The Exploding Man – The Christ Conqueror

 

Joshua, made his way to the end of a railcar,

where the other sardines were packed…

His anger rose to emanate the heat coming from his body,

as if the warm cinders within generated,

a rising heat to burn and become a fire…

clothes shed in seconds to reveal

a God

distraught with all about

to wreak havoc upon all sinners…

God has spoken

and there’s more to do.

 

copyright

FDA Recognizes Psilocybin As ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ for Depression

The designation could be a prelude to approving the forbidden psychedelic drug as a medicine.

Jacob Sullum|Oct. 25, 2018 1:45 pm
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WikipediaThe only reference to psilocybin on the Food and Drug Administration’s website appears in the agency’s Bad Bug Book: Handbook of Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins, where the psychedelic compound is described as a “neurotoxin” found in mushrooms. But according to the FDA, psilocybin is also a “breakthrough therapy” for major depression.
That designation, which the company seeking approval of psilocybin as a medicine announced this week, means “preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies.” Based on that evidence, the FDA agrees to “expedite the development and review of such drug.”
The FDA’s dueling portrayals of psilocybin as a scary fungal neurotoxin and a promising treatment for depression are part of a broader story about forbidden drugs, including MDMA, marijuana, and LSD, whose benefits scientists are once again studying with government approval after decades of neglect. The rehabilitation of these substances, which may ultimately make them available as prescription drugs, is a far cry from the pharmacological freedom that libertarians favor. But it represents a welcome return to empiricism in an area of public policy long driven by irrational prejudice.
A preliminary 2016 study sponsored by COMPASS Pathways, a British life sciences company, found big improvements in a dozen subjects with “treatment-resistant major depression” who received psilocybin in a “supportive setting.” After one week, their mean score on the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms, which has scale ranging from 0 to 27, had fallen from 19.2 to 7.4, a 61 percent drop. Most of that progress was still apparent at three months, when the mean score was 10, or 48 percent lower than the baseline. Last August the FDA approved COMPASS Pathways’ plan for Phase 2 clinical trials, which will involve 216 subjects at 12 to 15 research sites in Europe and North America.
Psilocybin research involving patients with life-threatening illnesses has found even more dramatic psychological improvements. A randomized, double-blind study reported in 2016 found that cancer patients who received active doses of psilocybin experienced an average reduction of 78 percent in depression and 83 percent in anxiety, based on an evaluation six months after their sessions. A similar study reported at the same time found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy “produced rapid, robust and enduring anxiolytic and anti-depressant effects in patients with cancer-related psychological distress.”
Like MDMA, which the FDA also has deemed a “breakthrough therapy” and may approve as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder as soon as 2021, psilocybin is a psychotherapeutic catalyst that is meant to be taken no more than a few times, as opposed to a mood-adjusting drug taken every day. The striking results of these studies suggest the former approach may hold more promise of substantial, long-term improvement.
“This is great news for patients,” COMPASS Pathways Executive Chairman George Goldsmith said in the press release announcing the FDA’s “breakthrough therapy” designation. “We are excited to be taking this work forward with our clinical trial on psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression. The FDA will be working closely with us to expedite the development process and increase the chances of getting this treatment to people suffering with depression as quickly as possible.”
If the FDA does approve psilocybin as a medicine, the drug will have to removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, which is supposed to be reserved for drugs that have no accepted medical use. In a 2018 Neuropharmacology review, Johns Hopkins psychologist Matthew Johnson and three co-authors argue that psilocybin should be placed in Schedule IV, which is for medically useful drugs with a relatively low abuse potential. They conclude that “psilocybin appears to offer potential benefits to patients and little risk to public health.”

Alan Moore: By the BookAlan Moore: By the Book

Sept. 8, 2016

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Alan MooreCreditCreditIllustration by Jillian Tamaki
The author, most recently, of the novel “Jerusalem” says if he could compel the president “to read one book — other than ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ — then I definitely would.”
What books are currently on your night stand?
I remember being called on a couple of occasions by American comic-book professionals who were essentially asking how we “Brit guys” could sleep without a gun on the night table. Their concern seemed genuine, and it would have been inconsiderate to add to it by admitting that since I very rarely read in bed, I don’t even have a night table. But I know what you mean.
The books that would be currently piled on my (at this point wholly aspirational) night stand include “Playing the Bass With Three Left Hands,” by Will Carruthers, a ruinously frank and funny account of the emergence of both Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized from the sonically celestial squalor of nearby Rugby that features a number of close friends amongst its stagger-on cameos; “Content Provider,” by Stewart Lee, in which the hostile below-the-line comments from Lee’s online readership are almost as funny as the columns and essays that they’re vilifying, and so go some way to explaining this brave and doomed comedian’s innovative technique of spraying his own audience with caustic bile; “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” a brilliantly lucid and informative account of the evolution of Anonymous and LulzSec by Gabriella Coleman; Jon Ronson’s thoughtful and troubling “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”; plus two or three books of essays — “Consider the Lobster,” “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” and “Both Flesh and Not” — by my recent infatuation, the late David Foster Wallace, whom I’m currently gorging on indiscriminately in a manner that I’m told betrays my standing as a poorly disciplined autodidact. I’ll try not to burden this volley of questions and answers with too many mentions of David Foster Wallace.
What’s the last great book you read?
After thinking about this long and hard, the last truly great book I read would have to be “Infinite Jest,” by David Foster Wallace. Yeah, sorry. This was my first exposure to Wallace’s work, only a month or two ago, and I don’t think there’s anything about the novel that doesn’t impress me: its stream of satirical invention, with conventional dating gone in favor of a subsidized calendar and the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment; its mandarin prose that perfectly conjures the trancelike drift of a modern consciousness overwhelmed by detail; and its breathtaking risks with structure, so that the whole experience seems to pivot upon a climactic resolving chapter — either right at the end of the narrative or right at the beginning — which does not actually exist and which therefore requires the reader to create it herself, from slender inference. I think the moment I probably fell in love with Wallace as a writer was the point where I realized that I was actually meant to be irritated by all of the occasionally crucial footnotes. An author after my own heart, and a genuine modern American diamond in the tradition of Thomas Pynchon, Robert Coover and Gilbert Sorrentino.
Which writers — novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets — working today do you admire most?
Questions like this make me uneasy for two fundamental reasons. Firstly, in anything other than a stark and unqualified list that unreels to the end of our allotted space here, there are going to be serious, gaping omissions that will cause me to wake at 3 in the morning and groan in useless torment at my own inadequacy as both a friend and reader. Secondly, I tend to exist at a remote and quarantined distance from most of the world’s news and information media. Given what a spectacular year this is turning out to be for bad news on both sides of the Atlantic, there remains a lingering anxiety about whether all of one’s nominees will still be extant come the (so to speak) deadline. With that said, there follows a painfully incomplete list of names that happen to be passing through my mind right at this specific moment: Pynchon; Coover; Neal Stephenson; Junot Díaz; Joe Hill; William Gibson; Bruce Sterling; Samuel R. Delany; Iain Sinclair; Brian Catling; Michael Moorcock (his currently underway “Whispering Swarm” trilogy is astonishing); Eimear McBride; the remarkable Steve Aylett for everything, and in particular for his indispensable and quietly radioactive “Heart of the Original”; Laura Hird; Geoff Ryman; M. John Harrison; screenwriter Amy Jump. . . . Look, I can either go on forever or I can’t go on. I’m already mortified by the pathetic lack of women writers represented and find myself starting to come up with wretched excuses and squirming evasions. Best we end this here.
What genres do you prefer? And which do you avoid?
To be honest, having worked in genre for so long, I’m happiest when I’m outside it altogether, or perhaps more accurately, when I can conjure multiple genres all at once, in accordance with my theory (now available, I believe, as a greeting card and fridge magnet) that human life as we experience it is a simultaneous multiplicity of genres. I put it much more elegantly on the magnet. With that said, of course, there are considerable pleasures to be found in genre, foremost among which is that of either violating or transcending it, assuming there’s a difference, and using it to talk about something else entirely. Some subversions, paradoxically, can even seem to reinvigorate the stale conventions that they’d set out to subvert or satirize. All genres, given enough ingenuity, can be adapted to this strategy, and the sole genre or subgenre that I personally am pathologically averse to would be that pertaining to the superhero, but apparently that’s just me.
What books did you read while working on your new novel?
Bearing in mind that it’s been almost a decade since I commenced work on “Jerusalem,” I’d have to say that I read very little fiction while I was writing it. I think I read Mike Moorcock’s “The Vengeance of Rome” quite early in the process and also read the first volume of Brian Catling’s monumental “Vorrh” trilogy, and it was around then that I decided that it would probably be best not to read any more massive and beautifully written works of fiction until I’d finished the one that I was personally engaged in. I suppose I didn’t want to subject myself to the pointless torment of “maybe I should have written it more like this,” and as a result for the past few years I’ve been largely engaged with nonfiction. This has consisted of a lot of work by the prolific Iain Sinclair, including his superb “Ghost Milk,” “American Smoke,” “Black Apples of Gower” and a half a dozen others. Then there was “The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds,” by the immaculate John Higgs, along with the same author’s revelatory history of the 20th century, “Stranger Than We Can Imagine.” I also read a whole stack of books by Slavoj Zizek, like “The Year of Dreaming Dangerously” and “Living in the End Times,” but the bulk of my reading over the last several years has been research. Very little of this has been pertinent to “Jerusalem” (most of the research for which was concluded before I commenced the book itself) but has instead been focused on my current comic-book series Providence, which is a serious fictional engagement with the works of H. P. Lovecraft. As a result I have roughly half a bookcaseful of contemporary H. P. Lovecraft criticism and biography, much of it by the inspiring S. T. Joshi, along with numerous invaluable works on some of the more obscure corners of early-20th-century America, like the Boston police strike riots of 1919, or gay culture in New York prior to 1920. One interesting insight that I gleaned from working on both books at roughly the same time was that a lot of post-World War I American history was predicated upon the Russian Revolution having occurred in 1917 — the original Red Scare was 1919 — while the dismantling of the Boroughs, the working-class area that Jerusalem revolves around, was commenced in 1918 and was presumably precipitated by the exact same thing. A sufficiently heterogeneous reading list can sometimes yield vital and unexpected connections (but it will always devour your precious time).
Were there any works that inspired or otherwise influenced the writing of the book?
While it’s obvious that visionaries such as John Bunyan, James Hervey, William Blake and John Clare cast long shadows, or, perhaps, long lights, over “Jerusalem,” the single book which most inspired it and to which it owes the most has to be a slender volume published locally in 1987 by Northampton Arts Development and titled “In Living Memory — Life in ‘The Boroughs,’ ” compiled by numerous people including my dear friend Richard Foreman. The book consists largely of interviews with the ancient area’s older inhabitants, many of them known from my childhood, augmenting my own familial history of the neighborhood and providing a few of the book’s more memorable characters; names like Freddy Allen, Black Charley, Georgie Bumble and Tommy Mangle-the-Cat, that I’d heard my mother or grandmother mention when I was a child but with whom I’d been mostly unfamiliar. If anybody can manage to track down a copy of this marvelous but marginal booklet, I think they’ll be surprised by how little of “Jerusalem’s” improbable narrative I had to make up.
How do you organize your books?
Huh. Yes, I suppose I could organize my books, couldn’t I? That might actually work a lot better than my current method, which is to tell myself that I know roughly where all my books are according to a kind of literary form of proprioception; a psychic gift which, glaringly, I don’t possess.
What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?
Probably most of them. I know I always am. Of the volumes I can see from where I’m sitting now, there’s a copy of Captain Fuller’s “The Star in the West,” co-signed by Aleister Crowley and the politically questionable British Army officer-cum-occultist who invented the concept of blitzkrieg; but possibly everyone would expect that to be on my shelves and wouldn’t be surprised at all. How about my first-edition copy of William Hope Hodgson’s “The House on the Borderland”? I’ve got five or six different editions of this book, including the Arkham House version with the Hannes Bok cover, but as far as I know, my 1908 Chapman & Hall edition isn’t even technically supposed to exist in the immaculate rebound condition that I have it in. And please be advised that this isn’t humblebragging: This is plain, unreconstructed old-school bragging. Envy me, bibliophiles.
What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?
That would be the second unabridged edition of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, one of the first of many marvelous gifts from my wife, Melinda. Aleister Crowley once stated that the most important grimoire, or book of magical instruction, that anyone could ever conceivably own would be an etymological dictionary, and in my opinion he was exactly right. I keep it right here by my desk, and just 10 minutes ago it confirmed for me that I had the spelling of “proprioception” right all along, even though my spell-checker had raised a crinkly red eyebrow. Quite seriously, this is the one book in my collection that I’d save in the event of a fire.
Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain?
I’m afraid I’m rather dubious about the whole concept of heroes and villains, and feel that there are probably more useful and less simplistic groupings of complex human personalities that we could come up with if we put our minds to it. Of course, when I was 13 it was a different story: The brilliant and sociopathic underclass anarchist Steerpike from Mervyn Peake’s electrifying “Gormenghast” trilogy was definitely an early role model, which perhaps explains some of my misgivings about the whole hero phenomenon.
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be? The prime minister?
You can bet that if I could compel the president or prime minister to read one book — other than “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” — then I definitely would.
What do you want to read next?
I think it should be fairly transparent by this point that I want to read a couple of critical or biographical works concerning David Foster Wallace, in order to test my developing hypothesis that a particularly bleak interpretation of the phrase “death and taxes” is at the heart of his last, supposedly uncompleted novel, “The Pale King.” And, after that, perhaps some poetry.
A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 10, 2016, on Page 9 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: Alan Moore. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

John Dee and the Empire of Angels: Enochian Magick and the Occult Roots of the Modern World

jason louv

 

A comprehensive look at the life and continuing influence of 16th-century scientific genius and occultist Dr. John Dee

  • Presents an overview of Dee’s scientific achievements, intelligence and spy work, imperial strategizing, and his work developing methods to communicate with angels
  • Pieces together Dee’s fragmentary Spirit Diaries and examines Enochian in precise detail and the angels’ plan to establish a New World Order
  • Explores Dee’s influence on Sir Francis Bacon, modern science, Rosicrucianism, and 20th-century occultists such as Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, and Anton LaVey

Dr. John Dee (1527-1608), Queen Elizabeth I’s court advisor and astrologer, was the foremost scientific genius of the 16th century. Laying the foundation for modern science, he actively promoted mathematics and astronomy as well as made advances in navigation and optics that helped elevate England to the foremost imperial power in the world. Centuries ahead of his time, his theoretical work included the concept of light speed and prototypes for telescopes and solar panels. Dee, the original “007” (his crown-given moniker), even invented the idea of a “British Empire,” envisioning fledgling America as the new Atlantis, himself as Merlin, and Elizabeth as Arthur.

But, as Jason Louv explains, Dee was suppressed from mainstream history because he spent the second half of his career developing a method for contacting angels. After a brilliant ascent from star student at Cambridge to scientific advisor to the Queen, Dee, with the help of a disreputable, criminal psychic named Edward Kelley, devoted ten years to communing with the angels and archangels of God. These spirit communications gave him the keys to Enochian, the language that mankind spoke before the fall from Eden. Piecing together Dee’s fragmentary Spirit Diaries and scrying sessions, the author examines Enochian in precise detail and explains how the angels used Dee and Kelley as agents to establish a New World Order that they hoped would unify all monotheistic religions and eventually dominate the entire globe.

Presenting a comprehensive overview of Dee’s life and work, Louv examines his scientific achievements, intelligence and spy work, imperial strategizing, and Enochian magick, establishing a psychohistory of John Dee as a singular force and fundamental driver of Western history. Exploring Dee’s influence on Sir Francis Bacon, the development of modern science, 17th-century Rosicrucianism, the 19th-century occult revival, and 20th-century occultists such as Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, and Anton LaVey, Louv shows how John Dee continues to impact science and the occult to this day.

Ike Saw It Coming

 

 

February 27, 2006

Op-Ed Columnist

 

By BOB HERBERT

Early in the documentary film “Why We Fight,” Wilton Sekzer, a retired New York City police officer whose son was killed in the World Trade Center attack, describes his personal feelings in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11.

“Somebody had to pay for this,” he says. “Somebody had to pay for 9/11. … I wanna see their bodies stacked up for what they did. For taking my son.”

Lost in the agony of his grief, Mr. Sekzer wanted revenge. He wanted the government to go after the bad guys, and when the government said the bad guys were in Iraq, he didn’t argue.

For most of his life Mr. Sekzer was a patriot straight out of central casting. His view was always “If the bugle calls, you go.” When he was 21 he was a gunner on a helicopter in Vietnam. He didn’t question his country’s motives. He was more than willing to place his trust in the leadership of the nation he loved.

“Why We Fight,” a thoughtful, first-rate movie directed by Eugene Jarecki, is largely about how misplaced that trust has become. The central figure in the film is not Mr. Jarecki, but Dwight Eisenhower, the Republican president who had been the supreme Allied commander in Europe in World War II, and who famously warned us at the end of his second term about the profound danger inherent in the rise of the military-industrial complex.

Ike warned us, but we didn’t listen. That’s the theme the movie explores.

Eisenhower delivered his farewell address to a national television and radio audience in January 1961. “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience,” he said. He recognized that this development was essential to the defense of the nation. But he warned that “we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.”

“The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist,” he said. “We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.” It was as if this president, who understood war as well or better than any American who ever lived, were somehow able to peer into the future and see the tail of the military-industrial complex wagging the dog of American life, with inevitably disastrous consequences.

The endless billions to be reaped from the horrors of war are a perennial incentive to invest in the war machine and to keep those wars a-coming. “His words have unfortunately come true,” says Senator John McCain in the film. “He was worried that priorities are set by what benefits corporations as opposed to what benefits the country.”

The way you keep the wars coming is to keep the populace in a state of perpetual fear. That allows you to continue the insane feeding of the military-industrial complex at the expense of the rest of the nation’s needs. “Before long,” said Mr. Jarecki in an interview, “the military ends up so overempowered that the rest of your national life has been allowed to atrophy.”

In one of the great deceptive maneuvers in U.S. history, the military-industrial complex (with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as chairman and C.E.O., respectively) took its eye off the real enemy in Afghanistan and launched the pointless but far more remunerative war in Iraq.

If you want to get a chill, just consider the tragic chaos in present-day Iraq (seven G.I.’s were killed on the day I went to see “Why We Fight”) and then listen to Susan Eisenhower in the film recalling a quotation attributed to her grandfather: “God help this country when somebody sits at this desk who doesn’t know as much about the military as I do.”

The military-industrial complex has become so pervasive that it is now, as one of the figures in the movie notes, all but invisible. Its missions and priorities are poorly understood by most Americans, and frequently counter to their interests.

Near the end of the movie, Mr. Sekzer, the New York cop who lost his son on Sept. 11, describes his reaction to President Bush’s belated acknowledgment that “we’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved” in the Sept.11 attacks.

“What the hell did we go in there for?” Mr. Sekzer asks.

Unable to hide his bitterness, he says: “The government exploited my feelings of patriotism, of a deep desire for revenge for what happened to my son. But I was so insane with wanting to get even, I was willing to believe anything.”

 

Harper’s Magazine: We Now Live in a Fascist State

 

Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 13:34:38 -0700

The article below appears in the current issue of Harpers and was written

by Lewis H. Lapham

 

Knowing the source of this piece makes it all the more disturbing. It is not every day that the editor of a respected national magazine publishes an essay claiming that America is not on the road to becoming, but ALREADY IS, a fascist state…. or words to that effect.

To help prepare you for what follows, here are the final sentence from this piece…. [I think we can look forward with confidence to character-building bankruptcies, picturesque bread riots, thrilling cavalcades of splendidly costumed motorcycle police.]

On message By Lewis H. Lapham Harper’s Magazine, October 2005, pps. 7-9 “But I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, then Fascism and Communism, aided, unconsciously perhaps, by old-line Tory Republicanism, will grow in strength in our land.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt, November 4, 1938

In 1938 the word “fascism” hadn’t yet been transferred into an abridged metaphor for all the world’s unspeakable evil and monstrous crime, and on coming across President Roosevelt’s prescient remark in one of Umberto Eco’s essays, I could read it as prose instead of poetry — a reference not to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or the pit of Hell but to the political theories that regard individual citizens as the property of the government, happy villagers glad to wave the flags and wage the wars, grateful for the good fortune that placed them in the care of a sublime leader. Or, more emphatically, as Benito Mussolini liked to say, “Everything in the state. Nothing outside the state. Nothing against the state.”

The theories were popular in Europe in the 1930s (cheering crowds, rousing band music, splendid military uniforms), and in the United States they numbered among their admirers a good many important people who believed that a somewhat modified form of fascism (power vested in the banks and business corporations instead of with the army) would lead the country out of the wilderness of the Great Depression — put an end to the Pennsylvania labor troubles, silence the voices of socialist heresy and democratic dissent. Roosevelt appreciated the extent of fascism’s popularity at the political box office; so does Eco, who takes pains in the essay “Ur-Fascism,” published in The New York Review of Books in 1995, to suggest that it’s a mistake to translate fascism into a figure of literary speech. By retrieving from our historical memory only the vivid and familiar images of fascist tyranny (Gestapo firing squads, Soviet labor camps, the chimneys at Treblinka), we lose sight of the faith-based initiatives that sustained the tyrant’s rise to glory. The several experiments with fascist government, in Russia and Spain as well as in Italy and Germany, didn’t depend on a single portfolio of dogma, and so Eco, in search of their common ground, doesn’t look for a unifying principle or a standard text. He attempts to describe a way of thinking and a habit of mind, and on sifting through the assortment of fantastic and often contradictory notions — Nazi paganism, Franco’s National Catholicism, Mussolini’s corporatism, etc. — he finds a set of axioms on which all the fascisms agree. Among the most notable:

The truth is revealed once and only once.

Parliamentary democracy is by definition rotten because it doesn’t represent the voice of the people, which is that of the sublime leader.

Doctrine outpoints reason, and science is always suspect.

Critical thought is the province of degenerate intellectuals, who betray the culture and subvert traditional values.

The national identity is provided by the nation’s enemies.

Argument is tantamount to treason.

Perpetually at war, the state must govern with the instruments of fear. Citizens do not act; they play the supporting role of “the people” in the grand opera that is the state.

Eco published his essay ten years ago, when it wasn’t as easy as it has since become to see the hallmarks of fascist sentiment in the character of an American government. Roosevelt probably wouldn’t have been surprised.

He’d encountered enough opposition to both the New Deal and to his belief in such a thing as a United Nations to judge the force of America’s racist passions and the ferocity of its anti-intellectual prejudice. As he may have guessed, so it happened. The American democracy won the battles for Normandy and Iwo Jima, but the victories abroad didn’t stem the retreat of democracy at home, after 1968 no longer moving “forward as a living force, seeking day and night to better the lot” of its own citizens, and now that sixty years have passed since the bomb fell on Hiroshima, it doesn’t take much talent for reading a cashier’s scale at Wal-Mart to know that it is fascism, not democracy, that won the heart and mind of America’s “Greatest Generation,” added to its weight and strength on America’s shining seas and fruited plains.

A few sorehead liberal intellectuals continue to bemoan the fact, write books about the good old days when everybody was in charge of reading his or her own mail. I hear their message and feel their pain, share their feelings of regret, also wish that Cole Porter was still writing songs, that Jean Harlow and Robert Mitchum hadn’t quit making movies. But what’s gone is gone, and it serves nobody’s purpose to deplore the fact that we’re not still riding in a coach to Philadelphia with Thomas Jefferson. The attitude is cowardly and French, symptomatic of effete aesthetes who refuse to change with the times.

As set forth in Eco’s list, the fascist terms of political endearment are refreshingly straightforward and mercifully simple, many of them already accepted and understood by a gratifyingly large number of our most forward-thinking fellow citizens, multitasking and safe with Jesus. It does no good to ask the weakling’s pointless question, “Is America a fascist state?” We must ask instead, in a major rather than a minor key, “Can we make America the best damned fascist state the world has ever seen,” an authoritarian paradise deserving the admiration of the international capital markets, worthy of “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”? I wish to be the first to say we can. We’re Americans; we have the money and the know-how to succeed where Hitler failed, and history has favored us with advantages not given to the early pioneers.

We don’t have to burn any books.

The Nazis in the 1930s were forced to waste precious time and money on the inoculation of the German citizenry, too well-educated for its own good, against the infections of impermissible thought. We can count it as a blessing that we don’t bear the burden of an educated citizenry. The systematic destruction of the public-school and library systems over the last thirty years, a program wisely carried out under administrations both Republican and Democratic, protects the market for the sale and distribution of the government’s propaganda posters. The publishing companies can print as many books as will guarantee their profit (books on any and all subjects, some of them even truthful), but to people who don’t know how to read or think, they do as little harm as snowflakes falling on a frozen pond.

We don’t have to disturb, terrorize, or plunder the bourgeoisie.

In Communist Russia as well as in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the codes of social hygiene occasionally put the regime to the trouble of smashing department-store windows, beating bank managers to death, inviting opinionated merchants on complimentary tours (all expenses paid, breathtaking scenery) of Siberia. The resorts to violence served as study guides for free, thinking businessmen reluctant to give up on the democratic notion that the individual citizen is entitled to an owner’s interest in his or her own mind.

The difficulty doesn’t arise among people accustomed to regarding themselves as functions of a corporation. Thanks to the diligence of out news media and the structure of our tax laws, our affluent and suburban classes have taken to heart the lesson taught to the aspiring serial killers rising through the ranks at West Point and the Harvard Business School — think what you’re told to think, and not only do you get to keep the house in Florida or command of the Pentagon press office but on some sunny prize day not far over the horizon, the compensation committee will hand you a check for $40 million, or President George W. Bush will bestow on you the favor of a nickname as witty as the ones that on good days elevate Karl Rove to the honorific “Boy Genius,” on bad days to the disappointed but no less affectionate “Turd Blossom.” Who doesn’t now know that the corporation is immortal, that it is the corporation that grants the privilege of an identity, confers meaning on one’s life, gives the pension, a decent credit rating, and the priority standing in the community? Of course the corporation reserves the right to open one’s email, test one’s blood, listen to the phone calls, examine one’s urine, hold the patent on the copyright to any idea generated on its premises. Why ever should it not? As surely as the loyal fascist knew that it was his duty to serve the state, the true American knows that it is his duty to protect the brand.

Having met many fine people who come up to the corporate mark — on golf courses and commuter trains, tending to their gardens in Fairfield County while cutting back the payrolls in Michigan and Mexico — I’m proud to say (and I think I speak for all of us here this evening with Senator Clinton and her lovely husband) that we’re blessed with a bourgeoisie that will welcome fascism as gladly as it welcomes the rain in April and the sun in June. No need to send for the Gestapo or the NKVD; it will not be necessary to set examples.

We don’t have to gag the press or seize the radio stations.

People trained to the corporate style of thought and movement have no further use for free speech, which is corrupting, overly emotional, reckless, and ill-informed, not calibrated to the time available for television talk or to the performance standards of a Super Bowl halftime show. It is to our advantage that free speech doesn’t meet the criteria of the free market. We don’t require the inspirational genius of a Joseph Goebbels; we can rely instead on the dictates of the Nielsen ratings and the camera angles, secure in the knowledge that the major media syndicates run the business on strictly corporatist principles — afraid of anything disruptive or inappropriate, committed to the promulgation of what is responsible, rational, and approved by experts. Their willingness to stay on message is a credit to their professionalism.

The early twentieth-century fascists had to contend with individuals who regarded their freedom of expression as a necessity — the bone and marrow of their existence, how they recognized themselves as human beings. Which was why, if sometimes they refused appointments to the state-run radio stations, they sometimes were found dead on the Italian autostrada or drowned in the Kiel Canal. The authorities looked upon their deaths as forms of self-indulgence. The same attitude governs the agreement reached between labor and management at our leading news organizations. No question that the freedom of speech is extended to every American — it says so in the Constitution — but the privilege is one that mustn’t be abused. Understood in a proper and financially rewarding light, freedom of speech is more trouble than it’s worth — a luxury comparable to owning a racehorse and likely to bring with it little else except the risk of being made to look ridiculous. People who learn to conduct themselves in a manner respectful of the telephone tap and the surveillance camera have no reason to fear the fist of censorship. By removing the chore of having to think for oneself, one frees up more leisure time to enjoy the convenience of the Internet services that know exactly what one likes to hear and see and wear and eat. We don’t have to murder the intelligentsia.

Here again, we find ourselves in luck. The society is so glutted with easy entertainment that no writer or company of writers is troublesome enough to warrant the complement of an arrest, or even the courtesy of a sharp blow to the head. What passes for the American school of dissent talks exclusively to itself in the pages of obscure journals, across the coffee cups in Berkeley and Park Slope, in half-deserted lecture halls in small Midwestern colleges. The author on the platform or the beach towel can be relied upon to direct his angriest invective at the other members of the academy who failed to drape around the title of his latest book the garland of a rave review.

The blessings bestowed by Providence place America in the front rank of nations addressing the problems of a twenty-first century, certain to require bold geopolitical initiatives and strong ideological solutions. How can it be otherwise? More pressing demands for always scarce resources; ever larger numbers of people who cannot be controlled except with an increasingly heavy hand of authoritarian guidance. Who better than the Americans to lead the fascist renaissance, set the paradigm, order the preemptive strikes? The existence of mankind hangs in the balance; failure is not an option. Where else but in America can the world find the visionary intelligence to lead it bravely into the future — Donald Rumsfeld our Dante, Turd Blossom our Michelangelo?

I don’t say that over the last thirty years we haven’t made brave strides forward. By matching Eco’s list of fascist commandments against our record of achievement, we can see how well we’ve begun the new project for the next millennium — the notion of absolute and eternal truth embraced by the evangelical Christians and embodied in the strict constructions of the Constitution; our national identity provided by anonymous Arabs; Darwin’s theory of evolution rescinded by the fiat of “intelligent design”; a state of perpetual war and a government administering, in generous and daily doses, the drug of fear; two presidential elections stolen with little or no objection on the part of a complacent populace; the nation’s congressional districts gerrymandered to defend the White House for the next fifty years against the intrusion of a liberal-minded president; the news media devoted to the arts of iconography, busily minting images of corporate executives like those of the emperor heroes on the coins of ancient Rome.

An impressive beginning, in line with what the world has come to expect from the innovative Americans, but we can do better. The early twentieth-century fascisms didn’t enter their golden age until the proletariat in the countries that gave them birth had been reduced to abject poverty. The music and the marching songs rose with the cry of eagles from the wreckage of the domestic economy. On the evidence of the wonderful work currently being done by the Bush Administration with respect to the trade deficit and the national debt — to say nothing of expanding the markets for global terrorism — I think we can look forward with confidence to character-building bankruptcies, picturesque bread riots, thrilling cavalcades of splendidly costumed motorcycle police.

 

Entonces, El Dolor de Los Ninos

resting infant hands

a young girl in a delivery room. old and painted dirty white, peeling, the large industrial windows filthy, without shade revealing everything in the room to the world outside. the view to them is of factories and an industrial gray colored sky. the girl lay in a worn and stained hospital bed, her legs held up in stirrups. she cried. a steady stream of tears and sweat flowed from her forehead and  legs; there was pain. a pair of hands. the surgical gloves covered in fresh blood as they manipulated a long pair of forceps extending from the girl’s vagina.

the pain is greater, sharper and more exact in location. she tries to be strong but can’t. she sobs and turns away from the rage  but the pain is too great. blood and death dominate…

we see a child in waiting, playing with others in a white room. the children are all half formed. without gender. hairless and incomplete. as they play, one is summoned a sound. the others stop playing and watch. the one called steps up to a wall of white drape. it spreads them apart and steps through. looking forward at an endless tunnel, lit by an almost blinding white light emanating from within the walls, seeing a brighter source of light emanating from what seems like it’s end. A turmoil of light and shadow erupts from the point of light. it grows dark… red. the red rushes up to the formless child, as if the walls were made of linen and cotton, soaking up blood. the tunnel, now shaded in an angry red, begins to bleed, dripping down upon the child, and soaking it, red. it turns to where the curtain wall should be, but it is not. The child turns back and before it stands a figure. a tall white phantom masked figure dressed in a long white robe, its eyes hidden by a surgical mask, untouched by the red that is filling the tunnel. from under it’s clean white robe, the figure reveals a long metal instrument with a shining blade at its end. the hands of the figure are thin, almost skeletal covered in blood. looking up at the figure, the child’s mouth is open wide, it’s solid black eyes glisten with tears of terror. the figure rears it’s instrument back and high up, then brings it down upon the child’s head. the child lay dismembered on the floor. the figure walks away.

 

the girl sits on a bench in a park area across from a school. there are children in the school yard playing. first and second graders. the girl watches them. her eyes still. she watches as the children are then herded back into the building by the teachers. she stares at the door they had just entered when another child steps into view. it is looking at her. but she can’t see what the child looks like, silhouetted against the blinding white light of the sun. but from what little she can see, the child has no hair. the arms short, the fingers short, almost non-existent. the arms thin. the ears small. the feet small. the clothing it wears sparse and torn. the child turns away from her and then runs into the school.

in her hands, the girl holds a black leather bound book. the letters on the cover are gold but we can’t read them because her hands hide them.

 

Passed this point, to get passed this point…

That’s what she thought… get passed this…

Then Inez’s life would be at rest…

She had imagined, a journey upon a sea of black…

Nothing where she imagined the shore to be…

The children she left without a care…without a life…

Sobbed within the darkness of the waves…

Lost as a child…

No Mother…she thought, never found…

No Father, never sought,  just as lost…

She pondered the emptiness of her imagination as she held remnants…

Inez examines a young Puerto Rican woman showing scars…

The scars of a badly performed abortion evident…

Surrounded by the memories of children aborted…

Washing up on shores of living limbs…

Reaching out from the depth of misery and sorrow…

 

Inez awakens…

Perhaps, sixty years of age…

Home alone… the room is black and all she can hear is the dark of the night…

A home she purchased alone years before…

Using the wealth she gained as a doctor…

Performing abortions…

She had been married but Charlie, her husband, aptly died while they were still in medical school….

The house sat on ten acres of land surrounded by hundreds of acres of protected park land…

She lived alone as she had always with a daughter, Alma, a few pictures on the wall showed the girl was in her twenties…

Inez’s hand moved quickly across the page as she wrote her notes to recall…

The other hand held the probe of the stethoscope bell against her chest…

Catching the resonant beat of her heart…

The only light in the room was an old desk lamp…

Darkness surrounded her….

A thumping sound came from the basement…

Inez looked down the hall at the dark stairwell from where the noise came…

The noise continued as she stepped down to the basement…

Holding the bell shaped probe of the stethoscope to her heart…

She walked down the stairs approaching a thumping, dull wooden sound…

The sound of dull objects pounding on metal…

Down in the basement she turned on the light…

Revealing an expanse of priceless artwork…

Passing it all she walked to an open large, heavy wooden door at the back wall of the basement…

Musty air exhaled to escape and mingled with fresh air in the rest of the basement producing a queer smell…

She reached up into the darkness turning on the lamp that hung from an old mangled wire….

The noise continued as she approached the room at the back wall it was coming from…

Lining the rotted walls of the unkempt secret room were a series of old wooden file cabinets that bore a likeness of a the city morgue…

Row upon row of the dead were kept in coffin draws…

Rolled out when needed like files in a filing cabinet…

It sounded as if an animal was in the cabinets and were daringly trouncing about inside…

An animal?

What kind of an animal would get into this room? Rats!

She had rats!

Damn it! she thought…

The pounding continued until it came to settle within one of the draws…

She listened carefully trying to pinpoint the source…

Sounding as if the animal were running from draw to draw and settling…

The arrhythmic pounding seemed to be coalescing into the heartbeats of many coming from a single draw…

Inez stood before the draw listening to the slow, muffled drumming…

Holding the stethoscope probe to it and listening carefully…

As she had done so often when listening for the heartbeat of a child in it’s mother’s womb before…

Hearing the soft heartbeat thump, thump, thump…

An animal?  

She ran into the main basement room, found a hammer and a screwdriver…

Inhaled a deep breath and counted down as she pulled the draw back quickly…

The fetus folded, lay still, dead and moist: Aborted… one would assume…

Threw herself away from the draw, ran out of the room and locked it…

Stepping back from the door, her eyes fixed on it’s stillness…

Pressed the stethoscope bell against her chest, listening to her heart…

Haunted…

Standing at the wooden door of her basement…

Listening, as the draws alone opened one by one…

Listening as the sound of whimpering children’s hearts murmuring filled the room…

She imagined the death of her husband the moment she let him go to find his end and her freedom…

Raising herself from his death as she let him die…

The door resonating, pounding the door from the other side of their existence…

“You have hurt us…” they said.

“And we will hurt you…”

 

Helena Montes sat in the kitchen nook beside the bay window. Sipping coffee she read the newspaper. The morning sun streamed through the trees. she wore a stethoscope around her neck, the sensor plate in one hand pressed against her chest.

She dressed. She slipped her long ageless supple legs into the stockings. She dressed in a short blue dress.

She pulled the Mercedes out of the driveway and streaked down the road, driving across rolling hills and farmland.

She drove into town and parked the car in a municipal parking lot at the entrance to town. She strolled through town, greeting friends and townsfolk as they met her happy smile and returned the greeting.

She walked into the bakers shop and stood on line with a few others. They greeted each other and talked. Helena purchased a dozen rolls and bagels and walked out.

 

She walked into her office greeted the nurse, Robin, a young newlywed living in town.

Helena examines a Puerto Rican woman with extensive scars from a bad abortion.

 

“Alma, go see your mother…”

“How would she know…?”

“Your dreams are the result of your own life… there is so much to learn from her…”

“But I love you so much…”

“Do you Michael?”

“I do… That love no matter how real or sincere doesn’t result in the relationship we have…”

“There are so many assumptions to consider…”

 

“Don’t you recall mother?”

 

“I don’t…”

 

“You called me…”

 

“I recall falling asleep in the rocking chair, having a terrible nightmare…”

 

“Really? Why?”

 

“Mom, you always wanted me to have a child…

A husband…

Listen to the order you prefer,

That’s not what I wanted… do you recall?”

 

“I don’t…”

 

“Mother, are you alright?…

Mother, this isn’t the life I wanted, this is what you want…

You wanted us to marry and have a child…

I’m not even sure I even want to be married at all or marry Michael…”

 

“I wanted your life to be the life I wanted for myself when I was a little girl…”

 

“And now, this is the life you wanted?”

 

“No, I never had a life that I could  grow from…I had to choose my life along the way…

No directive or guidance…No one was ever there for me… To accept the choices made for or left for me…”

“Which is the life you now want me to have with which to have my child…the life you imagined for yourself you wish for me without a say?”

“No Alma…”

“You already have chosen that existence for me…”

“There is so much joy in giving birth…to nurture….a man can never have what you can…”

“Mother, I don’t want that, I hope to have what I want.”

“But you do…”

“I why would I want what you feel I should?”

“Don’t you also wish for the child to have a life with a mother who wants the child as well?”

“No mother.”

“But you will Alma…”

“Like you wanted me?

“Of course, love…”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes…you have doubts?”

“About you and my existence mother?”

“I had a dream, a nightmare of children hurt and in pain, they knew nothing else…

“They expected nothing…”

“They lived in that very moment…”

 

The love they needed was forever to be one of sorrow…

They stood about waiting…

Watching, knowing where the children were going and rising from the black ground…

And they could see nothing they would want of birth…

Imagine the life they were becoming a part of not being the end result of their birth…

They imagined more so but they couldn’t turn back…

They couldn’t turn back the life offered was one they couldn’t turn down…

But live it as is best and worse they could imagine…

Nothing to fulfill, nothing to chose but accept death and fall where they must…”

“Do you understand what you are, Alma?

You are the child of a woman whose wrath is the scorn and hate of others…

You are the child born of a woman who blamed and aborted the children of others for her childless life…

Aborted the lives of others out of vengeance…

Realized she could steal another’s to have her own and rid herself of a useless man…

Having a child is the joy of seeing it appear from the womb, the joy of watching that child grow up.”

The child poured forth, its birth, its spirit now free of any restriction of any afterthought was lost…

As if to stretch and awaken from a deep sleep…

To rise from a sleep that was never complete…

The children, risen from their sleep angered to rise…

Risen to become anger from a sleep of hate

 

Alma calls from the room…

The sores erupt as births…

The emergence of a child born, from the body of its mother…

Blind from birth…

To be born like cancer, to be born from death…

These children are triggered to fruit by the very death of its mother…

I am a child of misery poured forth.

Looking in the mirror, Alma’s puss filled sores cover the whole of her body…

Embodying the dead children, becoming a mass of ill-formed arms, legs, heads, eyes and mouths from the fetus’ of the children she aborted…

 

Witnessing the army of ill formed children rise up from the open land around her…

A woman stands across the field watching…

A child speaks, the wraith, speaks as the the wraith form for the woman who watches from across the field, and was a patient of the doctors.

This child appears from the composite of aborted fetuses that embodies Alma… the children aborted are the victims of Inez who are the deceived minority patients, convinced to abort what they thought were deformed children, only to satisfy the animal within her that sought to restrict other minority women from having children… her anger was deep…why should she not have a child.

Having killed her husband, we learn that Inez killed her husband believing his impotency kept her from having children….

But it was her that was sterile…

The anger drove her to open a practice in a depressed neighborhood where she performed abortion after abortion…

Killing the children she could never have…

She re-imagines the sensation of life within the mother’s belly…

Quivering with anxiety dying in her hands…

While still within the body of the mother…

 

Alma, is a stolen child.

Alma knows now that she is not her mother’s true child, but a child left and disposed, a replacement for her mother’s twisted dreams.

Alma had been summoned by the ghosts of those whose suffering and death we’re not allowed to live because of her mother’s quest for sacrifice, a more suitable punishment for a vengeful woman, who cherished her daughter more than anything else in the world…

Alma, finally consumed by the dead children, consumed…

The mass undulates in the bed…

As her daughter calls as if from far away…

Inez runs off down the steps… She slips and gets hurt…

The house shutters, the floor shakes, the walls quiver in a giant wave…

The faces of children suddenly appear from the fabric of the wall…

As if they were pressing through from the other side…

She runs for the exit door…

Grabs the knob…

The little hands reach out and grab her, pulling her down…

She yanks at them, pulling the door off of it’s hinges.

She falls back to the floor and looks out through the door, across the field…

An army of children appear, standing in line across, like land mines laid across a field.

Inez rushes the door and charges through the army of children…

She runs out onto the field where an army of angry of children, who slowly sink into the ground, dragging her with them…

The house weakens and is consumed by the Earth, then falls into the darkness…

Punishment for the divine…

 

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