« You Fill Your Mind With That Crap? »

Some stuff I am reading or viewing.

James Bamford, A Pretext to War
This is a book that goes into a lot of depth about the failures of the elaborate communications and defense "networks" designed by the CIA and other similar groups to save us from an attack. An attack from the Soviets, that is. All of the billions of dollars spent on underground facilities, early warning systems, air force bases and covert operations simply failed us on 9/11, a day when some of these same heavyweight agencies watched the drama unfold on garden variety televisions airing CNN. There is also a good amount of info on how the current administration has its roots going way far back into Republican history from the early cold war era, including an Eisenhower plan to install private citizens into the top polical offices should doomsday ever arrive. These private citizens, as it were, were cronies of Ike's, all of whom were captains of big industry. This whole plan was so top secret, even congress didn't know about it. Imagine that—the president appointing members of a replacement government without the approval of the legislative branch, or without following the appointed series of vice pres, speaker of the house, etc. Sounds fishy, no? Clinton disbanded it in the 90s, but guess what? Dubya brought it back to life. I haven't gotten through the entire book yet, but the rest of it must be more stuff about the errancy of attacking Iraq for something Saudis did, masquerading loosely as Afgan rebels.

Paul Roberts, The End of Oil
This book is almost scary. The world as we know it hinges on the availability of cheap oil. Foreign or otherwise, it makes the world go round. But the fact really is, there is far less of it than needed to sustain our way of life. This book takes a look at all the oil politics on the individual to global levels. I got a good understanding of entire areas of history by reading a couple chapters of this book. There is a pattern developing in the world, regarding energy usage. Each breakthrough has so far been the impetus for more development, but also the cause for more conflict and insecurity, even as economies and empires swell to bigger and bigger dimensions. Wood was the dominant source of energy in the west, with Europe being a heavily forested region that ended up losing huge areas to population growth, and general needs over time. When wood was not as viable, coal became the golden solution to energy use, but it was filthy and labor intensive. Coal obviously powered the industrial revolution in England, and here too, with all the politics and human drama that followed. But oil was America's unique contribution to the history of energy production and consumption. The book offers the often conflicting views between independent scientists/geologists, and the official word from industry. But it warns that if America in particular doesn't change its tune in actual usage and global politics, we may be in for a huge crash. We can't keep fighting to get oil, but we are too full of ourselves to limit our usage to something that is environmentally, economically, socially, and politically healthy.

Michael Moore. 
I had seen Bowling For Columbine last year, and it was eye opening, but Fahrenheit 911 just rocked my pathetic little world. Then, feeling like I needed to catch up on his work Kelli and I rounded up his two previous films, The Big One and Roger and Me. We just got Roger this week, and in the last month since F911 came out, we have seen each film at least twice. There is an interesting thread in all of it. I don't see how people can brand him as unpatriotic. I really don't, unless the definition has changed. What is unpatriotic about arguing in favor of citizens who are victims of corporate corruption and greed, gun violence, and political power players? What is unpatriotic about wanting soldiers to be called on only in the defense of the nation, and not for imperial purposes? Michael may be a clever editor, but the footage he uses does reflect something about us. After all, you don't think Bush or Dick Clark or Phil Knight or Charlton Heston would volunteer to take part in the interviews or ambushes that appear in the film, do you? It's not like those greedy and egotistical bastards are doing it for a photo op. No, I have reason to believe that they actually do conduct themselves that way. And that is sickening. Moore's place is to bring awareness of these crass and aloof people who run our organizations, businesses, governments, and our world. I commend Moore for having the guts to take these people on, and for the job he does to empower people with this info, and to urge people to wake up and make the world a place they want to live in, instead of falling asleep at the wheel.

The Corporation
This is a Canadian movie about the history of the corporation, and how it went from a relatively weak entity to the monstrosity it is today. It is bigger than the government, and can act more recklessly and self indulgently that the government. In fact, apparently, a psychological profile of the corporate mentality is quite like that of a garden variety psychopath—marked by deceit, total self interest, etc. This movie is only showing in short runs in different places in the country, and appears to be the Fahrenheit 911 of its subject matter. 

The End of Suburbia
This is a movie that appears to be only available from its own studio. This was made by another bunch of Canadians. That, coupled with the fact that The Corporation is Canadian sort of spooks me. These aren't being made by Americans! Could it be that there is a small effort to supress films that hint at the wretchedness of the two American inventions that are running the show, the massive corporation and the world of suburban development? Let's face it. Unless you build your own house in the sticks out of trees you have cut down, or stones you have quarried, hunt and trap your own food, and make your own clothing on your own loom, you may be a subject of the corporation and/or the suburban tract. And, if you are a resident of a suburban development, then, by definition, you are literally ruled by corporations. No? I bet you can't beat your way out of it. The car (corporate) you depend on for transport to the gas station (corporate) in order to get to Wal-Mart (duh), so you can buy cheap stuff made by (corporations which in turn puts people out of work, or makes others work for piss), is also the means to survival for any of a number of industries that support the auto, like mechanics (and the second rate quick change oil 'n' lube places), tires (a petroleum product, as is the road you drive on—only available from corporations), auto alarm and stereo shops, smog checkers (and the government agencies that mandate the checks), and the city and state workers who build and maintain the streets, freeways and parking lots (some corporate, some government). Okay, then we have fast food (corporate). But then so are most of the leading brands of diet supplement and health products (I dunno, Proctor and Gamble have to figure in somewhere, but then so do all the leading edge pharmaceuticals). If the fast food aint your bag, you can go to your corporate grocery store (Costco is one of the few that actually practice good business now, so go there), and buy veggies and meats made in faraway states, all by corporate farms and agribusiness. Should you choose to forego your above food options, good luck getting any food. The corporate giants have also been monkeying with your food so that the food reproduces only at their will. No more seeds you can plant in your garden in an effort to bypass the system. I would say, thats a bummer. You can move 50 miles away, and have the same thing. That is, unless that place isn't already a dump, thanks to all the strip malls closing up on account of Wal-Mart moving in.

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