As of March 2010, Google is no longer supporting FTP publishing of it's Blogger blogs. Therefore I will be consolidating all of my blogs into a single front page format that I will be experimenting with and changing from time to time until I find something I like.
A Change of Format Since Google will no longer be supporting FTP to private servers for Blogger, I will be discontinuing all of the current blogs I've been updating on this site using Blogger (25 of them!). Instead I will be consolidating all of my posts into a single WordPress blog that I am now using for all ongoing posts. I have kept the categories the same as the names of the previous blogs for continuity.
From early in 1999 through February of 2010 a couple of friends and I posted over 1,000,000 words on more than 1,000 pages here at MatrixMasters.com., and all of that previously posted material will remain here and will be searchable. Unfortunately, the comments were lost when their hosting provider closed their doors. So we move onward and upward once again. ... the new blog format is now available via our new home page. ... see you there!
The Virtual Viet Nam Veterans' Memorial Wall The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC honors the fallen of the Vietnam War. Relatives and friends leave letters, poems, and photographs there and on this web site named The Virtual Wall ®. We bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to your home.
... This is an amazing site, particularly for anyone who has ever been to The Wall.
NOTE: THIS IS SATIRE FROM THE ONION ... but it is more truthful than most news. [CLICK the link above for the complete version.]
The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct. . . . What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy. . . . "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this-this so-called 'money'-really matters at all." . . . "It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless." . . . According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally shouted out, "Oh my God, he's right. It's all a mirage. All of it-the money, our whole economy-it's all a lie!"
Our Democracy No Longer Works and the Problem Is Congress (Lawrence Lessig, The Nation,February 9, 2010) a year into the presidency of Barack Obama, it is already clear that this administration is an opportunity missed. Not because it is too conservative. Not because it is too liberal. But because it is too conventional. . . . Obama handed the architecture of his new administration over to a team that thought what America needed most was another Bill Clinton. A team chosen by the brother of one of DC's most powerful lobbyists, and a White House headed by the quintessential DC politician. A team that could envision nothing more than the ordinary politics of Washington--the kind of politics Obama had called "small." A team whose imagination--politically--is tiny. . . . This administration has not "taken up that fight." Instead, it has stepped down from the high ground the president occupied on January 20, 2009, and played a political game no different from the one George W. Bush played, or Bill Clinton before him. Obama has accepted the power of the "defenders of the status quo" and simply negotiated with them. . . . The US Congress has become the Fundraising Congress. And it answers--as Republican and Democratic presidents alike have discovered--not to the People, and not even to the president, but increasingly to the relatively small mix of interests that fund the key races that determine which party will be in power. . . . This is corruption. Not the corruption of bribes, or of any other crime known to Title 18 of the US Code. Instead, it is a corruption of the faith Americans have in this core institution of our democracy. The vast majority of Americans believe money buys results in Congress (88 percent in a recent California poll). And whether that belief is true or not, the damage is the same. The democracy is feigned. A feigned democracy breeds cynicism. Cynicism leads to disengagement. Disengagement leaves the fox guarding the henhouse. . . . The need to reform Congress has left Obama's rhetoric. The race to dicker with Congress in the same way Congress always deals is now the plan. Symbolic limits on lobbyists within the administration and calls for new disclosure limits for Congress are the sole tickets of "reform." . . . We can't just putter along anymore. Our government is, as Paul Krugman put it, "ominously dysfunctional" just at a time when the world desperately needs at least competence. . . . The Reagan right wants less government and a simpler tax system. The progressive left wants better healthcare and a stop to global warming. Each side views these issues as critical, either to the nation (the right) or to the globe (the left). But what both sides must come to see is that the reform of neither is possible until we solve our first problem first--the dependency of the Fundraising Congress. . . . This dependency will perpetually block reform of any kind, since reform is always a change in the status quo, and it is defense of the status quo that the current corruption has perfected.
Where are the Comments? For the past few years now, we have been hosting our Comments for MatrixMasters.com with Haloscan.com. They crashed and disappeared. However, they claimed that for a small fee the comments could be transferred to Echo at js-kit.com (whoever that is).
Unfortunately, the Echo conversion simply doesn't work, and their alleged backup of the comments didn't happen either. So unless a miracle happens, the past 10 years of your comments are gone forever.
Eventually I'll get a Comments feature working some other way and start over with them. But to be honest, I'm a little discouraged about the whole thing, and I'm not in a mood to begin working on rebuilding the comments on 16 blogs right now.
The fifth tributary that helped to create our deluge of disaster is both a cause and an effect of America's social breakdown. This is the numbing of Americans with psychotropic drugs. In 2006, Americans, who make up approximately 6 percent of the world's population, consumed 66 percent of the world's supply of antidepressants. In 2002, more than 13 percent of Americans were taking Prozac alone. Prozac is one of thirty available antidepressants. Anti-anxiety drugs, such as Zoloft, are so widely prescribed that in the year 2005, the $3.1 billion sales of Zoloft exceeded the sales for Tide detergent.
Many of these drugs, which are also called "cosmetic drugs" or "life-enhancing drugs," are diagnosed for loneliness, sadness, life transitions, or concentration on task performance. They have been "normalized" through extensive direct-to-consumer advertising and marketing to doctors who are financially rewarded for recommending them to colleagues. Regulations that once restrained the widespread promotion and sales of these powerful drugs have been relaxed to the point of near nonexistence. The United States is the only Western nation that permits direct-to-consumer drug advertising. We are also the only nation without price controls on drugs. Psychiatric drugs are so ubiquitous that the pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry in America, and antidepressants are their most profitable products.
[COMMENT by Lorenzo: Virtually all of those drugs could be replaced by one you grow yourself, cannabis. And that is why it's "illegal", because it will take away from the profits of the corporations who are bribing Congress and the White House to do their bidding.]
Big Brother and Google, A New Partnership (Jaikumar Vijayan, Computerworld, February 4, 2010) Apparently, Google's "Do no harm" motto is no more, because by interconnecting with NSA we now have the world's largest electronic spy organization reading your Gmail and seeing where you've been surfing. I simply don't believe Google's claim that privacy will be protected.
"Google and N.S.A. are entering into a secret agreement that could impact the privacy of millions of users of Google's products and services around the world," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based policy group." . . . Privacy advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the National Security Agency (NSA) asking for details on the agency's purported partnership with Google Inc. on cybersecurity issues. ... In a separate action that was also taken today, EPIC filed a lawsuit against the NSA and the National Security Council, seeking more information on the NSA's authority over the security of U.S. computer networks. ... EPIC's FOIA request relating to Google was filed after a story in the Washington Post about an impending partnership between Google and the NSA on cybersecurity issues. ... The Post reported that the NSA and Google are in the process of finalizing an agreement under which the NSA will help Google better defend itself against cyberattacks.
[ALSO see: Why Google is working in cahoots with America's spooks.] The NSA's recent history has been inglorious: warrantless wiretapping scandal still continues, as well as allegations that it monitored internet use by customers of America's biggest telecoms company, AT&T. ... the Washington Post story says that "the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information"
Are you paying attention? We're being robbed! (Robert Reich, Alternet, 02 February 2010) The notorious Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) began with a virtual blank check from Congress. Treasury officials then secretly decided which companies were to receive hundreds of billions of dollars. Why these particular entities were chosen and not others remains a mystery. For months, the Treasury didn't even disclose the identities of the major banks that giant insurer AIG repaid with its bailout money – 100 cents on each dollar AIG owed them. . . . The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, has gone far beyond its traditional role of setting short-term interest rates. It has bought up massive amounts of debt – mortgage debt, Treasury bills, and debt instruments emanating several public agencies, many of them supporting a wide range of private entities. No one outside the Fed knows the ultimate beneficiaries of all this government backing, the criteria used by the Fed for making these commitments, or even how much debt the Fed is buying.
Air Force Academy Gives Pagans, Druids and Wiccans Place To Worship (DAN ELLIOTT, Huffington Post, 02/01/10) The Air Force Academy has set aside an outdoor worship area for Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and other Earth-centered believers, school officials said Monday. ... A double circle of stones atop a hill on the campus near Colorado Springs has been designated for the group, which previously met indoors. ... "Being with nature and connecting with it is kind of the whole point," said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, who sponsors the group and describes himself as a Pagan. "It will dramatically improve that atmosphere, the mindset and the actual connection." ... The stones were moved to the hilltop last year because erosion threatened to make them unstable in their previous location near the visitors center. Crews arranged them in two concentric circles because they thought it would be a pleasant place for cadets to relax, Longcrier said. ... When Longcrier and academy chaplains were looking for an outdoor worship space, they discovered one already existed in the form of the circles. ... Lt. Col. William Ziegler, one of the academy's chaplains, said designating the space is part of the school's effort to foster religious tolerance and to defend the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. ... "It's about our commitment as airmen to protect freedom and defend freedom. To me this is a freedom thing," he said. ... The school also has worship facilities for Protestant and Catholic Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.
Daniel Ellsberg ... American Hero This movie will be coming out soon. Whether or not you know or care anything about the American war in Viet Nam, this story will still inspire you to learn more about what else you haven't been taught in the public school system.
My lifeline to sanity Although I don't get The Daily Show on TV, I watch it on Hulu. And I have to admit that if it wasn't for Jon Stewart I think I'd give up hope. He is most definitely the Walter Cronkite of this age.
The Obama "Brand" You know, that sad part to me is that I even though I have never met him, I feel as if I would really like Barack Obama. But he has been such a disappointment to me, ever since his first big reversal on FISA in the summer of 2008, that I can no longer support him ... mainly because I no longer believe him. What a great president he could be if only he did what he said he was going to do. ... The link above will take you to the full article, but the following first paragraph says it all:
Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, armies of corporate lobbyists grease the palms of our elected officials, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia, and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, this product is duping us into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest.
Why there is a War on "Drugs" "War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair.... waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact." --George Orwell, 1984