Posts Tagged ‘biblical exodus’

PEASANTS and MASTERS

July 21, 2010

Image and Ambition

ORGANIZED IRRESPONSIBILITY

We need to chase the money lenders and other riff-raff from the temple again.  The corruption in Washington resonates through our whole society.  Political corruption is one aspect of a more general immorality. If we want to tackle it, we have to understand how it works.

Sober, personal virtues of honesty, willpower, honor, and high-mindedness have given way to “the most important single factor, the effective personality,” which “commands attention by charm,” and “radiates self-confidence.” George W. Bush is a prime example of the phenomenon; Sarah Palin is another. Personal relations – image, in short – have become part of public relations, a sacrifice of selfhood on a personality market, to the sole end of individual success in the corporate way of life.

In the corporate era, economic relations are impersonal – and executives feel little personal responsibility (witness NAFTA, GATT and the WTO). Within the corporate worlds of business, war making and politics, the private conscience is attenuated and immorality is institutionalized. Many of the problems of white-collar crime and of relaxed public morality, of high-priced vice and fading personal integrity, are problems of this structural immorality. Its acceptance is an essential feature of our mass society.

In economic and political institutions the corporate rich now wield enormous power, but they have never had to win the moral consent of those over whom they hold this power. The general immorality, the general weakening of older values, and the organization of irresponsibility have not involved public crisis; they result from creeping indifference and a silent hollowing out.

The images of the powerful that prevail are of the elite as celebrities. They share it with the frivolous or sultry creatures of the world of celebrity, which is a dazzling blind of their true power.

Two things are needed in a democracy: articulate and knowledgeable publics, and political leaders who, if not men of reason, are at least reasonably responsible to such knowledgeable publics as exist. Such a public and such leaders – either of power or of knowledge – do not now prevail, and knowledge does not now have democratic relevance in America.

The lack of knowledge as an experience among the elite ties in with the malign tendency of the expert, not only as fact but also as legitimization. Our national debate has become timid. The tyranny of experts disguises our true best interest. The trend has been abdication of debate and the collapse of opposition under the easy slogan of bipartisanship. Public relations displace reasoned argument; manipulation and undebated decisions of power replace democratic authority.

Status, no longer rooted in local communities, follows the big hierarchies. Status follows big money, even if it has a touch of the gangster. Status follows power, even if it be without background. Below, in the mass society, old moral and traditional barriers to status break down and Americans look to standards of excellence above them, to model themselves and judge self-esteem.

Those in the higher circles are not truly representative; their high position is not a result of moral virtue. They sit in the seats of the high and the mighty selected and formed by the means of power, the sources of wealth, and the mechanics of celebrity. They are not shaped by nationally responsible parties that debate openly and clearly the issues this nation now so unintelligently confronts. They are not held in check by a plurality of voluntary associations, which connect debating publics with the pinnacles of decision. Commanders of power unequalled in history, they have succeeded within the American system of organized irresponsibility.

PEASANTS and MASTERS

 University of Wisconsin law professor Joel Rogers says, “Public opinion in the United States is conventionally mapped on a liberal-conservative axis understood to run from government do-gooders without values on one end to free marketeering rich people without hearts at the other end. Most people in America place themselves in the middle. They don’t find either end particularly attractive. Today, the fight isn’t really between liberals and conservatives but between the workers/consumers/citizens who actually want the economy to reflect our values and those who want to keep things the way they are with a few irresponsible corporations running the country for their own benefit. In that fight we can win. It’s our country. Let’s run it for the people.”

We cannot make minor process changes, but must deal with the value system, which powers our economic engine to the divorce of all other concerns. Social Darwinism supposedly died after striking U.S. Steel workers were murdered by union-busting toughs while Andrew Carnegie played golf in Scotland. Carnegie turned a blind eye to what his managers were doing at the Homestead Mines. It seemed good business to lower labor costs. It got out of hand. Carnegie learned that individual action, even when the most rational and best for the individual or stockholders, may be a terrible disaster for other individuals.

The only way to resolve the problem is to:

GO STRAIGHT AT THEM

I reluctantly support the President.  If we want positive change in America, he’s the man we should back.  He comes nearest to my own philosophy and that of people I respect and care about most.  However, I feel he is being “reasonable” with his opposition to the point of timidity, if not self-deception.  What should he do?

  • Go straight at them.
  • Eschew any advice from Wall Street chameleon Robert Rubin and his clones who brought us NAFTA, GATT and WTO, and mentored Clinton, Bush, and now Obama with the same advice that created the present fiscal disaster.  Prosecute Goldman Sachs for their very real thefts and confidence rackets.
  • Speak Keynesian economics again. Emphasize we the people, public issues, community, human rights, common sense, and the common good; not the bottomline for a gaggle of avaricious stockholders.  Practice economics as if PEOPLE mattered.
  • Seek new, innovative solutions – not stock reprises of old routines; that’s the pattern of alcoholics and addicts.
  • Make Corporations pay their fair share to support the system that enabled their success; stop treating them as “individuals” in the legal system; hold executives and stock holders personally accountable for their corporate actions.
  • Protect the planet.  JOB ONE.  Everything else is subordinate in priority. 
  • Educate the children – dump top-heavy, discriminatory Trojan Horse Standards obstacles; eliminate public subsidies (vouchers) for boondoggle separatist, religionist, preferential, and elitist “home” schooling; insist upon a democratic public education, scholarship, and scientific rationalism.
  • Call the generation to service: “Let’s get our hands on these problems and solve them.  We can do it, if we stop procrastinating and move on.”
  • Tell Republicans they can worry about haircuts, dirty words, and hurting people by making money from wage slavery, exploitation, lies and violence.  The rest of us will go to work to end two disastrous wars and fix the nation’s now critical issues: environment, health care, and the economy (thanks to years of flagrant and cynical Republican corporatist neoconservative neglect, abuse, misuse, cynicism, and outright unabashed destruction).

We can’t let the Republican monarchists kill the real American dream: freedom and a better life for all our people, children, posterity, and not just ourselves.

We’re not in this life for the next quarterly report, we’re here to build a lasting rule of law that we can be proud of again; and that means saving it from the Republican cabal that brought us this fiasco, before it collapses us in an economy of chaos and death, as they smugly profit off our bones.

How’d that be?  I’d like it fine.  And, we need to dump the Bluedog Democrats and give President Barak Obama an overwhelming progressive majority in both houses of congress, too, or we will spend generations suffering from the harm of the Bushies and their corporate neocon masters.

If it will be done, it must be done soon, or I fear it will not be done at all (although the planet will outlive us, barren as the moon, perhaps). 

PRESIDENT PHARAOH

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe). He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined. He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place; thus, half the monuments in the Nile Valley are his. He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight. Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt. He nearly got himself killed and almost lost his army due to egotistical rash actions as an inexperienced military leader, but he declared victory from near defeat, and covered up the fact that he came precious close to losing the farm – not just for himself, but for the whole kingdom of Egypt. And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe. G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”

 

Site of the First Chrysler Factory

 

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NOTHING HOLY in HOLY LAND

June 9, 2010

Last Sun

Living By the Sword

Helen Thomas

Amidst all the outrage about veteran journalist Helen Thomas intemperately saying what so many on the left, including many Jews, feel but more politely say – “The Jews should get the hell out of Palestine” – some are defending her for what she likely meant, adding meaningful context to the trap of sound bites. Three activist Jews speak out here, and Al Jazeera offers thoughtful analysis here on the sea change in public opinion that Thomas represents.

–Abby Zimet
Discuss…http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/06/09-1

NOTHING IS HOLY IN THE “HOLY” LAND:

Any claim to “holiness” in ownership of the “Holy” Land, by any constituent of any side, is preposterous.  People of every persuasion have been killing each other over this crap hunk of real estate for thousands of years, to no apparent resolution, pretty much to malign purpose, and to the point of certifiable mental disease.

Their feuds are mindlessly generational, and they routinely dishonor their prophets and messiahsPeace is an illusion, reason is a poor orphan; “right” is confused with “rite;” and “hope” is just a word.

The people of the “Holy” Land are primarily useful to International Capitalists as trade route and pipeline handlers – since ancient times.  Their demographic division is a matter of greed supported by superstition.  Their migratory waves have pushed each other back and forth from Baghdad to Cairo for six thousand years.  Don’t let ‘em kid you, the protagonists have been a blood thirsty bunch for a mighty long time – no foolin’.  The “Holy” Land has always been incredibly harsh and savage; and its peoples have never been any different.  This is a piece of earth that people kill and die over repeatedly.

In practice, “god” – whatever Her, His, or Its name is – is a “get out of jail free” card for murder, and a justification for crimes against humanity and the planet.  Most cultures condone and/or pardon violence done to the “Alien Other.”  Fathers teach sons, who teach sons, who teach sons how to hate.  In that sense, the peoples of the “Holy” Land are not unique – just amazingly obsessive about that little crap hunk of real estate.

Who’d be so damned stupid as to stick his big old idiot foot into that “holy muck?”  Perhaps, a megalomaniac, a psychopathsectarian nut, or an oilman.  In the “holy” land, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed sang about morality, peace and love in mind-numbing chorus.  In the Sixties, the Beatles sang, “Give peace a chance.”  In the Seventies, John Lennon added, “All you need is love.”  Of course, nobody listened to any of those do-gooders, and we now sing, “Waist deep in the Big Muddy, and the Big Fool says to Push On!”

It’s very hard to believe that any respectable or self-respecting god might have any interest and/or want to claim any responsibility for the disastrous generational holocaust in the so-called “Holy” Land.  Self-deception is, indeed, the fundamental core value of the human race.  It enables us to do so many terrible ungodly things that a conscience and compassion might prevent.

“The Israel of the Bible was established altogether by the sword,” Thomas Paine American founding father wrote, “and that in the worst use of it – not to terrify, but to extirpate.  The Jews made no converts; they butchered all.”  What are they doing differently today?

Related article:  MY STORY BEGINS  Religion is Bunk.

What George W. Bush and Ramses the Great Have in Common.

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe).  He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined.  He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place.  Therefore, fifty percent of the monuments in the Nile Valley are his!  He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight.  Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt with his tail between his legs (or maybe it was just his kilt).  He nearly got himself killed at Kadesh and almost lost the whole Egyptian army due to his egotistical rash decisions and actions as an inexperienced military leader (he was the Decider), but he declared near defeat as victory, and covered up the fact that he almost lost the farm – not just for himself, but for the entire kingdom of Egypt.  And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe.  G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”  – 11/04.

Related article:  ALICE and YUYA  Moses the Egyptian.

WAR and RUMORS of WAR

Not since Watergate and Nixon has so much been said about the bald lies and active criminality of our rulers.  There’s no hero or other path to save us.  We were already in a twilight phase of our greatness when befuddled Ronald Reagan declared “morning in America.”  Twenty years later, the “boy emperor” George W. Bush, took us fully into the Dark Ages, pursuing shortsighted goals accelerating our decline.  We see signs of the West after Rome’s fall: religion triumphant over reason; education and critical thinking decayed; religion, state, and the apparatus of torture integrated – the central horror of the pre-Enlightenment; and our culture politically and economically marginalized.  It’s a process no society can undergo and still remain free.  Yet the capitalists, Republicans, and neoconservative fundamentalist Christian American population are aggressively proud of it.

Bush believed he was on a mission from god, and faith trumps fact.  Yet, if a nation can’t see reality correctly and persists in acting upon faith-based delusions, its ability to hold its own in the world is pretty much foreclosed.  We survey a cultural death valley: secondary schools with teachers afraid to teach evolution to un-evolved students; pervasive hostility toward science from benighted legislators; religion used to explain terror as a cosmic conflict between good and evil rather than in terms of political process.  In a New York Times poll, 59% of Americans believe that the faithful will be taken up into heaven in the ‘Rapture’ (perhaps, in blue jackets and tennis shoes?  I propose straitjackets).

Fundamentalism and democracy are foes.  The opposite of Enlightenment is tribalism, groupthink, and blind obedience.  Detention without trial, denial of attorneys, years of interrogation in isolation are now standard American practice, and many Americans don’t care.  The Bush administration discussed canceling the 2004 presidential election citing possible terrorist attack!  Since it wasn’t done, it was obviously safer and easier (for them) to rig electronic voting (see John Conyers’ D-Ohio report).  In the 2003 University of Connecticut “State of the First Amendment Survey,” 34% of Americans said the amendment went “too far;” 46% thought there was too much press freedom; 28% felt newspapers shouldn’t publish without government approval; 31% wanted public protest of war outlawed during war; and 50% thought government should infringe the freedom of “certain religious groups” in the name of the war on terror.

Advertisers and politicians assure us we’re the richest, most envied people on earth and that’s why rag-tag bombers want to blow us up.  We’re not actually people in the eyes of national ownership; we’re unreliable consumers comprising an overworked, underpaid work force not in the best of health (we’re 37th behind Saudi Arabia, the former Texas Whitehouse’s Best Friend).  Despite Halliburton’s boom profits, Bush’s wars of aggression made us broke.  We borrow $4 billion per day to keep afloat.  Who finally pays this massive debt?

How eager we are to be slaves.  Bush said he was a “wartime president,” but there’s no war, despite all his murder and destruction, “terror” is an abstract noun like “liar”.  Bush’s illegal unilateral ravaging of Iraq isn’t moral or legal because he appeared to be elected twice.  He’s done things we’d impeach him for under the old republic, but corrupt Republicans at all levels of government, including the judiciary, protect him by not doing their duty to impeach him, let’s say, for his incompetence in Louisiana.  “Nice job, Brownie,” my ass.

Our founders thought two-year terms for congress was as much democracy as we’d need, so they didn’t provide recall legislation in the event a president wasn’t up to the job and lost the people’s confidence between elections.  Thus, since “all things come to pass,” as Ecclesiastes has it, we had to wait until most of our citizens were hurt before he left office to go hide in his second Eden in Crawford.  We’re paying interest on his awful debts, and the troops not killed or maimed have to settle for just being alive and in one piece.  Or, would, if Obama wasn’t now abusing them.

Related article:  WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS  Waging War from a Burning House.

BLAST FROM THE PAST:

“Inflammatory oratory and a radical catchall program, important as they were for a fledgling party out to attract attention and recruit mass support, were not enough, and Hitler turned his attention to providing more…  What the masses needed, he thought, were not only ideas – a few simple ideas, that is, that he could ceaselessly hammer through their skulls – but symbols that would win their faith, pageantry and color that would arouse them, and acts of violence and terror, which if successful, would attract adherents (were not most Germans drawn to the strong?) and give them a sense of power over the weak.

“In Vienna, …he was intrigued by what he called the ‘infamous spiritual and physical terror’ which he thought was employed by the Social Democrats against their opponents.  Now he turned it to good purpose in his own anti-Socialist party,  …Hitler organized a bunch of roughneck war veterans into ‘strong-arm’ squads…These uniformed rowdies… soon took to breaking up [meetings] of other parties.  Hitler boasted to police, ‘We got what we wanted.  Ballerstedt did not speak.’  As Hitler told an audience some months before, ‘The National Socialist Movement will in the future ruthlessly prevent – if necessary by force – all meetings or lectures that are likely to distract the minds of our fellow countrymen.’”

– William L. Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Related article:  REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS

Last Words:

“I have no friends in the diamond trade.”  – bumpersticker.

Buddha Swirl

BUDDHA at JLegry’s Gallery