In Baratunde Thurston's new book "How to Be Black " the author presents a funny and truthful premise for living in mainstream society as a black person. I feel it important to highlight that his entire thesis rests on what I describe as a premise of conformity. The assumptions present in his writing cover those who accept the paradigms of the mainstream, get a job, hold it and move through the systems before them. It does not touch on those who "question the values of the mainstream society around us" and subsequently choose to reject them. This motley crew of societal pirates fall into the plight of being either geniuses of insane persons. They are geniuses if they are successful at making a lot of money (regardless of how they use their monetary wealth). They are dubbed insane, ostracized, and suffer an often lonely life filled with unceasing (and often unfair) challenges if they do not make a lot of money.
This plight of those who question the world order is well documented throughout history. Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Malcom X, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (to name a few) all chose to oppose "the values of the mainstream society around us". They were societal pirates. Read more »
by Robert Anton Wilson
from The Illuminati Papers
Robert Anton Wilson was an American author, polymath and self-described agnostic mystic. Wilson described his work as an "attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth". He described his goal as being "to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything".
Below is a piece he wrote titled "The Rich Economy" which presents alternative approaches to economic policy. It is presented here to hopefully serve as a vehicle to help our readers be open to, and even create their own ideas about, new and different approaches to solving our economic issues. Enjoy!
If there is one proposition which currently wins the assent of nearly everybody, it is that we need more jobs. "A cure for unemployment" is promised, or earnestly sought, by every Heavy Thinker from Jimmy Carter to the Communist Party USA, from Ronald Reagan to the head of the economics department at the local university, from the Birchers to the New Left.
I would like to challenge that idea. I don't think there is, or ever again can be, a cure for unemployment. I propose that unemployment is not a disease, but the natural, healthy functioning of an advanced technological society.
The inevitable direction of any technology, and of any rational species such as Homo sap., is toward what Buckminster Fuller calls ephemeralization, or doing-more-with-less. For instance, a modern computer does more (handles more bits of information) with less hardware than the proto-computers of the late '40's and '50's. One worker with a modern teletype machine does more in an hour than a thousand medieval monks painstakingly copying scrolls for a century. Atomic fission does more with a cubic centimeter of matter than all the engineers of the 19th Century could do with a million tons, and fusion does even more.
Unemployment is not a disease; so it has no "cure." Read more »
President Obama is hobbling into the final stretch of his re-election run. He has lost credibility with his public base because they feel he did not do what he promised he would. He has lost support elite fiscal base (the wealthy, business owners, and c-suite managers) because he cannot continue to follow their prescriptions which have proven only to exacerbate the gap between them and the poor and working class.
It is important to see clearly what President Obama has done, and done really well. He has made a concerted and highly focused effort to bridge the big divides. He has reached out and tried to work with those across the aisle on a range of issues seeking to achieve compromise focused on common aims. Read more »
Could the Pentagon Be Responsible for Your Death?
The Military’s Marching Orders to the Jihadist World
By Tom Engelhardt
Put what follows in the category of paragraphs no one noticed that should have made the nation’s hair stand on end. This particular paragraph should also have sent chills through the body politic, launched warning flares, and left the people’s representatives in Congress shouting about something other than the debt crisis.
Last weekend, two reliable New York Times reporters, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, had a piece in that paper’s Sunday Review entitled “After 9/11, an Era of Tinker, Tailor, Jihadist, Spy.” Its focus was the latest counterterrorism thinking at the Pentagon: deterrence theory. (Evidently an amalgam of the old Cold War ideas of “containment” and nuclear deterrence wackily reimagined by the boys in the five-sided building for the age of the jihadi.) Schmitt and Shanker’s article was, a note informed the reader, based on research for their forthcoming book, Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda.
And here’s the paragraph, buried in the middle of their piece, that should have stopped readers in their tracks:
“Or consider what American computer specialists are doing on the Internet, perhaps terrorist leaders’ greatest safe haven, where they recruit, raise money, and plot future attacks on a global scale. American specialists have become especially proficient at forging the onscreen cyber-trademarks used by Al Qaeda to certify its Web statements, and are posting confusing and contradictory orders, some so virulent that young Muslims dabbling in jihadist philosophy, but on the fence about it, might be driven away.”
How the National Security Complex Grows on Terrorism Fears
By Tom Engelhardt
Here’s a scenario to chill you to the bone:
Without warning, the network -- a set of terrorist super cells -- struck in northern Germany and Germans began to fall by the hundreds, then thousands. As panic spread, hospitals were overwhelmed with the severely wounded. More than 20 of the victims died.
No one doubted that it was al-Qaeda, but where the terrorists had come from was unknown. Initially, German officials accused Spain of harboring them (and the Spanish economy promptly took a hit); then, confusingly, they retracted the charge. Alerts went off across Europe as fears spread. Russia closed its borders to the European Union, which its outraged leaders denounced as a “disproportionate” response. Even a small number of Americans visiting Germany ended up hospitalized.
In Washington, there was panic, though no evidence existed that the terrorists were specifically targeting Americans or that any of them had slipped into this country. Still, at a hastily called news conference, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano raised the new terror alert system for the first time from its always “elevated“ status to “imminent” (that is, “ a credible, specific, and impending threat”). Soon after, a Pentagon spokesman announced that the U.S. military had been placed on high alert across Europe. Read more »
Dumb Question of the Twenty-first Century: Is It Legal?
Post-Legal America and the National Security Complex
By Tom Engelhardt
Is the Libyan war legal? Was Bin Laden’s killing legal? Is it legal for the president of the United States to target an American citizen for assassination? Were those “enhanced interrogation techniques” legal? These are all questions raised in recent weeks. Each seems to call out for debate, for answers. Or does it?
Now, you couldn’t call me a legal scholar. I’ve never set foot inside a law school, and in 66 years only made it onto a single jury (dismissed before trial when the civil suit was settled out of court). Still, I feel at least as capable as any constitutional law professor of answering such questions.
My answer is this: they are irrelevant. Think of them as twentieth-century questions that don't begin to come to grips with twenty-first century American realities. In fact, think of them, and the very idea of a nation based on the rule of law, as a reflection of nostalgia for, or sentimentality about, a long-lost republic. At least in terms of what used to be called “foreign policy,” and more recently “national security,” the United States is now a post-legal society. (And you could certainly include in this mix the too-big-to-jail financial and corporate elite.) Read more »