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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Es ist Sie!

(Revised December 2, 2004)

Several years ago there was a documentary on public television that showed the liberation of a concentration camp in Germany at the end of World War II. It was pretty grisly, with piles of dead bodies, and the living looked more dead than alive. At one point in the show the people from the nearby town were assembled and forced to view the depredation that had taken place. The Bürgermeister, or mayor, and the townspeople as well, claimed no knowledge of what went on inside the camp. They were addressed by the American Army commander, who said to them, “Es ist Sie!” ("It is you!" "Sie" is pronounced "Zee.") He repeated this several times in the course of his speech, telling the people that it was they that enabled the Nazi regime to do its dirty deeds. It was they that allowed the concentration camps to flourish while they made money from the camps’ forced labor, and from providing goods and services to the facilities and their henchmen.

We are now at a point in our own country where it is time to say “Es ist Sie!” I read with revulsion the article about Fallujah by Anwaar Hussain in the Pak Tribune yesterday, and it became clear that the ruling regime of the U.S. is on a path that is rivaling Hitler for cravenness and murderous criminality. There are two noticeable differences. One is that the Bush regime doesn’t have an ideology that covers as much cultural infrastructure as Hitler did. “Neoconservatism” is not much of an ideology, “leftist” protestations notwithstanding. It’s really just Pablum for the romantics and obsessively intellectual. The essence of the Bush agenda is purely criminal: Control the world’s oil, and control the American people through a corporate national security state. A tidy bit of control of the rest of planet Earth wouldn’t hurt their Ernst Stavro Blofeld scheming either.

The other main difference is that Bush himself is not a very appealing or charismatic figure, and has a lot of questionable criminal baggage in his background. Try as they might, his promoters cannot erase his history of animal abuse, military desertion, drug and alcohol addiction, and corporate crime. There is nothing in Bush's character formation that indicates that any character formation actually took place. By all evidence, quite the opposite is true. Given the questionable nature of his placement in office, his lack of skill with the English language, and his contempt for rational thought, there is not much for even the gullible American public to revere or admire. It is highly unlikely that such a person would have much hope of being called "Der Führer," "Il Duce," "Generalissimo," or "Caesar."

Another way in which the Bush crime spree is different is in its believers. They are threefold: criminal corporate sponsors/beneficiaries, religious opportunists euphemistically referred to as "The Christian Right," and mean and/or angry and/or afraid and/or unintelligent people. They are not as homogeneous as the supporters of Hitler, and their loyalty to Bush is not very reliable. Should he fail in their eyes in one way or another, he could be in serious trouble.

This regime will fail. We can succumb to “The sky is falling” hysteria about the Bush crime family and proudly proclaim “I fear the Bush Administration,” but that kind of thinking only gives them power. We are in for a hard time. That much is certain. The combination of impending economic collapse, war mongering, and police statism will make for strife and suffering the likes of which this country has never seen. But we can save this country, and in the process save the planet if we keep our wits about us. And it should be kept in mind that this criminal operation is going to lose in the end, a matter of absolute certainty.

The place to begin the downfall of the Bush crime family is to bring shame upon them. They should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone who works for the Bush crime family should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone who supports them should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone in the corporate news and entertainment industry should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone in the fundamentalist “Christian” evangelical “Religious Right” should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone in the arms industry should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone in the Republican party and almost everyone in the Democratic party should be told “Es ist Sie!” The commanders in Iraq who go along with the schemes of the Bush crime family should be told “Es ist Sie!” Torturers and perpetrators of atrocities should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone who mindlessly swallows the lies and hatred of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and countless other talkers of trash should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone who voted for Bush should be told “Es ist Sie!” Everyone who helped rig the presidential election should be told “Es ist Sie!” John Kerry, for the lame and Bush-lite campaign he waged for President, should be told “Es ist Sie!” Tony Blair should be told “Es ist Sie!” José María Aznar should be told “Es ist Sie!” Rupert Murdoch should be told “Es ist Sie!” And of course, Arnold Swarzenegger should be told "Es ist Sie!"

Along with shaming, there are many things to do. We should be talking to people like Alexander Solzenitzen, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Václav Havel, Lech Walesa, and Aung San Suu Kyi about how to bear up under authoritarian rule. We are unused to it here, and Americans are a bit soft when it comes to enduring the kinds of hardships the rest of the planet has had to deal with. We would do well to develop an attitude of forbearance and passive as well as active resistance. We will all need a good sense of humor.

We can stop buying the products of the corporate money changers. They can be chased from the temple by economic non-cooperation. Buying fair-trade, local, organic, vegetarian, and sustainable products are only the start, and are practiced by a great many of us already. Buying less is another great way to disengage from the corporate money changing merry-go-round. Investing in sustainable, distributive businesses helps break the grip of the corporate state. Don’t go to Disney World. Don’t fly. Take the train. It’s a great way to travel, and you don’t have to put up with invasive, creepy searches. The corporate "news" media should not be given any sustenance. We can avoid watching and listening to them, and avoid giving money to their sponsors. Interviews should only be given to alternative media outlets. The same goes for NPR. They are becoming more like the Soviet era Pravda and Izvestia every day.

The last thing I want to recommend is when it comes time for marching in the streets, don’t be stupid about it. Policemen are human beings, and they can be dealt with in ways that lessen the likelihood that they engage in brutality. First of all, don’t treat them as “Them.” If a police force such as in Miami, New York, Philadelphia or Oakland, for instance, is to be reckoned with, there has to be a way of getting to the decision making capacity beforehand. It can be done in a multifaceted way, through community groups, the policemen’s union, the mayor, the city council, the governor of the state, the local news media, and through shaming. “Es ist Sie!” can certainly be applied to the aforementioned police forces.

We are facing the most serious and dangerous time in the history of the planet. Our infinite growth economic system is now approaching the reality of finitude. The biosphere is being stressed to its limits. The depletion of resources, especially oil, but also fish, arable land, minerals, forests, air and water, are all reaching critical stages. The food supply is being contaminated with genetically engineered seeds, pesticides, and tainted meat. Amidst all of this is the crudest of criminal regimes, the Bush crime family. Our saving grace may indeed be their criminality. Being criminals, they do not even admit that these various problems exist, because they only understand the criminal pursuit of money, power, status, and privilege. This is really a form of criminal psychosis, and any moderately astute observer of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and, yes, Powell, would agree that these are not people with a firm grip on sane reality. They are weak, not strong, and can be defeated before they wreak much more havoc on the planet. Let the war crimes trials begin!

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