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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sartre On Collective Responsibilty And The Solace Of Optimism

Jean-Paul Sartre
Photo: El Mercurio

This paragraph from a biography of Jean-Paul Sartre echoes my feelings today for the West in general, and the United States in particular.

(Emphases are mine, as is the inserted footnote. For the sake of sheer sanity on my part, I removed the footnotes provided by the author. You can purchase the book for those.)


Sunday, March 2, 2014

SB 1062 & The Soul Of The U.S.A.

Very Small Business
A very small business, from Sheknows Parenting

I listened to Rich Lowry yesterday, sounding very reasonable, on KCRW's Left, Right & Center explaining that Arizona's now-tanked SB 1060 bill was merely a tweak to existing state and federal laws protecting business owners from undue burdens upon their religious freedoms absent a "compelling government interest." This view is also expressed in this post at a "Right"-eous Christian blog.
I'm going to grant the point and proceed from there.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Cowardice Of The Right: A Haiku

Ford Picket Line Violence
Ford Picket Line Violence

The conflict resolved
Ascendant right does pograms
Left wins, no kill-list
It's safer to be a right-winger.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


The Big Dick

Cheney is just the gift that keeps on giving. On the deceased donor of a (now clearly lonely) heart:
"... the way I think of it from a psychological standpoint is that it’s my new heart, not someone else’s old heart. And I always thank the donor, generically thank donors for the gift that I’ve been given, but I don’t spend time wondering who had it, what they’d done, what kind of person.."
Of course you don't, Dick. I mean, you've already "generically" thanked the Aristotelean donor archetype.

I'm going to be very sad when Dick Cheney dies. Unless we get to have a few days of rage in his memory, that is.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Secret History of Sarin - H.P. Albarelli & Ran Daniel

A Secret Order
[Crossposted from The Secret History of Sarin]
Over the past several months the world has witnessed the heinous and lethal effects of sarin gas as deployed in Syria, yet virtually unknown is the long history of this deadly chemical compound. Especially abhorrent in this history are sarin’s entangled roots in Nazi Germany and its subsequent exploitation by the United States government. This history also graphically underscores the brutal byproducts brought on by international conflicts and the insane subterfuge that frequently accompanies the aftermath of war.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Parable, Short And Bitter

Dead Man's Hand
Image from fine art america

Some people are sitting at a card table, playing cards. The card table is set squarely over some railroad tracks.

Because I want it that way.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Oh, You're Just Against Everything!

21st Century Schizoid Man
Image snatched from Andy in Oman

Why dissent?

This may seem a silly question to many people (particularly to those of you who wander here,) but I am querying the psychological roots of contrariness. Additionally, there is a great deal of evidence that many - if not most - of us are content to "go along to get along" as long as some basic needs are met.

What is up with those of us who aren't willing to let the machine run the way it's running? It's easy to see how people who are suffering the consequences of an unjust social system might revolt against it, but what of those of us who would do just fine if we would simply sat down and shut up? Indeed, those of us who create negative experiences for ourselves by speaking out or acting against the status quo?

Certainly the hubris of Ego can be a part of the answer. That's what S. thought.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Learned Helplessness / Learned Despair

Despair - Edvard Munch
Despair - Edvard Munch

(A quick note: While doing my standard cursory "research" to make sure I have my terms right, I ran across the Wikipedia entry on Learned helplessness and was reminded once again of the despicable nature of Behavioral Psychology research. What Seligman and Maier did to those poor creatures, in order to gain insight on what a simple fucking thought experiment will accomplish, disgusts me.)

"Learned helplessness," as applied to the state of political apathy here in the United States, is a meme I've been running across with increasing frequency here in cyberspace. The idea is that we - those of us who are not in that special class of uber-wealth - have become so disconnected from the mechanisms of power, so disenfranchised from the influence of our representative democracy, that we shrink from contemplation of, let alone action against, the insults heaped upon us by "the system," much as like Seligman and Maier's battered dogs.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Immoral Embrace: The Sickness Is Deep

Wage Slave
Image liftted from Patriot Acts

I am personally offended by some comments made by a Portland "newcomer," as quoted in Jon Talton's Sunday column in the Seattle Times, Check of Portland’s vitals shows signs of life. On Portland, Taz Loomans says:
...this place seems to lack a work ethic. There are too many loafers here unfortunately, too many people satisfied with doing service jobs and enjoying the time off, without developing themselves into something more.
...the key is to attract weird people who are motivated and ambitious and want to contribute to society and the economy, not weird people who are satisfied living on the edge of homelessness.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

So You Wanna Work For The CIA / JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary / Signed Book Giveaway

A Secret Order
[Update 08/07: All 15 books have found happy owners. Offer closed for now.]

This November 22nd will mark 50 years since President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination. I was less than two months shy of my seventh birthday...

One of the most fascinating narratives in A Secret Order, for me, was the story of the "femme fatale enigma," June Cobb. An attractive woman with clearly a great gusto for life, she sets off for Colombia with a pair of wanna-be druglord twins and winds up working for the CIA. Or so she figures, since apparently they don't always tell you who you're working for.

Friday, July 5, 2013

This Acid Trip Is An Extraordinary Rendition / JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary / Signed Book Giveaway

A Secret Order
[Update 08/07: All 15 books have found happy owners. Offer closed for now.]

This November 22nd will mark 50 years since President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination. I was less than two months shy of my seventh birthday...

My anger often surprises me - my rage, on the other hand, always catches me off guard. I suppose that's true for most people who don't find anger - and its big green cousin, rage - particularly useful or helpful.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth Of July Post - Look Behind The Logo

Happy Fourth

Aww - it's our "birthday," again.

I'm going to do my bit and meditate on the idea that is "The United States of America," and some on identity and ritual and coercion, collusion and self-delusion. Yes, you should go elsewhere for parades and fireworks...

Disgraced politician (but I repeat myself) John Edwards made famous the idea of there being "two Americas," Bobby Kennedy (taken down before he had the opportunity to disgrace himself) limned a similar meme when he dared to be photographed with poor folk in his brutally truncated Presidential run. We have the "1%," the "99%" - the social Darwinish "rugged individual" Americans, the barn-raising Socialisty communitarian Americans, post-Enlightenment secular humanism America, hell-and-brimfire God-bothering America, public library, transportation, and education America, and home-schooling get-off-of-my-lawn America.