Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Petra







Petra is an archaeological site in Jordan famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock. One of Petra's most magnificent structures is the Treasury (Al Khazneh), a building carved in sandstone cliff. Incredibly, most of the buildings in Petra were carved right into the face of the rock and incorporated the numerous caves within the cliffs.

This probably looks familiar to many people, as the Treasury has been feeatured in several movies. The most famous one, of course, would be Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was also used as a setting in Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

I obtained these pictures from a very interesting blog called CrazyTopics, which unfortunately seems to have gone inactive.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And you thought you had a crappy commute; Bolivia's Road of Death.

Stremnaya road, situated in Bolivia, is called the Road of Death, for some pretty obvious reasons. I have heard that approximately 150 PEOPLE A YEAR die on this road. This is not some out of the way logging road. This is the major roadway between La Paz and some other major towns, I believe.

Updated per comment below.





Monday, October 29, 2007

Well, yes, actually, it IS art.





"Tim Nobel and Sue Webster take piles of trash and make art into them... but sometimes the art isn't apparent until you see it in a different light."

I have always been of the opinion that art takes both skill and vision. Sticking big rocks out in a park or burying Cadillacs up to their steering wheels has never really struck me as "art". It is SOMETHING, but art, it is not. Cristo was a con artist, in my estimation.

So, when I saw that someone was making "art" out of "garbage", I went "uh-huh." But when I really looked at these pictures, I was pretty floored.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Setting standards for propaganda the Soviet Union would be proud of.

This is from Christy at Firedoglake, talking about a “press conference” by Bush administration officials regarding the fires in Southern California.

He was apparently quite familiar with the reporters — in one case, he appears to say “Mike” and points to a reporter — and was asked an oddly in-house question about “what it means to have an emergency declaration as opposed to a major disaster declaration” signed by the president. He once again explained smoothly. …

“And so I think what you’re really seeing here is the benefit of experience, the benefit of good leadership and the benefit of good partnership,” Johnson said, “none of which were present in Katrina.” (Wasn’t Michael Chertoff DHS chief then?) Very smooth, very professional. But something didn’t seem right. The reporters were lobbing too many softballs. No one asked about trailers with formaldehyde for those made homeless by the fires. And the media seemed to be giving Johnson all day to wax on and on about FEMA’s greatness.

Of course, that could be because the questions were asked by FEMA staffers playing reporters. We’re told the questions were asked by Cindy Taylor, FEMA’s deputy director of external affairs, and by “Mike” Widomski, the deputy director of public affairs. Director of External Affairs John “Pat” Philbin asked a question, and another came, we understand, from someone who sounds like press aide Ali Kirin.


Christ, these guys are so damn underhanded. Time and time again, they have shown themselves that they don’t deserved to be believed about ANYTHING they say. Ever. They can’t even hold a press conference without loading the audience with phony reporters to asked scripted questions.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Are you ABSOLUTELY certain that's the runway?

The dark soul of the extreme right.


The amount of anger and hatred coming from conservatives these days is truly frightening. Digby, who normally posts at Hullabaloo, has a great post up at Campaign for America’s Future. She illustrates perfectly why I am so worried about the future of this country. The main point is that, as more and more people are rejecting the way of the Republican party and it’s extreme right wing, the angrier people are getting. There used to be social conventions and moral principles that people honored. Now, these restraints are no longer operative. The right thinks that they are free to say, and perhaps act upon (which is really what I find scary), anything they feel like saying. Here is a good example that Digby uses in her post. I am not sure if this was an e-mail or a handwritten note. Either way, it is beyond disturbing.

"You pathetic socialist pukes give me hope that one day the country will reach the frustration level necessary to take up arms and hunt you assholes down. I went to Viet Nam to kill communist and will kill them here if necessary. I can still part your idiotic hair with an M-16 at about 300 yards and I would find great satisfaction in having people like you in my sights... the time of tolerating you assholes is running out....so please keep it up...and a mountain is going to come down on your treasonous head and if there is a hell, it is reserved for stupid fucks like the writers and contributers to assholes like you..... I detest you...I am your enemy and WILL REMAIN your enemy....quit talking about the military...they consider you their enemy, and you don't deserve a military.... All you have is the trashcanisthan of the northeast...the fucking rust belt, and the third world of California.... you ain't got shit! You will lose again, and again and again, because your message is socialist bile....and that is ALL you are.... FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!"

And this is what Digby says about it, which I totally agree with.


Clearly, people on the right are very, very angry right now and they are lashing out at their most hated enemies: Americans who disagree with them.


That is what I find so astounding and frightening about today’s society. Why is it that some people are so threatened by someone whose only sin is that they have a different opinion of things think it is acceptable to treat them as some inhuman species that is deserving of extermination? I find this absolutely incomprehensible that any, supposedly rational, adult would actually think this way.

Now, I am sure that some people will argue, “Oh, there are irrational people on both sides. There are plenty of angry liberals out there as well.” To which I would agree. But you know, I read a lot of liberal blogs. I have never, ever seen the amount of hatred and threatening language from anyone on the left as I see in this example. And I have seen plenty more like this. Commenters at the conservative blog “Little Green Footballs” are known to be quite outspoken in their desires. One common theme seems to be that their side has all the guns, so our side better be very, very careful about what we say. This is reflected in the above example. This guy wants, in words that I doubt he would use, a jihad against all liberals and other people who don’t think exactly like he does.

“One day the country will reach the frustration level necessary to take up arms and hunt you assholes down.” That is how at least a small minority of the right wing of this country feels. They would like to hunt us down and kill us.

Thank you, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and hundreds of other blowhards with a public megaphone, for bringing the level of public discourse in this country to the gutter.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The “Good Germans” among us.

Frank Rich, as usual, has a spot-on commentary in today’s NYTimes. What is going on with our country that we are actively turning our collective backs on the constant and widespread abuses of the Bush administration? We just don’t want to know. I just don’t understand this mentality. If it were another era, I could imagine the citizens and punditry of this country holding massive protests and saturating the print media and airwaves with articles pointing out how badly we have lost our way. Yet, we get this collective yawn, as Rich puts it.

In April 2004, Stars and Stripes first reported that our troops were using makeshift vehicle armor fashioned out of sandbags, yet when a soldier complained to Donald Rumsfeld at a town meeting in Kuwait eight months later, he was successfully pilloried by the right. Proper armor procurement lagged for months more to come. Not until early this year, four years after the war’s first casualties, did a Washington Post investigation finally focus the country’s attention on the shoddy treatment of veterans, many of them victims of inadequate armor, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals.

We first learned of the use of contractors as mercenaries when four Blackwater employees were strung up in Falluja in March 2004, just weeks before the first torture photos emerged from Abu Ghraib. We asked few questions. When reports surfaced early this summer that our contractors in Iraq (180,000, of whom some 48,000 are believed to be security personnel) now outnumber our postsurge troop strength, we yawned. Contractor casualties and contractor-inflicted casualties are kept off the books.

Instead of taxing us for Iraq, the White House bought us off with tax cuts. Instead of mobilizing the needed troops, it kept a draft off the table by quietly purchasing its auxiliary army of contractors to finesse the overstretched military’s holes. With the war’s entire weight falling on a small voluntary force, amounting to less than 1 percent of the population, the rest of us were free to look the other way at whatever went down in Iraq.



Currently, I am ashamed of this country. I am ashamed that our government is using tactics that we normally associate with Germany in the 1930’s or the Soviet Union. The United States tried Japanese military leaders as war criminals for the same things we are doing now. And a large percentage of our population either ignores this, or else condones it to such as point that they call anyone who disagrees with them “traitors”. I am ashamed of some of the infantile arguments that people use to justify the unjustifiable.

If there is such a thing as karma in this universe, then this country is going to get a massive comeuppance in the future. It may be soon, it may be fifty to a hundred years in the future. I don’t know what it will look like, but this country is not going to resemble the one that once stood as a beacon of enlightenment, justice, fair play and the defender of those weaker than us. World history may well relegate us to somewhere just above the Roman Empire of Caligula. And that, need I remind you, was not a very enlightened era.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Shorter Tom Tancredo: “Anyone who disagrees with me should be kicked out of America.”

Representative Tom Tacredo (R – Colo) on his plan to put up a fence on the entire U.S.-Mexico border, and the fact that many of the towns along the route of this proposed fence are objecting to his plan. Via TPM:

"These mayors have already demonstrated that their hearts and loyalties lie with Mexico," Tancredo said. "Perhaps they'd feel more comfortable if their cities were geographically located there as well."

Isn’t this part of the overall Republican game plan? “Anyone who disagrees with my position on fill in the blank should be fill in the blank.” Right now, Tom is saying that people who don’t believe in his fence should be deported to Mexico. I remember that some Bush administration person said something about letting the terrorists nuke San Francisco. I also remember some similar sounding statements about North Dakota, if ND didn’t want to house some advanced weapons systems, that someone said it would be acceptable if North Korea or whomever were to bomb ND. I may try to find those links later, I don’t have them right now. But here we have a sitting member of the House of Representatives suggesting that we give U.S. territory to Mexico because some inhabitants, including elected officials, might have the audacity to disagree with him! This is one more instance of, if a Democrat did this, the wingnuts of this country would go insane. However, if a Republican does it, it’s O.K.

These people have absolutely no empathy, no understanding that someone actually might have a different view of the world than they do. If anyone disagrees with them, then that disagreeable person automatically is a person non-gratia and deserves whatever comes to them.

What is it about Republicans and conservatives that absolutely insist that every single thing in this very, very complex world can be cast in a black or white, yes or no decision making process?

(Please excuse the long absence. I had a bit (understatement) of a healthcare scare last week. It all turned out negative, but for some time, I was not doing really well in the area of emotional deportment.)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Oh my God. Someone please tell me this one isn’t what it sounds like.

Via Crooks and Liars:

Ciara Durkin was home on leave last month and expressed a concern to her family in Quincy: If something happens to me in Afghanistan, don’t let it go without an investigation.

Durkin, 30, a specialist with a Massachusetts National Guard finance battalion, was found dead last week near a church at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. She had been shot once in the head, the Army says.

Fiona Canavan, Durkin’s older sister, said today that when her sister was home three weeks ago, she told family members that she had come across some things that concerned her and had raised objections to others at the base.

‘‘She was in the finance unit and she said, ‘I discovered some things I don’t like and I made some enemies because of it.’ Then she said, in her light-hearted way, ‘If anything happens to me, you guys make sure it gets investigated,”’ Canavan said. ‘‘But at the time we thought it was said more as a joke.”[..]



I mean, what terrorist is able to come close enough to shoot a soldier in the head and then escape unnoticed. Don't they use bombs and mortars?

I really, really hope that this doesn't turn out to be what it sounds like.

Flying with commercial U.S. carriers has become a nightmare.


This is not exactly news. Every day, if we were to look long enough, there are stories in the press about how terrible things have become. This latest example is in the Washington Post. The number of mishandled bags by the major airlines has increased steadily over the last four or five years. Of course, the response by the airlines is to blame someone else.

I have gotten to the point that I am going to refuse to go on any business trips that I cannot absolutely get out of. I just don’t dislike traveling by air. I detest it. It has gotten to the point of dread. It is physically and emotionally draining.

I took exactly two business trips this summer, both to points in the domestic United States. In those two trips, I have experienced the following:

- I spent three and a half hours sitting in a fully packed sweltering airplane on the tarmac at Dallas, waiting to take off for Atlanta. During this delay, there was no food and very little lukewarm water. The ice had disappeared long earlier. Even when the airplane was finally ready to leave, the flight attendants were still charging $3.50 for package of chips, instead of giving them away for free at the end of a long and uncomfortable wait.

- I have watched physical confrontations between a passenger and a flight attendant, and between two passengers. The first of these incidents ended in the passenger in question being take off the airplane at the destination by federal agents. The second of these incidents resulted in the flight attendant telling the passengers in question that they needed to calm down but they had to work out their problems by themselves. In other words, she was not going to get involved. Tempers are on edge and people believe that, by paying for an airline ticket, they are free to act like complete a**holes.

- I ended up with two tickets for the same trip. To make matters worse, American Airlines decided that I had used segments of both tickets, making a simple refund for an unused ticket out of the question. I was refused boarding on the second leg of the journey and was made to go back and get another boarding pass, even though the one I held was still valid. This resulted in me having a middle seat, after I had specifically gone to the trouble of booking the flight two months in advance just so I could have an aisle seat.

- American Airlines has absolutely no one, no one at all, that a person can talk with when dealing with billing issues. Everything must be done via e-mail. There are no hidden automatic telephone menus to push. There are no unpublished telephone numbers that anyone will give you, even if you badger them. Everything results in you being shuttled back to the same automated telephone menu and the same internet web address that you have already tried. What should have taken 20 minutes to fix took over two months and several hours on e-mail and the phone. In the end, when AAL finally did address my problem and give me a refund, they didn’t even notify me that this was done. I had to find out via my credit card company.

- Every single leg of every single flight was 100% full, with what seems to be ever decreasing amounts of legroom. United Airlines has now started charging extra for three or four extra inches of legroom. “Enhanced seating”, I think it is euphemistically called. I paid for the option on several legs, even though I was incensed by the thought of it,. I am a rather tall person and trying to fit into a “normal” airliner seat is almost out of the question. I just happen to be of the opinion that physical comfort should be part of the basic package, not something that you are required to pay extra for. If the person in front of me reclines their seat, my knees are trapped in the seatback for the rest of the flight. I cannot even reach my bag underneath the seat in front of me, much less put my table tray down or use a laptop computer.

I roll my eyes when I hear how wonderful and “passenger friendly” the new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 are going to be. Well, I doubt that. There may be some new features on each that don’t exist on the airplanes flying today, such as larger windows and a greater percentage of fresh air. However, the airlines are going to continue with their trend of maximizing the number of seats in each airplane. The more passengers they fly on each flight, the more money they make, after all. The Boeing 787, to my understanding, was originally intended to have eight seats across (in coach). The seats were going to be several inches wider than the standard seats on today’s airplane. Of course, the airlines were not content with that. They each insisted on nine seats across, which results in the coach seats on the 787 being narrower than the airplanes flying today, even other Boeing airplanes such as the 737.

I don’t know another industry that seems to care so little for their actual customers. All they seem to be trying to do is to milk their customers for as much money as possible, while cutting as much customer services as they can, as they see that as “unacceptable overhead”. All the airlines care about maximizing their very small profit margin. They assume that, no matter how badly they treat the flying public, their customers have no other option, given that all the major airlines approach customers with the same distain, and will continue to fly in the future.

Not I. Unless it is absolutely forced upon me, I am not going to get on another airplane. Now, the circumstances which might “force” me are still undefined. If my family really, really desires to go on a Southern California theme park vacation, then I don’t have a lot of options. Nor do I have any options if I would like to go back to Hawaii. And there are going to be some business trips that I just cannot realistically avoid.

That is certainly not a glowing endorsement of the air travel industry. If I were the major airlines, I would be very careful about how much more distain you heap upon your paying customers.

Boy, the world sure would fall apart if liberals ran the U.S.

So says one John Hawkins. Via Mahablog:

If the left were able to totally dominate American politics starting tomorrow, all 50 governors, every seat in Congress, the presidency, and all 9 Supreme Court Justices, my guess is that they’d immediately start implementing the worst aspects of European socialism wholesale.

In other words, you’d see socialized medicine, government takeovers of industry, reams of new regulations on businesses, sky high tax rates, the military would be gutted, the national debt would grow to unimaginable levels, drugs, prostitution, gay marriage, and polygamy would be legalized, penalties for committing crimes would be greatly reduced, and draconian speech codes would be put into place.

This would of course have disastrous consequences for the country and the world. The US economy would start to fall apart, crime would explode, and conflicts would break out all over the globe as terrorists were given free reign, other nations rapidly escalated their conventional military spending, and dozens of nations built nuclear weapons.

Within a couple of decades, multiple “small” nuclear wars would probably break out in Asia, South America, and the Middle-East even as the global economy started to tank.
Now, you might think that if this were to happen, the libs would see the error of their ways and move back to the right — but, that doesn’t take into account the nature of the left.

When liberal idea fail miserably in practice, which is most of the time, their response isn’t to go in the other direction, it’s to go FURTHER in the direction that they were already moving. This is exactly what the left did in countries like China and the Soviet Union and it’s what it seems likely that they would do in the US as well when it became clear that turning the United States into a giant version of Belgium/Amsterdam wasn’t working out so well.

What you’d probably get then would be madcap combination of the world in George Orwell’s 1984 mixed with the dictates of Stalin. Religion would be banned, conservatism would be illegal, the state would take over ever larger portions of industry, and the Constitution would be scrapped and replaced with a 500 page tangle of bureaucrat speak that spelled out everything from what political ideas were to be made “thought crimes” to what sort of lightbulbs people were allowed to use.

Does that sound too fantastic to be true? Maybe it is. But, if people like Ted Kennedy, Rosie O’Donnell, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Michael Moore were allowed to actually implement their ideas without having to worry about the voters, the wildest excesses of liberalism that you could imagine would probably pale in comparison to what they’d actually end up implementing.



Umm… Yeah. Of course. No doubt that is exactly what would happen. Of course, if, on the other hand, CONSERVATIVES ran the country with unfettered and unlimited control, not having to worry about the electorate (which was very much like what was happening before the 2006 elections), the world would be just peachy-keen. Everyone would have ice cream every day for lunch. No one would ever utter a word that didn’t totally agree with every other person in the country. All “moonbats”, especially Rosie O'Donnell, would be sent away to some island in the Aleutians, so no one would every have to acknowledge that people with opinions that disagree with theirs even exist.

I’ll tell you, introspection is NOT one of the strong points of these people.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It looks as if U.S. action against Iran is more and more likely, every day.

This is such insanity. Here are some snippets from Sy Hersh in the New Yorker.

In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran. “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush told the national convention of the American Legion in August. “The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased. . . . The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And, until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops.” He then concluded, to applause, “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

The President’s position, and its corollary—that, if many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Tehran, then the solution to them is to confront the Iranians—have taken firm hold in the Administration. This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.

The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.

--snip--

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said, “The President has made it clear that the United States government remains committed to a diplomatic solution with respect to Iran. The State Department is working diligently along with the international community to address our broad range of concerns.” (The White House declined to comment.)

I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued. But there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group. (A spokesman for the agency said, “The C.I.A. does not, as a rule, publicly discuss the relative size of its operational components.”)

“They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”



Lots of bloggers are all over this. Tristero at Hullabaloo is just one instance.

So, let’s recap. The Bush administration cherry picked intelligence information, if not just making it up, to sell their already-decided-upon war on Iraq. Regardless of the reasons behind the war itself, they totally botched it up completely in so many regards, it’s hard to keep track. They push the blame on everything bad on everyone else and never take any responsibility at all. George Bush hides behind the skirts of the military, except when they disagree with him, at which point, he forces them out. Polling results in this country have consistently, for the past year, shown a very significant percentage of the U.S. want us out of Iraq. The Republicans were soundly whipped in the last elections, yet Bush decides he is going to escalate his war.

Now, it seems as if Bush and his cronies, and most especially Dick Cheney, want to start an action against a much larger and more formidable country in Iran. They are already changing their justifications for this “need”. Initially, such action was necessary to stop Iran from gaining possession of an atomic bomb. However, as the American public seems a bit more skeptical of claims of that nature, the rationale has already changed to “protection our troops in Iraq from those nasty Iranians”. All of which points to the fact that, once again, the desire for military action has been laid and the justifications for that action are nothing more than a trial balloon, to see which is most palatable to the American public.

This is completely freakin’ insane. It’s a cross between Kafka and “Groundhog Day”. Has no one in the political arena or in the national media learned anything? Must we go through another “worst political blunder in the history of the U.S.”, just so we can have absolute proof that Bush and Cheney are completely out of control?

Monday, October 01, 2007

“Monsters, John. Monsters from the Id!”



Warning: Contains spoilers for those few of you who that haven’t seen “Forbidden Planet” but would still like to one of these days without knowing the ending.

“Forbidden Planet” is one of my favorite classic science fiction films. I think it is much more meaningful than another classic from the same time frame, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, for several reasons. The primary reason I think it is a superior film is related to the message contained in the film. For those who aren’t fans of classic sci-fi, “Forbidden Planet” is loosely based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. The kicker in both is that the malevolent entity in each is based on the wishes of the main protagonists; Prospero in “The Tempest” and Dr. Morbius in “Forbidden Planet”. In the case of Dr. Morbius, a scientific explanation is given. The extraordinary machinery left behind by a dead civilization amplifies the subconscious, the id, of Dr. Morbius to the point that an invisible monster goes out and murders people who go against his wishes. Hence, the Monster from the Id is the dark side of Dr. Morbius himself.

Now, the reason I bring this up is not just to discuss one of my favorite films. I think the parable contained in this film regarding the damage that people can do to one another because of a person’s submerged personality is very relevant to today’s society. In other words, I am thinking that our society in the United States today is very much like the Krell of “Forbidden Planet”. We have created a vast, technological based civilization that is on the verge of getting out of our control. It sometimes seems as if technology must continue to change and advance for its own sake, and not because of any benefits that it may provide to individuals. Our subconscious wishes and desires are finding an outlet in the technology of today. In our case, the technology is the access to vast amounts of information and the ability, with the maturation of the internet, to give individuals a platform by which they can disseminate the information they desire.

Technology, by itself, is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. It just is. It is what people do with this technology and how it affects us as individuals and as groups that is important. It is not clear in my mind that the benefits of this almost unlimited exchange of information and ideas outweighs the harmful effects. Now, I am in no way advocating the restriction of information flow. That is the way to domination of many by a small group. One of the first things that occurs in a country that is run by a authoritarian government is that the government seizes all the newspapers, radio and television stations. What I am saying is that I don’t think we, as a society, have figured out how to counteract the ill effects of this technological beast that we have created.

I cannot help but think of people like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, at the rest of their ilk, as a manifestation of the subconscious id of this country. Their rants, which are given wide circulation because of the money they make for their masters, play directly to the baser instincts of many segments in our population. Racism, bigotry, intolerance, whatever you want, you can probably find it somewhere in the mainstream press now. It used to be that such talk was limited in scope. Now, because of the depth and breadth of the availability of information of all kinds, it appears that ideas that used to be somewhat shameful and not spoken directly are now considered to be “mainstream”. For any idea you care to advance, you can now find a forum. When these ideas are taken up in the national media, then immediately, that idea, however farfetched it may have been in the past, is now just part of the national dialog; one valid viewpoint among many. This cycle contains an element of self-actualization. Information repeated often enough becomes valid, and then it becomes “conventional wisdom”.

This is where Monsters from the Id come about. The monsters live in all of us. For most of us, we can successfully recognize these monsters within ourselves exist and deal with them accordingly. However, a large percentage of our population seems to revel in these monsters. Racism, in the guise of anti-immigration is just one example. Take the following passage from an article in the HuffingtonPost.

Before the massive May 1, 2006, "A Day Without Immigrants" protests, Iowa Representative Steve King (R) declared:

"What would that May 1st look like without illegal immigration? There would be no one to smuggle across our southern border the heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines that plague the United States, reducing the U.S. supply of meth that day by 80%. The lives of 12 U.S. citizens would be saved who otherwise die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day. Another 13 Americans would survive who are otherwise killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals. Our hospital emergency rooms would not be flooded with everything from gunshot wounds, to anchor babies, to imported diseases to hangnails, giving American citizens the day off from standing in line behind illegals. Eight American children would not suffer the horror as a victim of a sex crime."

--snip--

Conservative radio talk show host Neal Boortz does him one better.

"When we yank out the welcome mat, and they all start going back to Mexico, as a going away gift let's all give them a box of nuclear waste.... Tell 'em it'll heat tortillas."



I have a hard time believing that an elected state official would have said something like that back in the 1980’s. Likewise, I am not certain when it became acceptable to say something like Neal Boortz is quoted as saying above. Both statements certainly seem to be a manifestation of the right’s bigotry and hatred of anyone who doesn’t look, act and sound just like them. Are they aware of how stupid and racist their statements make them look? I actually rather doubt it. Just like Dr. Morbius, they are unaware of the underlying issues that are driving to make such statements. Unfortunately, just like Dr. Morbius, they also have access to technology that amplifies their hatred and blasts it out onto a society, many segments of which would rather not acknowledge that such hatred exists in our society.

Monsters from the Id, indeed. We have not found a way to deal with them and, just like the Krell, they may ultimately be our downfall.