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Friday, March 27, 2015

Zero interest.

I tried calling them this morning. What was my response? Well ... have you ever shouted down an abandoned mineshaft? It sounded kind of like that. Except hollower. Less content.

Mars? Too easy, man.Oh, hi. Welcome to the land of the great ideas. I'm Joe Perry (not of Aerosmith) of Big Green, and well ... I am responsible for many of the "great" ideas. Why "great" in quotes? Those are litotes, and I use those when I'm being painfully ironic. Which is to say ... our great ideas are not great at all. In fact, most of our ideas are just plain STUPID. But hey, if we let THAT stop us, we probably wouldn't get out of bed in the afternoon. (Did I say afternoon? I meant ... uh ... morning.)

Right, so ... the latest "great" idea was Mars Zero - our answer to Mars One, the private initiative to land a group of humans on Mars by the year 2025. Our first reaction to Mars One was, hell, we've done that already, and dozens of times. Just read our blog, folks. But of course, people seldom do, so they don't know the full extend of what humankind has been able to accomplish in the name of art in space. (I use the term "art" loosely enough to include things like Cowboy Scat: Songs in the Key of Rick, our most recent album.)

Check out our podcast, This Is Big Green.So what's the problem with Mars Zero, our own attempt to reach the red planet (where we've already done several tours) in five years, rather than ten? Well, it's the anticipated crush of inquiries. Mitch Macaphee, our mad science adviser, is absolutely terrified that a flood of emails will infest our servers and cause them to crash, vaporizing all of his malevolent code. I keep telling him there's nothing to worry about - that this initiative, like so many previous Big Green efforts, will likely fall flat. He's excitable, see ... that's the problem with Mitch.

Cowboy Scat on YouTube: Even as we prepare for the worst on Mars Zero, I have managed to upload ten songs from Cowboy Scat to our YouTube channel. The video content is a cheap-ass slide show - this is mostly for the listening. So if you haven't heard the songs all the way through, here's how to do it. (I'll upload the rest of the album over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.)

Bodies count.

Though you probably didn't hear about it on the evening news or NPR, the group International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (of which Physicians for Social Responsibility is a member) released a report on casualties of the so-called "war on terror" in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The toll is conservatively estimated at 1.3 million in total, with 1 million in Iraq killed as a result of our 2003 invasion. Anyone familiar with the figures breezily tossed around by the last two administrations might be surprised by this total. (I recall W. Bush casually offering 30,000, as if guessing the number of marbles in a jar.) Actually, the number is roughly in line with what the Iraq Study Group estimated in 2005-06.

This is what hegemony looks likeNo matter - this wasn't worthy of comment, except on Democracy Now! That's not surprising. We can't acknowledge the magnitude of our own crimes, only those of our official enemies. Assad is an execrable mass murderer, right? Sure he is. But has he killed as many as we have over the past fifteen years? Not nearly. How about ISIS? Killer crackheads, to be sure. But pikers next to us. Absolute freaking amateurs. We have a long tradition of outdoing those we criticize. No one denounced the Russians for their invasion of Afghanistan more than we did; and yet here we are, 14 years into our own Afghan war, no end in sight. Noble mission vs. international crime. Curiously, the former has a higher body count.

This is nothing new. We've just passed the fiftieth anniversary of our invasion of South Vietnam - the arrival of the first contingent of combat units in the country. If they think about it at all, most Americans generally think the number of dead in the Vietnam war as being in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps - maybe 300,000. Given that millions were killed, millions more gravely wounded, this is akin to holocaust denial. Kind of sickening. It's estimated that about 40,000 Vietnamese have died since the war due to unexploded ordinance alone - see this recent article in the Nation.

Unless we come to terms with this as a people, we will be condemned to repeat it. We already have, and we will again. But we don't have to. It's up to us.

luv u,

jp