Jul 14

What Obama Should Do About Israel and Palestine–But Probably Can’t

I suspect that Pres Obama wishes he could call for sanctions–on Israel.

While I’m sure that Pres Obama is sincere about supporting Israel’s security–especially in light of genocide-advocating anti-Israel remarks on the part of the former leader of Iran and others in the middle east–I also suspect that Pres Obama, Sec. Kerry, and other powerful individuals in the Democratic party, would like to be able to cut off financial aid to Israel until it stops building settlements, and pulls back on some settlements.

President Obama knows that much of the situation could be defused if Israel would stop its expansion via settlements. If it would pick a border and stay behind it–and if they would stop the draconian restrictions on movements of Palestinians–that is, if Israel were to make significant concessions, the Palestinian state and other Muslim states could then put pressure on Hamas to back off. But the President cannot sanction or withdraw aid from Israel, even were he to have the clear cut authority to do so.

He can’t do it politically–or so he believes and he may be right. The President now does not have to worry about re-election but he does have to worry about the election of Democrats to the House and Senate in upcoming elections. He is a primary symbol of the Democratic party and support for Israel is widely backed by the American people, not only by Jews but by a great many Christians. He might be in violation of a treaty, too, were he to do it.

But really–it’s what needs doing. The President and Congress should find the will to sanction Israel, to say “you made your point, enough is enough” regarding Gaza; to say, “Cease expanding Israel.” To say, “Ease Restrictions. Do these things or we will stop aid, and we will call for economic sanctions against Israel.”

Israel must cease the current aggression, must concede some land, must compromise–or else the wound that is Israeli/Palestinian problem will never heal.

Jul 14

Why PRIVATIZATION of Public Services …FAILS, Time and Again

To look for the real core reason privatization of a public service tends to fail…look at the priorities. In a public service, a public water company, a prison, employees are told their priority is getting the job done for the public. That’s their reason for being there. They’re held to a standard. You can point to bureaucracies where the employees weren’t held to a standard, where it failed–but in general the public system works, people want to keep their jobs so they provide the service for the public. But in PRIVATIZED services employees are clear that the priority is PROFITS, and they are pushed into finding a way to INCREASE profits and that is the main priority. They aren’t required to do the job effectively–they are required to do the job PROFITABLY. So there’s motivation to cut corners.

There’s no long standing culture, either, of effectiveness in the privatized service. They bring to it nothing but “fast, cheap, profitable”.

In addition, a profit-motive based outfit will hire under qualified people because they can be paid less. And that has consequences.

Examples at Commondreams

A CLEAR Example of this at a prison’s privatized system for feeding inmates.

Jul 14

Cryptic material removed from the appendices of SILICON EMBRACE – my novel Re-edited for the new edition

• • •


There are no Zetans. I’m not saying there are no extraterrestrials; there just might be a few saucer-pilots checking us out.
There are no “gray alien” abductions. There are no implants. Unless these events are staged by—as some have suggested—government intelligence services.
I have seen the enemy and he is us.
• • •
In real life, and not just in this book, American intelligence services had—and some say, still have—a Black Project devoted to mind control, to some extent using mass media, called MK Ultra. This program experimented with direct control of human behavior through the transmission of microwave impulses (every paranoid schizophrenic’s fantasy), through the (much documented) use of LSD and other drugs on unwitting, non-voluntary subjects, and, some claim, through such devices as the Warren Commission, which “investigated” the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the subsequent selling of the commission’s “Oswald was a lone nut” conclusion to the public by means of a pliable media.

There are also numerous rumors—some of which have percolated into mass media via The X-Files television series—that MK Ultra was involved in creating the “alien abduction” stories, in fabricating the tales of UFO abductions to cover up other nefarious intelligence activities, or, as yet another rumor goes, as a test of mind control methodology.
After all, if you can make someone believe they’ve been abducted by creatures from outer space, alien beings who’ve poked probes into their asses and stolen some of their “time,” you can make them believe anything.
Researcher and writer Jacques Vallée reported that an investigation into an apparent UFO abduction in France turned up evidence that the whole thing had been staged by human beings: a man was drugged and then found himself swallowed up in a luminous fog. He woke up days later with a vague memory of alien abduction. Certain agents of French Intelligence admitted to Vallée, in Paris, that they had staged this entire event as an experiment in mind control.
There are indications that a “UFO close encounter” at an American air base in England, widely reported in the press, may have been staged by American military Intelligence. The medium here is the Staged Event. It is theatre disguised as reality—and the theatre extends even into the news media reporting the Staged Event. The same may apply to the notorious “alien autopsy” film which is likely a fabrication involving certain notorious crop-circle hoaxers collaborating with an American CIA agent—perhaps working for MK Ultra—with some arcane mind control agenda.

The USSR, during a time when the SALT treaty was newly in force, reported a rash of UFO sightings in Siberia. Their media interviewed bemused country folk who spoke in awed tones of the strange lights in the sky. Post-USSR revelations of KGB documents revealed that the “lights” were in fact night time missile tests carried out by the Soviets under the camouflage of a “rash of ‘flying saucer’ sightings,” in order to avoid exposing their violation of the SALT treaty. The KGB, too, is the likely source of the notorious UMMO letters supposedly from “extraterrestrials” circulated a few years back.
Rael. Solar Temple. Look for cults to arise who use UFO imagery to seduce the lost and rootless into their agendas. Trust in God but tie your camel down.

• • •


Something more about Anatole.
Anatole, very tired, came home from his work at the school, and wrote a letter to Farraday’s son Jason, before going for his walk on the beach. There was a long PS. The PS was longer than the letter:

PS: Jason, you asked about Soul Making, as your father called it, and you asked about the Meta. That term, Soul Making, is a bit deceptive, though there’s a sense in which it is literally true. I refer you to the list of books I gave you last time, including the Moses Maimonides and the Boris Mouravieff, and the Gospel of Thomas (the Gnostic version of the gospels, from the Nag Hammadhi Library). Eg, from the Gospel According to Thomas: “…These are the secret words which the Living Jesus spoke arid Didymos Judas Thomas wrote: And He said: Whoever finds the explanation of these words will not taste death. Jesus said; Let him who seeks, not cease seeking until he finds, and when he finds/he will be troubled, and when he has been troubled, he will marvel, and he will reign over the All. Jesus said: If those who lead you say to you: ‘See, the Kingdom is in Heaven’, then the birds of the Heavens will precede you. If they say to you: ‘It is in the sea’, then the fish will precede you. But the Kingdom is within you and it is without you. If you will know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will know that you are the sons of the Living Father. But if you do not know yourselves then you are in poverty and you are poverty.”
This “knowing yourself” is not so easy. There is a story (several extant versions) of a Zen monk who went to his Master and said, “Master I want to be like you, and soon. How will this be accomplished?” And the Master said, “It can be accomplished like this: go for just seven days watching everything you do and everything you feel, and do not let your attention lapse at all for those seven days.” The Monk said: “Piece of cake!” He went and tried to do this, and after just a few minutes found he was thinking, instead, of dinner and ceasing to be vigilant within himself. He tried again and again but could not be completely vigilant for more than a few minutes at a time. And he had been asked to be vigilant continually for seven days! So he returned to his Master and said, “It is too difficult to learn to do this in seven days—can you give me more time?” The Master said, “Yes. Take seventy years.”
The time of the gifts given by the Meta is past. The Meta have removed to their own vibratory home-base, as it were. We can go to them, and they can give us, through that Higher thing, a sort of help, but they—and Ceph, who is with them now—can no longer come here and take us into their substance as they did with Lila and me, and as Ceph did, after his transfiguration, and offer an immediate exposure to the energies of transformation.
Now they have moved up, beyond our immediate reach, and they call to us and we must strive to rise to them; strive to burn with a consciousness that is like a fire in wood, and release the sparks that rise: that slow burning, that slow striving, that is how the process works. And even that which they gave us, in those days, is not permanent. It is an open window but it is not an open door. Lila is now, once more, in Tibet, working to open that door (my work with children keeps me here this time). Even Enlightenment, you see, can be trod down under the usual identification with life. So we have to work. And work and work, second by second, year after year, with the methods given to us by the various traditions which are at root one tradition; we have to walk the Way ourselves, step by trudging step. We cannot be carried.
• • •
Having written this, Anatole Osterberg, aka Anatole Sullivan, went for his walk on the beach, near his house.
…Dusk on the sea. Fine energies moved in keenly attenuated waves through the hard and soft places of the world. Anatole felt the gentle tug of apocalypse,of mass epiphany, another cycle of change coming.
He smiled wearily and shrugged.
He was more interested in this moment on the beach on San Francisco Bay. There were machinations in the sea. Walking near the lacy fringe of the water, Anatole could see machinery just under the surface. DuChamp’s pistons and vents and, vaster than that, a subaquatic architecture of chrome, made of vast pipe organ arrays locked into chromium dynamos, like some flooded Fritz Lang set (remembering the Fritz Lang videos cinema-obsessed Quinn had lent him); part of it moving in machine-precise patterns, part of it stationary as a mountain of iron. Inflexible laws improbably seen in the purely chaotic. Machines of the sea. Impossible, paradoxical, and glisteningly evident.
An orbital shuttle rising from the Zetan airbase thudded through the sound barrier; the only sound the nullgrav vehicle made. Several small children in cutoffs were thrashing through the surf, playing Good Zetan and Bad Zetan, and they waded right through his visioned machinery, up to their knees in steel, and yet Anatole knew it was there, knew he was not hallucinating. A vision is not a hallucination. A vision is a disclosure.
Why the sea? he wondered. What inexorable function is prefigured here?
Breeze-blown sidewinders of sand skirled the beach, struck at his ankles, between his socks and cuffs, with a pleasant grainy stinging; the sky roiled with sullen power, and at the horizon small angels in dull neon were strung like children’s paper dolls, refolding into crystalline orbs.
Gazing at the horizon, Anatole thought of time and loss… magic and loss… and of course thought of Lila. The separation from her hurt like a son of a bitch.
Looking at this suffering as a thing-in-itself, Anatole thought of the place at the cusp of Being, just beneath the Absolute, at the juncture of the Pleroma: the place where plus and minus meet; where positive and negative, active and passive neutralize; where two needles meet point to point, their infinitely sharp points exactly poised one on the other; the needles (widening past the junctured points to infinitely expanding cones) turning each in the direction opposite the other.
And pinned between these infinitely sharp points is consciousness, present tense: the first circle of consciousness, the stone dropped in the pond. Between these point-on-point spikes is crucified this: the unspeakable suffering of God.
The unspeakable suffering of God.
And radiating from this suffering: The ineffable mercy of God.
He felt Lila, nearby. Close: Only on the other side of the planet. Close as a heartbeat.

End of Appendices

Jul 14

The music writes itself

Sometimes I think that those who do not believe in a hidden metaphysical reality are not so much less gullible–they are less suspicious. I do not believe in creationism or Intelligent Design, but there is something *shady* about biological evolution. Oh yes–Darwinian evolution is real. I have no doubt about that. But why is it real? It simply came about–and yes, there are enough iterations of random causation to explain much of it. But it does seem to have a direction in a rough general way. It’s wending somewhere. Along the way, it ruthlessly winnows, it flings failed species this way and that, with wild abandon. But it continues, in a rough way; it has guiding principles.

Consciousness itself makes me suspicious. I do not suggest that it is sinister. But matter becoming aware of itself is intrinsically miraculous, in some sense–not supernatural, not magical. No–instead it is awe inspiringly improbable, to such a grand extent that it makes me suspicious. Yet I am quite sure that no creator is necessary. Still, conditions are required for a seed to take root, to sprout. It needs water, soil, sun. Not a creator–but conditions.

It’s as if music is always playing and the music writes itself…

Jul 14

Where are the limits? I’ll tell you.

I limit my use of media technology. Facebook and some (limited!) videogaming and a little blogging is pretty much my limit. I don’t twit, twat or twitter. I don’t use my cell phone as a web interface. This limiting of media is a preparation, it’s a discipline in anticipation of what’s coming. When other people are using their brain transponders, when they’re in psychic wifi trances, as they stare into space and giggle every so often…I’ll be walking my dogs, and talking to my wife and sons, and singing along with the Rolling Stones on my MP3 player.

When other people are twitching, struggling with their hormone implant addictions that respond to the prompts in the movies they’re watching–they get an extra squirt of the hormone from the implant when a subliminal light flashes in a pattern on the screen–I’ll be almost alone at the art museums…if they’re still open. “Only three people show up, every week, we should close this place–everybody’s at home taking media pills. My daughter took a Picasso pill this morning…”

When everyone is wasting away because they think they’re in an exciting adventure but actually they’re forgetting to eat in virtual reality, I’ll be…remembering to eat. Pretty good food too.

Jul 14

Homage to a Sinus Headache

Every morning when the pollen blows
I wake up with a friend
My sinus headache
Every morning the pressure grows
Whispers, “I’ll never end”
My sinus headache
“I’m a message from nature
to you
and all your kind”
My sinus headache
“The special delivery
that nature employs
simply to remind”
My sinus headache
The throb and the ache
and the pollen itch
My sinus headache
Nature saying, “I’m here–
you arrogant
of a bitch”
(my sinus headache)

Jul 14

Author’s PREFACE to WYATT IN WICHITA – a novel About Wyatt Earp

Here’s my PREFACE to Wyatt in Wichita. The novel itself will be out, shortly, this preface included, from Skyhorse publications.

Preface: The Legend of Wyatt Earp

Wyatt In Wichita is a novel about a historic figure: Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp. The work you hold in your hand focuses on the young Wyatt Earp. But it’s still a novel and, inevitably, quite a bit of this tale is fiction, including the murder at the heart of the plot. Even so, many of the events in this novel did happen, and I tried to portray him in a way that seems to me close to the historic young Wyatt Earp. He was capable of doing all he does in this novel. And a number of the remarks he makes in this novel—and those made by certain others—are in fact quotations, statements made in real life.

The legend of Wyatt Earp has gone through cycles, spinning like a Peacemaker’s cylinder. Early on, the first “popularizer” of the Tombstone story, Walter Noble Burns, called him “the lion of Tombstone” and Earp myth-maker Stuart Lake made him the archetypal “Frontier Marshal.”

After a spate of overly reverential mid-century Hollywood movies, the 1960s brought a series of biased attacks on Earp’s reputation. The anti-Earp crowd claimed that Lake and Earp made many of his exploits up, or wildly exaggerated them. These writers had a way of quoting Earp’s enemies; they chose their documentation very selectively, and sometimes they made things up themselves—or exaggerated more than Lake did, but in the negative. One of the principal anti-Earp authors is from Texas, where people still grumble about how Wyatt Earp treated some of their grandfathers who were troublesome cowpokes in Dodge City and Wichita. Wyatt had a short way with rowdy drunks and Texas has never forgiven it.

In recent years, the cylinder has spun again. Serious, deep-delving researchers like Bob Palmquist, Allen Barra, John Gilchriese, and Casey Tefertiller have found evidence strongly supporting Earp. Stuart Lake exaggerated and he certainly cleaned Wyatt up, but he had some of it right. For example, Earp did, after all, ride shotgun out of Deadwood; he did arrest Shanghai Pierce; and Earp’s courtroom testimony concerning the gunfight not-quite-at-the-OK-Corral has been confirmed by forensic research. The most negative tales about Wyatt S. Earp have been cast into doubt or largely refuted.

It’s also true that Wyatt Earp was no angel—he was a complex man, and he had his dark side. We see that dark side in this novel: Earp was involved with a prostitution ring, in 1872. But he put this behind him and, despite some very human ethical stumbles, became a good lawman. It turns out that, despite the redundancy, he really was, as the old TV theme song had it, “brave, courageous and bold.”

Some historians suspect Wyatt Earp killed more men than is generally acknowledged—Johnny Ringo might’ve been one of those men—but the fights in which Wyatt fires his gun, in this novel are fiction. Wyatt in Wichita is about the young Earp, and takes place before Tombstone.

Many of the men Wyatt faced down in this novel were real, and Wyatt’s basic conflicts with them were much as I describe them. The tale of Bat Masterson and Corporal King is true, too.

While the characters Dandi LeTrouveau, Sanchez, Swinnington, Johann Burke, Toothless Mike and Montaigne are made up, Bessie Earp was a real person, as were Celia Ann “Mattie” Blaylock, Sallie Earp, Charlie Utter, Dave Leahy; so were Mike Meagher, John Slaughter, Ida May, Dunc Blackburn, Mannen Clements, Thompson’s enemies in Ellsworth, and Isaac Dodge. And of course Bat Masterson was real; so was his close friendship with Wyatt Earp. The novel’s newspaper quotations are also genuine. They are given verbatim.

The young Henry McCarty (also, William Henry McCarty), who later became well known under a different name, was in Wichita at the time Wyatt was there. No one knows if they met. They could have. Wyatt did have a fight with Doc Black like the one I describe in the novel, and for the reasons I give. Wyatt said he first met Wild Bill Hickok in Kansas City.

Opinions vary, but I believe Wyatt could have run into James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok in Deadwood too. And Wyatt’s riding shotgun for Wells Fargo, the subsequent encounter with outlaws on the trail to Cheyenne, and how that wound up, did happen much as I described it, though I have woven the real event into my fictional plot.

Early on, I had to skip ahead in time a bit—and over some mighty eventful times. A few events in Wyatt’s real history, depicted here, have been chronologically shifted for dramatic purposes. But a great many incidents in the novel really happened, as for instance the Ida May’s piano story, the confrontation on the bridge over the Arkansas River, Smith’s calumnies, Wyatt’s thumping of him, and Abel Pierce’s arrest in Wichita.

When I could, I stuck to facts.

John Shirley, 2013

Jul 14

How et gos fucked Up

How et gos fucked Up: By Aliss Pripner, for Talking Write Gud gredd 4.

My deddy hesez that et gos fucked up first back 1890 or more, un all from thet to here at 2090, is fected. Hesez ones they call Greedheds they ded et, from finding something that made thengs go, un warm spots to livin, coal and oil gas sechazat, peppul dent know, how et makezit sky too hot, un lungs to burnit, so they give credz for et. Then commze the Gud Perzun Pestercides!! Greedheds sell et, to kill crawlbugs, like we get, that eat up food plentz. Pestercides they perzoned the bees who help food plentz, un kill batz thet eat flybugs. Then Greedheds too scoop aella fish and acids water enna oshun, no fesh born after. Fucked up. deddy uses baddr words, that ones I cant say. But hesez, So Many Dead, So Many Dead.

Then comz dust storms and oshuns wash some cities, not domes them days, all peppul go into plainz and in dust and no food, so the hungerpeppul come, and alwayz storms, we go under domes, now, but his leggs broke fixing domes, always rust biten themz up, un acids storms, and we hidez under to eat from roach farmz meat and corn rooms, where soon I will work ulso.

The End from Aliss Pripner, How et gos fucked up

Jul 14

America’s Karma: Central America’s Wandering Children

Buses filled largely with women and children were turned away by mindless yahoos “protesting”, blocking the roads at Murietta, California, though the children were only going to be processed in a local facility. This sudden, unexpected wave of underage illegal migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, encouraged by misinformation from “coyote” style emigrant smuggling gangs, and terrified by violence, civil war and thuggery at home–these refugees, really–have been rounded up, shoved into improvised warehousing in the USA. They’re not being mistreated–the Dept of Homeland Security was flummoxed by this sudden problem. But they’re in purgatory.

The cold politics of it all seems to call for them to be swiftly repatriated to the land of thugs and civil war. But I believe the ethical thing to do–the Christian thing if you like–would be to offer them shelter here. Perhaps American Hispanics would take them in; others would volunteer. (Yes, me too.) They could eventually be situated here. They’re refugees. Why not do the right thing?

There is another consideration–it could well be that this influx of desperate children is the fault, ultimately, of the policies of earlier administrations of the United States of America. Conservative administrations, especially Reagan’s, supported dictatorships; death squads, by some accounts, were trained and funded by our own intelligence services. Certainly we were perfectly willing to support extremist right wing political polarities for the benefit of, say, the United Fruit Company, at the expense of the people of Central America. In supporting dictatorships we supported hegemony–we oppressed the many for the few.

The USA inadvertently cultivated poverty and desperation–and gangs and civil war. So, going back decades, we see that this is our…well, it is our karma. It is our responsibility.

And so we should take these kids in.

Jun 14

Fabulous Philological Phantasms

I am not only sarcastic, I’m sarclassic; I’m not only ironic, I’m ironmanonic; I’m not only whimsical, I’m whimwhambangthankyousical; I’m not witty I’m wittastic; I’m not only humorous I’m humorousidelic; I’m not only sardonic I’m sardoniFUNKic; i’m not only intriguing I’m intrigastronomicallysatisfactioning; I’m not only mellifulous I’m melonsizedifulous…

I’m not only not witty, I’m witwitheredy; I’m not only not capable of irony, I’m imoronironic; I’m not only not sardonic I’m sardunceic; I’m not only not whimiscal I’ve got whimsuckitude; I’m not only not humorous I’m humortumorous; I’m not only not mellifluous I’m smellafloorous; I’m not only not intriguing I’m intrigriefinducing; I’m not only not sarcastic I’m sarclueless