Friday, December 31, 2010

The New Year's Mullet

As promised, the business first, and the party later.

The Business:  American Against American

This is the hardest essay I have yet written, not least because I’ve left about a day-and-a-half to do what normally takes me four or five weeks and 17 drafts, but also because this essay requires me to do exactly what I have been wrongly accused of doing in the past – of causing dissension among the (seemingly homogenous) anti-war/peace and justice community.   This isn’t something I take lightly.  There’s a part of me that thinks even small steps at peace and justice are better than none at all, even if they will never, as we can plainly see, end our government’s war mongering.  On the other hand, though all freedom-loving Americans gaped in dismay when Barry Goldwater, while running for president 45 years ago, claimed otherwise, I know it to be as true today as it was when Benjamin Franklin wrote to James Madison, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” There’s no such thing as a little freedom any more than there’s such a thing as a little peace and justice; justice delayed is justice denied.  And so, today I set my hands on the keyboard once again in the hope that I can demonstrate sufficiently that I am not undermining any legitimate antiwar/peace and justice movement that may exist in this country by exposing what there is of it as the pretense that it is but am instead offering the necessary bellwether to those who may merely suspect, and therefore be too afraid to accept, that none of us is free because our government is controlled by fascists who have no interest in preserving our nation other than for the continued abuse, degradation, exploitation and lucrative murder of its citizens.  Just as there is no such thing as a little freedom, or a little peace and justice there is also no such thing as adulterated truth.  It is for those citizens that I write this blog, and to begin today’s essay, I offer a review of a legendary lesson from military history.

In the Iliad, the 8th century epic poet Homer depicts the end of the ten-year siege of Troy by the Greeks following their gift of a hollow wooden horse statue containing a secret group of soldiers to the Trojans, who brought it into their fortress themselves and were thus ambushed and conquered.  We get the phrase, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” from this story.  It tells us the invasion was successful; the Greeks subsequently rescued Helen from Paris and returned her to King Menelaus.  Trojan horses of one type or another have been used in warfare ever since.  After all, what better way is there to defeat one’s enemy than from within?  Today, there are computer viruses that may be disguised as innocent-appearing email attachments that users introduce into their systems by opening which then turn out to be bots that corrupt the boot systems of the host computer and all computers which are contacted by it.  They’re called “Trojans” because they use the disguise of an innocent-appearing email that requires the unsuspecting recipient to introduce it into his or her own computer and computer network. Several years ago, the computer on which I am currently typing this essay had a man-in-the-middle virus, ARP Cache POISON, attack while it was connected to the T-Mobile network through a Starbucks’ gateway that neither the Leopard OSX firewall, nor Symantec’s Norton firewall, successfully thwarted (though Symantec was perfectly happy to tell me that the attack had happened!)  Now, I see from the email count in my mail client all the emails that I’m supposed to get – but rarely do – because this virus is programmed to divert them somewhere else. Who gets them, who sends them in my name, I have no idea, but since it is my government that has targeted me for political reprisal, and my government that has developed this particular virus, and, indeed, the only entity that has a reason to fear me, it seems a safe bet that’s who now controls my identity.  Computer technologies such as these are but one type of covert warfare in our country’s growing arsenal of covert warfare technologies; clearly, the ancient Trojan horse tactic has sired many beasts.

Of all the pernicious technologies designed and used by our government against the citizens of our country (and others) has to be its collection of PSYOP:  MK-Ultra, COINTELPRO, and mixed PSYOP/intelligence collecting, Phoenix, all of which require the participation of what are now countless millions of average Americans – contractors, subcontractors, employees and other consultants of our military dictatorship – in the persecution of law-abiding Americans such as myself, who’s only crimes are political dissent.  The persecution of dissidents of this military dictatorship has a long – and surprisingly largely hidden – history, and that’s because our government lied repeatedly to us while it was pioneering and perfecting methods, technologies, agencies, organizations, and sciences to manage your perceptions so that you don’t see the totalitarianism under which we live.  But now that our society is closed, that’s all changed.  It knows that even if you know everything there is to know about how it employs your neighbors, doctors, grocery store clerks, clergy members, employers and others to oppress you, there’s nothing you can do about it – because today, in America, it’s American against American.  That’s what every totalitarian government dreams of – pitting all citizens against each other so that we’re not fighting those we should be fighting (guess who that is).  I say, “we,” because, as Ghandi rightly pointed out, a people’s freedom must not be measured by how a government treats everyone, but how a government treats its dissidents; today, I may be the persecuted dissident, but tomorrow, you may be the one who’s dragooned against your will into a government bioweapons research program, and then decide to speak out about your enslavement, once you learn the truth about it.  And to do that, it will lie, lie, lie and lie some more to prevent others from knowing what it does to you.  My government has lied so much to me, you’d think I’d be used to having my mind interfered with by it, but I’m just as outraged by the propaganda today as ever I have been, and you should be, too, because our government is at war with us and using each one of us against us.  This could not have happened except with the cooperation of those who have had even more opportunity to learn the history of our government’s covert warfare, both old and new.

So many things have happened to me when I’ve approached the antiwar/peace and justice community in Boston and Cambridge that it’s no longer possible for me to question whether or not they are controlled by our government.  I remember the first time I went to the Park Street protest and was told by the alleged founder of it the history of ANSWER in Boston – how it had allegedly repudiated itself as being exactly this type of organization, a false flag.  Then I remember having gone to one of ANSWER’s rallies in Government Center and someone who had gotten hold of the microphone beginning to encourage the crowd to rebel against the government by any means necessary, instantaneously linking ANSWER with what our government has termed an extremist group, the Black Panthers, and ever one of its members as an extremist. I thought, “What a shame agent provocateurs infiltrated and are destroying this organization.” And then I got the hell out of there.  I thought, when the Park Street protest organizer was triumphantly claiming victory against the government in uncovering ANSWER as a false flag as (an assessment that this was both too naïve and too inaccurate for a 40+ year veteran of the peace and justice movement to make), “But this is the world’s superpower.  It didn’t get to be a superpower by losing its covert wars at home.”  For the longest time, it made no sense to me whatsoever when this guy flaunted his relationship to the head of ANSWER/Washington right in front of me, refusing to acknowledge me and the fact that we had just been engaged in conversation, and failing to introduce me to her.  Then, after witnessing a number of other peculiar things he did, I slowly realized that he wanted me to know that he has access to the leadership of antiwar/peace and justice organizations such as ANSWER’s and that he could prevent me from having access to it also.  He wanted me to know that he had the power to prevent my association with antiwar/peace and justice organizations.  Bingo – here is the true agent provocateur, and one cog in the machinery that put a snitch jacket on me.  I say, ‘cog,’ because he is just one of several agent provocateurs in a position of power I’ve witnessed in the Boston and Cambridge antiwar/peace and justice coalition, all of the organizations of which are led, curiously, by the same half-dozen or so people.  I had the opportunity to be screwed with yet again by these fake antiwar/peace and justice activists just this past December 17th, at a panel discussion to (in part) rally support for those activists who were arrested by the FBI on Friday, September 24, 2010, and have now formed the coalition, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.  Here’s what happened.

I found out about the meeting at First Parish in Harvard Square the night before it was to take place because, again, I was inexplicably having trouble sleeping.  I happened to find the website after surfing for organizations supporting political dissidents – those of us who are routinely persecuted and made civilly dead by our government’s not-so-secret secret army here.  The panel included:  Meredith Aby of; an attorney working with her whose name I failed to record; embattled Boston City Council member Chuck Turner, the target of MK-Ultra smear campaigns; and former ACLU/Boston head Nancy Murray, now Executive Director of the Bill of Rights project at the ACLU.  The panel was moderated by a member of a peace and justice group in Albany whose members had also been targeted by the FBI and whose name I have also forgotten to record; and two local student activists working to rally support for a Muslim detainee whose name I’ve now forgotten and Mumia Abu Jamal.  I got there about a half-hour early to be sure I got a seat.  I pitched in my $5 donation, took off my coat, asked if I could lay out some of my business cards on the table inside the hall designated for activists’ materials and handouts, and proceeded to do so.  People were milling around the table, and as I had so few cards with me, and my arms were full with my coat and bag, I began handing the cards to those around the table instead of struggling to reach through them to get at the table.  A man who later identified himself as a 30-year veteran of the civil rights movement immediately confronted me and took a card, which said, “End Extra-Judicial, State-Sponsored Terrorism of Law-Abiding Americans.  End American Fascism.”  I’m still shocked by the violence that erupted from him after reading the card.  “Oh, no,” he exclaimed loudly.  “Fascism isn’t here yet.  We’re about 10, 12 years away from it being here, but it ain’t here yet.”  I almost burst out laughing when he implied he had a crystal ball and was tracking the rise of fascism in America as though it were Santa’s sleigh and he a meteorologist in front of a green screen on the Christmas eve news.  I thought he wanted to discuss the matter, so I began my reply, which he cut right into, raising his voice above mine and stepping into my face. “No, no, no, no – it’s not here. If it was here, we wouldn’t be able to have this meeting.  It’s NOT here.  I can assure you.”  Again, I tried to tell him about what’s been happening to me.  “This is 21st century fascism; this isn’t your granddad’s fascism,” I began, but he only shouted even louder.  “It’s not here.  It’s not HERE.” I had to back away from his screaming.  That’s when I was informed that my day-to-day experience of fascism in the form of daily terrorism and acts of torture in our community was of no significance to the great civil rights activist.  Not surprisingly, none of the many people in the hall seemed to notice his haranguing.  All I could do was disengage.  “Sir,” I began, raising my voice to a level above his, “Why do you keep interrupting me when I try to tell you about my experience of fascism in this community?  “Oh, I’m sorry,” he feigned.  “Go ahead.”  I tried once again to tell him about some of the things that are done to people like me on a day-to-day basis by our not-so-secret, secret police, but again, he interrupted me.  I finally exclaimed, “You seem only to want to fight with me, and that’s not why I came to this meeting.”  Then I walked away.  And he was only one of several civil rights leaders who denied that fascism exists today in our country that evening.

I felt as though I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone. Revolving around in my head were memories of my African-American literature class, in which I learned the heretofore most notorious fascists in American history would allow their slaves to travel from plantation to plantation once a week for the express purpose of socializing.  They weren’t concerned about slaves running away at these times because they knew the color of their skin would make them suspect anywhere in the south, and, even if they were presumed to be freeman, they slaves still had little means of traveling to the north and freedom safely.  They weren’t allowed to own property because they were property, and money – the means that could ensure their preservation – was denied them.  Of course, that didn’t stop them from planning their escapes, but they didn’t develop those plans and transmit them to one another openly.  They used Gospel songs such as Go Down, Moses, and allegorical tales such as the Brer Rabbit stories, to transmit information on escaping slavery and knowledge about surviving it, respectively.  I live my life exactly the same way – openly captive – and for the same reasons.

Chuck Turner outlined briefly the prosecutorial misconduct that had led to his indictment for bribery and his unseating on the Boston City Council – a shocking testimony of FBI abuse and corruption, if ever there was one. Meredith Aby was passionate and articulate about what happened to her during the September 24th raid.  She’s been a member of CISPES for nearly 20 years, and she told the audience that evening that she refused to attend her grand jury summons because she was afraid she would be forced to give the names of activists in Central America with whom she’s worked who may then be disappeared.  She said she instead submitted a letter to it invoking her Fifth Amendment right. Next, her attorney nonchalantly said the cases of the September 24th activists were being seen as “a test case” though she didn’t say what test was being made.  Nancy Murray gave a particularly fascinating brief about predictive policing (which is the colloquial term our military dictatorship uses to disguise its program of entrapment and incarceration, though Ms. Murray failed to mention that) and “fusion centers,” which are the alleged nerve centers that collect, collate and control all of the information our government now routinely gathers on citizens:  what library patrons read, where citizens are surveilled, their use of credit and debit cards, health insurance, what you bought at CVS when you used your “Rewards” card, etc.  Her description differed markedly from that given by Jesse Ventura, when he devoted an episode of Tru TV’s Conspiracy Theory to the fusion centers in America, and in which he claimed that, though they were designed as FEMA shelters, they’re being used to house illegals – of one type or another – in our country.  That’s not surprising, I suppose. But then (incredibly) she assured the audience that none of this represents fascism.  “It’s not here yet.”  Still, it’s clear that no one, other, single attribute of our police state qualifies it more strongly to be an exact replica of the society in which East Germans lived before the fall of the Berlin wall than this constant monitoring of every single citizen in our country.  The only difference between us and the East Germans is that our surveillance technology has exceeded Hitler’s wildest dreams because it’s no longer merely external, but internal as well. When killing its own citizens, or those of other countries, our military dictatorship believes remote is the way to go in order to conceal its culpability – the ultimate sign of its guilt.  I despair for all the victims of non-HIV/AIDS who were told their “chronic fatigue” was due to mercury poisoning in their fillings and subsequently went by the legions to their dentists to have them removed – and Lord only knows what thought-reading implants embedded into their jaws.  No wonder the larger society hears nothing from us.

I managed to extract myself from the barricade of chairs and coats that had grown up around me during this well-attended theatrical performance just after another man in the audience got up to assure us that fascism isn’t here yet – but that we must be on the lookout for it.  He was one of the people who had taken my business card when I first entered the hall, and whether or not it was his mission to do so when he took it, he was clearly there also to quash any talk about the state of American fascism in which we now all live.  It makes me want to vomit, this propaganda.

Legendary COINTELPRO target and Black Panther activist Angela Davis said of the September 24th raids, “While the immediate targets of the raids were activists in movements in solidarity with trade unionists and others facing violence in Colombia and the Middle East, their purpose is to disrupt the unity of progressive movements by sowing suspicion, distrust, and an aura of guilt by association. I am not too young to remember the dark days of McCarthyism in our country, and I know very well what the effect of such government reprisals can be.”  While Ms. Davis is someone we should have been listening to a long time ago, I want to make one thing perfectly clear:

I am not denouncing the Committee to End FBI Repression, or and the activists engaged in it, as illegitimate shills.  I believe this military dictatorship is perfectly happy tormenting and terrorizing genuine activists and other people because its modus operandi is indiscriminate chaos, and that the Committee to End FBI Repression activists have been thus tormented and terrorized.  What I am saying is that our government does these things for many reasons, not merely over-zealous policing.  Some of those reasons are so that they can set up their agents as legitimated victims to whom we flock to support and to find community with.  Are all of the Committee to End FBI Repression activists legitimate?  It’s a question that must be asked, and it must, unfortunately, be asked of those who lead its members, especially.  And the only way this question will be sufficiently answered is if the Committee to End FBI Repression accomplishes the goal of disempowering all our secret agencies – because the FBI is merely one teeny, tiny, very redundant part of a now vast infrastructure of our surveillance society which has been given all the tools of repression (as have all our branches of the military and their contractors) by which Americans are denied their freedoms today.  Every single contractor of our government that does the work of the FBI -- whether it calls itself a contractor, a subcontractor, by the name of another agency such as the Joint Forces – has got to go, and the victims of these companies, organizations, institutions, alliances have to be recognized as the political dissidents they are and battles for justice on their behalf must also be waged.  If we want to end the repression of political dissidents and activists in America, they’ve all got to go.  ANY organization, or person, or talking head, or politician, or anointed saint of the antiwar/peace and justice movement that does not work for this is not working for a free American society and people.  I said this many months ago now, months before the September 24th raids, even.  Misdirection is a key feature of the covert war our government is waging against its activist communities.

Another reason our military dictatorship is openly terrorizing Muslims is because terrorizing Muslims a great way to manage people’s perceptions and behavior:  it placates the racist, hating ignorant, who believe our government has virtuous reasons to engage in and perpetuate the War ‘on’ Terror, but also, doing so placates opponents to the War on Terror by giving them what they expect – Muslim victims of it.  This keeps them engaged in fighting our government in a way that our government can control (see above), and that type of misdirection means that the larger antiwar/peace and justice community’s energies are turned away from helping those of us our military dictatorship terrorizes in its secret, covert war.   Here, we’re not allowed to vote, to have security of person or property, or association, or freedom of movement.  I’m not even allowed to fulfill my civic duty and perform jury duty because the minions of our military dictatorship know perfectly well that if I get within a half a foot of an attorney, or a judge, I’m liable to give them a voir dire they’d never forget.  The ACLU is a great example of a shill organization.  At a recent book signing in my neighborhood, attorney, adjunct Harvard law school professor, alleged civil rights attorney and ACLU board member Harvey Silverglate waved his hand and brushed aside the issue of civil death we targets of our military dictatorship who have no constitutional rights experience, saying, “That’s another book . . . for someone else to write.”  The book he was promoting, Three Felonies a Day, is about FBI prosecutorial over-reaching and details the 21 year-old case of his client, Michael Milken.  A TWENTY-ONE YEAR-OLD CASE.  That’s how (apparently, willfully) out-of-touch the ACLU board is.  His book signing came the same week I tried for the fourth time in ten years to get the support of the ACLU, this time, at the suggestion of Professor Charles Ogletree.

To ignore the plight of what is now tens of millions of Americans simply because they are not Muslim-Americans, or so-called leaders in the peace and justice movement, or the wealthy, will only perpetuate no actual peace or justice for anyone (other than that for those leaders who are working for our military dictatorship and who were never in danger of repression to begin with).  Even after studying the lengthy history of civil rights abuse by the FBI (from Watergate, to John Lennon’s surveillance, and the surveillance of actual civil rights activists such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.), I’d be much happier if the organization worked as it was intended to work, instead of as a weapon our government uses against its citizens.  I’d rather see more Eliot Nesses in every not-so-secret, secret agency and organization at the command of our military dictatorship than the end of the FBI – if we can’t get rid of all of them entirely, which is my most cherished desire.  In fact, I’d rather get rid of Clinton’s Infra-Gard, which keeps people such as me unemployed, and the Joint Forces, who can do anything the FBI and CIA can do (thanks to Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama) first, and then deal with the FBI/CIA, which are now one and the same since they both have use of the same technologies and techniques for torture and they both operate here in our military dictatorship.  Until whomever that appoints itself (or who is set up as) the guardians of our civil liberties stands up for us and demands the dissolution all of these agencies – indeed, of the entire infrastructure - they will always invite justifiable skepticism and censure. I’m even having a hard time believing that Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are legit; what we’ve been told about Mannings’ secret disclosures doesn’t seem in the least bit secret, controversial or in any way threatening to our government (that we’re unhappy with the Arabs’ efforts to curb terrorism and that bribes were exchanged for other countries’ cooperation with the invasion, occupation and colonization of Iraq, all of which is either justifiable criticism of our ally, or old news), and if Julian Assange really was at any time hunted all over the globe by our government, you’d never know it – because the ongoing war our military dictatorship is engaged in is covert.  His name would be as unfamiliar to you as mine is, and he wouldn’t be on worldwide satellite TV complaining that the government made PayPal shut down his account.  That’s not how this government works.  Neither PayPal, nor our government, would have ever given him notice that his account was going to stop accepting donations; anything he received would be like my email (and my PayPal account, apparently) - simply diverted.  Our military dictatorship, you’ll remember, doesn’t have to ask permission from any FISA court any more to surveil and impede anyone electronically (or otherwise).  Are they misdirection to make you believe there are those who have the freedom to work against our military dictatorship who are doing so?  To me, it seems they are, and while I’m sorry for anyone that’s isolated in solitary confinement, the fact of the matter is that Bradley Manning is an intelligence officer trained in PSYOP.  Surely, the unequivocal test of a spy is that he tells us things that either are happening, or are about to happen - not things we already knew.  I'm sorry, but I can’t feel sorry for Manning yet – until I have absolute proof he is still not working with our military dictatorship.  Neither he, nor Julian Assange, is working for my freedom, or the freedom of the many millions of Americans like me.  That’s for certain.

I said at the beginning of this essay that the reason I chose to write about this is because a fake antiwar/peace and justice movement here in America is equivalent to no antiwar/peace and justice movement here in America.  And we need a true antiwar/antifascism/peace and justice movement here in America more than we ever did.  The proof is in the pudding, they say.  This movement not only did not stop the Bush regime’s invasion, occupation and colonization of Iraq for no other reason than imperialism, it also didn’t slow or otherwise impede it.  In fact, President Obama not only continued with the Bush regime’s plan, he actually escalated it in Afghanistan.  And at the risk of being redundant, we now live in an actual police state in a closed society where the bill of rights for the vast majority of [now former] citizens has been scuttled.  For as many millions of people who have been actual members of this movement here, for the many hundreds of millions of like-minded people around the world who stood with us when we stood against our military dictatorship, and for the many, many, many innocents who’ve died by this massively heinous killing machine that is our military dictatorship, both abroad and here, we activists have had no practical effect on that military dictatorship.  Well, that is how a military dictatorship operates, isn’t it?  No individual freedom in America = corrupt government working covertly.  That’s the reason I was screamed down by an alleged civil rights worker at a peace and justice meeting, who couldn’t repudiate himself enough in denouncing my experience of this fascist government’s repression.  Never was it more true than when Ghandi observed that you must be the source of change in the world – because many of those you’ve relied upon to change our military dictatorship have betrayed and are betraying you.  It’s American against American.  If you consider yourself an American patriot, it’s time for you to stop supporting this military dictatorship and start supporting your fellow Americans.  Since everyone’s a target, no one is exempt from non-cooperation.  If you work for a defense contractor, stop doing so.  Take your 401(K), combine it with that of some of your colleagues and start your own business, pledging not to work for our military dictatorship as you do.  Organize other SBA members to stop participating in fascist organizations such as Infra-Gard, and advertise your anti-fascist philosophy.  If you can’t do that, you can still organize your colleagues to petition your company not to participate in the promotion of this fascist military dictatorship through non-cooperation with government.  That’s what you can – and should – do.

Why non-cooperation?  The unfinished case of COINTELPR victims should be more than enough proof as to why this military dictatorship should not be cooperated with.  In 2001, American activists Susie Day and Laura Whitehorn testified before Congress about their brutal repression by the FBI subsequent to the Rockefeller/Church hearings of 1974, in which Congress promised the American people it would discontinue COINTELPRO.  Today, targeted individuals (“TIs”) are still being herded into useless Congressional testimonial hearings.  So support the Committee to Stop FBI Repression – give them your money, time and energy – but realize that this activity alone is not going to end government repression.

The Party:  The Abundant Life

There’s a certain under-rated courage in those who embrace life each and every moment that I often think about at Christmas – first, because true courage is getting harder and harder to find in America, and second, because Christmas seems the perfect time to ponder just what it is about the most enigmatic heroic figures in history that bewitches us so that we retell the fantastical tales about their births, lives and deaths instead of the more mundane stories to cover up the fact that their lives, like every human life, is messy, lived in uncertainty and want, and at times, painful.  And, too, I’m reminded of the underdog’s ignominious fight whenever I hear Shane MacGowan and the lovely and enormously missed these past ten years Kirsty MacColl signing Fairytale of New York, which I tend to listen to only at Christmas because its operatic highs and lows and raw sincerity make me choke up.  I’m happy – truly, deeply happy – that Mr. MacGowan seems to be dealing with his legendary addiction, even if we may never hear from him again such poetry as, “Still, there’s a lot of hope before me.  You’re the measure of my dreams, the measure of my dreams.”  I can live with his charming rendition of The Little Drummer Boy with the three priests, though I live in hope for more of his epic lyricism one day.  Each of us has a unique gift we can give to the world, but often we let the difficult circumstances in which we sometimes find ourselves overshadow these gifts until we come to believe them burdensome – even to the point of turning them into actual burdens instead of cherishing them as our greatest assets.  Genius does that a lot because the world doesn’t welcome a genius.  But if we have the courage to accept our gifts for what they are, our reward will be the abundant life, the chance to continually co-create this magnificent experience we call life – engagement with the divine.  This realization is surely at the heart of the saying, “Work is its own reward.”

Now, I’m no genius, and I’ve spent plenty of my life denying I had anything worthwhile to offer the world, by force or choice.  But not any more.  There’s nothing I can do about my enslavement and imprisonment, and so I’ve decided that every day I’m lucky enough to draw breath, so long as there’s a gray cell in my brain that sparks, and poverty does not prevent me, I’m going to spend my energy creating art – specifically, the story of my bioslavery and imprisonment.  For the longest time, I’ve been half-heartedly writing my life’s story because I’ve despaired that no one would read it, and thought that even if they could and did, they wouldn’t know what to do about it anyway.  But recently I happened across a quote by Flannery O’Connor in which she talks about the engagement with the divine that can happen when one sits down to write:  “The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” O’Connor often said her characters portrayed gracelessness in those who are called to choose grace and don’t.  It’s a struggle she sought to elucidate for us in all her exquisite writings, and reminds me of another master of literature, Oscar Wilde, who spoke about his craft, “Any man can make history.  It takes a great man to write it.”  I don’t know if I have it in me to be an Arthur Schlesinger, or a Shakespeare, but I’ll be damned if I leave this earth without having tried.  The engagement with the divine is all there is, really, and the abundance of life that can be had in those moments will be my aim to achieve over and over in 2010.  I wish you the same.  And to Shane MacGowan - whose 53rd year of hopefully abundant living began on Christmas - I’d like to wish a healthful and creative new year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Christmas!

I posted a comment last Sunday morning on Ricky Gervais’ op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais:  Why I’m an Atheist.”  It’s a charming, passionate, and at times funny, essay, and it has sparked a lot of comments – about 3,500, to date – as one would expect a provocative piece challenging the existence of G_d at Christmas to do.  I repost my comment here, with my apologies to those of you who’ve seen it already; I believe, if you’ve followed the blog link in it to get here, you’ll appreciate the few (hopefully) elucidating thoughts I’ve appended to it, below (or at least, the slight editing).

“Hi, Ricky. Love the Brit-Com, The Office (and Ghostown, and The Invention of Lying). Never thought I'd be doing this, but I want to answer your question.  Problem is, I don't think this blog gives me enough space.  A sincere question requires a sincere - and full - answer.  If I have to post an incomplete response, please see my Easter 2010 blog (linked in the archive, or in the first line of John Donne's poem, in the blog's sidebar). It's at First, though, let me assure you that I am not trying to convert you - just trying to do as you try to do, which is to give a reasoned answer.  Also, while my blog does deal with the sensitive issue of what it means to be free in America today, I am not an extremist of any kind.  You have nothing to fear.  So here goes.

When I was about five years-old, I was playing in the street with my Super Pinky.  It rolled under a neighbor's car just as the neighborhood bully and his Alsatian came into view.  My brother is 16 months older than me, and so I had had, by then, enough experience with being bullied to know that it only encourages a bully when you back down.  I decided not to run and instead went about trying to shag my ball.  I mean, fetch. (Shagging in this context means retrieving, not knocking boots, obviously).  Sure enough, the inevitable happened.  Joel saw me and decided I'd be his target for the day.

Unfortunately, my experience with bullies wasn't limited to just my relationship with my brother.  My mother was a pretty stressed out, over-worked mess who screamed more than she ever discussed anything rationally.  Before I could retrieve my ball, Joel had managed to roll it out from under Mr. Snyder's car.  He held it aloft, right in front of my face, and began taunting me. ‘Well, look what I found - a brand-new ball.  I guess I can keep it, since no one's around.’  Just then, I realized that Joel and my mom were a lot alike - they had no true friends, and didn't know how to make them, and so that made them even MORE miserable, which misery they felt compelled to share with everyone else; it does love company.  I felt sorry for him.  But not sorry enough to walk away without my ball, to a coward's ignominy.  I thought, ‘There must be a way to get out of this with my ball, without fighting.’ And then, the entire neighborhood receded out of view, and time ceased.

I felt as though there were no longer such things as minutes, or seconds - that I could stay here as long as I needed to for my solution. I was anxious because I didn't know what was happening, but I calmed myself and thought, ‘This special moment is for me.  I can create what happens next here.’  It was the compassion software we all come bundled with kicking in.  I thought about how my older sister engaged my mother when she was being impossible, and I knew then what I had to do.  I looked up into Joel's face and said, ‘Want to play night tag with us tonight?’  He jerked his head to the side, then slowly he turned to me and said, ‘Sure. I'll be there.’  And you know what?  He DID play with us kids that night - and several other nights more that summer.

As you can perhaps imagine, I thought a lot about my moment with Joel. I've thought a lot about it since.  Then, riding home in the car after church one Sunday (mother is Danish-American, so we were raised Lutheran; Dad's from Mississippi and he was Methodist), I asked my father to explain what Pastor Hanson meant when he said G_d is omnipotent and omnipresent. (My father was a construction lineman, a journeyman who worked away from home weeks at a time, so when he came home, I never wanted to leave him, and insisted on being in the church’s sanctuary with him on Sunday instead of nursery school.) Dad said, ‘All powerful and everywhere.’  That was when I realized my 'moment' with Joel had been a moment with G_d. What's more powerful than that which can stop violence, even wars, like the desire for and creation of peace?  That was also the moment I realized that G_d is not - G_d cannot be - an entity of any type.  Entities, like all objects, have space/time limitations.  They can’t be omnipresent, or omnipotent.

Naturally, there are other things I've realized in the intervening 43 years since my encounter with Joel about G_d, such as the fact G_d doesn't just change from Old Testament to New, or even the G_d of Abraham to the G_d of Issac and then back to the G_d of King David.  People have been changing G_d almost since the moment Moses introduced G_d to us:  remember what happened to that first draft of the first top 10 list in history?  Moses destroyed it when he found his followers had reverted to idol worship when he was grooving on Mt. Sinai.  I'm convinced that even after 40 years of trying to get their act together, they STILL were idol worshippers (though their new idol was a man-like being), and Moses gave up trying to get them to worship the G_d that is.  That's why he didn't follow them into Canaan, telling them that G_d wouldn't let him (even if God may have).

I hope this answers your question about why I believe in G_d.  Is it orthodoxy?  Certainly not.  But your love for Jesus will no doubt enable you to appreciate that I arrived at these cherished beliefs by doing as he bade us in the sermon on the mount (and on the hill, and many other places, I'm sure):  I have loved G_d with all my heart, mind, and strength to gain this understanding of G_d, as often as I can, except during (sometimes lengthy) crises in faith - in my writing, my cooking, my work, my relationships, among people I encounter - wherever I can create goodness.  Am I perfect?  Certainly not. Perfection is not what it's about - just better than I was a moment ago, hopefully, in this new moment we call 'now,' where G_d, as Moses told us in Exodus 3:13-14, 'is.'

Happy Christmas!”

It was about 8:30 in the morning when I wrote it, so I was a bit bleary-eyed and, as I’ve said, I’ve cleaned it up slightly.   The blog’s had hundreds of hits since I posted it, so I guess it gets where I wanted it to go even though I would have elucidated a few other points as well if I had known that I had the space to do so.  Here, for your contemplation, they are.

Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon.

I can hear it now:  “You can’t sit around, meditating all day and hoping for an ecstatic experience and the kind of enlightenment you had as a five year-old.  Life has to be lived.”  “Too true,” say I.  And then, “Thank heavens, I don’t have to!” And neither do you.

I was a pretty ordinary little five year-old when I had my moment of G_d with Joel – hanging out in the street, playing.  Just playing.  And the fairly typical five year-old experience happened to me – older kid bullied me.  Nothing special about the event at all – except the intensity of my awareness of it, and my subsequent fearless willingness to engage in that awareness.  The payoff?  Activating this little-used awareness “muscle” brought me to that (for lack of a more concise word) transcendent moment, that moment of ecstatic mystery.  Some part of me recognized that I was being led to a ‘space’ in which I could find the answer I then needed.  I call that part of me my soul, or spirit.  It’s the key that unlocks the gnosis, wherever that gnosis may ‘be’ – within my memory of past lives, within the collective subconscious, within both (or are they the same?).  Joel and I couldn’t have faced each other, eye to eye (or, really, eye to knee), for more than a minute, but in all honesty, I felt as though I might as well have been in my jammies, dallying with my toothbrush in the bathroom, reluctantly getting ready for bed while someone nagged me to hurry up.  I was just taking my own, sweet time, waiting for my answer, waiting to be shown what to do.

These are the things I've deduced in the 43 years since my moment of G_d:  (1) this experience of what is ordinarily beyond my perception was as 'real' as any other I've ever had, from the mundane experience of handling a toothbrush to clean my teeth to the more expanded perception of being able to appreciate a line of poetry or another great work of art beyond being merely cognitively assaulted or titillated by it in some way; (2) the full knowledge that this moment was a moment that would change the course of our lives - was the genesis of the alternate 'reality,' or one of the string 'tunnels' interwoven among the parallel universes that quantum mechanics tells us exist, if you prefer - was palpable. I sensed it, it was outside my normal perceptions but there nevertheless; (3) ergo, the fact of this type of human experience existing is just that - a fact - and this existence is a prioi; (4) it takes a skepticism of one's perceptions to be able to engage in this type of encounter with the infinite, the humility we are so much exhorted to in scripture that pietists mangle into some type of abusive self-loathing; (5) goodness comes from engagement with G_d. For me, it was peace. For an artist, it is not only the 'product' of the creative process - whether it is a moving sculpture in dance harmonized with another work of art, or a mind-bending short story (Flannery O'Connor had A LOT to say about encountering G_d through writing, and the belle of gore is probably the LAST person one would think would be able to effectively do so, but she certainly did in her many treatises on writing) - but the actual creative process itself; (6) theologians call this experience the 'hand of [God]' reaching out to us in revelation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer talked of this hand.  Though I am fairly certain he conceived of G_d as a finite being for most of his life,  he certainly had the opportunity - in fact, he made the opportunity often - to understand others' conceptions of G_d, most likely even this type of one, which many native American tribes hold. I base this opinion on the fact he wrote Act and Being.  It's entirely possible he read Martin Buber's 1923 treatise, I and Thou (Ich und Du).  Bonhoeffer was clearly thinking about 'metaphysical' issues. I maintain it's high time we start calling them supraphysical issues.

I’ve heard sculptors, woodworkers and jewelers speak about being led as they worked with awareness to liberate from their material the art within.  Your ‘material’ may be something completely different – the language of math, or, like my five year-old self’s, violence. Biography channel did a fantastic two-hour documentary on Jimi Hendrix that finally showcased Jimi’s thoughts on his creations, such as Purple Haze, and the experience of engagement with creation that gave us – well – The Experience, and the song Are You Experienced?  Some people call G_d source; Jimi called G_d ‘experience.’   And if you’ve ever seen clips of Jimi in concert, you cannot fail to recognize that he had soul - and that he knew how to use it.  You sort of expect a guy who gets what sacrifice is about enough to light is favorite guitar on fire on stage as an offering to have an old soul, but I’ve been a Hendrix fan since I was 15 and I have to tell you, I was deeply moved and incredibly impressed with his ability to express his thoughts about ‘experience.’ (Duh.  What else should we expect from a genius?)  And I’m not doing them justice here; if you have the chance to see the program, do.  Spoiler alert - Sorry, all you psychedelic/acid blues rock haters out there; Jimi wasn’t trippin’ when he wrote Purple Haze; he had just read a sci-fi novel that featured a monster made of purple miasma.

My point is this:  you don’t have to groove on a mountaintop, or in a church sanctuary to find, or to know, G_d.  You don’t even have to be a rock legend to know G_d.  G_d is.  In fact, the guy who’s birthday we are celebrating at this time of year told us, in his words and his deeds, that G_d could not be known but through all of our deeds because ‘the kingdom of G_d is at hand.’  The degree to which we experience G_d is the degree to which we allow ourselves to be aware of G_d.  Louisa May Alcott, author of the Christmas classic, Little Women, said of her experience of G_d, “I had an early run in the woods before the dew was off the grass.  The moss was like velvet, and as I ran under the arches of yellow and red leaves I sang for joy, my heart was so bright and the world so beautiful.  I stopped at the end of the walk and saw the sunshine out over the wide meadows.  It seemed like going through a dark life or grave into heaven beyond.  A very strange and solemn feeling came over me as I stood there, with no sound but the rustle of the pines, no one near me, and the sun so glorious, as for me alone.  It seemed as if I felt [God], and I prayed in my heart that I might keep that happy sense of nearness all my life.”  For Louisa, it was when she ran in the woods around Walden Pond and marveled at creation that she felt nearest the source of creation, when she had one of her ecstatic experiences; who knows when, where or how many others she had, but I can guarantee you they certainly happened when she wrote.  She writes further, “. . . for I most sincerely think the little girl got religion that day when dear mother Nature led her to [God].”

From G_d, goodness comes.  That’s G_d’s chief feature.  In Alcott’s case, we have her immense oeurvre of not only novels for girls and boys but also her gothic horror tales – not, perhaps, acceptable reading material for fundamentalists of the day, but certainly an enjoyable entertainment for thousands of individuals and families in a time before radio, TV, and internet.  She understood the power of creation.  And isn’t this force that which is described in the Judeo-Christian creation myth, the one we are told begets goodness?  This story gives us the first morality lesson in scripture; it’s the first place we see a moral qualifier, the word (translated into English), “good.”  “And G_d ‘saw’ that it [creation] was good.”  Sure – Moses may have personified G_d in this story to give us a retrospective sense so that we could vicariously reflect on the process that gave us this goodness, but he only did it because we cannot perceive all, all the time, and can only conceive of a process retrospectively.  That’s a literary device for which I can forgive Moses because he equivocates in much of the rest of his writing on the personal god, as we see him doing in Exodus 3:13-14 (‘Who should I tell my people have sent them?’ ‘Tell them, I AM THAT I AM hath commanded you.’).  I’ve said it before, and I’ll remind readers again:  G_d is not a Billy Mays-like pitchman in the opening passages of Genesis, who introduces us to his ‘products’ so we can ‘buy’ them.  G_d is.  It’s worth noting that these first monotheists were a group of people who lived in a society that worshipped entities, and Moses knew, just as the Catholic Church a thousand years later would learn when it converted paganism into Christianity, that gods evolve.  ‘Almighty’ G_d in this community was too great a leap for most people to understand, and evidence suggests it’s still a tall order.  There are still plenty of people in the world today that believe G_d is an entity – usually, a capricious and vindictive, old man in the sky – and that’s why Jesus told us that one – and the very first – of the only two commandments we have to observe is to love G_d by using all our mind (cogitation), heart (will) and strength (assiduity), whether we are five, or fifty-five, or 105 years-old. That means, seek G_d everywhere, all the time (because G_d is). People who accept uncritically the beliefs of others – their parents, their church or temple leaders, their cliques – aren’t doing this.   They’re missing out on the dynamism that characterizes the G_d that is, the "one, true" G_d (sorry if this offends you; there's only one infinite).  In this arrogant state, where we just assume that we don’t have to make an effort to ‘know’ G_d, is it any wonder there are large groups of people who deny the existence of G_d fighting with those that say G_d is an entity?  That’s where arrogance gets you – really far away from G_d.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  We don’t have to fight over G_d, or anything else.  We can change our disposition toward G_d.  All we have to do is to keep one thing in mind: we have to make the effort.  We have to love G_d with all our mind, heart and strength.  And to do that, we have to admit that we don’t know G_d; we don’t have the answers to G_d; we have to mindfully open ourselves up to G_d right here, right now.  We have to be humble.

The humility with which we are exhorted to conduct ourselves in sacred texts has nothing to do with religious observance, or any type of saintly behavior.  This is the type of humility to which scripture alludes:  an ongoing awareness that our mere perceptions cannot give us true knowledge about G_d.  Not our cogitations about G_d.  Not our conversations about G_d.  And certainly, all attempts to craft the perception of one’s saintly character through obsessive religious devotion will result in a false piety that has absolutely nothing to do with the type of humility with which we are charged in scripture to behave.  These admonitions are less against unsaintly behavior than they are practical instructions on how to allow your soul to engage the infinite; less prescriptive and more descriptive.  It’s not a plan, this humility, but an awakened sense of acceptance and expectancy.  And this is what we’re admonished to accept:  that our ability to perceive G_d is going to be restricted because we, ourselves, have space and time limitations (not to mention, mind and personality limitations), and G_d is infinite and does not because (all together now) G_d is. When we run around arguing with others that the god entity does exist, or doesn’t exist, we’re supremely deluded by our limited perceptions, and these admonitions are the reason we are exhorted in Judeo-Christian scripture to be humble – to accept that we have limitations which preclude our total knowledge all the time of G_d.  Now, my father assured me that when he died on the operating table during heart surgery, he saw ‘the old man,’ and I have no doubt he encountered beings in spirit form that were powerfully loving in that realm.  But I am extremely dubious that any one of these spirits was God since the man recounting this tale has never questioned the prejudices about the Almighty that he was given; he’s never abided by that first commandment Jesus gave us, and I can assure you that when a 60-something year-old man who’s never tried to know G_d as Jesus told us we should try dies, that’s not the time he’s going to suddenly know G_d.  G_d is.  Right here.  Right now.  G_d is not ‘transcendent,’ or other-wordly.  G_d (say it with me one more time) IS.  When you accept that you can’t commune with G_d constantly and you must, therefore, dispose yourself to do so, it becomes much easier to ‘know’ G_d and to choose to know G_d whenever you have the chance: opening the door for someone who needs it; writing a poem; making your employees’ lives better.  The way to know G_d is everywhere our actions create a better life because G_d is. That’s what those admonitions to be humble are about.

You don’t have to be Jimi, or Jesus to know G_d.  Go for a run and stop to marvel at nature and you, too, like Louisa May Alcott, will get some sense of G_d, and if some sense is all you can have in a given moment, isn’t it still better than none?  Isn’t it enough?  Artists throughout time have said, ‘yes’ with their creations, and when you create goodness, you have an opportunity to know G_d even more, perhaps even to an ecstatic degree.  You can beat the limitations of most of your time/space and other restrictions, even if for only ‘moments’ at a time – because (well, you know).  So that’s enough about why and how to avail yourself of G_d.

What else? Ah – the negative covenant.

The only way you can be sure you’ll never experience G_d is by exercising your will over others and treating them not as individuals with the capacity for this subjective experience of G_d, but merely as objects for your use; merely as consumers to sell your wares to; the trophy wife or husband; as your most handsomely paid CEOS who run your companies regardless of the devastating “externalities” that pollute, maim and kill; as serfs you recruit into your military to kill for you, certainly – all of which requires you objectify yourself, too, as the bastard boss, or user spouse, or exploitative corporate board.  Exercising one’s ego - because ego is self-objectification – and treating life as a game in which you have to be the winner at all costs, including the cost of life to others you subjugate to your will, ain’t gonna get you knowledge of G_d, or put you anywhere near the neighborhood of the kingdom of G_d.  Though Jimi trained as a 101st Airborne, he understood this, too.  He was about as unconcerned with his image and the impact of his music, or the money he could make from it, as any sage could be; he was universally regarded among his peers as incredibly humble, this inventor of entire genre of music, the greatest electric guitarist in history.  On the other hand, the Bush dynasty/regime and G_d? Ah – no.  Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the regime’s propagandists, both right and pseudo-left (because there is no left, left)?  Again - no.  Don’t be ridiculous.  You can’t approach people with any kind of agenda and expect to experience G_d with them.  Not how it works.  And you don’t have to be a bastard boss; you could be your bastard boss’s victim and quash any chance of knowing G_d with him or her because of your expectations s/he will mistreat you.  Stop worrying about what may never be.  The last line of the Sermon on the Mount, remember, is, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil therein.”  Live in the moment.  But if your problem happens to be that you’re the bastard boss, can you ever expect to completely escape ego? Of course not.  (Sorry you young Buddhists; the middle way is the way.)  All we can do is stop it from getting out of hand, even if we’re the victim of a bastard boss, and stop seeing others, or ourselves, as mere objects.  That takes grace.  Accepting our objectivity when we must, but also not relinquishing our, or denigrating others’, subjectivity.  We don’t have to pimp our misery on 16 and Pregnant any more than we have to vote others off our islands.  Reality and truth are two different things, people, and you’re not going to find the most fulfilling type of human experience clamoring after (or participating in) ‘reality’ shows. (That’s the reason scripture advises modesty.)  Stop objectifying yourselves and one another.  Start experiencing your subjectivity to its fullest.  And accord others the right to do so.   Groove on – whenever, wherever, however.  Could the Bush dynasty/regime know G_d?  Certainly.  Because (are you tired of saying it, yet?) G_d is.  But I see a lot of solemn runs in the woods for each of them individually, a lot of packs of crayons, maybe a kazoo or two, some quadratic equations, ENDLESS community service in their futures, if they ever have a hope in this hell they’ve made for the rest of us of doing so.  Now there's something to pray for.


I blanch when I re-read the messages I exchanged with Davidson Loehr earlier this year, after I found his November, 2004, essay on fascism on the web.  I had asked him what, if anything, he would change in it, and he was kind enough to reply that he would change one or two materially insignificant things about it, but not much else.  It's a comprehensive, concise and accurate essay that I strongly encourage you to read, but I was angry with him when I received his reply.  It's conclusion offers ways of resisting American fascism, but nothing about helping the what is estimated to be the already millions of victims of it.  I thought, “Anyone who’s writing an essay about American fascism ought to be willing to write about the actual experiences of its victims.” But, of course, this was misplaced anger.  I had been rebuffed by a talking head who publishes prolifically on the subject of American fascism, and when Loehr said he originally intended on publishing his essay without the hopeful ending consisting of these suggestions which it now contains, I exploded.  There are those of us out here for who American fascism is a fact - not a theory, or supposition, or possibility - and our stories need to be told as much as we need to tell them (guess why).  For more than 20 years I’ve had to hear from people who’ve reified my body with hideous bioweapons research to hope for a better tomorrow, so I’m a bit dubious of the peddlers of hope.  I want G_d with them now, not tomorrow.  I don’t want to be objectified for their profit, or convenience, or comfort.  I don’t want to be anyone’s cash cow, or object of pity.  Not today.  I could be dead, after all, tomorrow; today is all I have.  But then I realized this covert war that Bush promised us would last in perpetuity is just that – covert – and if it were readily possible for those in positions to do something about it to see that there is a need for them to, it wouldn’t be covert.  Duh.  Likewise, I have always felt I have a right to expect G_d experience with other human beings; it’s what I try to give them – at least, most of the time – even though, cognitively, I know now that not everyone is in the same place on his or her journey to know G_d that I’m in.  This is where a runaway ego gets you, folks – a loss of integrity where you can’t walk your talk.  I never heard from Loehr again (surprise, surprise), and I’m certain I’ve alienated a potential ally.  So go carefully, my friends.  You’ll regret not having done so, and who needs to live with regret and the knowledge you’ve caused another pain?  The knowledge you put not goodness into the world, but more evil that has to be ameliorated?  Go carefully.  If you think you’re the bomb because you put food on your table by pretending to be Jack Bauer, informing on and terrorizing your fellow law-abiding citizens, or propagandizing for the fascists in control of our country, in the covert war against us liberals, you need to make a U turn because you’re only doing evil on behalf of those whose single-minded goal in life is the persecution and subjugation of us all, and you’re never going to know G_d doing so - not ever.  Not asking you to be a saint; a saint is not what you have to be; every “moment” is a potential moment for you to engage G_d: smiling at the barista at Starbucks and creating a pleasant encounter therefrom; watering your ficus and enabling its growth; composing and/or playing a piece of music; crafting a work of art (even a Haiku qualifies); working out a math problem; turning a confrontation into a moment of peace.  It’s all good – and all G_d.  Just asking you not be a menace that helps create hell here.  Go carefully, my friends.  Go carefully.  Be a blessing, not a curse.  Do as Hannah Arendt suggested when she said, "Most people never decide to be good, or bad," in The Banality of Evil - choose to do good and to not do evil.

Where Are We Now?

I’m just a middle-aged, menopausal, chronically ill, unemployed target of the US government’s covert war against liberals who actually oppose its imperialism, and if you don’t want to take my advice, you don’t have to.  But you should know that others besides Moses, Jesus, Jimi, Louisa and I have experienced G_d – many, many, many others all over the world, in every culture and every period of recorded history, and then some.  If the only person you will esteem with your trust on the subject of G_d is a white man, then I encourage you to read Martin Buber’s I and Thou, which expounds much more poetically than I have on the “is-ness” nature of G_d.  But if the only thing you do after reading this essay is one thing, I pray that it be that you understand that G_d is.

Next week’s post, my final of the year, will be like that most popular of hairstyles in the American south, the mullet – business in the front, party in the back.  You won’t want to miss it.  Happy Christmas, everyone – and may every moment of your holiday and new year find you in the kingdom of G_d.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You Are Not Free

[I don't know where I'll be in two months' time, so instead of waiting to post this essay until then, I offer it now. I've written it in the form of a sermon, and if you resonate with its themes of peace and justice, I encourage you to share it with your fellow congregation members. America has needed its own Confessing Church for quite some time, and in some ways, it seems even more appropriate for me to post this today, the start of the Columbus Day weekend, when many indigenous people are celebrating Abya Yala, rather than wait until December 2nd. We would do well to remember that imperialistic conquerors run over everyone in their way as they procure their conquests.]

You Are Not Free

A Sermon on the 9th Anniversary of the Assassination of Vermont Peace Activist

Robert “Woody” Woodward

December 2, 2010

Former Nazi prisoner and Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemöller, said about his experience as a political prisoner in his post-war lectures, The Work of Germany’s Pastors’ Emergency League During WWII: “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.”

* * *


II Kings 20:14-19

"Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, 'What said these men?  And from whence came they unto thee?' And Hezekiah said, 'They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.' And he said, 'What have they seen in they house?'  And Hezekiah answered, 'All the things are in mine house have they seen:  there is nothing among any treasures that I have not shewed them.' And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, 'Hear the word of the Lord.  Behold, the days come, that all that is in thing house, and that which they fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left,' saith the Lord.  And of they sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shall beget, shall they take away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.  Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, 'Good is the word of the Lord which thou has spoken.'  And he said, 'Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?'"

If strangers openly covet your treasures, you can be sure they will take them away from you and make you slaves, and peace and truth will not be in your days.  You will become their slaves.

Malcolm X (for Dudley Randall)
By Gwendolyn Brooks


He had the hawk-man's eyes.
We gasped.  We saw the maleness.
The maleness taking out and making guteral the air
And pushing us to walls.

And in a soft and fundamental hour
A sorcery devout and vertical
Beguiled the world.

He opened us -
Who was a key,

Who was a man."

Our secret police who murder our prophets, such as Robert 'Woody' Woodward, in our very churches is not the only reason why we will never have another Malcolm X, and quite possibly, no more Dudley Randalls.  The deliberate reprogramming of human beings in America to be brutes enviable by even the Nazis, who despised as weak those who lived ethically and by the equal application of religious, civil and human rights laws, is the reason no other American will ever again be able to open us and our eyes and push us to walls to get us to resist our fascist leaders, not even in this fundamental hour.  Because you are not free.

* * *

On a sunny but chilly Sunday morning in December of 2001 a Unitarian-Universalist congregation sat anxiously in the All Souls Church in Brattleboro, Vermont. The service was set to begin in mere minutes, but instead of the usual somber moments that precede the Sunday liturgy, a couple dozen members of the church that December 2nd morning were witnessing the horrifying pleas for help and last moments of 37 year-old peace activist, Robert Woodward.

Woodward had gone to the church that morning because, according to him and to those of his neighbors above whom Woodward lived in Bellows Falls that were later interviewed, he had been interrogated and threatened by FBI agents the previous evening. He was terrified they would carry out the threats they had made against him imminently, and he was looking for sanctuary. Woodward knew the Unitarian-Universalist church had harbored refugees fleeing the U.S.-backed civil wars in Central America in the 1980s. He thought he could count on them for help. Help is not what he found that morning.

By many witnesses’ accounts that morning Woodward was in distress. He spoke to the congregation from the altar about the threats he was receiving. Purportedly, he said they had been provoked by the activism in which he was engaged -- particularly, his discovery of scandals having to do with the environmental movement; my guess is that he was well aware that the Bill of Rights had already been scuttled and that covert war was very much being waged against legitimate activists such as himself, as it always has been, apparently, as evidenced by declassified government documents. He threatened at one point to gouge out his eye with a paring knife he had brought with him. At no time did he threaten anyone else, and when someone asked him to put his knife away, noting that he was scaring some members of the congregation, he did so forthwith, and apologized. He begged the congregation for asylum and emphatically asked that the police not be called, assuring those congregants who had not vacated the church that he would be killed if they were. The congregation’s president, Charles Butterfield, told journalist Keith Harmon Snow that when he placed the call to police that alerted them to Woodward’s desperate situation he stressed they not come armed because Woodward was fearful of them, and Butterfield did not want the situation to escalate to a point where Woodward would harm himself.

Nine years later no one is any more certain why those simple requests were not heeded, nor why less-than-lethal weaponry (which had been given to every law enforcement agency across the nation by Attorney General Janet Reno’s Justice Department in 1996) had not been used to subdue Woodward, than they were in the days following what became that morning Woodward’s assassination. Butterfield had assured the police Woodward was not threatening anyone other than himself and had ceased threatening his own person by the time he called for their assistance. That did not prevent the police from shooting Woodward several times as he sat on the altar steps, unarmed, and then later, as he lay unarmed and face-down on the church floor, in his back at least once. In fact, Woodward had been in such a compliant and non-threatening attitude when police arrived that they had to ask which of the people in the front of the church was Woodward. And no one is certain why it took ambulance drivers more than twenty minutes to reach Woodward after he was first shot; why police refused to allow a congregation member, who was a nurse, to attend to Woodward’s wounds while they waited for the ambulance; nor why it took the ambulance more than a half hour to complete a four-minute drive to the nearest hospital.

Today, Woodward’s family dutifully tends a flagging civil case against Brattleboro police, whom Vermont’s attorney general exonerated, which has languished in supreme court appeals after failing at the state level. Before I get into some facts that may offer insight into why the blatant assassination of another American political dissident has not – nor ever will – receive justice I want to remind you of what Pastor Martin Niemöller said because it’s important to remember that in a military dictatorship which is operating a police state no one is safe. Niemöller was someone who, by his own admission, complacently delivered the same old predictable homilies to his congregation each Sunday – someone who never said a peep about Hitler, or the Nazis, to his congregation until von Hindenberg essentially crowned Hitler king when he made Hitler chancellor in 1933. Although a compatriot of Dietrich Bonhoeffor’s, Niemöller was not the scholar that Bonhoeffer was, and he would be the first person to tell you that in his post-war lectures – right before he would tell you about the surrealistic state in which Germans lived under the Nazis, practically pleading with his audiences to pay attention to the signs given by the dictators who will inevitably rise up in corrupt governments.  He knew what he was talking about. No government was more corrupt than the Versailles Agreement-resentful Reichstag; the Reichstag bank chief, Hjalmar Schacht, even resigned in 1938, saying the bank was run by criminals.  When the Nazis passed the Aryan paragraph, making it impossible for any person not of (allegedly) pure German descent to work in public offices, Niemöller helped found the Pastors' Emergency League to aid refugees then fleeing the country, most of which were Jews.  In this capacity, he became a confidant of Bonhoeffer's and a supporter of the Confessing Church, the group of church leaders who refused to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler and the newly concocted Reichskirsche.  Soon, this one-time Nazi supporter - who went so far as to send congratulations to Hitler when he became Chancellor - found himself denouncing the police state which the Gestapo had created, even taunting officers who dared attend his services to spy on his opposition activities, such as taking up collections for the outlawed Confessing Church pastors, until he, too, became their prisoner.  One day, Niemöller was a respected clergyman and the next, he was in jail. In fact, it wasn’t at the end of the war, or one prison, that Niemöller was incarcerated; it was fully 8 years and more than 3 prisons and work camps that Niemöller experienced Nazi persecution. That’s right – he, too, was made a slave of the Nazis. And why? Because he had a vocation that would predispose him to care about fighting fascists, which he came to believe was the greatest mission of his life's work.

Everywhere for at least fully 30 years we’ve seen the dissolution of shared, pubic government and the encroachment of fascism into our society: our popular culture, where an inhumane, animalistic, men-must-be-ruled vision of humanity is represented in TV programs such as Big Brother, Survivor, Bully Beat Down, Gangland, Cops and even Wife Swap; our politics, where we’ve been deluded into believing the threat to the good guys has been merely from neocons, or “Libertarianism,” or “Tea Party” candidates despite the fact presidents of both parties occupying the White House have passed secret laws stripping first amendment rights from every American, making our government an instrument of its demise; our religious institutions, which may now arrest members of their congregations and pursue without hindrance aggressive missionary work while the average unchurched, law-abiding American is persecuted with covert warfare; our sacred family and friendship bonds, which are routinely undermined by agents waging that covert war; even our individual lives, bodies, and minds, where much of that covert warfare is now waged. The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Paperback Edition, defines fascism as, “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.” Our Congress has been overtly fascist for decades, but today, we’re told the sudden and explosive popularity of the Tea Party is due to the fact conservatives are not just disappointed but disgusted with the neocons and Republicans – for not being ‘right’ enough. This sermon would go on for weeks if I were to list even just a few particular of the many examples I could here of fascism, such as the TARP bailouts, but since we’re talking about the police state today, I’ll give just two or three other examples of it, of which you may not be aware. The first happened just last August 29th in Seattle, and I mention it because I want you to see it as not the bellwether that Woody Woodward’s murder was but the natural culmination of the degradation of a civil society in which none of us has any first amendment rights, let alone, human rights.

On that day, Ditidaht First Nations of Canada’s Vancouver Island (Nuu-chah-nulth) master wood carver John T. Williams was busy carving between Eastlake and Pike Street Market in downtown Seattle. Two-year veteran police officer Ian D. Birk parked his patrol car near Williams, got out, issued commands at Williams and then opened fire on him, striking Williams multiple times and killing him. The entire incident took less than a minute, was partially recorded on the patrol car’s video surveillance camera that has not been released to the public, and, of course, is recounted by witnesses of the event differently according to who is giving it: the police say alternately that Williams was shot while carving on a ledge when Birk mistook him for someone with whom he had to be concerned, or that he was walking across the street with his carving knife unsheathed in a threatening manner, but always that Williams was a miscreant and alcoholic deviant who failed to acknowledge Birk’s orders (whatever they may have been). Bystanders say Williams was at work as usual, crouched in a non-threatening position because he was riddled with arthritis. The entire community gathered September 3 to honor Williams, who was well-known in the Pike Street Market as a vendor of his carvings, which have sold at galleries in the northwest as well. The native community was naturally outraged that a man they knew universally as a kind and gentle one and a brilliant artist died for absolutely no reason at all and contend – not unjustifiably – that anyone who lived in the community any amount of time – particularly, an officer of the law – should have known that carving knives are neither illegal for Seattleans, nor socially unacceptable for natives.

What I’d like you to think about today is how Woodward’s and Williams’ deaths are related. In the first instance, a known target of our government’s secret military was slain in cold blood. In the second instance, a member of a much beleaguered group that, as we know from the federal police state run on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1970s – which falsely imprisoned Leonard Peltier and murdered Anna Mae Aquash – may also have been a target of our government’s secret military was slain in cold blood. The only seeming difference in each case is time: in 2001, it took our secret military slightly more than half a day to murder Woodward; in 2010, it took less than a minute to murder Williams. In the intervening years, we’ve heard over and over again of youth and immigrants who’ve been subjected to what is colloquially – and I would suggest to you, wrongly – called “police brutality:” an honor student of Puerto Rican descent in New York City is gunned down by police in a raid on what turned out to be a police informant’s apartment when he wasn’t there, after being lured there with his cousin, a street dealer, and when the young man’s mother asks for answers from then Mayor Rudy Guiliani on a local radio program not about her son’s murder, but about the cover-up that was carried out on the Citizens’ Investigation Review Board by the police department, he insults the woman and implies she’s a terrible mother to have raised a criminal. And there are more connections we can make among the many examples of the police state in which we all now live.

Both Abner Louimah and Amadou Diallo are too well-recognized and similar cases of persecution by the same New York City police force, but are you aware that echoes of Rodney King’s beating are being heard today? On September 5th, Manuel Jaminez Xum, another indigenous person from Xexac, Guatemala – who was a husband, father and hard-working itinerant worker – was murdered by the same division of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Rampart division, which beat Rodney King. Riots in Watts in 1967 were everywhere on the evening news, all across our nation, but I challenge anyone here today to tell me where they were when they saw the 2-day riots in Pico Union, west L.A., after news of Jaminez Xum's murder became known. Can't remember?  I'm not surprised.  These riots weren't covered by the mass media.  But they were covered by, which notes that the people who live in this community come from a first-hand experience of revolution and civil war; they were forced to migrate here because of U.S. imperialism and what it has done to their homelands. Is Stephen Colbert testifying to that sad, but obvious, fact to Congress? We could go back much further in our history to find the genesis of the American police state, back to the murders of civil rights workers who registered voters in the south and were killed for doing so – as we now know from declassified FBI documents, by right-wing extremists under the purview of the FBI. I would suggest to you that we have been negligent in our civic duties since we haven’t. We’ve all been sunshine patriots. We have allowed this police state to accrete so that it is now no longer barely visible, but so ubiquitous incidences of it have to be suppressed by the mass media, as Woodward’s, Williams’ and Jaminez Xum’s horrific murders have been.  This is not without precedent.  The vast majority of Chinese youth younger than 30 years of age today (and most of those who are older as well) have no idea what occurred in Tiananmen Square in June of 1989.  Those who admit to knowing, refuse to talk about the repressive socialist regime that pro-democracy activists in the thousands were gunned down trying to protest. Civil socity is clearly uncivilized today. We must ask ourselves, ‘why?’

Here’s something else to consider. Unlike Woodward, neither Williams nor Jaminez Xum (nor King) fit the most common profile of people we’ve come to expect will be brutalized and murdered by agents of our police state: African-American, or immigrant, or minority civil right activists. That’s key. Williams was a middle-aged and disabled homeless artist battling alcohol addiction. Jaminez Xum was a migrant laborer whose concept of territorial integrity was likely based on his cultural, if not spiritual, identity. King was a working man who was just doing his job. While all men were members of groups traditionally persecuted by uncivilized members – even, groups – of our fellow citizens, their assaults and murders represent a zenith of brutality against productive, law-abiding people that civil society cannot sustain; none was the type of citizen that George W. Bush declared an “enemy combatant” of the United States in 2003, the political dissident. They were all peaceful, honorable men whose assaults and murders are sensible only to those in control of our country, who see anyone other than imperialistic-minded social Darwinists as less than human in the same way that the Nazis categorized 16 different types of people as “undesirable” and undeserving not merely of citizenship but also of life. You don’t even have to be a political activist, or member of a minority group that is fighting for rights which are unlawfully denied you any more to be a target of this once small cadre within the United States government that has now become its most dominant operational unit, the military. All you have to be is alive and hated by members of this police state to be one of their targets. Sound familiar?

[1/25/11:  I've only just learned about the savage murder of nine year-old Brisenia Flores, who was shot at point-blank range in the head while begging for her life after watching her father be murdered.  The self-confessed vigilante who committed this heinous act of cowardice, Shawna Forde, goes on trial this week for the May 30, 2009, slaughter near Tucson and many are asking whether the murder of this nine year-old will receive the same attention that Christine Taylor Green's despicable murder received this last month.  My guess is that since it didn't a year-and-a-half-ago, it won't now, not least of which because the murder of brown-skinned people on the border that have been wrongly targeted as drug traffickers, as Brisenia's family had been, is part of the military's covert war which makes the targeting of innocents for liquidation - even U.S. citizens, as the Flores' were - seem plausibly justified, though, as we know, our war "on" drugs has actually been a war "for" drug traffickers, whose industry is just another money-making endeavor that must be protected by the fascists in control of our government.  And that's why the founder of the Minutemen vigilante group, Jim Gilchrist, with whom Shawna Forde had much contact across the nation in what she described as the "fun" pastime of 'border wars,' has defended child murderer Shawna Forde as 'innocent until proven guilty,' despite Ms. Forde's admission of guilt.]

[3/5/11:  Here is yet another story from Arizona about the heinous execution of a troubled Latino youth by (what else?) a police officer.]

So here are some facts about the evolution of our police state of which I doubt the Woodward, Williams and Jaminez Xum families are aware. The native community is much more familiar with the military policies and practices of persecution by this government, though through much of their history in this “country,” those policies were illegal. I was shocked to discover they are no longer, and shocked to discover them at all since I had been what anyone (certainly, minions of the military) would describe as a nascent activist of the so-called “peace and justice” movement that opposed the U.S.-backed wars in Central America, and then the invasion, occupation and colonization of Iraq, but I never heard Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, or Naomi Wolf say anything about these things. Wolf never made the following information available to readers of her 2007 The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, though they’ve been available for as much as 30 years and Robert Woodward was assassinated less than 50 miles from her publisher’s office.

1.  Robert Woodward’s assassination was a military operation. Local police – all local police – have been given the technology to wage covert warfare against otherwise law-abiding citizens by direct order of successive Commanders-in-Chief, including Bill Clinton, since Ronald Reagan was in office. These covert forces followed Woodward, impeded his life, threatened him and ultimately killed him, as they said they would.

In 1981, then Commander-in-Chief Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333 granting all branches of the military the use of CIA-developed technologies, including the various PSYOP technologies such as COINTELPRO and MK-Ultra, that were used illegally against anti-war activists in the 1960s. (If you don’t know what PSYOP, COINTELPRO and MK-Ultra are, you can wiki them.) Today, included in the U.S. arsenal of covert weapons are microwave and ultra-audio technology, both of which deprive individuals of private association by depriving them of private thought and private speech. You can see descriptions of patents for and demonstrations of some these technologies at He also gave them the ability to use these technologies anywhere in the world, including right here, in America.

Another thing Commander-in-Chief Ronald Reagan did with E.O. 12333 is to make covert war against U.S. activists a permanent feature of American domestic policy by making it legal for the CIA and the FBI – and anyone directed by, or working with, them – to infiltrate “for the purposes of influencing the activity of” your local political action group, be it CISPES, the ACLU, or your church. As you can see, long before Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush created The Patriot Act, Homeland Security and the TSA, your ability to think and act freely was taken away from you by Commander-in-Chief Ronald Reagan, in whose cabinet Bush’s father was, as we all know, the head of the CIA. (Homeland Security and the TSA are just a chimera created to make you believe, if you ever have reason to suspect that your liberty has been taken from you, that they were taken from you only recently, by the creation of these agencies, so that you won’t revolt and demand all of the constitutionally undermining directives such as E.O. 12333 be abolished but instead will simply settle for the abolition of the Homeland Security and the TSA – once the “War on Terror” is over, of course, whenever that may be).

2.  In 1993, Commander-in-Chief Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, Janet Reno, began a “study” that former Commander-in-Chief George H.W. Bush had proposed to evaluate the feasibility of distributing to every local law enforcement agency across the nation so-called less-than-lethal weapons – more covert weapons – developed by the CIA and FBI, such as pepper spray guns and, as we’ve seen, microwave and ultra-audio. We all remember the tragic case of Emerson College student Victoria Snellgrove, who was shot in the eye and killed by one such gun while celebrating the Red Sox’s 2004 pennant victory. But many people don’t know that the “Dazzler” microwave gun – rarely mentioned in the context of covert warfare and always described as in use in far-away regions of conflict, such as Iraq – is used right here, in our cities, according to victims flocking for help and community to websites such as By 1996, the program was fully operational.

3.  In 1994, Commander-in-Chief Bill Clinton created the Joint Forces ( – Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard battalions that occupy our America, making redundant our reserve forces (so they can be deployed to our imperialistic endeavors elsewhere around the globe). He justified it, along with his AG’s distribution of the CIA/FBI less-than-lethal weaponry, because of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton justified the creation of the ultimate fascist organization in America, Infra-gard, in which employers working with the not-so-secret secret agencies of our military dictatorship can either recruit or persecute their employees using all of the “black box” tricks at the disposal of those agencies: home invasion, PSYOP, less-than-lethal weaponry and other electronics that disrupt communications, some of which can be seen on the revenge page of the website, This arsenal also includes bioweapons as well.

Now don’t forget – Joint Forces now has all the stealth weaponry and mind control technology the CIA developed back when their research to develop and use it was illegal, in the 1950s. There are those of you who probably remember the Rockefeller/Church hearings that Sen. Kennedy called for in 1974 to investigate these abuses, and perhaps even the sanitized 1976 report by the Rockefeller/Church commission that seems to have had little practical effect in curbing the abuses of our secret government agencies and our military. I mentioned Naomi Wolf’s 2007 The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, which contains disclosure of none of these things. That’s because Wolf appears to be another type of covert weapon our government has been using against its citizens for quite some time as well – a particular type of propagandist known as a disinformation specialist, which is why she’s given prominent airtime on programs such as The Colbert Report and Brian Glick, NYU professor, attorney and author of 1989’s War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It, from which I’ve taken this information, is not. Work such as that Wolf appears to do is why much, if not all, of what I am telling you is not known to the general public, and that is why you are not free.

4.  There have been other military operations in UU churches before and since Woodward’s assassination. I was at a Unitarian-Universalist church a few months ago attending a meeting -- "conversations" -- after the Sunday service at which was discussed a "new" way to "dialogue" with others. The minister was instructing the monthly meeting attendees on taking turns saying what was on their minds and then relinquishing the floor. Then the next person who wanted to say something took his/her turn, either responding, or not, and so on. So, effectively, no actual dialogue was taking place, and those who had thoughtful, passionate views on relevant anti-social issues were silenced. Anyone familiar with the function of propaganda knows that it is intended to “stop” thought, as this “new” form of “dialogue” does. This was in the context of learning how to be an "open, more tolerant" congregation in which those who chose not to discuss important community, social, political and ethical issues were accorded the right not to participate in this "community" -- but were nevertheless given the power to influence this community’s actions and inaction. The last person who spoke was a woman who said (after many people agreed that "conservatives" should be accorded respect for the opinions they take up the public sphere propagating), "I was at a training seminar recently and the trainer said that no matter how much we dislike what a person says, we should practice thinking of two positive things that could be said about that person," and I immediately thought, "Well, Hitler liked dogs and was a vegetarian. But I still don't think he should have been accorded the rights to not just say what he thought, not just live his own personal beliefs in private, but to take control of the entire country right down to its culture and enforce/inflict his eugenics-mad, anti-Semitic, FASCIST beliefs on the world." As she was the last person to speak -- after, in fact, the minister had dismissed the meeting -- I couldn't say anything.

In 1992, I was the target of a PSYOP campaign to separate me from my church and those there who supported me. It took the form of an MK-Ultra program to discredit me and included the use of a bioweapon. More of the details of this ordeal are unnecessary to this sermon, but I will just say that it was the perceptiveness of my beloved minister of ten years at the former First and Second Church in Boston, and dear friend, the Rev. Dr. Rhys Williams, who, unbeknownst to me at the time, saw that I was being maligned and alerted me to the fact that my influence in the community was being undermined – a typical MK-Ultra tactic. Many peculiar things began to happen to me after a woman was brought in as my “aid” in the church school classes I was then teaching – so peculiar, in fact, that I didn’t know how to describe them to anyone and, therefore, never said anything to Rhys about them. But somehow, he was aware that my reputation was being disparaged, and in one final conversation with him, he emphatically told me, “You are being blocked.”

It was 20 full years after Commander-in-Chief Ronald Reagan first created our military dictatorship that Woodward was assassinated, and those of you in positions of leadership here, in this church, and in your many peace and justice groups, who do know how your peace groups and churches have been undermined in that time, or who are in positions to know, may believe that if you collude with the fascists now in control of your government and your organizations that you will be spared their terrorism. I would simply remind you that that is what not just Pastor Niemöller believed at one time, but also, the Rabbinate of Warsaw, who told the Jews for whom they were responsible that they should move into the Nazi’s newly erected Warsaw ghetto, just before cattle car after cattle car arrived to transport nearly all of the law-abiding, productive, ordinary Jewish men, women, elderly, children and infants – excepting those who did not comply with this order and later died in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising – to Auschwitz, including that same Rabbinate. Those of you right here, in this church, who aid these fascists and grant them unfettered access to your congregation had better start to think very seriously about in whose interest your are acting, not least because of the fact that being a quisling doesn’t make you safe; it didn’t take Hitler long to dispose of many of the politicians and bureaucrats who had initially been opposed to his chancellorship but then backed him once von Hindenburg appointed him. They were among the first to be sent to the prisons and firing squads. If you think your removal from society is somehow prohibited by any always-difficult-to-enforce and ultimately irrelevant “constitutional right,” while you turn away from those in your community who need your help, you need to acquaint yourselves with the military’s use of the “wall-less” prisons and the social extermination they affect in which you will one day find yourselves because you didn’t act against American fascism when you had the chance. You can do so on the websites,, or (stalking, or cause stalking, or gangstalking is the cover the military uses for this “cell control” battle strategy).

Churches aren’t the only place the secret government has infiltrated; ever wondered why Amnesty International abandoned its no-conflict-of-interest mandate? Now, so-called human rights activists at Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International will never work to protect the human and civil rights (whatever are left of them) of the most vulnerable Americans – its political activists. They won’t talk to any American target of the U.S. government, and neither will the ACLU, or National Lawyer’s Guild. They’re not Vietnamese; they have no interest in fighting the Pentagon. They like this fascist government just as it is.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention some of the many beloved pets that our police state has killed: Parrot, a ginger-colored pit bull terrier who, while at a neighborhood festival just this past August in the Adams-Morgan community of Washington, D.C., tussled with a poodle briefly and then, after their encounter had been subdued, was thrown down a cement stairwell and shot by a police officer; JoJo, a feline belonging to the Olsons of Blue Earth County, Minnesota, whose partial remains were found on the couple's stoop after their landlord called Mrs. Olson at work and bragged about smashing the cat's head onto the cement steps, after which the Olsons sought the help of an international animal rights advocacy group, whose Action Alert on behalf of them has been deleted from their database with no explanation subsequent to complaints to the County Prosecutor's office; the three month-old puppy that was shot in front of a crying toddler after FBI stormed the home of a law-abiding – probably, peace activist – family and proceeded to strip search both its owner and his eight-month pregnant wife; many of my own beloved cats, most of which came to me from alleged animal shelters sick with zoonotic diseases, tortured and murdered with bioweapons. You are under siege, people, if these things can happen to a critically ill, part-time church schoolteacher and college student-cum-unemployed, middle-aged woman. You better believe that.

I could say more – much more – about the need for us to get our own house in order, about the importance of our understanding now that “charity” begins at home because our leaders have robbed us of not merely our collective assets today but our collective assets in the future, and we will soon be unable to help ourselves in the inevitable chaos with which they will visit us, as their past practices indicate. There’s been a lot of finger-pointing and armchair quarter-backing since the financial crisis caused by the mortgage-backed securities meltdown in 2008, though it’s all been a lot of bluster when you look at it carefully. The investments made in these risks were done in corrupt ways that have been outlawed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Whether they were profitable or not is beside the point; the SEC consciously looked the other way as these massive gambling schemes took place and then that same government made good those institutions’ losses.  That transfer of wealth is fascism! Instead of encouraging you to stock up on bullion as the so-called “Libertarians” have been advising you to do (to drive the price of gold even higher so their wealth increases in the next catastrophe they and their fellow fascists in every political party engineer), and start putting funds aside to support your congregation’s targeted dissidents (both of which you should have been doing for the past three decades anyway), I’d like to leave you with two final thoughts.

For years we’ve heard from people who’ve claimed that their bodies and liberties have been usurped by government agents who have used them in spurious research protocols, such as the atomic-era radiation and Tuskegee Syphilis experiments. Many – if not all – of these people were not believed during their lifetimes, and they were tortured for decades by our government because they weren’t, as we now know from exposés based on declassified government documents, such as Eileen Welsome’s The Plutonium Files: America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War, or James H. Jones’s Bad Blood. If you don’t know the deplorable disposition of the cases of these victims of government bioslavery – which number in the millions and may realistically even include you – then you don’t know critical facts about the way in which every single doctor in this country works to enslave you because your government charges them with the duties of slavers; it has done – and will continue to do – nothing to protect you from its abuses. No bioweapons convention treaty; no improved protections for human research subjects such as those Sen. John Glenn advised Congress to adopt. Certainly, no universal health insurance program that has as its primary goal your health and life’s protection. Nothing. Think about it. Why would they? They need slaves for their programs, and that’s why your alleged health care system – just one of several anti-free-market, price-fixed markets controlled by our government – is a mess. It’s run by fascists, and fascists like slavery.  Remember, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” the motto of the heretofore most notorious fascists, which hanged over the gates to Auschwitz? “Work will make you free.” Right. Similar slavery charges have been leveled at other agencies of our military government for decades; it was finally proved our so-called peacekeeping force was running a sexual slavery ring in Bosnia during Clinton’s war there when former Nebraska police officer Kathryn Bolkovac blew the whistle on the operation. Her story is told in the new movie, The Whistleblower, which stars Rachel Weisz. Fascists love slavery, people. I can’t say it enough.

Among today’s groups of bioslaves are included groups of people on whom the most pernicious type of freedom-denying weapons imaginable have been researched. They include countless numbers of today's legatees of Pentagon mind control technologies, including victims of electronic harassment used in the covert war being waged by our government.

Defense contractor Ambient Technologies – whose stock consistently outperforms the market even though its purported oligopsony is for one of the smallest markets imaginable – that of the mute, advanced-stage ALS patient – has made nano technology that can be implanted in anyone – anyone having a dental appointment to install caps or a crown, anyone having any type of surgery that requires general anesthesia – which actually reads the minds of those people in whom it is implanted. details – and discloses the patents for – this and other truly heinous “mind control” stealth weaponry technology that cannot possibly have been developed solely to help the relatively few Steven Hawkings of the world. I mention this partly so you will be aware that if someone comes to you one day looking for help and claiming that the government knows what he or she is thinking, they are telling you the truth. Don’t dismiss them, or turn them away, but rather, listen very carefully to what they have to say. They are talking about what can – and does – happen to people like you. Because you are not free. They are today’s prophets. You should also know that the government makes technology to direct our thoughts remotely, through silent sound technology, which even advertisers and retailers now use, all of which is discussed on the previously mentioned website. What better way, after all, is there for the government to know what people are thinking than by directing their thoughts?

The reason I mention this is so you realize that the famous mind control cases for which a tiny fraction of bioslaves, such as Orlikow, sued the federal government – and won – were the bases upon which your military dictatorship has continued to develop these enslaving mind control technologies. What you should understand is that these weapons and technologies are stealth weapons. They are designed to be as undetectable as humanly possible so as to be used in covert warfare. You can’t see the microwave gun that’s pointed through a plaster wall at your head for hours at a time from a neighboring apartment; you only see the effects – burns on your scalp and face so bad you look as though you’ve spent a week in the Caribbean, or have the worst case of jaundice in recorded history, and slowly leaking subcranial bleeds which eventually result in strokes. You can’t hear the directives with which you are being bombarded when you go into a store to buy a certain product, or to not shoplift – or to do any anti-social behavior the handlers of this equipment can dream up to indict and denounce you as a social misfit and criminal, as they do. This isn’t your daddy’s stealth mind control weaponry; this is 21st century, everyone’s-a-potential-Manchurian-candidate mind control stealth weaponry. And how can I say this more plainly? When George W. Bush declared war on you by declaring any one of you an enemy combatant should you dissent against the U.S. imperialistic war his cabal was then about to wage, he made you a slave of the U.S. government by legalizing the use of this technology on you in the U.S.’s covert war against its citizens. When he declared never-ending propaganda war at the creation of his Global Office of Communications (formerly, his wartime communications office), these are merely some of the weapons he gave to his minions to use against you. Back to that other covert weapon, propaganda.

The 9/11 Commission released a report this past September 10th, saying that our government hasn't done enough to curb "home-grown terrorism." The reality is the exact opposite. As you can see, our government assiduously makes of its political dissidents targets for its (now not so secret) secret police by denouncing them as terrorists, often exchanging the term, “terrorist,” for “extremist” to tacitly justify what they do from a legal standpoint, just as they have done for many decades. The warfare they use to persecute, contain and kill those “terrorists” is a HIGHLY DEVELOPED STEALTH type of “covert” warfare. If you want to understand the persecution of America's "undesirables," you can't do it without understanding ALL of America’s covert warfare practices, including propaganda such as this report – because this is the type of war that it has been waging against us for decades. If you choose not to learn about the predominant form of covert warfare being waged right now against your fellow law-abiding Americans, you will continue to be deluded into thinking the time in which we now live isn't as brutal – isn’t as fascist – a time as the time in which, for example, Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived because that’s the purpose of this propaganda – to delude you. Not only are we slaves now denied all our civil (and many of our human) rights (again – once, illegally, but now, legally), we have to suffer the indignity of our existence being denied, when the thousands of us who were thusly persecuted in the '60s, '70s and '80s now number in the millions – and our numbers grow every day. This is what that yearly $75 billion security expenditure is for (and that doesn’t include the $20-something billion in computer/internet security technology). And this fact begs other critical questions – questions that we cannot afford to ignore, or put off answering – such as, why has the sexual slavery trade in America actually broadened since members of our military were found to have been conducting it in a war-torn area of the world? A father tells his story of having to rescue his daughter from sexual slavers who had used their own daughter to help kidnap his after school in Toledo, Ohio, one day, and the police did nothing to help this man – except give him the telephone number of a broker who knew the identity of his daughter’s captors. That’s a scenario we hear more and more about on MSNBC, the Discovery Channel, etc. Sara Kruzan is in prison for life in the bankrupt state of California, with its brand-spanking-new death row, for killing her pimp; she resisted her enslavement the only way she could, since no civil or social institution protected her from sexual slavery, and for it, she’s now a slave of the prison industrial complex. For what has all this advanced weaponry our country has developed that we’ve heard precious little about been created, if our society is actually more – not less – criminal than before and our culture promotes that criminality? How many types of slavery have you been dragooned into? How many minders do you have? How many handlers? Is the external, so-called “Islamo-fascist” threat really as great as we’ve been led to believe it is, or are the real fascists really merely pointing the finger at extremists their own misdeeds have created to justify the closing of America? This is a question we have avoided for far too long answering.

If you care about yourselves, your church community, the future of this country – and the future of humanity – because these fascist practices are unprecedented in history, are being replicated all over the world where the CIA operates, and have terrible consequences for the human species and its humanity – then you will heed my warning. I’m not asking you for your help for myself. I’m not asking you for your help, even, for Robert Woodward, or others of us like him. I am asking you to help yourselves. I don’t know what the answers to these enormous problems are; there are many factors mitigating against a quick, comprehensive and violence-free solution to them. I only know that if we don’t do something about them now, there are plenty of others in the world who will be happy to do the job for us, once they learn of them, and that’s not something any of us wants. We stand a better chance of survival if we attack American fascism head-on, in non-violent direct action, ourselves and commit to the decades- – perhaps even, centuries- – long work of eradicating it. If neither our enemies, nor we, succeed in confronting, fighting and defeating American fascism, humanity will simply be a luxury commodity such as an SUV in the future, and not a right of every individual. Freedom will no longer exist even as a human ideal in the human mind. This isn’t some crazy-ass, hyperbolic, insane plea to get rid of government such as that being proffered by the asinine Tea Party movement, or so-called “Libertarians.” Those ultra-right-wing alleged parties are calculated misdirection to make you believe your government isn’t already everything these people say they stand for. This is a heartfelt plea like Henry David Thoreau’s: “To speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, [which is not today] a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule, is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? — in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then?” We have to recall and replace every single Congressperson who has given us this unprecedented level of fascism in America – and continue to do so each and every time one of our representatives does not uphold the entire constitution, including the Bill of Rights for each individual citizen, as they are sworn to do.

Rhys wrote in a 1990 sermon entitled, Decisive Battles Behind Closed Doors, “One advantage of having a knowledge of the Bible is that continually you find the current experience within its context. . . . When I speak about the Bible as being pertinent to these times, I find one element missing . . . the prophet.” I think if he were alive today he’d agree that it’s hard to hear what our prophets have to say when they’re being gunned down in our very churches and streets. That’s the reason we have no prophets today – and that’s the reason you are not free.

We Need Our Own Confessing Church, not Churches that Aid The Fascists in Control of OUR Government.

“Listen to me. . . . I don’t want money, or pity.

Only listen.”

The Beadle
Elie Wiesel’s Night


[(sigh) Hacked again. :-( ]