Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rachel Corrie and the People of Gaza

UPDATE - June 5, 2010

How appropriate that the latest Free Gaza ship is named "the Rachel Corrie". And once again Rachel Corrie is murdered and raped by the Israeli Forces while offering her own body in defense of Gaza.
ISRAEL: "Our forces boarded the boat [Rachel Corrie] and took control without meeting any resistance from the crew or the passengers. Everything took place without violence."
Isn't this exactly what a rapist would boast about his victim after holding a knife to the woman's throat in order to force her to succumb to his will? - "There was no resistance... everything took place without violence."

What will it take for the nations of the world to send warships to accompany and defend aid ships en route to Gaza? - not unlike the federal troops which John F. Kennedy sent to force racial desegregation of southern schools in the U.S.

Racism has many faces - Apartheid, Zionism, Jim Crow. We should not be deceived by the de facto appearance of legality in any of these situations.

"We hold these truths to be self evident... All men are created equal!"

Jesus said: "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:12


[I'm sorry I could not bring myself to write in commemoration of Rachel Corrie at the time of the anniversary of her death on March 16, 2003. (The subject is just too close to my heart and I was not able to express my feelings.) But now as the Israeli tanks once again roll into Gaza which Rachel courageously defended with her own body, I finally feel compelled to speak out and join my voice to the chorus of others demanding Justice not just for Rachel but also for the Palestinian People which she grew to know and love. Rest In Peace, Rachel. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you, and with your family, and with the Palestinian People. And also with the Jews of Israel and all Jews all around the world. We pray for Peace and for an end to Zionism. ]

[Warning: There are graphic pictures of Rachel Corrie at the time of her death at the end of this post.]

Once more Pharaoh's chariots are invading Palestine. Once more Caesar's Legions are mercilessly slaying the Children of Palestine.

Again, and again, and again the People of Palestine are asked to sacrifice their lives. When will it end? When will the world put an end to this insane bloodshed?

The Caesar in Washington turns a blind eye while the criminal gang in Jerusalem proceeds in raping and pillaging. And when the criminals are finally condemned in the court of Justice, the Senators in Washington step up to defend them. And when the Palestinians rise up to defend themselves, they are called terrorists and are mercilessly slaughtered.

There is no Justice!

There is only the rule of Might makes Right. Might gives them the Right to "defend" themselves from stones and shouts with bullets and bombs. And tanks, and helicopters, and jet fighter craft and navy warships. Killing indiscriminately men, women, and children. Young and old. Weak and strong.

There is no mercy! There is no forgiveness!

There is only ruthless killing and more killing. Resulting in an endless river of blood. The Lion of Judea is on a rampage, devouring its victims by the thousands to satisfy its never ending hunger for conquest.

This is insanity!

Has the world lost its mind? Is there no one who will stand up against the madness? Not just speak up, but stand up. It is well past the time for this bloody sacrifice to end.

Jesus of Palestine

The Palestinians have been imprisoned behind walls and turned into little more than slaves and beggars. Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, is in the militarily occupied West Bank and was attacked only a few short years ago. The Church of the Nativity itself was a target. Although there is no one in the media that seems to want to recall this bit of unpleasant recent history. Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, is also in the occupied West Bank and suffers the same fate as the rest of the militarily occupied lands of the Palestinians.

The fishermen of Gaza, which sits along the shore of the Mediterranean, are not allowed to go out and cast their nets as they did in Biblical times. It is not a mighty storm they fear, but the Israeli Navy which fires upon them and seizes their boats and imprisons them for no reason at all - only for the crime of wanting to make an honest living and to feed their families.

The olive trees and orange orchards of Palestinians are deliberately destroyed in order to impoverish them and to symbolically castrate them as a society. Their homes are bulldozed indiscriminately, with only the weakest pretense of legality.

Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie who stood up against the Israeli bulldozers in Gaza was yet another victim of the brutality of the Zionist state. And to this day no one has been punished for this blatant act of murder. Her parents in their implacable quest for Justice have taken their case to the Israeli courts. This is after their requests for Justice have been ignored time and time again by Israeli officials and - even worse - American officials.

It is as though the family members of a brutal rape-murder victim were forced to kneel down before a judge and beg for Justice for their daughter. Does not the system of Law already have a duty to seek Justice on its own? Must the victim's family plead for the State to carry out its duty?

Rachel Corrie was not just murdered - she was brutally raped; just as the Palestinian People have been the victims of a systematic rape at the hands of the Israelis for over sixty years.

How long, Lord? How long? How long must the Palestinian People suffer?


An interview with Rachel Corrie conducted by Middle East Broadcasting Company on March 14th, 2003, two days before she was murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces.


Please visit the following websites for information on Rachel Corrie and the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) which she belonged to. I've also included a link to the Free Gaza Movement which has successfully broken through the Israeli Naval blockade of Gaza in the past.

The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
 Free Gaza Movement


I also highly recommend the blog called "In Gaza" which is written by a member of ISM named Eva Bartlett. She is an American-Canadian following in the footsteps of Rachel Corrie. Her blog contains many beautiful pictures of daily life in Gaza, along with pictures showing the horrors which Gazans must face as a result of the Zionist military occupation of Palestine.

 In Gaza

Here is an article about Eva Bartlett, of "In Gaza".
Eva Bartlett follows in the footsteps of Rachel Corrie

And finally here is an interview with Eva during the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008 to January 2009. One can only imagine what it would have been like to hear a similar report from Rachel Corrie, had she not been murdered by the Israelis in 2003.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kabuki - US and Israel style

Kabuki - a form of traditional Japanese drama with highly stylized song, mime, and dance, now performed only by male actors, using exaggerated gestures and body movements to express emotions, and including historical plays, domestic dramas, and dance pieces.
In a recent post I described how the apparent conflicts between the US and China are highly dramatized for the consumption of the local audiences. Now it is time for the US to take on Israel in a WWF style showdown. [Please pardon my liberal mixing of metaphors.]

The US vs. Israel

Round 1: The US wrestler "Zionist Joe" heads to the Israeli corner to congratulate top Israeli wrestler "Bulldozer Bibi". Bibi pretends to shake hands with Joe, but then slams him to the mat! And the crowd goes wild. Joe gets up and tries to poke Bibi in the eye, but Bibi is to quick for him and fends him off by holding his hand up between his eyes. He then taunts Joe by saying, "Na, na, na-na-na." Rather than taking offense, Joe once again stretches out his hand in friendship and laughs. "You old rascal," he says. "That was some move. I never saw that coming."

The judges huddle as bikini clad girls prance around the ring announcing the upcoming Round 2. After a brief delay, the judges award 2 points to the Israeli side. Normally only 1 point is awarded for winning the round, but they award an extra point for the spectacular takedown.

Round 2: Emerging from the US corner is the formidable "Hillary the Obliterator". The Israeli corner looks slightly concerned and at first refuse to come out of their corner. After a brief huddle, they once again send out Bibi. The two meet in the center of the ring. Hillary stares down Bibi, but Bibi stares right back at her and never blinks. Then Hillary dances around the ring, wildly gesturing and beating her breast in imitation of an enraged female gorilla. Bibi sits in a stool in his corner and mostly ignores the outburst. Soon the bell rings to end the round.

Once again the judges huddle. Their seems to be some hesitation, but after a brief discussion the judges declare the round to be a draw and award 1 point to each team. The judges explain that they were highly entertained by Hillary's display of raw emotion, but that ultimately the tactic inflicted no harm on the Israeli wrestler.

The announcer steps to the middle of the ring. He holds up Bibi's hand as he shouts out, "and the winner by unanimous decision and still cham-pi-on is IS-RA-EL!" The mostly pro-Israel crowd goes wild, as the losing US team kneels and kisses the feet of the Israeli champion as is customary.

But seriously folks...

If you thought that you were seeing anything like a real conflict between the US and Israel over the issue of Israeli "settlements" in East Jerusalem, you're sadly mistaken. This whole controversy was scripted out in advance. Bibi needed an excuse to be able to tell his local ultra-right wing supporters that the US was pressuring him on settlements. Obama needed to be able to act like he was getting tough on Israel. Biden messed up the US response so badly, that Clinton had to be brought in to convince the Israelis and Arabs that the US was really angry over the incident. Of course we weren't, but it was important to pretend that we were.

As the Jerusalem Post reveals, the whole incident was designed to put a stop to a Likud Central Committee meeting on unfreezing settlement construction. Well, alright the article doesn't come right out and say that, but if you read between the lines the truth becomes apparent.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received backing from his ministers and the parties in his coalition Sunday as he faced a deepening crisis in Israel’s relations with the American administration.

While officials in Washington were quoted as saying that Netanyahu would have to choose between his ties with US President Barack Obama’s government and his coalition partners, ministers and MKs took steps to ensure that he would not have to make such a difficult choice.

Despite American pressure, not one of the 30 ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet has expressed support for freezing construction over the pre-1967 border in Jerusalem. A check among the five Labor ministers found that they were all in favor of continuing to build in neighborhoods like Ramat Shlomo and Gilo, where the American administration opposes building.

“The consensus in Israel supports continuing to build in Jerusalem and that’s not going to change,” a Labor minister said.

In a speech to the Labor Party’s executive committee at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, Defense Minister Ehud Barak denied the charge made by Obama adviser David Axelrod that a decision to build 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo was intentionally announced during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit in order to humiliate him.

The technical mistake during Biden’s visit was not intentional but it was undoubtedly superfluous and dangerous,” Barak said. “Our connection with the American people and our relationship of respect with the American administration and the president are important components of Israel’s security and foreign relations.

“While we are ultimately responsible for our fate, our friendship with America is important for our security and for the chance to calm down the region, and this friendship requires us to behave with mutual respect and responsibility.”

National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer suggested at the event that the escalating pressure from the Obama administration on Netanyahu would only increase the prime minister’s popularity ratings.

“The more Bibi is scolded, the more Right the people will go,” Ben-Eliezer said.

Netanyahu already received a political boost from the American pressure. He used it as an excuse to pressure hawkish Likud MK Danny Danon to postpone Thursday”s Likud Central Committee meeting that was set to focus on stopping the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.

Danon had hoped that the central committee would pass a proposal demanding that the 10-month freeze that ends September 25 not get extended. But he caved into pressure from Netanyahu and agreed to postpone the forum on the condition that a new date for it be set within 30 days.

“I have no doubt that my proposal to restart building in Judea and Samaria would win a majority, but the prime minister is in the middle of an eternal struggle for Jerusalem, so I accepted the prime minister’s request to delay the meeting,” Danon said.

Netanyahu could receive another political boost from Obama if Kadima MKs use the American pressure on Israel as an excuse to split the party and join the coalition.
So Netanyahu postponed the Likud party's decision to extend the West Bank settlement "freeze". But at the same time he announces that, "The building in Jerusalem - and in all other places - will continue in the same way as has been customary over the last 42 years." It doesn't sound as if he is shaking in his boots after Clinton's rebuke.

And this is nothing new. Unfortunately, the corporate media has a selective memory. As recently as November of last year I highlighted a similar situation with regards to Israeli "settlements" in East Jerusalem in a post I called, "The Battle for East Jerusalem". Back then the State Department said it was "dismayed"; Clinton calls the latest Israeli move an "insult".

Maybe if Obama had done something to punish Israel for its assault of Gaza just before his taking office, then the Israelis would actually take the US seriously. Let's face it. The US doesn't get angry over Israel bombing Palestinians. The US doesn't get angry about Israel demolishing Palestinian homes. The US doesn't get angry over the Apartheid Wall through the West Bank. And the US never got angry before about the illegal Zionist takeover of East Jerusalem.

The only reason the US is angry now is because their is a perceived direct insult towards us by Israel. They can kill and maim as many Palestinians as they want and the US will remain silent. They can destroy Palestinian homes by the hundreds and the US will remain silent. They can even murder a US citizen - as in the case of Rachel Corrie - and the US will remain silent.

The show must go on...

The "peace process" must go on - not for the benefit of the Palestinians, but for the benefit of the Zionists. You might come to the conclusion that this is a battle between two factions of Zionists. Not even! They are not "battling" anymore than pro wrestlers are battling. They are just putting on a show. Either way, the Zionists win.

You see they need their "peace process" to maintain their cover for the Zionist expansion. And they pay their flunkies in the P.A. like Abbas well to play their part. Anyone Palestinian who offers real resistance is labeled a "terrorist", like Hamas. And that allows others who resist Israel to be labeled as "terrorist sympathizers" - like Rachel Corrie and the ISM (International Solidarity Movement).

So don't get all excited about these recent events and expect them to result in any substantive change in the US-Israeli relationship. Real change would be the US Navy breaking the siege of Gaza to deliver much needed food and supplies. And that's just not going to happen. Real change would be the US permanently cutting off all aid to Israel - especially military aid. Again, not happening.

Some have suggested that the US military is behind this new push. Well yes, the US military would like to see Israel give more credence to the "peace talks". This helps to soothe the feelings of the local Arab dictatorships. But there is no desire to see the creation of a real "Palestinian state" - even if such a thing were possible. The only goal is the very limited one of calming the feelings on the "Arab street". They don't want a group of "radicals" challenging the status quo dictatorships of such loyal US allies as Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Egypt. You already have some "radical" talk from the government of Turkey, and they don't want that spreading through other Arab and Muslim countries.

So yes "the show must go on". Next week there will be an AIPAC conference in Washington. Hillary and Bibi will go another round of fake combat. Eventually there will be new "talks about talks" between the sell-out P.A and Zionist Israel. More Palestinian children will be killed because they are "Hamas terrorists". The Goldstone Report will be forgotten in the midst of all this.

Eventually Israel will sufficiently provoke Palestinian anger to the point where there will be a new "terrorist attack" on Israelis that will result in deaths. No mention will be made in the US Corporate Media about how many Palestinian homes were destroyed or children imprisoned to cause this reaction. The names of the dead Israelis will feature prominently in the reports, while all the Palestinian victims over the years remain anonymous.

The Israelis will use these "terrorist attacks" against them to justify a new wave of violence and murder against the defenseless Palestinians. The media will depict this as a "cycle of violence", but in reality it is a carefully planned script. It is a cycle of gross deliberate provocation, followed by a minor retaliatory attack, followed by a wave of brutal state violence against the Palestinians.

Lights, camera... action!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The fall of Wall Street's Temple

The New York Stock Exchange - Wall Street's Temple

[NOTE: I wrote a comment over at DeepCapture yesterday and I so thoroughly enjoyed it that I decided to repost here and share it with others.]

Comment in response to "Evidence of murder at 383 Madison Ave." (The article discusses the use of Naked Short Selling to accelerate the fall of Bear Stearns.)

Frank Hope says:
If you ask me the game is deliberately made more complicated than it needs to be. In addition it appears that there are loopholes that are only available to a limited number of players with privileged positions. And you call that a free market?
If this market were anything close to being free, there would be hundreds of companies lined up to take over the top spot from Goldman Sachs. But because of barriers to entry created and maintained by government regulators, there is no competition in sight.
The game is rigged and on top of that the participants are gaming the system. Look at High-Frequency Trading, for example. Naked Short Selling appears to be only a symptom of a system that is corrupt through and through. We don’t need reform, we need a revolution. Too bad the system was not allowed to crash and burn in 2008. The term “creative destruction” was never more appropriate.
The heads of the Wall Street aristocracy must roll and there must be a new and open system put in place to replace it. With today’s computer and networking technology, this should be a snap. Give the job to Google and I’m sure they could come up with a better, more fair and equitable system in a month’s time. Heck it’s hard to imagine a worse system than what exists on Wall Street today.
Of course this would expose the King’s New Clothes and would send shock waves through the financial sector exceeding 10.0 on the Richter scale. Wall Street’s Temple would be completely destroyed – hopefully forever. And the City of London would disappear into the ocean along with it. Good riddance!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bye bye Max and Stacy

[NOTE: I held off publishing this article for a few weeks to see if I would get a reply from Max and Stacy saying they had fixed the problem that does not allow me to post comments on their site.]

It's funny how things work out online. I started out as a big fan of Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert over at What happened?

I'll tell you what happened. I was suddenly and inexplicably blacklisted from commenting on their website. I'm sure you'll agree that's kind of a big insult and slap-in-the-face in the online world if it's done intentionally, but I'm sure you'll also agree that there are all kinds of technical issues that could cause something like this to happen unintentionally. And I have absolutely no reason to believe that this was done intentionally.

So I made repeated pleas for help to Stacy and Max to restore my commenting privileges. I exchanged multiple emails with Stacy on the subject. (Max doesn't usually reply to emails.) Despite her best efforts, the problem was not fixed.

Finally Stacy suggested that the problem was not a local problem with the MaxKeiser website, but a problem with the spam filter which is a service provided by Akismet. If what she was suggesting was true then that would lead me to be banned from commenting not only on MaxKeiser, but also on many Wordpress blogs and other sites that use Akismet as a spam filter.

So I contacted Akismet and after running a simple test, it was determined that they were not the cause of the problem. I let Stacy know the results, but she just (virtually) threw her hands up in the air and said there was nothing she could do about it. In the process she accused me of "threatening" her because I said that if they were unable to fix this problem, that I would no longer be able to support their site.

It's kind of like my saying to Toyota that if they don't fix their problems with cars that accelerate out of control leading to crashes and deaths, that I'm not going to buy any more of their cars. (I don't own a Toyota by the way, I buy strictly cars from American manufacturers.) That seems like a reasonable reaction that most people would have. You either fix your product or I'm going to take my business elsewhere.

I would hardly call that a "threat". Here's the definition of "threat" for reference:
a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done
I guess I should feel flattered in a way to think that somehow my lack of endorsement of could cause some sort of "damage" to Max and Stacy. For all the lack of manners when attacking others displayed by many on the web (including you - Stacy and Max), most people online remain amazingly thin skinned when they feel somehow insulted.

But then maybe they should feel threatened because Future News Today does appear on the first page of results on a Google search for "Max Keiser YouTube". It's true. I wrote a very flattering article about Max and Stacy back in April 2009 and it became fairly popular. Someone even "tweeted" it.

But that was long ago and Max and Stacy have become ever more popular since then. They attract hundreds of comments to every post. (And yes I'm envious.) They even have a new show on Russia Today.

Maybe this is a sign that in the "Year of the Tiger" it's time for me to move on. I mean, I could practically do the MaxKeiser show myself. I pretty much know what he will say before he even says it. And it does get frustrating after a while to here people speak the truth about the criminal fraud perpetrated by the Wall Street cabal over and over again, and yet nothing changes. Geithner has not even been fired. So it does feel as if Max and the rest of us have been pretty ineffective in our criticisms.

Of course I don't have any economic stake in this fight. I have never had any ads on my site, so I'm not making a nickel off this. For Max and Stacy, it's a way of making a living. I don't begrudge them that, it's just a fact. If I don't feel like their have been any significant developments to report, then I just don't post. Whereas Max and Stacy have to continually come up with new material to fill in their various shows.

Fortunately for them, there have been plenty of new economic developments of the "gloom and doom" variety which they specialize in. The latest of course being the problems in Europe - especially Greece. And Goldman Sachs seems to be everywhere at once whenever it comes to sleazy - if not criminal - business dealings which inevitably cause the rest of us to have to pay up for their crimes. (While they continue to get record bonuses with the blessings of President Obama.)

Maybe it's time to start paying more attention to humanitarian issues like the plight of the Haitians devastated by the earthquake, or the conditions of people living in Gaza a year after Israel's brutal assault. Or the horrible dilemma that the people of Afghanistan have been put in, with the never-ending American occupation of their country and the resulting corrupt puppet government of Karzai.

Finally, I'd be more than happy to be welcomed back into the family over at, but I'm not holding my breath. Too bad the internet can't be like Fantasy Island, where there is always a happy ending.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Police State USA preview

If you want to get a feel for what a Police State in the USA would look like, take a look at this video.

As I mentioned in my last post, I like college basketball. This is a scene from the University of Maryland following the victory of the Men's Basketball Team against their hated rival Duke. The Terp fans were out celebrating the win and have a reputation of getting rowdy and even breaking a few windows or setting a few fires.

One of the time honored traditions is to shut down Rte. 1 which passes right in front of the university. Now if you ask me, this is just a bunch of college kids out having fun. And most of it is harmless. It's a big spontaneous drunken street party. Yes, there is some relatively minor destruction of property, but so what!

Why not have the police shutdown the street so the kids can party harmlessly? Instead the police come in with full riot gear, beating their batons against their shields in a display of macho force.

And as can be seen on the video [5:20, 8:15], the result is the police getting out of control and needlessly beating up some college kids.

So instead of a few random acts of violence by students having a good time, we have organized violence by police getting their kicks they way they like it. You can't tell me these goons could not have arrested these kids that are shown on video without beating them with their batons. You can actually hear the cracks of the batons at 8:15. And there are a few extra gratuitous blows after the kid is already down on the ground and has already been beaten up by a gang of cops. If anyone else did this, it would be called a mugging. But when the police commit a senseless act of violence like this, it is always justifiable. And good luck ID'ing the cops that actually took part in this beating. They're all dressed like Darth Vader.

And what exactly was the point of bringing out the police helicopter? [7:20] They're college kids, not a bunch of terrorists. Oh right, it's the cops that are the terrorists. Now I get it. Use the helicopter to create a climate of fear of the authorities. Very 1984-ish. Nice one. And how much are we paying in taxes for that military-style helicopter? It's nice to know that all that Homeland Security money is being put to good use keeping a bunch of college kids in line. The sweeping spotlight was a nice touch. Too bad they couldn't have fired off a few rounds over the heads of the running kids. That would have made some nice video for the late night news.

And of course what would a police riot be without the traditional tear gas? [7:55] If the cops can't shoot live ammunition, then they have to find other things to shoot at their victims - "non-lethal" of course. It's not as much fun as actually beating them, but it's the next best thing as far as sadistic pleasure.

What would have happened if the police hadn't shown up to "keep the peace" and "maintain law and order"? Instead of a few broken windows, we have broken bones. Instead of a few college kids acting out violently, we have a gang of cops engaging in organized violence.

The main difference is that the cops are engaging in legal state sanctioned violence. Well actually it's not legal, but the chance of any of them getting punished for it by the legal system is near zero so it is de facto legal.

Personally, I am actually encouraged when I see a group of American young people out defying authority. It shows there is still a rebellious spirit in this country, and that they are not all a bunch of sheep whose souls have been crushed by the machine. There is plenty of time for that later when they get a job and become part of the corporate establishment.

You have to be a rebel to become a revolutionary. And we need revolutionaries in America more than ever. We need young people that will celebrate their victories out in public, physically, passionately. And not hide in their dorm rooms and celebrate by typing a few lines into a blog. That's not how you change the world!

One last note. Just as most of the kids were just out having fun and not causing any destruction of property, most of the cops acted professionally and were not out their cracking heads. On the other hand, I have to say that what the police did was provocative. And I think it could have been handled in a better way. In the words of frozenphoenixprod...

"If you bring out the riot gear before people riot, you're telling people they should be rioting..."

[A hat tip to "frozenphoenixprod" for posting this high quality video on YouTube. That's what citizen journalism is all about. Another hat tip to Ben Broman for posting this at Testudo Times which is where I first saw it.]

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A little March Gladness

Here's a story that I hope will cheer everyone up. As it turns out I love women's college basketball. I was looking up some stats on some of my favorite players and came across an excellent page at Fox Sports. Yeah, I know I have sworn to boycott Fox News, but there just isn't very good coverage of women's basketball - to say the least. So you get your information wherever you can.

The great thing about this Fox webpage is that you can sort dynamically by whatever stat your interested in. (I know that's a given in men's sports, but try finding this information for the women.) One of my beefs with the men's game is how badly they shoot free throws. When I watch the women play they seem to be making a higher percentage of foul shots. It's true that the women's ball is slightly smaller, but the free throw line is at the same spot and the height of the basket is the same.

There are a few women that are hitting over 90%, which is way excellent. Another thing that bothers me is players that hit a high percentage of 3-point shots and then miss their free throws. Well there was one woman that was hitting 91% of her free throws and 44% of her 3 point shots. She was one of the leaders in both categories. So why is she playing for Delaware?

Then I looked at her points per game: 26.9! That's Michael Jordan territory. Sure she's making that against inferior competition, but surely the free throw numbers can't lie. So finally I decided to do a Google search. I expected to find an undersized guard that couldn't make it into the big conferences because of her size. Wrong. She's 6' 5''!

Her name is Elena Delle Donne - not exactly a household name - but if she was playing in one of the major conferences she would be as well known as Tina Charles. So there's got to be a story here, right? And sure enough there is - and a great one at that.

I like to give credit to my fellow bloggers whenever I can, so here's a shout-out to Michael Lewis at Wide World of Stuff. He has one of the top ranked articles on Elena and provides some great links to stories in the New York Times and Sports Illustrated.

If you still think I'm overhyping this female athlete, just take a look at this. In a recent game against one of the top teams in her conference, Elena scored a whopping 54 points! That's just the most points scored this season in a Division I game - no biggie. That's more points than the whole Notre Dame team scored in their recent loss to Connecticut.

Somehow Delaware lost that game against James Madison, which tells you something about the caliber of the team as a whole. In fact Delaware is not even headed for the NCAA tournament. And they are in the middle of the pack in their CAA conference. At least they have a winning conference record at 10-7.

Of course you can't put up those kind of numbers and go unnoticed. And Elena has been recruited by colleges throughout the nation since she was in middle school. Eventually she chose to go to Connecticut, one of the top women's basketball programs in the country. So what happened? Why is Elena currently playing at Delaware?

ESPN did an excellent job of letting Elena tell the story herself in this mini-documentary on their "Outside the Lines" program.

Elena describes herself as "burnt-out". We're all familiar with that term. We talk about being burnt-out at work or burnt-out at school. It's almost a cliché. But I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate on the particular nature of being "burnt-out" as it applies to an elite athlete of the caliber of Elena.

I've been watching the Vancouver Olympics. There was one story in particular that grabbed my attention. It's an oft repeated story about Olympic short track skater Apolo Ohno. The story has become almost legendary and who knows the true details behind it, but the gist of the story is that Apolo's dad, Yuki, disgusted with his son's performance dropped him off at a remote cabin. There Apolo was left for eight days alone. His father had given him the task to decide at the age of 15, whether he was going to commit himself to a career in skating. According to the legend, Apolo came out with the resolve to commit himself to his sport and never looked back.

That's the way the story is told by the sports media. It is used as an inspirational story of the love of a father, and the dedication of a son. But I'm not so sure. I wonder about how young children are molded into elite athletes in the US sport system. I wonder about the pressures put on young, vulnerable kids to perform at an early age.

American society is all about pressure. How much pressure can you handle? The amount of pressure you can take seems to correlate to how successful you will be in life. Americans revel in rising to meet the ever increasing expectations. We take pride in our ability to handle life's challenges without complaining, as we push ourselves to the breaking point.

American society is all about competition and winning. "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Perhaps this explains American's obsession with being the best. It's a culture that perhaps can be compared to ancient Sparta. This wouldn't be so bad if this spirit of competition weren't then translated into militarism. But that's exactly what I'm afraid has happened to American society.

And this is what intrigues me about this story. This connection between athletics and militarism. I can't help but thinking that part of the training that a young athlete goes through is a kind of brainwashing. Similar to the initiation process that a young recruit goes through in the military. They are broken down mentally and physically until they are totally subservient. Then they are reshaped into the mold of a soldier.

It seems to me that something similar went on with Elena. It wasn't so much that she was burnt-out, but that she refused to fit the mold. She wanted time to find out who she really is outside of basketball. She wanted to be able to spend time with her older sister, Elizabeth, who has autism and cerebral palsy and was born deaf and blind.

Everyone told her she was making the biggest mistake of her life. How hard must it have been to walk away from all of that. It's not everyone who gets the kind of opportunities that she has had in life. And yet I applaud her for standing up to the pressures and deciding to live a simpler life.

If Elena had been born 50 years earlier, before the rise of women's sports, she would perhaps have been happy. She would have been "a natural", a skilled player at her game who would not have attracted that much attention. She would have excelled at basketball or some other sport and would probably have competed in college. Maybe she would have even participated in the Olympics as an amateur.

She would have received accolades from local newspapers and others in her sport. And after graduating from college, she would have pursued a "normal" life. Perhaps, inspired by her older sister, she would have become a special education teacher as she has talked about in interviews. Times were simpler back then. I'll let you be the judge as to whether they were "better". They were certainly different.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

China - Made in America

China is making headlines recently - and it's not good news. Here are a few of the stories making headlines in the past month.
  • Avatar pulled from the movie screens in China.
  • Google accuses China of spying on US companies.
  • China criticizes US over military aid to Taiwan.
  • US criticizes China for undervaluing it's currency.
  • China demands that Obama not meet the Dalai Lama.
Increasingly it seems that the US and China are at odds. But are they really? Regular readers of Future News Today (FNT) will know the answer to that.

Today's China was made in America. What do I mean by that? Starting with the Nixon administration, the US policy has been to strengthen China economically. This coincided with the death of Mao and the rise of a new more pragmatic leadership within the Chinese Communist Party. To be sure, the CIA had a hand in making sure that the right Chinese leaders were put in place that would favor liberalization of the economy.

It was easy really. Mao had made a total mess of the country.  China was poor and needed Western money to develop. The Rockefeller dominated White House guaranteed that money on the condition that the candidates they favored would rise to power in China. The Communist Party elite quickly realized that they could profit enormously from this arrangement.

In some ways this was the usual dirty politics, except on a global scale. The same thing happens in every town and city in the world. Some developers come in with a proposal, but they need cooperation from the city council in the form of a new road. Certain key politicians are made partners in the deal and in exchange they make sure the road is built. And as a result the developers and the politicians become fabulously wealthy. Now multiply that by a factor of a trillion and you have the basic picture of what happened in China at the end of the 20th century.

And there was one more thing that the Western Elite and China's Elite could agree on - the Communist Party would remain in power. Democracy was never part of the plan. Human rights were never part of the plan. Building a sizeable Chinese middle class was never part of the plan. Totalitarianism was always the plan.

This fit in perfectly with the Elite's larger plan. They wanted to take down the United States - specifically the US middle class. It had gotten too big and too powerful and did not suit their purposes any longer. For many years the model of a large middle class was touted as the basis for a strong economy that would provide continued technological progress - but no more.

The new model was one of a small Elite separated by a huge and almost insurmountable gulf from the poor masses. There would still be a sort of middle class, but greatly reduced in size. And political power would be concentrated in the hands of the Elite. Gradually, the US would shift towards a Totalitarian model - the same one adopted by China.

In fact China would be at the vanguard. In China, the Global Elite would create their model for the future and from there it would be exported around the world. The Chinese Communist Party was the perfect tool for this purpose. It already had complete control over the country. This was Mao's legacy, and David Rockefeller wholly approved. After visiting China in 1973, he had this to say.
"The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao's leadership is one of the most important and successful in history."
Slowly but surely the Global Elite chipped away at the US middle class by dismantling the unions. Slowly but surely the rights of Americans were stripped away by associating freedom with vulnerability to terrorism. Meanwhile the power of the government was eroded by selling the idea that "free markets" were more important than "free men".

Even the environmental movement was co-opted through the Global Warming agenda. Once again, the goal of the Elite was to destroy the power of the American middle class. It should be no surprise then that American middle class is seen as the main enemy in the Global Warming diatribe.

And China was setup to be the main beneficiary of the fall of the US. American wealth poured into China to build factories. China's banks were turned into the world's largest. China's oil companies suddenly became the world's most powerful.

China became the Elite's proxy state to force the US to surrender power. The Elite knew that if they tried to take over power directly in the United States, that they would face strong opposition. But by creating a proxy in China, they were able to divert attention from themselves. And it worked perfectly.

Meanwhile America was weakened from within. Huge deficits were created as a result of useless wars being fought in the Middle East. Rather than reinvesting America's wealth as had been done throughout its history, that wealth was squandered.

Consumers were also encouraged to build up huge debts as a housing bubble was deliberately created by the sustained low interest rate policy of the Greenspan Federal Reserve. And at the same time, an enormous trade deficit with China was encouraged to grow through government policies. This trade deficit was sustained by the selling of billions of dollars worth of US Treasury Bonds to China.

And then in September 2008, the bubble was deliberately burst. In the ensuing panic, the American government was forced to hand over hundreds of billions of dollars to the bankers. And as a result the US budget deficit grew even larger.

Just a month earlier on 8/8/8 (August 8, 2008) China celebrated its "coming out party" - the Beijing Olympics. We were told that it would encourage China to shift towards democracy and human rights, but did it? Not surprisingly, the answer is no - just as China's entry into the WTO did not enhance democracy. In fact China's Communist Party has a firmer grip on power than ever.

Which brings us to the present. As China flexes its muscles, one should remember who gave China this extraordinary power - it was the Global Elite. And the same Global Elite is continuing to do everything in its power to destroy the United States.

Is it too late? No, but time is running out. China is still a relatively poor and backwards country which would collapse without constant stimulus from the outside. And China does not have the military strength to back up its demands. A determined US could still influence China to shift towards openness and democracy so that all Chinese could benefit from its riches and not just the powerful few.

If you judge by outward appearances, it would seem that the US is heading for a collision course with China. But this all depends by what you mean by the US. If you mean the US government, then you would be wrong. But if you mean the US middle class, then you would be more or less correct. In fact if things continue on their present course, then the US middle class will be crushed between the US government and China. And if this happens, then we can say goodbye to the global experiment in freedom and democracy that began in 1776.

The trick is not to be fooled. The American people have finally woken up to the deception of the bankers and have learned not to trust them as a result of the Great Bailout of '08. But we have still not woken up to the way in which the bankers are colluding with China to destroy the American way of life.

This is a war. It is not a war fought with bullets and bombs, but a war fought with trade and currencies. It is a financial war. And there are many traitors in our midsts. Many have already made fabulous profits by selling out the US. And many are expecting to make much more by betting that the US will be the loser in this battle.

If the US is to win this battle, then it must rebuild its industries. It cannot do this under the current restrictions imposed by the WTO. The US must withdraw from the WTO. I see no other choice. Once it has withdrawn, then it can make appropriate trade agreements with other countries.

These new trade agreements must be fair. They must not be dictated by the interests of the multi-national companies, but by the interests of the people of the countries of the world.

Yes we are living in a globalized world and nothing is going to change that, but we must find a way to create a global community that respects the sovereignty of countries. Otherwise we will end up in a de facto global dictatorship.

This is what we are fighting against. And as the US goes, so goes the world.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Avatar - Life vs. Death

I saw Avatar nearly a week ago. I thought I would write a review earlier, but I haven't been able to get a full grasp of the movie. There is so much information online; and I didn't want to just repeat someone else's observations. And yes, there will be spoilers; so watch the movie first.

Bio vs. Mecho

One idea that popped out at me even as I watched the movie, which has not been explored, is regarding technology - but not technology in the ordinary sense. I'm referring to an alien technology which our human science is unable to fully comprehend. That technology is all around us and yet we take it for granted. It is the technology that allows you to read this page. It is the technology of Life.

We don't often think of Life as a technology. And honestly that is perhaps appropriate. Life is more than a technology. Life is a mystery.

I can say this without offending any religion or even science, because it is true. Life is a mystery. It is a puzzle without an answer. And at the same time, the answer is looking at you in the mirror.

Life is.

It is undeniably true. It is an everyday miracle. No one can claim to understand Life. It is a mystery and it is the source of all religion.

Science which bases its existence on the idea that everything can be studied and understood cannot explain Life. And Science simply ignores the question that the means of understanding is through the human brain which is itself a product of Life.

In the movie Avatar, the struggle between Bio and Mecho - or perhaps I should say Life and Death - is woven throughout the story. But it really becomes apparent during the final battle scene.

Here we see Life battling directly against the Death machines. And Life wins. Life wins because it can move in ways that the Death machines can never imagine - even when those Death machines are piloted by Life organisms.

Here we see the beauty of the motion of Life; the agility; the ferocity. The teaming masses.

James Cameron could have chosen some force of nature to destroy the invaders  of Pandora - like a giant Hurricane - but instead he chose Life. It is the animals that ultimately come to the rescue of Pandora.

Balance of life

Which brings up the question, why didn't the living inhabitants of the planet Pandora rise up against the invaders earlier? And the reason is that Life does not normally respond this way.

In a normal ecosystem Life destroys other Life for food, or in order to protect itself from a threat. This creates a balance - but not a rigid balance. It is more like a pendulum swinging back and forth around its resting spot. As it swings too far in one direction the natural forces pull it back; and it may overshoot. Overtime even the equilibrium point slowly changes as the system evolves.

You don't expect to revisit a forest one thousand years later and see the exact same pattern of trees. And as a result you wouldn't expect to see the exact same types of birds nesting there.

Life is constantly changing. It is dynamic. It responds to the natural forces. A volcano may destroy the natural landscape, but Life will recover. It will adapt.

And so Pandora does not respond immediately by destroying the invaders. Perhaps it thinks that the Death and destruction created by the invaders is part of a natural and organic process. Perhaps it thinks that in the healing of this deep wound created by the invaders a new Life will flourish.

What Jake Sully shows Pandora is that this invader is capable of causing wounds so deep and so extensive, that the planet will not be able to recover from them.


One reviewer I read points out that the Na'vi have not even discovered the wheel. This is true.

But let's think about this. How does the wheel stack up as an invention? Do you notice that in nature there are no wheels? There are cycles, but no wheels. Is this because nature is stupid - or just primitive?

What good is a wheel in a forest? A man on foot can go places that a wheeled vehicle can never go. In fact the latest technology seeks to recreate the locomotive methods of two and four legged animals. Can a wheel go up stairs?

Wheels need roads.

The big invention is not the invention of the wheel, it is the invention of the road. The wheel was easy. Some guy in a cave probably came up with it and then chucked it out as impractical. The only thing that makes wheels practical are roads.

And how do you make a road? You make a road by destroying the natural landscape which is beautifully irregular and covered with living trees and grasses and flowers, and then replacing that with a flat, sterile surface composed of crushed dead materials.

And then you can take your car and drive around on that road. Just stick to the road. Because if you get off the road, you may find yourself stuck. Which means we need to build more roads, and more roads, and more roads...

A very dangerous technology

But I detect a flaw in Cameron's creation. And that flaw is embodied in the very title.


Cameron has taken this word and given it a meaning of its own. In the virtual world of the network an avatar has come to mean a virtual representation of yourself.

In the "real" physical world of Pandora the Avatar is a real physical body.

What disturbs me is the way this body was created in the story. It was created by combining human DNA with DNA from a Na'vi. This implies the use of highly advanced biotechnology. And it is this biotechnology which I'm referring to when I speak of "a very dangerous technology".

Look at the the way that mechanical technology is developed. It is created from inanimate objects. It is energized by burning dead fossil fuels. Its limited decision making capabilities come from inanimate silicon circuits.

And most importantly it's employed with the goal of conquering Life and submitting it to the service of man. In other words, it is a Death machine.

Now biotechnology is following along this same path. Do not be fooled by the 'bio' terminology. This is being employed as another technology to conquer Life. It is following along the same path as mechanical technology to become another part of the Death machine.

It is no doubt a deliberate decision on the part of Director Cameron to not employ biotechnology as a weapon against the Na'vi people. This would ruin his narrative of Life against Death. And rest assured that Cameron's intent is to create a sort of mythical tale, so the symbolism is paramount.

I would compare Cameron's storytelling to that of the Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan or John Henry. Only in those cases it is man against machine. Here we have alien against machine. And of course the end is diametrically opposite, because in Cameron's fairy tale Life wins. Yes it is a fairy tale; it is a legend; it is a parable.

But getting back to the biotechnology. Maybe in part deux we will see the humans come back with biotechnology weapons. Perhaps they will assemble an army of Avatars. No doubt.

No doubt because biotechnology is perhaps the most disruptive technology towards Life. Even without malicious intentions biotechnology is capable of destroying Life totally and utterly. Imagine a virus that can destroy all Life forms. Or a bio-engineered mutation that overwhelms the naturally existing species.

And the Avatars are just such a bio-engineered mutation. What will their offspring be like? Could they come to dominate the native population? Stay tuned for the next episode.

Real world vs. virtual world

One thing that struck me as I learned about the process of creating the movie, was that the process was not unlike the way that Jake entered into Pandora through his Avatar.

Cameron had to create a whole virtual world inside his computers in order to make the movie. He created something similar to a computer game. And inside that game he directed the action.

What's really interesting is that the way he controlled the action was through the actors. The actors movements were captured and transferred into the virtual reality of the computer to bring to life their virtual characters. Sound familiar? Yes it's similar to the way that Jake controls his Avatar.

In the process Cameron blurs the line between the real and the virtual. Cameron constantly mixes in elements of the real and the virtual. Even though Jake Sully's Avatar actually exists in the reality of Pandora, for Jake it might as well only exist in a virtual world.

I actually think that Cameron would have originally liked to make that movie where the Avatar is alive in a virtual world, but of course that movie was already made a few years back and called The Matrix.

There is a difference in the way that the Avatar is controlled which is that it is directly through the mind. Which give us an idea that Cameron is suggesting that eventually he would like to be able to control his virtual movie actors directly through his director's mind. For now he has to beat and cajole his actors to do the things that he envisions and then watch the results appear on a computer monitor.

And I have no doubt that Cameron as a director is a bastard. He would need to be to bend everyone to his will. Avatar was a huge project - not unlike a military campaign - and Cameron was the General in charge.

In the case of the movie Avatar, the making of the movie is as much a part of the story as what we see onscreen. And again, the reality and virtual reality are intertwined. Watch this documentary on the making of the film and I'm sure you'll get the idea of what I'm talking about.

Jake as Messiah

Is Jake Sully Jesus? Has Cameron created a sort of Na'vi second coming story? Yes. Isn't it obvious? But then I suppose all Hero stories could be compared in some way to the story of Jesus. Still let's look at some of the parallels.

We can start with the name. Both start with a 'J'. Not a coincidence in my book. And the full name Jake Sully contains all the letters in Jesus. Again, not a coincidence. Remember how Neytiri says his name, "Jake Sully". If I remember correctly she pronounces the 'u' more like 'oo' than 'uh', in the same way that we pronounce Jesus.

But that is trivial stuff. Let's look at the story for more clues.

Jake has an immaculate conception - or at least his Avatar does. He is 'born' in an artificial womb.

Jake's mother is a virgin. That is if you consider Dr. Grace Augustine - the Sigourney Weaver character - to be his mother. She is childless and while maybe not technically a virgin, she at least does not conceive Jake - but at the same time she does bring Jake to life through the Avatar.

Speaking of names, how about Dr. Grace Augustine. Grace is obvious. And Augustine alludes to St. Augustine - one of the Doctors of the Catholic Church. In fact St. Augustine is accredited with clarifying the principle of grace in Christian religion. It is through Christ's sacrifice of his life that souls are redeemed, and not through the good works of man. And it is through Dr. Grace Augustine's sacrifice of her life that the planet Pandora is ultimately saved.

And then I suppose there is the question of whether the Na'vi have committed the original sin of Adam and Eve. Everything about their innocent way of life implies that they have not. They even live in a Paradise. (I suppose that Cameron was tempted to have them running about naked, but was hampered by the Motion Pictures rating system. But notice that he only provides them with the absolute minimal amount of clothing.) Like Adam and Eve, the Na'vi are innocent and unashamed of their nakedness - in the same way that children are innocent. There is even a Tree of Souls which is reminiscent of the Tree of Life in Genesis. What more proof do you need that Pandora is intended to represent Eden?

And going back to Jake, notice that his last name is Sully. This sounds like a shortened version of Sullivan - a typical Irish Catholic last name. But note also that 'sullied' refers to something that has lost its purity. And in the beginning of the story Sully is just that. But through 'grace' (and no action of his own), he is able to regain his purity in a new body.

Jake gets lost on his first trip into the jungles of Pandora much as Jesus is lost on his first trip to Jerusalem. Jake ends up at the Hometree just as the young Jesus ends up at the Temple. Remember that even though Jake is an adult, his Avatar is only days old. So he could be considered to be a child at this point in the story.

Jake goes through a series of rituals in order to be accepted into Na'vi society. Perhaps these are similar to the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Contemplating more on the name Jake, it is clear that this is a shortened form of Jacob. In the Bible, Jacob is famous for his dream of a ladder that goes from Earth to Heaven. Jake also has a dream. In his dream he is flying - perhaps flying up into Heaven. Pandora then is Heaven or Paradise. In Jacob's dream he sees Angel's ascending and descending the ladder, while on Pandora the Na'vi fly through the air like Angels on the backs of their Banshees.

Not only that, but in the Bible Jacob had a twin brother - just like Jake Sully. And also in the Bible, Jacob takes the place of his brother Esau in the sense that he becomes the family heir. Finally after wrestling with an Angel, Jacob becomes Israel and becomes the father of the Hebrew people. Perhaps this Angel is represented in the movie Avatar by the Toruk - the enormous flying creature that Jake 'wrestles' in order to tame it.

Jake dies and then is resurrected. This happens towards the end of the movie - before the final battle. When the evil Colonel pulls the plug on Jake he 'dies' in the arms of Neytiri. Later Jake manages to escape and get back into his Avatar thus completing the resurrection.

The final battle scene is reminiscent of a Book of Revelations style Apocalypse where Good triumphs over Evil. I'm no expert on Revelations and I'm not about to go and research this, but I think the parallel fits in this case.

And at the very end of the tale, Jake "ascends into heaven" when he gives up his earthly body and fully adopts the body of his 'half human - half Na'vi' Avatar body. There he becomes a King just as Christ would be in Heaven.

Isn't it odd that Cameron would insert so much Christian symbology into his story? I assume that Cameron was raised as a Christian. (I couldn't find any information online about his early religious experience, but it is a safe bet.) It's interesting to me that in a story so infused with elements of Pantheism, that there are also elements of Christianity. No doubt that Cameron is hearkening back to his upbringing.

And if Jake is Jesus, what does that make Cameron?

The final verdict

There are many other aspects of the movie that I could go into, but these have been covered very well in other places. With regard to the 'political' aspects of the story, some have suggested that Avatar is a sort of full-length 3D Rorschach test. I have to agree.

But where do I think this movie sits in the history of movie making? I think this is a ground breaking movie for its use of virtual characters and its ability to incorporate them into a whole world created on film - or perhaps more appropriately, inside a supercomputer.

[By the way, I've searched online and haven't been able to find any information on what kind of computer hardware the Avatar movie was made on. If anyone comes across this information, please leave a comment. Curiously enough, no one seems to even be asking the question.]

The movie has been described as "this generation's Star Wars". I am completely in agreement with that. Star Wars was released in 1977 - about 30 years ago. At the time it was a tremendous breakthrough in Sci-Fi on film. But if you watch it today, it will seem rather lame.

What I wonder is, how we will perceive Avatar in ten, twenty or thirty years. My impression is that this sort of virtual actor technology will evolve so quickly, that Avatar will seem rather technologically primitive in ten to twenty years.

And then the only thing left to prop up the film will be the story, the characters and the fictional world of Pandora where the story takes place. My feeling is that without multiple sequels, there is not enough of a story to achieve a prominent place in 21st century culture.

An example of a movie that was able to achieve cultural status almost immediately was The Matrix. But I don't think that Avatar has any elements in its story that are unique enough to grab a hold of the cultural consciousness in that way. Perhaps the strongest element is the world of Pandora itself. But to me there is no one characteristic of Pandora that is strong enough to stand out.

But with two or more sequels, that could change. I would tend to expect a trilogy, which would require two sequels. And while expectations were not that high for Avatar, expectations will be through the roof for any sequels. Which means of course that if expectations are not met, then people will be disappointed. But if anyone can meet and even exceed expectations, it is James Cameron. After all he was the one that brought us the original Terminator, and then blew the lid off with Terminator 2 - or simply T2.

Predictions for Avatar 2 - or simply A2

Call these predictions or mere speculations. Here is what I am expecting from A2.

Did you notice there were no Na'vi children on Pandora? This implies to me that the Na'vi children take on a different form and then go through a metamorphosis before becoming adults. I am guessing that they start off life as some sort of sea creature like a fish. Or perhaps more like a tadpole which loses its tail and grows limbs to become a frog.

At any rate it will be interesting to see what the child of Jake and Neytiri looks like. Don't forget that they had some sort of sexual experience and presumably Neytiri is now pregnant with Jake's child. And also don't forget that Jake's DNA is composed of a combination of Human and Na'vi DNA.

Which also brings up an interesting subject. The fact that Na'vi have DNA means that they are closely related to life on Earth somehow. That opens up a possible subject for a future sequel, but I wouldn't expect this to be explored very far in A2. This seems like a subject for the concluding chapter in A3.

One more thought about the offspring of Jake and Neytiri. Don't be too surprised if Neytiri lays an egg instead of giving live birth. Again I would expect the birth to happen underwater. Of course Cameron would want an excuse to explore an underwater world where he could practice his craft of creating underwater animation. And also don't be too surprised if Neytiri gives birth to a litter of children instead of just one child. Remember that Jake is Jacob the father of the Hebrew tribes. Which means that each of his children will end up heading up a separate tribe. Or maybe Neytiri will give birth to twins, after all we know that Jake was a twin.

Expect to see Dr. Grace Augustine appear as some sort of spirit. Remember that Jake was able to hear the ancestors voices through the Tree of Voices. And even though that tree was destroyed, I would expect that there will be an alternate way to communicate with the souls of the dead. And what about Jake's twin deceased brother - will Jake find a way to communicate with his soul as well?

And I mentioned earlier that I expect that the Humans will be back to attack - this time as an army of Avatars. That will give them the agility that they lacked in their first battle with the Na'vi. They might also create their own animals for flying and riding. And of course they won't just be Na'vi style Avatars, but will be super versions of those with enhanced senses. But even though the Humans may out power the Na'vi, the Na'vi will always have the home field advantage.

Like any great Hero, Jake will have to wrestle with his own Pride or Hubris as he leads the Na'vi people. Pride is in many ways the original sin that leads to the fall from Grace. Indeed, it is considered to be the first and most serious of the Seven Deadly Sins. Will Jake's Pride cause the Na'vi to be ejected from their Pandoran Paradise?

There are many mysteries to be explored in the lush Pandoran world that Cameron has created. This provides ample material for a sequel. The most interesting for me are the seeds of the Tree of Souls. They have a jelly fish like appearance. This is in keeping with a sort of underwater theme in Pandora. Given that they are seeds, they must give birth some sort of new Life at some point. But don't just assume that a new Tree of Souls will emerge directly from the seeds. Take a look at this video of the lifecycle of a jellyfish to see just how complicated a reproductive cycle can be even in our Earth bound real life world. Those who ridicule the nerve endings emerging from the pony tail of the Na'vi have obviously not spent much time appreciating the diversity of Life on Earth.

Cameron's own imagination seems to have been fired up by his explorations of the Deep Ocean as part of his making of Titanic. It was Mark Twain who said that "Truth is stranger than fiction". The same could be said of Life. No matter what marvelous creations Cameron can create on the movie screen, it will never be as marvelous and mysterious as the creation of Life that exists right before our very eyes.

To James Cameron: If you need anyone to consult on the script for A2, I'm available.

[UPDATE - Jan 8 2010: I continue doing some editing to correct minor mistakes and to add bits of material. This post is sort of a work in progress. I may add some follow up posts. We'll see.]

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