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sombunall of Pula's general semantics glossary

A general semantics glossary. (part 20). Robert P. Pula.
        ETC.: A Review of General Semantics v54.n4 (Winter 1997):
pp490(6).

Abstract:

An author addressed the difficulty of creating useful abstractions
through creating four types of questions which will generate necessary
responses one wish to derive. The operational/extensional question
generates answers which can eventually lead into another set of
related questions, while speculative questions answers necessary
inquiries related with human progress and those that function with
consciousness. To generate responses oriented with the concept of
play, fun questions are operated and pathology-inducing, intensely
intentional questions are intended to generate response which are
evaluated intensely.

Types of questions. Many have observed that the structure of the
questions you ask largely determines the structure of whatever answers
you may give yourself. Admittedly, that insight has not usually been
stated in just that way, but you know me. Another way to say that is
that if you ask of yourself a poorly-structured question, you may be
doomed, as a function of neuro-logical inevitably, (1) to derive a
poorly-structured answer. So consciousness of abstracting with
relation to the kinds of questions we ask ourselves and others seems
vital to achieving and maintaining more-or-less ‘sane’ functioning.

At Institute of General Semantics seminar-workshops, to which I have
often referred in this glossary, I have made a point of addressing
this issue, limiting myself to four types of questions; not an
exhaustive typology, but sufficient for my purposes:

* operational/extensional

* speculative

* fun

* pathology-inducing/intensional

The operational/extensional kind of question raises the further
questions, "What can I do to get an answer?" "Are there extensional
procedures I can engage to get my answer?" For example, "Who was the
(claimed) fourth avatar of Vishnu?" qualifies as operational/
extensional because we have data that we can check to get the answer.
A better example, of course, might be "How long do I have to boil an
egg so that it will be soft-boiled but not too runny?" To get my
answer, I can check a cookbook, then move extensionally to my kitchen
stove and try it out. "How long will it take me, Professor, to learn
Chopin’s fourth Ballade?" "Try it and see." "How long, Mr. Lincoln,
should a man’s legs be?" "Long enough to reach the ground."

On the other foot (I having just two), "How many angels can dance on
the head of a pin?" does not qualify as an operational/extensional
question because (a) we cannot demonstrate the existence of
‘angels’ (hallucinating doesn’t count) and (b) since ‘angels’,
according to St. Thomas Aquinas and Mortimer Adler, ‘are’ "pure
spirit," i.e., non-extended (no matter), number related to a
constricted space-time event (the head of a pin) cannot apply to them.
Besides, if they be ‘pure spirit’, what are they going to dance with?
Or to? (See "pathology-inducing/intensional" below.)

"How much will my ‘anorexic’ patient eat today?" can be checked out
extensionally. You can observe the patient. "Why does she (she in most
cases) do ‘anorexia’?" cannot be determined by rigorously extensional
means, although you (if you are the doctor) can be somewhat
extensional by discussing the question with your patient, emphasizing
that ‘anorexia’ qualifies as something the patient does, not what the
patient ‘has’. What the patient ‘has’ is a set of self-generated
flawed evaluations, themselves functions of prior decisions, habits of
formulating, etc. In this degree of extensionality, you and your
patient will be limited to comparing theories: sets of inferences of
higher order. But, if things go well (as they sometimes do), you can
persist in gradient extensionalization, comparing current formulating
to reported history, observed behavior, etc.

Speculative questions are a necessary factor in human progress, and
can consistently function as such in the presence of consciousness of
abstracting. Quantum physics is a function of very high order
speculation indeed: questions addressed to previously intractable
data. Witness the wave/particle ‘dichotomy’, Bohr’s complementarity
formulae, various versions of the "Copenhagen Interpretation," etc.
But the speculation must be made, sooner or later, operational/
extensional. In the case of quantum mechanics, according to the
estimate of physicist John Gribbin reported by Robert Anton
Wilson," … the equations of quantum mechanics appear in the theory
underlying about 90% of the technology we use every day. They appear
in TV, in atomic energy, in computers, in molecular biology, in
genetic engineering, and ‘all over the shop’." (2) Now that’s
extensional, structural, relational matching: verbal/non-verbal
isomorphy.

But the kind of speculative questions that cannot, by their very form,
lead to eventual testing, observing, etc., may be, at minimum,
deflecting of maturity, or, at worst, generate mystification, self-
torturing, more-or-less constant tizzy states: "I’d druther have my
dithers." For example, "What will the afterlife be like?", with its
implied belief in later, conscious ‘existences’, may lead to
unproductive procrastination in the life we surely have. It can even
lead to ignoring or evading much of our present sure bet in the
anticipation of something better later on.

Even more pernicious are the myriad Job-like questions many ask: "Why
me?" "Why was I ever born?" Or, to ‘quote"Job’ directly, "Why died I
not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of
the belly?" (3) I bet the current [Apple] Job(s) has not habitually
asked such questions. But, then, the Biblical Job was sore tried. What
of that great lamenter, Jeremiah, who was as much tormentor as
tormented? What of his objectification (an old human habit) of ‘evil’?
For too many of us, we are such stuff as Jeremiads are made on, and
our little life is rounded with a slobber. We do well to remember that
much later Jewish question, "Why not you?"

Fun questions are fun questions by virtue of their conscious play
intent. These are perhaps the most healthy questions of all, because
they generate little negative tension (except, perhaps, in those who
don’t want to play), and practically any answer will do. Indeed, often
no answer is desired, the question making the questioner’s point as a
disguised assertion. For example, at my final Institute of General
Semantics Seminar-Workshop in July 1997 (thus able to allow myself
some license – "What’re they going to do – fire me?"), when presenting
this question-typology material, I mentioned the loony ‘butterfly
effect’; the notion that, since everything eventually abuts everything
else, a butterfly’s flapping in Brooklyn will lead to a typhoon off a
coast of Japan (better yet, Bohemia). I then (playfully) asked,
assuming the proper demonstrating, bent-over posture, "If a
butterfly’s wings can ’cause’ a typhoon half a world away, what effect
can we expect from a well-directed, finely focused fart?" Thus can a
playful question serve as commentary.

An important consideration throughout is one’s attitude toward one’s
questions. "I must have an answer, and soon, otherwise I’m doomed or,
at minimum, most uncomfortable." The tension related to this kind of
self-demanding can, literally, destroy cells.

Finally, in our modest typology, we have the pathology-inducing,
intensely intensional questions, emerging from the darkest cave (move
over, Plato), unlit by consciousness of abstracting, powered by the
most severe identifications (confusions of orders of abstractings).
Some of the questions referenced above have already modeled this type
of question. My mode-emphasis here is to a more dangerous (to one’s
health) type where, applying gradient evaluating, the degree of
identification with regard to the assumed appropriateness of the
question, and the intensity of expectation related to getting
(generating) a satisfactory answer is extreme. Here we are at the
gateway of ‘paranoia’ and the various ‘schizophrenias’; a sequence
where, beginning (perhaps) with fearful, but not yet pathological,
questioning ("Why is that man looking at me that way?"), habits of
evaluation/formulation are built up which, we now strongly suspect,
affect, through neurolinguistic feedback mechanisms, the
electrochemistry of the aminergic-cholinergic systems of the brain,
(4) such that such questions mature into assertions and we ‘know’ that
"’everybody’s’ out to get me." Of course, we do well to remember the
quip, "Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean you’re not being
followed." Parts of ‘the world’ can indeed be dangerous – perhaps your
living room. Nevertheless, when such questioning becomes habitual when
it assertively matures to the level of orientation, we may be in deep
trouble, indeed.

In summary, we need to be conscious of the kinds of questions we’re
asking ourselves and others. And when we’ve gotten our ‘answers’, our
‘truths’, we do well to remain under Pula’s Uncertainty Umbrella. I’ll
dose with the Epigraph to Czeslaw Milosz’s The Captive Mind, which
Jerzy Kosinski characterized as "As timely today as when it was first
published." Kosinski’s observation surely applies to the Epigraph:
When someone is honestly 55% right, that’s very good and there’s no
use wrangling. And if someone is 60% right, it’s wonderful, it’s great
luck, and let him thank God. But what’s to be said about 75% right?
Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100% right?
Whoever says he is 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind
of rascal.

AN OLD JEW OF GALICIA (5)

NOTES AND REFERENCES

1. See Robert P. Pula, "A General Semantics Glossary (Part XIX):
neurological inevitably," ETC. A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 54,
No. 3, Fall 1997, pp.363-368.

2. Robert Anton Wilson, Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software
Programs You and Your World. Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Publications
(1990). Third Printing, 1996, p. 168. Wilson’s discussions, though
playful and sometimes casual, present dear non-technical descriptions
of such (as popularly perceived) ‘esoterica’ as "Schrodinger’s Cat,"
"The Copenhagen Interpretation," etc., etc. See Wilson, passim.

3. The Holy Bible in the King James Version, "The Book of Job," 3,11.

4. For a thorough discussion of these issues, see J. Allan Hobson, The
Chemistry of Conscious States: Toward a Unified Model of the Brain and
Mind. Boston/New York/Toronto/London: Little, Brown and Company, 1994,
passim.

5. Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind (1953). 2nd Edition. New York:
Vintage Books, 1981, unnumbered p. iii.

Robert Pula edited the General Semantics Bulletin from 1977-1985 and
served as Director of the Institute of General Semantics from
1983-1986. He is Director Emeritus of the Institute.

.
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Full Moon Offers Mind & Illusion

http://www.space.com/spacewatch/070629_full_moon.html
This weekend’s full moon hangs lower in the sky than any other full
moon of 2007, according to NASA, and it’s a good time to be fooled.

When low on the horizon, the Moon can appear to be larger than when
it’s higher in the sky. It’s all an illusion, scientists say, and it
does not involve any enlarging effects of the atmosphere. Rather, it’s
all in your mind.

Here’s how it works:

Our brains think things on the horizon are farther away than stuff
overhead, because we’re used to seeing overhead clouds that are close
compared to those on the horizon. In the mind’s eye, the sky is a
flattened dome.

With this dome as a reference, we expect something on the horizon
(such as the moon) to be farther, and because it is actually no
farther than when overhead, our brains goof and imagine that it is
larger.

Skeptical? You can test this from home.

When the moon first rises, hold something small like the eraser of a
pencil at arms length and compare its size to the moon on the horizon.
Do the same a couple hours later when the moon is higher. Or try this:
Take a picture of the moon in both positions, then cut, paste and
compare. Another trick: Make a tube from rolled-up paper so the
opening is just slightly larger than the moon when it rises. Tape the
tube so the size stays fixed, then check later to see if the moon has
changed sizes.

Officially, the moon will be full Saturday June 30 at 9:49 a.m. ET. Of
course, you’ll want to do your looking in the evening. Local moonrise
times are available from the U.S. Naval Observatory. Keep in mind that
mountains and buildings can dramatically alter your actual local
moonrise time.

The big-moon-rising effect will be evident Friday, Saturday and
Sunday. On each evening, the moon will appear nearly full.
Interestingly, the moon is never fully full from our point of view,
but that’s another story.

While you’re out, check out Venus and Saturn, which are snuggling
close together in the western sky as darkness falls.

So why is one full moon lower in the sky than another? The moon’s
orbit around Earth is tilted 5 degrees compared to the plane of
Earth’s travels around the Sun, and Earth itself is tilted on its
rotational axis. All this accounts for the lunar phases, and it also
means the moon’s path through our sky can be higher or lower depending
on the angles on any given night.

The complex orbit of the Earth-moon system is constantly evolving,
too. Right now, the moon is moving away from us by more than 1.5
inches every year.

Top 10 Moon Facts
Moon Phases, Moon Names, Lunar Lore
Lunar Image Gallery

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RU Sirius (& friends) interview Josh Wolf

Anarchy for the USA: A Conversation with Josh Wolf
Posted By RU Sirius On June 26, 2007 @ 12:22 pm

Josh Wolf spent more time in prison than any other American
journalist
in U.S. history for protecting his source materials — videotapes
taken
at an anti-globalization demonstration in San Francisco. He was
finally
released on April 3 of this year. Press reports about Wolf have
described him as an anarchist, and he has described himself as an
anarchist sympathizer.

Wolf has been all over the media talking about his free speech
struggle
with the U.S. Government. He was on "Democracy Now!"; received a
now-traditional media hazing on "The Colbert Report"; and even had a
brief but fairly sympathetic interview in Time.

While we conversed about his case, we also wanted to delve more
deeply
into the issues that motivated the case in the first place:
anti-globalist activism, anarchism, and his new projects to "Free The
Media" and give prisoners a voice in the blogosphere.

Scott J. Thompson, Director of Research at the Walter Benjamin
Research
Syndicate, and Jeff Diehl joined me in this conversation, originally
recorded for The RU Sirius Show.

RU SIRIUS: There’s been plenty of talk about your case, so we’re
going
to go into some other things, but I think we should talk a bit about
the
conclusion. I think people found it a bit confusing and anti-
climactic.

JOSH WOLF: It was a bit anti-climactic. And it was also reported
incorrectly all over the place in the press. The stories ranged from
things like: "The government decided they have no interest in Josh
Wolf
and therefore they are letting him go" (that would’ve been nice) —
to
"He finally caved under the pressure." Both of those are factually
inaccurate.

Basically, there were two things that the government wanted. One of
those things was that tape. I felt that I shouldn’t have had to turn
that over to the government, but at the same time there was
absolutely
nothing sensitive or confidential on it. So it was worth fighting
for,
but once I had lost my fight in the district court level in the 9th
circuit, there wasn’t really any reason not to publish the tape and
simultaneously turn it over to the government. I mean, yeah, those
shots
of my shoes are a bit embarrassing but they’re not worth going to
jail
over. So once we had exhausted our appeals, we offered to turn over
the
tape in exchange for my release. But the U.S. Attorney said he
wouldn’t
accept anything but full compliance with the demand of the subpoena.
That would have involved testifying before a grand jury and turning
over
my documentation for my video-editing software. . . there was a
pretty
exhaustive list of demands in the subpoena. But on February 14, the
judge suddenly ordered the case into mediation with a magistrate
judge.
During the course of two mediations, we came to an agreement — I
would
publish the tape and then turn it over to the federal government, and
they would not object to my release. And they decided to call this
full
compliance with the subpoena, although it wasn’t full compliance at
all.

So that’s where we stand right now. The government still has the
option
to re-subpoena me to try to make me testify about the content of the
tapes or what I saw there that night. But I don’t think they’re going
to
because they know that I’m not going to testify. I’ll go back to jail
and it will be an even bigger public fiasco for the U.S. Attorneys
office. And they’re not really short on public fiascos right now.

RU: You got a fair amount of support from the mainstream press on
this.
I assume that the government figured you were some punk blogger, and
they could yank you out of all social circumstances and throw you
deep
into the hole, and there would be very little discussion about it.
But
quite a few journalists expressed their concern in terms of the
protection of journalists. Did this surprise you at all?

JOSH: The reception from the journalistic community has been very
much
mixed — especially in the mainstream journalist community. Even from
the alterna-press, there were some mixed receptions. Some journalists
realize that if they’re coming after me — they’re next. And they
realize that this whole concept of objective journalism is kind of a
misnomer. You can never be objective. But some get very offended by
the
idea that I should be protected, because protecting me makes it
easier
for them to be attacked as being part of the same group. And I think
that’s one of the things at the crux of the public’s reception to
protests in general. I mean, in this particular protest, there was
one
violent incident where one police officer was injured probably by one
protester. And because of that, the 150 people that were there now
get
described as terrorists.

RU: The big mainstream media question is "Can bloggers be
journalists?"
In fact, you wrote [3] an essay with that name. And I think the
counter-argument would be that nearly everyone could become a
blogger,
and then everyone would be protected from giving evidence. So a group
could conspire to break laws and members who blog could be protected.
Karl Rove could become a journalist and make the same kind of claim!

JOSH: That argument’s flawed, because if you are involved in a
criminal
activity, you don’t have to testify because you’re protected by the
Fifth Amendment.

RU: Good point!

JOSH: But it’s true that in Grand Juries they like to get rid of the
Fifth Amendment. They say, "Here’s a waiver. You no longer have the
Fifth Amendment." But I’ve been reading the Constitution over and
over
again, and I can’t find any section on giving waivers to the Fifth
Amendment. And consider the First Amendment — freedom of speech. Why
doesn’t that include freedom of silence? Why does the freedom to
speak
not include the freedom not to speak? And so, yes — journalists
should
be protected in order to protect the act of journalism. But in a
larger
context, why do we have coercive custody to force people to testify?
I
mean, it’s really a form of very low-grade torture — we’re going to
hold you in custody until you break down and speak.

RU:: It’s definitely something we don’t accept from gangsters, but we
do
seem to accept it from the state. Tell us a little about your prison
experience. What kind of prison were you in and what kind of
interactions did you have with the prisoners?

JOSH: I was in a federal detention center, which is sort of like
a . . .

RU: (jokingly) It’s a country club!

JOSH: It wasn’t a country club but it was kind of like being in a
really, really low-rent camp. But you can never leave. I kept waiting
for the fishing trip, like when you’re at camp, you’re thinking about
the fishing trip. It never came.

SCOTT THOMPSON: That’s torture.

JOSH: It was kind of like being in a college dorm, except there were
fewer choices. There weren’t any girls. Unlike college, there was not
much in the way of drugs or alcohol. The guys were all pretty cool.
They
were mostly a combination of bank robbers, drug dealers, a few
white-collar criminals.

The most interesting segment of the prison population are the
"Piezas."
(A "Pieza" is a Mexican Roadrunner. The term has been adapted to
those
that are here from Mexico.) Most of these guys had no prior criminal
history. They were in jail for crossing the border — an imaginary
line.
We’ve decided that’s a felony. And they’ve been getting between three
and five years in jail. And while they’re incarcerated, they have to
work. And they’re often fined for their crime. They’re fined an
amount
that just happens to add up to the 12-cents-an-hour that they make
while
they’re incarcerated. So our government has time-share slaves.
Instead
of getting our slaves from Africa, we’re getting people that come to
America to build better opportunities for themselves. And they end up
spending three-to-five years building government furniture.

RU: This kind of slavery or serfdom becomes even more interesting
when
you have privately-owned prisons. I imagine that you were in a
state-controlled prison.

JOSH: It was a federally-owned prison. I think there’s somewhere
between
three and five privately-contracted prisons in the federal system. A
lot
of states, particularly in the south, have more private prisons than
public prisons. It’s very disturbing that we have contracted out our
prisons because there’s a certain public oversight that’s expected —
or
at least should be expected — when it comes to a government-run
operation. But when you give prisons to the Wall family to run, it
becomes a private business. And lots of things that are private in
private businesses remain private. When that involves controlling
human
movement, it becomes really dangerous

RU: I think having a profit interest in incarceration is about as
skeevy
as you can get. Although I certainly know some libertarians who would
disagree with me. Did you wind up finding any compatriots in prison?
Did
people discuss politics? And did people there know why you were
there?

JOSH: Most everyone was aware of it. Of course, the level of
understanding varied. In its simplest terms, I was there for refusing
to
cooperate with the government. I was going to jail for not being a
snitch. Having not committed a crime and then also "not snitching" —
that’s pretty respectable in the prison hierarchy. I think the only
person above that was probably Greg Anderson because he’s a friend of
Barry Bonds. Not snitching on Barry Bonds . . . that was like . . .
"Whoa! And he’s a trainer! And people in prison are into working out
so
that’s a sort of demigod-like position.

In terms of the politics, I found compatriots at different levels. I
spoke about political activism. I had a few books about anarchism
that
were sent to me that were passed around the prison. It’s kind of
interesting that those got in. They didn’t try to censor it.

RU:: They didn’t understand what they were, probably.

JOSH: They weren’t going to allow a press release to come out that
the
prison was censoring reading material.

RU: Tell us about the project you are developing involving prisoners.

JOSH: I’ve started http://prisonblogs.net . We want to pair up
individual prisoners with sponsors on the outside who agree to type
up
what they have to say and post it on their own blog. There are lots
of
military blogs, which the government’s currently trying to crack down
on. So now we’ll have prison blogs. The media oftentimes can’t get
access to what goes on behind those walls. And the people I’ve
encountered have amazing stories about prison culture and their
oppression at the hands of the guards — stories that don’t get out
to
the public.

RU: Are they ever allowed to blog at all? Also, wasn’t there a law
passed against interviewing prisoners — a sort of blockade against
prisoners communicating to the media?

JOSH: It can be different between the states and the feds. In federal
prisons, you can interview prisoners — I’ve seen prison interviews.
At
the facility I was in, they refused any filmed interviews, but they
permitted phone interviews. I don’t know exactly what the state rules
are, but I know Schwarzenegger just vetoed a bill that would’ve
opened
the gates a little further. But I’m dealing with what prisoners can
do,
in terms of self-publishing. I know they can’t get publish with a
byline
and they can’t get paid for it. Now I don’t know whether a blog
counts
as publishing with a byline, but. . .

RU: . . . Is there evidence that this will be allowed?

JOSH: There’s no evidence so far to indicate that they won’t allow
it.
Some prisoners have blogs right now. We’ve found about a
couple-of-hundred. But there are no avenues for prisoners who want to
blog but don’t necessarily come from tech-centric backgrounds or
families. They don’t have a chance to get their voice and artwork out
there. So this will sort of democratize the media for a class and a
group of people who are cut-off and denied all the opportunities
that,
say, middle-class Americans have — people who already have their
YouTube, MySpace, and Flickr accounts.

RU: There’s been a lot of talk about your case in the media, but
there
hasn’t been a lot of discussion in the media about the demonstration
that lead to the case. How would you characterize the issues that
were
at stake at the demonstration and your interest in that?

JOSH: The demonstration was against the G8 Summit that was going on
in
Gleneagle, Scotland at that time. I happen to align myself
philosophically against globalization. With The WTO, the G8 and these
other sort of private groups, large governments plan how to exploit
smaller governments and small helpless communities and individuals.
It’s
a winner-takes-all, king-of-the-hill sort of approach to planning our
future. So I’m opposed to that. And I did take to the streets with my
camera in order to document this demonstration that I knew wasn’t
going
to get a lot of attention. In terms of the activities that were used
in
this demonstration, I think most of them were not necessarily
tactically
sound. I think there’s a time and a place for people to drag
newspaper
stands into the streets in order to stop, say, a threatening stream
of
riot cops that are about to attack. I don’t think it makes a lot of
sense to drag a newspaper stand in the street when the cops have
already
called off the riot squad. So there were numerous things going on
there
that I felt were not tactically sound. I wouldn’t have engaged in
them
myself. But I do support a diversity of tactics. And I feel there
should
be balanced between the privacy of those involved and the need to
expose
the news of what they’re doing to the world.

RU: Some of these tactics have been associated with a concept or a
group
that’s called "black bloc." Basically, the idea seems to be what we
used
to call "trashing" back in the early 70s — when I did it. (Laughs)
The
idea is violence against property. Is it ever effective? Was it
effective in Seattle? And isn’t it stupid to keep doing the same
thing
over and over again?

JOSH: Any discussion about the effectiveness of tactics that involve
breaking the law becomes very sensitive. Just describing what is
effective is opening the door to conspiracy to commit terrorism. So
it’s
a very shaky topic to get into.

I think it’s not effective to try to cause economic damage to large
corporations, because the amount of isolated damage that is done at
these sorts of protest is really a rounding error. It’s like, "Oh, we
had to spend $500 to fix this window and cover up this spray paint."

RU: It’s sort of embarrassing, really.

JEFF DIEHL: It’s the public exposure. It suddenly gets the media eye
looking at this movement or . . .

RU: It worked once in Seattle, maybe.

JOSH: I think if a Starbucks is coming into your town, and it’s the
first Starbucks, and some people who don’t like it decide, "We’re
going
to do something to prevent this Starbucks from being built" — then I
think that could be tactically sound. I’m not saying that people
should
do it, but it does make some tactical sense.

But to simply go and hit all these windows — you know, smash up a
few
Starbucks — it can create some attention. In the post 9/11 world,
that
attention is too easily connected to groups like al-Qaeda. So I don’t
think it’s going to further the cause of trying to achieve a
non-hierarchical, mutually fair, non-capitalistic society.

RU: That’s the question. Do these tactics have any place at all in
successfully changing things, or are they really just getting their
rocks off?

SCOTT: Around 1987 — ’88, on Haight Street, there was an attempt to
build a Walgreens. That nascent structure was dynamited by
malcontents.
And it turned into . . .

RU: We’re not getting a confession here, are we? (laughter)

SCOTT: No, I was living in Chicago at the time. Anyway, they realized
that the community really doesn’t want a Walgreens.

JEFF: There was a philosophical argument after the Battle of Seattle.
That action basically got the mainstream — and the public’s
attention
around this whole anti-globalization issue. Hardly anybody had even
heard about it. Some would argue that there wasn’t much of an
anti-globalist movement before Seattle

JOSH: Not in America, no.

JEFF: And some would argue that the spectacle of the damage created
the
success there, so the damage was necessary.

RU: But it was also mixed with the fact that a lot of demonstrators
showed up. That — in itself — was unusual. But a peaceful
demonstration definitely could’ve been ignored, like many other large
protests.

JEFF: Right.

JOSH: Look at what [4] the Weather Underground was able to accomplish
during the Vietnam war. They had a tactical place and were somewhat
effective. But the enemy has been changed from communism to
terrorism.
So acts that the government can easily label as terrorism can very
quickly become counter-productive. I think that’s part of the reason
that we have this vague war on terrorism — anyone that does anything
disruptive can be treated as a terrorist.

SCOTT: Right now, the government is attempting to label any
oppositional
show of force of any kind as terrorism.

We’re surrounded by cops of all stripes. We’re surrounded by security
guards of all kinds. We’re surrounded by all sorts of military
people,
and they are the only ones that are allowed to use brute force
against
an unarmed populace that dare not even organize on a premise without
a
permit. It’s just completely a violation of the whole idea of the
right
of freedom of assembly in the United States

JEFF: Josh, obviously it’s not to your benefit to be thrown in jail
again. But if we can’t even talk about tactics, then the authors of
the
Patriot Act have won, right? This whole area has been bracketed off
for
people who are involved in opposition. And historically, this has
been
the only type of activity that has ever caused any significant social
change — confrontation, destruction of property, or violence.

JOSH: Our founding fathers were engaged in terrorism or direct
confrontation during the Boston Tea Party. That would be labeled
terrorism now. If the Boston Tea Party happened last week, what do
you
think George Bush would say about it?

RU: They’d be in Guantanamo.

It’s interesting that you brought up the Weather Underground, because
there are two things to think about with their tactics. Number one:
historians show that the reason Nixon didn’t nuke Hanoi during the
Vietnam war was because he was frightened of what the anti-war
movement
would do to America. He wasn’t thinking of the Quakers. He was
probably
thinking of the Weather Underground; the freaks who burned down the
Bank
of America and stuff like that.

But on the other hand, fear is a very effective tactic for organizing
reaction. We see it now, particularly, under the guise of terrorism.
Basically, the current unofficial Republican slogan is "Be afraid. Be
very afraid."

The Weathermen sort of had this theory that youth was a class that
could
be excited and organized for revolution. It was possible to believe
that
in the early 1970s. I don’t know if there’s even a receptive audience
for this kind of thing any more.

SCOTT: I think there’s actually a very receptive audience. I think
that
many people might be experiencing a real disappointment and
disaffiliation from the "mainstream left" — these people that
organize
some of the mass demonstrations that are always held in the same
place.
And we all get together and we all get photographed by the same
helicopters flying overhead. They’ve seen us all before. Nobody ever
thinks, at the last minute, let’s change tactics. Let’s hold it n
front
of "The Chronicle" building, and scare the hell out of those people.

JEFF: Well, you wouldn’t have a permit for that.

SCOTT: Of course. You must have a permit. The populace dare not
spontaneously get together and show its discontent with the powers
that be.

JOSH: Protests have been reduced to nothing more than processions.
They
have a cathartic effect. Everyone feels like they’re doing something.
And in a sense you’re doing more than just voting. But civil
engagement
begins at voting, it doesn’t end there. And protests are just one
step
further. But in order to really make a change, people have to
actually
really get their hands dirty and do something. That could involve
writing a law, and then working your butt off to actually get it
passed,
if that’s the course of action that you choose. Or you could make a
blockade around a business that you think needs to be shut down; you
could start a picket line and yell at people when they cross it and
make
it so that business can’t continue its enterprise. Or maybe you think
it’s most effective to burn down the bank like they did at U.C. Santa
Barbara in the late ’60s. All of these tactics have limitations and
they
all have values. It really just depends on what you think is going to
work and why you think it’s going to work.

RU: I question whether any of these things — demonstrations, riots

are really effective anymore. And you’ve been involved recently in
trying to work with the system. You’ve been helping to create a law
to
protect journalists. Do you see any contradiction between being an
anarchist sympathizer and trying to get the federal government to
create
a law to protect journalists?

JOSH: I’m sure many other people do. My political philosophy is that
the
best society would be one where the precepts that we followed were
formed through consensus. But we don’t live in that society. We live
in
a system of laws made by people who claim to represent us, but so
often
don’t. For instance, on the night Nancy Pelosi was elected, her own
constituents passed a law saying that they want the President
impeached.
And Pelosi immediately made a statement that impeachment was off the
table. So clearly, these people don’t represent us. But at the same
time, they still make the laws that we live under. If I can help pass
a
law that would’ve prevented me from going to jail for seven months —
a
law that defines journalist as anyone who’s gathering and
disseminating
information (with a very limited exceptions that involve imminent
harm
to human life) — then why shouldn’t I work for that? Sure, it’s a
band-aid. It doesn’t deal with the fact that we have a repressive
grand
jury system that needs to be abolished. It doesn’t deal with the fact
that the right to a fair trial just doesn’t exist.

RU: I agree with you because I’m a reformist. The way I view human
nature — I don’t think that the anarchist ideal is very likely to
work
in the foreseeable future. But still, any attempt at change is a
discussion of tactics. I mean, Nancy Pelosi’s argument is about
tactics
too, really. She’s saying, "Well, I’m actually in the Congress and in
order to pass laws, I have to use these tactics. I have to take
impeachment off the table because it’s not going to be accepted in
mainstream discourse and if I go for it, I’m not going to be able to
change anything."

JOSH: But whether impeachment is accepted or not, she’s elected as a
representative. And this is one of the clearest cases where the city
she
represents voted for a resolution to impeach George Bush on the very
day
she became Speaker of the House? Is she a representative of the
Democratic Party? Is she a representative of San Francisco? It
doesn’t
look like it. How indirect is this representation, and how indirect
should it be?

RU: She’s either sold out or she considers herself wiser, tactically,
than the people she’s representing. And you can have either
interpretation.

SCOTT: I think this highlights the bankruptcy of representational
government in this particular time. I think you can count on one hand
the number of representatives who actually pay attention to their
constituency. These people in Congress are only taking orders from
very
wealthy donors or powerful corporate people. They don’t really listen
to
the people that don’t make a certain amount of money, or don’t have
any
money. They don’t listen to the people they should be listening to.
It
seems to me that that there’s no sense of civic responsibility in
this
country. We’re not taught civics. People have a tendency to think,
"Well
I just don’t really want to think about that. I don’t want to worry
about that. I elect X, and he or she will take care of everything for
me." And he or she is actually totally in the hip pocket of the
powerful
interests.

JEFF: Josh, you had this thing happen where you got a lot of
attention.
And this was maybe a big chance to publicize a lot of the views of
the
circles that you were in before the protests — people with certain
shared goals related to anarchism and so forth — stuff that doesn’t
get
much publicity in the mainstream media. I could see some of them being
a
little bit disappointed that you’re focused on passing a law.

JOSH: The way I see it — there are a lot of things you can and
should
do. And to embrace as many of them as possible really can’t hurt. I
mean, maybe you can say, "Hey, we shouldn’t pass a law because these
band-aids — these reforms — because they are going to make the
system
more livable, more tolerable. And we should actually do things to
increase suffering in order to foment a revolution." A lot of people
take that view. But I don’t see it that way. I think anything that
reduces suffering shouldn’t be ignored.

RU: Some people might not object from that old "heightening the
contradictions" argument. They may just make the argument based on
decentralization. Don’t ask for the protection of the federal
government. (Of course, as we know from the [5] medical marijuana
situation, the federal government trumps everyone else.)

JOSH: I think it would be a great thing if San Francisco absolved
itself
from the federal government. It didn’t work in the Civil War, but
that
was fourteen states trying to go. If San Francisco said, "Yo. We’re
sick
of the Patriot Act. We’re sick of you raiding medical marijuana
clinics.
We’re sick of the fact that two people that love each other don’t
have
the right to get married. We’re doing our own thing now, what would
the
federal government’s response be?

RU: Armed invasion?

SCOTT: The federal government will soon be dealing with that and not
just from California. Many states are going to move away from a
federal
system. Or that’s always a fear . . .

RU: I think that’s going to be a while. (ironically) The
Balkanization
of America could take a few days. It might happen someday.

SCOTT: But you know, in 1986 – 87, if you had suggested the Soviet
Union
would not exist in three years, people would’ve said you’re out of
your
gourd. That’s not possible. Now look at it.

RU: I just saw Chalmers Johnson on PBS yesterday. He has a book out
that
is basically about the fall of America. It’s apparently coming up
next
Tuesday, right after you listen to the R.U. Sirius Show.

SCOTT: The fall of America’s coming up next Tuesday?

JOSH: Let me put it on my calendar.

RU: Tell us a little bit about your [6] Free The Media project.

JOSH: I’m trying to build something called the "Free the Media"
coalition. It will be at http://MediaFreedoms.net . (There’s an alpha
site up right now.) Basically, I’m trying to create an environment
for
discussing issues of media literacy. I’m planning a sort-of Open
Source
forum as well as meat-space satellites at various college campuses.
We’ll get into the role of the news media. We’ll talk about how
independent or alternative media — along with established media —
really fill in the marketplace of ideas. So we’re trying to build a
dialogue with independent journalists, establishment journalists, and
then everyday viewers to try to shape the future of the media. And
we’ll
look at what sort of protections and new formats and new ideas should
exist. And it will also involve raising public awareness of issues
and
gathering funds for worthwhile stuff. The next time, a journalist in
a
legal situation like the one I found myself in might not have the
backing of The Chronicle or the New York Times.

RU: There seems to be a sort of techno-anarchist paradigm, if you
will,
that has emerged over recent years. You might call it the
decentralization of the means of production of reality. You have
democratization through open source and Wikipedia and blogging and
all
those kinds of things. Do you see the use of this technology as a
tactically effective way of bringing about a post-hierarchical
society
or is it peripheral?

JOSH: Well, that breaks into all sorts of schisms very quickly. I
mean,
we have blogs that allow people to post their own radio shows and put
up
their own videos. And that really does democratize the information.
But
then, simultaneously, we have these large corporate constructs coming
in
and controlling and censoring much of that dialogue. When Digg
decided
that they weren’t going to permit the copyright code for the HD-
DVD . . .

RU: Well, their was a popular revolt and they backed down.

JOSH: They did back down. But how often do things get censored
without
any revolt happening at all? Flickr was deleting someone’s comments,
at
some point, because they said they were combative in nature.

RU: Well, wait a second! You just deleted somebody’s comments.

JOSH: I actually never deleted any comments . . .

RU: Oh. But you kicked somebody off your site, didn’t you?

JOSH: Someone made a particularly vile comment, and I said I’m
reserving
the right to delete comments that look like this.

JEFF: Did you set a principle about what type of comments you would
allow in the future?

JOSH: I basically set a principle that I was reserving the right to
remove comments, rather than saying what I would allow. I haven’t
actually removed anything. But when one commenter attacked another
commenter with a sexually vile comment about sand in her vagina with
no
provocation — I start to wonder. I mean . . .

RU: Well, was it consensual sand, or . . . (laughter) forced sand.
[Awkward silence] Errr . . . let’s move on.

JEFF: What more is there to say, really, than "sand in the vagina?"

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Incan bones found in Norway

Incan bones found in Ostfold
Archeologists in Sarpsborg have found one thousand year old skeletal remains
that appear to be Incan.
The skeletal remains were found during conservations work at St. Nicolas
church in Sarpsborg, a city 73 kilometers (45 miles) southeast of Oslo, NRK
(Norwegian Broadcasting) reports.

When archeologists were to move some rose bushes they made the surprising
discovery of the remains of two older men and a baby.

"When we were about to take hold under the rose bush the skeletal remains
slid out. It was quite surprising," Mona Beate Buckholm, archeologist at the
Borgarsyssel Museum, told NRK.

One of the skulls had characteristics that indicate he was an Inca, the
South American people centered in Peru.

"There is a bone in the neck that hasn’t grown and this is an inherited
characteristic only found among Inca Indians in Peru. This is sensational,"
Buckholm said.

The archeologists now plan to try and find out what the man was doing in
Ostfold, and how he came there.

http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1856505.ece

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rosa canina – psychoactive properties of?

Hi all, I was reading the book ‘the sorrow of war’ recently (by bao
ninh), and quite early on it mentions how the soldiers of north
vietnam began to smoke rosa canina (the dog rose) to alter their
dream
life and relax themselves, during the Vietnam war. The widespread use
was such that (according to ninh) its use became prohibited. now it
just so happens that I have a rosa canina growing wild in my front
yard here in ireland. Apparently the leaves and roots were smoked,
has
anyone out there tried smoking this stuff? There has been plenty of
info on the hips that it produces, but i’m not aware of any
psychoactive properties. I’ve tried my own research (short of smoking
the stuff) on the web, but to no avail. Any thoughts folks, many
thanks in advance.

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Imagining Prometheus?

Giovanni Sollima
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Sollima

Imagining Prometheus (2003)
installation work with Robert Wilson
Commission and premiere: Salone internazionale del Mobile, Milano,
Loggia dei Mercanti (Apr. 2003)

    * 1. Meteor
    * 2. Nebulas
    * 3. Space
    * 4. Epic
http://www.giovannisollima.it/sounds.asp
Taste this…
Giovanni Sollima – Sogno ad Occhi Aperti (Daydream) PART 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldPf3yqq3-8
Be sure to see/hear Part 2 too…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3NkQ00_ZbI

-thor

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file under: magickal language in everyday use, taboo, absurdity

[The absurdity in the way the information is related about what was
printed on a famous baseball player’s wife’s shirt seems to me like a
good example of everyday tribal taboo and/or ridiculous hypocrisy.
Btw: Fuck You, Yankees! – rmjon23]

Foul call: obscene language on tank top of A-Rod’s wife

July 2, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — While the Yankees were tanking on the field, general
manager Brian Cashman had an additional headache — the tank top worn
by Alex Rodriguez’s wife.

Cashman talked to both Alex and Cynthia Rodriguez about the shirt with
foul language on the back she wore during New York’s 11-5 loss to
Oakland on Sunday.

"I did speak to Cynthia, and she’s part of the family and obviously we
just keep that in house," Cashman said Monday. "I wouldn’t really
comment any further than that."

Asked if he talked to A-Rod about the issue as well, Cashman said yes.
He also acknowledged that the team has a policy prohibiting profane
language on clothing and banners in Yankee Stadium.

"Other than that it stays in house and within this family, and nobody
else is invited in," the GM said.

Rodriguez wouldn’t comment Monday before New York played the Minnesota
Twins. Yankees manager Joe Torre also declined to comment.

The slugger’s wife wore a white tank top to the game against the
Athletics. A common, two-word obscenity ending with "you" was clearly
visible when she and her 2-year-old daughter, along with an
unidentified older woman, took their seats in the players’ family
section at Yankee Stadium.

A front-page photograph Monday in the New York Post showed the back of
the tank top with the obscenity printed in Old English lettering
between the shoulder blades. The first letter of the first word is
visible; the three other letters are intentionally blurred. The second
word is ‘You.’ The paper’s headline read: "F-Rod."

In late May, A-Rod’s marriage was front-page news when the Post
published a photograph of him and a woman — later reported to be a
Las Vegas stripper — at a Toronto hotel. The Post said the pair
entered an elevator in the hotel and later went to a strip club.

The Yankees have struggled all season, but Rodriguez is having an
outstanding year at the plate. He was elected to start at third base
for the American League in the All-Star game July 10 at San
Francisco.

A-Rod also was chosen AL player of the month for April and June. He
entered Monday night’s game batting .327 with a major league-best 28
home runs and 79 RBIs.

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This might be of help to some

I found this program to be amazing in helping me get my life going in
a wonderful direction.  This simple yet powerful, 10 session program
got me to begin creating the life I always desired.  Best of all, it
is FREE.  I highly recommend it to everyone.

Check it out on www.yourrichlifeinc.com.

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God's Banker Calvi, "The Last Supper"

There is a new book about the Roberto Calvi murder.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=aj0JAehTrsYg&refe…
Willan draws no conclusion about who, precisely, ordered the death. He
instead gives voice to dozens of people who crossed paths with the
banker in the last days of his life. Though Mafia thugs may well have
strangled Calvi and strung his body from the bridge, the decision to
kill him probably came from elsewhere, starting with the freemasons,
who were in touch with the Italian government, the Vatican, and U.S.
and U.K. spies, Willan says.

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parody of LSD given to spiders experiments

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHzdsFiBbFc

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