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When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Archive for March, 2008

We Are the Most Lied-To, Gullible Populace on the Planet

Posted by honestpoet on March 20, 2008

Wowsers. This book of Noam Chomsky’s, Failed States, is just chock full of facts that show up our media and our government as a pack of liars.

The list of atrocities committed by our own government (like the 1985 bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, which was actually committed by the CIA, a known fact at this point, though the media never bothered to correct the perception they created by passing along the government’s story that it was a terrorist) just boggles the mind. Presidents from both parties over the years have protected the oil companies’ interests in the Middle East with crime after crime against civilian populations over there. Some of them we’ve never heard a word about, some we’ve heard about but with a twisted slant to blame it all on terrorism. Wherever, in the Middle East, South America, or Asia, real democracy has flowered, we’ve stamped it out in favor of fascist regimes (like that of Saddam Hussein, who was put in power by JFK in the 60s) willing to cooperate with our interests.

If you want to know the facts about what’s really going on in the middle east, get this book. Like they’re stamping on our mail these days, those words of one of my cousins however many times removed and however imperfect himself, John Adams, “Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.” We need to wake up as a country and deal with the fact that we are living under a long-term fascist regime that started long before any of us were born, right back to the founding of our country, which purports to value freedom but which only gives it lip service, and which is actually set up to benefit the few, the super-rich, who head these multi-national corporations. It started with cotton. Now it’s oil.

The primary obstacle to progress for us as a species is America and our corrupt government. This is not a partisan issue, either. The Democrats are just as complicit, though BushCo, with its clumsy handling and constant underestimation of our intelligence, has certainly taken it to new heights, or should I say lows?

Please, let’s stop acting like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed a load of BS. Let’s seek the truth, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Illuminati or reptilian hybrids. It’s got to do with money and power.

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Posted in Building a Better World, Bush, conspiracy theory, evolution, freedom, genocide, hegemony, history, Iraq, iraq war, military, Muslims, peace, peace activism, political science, politics, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

President Bush and John Quincy Adams: Soulmates of History

Posted by majutsu on March 16, 2008

The Monroe Doctrine begins and ends with a president’s son:

As has been noted before, there is a lot of similarity between George W. Bush and John Quincy Adams. Both men were presidents as well as sons of presidents. Both fathers were perceived as rather ineffectual or undistinguished. Both sons got involved in controversial wars in other lands, and both wars were ethically questionable. Most importantly, it is my contention that both men are terminal points in the life-span of the philosophy of the Monroe Doctrine. John Quincy Adams is the beginning of a string of presidencies that assume the validity of the Monroe Doctrine; George Bush’s presidency is the last.

John Quincy Adams was Secretary of State under President Monroe from 1817-1825. As such he was involved in the formulation and first use of the philosophy of the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine officially dates to the state of the union address of President Monroe on December 2, 1823. Officially, the Monroe Doctrine promulgates the philosophy “that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.” Hence, it officially is a clarion call for independence of the Western Hemisphere from European colonization. However, there are more than a few holes in the official statement. First among these is that the original speech only references the Russian influence in the Oregon territories and the Spanish influence in Florida. Oddly enough, this stern warning that we will protect North and South America from any colonization (being the true lovers of freedom we are) seems not to affect Canada, which was a thoroughly British colonial area, securely controlled by our most probable enemy as proved by the then-recent War of 1812. John Quincy Adams, as Secretary of State, helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine, the causes of which may be found in the first conflict with the Seminoles. There were three Seminole wars in Florida, 1817-1818, 1835-1842, and 1855-1858. So John Quincy Adams helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine while Secretary of State during the first conflict. It was mainly needed to justify the actions of Andrew Jackson, who in official response to the Scott Massacre, set about to attack the Spanish, villages of freed slaves, to exterminate towns of Indians and execute British citizens who were nuzzling in on our trade profits. There was no question we wanted Florida, as Adams was engaged in purchase negotiations with Spain for Florida prior to the first war. Adams used double-speak, finger-pointing, and Orwellian word re-definition to make grossly offensive and atrocious actions justifiable, in short, supplying, as does Condoleeza Rice today, the mental gymnastics to justify a war, about which even General Ethan Allen Hitchcock had admitted, “The government is in the wrong, and this is the chief cause of the persevering opposition of the Indians, who have nobly defended their country against our attempt to enforce a fraudulent treaty. The natives used every means to avoid a war, but were forced into it by the tyranny of our government.”

“So Adams let the Spanish protest, then issued a letter (with 72 supporting documents) blaming the war on the British, Spanish and Indians. In the letter he also apologized for the seizure of West Florida, said that it had not been American policy to seize Spanish territory, and offered to give St. Marks and Pensacola back to Spain. Spain accepted and eventually resumed negotiations for the sale of Florida. [Suddenly turning face, Adams began] defending Jackson’s actions as necessary, and sensing that they strengthened his diplomatic standing, Adams demanded Spain either control the inhabitants of East Florida or cede it to the United States! An agreement was then reached whereby Spain ceded East Florida to the United States and renounced all claim to West Florida.”

US State Department website on the Monroe Doctrine

So the financial boon that had been sought all along had finally been obtained by public misrepresentation of the conflict and justification of the genocidal means to the American and international community as twisted self-defense. This conflict was enshrined in American policy as the Monroe Doctrine. While the overt reason for the Monroe Doctrine was self-defense and freedom from European colonization, the true subtext was desire for profit, economic monopoly, justification of immoral violence, and a blank check for future southern expansion of the young American empire.

And what about our glorious freedom from European colonization? Isn’t that the real point of the Monroe Doctrine, that America believes in free, self-determinate nations, and will stand like a beacon protecting the Western Hemisphere from being used by European, Soviet, or any other imperial power? Would it surprise you to know that the Monroe Doctrine was crafted with the British, mainly to limit French and Spanish profits in exploiting the New World at the expense of any loss to British or American wealth?

“British Foreign Minister George Canning proposed that the United States and the United Kingdom join to warn off France and Spain from intervention [in any of the recently freed colonies: Argentina, Chile, Columbia, or Mexico]. Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison urged Monroe to accept the offer, but . . . Adams also was quite concerned about the efforts of Russia and Mexico to extend their influence over the Oregon Country, which had already been jointly claimed by the Americans and British. At the Cabinet meeting of November 7, 1823, Adams argued against Canning’s offer, and declared, ‘It would be more candid, as well as more dignified, to avow our principles explicitly to Russia and France, than to come in as a cockboat in the wake of the British man-of-war.'”

wikipedia article on Monroe Doctrine

This clearly is a chronology of an economic arrangement with the British regarding the exploitation of the indigenous peoples and Spanish Americas, with the inspiration by Adams that America was mature enough to administer these economic prizes. Adams, in formulating the Monroe Doctrine, is writing future presidents a blank check to attack the other peoples of the earth for the sake of American profit. He also has set the course of crying self-defense and security while clutching slaves and dollars to a bullying chest.

The parallels between this conflict and the Iraq war are many. Apparently the war was decided ahead of time for economic reasons. The American public was lied to about the origins and true goals of the war. Such similarities illustrate how the doctrine of America’s right to use violence for material gain was now enshrined in American political philosophy. The actions of Andrew Jackson, seen by many of his time as a frightening enemy of freedom, the American Napoleon, had now been given the veneer of philosophy and acceptable expression in international affairs.

Theodore Roosevelt extended the Monroe Doctrine to Latin America. “In 1928, the Clark Memorandum was released, concluding that the Doctrine gave the United States the right to intervene in Latin American affairs when it perceived a threat to its interests or internal dangers, even without European interference. Internal dangers included events such as elections as acceptable justification for intervention.” It is not surprising that the reach of the Doctrine keeps growing, as it was in origin a blank check to commit violence for economic gain. Kennedy extended the Monroe Doctrine to justify the Cold War. “The Monroe Doctrine means what it has meant since President Monroe and John Quincy Adams enunciated it, and that is that we would oppose a foreign power extending its power to the Western Hemisphere, and that is why we oppose what is happening in Cuba today. That is why we have cut off our trade. That is why we worked in the Organization of American States and in other ways to isolate the Communist menace in Cuba. That is why we will continue to give a good deal of our effort and attention to it.” The same logic is next extended to Nicaragua by Reagan. It is apparent in the judgment against the US by the world court that the Monroe Doctrine had always placed us philosophically as aggressors against other nations in disdain for morality or international opinion.

The true legacy of the Monroe Doctrine is the inherent belief that the best government is the one that maximizes power and wealth. This is why governments like Bush’s seem so fascist. It is the close relationship between government and the economically and socially powerful in these governments, and the way their decisions only benefit the wealthy and powerful (like Chevron or Haliburton), not the common man (who sends his son to die in Iraq). I suppose Bush is not consciously fascist, or he would show less disdain for friends like Saddam Hussein, but he shares the characteristics of proto-fascism. “Semiotician Umberto Eco attempts to identify the characteristics of proto-fascism as the cult of tradition, rejection of modernism, cult of action for action’s sake, life is lived for struggle, fear of difference, rejection of disagreement, contempt for the weak, cult of masculinity and machismo, qualitative populism, appeal to a frustrated majority, obsession with a plot, illicitly wealthy enemies, education to become a hero, and speaking Newspeak, in his popular essay Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt. More recently, an emphasis has been placed upon the aspect of populist fascist rhetoric that argues for a “re-birth” of a conflated nation.” But I believe our presidents have simply been guilty of the viewpoint that since they are rich and powerful, as are all who are not marginalized in our society, that benefiting such individuals by continuous acquisition of power and wealth would necessarily be the best course. Now, ideas in public discourse emerge such as how Americans are less secure thanks to Mr. Bush’s unilateral actions in Iraq which have galvanized terrorists, how we Americans are not having our needs met in education or health care, or how we fought a war for oil, but pay over $3.50 a gallon for gas after obtaining a monopoly on Iraqi oil reserves and production, since our gas trophy is being used to control the oil markets of Europe and Asia for the profit of the same few. So how could I have fought a war for oil and money, which I and most Americans find morally objectionable, while at the same time have no money to show for the selling of my soul? Only by following the Monroe Doctrine, which has implicitly guided America in every choice to seek to maximize wealth and power at the quality and expense of human life and happiness. In this respect, Bush is an excellent president, for he has fulfilled the Monroe Doctrine in fullness. As Madeline Albright says, “every president has a position much like the Bush doctrine in his back pocket, but it is simply foolish to smash people in the face with it and to implement it in a manner that will infuriate even allies.” In his interview with Jeremy Paxon, Noam Chomsky relays that “Henry Kissinger for example described [the Bush doctrine] as a revolutionary new doctrine which tears to shreds the Westphalian System, the 17th-century system of International Order and of course the UN Charter. But nevertheless, [this interpretation of Kissinger’s] has been very widely criticized within the foreign policy elite. . . on the narrow ground the doctrine is not really new, it’s [only more] extreme.” Bush is merely the logical culmination of the Monroe Doctrine, it’s fullest expression. We can now see it for the justification of horror and non-responsibility to the needs of the everyday American people that it truly is. Bush may someday be remembered not as the worst president, but rather as the very best at expressing a very bad and very dead idea, that government’s job is only to accumulate wealth and power to its very limit. Instead the president of the future will be judged by how he or she has met the needs of the American people.

Posted in Bush, corruption, genocide, hegemony, history, impeachment, Iraq, iraq war, monroe doctrine, Noam Chomsky, political science, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The DNC Are a Bunch of Fools

Posted by honestpoet on March 16, 2008

Here’s a BBC article to ponder. It’s about the confusion in Florida over the primary and whether or not they’ll be able to have their delegates at the convention. It seems there’s a power struggle between the national party and the Florida dems over control.

I didn’t think they could do it, but I’m afraid they’re going to hand it to the Grand Old Poopheads AGAIN. I’m afraid we’re going to end up with McCain, with his crazy ideas and lack of understanding of personal freedom, just because the Democrats can’t get their heads out of their heinies long enough to see past next week. I’m so exasperated.

Posted in Barack Obama, freedom, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Topology — I’m the Map!!

Posted by majutsu on March 12, 2008

Topology is the mathematical study of sets of objects classified as open or closed and transformations of such sets and classifications. From this simple beginning, we can derive space, functional analysis, connectedness and compactness concepts, as well as tools useful in the study of quantum physics, psychology, computer science and more. Topology began with the study of the bridges of a northern city, literally, map-making. How is this act of map-making the act of sets of points and their transformations? Well, the points of an actual city are grouped into classifications like parks, counties, connected or separated areas, and then these points (taken from a 3-D globe) are transformed, or related to, the points of a 2-D sheet of paper. So map-making raises the general questions of this intellectual activity. Furthermore, certain transformations of a city, like road maps, preserve some information, like road connections, but lose other information, like elevation above sea-level. In general, we explore ideas like open, closed, connected, separate, information-preserving and information-sacrificing transformations. These are the very ideas of space, time, and measurement. It is therefore no surprise that quantum physics has made extensive use of topology. Furthermore, our minds are maps. We don’t actually experience the world as it is. For example, we experience light reflected from various objects mapped onto our occipital, or vision, cortex in the back of the head. Some information, like red-wavelength light absorption, is preserved in this mapping, and some, like x-ray radiation, is not. So it is no surprise that neuropsychology and neurology have made extensive use of topology. In his TED lectures, Steven Johnson, writer of the book Emergence and occasional participant in The Daily Show, illustrated how making a map of London was essential to understanding the source of cholera outbreaks, leading to great changes in public health and allowing the evolution of large cities that were livable. Topology is a root discipline that touches fundamentals of physics, mathematics, logic, psychology and social and political theory. Because topology is a fundamental exploration of transformations of sets of objects and the information (limit points) lost or preserved in that mapping, and our experience of life is a topological transformation of the world onto our mind, topology magically touches every discipline of human knowledge.

The beginning of topology is the definition of a topology, given a set U and collection of subsets T:

1) U and {} are in T

2) The union of any elements of T is in T

3) The intersection of any finite elements of T is in T

This collection is a topology.

For example, consider the set U = {1,2,3,4}

Here is a topology T= {1,2,3,4},{},{1,2},{3},{1,2,3}

Of course, things are much more interesting, with a infinite number of points like in Euclidean space. All sets of a topology are defined as “open”. I see and remember this by thinking of the objects in the open subsets as flowing freely into one another. The topological basis (a concept we can’t go into here) of Euclidean space is the collection of open space-balls. Any space may be constructed of overlapping balls of space of different size. Functions are seen as transformations of this topology. Questions of continuity and differentiability of functions in functional analysis also find a home in topology.

Anyone wishing to learn more should consult Topology by Munkres, or Topology by Hocking.

“I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map. I’m the map! . . . And which character would be singing that? . . . ” Brian Regan

Posted in mathematics, neuroscience, physics, quantum physics, topology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The American Empire Project: Noam Chomsky and Failed States

Posted by honestpoet on March 11, 2008

I’m adding this website to my blogroll, and I wanted to bring it to people’s attention.

After we’d read an interview with Noam Chomsky in an old issue of the excellent (ad-free) Canadian magazine The Sun, Maj. and I got interested in the man and his work, not so much his work in linguistics (which you really need to be a specialist to understand), but his political work. Maj. just started reading his book, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, in which he uses Bush’s definition of a failed state (a state exhibiting the following: 1. inability or unwillingness to protect its citizens from violence; 2. regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law; and 3. if they have democratic forms of government, they have no real substance) to examine America and show how we are ourselves a failed state. Just the forward is powerful enough to make any thinking person want to throw these guys out of office. The first chapter begins with a paragraph worth excerpting:

Half a century ago, in July 1955, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein issued an extraordinary appeal to the people of the world, asking them “to set aside” the strong feelings they have about many issues and to consider themselves “only as members of a biological species which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearance none of us can desire.” The choice facing the world is “stark and dreadful and inescapable; shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?”

In a country being bankrupted, morally and financially, in order that these few men may wage their (for them) profitable wars, I do not see how so many can cling to the notion that we are living in the America our forebears fought and died to create. There is no longer any “of the people, by the people, for the people” anymore. This is not my country. We’re living in a failed state.

Posted in hegemony, Iraq, military, Noam Chomsky, politics, torture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sister Alphonsa sainted – first Indian saint

Posted by majutsu on March 4, 2008

Here’s a great article about the first Indian saint. She sounds like quite a woman. I also find the exasperation of the Hindi majority at Christianity’s appeal to the poor and oppressed in the country to be most amusing! She disfigured herself to avoid arranged marriage and dedicate her life to mysticism. Also, she was quite a symbol for supporting the poor and in need. The Kerala was founded by St. Thomas 2000 years ago, and she is not only the first Indian saint, but the first saint of the Kerala church. Mother Theresa has been beatified but not canonized yet.

Indian saint

UPDATE, 10/13/08: An article in the NY Times today reveals escalating violence against and forced conversions of Christians by Hindus. This is clearly contrary to the Hindu ideal of ahimsa, and India’s alleged secularism. Shame, shame.

Posted in catholicism, Christianity, Christians Worth Knowing, india, mysticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »