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The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

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People of Earth: I come in peace... [Nov. 18th, 2004|07:14 pm]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

[mood |aight]
[music |Ween - Ooh Va La]

What is it that empowers our consumptive impulses beyond all others in this Universe? By saying “our”, I am indicating the entire United States. As a benchmark of consumer culture, we are certainly second-to-none. This is clearly an undisputed truth. Material items—phones that play hip-hop ring tones to automobiles—permeate society to the point of necessity. All of these things require considerable energy to operate. We know that and, as Americans, are often aware of that fact in varying degrees of acceptance. Some are concerned about the so called “energy crisis” while others see it as purely economical, fearing rising energy costs. In the end I assert that both views are still shortsighted and ultimately futile to create change. Simply acknowledging a crisis or lamenting over economic woes will not alter the individual behaviors that drive consumption. While I concede that truly making sense of this phenomenon is subject to the same fate as monuments sand architecture built too close to the ever-present surf, it is possible to catch a glimpse of some resemblance of truth as to what really occurs in society with regard to energy consumption. Most of us dislike the idea of attempting to construct a puzzle during a hurricane, especially when the puzzle it set on a little coffee table in the most intense region of said storm. But there is something invigorating in just a glimpse of order and the beautiful complexity of interacting social phenomenon that make such investigation worth it before it all is blown away, and what is left is an eroded view of truth that gives rise to new questions.

But that is enough metaphorical bullshit for any legitimate inquiry into energy consumption. Perhaps the biggest issue is the oversimplification environmental issues combined with a lack of actual compassion or care in the individual. Mitigated by a set of very loud, very connected voices and interests groups trying to manipulate public sentiments and behaviors, concerns about environment are basically reduced to a mess. Those who stand to lose economically from true environmental responsibility downplay evidence while those overzealous, tree hugging folks we like to ridicule tend to exaggerate and sensationalize issues to gain support. Ultimately, both sides are at fault. It is my belief, however, that these public voices should not matter in the context of an issue with such global importance as environment. Instead, the actions are beliefs of individuals are what shape the action of society as a while. Americans are not the sole purveyors of environmental damage, but I feel it is necessary to accept personal accountability to make any progress. Earth is its own contained biological entity. It is a delicate balance of natural forces all contained within a responsive and dynamic choreography of events. Earth is a marvel, but it is not invincible. So for all intents and purposes, let’s first establish that there might be a problem with how Americans live.

For millions of years, a complex and diverse system of organisms have been killing, exploiting, and competing with one another to remain alive. To be sure, investigation of the natural world reveals both the elegant and serene as well as the gruesome and cutthroat. What made the relentless competition of organisms more or less fair, for roughly 3.5 billion years, was that no organism had an obvious advantage over all others such that its actions infiltrated all areas of life. Rewind just an instant in Earth’s 4 billion year history to the appearance of the first human species just roughly 2 million years ago, and it is quite easy to see that much has changed in a very short time. This is likened to, for all you sports fans, the last two seconds of play. It is the last quarter-mile of the Indianapolis 500. Of the whole football game, and all of the interactions that occur during it or the entire race and all of the moments that compose it, speaking of human existence is merely speaking about the last two seconds or the last quarter-mile. In that time, we’ve grown from a relatively small-numbered species to over 6 billion. Human population levels stayed consistently well below a couple hundred thousands for the majority of human existence, until the advent of farming. Numbers spiked slightly. It was a mild cause for celebration in the overall scheme of endurance of human life. What nobody could have predicted was what happened when oil and coal appeared as energy sources. Industrialization, a time period that represents roughly the last ten thousandth of a second of play in a football game or the last 4 inches of the Indy 500, accounts for an over one million percent increase in human population. Just the amount of biological materials consumed to fuel such an explosion is nearly unfathomable. A graph of human population looks unnatural, as the line dangerously hugs each axis.

How can massive amounts of evolutionary success hurt us? I can’t argue that it is right or wrong. All I can say is that it is the situation. However, the reason I may frame it as a problem without contention is because it is a clearly unsustainable trend. Many matters of global crisis today are indicators that our explosive reproduction leads to dangerous consequences. Simple shortages in food and water, disease, overcrowding, pollution, and others are readily available examples. We simply do not show respect for the planet that sustains us in repeatedly exploiting and exhausting every natural resource with no end in sight. This mentality is reflected in our most basic actions of daily life. Americans are simply not taught to think about the bigger picture. Something as simple as wasting food is completely taken for granted. People should not have to finish everything they attempt to consume. Such a request is unreasonable and possible unhealthy. What does not have to occur is the shameful and ubiquitous claim to entitlement throughout the human race. If a steak is not cooked how we prefer in America, we send it back. Menus are made to sell copious quantities of food that we can almost never finish. Everything is advertised as expendable. No matter that it would probably suffice to keep the phone we have rather than purchase a new one. Half the time we can’t even completely use a tube of toothpaste with thorough dedication. One of our favorite phrases is “just throw it out, you can get another one.” How did we gain this incredible entitlement to faultless waste and endless consumption?

Well sure, you can just get another one. That is certainly a fact. But what nobody seems to realize or want to realize is what a simple, thoughtless claim like that means. Imagine the pasta (we’re going to appeal to all walks of life with this one, even vegetarians) that you sent back because “the sauce was too spicy” or “it was overcooked” or just not good enough for whatever reason. We do this all the time. I am guilty of not eating food simply because I detest the taste. Nobody is without fault. This means that the food made possible by ingredients from fields that were tilled using stored energy, fed a constant stream of nourishing electromagnetism from the sun, hydrated by the intricacies of thermodynamics and meteorology, carefully tended to by farmers, harvested using energy-hungry machinery, shipped to a plant for processing, processed, packaged, shipped again to be made into pasta, packaged again and sealed, transported to a distributor, sold, transported again, cooked using more stored chemical energy, put onto a plate cleaned with stored energy, then carried and delivered to a table using biological chemical energy, was wasted on a whim of subjectivity and preference. What is more is that my ignorant assessment of all of the energy consuming steps taken to get something as simple as pasta to a restaurant table is grossly oversimplified. The point is that each step in the process takes an enormous amount of energy to complete, right down to the metabolic energy consumed by the chef as he or she prepares the meal. It is all a largely consumptive process to begin with. But in our overly consumer-oriented mantra of life, we waste without consideration to the incredible sacrifice already made to make our way of life possible.

This incredible chain reaction of events may be applied to any example. New technologies take the energy and efforts of intensive research as well as production, and transportation. Again this is overly simplified. In all this consumption of energy and willingness to waste, our culture still lacks any understanding of what truly occurs. We fail, time and again, to research the energy that is really used and wasted to create, process, and transport our many forms of converted energy around. There are no studies that accurately investigate our impact in terms of a science of energy exchange. Consequently, we continue on in ignorance. But scientific study and science is not a complete saving grace. Too often we place unrealistic levels of faith in scientific patch-cures for societal, cultural, and environmental problems. The problem is pathology of thinking, not necessarily of doing. As is often the case, the symptoms of the issue, the behaviors, are really products of this flawed thinking.

What is critically lacking is awareness and compassion. People tend to lack a true appreciation for nature and the complex and enduring set of biological forces that make modern life possible. Simply finding appreciation for the natural world, instead of abhorring any opportunity to experience nature, would go a long way in fixing the problem of environmental destruction. Similarly, if people were aware of just how much energy they stand to waste in a simple decision like replacing a gadget whose utility has not expired, or wasting food for trivial reason, the sacrifice would not be as readily made. Connecting with the natural world and having a true desire to preserve it is an individual process. It is not one that can be forced upon any individual, or scared upon one for that matter. The messages we receive attempt to confuse our belief that we need to change our behavior, lest we stop the freight train of consumption that fuels our hugely successful economy. Corporate interests, the entities that seem to carry much of America’s power, do not want people to be compassionate to their surroundings. The propaganda-laden messages they send do not help individuals find their connection to nature. Likewise, the fear tactics of many environmental groups do not create the necessary atmosphere of understanding for people to make their own personal connection.

Once we start to realize that it is the responsibility of the individual to improve the state of the world, we will be more willing to do little things that make a difference on a large scale. When one individual thinks twice about leaving a light on and wasting energy out of a sincere concern for wasting energy, then it instantly means that thousands of others are having a similar thought. In a population of 6 billion, general rules of probability tell us that we do not think alone. Any time we are willing to make an exception, to litter “just this once” for instance, means that thousands of other people are as well. However, most people do not think in this way. When we consider the actions of others and the global consequences of our own actions, we begin to be more responsible citizens of nature working in cooperation. We must be aware and we must cooperate to improve such a vast global problem. This is not a case of conflicted interests and yet it is too often viewed that way. People forgo what is best for the world for personal economic gains, and yet fail to see that there is personal damage in doing so. Everyone is living together, sharing the same space, and ought to be working together to preserve and appreciate it.

Certainly there will be great technological discoveries that mend some of the damaged caused by our consumer culture. Ultimately, such patches will not be enough to prevent unjustified additional damage. It is unhealthy to live at odds with one another to such an extent, and a little compassion and awareness can go a long way to making the world a better place. The road to change begins from within. Next time you are hanging around the alien entity known as nature, find something beautiful to appreciate and know you are a part of an intense global cycle that affects every living being on the planet. At least in that physical way, we are already connected. All that leaves is the daunting task of getting connected on a spiritual plane and learning to become a more compassionate and cooperative culture. Here’s to learning, brothers and sisters.

To see what the population graph looks like:
Population Graph
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I hope someone took that tablecloth off his head before they buried him, that was just embarrassing. [Nov. 14th, 2004|12:50 am]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

[music |Desert Sessions-Subcutaneous Plant]

You've probably heard by now about the major death this week. A controversial character who featured prominently in a vicious two-sided conflict with no end in sight. A conflict that divided a nation into east and west, and resulted in both sides had descending so far into immorality and violence that now, neither are without fault. He was a man who had a chance to end this conflict, or at least ameliorate it, and many believed he squandered this chance. Other viewed him as freedom fighter. Hated or loved, none can deny his prominence as a figurehead. That's right, the ODB is dead. This loss saddens everyone here at the Kleptocracy, and We wish the best to Mr. Bastard's family in their time of mourning.

Of course I jest! I am speaking instead to the actual bastard, PLO Leader Yassar Arafat. I was going to write a whole article detailing this, but then I had an epiphany. Yassar Arafat was an unmitigated fuck-up from any perspective. This is all I have to say, I couldn't even come up with a realistic counter-point for this essay. It starts and stops with Yassar Arafat being the worst thing for Palestine since Israel. There wasn't even anything to use as an overview for the introduction of this article, Arafat accomplished essentially nothing positive. He was so locked into his frame of mind, he has left the Palestinians no better off now than when they began. He became so obsessed with the concept of what Palestine ought to look like, or how it ought to be ruled, he neglected to do what was best for his people. Unable to accept Israel's dominance in the area of military might, he served only to support the escalation of violence and horror in this troubled region. He pushed for a futile struggle against Israel which only brought more military force down on their land. Perhaps now the Israeli population is scared, but a cornered animal will still fight for its life if it has the capability to do so, and Israel certainly still does. Instead of working more to move away from fighting, he supported Hamas and other terrorist groups and pushed the Palestinians towards futile armed resistance which served only to kill scores more Palestinians, wound innocent civilians, and further militarize Israel. This is bad for every party involved.

I do not condone Israel's all too frequent bulldozing incursions into essentially wherever they please in the West Bank, but make no mistake, Arafat's incompetence has only magnified the actions of Israel. These are the reactions of a nation under duress, and are justified in the same way that Palestine claim it's warrent to destruction. This conflict has been pushed to the extremes by the leaders of both sides. There are many to blame on Israel's side, but at least there are also some figures who have provided a semblance of hope. Palestine has only one to blame, Yassar Arafat. He has provided no hope, and only allowed Palestine to descend further down the trail of insanity. He allowed himself to be bullied by extremists factions until he worked himself into such a fervor that to him, the only acceptable outcome was also the one least founded in reality. Say what you will about the Israelis, but they have made more overtures for peace than the Palestinians, and have been long since willing to work towards a compromise. I am not trying to apologize for their wrong actions, for there are many and will likely be many more, nor do I deny that this situation was instigated, at least in large part, by Israel. We need to accept the situation for what it has now become, something entirely unacceptable. As Israel moves to withdraw settlements from Palestinian territory, the list of what Israel is doing wrong is shortening, but Palestine has not changed. Palestine has become only more ruinous from the reactionary strikes from Israel, in response to heinous actions, essentially condoned by Arafat.

The time for a solution has long since passed, now Palestine descends deeper into a irrevocable situation. As generations of Palestinians grow up in war zones, where the only available education comes from fundamentalist clerics, the conflict will become the only reality. This is happening now, and is a prime cause for the escalated violence. Arafat could at least have worked his country towards functionality and worked to educate his people, but he chose to drive them towards hatred and violence. I agree Palestine is in an unfair situation, but the solution was not to drive their citizenry into blind rage. Many on both sides are weary of the conflict, huge advances towards peace could be made very shortly, if there were the right initiatives in governments of either power. The conservatives in Israel seem to be losing favor, and even Sharon independently worked towards reducing settlements, there is a good chance for peace here. Yet again, nothing has progressed in Palestine.

There must be an end to subjection the Palestinian people to the will of extremist factions in their leadership. These are roots of the actions that have brought misery to both sides. Hopefully, with that incompetent ideologue gone, someone with a conscience, with hope and pragmatism, will work towards a better future for the people of Palestine, instead of the concept of Palestine.

However, I think we can all agree, Jew and Gentile, Arab and Miscellaneous ethnicity alike, Old Dirty Bastard will be missed.

*pours out malt liquor on ground*

This is for the homies who ain't here no more.

P.S.-I realize the irony that the author without the Star of David in his icon wrote about this.
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An Intelligent Design for Intelligent Design... [Nov. 13th, 2004|06:51 pm]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

[mood |Mad Pissed]
[music |Phish - Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)]

After the election I heard stories from fellow Bush critics speak of counties in the United States still struggling over the acceptance of evolution. Needless to say, I took this information with a colossal grain of salt. I was extremely reluctant to believe that nearly 150 years after Darwin first published The Origin of Species, people would still combat evolution from a religious perspective. It seemed to me like a desperate manipulation by Kerry supporters in the wake of defeat. Such an impassioned claim is not farfetched, and the motive to fabricate such a claim would be to claim superior intelligence over those who voted for Bush. It all seemed so perfectly justified.

But my curiosity won me over and Google came to my rescue. Initially, I discovered articles dated from 1999 regarding a controversy in Kansas over the discussion of evolution in classrooms. While appalling, it was a relief to discover that the situation was old news. By and large, the crisis regarding evolution in Kansas seems to have faded. There was one other incident for me to investigate. Three simple words: “teaching evolution Georgia” turned up a host of current articles about an evolution controversy. In the short weeks following the election that divided America’s religious Bible belt from the heinous blasphemy of the metropolis, a debate over evolution was unfolding in Georgia schools.

The issue arose out of a decision to put stickers with the following message on biology textbooks: ”This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is presently involved in a lawsuit against the Georgia school district. While that is all well and good and I agree that the stickers are obnoxious, but simply removing them does not undo the undeniable fact that millions of Americans foster conservative religious views that would warrant such action in the first place. Why is this issue so troubling?

It all comes down to the simple reality of religion. Religion, simply put, is a coercive tool whose utility will never expire. That is the inherent danger in it. Not all religion is framed in such a way as to make it so overtly manipulative as the more invasive types, but they’re all means to the same end: the organized control of behavior and social norms to perpetuate a psychosocial system of fear and control, and to maintain and establish a social hierarchy. Civilization, as it is ironically named (“civil” living leads to a competitive hierarchy of power, control, and exploitation), creates a need for so called “social order”. In a time when the idea of large groups of people living in close quarters was just emerging, a viable tool to enforce social norms was required. Fear is an intrinsic and compelling human emotion. It can cause people to exterminate groups of people based on a governmental decree on a macro level as much as it can prevent a troubled male from achieving erection in a failing relationship.

With great wisdom, the author of the Bible and all subsequent major religions employed fear to promote social order. God will punish sinners. That is the overriding message of religions. Followers are expected to maintain “faith”, a word indicating dedication to the regimented scheme and system of sanctioned behaviors within that scheme, in order to be protected from some threat of discomfort. The powerful institution of religion was able to debut this system of fear and control using an incredibly successful marketing campaign. They made sure that their message was the only one available. Jesus was promoted in ancient flyers prepared by scribes, and then mass marketed by means of the ingenious invention of the printing press. The system even made provisions for its followers to do some advertising of their own. Powerful church leaders gained even more control and the system was well fixed into society.

As organized group living is proving itself here to stay, so too is the need for such a controlled hierarchy. Religion is here to stay. I can concede to that fact. I’m even willing to recognize and commend the fact that religious endeavors often provide much needed support for many believers. It is a way to connect to others. That can be beneficial. A supreme and dangerous conflict emerges when evolution is attacked from a religious platform and required to be “supplemented” by “intelligent design.” The defense of creationism and related theories is an entirely selfish debate. Scientific knowledge interpreted to discredit the Bible creates doubt in believers of a religion. The fear and control scheme does not function properly unless people are willing to dive in head first and embrace the ideals to the utmost. Time and again religious followers have done this, going to great lengths and even killing others to defend their beliefs. Major religions have survived major scientific revolutions and proven their great staying power. But they must always be wary to defend in order to maintain a following based on fear.

Attacking evolution is selfish. It is also highly ironic. Evolution has reached a point that it is the property of public domain. The global awareness of the concept is astounding. It is aptly named a theory, as all other scientific explanations of the physical world are because they are merely models to explain a natural phenomenon that are supported by scientific experiment. Theories are not static entities. That is their nature. In fact, they invite scrutiny as their only means of progression. Evolution attempts to serve the public by explaining an important physical phenomenon based on the work of thousands if not millions of talented, dedicated researchers over more than a century. Public discourse surrounding evolution ought to personify it as a living entity, for that is the most accurate metaphor for a theory that lives with us and tries to explain the difficult mystery of the origin of life. By contrast, creationism and its derivatives are static entities that serve the message of the bible. They merely attempt to perpetuate the legitimacy of religion. Darwin and all those that followed him were not slaving over volumes of data in fear of punishment by a creator. Instead they were motivated by a thirst for understanding; such public servants embarked on an invigorating quest for knowledge.

When a sticker is placed on a textbook declaring that evolution is a “theory” that “should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered” it seems to undermine the validity of a theory from its most elementary foundations. To do so would discredit a host of modern phenomenon, all based on theory. In fact, the only thing not based on theory seems to be the Bible. This is because the discourse of the Bible is not open to scrutiny. Furthermore, as many have already indicated, the special attention given to evolution in this using “careful consideration” and an “open mind” serves only to discredit and mock evolution. It is a conniving attempt at instilling doubt into youth. Perhaps most ironic is how those supporting the sticker call for such open mindedness and scrutiny that seems to be absent from interpretation of the Bible. As my co-author on this site suggested: why not put these same stickers on the Bible? Dare I suggest that a hypocritical and manipulative motive drives the proliferation of such anti evolution messages?

Perhaps even more alarming is that a Pennsylvania school district approved addition “intelligent design” curriculum to lesson plans. This is a harsh perversion of the inspiring and invigorating quest for knowledge that made the theory of evolution possible. Every being of the Earth could stand to benefit from human awe and appreciation of the intense intricacies and inherent beauty in biological systems. Manipulating this appreciation to support a belief that is closed to scrutiny, originating in one source, and supported by mere suppositions that cannot be proved or disproved experimentally further necessitates the separation of such matters from the realm of science. There is simply nothing scientific about such beliefs. They require faith, an intangible assumption, in order to have relevance. Expanded from this small time classroom example, the behavior modifying and fear proliferating machine of religion has used its leverage to create frenzy over the systematic judgment and alienation of non-conforming groups. Religion is foundationally closed minded and does not accept opposition. There is no place in politics for an understanding of issues as multi-faceted and dynamically evolving entities, as they ought to be.

Instead of leveraging the powerful realization that the universe is a complex place full of natural diversity to enforce acceptance and cooperation, religious interests serve to divide people over such trivial issues as homosexuality. The reason is that modification of people’s sexual behaviors as a testament to adherence to a religious set of beliefs is a powerful enforcer of the fear. Sex is a powerful and natural drive. To be tested to deny it is a powerful mechanism of ensuring that followers are dedicated. In every way, religion is used as a divisive tool of social manipulation.

Easily the greatest aspect of religion is the sheer brilliance of it. Here is a dangerous and often unhealthy system that is protected most vehemently by those it hurts the most. Most alluring to those who follow is simply that there are unknowns in the universe. The “better safe than sorry” mentality seems to prevail. Nobody truly knows what lies beyond death. Rather than risk torture in hell, it would be better to submit to fear just in case. Religion provides decisive answers to difficult questions that the filtered and iterative process of theoretical science cannot provide. Religion is contentment. Religion is knowing. That is the danger.

So whether the stickers come off the books or remain is largely trivial. The fact remains that irrational dedication to religious values is damaging society’s ability to cooperate and grow as a cohesive unit. It simply shuts the door on many venues of study and interpretation that only seem to bring people together. Be it our common ancestry or the theory that homosexuality has a biological base, all provide a vehicle of understanding why people behave so differently due to a complex model of sub-atomic, intermolecular, social, and global interactions that bear no hidden agenda. America needs to break free from the bonds of fear and come alive to a new world of possibilities. The new perceptions afforded by scientific inquiry are nothing short of awe inspiring.

News Stories:
Suit challenges textbook evolution disclaimers
Evolution debate continues in Pa. and Georgia schools
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The Bushing has begun... [Nov. 10th, 2004|11:15 pm]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

[mood |Concerned]
[music |Pop a Plane in Dat Azz (Remix) - OBL and the Terra Crew]

MSPaint has and will continue to rule the realm of emotionally charged artistic expression. That image sums up how I felt the morning I awoke on November 3rd, 2004, to discover that Bush was elected President. I was certainly deja vu to four years prior. Up into the wee hours, I tried to keep my cool as the entire middle of the nation turned to the red side. I flipped frantically between the 2004 election map and the one that was unfolding, dashing off winning scenarios for Kerry from the bottom of my last grain of hope. Alas, it was no use. My worst nightmare came true. And that image just about sums it up. How can the entire Northeast and West Coast of the US be so out of touch with the rest of America's "base"? Fuck America's base. Here is the latest development regarding the systematic disassembly of your civil liberties:

US seeks court ruling on suicide

It is ironic when you're caught in a conversation with a stranger at school, demonstrating to him how dangerous court precedents are when stretched to other things, and then you discover a story that directly relates to your point. Specifically, we were discussing a case in which a California man is being charged with two murders: one for his wife and one for their unborn child. While the incident is surely a gruesome one, governments charged with a moral misssion like the Bush administration will surely abuse such precedents. No matter that people in the US have differing opinions. Better make sure to save their souls for them. Frankly, Mr. Bush, I was perfectly fine damning my own soul without your assistance.
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Give me pills or give me death. [Nov. 10th, 2004|01:29 pm]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

[mood |Yes]
[music |Gin and Juice - Snoop Doggy Dogg]

If I wasn’t writing this, I’d be busy swallowing a pill. That is what the rest of the nation seems to be doing. Without contention, the United States is the single largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world. Amphetamines, steroids, beta-blockers, hormones, tranquilizers, SSRI’s, tricyclics, acetylsalicylic acid, acetaminophen… It is enough to make me nauseous even before the side effects set in. Kudos to the greedy executives at the helm of pharmaceutical companies: fearlessly navigating the seas of greed they boldly live the American dream: to squeeze anything and everything from the system at all costs and, if at all possible, escape unscathed by scrutiny. They’re succeeding where Enron failed. And why shouldn’t we let them? Drugs taste good and so does bacon.

How have they fooled us? There are numerous examples of medications manifesting dangerous side effects in patients while the producing company deliberately turned a blind eye. In this case, perhaps blindness is too passive a descriptor. Blind eyes just ignore a problem. What they don’t do is perform unregistered trials, picking and choosing which to release based on how to best market a medication. This is the deliberate dissemination of economically-driven information that is intended to be a public service. That’s exactly what GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) did with its antidepressant Paxil. Within the safety of company property, under regulations that pharmaceutical industry groups helped shape, GSK performed five clinical trials of the medication. Four of the trials demonstrated increased links to suicide in adolescents. No matter, because the last study, the one published for the medication’s exuberant debut, did not contain these links. Fortunately for a propaganda machine like GSK, science is not a static entity and experimental results may vary slightly. To make matters more deceiving, some researchers indicate that the older class of antidepressants, known as tricyclics, demonstrates greater efficacy and safety than the newer classes of drugs.

Why would companies invest research dollars into a product that is less qualified than those they already sell? The answer is simple yet multi-faceted. First of, it is useful to understand the nature of patent medications in the United States. It takes a substantial initial investment to bring a viable drug candidate to market. Industry estimates, often accused of being largely exaggerated, place the costs around $500 million. A company applying to sell a new medication receives a patent for that medication early in the development phase. The variety of toxicology studies, animal modeling, clinical trials, and other regulatory aspects may take up to ten years. All of that development time cuts into the life of the drug’s patent. By the time a product is ready for release to consumers, it may have easily been ten years or more. Exclusivity in a brand of medication is often short-lived. Initial sales are driven by aggressive marketing tactics and seem to consistently provide profits to cover the alleged costs. When the patent expires, generic companies may being to release alternative medications that eat into company profits. In order to ensure another blockbuster product, companies must stay on top of this product cycle at all costs. Even at the cost of honesty and integrity.

It is clear that the stakes of pharmaceutical research are quite high. But who are the thousands of scientists employed by major manufacturers really working for? Whose interests are they defending? Perhaps most telling are the data regarding new drug applications for the FDA. Merrill Goozer wrote in the American Prospect that roughly half of applications for drugs throughout the past decade were given status that indicates they are merely “me-too” drugs. These drugs simply attempt to replace or compete with an existing medication. Only novel cures are given a special priority status.

So with all this energy and resources devoted toward “me-too” efforts, the pharmaceutical industry still has the nerve to lament over development costs. They’re out pouring money into their own devious insurance to financial dominance and yet consumers ought to understand that the costs of “today’s medicines finance tomorrow’s miracles.” That is an actual quote from a GSK ad. Was GSK off developing miracles when a company memo charged for the “dissemination of data in order to minimize potential negative commercial impact” regarding the true nature of Paxil? How can we, as a society, be so passive as to allow an industry to manufacture both product and academic knowledge surrounding an entire institution? Knowing all of this, it should come as no surprise that scrutiny of clinical trials of Voixx shows that Merck knew about cardiovascular complications caused by its arthritis medication. Not only that, but many health professionals defend that simple ibuprofen is more effective than these cotly new medications.

I’ll save the icing on the multilayered cake of pharmaceutical debauchery for last. You, as a taxpayer, already paid for your medications. Many of the true miracle cures available today are the fruits of rigorous public sector research. That means government labs spending taxpayer dollars investigating novel methods of disease irradiation for small salaries and grueling hours provided the information base necessary for many new drugs. The perversion is when people seeking to take advantage get hold of intellectual property rights based on the moral charge of bringing the new cure to the people, then take the work of public science and turn it into a profit driven enterprise sold for many times the cost of manufacture. There is little protection for the taxpayer to prevent this from happening. In most of these cases, the difficult science devoted to determining how and why a new compound is effective at treating a disease is already completed. The challenge for the company is often mass production and purity. Yet pharmaceutical companies demonstrate no allegiance to their public sector counterparts. Instead they moan over costs and spend more advertising dollars in a year than the gross domestic product of many small countries.

So we continue to swallow and ingest industry propaganda. We’re increasingly convinced that we have some ailment. And we place a great deal of faith that a small collection of solidified compounds can fix everything. Everyone is depressed, everyone is anxious, and everyone needs a rock-hard erection. Fortunately there is an army of obedient professionals, ingesting the same manipulative sources, that exists to dispense chemical substances at rates that far outshine any other nation. Americans are not even afraid to medicate toddlers with dangerous amphetamines to treat vaguely defined behavioral disorders. Where will the medicating hysteria end? The bottom line, to borrow language from medicine, is that a comprehensive assay of industry targets to consumer awareness must occur, and then such routes of administration of industry propaganda must be reduced. Today, the ubiquitous nature of pharmaceutical companies is pathology in society. They operate with little regard to public interests, reinforced by the undeniable rewards of profit and immunity from widespread social criticism. Snap out of it America, you’re being doped!

Reference to Merrill Goozner's piece: The Price Isn't Right
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Allow me to introduce myself [Nov. 10th, 2004|01:36 am]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

[music |Damon Albarn-Run]

To echo the words of my distinguished compatriot, this page is to humbly present our thoughts and ideas on the subjects which we deem scrutable. This is an environment of absolute honesty; while maintaining respect for all viewpoints. There is no such thing as a "wrong answer". Unless, of course, it it contradicts something we say, in which it may become a "retarded answer", a "dipshit answer" or "the uttering of a half-sentient mongoloid". This is the world as seen by two youths living and learning on the mean streets of, I believe, the greatest country in the whole galaxy, the USA. Thats a name that stands for something. And that's Us, Assholes.

Two obligitory introductions is enough, on with Hyme and Pinko's variety hour. Future topics may not be discussed with equivilant levity, please consult the diagram to determine proper dosages. Aim away from face, do not talk to driver, and for god's sake, this side towards enemy.

Your humble servant,

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Everblue, Everwhite, or Harvest? [Nov. 10th, 2004|01:21 am]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

[mood |Mad Pissed]
[music |Pop a Plane in Yo' Azz - Osama Bin Laden]

Some decisions in life are so important that to force one to make them is a despicable cruelty. Perhaps by tweaking the physical appearance of my livejournal, I can elicit just one more iota of emotional angst from my nonexistent readers. Naturally, this is a place for Brigsby and I to be caught wanking, with nobody interested enough to catch us. I won't let something insignificant like lack of audience stop me from writing. It certainly never stopped me from talking.

Here you may find an occasional thought exercise written by me. I cannot promise anything, other than that I will attempt to match the wit and poise of my distinguished co-author. Where applicable, feel free to comment so as to break down by unabashed ego. Actually, this page is probably best posed as a discussion. But please, keep your thoughts to yourself. See now there's a contradiction. You decide where the truth is. That's the whole point now, is it not?

Let the follies begin.
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"Forgive them, for the know not what they do" [Nov. 9th, 2004|11:01 pm]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod

[music |Captain Beefheart-Dropout Boogie]

The above phrase adequately crystalizes my Christ complex, and my prevailing opinion that the reelection of George Bush is on par with murdering the son of god or god's temporal form, depending on your characterization of the Trinity. Perhaps I exaggerate, but in any event, I make no secret that I think this is a catastrophic mistake, even if it's ripples have yet to be felt in full. This is more than just validating mediocrity, this is the terrible confirmation that the majority of Americans are prepared to give mandate to an agenda which will eviscerate this country. It shows that the greater portion of America is blind enough to vote for a man based on purely on their personal interpretation of his vague moral convictions and supposed ethics, all the while ignoring every other aspect of what that man represents.

What George Bush and his administration represent is the end of a government for the people; it is the end of a government at least vaguely separate from corporations. Not only corporate interests, which none should be naïve enough to think didn't already pervade our government, but the very separation of being. George Bush's policies demand the end of the public sector, and the engorgement of the private; the commencement of the envelopment of profit over justice, greed over charity, survival over civilization. Make no mistake that these threats had been biting at the heels of our democracy since its inception, but the American mandate of George Bush is the signal that these interests have taken precedent over all else, that the state has now become the corporate state, with the will of the populous at its back. It has been apparent since George Bush was first elected the direction he wished this country to go.

This is nothing new, imperialism preceded and meshed with capitalism long ago, and has always been an undercurrent of this country's motivations. I do not attempt to exclude the Democrats or any aspect of our government from this indictment. The difference before was that there was at least hope; the New Deal, the Great Society, the idea that the government could and ought to serve the people. These policies are now gone, unions have faltered; social security, pensions, and worker's rights are dead or privatized. This final, great death shroud has been manifesting itself in reality for the past 24 years, but only now has this era truly dawned, and it has the support of the nation. Before, we could turn back, we could at least claim that we were learning from our errors, that despite everything we still wished to move towards altruism. There was an illusion of control, that things would never degrade this far, because the American people wouldn't stand for it. Make no mistake, we have crossed the threshold, the middle class is placated, the lower class silenced, there is no return now. Everything that has past is merely a prologue to our true decent into the abyss. We have validated the actions of this president, and moreover we have expressed a dogmatic reverence for him.

I would not go so far as to say that the American people knowingly enacted this change, but they, we, have allowed this change to come to pass. We as a nation have remained willfully ignorant, and willful ignorance is the same as compliance. A vast sector of our nation has remained uninformed by choice and complacent by nature, while singing the praises of a man of which they have no conception. He seems like us, and we follow him blindly. He seems to represent the values of the "Heartland", and they believe this facade. They have fooled the people into believing that abortion or gay marriage or gun control are truly the issues which will decide the fate of this country, and most grievously they have inspired the masses to vote on this pretext, and this pretext alone. Divorcing social conservatism from economic conservatism is the great victory of the Republican party, it is the key they have used to violate this country. The previously mentioned issues are important, but their existence is predicated upon the concept that we have a government who even cares to deliberate on them. Debate over these issues is a luxury afforded to the people by having a government tied to the people. But if the very core of system is altered, and enervated, than these issues will have no meaning, for the neither will the government. The current administration has opened the pathway to totally removing the public from the government, and when this transition to corporate control is completed, these social issues will be the concern only of the conglomerations that stand to profit from their resolution. Have no doubt that this administration will change these policies to appease the middle class. This probably won't be in a direction anyone reading this will like, but the point is that these issues are not going to bring about the collapse of our government as we know it. They are merely a veil of confusion, a manifold tempest concealing the true evil festering beneath the cover of the storm.

It may sound ludicrous to insinuate that the demise of the government would come simply from having to suffer through another term of a lousy president, but this change has been assembling itself long before Bush, and this is just the beginning of the end. What makes this election so disastrous is that it proves that the American people do not care about who controls there government, so long as they speak simply and tote around a few common social and religious touchstones. Before, there may have been a chance to reverse the direction our country was moving, but now, with this administration at it's helm, a single party dominating all chambers of the government, and four years to do as much as it pleases without thought of reelection, the system has passed too far to reverse itself. The Republicans have entrenched their followers so deeply that by the time they start to notice where the country is heading, they will be to zealous to admit to the now apparent wrongdoing. The subtle realigning of our government will begin, and when it's over the American people won't know how they arrived in this strange land; once their home.

It can be observed at this date, even disregarding all the events leading up to this president. Ask yourself, why would a man who claims to be concerned with conserving things be so profligate with government spending? The administration would have you believe that a deficit doesn't matter. This is pure mendacity, it does matter, and the administrations knows this, and continues spending beyond their means. This spending is intentional, it is government cannibalizing itself. When it has gone so far into debt that no earthly body could reverse it's spending, then the government will be crippled, unable to create any new programs or provide any support. It will lead to an implosion of the federal, and vicariously state, public institutions. It is the prerogative of this administration to send it's own government into an budgetary death spiral, spending to the point of paralysis, until the only choice left is to simply outsource everything to private contractors. This is happening now, this has been happening, and this is what will continue, worse than before. This new breed of conservatism has taken the ideal of reducing the government to the utmost, and vested it's entire trust with private interests. This is no libertarianism, it is not anarchy, it is only a shift from on form of governance to another. We are being lead into the dominance of the corporate state. This, put lightly, is bad. Not everything should be for profit. If companies exist that profit from the production of arms, then it becomes profitable to make war. If companies exist who profit from treating illness, then it becomes profitable to avoid a cure. This is not something new, this is happening already. But now we can be faced with privatizing education, the rest of the military, and every government program that still exists. Every aspect of the government will be minimized and put in the hands of the commercial sector. Capitalism, like communism, is bad in it's pure form; it is flawed. The market does not regulate itself if it is more profitable to do otherwise. It will not choose to aid man, because charity is not profitable. It will not choose to avoid pollution, because regulation is not profitable. It will not choose to allow free speech, because dissent within the system is not profitable. If you doubt this, you need only look at how any major corporation is run; look at the wages of the lowest workers, look at the wounded lands, look at the silenced laborers. Know that is the future this country has selected, and that it will manifest itself in your life if we, the people do not choose to stop it, because power will never voluntarily relinquish itself.

I realize that this is depressing and possibly obvious to some that read this, and if you have actually gotten this far, then you have a heroic attention span or are really bored. I have said before that we have gone past a point of return, and I believe that with the populous in its current state, that is indeed the case. However, it is always in the hands of the populous to alter itself, we still have the freedom and capability to do this. We still can educate ourselves, this is a path back to freedom. We can refuse consumerism, refuse to be dominated by corporations, this is still a path to freedom. Just as we brought ourselves to this state we can throw off the deceptions of our rulers and finally speak out for what is right in society. We can still proclaim from every mountaintop that we have not been mistaken, that there is more to society than just what is profitable or who is efficient, that there is still good in this land. Modern civilization is based upon denying the pure animal instinct of rejecting those who are weak or inefficient, and instead protecting them. Where is the virtue of a government if it does not protect it's citizens? If it cannot do this one task, it is useless. This is the true morality, and this is what this president does not believe in. He is immoral. He is moving our country backwards, back to the days when companies owned whole towns, and men lived and died by the wages doled out by the monopolistic corporate overlords. We left that era behind once, but now that terror is being cast upon our nation as a whole, and this time there will be no turning back. We could still stop this, it is still in our power to do so. So why do I say that we have gone too far? Because we won't do any of these things; because they are inconvenient; because they demand sacrifice. This is something the capable middle class of this country has shown nothing but aversion towards. They will support the disingenuous incumbent because it's easier than actually learning about the candidate. They will give their wages to evil corporations because it's convenient or it's cheap. And mercy upon the man who asks the American people to actually give up some material goods. We won't realize the finality of the situation until were far enough down the road to realize that we've gone too far to get off. That is what this election has proven. So, fuck you America, welcome to your own demise.
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