Christian Complicity

/ History /

Billy Graham’s Mob Action at Kent State

I want to review some history, establish a few facts. I wish it were easy. (I wish it were possible.) We live in a culture no worse than many another, but no better either: the real difference between Tiberius Rome and Nixon’s US is that that was them; this is us.

The US chose to inherit the French war in Indochina. We admitted being there in the 1960s, actually we were there since the 1950s. We supported whatever government was not Communist, was devoted to profit. No honest discussion was possible, there was no honest reporting: there never is. I don’t trust the Bible’s account of the Passion; I don’t trust the Times’ account of the war.

But streaming The Day the ’60s Died over the last few days reminded me to distrust what the churches were saying as much as I distrusted the media. When the media, and the Whitehouse, and Billy Graham line up, watch out. Church and State make one Janus face: war, for profit. Prophecy for profit.

I review a few familiar-seeming facts:
Protests against US conduct in Vietnam had reached epic proportions. But now Nixon’s military had invaded Cambodia.
The protests escalated as the war escalated. The media continued to get away with labeling the protesters “students”: a misrepresentation the public seemed to have accepted: even scholars who should have known better: passed on the misleading simplification. The protests I was involved in from the mid-1960s on were stuffed with PhDs wearing their doctoral colors. There may have been more students than faculty present, but the faculty members were the “leaders”: not the “students”.

Kent State was one of a zillion universities failing to communicate with its democracy.
Nixon sent in the National Guards: armed, with live ammo.

My satiric letter to Nixon at the time pretend to misunderstand that the soldiers were there to attend class for the striking academic population: after all, when the postal workers struck a bit before, Nixon sent in the army, not to murder the postal workers but to deliver the mail! Therefore: if Nixon sent the National Guard to Kent State it can only, rationally, have mean that the guardsmen were there to be made literate! Numerate! to fill the classrooms.

The protesters didn’t shrivel and shrink, some guardsmen shot and killed some of them.
Nixon was sorry, but he called the protesters “bums”. Members of a democracy who don’t silently acquiesce in war crimes are “bums”, without value. A pig in a slaughter house has more value that a non-obediant scholar.

The next day, almost instantly, The Dick Cavett Show featured the Reverand Doctor Billy Graham (doctorate honorary). Cavett asked Graham about Nixon calling the protesters bums.
1) Graham said he hadn’t heard Nixon call the protesters bums. (Was he saying that his host was misinformed? that the whole world was misinformed? that even the obedient media were lying?)
2) Graham said that he had talked to President Nixon, his friend! and that Nixon hadn’t called the protesters bums to Graham, over the phone. (Therefore there was no reason to believe the reports.)
3) Graham swiftly and without detail conceded that members of a democracy had a right to dissent …
4) but instantly switched to characterize Kent State dissent as “mob action”.

Government is obliged to protect lives. A democracy committing war crimes must squelch mobs. Labeling a protest a mob justifies killing.

Billy Graham proved for the Whitehouse and its war that it was alright to spread an undeclared war across sovereign boundaries into a new country. So of course it was alright to shoot and kill protesters.

Notice: after Kent State the “students” did behave rather less that they were immortal.

Free speech, democratic discussion, had been a joke: a bad joke. Nobody believed it any more.

OK, that quick, fast and loose, can be edited indefinitely,
But procede:

We have a mercantile government in a mercantile society, calling itself Christian. Billy Graham was no more a Christian that Richard Nixon was a Quaker!
(I once explained to Nixon that the reason I’d voted for him (which I never did) was that as a Quaker he had, like me, to be a pacifist!)

War for Profit, Prophets for Profit

I won’t say that all wars are for profit, neither in fact nor in intention. But most are. Are they not? The king has the support of his barons. When the barons see that they’re losing more than gaining, they stop supporting the king and his war.

The Borgia pope fought wars left and right. All ere intended for Borgia profit.

The US has the support of Dow Chemical, and other commercial “barons”. Nixon had the support of the army, he didn’t need the support of, didn’t yet exist.

Modern wars are often simple, at least they start out simply. The president’s friend and supporter owns 51% of “Lockheed”. Lockheed makes planes, tanks, guns, bullets … gun powder. Guns, bullets … gun powder make “Lockheed” rich, war makes them richer. Every little Vietnamese girl napalmed into a screaming dervish puts another $40,000 into the “owner’s” pocket.

When Rodrigo Borgia’s army invaded some other state gold filled the Church coffers. If he miscalculated, the gold went elsewhere. But the intention of the war was for profit: in dynasty if not in gold: to improve some other Borgia’s chances toward Saint Peter’s seat.

We drop the napalm on the little girl, because we believe it will be good for business. Oh, not the little girl’s business. Not mine, not yours. I don’t own 51% of IBM.

When I was drafted, October 1961, it wasn’t for my profit. Dow Chemical didn’t have to listen to my protests that I was a pacifist: or a Christian. I wrote such avowals every chance I got, but I bet that the Congressional Record has not one example. Had I won an election, had I inherited 21% of GM, I would have become a citizen who counted. Meantime I had no more rights than the little girl under the napalm.

Savor the rapidity with which Billy Graham pulled the four dead youngsters at Kent State among the damned.

Jashua lay seige to Jericho or someplace. If some little girl got a stone chip in her eye, so what? Any theologian ought to be able to prove, prove in a breeze, that that little Canaanite girl was evil, hated of God. Like the students at Kent State, like any draft protester.

In my case the Billy Grahams of our history, the Nixons, made sure that I don’t have a Phd actual let along honorary. And I can’t have any honorary anything since my writings haven’t been published and those I published myself, from 1970 onward, got sabotaged. Caiaphas made sure that no one at Golgatha was passing out copies of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Billy Graham, Caiaphas, what’s the difference?

much more to sift through moved from yesterday’s post

History Menu

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Christ Proof

/ Social Epistemology /

Can humans understand the god among them? If there were a god? among them.

I want to scribble a few notes. I’d need several life times to do the subject justice: or, I’d need to encounter at least one person who understood more than two percent of what I was talking about to have a chance of saying it right, no matter how many life times got squandered.

Only stunted imaginations believe they could “prove” anything.
Proof is always based on a set of assumptions at least some of which are not only unproved but unprovable.

It’s hard enough for us to understand a hug from a chimp: do we really think we can understand the god?
or the genius?
or the mutant? (Or the moron?)

Or the god’s sacrifice?

Or the god’s demand for adoration?

I see that Pythagoras was capable of reason. I believe I am capable of enough reason to see that Pythagoras was capable of reason. and Kepler. I see that Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Mandelbrot were capable of enough reason to see that Pythagoras was capable of reason. Though I couldn’t prove it.

money tables
thanx washingtonsblog

St Paul talks about reason, maybe Jesus did too: was Paul capable of enough reason to see that Pythagoras was capable of reason? Was Jesus capable of enough reason to see that Darwin was capable of enough reason to imagine Eve biologically as well as mythically?
These days I don’t believe Paul was capable of enough reason to tell Eve from Adam.

Scientists (and novelists) for the last generation or so have hypothsized a woman living around one hundred and fifthy thousand years ago whose femaleness ovulated in secret: Eve, the mother of our species. Adam would not have known when she was fertile. Eve’s mother would not have known when she, Eve, was fertile. Eve herself didn’t know. When Eve’s mother entered estrus every ape in the troop knew she was fertile: her vulva would have swollen, flared a bright red, wafted ripe vagina fragrance all over the neighborhood. Adam and every other male lined up to take a turn. Other apes wouldn’t have queued up for turns: it would have been helter-skilter free-for-all.

So: Eve’s mother was of the old species: flagrant ovulation; Eve was the first, first we can sensibly hypothesize, of a new species, Homo sapiens, who could ovulate in secret.

Meantime, I straddle points: Was communication possible between Eve and her mother?

Back to biology: Adam didn’t respond to Eve once or twice a year; Adam responded to her every minute of every hour of every day. We call it love. We call it monogamous (or mostly-monogamous) coupling. Eve’s fertility wasn’t broadcast; it was laser-beamed: one female, one male-target. Poor Adam had to tup Eve a few times a week if not a few times a day. Then he had to run off and fetch food sufficient for her and her nursing of Abel. Formerly Adam only had to feed himself!

Simultaneously, communication: When Eve talked, insofar as Eve talked, would Adam have understood what she was saying? (Kepler’s students didn’t know what he was saying: did Kepler’s boss? the guy who’d hired him? Did Kepler’s superior at the school understand a word he said?

Jesus had disciples, at least twelve: don’t forget Mary. Did Peter understand what Jesus said? Did Peter understand what Mary said? Mary Magdaline? or any other Mary? Did Judas?
(I love the Kazantzakis novel where Judas is the only one to understand half of what Jesus said!) (Jesus said to Judas that that was why it had to be Judas that betrayed him: betrayal by Peter (who did, also, betray him) wouldn’t have had the same heft, the same oomph.

Anyway, I trust you see that I’m casting doubt not only on the reliability of communication but on the possibility of communication. And that relates to the problem of what meaning “proof” can have in a species in which vocalizations are common but communication doubtful: maybe Pythagoras could have knocked Jacob Bronowski’s socks off, as he then knocked mine off, but so what if all we do as a result is melt the arctic, pollute the seas.

My Sunday school encouraged me to believe that we all understood Jesus, that Peter and Mary and Paul and Pilat all understaood him: that the problem was one of sin, not of intelligence.

Btw, I imagine Jesus praying as much as a Muslim Arab, praying to God. I imagine God talking to Jesus whether or not Jesus was praying. But: can I prove that God understood Jesus? Can I prove that Jesus understood God? I can’t prove that Adam understood God. or Noah. or Abraham!

Moses: did God lock him out because of his stellar understanding?

Wait: back to the subject of whether who understands whom: the teacher teaches the kid Pythagoras’ theorem. Of course the kid doesn’t understand it. Neither does the teacher. Neither does the teacher, or the kid, understand that neither the teacher nor the kid nor Keploer’s boss understands Pythagoras’ theorem.
Btw, that guy who set fire to Pythagoras’ school, the jealous guy, the one passed over: could Pythagoras prove that he didn’t understand the theorem? Could I prove that Pythagoras didn’t understand the guy?

I sent my creation story to Harpers: after having sent it to Playboy, Esquire, the New Yorker, the Atlantic … Willie Morris’s Harpers staff later told me that they liked it, accepted it, wanted to publish it soon. But Mailer’s four-letter shanahigans got them all fired, all Morris decisions reversed: so: it was a reject, again.
Still: can I prove that Willie Morris understood it? No. Neither can I prove that they didn’t.

My PhD committee interrupted my presentation of my thesis on Shakespeare. Did they understand what I was saying? I can’t prove that they didn’t. I can’t prove that Pilat did, or didn’t, understand what was at issue with Jesus overturning the money tables.

Imagine God at Judgment: imagine that the priests would actually shut up and let God speak. Imagine that they wouldn’t interrupt, at least for the first five minutes, whether or not they were understanding.
Can you imagine that?
Now imagine that before five minutes pass, God says That’s enough: I’m putting you all in hell. I’m putting you in hell because not three of you understood three things that Jesus said, or Og before him, or Francis since, or Ivan Illich, or Paul Knatz …
If all the priests then interrupt will it become as though God hadn’t said it?

I don’t think God has troubled to speak since forty-five years ago. Why bother? He knows what will happen.
And putting us in hell too is a waste of time: leave us alone, we’re putting ourselves there, almost as fast as possible.

Targeted Attraction
Notice, Eve altered how she advertised her fertility. She didn’t hire a lawyer, bribe a judge, she didn’t call a cop. There was no political coercion enforcing Eve’s claim on Adam. No courthouse, no church. She did her own fishing. If the hook didn’t stay set, Adam was free.
Still I can imagine Adam’s maintaining his habit of attraction to Eve even after she’s ovulated her last egg. Her social security was volunteered by the tax payer.

Forty-Five Years
There are problems, I know, with much of what I’ve started babbling above. For example, I say I don’t think God has spoken to man for the last forty-five years. (He spoke forty-five years ago every time Ivan Illich opened his mouth, and also when I offered the Free Learning Exchange. Ah, but since then. He’s spoken to me, several more times: I think; but I can’t prove it. As my senses deteriorate I’m not sure what I’m seeing, or hearing, or understanding: or believing.

Careful now though: I don’t go so far as to admit that there’s any possibility that everything the government says, or the media, is anything but lies, lies, lies.

I’ll babble some related things under Christian Complicity.

Social Epistemology

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Extremist Religion

/ Religion /

Extremism and religion go together, do they not? automatically? Is not a god an extreme? a tall story? Hyperbole? overstatement overstated? The Jewish god is an extreme of jealousy, of ambition, of braggadocio. Jesus is an extreme of sacrifice, of altruism. of martyrdom … of whistleblowing, the little man dragging down big men … Other gods embody – embody without the body that is – appetite, gluttony … Buddha embodies spirit in a body …

In Rossellini’s Flowers of Saint Francis, Francis and his brethren climb a hill to a big house. They mount to the door and knock. Through the door they beg for alms. Quasimodo opens bearing a cudgel, beats them. Still they beg for alms, still the roughneck beats them. Just before that they had been asking Francis what would constitute perfect happiness: now Francis tells his brethren, this is it: we’ve been beaten for our faith. We’ve achieved the height of happiness. God died on the cross, we’ve been beaten down the hill.

Flowers of Saint Francis
The tyrant threatens Ginepre.
thanx deeperintomovies

I get a manuscript back from the publisher, rejected again! Could I be happier if I won the Nobel Prize? As a man, a living being, yes, I could be a lot happier: my manuscript could have been accepted, for example. The envelop could contain a nice check. But as a religious; no: failure, extreme failure is an achievement. Petrifaction. putrifaction, perfect.

I got the Saint Francis stuff as a child. But by the time I was a teen I was meeting begging holy men in India, in Kim: monks who had nothing to do with any faith in Jesus. Kipling stepped us out of Christianity and into the rest of the world in the fewest possible steps.

stylites : saint on a pole
stylites : thanx theagedp

Want to be holy? How about standing on a pole for ten years, night and day, in all weather.

We think of crucifixion as a bad death: murder wedded to torture. But Jesus’ crucifixion is relatively benign, if you compare the gospels’ reports to possible crucifixions: for example, Jewish tradition didn’t forbid torture, but it did forbid torture during the Sabbath. So: Jesus got a spear in his side before sundown; not to relieve his suffering but to lighten the guilt on the Jews. Anyway, in the 1960s we Christians were seeing voluntary martyrdoms that were intense, highly visual, and over in a minute.

thanx CNN

These Buddhist monks knew that they had to hold their pose for some very hard seconds: like seppuku suicides among samurai were applauded by the length of the cut to the abdomen before pain and fear made the suicide falter. Mishima made a long cut to his own belly before his buddy froze his pose by beheading him. Japanese jaws dropped as they were reminded of the legendary old days.

Jesus on the cross, that’s religious: and extreme. Mishima with his guts glistening in his lap: that’s extreme too, and religious: whether you like it or not.

This is a scrapbook: I’ll blurt first, organize later.

Lighten the Guilt on the Jews
Of course giving Jesus the coup de grace at sunset also lightened the guilt on the Romans! Who cared about that? Well, in the early days when the New Testament was getting written, different sects were sabotaging each other left and right. AntiSemitism was a big theme in early Christianity; but so too was Rome: it’s a Roman religion, expands the Roman empire! Church of Rome!

Religion Menu

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Results Official

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: &
/ Kleptocracy /

Mission: to explain kleptocracy’s dependence on official decisions: on executives

The results are now Official.
Fred Capossela

I can still hear Cappy’s voice at Belmont, at Aquaduct, at Saratoga … Most of the time everybody at the track can see which horse crossed the line first. But it doesn’t matter how far in front Secretariat or American Pharaoh was, or seemed to be to the spectators: the runner ain’t safe till the umpire says so. The economy isn’t healthy until a pundit in Washington says so. In the NYRA flat track races no horse could win until the officials considered claims of foul, claims of doping. There’s more to racing than horses.

Nothing is official until Caesar says so.
(And Caesar don’t speak till the bribes have been counted.)
2015 11 19 I’m not just resurrecting, I’m adding wisecracks.

People who see their horse cross second or third may throw their bet ticket on the floor in disgust.
Sometimes the race is close enough that the supporters of the front pair are at each others’ throats even though they know that there will be a review of the photo finish.

(Understand: the photo finish is not a photograph of the finish. It’s not a snap shot. It’s a length of film fixed with precision on the finish line: it photographs only the line; not the race. It photographs it over time. Film is drawn past the aperture while the aperture is held open: while the horses cross the line. If a horse falls down dead one inch short of the line — one centimeter — no part of that horse will appear in the finish: only those parts actually reaching the line.)
(At least that was the technology in 1961.)

Sometimes even the officials, who theoretically have no favorites (what? among humans!?!?), with an unobstructed view both of the race and of the photo finish, are hard pressed to make a decision as to which horse’s nose (tongue or lip) touched the “line” first.

In the great majority of races the crowd, the officials, the owners, the jockeys, the photo finish, and, presumably, the horses are in untroubled accord as to what happened. Nevertheless, ten or twenty minutes would routinely pass before Cappy would lean back over the mike with that familiar phrase I cite above: The results are now Official. Because, you see, time has to be allowed for the participants to lodge complaints about other participants. Jockey M says Jockey O cut him across the face with his crop; Jockey N says Jockey M grabbed his horse’s reigns just coming into the stretch … The officials automatically reserve ten or fifteen minutes for deliberation in just such cases. The photo finish isn’t the only camera at the track. Races are automatically filmed: both officially and unofficially. Furthermore the officials know the tricks of this and that jockey, this and that trainer, her and the other owner …

Am I saying that the officials are always right? Not for a minute: merely that the state requires an official decision: hopefully within minutes, routinely within twenty minutes: even when there’s a problem. Only rarely does an official decision not get announced within five or eight minutes of the closing of the betting for the next race.
(You see, it’s not about truth: it’s about money!)

(The races are of course scheduled thirty minutes apart. The para mutual windows close for a particular race once that race’s odds are rendered official: still another official decision without which the state might become vulnerable to paying out more money than it takes in.)

(Indeed, that last item needs another word: Racing experts employed by the state calculate odds for each horse in each race and publish them as the “Morning Line”. The track does not pay according to the Morning Line; the track pays according to the actual handle: the total money bet on a particular race: minus the state’s commission. The favorite may start the morning at 6:1 but actually run the race at a mere 3:1. That is: more people backed the favorite than the favorite’s performance history supports. In other words: though the public may attend the races in order to gamble, the track itself is not there to gamble. The track is there to collect taxes for the state: 15% (or whatever the law sets). The state guarantees itself 15% of the handle of every race: collect $1: divvy 85 cents among the winners.)

(The single exception is the law that states that a winning ticket must earn a gain of at least twenty cents. Theoretically the state might have to finance the winning tickets holders of a race in which everyone bet the winner. I doubt that it’s ever happened though one might be able to research it.)
Thus, even with trouble, bettors start getting paid with time left to bet the next race. No point in having nine races if most are broke by the end of one.

Gee, isn’t that nice. There may be more versions of what happened during the race than there were witnessed accounts of the rape in Roshomon: but the wise officials arrive at the truth within a few minutes almost every time! But of course the visitor already sees past my sarcasm: the truth is not what civilization runs by; it’s decisions that civilization runs by. If the tennis player wants to keep playing for a hundred grand here, a million there, he’d better shut up and get ready to receive service … so the commercial breaks, the station announcements, the scheduled commentaries … can proceed as planned. So too the jockeys and trainers and owners … and bettors. (The horses themselves are wisely mum.)

Typically a race horse doesn’t see the horse that cut her off or that bumped her for a long time. They’re kept in different paddocks, get returned to different farms …

Sometimes unofficial results are overturned: Jockey and horse P are disqualified. The Place horse Wins; the Show horse Places, the fourth horse Shows.

(I’d like to see Seabiscuit unattended in a meadow with the official that disqualified him.)
And yes, I’ve known people who gathered considerable income sifting the floor litter for winning tickets prematurely discarded. The pickings are especially good after a turnover, but sometimes people throw away winning tickets where there’s no inquiry. The guy in the grandstand had a bad angle on the finish. His whole life is in that ticket. He thinks his horse got nosed. Impulse makes him … Suicide.
But suicide is for the public. The state seldom commits suicide impulsively (no: rather slowly: as when we elect a Kennedy, a Nixon, a Bush …)

I’ve said before: when the Roman army got sick of Caligula, they elevated Claudius within minutes: even though he was hiding from them behind the curtains. Oh, no. Anything but be emperor!
What human in her right mind would want to be King of the Woods either? (See Frazer.)

Humans living in bands made their own decisions more often than not. Ooo, I think I’ll eat that beetle. The hell with these berries: I think I’ll go look for those other ones. “Should we go to the woods or to the shore?” might be a question the group had to decide, and no doubt many different procedures were effected. In emergencies a group may turn to a leader; but we know that even in groups as large as tribes, chiefs were chiefs only some of the time. Poor Claudius was emperor twenty four hours a day, seven days a week: every damn month (twelve of them by Claudius’ time: their great grandparents had had a mere ten month year!)

More to say, but I don’t have to say it all at once.


Posted in kleptocracy | Leave a comment

Spend the Loot

/ Kleptocracy /
first @ IonaArc

The gal puts curlers in her hair to hold what she, not her genes, not the weather, put there. Maybe she perms it, sprays it, as well. Maybe she looks good, maybe she looks like a horse’s ass: point is, it works: for a while. But after a few night’s sleep, a few rain storms, that curl is a faded memory. After enough centuries her skull in the tomb looks pretty much like any other skull. Long enough later, there may not even be a skull.

If “nature” had put the curl there, eventually, “she” still looks just like any other skull, or, like nothing at all.

The thief grabs her purse. Quick: scores, and shoots up. The cops grab him. “Where’s the money?” Guh, guh … He’s still on the nod. If the cops grab him in time, they can give the gal her purse back, the money still in it; or they can go have a beer, or donate the cash to St. Patrick’s Firemen.

If the thief is quick enough, there’ll be nothing to pay back.
When Napoleon grabbed the Rosetta Stone from Egypt, took it to Paris, it wasn’t the sort of thing that could easily be “spent.” Centuries later a different “French” government could give the stone back to a different Egypt. And there could be all sorts of good excuses: We were putting it to good use; you were ignoring it. It’s not quite the same with the Elgin Marbles. “Greece” was doing “nothing” with its classic architectural heritage. Greece wasn’t selling textiles to the world, sailing all over hell and gone, taking tall trees from Maine for ships’ masts, impressing sailors, soldiers … Lord Elgin swiped the marbles, put them in London, where, thanks to all the sailing around and impressing of sailors and manufacturing textiles and hiring Cockneys into a new slave class, London got socked into a pollution such as the world had never seen, at least not associated with man. The marbles started to rot: faster than they were rotting left where they’d fallen at the Acropolis. England swipes marbles. Oh, sure: they were “putting them to use.” England centuries later can give back only dust.

Guh, guh. On the nod.

Peoples swept across Asia, pushing other peoples. Sometimes they would have ousted the evictees nose to nose, spear to club, arrow to a stone cutter that fit the hand, machine gun to wooden staff. Sometimes the evictees would have receded before the advance, and the rousters would never have seen their costumes, heard their babble. Same in Europe, same in the Americas. What if, eons later, the “Chinese” felt bad, said they were withdrawing back to Mongolia, invited the Polynesians back to their “China” … Say the Polynesians recognized themselves to be the true Chinese, wanted the mainland again: the China they got back would be only the ashes of the China they’d fled.

If the English gave Australia back to the natives, would they take the rabbits and cats back with them? Even if they did (even if they could, even if there were an England capable and willing of receiving them back), would the ashes of Australia then satisfy the natives who once had a very different ecology?

Modern kleptocracies in-common close their books at the end of the year. The values of the purses that they snatched are in their arm, burbling around in their blood streams, or long ago excreted, taken by the bacteria.

Columbus could have given the West Indians back their islands meaningfully only if he did it before he scored and shot up, before the King of Spain scored and shot up.

What if God specially resurrected Van Gogh, put him back in contemporary Arles, Paris, or Amsterdam: or Philadelphia or Tokyo. Could Van Gogh say to any effect, “Those are my paintings. You have no right to them. Give them back”? Could MOMA, could the Barnes, meaningfully say, “Oh, why don’t we buy them from you?” Where would MOMA get new billions of dollars? What about the “owners” who got multi-million dollar write-offs when they “gave” the paintings to MOMA? When Barnes bought the Van Goghs for $20, $40, $80 … maybe $200, did the dealers have a right to sell them?

If Australia gave Australia back to the natives, what would they do with wealth they had actually created, wealth they had a legitimate claim to? Much is stolen, but much is innovated too, earned.

Well, it’s beyond me. But I don’t believe it’s beyond God. God has got to be able to find a way to punish the junkie purse-snatcher and to compensate the poor girl: who had a little curl, whose purse was snatched. Surely God must have some way of knowing what contents of her purse were legitimately hers and what devolved from thefts she cooperated in. (If you’re paying taxes on land snatched from the Mohawk, you’re cooperating.)

Now just a goddamn minute, pk. Who’s this goddamn God? Is this the same one who couldn’t find Adam hiding in the tree?

No, no, no. Sorry. I misspelled it. I meant “god”: the intelligence behind how blood clots, behind the Four Basic Forces … behind evolution … cybernetics, information … behind how any cubic hectare of reef is every bit as complex, as simple, as any human brain, as any human city … behind we don’t know what all (if indeed it’s intelligence that’s behind it).

Christians tell us that justice can never happen here, but assure it transpiring after death: in heaven and in hell. I don’t believe that humans are capable to distinguishing earth from life from death from heaven from hell. I believe that earth is just one of infinites of petri dishes in god’s “lab.” I believe that god puts one kind of culture in one dish, infects it with a disease or two, watches what happens. god can then throw the dish away, clean and sterilize it, extract some of the resultant culture and move it to a new dish. god can throw a culture he likes out into the garden where it can take its own chances. Or, in a new dish, he can infect it with still other new diseases …

Death is a generalization. Your death will not be like mine.

Now just a goddamn minute, pk. You mean this “god” of yours is really just like God after all? just maybe a little smarter?

No, no, no. Sorry. I believe nothing of the kind. I’m just fantasizing: and trying to communicate something

using your language.

Social truths cannot be uttered in university natural languages: like Standard Written English. Only macroinformation can rise an inch off the pavement, only art.

PS This draft isn’t bad, it says some of what I mean, but it also totally missed a couple of the illustrations I’m meant to put near the climax: illustrations not standard to anthropologists’ litanies:
In the 1960s Ivan Illich was developing his critique of rampant American culture, cresting for example in Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress. Illich said that American trucks, exported to South America, could be more harmful than American tanks placed in the same places. The tanks could run things over, knock things down, burn and kill; but the trucks would addict subsistence cultures to tools it could never afford to keep up with. Roads would have to be built, a whole new (expensive) infrastructure would have to be inserted. Tanks would destroy some things; trucks would destroy everything. Suddenly, Illich, the Church’s most popular priest, the priest clearly closest to Jesus (and to St. Francis) in the two-millennium-long history of Christianity, was suddenly persona non grata. Ours is the society of business: of greed enthroned, of no-questions-asked profit as our summa-theologica. Yet when Illich’s books sold surprisingly well, when paperback editions became best sellers, his books disappeared! Ah! So profit wasn’t our only consideration after all. What we value even more is no criticism, no intelligent criticism.

Illich showed us how a people could shrug off centralized, top-down rulers: the public must network itself, obviate our reliance on hierarchy. (This from a priest!) I recognized Illich’s design to be the internet I had been awaiting since 1960. Disregard the governments’ insistence on licenses, certificates, centrally-approved performance … and people might judge for themselves. Soon, their judgments would necessarily improve: survival-driven. (And if they didn’t? Tough nugies.) Immediately I told Illich, “I’ll do it.” Over night I was answering correspondence with other mushrooming local nets (and licensed schools, universities), telling them how I would coordinate all the local nets into an internet. (Understand: network was a word conspicuously used by Illich; neither of us said specifically “internet”; the concept had been coined, but not the word.

Illich’s books disappeared from print, from the book stores. Fewer and fewer libraries acquired them. Illich’s speaking engagements in the US shrank. I witnessed him being invited to say more on TV by Hugh Downes, I witnessed him squeezed out, no explanation offered, Downes’ invitation was just silenced. Illich’s books disappeared; pk’s never appeared. Americans practice their “free speech,” universities practice their academic freedom, only the way the Soviet practiced its highly ideal constitution:

when convenient.

At first, by late 1971, pk’s FLEX, (Free Learning Exchange, my seed for an internet) was getting free publicity right and left. Several dozen people were using it. Then, all at once, we got no new publicity: and our contributions dried up: from two cents, to one cent, to no cents: and my volunteers finally fled: before we were tarred and feathered.

PPS This post is emphasizing theft and displacement over innovation, invention, new earnings. I’m aware of that. For some purposes I live with that flaw. Maybe Barns put his $40 Van Gogh into a nice frame: the frame belongs to Barns, not at all to Van Gogh. Barns and a host of others made the Van Goghs “worth” forty-, sixty-million dollars. But it was Van Gogh’s style they were doing it with.

See? Right there: Van Gogh’s style doesn’t exist in isolation: MOMA, Barnes, were also using business’s billions, governments’ tax systems …
The baby can be killed, but there’s no way to give the father’s part back to the father and the mother’s part back to the mother once their union goes the way of all unions. Wouldn’t it be nice if we refrained from improving things until we actually owned them? I’ll bet god’s petri dishes have more than one genius hiding their light under a bushel until the correct green light comes on. In the Seven Samurai Rikichi’s wife smiles in silence as the bandits’ stronghold burns around her. She refrains from shouting Fire. She’ll die happy knowing that some of her rapists will burn around her. (Maybe she even knows that her husband is among those setting the fire! Ah, but regardless, she knows she’s now damaged goods.)

2015 11 11 I seem to have written two Saving Lives pieces, bothy at IonaArc. Here’s the other. Then I’ll edit, dedup …

Saving Lives
Mission: to expose and to mock governments’ supposed concern with life.

Seat Belts Save Lives. Oh, goody.
See? They’ve got us again.
Living things are programmed to live. To replicate. To do whatever they can to go on living. That’s given. Reason is irrelevant.
Social man has stacks of traditions where he who saves a life is respected for it. We have myths where he who saves beaucoup lives is worshipped: Jesus, to whit. Social man also hedges his bets: the Chinese hold that if you save someone’s life you’re thereafter responsible for them; Twain wrote a series of stories in which the savior rues the day.
Overall though, the savior is respected. Jesus is told to have told of the Good Samaritan. The story needs some translation, a few notes: it was like the union striker saved the scab.
So if a government goes around saving lives, that government must be good: No? Whoever first thought of rigging some sort of restraining straps around the driver of a racing car was certainly trying to reduce the risk of injury to the driver. It was probably the driver himself, trying to save his own life — or the driver’s mechanic (dependent, partner, employee), maybe the driver’s sponsor … I remember hearing I think it was Sterling Moss talk about feeling at one with the car. Hey: I’m a mystic too. I couldn’t wait to drive a tuned car with all systems tight, strapped in. Just weld me to the frame. How many logics are bridged, how many of the bridges burned, when the government tells you to Buckle Up — or else?
I rode my first motorcycle around 1965, bought one soon after, made sure I bought a good helmet with it. But in 1965 it was up to me when I wore it, if I wore it. There were times where in my judgment I was safer without it. You hear less, see a great deal less, with one on: with that weight on your head, your reactions are necessarily a tad slower. Within a year the state was telling me I must wear one; or not ride: wear one under all circumstances. (I loved Cycle Magazine’s report of the guy who thereafter wore his helmet on his knee. The cop who stopped him didn’t get it, made him switch.) (Later he fell and hurt his knee!)
R.J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii calculates that in the twentieth century alone, states murdered about 162,000,000 of their own subjects. This figure doesn’t include the tens of millions of foreigners they killed in war. In Vietnam the United States saved untold people by dropping napalm on them.
What’s going on? To me the answer is clear. I want to emphasize two aspects of my answer.
2. Predators’ Stalking Blind When bigots want to kill niggers they dress as Christians, burn crosses. Their true purpose is disguised: to their prey, to themselves.

4. Scared Shitless James Burke explained, traced patterns, like doctors’ non-accountable authority, to the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon took a census, counted so many million Frenchmen. The emperor of Austria, the kings of England, of Italy, had taken no census. They had no idea how many subjects they had. The question had never come up. Therefore, Napoleon’s count, whatever the number, scared them all shitless. It was a number threatening a non-count. Thereafter, all states have tried to have as many citizens as they could manage: to scare the shit out of their competitors. No account need be taken of the population’s health, viability … just its sum. (Which doesn’t mean that the same government won’t kill the Cheyenne or the headhunters or the Jews or the anarchists by the carload if it’s running a different program for the moment.)

PS bk responds with a few arguments that seat belts cost more lives than they save. Maybe he’ll add those comments himself. If not, I’ll do something parallel eventually. Meantime, know: just ’cause you hear it a million times don’t mean it’s so.


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Truth Expired

/ Truth /

What kind of a shelf life does truth have? What’s its expiration date? At what point can teachers – Saint Peter, Saint Paul – reverse the facts of the story, reverse the meaning?

I’m just watching a cute Korean TV thing on Einstein and relativity. It shows Galileo being threatened with torture for defending the Copernican theory of the universe. Authority said the universe was geocentric; Copernicus said heliocentric: Galileo and his astronomical observations backed Copernicus and his heliocentric model. Good, we all know that. Then the doc showed a contemporary physics teacher, female, Germanic, carefully dusting off Galileo: authority backing the winner, pretending to have been on Galileo’s side the whole time.

Authority lost: in the gospel stories, and in the Galileo stories. But new authorities are telling the story, and they freely change the facts, making themselves the allies of the hero, Galileo in this case. The Jewish priests sabotaged God’s son; now the Christian priests tell stories in which they, the current generation of priests, sacrifice themselves to stand up for the murdered divine scion.

How old does the story have to be, before the basic facts can be reversed? At what point can Germans revise history to claim that they, Germans, protected Jews?

I’ve been sabotaged all my life because I try to remind us that the Temple stood against God, that the Church stood against experience … That by reversing facts and making ourselves the good guys (when the story had cast us as bad guys) we flush the story down the toilet.

Stories that tell the truth can’t be told, not when the bad guys are reversing facts, revising cast, to teach that they’re the good guys.

The Jews told stories that they didn’t listen to the stories, then recast the cast, reversed the meaning.
So Christians told new stories, where Jews sabotaged God. Then universities told stories where Christian churches sabotaged truth. Now secular authorities tell the same stories, but with themselves cast as the Christians!

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

I used to dream of a Judgment in which sinful pk was publicly forgiven.
(Could sinful pk tell who else was being publicly forgiven? No, no: sinful pk was too busy making himself the center of attention.)
Then pk dreamed of offering a better, more honest Bible, telling the story fresh, telling it straight.
Then pk dreamed of a Judgment in which God shows the public what pk actually wrote and offered for publication. The public sees for the first time the suppressed Bible!
Then pk dreamed of a Judgment which merely showed the sabotages: the censors, the liars, the crucifiers, the falsifiers, subverting the old old stories.
But no longer.

Now pk dreams of a Judgment in which no facts are true, that there’s no point at which the old stories aren’t reversed, reversed, reversed. Truth’s shelf-life isn’t even a millisecond. And nothing, nothing whatsoever, nothing not itself toxic, is learned.

Germans Portrayed as Protectors

We just watched a movie, The Help, in which the Mississippians who terrorize the subservient “black” population prove to have been not “everybody” after all, but just one or two bad applies: as soon as Dallas Bryce Howard’s character is humiliated, then everything else turns out to be just fine: and always had been.

The editing robots have been wrestling with me, making their own revisions. Grr.

Truth Menu

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Monthly: scrapbook: reborn each month
(I keep dozens of scrapbooks here, a dozen or so of them I made (past tense) “monthlies”: that is, I dated them the first of the month, updating the fictional date each month. But now I’ll keep just one: this one. Here I’ll jot notes to be further developed, maybe elsewhen, maybe moved elsewhere. This is, some may promote to modules; others may remain entries in scrapbooks.) Excess will go to a Monthly Archive.

2015 11 18 If any of us actually had a legitimate claim on any turf then I might be able to see how those people could define a border and close it, keep others out, defeat other claims in advance; but in a world where there are only two sorts of people, the dispossessed and the kleptocrats, we’re just pigs making noises: grunt, fart, splat.

But never mind that, I have a better, simpler take on further harming the harmed. Do what we want, steal what we want; but remove all the misleading labels from the churches, and from secular institutions too. Subtract all associations between the institution and ethics. Divorce churches from associations of goodness, charity, morality. Let the Christians hog the trough, but deny the Chrisitans any right to associate themselves with God, love, Jesus, or Justice.

Fish in a Barrel
2015 11 13 Paris, the West, France, Christianity, Atheist Kleptocracy Under Attack
Decades ago, after Columbine, the University of London asked me, the deschooler, the cybernetic free market data base person, to comment. I said, that they published, that the state corralling kids into schools is imprisoning them in harms way: what’s convenient for the teacher, and for the parents, and the corporations is also convenient for the terrorists: if the fish are trapped in a barrel of course you can shoot more of them with one pull of the trigger: you don’t even have to aim. In the American Revolution the redcoats all stood in a line where we could shoot them; we hid in the woods! We want to stay alive! Not fair!
If I want to live (which I don’t, not now, not much longer, please), and terrorists are targeting populations, what should I do? go to an NFL game? try to sit on the Fifty Yard Line? or go hide in the woods, don’t make a sound, don’t tell anyone where I am, throw away my cell phone?

Steph Nuff
2015 11 13 Curry & Co. launch their season with a 10-0 start! Jeez.
When has anybody ever looked so beautiful on the floor? A few times, but only a few.

Aerial Fishermen
Another right column click-pic shows a guy fishing from a bank. Along his line there’s an outsized splash as an osprey dives from the zenith to snatch his bass.
I’ve done a lot of fishing in Florida since 1989 but in the 1980s till then, though cycling myself among Florida state parks, I was nature-watching, not fishing. I’ll never forget the hours I spent though watching others fish. In Myakka River State Park fishermen congregated on a bank lobbing minnows under a bobber into the river past the band of hydrilla that buffered the bank. In time the bobber would zoom under, the fisherman would reel a big catfish to the edge of the hydrilla, and there a big ‘gator would emerge its jaws from the weeds and steal the struggling catfish.
I also enjoyed watching the ‘gators’ pecking order: any twelve foot ‘gator could take any three pound catfish from any eleven foot ‘gator. But once a thirteen foot ‘gator appeared in that section of river the twelve footer made himself scarce, free catfish or not. I never say ‘gators fight like hippos: they knew who the winner would be: the smaller reptile yielded.

That year on the Myakka, just south of Sarasota, I saw plenty of twelve footers, and plenty of eleven footers. But since then, the mid-’80s, I’ve seen much bigger: up to eighteen, nineteen feet: on Arbuckle Creek, toward the Avon Park Bombing Range. Then I stopped seeing such: murdered, every one, I don’t doubt: silently, by the authorities, who aren’t supposed to, but do.


Posted in pk Personal, pk Teaching