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Monday, 30 April 2012 09:08
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig | Op-Ed
When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “t times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”
The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum.
When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of “primitive” societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem we must restore this older vision of life if we are to survive.
The war on the Native Americans, like the wars waged by colonialists around the globe, was waged to eradicate not only a people but a competing ethic. The older form of human community was antithetical and hostile to capitalism, the primacy of the technological state and the demands of empire. This struggle between belief systems was not lost on Marx. “The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx” is a series of observations derived from Marx’s reading of works by historians and anthropologists. He took notes about the traditions, practices, social structure, economic systems and beliefs of numerous indigenous cultures targeted for destruction. Marx noted arcane details about the formation of Native American society, but also that “lands owned by the tribes in common, while tenement-houses owned jointly by their occupants.” He wrote of the Aztecs, “Commune tenure of lands; Life in large households composed of a number of related families.” He went on, “… reasons for believing they practiced communism in living in the household.” Native Americans, especially the Iroquois, provided the governing model for the union of the American colonies, and also proved vital to Marx and Engel’s vision of communism.
Posted by MindMover | Tue May 1, 2012, 09:52 PM (4 replies)
Activists staged May Day demonstrations around the world Tuesday to recognize a day traditionally associated with labor and workers' rights.
Tear gas, vandalism and arrests marked some of the demonstrations, as protesters demanded everything from wage increases to an end to austerity measures.
In Santiago, Chile, police blasted demonstrators with water cannons, and in Bogota, Colombia, activists ran through a flooded street to escape tear gas fired by authorities. Demonstrators in the Philippines and Bolivia burned effigies of their countries' leaders.
In Oakland, Calif., protesters were hit with a stinging gas and clashed with police in the street. In New York, police in riot gear faced off against several dozen Occupy Wall Street activists in front of a Bank of America office. About 50 demonstrators rallied outside of another Bank of America branch in Chicago.
Posted by MindMover | Tue May 1, 2012, 09:17 PM (5 replies)
(Reuters) - Tired of the long wait for a new kidney, Michael Shelling, a 50-year-old video game marketing consultant based in San Diego, decided to take a more active role in the search.
About three months ago, he decided to tap into his social network by setting up a Facebook page to get the word out to his friends, and their friends, that he needs a new kidney and, by the way, his blood type is O.
The search may have paid off. A potential donor is going through testing to see if they are a match.
It is the kind of scenario Facebook hopes to foster. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg put out the call earlier on Tuesday to encourage the social network's users -- more than 900 million -- to speak up if they are organ donors and display it on their personal pages.
"We think that people can really help spread awareness of organ donation and that they want to participate in this to their friends, and we think that can be a big part in helping to solve the crisis," Zuckerberg told ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" program on Tuesday.
There are currently 92,102 people in the United States waiting for a donor kidney -- the organ that is in greatest demand -- according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Last year, only 28,535 kidney transplants took place, with the majority of those donated from deceased donors.
Poll: So is this Facebook question/answer helpful or invasive ...?
Posted by MindMover | Tue May 1, 2012, 04:01 PM (4 replies)
that they are attracted to pictures of scantily clad women.....
and your level of offensive dialogue is set so low that a man saying that he likes naked women would set off your offensive demeaning comment post, to me is over the top.....
Furthermore, you state "Could you use a video to make your point that doesn't open with a sexist or salacious image?!
And, look: the first two responses are apparently from people with purient interest in an image that is demeaning to women. "
My question is, what is sexist about a naked woman, or is the sexist part in your head......?
Posted by MindMover | Mon Apr 30, 2012, 10:36 PM (1 replies)
We are the oppression no one sees in the home of the free.
We are the genocide unspoken in the land of the brave.
We are the eyes of a child bathing in the sink.
We are the arms of a teenager pumping water for his family.
We are the grandparents who raised their grandchildren.
We are the middle schooler who's sister hung herself.
We are the elder who clings to his beer.
We are the women who wear sunglasses to cover a bruise.
We are native, and we are still here.
We are the grass dancer who refuses to quit.
We are the high school graduate with a dream of college.
We are the drummer who sings to the great spirit.
We are the shawl dancer who raises her brother.
We are the elders who keep tradition alive. We are strong.
We will not give in.
We will not assimilate.
We are still here.
Posted by MindMover | Mon Apr 30, 2012, 09:17 PM (6 replies)
A brilliant article shows that the Founding Fathers not only supported mandates, they passed laws imposing them. Take that, Scalia!
The five conservative justices on the Supreme Court—Thomas, Alito, Scalia, Roberts and Kennedy—cloak themselves in the myth that they are somehow channeling the wisdom and understanding of the Founding Fathers, the original intent that guided the drafting of the Constitution. I believe the premise of their argument is itself suspect: It is not clear to me how much weight should be given to non-textually based intent that is practically impossible to discern more than 200 years later. Most of the issues over which there is constitutional dispute today could not even have been envisioned when the document was drafted.
Even so, it would be an even better response to the conservative wing’s claim of perceived understanding of original intent to be able to refute their claims by showing them to be historically and indisputably wrong. So once again let’s venture into the world of the health care debate. The consensus view is that existing Commerce Clause doctrine clearly authorizes the type of mandate passed in the act—see in particular the affirmance of the statute by ultraconservative Judge Silberman of the D.C. Circuit Court.
Nonetheless, those opposing the bill insist that an individual mandate has never been done and the framers would simply not permit such an encroachment on liberty and freedom.
Some spectacular historical reporting by Professor Einer Elhauge of Harvard Law School in the New Republic thoroughly rebut the argument. He has found three mandate equivalents passed into law by the early Congresses—in which a significant number of founders served—and reports that these bills were signed into law by none other than Presidents George Washington and John Adams. As Founders go, one might consider them pretty senior in the hierarchy. Their acts can probably be relied upon to give us a reasonable idea what the Founders intended to be the scope of congressional and governmental power.
Posted by MindMover | Mon Apr 30, 2012, 08:49 PM (0 replies)
Here's a quick lesson in how political fundraising works: If you say crazy things about your political rivals, your base will give you a ton of money. But as a consequence, your political rivals will also find themselves raising a ton of money, which means that if you want to keep your head above water, you have to continue saying increasingly nuttier things.
That brings us to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a bomb-throwing tea party rock star who's moving into a new district that gave 51 percent of its vote to Barack Obama in 2008, and is considered to be one of Democrats' top targets this fall. West has $3.3 million on hand for the fall—an enormous sum for a House candidate at this stage in the race. Not coincidentally, though, the two biggest fundraising hauls from Democratic House challengers nationwide came from the likely nominees in the district West currently serves in (Fla.–22), and in district he's moving into (Fla.–18).
So what do you do if you're Allen West? You keep on keeping on. Here's a Facebook note he posted last week:
Here we go again, the artful dodger, President Barack Hussein Obama, bribing the electorate with political gimmicks. We are witnessing a political propaganda program of Orwellian proportions designed to manipulate and deceive the American people. This is so reminiscent of the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man". Obama and his liberal progressive disciples are the modern day Kanamits. My warning to you all, don't fall for the intellectually dishonest rhetoric and become post-election day dinner America!
What is a Kanamit? The Broward–Palm Beach New Times helpfully informs us that the Kanamit were "a race of nine-foot-tall aliens that come to Earth and cure famine, blight, and nuclear warfare." But that was all just a ruse for their real goal: "their kindness is really just a not-very-elaborate ruse to fatten up the human race so they can be carted back to the Kanamit home planet to be eaten. A Kanamit book called To Serve Man that was discovered by the humans turns out not to be about helping man at all—it's a cookbook." It's people!
Poll: Which planet is Allen West from....?
Posted by MindMover | Mon Apr 30, 2012, 08:13 PM (5 replies)
Some personality traits appear to be linked with the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, a new study suggests.
The results show patients with Parkinson's disease are more likely to be cautious and avoid taking risks compared with people who don't have Parkinson's.
Moreover, the tendency to avoid taking risks appears to be a stable personality trait across a patient's lifetime — as far back as 30 years before symptoms began, those with Parkinson's disease said they did not often engage in risky or exhilarating activities, such as riding roller coasters or speeding, the study found.
The findings add to a growing body of research suggesting Parkinson's is more likely to afflict people with rigid, cautious personalities.
It's possible that what we consider to be aspects of someone's personality may in fact be very early manifestations of Parkinson's, said study researcher Kelly Sullivan, of the University of South Florida's department of neurology. However, much more research is needed to confirm this hypothesis, Sullivan said.
It's also way too soon to say that having a "look before you leap" personality puts you at risk for Parkinson's.
"I'm not a big risk-taker, but at the same time, I haven't resigned myself that I'm going to have Parkinson's," Sullivan said.
Poll: Is this study sample to small to make this important determination...?
Posted by MindMover | Mon Apr 30, 2012, 08:04 PM (3 replies)
The Obama campaign apparently didn't look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, "Forward" — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism.
Many Communist and radical publications and entities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries had the name "Forward!" or its foreign cognates. Wikipedia has an entire section called "Forward (generic name of socialist publications)."
"The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other left-wing newspapers and publications," the online encyclopedia explains.
The slogan "Forward!" reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism.
The Obama campaign released its new campaign slogan Monday in a 7-minute video. The title card has simply the word "Forward" with the "O" having the familiar Obama logo from 2008. It will be played at rallies this weekend that mark the Obama re-election campaign's official beginning.
Poll: Can one word define a campaign and its associations...?
Posted by MindMover | Mon Apr 30, 2012, 07:17 PM (17 replies)