Against the Next War, Allies, Authoritarianism, Bad Ideas, Brotherly Love, Capitalism, Class War, Community, Compassion, Culture, Democracy, Free Market Capitalism, Free Spirit, Freedom, Freedom and Liberty, Friends, Giving, Human Nature, Humanism, Idealism, Ideologies, International Relations, Internet, Liars Lies and Lying, Life, Love, Obligations to Society, Peace, Philos, Political Ideologies, Violence, Wisdom

Against the Next War

(About a 3 minute read)

The internet has made it now
Bound to happen
Tomorrow or the year after.
Bound to happen.

Maybe.
Up to you.

The politicians and the preachers,
The two dogs of the capitalist class,
Will once again want a war,
Just as they always do.

War to them is a gift, you see,
It’s not personal, it’s not their blood.
But war makes some folks rich
And you will never change that,
You will never change that,
Though the dogs will bark it’s not so.

A war of aggression
Against some people somewhere,

Most likely brown,
Most likely poor,
Most likely weak,
Most likely no real threat.

War for the sake of the banks
And for the merchants of death.
War for the sake of the pulpit,
And for the corridors of power.

But not a war for the sake
Of you and of me. We don’t count.
Our side is the one side
That has never counted.
Never.

That’s how war goes, it’s always been so
And it’s bound to happen again,
Soon happen again.

This is your world,
How it really is —
The world you think,
The world you were taught,
The gods want you to live in and love
Them more than you love each other.

In your world are great nations:
Nations the greatest in history,
Nations with the power of suns,
A thousands suns,
To do good, make truths come true
For even the poor man, the poor woman,
The poor child. Make truths come true.

But these nations,
Nations great and greatest,
Act only like whores,
Filthy whores,
Fucking folks raw,
Spreading their diseases,
Recruiting new girls,
Ever younger girls
To fuck you, to fuck all of you,
To fuck everyone.

This is your world
Your world without end.

But now someday you see

Someday now for once it will happen
For once it will stop
Stop the day they give a war
And you
You rise up, join hands
By the millions, possibly billions,
Linked together by the net
And by love, and by common sense.

At last,
At last you will rise, singing
“At last my spirit shall have water!
At last my cries shall be heard!
At last my thirst shall be slaked!”

Yes, you will rise up and you will say
In a voice thunderous and magnified
By the whole world joining in,

Say, “Those people are our friends,
We chat with them by day and by night.
We know their hopes, we know their dreams,
We know their troubles, we know their fears.
We know them, we know their names.

“Jane and Matthias. Terese and Sindhuja.
Mark, Parikhitdutta, and Min.

We even marry them now and then —
They shall not this time be murdered.

“You will not touch them,
Our brothers, our friends;
This once the bombs won’t fall.
This once the bombs won’t fall.
You politicians and preachers,
You capitalists and bankers all —
This once the bombs won’t fall.”

Yet you know it will ever be a dream
Just a dream, just a mere dream.
It will ever be a dream
If you, if we, keep on dividing,
Never uniting, never joining,
But instead just staying, just keeping,
To my echo chamber or to yours.

So let’s come together
Let’s come together,
Let’s come together.

So let’s come together
Before the nukes fall,
Before the demons fall.
Before we die in the winter,
And we come together
Never once come together at all.

 


Please seriously consider spreading this poem — spreading it to your site, to the social media sites — in an effort to make it go viral. We need it viral well before the next war, we need folks mulling over the idea of rebelling against the violence. Spread this poem and then you too write — write about the ideas presented in the poem. For you, for your brothers and for your sisters, for your children after you — stop the wars of aggression!

Please Note: Matthias has responded by dedicating his poem, Pooling Strength, to this cause.

Bruce has reposted the poem on “The Life and Times of Bruce Genencser“.

Kat has responded by posting this article: I Don’t Know Anything About War.

Abuse, Anger, Attachment, Bad Ideas, Emotions, Jane Paterson Basil, Quality of Life, Relationships, Self, Self Image, Violence

Poetry Critique: “Weapons of Feathers”, by Jane

(About an 11 minute read)

As I see it, a good poem above all else employs words to evoke an emotional response from its audience, regardless of whether its message is trivial or profound, true or false, or even exists at all.  But a great poem goes beyond that, much beyond that, to reveal a truth — and often in a way that is so fresh and striking, the impact of the revelation is multiplied many fold.

Jane’s poem, “Weapons of Feathers, so decisively achieves the first goal of evoking emotions that to spend much time examining the fact would be like pondering whether or not an approaching hurricane could be properly called a “storm”. There is little need here to go into the matter.

But does the poem reveal a truth?  And if so, does it do it in a fresh and striking way?  Those are the questions I will address here.

Continue reading “Poetry Critique: “Weapons of Feathers”, by Jane”

Bad Ideas, Ethics, Honesty, Justice, Law, Lawyer, Morality, Morals, Politician, Politics, Professionals, Quality of Life, Society, Values, Violence, Work

A Sensible Reason We Should Love the Lawyers Among Us

(About a 5 minute read)

“There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression is common, almost universal. Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief — resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave.”  — The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, “Notes for a Law Lecture” (July 1, 1850), p. 82.

 

If you had just met my cousin, Ed, around 1975 or so, when he was at the height of his career, you might easily have formed a first impression of him as a former Boy Scout who had, however, never entirely left the Scouts.  In appearances, he had that air to him: An innocent man, if ever there was one.

Of course, in truth, he was among the most morally corrupt men of any professional class that I’ve known.  His career was not merely that of a lawyer, but of a political lobbyist on both the state and national levels.  Least anyone harbor illusions about the essence of that noble occupation, Cousin Ed’s job was to bribe people, and he excelled at it.

Around age 18 or so, I attended one of Ed’s parties where I witnessed an eye-opening (for me) conversation.  Ed was speaking to a small group of his closest friends — a group of at least moderately powerful bureaucrats for the most part: Men who ran departments of the State Government.  Naturally, the conversation was mere shop-talk to Ed and them.

On the other hand, I was still naive enough to find it hard to follow.  The last thing I expected was to hear how Ed had recently bribed a key US Senator, the head of the Senate’s powerful Finance Committee, to vote to deregulate the Savings and Loan industry.  Although the Senator was not only a Democrat, but known as one of the nation’s more liberal Democrats, Ed had persuaded him to go along with Reagan’s eventually disastrous, crisis-causing, deregulation.

Now Ed wasn’t really bragging to his friends that evening.  Instead, he was merely alerting them to the news the industry was about to be deregulated, and so they should ASAP get into positions to make their fortunes.

The bribe was, to my mind, ingenious: A huge chunk of it was in the form of stock in a certain S&L — stock that was bound to soar in value if and when the Senator voted to deregulate.  His fortune was made — if only he carried through on his promise.  And leaving nothing to chance, Ed had also greased the palms of two or three of the Senator’s key aides.

But to me the fascinating thing was Ed’s manner in telling his friends the news. There was not a hint in his voice nor demeanor that he was talking about anything beyond the day’s weather.  My shock wasn’t so much from the corruption of bribing a US Senator, but from the casualness of it.

That evening, I formed almost on the spot the hasty and unfortunate opinion that lawyers routinely corrupted the democratic processes.  That is, I naively blamed them for it, as if no one would bribe senators were lawyers somehow banished.  And for years that was the bottom line for me.

Now I confess to being slow in every way but in bed.  In bed, I will proudly defend my impressive life-long record of reliably performing my “services” with lightening-fast efficiency.  So it took me a couple decades before I formed a more informed and honest opinion of lawyers.  Much before then, I really didn’t look into it.

The change began with my reading an article on the Gaza Strip in which the author pointed out in some detail the consequences of the Strip’s lack of any legal means whereby the people could settle their disputes.  Naturally, the disputes just didn’t evaporate simply because there were no courts, no judges, and no lawyers to resolve them.

No, what had actually happened was the people had fallen back on their families and on violence.  In effect, they had returned to the vendetta system.

Which makes sense, if you think about it.  What other recourse did they have other than to organize into trusted family-based groups, and — at least ultimately — resort to arms to settle things?

The more I thought about it, the more I came to grasp how lawyers, along with the rest of the legal infrastructure, are about all that stands between a civilization and its reversion to anarchy and most likely barbarism — for what family gang is going to stop at merely settling scores when it pays off under those circumstances to not only settle them, but to settle them in cruel and extreme ways designed to warn and intimidate others into not messing with them?

Like most bad ideas, the notion lawyers are necessarily dishonest is a persistent one.  It has been around for far longer than Lincoln’s day — Shakespeare makes mention of it when he has “Dick the Butcher” propose to  “…kill all the lawyers” in Henry VI, in order of course, to bring about a better country.

But would such a country most likely be better?

As for my cousin, he wasn’t all bad.  At one point in my life, he gave me some of the wisest advice I’ve ever taken.  He pointed out in forceful terms — forceful enough to get me to actually listen even at a young age — that I would never have a chance to be happy in life if I followed through with my plan to go into politics.

“Paul, I hear you say you want to help clean up politics, make it better.  That’s a noble goal, and I believe you would do everything you could to stay honest and achieve your goal.

“But you need to realize before you make a huge mistake: Politics is a filthy, dirty business.  It won’t ever change from that, no matter what you yourself do to reform it.  You will be an ant trying to chew down a mountain.

“In the end, it will only commit your soul to living hell, just like it’s committed to hell almost every soul who has come before you.  I know.”

Abuse, Compassion, Guest Authors, Happiness, Health, Kindness, Meaning, Mental and Emotional Health, Morals, Oppression, Quality of Life, Relationships, S.W. Atwell, Sadness, Values, Violence

Two Kinds of Sad People

Please Note:  This is a post by guest author S. W. Atwell.  The views expressed are entirely her own.  If you yourself would like to post as a guest author on this blog, please contact me by email.

— Paul Sunstone

There are two types of sad people.  One type does not contribute to the happiness of others.  He may be of the withholding sort:  One who believes that any happiness he gives will be subtracted from his own, small store.   He may be the sadistic sort: One who takes whatever is ill in himself and uses it to make others unhappy.  He might even seem ravenous in his desire to impose misery, as though he were consuming something in return for his contribution.  Perhaps he feels as though there is a finite amount of unhappiness in the universe and that he decreases his own large burden of the stuff every time he imposes misery on others.

The other type of sad person is not unkind.  He may feel sad because he has experienced loss.  He certainly feels sad over the misfortunes of others.  In this way, he is invested in the happiness of others.  While he can become happier if his own fortunes mend, he can also become happier when he knows that others are happy.  He has an urge to contribute to the well-being of others.  It is not uncommon for him to discover the depth of this urge when he finds consolation in caring for the needs of others at a time when the reasons for his own deep sadness are beyond his own control.  Whether fortune smiles or frowns upon him, his own happiness multiplies when exposed to happiness, whether that happiness is located inside him or in the hearts of others.

The sadistic or withholding sad person experiences happiness and sadness as elements to be measured in mass or volume.  The sad person with the warm heart understands happiness as an organic phenomenon, with the gametes from one source of happiness meeting and multiplying with the gametes from another source of happiness.  His sadness is a soil that welcomes and grows the seeds of happiness.

© S.W. Atwell (2011)

Bad Ideas, Ethics, Evolution, Ideologies, Morals, News and Current Events, Oppression, Village Idiots, Violence

The Murders of Rajiv Verma and His Girlfriend Renu Pal

…police believe that Rajiv Verma and his girlfriend Renu Pal were stoned to death by a mob of about 200 people, including many of the girl’s relatives.

The officer in charge of the investigation told the BBC that Renu’s mother was suspected of playing a leading role in the killings.

The couple were murdered apparently because of the mob’s “shame” that Renu, a student, should fall in love with her teacher, who came from a lower social group or caste.

BBC Report, May 5, 2011

Does anyone know of another species that murders its blood relatives?  And why wouldn’t natural selection weed out any tendency in our own species to murder our blood relatives?

Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Idealism, Ideologies, Intellectual Honesty, International Relations, Liars Lies and Lying, Neocons, Politicians and Scoundrels, Politics, Television, Village Idiots, Violence, War

Those Who Will Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

As I understand it, we had no choice but to destroy the Iraqi nation and decimate its people because Saddam hated us for our freedoms. Also, Saddam would have had weapons of mass destruction if only he had had weapons of mass destruction. And last, Saddam would have been in league with Al Qaeda if only he had not feared and hated Al Qaeda as much as he did.

For those three very good reasons, and possibly for other just as good reasons — reasons that are so really really good only a heavy Fox viewer is actually qualified to say just how truly good they are — we understandably invaded Iraq, murdered over 200,000 of its civilians, left 4 million people chronically homeless, and allowed the looting of a nation. I’d say we done some good in the world.

Pride time! That is, it’s plain we Americans done some good. Good? Hell, it was like Normandy all over again! So now it’s time for us to sit on our couches, dig our hands deep into our chips bag, lift up our eyes in bovine thankfulness to God for the Fox News Network, and then allow ourselves to be possessed by the thought that we Americans are, of all the world’s peoples, the one that is truly “exceptional“.

— Overheard in a Bar

Authoritarianism, Bad Ideas, Dominionism, Fascism, Fundamentalism, Ideologies, Neocons, Oppression, Politics, Quotes, Violence, War

John Sterman on the Consequences of Fundamentalism

“Fundamentalism, whether religious or secular, whether the unquestioning belief in an all-powerful deity, the all-powerful state or the all-powerful free market, breeds persecution, hatred and war.”

John Sterman (page 526 .pdf)