A world divided by nationalist struggles and vain fantasies of dominating the earth’s resources is a world that grows increasingly insane and self-destructive. Yet many decent and moral people accept the current construction of politics as a ” given.” They end up participating in this insanity and calling it “realistic.”
Today, what people call realistic or common sense, is nothing more than “inside-the-beltway” assumptions created and maintained by corporate-dominated media. Only by throwing off those assumptions and thinking outside the box, can people see the Strategy of Generosity for what it is – a method to stop insane people who have power from continuing their disastrous path of destruction.
It is a delusion to imagine that only one political party or set of candidates frames our foreign policy in terms of narrowly conceived American interests. Instead, we must realize that this behavior is a shared insanity that must be challenged in every part of our political thinking. It is just as likely to be articulated by people with whom we agree, as by people who are overtly reactionary or ultra-nationalistic.–Rabbi Michael Lerner Tikkun Magazine Speaking about the Global Marshal Plan
Dystopia 18: Greek Revival
“To-Gem horse?” Tendo was standing a foot from the window gazing down on the street from their second story room in her ever vigilant fashion. She was standing just a little way from the gauzy inner curtains. Just enough to afford her a view without allowing herself to be seen from the street.
Jack was laying on the room’s lumpy straw mattress. A mattress that Tendo refused to touch much less sit on. He was flipping a coin in the air and catching it as he described his idea to her.
“Trooojaaan. It was the Trojan horse. My father told me the tale. It was an ancient Geek story. They were part of the Grand Time when there were magical boxes and fast transportation…and open water. Anyway there were two warring clans. The Geeks and the Trojans. The Trojans were in a fort and the Geeks was trying to conquer the fort. Sound familiar?”
“So the Geeks didn’t have any luck getting it the fort until they used their brains. They built a giant horse, the horse was special to the Trojans, and they pushed it to the gate of the fort. Then all the Geeks left. Abandoned their siege of the fort.”
“How does giving Fort Jenna a gift and giving up help us?”
“That was the trick. The Trojans took in the gift and went to sleep. In the night the Geeks, who were hiding inside of the horse came out and killed them all.”
Tendo turned her face to him, “Killed dem all? De workers and de children?”
“The way my father told it, yes.”
She raised her eyebrow and turned back to her vigil. “Callum would not like dat.”
“We do not have to act like them. The point is the trick not who gets killed.” These sessions with Tendo always made him on edge.
“What makes you tink de fort people will take in a giant horse?”
“Not a horse. Something else that they would accept without thinking about it. A way to make them welcome us into the fort.”
“What did you have in mind?”
“Well, I this idea while I was helping one of the Blackwaters three days ago…”
Jack was enjoying somewhat of a celebrity status at Fort Jenna. He was allowed the run of the place and given easy jobs to do. Even the Blackwaters seemed to treat him with some respect. And all of it made him miss the Jaguars and Laissi all the more.
He had developed a habit of wandering at night. He allowed the guards to see him on his walks and in fact made a point of stopping to chat with them. He had explained that his walks helped with insomnia that had plagued him since his capture and enslavement by the rebels. The Blackwaters had allowed him to wonder late at night. But as soon as he was out of their sight he would start to look for weaknesses in the Fort’s defenses. He really had no idea what to look for or what would actually help Callum but he looked for ideas as he walked.
By a week he had a map of the fort drawn with locations of the guards. He delivered this to Tendo in their first meeting. She scoffed at him saying that they already knew where the buildings were since she had been there for 10 years already. They needed to know what was in the buildings. He spent his next few nights trying doors, but to no avail. Most of the buildings were locked he discovered so he had nothing for Tendo the next week who looked at him like a dog who’d made a mess on the floor.
He was three weeks into his return to Fort Jenna before he got his first break. One of the Blackwaters called Larry, asked Jack to help him carry something. Jack followed the man to a small shed near one of the fort’s back walls. Larry unlocked the padlock and entered the small storage area with a lantern. On the back wall of the shed were three shelves. Each had a white bullet shaped structure with a black nose. Long wings came out of the bullet shaped body at the midsection. The body was resting on posts with wheels at the feet. Larry grabbed the right wing of the middle one and instructed Jack to grab the other wing. They brought the gear forward and then turned it gently on its side so they could get it out through the door.
Larry had brought a small wagon and the two men gingerly placed the odd shaped gear in the wagon.
“DJ, why don’t ya tag along and see what this baby can do.”
Larry’s merriment sent a chill into Jack’s stomach. Blackwater’s were never as happy as when they were about to hurt someone.. He followed the guard out of the fort and up a nearby hill. There, a small group of Blackwaters was assembled by a trailer.
The object was gently lifted out of the wagon and supported. A third man flipped a lever and Jack nearly dropped his side with surprise as the machine buzzed to life like an angry hornets nest. Then to Jack’s surprise, the machine that they had treated with such care was thrown into the air. Jack braced himself for the inevitable crash but was stunned when the machine took flight and began to climb in the sky until it was out of sight.
Larry laughed and said, “Ya should shut your yap, before flies get in there.”
Jack realized that his mouth was indeed open and he shut it with a snap.
The other Blackwaters turned to enter the trailer and Jack quietly followed them hoping not to be noticed. The room was filled with machinery and screens with moving pictures. Jack gazed about in wonder. He had never seen anything as magical as this and in fact had not thought that such magic still existed in the world.
As Jack gazed at the pictures, he recognized the inside and immediate outside of the fort in several of the screens. He could see people moving to and fro throughout the fort. Despite his wonderment he forced himself to memorize which areas and angles the screens portrayed.
The men ignored most of these screens and concentrating on only one of interest to them. That screen showed the desert and the town near the fort but from an impossibly high distance. The view cruised over the landscape. The town disappeared and the view was of uninterrupted desert. Here and there the screen was dotted with small buildings and an occasional moving spec on the ground.
“The camera is so high up the rebels can’t see or hear it.” Larry told Jack with an obvious sense of pride. “We just fly over head and spot their camps and then go get ’em, easy as pie.”
Jack nodded but was incapable of saying anything. Callum had been right. The “eye in the sky” was not a myth of the Jaguars, it was real. Perhaps info they had gotten from some other spy. Perhaps even Laissi.
“We used to be able to see them at night as well but the infrared is down on most of the drones. Besides it’s risky to fly ’em at night.”
“How could you see at night?”
“We used their body heat to see ’em. But we don’t do that any more because the equipment is too valuable and we really don’t need to. We still have a few cameras in the fort that can see at night though.”
Jack’s heart sank. They could see him at night. Even if Callum’s men were able to gain access to the fort an invading army of men with weapons would be seen at once.
Jack was brought out of his revery by one of the Blackwaters shouting “There. Ya see it? I told you they had an illegal well.” He was pointing at a white dot on the screen.
The man seated in front of the screen moved a dial and the screen zoomed in on the object. He nodded and leaned forward. “Confirm target at 32 degrees and 55 wheels, over.”
“Target at 32 degrees and 55 wheels confirmed. Orders regarding target?” a scratchy voice answered.
“Destroy target and all enemy personnel associated with local area, over.”
For a long moment nothing happened and the view over the area seemed to be traveling in a large circle. Then small dots in black invaded the screen. The resident multicolored dots began to flee but they were stopped in their tracks by puffs of fire emanating from the black dots. A battle was being waged and Jack was seeing what he knew first hand to be terror and pain from the dispassionate distance of a thousand feet in the air. As the last of the multicolored dots stopped moving and the men in the trailer cheered and clapped each other on their backs. Jack tried to fade into the background but Larry looked at him and asked, “What do ya say, Jack? Some trick, huh?”
“Yeah. Some trick.” Jack agreed without enthusiasm.
Later that evening Jack lay on his cot thinking over the events of the day. If the Blackwaters had such powerful magic, they likely relied on the magic, and would be blind to invasion that blinded their magic Jack reasoned. He began to hatch his plan. Over the next few days he befriended Larry and learned all he could about the “drones”.
Tendo was now looking at him, uncharacteristically ignoring the window entirely. “Dey can see us in the dark?” She asked
“Yes. But only within the fort itself.”
Her face made no expression. Jack actually admired her for that. Her eyes held the despair she felt though. With Tendo her thoughts were always in her eyes. Jack waved his hand to indicate he had already considered this in his plan.
“That is where the Trojan horse story comes in. They can’t use the magic inside the buildings. Also if they are expecting people to be there, they can only see that there are indeed people there. They can not make out who the people are. If we hide our people in buildings or if they expect there to be bodies in the fort at night they will not be alarmed.”
“And what bodies do dey expect to be dere in de night?”
“Harvest Festival. They expect food and beer to be delivered at Harvest Festival. They expect music, and people to serve the food. They expect the party to last late into the night.”
“And you tink dat would be a good time to invade de fort? When dere are more people in de fort dan at any other moment?”
“If we are those additional people, yes.”
There was a brief silence between them. Then she said, “Tell me how.”
Jack relayed his plan. They needed to have people in position to enter the fort as servants and musicians and places for tools to be stashed. Everyone who entered the fort was searched so tools had to be either hidden in the fort or made to look like part of the festivities. They would bring their saws into the shed and during the height of the party they would cut a doorway into the back wall of the fort under cover of the shed.
Then they would wait. They would wait until most of the fort was in its cups and asleep. And when all was quiet, they would strike. They would open the doorway in the back wall of the fort and they would burst forth and swarm out around the shed making their way to the trailer that housed the cameras and that guard. If they were lucky the guard would be half asleep with beer and food. If they were’nt lucky they would then work on killing as many of the guards and Blackwaters as possible before they were discovered or could open the Main Gate to the fort.
The plan was simple and brutish. For several minutes Tendo stared out the window. Jack could see calculating mind turning his plan over and examining it. Finally she said, “We don’t have much time. De Harvest festival is only in a few months.”
Actually what I found most interesting about the movie is that it continues in a trend in science fiction that I have noticed lately-nihilism. Octavia Butler starts her Xenogenesis series with mankind so close to self destruction, that an alien race does not feel guilty about swooping in and using our DNA and our bodies to reproduce their own species. In The Host, Stephanie Meyers rewrites The Body Snatchers from the aliens’ point of view. And then there is Avatar. In older sci fi man entered alien worlds and struggled to keep his humanity. Now sci fi characters can’t wait to give it up. Is it that our collective unconsciousness realizes that mankind is so lost that we are beyond redemption? I hope not. Because I am not ready to give up the fight quite yet.
2. The Anarchist and the Nun
THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We’re f***ed. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have-or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective-to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they’re reduced to trying to protect just one tree…
But no matter what environmentalists do, our best efforts are insufficient. We’re losing badly, on every front. Those in power are hell-bent on destroying the planet, and most people don’t care.
Frankly, I don’t have much hope. But I think that’s a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth. Derrick Jensen
I have been listening to Derrick Jensen lately. Usually I agree with much of what he says but not lately. Mr. Jensen is fond of telling a story in which he asks a pacifist nun what she would do if she truly internalized the truth that we are no longer living in a democracy. Without a democracy, civil disobedience and protests do not function. She was unable to answer him. His answer was, like it or not, armed conflict and revolution are coming. He may be right but I hope not.
For a long time I was as perplexed by this question as the nun. What does it mean that the old tactics of civil disobedience have stopped functioning? What does it mean that a clear majority opinion (like getting a health care system that works) can openly be ignored by those inside the beltway? Is Jensen right? Is there no alternative but to watch as the democracy sinks to the level where even that average American won’t sit by passively and watch? And just what level would that be? Are we there now? That would be unfortunate, because armed conflict often ends in governments that are not freer, but more restrictive than the one that was ousted by the conflict. So despite the fact that I am not a pacifist, I had no good answer for Jensen’s question. I was as befuddled by his question as the nun.
Last entry I discussed the failings of all three branches of our federal government. I have spent a great deal of time convincing you that Congress and the White House are no longer interested in our opinion. They are willing to ignore protests that are record breaking in numbers. If public pressure is too great they will vote publicly for what The People want but then make an end run around the law (bank bail outs) to do what their real leaders (corporations and the rich) tell them to do. Even the Supreme Court is no longer immune. We no longer matter. Even to those who get all their information from corporate media, it appears that corporations own all three branches of our government and our media system as well. They are holding all the cards. Are we there yet? Are we to the point where Mr. Jensen is right and only armed revolt can save us?
No. But that is not to say that we won’t get there. It is not to even say that we can avoid a bloody revolt. What can the nun and the pacifist do right now to avert such a disaster? The trick is to take away the deck. In other words take the power that we lent to the federal government back. But who still retains enough power to stand up to the federal government? The states. Well maybe not Vermont but surely California and New York.
3. Stopping the White House from Cutting the Grass
I got this idea watching documentaries on marijuana. When Obama announced recently that he would no longer send the DEA to arrest people who were obeying state laws in regard to medical marijuana, a rash of documentaries about the illegal cannabis trade were aired.
This seems trivial, I know. Whether you use marijuana or not is not the issue here. Consider what the pot growers did for a moment. They faced off with the federal government and won! They won even though big pharma (the biggest funders of the “war against drugs”) very much did not want them to win. Fascinating. They won by getting a mandate of The People in one state at a time and pitting The People aligned with the state against the federal government.
That is the only successful method of fighting the federal government I have seen in years. Huge demonstrations against the Iraq war and for better controls on polluters have failed to sway the government. Mandates from the people like stopping the wars and creating a health care system that works have been largely ignored by lawmakers. Our former tactics of letter writing campaigns, demonstrations and civil disobedience have become ineffectual. But the pot growers in this country have achieved steady progress with their cause in a small amount of time. That is worth a second look wouldn’t you say?
How did they do it? 1) They found a part of their issue that appealed to a larger population. Do you care if a terminally ill person smokes pot because it helps with the pain and anxiety of facing your own mortality? Enough to spend your hard earned tax dollars to put such a man in jail? Probably not. 2) They wrote a STATE law that contradicted the the FEDERAL law, putting the marijuana law in question. These laws are always passed as state initiatives. Mandates by the people and thus already politically dangerous to contradict. 3) They put a sympathetic face on the state law by showing DEA officers arresting a woman in a wheel chair, an emaciated cancer patient, etc. 4) They were very organized. The developed networks to show up with signs, cameras and the press every time the DEA agents showed up to bust a dispensary. 5) They were tenacious. They kept at it until they won. Slowly but surely the DEA and the Federal government have been on retreat on this issue. Making fewer and fewer arrests while more and more states adopted these laws. Obama’s refusal to arrest any more people who are obeying the state laws on marijuana marks a resounding victory for those who fought for these laws.
Could we use their tactics to undercut the strangle hold that banks and corporations have on our federal government? Could we create a state initiative, similar to the medical marijuana laws, that in one fell swoop would under cut corporate rule long enough to gain back democratic rule? Could we collectively write such a law for anyone to take and modify here and now on the DK or DD? Could we write something to be used to head off armed revolution?
As I see it such a law would have to have 3 distinct declarations that would all have to happen at once:
1.) The state would have to withdraw the corporate right to “personhood” within its boundaries.
2.) The state would have to require some restrictions on media broadcasts within its boundaries similar to the FCC rules that existed in the 1980s.
3.) The state would have to collect income tax. The individual income tax for the persons within the state would be collected by the state and the state legislator will then decide what percentage of tax will be allocated to the federal government and for what purposes.
Well Mr. Jensen. It’s not an armed revolution, but it is a revolution.
4. A Person is a Person No Matter How Small
It is corporate personhood that allowed the Supreme Court to give corporations unlimited amounts of money to candidates or pacs under the guise of “free speech”. It is corporate personhood that gives a corporation the right to loose in court over and over again and still not to pay for its wrong doing by just starting another suit. They carry this on until the human/people suing them give up, run out of money or die. They win all their suites by default. It’s corporate personhood that allows CEO’s to walk away from fraud, abuse, financial devastation, even murder when their companies are guilty of such.
Any corporation that wished to do business within the state must have a charter for that state. Charters could be reviewed every 3 years and corporations found to be harmful to humans would have their charters revoked and their property seized in order to pay the damages of such harm.
Taking away a corporations ability to call itself a person and claim the rights of citizenship has to go if we are to be free of corporate tyranny. Only humans should be declared persons with rights. As such, Candidates for state legislature can only receive $2500 in campaign contributions per contributor and no monies from corporations at all. Any money above that amount would be confiscated and both the person contributing and the candidate would face stiff (double the amount contributed) financial fines which would go into an account to pay for policing this action.
Reinstate FCC rules that govern the amount of media a single entity can own in any location. Also, reinstate the equal time rule for radio and television.
Television stations that wish to broadcast within the state or on cable within the state must comply with free and uninterrupted airing of political debate, on the state and federal level. Rules for debates aired within the state are moderated by a committee assigned to the task or by a neutral third party such as The League of Woman Voters as they were before they became a charade put on by the Democrats and Republicans.
Right now the states are broke. They can not make enough money to pay for state health care for the poor, teachers, law enforcement. The bulk of our tax money goes to the federal government where corporations and the military-industrial complex clearly have control of it. The states are left begging for scraps to do the things we want and need done with that money. If the states refuse an order from the federal government, the federal government cuts the state off from funding. All of the money and control are becoming centralized at the federal level. The checks and balances that our forefathers set up are either not working or being ignored.
Reverse this role and now the control of money is one step closer to you and your needs. Throw a few protections into the bill to assure that corporations can not muscle into the state legislature easily, and you have the makings of real reform.
This is a bill that could appeal to the left for the obvious reasons but what about the right. Teabaggers have railed against control of their money being under an inefficient government. Putting the money closer to their control has an obvious draw for them. Besides when you move money around you lose money. Having the money go all the way to the federal level and the trickle back is inherently inefficient. Having the money stay local and then a small percentage of it trickle up makes more sense to the business minded right.
The right has been screaming for a tax revolt. Well here it is. Who is the sympathetic face on this that the mean old feds will harm if they try to take back the power and the tax money? The teacher and her elementary students. The doctor and his sick patient. The fire fighter. The unemployed man looking for work to feed his family. You get the idea.
7.) The Catch 22 of Sedition
The federal government, and probably some governors, will of course, call this sedition. But here is something for you to ponder. In a democracy if the majority of the people mandate something that takes control away from the government, and the government fights the mandate, who then is really guilty of sedition? We have all the power. We just need to use it.