Friday, August 24, 2012

The Fruits of A Celebrity World of Illusion

As the winds of violent, instant change approach the poorest and richest two nations, in the form of emerging hurricane Isaac, the celebrity world of illusion appears a bit more naked.

While billions of dollars are spent on illusory political ads of every deceitful sort, some 400,000 Haitians still live in fragile, makeshift plastic/etc. tents, their homes having been destroyed by an earthquake a couple of years ago.

Living in those conditions exposes their little ones to disease epidemics that have already claimed at least 7,000 lives.

Meanwhile, and I do mean mean, the presidential campaign advertising, that both disappoints and angers voters in the U.S., involves more than enough money to easily be sufficient to build housing for all those 400,000 people, who are homeless families because of something well beyond their control.

Meanwhile again, a celebrity movie costing even more millions of dollars, starring Willard Mitt Romney and co-starring Paul Davis Ryan, is being put together in Tampa, Florida, as that tropical storm Issac threatens to visit the Republican Convention and the homeless Haitians.

As the neoCons whoop it up in a cloud of illusion, believing women who are "legitimately raped" won't get pregnant, they have gone even further to make that illusion a plank in their political platform (see NeoCon Planet: Magic Teflon Vagina Juice).

That is not the only illusion they celebrate while they whoop it up in the denial of global warming induced climate change (see The Damage Has Been Done - 6).

They are even making psychological denial a celebrity dogma in sports, so when doping is charged it begins a marathon of legal sports events in courts along with media posturing ("PR"), the likes of which can even take the news cycle away from the political celebrities (see Lance Armstrong Gives Up The Race).

Author, columnist, and journalist Chris Hedges, in a book of modern vintage, put a focus on the tragic mistake of replacing mature policy with celebrity worship:
Celebrity worship banishes reality.  And this adulation is pervasive.  It is dressed up in the language of the Christian Right, which builds around its leaders, people like Pat Robertson or Joel Olsteen, the aura of stardom, fame and celebrity power.  These Christian celebrities travel in private jets and limousines.  They are surrounded by retinues of bodyguards, have television programs where they cultivate the same false intimacy with the audience, and, like all successful celebrities, amass personal fortunes. The frenzy around political messiahs, or the devotion of millions of women to Oprah Winfrey, is all part of the yearning to see ourselves in those we worship.  We seek to be like them.  We seek to make them like us.  If Jesus and The Purpose Driven Life won’t make us a celebrity, then Tony Robbins or positive psychologists or reality television will.  We are waiting for our cue to walk onstage and be admired and envied, to become known and celebrated.
(Empire of Illusion, emphasis added). Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has discussed how George Orwell exposed one aspect of that worship (see the series Bully Worship: The Universal Religion).

Another author informed us about the celebrities of war ("warrior heroes") whom those starring in the Republican Convention movie want as another plank in their platform:
While the me-too Democrats have set a horrible example of keeping up with the Joneses with respect to waging wars, they can never match GOP stalwarts such as John McCain or Lindsey Graham in their sheer, libidinous enthusiasm for invading other countries. McCain wanted to mix it up with Russia - a nuclear-armed state - during the latter's conflict with Georgia in 2008 (remember? - "we are all Georgians now," a slogan that did not, fortunately, catch on), while Graham has been persistently agitating for attacks on Iran and intervention in Syria. And these are not fringe elements of the party; they are the leading "defense experts," who always get tapped for the Sunday talk shows.
(Diagnosing The Dogs of War - 2, quoting Mike Lofgren). That plank, harped incessantly on "the Sunday talk shows", indicates that the political celebrities want to send celebrities of war to Iran and Syria to make an explosive, G.I. Joe entrance there, "so that no more peaceful democracies will be aborted."

That plank is old and rotting, but fundamentally, so is most of their illusive platform of ideology:
For more than quarter of a century Western officials have claimed repeatedly that Iran is close to joining the nuclear club. Such a result is always declared "unacceptable" and a possible reason for military action, with "all options on the table" to prevent upsetting the Mideast strategic balance dominated by the US and Israel.

And yet, those predictions have time and again come and gone. This chronicle of past predictions lends historical perspective to today’s rhetoric about Iran.
(Christian Science Monitor). Celebrity has even morphed into a propaganda tool that is used to forge our ideas about war (see The Government of MOMCOM: Wartocracy).

Celebrity Ronald Reagan was a McCarthyite snitch / spy against his fellow actors.

He did this while he was head of the Screen Writers Guild when he had access to all the guild's records on actors.

He even had the FBI spy on his daughter Maureen, free speech activists, and had professors of universities fired for their political views.

About 10,000 FBI records about Reagan prove this (See video below beginning at 56:47 for specific Reagan data).

When your president is a McCarthyite informant against his fellow celebrities:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Octomom of Election Fraud Gives Birth - 2

On this very date in 2009 we focused on the new nation our military had built in Afghanistan.

(Here are some related posts:  Newsy On Karzai Karzai Klan, Oilah Akbar In Afghanistan, Secret Afghanistan Underground, and Afghanistan Is A Bipartisan War).

Specifically, in that 2009 post Dredd Blog focused on the purple finger of fate elections we had selflessly brought to that new baby democracy created by our foreign policy wisdom, eagerly and generously brought to the world the 1% say they were born to rule.

Here is the text of that post:

Or, how the election integrity movement within the U.S. military gets jiggy wid it.

Invade a sovereign nation, then ship them a thousand electronic voting machines and printing presses to print paper ballots.

Next, paint the fingers purple of those who stand in line at the barbed wire lined polling places and actually vote; finally, ignore the sour grapes of those who yell election fraud.

Voila, have you thereby perpetuated the spread of democracy; or have you become lonely in the midst of your vast weapons cache and committed a rape that will impregnate electomom and spread election fraud further around the globe?

The recent Afghanistan elections sound like another STD moment stimulated by the shadow movement:
Hamid Karzai's main political rival today accused the Afghan president of "stealing" last week's presidential vote by orchestrating a campaign of massive electoral fraud.
(The Guardian). Has Norm Coleman moved to Kabul to do election counselling, or is he still in Minnesota fighting the last electowar?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NeoCon Planet: Magic Teflon Vagina Juice

"Isn't That Teflon Special?"
On The Planet of the Rapes when women are "legitimately raped" they secrete Magic Teflon Vagina Juice (according to a government official from la la land) which protects them from experiencing an unwanted pregnancy.

Evidently, according to Church Lady on Church Chat, for women who are not "legitimately raped" that magic teflon vagina juice cannot be conjured up.

House member Todd Akin (R-Bullshitistan) is there because some voters chose him to legislate laws for them.

I might note that Akin's magic potion ideology has been put into the 2012 GOP platform: no women's choice even in the case of rape or incest.

While the Romney - Ryan ticket claims to not hold that view from the GOP platform, it is a disingenuous denial:
After saying he “can’t defend” Rep. Todd Akin’s suggestion that women don’t get pregnant from rape, Mitt Romney stepped up his rebuke on Tuesday when he called on Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race. But archives from Romney’s previous presidential bid show that the Massachusetts Republican has historically supported the person who is the source of Akin’s theory, Dr. Jack C. Willke, the father of the antiabortion movement.


“Dr. Willke is a leading voice within the pro-life community and will be an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda,” the Romney campaign said in an October 2007 statement.

“I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country,” Romney said in the statement.
(All About Doctor Teflon). The GOP fantasy world is not the greatest problem, no, the greatest problem is the psychological denial that causes it.

One has to wonder if the 28 year veteran republican, Mike Lofgren, who wrote the book "The Party Is Over" is spot on to say his party has gone batshit crazy:
To those millions of Americans ... it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.
It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.
(Goodbye To All That). We can take some actual, spoken-on-the-record words of some of these folks to bolster Lofgren's thesis:
''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
(When You Are Governed By Psychopaths, quoting Karl Rove). Yeah, that's the ticket, the magic teflon vagina juice reality, huh Karl?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Damage Has Been Done - 7

In this series we have been discussing various aspects of global warming induced climate change.

The context of the discussion is basically that once certain pollution benchmarks have been reached, e.g. CO2 pollution levels, consequences are determined much like a row of dominoes.

Knocking over that first domino, like reaching the pollution benchmark, will cause "the domino effect" to proceed until the last domino falls, even though nothing else has to be done to cause the domino effect to complete the entire sequence.

One reason why this metaphor fits is because the time involved from original pollution to its visible result can take an amount of time that is beyond our usual attention span.

As an example, note that Arctic Sea Ice Extent and Volume are setting world records even as we speak:
There are several scientific organisations that keep an eye on the Arctic sea ice cover and put out graphs to inform us of the amount of ice that is left.
After Uni Bremen sea ice extent and Arctic ROOS sea ice area another big domino has fallen with Cryosphere Today sea ice area ...
Though it happened 23 days earlier than it did last year, today's CT SIA value is already 27,281 km2 lower than last year's record (which itself only edged out the 2007 record by fewer than 15k km2). 17 days elapsed last year between the date the 3 million km2 mark was passed and the record was set; this year, that only took four days.

Over the course of the record--1979-2011--the average CT area loss from this day to minimum has been 521k km2. Based on a straight extrapolation from prior years, 2012 SIA would/could/almost certaionly will end up somewhere between 1.92 million and 2.77 million km2, with a mean minimum of 2.36 million km2.
(Arctic Ice Extent & Volume - Record dominoes). The record setting lack of ice extent and record decrease in volume this year are results of pollution events that began decades ago, and will continue for decades, even if we quit CO2 pollution today.

Like dominoes.

UPDATE: The NSIDC has reported that the old records have now been broken:
Arctic sea ice cover melted to its lowest extent in the satellite record yesterday, breaking the previous record low observed in 2007. Sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles).

NSIDC and NASA scientists will host a media teleconference today, August 27, at 1 p.m. MDT/3 p.m. EDT, to discuss this new record low Arctic sea ice extent.

NSIDC scientist Walt Meier said, "By itself it's just a number, and occasionally records are going to get set. But in the context of what's happened in the last several years and throughout the satellite record, it's an indication that the Arctic sea ice cover is fundamentally changing."
(Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Lowest Extent On Record). The sooner nations go into emergency mode and quickly begin to limit CO2 the more catastrophe will be averted, catastrophe in the form of millions of deaths in upcoming years.

The previous post in this series is here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Diagnosing The Dogs of War - 2

Political Party = Broadway Play
In the first post of this series we referred to the book "The Dogs of War", by author Frederick Forsyth, as a source for some interesting but peculiar quotes.

For today's post I want to refer to the book "The Party Is Over", by author Mike Lofgren, as another source for some additional interesting but peculiar quotes.

The basic thrust of this series implicates, in whole or in part, the long term debate among scientists that is generally called "the nature vs. nurture" debate within some scientific circles.

That debate is substantially removed from the fog of lore by realizing that it is fundamentally a debate that has to do with two fundamental viewpoints concerning how much of human behavior is "hard wired" verses how much of human behavior is of our own free will, which would include those instances where our will is modified in some degree by the society we live in.

Let's take a look at some aspects of both sides of the debate, noting that the "hard wired" side of the debate tend to use the older science:
"The destructive intensity of the aggressive drive that propels us to war is mankind’s hereditary evil, as Lorenz termed it, and its evolutionary origins can be sought in tribal conflict."
(Liam Heneghan). A "hereditary evil" is another way of saying "hard wired", so let's take a look at the side of the debate that uses more recent science:
"the genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoring past and present historical and social factors. In the words of Louis Menand who wrote in the New Yorker very astutely:
“It’s all in the genes”: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are. Why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth? It can’t be the system! There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere.”
... which is a good way to put it. So the genetic argument is simply a cop-out that allows us to ignore the social and economic and political factors that in fact underlie many troublesome behaviors"...
(The It's In Your Genes Myth, quoting Dr. Maté). This is in accord with anthropologists who have looked closely at the data:
Even more important, the first solid evidence of lethal group violence among our ancestors dates back not millions, hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands of years, but only 13,000 years. The evidence consists of a mass grave found in the Nile Valley, at a location in modern-day Sudan. Even that site is an outlier. Virtually all other evidence for human warfare—skeletons with projectile points embedded in them, weapons designed for combat (rather than hunting), paintings and rock drawings of skirmishes, fortifications—is 10,000 years old or less. In short, war is not a primordial biological “curse.” It is a cultural innovation, an especially vicious, persistent meme, which culture can help us transcend.
(Discover, emphasis added; see also Augustin Fuentes). In the U.S. one party is primarily responsible for warmongering, while their competition is responsible for caving in to that warmongering:
While the me-too Democrats have set a horrible example of keeping up with the Joneses with respect to waging wars, they can never match GOP stalwarts such as John McCain or Lindsey Graham in their sheer, libidinous enthusiasm for invading other countries. McCain wanted to mix it up with Russia - a nuclear-armed state - during the latter's conflict with Georgia in 2008 (remember? - "we are all Georgians now," a slogan that did not, fortunately, catch on), while Graham has been persistently agitating for attacks on Iran and intervention in Syria. And these are not fringe elements of the party; they are the leading "defense experts," who always get tapped for the Sunday talk shows. About a month before Republicans began holding a gun to the head of the credit markets to get trillions of dollars of cuts, these same Republicans passed a defense appropriations bill that increased spending by $17 billion over the prior year's defense appropriation. To borrow Chris Hedges' formulation, war is the force that gives meaning to their lives.

A cynic might conclude that this militaristic enthusiasm is no more complicated than the fact that Pentagon contractors spread a lot of bribery money around Capitol Hill. That is true, but there is more to it than that. It is not necessarily even the fact that members of Congress feel they are protecting constituents' jobs. The wildly uneven concentration of defense contracts and military bases nationally means that some areas, like Washington, DC, and San Diego, are heavily dependent on Department of Defense (DOD) spending. But there are many more areas of the country whose net balance is negative: the citizenry pays more in taxes to support the Pentagon than it receives back in local contracts.

And the economic justification for Pentagon spending is even more fallacious when one considers that the $700 billion annual DOD budget creates comparatively few jobs. The days of Rosie the Riveter are long gone; most weapons projects now require very little touch labor. Instead, a disproportionate share is siphoned off into high-cost research and development (from which the civilian economy benefits little); exorbitant management expenditures, overhead and out-and-out padding; and, of course, the money that flows back into the coffers of political campaigns. A million dollars appropriated for highway construction would create two to three times as many jobs as a million dollars appropriated for Pentagon weapons procurement, so the jobs argument is ultimately specious.

Take away the cash nexus and there still remains a psychological predisposition toward war and militarism on the part of the GOP. This undoubtedly arises from a neurotic need to demonstrate toughness and dovetails perfectly with the belligerent tough-guy pose one constantly hears on right-wing talk radio. Militarism springs from the same psychological deficit that requires an endless series of enemies, both foreign and domestic.

The results of the last decade of unbridled militarism and the Democrats' cowardly refusal to reverse it, have been disastrous both strategically and fiscally. It has made the United States less prosperous, less secure and less free. Unfortunately, the militarism and the promiscuous intervention it gives rise to are only likely to abate when the Treasury is exhausted, just as it happened to the Dutch Republic and the British Empire.
(Mike Lofgren, emphasis added). The GOP is the meme complex that leads the U.S. in wanting to be associated with the warmongering of recent years.

But since the democrats do not have the backbone to stop it, what we have are two Broadway Troupes putting on Theatrical Plays with a script that is already written, but with both calling themselves political parties.

War is not in the genes of Americans, it is something that has been taught and learned, but it has become habitual for our system.