Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bits and Pieces of life in Wonderland

As usual, there are a number of things I want to write about. Too many things. I strictly avoided the news, in any form, for better than ten years. Given the current state of things, I felt I could no longer afford that psychological luxury.

So, now I am bombarded with a flood of information and more things going on than you can shake an opinion at.

The Shiavo farce has been one of the most ridiculous bits of noisy mindless spectacle that one could imagine. It's like something Kurt Vonnegut might have written in his hey day.

I dunno, feeding the undead seems strange to me. Undead may be the proper term for what is left of the woman, given that most of what was her brain, is now spinal fluid. A ghastly, ghoulish piece of political bullshit, is what this has become.

I did find a very interesting site that you might want to know about. Watching America is a news site that posts on line news articles, from around the world. The topic of the site is, how people around the world view America. The non English articles are translated into English. I am finding it an interesting read and a valuable resource. Check it out if you haven't already.

I think it is an important site, for Americans. The corporate/FCC media barricade around America is almost impenetrable unless you have a good short wave radio, or an internet connection. That internet connection is useless unless you know how to search and unless you develop a bit of discernment regarding information sources. I think that one of the reasons Americans have such an unreal attitude about their place in the world, is because they have no idea how little they know of the world.

The Watching America site intends to make it easier to get a good cross section of just what the world thinks about America and its' actions. It isn't all negative, but it is a very different perspective that people should expose themselves to.

Moving on with this morning's report: President Bush may fall off the news for a day or two. At 11:08 a.m. ET, a very large earthquake happened just off the coast of Sumatra. In the same region as the earthquake that created the recent tsunami. The US Geological Centre categorizes this 8.2 r event as a "Great" quake, the highest of their seven levels of seismic events, as described by the US Geological Centre.

This not good, ladies and gentlemen. Thailand has been the first country in the region to issue tsunami warnings to its' coastal populations. I do not want to wake up tomorrow to news of another great catastrophe. I do not wish to hear more preachers and Imams gleefully pronouncing their gods' judgment on the victims of a natural event. Its like they are bragging because it didn't happen to them.

These outpourings of religious 'love' are always, shall we say, instructive?

For instance, back to the Shiavo fiasco; I find myself wondering, if any of the ignorant jerks with megaphones, screaming and insulting the cops outside that Florida hospice, have ever had the experience of following a loved one into a hospice. Such disregard for the peace and sanctity of the dying and their families and friends, speaks absolute volumes about the real spirit behind these people.

To paraphrase something once said to me, by an evangelist preacher who never sold out to mammon, "Observing and judging the spirit motivating these actions, I conclude that their God is my Satan."

I'm not a religious person and do not believe in such entities as Satan, demons, angels and Gods. But, in a psychological and even sociological sense, the words of my friend still hold true.

In other news: It seems that President Bush, our Fearless Leader, has been fibbing about the safety of nuclear facilities and stock piles of spent nuclear fuel. It seems that commercial nuclear facilities like dumping their atomic waste in standing pools of water rather than in more attack resistant dry storage facilities. Why? The commercial industries say "it is unnecessary and too expensive." In other words, it will cost something.

The problem is, that these water pool storage tanks are open to a variety of terrorist scenarios, from the possibility of attack with a very large explosive device to insider theft of spent nuclear rods. Like so called depleted uranium, spent nuclear rods are very, very dangerous materials.

Yet, ever the corporate go boy, the president assures us the nuclear industries are safe, as they are. You would not want our patriotic corporations wasting money, taking responsibility for the dangers they create. This, in spite of a government sponsored report that warns of the grave dangers.

Let's see, since 9/11, the airports have become difficult and restrictive for the public and still fail every serious test of their security measures. The constant colour coded terror alerts were nothing more than an irritating piece of political stage setting, for the elections.

Port safety is under constant criticism and now we see the President is lying, again, about nuclear security.

I ask you, other than terrorize immigrants, especially Arabs. Other than locking up and threatening people with opinions disliked by this rightist regime, other than providing this government with the power to pry into every aspect of a citizens life, without court supervision or charges being laid, what has this damned Patriot Act and this anti-terrorist hysteria done for us?

Nothing good. It has helped usher us into a war that had nothing to do with terrorism. It has distracted the population away from what this exceptionally dishonest government is doing, to their county and the political and economic future of all Americans.

America marches head long into economic, military, and political disaster while many of its citizens and congressional representatives obsess over a dead woman and the Michael Jackson trial.

While obsessing with the "get the freak", Christian and politically motivated hysteria, a very dangerous legal precedent has being set, in allowing what is essentially hear-say evidence to be entered in to a serious criminal case. As dangerous as this precedent is, the majority of sleep walking Americans nod their heads sagely. Anything to get the little freak. He's a weirdo, he must be guilty.

So, are we now willing to allow rumour and hear-say, regarding former blackmailers, to be entered as evidence? Blackmail and cheap character assassination, donning the mantel of objective evidence? Screw the constitution. Get the weirdo. Don't trouble your little minds with the real world implications of the courts precedent setting evidence ruling.

Mean time, the Florida State legislature marches along with it's bill to deprive university professors of the right and necessity of teaching unpopular subjects containing unpopular ideas.

You don't like your grade, if you think your lousy, poorly researched, poorly written, undocumented essay, got a failing grade because your prof disagrees with your half baked beliefs, Hell, sue the bastard. Skip the egg head work and litigate your way to a degree.

Tragically, and it is a tragedy, a very large percent of the population does not understand, even vaguely, the crucial importance of academic freedom. That is, freedom of thought in places of learning.

There is an old story, likely a myth, where in, Alexander the great, after conquering Athens, met one of the great Philosophers of the City. A famous one, but which one, I forget. Alexander, as new King and head of a great army, asked the wise man if there was anything, at all, he could do for him. The philosopher paused, looked up at Alexander and said, "Yes, you could move, you are blocking my light."

Just how far the philosopher wanted Alexander and his army to move, I don't know. But, I know that if George Bush the Small, and his allies actually wanted to do something for higher education in America, they would leave academic freedom alone, and quit blocking the light.

But, blocking the light is exactly what this regime is about. Isn't it?

Links regarding academic freedom in the US of A.

Silencing Speech on Campus, The Nation, April 4, 2005 issue:

Relevant pieces, from shortest to longest:

Article one.
Article two.
Article three.
Article four.


At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Academic freedom fans might like to see this:

Silencing Speech on Campus, The Nation, April 4, 2005 issue:
Relevant pieces, from shortest to longest:

At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Ron Brynaert said...

damn that was depressing to read


At 12:42 PM, Blogger ThomasMcCay said...

Yes, it isn't cheering to write either. But, it must be done.

If I made this stuff up, I'd be nutz, eh? I get the impression that the people actually doing these things are maybe nutz, eh?

At 7:20 PM, Blogger Jet said...

Nutz? Some perhaps, but many are either afraid to have separate opinions or unwilling to be thinkers.

Great post once again, Thomas. I'm glad you brought up HD0837 in the Florida House. If you are a Florida reader, PLEASE make a point to contact your representatives. This is a bad bill, the serves the control needs of a few and sacrifices the intellectual goals of an entire state. Thomas has written about the grass roots movement in the country. Time to stand up.

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Jet said...

Whoops, I forgot to put this in. Here is the bill if anyone is interested or just wants a good scare:


At 7:53 PM, Blogger ThomasMcCay said...

JET, thanks. I am going to repost your link, as a hyper link, at the bottom of the blog.

It may take a while as I'm having real trouble with blogspot right now.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger R said...

Great info. I look forward to reading what they think of us. I hope more fellow Americans care as well. We are not actually on "planet USA" and they might finally see that. I love it. And Poor Terri. I hope she could not hear all the talking heads discussing the fight over how she would be laid to rest days before she actually died. It's a little too "As I lay dying" (Faulkner) for me.


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