Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"I imagined in my mind what he must have been thinking...." --Every1 of Us (as embodied by Staff Sgt. T. J. Westphal dn2008-0610 46:15)

"The terror that I saw on the patriarch’s face, like I said, that really was the turning point for me. I imagined in my mind what he must have been thinking...."


AMY GOODMAN: Last July, I interviewed some of the veterans whose stories appear in this book. Staff Sergeant Timothy John Westphal served in Iraq for one year. He recalled a house raid he led in 2004 on the outskirts of Tikrit.

    STAFF SGT. TIMOTHY JOHN WESTPHAL: I basically just kicked the clump of people there to wake them up, turned on my flashlight, and all my guys did the same thing. And my light happened to shine right on the face of an old man in his mid-sixties. I found out later he was the patriarch of that family. And as we scanned the cluster of people laying there, we saw two younger military age men, probably in their early twenties. Everybody else—I’d say there were about eight to ten other individuals—were women and children. We come to find out this was just a family. They were sleeping outside.

    The terror that I saw on the patriarch’s face, like I said, that really was the turning point for me. I imagined in my mind what he must have been thinking, understanding that he had lived under Saddam’s brutal regime for many years, worried about—you know, hearing stories about Iraqis being carried away in the middle of the night by the Iraqi secret service and so forth, to see all those lights, all those soldiers with guns, all the uniform things that we wear, as far as the helmet, the night vision goggles, very intimidating, very terrifying for the man. He screamed a very guttural cry that I can still hear it every day. You know, it was just the most awful, horrible sound I’ve ever heard in my life. He was so terrified and so afraid for his family. And I thought of my family at that time, and I thought to myself, boy, if I was the patriarch of a family, if soldiers came from another country, came in and did this to my family, I would be an insurgent, too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Why Are We So Effed in the Head? We've Been Weaponizing Psyche since the Sixties

Why is society as we know it on the Brink? Well, both here in America and in the labs of our Cold War opponents, we've been weaponizing Psyche since the Sixties, the direct product of machining our own minds, reducing us all to cogs in the Great Cosmic Machine, for centuries now--that's our fundamental, climate-changing problem. "Nature as machine" is the idea that's killing us, making a Frankenstein's monster of our own Mother. Our pointilistic, mechanistic, reductionistic assumptions about the essence of Being are the problem. Last winter, I went mad with the realization that my psychological colleagues, among others, have been weaponizing Psyche.

Worse, I think it is being used deliberately in myth-jacking whole nations to hell, including Us, and I think it traces directly back to lectures by Joseph Campbell at the Foreign Services Institute, beginning in 1957. I'm now certain that even mythology has been weaponized.

Once we dissociate our selves from their very source, our shadows become our foes; this is the lesson of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad as related by that same Joseph Campbell. We then reduce the universe to a machine, and install our war gods permanently at the controls. The whole cosmos is our battlefield to dominate, that's our official policy ("Full Spectrum Dominance" by name).

And that's what this is about: dominance. It's not about the oil. It''s about our access to energy as a measure of our god's blessing. The uncounted multitudes we kill in the process are heaped on our god's altar; the stench is perfume to the noses of many Democrats and Republicans, Zionists and bin Ladenites, alike; the very din of Hell on Earth is music to their ears.

To the lunatic Crusaders still running our show, it's all about dominance: the power to compel tribute or service.

Are we beings, or machines? Have you ever looked up into the night sky, and felt your share of Psyche collapse into a psychic black hole? Well, turn the view around! Basing our concept of the self inside just such a quantum singularity implodes our minds into CELLVES of our own making, from within which we then wage war on all else. This is the psychology of feudalism, not democracy.

And, if true, these are some of the walking wounded: survivors of real-life experiments in psychotropic chemical warfare, as reported by Jeff Stein in CQ (which I found on Ken Silverstein's blog, Washington Babylon); read the whole article.

This was sometime in the very early ’60s, supposedly, a brief period between the end of U-2 overflights and the deployment of spy-in-the-sky satellites.

My friend said his patients described training with drugs and other mind-control techniques to perform the mission — then forget them, like the Manchurian Candidate.

But now they were remembering fragments, they told him, giving them terrifying nightmares about things they could not quite believe they had done.

They thought they were losing their minds. So did any loved ones who they dared tell their looney-sounding tunes to.

But this being America, of course, they — and other self-described victims of CIA mind control experiments — formed self-help groups. And for several years, it turns out, they have been holding yearly conferences, like one just outside Hartford, Conn., next month.

“About a hundred” people usually show up, says Neil Brick , coordinator of “The Eleventh Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference.”

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Right On, Cusanus!

Obama's Cosmic Answer to Graham's Feudal Inquisition

Read it all here

On his blog, No Comment, Scott Horton tells us that
Senator Obama's recent eloquent response to an Evangelical inquisition by Francis Graham, son of Billy, brings forward Cusanus's response, 555 years ago this May, to the devastating invasion and occupation of his holy city, Constantinople, in the religious war that occupies us today.

Humankind can achieve one true religion with diverse rituals (una religio in rituum diversitate), Cusanus writes.

What Cusanus therefore proposes is tolerance. However, it is not the insulting sort of tolerance, which proposes official indifference. Rather it is a tolerance that has its roots in a philosophical commitment to the search for truth and a recognition that human frailties and imperfections will always lead to mistakes. “For it is a condition of the earthly human estate to mistake for truth that which is merely long-adhered-to custom, indeed, even to mistake this for a part of nature,” Cusanus writes (habet autem hoc humana terrena condicio quod longa consuetudo, quæ in naturam transisse accipitur, pro veritate defenditur.)

But how to reconcile faiths so disparate? For Muslims, polygamy is an accepted practice; for Christians, it is a crime. Christians embrace the notion of a trinity, which Jews and Muslims deride as a vestige of a primitive polytheistic past. For Muslims, paradise is unfolded as a place for carnal pleasures with dark-skinned maidens granted to soldiers who have died in battle, a prospect he says would be unappealing to the sober Christian who aspires to leave behind the life of the flesh. Cusanus gives the answer through the Apostle Paul: man achieves salvation on the basis of faith, not works; these faiths are united in the tradition of Abraham, and their common grounding provides a basis to surmount their differences. The just spirit will achieve eternal life (anima justi hæreditabit vitam æternam). He also adopts an anthropological perspective with regards to customs and rites. They are instituted for important purposes, perhaps, but their ultimate spiritual significance can well be doubted, and their importance can become outlived. Thus a diversity of rites presents no obstacle to the recognition of a common fundamentally shared religion, particularly among the Abrahamic faiths.

Surely, however, the author, a prince of the Roman Catholic church and arguably the greatest theologian it produced in his era, does not distance himself from the sacraments and their importance, and advocates Jesus Christ as a personal intermediator and savior. But with equal clarity, he has answered Rev. Graham’s question to Barack Obama, and the answer he gives is identical to the one that Obama gave Graham (”Jesus is the only way for me. I’m not in a position to judge other people.”)


O sister my Sister!
O brother my Brother!
O mother my Mother!

There is no absolute Other, only relatively Beloved

So I asked (via e-mail) Prof. Horton if Cusanus was indeed the source.

A Renaissance Painter's View Out the Big Window

[Image source: http://www.harpers.org/media/image/blogs/misc/van-eyck-chancellor-rolin.jpg]

You'll have to visit No Comment for the actual Cusanus quote. Notice the shift in focus expressed by the placement of the figures . It's a Renaissance image corresponding to our new self-portrait, our tilted heliosphere, that I posted last month.

Scott Horton writes:
At the core of the values of the early Renaissance was the notion of the human individual and the cosmos; these ideas are generally tied to the great humanists of the Quattrocento such as Petrarch or Pico della Mirandola. But Ernst Cassirer and Erwin Panofsky saw the same concepts expressed in the paintings of Jan van Eyck and his contemporary, the theologian and philosopher Nicholas of Kues or Cusanus, and both specifically cite the masterpiece The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin as a prime example. In Die Kunst der Künste (1999), Anita Albus has provided a detailed development of the Cassirer-Panofsky thesis, drawing on this passage from Cusanus and carefully reviewing the construction of the van Eyck masterpiece. “The wounding recognition that the earth was not the center of the universe was compensated for by the enhanced status of the individual,” Albus writes in her discussion of van Eyck, quoting Cusanus. “The equivalence of every point of view corresponds to the continuum of space.” The American art historian Clifton Olds has made similar arguments.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"That's a shift in frame." --Every1 of Us (as embodied by Francis Moore Lappé dn2008-0709)

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the food crisis. Shortly after saying they were “deeply concerned” about soaring global food prices and supply shortages, world leaders attending the G8 summit in Hokkaido sat down to an eighteen-course gastronomic extravaganza, courtesy of the Japanese government. The dinner was themed “Blessings of the Earth and the Sea,” and the global food shortage was certainly not evident. The meal included delicacies such as caviar, milk-fed lamb, sea urchin, winter lily bulbs, truffles and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the United States.

The extravagance of the menu drew disapproval from critics. The charity Save the Children said, “It is deeply hypocritical that they should be lavishing course after course on world leaders when there is a food crisis and millions cannot afford a decent meal.”

A preliminary World Bank study released last week estimated up to 105 million people could drop below the poverty line due to rising food prices, including 30 million in Africa. Grain prices have more than doubled since January 2006, with 60 percent of the rise occurring this year. More than thirty countries have experienced rioting over food shortages. Overall, the world’s poorest countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Haiti, which import most of their food, stand to suffer the most.

Frances Moore Lappé is the co-founder of the Institute for Food and Development Policy, the Center for Living Democracy, as well as the Small Planet Institute. She is the author or coauthor of sixteen books. Her 1971 bestseller, Diet for a Small Planet, sold more than three million copies. Her latest book is called Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity & Courage in a World Gone Mad.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Frances Moore Lappé.

FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: The eighteen-course meal, your comments?

FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ: Unbelievable. I mean, maybe too believable, but especially after Gordon Brown was preaching to his British citizens to be more careful about food waste as the solution to a growing food crisis. But I just want to start out saying, Amy, that this is perhaps the biggest human rights debacle, human rights crisis, of my entire lifetime. And now that I’m sixty-four, that’s getting to be able to say something, you know? And it is totally avoidable.


FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ: Well, first of all, let me just start out that human beings, we’re a pretty bright species, and feeding oneself and our offspring is what every species does. And we evolved sharing food, where if there was food, everybody ate. And so, the only way that I can understand this crisis is that ideas, ideology, has more power than instincts, and we have been trapped increasingly into an ideology that says that there’s only one rule that governs an economy—that is, highest return to existing wealth, people, you know, who already have the shares.

So we end up preaching free market as if that were a magic cure, and I call it faith-based economics, because actually what we have been locked into and what is underneath this crisis is that we accept a power-centralizing, power-concentrating economy, which means that no matter how much is produced—I mean, there is no food shortage. I just want to really underscore that. Food production has been keeping ahead of the numbers of people on our earth. There’s no food shortage. We are creating scarcity out of plenty because of this power-concentrating model that we’ve—this idea that is more powerful than our food-sharing instinct that we evolved in.

AMY GOODMAN: You did a piece in the Huffington Post called “Just Who’s Doing the Hoarding? Food Independence and Real Democracy.” What do you mean by “food independence”?

FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ: Well, one often hears about oil independence. And the idea that if one’s very survival is dependent on something you have no control over, in this case the diversion of good land to grow fuel, agrofuel, or other changes that you have no control over, then are you really a free people? Do you have any food security? In this case, the core question. Maybe more important than oil independence is food independence. And yet, you know, from the beginning of my work on hunger, way back in the ’70s, in our book Food First I wrote with Joseph Collins, we made this point that in a world where clearly power is concentrating, if you can’t grow food to feed yourself, then you are highly insecure.

So, all of the policies, however, of the last several decades that international agencies have been pursuing, in some ways coercively, by making their aid dependent on this kind of policy of—what I’m suggesting here, that third world countries have been encouraged to grow whatever will bring the highest price in the global market and then import food when needed. And they are, therefore, set up for this disaster, where we see a skyrocketing of food prices. And so, the imports then become unattainable, and they are on the edge of hunger or starvation.

So it’s—I’m saying that when we talk about oil independence, we should also be thinking about food independence. And this is the theme of the term “food sovereignty,” which is now being pursued by an international coalition, Via Campesina, which is the small farmers of the world uniting.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think has to happen right now?

FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ: Well, first, the core is for the people of the planet to wake up and recognize that this is a huge human rights crisis. There’s an estimate that the number of people could double, who are either hungry or at the edge of hunger, to encompass a quarter of the world’s people. So it’s an awakening. There is no food shortage, so that just growing more food will not solve the problem. And to challenge their governments to say, yes, growing more food is—can be very important in Africa, where, you know, much of the G8, you know, talking about how can we increase food production, but let’s wake up from this myth that production alone can solve the problem, because 80 percent of the people in the world today are living in societies where inequalities are increasing, so no matter how much is produced, they can’t buy the food they need.

So, here in our country, clearly, what to do is to elect a new government, but not think that that’s enough, continue to pursue the idea that the market can only work when it is subsumed, when it is part of a democratic polity that is setting the standards around it, so that we won’t do things like shift good land into agrofuel. The head of the Food and Agricultural Organization said that 100 million tons of food have now been diverted. And clearly, no assemblage of regular citizens would say, “Oh, yeah. You know, 18 million children are dying a year of hunger. Let’s shift food into agrofuel.” No, no, no. So we have to reclaim democracy, in a word.

AMY GOODMAN: Very briefly, Frances Moore Lappé, you have your ideas that you lay out in Getting a Grip to help us probe deeply, identify causal forces, choose entry points and shift patterns—ten—or rather, eight ideas perhaps to save the world, beginning with thin democracy versus living democracy.

FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ: Well, this is what I’m talking about, Amy, that this notion that democracy is simply a certain kind of market, highest return to existing wealth, plus elected government. That is thin. That is frail. It will never get us there. And so, all of my writing, all of my thinking, for the last several decades has been to identify the emergence of what I call “living democracy.”

You asked a few moments ago what to do. Well, we have models throughout the world where people are ending hunger. Think of the largest social movement perhaps in our hemisphere, the landless workers in Brazil. They have made huge strides against hunger, because they have democratized control over the land. They have resettled a third of a million families. They have created new enterprises and new farms and new communities. And they are drastically reducing hunger. So that is living democracy, people actually realizing that democracy is not just about what we have, what’s done to us or for us, but what we do. So that’s number one. That’s a shift in frame. And I see it throughout the world, but most people can’t see it yet, because it’s still not in the mainstream media.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, talking about living democracy’s checklist.

FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ: Well, this is a shift of frame from things, like grow more food, have more seeds, to the shift to empowerment. This is the fundamental shift, Amy. This is—you know, so much of the world hunger debate is still trapped in the thing: you know, people need more things, more food, more roads. What people need is more power.

So, in the checklist at the end of my book, there’s a chapter called "Sanity in Motion,” and it’s asking all of us to begin to think, how do our actions begin to shift power, so that, for example, where is hunger eliminated, not where people become dependent on things that they have to purchase, like imported fertilizers or chemical pesticides, but where they are empowered to grow healthy food with their own resources and know how to do that. So, a study of fifty-seven countries with about 13 million farmers have shown 50 to 100 percent increase in yields where farmers are using local resources, organic, sustainable methods. So this is the shift from things that make one dependent to the empowerment of ourselves and community.

And so, I have a checklist that asks, you know, are we creating that shift in power? Are we making it sustainable so that people want to remain engaged and so that we are constantly mentoring and bringing new people in to understand that the earth is abundant? It’s a question of how do we together create communities to align with the earth’s natural abundance.

AMY GOODMAN: Frances Moore Lappé, I want to thank you for being with us. Her latest book is called Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity & Courage in a World Gone Mad.

From [Absolute Supremacy / The Common Weal, Heaven On Earth ///[[[{Absolute Subjugation}]]]]

to a more perfect Union:


There is no absolute Other! only relatively Beloved.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hell on Earth for the Many, Heaven for Just The Right People

Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour from huffpost on Vimeo.

Bravo Max Blumenthal! Why don't more American journalists ever even consider mythology as an explanatory framework? "We have to be connected to Israel in order to enjoy the Second Coming," Tom "The Hammer" DeLay says. So no matter the hellish consequences for most of us, no matter how irrational our political economy becomes, that's all to the good. Just so, by the power of myth, war is made into peace.

Isn't it obvious? We do what we do because we imagine the world to be thus and so, not because were are mere cogs in a Baconian-Cartesian-Newtonian-Pavlovian-Freudian-Skinnerian machine. Yet that very same outdated, discredited, mechanistic reduction, yoked in service to our dominant mythos: Life as Holy War, is used to militarize the Commons.

Obtuse enough? Alan Watts calls it "Christian Imperialism." and very rightly so. Why don't analysts ever put our political actions in their mythic context?
All of this nonsense depends on the assumption of a self or soul apart from its own source. Hell on Earth is OK with most people, as long as they are promised to be in the Heaven for the Few.

We also believe that we are the masters of the Great Cosmic Machine: constrained by mathematics and physics but answerable to NO1. In the manner recommended by Hermann Goering, our leaders conflate themselves with NO1, portraying themselves as the only true agents of the Master of the Universe. To oppose the US and Israel, then, is to oppose both God and the natural laws he pronounces. The Other Party is believed to be the agents of the E-vil One. So it's not just OK to make war on your neighbors of differing opinions and beliefs, it's your sacred duty. You're with us, or against us, remember?

For Christian Imperialists, language and science are instruments of this machine, and the Machine is an instrument of God's will as they see it, which of course is indistinguishable from their interests, seeing as how we humans project ourselves outward in creating gods to begin with. Our gods are our selves writ large.

So Karl Rove, for example, has not done what he's done "for pure politics," as Paul Alexander said in his interview with Scott Horton. He's a Holy Warrior in God's Own Holy War, advancing the Day of Reckoning when all us Others will be cast into Hell, as if Rovian Republicans hadn't done that already, and the Chosen Very Very Very Few will ascend to Heaven.

Rove isn't as outrageous as Hagee, but both believe in the same basic timeline: sooner or later, all our enemies will be wiped out and we'll enjoy heaven without them forever. The same cosmogenic mythos inspires Bushites and bin Ladenites alike.

[Absolute Supremacy / THE COMMON WEAL, HEAVEN ON EARTH///[[[Absolute Subjugation]]]

The slashes and brackets represent all the Walls of Denial, all the shields and armour and callouses and defenses, that we hide behind, esp. those we hide behind from within. Substitute any Dominant-Submissive pair you like.

Compare that with the kernel of a more perfect Union:


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cheney "basically obscured reality" for Much Much Money

From an AP report by H. Josef Hebert in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

WASHINGTON -- A former EPA official says Vice President Dick Cheney's office pushed for major deletions last October in congressional testimony on the public health consequences of climate change.

Jason Burnett, who resigned last month as a senior adviser to the EPA administrator, says in a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that Cheney's office worried that linking climate to public health problems might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases. The letter was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

The White house deleted six of 14 pages of testimony the head of the Centers for Disease Control was to give before Boxer's committee. At the time, the White House said it made the cuts because science advisers questioned the science.

What, did Cheney have them delete every other word?

U P D A T E: Seattle PI extended Burnett's AP report here; The Guardian's Elana Schor has more details

Monday, July 7, 2008

Big Oil "basically obscured reality" for Much and Many

This is the violence inherent in our pointilistic conception of being: Hell for the Many, Heaven for One Alone

AMY GOODMAN: Stephen Susman is referring to this global warming denying movement. In fact, it’s one of the core theories in the lawsuit, conspiracy to defraud the American people, to mislead the American people and people around the world. How does it affect the scientific community? What do you see? I mean, you call it “global climate disruption.” What is this denial movement?

JOHN HOLDREN: Well, the denial movement has flourished, in part, because of the preoccupation of the media with balance and with controversy. And so, if you have 3,000 scientists working for years and producing a report that says our considered opinion is the climate is changing by this much, it’s changing this fast, it’s having these effects, and you have two or three so-called denialists or a few small think tanks, some of which were certainly funded by Exxon, saying the opposite, they get equal time. The deniers get equal time in the newspapers, on the television.

Another problem is that a denier can tell a lie in a single sentence that takes a scientist three paragraphs to rebut, but the scientist never gets the three paragraphs in the sound bite culture that our media represent. And so, the denialists, even though they are small in number, they have no credible arguments, very few of them have any scientific credentials, get attention out of all proportion to their credentials, the merit of their arguments, and that delays the generation of public understanding and political will to do the things we need to do to address this challenge. There are a lot of things we can do, but we have been delaying doing them, in part because the so-called skeptics, or more accurately deniers or denialists, have basically obscured reality for much of the public and indeed for many of our policymakers.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Stewart to McClellan: Not in my house you ain't!

No audio? Click "Links to this post," scroll up. Only Comedy Central videos seem to be missing the audio track--for now. Don't have a clue why.

What McClellan Calls Manipulating the Media Narrative, I Call Myth-Jacking

No audio? Click "Links to this post," scroll up. Only Comedy Central videos seem to be missing the audio track--for now. Don't have a clue why.

Doesn't Bush Realize that the Holy War He Wages Happens Right Here On Earth?

No audio? Click "Links to this post," scroll up. Only Comedy Central videos seem to be missing the audio track--for now. Don't have a clue why.

Does Bush Think Being Green Means Recycling His Myth-Jacking Lies?

Lara Logan Identifies Public Health Threat #1

No audio? Click "Links to this post," scroll up. Only Comedy Central videos seem to be missing the audio track--for now. Don't have a clue why.

A Terror Attack Would Help McCain, Charlie Black Said So

No audio? Click "Links to this post," scroll up. Only Comedy Central videos seem to be missing the audio track--for now. Don't have a clue why.

Violence We Aren't Shown Still Kills The Same

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?

From Guardian America

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? A day that reveals gross injustice and cruelty.

This is an abridged version of the July 4 oration delivered by Frederick Douglass to the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society, 1852.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the Fourth of July. It is the birthday of your national independence, and of your political freedom.... It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act and that day.... I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation's destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes and at whatever cost....

Fellow citizens - pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? ... Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! ... But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me.... This Fourth of July is yours, not mine.


Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.... No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light.

Read the full text of Fredick Douglass's oration.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Adam Smith Clearly Expresses the Kernel of Our More Perfect Union

And again, I draw from Scott Horton's blog, No Comment:

Adam Smith on the Nature of Human Virtue

Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connexion with that part of the world, would be affected upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity.

He would, I imagine, first of all, express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, he would make many melancholy reflections upon the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labours of man, which could thus be annihilated in a moment. He would too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasonings concerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. And when all this fine philosophy was over, when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, with the same ease and tranquillity, as if no such accident had happened

. . . If he was to lose his little finger to-morrow, he would not sleep to-night; but, provided he never saw them, he will snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred millions of his brethren, and the destruction of that immense multitude seems plainly an object less interesting to him, than this paltry misfortune of his own to prevent, therefore, this paltry misfortune to himself, would a man of humanity be willing to sacrifice the lives of a hundred millions of his brethren, provided he had never seen them? Human nature startles with horror at the thought, and the world, in its greatest depravity and corruption, never produced such a villain as could be capable of entertaining it.

But what makes this difference? When our passive feelings are almost always so sordid and so selfish, how comes it that our active principles should often be so generous and so noble? When we are always so much more deeply affected by whatever concerns ourselves, than by whatever concerns other men; what is it which prompts the generous, upon all occasions, and the mean upon many, to sacrifice their own interests to the greater interests of others? It is not the soft power of humanity, it is not that feeble spark of benevolence which Nature has lighted up in the human heart, that is thus capable of counteracting the strongest impulses of self-love.

It is a stronger power, a more forcible motive, which exerts itself upon such occasions. It is reason, principle, conscience, the inhabitant of the breast, the man within, the great judge and arbiter of our conduct. It is he who, whenever we are about to act so as to affect the happiness of others, calls to us, with a voice capable of astonishing the most presumptuous of our passions, that we are but one of the multitude, in no respect better than any other in it; and that when we prefer ourselves so shamefully and so blindly to others, we become the proper objects of resentment, abhorrence, and execration. It is from him only that we learn the real littleness of ourselves, and of whatever relates to ourselves, and the natural misrepresentations of self-love can be corrected only by the eye of this impartial spectator. It is he who shows us the propriety of generosity and the deformity of injustice; the propriety of resigning the greatest interests of our own, for the yet greater interests of others, and the deformity of doing the smallest injury to another, in order to obtain the greatest benefit to ourselves.

It is not the love of our neighbour, it is not the love of mankind, which upon many occasions prompts us to the practice of those divine virtues. It is a stronger love, a more powerful affection, which generally takes place upon such occasions; the love of what is honourable and noble, of the grandeur, and dignity, and superiority of our own characters.

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, pt III, ch 3 (1759)

I'm taking great liberties with the original formatting to highlight Mr. Smith's downright Zen definition of the One Being in All of us. When Odysseus answered Cyclops's demand, to know who put out his only eye, he said, "I am No Man." The same secret answer, hidden as well as is solar power to an oil man who looks down a hole for what shines all around, won the day for Aragorn when Princess Eeowyn utterly crushed the Witch King.

Mr. Smith clearly expresses the kernel of our more perfect Union.

What are our most obvious riddles? For starters, who's in charge here, the People or the Government? Who's got the power to make things happen? Can we do this our selves, or do we need a strong, charismatic leader to focus our energies? Here's what I think.

We need NO1 to assert our authority as citizens of a republic, that nameless, formless, timeless Being Aware of Becoming "whose center is in each of us, but whose circumference is NoWhere."

We just need the heart.

The Kernel of Our More Perfect Union

This is it:


Again, Prof. Horton provides a great example.

Mr. Twain Provides a Lesson in Patriotism

It was March 16, 1901. A lanky man with elegant and flowing white hair and a prominent moustache strode to the podium. He hardly needed an introduction: the audience would immediately have recognized what was arguably the best-known face in America. The event was a meeting of the Male Teachers Association of the City of New York. It was a convivial gathering for dinner at the Albert Hotel in Greenwich Village, at the corner of University Place and Eleventh Street.

The first speaker, Charles H. Skinner, the New York Superintendent of Education, had offered up some words on “Patriotism for the Young,” the need for a better civics curriculum. The need was for children “who are citizens.” “We do not care to own Cuba, Porto-Rico or the Philippines, but we do want to keep them from the dark rule of a barbarian people,” Mr. Skinner offered, reflecting the views so closely associated with President William McKinley. The “barbarian people” were, of course, the Filipinos themselves. Only a few weeks earlier, McKinley had said, of the Philippines: “There was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them.” In fact, Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “The White Man’s Burden,” published in McClure’s little more than a year earlier, bore the subtitle: “The United States and the Philippines.” America had assumed a new mission, as a policeman to the whole world, but as a missionary for Christianity and democracy in its own special corner. The notion of Manifest Destiny stretched at last beyond the Americas, into the lands over which the European powers had contended for the last century or so.

The talk of the day focused on a part of the Philippines where Christianity had not taken root. It was of the Moro insurgency in the southern stretch of the archipelago. The insurrection was dragging on longer than America’s military leaders had envisioned. And the first reports had reached America of the use of highly coercive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, by American officers. Unlike the situation that the country would face a century later, however, America’s leaders—prominently including Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, who would assume the presidency in only a few months–condemned these practices and insisted on sharp punishment for those involved. Several officers found themselves facing a court-martial in proceedings which would clearly establish waterboarding as a serious crime.

Perhaps when he took the podium Mark Twain had these stories in mind. He put down his cigar.

Yes, patriotism. We cannot all agree. That is most fortunate. If we could all agree life would be too dull. I believe if we did all agree, I would take my departure before my appointed time, that is if I had the courage to do so. I do agree in fact with what Mr. Skinner has said. In fact, more than I usually agree with other people. I believe that there are no private citizens in a republic. Every man is an official. Above all, he is a policeman. He does not need to wear a helmet and brass buttons, but his duty is to look after the enforcement of the laws.

If patriotism had been taught in the schools years ago, the country would not be in the position it is in to-day. Mr. Skinner is better satisfied with the present conditions than I am. I would teach patriotism in the schools, and teach it this way: I would throw out the old maxim, ‘My country, right or wrong,’ etc., and instead I would say, ‘My country when she is right.’ Because patriotism is supporting your country all the time, but your government only when it deserves it.

So I would not take my patriotism from my neighbor or from Congress. I should teach the children in the schools that there are certain ideals, and one of them is that all men are created free and equal. Another that the proper government is that which exists by the consent of the governed. If Mr. Skinner and I had to take care of the public schools, I would raise up a lot of patriots who would get into trouble with his.

I should also teach the rising patriot that if he ever became the Government of the United States and made a promise that he should keep it. I will not go any further into politics as I would get excited, and I don’t like to get excited. I prefer to remain calm. I have been a teacher all my life, and never got a cent for teaching.

Reconstructed from New York City newspaper accounts.

Our Mythopathology In A Nutshell

Permanent Republican dominance of all Temples of Democracy means permanent subjugation for the rest of us.

The White Man's Burden is the effort required to impose this inequity. Going ape on the Filipinos, and then spinning it in explicitly mythological terms, is a classic example of using media to manufacture consent for war.

That method, by which whole nations may be pushed around like cattle, is well known and has been replicated countless times since Hermann Goering announced it in 1934: myth-jacking, as defined on this blog; the state of the Machiavellian political art of misleading whole peoples at a time. How, you ask? Try grabbing them by their mythical metaphors.

Here's the mythos that intends the cosmos that grows the psychos that now grip the "levers of power" like so many leg-humping dogs.

[[Absolute Supremacy]/NO1'S LAND/[{Absolute Subjugation}]]

Why Does Rove Do the Voodoo He Do Only Too Well?

Master of the mechanics of Machiavellian politics? O\r pious patriot?

"Rove did what he did almost exclusively for the sake of pure politics—not the advancement of any lofty, noble cause." -- Paul Alexander, author of a biography of Rove, as quoted by Scott Horton on his No Comment blog in Harper's.

When Rove headed with Bush to Washington after winning the presidency in 2000, Rove had one overriding goal, which he would state publicly over the coming years: to set up what Rove termed “a permanent Republican majority.” “When Karl got to the White House,” Texas-based Republican strategists Mark Sanders told me, “he immediately started putting together a plan for what was essentially the Third Reich of Republican majority in this country. That was absolutely his plan, a Republican majority domination not just of the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and the presidency, but also state legislatures across the country. This was not just a pie-in-the-sky dream that Karl had. He wanted to see the Republican Party rule for the next 30 to 40 years.”

Rove does what he does for the same reason we all do what we do: we believe in it. We believe it to be the right and proper way to be the thing--the person--we believe our selves to be.

Why do we listen to music: merely to push our ear drum and all back and forth? For the mechanics of it all? No, of course not. Rove's a church-going guy, is he not? In fact, Bush fired Rove in church, of all places.

Talking about human behavior without including the mythology of the living people in question reduces us to Newtonian automata. It bleeds us out. Our water-based blood is nowhere to be found: just machines.

Why does the chef prepare a banquet to begin with? Only to push the hardware around? Why be a chef? Rove sees himself as the master myth-maker of our time. Like his counterparts, Goering and Goebbels, he is a master of myth-jacking whole nations to hell in the process of creating a heaven for one alone.