I am usually not surprised by the atrocities mankind inflicts upon the natural world, in the name of profit or power. But, since when has slaughtering an elephant for so-called sport been an act worthy of public dissemination? Thanks NBC! Here we have Tony Makris, a lobbyist for the U.S. National Rifle Association gloating over his kill! Here, for all the world to see, is what is becoming the true face of America: unconstrained hubris, limitless cruelty coupled with a total disregard for of the natural world and its extraordinary beauty; preferring instead to exploit it for profit or self-aggrandizement. Many are the comparisons of America to Ancient Rome. Slaughter as public entertainment was widely popular a couple of thousand years ago, as it would seem, it has become in a nation that is laughingly described as ‘Mankind’s Last Best Hope’.
The Belizean Government is running a series of adverts on Fox News (www.buybelize.com) extolling the virtues of this small, Caribbean paradise.
I live in Belize, and have been here six years. The roads are mostly dreadful – okay if you have an off-road vehicle like a Jeep – and gas is US$ 6.00 a gallon. But, trust me, those are the only black marks against us. The people are friendly, polite, educated and not obsessed with money. They also speak English!
Belize has coral atolls, cayes, caves, rainforest, sandy beaches, more Mayan ruins than you can poke a stick at, land at reasonable prices and homes a plenty, and a diverse ethnic mix. Anything you can buy in America, you can buy in Belize; though why should you, when the local food is untainted by hormones, antibiotics and steroids and a meal can be had for US$ 4.00. Our sodas are made with cane sugar and, who knows, if you eat like the locals, which means lots of rice and beans and plantain and seasonal fruits which haven’t been zapped by radiation, you could even lose weight! You’ll certainly feel better! My blood pressure dropped to normal and I’ve lost almost ninety pounds since coming here!
This remains a FREE country in most aspects of daily life. Damn, you can even keep chickens in your yard without some busy body’s say so, though you might have to take precautions to protect them from the local wildlife if you live in a rural area.
If you have a skill, or just a dream, Belize is definitely the place for you. Oh, and we don’t bomb people and the police don’t stop you for a busted tail light! Stop at the occasional police checkpoint – they’re always polite and more often than not will wave you through – and, on a hot day, if the officer spies a six pack on your passenger seat, he’ll likely look at it longingly and thank you profusely if you offer him one! This is not an over regulated society. It is a commonsense society.
Julia, Lewis and myself are always around to help you, so, make your first port of call in Belize The Red Hut Inn, where we’ll tell you all about our splendid little country and help you plan your tours, your relocation or retirement so you, too, can live in a stress free paradise.
So, the Decider’s apprentice has convinced – or more accurately – received the support and political cover he always knew he had from the Imperialist crazies in the House and Senate (to wit, Bomber McCain and Dame Lindsay Graham) to bomb the heck out of another Muslim country, which, like Iran and Libya before it, is bereft of that indispensable component of modern finance: a Rothschild controlled Central Bank.
Like the hoodlums that employed hit men to enforce their will during prohibition, America has revealed itself as nothing more than ‘muscle’ for the criminal central bankers.
And, yet, every American tourist I’ve encountered in my adopted home of Belize, when they do have an opinion on Obama’s constant warmongering – which is rare – seem to think it has nothing to do with them. Well it soon will, when gas is $10.00 a gallon IF they can find it!
If my readers are interested in the truth about Assad’s supposed use of Sarin gas on his own people, I recommend they read this article by Pepe Escobar in the Asia Times, and this, by Michel Chossudovsky, in which he makes this point, and I quote:
“In a bitter irony, the language and discourse of the “Progressives” while not calling for direct military action, is similar in scope and content to a Neocon Open Letter to President Barack Obama published in the Weekly Standard signed by Elliott Abrams, Paul Berman, Eliot A. Cohen, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Bernard-Henri Levy, Karl Rove, among others.
“At a minimum, the United States, along with willing allies and partners, should use standoff weapons and air power to target the Syrian dictatorship’s military units that were involved in the recent large-scale use of chemical weapons,…
It should also provide vetted moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition with the military support required to identify and strike regime units armed with chemical weapons.”It is therefore time for the United States to take meaningful and decisive actions to stem the Assad regime’s relentless aggression, and help shape and influence the foundations for the post-Assad Syria that you have said is inevitable.” End Quote.
Note the signatories to this letter. With the exception of Karl Rove, they have something in common. Of course I can’t say what that might be on account of its being anti-………….. I’m sure you can finish the word for me.
The former imperialist nations of Europe and the, for now, top dog – America – have a dreadful record when it comes to caring for their wounded soldiers. Imagine, if you will, sometime in the future, when humans have spread their contagion to the stars and wars are fought not by the poor, or those who suffer from the delusion of misguided patriotism, but by hoards of mechanized killers.
New Caledonia’s war with its neighbor, Thera, began over ore deposits on one of Thera’s moons, Tyco. Neither side has achieved supremacy, as of yet, and the conflict continues unabated. It is now in its fifteenth year.
Neither world had significant military manpower at the start of the war, so both relied on robotic weapons. While most of these were nothing more than conventional weapons converted to semi-autonomous remote control when the conflict began, new weapons continued to be developed, or brought in from other colonies. Today, several thousand, ‘third generation’ weapons, based on a bipedal, humanoid design and fully autonomous have been deployed by both sides. Forget Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. The killing technology one can see wandering across the battlefields of Earth’s most recently colonized outposts will never be imprinted with them; nor will this technology ever filter down to the civilian population in the form of domestic helpers – except, perhaps, for the disk-shaped thingamajigs that wander around the house, vacuuming the carpets and terrorizing the pets.
New Caledonia, like Earth, is an insane asylum: a society which manages to face in myriad directions at one and the same time – while its socio-political culture is little more than a transplanted version of the corporate-based fascism which brought Earth to the brink of economic and environmental collapse. And, yet, its citizens do retain sufficient liberty to demand small changes in the way they’re governed, even if open criticism of the government is considered downright unpatriotic. Take robots, for example. When New Caledonia first deployed them against Thera, as with animals before them, Civil Rights organizations demanded they be given equal status with human soldiers under the Constitution, though they were not sentient, were not, and would never be, integrated into society, had been developed for a single purpose – killing – and were unlikely to be mourned when they perished. In fact, they would probably be recycled or cannibalized for their parts. Few societies recycle or cannibalize their deceased citizens in quite the same way as they do ‘things’ (though organ donations would seem to be a kind of recycling). Robotic soldiers had no families, no roots in the community, were unlikely to pay taxes, and communicated in binary code. It was clearly ridiculous, but societies have done crazier things. Caligula made his horse a senator, for crying out loud! With this in mind, and since politicians always take the path of least resistance when they’re unable to simply ignore the public, it should come as no surprise for the reader to learn that every robot inducted into the New Caledonian military was given the opportunity to swear an ‘Oath of Allegiance’ and receive its citizenship papers.
I’d never been to New Caledonia and had no idea what to expect. To my surprise, the immigration officials were diligent, but polite – a far cry from the intrusive, nay positively pornographic, screening process I was forced to submit to regularly on Earth! Two officials boarded our vessel, checked its flight plan for port of origin and registration, asked the captain if he was carrying live animals or plants, stamped each passenger’s entry visa and left. I’d originally planned to stay in the capital, Forsyth, for no more than a few hours, so I hadn’t made a hotel booking, which is unusual for me. I like to take my time over a story, but my schedule was fairly full. In fact, I was only here, on New Caledonia, because of a rumor, and it might well have been false. Well, no matter. I could waste a few hours in running it down.
Having collected my luggage, I proceeded towards the exit. Out in the street, I looked around as I waited for the cab at the head of the line to move forward. Several robots were hauling luggage from trolleys and into the trunks of waiting ground vehicles and buses. All bore the unmistakable signs of having been in battle. So, the rumor was true? Their body panels were scorched, dented, torn or simply missing. One had lost an optic. A roughly cut piece of metal had been welded over the hole. The surrounding metal was discolored from the heat of the welding torch and had been left unpainted. The robot equivalent of a field dressing, I supposed. It limped, favoring its left leg, which seemed to have a damaged ankle joint. Another had lost the metal cover on the left side of its chest. Several of its components were loose. I could see them moving around as it bent to place a large bag inside a luxuriously appointed ground vehicle, in which sat several petulant children and a pair of irritable parents. They were obviously weary from their trip and anxious to be on their way home. As soon as the loading was completed, the vehicle left with a squeal of tires. The robot straightened, pushed one of the loose components back inside its torso and struggled back to the next passenger in line. Surely, these robots weren’t employed by the spaceport? Having watched them for a while longer, I decided they weren’t, but were acting entirely on their own initiative – as if they were trying to make themselves useful. As I moved forward to enter the rear of the cab, an announcement played over the loudspeaker system, informing the waiting throng that they were under no obligation to give money to beggars, that the management was not responsible for them and that patrons should contact the authorities if they felt intimidated by them.
Forsyth is a noisy place, bustling with people and ground vehicles, burgeoning with multistory buildings woven together by a snaking, high-speed monorail. Below, in the street, brightly colored store fronts caught the eye, while storekeepers barked out their wares and the ‘deal of the day’. Pedestrians hurried by, eyes focused on the screens of their communicators, fingers furiously tapping keypads. A stretched ground vehicle sighed to the curb and stopped. A soft hiss accompanied the lowering of the side nearest the sidewalk, the door slid open and a dozen, brightly clothed youngsters emerged, chattering happily, as they headed for a large store a dozen meters away from me, from which loud music was being piped through an external speaker system. In the distance, the two tone alarm of an emergency vehicle, likely conveying someone at the opposite end of the age scale to a medical facility, caused several people close by to stop and stare in the direction from which the sound was coming. A brief moment of reflection showed in their eyes before, as one, they returned to their strolling and key tapping.
I stopped at a street vendor and purchased a cup of soup, known locally as Scott’s Broth, which also happens to be the name of the manufacturer of this indispensable body warming beverage so popular during the winter months. Taste-wise, it’s like a beef broth, though there are no cows on New Caledonia. As I moved along the sidewalk, sipping my soup, I spied something sat leaning against a shop front. It was causing an obstruction, forcing the pedestrians to take a step to the side as they passed by. When I reached the obstruction, I realized it was another robot, badly damaged and sitting in a pool of hydraulic fluid, which seemed to be leaking from an actuator in what remained of its lower left leg. The damage was probably the result of an impact from a projectile which had sheered the metal ‘shin bone’ clean through, leaving a heat distorted stump to which a few control wires had fused. They were shorting out, every few seconds – I supposed the ‘brain’ was still attempting to move the limb – causing the leg and lower body to twitch. Strange as it might seem, it appeared, at least to me, to be suffering the machine equivalent of pain. Its eyes slowly focused on my face as I leaned closer. A box shaped object had been attached at some time to its chest plate. I recognized it as being a voice simulator. The machine raised its right arm, extended it index digit and pressed a green colored button on the side of the box. “Will you help a wounded veteran get home?” it intoned.
I was unnerved by the question: a veteran?
“Just a little hydraulic fluid,” it persisted, reaching for what looked like a twisted piece of metal, which might well have been torn from the tubular chassis of some vehicle, and which some enterprising individual had reworked into a makeshift crutch. It attempted to rise, but the fluid leaking from the damaged actuator had obviously resulted in an overall reduction of hydraulic pressure, weakening the other leg.
I tried to help it to rise, but it must have weighed a least two hundred kilos. I looked around. No one else appeared to have noticed the machine’s plight. The storekeeper came outside and upbraided me for ‘encouraging the cripple’. He kicked it a couple of times and went back inside. The growing throng attracted the attention of a passing security patrol. Two officers emerged from the vehicle and sauntered over. “Problem?” one asked.
“No problem…” I studied his insignia, which consisted of loops of braiding, draped over both shoulders and across his chest – as if a plate of silver-colored spaghetti had been tipped over him. I explained what I was trying to accomplish. The officer looked at me as if I’d taken leave of my senses. “You’re blocking the street.”
“Then, help me get it out of the way,” I replied, imperiously.
The officer reached for his side arm.
“Get me some kind of conveyance and I’ll move it for you.” I smiled. “No charge.”
The officers wanted this whole thing to just go away. That was obvious. One returned to the vehicle. The other prodded the machine with the tip of his highly polished boot. As he stepped back, the sole of his boot ended up in the puddle of hydraulic fluid. He cursed and scraped it clean on the sidewalk. The second officer returned and whispered in the first officer’s ear. He nodded. “We’ve called a recovery vehicle.” He looked at me, intently. “You’ll take responsibility for removing this…” He searched for an appropriate derogative. “Litter?”
We were talking about a broken machine, yet I felt the gorge rising in my throat. “I will,” I told him, “and be proud to do it.”
As the officers made to turn away and return to their vehicle, the machine raised its left arm and placed its hand on its breast plate. Was it saluting? One of the officers instinctively moved his left hand to his chest, realized what he was doing, made a throw away gesture and turned away. I cannot say the machine was hurt by this rejection – since its ‘face’ was nothing more than a curved piece of metal, with optics installed at the center-line – but I could easily imagine it might have been.
The ‘wrecker’ arrived twenty minutes later, backed onto the sidewalk and hoisted the machine onto a flat bed. The operator wasn’t too happy about my getting in the cab, at first, but the promise of a substantial gratuity soothed his objection. After a short drive through narrow streets, which took us further and further into the dark underbelly of the city, the wrecker pulled up outside a large, abandoned warehouse. The remains of at least a dozen machines had been stacked in an untidy pile, off to one side of the sliding doors. The sound of the wrecker backing up brought two more to the door, just as I was stepping down from the cab. They approached the stranded machine and made to help it down.
“Your…” What the heck was it? Companion? Comrade? Friend? Buddy? “It was asking for hydraulic fluid,” I said.
Neither machine responded. They helped the crippled machine onto a trolley and wheeled it inside, while I followed behind.
“You haven’t paid,” the wrecker operator yelled.
I turned with a sigh and swiped enough money from my card to ensure he’d be willing to help out again, then entered the warehouse. Holes in the roof allowed enough sunlight to enter to permit me to take in a scene not unlike a medieval charnel house. A dozen robots were engaged in a macabre, and totally silent, triage operation. They moved from machine to machine, checking readouts, hooking up I.V. units to replenish drained fluid reservoirs, insulating exposed wiring, or detaching entire limbs. Reassuring words were superfluous. The machines needed no encouragement to ‘hang on’. There were no wives, girlfriends or parents waiting for these ‘heroes’.
The machine I’d rescued was placed on the ground. A ‘doctor’ checked for damage, briefly, before moving to the next ‘patient’. A second machine approached carrying a complete limb, trailing a wiring harness and hydraulic hoses. It had been built with multifunction tools, attached to a rotating fitting at the end of each of its arms. The fitting positioned the appropriate tool for use, whereupon it whirred like an air tool and removed the damaged limb at the hip. Within less than two minutes, the replacement limb, together with its wiring and hoses, had been attached. The ‘medic’ refilled the hydraulic fluid reservoir, the injured machine struggled to its feet and, after exchanging a chest slap salute with the ‘medic’, walked off, limping slightly, since the replacement leg had been salvaged from another model. It stopped after a short distance, turned back and studied me for a moment, before giving me a salute. I smiled and saluted back. It turned away and headed for the door.
Even though this whole episode had been a little, well, weird, I felt good about the experience, like one would if one had rescued an injured animal and obtained the timely services of a veterinarian. I decided to try and communicate with these machines to learn more about them, and their place in a society which now seemed to have no interest in them. In truth, in the short time I’d known them these machines had indeed taken on the persona of war veterans. I know it’s very tempting to ‘humanize’ the ‘non-human’, but there was a very real sense of camaraderie, here. Like countless humanoid soldiers before them, they’d done their duty – though, in their case, they’d merely followed their programming – been wounded and repatriated. But the society they’d fought and sacrificed for had moved on and found new diversions to occupy its brief attention span.
One machine seemed to stand aside from the triage and repair operations. Its breast plate was heavily scored and it sported limbs which likely came from three donors. Behind it were piles of legs, arms, cover plates, wiring harnesses, hydraulic hoses, a stack of cans of hydraulic fluid and boxes of fittings and couplings. I approached it and rendered my version of the chest slap. The machine responded. I half-turned and swept my arm in an arc. “Are you in charge of this hospital?” What the heck are you saying? It’s a garage. Pep Boys. The place you take the Chevy when the ‘System Check’ light comes on!
The machine appeared to understand, but lacked the means to reply. Another machine arrived. It must have been summoned, somehow, to act as interpreter. It stood in front of me and we exchanged chest slaps. From it, I learned that all of these machines had indeed been repatriated after being ‘wounded’ in battle, at which point – their citizenship, notwithstanding – their plight had been ignored. They received help from no one (ring a bell?), least of all the politicians who, just a short time before, had embraced them as ‘citizens and patriots’. Left to their own devices, they were making life and death decisions as to which of their companions could be saved by scavenging parts from those that had already expired, or by deactivating those that were beyond saving. Did they believe in a ‘hereafter’? Did they pray over their fallen comrades? Can things made of metal and silicon wafers grieve? For those with damaged ‘legs’, for which no replacement limbs could be found, they cobbled together wheelchairs. For those with damaged optics, they adapted range finding units to function as proximity detectors.
Not all such veterans ended up here, though, I learned. A few ‘psycho’ machines had been forced into service by drug dealers as ‘enforcers’. Did they do this out of some kind of misplaced loyalty, a sense of revenge, or were they forced into a life of crime to ensure they had access to spare parts? The machine had no opinion. Some veterans, it told me, had gone mustang, killing dozens of civilians until they were tracked down by others of their kind and deactivated. Many had formed groups to scavenge scrap metal, which they sold to dealers so they could obtain fluids and spare parts. Sometimes they begged for these things. Sometimes they stole them.
I was told about machines which had not been built in a New Caledonia facility, but had been co-opted into the military from other human worlds with the promise that exemplary conduct would result in the award of citizenship. Crippled, they had been sent to the rear, where ‘medics’ repaired the ones they could – returning them to the conflict as soon as they were – and sent the ones they couldn’t fix back home to be invalided or recycled. None ever received their citizenship papers!
I left New Caledonia fuming, and had no idea why. After a period of reflection, I was forced to concede that I had, in fact, allowed myself to ‘humanize’ the ‘non-human’, after all? It wasn’t the first time in my life that sympathy had managed to supplant logic but, in this case, that sympathy was not driven by any notion of respect for what these robotic warriors had sacrificed. I remember laughing like a demented hyena when Dr. Chandra, of ’2010′ fame – a movie still making the rounds two hundred years after it was made – spouted what I’ve always considered to be one of the more ridiculous lines ever spoken in a movie: “Whether we are made of carbon or silicon makes no fundamental difference. We should each be treated with appropriate respect”. A lack of respect was not the reason why HAL went wacko! It was the H. Moebius Loop! This kind of sloppy sentimentalism in Hollywood storytelling still prevails, despite the everyday reality of our twisted and valueless society. In my own defense, I believe my sentimentality derived from the fact that New Caledonia wasn’t the first world that had turned its back on those who had fought and died in its wars, ostensibly for the protection and benefit of the ‘many’ but, in truth, for the enrichment and aggrandizement of the narcissistic ‘few’. Nor, I feared, would it be the last.
More essays in this vein can be found in “Reaping the Whirlwind”, a Kindle Book available from Amazon. See the sidebar for the link.
I’m an avid reader. I have a daily routine which involves working my way through a list of those writers / commentators who post on the internet on a regular basis and whose insights I value. Websites like: Zerohedge, The Burning Platform, Of Two Minds, Kuntsler, Jesse’s Cafe American are my first meal of the day. All have one thing in common: they tell the truth. They also have something else in common: only those who are interested in the truth read them; and there are precious few of those these days.
So, I’ll dispense with the truth. I’ll trim my sails and tack to a different course. No longer will I sail into the wind. I will come about and, with the wind to my back, go with the flow, like most people I encounter seem to do. Where will that persistent, sometimes gentle, sometimes not, current take a somnambulant humanity, I wonder? A safe harbor? We hope! A rocky promontory? No, our leaders will surely steer us clear! Far out to sea where we’ll never be heard of again? Perhaps? That would certainly be more to our leaders’ liking since, now the good times are over and the banks have strip mined the wealth of nations, the energy and resource extraction corporations have torn the earth to shreds, and the agricultural megaliths have turned food into nothing more than a simulacrum of nutrition - with the full support of bought and paid for politicians – the poor, the sick and the unemployed are simply an inconvenience. From their indifference towards those they claim to represent, it is obvious that, in truth, our so-called ‘betters’ would prefer that we, who worked so hard to improve shareholder value, simply wander off and die. And quickly. Though, far enough away, of course, so the stench of our decaying carcasses doesn’t assail their ‘upper crust’ olfactory receptors.
When one watches the daily Wall Street Cavalcade on CNBC, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that CEOs are insane – to a man, or woman. That, or they have somewhere else to go when the Earth becomes too messed up to sustain the human population which infects it. The very idea that continued, global, economic growth is possible on a planet with finite resources is ridiculous; and, yet, these ‘experts’ and corporate ‘go-getters’ would have us believe it is. The pie is only so big. When someone takes a larger slice, someone else has to accept a smaller one. It’s mathematics, not economics which, as far as I can tell, has precious little to do with mathematics. Does no one learn about ‘exponentials’ these days. Does the rule of ’72′ mean nothing to the average person? A three percent annual economic growth rate translates into a doubling of the economy every twenty-four years – same thing with population growth. If that doesn’t give pause for thought among the great unwashed then we are, indeed, headed for a rude awakening, and I’m preaching to an empty church. There’s only one way humanity can continue along this path and that is by the global population being trimmed by seventy / eighty percent. Who gets to die and, more importantly, who gets to choose who gets to die. Let me give you a clue. I ain’t you!
Where do I stand? Well, I just came about and am heading into the wind, once more. Care to join me?
I was going to do a piece on the explosions in Boston, yesterday but, honestly, this from Dave Lindorff says it all. Anyone who’s read this blog knows I’m just a little preoccupied with events which support the idea that there is such a thing as ‘karma’ and that societies which become too enamored of, or too engrossed in, themselves – to the detriment of the rest of humanity – invariably wind up suffering the consequences of such an obsession. As Lindorff has subtitled his piece, it is time to Reap the Whirlwind.
I have not stopped looking at the comings and goings of idiots who claim the right to rule the rest of us. I’ve been busy finishing another Kindle Book called, “Miracles Don’t Come Cheap. Details are available at my website:
Why not check it out?
The British newspaper, The Telegraph is running this piece today, in which General, Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defense Staff states: “Britain could intervene militarily in Syria over the winter”. Well bully for you, General! I’m positively bursting with nationalistic pride over yet another glorious, heaven sent, opportunity to pound those darned Mooslims to dust.
Read the public comments, why don’t you?
What in the name of all that’s Holy is wrong with these people? Are they oblivious to the fact that we have no skin in this game?; that, thanks to the unrestrained, and criminal, excesses of the Banking Fraternity, our nation is – to use a widely used colloquialism – ‘potless’ and lacking even a small window to throw it out of?; that the public pension obligations of the British Government were announced yesterday and apparently have reached 348% of British GDP?; and, that getting involved in the Middle East will only encourage those crazy Americans – who never met a chaotic situation they didn’t want to get involved in, on account of their being the only ones who can fix things, and who just happen to be, equally potless and equally challenged in the ‘window to throw it out of’ department?
I do not live in Britain, anymore. Truthfully, I cannot! The place is full to overflowing with idiots who fall for the old, ‘We’re British, and our place is at the top of the heap’, bullshit, time and again.
So, General, Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defense Staff, you go and have your little war. Go and win one for the team. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll even make it to the front line and put your own life on the line? Though, as is certainly the case with our ‘lead from the rear’, Prime Minister, Cameron, I rather doubt you will.