Excerpt from Manufacturing Consent 

The United States attacked South Vietnam, arguably by 1962 and unquestionably by 1965, expanding its aggression to all of Indochina with lethal and long-term effects. Media coverage or other commentary on these events that does not begin by recognizing these essential facts is mere apologetics for terrorism and murderous aggression. The United States was “defending South Vietnam” in the same sense in which the Soviet Union is “defending Afghanistan.”

In a revealing article entitled “Lessons of Running Viets’ War,” published in August 1987, Stanley Karnow, a veteran Asia correspondent and author of a highly regarded liberal history of the Vietnam War, argues that the United States erred in Vietnam because it allowed the Vietnamese people to depend too heavily on us. 47 Reciprocally, the South Vietnamese people also “allowed themselves to be lulled into a complacent sense of dependency on the United States,” thinking we wouldn’t back down, not realizing that small clients are expendable. The South Vietnamese people who fought the U.S. invasion are never mentioned, or considered to be “South Vietnamese” within Karnow’s patriotic frame, although they constituted the majority of the population and the only serious political force…

We cannot quite say that the propaganda model is verified in the case of the Indochina wars, since it fails to predict such extraordinary, far-reaching, and exceptionless subservience to the state propaganda system. The fact that this judgment is correct—as it plainly is—is startling enough. Even more revealing with regard to Western intellectual culture is that the simple facts cannot be perceived, and their import lies far beyond the bounds of the thinkable.

You can also read an excerpt from Manufacturing Consent about the Freedom of the Press here: https://chomsky.info/consent02/

Vagina hackers

“A collective of radical bio-hackers and TransHackFeminists are out to reclaim gynecological medicine for those women, and for themselves. Under the name GynePunks, they’re assembling an arsenal of open-source tools for DIY diagnosis and first-aid care—centrifuges made from old hard drive motors; microscopes from deconstructed webcams; homemade incubators; and 3D printable speculums.”
– Doug Bierand Meet the GynePunks Pushing the Boundaries of DIY Gynecology
HerSwab is a device that allows women to collect their own gynecological samples at home and then send them to a lab for screening. By making the experience accessible and less invasive, it’s hoped that women who are reluctant or unable to go to a clinic can take more control of their sexual well-being. Eve Medical’s website says HerSwab is easy, intuitive, and painless to use. The device, which looks similar to a tampon with a handle on top, is inserted into the vagina and rotated to collect dry samples from the cervix.”
kezialubanszky HerSwab Lets Women Test Themselves for Cervical Cancer and HPV
Gynepunk is about engaging in a radical change of perspective about medical technologies, and the so-called “professional” and medical institutions. Gynepunk is an extreme and accurate gesture to detach our bodies from the compulsive dependency of the fossil structures of the hegemonic health system machine. Gynepunk’s objective is to enable the emergence of DIY-DIT accessible diagnosis labs and techniques in extreme experimentation spaces, down on the rocks or in elevators if it is necessary. It is about having these possibilities in a situated stable place or/and in nomadic mobile labs to be able to perform as much as WE WANT, in an intensive way: smears, fluid analysis, biopsy, PAPs, synthesize hormones at will, blood tests, urinalysis, HIV tests, pain relief, or whatever WE NEED. It is about hacking and building our own ultrasound, endoscope or ecography devices in a low-cost way. All this experimentation is made in complementarity with herbs and natural knowledges, oral traditions, underground recipes, seeking with hunger to generate a plethora of DIY lubricants, anti-contraceptives, open doula domains, savage caring of any visceral hands-on technologies, such as menstrual extraction, all elevated to the maximum potential of common learning and radical self-body-power …!”  TransHackFeminist convergence, Calafou, an eco-industrial post-capitalist colony, located 60 km from Barcelona, Catalonia

Katherine Skaggs

Vision

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In the future, private space companies, automation, and clean energy producers leading the way, we could put our factories in space instead of on our planet. Small space stations, powered by sunlight and ruled by maritime law, could let us outsource the pollutants that poison our earth. The gasses could be released and dispersed into space and the particulates could be collected and recycled into energy, materials, or stored in harmless matter.

Please? Can we stop hurting each other long enough to make this happen?

Too much violence is happening in our world because people think they have to take from each other to survive. They think they have to take lives because there aren’t enough resources on our planet for everyone. This is the fear that leads to hatred and dehumanization. This is the sort of “love of money” that could be called evil and anti-love.

“The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”, Carl Sagan once said.

Space can handle the factories we need that we can’t on earth. We can prevent polluting our air and water with our industry. Space has the energy we can use to support all of Earth’s people. We can stop the extermination of Earth’s gloriously diverse life. Think of how the species on earth would change in a million years to be enjoyed and studied by our children’s children? We can stop the destruction of the sky and the water. There’s nothing holy about the waste that comes of warring and terrorizing each other. We need everything we have….

Game of Thrones spoilers, but that is what really hit home for me about the White Walkers scene. The White Walkers, impossible to kill without a rare metal, faster and more powerful than humans, rapidly multiply as all the dead would immediately multiply the force of the enemy (because like zombies, people killed by white walkers become white walkers) until it became horrifically powerful. Just like hatred has fought against humanity for all of time.

There’s enough room for all of us, and we need every mind and every life. We need to start treating each other like that. Have you noticed how time is short? People devoted to the same ends add their time together. Death takes time away. The importance of a peaceful and industrious future must be kept in our minds. Or we will add to the dead and the dead will come for us.

It is good to sometimes hold in your mind the intention to be a part of the healing. I know I’ve been hurting from the horrible things that I have been seeing on the news. I think we all feel the radiation of suffering from losing so many people to cruelty and hatred. It is intense for us in this age of pervasive media. We are mourning. If we give into fear, cruelty wins another victim. If we cultivate peace, love, and power in our mourning, we will have the rare metal.

Alchemy 2013

Our city that we built is now gone, the bustle of people dwindling down.

obelisk

camp’s obelisk

I arrived to Camp pARTicipate with two of my closest friends on Thursday afternoon. It was a chill, drizzly day. Everywhere people were setting up their tents and tarps and magnificent structures.  Two members of our camp had arrived early to set up. These two set up the camp obelisk, constructed from wood, cut pieces of mirror, polished stones, and grout. This beautiful structure was a sight to behold. The warm fires at our camp had been started off our plentiful supply of firewood. Our camp fires would attract people from the road throughout the evening. Later, one of the friends I came with would set up her paintings and sharpie artwork. It was nice to see so many coming by and admiring it all.  I also set out my book of aerial silks themed pastels, though it turned out not many realized they should flip through the book.

The effigy and temple were both beautiful. Right before the effigy was closed for artistic additions, I managed to claim a box. I have no photo of this work, and no one I knew came to see it before it was dark. It was a bit of a rushed work, but I hope that those who were on the right side of the effigy enjoyed it as it burned. If you consider the circle around the effigy as facing the event, with radius parallel to it point A on the left and point B on the right, my work was near point B. If you were directly on point B, you would see a multicolor amalgamation of assorted triangles. If you were a bit more to the left, you would have seen a burning fire with “You” as the blue portion of the flame.  If you were closest to the left still in view of the box, you would have seen “VALUE” in colors of blue, green, and purple.

aerial silks

aerial silks practice at circus columbus

Because our camp was full of active volunteers, and we provided the potential services of art, board games, and intoxicants, we were given fantastic placement. We had flat ground for sleeping and a personal portapotty. We were also near some event portapotties, which was definitely nice. We were right next to the fetishist theme camps of the party, the poly, bsdm, and bondage folks. Walking past them one way and up the hill would bring you to Circus Combustus. These awesome folks let me practice on their aerial silks rig. Outdoors aerial silks was quite an experience. They hosted a spectacular circus show that I plan to participate in next year as an aerialist. I had a photo of me performing dragonfly pose taken, though I see now that they didn’t quite get the camp in the photo, though it’s a great angle for me XD. Also, you can see the effigy behind my knee! Going past our camp the opposite direction and you would pass Brownie Brothel, who served delicious brownies throughout the event Connexus, an important place for volunteering and getting news, and eventually hit Center Camp, a place of awesome dancing at night. One night was an 80s/90s themed prom night.  Our campfire was in view of all of the major effigy burns, the Foodigy, the Tardis, the temple, and the effigy. A unique part of the Tardis effigy was that it also functioned as a photo booth. The artists plan to use the photos in a follow-up project.

The skies each day were beautiful. It was quite warm, so I was able to wear lighter apparel. I enjoyed going about in the various “costumes” I brought. I found it amusing that people kept referring to my wear as a costume, since I merely dressed as I would without the usual constraints of society. To be fair, it was probably the elf ears. An important aspect of the burn is freedom, I don’t use that freedom to act, I use it to be. I don’t hate the world outside our temporary autonomous zones; I don’t mind casual or business attires and I aspire to be satisfied with my 9-5. But these moments we share together where we can embrace our full creative freedoms are something I treasure.

effigy

effigy from zooming in on the silks photo.

One day, my friend was the “victim” of pranksters who waited outside her portapotty with red carpet and applause. This amusement was much in the spirit of an event where everyone works to make lasting memories for one another. Shenanigans were everywhere to be had.

The city was beautiful, though cold, at night. The chill kept me stuck to the fire for hours at a time, but fortunately, the fire brought many to us as well. I adventured into Area 51, the Spooky Forest, and many other camps around that area. These were the areas with the best music for breaking it down, in my humble opinion. The maze in the Spooky forest was a delightful experience, with its glow in the dark art guiding the way, large webbed spider area in one end, and circle of mirrors in another. I bumped into many familiar faces, from life and from last Alchemy. I like that aspect of the regional nature of this burn. I also met many strangers. One stranger had the most delicious mead I have ever tasted.

The night of the effigy burn was the coldest night. This burn seemed less fearful than the burn before (the multiple huge explosions last year made me wonder how it was I was still alive), but it was an impressive and emotional sight to be seen. Just as the last major explosion commenced, and a moment to experience the finality of the past which it symbolized had passed, I turned to find my best friend’s boyfriend fall to bended knee. I burst into tears to see their happiness and to think of the new life they are starting together. He presented her a beautiful aquamarine solitaire.

I could not be more honored than to have been present. When she first brought him for my assessment, I was not sure what she wanted with such a philistine, even if he was a handsome fella. But as their relationship developed, I saw how happy he made her. I watched them fuse together, as they loved and learned from each other. I remember thinking that if they ever split up, I must lose hope that love could ever be forever. No pressure, of course, if these two read this…. To the couple, if you do, I am proud to be your maid of honor and I love you both.

I napped a bit after the effigy, which meant I was awake at sunrise for the temple burn. My friends and I lit sandalwood incense as we watched it slowly burn. I returned to camp to nod off to the fire, until it was warm enough to pack.