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Saturday, March 11, 2006
JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE PARANOID DOESN'T MEAN PEOPLE AREN'T OUT TO GET YOU
or, ANOTHER REAGAN SCHEME BACKFIRES
The recent bombings in Benares (I don't recall its "new" name, offhand ... oh, it's 'Varanasi') remind us that terrorism is real. We are so inured to the lies of the Bushies, it seems, that perhaps we'd forgotten that there are still people out there who want to get us, and, perhaps, we've even forgotten who those people are.
Police detain suspects in Varanasi bombingsLashkar-e-Toiba, or Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, or Lashkar-e-Taiba is one happy bunch of thugs. OK, 'thugs' derives from the 'Thuggee' or the devotees of Kali, the Goddess of Death in the Hindu religion, and is religiously oxymoronic. (cf. "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" for details.)
All right, a better term for LeT would be 'assassins,' which derives from Hassan I Sabbah's
"secret islamic order originating in the 11th century who believed it was a religious duty to harass and murder their enemies. The most important members of the order were those who actually did the killing. Having been promised paradise in return for dying in action, the killers, it is said, were made to yearn for paradise by being given a life of pleasure that included the use of hashish. From this came the name for the secret order as a whole, hassasin, "hashish users." After passing through French or Italian, the word came into English and is recorded in 1603 with reference to the Muslim Assassins." [American Heritage Dictionary, Fourth Edition, 2000]The legend of Sabbah (sometimes called "Hassan ibn Sabba") is eerily apt, given our present situation. from Wikipedia:
From a high mountain fortress, Ibn al-Sabbah directed a ruthless campaign against the overlords of other sects in Persia, Iraq and Syria. Northwest of Qazvin, atop the Alborz Mountains, on a lonely ridge 6000 feet above the sea, stood the castle of Alamut (eagle's nest). Commanding a royal view of the valley below, accessible only by a single, almost vertical pathway, the remote fortress was an ideal hideout and headquarters. In 1090, Hasan seized the fortress of Alamut, and the castle henceforth received the name of the Abode of Fortune. The position of Alamut caused its prince to receive the title Shaykh al Jabal "Prince of the Mountain", and the double sense of the word Shaykh, which means both prince and old man, has occasioned the historians of the Crusades and the celebrated Marco Polo, to call him the "Old Man of the Mountain."So, in that light, we'll call Lashkar-e-Toiba 'assassins,' rather than 'thugs.'
Now that's ironed out (or mangled, according to your interpretation), we find this interesting note
from the South Asia Terrorism Portal (2001)But, happily, the Reagan Administration had a huge hand in all of this, back from our days of training and arming the mujahadeen in Afghanistan ...
DEMOCRACY NOW! (transcript)http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/10/1425222
Which brings us to this very interesting article from a group whose web administrator is in Florida, and whose server is located in India. (I looked it up).
["Pakistan Facts is run by a diverse group of individuals from across the world, sharing common concerns regarding Pakistan's continued support for terrorism and nuclear proliferation." Take that as you will.]
The truth about Lashkar-e-Taiba[This was reprinted from a longer article on an Australian website. Here's the link, but it was dead when I tried it.
I know. It's been a lot of reading. But it's important, every once in a while to understand who is attacking us, WHY they are doing so, and with whose money, weapons and training they are doing it.
Yup. Just like Saddam Hussein: another American Death Index Investment gone bad.
You suppose it's too late to withdraw our funds from that market? (Or, do you hold, conversely, that there ain't no such thing as karma, or birds coming home to roost, etc.?)
Either way, we are all Indians today, just as the world stood with us on 9-11.
Just because you're paranoid ....
Thursday, March 09, 2006
ON THE BANKS OF DENIAL
or, JUSTICE IN THE TIME OF BUSH
There is a truth that I know to be so, but I don't know how I know it, except that I've watched it over the years, and it has never failed. I didn't get it from a scripture, or a book, or a wise teaching. One day I just noticed it, and later, I noticed that the literature bore me out.
Process is important. The endings of any process are present at the beginning of the process. The seed contains the whole in a strange way.
That's not really anything cosmikal (sic), or deep or profound or anything like that. It's just an observation that gives a lens with which to understand history, whether personal or public memories.
There's a news story running in the local newspaper today. Tuesday was the last day to file for political office, and a sitting judge at the last minute did not file for re-election. Only trouble is, he'd called another fellow, and told him to "get his paperwork ready." When the filing deadline loomed, the judge pulled his filing, and the other fellow filed his papers.
Fait accompli. Only one filing for that judicial seat, and so, victory by default. A quick, sly maneuver to win the game by exploiting a technicality of the rules. Many years ago, I remember watching a college football team pull a slick little play in the last minute of a close game. They were behind by three points. They threw a short pass to the running back, who dropped it. And all their players, stopped, as though it was an incomplete pass, and ran back to the huddle. The other team ran back to their huddle. But it had been a lateral.
And one player picked up the ball and ran into the end zone.
It had been a live ball. The whistle never blew.
It was a legal play, of course. But it was, really, about cheating the spirit of the game.
In the same manner, the judge and his crony cheated the election game. Now, they wail with great crocodile tears that they have done nothing illegal. And, according to an Ethics Officer of some Protocol, it's the first instance of this 'trick play' that he can recall for a judicial seat.
But I have to ask you: would YOU be comfortable in asking for 'justice' from a judge so anointed? There is a fundamental disconnect here, an oxymoronic innocence. 'We didn't break the law' seems to equate to 'we haven't done anything wrong' in the minds of our 'justices.'
Because that's what it's about, after all. JUSTICE.
The preamble to the Constitution ought to have as much weight as any of the rest of it. It's a mission statement, but I don't recall it beginning: "In order to diddle the law."
It actually begins: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Let's try that again: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice ..." Establish Justice.
Not justice with a little 'j.' Justice with a BIG 'J.'
So let's compare that Justice to the sleazy trick these two good old boys used to slither Rufus into Jethro's seat.
Or, let's compare Rufus and Jethro to the sleazy way that the Supreme Court not only handed the election to Dubya in 2000, but the slimy manner that they carefully states (in a 5-4 decision, a sheer exercise of political muscle) that Bush v. Gore wasn't actually real law, because its precedent didn't apply to any future cases.
And look at the sleazy way that they've been packing the Federal Bench with Federalist Society cronies, the slimy way that they danced Roberts and Alito before us with their families, their color-coordinated Victorian regalia, their dancing sons and weeping wives.
And then ask yourself: how does that differ in any manner other than magnitude from what our local yokels have tried to pull off to start Rufus' stint dispensing "Justice."
And consider "Justice" Alito and "Chief Justice" Roberts, and I tell you, the statue of Justice might be blind, but she's also been stripped naked, and made an object of fun for the jeering lynch mob that's agin' "Legislatin' from the bench."
Of course, if they make up stuff that the Dittoheads LIKE, it's perfectly OK to legislate from the bench -- you know, like Bush v. Gore.
But can we call this "Justice"?
I think not.
But what is so odd is how these "Judges" carry themselves with an air of injured dignity. How could WE judge them? It's enough that Scalia and Cheney say that nothing's wrong as they go off on a duck hunting trip (It hasn't been recorded whether the ducks were staked down or not). Just because Cheney has a case pending before Scalia's court, why, there's nothing AGAINST THE LAW about it. Nobody's broke any RULES, right?
They are innocents, you see. They no more appreciate what "Justice" is than a sea sponge appreciates Modigliani. The magnificent spirit of the Law, what it means, what it stands for -- that Preamble to our Constitution -- is completely invisible to them. Sadly, their innocence is also their guilt.
But, as I've heard the voices rehashing the tale today, nobody seems to be able to explain what it is that bothers them about it. Meaningless polysyllabics drop from pinched mouths. How about this: It's WRONG. A puppy dog or a child of five could see it, but evidently all the Wise and Learned talking heads in town can't. And so, mired in complexities they miss the point: It's a fundamental betrayal of what "Justice" is, and the Emperor has no clothes.
But the voices chatter on, finding empty nuance, diagnosing knowingly without ever naming the malady.
I feel as though I've slipped through the looking glass into Bizarro World. (Or, for my Talmudic friends, I feel like I've fallen down the Rabbi hole.) The funhouse mirror reflects that "Justice" with jagged, distorted, frightening forms.
In fact, it has become so distorted that we cannot even read the word itself. It is merely an abstract form, stretched and twisted out of any relevance to its genesis. We are lost in a sinister funhouse, being stalked by vicious clowns. (Metaphorically, of course.)
No: the way that a thing begins contains the whole process, and I look forward, down the river, and there, on the banks of Denial, there is no place for Justice to sun herself.
There is only room for the slick shysters; the tricksters, the swindlers, the embezzlers, the cronies, the corrupt and that vast legion of the damned who "technically never broke any law."
That beach is terrifically crowded.
Hey! They didn't break any laws, right? Right?
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
DIPPED IN SHIT
or, MEET THE NEW HITLER, SAME AS THE OLD HITLER
Hart's little serenity prayer (take a moment to savor its calming and restorative powers. I promise that you will need it for what's to come):
[INVOKE DEITY HERE], grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; and the balls to change the things I can't accept.World War III is underway, but the criminals in the Capitol have just sold out our rights.
And somehow, even if the Supreme Court managed to find the huevos to declare the NSA wiretapping illegal, and the secret prisons illegal, and the broken international laws and treaties illegal, and the invasions illegal, and the illegal detention and murder illegal, and the wholesale looting of the treasury illegal ... well, I don't think the Supreme Court police would be equal to the task. There's a hire order out for one.
I found it on the Government jobs web site last week, when I was looking for what a Supreme Court clerk earns. The job description reads:
February 17, 2006Which I repost here, in case you need the job. Hurry, though it closes in two days.
But, even if they hire Mr. T for the Supreme Court Police, I don't think they'll be able to stop the gang rape of the Constitution that happened on the Hill this week.
We are, fellow citizens, well and truly fucked.
I wish I could say it in a less offensive manner, but you can't step in shit and report it as a foot massage in pearlessence cream. We have been betrayed by a criminal government, and that's not hyperbole.
That's straight up fact.
Yesterday, they repassed the Patriot Act, which some legal experts note infringes on five of the first ten amendments (for you college graduates, that would be the "Bill of Rights.")
Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. NoteAt least they're not quartering troops in our homes. Yet.
And, in the Senate, the Republicans voted NOT to investigate the NSA wiretapping program (neatly flushing the Fourth and, to an extent, Fifth Amendments down the toilet.)
This is happily in line with the widely reported Monday news story that more Americans can name members of the fictional "Simpsons" family than can name the five rights enumerated in the First Amendment.
(Alas, your Humble Correspondent can name both, which makes him a freakish anomaly, according to the story.)
Here, from THE READING EAGLE (PA - I include it because I love the name, sounds kinda cartoony don't it?)
March 07, 2006It's junk news, of course. The classic "Why Johnnie Can't Read" snark, but it is instructive. Jefferson and Adams, Washington and Franklin knew that our democracy depended on an educated and informed public -- a fact conveniently forgotten by our war hawks in Vietnam and now in Iraq, acting as though democracy were a franchise like a Dairy Queen where any idiot can run it, as long as they keep the franchise manual on hand. Like McDonald's where every detail has been tediously mapped out.
But, alas, democracy ain't like that, and the conscious dumbing down of America -- by yanking civics and government classes from high school curricula in the Reagan Era -- is now bearing fruit. Too many Homer Simpsons say: "Well, if the Administration is listening to BAD GUYS, that's OK, then."
And, "I don't have anything to hide, so I don't mind them wiretapping. Keeps me safe."
It's very important that fundamental documents like the Declaration aren't read. If Johhnie were allowed to read (and not force-fed "American Idol" he wouldn't be an Idle American):
That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great- Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.Johnnie doesn't recognize that, but he probably knows the prior sentence:
"WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness --"We've been cut off at the em-dash.
Let me tell you a story that I didn't understand at the time. I have long wondered why I didn't write it down, but my writing mind is funny. The words do not go onto the page until they are ready. That's not my choice. That's my PROCESS' choice. Call it my muse, or my subconscious, or whatever. It is the daemon on my writing shoulder that's kept me hitting deadlines for thirty-plus years now. And now, it tells me, it's time:
When I was an Oregon delegate to and an Indymedia reporter (for the Los Angeles FREE PRESS) at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, two delegations were housed in our hotel, located way out in Westwood. The Oregon delegation and the Iowa delegation occupied side-by-side meeting rooms downstairs, and every morning, we would dutifully trudge down to have our breakfast, see the latest Democratic Star speak, and have a couple of Senators schmooze us -- which is how I met John Kerry, as chronicled in one of the FREE PRESS dispatches.
But what struck me was how the Iowa delegation was as lily-white as Eugene, perhaps, but the Oregon delegation was weirdly Western diverse in a weirdly Western way.
But both delegations boasted the same archetypes, and both were strangely naieve -- impressed to be in fabulous Hollywood, California, etc. Tourists, in other words.
Well, I lived in Hollywood for thirteen years, and we saw their type all the time. No big thing. Just another busload of McDonald's munchers headed for Disneyland.
Which reminded me of the thing I first saw when I got to Hollywood, fresh from New Mexico and three years in Texas: of course, we HAD to go to Disneyland. And what I noticed was how many earphones tucked discretely behind the ears there were at Disneyland.
The "Happiest Place on Earth" was -- admittedly and unashamedly, as I would learn -- a police state. There isn't going to be any trouble at the "Happiest Place on Earth" and they've got an astonishing number of plain clothes cops and surveillance camera equipment everywhere. I suppose I should have been having too much fun to notice, but I noticed it anyway. There is something in the presumption that one is a criminal that is degrading to the spirit, I think.
The reason that I started noticing was because they constantly fed us into waiting lines that were, in essence, teak-railed cattle pens.
And, because I'd spent a lot of time around cows and cowboys, I couldn't lose the uncomfortable feeling that we were being herded into a feedlot or a slaughterhouse. It was profoundly disturbing -- so much so that my first visit to Disneyland was never all that happy. We spent most of our time waiting in cattle gates, endless mazes that neatly snaked infinite lines into as small a serpentine as possible.
Why is this important?
I'll tell you why.
Because, using the same sorts of "there ain't gonna be any trouble" mentality, the LAPD had created a Disneyland police-state circus around us. They had literally taken construction machinery in a rough circular perimeter of, say, 100 yards, using the Staples Center as the anchor point for their compass, and, indiscriminately ramming three-inch steel poles through sidewalk, street, parking lot or dirt, put up a ten-foot fence around the Democratic National Convention.
There were demonstrations, but they were so far away from us (who were mostly inside most of the time, anyway) that they might as well have not been.
Every morning I saw those Iowa people.
And every day, I was more and more astonished that a free people would allow this military perimeter, this police state completely stifle free speech in the name of democracy. There was, then, the armed camp mentality, the overabundance of police, the endless concrete barriers and barricades that we've grown used to over the past six years, but, for the moment, for the end of the Clinton presidency, and the anointment of Albert Gore as the Democratic nominee for the presidency, we were the inmates of Kamp Disneyland, in the Land of the Reaganistas, Kalifornia, a kinder, gentler fascism. SWAT teams in Mickey Mouse ears.
It was astonishing to me, inured to it already. It was a level of Southern California police state that shocked even me, who'd grown used to it over thirteen years.
I remember riding on the (charter) bus from the hotel with the Attorney General of Iowa, and as we chatted about nothing in particular -- for we had nothing in common, except that we were both delegates, and on the same bus -- I noticed as the Hollywood freeway merged onto the Pasadena freeway for downtown (right where that great mural of the Old Woman and Planet Earth is or was, or whatever, and after I'd seen that the Western Exterminator Man was still bending, with the hammer hidden behind his back, talking to the bug that he's obviously about to bludgeon to death, a stream of thirty motorcycle cops pulled onto the freeway, and formed a phalanx, like a flight of World War Two B-17Gs over the Channel.
Did I mention that the freeways were all but deserted? (How they pulled off that miracle, I can only guess at).
I would walk the four blocks south from Staples center, hiding my delegate's badge under my shirt, and pulling out my Indymedia Center press pass from its hiding place. Underneath the overpass on I-10, just between the Patriot Building, or whatever it was called (there was a giant five-storey mural of the "Spirit of '76" fife, drummer, flag-carrying patriots facing the Staples Center, a testament to Wacko Southern California Patriotism) and underneath that I-10 underpass, reserve Sheriff's deputies had their cruisers parked on the (empty) sidewalks, and were playing fake ninja games with their shotguns because they were bored out of their skulls guarding streets that were blocked off to all but pedestrian traffic, and, as the song says, nobody walks in L.A.
When I went back, they had to run my little holographic DNC 2000 ID through a reader, and they ran me through a metal detector, and a suspiciously wet-behind-the-ears private security screener would go through any bags I was carrying.
Just like going into an airport.
But this was to exercise our Democratic (and democratic) franchise.
And I thought: Dear Sweet Jesus, doesn't ANYBODY see?
It was a fundamental contradiction in terms: this police perimeter (the troops in Kosovo weren't as secure as we were), the command helicopter eternally hovering, at point, just a few blocks north, on Figueroa. The endless comings and goings of police convoys, cars, motorcycles. The deputies with shotguns at deserted street corners, their cars parked contemptuously on the sidewalks ...
And I remember hearing a little old lady from that Iowa delegation one morning, saying to no one in particular, "I'm so glad they're keeping us safe." And several members of the Oregon and the Iowa delegations nodded in assent ...
Including the Attorney General of Iowa.
And I thought, oh dear sweet Jesus, we are well and truly fucked.
It wasn't until today that I knew exactly what I meant by that.
As long as we dumb fucking farm hicks were being protected by the Los Angeles Police Department (whose academy trained the Shah's notorious SAVAK secret police, and more banana republic gestapo, torturers and death squads than you can shake an electrode at), well, as long as we were SAFE, this wasn't chilling.
Why, it was positively FESTIVE!
"WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved ..."I didn't say anything then. How could I?
But I'm saying it now: are you happy now? Do you feel safer now that they're tapping your phone, monitoring your internet email, and maybe opening your mail if you're on the wrong mailing lists?
Are you still feeling so "safe" in the big city?
It was about intimidation when Hitler got the Reichstag Assembly to pass the enabling act -- which essentially gave the Chancellor unlimited powers "for the duration of the national emergency" which, thereafter, the Chancellor made certain never ended.
And the way they did it was by surrounding the temporary meeting house with Brownshirts. The meaning was clear: voting against the bill might get you beaten to death, while no one came to your defense.
It was a common enough occurrence, as any Jewish citizen of Berlin could tell you.
It was about intimidation then.
And, watching the Republicans knuckle under to the repassage of the Patriot Act, and backing off any investigation of widespread lawbreaking, I can't help but think of the intimidation that's taken hold again.
We don't beat you up with uniformed thugs, these days. (Well, not that often, at least). No: what we do is sic the Limbaughs, the Larsons, the Cybercast News Services, World Net Dailys (Joseph Farah is former Los Angeles HERALD-EXAMINER editor, now living in Grant's Pass Oregon, with a "newspaper" that often features Coulter, Dobson, Hannity, and all the other standard attack monkeys) and the religious media, et al on you.
And, clearly, there is intimidation going on behind closed doors. It's always astonishing to watch some Republican or Democrat suddenly cave in to Administration wishes. Arlen Specter, an allegedly "pro-choice" Republican not only didn't offer any opposition to Samuel "I will overturn Roe" Alito's nomination at the hearings, but he actively turned them into a Kangaroo Court, stifling any serious dissent.
But the whole time he looked like a man who knows his wife and children are being held with a gun to their heads, and will only be returned, safe and sound, AFTER Spector throws the game.
And throw it he did.
The intimidation factor isn't talked about, mostly because we expect it to come in the form of Brownshirted thugs.
Do any of us doubt that the Bushies have used their policing powers to dig up dirt on their own senators and congressmen? That they threaten and intimidate to get their way?
And, while we are sad, we ought not be surprised.
The fact that the Republicans are as spineless as the Democrats should not surprise us. The fact that they have sold our freedom so cheap should outrage us.
But we sit like that lady from Iowa, oblivious to the police state, only impatient for our turn to ride on the Matterhorn.
And, if you're like most people who waited two hours in line for it at Disneyland, once you've finished the ride, you're going to wonder what the big deal was all about.
No, fellow citizen, you and I are well and truly fucked. They're dancing on the Constitution right in front of our eyes, and we're like that lady from Iowa, oblivious and happy. It never occurs to us that it is, finally, impossible to exercise democracy surrounded by a police state.
Or, that our very existence is predicated on the good will of the police chief.
So I should have seen this coming, but, alas, I didn't.
But there is hope. Bush's approval rating is 34%. Which means that two out of every three Americans don't approve of what's going on. Two-thirds in the Senate would equal conviction and removal from office. A mere majority in the House would be sufficient for impeachment. If this is (ultimately) a representative democracy, a republic, then those numbers would demand action. Certainly they are intimidating numbers to any politician up for re-election in the fall.
And that intimidation factor may prove to be our salvation. But, unless and until a lot of someones stand up to be counted, Cindy Sheehan can't do it alone.
What is the difference between George W. Bush and Adolph Hitler?
Hitler was elected.*
*Joke courtesy of Kurt Vonnegut
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
GORY ON THE GANGES
or, TALES OF THE BUDDHA BOMBERS
Early this morning, I forwarded a story that follows to a newsman I know. He wrote back:
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 07:48:23 -0800This was what I'd sent:
Now, at first blush, you might say: "So what's this got to do with anything?"
Well, I have a feeling you would maybe be a bit more impressed if instead of using the "new" name that every damned country and city in Asia now seems to have -- in this case, "Varanasi" -- I use the "old" name that you may be familiar with: "Benares."
The most holy city in India, hearkening back at least 3,000 years, an attack on one of the most popular shrines of the Holy City on the Ganges would be the equivalent, say, of bombs going off in the Vatican. Or at Westminster Cathedral. You get the idea.
This was no "little" thing. Especially in a week that's seen one of the most holy shrines of Shi'ia Muslims bombed. If I owned stock in the "Dome of the Rock" at this point, I'd be worried.
By this afternoon, the mighty WASHINGTON POST had noticed that something was worth noticing among the little brown people that we don't usually pay any attention to. Note the time:
Blasts in Indian Holy City Raise Fears of Sectarian ViolenceNow, I don't know about you, and I'm not trying to be spooky, but doesn't it seem like the world's gone to hell ever since the Taliban blew up those giant Buddhas in March of 2001, just months before 9-11?
http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/archaeology/2001-03-22-afghan-buddhas.htmIndulge me. This is only a science fiction story:
(Let's call it the "Spice Road" instead of the "Silk Road." The description is, perhaps, more precise.)
When you think about it, that was a profound event. Those statues had been there, guarding the Spice Road, two giant storage batteries of "peaceful energy" perhaps, in the same manner that the black rock, The Ka'aba in Mecca is a sort of cosmic storage battery for reverence. Five times a day, all the Muslims in the world send prayers in its direction.
Of course, for that to be true, then thoughts would have to be things, little matrices of electromagnetic energy occupying time and space, measurable in microvolts or millivolts, or nanovolts, and the visualization of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions over the course of centuries would imbue a receptive target with a complex charge, something like an iron bar can be turned into a magnet, or a ferrite coating on a thin strip of Mylar can capture complex "thoughts" in form of cassette tapes that play music.
And consider further that the Spice Road was, for centuries, an artery in the bloodstream of humanity, bringing the cultures of the East to the West and vice versa, until the fall of Constantinople in 1452.
You might notice that the need for those goods from the Orient -- chiefly spices -- was so great in 1492 that Ferdinand of Spain was willing to charter an expedition to get to "China" by sending a screwball Italian WEST to cross by way of a spherical Earth.
(The crazy Italian was named 'Columbus' and the consequences of his voyage are well known.)
So, perhaps a ley line, a geomantic path that was followed, the Spice Road followed the route that geology and the topography of the Round Planet dictated a literal ley line on the planet, with Bamiyan a pressure point in the meridians of the Earth, an acupuncture point where for five hundred years, the giant Buddhas stood, batteries charging the Spice Road with as much peace as could be expected. (We are a rather brutal race, sad to say, and wars of extermination or attrition or convenience are a long tradition among our kind.)
Or, to see it with Western eyes, the Buddhists capped a portal of Hell, and the Statues, charged with High Mystical Magick blocked the chaos demons from entering the Spice Road.
Either way, ever since they blew up those two Buddhas, the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. First, 9-11. Then the Afghan war, kicking out the Taliban (the first victim, perhaps of the chaos demons they'd loosed). Then the Iraq invasion. And now, sectarian violence in India, suspected -- though no one knows yet -- to be Muslim violence against the most holy city of India, revered by nearly a billion people.
And now, the ramping up to a war with Iran. The whole Spice Road is lighting up.
But, heck, that's just a science fiction story. The important Buddhist lesson was a classical one: Buddhism teaches that nothing is permanent. All is impermanence. One hundred years from now, in any crowd that you see, virtually everyone will be dead. Gone. And of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Pyramids remain.
And so, the Taliban, in March of 2001, proved, in blowing up the statues, that nothing is permanent, indeed. Everything changes. Everything passes away and is reborn. Like a flower. Like the Spice Road.
Like the Taliban.
And somewhere a buddha is laughing.
As for the "tip" to my newsman friend? He ran a quick blip, but nothing further was heard. Not much on the national radio, either. Took the WASHINGTON POST until nearly quitting time (EST) to notice it. As I write this, the sun is just rising in the starlit sky on the eastern horizon in India. Venus is just about to rise as the Morning star.
There. the bombings are yesterday's news. The morning papers will tell the Indians that the death count has risen to 16.
And we are oblivious to the fact that the Muslim world is now engaged in violent confrontations with the cultures at both ends of the Spice Road. And maybe what we need is a laughing Buddha, more than anything.
But nobody's laughing in Benares.
Monday, March 06, 2006
ONWARD "CHRISTIAN" SOLDIERShart williams
or, YOUR CLIFF NOTES TO THE APOCALYPSE
If you're one of our regular readers, the following from the New York TIMES will not surprise you any more than it did me:
March 6, 2006You've got to admire the Satanic mindset that would equate translating women into Government Brood Mares with overturning Plessy in Brown v. Board of Education. Had the (overwhelmingly male) majority any "integrity" they'd have insisted that Governor Rounds use the far more apt Dred Scot decision instead:
THE TELEGRAPH (UK)Oh. And speaking of hypocrisy on a level unpresidented (sic) in US history, it would seem that King George now wants the "line item veto." The Royal Pronouncement came this morning:
Bush asks Congress for "line-item veto" powerOh puhhhhhhleeeeeeeze!
George Bush talking about fiscal responsibility is like listening to a lecture on the virtues of celibacy delivered by a pimp. (Well, the pimp might have greater credibility, come to think of it.)
In fact, King George ought to chuck that moldy old "Hail To The Chief" and institute the more appropriate, modern, and Oscar-honored song (from last night) "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp."
But that would smack of truth, and that virtue is in short supply amidst this ball of serpents calling themselves God's Own Party (you probably only recognize them by their initials).
King George has spent more money in his five year debacle than all the previous administrations put together plus another 40%. I know that sounds outrageous, and, in keeping with our leitmotif of utter, insincere hypocrisy delivered with the straightest of faces and puppy dog eyes, I will retract whatever truth that has inadvertently wandered into this installment.
Here, in the words of our Master of Prevarification:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/20060306.htmlThere's more, but it would probably nauseate anyone sane. (If you're not sane, by all means go there. The White House web page is a veritable festival of mendacity and psychotic ramblings. I highly recommend it to schizophrenics, who will feel right at home.)
Let me see. Banning all abortion is Brown v. Board of Education, banning "separate but equal" segregation? And, it's CONGRESS who's engaged in the most fiscally irresponsible path that we've ever seen?
I almost shudder to add that Bush has yet to use his veto power ONCE in his maladministration. Having failed to ever veto anything, why ask for more veto power? Kind of seems as though you couldn't possibly exercise any LESS, as it is. But, perhaps he's THINKING of acting in a fiscally responsible manner.
Let me make something clear: I am socially liberal, and libertarian, but I am fiscally conservative: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be."*
(Mostly because leaving debt for your children is a form of indentured servitude via time-shifting. I am not an absolutist, and there are appropriate times to borrow, but this isn't one of them.)
But what truly astonishes me about this amateur thespian posturing is that the media just eats it up. South Dakota Governor signs law he knows to be unconstitutional in the hopes that it may be? Bad dinner theater. King George pretends to be Ronald Reagan (as he's pretended from day one)? Third-rate sitcom.
And speaking of third-rate sitcoms, the hype surrounding the Oscars has only been matched by the feigned disappointment in same, by the selfsame twits who hyped the venerable marketing event as the Second Coming of Christ for the last month. Here's a typical sniff:
No surprises - except for the big one("Brokeback Mountain" can console itself with the knowledge that the Academy's vote finally became either FOR or AGAINST the film, and the perception that its enshrinement as "Best Picture" would spark an inevitable backlash from the likes of Bush and South Dakota, "moral" bastards all.)
The "media critics" of America snark the Academy Awards?
What an astonishing surprise!
I'm lying, of course. Which is completely out of character for this blog entry, and I KNOW I promised that I was going to turn to mundane puffery, ephemeral nonsense and non-controversial verbiage, but I guess I just forgot.
Wasn't Jennifer Garner just RADIANT in her deep-dish decolletage?
* From Hamlet, Act 1. Scene III, by Wm. Shakespeare
The entire speech bears repeating, so here 'tis. S'blood!
LORD POLONIUS: Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!.
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* O T H E R S T U F Fo There is no other stuff at this time. There might be someday, though. One can always hope.