Saturday, September 30, 2006

7 deadly sins?

This administration has gone to great lengths to illuminate religious beliefs (Christianity) and nationalism (Patriotism) as the headlights shining forth from their vehicle of agenda. With God and Country as their justification, they seem to possess the fervor of the nation. Why is it that millions of good Christian citizens would rather accept the mere suggestion of piety and righteousness, than actually defend their beliefs?

For as the Bush administration uses the words of the faithful as a shield to advance a global dominion strategy and relgious belief as their richeous sword, they seem be able to break the very tenents that serve to define faith itself. Lets us examine one of the foundational teachings of Christianity to see how the neo-conservative strategy of corporate colonialism has hyjacked our morality and ethical foundation.

In Dante's Inferno, part one of the 11th century Florentine poet's The Divine Comedy, considered the greatest literary statement of middle ages Europe, he detailed the structure of the seven deadly sins. They represented the fixation on one's self over others—in order of severity, culminating in pride, the worst of all sins.

Lust - uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite, an overmastering desire or craving.
Gluttony - wasting of food and drink through overindulgence, hoarding, or as punishment
Greed - desire to possess more than one needs, or has need or use for.
Sloth - laziness, complacency or wastefulness - causing others to have to work harder
Wrath - inappropriate feelings of rage, revenge, denial or punitive desire that falls outside the justice system
Envy - jealousy - coveting - resentment of others for their possessions
Pride/Vanity - desire to hold ones self out of proper position toward God or others. Or desire for self importance or attractiveness in relation to others or to self. Or as Danté himself referred, "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor"

Each sin is a particular way of failing to love the creator with all one's resources or to love others as much as self. Take a few moments to look into each deadly sin and ask yourself: How has my government, as an entity, respected or rejected these vices? How have most (not all) corporate citizens respected or rejected these vices? (enron, halliburton, general electric, exxon, oscar mayer, monsanto, conagra, bridgestone, sears, or walmart) Now the important one... just between you and whatever creator you respect. How have you respected or rejected these vices?

Lust- How is it that we condone our nation and its corporation's use of sex and coveting? How is it that our military regularly preys upon the religious fortitude of its detainees by using women interrogators who act suggestively, touch inappropriately and fake the smearing of menstrual blood on the faces and Korans of their captives? And why do we choose to defend these actions as free speech and our rights, rather than creating a climate where this behavior is not encouraged? Do we really need a law to tell us what is moral and immoral? Do we really need to better define Article Three of the Geneva Conventions?

Gluttony- How can there be no moral concern when as a nation we consume 80% of the planets resources yet constitute less than 8% of its population? How is it that we, the wealthest and most technologically adavanced nation on the Earth, allow gluttonous exploitation of our nation's underprivileged as well as those in developing nations round the world? Why is it that we turn our heads when it comes to holding our government or the corporations accountable for creating impoverished conditions throughout the world? Are our stock dividends worth our immortal souls?

We look away as our leaders force lesser nation's to turn on their own peoples rights, in order to finance debts incurred through intentional WTO lendings that served to help first-world corporations better extract their resources. Is it that we don't want our stock portfolios to suffer at the hands of true justice being served?

And how easily their agenda translates to the third deadly sin, Greed. Our insane quest for materialism and consumption is unparalleled in human history— Never before in the history of mankind have so many been marginalized to profit so few. Few of us are capable of distinguishing our roles as consumers from that of us trying to lead a good life. Our nation's willingness to break down trade barriers to enrich the corporations who's interest profits the shareholders rather than stakeholders, serves to disenfranchise the working and middle class in favor of the ultra-wealthy who benefit most by their stock holdings. But by giving the everyone a chance to benefit in shareholding, they make it increasingly hard for us to descern right from wrong.

We are victims of our own corporate creations-and we alone have the power to reign in the monster. But we feel powerless in the face of huge corporate interests. And how has our greed been further exacerbated by our society elevating material possessions and wealth generation to god-like levels-look at how our culture treats Donald Trump or Bill Gates, or Snoop Dog and Paris Hilton... look at your neighbors and their need to show wealth, perhaps even look in the mirror.

The very nature a corporation is to externalize costs and maximize profits.... and along the way make a product or service. Because publicly held corporations are beholden to shareholders first... their greed, their need for ROI is insatiable. If companies do not continually show profit, then heads roll. Job security is directly linked to the bottom line and the only goal is keeping it ever increasing. Greed set in motion by a political agenda that removes any oversight or governance to the corporations is the pandoras box of out times.

Sloth means taking the easy way out. Got a remote? Got a microwave? instant coffee, tv dinner? While it may seem these items help us stay "on-the-go", they rob us from the ability to take refuge in the simple pleasures of the mundane. While we're busy flip-pin channels and pop-pin pizza rolls in the micro for the kids. We're actually getting less pleasure from each event in and of itself. We no longer enjoy the pleasure of making a meal, of grinding the coffee or brewing it up... we can cram seven actions into any given moment... when we should really be assessing why our society demands so much of us every day? Sloth can be read two ways, just being lazy, but also being fixated on gadgets that are a means not and end.

Wrath- is like shoot-in fish in a barrel... oops ... how wrathful of me! Road Rage, gang violence, hostile take-overs, hostile workplaces, domestic violence, all shown on prime time television with our babies staring wide-eyed into the set... studies show a child born in 1990 will have seen more the 18,000 acts of violence And then there's our DOD and government. Yes we elect new politicians periodically... but we don't elect our military leaders do we? We may choose to listen to them or not, but they are doing their jobs every day... and they have a vested interest as does anyone working- to insure viability and fruitfulness for their chosen career- don't they? hmmm.... should make you wonder.

And what about us, we don't like terrorists, or russians, or hmong or liberals or republicans we don't take direct action for our hatred, but we do tend to look away or marginalize an incident or action taken against one of those demographics.... they deserved it, serves em right... gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet...

Look at this administration and its press to allow for torture by our forces. Even one act of torture is heinous, that's why it is illegal by the Geneva Convention and countless UN sanctions—but not the US— we're the 800lb gorilla yet we need to commit torture to keep our freedom? Careful how you answer that one.

Envy... gee, who's oil is it anyways? for that matter who's everything is it anyways? Our nation assassinates leaders it doesn't do not like, it kills thousands of civilians who don't think its right to allow our corporations to descend on their lands exploit them of everything down to the water they drink and the air they breathe... and somehow we're considered the ones being hurt by policy? We train hundreds of soldiers out of Ft Benning in the School of the Americas to become government sponsored terrorists... enforcing martial law over anyone trying to organize the peoples to resist our corporate domination.... no coveting here, right?

How bout at home, we are being conditioned to covet and envy? Every prime time show pits people against each-other to outdo the other and win something. We envy the winners, we envy the apprentices and fantasize how we'd do much better if in their shoes... Soap operas teach us all about hypocrisy and envy. Erika Kane has won how many daytime emmys for being the ultimate bitch... or was that Joan Collins an Dallas????

The last and worst of all deadly sins, pride. It is pride that emboldens a nation to become wrathful,jealous, greedy or vane. And I know from my studies in spirituality, regardless of the flavor, every religion asks you to let go of your ego to embrace the universal truth... or something like that. What does the military do to condition recruits in boot-camp? Break their spirit and they become like putty. Then you reshape them into your ideal. Same with prisoners, break their pride and they become like sheep. How have we been flaunting our pride? How is it that we have to be important, have to be noticed, have to attract attention?

Take a moment to reflect on these teachings, how is it we can allow such violations to mankink, both at home, and abroad?

Listen to Dante's description of our fate

The Inferno begins on Holy Thursday of the year 1300, a significant holiday, "In the middle of our life's journey". Dante is thirty-five years old, half of the biblically alloted age of 70, lost in a dark wood (allegorically, contemplating suicide), assailed by beasts (sins) he cannot evade, and unable to find the "straight way" to salvation. Conscious that he is ruining himself, that he is falling into a "deep place" where the sun is silent, Dante is at last rescued by Virgil after his love Beatrice intercedes on his behalf, and he and Virgil begin their journey to the underworld.

Dante and Virgil enter the Gate of Hell, on which is inscribed the famous phrase "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" Virgil guides Dante through the nine circles of Hell. The circles are concentric, each new one representing further and further evil, culminating in the center of the earth, where Satan is held, bound. Each circle's sin is punished in an appropriately revengeful way to fit the crime. The nine circles are:

Circle 1. Limbo-the unbaptized and virtuous pagans, who did not accept Christ. They are unable to reach Heaven and denied God's presence for eternity.
Circle 2. Lust, depicted by the lovers in an embrace, never to touch each other again.
Circle 3. Gluttons, face-down in the mud and gnawed apart by a monster.
Circle 4. The greedy and indulgent, forced to push giant rocks in opposite directions.
Circle 5. The wrathful, fighting each other in the swamp-like water of the river Styx, and the slothful, trapped beneath the water.

The lower parts of hell are contained within the walls a city surrounded by the river Styx. These are the active (rather than passive) sins; first are the sins of violence:

Circle 6. Heretics, trapped in flaming tombs.
Circle 7. The violent. These are divided into three rings:
Outer ring: The violent against people and property, in a river of boiling blood.
Middle ring: The violent against themselves—suicides —turned into thorny black trees [Uniquely among the dead, they will not be bodily reincarnated after the final judgment. Where others will continue to occupy Hell (and Heaven) in corporeal (rather than merely spiritual) form, suicides—because they alienated themselves from their own bodies—spend eternity in the body of a tree, their own corpses hanging from the limbs.] Also punished in this circle are profligates, chased perpetually through the trees by ferocious dogs. They are held here with the suicides because, during Dante's time, one's property is seen as an extension of one's physical body. Hence, doing violence to one's property is kin to suicide.
Inner ring: The violent against God, art, and nature—blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers—in a desert of flaming sand where fire rains from the sky (Cantos 14 through 17).
The last two circles of Hell punish sins of malice, or sins of the intellect; that is, sins involving conscious fraud or treachery, and can only be reached by descending a vast cliff into the "pit" of Hell:

Circle 8 The fraudulent—those guilty of deliberate, knowing evil—are located in a circle named Malebolge. This is divided into ten ditches:

Ditch 1: Panderers and seducers, running forever in opposite directions, whipped by demons.
Ditch 2: Flatterers, steeped in human excrement.
Ditch 3: Faith Preachers, placed head-first in holes, flames burning on the soles of their feet.
Ditch 4: False prophets, their heads on backwards so they can only see what is behind them.
Ditch 5: Corrupt politicians, trapped in a lake of burning pitch.
Ditch 6: Hypocrites, made to wear brightly painted lead cloaks.
Ditch 7: Thieves, chased by venomous snakes, who after being bitten, turn into snakes themselves.
Ditch 8: Fraudulent advisors, trapped in flames.
Ditch 9: Sowers of discord, whose bodies are ripped apart, then heal, only to be attacked again.
Ditch 10: Falsifiers, counterfeiters, perjurers, and impersonators. Each group is punished by being afflicted with a different type of disease.

The passage to the ninth circle contains classical and Biblical giants.

Circle 9. Traitors, distinguished from the "merely" fraudulent, in that their acts involve knowingly and deliberately betraying others, are frozen in a lake of ice. Each group of traitors is encased in ice to a different height, ranging from only the waist down to complete immersion.

This is divided into four concentric zones:
zone 1 (Caïna): Traitors to their kindred. Named for Cain.
Zone 2 (Antenora): Traitors to political entities, such as party, city, or country
Zone 3 (Ptolomæa): Traitors to their guests. Named for Ptolemy, captain of Jericho, who invited Simon the High Priest and his sons to a banquet and there killed them.
zone 4 (Judecca): Traitors to their lords and benefactors. This is the harshest section of Hell, containing Satan, who is eternally consuming the bodies of Brutus and Cassius for assassinating Julius Caesar, and the head of Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus, after whom this zone is named.This is where Satan is trapped in the frozen central zone.I wonder where Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz will end up?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rambo Coast Guards!

News broke of a story today that the Coast Guard has been quietly preparing for creating 34 live-weapon shooting zones along the coastlines of the Great Lakes without public participation!

Seems they plan to replace life rafts with 50cal machine guns on our Coast Guard cutters and helicopters as their mission under the Bush administration (and the post-9/11 era) has transformed from one of search and rescue to hunt and kill. After all, we all know Canadian terrorists, like AlQaeda, hate our freedom and wish to harm our boaters and beachgoers.

This negates a 200 year old treaty with Canada raising tension with our neighbor to the north and puts boaters and citizens in harms way. Is this the "New American Century" you voted for in 2000 and 2004?

Here the red areas denote where live-fire exercizes are to be held throughout the year. Citizens are somehow going to be notified to avoid these areas while or brave lifeguards learn how to use eco-friendly hot lead to "save" victims.

Now our Coast Guard most often thought of as lifeguards with serious toys.... David Hasselhofs with a flying "Kits" are being trained to be executioners from the skies! The NeoCon global war on terror has come home and lets hope they never have orders to shoot civilians.... but how far away are we from that???

Particularly if you pay attention to the immigration strategy the Bush Administration is executing... Do you know who is and who is not an American? These days the definition is under debate. During Rumsfeld's 2005 BRAC Plan (Base Re Alignment and Closure) hundreds of military bases are being disarmed and/or closed... oddly too, they seem to be the ones concentrated closer to urban centers -typically in Blue States. While this may not seem important, think of the job loss and economic trouble closings of this magnitude bring... and oddly, all the Bases being fortified are in Red States bringing jobs and further partisan afiliation by constituants.

Now understand too, many of these closed bases have plans to convert them to prisons and detention centers.... by Halliburton subsidiary KBR(Kellogg Brown and Root) who won no-bid contracts from Homeland Security worth millions. So gigantic prisons are being built outside urban population centers whos lower income citizens will suffer most by the loss of jobs related to the military.. not many rich kids are in the army... But when poor people don't have jobs, they usually get into trouble don't they?

Here's the deal, Bush alienates and impoverish's Blue State urban centers, imprisons blue voters as they become further economically strapped, enriches and alligns red state support and moves weapons away from citizens, concentrating them in privatized bunkers in only a few locations in the country. Gee, if the citizens ever felt a need to rise up against a tyrannical leader, they'd have no means to do it now wouldn't they? And now the Coast Guard would be waiting at the shoreline to gundown these citizen terrorists... hmm go George!