Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Choice of Life

I'd rather die than dominate.

Who am I to stand in the shadows and ask for more than my due? To look at others, some of whom suffer for my benefit, and spit on their suffering? Empires live by sucking the life out of neighboring kingdoms. And kingdoms live by sucking the life out of surrounding counties. And counties live. Well. They live by draining the life from the Baronies, war lords, and starving peasants at the bottom. And the bottom dwellers? Well. They hardly live at all, now, do they? How can they? All of their life force wafts upwards, each level a model of the all. As below, so above.

Once there was a villiage. And the villiage was happy and secure and prosperous. The children played and the adults made love with the land and the elderly imparted wisdom and then died, to wence noone knew. But they were happy and sad and solumn and grateful in good measure as their gods said they should be in order to know a good life, and that's the best one can ever ask for, now, isn't it? One hand in another. All in its place. As above...

And that was it's curse. Because prosperity is the enemy of the just enough. And the just enough is the goddess of the content. And the content is the demon of the more now. And we all know where goes the more now. It's never content. It's never secure. It's never happy. It disregards prosperity. It only knows one thing: More.

And we've all felt it. Oh, come now! Don't pretend! You say you are Egalitarian or Socialist or free market Capitalist or Democrat or Bolshevik or some such refuse. Pleasant words. As below... But what do you mean? Push the words aside. Ditch the rhetoric. What are you saying? In the nine tenths of your brain that doesn't have a dictionary, what's going on? I've got mine. You justify yours! That's all!

There, dictionary boy! Make it happen! Make me feel good about whatever my apetites are craving today! I don't care how you do it! Justify it later!

As long as I'm happy. No. Not like that. Don't look at me that way! I see you! Put your ego into my skull. Really! It's pretty empty as it is. You'll have plenty of room. Read my words as I write them. Read them as if they were your own. Write with me as I write. Speak with me as I speak. Say the words as if you were saying them yourself right now. Burn into your brain what burns in mine. And disregard your internal voice. One tenth of your brain speaks. The rest feels. So. Feel.

The world is ours. We made it. Lock and tinder. Fragment and frown. The gross and the Godiva. Look upon it and dispair... Or delight... As below...

So what do we say about the horrors above? The hideous monstrousity that rules us and drains us indiscriminately? The sucking terror that is us? Shall we elect it out of office? Tear it down? Foment rebellion? Bring in the guillotines? Raise an army? Richly satisfying though that might be? And then what? Hurriedly scramble to craft the next attrocity? Birth the next abomination? As below...

The world we see outside our window is the world we made. There is no other. Walk in it. Live in it. Die in it. Hate it. Love it. Abandon it. Embrace it. And me? I am overwhelmed by it. Astounded. At a complete loss. But I see a fellow, flawed soul in need walking down the road. He seems troubled.

I'd rather live than dominate.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Divide That Unites

The world is at war with itself, the Each with the Other, the One with the All, the Right with the Wrong and the Other Right with the Other Wrong. We all divide ourselves into Us vs. Them. Sometimes it's a big Us like our Holy Country vs. that Ungodly Abomination. Sometimes it's a smaller Us like our religion vs. theirs over there. Christians vs. Muslims. Or our religion vs. their slightly different one. Catholics vs. Protestants. Or Protestants vs. other Protestants or other, other Protestants or other, other, other Protestants. The saddest Us of them all is the Us of only One. One vs. the All. This is where divisiveness dissolves into narcissism. The sickness of singularity.

And what do we say about the Other? The Not Us? That they dress funny? Talk funny? Teach hate? Eat their young? Eat our young? Or maybe that they are just that? Not Us?

What do you really know about people who have a lifestyle or opinion that disagrees with you? Well, you know three things:

1. They are people...
2. Who disagree...
3. With you.

They are not terrorists. They are not misogynists. They are not ignorant, toothless hillbillies. Or east/west coast PC liberals. They are not shrieking, bomb throwing Bolsheviks. They are not agents of Satan. They are not rapist fiends. They are not cartoon villains.

They are people... who disagree... with you.

In fact, they are You. You with the same prejudices. You with the same surety of their own righteousness. You with the same families and children at home that they want to protect from the horrors of the other Other and preserve the way of life that they love and mourn its passing. They are mothers and fathers and sons and daughters. People who, under different circumstances, would gladly share a meal and a schnapps. People who know how you feel.

So people fight and do deplorable things. In the name of their uniqueness they justify the murder of innocent people. All because They are right and the Other is wrong. And They are afraid.

They are You if You were They. Why are we fighting ourselves?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Nuclear Football

President Obama wants to spend a trillion dollars (with a T) to upgrade our nuclear arsenal to the next generation. Never mind that nuclear weapons have proven to be useless. During the cold war their only purpose was so superpowers could say to each other, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours! OK. Now let's talk." Even those bad old Bolshevik Soviets understood that the world had fallen into a Damocles' Dilemma where each one's sword pointed at the other one's head. They negotiated with presidents from Kennedy to Reagan to do two things. One, insure that there would be no accidental nuclear strikes and two, reduce the risk by removing the sword once and for all. We have been buying nuclear material from Russia and turning it into nuclear reactor fuel. Megatons to Megawatts, it's called. Talk about turning swords into plowshares.

And now. The most powerful nation in the world, the one that should be able to negotiate from a position of strength and benevolence, the one that should be able to say, No more! to the cycles of fear and suspicion, wants to build the next generation of a useless product that can kill by mistake?

The genie was let out of the bottle in 1945. Oppenheimer famously said, when he witnessed the first nuclear detonation, "I have become death. The destroyer of worlds." And so it began. One nation after another wanted the nuclear bomb. For status? For protection? To bluff? To use? Noone wanted to use it. They just wanted to show it off. I'll show you mine...

Since the only time nuclear weapons have been used in war in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there have been numerous treaties limiting their creation and use. lists the following:

1959 Antarctic Treaty
1963 Hot Line Agreement
1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty
1967 Outer Space Treaty
1967 Latin America Nuclear Free Zone Treaty
1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
1971 Seabed Treaty
1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty I (Interim Agreement)
1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
1974 Threshold Test Ban Treaty
1974 Vladivostok Agreement
1976 Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty
1977 Environmental Modification Convention
1979 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II
1985 South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty
1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty - INF
1988 Ballistic Missile Launch Notification Agreement
1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
1993 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II
1996 Treaty of Pelindaba
1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism
2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)

That's 24 treaties limiting the use of something that should have never been created in the first place. During this time the total number of nuclear weapons went up a staggering amount and then down again by over 90%. Why reverse that? Why go up again and why build even more clever atomic cherry bombs? So our descendants can spend their time writing more treaties?

I propose a new treaty. One I hope will be the last. I've even got a clever name for it: STOP. STrategic Ordinance Prevention. Let's make this international. Not just the current nuclear powers of America, Russia, China, Israel, France, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Make this a United Nations resolution banning all research into new nuclear weapons. Input from all nations, guarantees all around, inspections, sharing of information, loads of suspicion. Why, all the diplomats, military types, and inspectors might be so busy looking over each other's shoulders they won't have time for war.

That would be best use of nuclear weapons I can think of.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Addicts of War

A recent exchange between Wolf Blitzer and Ron Paul illustrates a good point. Blitzer said that denying a billion dollar sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia would cost jobs at home. There. It's finally been said: War is financial. WAR should have its own listing on the Dow Jones Industrial index.

After the fall of the Soviet Union many of us children of the cold war thought we'd get a 'peace dividend.' We could finally cut back on defense spending, which had only accelerated during the Reagan administration, and divert it to peaceful purposes. Full disclosure, I worked for a defense contractor during the early eighties while that cold war was in full force. I left before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

That didn't happen. First we had Gulf War 1. Then Zbigniew Brzezinski writing of the need for a new Pearl Harbor to justify wars in the Middle East and North Africa. Whatever you may think of organizations like 'Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth' or other legitimate questions about the terrorist attacks on September 11, the Bush administration used the mantra 'never let a tragedy go to waste' to justify attacking precisely those countries outlined for destruction by Brzezinski in his book, "The Grand Chessboard."

We were once a manufacturing economy, the powerhouse of the world. Then we became a silicon economy, then a service and entertainment economy. Now we are a war economy. The State department recently sent the president a letter calling for escalation of the war in Syria and attacks against Assad. It was signed by 50 diplomats. These are people who are supposed to always advocate diplomacy and communication. Their weapons are words. Their success is measured in milestones not megatons.

So, what if? What if we had pursued peace as our ultimate objective in the 90's? What if we had dismantled NATO and started removing our military bases from Japan, Germany, England, and other places around the world? What if we had stopped supporting people like Saddam Hussein one year and fighting him the next? What if we had stopped funding organizations like Al-Qaeda one year and having them morph into IS the next? Wherever we trod, snakes rose up against us. What if we stayed home?

Well, American influence around the world would have to shrink. The United Nations would have to take more responsibility for its mandate as world arbiter. The Military Industrial Complex would have to reinvest in other things and the Pentagon would have whole sections empty. Lights out! And the Stock market would probably crash. It would require a major restructuring of our economy in line with what was happening in the former Soviet republics. Unemployment would skyrocket from the combined job losses plus returning vets from overseas. It would require leadership and patience.

On the other hand, we would have saved trillions of dollars. Six and a half trillion dollars alone are unaccounted for in the Pentagon budget. This could have been used for a new GI bill to retrain people for a new American economy. An economy based on integration with the rest of the world, not its domination. We could have invested in alternatives to fossil fuel, education, space travel, cures for diseases.

But we couldn't do that. We had become addicted to gun powder.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Basket of Deplorables

I was cruising down the beltway and around the Potomac just the other day. The summer heat was waning, giving way to the pre-election pollution. Oh, is it that season again? The one where the real horrors come out after Halloween? I could feal the fear pheromones leeching from the sidewalks. A quick glance across the mall showed Lincoln hiding behind his immense castro convertible. The reflecting pool refused to reflect and Jefferson looked pale, even for a statue. The capital looked...well, Congress always looks that way. This is the only time the American people can have real feelings for their government. Well, other than fear, frustration, dread, exasperation, incineration. One year out of four we also feel empowered. Silly us.

I suddenly felt hungry for some reason. Enough circus. How about some bread?! I spotted a favorite grease geyser down one of the letter streets, Q or K or Z. It was just by Diplomat Alley. You can't miss that street. It's the one where the buildings are all covered in communications dishes. I bet you didn't know a quantum laser mind reader probe can be a diplomatic pouch now, did you?

I pulled into the parking lot under the huge, colorful revolving Bucket o' Bile and eased into the take out lane. The big board hawked the usual fare. Over priced. Under nourishing. But man, can they find ways to combine salt, fat, and mind control! Must be those laser probe thingeys.

I drove up to a kiosk that looked like a giant cardiac arrest in progress and waited.

"Welcome to Colonel Hillary's Arkansas Fried Opponents!" the left ventricle spouted. "Do you have a political affiliation?"
"Not currently, though I was leaning towards the Whigs. I've still got time to register."
"OK! Good to know you racist, sexist, homophobe! How may I pretend to serve you?"
"I'll have the Colonel's Deplorable Basket, please."
"Great! What size would you like? Fawning, condescending, or overbearing?"
"You don't have intimidating any more?"
"No, sir. Most people went directly to overbearing."
"Makes sense. I think I'll take condescending."
"Good choice. Do you want regular or...?"
"I'll take extra creepy, please."
"OK. Do you want any extras?"
"Hmm. Do you still have those fried thingeys? The ones that can overthrow foreign governments?"
"You mean the Libya Bombs? Those were taken over by the Kerry Cafe."
"OK. I'll just have an order of Wall Street slaw and baked Bills. Oh, and some Cover yer Biscuits with Crony Sauce."
"The sauce, is that FBI, CIA, or State Department?"
"What's the difference?"
"Honestly? Nothing. As they say, if it covers your crime, you serve no time."
"And no weight gain?"
"OK. Just glob on whatever hasn't been investigated recently."
"Got it! And would you like anything to drink?"
"Not really. It seems whenever I swallow anything from this town I spend a lot of time throwing up."
"I can't tell you how many times I've heard that."
"Or water. Do you have any non GMO water?"
"Only the fracking fluid."
"Never mind."
"How would you like to pay? Student loan or debt servitude?"
"Oh, I'll pay cash."
"Cash... OK... Well, then... Just drive up to the window and when the light flashes blue drive up the ramp into the New World Order FEMA camp truck. Have a Hillary Day!"

I love this town.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Art of Propaganda

This text is from a parchment found in a dig in the Stur-Fri region of China. It was written by one of the dimmer bulb relatives of the brilliant strategist, Lao Tzu, during the Pork Dynasty in the turd century, BVD. It's hardly relevant today, but has a curious nostalgia about it... Submitted for your approval...

The Art of Propaganda
Jon Tzu

Have an enemy. If you don't have one, make one.
Divide. Conquer. Repeat.
Just as in real estate, in politics the rule is: Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.
Orwell was an amateur...
...and an optimist.
Blame the enemy for all your mistakes.
Make more mistakes.
Make more enemies.
If you don't have an enemy, what's wrong with you?
Look incompetent. Land your intention.
Make more mistakes.
Make more enemies.
And whatever else you do, stomp hard on dissenters. Politics has no room for reason. Reason always yields to politics. That's what boots are for.
'They' are always wrong. 'We' are always right.
Claim victory. Always.
Et cetera, ad infinitum. And then some.

And when you are finally found out, as you always will be, claim you were part of the opposition all along. Act enraged. Enact war crimes tribunals. Incite the masses. Invoke justice. Hang some people. Impale others. Shun pitch forks. And lamp posts.

And remember the lesson of history... People don't learn lessons from history.

Then begin again.