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  • “Greatest Threat to Humanity”   1 day 10 hours ago

    The Empire Economy Does Not Serve The Economy Or People
    As US Empire fades, we must choose a new path forward

    By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
    www.PopularResistance.org
    July 26th, 2014

    World history is filled with empires, e.g. the Roman and Byzantine empires, the European colonial empires, various ancient Iranian empires, the Arab Caliphate and Ottoman Empire, the Soviet Union to name a few. These historic empires have one thing in common: they no longer exist. As the lifecycle of empire wanes, rather than being a benefit to the home country, sustaining empire becomes more expensive than it is worth.

    While the US economy and military remain the largest in the world, the economy is faltering and losing its vitality. Chalmers Johnson, a CIA analyst who became a critic of the agency and author of a series on US Empire, writes:

    Chalmers Johnson wrote:
    “Thirty-five years from now, America’s official century of being top dog (1945-2045) will have come to an end; its time may, in fact, be running out right now. We are likely to begin to look ever more like a giant version of England at the end of its imperial run, as we come face-to-face with, if not necessarily to terms with, our aging infrastructure, declining international clout, and sagging economy.”

    The US began as a colony of European empires, especially of England, and then evolved into its own North American Empire. Thomas Jefferson called the United States an “empire of Liberty” when he purchased the Louisiana Territory in 1803.  As “Manifest Destiny” took root, the US stole land of Indigenous peoples, appropriated Texas and Oregon and then went onto California. The Mexican War and Texas cessation took 55% of Mexico’s pre-1836 territory including lands in present day California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming as well as Texas through its cession from Mexico.

    The modern US Empire has its roots in the Spanish-American War when the US occupied Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines and in the two World Wars. Since World War II, the United States has been a growing global imperial power at war—somewhere—every year.  Seymour Melman wrote in March of 2003: “Now, at the start of the twenty-first century, every major aspect of American life is being shaped by our Permanent War Economy.” This has been a prime cause of the hollowing out of the domestic economy.

    Rather than fixing the infrastructure, which the American Society of Civil Engineers ranks in its annual report card as a D+, the federal government’s  “financing is lavished without stint to promote every kind of war industry, and foreign investing by U.S. firms.”  As Seymour points out “there is no public ‘space’ for dialogue on how to improve the quality of our lives. Such topics are subordinate to ‘how to make war.’”

    Economy and Empire

    An empire must keep its client states happy as well as its transnational corporations profitable. This has resulted in a foreign policy designed for corporate interests and foreign oligarchs. The Wikileaks documents show US secrecy often hides crimes, abuses and unethical behavior linked to corporate interests; it also hides actions of a government that operates not for the public interest but for the profits of transnational corporations; and that is why secrecy is often necessary.  We see this most glaringly in the rigged trade agreements being negotiated in secret except for hundreds of corporate advisers who work with the US Trade Representative in writing the agreements.

    The flood of migrants coming from Central America is blowback from US foreign policy in the region. Just as NAFTA undermined the Mexican economy, Central American trade agreements have done the same for that region. Further, US support for brutal governments who impoverish their people and support for coups against governments that try to create greater equity have made these nations very difficult to live in. Even US drug policy adds to the misery in these countries.  People desperate to survive come North in the hopes of finding a better life.  While some cities, most recently Vancouver, seek to become sanctuary cities that protect immigrants, the Obama administration takes the approach of criminalization and deportation.

    Not only does Empire foreign policy undermine the federal budget, with 55% of discretionary spending going to the military, but it also undermines the US economy as jobs are shipped overseas and corporations hide trillions of dollars in assets overseas to avoid paying taxes (see, for example, this article, Boycott Walgreens: The Tax-Dodger On The Corner). Empire economics does not serve the workers in the US or abroad and does not serve the security of people as safety nets are shredded as austerity is needed to fund weapons and war.

    The cost of war has escalated. Just one weapons system, the F-35, a fighter jet that has been grounded because it does not work, has cost $49 billion per year since the program begin in 2006. Hayes Brown of Think Progress made a list of what that money could have been spent on instead. It could have bought a mansion for every homeless person, fed every school child in the US, funded every humanitarian crisis or provided global security through the UN or provided funding to rebuild America.

    The economic impact of Empire policy is going to take a new turn as nations become allies outside of US influence. This week was the beginning of an alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) officially launched the BRICS Development Bank. This comes at the same time that 78 nations have called for a new era where there is respect for the sovereignty of nations and policies that seek economic, environmental and social justice. Many nations of the world are fighting back against US hegemony.

    Empire Economy Causing Unrest

    Not only are governments challenging US dominance, but people are fighting back as well. A wave of revolts, not only in the US but around the world, against big finance capitalism that allows transnational corporations to dominate the world economy has the power structure, including bankers, on heightened alert. The US military has been spending tens of millions since 2008 in the Minerva Project studying how protest movements develop and go viral.  This week we learned the military was studying how to control emotions by manipulating social media. We also learned that spy agencies also have tools to manipulate social media in order to control people.

    And, we see their fear in the harsh way they handle protests against Empire policies. Last week in Syracuse, a nonviolent protester against drones and grandmother of three, Mary Anne Grady Flores, was sentenced to one year in jail.  You can see video of her moving sentencing speech here.  After her sentencing, another drone protester was convicted and is also facing a year in jail. Flores was released on bail pending appeal, but 7 subsequent drone protesters were hit with heavy bail after they were arrested.

    The Empire advocates should be afraid. Earlier this year a war was stopped when people united to oppose the attack on Syria. Currently, the Israelis cannot hide their war crimes, even if the media does not report them. We are developing our own media tools that can stop and expose the realities of wars.

    The former Assistant Secretary of Treasury Paul Craig Roberts reviews the realities of the failing US economy, piercing the veil of false media reporting on a non-existent “recovery” and tying it to the Empire economy, asking:

    Paul Craig Roberts wrote:
    “In view of this reality, why is Washington pushing its puppet in Kiev toward war with Russia? Why is Washington pushing NATO to spend more money and build more bases on which to deploy more troops in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, especially when Washington’s contribution will be the largest part of the cost? Why is Washington re-entering the Middle East conflict that Washington began by inciting Sunni and Shia against one another? Why is Washington constructing new naval and air bases from the Philippines to Vietnam in order to encircle China?

    “If Washington is this unaware of its budget constraints and its financial predicament, it cannot be long before Americans experience economic catastrophe.”

    The Arc of US Empire Shows Decline

    The last 100 years of Empire and imperialism brought the US great wealth, creating the largest economy in the world which the IMF values as $17 trillion or one-quarter of the global economy. Today, the US economy is struggling with high unemployment, record numbers of Americans dropping out of the job market, large trade deficits and declines in many measures of standard of living. At the same time, other countries, most notably China, India, Brazil and Russia, are beginning to challenge the US.

    As noted earlier, these countries along with South Africa joined together to create the BRICS development bank to challenge the World Bank and IMF, which are dominated by the US and its western allies.  This may be the most important challenge to US economic dominance since 1945 especially when combined with bilateral agreements between countries that omit the US dollar, weakening its position as the reserve currency of the world.

    Alfred W. McCoy, author of Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, convened a global working group of 140 historians to consider the fate of the US as an imperial power. He predicts four scenarios for the future of the United States, all leading to the end of Empire.

    First on the list is economic decline. He writes that “three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar’s privileged status as the global reserve currency.” The scenario ends with:

    Alfred W. McCoy wrote:
    “After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world’s reserve currency.  Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget.  Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter.  By now, however, it is far too late.”

    The second is fear of oil shock by the leadership which explains the US’ current extreme energy extraction boom even though it threatens the environment and public health. McCoy writes that the waning economic power of the United States has caused it to lose control of the world’s oil supplies.  In 2010, he pointed out that while the US was still a gas guzzler, “China became the world’s number one energy consumer this summer, a position the U.S. had held for over a century.”

    Further he emphasized the rising power of Iran and Russia, two countries the US is belligerent with, saying that by 2025 they will “control almost half of the world’s natural gas supply, which will potentially give them enormous leverage over energy-starved Europe. Add petroleum reserves to the mix and, as the National Intelligence Council has warned, in just 15 years two countries, Russia and Iran, could ‘emerge as energy kingpins.’” Competing with them through extreme energy extraction, under the “all of the above” energy strategy, will come at tremendous cost to the ecology of the US and the planet.

    The third scenario is what our last article on Empire examined: Military Misadventure. McCoy writes: “Counterintuitively, as their power wanes, empires often plunge into ill-advised military misadventures. … These operations, irrational even from an imperial point of view, often yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the loss of power.” He points to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, with war threatened in Pakistan.

    McCoy describes how with the US military “stretched thin from Somalia to the Philippines and tensions rising in Israel, Iran, and Korea, possible combinations for a disastrous military crisis abroad are multifold.” Since writing this, the US military is stretched even thinner with more military crisis areas, e.g. Libya, Syria, the Ukraine and Russia unfolding. Each could grow into a wider conflict.

    The final scenario is World War III in the Asian Pacific which he described as having previously been “America’s Lake,” but which is now challenged by China.  The US fears China as, he notes, “the Pentagon reported that Beijing now holds ‘the capability to attack… [U.S.] aircraft carriers in the western Pacific Ocean’ and target ‘nuclear forces throughout… the continental United States.’”

    The Wikileaks cables that were published after McCoy’s article further describe the fears of the US as a declining world power in the face of China. A March 24, 2009 State Department cable describes a meeting between Secretary of State Clinton and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd held in Washington, DC. During the meeting Clinton complained about how difficult it was to take action against China asking “How do you deal toughly with your banker?” Rudd says Australia was playing close attention to China and building up its Navy in response. He urged the US and its allies to pull China into US-dominated structure of state relations, “while also preparing to deploy force if everything goes wrong.”

    No doubt this conversation was one of many that led to Obama’s Asian Pivot and the increased focus on negotiating the China-less Trans-Pacific Partnership thus encircling China militarily and economically. McCoy, writing prior to these policy changes, predicts vast resources being spent on the full “spectrum in all dimensions of the modern battlespace.” He describes this including not just traditional military weapons but “a new digital network of air and space robotics, advanced cyberwarfare capabilities, and electronic surveillance.” All of this preparation for conflict with China comes at the expense of the faltering domestic economy and indebted federal budget.

    These scenarios describe the decline of US Empire and each has the potential for tremendous negative effects on the domestic economy as the decline occurs. McCoy finds that “every significant trend points toward a far more striking decline in American global power by 2025 than anything Washington now seems to be envisioning.”

    How quickly do empires unravel?  McCoy writes a warning:

    Alfred W. McCoy wrote:
    “Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.” (Note: the year of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.)

    Creating a Different Future

    Of course, it does not have to be this way. The people of the United States can educate themselves about these realities and mobilize to force the government to take a very different course. Chalmers Johnson presents a different vision:

    Chalmers Johnson wrote:
    “If, however, we were to dismantle our empire of military bases and redirect our economy toward productive, instead of destructive, industries; if we maintained our volunteer armed forces primarily to defend our own shores (and perhaps to be used at the behest of the United Nations); if we began to invest in our infrastructure, education, health care, and savings, then we might have a chance to reinvent ourselves as a productive, normal nation.”

    Melman argues that to achieve this “We must come to grips with America’s State Capitalism and its Permanent War Economy. Failing that, there is no hope for any constructive exit.” Johnson does not see this scenario as likely, but it is up to us to make it likely, to recreate the world as we want it to be. The crisis of American Empire is an opportunity for a new course of action that can save us, and the world.

    There has been more than 100 years of people seeking to end war as a means of solving conflicts between nations and peoples.  A new campaign, World Beyond War, is seeking to organize a global movement to end war. They are raising money for a billboard campaign that will build on the opposition to war, teach that ‘war cannot end war’ and let people know there is a movement for them to join.

    While ending war and US Empire would be monumental changes, they seem reasonable when we look at the predicament of the United States: the economy is failing, the world is looking for alternatives to the US dollar, the US military has not won a major war since World War II and is stretched thin around the globe, the cost of military equipment has skyrocketed, the traditional energy supply is uncertain and risky, the people and nations around the world are revolting and public opinion in the US opposes war and militarism.

    On a positive note, as we write this the US House of Representatives just voted in a bipartisan landslide 370 to 40, to require the President to come to Congress to get authorization to renew the war in Iraq. Last year a war in Syria was stopped when it became clear Congress would not support it – after citizen pressure. The people have more power than we realize.

    Now is the time to build our power and use it. Let’s organize to end Empire and militarism and create an alternative democratized economy that puts the needs of people and the planet first.

    ————————————— 

    This is Part II of a series on Empire. Part I: U.S. Empire Reaches A Breaking Point Time to End It

     

  • Electricity costs increasing?   1 day 10 hours ago

    Solar is great during daylight hours and in sunny areas. There is not a really good method to store solar energy. Wind works well in the areas where the wind blows consistently. Some areas are very efficient. We need to expand our resources. Currently we have 62,000 MW of wind. Equal to 62 Nuclear plants. About 100 large coal plants. Let's double it soon.

  • Does NASA’s Data Show Doomsday for New York City?   1 day 11 hours ago

    I think making a law that caps carbon, taxes and passes back to the people the profits of the fossil fuel industry is a great idea. However, an even better idea is a law that would make the fossil fuel industry directly responsible for all losses and damage incurred by the climate change they are causing. In fact, we could take a little lesson from the USPS and make that law to cover future losses and damage as well. That would not only include things like the BP oil spill but things like Katrina, Snowmageddon, coastal flooding, loss of cities, and all those record breaking midwest twisters. Profits are the main motivation for pushing fossil fuels on the public. Start stripping those industries of those profits and you starve those executives of all their motivation real fast. 

    PS

    Stecoop01 ~ That was a beautiful poem. Shame you don't have the name of the author.

  • You could fill a wagon full of bales with the straw entities surrounding a Clinton Foundation.   1 day 11 hours ago

    Bernie Sanders and Elizibeth Warren. Yes!

  • "Court rejects atheists’ challenge to ‘Ground Zero Cross’"   1 day 11 hours ago

    Just put a plaque at the foot of the display that reads:

    "This was found in the twisted wreckage of the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the day religiuous fanatics were attacked by other religious fanatics. Some people think this is a cross and a sign from Jesus. Others believe it is actually a plus sign, an obvious omen from the goddess of fundamental arithmetic. Still others believe that if any decent god or goddess was going to send humanity a steely message, piled upon the bodies of our dead, it would be to say 'I'm out'..."

    The group called it a "symbol of hope". Only if you view hope through a christian lense. For me there is no hope. Not as long as the weakest of the faithful elevate every little fart into a holy whirlwind. It's a symbol of murder, as much as anything, not just for its utility or even counting the bodies that have been burned in Christ's name, but the general perpetuation of the very thing that brought their destruction that sad day.

    Some will tell me that violent religion is different than rhetorically violent religion and the more cuddly versions that only giggle when christian machismo is displayed . They will argue that the time of the bible's or Koran's creation was violent- as if any time isn't- falsely equivocating, as if human nerves were any less sensitive then, as Christian spears punctured them or as they were beheaded by Muslim swords. 9-11 was just another round in a long, stupid battle. I am cursed to witness the foolishness that my brothers accept as truth or justice, unable to change anything in my own time. So, I come here and take it out on you poor slobs, most of whom most certainly would not actually kill themselves or others for Allah or Jesus. Would that be a contradiction for one or both? You tell me.

     It's not "most" of us who do this shit, though, but the ones who do we cannot just mark off as a fanatic. Where are the atheist fanatics who are hijacking airliners? Where's the humanist death squads? LOL.

    There's a problem that nobody is talking about. The cure for the addiction is not another dose. Christians and Muslims alike saw their god reflected in that twisted metal. Big surprise. Junkies see needles in the clouds.

    Religion has always been a smoldering inferno of violence just waiting on a breath of fear to ignite. We all preach gun safety, realizing how dangerous it is, so we should preach god safety too. Let's start by admitting it can drive people to kill...otherwise good people.

  • "Appeals court panel deals blow to Obamacare"   1 day 11 hours ago

    mjolnir wrote:

    ulTRAX wrote:
    EVASION ALERT x72

    Why not plead the 5th and admit you have no intention of providing us evidence of probable hypocrisy.

    Your question is off topic and has nothing to do with Halbig. You can print it out and use the paper when you take a crap for all I care.

    Then I will take your refusal to answer as a sign of guilt... that you DID support the GOP health care proposals of the 90's, you DID support the GOP's Medicare D... and your objection to Obamacare is purely partisan based... which is hardly a stretch since everything you post here is not just right wing, but exhibits infantile partisanship on your side.

    Now are you happy?

  • Big Business is hoarding their cash!   1 day 11 hours ago

    Mark Saulys ~ AIW is right. You write very well and have a lot to contribute. I personally have learned a lot from you and appreciate your contribution very much; especially, in this particular thread. I'm sure she and I are not the only ones who feel that way. Please, keep up the great work. OU is full of hot air--amongst other things.

  • Report out states OFFSHORE WIND CAN DELIVER CLEANER , MORE AFFORDABLE ENERGY AND JOBS THAN OFFSHORE OIL   1 day 11 hours ago
  • Report out states OFFSHORE WIND CAN DELIVER CLEANER , MORE AFFORDABLE ENERGY AND JOBS THAN OFFSHORE OIL   1 day 12 hours ago

    Thank you, polycarp2. Great video! I'm going to pass it on!  

    This article might interest you.

    http://renewablerevolution.createaforum.com/renewables/plant-based-products-for-transprtation-and-building-materials/msg1012/#msg1012

     

     

     

  • Israel's Action in Gaza: 'Is This Not a War Crime?'   1 day 12 hours ago

    I haven't read this thread, but I have a question for the moderators of this board:

    Why aren't these topics routed to the World Affairs section?

    I rarely anymore look at the "Thom's Radio Show" section because it is cluttered (IMO) with all this world affairs topics.

  • Does NASA’s Data Show Doomsday for New York City?   1 day 12 hours ago

    Great poem, "stecoop"!

  • Big Business is hoarding their cash!   1 day 12 hours ago

    Mark, there is nothing wrong with your choice of words.  You have been an important contributor to this blog for a long time.  Your background and life experience gives you a unique perspective that adds a lot to the discusson.  Please don't stop!  - AIW

  • World breaks temperature record for June after hottest May   1 day 12 hours ago

    Great conclusion!  The joys of being human beings!  

    I always hope that people can experience authentic joy, the real 'letting go' or opening up to "receive."  It is how we encounter the power of love in response rather than in making love work for us.  We have to let it work and go with it rather than define and control what we deeply intend to be "loving" while we pursue it with moral intensity.

    The Age of Reason and Free Will Religion tend toward the definitional rather than the descriptive.  What gets factored out in its heuristic pursuit of truth, tends to be everything below the neck.

    I love my scientist friends because they tend to play such a self-revealing and naked game.  If they are religious, it is with a deeper sense of mysticism than any pious producer of spirtuality or popular theology.  If they are atheists, they are willing to listen to the post-theistic conversation with new delight once they discover that I am not reintroducing theism.

    We are having a great time with Quantum and Particle as well as Relativity. The theological analogies and precedents are wonderful, and very good therapy for modern Western religion which has gone off the rails with regard to tradition.  Rethinking everything we thought we knew is new birth and new light.  It is a Holy Spirit Festival of rocking change!  A Great Awakening!

    I have been blessed to find jazz and blues under my fingers after years of not having a clue, and to have played with great pros who have been beyond generous to me.  Listeners can get it, and players absolutely need people listening to have any conversation and avoid going inside ourselves without and escape hatch.  Being in the band and playing for each other is fine.  We rehearse, but playing where people are digging it and letting us know is a turn on.

    Coming to the gig after a tough day, some needed a drink or two and others a joint or two.  Relax, leave it behind, breathe, laugh with friends, and tired as you may be, go out and play--and discover the energy to play all night.  Many did neither and were great.  My Big Sister in Jazz, smoked and drank coffee before she came on to tear up the house.

    I always felt that had Americans gone straight to R and B instead of having to have it come back to us from England, we might have avoided some of the monotony of high volume banging.  Mind you, I know mind-bending intensity at the famous "11."  But, when the room was talking loudly over the music and glasses were clinking, my Jazz Brother advised, "a quiet mugging."  He just set the Wes Montgomery groove down low and let it capture the room.

    At the same time, we did what we did, and maybe Jimi would not have been that particular genius avatar of guitar and more who dwelt among us so briefly.  Miles might not have gone Bitches' Brew.  Fusion with Larry Carlton and a raft of great power drummers.

    What I do know, as I enjoy the silly/serious aspects of the essay in the Paris Review.  If the fear is that Africanism in our music will unleash sensuality and drive our women out of their minds, well, of course it will!  I take you back to the mid-50's where the city fathers of Charleston, SC were deeply concerned that having Little Richard and his Band in an integrated audience--separate but there together--would bring the end of civilization and their daughters/wives seduction/rape.  Did the King and Queen of Rock and Roll unleash the beast?  Bop bop a bo loo loo la la be da bom!  OOOOOOOWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOO.

    Richard Penniman and James Brown come from Macon, GA, about as black African as the roots of rock and roll can find.  Fats Domino brought us New Orleans, also a sensual alternative to the rest of American culture.  I do not disregard the joy of bluegrass and the dances of people in communities, no matter how "square."  The European blend of diverse culture is important in this story, particularly as we patrol the borders in Country/Jazz and Blues to discern where the line is to be drawn.

    Latin has been kicking great butt, and it has its own African passage to our music.  Coming through the Americas, it has met a whole new indigenous music with its own integrity.  But the list keeps growing and Rez Rock and Jim Pepper belong in our ears.

    Hearing great African music dispells the idea that they are barely above the apes, or whatever allowed slavery and continues to blind us.  The ears are better than color-blind, they are drawn to what is interesting if we let them.  I know of no music that I understood before I heard it.  I know of nothing in life that I understood before I experienced it, even when I thought I had a pretty good idea.

    Point being that the sensual is shocking to Americans who seem to look to the sensational instead of really feeling much at all.  Big spectacular special effects, and Beyonce as the Mud Flap Girl when she is an amazing talent and beauty in her real self.  I love the real thing, and Tina was amazing and Etta's "At Last" always chills.  Sex in Rock and Roll just seemed more high school or frat years than deep enough to last into maturity.

    OK, I love the Kingsman and "Louie, Louie" being the subject of lengthy analysis.  I forget how many drug messages we were supposed to be able to find in reverse, or in code.  Did they actually listen to the overt messages or miss "It must be jelly, because jam don't shake like that?"  Real single entendre was around before Mick and the Stones.  And Ravi Shankar could take you there for free.

    Big art and music shifts have always been deeply cultural and political shake ups.  People get upset at the new, and the Rite of Spring we love by Stravinsky, caused patrons of the arts to piss in the aisles of the concert hall.  I do not want to trivialize the fears and concerns of the "uptight."  (The etemology of "uptight" is rich with irony, reversing the meaning of the Stevie Wonder original, "uptight, out of sight!")  Their world is going to be "all shook up," and it doesn't matter if they can find Elvis to give it a White Image.  Elvis just underscores the bigger point of "all round the world, rock and roll is here to stay!"

    Reducing music to the earphones of personal zones and background noise is as bad as equating recordings with the real thing.  I love having good audio recordings of musicians I would never have heard even had I lived nearby, so don't bother to go there.  What I want to emphasize, is that "LIVE" is what makes music and theater.  Like the latter, there is a drama in the moment that is not there, at least the second time we have heard a track, but also about really being there.

    Think of the script as the cd, and the play as the thing.  How is it going to be played the next time?  What was learned?  What came out of the air?

    The difference between meditation and 'trance' is harder to parse than how "awareness" in the zen sense is not about a narcotic relief from stress.  But, the point of trance is that ecstasy is a good thing if it comes naturally rather than by that drug.  As most good human experiences, it happens most often in human community or relationship; but there is also the mystic encounter with the world, per se.

    I also encourage continual growth in human development, including the revisiting of childhood, youth and young adulthood when you are a senior. It works to get you here in decent shape to remember to bring those parts of yourself along, but the most important thing is to "enjoy" being where you are even if there are aches and pains, and disappointments.  It gets too deep for here, but to feel, to really feel, ah, that would be glorious, to paraphrase Dracula about release from the undead state.  Not feeling in the moral and reality based sense, makes thinking clearly very hard, as we can see so clearly and hear as well.

  • Israel's Action in Gaza: 'Is This Not a War Crime?'   1 day 13 hours ago

    somae wrote:

    Zenzoe wrote:

    I see your point, but that Israel is a better place than Palestinian territories for gays, atheists and women does not make Israel a “liberal” state; a liberal state would not feel entitled to expand its territories into populated areas outside its designated borders. A liberal state would not occupy the territories of its neighbors, establish blockades to suffocate the lives of the inhabitants of those territories on purpose and with deliberation. A liberal state would recognize the humanity of its neighbors, as opposed to adopting a racist, murdering attitude toward them.

    I think you're talking about a Saintly state, not a liberal state. Liberals are not Saints. E.g., look at the way NYC treated the Occupy Wall Street people. NY State and especially NYC has a large number of liberals and NY State always votes Democratic.

    You say, " A liberal state would recognize the humanity of its neighbors, as opposed to adopting a racist, murdering attitude toward them" without including that the neighbors happen to be a murdering state that wants to annihilate the liberal state.

    It's easy for you to say that a "liberal" state would behave that way since you don't have a neighbor that is looking to kill you at every opportunity.

      

    However you wish to spin it for the sake of your fantasy, the fact is this: the Israeli government is a right-wing government.  (I see that you avoided the theocracy question, that theocracies are not "liberal" governments.)

    Did you watch today's Democracy Now! yet?  Apparently not.  You're not interested in peace between you and me, obviously, so how can you expect Hamas to feel like making peace with Israel, a state that is terrorizing it and bent on genocide?  You can't budge one iota from your perspective; how do you expect people who are being subjected to real oppression to change their attitude?

    Let me know when you've watched DN!  Until then, you're boring me with your "logic" and the ignorance you bring to this subject.  Go away, if you can't be respectful of the truth.

  • What we can do.   1 day 13 hours ago

    I think the real issue is that so many of us don't agree with the Democrats' agenda and the (media) liberals' "Middle Class Only" agenda/continued "war on the poor." America's poverty crisis grows wider and deeper the longer we ignore it. Not everyone can work (health, circumstances), and we simply don't have jobs for all who urgently need one. Low-wage workers are a single job loss from losing everything.  You can't get a job without a home address, phone, bus fare. With the latest budget, Dems voted with Republicans to cut food aid to the elderly, disabled and working poor.  Again.

  • The Rise of the American Taliban   1 day 13 hours ago

    Skip in Boulder ~ "Christofascist" is a brilliant and accurate term. Thanks for sharing!

  • Should Congress enact a carbon tax & give the money to the people?   1 day 13 hours ago

    Given to which people? The govt is already investing well in infrastructure, providing good-paying jobs primarily to men.

  • Possible Twitter Witness From Spanish Flight Controller In Kiev - Says UKR Airforce did it   1 day 13 hours ago

    Forensic analysis is beyond my ken. Make of this what you can.

    By the way, according to the Sukhoi website, the Service Ceiling of the SU-25 is 7000 meters or 7km. MH17 was flying at 10,000. ("Service ceiling (without external ordnance and stores), km 7".)

    Quote:
    Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile”
    By Peter Haisenko
    Global Research, July 30, 2014
    anderweltonline.com
    Region: Russia and FSU
    Theme: US NATO War Agenda
    In-depth Report: UKRAINE REPORT

    Zur deutschen Version bitte hier anklicken

    -

    The tragedy of Malaysian MH 017 continues to elude any light of clarity being cast over it.

    The flight recorders are in England and are evaluated. What can come of it? Maybe more than you would assume.

    Especially the voice recorder will be interesting when you look at the picture of a cockpit fragment. As an expert in aviation I closely looked at the images of the wreckage that are circulating on the Internet.

    Peter Haisenko in Cockpit of Condor DC 10

    First, I was amazed at how few photos can be found from the wreckage with Google. All are in low resolution, except one: The fragment of the cockpit below the window on the pilots side. This image, however, is shocking. In Washington, you can now hear views expressed of a “potentially tragic error / accident” regarding MH 017. Given this particular cockpit image it does not surprise me at all.

    Entry and exit impact holes of projectiles in the cockpit area

    Source for all photos: Internet

    I recommend to click on the little picture to the left. You can download this photo as a PDF in good resolution. This is necessary, because that will allow you understand what I am describing here. The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation: The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile. The edge of the other, the larger and slightly frayed exit holes showing shreds of metal pointing produced by the same caliber projectiles. Moreover, it is evident that at these exit holes of the outer layer of the double aluminum reinforced structure are shredded or bent – outwardly! Furthermore, minor cuts can be seen, all bent outward, which indicate that shrapnel had forcefully exited through the outer skin from the inside of the cockpit. The open rivets are are also bent outward.

    In sifting through the available images one thing stands out: All wreckage of the sections behind the cockpit are largely intact, except for the fact that only fragments of the aircraft remained . Only the cockpit part shows these peculiar marks of destruction. This leaves the examiner with an important clue. This aircraft was not hit by a missile in the central portion. The destruction is limited to the cockpit area. Now you have to factor in that this part is constructed of specially reinforced material. This is on account of the nose of any aircraft having to withstand the impact of a large bird at high speeds. You can see in the photo, that in this area significantly stronger aluminum alloys were being installed than in the remainder of the outer skin of the fuselage. One remembers the crash of Pan Am over Lockerbie. It was a large segment of the cockpit that due to the special architecture survived the crash in one piece. In the case of flight MH 017 it becomes abundantly clear that there also an explosion took place inside the aircraft.

    Tank destroying mix of ammunition

    Bullet holes in the outer skin

    So what could have happened? Russia recently published radar recordings, that confirm at least one Ukrainian SU 25 in close proximity to MH 017. This corresponds with the statement of the now missing Spanish controller ‘Carlos’ that has seen two Ukrainian fighter aircraft in the immediate vicinity of MH 017. If we now consider the armament of a typical SU 25 we learn this: It is equipped with a double-barreled 30-mm gun, type GSh-302 / AO-17A, equipped with: a 250 round magazine of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells (dum-dum), arranged in alternating order. The cockpit of the MH 017 has evidently been fired at from both sides: the entry and exit holes are found on the same fragment of it’s cockpit segment!

    Now just consider what happens when a series of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells hit the cockpit. These are after all designed to destroy a modern tank. The anti-tank incendiary shells partially traversed the cockpit and exited on the other side in a slightly deformed shape. (Aviation forensic experts could possibly find them on the ground presumably controlled by the Kiev Ukrainian military; the translator). After all, their impact is designed to penetrate the solid armor of a tank. Also, the splinter-explosive shells will, due to their numerous impacts too cause massive explosions inside the cockpit, since they are designed to do this. Given the rapid firing sequence of the GSh-302 cannon, it will cause a rapid succession of explosions within the cockpit area in a very short time. Remeber each of these is sufficient to destroy a tank.

    What “mistake” was actually being committed – and by whom?

    Graze on the wing

    Because the interior of a commercial aircraft is a hermetically sealed pressurized chamber, the explosions will, in split second, increase the pressure inside the cabin to extreme levels or breaking point. An aircraft is not equipped for this, it will burst like a balloon. This explains a coherent scenario. The largely intact fragments of the rear sections broke in mid air at the weaker points of construction most likely under extreme internal air pressure. The images of the widely scattered field of debris and the brutally damaged segment of cockpit fit like hand in glove. Furthermore, a wing segment shows traces of a grazing shot, which in direct extension leads to the cockpit. Interestingly, I found that both the high-resolution photo of the fragment of bullet riddled cockpit as well as the segment of grazed wing have in the meantime disappeared from Google Images. One can find virtually no more pictures of the wreckage, except the well known smoking ruins.

    If you listen to the voices from Washington now who speak of a “potentially tragic error / accident”, all that remains is the question of what might have been the nature of this “mistake” perpetrated here. I am not given to hover long in the realm of speculation, but would like to invite others to consider the following : The MH 017 looked similar in it’s tricolor design to that that of the Russian President’s plane. The plane with President Putin on board was at the same time ”near” Malaysia MH 017. In aviation circles “close” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. Also, in this context we might consider the deposition of Ms. Tymoshenko, who wanted to shoot President Putin with a Kalashnikov.

    But that this remains pure speculation. The shelling of the cockpit of air Malaysia MH 017, however, is definitely not speculation.

  • Big Business is hoarding their cash!   1 day 13 hours ago

         Thanks so much for all your kind words folks, I was thinking I wasn't being heard 'cause I just didn't employ effective verbeage, i.e., I wasn't at all clear about what I was saying and was just rambling on like some irrelevant old clown.  I was hoping, therefore, for people to try to read it once more and try to get past the funky wording to the basic gist of it - which I thought was worthwhile. 

         Should really write more clearly so people don't have to go through so much to figure it out.  Sorry 'bout that.  Thanks so much again, everybody, for your supportive words.

  • MARIJUANA & DRUG NEWS   1 day 13 hours ago

    I hang out where they got it... Scraping the bottom of the drug worrier barrel. Only the most inept and corrupt are spewing gateway theories now adays...

    Cover-Ups, Prevarications, Subversions & Sabotage

    the Drug Czar is Required by Law to Lie

    Nixon lied to schedule Ganja #1

    When the White House issued a statement last night saying that marijuana should remain illegal — responding to our pro-legalization editorial series — officials there weren’t just expressing an opinion. They were following the law. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is required by statute to oppose all efforts to legalize any banned drug.

    It’s one of the most anti-scientific, know-nothing provisions in any federal law, but it remains an active imposition on every White House. The “drug czar,” as the director of the drug control policy office is informally known, must “take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance” that’s listed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and has no “approved” medical use.

    Marijuana fits that description, as do heroin and LSD. But unlike those far more dangerous drugs, marijuana has medical benefits that are widely known and are now officially recognized in 35 states. The drug czar, though, isn’t allowed to recognize them, and whenever any member of Congress tries to change that, the White House office is required to stand up and block the effort. It cannot allow any federal study that might demonstrate the rapidly changing medical consensus on marijuana’s benefits and its relative lack of harm compared to alcohol and tobacco. continued

    (click here to continue reading The Required White House Response on Marijuana – NYTimes.com.)

    via the always interesting and informative DrugWarRant.com

    The federal government’s incredibly poor, misleading argument for marijuana prohibition via @washingtonpost

    22. U.S. Government Repressed Marijuana-Tumor Research

    Drinking too much soda could affect adolescent memory, ability to learn.

    Comments on NARCOTIC DRUGS
    Interim report of the Joint Committee of the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association on Narcotic Drugs
    by Advisory Committee to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics
    JULY 3, 1958.

    Federal Gov. Poor Argument for MJ Prohibition

  • "Appeals court panel deals blow to Obamacare"   1 day 13 hours ago

    ulTRAX wrote:

    mjolnir wrote:

    ulTRAX wrote:
    The questions were more an exploration of your obsession to come here and post with infantile glee any news story you seem to think will be some affront to, or exposes the weaknesses or contradictions, in the Democratic Party... even if you're actually exposing the grotesque hypocrisy of the GOP and it's mindless minions in the process. My questions were merely a test to see whether you have ANY self awareness, or whether you're posting here as a braindead dittohead in some sort of robotic coma.

    So I ask AGAIN:

    So M... back in the 90's were you also leading the cheerleading section hoping all the GOP health care proposals would fail? You may or may not recall that 80% of GOP senators signed on to plans with an individual mandate.

    How about Bush's Medicare D?

    My question answered: no relevance to "Halbig".

    EVASION ALERT x72

    Why not plead the 5th and admit you have no intention of providing us evidence of probable hypocrisy.

    Your question is off topic and has nothing to do with Halbig. You can print it out and use the paper when you take a crap for all I care.

  • Decisions Made Behind the Scenes: "Are You Ready for Nuclear War?"   1 day 13 hours ago

    Here is an excellent interview by RIA Novosti's Ekaterina Kudashkina with
    Dr. Paul Craig Roberts about Washington DC's current demonization of Russia and President Putin

  • Homophobic Senator Marco Rubio Says it's Supporters of Gay Marriage Who Are the Intolerant Ones   1 day 13 hours ago

    rs allen wrote:

    Gumball's questions were answered in the first few posts Trax. Yep, since then it's been a tap dance around this that and the other.

    Think he'll condemn Rubio's despicable Orwellian spin?

    Nah!

  • World breaks temperature record for June after hottest May   1 day 13 hours ago

    rs allen wrote:

    The thing about propaganda is it cuts both ways. It is by it's nature sla(n?)ted.  Every side uses it and as individuals it's up to us to separate the wheat from the chaff of any source we choose to gather info from.

    And take it all with a grain of salt. It's all second, third and fourth hand (and probably more) reporting with each 'editor' giving thier own spin.

    Hoover really was a piece of work though, gotta hand that to him. A one of kind.

    I recommend Ellul's Propaganda for a potentially meaning shattering discussion of different levels of what we mean by the term.

    Much of what we may really mean by propaganda is more like what in anthropology we now called an enculturation into the ways and meanings of society, understandings we all must share or we will be so isolated from one another as to make communication an endlessly improbable achievement, resulting in various stages of anomia.  To some degree within same language speakers we see that improbability taking place between groups who have different sets of cultural meanings attached to similar sets of words.  Slick public relations operatives like Eddie Bernays and Frank Luntz understand that, and use it to their advantage in steering group think among recognizable groups in particularly useful directions in the service of power.  But that's a "using" of propaganda, where the more enculturated form is a kind of sharing that older meanings of the term once implied.

    The notion that some sort of totally rational, objective form of communication is possible is perhaps somewhat uniquely, and maybe even more likely, insanely a characteristic of the Age of Reason, where the belief in objective rationality handcuffs us from letting go and appreciating each others' array of human characteristics.

    I'm guessing you meant "slanted" not "slated" in that 2nd sentence.  The notion that there is a norm, or a non slanted version of something may very well be an ideological preconception that would be more in the nature of myth than the truth about how we go about making sense of the world.  Scientists' attempt to deal with that problem, now that science has come to grips back in the 20th Century, with the impossiblity of humans achieving untainted objective knowledge of anything we like to imagine to be facts, is through what I hear Naomi Oreskes describing as a cultivated attitude of skeptical distrust when looking at evidence.  This does not mean the individual is inevitably subject to achieving exteme states of paranoia with a resulting condition of catatonia.  It's much more in the nature of cultivating states of awareness, and still allowing ourselves the joys of being human beings.

  • "Appeals court panel deals blow to Obamacare"   1 day 14 hours ago

    mjolnir wrote:

    ulTRAX wrote:
    The questions were more an exploration of your obsession to come here and post with infantile glee any news story you seem to think will be some affront to, or exposes the weaknesses or contradictions, in the Democratic Party... even if you're actually exposing the grotesque hypocrisy of the GOP and it's mindless minions in the process. My questions were merely a test to see whether you have ANY self awareness, or whether you're posting here as a braindead dittohead in some sort of robotic coma.

    So I ask AGAIN:

    So M... back in the 90's were you also leading the cheerleading section hoping all the GOP health care proposals would fail? You may or may not recall that 80% of GOP senators signed on to plans with an individual mandate.

    How about Bush's Medicare D?

    My question answered: no relevance to "Halbig".

    EVASION ALERT x72

    Why not plead the 5th and admit you have no intention of providing us evidence of probable hypocrisy.