The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Let's Fight Fire With Fire

Our denunciations of the Bush Neo-Con regime have been pointed, eloquent, accurate. But Bush’s corporate media discounts or homogenizes all we say and marginalizes us as the fringe, the rabble.
We must continue to speak and to write and to petition Congress but if that’s all we do it’s over. Twenty-two sell-out Democratic senators just proved that beyond argument. And the slaughter rages on in Iraq and our constitutional rights and our political power as a people continues to evaporate into the air. We need more action.
And don’t think it’s all going to be solved by the next election. What was solved by the 2006 elections? And remember Bill Clinton’s years in office. They hounded and slandered the man non-stop from day one to the end and managed to gain control of Congress and install Bush on his bloody throne. No, the next election may result in some temporary respite if the Republicans fail to gain the White House; but the Neo-Cons and their throngs are relentless and they know that their strategy of fear and lies and intimidation works. They’ll reach new dimensions of Machiavellian criminality and con vast numbers of the population to march to their drumbeat while we wring our hands and the world watches in disbelieving horror.
No, our strategies require more action. We must get over the idea that what we are dealing with is political ideology. In the final analysis ideology is not what these Neo-Republicans are all about. They would use any ideology whatsoever if it served their purposes. They’ve shown that beyond all reasonable doubt by their deceptive manipulation of Christianity and Christians, some of whom are beginning to wake up to them.
No, their real ideology is Power for Profit. That’s their God, their Supreme Being, their Purpose for Existing. It’s the profoundly unfortunate logical conclusion of the brand of Calvinist salvationism that came over with the Puritans on the Mayflower: Wealth as the guarantee of Heaven, the sign of divine election. The driving idea was that the more money you could accumulate, the more sure you could be that you were one of God’s “elect” and destined for heaven. The idea became more and more secularized; and heaven isn’t a theological locale any longer. It’s just the potentiality for more and more wealth. Wealth for the sake of wealth. What’s happening now in this nation is one of the most poignant examples of the final degeneration of an historical idea that was flawed and dangerous to begin with. The seed of this noxious plant has been our country’s soil all along; but our national conscience refused to let it grow. But now it’s different. Now, with the Bush Republicans this lethal political heresy that the acquisition of wealth is the irrevocable justification for just about anything whatsoever is in full growth. That’s what we’re really dealing with in our country today. And that’s why just political discourse isn’t going to change a thing. We have to know that and we have to take decisive action.
The fraternity that has seized control of this nation understands one thing and is influenced by one thing---financial profit. Unlimited, uncontrolled, unregulated profit unhampered by ethical, moral or legal restrictions- that’s their creed and doctrine. And that’s where they have to be hit, and hit hard. That’s all they respond to. We can admonish, exhort and condemn all we want to. But it will not make the slightest difference. We’ll just continue to amuse them with our ardor; and they’ll continue to view us as idealistic fools devoid of “toughness.” I was talking the other day to a relative who’s a very staunch Republican. I mentioned the number of dead and the fact that Bush’s cronies are making lucrative oil deals with the Kurds, utilizing insider information and banking on the prospect that Iraq will never be unified. His response? “That’s the way it is.” He might just as well have said: “Who the hell cares.” The Republicans have succeeded in anaesthetizing a discomfiting number of Americans to the abominations that are being perpetrated in their names.
It is time for action. And it has to be well-planned and committed action. The adversary we’re fighting is smart and ruthless. They won’t cower to half- efforts. I am no political strategist; but here are a few things which have occurred to me. It is my hope that people with more experience with activist tactics and strategy than I have will expand and/or amend these approaches as appropriate. But the main point- and it’s the crucial one- is that we have to get going- now:
1.)Money is their driving motive; so boycott and other appropriate sanctions must be applied. The best place to start is with the media. Americans who are being harmed by government policies and practices must show the media that they will not stand for the media’s ignoring, “homogenizing,” or demonstrating tolerance or support for the offending government acts. Americans must demonstrate that there will be financial consequences to media misconduct. Commercial sponsors of offending media outlets must be identified and publicly named and they must be boycotted. People need to refuse to purchase their goods and services. And there have to be a continuously maintained lists made public naming the commercial enterprises involved. Whether the complicit sponsors are Mobil Oil or Aunt Tillie’s Cookies they have to be publicized and boycotted to the point that their balance sheets are threatened. Numbers are crucial; so the more boycotters who are participating the more effective the tactic. And there can be no relenting. The sponsors and their media presenters have to be presented with the specter of deficits on their balance sheets. Of course at present the focus should be on this never-ending war; but any and all areas of abuse are fair game: credit-card-company and bank thievery; health care; veterans’ rights; constitutional violations; and so forth and so forth. If the media aren’t serving as the nation’s guardians in any area but are tolerant of or expressly or impliedly supportive of the government‘s failure or complicity in any of these areas, then the commercial sponsors of the stations, papers, newscasts and so forth must be made to feel the consequences on their balance sheets. It’s all about money, folks. We have to hit them where it hurts the most.
2.)Massive communications must be addressed to offending media and sponsors - announcing impending actions (Section#1) and the reasons for them. Emailing makes this kind of thing much easier than it used to be. As an example, Website A or Organization B contacts its members recommending that they start boycotting Company X because it sponsors Y News Program, which criticizes anti-war activists. In the contact A or B ask their members to email and/or phone both Company X and Y News announcing the impending action and the reasons therefor. Organizations with websites can use “one click” mechanisms with provision for optional individual comments to get the pertinent messages out. Of course individuals can send messages of their own accord. And then of course the essence of it all is to follow through by abstaining from purchasing Company X’s goods or services. And we should bear in mind that national cable stations present a great deal of programming all over the country which is sponsored by local advertisers who would be quite sensitive to the kind of activism I am proposing. We’re not just dealing with mega- corporations. Many, many bank accounts have to be affected or at least potentially affected. If the media bosses start feeling pressure from their sponsors, they may be a bit more uncomfortable about being government shills. It’s worth a try.
3.) Washington lobbyists must also be the object of Section#1 actions. Lobbies are largely comprised of particular groups of companies. Once it has been determined that a particular lobby has influenced or promoted unacceptable policies or legislation, then Section#1 action would be put into force and the relevant companies flooded with messages.
4.) Efforts should be more than partisan and all concerned interest groups should be invited to join in on Section#1 actions. Progressive organizations should provide the impetus for planned actions; but all potentially interested groups should be contacted to join in. For instance if a group such as MoveOn or initiates an action centered on commercial sponsors or Washington lobbies which have supported or condoned Iraq policies, then other interested groups- Iraq anti-war veterans; anti-war Christian groups; families of Iraq-war casualties; and so forth- should be contacted to join the effort. We would want to avoid accusations of pure partisanship by creating a wide and diverse pool of participants. The involvement of large numbers of people of varying backgrounds and agendas would be vitally important.
Economic pressure on business and the media seems to me to be a feasible way to commence a more activist agenda on the part of people who have had enough of the stalemate that has persisted in terms of progressive change. Of course there are a wide variety of other potentially effective approaches; and it is my hope that more and more progressives will start thinking about and proposing methods. How effective any of the approaches will be we don’t know yet. But the one thing that is certain is that we will never know unless we get going. The Neo-Con proto-fascists who are subjugating our country view us as ineffectual talkers who are no real threat to them. Let’s prove them wrong. And wouldn’t it be nice to make goons like Hannity and O’Reilly of Fox News our test case? Let’s get it going. We must fight fire with fire. Nothing less than the future of our nation is at stake.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Corporate Media Is Blinding and Destroying The Nation. Their Sponsors Must Be Boycotted

The idea that the media are trying to sell us; namely, that they should be neutral is an absurd misrepresentation. Historically the media was referred to as the “Fourth Estate;” and its function was viewed as that of keen observer and if necessary sharp debunker of the government. The standard to be applied was in no sense neutrality. On the contrary the standard was objectivity, which meant the accurate knowledge and reporting of what was really going on. And if what was actually going on involved incompetence, dishonesty, abuse or criminality on the part of a governmental body then the journalist’s duty was deemed to be to report to the people what the government’s infractions were. The Fourth Estate was viewed as the people’s guardians. Neutrality and objectivity are as different as night and day.
Neutrality was invented by the corporate media so prevalent today. And it really means partial facts, tedious blandness and stepping on practically no one’s toes. And of course these days it even means cheap entertainment and nonsense to distract the people from what is going on. The corporate media bosses want to keep the public basically ignorant, undisturbed, un-offended and receptive to their sales pitches. In other words like practically everything else today it’s all about the almighty buck.
How many times do you hear “Let me tell you what we found is really going on.” Granted there are still some resources for this kind of reportage; but they’re getting fewer and fewer and far between. Most often you get presentations of so many sides stating so many partial facts and misrepresentations that all you get is confused and bored. And who steps in and says “ Yes, we’ve heard all that but this is what we’ve found out from our best sources and investigations; and this is what we’ve got to be wary of.”
Journalism is an exacting vocation demanding intelligence, keen observation, integrity and a high level of tough, un-politicized and reality-based analysis. But that has fallen apart today. Today you get the kind of “ neutrality” that’s really the corporate slant, which is most often all too tolerant of the current power structure. And at its worst you get Fox News, propagandists for a particular political and social bias. Or, more bluntly, the White House’s ass kissers. Objectivity? I don’t think so. Until recently how many times did you hear one word about the blatantly obvious fact that Iraq is about oil reserves and profits?
It’s arguable that the Iraq war could have been nipped in the bud by objective reporting. An accurate presentation and assessment of the facts could well have resulted in a public outcry against the invasion. What happened instead? The press got bought by the prospect of being “embedded” and it all became just one big adventure that boosted the ratings.. Much better if they had gotten into bed with their brains and tried to determine precisely what was going on. The nation might well have been saved from a protracted hell.
We have got to start demanding more. It’s a question of numbers. The more emails that come in, the more complaints, the more threats to go elsewhere for correct information, the more nervous the corporate bosses will get and the more prone to clean up their act. And if we start boycotting the sponsors of the corporate media maybe the bosses would start getting really acute panic attacks. We don’t want to hear just the Republican slant and the Democratic slant and the damn Raccoon Lodge’s slant and on and on. We want to know what’s going on between the lines and it’s their job to get that to us. Had they been doing that all along we might have avoided some of the major messes we’re mired in now. Knock it off and get on the stick, neutrality freaks. We’re on to you.

The Republican Military- Industrial Junta Must Be Stopped

George Bush and the far-right Republicans who have taken control of this country are far more dangerous to this democracy than even El Qaida; and they’re turning the American population into a nation of indebted, insecure, fearful work-horses who will be so preoccupied with keeping their roofs over their heads that they’ll be oblivious to what the Republicans are really doing, which is engaging in perpetual war for profit. What is rapidly developing in our country cannot be allowed to continue. Our country is being systematically destroyed to fill the pockets of Bush’s fraternity brothers. They’ll make a trillion dollars off the Iraqi horror show. That comes out of the pockets of the American people, who will be more and more pressed against the wall. And then there’s the “incidental” fact that hundreds of thousands of people are being killed and maimed just to fill their damn greedy pockets. They’ll toss you off as a “bleeding heart” if you complain about it. They are without conscience, as even a former Republican like John Dean has said, to his eternal credit. And we’ve all seen Alan Greenspan finally admit that Iraq is about oil profits. He added his regrets that the Republicans have given up principles for power. I don’t think they had much by way of principles to begin with. But Greenspan should be praised for his honesty. The Republicans will use more and more private mercenaries like Blackwater to do their dirty work without legal constraints and to separate the American people from the war and de-sensitize them to the abominations that are being perpetrated. in their name while they “go shopping.” I’m no political strategist and I don’t know what essentially peaceful means have to be used to eradicate this repulsive stain on our national soul. But it has got to be done without delay. The best political tacticians and strategists of conscience have to go fulltime on this. I was happy to see the recent demonstrations in Washington and I think they have to start going non-stop in DC and throughout the country. And since the only thing that influences these bastards is the almighty buck, I think the tactics of selective and systematic boycott need to be seriously considered. And a good place to apply boycott is the corporate media. I watched Brian Williams on NBC News the other night referring to MoveOn as “rabble rousers.” One of the definitions of rabble is “the lowest or coarsest class of people.” So I guess that’s what I and so many others are, according to Mr. Williams. By signing MoveOn petitions to Congress for so long we’ve shown ourselves to be low class, right Brian? Well then I’m happy to be low class. And maybe if this media darling’s sponsors were named and boycotted he would be a little more careful about tossing off anti-war Americans as low and coarse . I know the next presidential election is crucial; but really we can’t depend upon anyone but ourselves. The corporatocracy is so well dug in that even if the next president were Washington, Lincoln and Joan of Arc rolled into one, he or she will have an unbelievable time trying to restore our country. The people, who are now truly un-represented , have to become a force to be reckoned with. How angry it makes me to feel like a stranger in my own country. This has got to be stopped.