Never have I been prouder to be a American. The 700 billion dollar corporate welfare bill was defeated and we did it together. The American people called up their Representatives and told them not to vote for that bill. They threatened their Congressmen with their jobs. The American people acted as if this was a democratic republic. The shock was felt across the world. The Asian stock markets collapsed. They were shocked when they discovered that we were no longer going to be their milk cows. We need change in America and we cannot afford to wait for Barack Obama to get around doing it. We have to do it ourselves. Yesterday, we showed some backbone for the first time since 1980. Maybe we have started something. Everybody who made a phone call to Congress, everybody who sent an email, everybody who signed a petition, is a hero.
The people who caused this economic disaster cannot possibly stay in charge. The bail out would only have assured that the same idiots who caused the bail out would be free to continue on their merry way. They would take our 700 billion dollars and use it to cause even more damage. They would not change their business plan, which is take the money and run. They would not tighten up their investment rules. On the other hand, the government could take the seven billion dollars and actually use it to do some good. The SEC, FTC, and the Treasury could get their funding back. They could hire on new agents and prevent the crimes that caused our economy to melt down in the first place. They could subsidize housing and end homelessness. A fraction of that 700 billion could be used to start a nifty national health plan.
Right now they are working on a revised corporate welfare bill. Don’t fall for it. The world is not going to end simply because the idiots that caused this crisis lost their money. Why should they get bailed out when all of us have lost? We lost our jobs when they outsourced them. They ripped us off when they sold us investments which are now worthless. Remember, the present Secretary of the Treasury was the former chairman of Goldman Sachs. Paulson is one of the architects of the crash. Next time you call your Representative to say no to the bail out, you might demand his immediate resignation.
Right now there are European banks which are more than willing to support the failing American institutions in return for a fair return on their investments. Let them bail us out. The first thing that will happen is that the current crop of criminals will be tossed out in the streets. Then the banking, mortgage, and investment industries will be reorganized back into pre-1980 conditions. Our investments will come back a little more slowly, but they will come back. Best of all, we will be safer with a partnership with the Europeans than we have been dealing with the Chinese. Maybe, with luck, our jobs will come home from their nice vacations in the mysterious east. I miss our industrial base, don’t you? Won’t it be nice when we have it back?
People, we are on a roll. This is not the time to rest on our laurels, and we don’t have to limit ourselves to the economy. What do you think would happen if we all called our Representatives and told them, “bring home the troops or your job is off the table”? I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that the wars in the Middle East will end before the election. Within days we will have a withdrawal plan. It’s time to pump up the volume. We made the first step of taking back our government. Let’s follow through.
I’ll tell you one thing, September 11th Conspiracy theorists are a tenacious lot. The only group of people more determined to avoid reality is Right Wing Christianoids. The conspiracy people even use the same bullying tactics and peer pressure arguments that the Christianoids use. “Why do you believe the government’s story?” is one such accusation they throw at me. This is reminiscent of the Christianoids telling me that if I don’t believe in Jesus, then I must be worshiping Satan. Its a black and white thing to these people; if you do not accept their party line then you are a government dupe. It never occurs to them that both they and the government could be full of it.
September 11th conspiracy folk are in denial about the stupidity of the people who run this once great nation. I can hardly blame them for that. It is a hard thing to acknowledge that our leaders have IQs lower than our shoe sizes. Yet look what happened to New Orleans with Katrina. The entire Washington cabal was in denial over the situation. They paid no attention to it. Then they panicked after they could no longer deny the seriousness of the disaster. Panic seems to be the constant state of the Bush Administration. Bin Laden could not possibly have picked a better President to attack. When the planes hit, Bush and his comic opera cohorts panicked and attacked Afghanistan. To this day we have no idea what Bush thought he would accomplish. It was simply a panic reaction to give the people at home the illusion that somebody competent was in charge.
I suspect that September 11th conspiracy people are having trouble understanding the utter depths of stupidity that humanity is capable of. The idea that utterly incompetent people are running the country scares them to death. A conspiracy provides them with the same comfort that Jesus supplies to Christianoids. The idea is that somebody is in charge even if that somebody is Goldfinger. At least Goldfinger is smart.
One of the arguments that the conspiracy people keep throwing out at me is, how did the government figure out that it was bin Laden so quickly? Well, it’s like this. The FBI tried to warn Bush that the attack was going to happen. The CIA tried to warn Rice that it was going to happen. They got escorted out of her office for their their troubles. The Mossad tried to warn Bush that the attack was going to happen. So did French and Swiss security. The Swiss know about it. So after the planes hit their targets, Bush said, “duh, it must have been bin Laden”..
The most damning evidence of Bush’s stupidity is the war in Iraq. Hey, we all knew that there was going to be a war in Iraq. We knew that before Bush was elected. Bill Clinton bombed Iraq to raise himself in the polls. After he bombed Baghdad he called himself the comeback kid. Clinton had less provocation than Bush and he came out smelling like a rose. Bush and his buddies are so stupid that they screwed up. If it was a conspiracy, don’t you think that the Bush Administration would have cooked up better excuses? Even Nancy Pelosi is having trouble covering for Bush’s incompetence
September 11th conspiracies are also an emotional outlet for a feeling of powerlessness. It is an expression of frustration for situations that people feel helpless about. It’s hard to admit that you lost your home and your job was outsourced to Timbuktu because the people in charge are too stupid to pound sand. It is also an excuse not to do anything about it. How does one fight Goldfinger? Nobody even knows where Goldfinger is. Since unions are vilified in our current libertarian atmosphere, how does one deal with a government that does not listen? A couple of good national strikes would get Bush’s attention, but strikes would be communist.
Were I George W. Bush, I would be hiring PR specialists by the dozen, and have them cranking out September 11th conspiracies by the bushel. It’s the greatest thing to ever happen to the stupidest administration since Grant. The idea of a secret cabal calling the shots certainly takes Bush off the hook. It absolves him of responsibility for all his actions, from stealing the election to the Iraq war. Sometimes September 11th conspiracies remind me of the Royalists during the French Revolution who insisted that the king was being manipulated by a secret cabal of Masons. Like the Conspiracy people of today, the Royalists would do anything to avoid admitting that their king was stupid.
September 11th theorists will do anything to avoid admitting that we are being led to destruction by morons. One asked why bin Laden’s people went to the United States to learn to fly when bin Laden had a perfectly good flight stimulator. Well, if I play enough video games will I become a ninja? You actually have to get into a plane to learn to fly it. Simulators just don’t do it for any real flying. Another argument is that there has to be a conspiracy because the conspirators are still rich. That argument is straight out of the Protestant Work Ethic. Of course rich people are smarter than we are. God made them that way. The fact that our current crop of political howler monkeys triggered a world wide stock market crash must be part of their cunning plan. This means that the conspirators must be Blackadder and Baldric. Nobody else could possibly be that stupid.
No doubt about it, we are a religion crazy country. Even our Communists worship at the altar of St. Karl. We scare gay politicians into the closet and then blame them for being in the closet when they get caught. Americans just can’t make up their minds. That is why we need a state religion. Our state religion must stress Jesus and Moses with a passing nod to Mohammad. Our clergy must fully embrace the Protestant Work Ethic and People Magazine can be our holy book. Our high priest can be an ex-president and our high priestess can be Oprah. After all, rich people are morally superior to all of us. Put that all together and we will have a religion we can all unite against. Maybe then we will come to our senses as a nation.
Paris Hilton does not work as a virgin priestess, which is why she had to go to jail. Britney Spears can be forgiven for being bipolar. This is why her father leaked her private psychiatric information to the press. It’s one thing to get drunk and dance around without your panties before you have kids. It’s another to do it after you have given birth twice. Moral America was about to put its collective foot down. That would have ended her record sales. Now that we all know that poor Britney is bipolar, Moral America can pity her. No doubt that saved her career and her cash value to her family. Public figures give up their privacy in return for publicity and suffer under the judgment of Moral America. Both celebrities and politicians are treated equally under the scrutiny of Moral America. I heard one old codger say he was voting for McCain because “Sarah Palin is hot.” There seems to be a major confusion between world leaders and band leaders in the United States.
Morality is always ordained by God and is therefore part and parcel of the Protestant Work Ethic. If you are God’s chosen you can do whatever you want; it’s moral. A woman can be raped at a Church of All Worlds event and it’s all her fault for being sexually repressed. (That is the greatest sin for CAW members.) Another part of the Protestant Work Ethic is that the holy writings are beyond question. If you are one of the elect, you never question the holy writings, and those who wrote them have to be prophets. This is why Libertarians revere Jefferson like Christians revere Jesus, and why there are American Marxists who treat Herr Karl like he walked on water and returned from death. It’s all part of the American Religion.
I learned about the American religion from Dr. Perry Troutman at Lebanon Valley College. His Religion in America course stayed with me all my life, and the most important thing I took out of it was the concept of the American religion. American Religion takes on certain characteristics which are as immutable as Confucianism in China. The first characteristic is that American religions are obsessed by morality. The second is that America has never grown out of the Puritan Work Ethic. We still somehow think that rich people are morally superior to the rest of us. The third is that we look at public figures as if they are somehow clergy. Especially, God save us all, the President.
I will never forget the time a Church of All Worlds priestess jumped up and down screaming, “monogamy is immoral!” I mention this to demonstrate that even the alternative religions in the United States have the same obsession with morality. This is why we have Libertarians and Communists at each other’s throats instead of sitting down and working things out. Of course each and every group in America, religious or otherwise, has different standards of morality. The sorriest thing is that so few of them incorporate “live and let live.” The Democrats are immoral because Bill Clinton had sex in the Oval Office or the Republicans are immoral because some of their members were forced out of the closet. Nobody ever stops to think that it is morality itself which is the problem. If America was not so morality happy, sex in the oval office would have remained the nonevent of the century. vIf the United States was not so obsessed with morality, the closeted gay Republicans would never get as far as they have by pandering to American morality.
It seems that the boundaries between church and state lack definition. America confuses religion with its politics as well as its entertainment. We find ourselves judging our fellow human beings by superhuman standards. So what if Bill Clinton fell of the fidelity wagon? So what if poor, crazy little Britney drank a little too much? When push comes to shove, it’s none of our business. I really don’t want to hear about what Larry Craig does in strange bathrooms. The fact of the matter is that politicians are human beings and they are going to do human things. The same with entertainers. There is something really creepy about Britney’s father telling the world that his little girl has a brain chemistry dysfunction. There is something really petty about making Paris Hilton stay in jail simply because she is a celebrity. Not only does America confuse religion in everything, but it brings the worst out of us.
I have watched a trend towards atheism in the United States. I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. The world has been run by imaginary friends for way too long. Just picture two little kids talking together. One kid says to the other kid, “this is my invisible friend, Mikey. He sees everything and he knows everything. If you’re bad he’ll blast you with lightning.” Soon all the kids on the playground are afraid of Mikey. They do everything that the teachers say, because they don’t want Mikey to be pissed off at them. Of course the kid who created Mikey is going to be the teacher’s pet. They are going to give him special treats and extra breaks, because Mikey is such a big help. What would they do without him?
For time out of mind, being a holy man meant that you never had to find honest work. Buddhist priests went around with their begging bowls and were fed through the largess of the villagers. The funny thing is that the villagers never stopped to think that if they didn’t feed the priests they would go away. The Hindus and the Chinese had huge temples that were funded by offerings. Nobody stopped to think that they could starve those parasites out and use the money for more useful things. That would piss off the make believe friends. If you read Leviticus in the Old Testament, those Levites lived the life. The Hebrews had no end to the sins that had to be washed clean through blood sacrifice. The Levites got to eat all the best parts of the sheep and bulls that were slaughtered.
Where would government be today without religion? How would the Chinese emperors have faired without Confucian temples? Where would European Royalty be without Popes Doubtless they would have been forced to survive by their wits alone. They would have survived by listening to their subjects and promising them anything as long as they kept their jobs and positions. When you stop and think of it, European royalty would have had to behave like American Congressmen. So then why are we in our present straits today? Why do we have American jobs in the mysterious east? Why is our economy sinking faster than the Titanic? We can blame everything on God.
Even in the computer age, politicians still have God to fall back on. God can always be depended on to support the powers that be. James Dobson tells his brain washed minions that national health will fund abortions, and the brain washed minions will vote against national health. All Ron Paul has to do is tell his crowd that Tom Jefferson was against national health and the libertarian crowd will vote against national health, because Jefferson has replaced Jesus in their hearts.
The idea that there has to be some invisible force manipulating the world seems to be an essential part of the American culture. Perhaps it’s because the United States was founded by a bunch of religious crackpots who wanted to be isolated from liberal influences. Even otherwise intelligent people who have rejected religion fall for conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories state that invisible forces are manipulating the world for their own benefit. That certainly fits into anybody’s rational definition of God. Quite often, such modern religions as neo-Paganism will fall into conspiracy theories in order to have a Satan to believe in. After all, America was founded by Christianoid lunatics. You have to have a Satan in order to be an American religion.
I doubt that we will ever have a free society until we get rid of the need for invisible friends. Someday people will realize that God is an idealization of their present leaders. Someday people will realize that conspiracy theories fill the void that is left when Americans stop believing in Satan. When libertarians realize they are deifying Jefferson, we will have a truly free society. Politicians will no longer have an invisible friend to hide behind, and this is Bill holding his breath.
Human behavior can be predicted with amazing accuracy. The more people involved the more depressingly accurate the prediction. This is how the Public Relations weasels turned the idiocy of Reagan’s administration into a success. This is how the Catholic Church managed to hide the pedophile priest problem for decades. People can be trusted to disbelieve anything they do not want to believe. The New Age thrived because people did not want to believe they were responsible for the world that we live in. This disbelief is called Denial, and it is actually an important survival mechanism.
When the human mind is confronted with something really horrible, it goes into a shut down. The mind does not acknowledge it. It takes the memory and puts it away in a closet and shuts the door. The memory stays in the closet until the mind is ready to deal with the memory. What happens for individuals can also happen to groups. Something really nasty happens to a group of people and people simply deny that it happens.
We have watched this happen with the Catholic Church. Entire parishes have turned their backs on pedophilia victims and their families rather than to acknowledge that it happened. Denial goes beyond that as well. I suspect that conspiracy theories come out of a mass denial that bad things can happen. I grew up on Kennedy conspiracy theories. The poor man has been dead for 44 years. It is certain that his assassination was a lone operation done by J. Edgar Hoover, because of Hoover’s racist paranoia. Yet to this day there are Kennedy Conspiracy theories going around. Worse, they are the same ones that have been discredited years ago.
We have the same problem with September 11th conspiracy theories. I think It’s because people cannot accept that this country is being run by morons. Rather than admit the government is being run by a bunch of crooks so stupid that they caused a world wide stock market crash, they come up with elaborate conspiracy theories. I suppose it gives people a sense of security to think that their government is being run by Goldfinger instead of Knucklehead Smith.
Be it September 11th or Evolution, everything is subject to denial. Religion is a massive denial mechanism used to fool ourselves into thinking that there is somebody in charge. Massive groups of people gather together under the pretended protection of a make-believe friend in the sky. They reassure themselves that the truth of their holy books is beyond question. They reinforce the idea that their adherence to their make-believe friend makes them morally superior to other people. There is no religion which is immune to this fallacy. One can be a rapture believing Christianoid or an neo-pagan dancing naked around a bonfire, denial is the thread they have in common.
Several years ago my wife was advocating for a girl who had been abused by her father and members of the neo-pagan cult her father belonged to. This cult is infamous for its friendship with serial killer Leonard Lake. Naturally all attempts to communicate with this cult met with deaf ears. All of them closed ranks to protect the father, just as a Catholic parish would close ranks around a pedophile priest. Denial is the one force we can depend on in an ever changing world. It is the number one method used by both salesmen and con men. To accept the truth about a terrible situation means that one has to do something about it. Religion places the responsibility into the hands of the make-believe friend. Conspiracy theories take power out of the hands of the public and into the hands of pretend conspirators. One wonders how we survived at all.
Of all the ridiculous fads that passed through this ridiculous country, there is no fad so ridiculous as the New Age. Hula hoops, poodle skirts, and Elvis sightings pale in comparison. If a nation reflects the mental state of its leaders, then all of America caught Reagan’s Alzheimer’s. That’s the only way I can explain it. It was like the entire country had fallen for the world’s biggest séance scam. There were hundreds of ghosts, ghoulies, and things that go bump in the night coming back to tell we, the carnate, how to live our lives. I often wonder how Deepak Chopra survived all the competition. Should I outlive Dr. Chopra, I might decide to “channel” him just to see how many rubes fall for it.
America is a religion-happy country anyway. Without any structures to hold it at bay, religion has multiplied like rabbits in Australia. Religion has done as much to undermine American society as rabbits have undermined the Australian environment. Like rabbits in Australia, religion has no natural predators in the U.S. There are no laws or taxes to keep it under control. Religion can do what it wants, say what it wants, defame who it wants, and there is nothing we can do about it. Preachers can go up on the pulpit and tell their brainwashed minions who to vote for, but there is no way a bureaucrat can tell a religion what to believe. There is something very unfair about that. Religion has us surrounded. We are out-gunned and outnumbered. They can see the whites of our eyes, yet we do not have anything to shoot back with.
Like all uniquely American religious movements, the New Age was based on predestination. Americans seem to be terrified of free will and happenstance. This is why Americans revere Albert Einstein and ignore Niels Bohr. Einstein promised a unified field theory that would reduce, while Bohr and his Quantum Mechanics deny that a Unified Field Theory is even possible. Based on random motion and statistics, Quantum Mechanics is the basis of modern physics. Einstein never delivered on his unified field theory. Yet, despite the evidence, Americans insist that they have a make-believe friend that controls every aspect of their lives.
The New Age takes predestination and gives it a nasty twist. In classical predestination, God decides who is saved and who is damned by blessing or cursing people on Earth. Wealth is considered a sign of God’s salvation while poverty is a sign of damnation. The New Age took this belief and brought it to new heights of idiocy. According to the New Age, you decide everything that is going to happen to you while you are between lives. To the New Agers it is not God who curses you with sickness, poverty, and terrible acne. To the New Agers, you do it to yourself. I had one New Ager tell me that she did not understand why people were so upset about the African famines. The victims wanted to starve to death. That’s why they decided to reincarnate as poor Black children.
If this is true, why don’t we all keep coming back as rich hedonists? After we die, do we all go into our focus groups and decide who gets to be rich this time around? Who gets to be poor? Who gets to be the sex slave? Do we argue over who gets to be monarch of England? Who mediates when two disincorporated souls both want to come back as Emperor of the United States and Defender of Mexico? Do we draw lots to see who has to come back as a Somalian or a San Francisco street person?
What comes around goes around. I suspect that is the only spiritual law that has any real validity. Back in the Reagan years, people ignored the poor. After all, if they didn’t want to be poor they would have decided to come back rich. The streets filled with homeless, and the more fortunate congratulated each other for being spiritually advanced. Today the more fortunate have watched their investments turn to toilet paper. Their IRAs are worth less today than when they first started saving. Many of them are waiting for the sheriff to evict them from their homes.
Do they ever look back at the 80s, and remember how warm and fuzzy they felt when George Bush the elder called them “A Thousand Points of Light”? Do they ever stop and think about how spiritual they felt when they paid over a hundred dollars for a piece of quartz that might have cost the retailer a nickel? I bet the thousand points of light are feeling like a bunch of dim bulbs today. They bought into a load of shit. It never occurred to them that all religious movements are a con. Be it the Assembly of God or Church of all Worlds, religion and religious movements are means to remove money from fools. The only thing that made the New Age different was its size and scope.
In any con there are always two criminals. The conman and the victim. The victim falls for the con because he wants something for nothing. In the case of the New Age, the victims wanted wealth without responsibility and selfishness without consequences. The results were that minorities were the ones who suffered the consequences. At least until the real estate meltdown began the slow slide into fiscal disaster. The question now is have the victims learned their lessons? Somehow I doubt it.
There are few things that will drive me into a rage faster than the able bodied discriminating against the disabled. I suppose that human rights are such a rare commodity that there isn’t enough of them for everybody. Those of us who cannot keep up with the young and healthy are just second class citizens. Maybe we are not even citizens at all. After all, many of us need reasonable accommodations. We need curb cuts, and beepers in the traffic lights to help us cross the streets. Some of us may even need help in crossing the street.
I have chronic pain issues which preclude me from driving. I have not been behind the wheel since I was sixteen years old. I hate it when people look at me like I was from Mars and ask “how can you survive without a car?” It certainly can be done. I’ve been doing it for 34 years. It takes ingenuity and persistence. I am more prepared for the coming oil crunch than most of you guys. I can just picture myself staring at you like you were from Mars and saying, “how could you survive this long without knowing the public transit schedules?”
One of the things that really pisses me off is when the able bodied compare disabilities. “There are people in wheelchairs who can drive,” I am told over and over again. I don’t know what keeps me from beating these idiots to death with a dead halibut. People in wheelchairs have special controls installed in their cars. There is no such accommodation for my disability. Also, not all wheelchair users are the same. Some wheelchair users are too weak in the arms to use hand controls. Others lack coordination. Disabilities are not a cookie-cutter situation. There are other people with chronic pain and weakness in the legs who can easily drive.
Of course, not all disabilities are visible. The able bodied can see if you are blind or in a wheelchair. That makes you an object of pity. You are somebody they can feel superior to while proving their compassion. There are many disabilities which are not visible, and that’s when the hard core bigotry comes out. I brought up an autistic son who did not match the able bodied “Rain Man” preconceptions of autism. “I don’t see anything wrong with him,” I heard over and over again. “He’s just spoiled,” said others. One real loser, the former head of CAW’s children’s ministry, had the nerve to lay hands on him.
Denial is not just a river in Egypt, it is also the basis of the able bodied prejudice against the disabled. It is so much easier for the able bodied to simply make believe that invisible disabilities don’t exist. If they don’t conform to Dustin Hoffman’s terrible rendition in “Rain Man,” then autistics don’t exist. If the blind do not wear dark glasses and carry canes, then they are not blind. If the disabled don’t conform to their preconceptions, then of course they are just making it up.
We have the ADA and the Californians with Disabilities Act, which is a start. These laws serve the same purpose as the Civil Rights Act. They are not there to destroy prejudice. That would be impossible. We are always going to have stupid people amongst us. The true purpose is to educate people that prejudice exists. This means we are going to need these laws for a long, long, time.