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.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Rose Window, Strasbourg Cathedral


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Criminal Charges Against Bush, Cheney, et al ?

Obama May Bring Criminal Charges Against Bush

Thursday, September 4, 2008 10:15 AM By: Jim Meyers

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden said he and presidential hopeful Barack Obama could bring criminal charges against the Bush administration if they are elected in November.

“If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued,” Biden said during a campaign stop in Florida on Monday, ABC News reported.

“Not out of vengeance, not out of retribution. Out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no attorney general, no president — no one is above the law.”

Biden promised that an Obama-Biden government would go through Bush administration data with "a fine-toothed comb" and pursue criminal charges if necessary.

Democrats in Congress have issued subpoenas this year to senior Bush administration aides as part of an investigation into the authorization of torture tactics at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay.
And Obama vowed in April that if elected, he would ask his attorney general to investigate Bush administration actions to see if “genuine crimes” have been committed.

He told the Philadelphia Daily News: “If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated.”
Biden: 'We Will Pursue the Bush Administration'

( from Newsmax, September 4, 2008)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sufi Architecture II: The Alhambra ( continued )

Gore Vidal On McCain and The Election ( from Times On-Line, May 18, 2008 )

There’s no guarantee, of course, that the Democrats will triumph ... Does he think Obama can beat John McCain?

His views on the man the Democratic candidate will have to beat are even more brutal than his views on Hillary: “ You could beat McCain! I’ve never met anyone in America who has the slightest respect for him. He went to a private school and came bottom of his class. He smashed up his airplane and became a prisoner of war, which he is trying to parlay into ‘war hero’.”

In his view, McCain is “a goddamned fool. He was on television talking about mortgages, and it was quite clear he does not know what a mortgage is. His head rattles as he walks”.

However, in Vidal’s eyes, McCain is just a symptom of the real malaise affecting America today: the cynical subversion of the US constitution. “The Bush people”, he says, “have virtually got rid of Magna Carta and habeas corpus. In a normal republic I would probably have raised an army and overthrown them. It will take a hundred years to put it all back.”

By now he has worked himself up to a crisp fury: “Those Neocons, lawyers, the big corporations – worse than that, extremists – want to get rid of the great power of oversight of the executive. See what they’ll try to do to Obama. They’re crooks. They’re just gangsters. They are the enemy of the United States. There’s no such thing as a war on terrorism. It’s idiotic. There are slogans. It’s advertising, which is the only art form we’ve invented and developed. It’s lies.”

Sufi Architecture: The Alhambra ( Photos by Victor Ovies )

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Elements of Fascism: Ring Any Bells?

Studying the fascist regimes of Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany, Franco in Spain, Suharto in Indonesia, Pinochet in Chile, and the regimes of several countries in Latin America, fourteen elements were found to be in common and to constitute the identifying characteristics of fascism. Some food for thought:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

( See Britt, L., “Fascism Anyone?”, Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, p.20 )

Monday, September 01, 2008

Now, he's hell-bent for destruction, he's afraid and confused, And his brain has been mismanaged with great skill.

All he believes are his eyes And his eyes, they just tell him lies.

But there's a woman on my block, Sitting there in a cold chill. She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Ya may be a noisemaker, spirit maker, heartbreaker, backbreaker, Leave no stone unturned.

May be an actor in a plot, That might be all that you got 'Til your error you clearly learn.

Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool And when he sees his reflection, he's fulfilled.

Oh, man is opposed to fair play, He wants it all and he wants it his way.

Now, there's a woman on my block, She just sit there as the night grows still. She say who gonna take away his license to kill? ( Bob Dylan )


The best quip at the Democratic convention was by Governor Paterson of New York:

Afghan Painted Truck