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Words of Power #11: The Outer Limits ("We control the horizontal and the vertical...")
The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814
Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.
-- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814
In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814
Something has gone very wrong in the psyche of USA.
An ugly and un-American mentality has crawled out of the shadows and seized control of the Horizontal and the Vertical.
Let’s consider some recent news items in context.
The Inquisitor vs. The Quantum Physicist
“Insisting that God certainly needs to be involved in the Supreme Court confirmation process,” three Christian ministers snuck into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room and “anointed” all the chairs. (Wall Street Journal, 1-5-06) Don’t these “shepherds” or their “flocks” know that the Founding Fathers were NOT Christians? Notably Tom Paine, the man who incited the American Revolution, George Washington, the man who won the Revolutionary War, and Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. They were “Deists.” So was Abraham Lincoln, the man who saved the Republic. They did not believe that Jesus was their personal savior. They revered reason rather than revelation. Tom Paine wrote: “The Deist needs none of those tricks and shows called miracles to confirm his faith, for what can be a greater miracle than the creation itself, and his own existence?” The world-views of David Bohme and the Dalai Lama are much closer to those of the Founding Fathers than the the world views of Judge Alito or the three ministers who pray so ardently for his ascendancy. While, on the other hand, the world-views of Alito and some other Bush-Cheney sycophants are more in tune with Torquemada or Pinochet than the Founding Fathers: “John Yoo publicly argued there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody – including by crushing that child’s testicles. This came out in response to a question in a December 1st debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel. What is particularly chilling and revealing about this is that John Yoo was a key architect post-9/11 Bush Administration legal policy.” (www.informationclearinghouse.info, 1-18-06)
Brutalize the Sensibilities of the Public
Of course, in a healthy republic, an independent, aggressive news media (a.k.a. “the fourth estate”) acts as a national trip wire that sounds the alarm and alerts the citizenry to unwholesomeness in high places. But the US mainstream news media has abdicated that responsibility over the last five years. Indeed, they have embraced the ugly, un-American mentality that has seized the Horizontal and the Vertical. For example, CNN, the once proud network of Ted Turner and Christiane Amanpour, recently hired not only “radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett,” but also Glenn Beck, “a nationally syndicated radio host known for making controversial statements.”
On 9-28-05, Bennett opined: “[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.” On 9-9-05, Beck referred to survivors of Hurricane Katrina who remained in New Orleans as "scumbags." Also, after acknowledging that nobody "in their right mind is going to say this out loud," Beck attacked victims of the disaster in general and the families of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, saying: "I didn't think I could hate victims faster than the 9-11 victims." (Media Matters, 1-17-06)
In a sane society, both Bennett and Beck would have lost their radio shows for uttering such vile remarks—instead, they were both rewarded with lucrative contacts as cable TV news network commentators.
Meanwhile, however, James E. Hansen, NASA’s “top climate scientist,” has been warned to shut up. No, Hansen isn’t being admonished for making vile remarks about aborting black babies or hating the families of the 9/11 victims. He is being pressured to stop speaking out on the threat of global warming and what must be done to counteract it: “The scientist…longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said…that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists. Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. ‘They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public,’ he said….In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase ‘to understand and protect our home planet.’” (New York Times, 1-28-06)
Denounce The Dissidents
Nor is Hansen alone in his predicament.
Professor Saree Makdisi highlights a disturbing development on campus: “UCLA STUDENTS: Do you have a professor who just can't stop talking about President Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the Republican Party, or any other ideological issue that has nothing to do with the class subject matter? It doesn't matter whether this is a past class, or your class from this coming winter quarter. If you help expose the professor, we'll pay you for your work." This grotesque offer appeared last week on a new website taking aim at members of the UCLA faculty. The site, created by the Bruin Alumni Assn., a group founded by 2003 UCLA graduate Andrew Jones, offers differing bounties for class notes, handouts and illicit recordings of lectures ($100 for all three). A glance at the profiles of the "targeted professors," however, reveals that they have been singled out, in most cases, not for what goes on in their courses, but for the positions they have taken outside the classroom — and outside the university…My colleagues and I are being targeted for speaking out on the kinds of urgent social matters and universal principles that it has always — in every society and every age — been the task of intellectuals to address. (Witch Hunt at UCLA, Los Angeles Times, 1-22-06)
Mired in Mediocrity
Here are two more beads to string on this mala of menace:
Reporters Without Borders recently released its second world press freedom ranking: "Like last year, the most catastrophic situation is to found in Asia, with eight countries in the bottom ten: North Korea, Burma, Laos, China, Iran, Vietnam, Turkmenistan and Bhutan…Cuba is in 165th position, second from last…Eritrea, in 162nd position, has the worst situation in Africa…Wealth and press freedom don’t always go together As in 2002, the ranking shows that a country’s respect for press freedom is not solely linked to its economic development. The top 50 include countries that are among the poorest in the world, such as Benin (29th position), Timor-Leste (30th) and Madagascar (46th). Conversely, the 50 countries that respect press freedom least include such rich nations as Bahrain (117th) and Singapore (144th). The ranking distinguishes behaviour at home and abroad in the cases of the United States and Israel. They are ranked in 31st and 44th positions respectively as regards respect for freedom of expression on their own territory, but they fall to the 135th and 146th positions as regards behaviour beyond their borders." ( PRESS FREEDOM IN 2005, Reporters Without Borders, 1-8-06)
A pilot study of environmental performance, jointly produced by Yale and Columbia Universities, which shows that just six nations - led by New Zealand, followed by five from Northern Europe - have achieved 85 percent or better success in meeting a set of critical environmental goals ranging from clean drinking water and low ozone levels to sustainable fisheries and low greenhouse gas emissions, ranked the United States 28th over all, behind most of Western Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Chile, but ahead of Russia and South Korea.( Felicity Barringer, United States Ranks 28th on Environment, a New Study Says, New York Times, 1-23-06)
Excuse me? The USA is ranked 31st in the world for press freedom and 28th in the world for environmental performance?
Anti-Constitutional & Un-American
Bush, Cheney, Alito, Yoo and their fellow travelers are called “Neo-Conservatives,” but the label is misleading. They are really Neo-Totalitarians. They are anti-Constitutional and un-American. They want a Ceasar, not a Republic. They are in control of the Horizontal and the Vertical. Welcome to the Outer Limits…”
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc.
You can reach Richard Power via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net.