Saturday, January 01, 2011
I was reluctant to get up and face this first day of 2011 (or MMXI to Latin scholars.) Could I face another decade in what has so far been a gall stone of a century? Obviously I had little choice in the matter, but I could certainly delay the inevitable as long as possible, and accordingly – pausing only long enough to feed Finn – I took a Valium and went back to bed. A some point during this encore slumber I drifted into a half-dream/half-stream of semi-conscious thought that intrigued me sufficiently I felt a need to write it down before it melted from memory.
Two ultra-senior corporate executives recline in a skyscape boardroom like suave and elevated demons in some elegant enclave of a post-theological Hell discussing how to bend the planet to their totalitarian capitalist whim. Strange aircraft fly by in the toxic miasma beyond the glass. The dialogue, as far as I can reconstruct it, went something like this.
The first corporate demon explains, “So we find ourselves a charming sociopath with sufficient cheap charisma to be celebrity-marketed to the terminal lumpen.”
“It really doesn’t matter.”
The second corporate demon nods and pours herself a cognac. “Right.”
The first corporate demon continues. “We inculcate them with a blunt-instrument measure of political ambition.”
“Power for it’s own sake?”
“For pleasure and profit.”
“We equip them with money, media access, and surround them with a impenetrable phalanx of attendant minders and handlers. The resulting illusionary cocoon of mindless praise and endless flattery, plus totally controlled and wholly favorable mass media access, will smooth the inevitable rough edges to create a superficial faux-socialization and the kind of shoddy appeal that is needed to succeed in the already farcical democratic process.”
“The selected sociopath achieves high office?”
“The very highest.”
“And then he or she proceeds to unravel what remains of civilization as it has been know, clearing the way for our full and complete totalitarian hegemony.”
“Would we allow the sociopath nuclear capability?”
“Of course. It’s goes with the position of power.”
“Isn’t that dangerous?”
At this point the dream morphed into a memory of the movie version of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone, and words of the Martin Sheen character Greg Stillson. “The missiles are flying. Hallelujah!”
But then the movie sequence is cut short by the smile of the first corporate demon. “But if that should be the case, we can retire to the Strangelove Bunkers until the dust has settled.”
Click here for the clip in question
Click here for Elvis
The secret word is Disturbed
Posted by Mick at 1/01/2011 11:01:00 AM
Friday, December 31, 2010
Click here for Gracie
Click here for Amos Milburn (lifted from our pal Kevin on Facebook)
The secret word is Resist
Posted by Mick at 12/31/2010 10:10:00 AM
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Once upon a time, the shenanigans of lumpen fascism were amusing. They were so extreme they couldn’t be taken seriously, but after discovering the congressman who spent his weekends in a Nazi uniform playing out Waffen SS reactments, I started to feel a little skittish, like some evil was on the air. Our very good pal Richard Metzger just crystallized the same feeling, I think, on Dangerous Minds… “And where is this mess headed when the stupidest people in the country are the only ones reliably voting? It’s really getting frustrating to read the news these days. I feel like there is a new low reached almost daily. The dumbness used to be a little more spread out. I can’t help but to feel we’re about to reach a tipping point towards some SERIOUS BAD CRAZINESS. If you can convince a man that dinosaurs and unicorns were on Noah’s Ark, you can convince this man of ANY darned thing (like millionaires and billionaires pay too much in taxes or that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president)."
Or try this news report for size…
“Kentucky's state-backed $150 million creationist theme park, The Ark Encounter, will allow visitors to explore a literal interpretation of the Bible's story of Noah and the ark. But pseudonymous liberal Kentucky blogger Media Czech raises two important questions about that interpretation and how it will be manifest in theme park form. First, were there dinosaurs on the original ark? Second, what about unicorns? Now, the blogger has found answers to both questions at Answers In Genesis, the official blog of the group behind The Ark Encounter. The group says "yes," to both, which implies that their creationist theme park will include dinosaurs and unicorns on the Ark. Here's Answers In Genesis explaining why dinosaurs were on the Ark, although the group prefers to call them ‘dragons’” (Click here for more)
Or this one…
“First Lady Michelle Obama's push against child obesity, which mostly calls for reforming school lunch programs, is either nanny state big government "run amok," as Sarah Palin put it, or, as some conservatives concede, a relatively unoffensive effort to make kids healthier. The issue has exposed a slight but interesting divide in the conservative commentariat, which cannot seem to agree on whether they should let the first lady's effort slide or oppose it with all their might. The split reveals a difference of opinion on just how "laissez faire" school lunchrooms should be as well as the limits of anti-Obama opposition just for opposition's sake.” (Click here for more including Palin’s response.)
Click here for (what else?) Sex Pistols
The secret word is Porcine
Posted by Mick at 12/30/2010 08:46:00 AM
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
In recent times, Doc40 has run a bunch of stuff by our pal Chris Hedges, and this essay in which he mashes Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 as two parts of the same evolution to tyranny is well worth passing along. It took our good friend Aeswiren to provide a heads up for this post. Over the last few weeks I have rather been ignoring US politics as I sorted out my bearings here in the UK. I would note, though, if things were really as bad as Hedges assumes, we’d both would have been hauled away in the black helicopters of the Though Police months ago.
“The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second. We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure.” Click here for the whole thing.
Click here for the complete 1954 BBC TV production of 1984
The secret word is Pessimism
Posted by Mick at 12/29/2010 09:11:00 AM
Our pal Jon alerted me to how Alternet had posted a lengthy excerpt from my recent book Speed-Speed-Speedfreak. It was news to me, but I link it here because I figure it’s a good read. (Although you could actually buy the book, which would contribute to my survival.)
“In the fullness of history, all the different varieties of speed may have been products of the twentieth century, even though they are still around nearly a decade into the twenty-first, and show no sign of waning. Speed is too much of a reflection of its time. The twentieth century was an era of acceleration. Humanity went from its first powered flight to a moon landing in less than 70 years. Two atomic weapons were deliberately detonated over inhabited cities, while other cities were turned into unstoppable firestorms by tons of conventional explosives dropped from high-flying aircraft. Millions died in two devastating world wars, and millions more in smaller wars, insurrections, and ethnic cleansings. We have seen the computer grow from a mechanical adding machine to an entity so powerful and omnipresent that speculation is now possible about the likelihood of machines merging identities with humanity.
The event of rock & roll added a frenetic thrashing drive to the world's entertainment, and television warped the world's perception. The twentieth century was an era of massive overreaching that culminated in us pushing our planet to the very edge of environmental catastrophe, as melting icecaps change the course of the ocean tides. The twentieth century was also a time of scarcely believable greed and all too grandiose dreams. The developed nations of the West demanded more and more, and we grew furious if TV commercials reneged on their promises and we couldn't instantly have it all. The West grew fat even as famines decimated developing nations. We burned energy as if there was no tomorrow, and in so doing, made tomorrow considerably more problematic.” Click here for more
Posted by Mick at 12/29/2010 08:59:00 AM
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
As Europe and North America are beset by unusually extreme weather, word comes that meteorological anomalies are not wholly confined to the planet Earth. Saturn (above) is currently experiencing the reemergence of the Great White Spot, a massive storm system in the planet's southern hemisphere several thousand kilometers across. The Great White Spot is Saturn’s the lesser known equivalent of Jupiter's Great Red Spot. A periodic storm that flares up about every 28.5 years. It previously appeared in 1876, 1903, 1933, 1960, and 1990. As such, we shouldn't be expecting another appearance until around 2018, although huge, Spot-like storms do occasionally show up at times that don't fit the cycle, including 1994 and 2006. Click here for the story
Click here for The Doors (at risk of being repetitious)
The secret word is Interplanetary
Posted by Mick at 12/28/2010 02:35:00 PM
Doubtless some – fools, facile charlatans, and oil industry hirelings – will use the current storms and plunging temperatures to claim that global warming is either a deception or a fallacy. Such dangerous nonsense really needs to be challenged wherever it appears. The weather conditions right now causing such havoc are, if anything, just one more piece of evidence that global thermodynamics are seriously out of whack and any spurious denials can only exacerbate an already precarious situation. If I sound a little grim about this it’s because gambling for greedy short-term corporate gain when the gamble is with possible human survival, plus that of hundreds of other forms of life, simply has to stop. Now.
Posted by Mick at 12/28/2010 02:25:00 PM
Monday, December 27, 2010
I am not so overweeningly egocentric that I take seismic events as a personal affront but it did strike me as a tad heavy on the synchronicity when, within hours of having posted on Facebook how, after leaving California, “although England freezes, I no longer need concern myself about the next earthquake” our pal Joli sends me this report of a quake in the north of England.
“People described hearing and feeling the earth moving for "well over a minute" just after 2300 GMT on Tuesday. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 3.6, was felt in locations across Cumbria and in Lancashire, south-west Scotland, parts of Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Isle of Man. Police say there are no reports of injury or damage. The tremor was picked up by the British Geological Survey. People have contacted the BBC to say they felt the tremor in places including Barrow, Sellafield, Cockermouth, Windermere and Penrith. Cumbria Fire and Rescue service has also confirmed the quake. A spokesman said: "We have had no requests from members of the public. At the moment, we don't believe there is any structural damage." Click here for more
Click here for mean ol’ Chuck
The secret word is Fault
Posted by Mick at 12/27/2010 12:56:00 PM
Click here for the whole thesis.
Click here for The Byrds
Click here for The Byrds
Posted by Mick at 12/27/2010 12:48:00 PM
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Click here for Dowd’s column
Click here Patti
The secret word is Silver
Posted by Mick at 12/26/2010 02:50:00 PM