winter frosted branch wallpaper, early american water management

minimalist winter

winter frosted branch wallpaper

Nudes, gayness, tax dollars, breasts, the Smithsonian and Jesus. It must be the holidays and time for the war on art or secularism or whatever manufactured outrage the Right can pull out of their clown closet. TODAY IN THE ARTS.

See what you’re missing, not reading National Review’s The Corner? There Kathryn J. Lopez sent me to CNSnews for

Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts

WARNING: This story contains graphic photographs of items on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.

As the ALICU Blog notes this particular show is not a “Christamas” but a show that runs through the time frame of Chrismas, and Hanukah. December is also Hi Neighbor month – which is perfectly fitting for a show which includes Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts. December is also Read a Book, Toy Safety month and Write to a Friend month. Readers, people who play with toys and those who have friends should bring their torches and nooses there is work to be done. The show is not financed by tax payers. A clever boy conservative has finessed that problem – The National Gallery( one of the world’s most prestigious art museums) itself is partly financed by tax payers. Make up your own equation, the result is tax payers or pitch fork carriers get to decide what is shown and what is not, even when not actually financed by the public. Thanks to Stalinist-lite Chris Edwards at the Cato Institute for the lesson in how four plus two equals seven. So we can all go to Michelle Bachmann’s(R-MN) house and eat her cookies since she gets government subsidies. Or visit  Alaska’s tea stained Joe Miller and jaw bone him about the legal view that anything he doesn’t like is unconstitutional since he has received govmint assistance. There is something to be said about government getting completely out of the arts business. At that point one of the cause-celebs of the culture wars would no longer be a chew bone for the small minded. The National Gallery could tell the Right to stuff it and the U.S. could be one of the only civilizations in history not to support the arts. On the other hand we could play the same shell game with all the tax dollars ( subsidies, grants, student loans) the right gets. Many Americans wonder why they have to support “faith” based programs with their tax dollars especially since such entanglements between government and religion are unconstitutional. This fight over who gets to decide who has the freedom to do what based on who got what tax dollars is a big merry-go-round. It happens that the culture clown warriors get far more of it and for more specious reasons than the arts.

Water Resources Played Important Role in Patterns of Human Settlement, New UNH Research Shows

Throughout American history, water resources have played an integral role in shaping patterns of human settlement and networks of biological and economic exchange.

“The research emphasizes the effect of human activities on the evolution of watersheds and on the dynamics of ecosystems, important to water sustainability,” says Thomas Torgersen, program director in National Science Foundation’s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research.

The scientists divided their study area into three geographic and socio-political subregions: New England; the Middle Colonies; and the Chesapeake. They then looked at the ways in which physical variables–such as soil, vegetation, and climate–combined with socio-political factors to influence each subregion’s hydrologic environment.

In New England, for example, close-knit religious communities with strong central governments concentrated their economic efforts on fur-trading and timber extraction, according to the paper’s co-authors, which include Charles Vörösmarty of the City University of New York, principal investigator on the NSF grant. Vörösmarty is formerly the director of the Water Systems Analysis Group at the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space.

The Chesapeake region, on the other hand, was settled largely by young, unskilled men who cleared trees and planted tobacco fencerow to fencerow. “This caused extensive erosion, which dramatically altered rivers,” Pastore says.

The Middle Colonies were characterized by diverse social, cultural, and religious traditions and feudal-style estate agriculture.

Lordy I do believe it is time for another Limbaugh-Beck faint’n spell. Strong central governments dominated by a religious denomination and the young and ignorant abusing the commons to make a buck. Not a socialist or capitalist paradise, but rather remnants of old monarchical management of land, a splash of religious rigidity and a bit of ignorant greed.

inspiration valley wallpaper, the merits of literary sex, business elites are instinctive marxists

unique landscape

inspiration valley wallpaper

Bad sex please, we’re British: Can fictive sex ever have artistic merit?

By the early 1990s, a peculiarly British form of disapproval had grown out of the notion that sex and serious literature made for uncomfortable bedfellows. The priapic imaginings of otherwise revered writers – Philip Roth, John Updike, Amos Oz, John Banville – were selected and sneered at for inducing the wrong type of grunts and groans, in the annual tradition that has become The Literary Review’s Bad Sex Awards.

Updike has already become required reading in literature survey courses so there is little damage I could do here in saying, do not read him for the sex. His take on sex is like dry humping, only even less rewarding. Yet what was he to do if he was going to chronicle the American WASP in modern culture. It would have been like a landscape artist who never painted a tree. These are people who have no guilt about dumping toxic waste into your water supply or bankrupting the world’s economy, but have the deepest of angst about orgasms.

Mitzi Szereto, an author and teacher of erotic writing workshops, says writers on her courses are held back when they seek refuge in their own sexual histories: “You wouldn’t rely on personal experience for any other kind of fiction writing so why would you when crafting a sex scene? I encourage people to write beyond their own sexual encounters, and when they do, they are less inhibited and more creative.”

Szereto thinks the best kind of sex writing needs to explore the “psychology of desire”. In an age in which sex has been divested of most of its mystery (hard-core pornography is a website away and Mills & Boon has invested in a “raunchy” series), it may be that the “psychology of desire” is the only unknown territory to explore.

Howard Jacobson, who last month won the Man Booker prize for The Finkler Question, believes it is the discussion of sex that is the intriguing part, not its depiction. “The only point in writing a ‘he puts that in there and she puts this in here’ scene is to arouse, and I’m not interested in doing that. Some critics who should have known better complained that my last novel, The Act of Love, didn’t arouse them. It wasn’t meant to. It was a book ‘about’ compulsive jealousy. It wasn’t intended to make them jealous or otherwise titillate them.

Not so fast there Mr. Jacobson. Humans about sex multiple times per minute. Even when we think about baseball and Cuisinarts we’re thinking about sex. Even not writing about sex is a way to write about sex. That’s because it is not a thing, an episode or even an opinion it is – along with the prospect of our mortality, the envelope in which we exist. Though I agree with Szereto that the “psychology of desire” is a much deeper and richer territory than the mechanics. Desire is like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. No matter when, who or from what angle you study it you can never know with any real precision exactly what you’re examining. It is an eternal mystery. A glimpse of something beautiful, ugly bizarre, loving, exhausting, queasy inducing. It is close and far. The staid old Anglophile  T.S. Eliots Four Quartets he wrote of the difficulty of finding anything new to say. It is probably the case with writers such as Jacobsen that such a task is so arduous regards sex in particular, it is easier for them to dismiss it as territory too well tread.

To be fair to Jacobsen, for him too, it may be the actual mechanics that he finds tedious.

Russia’s tiger forum: Our last chance to save tigers from extinction?

Achieving the Declaration’s goals won’t be easy. Tiger populations have plummeted from 100,000 a century ago to just 3,200 today. Even that number doesn’t tell the full story. The 3,200 wild tigers are divided among six sub-species (one of which may already be extinct in the wild) and spread out among 13 countries. Many populations are already so small that they are suffering from genetic bottlenecks. Others are immensely vulnerable to poaching and habitat encroachment. And no countries sufficiently punish people who kill tigers or illegally traffic in their skins or body parts.

The goal of the Tiger Forum is to double the tiger population in the wild by 2022. Since inbreeding is already a problem that may take of direct human intervention like a capture, bred and release program.

Chomsky: “The Business Elites … Are Instinctive Marxists”

KB: Back in 1994, journalist Allan Nairn reported the sentiments of Major Louis Kernisan of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, who said “You’re going to end up dealing with the same folks as before, the five families that run the country, the military and the bourgeoisie … it’s not going to be the slum guy from Cite Soleil.” This is an example of what you’ve discussed: honest planners using Marxian analysis. Elites and strategists seem to have a good grasp of social and international relations, but with the values reversed. You’ve said you don’t particularly care much for Marx. Does this include the analytical framework that planners and elites employ?

NC: It’s not quite accurate; I don’t say I don’t care much about him. I wouldn’t call myself a Marxist, I don’t think anybody should be any kind of an “-ist.” As far as Marx’s analysis of capitalism, there’s a lot of very useful ideas in it, but we have to remember – and he would’ve been the first to say – he’s developing an abstract model of 19th century capitalism. It’s abstract and it’s changed. As far as his prescriptions for the post-capitalist future were concerned, he really didn’t have much to say. And with some justice, I think. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say that I don’t care much for Marx; he offered lots of insights into how society works, and he was an extremely good analyst of the current events of the day. I think he would take it for granted that elites are basically Marxist – they believe in class analysis, they believe in class struggle, and in a really business-run society like the United States, the business elites are deeply committed to class struggle and are engaged in it all the time. And they understand. They’re instinctive Marxists; they don’t have to read it.

I think most liberal bloggers and pundits have caught on to conservative and libertarians rants against liberalism. There is a remarkable amount of projection. Just as there are a few actual sword swallowers, there are also probably a few people who think of themselves as both Marxists and liberals. But for a genuine look at a synthesis of Marxisms and elements of fascist elminationism, look no further than the conservative and rightie libertarian movements.

Found the particular passage from T.S. Eliot I was thinking of, EAST COKER, (No. 2 of ‘Four Quartets’)

V

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

portrait of madame hessel by edouard vuillard, than socialism and conservatism must be similar

Portrait of Madame by Hessel Edouard Vuillard, 1905

 

Lucie Hessel was the wife of Vuillard’s art dealer Jos Hessel. He found her combination of moods and strong personality interesting enough to paint her multiple times over the course of forty years.

Turning the tables on art-historical tradition, more women artists are depicting the naked male body

In thinking about women’s prospects in the arts over the past half century, I realize we’ve indeed come a long way from the stereotype of the active male artist and the passive female muse—men looking at women and women looking at themselves being looked at. Given women’s greater autonomy in general and in sexual matters in particular, it should be payback time, a chance for the woman artist’s gaze to linger on the naked male body as a source of esthetic delight and desire. Yet, “nude” remains virtually synonymous with the female body.

Part of what modern art credits do is project modern sensibilities into interpretations. While such criticisms can range from dry to pathological to imaginative insights into creativity, they are also often projections. Mind reading only exists in what we imagine others thinking. To say all male artists see females subjects as passive is an over used and stereotypical projection itself. Within the context of a body of work and knowledge of the artist’s life some of those projections do have fairly solid foundations. While others none at all. That can be proven anyway. Male artists, as M’s Wei acknowledges, have also painted a canon of male nudes. Whether classical or modern some of those male nudes have been highly eroticised. They’ve certainly been explicit and dare we say it, occasionally exploitative. The artistic process likely a combination of satiating the fantasies of the artists and the purely platonic love of line and form. Thankfully Wei gives women artists credit for often portraying the male figure as a mystery, unexplored territory. Something one longs for and has trepidations. Sometimes they are merely an excuse to for interesting brushwork and lush colors. A body is as good as an autumn tree. There is, as has been the traditions in some of their male counterparts, the female revenge fantasy. The sexes use and abuse themselves and each other, thus exploration of the that territory is nearly an obligation for the figure painter.

Corporations Post Record Profits As Republicans Call For Eliminating The ‘Insidious’ Corporate Income Tax. As  I thought of the similarities between President Obama and George W. Bush. If Obama is the great satanist secret Kenyan Muslim socialist than what does that say about former President Bush’s national security polices. Obama has made some changes and been remarkably successful in his national security strategy, but Obama has also kept many of Bush’s presidential prerogatives in regards executive power. So doesn’t that mean Bush was also a largely secret Muslim socialist. Or there is little daylight between conservatism and Kenyan Muslim socialism.

the unrevised thanksgiving, footprints in the snow wallpaper

A cottage industry has grown up about Thanksgiving. One where historical revisionists create a fantasy affair with plenty of straw men in attendance.

Forget what you learned about the first Thanksgiving being a celebration of a bountiful harvest, or an expression of gratitude to the Indians who helped the Pilgrims through those harsh first months in an unfamiliar land. In the Tea Party view of the holiday, the first settlers were actually early socialists. They realized the error of their collectivist ways and embraced capitalism, producing a bumper year, upon which they decided that it was only right to celebrate the glory of the free market and private property.

Historians quibble with this interpretation. But the story, related by libertarians and conservatives for years, has taken on new life over the last year among Tea Party audiences, who revere early American history, and hunger for any argument against what they believe is the big-government takeover of the United States.

Those of us with a U.S. grade school education see the holiday through the prism of the Pilgrims and Plymouth. While they initially held their property in common, parcels of land were soon allotted to individuals. The revisionists want to see this as an anti-socialist epiphany, but it was simply a matter of practicality. Imagine you’re going to settle a new colony in a strange land. The early American version of Survivor. Wouldn’t you pool resources in the way of food and supplies just as a practical matter. Perspective colonists, having heard stories of both friendly and savage Indians, wouldn’t it also be best at first to stick together for the common defense. As a political theory, the colonist at Plymouth would have had to wait two hundred years for Marx to supply an actual political theory to upon which to base a socialistic society. Fewer Pilgrims died from starvation after the years passed simply because they became better at cultivating American crops like corn and at storing grain for the winter. Weather was colder at Plymouth than now and colder than colonists. Thus it took some physical and mental adjustment to find ways to provide adequate food and shelter their.  In Jamestown  there was the famous famine – partly due to an unseasonal drought. It was not began as a communal enterprise but rather as group of corporate contractors of the London Company. The Pilgrims were part of or a sect of Puritans who thought they were the true chosen people, Teaching About Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims were not just innocent refugees from religious persecution. They were victims of bigotry in     England, but some of them were themselves religious bigots by our modern standards. The Puritans and the Pilgrims saw themselves as the “Chosen Elect” mentioned in the book of Revelation. They strove to “purify” first themselves and then everyone else of everything they did not accept in their own interpretation of scripture. Later New England Puritans used any means, including  deceptions, treachery, torture, war, and genocide to achieve that end.(4) They saw themselves as fighting a holy war against Satan, and everyone who disagreed with them was the enemy. This rigid fundamentalism was transmitted to America by the Plymouth colonists, and it sheds a very different light on the “Pilgrim” image we have of them. This is best illustrated in the written text of the Thanksgiving sermon delivered at Plymouth in 1623 by “Mather the Elder.” In it, Mather the Elder gave special thanks to God for the devastating plague of smallpox which wiped out the majority of the Wampanoag  Indians who had been their benefactors. He praised God for destroying “chiefly young men and children, the very seeds of increase, thus clearing the forests to make way for a better growth”, i.e., the Pilgrims.(5) In as much  as these Indians were the Pilgrim’s benefactors, and Squanto, in particular, was the instrument of their salvation that first year, how are we to interpret this apparent callousness towards their misfortune?

The Pilgrims were the prophets of the End-Times of their day. Europe was doomed and the land across the Atlantic was the promised land for the apple of their god’s eye. If the Pilgrims themselves, small pox or circumstances wiped out any non-Puritan residents of their promised land, than they saw that as their deity acting on their agenda. Just like some modern fundamentalists saw hurricane Katrina as punishment for the sins of the city of New Orleans.

One of the problems with revisionists such as Limbaugh, W. Cleon Skousen’s right-wing screed “The Making of America” and some crap published by libertarian economist Ludwig von Mises is how they define socialism ( using the adjective statism has become the new kool descriptor to use). Ever shared a sandwich with someone. You’re a socialist. You think the air should be privatized and sold. You’re an all-American capitalist. Looking back on the economic history of the U.S. and capitalist Europe you see the obvious – markets are neither rational or perfect. So you’re for at least some kind of thin social safety net such as the U.S. has in programs like Medicare and Social Security. You’re a raving commie. Anything resembling communal living in European or North American history has become code for communism. And an example of failed communism at that. The following quote among other Lincoln speeches and writing has made him a statist/socialist/communist according to some conservative and right-wing libertarian web sites,

” These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people’s money to settle the quarrel.”
Speech to Illinois legislature, (January 1837); This is “Lincoln’s First Reported Speech”, found in the Sangamo Journal (28 January 1837) according to McClure’s Magazine (March 1896); also in Lincoln’s Complete Works (1905) ed. by Nicolay and Hay, Vol. 1, p. 24.

“Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits.”
First State of the Union Address (3 December 1861)

It used to be liberals who complained about political correctness and now it is mostly the Right. Yet for the most part it is the Right who has more and more intense sensitivities. Any questioning of capitalism such as Lincoln’s and how it should be structured is not to be questioned. Rather than an economic theory with some loosely defined borders – it has become an inerrant god in its own right. It can be criticized, but only by sycophant brotherhood of  conservatives and libertarians.

One last angle to look at in early colonial America. native American Indians were pretty advanced in their agricultural practices and their governing institutions ( some tribes even had voting and property rights for women). The Indians had parcels of land cleared up and down the Atlantic coast. Some estimates suggest 30 to 40 acres of cleared ground or grassland per Indian in 1600. To a European the American continent may have looked like an untamed wilderness, but native Americans had carefully planned on the amount of land required to support each tribe. There were also – this varied by tribes seasonal settlements. Early European settlers thus stole or bought land rather than clear it themselves. The coastal lands were particularly strategic since they still relied on many finished goods from Europe. initially deforestation and other abuses of the forest commons were not a problem. Wildlife as fruits of the commons were another matter. Colonists discovered wildlife not only supplied an  abundance of food it also supplied fur pelts and skins which became valued exports back in Europe. Overtrapping became a problem as early as the 1640s. Beavers that were once everywhere had nearly disappeared from Maine, New York ( east of Albnay) and much of New England. The Iroquois, who had managed those resources for centuries without depleting them suddenly had to seek beaver as far west as Illinois. In conservo and libertarian world there is no need to regulate the commons because capitalist will always act in their own best interests. The colonists – left to their own devices – did not see what was in their best interests nor did they act on them. Short term thinking and profits ruled the day. Indians joined the game. Their traditional culture compromised they soon started acting in a similar way. They ignored traditional limits on wildlife pelts in order to maintain trade with colonists. The result was sharp declines in the populations of animals that were valued for their skins such as martens, otters,  and foxes. As the colonialist  population grew, it brought overhunting. Large game animals such as moose, elk, turkeys and bears numbers plummeted. Massachusetts enacted its first deer season restrictions as early as 1694 in response to thin deer herds. They even had to enact new civil positions – previously unheard of in North America – game wardens. Good old unregulated commerce had nearly disappeared beaver and other fur-bearing animals east of the Appalachian Mountains. Large game animals became extremely scare within 60 miles of the Atlantic Ocean down the coast of North America. Thanksgiving’s official bird the wild turkey, once abundant, was rare in the wild by 1763.

 

winter snow

footprints in the snow wallpaper

 

walkway blue bridge wallpaper, conscientiousness may not be much of a mystery

One nutshell explanation of Wittgenstein’s contribution to philosophy and epistemology in particular, is that we’re all making it up as we go along. A wry ironic explanation on one hand and a dangerous over simplification on the other. Within the context of what we know and how we know it there is a lot of truth in that short distillation of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s thesis. If there is an utterly logical language, Wittgenstein  held, it would deal only with what is true. Ever made, what appeared to you, as a completely logical statement and been asked – what do you mean exactly. You’re dumbfounded for a second. I’m speaking the same language to someone who grew up under similar circumstance – maybe a brother or parent or long married spouse – yet they didn’t understand what I said or thought it conveyed several possible meanings. Since much of philosophy – or at least non logical positivism is about discovering some truth in the way a mathematical proof is about an ultimate truth there is not much philosophy can point to as great achievements. There is no Theory of Evolution, Theory of Gravity or Pi in philosophy. Maybe one. There is no perfect logical language and we may be doomed to never having perfect communication. Though it is my understanding philosophical proofs of pure negatives are problematic. Hacker’s challenge – Peter Hacker tells James Garvey that neuroscientists are talking nonsense

“Philosophy does not contribute to our knowledge of the world we live in after the manner of any of the natural sciences. You can ask any scientist to show you the achievements of science over the past millennium, and they have much to show: libraries full of well-established facts and well-confirmed theories. If you ask a philosopher to produce a handbook of well-established and unchallengeable philosophical truths, there’s nothing to show. I think that is because philosophy is not a quest for knowledge about the world, but rather a quest for understanding the conceptual scheme in terms of which we conceive of the knowledge we achieve about the world. One of the rewards of doing philosophy is a clearer understanding of the way we think about ourselves and about the world we live in, not fresh facts about reality.”

Cognitive scientists might be mistaken to think they can find answers about the human mind purely through philosophy, but they can use philosophy is guide one in how one uses the mind. Conscientiousness may not be as much of a mystery as the neuroscience who mash-up science with philosophical auras suggests. It is  not that much of a mystery. Conscientiousness is a product of evolution. A lot of neurons firing off. It is the thoughts launched which open doors unto other doors and then again onto others which is the mystery. It is a common purely logical factual summation of what we express that seems to require constant definition.

city bridge

walkway blue bridge wallpaper

Marines Wreck Super Geek’s Career

He shamed the brass into buying bomb-resistant trucks — and drove them mad with his constant calls to the press and Congress. Now Franz Gayl, an iconoclastic civilian scientist working for the Marine Corps, has been stripped of his security clearance, effectively wrecking what was left of his career.

Over the past decade, no one in the Marine Corps has been more creative, more persistent and more migraine-inducing in his pursuit of warfighting gadgetry than Franz Gayl.

Gayl has committed the awful sins of being a pest, smart, right and obnoxious. Along the way he has given his critics some ammo with some weird suggestions like using a bomb on the BP Gulf spill. That would be reason not to put him in charge of a group of researchers, but not to punish him. Some people never get the hang of organizational politics ( office politics writ large). Since we have a tendency – though not exclusively – to embrace group think in America, the Gayls usually suffer for it.

Republicans are complaining about this. These would be the same conservatives who scheduled midnight votes when they controlled Congress tried to sneak legislation through during the Bush regime. FCC may regulate Internet lines days before Christmas

Democrats on Capitol Hill may come to the commission’s defense, however, as the policy has various supporters in the House. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement on Friday that he wants the agency to act this year.

“Preservation of a free and open Internet is essential to protect consumers, spur investment, foster innovation and promote the free flow of ideas,” he said.

An FCC official also remained steadfast on Friday that net-neutrality rules are a sound policy.

“Net Neutrality is about preventing anyone from regulating the Internet. There are some cable and phone companies out there that want to decide which apps you should get on your phone, which Internet sites you should look at, and what online videos you can download. That’s regulating the Internet — and that’s what the FCC is trying to stop,” the official said.

Speaking of language, communication issues and understanding. A few right-wing commenters apparently do not understand what the word freedom means. Progressive Democrats are trying to preserve the open neutral internet most of us want. For Democrat haters that translates into some secret tyrannical plot.

Childhood Idyll by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1900

turning autumn leaves wallpaper, beck promotes socialism to west point cadets

fall landscape

turning autumn leaves wallpaper

 

Glenn Beck Promotes Socialism to West Point Cadets

On his show last Friday, Glenn Beck did something quite unusual for a guy who makes his living scaring people into thinking that America is on the road to communism — he promoted an idea straight out of the Paris Commune of 1871, an idea considered by the Commune to be a necessary stepping stone in the transition from capitalism to socialism to communism. And, to make it even more special, Beck did this before a studio audience of West Point cadets and faculty members.

Now, the fact that West Point allowed a group of uniformed academy cadets and faculty to be used as props by Beck is a serious matter in itself, and I’ll get to that in a minute, but Beck, in his zeal to slam Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, unknowingly promoting a core step towards socialism is just way too ironic to pass up. And what is this step towards socialism that Beck, in all his ignorance, was so enthusiastically promoting? That government employees and officials should never be paid more than what the average citizen earns.

In a 1911 speech about the Paris Commune — a movement lauded by Marx as “heroic,” and said by Lenin to have been “a practical step that was more important than hundreds of programmes and arguments” –Lenin pointed out the Commune’s (and apparently now Glenn Beck’s) position on government salaries: “And, as if to emphasize its character as a truly democratic, proletarian government, the Commune decreed that the salaries of all administrative and government officials, irrespective of rank, should not exceed the normal wages of a worker …”

Much like Ayn Rand and others on the Right, Beck’s reactionary politics go so far in the opposite direction they end up at a place much like that which they would seem to oppose.Beck and the Right’s philosophy are in many ways straight out of Marx, Mao and Stalin. Instead of a government collective, Beck would have everyone work as obedient and grateful pawns for the corporate collective. The corporations write legislation, tell the lowly peon workers what to do and how to live their lives. While the U.S. Constitution guarantees the redress of grieves for the government, the citizenry has always had the right – because of the common law traditions which permeate U.S. civil law – to redress their civil grievances against other individuals and business through the courts. Beck and movement conservatism and rightie libertarianism would  have the wage earners and consumer’s  right to end redress of damages done to life and property taken. Marx, Mao and Stalin would be proud that a guy who claims to be against collectivism is doing such a good job of selling it. Beck is not only selling collectivism but is good at convincing people that an insidious form of collectivism and a nation of powerless workers is patriotic.

That is the reply if Beck and his sycophants have a glue what they are talking about. Beck has declared himself a clown and entertainer who thinks anyone who takes what he says seriously is an idiot. Whether it is just formal debating rules or the philosophy of logic, the rule is you must take what your opponent says as sincere and their motives generally not taken into account. Beck and other shock pundits live on breaking on those rules. They can and do make up facts, history and political theory. So honest arguments with them are close to banging your head on your desk. They seem to be operating on some frequency which only the lizard brain receptor understands.

 

Security guru Bruce Schneier on the TSA body pat downs and X-rays. I’d go for the its a circus comparison but circuses are more professional and less invasive. One of the more obvious problems is not stopping the terrorists acts these security measures are supposed to stop. Chemically treated clothing would pass both types of screenings. While I have some sympathies with the public -especially families traveling this time of year – the public may be getting its comeuppance for the general nationwide over reaction to 9-11 and terrorism. There might be provisions of the Patriot Act worth keeping, but the draconian attacks on civil liberties contained in that law inspired very little public outrage in comparison to the body searches and x-rays. I guess the issue had to become personal – the excessive zeal finally reached the white middle-class and NOW they’re upset.

 

kind eyes horse wallpaper

kind eyes horse wallpaper

 

There are good reasons to oppose TSA body searches and scanners or at least the extent to which they are used. This is not one of them – Anti-gay group: ‘Homosexual’ TSA staff ‘secretly turned on’ by patdowns. The Right’s sudden discovery of the 4th amendment is welcome. Maybe we could get rid of the most pernicious aspects of the Patriot Act and get the far Right to join us if we all start calling it a gay plot. Since the anti-gay group Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) has not expressed any objection to straight TSA workers getting “turned on” we assume their objections are more about the possibility of getting gay cooties rather than some some Constitutional based principles.

Rep. Crowley Says GOPers Who Want To Repeal Health Care Law Should Forgo Taxpayer-Funded Health Care.

“If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk,” Crowley writes in a letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“You cannot enroll in the very kind of coverage that you want for yourselves, and then turn around and deny it to Americans who don’t happen to be Members of Congress. We also want to note that in 2011, the Federal government will pay $10,503.48 of the premiums for each member of Congress with a family policy under the commonly selected Blue Cross standard plan.”

Some might remember that in 2009 Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) found 55 Republicans representatives were on that commie plan called Medicare. Medicare being the United States single-payer universal health care system for the disabled and elderly.

Some creative mash-ups of popular magazines - Annals of Our Endangered Medium: Out and Driver, Town & Country & Guns & Ammo, and Wired Brides. Cosmopolitan and National Geographic was my favorite.

 

air catastrophe recounted by le pitit journal late 1800s. the journal operated from 1863 to 1944.

 

It seems that some people have too much time on their hands and not enough imagination to think of more constructive things to do. Conservatives are rigging the vote on “Dancing With The Stars” so to make Bristol Palin the winner. I try to not find daughters and sons guilty of the sins of their parents – until of course they are actually found to be chips off the old blocks. Have these vote riggers ( one guy complained of being exhausted after doing it for two hours) wondered how Bristol might feel if the only reason she won is because the voting was rigged. What will make “liberals head explode” is yet another cruel unthinking prank pulled on someone that hasn’t done anything to anyone. And how about a little respect for DWT as a capitalist enterprise. By compromising the voting conservative zealots tarnish the show’s reputation. Ultimately resulting in the loss of viewers. The show is a business endeavor and the producers  and others associated with running that business will be hurt. Some more commentary here - The ongoing, albeit amusing, battle to save Bristol

Echoing Bush, right-wing media advance disputed claim that waterboarding “saved lives”

Following the release of former President George W. Bush’s book Decision Points, right-wing media are promoting Bush’s claim that waterboarding “saved lives.” But this claim is disputed by intelligence experts, including former British officials who have “cast doubt” on Bush’s waterboarding claims.

There is no evidence what so ever torture saved lives- American, Iraqi or Afghan. The propaganda technique is well worn territory. Repeat what torture supporters want to believe over and over – sans any supporting documentation – and the propaganda becomes the the new truth. History’s despots would be proud.