Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday was Patriot's Day. Are You a Patriot?

I wrote this blog last summer for my own website, which was hacked by a trojan in a man-in-the-middle attack. Symantec is useful like tits on a bull trying to fix this hack; well, useful like tits on a bull to me, anyway. I'm sure whomever mounted the attack is pleased as punch with his or her success -- now, I have no website. Some of the links in the 'more info.' section at the end no longer work. Sorry 'bout that.

This blog is long. Should the closing of American society be dealt with in a short blog?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th: America's Reichstag Fire

More than 11 million people were executed by the Nazis in the three “solutions” the Third Reich devised to rid the geography they controlled of “undesirables.” No one can say the precise number; victims started popping up almost as soon as von Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor in 1933, the first of whom were political rivals in Hitler’s own party. Historians tell us that the total number of people killed by the Nazis -- those killed in combat or otherwise as the result of World War II in combination with the number the Nazis executed -- equals approximately 50 million people. In his interview for the documentary, The Corporation,(1) Edwin Black, author of IBM and the Holocaust,(2) shows viewers the punchcards provided by IBM to the Nazis for their use processing many of their through Nazi death camps victims -- many, to their deaths -- using early IBM “computers.”

Here’s what I’m thinking about today, the 7th anniversary of 9/11: a lawyer I once worked with said to me, with blasé distraction, “perception is the reality and reality, the perception,” as she stood over my desk, editing a memo I was typing for her. I can’t remember what we were discussing, but whatever it was, she clearly felt I needed to be reminded not to be so naive as to think that reality simply ‘is’ and that it isn’t, in fact, often created by those who, like her, are paid to craft the perceptions of others. “She is a litigator, after all,” I told myself. “Why should I be surprised by her frank and shameless avowal?” It’s her business, I was reminded -- and the business of untold millions -- to craft perceptions, often irrespective of what “really” happens. That’s what lawyers do. That’s what public relations and advertising professionals do. It’s what “players” of all genders, races and professions do. Manipulating the perceptions of others is a uniquely human endeavor, an endeavor that often takes on multifarious dimensions and is practiced for a variety of purposes. People lie. People lie half-heartedly and they lie flagrantly; they lie timidly and they lie floridly; they lie starkly and they lie voluminously. They lie occasionally and they lie extensively -- all people, even government heads, because they’re people, too.

The punchcards used by the Nazi’s to process their victims through the entire 12-camp system they constructed to enslave and kill ”undesirables” show 16 different categories of prisoner. Perhaps the prisoners were political activists, such as communists (category 6), or trade unionists (category 5); perhaps, Jehovah’s witnesses (category 2). Perhaps they were members of so-called inferior races, such as Jewish citizens (category 8), or gypsies. Or perhaps they were homosexuals (category 3). Processing human beings as though they were livestock -- herding them here and there by cattle car, branding them with tattoos, isolating them from society by stripping them of their civil rights, confining them in ghettoes and tracking them with curfews, using their bodies for whatever heinous purposes the Nazis could devise and then brutally killing them -- created a false dynamic between camp workers and their supervisors and the victims of the Third Reich’s terror, one that enabled the former two groups to feel superior to the latter one. That dynamic was a lie -- a pretty big and complex lie about the supposed inferiority of a lot of people and the superiority of a select group of others. The leaders of the Third Reich lied about others a lot because they could; they were, after all, leaders.

All of the people who worked to support the Third Reich and to perpetrate the Holocaust (and, indeed, the entire German people) were given many perceptions about their victims that led them to believe, no matter how ridiculous the charge, the individuals under their control deserved to be there: that those going off to the camps weren’t German enough, or were in their country illegally, or were agitating against their country’s leaders when the leaders were only trying to solve the country’s problems. Anyone who wasn’t a member of those 16 categories could get a pretty puffed-up sense of him- or herself, knowing he or she was a member of the exclusive Nazi club, I would imagine. But even those who weren’t sadists and sociopaths -- those who perhaps felt themselves to be like cogs in a large, impersonal machine and therefore powerless to disable it -- nevertheless participated in the lies, especially the lie that undesirables were among them for which “solutions” needed to be created to eradicate these undesirables. I used to wonder why, but since September 11th, 2001, I don’t anymore. Lies work -- especially when they’re told by those in authority.

So much has been written to explain how people of presumably good conscience and even faith allowed themselves to be used in the diabolical enterprises of the eugenics-happy Nazis that it’s impossible to consider all theories in one little blog. Sociologists have their theories about how gossip, a euphemism to many for informing on someone, “normalizes” the behavior of those at whom it is directed. Psychologists have their theories, too -- followers have low self-esteem. Anthropologists such as Margaret Mead have talked about the “other-directedness,” or a propensity to be led instead of to lead, of some individuals. Certain philosophers like Nietzsche would describe the intra-relationships of those disposed to follow the Nazis as the ultimate in false self-dealing. But it wasn’t a new human phenomenon during the Third Reich, and Nazi Germany certainly isn’t the only place in the world where “go along to get along” ever became the modus operandi for huge numbers of people. Fear makes people short-sighted. Think the burning times. Think the Crusades. Think Armenian genocide. Think Jim Crow south. Think Apartheid South Africa. Think Rwanda. Clearly, masses of people are as capable of deluding themselves -- of assimilating to cultural norms, no matter how abhorrent those norms become, or sublimating their more noble characters, or repressing their will to truly live by denying life to others -- as they are of being deluded by their leaders. If the culture’s corrupt, so will be those who perpetuate it.

We tend to forget, though, that when someone lies to us -- whether or not we are cognizant of the fact at the time, or ever -- we, ourselves, are participants in the lie. We have a role to play -- the innocent dupe, the shrewd or cowardly pawn, or the astute observer. Plenty of Germans, as we now know, mounted a resistance to Hitler at great cost to themselves.(3) They saw the lies for what they were. Those people represent a vindication of the eternal humanity and goodness of not just the German people but of all people of conscience and faith everywhere -- indeed, of humanity itself. They remind us that, at the very least, we are all witnesses of the types of lies all government leaders tell, and what kind of witnesses we are(4) is for each us to decide. History and common sense demand we be at least skeptical. After all, doubt, as the American Reform movement’s siddur, Gates of Prayer, reminds us, is the handmaiden of truth.

* * * * *

I was in the bathtub that Tuesday morning in September, 2001 -- again -- dozing uneasily, hoping I would be able to get my dysmenorrhea under control by the time I had to leave for work at 3:45 that afternoon. I had taken only eight 200 mgs. Advil tablets the night before, when my period had started, and had taken them much too late. Consequently, I had spent the night in a hot tub trying to relax the muscles in my back, thighs, calves and feet, finally achieving pain coverage sometime around 6:00 in the morning, with another six 200 mgs. Advil tablets. Dealing with pain is tiresome. Your mind spins. Your body copes in its own way with it by throwing up, or distracting you even with other minor discomforts such as cramps, or inducing deep breathing. And it’s boring. It’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking about the many other things you could, or should, be doing when you’re incapacitated. You get used to being anxious -- to letting your mind spin -- and, before you know it, you’ve got a stress disorder on your hands. I was wiped out that morning, physically and emotionally, from trying to fight the pain and the monkey mind. The water had grown cold again by 9:00 AM and I had just wanted to stretch out in my warm bed.

I got out of the tub, dried off, donned a pair of pajamas and put the kettle on so I could make a cup of mint tea. It was literally seconds before the second plane crashed when I had turned on the TV and was horrified by the image I saw -- that aircraft being slammed into tower one. I can’t remember my first thoughts. I don’t think I thought anything. I think I was just numb. When I finally came to my senses, I realized I was pacing the hallway between the living room and the bedroom, crying, trying to figure out what to do. Should I turn on the radio? Should I call Val? She would be at school. Or maybe not. Should I try to find out what happened on the internet? The small, dark hallway felt safe. I just paced, tears streaming down my face, for I’m not sure how long, wondering if bombs would starting raining down on me soon. The kettle blew at some point and at some point after that, I turned it off, I think. I don’t remember making tea, but I didn’t burn the building down, so I must have turned off the kettle. Eventually, I gravitated back to the TV.

I hated the circus when I was a little girl -- all those beautiful animals, angry at being confined in tiny cages. Tigers being whipped. Naturally graceful elephants being forced to do unnatural and graceless tricks. The exploitation was unbearable to me. The first and only time I ever went to a circus as a child, my father bought my brother and me everything we asked for to distract us -- popcorn, cotton candy, stuffed monkeys tethered to sticks to wave around -- and then finally gave up and took us home. I doubt we were in our seats more than 20 minutes. I wasn’t a whiney kid, but my father knew I was in distress. I didn’t care about the noise, though it was overwhelming. Or the smells. Or the crowds. It was the defenseless animals being made by stupid humans to behave in ways no animal was meant to behave that upset me. And I let my parents know it. “Why are they in cages?,” I asked them, over and over. “They don’t look happy,” I noticed aloud. “Why does he keep waving his whip at them? They’re in cages. They’re not going to hurt him,” I observed. Try as I might to imagine, what other horrors they had in store for the animals I couldn’t guess; none of it made sense to me. I grew anxious and fidgety. In my worldview then, humans were supposed to be the more evolved species and, therefore, the more compassionate. But here was proof that wasn’t true. I couldn’t reconcile my beliefs with my perceptions.

That unmistakable feeling of meshugaas I felt at the circus when I was five is the same feeling I had in my small, dark hallway September 11, 2001 -- pure, apprehensive confusion. I couldn’t then and still can’t reconcile my beliefs with the perceptions I was being given that day. Unbiased information I’ve received since then to support the observations I made that day has quelled the anxiety I have over 9/11 a bit, but The Show still goes on. There are still triggers reminding me of that day. You see, the strongest reaction I had that day wasn’t to the information that the U.S. was under attack; it was to the repeated and incessant re-broadcasts of the planes hitting the towers. Videos and stills were snatched up from tourists who just happened to be filming the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks and played over and over and over again, just to remind Americans how diabolical were our attackers. Each time I dared turn on the TV that day I saw them, and each time I saw them, I found myself screaming, “G_d damn it! Those are people dying -- not some fucking CGI.” I never hated the networks more than I did that day -- and I’ve hated them plenty since Reagan deregulated children’s television and began undermining the cognitive development of generations of America’s youngsters so that now we regularly have Columbine school shootings and our Congressmen call our young soldiers, so eager to humiliate and torture others, “sociopaths.” “Pimps. That’s all they are. Just soulless pimps,” I was reminded on September 11th, 2001. That was my first clue things were not as they appeared.

When I finally let myself watch the TV coverage of the evacuation and rescue fully I was incredulous. The first thing I noticed was that the towers -- both of them -- fell exactly the way buildings that are deliberately imploded fall. I dug out the picture my friend, Chester, had posed for that his friend had taken to deter rowdy patrons from tearing up the bathrooms at his club, Chet’s Last Call. In it, he’s seated in front of a window overlooking a building as it’s being imploded, a menacing look on his face, holding a cigarette between the first and second knuckles of his chubby right hand as he points directly into the camera lens. I can’t remember the tag line he was thinking of using when he gave me the print, explaining how he was going to have it made into a poster to put in the washrooms. I think it was his friend, Mondo, who had captured from the window of a nearby building the image of the Madison Hotel, which was next to the old Boston Garden, (now, the TD BankNorth Garden) the day it was imploded, May 15, 1983. Mondo had made the picture into a slide which he then projected onto the only finished wall in the loft where he and his wife, Martine, had lived in the not-yet-trendy Fort Point Channel area of Boston’s waterfront back in 1983. Chester had sat in front of the projected image while Mondo shot a very intimidating depiction of Chester’s incipient wrath. “Straight down. They fall straight down,” I confirmed. I waited and waited and waited for someone to start talking about remnants of bombs that had been found at the World Trade Center, such as the ones that we were told were planted by terrorists in the subbasement of those very buildings in 1993. “It couldn’t be,” I thought for days. But I waited in vain.

Over the course of the next few days, as network news stations rebroadcast coverage of the evacuation and then the rescue attempts and cleanup, I slowly realized why I wasn’t hearing about conventional bombs. If the media broadcast stories about bombs that had been used to take down the towers, people would start questioning who planted the bombs? They might start asking themselves things such as, “Why wouldn’t the attackers fly all of the planes into the Pentagon, their only secure target, where they couldn’t plant bombs?” Or, “Why would the attackers waste several airplanes after planting bombs in the towers which they set off only after flying the planes into the towers?“ Or, “If one airplane could take down one of towers, then why were bombs even needed?” That’s why no one was talking about the bombs.

In the years since 9/11, a small portion of Americans and citizens worldwide have learned from the designers and engineers who built the towers that the towers were constructed to be impact-resistant. If they had not been so constructed, the tops of the towers would have flown off and the remaining portions would have swayed violently, perhaps buckling, and fallen over on one side when struck by the planes. Instead, the twin towers fell straight down on 9/11. Bombs had to be used to take the towers down. We’ve also learned in suppressed and widely unavailable documentaries, such as 9/11 Mysteries -- Part I, The Great Conspiracy, 9/11 and the American Empire, the recent, much-hailed at Cannes Zero 9/11 and, of course, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911,(5) that another building in the World Trade Center complex, Building Number Seven, was imploded in a similar fashion that same day about 5:00 in the afternoon. Major news outlets and networks (the same news outlets and networks that announced Bush president in the 2000 election before it was even over) have been remarkably silent about all of these things, as though they were assisting in the coverup of this massive deception. The colliding planes were “overkill,” an effect used to distract us all, the witnesses of this, America’s Reichstag Fire, from looking at what really happened. The planes were a cover for the bombing.

The 2002 Whodunnit, Gosford Park,(6) poses exactly the same type of inquiry about the murder of Michael Gambon’s character, Sir William McCordle. Long before the movie came out, I started asking my friends, “Hey -- have you seen footage of the evacuation and the World Trade Center towers falling?” Then, casually, when they affirmed, I’d prompt, “Looks weird, doesn’t it?,” hoping for a discussion about what I felt sure would be our mutual observations. Each person I asked invariably shifted uncomfortably, averted his or her eyes and changed the subject or walked away from me. Frank discussions of our observations have never taken place. Ridiculous in their illogic, the perceptions we were given on September 11th seemed to suffice as evidence of the story being crafted by our government’s leaders, a story just as illogical as those perceptions. Masses of us, in our confusion and anger, bought the delusion. Masses more, in our pain, consciously refused to scrutinize what we experienced.

In Gosford Park, one guileless but perceptive visiting housemaid, played by Kelly McDonald, susses out the culprit responsible for McCordle’s death and learns it’s actually two people who “killed” him: one, with a knife for revenge, and another -- the actual killer -- who used poison first, to provide a cover for the vengeful killer whom we learn at the end of the film is the real killer’s illegitimate son with McCordle. The “overkill” gave away the fact that two “killers” were involved. Mrs. Wilson, the head housekeeper, played by Helen Mirren, wanted only to protect her son, a visiting valet named Robert Parks, played by the dishy Clive Owen, whom she recognized by name when he attended a shooting party at the McCordle estate, and whom she suspected had arrived to exact revenge for himself and his mother, whom the valet was told had died shortly after giving birth to him. Mrs. Wilson poisons McCordle before her son can stab him. After explaining her reason for doing so -- her modus operandi -- to the visiting housemaid, Mary Maceachran, a/k/a, “Miss Trentham,” Mrs. Wilson tells Miss Trentham how she knew her intervention was necessary: “What gift do you think separates a good servant from the rest? It’s the gift of anticipation. And I’m a good servant. I’m better than good; I’m the best. I’m the perfect servant.” Mrs. Wilson kills in order to protect the investment she made 30-some-odd years before McCordle’s murder -- the investment in her son’s life, which she has saved from the hangman’s noose by killing McCordle before her son can.

The overkill means something. The overkill means a great deal of at least anticipation presaged the kill. That seemingly inexplicable look on Bush’s face as he sat in a primary school classroom in Florida, when Andrew Card, his Chief of Staff, told him that planes had been highjacked and the country was under attack? Not so inexplicable. It’s anticipation. Notice the way his eyes shift around like Mrs. Wilson’s when she’s about to serve Sir William his poisonous coffee in Gosford Park. That’s because Bush is not a public servant; he’s a party servant. And he’s not just a good servant; he’s better than good. He’s the best. He’s the perfect party servant. Fascists in the Republican party, as we now know,(7) were looking for any excuse to invade Iraq, limit Americans’ civil rights and give the president -- whomever he or she may be -- a means to institute martial law, all for the sake of empire building. America needed its own Riechstag Fire, the Business Party decided, and Bush was just the servant to do the job. That’s why the Republicans installed him in the Oval Office as Commander-in-Chief.

Days, weeks, months and now years have gone by and no one has talked about the bombs -- well, no one courted by the mass media. Poison and stabbing. Planes and bombs. Combining the two methods doesn’t make sense, unless you look carefully at what you’re seeing -- unless you see the anticipation. Unless you see the real killer. But since we were being distracted by the rebroadcast of the spectacle and its aftermath, and since we’ve been indulging our rage by pursuit of an illogically mounted war, since we have been participating as duped witnesses in our perception management, we haven’t taken the chance to carefully look at what we have been seeing -- a cover story by the real murderers concocted from a seemingly extremely opportune event for them. That’s why we didn’t hear about the bombs -- because they weren’t planted by terrorists this time; they were planted by the people who took down Building Number Seven on September 11th, 2001. They were planted by those who’ve benefitted the most from 9/11 -- the fascists who control our government. The overkill gives them away.

I put away Chester’s picture and stopped asking questions.

* * * * *

People -- large numbers of them, even -- still believe the U.S. invaded Iraq because of 9/11. It still makes me catch my breath when I think about them. A manager at a Radio Shack near my apartment told me just a few months ago the U.S. went to war in Iraq because of 9/11. When I pointed out to him that even Bush had denied that, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, whatever the reason, all I know is I don’t want my wife wearing a veil.” I’m gasping just remembering the exchange. He had a thick Haitian accent, so it wasn’t as if he was unfamiliar with government oppression and political unrest, I realized. In fact, he was probably acutely aware of what happens to people who don’t “go along to get along.” After all, it can’t be that people like the Radio Shack manager live in caves and haven’t heard Bush say -- as he certainly did, several months after the invasion began, of course -- that we really went to Iraq to liberate Iraqis from the despot, Saddam Hussein, and Saddam’s (then widely confirmed non-existent) weapons of mass destruction, thereby exonerating the Iraqi people of any culpability for 9/11. Some people don’t even know that none of the hijackers were Iraqi. Victims of their own prejudice, they act as though they believe all Arabs are the same. Whatever the reason is good enough reason for them to watch their government invade a sovereign nation and kill masses of innocent people.

The curious thing about people like the Radio Shack manager, though, is that, for as ill-informed as they are about the true reasons our government does what it pleases around the world, they’re well-informed about how to show their support of that same government -- and not just on every 9/11 anniversary, but also by, for example, honoring firefighters like the brave public servants who were also murdered that day with their loyal weekly viewership of a TV show about firefighters and their support for occasional benefits coordinated by the series’ leading actor, Denis Leary. They demonstrate unfailing willingness to be inculcated with all of the government’s messages, in fact, about patriotism -- that it’s noble to serve in Iraq because Americans have always served in the armed forces to fight tyrants around the world, like Sadam Hussein; that to not do so is to help the “evil-doers,” to be “against us” because you’re not “for us.” That’s exactly what Hitler said of the family, friends and associates of the July 20th Conspirators -- people who, evidence seems to indicate, had little or no knowledge of the Conspirators’ plans. Those in quasi-public service wear the American flag like a swastika on their uniforms, from postal workers to public transit workers. They get the same information the rest of us do, though clearly they are focused on the hyperbole, not the hypotheses. Hyperbole takes no thought; hypotheses do.

Lies told to delude others are bad enough, but the ones people such as Americans like the Radio Shack manager choose to tell themselves are really pernicious because with each instance they wear their swagged suits and uniforms, with each recitation of the now desecrated National Anthem in which they participate at a sporting event, with each “God Bless America” bumper sticker (subtitled by implication, “And No One Else”) they install on their SUVs, they are helping to craft the perception created by the monsters who have killed their fellow Americans that our country is somehow vindicated in its mass murder of more than a million innocent Americans, Iraqis and Allies. They choose to be naifs even though they’re given the same chance to be contemplative witnesses that the rest of us have. Whatever the reason,” they tell themselves. In exchange, they receive the privilege of not being carried off -- literally or metaphorically -- to a concentration camp to be exterminated. Will we ever know the names and numbers of Americans and others who’ve been imprisoned in the secrete CIA prisons around the world? I doubt it; if that were possible, we’d be hearing about all the victims of the FBI’s still much used COINTELPRO(8) programs -- of all the victims of their gangstalkers here on American soil.

I wasn’t surprised when documentaries began to pop up on YouTube about how our government was either complicit in the bombings, or actually did them. They’ve been shown regularly by When one considers how fascists have historically used, or concocted, events as a premise to wage war, both complicity and culpability scenarios look entirely possible to believe. Hitler said the bigger the lie you tell, the more people will believe it. He began World War II by invading Poland in September of 1939, after falsely claiming Poland had attacked Germany. And remember the Maine? “Remember the Maine; to hell with Spain!” Sounds like, “We will never forget,” doesn’t it? Perhaps instead of using it as a rallying cry for American patriotism, Americans should have uttered it as a reminder of what unbridled power does in its pursuits. Say it like this: “Remember -- the Maine.”

The Maine(10) was an American warship that America had coerced Spanish-controlled Cuba into allowing into Havana harbor in January of 1898. Approximately three weeks later, on February 15th, the ship -- one of the first steel-sided ships, a naval command ship -- blew up, killing 254 sailors and wounding another 59. Eyewitnesses said that the ship had not been fired upon, though the United States insisted it had been blown up in an attack (initially under fire and then, when no witnesses could be produced to verify this, eventually, by an underwater mine). Initial crude investigations led by the Spanish concluded the ship had blown up due to some internal, possibly mechanical, failure, such as an overstocked magazine too close in proximity to the boiler room. The day after the event, however -- before the Spanish could conduct a full investigation -- then Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, preemptively said the world would never know what had caused the ship to blow up and had the ship’s wreckage towed out of Cuba. Very curious. The result was the Spanish-American war and, ultimately, U.S. expansion into the Caribbean, which prompted the Cuban revolution. Detractors of the “conspiracy theories” that allege American involvement in the bombing of the Maine point to the fact that America had not been ready to go to war then -- that Congress had to provide $50 million for the war effort -- but people who even then thought Roosevelt’s proclamation a curious rush to judgment cite this grant and the subsequent U.S. expansion as the pudding that proves the theory America was responsible for the bombing of the Maine. General Smedley D. Butler, USMC, talks very candidly in his 1935 book, War is a Racket,(11) about his having run military campaigns to pacify opposition to U.S. expansionism throughout the Caribbean and Latin America at the time of the Maine bombing on behalf of U.S. business interests.

No one alive today can remember the bombing of the Maine. What we can remember -- what a few of us alive now can remember living through -- are certain government-orchestrated “theater,” such as Germany’s Reichstag fire, and the events they provoked, World War II. Germans were told the Reichstag fire was set by citizens -- their fellow citizens -- categorized by their government as being a couple of those 16 types of so-called inferior people about which I began this essay discoursing. At first, the Nazi government told German citizens that communists were responsible for trying to burn down the seat of their government. Three men, all members of the Communist party, were summarily arrested, one of whom, Marinus van der Lubbe, had been found, shirtless and semi-conscious, at the scene of the fire, February 27, 1933. Then they were branded as trade unionists. The story told to different groups of Germans emphasized different aspects of political activism in which the men were involved depending upon to whom it was being told. If to Germans who were party members, it was the Communists who were demonized. If to capitalists, it was the trade unionists who were scapegoated. In 1990, Gestapo records surfaced indicating it was the Nazis themselves who had set the fire -- a group of at least three SA led by Hans Georg Gewehr.(12) van der Lubbe, the only one to be found guilty, was beheaded. Selected by David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest(13) and editor of the Best Essays of 2007(14) for inclusion in that volume, Marione Ingram’s piece, “Operation Gomorrah,“ recounts in exquisitely painful detail the author’s horrifying experience of being firebombed by the Allies as a teenager during World War II. The firebombing she and her mother barely survived took place at the end of the war, more than a full decade after Hitler came to power, a rise to power that wasn’t spontaneous and wasn’t without sacrifice -- a lot of sacrifice, as we know. Ingram’s recollection calls to mind the wholly unnecessary bombing by the Allies of Dresden and should give everyone pause to reflect on the futility of war. Historian Howard Zinn, himself a World War II pilot, often reminds us that fascism didn’t end when the Allies defeated Hitler, just as it didn’t begin with the Third Reich’s invasion of Poland. War is the aftermath of military provocation -- be it genuine, or trumped up -- and provocation happens slowly, over time, usually with a lot of saber rattling and the conditioning with religious, jingoistic, or nationalist propaganda about the necessity of the sacrifice of those whose lives are required to prosecute it.

With the Reichstag Fire, German citizens were being conditioned to anticipate their need to wage war (as it turned out, almost everywhere on the globe except the United States). The Nazis also used this act of terrorism as the excuse to get rid of potential opponents -- people known to live by their consciences, such as people of faith, and thinking people, such as teachers and clergy members -- so that they could wage their battles and build their empire with little hindrance. They passed the Reichstag Fire Act, which suspended certain civil liberties of all Germans, and then the Enabling Act, which gave the Chancellor -- at the time, Adolf Hitler -- carte blanch to act without the involvement of parliament for four years, an act Hitler himself extended, thereby disposing of Paul von Hindenburg, Germany’s president, and making Hitler supreme leader of Germany. The rest is, as they say, history.

The events that presaged the invasion of Iraq could be seen all around us before 9/11, not the least of which was the first Gulf War waged by George H.W. Bush. That invasion, too, began under what remain questionable circumstances and for variable reasons -- Iraq allegedly attacked Kuwait, our ally, under circumstances that have been called “baiting;” Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against thousand of Kurds in northern Iraq -- which no one denies, but which seems a flimsy excuse for protracted occupation when one considers that the occupying country has a history of training terrorists(15) who have killed hundreds of thousands of Central Americans. The lack of correlation between the events of 9/11 and anything happening in Iraq at the time of the U.S. invasion, as well as the lack of provocation by Iraq to spur the U.S. to declare war against it, and the subsequent passage of the Patriot Act and other odious restrictions on the freedoms and rights of Americans is telling. The initial events are largely unseen, but if we open our eyes and think about what we can see, instead of reacting out of fear by ignoring those events and circumstances that look a bit odd which we can discern, we can detect the worrisome pattern of lies that emerges as fascists take control of governments and seek to build their empires through conquest. Fascism is here.

So, let’s regroup. First, it was plane-hijacking attackers; then, it was the undifferentiated Arab plane-hijacking attackers; then, it was a slippery Arab prince from the House of Saud commanding undifferentiated Arab plane-hijacking terrorists; then, it was his fundamentalist Arab minions in Iraq who were terrorizing everyone; then, it was fundamentalist Arab terrorists in Iraq said to be led, but not really led, by a madman who had, but didn’t really have, weapons of mass destruction; then it was the slippery Arab prince again last seen skulking about carpeted caves in Afghanistan, leading a worldwide organization of slippery undifferentiated Arab minions acting as terrorists -- oh -- and everyone who’s not with the Bush Administration, of course -- who are the terrorists working to overthrow our government so they can turn it into a theocracy (such as the one Bush’s right-wing neocon supporters have worked to turn this country into based on a perverted form of Christianity that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the teachings of Jesus, ironically). Whew. And then we learned the real terrorists weren’t even in the Middle East, as we were originally told. They were right here all along, in America, being monitored by the National Security Agency just as all of us and our conversations have been for decades.(16) That’s because our fascist leaders needed one more lie -- a lie to close down America’s once open society. That’s when our own supreme commander enacted his own versions of the Reichstag Fire Act and the Enabling Act, to close any loopholes in the laws denying Americans their civil rights left open by the fascists who preceded him in office.

The Patriot Act takes away the rights of citizens to speak, and therefore, associate freely. Presidential Directive 51 allows the president to declare martial law in any state or territory of the United States (which is hardly necessary) and the John Warner Defense Act allows Congress to station the military in those same places as it wishes without consulting the people who live there, or their representatives for whatever reason it deems necessary. Congress is the same branch of government that authorized the invasion of Iraq at the behest of one of the other two branches, the executive. The power to enforce unjust laws and policies that is exerted by two out of the three branches of government is mob power. Andrew Jackson knew how effective gaming the system is; that’s why he used the might of the judiciary, the military, to overrule the wisdom of judiciary, as expressed by Justice John Marshall when Justice Marshall found in favor of the Cherokees in the lawsuit against the government the Cherokees mounted to stay on their lands. Land and mineral speculators wanted the Cherokee nation removed from mineral-rich Georgia in the early 19th century and Old Hickory was happy to accommodate them. The result was the “trail of tears” and the genocide of Cherokee citizens of this country. This atrocity should have taught us that if we allow bad men to hold positions of power they will game the system so that whatever protections of checks and balances is supposed to be in place will be meaningless, but apparently, it didn’t. Many of the same people who voted to invade Iraq still hold their Congressional seats today. The “founding fathers” would be appalled by our apathy.

Three of them -- Alexander Hamilton, James Madison’s and John Jay -- wrote a series of essays that were published separately in New York area newspapers in 1787 in order to sway New Yorkers to vote for a federal constitution -- a document that united the colonies as one permanent country. In them, these men regale the wisdom of virtuous men over and over again -- so much so that when you read these 85 essays, collected today in a volume known as The Federalist Papers,(17) you get the distinct impression that they believed much, much less in the system they were creating than they believed in our will to take care to elect worthy men and remove, if necessary, those who proved themselves unworthy. They placed all of their hopes for a free nation not on the novel form of republic they had devised, but rather, on the belief that we would never allow unworthy men to control our collective fate. Alexander Hamilton, writing in Federalist Paper No. 9, qualified the chosen body of citizens we elect to represent us in the following way: “. . . as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters. This is their caution to us to make certain worthy men -- men who don’t tamper with, or allow others to tamper with, the vote -- are the only type of men we allow to represent us. “It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests [of the landed and the manufacturing classes, etc.] and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm,” wrote James Madison, author of Federalist Paper No. 10. He goes on to denounce the mob rule that would result from the institution of a democracy and writes of the men that he knew perfectly well would seek public office, “Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people.” In Madison’s view, the type of men in whom we should put our trust, the type we should elect for office is “. . . a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.” Madison, arguing in favor of a constitutional republic instead of a democracy, assures us that only in creating this republic can we be assured of “the enlargement and refinement” of the debates over issues pertaining to all citizens. Has that the type of representation we’ve had?

There’s an old Irish proverb my older sister told me when I was five that seems appropriate to recall here: “Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear.” We may live in a democracy today, but it is not the form of government in which our Founding Fathers believed we should live since it doesn’t represent us all.

* * * * *

What I remember about 9/11 -- what is a lasting memory for me about the bombing of the World Trade Center Towers -- isn’t any perception manipulation that was done to me that day, per se -- the repetitive images of planes crashing into towers. What I remember is that my perceptions were being manipulated. There was a lot of noise and chaos and stuff I wanted no part of, stuff I wanted to get away from, like that day at the circus, but instead, I was told I had to watch it, had to participate in it by lending it my attention so that it could be validated, like theater -- so that it could exist as the spectacle it was, like the circus. One image would have been more than sufficient. Come on. Admit it. If you saw a plane crash into a building right now, you wouldn’t need to see it over and over and over again. It’s not as if you’d ever forget it. It’s not like you would ever say, “Hmm. Forgot to fill out my timesheet last Tuesday. Now, what was I doing that day? Oh, yeah. Got down on my hands and knees and crawled out of the city in a storm of debris and smoke and dust from towers that were blown up a few blocks away from where I was picking up my morning latte. Guess I better put that under ‘Admin.’” You’d remember seeing a plane hit a skyscraper -- trust me -- even if you only saw it once on TV or your iPhone.

People died on September 11th, 2001 -- and they were dying over and over and over again, each time those images were broadcast that day and ever afterwards. It’s not as if the second time those images were broadcast those deaths became somehow unreal. Or the third. Victims didn’t walk away from the Towers that day to reboard more planes which were subsequently driven into the Towers again. People died. And every time those images were shown, we were seeing them die all over again. We were reminded of the frantic minutes and seconds in which passengers tried to call their loved ones from their cell phones, or perhaps clasped the hands of the passengers next to them before the impact to look into the eyes of the last human beings they would ever see.

That repetition was done for a reason: to inflame your passion; to make you angry; to provoke a sense of revenge in you, a sense of comradeship with those rescuing the survivors and going off to “protect” our country from unknown terrorists in -- and this is key -- the Middle East. And it was done to distract you, to distract you from looking at what you were seeing. The victims were murdered and now they are gone. First, they were alive and then, minutes later, after impacting the glass walls of the towers, they were dead. You feel it each time you see it. Alive now. Dead now. Alive with all of life’s possibilities and hopes and disappointments and vibrancy pumping through their veins and then, dead. Nothing. You feel it. Even if you can’t see each individual writhing in pain, you feel an empathy -- your own private pain -- because you know that’s what they must be experiencing.

That pain is hard to bear. It’s exhausting to endure. It makes you turn away. It makes you seek out some distraction. Believe me; I know how pain warps your reality and emotional pain is as isolating as is physical pain. Hundreds of individual worlds of accomplishment, talent, dreams -- no two alike at even the smallest molecular level -- alive one minute, dead the next. Same with the victims who were in the towers. You feel it, over and over again -- until you’re begging for something else to feel, and that’s when you get angry. You feel the pain, of course, unless you’re a sociopath -- unless you have no ability whatever to empathize with others, no ability to imagine your own demise. Anyone so callous they could casually watch others die -- and watch them die over and over again, and profit in who knows what ways from rebroadcasting those deaths -- is capable of anything, including the absolute worst of motivations -- that they, themselves, participated in the killing of all those people deliberately, anticipating the blood lust that would result for whomever were decried as the perpetrators. Fascist leaders decry others as perpetrators of their crimes. That’s a perk of being a fascist leader -- having the power to say whatever you want as though it were the Gospel truth and have others take it as such. You get to lie and be taken at your word, whether or not that word is true. They create our pain and then they manipulate it. Our pain is their gain.

Some leaders experience the world that way -- egocentrically, as though only their wants and needs and utterances matter; untouchable; immortal, like we’re told North Korea’s leader feels -- or felt, rather, until his stroke last Monday. Bet he feels differently today. Those leaders are sociopaths.(18) Lying about their victimization is the primary way they distinguish themselves from the rest of us as the sociopaths they are -- by getting us to validate their victimization while they stab us in the back. My vote for the most likely of them to be sociopaths would be the fascist leaders of the world’s lone “superpower,” today’s ‘Fourth’ Reich, the governors of the United States of America That’s one exclusive club to belong to, isn’t it? Being a member of it has got to give the wrong sort of person a big head, wouldn’t you think? Bush. Cheney. Rice. Rumsfeld. Ashcroft. The biggest mass murderers in history.

I think the victims of 9/11 and their families -- and, indeed, all of us -- deserve the truth about 9/11 and the fascists in control of our government who created it. I don’t think the victims -- and their families, in particular -- deserve to be pimped for the unholy and godless designs of our fascist government leaders, who include Rudy Guiliani. At the time of the World Trade Center bombings, Guiliani had presidential aspirations and sycophantically stated on national television, “All I can say is thank God George Bush is in the White House.” He fancies himself the perfect party servant, too. I will always think that because I will never forget. I got the message. It might not have been the one I was supposed to get, but it’s the truest one that any thinking, feeling person could get. I know the victims of the World Trade Center bombings and their families won’t get the justice they deserve, though, and neither will we -- so long as our unholy and godless leaders, regardless of party affiliation, are the fascists they have proven themselves to be.

* * * * *

Is Barack Obama any different? Is he talking about removing from power the fascists who control our government? The sociopaths who created 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq? Criminals employed by corporations(19) (such as those who profited on 9/11 and continue to profit from the invasion) who gangstalk and terrorize law-abiding citizens, including their employees,(20) just as the FBI has always done to people of conscience -- is he talking about them? Attorney Brian Glick proved in his 1989 book, War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It,(21) with the FBI’s own declassified documents that’s exactly what the FBI did to political activists in the 1960s, the 1980s and, apparently, still do today, with their “Special Surveillance Groups,”(22) despite the fact that Congress (falsely, as it turns out) assured the American public the FBI no longer uses COINTELPRO(23) on American citizens. Is Obama talking about getting rid of the FBI? Reforming it with a 1:1 ratio of Eliot Ness-like Untouchables to field agents working behind a Chinese Wall? No, even though the only difference now from protesters such as civil rights activists who opposed the Jim Crow laws of the South and protesters today, such as the now curiously invisible anti-globalization movement, is that today’s protesters are stalked, terrorized, intimidated and oppressed with powerful technologies and tactics that isolate them from others and track all their movements and associations without fail -- technologies and tactics developed by our military, with our tax dollars.

This is what Sen. Frank Church (D, VA) said long before The Patriot Act was passed: “If this government ever became a tyranny” (his archaic colloquialism for ‘fascist’) “. . . the technological capacity that the intelligence community” (that’s private industry, that intelligence community) “has given the government (in an allegiance that can only be described as fascist) could enable it to impose total tyranny and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government . . . is within the reach of the government to know.” That technology, and training in those tactics, is in the hands of today’s Pinkerton guards right now. Anyone can buy some of it from on their “revenge” page. It’s inescapable, government oppression. There is no opposition. There can’t be. It’s just not possible now. I’m the opposition and I’ve been oppressed in ways that would make you run, screaming for your passport, to hear about. ‘Look at all the antiwar protesters,’ you say? Look at all the ineffective antiwar protesters, I say.

We had a “war,” a “war” that’s run the entire time this administration has been in power and then some -- officially, more than a year longer than World War II, though it actually began administrations ago.(25) But it wasn’t a war. War is what our constitution sanctions against other sovereign nations when we are attacked by them. Iraq did not attack us any more than Poland attacked Nazi Germany to start World War II. We invaded it, thanks to our Congress -- every one of whom that voted for the invasion should have been immediately recalled therefor, Ms. Clinton included. Invasion of another sovereign nation by our government is unconstitutional. As such, it’s illegal. Every true antiwar protester -- or I should say, anti-invasion protester -- knows these things. But true antiwar protesters weren’t leading the opposition to Bush and his cabal. More on that later. I didn’t go to a prep school; I went to a few ordinary public high schools, but I learned at one of them in a public speaking class -- the public school version of debate in the 1970s -- that the person who defines the terms of the debate wins it. Always.

Think my objection to the use of the word, “war,” to describe what we’re doing in Iraq is a pointless, overly academic observation? Think it’s just semantics? Then you need to acquaint yourself with exactly how the lawyers who run this country have limited your freedom, have worked to strip you of your constitutional rights, using “semantics.” Start with Daniel A. Farber’s, Retained by the People: The “Silent” Ninth Amendment and the Constitutional Rights Americans Don’t Know They Have.(26) Bill and Hillary are lawyers. Remember, “That depends on what the meaning of is, is?” Lawyers are paid to craft the perceptions of others, and Bill and Hillary are lawyers. And they -- and every other politician -- are not paid by you, the taxpayer, when they’re elected to office but by their corporate paymasters, the business interests who contribute to their campaigns. Those are the entities who ensure the careers of people like the Clintons. They are all party servants, not public servants, and the party they serve is the only party that exists in America today -- the business party. That’s what makes them fascists.

The U.S. illegally(27) invaded a sovereign nation not for the purpose of national defense but to make rich those who benefit from prosecuting and cleaning up military interventions and those who usurp the natural resources of the conquered territory, including the strategic position of its geographic location. I have to believe that no American “patriot” would have supported the invasion of Iraq if he or she were told that’s what we were really going into Iraq to do (though I once met a man at a peace vigil who assailed me with assurances that it was just in our “nature” to conquer others before they conquered us, like our closest genetic primate relatives do; apparently, he was unaware that our closest genetic primate relative, the Bonobo, is an embarrassingly (ahem) “peace-loving” species, and that what millennia of human development ostensibly enabled us to conquer was actually our human “nature,” not each other). Ergo, we had a “war.” Perception is the reality. Why is it me, and not those heading the so-called anti-war movement who is making these observations? Your perception that there is an honest and working -- a “free” -- opposition to all of the fascists who have brought you The Show that is the sham democracy of America is as contrived as your perceptions that Arab terrorists piloting jets on 9/11 took down the World Trade Center towers. That’s why.

Barack Obama may be no different than Bill, Hillary or Bush and his cabal. He’s a lawyer, too, with a sheepskin from one of the most fascist institutions in the country, one where its former president brutally fired one of the most brilliant and courageous thinkers of our time, Dr. Cornell West. The official reason for West’s dismissal -- that he was guilty of grade inflation and canceling classes for three weeks -- was fully rebutted by Dr. West and others in his book, Democracy Matters,(28) in which is revealed some of the narrow-minded prejudice held by the Harvard Corporation’s Board of Trustees’ former candidate of choice for the presidency of Harvard University. Is Obama talking about a “Draft at the Top” bill, one where instead of the poor, often minority children who are always recruited first to go to war, the children of Congresspersons, cabinet members and the Commander-in-Chief are recruited first? No. He’s got two daughters. A “Department of Anti-Fascism,” where the line between public and private interests that has completely and utterly disappeared -- so that now average Americans are expected to pass government security clearance to work at privately-held public relations companies or software engineering corporations, whether or not they are directly involved in government contracts -- is restored? Absolutely not. His fellow alumni and campaign contributors wouldn’t stand for it; they are the captains of industry, after all. He won’t tell you about the very real “Shadowrun-”like(29) civil war Americans are being recruited to engage in against their more law-abiding, more patriotic fellow Americans, even though -- or perhaps because -- it’s been going on for decades, since the KKK was created in 1865, at least, spreading to every segment of society and pursued by our own government agencies, such as the FBI.

Obama wants to create unity. “It’s time for Americans to come together,” he tells us in his campaign speeches. “Yes -- we can.” Obama’s a “uniter,” like Bush said he was when he was stumping for the White House. G_d help us. Looks like nothing unites people like fascism. (And of just how much disunity is the next potential leader of the country aware anyway that he has to make a campaign platform out of it, I wonder? What appeasement is he prepared to make to those of us who oppose the fascists in control of our government? Non-violent co-conspirators unite!) Obama wants to be elected -- elected to the most powerful position in the world. He’s not going to risk alienating the votes he needs by telling Americans the country’s a sham democracy. McGovern essentially did that and, with the most brilliant ideas for changing this country for the better and an engaging and articulate persona, he couldn’t win the White House. There’s actually a name for this campaign phenomenon -- candidates not talking about the real problems that confront Americans. It’s called the “McGovern principle.” That’s why the only thing we hear from candidates during their campaigns is empty rhetoric and slogans.

Think these issues will be moot when America’s current monsters are out of the White House? Think again. I’m not saying, ‘Don’t vote for Obama.’ Like millions of other Americans, I started sending him checks after he spoke at the Democratic National Committee’s convention in 2004. I’ve got the holiday cards that arrived each Kwanza since then to prove it. The notion of John McCain being president is unthinkable because he’s a pimp if ever there was one, still whoring the fact he was a prisoner of the Vietnamese for five measly years while the prisoners of this country’s many-decades-long bioweapon development programs, such as Gulf War Vets, are completely voiceless and hidden, reified by government researchers such as Garth Nicolson,(30) and dying agonizingly slow deaths, or committing suicide, denied by our leaders as even existing, just as were their cancer-ridden, Agent Orange bombed and LSD-drugged predecessors. There used to be a time in America when our politicians were dignified, and honest, and respected those who gave their lives in service to our country and weren’t murderers of Americans, or fascists. But didn’t Bill Clinton promise us change, too?

The gender gap in pay disparity increased nearly the entire two terms Clinton was president, at a time of unprecedented economic growth. Not the change I was looking for, Bill. He signed a law to prevent immigrants from coming into this country unless they had identification. Can you imagine Elian Gonzales being turned back in his raft off the coast of Miami because he didn’t have an i.d.? Clinton signed tax laws making it nearly impossible for 501(3)(c) corporations (non-profits) to advocate on behalf of individuals whose civil rights have been abused -- people who can’t afford legal representation to pursue enforcement of those abridged rights. He granted “Most Favored Nation” trade status to China with the specter of Tiananmen Square still fresh in our minds, after implying he would never do so. “No Child Left Behind,” conceived of by Clinton’s administration and signed into law the second year of Bush II’s administration, mandates ROTC training in schools that receive federal funding and unless you opt out of their recruitment campaigns, your child will even be coerced and cajoled into enlisting by ROTC personnel on his or her way to class, if that’s the only face time a recruiter can get with him or her. Employers got unprecedented rights -- legal rights -- to control the lives of their employees by, for example, creating false personnel files, the existence of which they are not bound by law to inform their employees, files which could be contrived and used to fire those employees. Employers today can also invade the privacy of their employees by filming those employees while they go to the bathroom, in the stalls -- all while Bill was president. Did he do anything about these things? He’s a lawyer, isn’t he? No, he didn’t, but Human Rights Watch in Belgium did. They wrote a report on the disappearance of the civil and human rights of Americans in the workplace in 1993 which, itself, has disappeared, interestingly enough. Maybe Bill was too busy feeling my pain, or something, to cotton on to that. His “Welfare-to-Work” programs increased homelessness, homeless experts(31) agree. His Attorney General, Janet Reno, pursued a program(32) conceived of in the Bush I administration that preceded Clinton’s which gave so-called non-lethal weapons developed by the military and the CIA, such as the “Dazzler”(33) microwave gun now being used in Iraq, to local law enforcement agencies across the country and innocent civilians(34) have died at police hands because of them. Thanks, Bubba. Who can forget, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?” Isn’t that just the same as, “stay in your place?” In April of 1996, he signed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which withdraws funding for post-conviction defender organizations at a time when the entire justice system has earned the scrutiny and contempt of the nation for executing on a regular basis innocent, largely black, men. And he did one of the most brazenly hypocritical things any one person has ever had the cojones to do in public or out -- he promised all African-American men -- particularly those who survived this country’s militarily-conducted, still largely secret program to research in unsuspecting African-American citizens tertiary syphilis when effective treatments for it had been available for more than 20 years -- even more research after giving those survivors his personal -- not any type of government-backed -- apology, as well as an apology on behalf of you, the citizens of America, who had nothing to do with these human rights crimes. Remember Tuskegee? Remember the 30th “anniversary” Rose Garden scene of the revelation of Tuskegee that was produced by the Clinton episode of The Show? Can I get an “eew” on that? I understand that Bill Clinton balanced the budget, and that he enacted a law requiring Congress to pay for any new discretionary expenses they wanted with monies already in the budget, which meant slashing Medicaid and Medicare to pay for militarizing local law enforcement. But Pay/Go expired in 2002. Bush II did not renew it. No wonder the Republican-controlled congress in Clinton’s administration passed his legislation; they knew he was a great Republican right out of the starting gate since he promised to limit the effect of his good work to his administration only by limiting the life of the legislation that made it possible. I’m happy the country had a surplus at the end of his administration, but I’m not happy that that surplus was used to fund the wars waged by the succeeding administration -- that it was just given to defense contractors. That’s just wealth transfer at the expense of the elderly and disabled, our society’s most vulnerable citizens. That’s what you are paying for with your taxes -- wealth transfer from the poor to the rich.

* * * * *

One (OK -- a few) more word(s) about this particular episode of The Show.

Pierce Brosnan. Denzel. Richard Gere. Daniel Day-Lewis. Andy Garcia (be still, my beating heart). George Clooney. Gabriel Byrne. Ken Watanabe. Always, Warren Beatty. David -- grrr -- Bowie. Hell -- even Robert DeNiro, with his fetching little mole and soft brown eyes. If Joe Strummer was alive, he’d be on this roster, too, and, for that matter, so would Bob Marley, the only stoner in history to be completely magnetic from head to toe. He was skin and bones but still luscious. How’d he do that? In a couple more decades, you can add Leonardo DiCaprio; Will Smith; Christian Bale; Adam Beach; Lenny Kravitz; Colin Farrel; Djimon Hounsou; Johnny Depp; John Leguizamo and Brad Pitt to it, but Bill Clinton never could and never would make it onto it. That’s because it’s the roster -- albeit, abbreviated -- of gorgeous middle-aged men in the public eye. Gregory Peck was an octogenarian when he died in 2003, but I’d add him to it because he looked middle-aged; remember his role in The Milagro Bean Field Wars?

These are spectacularly fine men -- the kind of men who make legions of women swoon. The kind of men we talk about. The kind of men we want. And we know it. We don’t care if Pierce can’t carry a tune; all we want is for him to take off his shirt and flash those sparkly blue eyes at us. Croon away, baby. The main thing the nation -- especially, it’s women -- was told about Bill Clinton when he began his bid for the White House was how handsome, how charismatic, how charming, how sexually alluring he was; basically, how justifiable it would be to add that fat, doughy, pasty, classless, oily pander’s name to our first roster. Go ahead -- read the names again. I know you want to. Add your own names to them both, if you’d like, if you’re reading a hard copy of this blog. (Viggo.) I’ll wait. [This is ground control to Major Tom. You’ve really made the grade . . .] OK -- done now? Shall we continue? Thinking about Bill Clinton, yet? No. Of course you’re not. Why would you be? But listening to the contrived flak about Bill back when he was running for president you would have thought that he was working harder in the boudoir fantasies of America’s women than Sealy Posturepedics.

Let me be clear. Bill Clinton is not now, nor has he ever been (just ask my friends), nor will he ever be, my idea of a sexual fantasy. He’s not mine, and he’s probably not the fantasy of any woman you actually know (or yours, if you’re a woman, or a gay guy). He’s certainly not Hillary Clinton’s, apparently, and who can blame her? I doubt he’s even Monica Lewinsky’s.(35) I think Gennifer Flowers lied -- because Clinton’s handlers paid her to. Let’s be honest, here, folks -- if Bill hadn’t been, first, a lawyer, then, governor of Arkansas and then, President, he wouldn’t have been able to get laid in a women’s prison with a handful of pardons. He’s that repulsive. Always has been. Now, my beloved quipped to me once, “I’m the ugliest man in the world . . . but I’m OK with that,” as he shrugged his shoulders and scanned the ‘Irish racing results’ (the Sunday obituaries). Of course, I had to chuckle -- as much because of his humility as his jocularity. It warmed my heart. He’s whiter than porcelain, nearly completely bald, paunchy, has no arse, a huge head, a pigeon chest and bad teeth, but he’s adorable to me -- because of his humility and his jocularity, because of, essentially, his ability to be self-deprecating in a disarmingly charming way. I find that sexy. He doesn’t believe it, but I’m pretty sure there are plenty of women who, given the chance, would feel the same way about him. Bill Clinton has none of these attributes.

Not to beat a dead horse, or anything, but you know who’s kinda funny lookin’? You do, if you’ve ever watched the movie, Fargo.(36) If somebody ever said to me, “Surprise! You’ve won lunch with either Bill Clinton or the celebrity of your choice,” I’d pick Steve Buscemi without even hesitating long enough to breathe. The way Buscemi has confidently perfected his craft has given him a comportment of cool wisdom that’s compelling and attractive. He’s a guy I wouldn’t mind spending a couple hours with. First thing I’d do is tell him how sorry I am our government murdered so many of his former colleagues. By the way, my beloved’s not the ugliest man in the world; he’s got those sparkly blue eyes that could make any woman melt. But Bill doesn’t. Bill has empty eyes. Now that I think about it, Steve Buscemi has pretty cool eyes, too. Man -- he was a riot in The Imposters(37) simply because of the way he worked those watery, deep blue eyes.

So why the hype and lies about Bill Clinton’s alleged attractiveness? That episode of The Show was about making an unattractive, unappealing politician appeal to the largest reliable voting block -- women. I was offended then by the DNC’s presumption that I, as a woman, could be appealed to through my groin as much as I was appalled by their audacity to try to do it with someone so utterly repellent. That’s one reason why I’ve voted for Ralph Nader -- or, to be accurate, why I try to vote for Ralph Nader every chance I get; my vote for Nader was stolen in the 2000 election. I was offended then and I’m still offended. “The first black president?!” Excuse me? Because Bill played -- badly -- a sax on The Arsenio Hall Show? If I were African-American, I would have been protesting in the streets over that twisted propaganda, if only to appease the most-assuredly vexed ghost of John Coltrane. I don’t trust the Democratic National Committee. Is Howard Dean(38) still it’s head? The debacle that was John Kerry’s bid for the white house in 2004 didn’t help.

I was 9 when John Kerry sheepishly and with limp wrist(39) dropped -- not threw, as other Vietnam vets were doing -- his “medals” just inside the wrought-iron fence outside the White House on April 23, 1971, on camera for the evening news. Really, they were just the ribbons from his medals, which may be the reason he didn’t try to heave them over the fence, knowing they wouldn’t get any loft and the disingenuousness of his gesture, therefore, would be revealed. I still remember it, 37 years later. A president for change? Please. For that matter, Al Gore not stepping up to the plate and supporting the members of Congress who wanted to stop the Supreme Court’s interference with the 2000 election results,(40) which installed Bush in the White House, makes my stomach turn as well, but I know Gore couldn’t lead the nation in that way, in the way that it should have been lead, because if he had, he would have been admitting that a coup was taking place, and you know what happens to the stock of companies in unstable democracies, don’t you? They fall as fast as they’ve been falling lately -- or faster. Investors tend not to put their money into enterprises located in unstable democracies where a coup d‘état (or two, as has happened in America) has taken place. Gore wasn’t going to do that to his corporate paymasters -- I mean, backers. Gore wasn’t going to say, “The fascists have won, folks” because the economy would have turned more violently than Linda Blair’s head in The Exorcist(41) and all of Gore’s backers and tobacco-monied peers and, in turn, their corporate peerage would have dropped him like a hot potato. The year 2000 was too soon for that to happen; the wealth transfer that occurred during the U.S. invasion of Iraq hadn’t been completed yet. No “Day After Tomorrow” environmental legacy after decamping the White House. No Nobel prize. Now that’s fascism, brought to you by lie, upon lie, upon lie, upon lie.

If I vote for Obama this year, it’s not going to be because he’s an attractive man, or because he’s black -- or because he’s “connected.” It’s going to be because I believe he’s the most competent, most capable person available to hold the President’s office; that he’s got real, substantive ideas for harnessing the power of the people to take back this country from the fascists who control it; that he’s not afraid to utter the ‘f’ word, fascism, when describing America today since, after all, the fascists have already destroyed our economy; that he’s got the courage to implement those ideas, even though he may have a scope trained on him (sorry, Michelle; that’s the hazard of public service in a military dictatorship) and even though he might piss off a lot of corporate CEOs making money off your tax dollars, like JFK did when he said he wanted to end the Vietnam war (I mean, “conflict”) and America’s impasse with Cuba. Period.

Forget the Monica Lewinsky episode of The Show. That episode of The Show was and is a diversion to make you cringe at the idea of looking closely at Clinton’s true legacy -- and what he’s up to now, with his buddy, G.H.W. Bush, out of fear you’ll find even more stained blue dresses. The production that was the ‘he’s horny but not immoral’ episode of The Show was a bid for your sympathy(42) so you wouldn’t ‘kick him when he [was] down,’ however much, for other reasons, he deserved a thrashing. ‘Poor Bill. Stop picking on him. He’s got a frigid wife and he just wanted to get a little.’ Blah, blah, blah. That’s not the Bill Clinton episode you should have been focused on. In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say that I don’t care one iota what Bill did or does, or who he does it with, while he’s in his own bedroom -- as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. I don’t care what anybody does in the privacy of his or her own. Live and let live. But if Bill’s getting a blow job in the Oval Office while Yasser Arafat’s on the line at the same time the Palestinians are being shelled into oblivion by the Israeli military, then his goldbricking behavior becomes my business -- because our tax dollars have been going to Israel. That’s not what he’s paid to do! Bill Maher should be ashamed of himself for portraying everyone opposed to Clinton as puritanical nitwits, but he’s not -- because that’s not what he’s paid to be. He’s just another clown in the circus, creating divisiveness to distract you, his audience. My justifiable criticisms of Bill Clinton aren’t about Clinton’s promiscuity; they’re about his unpatriotic leadership and his sociopathy.

Bill Clinton, apparently, is beyond reproach because he’s beyond our purview, hiding behind the theatre his handlers have created, like our current Commander-in-Thief, who’s protected by a veil of easy virtue as the defender of our allegedly beleaguered nation. That’s what about Bill’s behavior you should have been indignant over -- the theater -- if you were going to concern yourself with his behavior at all. It truly is morally reprehensible. But what else would you expect from a sociopath? Forget the promiscuity. We hired the guy to do a job; he said he was going to do it, but instead, he screwed large groups of Americans once again: women, women with dependent children, minorities, immigrants, gays, servicemen, the elderly and the disabled. Lots of people say, “Well, at least he didn’t drag us into a war when terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993.” At least? Excuse me? How ‘bout if we set a higher standard for the leader of the lone superpower? How ‘bout if we just acknowledge that war is not the best way for us to promote our national interests -- whatever they’re said to be at the time -- and stop using it except in extreme cases of defense, as our constitution stipulates? How ‘bout if we start asking every president to adhere to this basic minimum standard instead of lionizing the occasional one who does? How ‘bout if we start asking the president to be faithful to the campaign pledges he makes to Americans? The ethnic Arabs who terrorized us on 9/11 are the same type of ethnic Arabs who planted bombs in the World Trade Towers in 1993 -- fanatical individuals, not covert operatives of any Arab nation or minority social faction thereof. This is just one more reason why the invasion of Iraq was unjustified, and now we have hundreds of billions of debt because of it, debt that will be satisfied only with higher taxes from us, or budget cuts which mean less funding for social security, education and necessities that promote the general welfare because no one likes more taxes, particularly if they’re levied unfairly. Let’s start reforming government there -- with the president’s office. If you’re a presidential candidate and you promise to represent a party traditionally associated with promoting the general welfare, as the constitution you swear to uphold stipulates, then for heaven’s sake, promote the general welfare instead of undermining it.(43) Bill Clinton is the reason why you better be on the lookout for what the next president does because the minute the new president starts peeing on your shoes and telling you it’s raining while he’s doing it, you know he’s no different from Bill Clinton; you know you’re in for a whole lot of lies, a whole lot more fascism. And by the way -- Bosnia. That debacle was Clinton’s, right down to the ‘accidental’ bombing of the Chinese embassy, as was the needlessly protracted genocide in Rwanda, which Clinton learned about in the first of its 100 days.

Bill Clinton’s still out there, doing the doo-doo he do best, just like the Bushes. If the world survives long enough for the participants in all the many, many, many Pentagon contracts(44) awarded by Congress to defense contractors to create the components of all the AIDS the U.S. Pentagon has created to feel free to talk about their work, or to be compelled to do so, are you going to scratch your head and say, “Hmm. Wonder why Bubba and his good buddy, G.H.W. Bush didn’t tell us back in 2007 when they were raising funds to ‘combat’ AIDS in Africa that the U.S. had created the AIDS epidemics?” It’s not their jobs to tell you the truth about what your military does(45) -- or how its reprehensibly inhumane campaigns are funded.(46) Their job is to keep the myth of a mysterious and potentially lethal but all-the-more chronically debilitating disease with the potential to erupt again at any time fresh in your minds -- to keep you scared, fearful of attack -- and to get you to invest in the myth-making, while the “epidemics” rage on and kill millions of their potential opponents in regions they want to colonize, the regions Henry Kissinger said way back in the early 1970s they should colonize.(47)

* * * * *

I feel as though The Show we’re being forced to watch is just one episode of good cop/bad cop, over and over again, where the powers that be keep pummeling our senses until we’re whipsawed with confusion and nothing ever really changes for us for the better. Don’t you? Are you absolutely sure you are accurately perceiving everything you should be, such as the fact there is a show being put on for you, or are you just being inculcated with beliefs you may not actually own today, beliefs that make no sense when compared to reality, beliefs that don’t quite line up with historical and scientific fact? Well, which is it?

They say the truth will set you free. We shall see. It only did so for the victims of the Nazis posthumously and on the seventh anniversary of America’s Reichstag fire, we should be ashamed we’ve let them down by not ridding the world of the fascists controlling our country, where many who survived Nazi atrocities have sought refuge, because our country, by extension, controls the world. Good citizens are being hunted, imprisoned, tortured and killed all over the world by our military. An apparent CIA-backed coup in Bolivia has been taking place for three days with eight deaths so far and three federal buildings in ruins. Evo Morales’s opponents are led by graduates of the infamous School of the Americas(48) in Benning, Georgia -- the CIA torture school. Have you seen that on the news? No. You haven’t, and you haven’t for a reason. It’s not in the best interest of the fascists in power for you to hear about their nefarious acts in other countries because if you did, you might start looking more closely at the nefarious acts they commit in yours, given the chance -- like, on their anniversaries.

Where were you on 9/11? What were you doing? What did you see? Hear? Feel? THINK? Go on -- do it. I’ve done it; so can you. Do it for your murdered fellow Americans. Do it for your fallen soldiers -- so more needn’t be sacrificed for the greed of the godless imperialists who send them to their deaths. Do it for your children -- and their children. Do it for your country. You can own your own thoughts and feelings. You might even find it liberating to do so. Others have done it, and they’ve done even more than write a blog about the process. They’ve documented the science and shown that the World Trade Center towers were blown up, not toppled by a couple of airplanes piloted by fundamentalist Islamists allegedly acting on behalf of the entire Arab world. Perception versus reality. Which do you want to live by -- the images given you by fascists who’d as soon as kill you and millions like you as look at you, or your head and your heart? “It’s up to you not to hear the call-up. It’s fifty-five minutes past eleven” on the Doomsday clock.

The past is prologue, my friends. I’m sure there are many Germans alive today who wish they’d done something to oppose the monsters that led them into wars all over the world in the 1930s and 1940s -- in all of western Europe, a good deal of eastern Europe, Africa and Asia -- wars that eventually caused the massacre of millions and the collapse of their country, a country whose infamy is still regarded the world over as the worst in history -- worse, even, than Apartheid South Africa’s, or Cauciescu’s Romania, or the Soviet Union with its gulags. I’m sure plenty of them wish they had taken an interest in what Hitler’s cabal was doing when scores of lawyers changed Germany’s civil code to strip the civil rights from one group of German citizens after another throughout the first and second solutions. Is that type of infamy the legacy we want for our children? Perhaps it’s not up to an Obama, or a McCain, or any President to change what’s wrong with our country’s government, even if he is supreme leader of it and can do as he pleases, apparently. “Ever vigilant,” folks. That’s what Thomas Jefferson said you and I had to be, of our government, if we want to be true American patriots. America seems to have an increasing dearth of patriots this century-and-a-half as much because today’s Americans, like many of their unpatriotic predecessors, seem as happy to accept as “reality” the perversion of this history created by our government as because our government has an equally perverse history of socially exterminating any American who opposes its fascist endeavors. Not confronting these real grievances may be a safe way to live, but it’s not patriotism. It’s cowardice, and cowardice, as we know, gets us nothing but trouble.

* * * * *

By now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Is she crazy?! She’s talking about taking on the Pentagon. THE PENTAGON. Who’s going to do that?” I can understand your underwhelmed response. Let me remind you of these things, though. First, three very prominent framers of our federal Constitution told us explicitly that a standing army is not what this country should have once it became a nation. In the Federalist Papers, Hamilton, Madison and Jay pointed out to antifederalists, who were wary of concentrating power in one entity, that all precautions should be undertaken to prevent another King George from taking their liberties, including not creating a national standing army, in order to allay the very real fears of many of the colonists of once again being subjected to a tyrant’s oppression. The idea of a Commander-in-Chief horrified them as much as the Commander-in-Thief does many of us today. All that power concentrated in the hands of one supreme leader? No. That’s not what they had in mind. Ready militias -- ordinary citizens who pledged to enlist in military service when and as needed -- living amongst the populace of the associated states were good enough, they said, since, bound together by a common national interest, no state would conceive of going to war with any other and who else, after all, was there to fight except France on the northern border (and, later, Spain on the southern)? State militias were handling that battle already. Any state differences that arose, they reasoned, could be worked out through the judicial branch, in court, at the federal level. The civilized (that is to say, governed by civil rules, such as law) society they tried to create was not an inherently military one such as that which America has become today. The Federalist Papers are hard to read because they’re so dense, but they’re extremely revealing. You get the distinct impression from doing so that the America these men imagined is nothing like the one we live in now -- that the country is essentially a devolution into exactly the type of “tyranny” they warned us against creating.

Second, remember a little skirmish in southeast Asia revisionist historians now like to call the Vietnam “conflict” (because America doesn’t lose “wars” and it surely lost that one)? Also started on a trumped-up cause, the Gulf of Tonkin incident.(49) The Vietnamese beat the American military -- THE PENTAGON -- out of their country with little more than primitive battle strategies and a small arsenal of 20-year-old Russian weapons. If they can get rid of the Pentagon, why not us? We’ve got law, history and worldwide opinion on our side. We’ve also got the mightier weapon on our side -- the pen (or in this case, the Pentium chip). We may even have a leader soon who’s committed to restoring freedom and civilized society in America. All we need is the will to see that he does.

This is exactly the time when we should have less military and more civilized diplomatic solutions to our problems since nuclear warfare (and the more likely biological warfare), is unfeasible because of mutually assured destructive outcomes. But this is also the time when local law enforcement has become more militarized. Let’s change that. Let’s start by getting rid of the Pentagon’s influence in local law enforcement agencies and the city governments it has been allowed to infiltrate. Then the School of Americas(50) has got to be closed once and for all -- in addition to all the satellite programs in the -- and, indeed, the actual -- secret CIA prisons it has spawned. You pick the next place to withdraw funding; there are so many from which to choose. One candidate’s been promising to listen to us and learn how we want to change the country. Vote for him -- and then send him your list along with the assurance you won’t rest until he’s done these things or been removed from office for not doing them. And then make it stick. That’s democracy.

There’s a whole lot of other stuff we could be doing with all the hundreds of billions given to the Pentagon each year -- and I’m not referring to bailing out car makers or propping up the corrupt banks and defense contractors whose greed and gambling have put us in the financial mess we’re in. These fascists have got to go. As for me, I’m going to work on getting defunded the Centers for Disease Control (the agency that planned, executed and got away with, under a different name, the human rights crime known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study) and its ugly sister, the National Institutes of “Stealth” -- I mean, “Health.” Stop drinking the Kool-Aid, folks. Turn off your TVs, your RSS feeds from sports columnists, your iTunes and your YouTube vids of “talking” cats and get involved in your government. Start questioning authority again. Stop cooperating with the fascists. Instead of listening to or watching Mike and Mike each morning, find out for yourself what your government is doing to screw you and your family and then do something about it. That’s your responsibility for the right to live in a ‘democracy.’ Put down the chips and remote, I beg of you. Watching Jon Stewart doesn’t make you a political activist. Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your rights.

This is one really bad Show we’re being forced to endure, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the fault of any one person -- however repellent he or she may be. It’s not even the system that’s the problem. What has to be changed are the fascists in office who’ve corrupted the system. That change has to be made by every citizen, acting as a citizen, which is to say, every citizen fulfilling his responsibility to be active in the political process set forth by those who created it. That’s what democracy is -- participatory government. It’s the opposite of the fascism under which we now live.

* * * * *

No one knows all of the names or the exact number of the victims of Hitler and the Nazis. They are lost among the many millions of victims -- entire towns of victims, even -- of the Nazis’ second and third solutions and of their military intervention around the world, but we do know the names of the first three: truth, freedom and civil society. Maybe you aren’t a part of another potential group of 11 million so-called undesirables, but you are certainly part of the other potential group of 39 million casualties. Bush, his cabal lied to us on and since 9/11. So did Congress when they authorized the invasion of Iraq. So did the U.S.-controlled U.N. security council. So did the leaders of our allies. That’s clear to see, if you care to look. And if you don’t, we’re going to end up like post-World War II-Germany -- after tens, or even hundreds, of millions of people like Robert Woodward(51) and me are administratively killed as sacrificial lambs and then other nations ally to take us down -- militarily, or economically,(52) or both. You should get to know us now, if you can, lest you find yourself saying one day,

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Attributed to Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller, imprisoned for 7-1/2 years in Moabit prison, Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps and the Tirols during the Holocaust for opposing the policies of the Third Reich.)

So go along now. Have a nice anniversary. Enjoy The Show -- if you can. Do nothing now, and your time will come. Whether you’re a member of an oppressed group by virtue of the color of your skin or the courage of your convictions, that bus is never late, as both Chris Rock and Pastor Martin Niemöller remind us. Just remember,

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of the change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” (Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas)

Recall and replace the fascists -- all of them. Tick-tock.


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(38) Shooting of Robert Woodward-2.doc













(50) Shooting of Robert Woodward-2.doc


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