ANOTHER NEW EPISODE! “Seeds from the Suicide Tree”

We had a short circuit a couple of days ago that lasted, at it’s peak of operations, I wanna say three days. That’s what results if you overload a power conduit, a wire or a serial bus. The wire or the bus melts and we see some smoke, and that one broken link disrupts the communication, and the power goes out. When I started observing the behavior, I wondered if it was possible this was the cycle of conditioning being interrupted by the short circuit that caused what I can only call “shared madness.” I know emotions can run high. We’re human. I know that. In those three days, I was surrounded by people who … this is hard to say. I was surrounded by people who turned into … monsters, or maybe monsters is too harsh a word. Maybe they were robots, given the contradictory result of a calculation they were told was solved.

Now, we have the misdirected anger, the first stage. It’s like a laser in a mirror ball, with destructive energy indiscriminately aimed at everything and everyone, even friends and loved ones. How did it become so personal? Isn’t this a struggle between two candidates? Join us for a lively discussion of how it happened, and why seeming normal, reasonable people went mad on that chilly Wednesday last week.

Recorded November 12, 2016

Artwork by Regan Lawler

http://www.blissville.net
http://www.blissville.net/

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended.

Running Time: 53:47

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Vintage Cable Box: The Atomic Cafe, 1982

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“We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies.”

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The Atomic Cafe, 1982, Libra Films

It was an unexciting, routine mission until they saw the damage. New Mexico, normally a parched, barren section of little Earth; sand and dust, before and after, shows no real effects until you throw in the half-constructed homes and livestock. The “Trinity” Test yields an image of great beauty, often repeated, but as beauty can be a drug with effects that diminish over time, the first mushroom cloud, the report of the first bomb detonation arouses the scientific community, and the first parties of people involved are labeled “mad-men” and “lunatics”; it’s eerie and strange how those voices were silenced over the ensuing years.

Not long after, Harry S. Truman appears in newsreels announcing the destruction of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which effectively end the war on the Asian continent.  The information is edited to remove the consequences of the attacks, but “The Atomic Cafe” pulls no punches.  We see the singed earth resting beneath stacks of bleached bones and graphic depictions of horrifying injuries sustained by the survivors.  The delicate sensibilities of pre-Eisenhower nuclear families that had no truck with unimaginable violence were too tender to witness the actual effects of the primary blasts, let alone the ash-ridden winters and radiation poisoning.

“PEACE!  It’s Wonderful!”  This is the post-war boom of America; the prosperity and the marching majorettes, returning soldiers, and dancing in the streets.  Operation: Crossroads begins with the “Bikini” Test, July of 1946.  The natives of the island sing “You Are My Sunshine” as the bomb is dropped, and an unbelievable cloud appears over the island.  The next year (1947 – “The Year of Division”), a new cloud forms headlining the “global struggle between East and West.”  In other words, Soviet Russia versus the United States.  The Cold War begins.

Propaganda films are quickly produced to demonstrate the threat of communism (like a virus) as it spreads throughout Europe and threatens to land on our shores.  Our “values,” or “freedom of speech” will be diminished, censored, and destroyed, and ideas like “humanity” and “emotion” are considered obsolete in Soviet Russia.  To counter this philosophy, our propaganda sells capitalism to the hilt as an antidote to the concept of communism.  Americans are encouraged to buy products, visit newly-built shopping malls; eat, marry, and reproduce – beef up our numbers.  Truman warns of atomic tests in Russia.  Protective devices, including boxes, suits, and bomb shelters are tested and then sold.  The police are militarized.

In 1950, as our government has enormous confidence in the ability to end any war with an atomic bomb, Korea is invaded.  The populace remains uninformed as to the true dangers of these new war technologies, and this is where the programming starts – by misinforming the public.  A character actor I recognize as James Gregory appears in a training film, wherein those preaching peace are ridiculed by the Military and civilians alike.  Paranoia reigns supreme; the impetus of which seems to have started when the Russians began testing their own atomic devices and then Senator Richard Nixon suspected espionage.  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death for selling secrets to the Russians.  These initial bursts of fear snowball, or mushroom into a full-fledged witchhunt.  HUAC proceedings begin, and those who question our government’s actions, or display sympathies that go against the grain of nation-worship are blacklisted, their lives threatened and their actions monitored.

Ladies and Gentlemen – I give you the Hydrogen Bomb!  Even more awesome destruction is guaranteed, but Russia remains one step ahead and develops their own Hydrogen bomb.  Testing of animals near bombing sites is accompanied by “Atomic Cocktail”, a jaunty Django Reinhart-like ditty, and then there are badly-acted training films made to assauge and calm fears of devastation and radiation sickness.  Fallout shelters are constructed with emergency preparedness kits, and rudimentary haz-mat suits become the norm for fashion.  This new age of paranoia even has a mascot – Burt the Turtle.  Burt comes with his own theme song, “Duck and Cover.”

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Produced at the absolute height of United States fear and suspicion, where even my generation was indoctrinated to hate Russia and the principles of communism and socialism, The Atomic Cafe is a devastating documentary comprised of newsreel footage, Military training films, and flimsy speeches about safety, and broadcast news, as well as preaching the doctrine of capitalism and false analogies of free speech, and religious exceptionalism.  I have friends (my age) to this day who still possess a strange, undeviated, irrational hatred (read: fear) of anything that is not uniquely American, including our system of government, accepted systems of religion, and finance.  Why?  Why would they still continue to feel this way?  If they (as I) feel that our Nation, our system of government, and our potential for wealth and prosperity are unmatched in this world, they should have no fear.  Yet, the dogma persists.

As Americans go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new President, keep this in mind (as evidenced by The Atomic Cafe): politicians yearn for war, but soldiers pray for peace.  Politicians thrive in division, to keep us fighting each other instead of questioning our government’s practices.  Politicians exist to keep themselves employed; all of them, regardless of religion, race, or gender, with no exceptions, no Party rules, and no compunction about dropping mindless, soulless bombs on innocent people.  We’re capable of so much more than this.  Keep that in mind.  Please.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.  Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.

New Episode! “A Confederacy Of Douchebags (Part One)”

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“We are, we are, we are but your children
Finding our way around indecision
We are, we are, we are rather helpless
Take us forever, a whisper to a scream.”

“Tiddy Bear”, “We’ve Only Just Begun” (Roger Nichols/Paul Williams) by The Carpenters (from the 1970 album, “Close To You”), “America” (Neil Diamond) by Neil Diamond (from the 1980 album, “The Jazz Singer”), “Hail To The Chief” (James Sanderson/Albert Gamse), “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)” by The Icicle Works (Ian McNabb).

“More Clues In The Clock”

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In light of the recent shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Andrew and I recorded an addendum to discuss this recent trend of violence.

There are a couple of theories here.

1. This was a clock. The kid is innocent.
2. This was a bomb. Good timing, and we’re all safe.
3. This was a dry-run for a probable terrorist attack. In the months leading up to 9/11, eyewitnesses recounted the terrorists “practicing” on planes. Actor James Wood being one of them.
4. This was a set-up planned by the kid’s parents to dredge up anti-Muslim sentiment to make them into cultural victims. It did turn into kind of a Facebook-rage, didn’t it? This kid is extremely popular. He now has his choice of schools. He is being offered internships and grants and visits to the White House.

New information keeps coming out. First, this is unusual – people like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher come out and say that it was a wise choice to arrest the kid, I was surprised to hear this coming from both of them, one a respected scientist, the other a liberal blowhard, but somebody had pointed out that this kid might not even be a scientist, or at least a “fake” scientist, because they ripped the guts out of an electronic clock, put it in a suitcase and it looked identical to what the kid brought in. This almost seems like a performance now. I’m serious – I don’t know what to think. I’m so confused and infuriated by this! Maybe you can put it into perspective for us. I’m thinking this kid is a phony, and I feel bad about that.

NEW PODCAST: “The Clue In The Clock”

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This is from Reason, an article written by Robby Soave:

“To the extent that Maher implied Ahmed’s treatment was ever-so-slightly justified because of his Muslim faith, he’s wrong. But liberals who claim Ahmed’s treatment is solely the result of his Muslim faith are also wrong. As should be perfectly clear from the myriad examples I cited, Ahmed’s religion may have impacted the flavor and overall likelihood of his arrest, but it’s not remotely true that ethnic minorities are the only victims of zero tolerance-style school disciplinary measures.”

This confuses and worries me because, initially, I was of the mind that the kid was being mistreated. I saw nothing of the emergency procedures in place if a bomb is suspected. We have bomb drills and emergency drills at my daughter’s school. This was after Newtown, they started pushing for more of these disaster drills. Basically what happens is, you evacuate the school, you call the bomb squad, cops, EMT, you put the suspected device in a safe room, some place near the back and you get out of there. The faculty and administration didn’t do this.

The kid shows up with his “clock” or whatever it was (it was in a suitcase, which is unwise, if intended to be that way – you’d have to be a moron to build a homemade clock and put it in a suitcase, and this kid is supposedly some kind of scientific genius-engineer-type), he takes this clock to a few classes, shows it off to teachers. One teacher finally has the bright idea he should go around showing the thing, and then somebody calls the Principal. They take the kid with his clock to another room and they detain him until they arrest him. So, initially, I thought they were just picking on a Muslim kid for being Muslim. I’m not so sure now.

Ahmed Muhamed’s Arrest: Clock Kid Truthers Miss the Point by Robby Soave

“You Can’t Kill What You Don’t Understand”

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Tonight, Andrew and I discuss the candidates, Democrats and Republicans, but as with every conversation about this topic, we eventually talk Trump, and nothing but Trump!  This is the second take of the conversation because our first talk got so heated we had to re-record it just for the sake of getting our divergent view-points on the record.