Category Archives: Cost of being brain dead

The Unconscious Layered Society

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara]

You look at man’s “society” and what do you see? One society? One group? One race of people more or less acting in unison, seeing as they are all “trapped” on one little world from which the only escape is death – the firmly held belief this is a final separation from its society, its uniform oneness?

No! That’s not how it is. Man’s earth is made up of a two-ply society: the visible and the unconscious. The one that matters, and the one that makes the one that matters possible.

I realize not everyone is as familiar with the Dune books by Frank Herbert as I am, but some at least have seen the movies. Well, forget the movies, they never get to the gist of his philosophy. If you’ve read through the material several times (the complete works are six volumes averaging four hundred pages each) you begin to extract some of what Herbert was demonstrating. Ignoring the recurring teaching about religion, government and economics that form the gist of the material, I’ll just give a very brief look at the ecology of the planet Arrakis or Dune as it is popularly known.

Dune is a completely dry planet. Never a drop of rain, no open water – just desert. And yet, open salt pans indicate that in some distant past, Dune had been a “normal” world with open seas and rivers. But in the year 10,191 which opens the saga, Dune is utter desert and its one source of wealth is the spice. The spice, produced by the giant sandworm Shai-Hulud, is a drug to man. Spice addiction produces many interesting side effects, among which is the ability to see through space and time. Another is the marked prolongation of life. Enough on that.

The interesting aspect of Dune is its ecology. Why no water? Where did it go? The people who lived on Dune, the Fremen, had discovered that a haploid creature they called a sandtrout had the ability to link itself to itself and block the flow of any moisture it encountered. This rarely seen underground creature formed a symbiotic relationship with sand and sand worm. It was responsible for blocking the flow of water from rising to the surface of the planet: the water was trapped below this living mantle several hundred meters below the sand. The reason for this was simple: the sand trout was a pre-worm form which the giant worms evolved from – and note: water was a deadly poison to the mighty sandworm which could not exist on any “natural” world – even in great deserts as are known on earth – without the constant protection of the sand trout. So the worm roamed the sands of Arrakis as lord and master of his domain while totally dependent upon the countless numbers of the lowly sandtrout for his survival.

Two layers of basically the same lifeform, but what a difference in expression!

Now think of earth, of Earthians, as a society and you see exactly that same “ecology” at work. For the elitist (Worm) society to exist, a vast network of mindless drones, workers, slaves (sandtrout) society must exist below the visible layer. Sand worm and sand trout – made of the same substance but relegated to two entirely different layers of life, the massive underground layer mindlessly blocking any kind of force or power that could “poison” the tiny visible minority that rules the planet.

On Dune, the layering is natural: the unicell organism, the sandtrout knows its purpose and can do nothing but what it is designed to do: block water from flowing through to the surface of the planet. In return, the sandtrout owes its life to the sand-worm because periodically, the great worm discharges itself from massive amounts of internal “ashes” which is the spice. If that spice isn’t collected, it ferments and there is a “spice blow” from which the sandtrout is created. On Dune, that has become a regular and natural cycle.

Are there “spice blows” on earth? Of course. Sub-societies go through cycles of change, through revolutions, wars, plagues, invasions and so on. During these events, the ruling “Worms” revitalize the “sandtrouts” and goad them to willingness to sacrifice themselves by the millions so the ruling “Worms” can pretend to create a “new” order.

It’s as natural a cycle as the sandtrout-worm cycle depicted by Frank Herbert.

Apart from the obvious wars and conquest entered into by the ruling “Worms” of earth, how do they keep the sandtrout working for them? Well, they lie. They make a lot of noise; they advertise and they entertain. They maintain a sort of pie-in-the-sky “law and order” system of force and have prisons and military institutions designed to create fear and a false sense of security at the same time. They use religion, science, technology, health care, economics and education to create false hope for the “trout.” It can be made to believe it needs saving, a condition that guarantees a sweet life after death. It can be made to believe it can have a long and healthy life. It can even be made to hope that it too can become a mighty ruling Worm. The “Worm” society stick is sometimes long, sometimes short; the carrot can be small, big, or tied in a bunch and sometimes the stick is a whip, but the result is always predictably the same: the trout will protect the Worm because it is brainwashed to do so and it “believes” without the least need of any shred of evidence, that in doing so it makes life possible for itself.

And perhaps that is all the trout can ever hope to achieve. Certainly under the current societal “ecology” that remains a truism.

“This world is basically a cesspool of misogyny, male entitlement, and deeply demented gender constructs accepted as casual fact by outrageously large swaths of the human population. (All our Wrong Todays – Elan Mastai)

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It’s a Wonderful World (isn’t it?)

“I see trees of green – Red roses too – I see em bloom – For me and for you
And I think to myself…. What a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue – Clouds of white – Bright blessed days – Dark sacred nights
And I think to myself….. What a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow – So pretty – In the sky – Are also on the faces – Of people – Going by – I see friends shaking hands – Sayin – How do you do – They’re really sayin – I love you.

I hear babies cry – I watch them grow – They’ll learn much more – Than I’ll never know
And I think to myself – What a wonderful world…”

… and I think to myself… what have you been snorting, or sniffing?

I just finished my day’s work, and scanning through a hundred emails, you know, looking for  whatever might stir my imagination. Well, imagine my surprise to find messages about Donald Trump, anthropological climate change, Canada sending “training” troops to Iraq; Venezuela on the verge of being invaded by the US for daring to choose a national path rather than one dictated by Washington… then stuff on Brexit and more trade wars. All in all, it’s a Wonderful World, isn’t it?

“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” – yeah, heard that one a time or two. And if that’s the case, we’re about to see a lot of light coming through in the coming years.

I’m relaxing with a glass of white wine and some munchies, watching the movie, “Last Love”. The complaint about that movie was, it’s too dragged out; too slow, but I don’t find it so. Does everything have to happen in a panic? Do we always have to be speeding down that road to arrive nowhere? What’s the rush?

I’m thinking, not that it’s such a wonderful world, but that we, as a species, collectively and subconsciously, are facing a mass extinction event and perhaps, also subconsciously, because of one, huge, unavoidable and massive collective sense of guilt, just want to get it over with. Maybe we don’t want to see our grand children, and great grand children, die in horrible circumstances, in conditions that never need to have come about had we chosen not to listen to demagogues of bullshit; had we chosen not to feed our Earthian hubris, greed, sense of entitlement, opportunism, bigotry, and the standard stance I’d label as rank stupidity. So, instead of doing something really “real” to change the direction this society is tumbling in, let’s just take that fast lane to nowhere so as not to have time to think about real and serious alternatives.

It should come as no surprise if I wrote here that having a nice house, a hot tub, a barbecue, is really more important to most people than the future of their progeny. “Après moi, le déluge!” To hell with the future, eat drink and be merry for tomorrow, we die.

I’ve been observing the people who talk a good game about climate change and other possibly catastrophic developments for the planet, and guess what? Sure people talk a good game but how many seriously change their lifestyle, their expectations, to show how legitimate their concerns are? How many change the way they think about a corrupt and dying system? What I see is people desperate to hang on to the bit of pretend stability this bloody system is giving them.

How would one honestly answer those charges? An important question because ultimately, you realize, it won’t be the Trumps of this world who will make the real difference when it comes crashing down, it will be the, let’s see what could one call them, that silent uncaring majority of sheeple, of unwashed masses, of deplorables, the 99% who insist on blaming “the rich” and “the elites” for the sad state of the planet while going on emulating them in every possible little ugly way.

Let me reiterate this: if blame is to be attached to one group of people for the sad state of this world, let it be put on the shoulders of those who deserve it: all, except the leaders, elites, rich, bosses, rulers or whatever. They don’t matter; they don’t make the final decisions; they aren’t the ones condemning your grand children to poverty, famine and early death from wars and a collapsing ecosystem. They don’t fight the wars, remember? You do! They don’t even make shit and they don’t consume it, you do. They make laws and don’t live by them, you do. Pathetic, isn’t it? 99% of a population of intelligent sentience lets itself be destroyed by an ignorant, subhuman one percentile clique. Indeed, how pathetic is that?

“About here, she thought, dabbling her fingers in the water, a ship had sunk, and she murmured, dreamily, half asleep, how we perished, each alone. — Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse.”

 

Price Less – monbiot.com

The following, by George Monbiot, is well worth reading and pondering as it demonstrates how another nail in civilization’s coffin is going to be driven in.

A couple of days ago I wrote a post in which I said, and quote:

“In order to continue legitimizing a system that no longer makes any sense, the Powers that rule man’s world and mind have exponentially increased their oppression of all life on earth. Everything has been given a monetary value and put on the auction block. Every drop of water, every ounce of mineral, every blade of grass and every sentient life-form has been graded and categorized as either valuable to the System or expendable.

What has value is being squeezed like a lemon until the very pips squeak. What is expendable is being systematically hunted down, collected, burned, poisoned, slaughtered. This is how a civilization ends and make no mistake, this civilization is ending.”

Examples of such surround us to the point of embarrassment, that is, if we still possessed the sense to be embarrassed about stupidity, folly and gargantuan avarice. Sadly, we no longer have that. We left it in a throw away paper cup at the stadium or on the floor at Burger King.

While thinking on these things, one could also watch this feature length documentary on our eating habits, and the consequences:

H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters
H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters
If you want to change the world, look no further than your dinner plate. According to the stirring feature-length documentary “H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters”, that’s where the potential for meaningful transformation lies within reach for all of us. The film tackles…
Watch now →

Price Less – monbiot.com


Price Less

Posted: 17 May 2018 10:49 PM PDT

The “natural capital” agenda is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, and most of all counter-productive

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 15th May 2018

Never mind that the new environmental watchdog will have no teeth. Never mind that the government plans to remove protection from local wildlife sites. Never mind that its 25-year environment plan is all talk and no action. We don’t need rules any more. We have a pouch of magic powder we can sprinkle on any problem to make it disappear.

This powder is the monetary valuation of the natural world. Through the magic of the markets, we can avoid conflict and hard choices, laws and policies, by replacing political decisions with economic calculations.

Almost all official documents on environmental issues are now peppered with references to “natural capital” and to the Natural Capital Committee, the Laputian body the government has created to price the living world and develop a set of “national natural capital accounts”. The government admits that “at present we cannot robustly value everything we wish to in economic terms; wildlife being a particular challenge.” Hopefully, such gaps can soon be filled, so we’ll know exactly how much a primrose is worth.

The government argues that without a price, the living world is accorded no value, so irrational decisions are made. By costing nature, you ensure that it commands the investment and protection that other forms of capital attract.

This thinking is based on a series of extraordinary misconceptions. Even the name reveals a confusion: natural capital is a contradiction in terms. Capital is properly understood as the human-made segment of wealth that is deployed in production to create further financial returns. Concepts such as natural capital, human capital or social capital can be used as metaphors or analogies, though even these are misleading. But the 25-year plan defines natural capital as “the air, water, soil and ecosystems that support all forms of life”. In other words, nature is capital. In reality, natural wealth and human-made capital are neither comparable nor interchangeable. If the soil is washed off the land, we cannot grow crops on a bed of derivatives.

A similar fallacy applies to price. Unless something is redeemable for money, a pound or dollar sign placed in front of it is senseless: price represents an expectation of payment, in accordance with market rates. In pricing a river, a landscape or an ecosystem, either you are lining it up for sale, in which case the exercise is sinister, or you are not, in which case it is meaningless.

Still more deluded is the expectation that we can defend the living world through the mindset that’s destroying it. The notions that nature exists to serve us; that its value consists of the instrumental benefits we can extract; that this value can be measured in cash terms; and that what can’t be measured does not matter have proved lethal to the rest of life on Earth. The way we name things and think about them – in other words the mental frames we use – helps determine the way we treat them.

As the cognitive linguist George Lakoff points out, when you use the frames and language of your opponents, you don’t persuade them to adopt your point of view. Instead you adopt theirs, while strengthening their resistance to your objectives. Lakoff argues that the key to political success is to promote your own values, rather than appease the mindset you contest.

The natural capital agenda reinforces the notion that nature has no value unless you can extract cash from it. Dieter Helm, who chairs the government’s preposterous committee, makes this point explicit: the idea that nature has intrinsic value, independent of what humans can take from it, he says, is “dangerous”. But this dangerous idea has been the motivating force of all successful environmental campaigns.

The commonest response to the case I’m making is that we can use both intrinsic and extrinsic arguments for protecting nature. The natural capital agenda, its defenders say, is “an additional weapon in the fight to protect the countryside”. But it does not add, it subtracts. As the philosopher Michael Sandel argues in What Money Can’t Buy, market values crowd out non-market values. Markets change the meaning of the things we discuss, replacing moral obligations with commercial relationships. This process corrupts and degrades our intrinsic values and empties public life of moral argument.

It is also, his examples show, counterproductive: financial incentives undermine our motivation to act for the public good. “Altruism, generosity, solidarity and civic spirit are … like muscles that develop and grow stronger with exercise. One of the defects of the market-driven society is it lets these virtues languish.”

So who will resist this parched, destructive mindset? Not, it seems, the big conservation groups. In this month’s BBC Wildlife magazine, Tony Juniper – who in other respects is an admirable defender of the living world – reveals that he will use his new post as head of campaigns at WWF to promote the natural capital agenda.

Perhaps he is unaware that in 2014 WWF commissioned research to test this approach. It showed that when people were reminded of the intrinsic value of nature, they were more likely to defend the living planet and support WWF than when they were exposed to instrumental and financial arguments. It also discovered that using both arguments together produced the same result as using the financial argument alone: the natural capital agenda, in other words, undermined people’s intrinsic motivation.

Has this been forgotten? Sometimes I wonder whether anything is learnt in conservation, or whether the big NGOs are forever destined to follow a circular track, endlessly repeating their mistakes. Rather than contributing to the alienation and disenchantment the commercial mindset fosters, they should help to enrich our relationship with the living world.

The natural capital agenda is the definitive expression of our disengagement from the living world. First we lose our wildlife and natural wonders. Then we lose our connections with what remains of life on Earth. Then we lose the words that described what we once knew. Then we call it capital and give it a price. This approach is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, emotionally alienating and self-defeating.

Those of us who are motivated by love for the living planet should not hesitate to say so. Never underestimate the power of intrinsic values. They inspire every struggle for a better world.

http://www.monbiot.com

The Machine Eaters

I don’t know how this is going to work; I forgot to add a comment and reason for reblogging Aishwariya Ramachandran’s latest post. Says it all and says it well. The post may be a bit long for some but if one is looking for quality and depth of thought, look no further.

Quoting the beginning of the post:

The Machine Eaters

by Aishwariya Ramachandran

Magpies burble outside frosty windows. Autumn sidles into view. I dreamed many things. Awakening is sharp on the spirit.

All the old heroes are dead and buried and pushing up wilting flowers, soot-covered, frayed at the edges, desperate for a clean breath in the sickly yellow-glow of the industry.

Red-faced oligarchs loot the coffers of citizenry taking human capital and freedoms of movement, speech, and association, running them through the great profit calculator prophet machine, the machine which conjures the specter of the invisible hand.

Too much Too soon

Magpies burble outside frosty windows. Autumn sidles into view. I dreamed many things. Awakening is sharp on the spirit.

All the old heroes are dead and buried and pushing up wilting flowers, soot-covered, frayed at the edges, desperate for a clean breath in the sickly yellow-glow of the industry.

Red-faced oligarchs loot the coffers of citizenry taking human capital and freedoms of movement, speech, and association, running them through the great profit calculator prophet machine, the machine which conjures the specter of the invisible hand.

Acolytes of its imperceptible body gather round shadows on the wall and cry sweet objectivities while the fire creeps closer, the wavering images growing longer, blacker and deeper; they cost the waking dreamer, screamer of sanity’s alarm for speaking truth in the face of true lies told by the state.

All the old constants are broken in heaped piles on the floor of democracy

View original post 3,037 more words

Am I Driving?

[thoughts from     ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara]

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: two old ladies, Amy and Blanche, are out for a Sunday afternoon drive in Amy’s mint 1958 Caddy. As they push on down Main Street, Amy, who’s the passenger today, notices they drove through a red light. She cringes, says nothing and they proceed to go through two more red lights, at which point Amy can’t stand it any longer and says, “Blanche, do you realize you just drove through three red lights in a row?” Blanche looks around and says, “Oh my, am I driving?”

Am I driving? When one is in a car it seems that such a question would be of paramount importance. The funny, or sad, part of this story is, we’re all born ‘in a car’ or maybe better put, in a ship, and really, we’re all supposed to be driving, or piloting. Except for children and those of severely diminished mental capacity, there are no passengers on spaceship earth.

So why are so many of us continually going through red lights and paying no attention? Well, because we’ve come to believe that we could delegate the job of piloting the ship to certain individuals who claimed some sort of right to that position and we’ve grown used to the idea that it isn’t “me” who is driving through that red light, but the one I voted for. If the ship manages to survive as it blasts its way through shoals of meteorites and no real damage ensues, we hail our elected captain as a hero. If there is damage, we can always blame the guy. I’m not driving the ship of state, he is, or she is.

If you voted for those people and put them in power, doesn’t that make you responsible? The answer usually is, well, yes, but only at voting time. After that I’ve got no say in the matter. That’s the deal, you see? If I don’t like the job they’re doing in piloting the ship I get to vote them out next time around.

What if by then they’ve turned the ship into a hulk floating through space with hardly any life support systems working?

Not to worry, it’s never been that bad. It’s a big ship. It’s made it through billions of years, it’s got a lot of mileage left in it.

So, what’s all the bitching about then? What about changing circumstances in and around the ship which some claim could mean the ship is going to run out of fuel; the shielding could fail; life support systems shut down?

I wouldn’t worry about it. We’ve always had the doomsayers and conspiracy theorists. The problem is the Internet and speeded up communication that allows these fear mongerers to spread their sick ideas. There’s nothing wrong with the ship. Those in control say we’re on course and all is well. I for one believe them. I got to believe in something, right?

But isn’t it true that there is a lot more chaos and conflict aboard the ship recently than there was, say, a hundred years ago?

It’s all relative. More people, more conflict. It’s natural see? Nothing to worry about.

If you were voted in as captain of your section of the ship what would you do differently?

Oh, I don’t know. I’d like to see those in power given more power to do what they want to do. As things stand, there’s too much emphasis on diversity. We need more centralized power. More power gives you more control. That’s what I’d want.

I see. More of what you already have, right? Can I quote you on that last bit?

You bet, and you’ve given me an idea: maybe I should take a stab at becoming the driver.

America, what is going on?

I “apologize” to those who follow this blog for periodically “going political” on you but some things need be shown and said. There is a growing problem in America today, and as a Canadian living within a few miles of the longest “friendly” and undefended border on earth, what happens in America concerns me. It should concern the entire world but many are those who, like the German people in the 1930’s simply choose not to believe what is right before their eyes.  Our problem today is, as America increasingly goes rogue and out of control, do we really want Russia and China to be our “Allied” saviours? Wouldn’t that be jumping from the frying pan into the fire? Food for thought as you read the following. I post the entire blog, there is no “re-blog” on Tom Dispatch, but all the links are there.  I’ve also left the bottom of the blog post advertising the books and all that.

If you care or are concerned, take a few minutes to read, then a few more to ponder the consequences.  We’re not in a good place right now.  I’m 71 years old, so I’m not concerned about myself, but what about the children? What about their future? Where will the spend that time between “now” and eternity?

Tomgram: Nate Terani, Being Demonized in Your Own Country

Who could possibly keep up with the discordant version of musical chairs now being played out in Washington? When it comes to Donald Trump’s White House, the old sports phrase about needing a scorecard to keep track of the players pops to mind (though you would need a new one every day or maybe every few hours). The turnover rate of top White House staffers was already at 43%, a record for any administration in little more than its first year in office, before the latest round of exits even began.

Recently, the president nominated Gina Haspel (“Bloody Gina”) to head the CIA.  She had, in fact, been responsible for running one of the Bush administration’s earliest and most brutal “black sites” and had a significant hand as well in destroying evidence of what CIA torturers had done there and elsewhere. Meanwhile, he tapped the Agency’s previous director, Mike Pompeo, a notorious Tea Party Islamophobe and Iranophobe, to replace Twitter-fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Now, another key post is evidently about to be up for grabs. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is reportedly almost out the door as the president openly considers a replacement for him, possibly former Bush-era ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. He’s another major Iranophobe, who has called for launching military operations against that country for years. Like the recent replacement of economic adviser Gary Cohn by conservative CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow, all of the president’s new appointments or possible ones seem to have something in common: each is to the right of and significantly more extreme than the person he or she is replacing. Whether it’s the tearing up of the Iran nuclear deal and a possible future war with that country or yet more plutocratic economic policies, Donald Trump now seems intent on creating an ever more extreme administration.

In the context of that growing extremity, including the potential return of torture, the possible refilling of Guantanamo with new prisoners, the intensification of war across the Greater Middle East with a new focus on Iran, and the entrenchment of particularly extreme forms of Islamophobia, let U.S. Navy veteran Nate Terani take you into his own personal hell as a Muslim-American. It’s a hell that remains largely private at the moment, but for how long? Tom

Donald Trump’s America
Already Hell Enough for This Muslim-American
By Nate Terani

Understand this: I’m an American veteran. I’m also a Muslim-American in a country in which, in these years, that hasn’t exactly been the happiest category to fall into. Now, let me tell you a little story.

Recently, I had an ominous dream. It was noon on a grey, cold January 20th, 2020, and Donald Trump was being sworn in for his second term as president. Massive inaugural crowds cheered him exuberantly as a gentle snow fell upon a sea of MAGA red-hats and TRUMP banners waving in front of the Capitol.

In my dream, however, the Capitol wasn’t quite the same as I remembered it from my days stationed there as a young Navy sailor. It seemed almost war-torn as clouds of dark smoke billowed up on the horizon and the sound of gunfire could be heard somewhere in the distance. In my dream — don’t ask me how — I could also hear the terror-filled voices of people screaming or crying out for help as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents, clad in black uniforms, stormed local Washington homes and businesses, arresting people and loading them onto large unmarked cargo trucks.

Meanwhile, those inaugural crowds — I have no idea if they were the largest in the history of dreams — were flanked by military Humvees as heavily armed soldiers in unfamiliar camouflage uniforms stood behind the president while he delivered his second inaugural address. I could even hear his words eerily reverberating through the Capitol. “The enemy,” he exclaimed, “has infiltrated our great nation because of weak immigration laws allowed by treasonous politicians!”

At that very moment, he told the exuberant crowd, he was already singlehandedly purging “those terrorists and their enablers from our ranks.” The MAGA banners waved ever more frantically and the crowd roared as he declared, “Law and order are now being restored to our great nation once again!”

I awoke in a cold sweat. Unlike the sort of nightmare I’d normally shake off as a fantasy of slumber, the result perhaps of that late night dose of Ben and Jerry’s I had meant to resist, this one stuck with me and, I’m sorry to say, recurred.

American Fear-scapes

Worse yet, these days I no longer have to drop into some deep, unnerving dream state to experience it. Though few of us are likely to admit it, some version of that dream of mine is, in fact, the secret daily nightmare of millions of my fellow Muslim-Americans. In a moment, when immigrants in this country live in a fear-scape all their own, believe me, so do we. In our living nightmare, an administration that can seem not just ineffective but hapless beyond imagining, plagued by scandal, and stocked with staff members heading for the exits (or being escorted off White House grounds) might nonetheless transform itself into something even more deeply threatening to Americans like us. It might sooner or later consolidate power and, eager to distract the public from its actual plutocratic and other grim policies, turn on us “bigly.” Without dropping into another dream state, I can easily enough imagine how, with the tacit endorsement of Trump’s base, that administration might prepare itself to use a future devastating terror attack, the next Orlando or San Bernardino, to skewer American Muslims or the immigrant community and so pave the way for a true living nightmare.

Such a crisis could take many forms, but imagine, for instance, a “dirty bomb” attack (the use of conventional explosives to spread radioactive nuclear waste materials across a wide area of some urban neighborhood). Just such an attack has certainly been a focus of concern in the U.S. intelligence community for years now. In fact, in 1999, while on active duty as a new member of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the first interagency briefing I attended at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, focused on that very issue.

Should that happen or anything like it, it’s easy enough to imagine how the Trump administration might use it to enhance its own power at our expense. With the public cowering in fear, martial law might be declared. Meanwhile, a Congress that, in the face of the imperial presidency, has already abdicated its constitutional duty to declare war, might grant Donald Trump far greater authority than he already possesses, thanks to the unprecedented post-9/11 powers any president now wields — and the American people (or enough of them, at least) would “rally ’round the chief.”

And then, or so I imagine (and, at least among American Muslims I know, I’m not alone in this), so much worse would begin to unfold and my recurring nightmare would become a nightmarish reality. In the aftermath of such an attack, so much in our world, from the Women’s March to Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, would become distant and forgotten memories. Dissent would be denounced as unpatriotic, perhaps ultimately illegal, and basic human rights might be suspended.

By now, I’m sure you see where I’m going. In my nightmare at least — and I’m talking about the waking one now, the one I live with every day — countless immigrants and American Muslims are in camps awaiting who knows what. It’s not as if there is no precedent for anything like that in America, given the experience of Japanese-Americans rounded up and kept in just such camps during World War II.

In this moment of growing Islamophobia, at a time when a president has a desire to simply ban foreign Muslims and cast American ones as the worst of the worst, it’s just one more step into my fears of the future for me to imagine myself, an American veteran, as well as my family and other members of the Muslim community, sitting inside darkened train cars on our way to internment camps, while we desperately try to convince ourselves that surely the Supreme Court will overturn such an injustice.

And given our world, given the history of racism in this country, it’s not that hard to imagine scores of broken men, women, and children already at our destination as we hurtle down the tracks to join them. Nor is it that hard to imagine the Trump administration dismissing those who protest such treatment as disloyal co-conspirators, and then using militarized police raiders to hunt some of them down, too. I can even imagine mosques being set ablaze and synagogues and churches that attempted to protect citizens fleeing all of this being raided at the government’s orders.

Heading for a Dark Destination

In some dark corner of my mind, given what we know about what we human beings are capable of, I can almost imagine some kind of Muslim-American version of the Holocaust, the ultimate nightmare that immigrants and Muslim-Americans have dreaded since Donald Trump’s election victory in November 2016, but dare not whisper. There’s nothing sadder to say than that such fears do not completely lack historical precedent: the world has, of course, been here before.

If the fate of the millions who perished during World War II, thanks to Adolf Hitler and his minions, doesn’t seem real enough to you, just pay a visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. There, you can witness the haunting images of our human brethren who, by virtue of their faith or background, were destroyed, some by their own countrymen.

Now, I know perfectly well that those of you who aren’t Muslim-Americans are likely to find such fantasies at best extreme; at worst, beyond conception. The reason isn’t hard to imagine, because of course Donald Trump isn’t Adolf Hitler; White House adviser Stephen Miller isn’t Joseph Goebbels; White House Chief of Staff John Kelly isn’t Hermann Göring; and former CIA Director and next Secretary of State Mike Pompeo isn’t Heinrich Himmler.  Yes — but Pompeo, a major Islamophobe in an administration filled with them, has insisted that all Muslims are potentially complicit in terrorism and that “people who deeply believe that Islam is the way” are a “threat to America.”  He has also received the “National Security Eagle Award” from a noted anti-Muslim hate group, ACT for America, and has been interviewed more than 20 times by Frank Gaffney, “the country’s most influential Islamophobe,” on his radio show.  And when it comes to Islamophobia (and Iranophobia as well), in this administration Pompeo is hardly alone.

Still, not even bans, insults, and a visible loathing for those of us who don’t look like and pray like the president and his men, not even torchlight parades by Trump-supporting American neo-Nazis, get you easily to anything like an American Holocaust.  But know, when you read this, that there are those of us out here who, in the dark of night, are indeed haunted by such thoughts anyway and by thoughts as well of those in the 1930s who dismissed the fears of the worst to come as so much hyperbole.

Speaking just for myself, I can’t help but believe that, in our 241-year history that includes a bitter civil war, two world wars, and the Great Depression, this could turn out to be the most crucial moment of all. I can’t help but wonder, at least in my bleaker moments, whether there will be any coming back from the dark destination, whatever it turns out to be, that we, as a nation, now seem headed for. And if not, just remember that no one will be able to say that we didn’t know what we were doing, that there were no warnings as people like me were demonized in our own country.

Whatever hell might still come, for this veteran at least, Donald Trump’s America is already hell enough.

Nate Terani is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served in military intelligence with the Defense Intelligence Agency. He is currently a spokesperson for Common Defense PAC and regional campaign organizer with Veterans Challenge Islamophobia. He is a featured columnist with the Arizona Muslim Voice newspaper. This is his second TomDispatch piece.  Follow him on Twitter at @NateTerani.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2018 Nate Terani

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Violent American Dower bookThe Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II

World War II marked the apogee of industrialized “total war.” Great powers savaged one another. Hostilities engulfed the globe. Mobilization extended to virtually every sector of every nation. Air war, including the terror bombing of civilians, emerged as a central strategy of the victorious Anglo-American powers. The devastation was catastrophic almost everywhere, with the notable exception of the United States, which exited the strife unscathed and unmatched in power and influence. The death toll of fighting forces plus civilians worldwide was staggering.

The Violent American Century addresses the U.S.-led transformations in war conduct and strategizing that followed 1945—beginning with brutal localized hostilities, proxy wars, and the nuclear terror of the Cold War, and ending with the asymmetrical conflicts of the present day. The military playbook now meshes brute force with a focus on non-state terrorism, counterinsurgency, clandestine operations, a vast web of overseas American military bases, and—most touted of all—a revolutionary new era of computerized “precision” warfare. In contrast to World War II, postwar death and destruction has been comparatively small. By any other measure, it has been appalling—and shows no sign of abating.

 

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At 73, having spent years focusing on the civilian toll from Washington’s Afghan War, Ann Jones embedded on an American forward operating base to experience what that war was like for the U.S. troops in the field. The next year, she began following grievously wounded American soldiers from the moment they came off the battlefield all the way back home.  Her journey proved to be nothing short of an odyssey. Despite all the talk in this country about our “wounded warriors,” no other book gives us a more powerful sense of the genuine cost of war to Americans.

 

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There is a Book

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   ]

With so many comments either set aside or poorly answered; with the fantasy novel (finished, by the way) waiting to be posted on the blog and my job appointment book filling up, the last thing I need is another post stirring up more controversy.

Still, I must live up to my reputation. I’ve been called a lot of things over the years, few complimentary, recently an anarchist (which I consider a compliment) and a contrarian (which is akin to a trouble maker for no good reason and that’s not a compliment, not even with green eggs and ham, Sam I Am) while all I’m doing is questioning everything. Why do I do that? Because everything should be questioned and it’s the task of any intelligent individual to do so.

Nothing should ever be taken for granted, accepted without proof, or dismissed as of no consequence even when its track record screams: “I’m going to destroy your civilization, with yourself and yours in it!” We’re so used to seeing the writing on the wall these days, we just call it graffiti and turn away shrugging, smiling or laughing.

There’s a book that is titled: “Solutions to all Problems” and it’s the only book you can find in any library. It’s the only book you get when you enter grade one, the only book you will receive subsequently until you finish your stint in high school, college or university. The only book you will ever read. It’s the book all institutions use, including the United Nations. It might even surprise you to discover that it’s the only book Donald Trump has ever attempted to read… in pop-up format.

That book has millions of titles, one of the best known is the Bible, of course. It has millions of introductions and millions of ways wherein the contents are filled in. It’s a wonderful book. I see it here, or at least excerpts of it, on Word Press all the time.

The reason this book is so popular and acceptable is simple: it doesn’t actually contain any real solution to anything at all. That’s its purpose: to propose solutions that are based on ideas hatched by dead smart guys, or interpreters of dead smart guys, or people who figgered out a way to cash in on dead smart guys ideas. It rehashes failed “solutions” to any and every problem without an iota of shame for doing this. It’s like watching an ever-running soap opera, you know, the “people with no lives watching people with fake lives” sort of book.

So try to imagine somebody (like me for example) saying that the book is fake; that it should be burned, not banned, good Lord no, never banned, that would only make it more popular! Burned. Discarded. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. An end to it.

Then, lo and behold, we would be free to write an entirely new book and none of the contents would be based on the old “Solutions to all Problems” fantasy.

Having said that, I’ve been having thoughts about fascism and Nazism, including Zionism, lately. My thoughts ran on the question: why have these horrible anti-life, anti-human ideologies become so powerful and popular in the last century and increasingly so in this one?

There was a simple answer: Darwinism. Of course. Darwinism denies the humanity of man. It claims that man is just another evolved critter that crawled out of the much and mire some million years ago and joined in the race to dominate. It brushes off any attempt at dialogue regarding human behaviour such as morals, virtues and vices, the sense of what is right and what is wrong.

That sort of religion was custom made for fascists, Nazis and Zionists. It claims we live in a world strictly ruled by the survival of the fittest. How that fittest becomes fittest is irrelevant, all that matters is, the fittest must make it to the top of the pyramid of power and control. It’s nature, you see? If you question that you’re insane, of course.

If that means cruelly exploiting, oppressing, or murdering millions, so be it. There is nothing wrong in exercising one’s supremacy any way it works. It’s nature’s food chain. None of what you do to change that has any meaning, nor can it succeed.

That’s the essence of Darwinism.

Now, ask me why I would hate even the mention of such a religion, and make no mistake, it is a religion. It is designed to fool to numbties into thinking that when they switch from worshiping the infamous Jehovah to worshiping Superiority through race, misogyny, imperial subjugation or financial shenanigans, they are “atheists” and are cleansed from the curse of religiosity!

Just another title to The Book. The contents are always the same.

Your call!