John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Sunday, July 04, 2004
You think I complain about George?!

These guys did more than just whine and complain
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Have a great holiday -- just remember why you get the day off.

Saturday, July 03, 2004
Double word score

Chuck D - Indignantly cashing in

Chuck D from Public Enemy, after gaining wealth and fame in the RAP business doesn't want you to casually toss around the hip hop slang term "Mah Niggah", especially if you're a stupid white kid.

Featured prominently in a USA today article about the upcoming Sunday premiere of the documentary, The N word, on the cable channel Trio TV hosted all week by Chuck D, he laments, "Us accepting it is like somebody catching garbage and loving it."  And if a white kid, obviously ignorant to history of the word uses it?  "They don't know any better," he said. "I have to be aware of their intentions and put them in their place.

Now maybe it's just me, but I find Chuck D's position on language to not only be extremely ironic but also hypocritical.  The man wants you to buy his Public Enemy CDs, but doesn't want you (especially if you're a white kid) to repeat some of the lyrics, I guess.  In a further insult to the intelligence of anyone with a remote control, TrioTV is following up the premiere of The N word documentary with the story of Biggie and Tupac.  I don't want to sound like Bill O'Reilly on a Ludicris rant but, I have to ask what the hell?  Are you going to be serious or glamorize the hip hop message that a young black man can cruise the hood with his nine and all the bling-bling and booty on the planet are going to fall out of the sky into your Escalade?  Please.  Hypocritical Indignation?  Just shut up, Chuck. 
Fix it, brother

Another celebrity who is not only sick and tired of hearing the word nigger casually tossed around but, also is seriously critical of the pop culture of the black community, is Bill Cosby.  Just yesterday at the 33rd Annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund Conference, in Chicago, his plain spoken message again caused a stir.

In another USA Today article worth reading about the event, Cosby clearly addressed the critics of his earlier comments back in May, and challenged parents:

" Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it's cursing and calling each other n as they're walking up and down the street "

I'll just repeat here what I wrote about the Cosby critics on Plastic:

Cosby is saying the same thing that Tavis Smiley and others have been saying for years, every year. Cosby, however, is an obvious master at comedy and sarcasm when in order to get his style of ' the fix it brother message' across to his audience, he said:
"the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids--$500 sneakers for what? And won't spend $200 for `Hooked on Phonics.'"

The majority of the critics of Cosby are among the black leadership elite who feel they are also being personally indicted for some of the obvious social failings happening in the black community, such as: 70-80 percent of the next generation being born to un-wed moms, growing up fatherless in urban neighborhoods where poverty, crime, and unemployment is simply increasing and, where the kids are more likely to know someone with a felony record than a college degree. But don't get me started, either. Luckily, no one is likely to listen to a ranting white guy from Detroit, like me, unless my name was Marshall.

I applaud Cosby. He's at a point in his life where it doesn't matter to his career or the financial security of his family if he ruffles a few feathers. While the delivery of his message may be sarcastic at times, it cuts through the snobbery of political correctness and it's being heard.

Thursday, July 01, 2004
Saddam's Evidence Shocks Criminal Court

Thunderstorms in the Imajica exclusive

Thunderstorms in the Imajica breaking news shocks South Park residents

In a news story whose quantity of spun headlines is undoubtedly giving good Noam Chomsky a full blown woody, people in the news and propaganda business are working overtime to tell their readers and viewers what happened for 30-minutes in a criminal proceeding in Bagdad, Iraq today.

Everyone everywhere is talking about the court appearance of Saddam Hussein.

 USA Today  In an Iraqi court, Saddam hears charges and scoffs
 Bloomberg News  Hussein Defies Court's Authority, Says He's Leader
 N.Y. Times  First Public Appearance by Former Dictator in 7 Months
 Canada News  A defiant Saddam Hussein appears at hearing in Iraqi court
 Reuters UK  Saddam and 11 aides to face tribunal
 Radio Netherlands  Saddam hears the charges
 Islam Online  Defiant Saddam Denies Charges, Slams "Theatre" Trial
 South Africa  Saddam refuses charges
 Xinhua China  Defiant Saddam rejects charges against him

Fortunately for you, I'm here to tell you what really happened.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Mind Melding

The original Spock

From the last few storms here about politix and religion, and even porn, I have mostly been dumbstruck by the similarities between things that are very old and things that are new.

I have been working on the Verissimus and Web-Litter blogs most recently, so my thoughts have been occupied with those two things, besides the normal distractions and concerns of having a life in 3-d space and time.

But when I read, or perhaps I could honestly say, studied the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius for the Verissimus blog, I came away with one odd observation from it at the time.  That being; Marcus Aurelius was very much like Star Trek's Spock; and the Stoicism which I felt I may have learned from him was not like the flavor from Diogenes, the Dog Boy, from whom Alexander the Great even sought knowledge, but perhaps something beyond his time -- more like Saint Francis of Assisi -- a thousand years hence -- but Marcus' Stoicism was more like that of a Vulcan, extolling the virtues of logic and reason with a disdain for physical pains and pleasures.

And not to get in a long discussion here about the merits (or lack thereof) of Stoicism, or why logic (and the ruling part) should trump any desires of the physical form, but I did want to say, how odd is this?  That the Roman Emperor of the second century, who was no great fan of christianity, would repeatedly extoll the virtues of not only an abstinence from physical pleasures but, also even the deleterious effects of thinking in that manner.  And that his manner of philosophy, of thinking, would square up solidly on this point with those of the modern-day BAC christian belief?

When you read Verissimus, the Spock vibe comes through.  Perhaps, the writers of Spock's character had these ancient Romans, or maybe the Stoics in mind.  Star Trek episodes always seemed very allegorical, like short Sci-Fi fables.  Given the times, I always wondered who the writers of Star Trek were thinking about when they told stories that expanded and explored the future nature of our species and that of the Vulcans, Klingons, or those dudes with the two blue antennae sticking out of their heads.

Anyway, it strikes me as odd, or just interesting, that the ancient Stoic belief by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, would not only be so like that of a Vulcan but, also like what I've read a faithful Born-Again-Christian should pursue as a lifestyle.  What?!  

We've all heard of the phrase "your body is the temple of your soul", or something very similar, in religious teachings.  The same concept is repeated constantly in the Meditations.  Your soul, the ruling part, whether or not it is or is not eternal, is from God, or gods, or the universal consciousness, (or not); but whatever the case may be, it is far more important than your body, which is subject to the desires, pleasures, and pains of life; and is also subjected to growth, change, demise and death.

And while it may be the BAC ideal to have no pornography in the world -- to tempt us, to weaken our souls, to lead us astray from the straight and narrow path -- I think the world would not be so very ideallic without it.  I think, like most things which have been known commonly to be called vices, that one may be ideally better off without them but, is probably healthier now to have suffered with them in moderation than to have never experienced them at all.

Some people, in order to teach and promote (proselytize and witness) their version of the BAC religious ideal, foister guilt and shame on the believers, rather than using reason and logic to make their argument.  Whether it is because of a holier-than-thou attitude, or sheer laziness, I don't know.  Rather than taking the time to learn and then teach reason and logic, perhaps it's just easier to tell a young person that God kills another kitten every time they masturbate.

The problem with that approach is easy to see.  After a child realizes there is no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, it's not a great leap in the logical little thinking machines to reason that everyone around them has been lying to them about other things, too.  A child quickly understands that you have been lying to them all along and using emotional guilt and shame as a means of control over them.

And then, because it is the nature of all humans beings to be free from the control of others and be in control of their own lives, children then learn to distrust these BAC beliefs of a judgemental (or loving) god.  The god of their parents vanishes in their minds quicker than the Easter Bunny.

Monday, June 28, 2004
Roger and Me go Bowling for Fahrenheit 911

The 300 pound gorilla tipping the scales away from Bill O'reilly ...

Common sense wisdom passed down for hundreds of human generations says something like "... there must needs be opposition in all things."  And so, scientists, philosophers and prophets have given us plenty of examples like positive vs. negative, benevolence vs. malevolence, good vs. evil, wisdom vs. ignorance, und so weiter.  You get the idea.

Increasingly, the politix in the U.S. has become more polarized, away from the common sense middle ground that makes no one particularly happy nor unhappy but, is fair, and now seems to be gravitating toward either end of the political bell curve wherein you'll find the few, the proud, and the extreme examples of either liberal or conservative thought.  The only real downfall of this situation is that come election time most voting citizens have to choose from either of these extreme ends, oftentimes trying to cancel out the last extremist in a position of any power and our country has been on a political yo-yo diet for many decades because of it.

The only reason I mention any of my observations about it is because I wanted to bring up Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 for Movie Monday.  You can briefly read what I blogged last year about Bowling for Columbine.  After watching it, being disturbed by it, and yet laughing at it, I think I was more personally struck by the similarities between Moore and my friend, Dances with StumpsRoger and Me seemed to be for the 1980's, Bowling for Columbine for the 1990's and I think no matter what your political views are, Fahrenheit 911 will become an important film depicting our time in this country right now.

If, like me, you haven't seen Farhenheit 911 yet (or even some that don't plan to ever see it), you might still be interested in the conversation going on over on Plastic about F911.  It's no small wonder that MAYORBOB has major karma:

Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's caustic look at the "War on Terror" and the Bush family legacy of dealings with various players in the Middle East, has finally debuted in the U.S., specifically in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of enthusiastic invited guests, none of whom could be called a Bush partisan.

It is the film that was loudly applauded at the Cannes Film Festival; the film that became the focus of intracompany feuding at Disney over distribution rights; the film that pissed off Ray Bradbury (well, the title did); the film that the Motion Picture Association of America gave an R rating, despite the legal assistance of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and supporting testimony from industry executives.

I wasn't particularly shocked that MAYORBOB's Plastic article generated over 300 comments in very short order from people all over the country and beyond but, I was very interested in the number of very thoughtful comments.  It wasn't just a flame-war.  It's worth checking out.  Since I haven't had a chance to see it yet, please feel free to make some thunder here if you've seen Fahrenheit 911.  I don't care if you loved it or hated it.

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