Duck! and Gather

Archive for February 2008

I started this blog back in 2003 with what became my first essay: The Fourth Turning Predicts People vs. Corporations. From those humble beginnings, this blog and site have ranged far and wide.

Now here comes Ralph Nader inserting himself into the presidential race. What’s his platform? Check out Nader’s site. His platform is right there up front: “Which side are you on?” On the left (black) side of the page: Corporations. On the right (white) side: People.

Like John Edwards before him, Nader is raising the People vs. Corporations issue squarely in front of the nation. But unlike Edwards, who needed to win primaries to keep these ideas in the news, Nader can keep doing so so long as the press and/or the candidates don’t completely ignore him.

I think, at a personal level, Nader is an asshole — a self-styled “messiah” figure like Obama. Likes himself just a bit too much.

But I’m glad he’s in the race. I hope he puts some pressure on Obama to come out and say more unequivocally where he stands. As Nader points out, Obama’s voting record has been rather big-Corporation-friendly.

Over a year ago, I posted a blog called Barack Obama as Anti-Corporate?. The question mark at the end of the title means I wasn’t quite sure, but it seemed that way.

Well, here’s hoping that Nader’s presence in the campaign brings that question into the open, and settles it once and for all.

… this blog and podcast is nothing more than some intellectual masturbation (actually, that’s what I called it last year), validation has arrived.

Indeed, the Duck! and Gather stock has been upgraded from “curious and a tad strange” to “quasi-legitimate”. The event which caused this upgraded rating is the publication of a book that actually cites one of postings on this site.

The book is Millennial Makeover by Morley Winograd and Michael Hais.

A part of page 86 of that book cites and discusses the following Duck! and Gather posting: American Turnings and Music (2 of 4): My Model.

Well, as you can see, this site has now hit the big time. So be warned that I might just start taking a little more than 5 or 6 seconds to respond to your comments. 🙂

This blog is where I discuss semi-random theories of mine about American society, politics, sports, etc. — all with an eye toward a predicted impending collapse and coming renewal.

I suppose I also talk a bit about my unfinished book Personality and the Brain here too.

In addition, I started up a website called Holonation a year ago. Among other things Holonation is a community blog. There, I (and others) discuss theories and pose questions on health, both physical and mental.

One interesting dynamic with Holonation is that users are finally starting to sign up who were not contacted my me or by friends of me and it turns out … they’re all women! Indeed, over 80% of the (small) Holonation user-base seems to be women.

Contrast that with the folks who read this blog and/or listen to the accompanying podcast. Except for my sister Kathy (who doesn’t count for these statistics), I suspect that the vast majority of Duck! and Gather readers are men.

Then for Personality and the Brain, interest seems to be split pretty evenly along gender.

When I get a chance, I’ll try to get rigorous on these statistics.

Anyway, if you’re in the mood for some Oprah-like dialog (albeit from a man), here’s a blog I just posted on Holonation: Transforming Grief into Joy.


Another current story of interest to me is the Kosovo declaration of independence last Sunday, and the world response to it. I suppose it interests me for the same reason I am writing to you in English. In other words, it’s what I know.

What I mean is that my “ethnicity”, if I had one, which I don’t feel, would be Serb on my father’s side, and Greek on my mother’s. I don’t count my Canadian birth and upbringing as bearing “ethnic” significance since Canada is the same glorious ethnic polyglot mish-mash void that is America. Further, I am a citizen of Greece (I became one a couple of years ago because we own some land over there) so I’m kind of up on the region.

This is why I am quite interested in Kosovo, but less interested in Palestine, North Ossetia, Taiwan, Quebec, or any of the other ethnically-defined enclaves around the world.

Where do I stand on the happenings in Kosovo this week? In short, I wish I had some free cash to throw into gold (even with it trading over $900). When I find myself agreeing with the Russians, Chinese, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Romanians on this one (i.e. this is a Pandora’s box for the U.S. and the EU), I know it’s time to buy gold (the price of which serves as a barometer of social fear).

Basically, I would like to see the world follow America’s lead on ethnicity and do away with the bloody concept altogether. Let’s define ourselves first and foremost as humans, and do away with false rigid divisions of race, gender, ethnicity, etc. Sure, these are real differences that exist among us humans. But IMHO, these differences shouldn’t serve as bases for politically or commercially dividing us.

That is how we live in America. Ethno-centrism is dead. And, as far as I remember, save for Quebec, the same goes for Canada. It’s a wonderful way to live. No ethnic baggage to lug around.

Of course, pretty much the rest of the world outside of the U.S. and Canada (and maybe Australia and a few others) does in fact define itself ethnically. Just look at the 27 members of the EU. Same currency. But among the various countries of the EU, there are different ethnic cultures — cultures defined by language, food, history, myth, personality, heroes, sports, etc.. These different cultures define the different nations. This is true for all EU nations, including the ones that rushed to recognize Kosovo: UK, France, Germany, and Italy.

The main difference between those four, and the small-fry EU countries who oppose Kosovo independence (Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania) is that four are “big guys” who run the EU show and have no fear that their own ethnic minorities will get uppity, whereas the small-fry do have this fear.

As for the rest of the EU (Finland, Netherlands, etc, etc.), they’re keeping their heads down waiting to see how it all plays out.

What I find most comical about it all is the childish hypocrisy. Sure, the ethnic Albanian Kosovars represent 90% of the population, and sure, they have a long history of subjugation by the ethnic Serbs who used to “own” Kosovo until last Sunday. And sure, my sentiments go with these Albanian Kosovars with respect to their desire to throw off a regime categorically prejudiced against them.

Yes, I am aware of the Serb arguments about the Albanian latecomers, their high birth rate, the Muslim “terrorism” of the KLA, and so on. But those thoughts don’t move me.

What does interest me is the insistence by the EU leaders and the U.S. that Kosovo is unique in the world. This is wishful thinking. The world is full of ethnically-defined enclaves lying within the borders of a nation defined by a different ethnicity, where that minority enclave has been, to one degree or another, subjugated by the majority. This is not merely the world as it is today, but the world as it has been throughout most of recorded history. The EU and U.S. calling Kosovo “unique” is one of those “doth protest too loud” claims that lets you know they are trying to hide something.

A parallel dynamic happened with the Iraq war in 2003. The U.S. was determined to start that war, and with the support only of the U.K. and some half-hearted support from a handful of others, went ahead and started that war by itself. Five years later, look at where the U.S. and the world is on that score.

Kosovo is to diplomacy what Iraq was to war. Iraq was a “pre-emptive” “cowboy taking the law into his own hands” war. Recognition of Kosovo by the EU leaders and the U.S. is “pre-emptive” “cowboy taking the law into his own hands” diplomacy.

The Iraq war was not about WMDs (even though Sadam had tried), but really about oil (Iraq is top-5 in the world for oil reserves), “military-industrial complex” profits (see, e.g., Haliburton, Black Water, Carlyle Group, etc.), and Israel (read about the political power of AIPAC). (Sidebar: Boy, it really feels good in 2008 to say what we really think. Save for the Israel angle, the above is what I thought back in 2003, but didn’t write about, cause, you know, the political climate was a tad chilly in 2003.)

In the same way, the recognition of Kosovo is not about the emancipation of a subjugated group (even though the Kosovars were exactly that), but really about some “interested plan” of the EU and the U.S.

But what interested plan? This is where I’m stumped. Serbs will claim it’s because the US wants military bases in Kosovo. That seems dubious to me because I don’t think the US is short for countries in the region willing to give us military bases.

As for the EU leaders, I cannot believe they are so “stupid” to think that Kosovo is or even will be interpreted around the world as “unique”, or that its “pre-emptive” recognition of Kosovo will make Europe and the world safer. But if those claims are all fluff, what really is the EU after here?

Kosovo is a landlocked patch of Balkan turf the size of Connecticut. What’s in it for the EU? For the US?

Technically, being a citizen of Greece, I’m actually an EU citizen too. So I’m a citizen (pending) of the US and of the EU. But for the life of me, I have no idea what these Great Powers are thinking here.

As for Obama who came out in support for the recognition, it’s got me thinking a little more about that guy. I still believe he is far and away the best candidate for America. I believe that Clinton or McCain would be a disaster for the country, but that Obama might help preserve the Union.

Yet I’ve read some scathing progressive critiques of Obama — i.e. claiming he’s some sort of Manchurian candidate for big business and/or big government. I’m dubious about those sorts of claims, but when I see him coming out in favor of Kosovo recognition, my dubious-ness drops a couple points.

So I was surfing for stories on Steven Kazmierczak and SSRIs when I came across Illinois Shooter was Treated with Psych Meds Prior to Shooting Rampage written by some fellow named Mike Adams. Finding myself agreeing with upwards of 90% of the “far out” things Mr. Adams says in that piece, I figured I’d try surfing to learn more about the author.

Since I launched this blog in late 2004, whenever I have come across someone espousing the sort of off-the-wall ideas about which I write and speak here, almost invariably that person turns out to seem sort of weird.

Of course, when just about everybody who agrees with your own unconventional ideas is weird, than can mean only one thing about you: You are weird. And indeed I am. Just ask my wife.

Anyway, weird me goes looking to find out a little about Mike Adams. Turns out, he’s the self-proclaimed Health Ranger. He looks to be a fellow in supreme health, quite pleased with himself about that, and eager to share his good news.

I ask myself: Who does that sound like? It sounds like me! Mike being Mike, he starts up his Health Ranger business. Me being me, I start up Holonation.

Finally, check out his Health Tips. That’s my life right there.

Kind of interesting that this fellow has pretty much the same unconventional approach to health as I do, and also seems to harbor some of the the same unconventional thoughts about Steven Kazmierczak and even the coming collapse of America. Gotta love the web.

Steven Kazmierczak is the latest infamous school shooter. This time, the campus police responded within minutes, thus keeping the body count down to a “low” 6.

The odd thing about this case is that Mr. Kazmierczak was not odd. He wasn’t an anti-social wierdo. He wasn’t one of those kids who made other people feel uncomfortable (e.g. Mr. Cho).

On the contrary, Mr. Kazmierczak is universally described as having been kind, considerate, accomplished, highly intelligent, warm, raised by a stable loving family, etc, etc.

This case caught my interest due to this obvious non sequitur (i.e. wonderful guy goes psycho).

Over the past four years, I’ve cited the school-shooting epidemic as part of a larger social pathology that includes serial killings, “going postal”, abortion as birth control, and the like. I’ve lumped all of these pathologies together as natural symptoms of a diseased, irresponsible, collapsing society.

That is, I’ve argued that our post-modern oil-based life within a country that has virtually no cultural glue binding us together has no precedent in recorded history, and is entirely unsustainable. The human animal is not meant to live the way we live today in America, where:

  • none of us is responsible for the resources that keep us alive (e.g. food, water, health-care, shelter, heating, etc.) and we don’t even know the people who produce them, and
  • we have no culture — no national food, beliefs, myths, heroes, etc. — that binds us together (indeed the only common trait shared by any two randomly chosen Americans is the belief that each is free — i.e. none of us is necessarily bound to anyone else)

I believe that the above conditions make America ripe for the greatest collapse in modern history. I believe that we are currently in the final preliminary days of “normalcy”. And in these “normal” days, guys like Steven Kazmierczak are a dime a dozen.

But, actually, Steven Kazmierczak was not dime a dozen. Not that nice, well-raised, bright, promising, etc., etc., kid. No, there has to be something else there beyond the broader national unraveling dynamic.

Dig a little on the Internet, and the answer is obvious: It’s the SSRIs, stupid.

Strange that I missed that angle until just now. For four years on this site, Big Pharma has served as my “poster child” of the sort of old corporate industry that emerged 50+ years ago as a blindingly useful industry. But over the decades, and up through today, that industry has transformed itself into a deadly scourge that is killing us.

I won’t bore you now with examples of the last statement (read, e.g., my About page) — other than to point you to the link above for one example. Click it and dive in.

The biggest “story” of the Steven Kazmierczak incident is the story told by this link– a story that no major media is yet touching. None of them. That silence tells you all you need to know about the major media.

As my dear readers and listeners have noticed, from time to time I digress and expand on a topic of little interest to many of you (e.g. Sean). But as I have pleaded, my purpose for doing so has been to illuminate parallel dynamics within American consciousness.

As I have explained previously, I see sports as an allegory of American life. Just as young children are mirrors of the family life in which they grow up, American sports are mirrors of the culture (such that is) in which they perform. So for, example, I’ve pointed out that since 9/11, the champions of the three major sports (baseball, basketball, and football) have been “team” teams, not “star” teams.

The only exception to this was in 2006 when the Miami team “won” the the NBA title, and the Pittsburgh team “won” Superbowl XL*. Back then, I argued that those two seemingly model-breaking events actually were the exceptions that proved the rule. In other words, I entitled the accompanying podcast “Revenge of the Sports Corporations.”

So we come to last night’s Superbowl between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. What about America’s future can we read in the tea leaves of that game? Here is my quick answer:

1. Life is lived in the flesh, not on paper

The New England team was favored by 12-14 points in Vegas. They ended up losing by 3. Paper did not match the flesh. Why?

New England won the Superbowl of January 2002. That was the first of three Superbowls that New England would win over the ensuing six years. But they didn’t just win in 2002. Instead, that team hearkened the dawning of the new epoch in America (i.e. community over star individuals).

Since 2002, the New England team has “talked the talk” of this new epoch. I won’t bore you with all the details which show how they elevated the community (team) over the individual star. But what last night’s game showed me is that it is one thing to speak the truth; it is altogether another thing to live it.

The New England team of last night talked it. The New York Giants walked it. In the new epoch, walking trumps talking.

2. Look to the children, for the children will lead us

Children say the darndest things that embarrass the adults. This is because babies are born staring straight at the truth, and it takes many years to be taught how to spin and falsify the truth. The coming epoch will be a time of great, frightening change. Adults will have a hard time with it, being married to their own false consciousness. But the children will go with the flow.

And so the new and better ways of life will come from the children, not the adults. I know that seems hard to believe today when some of the children are named Lindsay and Britney and … (I’m drawing a blank to come up with more — I don’t have a TV). But history says it will be so.

So let me quote what Eli Manning said after last night’s game. After all the plays and non-plays by “adults” (i.e. the “knowns”) like Brady, Moss, Harrison, Seau, Thomas, Welker, Strahan, Burress, Toomer, and Manning, the game defining ones were made by the children (i.e. lesser knowns or unknowns) with names like Tuck.

As Manning said last night after the victory: “I’ve got two words for you: David Tyree.”

The lesson for the new epoch: listen to the children.

3. Jesus was a nice guy; Christ is a myth

In the new epoch, false messiahs will arise. As I have argued in my “All Hail the Messiah Obama” series, I believe Obama is just such a false messiah. But read that series! I strongly support Obama for president (I just voted for him this morning in California’s primary — actually, my wife let me check off her ballot).

I believe that, circa 2008, Americans are children who cannot yet think and act for themselves. Just as children need the guiding hand of a truth-speaking adult, so we Americans need proxy inspiration from the false messiah Obama.

And still, just as healthy children grow up to learn that their parents are not God (nor the Devil), so we Americans will need to grow up to learn how to talk and walk the truth for ourselves. In the new epoch, self reliance will be the rule. Nobody will be pulling your ass out of the fire. You’ll be doing it yourself or you’ll burn.

Thus I come to Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England team. In the months, and weeks, and days leading up to last night’s game, Brady was presented to us as Christ. Last night, we saw that he is no Christ (and, trust me, if Tom Brady isn’t Chirst, nobody is); instead, he’s just Jesus.

As Jesus, Tom Brady shits and his shit stinks, and he struggles (even just a bit) when the pressure gets too high, even for an extraordinary chap like him.

The lesson for the new epoch is: Don’t pray to anyone but yourself; and while you’re at it, don’t pray to yourself too much either.

for the money has gone too far

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February 2008