Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Offender Feels Offended

Thom Hartmann recently quoted some Pastafarian (those who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster) beliefs on XM radio. His point was obvious; to show that the recent absurd “Supreme” Court decision on Hobby Lobby has potentially serious consequences... But the very first comment call he got was somebody trying to shut him up – not about the “Supreme” Court decision – but about even mentioning the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

All I can say about this offended caller is that he really needs to study history and current events about what supposedly good Christians have done – and are still supporting – before he goes off about playful criticism.

I get Thom's point. If Hobby Lobby doesn't have to pay for womens' health care because it's against their religious viewpoint, that opens a huge can of worms on other religious viewpoints.

But that was of no concern to this caller. Though it was obvious that Thom picked Pastafarian beliefs as an absurd example of how far this could go, all the caller cared about was that Thom Hartmann dared to talk about the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the same paragraph as Christianity.

The caller was incensed that Thom would even mention what is blatantly a made up religion along side his authentic religion. This caller tried to convince us that somehow, Thom Hartmann said something horribly insensitive and politically incorrect.

Now wait a minute...

First; if somebody out there wants to start a religion just to point out how silly it is to believe in something without any proof, maybe they have a point. And if they do have a relevant point, it is repression to keep the Pastafarians from making it – not the other way around. I'm sick and tired of hearing religious zealots claiming they are being oppressed by being prevented from essentially oppressing others. And that's exactly what this guy was trying to do. He didn't want anybody to even know there might be alternative viewpoints to his. And I bet I know where he learned his tactic. The Christians learned it from the Jews.

For decades now, anybody who says anything negative about Israel is immediately branded an anti-Semite – thus inferring they are a Nazi. The tactic has worked time and time again – no matter what Israel has done.

Now; before you brand me an anti-Semite, allow me to say this. There are good and evil people who are Jewish, just like everybody else. Some Jews have a heart of gold. Some Jews have a heart of stone. And the Jews who misuse the anti-Semite accusation just to shut people up are evil. And borrowing this tactic to shut up free thinkers is just as evil.

Second; this “offended” Christian has no sense of history. My ancestry is Native American. Christians crushed my Native culture. My grandparents were both (legally) kidnapped and forced to attend Indian Schools – run by “good” Christians. My grandmother once told me that if they spoke their Native language, they would be beaten. In fact, if they were caught holding onto any of their Native culture, they would be beaten. By any reasonable standards, if this were to happen to adults; this kind of treatment would be considered systematic torture and brainwashing. But they were heathen children, so it was OK – even commendable. My culture was stolen from us by Christians – who used ridicule and abuse (not humor) to force my people to assimilate to their way of thinking. And moreover, no Christian church has ever spoke out against this kind of hideous behavior while it was happening. The silly acts of Pastafarians are in no way even close to injustices Christians have committed.

Third; what does this type of offended behavior actually represent? Was it an attempted act of repression? I would surmise what this caller was trying to tell us is: “Don't even think about questioning my perception of reality.” I guess I can see that point. Everyone has the same vantage point – through our own eyes. We're all only human. Maybe we don't have a right to question each others' perception of reality. But what if one of us were wrong, and the other saw that? Don't we have a duty to help each other? Don't we have a duty to help each other find the truth. If I worded this comment as a strategy for spreading his religion, the offended Christian would likely agree with me fully. But if I worded this as a strategy for changing his religion, the offended Christian might literally be willing to go to war with me. What does that tell us?

It sounds like this offended Christian has been brainwashed to me. (Let's face it, Christians use a milder form of the same manipulative techniques that they used in Indian Schools – on their own children.) And what shows me that he might be brainwashed? His anger at those who would question his perception of reality – which almost blatantly obviously is a psychological defense mechanism to keep him from even considering any alternative world view.

If someone made a point that challenged my personal beliefs, I would consider the point's merits and adjust my beliefs if necessary.
Yet, if someone were brainwashed; one would expect them to be programed to resist all efforts at reason. In that way, the brainwashing will hold.

But it isn't the churches I'm afraid of. For the most part, they really do want you to do good. But what if someone saw the power of the churches and decided to use fundamentalist religious manipulative techniques for political aims?

I'm suspicious that the powers that be (the oligarchy) saw that the religious fundamentalists were easy to manipulate, so they decided to create a political party based upon fundamentalist religion manipulation techniques. It wouldn't be necessary to start a political party from scratch (the oligarchy is inherently lazy and corrupt). So, they just took over a party. You know, like the Tea Party.

I'm suspicious that this offended Christian is a product of political manipulations that have driven him to outrage over anything that doesn't fit into his handlers' (the oligarchy's) political agenda (getting even richer – at the expense of everyone and everything else). This offended caller sounded so committed to his beliefs that it would be easy to consider the possibility that rather than question his own faith, he might kill anyone who did. I'm not exaggerating. There are plenty of examples of violent behavior at the hands of Christians.

My ex-wife once told me of her grandfather, who was an outspoken atheist. They found his dead body hanging upside down with a cross carved in his back.

Religion does not always manifest itself as sanity.
...Or as Hunter S. Thompson used to say; “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Was this offended caller sane? We don't know. All we know is that he was willing to go on a nationally syndicated radio talk show and claim that an injustice was made by the reading of an article about a silly religion (not his own). Just the implied comparison to his own religion was enough to send him on a rant. Could he be a homicidal maniac? Thom Hartmann sure backed off quick.

Now before you go and call me a communist (the Christian propaganda equivalent to anti-Semite), remember; what we should be after is the truth.

I don't care what religion you are.
As long as your religious acts don't detrimentally effect me.
Be Pastafarian. Be Christian. Be Jewish. Be Muslim. I don't care.
Just don't mess up my life.

But the fanatics are never satisfied with that.

For the fanatics, like those in the Tea Party; it's either they rule or they tear down the walls. It's either they rule, or they shut down the country. It's either they rule, or those who do run things are the Antichrist – even if they're Christian too.

Finally, getting back to Thom Hartmann's point; a number of religions have religious beliefs that don't coincide with America's policies. No religions believe in unjust wars. Some religions don't believe in war at all. But let's just talk about one war for now.

There is a “war” going on in Palestine and Israel now. A very one-sided war.

America, for decades, has been giving Israel billions of dollars in military aid. And the Palestinians are no match for the military might of Israel. As a Native American, I see this occupation of lands in Palestine as a similar situation to what America did to Native Americans in the 1800s. The Palestinians were living in Palestine, bothering no one. Suddenly, some foreign country claimed that their land was now the property of Jewish settlers. The Palestinians didn't like it. So they were forced onto what looks a lot like Indian Reservations or even Nazi Concentration Camps. They didn't like it. So now they're being forced into the sea.

As a Native American, it is a fundamental conviction (call it religious if you want) that I not support the military invasion of an indigenous people by an aggressive culture. As the Jews once said; “NEVER AGAIN!” The repetition of the pain of what happened to my ancestors goes deeply against my personal beliefs. I can't think of any American foreign policy that would offend me more.

I suspect that many Native Americans find it repugnant that their tax dollars are going to support the violent oppression of a Native people in the Middle East.

Native Americans should not have to pay taxes to support the oppression of the Palestinian people. In a way, it is a further oppression of us – by forcing us to pay for the oppression of others. In time, I hope that some Native American religious organization will challenge this outrage, this oppression, this sacrilege; by utilizing the Hobby Lobby decision.

...And I bet this “war” would end in a heartbeat if America threatened to cut off our military “aid” to Israel.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Understanding Our Fate – To Overcome It

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Aldous Huxley
That men do not learn much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”
Alduos Huxley

There are those who believe that humanity is the epitome of all life.
In fact; there are those who believe that humans were made in the image of God.
However; there are also those of us who have come to the conclusion that humanity is more like an adaptation to a system of adaptation.
These points of view can lead to quite different attitudes about change.

The “image of God” folks are obviously inclined to believe that change carries with it the risk of a fall from grace. While the adapters (like myself) tend to view traditions as only going so far – and evolution as necessary – even desirable.

The Theory of (Genetic) Evolution has often been a point of contention between those who believe in God and those who believe in freedom of thought. However, nowhere in the Theory of Evolution is God even mentioned.

The Theory of Evolution defines a process... that's it.
That's it.

If one has a preconceived notion of how we came to be or what our place is in the universe, the Theory of Evolution may feel like blasphemy. But it isn't. Whether or not God exists, the Theory of Evolution is simply the next step in our education of who we are. With that education, we just might be able to better figure out who we want to become. Humans have evolved to the point where we can actually plan our society's evolution. And obviously, we critically need to do that.

Humanity has prospered because we not only have been able to adapt to the challenges our Environment has presented us, but because we also have been able to adapt our Environment to our desires... And it turns out humanity is pretty good at changing things.

Which leads to our dilemma. We have changed our world so much (both purposefully and inadvertently) that we have brought on the Sixth Great Extinction. Our evolutionary advantage has turned on us.

I am convinced that this has been our destiny.

But it doesn't have to be – if we evolve.

To change our situation, we have to understand it. And to do that, we have to think like Darwin. We have to ask ourselves some difficult questions. And we have to understand our limitations. That's right; even if we were made in the image of God – we are far from gods. So let's stop pretending we already have all the answers.

What we do know is that humanity has a history of civilizations rising and collapsing. Our ancestors have created amazing civilizations that eventually could no longer stand on their own because of the consequences of the actions of those civilizations. This process is key to understanding the human condition. (And some civilizations in history did figure it out.) 

The seeds of humanity's failures lie in the consequences of our success. We have evolved to adapt our environment to our needs so well that we now can destroy the Environment we so dearly need to survive. 

There is a cycle of human civilizations where we alter our natural environment to our benefit, resulting in a population growth that ultimately leads to the destruction of our life-supporting environmentand the collapse of our civilization. Lots of people die, which gives the environment time to recoverand then the cycle starts again.  

We all sense this. And yet, we are still animals. Even with this understanding, we haven't been able to stop it (yet).

If our civilization does eventually collapse, there will be pundits who will proclaim the “failure” of science. They will be ignorant fools. Our problems don't stem from our understanding of science. Our problems stem from our application of our knowledge of science.

Everyone believes in cars and computers and smart phones and satellites, but close to half of Americans don't “believe” in Global Warming. As a culture; we believe in tools that give us a temporary advantage, but we don't want to believe that there are long-term consequences to having and using those tools.

But this isn't about what we “believe.”
The facts are there.
It's just that too many of us are too busy chasing a position of status, a dream of infinite wealth, or the next piece of tail to bother to look.

This reminds me of the line to a song:
I'm just a squirrel, trying to get a nut.”

...And some of us have done an amazing job of collecting nuts. However, if we collect too many nuts; there won't be any more nut trees because we collected all the nuts!

My point is simple. We need to adapt.

Evolution is a system of adaptation to an environment.
Humanity has adapted to adapt our Environment.
We now need to learn to adapt our system of adapting our world.

Again; the facts are there.
Scientists have for decades been warning us.
Scientists have for decades been advising us on better alternatives.
But we've been ignoring them for decades and focusing on the mass media advertised next new thing – because they've been promising us the new tools, toys, and treats.

Bark, beg, drool...

If there is a God, it has shown us how to create systems that work. Just look at Nature. (You know; God's creation.) These systems have been around for billions of years. There is no waste. And the ultimate “goal” is apparently a state of adaptive balance.

We are the beings changing the Earth – which is forcing us to change. If we hesitate – if we continue to rely on failing systems – if we wait until our system collapses, far too many of us could be forced to step back to simpler systems we can longer know live in. That would result in a desperate, starving humanity treating life on Earth like “bush meat.” We can't go back. Humanity must adapt or die – NOW!

Evolution has almost provided us with the capacity to foresee and act upon our dilemma. We must continue to evolve. But we have more options than the other animals. We have the option to evolve our society. We have the option to evolve our culture. And with the advance of science, we might even be able to genetically “evolve” without having to suffer the pain of death every generation.

Evolution is evolving.

And hopefully, we have evolved to the point where we can plan it.

If we don't, change will just go to the highest bidder – until our systems collapse under the weight of corruption and resource depletionagain.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Snake Valley Festival

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Snake Valley celebrates Sixth Annual Water Festival June 20-22 in Baker, Nevada.

Friends and supporters of Snake Valley will gather in Baker, Nevada during the weekend of June 20-22 for the sixth annual Snake Valley Festival to celebrate and raise funds in support of community preservation. All are invited to join in. All proceeds from the festival events will benefit the Great Basin Water Network (www.greatbasinwater.net) to help protect the water and environment in eastern Nevada and the west desert of Utah.

An ice cream social in front of Baker Hall and a Great Basin beer tasting at the Border Inn will kick off events Friday night. All of the brews featured at the beer tasting are brewed with water from the Great Basin. "The Festival helps Great Basin Water Network to keep water in Snake Valley," said Abby Johnson of the Great Basin Water Network. "It's a fun way to raise awareness and money at the same time." Stick around after the beer tasting for the Pageant and Talent Show to help crown Mr. and Ms. Snake Valley and dance until midnight with Pistol Rock.

With their unique blend of rock, blues, and folk music, Trotta and Ronstadt with James Dalton are headlining the Festival with concerts at Centennial Arts Center in Ely, Nevada Friday evening beginning at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday afternoon at the Border Inn in Baker at 2 pm. Michael Ronstadt, cellist, and David Trotta, an accomplished solo artist and multi-faceted instrumentalist, incorporate a multi-cultural blend of music and storytelling. In addition, James Dalton, also a storyteller and multi-talented musician, brings the trio full circle. These talented musicians will also lead music and storytelling workshops for all ages throughout the weekend.

Saturday includes of a host of activities promising something for everyone. The day will begin with a community breakfast to help everyone fuel up for the small town parade which will complete its circuit twice, lest any spectators blink and miss it. The day will continue with food and craft booths, a yard and book sale, a silent auction, a homemade pie sale, cowboy poetry and music, kids’ games, and a massive water fight

The day will culminate with a BBQ and live auction at the Border Inn featuring local art, unique jewelry, vintage cast iron cookware and heritage jams, jellies and preserves made with fruits and vegetables grown in Snake Valley. 

The fun continues Sunday morning with the Snake Valley Slither a 5 or 10K run/walk. Participants are encouraged to don their best costumes to slither through the course.

The Snake Valley Festival has something for everyone. Come out and experience a parade that welcomes anyone to become part of it, join the water fight at the playground, browse the silent auction, and enjoy some of the great food. Peer through the solar telescope to observe the sun or join the evening astronomy program at Great Basin National Park. Join the fun!” urged Gretchen Baker, Festival Organizer.

For more information and a list of events, go to www.protectsnakevalley.org or call 775/234-7357.

For more information on the Southern Nevada Water Authority pipeline project, please visit www.greatbasinwater.net.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Post-Modern Parallel Universe

  • Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
  • Almost every civilization that has ever existed has collapsed.
  • Some civilizations did not collapse because they adapted.
  • The Internet is a tool capable of stimulating massive, rapid adaptation.
  • If monopolies control the Internet, our civilization will be less capable of adapting – which could be disastrous on a scale we have yet to imagine.

Have you ever noticed how economists never seem to talk about science? Sure, economists have all kinds of technical looking charts and graphs. And they have a whole language of scientific sounding terms. But rarely do you hear them mention the pure sciences. It's as if economics is a separate study unaffected by the rest of the world. It's as if economics is a parallel universe – where only money matters.

And politicians aren't much better. They pretty much defer to the economists. 

On the other hand; real scientists (such as conservation biologist and Professor Emeritus of University of Arizona, Guy R. McPherson) have published books that warn of dire consequences of continuing on our path of environmental exploitation. Guy R. McPherson's book, Going Dark, even warns of a possibility of humanity's extinction by 2040!

There are conspicuous signs we are already straining the Earth's capacity to support us. We have already witnessed recent mass unrest worldwide due, at least in part, to lack of food – due, at least in part, to Global warming due, at least in part, to human activities.

...And recently on The Cobert Report, Edward O. Wilson (one of the smartest scientists I know of) reminded us that humanity isn't just experiencing the Earth's sixth extinction event on Earth – we are the extinction event.

When legitimate scientists warn us that we could drive ourselves to extinction in the near term, we need to pay attention. But even though scientists have been warning us since the 1960's, humanity has not acted with real commitment.

Evidently, our money obsessed culture has tried to create a “parallel universe” society that doesn't reflect the actual world we live in – so that we won't have to face our planet's limitations. However, of course; pretending there is no precipice does not take it away.

In our dysfunctional society; it's not about the balance of life on the planet, it's about the balance sheets that tell us our profits and losses. We have become disconnected with our world, and yet we've somehow convinced ourselves we see a clearer view (on television, of course).

Far too many people have been convinced that our fossil fuel dependent economy matters more than our environment. But it is so blatantly obvious that every economy on Earth combined are just a subset of our planet's Environment.

Example: Our present economy relies heavily on fossil fuels. Through the main stream media, those who sell and use fossil fuels have conned us into believing our economy would collapse without them. So, we continue to burn fossil fuels. Now, scientists have found that we have consequently pushed the West Antarctica ice sheet past its tipping point – which guarantees a 10 foot sea level rise... NASA scientist Thomas P. Wagner has said; “This is really happening.”... “There's nothing to stop it now.” And NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot has said; “The system is in sort of a chain reaction that is unstoppable.” … And a 10 foot sea level rise pretty much guarantees a collapse of everyone's economies.

Nonetheless; one in four Americans take no stock in Global Warming. That's right, one in four Americans get their science education from advertiser supported main stream media “news.” What's astounding about this is that they have to wait for that “education” while watching countless advertisements from fossil fuel companies. Haven't they ever heard the term; “follow the money”? Though this is the epitome of gullibility, one in four Americans would rather believe that Global Warming is some sort of scientists' conspiracy than seriously concern themselves with cutting back on fossil fuel consumption.

Obviously, far too many of us simply don't want to know the truth.
The truth is just too depressing... and horrifically scary.

In the real world; every technological innovation humanity has ever invented has had (sometimes far reaching) consequences.
In the parallel universe; it's OK to build nuclear power plants, because somebody will soon invent a way to deal with all the nuclear waste.

In the real world; our planet has only a limited number of resources.
In the parallel universe; we can make out like bandits selling scarce resources.

In the real world; climate change is beginning to disastrously effect every place on the planet.
In the parallel universe; we won't have to wear jackets in the Winter.

In the real world; almost every civilization that has existed has collapsed.
In the parallel universe; our super-superior civilization cannot fail – no matter how hard we push it to the brink.

In the real world; the Earth is now in it's sixth great extinction event – and most of this extinction is human caused.
In the parallel universe; we can't know this – or we don't care to remember it.

In the real world; when you die, you rot.
In the parallel universe; if you pray to the right God, he will rescue you from the predicament humanity has created.

(Now wait a minute... God is going to save us from killing off all of his creations? If you believe that after destroying life on Earth – all of God's creations, we will be welcome in Heaven; then you really are thinking in a parallel universe.)

What if the “sky is falling” scientists are right?
What if we are on the short road to extinction by going the direction we are headed?
Then we obviously need to change that direction.
We need to start thinking in the real world.
It has basically come down to; adapt or die.

(I'm reminded of the scene in the movie Blade Runner, where Eldon Tyrell, the insanely-rich oligarch, says to the engineered human; “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly....”)

Blade Runner depiction of Los Angeles in the future

It may be that, in order to get where we are today, our civilization had to “break some eggs”. (In case you're not familiar with the quote; “If you want an omelet, you have to break some eggs.”)

Maybe we had to create an unstable society to nurture the innovations we have seen. Maybe our fatal weaknesses are unavoidable hidden consequences of our greatest strengths. Maybe intelligent life is its own greatest enemy. But then again maybe, if we accepted our predicament; we might change our behavior – and fix our problems.

Money is just a tool. All tools can be misused. But we have the capacity to learn how not to misuse our tools.

Humanity's extinction by 2040?
...We can do better than that.

But how?

...Not by thinking in an imaginary parallel universe – by honestly assessing our real world situation and creatively devising better ways to deal with it.

We need to work together. We need to notice everyone's ideas. We need to fix our systems and to develop new ones that work even better.

That's why the Internet is so important.
That's why the monopolization of the Internet might just be the hindrance that blocks us from fixing critical things – which could lead to humanity's extinction. 

So, why wouldn't everyone want net neutrality? Because if they can control the flow of information, they can make money for doing nothing.  

In the real world; life is full of predators, parasites, and swindlers. There are people who want us to think in their parallel universe. That's how they control us. That's how they enslave us. That's how they keep up their outdated multi-billion dollar income streams. That's how they crush better ideas. That's how they ruin our future.

Throughout history, there have always been scheming demons who have wanted to control others, to manipulate them, and to dominate their minds. These lying thieves want your wealth. They want you to be their part-time slave. They want you to fight and die for their exploits of greed. And they want you to think that they are your “friend.”

...But first of all, they want to control what you know.

They have controlled mass media ever since they monopolized print media over a century ago. But they don't have control over the Internet – yet.


Net Neutrality assures that the scheming demons can't buy their way into your mind.

Which is why the ISPs want to get rid of net neutrality – there's really big money in accessing your mind.

They tried to buy off Congress. But killing net neutrality was far too unpopular. So they tried taking their corrupt case to the corrupt Supreme Court. They won. But only if the FCC allowed them to sell access. They had that covered too. They had convinced President Obama to appoint an industry mole, Tom Wheeler, to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

President Obama's FCC chief is lying to us about his position on net neutrality. He is on the fast track to ignore the people, enrich the Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and destroy the free flow of information humanity so desperately needs. 

Now would be a good time to urge President Obama to fire Tom Wheeler from the FCC. But we can only assume Obama, the first President elected by the Internet, wants this. He hired him. 

The good news is that individuals are not the only ones fighting this. Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, and Yahoo are on our side. We can win this... again. (And of course, they will try again... eternal vigilance...)

You only have a few more days to make a comment to the FCC.
To make a comment to the FCC: click here

...And if the FCC fails to act in the best interests of America and the world?

Then we need to build our own Internet. This isn't as hard as it sounds. We could connect in an open mesh network. Essentially, we could eliminate the need for ISPs. This is already being done in other parts of the world – for far less money, much better connection speeds, and better privacy from the NSA.

The ISPs have been overcharging us for connection to the Internet for too damn long. And now they're using our money to steal control over the Internet to ultimately charge us even more. What's worse, they may make it very difficult for small websites to be accessed. Essentially, the ISPs want to make the Internet like cable TV – devoid of fresh ideas.

We don't need the ISPs. They charge far too much. And we certainly don't want them to control what we know.

The information we share on the “neutral” Internet may include the tools to save our civilization – maybe even our species.

It's that important.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Astroturf Sagebrush Rebellion

This “standoff” wasn't about cattle.
It's about fracking wells. 
It's about neutering the BLM.  

Deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy wasn't some kind of hero.
He was a tool.
He was a propaganda tool.

How do you think some guy who doesn't pay his fees to the people of America (it's our land), can recruit hordes of armed militants to chide BLM officers to commit some violent act?

In contrast, think about all those people who lost their homes, sometimes illegally, during the financial crisis – who never got militia protection.

What is this? If you don't pay the banksters; you're a bum. But if you don't pay the government, you're a hero? This doesn't add up. It's as if the militia showed up to protect a tax evader. This “confrontation” screams astroturf theater.

No... There's a bigger story here.
And it appears that ALEC is behind it.

ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is not just your typical lobbying organization. ALEC is also a corporate bill mill. This is where the dirty work gets done. This is where the laws that were written to protect Americans get watered down. This is the primary organization behind corporate anarchy in America. And ALEC has a long record of pushing legislation for States to seize control of Federal Lands. The reason why is simple; because it's easier to push around State legislatures.

As far back as 1978, members of ALEC were bragging that they helped spur the initial “Sagebrush Rebellion” in Northern Nevada.

And why?

ALEC doesn't care about ranchers who don't pay their grazing fees. They care about how powerful the BLM is. They want to push around, or in this case; eliminate the BLM.

Follow the money. The Koch brothers, Peabody Energy, Duke Energy, and American Electric Power are examples of big contributors to ALEC. And they want to mine any where they please:
BLM lands – drill baby drill!
Forest Service lands – dig'em up!
Wilderness Areas – frack till the water turns black!
National Parks – you can have 'em back when we're through...

Arizona Representative Raul M. Grijalva (D) has asked the Department of Interior to investigate ALEC's “aggressive effort” to change State laws relating to land use. He claims this amounts to unregistered lobbying.

Imagine that; militias doing unregistered lobbying. It sounds crazy. But think about it. They, and the mainstream media get the public all riled up about how oppressive the “government” is. ALEC steps in with a corporate written bill at the Nevada legislature. And the next thing you know, the public gets played – and most likely; they will never know what happened – until the frackers show up in their back yard.

  • Contrast this Astroturf Rebellion with real, grass-roots organizations; like “Occupy.” The FBI, Homeland Security, and numerous local police organizations coordinated a sophisticated violent crackdown that crushed the Occupy movement.
  • Contrast this gun toting standoff (in which the government backed down to avoid violence) with the treatment of environmentalists – of which 900 have been killed in the past ten years.
  • Oh, and remember; in the past 100 years, American taxpayers have had to pick up the bill for 470 billion dollars in tax subsidies to the oil and gas industries. Moreover, the mining industry is still paying taxes designed to subsidize miners with picks and shovels.
You think they don't have the power to play us in the mainstream media? 
That's how they get away with it. 
...And the additional goal; to make Senator Harry Reid look like the face of tyranny. (While in reality, Senator Reid has been one of the few members of Congress to stand up to big oil, coal, and the military/industrial complex.) Gee, could the Koch brothers could have had something to do with that? After he legitimately called the Koch brothers “unAmerican,” wouldn't we expect something.

(This is what they want you to believe.)

I don't agree with Senator Harry Reid's claim that these armed protestors are “terrorists.” They're more like “operatives.” You know, like the CIA operatives who overthrew President Mosaddegh in Iran (likely for the oil companies). Most of these militia members didn't know that. I'm sure they believe the hype. But I wouldn't be surprised if some of their (secret, private intelligence) handlers knew exactly what they were up to: conning gullible Americans into fighting for their own oppression. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Guns vs. Butter vs. ButterGuns

In the struggle for our future,
there are two kinds of people in America:
Those who see military spending as an expense,
and those who see military spending as an income.

...We all know who's winning – yes, America's military/industrial complex – who receive more “defense” money than the next 10 countries combined. American taxpayers have been reduced to part-time slaves to pay for an oppressive police state and a military “empire” – that essentially goes to war for multi-national corporations. (We are definitely not getting our money's worth of freedom.)

Moreover, in the long run; everyone loses when our infrastructure suffers, our scientists don't have the resources to help us adapt, and our natural resources get depleted rapidly. (Think about it; nobody wants to live in an apocalyptic world where all we have left are guns.)

We can blame this huge waste of resources on our corrupt government and our auction style elections, but there's more to it.

Recently, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi admitted that Congress is afraid of the CIA.
Recently, Senator Dianne FeinStein revealed that the CIA is spying on the Senate.

And the only rational explanation for (political transparency) candidate Obama's transformation to (staunch spy supporter) President Obama – is that he too, is afraid of (or even blackmailed by) spies for the military/industrial complex.

This isn't the first time an American President has had to deal with a rouge military/industrial complex. In fact, this has gone back as far as President John F. Kennedy.

...On more than one occasion President JFK voiced his fear, to numerous people, that he feared a coup.

...And then, something that looked very much like a coup happened.


What was that? Didn't John McCain call the JFK assassination an “intervention?” "Intervention" sounds like an Orwellian term for “coup.” No wonder most of us continue to doubt the magic bullet theory.

But no matter who pulled the trigger(s) to kill President Kennedy, the war mongers regained control – and they got their Cold War – and their Viet Nam.

...Warriors got to be heroes, military contractors got to keep their jobs, and a few merchants of death got even richer.

Now, compare that to the Rolling Stone article Obama vs. The Hawks.

Some things never change.

Positions of power attract the power hungry.
The power hungry tend to be aggressive for power.
Tyrants are by definition aggressive, power hungry people.
Consequently, systems with concentrated positions of power typically creep towards tyranny and wars.

How do we prevent this?
With democracy.
And since American democracy hasn't been preventing tyranny creep, we need more direct democracy.

Fortunately, direct democracy might not be that hard to accomplish indirectly. Just vote for the candidates who promise to make decisions solely reflecting popular opinion.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Groupthink and the Koch Brothers

Wikipedia defines groupthink as; “a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome.”

Of course, it makes evolutionary sense that members of a group would want to work together. Consequently, it makes sense that a beneficial form of assimilation might evolve. However, there is a potential for a catastrophically fatal flaw – groupthink. If the group is wrong; everybody in the group is wrong. The best the group can hope for to avert eventual catastrophe is that independent outliers might notice the fatal flaw.

I would like to cover two forms of groupthink in this post; political and economic.

Political Groupthink:

In a recent post of mine (Deny/Disrupt/Degrade/Deceive), I ended the article with a compliment to Senator Harry Reid.

...And as I expected, say anything nice about Senator Harry Reid, and I was bound to get trolled.

It's not very often you hear someone in political office speak the truth about corruption in Washington – not and name names too. What Senator Harry Reid said about the Koch brothers was not only true, but really needed to be said. Senator Harry Reid, in spite of all his faults; should be supported when he does the right thing. This should be true for everyone.

But a groupthink has developed that believes that Harry Reid can do no right. And if you know anything about politics, you know things like this don't just happen.

I live in Nevada. And I (vaguely) remember most of Harry Reid's career. But most importantly, I remember Nevadans' changing attitude about Harry Reid.

Years ago, there was no radical group of (Koch brothers financed / Fox “News” educated) haters who believed Harry Reid was the cause of everything evil. In fact, we all pretty much liked Harry Reid. That's why he got re-elected over and over again so many times I've lost count.

But now, those of us who still think Senator Harry Reid is a “keeper” (and the last election proves that it is most of us voters) don't often speak up in public. We know someone will attack us with a round of “how evil Harry Reid is for doing what almost all American politicians are doing.”

I'm not here to give a rousing praise of Senator Harry Reid's career. I'm here to point out the real reason the Koch brothers have already spent $14,500,000 on Senate races to oust anyone even like Senator Harry Reid.

...It's about money...
...It's about oil money...

But that's not what a recent Washington Post article said. The article; “Harry Reid really hates the Koch brothers. Here's why.” didn't even touch on why Harry Reid hates the Koch brothers. It just proclaimed essentially that this is all just politics and Harry Reid is just trying to counter all that money the Koch brothers are spending to influence American politics. They've trivialized what Reid said. They've trivialized what the Koch brothers have done. I think somebody put the wrong title on this article. It should have read; “Harry Reid really hates the Koch brothers. This is what we want you to think.”

Senator Harry Reid is the last of the old school politicians in power, and a lot of people want to take his power. And what do they want to replace it with? The Kochs want to replace it with “gas” power.

Nevada is a big state with lots of open range. California is right next to Nevada. There is a huge potential for solar power generation in Nevada, and obviously; the Koch brothers want to kill it. Apparently, they feel too many people will want to drive electric cars.

Harry Reid wants to support his home State, and obviously; the Koch brothers only want Nevadan's money (when we buy their gas). But somehow; the mass media (outside of Nevada) never mentions this. Could it be that it's because only the Koch brothers advertise with them?

In his last re-election, Reid ran against Tea Party candidate Sharon Angle. Though I don't know how much money they spent, the Koch brothers tried to oust Harry Reid by supporting a pathetically mediocre candidate. It appears that the Koch brothers didn't care at all about Nevada. They just wanted to kick Harry Reid out of office. (But there may be another reason they were willing to support such a mediocre candidate. She would have owed them big time.)

The Koch brothers wanted Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid's power.
And why? For the money, of course!
The Koch brothers want to force us to continue to buy their oil.
And with control of Congress, they could do it.

Examples of the oil industry's power in Congress:
Scotland already generates 40% of its power using renewables – and plans to have 100% by 2020. The United States, on the other hand only generates 9% of its power using renewables – and has no realistic plans for 100%. The difference; politics. Those with fossil fuel riches have manipulated our government to make it difficult for renewable energy to compete. “Our” government has given billions and billions in subsidies and tax breaks to fossil fuels – while ramping up and down subsides for renewables (which has repeatedly driven many renewable companies out of business.) In January of 2014, Congress did it again, when subsides for wind energy were not renewed. (Nonetheless, subsides for fossil fuel companies keep right on filling the bank accounts of the likes of the Koch brothers.) “Our” government allowed Texaco to purchase of the patent for the battery for the General Motors electric car, the EV1, and shut down all production of those batteries – setting back electric vehicles at least a decade. And “our” government has given the biggest polluters, the fossil fuel companies, exemptions to the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act (in the 2005 Energy bill).
This list could go on for pages.
And the Koch brothers want more.

On the other hand; Senator Harry Reid has represented Nevada in Washington since 1983. That means he still remembers when America was more like an actual democracy. Harry Reid remembers what Washington was like before the “Patriot” Act. Harry Reid remembers what Washington was like before the “Supreme” Court decision on Citizens United. Harry Reid remembers what Washington was like before so much of the Government was privatized. Harry Reid even remembers what Washington was like back when America wasn't in a perpetual state of war. What this means is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has seen a better Washington and a better America. But apparently; many within the Deep State don't want us, or our elected representatives, to remember.

The Deep State wants us to believe that America is just fine with them running it. In fact, the very basis of conservatism is; don't change a thing. This isn't a coincidence. Conservatism is Deep State groupthink. And deep pockets keep it relevant.

The Koch brothers have discovered something about the vulnerability of the American psyche. In American elections; the candidate who collects the most money usually wins.

Political groupthink.

Want to know who's pulling the strings? Follow the money.
And why?
I suspect they just consider it an investment...
If you can't beat them in the marketplace, cheat. Buy some politicians to give you an unfair advantage. And if the present politicians say no, then bring in some new ones.

For example; the Tea Party started out with legitimate concerns. But it wasn't long before the Koch brothers essentially bought it. And a few years later, the Tea Party has the power to literally shut down the Federal Government. Talk about power. The Koch brothers have the power to tell America to do things their way or they will literally shut us down. 

No wonder Senator Harry Reid is so upset.

And the Koch brothers never could have done it without political groupthink.

Economic Groupthink:

Once one has enough money to pay for basic needs, money ceases to be a necessity.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the groupthink.
We all started to believe that we had to have as much money as we could get.

We hoard money. We waste money.
Some people steal money. Others pay people to steal it for them.
Our economy has devolved into a massive game of collecting money – with no real insight of the consequences.

Pillaging is definitely not the highest form of human activity.
And when humanity destroys, displaces, poisons, and ignores the fate of whole ecosystems, the consequences are ultimately disastrous beyond our comprehension.

To feel that money is more important than life on Earth?
That's not just insane... it's collectively suicidal groupthink.

But if you're old, like the Koch brothers, you just might be able to get away with environmental murder and die before you have to pay the price. But their children won't get away with it. Is it that the Koch brothers don't even care about their own children? No amount of money will protect their children from a total Environmental collapse.

Scientists have already informed us that we are well under way into the Earth's sixth great extinction event. Our climate is already changing. Our air, soil, and water are loaded with toxins, carcinogens, and endocrine disrupters. And the Koch brothers' strategy is to stay the course? Obviously, they've spent too much time isolated on their expensive estates – and they simply don't understand the real world.

The Koch brothers are zealous believers of oligarchy economic groupthink – you know, “free trade” (for everyone else). But that may not work out well for the Koch brothers for much longer. Everyone else is starting to catch on.

The prevailing economic groupthink is; more money, more status. But that hasn't worked out for the Koch brothers either. A significant portion of the population see the Koch brothers as the lowest, sleaziest, most despicable form of human life – with enough money to force their sick concepts on the world.

The Koch brothers have taken the money that was given them (they inherited it) and used it to make the world a more miserable place. For brevity, I'll only focus on their (and other oil companies') oil interests. The oil industry has a long cutthroat history of not giving a damn about anything but money. Examples:

  • Lead in gasoline – the gasoline industry has known since the 1920's that lead in gasoline would drive people crazy and kill them. But the industry callously put lead in American gasoline until the 1970's, when they were forced, by law, to stop. By the 1990's, violent crime in America had dropped precipitously. And as other nations banned the use of lead in gasoline, their violent crime statistics repeated those of America – and dropped precipitously within 20 years. Lead also lowers IQ scores and can kill from lead induced heart disease.
  • Other toxins in gasoline – Air pollution is now on the top 10 list of disease risk factors. And particulate matter from auto emissions is the root cause.
  • Oil spills everywhere – Just in the year 2012, the sum of American oil spills exceeded the volume of the Exxon Valdez spill.

  • Toxins in fracking fluids – as a consequence of some bizarre legal precedent, oil company “trade secrets” have priority over public health... They can put anything they want in fracking fluid, and don't have to tell us. What that means is they can literally get away with putting toxic waste in fracking fluids. And guess what? Water samples taken near fracking sites have found elevated levels of endocrine disrupting chemicals – which have been known to cause infertility, birth defects, and cancer.
  • Climate change – even the biblically bad weather we have been experiencing lately hasn't been enough to convince the mass media that the oil company financed climate deniers are lying to us. The world's economy has already been effected, and it is only going to get worse if we burn more gas. Nonetheless, that's precisely what the oil industry wants.
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics – that's right, even petroleum plastics aren't actually safe. And what has the plastics industry done about this? They've hired exactly the same firms that the tobacco industry used to cover up the risks of second-hand smoke.

Scores of people have been (and will be) driven to illness and death because of burning of fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the fossil fuel industries continue to use their considerable political clout to hold back clean energy. Why?

Let's see... Koch Industries and affiliates stand to make as much as $100 billion on the Keystone XL pipeline. So it's no surprise the Koch brothers are so willing to spend millions on corrupting U.S. Politics.

The irony of all this is that if the Keystone XL pipeline can get Canadian oil to a world markets, they can charge higher world prices. In other words, the oil industry wants Americans to support the Keystone XL pipeline, so they can raise oil prices on us. (No wonder Senator Harry Reid called them unAmerican.)

The Koch brothers are worth billions. So why would they sully their reputations on such devious methods to make even more money? Economic groupthink? Rich American exceptionalism? A misplaced desire to keep their oil company afloat? Or just plain straight-up greed? My guess is that it is some combination of all of the above mixed with the unwillingness to accept the reality that they have done more harm in their lives than good. Like the oil they they want to force us to buy, the consequences of their existence are far worse than they would like to admit.