by Carol Warner Christen
(Swans - May 21, 2007) At my local bookstore's sale table, I picked up two books: Radical Simplicity (1) and The Next World War. (2) In the morning paper, The Oregonian, an article from The Boston Globe by Bryan Bender on May Day was titled, "Oil's supply, cost threaten military's reach." (3) On the Internet, Justin Raimondo wrote on April 30, 2007, "Blueprint for Dictatorship: Recent legislation sets us up for tyranny." (4) "The Impeachment Chronicles: Kucinich Introduces Articles of Impeachment Against Cheney," by Bill Hare. (5) There are articles on bees disappearing, water levels rising in the Pacific, and more and more of the world being paved over with personal or group fortresses while foreclosing on the mortgages of the overextended with interest rates moving up rapidly while banks collapse.
Radical Simplicity by Dan Price is about creating an authentic life, as it says on the book cover, and explains, "You can live a life of freedom, one in harmony with the rhythms of nature, and your own internal rhythm and creativity." He is basically advocating the freedom to live simply as our ancient, pre-Sumerian ancestors did. Sumeria was in Iraq, the beginnings of humankind's civilization. The United States has wrecked humankind's heritage: the ziggurat, the archives, the museums, the very dirt was paved over by American military gravel.
Here, on the other hand, giant homes and shopping centers are being created to put as much space between people as is possible with a big budget. Since one human woman cannot clean easily more than 2,000 square feet, it means work for hired help at low wages. The life is stripped from the site, replanted with special plants by a gardener, maintained by crews, being both exotic and artificial. It also means longer trips for necessities using petroleum products instead of one's own energy to get around. A gated community barring children from elsewhere closes itself inside locking out all others. If the site is a shopping center, all its life is paved over to support one- or two-ton cars and big trucks and the oil industry. The stores are huge and noisy without human interaction of the meaningful kind. Houses fill up with stuff; more goes out to fill the dumps. Perhaps, the word for this is "radical complexity" for profit that is not in harmony with anything except monetary accumulation. It is truly marvelous how money never gathers dust and the advertising never ceases for a moment's peace or quiet. If "the play's the thing," (Shakespeare) why is it interrupted every few minutes unless a commercial pitch is the thing?
Just when I think that is bad enough, I start reading about The Next World War, where "Computers Are the Weapons & the Front Line Is Everywhere" by James Adams. Mr. Adams goes into great detail about using the electromagnetic spectrum against undefined enemies. I couldn't tell when I might be the object to kill by this overriding and overreaching idea that people must fight each other rather than understanding each other. We have the right to dissent in the United States of America on its public spaces; however, the military and the politicians do not want the People to say a single thing to them en masse in the streets. I thought "Brave New World," Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini had taught us the futility of the totalitarian regimentation of humanity. The rigidity of American laws and the length of prison sentences say differently. How many of us spell "p-o-l-i-c-e s-t-a-t-e"?
Many of the weapons already created and many envisioned are to take the People themselves down and out using a militaristic equation promoted in secrecy by bureaucrats, the military itself, and the Executive Branch of government where power seems to reside often hooked to local police bureaus. Are police bureaus ranked upon who trumps whom? Do city police outrank county sheriffs or vice versa? Can federal marshals override all of them? What about the FBI or now the expensive "Homeland Security" group? Is it higher or lower than the military? Can it trump state law or city law? Where and why does right lie with force?
If the National Guard was created to defend the individual states, why was it nationalized, its equipment sent overseas to be blown up or impregnated with depleted uranium? Did the federal government pay for its transportation to Iraq? The people of each state paid for the Guard and the equipment. Now the equipment is depleted as well. There are piles of metal in Iraq wasted, rusting, radioactive, while here the states cannot care for natural disasters as they should. In order to function, the state taxpayers will have to buy this stuff again for the state's benefit, except it will be reconfiscated for foreign wars of choice against made-up enemies, much like children take sides. There is some evidence in the book about the next war that the People are going to become the targets, too, with bizarre non-lethal weapons of mass silencing for the political good. In other words, the government, our sub-system of the Constitution, feels it owns us rather than owes us its duty. Hubristic white arrogance of proportions shameful to humanity itself is popping up all over the planet as our Constitutional Republic puts on airs as an empire.
Bryan Bender's article about a Pentagon study "warns that the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil -- the lifeblood of fighter jets, warships, and tanks -- will make the U.S. military's ability to respond ...'unsustainable in the long term.'" Is there a single human out there who imagined that life itself is sustainable using trillions of dollars for weapons and moving vehicles, rather than growing food, healing the ill, the injured soldiers, making life happy without armies? Selfishness and empire are not sustainable concepts. Early humanity shared; we teach our children to share; then, something untoward happens in one capital or another on the planet: greed, blood, rape, death, and destruction arise because we are so bored to tears with what we have created. We go along to get along and we hope for rewards not our due. We are stealing and pillaging others' countries, lives, and wealth for diminishing returns.
I, myself, have pondered the same question Justin Raimondo is pondering: a dictatorship in the United States before, or during the next election. The Congress has passed laws that pierce my soul: no habeas corpus; the Defense Authorization Act; the Military Commissions Act; the Patriot Act. The president now has powers to define a terrorist incident, an unlawful combination, a conspiracy in progress to threaten national security and domestic order; he is able to outlaw the opposition with the stroke of a pen. The president can torture and he can hold anyone incommunicado without trial as a "terrorist." He is so god-like He doesn't have to prove it anymore. The Congress overwrote the Constitution on its own without any authority from the People. The powerful shadows are calling the shots for us now. I wrote my senators and representatives; nothing has changed. Who are those people? What secret un-American deal allows such travesty? The old question: "Is anybody out there?" is apropos more than ever. Are the pod-people supreme?
On a television debate with all the Democratic presidential candidates, Dennis Kucinich stood out to impeach the vice president. Mr. Kucinich took out a copy of the Constitution from his pocket and said that was his guide. Not one other person on stage came forward. Since neither officer of the Executive Branch can run again, my feeling is very strong that an incident in their favor will be created and the coup d'état will happen before our astonished eyes. It would be illegal on their part. Which American citizen serf would stop them? You or me?
Finally, we remain like the god Janus looking backward to the way it was, not forward to the way it may be because we refuse to see or hear our denials about the state of our small planet. I mean earth is just a mere 8,000 miles in diameter with almost seven billion humans on it who have, it appears, little regard for its welfare, their own welfare, or life's welfare. Since we here were to "establish the general welfare," we have failed on too many counts. Continuous warring began after WWII by our politicians for stuff others owned. None of the warring was legal. We manipulate the world to pretend it is okay if we do it.
Now look what we have done. Look hard and closely because much cannot be undone without a serious reality check. I hear excuses for not listening, not changing. I hear people avoiding reality to wallow in whatever their favorite distraction may be. I see women degraded beyond belief. I see children shot as "collateral damage." I see piles of rubble. I see an occupation without honesty called a war. I see soldiers ignored for their injuries, denied healing funds and doctors. I see denial as if everyone were a practicing saint praying, preying. I see laws justified, such as "for every action, there is an opposite, but equal, reaction" as the center of our country is devastated again and again by storms and our rubble piles up, too, pitifully evening the score.
There is a story about the blind leading the blind. Where are the great ones of humanity? They are dead, many shot to silence them. Are you lost in the crowds? Lost for want of an audience? Lost for want of time, of life, of love? Life is a process of creation. Are we lost for want of imagination except for weapons and games and profit? Radical complexity has filled space and time; one man is testing its opposite.
I live on a farm created in 1894 and our house is a hops barn changed to four Army apartments for wives in 1914. It is seventeen acres, mostly a fen and some parts of a creek run through it. It drains the local hills until the creek picks up the water. When we moved in, water sloshed against the front of the "house" and destroyed its foundation. The state highway department channeled the water here. I ditched into the streets to protect our place. Once someone asked me if the streams around my house were salmon runs! I dig because some of my ancestors were Welsh coal miners; I figure I'm built for digging. It never tires me out. Plus, I was a mechanical design drafter for engineering firms that designed water and water treatment plants, prison water systems, and municipal systems, even steel companies in Indiana, and Trojans as built in Oregon.
The state in Oregon owns the water unless it is a spring that never runs off the property. The state and I had a standoff on the highway since we were a house prior to his culvert. I told him if he kept it there, then he (the state) had no right to say how I used the water. It was only a verbal agreement, not binding, but ethically correct. If I have to, I will begin to create terraced gardens watered by the state.
Our farm is in a shadow from satellites and cell phone towers. We might be invisible. This brings me to the bees. I was worried when our apple trees bloomed that there might be no bees. I went out last week during one tree's flowering and the buzz of real bees was very loud and they were everywhere on that tree. It is the only tree out of all lines of sight from cell towers. Others around here have complained about their lack of bees. We will all have to shadow our trees from our technology or starve. How do we do that?
Last, but not least, is another article I did not mention above: "Sweet Waters From a Bitter Fountain," by Richard C. Cook. (6) The article says "the U.S. financial system headed by the Federal Reserve System has failed and that only an emergency program of monetary reform can address conditions which may be leading to a catastrophe like the Great Depression or worse...But the analysis and recommendations contained in the report may be surprising, even to many progressives."
The report is 28 pages long and is the fairest way -- democratic capitalism -- to share what our parents built and we are squandering. It removes financiers from the control of our monies and puts it back in the Treasury where it belongs. The People benefit by the difference between our gross domestic income and our debts. The GDI is higher than the debt. Every human in the United States would actually get out of taxes and a bonus of $12,000 each to begin living the life we thought we were earning, which goes now to the wealthy only as the People become poorer and poorer in time and money. To change the gross ineptness of the current system, I would vote for this in a heartbeat. Our 750,000 homeless would, too. Read it and weep for yourselves and your children or change it now.
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