Dystopia 18: Greek Revival

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 far.”

“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.”

“Affirmative.   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.”

The Concepts Behind the Fiction:

1. Avatar and Nihilism

I was finally able to see Avatar.  Ok…ok…I  had to see it.  I was not disappointed.  So that is what the world looks  like after you take LSD.  Fascinating.  (If you have seen the movie you  know what I am talking about.)

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.

5)      Television

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.

6.)   Why Mess with the IRS?

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.


  1. One of the important things about the Myth of Valuable Money is that it makes a false problem to replace a real one.

    The false problem is that “we are using money with no intrinsic value”. Well, Duh! Of course we are. Money is a chit used to permit decentralized decision making. Its not a resource, its a permission slip – an artifact of the rules we have for doing thing.

    Everytime we use something intrinsically valuable for money, the swings in that value will sooner or later break the economy.

    Well, OK, its obvious that “money” is a permission slip from the government. Why can the Federal Government mobilize unemployed resources by spending first and working out the balance between bond sales and money creation later? Because the Money is issued Federally, as far away from the people as it is possible to get, under a system with Seven Federal Reserve Board of Governors members selected to placate Wall Street and Five Federal Reserve Bank Presidents elected by Member Banks deciding whether Inflation (loss of value of their financial assets) is more dangerous than Unemployment (a gain in their net economic power).

    Can States Make Money. Of course. The states can’t make their notes legal tender … there is a monopoly power in place. But they can accept their notes in payment of taxes. They can accept their notes in payment of state assessed fees.

    How does a state start making its own money?

    By never saying that they are making their own money. Rather, by issuing “interest free notes”, and accepting them in payment for state taxes.

    Then find something that needs doing that the state cannot “afford to do”, despite massive unemployed resources in the state. And accept bids to perform the contract in return for State Notes. And let the bidders sort out the details of how takes the Notes at what discount against US$ to use to meet state obligations.

    Now, here’s the trick: some share of it is dedicated to something that generates “export revenue”, that is, US$. For instance, its a source of sustainable, renewable power, and the transmission capacity to sell it across state borders. And some share of it is dedicated to being able to meet some people’s basic needs … food and shelter.

    Now the state can start offering a certain number of hours of “volunteer” work rewarded by State Notes. And accept State Notes to pay rent on basic shelter, and food at community groceries and meals at community kitchens.

    As more people experience a partial job guarantee, the underpinnings of the Prison Industrial Complex start crumbling, and what the state saves on incarceration, it can shift into direct provision of medical care. State clinics accept State Notes as well as “money” for deductibles and co-pays, and the basic needs covered by State Notes expands.

    Like termites at a the foundation of a building, little chew by little chew, re-democratizing the government power to create a money by accepting the money in payment for taxes by bringing it down to the state level.

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