Thursday, March 29, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- In All We Say and Do...

Today, the seventh instalment of "Crown of Thorns".

There may go a few days before I post again. I have been shanghaied by family to spend amlong weekend in a cottage up in Sweden where there [aggghh!] is no internet! I'll probably post again first on Monday or perhaps even Tuesday...

A few words about how I understand where the poem is going -- when I speak of "common humanity", it is meant as a relatively neutral expression of what seems to me to be a common element in the vision of all who have encountered true spirituality.

Furthermore, we are, so to speak, united in the body in our common humanity. Our common humanity not only hangs from a tree, but, in a sense is the tree from which it hangs [a.n.a.the tree of life]. In our individuality, we are the leaves (Rev. 22, 2)

Odin spoke of hanging from a tree. In fact, spiritual people know that a certain kind of suffering is the most certain -- and safest -- route to deep spiritual experience.

It is most difficult to say anything specific about this kind of suffering, but it is most certainly not the suffering we inflict on others -- on the contrary, it is more the suffering we see in others and then in ourselves.

We care for or kill in all we say and do
the "feeling of we", our common humanity,
each and every day.
It's a fact, its' true!

But how to demonstrate the certainty?

For me, it's as sure as the fact that the sky is blue...
Ah, but the sky is only blue when you can see it!
The cloudy sky, of course, looks grey to you,
No matter how intense you try to view it!

And when the eye of the soul is clouded by
the ugly deeds we've done, we cannot see,
or understand, or even wonder: "Why?"

Our common humanity is hanging from a tree.

And whether we choose, or choose not to choose:
There ain't no avoiding them Calvary Blues!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- Brother's Keeper

This is the sixth instalment of "Crown of Thorns".

It starts with the "mark of Cain" and then asks if there is perhaps another meaning in it for us all and shows that there is often a deeper and yet more obvious meaning in these tales than the obvious one.

I couldn't find a suitable image today, but I did find that the "mark" has by some been considered to be black skin. I know of many perversions of religious teaching in the cause of promoting human suffering, but this came close to shocking me.
God sends him away to live in pain
with a mark upon his brow, the mark of his deed,
the memory of the brother he had slain...

"Am I my brother's keeper?" The question gives seed
for thought, does it not?
Perhaps there is a thought,
some subtle message hidden between the lines?

There often is, you know, and preachers ought
to tell you more about them, like the time
Jesus tells the lady at the well
that she has five "husbands"*, that is, "baal",
which means "lord" or "master". Is he trying to tell
us we're slaves to our senses -- is that all!

Are we our brothers' keeper -- and our sisters' too?
We care for, or kill them in all we say and do!**
_____________________
* "Five husbands" (John, 4, 18). The reference to five "masters" should not be taken only literally. Always we must ask ourselves, "Why this particular story or saying? Why was this included?" The answer is, "Because it in some way or other it throws light upon the Gospel, revealing an aspect of the Christian Vision.".

** The interested reader should also read closely L. Cohen's "Story of Issac", in particular the lines near the end, "When you call me brother...according to whose plan?..." -- The closing couplet of this poem refers to Cohen's song.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- Where Are You?

In the fifth instalment, the poem cycle "Crown of Thorns", takes an odd turn.

Starting with the final words of the Passion followed by opening lines from my wife's poem, it suddenly speaks of Cain, the first to kill another human being.

By the way, did you know that the name "Cain" means "Spear" [more accurately the spear head itself] and that "Abel" means "Breeze" [in the sense of a puff of air]? Observations of this sort which prompted me to compose my tale about "Broken Wing".

If you haven't seen the first instalments of "Crown of Thorns", here are the links:

However Many Castles

Recycled Prayers

The Finest Wine


Tin Silver Bells

"Where are you -- where?"
[It's the scream of a child!]

"You're a child so long, you never ever quite
get over it!"**, the Sunflower Woman wrote...

When children have seen the dark side of the night,
for the scars upon their soul, is there a cure?

Is there any way that we can fix the pain
so that it goes away, forever -- for sure?

Answer -- if you dare!

It seems to me that humanity is insane
and that no ritual, no hadj, no prayer;
no sacrament, no sacrifice, no plea
for mercy, for some rapture in the air
can wash away the deepest sin you see...

Tell me, why doesn't God answer Cain?
Why does he send him away to live in pain!


______________
* The final words spoken in the Passion. (Matt 27, 46 )

** The opening of Helen Cliff 's, "Your a Child So long..." where the question is asked, "...how can it be the little child knows there is no God -- what have we done to the child?" Refer to Matt 18, 6; Mark 9, 42; Matt 12 31-32.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- Tin Silver Bells

Today, the fourth installement in the "Crown of Thorns" poem cycle where each poem begins with the final line of the preceding poem.

If you have missed the first installments, you can follow the links here:

However Many Castles

Recycled Prayers

The Finest Wine


I think the theme of tin silver bells refers to the ten sapphires (sefirot) on the Tree of Life (Yetzer Haiim). If you can listen without guile, perhaps you will hear them ringing sweetly as they swing in the Holy Breeze, ornaments on the eternal Xmas Tree.


As for me, somewhere, tin silver bells ring!

I hear the quiet softness of their chimes
and yearn to hang my lamp where angels sing
upon that Christmas tree until the end of time.

But who do I kid?
I'm dreaming in the shade!
It isn't likely I'll ever make the leap
and keep the simple promise that I made
to stay awake!
Instead, I fall asleep...

"Can you not stay awake for but a single hour?"*

"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!"

What did he see from that lonely, wooden tower**;
when darkness came, and angels dared not speak;
and the Final Question was hanging in the air:

"Why have you forsaken me?"
"Where are you!"
"Where?"

___________________
* "Can you not stay awake..." (Matt 26, 38-45; Mark 14, 37-41)

** "Wooden Tower...", re.: the final verse of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" -- ("He spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower / and when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him / he said all men shall be sailors then / until the sea shall free them..").

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crown of thorns -- The Finest Wine...

Up to Easter I am posting "Crown of Thorns" which is a corona, that is each poem begins with the last line of the preceding poem.

If you haven't read the the first installents, you should first read

"How Many Castles" and
"Practically a Curse"

When I start a corona, I have no idea where it will lead. Here, it led me to LaLa,
a saint of Islam, whose songs and poems are treasured to this day.

Lala wandered northern India and Pakistan and, except for her long hair, she went barefoot and buck naked.

Why should she care about being naked before mankind when she was ever so much more naked before her God and Lord. One is reminded of the time a Christian saint, Frances, threw away his clothes in Assisi...

The reference to Morisette's "Godiva stand" is to the video for her song "Thank you, India", where she stands, clothed only in long hair and soft focus, in a subway, singing the song...
Those who have drunk but a drop of the finest wine
will find the other stuff bitter to the tongue
and bad for the head and belly!

If I had a dime
for every time I've heard praises sung
for ersatz holiness, why, I could buy me
a jet and fly away to La-La Land!

Lala?(!)

Now there's a saint to make you cry!

Like Morisette with her Godiva stand
in the subway, singing: "Thank you India!"
Lala, her long hair her only dress,
wandered the land, naked before Allah.

With her poems and songs, all creation she blessed!

"Thank you Providence!" she softly sang,
and, as for me, somewhere, tin silver bells rang...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- Recycled Prayers

This is the second in a poem cycle where each poem starts with the last line of the preceding poem.

If you didn't see the first intallment you can start here

Their prayers can be recycled as a curse?

If you're inclined to forgive my bitter bile,
You'd better do it now, before it gets worse,
before I vent my feelings without guile.

It's not that I abhor a "man of God"!

Far from it!
In fact, that's the stone in my shoe!
I once knew a holy man who trod
The path, of which I glimpsed but a step or two...

Would that I could recall the words we spoke
Those sunny afternoons -- they were so few!

Or drink again from the precious cup we broke
yet once again, before my journey's through!

They remember the taste until the end of time,
Those who have drunk a drop of the finest wine!


______________________
If you are interested in biographical niggles, the fellow referred to here was a Dominican monk who gave me catechism in my teens.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- However Many Castles....

As we approach Easter, I have decided to treat/torment my readers with yet another "corona" or poem cycle where the each poem begins witht the lasts line of the preceding poem. As each poem consists of 14 lines of more or less iambic pentameter, this means that it will take a fortnight to get through the cycle.

I presented/plagued you with such a cycle last year with "Point Omega" which revolved aroound the visions of Teilhard de Chardin, a felow who deserves to be recognized as a saint twice as much as half of the people beatified by the popes.

As this is the Easter season and the title of the series is "Crown of Thorns", I suppose no further introduction is needed as to the themes that will develop over the next two weeks. However, I want top mention that the apparent criticism of priests and preachers is directed at those hypocrites who are easily recognized by their anger at being criticized in this fashion.

However many castles you may build,
the question of Reality remains
untouched by all your artifacts and skills!

It's writ that Wisdom cries aloud in pain
to see her children trampled in the streets --
the Answers to Questions we rarely ever ask --
that's what they are!
The pearls we chance to meet
in chance remarks while doing our daily tasks...

They pass us by...
Instead, we look in books!
We delegate responsibility
For our souls to preachers and priests who then look
to heaven with folded hands, feigning piety.

Their hearts are in their wallets and even worse
their prayers, in fact, are practically a curse!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Threatened Identity -- the Root of Fundamentalism

I started this post today because I wanted to comment on a couple of articles posted recently on "Common Dreams" which have to do with fundamentalism. However, it seems to have grown out of control.

The one article is titled, "God's Dupes" by Sam Harris, and the other "The Many Forms of Fundamentalism", by James Carroll. You'll see that both of them, if you follow the links, were put up at Common Dreams.

Carroll takes his kickoff point in a Vatican declaration from 1993 against the form of fundamentalism which makes the Bible as an infallible source:
"The fundamentalist approach is dangerous, for it is attractive to people who look to the Bible for ready answers to the problems of life . . . instead of telling them that the Bible does not necessarily contain an immediate answer to each and every problem. . . . Fundamentalism actually invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide....

Harris starts his essay with praise of a California politician and Democratic Congressman, Pete Stark, who has recently come out of the religious closet and said that he does not believe in God.

In present day American politics, this requires perhaps more fortitude than springing out of the regular closet and declaring that one is gay.

However, Harris then proceeds to make religion his whipping boy and places the worst sort of fundamentalists at the center of religion:
Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief...[with]...concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers...who not only support suicidal terrorism...[and]...the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death.
I disagree with Harris in that he places the wierdos at the center of religion.

Carroll points out that there are many fundamentalisms and, refers to Gabriel A. Almond's idea that fundamentalism in general has its roots in problems with identity -- and I suspect this is the key to many things.

Our identity is our life and that which threatens our identity threatens our life.
To paraphrase, our identity can only be threatened if it is based on sand.

I suppose this is why some men hate gays, for some reason, the presence -- existence even -- of gays threatens their gender identity.

This is where Harris "goes in the water", as the Danes say -- he doesn't see that religion is a human product, a tool to create and protect identity in chaos.

Carroll, towards the end of his essay, points out that fundamentalism can go under other names, for example, in the Catholic world, it goes under the term "traditionalism".

In fact, fundamentalism needn't be religious in the normal sense. In Denmark they have a pungent term "concrete communist" [beton communist] which describes Marxist-Leninists for whom reality cannot get through the concrete halo which surrounds their mentality.
____________
Notes on the Crazy Bird's world view:

Although what I have been writing this past year would seem to have made my own positions clear of the subject of godbiz in general and fundamentalism in particular, it would be somewhat egoistic to assume that the reader has read even a small portion of my rants, snarky stories, terrible parables and channelings from the Third Galaxy.

I would not like to be called either an atheist or agnostic.

On the other hand, I'm not really comfortable with being called "Christian". However, because of my upbringing in Poosah City, I suppose I am a Christian in the sense that a Jew is a Jew whether he or she will or will not.

That said, I maintain that there is a difference between belief and faith.

Many beliefs betray a lack of faith.

Even if there is an Entity to which the term "God" could be applied, all of the religions are but the grossest approximations.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Anniversary of Shame

Like most civilized nations of West World, with the exception of the US, Denmark has a national medical plan that covers everyone.

This has many benefits. One of them is the little plastic card that identifies you in the medical system. This little piece of white and yellow plastic is actually all the medical insurance you need within the European Union.

Also, that little card has embossed on it your "person nummer" which, in the US would be what we call a "social security number". The difference is that the "person nummer" actually gives you some security and that in more ways than one!

Although I know that it is one of the last days in November, I have a problem remembering my wife, Sunflower Woman's actual birthdate and that is where that little card comes in handy -- you see, the "person nummer" is made up of your birthday followed by four digits.

So, all I have to do is sneak a look in her purse around the middle of the month and avoid the Unforgivable Sin of forgetting her birthday!

All that was a walk around to explain why I forgot that yesterday was the 4th Anniversary of Shame, 19 March -- the day when, in an operation gloriously named, "Enduring Freedom", illegally invaded Iraq and began the occupation which history will come to know as "Operation Enduring Disaster" or maybe even "Enduring Fuggups".

In the months before the invasion I got flamed more than once on the bulletin boards where I was then posting my views.

Being an oxygen breather, my view proved to be correct. In all conciseness my view was:

"Iraq will fall like a ripe plum into our hands -- it is afterwards that we will find catastrophe as all hell breaks loose."

In a speech worthy of Ronald Rexona in the Third Galaxy when he declared the Lasting State of Emergency, this is what the Codpiece said four years ago:

THE CODPIECE: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly — yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities…
May God bless our country and all who defend her.
Four years later, this is what he said:
THE CODPIECE: Good morning. Four years ago today, coalition forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove Saddam Hussein from power. They did so to eliminate the threat his regime posed to the Middle East and to the world. Coalition forces carried out that mission with great courage and skill…

As Jonathan Schwarz, over at Tom Tomorrow's place, bitingly commented,
Operation Enduring Freedom was a catastrophe, but Operation Rewrite History is resounding success...
I rest my case.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rerun on the Wonderful Confession

I had intended to continue with George Quenzelbutt, the fellow from Poosah City, and how he became a practitioner of the fine art of Coercive Interrogation for the SS [Security Specialists] Department of the End Run Company.

Unfortunately, my unemployed angel in the Third Galaxy seems to be in something of a funk at the moment -- or, to put it another way, I haven't finished writing the rest of the story yet...

Instead, I will return to the bit of snark I posted a couple of days ago. Apparently, my instincts were correct in telling me there was something fishy about the confession of Mr. Khalid that was basuned from nearly every news media outlet in the world last Thursday.

The first I heard of it was on the 6 AM news on the Danish radio. After reading her script, the reader commented, "But he apparently is not responsible for global warming or the budget overrun on the new Danish Radio office building."

I didn't hear this sort of snidiness in later broadcasts and the newscasters came with no comments or analysis. In fact, they even scrounged up an "expert" in terraism somewhere who told us that Al Qube is more or less out of commission now that the Terraist Mastermind of All Time has confessed.

You should know that there seems to be a struggle going on in Danish media at the moment, in particular between the government and Danish Radio -- the national, user license paid national public radio and television.

There have been rumors that the government was quite displeased with the reporting of DR up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Denmark was and still is a member of the "Coalition of the Willing" and DR reported on too many of the government's lies. Supposedly, the government put pressure on DR leadership that such "mistakes" were not made in the future.

Last Friday the news broke that a minister in the government had actually written DR leadership about it and there has been something of a stink about it all weekend.

In any case, what puzzled me when I first heard about the Confession of Khalid was, "Why now?"

This particular bozo has been in our tender loving care since 2003. This is 2007 -- did he just now suddenly confess?

I thought water boarding got people to talk faster than that...

Then I thought, weren't there three bozo's captured almost at the same time? I forget their names, but the Codpiece mentioned them back in September when he recited the speech his handlers gave him celebrating Terrible Tuesday. He mentioned these guys as part of our victory and success in the Glorious War on Terraism.

Well, the word already then was that the one guy was literally nuts, crazy, bonkers, schizo.

The second guy was a real enough terraist and he gave his interrogators the real poop on all the chemical weapons Saddam had -- this was before the [illegal] invasion and was really important. The problem of course was that there were no more chemical weapons in Iraq than there were connections between Saddam and Al Qube.

The fellow told his tormentors what he thought they would like most to hear. What his evil purpose in doing this was, we can only guess -- perhaps he wanted them to stop torturing him?

In any case, this demonstrates the tremendous and real value of torture -- it is the quickest way to get bogus confessions...

But what of Mr. Khalid? He sure looks like a bad guy in the only picture we have ever seen of him the news.

Well, people who are better at picking up inconsistencies have noticed quite a few.

For example, the seventh confession this bozo made is the following:

7. I was responsible for planning, training, surveying and financing the New (or Second) Wave attacks against the following skyscrapers after 9/11:
a. Library Tower, California.
b. Sears Tower, Chicago.
c. Plaza Bank, Washington state.
d. The Empire State Building, New York City.

The PROBLEM with point "c" is that the Plaza Bank was FOUNDED in 2006 and this guy has been in custody since 2003 — that may be hard to figure, but then Mr. Khalid is a Master Terrorist!

There are a number of other oddities, he claims to have planned the Terrible Tuesday attack on the Twin Towers, but he acquired the 15 Saudis who were the "muscle" of the operation is far from clear. He claims to have been the head of operations in Europe, but knows nothing about the bombings in the London underground.

I hate to seem so cynical and snarky, but it is not my fault that the Codpiece administration has long since lost any claim to the veracity of what they say or that one must assume that their agenda in what they do has any real connection to what they say about why they are doing it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

End Run -- Security Specialists

When people hear about the terrible things people can do to other humans in secret, they often shake their heads as say how can this be, we would never do such things!

The thing is, people will do almost anything under the right circumstances, assuming they have accepted an Authority which condones or approves attrocity and makes it palpable by calling it by some sugar-coated name like "Defending Freedom", "Taking off the Gloves" and similar empty words.

In the Third Galaxy, George Quenzelbutt, as a young man, was recruited by End Run, the private company which developed the Mobile Torture Wagons.

End Run, along with the Synchronized Soldiers, was a key player in the establishment of the War Zones needed to maintain and defend The First World Peace envisioned by the Supreme Hole of Arrogance.

______________________

The problem with growing up in a Golden Age, is that nobody tells you about it until it's over.

You come of age thinking this is "the way things are", then all of a sudden you can't afford to put gas in your car. You drive around on a half-tank trying to go easy on the pedal. You look for work, 'cause they closed down the plant. Sure, y' got the job at the Warr-mart, so you're lucky, I suppose...

But, the Warr-Mart people don't hire y' full-time if they can avoid it. That's 'cause they can save on benefits. And even if they did hire y' full-time, y'd have t' kiss ass even more than y' do now...

In any case, it's hard to say if full-time t'were a good thing, 'cause you'd still be hard put to make ends meet even with full-time pay. Y'd have to juggle between paying fer rent, food or clothes. Apply for food stamps they tell ya! And even then, they'd expect y' t' put in overtime without compensation so it'd be hard to find room for a second job -- if y' could find one in the first place...

Sheet! What was that noise from the car? A knocking sound like that prob'ly means trouble! Maybe your brother-in-law can fix it if it's just a spare part y' can scrounge from one of y'r friends...

Maybe, y' should have joined the army back then, when Arnold signed up. He's braggin' now 'bout how he's applyin' for that new "Corps" of some Super Soldier outfit or whatever he said it was. But from what he tells, unless yer an elite somthin' or other, the military ain't no dance on roses. And that's double especial if y' gets in a family way (not that that's a problem for y' 'cause y' ain't gettin' nuttin that could get y' in a family way!).

But, sheet, the economy really sux on account of them fuggin ragheads and the fuggin War on Terraism and all -- and what if they do bring back the draft -- y'r just too damn healthy, George, they'd make a foot slogger out of you for sure. Kinda hard t' figger the odds on that one.

Well, here we are -- fifteen minutes to the appointment even -- look in the rear view mirror -- y' look spiffed up just fine, George -- make sure y'r hair's in place -- damn, how'd I pick the white shirt with the frayed cuffs? O well, ain't nuttin t' do 'bout it now...

George gets out of the car, locks the door thinking why bother, anybody stoopid enough to rip off this piece of shit probably couldn't start it anyway...

He rubs the tips of his shoes against the cuffs of his pants and goes into the building...

That sign above the building's facade reads, in big brass letters:

"EndRun Enterprises -- Security Specialists"

The doors opened automatically, sliding to admit him to air-conditioned coolness and ultramodern decor.

"Good day, sir, how may I help you?" sings the receptionist lady behind the desk in the cadence typical of an Arrogant company that wants to project that certain image of successful business sang-froid along with plain old Arrogant gung-ho can-do.

George notes the polish of the wood on the receptionist desk, the dark red leather of the few chairs in the office lobby, he mumbles, "Uh, I got an appointment with Mr. Asa Finker, about a position I applied for a whiles ago".

"Name?"

"George, uh, George Quenzelbutt, er maybe I'm a bit early..."

The receptionist makes a few motions with a mouse, types a few characters on the keyboard, hits the enter key -- "Yeeees, just a moment, I think he's free to see you right now." She types a bit more, throwing a coy smile at him as she waits, "Yes, Mr. Finker can see you now, Mr. Quenzelbutt -- if you will be so kind as to take the elevator up to the 3rd floor, it's the third door on the left as you step out of the elevator, room 303 -- his door is probably open.

He takes the elevator, finds the office and the door is open. He knocks lightly but firmly on the door frame. The man inside, sitting behind a desk, which, although of a good size, is not nearly large enough to accommodate the papers cluttering it looks up, smiles, gets up and comes around the desk, "Come in, young man, you must be George Quenzelbutt -- come in and sit down." He gestures to a comfortable looking chair also of red leather like those in the lobby, walks past George and closes the door.
The chair is actually as comfortable as it looks, except it's one of those chairs that, when you sit on them, give a somewhat embarrassing whooshing sound like a slowly escaping fart...

Mr. Finker looks at his computer screen, pulls a sheaf of papers from one of the piles on his desk and leafs quickly through them...

Waiting, George notes that this Mr. Finker is a balding fellow with expensive reading glasses and a sloppily tied tie, loosened at the collar. His movements are quick, but not exactly nervous.

"Well, Mr. Quenzelbutt -- you seem to have applied for a position here some time ago..."

"Well, yeah, it was a half year ago, I think. I had almost forgotten about it when I got this letter that y' wanted t' see me."

[In fact, George had forgotten all about it and would not have answered the letter if he had been able to find a good second job or a better first job, for that matter. The fact is, he would perhaps have found a job, not good, or even decent, but at least better -- but EndRun operatives had seen to that...

Of course, George had street smarts enough to not mention that he had f6rg6tten, but what kinna job would require qualifications such as: "...young, patriotic, dedicated, Arrogant citizen, able to follow orders and serve one's country in a civilian yet disciplined capacity..."?

But fuggit, all they required was a high-school diploma, or equivalent, willingness to travel -- even overseas -- and he sure as hell would like a better job...]

"Does that puzzle you, George?"

"Huh?"

"I mean that there has gone such a long time since you responded to our ad and our contacting you regarding employment at EndRun?"

"Well, yeah, it did kind of make me wonder if y' have problems filling the position or something -- after six months, figured I must be coming from the bottom of the deck..."

Mr. Finker muttered something which George didn't quite catch but he thought he heard something like, "...dealing from the bottom of the deck is our stock in trade..." Mr. Finker cleared his throat and spoke more clearly, "Well, yeeess, we do have some problems filling certain positions. We expect very much to expand our...uh...activities in partnership with special needs the Arrogant government anticipates having soon. If things...uh...develop like we think -- and of course we're planning that they will -- then we will need a number of security specialists trained in certain kinds of...uh...interviewing techniques."

Mr. Finger paused to drum nervously for a moment on a bare spot on his desk, "Actually, you are one of the first applicants we have approached and frankly, we're pretty sure that you're just the sort of...uh...person we need and we're pretty sure we want to offer you a position here at EndRun!" Mr. Finker paused again to smile a smile that seemed to George as rather empty (vacuous would have been better, but George didn't know too many words like that...)

"Huh?"

"Well, there are a lot of details, of course, and there are a few...uh...tests we need you to take -- to make sure you are really qualified for this, uh, kind of position -- the fact is, Mr. Quenzelbutt, we already know quite a lot about you. The reason for the delay is that we have been observing, in a clandestine manner of course, several of our...uh...prospective candidates."

"Say what? You mean like on Candid Camera?"

"We have not invaded your privacy in any way which could be construed as...uh...illegal, you understand. But, you have noticed from the name of the Company that we are 'Security Specialists'?"

"Well, yeah, of course..."

"But you haven't given it much thought -- well, that's not unusual, people don't give that much thought to security in general. They lock their cars, chain the front door, take care to hide their PIN codes...but we are specialists. We specialise in security. The fact is, Mr. Quenzelbutt, in about a year's time Arrogance may well need to expand its attention and efforts into brand new areas of security -- areas which will require a lot of qualified and well trained manpower. The problem is, because of the political situation, the government can't advertise the fact, but on the other hand, the government needs to be ready for certain...uh...eventualities which we, of course, hope to God will never happen..."

Mr. Finker ignored the somewhat vacuous expression slowly descending over George's facial features. Little did George know that he was in being given secret information vital to the interests and security of not only EndRun, but Arrogance itself. If he should, regrettably, decide not to enter the employ of EndRun he would come to serve his country in other ways no one would care to imagine let alone experience first hand...

"Mr. Quenzelbutt, if you pass these tests, and I'm so sure you will, I'm ready to take a chance and tell you about the contract we will be prepared to offer you, starting at a salary like this..." Mr. Finker scribbled a figure on a piece of paper and pushed it over to George.

When George glanced at it, his eyes widened a bit. Hell, this was a better wage than he could hope to make after years of filling shelves at the Warr-Mart or flipping burgers at a Mac-Barf, like he'd been doing not so long ago..."Well yeah, hell yeah, I'm interested!" He laughed, "Crikey, for a wage like that, who do I have to kill!"

"Kill? yes, I suppose you probably would, George" Mr. Finker chuckled low and mordantly, "but killing isn't really our line -- it's not really a part of what we do...usually. But let's not get ahead of ourselves! Like I said, there are a few tests we need you to take -- more to confirm the things we already know about you. Yeeeesss, and to ascertain exactly for what capacity in our range of activities your...uh...talents suit you best."

Mr. Finker sighed, "But first the tests, then we'll look at the contract -- here, let me see, yes, Per is in his office..." He paused to push a button on his desk and a moment later a door at the side of Mr. Finker's office slid open and a young fellow not much more than thirty appeared in the doorway. He was athletic looking with piercing blue eyes and close-cropped hair just long enough so that one couldn't accurately call him a skinhead.

Mr. Finker smiled a brief smile, "Ah, Per, this is George Quenzelbutt. We hope he will be starting with us -- tomorrow, I hope --" he glanced at George, "sorry, I should have mentioned that before -- I hope it's okay with you..."

"Well hell, if we're talking 'bout the kinna pay you were talking about before, I'd start right now, Mr. Finker"

Mr. Finker smiled once again his strangely vacuous smile, "George, I want you to meet Per Nicious -- Per is in charge of first level training at an EndRun location here in Poosah City -- you're lucky he's here, George, Per is usually at the training facilities outside of town -- Per, would you mind taking George down to tests in Lab Z?"

"Sure thing, Mr. Finker, come on, George".

Per took George out to the elevator and they went down, it seemed to George they went a lot farther down than the first floor...

Per Nicious gave George a quick sidelong glance as the elevator descended, "Do you know anything at all what EndRun does, George?"

"Well, not really -- y' specialise in security, guard things and keep 'em safe."

"Exactly, George, we guard things. Actually, we guard the good things, and keep them safe from the bad people. To keep things safe from the bad people, George, we have know just who the bad people are: That's why we already know so much about you -- you are one of the good people, George -- we already know that. But what we need to know now is if you have the strength of character and the love of country to be able to do what it takes to fight the bad people -- beat them at their own game, so to speak..."

George thought he heard Per mumble something that sounded like, "...or just plain beat them..." but figgered he maybe ought not ask.

"Ah, here we are, Lab Z." he punched a code into the pad at the side of the door and it opened with a quiet whoosh.

They walked for a while, down a corridor passing several closed doors. Then, catching sight of stocky, short-set man in a white gown, like the kind doctors wear in a hospital, Per shouted, "Dr. Churrin!"

The man turned and his face lit up in a smile, "Why, hello, if it isn't Per Nicious, in his own muscular presence -- why aren't you at the Training Facility, Per?"

"Aw, you know how it is, had to get some paper work out of the way, and then Mr. Finker wanted me to bring somebody down to your Lab -- gee whiz, boy am I rude today! Excuse me, George, I want you to meet Dr. Churrin, the head of Lab Z. Dr. Churrin, this is George Quenzelbutt, if he can jump through your hoops well enough, I pretty sure he'll be joining our team."

Dr. Churrin extended his hand to George, "Glad to meet you, Mr. Quenzelbutt, and, hopefully, welcome aboard. The doctor's handshake was as firm as a steel vise. He said, "By the way, my first name us Thor, some people find that amusing, for some reason...". He rumbled a low, mordant chuckle.

"Glad to meet you, Dr. Thor Churrin," mumbled George, not getting the joke -- yet...

Friday, March 16, 2007

How Convenient!

Well, well, well! How convenient!

Four years after his capture in 2003, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is now being promoted as a mastermind terraist confessing to every crime since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ!

Actually, it was Mr. Mohammed who said "Boo!" behind Moses' back as he was coming down Mt. Sinai, causing him to drop the stone tablets, but that information was redacted, therefore secret and you didn't hear it from me!

But, let us not be critical or cynical!

There is no reason that this Administration would use Mr. Mohammed to further a political agenda!

Well, none other than the fact that this is what they have constantly spun and done. In fact. this is what the Codpiece's script writers had him do back in September when they were celebrating the fifth anniversary of Terrible Tuesday which enabled them to proclaim the Global War on Terror to Protect Peace, Freedom and Prosperity.

But that doesn't prove anything, does it?

The fact that all terror activity stopped the day Mr. Mohammed was taken into custody corroborates his confessions!

In any case it proves the usefulness of torture, secret prisons and extraordinary renditions!

Major newspapers, like the New York and the LA Times, just to mention two, fell into line and stenographed uncritically the slop served them. This shows that the mass media is still, despite some recent snarling, which resembled honest reporting, are still on a short leash and under the control of the Bankers of Illusion.

Indeed, how convenient that this "news" should break now just as several Administration scandals were coming to a head -- I guess those guys as "just lucky"!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

An Apology and a Warning

I apologize to my faithful readers for missing a few beats lately on my postings. Now that I am semi-retired, I find I have less, not more time to write.

That sounds odd, I suppose, but my Sunflower Woman has noticed that I am more around the house than I used to be since the first of January and keeps finding little things for me to do around the house.

Actually, they are not always "little things" -- that is the time frame she thinks a job should take does not match the reality of what it takes for and old fart like me to get the job done.

The latest project here has been a bitch.

She had some workers come and put in a ceiling door and ladder to the attic. This makes it much easier to get up to the attic.

My job was to take all the crap down from the attic. Then to put in flooring up there to replace the jerry-rigged hodgepodge of boards and stuff. However, to do that, I had to redo a lot of the insulation. I think I'm still looking at a day or two up there.

Yesterday was the Ides of March and it is amazing the flowers that are blooming already. Also, most of the vines along our driveway have leafed including the climbing roses there.

The weather folks here say that this has been the warmest and wettest winter in recorded history. The footnote here is that the records in Denmark only go back to 1862. But it does seem kind of significant when you consider that the Autumn season in 2006 was also the warmest and wettest. Other records were set in the Summer also.

Global climate change, depletion of energy resources and the maintenance of
large stockpiles of nuclear weapons by the major players on the world scene as
well as continuing proliferation -- these are the background forces which will
bring about not only the collapse of civilization, but the demise of humanity as
well.

Actually, we could avoid the catastrophe, but it doesn't seem likely. The reasons are a pair of movements started by two very strange men, Sayyid Qutb and Leo Strauss.

At the risk of briefness causing a misunderstanding, Qutb laid the groundwork for the ideology of violence taken up by Zawahiri which we know today as radical Islam.

Again, at the risk of being betrayed by brevity, Strauss taught a philosophy denying the viability of democracy. Those who took his theories to heart compose what is known as the neo-conservative movement.

These two movements compliment each other in disregard for human lives and the cynical abuse of religion to control the masses. The dynamics between them are what is bringing on the coming wars.

Specifically, the worst thing right now is that the neo-conservative movement seems to have enthralled what, for lack of a better word, the mind of the President of the United States.

The Codpiece apparently actually believes that he is doing God's work.

This has been known for a long time and the neo-conservatives are playing upon his illusions. Greenwald has yet another excellent post about a sceance Bush had with a small group of neo-cons less than a month ago at the White House. Greenwald posts at Salon.com now, so you will likely have to click through an advertisement to read the article, but it is worth it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Galloping Jo!" and the Mugwumps

Today's piece of drivel posing as a poem by a famously unknown poet of the Third Galaxy is so ridiculous!

No race of sentient beings could believe their world was made in 77 seconds by a Giant Beetle!

Why, one might just as well believe that the world was made in 7 days by an old man with a white beard!

That intelligent beings would follow such a lie to their deaths like a bunch of lemmings -- that carries poetic license too far!

Why, that would be just as insane as having, a quarter century after The End of the Cold War, thousands of armed and ready MIRV'ed warheads in silos ready to destroy the heartland of Russia, the United States and China on a moments notice!

Finally, lemmings do not really dash madly off to drown in the sea. The fact that they are, perhaps, smarter than humans, does not detract from the excellent image of them doing what what they don't to illustrate what humans do in fact do..
The Mugwumps say that the world was made
In seventy-seven seconds by
A Giant Beetle called, "Galloping Jo!"

Whatever role old "Jo!" may have played
In making their world I wonder, why
Must the world have been made by someone we know?

All that matters is the terrible deaths
Of all those Mugwumps who are doomed to die
For the Glory and the Name of "Galloping Jo!"

The prayers have all been mumbled and prayed;
The mothers have kissed their little Mugwumps goodbye:
So it's off to the "War" all the Mugwumps go...

They march in broad columns, the ground shivers and shakes
To the thump of their feet as they go mugwumping by...
And it's all for the "Glory of Galloping Jo!"

Onward they march in their mad parade;
Like the lemmings they are, they march and they die:
Their young bodies pulped on the sharp rocks below...

But what of us, what of our fate?
Is it true we also follow a lie
We might as well call "Galloping Jo!"?

Monday, March 12, 2007

I Was Tempted...

I was tempted this morning to wear my spring jacket.

It was good I didn't.

True, it will be warm today, that is for a day before the middle of March.

However, because of the clear skies during the night there was frost and the windows of my old junker of a car had a skin of ice.

I would have been late to catch the morning train, except the train was late also.

I forgot my cell phone, left it in my spring jacket. That sort of thing happens in the spring when you change coats.

Waiting for the train, I saw a rare phenomenon in the morning sky. The first time I saw it was in the evening dusk, up in Sweden. It occurs when a high-flying airplane is, relative to the viewer flies out of the setting or rising sun.

The contrail of a high flying jet casts a shadow you don't normally see, but when the position of the viewer is just right, you see the shadow of the contrail cast just a bit to the side of the white chalk mark in the sky. Because the sun is rising (or setting) the two trails, the contrail and its shadow appear to move as the hands on a clock.

When that happens, I wonder what time it really is...

The time was "good night Ole" for one of the birds who have been visiting my feeding stations this winter. I was out sweeping up the mess of empty sunflower seed shells and bird shit the little buggers leave on the ground under the stations and swept up the body of a little bird I had noticed a few times the past week. It was a little male green-sisk -- I don't know the English name, but the latin is Carduelis spinus. The picture at the top is of such a little fellow and you can hear its song here (the site is in Danish, you'll need to scroll down to "gr√łnsisken" and click on the little icon that looks like two musical notes -- hope you can find it!)

It's part of spring I guess, the little ones who can't quite make it through the winter die off -- I had seen this one in the morning a few times, with its head nestled into its shoulder, feathers puffed up to conserve body heat. Now, with the life gone, it was so small.

There were other signs of spring I saw yesterday.
A lady bug, having crawled out of its winter hiding spot, wandered, confused, in the sun.

Two butterflies, having found each other, were negotiating on the subject of butterfly love.

Two of the vines in the driveway got leaves during the night.

As for the little bird, whose bubble ship of life had popped, I threw it in the garbage -- it was the kindest thing I could do.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Inanity, Insanity, Iranity...

I don't know if it's depression or outrage, a sputtering spitting gnashing of teeth, but the bottom line is I can't snark like I did last summer.

Perhaps it is the winter.

The Danish winter is famous for that -- especially winters like this, with little snow, the gray clouds, the damp chill, month after month of November...

The worst is the tail end, when the light starts coming back -- you get a day like yesterday with sunshine and you go out wearing your spring jacket.

Then you wake up to a Sunday like today, which has no sun or even hint of a promise.

I haven't seen any statistics, but I'd bet April is the month with the most suicides in this country...

On the other hand, it can also be the news -- and it isn't the news as such, but mindless repetition of inanity, even insanity.

Our Enemy d'jour, Iran, for example -- the Danish radio, which in many ways fulfills its public service obligations, continues to barf this garbage about how "we are afraid" they are developing the Bomb...

In the next breath, the past few days, actually, the Foreign Minister blathers on about how we need to take part in the Antimissile Shield the American Military-Industrial complex has been bilking the American taxpayer for (hundreds of) billions of good old (depreciating) dollars for a boondoggle that makes the Maginot Line look like a good investment.

The Maginot Line would have worked, that is assuming the Germans were even stupider than they were and attacked where the French had decided they "were supposed to".

The antimissile defense is a defense against a shadow in our collective imagination. "Rogue" states are not going to attack us with nuke tipped rockets. If they did, they would be a sea of bubbling molten glass before next morning.

Terraists are going to attack us, sure -- but with weapons and at a time of their choosing, probably rather low-tech and therefore reliable.

The end result of the Global War on Terraism or whatever the buzzword is today is obvious -- if you can't see it, let me introduce you to our old friend, George Orwell...

Iran?

How many know even the basic facts?

Back in the 50's they had a democracy, a president and democratic gov't!

However, this guy, Mossedeq was a scoundrel -- he actually wanted the money for the oil being pumped out of the ground should go into the public coffers and be used for the benefit of the nation! That is, he didn't want to honor the "contracts" the corrupt Reza Shah had entered into with western oil companies.

THEREFORE, our "intelligence" agencies had him "deposed". In his place was they placed the Shah on the Peacock Throne.

The Shah was a "good boy", one "of ours", the oil went where it should as well as the money. His reward was a lot of military hardware and equipment to help his secret police along. The secret police were necessary, as they are for any despotism.

The only difference between the atrocities of the Shah regime and the later neighboring one in Iraq is -- well, there wasn't any real difference, at least not for many, many years while Iraq defended us against the madmen in Iran.

The madmen? O, yeah!

In a way similar to Poland, where an oppressive regime had controlled the country in an iron grip and the Church was a bastion of resistance, in Iran it was the Ummah, the community of Islam which nurtured the national identity for a generation.

The Brits, always culturally sensitive owned the oil, paid little for it and had drinking fountains Iranians were forbidden to drink from.

I swear, if Ayatollah Khommeni had honored the oil contracts and other important western economic interests, he would never had been portrayed as the Big Ugly.

Hell, Saddam was our "boy" for almost a generation and got guns and bombs, nuclear and bio-warfare technology. His gassing the Iranians and "his own people" was no fugging problem -- until he upset the apple cart and invaded Kuwait...

But all that was an anomaly -- our "intelligence" agencies have otherwise never toppled functioning democracies or propped up oppressive dictatorships -- except, of course, where it was in our (economic) interests.

Who needs any more reports from the Third Galaxy?

Our own world is going to hell in a hand basket just fine on its own.

(By the way, the day here in Denmark turned out to be full of sunshine and the forest floor is cribbling and crabbling with life and the promise of Spring!)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Monster Among the Flowers...

Like y'day's post, this little piece was also composed during a burst of creativity I experienced in 1999.

In general, it draws upon the insights of Carl Jung and, more specifically the key to one of C. S. Lewis' more readable books, "The Great Divorce".

The point is, when we try to be "good" simply by ignoring or supressing that which we deem to be "bad" in ourselves -- that is when it becomes "evil".

I touched upon this in what I hope was a more humorous fashion in "The House of Apes"

The reason I am so afraid is that sometimes,
when I look into my mind, I suddenly find
in the shadow of the flowers which I nourish there;
a dirty, little beast, with fangs bared...

It glares,
as if it dares for me to say
that I demand that it should go away!

It snorts,
as if it wants to let me know
that it will follow me whereever I go.

That little monster you see, is a part of me;
a part of me and my divinity.

When I get to know it truely, as a friend,
all acrimony and division ends!

It then sublimes into a beautiful ape!
O joy!
And I am no longer so afraid...

(25, May 1999)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Times Will Come...

Those of you, if any, who have been following my (almost) daily postings here know that William Blake is and has been a strong influence and mentor of mine for many years, along with Thomas Merton and Teilhard de Chardin.

In fact, without blushing, I compare myself in many ways to Blake, albeit not in the stature of his genius, but in creative form. Blake cannot be comprehended through either his poetry or his painting alone, likewise my humble vision of reality is communicated through my poetry and songs.

Yesterday, I presented you with a pair of Blake's poems which tell of the human potential to realise a divine image. Today, you get a pair of my poems, composed within a fortnight in 1999, which describe possible results of human evolution (or devolution!)


A Time Will Come (14-02-99)
A time will come when everyone will turn
Into buckets of industrial waste.

I know that very few of you really yearn
For this, but still, it will be your fate.

The food you eat has been slowly changed
(With foreign genes and exotic chemicals)
Into cocktails that will fiddle your brains!

You'll all smile like the gals in the commercials,
But there'll be nobody home, you'll be out-to-lunch,
in La-La Land, a bunch of mental Tele-Tubbies;
& your conversations will match that of a bunch
of freaks gathered around their hubbly-bubblies:

"Yeah, man!" "Cool, man!"

"This dope is out-of-sight!"

"Hey, man, what we gonna do tonight?"

"Don' know -- d'-you?"



The Time Will Come (26-02-99)
The time will come when everyone will see
The glory and the simple majesty
Of all-that-is, shining with new paint!

Mending all the tears of what-ain't,
In the fabric of living love and life,
The love-of-life will be our holy wife!

Sewing each simple, hidden stitch,
She will heal that dislocated switch.

And it will be as if a new song
Should tend and heal all those silly wrongs
With such soft and sweet felicity.

Then will be: the New Reality!

Then will truly be that: Grand-Old-Time!
Everything will be the same -- yet changed!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Divine Images

From 1967 to 1974, Europe was witness to dictatorship, a regime of oppression and the widespread use of torture in a country considered to be the cradle of Western Civilization -- Greece.

Of course, intellectuals were tortured and one of them was the well-known composer, Mikis Theodorakis. In 2006, he said that he used to believe that:
"...the root causes of Violence and War lie with financial interests, religious or ethnic fanaticism and other similar phenomena."
However, he is now certain that:
"...in the end, the above are nothing but pretexts, and that the root cause of this quench for conquest and blood is within man himself; with one supplementary note: that as man becomes more civilized, his savagery increases. Meaning that so-called civilization is nothing but a mere robe used to cover and hide our true selves which throughout the centuries, remain equally savage and monstrous."
[bold face added by me]

This observation is not new. William Blake (1757 - 1827) wrote
Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And Secrecy the human dress.

The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace sealed,
The human heart its hungry gorge.
The title of that poem is "A Divine Image". It should be read together as a companion poem to his more rhetorical, "THE Divine Image":
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is God, our father dear:
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew.
Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.
The point is, we all, in our daily lives, in our interactions with our fellow human beings and the rest of the world around us define the meaning of human being and thereby what sort of divinity we create ourselves in the image of.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Tale of Two Stories and a Twist

Two stories struck me Monday, the one was a link on Juan Cole's "Informed Comment", pointing to a Reuters' news drop about serious malnutrition among millions of children in Iraq.

The other was from the Danish Radio about the necessity of Denmark huddling under the American antimissile umbrella.

The Danish Foreign Minister said that if we found out that some terrorists or if some rogue state got a missile with a nuked warhead, I imagine we'd be pretty happy to be under an umbrella.

Well, that's "cutting it out in cardboard" as they say in Danish. Or, as they also say, "If, if my ass was glass".

Despite "24 Hours" and "Spooks" the actual likelihood of independent operators getting their dirty little grabbers on a nuke is about nil. Making one on your own is a bitch of a techie problem. No state leader, in particular a dictator who has a few of these high-tech penis extenders is going to share them with anybody. Holes like that would rather take them to bed and fondle them.

Getting a nuke and a rocket to deliver it is less likely than zero.

As for "rogue" states, I hope you know that this is the "code of the day" for Iran. As we all know, very soon, Iran will be producing weapons grade uranium at an alarming rate, right?

No, wrong!

The technology for extracting U235 from virgin uranium is not something done in a high school lab.

Did you see the headline that Iran was setting up an array with 3000 centrifuges with a plan for 50,000 that would spin off U235 like burgers coming off a McBarf griddle just before rush hour? Well, the first 50 they brought on-line started spinning asymmetric and blew up.

Having the Bomb is first and foremost a status and power symbol, a "Don't Tread on Me" warning. No state, rogue or otherwise, would give it away, or use it in a moment of pique -- well, the Codpiece might, but no sane or normally insane person would.

On top of all that, there are a number of ways to deliver mass death, including nukes, which, true to tell are not as dramatic as a MIRVed warhead screaming right of hell down from heaven, but still result in a big hole in the ground and lot of dying people envying those who were lucky to die in the first flash.

By the way, they dying will also be cursing their fearless leaders who scurry like roaches and rats for safety in their underground shelters.

In the meantime, children are dying in Iraq because of malnutrition and some of those who live will grow up lacking in some of their higher mental faculties because of dietary insufficiencies.

True, this happens elsewhere in the world -- but they are not all lands we have bombed, destroyed infrastructure, invaded, occupied and set on a course of social meltdown worse than anything the world has ever seen such that "civil war" is but a polite euphemism.

We did this. We let our leaders do this. We continue to let do things like this in our name, in the name of Liberty, Justice and Democracy.

The Lady of Light on the Island barfs every night at the thought of the rough beast being born even as I write -- but no one sees her agony.

If graveyard humor of the worst sort is what you like, then the funny thing is that the highly promoted, obscenely expensive antimissile shield is actually a high-tech Maginot Line which can be gone around by low-tech means I hinted at before.

Furthermore, Russia, despite the assurances that this weapon is not directed at either them or China, is for some reason nervous about it. I don't understand, don't they trust the word of Uncle Sam? Whatever, Russian generals have pointed out that the infra structure supporting the antimissile systems is easily taken out by the bombers they already have -- and they are building better ones...

The bottom line is that the US is throwing more money at military weapons and systems than the rest of the world combined. If your definition of a "rogue" state is a nation threatening, even planning to use nukes, then the US, I am terribly terribly sorry to say is a "rogue" state.

Meanwhile, children starve and the world is going to hell in a hot tub.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Blessed are the Warmakers?...

[The picture is of Thomas Merton. You can read brief bios of him and many famous and lesser known peacemakers here.]

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God".

Whatever one's relation to the fellow to whom that phrase is attributed, I assume most agree with it, if not literally, then with the validity of its sentiment. In my opinion, the latter is the more important.

If peacemakers are children of God, what then of the warmakers? Of whom shall they be called children?

It is too easy to be glib, so I prefer not the obvious, antimonian, "children of the devil", or "satan". If for no other reason than the fact that so much evil has been instigated by painting other people with a filthy brush of castigation.

No, I would call them:

"Children of a Hole in the Ground"
or

"Children of 4 Billion Years of Evolutionary Love Shat and Pissed Upon and Flushed down a Gleaming Toilet Bowel into an Endlessly Restless Night"
-- for this will be the result if we do not turn aside from the path we are on!

[This is an updated version of the call for something resembling sanity peacemaker MLK, jr made several times including the day before the hit man finally snuffed him]

What is a peacemaker as opposed to a warmaker?

Indeed, what is the difference?

First off, I suppose the peacemaker does not see violence as a useful means of resolving conflicts. They know that, even when it is unavoidable, violence creates more problems than it resolves.

To the warmaker, violence is not only a useful but a preferred method of resolving conflicts of interest. Weak and immature morally, the warmaker seeks the direct and immediate attainment of goals regardless of the pain and suffering inflicted on others.

The peacemaker is not necessarily a pacifist, certainly not a quietist and, of necessity, usually a person of great courage.

The warmaker is usually a coward, both morally and physically, often not prone to violence and, if aggressive physically, a coward in the exact way bullies are cowards.

If this was the Third Galaxy, I would add:

If warmakers are blessed, I suppose they will be called assholes -- and the greatest of them all shall be called The Supreme Hole

Monday, March 05, 2007

How Snarly Bombed in Bagram

The story I want to discuss here today is almost a week old. However, even now it is still not really clear just what it was that happened.

As we know, a suicide truck bomb exploded inside the outer gates of the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, Tuesday, February 27.

If there is anyplace that is ours in the ongoing turf war in Afghanistan, it is the Bagram base, therefore this attack had to be considered a coup on the part of the Taliban.

Next, we heard that Vice President, Mr "Big" Dick Snarly had been on the base at the time of the explosion. Unnamed spokespeople for the Taliban took responsibility for the bomb and claimed that it had been intended for the Mr Snarly.

The gov't replied Mr Snarly had been in no danger -- he was a mile or so away from the blast which killed about twenty people, mostly Afghanis, and a couple of American soldiers as well as another foreign soldier (I forget which nationality). However, they did not deny that Talibanis were responsible, nor did they refute their claim that the bomb was intended to snuff the Vice president (although they maintained that at no time was his safety in any way compromised).

Juan Cole posted an excellent, deep and extrememly well informed commentary written by one of his readers. This commentary, actually an article in its own right, draws together a number of threads in the tapestry of deceit known as the War on Terror. I pick out here a few points that interest me but you should read the whole article. The bold face but not the caps is my edit.

When Mr Snarly came to Pakistan, a high-ranking person (supposedly #3) in the Taliban was taken into custody:

"...the very day Cheney read the riot act to Musharraf, the Pakistanis found the #3 of the Taliban and arrested him. Or is it more likely that Cheney delivered, personally, intelligence that showed Musharraf exactly WHERE this man was. And that Cheney told him: either you get him or we will. Today. And then Cheney leaves, and goes to Baghram Airport. Where, oddly enough, he is forced to stay overnight, due to weather."

The next day finds Mr Snarly at Afghanistan at the Bagram base when the bombing took place. Did the Taliban know he was there, was it a guess, a lucky shot, or did someone in the Pakistani ISI leak the information to them?

The commenter on Cole's page asks:

"Was all of this a ruse to smoke out, for Musharraf, a very high placed spy for the Taliban and al-Qaeda? Or was the bombing at Bagram, more a signal to Cheney: WE got YOUR message! YOU told Musharraf where our #3 guy was, and YOU were sending US a message. Now, here is OUR message to YOU, Mr. Cheney! WE knew you were there. We KNEW your movements. Think about THAT! Maybe next time you come around our part of the world, we'll get YOU!"

Jeeze, this sounds almost like the kind of "messages" Mafiosi send one another. Things to remember here is that the Codpiece administration has gotten closer to India since its test of an atomic bomb and that the Taliban itself is a Frankenstein child of the Pakistani ISI:

"...since the U.S.- India nuclear deal, elements of the Pakistani Army and ISI have once again begun to assist the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Cheney and Bush are blowing all kinds of intelligence to let the Pakistanis know that we know what they're up to. But will it really do Musharraf much good? Will he suddenly be able to swoop down on rogues in his Army and ISI, and quell yet another possible coup? How long can he last, when he sucks up more and more to the Americans?"

Again, I recommend you read the whole thing. Also, Lurch at Main and Central also had an early on commentary worth a read.
___________
By the way, the pix up at the top is not from Bagram -- it from one of our misslies in Kabul.

All the bombs are in the hands of terrorists

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ghost Stories

The other day, we were visiting some friends of ours who live out in the country on an old, run down Danish farm they have been fixing up for the past eleven years until it's a real cool place.

Over tea and cakes, the talk turned to odd experiences.

It started because we were talking about dreams and I mentioned a dream I had some years ago when I was supposed to visit my Aunt Ruth in November.

In early September, I saw her in a dream and she said she was sorry, but she was so tired. Early the next morning, my sister in Florida called me to say that Ruth had died during the night.

The lady who lives on the farm said that she doesn't dream, or at least doesn't remember them. However, she can relate a number of puzzling experiences and I will relate one of them:

She was flying to California from Denmark and was supposed to be met at the airport by her husband who had gone ahead of her by a few days. Unknown to her, there was something wrong at the airport with the systems that tell when planes were arriving. Therefore, her husband's uncle, who was driving the car decided to go back home and her husband went with him.

Up in the airplane, it was like Johanna heard a voice saying "Robert won't be there to meet you, but don't worry, you will spend the night with Aunt Ida."

Sure enough, there was no one to meet her at the airport. However, Ida, who was one of the three people she knew in California, arrived shortly on a different airplane and, by chance, Johanna saw her. After contacting Robert's uncle, she did in fact, spend the night at Ida's house.

Years later, back in Denmark, Robert had an odd experience. For some reason, he felt he had to go to Copenhagen to the office of the Graphic Union, of which he was a member. Again, by chance, he went down the wrong corridor and, by an open door, he saw the fellow who was his case handler at the Union, "Well, Robert, you're a bit late, but better late then never."

The upshot was that he had been sent a letter that he was supposed to come. Robert was out of work at the time and the reason he was supposed to come is that he had to have a talk with his case handler about what he was doing to get work. If he hadn't come, he would have been struck in his unemployed benefits. However, the letter telling him to come didn't arrive at the farm until some days later.

Things like this happen to people. I don't attribute any special meaning to them or draw any specific conclusions.

However, I suppose they happen because everything in some way is connected to everything else.

Once in a while we become aware of a connection we hadn't noticed before and we experience a "visitation" of this sort.

The root meaning of "ghost" is "guest" and that is why I called these anecdotes "ghost stories".

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Blue Sky!

Have you ever considered that, on the most grey, cloudy, depressing, overcast day, if you could only rise up high enough you would see blue skies?

Of course, you might freeze your butt off if it was really high -- but I hope you get the point.

Anyway, today I give you get a bitter-sweet little song, "Blue Sky" which I started on the summer my Dad died.

It pairs with "Drummer Boy", which began at the same time, but is more direct, specific and much darker.

I consider "Blue Sky" to be by far the better piece. The instrumental is can stand up and fly all by itself.

The way that a change to minor is used in the song makes it more than a "cheer-up you bugger" sort of thing. The melody goes through a transmutation of sorrow and despair.
What's that falling, pit-pat on my head?
Is it rain-drops, or itsy-bits of lead?
Is it good for me? Or, is it really bad?
Will it make me happy, or will it make me sad?

Just what it is that I feel?
Just what it is that makes it real?
The fact of the matter is still concealed!

All the world is BlueSky when you fly high!
You can reach it if you try!
Climb up to [cluck with tongue] Blue Sky!

Are you feeling really, nasty mean?
Have you, maybe, spilled all your beans?
Do you feel like you could start to scream
a whole bunch of words quite obscene?

Well, open up your mouth and come alive!
The very best things are deep inside!
That's the truth and not a lie!
All the world is BlueSky when you fly high!
You can reach it if you try!
Climb up to [cluck with tongue] Blue Sky!

Are you feeling kind of low and flat?
Has your car run over some carpet tacks?
Are you feeling awful sad and blue?
I'll bet you are forgetting what to do?

Stop that looking at your foot!
Open up your eyes and take a look!
Life is the "Best-Selling Book!"
All the world is BlueSky when you fly high!
You can reach it if you try!
Climb up to [cluck with tongue] Blue Sky!