So what colour was Jesus?
By Giles Wilson
BBC News Online Magazine
Jesus has been named the top black icon by the New Nation newspaper. Their assertion that Jesus was black has raised eyebrows in some quarters - so what colour was he?
Just as no one will ever produce proof for the existence of God, the question of Jesus's colour may always be a matter for personal belief.
Was he white, white-ish, olive-skinned, swarthy, dark-skinned or black? There are people who believe he was any one of those shades, but there seem to be only two things about the debate that can be said with any degree of certainty.
First - if the past 2,000 years of Western art were the judge, Jesus would be white, handsome, probably with long hair and an ethereal glow.
Second - it can almost certainly be said that Jesus would not have been white. His hair was also probably cut short.
I think the safest thing is to talk about Jesus as 'a man of colour'
Dr Mark Goodacre
Yet the notion that Jesus was black - highlighted this week in a survey of black icons by the New Nation newspaper which ranked him at number one - is genuinely held by some. One school of thought has it that Jesus was part of a tribe which had migrated from Nigeria.
And Jesus probably did have some African links - after all the conventional theory is that he lived as a child in Egypt where, presumably, his appearance did not make him stand out.
The New Nation takes it further: "Ethiopian Christianity, which pre-dates European Christianity, always depicts Christ as an African and it generally agreed that people of the region where Jesus came from looked nothing like Boris Johnson," the paper says. As light-hearted evidence that Jesus was black, it adds that he "called everybody 'brother', liked Gospel, and couldn't get a fair trial".
But the truth, says New Testament scholar Dr Mark Goodacre, of the University of Birmingham, is probably somewhere in between.
"There is absolutely no evidence as to what Jesus looked like," he says. "The artistic depictions down the ages have total and complete variation, which indicates that nobody did a portrait of Jesus or wrote down a description, it's all been forgotten."
Dr Goodacre was involved in the reconstruction of a Middle Eastern first century skull for the BBC's Son of God programme in 2001, which resulted in a suggestion of what a man like Jesus might have looked like. He advised on hair and skin colour.
"The hair was the easiest - there's a reference in Paul which says it's disgraceful for a man to wear long hair, so it looks pretty sure that people of that period had to have reasonably short hair. The traditional depictions of Jesus with long flowing golden hair are probably inaccurate."
Deciding on skin colour was more difficult, though. But the earliest depictions of Jews, which date from the 3rd Century, are - as far as can be determined - dark-skinned.
"We do seem to have a relatively dark skinned Jesus. In contemporary parlance I think the safest thing is to talk about Jesus as 'a man of colour'." This probably means olive-coloured, he says.
Professor Vincent Wimbush, of California's Claremont Graduate University, who is an expert on ethnic interpretations of the Bible, says the matter of the historical colour of Jesus seems to him a "flat, dead-end issue".
"He's of Mediterranean stock, and it's quite clear what that means. We see people like that in the world today, and that should end the matter." The fact that the debate rages on regardless is fascinating, he says, because of what it says about people's other issues.
The artistic representations of Jesus which are so familiar are not necessarily a negative thing, Dr Goodacre says. There is "theologically something quite profound" in the fact that throughout history people have tried to depict Jesus in their own image.
"This is not a rough image of themselves people have been depicting. It's an ideal image of themselves, painting Jesus as something they are aspiring to.
"Things have changed a bit in recent culture because people are conscious of the need to be challenged by him and shocked. I think that's why in more contemporary representations, even those coming from a white, western background, people will think very carefully about the representation."
Even the world of film is catching up, albeit slowly. Robert Powell had famously piercing blue eyes in Jesus of Nazareth in 1977. And although Jim Caviezel, who played the lead in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, also has piercing blue eyes, by the time the film was shown they had miraculously become brown.
Story from BBC NEWS and do review the reader comments:
Add your comments.
I've heard that the misconception surrounding the length of Jesus' hair comes from western artists confusing the term "Nazarene", which denotes the hometown of Jesus, with the term "Nazarite" which was a name given to those to took a religious vow to abstain from such things as wine, and from cutting their hair.
Doug Jennings, West Dundee, IL US
Does it matter what colour Jesus was? He was Jewish, so would bear the colour of a Middle-eastern person. People like to see icons represented in their own images, so it came about that 'God created man in His image.' That image is open to interpretation according to who the believer is.
Patsy Langley, Feltham, Middlesex, England
The MAN was African, no doubt. Revelations reference "for his feet shone like Bronze" says it all.
Jazz Vilakazi, Cape Town, South Africa
There is a church in Lucca, Italy that claims to be the most lifelike representation of Jesus on the cross. In this he is clearly dark skinned. I'll go with that option.
Stephen Higgins, Oxford, UK
The whole point of there being no visual record of the appearance of Christ, is that theologically it makes him an Everyman. He was without doubt Jewish in appearance, but with no literal data to go on, people envisage him personally, and this helps endear him to the individual. Is Jesus black? Of course! Is he white? Certainly! Is he Asian, Oriental, Arabic, Latino, Aboriginal or Native American in appearance? Yes... without a doubt... and that is how it should be!
Nick Payne, Alcester, Warwickshire, UK
Jesus was of Jewish parentage and so was clearly of semitic appearance. For the Church artists of the miidle ages to depict him as a Jews when Jews were so despised, would have been unthinkable, hence the the Aryan look.
I've never understood why people depicted Jesus and Mary as white, and Mary as a blonde! It seems obvious to me, given what part of the world they supposedly came from, that they would have had dark skin and hair. And yet artists so often seem to ignore this totally...it doesn't make sense to me.
It does not matter what colour skin Jesus had,it was the man inside that mattered.
Bernard Wighton, London
In my opinion, I think Jesus was black. From the perspective that he was brought to Africa when he was a baby and he did not appear to be odd. Also from the angle that he was a Jew and some Jews are black. Essentially is that there is no tribe on earth that is white in the real sense of the word white.
Prince Peterson Odiase, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria
Christianity is often seen as a "white man's religion" which we westerners have tried to shove down the throats of all and sundry who are "not like us". It's funny that its origins lie in the middle east with a bloke of questionable colour but definitely not white! Actually white people definitely fall into the category of gentiles (non-jews) - and it took a great debate to decide whether or not to invite gentiles into the church at all! And we're surprised when the African and Asian churches want to send missionaries to the UK! Bring them on - we've got a lot to learn!
Dan O'Brien, Newquay, Cornwall
It's utterly disheartening to know that this is still something people debate. Really, does it matter? Why is colour relevant, does it somehow lessen or heighten the impact Jesus has had on the world if he's black? The sooner people give up on the notion that people can be divided by colour, the sooner we move a little closer to deserving our sense of self-importance. If we can't, then there's always the option of going back to living in the trees.
Brendan Smith, Sheffield
And how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Mike, Marquette US
© BBC MMIV
From Mary Sparrowdancer
The question is not "what color WAS Jesus," the question should better be, "what color IS Jesus."
Because he is here, right now, and he is now walking among us.
But, let's get rid of that name, "Jesus." It has been ruined and shamed. It is no longer associated with wisdom and compassion.
Let us not know him by his name, or by how we might think he might look.
Let us know him by his words and actions.
If his words and actions are coming from compassion and wisdom, then that is the true test. Not name or appearance.
He is from the underlying dimension of Light. So, what is the color of Light?
Light is translated for us by out brains, and at least a portion of the way it is translated is due to what we have been conditioned to, and what we have been taught.
Can one who is visiting from the dimension of Light appear as a Black person?
Not only this, but they can also appear as a Brown person, a White person, a Tan person, an Indian person, a Russian person, an Iraqi, a Native American...a homeless person...
And so on...
The "passion of the christ" seems to be just washing us with more blood and violence. I do not wish to wash myself with this. I wish to wash myself with living water, not blood. Living water comes from the Light. The Light is living water. It is fluid and it is flowing through every partical of physical creation.
The true "passion of the christ" is about compassion and wisdom. And we need both of these now. We need the Krestos and the Kristos - one means compassion, and the other means to be on a mission.
If we have compassion without a mission, then we have nothing healing going forth into the world. If we have a mission without compassion, then we have...well, we have a mission without compassion.
We have had enough of the missions without compassion.
It is time for us to awaken and embrace compassion and wisdom once again. These are the two wings of the butterfly that are the real christ consciousness - compassion and wisdom.
Send in the butterflies...we've had enough of the clowns.
BUSH'S PSYCHIATRIC PROFILE: HE'S CERTIFIABLE
by Paul Levy
One good thing I can say about President Bush is that he's gotten me interested in politics. Before he came to office, I was mainly interested in spiritual matters, and considered politics a "distraction." There was something that I noticed getting played out through George W. Bush as president, though, that really got my attention. I was having a reaction to, and being triggered by something in him. In his campaign he promised us a foreign policy with humility, and yet, his actions seemed so arrogant, so full of hubris. I was sensing a deep incongruity in him, like there was some unfinished psychological process that he was unconsciously playing out. The problem was, though, that because of his position, his unconscious was playing itself out and being dramatized on the world stage, where it was negatively affecting the lives of billions of people. I saw that he was unwittingly evoking and literally creating more of the very situation that he was claiming to be fighting against. It was as if he was fighting against his own shadow, which is a battle that can never be won. There seemed an element of craziness in it.
I would like here to speak forth the marginalized voice. This voice is often joked about, but it is deadly serious. It is like there is an elephant in the living room, and more and more people are pointing at it. The emperor has no clothes, and people are noticing. Situations like this literally demand to be named. There is a field of fear and cover-up that gets constellated around someone like George Bush that inhibits people from speaking the truth. This is analogous to how people were afraid to disagree with Bush after 9/11 for fear of being called terrorists. ("You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists.") But the truth needs to be uttered.
George W. Bush is ill. He has a sickness of the soul, a psycho-spiritual dis-ease which is very prevalent and symptomatic of the times we live in. Because it is an illness that is in the soul of all humanity, and because he seems like such a "regular guy," it is very hard to recognize. The fact that Bush is sick might be a shock to some, but when you simply look at what I am pointing out, it is not hard to see. And once you get in focus what I am describing, it is easy to see it from then on, because it is so obvious. This is why most people miss it. It might involve changing your perception in a radical way, or maybe simply recognizing that these words articulate what so many of us experience and know in our hearts, but never had the words for.
I know this disorder intimately well because my father suffered from the exact same condition. Dealing with this illness in my father almost killed me, but because of my ordeal, I have unique insight into its dynamics. There are a number of ways of describing it, as it is a multi-faceted complex whose underlying, self-generating dynamic is to resist, at all costs, self-reflecting. At the root of this process is a deep dissociation, where the person splits-off from their own darker half and projects the shadow "out there," and then contracts against and tries to destroy their own dis-owned shadow. To quote C. G. Jung, one of the greatest psychologist of the twentieth century," The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided (not in touch with both the light AND dark parts of themselves) and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves."
It is not that the threat of terrorism is not real, but that Bush's policies in dealing with terrorism are actually putting fuel on the fire. The way Bush is fighting terrorism is actually the very act which is invoking and creating more of it in the first place. Talking about Bush's policies on terrorism and his pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, Al Gore says, "Instead of making it better, he has made it infinitely worse. We are less safe because of his policies. He has created more anger and righteous indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in the 228 years of our existence as a nation……He has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every U.S. town and city to a greater danger of attack by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfullness, and bungling." Iraq, instead of being, as Bush declared, "the central front in the war on terror," has now become, as Gore points out, "the central recruiting office for terrorists." Gore continues, "the unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States." As the International Institute for Strategic Studies points out, the Iraq conflict "has arguably focused the energies and resources of Al Qaeda and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition."
Bush is not in conscious relationship to a part of himself, which is then possessing him from behind, beneath his conscious awareness, and enacting itself through him. By disassociating from his own shadow and projecting it onto a supposed "other," and wanting to destroy the other, he has become possessed by the very same darkness he is trying to destroy, just perpetuating the never-ending cycle of violence. It is truly a diabolical, infinitely-regressing, self-perpetuating, closed, negative feedback loop that is completely inverted and crazy-making. This is the repetition compulsion of the traumatized soul gone awry, to daemonic proportions. In the repetition compulsion, the way the person tries to resolve their trauma is the very act which recreates it. To err is human, to persevere ("stay the course") in error is truly diabolical.
By projecting the shadow, to again quote Jung, "it deprives us of the capacity to deal with evil." Jung stresses the importance of consciously developing what he calls one's "imagination for evil," which is to consciously recognize one's potential for evil and integrate one's dark side into one's wholeness, which includes both light and dark. If we have no imagination for evil, to quote Jung, "evil has us in its grip…….for only the fool can permanently disregard the conditions of his own nature. In fact, this negligence is the best means of making him an instrument of evil."
By projecting the shadow, Bush is unwittingly being a conduit for the deepest, archetypal evil to possess him and act itself out through him. At the same time, ironically enough, he is identified with the light and imagining that he is divinely inspired. He then believe that any action he desires is justified in the name of God, as he can rationalize it as being God's will. This is a very dangerous situation, as Bush has become identified with and possessed by the hero, or saviour archetype. This figure is religious in nature, as it derives from the transpersonal, archetypal dimension of the collective unconscious. Being inflated with the hero archetype, he (archetypically) wants to save the world from evil and liberate the planet.
This behavior is symptomatic of the religious right, which Bush is now recognized to be the leader of, as well as fundamentalism (be it Christian or Moslem, or whatever form this polarization takes). They identify with only one side of the polarity (the light), and are fanatically convinced of the rightness of their viewpoint, which they consider non-negotiable. People who disagree with them are seen as threats and agents of the Devil, who need to be destroyed. Could it be there is a deep sense of insecurity, of dis-ease, about the fundamentalist's fanatically held beliefs? The fundamentalist splits-off from, and projects outside of themselves (and actually dreams up into materialization) their dis-owned shadow, in the form of the Devil (one of whose inner meaning, besides "the liar," is "the adversary"). And then they try to kill the adversary, or "enemy combatant," who is seen to be the Devil incarnate. But fighting the Devil is radically different than loving God.
Bush's illness is sociopathic in nature. By projecting the shadow, he is genuinely unable to accept responsibility for his actions, always scapegoating and blaming others. Denial is a key part of his arsenal, and it is so pervasive and insidious that he doesn't even know he's in denial (he's in denial that he's in denial…..). He is truly unconscious, as if he is dreaming. In addition, this kind of denial cultivates an infinite web of deceit that is always hiding from itself. If a single individual was acting out an analogous inner process in their life that Bush is enacting on the world stage, they would be diagnosed with having a schizoid, dissociative disorder, with self-destructive tendencies. Due to the deep split in his nature which has led him to so steadfastly project the shadow, instead of being one with himself (whole), President Bush is literally "beside himself."
Psychologically speaking, one facet of Bush's condition is what is called "malignant narcissism." This is a narcissist who reacts to others who don't support and enable their narcissism, with sadism. I have never seen so many books come out by past members of any presidential administration which are all holding up a mirror (whose inner meaning is "shadow holder"), and reflecting Bush's shadow (too bad Bush doesn't read books). The Bush administration always reacts in the same way- by trying to destroy the messenger. This is exactly how a mean-spirited, malignant narcissist behaves. Characteristic of malignant narcissism is an overwhelming lack of genuine compassion (to put it mildly), as they relate to others (including the environment) as objects to satisfy and support their own inflated, narcissistic self-image (so much for "compassionate conservatism"). Malignant narcissists have contempt for anyone who disagrees with them (as it threatens their narcissism). The Bush Administration will label those who disagree with them un-American, unpatriotic, even going so far as to call people who disagree with them terrorists. Malignant narcissists also have contempt for the rule of law (which they, in their narcissism, believe they are above), and thereby often flagrantly violate. Professor Sulak Sivaraksa likens Bush to two other malignant narcissists, Hitler and Stalin. Sivaraksa argues that Bush's declaration of an "axis of Evil," Hitler's "Final Solution," and Stalin's "pogrom of peasants" were actually analogous attempts "to perfect the world by destroying the (perceived) impurities." Another modern day malignant narcissist is none other than Saddam Hussein. Talk about shadow projection.
What is scary is that part of Bush's condition is his willingness to do everything and anything to hold on to the position of power that he finds himself in, as he has become addicted to power. As Jung points out, when someone prefers power, from the psychological point of view, they could be rightfully said to be possessed by the Devil. Not only does Bush not see the depraved nature of the situation he has fallen into, he doesn't want to see it. Being in the role of having power, there is a counter-incentive to self-reflect, which just reinforces the inpenetrability of the complex. As Al Gore mentioned, this is Bush's Faustian pact with the Devil. When someone strikes this Faustian bargain, Gore points out, "as always happens- sooner or later- to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul."
At the root of Bush's whole process is an unwillingness and inability to experience his own sense of sin, of guilt, and of shame. He is clearly unable to feel any remorse and experience his own weakness and vulnerability, his own sense of failure. This threatens his narcissism too much. By projecting out the shadow (which Jung simply refers to as "the lie"), Bush then lies to himself and others, and believes his own lies. This can have a very gripping effect on the listener, because he appears so convinced of what he is saying. This entire process, combined with his complete unwillingness to self-reflect, is the very dynamic which allows the deepest evil to enact itself through him. By being unwilling to experience his shame he humiliates, shames, and curses (like a demon) the entire world.
The negative patriarchy, the dark father (darth vader) is one aspect of the deeper, archetypal process that has seized Bush, and is unconsciously playing itself out through him. The mythic, negative father is a power-intoxicated devil, so to speak, that is based on control and power over others. Inwardly, it is a manifestation of, and compensation from, fear and weakness. It is an expression of a rigid, egocentric ("bring 'em on"), old paradigm mentality that does not learn from its mistakes, and has wounded, tortured and killed millions over centuries. The negative patriarchy (the old king) is dissociated from and threatened by eros, from feeling, from the feminine, from the heart, from relatedness, even from mother nature and the environment (which it objectifies and tries to dominate, instead of being in relationship with), and from love. Jung points out that the true leaders, heroes, and saviours of mankind are not only "always those who are capable of self-reflection, and who relieve the dead weight of the masses at least of their own weight," but teach "the old truth that where force rules there is no love, and where love reigns force does not count."
The great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche talked about an extremely pathological condition that he called the "pale criminal," which is a chillingly accurate description of Bush, and helps to even more fill out his psychiatric profile. Jung felt that the pale criminal idea of Nietzsche was so profound that he referred to it in articulating a particular type of malevolent personality disorder. To quote Jung, the pale criminal "simply will not and cannot admit the he is what he is; he cannot endure his own guilt, just as he could not help incurring it. He will stoop to every kind of self-deception if only he can escape the sight of himself. ……which consists essentially in one hand not knowing what the other is doing, in wanting to jump over one's own shadow, and in looking for everything dark, inferior and culpable in others….but since nobody can jump out of his skin and be rid of himself, they stand in their own way everywhere as their own evil spirit." Jung continues that the pale criminal's unconscious identification with one side of the polarity, his "God Almightiness, that is to say all those qualities which are peculiar to fools and madmen and therefore lead to catastrophe……merely fills him with arrogance and arouses everything evil in him. It produces a diabolical caricature of man, and this inhuman mask is so unendurable, such a torture to wear, that he tortures others……disrupts the laws of humanity, and sins against all the rules of the human community; …..he has to keep his crime secret…..he is the most violent breaker of the bond of the human community."
Nietzsche referred to it as a "pale" criminal because if the person self-reflects and looks in the mirror, they would have their breath taken away when they see who they have become, and become pale at the sight of themselves. It is not my habit to diagnose and pathologize people, but in this case it is both necessary and a relief, as it is giving voice to the truth. What Bush is doing is nothing other than criminal, a genuine case could be made for him to be "criminally insane." He is an embodiment of what Jung would call the "statistical criminal" that lives inside of all of us, in a state of potential, and that can manifest under the right conditions. The Bush administration is breaking the moral code, the law of the planet, what Jefferson called "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." Like a bully who is in a position of power and privilege, the Bush regime abuses their power simply because they can. With the Bush administration, it is as if a bunch of criminals have co-opted our government. They should be tried for war crimes. Or at least, put in psychiatric prisons and treated till they get well. At the very least they should not be allowed to run the country.
Bush certainly doesn't fit our image of someone with an extreme case of delusion and hysteria. When one falls victim to one's own deception, as Bush has, it has a very mesmerizing effect on others, as he appears so convinced of what he is saying. To quote Jung, "Nothing has such a convincing effect as a lie one invents and believes oneself." Bush has the seductive coherence of someone who is fanatically identified with one side of a polarity. He can be very "charming," having a certain type of charisma that can entrance those who don't see through his subterfuge.
The situation is very analogous to when seemingly good, normal loving Germans supported Hitler, believing he was a good leader and that he was trying to help them. The German people didn't see the deeper process that Hitler was possessed by and was incarnating through him. It makes me think of the great Thomas Merton, who commented on the case of the obviously demented Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann, "One of the most disturbing facts that came out in the Eichmann trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and pronounced him perfectly sane."
President Bush is suffering from a hard to recognize, but very real illness, a psycho-spiritual disease of the soul. Bush's malady is quite different from schizophrenia, for example, in which all the different parts of the personality are not connected to each other, and there is a state of chaos. As compared to the dis-order of the schizophrenic, Bush can sound extremely coherent, and seem so normal, which makes the syndrome he is suffering from very hard to get in focus and see. This is because the healthy parts of his personality have been co-opted by the pathological aspect, which uses them for its service. Because of the way the personality self-organizes coherence around a pathogenic core, I would like to name Bush's illness "malignant egophrenic (as compared to schizophrenic) disorder," or "ME disorder," for short. If ME disorder goes unrecognized and is not contained, it can be very destructive, particularly if the person is in a position of power.
Whereas Hitler's evil was overt, Bush's is much more hidden, secret and covert. Just like Hitler struck a chord deep in the German unconscious, Bush is touching something very deep in the American unconscious psyche. People who vote for Bush are somehow blind to what to others is very obvious, as if they have become hypnotized and fallen under the spell that Bush is casting. They are suggestible and susceptible to the same malady that Bush is embodying, as if they have a predisposition for it (based on their own trauma, dissociated psyche and tendency to project the shadow). People who vote for Bush are unknowingly colluding with and enabling in the co-creation of his self-perpetuating pathology, which they are now collaborating in and a part of as well. The people who are supporting Bush become unwitting agents themselves of the very illness that has taken over Bush, and in an interconnected web, they all co-dependently feed off of and reinforce each other's unconscious fear and shadow projections. Building up a life of it's own, it is like a virus that is threatening to take over our country.
Similar to Germany during the time of Hitler, it is like a mass, collective psychosis is manifesting in our country. These seemingly good, normal, and loving Americans who support Bush's certifiably insane behavior and vote for Bush, not only see nothing wrong with their actions, but are in fact "proud" of it. The question arises, if people don't recognize that what Bush is doing is an expression of a deep imbalance, what does one have to do to be recognized to be out of balance?
ME disorder is non-local in nature, in that it is a disease which collapses the boundary between inner and outer. Synchronistically, the inner, psychological landscape of the malignant egophrenic actually externalizes itself and configures the seemingly outer world to play out, in full-bodied form, its inner dynamic. The people in Bush's field who are enabling him are themselves embodied, mirrored reflections of the healthy parts of his inner psyche that are supporting his pathogenic core. Bush's inner process is both literally, as well as symbolically, getting dreamed up into materialization. People are getting drafted into playing out roles in Bush's inner process, which of course are the very perfect role that they need to play for their own process, too. This disease is so hard to see because so many seemingly good, normal and loving people are supporting Bush. Like I've been trying to point out, Bush has fallen so asleep that his unconscious process is getting dreamed up in, through, and as the world process, in encoded but fully embodied and visible form. For all who have eyes to see.
The prevalence in our culture of the blindness to what Bush is doing is itself an expression of a sickness endemic to our culture at large. Bush is embodying and being a conduit for an illness that exists deep inside the soul, not only of every American, but of all of humanity as well, which is one of the things that makes it so hard to recognize. We are all dreaming up George Bush into incarnation to play the role he is playing. He is an embodiment of a figure that lives deep inside the collective unconscious of all of humanity. George Bush is the embodied, mirrored reflection of a part of ourselves. It is hard to recognize this, as to recognize this is to look in the mirror and not contract against a part of ourselves. This is to step into compassion.
As this deep, dark shadow emerges into our world, this is an expression, or manifestation, of "something deeper." If there's a shadow, this means that light is nearby. Jung talked about that enlightenment is about making "the darkness conscious." To quote him, "as long as Satan is not integrated, the world is not healed and man is not saved. But Satan represents evil, and how can evil be integrated? There is only one possibility: to assimilate it, that is to say, raise it to the level of consciousness……in which the devil no longer has an autonomous existence but rejoins the profound unity of the psyche…. (then) the opus magnum is finished, the human soul is completely integrated……to do this, he is obliged to struggle with evil, to confront his shadow, to integrate the devil." We have all dreamed up President Bush to pick up a role in our inner psyche and incarnate it in full living color so that we could see it, embrace it and integrate it.
It is such a Mind Warp that Bush is a born-again Christian, a fundmentalist, and the recognized leader of the Religious Right. There is a certain up is down, inverted, crazy-making and warped, logic to the underlying dynamic of his illness. We can also call Bush's sickness "Warping Malignant Dissociative" disorder, or WMD disorder. It is extremely dangerous to become connected with, in relationship to, and support Bush, as the disease is contagious and literally "warps" the psyche of anyone who doesn't recognize its nature and supports it.
It should be pointed out that George Bush does not exist in isolation, in a void, just like we can never understand a child's psychology without looking at the family that he or she is embedded in as well as an expression of. Bush has been dreamed up by the entire field, not just America but the entire world. Bush is picking up and incarnating a role that is in the collective psyche of all humanity. He is embedded in, an expression of, and like a marionette on a string, manipulated, used and victimized by, a deeper matrix of cover-up and deceit that has taken on an autonomous life of its own. What I am saying about George Bush is just as true of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condaleeza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, John Ashcroft and the rest of the Bush administration. It is like a typical enmeshed, entangled co-dependent and dysfunctional family, where everyone colludes in protecting the abuser. The Bush Administration is an expression of a deeper, interdependent process, a whole, insidiously self-generating and self-organizing system. The entire Bush regime is complicit, as they are all collaborating with and enabling each other. Bush could never play the role he is without being supported by his crony capitalist friends in a perversely symbiotic and parasitic relationship. You can't separate out the Bush regime from the corporate, military, industrial complex, which reciprocally support and feed off each other like vampires, and whose underlying lust is for power. This entire interconnected web, including the media and the people who vote for Bush, can all be seen to be tentacles of a virulent pathogen that is potentially gaining more and more sovereignty. Like in a sci-fi movie, we have all dreamed up a Frankenstein monster that has taken on a life of its own and truly threatens us all.
What I am pointing at is happening right in front of our face, for all who have eyes to see. All we have to do to see is open our eyes and look. If we don't look at what is happening, if we turn away, ignore it, and contract against it, we are lying to ourselves. Then we are colluding with and secretly supporting and feeding the demon, so to speak, by our passivity. Our inaction is, in fact, an expression of our lack of compassion.
There is a great danger when we see evil, though. To quote Jung, "It is a fact that cannot be denied: the wickedness of others becomes our own wickedness because it kindles something evil in our hearts…..the sight of evil kindles evil in the soul." If we solidify Bush as being evil, and react with righteous indignation, we are guilty of the very same thing we are accusing Bush of (i.e, projecting the shadow) and have ourselves become a conduit for the very evil we are reacting to. Genuine and heartfelt compassion is the key to breaking out of this trap.
Buddhism considers that people are not inherently evil, even though their behavior can be considered to be evil. The problem is that they are ignorant of their true nature, which includes, embraces and transcends both the light and dark parts of themselves. In a dream I had with President Bush, I was trying to explain to him about shadow projection, but he just wasn't getting it. Feeling the same exasperated feeling that I used to feel with my father in similar situations, I said to Bush, "In Buddhism, what you are doing….it is called ignorance." George Bush is the incarnation, in full-bodied form, of what the quality of ignorance would look like if it had a body.
Bush deserves our deepest compassion, for he is the embodied reflection of a part of ourselves. And compassion is sometimes fierce, and it sometimes says "no," and sets a boundary. Genuine compassion is not what is called "idiot compassion," which just enables the person in their asleepness. True compassion in our current situation involves doing everything we can to remove Bush from office, for his good, as well as our own.
Bush, in a very real sense, has been dreamed up into incarnation by all of us. It is an old political axiom that people get the government they deserve. It pains me to say that George Bush is the full-bodied reflection, on the emotional, psychological, political, and spiritual level, of the unevolved, and immature state of the American psyche.
What is playing itself out on our planet is itself a materialization of the deep dissociation and polarization going on deep inside the psyche of all humankind. What is happening in our world is not separate from us, it is something we are all collaboratively creating and dreaming up together into full-bodied incarnation. Recognizing this, we realize that, at every moment, we are invited to snap out of our spell and creatively step into life in a fully engaged and actively participatory way. As compared to just observing as a passive, helpless observer, we are demanded to step into our power, find out voice, and act.
We are all somewhat dissociated, we are all somewhat asleep and unconscious, we are all in a state of trauma, we all have a dark side. To the extent that any of us are asleep, we act out our unconscious, but on a much smaller scale in our life than Bush, usually in the area of interpersonal relationships. The problem is that President Bush, as leader of the free world, is acting out his unconscious, inner dissociation, in fully embodied and visible form, in, through, and as the world process, in a way that's negatively impacting all of us. The danger, to put it simply, is that he might not just be taking down our country, but our planet as well.
We, as a people, need to recognize the severity of the crisis our country is in, and act. It is an extremely dangerous situation that Bush happens to be in the driver's seat of the most powerful country in the world, and he is steering the ship to shipwreck, or as the retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, who headed Central Command before becoming President Bush's personal emissary to the Middle East, put it, "over Niagara Falls." It is like we are in a car going over the speed limit, being driven by an adolescent who has fallen asleep at the wheel. It is our responsibility, as awake adults to recognize our situation and do something about it. If not, we have no one to blame but ourselves. This is what Al Gore was trying to tell us in his speech when he ended with the quote by Abraham Lincoln, "We- even we here- hold the power, and bear the responsibility."
My father, like Bush, was a regular, normal guy, who was very bright and coherent, and could seem very loving. The virulent pathogen, malignant egophrenia, like some sort of deadly, other-wordly virus, incarnated itself through my father, taking him over so fully that he never even suspected what was happening. By being a carrier of this disease, he became a portal through which the field around him "warped" in such a way so as to feed and support his pathogenic process. It was like a non-local field of denial and cover-up got constellated around my father to protect him. My entire family, including the mental health system, got "drafted" into his process in such a way that they colluded with and enabled him in his illness. By not recognizing the nature of my father's illness, the mental health community, whose job and responsibility it is to deal with pathological situations such as this, became the very agents themselves that propagated the disease. It was a completely crazy-making, and diabolical situation (the inner meaning of diabolos is that which separates and divides). As if in some sort of sci-fi nightmare, any attempt I would make to point out what was happening, would get perversely inverted and turned against me. I was then seen, both by my family and the mental health system, to be the one who was sick, like I was carrying their dis-owned, and projected shadow. Tragically, both of my parents died thinking I was the crazy one. This deadly disease completely broke up and destroyed my family. Living through this harrowing experience has been truly initiatory, as it has given me a certain insight and authority that I never could have received otherwise.
I have no family left, as this deadly disease has literally consumed them. I am trying to point out that this same virulent pathogen is incarnating in the collective field, in the macrocosm, in the world at large. Just like this pathogen used my father to incarnate itself into my family system, this deadly disease is using President Bush as a portal to birth itself into the greater human family.
This malignant and virulent pathogen that I am calling egophrenia is like a self-replicating virus. We can even say that it is the "bug" in the system that has in-formed and given shape to all of the divisiveness of human interaction and relationship. ME disease is as old as the human species, but we are now at the point in our evolution where we can finally recognize it, see it, give it a name and diagnose it. The DSM-IV, the psychiatric diagnostic manual, is continually expanding and including new diagnosis, as we deepen our understanding of and map the contours of the human psyche. It is profoundly important that the mental health community at large recognize this age-old disease which, unrecognized and misdiagnosed until now, has wreaked havoc all throughout human history, and is actually at the root of our current world crisis.
When we see the nature of this deadly disease, and name it, we take away its power and liberate its energy. ME disorder is related to what Jung would call an "autonomous complex," which are split-off parts of the psyche that can literally possess the ego and act themselves out through us, as they have developed a seemingly independent life and will of their own. These autonomous complexes react violently to being seen, just like vampires can't stand the light of consciousness, as to see them takes away their autonomy and omnipotence. Interestingly enough, indigenous cultures call these autonomous complexes "demons." We "exorcise" a demon, so to speak, by naming it. This is the power of the word ("And first there was the word"). By naming it, we build up a "container" (an alchemical term) around it, so that it can't possess us from behind and act itself out through us. Once the disease is contained, we can begin to metabolize it, assimilate it, and alchemically transmute it into medicine.
I was deeply wounded and traumatized by the effects of my father's illness, barely escaping with my life. I am beginning to feel that maybe my experience with having to deal with this disease in my family was a disguised form of blessing. It has given me a unique perspective, in which I can potentially help others, by pointing out the dangers of this very deadly disease of the soul. For this, I am grateful.
A healer, Paul Levy is a visionary artist, and a spiritual and political activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004
By DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON
20 October 2004
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson sounds off on the fun-hogs in the passing lane
Armageddon came early for George Bush this year, and he was not ready for it. His long-awaited showdowns with my man John Kerry turned into a series of horrible embarrassments that cracked his nerve and demoralized his closest campaign advisers. They knew he would never recover, no matter how many votes they could steal for him in Florida, where the presidential debates were closely watched and widely celebrated by millions of Kerry supporters who suddenly had reason to feel like winners.
Kerry came into October as a five-point underdog with almost no chance of winning three out of three rigged confrontations with a treacherous little freak like George Bush. But the debates are over now, and the victor was clearly John Kerry every time. He steamrollered Bush and left him for roadkill.
Did you see Bush on TV, trying to debate? Jesus, he talked like a donkey with no brains at all. The tide turned early, in Coral Gables, when Bush went belly up less than halfway through his first bout with Kerry, who hammered poor George into jelly. It was pitiful. . . . I almost felt sorry for him, until I heard someone call him "Mister President," and then I felt ashamed.
Karl Rove, the president's political wizard, felt even worse. There is angst in the heart of Texas today, and panic in the bowels of the White House. Rove has a nasty little problem, and its name is George Bush. The president failed miserably from the instant he got onstage with John Kerry. He looked weak and dumb. Kerry beat him like a gong in Coral Gables, then again in St. Louis and Tempe -- and that is Rove's problem: His candidate is a weak-minded frat boy who cracks under pressure in front of 60 million voters.
That is an unacceptable failure for hardballers like Rove and Dick Cheney. On the undercard in Cleveland against John Edwards, Cheney came across as the cruel and sinister uberboss of Halliburton. In his only honest moment during the entire debate, he vowed, "We have to make America the best place in the world to do business."
Bush signed his own death warrant in the opening round, when he finally had to speak without his TelePrompTer. It was a Cinderella story brought up to date in Florida that night -- except this time the false prince turned back into a frog.
Immediately after the first debate ended I called Muhammad Ali at his home in Michigan, but whoever answered said the champ was laughing so hard that he couldn't come to the phone. "The debate really cracked him up," he chuckled. "The champ loves a good ass-whuppin'. He says Bush looked so scared to fight, he finally just quit and laid down."
Ali has seen that look before. Almost three months to the day after John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, the "Louisville Lip" -- then Cassius Clay -- made a permanent enemy of every "boxing expert" in the Western world by beating World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston so badly that he refused to come out of his corner for the seventh round.
This year's first presidential debate was such a disaster for George Bush that his handlers had to be crazy to let him get in the ring with John Kerry again. Yet Karl Rove let it happen, and we can only wonder why. But there is no doubt that the president has lost his nerve, and his career in the White House is finished. NO MAS.
Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to grapple with the meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid warriors. There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage. That is why they call it the passing lane. Just ask any candidate who ever ran against George Bush -- Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain -- all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks. And all of them still whining about it.
That is why George W. Bush is President of the United States, and Al Gore is not. Bush simply wanted it more, and he was willing to demolish anything that got in his way, including the U.S. Supreme Court. It is not by accident that the Bush White House (read: Dick Cheney & Halliburton Inc.) controls all three branches of our federal government today. They are powerful thugs who would far rather die than lose the election in November.
The Republican establishment is haunted by painful memories of what happened to Old Man Bush in 1992. He peaked too early, and he had no response to "It's the economy, stupid."
Which has always been the case. Every GOP administration since 1952 has let the Military-Industrial Complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency. Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous "trickle-down" theory of U.S. economic policy. If the Rich get Richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow "trickle down" to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to preindustrial America, when only white male property owners could vote.
Things haven't changed all that much where George W. Bush comes from. Houston is a cruel and crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West -- which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch.
Houston is also the unnatural home of two out of the last three presidents of the United States of America, for good or ill. The other one was a handsome, sex-crazed boy from next-door Arkansas, which has no laws against oral sex or any other deviant practice not specifically forbidden in the New Testament, including anal incest and public cunnilingus with farm animals.
Back in 1948, during his first race for the U.S. Senate, Lyndon Johnson was running about ten points behind, with only nine days to go. He was sunk in despair. He was desperate. And it was just before noon on a Monday, they say, when he called his equally depressed campaign manager and instructed him to call a press conference for just before lunch on a slow news day and accuse his high-riding opponent, a pig farmer, of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children.
His campaign manager was shocked. "We can't say that, Lyndon," he supposedly said. "You know it's not true."
"Of course it's not true!" Johnson barked at him. "But let's make the bastard deny it!"
Johnson -- a Democrat, like Bill Clinton -- won that election by fewer than a hundred votes, and after that he was home free. He went on to rule Texas and the U.S. Senate for twenty years and to be the most powerful vice president in the history of the United States. Until now.
The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with, but some people call it fun, and I am one of them. Election Day -- especially a presidential election -- is always a wild and terrifying time for politics junkies, and I am one of those, too. We look forward to major election days like sex addicts look forward to orgies. We are slaves to it.
Which is not a bad thing, all in all, for the winners. They are not the ones who bitch and whine about slavery when the votes are finally counted and the losers are forced to get down on their knees. No. The slaves who emerge victorious from these drastic public decisions go crazy with joy and plunge each other into deep tubs of chilled Cristal champagne with naked strangers who want to be close to a winner.
That is how it works in the victory business. You see it every time. The Weak will suck up to the Strong, for fear of losing their jobs and their money and all the fickle power they wielded only twenty-four hours ago. It is like suddenly losing your wife and your home in a vagrant poker game, then having to go on the road with whoremongers and beg for your dinner in public.
Nobody wants to hire a loser. Right? They stink of doom and defeat.
"What is that horrible smell in the office, Tex? It's making me sick."
"That is the smell of a Loser, Senator. He came in to apply for a job, but we tossed him out immediately. Sgt. Sloat took him down to the parking lot and taught him a lesson he will never forget."
"Good work, Tex. And how are you coming with my new Enemies List? I want them all locked up. They are scum."
"We will punish them brutally. They are terrorist sympathizers, and most of them voted against you anyway. I hate those bastards."
"Thank you, Sloat. You are a faithful servant. Come over here and kneel down. I want to reward you."
That is the nature of high-risk politics. Veni Vidi Vici, especially among Republicans. It's like the ancient Bedouin saying: As the camel falls to its knees, more knives are drawn.
Indeed. the numbers are weird today, and so is this dangerous election. The time has come to rumble, to inject a bit of fun into politics. That's exactly what the debates did. John Kerry looked like a winner, and it energized his troops. Voting for Kerry is beginning to look like very serious fun for everybody except poor George, who now suddenly looks like a loser.
That is fatal in a presidential election.
I look at elections with the cool and dispassionate gaze of a professional gambler, especially when I'm betting real money on the outcome. Contrary to most conventional wisdom, I see Kerry with five points as a recommended risk. Kerry will win this election, if it happens, by a bigger margin than Bush finally gouged out of Florida in 2000. That was about forty-six percent, plus five points for owning the U.S. Supreme Court -- which seemed to equal fifty-one percent. Nobody really believed that, but George W. Bush moved into the White House anyway.
It was the most brutal seizure of power since Hitler burned the German Reichstag in 1933 and declared himself the new Boss of Germany. Karl Rove is no stranger to Nazi strategy, if only because it worked, for a while, and it was sure as hell fun for Hitler. But not for long. He ran out of oil, the whole world hated him, and he liked to gobble pure crystal biphetamine and stay awake for eight or nine days in a row with his maps & his bombers & his dope-addled general staff.
They all loved the whiff. It is the perfect drug for War -- as long as you are winning -- and Hitler thought he was King of the Hill forever. He had created a new master race, and every one of them worshipped him. The new Hitler youth loved to march and sing songs in unison and dance naked at night for the generals. They were fanatics.
That was sixty-six years ago, far back in ancient history, and things are not much different today. We still love War.
George Bush certainly does. In four short years he has turned our country from a prosperous nation at peace into a desperately indebted nation at war. But so what? He is the President of the United States, and you're not. Love it or leave it.
War is an option whose time has passed. Peace is the only option for the future. At present we occupy a treacherous no-man's-land between peace and war, a time of growing fear that our military might has expanded beyond our capacity to control it and our political differences widened beyond our ability to bridge them. . . .
Short of changing human nature, therefore, the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war.
--RICHARD M. NIXON, "REAL PEACE" (1983)
Richard Nixon looks like a flaming liberal today, compared to a golem like George Bush. Indeed. Where is Richard Nixon now that we finally need him?
If Nixon were running for president today, he would be seen as a "liberal" candidate, and he would probably win. He was a crook and a bungler, but what the hell? Nixon was a barrel of laughs compared to this gang of thugs from the Halliburton petroleum organization who are running the White House today -- and who will be running it this time next year, if we (the once-proud, once-loved and widely respected "American people") don't rise up like wounded warriors and whack those lying petroleum pimps out of the White House on November 2nd.
Nixon hated running for president during football season, but he did it anyway. Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for -- but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him.
You bet. Richard Nixon would be my Man. He was a crook and a creep and a gin-sot, but on some nights, when he would get hammered and wander around in the streets, he was fun to hang out with. He would wear a silk sweat suit and pull a stocking down over his face so nobody could recognize him. Then we would get in a cab and cruise down to the Watergate Hotel, just for laughs.
Even the Fun-hog vote has started to swing for John Kerry, and that is a hard bloc to move. Only a fool would try to run for president without the enthusiastic support of the Fun-hog vote. It is huge, and always available, but they will never be lured into a voting booth unless voting carries a promise of Fun.
At least thirty-three percent of all eligible voters in this country are confessed Fun-hogs, who will cave into any temptation they stumble on. They have always hated George Bush, but until now they had never made the connection between hating George Bush and voting for John Kerry.
The Fun-hogs are starving for anything they can laugh with, instead of at. But George Bush is not funny. Nobody except fellow members of the Petroleum Club in Houston will laugh at his silly barnyard jokes unless it's for money.
When young Bush was at Yale in the Sixties, he told the same joke over and over again for two years, according to some of his classmates. One of them still remembers it:
There was a young man named Green
Who invented a jack-off machine
On the twenty-third stroke
The damn thing broke
And churned his nuts into cream.
"It was horrible to hear him tell it," said the classmate, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. He lifted his shirt and showed me a scar on his back put there by young George. "He burned this into my flesh with a red-hot poker," he said solemnly, "and I have hated him ever since. That jackass was born cruel. He burned me in the back while I was blindfolded. This scar will be with me forever."
There is nothing new or secret about that story. It ran on the front page of the Yale Daily News and caused a nasty scandal for a few weeks, but nobody was ever expelled for it. George did his first cover-up job. And he liked it.
I watch three or four frantic network-news bulletins about Iraq every day, and it is all just fraudulent Pentagon propaganda, the absolute opposite of what it says: u.s. transfers sovereignty to iraqi interim "government." Hot damn! Iraq is finally Free, and just in time for the election! It is a deliberate cowardly lie. We are no more giving power back to the Iraqi people than we are about to stop killing them.
Your neighbor's grandchildren will be fighting this stupid, greed-crazed Bush-family "war" against the whole Islamic world for the rest of their lives, if John Kerry is not elected to be the new President of the United States in November.
The question this year is not whether President Bush is acting more and more like the head of a fascist government but if the American people want it that way. That is what this election is all about. We are down to nut-cutting time, and millions of people are angry. They want a Regime Change.
Some people say that George Bush should be run down and sacrificed to the Rat gods. But not me. No. I say it would be a lot easier to just vote the bastard out of office on November 2nd.
KERRY WINS GONZO ENDORSMENT; DR. THOMPSON JOINS DEMOCRAT IN CALLING BUSH "THE SYPHILLIS PRESIDENT"
"Four more years of George Bush will be like four more years of syphilis," the famed author said yesterday at a hastily called press conference near his home in Woody Creek, Colorado. "Only a fool or a sucker would vote for a dangerous loser like Bush," Dr. Thompson warned. "He hates everything we stand for, and he knows we will vote against him in November."
Thompson, long known for the eerie accuracy of his political instincts, went on to denounce Ralph Nader as "a worthless Judas Goat with no moral compass."
"I endorsed John Kerry a long time ago," he said, "and I will do everything in my power, short of roaming the streets with a meat hammer, to help him be the next President of the United States."
Which is true. I said all those things, and I will say them again. Of course I will vote for John Kerry. I have known him for thirty years as a good man with a brave heart -- which is more than even the president's friends will tell you about George W. Bush, who is also an old acquaintance from the white-knuckle days of yesteryear. He is hated all over the world, including large parts of Texas, and he is taking us all down with him.
Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers. He hates music, football and sex, in no particular order, and he is no fun at all.
I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, but I will not make that mistake again. The joke is over for Nader. He was funny once, but now he belongs to the dead. There is nothing funny about helping George Bush win Florida again. Nader is a fool, and so is anybody who votes for him in November -- with the obvious exception of professional Republicans who have paid big money to turn poor Ralph into a world-famous Judas Goat.
Nader has become so desperate and crazed that he's stooped to paying homeless people to gather signatures to get him on the ballot. In Pennsylvania, the petitions he submitted contained tens of thousands of phony signatures, including Fred Flintstone, Mickey Mouse and John Kerry. A judge dumped Ralph from the ballot there, saying the forms were "rife with forgeries" and calling it "the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this court."
But they will keep his name on the ballot in the long-suffering Hurricane State, which is ruled by the President's younger brother, Jeb, who also wants to be the next President of the United States. In 2000, when they sent Jim Baker down to Florida, I knew it was all over. The fix was in. In that election, 97,488 people voted for Nader in Florida, and Gore lost the state by 537 votes. You don't have to be from Texas to understand the moral of that story. It's like being out-coached in the Super Bowl. There are no rules in the passing lane. Only losers play fair, and all winners have blood on their hands.
Back in June, when John Kerry was beginning to feel like a winner, I had a quick little rendezvous with him on a rain-soaked runway in Aspen, Colorado, where he was scheduled to meet with a harem of wealthy campaign contributors. As we rode to the event, I told him that Bush's vicious goons in the White House are perfectly capable of assassinating Nader and blaming it on him. His staff laughed, but the Secret Service men didn't. Kerry quickly suggested that I might make a good running mate, and we reminisced about trying to end the Vietnam War in 1972.
That was the year I first met him, at a riot on that elegant little street in front of the White House. He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead, bleeding rat over a black-spike fence and onto the president's lawn.
We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out of the White House because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon -- which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river.
That river is still running. All we have to do is get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.
Hunter S. Thompson's latest book is "Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness"
Missing Facts in the Magbie Case
By Colbert I. King
Washington Post / Page A23
October 23, 2004;
Respect seems hard to come by for Jonathan Magbie, the 27-year-old quadriplegic who was dispatched to the D.C. jail by a Superior Court judge for 10 days for simple possession of marijuana. Magbie died five days after being placed in the custody of the D.C. Department of Corrections. Yesterday The Post published a letter from Rufus King III (absolutely no relation), chief judge of the Superior Court, who responded to a Post news story, an editorial and two of my columns ["Another Unnecessary Death in D.C.," Oct. 9, and "A Son's Death, A Mother's Unanswered Questions," Oct. 16] concerning Magbie's tragic death. Judge King said he felt it necessary to provide information about the late Jonathan Magbie that had not been included in some of The Post's coverage.
The judge recounted that at the time of his arrest, Magbie had cocaine in his pocket and had a gun in his possession, and that there was marijuana in the car. The judge also detailed the charges handed up against Magbie by a grand jury: carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm, possession of ammunition, possession of a prohibited weapon (a machine gun), possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana.
Would that Judge King had shared all of the facts at his disposal.
Had he done so, the public also would have learned that the prosecution dropped all of the gun and cocaine charges against Magbie and, instead, offered him a guilty plea for marijuana possession, which Magbie accepted because it was consistent with his guilt (he had bought the marijuana and had someone place it under his seat in the car). Magbie assumed responsibility for his conduct.
Judge King might have also noted that Judge Judith Retchin, who sent Magbie to jail, knew that he could not have put a gun in the car because of his disability. Judge Retchin acknowledged as much when she sentenced Bernard Beckett, Magbie's co-defendant and driver of the car, on Sept. 20. Beckett pleaded guilty to carrying a pistol without a license and possessing an unregistered firearm. Retchin said to Beckett: "I know from the facts in this case that you and your co-defendant [Magbie], who is a paraplegic and unable to move and control items, were driving around in a car with a loaded gun. [Judge Retchin misstated his condition. Magbie was barely five feet tall, a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down, and needed a motorized, chin-operated wheelchair to move around.] And I understand that at the time of his arrest and your arrest, [Magbie] told you to put the gun on him. Someone had to put the gun on him because he couldn't manipulate the gun."
So the gun charges, Judge King might well have told you, ended up with Beckett. Judge Retchin sentenced Beckett to one year in jail for carrying a pistol without a license with all but 10 days suspended, and a one-year suspended sentence on the charge of possessing an unregistered firearm.
As for the cocaine charge, Judge Retchin noted during Magbie's sentencing that neither he nor Beckett "has pleaded guilty to the cocaine, but I understand cocaine was found in your coat." Again, unmentioned in Judge King's letter was the fact that Magbie was not convicted of any cocaine charge.
But maybe it was enough for the chief judge to repeat unproven charges against Magbie without explaining their ultimate disposition.
Oh, how I wish that the court's attention to public records was as meticulous. I sought, for example, to learn how many other similarly situated first-time offenders have been given jail sentences in D.C. Superior Court for possession of marijuana. Court spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz wrote in an e-mail on Tuesday: "The court does not compile any aggregate disposition of sentencing data."
Too bad; it would be nice to know. In sentencing Magbie, Judge Retchin referred to a pre-sentencing report claiming Magbie had said that using marijuana made him feel better. The report, the judge said, also stated that Magbie probably would not stop using marijuana because he didn't believe there was anything wrong with it. "As long as it's against the law," she told him, "you're not permitted to do it, Mr. Magbie."
I don't know whether it's true that marijuana helps control the spasticity and chronic pain associated with quadriplegia, as Ryan Grim of the Marijuana Policy Project asserted in an e-mail this week. Neither can I accept or challenge Grim's claim that marijuana, while not a curative treatment, was an ameliorative one that helped relieve Magbie's symptoms. It is, however, clear that Judge Retchin considered more than the marijuana charge in sentencing Magbie.
She told Magbie that she had decided against giving him straight probation because while he did not plead guilty to having the gun -- as did his co-defendant Beckett -- she considered it "just unacceptable to be riding around in a car with a loaded gun in this city. . . . I believe under all the circumstances here, the appropriate sentence is ten days in jail," Judge Retchin declared.
So the gun charges to which Beckett pleaded guilty -- the gun charges that the prosecution was unable or unwilling to prove against Magbie and that Magbie never accepted as part of his guilt -- were used by Judge Retchin against Magbie. The law allows that, Chief Judge King said in his letter. That reasoning was enough to put him in jail, where his life ended.
There's so much in this case to regret.
More than a year before Magbie appeared before Judge Retchin for sentencing, he had started to turn his life around, according to Shuaib B. Neel of the Concerned Muslims of Annapolis. Neel told me in a phone interview on Thursday that Magbie had been attending classes faithfully since April 2003, except when prevented by illness. As a young believer, Neel said, Magbie was an inspiration to all.
Judge and jailers? Well, perhaps not all.
Copyright: 2004 Washington Post
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Related Article see 10/17/04...
A Son's Death, a Mother's Unanswered Questions
Indian Mounds Mystify Excavators
By Michelle Delio
22 October 2004
COLLINSVILLE, Illinois -- A thousand years ago along the banks of the Mississippi River, in what is currently southeast Illinois, there was a city that now mystifies both archeologists and anthropologists.
At its zenith, around A.D. 1050, the city that is now called Cahokia was among the largest metropolitan centers in the world. About 15,000 people lived in the city, with another 15,000 to 20,000 residing in its surrounding "suburbs" and outlying farmlands. It was the region's capital city, a place of art, grand religious rituals and science.
But by 1300, the city had become a ghost town, its carefully built structures abandoned and its population dispersed.
Archeologists continue to comb what is now the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, looking for clues that will tell them what happened here -- why the city and its culture vanished and why the people who lived here built more than a hundred earthen mounds, many of which are still scattered across the countryside.
Cahokia is not the historical name of this city; the current name comes from the native people who were living in the area when French explorers arrived in the early 1600s. The city's authentic name -- the name given to it by its creators -- is lost to time, as its residents did not appear to have a written language.
But what really puzzles archeologists and anthropologists is that there are no legends, no records, no mention whatsoever of the once-grand city in the lore of any of the tribes -- Osage, Omaha, Ponca and Quapaw -- that are believed to be the direct descendents of the city's builders.
This odd silence on the matter of Cahokia has led some experts to theorize that something particularly nasty happened there. Possibilities include an ugly struggle for power following a leader's death, a government gone berserk, droughts, a period of very cold weather that killed the crops, disease.... All have been put forth as reasons for Cahokia's demise.
Whatever happened, it was bad enough that people just wanted to forget Cahokia, according to Tim Pauketat, an associate professor of archeology at the University of Illinois, who is excavating at Cahokia.
Despite its hard-luck reputation, the Cahokia site feels immensely peaceful today. There's no whiff of angst from an unsettled spirit world, no sense that anything awful happened here.
The 2,200-acre site contains the central portion of what had been roughly a 4,000-acre city. Scattered across the site are about 68 human-made mounds of various sizes, some no more than a gentle rise on the land, others reaching 100 feet toward the sky.
Originally, there might have been more than 120 mounds, but the locations of only 109 have been recorded. Many were altered or destroyed over the last three centuries by farming and construction projects.
The Cahokians made three different types of mounds -- pyramid-shaped (with flat tops upon which important officials' houses and ceremonial lodges were built), ridge-topped and conical. The latter two were used for burials of wealthy citizens and sacrificial victims.
Monks Mound, Cahokia's biggest mound, is a pyramid mound that rises 100 feet from its 14-acre base. Visitors can reach the top by climbing the 141 stairs that pass through the mound's three tiers. Archeologists have found that a large building -- 105 feet long, 48 feet wide and about 50 feet high -- was once positioned on top of the mound. It's believed to have been the home of Cahokia's rulers.
Radiocarbon sampling of the earth that makes up the mound, as well as tools and other artifacts discovered within it, indicates it took 250 years to build Monks Mound, from around A.D. 900 to 1150. The mound was constructed by hauling 22 million cubic feet of dirt from pits located a mile or so away. The dirt was piled into baskets and dragged to the site by workers.
Cahokia also contains five "woodhenges," circles of erect posts that served as celestial calendars, marking the seasonal solstices and equinoxes.
Cahokia is exceptional for its size and complex city structure, but it is not unique. Seventeen centuries ago, the Midwest was covered with hundreds of such precisely aligned astronomical markers and mounds.
These structures survived for close to two millennia before most were plowed over in the 19th century, paved over in the 20th century or destroyed by archaeologists digging to recover artifacts such as pipes, pottery and other religious relics.
A team from the University of Cincinnati's Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites, has been virtually piecing together the fragments of the immense existing earthworks built by three other prehistoric Native American cultures -- the Adena, Hopewell and Fort Ancient peoples -- in the area that now comprises Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. The people who built Cahokia were of the Mississippian culture.
Using archaeological data gleaned from remote-sensing devices that can detect remains below the ground, and infrared aerial photographs and satellite images to figure out where the earthworks had been located and what they looked like, the University of Cincinnati team is virtually rebuilding the mounds, using standard architectural rendering software. The result will be interactive programs that show how the river valleys of the Midwest would have looked when the mounds were new.
At Cahokia, most of the mounds still exist, though some were destroyed before the site was protected. Two mounds that provided a clear view of a drive-in movie theater's screen several miles away were removed in the 1960s to stop people from watching films for free.
Anthropologists said it's critical to preserve the mounds, which contain many clues about Cahokian culture. While no longer in danger of being leveled for commercial purposes, the mounds are fragile and subject to environmental degradation. State budget cuts have made it difficult to ensure that rain doesn't wash away the remnants of what is the only known prehistoric Indian city north of Mexico.
A recent excavation of a small ridge-top mound -- Mound 72 -- exposed the bodies of nearly 300 people, mostly young women believed to be sacrificial victims, who'd been buried in mass graves. Nearby is the burial site of a man believed to have been a ruler, about 45 years of age, whose body lies on a blanket of more than 20,000 shell beads, surrounded by piles of arrow tips from tribes that inhabited the present-day states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. They were presumably given as a tribute to the deceased.
Archeologists believe other bodies buried near the ruler are the remains of those who were sacrificed to serve him in the next life. But the skeletons of four men with their heads and hands missing were also found near the largest sacrificial pit, and no one is quite sure why these bodies were mutilated before being buried.
Certainly, a headless, handless body wouldn't make for a good servant.
Every new discovery here raises more questions than it answers about Cahokia, said Bill Iseminger, assistant site manager at Cahokia Mounds.
"I believe that new archeological technology will absolutely allow us to solve many of the mysteries of Cahokia," Iseminger said. "But right now, what with the budget cuts, we're focused mostly on keeping the site intact, just trying to survive so that we can make more people aware of the complexity and brilliance of Native American culture."
Wired news reporter Michelle Delio and photographer Laszlo Pataki have begun their four-week, geek-seeking journey along the Great River Road. If you know of a town they should visit, a person they should meet, a weird roadside attraction they have to see or a great place to fuel up on chili mac, barbecue, gumbo, boiled mudbugs and the like, please send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/roadtrip/riverroad/0,2704,65170,00.html
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site:
A Son's Death, a Mother's Unanswered Questions
By Colbert I. King
16 October 2004
Washington Post, Page A23
Mary Scott was doing fine as she reviewed with me by phone the events that unfolded after Monday, Sept. 20, when Judge Judith Retchin sentenced her 27-year-old son, a first-time offender and quadriplegic -- paralyzed from the neck down -- to 10 days in the D.C. jail for possession of marijuana. Scott, however, lost her composure when she got to Friday, Sept. 24, the day she took her son's much-needed ventilator to the jail. You would have choked up, too.
Since his injury in a car crash at age 4, Jonathan Magbie had been under nursing care 24 hours a day. A chin-operated wheelchair was his mode of transportation. The 24-hour coverage was a little too intrusive, Scott told me, so the family limited the care to 20 hours and took care of the rest themselves.
When Scott heard that Judge Retchin had announced in court that Jonathan would get the care he needed in jail, she felt a little better.
Her fears were also lessened after she spoke with Janet Holt, the associate nursing director at the Correctional Treatment Facility (CTF), the jail's annex, where Jonathan was to be incarcerated. Boniface Cobbina, Jonathan's lawyer, had arranged for Scott to speak with Holt on the day Jonathan was sent to jail. Holt assured Scott that the CTF could perform the lung suctioning procedure that Jonathan required.
In response to Holt's questions about Jonathan's medications, Scott said her son might know what they were, but she didn't believe he knew the prescribed dosages, so she immediately arranged for Jonathan's nurse to fax the correct information to Holt. Scott followed up in a phone call and was assured by Holt that the fax had been received and would be given to "Dr. Malek." Corrections spokesman Bill Meeks advised that Dr. Malek is Malek Malekghasemi, the CTF's associate medical director.
Scott said she received a call from a woman at the jail on Jonathan's first day in the city's custody, telling her that he had been taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital and that she should come to the jail to collect his wheelchair. The jailer called back within minutes, however, and told Scott she could not pick up the wheelchair.
Scott rushed to the hospital with her daughter and a friend of Jonathan's. They were joined by their lawyer, Cobbina, whom Scott had called from the hospital. Together they spoke with one of the correctional officers who had accompanied Jonathan to the hospital and were told he was comfortable. They were not allowed to see him, though Scott said she did receive a call at home around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday from the same correctional officer, who said Jonathan was still resting well at the hospital.
Scott was surprised to learn from one of Jonathan's friends later in the day that he had been returned to the jail's annex. She called Cobbina and told him that Jonathan needed his ventilator. (The Corrections Department acknowledged that on the night Jonathan was taken to the hospital, he informed the corrections medical staff that he used a ventilator at night.) She said she also called Malekghasemi and told him the same thing. She recalled the doctor saying: "I don't know why the judge sent him here." He said he was going to call the judge "to talk some sense into her," Scott said.
The next day, Wednesday, Sept. 22, Cobbina visited Jonathan in jail and reported that her son said he still required his ventilator, Scott said. On Thursday Cobbina called Scott and told her that Corrections officials had agreed that she could take Jonathan's ventilator to the CTF on Friday morning at 10 a.m.
Scott arrived around 9:30 a.m. and waited in the lobby for 45 minutes before Malekghasemi came to see her. She handed him Jonathan's ventilator, a suction cap and a pediatric device to be used because the opening in his throat was so small. Malekghasemi took the ventilator but told her he didn't need the other equipment and then left. Scott asked the guard if she could visit her son but was told she couldn't because she did not have an appointment.
At the time Scott met the doctor, Jonathan had already been transported to Greater Southeast Community Hospital on an emergency basis. Scott said the doctor knew Jonathan had been taken away but didn't tell her. "If I had known, I could have told them what might have been wrong with him and how they could help him," she told me, distress obvious in her voice.
Later that day -- Friday, Sept. 24 -- five days after Jonathan Magbie was placed in the custody of the government of the District of Columbia, Scott received a call telling her that her son was dead.
Cobbina, in a separate interview, said Malekghasemi also told him on Tuesday, Sept. 21, that he would call Judge Retchin with his concerns about Jonathan's incarceration, given his medical condition. The Corrections Department, in an e-mail response to my questions, confirmed that "A [CTF] physician spoke with the judge's law clerk on September 21, 2004, and expressed his personal concern that inmate Magbie did not belong in the D.C. jail. The physician shared his personal concern that inmate Magbie should not be incarcerated given the nature of the sentence and his overall medical condition. The physician did not request that the judge order Mr. Magbie's return to Greater Southeast Community Hospital."
The circumstances leading up to Scott's taking the ventilator to the CTF are in dispute.
In an e-mail response, Corrections wrote that on Wednesday afternoon Jonathan's lawyer called the CTF physician and indicated that a ventilator might be available from his mother and that the attorney would call the CTF physician back with confirmation. The CTF physician called the attorney on Thursday and an agreement was made to deliver the ventilator the next day.
Cobbina, on the other hand, said he told Malekghasemi on Thursday that Jonathan needed his ventilator and that the doctor said he didn't want "gadgets" introduced into the jail because they would only "complicate" matters. "Twenty minutes later," Cobbina said, the doctor called back and said, "Why don't you ask her to bring it in the morning?"
The death of Jonathan Magbie, I have learned, is now under investigation by the D.C. Department of Health and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. That's not enough. The D.C. inspector general and the D.C. Council may wish to weigh in as well, lest the informal network of D.C. bureaucrats who look out for each other attempts to make Jonathan's death appear as natural as the sunset. It wasn't.
These questions need answering.
Why on earth should Jonathan, a first-time offender who had lived most of his life in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic and who required virtually round-the-clock nursing, have been sent to jail for simple possession of marijuana?
Why is it that even after the Corrections Department learned on Monday that inmate Jonathan Magbie needed a medical device the jail did not have and would not provide, and even after an associate medical director determined on Tuesday that Jonathan's medical condition weighed against jail incarceration -- why is it that he nonetheless languished in jail until Friday, the day he died?
Finally, consider this exchange between Judge Retchin and Jonathan Magbie's lawyer at the time, Nikki Lotze, back on Jan. 14 at a status hearing:
Judge: Good morning. Where is Mr. Magbie?
Lawyer: Your Honor, I wonder if the court would consider waiving his presence; he was hospitalized. He's not hospitalized right now, but he was released earlier in the week having had a bout of pneumonia.
Judge: No, I would not waive his presence. He needs to be here.
Lawyer: I'll see if I can get him here later in the day, your honor. But, could we waive his presence just for purposes of scheduling matters and then I'll have him. . . .
Judge: I'll issue a warrant for his arrest. It will be no bond as to Mr. Magbie.
What a sweetheart.
Editor's Note: Judith Ellen Retchin court phone number 1-202-879-1866
Article's Author: Colbert I. King
Copyright: 2004 Washington Post
Third Of World's Amphibians 'On Edge Of Extinction'
By Roger Highfield / Science Editor
The Telegraph - UK
15 October 2004
Almost a third of the world's frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians are threatened with extinction within 100 years, according to a study.
That tens of thousands of years of evolution could be wiped out in a century is seen by some experts as a warning of impending environmental disaster.
Amphibians are widely regarded as "canaries in the coal mine," or useful indicators of potentially harmful changes in the environment, because their permeable skin is so sensitive.
"Amphibians are one of nature's best indicators of overall environmental health," said Russell Mittermeier, president of US-based Conservation International (CI). "Their catastrophic decline serves as a warning that we are in a period of significant environmental degradation."
The underlying cause of their deaths is not clear, according to the Global Amphibian Assessment, compiled by more than 500 scientists from over 60 nations. The key findings will be published by the journal Science.
Simon Stuart, senior director of the IUCN/CI Biodiversity Assessment Unit, who led the team, said: 'The bottom line is that there's almost no evidence of recovery and no known techniques for saving mysteriously declining species in the wild.'
Over the past three years, scientists analyzed the distribution and conservation status of all 5,743 known amphibian species. Of these, 1,856 - 32 per cent - are considered threatened with extinction. Sufficient data are lacking accurately to assess the status of nearly 1,300 other species, also thought to be threatened.
By comparison, only 12 per cent of all bird species and 23 per cent of all mammal species are threatened.
In the Americas, the Caribbean and Australia, a fungal disease called chytridiomycosis has hit amphibians especially hard, but it is less of a problem in most parts of the world, including Europe, Asia and Africa, where habitat destruction, air and water pollution and consumer demand are causing the decline.
Bruce Young, a zoologist with the conservation group NatureServe, said: "We need greater protection of natural areas and accelerated research on amphibian diseases to stem the extinction tide."
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004.
Chavez Backers Topple Columbus Statue in Caracas
By Pascal Fletcher
12 October 2004
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated Columbus Day on Tuesday by toppling a statue in Caracas of the explorer whom Chavez blames for ushering in a "genocide" of native Indians.
Two years ago, Chavez rechristened the Oct. 12 holiday -- commemorated widely in the Americas to mark Christopher Columbus' 1492 landing in the New World -- "Indian Resistance Day."
The new name honored Indians killed by Spanish and other foreign conquerors who followed in the wake of the Italian-born Columbus who sailed in the service of the Spanish crown.
As the left-wing nationalist president led celebrations on Tuesday to honor Indian chiefs who resisted the Spanish conquest, a group of his supporters conducted a mock trial of a bronze statue of Columbus in central Caracas.
They declared the image guilty of "imperialist genocide," looped ropes around its outstretched arm and neck and heaved it down from its marble base. No police or other authorities intervened as the protesters drove off in a truck yelling, "We've killed Columbus!"
"This isn't a historical heritage. ... Columbus is the symbol of a conquest that was a globalization by blood and fire, a cultural massacre," said Vitelio Herrera, a philosophy student at Venezuela's Central University.
Chavez has called Latin America's Spanish and Portuguese conquerors "worse than Hitler" and the precursors of modern-day "imperialism" he says is now embodied by the United States, the biggest buyer of his country's oil.
"We're celebrating what the president has said," said Herrera. The base of the toppled statue was daubed with slogans such as "Columbus = Bush. Out!"
The protesters, many of whom wore red T-shirts with slogans supporting Chavez, repeated the Venezuelan leader's fierce criticism of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.
"Didn't they tear down the statue of Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq? For me, (U.S. President George W.) Bush represents barbarity and Chavez represents civilization," said Orlando Iturbe, a 57-year-old member of a pro-Chavez cooperative.
Some passersby said they were shocked by the action. "I don't agree with this. The statue was something historical that we should remember," said Jose Luis Maita, who watched with his wife and small daughters. (Additional reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero).
The Battle for Reality
Fantasy terror threats conceal
Real plan to reduce population
By John Kaminski
While watching the inane vice-presidential debate the other night, I nearly swallowed my gum when I heard vice-presidential challenger John Edwards say, "I agree that we needed to invade Afghanistan." I had had pretty much the same reaction earlier when his running mate John Kerry had informed a worldwide TV audience that, despite the high number of innocent people killed in Fallujah and other cities, he would attack Iraq "much harder" than the current mass murderer in charge of America's latest immoral war.
This demonic double whammy hammered home in my mind that for the U.S. election of 2004, there is no real opposition, no genuine choice, only differences in styles of mass killing, and a message to the world that America is united behind its curdled policies of utter injustice and contempt for everyone on the planet.
The absence of a presidential candidate who would even begin to admit to the truth of America's lies dooms us here at home to a dark future of permanent war, and the rest of the world to random extermination depending on the resources they may possess that others more powerful may covet.
The indelible message to the world is that since there is no candidate calling for actual peace and an accurate understanding of the processes now turning the world into a shooting gallery, that all Americans unanimously favor this all-out push toward world domination, and preemptive obliteration of all who stand in their greedy way.
But is this really the case, or is this merely what America mainstream mass media say is the case? In other words, do we as supposedly free people really control our own destiny, or do others control it for us in our names?
While it seems true that the peace coalition in the United States seems miniscule in this era of increasing corporate control of the mind, it is perhaps instructive to look at the behavior of the American people before and during past wars to get a better idea of what's actually going on here and now.
I am reminded of the trenchant essays of Scott Nearing in 1916, when he pointed out that Woodrow Wilson was the peace candidate who vowed to keep us out of the European war, then shortly thereafter, after a hysterical newspaper campaign vilifying fictitious German baby-eaters, got us into the War to End All Wars.
Or the behind-the-scenes manipulation of Japan which compelled it to invade Pearl Harbor, which Franklin Roosevelt then used as an excuse to attack Germany.
Or the famous Gulf of Tonkin incident which 40 years later we learned never happened, but at the time was used to rationalize a U.S. invasion of Vietnam that produced millions of deaths in a pointless war that to this day no one can adequately explain?
Or the young lady, later learned to be employed by the Hill & Knowlton ad agency, who came to Washington to tell the world that babies were being ripped from their incubators by Iraqi soldiers in a campaign to convince Americans that we should start bombing Iraq. That now-disproved bit of theater happened almost 15 years ago, yet we have not stopped bombing Iraq ever since.
How many of you out there still believe that you actually control what happens in your own lives? And how many of you have reached the point where you have decided the time is long past that something be done about this?
The controlling mechanism of this present burst of American aggression throughout the world is of course the tragedy of 9/11, an apparent attack by foreign extremists on American landmarks that to this day has never been adequately investigated or explained.
And yet, the American people have by and large accepted their government's clumsy story without a peep of a demand for documentation, provable evidence, or a thorough investigation. Why?
The great 9/11 coverup must be considered in the context of previous political events in which the American people accepted the facile lies of its leaders without demanding more information or an honest accounting of these extremely suspicious events.
Or, more succinctly, had Americans demanded more forthright explanations of the three big assassinations back in the 1960s - JFK, RFK and MLK - it is very likely that none of these subsequent catastrophes to the American conscience ever would have happened. But we didn't. And we still don't.
As a result, the war machine rolls on, with the mayhem creeping ever closer to home.
Almost no one I know of believes the official version of what happened in the murder of President Kennedy. After 40 years of discussion, it seems like Michael Collins Piper's "Final Judgment" furnishes the final word on the matter, that JFK was dusted because he demanded Israel open its nuclear facilities for inspection, and that he wanted to diminish the power of the Federal Reserve, so these two entities got together and concocted an elaborate scheme to blame a CIA groupie for the crime and used a CIA hit team to do the deed, with the fatal shot actually being fired by the driver of the presidential limo. You haven't read that in the New York Times lately, have you?
Once JFK's successor LBJ took over, there was a rapid rise in the amount of money funneled to Israel, a trend that since has never diminished, even though Israel destroyed an American ship (another famous noninvestigation) and basically took over the American political system through bribes and blackmail. Again, no mainstream media coverage of that.
Jump to the 1990s, right after the Bush family completed its plundering of America's savings and loan industry, adding billions to the family bank account. Not much in the newspapers about that, and certainly not the real story.
The 1990s began with the invasion of Panama (actually it was '89), about which NBC reported 45 Panamanians died, but an Oscar-winning documentary later revealed a death toll of 4,000.
Then came the Gulf War, when the U.S. told Saddam Hussein it was OK to invade Kuwait, but later bombed the hell out of him for doing it. There was some coverage of this, but most Americans didn't pay attention to it.
Then came World Trade Center 1, where two FBI informants gathered a couple of other Egyptians together to drive a truck full of explosives into a New York City parking garage. America's mainstream media called it a terrorist attack.
Then came Waco, which was kind of like Vietnam, in that today no one can really explain why it happened or what was the dark secret behind the government's massacre of 84 (or 103) men, women and children who just happened to be esoteric religious fanatics. The only thing most of know for sure is that the government lied before, during and after the event, and the mainstream managed to cover it up, despite covering it live.
Then an FBI sniper fired a bullet through the head of a young mother holding her baby, and the mainstream media said the government was fighting a white supremacist terrorist in Idaho. The sniper later received a medal.
Then the Murrah Building in Oklahoma exploded and the government blamed a glazed-eyed white Patriot for doing it. Funny how McVeigh supposedly used a truck full of fertilizer parked outside the building, yet the building exploded outwards. But again, mainstream media and the federal judges ignored all the contrary evidence and quickly (supposedly) fried the fingered felon.
Six years later came 9/11, and most Americans have never even thought about the facts that their government quickly destroyed the evidence and never - NEVER! - conducted an investigation into how those buildings fell and WHO did it. The government simply named the perpetrators it chose to name (all of whom probably were using false identities), and began making war on other countries which had no clear connection to the fingered false identities.
What is wrong with this picture? And worse, what is wrong with the American people that they have conceded control of their own destinies to a process and a government that is so clumsily incompetent that it can't even invent believable stories for their citizens to swallow? And yet we swallow, endlessly, pathetically.
Do you suppose it's TV? If people can sit and watch the lame imitations of life they see on the boob tube and think this is actual, real life, can they swallow their government lying to them and believe it's the truth? Is that what's going on here?
Or is it the schools? Are our school curricula so manipulative and mind-controlling that people who attend 12 years of U.S. schools not only can't think critically but can't even identify complete lies which are paraded before their faces?
Is this what is happening?
Whatever is happening, it is leading to the death and demise of everything we hold dear.
The American manufacturing base has been destroyed and most decent jobs are being shipped overseas because American labor has priced itself out of existence.
Mass consumption food is no longer safe to eat because of food additives and lack of government regulation.
You can't drink tapwater anywhere in America anymore, but President Bush insists environmental regulations are too stringent.
Virtually all of America's vaccinations are tainted by mercury and other harmful substances, which create brain damage in children and sudden death in adults. Yet we line up, ever docile, to take them, and the maladies they bring.
Our soldiers, when they're not being killed by an outraged enemy fighting for its own freedom against their corporate oppressors, are being killed by the ammunition they are forced to handle and the vaccinations they are ordered to take. Still we wave our flags and gladly sacrifice our children.
Wait ... this is a very long list; let's get to the point.
We have forfeited control of reality to our mass media. How many times have you heard someone say, "I don't believe something is really real until I see it on television. Then I know for sure it's really happening."
This is the new American paradigm, both a fear of independent self-determination and a horror of not being part of the crowd. People are afraid to think for themselves, and to question what is being rammed down their throats as consensual truth.
It turns out what is being rammed down our throats is killing us, and not thinking for ourselves will, in very short order, lead to our own deaths, because the plan is to reduce the population to what they call sustainable levels, and the chances are very good that you are not part of that plan.
This all could have been avoided if somebody, way back when or even yesterday, had had the courage to stand up and say, "This is not what is really happening. You are lying to us." Said it to the media and/or the government in sufficient numbers.
But we didn't. With each lie they get away with, the lies simply get worse, the death toll gets higher. Now we've reached the point where the government is openly trying to kill many of us, and we're sitting there smugly saying, "Well, this doesn't really affect me." Or "Perhaps some other people need to be excluded in the interests of the health of the human race."
Well, Bunky, that person, whether you realize or not, sooner or later, is going to be you.
You had a chance to stop it - even now you do - but you didn't, and you don't.
And all because you let other people tell you what reality really is. The rule is .... if you can't make your own decision, they'll make it for you. And surely you know what their decision will be.
Next time you speak with a politician, or a government employee, talk as if your life is on the line. Because it is.
John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Mostly he writes essays that appear in various websites on the Internet. These have been collected into two anthologies, "America's Autopsy Report" and "The Perfect Enemy." For information go to http://www.johnkaminski.com/