Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Moon Over Zacatecas

The moon came up over La Buffa, just shorty after sunset.

It was the day after Christmas.

It illuminated this city resting in the mountains of the Mexican altiplano

at an altitude of 8200 feet.

Perhaps one of the best secrets in Mexico is Zacatecas.

Zacatecas, Zacatecas.

It has perhaps the best collection of well preserved,

most beautifully lit cathedrals anywhere.

I mean anywhere.

And they are old.

Like 1575 old

Zacatecas has the cleanest air, and the cleanest streets of any large city.


It is run by the socialist.

The museums are excellent.

The food is unique and of the highest quality.

There is a roadway around the old city that divides it from the countryside.

It is called the "anilla de preferencia".

The ring of preference

On one side is a dense pedestrian city.

On the other side is untouched mountain side.

It is some of the best urban planning I have ever seen.


It is run by the socialist.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Sun

This is the first day of winter and the day that the sun begins its return.

Last night was the longest night.

I talked with a friend from Caracas about an hour ago and today is the longest day where she is.

It's rather remarkable how we view the earth from our northern perspective as if the other doesn't even exist.

Where is South America anyway?

Humankind is only a few decades away from nanoconducting power paints made from bucky balls and other forms of carbon that will allow us to completely forget about oil, natural gas, and nuclear fission energy. We are literally on the brink of changing the way we power everything.

Soon, anytime a photon of light hits a man made surface, that surface will turn that photonic energy into electron energy that can be channeled and employed to power our tools and our shelter.

I talked with a friend who said that humankind doesn't have a chance because of Peak Oil. He says that the party is over and that we don't have the time or the money to create a solar-hydrogen economy. Just for icing, you can go on and add Climate Change into the mix.

It is rather remarkable how we view the earth from our northern perspective as if the other doesn't even exist.

Where is the Sun anyway?

I'm going to head that direction.

And be back in a few days.

Be good to Baby Jesus if you see him.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I went to a Holiday Christmas party last night that was hosted by some Democratic Party faithful. We knew we were at the right place when we saw a giant No "W" in red christmas lights on the roof. This was somewhat of a statement given the suburban neighborhood and the state we are in.

The party was full of campaign workers, public officials, ex public officials, judges, neighborhood organizors, who, to say the least, were beginning to come out of the catatonia from the preceeding months electoral humiliation.

A sitting district judge asked me what I was working on right now. I told him I had started a Blog... that the blog was my way of dealing with a Kerry defeat, should the event prove to be true.

He asked me what a Blog was and I gave him some kind of answer that was reasonably short and descriptive. A little bit later, after I had moved on, the lady who was next to him came up to me and said,

"I have a web site and I have never heard the word BLOG."

I told her that I thought it was probably one of the most important developments in the cyber world in the last 2 years or so. It turns out that she has a very active site called Equestrian Singles. It's a cyber community for horse lovers and lovers in general.

She understood and used the word cybercommunity with me. I checked the site out.

It definitely is.

Cybercommunity is busting out all over.

My favorites are the lefty types.

There is Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly.

And there is the always professional Talking Points Memo.

There is the Daily Kos site which is now almost

a democratic party all by itself.

And there is Eschaton. And MyDD.

These are substantial communities.

It was Daily Kos that leaked the exit polls on election day

That made us feel good for a while

Until we started feeling really bad.

And there is Professor Cole on the War.

I may have about 40 Blogs that I read pretty regularly.

But only the Rude Pundit can make me laugh out loud in my office.

Most of these blogs have linked blogrolls.

I am pretty careful with the links in this Blog.

And this time is no different.

These are excellent examples of cybercommunity.

But most still believe that War brings Peace.

They don't talk about the Singularity.

They still think that we have a Democracy.

They don't get outside of the bell curve.

But they really do ring it loudly while they are in there.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The PC Birth

Although some may argue, today is the birthday of the Personal Computer.

It was the "Altair 8800".

It was offered as a kit officially on this date 30 years ago by Popular Electronics. The name, "Altair" came from a destination on a Star Trek episode. Ed Roberts, the guy who put it together, was a former Air Force Weapons Lab geek. He and Forest Mims III, had decided to use their knowledge to make a small computer for rocket enthusiasts.

The timing seemed to be just right. The electronics hobbyists were moving on to computers as more and more electronics turned digital, and yet they were frustrated by the low power and flexibility of the few kits that were already on the market. The Altair had enough power to be actually useful, and was designed around an expandable system that opened it up to all sorts of experiments.

Roberts needed to sell 200 over the next year to break even, but instead received thousands of orders in the first month including 200 in one day.

Within only six months, competition arrived with a keyboard, monitor, and a floppy disc controller. Apparently, Roberts spent an increasing amount of his time trying to "knock off" these competitors instead of improving the Altair. By 1976, there were a number of better built machines on the market, and his company was squeezed out of the market that he had created.

Early on, Roberts received a letter from a Seattle company asking if he would be interested in selling their BASIC programming language for the machine. He called the company and reached a private home, where no one had heard of anything like BASIC.

In fact, the letter had been sent by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and they had no BASIC to offer. When they called Roberts to follow up on the letter, he expressed his interest and the two started work. They figured they had 30 days before someone else beat them to the punch, and once they had a version working on the simulator, Allen flew to Albuquerque to deliver the program, Altair BASIC on a paper tape. Miraculously, it worked the first time, and Gates soon joined him and formed Microsoft, then spelled "Micro-Soft".

So you see, it really is the birthday of the Personal Computer.

Many of us remember that classic MAC commercial in 1984. It was a little "over the top" for most of the Super Bowl Fans though.

In the third quarter, this strange and disorienting advertisement appeared on the screens of the millions of viewers tuned in to this cultural yearly ritual. The ad opens on a gray network of futuristic tubes connecting blank, ominous buildings. Inside the tubes, we see cowed subjects marching towards a cavernous auditorium, where they bow before a Big Brother figure pontificating from a giant TV screen.

But one lone woman remains unbroken. Chased by storm troopers, she runs up to the screen, hurls a hammer with a heroic grunt, and shatters the TV image. As the screen explodes, bathing the stunned audience in the light of freedom, a voice-over announces,

On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce the Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like "1984.


The commercial, directed by Ridley Scott fresh off his science fiction classic "Blade Runner", has never again run since that Super Bowl spot. (this will change)

But few commercials have ever been more influential.

Advertising Age named it the Commercial of the Decade.

It was a critical moment in the development of the American public's conception of personal computers. No longer were PCs just tools- utilitarian objects designed to facilitate specific tasks. With this commercial and the introduction of the Mac, they became full-fledged commodities - shiny (or dark) consumer products defined not just by their use value, but by the hopes and ideals attached to them.

With the 1984 ad, Apple identified the Macintosh with an ideology of "empowerment" - a vision of the PC as a tool for combating conformity and asserting individuality. Although Apple has not triumphed, (yet) Apple's vision of the power and potential of the personal computer has.

Happy Birthday PC

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Singularity

The concept of a technological singularity as it is known today is largely credited to Dr. Vernor Vinge, a mathematician, computer scientist, and science fiction author who is best known for his Hugo award-winning novel, A Fire Upon the Deep, and for his 1993 essay "The Technological Singularity", in which he argues that exponential growth in technology will reach a point beyond which we cannot even speculate about the consequences.

Vinge's essay contains the following frequently-quoted statement:

"Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly thereafter, the human era will be ended."

The Singularity is seen not only as the end of human civilization, but as the birth of a new one. In his essay, Vinge asks why the human era should end, and argues that humans will likely be transformed in the process of the Singularity to a higher form of intelligent existence. After the creation of a superhuman intelligence, according to Vinge, people will necessarily be a lower lifeform in comparison to it.

If technology can transform the human lifeform, it will surely change the nature of our social contracts.

If the Singularity is real then the following scenario is totally plausible:

In the near future, individuals and corporations will become super beings as the rest of us slowly but surely become "lessers". Thus, the need for cybercoops which can compete on this new playing field is not just a good idea, it will be a necessity.

We will need the very best communicators and the best, most democratic unifying agency we can find just to keep from becoming slaves. The geographic state will not be able to help us. We will need a cyber state.

Imagine going through you day knowing that you have the best cell phone, PDA, and On Star Personal Service imaginable. It is your personal security guard, your personal secretary, your family transportation agent, and your financial manager. You talk and see anywhere and anyone in the world effortlessly. You walk through geographic borders with ease and with confidence.

You are capable of competing with the big guys.

Because you have joined with others to form a new human organism.

You have joined with People of Conscience and People of Vision.

We are not afraid.

On this date, in 1865, the 13 th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was adopted, and slavery was abolished.

Let's not go back.

Friday, December 17, 2004

EFA Entry 12.17.2009

We completed the 14th round today.

It was beautiful.

Over 100,000 new members an hour for 14 hours. All servers were busy.

The new media center is operating well and with only occassional hickups.

The EFA.9 communicator seems to be a gargantuan hit and one of the reasons today's offering filled out so quickly. I got mine just yesterday.

So far, I have had no trouble getting good signal and speed from both the R 14 and the Q 5 Bunkers. I am delighted. I am impressed with new lab design team. The e 9 series is at least 20 months ahead of the other indy labs, and light years ahead of the Bell boys.

Our members now have a full spectrum microtelecommunicator that gives them complete interface with home base.

The new EFASatCom has also stabilyzed nicely. (slight roll shortly after launch) We are now 100% free of outside contractors and vendors. Network is moving 6 terabites /sec.

I'm worried about the US HOME SEC. They are now jamming family in DC and Apple land.
Overides are working but we stay ahead now in hours not days.

Law suits over defacto currency creation not a problem. They win, we win. They lose, we win.
Best campaign we ever didn't pay for.

EFA SEC tells me that we have reached critical in Tokyo and Paris. I love Paris. Always did.

EFA FI gave me this tonight:

Total Habs owned 10,345,679
EFA GNP 220 billion euros

Negotiating team finalizing deal with Walton gang tomorrow.

The nice thing about a true capitalist, he will sell you the rope you need to hang him.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Civil Disobedience

There is a tradition in this country of civil disobedience.

And it started in Boston on this date. In 1773, Colonial patriots willfully disregarded the laws of personal property as a protestation to the monopoly granted to the East India Company.

The event became known forever more as the Boston Tea Party.

Earlier in the year in 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act, which gave the English East India Company a chance to avert bankruptcy by granting a monopoly on the importation of tea into the colonies. The new regulations allowed the company to sell tea to the colonists at a low price, lower than the price of smuggled tea, even including the required duty. The British reasoned that the Americans would willingly pay the tax if they were able to pay a low price for the tea.

They were wrong.

In the evening of the 16th, the ship owner reported his inability to depart from Boston to the throng at Old South. With that news, Samuel Adams gave a signal to the group and loud Indian war whoops broke out. A group of some 50 men, unconvincingly disguised as Mohawk Indians, moved the short distance to Griffin’s Wharf where the Dartmouth, the Beaver and the Eleanor were moored. The vessels were boarded, the cargo was taken from the holds, and it was placed on the decks. There 342 chests were split open and thrown into the harbor. A cheering crowd on the dock shouted its approval for the brewing of this “saltwater tea.”

The “Tea Party” was quickly restaged in other port cities in America and tended to polarize the sides in the widening dispute. Patriots and Loyalists became more ardent about their views.

Parliament and the King chafed at the destruction of private property and the deliberate flouting of royal authority. They would soon turn to sterner actions.

But the Revolution against the Monarchies had begun.

Many years later, On December I, 1955 in Montgomery Alabama, Mrs. Rosa Parks felt her feet were too tired for her to stand up for a white man who had boarded after her. The bus driver ordered her to stand up and give her seat to the white man, but she refused.

She was arrested and taken to the courthouse. A young Reverend called Martin Luther King offered the Dexter Avenue Church as a meeting place for that night. Over forty black leaders showed up, and they agreed to boycott the buses on the following Monday and hold a mass meeting Monday night. Recalling Thoreau's words about not cooperating with an evil system, the young reverand thought of the movement as massive "non cooperation".

The word spread, and on Monday morning the Montgomery buses were practically empty except for a few white passengers. Mrs. Parks was convicted that morning of disobeying the city's segregation ordinance and fined ten dollars and court costs. That evening, Dr. King spoke to five thousand people standing outside of the Holt Street Baptist Church.

He concluded his speech, "If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, future historians will say, 'There lived a great people - a black people - who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.' This is our challenge and our overwhelming responsibility."

The Civil Rights Movement was born.

In Seattle, on December 4, 1999 The World Trade Organization was virtually shut down by an assortment of labor leaders, environmentalist, and justice groups. Talks between ministers at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting ended in failure after countries were unable to agree to an agenda for a new trade round.

And a new, yet undefined movement has been created.

Although Henry David Thoreau never organized a protest, he did "not pay" his taxes because he did not believe in slavery. He did spend one night in jail though, until his Aunt paid up for him. He actively lectured and wrote against slavery, particularly when the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850 compelling northern law enforcement officials to capture and return runaway slaves.

By his personal example, Thoreau put into practice the Transcendentalist principles of self-reliance, personal integrity, and spontaneous intuition. About the "uplifting spiritual energy within" he wrote, "I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor."

For Thoreau. philosophy was not clever logic or formulating a doctrine, "but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." He exhorted, "Explore thyself. We must learn to obey the laws of our own being which will never be in opposition to a just government".

Thoreau's great innovation is in the ways he suggested for opposing an unjust government in order to be true to the higher laws of one's own being.

"If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible."

Henry David Thoreau

Its hard to to consider not paying your taxes,

Or having a party with the King's Tea,

Or not giving some white guy your seat just because

He is White and you aren't.

Even as your nation state is

bombing innocent women and children

In a country that we thought was a threat.

Unless they are yours,

It is hard to get excited about mangled limbs,

And blinded eyes,

And 500 pound smart bombs

Dropped in neighborhoods,

When they are on the other side of the World

And the Media chooses to protect our senses

from the truly sanguine scene.

Especially when the rent is due,

And our plate is full.

Like the President says,

"It's hard work"

And in fairness.

It is hard.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Work

These are very hard times for People of Conscience

And for People of Vision.

We see our World and our nation state

on the brink of a great trouble.

Our political house is in disarray.

Millions upon millions now vote against their best interests.

Millions upon millions believe in the sanctity of the unborn

While they sanction the rightous military death of the living.

People of Conscience and People of Vision

See a World headed for Middle Eastern Oil

In the name of our most beloved of principles.

We hear Freedom and Justice used as slogans for War

Instead of the principles that will bring us real Peace.

We see the moral high ground of the American Soul

Washing away in the wastewaters of the Corporate Corpus.

People of Conscience know.

We know that Tax relief for the wealthy

is a tax on the young and on the unborn.

We know that clean air and healthy forests

do not come from polluters and loggers.

We know that the poor and the disadvantaged

will become more poor and more disadvantaged.

We know that lies are not truth.

that black is not white,

And that Truth will out.

And we know that there is Work to do.

A lot of work to do.

We must work in our communities and with our neighbors.

We must work with our friends and with those who are not.

For the only true way to defeat an enemy

Is to make him your ally.

We must work together and create new forms of social contract

that unleash our potential, our hope, and our dreams.

And we must work on ourselves,

For we must become the change we want the world to become.

Most of us are held by the idea that by discovering some single cause for man's suffering, conflict, and confusion, we shall be able to solve the many problems of life. It has become the fashion to say, "Cure the economic evils, then man's happiness and fulfillment are assured," or, "Accept some religious or philosophical idea, then peace and happiness can be made universal."

In search of single causes we not only encourage specialists but also develop experts who are ever ready to create and expound logical systems in which the thoughtless man is entrapped. You see exclusive systems or ideas for the salvation of man taking form everywhere throughout the world. We are so easily entrapped in them, thinking that this seemingly logical simplicity of single causes will help us to remove misery and confusion.

A man who gives himself over to these specialists and to the single cause finds only greater confusion and misery. He becomes a tool in the hands of experts or a willing slave of those who can readily expound the logical simplicity of a single cause.

If you deeply examine man's suffering and confusion, you will see without any doubt whatsoever that there are many causes, some complex, some simple, which we must understand thoroughly before we can free ourselves from conflict and suffering. If we desire to understand the many causes and their disturbances, we must treat life as a whole, not split it up into the mental and emotional, the economic and religious, or into heredity and environment.

For this reason we cannot hand ourselves over to specialists, who naturally are trained to be exclusive and to be concentrated in their narrow divisions. It is essential not to do this; nevertheless, unconsciously we give ourselves over to another to be guided, to be told what to do, thinking that the religious or economic expert, because of his special knowledge and achievements, can direct our individual lives. Most specialists are so trained that they cannot take a comprehensive view of life; and because we adjust our lives, our actions, to the dictates of experts, we merely create greater confusion and sorrow.

So, realizing that we cannot be slaves to experts, to teachers, to philosophers, to those people who say they have found God and who seemingly make life very simple, we should beware of them. We should seek simplicity, but in that very search we should be aware of the many illusions and delusions. J. Krishnamurti

When the Father dies,

The Son becomes a Man

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Lines in the Sand Posted by Hello

The Father of the Country

Two hundred and five years ago, the Father of Our Country died. He was just 67 years old.

His death is reported here in the 1877 Household History for All Readers by Benson J Lossing:

On the 13th of December, 1799, Washington was exposed to a storm of sleet, and took cold. At three o'clock in the morning of the 14th he awoke, and found himself the victim of a severe attack of membranous croup. At daybreak, himself and Mrs. Washington being alarmed, the family physician, Dr. Craik, was sent for. In the course of the day, two other physicians were called and came. All that medical skill and affectionate devotion could do to relieve the sufferer was done, but without effect. The malady increased in intensity, and before midnight the spirit of the Beloved Patriot took its flight.

So departed the spirit of this great and good man whose body, thirty hours before, was in robust health, and which gave promise of a vigorous and serene old age. His attendants at that solemn hour were his wife, with whom he had lived forty-one years; his secretary, Mr. Lear; the three physicians, and his faithful colored body-servant Christopher, and equally faithful old colored woman, who was the nurse of the family.

The news of Washington's death reached President Adams at Philadelphia by a special courier, on the following morning. John Marshall announced it to the assembled Congress that day, when a public funeral was decreed; and as the tidings went over the land, bells tolled funeral knells in solemn monotones. When, forty days afterward, the news reached England, the flags of the great English fleet of sixty vessels lying in Torbay were lowered to half-mast; and Bonaparte, just made First Consul, ordered a funeral oration to be pronounced before himself and the civil and military authorities of France.

On an appointed day, Congress went in procession to the Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, where an eloquent funeral oration was delivered by General Henry Lee, a son of the "Lowland Beauty," who was the object of 'Washington's first love in his youth.

Congress also decreed the erection of a monument to his memory at the site of the new national capital on the banks of the Potomac, and asked the privilege (which was granted) of depositing his remains at the seat of the national government. That monument has not been erected, and the remains are in a vault at Mount Vernon.

A cenotaph, constructed upon a plan unworthy of the subject, the nation, and the principles of taste, has been a-building many years; and Congress at its session in 1875-'76, made an appropriation for the purpose of completing it. It is in the form of a huge obelisk of white marble; and the original design called for an unsightly, structure to surround its base.

The obelisk has been carried up many feet already. It stands near the shore of the Potomac River within the limits of Washington city, and when completed will be conspicuous at a great distance; but it is simply a following of the barbarian custom of perpetuating the memory of their patriots and heroes by a pile of stones.

How much more appropriate, artistic and useful, would have been the erection of a building at the National Capital, in the simple Doric style of architecture, into which might be gathered for all time the portraits, by painting or sculpture, of the men and women of the nation whom the whole people delight to honor for their great, and generous, and patriotic deeds.

Somehow it is good to know that architectural critics have been wrong for a long time.

The Washington Monument is probably the most powerful monument in the World.

It is certainly the most prominent landmark in the Capital, standing as the centerpeice of the National Mall. Although authorized in 1833, the original plans to build some kind of something started in 1783. Construction actually began in 1848 under the design guidance of architect Robert Mills. As the civil war began to ferment, construction was stopped in 1854.

In 1876, the Grant administration negotiated the donation of the project to the people of the United States (from the private organization that had commenced the project) allowing Congress to appropriate public funding for the Monument's completion. Construction was resumed in 1878 under the auspices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The exterior of the obelisk was completed in 1884. It was dedicated in 1885 by President Chester A. Arthur and opened to the public in 1888, more than 100 years after it was first conceived.

It is 555 feet tall and it was, at the time, the tallest man made structure in the world.

It is full of Masonic numbers and geometry.

George Washington was a Mason, as were most of the Founding Fathers.

I'm not going to get into that.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I should also say that, according to my aunt, George Washington is my great, great, great, great, great, great uncle.

Uncle George's Monument, the National Mall, the Capitol, the White House, the round Jefferson Monument, and the great Lincoln Monument make for a truly impressive Capital complex.

A day walking to all of these sites in Washington is kind of like a trip to "Nationland". You can even go to the National Archive Building and walk in front and view the weird green dimly lit Constitution as if you are passing in front of Lenin's Tomb.

It makes for a powerful home court advantage for our leaders. When you fly into Washington, somehow you know you are in the Capital of the most powerful nation state in the World.

You can feel it. I don't know if its those Masonic Voodoo numbers or what, but it is unquestionably there.

These are very powerful symbols.

Symbols of Power.

Symbols are not just something you study in College,

They are operating myth makers that control the way we think,

And the way we are able to understand our World.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The World

I think that some of the most important pictures ever taken were the ones that the astronauts took of the earth from the moon with their video camera. There in the background, while the astronauts hopped around on the lunar soil was this big blue marble with those wispy clouds covering part of the ocean and part of the land.

There are no countries from space. The lines between the countries exist only on maps and in the minds of men. If all the maps were destroyed and the memory of the geographic state was somehow washed from our collective minds, there would only be the People of Earth.

Some parts of the Earth would be full of people who looked a lot alike. Some parts of the Earth would be full of people who looked very different indeed. However, from the viewpoint of an alien looking down at our planet, there would be very little difference. We all look like some kind of featherless biped.

It is rather old hat now to see pictures of earth from satellites. You can see water temperature, snow cover, vegetation, but you can't see the picture I have in my mind. The picture I have in my mind has men on another planet looking back at an earth which is kind of small in the picture, looking not a lot different from the moon in our sky.

When Man landed on the Moon, the whole World thanked the Americans.

That accomplishment came about in some large measure because of the leadership of John Kennedy. It's hard to remember when the president of anything could string words together like this:

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win,

On August 21, 1969, humankind landed on the Moon.

What I find most amazing is not that we did it.

What I find amazing is that we stopped doing it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Cyberstate

It is not easy to imagine a World without countries.

And I won’t even try.

It is a little easier to imagine a world where the people on it

Understand that We are on a spaceship.

And that the spaceship is hurtling through space,

Around the Sun at 66,000 miles per hour.

It is a little easier to imagine

That the people on this spaceship

Will begin to care about their mothership,

At least as much as they care about their motherland.

Besides, the motherland does not mean that much

When you get A T & T phone solicitations from India

And everything you buy has China on the label.

As the World becomes more connected with our communication tools,

As more and more of us travel from one geographic state to another,

It will occur to more and more of us that perhaps we need to rethink

Some of these very very old and very destructive ideas that we have.

Look around you.

Everywhere, all the time,

It is America this, America that.

All the pictures behind the newscasters in Washington

Have domes and monuments in the backgrounds.

They all reinforce in your mind

These ideas. These very old ideas. These very destructive ideas.

Cyberstates are new.

They are new inventions of social contract.

Unlike the geographic state,

Cyberstates have no defined territory,

Even though they may own lots of land.

Cyberstates do not print money,

But they may be very rich.

Cyberstates do not have armies,

But they may be very powerful.

Cyberstates do not have a capitol.

But they will have many points of access.

Cyberstates do not collect taxes,

But they may collect fees.

Cyberstates can provide everything

That the best geographic state can provide

Without the whining from the wingers.

You are not born into a Cyberstate

Because of your coordinates on the Planet

You choose your Cyberstate.

And, if you choose to choose another,

You do.

A Cyberstate is a group of people

Who have chosen to work together

To provide for themselves and their loved ones,

The peace and prosperity we all seek.

And the security and tranquility we deserve.

It is a family.

An Earthfamily.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


It is worthy of note that oftentimes
Utopia has a negative sense to it.
At least it did where I grew up.

"You can't have Utopia", my mother would say.
If you are too optimistic or idealistic, you are Utopian.

Thomas More wrote Utopia almost 500 years ago.

More was a principled man. Soon after writing Utopia he rose to the rank of Lord Chancellor under King Henry VIII. When the king broke from the Catholic Church in order to divorce his wife and marry Anne Boleyn, More refused to sign the Act of Succession and Supremacy, which made King Henry the "supreme head on earth" of the English church. Since Henry was now head of both church and government, More's refusal was seen as an act of treason, and he was beheaded.

The execution immediately entered English lore. Placing his head down on the block, More moved his long beard out of the way. The beard, he said, had done the king no offense. Four hundred years later the Catholic Church canonized him, replacing the "Sir" with "Saint".

More's book describes a slightly socialistic, master planned community that didn't need money to buy things from other communities. And they had real gardening skills:

They cultivate their gardens with great care, so that they have vines, fruits, herbs, and flowers in them; and all is so well ordered, and so finely kept, that I never saw gardens anywhere that were both so fruitful and so beautiful as theirs. And this humor of ordering their gardens so well is not only kept up by the pleasure they find in it, but also by an emulation between the inhabitants of the several streets, who vie with each other; and there is indeed nothing belonging to the whole town that is both more useful and more pleasant.

This sounds pretty pleasant.

There were a lot of Utopian ideas in the last century. Frank Lloyd Wright developed his best plan for the perfect town called Broadacre City. Wright revered the American experience and believed that democracy was the best form of government. Throughout his life he strived to create a new architecture that reflected the American democratic experience, an architecture based not on failing European and foreign models (such as Greek, Egyptian and Renaissance styles) but rather an architecture based solely on America's democratic values and human dignity. He often referred to the United States as Usonia. The city plan, Broadacre City, was the culmination of Wright's ideas on a new architecture for a new democracy.

We used to think pretty hard about how to make things

as good as they can be.

Politicians used to run for office based on making things

as good as they can be,

with bold new ideas and bold new plans.

How, working together, we can do great things.

Now, they just try to scare the beejeesus out of us.

And it works. At least it works for them.

Lao Tze spoke of Utopia centuries before Thomas More.

Let your community be small, with only a few people;

Keep tools in abundance, but do not depend upon them;

Appreciate your life and be content with your home;

Sail boats and ride horses, but don't go too far;

Keep weapons and armour, but do not employ them;

Let everyone read and write,

Eat well and make beautiful things.

Live peacefully and delight in your own society;

Dwell within cock-crow of your neighbours,

But maintain your independence from them.

Enough said.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

John Lennon from his Imagine album

Imagine a King murdered by a nice kid from Fort Worth
who traveled the world for the YMCA.

Imagine this nice kid hanging out at the Dakota
with out the security guard running him off.


It was 1980,

exactly 24 years ago,

The beginning of the Reagan Revolution.

Who would have thought that after

the lies, and the killing, and the humiliation of Vietnam,

and after the lies and the humiliation of Watergate,

and the lies and the Iran Contra scandal,

that the right would win the Revolution?

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out?

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

You say you’ve got a real solution
Well, you know We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know We are doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is, brother, you’ll have to wait

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you knowYou’d better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

Ah, I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

Tuesday, December 07, 2004



Because it is time.

It is time to take stock of what we have

and what we have become,

and where we are headed.

Tonight, I saw WMD/ Weapons of Mass Deception.

According to the Austin Chronicle reviewer, the producer and director, Danny Schecter, is telling us that,

Instead of doing its job as a government watchdog within our democratic system of checks and balances, the Fourth Estate was quick to fall into lockstep with the drumbeat toward war. The media became a huge part of the story rather than the distanced reporters they were theoretically trained to be. Government propagandists used the fourth estate as a sort of fourth front in the war, using journalists as the means for getting out their daily message and overall mission.

Schecter is an award-winning television producer who has worked at CNN and ABC’s 20/20, and is currently the executive editor and blogger-in-chief of, the world’s largest media issues network.

The movie is good.

But I don't need a movie to show me that the media is embedded with the government and with corporate power. The people who do need a movie won't watch the movie. But Schecter's movie says so much more.

It tells us that Noam Chomsky is right.

Big Media can't get it right anymore.

They need favors from the government.

And the government is now what Ike warned,

firmly in the hands of the M. I. C.

In the last 2 years,

People of Conscience put 500 million dollars

and millions of hours of human energy

into trying to make a change at the level of the geographic state

and the money went where?

into the hands of the people who are telling the lies.

And the energy fell like so many pieces on the ground.

I think we need a new plan.

Let's put our resources and energy into building

something that will accomplish what we want to accomplish.

Let's build together to make a truly democratic cyber state

One, that provides health care,

and places to live,

and ways to travel,

and ways to trade our skills

and our knowledge.

Let's provide good food for our bodies

and clean energy for our tools.

Let's build a cybercoop that can compete

with Wallmart and General Electric.

We have the knowhow.

And we have the energy.

We need the clear intent.

Imagine 50 million people of conscience

from all over the World

connected with the very best communicators,

and the very best trading sites,

and the very best services.

Imagine 50 million people deciding to boycott

Wallmart because it is unjust.

Imagine 50 million people of conscience

working together as a single powerful family.


An Earthfamily.

Maybe one is Alpha.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Liberty and Justice

I pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Most of us learned these words before we could write very well. They were written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister. Ironically, he was a Christian Socialist. Originally, although he was a minister, he did not include “under God” in his pledge. Congress added those words in 1954 after an extensive campaign by the Knights of Columbus. Earlier, in 1924, the National Flag Conference, under the leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, “my Flag,” to “the Flag of the United States of America.” Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was ignored.

It’s fairly short. But it is pretty packed. There is the “Republic” idea for which the country stands. There is the “one nation under God, indivisible” thing. I’m not about to touch that. And then, there is the “liberty and justice for all” thing. It is said the Bellamy would have added “equality”, but at the time of the writing, women still did not have the right to vote.

Since most of us learned these words before we really thought much about anything except maybe how much more attention our younger brother was getting than we were, it’s likely that you haven’t thought much about it since.

I would offer that this country is founded on liberty and justice. These are the two great pillars of the Republic. But, the pillar metaphor is not really a good one. For it seems that liberty and justice come out of the same bucket so to speak. Liberty and Justice are two constituents of a single pillar. They are more like the yin and the yang of the Tao.

Liberty would hold that we should be free to drive down the freeway at whatever speed we choose. Justice would hold that we must drive at a safe speed so that innocent drivers are not injured or killed by your need to drive like an Indy want-to-be. Liberty would hold that we should be free to live as we choose; justice asserts that we must abide by laws that protect us all.

Liberty would hold that we should be able to discharge whatever we want into our air or waters with impunity; justice maintains that these emissions should be regulated to protect the health of those who breath the air and drink the water. Liberty would defend the right to use our private property any way we choose; justice says you can’t build a chemical plant next to an elementary school or a hospital.

Lovers of Liberty value their right to own guns. Lovers of Justice believe that gun manufacturers should be responsible somehow for the natural result of the use of their product. (or should just the bullet manufacturers be responsible?)

Whether the issue is States Rights, a woman’s right to choose, corporate behavior, universal health care, the environment, or the way we choose to build our homes, there is always a tension between liberty and justice.

It is this tension that has made the two party system function so well in this country.

In general, although it has not always been this way, the Republican Party represents Liberty, and the Democrats represent Justice. It is within this tension that good law and good public policy is conceived and implemented. Big business likes the Republicans because they want to be free of regulation. Big labor likes the Democrats because they want justice for their membership. Republicans don’t like big government. Democrats are not supposed to like unregulated corrupt corporations that pollute and steal, and then bribe our leaders to look the other way.

Look at any list of issues and see for yourself. The tension between liberty and justice is the foundation of our two party system and the Republic itself. Those groups outside of the margin on the right are called Libertarians. Those on the left are concerned with environmental justice, social justice and other justice issues. We just don’t call them Justicians.

And, like the yin and the yang of the Tao, one is constantly turning into the other.

To "not be able to use your land the way you intended when you bought it" turns into a justice issue. The justice of equal opportunity turns into a liberty issue for those who suffer from discrimination. It turns into a loss of liberty for those who wish to discriminate (Sometimes for justified reasons)

Republicans view the right to life as a justice issue for the unborn. Democrats see abortion as a woman’s right to choose, a liberty issue.

The tension between Liberty and Justice is the lifeblood of this Republic. The constant turmoil of these two basic rights makes our system work.

The system, however, does not work when those who should be arguing the virtue of their principles argue instead based on their desire to maintain power. Then, the system breaks down.

The President says he wants to “get to the bottom” of a leak from the White House that has revealed the name of a CIA operative. Yet, he has not publicly called for the resignations of those who participated in the crime. He has not called on those journalists who know the names of the perpetrators of the crime to help him preserve the rule of law in his own administration. His sense of justice is therefore subordinated to his need to maintain power.

When Democrats do not pursue justice for fear of the loss of power, we all lose.

When Republicans condone the loss of civil liberty in the name of national security in order to maintain their grip on power, they are abandoning their basic principles. When both sides of the aisle choose to confuse liberation with occupation, we are truly lost.

When we are no longer guided by our great principles, truth becomes a prisoner to the mendacities of power.

And the Republic is endangered.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Efficacy of Non-Violence

The World's discourse is currently woefully short of discourse on the efficacy of non-violence.

When Gandhi was asked what he thought about western civilization,

his response was:

"I think it would be a good idea."

Here are more of the words of Gandhi.

Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.

Democracy and violence can ill go together. Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side.

What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality, for it increases hatred.

Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.

You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.

Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.

It may be long before the law of love will be recognized in international affairs. The machinerys of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another.

To forgive is not to forget. The merit lies in loving in spite of the vivid knowledge that the one that must be loved is not a friend.

What kind of victory is it when someone is left defeated? You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know. But that need not disturb me. The law will work just as the law of gravitation works, whether we accept it or not. The person who discovered the law of love was a far greater scientist than any of our modern scientists.

Violent means will give violent freedom. However much I may sympathize with and admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of causes.

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.

Hate the sin and not the sinner is a precept which though easy enough to understand is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.

Nonviolence and cowardice are contradictory terms. Nonviolence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. Nonviolence springs from love, cowardice from hate. Nonviolence always suffers, cowardice would always inflict suffering. Perfect nonviolence is the highest bravery. Nonviolent conduct is never demoralizing, cowardice always is.

Destruction is not the law of humans.

Man lives freely only by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him. Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity.

Man's nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.

Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.

It is good to see ourselves as others see us. Try as we may, we are never able to know ourselves fully as we are, especially the evil side of us. This we can do only if we are not angry with our critics but will take in goodheart whatever they might have to say.

It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence, i.e. hate, ruled us,we should have become extinct long ago. And yet, the tragedy of it, is that the so-called civilized men and nations conduct themselves as if the basis of society was violence.

On January 30th, 1948, after a fast and on his way to prayers, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered.

Here's looking at You

In case you were wondering. Posted by Hello

Friday, December 03, 2004

Corporate Capital Punishment

If you or I shoot somebody or cause somebody bodily harm,

we will be apprehended and brought before a magistrate.

If found guilty, we will be sentenced by the judge or jury.

If our crime is grave, we may be sentenced to death in some states.

Corporations are legal persons.

Yet, they cannot generally be sentenced to death.

They cannot even be sent to prison for life.

If a corporation's directors knew that all of the assets of their corporation

could be taken and sold,

that their corporate charter would be revoked

because of their reckless endangerment,

they might behave more like normal persons.

If they knew that the could lose everything

because of a bad business policy,

the board would be more careful in its decisions.

Whether we have a moral code that guides us or not,

You and I do not take chances that recklessly endanger the lives

of our neighbors in order to make more money

because we know we could be punished.

And we could be punished with more than a fine

that can be charged off against our bottom line.

We might find ourselves in jail or in the electric chair.

Twenty years ago, a corporation recklessly endangered thousands

of Indian citizens at Bhopal.

And 4,000 died that day. Another 16,000 have died since.

Over 150,000 Indians were affected negatively.

The corporation that recklessly endangered these lives

is no longer Union Carbide.

It is Dow Chemical.

It's as if Richard Speck changed his name to Bob Jones.

An alias does not make you not guilty.

As the song goes.

Judge, Judge, listen to me Judge,

Send them to the electric chair.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Emperor

Exactly 200 years ago on December 2, 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned emperor of France in Paris by Pope Pius VII. The next year in 1805, Napoleon defeated the Russians & the Austrians at Austerlitz.

Often regarded as Napoleon Bonaparte's greatest victory, Austerlitz was a sublime trap that destroyed the armies of his Russian and Austrian enemies. By tricking his opponents into thinking he was weaker than he actually was, and then calling in nearby reinforcements, Bonaparte initially met the combined Allied army of 85,000 men with just 66,000 men.

The French emperor deliberately abandoned a strong central position on the Pratzen Heights and left his right flank weak. The Allies eagerly moved forward to occupy the heights and then weakened their centre to crush the French right. As the bulk of Austrian and Russian troops attacked, Marshall Davout's III Corp arrived to bolster the French line.

With more and more Allied troops sucked into the attack, Bonaparte launched an assault that took back the Pratzen Heights and split the enemy. After a furious battle, the French crushed the Allies. Thousands of fleeing troops drowned when a frozen lake split under the weight of men and guns.

French losses amounted to 8000 while the Russian and Austrian emperors, present at the battle, saw more than 27,000 men killed, wounded, and captured.

35,000 Men were lost in battle on this day 199 years ago.

They died for the Emperors.

They died for the Nation State.

As of tonight, 1407 coalition soldiors have died in Iraq,

And 9552 have been mamed or injured.

Another 10,000 have been psychologically damaged.

Maybe it is another "sublime trap".

Somehow, I thought you would want to know.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Cooperations or Corporations?

Last night, I went into my food coop to grab some orange juice and apples.

As I was checking out, I looked up at the mission statement that hung over the door.

It said:

The purpose of Wheatsville is to create a self-reliant, self-empowering community of people that will grow and promote a transformation of society toward cooperation, justice, and nonexploitation.

The mission of Wheatsville is to serve a broad range of people by providing them goods and services, and by using efficient methods which avoid exploitation of the producer and environment.

The purpose of the HEB down the street is to maximize its profits for its shareholders with little or no regard for the well being of the community. Its job is to offer food to its customers in such a way that they will return and thus maximize its revenues and in theory, its profit. It would be a violation of its corporate charter to place justice and nonexploitation before the well being of its stockholders.

The mission of the HEB food chain is to serve a broad range of people by providing them goods and services with efficient methods. Exploitation and the environment are public relation department issues.

Which system do you prefer?

We report.

You decide.