- "In times of change, learners inherit the earth,
while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world
that no longer exists."
- --Eric Hoffer
- I used to love fireworks. But I haven't been able to
watch them for better than a decade now, ever since that first time, lying
in a pristine field in a small country town, when I looked up at the pretty
colors in the night sky and imagined, unmistakably, that what I was hearing
were the screams of dying Iraqi children.
- Sometimes when I'm shaving that part of my face I don't
call my beard, I'll catch a face in the mirror; not mine, but down in the
corner of my eye, an image will stop me from what I'm doing. It's a fleeting
face, tiny and indistinct. I'll look more closely and it will be gone.
But it will linger in my memory, and I've come to think of those hallucinated
faces as the lives our American prosperity is built on, living people we
never knew whose lives were tossed away in an anonymous cauldron of carnage
in some faraway place we seldom ever hear about.
- How many times have we said it: "America is the
greatest country in the world." And it is. Everything is just perfect
... if we don't contemplate the unknown horror and unreported violence
upon which our paradise is built.
- William Blum, author of "Rogue State" and chronicler
of American depredations throughout the world, estimates the U.S. has killed
seven million innocent people since World War II. Most people don't stop
and think how we get what we have, where all this opulence comes from.
- So, I go back to shaving, but now, as long I live, and
because of what I know, the smile on the face staring back at me contains
a shadow I dread to see again.
- Many of us who read such skeptical underground publications
as Paranoia, American Free Press or From the Wilderness don't really need
to be updated about the latest lies our leaders tell us, although God knows
they come at us faster than we can handle them. We've made it our business
to know what's going behind the headlines and consequently can perceive
the avalanche of falsehoods that camouflages the endless robbery of the
poor by the rich and the damage these demonic fictions do to our planet
and its inhabitants.
- Yet the lies and wars and phony justifications continue
from one generation to the next, and no amount of investigative reporting
- no matter how accurate or shocking - seems to be able to change the behavior
of that warped family of aristocratic human predators who have taken control
of the way we think and behave. This control enables them to say and do
what they want, and the people of the world - distracted by their more
mundane concerns like children and paychecks - continue to be afflicted
by the schemes of the powerful, with no measure of supposedly democratic
participation able to derail this pathological parade of lethal greed that
now threatens to make our planet completely uninhabitable.
- The two primary mechanisms that keep ordinary Americans
distracted from these schemes of tyranny are the schools and the media.
A third mechanism, which I shall deal with later, is religion, and the
sacred approval these hypocritical institutions have provided to mass murderers
- But for now, as we face the new police-state threat foisted
on us by the George W. Bush gang and its predecessors, the two primary
vehicles that allow the powers that be to remain largely invisible and
unaccountable as they plunder the planet and enslave its residents seem
to be the schools, which in the past century have become little more than
programs to teach people not to question authority, and the media, which
are owned by the same rich men who create the wars and sell the weapons
that make them fabulously wealthy.
- If you accept this argument, the solution becomes obvious:
change the schools from indoctrination programs that create well-dressed
day laborers to genuine educational institutions that produce thoughtful
philosophers, and detach the media from the rich criminals who own them.
I know, I know: easier said than done. And maybe impossible.
- A logical first step in beginning the process of reclaiming
our schools and our media as nontoxic members of our society is recognizing
the phemonenon known as corporate personhood. In 1886, the Supreme Court
of the United States issued an edict that was as damaging to human freedom
as its 2000 ruling to make Bush II the president. The infamous Santa Clara
decision gave corporations the same rights as humans, whereas prior to
that, corporations had to be chartered by the states, they couldn't own
other unrelated businesses that weren't included in their original charter,
and these charters could be revoked if the corporations engaged in bad
behavior. Just imagine: if corporations were criminals, their charters
were taken away and their assets liquidated.
- How much human misery could have been averted if those
laws had remained in effect?
- But they didn't. Just like today, judges and senators
were bribed and the measure eventually passed without even any debate.
- Ever since, American citizens have been the powerless
subjects of big business fat cats, and communities have been destroyed
by tycoons who make criminal decisions from far away.
- Currently, there are two major organizations working
to bring this issue to public consciousness: Reclaim Democracy ( http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/
) and POCLAD (Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy) ( http://www.poclad.org/
). Their efforts are still patchwork and their objectives are still a little
fuzzy in the public mind, but they share the aim of taking away the real
power in our country and the world from soulless corporations and returning
that power to people with consciences. It could be done legislatively if
our elected representatives were not so corrupt.
- What kind of world do we want? Do we want the best possible
products or the best possible communities? The highest possible profits
or the best possible lives for all humans? I urge all of you to investigate
this matter more carefully, but I realize what we're up against in regard
to getting such measures as restarting the corporate charter system through
our criminal legislatures. Therefore, what is needed are ballot initiatives
to overturn the 1886 Santa Clara decision and begin to return ultimate
power to ordinary people in an actualized democracy.
- However, we face another complicating factor before we
can address the corporate personhood issue: electronic voting. The recent
implementation of Touchscreen voting machines in most states poses the
single biggest current threat to our freedom. These machines are all owned
by political operatives, who by computer manipulation can change any vote
total at any time.
- Plenty of evidence of this surfaced in the 2002 elections,
and a national movement is growing to outlaw all computer voting machines,
because no one can adequately audit the vote totals. A truly honest country
would invalidate the entire 2002 election because of this, but we know
what the score is, and unless all of these machines can be eliminated,
all hope for a legitimate democracy and an honest vote count are gone.
For more information on this and other aspects of vote manipulation, check
- And even if this were accomplished, the lack of a legitimate
opposition party in the United States all but guarantees the destructive
practices of the power elite cannot be thwarted in the foreseeable future.
Consider the current Democratic candidates lining up to oppose Bush in
the 2004 election: Skull & Bones cultist John Kerry and Zionists Hillary
Clinton and Joe Lieberman. So even if this new electronic vote scam is
fixed, the candidates of the power elite will assure that nothing will
change, and the slide toward oblivion for the planet and economic enslavement
for ordinary people will continue.
- Still, we cannot but try to at least restore some degree
of integrity to our voting system.
- Once voting is again conducted with pencils on paper
ballots (it's the most honest way, and used all over Europe, which has
banned voting machines) and the corporate personhood issue has been resolved
in favor of actual people, then we can begin to deal with the totalitarian
problems of schools aimed to create robots and all the newspapers and TV
stations owned by that small circle of billionaire thugs.
- Currently, schools are headed in the wrong direction,
with all sorts of corporate incentives being dangled in front of cash-strapped
school districts and teachers. Polluting industries besiege teachers at
conventions, twisting facts to get teachers to tell their students global
warming is a fallacy. Huge agribusiness throws money at schools to teach
that pesticides and biotech foods are good things. Schools sell space to
advertisers and as a result receive unhealthy products for free. And now,
so-called faith-based initiatives threaten to erase the last vestige of
progressive ideas from our less fortunate neighborhoods and replace them
with a corrupt series of discriminatory control mechanisms ruled over by
morally bankrupt fundamentalist Christian zealots.
- If you've watched TV lately, the environment and the
common person have no defenders. A one-sided stream of pseudo-patriotic
invective glorifies the lies of George Bush and treats each fictional claim
about Iraq's threat as being beyond question.
- Then, when the pro-war public relations gimmicks are
one-by-one exposed as lies, they are buried at the bottom of newscasts
as incidental corrections.
- No one person should own more than one newspaper, or
one TV station. In fact, no one should own any property they don't live
on. (A humane society of the future will pass that law, if the human race
regains control of itself.) But on TV, owned by the same masters who make
the weapons and the drugs, no one talks about any of that.
- Beginning with A.S. Neill and his famous school and book
"Summerhill", all compassionate and honest educators have known
that the best educational system is one chosen by the children, and not
one determined by psychologists or drug companies. Currently, most objective
observers describe today's schools as being driven by the forces of marketing,
as multinationals try to brainwash our children into becoming brand-loyal
- School officials have notoriously sold out to the forces
of capitalism in exchange for big salaries, and most conscientious parents
with the financial wherewithal to choose alternatives no longer send their
children to public schools. Many teachers betray their primary missions
by focusing on the authority of their teaching rather than the genuine
needs of the children being educated.
- Teachers have been brainwashed, too, and seek to impose
that brainwashing on their unwitting pupils.
- A child free to choose individual courses of study -
and we all want to be educated; no child, given a choice, would choose
not to be educated - will become an adult demanding accurate news reports,
not like now, when all kids are hammered into the same trendy molds, riddled
with drugs and corporate-concocted music, and expected to partake in the
same lockstep media crap that now afflicts us all. No wonder they rebel
and shoot guns at their peers!
- So, if the school problem could be fixed, the media problem
would take care of itself, and politicians would no longer be able to say
they couldn't reveal certain information because of national security,
because all people would be intimately involved with the security and progress
of their own nation or state.
- The only reason government officials seek to keep details
of their deals secret is not for reasons of national security, but because
their rich friends are making money off the deals they cloak in righteous,
patriotic rhetoric. Throughout history, it has always been this way. The
public just never catches up with that realization, because, victims of
inferior education that they are, they are overwhelmed by the phony stories,
and by neighbors who have been bribed to support the scams convincing skeptics
not to rock the boat in the name of patriotism.
- Imagine a really intelligent person who had created and
achieved her own educational goals having to choose from the ridiculously
delusional media spectrum of today, where everything is aimed toward duping
consumers into buying products they don't really need. Truly educated people
would all simply stop reading and listening to the false information now
perpetrated on Fox, CNN and Clear Channel Radio. These bad acts would go
out of business in a heartbeat.
- All the colleges would fail, too, because they now try
to do the same thing as the public schools - try to hammer disparate personalities
into pre-packaged slots to create more effective worker bees and unquestioning
consumers. Even the medical professions suffer from this rigid regimentation,
and the public suffers as less popular but more relevant medical treatments
are shut out by curricula determined by commercial interests rather than
healers with integrity. That's why the doctors give everybody so many drugs
- it's profitable and better yet (for them), no one ever gets well.
- OK, let's review so far. The mainstream media are our
big problem (not because they're too right or too left; those are phony
distinctions designed to distract you) because they don't ever tell you
what's really going on. They don't tell you the U.S. is in Colombia to
smooth the flow of drugs to the international cartels; they say America
is there to stop the flow of drugs to street dealers. They don't tell you
American soldiers beat people to death in the streets of Colombia simply
for growing up in the wrong neighborhood, either, but it happens, a lot
more often that you would like to believe (and in many other countries,
too, from Panama to Bosnia).
- The mainsteam media are never going to tell you that
the U.S. government created AIDS at Fort Detrick, Maryland, because they
make far too much money accepting advertising from the pharmaceutical giants
who helped implement that program to ever reveal a truth so close to home.
- You seldom hear about the Bush family's connections to
either Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden - or that these so-called al-Qaida
terrorists were funded by the U.S. and their Saudi co-conspirators because,
well, that wouldn't be patriotic! Instead they hammer out lie after lie
beneath logos blaring "Showdown with Iraq" without mentioning
that all the stated rationales for such a rash excursion are out-and-out
falsehoods, unprovable assertions designed only to aid in the flow of cash
to the rich men who make the guns, the radioactive waste, and the prescription
- I could go on about this; most of you already know the
score. What is really needed is a wider circulation of the perceptions
many of us already have to those less informed, less wordly, with less
access to the independent, underground web media that try so hard to dispel
the myths that distract us.
- We need to talk about the 9/11 questions in a rational
manner: why the air defenses didn't react, why Bush went to that school
and talked to children for a half hour even though he knew two planes had
attacked New York, why so many people were tipped off not to fly on that
fateful day. This outreach is essential to have a larger audience questioning
the fictions about 9/11, Enron and other noteworthy corporate crimes that
now are not being adequately addressed.
- The amazing thing about talking to people who haven't
had access to a lot of the revealing details about recent political events
that are now found on the web is that they tend to already know, intuitively,
what you're saying. Most people know the media polls have been lying all
along; Bush is ridiculous. If his level of evolution were the level of
American culture, we wouldn't even have invented the car yet.
- Everybody, in their own way, knows that something is
profoundly wrong with today's American society. It's just a matter of those
having the information at their disposal disseminating it effectively.
You also have to weed out, or avoid, those who have been paid off to maintain
a pro-establishment point of view, either by political entities or religious
organizations. There are a lot of moles out there, who will string you
along for awhile before revealing their true objectives, be they members
of the impotent Democratic party, cynical Christian schools or deceptive
Zionist apologists (sometimes, you get three in one). These three groups
are working against the improvement of society in favor of their own narrow-minded
goals, which often they don't really believe themselves but have been talked
into believing because of their guilt over not really understanding what
is truly going on.
- Which leads us to the most important aspect of our current
dilemma " the matter of religion, specifically, the killer religions:
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Adherents of each demonize the other
two, claiming their version of God is the infallible one, even though all
three derive from the same teachings, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch
(first five books of the Old Testament), and even have the same founder,
- Up until the present day, devotees of these religions
are the greatest murderers of human beings in history. Members of each
religion are currently prominent in the most of the major political conflicts
of the present day. It is probably disingenuous to insist that these religions
are the causes of current conflicts " because the politicians who
determine wars' causes exploit religion, they don't practice it "
but it is undeniable that religions provide the behavioral groundwork for
practitioners of these "holy" rites to indulge in the mass murder
of their opposition. So in that sense, they do bear a fundamental responsibility
for the continuing violence, in that they all condone the slaughter of
innocents as a legitimate redress for their real or trumped-up grievances.
- I bring this up for the purpose of pointing out that
without these holy orders to kill from the most respected teachers in each
of these religions, we likely would not have the intensity of political
conflicts that now cause us so much tragedy. Sure, the stated reasons of
most of these conflicts involve commodities like oil, but the political
rhetoric that finally triggers them is inevitably couched in terms and
concepts we learned from our holy books.
- We scapegoat others for behavior that we ourselves practice.
As the old saying goes, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom
fighter. In religious terms, the holy killing of our enemies makes us feel
more alive, which is really why the killing happens in the first place.
- Very few people can as yet see that the lie we tell ourselves
about eternal life is directly related to war. Belief in an afterlife cheapens
life on this planet. And from this epiphany comes the explanation of why
Bush is so popular among those who do not think deeply, and why so many
of us want this war - want any war - because it makes us feel more secure
in some primitive, unexamined way.
- As the little known cultural anthopologist Ernest Becker
pointed out, the evil men produce derives from the very heroism they seek
to achieve. We seek to achieve this this heroism because it insulates us
from the terror of death, it gives us a reason to live in an otherwise
meaningless world. Death denial - a.k.a the belief in an afterlife - allows
us to live comfortably but makes us practice rituals of destruction, and
from this destruction, we derive pleasure and justification for our sad
- As the world's multifaceted environmental crisis intensifies
- the oceans are poisoned, the air is fouled, half all animal species have
disappeared since the start of the Industrial Age, and global warming threatens
to soon change the face of our landmass - the time has definitely come
in human history to question all of our behavior, but most especially that
supernatural religious propaganda that not only allows us to kill everything
in sight - but praises us for doing it in defense of senseless, ephemeral
and deluded goals.
- I wouldn't go so far as to blame God for all these problems,
but I would lay the problem squarely at the feet of our priests, who were
always supposed to tell us how to live justly, but who have really only
shown us how to kill without guilt.
- If we could begin to fix this problem, I have a hunch
a lot of the other, lesser problems would evaporate, because then we would
be living lives of true compassion and justice. And as long as we worship
a jealous, vengeful God who urges us on to the glorious slaughter of our
enemies, peace is simply not going to happen, and we are truly doomed to
live out our lives with increasing levels of mass murder, pollution, and
- As I look in the mirror, I see that all this is my fault,
as much as anybody else's. The world has been pretty much destroyed on
my watch, in my lifetime. In 1974 when I first woke up to the lies of Nixon
and the shameless charade in Vietnam, sure, I got out and waved my signs,
but like so many others, couldn't identify the clearly evident sociological
patterns of exploitation and destruction that I have described herein.
They existed then as well as now. But I hid my head, pursued my trivial
desires, and hoped somebody would fix this mess. Nobody did.
- I wouldn't care all that much now, because I don't have
too many days left on this planet, except than when I look in the mirror
to shave, down in the corner of my eye, I see, fleetingly, this little
girl's face. An imaginary construct, no doubt, etched in my memory from
some Save the Children ad on TV. A little girl with a dirty face, smiling,
but long dead, bludgeoned to death by some Guatemalan death squad working
for a coffee plantation billionaire, or napalmed from 30,000 feet in Vietnam,
or decayed to death in Iraq after playing with her doll in some depleted
uranium dirt. She was killed unnoticed by the American war machine, the
same evil entity that now prepares to do more of the same in virtually
every country on Earth.
- It is this little, unnoticed face that American prosperity
is built upon. It happened in my lifetime, right before my eyes. Her smile
is the shadow in my heart.
- Relevant reference material: * Two books by the cultural
anthropologist Ernest Becker (1924-74): "The Denial of Death"
and "Escape from Evil," explain, among other things that "war
is sociological safety valve that cleverly diverts popular hatred for ruling
classes into a happy occasion to mutilate or kill foreign enemies,"
and that "killing others lessens our own fear of dying, although it
is our own sense of animality and inferiority we try to kill " and
never succeed." * Summerhill: The first school in England where inspectors
must use the children's opinions in the evaluation of the school: http://www.s-hill.demon.co.uk/
- John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the coast of Florida.