Citadels of Paranoia: An Occupation by Phantoms

The frantic fear-mongering of American culture – Russians, North Koreans, Iranians, the Others are out to get us – has generated an alienation that fuels violence, globally and in random acts of murder, writes poet Phil Rockstroh.

By Phil Rockstroh

The bad news is we have been deluged with bad, even mortifying, news, and for such an extended period of time, the mind reels in bafflement as the spirit sinks. Despair seems an apt response to events one cannot reconcile, of circumstances of which one cannot gain perspective nor control.

The classic neon sign welcoming visitors to Las Vegas.

“The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of.” ? Rainer Maria Rilke, excerpt from Letters to a Young Poet

Depression can be a compensatory response to the inherently manic nature of capitalist dominance of every aspect of life in late modernity. The affliction knocks you on your ass and keeps you there until the psyche can find a better means of using the agency of libido, which, under the extant corporate/consumer/surveillance state panopticon has been usurped.

Under the system’s economic despotism and attendant anomie and alienation, one’s longings, more often than not, do not lead to the connecting eros of a life-enhancing vocation or deepening interpersonal encounters but only as a vehicle that hijacks one’s life into the service of a soul-crushing system, wholly designed to exploit every moment of this fleeting life for the benefit of an overclass of parasites, a klavern of vampires and ghouls.

Depression is the soul’s way of saying, to paraphrase the Vietnam-era antiwar chant, “Hell no, I won’t go.”

Alienation is an apt response to negotiating a soulless landscape. Where is the eros in Big Box/strip-mall encounters? The ad hoc architecture of the consumer culture, which manages to be both utilitarian and garish, renders the heart dry as dust and grinds the mind to spittle. The psyche is in constant communion with its outer surroundings.

Thus, what comes to pass if what is extant is a nadascape of vapid commercialization, designed to deliver the shallow sensations concomitant to consumerism but lacking a connecting eros to both numinous inner realities and binding human encounters? A mortification occurs. Some individuals are driven to lash out in anger, even in acts of mass murder. The rage remains inchoate thus is displayed in acts of road rage… in nebulous hatred of outsiders and minorities and the foreign other.

Creating Enemies

The propagandists of empire are privy to the fact. Hence, so many are convinced, so easily, that North Korea and Iran are threat to the homeland; that Russiagate is a thing; that the U.S. military and the nation’s so-called intelligence agencies are a force for good and act as agents of protection against a hostile world.

Stephen Paddock, identified as the shooter who slaughtered 59 people and wounded more than 500 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 1, 2017.

But with some, their soul isn’t buying it. Depression pulls one deep into oneself; therefore, manic compensation and displacement is not possible. They have opted out of the collective madness. Depression’s descent into the self becomes the option to surface level tropes of distraction. Compulsions fall away like autumn leaves, the sap of life is seemingly frozen, the winds of the world howl through barren branches of one’s inner wilderness — to wit, an accurate apprehension of the sound of propaganda and its affront to mind and soul.

Yet: All too many cannot envisage the veritable dangers of our age: ecocide and their threatened extinction of the human species; blanched coral reefs, scoured of life; dying oceans, gagging in plastic particulates; the sky burning, the ashes of charred forests stippling the wind. Shooting sprees. As American as convenience store hotdogs, mass incarceration and drone murder.

Las Vegas, the crass and sterile U.S. landscape on stilts and steroids, retails in empty sensation. Dominion of night where coruscating lights have scoured away the stars. Perpetual, meretricious come-ons. City of towering, schlock temples wherein what the U.S. holds sacred is worshipped: legal larceny, the deification of empty sensation, and the transubstantiation of everything it touches, flesh and material, into fodder for exploitation. Kitsch über Alles. A 24/7 neon Pentecost of Mammon.

A wilderness of the collective mind howling with hungry ghosts. Vengeful spirits … inundate the air of the U.S. cult of death. The imprecatory prayers of millions of slaughtered Indians ride the western winds and are funneled into the void of vapidity that is Las Vegas.

A man, eaten hollow by alienation, his soul rancid with displaced rage, stands at a hotel window. The heft of his firearm is the only thing that feels tangible in his hollowness and amid the weightless sheen of the architecture of the city below.

The life of an Iraqi, Libyan, Yemeni, Syrian, Palestinian et. al. translates into nothing in the U.S. American system of value. “The only thing those people understand is brutality. When we rain down death … that is the fate they demand.”

The shooter’s mind roils. He acts as he has been conditioned to act. Now, he has achieved the power and control he has been denied. He is a military empire of one. His birthright as a U.S. American has been fulfilled. God bless the USA.

Selling Death

After mass shootings in the U.S., the sale of firearms rises. The phenomenon is very much like the reaction of alcoholics whose solution to the stress-inducing trouble, pain and chaos that their addiction inflicts upon their lives is to attempt to remedy the situation by careening into another drinking binge. U.S. Americans are attracted to guns in the same manner drunks are in love with their chosen killer.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

They are seeking sanctuary from fear. All too many view the world as a hostile place, and the remedy, U.S. culture has instructed them, is to dispatch the threat by means of violence. These tormented souls believe they will be provided safety on a weapons-bristling citadel built on a mountain of corpses. (Floridians had to be advised that it would be a less than propitious act to fire weaponry into the fury of Hurricane Irma.)

Thus discussions of “gun control” will only exacerbate more fear, will cause gun sales to rise, and will increase the body count. The great unspoken is: U.S. Americans fear the wrong things. The culture roils in a miasma of confused apprehensions and displaced responses. The threat U.S. Americans are attempting to ward off is comprised by an occupation of ghosts, the ghost of history that stalks the precincts of their own minds.

If the habit of communal engagement is forsaken, the heart atrophies from a lack of practice. The presence of others, even the panoply of life itself, is misapprehended as menacing … Others are perceived as malevolent, inhuman – as phantoms, devoid of face, heart and blood.

Empathy is cultivated through participation mystique. Denied of the experience, the heart is at risk of being rendered a cold citadel of angst and paranoia. Without empathy’s agency, passion cannot be transmuted into compassion. Sans the sublimation of the heart’s hearth, psychical fires threaten to become a raging wildfire of collective madness:

“Putin’s neo-Cossack hacker squads have invaded my hard drive; Iran craves nukes; North Korea is a coiled, nuclear viper of seething crazy. Or the madness is made manifest as shooting sprees whereby the mass murderer attempts to cut down with barrages of semiautomatic weapon fire internal phantoms that torment him from within .” – Paranoid thoughts such as those can be read as, a confused soul’s dark fantasies of release from ego-ossified bondage although by means of the agency of death.

Moreover, I have noticed that often the true state of mind crouched beneath paranoia is envy. Envy… unconsciously evinced as, others are taking up your space in the world and are plotting to maintain the arrangement by your undoing.

There is a solution: Go take a survey of the world beyond your self-circumscribed range and insist on your portion of life — your portion of fate. Yes, of course all too many situations in this life are rigged, e.g., the capitalist state. But life itself is too vast, too intricate to be fully controlled; the world is too big to rig.

First release yourself from the stultifying confinement attendant to self-inflicted bondage. Then proceed into the midst of life and show your face to the world.

Storms will pass, the landscape glistens with renewing rain…

Set barriers and barricades aflame … their flames caress the future.

Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living, now, in Munich, Germany. He may be contacted: philrockstroh.scribe@gmail.com And at FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh 

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54 comments for “Citadels of Paranoia: An Occupation by Phantoms

  1. Zachary Smith
    October 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I’ll leave this one to others to decipher. Writing with clarity to convey information is one thing; writing to overawe the reader is quite another.

    Since the nominal topic was the Las Vegas murders, I’ll contribute a link I saw this morning.

    “Las Vegas: How White Rights, Neoliberal Isolation and a Little Incompetence Killed 59 or 60 People This Week”

    “Slavery remained legal in New England, New York and the mid-Atlantic region till well into the 1800s, and the movements of free blacks and Indians were severely restricted for decades afterward. So colonial and early American militia also prowled the roads and highways demanding the passes of all non-whites, to ensure the enslaved were not escaping or aiding those who were, and that free blacks were not plotting rebellion or traveling for unapproved reasons

    “Historically then, the principal activities of the Founding Fathers’ “well regulated militia” were Indian killing, land stealing, slave patrolling and the enforcement of domestic apartheid, all of these, as the Constitutional language declares “being necessary to the security of a free state.” A free state whose fundamental building blocks were the genocide of Native Americans, and the enslavement of Africans.”

    That my friends, is why the United States of America in 1791 needed a Second Amendment. It was about deputizing every available white man for what the Constitution called “the security of a free state.” Those were the original intentions of the nation’s founding fathers, baked into its body politic at birth.

    h**ps://blackagendareport.com/las-vegas-how-white-rights-neoliberal-isolation-and-little-incompetence-killed-59-or-60-people-week

    I’m also tacking on a link to what a “bump stock” really does.

  2. Joe Tedesky
    October 10, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Whether Paddock had an extreme gun fetish, or that he was part of a false flag event, it goes without saying how this article makes a great attempt at confronting the American mindset, which for the lack of a better way of explaining it, is in the proverbial gutter. Let’s face it, America is one stressed out place, and yet we go about our way thinking we have the perfect society. This is unfortunate that we Americans are so blinded by our own success, or thinking we are successful better put, that we look down onto those who are not of our country’s origin. It’s way beyond time, we Americans wake up and smell the coffee. Here’s a suggestion; give as much time to putting on tv commercials to appeal to the mentality afflicted to seek out help, to as much time that has been given to all of the reporting that has been done on this gun crazed slaughter of the innocents.

    • tina
      October 11, 2017 at 1:32 am

      Hi Joe,

      Your idea is correct. Get off of the computer and act. Stop expressing opinions , and do something. Here is what I do, I give food ,money ,and goods in my community, Milwaukee WI, I know that will only go so far, but I really am tired of all the complaints(bitching) on the internet. For the sake of someone with the initials JFC, do something , don’t just write on the internet

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 11, 2017 at 8:42 am

        That’s the spirit tina. We here do our humble best, as well. I can’t stress about it enough though, that we in the U.S. need to establish a campaign to seek out the mentally ill who need help, and help them. I’m not sure of this Paddock fellow being mentally ill, but by the reports in the news he sure does look like a candidate for mental help. Maybe tv commercials could bring these people forward for them to receive some help. Joe

  3. Nancy
    October 10, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    A chilling but accurate assessment of what drives a person to commit such an atrocity.
    My brother has bipolar disorder (totally non-violent) and has often commented to me how hard it is to be “normal” in such a crazy world. I have to agree with him.
    The fact that such bloodbaths are perpetrated by our government on a regular basis is another obstacle to living in a rational society.

    • Colleen O'Brien
      October 10, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      Amen!

  4. Seer
    October 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    But, BUT… the assumption here, keep in mind that there’s been no trial for vetting the information/facts, is that Paddock was in fact responsible here.

    Are we following the “official narrative?” Official narratives have a pretty sketchy track record as far as facts go. I had always believed the “story” of the Oklahoma City Bombing, right up until only a couple of days ago. I watched James Corbett’s (YouTube – Corbett Report) piece on Timothy McVeigh and I got to tell ya, that entire “official story stink just as badly as the “official” 9/11 story. I encourage everyone to watch this. You’ll come away understanding just how we’re being played: for those actually digging out the facts in the 9/11 event it’ll feel like a massive slap to the head- that is, the same manipulative means have been going on for a LONG time, and, yes, this is all a set up for rolling out more controlling legislation (in that video you will learn that way back in 1995 lay the foundations of the Patriot Act- Joe Biden was involved).

    • backwardsevolution
      October 10, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Seer – I haven’t seen that James Corbett piece on the Oklahoma City bombing, but I’ll give it a go and see what I think. James Corbett is a very thoughtful, intelligent, meticulous individual who appears to carefully consider the facts before responding.

      Just look at what they’re doing with Russiagate, trying to force idiocy down the throats of unsuspecting people. Then remember Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Gulf of Tonkin, alleged chemical weapons attacks by Assad – all lies!

      Now we have Las Vegas. Paul Craig Roberts, who doesn’t know what to think and, because of this, had advised his readers that he would say no more on the matter, just posted a letter he received from a general surgeon:

      “As a patriotic American, I must say I was, like most people here, initially totally shocked by the Las Vegas shooting and I hate to admit naively believed the media. However, after receiving disturbing emails about it, with references to others with doubts, I began to look at the media reports with more suspicion, and from a medical point of view primarily the almost complete absence of blood on site from the around 550 victims apparently shot was an immediate give away.

      “I am a retired general surgeon, and when younger served in a number of military hospitals in Asia and the Middle East, and I can assure you, few would have had such extensive experience in treating bullet wounds as I. Unless you’ve actually seen bullet wounds from a clinical perspective from high powered weapons they claim were used in the shooting, it is hard to appreciate the extent that the mainstream media are plainly lying.”

      You can read the rest at the link below. Who knows what to think!

      • backwardsevolution
        October 10, 2017 at 2:46 pm
        • Skip Scott
          October 11, 2017 at 10:27 am

          Hey B.E.-

          Good to hear from you. It’s been a while.

          • backwardsevolution
            October 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm

            Skip Scott – always good to see your name too! Decided to take a break from banging my head against the wall. Besides, I’m far too much of a sh*t disturber for this site.

            Can it get any more insane out there? Or untruthful? Already we have people saying that these Vegas victims were all actors, that Stephen Paddock wasn’t the one firing the shots, that there was an accomplice, that he got set up, he was loyal to ISIS, and on and on. Take your pick.

            Paul Craig Roberts has since posted another article from someone who looked at the acoustics of the gun shots and thinks there was another shooter firing from a much closer range. Very interesting and plausible to a layman like myself. Watch the video and see what you think.

            Thanks, Skip.

          • backwardsevolution
            October 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm

            Here is the video link re acoustics:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxmEFeKy8aI

          • Skip Scott
            October 12, 2017 at 8:43 am

            Hi B.E.-

            The only thing that strikes me as not discussed sufficiently in the video is that the lag time also varies with different type weapons, since the muzzle speeds are different. Is an AK-47 round faster than the Remmington? I have not trusted the MSM for a long time, know there are many agendas and false flags, but I’m having a hard time figuring this one out. Why would there being two gunmen change anything if their goal is gun control? Why use crisis actors if there were real victims?

          • backwardsevolution
            October 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm

            Skip Scott – yes, I totally agree with you on the lag times. That’s why we need more evidence. I’m just wondering whether we’re ever going to get the whole truth. The police did say he used AR-15’s with .223, but we don’t know if the guns were modified in any way, and we don’t know whether he used rifles at first.

            My only point is that the guy in the video detected TWO sets of guns firing “simultaneously”, one with a shorter lag time and one with a longer lag time. Is it possible that Stephen Paddock could have been firing both weapons at the same time?

            Take care, Skip.

          • backwardsevolution
            October 13, 2017 at 2:45 am

            Skip – one more thing. The video guy said that “mixed in” (he also used the word “intermixed”) with the shots coming from Mandalay Bay was another shooter, a second shooter.

            “Why would there being two gunmen change anything if their goal is gun control?” Ensuring bigger numbers killed? More carnage = more outrage? I don’t know.

          • Skip Scott
            October 13, 2017 at 9:07 am

            B.E.-

            Thanks for the clarification. I missed the part about them being simultaneous. As for carnage, I’m surprised it wasn’t a lot worse. I’m still also confused about the crisis actors and the missing brass. Like you say, I doubt we’ll ever know the whole truth.

          • backwardsevolution
            October 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm

            Skip Scott – yeah, for all we know, Stephen Paddock might have sent his girlfriend off to the Philippines in order to spend a week gambling and hookering to his heart’s content. Maybe there is no video of him taking arms up to his room because he never did take arms up to his room. Maybe he was dead long before the fun began.

            The police said it looked like Paddock thought he could survive and escape. I wonder what they saw that made them think that. Or maybe he got set up and the person who pulled the shootings off killed Paddock, nailed the door shut, and escaped perhaps out an adjoining room, up a ventilation duct? Rappelled down the side of the building?

            Sorry, my imagination just went wild.

      • Seer
        October 10, 2017 at 3:34 pm

        I really have not followed all of this, BUT… where have the gunshots been purported to have hit people? The purported shooter was to have been from a much higher elevation than those shot. This angle would present the body profile in lesser proportion than the head; meaning, there should be a higher occurrence of head wounds (the slightest of which can produce LOTS of blood) as well as present a higher instance/likelihood of mortality (over someone shooting from a more equal elevation).

        These comments by the surgeon:

        “To use the U.S military M16 assault rifle as an example. It uses 5.56 x 45 mm high velocity, flat trajectory cartridges giving it an effective range of about 200 meters”

        Are a bit incorrect. USMC trained at 500 yards WAY back when. While yards != meters, it still translates to slightly over 450 meters, a number far higher/longer than the stated 200 meters. But, it is noted that newer cartridges are more capable of propelling longer distances: though, here too, it is mentioned that the projectile itself is heavier- “speed kills” applies, in which case the real aim shouldn’t be so much as having a heavier projectile as projecting it FASTER- for longer ranges this is what is desired (in order to maintain sufficient kinetic energy when hitting the intended target).

        Key is to always match rifles/weapons and ammunition to distance and required striking power. I’m no ballistics expert, but I think that having proof of what was used (keeping in mind that with the large collection of weapons that Paddock was purported to have in his possession [and assuming it was he behind all this] that he surely would have known what the proper pairing was.

        One other thing I’d read on Robert’s site a couple days back was that someone claimed that even a trained military sniper isn’t able to hit so many people in combat. How often do troops amass as densely, and in such a confined location as this concert? Just want to make sure people don’t start leading down the path with some sketchy ideas that later become means for easy refutation (which then is used to denounce any/all other lines of reason).

        • backwardsevolution
          October 10, 2017 at 4:29 pm

          Seer – yeah, I don’t know either. I read that Steven Paddock purchased most of his weapons (33, I believe) since October/November of 2016 and that they were AR-15’s with bump stock. You are right about head wounds – massive bleeding from the head. Where is all the blood?

          “A third weapon, identified as an AK-47 type rifle, was outfitted with a stand to steady it and improve accuracy, said people close to the ongoing probe. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said the weapons that have been recovered range in caliber from .223, which is associated with AR-15 style rifles, to .308, which is a caliber commonly used in hunting rifles.”

          What this surgeon had to say doesn’t confirm anything, but it adds more food for thought. As with 9/11, I don’t think we’ll ever know the truth.

          • Seer
            October 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm

            Yes, .223 at less than 500 yards is totally effective. Military knows that wounds can be more debilitating than casualties: those who survive must attend to those who were wounded, which removes solders from offensive to defensive modes.

            I’d hope that all this information will get pulled into a good open-source site for real investigation, an investigation that’s not going to happen now that the dead-man cannot tell tales.

            I don’t care to know the “truth.” I care about facts. Facts aren’t refutable: that’s the thing that drew me into taking a closer look at 9/11- there’s not “truth” in gravity, it’s “fact!” (I can stand in front of someone and show the repeatability of the effects of gravity- a “truth” about what brought down buildings and such can range from many things).

          • Skip Scott
            October 11, 2017 at 10:30 am

            One thing that confuses me a bit is – why a need for accuracy? He was shooting into a crowd with the equivalent of full-auto. Did he have particular individuals in mind? I doubt it.

  5. Tannenhouser
    October 10, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I agree with Joe….. The official narrative is holy. Other than a belief in it, not many actually know anything about what happened…. we ALL know that doesn’t make it so… The article is good regardless which side you choose…

  6. backwardsevolution
    October 10, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Phil Rockstroh – I think it’s deeper than that. I quote Nietzsche:

    “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives; who will wipe this blood off us? ”

    America has lost its religion. Like all vacuums, the void didn’t stay empty for long, being replaced by identity politics, multiculturalism, consumerism, blah, blah, blah. As with all things, wherever there is a winner, there is also a loser. One man’s religion was stomped out in order for others to flourish, and in the process there was a death of a country.

    It certainly wasn’t perfect, but what had been a rock, a foundation, is now gone. It “has bled to death under our knives.”

    When you allow others, either out of guilt or a misplaced morality, to dictate terms, rob and murder what had been in order that “they” might flourish, in order that “their” culture and religion flourish, don’t be surprised when you are left with absolutely nothing but chaos.

    This is very dangerous. The vested interests will rush in with the cure: be more open and tolerant. This will serve to divide the country further. This is a loss of a culture, a religion.

    A crooked foundation begets a crooked house.

    • Seer
      October 10, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      We didn’t lose anything. It’s a cycle. Find and read The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival by Sir John Glubb. It did not matter one iota what leadership, what religion, what sex what age, empires all rose and fell. And none of it was because of a sense of a loss of “faith.” Sadly, Glubb himself couldn’t put his finger on the underlying cause: growth, rather the inability to keep up with the needs for exponential growth- more and more energy becomes necessary to fuel the efforts until, that is, such expenditures overrun the acceptability of the citizens (and then it’s a blame on the higher-ups for not delivering; like they are god-like and can make resources appear out of thin air!).

      As Derrick Jensens says, we will fight to the death to defend that which keeps us alive. With the powers over us it will be so whether we wish it or not.

      • backwardsevolution
        October 10, 2017 at 5:49 pm

        Seer – “Sadly, Glubb himself couldn’t put his finger on the underlying cause.” I’m sure he couldn’t.

        The past has been extensively written about, all in hindsight. They did not have the Internet, huge libraries, historians coming out the yin yang, massive universities dissecting every nook and cranny, but we do. Being that we DO possess this knowledge, there is no excuse for us. This is not a cycle, this is a planned destruction.

        There ARE actually people who knew exactly what was needed to bring it about and how it would all play out, even though it might all be new to you. They’re the same people who stand there and feign surprise after events unfold, i.e. the 2008 financial crisis, Weapons of Mass Destruction, the false flags, etc. These people are banking on people to believe in “cycles,” like no one can see them until after the fact. Ha, some do know ahead of time; in fact, they plan these things out knowing full well what will occur.

        Manufactured, engineered, steered.

    • historicvs
      October 11, 2017 at 8:51 am

      Religion is based on the false premise that our planet is ruled by invisible spirits, which can be influenced by magical thinking or ritual behaviors to effect or prevent certain outcomes. The patriarchal monotheism invented by Judaism and spread through its bastard offspring Christianity and Islam is a barbaric construct that profoundly insults humanity, with particular cruelty to the female half. The ideas of Bronze Age Levantine nomads have no place in an ethical, humanist world. Worse, these poisonous religions offer a false comfort that drugs their victims into complacency, so they cannot see there is more to life and to themselves than these primitive belief systems are capable of conceptualizing.

      Belief in religion is primarily belief in authority, rather than the belief in evidence that characterizes rationality. It is a willing acceptance of someone else’s cosmology, even based as it is on the flimsiest, emotionalized evidence.

      I’d like to believe that the rise of extreme fundamentalism in all three of the Abrahamic religions is their final brilliant flaring, just before they go dark and vanish forever, finally vanquished by human progress. I am not holding my breath, though, as the long sad history of humanity shows that civilization is a fragile thing, and barbarism is robust.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        A tragic picture is how many have killed other human beings believing that God was on their side. Another example of western values and religion which doesn’t mix well with nature, is how we religious don’t mind one bit how we destroy Mother Earth because we need gas for our car. We European whites thought we owed it to the Native American to bring them up to becoming civilized, and yet I have come to the belief it would have been better if it had been the other way around.

        Love your history lessons historicvs, but you knew that already. Have a good one. Joe

        • backwardsevolution
          October 11, 2017 at 4:02 pm

          Joe – God or no God, the carnage goes on. As the West has become less religious, has it stopped, abated, slowed to a trickle? Nope.

          European whites didn’t think we owed it to the Native Americans to civilize them. Who cared about civilizing them? We just wanted their land and killed them when they fought back. That story has been going on as long as time, even among the Native Americans who took slaves and stole land as well. It’s not right, but just is.

      • backwardsevolution
        October 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm

        historicvs – I think you took me too literally, or perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. I wasn’t talking about the type of religion you mentioned above. But, no matter, I’m not going to waste my time refuting you. Life is too short.

        How’s that ethical, humanist world working out?

      • Zachary Smith
        October 11, 2017 at 11:47 pm

        Don’t know if you’ve read Arthur Clarke’s novel Songs of Distant Earth, but it has a minor theme you might enjoy.

        The story involves the only practical (at the moment) way of humans getting established on other planets around distant stars. A rather small spacecraft would carry only blueprints for the life forms which would taken along. At the other end robotic incubators would create molecules from the data, and from the growth of these would emerge the life forms.

        Clarke assumed that we wouldn’t want to send ANY religions along with the human colonists, for they’d only be clutter. It’s very difficult to disagree.

  7. Susan Sunflower
    October 10, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    This must be today’s theme in the zeitgeist … Zero Hedge similarly discusses the bleakness of our imagination these days.

    I hadn’t anything much to add and then remember Adam Curtis’ documentary “The Trap” (3 one-hour segments) on the adoption of game theory, first by the military and the Rand Corporation (what John Nash won the Nobel for) and how it’s deeply selfish, almost existentially bleakappraisal of human nature seeped first in Reagan’s social policies, soon followed by Thatcher et al. (it may be the other way around — Curtis is BBC and focuses on the havoc wreaked on the British Civil Service as it began to reinvent itself along this selfish me-first model (which dovetails nicely into the earlier “Century of Self” series on the social engineering from citizens to consumer and the changing role of government from (economic) ship’s captain to protector from all evil.

    I’m feeling alarmed daily as Americans (particularly progressives, imho) seem to be demanding new laws and law enforcement wrt behavioral or “political correctness” crimes …. Trump wants football team owners to fire players … Liberals seem to want rules, laws and “the establishment” to protect their rights … as if “safe spaces” need not only the blessing of the establishment but also an implied attached police force … Similarities but differences. I’m not sure what can be done about sexual harassment, but those encouraging women to stand up and speak out need to talk to Black Lives Matters wrt what success might look like … As a second wave feminist, I shrug my shoulders and shake my head and wonder how things have regressed so badly … while noting that Rowan Farrell — who wrote the New Yorker article — is back to press his (very old) case against Woody Allen while Roman Polanski keeps being mentioned in the same breath … again, there’s a vigilantism that refuses to accept the limitations of time and the legal system (and, IMHO, the common sense involved in putting some ancient “outrages” aside — ymmv). The relevance to this article is that once again, the miasma of Cosby, Polanski, Allen suffuses the media … as if demanding outrage of “all good and decent people” … above and beyond both due process and the limitations there of… apparently because “celebrity” …

    Nuf. Highly recommend “The Trap” … available on youtube … which I’d watch again except my internet speed these days is 0.12 mbps and I can barely surf the web (cleaning my cache twice daily)

    note: John Nash is interviewed by Curtis and talks about how he developed Game Theory while seriously mentally ill and abandoned it as the product of his paranoid schizophrenia. Also features R.D. Laing.

    • Zachary Smith
      October 11, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Susan, it took only a few tries to determine that the “moderation” was triggered by your use of the term s e x u a l _ h a r a s s m e n t.

      That’s item #4 on the growing list.

  8. Susan Sunflower
    October 10, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    my longer comment is – inexplicably to me — in moderation

    I first noticed that “the golden rule” was no longer cited … see also “all men are brothers” … this actually was before 09/11 but become pronounced as the flagrant and gross immorality of America’s “war on terrorism” evolved beyond Bush’s mockable Wild-West Vigilantism into the horrors of Gitmo and black site and black ops and “the World is a battlefield” mentality.

    We need to reclaim our humanity — something that can be experienced in most of the world but is increasingly unmentionable in the USofA. … good news! after our first winter storm (9000 feet, 4-6 inches) the monarch butterflies are still fluttering through the yard in unprecedented numbers.

    • Eddie
      October 10, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Glad to hear about the Monarchs! I’ve been afraid to read the latest stats on them because it’s yet another depressing situation…

    • Zachary Smith
      October 10, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      You must have used a verboten word. When that happens to me these days, I experiment with momentary follow-up posts to learn what that word was. To date I’ve found three examples. :)

  9. October 10, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    This has been by far in the top ten posts here in Consortium
    Great read. Yes thoughts and aspirations all manipulated to create pointless nihilism.That all we have become here in the west. All signs of a dying empire and hopefully to a dying paradigm.

    • Dave P.
      October 11, 2017 at 12:31 am

      Yes. Very deep – an expression of what goes on inside in many of us in these very unreal times.

  10. October 10, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    I was reading “Corporate Conspiracies” by Richard Belzer and David Wayne the other day. The authors stated that 54% of the US discretionary budget goes to militarism, and 6% goes to education. Is it any wonder that Americans are confused? Many are poorly educated and literally don’t know how to think critically. It’s been engineered that way intentionally.

    Another statistic is that the US has 5% of world population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated. Of those, a disproportionate number are blacks, a manifestation of the new Jim Crow.

    “A nation that, year after year, continues to spend more money on military programs than on programs for social uplift, is approaching spiritual death.” Spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Riverside Church address, NYC, April 4, 1967, one year to the day before his assassination in Memphis, TN. (And his assassination was not done by the “lone assassin”, James Earl Ray. It was a plot by FBI, the Dixie Mafia, Memphis police. Paramilitary snipers were brought in for backup to make sure the “job was done”.)

    The US is, sadly, very close to spiritual death. Materialism is not a philosophy that comforts the psyche or soul.

  11. Colleen O'Brien
    October 10, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Thank you for this deep, dark and truthful take on the Psyche of America.
    The anecdote is to live fully, follow your path, trust your heart, leave the madness behind.

  12. Matt Krist Germany
    October 11, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Hallo Phil
    Great article about western “modern” Paranoia.All is said.But for sure, you can’t post your article in our German-Lie-Media. The North-Atlanticers would hunt you for lifetime for that.They would call you a Right-wing (Nazi) children eating Monster or something like that.Your comments are dangerous! They are true! People should’d read that,it could open their mind.In our Indian Reservation the men behind will hate you for that.And:this is the greatest compliment you could get ever!Today you gave my dark autumn morning a Little bit more sun.Thank youz for that.

  13. October 11, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Tying together Las Vegas, Iran, North Korea, Russiagate, the ongoing Deep State – DNC putsch and … whatever, an interesting perspective concerning the ungluing of a nation, … a poet’s perspective. Very powerfully written, art as the mirror we need. Why only artists can change the world, they reach the soul, not just the brain. There’s a reason ancient druid cultures held bards in such high esteem, awarding them a right to use of color next to kings.

  14. Myles Hagar
    October 11, 2017 at 10:27 am

    A wonderful piece of real English writing. I noted several quotations for further reflection.

  15. October 11, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Dad is well off from lucrative military contracts. Mom works at Applebee’s as a hostess. Son went to the Air force Academy to play soccer because he wasn’t good enough for a scholarship; now he pays for school and soccer fun by loading bombs for Air Force Jets. Soul? Heart? Compassion? Empathy?

    You can move a nation for “Shock and Awe” to reign fire on fellow human beings; have everything necessary to devastate foreign lands, even make a lucrative living from it; and in response to natural disasters, offer nothing but excuses of limited personal and materials to confront the devastation.

    • Susan Sunflower
      October 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Significant food scarcity still in Puerto Rico — Mexico (after 2 or 3 devastating earthquakes) is sending aid … food scarcity … and the power is still out and phone service spotty … no updates on the death toll.

      The Northern California fires are still raging and the death toll still rising … where was “civil defense” and evacuation plans …

      Even in Las Vegas, old news now … I can find no mention of a SWAT team being deployed… quickly to an active shooter in a secured location (and I wonder about the hotel’s closed-circuit television monitoring (a wide spread and routine security precaution) …

      I learned the hard way on a personal level that when things get really tough you’ve got a less than 50/50 chance that those folks who you thought “would always be there” will “be.there” …

      There are remarkable lapses … also in our media … how’s Houston doing? South Florida? Puerto Rico? and a half-dozen other recent sites of chaos … no coverage at all in most places of ST. Louis … Football protests have eclipsed “black lives matters” in police related killings. (And the evolution of that campaign in the media is less than encouraging)

      • backwardsevolution
        October 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm

        Susan Sunflower – nobody is coming to save you. You smell a whiff of smoke, you’d best be getting out – and fast. Those fires create their own wind and move quickly. I read somewhere that there were 17 different fires. Smells like arson to me.

        New Orleans, below sea level. Hey, great place for a city (not)! Everybody wants to live close to the water (in hurricane zones), and then they’re all surprised when the water rises, when they’re flooded out? What?

        • Susan Sunflower
          October 11, 2017 at 10:38 pm

          It’s not unreasonable in this day — 2017 — after 09/11 and the advanced surveillance state (and license plate readers on traffic lights) to expect some of that money — allocated ostensibly for “our safety” — to have been used to develop continency plans.

          I grew up in So. California and learned/knew that the Santa Monica Mountains had a developed escape matrix so that no site had only one (potentially blocked) exit route. When I moved to Colorado (aside from being shocked at the lack of side-rails on mountain roads with stupendous drop-offs), I was shocked to discover that there was often — too often — no alternate route out … that if I took a road to a peak, there was only that same road to be re-trod to return to where I started. I began to understand how important this “planning” stuff is, particularly in areas of rapid development (like where I live pre-2008). The floods a few years ago closed most of my routes to lower ground — where the grocery and chain stores live — There were 5 (or 6) and for a week or so, they were all questionable, most were closed (one or two are still questionable now years later — bad enough that I only re-drove one of them about a year ago and found it dreadful, potholed, and detour filled) …

          yes, this is part of municipal responsibility, it’s part of what our property taxes are meant to support, along with schools for the children of those laboring in the business and services we “older” folks depend on. No, it might have truly been impossible, but I’ve yet to see evidence that such a civil defense, part off that “civil contract” even existed…. hence relevant to the subject of this essay as your response evidences/support the doom and gloom phantom of hopelessness.

          • backwardsevolution
            October 12, 2017 at 1:02 am

            Susan Sunflower – your mention of roads with no side rails and sheer drop offs brought back a white-knuckle ride I’ll never forget. Geez, I couldn’t believe it. Just thinking of it now gives me goosebumps. It was like being one inch from death.

            I just meant that even if the government wanted to help you, sometimes they can’t even get there on time, especially in a fire situation. Just a good idea to keep a good look-out and escape sooner than later.

            Also the government shouldn’t be allowing people to build houses on flood plains or in areas that are prone to flooding or storm surge. It’s just dangerous.

  16. October 11, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Based on much of the commentary here, I’m going to have to say, this board looks a heck of a lot like a left version of InfoWars

    • Susan Sunflower
      October 11, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      Conspiracy theories thrive when official sources of information are mistrusted and people try (sometimes desperately, sometimes laughably) to come up with a “coherent narrative” to avoid being made fools of as the official narrative falls apart.

      Mistrust of the media has not only always been present, it’s been aggressively fostered by “both sides” who have gone down the rabbit hole and emerged other side of the mirror, from “trust only us”, many of those self-described “bold” outlets are now blatant propaganda mills — MSNBC no better than Fox News … so MSNBC is broadening its based with carefully selected “conservatives” to add balance or something … but it doesn’t actually deal with “news” (nor does much of FOX) as “commentary” or what used to be called editorializing … to the exclusion of actual (often unexciting or confusing/incomplete) news … the stuff of events and public statements without the soothing mommy / angry daddy spoonfeeding that much of the media doles out.

      The loss of PBS and NPR as reliable “news for grownups” is a significant one. They used to serve the same old fashioned purpose that the 30 minute network news and weekly news magazines — an admittedly middle-of-the road consensus. Seems that was inadequate to woo viewers/sponsors/subscribers who wanted more partisan/patriotic coverage

      • Skip Scott
        October 12, 2017 at 8:56 am

        The root cause of losing PBS and NPR is “Industry Capture”, just like they have done with the EPA, the FDA, FCC, etc, etc. When they eliminated the Fairness Doctrine, and began corporate sponsorship of PBS and NPR, truth and balance went by the wayside.

        • Susan Sunflower
          October 12, 2017 at 5:10 pm

          There have been a lot of changes over the years, but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a betrayal … the deliberate blandness of much content, the absence of challenging fare… many “liberal” institutions — after decades of assault by “conservative viewers” (or their list-bots), went into retreat after 09/11.

          Frontline remained (and remains) one of the best chance for Americans to be an eye-witness to our empire’s actions and reach. American Experience also both excellent and community building… patriotic in a good well-grounded shared-experience sense.

          I don’t have anything beyond $20 month DISH and Netflix (likely to cancel) and Amazon (my internet speed makes both somewhat dubious values for “entertainment” since I mostly curse at being unable to connect or having connections completely lost in the middle of fare (after endless “buffering”). I’d care more about PBS if their online streaming weren’t truly the worst of all providers … I suspect they are protecting against attempted recording (to protect DVD sales) and/or are using ultra-high-def which doesn’t ever work at my available internet speeds … (the folks down the road are still on dial-up ..so I’m supposed to be grateful from 0.12 mbps)

          I’ll be curious to see how their Passport plan works out.

          • Skip Scott
            October 13, 2017 at 9:13 am

            I can empathize with your frustration regarding internet service. When I am home in Arizona, I get 5 gigs a month at 3G. I hear that Hughes Net may now be doing better, but I’m not sure. Next time I’m back home I’ll be checking on it. As for TV, I gave it up completely a couple years ago. I like to listen to my stereo and read books for entertainment.

  17. October 12, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for te overview, very informative

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