Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Whisperer In Darkness, some funny aspects

H.P. Lovecraft - The Whisperer In Darkness

So let's enumerate some things:
-pinkish, crab-like aliens with bat-like wings fly through the ether and reach Earth
-they supposedly mine rocks from Earth
-they are "the old ones", so they're far older than the race of man
-Lovecraft insists via his characters (including his main character who starts out as a rational man, but does quickly a 180 and becomes a crackpot) that these crab-like ancient aliens have human-like agents working for them, that they possess psychic powers
-they come from the unknown parts of the world/universe, parts which AUTOMATICALLY in Lovecraft's mind, must be places of "cosmic horror" and any attempt to understand such places or see such places is AUTOMATICALLY blasphemous & will bring insanity to the human mind 

Now comes the fun part:
-dogs, apparently, are able to keep these creatures at bay
-though these aliens are far older than man & more powerful, they apparently haven't learned by now how to properly use their wings to fly on Earth - but they're learning to improve their flight as the dull & static exchange of letters between the two men drags on for ages
-a flood can kill these eldritch "horrors"
-Lovecraft repeats around 5 to 6 times why the bloke doesn't want to leave the cabin, because that's the place of his cherished childhood and where 6 generations lived; Lovecraft seems to press so much this (bullshit) motivation in order to defend/explain why the character chooses to remain alone, with his dogs, suffering bullet attacks against his home & aliens "closing in" on him - instead of fleeing for a safe life to live with his son

-There's nothing remotely cosmic about all of this. Indeed, there's nothing horrific about it as well. The bulk of the story is one non-sequitur after another. It seems like a bad episode of (pseudo-documentary) Ancient Aliens - granted, ahead of that series by many decades & fatalistic without any sort of good argument, whilst the people on the Ancient Aliens show are very lively and optimistic. I'm only familiar with Call of Cthulhu, The Horror at Red Hook, The Whisperer in Darkness, and The Thing on the Doorstep - and only the latter I enjoyed (the lovely voice actor Wayne June helped a lot). For a further LOL, unrelated to this particular story, Lovecraft's inspiration for The Horror at Red Hook was this:
Lovecraft referred to the area's immigrant population by referring to Red Hook as "a maze of hybrid squalor".[3] He spelled out his inspiration for "The Horror at Red Hook" in a letter written to fellow writer Clark Ashton Smith:

The idea that black magic exists in secret today, or that hellish antique rites still exist in obscurity, is one that I have used and shall use again. When you see my new tale "The Horror at Red Hook", you will see what use I make of the idea in connexion with the gangs of young loafers & herds of evil-looking foreigners that one sees everywhere in New York.[4] 

We can only imagine what inspiration Lovecraft would have if he were alive today, with this whole Syrian refugee crisis.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

An iron standard where iron is scarce as gold

Let's consider this scenario. What if iron - an absolutely seminal resource for industry, commerce, and human life in general, let alone modern or contemporary living standards - was in scarce supply as gold, and governments around the world would operate under an iron standard? Governments would allow their IOUs recorded in paper or electronic entries to be converted into iron on demand. What would happen?
1- I doubt we'd have modern electronic banking in this world/history scenario to begin with.
2- It would be expensive as HELL to use iron in industry, because everyone is using it as medium for debt or money (money & debt are the same thing). Because people are using this seminal & scarce (commodity) iron to pay taxes, to transact, and to save.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Palestine wins approval to fly its flag at the UN

119 voted in favour, 8 against led by Israel & USA - 45 abstentions

Bernie Sanders is too right wing to be a socialist

It's a letter to the International Socialist Organization's Socialist Worker as part of a discussion on whether to support Bernie Sanders's campaign. This radical, Jay Moore, crossed paths politically with Sanders many times in Vermont.
A booster for U.S. imperialism
I HAVE lived and been an activist in Vermont for the past 30 years, during which time I closely followed Bernie Sanders' political career that has led him from Burlington mayor to U.S. congressman to U.S. senator to presidential candidate.
Over those years, I have had a number of direct encounters with him. I can tell you from my experience that Bernie is (1) a very rude human being (which makes it hard to understand how he has been a successful politician) and (2) has never been part of the social-change movements here in Vermont, and has often been at odds with us, particularly when it concerned wars and other international issues--most recently, the savage Israeli attack on Gaza.
My first experience with Bernie came shortly after he was elected mayor, and I moved to Burlington partly on that basis. It came while I was participating in a Central American solidarity action at a General Electric Gatling Gun factory in the early 1980s in support of peasants in El Salvador and Nicaragua against whom the machine guns mounted on helicopters were being used.
One would have expected, and I certainly did at the time, that Bernie--back then, much more of an "avowed socialist" than he is today--would have supported our civil disobedience protests to rid the "Peoples Republic of Burlington" from this odious human rights blot. Burlington had a sister city in Nicaragua.
But Bernie did not. Instead, I vividly remember Bernie standing arms-folded alongside the right-wing union officials from the factory and the Burlington Police Department as we were being arrested. He falsely insinuated that we were "anti-worker," and he refused to have any serious political dialogue with us activists. Bernie next made cozy with the cops and their union, who endorsed him in his future mayoral elections.
To my knowledge, Bernie has never spoken out against U.S. imperialism, calling it for what it is--namely, the foundation of upper-class profits and middle-class privileges in the belly of the beast. Down through the years as a politician, he has waffled at best on opposing U.S. wars against the developing world and other people who are deviating from what our rulers want. To his credit, Bernie did vote against the Iraq wars (though this was not a particularly courageous stand to take given how many other members of Congress did the same), but he has not consistently voted against the military funding legislation that made these wars possible.
Moreover, back in 1999, he was an enthusiastic supporter of Bill Clinton's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. At that time, I was a member of a group of angry and upset peace activists, including Dave Dellinger, who held a sit-in at Bernie's Burlington office and were arrested after Bernie refused to speak with us. At that same time, one of Bernie's Washington staff, the labor historian and activist Jeremy Brecher, wrote a stinging open letter explaining why he could not continue to work for and represent a politician who would take that kind of pro-war position.
In the last couple of years, a huge battle has taken place in Burlington and surrounding towns over the Pentagon's plan to station the new F-35 warplane boondoggle at the Burlington Airport. A large and diverse movement came together to oppose it, based on everything from the noise level for those who have to live under its takeoff to its contribution to militarism and global warming. Did Bernie stand with the people's movement? No, he has supported the F-35 to the hilt, standing instead with the area's military types.
Last fall, when members of Code Pink and Occupy confronted him about his failure to oppose Israel's attack on the Gaza civilian population, Bernie took an evasive liberal position, criticizing the Palestinians who were resisting as much or more than the Zionists. He then called the police on us.
Yes, I will freely admit that Bernie can talk a good talk about economic inequities and the need to redress them. He's definitely on the mark there. An Occupier can agree. While never much of an environmentalist, he has even added a bit about global warming to the end of his standard populist stump speech. (When I knew him as Burlington's mayor, he was all in favor of letting developers take over the public lands on Burlington waterfront--which fortunately was stopped due to actions by Green activists with whom he could never get along.) However, is that enough?
In my view, we need to be clear--especially if we are socialists--about the strong linkages between what capitalism does overseas and here at home, and we need to stand firmly in solidarity with all of those people who are opposing U.S. imperialism and call for no more military spending that is being used to kill and repress them. I will certainly not waste my vote on a politician who does not take that stand.
As importantly, we need to be building revolutionary movements to take power away from the ruling class, not campaigning for politicians who invariably let us down with their promises of reforms.
Jay Moore, Marshfield, Vermont