Monday, September 01, 2014

No! No! No!

I do not want to write this. I do not want to deal with this. I do not really even want to think about this. But I am so outraged I simply cannot let it pass. Israel has now announced they are going to take another 1.000 acres of private Palestinian land for more settlements. Apparently not happy with failing to annihilate the Palestinians entirely by violence they are reverting to their strategy of more slowly and insidiously attempting to get rid of them.

Among other things I guess you could regard this as chutzpa magnified by a thousand or more. This announcement not only blatantly insults President Obama, Kerry, and others, it also insults the entire world community, to say nothing of violating ordinary morality. The U.S. has asked them not to do it, but it is not at all obvious what will happen if they go ahead and do it anyway, which they quite likely will. After all, they have been doing illegal, criminal actions for years with no particular restraints from anyone, why should this time be any different. No doubt the UN will utter a few “tut tuts,” and the U.S. will say don’t do it, but the Israelis will do whatever they want, secure in the knowledge that the U.S. Congress will back them 100 per cent. The Israeli government has no shame and will obviously do anything and everything to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. The UK will threaten some mild sanctions, the U.S. will support Israel, and the hopeless situation in the Middle East will continue as is. Unless, of course, ISIS (or ISIL, or IS, or whatever it is) eventually forces the issue. The IS is not, however, the only “cancer” in the region, Israel has fulfilled that condition for years.

Here are my suggestions for the Israeli/Palestinian problem and peace in the Middle East:

Israel should be forced to retreat to the l967 borders.

All illegal settlements should be vacated by Israelis and given to the Palestinians.

Israel should be required to rebuild Gaza.

Israel should be required to acknowledge the basic humanity of the Palestinians as well as their human rights.
There should be a viable Palestinian state with no supervision or control by Israel, their own airport and seaport, and freedom to travel as they wish.

Far-fetched, yes, I know. It will never happen unless Israel is forced by the international community (and the U.S.) to comply. Of course Israel will whine about their security as usual but if they would simply act responsibly towards the Palestinians their security would be greatly enhanced. And with the finest military in the region they would be safe enough from any serious challenges from others. As far as their much vaunted nuclear power goes, it is as useless as it is everywhere else in the world. Their perceived threats from Iran, Hamas, and others are as paranoid and imaginary as Netanyahu can make them. “Give peace a chance” is a slogan completely foreign to the Israeli administration.

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.

 Albert Einstein 

Sunday, August 31, 2014


No, my personal Journey to the West did not come to a premature or unexpected end. Yes, I m still alive. Yes, I have not been blogging for the past month. No, I am not giving up Morialekafa entirely although I am somewhat tempted to do so after these last ten years, especially the last two or three years.

My problem, aside from the nightmarish experience I have had recently trying to change from one computer to another (ongoing), is that I find I no longer believe anything I hear or read. I am convinced that ordinary people like myself now live in a completely surreal world of lies and obfuscations. As I can’t believe anything anymore I have nothing to offer but opinions based on what I more or less “kind of believe.” I do not, for example, believe that Russia is the villain in the ongoing troubles in the Ukraine. I do not believe that the recent Israeli/Hamass “war” was caused by Hamass any more than by Israel (in fact I am much more inclined to blame Israel as they have been the brutal occupying power for so long). In any case, as I do not know the facts of anything anymore, I merely have to surmise what seems to me to be the most probable reasons for anything. Ditto when it comes to Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Iran, wherever.

One result of this unfortunate situation is that I feel I can no longer vote for any national candidate. I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton because she is an obvious supporter of Israeli genocide. But none of the Republican candidates are any different, they all have voted overwhelmingly for genocide. As there will not be a candidate running on a platform to curb the blatant Israeli war crimes and attempted genocide, I will not vote for anyone.

Similarly, I believe that President Obama should be impeached, not for any ridiculous reason having to do with domestic problems, especially Obamacare, but for his support of genocide. He has actively aided and abetted the Israeli assault on Gaza, provided them with ammunition and funds, and basically did nothing to curb them. But how could he possibly be impeached for war crimes and genocide when the entire Congress of the United States is equally guilty?

All of this unfortunately feeds into my fear that the human species will be ultimately doomed to extinction. But somehow I cannot believe that human beings in general are so stupid and greedy. The basic problem seems to be that those in charge (our leaders) have been and are failing us in favor of vested corporate interests that put increasing amounts of money into their  pockets to get the results they want. As a result of this legal bribery (how it became legal is an interesting phenomenon in its own right) the public interest has become totally irrelevant to what goes on in the corridors of power. The public is sick of “war,” but this doesn’t stop us from engaging in endless wars, the public is sick of no sensible gun control but we still have none, the public wants a reasonable immigration policy but there is none, the public wants a raise in the minimum wage but it is proving very difficult, and so on and on and on.

With the vast majority of Congress on the side of corporate power, along with our corrupt Supreme Court, and also apparently the Executive Branch, there seems to be little chance of change in the future. We are well along to a Fascist situation where government and corporations have all the power and ordinary citizens have less and less. As this seems to me to be true, and there is no relief in sight, I am inclined to withdraw and refuse to participate in this farce any longer. I have no respect for the Israeli government and similarly no respect for my own which does nothing to force Israel to cease and desist in its obvious goal of ridding themselves of Palestinians. When even Elisabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders refuse to condemn what Israel has done I see no hope whatsoever for the Middle East. And as the current situation there is a direct result of our meddling incessantly in the affairs of others (mostly for oil and short term profits), there will be no hope until our “empire” collapses.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

American Dementia

 noun \di-ˈmen(t)-shə, -shē-ə\
medical : a mental illness that causes someone to be unable to think clearly or to understand what is real and what is not real.

I think it is entirely possible that Americans suffer from a form of collective dementia. Certainly we have a problem understanding what is real and what is not real. First we seem to cling to the belief that we are a democracy (false), second, we seem to want to believe we are so exceptional we are indispensable to the rest of the world (we are now regarded, along with Israel, as the greatest threat to world peace), third, we believe that we have morality and right on our side no matter what), fourth, we believe we are the only superpower left in the world (having never won a war after WWII except, perhaps, over Granada), and fifth, we believe we lead the world in education, science, and economy (demonstrably demented as this is no longer true).
It is not entirely clear to me that dementia is necessarily a condition that affects all Americans, it could well be that it mostly affects those in politics, from the President, Congress, and down to the Supreme Court. There are, for example, hundreds of thousands of citizens all over the world, including many in the U.S., marching to protest what is happening in Gaza. The same thing happened prior to the Iraq “war.” The powers that be pay no attention to these demonstrations. A majority of U.S. citizens want stricter gun controls, they are ignored, just as those who are anti-war are ignored. Our “leaders” cling to the insane belief that what we do is right and what others do is wrong. The situations in Israel and the Ukraine are excellent cases in point, even though in both cases what we think is right is absurd (insofar as much of what happens has to do with oil, right and wrong are basically irrelevant, oil always wins).
We do almost certainly lead the world in sheer hypocrisy. For example, we are the first to demand that leaders in other nations be arrested and tried for war crimes, but at the same time we allow our own acknowledged war criminals to walk around freely boasting of their crimes. Our President had now reduced our war crimes to the simple homily that “we tortured some folks.”
Perhaps a more interesting case in point has to do with genocide. Isis, that growing bunch of murderous religious extremists, has chased thousands of Yazidi religious believers into the mountains and threatens to kill them if they do not agree to convert to an extreme form of Muslimism. So, to prevent this possible genocide the U.S. has intervened and is now bombing Isis in conjunction with Kurdish forces trying to defeat them. This is all well and good and no doubt necessary (obviously we cannot tolerate religious extremists who want to (and do) kill everyone who doesn’t agree with them. Genocide, however, is apparently acceptable when it comes to Palestinians. Israel has herded a million and a half of them into a narrow strip of land where they can be humiliated, starved, and killed at will, all with the blessings of our President and almost all members of Congress. Oh, I know, you will say the two situations are not comparable as Hamas is firing rockets into Israel, whereas the Yazidi are helpless. Basically the Palestinians in Gaza are helpless, and also deprived of food and water, power, and basic necessities, and have been for years as the Israelis control everything having to do with their daily lives. Hamas, and the Palestinians, want the siege to be lifted so they can live normal human lives, Israel refuses and the siege will apparently continue forever. Not only does the U.S. accept this terrible situation it actively encourages and participates in it. Our policy is clear enough, protect the Yazidis from genocide but not the Palestinians.
You may argue that Israel is not engaged in genocide. I do not believe it. More and more Israelis are arguing that it is permissible to kill them, some arguing that killing Palestinian women is justified because they will just produce more “snakes,” (where have we heard this before, “nits make lice.”) Israel argues that is has the right to protect itself from “terrorists,” even though they themselves were former terrorists, but the only way you can see their killing of innocent Palestinian women and children as protecting them from  terrorism is by believing the children will eventually become terrorists. It is no different than other feuds, if you don’t kill the children they will seek revenge for the killing of their fathers and mothers, and on and on. President Obama says he feels no sympathy for Hamas, fine, I feel no sympathy for Israel. Israel is the only entity that can end this horror. They can do it tomorrow by acknowledging that Palestinians are humans just like the rest of us, that they have legitimate interests that need to be met, and that they will do their utmost to be fair and reasonable. Don’t bet on it, and don’t invest much in the future of Israel.

The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. 
When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out "stop!"

When  crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.”

Monday, August 04, 2014


There is certainly plenty of talk going around having to do with the Israeli/Palestinian blood bath. The Israelis of course blame Hamas, Hamas blames Israel, the UN condemns both parties, and even the US, an active participant in this dreadful bloody event, has managed to complain about the attacks on what are supposed to be UN safe havens. There are apparently marches all around the world condemning Israel while Israeli defenders continue mindlessly reciting their mantra, “Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorists.” Hamas is condemned for being a terrorist group by Israel and the U.S. but is not necessarily so considered by others. Israel is increasingly condemned by most of the world. It is obvious that both sides have committed obvious war crimes.

Having tried to follow this slaughter as well as I can (not very rewarding these days), I know that most of the talk consists of lies, truly obvious and transparent lies. The Israelis and their supporters lie constantly whereas Hamas also lies. It is virtually impossible to believe anything we are told by anyone, least of all the U.S. MSM. The UN charges Israel with probable war crimes, even crimes against humanity, the U.S. claims to be appalled at some of the recent Israeli military actions, Hamas is similarly charged, the accusations and denials go on and on endlessly, as they have, in fact, for years.  

The problem with all this talk is not only that it is a never-ending pack of lies, the problem is, it is just “talk.” We have heard all of this talk before, several times now. Every couple of years the Israeli siege of Gaza erupts in a cauldron of violence and killing, every couple of years the UN condemns Israel for war crimes and violations of international law, every couple of years the U.S. slaps them on the wrist (gently, of course) for building more illegal settlements, or destroying another Palestinian orchard, or more Palestinian homes, or running over an American girl with a bulldozer for defending a Palestinian home, or killing a couple of children for throwing rocks, and so on, an endless cycle of violence and destruction in which the Palestinians invariably lose physically although probably slowly gaining politically.

Nothing ever happens as a result of all this. The Israelis simply ignore the UN and world opinion, confidant their great ally the U.S. will veto any attempt to seriously charge them with anything (after all, Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorists, as well as from nonexistent Iranian nuclear bombs). As long as this situation continues there can, of course, be no possible peace in the Middle East.  As long as “talk” is the only action talk will just continue to no end whatsoever. Talk is not what is needed, what is needed is action. As Israel is itself the greatest impediment to peace, as it is now obvious they do not want a peaceful settlement, a Palestinian state, or a change in the status quo, and seem to be more and more hinting at a “final solution,” it is Israel that must be made to change unless, of course, the U.S. and the rest of the world are willing to tolerate the slow genocide of the Palestinians. Without some major intervention this will inevitably happen as even the Palestinian children who are not being murdered will be slowly destroyed by their lack of education and opportunities, food, and the ordinary materials for normal lives, to say nothing of their lack of parents and rewarding family lives.

Perhaps this latest violence, far worse than the last outbreak or the one before that, will force the world to realize they must act to solve this ulcerous sore than never seems to heal. The main key here, of course, will be the United States. Will the U.S. continue to support the unprecedented, torturous, punishing siege of Hamas and the inhumane treatment of the Palestinians, or will we finally say enough is enough and return to some semblance of decency and morality? Don’t bet on it, that AIPEC money is powerful, fairness and morality be damned.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

"The Final Solution"

Well, the Israeli massacre of Palestinians continues, with the virtually unanimous support of our President and members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, who seem willing, even eager, to supply more ammunition and funds to keep it going. Many members of Congress apparently do not even want a ceasefire, so eager are they to help Israel rid itself of Palestinians. Netanyahu piously claims (with a straight face) that they (the Israelis) have nothing against the Palestinian, it is only Hamas they are after (while continuing to murder more than 1500 innocent Palestinian men, women, and children who had nothing to do with Hamas).
There are increasing references in the written record to Palestinian “vermin,” “snakes,” and such, and one Israeli writer has even suggested the genocide of Palestinians would be justified (or legitimate), in an essay soon withdrawn for, I should think, obvious reasons. Those opposing a ceasefire and furnishing more ammunition would seem to think this continuing slaughter is also justified.

What the Israelis have done and are doing is UNFORGIVABLE, and is not going to be forgotten. Generations of Palestinians and other Arabs are not going to forget, and are highly unlikely to ever forgive, no matter what the Israelis do now (assuming they would ever do anything except go on killing).  And forget the pathetic bullshit about how Hamas started it when they fired rockets into Israel, or when they kidnapped three Israeli teenagers.  It started “way back when,” when Israel herded more an a million Palestinians into an outdoor prison and lay siege to them, slowly starving them, controlling every aspect of their lives, and also gradually killing them off. Where, by the way, came the authority to justify such a completely unprecedented act? Who gave Israel the authority to preside God-like over Palestinians? Why did the International community allow this to happen? More importantly for the moment, why does the world allow such a siege to continue?

Thus, far from protecting themselves from terrorists, Israeli greed, stupidity, and racism has guaranteed they will never be free of terrorists for many generations to come, if ever. Having managed to maneuver themselves into this impossible situation, If they want to be free of terrorists there is now, from their point of view, only one solution, “the final solution,” and they seem to be more and more embarked on it, both in their statements and their behavior. There is no other excuse for their massive extermination of thousands of innocent women and children, completely unjustified collective punishment for an entire population for the acts of a few. Why does protecting themselves from Hamas involve the indiscriminate killing of thousands of innocents? It doesn’t. And don’t buy into the crap about how carefully they are trying to protect civilians, a lie so blatant it betrays the obvious, they don’t give a damn for Palestinian lives.

Hamas has now made it clear, the siege must be lifted, they must be allowed to live normal lives like all other people, they would rather “die on their feet than live forever on their knees.” Obviously what Israel has done to the Palestinians should not be (or have been) allowed, a situation worse perhaps than even slavery. Israel has made it clear by now they do not want a Palestinian state and prefer to keep the status quo. This cannot continue if Israel truly desires “peace,” which they obviously do not. The outcome of this human predicament is not at all obvious. Are the U. S. and the rest of the world going to participate in the final solution? If not, what will they do? Unfortunately, and in fact, there may no longer be any other solution. Even if Israel agreed to return to the 1967 borders, apologized for their attempted genocide, even if they returned all the Palestinian lands and water they have stolen, even if they publicly repented for their outrageous behavior, and even if they made reparations and agreed to a viable Palestinian state, they still might not be forgiven . Remember the mark of Cain:  “When Cain spilled his brother's blood, the earth became cursed as soon as the blood hit the ground.” Genesis 4:12.

The Israelis may want to deny their basic brotherhood with the Palestinian “vermin,” but it exists in a higher morality they will be unable to deny forever. Although I may not be around to see it, their time will come, and it will not be pleasant.

“No one is more vulnerable to fear than a man who keeps another in bondage. He will do anything to prevent justice from rearing its head — for he knows well what he deserves at the hands of those he subjugates.” 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Not Much Hope

Even now I continue to resist concluding that all is hopeless. I fear hopelessness as that is the end. There is nowhere to go after hopelessness. But we are, I am convinced, certainly approaching hopelessness. We have a Congress that is so dysfunctional it does nothing. We have a President who is constrained from doing much of anything mainly because he is Black. And both our President and Congress have proven themselves to be morally bankrupt by their overwhelming and unconditional support for the blatant and continuing Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. Personally, I find this not only appalling but virtually unbelievable. As both parties are equally in favor of this ongoing theft, murder, and genocide, I no longer participate at any level in this morally bankrupt national suicide. Having now reached the state of a pariah nation, along with the totally evil Israeli government, it is inevitable that we will eventually collapse because of our own mindless, aggressive, short-sighted, greedy, racist, egomaniacal, and ethnocentric behavior.

I see very little hope for the future, little more than a bare glimmer, and the odds, I think, are not good. The coming elections will give us our usual choice of voting for the lesser of two evils. Thus about the only chance we will have is a bit of a long shot. If Democrats hold control of the Senate, and if they also gain control of the House, there is a chance that at least some of our more domestic problems may be at least partly alleviated. But who becomes President will also be critical. I do not think Hillary Clinton is the right person at the right time but she, of course, would be far better than any of the potential Republican candidates. Hillary is sooo 1990’s, and far too much of a Hawk, to say nothing of her being in bed with Wall Street and corporate America. Even so, if we can achieve a completely Democratic sweep, and if we can perhaps get a more progressive President, we may have at least a foot in the door towards some meaningful change, at least domestically.

But this, of course, would still leave the issue of our absurd Foreign Policy that still wants to maintain the charade of American exceptionalism and empire. Overcoming the power of the Military/Industrial/Political complex will not be an easy task, it could even prove to be impossible unless it collapses because of its own excesses. It is not unrelated to our collapsing infrastructure, educational, and economic systems. If a Russian/UK merger occurs, or even a Russian/China merger, the U.S. will find it impossible to maintain world hegemony as it so desperately is trying to do.

I see truly monumental changes shaping up in the world, with the U.S. fading and alliances in Europe, Asia, and South America becoming more dominant and independent of U.S. control. I doubt that I will ever see President Obama and the entire Congress of the U.S., along with “Bibi” and his barbarian coterie, being tried in the Hague for war crimes but, then, one can’t expect everything. One has to cling desperately to whatever sliver of hope remains.

“For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.” 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ten Years!

Where DOES the time go? Today marks the 10th anniversary of Morialekafa (a native New Guinea word meaning “insignificant little bug with no other name”). When I first began writing this blog I scarcely knew what a blog was but I thought it might be interesting to start one. It has been interesting. I have had readers from virtually every place on the globe, not because they look up Morialekafa itself, but because they are searching for some topic about which I happen to have written at some time, topics like sardines, pickled pigs feet, being an only child, deodorant, stuff like that.

Morialekafa was not intended to be particularly political although nothing was precluded. Because of the excesses of the Bush/Cheney years (the nightmare years) my blog became  increasingly political. Looking back on it I can scarcely believe all the things I wrote about, some of which I only vaguely remember and some that I don’t remember at all. I believe I have been reasonably consistent in my beliefs and values and I hope I have never been hypocritical (which seems to have become the most distinguishing feature of American politics).

I have no doubt that by far the best of Morialekafa was written in the first five years. If you look up “Five Years” in the archives (July 25, 2009), you will find an index of those years. At that time I was blogging almost every day as I continued to do for some time. In the past two or three years I have written less frequently and, I am sure, less creatively. The fact is, I have mostly lost interest in U. S. politics. It is pretty clear that both parties are very similar, they both no longer act in the public interest, favoring the wealthy and corporate interests almost exclusively. The hypocrisy and lying have become so blatant we, the public, no longer have any true idea of what is happening or why, and our voices are not heard by those who purport to represent us. Having been an ordinary democrat all of my life I have finally become a full-blown Democratic Socialist (in the mold of Bernie Sanders whom I very much admire). My limited creative powers have diminished as well as my interest in politics. I have thought seriously of just ending Morialekafa entirely (ten years is probably more than enough), but I know I will occasionally be motivated to write something, at least until my Journey to the West comes to an end.  

But frankly, I believe things have become so bad I no longer support either party. I no longer sign petitions (except rarely), I no longer donate money or time, I find I do not believe anything I am told by the media, and I have lost my faith in my country. Perhaps I am just getting old and cranky but I am sick of the whole business. More importantly, I do not want to even remotely be linked to the murderous, genocidal, colonial maniacs that currently insist on unconditionally supporting Israel’s attempt to rid the world of Palestinians. Our President and Congress apparently have no sense of either shame or guilt, just take the money, look the other way, and speak nobly of robbing the poor to feed the rich, killing the Palestinians and Russian/Ukrainians to feed the permanently greedy, and pretend that all is well with the world. After all, as we are constantly being told, it’s all Putin’s fault.

 “Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.” 

 “I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.” 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Irony and the Ecstasy

Ever since our current President, Barrack Hussein Obama, was elected, there have been those unwilling to accept him as a legitimate President. They tried to argue he was not a native-born American, he was actually a Kenyan, a socialist, communist, at least an alien of some kind, not one of us, an “other.”

Then they (Republicans) vowed to not cooperate with him on anything. They have kept faithfully to that vow, even shutting down the U. S. Government at one point, and frustrating his every attempt to improve the lot of working Americans. By opposing everything they have of course kept little of anything from happening. Now they criticism him for this predictable failure, hypocrisy raised to heretofore unknown heights. But nothing they have attempted has actually brought him down. Their attempt to make him a one term President failed, all of their smears and lies about him have failed, but they still have not given up.

During President  Obama’s tenure in office there have been growing mobs of angry White men, armed and potentially very dangerous. They proudly march with their weapons and have even threatened an armed march on the White House. Having failed miserably to discredit and smear Obama they have now turned to a last resort, a lynching (oops, sorry, I meant an impeachment). Some are ecstatic about the possibility. It is not clear precisely what he will be charged with but it will apparently be accusations of his abuse of Presidential power, his use of his office to accomplish things that Congress is failing to do, like immigration reform and such. If they actually attempt this impeachment it will inevitably fail, not the least because fully 67% of the public is opposed, but also because he has used his Presidential powers less often than any of his recent predecessors, has not actually violated any constitutional rights, and so on. If somehow Republicans manage to capture the Senate in 2014 they will almost certainly attempt an impeachment as a majority of Republicans apparently want him impeached, if only to smear his Presidency.

The fact of the matter is, Obama’s “crime” basically comes down to acting Presidential while Black. Because he is Black he’s not, in the eyes of angry White men, supposed to be the President. And not only that, he refuses to do what they want him to do, he does not obey as he should. He is “uppity.”His Black wife is also uppity. Black people, according to the dominant paradigm of the last 500 or so years, are not as intelligent as Whites, not as highly evolved if you will, not in a position to rule over White people, are supposed to stay “in their place.” Obama’s success is a violation of this widely held paradigm of White male superiority, not to be tolerated.  I do not doubt there are some who would rather have Obama lynched than merely impeached, but lynching Blacks is not as easy or as family friendly as it once was, and there are too many cameras these days.

Should Obama be impeached? I think so, but not for the petty reasons Republicans offer. Obama should have been impeached long ago for war crimes. Under U.S. law a President is legally required to prosecute known war criminals. Obama refused to prosecute Bush/Cheney, et al, and thus became a war criminal himself. One might understand why, politically, Obama did not attempt such prosecutions, it would have doubtless torn our country apart. But his own war crimes have continued and continue to the present time. His drone warfare is most probably a war crime, but his support for Israel’s blatant, never-ending war crimes is unforgivable, making him once again a war criminal himself. Of course prosecuting him for war crimes is not about to happen. It would be most interesting if it did as the Senate recently voted unanimously to support Israeli war crimes, they would hardly be in a position to impeach Obama for the same behavior.  Similarly, I believe he would also be guilty of war crimes with respect to the situation in the Ukraine. But this is now, law and morality no longer have any connection with reality, nor do truth and beauty.

“Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.” 

Friday, July 25, 2014


I am somewhat amazed, even taken aback, by the unexpected attitudes of some of my friends, although I suppose I shouldn’t be. We have a kind of informal club that meets every Tuesday evening. We think of it as “The Gentlepersons Club” as both males and females are welcome. There aren’t a lot of members and we play billiards, not pool, billiards, now known in the U. S. as carom billiards. We also of course have conversations about various topics sometimes but not always politically related conversations.

Last Tuesday in a conversation I casually observed that Vladimir Putin had recently married his girlfriend, apparently a one-time gymnast medal winner. I went on to observe that he had divorced his wife of 30 years with whom he had two daughters, but no one was sure where they were. One of the women immediately said, “Maybe he got rid of them.” I confess I was astounded. Why on earth would this woman, a perfectly bright, reasonably liberal democrat (I don’t have any other friends) say such a thing? Obviously her remark must have been prompted by an assumption that Putin must be a kind of Stalin clone, an evil person who would presumably not hesitate to dispose of the woman he was married to for 30 years plus their two offspring. Of course I don’t know where they are, but I would bet a lot of money they are well-off and living in comfort somewhere, if perhaps anonymously for their own protection.

And of course they all seem to believe that Putin is responsible for the situation in Ukraine, having aggressively moved towards that country. They are apparently unaware of the violent coup we promoted, along with the EU, that overthrew the democratically elected President (who was, granted, an evil, greedy son-of-a-bitch) with the aid of some neo-Nazi groups who happily joined in to help, and are now trying to destroy the Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

Anyway, the next day, in a conversation with another friend, I remarked that Hamas had offered a ten year truce to Israel provided certain (what I thought were perfectly reasonable) demands were met, and Israel had turned them down. My friend seemed to be confinced that Israel was right to do so because Hamas wouldn’t stop attacking them even if there was such a truce, another attitude that surprised me (Hamas, being Arab, was obviously untrustworthy). Of course he and the others also seem to believe that Hamas started the recent trouble by suddenly (and I guess for no apparent reason) firing rockets into Israel.

Now you have to understand that none of these friends are news junkies although they do watch some news on the MSM. None of them as far as I know watch Fox (non) News. They are liberal democrats, certainly not Neocons, and are all basically opposed to war, especially the ongoing troubles in both Ukraine and Palestine. I would describe them all as very typical American citizens, somewhat informed, but accepting whatever our MSM tells them. So I guess it is not surprising they have the attitudes they do, the attitudes that our corporate controlled media want them to have. If ordinary people in the U.S. believe that Putin is an evil dictator trying to re-establish the Russian empire, ruthless in his attempts to do so, and believe that Hamas has no legitimate reasons for firing rockets at Israel, both gross and false claims, what chance is there really to solve any of these problems? The powers that be have us brainwashed into believing their lies and gross oversimplifications so they can pursue their corporate interests and world hegemony. Putin and Hamas stand in their way, so Putin and Hamas are the bad guys and we, the U.S. and our allies are overwhelmingly the good guys. We have been fed so many lies and so much misinformation in recent years I truly believe that ordinary Americans now live in surreal webs of misunderstanding, divorced entirely from the events in the real world.

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Depths of Depravity

I did not start my life worrying about the depths of depravity of the human species. The truth of the matter has been forced on me by my now more than 80 years of study and observation. Reality has a way of reaching even the most innocent of observers.

Because of my academic interests, and especially my career in anthropology, I have been increasingly exposed to the behavior of humans both historically and contemporaneously. This has become more and more unpleasant. Learning about the inquisition and the colonial period that began in the 1500’s has not made me proud of our human history. The First and Second World Wars has not made things any better, nor have any events since then and up to the present. I would have liked to have thought that things were getting better, a la Steven Pinker, and that we are less violent now than at any time in history. Professor Pinker, who may not have been out of his Harvard office much, seems to argue that because we now can kill each other by the hundreds of thousands we are less violent than when we had to do it one on one. I gather his research assistants must have picked out the few most violent “primitive” societies they could find to establish the prevalence of violence in the “primitive world,” ignoring the many such societies in which violence was either pretty much absent or controlled by tradition and sanctions. There is nothing like Chicago in the “primitive world.” My personal experience in New Guinea did nothing to make me believe the world was just one big happy place.

In any case it is true that we no longer routinely cut off arms, legs, and hands for presumed misbehavior, nor do we try out our blades on helpless captives or hunt others with dogs for sport, and so on. Nor do we routinely bash infants’ heads against the rocks and mount their mother’s genitals on our saddle horns or hats. That kind of violence does seem to have diminished pretty much in recent years, even though in rare cases it does seem to survive. Certainly the cutting off of heads has survived. The depths of human depravity have apparently also survived in places like Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, in the Middle East and Africa, and even in the hearts and minds of a majority of our Congresspersons as well as the Executive Branch. Can you believe that Congress and the President of the the United States almost unanimously support what is little more than outright genocide in Gaza? The Israelis have forced a million and a half Palestinians into a small strip of land little more than an open air prison and are systematically killing them at will, including many women and children. This is being done under the guise of “protecting themselves.” Of course all people have a right to protect themselves, but this does not ordinarily mean by attempting to completely annihilate the entire population because of a few responsible parties. There is no excuse for the Israeli excesses in this case. It goes far beyond merely protecting themselves and into attempted genocide. The Palestinians are basically helpless except for some missiles, having no huge army, no sophisticated American weaponry, no Air Force. They are essentially “sitting ducks,” “fish in a barrel,” “blind mice,” “sacrificial captives,””vermin,” to be disposed of. They are uniquely the only persons on earth who apparently do not have the right to protect themselves. The Israelis, with their massive military superiority just picks them off at will, claiming to avoid innocent civilians, women and children, while killing them by the dozens. This is human depravity on a high scale indeed.

The Congress of the U.S., and the President of the U.S., have endorsed this genocide wholeheartedly. Not only have they done nothing to stop it, they have obviously encouraged it and provided the means with which to do it. What is far worse is that some Israeli citizens have pulled up their easy chairs to watch and cheer this horrible event, obviously pleased to see Palestinian children blown to pieces, their homes and parents destroyed, and misery everywhere.

The same thing is happening in Ukraine with our blessing. Neo-Nazi militias drive Russian separatists into a building, set it on fire, and hurl insults at the poor souls burning to death. These are militias “on our side,” encouraged to destroy people defending their vital interests they falsely label “terrorists.” Nothing we can ever do now will ever erase the blood on our hands. We may not have reached the ultimate in human depravity as yet, but we keep on trying.

“I get it. I haven't seen much of the real world yet. But let's say I do get out there... and it turns out that it's not even worth seeing? Or even worse.. what if it's so ugly and cruel that I can barely stand to look? What if I only meet idiots and the depraved? What's that going to teach me? What can I learn from that?” 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Out of Control

I have a sickening and frightening feeling that most everything is out of control and apparently no one has the power or authority to bring things under control, or, if they do, they are refusing to act. As a first relatively simple, example, consider Darrell Issa. Mr. Issa seems to suffer from some form of subpoena disease or compulsion. During his tenure as head of an investigating committee he has issued 99 suboenas, far more than his three predecessors combined, and shows no signs of stopping this torrent of highly questionable subpoenas, his latest being issued for no apparent reason at all (except for his dubious contention that one does not need any particular reason for issuing one). This has been going on for several years. No one seems able to stop him. Speaker of the House, John Boehner, probably has the authority to stop him but as he fears reprisals from the Tea Party, does not. In this particular case you might say that realistically he does not actually possess sufficient authority.

A more serious example is Israel. Israel is out of control and has been virtually since its inception. The Israelis have built illegal settlements on Palestinian land one after another, they have stolen Palestinian water, destroyed Palestinian orchards and homes, and herded more than a million into the Gaza strip where they slowly and systematically are trying to exterminate them but so far have failed to do so. You might recall a famous line spoken by actor Paul Henreid in the movie Casablanca, “Even Nazis can’t kill that fast,” a line ironically not entirely inappropriate with respect to the Gaza situation. Israel has ignored international law, the United Nations, and the entire international community as it has gone about its racist, colonial activities and no one has been able to control them. President Obama is possibly uniquely able to stop them but, as in the case of Boehner, Congress would surely not allow him to do so.

The Congress of the United States, especially the House of Representatives, is out of control and has been throughout all of Obama’s tenure in office. They simply refuse to help govern and have said a resounding “no” to everything Obama has tried to do. No one, not even public opinion, has been able to get them to act. Even the possibility they are committing political suicide doesn’t faze them in their mean-spirited attempt to destroy Obama. The Senate, too, is virtually out of control, using their Republican minority to block Obama appointees and anything else they don’t like. Harry Reid has the power to stop them by a simple changing of the rules but does not do so even though the current rules are crippling our nation.

The Presidency itself is out of control as our more recent  Presidents have unilaterally gone to war without Congressional approval and, under the tutelage of the chief torturer/murderer, Vice President Cheney, have increasingly usurped more and more power. Presumably Congress could put an end to the Chief Executives’ power grab but do not. The State Department, too, is out of control as the recent coup in Kiev makes clear. The idea that somehow they will cause a regime change in Russia through their Ukraine activities seems particularly stupid, and linking up with surviving neo-Nazis to bring this about is even more stupid and out of control.

The situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq, are clearly out of control with so many different groups involved it is hard to know which is which or what is actually happening. And of course parts of Africa are out of control, what with Boko Haram kidnapping and slaughtering at will. There appears to be no overriding authority anywhere that can actually control human affairs. This seems to be especially true in so-called democracies where things can be out of control for long periods of time before some election might (or might not) actually bring about necessary changes.

In a very broad perspective you might argue that human affairs have been basically out of control ever since humans stopped living in small bands and in harmony with nature and their environment. You might also argue that this represents a collective and massive failure of human leadership at all levels for centuries. How else does one explain the incredible mess we have made of things?

Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18

Monday, July 14, 2014

Moral and Mental Midgets

Tonight for the first time in my life I was so repulsed by the news I had to turn it off. I wanted to watch Chris Hayes as I occasionally do, but when it began by our best known senile warmonger claiming there is no moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians who have dastardly attacked Israel I thought I might throw up. John McCain needs to be retired before he kills again. Of course there is no moral equivalence, the Israelis have long since abandoned any evidence whatsoever of morality. If McCain’s absurd view of morality was not bad enough, both the House and the Senate passed resolutions approving of Israeli’s current actions in Gaza. They do this under the guise of Israel’s right of self defense (as if any nation does not have the right of self defense). In fact, in my opinion, these endorsements are nothing short of approving Israeli genocide.

The ostensible reason for the Israeli attacks on Gaza have to do with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens. Israel immediately blamed Hamas for this criminal behavior even though Hamas denied it and there was no evidence they were involved. Israel knew the teens were dead but began their revenge attacks on Gaza as if they did not, bombing innocent civilians, destroying Palestinian homes, killing innocent women and children. Then some Israeli citizens kidnapped and burned alive a Palestinian teenager in revenge. These horrible criminals were not representatives of the Israeli government but just extremists acting on their own. This horrible act of revenge did nothing to make the situation better. So even though neither of the parties were representing their governments, but were extremists acting on their own, Israel decided to hold the entire population of Gaza responsible and began an all-out slaughter of Palestinians living there, holding, that is, the entire population of Gaza responsible for the acts of a very few, an obvious war crime.

Yes, Hamas did send lots of rockets into Israel. So far, as far as I know, not a single Israeli death has occurred. Yet the Israelis have killed hundreds of Palestinians, including many women and children and have displaced many thousands more. This has been an overreaction of no small proportions, targeting the million plus trapped in Gaza who are basically defenseless, “shooting fish in a barrel,” so to speak. It is as far as I know a fact that Palestinians have no army or military even remotely able to engage Israel, they have few if any tanks, no air force, no sophisticated U.S. weaponry, virtually nothing but some rockets smuggled in from somewhere. They have no way to respond to Israeli aggression and abuse other than by using rockets. Israel is in complete control of the Gaza strip, monitoring everything that enters, controlling their economy, even limiting the number of calories per person they are allowed. While I hesitate to say it, I have come to believe that if they thought they could get away with it they would not hesitate to annihilate all the Palestinians. They would not, of course, consider this genocide, rather ridding the world on nonhuman “vermin” and such (where have we heard this before). I say this because it appears their only solution to the “problem” is to bomb and kill the Palestinians into submission, to reduce them at best to second class citizenship in an apartheid state (if they cannot otherwise get rid of them). It is clear Israel does not want a Palestinian state, does not want to give up the lands they are illegally occupying, and prefer an ongoing status quo in which Palestinians are divided and powerless. The campaign to bomb them into submission, to bully them and humiliate them, even with U.S. support, is doomed to fail, unless, in the end, they can be made to disappear entirely.  This is an absolutely shocking situation with only a “permanent solution” possible, a solution now fully endorsed by the United States, a solution that will “live in infamy” forever if allowed to continue. Israel has to be forced, however “kicking and screaming” into abandoning its current strategy and acknowledging the full humanity and legitimate rights of the Palestinians. If no solution can be found to this racist, colonial anachronism, the road ahead will inevitably lead to disaster.

I do not mean to demean or denigrate midgets, merely to point out the smallness of thought and morality in relation to the size of the problem. I have no doubt that a Congress of Midgets could do much better.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Transcendental Shame

As a boy, and even as a young man, I was always a proud American patriot. I believed in America as the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” “My country right or wrong,” American exceptionalism, democracy, the “shining beacon on the hill,” and all the other jingoistic idiocies I was taught and encouraged to believe. Now as I am approaching my 85th year of being a “participant-observer” in this house of horrors, and nearing the end of my journey to the west, reflecting back on my development over all these years has become mostly unpleasant.

I guess my first experience of at least a bit of shame came when I began to learn about what we Western- Europeans did to the American Indians we so violently displaced. Of course coming to grips with our history of slavery, racism and discrimination, just added to my slowly growing shame about my country’s past. Vietnam certainly did nothing to make me feel better about things, it was just another shameful episode in our history of shameful episodes. If this was not enough to be ashamed of I began to research the history of colonialism, beginning in the 15th century and up to the present. I confess to not knowing just how shamefully, even unbelievably horrible this several hundred year period truly was. And realizing that every major European, “Christian,” nation was involved and all participated in this true horror story did nothing to ease my sense of shame and guilt. There were acts of savagery so common and so terrible it is now almost unbelievable: murder, arson, rape, pillaging and exploitation without end, cutting off people’s hands and feet, hunting them with dogs for sport, killing their infants, stuffing their bodies with sand and hot peppers, torturing them with water, branding then, and who really knows what all else was commonplace. Our contributions to this mass miasma of sadism and violence took place mostly here in the U.S. and the Philippines where our behavior was every bit as shameful as that of the European colonials (with the possible exception of Prince Leopold of Belgium who was by all accounts the absolute worst).

Anyway, learning about all this sharpened my sense of shame even though I, of course, was not involved in it. Nor was I personally involved in the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, the attempt to kill the millions upon millions of buffalo that almost succeeded, the destruction of the salmon runs, the near extinction of the Pacific Bluefin Tuna, or the hundreds of other species now extinct because of human behavior. I am, however, ashamed that we did and are currently doing things like this. The Pope, that current colorful character from Medieval times, has recently announced that what we are doing to the environment is a sin. For once I agree wholeheartedly.

I cannot say that the Afghan and Iraq wars, along with our other military adventures all over the world, make me feel any less shame for our country. Our uncritical support of Israel war crimes I believe is shameful, as is what we have recently brought about in Ukraine. Drones, I believe, are totally shameful as is our ridiculously dishonest treatment of Iran.

While I have more or less gotten over my sense of shame about the past, the current scene still keeps me shameful. The shame I have felt at various times over being White, an American, supporting Israel, supporting our non-stop wars of aggression and exploitation, an Imperialist, and so on, have now been transcended by an even greater sense of shame. I have become  ashamed of being a member of the human species, the most evil, avaricious, violent, short-sighted, destructive, murderous, egomaniacal, thoughtless, uncooperative, irrational,  and suicidal species that has ever existed. As a species we have a virtually unique capacity for falsehood, denial, distrust, and hypocrisy. We have laid waste to our environment, our planet, and each other, and keep on doing so. Our future is for the first time seriously in doubt. I wouldn’t bet on it.

“Huamani’s skepticism was substantial. He knew that men are a joke of the gods, sent to mortify the animals.”
Abel Posse  


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nothing too Heinous

There is apparently nothing too heinous the Israelis can do that will bring about any meaningful action on the part of the United States, Europe, or anyone else for that matter. It is entirely clear by now that Israel does not want a Palestinian state, does not want peace with the Palestinians, does not want to give up any of the land or water they have already stolen from the Palestinians, does not regard Palestinians as fully human, and, in fact, would be delighted if somehow the Palestinians could be made to simply disappear entirely. And, as they are currently doing, as they always do whenever they see any excuse, no matter how feeble, they are trying to bring about their desired aim by bombing Gaza incessantly, perhaps actually invading that tiny prison in which they have already trapped more than a million basically defenseless Palestinians. They have apparently killed hundreds of them, mostly women and children, in the best colonial tradition (they are basically subhuman, “nits make lice,” and etc.). This one sided slaughter continues while the rest of the world looks on idly and does nothing of substance to stop it. The United States could stop it but, in fact, supports it in the most shameful way. Empire building colonials and other racists flock together.

It might be observed that none of this would be happening were it not for the colonialism of the past when Britain and France divided up the Middle East, creating nations that were previously non-existant and not viable to begin with. Then to add insult to injury they allowed the creation of a Jewish homeland right in the center of a hostile Arab environment. Perhaps if the Israelis had been content with what they were given it might have actually succeeded, but they were not content and embarked upon a program of systematically alienating more and more Palestinian land and water, all with the blessing and support of the U.S. whose constant meddling in the Middle East is well known and a major contributing factor to the terrible unrest that plagues the area.

I do not know how all of this will ultimately play out but you can be certain there will continue to be thousands, perhaps even millions of more deaths, probably mostly women and children, millions more displaced, unfathomable misery and starvation, and more ethnic cleansing if not outright genocide. As has been said so often, “You reap what you sow.” I doubt that history will judge this well, the immorality and shame are far too great to go unnoticed. I think we are probably witnessing the absolute final moments of European colonialism. It is not going out with a whimper but, rather, a death throe unbearable to watch.

Yes, it is true, rockets are being fired into Israel, there is no other means for Palestinians to take action, there have been no Israeli casualties that I know of, and the Israeli response has been the usual massive overreaction allowing them to kill as many Palestinians as possible, all in self defense, of course. And oh, yeah, there is that terrible Iran problem, you know, the country that is trying to develop a (imaginary) bomb to attack Israel, the U.S., and the entire world if the U.S. doesn’t do the Israeli bidding and immediately bomb them. How long is the world going to put up with this Israeli nonsense? It looks like forever.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Shooting Fish in a Barrel

No doubt you all know that three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered by someone. Netanyahu immediately blamed Hamas although there was no evidence that Hamas was the guilty party (as it turned out the kidnappers and murderers were three extremists acting on their own). Although the Israelis knew the three were dead they did not acknowledge this until after they conducted air and other strikes on Gaza, essentially bombing and killing many innocent Palestinians who had nothing to do with this horrible event, by the way, a blatant violation of International law (when did Israel ever pay any attention to International law?). 
Not to be outdone, three Israeli extremists kidnapped a Palestinian teen and burned him alive. This, of course, enraged the Palestinians, some of whom began firing rockets into Israel, not very effectively. This was one of those opportunities Israel never passes up to increase their genocidal attacks on Gaza Palestinians. They have been bombing Gaza for days and massing troops and tanks on the border for an actual invasion of that unfortunate little strip of land, an overreaction with no other explanation than wanting to eliminate as many Palestinians as possible using this recent violence as an excuse. As a million and a half Palestinians have been herded into tiny Gaza where they have no viable army or air force, no tanks and heavy equipment, no way of successfully fighting back, they are completely vulnerable to whatever horrors Israel wishes to visit on them. So, while it is true Hamas may be firing rockets into Israel, the asymmetry of power is so overwhelming and obvious the metaphor of fish in barrel seems perfectly apt.  

The amazing truth of this seems to be that, in fact, no one in the world, least of all the United States, seems to care what happens to the Palestinians. Some European nations propose some relatively minor sanctions but no one seems willing to demand the Israelis cease their obvious genocidal behavior “or else.” There is no serious “or else” involved, just unremitting warnings that Israel should stop building illegal settlements, stop their racism, and so on. All talk, no actions. Israel has for years ignored the United Nations, ignored International law, and thumbed their nose at the International community, to say nothing of common decency and human rights. The U.S. is shamefully complicit in this completely out-of-date, racist, colonial, criminal, enterprise. Even the savage beating of a U.S. teenager by Israelis does little but raise a few eyebrows while offering Israel even more money to continue ”protecting themselves” from their neighbors they, themselves. antagonize and insult on a daily basis. Pity the poor, defenseless Israelis, with the most sophisticated and strongest army in the Middle East, to say nothing of their unique stockpile of nuclear arms, they are so put upon by the basically defenseless Palestinians.

Do we hear the truth about what is happening? No, we do not. Do we hear the truth about what is happening in the Ukraine? No, of course not. Do we hear the truth about Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Africa, China, or anywhere else we are meddling and causing trouble? No, we definitely do not. Is it all about oil and other resources we want and the military means we employ to get them? Of course. Is it all shamefully disgusting? You bet. Is it the American Way? You might be able to decide if you did not presently exist in totally surreal web of lies with no connection to reality.  A “grain of salt” no longer suffices, maybe a collective and massive dose of electro-shock (sorry, can’t afford it, have to have more tax breaks for the 1%).

  “I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.” 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

That's It?

That’s it? It’s over? Craven Bundy and his not-at-all-merry band of loser militiapersons have brought the “full faith and credit” of the formerly United States of America to a standstill. Bundy apparently gets to keep his cattle grazing on public lands at our expense, apparently will not pay the million dollars he owes the government, and apparently has won an unprecedented victory. Of course we know the FBI is investigating, at least they said so some time ago, although not much has been heard about it lately. Perhaps they are waiting for Bundy to die of old age, or his militia guards to die of boredom, or the entire episode to be forgotten in the excitement of our new involvement in the religious war in Iraq. Maybe they will shoot someone and then exonerate themselves for the l51st straight time. Maybe we will never hear of this disgusting episode again.

In any case, the situation in Nevada pales into insignificance when compared with our truly stupid maneuvering in Ukraine. Having backed a violent coup in Kiev, along with some neo Nazis, we keep trying to goad Putin into taking some form of military involvement in the east of that unfortunate country so that we can then claim the whole problem is a result of his aggression (instead of ours). If Putin were not so level-headed we would already be involved in the beginning of another war, or at least another “cold” war. Imagine, if you will, a war with Russia. It is perfectly obvious there can be no military solution to the problems in Ukraine. Everyone, it seems, Germany, France, Russia, is aware of this even though the United States is not and apparently wishes further violence and killing. John Kerry, I think perhaps the worst Secretary of State ever, persists in talking down to the Russians as if they are in the same category as Belize or Costa Rica, telling Putin he must immediately stop the violence in eastern Ukraine (as if it’s his fault), and as if he alone has the power to do so.

Interestingly enough, this may be the beginning of the end of our attempt at hegemony in the world. Britain, France, and Germany are not as willing to engage in serious sanctions against Russia as their economies are so closely tied to that nation. Ultimately Putin and Russia hold all the winning cards, they can either join with the UK and effectively neutralize the U.S., or they can join with China and so the same thing. Russia has all the natural resources, Germany and China have all the know-how and manufacturing, together they can make the U.S. more of a bystander than the “sole superpower,” and change the dynamics of the world entirely.

Along with the situation in Russia and the Ukraine is the fact that European nations are becoming increasingly fed up with the behavior of Israel and boycotts against Israel are apparently gaining in importance. The U.S., seen as virtually the sole supporter of that racist, apartheid nation, will ultimately, I think, lose credibility when it comes to any peace process in the Middle East. The U.S. and Israel are already widely believed to be the greatest threat to peace in the world. Things can only get worse.

Now, of course, is ISIS, and the Caliphate. In order to stop this powerful Muslim movement the U.S. will have to find itself in league with Iran, Syria, and Russia (as well as the EU), a fact of no small importance that will also probably impact our relationship with Israel and the Middle East in general. Trying to establish the Caliphate was a bold more indeed, but probably destined to fail. I doubt that all other Muslims will swear allegiance to this upstart “nation” or whatever it is, and it appears that virtually everyone else will also oppose it. We might have wished for religious wars and Crusades to be only faint memories of the past, but, alas, not so.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Forever of Our Discontent

What is it with the human species that we apparently cannot ever let things be as they are? As far as I know no other species acts as we do. They do not proselytize nor do they attempt to impose their particular beliefs or behaviors on others. It is true, no doubt, that in some cases one group takes over territory belonging to another group, or true that one animal takes over the harem of another, and so on, but these are acts of nature programmed in to the nature of animal societies. Humans, it seems, cannot let things be as they are, or at least so it seems. What would the world be like if humans had just let each other alone?

Over the course of human history and evolution there were developed hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of unique human cultures. It is difficult to imagine that in any of these the members were living “lives of quiet desperation.” It is true that looking back at some of them we might think they were poor and squalid, but surely the members thought their customs and beliefs were basically fine as they would not have known any other life. Certainly they did not wait around for some other people to come and change their way of life, either by force or otherwise. One has to assume they lived their lives as they were, more or less content that that was what life was like.

It appears to me that individuals and human groups have seldom if ever been left alone to just enjoy life as they knew it. What might have been, for example, if the Pope, back in 1452, had resisted the King of Portugal and not authorized his request:

In the first Papal Bull on 18 June 1452, at the request of the Portuguese King, the Pope authorized the King of Portugal “…to attack, conquer and subdue Saracens, pagans and other unbelievers who were inimical to Christ; to capture their goods and territories; to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to transfer their lands and properties to the King of Portugal and his successors.” (Boxer 1969:21)

With this authorization we know what the Portuguese accomplished in Africa and all the way to India and South America, setting the stage for colonial enterprise and plunder all around the world. The quest for slaves, ivory, gold, silver, rubber and other loot followed, unleashing a flood of savagery the “savage world” had never before experienced.  Virtually all of Christianized Europe engaged in this massive and terrible onslaught, slaving, killing, torturing, and stealing wherever they went. Obviously they were not content with what they had. Their discontent was, I suppose, driven by greed and a lust for power, even as human behavior is now.

This is not to say that the “savages” themselves were not discontented. It seems no human individual or group has ever been completely content to just let thing be; they fought over territory, raided to capture cattle, horses, pigs, and other items of local value, and sometimes even human heads and women. There were times, of course, when they were momentarily content, but contentment seems not to be very characteristic of humans, always looking for new horizons, new conquests, new experiences, mountains to climb, oceans to cross, artistic expressions, and constant innovations.

I suppose one could argue that permanent discontent has something to do with our large brains and intelligence, in which case perhaps large brains are not entirely desirable. Humans have at times been distinguished from other creatures because of tool making (no longer a useful standard), or because of having fire, or “x” number of cubic centimeters of brain, or language (also no longer entirely useful standard). It seems to me that if there is one defining feature of humankind it may well be discontent. No one ever seems entirely happy or content with what they have, at least not in American culture, and if there ever were contented people they were soon converted to discontent when they discovered what others had that they did not have. For many “savages” (a ridiculous term that does not really separate one person or group from another) tin cans and glass beads became immediately desirable, along with metal knives, pots and pans, and other objects of worlds they had not previously known. And, of course, for humans one thing leads to another...and so here we are back in Iraq…
Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.