Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ubuntu Linux First Impressions

I've been using Ubuntu Linux for a couple of weeks now and it is still installed. That is saying something! Compared to other Linuxii I've used over the last several years, this version is quite solid. My hardware is a few years old, so the device drivers were all fairly easy to find.

The only thing I can't use is an old ScanPort scanner. Well, technically I can if I want to debug and compile programs for a few days and endlessly fuss with it until I have enough knowledge to design my own scanner. I don't, so I won't worry about the scanner.

The interface is clean and nice, though a bit dependent on the burnt orange default color scheme favored by Ubuntu. Firefox, OpenOffice (an MS Office Clone), and the Evolution mail client are installed by default. I downloaded and installed Mozilla Thunderbird for e-mail and was able to bring my Windows Thunderbird mail in with no problems. OpenOffice has come a long way and I've had no problems so far trading files with Microsoft Office.

My biggest beef so far with general web surfing is that Firefox can be slow to respond to various page switching activities. I think I have narrowed it down to the Adobe Flash Player. Adobe needs a faster and less invasive plugin for Firefox on Linux so embedded videos and advertising don't slow the rest of the browser to a crawl. All of this is offset by not having to worry about some script virus jumping through my browser security and attacking the rest of the system.

Bruce Schneier's blog has an interesting quote on malware distribution to illuminate my point.

The MusicBox player plays MP3 streams nicely and without a giant footprint. The Totem video player is pretty good as well and it can play most stuff pretty well. Ubuntu recognized my digital camera and had facilities to create photo albums, etc. (which I ignored because I make my own folders).

The included games are good. AisleRiot Klondike solitaire, Sudoku, and Mahjongg are my most frequently played games. There are other neat little games as well.

The VNC remote control client for Linux is MUCH faster and more responsive for Windows, even on Windows hosts so I am actually able to get server work done faster from home. That is a big deal because I work with servers a great deal. Score one for Linux there over Microsoft and Apple.

The software development tools are a vast improvement over older versions of Linux, but even aging concepts such as RAD (rapid application development) and syntax completion seem to have eluded the language designers, many of whom seem to be living in a DOS-like command line world forever endlessly fiddling with settings and writing single-use applications. There seems to be no decent C++ equivalent to the young and immature RealBASIC and Borland Kylix environments unless you want to piece together separate frameworks (which you compile, tweak, and debug yourself for days). When you want to concentrate on things like business rules and actually getting tasks complete, the inclination is to chuck Linux and go back to Windows. If I were a couple decades younger, I wouldn't mind wading through the esoterica to set something going, but I am not looking to reinvent myself in computer science, just get stuff done. So for now, I will limp along with what Linux offers me.

Overall, I am happy with Ubuntu Linux and I will keep on using it. Hopefully I can figure out a way to keep my programming muse happy. It is the first Linux ever that I would recommend to non-Geeks. It actually works without tweaking. In fact, you can boot into it from a CD without hurting your Windows install on your hard drive and just play around with it. That is COOL beans right there.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Invisible Civil War Within: Part VII

The Battlefield Within

It wasn't as though I ignored politics before 9/11/2001. It WAS the truth that I ignored the concepts of conspiracies and how power is brokered before 9/11.

I was shocked by the events of 9/11 in the same way as I was about the tremendous explosion of ash from Mt. St. Helens in 1980 and the Space Shuttle disaster of 1986. I remembered where I was and what I was doing. I am sure you were affected similarly. People older than me remember such events as the assassinations of two Kennedies, King, and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When the routine of life is broken so significantly, there is a time of unreality as we grasp what happened. As this passes, a sober assessment is made and an accounting is done of the events. Decisions are made internally as to how we will proceed from these assessments and how society will proceed with the data as we know it. We move on with this new information.

Except with 9/11. The unreality actually got worse after that day. It continues until today. People talk of the "new normal" but that is a lie. Normal did not change on that day, my nation did along with anything I had ever thought about the notion of freedom and how it applies to us as people in America and in the world. It was replaced with something that would be faintly familiar to those who lived in the Soviet Union or live in China. The faintness gets stronger each day.

Some people who have studied history, sociology, and politics more than I did knew right away that something was wrong. By the time Public Law 107-56 passed (a law that erroneously became known as the patriot act), anyone else who was paying attention knew too. Many more did not and were guided by governmental propaganda (to them, information) instead. The rhetoric was crazy and the veil of secrecy was huge, opaque, and complete. Easily debunkable lies started issuing forth from the White House and news agencies alike but few called them on it. People's rage at those responsible was refunneled towards an entire religion and the ethnic groups who predominantly worship under the banner of Islam. Nobody even suggested doing an in depth public investigation of the September 11 events in the first two months. It seemed we were only interested in acting immediately on vague suspicions against a largely unknown enemy. I figured it was time to "go to school" and RIGHT NOW was the time to do it.

Thanks to the spittle-spraying flag wavers who DEMANDED support no matter how trampled our Constitution became, I started by navigating towards the loudest critics of the government because I knew our government was lying. The so-called Left. The concept of the Internet-as-news-source was blossoming and blogging was starting its explosion in popularity. From Noam Chomsky to Howard Zinn and many others, I began to get a picture of the United States as the victims of our weaponry see us and it wasn't pretty. Previously I had the more imperial attitude that our power was wielded justly (barring occasional mistakes) and people who "got their ass kicked" probably had it coming to them. Now I was reading that we engaged in destroying elected governments, financed and trained death squads, and more.

I could not believe that we were as bad as Chomsky et al were saying, so I decided to wade my way through the self-righteous for war on the other side to see if anyone could tell me, "NO Don, Chomsky is wrong." America has made some mistakes, but we did not finance death squads and we did not support dictators over elected representatives. Nobody could. All they could muster was accusing the Left and those who were concerned about our victims as unpatriotic America haters. This was because they could not debunk untruths that really happened.

At that point, I began to see the truth that this Left was promoting, but it took me a while to see the truth they were hiding. That truth included a doctrine that was sometimes as narrow as the Right they railed against. I would sometimes make comments on progressive/Left web forums that tried to expand into a larger view of the points they were making, but in almost every case the participants couldn't see outside their own little box. In addition, I began to see that many conservatives were making points that I agreed with vis-a-vis the war on terror but the progressives would ignore it. Polarization was the order of the day and it was bizarrely aided and abetted by the government.

I started a blog in late 2001 and started to write about what I was reading about. I also went to see a presentation by a person named Michael Ruppert. He made the case very early about government complicity and coverups regarding 9/11. His timeline is still one of the best and most accurate in showing anomalies in the story surrounding that fateful day. Ruppert and the work of Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research turned me towards the view that the US government had foreknowledge of 9/11 and either aided it or allowed it to happen. This leads me to an aside...

Aside: The 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

Everybody is aware of various theories surrounding what happened on 9/11. I will put these into a few categories based on my own assessment of the facts:

Very Likely

The government had detailed foreknowledge about 9/11.
Other governments had detailed foreknowledge about 9/11.
Our government did not fully investigate 9/11.
The government is covering up what it knew about 9/11.

More Likely

United Flight 93 was shot down
Assuming a hijacking, members of the Saudi government were complicit


Highjackers armed with sophisticated weapons took over aircraft and crashed them into WTC and Pentagon.
The WTC buidings collapsed under their own weight.
The WTC buidings collapsed due to controlled detonation of explosives besides the aircraft.
The planes were guided by remote control into the buildings

Less Likely

WTC Building 7 was brought down as the result of hijacked airplanes
Pilots (almost all military trained) would allow hijackers armed with boxcutters to take over their craft.
Israel helped the hijackers
The Pentagon was hit by a missile and a plane with all its people are missing
We could only find one person who could be charged with a crime in connection with 9/11
Saddam Hussein or Iraq or Iran had any knowledge of 9/11 or helped in its planning.
The US government orchestrated the whole thing and no hijackers were involved.


The Pentagon was unprotected and could not stop an attack.
The government is telling us what they can about 9/11
The government is acting in the best interests of Americans rather than towards consolidating power.
We know who all of the hijackers were (assuming they were hijacking planes)
All the pilots had the skills to pull off 3 out of 4 targets without instrument help (I've spoken with pilots on this one)
Americans know as much as they have a right to know about this infamous day

End of Aside.

It should be clear from my assessment above that I don't claim to have any answers or know what happened on September 11. The fact that I don't is actually the problem and the US government is responsible for it. In fact, they act so fishy that I dare not rule out complicity of principle actors within our government regarding that day. In fact, there are former skeptics such as David Ray Griffin and 20 year CIA veteran Robert Baer who question our government's involvement. I've seen Griffin's lecture and he makes a pretty damning case against what he calls the "government's conspiracy theory."

I would like to say that there is no "there there" when it comes to the US government and 9/11, but I find it impossible. I am fully aware of the arguments against my point of view.

The Bush administration is too incompetent to pull off complicity, but they sure pulled off the cover up and the war in Iraq and the 2004 election. There are reports of governments acting seemingly against their own interests in order to further more shadowy agendas.

Too many people would have to know in order to pull this off; my answer there is no they wouldn't. The fewer people, the better. We think that 19 people caused 9/11; why would hundreds need to be involved in the USA?

Occam's razor says that the simplest explanation is probably the right one, but there is no evidence that Occam's razor is right about this and there is nothing simple about 9/11. The kneejerk answer doesn't help us here.

In the absence of evidence (the forensic evidence was removed and much was destroyed) or a sustained official effort at towards getting at the truth of 9/11, I am forced to move on and look at the consequences and actions of the United States which are more easily definable and trackable.

I will cover that in the next part.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Getting Better

After nearly a week of slowly worsening cold symptoms deepening into lung congestion that kept getting nastier each day, I finally headed to the doctor to resort to chemical warfare. My lungs aren't so good ever since a bout of pneumonia in my younger adulthood, so I can't spend too much time messing around with it. After a few days of about 8x my normal Vitamin C intake along with some other herbal and natural means, it was clear the bugs were winning, so I opted to see the Doc. The Doc was out of the office for most of the week, so I went to the urgent care where I urgently sat for over 2 hours reading a book (The Amber Spyglass) before I spent my 3 minutes with the Other Doc to learn what I already knew.

The antibiotics are kicking in which means I need to reseed my belly with some active culture yogurt and so forth. My cough is better already and the rest is slowly getting there. Hopefully I will feel human in another day or two.

(creepy voice here...) Part VII is nigh.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Inordinate Amount of Power

From (and several other places...)

Cayman Islands Bank Gets Wikileaks Taken Offline in U.S.

Wikileaks, the whistleblower site that recently leaked documents related to prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, was taken offline last week by its U.S. host after posting documents that implicate a Cayman Islands bank in money laundering and tax evasion activities.

In a pretty extraordinary ex-parte move, the Julius Baer Bank and Trust got Dynadot, the U.S. hosting company for Wikileaks, to agree not only to take down the Wikileaks site but also to " lock the domain name to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar." A judge in the U.S. District Court for Northern California signed off on the stipulation between the two parties last week without giving Wikileaks a chance to address the issue in court.

The Julius Baer Bank, a Swiss bank with a division in the Cayman Islands, took issue with documents that were published on Wikileaks by an unidentified whistleblower, whom the bank claims is the former vice president of its Cayman Islands operation, Rudolf Elmer. The documents purport to provide evidence that the Cayman Islands bank helps customers hide assets and wash funds.

Some of that ole' Soviet Capitalism rears its ugly head again. Isn't it amazing how a Swiss bank in the Cayman Islands could effectively put an end to the First Amendment in the USA over the course of hours? Luckily, WikiLeaks has mirrors around the world, and archivists have propagated the source material beyond that, so our rights are ensured thanks to the generosity of those outside America.

Hopefully this shines a spotlight on the fact that drug dealers, terrorists, and covert government operations (whether for or against us) couldn't exist without the tacit cooperation of institutions such as Julius Baer and other more well-known banks. To them, freedom is a one-way street. Their way.

Update: Here is the main IP address for WikiLeaks and below that are the Wikileaks mirrors:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Feeling Yucky

Hey all, I will be getting around to part VII of the neverending story of stuff that I am thinking about but all 3 of my biorhythm lines must be joined at the bottom of their sine curves.

Calgon! Take me away! Or maybe the Lotto? Lotto! Take me away! I'll be back when I am done overtiming and coughing.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Savor the Flavors

Well, we are on our way to becoming a three platform household. Ladybug has a new Mac Mini running Leopard while the MiniSnab just received the old PC which I upgraded to Windows Vista. Meanwhile, I am running Windows XP and 2000 on my work/home PC...but I am on my way to installing Ubuntu Linux Desktop Edition.

It is not much surprise that things shake down this way...

1. Windows Vista - one year later and we still get the Blue Screen of Death on a "Vista Ready" PC. There are some great security and useability features (a la Mac OS X Leopard), but they need to get past the Windows 95 bug-o-rama stage. Also, the DRM sell out to the RIAA and MPAA is counter to the users' wishes yet funded by the users. Sounds like Soviet capitalism to me. My D-Link wireless USB stick is less than a year old but incompatible with Vista. Inexcusable.

2. Mac OS X Leopard - Really cool in a lot of ways but Apple has a knack of burning their bridges behind them when it comes to backwards compatibility (which Microsoft is sadly learning). It is much, much more stable than OS 9 but most of our apps (many $$$ worth) are in OS 9.

3. Ubuntu - Still downloading. Don't know.

4. Windows XP - Probably the current gold standard until MS gets the kinks out of their big new Vista beastie.

5. Windows 2000 - The version where Microsoft got it right. Stable, with a consistent interface, and good interactivity...not to mention the fonts mimicked IBM's OS Warp 4 in a way I found particularly comforting. Unfortunately it couldn't last forever.

6. Mac OS X 10.2.8 (Leopard I think) - Works pretty well but is not supported by many new Mac software items. We have the final iTunes version before the DRM wall fell on our music enjoyment. OS 9 classic layer is great for our old Mac programs. Too bad this OS and Leopard couldn't meld into a super OS.

7. SUSE Linux 9 - Pretty slick interface with lots of cool games. KDE Desktop had desktop skins years before Mac and MS. If you want to venture forth with anything except the main apps, you are in for a big learning curve with command line compiling and sometimes debugging. Not so good for the general populace. Open Office is too quirky for serious MS Office users.

Your mileage may vary.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Invisible Civil War Within: Part VI

Justifying the Power to Determine Our Lives

At this point there shouldn't be much doubt that private groups of powerful people exist and their membership includes those in the top echelons of our American government and industries. The extent of their power can be debated, but those who wield derisive terms like "tin-foil hat wearer" etc. for those of us who acknowledge this reality are deluding themselves and have no right to their sense of self-superiority.

The question is, how do these people justify messing with anyone's lives but their own? What gives them the right? Let's take a look.

Using dialectics and the Hegelian dialectical philosophy to control people doesn't make much sense. That presumes Hegel was correct and that his philosophy is how reality works. If that is the case, we shouldn't be fighting it but capitalizing on it. Rather, philosophy is how the powerful justify their ability to exploit cultural norms, religious belief, and human nature to achieve their own ends. We would like to think that monsters of history like Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, and others sat there devising ways to hurt and kill people because they "are evil," but the truth is that they had a personal philosophy that they felt justified what they did as the good, right thing. Well, the same mechanism holds for the heroes of history as well as the 99.99% who were somewhere in the middle. They felt justified in wielding their power over others to achieve their ends based on their personal philosophy. Let's look at a couple of modern philosophies attributed to some of the groups we are looking at. In them, you can see the machinery of dialectics and Hegel taken to a new level.

Meet the Communitarians

I heard about Communitarian philosophy just a few weeks ago, but it seems to explain a few things to me. Let's start with a Wikipedia definition:

Communitarianism, as a group of related but distinct philosophies, began in the late 20th century, opposing individualism while advocating phenomena such as civil society. Not necessarily hostile to social liberalism or even social democracy, communitarianism emphasizes the interest of communities and societies over those of the individual.

Communitarianism is a term used in two senses (according to Wikipedia, underlining is mine):

Philosophical communitarianism considers classical liberalism to be ontologically and epistemologically incoherent, and opposes it on those grounds. Unlike classical liberalism, which construes communities as originating from the voluntary acts of pre-community individuals, it emphasizes the role of the community in defining and shaping individuals. Communitarians believe that the value of community is not sufficiently recognized in liberal theories of justice.

Ideological communitarianism is characterized as a radical centrist ideology that is sometimes marked by leftism on economic issues and conservatism on social issues. This usage was coined recently. When the term is capitalized, it usually refers to the Responsive Communitarian movement of Amitai Etzioni and other philosophers.

The first time I saw this term used was while reading an RSS feed at Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo website. An entry there by Amitai Etzioni called "A Communitarian in the White House?" pondered whether Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton could be considered Communitarians. It so happens that Etzioni, an Israeli-American sociologist, was a founder of the communitarian movement and established the Communitarian Network.

Lest you think this is a left-wing or liberal phenomenon, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote an article in 2001 on President George W Bush and his communitarian credentials called "Needed: Catchword For Bush Ideology; 'Communitarianism' Finds Favor."

Notice how individualism as enumerated in our Bill of Rights is relegated to a second tier behind so-called community rights. This could be the "synthesis" or 3rd way contrived from the Hegelian tension between conservatism or liberalism, but it could also be the method chosen by those on the power track in this country to rule us. A philosophy such as communitarianism is a justification that the community, or America in the case of Presidents, has precedence over the desires of its individuals (no pun intended). Presidents are in charge of the country; they become the mind of the community. If they are members of the Bilderberg group, Trilaterals, or less infamous groups such as Chamber of Commerce, defense contractors, or oil companies, all of a sudden one or more of these groups have a power "We, the People" didn't necessarily grant them. Instead of serving the people who elected them, the groups are now served not just by Presidents but by anyone who has power over others in government or business.

The Straussians

From Wikipedia (is there anyone they can't do?):

Leo Strauss (September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973), was a German-born Jewish-American political philosopher who specialized in the study of classical political philosophy. He spent most of his career as a Political Science Professor at the University of Chicago, where he taught several generations of devoted students and published fifteen books. Since his death, he has come to be regarded as one of the intellectual fathers of neoconservatism in the United States.

Strauss derives his philosophical thought from the breadth of Western philosophy all the way to the 20th century. There are a couple of salient Wikipedia quotes worth looking at here:

For Strauss, politics and philosophy were necessarily intertwined at their roots. He regarded the trial and death of Socrates as the moment in which political philosophy (as understood by Strauss) came to light. Until Socrates' life and death in Athens, philosophers were relatively free to pursue the study of nature and politics.


Strauss considered one of the most important moments in the history of philosophy to be the argument by Socrates and his students that philosophers or scientists could not study nature without considering their own human nature, which, in the famous phrase of Aristotle, is "political."


Ultimately, Strauss believed that philosophers offered both an "exoteric" or salutary teaching and an "esoteric" or true teaching, which was concealed from the general reader.


While modern liberalism had stressed the pursuit of individual liberty as its highest goal, Strauss felt that there should be a greater interest in the problem of human excellence and political virtue. Through his writings, Strauss constantly raised the question of how, and to what extent, freedom and excellence can coexist. Without deciding this issue, Strauss refused to make do with any simplistic or one-sided resolutions of the Socratic question: What is the good for the city and man?


Strauss noted that thinkers of the first rank, going back to Plato, had raised the problem of whether good and effective politicians could be completely truthful and still achieve the necessary ends of their society. By implication, Strauss asks his readers to consider whether it is true that noble lies have no role at all to play in uniting and guiding the polis. Are myths needed to give people meaning and purpose and to ensure a stable society?


Critics of Strauss accuse him of mendacious populism (while actually being elitist), radical illiberalism and anti-democratic sentiment. Shadia Drury, in Leo Strauss and the American Right (1999), argues that Strauss taught different things to different students and inculcated an elitist strain in American political leaders that is linked to imperialist militarism and Christian fundamentalism.

Students and adherents of Strauss pepper the Bush administration's highest posts, most notably Paul Wolfowitz and Abram Shulsky. The People for a New American Century paper I quoted from earlier can be considered the "esoteric" goals of this projection of power "for our own good." The fear mongering and lying about Iraq to tie it to Saudi Arabian radical religious groups is the "exoteric" line we were fed. Cheney's esoteric "shadow government" and the rise of the Unitary Executive seem to fit into the Strauss way of justifying the Noble Cause over the nihilistic, value-free masses.

As with Communitarianism, we see another instance of powerful people using a communal organ along with a philosophical doctrine to justify exerting an ungranted influence over a population.

The real problem here is not so much that people have power over us, but that the power is used for ends that are only intended to benefit a few people instead of all who live here. To illustrate, let's say global warming disasters are going to radically undermine the quality of life of my children and grandchildren, I grant the government the ability to carefully change the nature of our lives to reduce its future effects. It comes down to a matter of trust. I can grant them that power, but will the power yield consequences that are unacceptable such as over-the-top penalties for minor or accidental violations or transportation curfews? Or will it be more like the Apollo space project where individuals, businesses, and government worked together to successfully achieve a goal?

Individuals and groups within our government have betrayed us in the past. Our government has lied to us in the past. We also depend on our government and trust them for accurate census information, geological and environmental information that helps decide when and where to build things. When we take a trip, we expect the aircraft to function, the road to be in good shape, etc. We take them as matter of course.

If we truly can't trust our government at all, we are as extinct as the Soviet Union. Also, if we let our political rifts determine our future, we run the risks of letting our infighting make our decisions for us. If we do that, we will lose our economic and social power as a nation to someone who is not as stupid as we are.

In the next section, I will look into why I even bother to write about any of this.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Invisible Civil War Within: Part V

Bilderbergs, Trilaterals, and Communitarians, Oh My!

If there are groups who hold too much power over our lives, then they ought to be exposed and hopefully forced to dismantle or, at least, be marginalized. But who are these groups? Well, I believe there are three possibilities:

1. Secret groups who remain secret and do not wish to be public.
2. Public groups who have a certain public face, but act in secret behind the scenes.
3. Public groups who say what they believe, what they are going to do, and they do it.

An example of number 1 is the Bilderberg Group. Groups that fall into group #2 are both major American political parties as is evidenced by splinter groups such as the Democratic Leadership Committee and factions within the Republican National Committee. Another member of Group #2 is a newer group called Communitarians. Group #3 includes the Trilateral Commission, People for a New American Century, and others.

Wikipedia describes the Bilderberg Group:

The Bilderberg Group or Bilderberg conference is an unofficial annual invitation-only conference of around 130 guests, most of whom are persons of influence in the fields of business, media and politics.

The elite group meets annually at luxury hotels or resorts throughout the world — normally in Europe — and once every four years in the United States or Canada. It has an office in Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands.


The Bilderberg Group's purpose was again described in 1991, by then-Chairman David Rockefeller, in this manner:

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. ... It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during these years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government which will never again know war but only peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity."


Attendees of Bilderberg include central bankers, defense experts, mass media press barons, government ministers, prime ministers, royalty, international financiers and political leaders from Europe and North America.

Some of the Western world's leading financiers and foreign policy strategists attend Bilderberg. Donald Rumsfeld is an active Bilderberger, as is Peter Sutherland from Ireland, a former European Union commissioner and chairman of Goldman Sachs and of British Petroleum. Rumsfeld and Sutherland served together in 2000 on the board of the Swedish/Swiss engineering company ABB. Former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary and former World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz is also a member, as is Roger Boothe, Jr. The group's current chairman is Etienne Davignon, the Belgian businessman and politician.

Now, people of any stripe have a right to privately or publicly congregate and discuss strategies and so forth as they wish. Although I believe Rumsfeld is a war criminal and Paul Wolfowitz is a traitor for helping out a CIA agent, the fact remains that even rich and powerful people are allowed to talk about promoting their own interests just like you and I can.

Alex Jones, WorldNet, and others take Rockefeller's statement above as proof of a USA (and presumably Bill of Rights) destroying One World Order or New World Order in which national sovereignty is sublimated to this Order presumably controlled by one or more of these elite groups. If the goal was to enslave us (as Jones presumes) and destroy our rights, I would buy it...but I don't in that sense.

Firstly, all of these rich folks got that way thanks to the consent of those of us who bought into these industrial visions and shared it through our labors and, in return, purchased the easy station in life which bought us internet access, television, highways, and so on.

Secondly, Rockefeller is full of crap (and he knows it) because there isn't enough resources out there for the whole world to live as we do and things are only going to get worse (yep, Peak Oil and Global Warming) for those of us who ARE fortunate. Whatever is going to happen, it won't be a One World Government of peace and prosperity for all as much as I would like it to be.

As we found out in Argentina, Venezuela, and Bolivia, poor people don't stand long for leaders who want to enslave them at pitiful wages and no personal power. These countries were the poster children of globalization and when the victims were tired of having their natural resources sold for pennies on the dollar, they revolted. The same would happen in a one world government and I think the Rockefellers of the world know it. Their strength is built on a healthy middle class and the protection of that class regardless of what it does to anyone else is their ultimate insurance for keeping their wealth and power.

Progressives and Social Conservatives be Damned

If it is one thing ALL of us have learned over the last eight years of the Bush Presidency; it is that we are all subject to being patronized by Representatives, Senators, Governors, and Presidents (and candidates) to hear one thing but then experience another. The Republican supermajority ballooned the size of government and did nothing for anti-abortion, anti-gay, or any of their other stated issues. Pissing off liberals and fighting a war are scant substitute for true progress on the Republican platform. Democrats, on other hand, must suffer through a current majority that sides with the President on many civil rights issues, fiscal issues regarding funding for social programs, and they largely turned their backs on their own countrymen while studiously avoiding blame after the 2005 hurricanes; all against the Democratic party platform. Both parties were complicit in the whitewash and coverup of the 9/11 Commission when several parties in the know said there was unstated evidence contrary and/or extremely pertinent omissions to the Commission findings. Both parties failed the American platform of accountability to the governed on that score.

Finally, we have group number 3 which contains prominent members of group #2 and, in fact, defines their subterfuge to some degree by their openness as members of group #3. Although the Trilateral Commission is often cited as a secretive organization, they have a website and their membership and purpose is out in the open for the most part. President Bush Sr., VP Dick Cheney, and former President Carter have all been members. The invitee group is tight with somewhere over 300 members at the present time. From their site:

The “growing interdependence” that so impressed the founders of the Trilateral Commission in the early 1970s is deepening into “globalization.” The need for shared thinking and leadership by the Trilateral countries, who (along with the principal international organizations) remain the primary anchors of the wider international system, has not diminished but, if anything, intensified. At the same time, their leadership must change to take into account the dramatic transformation of the international system. As relations with other countries become more mature—and power more diffuse—the leadership tasks of the original Trilateral countries need to be carried out with others to an increasing extent.

It sounds like a recipe for keeping the reigns on power to me, but it is completely out in the open. They want to control the affairs in the world and they explicitly say so and their membership includes many in the US government who, incidently, must quit once they are in public if their core goals/values from Trilateral membership would change so abruptly. They want to control our international destiny and they say so, but they don't trumpet a unified government favoring instead a sort of herding of the cattle (nations) into a more predictable and sustainable (for them) future.

Another group is the People for a New American Century (PNAC). The names are a "Who's Who" of the architects of President Bush's post-9/11 strategy team: Elliott Abrams, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. Their names are right on the Statement of Principles for the PNAC from June 3, 1997. From that statement:

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Wow, pumping up the military, preemptive strikes, declaring enemies before they were enemies, and all the givens of today were published in 1997. Remember 9/11 and how it "changed everything?" Well, they already thought of that beforehand. Check out this excerpt from their policy paper "Rebuilding America's Defenses" from 2000:

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.

For those of us who remember that day vividly, the whole event seemed inconceivable, but those who took full advantage of it were already aware of such a possibility a year before it happened and they were in place in the Bush administration when it did. (I will cover the 9/11 issue later on so don't jump to any conclusions and please be patient.)

Nobody is hiding this stuff; this group is operating out in the open with their goals stated plainly on a web site. A conspiracy? Yes, and apparently proud of it. Moreover, Dick Cheney is a member of both a group that advocates this over-the-top intervention style and formerly the Trilateral Commission which James (Jimmy) Carter shares with him, yet Carter publicly denounces Cheney's policy in no uncertain terms. Is this a change of heart over the years between the two men or are they playing parts in another distractive dialectic?

Where Does the Put Us?

There is a great deal of crosstalk and opportunity for chaos, disagreement, cooperation, and manipulation between these groups. I think Swinebread put it best in the comments when he said that they were like referees who are unfairly for one team to win, but unexpected things happen in that attempt. I don't think any one group has the world's future or control firmly in grasp, but I do think alliances form to do the best they can for themselves. I also think these groups use existing cultural norms and vehicles to convince people to act in a way that suits these group interests oftentimes to the detriment of the actors (us). (For example, think of all those cool smartass Fox programs like The Simpsons and Family Guy that thumb their nose at conservatives all while filling conservative Rupert Murdoch's coffers.)

Does this rise to the level of a grand conspiracy? Yes and No. Yes when really important points of view (not just right/left) are relegated to back alleys of the Internet instead of being distributed across media in any where near their proportional percentage in favor of a narrow controlled narrative with well-defined possibly "red herring" controversy. Yes when reality is purposefully hidden from those it affects. No when shown in terms that these groups are acting in total secrecy because in principal they aren't; there is a public arm which is fairly obvious and the secret arm that supports it. No when it is said that these elites want to turn Earth into a giant slave colony; it doesn't parse because it wouldn't keep them powerful and rich in the long run.

So it is a mixture of both. There are a small group of powerful people who DO organize for their own interests and try to manipulate our perceptions to achieve their ends. They don't have total control, but they have more control than they should and more than we would like them to.

In the next section, I will try to tie these elites and their power back to the philosophical bases we covered earlier. In addition, I will lay the groundwork for how all of this plays into my Civil War Within I keep yammering on about.

New Blogroll Entry

I am adding a new blogger to the blogroll over there to the right. Musings from a Bohemian is a great site and there is a nice reminder about today's Mardi Gras festivities over there.

While we are on the subject, check out Mercy Corps' work regarding Katrina recovery and maybe kick in some quatloos to help out.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mail and Web Change

If you want to email me or Ladybug for the next 24 to 48 hours, you may have mixed results because is moving to the Brinkster hosted servers. FYI: trying to run a mail server in Windows from home is not worth the bother. I have a strong suspicion the the free version of the Mail Enable server is highly susceptible to spam hackers although I can't prove it. I would buy the professional version only under threat of red hot pokers after this experience. I am not a happy camper, but at least my users will be better taken care of at Brinkster.

On a lighter note, we have an older Flower Power Mac which was suffering from a fuzzy monitor that wasn't worth fixing. I was planning on turning it into a terrarium and possibly another computer. As I was removing various plastic covers in preparation, I found one that hid a familiar looking plug. A VGA plug. I plugged it into my desktop flatscreen and VOILA! I had (mostly) sharp Mac video. Now the computer can be used again without my big teardown job! I bought Ladybug a Mac Mini a couple weeks ago, so the Apple Corporation is overtaking the PCs in my house.

I am contemplating upgrading the Flower Power (G3 600MHz w/ 640MB RAM) to OS X 10.4 from 10.2.8. If anyone has advice on whether that is a good idea (lots of OS9 programs and Virtual PC), let me know.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Crazy Comedy Break!

I just re-watched a kooky 1969 movie I originally saw on late night TV in the 80's...(ok, very early morning TV)...and yes it was so "memorable" I finally was able to get it on VHS.

Anyway-all I could think was WTF??!! It's got a Barbarella sensibility mixed up with psychelic 60's Eastern Richard Burton, James Coburn, John Huston and Ringo Starr...among others.

What's this wonderfully wacky film? None other than CANDY, based on the banned book by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenburg....Terry wrote dialogue for Easy Rider-just so you know where this is headed. The buxom blond lead was played by Ewa Aulin, a Swede. Yea....

But here is the trailer....I think it tells it all!

Thanks Swinebread & Dean...I think we all could use some "Candy"!

The Invisible Civil War Within: Part IV

Cheney vs. Rockefeller vs. Secret Banker vs. You?

First, let's take a step back. In fact, let's start with a little bit of philosopher fun...

This is the part of the story where it sometimes starts getting hard for me to ferret out truth from chicanery and fact from hearsay. There is a lot of proof out there for several contradicting views and they can't ALL be true.

I should be honest and say there are irrational influences antagonizing my confidence in these matters. First, I don't like to be embarrassed. I don't like the idea of being considered a whack job or an easily fooled shill. The specter of terms like "tin foil hat wearer" and conspiracy nut attached to me sometimes keep me from asserting my real suspicions. Also, my upbringing and environment was to assume someone was "screwing us over" or "out to get us" whenever things went wrong and that the government and big companies were assumed to always be doing so. I've seen evidence of myself and others holding on to these assumptions when it should have been clear our own behavior or circumstances were a factor that could have changed the outcome. It is always easier to blame things on others. Also, it is easier to cave in to fatalism or paranoia than confront difficult situations. So I temper my view in light of these irrationalities and I am slower than many in subscribing to viewpoints that are not only well documented but, for me, must be somehow personally corroborated. When it comes to ferreting out this Divide and Conquer phenomenon, I am tough to convince.

With that in mind, let's look at some of these groups propounding the Hegelian Dialectic as a mode of distracting/controlling and gaining power.

The Conservative Protestant View of Hegel

I am going to start with a web site called Bible Believers from Australia, but before I do I want to request that our readership which hold certain animosities towards fundamentalism/evangelism to withhold their usual negative assertions for the time being. Trust me, I know where you stand and I am not endorsing a particular view I present here unless I explicitly say so.

Their web page Hegelian Dialectics and Conspiracy ranks very high on the Google search for such things. In this view, a group of bankers uses their financial clout to elicit certain responses. Well, I will let them summarize for themselves:

There is a relationship between Finance, Centralization, and World Hegemony. Until the outbreak of the First World War, money appeared to be a mere mechanism. But the arrangements made to finance the war reveal that the money system was in fact the vehicle of a POLICY, and that that policy was the CENTRALIZATION of power leading progressively to World Government. Prior to the outbreak of war, Great Britain was the CENTRE (but not the BEING) of world financial control; with the war, financial control was transferred to New York and from there used to dismantle the British Empire which, by reason of British traditions and the Anglo-Saxon character, had been the great barrier to World Dominion by those operating through the world financial system. The fall of the British Empire was a FINANCIAL accomplishment, not a military one. But the terms of 'peace' imposed on 'victorious' Britain are those which might have been expected following military DEFEAT.

But the Power which emerged into the open in this century had its birth long before that. It was incubated (but not conceived) in the Secret Societies of Europe, appeared briefly in the French Revolution, and spread to Britain in the form of Fabianism, and to America in the form of various Socialist societies. Following the first phase of the war, it openly took over Russia, and since has visibly spread as International Communism until it has taken over the greater part of the globe.

There are a number of interesting charts on the page which I encourage you to check out which delineate various thesis/antithesis tensions and the "synthesis" which they were "designed" to achieve. Ironically, even though socialism/communism was being used to counterpoint capitalism, the author(s) of the page seem to take the point of view that the "synthesis" of this dialectic runs towards creating a socialist/communist state. Why go through the charade of doing all this extra stuff to achieve that? They don't say. This page also doesn't name names of "The Globalists" who are perpetrating this or why.

Alex Jones' Prison Planet

Thankfully, they don't need to because (thanks Dave!) Alex Jones does this for us. Jones talks about the underpinnings of the elites and their process of taking power. Here is part 1 of a several part video which Dave was kind enough to introduce to us.

According to Jones, it turns out that there are families like the Rothschilds, Rockefellers and others who are among these elites. Jones may be right, BUT there are some major problems with his mode of presentation. First of all, the site is LOADED with advertising for various items related to his pronouncements of doom. He is likely making a small fortune off of this and his livelihood depends on people believing his claims. He is not going to jeopardize profits if one or another of his claims turned out not to be true. At that point, the claims of the "authorities shutting him down" etc. are trumpeted on his site. If the authorities wanted him shut down, it would take them about 2 minutes to do it, if that, so I know he is backpedaling when this happens.

Also, he likes to go out and film these "elites" being nefarious. He asks pointed questions and he sometimes is roughly escorted from their proximity. If I were rich and someone seemed to be asking angry questions about my motives, my security staff would act the same way. My belief is that Jones does this to create a "reality show" type of excitement to keep viewers coming to his site. Evidence gathering and muck raking is a great journalistic tradition and a public service, but this kind of "faux confrontation" that Jones basically appropriated from local news broadcasts and their "consumer protection" stories doesn't cast much light on the real story so much as it shows how people react when surprised; which is usually to put off the surpriser as quickly as possible.

With all that said, some of Jones' claims can be verified by checking other sources and he acts as a clearinghouse for several different things happening on the fringes which won't become generally accepted fact for years to come. It is a process of separating the wheat from the chaff.

Well, that is enough for now. This thing is getting longer than I anticipated (as in it could be well over 10 parts if I let it), so I will leave the Hegelian Dialectic alone for a while to save time and words until I need it again.

In the next installment, we will look at some of these "elites" and hopefully get closer to the truth of whether powerful influencers have a disproportionate control of our governments and lives and which people are accused of doing so.