Tag Archive | Resistance

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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May the Fourth Be With You

I first began my journey to understand Kent State as a result of a woman who confided in me regarding her husband’s wartime PTSD. She was at that time working with Alan Canfora on his life-long project to bring the Kent State Massacre back into the national spotlight. For Alan and his friends who were either maimed, wounded like him, or slaughtered, justice has yet to be served for the heinous offenses of May 4, 1970.

But today, as I perused the black and white photos from that long ago weekend, I began to notice a pattern in those photos that brought back memories from my own childhood, memories of 1970.  “Justice served,” was hardly a theme from my childhood and in that sense all of the progressive left activists of that day share with me a sense of profound loss so awesome, so intimate and so astounding that we may not perceive the gigantic nature of its presence in our lives even to this day. Were it not for this one, singular pattern of commonality in those pictures from the days preceding and soon after the Massacre, I might have missed the presence of a beast that came to invade my days, my nights and my in-between times well into my adult years.

Not everyone grew up in a home that featured the emotional and psychological impacts of the Great Depression in the stark terms I had.  During my childhood my father railed against it all fiercely with a ferocious loyalty to Roman Catholicism and a dedication to hard work that one would have expected would lead him to great financial reward, or at least a few plaques on a museum wall somewhere.  And while his retirement, which I expect will be greatly shortened by his misspent loyalties, is certainly more comfortable than almost anyone I will know when my time to retire comes, he gave much more than he will ever receive.

But by 1966, the path he was on drove him to pull me to his chest and just wail the tears of a man overwhelmed by circumstances well outside of anyone’s ability to control, or even offer a word of solace.  Unbeknownst to me he had just had to commit his wife, my mother, to another three month “vacation” at Agnew’s State Hospital, a sanitarium for the mentally ill, and much later, the criminally insane of  Oracle Corporation.

This was my only recollection of significant early childhood discord and this, my older half-siblings would tell me only after I was well into my adulthood, was the third time in my lifetime that my mother would have her, “nervous breakdowns.”  She had had them many times before during their childhoods, and on the two occasions prior in my lifetime, my older siblings cared for me while this man who was then clutching me for connection, disappeared back to his hometown outside of Philadelphia for three to six months at a time.  So this pitiful heap of tears and despair  had twice declined to continue down the path he chose in 1960-61, finally determining that leaving me, and now my younger sister,  as my mother’s first husband had done to my oldest siblings, was something he would not do.  As my life would later unfold and my oldest sibling’s life story would unfold, this key circumstance was a brilliant stroke of good fortune.

Until now I have done my level best to keep the potential granted to me by my father wholly intact and unexplored, buried under an avalanche of frozen gin and lime.  While there are things that my father would not do, there have been feelings and experiences since that time I could not appreciate or make any sense of whatsoever until now.

The horror of the Great Depression, the world largely unknown and unexplored by my fellow Salinasian, was felt in the bone marrow of my mother, my blood and the woman for whom my heart has beat most truly.  Whether I wanted it to, or not.  As I would be told, again many years into my adult life, perhaps as an act of contrition more than any good judgment on anyone’s part, there were stories that arose from the plains of the Dust Bowl only to land in the relative comfort of the stinging heat of the San Joaquin Valley.  Human beings become depressed when times get hard and stay that way, so depressed that they will literally do anything for a second’s relief from the combination of sadness, grief, anxiety, panic and alienation that only a group of humans can inflict on one or more of their social piriahs.  In this case, the rich landowners of California’s Central Valley and the family of a young girl from Lookeba, Oklahoma, a land which to this day is disproportionately consumed with concerns of the Devil, Jesus and a god that continues to escape knowledge.

I do not know what passes through a mind so twisted with alcohol addiction and the depression that drove it to mount his daughter, a young girl not more than six or seven years in age, repeatedly, but the sense of the unfairness of it all did not escape him.  He left change for candy on her dresser afterward, next to the cigarette butts he had tried to extinguish in the ashtray but had missed.  The same cigarette butts that my mother would use to signal her children and husband that another break with reality was coming, another spasm of misunderstood memory was demanding to be heard.  The same cigarette butts that six decades later would cause her to nearly burn down the duplex where my oldest sister had placed her, hoping against hope, that my mother would someday be able to care for herself without lapsing into psychosis.  That time it wasn’t about running naked through the halls of Agnew’s State Hospital, clanging her false teeth over the iron bars of a jail cell in Reno, or even taking the California Highway Patrol on a high speed chase that ended with her snapping the axle on her sportscar at the age of sixty seven.  That time it was about victimizing an innocent family living next door to a ticking time bomb of unhealed sexual victimization and injuries committed against an innocent soul by a human being smart enough to avoid detection from the authorities of his day, but sick enough to spread illness across multiple generations.

Not unlike the individuals at the top of the social order before, during and after the Great Depression who modeled a laissez-faire, devil-may-care attitude about living in community with the baboons, chimpanzees and outright reptiles concealed under the skin of alleged human beings.  We are all products of our times.

The times in which I have lived, times like May 4, 1970, times like November 22, 1963, times like February 21, 1965, times like October 9, 1967 and times like April 4 and June 5, 1968, times when men kill other men and women to bring to an end the potential given to them by an allegedly loving God, I send out this message in a bottle to you because I am uniquely qualified to do so.  I have known both madness and sanity, I have known trauma and its aftermaths and I have been gifted with a unique insight into how the madness of this day in 1970 is linked with all of these miserable dates of regrettable human history.

The link is, of course, Brylcreem, a petroleum product used as a topical hair dressing by men of historical moment since, at least, Elvis Presley.

This oily goo was on almost every establishment toady’s head that weekend in May, 1970 and its ubiquitous presence forms not just a satire sublime, it has foreshadowed every case of traumatic brain injury coming out of the Middle East at present, every case of PTSD that came out of Viet Nam that lead to children growing up with unresolved PTSD well into their adult years and it even slimed its way onto the head of my father to awful effect.

Brylcreem — “a little dab’ll do ya’.”

Brylcreem signaled the end of Western Civilization.

Fast, Furious and Outrageous

Wayne Madsen has learned from his contacts within the Beltway intelligence community that Jared Lee Loughner is an “MK-ULTRA” programmed assassin and that US District Judge John Roll and Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords were targetted for assassination.  The reason for the decision to target Judge Roll and Congresswoman Giffords has to do with their knowledge

of the malicious and purposeful arming of Mexican drug gangs along the US-Mexico border by US intelligence agency assets in an effort designed to destablize the Mexican government.  This towards the end of making Mexico more dependent on US military aid and protection from its private security contractors.

A key quote from Wayne Madsen’s report follows.

“WMR has been told that in 2009, information about the CIA/Homeland Security/Napolitano smuggling operation came to the attention of three individuals, two members of Congress and a federal judge. The three were Arizona Democratic Representatives Giffords, Republican Representative Mike Conaway from west Texas, and Judge Roll. Giffords and Roll were working together on investigating the extent of the clandestine weapons and druigs smuggling operation and held some joint meetings with informants, one in north Phoenix, in 2009. Information on the investigation and informants was strictly limited to only a few trusted staffers and clerks for Giffords and Roll. In addition, Conaway was also being briefed by informants on the smuggling operation but since the death of Roll and the severe mental and physical incapacitation of Giffords from the shooting carried out by Jared Lee Loughner, said to be an MK-ULTRA-like trained assassin, he has gone silent in fear for his own safety. Loughner’s was declared mentally incompetent and there are reports, including one in Slate Magazine, that the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, where Loughner is being held, pending a determination of his mental fitness to stand trial, is being administered psychotropic drugs in his Kool Aid.

In addition to receiving drugs to fund its off-the-books operations, the CIA weapons smuggling program is designed to arm the two main Mexican cartels — Sinaloa and Los Zetas — in order to destabilize Mexico. A violence-ridden Mexico makes it more dependent on U.S. military aid and, eventually, the country is seen by Washington as a future virtual U.S. protectorate, whose state PEMEX-controlled oil reserves will be available to U.S. oil companies.”

The Obama-nation

The “Honorable Michael B. Mukasey?”  At this juncture I could express shock, disbelief and horror at such a thought after reading former FBI Special Agent Colleen Rowley’s article available via Information Clearinghouse and also at the Huffington Post.  But I won’t.

Rowley takes exception that such a relic from the Bush Administration could be called upon by any academic institution, let alone one involved in the training of professional attorneys, to speak on the subject of ethics and the implementation of unethical, often illegal, policies.

Sadly, I am not surprised by any of this.  While it is nauseating, I cannot devote a scintilla of surprise at the depths to which professional psychopaths and their willing stooges will sink to defend what in the past lead to Nazi corpses swinging at the end of ropes, post World War II.

I could offer up a, “well played, sir,” to those fascist lackeys in the United States through which the entire Nazi Holocaust was both inspired and launched.  Those well-moneyed individuals not only executed an intelligent multi-generational conspiracy to propel wealth and power to its economic zenith in the late twentieth century, but, perhaps to their chagrin, they are singularly responsible for sending humanity to its ethical and moral nadir in the early twenty-first.

Well-played, indeed, as evidenced in today’s headlines that highlight the deprivation of children in Uganda suffering from “Zombie” disease; that highlight the widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands of the hierarchy of our most-respected churches; that lay bare a culture where honesty and forthrightness are punished while convicted felons anchor television programs that reach millions; that blast and stun human brains with irrelevant trivia, allowing these sophisticated players to prosecute their resource wars under cover of “diplomatic” darkness.

Meanwhile, Wall Street has never been wealthier, nor more profitable; the wealthiest among us have never been wealthier, nor more powerful; governments have never yielded so completely to the desires of the wealthy and powerful.  In fact, syndicated radio host Thom Hartmann declared today (March 21, 2012) that the suburbs surrounding the US capitol – Washington, DC – are now among the wealthiest in the United States, including Beverly Hills, California.  Entertainment, fantasy and those who cater to it, will soon take a back seat to those whose business is the mass-exploitation of human labor and the mass-extinction of every living species that stands between them and future potential profits.

Such is the oppression of efficiency, of fascism.

In the world I grew up through, such paucities of spirit were considered ethical and moral poverty.  Dwight D. Eisenhower would certainly not recognize the landscape that he left behind as he yielded power to a President who would die attempting to realize Ike’s vision for an America that would always hold fast its moral compass.  Such a vast problem of morality and ethical conduct has not been visited on humanity since the depths of the Middle Ages before the advent of the Magna Carta.

But before we attempt a resolution to our problems, we should first have a clearer understanding of the relevant history surrounding our present state of affairs – the contextual background in which our present moment in history is unfolding.

First and foremost, every human nervous system has limitations and tolerances related to cognitive dissonance – a term used to describe a collision between observation and belief.  It was because these limitations and tolerances, en masse, were exceeded that many hundreds of years passed before humanity accepted the reality that the Earth was not the center of the known universe, or even that the world was not flat, but a sphere.  Therefore, if I am unwilling and/or unable to believe, “my lying eyes,” my nervous system will not permit me to change my beliefs about the world in which I appear to live.  Historians who chronicled the rise of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany referred to this phenomenon as, “the Big Lie,” but the truth is that human beings can be stunned into believing excessive dishonesty.  In software development terms, it is possible to “overflow the buffer” of large numbers of human beings and drive them to cling desperately to beliefs that no longer match with the reality of even a casual outside observer.  This is the reason why no one in America understood how the German people could tolerate the atrocities committed by the Nazi war machine on their, “behalf.”  General Eisenhower made certain, though, that all of those atrocities were painstakingly recorded, photographed and cataloged because he knew the instigators of that nightmare, of this nightmare, would go to absurd lengths to deny that those events ever took place.  He likely also knew that the revelations of Marine General Smedley Butler were true and that it was America, not just Germany, who had been responsible for building the nightmare of Nazi Germany.

Secondly, no organization, family, church or trust whose wealth and power was established prior to the French Enlightenment ever believed in the tenets of democracy, or in the rule of society of the people, by the people and for the people.  A great deal of time, energy and effort has been placed since the establishment of the United States of America in its ultimate perversion and destruction.  One can only assume that those with the most to gain from the destruction of the American experiment would be those organizations, families, churches and trusts whose wealth and power originated in Europe and Asia during the Middle Ages.  These same institutions and organizations may choose to package their indiscretions as part of some larger philosophical context (e.g., the Hegelian dialectic), but the truth of the matter is that those who achieve power through conflict and ruthlessness have no intention of ever relinquishing their hold on power, or allowing the “rules of the game” that they have mastered to be changed by any circumstance or happenstance of evolution or revolution.  They see only the ruin they have visited upon others to be their fate should they lose their grip on power or control.

Finally, the destruction of democracy, of even a shred of what was left of the Magna Carta, has been vaporized not by some lackey of the Bush Administration – Michael Mukasey – but by the crowned prince of American “Just-Us,” Attorney General Eric Holder.  In a speech given to Northwestern University Law students on March 5, 2012,  Eric Holder preceded Michael Mukasey’s attempt at gagging Colleen Rowley with liquid sleaze of Orwellian Doublespeak by some two weeks.  Had Ms. Rowley finally had enough, or must we always yield to the fascist wearing a smiley-face button?

Legal analyst and scholar Jonathan Turley attacked Holder’s disingenuousness in this blog entry, and many others have done so as well, to no avail.

Americans appear to be satisfied that if they are to be killed by secret fiat that they can rest assured that they deserved to be, that the high and mighty government of these United States of America, LLC, took no pleasure in finally dropping the hammer on their mediocre existence.

…and ladies and gentlemen, we have long since passed the bar from “concerned citizens” to expressions of ultimate mediocrity beginning at about 1pm on November 22, 1963.

Return to Nazareth

“Such was the crucifixion of the Son of God. His faithlessness did this to him.”

A Course In Miracles, p. 421

Imagine a world where this might be true.

In the first place, being a country-born ideologue riding into the “Big City” on a white jackass to “learn them city boys some righteousness,” would always be contraindicated regardless of their obvious need for remediation. Mocking the power structure must always result in your untimely death at the hands of that power structure.

In the second place, lying to an entire civilization as to the nature and consequences of one of its pivotal, if manufactured, moments in time could have massively deleterious consequences.

My early tutelage in Catholicism taught me to not question authority, to always regard the Church as the “one truth” I could always count on to provide me the guidance any worthy human life could possibly require. If the solutions provided by church dogma did not provide me with the solutions, or relief, that a solution should, the problem was due to my as yet unreconciled defects of character. The Church was to be the pearl of great price in my life and conducting myself as if I believed otherwise must always result in being posthumously tormented for all eternity. Simple. Like all great solutions.

So, in addition to having a number of unresolved challenges waiting for me outside the doors and walls of various churches scattered across the country of my birth, I had the problem of hiding the fact, growing more obvious with each passing decade, that I was the Antichrist spoken of by John of Patmos in his Apocalypse. My blood boiled with unresolved rage, my life became awash in failed relationships and the world around me grew darker the more worldly “truth” I let come into my mind. Much was wrong within me and the more I tried to apply the solutions provided to me as a child, the worse things seemed to become. One would expect that the wicked should suffer so.

Quite naturally, a nice refreshing box of wine became one of my favorite escapes. Smoking some of the “sacred ganja” in combination became a daily lifestyle choice that lasted some ten years. But like most love affairs that burn hot enough to produce smoke, an inability in both acumen and desire to be a responsible motorist, or both, things ended rather poorly. Alcohol and ganja continue to work for others which is fine for them; I, however, have had my dance card unceremoniously punched out of existence. Time to go home, time for salvation, time to get down to causes and conditions wherever they might take me.

I am happy to report that my inflated opinion of myself regarding my ultimate identity was not true. Not entirely. It appears everyone around me is both christ and antichrist and how we choose to deal with this most confusing set of circumstances determines whether we live happily and usefully whole, or die according to some miserable bodily or mentally vanquishing upheaval. I believe I am on the mend, certainly in much better spiritual and physical condition than a person who began life on an unstable trajectory might deserve, but I am by no means completely free and clear of a formerly incessant desire to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Particularly in those circumstances where, like Jesus of Nazareth, I return to the Big City to mock the rich and well-heeled for the crime of maiming a large portion of my family tree, mostly before I was ever born. The Great Depression hit my mother’s side of the family tree especially hard.

The Catholics and Protestants of my youth, in many cases, would like to make the story of Jesus of Nazareth a tale about those who loved the spoken word of God made flesh, and those, “dirty Jews,” of the Sanhedrin, the Scribes and Pharisees. No doubt Jesus may have felt that way and may have “cleared the temple” for this very reason, but, according to A Course in Miracles, the problem that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth was his own inability to believe that every human being is equipped with a divine spark that makes salvation and “seeing the Light” possible in the first place. Jesus lost faith in the ultimate humanity of his fellows and took to insulting and mocking them at just the wrong moment in history. The story of the end of Jesus of Nazareth had nothing to do with “Jews v. Christians” at all, but rather rich versus poor. When one considers that for the majority of Christian history the only humans wealthy enough to own and operate a printing press might have had a vested interest in distorting the story of Jesus’ life and death, the scapegoating of more modern Jewry begins to take on a completely different hue. Especially if those Jews were also quite wealthy themselves as often becomes the case when slaves overthrow their masters and learn how to hold their former masters at bey.

And you thought being black, African, Egyptian or possessing more than a slight amount of melanin in your skin was cause for horror or concern. Yet genetically, it is not possible for two white humans to produce a dark-skinned child, yet it is quite possible for two dark-skinned humans to produce one that is very Caucasian in appearance. Click, click and click. Obviously a huge amount of human history has been lost to us over the centuries, which is sad, but one side benefit of getting one’s own story straight becomes an uncanny ability to sniff out bullshit from the collections of stories other humans tell about themselves and to start identifying and resolving similar patterns of denial, delusion and dishonesty.

My problem with the phenomenally wealthy is not so much that they are not human but that, like any human ceded that much authority over other humans, the slightest character flaw in them produces an enormous amount of suffering in those occupying the lower rungs of the social strata beneath them. The problem is not that human beings possess flaws so much as we are utilizing a system of social organization that magnifies the impact of human flaws on the lives of others. In time this condition will need to be adjusted so that compassion and mercy can be more evenly distributed throughout the human family. Merit may well strike in one person for a particular of time, but that good fortune seldom passes on to one’s progeny. Certainly the times where one is called to demonstrate their merit change such that what is required at one time may be more or less than what is required in another. A genetically oriented social hierarchy is not fluid enough to allow solutions to flow to the problems where they exist.

I continue to distrust, as do many, the religion that water-boarded a fear of drowning into my consciousness at the age of six months – the only memory I possess from that period in time. I continue to distrust any collection of humans hierarchically organized to manage the thinking, beliefs, money, property and/or prestige of any social collective – I do not believe that such trust is merited given both history and the known unknowns we can deduce from the lack of it in key areas of import. But most importantly, I am coming to realize that not every phenomenally wealthy human is a psychopath, nor is it entirely ill-conceived that merit be considered when deciding who deserves their station in society and who does not. My great sin in life has been that I did not possess the merit required, at the proper time, to bring down the psychopathic conspiracies of wealth under whose heel we all now suffer. I only hope that I can be of some service to those who hope to make our present conditions survivable, tenable and known to others for all time. We dare not repeat these same mistakes ever again.

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?

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.