Dreams again...

I was born in 1963 and was troubled in my early adulthood by regular dreams of Global Thermonuclear War, specifically, places that I know and love well being destroyed by incoming MIRVs whose approach it was impossible to predict or prevent. 1989 came along and everyone seemed ready to abandon MAD approaches to international relations and the dreams stopped.

In the aftermath of the 9-11 + invasion of Afghanistan + invasion of Iraq + bombing in Spain, they've started again, as of last night.

Oh Yay! Just what I needed.

The symptoms of the age are obvious to everyone. The causes seem equally obvious to me, but obviously they don't appear so obvious to our Glorious Leaders -- and I don't even live in a country that sent troops to Iraq!

As Londo Mollari once said: "Blood cries out for blood. There is no other way." (Yes, I'm a Babylon 5 fan -- and whatever I'm a fan of, I tend to "know" too much about it for anyone else's comfort) The blood that we, the West have shed in all parts of the globe (including our own but majoring on other parts) have been an investment with a certain though not fixed maturity date. This, just as truly as the crimes of "Monseigneur" in France (as logged in "A Tale of Two Cities") were a "reciting of the Lord's Prayer backwards", whether we knew it or not. When the demon of horrific terrorism aimed at our civillian populations, which we have systematically and thoroughly invoked, is visited upon us, we ought not to be surprised.

Rather the only hope that all our children and grandchildren will not play out lives threatened or shortened by terrorism is for us to acknowledge, turn away from and make restitution for our wrongs.
All our wrongs.
It's called repentance, not just as individuals for individual wrongs, but as societies for societal wrongs that have been perpetrated and allowed to be perpetrated for far too long. I know better than to hope for it barring other, just as impossible looking events. But I have other, even more fantastic hopes than this so that hope isn't too much of a stretch.

Book read this week: 9-11 by Noam Chomsky, Seven Stories Press, New York. ISBN = 1-58322-489-0, LOC# HV6432.7 .C48 2002


Hans Blix on the war in Iraq:

"I was not impressed with the evidence.... Wouldn't it be paradoxical if you march in with 300,000 troops and you find no Weapons of Mass Destruction?"

"That's the critique one would field against both the UK and the US that the leadership did not exercise sufficient critical judgment."


Manufacturing Dissent

Reading some Chomsky: Understanding Power

In the midst of all the brilliant analysis (or is that argumentum ad hominem abusive?) of why and how political power elites keep dissenting voices from being heard, despite free speech guarantees, a free press and all that, I'm struck again by the meta-conclusion that I came to after watching Manufacturing Consent. If you want your dissenting voice to be heard, you need to unite into a new collective.

Whose voice may be one you don't always agree with.

Whose means and tactics may themselves become so open to question that you're left with the feeling of being used in another way.

we thought we could change something
we helped them win
they changed the slogans
we get hunted again
when you're the fighter
you're the politicians tool
when you're the fighter
you're everybody's fool

... guess who? those who know me wouldn't even ask

And that's why I'm not rushing out to join the NDP or the Green Party any more than I've ever rushed out to join the Reform Party or the Christian Heritage Party. To use another quote:
"I am not entirely on anybody's side, because nobody is entirely on my side."

     -- Treebeard (in Lord of the Rings)


Here's another first! I'm on a laptop named "LEGOLAS" accessing a hotspot in a restaurant that's not yet open from their parking lot. Two firsts at once while blogging: never been at a commercial hotspot before, never just hung out in a parking lot this way. It works well enough. I could get used to this.


Okay, so it's two years old, but I finally saw Bowling For Columbine last night. Now if that isn't the supreme admission of being out of the loop, then at least take it as evidence that I'm practicing one of the last available freedoms: Freedom from the Press -- a practice which would seem to be supported by the content of BFC.

Two impressions hit me and seem likely to stick for some time:

  1. The deep and subtle humanity of a character who is often demonized -- whose music and artistic style I, incidentally, find objectionable -- to wit, Marilyn Manson. His answer to Moore's question, "What would you say to the students of Columbine High?" was the kind of answer I would want to give.
  2. Charlton Heston's utter inability -- unwillingness? -- to answer a life-time NRA-member's questions about the cause of America's proportion of gun-deaths to population. Old and senile? Owned-outright? He reminded me a lot of Londo Mollari -- in possession of much that others envy but without the power of independent action or the of expression of an independent thought.
But this review would be incomplete without an expression of "Loved it!" to another few things like:
  • "Bullet Control"
  • Snoopy the Hunter
  • Americans in Windsor
  • exposing the many faces of Lockheed-Martin.
  • news that hypes causes to fear as a driver of consumption
I've just got to go see The Corporation next.


What a wild experience. I talked briefly about Mozilla Firefox to some semi-techy people on another topic. As soon as I said, "It blocks all pop-ups by default," the chorus came back in unison: "What's the URL?"

In moments like those I feel sure that, in the end, F/L-OSS (Free/Libre - Open Source Software; Free/Libre in contrast to Free/Gratis which would make the acronym unpronounceable and untenable to those who want to make a living with Free Software) will WIN.

I don't believe it can do anything else but win when all the facts are known.

I'm not sure why I didn't mention Thunderbird and its built-in Bayesian filter in the next breath. Maybe next time.