Tag Archives: doomsday

Holiday Santacular!

1284487009_bottom_krampusThe Stranger celebrates the holidays with four hours of radio; celebrating New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Saturnalia, and our recent triumph over Doomsday — all in one! We’ll review the past year’s current events, look forward to the progress of tomorrow, and how we might just be doomed after all. Then, we’ll finally get to hear from the fabled South Side Santa once again, to discuss FOX’s War on Christmas and other festive topics, all set to the traditional sounds of Yule.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-12-29: Santacular! by The Stranger on Mixcloud

PSIONIC PLAYLIST
Yuri-G – PJ Harvey
Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis
Teotihuacan -Noel Gallagher
Christmassteps -Mogwai
Sweet Leaf -Black Sabbath
The Little Drummer Boy -Jimi Hendrix
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen -Dio
He Loved Him Madly (Bill Laswell Mix) -Miles Davis
The Stars Are Projectors -Modest Mouse
Something Bells -Daedelus
Winter in America -Gil Scott-Heron
Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring -Leo Kottke
New Year’s Eve – Tom Waits

STRANGER PLAYLIST
In the Hall of the Mountain King – Wagner
O Tannenbaum – They Might Be Giants
Saturn, Bringer of Old Age – New York Philharmonic
Historia Der Geburt Jesu Christi: Recitative: Und Er Stund Auf
Riu, Riu, Chiu
O Viergo Virginum
Winter – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
Sinfonia in G (from ‘Christmas Oratorio’) – Johannes Bach
Sonata: Padouana a 5 – Gabrieli Consort & Players/Paul McCreesh
Sinfonia – Geza Oberfrank & Hungarian Radio Choir & Failoni Chamber Orchestra
Pavane – Pierre Attaingnant
Christe Redemptor a 4 – William Byrd
Die winter ist Verganghen
Crions Noel – Alexander Agricola
A Mery Moode
Robin Hoode – Mr. Ascue
Twenty Waies Upon The Bells – Thomas Robinson
Nowell
Benedicta Es, Coelorum Regina
O vis aeternitatis – Ensemble Für Fruhe Musik Augsburg
Ave Maria – Franz Schubert
Recessional: “In Dulci Jubilo” – Gabrieli Consort & Players/Paul McCreesh
Gloucestershire Wassail – Loreena McKennitt
What Child is This – Vince Guaraldi
I Believe in Father Christmas – Emerson Lake and Palmer
Aud Lan Syne

Our economy won’t grow forever, of course, but we shouldn’t let the maniacs fly us over a cliff of their own making, just because they’re tied to the steering wheel and gas pedal in an insane game of chicken. The bastards will take us all down with them, and the poorest of us will be the first to perish. How’s that for some seasonal tidings?

The Republicans are the worst wagers of this war, and they just don’t care what the nation thinks about them. Their party is in disarray, public opinion of them couldn’t be worse, and they’re still acting like insane, moronic children. They are unfit to govern. While some of them may be beginning to accept reality, they have by and large, “out of touch with the American people,” according to John Weaver, a senior adviser to past presidential candidates John McCain. The polling suggests as much.

And when racists like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are accepting awards from neo-confederate groups, and others are trying to leave the union, they don’t exactly paint a picture of rationality and moderation.

So people are taking matters into their own hands. Homeowners are threatening to foreclose on the banks. People are finding marijuana to be a much better substitute than risky prescription drugs for weaning themselves off of other dangerous addictions. Direct action and reasonable measures may win the day after all.

Even if the FBI spies on and oppresses progressive protest movements like Occupy. Even if that selfsame spy state tightens its grip. Even if so-called progressive leaders expand those powers and reach.

I believe the children are the future. Unfortunately, President Obama has had 178 children murdered in Pakistan and Yemen by U.S. drone strikes. He believes they are the past.

So our future is doomed. We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to take it sitting down.

It wasn’t all bad news, just look at a few of the things that progressives accomplished in 2012:

  1. Historic progress to end the war on drugs.
  2. New fuel efficiency standards.
  3. Young undocumented immigrants received deportation relief.
  4. Anti-LGBT Senate candidates lost, in large numbers.
  5. President Obama endorsed marriage equality.
  6. Voters rejected anti-choice candidates.
  7. Voter suppression lost.
  8. The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare.

This wasn’t just a great year for Marijuana users, but a harrowing one for synthetic drug users who found the legal or quasi-legal stimulants like bath salts to be cheap alternatives to criminalized plants.

By 2012, amphetamine-type stimulants, including synthetic bath salt derivatives, had become more popular worldwide than either cocaine or heroin, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Then again, it was a tough year for labor, with some of the most contentious battles and anxiety-inducing headlines of the year:

  1. Hostess Blames Workers for Bankruptcy Caused by Executives
  2. Right-to-Work Laws Passed by Spiteful Conservatives
  3. Wisconsin Recall of Scott Walker Failed
  4. American Airlines Employees Rally to Protest Cuts
  5. NFL Referees Replaced by Pathetic Scabs
  6. Apple-Foxconn Factory Workers in China Committed Mass Suicide
  7. Chicago Teacher’s Union Strike
  8. Koch Brothers Funnel Billions into Right-Wing Causes and Candidates
  9. Obama Barely Mentions Labor in Debates
  10. WalMart Workers Protest
  11. Bangladesh Factory Fire Kills Workers
  12. Fast-food Workers Strike

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone announced his pick for ‘Biggest Wall Street Story of the Year’ to the massive Libor scandal.

“If it’s true that the 16 biggest banks in the world were fixing global interest rates, then it’s hard not to argue that that’s not the biggest financial corruption case in history,” Taibbi says in a web exclusive for Current TV. “I fully expect that we’ll find out in the end that American banks were involved in this scandal.”

It was also a big year for Anonymous, with their hacktivism against bad copyright laws, censorship, evil religious zealots and police brutality ending up some of the biggest tech news of 2012.

And WIRED collected their top picks for the biggest tech stories in review:

  1. Government Spybots!
  2. Bradley Manning Gets His Day in Court
  3. SOPA and PIPA
  4. Supreme Court Takes a Stand Against Warrantless GPS Tracking
  5. Megaupload Becomes Mega Headache for U.S. Government
  6. Sabu and the Crackdown on Anonymous
  7. Stuxnet and Flame Viruses
  8. Julian Assange Seeks Asylum
  9. Paula and Petraeus Affair
  10. John McAfee On the Lam!

And some of the most outrageous science fiction stories that became science fact in the news!

  1. A Cyborg Competes Against Able-Bodied Athletes at the Olympics
  2. NASA Starts to Work on a Faster-Than-Light Warp Drive
  3. Scientists Enhance the Intelligence of Primates with a Chip
  4. The Earth Experiences its First True Superstorm
  5. The World’s First Cybernetic Hate Crime Occurs at a McDonalds in France
  6. Augmented Reality Goes Mainstream
  7. Researchers Create a Robot With Legs That Can Run Faster Than any Human
  8. The First Successful Commercial Cargo Delivery to Space Goes Off Without a Hitch
  9. An Electric Car is the Year’s Best
  10. Doctors Communicate With a Man in a Coma
  11. The First Large-Scale Geoengineering Project is Detected Off Canada’s West Coast
  12. A Child Attends School By Sending a Robot in His Place
  13. A Paralyzed Woman Controls a Robotic Arm Using Only Her Mind
  14. Self-Driving Cars Become Legal in Three States
  15. Scientists Create an Artificial Retina
  16. Researchers Create the First Complete Computer Model of a Living Organism

And looking forward, here are the civil liberties cases the Supreme Court may tackle in 2013:

  1. Same-Sex Marriage
  2. Federal Voting Rights Authority
  3. Race in University Admissions
  4. Can Corporations Be Sued For Overseas Human Rights Abuses?
  5. Can For-Profit Corporations Patent Human Genes?
  6. Warrantless Drug Searches By Police
  7. Death Penalty Convicts’ Right To Attorneys
  8. Do Right-To-Know Laws Stop At State Lines?

Non-belief in religion grew to the third largest affiliation in the world, The Washington Post writes:

A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world.

The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 32 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent. Close behind are the “nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God — at 1.1 billion, or 16 percent.

This translates to big problems for United States politicians, where around 20% of the electorate are atheist/agnostic. So if you’re religious, don’t bash or exclude those who aren’t. Stand up for separation of church and state. Stand up for marriage equality and reproductive choice. Stand up for science.

Reject the false prophets like Old Paths Baptist Church Pastor Sam Morris, Franklin Graham, Bryan Fischer of the American family Association, James Dobson who proselytize that atheism is to blame for atrocities like school shootings.

This and much worse discrimination against non-believers is prevalent around the world.

This anti-atheist discrimination is severe. It takes the form of being arrested. It takes the form of being imprisoned for years. It takes the form of being targeted by a mob screaming for your blood… and when the police who should be there to protect you show up, instead they throw you in jail in Egypt, Indonesia, Greece, India, Turkey, Tunisia…

It even takes the form of a powerful Christian majority blasting the atheist minority for waging a non-existent ‘War on Christmas.’ A ridiculous prospect anyway, since many of the holiday traditions we love have Pagan roots.

  1. Celebrating the Winter Solstice with Festivals.
  2. Candles & Lights
  3. Trees
  4. Yule Wreaths 
  5. Santa
  6. Mistletoe
  7. Holly 
  8. Feasting! 
  9. Gift Giving
  10. Hearth Fires and Yule Logs

And who is waging the real war on Christmas, when Santa is arrested for chalking good tidings on public sidewalks? He is a dirty liberal, after all. Ignoring supply-side economics to hand out ‘free stuff.’

A new Public Policy Polling survey found that 44 percent of respondents think Santa is a Democrat, while 28 percent believe he’s a Republican.”*

And to all, a good night!

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-12-29: Santacular! by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

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Effortless Conservation for the Modern Man

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” -Charles Darwin

After Rick Santorum’s recent attack on environmental “theology” in the face of such horrific anti-Christian acts (such as Obama’s blocking of billionaire oil profiteering via corrupted or incomplete environmental impact assessments), it behooves us to ask what it truly means, as Santorum biblically puts it, to be the “stewards of nature.”  Indeed, what it means to be a man in relation to nature, and to what degree our own conscience can handle.

With Climate Change Conspiracy Theories taking every shape from outright refusal to accept the hard science, to the denial of man’s influence, from conspiracy-mongering of the “science elite” to the strongly-worded prepared releases of big corporate bullies, it seems humans are happy with the pace of our own extinction. Make no mistake, this is not really about the little pebble orbiting in space known as Earth, or even the temporary handful of species currently threatened, this is about us.

As George Carlin explained, “there is nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference! Difference!”:

Indeed, there are several species which will actually benefit from global warming, from killer whales and albatross to the humble jellyfish, though that has been some debate as to the reasons for the world-threatening massive bloom of jellyfish population.

Or as Paul Gilding more recently explained in his TED Talk:

“Our economy is bigger than its host; our planet. This is not a philosophical statement, this is just science… that we’re living beyond our means.”

“The idea that we can smooth these transitions” through economic difficulties so that “9 billion people can live in 2050 a life of abundance and digital downloads,” he said, is “dangerously wrong.” The system will break down, it will stop working for us, and we’re not doing enough to prepare for that. And it’s not like we haven’t seen it coming. We’ve had 50 years of warnings from scientific analyses. And, if that weren’t enough, we’ve had economic studies showing us that it would be better for us to not to wait—that it will ultimately be even more profitably for us to act sooner—but we’re doing very, very little. Our eyes are still on the short term, whether it’s food, water, or waste.

Or perhaps as Kurt Vonnegut said, “Yes, well, I think we are terrible animals. And I think our planet’s immune system is trying to get rid of us and should.

Like languages, fire, and of course every single thing that lives, we can and will die.

Ignoring our predilection for preserving cute species selectively over others such as mosquitos and cockroaches (both of which, of course, are doing just fine), could it be that some some species (*coughdodocough*) might deserve to die? If an animal like the kakapo is evolved to embarrassing failure with one of the worst reproductive strategies in the Animal Kingdom, should we waste our resources there instead of on other planet-saving ventures? Couldn’t these Australian biologists better spend their time working out the fungal disease decimating the awesome Tasmanian Devil instead of the existentially-challenged Kakapo? Are we doomed to start wondering who and what on the sinking ship is worth saving and who cannot and should not fit in the life boats? And are we even worth saving?

Death is inevitable. Though we do seem in some particular hurry to get there.

There is an inevitability of collapse, the cyclical mass extinction of our own and many other species, swept under the rug by planetary forces. If there’s anything we can do at this point, we should try, and try we must and will. To fight against it seems futile, but our species, as the seemingly most adaptable, needs to adjust to the reality that we are simply animals, apex predators, nothing special, capable of slowing down our ridiculous pace. The same problem that faces deer who overgraze their environment of food, coral that topples under its own weight, or viruses who kill their host. Many animals clearly over-compete and exploit their ecosystem to their fullest for food, though within the wide genetic variance of life we also see species that adapt their methods, preserve their environment, even culling their numbers for long-term survival of the species. We can argue that we are better, more intelligent, more wise, more conscious, more highly adapted than all the rest, but somehow our track record and effortlessness are less than convincing.

And what good will our efforts make, in a modern world spiraling towards total breakdown? Your personal decisions won’t make much of a difference, economist Gernot Wagner argues in a provocative new book, But Will the Planet Notice? How Smart Economics Can Save the World. Instead we need to change our big picture science, tackling large-scale cultural waste issues like traffic congestion.

Technology will create GMOs with optimal nutritional value for starving nations, to replenish the soil as we till it, and attempt to better balance the unsustainable trends we’ve set over the course of hundreds of years. Lab-grown meat will become the norm, not borne of some nagging ethical concerns of animal consciousness, but the necessity of hungry mouths the world over. Future generations, just as selfish and greedy and hungry as every one before, will nonetheless find themselves painted into a tightening corner. We are in their corner now.

Our efforts may not count, but we should still make both large, sweeping policy decisions, and the small furtive steps to reduce our individual carbon footprints. I honestly don’t think that, since we’re all doomed anyway, you should sweat participating in society or having used styrofoam. We can’t all be expected to compost our own feces, or as one all-important issue demands:

To determine if a pesticide contains a neonicotinoid, look at the ingredients: Imidacloprid, acetamiprid, dinotedfuran, clothianidin, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam are all neonicotinoids.

But attempting to grind those gears that are now expediting the end is not a radical concept. If every person were to find that middle ground, accept the crushing weight of impending extinction facing us all, and make small changes accordingly, it would be better than denying it outright (though perhaps less comfortable than ignorance). Nobody is going to pat you on the back for doing the bare minimum, but at least it’s vastly better than what most Americans do, which is nothing.

But remember that if the damage is irreparably done, then we are just part of nature taking its course. No need to feel bad about our own extinction.