Archive | October, 2014

Existential Anarchy

31 Oct

Why the US is both Unique and Redundant.

Combine a statement from batch A with one from batch B and…

1. Of, relating to, or dealing with existence.
2. Based on experience; empirical.
3. Of or as conceived by existentialism or existentialists: an existential moment
of choice.

1. Absence of any form of political authority.
2. Political disorder and confusion.
3. Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose

…that becomes ‘ Existential Anarchy’. Because of it our center no longer holds. American culture behaves as in a centrifuge. All ideas, actions, polities, and finances, along with our treasured myths, are spun to the wings.

This centrifuge, a cyclotron in effect, seems to be imbedded dead center in an oddly shaped pentagonal edifice near a southern river. This virtual device has minders from many spheres of influence. Although nominally the province of uniformed wizardry, certain political elves and corporate gnomes have as much or more control of the device. Together they manage to project an OZ-like image of infallibility and inevitability well beyond reality.

These minions seek to control all aspects of our culture to ensure their own prominence and power. This task has been considerably lessened by a hundred years of ever improving propaganda and cant from print, then radio, on to movies, TV and lastly, the web, that have provided generations of slick liars and earnest boosters a high podium to dissemble and reinforce the American mythology. All terribly effective; sell soap, and sell the stories of nationhood with the same voice.

But here from the horse’s mouth, the words of the most honest and forthright of them all, Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, twice winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor:
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”
…From “Common Sense”

Today the General would be a ‘gangster’ for the entire Military-Industrial Complex and might be running the cyclotron as it spits out particles of our Democracy.

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and
dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”
John F. Kennedy

Are we finally coming to the realization that the mythology that holds us all together is fading badly, losing its luster? For over two hundred credulous years we have told ourselves that we, among nations, are unique. That elsewhere lies the “old-country”,the great unwashed, those “lesser breeds without the law”, and the hopelessly out-of-date. The myth of American Exceptionalism is behind the rational that whatever we do or is done in our name is always for the good; and so must be always honorable.

But they oversold it, folks, big time. Got caught up in their own success and went over the top. And now, finally, people are overwhelmed by the Big Lie. We, the people, have at last become among the world’s populations the most fear-haunted, the most homicidal and the most redundant. With uncanny irony the sanest, wisest voices now being heard on the planet belong to a wondrous troika: Vladimir Putin, Fidel Castro and Pope Francis.

Our mythology helped us to tame a wilderness, destroy one people and enslave another, fight our innumerable wars for property and/or money and made us rich. But it seems to be evaporating, starting to let go and peel away at the edges…slowly, then faster.

Oh, yes. That started even before we were officially a Nation. In 1786 in Massachusetts, Daniel Shays, a veteran of the Revolutionary War was, with many others, staggering under crushing debt and high taxes. Facing a possible turn in debtors prison (fine old Dickensian holdover, wasn’t it?) Shays led a revolt of impoverished farmers. Patriot lawyer Samuel Adams wrote up a riot act suspending Habeas Corpus and the militia put down the protest, killed a few, hanged a couple. The people were up against the mythology for the first time.
_Strike one._

Several years later another handful of disgruntled veterans of the Revolutionary War (sound familiar?) living on the frontier in Pennsylvania and ignored by the elite back East, eked out a modest living making whiskey. To pay debts to bankers for war costs heavy excise taxes were levied on their product. They revolted. The militias were sent in and they, too, lost.
_Strike two. One more…you’re out

“A reign of witches”, Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State under George Washington, aimed this jeremiad at Presidents Washington and Adams. This honorable duo were convinced our young Republic was so threatened by the French revolution and the Democracy it championed, they wanted war with France to stop it.
_ Out!
Damned Myth!

We are not unique, never were. We are not all good and wise and noble. Too many pictures, too many reports have surfaced of too many nasty deeds done in our name all over the place for too, damn long. Too much money sticking to the hands of too few of us and too many lies about why that is. Folks are more ready now then ever before to drink the cool-aid or believe the half-truths and absolute fictions ever so slyly promulgated; about why things need to be this way. That is why your TV programming resembles the junk stuffed daily into your snail mail box. Got to keep those stories coming because, alas, No Myth…No Nation.

On some level, mostly subconscious at this point in time, Americans know the game is up. That the powers that be are not leveling with us. The information sneaks in stealthily that everything is different from what we are told. That things will not be returning to what we’ve known in the past… ever.

Soon all sorts of wild and bizarre statements and actions will be the new norm. Without information free from spin and slant people will thrash around for guidance and direction. A lot of this will be frightening, certainly unpleasant, but not unexpected after several generations of disinformation serving as truth.

Anything we are told these days, particularly on the very best authority, best forget it and keep digging around. Somewhere beyond the noise is the truth. So suck it up, friends, if a new day dawns, what hope there is will come from our own wise instincts of what’s best for us.

There were good things, to be sure. A kind of fond hope, promise may be too strong, that seemed kinda …nice, comforting. You know, it lasted a lot longer than some ever thought it would. The idea of the nation as a Republic. But you have to be realistic about these things. If you start to reminisce, look out, that’s a slippery slope. Gotta be firm. Good basic idea, or not, the USA has simply gotten too expensive and its institutions too corrupt to remain viable much longer. Good money after bad; you know the drill.

Of course, we all thought, well most insiders thought, that the old familiar devices we had in place would see us through; last a lot longer. Really seemed promising; couple of wars going…not biggies, but profitable. Always worked before.

But it has never been worse and that is because never before have we been able to take so much, so quickly, for use in the present; denying it to the future. Our legacy to the heirs, writ clearly and proudly, is, “You shall have nothing if we can help it. We are spending your Planet; go somewhere else”. Maybe they’ll overlook and leave behind something useful, something that doesn’t take powerful machines to bring forth; that’s doubtful. You will, future persons, if you are lucky, become scavengers, salvagers and junkmen, because they will leave plenty of that.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s a damn shame it has to be this way. It really is. If there was another way, but why dwell on it. Maybe a vestige will remain? Something, not anything like a Republic, of course. That’s pure sentimentality; not going to happen.

Half of the real wealth in the US and most of the rest of the world is entombed in dead money presently. What we get from the teller or change at the market is for the most part zombie money. The difference being the money at hand, the zombie money, is borrowed money, borrowed from the future. From the kids and grandkids, actually. We should thank them daily for their largess.

Despite being spectral, hallucinatory, and futuristic, it is , of course, spendable. And that’s all most of us care about. So what’s this dead money business all about you may wonder? Dead money is the real wealth, actual bought and paid for bucks, euros ,yen lying around by the ton in the bullion vaults, blue ribbon investments and hedge funds cons of the extremely wealthy that produces, long pause…. nothing but…more money! Since the extremely wealthy few, several thousand families hereabouts, own half of all real wealth; if they just sit on it, it grows and grows but…it’s still dead. To the world.

So now, most frighteningly, anarchy in our time has become existential and is the new normal. Without a firm center to provide stability citizens have no orientation with which to pursue useful direction. Traditional signposts become skewed and suspect and old stalwarts like the academy, Major Media, and elected officialdom are compromised and the organized forces of power spin them at will.

Without a stable and viable center nothing can redirect the Nation from a tumble into chaos and despair.


The Greater Myth America Pageant

14 Oct

Boston Tea Party 1773
Myth America: That England planned to levy the same ruinous taxation on America they had placed on Ireland. Anathema!, cried our Founders. The Colonies enjoyed the greatest per capita income in the world at the time and paid the lowest taxes. Myth 2: That Revolution would insure these perks for the Colonies. “DON’T TREAD ON ME

Monticello, VA 1803
Myth America: That President Jefferson could, with impunity, bypass Congress and spend big bucks we didn’t have ( even if it was a really good deal?) and still govern a democratic republic. Myth 2: That this event didn’t cause the first ‘Money Panic’ in 1819. Myth 3: That it was not the Louisiana Purchase and old war debt at fault, heavens no; the bankers caused it all. “Accrocher les banquiers.” (hang the bankers)

Army camp on the Rio Grande 1846
Myth America: That having kicked the British army back up to Canada and driven those pesky Seminoles into the Florida swamps, twice; we were ready for the bigger game. Myth 2: That those backward Mexicans should not have all that luscious California real estate when, manifestly, it should be ours. “Come and take it”

Charleston SC 1860
Myth America: That economic prosperity and social stability were linked to slavery and the plantation system, and that states rights were being threatened by the federal government. Intolerable! Myth 2: That creation of a separate nation by secession was the only solution to this perception. “one rebel can lick three Yankees”

Havana Cuba 1898
Myth America: That Spain was responsible for the destruction of battleship Maine because we were aiding Cuba in its quest for independence. Curses on those Dons! Myth 2: That we had no interest whatsoever in establishing an overseas Empire despite acquisition of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippine Islands. No way, Jose. “Remember the Maine!”

Somewhere in France 1919
Myth America: That we had made the world safe for democracy by winning the war against the Central Powers. Myth 2: The fact that Britain, France and Russia each lost over one million soldiers notwithstanding, we did it. Over there! Hip, Hip Hooray. “He kept us out of war”

Atlantic City 1921
Myth America: That the Miss America Contest is not held when it is to extend the holiday season past Labor Day. (Be sure to see the amazing Diving Horse leap from the Steel Pier into the ocean) “Here she is, Miss America”

Wall Street 1929
Myth America: That having forty of every one hundred US dollars owned by one per cent of individuals in no way caused the Great Depression. Myth 2: That the speculative boom in stocks, bonds and assets on credit in the twenties was not caused by Federal Reserve policy. Psst, we have a bridge to sell you. “Eat the rich”

Pearl Harbor, Oahu 1941
Myth America: That “slant eyes” prevented the Japanese from becoming skilled pilots. Myth 2: That we won the war conveniently ignoring the fact that the Soviets had broken the back of the Nazi Wehrmacht years before D-Day. “Remember Pearl Harbor”

Foggy Bottom 1963
Myth America: That the take over of South Viet Nam by Ho Chi Minh would lead to a “domino” effect and all of Southeast Asia would topple. Ho did it; it didn’t. Myth 2: That a handful of US advisors could whip the ARVN forces into shape and trounce the Viet Cong. “Hell no, we won’t go”

Baghdad 2003
Myth America: That Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction were a threat to our survival. Myth 2: That the end to major combat operations where brought to a close on May 1, 2003. “Mission accomplished”

Kobani, Syria 2014
Myth America: That bombings alone, despite all historical experience, would win against ISIS in Iraq, Syria or anywhere. Slow learners? “Companions square”

A GPS For Your Uncle

10 Oct

He’s gone. Again. As soon as we are busy or distracted, he bugs out of here. You’re his favorite nephew so we’re depending on you to get him back home. I know it’s a thankless job and the old boy can be a lot to handle but he’s your uncle after all.

He’s been acting kinda naughty lately and, by the way, he took his old combat boots and that rusty old WW11 helmet with him this time. That’s not good. We did hear he was seen hanging out with his old war buddies in a bar in Kiev. Ukraine. I hope he doesn’t start in with the vodka. You know how he gets!

Now here’s what you say when you catch up with Uncle, “Sam we need you back home in good old Plato,I know that’s ironic, USA.” Tell him things aren’t so good and his wandering off all over the place doesn’t help. But if you can’t find him there try the Levant. I know, I know. He made an awful mess there the last time but you know how he is. Just wants to be helpful. Always makes thing worse. Plus he took his old pilot’s cap, too. That doesn’t bode well for anybody within range when he flies. Doddering oaf!

Sorry… sweet old guy. Make sure when you give him the GPS tracking device he knows how it works. His mind, you know. It’s coordinated for Plato, Texas County, Missouri, U. S. of A. and nowhere else. Remind him that Plato is the Mean center of US population, his de facto home town and the population, last count, was 109. Now it’s 108 with your Uncle Sam gone off wandering about the globe again. And that he’s sorely missed, here. Make sure to tell him that. Those folks in Iraq, Syria, Iran etc. will be glad to see the last of him, no doubt.

All that stomping around in those big combat boots of his! Never seems to notice when he plows through a place the wreckage he leaves behind. Typical male! I know that’s not nice, sonny, but what else could a body think? Does he ever clean up his messes? No. And where is he now with all the bills coming due? Off flying his stupid remote control buzz-bombs, that’s where. Never seems to learn. His mind; he’s slipping. Oh my, he took his little sailor hat, too.

Please find Uncle Sam and bring him home, nephew, even if you have to beg him or…whatever. Please do it now.