Tag Archives: film

C Dot – The End ft. J Redeye, BizziBizz & Stirra (Music Video)

For more on armageddon  check out Appetite for Armageddon Porn a Sign of the Times

Genesis 1:28 Revisited (The Sanctity of Sperm)

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Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…  (Genesis 1:28)

Dear patriarchal, monotheistic Deity,

thanks for the good advice. We have dutifully followed these instructions. What next?

Yours faithfully,

The People of Earth

Today the human population is rapidly approaching 7 billion, growing by around 80 million a year. That’s 1.5 million every week or 10,000 every hour. The human ecological footprint (impact upon nature) is the total number of people multiplied by average per capita level of consumption. Both total population and average consumption are increasing which is why we have an environmental crisis. Humanity is consuming the living fabric of our planet faster than it can regenerate and thus extinction is increasingly likely (for us and many other species).

There is a pervasive and dangerous taboo which prevents an honest, open and pragmatic debate about reducing the total human population. There seems to be an assumption that because human life is sacred and reproduction a fundamental right, we should all just keep reproducing as if the planet was still a giant unexplored wilderness and resource constraints inconceivable. Sadly, this era is long gone. If human life is sacred, shouldn’t we work to keep it in existence for as long as possible? Over population is a short cut to extinction, as David Attenborough says “All environmental problems become harder — and ultimately impossible — to solve with ever more people.

The Great Man

Limiting human fertility also offends because it may discriminately affect the underprivileged but there are multiple ways to reduce human population in a progressive way that actually helps to redistribute wealth more fairly. The greatest mistake we can make is to ignore the population time bomb, for whatever reason.

Population growth is highest in developing countries. The two proven, most effective ways of slowing this growth is (1.) to reduce infant mortality and (2.) to educate woman for longer. Both of these should be given top priority anyway, irrespective of the importance for the global ecosystem. Governments must join up their environmental and developmental strategies and, urgently, invest far more to achieve these aims.

Human Population Growth

The aspiration in many developing countries is to have lifestyles like people in the West, for example, car ownership in China  has ‘exploded’. However, this is impossible. It is not just that the developing world cannot consume like us in the West. We in the West cannot continue to consume as we do, resources are running out.

Current global rates of consumption are said to be unsustainable and with population and consumption both increasing the only way we can become sustainable is by reducing consumption combined with reducing population. Developed countries must contract consumption to converge on a sustainable and fair global average.

Some Western countries with static populations like Spain and Italy have set up funds to boost fecundity. Spain now offers a 2,500 euro bonus for every baby born. Of course, from a global perspective this policy is diametrically opposed to sustainability. Countries faced with the fiscal problems associated with static growth and an ageing population can make their borders porous and accept the flow of immigrants coming from more crowded countries rather than incentivising additional populaion growth.

At a time of global ecological collapse the notion of the nation-state isn’t just anachronistic, it is dangerous and retarded. We cannot shift to sustainability and survive without taking a global, scientific view-point on resource use and climate change, so, with this planetary perspective in mind, lets respond as one species without borders.

Project Prevention is a US charity that has caused an uproar by paying (bribing) drug addicts to become sterilized so that they cannot bring a child into the world that is born to suffer. Should this concept be extended? Why not set up a global fund to pay anyone who will voluntarily take the money: a fee to be sterilized?

The reason this plan would be unpalatable is because within the unfair global economic system the poor will  more likely take up this offer of  cash, but is the world any fairer, or better, where half a million poor women die every year in child-birth and millions of children die from malnourishment? At least paying volunteers to be sterilized will help to redistribute wealth and alleviate suffering.

Why don’t we do this in the UK too? Currently the government pays increasing child care support with each extra baby, an ill-advised incentive to increase the population further. Why don’t we shift things around so that if you have had two children the government will pay you a one-off lump sum to get sterilized. This reduces population and increases the quality of life of those remaining.

Sue and Pete Davison and their 10 kids take home £45,000 in benefits (Source: http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/notw/news/907438/Work-Not-on-45K-benefits.html)

Thousands of years ago when the Old Testament was being put together, the human population was a minute fraction of what it is today. In that era, the guidelines for human success were to procreate and claim land. Today, the game has changed. Go forth and multiply are instructions for a long gone era. It is time for new planetary guidelines for our species. Crucially, these plans, policies and ideas must reduce the total human population, reduce per capita consumption whilst creating a fairer and happier world so how about:

Slow down, stay local, conserve and be happy


Peace… or die

Liberty Doom by azrainman

  • Part 1: Peace… or die.
  • Part 2 Monkey wrenching the war machine
  • Part 3: The Horrors of War (including video)

Part 1: Peace… or die.

'Shock and Awe' Bagdad 2003

On August the 2nd President Obama reaffirmed his plan to end the War in Iraq (AKA ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ AKA ‘Operation New Dawn’).  Between 2003 and 2010 the UK spent £4.5 billion and the total cost to the U.S. economy is estimated at $3 trillion. The Iraq Body Count project estimates the violent civilian deaths from the conflict to be between: 94,902 – 103,549. At a time when scientists were reporting on the increased speed and severity of climate change the most powerful nation on earth backed up by the nation in which the industrial revolution started were doing exactly the wrong thing. The world needed to be uniting to combat climate change and move away from fossil fuels. Instead a coalition of politicians and corporations backed up with the planet’s fiercest war machine were invading a sovereign state to steal its oil. Now is an appropriate time not just to look at the gross stupidity of this war; but also to reflect on how the process of war is diametrically opposed to the emergence of a human civilization that might survive this century.

An early victim of the Iraq War

War is the apex of human stupidity. It is the antithesis of sustainability. It is the most extreme example of waste. Wasted resources, wasted human potential, wasted land, wasted minds and wasted lives. The modern era’s most bellicose nation, The USA, has allocated $533.8 billion to the Department of Defence in fiscal year 2010. The U.S. military is the single largest consumer of energy on the planet. In 2007 it used 132.5 million barrels of oil (363,000 barrels per day). Imagine what all these resources could do if aimed at ending global poverty or conserving biodiversity or actually doing something good in the world. Now in a sick irony they are sure to miss a twitchy Pentagon is warning us of peak oil reporting that output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015. One obvious solution is to stop burning unimaginable quantities of oil in the violent quest for more oil.

US soldiers in Iraq

The absurdity of expending precious, dwindling resources on deliberate destruction and pollution at a time when the scientific community is in agreement that human activity is driving the current ecological crisis is compounded by the fact that at the same time as fighting this war for oil it has also been engaged in international negotiations for a binding climate treaty. Well surprise surprise we haven’t signed one yet. How are nations suppose to agree a binding treaty which in effect is an agreement to share the atmosphere, a pivotal moment in the ethical evolution of our species, when countries are still bombing each other and fighting wars for resources!? It is time to grow up.

It’s not just the climate. The ongoing rise in human population and per capita consumption means that everywhere you look resources are running out; from oil to fish to fresh water. As resources are increasingly constrained we face the spectre of escalating violence and increasing wars for resources. Bold pre-emptive action is required to ensure we allocate resources fairly and safeguard against a surge in brutality.

Child in front of a burning oil well in Iraq

The fundamental changes to our world we currently are living through mean that finally war’s time has come. Exponential population growth means that our species now controls a majority stake in the planet’s biology; emergent new technologies transform our potential to change our world and resource depletion pushes ecological systems close to collapse.  With great power comes great responsibility and our ethics and morality must now take a great step forward to match that of our technological progress. The novel treaties and structures required to bind our species to a common goal are already well under way. Now is the time to use the international framework of the United Nations to begin the process of agreeing treaties binding nations to disarmament, cooperation and peace.

The British military in Kuwait pre-invasion

Part 2 Monkey wrenching the war machine

Statue in front of the UN in NYC

‘There will always be war… it is a part of human nature’.

This is a logical fallacy that has dogged human progress for generations. The persistence of war significantly reduces the probability of the persistence of humanity. This is most obvious in the case of nuclear obliteration. Less obviously but more significantly the solution to climate change and resource constraints is a treaty based on global cooperation. This will not be possible in a world of antagonistic nation states.

Peace is possible

The logical statement is ‘there will not always be war’. This is true because either we will remain a world of antagonistic nation states and annihilate each other / be wiped out by runaway climate change or we will become sustainable which requires uniting as a species, rising above the limitations of the outdated concept of the nation state and together creating a globally regulated resource based economy. Either way, war is over.

‘Naive, idealistic, dreamer’ we hear the jaded, soulless readers of the right wing press spit out of their fearful faces. It’s not idealistic. It’s pragmatic. It isn’t naive either. We know, full well that there is a small powerful minority of men who have a vested interest in keeping fighting wars, of course, this has always been the case but the information age is tipping the balance in favour of the peaceful.  Information activism brings the horrors of war into clear view and we understand more clearly than at any time in history why wars are fought, who is driving them and how they manage to coerce the young people of their country over to another to commit murder and more than at any time we have the tools to stop wars before they start (see below).

Film: The Power of Nightmares

The Zeitgeist Movement-Activist Orientation Guide identifies 3 motivations for war. 1) Industrial Profit, maximized for the elite 2) Resource Acquisition (theft) 3) Geopolitical Alignment to increase the ease of further industrial profit and resource theft. Whether you make bombs, mine resources or pump oil the spoils of war equate to bumper profits unachievable in peace time. When the time is right governments and corporations collude to create the conditions for an invasion. Fear, nationalism / racism and twisted morality can all be manipulated via propaganda to stoke the flames. The information age means increasingly the general public is not fooled but even as far back as 1935 the shine was coming off the industrial war machine. In the words of Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Major General Smedley D. Butler:

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes…”

US veterans protest against the war

Another vile racket was the international slave trade. Tens of millions of people suffered horrendous fates and a small number of slave traders amassed vast fortunes. No doubt the slave traders said in their defence that it was a natural feature of the human condition. Fortunately, the good people of that time had the vision to see forward to a fairer, better world and stood up for what they believed in. William Wilberforce in a speech before the House of Commons, 18 April 1791:

William Wilberforce

“Let us not despair; it is a blessed cause, and success, ere long, will crown our exertions. Already we have gained one victory; we have obtained, for these poor creatures, the recognition of their human nature, which, for a while was most shamefully denied. This is the first fruits of our efforts; let us persevere and our triumph will be complete. Never, never will we desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under which we at present labour, and extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonour to this country.”

Anti war protest

War is not a fundamental part of human nature. War is the most sinister part of human nature manifested, magnified and exploited by evil, powerful men. The fact that wars are created by a tiny number of people makes them easier to prevent in the information age. We must more effectively and proactively go after warmongers; isolating and stopping them. Like the great Wilberforce before us we can be bold and ambitious and wipe away this scandal to create a better world. We are conditioned to believe that war is inevitable because this is all that we have seen but another world is possible. In fact, another world is imminent… our species has to learn to cooperate to survive.

Ending war is no more farfetched then ending slavery, giving women the vote or going to the moon. Martin Luther King ‘had a dream’ and it became reality. So we must dream it, plan it, and then make it happen.

UN peace poster

Things you can do right now:

  1. Take and maintain a united zero-tolerence attitude to violence and aggression. Hold to account anyone who attempts to use violence as a means to an end by use of non violent direct action and all other available means.
  2. Go ethical: change your bank and if you have money to invest put it only in ethical funds. Did you know that most banks will invest your money with the arms industry? This makes you complicit in the industrial war machine. Take a stand, wash the blood of your hands and switch to an ethical bank e.g. in the UK: Smile. For ethical investment: Triodos. Make a point of telling your current bank why you are leaving.
  3. Fax / email / speak to your MP (or political representative). Tell them that you want your country to take a lead in peaceful foreign policy, supporting the United Nations and reducing the military budget. In the UK now is a critical time to stand against the nightmare of the Trident Missile System. Who the hell are we going to use it on!?
  4. Sign up for organized protests, for example via Avaaz or 38 degrees.
  5. Cultural: let’s make involvement in the death industry a taboo alongside racism and incest. Do you know someone who designs missiles? Or a soldier? Let’s make the case in a polite and non-judgemental way that there are far better ways for them to be spending their time and that it is no longer acceptable to be making a living from war.
  6. Name and shame: we all know Donald Rumsfeld was a key architect of the Gulf war and that more than anyone he profited via his large stake in Halliburton. Who else profiteers from war? Let’s get a public list together and let them know what we think of their sick existence.
  7. Arrest Tony Blair (and get paid!) check out: http://www.arrestblair.org/
  8. Be Peaceful.
  9. Any other suggestions? Please post in the comments below.

Part 3: The Horrors of War (including video)

Important speech by US Iraqi war veteran

The information age means that wars fought in distant lands can now be brought into our homes. The immediacy of information flows makes it far harder for those in power to conceal either their motives for war or the atrocities committed to achieve their aims. For example, Wikileaks is an “uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking“. In April it released a secret video (see below) showing US air crew falsely claiming to have encountered a firefight in Baghdad and then laughing at the dead after launching an air strike that killed a dozen innocent people, including two Iraqis working for Reuters news agency. The video brings into sharp relief, if we needed reminding, how appalling, uneven, cold blooded and ultimately devastating modern warfare has become.

Collateral Murder

A classified US military video depicting three airstrikes from a US Apache helicopter on July 12, 2007 in New Baghdad, Iraq.  At least eighteen people were killed in the airstrikes, including two journalists working for Reuters, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. The video was recorded by the gunsight camera on the Apache helicopter, identified as Crazyhorse 18, and is accompanied by the radio communications of the helicopter gunmen as they communicate with their commanders and troops on the ground.

U.S. Army specialist Ethan McCord was one of the first on the scene after the helicopter attack. He describes what he saw:

Ethan McCord

“The top of one guy’s head was completely off… another guy was ripped open from groin to neck. A third had lost a leg … Their insides were out and exposed. I’d never seen anything like this before.”

Then McCord carried a child crying from a black minivan caught in the barrage of 30mm bullets. Inside, he found a frightened and wounded girl, perhaps 4. Next to her was a boy of 7 or so, soaked in blood. According to McCord their father,

“…was slumped over on his side, like he was trying to protect the children, but he was just destroyed… I started seeing images of my own two children back home in Kansas.”

Unsurprisingly McCord was devastated by his experiences. The Pentagon is struggling to deal with legions of young people warped by the stress of war. Back home McCord was dosed with antidepressants but turned to a zombie and took to downing pills with whiskey and walking around the house with a military knife. However, he isn’t doing so badly in June 32 members of the US military could bear it no longer and killed themselves.

The terrible legacy of the Iraq War goes beyond the trauma of the heart and minds of the survivors. The use of depleted Uranium in Iraq is now causing a surge in birth defects passing on the suffering to a new generation of innocents.

Nuclear War (it’s a mother fucker)

Music by Sun Ra:

Appetite for Armageddon Porn a Sign of the Times

There is a disturbing proliferation of ‘armageddon porn’ coming out of Hollywood which may reach a grim, apocalyptic climax with 2012.

The Terminator; he needs your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.

Hollywood has dealt with human extinction for some time. The angle most commonly explored has been the Icarian possibility of humankinds’ technological evolution going out of control leading to death by angry computer or machine (2001, Terminator, The Matrix). This doomsday scenario seems preferable to the new breed of fables in which humanity dies out, by the billions, at their own hands (Watchmen, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012).

The stories we tell ourselves reveal the dominant themes of our cultural psyche. It is clear that our perception of human extinction is no longer science fiction, but what effect does seeing this on the big screen have on us?

Psychologists who have explored whether or not fear leads to behaviour change tell us that typically, people feel debilitated and disempowered by fear when they feel that they lack agency to change their circumstances i.e. there is a perceived disconnect between their actions and the outcome. This is suspected to be the reason that the danger posed by global warming has failed to elicit an appropriate response. It is like the fear of the sky falling on our heads, overwhelming yet intangible.

The problem with these films is that aside from a leading male character leaping from a helicopter there isn’t much anyone can do to avoid obliteration. This is, of course, in stark contrast to reality in which the population of Earth is fully empowered to save itself… should we so desire.

Unfortunately, in America the apocalypse isn’t considered a bad thing by everyone. Indeed for many fundamentalist Christians the 4 horsemen will lay waste the earth just before the second coming. They have even developed the rapture indexto measure how close to midnight we are getting on the doomsday clock. For them increasing nuclear weapons, climate change and anti religious misunderstandings are all healthy signs that Jesus is on his way back. As we saw from the huge, unexpected success of the Passion of the Christ, in which churches in the US blocked booked cinemas for their congregations… Christians love a bit of torment on the big screen. No doubt the producers of 2012 are getting ready to rake in the doomsday dollar.

Entertaining... but would Christ watch it?

Aside from the wonga there seem to be 2 explanations for why we are making films like this now:

  1. The films are projections of profound fears gripping society. This fear and its artistic manifestation will spur concerted global action leading to the avoidance of calamity.
  2. These films are echoes of a future calamitous event. We are going to go extinct. We know this in our collective unconscious and these are the bedtime stories our species tells itself before it finally signs out.

Those of us who hope to see humanity get out of the diaper stage of social evolution and begin to work on more exciting collective projects then war and mass consumption are rooting for the former. We should know fairly soon which option it is. Current scientific projections are clear that human society needs to completely change course in a very short space of time to avoid annihilation by dangerous, runaway climate change. In other words, the only generation that can save humanity is ours and we can only do it in a window of a few years. Our film hasn’t finished being written yet and we are the authors; a low throughput, ecological society or oblivion… the choice is ours.

Dying by Alex Grey

Oil on the Brain, review of There Will be Blood

Oil on the Brain

Oil on the Brain

This visceral, poignant, haunting behemoth of a movie takes no prisoners. It is simultaneously an unrelenting portrait of an evil man and the documenting of a period of history in which the world changed forever.

Drilling for oil is an inherently violent business. Man build’s giant machines to invade the earth and draw out the fossilized remains of organisms that existed millennia ago. The violence of their resurrection is matched by the fearful depths the prospectors will sink to within themselves to reach the black gold. The dark, seemingly limitless wealth in the belly of the earth is like the limitless evil we can draw on should we be so motivated.

Our antihero, Plainview, is tormented and evil yet presents himself as an honest family man, an `oil man’. This draws an unbroken connection between the dark insanity of the early days of oil and the republican oil men today who also are steeped in blood whilst professing Christian family values. More than this, that these wild, violent times are the immediate foundation of our culture throws our `civilization’ into sharp relief.

Finding this cheap almost limitless source of energy under our feet propelled humanity on an expansive projection that would subjugate much of the living world. We have changed our planet using oil powered technologies. If we ever needed reminding that this happened without a master plan this film is it. It is in a frenzied state that we have transformed our society into raging fire, fuelled by fossil fuel that is consuming the rest of the biosphere.

Emerging from the misery of oil exploration, with the greed and avarice, danger and death, presented with the back drop of a changing planet, with oil wars raging, we have this starkly beautiful film. This honest work of art allows us to see not just our own story but the interior workings of the mind of the species that sits atop the apex of life on this planet. At worst, we are stupid, bald monkeys on a collision course with extinction. But there is beauty on the road to oblivion; the dark horror the film describes is juxtaposed with the creative genius of the making of the film. It is humanities creative abilities that make existence worthwhile. Maybe there is hope.