Author: Dr. John

The Right To Change Hearts and Minds?

I don’t know what it is like to be bombed.  I don’t even know what it’s like to be in a war zone.  I have absolutely no clue as to what it is like to be a woman in a war zone, being bombed and raped, yet that is what is going on over there in Tripoli.  While the US, under the guise of NATO and freedom for the people of Libya rains down terror from the skies, Gadhafi’s troops have found a new weapon…their penises. Along with warrants for the arrest of Gadhafi and a couple of his relatives, the Hague is all set to investigate allegations of “institutionalized  rape.”

This is nothing new.  Saddam had rape rooms.  Somalia practices gang rape and then stones the women to death because they are now impure. Afghanistan militia commanders and other military big shots buy and sell good looking boys after they have used them. Egypt kidnaps and gang rapes Christian girls with the rapists receiving total immunity in keeping with the centuries-long Islamic practice of “rape jihad.”  In fact, I was hard pressed to find a Middle East or N. African nation that did not practice institutionalized rape, for either religious or military reasons.

Hearts and minds or power and oil?  You be the judge.  A Libyan psychologist – after hearing reports from the front, decided to go and check out the alleged victimization of women happening right now – in 2011.  295 women admitted they had been raped, and all blamed Gadhafi’s soldiers.  She said one woman told her “they tie up my husband, they rape me in front of my husband and then they kill my husband. ” Another said,  “Forget what is happening to me. The only way is by killing myself. I am so sad.”  Psychologist Sergewa said others recounted stories of gang rape where they would be held for days in abandoned houses where up to 15 men would rape them. It is this woman’s courageous work that has kicked The Hague in the ass to investigate accusations that the Gadhafi regime has used rape as a tool of war.  There’s more gory stuff, but you get the picture.

I still believe we do not have the right to impose our mores on another culture, no matter how horrible we recognize some of that culture’s actions.  We can – that civilized part of the world, that is, make sure that crimes are prosecuted, for these atrocities are certainly crimes of the most severe type.  But, by attempting to force democracy, free elections, and the American dynamic onto civilizations that have been around centuries before we were a mere blink in Great Britain’s
eye has not and will not change anything.  At this very moment in time, male children – hundreds of thousands of them, are being schooled in the ways of their homeland; bred to be extremists, killers, and rapists.  Taught that it is their absolute right to take and abuse the lesser human beings on their evolutionary scale – women.

Our military knows this.  Our president knows this. If they don’t know this, then they are scary stupid and or naive.  There is no man made answer for what God has put into play.  There is only a collective conscience that can lift it’s hearts and minds to the suffering.  To think that we can alter the divine plan, is an egotistic delusion that results in things like Hiroshima.

Inhumane Masters Of War

I read an incredible piece today on the CNN site.  It’s the second part of a special they call The War at Home that deals with the horrors our soldiers experience when their tours are done and they attempt to re-acclimate to life.  Mainly it depicts PTSD, and although I have read, met, and even treated people with trauma, this particular article drew from deep inside of me anger instead of my usual empathy.  It’s not because it was written so well – which it in fact absolutely is – but more I think because of what is currently going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

These men and women, basically kids, are sent into a nether-world of unspeakable inhumane acts with minimum preparedness. Not that anyone could ever truly be prepared for that.  These are not the elite SEALs or Green Beret’s who are mentally psyched to go kick ass. These are farmers and clerks and insurance salesmen – regular folks who are doing their part to protect our country.  And there is where my anger festers.  They have been fed and nursed like babes on a breast to believe the lies sold to them by a collective of manipulators that snakes all the way to the top.  I have always been of the opinion that any of our presidents who have given the green light to go to war are mass murderers.  In a court of law, they would be convicted as such given that the motivation for killing hundreds of thousands of people is circumstantial and self serving at best.  The Christian, God-fearing men who profess to be humbled in the eyes of God, are responsible for committing the number one un-godlike act – the taking of the life of his fellow man.

Einstein said, “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once.
Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

Boehner Gets Nailed To The Cross

The Catholics are nailing Boehner – no pun intended.  Saturday he is going to give the commencement address at Catholic University in DC, and the faithful are a tad upset and ready to dance!

CNN reports that on this past Wednesday a group of 70 professors, priests, nuns and others from the Washington university and other Catholic colleges around the country fired off a letter calling Boehner on the carpet for what they say is his lack of support of legislation for the poor.  Quote:  “Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”

Peeved at the passage of HR-1, Catholics, joined by Protestants, and Evangelical leaders, are up in arms that Boehner – himself a professed Catholic, pushed through a proposal that cuts Medicare, The Women’s Infant and Children Nutrition Program, and food stamps. You know, all the supportive programs the poor depend on to survive.  Hello, religious kingpins!  You guys been living under the rock that Jesus blew out in the resurrection?  This your first clue that the poor don’t count for anything?  Your first insight that the lying whore, Boehner and his Republican cronies spend their time on their knees sniffing the butts of the power brokers and the wealthiest 2%?  A letter?  You wrote him a nasty letter?  HA!

Remember when you guys were all smitten with the Right, and molded policy, spooked advertisers, and manipulated your evangelical mores into the mainstream?  Well, kids, this is what ya got.  Smarmy, lying, hypocrites who told you what you wanted to hear until they got in.  Oldest scam in the political playbook, and you ate it like a communion wafer.  Dopes.

You want action?  You gotta blow the guy up by pulling your support.  You gotta lay him out in language he understands – money!  Grab your lobbyists and tell them to shift gears.  They’re mercenaries, they won’t object, cause they have as much character as Boehner does.  Yank them off the right wing Love Boat, and send them to bible study.  Make them read what Jesus had to say about love and kindness to our fellow man.  Start with these little tidbits.  “Happy is he who is gracious to the poor.”  “Whoever has the world’s goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”  “He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.”

Now, you people believe that stuff, and whether or not Jesus could fly like Superman, he remains historically a great teacher of humanity.  Like Ghandi, the Buddha, and Allah, Jesus delivered a clear and critical message.  Love is the foundation on which we must build our civilization.

In this time of divisiveness, love and community is lost and we are crawling toward our demise like worms to a rotting corpse.  That corpse lies in Washington — in the halls of Congress and the Senate, and the stench alone should be our cue that evil is eating away at our nation.

Bin Laden Killed In Annapolis, Md.; Body Cast Into Delaware River

Let’s say bin Laden was located and whacked in Annapolis, MD, a stone’s throw from the Capitol and home to the Naval Academy.  And let’s say that it was the Pakistani equivalent to the CIA, the Inter-Services Intelligence who were clocking him for four months from a small apartment above a 7-11 just across from the Brownstone where bin Laden has been hiding.  A team of ISI agents and Pakistani elite fighters move in under our radar and shoot their way up three flights of stairs, knocking off Osama’s personal guards, a couple hookers, and eventually getting to the man himself.  They kill him, then toss his body into the Delaware.  The President learns about it after the fact.

Besides the media going completely ballistic, what would our response be?  What would we think?  What key questions would be asked?

Well, speaking only for myself, I would start by wondering why our President was such a blockhead and how he could possibly be unaware of such a mission?  Same would go for the CIA, NSA, and Homeland Security.  Then I would be very frightened about the fact that Pakistan can get in and out of my country without our military having a clue.  Yikes!  How vulnerable are we, I would wonder as I considered packing my family up for a new life in Switzerland.

Eventually, my conspiracy brain would start blossoming, and I would entertain the idea that they – the Pakistani and our CIA struck a deal.  That we couldn’t take the heat for killing bin Laden because of the potential violent repercussions on our only real ally in the Middle East, Israel.  Logically, then – my illogical brain would conclude, the whole thing was a scam.  He’s not even dead!  That’s why the ISI refuses to show post-mortem pictures, why the blink of an eye burial, and why President Obama is pretending to be angry with Pakistan.  That has to be it, I would convince myself  because I just couldn’t take the fact that the leaders of my country, indeed, my country itself  is a collection of buffoons, laughed at by the entire world.

I understand Pakistan.  I understand why PM Gilani is so miffed, as we – all of us love our countries.  We take pride in our heritage, in our Nationalism.  No matter what the belief system, we participate and relish in it. It is our homeland and is not to be mocked or minimized by anyone.  Insulting my country is insulting me.

So, try to relate to the people of Pakistan as they read about how we snookered them and took out the most wanted criminal in the world right from under their noses.  If, in fact the government and some extremists were aware of bin Laden being there, that does not negate the insult and embarrassment on the people, as just like you and me, the government many times fails to represent our genuine beliefs.

If the world were a prison, right now Pakistan would be the new bitch.  Standing in the gen-pop yard waiting for the next gang to make its move, it would know that its survival depends on it being defensive, wary, and ready to fight back.

Obama/Bush Phone Call: Official Transcript

President George W. Bush declined an invitation from the White House to join President Obama in a visit to Ground Zero Thursday.

“President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday. He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight. He continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror,” according to a statement released by Bush spokesman David Sherzer late Tuesday.
I was sent a copy of the phone transcript between President Obama, and Mr. Bush from Facebook, followed by an  angry note from Julian Assange with another “ more accurate” Wikileaks one.

Here it is.

Obama:  Hi, George.  How are things?
Bush:  Not bad, Barry.  Rehab was a bitch, but I’m 90 days sober.  Got my       little pin here and everything. Gotta tell ya, I miss the buzz, tho.
OB:  Uh, yeah…same here with the smokes.  Hey, George the reason I’m calling is that I’m going down to the Trade Center to kind of celebrate us taking out Bin Laden, and was wondering if you would like to come along.
Bush:  Who?
OB:  Bin Laden…Osama Bin Laden…the al qaeda guy.
Bush:  Hell, I just can’t place the name, Barry.
OB:  Osama Bin Laden… The guy who planned the 9/11 attacks.  Long beard, turban, owns majority stock in Halliburton.
Bush:  Oh, HIM!  I’ll be damned, you got him?
OB:  Uh, yeah, George.  It was kind of all over the news.
Bush:  Yeah, well… Laura don’t let me watch the news much anymore.  She thinks it’ll toss me off the wagon.
OB:  I see.  Uh, she can come too, George.
Bush:  Where?
OB:  Focus , George.  Ground Zero.  New York City.
Bush: Oh, yeah.  Is Brownie coming?
OB:  No.   Brownie is not coming.
Bush:  Wolfie, The Chainsaw Cheney Hammer?
OB:  George!  This is not a frat party for your administration!  I am inviting you to join me in a very somber tribute.
Bush:  Do I have to give back my “Mission Accomplished Banner?”  It’s so gnarly lookin hangin up over the bar down here.
OB:  No.  You can keep your banner.
Bush:  And my flight jacket? Laura and I like to play out that scene in Top Gun.  Ya know…I’m Tom Cruise and she’s…
OB:  George… way too much information.  You can keep the flight jacket, the banner and even wear the helmet.  Are you coming or not?
Bush:  Easy there, Barry… don’t go gettin your chuck lucks all tight.  Is Hillary gonna be there?
OB:  I’m not sure.  Maybe.
Bush:  Can ya do me a favor?
OB:  What is it, George?
Bush: Can ya ask her to wear that orange pantsuit…the one where her butt kinda peeks out from under the jacket?
OB: Goodbye, George

And, so I can say the NY Times report that Mr. Bush will not be accompanying the president to ground zero Thursday is accurate.

The Curse of Bin Laden: Traumatic Awareness

LK notes: When I received this from Dr. John early this morning it was clear to me that his piece needed to be posted as soon as possible, regardless of whether the posting preceded tonight’s show.  It speaks for a generation in as perceptive and unassuming a manner as one could possibly imagine.

Ten years ago I was ten years younger.  I was ten years less concerned and ten years more carefree.  This had very little to do with youth.  Nope.  It was that guy.  Osama Bin Laden.  He did this to me, and until yesterday, I didn’t even know it.

It occurred to me that ten years ago I didn’t even know what a Muslim was.  I knew about Islam only from the ravings of some fanatic named Farrahkan, and the janitor at the school in Camden where I did some psychological work.  I asked him about his little hat, and the next day he brought me one as a gift.  Ten years ago I would stare in wonderment at women who were covered head to toe, thinking only they must be really hot under there.  Ten years ago, I was probably like you.  Involved in my life, my family, my career, and basically moving along day to day in my own closed system of the me.  There was no pall or shadow of darkness or pain in the gut about how ugly and horrible this world was, cause ten years ago I had no reason to suspect such a thing.  My ranting was focused on social unfairness, and questioning why everyone in America wasn’t given free education, housing, and medical care.  In America. It’s all I cared about, cause it’s all I knew.  My awareness of third world countries was limited to the occasional CARE or Save The Children TV commercial.  We long-distance adopted a kid for a buck a day, but his story was so bizarre, I looked at his picture once, I think and after our one year commitment was up, he faded away – back to a world I had no interest in.  It simply didn’t effect me.  And then, like you, I got included.  Osama Bin Laden included me by bringing the world to my country.  Suddenly, clarity blinded me as I learned about jihad, ethnic cleansing, blood diamonds, and the incredible ability man has to inflict torment on his fellow man.

I am certain that all of us here in this pristine America are suffering post traumatic stress disorder.  I don’t see how we can’t be.  We were innocents.  Our ignorance provided for us to be pure of the concentrated ugliness that prevails outside our comparatively sane and orderly borders.  And then blam…like the kid from Kansas drafted and dropped into a war zone, our innocence was taken.

That is what this man did.  That is the thing for which he can never be forgiven.  He stained me  – us with awareness.  He made me – us, suspicious, jaded, hate filled, faith based racist, and worst of all, callous.  In the Buddhist tradition, awareness is a blessed thing.  This is not.  This awareness is a demon that is eating away at our humankind.  This is what that one evil man has left as his legacy.

It’s up to God what to do with him.  It’s up to us what to do with us.

Gas, Cars, and Rock ‘N’ Roll

We (Crack The Sky)  played two concerts over the weekend in Baltimore.  Besides the normal hustle of crew, gear, hotels, passes, guests, and interviews, there was travel involved.  Normally, not a big deal, since Philly to Baltimore is around 2 hours.

I do not want to hear another peep about the price of gas.  I do not want to hear another peep about the damage our car emissions are doing to the environment.  The traffic was insane.  At one point we sat for over half an hour moving just over a mile.  Obviously, I had a chance to look around, and what I saw were monstrous SUV’s, Vans big enough to haul a small store, and V8 super cars, all sitting and burning the precious gas that everyone is whining about making up at least 65% of the vehicles.

Once we got through the ez-pass – the thing that is supposed to make toll tie ups obsolete, but only serves to confuse and provide for cars to dart left or right cause not all the toll spaces take ez-pass -  the thing that has taken jobs away – the thing that tells the government where we are, and photographs our license plates – that little piece of technology – once we got through that, I was amazed to see that all four lanes of the interstate were still jammed.  I know it was a holiday weekend.  I know it was the first spring like weather and people wanted to get out.  I got all that.  What knocked me out was the total disregard for that stuff everyone is bitching about.

I could hear the conference calls between Exxon and BP and Royal Dutch Petroleum drooling about their next quarter earnings sky rocketing and already spending their bonus money.

I needed coffee.  An exit came up and I swung in to see the $4.21 gas signs, as if it was a sale.  As I moved toward the convenience store, I literally stopped the car in awe.  The lines to fill up were massive.  I tilted my head and asked our road manager, “Have I been dreaming?  Is all this crying and whining a surreal experience that I made up in my head?”

You see, like I have said over and over, LK… we will never revolt.  We are cry babies, and angry children who can manage only to pout, but nothing more.  We were born in Disneyworld, raised in Disneyworld, and in complete denial that Disneyworld is no longer that special place available to all and immune from fiscal and environmental crisis.

And so, I will laugh at the headlines announcing gas prices climbing, laugh at the 10% ethanol to green our Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi’s with 470 horses pulsing, and fist pump the oil companies, cause they are way, way smarter than even the most learned sociologists.  They understand us Americans, and they are playing their hands brilliantly.

Brainwashed Children

The BBC reports that “in early April a suicide blast ripped though a Pakistani shrine packed with thousands of devotees, leaving scores dead. Both attackers were schoolboys in their early teens.”

They were 13 and 14 years old.  The 14 year old survived because his vest malfunctioned.  When he pulled the detonator, he blew off his own arm and tore open his abdomen.  After coming around he reached for a grenade and that’s when the police shot him.

A BBC reporter asked what made him want to take his life and the lives of others.  The kid said, “All I was thinking was that I had to detonate myself near as many people as possible. When I decided it was the right time, it was a moment of happiness for me. I thought that there would be a little bit of pain, but then I would be in heaven.”
You’ve got a 13 year old son.  It’s possible that around the same time this child was blowing himself up, your son was sinking a three.  And that is how separate and diverse our universes are.  Still, we continue this insane notion that we can not only communicate and understand these cultures, but actually change them!

While our kids are in school, these kids are in Taliban camps.  While our children are learning math and science, these kids are being trained in weapons and explosives.  Quote: “He ( a Taliban recruiter) said there was no point studying. He told me that nothing was better than paradise, and that you could earn that by killing non-believers.”

While your son was taking his books out of his backpack, this kid was – paraphrasing -  “I went up a hill to a place nobody could see, took my suicide jacket out of my bag, and put it on.

We may as well be fighting Mars.

My take on nation building in North Africa and the Middle East has been that we are arrogant and presumptuous. I was wrong.  We are just plain stupid. I really have to wonder if our great military minds truly can’t see past the singular focus of beating the other guys just to beat them.  I have to wonder if they and our political geniuses don’t understand that by invading a nation, we are actually enemy -building.  If it’s about the oil, why not just say it’s about the oil and go in big?  But that would be committing political suicide.  Way different than children committing suicide, and obviously way more important.

My heart breaks for that child and his dead playmate, as they did not have a chance.  They were groomed and brainwashed by extremists who absolutely, positively believe they are doing the will of God.

In the face of this, I want to know what the hell it is we believe we can do?

All Protests Are Local

Today was the tax the rich/make them pay protest in my little town.  To be honest, it was a little rainy, I stayed up kind of late watching the Red Wings go down to the Canucks, and I needed to cut the grass.  But, since I made the commitment, I had to honor it, and so I headed down to meet the other anarchists.  Carefully hiding my Jaguar down the block, I ducked into Starbucks, gulped down a coffee and covertly trashed the corporate logo’d cup.  Clean of upper middle class trappings, I was ready.

At ground zero, about 60 people were milling around and chatting.  I was welcomed, asked to sign in, and handed a huge sign board.  No one mentioned SIGNS!!!
I actually felt surveillance cameras on me!  It hit me right then that my radical college days behind me, I have turned into a wimp.  I tried hiding my sign upside down, then behind some branches and even passing it off to a signless geriatric couple.  Pathetic, I know.

But then, something happened… I looked around and saw the determination of the people surrounding me.  Their absolute belief that they were making a difference by lining up along a tiny village street and announcing that things were absurdly wrong ice-watered my subdued self.   With that, and the passing cars tooting their horns in support, I actually joined the crowd. I chatted, proudly lifted my sign, and exchanged info, like Wells Fargo will have to reimburse 115 million dollars in undeserved tax write-offs, and this tax season neither Bank of America nor Wells Fargo will have to pay any federal income taxes.

I talked to vets, and laughed with the others as a little kid in a passing-by Bentley threw us the peace sign and his mom almost threw him in the back seat.  I even welcomed the cops as they pulled up.  Great, I thought… we need this publicity!  Yeah, I was a WE.
But, the cops were friendly and just asked us to stay on the sidewalk.  One even fist pumped as he drove away.

The thing that really got me though,  was the pure, focused, singular agenda these folks were about.  Clearly, not even the local news outlets were going to cover this event, and it wasn’t a sunny day with nothing to do.  There wasn’t even free donuts and coffee.  Nope.  They were there to be heard.  Democracy.

My wonderful country, tarnished, lop sided, and even stinking of corruption,  still remains one of the few places where the people can speak out without fear.  As I left, I realized I was blessed to live here.

Pick A Truth, Any Truth

I’ve decided that everything is alright.  The world is running perfectly and harmoniously and mankind has remedied it’s ills.  All the dictators and politicians have found god and we are just one big universal family, holding hands and singing “We Are the World.”

Yesterday, I suggested we help Japan  by buying stuff from them, but overnight, a miracle happened and all that radioactive water just went away… floating to the heavens where it was purified and made acceptable for little infants consumption.  So, forget about that purchasing Japanese stuff, and go buy yourself a Dodge Ram truck.  This morning, the local paper announced that Gadhafi’s troops were pulling back, an hour later CNN reported “airstrikes fail to stop Gadhafi”…I’m going with the local news, so let’s celebrate the US victory.  Call Macy’s, baby, it’s parade time.

Wait a sec… here’s a new one.  More states find radiation traces.  Naaaa.  Tomorrow it will be okay, and Oregon, Colorado and the rest of the so called nuked states will be just fine.  An error, or perhaps an over-exaggeration.  Oh, wait… under the bold headline reads what amounts to a disclaimer…The EPA says there is no health risk.  Yahoo! I didn’t even have to wait until tomorrow.

You see, I am back to my original jaded, cynical self, only way happier now, since not only do I not believe ANYBODY, I actually am taking whatever they say and turning it upside down. Or would that be inside out?  Anyway,  can you feel me smiling? It’s happy time!  Reading the papers has for me become like reading a terrific fictional novel where the plot changes at every new paragraph.  Pundits are narrators of nonsensical theory, and TV news is a collection of reality shows that contest to find the most dire, solemn, anchor person who’s challenge it is to make us believe their  grim tales.

I can’t wait until tomorrow when I find out that Obama was born in Texas, Israel and Palestine have opened a theme park together, and Al Qeada is the name of an Islamic used car dealer.  Come on down to Al’s for the best deal in town!