The Open Dimension
Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality
- Name: Alfred McGuire
- 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.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
This is What Revolution Looks Like ( By Chris Hedges, OpEdNews, 11/15/2011)
Our decaying corporate regime has strutted in Portland, Oakland and New York with their baton-wielding cops into a fool's paradise. They think they can clean up "the mess" -- always employing the language of personal hygiene and public security -- by making us disappear. They think we will all go home and accept their corporate nation, a nation where crime and government policy have become indistinguishable, where nothing in America, including the ordinary citizen, is deemed by those in power worth protecting or preserving, where corporate oligarchs awash in hundreds of millions of dollars are permitted to loot and pillage the last shreds of collective wealth, human capital and natural resources, a nation where the poor do not eat and workers do not work, a nation where the sick die and children go hungry, a nation where the consent of the governed and the voice of the people is a cruel joke.
Get back into your cages, they are telling us. Return to watching the lies, absurdities, trivia and celebrity gossip we feed you in 24-hour cycles on television. Invest your emotional energy in the vast system of popular entertainment. Run up your credit card debt. Pay your loans. Be thankful for the scraps we toss. Chant back to us our phrases about democracy, greatness and freedom. Vote in our rigged political theater. Send your young men and women to fight and die in useless, unwinnable wars that provide corporations with huge profits. Stand by mutely as our bipartisan congressional super committee, either through consensus or cynical dysfunction, plunges you into a society without basic social services including unemployment benefits. Pay for the crimes of Wall Street.
The rogues' gallery of Wall Street crooks, such as Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs, Howard Milstein at New York Private Bank & Trust, the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers and Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase & Co., no doubt think it's over. They think it is back to the business of harvesting what is left of America to swell their personal and corporate fortunes. But they no longer have any concept of what is happening around them. They are as mystified and clueless about these uprisings as the courtiers at Versailles or in the Forbidden City who never understood until the very end that their world was collapsing. The billionaire mayor of New York, enriched by a deregulated Wall Street, is unable to grasp why people would spend two months sleeping in an open park and marching on banks. He says he understands that the Occupy protests are "cathartic" and "entertaining," as if demonstrating against the pain of being homeless and unemployed is a form of therapy or diversion, but that it is time to let the adults handle the affairs of state. Democratic and Republican mayors, along with their parties, have sold us out. But for them this is the beginning of the end.
The historian Crane Brinton in his book, "Anatomy of a Revolution," laid out the common route to revolution. The preconditions for successful revolution, Brinton argued, are discontent that affects nearly all social classes, widespread feelings of entrapment and despair, unfulfilled expectations, a unified solidarity in opposition to a tiny power elite, a refusal by scholars and thinkers to continue to defend the actions of the ruling class, an inability of government to respond to the basic needs of citizens, a steady loss of will within the power elite itself and defections from the inner circle, a crippling isolation that leaves the power elite without any allies or outside support and, finally, a financial crisis. Our corporate elite, as far as Brinton was concerned, has amply fulfilled these preconditions. But it is Brinton's next observation that is most worth remembering. Revolutions always begin, he wrote, by making impossible demands that if the government met would mean the end of the old configurations of power. The second stage, the one we have entered now, is the unsuccessful attempt by the power elite to quell the unrest and discontent through physical acts of repression.
I have seen my share of revolts, insurgencies and revolutions, from the guerrilla conflicts in the 1980s in Central America to the civil wars in Algeria, the Sudan and Yemen, to the Palestinian uprising to the revolutions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania as well as the wars in the former Yugoslavia. George Orwell wrote that all tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but that once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force. We have now entered the era of naked force. The vast million-person bureaucracy of the internal security and surveillance state will not be used to stop terrorism but to try and stop us.
Despotic regimes in the end collapse internally. Once the foot soldiers who are ordered to carry out acts of repression, such as the clearing of parks or arresting or even shooting demonstrators, no longer obey orders, the old regime swiftly crumbles. When the aging East German dictator Erich Honecker was unable to get paratroopers to fire on protesting crowds in Leipzig, the regime was finished. The same refusal to employ violence doomed the communist governments in Prague and Bucharest. I watched in December 1989 as the army general that the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had depended on to crush protests condemned him to death on Christmas Day. Tunisia's Ben Ali and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak lost power once they could no longer count on the security forces to fire into crowds.
The process of defection among the ruling class and security forces is slow and often imperceptible. These defections are advanced through a rigid adherence to nonviolence, a refusal to respond to police provocation and a verbal respect for the blue-uniformed police, no matter how awful they can be while wading into a crowd and using batons as battering rams against human bodies. The resignations of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's deputy, Sharon Cornu, and the mayor's legal adviser and longtime friend, Dan Siegel, in protest over the clearing of the Oakland encampment are some of the first cracks in the edifice. "Support Occupy Oakland, not the 1% and its government facilitators," Siegel tweeted after his resignation.
There were times when I entered the ring as a boxer and knew, as did the spectators, that I was woefully mismatched. Ringers, experienced boxers in need of a tuneup or a little practice, would go to the clubs where semi-pros fought, lie about their long professional fight records, and toy with us. Those fights became about something other than winning. They became about dignity and self-respect. You fought to say something about who you were as a human being. These bouts were punishing, physically brutal and demoralizing. You would get knocked down and stagger back up. You would reel backwards from a blow that felt like a cement block. You would taste the saltiness of your blood on your lips. Your vision would blur. Your ribs, the back of your neck and your abdomen would ache. Your legs would feel like lead. But the longer you held on, the more the crowd in the club turned in your favor.
No one, even you, thought you could win. But then, every once in a while, the ringer would get overconfident. He would get careless. He would become a victim of his own hubris. And you would find deep within yourself some new burst of energy, some untapped strength and, with the fury of the dispossessed, bring him down. I have not put on a pair of boxing gloves for 30 years. But I felt this twinge of euphoria again in my stomach this morning, this utter certainty that the impossible is possible, this realization that the mighty will fall.
Cross-posted from Truthdig
Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The (more...)
Sign Congressman Grijalva's Petition to Prevent Medicare and Medicaid Cuts
Over the past several months, I have offered constructive recommendations for deficit reduction while stressing the need to put Americans back to work -- there are real solutions to our debt crisis that don't hurt the 99%.Congress's top priority must be job creation. The Super Committee should be listening to the working people of this nation who reject proposed austerity measures.They should be asking the 1% to pay their fair share.In this economic crisis, the last thing we should be talking about is slashing the program that provides health coverage for our seniors and the most vulnerable.We must leave Medicare and Medicaid benefits off the table.
Let's send a message so loud the Super Committee can't ignore it -- join me and almost 100,000 Democracy for America Members to say -- no cuts to Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
It's time to focus on fair solutions. Together we can stand up for the 99%.Peace.
Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva Co-Chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The USA in 2011: The Thin Veneer of Civilization
22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear
In order for a society to function, there has to be a certain level of trust. Each day when we leave our homes, we take for granted that most people are not going to attack us for no reason, that there will only be isolated incidents of theft in our community and that rioting and violence are not going to erupt in the streets. Whether we realize it or not, we depend on the fact that the vast majority of the people around us are going to act in a civilized manner. Unfortunately, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear. When I was growing up, I was taught that challenging times reveal our true character. There are many that believe that the declining economy is causing a lot of the chaos that we are now witnessing, but perhaps what is going on is that these challenging economic times are simply revealing the character that has been there all along. For decades, a "false prosperity" that was fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt has masked a lot of the internal rot that has taken hold in America. But now that our prosperity is crumbling, our lack of values is becoming startlingly clear.
Greed, corruption and extreme self-centeredness have deeply infected our society. We see this on Wall Street and in Congress, and we see this among those that are trying to survive on the mean streets of our largest cities.
Our nation is breaking down on every level. If by some miracle we were able to fix our economy, that would mask our problems for a while, but it would not solve them.
Unfortunately, as I write about nearly every day, there are a whole host of indications that our economy is about to get even worse. When it does, millions of Americans will become even more desperate, and as we are now seeing all over this country, desperate people do desperate things.
The following are 22 signs that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear....
#1 In Detroit, 100 bus drivers recently refused to drive their routes out of fear for their own personal safety. An article posted on the website of the CBS affiliate in Detroit is quoting the head of the bus drivers union, Henry Gaffney, as saying that the drivers are "scared for their lives"....
“Our drivers are scared, they’re scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off, when one of my drivers was beat up by some teenagers down in the middle of Rosa Parks and it took the police almost 30 minutes to get there, in downtown Detroit,” said Gaffney.
#2 In Wilmington, Delaware recently, a man offered to help someone carry a television down the street, but quickly realized that it was his own television which had just been stolen out of his house....
A Wilmington resident who stopped home for lunch about noon today saw a man carrying a flat screen TV down the street and asked the man if he needed help.
He then recognized the television as his own, looked up and saw the door to his home ajar, said Master Sgt. Adam Ringle.
#3 Shocking video has surfaced of a young thug walking up to a defenseless elderly man in a Chicago subway station and knocking him out cold. In the video, the friends of the young man are cheering him on and laughing at how easy it was to knock the old man out cold.
#4 Beating up old people for no reason seems to be catching on all over the country. Just check out the following report from a recent article posted on philly.com....
AN 84-YEAR-OLD ex-university official savagely attacked by four young punks during a walk in Wissahickon Valley Park earlier this week theorizes that the beating he endured was a cruel game of "get the old geezer."
Jim Shea, a former vice president of university relations for Temple, from 1968 to 1983, walks up to five miles on Forbidden Drive, in Fairmount Park, three times a week, but that type of stamina wasn't enough to stave off the lowlifes who not only beat him bloody, but dealt a blow to one of the things he holds most dear - his pride.
#5 All over the United States, police are wailing on Occupy Wall Street protesters with clubs and liberally using pepper spray on them. Whatever you may think of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the reality is that this is not a sign that things are becoming "more stable" in America. You can see video of one very disturbing confrontation right here.
#6 Clashes between police and protesters in Oakland, California recently became so violent that at one point the streets of Oakland resembled a war zone.
#7 Unfortunately, as the American people become increasingly frustrated with out system many of them are actually starting to consider violence as a solution. According to one recent survey, 31 percent of all Occupy Wall Street protesters "would support violence to advance their agenda".
#8 In New York recently, a confrontation between two female customers and a frustrated cashier ended with the cashier beating the living daylights out of them with a metal rod. The following is how a local CBS affiliate in New York described this incident....
It appeared to have started when two female customers argued and yelled obscenities at the cashier when he questioned a $50 bill they gave him.
One of the female customers then slapped the cashier. A woman is then seen jumping over the counter while the other woman goes behind the register.
That’s when the cashier can be seen on the video disappearing into the back of the fast-food restaurant. He comes back with a metal rod and begins hitting the women.
You can see video of this violent confrontation right here.
#9 These days, many Americans are so "on edge" that just about anything will make them snap. For example, a 60-year-old woman in New Mexico recently repeatedly stabbed her boyfriend because she thought that he was cheating during a game of Monopoly.
#10 If you thought that the above example was crazy, just check out what one man down in Georgia did recently. He actually firebombed a Taco Bell because they did not put enough meat in his Chalupa.
#11 In Cleveland last week, a 49-year-old man was sent to the hospital after a poll monitor working for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections tried to bite his nose off.
#12 Not only do TSA agents make us feel like dehumanized cattle as we go through airport security, some of them are evening making fun of us at the same time. For example, one TSA agent recently scribbled “GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL” on a TSA inspection notice after discovering a sex toy in the luggage of one female traveler.
#13 Identity theft is rising to very alarming levels all over the United States. For example, a recent article in the Palm Beach Post described what has been going on down in Florida this year....
In the first half of this year, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 20,000 complaints from Floridians whose identities had been stolen -- nearly as many as in all of 2010. More than half of those reporting their Social Security numbers or other personal information had been ripped off and used to commit fraud or theft were in South Florida, with heavy concentrations in parts of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.
"That kind of increase is really shocking,'' said Vance Luce, deputy special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service in South Florida, which investigates identity theft and financial crimes. "The fact that it's on the upturn doesn't surprise me at all, but that's pretty alarming.''
#14 In the Seattle area, an elderly couple in their eighties was recently brutally attacked by a 31-year-old man armed with a crossbow and a hatchet. The following description of this brutal crime comes from King 5 News....
Prosecutors say 31-year-old John Chase was walking down the highway when he saw Ralph Aldrich, 88, in his back yard. Detectives say Chase shot and killed Aldrich with a crossbow and then went inside the home and repeatedly hit 83-year-old June Aldrich with a hatchet.
#15 As America falls apart, more of us than ever are taking medication for depression. At this point, more than 1 out of every 10 Americans over the age of 12 is taking prescription antidepressants.
#16 In some areas of the country, people have been literally tearing apart their own cities in an attempt to find things to sell. I recently discussed this phenomenon on The American Dream Blog....
In Fresno, California the damage caused by thieves stealing copper wire from city street lights is costing the city about $50,000 a month. So far, about 2,500 street lights have been stripped of their wiring.
#17 As people become more desperate, we are starting to see some truly bizarre crimes in many parts of the nation. In northern Alabama, one team of crooks has been using a forklift to pull entire ATM machines out of the ground.
#18 Most Americans don't realize this, but all over the U.S. livestock is being stolen from ranchers in unprecedented numbers. The following is from a recent Associated Press article....
While the brazenness may be unusual, the theft isn't. High beef prices have made cattle attractive as a quick score for people struggling in the sluggish economy, and other livestock are being taken too. Six thousand lambs were stolen from a feedlot in Texas, and nearly 1,000 hogs have been stolen in recent weeks from farms in Iowa and Minnesota. The thefts add up to millions of dollars in losses for U.S. ranches.
Authorities say today's thieves are sophisticated compared to the horseback bandits of the rugged Old West. They pull up livestock trailers in the middle of the night and know how to coax the animals inside. Investigators suspect it's then a quick trip across state lines to sell the animals at auction barns.
#19 At this point, thieves are becoming so bold that they will steal literally anything that they are able to cart away. For example, in the San Francisco area a while back thieves actually stole a copper bell that weighs 2.7 tons.
#20 According to the FBI, the number of gang members in the United States has increased by a staggering 40 percent since 2009. Right now, there are 1.4 million gang members terrorizing citizens on the streets of America.
#21 Down in Miami, thieves have become so bold that they have actually been breaking into parked police cruisers and stealing guns and ammo out of them. Many of those guns undoubtedly are ending up in the hands of gangs members.
#22 Be careful who you befriend online. They might just hold you captive and use you as part of a Satanic sex ritual. The following description of an incident that recently happened in Milwaukee comes from thesmokinggun.com....
Two young Milwaukee women were arrested this week after an 18-year-old Arizona man--who traveled to Wisconsin by bus after meeting one of the suspects online--told cops that he was held captive in the duo’s apartment for two days and slashed and stabbed more than 300 times as part of an apparent satanic sex ritual.
Anger and frustration are growing to unprecedented levels in this country, and all of this anger and frustration is manifesting in thousands of different ways.
As I have written about previously, the rioting, the crime and the violence that we are seeing now is only just the beginning of what is coming.
Unless a miracle happens, our country is going to keep heading down the road toward societal collapse. For even more examples that show that our country is starting to come apart at the seams, please see the following articles that I have authored previously....
It won't happen all at once, but unless our nation changes direction dramatically, we will see things get progressively worse and worse.
Instead of teaching our children to love and care for one another, we have taught them to be incredibly self-involved. Today, way too many Americans deeply love themselves, deeply love money and are deeply addicted to entertainment. Each new generation seems to be even more prideful, even more arrogant and even more violent. As a nation, we are losing our empathy for others, our compassion for the needy and our respect for the elderly. Our family units are breaking down and thousands of our communities are being transformed into hellholes.