Tag Archive | politics

Gary Webb, An American Hero

2012WEBBNine years ago, December 10, 2004, respected and award-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb was murdered by a conspiracy of an apathetic citizenry, corporate malfeasance and government corruption.  The Sacramento County coroner, Robert Lyons, publically, if hastily, characterized the gunshot wounds in Gary Webb’s head three times before finally ruling the double-gunshot wound to Webb’s face a “suicide,” noting the use of a .38 caliber revolver, the presence of a suicide note and Webb’s close friend and ex-wife, Sue Bell, claiming that Gary, “had been depressed about being unable to obtain employment from another major newspaper for some time.” The San Jose Mercury News, on orders from “on high,” had terminated Gary Webb’s career progression after they claimed they had discovered errors in trivial matters of fact in his career-capping exposé, “A Dark Alliance” (ADA).

The truth, as Sue Bell explains it, is quite clear.  From her perspective, Gary was subject to bouts of clinical depression since his ADA story had caused so much criticism and derision to come his way from unexpected sources.  Many great communicators of the written word have been known to suffer from schizoaffective disorders (depression being the most “popular”), but Webb had also had several motorcycle accidents in the months leading up to his eventual suicide at age 49.  Perhaps not coincidently, Webb ended his life on the same day, albeit seven years prior, he had resigned from the San Jose Mercury News – December 10, 1997 – approximately one year and a thousand lonely nights after his employer had published his career-capping exposé.

Suggesting that “bouts of clinical depression” can be caused in adulthood by a career-related trauma involving the written word, alone, appears insufficient to me.  As a person who suffers from bouts of chronic depression as well as post-traumatic stress related to childhood trauma, I can assure the gentle reader that any problems with mental illness Gary Webb had related to his ADA story would have had their genesis long before Webb even made his career choice of, “Journalist,” assuming his illness was not caused by his treatments for situational depression.  And, in fact, there were reports of Webb being difficult to work with at times and subject to the kind of bursts of anger that often characterize chronic depression in males.  People who suffer from mental illness can spend their whole lives looking outside themselves for “reasons” why they are often irritable, sad or cynical.  I think it is fairly easy to see that if a thoughtful person, like Gary Webb, observes the government of their homeland falling completely apart while a flock of “vultures,” in this case rogue elements within the Central Intelligence Agency, can be observed picking at the dying body of governmental order, such disturbing ideas might be used to rationalize or justify a personal distempered condition.  But even Webb would have said, “facts are facts”; if all I can see in my life are reasons to be sad or irritable while the world continues to spin, happily if haphazardly, on its axis, the origins of my problem are beyond obvious.

In my experience, I am my own worst enemy.  I tend to hide from myself the most obvious of facts.  If I have had a problem with my environment, I could never solve your part in my problem.  I know this because I have tried, desperately, to do precisely that.  We, together, have to accomplish solving our conjoined problem, while I continue to address my problems and you continue to address your’s.  If we cannot engage with one another in solving our shared problems, for whatever reason, I must fully accept that fact or I will be consumed in a battle that cannot be won.  This is what is ugly and heartbreaking about any mental illness and depression is no exception: I cannot engage with any of my peers because I cannot even begin to engage with myself for whom and what I am.  More simply put, if my problem with you is that you are an idiotic Pollyanna or some other classification of being of an unacceptable order, we have only war and conflict to look forward to.  If I choose war, I need to get busy engaging you as an enemy or I will suffer defeat.  If I choose peace, I need to fit myself into a being who can engage you in a constructive process.  Note that we might still be enemies at war, by your choice, but my goal as a peaceful participant is to wear you down with minimal cost to myself and my resources, but also giving consideration to you and your resources because my own goal is to, at some point, engage you constructively as a partner.

I have not yet read ADA cover-to-cover, but it is available for free, here.  If you love books or want to help Gary’s kids, buy a hardcopy here.  As a person who has studied Communication and rhetoric at a graduate level, what I have read of ADA betrays none of the characteristics of the writings of a self-pitying, brainstorming, manic or depressive character void of clear thinking.  Gary Webb’s ADA, while categorized as, “fiction,” is far from that genre.  In fact, and characteristic of good journalism, Webb pulls a lot of punches that in retrospect should have been fully landed to the jaw of the global power structure.  Note that we should no longer waste our time landing blows to the proxies of the global power structure like the CIA, DNI, Homeland Security, Congress, the Courts or the Executive.  In fact, the governments of every sovereign nation are mere pawns of global power.  Vast concentrations of economic wealth positioned at or near the natural resources we rely on for the energy to perform modern labor is where we will find true global power.  When these power structures are engineered to serve the interests of life on planet Earth, as well as the creation and preservation of functional, constructive human interaction, the governments operating beneath these global power structures will eventually come to heel.

Admittedly the ideas Gary Webb presented in ADA are horrific – a secret, clandestine agency within a federal representative government (e.g., the CIA) exists and is profiting handsomely from sowing misery and murder among its constituent pariahs and social outcasts, using those profits to conduct foreign policies not officially sanctioned, or sanctionable, by the federal representative government in question.  Note that “horrific” is not unprecedented and, in fact, this despicable behavior happens all the time, now and in the past, in non-representative governments all over the world.  That Webb accurately identified and characterized an on-going illegal, immoral and unethical governmental activity is beyond question; that Gary Webb was ruthlessly punished by his society and peers for the sin of speaking the truth to power is a matter of records both public and private.  But three takeaway questions Gary Webb left us unanswered in ADA are: 1) Does governing humans have to become such an ugly, forbidding process?  2) Did we have representative government in the United States of America, c. 1987?  And, 3) What about now, c. 2012?

Clearly the cognitive dissonance and timing of the ideas presented in ADA, in tandem with their impact on persons more socially and politically powerful than Gary Webb, were allowed to end Webb’s life.  Whether that death was a suicide or an assassination is no longer a high priority issue of concern to the collective citizens of the United States.  We, as citizens, have questions we still need to answer and consequences we still need to sort through even eight long years later.  The families of the dead should be left to grieve in peace with an eye toward reconciliation and healing; as just another apathetic member of a society of turd merchants that have allowed Presidents, public servants and citizens to be murdered in cold blood without consequence, sometimes by the score, it is the least I can do not to dubiously pry open a wound so deep and so profound.

What happened to Gary Webb on December 10, 2004, was every bit as horrific to him, his friends and his family as what he wrote about in ADA, to say nothing of investigative journalism as an occupation.   In my personal experience, any “score settling” that needs to take place in order to preserve notions of simple human decency will naturally occur as society comes to accept the truth about itself and its identity.  When an entity as massive and slow as a society moves in your individual direction with ill intent, there is little one can do but be crushed.  The alienation and isolation of such a position, alone, can be quite vicious; that it also ends with a series of slow, bone-crushing crunches as a life deemed worthless is pressed out of existence makes the matter unworthy of concern for justice or just punishment.  As one sows, so shall they reap, for themselves as well as their families, unless society, itself, intervenes.

On this sad and tragic anniversary of the death of American Hero Gary Webb, let us remember the individuals and their families and hold them in our hearts.  Let us intervene that we might one day find a way to detach the heroic from the tragic, making the heroic commonplace and worthy of the representative democracy our Founding Fathers had intended for us in the Fall of 1789.

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A Certain Pestilence

Today we celebrate our distress by pretending distress does not exist, that the now familiar pressure in our lives is actually that of earning a living for our families, no matter how outrageous, or even surreal, the pressure on our families becomes. Rather than the effects of nineteen Arab Muslims with box-cutters on the economies of the western world, perhaps a warp in space-time swallowing even the light with which we view our television sets is to blame. Forget that fascism has always been a pestilence since it became the reason we broke from Mother England over two hundred years ago, let us stare, instead, at the fascinating or morbid, strangeness staring back at us as we observe a cosmic black hole in some far-off galaxy.

Before I encourage anyone to snap out of this trance we find ourselves in and become a conscious adult human, let me assure my readers, first, of the many effects a massive gravitational anomaly in our midst might have.

Nothing escapes the odd beauty of the event horizon of a black hole. The warp of space-time at this perimeter bends all available light between the observer and what exists beyond the boundary observed, creating a fiery ribbon’s edge composed of the light of things not ordinarily seen. This is the fascination we have with this cosmic anomaly: in one small place we can see what happened a million years ago and compare it with what happened a billion years ago, along with what happened a dozen years prior. A truly vast perspective on reality we behold imbuing us with a sense of godlike vision over the affairs of our lives. The dense and enormous gravitational pull of a black hole lenses reality into a radial focus, giving a sense of eternity to the observer, the observed and the process of observation.

What follows very swiftly as one begins to embrace this most stimulating of horizons is a noticeable difference between the gravity at one’s feet and the gravity at the top of one’s skull, establishing a sensation of heaviness, of importance, such that every step taken towards the fuller embrace of the anomaly becomes a grander, deeper more meaningful encounter with all that can ever be seen.

But what can be seen inside the event horizon of a hole in space so deep that it bends light from a billion years away into itself? For those of us watching this embrace, what becomes clear is not a whit of illumination escapes; there is no light, only a darkness deeper than imagination’s many children. But for those enraptured of the things just seen and their own sense of gravity, the darkness is but a pittance. Look at all that we have seen and achieved so quickly, they proclaim!

More swiftly still the difference in gravity between feet and brain becomes ever more acute as the body of the observer is pulled into smaller and smaller pieces by the embrace of the observed. There can be no escape from this fall, event horizon to core, an end as inevitable as death itself awaits as acceleration pulls apart the very soul of a man or woman into its component parts. No one can see this end for all occurs in the cover of deepest darkness, yet we can know from abstraction and deduction that the end stage disintegration was never the initial intention of the observer viewing the observed. All too soon this End became everything that the observer could speak of as the Madness pulled even life-giving blood from the brain into the feet of an otherwise good man or woman running to catch a train that has long since left the station.

Then, perhaps, a flash of X-rays expelled from the center of the hole reminds us that a drastic transformation has taken place before the event horizon expands ever so slightly to compensate for the mass just consumed.

Fascism, the inevitable result of vast concentrations of wealth and power into the hands of the few, is just such a warping of space and time, pulling apart the very fabric that makes community and fellowship with our brothers and sisters a pleasure and such a joyous possibility. Fascism pulls each of us into our component parts until nothing, not even light, can escape its embrace. We might know of the dangers of approaching this much gravity so brazenly except that all evidence of its presence disappears without a trace in history, its consumption of witnesses and evidence vacuumed completely out of existence.

So what was the essential “sin” in this flirtation with the acceleration of human possibilities and potential? Comprehending as we now do why an individual or a group might be deceived at the edge of the event horizon, why do we not chart a course completely avoiding these cosmic sinkholes, knowing the inevitability of the end?

Why does the addict pick up their drug of choice, again and again, after every painful detoxification, when they know the pain and suffering that must always await them?

Why does the obsessive love partner return, again and again, to a relationship that they both demand be functional even long after they discover the impossibility of the relationship chemistry between the two people involved?

Why do we humans believe that it is possible to behold a “cake” with our eyes while also enjoying the consumption of the same “cake?” Why do we tear concepts to shreds in order to “better” understand them, yet insist on entertaining the expectation that our reassembly of component parts must always yield the initial concept? Is it not a magical belief that our perceptions of phenomena reveal everything relevant to our senses? What has our collection of novel empirical data always demonstrated without fail in the past?

Our great flaw in all these instances is that we have seen only the past in all the light that has ever met our eyes. We projected futures onto what we saw based on what had already come and gone, regardless of how we assembled and structured the meaning of that past. And so our projected futures, regardless of the quantity of the past data we have had at our disposal, suffered from the same observational flaws we used in assembling and systematizing our pasts in the first place. We have become fixated on seeing nothing right here, right now, just as it is to us. We look at scientific data or the video footage of a war atrocity and we have trained ourselves to associate what we observe with what we have already experienced, what we thought about that experience and how we felt about it. What we miss by occupying a past or projected future state based on that past, is the here and now experience of novelty, revulsion or sensory overload that informs those we share our experiences with that we have rendered the rawest possible data to our fellow interpreters for their own interpretation and use.

So we need to encourage each other to “snap out of” the trance we are in regarding the fascist/capitalist/corporatist dialogue we observe spewing forth from the mouths of television pundits and media personalities with specific, money-making agendas not likely to give us the raw data we need to make informed decisions for ourselves. We already know, if we are conscious, thoughtful adults, that two massive steel-reinforced concrete structures do not collapse into nearly their own footprint at near free-fall speed because two large jetliners crashed into them two hours prior. We know this is rubbish. But why must fascists shock us with nonsense before they proceed with their plans to subvert our liberties and our freedoms? Why do they not want us to be at liberty to decide for ourselves about the nature of reality? Does truth not benefit everyone equally? Why not?

Qui bono?

Atheists Anonymous

When I read Jesse Beach’s essay on AAand theism I smiled a big smile.

I smiled not because I am an atheist or agnostic, but because I am an atheist/theist/agnostic spirit-jester who doesn’t give a damn about labels, snapshots or philosophical underpinnings when it comes to the issue of getting sober and staying that way.

I have been sober and dope-free since March 17, 1991. That was about the time my Irish girlfriend informed me that I was too drunk to accompany her and her sister to a Saint Patrick’s Day Party with a crowd of locally well-known, if drunken, fools. I was nearly 30 years old at that time and she was 44. Her sister was almost 40. They were from a blue-blooded Illinois family and I was from a red-blooded American family packed to the gills with drunken nar-do-wells and abuse victims. The schism was fated, certainly, but it was my delusional thinking that caused me to believe that I was actually experiencing a deep and abiding love with a woman who only wanted to get the hell away from an emotionally vacuous 18 year marriage. A marriage to a well-respected executroid who had eaten enough of m’lady’s crap over an 18 year period to float a battleship. Many in recovering circles will suggest that you need to get sober for your self and no other way will work. Bullshit. You can get sober any way the wind blows. Staying sober, however, is a horse of a different color.

And this is where the ardently articulate atheists and I part company.

If you are an alcoholic or an addict, you are powerless over that feeling of blissful abandon that accompanies every significant contact with your drug du jour. A normal person may, in fact, become addicted to a substance known to cause addiction, but, once detoxed, a normal person will never go back to that substance. The thought of repeating the same desperate experience of withdrawal is enough to keep these individuals sober. Not me. Not an alcoholic or an addict. We’re just getting the Party started.

What happens inside my body can be explained in biochemical and psycho-pharmicological terms by addictionologists with advanced medical degrees. What I will tell you is that the experience of spree and remorse seems like the only “normal” possible in a lifetime punctuated at the end by the awareness that all that has ever been considered a luxury, or a dignified entitlement, has been lost, or cruelly taken, by the same anthropomorphic schmuck who granted them in the first place. So the moment where my nervous system is compromised just enough to not give a damn about how I feel about any of this or that, or fear of any of this or that, is a place I would sacrifice any comfort, any pleasure or suffer any indignity to experience. In the end, a split second of the comfort of this place is enough to justify all the misery, depression, alienation and loneliness of what can be decades of suffering. A split second of freedom from the bondage of a nervous system that, for addicts, screams and cries about the indignity of feeling more powerful than a normal human, and yet counting the seconds until I finally discover that my feelings have no actual truth to them, and perhaps never did. I may feel immortal, at times, and yet I am confined to a bag of water consigned to a variety of limitations most of which I will never overcome. Every human must have something like these same kinds of internal experiences, but alcoholics and addicts simply cannot let them go or get past them and onto the business of living a “normal” life.

This dichotomy of human experience, these perceptual boundaries of sensuality, form the basis of human perception. Without dark and light, sweet and sour, pain and pleasure, joy and sadness, there can be no distinction between one moment and the next. For the addict this dichotomy feels like the most polarizing of opposites, one of which makes us desire to have only one and forego having the other. To soar to the highest of heights and beyond, or to locate the lowest of lows and then burrow under it, these are the feelings we obsess over and become compulsive about. In a nutshell, addicts simply feel entirely too much, too fast, to feel of much use to anyone, including themselves. Even years into recovery we take to hiding ourselves from spouses, partners and coworkers out of fear that no one could ever understand what it means to experience life without buffer or moderation. Not autism or Asperger’s, but something sets our teeth on edge whenever we feel this experience of raw, naked life coming on. Ecstacy, perhaps, but what good is an experience that cannot be shared or spoken of, much less controlled?

Not to put too fine a point on this state of affairs, but an alcoholic or addict is stuck in this predicament. We can try to medicate it away, but the fact of dependence on a buffering agent is a reality upon which we cannot ignore, or we imperil our survival. We are, in fact, powerless over addictive substances and compulsive thinking. Our lives in this condition, over time, become unmanageable to us. Our bodies can no longer tolerate ingesting our buffering agent over any considerable period of time while the lack of a buffering agent causes us to feel restless, irritable and generally discontent. On occasion, our long suffering spouses confined or imprisoned in relationships with us during a spell of clean-time without benefit of recovery prefer to be around us while we are under the influence, rather than under the lash of the dubious luxury of dry abstinence. “So-dry-ity,” as many of us refer to it.

Addicts get to experience a hopeless place that few humans do, a place where we cannot imagine life with, or life without, our drug of choice. The loneliness and alienation of such a place eventually becomes intolerable. Suicide begins to seem appealing as the ultimate state of oblivion. Meanwhile, we keep trying to regain that first experience with our drug of choice regardless of how many times we have demonstrated to ourselves that we cannot have a better past. Those first days of blissful indulgence are long gone by the time we have had enough to qualify as addicts, yet we cannot stop trying, persevering, or demanding that justice be served to us in a form we can finally approve of. Insanity is one characterization of this DMZ of human contact; mental illness of a sort can be another. Regardless, anyone attempting to scratch out an existence living anywhere near us when we are in this state of being will be driven into a neurotic stupor. Caring for us will be your keys to a frustrating level of despair that no human being should ever inflict on another.

Where is the possibility of hope for recovery in any of this misery and suffering?

It can only come from a belief in a power greater than the addiction problem. Does that power have to come from a belief in a supreme being? In my experience, no. Whether this reality eliminates the possibility of the existence of a supreme being seems a separate issue to me. An unrecovered addict is out of their right mind and right-mindedness seems like a minimum baseline to be achieved before anyone bothers to risk thinking in philosophical terms; the very threads of sanity hang tenuously in the balance.

What I will suggest to the atheists of AA is that it is simple-minded dumbassery to assert that your non-belief in our conjoint belief is both necessary and sufficient proof for the non-existence of a god that you, yourself, create by negating our simple-minded, theistic belief. In the hole left behind by your atheism, you only draw attention to what you seek to ignore. What you attack only makes your belief in that which you would attack, stronger. Serve yourself and be rid of such foolishness.

Agnosticism is the only philosophically defensible position to take in any theistic challenge to religious ideology and dogma. We simply do not know if a supreme being exists or does not; our perceptions report to us the nature of our reality. Omniscience makes perception impossible since there can be no contrasting agent to render a perception to our brain. And, even if by some alchemy we could perceive omniscience, we could never conceptualize it through a limiting definition and so there could never be a word like, “god,” through which we could communicate anything like a true meaning for the experience of omniscience. So not-knowing is an honest appraisal of the god issue and it is one that serves me well in my recovery. Contemplative discussions of the notion of a personal, omnipotent god serve no useful purpose because they must always become what they are, by definition: void of real interpersonal meaning.

I have lived in the Bible belt since 1995 and, let me assure the gentle reader, AA is chalk-full of crazy religious zealots and people-pleasers who fawningly enable the belief in a Christian god of insanity, impossible mystery, magic and religious hokum. In my opinion religion has no place in AA and, if I had my druthers, it would have no place in human experience. Religion has served an important purpose, as has science, and they have both come full-circle and dumped humanity on its collective head. The objective each of these systems of thought had at their outsets was the civilizing of human beings into stable interdependent communities. The only thing our current science and religious practices achieve is the polarizing of each of us into mutually-exclusive thought groups hell-bent on destroying one another for the crime of thinking differently about the nature of human experience. This situation, and in particular its denial, must result in sheer nonsense.

And, if you are still unfortunate enough to believe that religion provides humanity with salvation, let me share with you a bit of lore from the experience of one of my friends in recovery, a thoracic surgeon. A brilliant man in retirement from a long and successful practice, Raymond had carried his religious beliefs on his sleeves as only a charismatic soul can. But it was the opening of Raymond’s skull as a child to the belief in the father, son and holy ghost that, like a bowling ball, allowed Raymond’s mind to be slung down a greased alleyway where a gifted confidence man was able to convince Raymond to spend a significant chunk of his retirement on a scheme to wrest marketable quantities of gold from the raw sewage ponds of New York City. Not quite the whopper of transubstantiation, Raymond’s religious beliefs suggested that “faith, alone” could save any day. Well, Raymond now works as a glorified physician’s assistant in a local doc-in-the-box, a far cry from the dramatic outcomes he had been a party to as a thoracic surgeon. Religion and religious dogma prey on every vulnerable mind regardless of its gifts, turning it into useless goo at precisely the wrong time.

This case contains an important lesson about the power of sheer bullshit to literally stun and paralyze human ingenuity in trying times. There have been, and will be, many others. This the price we pay for going through the motions of belief in the unreasonable propositions of religious myth; these consequences, rather than the imaginary ones posthumously experienced before a disembodied Saint Peter, are the real consequences we need to be concerned about as living, breathing human beings.

I thank my atheist and agnostic friends for coming into sobriety to carry their message to me as I carry my message to them. I smile because both messages are crucial to understanding just how precious this AA phenomenon has been for me and countless others like me. I smile because I relate to the alienation and isolation of human experience, and I smile because I appreciate the fact that I am not, and never have been, alone in that experience. At times the pain can be excruciating.

Of course none of this means that you should burn your Bible and never again darken the doors of your local church. Something should be sacred in everyone’s life and, for me, there is nothing more mysterious and sacred than the relationship I have with my own unconscious mind. I have no direct experience of this place, but I know it exists because I have seen powerful patterns cutting through and through my Fourth and Tenth Step inventories. And I am, in a word, powerless to deal with these patterns in anything like the manner a focused, conscious thought might allow me to toss a rock through a stained glass window. My unconscious mind is my sacred friend guiding and directing me into brick walls, bad relationships, traumas and all of their opposite experiences. And so I begin my spiritual awakening and my belief in a super-ordinant higher power right there.

As it turns out, I do not have to go any farther or make any grand pronouncements requiring your expressed faith in my beliefs about myself in order to feel whole or holy. Those sorts of pronouncements have all already been made, today and every day, for thousands of years, to the effects we see before us. Yet my relationship with myself has been sacred and profound enough to keep me from doing, for over twenty years now, what I used to love doing every day. I do not need to convince you of it and you have your own unconscious drives to become conscious of and contend with. I have found a way of contending constructively with my more self-destructive unconscious drives, a way shown to me long ago now, and you do not have to believe in dead people reanimating or the weekly conversion of water and wine into blood in order for this method to work for you. There is no longer any rational justification to abandon hope in what was once a heartbreaking and hopeless situation for thousands of years.

What is most important to life is that it be permitted to flourish and that it be enjoyed by all creation capable of such an experience. I don’t think life cares a damn if we eat meat on Fridays during Lent and I don’t believe that a loving higher power wants us to invade the wombs of women trapped by an economic system designed to enslave us all. But that’s what I believe today. Tomorrow may be different. For everyone.

Let us hope so.

Resurrection and the Sociopath

Last year about this time I found myself steeped in a post-graduate rhetorical analysis of the front pages of the website Stormfront.org and two Patriot Movement sites.  The details of contemporary rhetorical analysis go beyond the mere study of words, so I won’t bore you.   But the “a-ha” moment I received at the end of my qualitative analysis is worth mentioning, at some point, in light of all the ballyhoo surrounding the latest remake of Ayn Rand’s last novel, Atlas Shrugged, and Rand’s many “contributions” to the neo-conservative movement of the post-industrial, post-modern United States of America.

First, I think that it is important, perhaps an epoché, to mention that I read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead during my first attempt at an undergraduate Computer Science degree in 1982.  I found her writing rather dull but her less-than subtle attempt at providing an air of plausibility for the malignant narcissism of her character, Howard Roark, thought-provoking.  It allowed me to make some kind of sense out of the madhatter Libertarian prognosticators who began finding their way onto my high school campus several years prior.  I believe my love affair with the ideas of Libertarian Objectivism lasted about six months due in no small part to the massive quantities of alcohol, marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms I was consuming in a quest to understand the life that I later discovered I did not have.

Rand’s basic problem with altruism, and the phony characters who often people movements known for their well-publicized altruistic intent, was that it represents an unqualified evil to the human species.  When people, especially theologians and philosophers, start pulling out loaded words like “good” and “evil” to describe their pet theoretical constructs, it becomes very easy to get lost in the weeds of side-discussions long before a viable premise of their pet theory can be identified, described and critiqued.

But let’s indulge this tendency for a moment.  It is highly illustrative.

The heroes of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead and all of Rand’s novels, find their genesis in Rand’s notes and interviews with none other than child murderer William Edward Hickman.  Hickman, by most every psychological analysis of his behavior, was a sociopath of the psychopathic type.  To highlight the conscience-free, malignant narcissism of humanoids like Hickman, we have a description of the crime in the nineteen year old killer’s own words, a crime that resulted in his death, by hanging, in October of 1928.

“It was while I was fixing the blindfold that the urge to murder came upon me,” he continued, “and I just couldn’t help myself. I got a towel and stepped up behind Marion. Then before she could move, I put it around her neck and twisted it tightly. I held on and she made no outcry except to gurgle. I held on for about two minutes, I guess, and then I let go. When I cut loose the fastenings, she fell to the floor. I knew she was dead. Well, after she was dead I carried her body into the bathroom and undressed her, all but the underwear, and cut a hole in her throat with a pocket knife to let the blood out.”

And a description from a different newspaper account of what Hickman did next.

“Hickman packed her body, limbs and entrails into a car, and drove to the drop-off point to pick up his ransom; along his way he tossed out wrapped-up limbs and innards scattering them around Los Angeles. When he arrived at the meeting point, Hickman pulled Miriam’s [sic] head and torso out of a suitcase and propped her up, her torso wrapped tightly, to look like she was alive—he sewed wires into her eyelids to keep them open, so that she’d appear to be awake and alive. When Miriam’s father arrived, Hickman pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him, showed Miriam’s head with the eyes sewn open (it would have been hard to see for certain that she was dead), and then took the ransom money and sped away. As he sped away, he threw Miriam’s head and torso out of the car, and that’s when the father ran up and saw his daughter—and screamed.”

I bring this information to your attention, gentle reader, because most everything put forward by the neo-conservative movement since 1980 has been in service of the ideas espoused by Ayn Rand, pseudonym of Alisa Rosenbaum, a Soviet émigré and, yes, a Jew.  The debauched calumny against the great, unwashed masses who made Rand’s popularity even possible is evident in all the neo-conservative epithets directed at the poor and disadvantaged, all the anti-altruistic legislative agendas and all the malevolence of the nation’s bankers and investors against the “collectivists” who, “don’t get it” – it is all there in stark relief.

A world made safe for sociopaths and psychopaths like Rand’s hero, Hickman, and, arguably, Rand herself – this was the purpose and point of Rand’s “philosophy.”

I know it is a little late to be suggesting this, but, “Houston, we have a problem.”

Freakishly detached from human concerns though they may be, the psychopathic personality is a throw-back, a genetic anomaly and evidence of the continued presence of our ancestors, the dinosaurs, still demanding their day in the “evolutionary court of appeals.”  Their legal representative in this regard is none other than Ayn Rand herself, and the fact that these lizard-brained anomalies also have control of all the levers of governance and justice, species-wide, bears some mention.

Mercifully, Ayn Rand is dead and her legacy has been frozen solid in the minds of those closest to her.  These people knew Rand for what she was, good and bad, and their testimony is available for all to read and see.  Personally, I am neither surprised nor impressed by Rand’s legacy.  She died of lung cancer with only a hired nurse at her bedside, a fitting epitaph for an individual who both sucked the breathable oxygen out of nearly every room she ever walked into while also demanding the slavish devotion of admirers she neither admired nor appreciated.  Every other human being was just an object to Rand and objects have no purpose other than the one the “assigner” assigns to them.

Were it not for the fact that Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve from the Reagan Administration to nearly the present day, spent most of his lifetime locked in sadomasochistic “devotion” to his mentor, the life of this sociopath of the psychopathic type, Ayn Rand, would be pitiful and pathetic, rather than the force to be reckoned with that it has become.  Strange, is it not, how the alienation and isolation of profound mental illness drives these creatures together to re-experience the defining moment of mammalian evolution — the moment of “cooperation.”  The moment where two apparently separate and unequal entities came together to harmonize, legitimize and validate their devotion, however warped, to one another, causing a stir in the ethos of an entire civilization.  And, as we have already surmised, this has been a toxic stir, indeed.

Objectivist philosophy requires the presence of slaves and widespread exploitation in order for it to provide the fetid fruit that it has been able to provide thus far.  This is the same problem that all atheists come across as they dig deeply into their rival theistic paradigm.  Objectivism is parasitic and incapable of standing on its own.  If every living, breathing human were capable of adopting objectivism as a lifestyle, the world would become a battleground of bad neighborhoods as each warlord attempted to actualize his or her own will to power.  Sort of like it has become now, only worse.  Think Afghanistan in every subdivision and hamlet around the world.

This prejudice begs the question, however: can cooperative, mammalian-friendly civilization stand on its own without the benefit of the lethal pursuit of sociopaths of the psychopathic type?  Granted that we could certainly use less malignant narcissism at this time in our history, but could we sustain ourselves in a world completely devoid of fear and its exploitation?  Do we truly have more choices available to us than the current objectivist economic repression and the collectivist intellectual repression?

This might be a good time to mention that “a-ha” moment I came upon as I completed my qualitative analysis of the angry fascists, racists and xenophobes who provide the websites for Stormfront.org and the “minuteman” patriot movement.  All of these humanoids, and in fact all of us who regard ourselves in a relatively mundane, milktoast fashion with regard to ethnocentricity, are after just one communal peak experience.  Just one.

Utopia.

That’s it, folks.  Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die to this world we have manufactured together.  Everyone wants to be able to say to themselves of the people they meet on the street every day, “they’re just like me,” but no one wants to fully concede to their innermost selves that they could ever be as dysfunctionally warped as, say, a William Edward Hickman, or an Ayn Rand.  Everyone wants to see themselves in some sort of perfect light, but no one wants to completely release their belief in “sin,” whether they are atheists or theists.  And so we are trapped, imprisoned in the jailhouse of the human mind, completely incapable of loving one another and, by extension, ourselves.

We should strive to refuse to have our regard for each other, and our very selves, to be limited by the machinations of mental illness, neurological impairment or treatable psychological disorders.  No matter how widespread or how often these dysfunctions are taken as standard-operating procedure, we cannot continue to allow psychopaths, or the mentally ill, to dictate the quality of our very lives in any way at any time.  We do this every time we turn our backs on people like Ayn Rand or Alan Greenspan.  These pitiable creatures need to be identified and kept far away from the levers of power, lest the present circumstances be repeated.

On this Easter Sunday, pull a rabbit out of your proverbial hat and let your fellows be free to be as dysfunctional or functional as they are without the benefit of your secret need to pass judgment on who you think they are or what you believe it is that they do.  This is the Final Judgment any man or woman can ever make for themselves.

But do not mistake this foolhardy tendency to make dramatic every trivial or dopey aberration in human behavior for a trangression against the beating of your own heart.   Those we have regarded as “evil” or “outside humanness” should be seen only as infirmed.  This “turning of the cheek,” this “shift in perspective” to regard the despicable as only temporarily impaired is the one that opens the gateway to the Utopia we all seem to crave, but have never actually chosen to live in for long at all.

Clinton, Biden Betray Obama Over Egypt; Kerry Likely To Take State Department

Washington insiders are chattering about Hillary Clinton’s duplicity in dealing with Obama and Mubarak’s long-time CIA friend, Frank Wisner.  Apparently, Hillary was offering support to Wisner as if the President supported her policy.  However, Obama’s several phone calls to the Middle East explaining his political stand on Egypt suggest otherwise.

Missing from the subtext of Hillary’s duplicity is the power play she has undertaken in what amounts to a vote of “no confidence” for Obama and his policies.  The drubbing the Administration took in the November elections, the President’s ineffective response to Republican aggression in Congress and his rumored issues with depression also galvanized Hillary to support her own ambitions at the expense of the Obama Presidency.

Senator John Kerry has signalled to the Administration that he would accept the nod to take over for Hillary at State.

Before she goes, the President would be wise to weaken her and her husband politically before accepting her resignation.  Most certainly she plans to run against the President in 2012.

‘Tis The Season To Be Stripped Bare

Lady Liberty At Christmas, 2010 C.E.

Texas can be a nutty place, especially this time of year.  Rushing people whirling and spinning, stepping around, over and through one another where before an air of southern gentility prevailed.  Politeness might once again prevail, but not until the headlong masses have secured their place among the lucky fifty percent who will find this year’s festivities close enough to par to call it a wonderful day. 

Strange that so much effort goes into a single day, once per year, that holds as much promise for “success” or “failure” as any other day at any other time.  Stranger still is the fact this one special day has nothing whatsoever to do with its stated purpose, decreed by Emperor Constantine as the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, but instead replaces a pagan holiday celebrating the Winter solstice.  Almost no one in Texas realizes this fact and those who do refrain from being impolite enough to confront collective insanity with the arid cool of immutable truth.

Facts never seem to bother the old guard of the Old South, and, if they do, can be replaced with slants more accommodating and perceptions as familiar as sweet iced tea.  “Disruptive of work rhythm,” one manager of a local salt mine proclaimed, forgetting almost entirely multiple decades of human resources research into the management of white collar professionals.  “You need to shut up and just do your job,” the captain turned manager insisted, “and allow other people to do their’s.”  Precisely what that job was and its relationship to everyone else’s would be left to another time, a moment where the decline of America’s regard for the collective intelligence of its labor pool would more closely match the scope of work to be performed.  Swing low, sweet chariot, and carry us back to a time, twenty years ago, when the prospects for our white collar professions were positive and our political affiliations completely unrelated to our upward mobility.  A time, in other words, when the old guard of the Old South was in no position to dictate how many facts we would overlook telling our children, nor how low our academic standards would fall for those children relative to those of their parents.

“Our work is crucial to the warfighter,” a noun replacing another proclaimed, “and the work we do here is in service to these honored professionals.”  Sentiments appropriate to another time, long since passed, replace the reality of children crammed into bulletproof vests blowing toddlers into red mist and getting blown into pieces, themselves, hardly identifiable by those left behind at home.  The Old South values the work of these children turned volunteers turned soldiers turned warfighters turned inside out and upside down, rejecting as rubbish those mere veterans who would rather color a wall with their own brains than  live another moment under threat of a memory of who and what they had actually become to themselves.  Almost without exception, the one exception being the grifters of Wall Street, “honored professionals” become the victims to be identified in a whisper on a slow news day, if at all.

Facts look a lot like numbers, but a lot of numbers do not indicate the presence of any facts.  One plus one equals two, according to conventional wisdom, but sometimes it equals ten.  Those who fully understand this fact are to be alienated, isolated and kept away from the levers of any political or military power.  If any should cross the Rubicon of this unstated and unstatable standard, they will do so only after being debauched, debased and degraded in such a way that even the most advanced recording devices will be unable to capture the depth of the collective shame and horror should the contents of the recording ever see the light of day.  Hidden behind the poll numbers of every media-created superstar lays the fact that no one in a position to speak truth to real power will ever again be granted the credibility with which to be heard and understood.  One information origin from which only diametrically opposed messages must come, forever keeping the audience confused, divided and unable to agree on a unified platform of relevant facts.  If anyone bothers to ask, send them a spreadsheet loaded with numbers and polysyllabic labels; if they persist, just start yelling.  Coherence does not count as much as the appearance of dominance.

In just this manner the old guard of the Old South hopes and preys on those who would forget that it is the God of their understanding that must, by Sabbath, choose both time and place where their six-fold fruit yields but one fold fruition.  This would be the same Old South made fat by a yuletide of free labor, a sacrifice costing only the free people of Africa their heathen freedom, deemed to be of little value when compared to the freedom of pale-faced psychopaths in possession of more gunpowder than forebrain.  Loyalty should be coupled with the source of one’s next meal so that truth becomes a matter of an adequate diet, rather than simple facts.

It is this psychopathy that unifies Old South with Old North, Dixie with Dallas and the debonair with the despicable.  For as certain a fact as the prejudicial racism of the Old South, just as certain was and is the willingness of the Old North to betray mother, father, sister and/or brother for the grain to survive a truth as cold as a northern Winter.  Slave owners of the Old South have their analog in the benevolent dictators of the Old North; as quickly as a Yankee betrays his sentiments for thirty pieces of silver, a Confederate will betray his fellows because a “plantation’s” beloved authority grants him, or her, the conscience with which to do so.  The Old South may be ruled by heartfelt superstition and the Old North by facts made relevant to circumstance, but, over time, the two have become the same.  Yankee and Confederate murdered one another in droves on a field of battle because of a mistake in timing, but neither party ever bothered to notice who or what was in control of the timing before the shooting commenced.

It was Nathan Mayer Rothschild disguised as Santa Claus – Saint Nicholaus by another name.

So as you scurry about to guarantee your family’s place in a treasured, if dubious, memory, remember that you do so for the Bank of England, and all bankers, that they and their fetid spawn might go on ruling this Earth with the results you see in the grimace of every frustrated parent’s face and every McChild’s disappointed glare – as the local sheriff escorts yet another family from a home that will remain empty well into the New Year.

Happy Military/Industrial Complex Junta Day!

November 22, 1963, Friday, democratic government in the United States of America was murdered in downtown Dallas.

What we have learned since the sine quo non of white-wash investigations, the Warren Report, concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

1.        Lyndon Baynes Johnson, future President of the US, and H. L. Hunt (member of the Lamar Hotel, Suite 8F, Houston group) played crucial roles in the conspiracy to assassinate President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

2.        Jack “Ruby” Rubinstein worked as a Union informant for future President of the US, Richard Milhous Nixon from as early as 1947.

3.        George Herbert Walker Bush played a role in the assassination, a role requiring him and his wife to fashion more than one cover story to account for his whereabouts on this day in 1963.

4.        Dallas police officer J.D. Tippet, allegedly murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald, was also working for the Central Intelligence Agency.

5.        Had the assassination of the President not taken place on this date in 1963, Lyndon Baynes Johnson would have been indicted and probably convicted for at least one political murder in the State of Texas.

6.        J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, was involved in the assassination conspiracy, attending a closed-door meeting with Clint Murchison, George Brown (of Brown and Root), H.L. Hunt and Lyndon Baynes Johnson at his estate the night before the assassination.

7.        Lee Harvey Oswald believed he was involved in a counter-conspiracy to derail the plot to assassinate President Kennedy.

What we now know is that our current President, Barak H. Obama, has given George H.W. Bush the Medal of Freedom and carried more than a nominal amount of water for the political factions represented by George H.W. Bush.

Rebel, resist or sign this nation’s death warrant along with the conspirators.