Monthly Archives: June 2012

Starhawk’s advice for the election season

Election campaigns in my view are usually a distraction from what really needs to be done, since voting changes little in our money-dominated system. I’ll probably expand on that thought more than once in the coming months. Meanwhile, here’s some good advice from Starhawk’s June 5th blog… (If you don’t know who Starhawk is, do some research — she’s awesome! I particularly recommend her novel The Fifth Sacred Thing.)

“Whatever your politics, whether you vote or don’t vote, whether you register Democrat or Republican, Green or Libertarian, you are about to be subjected to a barrage of negativity that will go on for months and months, fueled by the deep pockets of billionaires who are now free to spend as much as they want to buy elections.  The Republicans alone have a war chest of a billion dollars!  Think how many mortgages in trouble that money could save, or how many students could get a free college education!  Instead, it will be spent to blanket the country with a miasma of negativity, and the Democrats will be scrambling to do their own counterattacks.  Energetically, we can prepare to live under a kind of gray miasma, a kind of psychic smog.  Yuck!

There are some things we can do about this in the practical realms—ranging from contributing money to good causes to getting out in the streets and staying there, as the students and workers in Quebec have been doing for weeks.  A good, loud casserole—that means banging pots and pans each night as a political protest—might help drive away some evil spirits.

But I want to talk about what we can do energetically.  If you are an ultra-rational sort who doesn’t believe in the woo-woo stuff, here’s where you can stop reading and go do something productive with your day.  But I will say this—whether or not you believe this can influence the larger world, this kind of magic will help shift your own energy.  If you find yourself spinning off into cycles of fear—anquish—despair—fear, this will help!   And if you have more positive energies of your own available, you will be more effective at all the practical things you do.

So if you’re with me, let’s work on shifting the energy around all this.  Why should we quietly lay down and suffer under their toxic thought-blanket?  What would happen if a whole lot of us used our intention and focused imaginations to shift the energies?  And why not use some of the energy of this transit—energies which will continue to flood in over the next weeks.

So here’s the idea—a simple meditation you can do alone or in groups, when you have a spare moment or when you find yourself spinning off into those vortexes of impotent rage, stop and do this:

Visualize drains for all the negativity, the fear-mongering and the lies.  Like little spinning whirlwinds, spinning counterclockwise, dust devils sweeping up the miasma of the psychic smog, spindles gathering the toxic wool and spinning it down back to earth, down to the fiery magma below us to transform back into pure energy.

Release that energy, and ground.  Touch the ground, absorb some good, healing energies from the earth, and draw in what you need for your own work and well-being.

Then visualize a clockwise spiral, a rising vortex of compassion, love and hope.  You could imagine spinning it around some symbol of justice and freedom—personally, I find the Statue of Liberty to be a potent Goddess symbol.”

Rooms in the House of Insanity

We all live in the House of Insanity to one degree or another. It’s not a real house — its walls, built from mistaken beliefs, can topple in a heartbeat. And it’s a little different for each of us. How free we each are from these delusions affects our peace of mind and our actions — a big deal — but in the end we’re all in the same soup together. I won’t make it, whatever that means, if you don’t too.

You can probably help me with some of my false beliefs. We can all use a little of that kind of help. But I’m hoping I can help some of you, who may be ingesting “the news” without background information or a sense of irony. I’m eager for more of my brothers and sisters to look behind the curtain at the even-more-insane-than-we-are folks trying to pull our puppet strings.

Two examples from today’s paper will give you an idea of what to look for.

First, the easy one: a beauty contest in Israel for Holocaust survivors, has been entered by 300 women. Beauty contests are ridiculous to begin with, but beauty contest/Holocaust. How did anyone ever come up with such an insane conjunction? The Israeli government must be really desperate for propaganda to support its agenda…using innocent people (who’ve suffered enough) and being sexist to boot.

The second one’s a little more complicated. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled Obama’s “health care” act constitutional, claiming that it’s okay to financially penalize people who don’t want to buy health insurance. They’re calling it a tax, something the government has a right to do, completely ignoring the fact that never before have U.S. citizens been forced to buy a particular product from a private company whether they want it or not. Now, unless you’re old enough to be on Medicare or qualify for Medicaid, you’re going to be financially penalized either way. (And the Court’s ruling on another aspect of the bill ensures that fewer people will qualify for Medicaid.)

This isn’t health care, or an improvement on the previous system. It’s highway robbery for the benefit of the insurance and drug industries, and obviously not constitutional. (Where’s the “freedom of the marketplace”?)

We shouldn’t expect anything else from a government dominated and run by the corporate elite for their own benefit. This isn’t a “liberal” decision on the part of the court, nor is the legislation “liberal,” whatever that word’s come to mean. It’s conservative, in the sense of benefiting the rich and penalizing workers and other ordinary folk. And the “conservative” side? They’re so mean they don’t even want folks to have that much! They’re for kicking sick people who don’t have the huge amounts of money they do to pay for health care to the curb for real. There might be a dollar or two of government money spent on the new scheme, and God forbid that should happen.

Health “insurance” is about profit for a few, not health care, and it has no place in a real health care system. Why should anybody be profiting from (preying on) people’s ill health? All that’s needed is for high-income folks to pay their fair share of taxes, so that we can have a single-payer, government-provided health care system like the ones in most other industrialized countries. You pay your taxes, and your doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, and ambulance rides are free — along with other “services” like education, libraries, etc. Equality — the same for everyone. Some of the countries with this kind of system — and much better health statistics than ours — are much poorer than ours. Our statistics, like our infant mortality rate, are lousy. And they’re not going to get any better with this “new” system.

But you won’t get a clear analysis of any of this in a mainstream newspaper or on the TV news — just the confusion of all the folks so smugly (and deludedly) hanging out in the House of Insanity, plus an extra dollop more to make sure you don’t see through their game.

I may sound mad about all this, but I’m not. What good would that do? As I said earlier, none of it’s a surprise — this is the kind of thing you get in a system like ours, run by the profit motive over all. It’ll change as soon as enough of us get hip to what’s going on and decide we want something different. Hopefully, the offerings on this site are a step in that direction.

Outlaw State

Hi, everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve written — partly because I’ve seen nothing new politically to get excited about, and partly because I’ve been “doing my homework” on other fronts. This morning, however, I saw an editorial by William Pfaff in the local paper that caught my attention. It seemed pretty revolutionary to me, sitting there as it did in the middle of the usual ho-hummery. I wonder if it’ll arouse discussion/make a difference.

Take a look, if you have the time (my thoughts in brackets, and more comments below).

Drone Warfare Makes U.S. an Outlaw State by William Pfaff, 6-20-12

The disclosure that current American drone warfare operations are directed from the presidential office in the White House, with the president himself selecting persons to be assassinated by unmanned American drone aircraft in Muslim countries, has ignited protests on moral, legal, political and strategic grounds. The protests concern the nature of these attacks, which disregard national sovereignties, the laws of war and the principles of American and international law, and are justified by saying that terrorists don’t obey the law either. The attacks must be described as assassinations: Because no state of war has been declared to exist between the United States and these persons or their states, they are unlawful killings.

As John Fabian Witt of the Yale Law School has recently written, “the categories of war and peace, which the modern world thought it had carefully separated, are collapsing into each other.” We are engaged in what in previous times would certainly have been considered unjust acts, in the course of unjust, because they are undeclared, wars. President Obama’s acts consciously undermine the civilized order of modern society. The United States has quite deliberately made itself an outlaw state.

The explanation offered in Washington is that drone attacks are economical and expedient methods for defending against, and if possible putting an end to, Islamic (or other) terrorism. This is a campaign of extravagant ambition and has virtually no possibility of success, since the campaign itself inspires resistance and retaliation.

The drone campaign is another product of modern America’s widespread disregard of legal norms, begun under the George W. Bush administration, which includes CIA and special operations kidnap, torture and assassination teams, operating in friendly or neutral as well as hostile countries.

How has the United States put itself into this situation, and why does its government display no apparent effort to end it? There is no clear answer. These measures derive from moral ruthlessness in the service of simple political and intelligence errors and prejudices, interacting with two special interests concerning the Muslim world, the main U.S. preoccupation since the end of the Cold War.

The first of these is the interest of the American government, pressed by the American oil industry, to exercise sufficient control over the Middle East and Central Asia as to prevent the nationalization of foreign or domestic energy industries, or the organization of resource boycotts. The second [related] issue is the aim of preventing an Arab challenge to Israel’s regional military domination.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were conceived and carried out by a small group of anti-Western Saudi Arabian religious extremists hostile to mounting U.S. regional influence, and specifically outraged by the post-Gulf War stationing – over Saudi protest – of U.S. forces in proximity to Islamic holy places. This was part of a Pentagon project for establishing a global U.S. base system, never (at the time) given congressional hearings or public and press discussion. The 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was meant to damage al-Qaeda. The 2003 invasion and wrecking of Iraq was an exploitation of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., two years earlier, plus “war of civilization” hysteria, for Israel’s strategic benefit [and following ongoing US policies of dominating the world’s oil supply and global economy in general and creating profits for the “defense” industry and companies like Halliburton]. President Obama’s renewed and reinforced war in Afghanistan, in 2008 and 2009, followed by increasing and extensive American interventions in Pakistan, Yemen, and the Gulf states, was justified by the same hysteria, which by this time amounted to political paranoia in American domestic politics (saving homeland America from “jihad rule, sharia law, and conquest by a new global caliphate”). Lack of success in Afghanistan (and Iraq) is now producing discouragement in the U.S., but the Pentagon is opening new theaters of American intervention elsewhere and expanding military activity in the Far East, with China identified as a permanent threat to the United States.

The war is to be extended, presumably using the same means. The June 8th issue of Army Times announces a new program in which Army brigades will next year be rotated throughout the world according to a “regionally aligned force concept.” Brigades of 3,000 soldiers will be sent to Africa, which until now has been relatively neglected by the United States, but “where terrorist groups have become an increasing threat to U.S. and regional security.”

I don’t know how long Pfaff has been writing this kind of thing, because I only recently started getting the paper again, but I feel like saying, “Wow, buddy! You’re catching on!” My only criticism would be that, as is often the case with these kinds of pieces, the implication is that U.S. foreign policy was squeaky clean ’til just recently. It wasn’t; it’s been bullying, racist, and ruthlessly serving US corporate interests since the 1890s when “we” fought a Vietnamese-Iraqi-Afghan-type war in the Philippines and made Cuba, which had just gained independence from Spain, into a puppet state.

How do we change it? Not with protests, peace marches, and letters, that’s clear.  And not with voting under the current system, which only offers corporate-sanctioned candidates. No — we’re gonna have to have a revolution (nonviolent and including a spiritual component, hopefully). We need to scrap this failed and failing system before it takes us all, and the earth, down with it, and create real economic and political democracy (the two go hand in hand). Critical economic and political decisions need to be made locally, and local resources managed for the benefit of everyone in each area. Each locality can then send representatives to higher and higher decision-making bodies for bioregional, global, and planetary planning and conflict resolution. Nation-states are unnecessary, do more harm than good.

Getting from here to there could take a long time, or if crises develop that are severe enough, could happen quickly. The point is to understand what’s happening now and to have a vision of something better, a way of life that benefits everyone, that serves life. That’s why I believe this work is spiritual, and needs to be motivated by love and compassion. A viable and equitable society needs to welcome everyone — the materially and spiritually poor, and everyone in between — or it won’t work. We have to love each other enough to respect each others’ differences, to share, and to offer help and hugs, corny as it sounds in this cynical time. What helps you helps me. We’re all one family.

This kind of love begins with self-love, compassion for our own foibles and weaknesses. But it has to go farther than that. It has to reach out. Not in any one certain, specific way, but in some way.

I recently watched a great movie: “Entertaining Angels,” about Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, and seeing “the light” (or Christ) in everyone, no matter his or her “distressing disguise.” Day couldn’t always do it, but she tried. She despaired once because she couldn’t “change the world.” “No,” said a friend, “but you made it better for a lot of people.” If enough of us do things that, won’t the world (the system) change?

Bringing out the truth about and stopping the wars “our” government is waging in our name with our tax dollars is what calls to me. Imagine declaring an endless war on whatever and whomever you want, using the greatest military machine the world has ever known. It’s as insane and as evil as any scheme or action of Hitler’s. Listen to Buffy St. Marie’s “The Universal Soldier.” It can’t continue without our participation. We can do better, starting with honoring our veterans, the living and the dead, not by saying they died (or were maimed) for our freedom — a propagandistic lie that ensures more unnecessary deaths, more maimings, but by refusing to vote for anyone who isn’t for bringing our troops home now, and not sending out any more. Our soldiers can defend our country (from real attack) right here.

P.S. The same newspaper with Pfaff’s column on drones also included a story about spy drones that may soon be looking into our activities at home — ’cause we’re the enemy, too, if we interfere with the few individuals deluded enough to think they need this much wealth and power.