth of serial and exponentially increasing consumption.  At the macro-level, this society takes from all peoples and places globally, and returns little of real value.

Children, we know, learn from watching their elders.  In a culture stuck at our infantile stage of psychological maturation, the weakest among us will unthinkingly follow the sad example of their leaders. And, as far as the most vulnerable members of our society, we will continue to allow them to play with powerful toys and without proper adult supervision. We encourage and applaud their delusions of greatness and their solipsistic ejaculations of self-adulation; then we watch in horror as they come realize there is no exit, and that the only recourse is to strike-out or strike-back.  And, the result is most often deadly.  Just look at Erika, Adam, or yes, even Barry.

Once an entire culture loses its sense of connectedness to the earthly sensuous, its fundamental rootedness and intertwining with nature – where everything outside itself becomes simply another sign of Otherness to be manipulated, controlled or eliminated – there the arrogance of transcendental consciousness takes hold of the soul, transforming it into an otherworldly spirit on a divine mission… whether it is the mission of POTUS coolly selecting assassination targets overseas, Lloyd Blankfein dutifully “doing God’s work” at Goldman Sachs by rifling grandma’s retirement account, or Erika Menendez throwing a suspected ‘Muslim’ under the bus.  Who among these has committed the more heinous crime?

Anyway, if you are buying the bullshit story of the Pres. and the press that the fiscal cliff deal was your saving grace, think again, and follow the money trail back to Wall Street –the same Wall Street that financed and orchestrated the snuffing out of the OWS movement. And if you further believe that we all are being just a bit too paranoid, then sit back and reflect on the involuntary release of documents from the Domestic Security Alliance Council.  So, who is getting thrown under the bus now?

162 Responses to Thrown Under the Bus!

  1. Disaffected says:

    Happy New Year Sandy! It’s 2013 now and the kid gloves are off all around. I think it’s safe to say that from here on out the corporate/government noose is only going to get tighter for us all – an entirely foreseeable and natural response to the end of the fossil fuel enabled industrial capitalist era that has kept us all warm and comfy for the past 200 years or so. The ride down the far side of Hubbert’s Peak promises to be every bit as interesting as the prognosticators have been forecasting – and to think, we’re just getting started! It’s safe to say now that the US government – a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall St Inc. now – is entirely committed to the idea of wringing every last drop from the current oil economy, looming epic environmental and economic catastrophes notwithstanding. And in the end, what other choice did they/we have past about 1970 or so? It’s looking increasingly like that was the inflection point for the current state of affairs; the last chance for the earth and humans in the face of what has turned out to be a monumentally stupid gamble on our part to embrace the allures of an energy source that made us seem like gods, but in the end only revealed our basic petty thieving natures all the more efficiently.

    At this point, the only question to my mind is which catastrophe is going to get to feed on our carcasses first (and in actuality, it will likely be a combination of hammer blows from them all): will it be the financial sorting out (which is already in progress and could collapse precipitously at any time) and plain old fashioned starvation/deprivation, or will it be the resource wars (ditto) and quick annihilation, or will it be death due to “natural disaster,” as the planet repudiates with extreme prejudice all of our current stupidity? I would only add, the current conflagration does seem historically noteworthy in that all of these factors seem to have “peaked” simultaneously, which probably shouldn’t be surprising, as they all have the same root cause. An historically anomalous one time only gift of concentrated energy of almost unimaginable proportions that laid dormant for millions of years, just waiting for us to come along and unlock its potential for both good and evil in our decidedly unevolved hands.

    I think Guy McPherson’s got it about right. 2100 looks like the optimistic number for us now. 2050’s probably much closer to the mark, with the current industrial economy a mere relic by 2030 or so. Probably all for the best, but inevitable at this point in any case.

    By the way, just finishing up JHK’s Too Much Magic. Great read! The man has definitely done his research, and his writing style is simply captivating. Similar to The Long Emergency, but better, as the doesn’t have to waste time explaining all the basics to the newcomers. Highly recommended.

    And the fiscal cliff thing? That’s going to be an ongoing Sword of Damocles meme trotted out every six months or so from now on, as congress and the Prez perpetuate the illusion of impending financial doom due to entitlement spending for the poor. All so they can hand out entitlements to the corporations and the rich out of the other hand. What a farce!

    • kulturcritic says:

      Howdy, DA. And с Новым Годом to you as well. It is good to see you up front with a reply. I have missed your jump-starts recently. I also see 2050 as an outside date for global chaos; that would make me 97 years old. So I probably won’t be around to see it… thank mother earth. But, it sure is frightening watching the paint already peeling off the facade. LOL

    • derekthered says:

      “An historically anomalous one time only gift of concentrated energy of almost unimaginable proportions that laid dormant for millions of years, just waiting for us to come along and unlock its potential for both good and evil in our decidedly unevolved hands.”
      “an ongoing Sword of Damocles meme trotted out every six months or so from now on, as congress and the Prez perpetuate the illusion of impending financial doom due to entitlement spending for the poor. All so they can hand out entitlements to the corporations and the rich out of the other hand.”

      that’s good stuff.

      • Disaffected says:

        Thanks. I tries to call it as I sees it. And the picture is starting to come into focus with amazing clarity these days, isn’t it?

        • leavergirl says:

          I can’t believe anyone is still listening to McPherson’s prophecies. Failures, the vast majority of them. When he babbled how there’d be hardly any cars on America’s highways in 2012, I bailed. Somebody ought to stone the guy. Metaphorically, of course.

          • kulturcritic says:

            He’s a scientist… give the guy a break

          • Disaffected says:

            Time frames aside, he’s at least attuned to the actual science, and not the global warming denier crowd, as attractive as denial is and will continue to be. And the science is getting clearer by the day on all fronts. Although, I will admit that making overly-aggressive predictions – especially with regards to human reaction to events – undermines his credibility somewhat (JHK has the same proclivity). And in the end, if we need a few modern day Cassandras to scare the shit out of people to get their attention that seems to be a small price to pay.

            • leavergirl says:

              Hehe… he’s a scientist, so why is he behaving like a gullibilist? That’s precisely why he gets no breaks from me. Being a scientist carries certain responsibilities… nah?

              Disaffected, if scaring the shit out of people worked, we would have long ago made some headway. It is precisely that it does not work… except it stirs up the gullible crowds to stupidity — people panic-buying, teenagers killing themselves, and of course the new agers flocking to the “sacred spot” du jour. Bah humbug.

          • Frank Kling says:

            Guys specific prognostications may be off, but he describes without equivocation the future we have created for ourselves and saddest of all, the vast majority of Earth’s biodiversity. I appreciate Guy’s thankless efforts.

            • leavergirl says:

              “May be off”, Frank? Them’s weasel words. Honesty seems to have been thrown under the bus by doomer-porn spewers, too.

              • Disaffected says:

                “Doomer porn.” I see you’ve been making the mainstream rounds again LG. Nothing like a having an unrepentant sunny optimist in our midst to pick things up. If we could all just commune with nature and return to permaculture, evil capitalism would disappear and we would all realize heaven right here on earth again, eh? I liked your blog, even as I read that the experiments you reviewed were all having the same problems the rest of us do and then some. And I even bought two more of Quinn’s books (who, by the way, is a bit of a grandiose pompous motherfucker if there ever was one), as I very much liked the story of Ishmael, which I read a few years back. Let me break it to you gently. 7B+ people ain’t gonna be even remotely sustainable and the collapse back to 700K or so (if we can even sustain that many on the way down) ain’t gonna be even remotely what those people think it will be. And they’re not even going it alone without a safety net anyway, which makes most of what they’re doing kind of a moot point. I suppose such efforts are in some way admirable for some (although I think trying to live as an involuntarily homeless person in Anywhere USA is even more so), but one thing they’re not is a sustainable solution to any of our current problems. But hey, if it makes you feel good and it doesn’t hurt anyone, be my guest. It’s just too bad we didn’t have a mass movement like that about 50-100 years ago when it might have made a difference. But just remember, when the worst effects of climate change begin to bite in about 10-15 years or so, you and they all will be lined up with the rest of us looking for any available lifeboat. Unfortunately for most, there won’t be any this time.

              • Disaffected says:

                And I think that the reason that you disrespect Guy and the “Doomers” so much is that what they’re saying scares the living shit out of you. Come on now, admit it. You’ll feel much better after you get that little bit of business taken care of.

                • leavergirl says:

                  If you think doomer porn has anything to do with sex, you are far more confused than you should be, Disaffected.
                  http://leavingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/doomer-mania-i/

                  And btw, this old post reminded me of another prediction McPherson had made: stone age by 2018. Whee! So all, learn some flint knapping, and spear making. You never know… ha!

                  • Disaffected says:

                    I hadn’t made that connection, but I’m willing to try anything once. If anything, I think Kunstler (especially) and McPherson don’t connect the dots full enough regarding the implications. It means there ain’t gonna be any “going back” to anything, other than a very brief triage with whatever’s at hand on the way down. Something more along the lines of McCarthy’s The Road or similar.

                  • Disaffected says:

                    Read your link. Very reasonable case made and I’m mostly sympathetic with much of it, especially the “cult” aspects of “doomerism.” But, fair to say, I’m just a little bit more pessimistic than you. I’m late to McPherson (just a month or two ago), and although I’ve been following Kunstler’s blog for a year or two now, I’ve never taken his specific predictions all that seriously from the start. Simply put, no one has that much foresight, no matter how “tuned into the zeitgeist” they are. But they are only two sources among many, and if you read enough of ’em and compare their long range loose predictions, there’s no mistaking the fact that something’s up. Something pretty damn big as a matter of fact. And pooh-poohing is exactly the climate change deniers stock in trade. And for what its worth, Kunstler’s books read much more intelligently than his blog, which I sometimes think he just tosses off for his personal amusement.

                    • leavergirl says:

                      Disaffected: To respond to this, and your inquiry above, is this. You don’t fight fair. You strawmanned me, you ridiculed me as the one who is scared out of my wits, and now you are linking me to deniers because I detest the irresponsible, manipulative bullshit “prophecies” people like McPherson and Kunstler spew. Those are all varieties of attacking the person rather than the argument. If you are so attached to their spewage to be fair to your fellow commenters, then I have nothing further to say.

                    • Disaffected says:

                      Cool!

    • Disaffected says:

      Just to sum up on Guy and his predictions, he makes one point that’s truly sobering and should be, on the face of it, accepted as a basic, self-evident truth. And that is that climate change scientists are necessarily conservative in their forecasts – sometimes drastically slow – for the same reasons that he’s not. First, they still have their reputation to protect within the academy, which is itself necessarily conservative, even where it’s not overtly biased. Second, the academy is biased due to to the obvious fact that they’re being funded/defunded on both a general and specific research project basis by big business, and therefore are beholden to its interests. And three, due to the catastrophic implications of the research, researches, fellow academics, and everyone else all suffer from denial based cognitive dissonance to a greater or lesser degree, just as the posts on this blog reveal that all of us do to0. I mean really now, what do you do with the news that your very existence as a first world carbon emitter is contributing greatly to the problem that’s going to end the human experiment on this planet within a few generations, and that the entire civilization of which you are a member is a corrupt, death dealing beast? And that’s just one of our problems! The next one – peak oil/resources – is going to be a deal breaker too…

      Found this video series on the net last night. Cheers.

  2. Collapse Watch says:

    And what of that Bus?

    Why, it’s positively magical!!! The medium is the message. Next stop? You can’t buy it, and now you can’t even ride it…..but, you can get thrown under it. Nix that. You will get thrown under it. That’s a guarantee in a world with no guarantees.

  3. derekthered says:

    “the beatings will continue until morale improves”

    continual expansion is the way the ruling class buys off the population, rather than finding a more just and sustainable way of life. millions of small self-sufficient farmsteads do not lend themselves to Madison Avenue hucksters pushing the latest I-Pod.

    “I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow
    And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow
    This place is cruel no where could be much colder
    If we don’t change the world will soon be over
    Living just enough, just enough for the city!!!! ”

    Stevie Wonder – Living for the City

    there are prophets all around us.

  4. bmiller says:

    Remember when you hit the ground to roll to the center and avoid the bus wheels.
    Anyway, I don’t think anyone is surprised at the collusion of the banking and the security forces. But it remains disturbing. It does still register as a mild shock that I personally continue to go through the motions as if there is still some honor or purpose to our culture. Not really an act of cognitive dissonance just one of complicity and compliance.
    That complicity and compliance reminds me of the great line in “Pride and Prejudice” where Mr. Bennett remarks on his being under obligation to a relation; “I’m heartily ashamed of myself. But that feeling will pass and sooner than it should”.

    • Disaffected says:

      I personally continue to go through the motions as if there is still some honor or purpose to our culture. Not really an act of cognitive dissonance just one of complicity and compliance.

      Well, but remember, for most of us there simply are no realistic choices in the matter. That’s the beauty of the all-encompassing self-perpetuating system we’ve built. I simply call it resignation.

      I know that sounds like a cop out, and perhaps it is. But it’s also true for the lion’s share of people currently sucking oxygen here on terra firma. We’ve constructed a system which allowed us to overpopulate like cockroaches, and so we did, and now here we are. There’s more of us than there are places to get away to, and most of us have been so helplessly weaned on the current consumer culture that we’d be helpless on our own anyway. And that’s before you even entertain the idea of going head to head with a corporate/governmental structure that doesn’t suffer renegade iconoclasts gladly in the least.

      No, I’ve made my peace with going down with the ship within the current system. Matter of fact, that’s the main question still to be resolved for those of us who “get it.” It’s no longer a matter of if the whole charade is going down in flames, but rather, what will be our individual and/or collective responses as it does. I think Sandy’s post last week on the Tao was particularly helpful and informative in that regard. Head down, mindful and peaceful within and without, while continually trying to radiate tranquility and harmony in an external environment that will be anything but. I think for most of us that’s all there is to be done.

      • kulturcritic says:

        If only I could follow my own advice, DA! LOL

        • Ivy Mike says:

          Advise? By definition, it’s for other people!

          Wish me well today, I’m getting thrown under the hood to replace upper plenum and lower manifold gaskets, fuel pressure regulator, coolant temperature sensor and elbows, thermostat, and spark plugs and wires in my wife’s Oldsmobuick. Drop and roll!

          When can we go back to horse and buggy and bicycles? So much nicer. I’m sick of being a slave to the machine, but I’d rather not be in the hospital morgue trying to navigate the Frantic Carscape without a ton of iron to protect.

          • One of favorite and most memorable (must have been 40 years ago) T-shirt sayings is: “Take my advice–I’m not using it.” This is right up there with the tiny toddler’s T-shirt that read: “Single.”

    • kulturcritic says:

      Thanks fot the advice Mr Miller… drop and roll!

  5. From my perspective, that is quite a rich presentation of accurate observations both in Sandy’s essay and Disaffected’s offering.

    “But, on top of these diseases of the soul, our political system itself is a joke, with fattened hucksters living off their wealthy sponsors and power-brokered relations. The financial system is a sham, with other fattened hucksters sucking the life-blood out of us, its victims. The economic system is a con-game of indentured servitude within a labyrinth of serial and exponentially increasing consumption. At the macro-level, this society takes from all peoples and places globally, and returns little of real value.”

    This reminds me of a quote I read from Adlai Stevenson: “Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy; but good administration can never save bad policy.”
    Have a go at this one, too:

    “Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.”

    Here are a couple of thoughts I had this week that might fit into the rather broad theme:
    Does anyone else agree that our conversations regarding gun manufacturing, ownership, and regulation need to move toward a more complex and critical level of thinking with rhetoric to match? If so, I recommend we forgo the childish view of a world consisting of “good guys” and “bad guys.”

    There is growing number, I think, of people who blame the practice of religious principles for many of the world’s conflicts and wars. But is this true or appropriate? Take for example the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see the perpetuation of this conflict resulting from an absence of religious values, namely the sincere and devotional practice of forgiving and forgetting. For that matter, where is the forbearance, the generosity, the kindness, the brotherhood, and the self-sacrifice to be found in this conflict? Ironically, perhaps actually living in accord with true religious precepts could prove a remedy for this conflict; it is certainly far from being its root cause.

    Have a bold, calm and cheerful new year, Brothers and Sisters.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Sorry Ron – Religion is not only complicit… it was foundational to Empire.

      • No need to be sorry, Sandy, I did not expect you to take my meaning. Let me suggest that instead of core religious precepts being complicit and foundational, rather I place the blame on tribalism (a form of egoism), long held habitual enmity, hatred, jealousy, and perverse abuse of religious dogma to tap the above weaknesses in people who don’t think critically.
        Here’s a question for you or others: are the values, sense of quality of right/wrong or good/bad, and the meaning you find in life more likely to be contained in religious teachings or gleaned from scientific observations/theories/texts? If neither, where?

        • kulturcritic says:

          Ron… you are babbling again! 😉

        • Ivy Mike says:

          are the values, sense of quality of right/wrong or good/bad, and the meaning you find in life more likely to be contained in religious teachings or gleaned from scientific observations/theories/texts?

          Yes. 😉

          David Sloan Wilson (2002) Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society. University of Chicago Press.

        • Greg Knepp says:

          Religion rears its head once more on this page – and for good reason. Our intellingence is our primary survival mechanism, but it is hard-wired for the exclusive purpose of supporting our fang-and-claw struggle for genetic dominance on the individual, clan and (more marginally) tribal levels. But It becomes a mutant monster within the ‘civilized’ format, and cannot be brought to bear in combating the results of the very instincts it was designed to facilitate. This is the result of evolution where humans are concerned. It is immutable – at least in the short term.

          This dilemma was recognized early-on by religious men and women, not by technicians, scholars, sociologists or politicians. In fact, the manifest dysfunction of civilization is the very story of the Old Testament – perhaps its only unifying theme! This is why the great prophets of all faiths have consistently rejected the gross ramifications of civilization outright. The Buddha, Abram, Elijah, Jesus, Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Chaung Tzu – the list goes on – all have done so.

          Sadly, Philosophy, religion’s little brother, has had little positive influence on the dismal state of civilized humanity, as it has provided only intermittent rationalizations for same – all such rationalizations seeming quaint within a generation or two of their invention, only to be replaced by a new set of impotent musings. Science and technology has equally failed us, heaping complexity upon complexity, thereby exacerbating the severity of problems it set out to correct. And yet, science comes naturally to the tool-using animal, so we turn to it despite its dubious results.

          However, Religion, as disjointed as it may seem at times, has at least recognized the full scope and nature of the human dilemma, has asked the right questions, and has proposed some interesting and fully workable solutions – solutions that involve a larger view, often described as ‘spiritual’ or ‘transcendent’. I, along with Ron, would not dismiss religion so cavalierly, as it has been both a generator and a repository of much that is
          profound within the human experience.

          • kulturcritic says:

            Nothing here is done cavalierly, Greg… but, I see you also have taken to babbling yet again.

            Your extreme Hobbesian view of the human condition, together with your biological determinism, does not quite mesh with your embrace of the “transcendent.” I would offer for your consideration viewing science, religion and politics as all being cut from the same cloth. Of course, I am speaking of all of these as civilized (and hierarchical) cultural structures. Also, I do not deny that the OT speaks rather clearly about the profound problematic of civilized life and kingship in particular. That is why it took the Israelites so long to take a king, instead of judges and prophets to set direction. But, the OT is also part and parcel of the temporal problematic – time as a unidirectional event unfolding, effect after cause, in a non-reversible pattern leading to an ultimate conclusion. It also sets up a duality leading to denial of the body – shame, guilt, etc. But we even see the beginnings of this in the Epic of Gilgamesh as well, an antecedent to the OT, I believe. Anyway, time for bed. Sandy

            • Greg Knepp says:

              The Epic of Gilgamesh – my god, don’t get me started! What a stunning, prophetic piece of work. Gilgamesh and Enkidnu the Wildman get plastered and destroy a pristine Cedar forest just for the hell of it…and perhaps to display their mastery over the natural world. The end was written in the beginning. I’m in awe…and, to quote James Howard Kunstler,
              “I weep for humanity.”

              • kulturcritic says:

                But, remember, it was when Gilgamesh sent the prostitute from the city to seduce Enkidu, that the wildman who ran with and communicated with animals was finally tamed, broken away from nature, unable to commune with the animals anymore. And when Enkidu entered the city with his seductress he completed his transformation into a civilized man… dressing up in part of the prostitute’s clothing, eating bread for the first time, and then getting drunk. Then he changed into men’s clothing, now wholly civilized.

                • Greg Knepp says:

                  It’s true; it’s all there, boldly written for all to see. We have no excuses. We don’t lack for reason or understanding. It’s simply that we apparently have no choice – only the illusion of choice. I wish it were not so (Hobbesian S.O.B. that I am.)

                  • kulturcritic says:

                    We do have a choice, Greg… or, more accurately, we did. You are a Hobbesian SOB; but I forgive you your ignorance. There is no human nature Writ Large; there are only choices, and we made a big fuking mistake. sandy

        • Martin says:

          Depends on which ‘story’ one decides to believe and/or live and where one finds oneself in the overall scheme of things at any particular time. I suppose it’s an evolution of sorts, the resolution of which may be that it doesn’t matter.

        • Disaffected says:

          Here’s a question for you or others: are the values, sense of quality of right/wrong or good/bad, and the meaning you find in life more likely to be contained in religious teachings or gleaned from scientific observations/theories/texts? If neither, where?

          Meaning can only come from within. To paraphrase the Tao: those who know don’t say, those who say don’t know.

          • derekthered says:

            within, without

            maybe it’s the dichotomy that’s the problem, maybe there is no meaning, and that’s the problem, thinking that there is maybe leads to it’s own sort of attachment; the famed “original sin”, a projection of ego upon the world, comes naturally to us.
            transcendental/existential, ego/attachment, hell if i know, shrinks are supposed to know that sort of thing. not to be derogatory to any psyche majors out there, or lawyers, or beets, or peaches.

          • As I have suggested before, I appreciate the astute recognition and limited diagnosis of our world’s problems and predicaments found in Sandy’s essays and comments offered. The difference I have with a prevailing attitude of our fine blogger and responders is that I see these difficulties and sufferings as symptoms not diseases. I am encouraged to seek remedies to aid toward cure by understanding the problem at its root rather than the more readily observable on the surface (“without”).

            Masses of people rarely bother to even look critically on the surface, much less into the why and wherefore of who one really is (we really are), which is the very root of both the problems and their solutions. One must be pricked or prodded by some harsh experience of loss or disappointment to dare to go in for such a thing as it is far from acceptable. It is certainly frowned upon as inappropriate (babbling, perhaps) or even blasphemous in the face of the world’s modern religions: materialism, scientism, nihilism, consumerism, escapism, etc.

            Still, I figure even if a single receptive person were motivated, by my broaching these subjects, to have a look or even consider a look is possible, it is worth the effort and hope I am not creating any damage in the process.

            Let me offer something I read yesterday that I thought might fly better in this arena.
            “The manifesto of the person…marks one of the great turning points in the human story…We may come to see that tribe, nation, class, social movement, revolutionary masses…that all these have, like shadows that eclipse the sun, gained their existence at the expense of something far brighter and more beautiful: our essential and still explored self. And recognizing that truth, we may seek to replace these “higher” social allegiances with an astonishing ethical proposition–that all people are created to be persons, and that persons come first, before all collective fictions.” –Theodore Roszak, Person/Planet

            I am moved to offer the quote that follows the above in this wonderful book of quotes:
            “This oceanic feeling of wonder is the common source of religious mysticism, of pure science and art for art’s sake; it is their common denominator and emotional bond.” –Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation

            • Disaffected says:

              For what it’s worth I agree with all of the above. and believe it or not, try to practice it myself. A mass turning away from established bureaucratic social and political systems is the only thing that will rob them of their authority. I also think it’s the only real option left to us now, to as great of an extent as individually possible at least. That said, we’ve truly given birth to ‘The Beast’ in our current system(s), and it’s not going to just shrink meekly into the night. Ask any one of the millions of third-worlders who are on the ballistic receiving end of US “foreign policy” on a daily basis.

              And back to guns briefly. I can’t help but feel our national gun fetish is a perfect reflection of our national military fetish, and not as a response to the threat of the government to rob individuals of their liberty either. If that were the case, I would think the liberals would be the ones armed to the teeth against government incursion, as they’re the only political stripe that’s truly being threatened these days. No, the people who are hyper pro-gun are for the most part the same people who believe in “strong defense” (a propagandized malaprop if there ever was one) and who would probably pay money to be the one to push the nuke button for any minor perceived slight against the authority of the almighty US of A. Modern day capitalist cowboys in the finest western gunslinger tradition.

              • leavergirl says:

                Yup. A critical mass of people turning away, and another critical mass growing alternatives.

              • derekthered says:

                i think you let the liberals off too lightly, they like guns just fine, as long as they are at a distance. witness the blogosphere, there are a very few such as glenn greenwald/chris hedges who vocally question our country’s foreign policy, and they get little or no traction at all, at all.

                i would also comment that it’s hard to tlak about people using eupemisms and such, “person”, “inner”, “outer”, this is a ahbit that afflicts huge swathes of modern thinking.

                • Disaffected says:

                  True that, but most people who call themselves “liberal” these days aren’t, especially when it comes to foreign policy. In that area, most are just “America first’ers,” in line the with the current team sports mania. They may not particularly care for militarism per se, but as long as they and their’s don’t have to do any of the actual fighting and dieing, and as long as the shit stays “over there” somewhere out of sight and out of mind, they could really give a fuck less. That’s what makes our current despotic “democracy” possible in the first place. You no longer have to have a powerful majority to perpetuate the currently expanding tyranny, you just have to prevent a powerful majority from forming to block it. Once again, there should be no doubt whatsoever. Wherever fascist military imperialism is prepared to take us in the coming years, we’re definitely going along for the entire ride!

            • Greg Knepp says:

              Yes, I’d pay attention to this Ron fellow. He seems to have a grip on the need for personal transcendence, and the applicability of religion in serving this need.

              “I see the difficulties and sufferings as symptoms, not diseases.”

              My point exactly! I rather fuzzily define the disease as the ‘Human Condition’. Not very original, but it works for me. Poe says it better:

              “The play is the tragedy, Man.
              its hero, The Conqueror Worm.”

            • kulturcritic says:

              Ron – your sarcastic attempts at giving a complement are boring and saccharine sweet. They are meaningless blubbering at best. Your quotations are cute, but you do not understand the contexts from which they have been plucked; you seem to grasp hold of cute words that make you feel good. That is your prerogative. However, to play here you should think harder and offer us a real thought, not someone else digested sputum.

          • While looking (GoogleMagic) for a good version of this story I read this weekend, I came across this whose commentary fit nicely to your above comment, Dis. Here is the story with the commentary:

            Here is a beautiful story of how a samurai warrior found out the difference between heaven and hell.

            There was once a powerful samurai warrior in Japan, he was a leader of men and very faithful to his country. He would think nothing of giving his own life if it meant helping his emperor or country.

            This warrior was used to battle and he had killed many men and so he was beginning to wonder if there was a heaven and a hell and if so how could he get to heaven and stay clear of hell.

            He was concerned that he may not be allowed into heaven due to the fact that he had killed so many men this lifetime.

            He had heard of the famous Zen master Hakuin and was told he could show him how to get to heaven. He decided to go and meet him and traveled long and far to find him.

            After many days of gruesome travel over mountains and rough terrain he finally found the master. The warrior was doubtful when he met master Hakuin, he looked just like a simple peasant and the warrior really wondered if this simple man could authentically answer his question.

            After all this travel it would be pointless to go back without asking the question and so the strong warrior asked Hakuin if indeed there was a heaven and a hell, and if so how could he get to heaven and avoid hell?

            Master Hakuin being a very wise man, answered the question in a way the warrior would never forget.

            Master Hakuin replied, “who are you?” to which the warrior replied, I am the chief samurai warrior of Japan and I work directly with the emperor, I am the leader of all samurai in Japan.

            Hakuin laughed and said, you a warrior, you are nothing but talk, you could not save your self never mind our emperor, don’t waste my time, go!

            At this the warrior was deeply offended and was immediately angry, he drew his sword ready to kill this peasant man in front of him, but just before he made the strike, Hakuin shouted, “Stop!” and continued, “this is hell.” The warrior stopped and put his sword back in its sheath and Hakuin smiled as he said “and this is heaven.”

            The samurai got the message, the master had shown him how his anger was his own hell and his alert consciousness was his own heaven.

            He realized that heaven and hell exist within us, it is always a choice as to how we respond to life.

            It is said that the great samurai warrior threw down his sword and armour and followed the path of the spiritual warrior.

            Always remember that if you react you are unconscious, work on watching your reactions so that eventually you begin to respond to life with conscious awareness.

            A reaction is following a pattern of behaviour from the unconscious that you have used to stop seeing yourself more clearly, or that you have used to avoid feeling your feelings, especially if those feelings are painful.

            With time you will learn to respond to life rather than react, then you become conscious of who you are in each given moment and you start to create life the way you want, you become the conscious director of your own life.

            It is not the outside that creates your inner feelings, it is always the meaning you give to what is happening that creates your inner world and this meaning you always have power over, you can decide what meaning you give to everything in your life.

            Decide to allow heaven into your daily reality, its a choice away and the more often you do it, the easier it becomes to create regularly.

            • Disaffected says:

              Very nice.

            • derekthered says:

              “With time you will learn to respond to life rather than react, then you become conscious of who you are in each given moment and you start to create life the way you want, you become the conscious director of your own life.

              It is not the outside that creates your inner feelings, it is always the meaning you give to what is happening that creates your inner world and this meaning you always have power over, you can decide what meaning you give to everything in your life.”

              sounds like a bunch of happy talk to me, is that “the secret”? we are the directors of our life conscious or not, that’s the first thing. second thing is that there are all sorts of circumstances in our life over which we have no control, especially for us on the bottom of the heap. sure, how we respond to circumstance is somewhat under our control, but even then, every person has their breaking point.
              and sorry ron, it is the oputside that causes “feelings”, shit happens, we get rolled over by the ruling class, it causes anger, resntment, etc.
              look , i take your point, the zen is all very good, but there is something about your dialectic that makes me wonder if you have ever shoveled pig fat up off the floor for $8.75/hour.

              nah, sorry, not buying it, try as you might, that zen master may be all peaceful, but he lives on the mountaintop, not down in da hood. nevermind as to whether there is a heaven or hell, and whether they are inside of us, very subjective, unrpovable, an imagined concept drenched in dichotomy. i don’t have an inner or outer world, just one, the one we all live in.

              • I get it Derek, you’re stickin’ to your worldview and satisfied with remaining skeptical of anything that opposes it. That is modern thinking, too. I respect that you choose to live in accord with your experience of “reality,” while exercising critical thinking. It beats the heck out of the masses of folks content to let their peers and the media do their thinking (programming) for them.

                • derekthered says:

                  i’m not sticking to nothing, it’s all just words, the “dialectic”, it’s the whole “worldview” thing, isn’t that right at the root of what we talk about? thinking of the cosmos as other?
                  something we “view”? thereby creating a separation, arising out of our own minds?

                  yes, one type of attachment disorder among many, which feeds into the power structure, and brings us to where we are today. at a certain point, whether in a society, individual, any organic system, when they have become traumatized enough, it’s becomes a case of managing symptoms; it takes recovery time, which we probably don’t have.

                  but to your original point, it does seem odd for a Shinto Buddhist to be asking the master about heaven and hell, which smacks so much of western sensibilities. besides which, heaven and hell isn’t even scriptural, not the way i read the KJV, which is of course totally irrelevant, just saying………..

                  be that as it may, i’m back at the basic question, can one really let go of attachment? should we want to? i don’t think we can, we are flesh and blood, only human. least that’s what Smith says, which is the whole other side of this coin; whether we are caught in a dialectic of the past while the world has moved on to a new synthesis, of which we don’t have a clue.

                  which is what’s cool about the premise here, these supposed civilized ancient societies that we base wholesale assumptions upon, they were corrupt, slave-owning, it goes back to the Greeks, once more, the old? maybe other assumptions are wrong, but get lost in the applause.

                  i’m stuck with this inner/outer thing, something seems not quite right there.

            • kulturcritic says:

              Derek is right, Ron. You cling to a dualistic worldview that is a creation of the collective imagination. You are so much a part of that herd you wish to rail against. But that is your choice; and if Greg wants to follow you like a mouse following the pied piper, that is his prerogative as well. I will not even bother arguing with your assumptions; they are fixed in cement.

    • Disaffected says:

      As to guns: I’ve given up on that subject. Nothing that can be said and done at this point will change people’s minds in the US at least regarding that subject. Hardly surprising in a society which has been fully militarized and is totally in the thrall of on-screen and sports violence.

      As to religion: There’s a whole lot of wisdom and possibly comfort to be gained from all (or at least most) religious texts as soon as you strip the idea of religion from them. Religious worship is the problem. And saviors? Don’t get me started!

      • Ivy Mike says:

        “conversations regarding gun manufacturing, ownership, and regulation need to move toward a more complex and critical level of thinking with rhetoric to match?”

        The Second Amendment is all about egalitarian power-SHARING.

        Do you prefer a pyramidal hierarchy over sharing power equally? My reply is: Molon labe! (Greek for “come and take them)

        Yeah, I think I’ll just stick with Pravda’s critical thinking skills:

        “…it is about power and a total power over the people.”

        Americans never give up your guns
        By Stanislav Mishin | Pravda | 28.12.2012
        english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/28-12-2012/123335-americans_guns-0/

        “…guns…fully militarized…”

        The egalitarian power-SHARING 2nd Amendment was originally intended to prevent the government from raising a standing army, i.e., militarization.

        “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty….” ~Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

        So yeah, let’s fully apply the 2A and take away the guns from Cops (America’s Standing Army) and the Pentagon (the Global Standing Army.)

        • Disaffected says:

          So yeah, let’s fully apply the 2A and take away the guns from Cops (America’s Standing Army) and the Pentagon (the Global Standing Army.)

          Fat chance. We’re accelerating hell bent for leather in the opposite direction on that one with no apparent end in sight. All by design in my opinion.

    • Greg Knepp says:

      Ron, I’m not certain why you draw so much fire on this page. Your remarks seem measured and rational – and typically address the theme. You’re certainly not attempting to ‘win sinners to Christ’ or anything like that.

      What do you make of it? I mean the vociferous and personal nature of some of the responses – not the point-to-point disagreements (they are a given in any discourse).
      I’m puzzled.

  6. “””””Once an entire culture loses its sense of connectedness to the earthly sensuous, its fundamental rootedness and intertwining with nature – where everything outside itself becomes simply another sign of Otherness to be manipulated, controlled or eliminated – there the arrogance of transcendental consciousness takes hold of the soul, transforming it into an otherworldly spirit on a divine mission… whether it is the mission of POTUS coolly selecting assassination targets overseas, Lloyd Blankfein dutifully “doing God’s work” at Goldman Sachs by rifling grandma’s retirement account, or Erika Menendez throwing a suspected ‘Muslim’ under the bus. Who among these has committed the more heinous crime?””””

    I would object to this paragraph and its conclusion, if not for the inclusion of the word “mission”. “Transcendental” is a tricky word choice though too, tied up as it is with Thoreau and Longfellow and that crowd. I guess I have the sense, that whatever I am, it is vastly more mysterious and profound than any human concept. Which keying on the word mysterious, and like you say, immersed in nature, I can’t conceive of any “transcendental mission.” I mean, I can, and do, being a modern human, but then I usually laugh at myself and call out the word, sing-song-like “in-fla-tion!”

    Indeed, I find it increasingly difficult to take seriously any human concept, the corruption of language being so thorough, the materialist exploitation of people and the earth becoming so institutionalized, so inescapable. It is almost as if we are perfecting some collective insanity – at the cusp of some great reckoning, for everybody. Is it just me, or is the world becoming more surreal day by day?

    • kulturcritic says:

      Acknowledging the limits of language WHD… I would say the a “transcendental” perspective is removed from the body and nature; a soul finds its home otherwise. LOL

    • Disaffected says:

      It is almost as if we are perfecting some collective insanity

      Drop the word ‘almost’ and that’s perfect! A supposedly “evolved, self-aware, and responsible” species that has totally divorced itself from its natural environment and is now committing global mass ecocide is by definition perfectly insane. Drunk on hubris, greed, and self-delusion.

      And yes, the freak show is growing more surreal by the day.

  7. Ivy Mike says:

    “Federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

    As it has always been, from the times of the Corporate Temple priestcraft in Mesopotamia renting out the land to peasants and pacifying them with whatever Potentate was compliant and brutal enough,* to here in North America, where the lower classes of European settlers, if they get too “wild,” get treated with the disdain and brutality that the Native American tribes were.

    Trail of Tears. Many miles to go.
    ________
    * A great read about this business-religion-government Matrix is historian Diane Agorio’s book SEX RITES: The Origins of Christianity (The Ritual Use of Sex, Drugs, and Human Sacrifice). http://ancientmeme.blogspot.com/

    • leavergirl says:

      Where has Naomi Wolf been, that she is surprised? Did she think the banksters would take it all sitting down?! That takes me back to my erstwhile claim that open resistance only breeds wilier pests.

      • kulturcritic says:

        so we need covert resistance?

      • Disaffected says:

        I think you underestimate the pests, however; they’re growing wilier either way. Resistance would seem to be pretty much futile at this point.

        • leavergirl says:

          I don’t like the word resistance either. Well, yes, they are getting wilier… but like with germs, fighting them aids them to evolve.

          • Ivy Mike says:

            Resistance is the correct term.

            “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance Let them take arms … The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

            ~Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787

            • Disaffected says:

              Absent a military coup, I doubt any “resisting” common citizens do these days with guns and weapons of any sort is gonna end well for anybody, least of all the resisters. Might have been a whole lot better had we resisted corporate fascism back at the end of WWII, when it first took off and began its transformation into the monster we have today. (Funny that Eisenhower was the one who warned us all of the MICC as he left office, immediately after spending the previous eight years personally giving birth to the damn thing in the first place!) There’s simply too many people (including yours truly) who are locked into a dependency cycle now with the current system, even if it’s only providing a stultifying and meager existence. And in order for resistance to actually mean anything, there needs to be an alternative. Other than making arrangements like Sandy has made – and for most of us that’s simply not possible – we’re all mostly just stuck on the Titanic, listening to the band play on and waiting for the inevitable.

            • kulturcritic says:

              The last effort at resistance (OWS) was met with a fascistic conspiratorial iron fist

              • Ivy Mike says:

                Leftist OWS “I’m a victim” pusscakes played their part well and did get the iron fist.

                But not these gentlemen. Gotta have the right tools.

                Another great photo of the same rally:
                kpbs.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/photos/2010/06/01/opencarry_tx700.jpg?8e0a8887e886a6ff6e13ee030987b3616fc57cd3

                Hierarchy never has liked the Bill of Right’s Egalitarian Power-Stick Sharing clause.

                “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” ~Chairman Mao Tse-tung

    • kulturcritic says:

      Great observation Ivy

  8. derekthered says:

    “”But I got the crystal ball”, he said
    And held it to the light
    So I snatched it, all away from him
    And I showed him how to do it right”

    FRANK ZAPPA COSMIK DEBRIS

  9. Collapse Watch says:

    It all boils down to this. People care too much. Say no to caring, and maybe, just maybe, some form of harmonious equilibrium can be re-established. But, don’t hold your breath. Caring isn’t relinquished readily.

    • Disaffected says:

      Not sure I follow that one.

    • CW, does this comment seek to give credence to the delusions embraced about the curative magic of market capitalism?

    • Greg Knepp says:

      I like it! I’m not sure what the hell it means, but I like it. Rod McKuen said the following. “Sometimes love is knowing when not to care too much”. This is going to take some thought.

      • Ivy Mike says:

        I’m not sure what the hell it means

        Me neither, but I reckon that young man is sailing a close reach to one of my favorite songs from Elevated Indoctrination (f*&king “high school”) Daze.

        • Disaffected says:

          Collins OWNED the 80’s and then… oblivion. Grunge, boy bands, celebrity pop, and what passes for “country” came along. Corporate all.

          • Ivy Mike says:

            True dat; I hate most Nashville pop, now with more corporate fizz action. That’s why I tend to hang with folks who make their own bluegrass music and twang on grandpa’s ol’ Gibson. I’m introducing the grey beards to some new songs they’ve never heard, like Johnny Cash’s Hurt and Gary Jules Mad World. (I know they’re both covers, but those fellows own ’em.) We’ve got another party on the farm later this month.

            • derekthered says:

              why back in the day, we didn’t have but 2 radio stations, and AM at that. one did all the standards, mcCoys and such, the baytles, stones, 90% white dave clark stuff, the top black hits…..
              the other? lots more black musicians, more stones, no beach boys, zombies. especially in the early sixties, motown was killing the airwaves, i liked the second station the most.
              i grew up loving this sort of stuff, best stuff on the radio.

              strong rhythm section, pumping out the bass, so when Sir Jimmy took that funk and paired it with a screaming Marshall or 2 or 3, yours truly was pre-disposed to the metal.

  10. derekthered says:

    speaking of Lord God Rock and Roll Bands and such, then you’ve probably heard this one.

    and she dares to take on one of the legends, one of the Yardbirds, from whence came His Pageness, among other Greats. and she’s like what? under 20 that’s for sure.
    and here’s our girl last year. since everybody insists on being so spiritual.

    but see? there she is, paying her dues, learning the repertoire.
    no doubt Led Zeppelin II is the Greatest Rock Album ever to be recorded, IMHO, hands down, His Highness was smoking, recorded in 3 different studios, while on tour no less, but then isn’t that when you would be your best?
    but then that was then, this is now. all about the players.

    • kulturcritic says:

      WOW!! Did I need THAT!!!

      • derekthered says:

        at music stores, venues, jam sessions, wherever serious musicians discuss their craft Ms. Wilkenfeld’s name pops up. the lady is still just a rookie by music standards, and it will be interesting to see just how good she gets.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tal_Wilkenfeld
        she reminds ne of Entwistle (RIP), in that she really pays attention to her fretwork.
        it is a culture blog after all.

    • Ivy Mike says:

      Hey Red, thanks for the music! I’m listening now that I’ve got evening chores done and the wife’s car fixed, again. I didn’t get the coolant hose onto the thermostat housing quite tight enough from having the Oldsmobuick‘s engine half apart this weekend. And yeah, I agree the females are smokin’ hot. 🙂

      “It impossible for a man to love his wife wholeheartedly without loving all women somewhat. I suppose that the converse must be true of women.” ~Robert Heinlein

      • derekthered says:

        yours truly is a veritable kinda-sewer of early rock, Zombies, Robert Johnson, my candidate is………………

        jeff beck, rod stewart, nicky hopkins, ron wood on bass (that’s right), mickey waller on the skins.

        there has to be a second behind Lord God Rock and Roll Band’s Masterpiece. not that i don’t appreciate later stuff, just like my music to have a lot of crunch. and who’s on third? dark side? give me a break. get yer ya-ya’s out?

        • kulturcritic says:

          OK – since we are now doing music class. I am formally submitting a piece of nostalgia from the Boston band, Viloet Nine, that I produced 8 years ago when I was running a small label called PKG Entertainment. Enjoy!! OK found a url link on YouTube. Sandy

  11. Collapse Watch says:

    Me neither

    Really?

    What about Reverend J. A. L. Singh? You don’t think he cared too much? No Child Left Behind didn’t originate with Dubya. It didn’t originate with the good Reverend, either, but it was at play in his abduction and imprisonment of “Amala” and “Kamala.” He cared too much. If only he hadn’t, those two heretofore “free” female humans would have remained free the rest of their days with no “man” to care too much for them.

    How is it you can read Richard’s book review and compliment it, yet not understand the comment that seems to have stumped everyone including yourself….to the point you must mock that which you fail to take the time to understand?

    Caring and control go hand in hand, like a horse and carriage. It’s Good Cop, Bad Cop, and guess which one is which? Caring is the more deceitful of this Dastardly Duo.

    The Power of One

    Always in life an idea starts small, it is only a sapling idea, but the vines will come and they will try to choke your idea so it cannot grow and it will die and you will never know you had a big idea, an idea so big it could have grown thirty meters through the dark canopy of leaves and touched the face of the sky. The vines are people who are afraid of originality, of new thinking. Most people you encounter will be vines; when you are a young plant they are very dangerous. Always listen to yourself. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matter, you have learned something and you grow stronger. If you are right, you have taken another step toward a fulfilling life.

    • “The vines are people who are afraid of originality, of new thinking. Most people you encounter will be vines; when you are a young plant they are very dangerous. Always listen to yourself. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention.”

      Very wise! Cole Porter took up the subject in song:

      Experiment (Cole Porter)
      Verse
      Before you leave these portals
      To meet less fortunate mortals,
      There’s just one final message I would give to you.
      You all have learned reliance
      On the sacred teachings of science,
      So I hope, through life, you never will decline
      In spite of philistine defiance
      To do what all good scientists do.
      Refrain
      Experiment. Make it your motto day and night.
      Experiment And it will lead you to the light.
      The apple on the top of the tree
      Is never too high to achieve,
      So take an example from Eve,
      Experiment.
      Be curious, Though interfering friends may frown.
      Get furious At each attempt to hold you down.
      If this advice you”ll only employ
      The future can offer you infinite joy
      And merriment,
      Experiment
      And you’ll see

  12. Collapse Watch says:

    Discovered this all female band in the past year. They’re true “Rockers,” and whereas they’re all female, they’re no conventional “Chick” band. They can groove with the best of them. Their sound is mesmerizing, and they’re appropriately named for the times…..all times of Civilization; Warpaint. Try not to get caught in the Undertow.

  13. kulturcritic says:

    And here is something from Tom Dispatch we all need to be cognizant of, everyday!
    In late December 2001, not long after Washington’s second Afghan War began, there was that wedding celebration in eastern Afghanistan in which 110 of 112 villagers were reportedly killed by American B-52 and B-1B bombers using precision guided weapons. Then there were the more than 40 Iraqi wedding celebrants (27 from one extended family, including 14 children) who died when U.S. planes struck their party at a village near the Syrian border back in May 2004, and the Afghan bridal party of 70 to 90 who were taken out by a U.S. airstrike on a road near the Pakistani border in July 2008. (The bride and 46 of those accompanying her died, according to an Afghan inquiry, including 39 women and children.) Added to this list should be the 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women, and children, ranging in age from 3 to 76, murdered by U.S. Marines in November 2005 in the long-forgotten Haditha massacre. And the 14-year-old girl whom American soldiers gang-raped and murdered along with her family in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, the next year. And then there was the headline-grabbing case of those 16 civilians, nine of them children, 11 from one family, reportedly slaughtered (and some of their corpses burned) by Staff Sergeant Robert Bales in two southern Afghan villages in the course of a single night in March 2012.

    Let’s not forget either the 12 Iraqis, including two Reuters employees, shot dead (and two children badly wounded) on a Baghdad street in July 2007 by the laughing crew of an Apache helicopter, as revealed in an infamous video released by WikiLeaks. There were also the 60 children (and up to 30 adults) who died in the Afghan village of Azizabad on an August night in 2008 while attending a memorial service for a tribal leader who had been, villagers reported, anti-Taliban. That, too, was thanks to air strikes. There were also those three (or more) Afghan civilians hunted down “for sport” in the summer of 2010 by a self-appointed U.S. “kill team” who were collecting trophy body parts. And there were the 10 boys, including two sets of brothers, collecting wood for their families in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province early in 2011, who were attacked by U.S. helicopters. Only one wounded boy survived. Or most recently, the 11 Yemeni civilians, including women and children, in a Toyota truck killed by a U.S. airstrike and initially labeled “al-Qaeda militants.”

    Such a list, of course, only scratches the surface of a reality that we in the United States have hardly noticed and so have to expend no effort whatsoever to ignore. Unlike for the victims of 9/11 or more recently of Newtown, there will be no memorials, no teddy bears, no special rites, no solemn ceremonies. Nothing. The distant dead of our wars have largely paid the price in silence and anonymity for what the U.S. intelligence community likes to call the last superpower’s duty of being a “global security provider” — and which elsewhere often looks more like inflicting mayhem on local populations. (Tomgram: Nick Turse, A War Victim’s Question Only You Can Answer, 9:30am, January 8, 2013.)

    • Disaffected says:

      Reminds me of a PBS (I think) documentary a few years back where they sent some clueless Lieutenant in to pay off an Iraqi elder whose family his unit had just slaughtered erroneously. Something like $5K a head was the going rate at the time. The look on the Iraqi elders face was just priceless (he refused the money), and I’m sure the only reason he didn’t order the slaughter of the Lieutenant and his little escort party is that he knew the retribution would be a hundred fold worse. “Winning hearts and minds” indeed. Vietnam all over again, albeit with better technology. But we Americans have satellite TV. No need to pay attention to all that “War of Divine Imperial Terror” shit.

    • derekthered says:

      so, recess is over?
      what to think about all this crap that is going on? we in the USA love to congratulate ourselves about how wonderful we are, it’s de riguer. now we have Obama and think we have gone so far, nothing has changed, it looks as if he may try to pull in our horns just a tiny bit, use robots instead of people.
      this country has suffered one war, the Civil War, it was confined to east of the Mississippi for the most part, we are a baby country, we haven’t seen what other countries have had sweep over their soil time after time. we are the bubble country, down the rabbit hole, living in fantasyland.
      Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, TomDispatch, and a few others are on the blogosphere trying to raise these issues, but really, no one cares.
      talk about culture, American idol, Survivor, the idea that only a lucky few make it has become a staple, just the way it is.
      if we were doing a psyche profile it would be severe narcissism, sociopathic tendencies, etcetera, etcetera…………………….

      geez, the populace depends on machines, the beast, leviathan, the juggernaut, our symbiotic social system has us in it’s cocoon, there probably is no answer. perhaps collapse is what it will take for us to learn. sad, but probably true.
      which is why yours truly tends to go off on tangents, get the mind off the situation.
      as suggested before, if we had accord (polity) we could start moving people to sustainable living arrangements, but too many playas have vested interests to let that happen.
      the federal budget is a joke, fiscal cliff? national debt? castles in the sand, slip into the sea, eventually.

      the USA has been at war with the world for a hundred years, that’s a fact, we say a couple of them were “good wars”, there is no such thing; not unless you are really, really crazy. looking back at all of our war making? the world still seems pretty much the same as it has for thousands of years.

      but yes, we could stop, we should stop, but we haven’t.

      • Disaffected says:

        And we won’t. In fact, we’re doubling down on everything. That’s what cultures sold on the idea of their own exceptionalism do. Double down headlong into collapse. Those jetliners into the towers and their subsequent pre-planned controlled demolition might have been as good a metaphor as any for where we’re headed.

      • kulturcritic says:

        Recess is never over; it just goes on recess! But you never commented on my musical offering… Violet Nine. LOL

        • derekthered says:

          don’t look at me, i tried to learn the bass once upon a time, we have guitars, and a bass in the house, never get touched.
          the band had a tight rhythm section, which is the guts of any band, they were all right. i am such a music snob, which is kind of dumb considering how subjective and personal musical tastes are. of course being American i like what i know, all the while there are wonderful and diverse sounds from all around the planet.

      • Derek, perhaps the crap (chaos and confusion) we are caught up in is a result of the world of duality is reaching its extremes. This writer offers his observation on this theme:

        It’s true, isn’t it? Moderation is a joke. Moderation is un-American. Moderation in any healthy, compassionate sense in this year of our extremely hot and imminently riotous 2013 is nothing short of a goddamn modern miracle.
        Don’t you think? Have you noticed? No one believes in it anymore. Fewer still actually practice it. Anyone on any side of a given debate or social issue shun it like it reality TV shuns good taste.
        Even the planet itself agrees: Extremism is in. Extremism is the new black, which is also the new blood red, which is also the new, merciless way to deny anything bad or dangerous might be happening as a direct result of our unchecked growth or God-drunk ideology. for more:
        http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2013/01/08/moderation-is-for-hippies/

        • derekthered says:

          don’t let the name fool you, although the Marxist analysis is correct, the solutions may be quite different from the classical prescriptions.
          duality, moderation, “God-drunk ideology”, hmmmmmmm……..
          just words. what is operative is the propaganda at play.
          Why Authority is the Enemy
          The Hierarchy of the Machine
          http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/10/the-hierarchy-of-the-machine/

          the ruling class may use religion and other issues to control the rubes, but i don’t think they believe a word of it, it’s just a scam. i really don’t know what people mean when they use words like “duality”, unless it means the pictures we make up in our heads of what we consider to be the outside world, concepts to which we insist the cosmos conform.

          “The universe is not dialectical: it moves toward the extremes, and
          not toward equilibrium; it is devoted to a radical antagonism, and
          not to reconciliation or to synthesis. And it is the same with the
          principle of Evil. It is expressed in the cunning genius of the object,
          in the ecstatic form of the pure object, and in its victorious strategy
          over the subject.” – Fatal Strategies.
          http://www.humanities.uci.edu/mposter/books/Baudrillard,%20Jean%20-%20Selected%20Writings_ok.pdf

          we are in trouble because the systems we have built, economic, social, physical, are at odds with reality, our collective fiction is rubbing up against the real world, that is when societies and civilizations fail. really, perhaps duality is such a hot topic because we are out of sync, need to re-adjust our assumptions.

  14. derekthered says:

    here’s the kind of happy talk the public loves
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130109/us-crude-inventories/?utm_hp_ref=homepage&ir=homepage
    no mention of daily consumption, just the blurb about gasoline which gives a distorted view of the situation. this is what 90% of people are ingesting. a mind is a terrible thing.

  15. This fellow and and his wife are very talented. I think some of you will appreciate their talent and this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtIPqcD71nQ&list=UUKvJ1qhPIgmNq2tZIhUBxCQ&index=7

  16. Disaffected says:

    Looks like you’re piling up a stack of comments this week anyway, Sandy.

  17. derekthered says:

    if mr. guy is too radical you could try this guy
    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/
    he seems a bit more reasonable, but he still sees a definite decline.

    • Disaffected says:

      I read Archdruid every week. He’s very intelligent, although a tad conservative I think. He’s very much into the idea that “this is the way collapse has always gone before and this time will be no different.” In many ways he’s probably right, but not in entirety IMO. There’s quite a bit different about this time that will almost certainly make it quite a bit more traumatic (and I guess it would be fair to label a total extinction event as traumatic) for all involved. But that’s just my opinion.

      • Disaffected says:

        For those who don’t care to follow the link, Fred Reed is cut very much in the mold of Joe Bageant, albeit quite a bit more worldly and less apologetic for our current condition IMO. I’ve spent a good portion of the day reading his curmudgeonly caustic/sarcastic/funny blog posts, which of course, definitely resonate with moi. Definitely a great find from my perspective.

        • derekthered says:

          love Fred Reed, don’t agree with every little thing, but he is saying things no one else will say. you gotta love him. when he tiptoes around what is politically correct? that is the point of much of what he writes, my kind of guy, an iconoclast.

    • leavergirl says:

      Derek, Guy is not too radical. He is too unethical.
      The ArchDruid is a bit too full of himself. But I buy his stepwise decline.

      • Disaffected says:

        LG,

        Perhaps if you’d like to reply to all instead of just me you could expound on why you think that Guy is too unethical? I don’t follow him all that much, but I haven’t heard that particular charge leveled against him before. But then again, what do I know?

        DA

        • leavergirl says:

          Well, two things. First of all, he seems to be an ego-bound dick who enjoys scaring the shit out of people with his prophecies, and devil take the hindmost. If some kids commit suicide on account of reading his excesses, who cares?

          Second, he is a scientist and has an obligation to keep a measure of skepticism and restraint, ESPECIALLY about his own judgments and pronouncements. Instead, he behaves like those Jehovah’s Witnesses who predicted the end of the world every few years to whip up their flocks into a frenzy. When it didn’t come, they just giggled into their fist and made up another one. Who cares how many poor suckers they affected?

          I hate this shit. (Ditto for the Mayan bullshit, and all those immoral assholes who fattened themselves on it.)

      • Disaffected says:

        Hey, by the way LG, thanks to the wonders of internet and modern transportation technologies (not to mention my ability to hold down a reasonably well paying job in the modern first world environment in which we both inhabit) I’ve got The Story of B and My Ishmael in my happy little hands tonight as I speak. Look forward to digesting them both immensely! In spite of those facts, the irony and cognitive dissonance is almost overwhelming. Here I am, a first world “taker” of only slightly less than the utmost degree, consuming “content” in the most “taker-like” manner possible, all of which informs me of a “leaver-like” mentality which I’m willing to embrace wholeheartedly and intellectually, even as I put all of that aside for the moment in order to embrace it’s polar opposite actually! FUCK ME!

        So, no further offense intended. Just some observations that you’re free to take or leave. I ofttimes wonder just what in the fuck it is we’re doing here in the first place. Seems like just a whole lot of running to stand still at this point to me.

        • leavergirl says:

          Ah… such a treat ahead of ya….

          Yeah, but think…. once there was this disconsolate cell in the middle of the ocean, bitterly crying fuck me cuz this is going nowhere, and there is never gonna be anything different…

          And look at the world now. There is magic afoot yet, Disaffected.

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