Monday, December 26, 2005

Smoke and Mirrors and -- oh yeah, more Smoke

My mother, of blessed memory, used to say, "You can't pee on my back and make me think it's raining." My new take on this old piece of wisdom is, "Don't blow smoke up my butt and then bill me for a colonoscopy." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but in this age of "Smoke and Mirrors" it seems more appropriate. This year I've been tempted to call the Whitehouse switchboard and ask, "Just what part of 'bend over' am I not understanding here?" But for all I know, I'm already on more than one of their secret lists. Do I really need to be on another?

Thinking about the Gregorian year ending this weekend and what we, as a nation, have managed to accomplish. We are now spying on Quakers and folks who don't wear fur. We are no closer to the truth on Plame-gate than we were a year ago. We are watching the Apartheid Wall expand across the Occupied Territories of the West Bank while we talk of a new wall separating us from our cousins to the south. We continue to put faith in the "trust me" administration and avoid words like "impeachment" and "unindicted coconspirator" lest we be called un-American. We await election results from the third Iraqi election this year and believe that this time -- for sure -- we will be able to hand sovereignty back to the people from whom we took it nearly three years ago. We are counting our dead but not counting their dead -- admitting to "30,000 more or less" as though we were guessing at how many jellybeans are in the jar. We continue to wave red flags at the Iranians on a weekly basis but are shocked -- just shocked, I tell you -- when they wave a red flag back at us. We are still debating a Patriot Act that has nothing whatsoever to do with patriotism while watching absolute power corrupt absolutely.

Personally, I am thinking of a number between one and 100,000 and two naked emperors -- George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon (which is not an image I want stuck in my head for more than a nanosecond) -- while passively watching the administration and the media add new words and phrases to our collective vocabulary as a nation, such as permanent vegetative state, Qur'an abuse, stress positions, extraordinary rendition, Bridges to Nowhere, Minutemen, Gitmoize, unlawful insurgency (a true oxymoron), punditry, evil doers, cut and run, girly men, nuclear option, public scatology, blame game, talking points, Intelligent Design, wardrobe malfunction, recess appointment, donor fatigue, neo-Caliphate and the truly offensive phrase of the month: Islamofascism -- would anyone dare to say or print Judeofascism? -- I seriously doubt it.

One year and forty-nine weeks ago (1/19/04), Dick Cheney told USA Today in an interview that he was not worried about his image as the administration's Machiavelli, skilled in the quiet arts of persuading his "Prince" to pursue questionable policies, and adding, remarkably, "Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole? It's a nice way to operate, actually."

Not much has changed since then. Cheney is operating a bit more out in the open since the 2004 election. And I've noticed that we now have a new alphabet soup on the shelf. Anyone my age will remember when the accepted abbreviations consisted of MD, PhD, CPA, H2O and AT&T and we all knew exactly what each of those letters stood for. Now CPA has a whole new meaning and we have added FISA, FOIA, NSA, CIA, FBI, WMD, FEMA, DHS, ACLU, ADL, ADC, CAIR, AIPAC, RNC, DNC, GOP, ANWR, OPEC, CAFTA, NAFTA, WTO, IMF, WHO, IAEA, AEI, DOD, GAO (which changed its name earlier this year but is still abbreviated as GAO) and, of course, the ubiquitous K Street.

Lurking somewhere amid the smoke, mirrors and alphabet soup there has to be a tipping point. If not, next year at this time we'll still be shoveling shit and hoping for a pony.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pondering the Season and a Prayer

Christmas is not my holiday, yet it's hard to escape if you live in the U.S. I was thinking back to my first Christmas in New Mexico -- at least the first where I actually lived here. Wrote something that's been on my mind since then -- 1995. Found it yesterday on the Winter Solstice. Even ten years later, it still hold up:

O, how I long for more perfect world, but that exists only on another plane, sometimes called The Next World. As always, I try to be ever-prepared for that World, the Next Reality.

Being on The Path changes perception. Not just my perception of myself and my perception of God, but my perception of Reality in general, of the world. As the world is not just the planet, I am not just my body but a synthesis of forces, ranging from intellect to racial or global memory and consciousness. All together this is my soul, my most precious possession, yet not mine -- on loan to me for a short time, entrusted so to speak. I must care for it, protect it, keep it pure. There can be no pride in ownership of this soul The trust is to return it to the Oneness, back to the conscious primordial soup, as pure as I can, so as not to pollute the soup as a whole.

Are there some souls so black that they pollute the soup permanently? Or some so pure that they can save it? The twelve (or thirty-six) righteous men of Hebrew/Hasidic lore, the Twelve Apostles, the twelve Christians afflicted with stigmata at all times -- does it take only twelve souls to keep the whole planet from collapse?

Maybe it takes only one. That may be the real story of Christmas. The consciousness of one soul played out on a global scale. Mother Mary, Isa or Jesus as the Christ, St. Theresa, Mother Theresa, Muhammad vs. Hitler, Reza Shah Pahlavi, Saddam Hussein, Pinochet, Osama bin Laden. And where does this microcosm leave the rest of us? Striving to be one of the twelve? Or just entrusted, individually, quietly to keep the soul with which we've been entrusted pure. Interesting to ponder.

An Artist's Prayer:

I trust in Allah, the Great Creator, the Oneness within the Universe and the Messengers, Saints and Angels He has sent to guide us. I seek guidance on the straight path and His help in doing the Work. Please send a Presence to guide me towards Purity and Beauty. Let me recognize the Presence, remember my Dreams, and create Beauty in Thy Name. Pour water to make my Path easy and guide me back to the Oneness. Provide abundance as I grow to make Growth possible. Strengthen my faith and give me Hope, Charity and Wisdom. But most of all, give me Beauty and Inspiration to create Inspired Beauty.

I place my soul in Your hands, now and in the Reality to come. Let it be pure. Amen.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Don't, Don't, Don't

I've spent a week trying to figure out what this Administration actually does. And all I can figure out is what they don't do ...

The don't listen to polls, they don't do torture, they don't condone torture, they don't watch the news, they don't read, they don't play the blame game, they don't comment on ongoing investigations, they don't believe in global warming, they don't do metrics, they don't allow photos of flag draped coffins returning from Iraq, they don't attend funerals, they don't forge documents, they don't use chemical weapons such as white phosphorus or depleted uranium, they don't engage in extraordinary renditions, they don't sign or honor international treaties, they don't have secret (black ops) prisons in unnamed countries, they don't deport suspects to unnamed countries who engage in torture, they don't get their hands dirty, they don't do nuance and did I mention that they don't read?

Here's a list of my own personal don'ts: I don't understand how two Downing Street memos can go unnoticed. I don't understand how the mainstream media can be deemed so credible when they so obviously lie for those pouring the Kool-Aid and serving the frosted gingerbread snowflakes (cookies). I don't get why Medicare Part D is supposed to be a good thing when my prescriptions will actually cost me more than they do under the current system. I don't watch situation comedies on television and haven't since 9/11 and can't understand how anyone else can. I don't understand why my cost of living increase does not take into account rising energy and food costs and why no one gets it that the elderly and disabled are getting more and more desperate every year. (What part of "bend over" don't we get?) I don't understand why Americans aren't marching in the streets, torches blazing, and calling for heads to roll.

And I don't understand what would be so wrong about just admitting that we made a terrible blunder by invading Iraq, apologizing profusely, kicking out Halliburton, Bechtel, and all the other American and American off-shore contractors, giving however-many-billions of dollars are left after Bremmer, Allawi, Greed and Graft to the Iraqi people c/o a third party NGO to rebuild an infrastructure that was fragile, but working, prior to our invasion, and just leaving before anyone else dies.

But that's just me ...