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Mother Nature

Mother Nature.

God, science, atheism. This is what humans debate constantly, wherever you go. Yet the real visible force eludes them. They trample over her. Take her for granted. She gives us all that we are and have, and then takes it all away.

While we ignore her we create more malleable alternatives. Such as God and his prophets.

Science is also basic, yet scary in its vastness of the universe and lack of answers. It makes us irrelevant and confused.

We are at a stage where our so called evolution has the power to destroy us, and really piss her off. Yet we are not nearly close enough technologically to escape her wrath. Just like spoiled children with the arrogance that we rule our destiny. She does.

A God made by us and for us is distant yet palpable. He is our creation to comfort us, and us alone. Forget all the creatures great and small whom we pretend to like only for brief entertainment. In God we create the usual boundaries which make us more secure than the unknown of science. We constantly praise him so we can get favors in return.And God’s merchants do very well for themselves in his name. In God we have managed to remain tribal, as we are in every way, with a multitude of religions.

Atheists then are the religion which reject God. And they can be just as tedious as their counterparts. They have no hierarchy but obnoxious believers spread everywhere.

Yet the true ultimate force with the final say is our mother whom we live with daily. Trample her, scar her, try to change her. Basically what mothers go through.

This one’s love is not unconditional. There is no time for that. And all her creatures are equal to her. She is a bitch and eventually replaces us, and all we hold dear. Eventually if we make her mad enough she will discard us as a species, and create a new one. Been done before. We have no choice but to live with her until she tires of us. With her, all things are clear and not within our control. We choose to ignore that completely. We think of gods which we cannot see. Yet we see the real force every minute of our lives. And she shakes us through our lives and throws us away when it is our time. But we can’t think of this as it is not worthy of who we are. We must have a supreme being who can provide an afterlife and tease our imagination. Like the spoiled child, we are rotten, and feel entitled. We don’t even know how to coexist with other beings, much less each other. We coined them as animals to make them inferior and separate to our ilk. Just as we do within ourselves politically with race, color, religion, and the list must go on.

Hope is the only thing we have in life. This four letter word is the only force which keeps us thriving. God forbid we could see the future.

Mother Nature gives us hope, but within the same scope as any other being on the planet. No exceptions. It’s such a shame that the only view into the future which she gave us is the notion of our own mortality. That really sucks. Probably a trade-off for being at the top of the food chain. A reminder that someday she will get us without warning or ceremony.

The party’s over! For every one big and small. Sure would be great not to even be aware of it.

Gloves Off Plea.

Gloves Off Plea
October 15, 2012

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
Fax: 202-456-2461

The Honorable Joseph Biden
Vice President of the United States of America
Fax: 202-456-3463

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. N.W.
Washington DC.20500

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Benjamin Franklin
July 4, 1776

Dear Fellow Citizens.

I must first state that my belief lies between the formulation of good or bad policies, as well as sincerity, be it liberal or conservative.

There is no doubt in my mind that you and Mr. Biden are sincere and want the best for this nation. Mr. Biden I have to admit has always been a favorite, and his strength lies in his outspoken style which goes against the robotic society we have become.

I appeal to you, as I still don’t see the gloves coming off in exposing Mr. Romney and his cohorts for the pathological liars they are. Mr. Romney like G.W. Bush is self assured and even more presentable than the latter. This leaves me very worried, as we are no longer dealing with a normal Republican Party.

In the first debate Mr. President, you only criticized the fact that Mr. Romney was changing his economic tax policy suddenly before the elections. You never really put him on the defensive for all the endless changes in policies to broaden his base. Understandably for a party that was left in an ideological vacuum by the last administration.

Then you mentioned that you both pretty much agreed on Social Security. The past administration is hardly mentioned . Mr. Biden did touch on the fact that had they privatized Social Security we would be in a disastrous state especially following the Wall Street mess. Mr. Ryan however in the Vice Presidential debate did reassert that the youth should be able to choose and invest how they wished in the private sector, therefore hinting at bringing back the same plan of a privatization of Social Security.

You never expose them for all the reasons they just want to see you fail, or the reasons you were held back. This makes it difficult for the majority to understand where the blame lies. Mr. Romney comfortably says that as President he would eagerly work across party lines. A fact they are unwilling to do in the opposition.

What frightens me is that your opponents are smooth and the average voter will not fully understand what you have tried or failed to do, and the average person likes the determined unflinching arrogance they portray. In your various speeches you expose some of these issues, but I believe that they are succeeding in using their well oiled machinery and unflinching rhetoric, no matter how baseless, in convincing many who do not understand the complexities. The fact remains that the televised debates are crucial in gaining the upper hand.

Mr. Romney and the present Republican Party, I have no doubt don’t give a damn and have shown how they are willing to switch policies to recreate a base, and use the most verbally childish attack tactics to win the votes. A party, which after the last administration was devastated into an ideological wasteland and has no bearing on the Republican Party of past. This is a party that created a base for all sort of outrageous ideas that could never have been voiced in its past history. From Mr. Gingrich’s dubious family values, to Mr. Akins psychopathic view on women’s rights, to the constant rhetoric of protecting the first amendment and religious freedom. Religious freedom is not under attack, and fundamentalists have more power than they wish to admit, but it is in their makeup to feel attacked. Religion, sexual behavior, family values. Sounds degenerately obsessive. And the economy?

Why cant people show some basic strength of character and admit that the previous administration created a mess rather than blame the failures on Obama, and even Carter. Why not say it, and take the stand that mistakes were made within the Republican Party and that they will be fixed accordingly.

Like the Gore-Bush debacle, you well know Mr. Obama that these people are not to be taken lightly, and they have become extremely dangerous to the nation. I don’t see them anymore as just another party, or the opposition to the Democrats, or whoever. They are the opposition to truth, and good faith; all that we have lost. But they do a good job without shame, and have always been cohesive, organized, and well funded.

I beg of you to take the gloves off and fight them with the bayonets that they would use against you.

How unpatriotic is it to have a platform claiming that the major goal is to see Mr. Obama be a one-term president. This is nothing short of treason, especially in a crisis.

These people are never really exposed for who they really are, but they are relentless in exposing their opponents. Yet when they are in power they are hardly scathed by the Democrats.

A crucial issue the Republicans are never confronted on are their endlessly repetitious anti abortion policies, and the sacred preservation of the unborn fetus. Yet they are against most programs to assist the children who are actually born in hardship. They are on their own.

Many of the comments and actions from the present Republicans or sympathizers are actually more dangerous and unpatriotic than the so called ‘hostiles’ we are searching for, as these people are at the core of the system, and able to paralyze it.

I immigrated to this country, from Europe in the mid seventies for ideological reasons. I was not a Soviet mole, but I found the US to have a more flexible society, educational system, and less entrenched elite. A lot has changed since then on both sides of the ocean, and I can tell you that most of the policies that were implemented were plain to see and extremely depressing.. The contrast of the Patriot Act was so close to the Enabling Act passed after the Reichstag fire in National-Socialist Germany. Thank god we had more checks in place, people woke up, and the wishes of the Bush administration were somewhat curtailed.

I remember at the time Mr. Obama, you and Mr. Biden were at the confirmation hearings of the Bush appointees and neither of you were happy and had great arguments. But in the end you grudgingly gave your approval. This can no longer happen as the consequences are too dangerous and you are both I feel our last bastion. It is no longer even the party of McCain and Palin, but something much worse without shape, no real sense of direction, but definite aggression, with all the return to medieval ideologies, unbefitting a world power, to go against whatever few real democratic principles we may have left in this oligarchic system.

So I beg of you. Please expose, attack, and put them on the defensive for all to understand and see, as well as really hammer in what you have tried to do, and failed to do, and why. Leave no doubt in anybody’s mind. Because there is way too much doubt out there, even amongst your initial followers. Something Mr. Clinton tried to explain. All speeches mention the constitution and the never-ending republic. This nation has been extremely lucky so far. But for how much longer?

I thank you for taking the time to hear me out, and I hope you can be there another four years this time with the gloves off, and your bayonets.

With my most devoted sentiments.

Beamcorp

PS. I have included FDR’s Second Bill of Rights which is always a great read, especially now. In no way is it meant to be patronizing, but it can be refreshing.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
State of the Union Message to Congress January 11, 1944
To the Congress:
This Nation in the past two years has become an active partner in the world’s greatest war against human slavery.
We have joined with like-minded people in order to defend ourselves in a world that has been gravely threatened with gangster rule.
But I do not think that any of us Americans can be content with mere survival. Sacrifices that we and our allies are making impose upon us all a sacred obligation to see to it that out of this war we and our children will gain something better than mere survival.
We are united in determination that this war shall not be followed by another interim which leads to new disaster- that we shall not repeat the tragic errors of ostrich isolationism—that we shall not repeat the excesses of the wild twenties when this Nation went for a joy ride on a roller coaster which ended in a tragic crash.
When Mr. Hull went to Moscow in October, and when I went to Cairo and Teheran in November, we knew that we were in agreement with our allies in our common determination to fight and win this war. But there were many vital questions concerning the future peace, and they were discussed in an atmosphere of complete candor and harmony.
In the last war such discussions, such meetings, did not even begin until the shooting had stopped and the delegates began to assemble at the peace table. There had been no previous opportunities for man-to-man discussions which lead to meetings of minds. The result was a peace which was not a peace. That was a mistake which we are not repeating in this war.
And right here I want to address a word or two to some suspicious souls who are fearful that Mr. Hull or I have made “commitments” for the future which might pledge this Nation to secret treaties, or to enacting the role of Santa Claus.
To such suspicious souls—using a polite terminology—I wish to say that Mr. Churchill, and Marshal Stalin, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek are all thoroughly conversant with the provisions of our Constitution. And so is Mr. Hull. And so am I.
Of course we made some commitments. We most certainly committed ourselves to very large and very specific military plans which require the use of all Allied forces to bring about the defeat of our enemies at the earliest possible time.

But there were no secret treaties or political or financial commitments.
The one supreme objective for the future, which we discussed for each Nation individually, and for all the United Nations, can be summed up in one word: Security.
And that means not only physical security which provides safety from attacks by aggressors. It means also economic security, social security, moral security—in a family of Nations.
In the plain down-to-earth talks that I had with the Generalissimo and Marshal Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill, it was abundantly clear that they are all most deeply interested in the resumption of peaceful progress by their own peoples—progress toward a better life. All our allies want freedom to develop their lands and resources, to build up industry, to increase education and individual opportunity, and to raise standards of living.
All our allies have learned by bitter experience that real development will not be possible if they are to be diverted from their purpose by repeated wars—or even threats of war.
China and Russia are truly united with Britain and America in recognition of this essential fact:
The best interests of each Nation, large and small, demand that all freedom-loving Nations shall join together in a just and durable system of peace. In the present world situation, evidenced by the actions of Germany, Italy, and Japan, unquestioned military control over disturbers of the peace is as necessary among Nations as it is among citizens in a community. And an equally basic essential to peace is a decent standard of living for all individual men and women and children in all Nations. Freedom from fear is eternally linked with freedom from want.
There are people who burrow through our Nation like unseeing moles, and attempt to spread the suspicion that if other Nations are encouraged to raise their standards of living, our own American standard of living must of necessity be depressed.
The fact is the very contrary. It has been shown time and again that if the standard of living of any country goes up, so does its purchasing power- and that such a rise encourages a better standard of living in neighboring countries with whom it trades. That is just plain common sense—and it is the kind of plain common sense that provided the basis for our discussions at Moscow, Cairo, and Teheran.
Returning from my journeyings, I must confess to a sense of “let-down” when I found many evidences of faulty perspective here in Washington. The faulty perspective consists in overemphasizing lesser problems and thereby underemphasizing the first and greatest problem.
The overwhelming majority of our people have met the demands of this war with magnificent courage and understanding. They have accepted inconveniences; they have accepted hardships; they have accepted tragic sacrifices. And they are ready and eager to make whatever further contributions are needed to win the war as quickly as possible- if only they are given the chance to know what is required of them.
However, while the majority goes on about its great work without complaint, a noisy minority maintains an uproar of demands for special favors for special groups. There are pests who swarm through the lobbies of the Congress and the cocktail bars of Washington, representing these special groups as opposed to the basic interests of the Nation as a whole. They have come to look upon the war primarily as a chance to make profits for themselves at the expense of their neighbors- profits in money or in terms of political or social preferment.
Such selfish agitation can be highly dangerous in wartime. It creates confusion. It damages morale. It hampers our national effort. It muddies the waters and therefore prolongs the war.
If we analyze American history impartially, we cannot escape the fact that in our past we have not always forgotten individual and selfish and partisan interests in time of war—we have not always been united in purpose and direction. We cannot overlook the serious dissensions and the lack of unity in our war of the Revolution, in our War of 1812, or in our War Between the States, when the survival of the Union itself was at stake.
In the first World War we came closer to national unity than in any previous war. But that war lasted only a year and a half, and increasing signs of disunity began to appear during the final months of the conflict.
In this war, we have been compelled to learn how interdependent upon each other are all groups and sections of the population of America.
Increased food costs, for example, will bring new demands for wage increases from all war workers, which will in turn raise all prices of all things including those things which the farmers themselves have to buy. Increased wages or prices will each in turn produce the same results. They all have a particularly disastrous result on all fixed income groups.
And I hope you will remember that all of us in this Government represent the fixed income group just as much as we represent business owners, workers, and farmers. This group of fixed income people includes: teachers, clergy, policemen, firemen, widows and minors on fixed incomes, wives and dependents of our soldiers and sailors, and old-age pensioners. They and their families add up to one-quarter of our one hundred and thirty million people. They have few or no high pressure representatives at the Capitol. In a period of gross inflation they would be the worst sufferers.
If ever there was a time to subordinate individual or group selfishness to the national good, that time is now. Disunity at home—bickerings, self-seeking partisanship,
stoppages of work, inflation, business as usual, politics as usual, luxury as usual these are the influences which can undermine the morale of the brave men ready to die at the front for us here.
Those who are doing most of the complaining are not deliberately striving to sabotage the national war effort. They are laboring under the delusion that the time is past when we must make prodigious sacrifices- that the war is already won and we can begin to slacken off. But the dangerous folly of that point of view can be measured by the distance that separates our troops from their ultimate objectives in Berlin and Tokyo—and by the sum of all the perils that lie along the way.
Overconfidence and complacency are among our deadliest enemies. Last spring—after notable victories at Stalingrad and in Tunisia and against the U-boats on the high seas—overconfidence became so pronounced that war production fell off. In two months, June and July, 1943, more than a thousand airplanes that could have been made and should have been made were not made. Those who failed to make them were not on strike. They were merely saying, “The war’s in the bag- so let’s relax.”
That attitude on the part of anyone—Government or management or labor—can lengthen this war. It can kill American boys.
Let us remember the lessons of 1918. In the summer of that year the tide turned in favor of the allies. But this Government did not relax. In fact, our national effort was stepped up. In August, 1918, the draft age limits were broadened from 21-31 to 18-45. The President called for “force to the utmost,” and his call was heeded. And in November, only three months later, Germany surrendered.
That is the way to fight and win a war—all out—and not with half-an-eye on the battlefronts abroad and the other eye-and-a-half on personal, selfish, or political interests here at home.
Therefore, in order to concentrate all our energies and resources on winning the war, and to maintain a fair and stable economy at home, I recommend that the Congress adopt:
(1) A realistic tax law—which will tax all unreasonable profits, both individual and corporate, and reduce the ultimate cost of the war to our sons and daughters. The tax bill now under consideration by the Congress does not begin to meet this test.
(2) A continuation of the law for the renegotiation of war contracts—which will prevent exorbitant profits and assure fair prices to the Government. For two long years I have pleaded with the Congress to take undue profits out of war.
(3) A cost of food law—which will enable the Government (a) to place a reasonable floor under the prices the farmer may expect for his production; and (b) to place a ceiling on the prices a consumer will have to pay for the food he buys. This should apply to
necessities only; and will require public funds to carry out. It will cost in appropriations about one percent of the present annual cost of the war.
(4) Early reenactment of. the stabilization statute of October, 1942. This expires June 30, 1944, and if it is not extended well in advance, the country might just as well expect price chaos by summer.
We cannot have stabilization by wishful thinking. We must take positive action to maintain the integrity of the American dollar.
(5) A national service law- which, for the duration of the war, will prevent strikes, and, with certain appropriate exceptions, will make available for war production or for any other essential services every able-bodied adult in this Nation.
These five measures together form a just and equitable whole. I would not recommend a national service law unless the other laws were passed to keep down the cost of living, to share equitably the burdens of taxation, to hold the stabilization line, and to prevent undue profits.
The Federal Government already has the basic power to draft capital and property of all kinds for war purposes on a basis of just compensation.
As you know, I have for three years hesitated to recommend a national service act. Today, however, I am convinced of its necessity. Although I believe that we and our allies can win the war without such a measure, I am certain that nothing less than total mobilization of all our resources of manpower and capital will guarantee an earlier victory, and reduce the toll of suffering and sorrow and blood.
I have received a joint recommendation for this law from the heads of the War Department, the Navy Department, and the Maritime Commission. These are the men who bear responsibility for the procurement of the necessary arms and equipment, and for the successful prosecution of the war in the field. They say:
“When the very life of the Nation is in peril the responsibility for service is common to all men and women. In such a time there can be no discrimination between the men and women who are assigned by the Government to its defense at the battlefront and the men and women assigned to producing the vital materials essential to successful military operations. A prompt enactment of a National Service Law would be merely an expression of the universality of this responsibility.”
I believe the country will agree that those statements are the solemn truth.
National service is the most democratic way to wage a war. Like selective service for the armed forces, it rests on the obligation of each citizen to serve his Nation to his utmost where he is best qualified.
It does not mean reduction in wages. It does not mean loss of retirement and seniority rights and benefits. It does not mean that any substantial numbers of war workers will be disturbed in their present jobs. Let these facts be wholly clear.
Experience in other democratic Nations at war—Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand- has shown that the very existence of national service makes unnecessary the widespread use of compulsory power. National service has proven to be a unifying moral force based on an equal and comprehensive legal obligation of all people in a Nation at war.
There are millions of American men and women who are not in this war at all. It is not because they do not want to be in it. But they want to know where they can best do their share. National service provides that direction. It will be a means by which every man and woman can find that inner satisfaction which comes from making the fullest possible contribution to victory.
I know that all civilian war workers will be glad to be able to say many years hence to their grandchildren: “Yes, I, too, was in service in the great war. I was on duty in an airplane factory, and I helped make hundreds of fighting planes. The Government told me that in doing that I was performing my most useful work in the service of my country.”
It is argued that we have passed the stage in the war where national service is necessary. But our soldiers and sailors know that this is not true. We are going forward on a long, rough road- and, in all journeys, the last miles are the hardest. And it is for that final effort—for the total defeat of our enemies-that we must mobilize our total resources. The national war program calls for the employment of more people in 1944 than in 1943.
It is my conviction that the American people will welcome this win-the-war measure which is based on the eternally just principle of “fair for one, fair for all.”
It will give our people at home the assurance that they are standing four-square behind our soldiers and sailors. And it will give our enemies demoralizing assurance that we mean business -that we, 130,000,000 Americans, are on the march to Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo.
I hope that the Congress will recognize that, although this is a political year, national service is an issue which transcends politics. Great power must be used for great purposes.
As to the machinery for this measure, the Congress itself should determine its nature—but it should be wholly nonpartisan in its make-up.
Our armed forces are valiantly fulfilling their responsibilities to our country and our people. Now the Congress faces the responsibility for taking those measures which are essential to national security in this the most decisive phase of the Nation’s greatest war.
Several alleged reasons have prevented the enactment of legislation which would preserve for our soldiers and sailors and marines the fundamental prerogative of citizenship—the right to vote. No amount of legalistic argument can becloud this issue in the eyes of these ten million American citizens. Surely the signers of the Constitution did not intend a document which, even in wartime, would be construed to take away the franchise of any of those who are fighting to preserve the Constitution itself.
Our soldiers and sailors and marines know that the overwhelming majority of them will be deprived of the opportunity to vote, if the voting machinery is left exclusively to the States under existing State laws—and that there is no likelihood of these laws being changed in time to enable them to vote at the next election. The Army and Navy have reported that it will be impossible effectively to administer forty-eight different soldier voting laws. It is the duty of the Congress to remove this unjustifiable discrimination against the men and women in our armed forces- and to do it as quickly as possible.

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth- is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill housed, and insecure.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.
One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920’s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.
I ask the Congress to explore the means for implementing this economic bill of rights- for it is definitely the responsibility of the Congress so to do. Many of these problems are already before committees of the Congress in the form of proposed legislation. I shall from time to time communicate with the Congress with respect to these and further proposals. In the event that no adequate program of progress is evolved, I am certain that the Nation will be conscious of the fact.
Our fighting men abroad- and their families at home- expect such a program and have the right to insist upon it. It is to their demands that this Government should pay heed rather than to the whining demands of selfish pressure groups who seek to feather their nests while young Americans are dying.
The foreign policy that we have been following—the policy that guided us at Moscow, Cairo, and Teheran—is based on the common sense principle which was best expressed
by Benjamin Franklin on July 4, 1776: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
I have often said that there are no two fronts for America in this war. There is only one front. There is one line of unity which extends from the hearts of the people at home to the men of our attacking forces in our farthest outposts. When we speak of our total effort, we speak of the factory and the field, and the mine as well as of the battleground — we speak of the soldier and the civilian, the citizen and his Government.
Each and every one of us has a solemn obligation under God to serve this Nation in its most critical hour—to keep this Nation great — to make this Nation greater in a better world.

Beyond Capitalism

BEYOND CAPITALISM

As one often assumed that things could not change much at certain historical times, following the collapse of communism there seemed to be little alternative to capitalism. Capitalism is the embodiment of good against the forces of evil. Now that change is inevitable though we are very much creatures of habit. Makes things simpler; religion, tribalism, etc. Capitalism today has mutated into a different form which no longer benefits the good of the masses or the planet and it must be reigned in. Free enterprise seems to be inherent in the human psyche, but there are different ways of implementing it. At this stage and without a counter ideology, capitalism has evolved into a raw un-compassionate system of pure profit regardless of social or environmental collateral damage that is hurting individual psyche and the environment in which we live. This has therefore become a serious problem.

No one person is able to reinvent a system in detail, as most money managers and economists are not very good at predicting or controlling trends either. Besides economics planning is like most interactions, very organic and unpredictable. There is however common sense that is an important part of life regardless of education or specialization.

So as communism before it, capitalism is proving to be a better system if not the only economic system left on our planet. It is however proving that it is not be the best way for our civilizations to survive in the way it has evolved and is being implemented at this point in time.
Between abuse of resources and the distribution of wealth in a system so entrenched that it seems almost impossible to reform. It therefore seems that in a world of impending environmental collapse and massive populations, that an alternative must be created. An option not only of a better economic balance but also of the social and mental obsession and corruption of materialism it creates. This obsession which has overtaken all peoples of the world to accumulate wealth and live for pure material gain. The fallacies that economies must grow at a certain percentage per year in order to properly compete. This is no longer viable in a physical world where resources are increasingly scarce and few people reap any of the benefits. So what is it to be? A combination of free markets and socialism. Maybe, but these free markets need controls and must again become smaller, and more manageable, and more accountable. This is the final result of post colonial policies of taking the same advantage of third world economies to serve the needs of the developed nations which has come to roost at the home front.

Social programs and so-called big government are a necessity for large populations. One cannot leave it to the public sector to control itself as was proven time and again. Incentives and punishment must be present.

Also capitalist controls must revert to protect local industries. For instance when banks were only allowed to operate within their own states. Nowadays all these regulations have been deregulated which gives control to major industries in fewer hands. This is exactly what was to be avoided to promote the opportunity of business incentives to the greater population. This completely defeats the purpose and creates oligarchies. Not what one needs to have for a productive system of incentives to benefit the whole? It simply emulates a Third world system of wealthy elites and a vast underprivileged class with few benefits, incentive, and voice. It reverts back to the ways of the 19th Century. The pitfalls in the declining education system further widens this gap to further benefit the oligarchs in a society which really doesn’t produce much in terms of industry anymore, but abstract exchanges of wealth and services.

Healthcare, state incentives and controls must be present no matter who is against it. The latter are ignorant, or simply preserving their interests at the expense of other in order not to have their taxes raised. This is no longer a forward thinking society to lead the world, but simply a group of entrenched business interests and politicians who have slipped into degeneracy and have no will, patience, or foresight to create a better system. This is something, which would only take a few years to later generate much greater returns for new kinds of products. This is actually beginning but at a trickle and twenty years late.

Many of these individuals or groups who constantly criticize progress and have no alternatives to offer, and want to bring religion to the fore of a secular government, are actually nefarious to the welfare of the people and the state and should be labeled as national security risks and unpatriotic.

If bread is on the table and health care is available, many will follow. Just tax incentives are not enough. The US has in essence become a complex government where the majority is unwilling to deal with complex ideals. Short sightedness is the motto. Again Third world. How much can one keep now regardless of what can be achieved later? The same goes for retooling for better environmental technology.

It was always perplexing that a few years of retooling to actual create greater revenue with a whole string of new environmental products is just not acceptable or contemplated because it is not fast enough and would upset the status quo, regardless of how much more profit could be made in the near future. Schlerozed thinking at its best. This is systemic degeneracy and new concepts must prop up to sweep away this parasitic thinking.

Every leader no matter how noble their ideals gets stuck in this system’s status quo. Radicalization is a must in order to sweep that away and implement true reforms. It is unlikely that the two existing political parties can achieve that level of radicalization, and that unless the system opens up to allow for wider political representation it will be mired in stagnation.

Many Republicans and some Democrats are actually national security risks in their thinking of blockages for selfish reasons with little or no alternative solutions, and must be treated as such. Same as the companies who are allowed to rob the public and then punish that same public for their bad policies from whom they benefited and got bailout money from the state, and later tax credits, without offering the masses the opportunities to rebuild through loans because there is better money to be mad elsewhere with our money.

Laws have to be in place to make examples of these people and their lack of patriotism or more simply lack of social conscience for the greater good. This is a crime that must be punished. One cannot negotiate with such people, but unceremoniously set them aside by changing the laws. Our current president may have good intentions and ideas, but lacks the radicalism to change this morass of ineptitude. Machiavellian leadership is of the essence in these troubled times to reform the whole system from within.
Unfortunately we have not sunk low enough yet for this to occur.

How exactly this must be done can be complicated and require more dire circumstances as in the Great Depression, but it is the only way since no matter who gets in is stifled by these obstacles. Do things have to get so bad in order to implement such reforms. Most probably as history shows. The New Deal, Communism, National Socialism. Capitalism won out but is not the ideal as it has gone astray as everything does because humans are corrupted through greed. Extreme capitalism with few benefits coupled with its objective for pure consumerism, lacks any form of humanity. Therefore a change or metamorphosis is required. Large complex societies do require a mixture of capitalism and socialism. The latter is a bad word in this society, but so be it. The US was looked up to by most of the world for its ability to offer new opportunities. This seems to be a part of the past, but must be revived if there is any hope for reform and leadership. Governments are only as legitimate as what they can do to serve the majority of their electorate.
Why should the US lead? Because realistically since the end of World War II it has done so and other nations have often waited for it to do so.
Also regardless of political and other blunders it still has greater credibility throughout the world than any other nation.

The speculation of the stock market no longer represents true value or security in the long term, unless one is a player.
Multinationals wipe out the average smaller business.
Deregulation further aggravates this problem for local businesses.
Globalization serves by taking away jobs to be replaced by quasi slave labor.
American capitalism is crude and socially oblivious and decadent. Promoting business for its own sake and compensating a corporate elite whether they perform well or not. So it is not really even about the shareholder whose interest they always claim to represent above all else.
A system which cannot deal with basic social issues such as schools, public works, and the like is no longer viable and must be altered, as it is destroying it’s future generations. Like communism when a system stops delivering it loses legitimacy.

When representative’s seats cost so much it is hardly a representation of the people. Too elitist the candidate who has the funds, or too many concessions to the funders for the one who has no funds. Where does this leave the average individual.

In the latest economic bailouts, the bonuses were handed to the higher executives, while benefits and stock options were erased for the lower echelons, and lines of credits and loans were frozen for the average client as well as regular bank employees. If economics is based on trust this will be a tough one.

Corrupted minds are hard if impossible to be altered, for they are bad seed, and must be replaced as they will just repeat their past deeds. It is their nature. Unless the punishment is so severe then it may actually make a difference for others in a revamped system of ‘Compassionate Capitalism’? instead of socialist capitalism.

© 2010 beamcorp.com

What is Tribalism?

WHAT IS TRIBALISM?

Are we not going towards globalization, and isn’t that a good thing? The new world order, the one block. ‘ Hands across the sea.’ Always great ideas to think we are improving and can be closer to each other than we really are. That we are evolving and understanding each other better. Maybe but not yet. So far globalization has been a stealthier way, the usual political language, to promote the raw capitalist tools, which exploit cheap third world labor. It sounds great because it is supposed to help the poor masses with jobs . It ends up being a more politically correct version of slave labor where you are paid a pittance and manufacture for the developed countries, oblivious to pollution, unions, insurance, etc.

So politics and economics aside, the fundamental flaws remain in that people need approval, familiarity, security, and shelter. They are not really open minded but still very tribal in their real evolutionary capacity to feel secure.

We have more information available to us now but one must know how to get it. The U.S. mainstream media has become more isolated and two dimensional towards the tribal way of thinking. One can seldom get real internal news except that which affects us. Very few stations are left, and mostly radio, who offer that view.

Globalization is romanticized as a great evolution, but it is too big and incomprehensible for the majority, and ends up not being a social concept at all but one of economic exploitation of the Third World by the industrialized wealthier nations.
This is in truth the politically correct continuation of the dependence imposed on the third world after colonization ended. Backing leaders who will exploit their own country’s resources to provide the wealthier ones with cheap raw materials and labor. The control may not be as direct but you don’t need standing armies and administrations. You leave that up to the natives and just give their leaders the concessions to make them happy. It actually works much better and is less of a headache, especially for the US who is a lousy colonizer.

The human brain is limited in what it can accept and can only remember or feel comfortable with a certain dose of social contact. It can only accept so many numbers of friends. Most don’t really want to be bothered by alien ways of thinking. They want the shelter of their churches, country clubs, political parties, nation states, languages, money, religion, race, and sex.

We have improved somewhat but what is political correctness other than refined prejudism. Words are important and are used to conceal real intentions and motives. Word codes are important to make people feel better about dastardly deeds. Like ‘Special Treatment’, ‘Relocation’, ‘Globalization’, ‘Democracy versus Socialism’.
The other factor rarely talked about is the more people there are in the world, either we will have to find ways, or isolate even more. You must fit in somewhat comfortably. So globalization can only be political.

We are not yet evolved enough and are actually seeking smaller communities as the world becomes overcrowded. So it is the reverse because it becomes intolerable.

So with all the information at our disposal our mindset has not evolved to where it can accept the mindset of different cultures, as it can be overwhelming, and frankly not interesting to most how other part of the world think. This is very true of religion where it makes people feel more comfortable in putting complex issues into manageable clear categories. It is indeed a blessing if one can believe in such simple order and an afterlife.

Tribalism is still the pivotal part of our psyche no matter how modern we think we have become. This is the constant gap between technological evolution and the ability to control it. The younger generation is more tolerant, yes. Of course there are improvements growing up in a multiracial society, but in the world as a whole conflicts continue. Besides finding comfort in a subculture in order not to get lost is more a fact in the U.S. today.

Globalization is therefore the modern or politically correct way in which the wealthy tribes exploit the poor ones, and nothing more. It is not about reaching out across the seas to better appreciate and know each other, but about modern economic exploitation.

Certain things improve in some ways slowly, while the deception also evolves in more sophisticated ways. Because the core of basic human and animal behaviors do not change that quickly and wont. So technology will continue to accelerate beyond our capacity to curb its power of destruction away from our basic instincts. And we will continue to have access to world markets for cheap modern slave labor, and the modern corporate media will make it sound positive.

Like political correctness it is all these terms which are created to sound so appealing, cultured, and compassionate, and hide the real motives. History does repeat itself but of course with different formulas of more sophisticated forms of deception. This is where the real evolution lies.

© 2010 beamcorp.com

Lebanon 2006

LEBANON 2006 – THE LAST STRAW

One is truly at odds to understand the hubris which overtakes so called developed and intellectual societies and how they forge ahead with brute force without analyzing the ramifications of the wars they start. All wars are started and based on the idealistic premise that they will be short and the aggressor’s objective is right and will be quickly achieved. This is also based on a preconception that the enemy is inferior technologically and culturally. We see this today as a more sophisticated form of racism. Besides, demonizing one’s enemy is a necessary evil in order to wage war.

This hubris usually spells the end of civilizations or empires that fail to grasp the world around them, and only see simple stereotypes. They also base their might on technological superiority regardless of the will and pride from the other side, and the far-reaching consequences all wars have on societies.

The Western media constantly portrays Islamist’s as willing suicide bombers. This may be true in some form for some groups but death is never an easy option but a desperate one in the face of overwhelming technological power, and worsening conditions. These are not purely the acts of fanatics that do not value life, but who have no other choice but the sacrifice of their own lives in the face of frustration in a world that is increasingly polarized economically and culturally between first and third world. Religion then becomes a powerful unifier.

The Iranian revolution, started by the nationalists lost and then regained its momentum through religion as a powerful tool utilized by Khomeini against the West. Lebanon is a mosaic of various religious groups who did not, but now support Hezbollah as their defender against Israel because their nation’s very existence is at stake.

Brute force may work for a period but not for the long run. The Nazis were one of history’s more brutal occupiers and even they after a while were threatened by all sides with growing insurgencies, for the latter realized over time that they had nothing left to lose.

This is certainly what is evolving worldwide as people in developing nations realize that the game of the rulers is not a fair one and is becoming even more one sided, without even the subtleties of the past, as the West and the present US administrations have shown.

History repeats itself but in stealthier ways, as part of evolution. The aims remain the same, but the methods of deception improve. Now politicians advocate war for simple freedom and democracy. Who wouldn’t want that? The Western press has become very sophisticated and subtle in their bias of news without the majority realizing that they are being brainwashed.

Everyone who is against us is labeled a terrorist yet we are oblivious to state terror. As many founding Israeli leaders and the US founding fathers have shown, today’s terrorists can be tomorrow’s statesmen, providing they win the wars. Might makes right.

Of course democracy is worth preserving, and every sane individual wants that, but the debacle in Iraq has shown that it cannot be imposed. Lebanon is the last straw where a democracy, albeit a weak one, is totally being destroyed by another democracy. A formula that many diplomats agree never occurs. The very idea of present Western foreign policy being that one has to promote democracy for a stable world because democracies never fight one another. If Lebanon was a weak democracy did it deserve this kind of treatment after a long civil war, and successful re-construction? One also wonders if that is how the West treats Lebanon, the so-called “Paris of the Middle East,” then how would they treat the so called less likeable nations? It has become a favorite end all phrase that “Israel has the right to defend itself.” Everybody has the right to defend themselves, but the end does not always justify the means.

Humanity cannot afford new wars of religion with the technologies and the populations involved. The war against Lebanon has shown a total disregard for humanitarian considerations and total apathy, polarization, and latent racism by the first world towards people they do not understand and do not care to understand. It is the same old story of history.

We are losing our soul, and they have nothing left to lose but their souls.

© 2006. Beamcorp.com. All Rights Reserved

Welcome to Gilead

As we entered the 21st Century I hoped, like many around the world, that the United States would be able to lead us to a better place than one we left in the last Century. I sympathized with my predecessors who must have hoped for a better world 100 years ago. For the 20th Century began as the bloodiest yet, with an initial backlash on religions and superstition supplanted in a few decades by quasi-religious totalitarian regimes. The fragile peace of the post World War II era was created only through the Cold War fear of total annihilation.

Unfortunately 2001 dashed my hopes with the re-empowerment of the fundamentalist, xenophobic religions using ever more deadly technological weapons against their perceived enemies. Citizens of the United States are increasingly trying to weaken their constitution’s secular base. Guerrilla terrorism is spreading as a reaction to increased state terrorism, exacerbating a vicious cycle that will end in ever-greater perils for humanity. A leap in logic I often encounter declares that humanity has survived so long that, naturally, it will do so in perpetuity. The odds are increasingly against us. Primitive ideologies, greater lethal technology, population growth, and environmental breakdown are the wrong combination at the wrong time.

We have not simply embarked on a new mandate for an old political administration, but on a sanctioned reversal of what this nation was built on and has reinforced over the past two centuries. The founding fathers were mostly men of faith, but had the foresight to know that such a diverse populace could not ever thrive unless a strictly secular government were in place. They were realists not liberals. Fatal political experiments throughout the world have proven them right. Government has to remain above religious and ethnic strife.

Margaret Atwood’s masterful novel The Handmaid’s Tale comes to mind. Canadians have always been reasonably fearful of their neighbors to the South. In her book Atwood describes the plight of women in the Republic of Gilead: an extreme fundamentalist American theocracy where, civil war rages and fertile women become handmaids or surrogates for those elite commanders’ wives who are infertile due to environmental contamination. I always felt that an American dictatorship, much less a theocracy, would be entirely unlivable. In her book Atwood compares Gilead to Iran as the other theocracy of the 21st Century, though the latter pales in comparison. The difference is that Gilead was a cruder form of the more sophisticated machinery which is sweeping up many Americans through fear of the world and who as a relative majority are bringing it to being, rather than a more concentrated coup.

Most religions’ basic doctrines lie in humility, not intolerance. However, the fundamentalist extremes of any religion make secular government a necessity. We are using religious ideology to impose our rule on the world and divide the citizens of our own country. The ever-increasing cycle of violence we are experiencing throughout the world will reach our shores with devastating consequences and impoverish our nation. The trend has unfortunately begun. The 20th Century was the American Century. Only God knows who will own the 21st.

© 2004. www.beamcorp.com. All Rights Reserved/Users/BEAM2/Desktop/welcometogilead.htm

Anti-Terrorism Scorecard

Since the events of 9-11-2001 I have been watching the developments in the US and throughout the world with ever-increasing panic and astonishment. At the start I was in a minority concerned about the black and white stance the administration, the media, and most Americans were taking. I must say though that I always find some relief to see that there are still voices in this nation which do surface in the midst of overwhelming apathy, and that the stance of many Americans has changed, unlike that of the Administration’s.

It seemed pretty obvious to myself and others who were familiar with, had lived in other cultures, and were aware of the lax state of security in the US that some form of terrorism, though not on that scale, would eventually reach our shores as they had in Europe and other countries for decades. Since then this Administration’s policies as implied reactions to the events of 911 have brought a then sympathetic world to one predominantly against American arrogance and it’s policy of bringing the world to a war that few seem to want. There are endless arguments and opinions one can have, especially with regards to the historically complex and volatile Middle-East. The crucial point here however is not whether one should get rid of evil leaders, institute regime change, free oppressed peoples, or find weapons of mass destruction, but how is this US Administration really protecting this country from future terrorist attacks and protecting it’s citizens, as they claim is the basis for all their actions since 9-11-2001.

There is serious cause for alarm in that this Administration’s views of what needs to be done to protect this country, is actually going to seriously hurt the United States.

There are a couple of issues to look at in order to formulate a rational conclusion:

1. Overconfidence following humility in war: The now distant Vietnam War, the overwhelming victory in the Gulf War, and the quick air victory of the war in Afghanistan has given the Administration and Americans a false sense of power because it is just raw power; and essentially air power which is never conclusive for long term policies.

2. Regime change: Since the end of World War II and the US successes in the rebuilding of Japan and Europe, the US has not exactly proven it’s constructive talent for regime change, other than for short term special interests. US foreign policy aside from direct military action seems to be one of too little to late. The recent situation in Afghanistan is yet again proof of that policy. Since the overthrow of the Taleban in Afghanistan , the infrastructure of that country is still in shambles and wanting for many of the promises of supplies and assistance which were to be provided. We have yet to find the main proponents of the terror: Bin Laden, Al Zuhari, and Mullah Omar of the Taleban. The Karzai government has been pleading with the US to send in the economic aid and other forms of assistance promised a year ago before it is too late and Afghans loose faith in his administration.

The overwhelming majority of leaders we supported throughout the Third World were never chosen for their human rights records. Diem and Thieu in South Vietnam, Armas in Guatemala, Pahlavi in Iran, Noriega in Panama, Pinochet in Chile, the Somozas in Nicaragua, Suharto in Indonesia, Saddam in Iraq. After all as FDR once said of Anastazio Somoza Sr. “He may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch.”

So in the field of reconstruction and human rights the US suffers from a serious case of attention deficit disorder where it has covertly replaced many governments, left, and then wondered why they collapsed years later.

3. In support of Saddam: Previous US administrations and Western European nations were willing to do anything and everything to fight Iran. They propped up Saddam Hussein, gave him funds, know-how and materiel for the weapons of mass destruction we are so concerned about today. Iraq flourished during the Iran-Iraq war. After the Gulf War the US had many opportunities to assist rebellions from within Iraq. The Shiites in the South, then the Kurds in the North with dissident Iraqi military backing. They were let down repeatedly and voluntarily in part for fear of a dangerously destabilized Iraq, and the familiarity of a known despot to an unknown one. The present situation of direct invasion will be no different for the future.

4. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The only relatively consistent US Middle Eastern foreign policy is with regards to Israel. Unlike that with other governments there is little change in US policy regardless of the administration in power in Israel. Regardless of the fact that one should be able to be against the policies of an Israeli administration as in any country, without having to be labeled as anti Israeli, anti Zionist, or anti Semitic. Regardless of guilt labels this endless conflict will not be resolved unless the US drops it’s double standard and mediates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fairly. If this conflict is ever resolved it will also eliminate the principle raison d’être of many dictatorial Arab governments and radical religious groups. The late King Hussein of Jordan summed it up in that peace must be based on justice, especially in such a small geographical area.

For one the US has to admit that what is going on between Israelis and Palestinians does not fit neatly in the terrorism campaign where Israeli’s are not simply fighting Palestinian terrorists but are actually engaged in a civil war. It is just a question of semantics. Furthermore both nation’s leaders Sharon and Arafat have too many grudges and are irreconcilably incompatible. A distinction also has to be made as to what constitutes terrorism in this case. Where Al Quaeda’s nihilist soldiers strike to instill terror for it’s own sake, in the Israeli-Palestinian case members of both of these governments have been involved in acts of sabotage and terror to safeguard and promote their national rights.

Whether one cares or not, that conflict is relevant in that this US administration has decided to make it a part of an anti terrorist strategy with a double-standard which then increases the risk of anti-Americanism which increases the potentially subsequent harm to Americans at home and abroad. Therefore creating the reverse desired effect of the war on terror.

5. War fronts: This administration has decided to fight terror on “two fronts” for as the President claims, we can afford it. The problem is that terrorism is not fought on fronts. The administration talks of dealing with the world on a 21st Century view. Then the war on two fronts, or preemptively striking every nation in the book is not exactly 21st Century thinking since we know that true terrorist cells can operate at random anywhere against anyone. A level of cynicism is required here where one portrays a positive image, educates, and fights if necessary covertly and overtly. The present Administration in itself becomes a national security risk with it’s policies of world alienation, and it’s leader a greater threat than Bin Laden himself for if the latter’s intentions were to destabilize, events did not need to get so far out of hand.

6. The United Nations: One of the saddest parts of this chapter in our history is that by bullying and disregarding the United Nations we essentially renege it to the powerless status of the League of Nations before W.W.II. Is this what we want? Do we want to create a vacuum where the US can have the power over other nations but without the respect and a certain understanding among nations we tried so hard to promote. As history has shown, we must never forget how fragile democracies and democratic processes are.

7. Domino effect of democratic change: By destroying the secular regime in Iraq in the hope that it will propel other nations in the Middle East to reform their dictatorial regimes for democratic change we are missing a crucial point. If most of the pro US authoritarian regimes in the Middle East have a chance at universal suffrage, and taking into account the present war situation in Iraq, it is very likely that they will go the religious route, and even more likely that they will no longer be pro American. Authoritarian governments have so far managed to keep this in check, but following the backlash from this direct military invasion, the proponents of religious fundamentalism will have a greater following than they have ever had so far, since the specter of foreign intervention has transformed itself from a shadowy covert one into a harsh reality.

This is in part what occurred during the Iranian Revolution where religion became the only strong rallying point to throw off the yoke of foreign influence. At present, Iran is also viewed by this administration as a target for regime change. This would be an even greater mistake than the current war in Iraq since it would in effect again greatly strengthen religion as a tool against the West in a country where a huge majority are not for the remaining diehards of a dying regime but for a democratic change which has already been taking place and which is much more advanced than in any other nation in the region. By direct military interference in Iran, years of political evolution since the revolution twenty four years ago would be destroyed and would set the whole region back even further, thus completely discrediting US foreign policy.

8. Homeland Security: Our existing intelligence organizations, the FBI and CIA need substantial overhauls. Creating a whole new mammoth bureaucracy in the guise of the Department of Homeland Security which by all accounts will take huge funding and will only be efficient in protecting American soil within five to six year is preposterous. If we are indeed in an emergency situation then we must act immediately and streamline for greater efficiency.

The FBI and CIA have seriously suffered in the past ten years. The FBI did not even possess an adequate centralized computer system to exchange data between their different agencies, or have enough Arabic translators to tackle wiretaps that were made.. The CIA did not even have competent Arabic speaking operatives in Germany. So why not reform and enhance these agencies rather than create more waste in terms of time and money, which the government has not even been able to allocate.

This country is so vast and with over two billion items entering every year we would have to turn this nation into an armed fortress to control all imports. A terrorist only needs one chance. Does the Administration not see that force is not enough and that in order to have a lasting peace there has to be respect backed by force. Only the most intolerable totalitarian systems have managed to keep absolute control, at the expense of unhappy populations, and only for a time. Members of the Administration would be well advised to exchange their prayer books for copies of Machiavelli where he states that the balance for long term, efficient control can only be a combination of love and respect backed by force.

9. Western labels: Many feel that the US is biased against Muslims. That is somewhat true. The West in general addresses Judeo-Christian issues. The National Socialist Holocaust in Europe has been regularly addressed. The genocide perpetrated in Japanese occupied countries in Asia are seldom addressed in depth in the West. Stalin’s crimes in the Soviet Union and Soviet occupied Europe are also not given the weight they deserve. The proximity of the culture as well as the power of the perpetrator of crimes leads to the conclusion of how these crimes are addressed. Therefore Muslims fall in the more distant category to Western consciousness. This is a gap which has to be bridged on both sides, and only by trust.

10. Civil rights: The latest policy of holding US citizens indefinitely without trial who may be regarded as tools of terrorism is not unlike the Shutzhaft principle (protective custody) adopted by the National Socialists in Germany to combat Communism, which led to the most outrageous excesses of human rights violations. Many policies are already being implemented in the guise of combating terrorism and unless people and Congress curb these excesses, the American people will be one of the many targets of this administration’s war on terrorism.

11. Congress and Iraq: Congressional members voting for the resolution to go to war against Iraq, many against the wishes of their constituents, is not unlike the votes cast in the last German election in 1933 by Reichstag representatives from various parties who voted themselves out of power and legitimizing Nazi rule without the consent of their constituents. The circumstances may be different but the principle is similar. Both occurred in a modern state, and both did not honor the voters who voted them in.

12. First strike: The administration’s policy of preventive war and first nuclear strike option regardless of whether the enemy possesses such weapons is another sad regression for world balance and long term peace. This revives the paranoia of the fifties and greatly encourages smaller nations to acquire nuclear weapons in order not to be bullied.

13. The reach for empire: The single-mindedness from the beginning to attack already contained Iraq, irrelevant of lack of ties to Al-Quaeda, and non credible proof of that country’s rearmament program shows that it is not a direct threat to US national security. The tantrums of the US administration at the world and the United Nations as obstacles to an invasion of Iraq all show the different motives of a US policy that has taken an aggressive stance which does not conform to the logic of a rational war on terrorism to protect American citizens.

This extreme and determined policy of this US administration to invade Iraq can only lead one to believe that it is either out of touch with certain realities, or simply motivated by greed and the reach for empire.

14. The present US Administration: It is too convenient to refer to the President of the United States as a puppet who is being manipulated by his cohorts. It makes things more palpable. The President and many in his administration may not be the most worldly, but you don’t get to these positions by pure accident. The fact being that whether one is smart or educated or both, does not mean that one cannot be provincial, narrow-minded, or greedy. The key here is common sense which seems to be in short supply.

In conclusion, the present administration’s so called war on terrorism has in less than a year left people all over the world baffled by policies which have further alienated not only most of the Developing world but the majority of the First-World as well. How they have failed to come through in their economic assistance to Afghanistan. How they have failed to not only justify the huge expenses and payoff for a new department of Homeland Security, but have failed to deliver the funding for it. How they have failed in delivering the top Al-Quaeda and Taleban leaders, and have spent the whole year concentrating on Iraq. How they have justified to smaller nations the need to acquire nuclear weapons with the doctrine of preemption including nuclear first strike against a non-nuclear power. All this with the backdrop of a tottering economy with so many promises and very little reform.

All these elements comprising this Administration’s policies have already made the world a much more dangerous place in the long run for all Americans.

For a US Administration to have spent so much of it’s time and ours on the issue of a small contained dictator when there are so many other pressing domestic and international issues, is not worthy of such a mighty nation. The same Administration’s incessant talk of illegal regimes is the least qualified in US history to do so in light of it’s own lack of absolute legal legitimacy in the eye of the American voter.

For years European nations have had stringent security measures while the US disregarded these issues while benefiting from a complete lack of terrorist activity on it’s soil. Now that terrorism has struck home we have reacted in such a disproportionate way which will only create more enmity and reasons for more terrorism. With intelligent, strong yet subtle policies, we can combat that threat with our allies instead of alienating what allies we do have as well. But the obvious outcome of this US Administration’s post 911 motives plainly show other underlying motives other than the protection of the American people.

It is unfortunate that we have relinquished our role of arbiter for that of empire.

“America can exercise power without arrogance and pressure it’s interests without hectoring and bluster. When it does so in concert with those who share it’s core values, the world becomes more prosperous, democratic, and peaceful. That has been America’s special role in the past, and it should be again as we enter the next century.”

Condoleeza Rice, Promoting the National Interest (Foreign Affairs-January/February 2000), p.62.

“A warning against following this path came from none other than Gen. Anthony Zinni, commander of the US Central Command, whose writ covered the Gulf region. ‘I know of no viable opposition to Saddam in Iraq,’ he said. ‘Under such conditions any attempt to remove the Iraqi leader by force, could dangerously fragment Iraq and destabilize the entire region.’ He added, ‘A weakened, fragmented, chaotic Iraq, which could happen if this isn’t done carefully, is more dangerous in the long run than a contained Saddam now.'”

Washington Post, October 22, 1998; Observer (London), November 15, 1998; New York Times, November 16, 1998, in Dilip Hiro, Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm, (New York: Thunder Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002), p.90.

March 21, 2003

© 2003. www.beamcorp.com. All Rights Reserved

White Collar Criminality and the Need for Urgent Reform

Like many of you I have been a victim of white-collar crime on different occasions and I have fought hard to successfully bring the perpetrators to justice. Everyone I talked to in each instance always gave me all the reasons why I couldn’t reclaim my loss. This is unfortunately a common problem. Most people are either intimidated by complex alien legal systems and are at a loss on how to seek justice, simply lack the initiative after the shock of their loss, naturally lack the funds to fight following their ordeal, or they simply don’t want to come forward for fear of embarrassment or exposure to taxes. Nations like Switzerland and other so called tax havens are such traps which feed on peoples paranoia and therefore attract white-collar crime. Most of us are touched and suffer from these types of crimes at one point in our lives. The degree of the loss and suffering due to the crime varies but the problem is very real. If one’s economic resources are well diversified then the damage can be minimized. If not then the surprise is quite painful. Also depending on one’s age and the capacity to recreate wealth it can be a devastating experience. I know many whose lives will never be the same for they have lost their security, their self esteem, better possibilities for their children, better medical care and finally just basic simple peace of mind. For many do not have the time or the energy to start over. As a society we have come to accept too readily that white collar criminals or “whicons” as I call them are not as harmful to society as blue collar criminals. We and our legal system fail to come to terms with the fact that one whicon can inflict more damage and suffering to more lives in one sweep than the average blue collar criminal ever could. We always talk about how a blue collar criminal who premeditates a crime must get a harsher penalty. Whicons premeditate their crime every step of the way, daily without shame, while unscrupulously betraying the people and society which have entrusted them with their lifesaving’s and therefore with their lives. Furthermore, the average blue collar criminal has a lower level of education and often a more difficult life to contend with, which can lead to extreme frustrations, which can then leads to crime. In the whicon scenario we are dealing with people who have relatively high levels of education and often higher material wealth than the people they actually usurp. Just because they don’t directly hold a gun to one’s head and kill them shouldn’t let them off the hook. The crime should be looked at as a whole package in terms of the extent of the premeditation, the level of greed, the people their hurt in the process and to what degree. Something must also be said for a system of education which doesn’t put enough value on teaching people ethics and compassion, for it is one thing to get technical training but quite another to instill compassion and common sense. These are aspect which are not emphasized in our education systems, be it in business, law, or medicine. On the contrary, our ultimate capitalist society has often elevated these whicons to levels of adulation and respect for some young executives to aspire to. I remember once when some people were organizing a party to celebrate the release of an executive who served a short jail term for embezzlement. His coworkers and friends seemed to view him as some sort of capitalist rogue hero. When these whicons end up taking away the lifesaving’s of retirees who no longer have the means of recreating their economic base and need their hard earned money to take care of their basic survival needs like food, housing, and medical care, it is as if they had murdered them, for they not only cut off their economic life support, rendering them helpless, but also rob them of their trust and self esteem by betraying and humiliating them. This is an argument I had in court once when I exposed the fact that two septuagenarians had died as a direct result of their lifesaving’s being taken from them by their portfolio managers in a complex case of embezzlement. It shouldn’t come much as a surprise that these crimes are not taken that seriously, when in our warped society murderers get their sentences reduced by more than half, and couples getting divorced end up successfully usurping the other’s livelihood, including even their airline miles in some cases, after being married at times for as little as a year. It is high time that we as a so called civilized society take steps against these crimes and seriously begin to evaluate the suffering these whicons inflict on hard working, honest individuals. Our institutions should prevent them from painlessly reintegrating the society they betrayed with such ease. In Europe for example one must think twice before declaring bankruptcy and not living up to one’s obligations, because it’s effects are long lasting. There one is pushed into the financial back lot for more than a decade. In countries governed by Roman law where one is guilty until proven innocent, assets are frozen immediately so as to secure future retributions once the trials have been won. But then again in certain parts of the world and close knit countries like Switzerland, if one lacks the experience or determination these crimes are conveniently swept under the rug. In the US on the other hand the legal system makes it very costly and by the time one wins the case the disappeared money has usually completely vanished. Our systems of justice and government must therefore become more aware and responsible by establishing two degrees of white-collar criminality: into higher and lower offenders. For higher offenders involved in outright premeditated fraud against clients, the punishment should fit the crime and sentences should be handed down like the ones handed down for higher blue-collar crimes. That is according to the degree of suffering caused by the crime. For lower offenders who created a problem due to incompetence they must also be punished but of course according to the degree and premeditation of their crime. It basically goes back to the criminal code of degrees of involvement. It is not enough to attribute these crimes to the greed of investors who want higher returns, but governments must do more to protect innocent people from con artists who can disappear and resurface every seven years. It would then be beneficial for our government to establish a commission on white-collar crime to layout the ground-work for such reforms in our society. It is increasingly evident that our legal system needs massive reforms in order to readapt itself to the present as we enter the next millennium. This is one crucial reform which must be made. Only then will a valid message be sent out that these crimes which affect the lives of so many will no longer be tolerated. It is time to make the punishment fit the crime with regards to white-collar criminality and to stop letting the perpetrators get away with just a slap on the wrist. As a civilized society we must do much more in evaluating the suffering these whicons inflict not only on individuals but on our values and to prevent them from painlessly reintegrating the society they so comfortably betrayed. This can be done by creating mandatory sentencing guidelines as harsh as those handed down to blue-collar criminals. Only then will it send out a valid message. We must treat Whicons as devious criminals who are motivated by greed and total disregard for the society in which they function and must therefore receive the full punishment they deserve. As in the case of blue collar criminals they must, depending on the premeditation in conjunction with the suffering they inflict, receive the appropriate punishment. The End.

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Serbia Revised

The words “Never Again” engraved on the walls of Nazi concentration camps were not just meant as reminders of Nazi atrocities but also as a warning for future generations against the primitive thinking and horrifying racist policies that intolerance and nationalism generates.

The same factors that held true to Nazi policies and philosophy, and the futile attempts at appeasement by the Western democracies before World War II holds true in the present case of Serbia and it’s minions. Although arguments about the present Balkan conflict abound, it is either time to just turn away from the whole situation before we become more embarrassed in the process, or to take harsh decisive action that will swiftly cripple Serbian determination; at least with regards to their genocidal policies in Bosnia.

One must look at Serb leaders Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic as slick modern versions of the National Socialist philosophy and we must deal with them accordingly. They have shown the same proclivity for intolerance, deception, and ruthlessness to attain and retain power for it’s own sake with total disregard for any peoples including their own. History has proven beyond doubt that this kind of politician can only be dealt with with extreme harshness. The Western democracies’ appeasement strategies, or lack of such, are being derided and exploited today as they were sixty years ago.

Former US ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, and others who know Milosevic confirm that he is a master at duplicity, in portraying his regime as benign, by disassociating himself from Karadzic and the center of the crisis in Bosnia. Recent discussions to suspend sanctions against Serbia in order to assist Milosevic in resolving the conflict once again completely overlook the fact that he is the main architect of that conflict, and further proves his cunning success at playing all sides for his own ambitions.

Under this clear assumption, one way to make Western determination clear would be to shift part of the strategic focus of the Balkan conflict from Bosnia to Serbia itself, since at this point the only thing that would seem to matter to the regime in Belgrade is the bombing of Serbia proper, as it seems a little late to commit ground troops, especially on the scale needed, and in light of the fact that no one has the stomach to see anymore soldiers risk their lives in this already messy situation.

The West can utilize it’s superior air power directly against Serbian strategic centers, like industrial and military complexes. Furthermore, the Western governments must show their resolve to unite in a cohesive force, for a worthwhile common goal that all can agree upon, as they did in World War II and recently in Kuwait. The Serbian policies of “ethnic cleansing” and territorial ambitions should be reason enough to want to rid the European continent and the modern world of such grotesque regimes. That is of course under the assumption that we are not merely concerned about natural resources but also about the plight of innocent civilians. If we cannot commit on that level then we should turn away and find ways to officially funnel arms to the non Serbian Bosnians and let them have a fr figaiht. If we are not ready to agree on a focused strategy, then let’s save ourselves further pain and embarrassment and shut the blinds on the hideous face of intolerance, because intolerance cannot be fought with half-hearted measures. The End.

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The Crier Of Berlin – Final Travelogue Of The Cold War

The Berlin Wall near the Brandenberg Gate one year into construction.

The Berlin Wall near the Brandenberg Gate one year into construction.

West Berlin May 1989

A convoy drives up Strasse der 17 Juni, and stops a few hundred feet from the Brandenburger Tor. The men begin unloading a bronze statue which they carefully place on a stone pedestal in the middle of the avenue. The statue is that of a young man with shoulder length hair, wearing a frock. Forlorn, his hands cupped around an open cavernous mouth, calling out across the wall, through the Brandenburger Tor. For all the oppressed around the world he cries out: “Freiheit, Freiheit, Freiheit.” On it’s base a simple plaque reads: “Der Rufer,” (the Crier).

In the past

Walking down the majestic Unter den Linden, I contemplate the sole relatively intact section of imperial Berlin where the few remaining grand structures stand in a more or less congruous style. In it’s heyday it was the Champs Elysées of Berlin, the stylish center of pre-war Germany’s capital. Now it is East Berlin, or simply Berlin capital of the “New Germany.” Frozen in time, like most East Block cities, with large invisible populations. An omnipresent and potent smell of coal hangs in the nippy winter air as one walks down a major thoroughfare unperturbed, like a boulevardier of bygone times. On the hour one gawks at the goose-stepping soldiers coming down the sidewalk for the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A brief reminder that someone is still, somewhat, firmly in control. The sun sets early, four thirty, five o’clock. The streets are faintly lit. There is little activity, except for an occasional lone, East German, Trabant auto spewing out obnoxious fumes from it’s two stroke engine, zipping by on the eight lane boulevard.

The subdued activity and quiet atmosphere is relaxing for an outsider, because it’s a novelty one doesn’t have to endure. I continue my walk down, enjoying the cold air and the serene atmosphere.

I perceive the Brandenburg gate and the wall immediately beyond it. Yet I can’t approach them because barricades precede them by approximately a hundred meters. The gate is therefore inaccessible to both East and West Berliners, except of course for communist officials, and other like “progressives.” My mind wanders over the wall where the whole sky is illuminated by city lights. A powerful hum and a cacophony of sounds and modern musical beat rise from the forbidden city beyond.

My curiosity is aroused for like many East Germans, I have never been to West Berlin. On subsequent visits to East Berlin, I always entered through a neighboring Communist country. Therefore, my sense of comparison was dulled, for I had time to adapt to the radically different way of life so reminiscent of a time warp, and could not feel the impact of gloom and grayness which most Western visitors described upon entering East Berlin directly from neighboring West Berlin. It was difficult to imagine the radical contrast between the quiet city where I stood and the noisy forbidden city beyond the concrete wall. A surreal contrast within such a small area made only possible by the omnipresent threat of the nuclear age.

November-December 1989

When the first segments of the wall came tumbling down on November 9th, 1989-twenty eight years since it’s construction in the early hours of August 13, 1961-I thought this would be my last opportunity to compare the two sectors of the divided city. The dam was leaking and there was nothing to stop it, short of Soviet backing.

It was also the last opportunity for my wife, who had been barred from travelling to the Communist Block, to catch a last glimpse of forty four years of darkness which were now ending at an alarmingly accelerated pace, to witness the dusk of the Cold War, and the final conclusion of World War II.

Visiting Berlin is the most efficient method of comparing two radically different political worlds in an accessible area of space. A divided city, the likes of which the world has never seen. An anomaly made possible by the omnipresent nuclear Sword of Damocles. West Berlin, literally an island in the midst of a hostile political ocean, encapsulated by communist East Germany could not have survived under any other circumstance.

West Berliners are like islanders, at times feeling trapped and claustrophobic, but without the sense of security provided by a body of water. A feeling especially prevalent among the younger generations, stifled by a lack of space and increasingly diminishing population and expectations, from an exodus, resulting from these frustrations. Many outsiders, and West Germans often uneasy about venturing in this strange territory, surrounded by hostile forces and international tension.

We took a sleeper on train 243, Paris-Berlin-Warsaw, from Paris-Gare du Nord which would take us all the way to Hanover where we would switch carriages on the same train to a sitting compartment, because the direct sleeping car was full. Due to the unusual political circumstances all modes of transportation into Berlin were booked.

We elected to take the train, as a palpable alternative to hectic air travel, and to observe how the borders between East and West Germany had been affected during the last month’s changes.

The sleeping trip was pleasant and somewhat reminiscent of bygone days; although slightly. The conductor was probably the only true reminder of a time when it was a true joy to travel by train. Impeccably groomed with white hair, a full beard, and conductors uniform. He had the combined authority and deference held by many old school professionals.

We arrived in Hanover, changed cars, and made ourselves comfortable. Soon after we arrived in Braunschweig, the last major city in the Federal Republic, where many East German shoppers embarked to return to the Democratic Republic. The huge crowds had somewhat subsided since the euphoria that began with the opening of the wall, a few weeks back. It was already commonplace.

The West German border guards went through the train checking the passports and disappeared. We arrived at the West German border station of Helmstedt where the locomotive was changed from an electric to a diesel- since there are few electric powered trains in communist countries- and then nothing. I told my wife to look out for stringent control by the “Grenzpolizei der DDR” – dogs, soldiers checking the roof and toilets for stowaways, taking apart bedbunks, using mirrors to check all hidden recesses- and then to look for the watchtowers and huge trenches dividing East and West Germany in the countryside; the only other man made division which can be seen from space with the Great Wall of China.

Nothing happened. The train kept going and the entire countryside became white with frost, and a thick layer of mist and fog. The sun was but a dim circle. This melancholic scenery was the only indication that we had entered the dreaded East German State. The frozen countryside was interminable. It felt like we were in Siberia. Above all there were no people, and very few homes to be seen, purposefully, except in the immediate vicinity of the few train stations we hastily passed by.

An East German border guard finally came by, looked at our passports, took a transit visa which was on a separate piece of paper, from the portable mini briefcase hanging around his neck, which once opened doubles into a convenient mini desk ready with stamps, visas, and all bureaucratic paraphernalia required for customs purposes. This will undoubtedly remain as one of the most practical vestiges of communism. He stamped the visa, courteously handed us the whole thing back, and left. My wife looked at me as if all I had told her in the past about rigid border controls had been a product of my innermost fantasies. The trip was without incidence. So much that I decided to take photos of isolated wood fences along the landscape to pretend they were part of the wall, so as not to disappoint anyone expecting a modicum of excitement for future slide presentations. The waiter came by to ask us to go to the restaurant car. When we declined, because we had too many suitcases which we couldn’t leave behind, he even offered to bring us two gristly Wienerschnizels, which we gladly accepted.

The train entered West Berlin at the border station of Berlin Wannsee, to go on to our final destination of Berlin Zoo station, the central station in West Berlin, aptly named for it’s location next to one of the world’s largest, and most diverse zoos.

My wife suggested that we bring our suitcases to the entrance door, so that we could quickly get off the train once we arrived. I declined, saying that there had been few people on the train so far, and that it probably wouldn’t be a problem getting off. My mistake.

The train pulled into the station, and was continuing on to Warsaw. As soon as it stopped, the doors flung open and a human tidal wave came into the car, pushing and shoving. They came on with huge television sets, suitcases, boxes. Just foraging their way forward. I quickly took one of the suitcases and fought my way through the narrow hallway, as I asked them to let us get off. They were totally expressionless, like greedy automatons. They mindlessly pushed ahead like a herd of cattle. They were Poles eager to get on the train to Warsaw like there was no tomorrow. After five minutes, I finally got to the entrance area where I dropped the one suitcase and painfully struggled back to the compartment to get the other suitcase and the three smaller pieces of hand luggage. It was a nightmare, the flood of Poles was increasing by the second. Women were being pushed against the walls of the hallway. People were pushing forward with their huge boxes. I am usually not one to panic, but I was totally powerless and afraid the train was going to leave any minute. I kept screaming that we must get off, but all in vain. I told my wife to start throwing the luggage out of the window, and that we should jump after them. I was also concerned for the suitcase I had left at the end of the car. Could I ever get back there to retrieve it. I freaked out when I realized that I couldn’t even throw the luggage, or my wife out because people had started crawling in through the windows. There seemed to be no escape. It was like an invasion of locusts. As my frustration increased, I began to aggressively push my way against this human tide as if my life depended on it. We finally made it out of the train with all our luggage after an interminable fifteen minutes. We both sat on a luggage cart shaking and totally drained of any strength we had left. We hadn’t experienced this even on our second class travels through India, whose trains have a reputation for being full to capacity.

As we sat on a luggage cart, a tall, well groomed, impeccably dressed man, erect as a lamppost, came and asked me in German: “Is this the train to Warsaw?”

“Yes, you’d better get on.” I replied in the same tongue.

“It seems full.” He replied with a shy smile, and dazed abandon. Then just turned around and walked away, strait as an arrow. We began to laugh hysterically, as the crowds on the train gawked at us, some embarrassed, some oblivious.

This type of situation was to be seen throughout the West Berlin subway stations and other means of public transportation, although it slowly subsided as the novelty of new found freedoms wore off. The Poles were the primary black marketeers. Buying cheap goods in East Berlin and selling them in the West. Buying goods in the West and taking them up to Poland. Poles were considered the Americans of the East Block, because they were allowed to have Dollar bearing interest accounts from money they acquired working abroad. A legal and common practice in Poland for years often yielding higher interest rates than Western markets as an additional incentive. They would then go to other East Block countries, especially Hungary, to purchase goods they could not get in Poland. This was one of the many ironies of East Block nations: Poles have ample cash and few consumer goods, Hungarians have plenty of consumer goods and little cash, East Germany has the highest standard of living in the East Block, but total travel restrictions; until November 9th.

The next day, our friend Carmen, from Frohnau, a Northern West Berlin suburb, located in the French sector, wanted to show us the sights. I made it clear to her that during this trip, my only concern was to get a perspective of the divided city, and not the usual historical sights. I could always visit the few remaining historical sights anytime in the future. At this particular time in history, the particular human events were of interest. Just a few weeks earlier, the wall had opened up. Something that no one thought would occur within their lifetime; not even spy novelist John Le Carré as he stated on French television. Having visited East Berlin on several occasions, but never West Berlin, I needed to compare this unique historical situation, before it changed forever.

Carmen wanted to take us to the KaDeWe. The largest and most unique department store on the continent. The Harrods of Berlin. Who cares, I thought. She insisted that it was worth the time and that she only wanted us to see the food section on the top floor. Besides it wasn’t too far from the hotel, on the Kurfürstendamm or “Ku’damm,” the main shopping hub, and central artery of West Berlin.

The weather was cold -5C (23F), and there were constant smoke alerts. All evils came from the Eastern sector of the city, so why no all pollutants, like coal smoke, and the added pollution from the two-stroke “Trabi” cars belonging to newly freed adventurous East Germans. The East German invasion of shoppers had somewhat subsided since the last few weeks when the wall came down, but was still in vigor. There were regular smoke alerts, and my wife had severe itching of the eyes as a result of the pollution. I was relieved to discover that you don’t only see the air you breathe in Los Angeles.

We entered the KaDeWe and began another struggle to get to the food market on the top floor. Between the throngs of Christmas and East German shoppers it wasn’t as frustrating as the Polish invasion on the Warsaw train, or the subways, but crowded nonetheless.

The elevator finally arrived to the top floor after an omnibus ride that stopped on every floor, as hordes rushed in bearing gifts like the Three Wise Men.

I travelled extensively, and I have seen all types of food markets. From the most extravagant to the most rudimentary. However, what we discovered was impressive. There was the whole floor of a department store with the best quality foods from all over the world, displayed with German precision and cleanliness. Each section had an area where customers could sample that section’s delicacies. Many would just sit on stools around the bar, or at tables, depending on the arrangement, and socialize. So much for the American fifteen minute lunch break.

I do not mention this episode for purely gastronomical reasons, but to show the disillusionment felt by those who came from the other side of the wall. I lived in the West and I was impressed. East Germans were at first astonished and happy, but once the euphoria subsided, it was quickly replaced with anger. The feeling of having been cheated and betrayed for thirty years. Why couldn’t they have shared in this wealth. Why had they been locked in for so long.

The last remaining justifications for these questions vanished when there were increasing rumors of corruption and unsocialist behavior, like the lavish lifestyles of the top communist party leadership in the Northern East Berlin suburb of Wandlitz, where they retained opulent residences with modern Western appliances, servants, private boat docks, et cetera. There was increasing evidence that top cronies of former leader Erich Honecker, like former economic minister Gunter Mittag and cohort, Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski had embezzled millions -over 100 million- of dollars in hard currency. This further disgusted the population and few remaining party loyalists who had certain beliefs in the system and in government austerity measures for socialist development. This led to the complete communist leadership collapse the next day, December 3rd, whereby Mr. Egon Krenz, who ousted Mr. Honecker, and the Politburo resigned en masse.

We proceeded to the Strasse des 17 Juni, which leads to the Brandenburg Gate. As I mentioned, no one has access to the gate itself except for Warsaw Pact military personnel, and Communist party officials. The wall is directly before it on the Western sector, and there is a no-man’s land on the Eastern sector, whereby the access is barricaded approximately one hundred meters before the gate.

All along this Western section of the wall, there is a narrow path bordering the wall. There, people were strolling and watching the scattered entrepreneurs, hammering away at the wall to get a piece of the rock. The whole area sounded like a quarry. No matter what the size of the hammer and the chisel, the wall still broke off into small, thin pieces.

The same scene was prevalent next to the wall at Checkpoint Charlie, around Friedrichstrasse. There, the Americans were, of course, the best equipped. With professional tools: large, sturdy hammers, giant chisels, goggles, gloves, the works. “Where’s the jackhammer?” I asked.

As we continued walking alongside the wall, we noticed this awkward looking youth holding a torn piece of aluminum piping and walking with great determination and anger. He then stopped, looked up at the wall and began whacking it with the thin pipe like a madman. I could either conclude that he was either trying to dislodge a loose piece or that he was punishing the wall. In any case, he didn’t have an easy task ahead of him.

Surprisingly, West German border guards would stroll by the wall in duos and aggressively confiscate the weekend miner’s hammers. Maybe they thought that they would soon be out of a job. A few minutes later, the East Germans would come by in pairs, relaxed, hands behind their backs, as if on a weekend stroll, amiably smiling at everyone. As if to say: “You see, we are not the bad guys after all.” There was a trio of East German guards hunched over the wall, peering down, completely at ease, enjoying the activity below. They couldn’t have been over twenty one years old.

A nine year old girl peered through one of the recent slits between the concrete block sections which make up the wall. What she saw was no longer really forbidden but would soon be accessible to her. Maybe she even was from the other side. It was no longer an issue.

My friend Carmen, always the philosopher, was outraged at anything to do with this wall. She didn’t want to come and see it. She disliked the foreigners who came to collect pieces of it, often for profit, rightly saying that it was just a passing fad and not a reality for them. She even refused to have her picture taken in front of it. For Carmen, and many Germans, it is a symbol of oppression, a wall of shame, which they do not want to be a part of in any way, and certainly don’t appreciate all the media hype. However toward the end of the day, after witnessing all the excitement and confusion, she grabbed my arm, and shyly said in a soft voice. “Please take a photo. For when I have children.” I took a snapshot of her in front of a side view of the Brandenburg behind the wall and the old Reichstag beyond, on the Westside, with a trio of border guards standing atop the wall, thumbs confidently tucked in their belts, peering down, smiling. It was a majestic site, with the warm winter light hitting the sides of the imperial buildings, giving them a rich golden appearance of contrast.

At the end of Strasse des 17.Juni, facing the Brandenburger Tor, there were large demonstrations, from the Polish Solidarity to anti fascists, to neo Nazi’s, and best of all a group of leftists chanting the communist Internationale to amused East German guards lying down atop the gate. “Le monde a l’envers,” as the French saying goes.

Another presence stood behind the crowds in front of the wall. Crying out for all the oppressed around the world: “Freiheit! Freiheit! Freiheit!” His plight and those for whom he cried out, was finally being heard through the cracks all across the East, to the Pacific, after forty four years of silence. German sculptor, Gerhard Marcks’ “Der Rufer,” (the Crier) placed there eight years after his death and six months before the collapse of oppression throughout Europe, could not have been present at a more auspicious time. The call of this forlorn man, cupping his hands around his mouth, was not only being heard but being answered at a phenomenal pace.

On the other side of the Brandenburg, the wall was immaculate, totally graffiti free, obviously because of it’s inaccessibility. Although right after the opening, a French company sent gallons of paint for East German artists to start painting that side of the wall. The government agreed to certain sections, and the artists needed little convincing.

Throughout the years, this wall has stimulated remarkable creativity and humor among artists from the world over, which will hopefully be preserved for historical and artistic purposes, and not for profit.

We were told on the East side that due to the extreme thickness of the wall, approximately nine meters, in front of the Brandenburg, it will not be torn down but that two gaps will be made on each side of it. Which is exactly what the two German governments ended up doing right before Christmas, on December 22, 1989.

As we walked down Unter den Linden, it was as I remembered it. Quite, serene, and chilly. I always seem to choose to go on those trips during the coldest season. It must be a subconscious masochistic effort on my part. Every Time I go to the East Block, winter seems to be there.

My wife expressed the same feelings I often conveyed to her. Like walking down an old European boulevard, during our childhood. Clean, quite, with few people, few crowds. Not the push and shove of the other side. Frozen in time with the smell of coal of yesteryear. Never tell an East Blocker that you enjoy their cities because they remind you of how Europe must have felt like some thirty odd years ago. I did that once in Poland, and the reaction was definitely not one of appreciation. “That was not intended,” I was bluntly told, with a menacing finger pointing at me.

We walked by the Bebel Platz, formerly Opernplatz, where suddenly out of the cold and the serenity, echoes could be heard from the past. On that spot in 1934 Dr. Goebbels organized the largest book burning ceremony to weed out undesirable authors from good German thinking. It was the period where everyone screamed. The ones in power screamed the loudest, as their victims screamed. Some screamed of arrogance, some from frustration, some of elation, most eventually from despair, as they all collectively fell into the darkness, deprived of any remaining rights of human decency.

The wall surrounding the Brandenburg gate, and the rest of West Berlin, is the reminder of that darkness to a country who plunged Europe into despair. A reminder by an equally ruthless Stalinist regime who’s people suffered the largest number of casualties from the madness, and imposed an era of deprivation and shame on a conquered continent. The Soviet Union having lost twenty seven million.

The Brandenburger Tor, the symbol of Imperial Berlin was built in 1788-89 by the neo-classicist architect Carl Gotthard Langhans. It has since been the symbol of Germany. A symbol of victory for victorious Prussian armies who marched triumphantly beneath it. A symbol of humiliation by Napoleon’s armies who entered Berlin through it. A symbol of rebirth and decline as lauty storm troopers and SS men organized massive torch parades under it’s columns. Various German army divisions proudly celebrated as Europe was being conquered, until one of the last oddities of the Third Reich, as General Jukow’s bomb’s rained all over Berlin, a last small contingent of troops was dispatched with marching band, amidst the ruins, to parade in full uniform, under the gate, in honor of Hitler’s 56th birthday, on April 20th, ten days before his suicide. Ever since it has stood as a symbol of a punished and divided nation, aptly demarcating two different worlds. One, communist, stretching Eastward through Siberia and ending at Vladivostok. The other, capitalist, spreading Westward through the Atlantic and across the American plains.

From this devastated city, little that was remains. Only isolated buildings and mementos. Otherwise, everything is postwar. Most people are shocked by how little remains. The famed Alexanderplatz, the eclectic and shady quarter of pre-war Berlin, with its cobblestones and old buildings, dramatized by Alfred Döblin’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” are no longer to be found. Instead, there is a huge modern mall area with massive East Block style hotels, and the pride of East Berlin, “Fernsehturm” the TV tower, affectionately nicknamed “Telespargel” (tele-asparagus), majestically rising above a red neon sign, “Neues Deutschland,” the New Germany.

It reminded me of the last time I was in East Germany, when the signs of change were nowhere to be found, I liked to tease people about the nostalgic titles still being used in the New Germany such as the daily “Neues Deutschland,” or “Deutsche Reichsbahn,” the national railway which kept its old name according to a postwar agreement. They would look at me with pride and disdain, saying, “aren’t they great names?” I would counter by saying that they were used during the Nazi era and did not have a very positive connotation to outsiders. They would simply reply, that it could not have any bearing because all the fascists were in West Germany and that the New Germany had never been polluted by such ilk. I often heard these shameless, ethnocentric, types of arguments throughout the East Block. It always fascinated me, how shamelessly they would endlessly propagate these arguments. Contrary to common perceptions, I never had problems approaching people in communist nations, but I often had these type of foolish arguments. I guess Lenin had a point when he thought the Germans would make good communists.

During part of the trip to East Berlin, or Berlin, as it’s simply known in the New Germany, we travelled with an Englishman named Michael, whom we met at checkpoint Charlie, where “Charlie’s retired, November 10, 1989,” as the clever graffiti reads, on the section of the wall before the checkpoint.

As we waited in line to have our passports checked, this rather distinguished white haired man, fully equipped with ski jacket, camera, and small backpack, approached me with what seemed to be authoritative German, and even rumbling his R’s, which I guess is the only way to authoritatively exercise one’s knowledge of that language. He asked me if he was waiting in the correct line. I replied in equally authoritative German that it was, but that this particular checkpoint was for foreigners, and that Germans had their own checkpoints. For some reason, I managed to pull it off, and he mistook me for a German. He therefore asked me what I was doing waiting at the wrong checkpoint. I didn’t know whether to feel flattered. Too bad the cold war was over, I might have become a good spook. I told him that I was American and he then admitted to being English. I asked him that with my complexion, brown eyes and black hair, he must have therefore assumed I was Bavarian. He didn’t have much to say to that, and even believed me. As we waited in line we talked of different matters concerning our two respective nations. When it came to the issue of drugs in England, he didn’t believe it to be a major problem beyond “the traditional sniffing of glue, and such like substances.”

Anyhow, on a quiet stroll back at afternoon’s end on Sunday, December 3rd, with Michael, we desperately tried to find a table for coffee and pastries. It was -5C, and we were tired and hungry. The tea rooms were pleasant but packed, although there seemed to be plenty of them. Typically of communist countries, there are not that many facilities for the number of people. When you consider East Berlin has 1.236 million (156sq mi) versus 1.879 million (185sq mi) people in the West, you realize the scarcity of facilities and the general absence of crowds in the streets.

In the tea room, we were all questioning the poor waitress as to what one could get for the minimal amount of allocated East German Marks we had left. Most foreigners become increasingly conscientious of what they spend in these countries because they have to change a certain amount of hard currency to enter, and are not allowed to take any out. The authorities usually don’t check but most people are fearful anyway. Besides it cannot be traded in external markets, so except for collecting purposes it is useless. I must add, from experience, that most Westerner’s fears in communist countries seems to be instilled by their own peer group and group organizers who in order to avoid any potential problems instill the fear of God and Lenin into their compatriots. I have rarely had any confrontations with the locals or the authorities, and have always found them to be quite receptive, as long as one doesn’t infringe on their taboos, like in any society.

I always end up feeling ashamed because one would normally end up spending too much money in the West, while in the East, the most open handed become misers. Of course, I guess they are not to be blamed because there is little to buy that is up to Western standards. That’s the greatest dilemma of these countries and why they have to update or simply remove an antiquated system of centralized production. This is the central, and only real premise of Perestroika, not democracy but economic parity with the West. Motivation, through self determination, means economic prosperity. I think! After all, let’s not forget that Gorbachev is a communist in the true sense of the word.

I barely had enough for coffee, and since I was hungry, I decided to pay in Deutsche Marks and keep the remaining East German bill (DDR Mark) as a souvenir. I always valued keeping bills as souvenirs instead of buying outdated, colorized postcards.

When we were all satiated, warm, and rested, we proceeded to walk back towards the checkpoint. On our way we noticed masses of people huddled in front of SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) Socialist Unity Party headquarters, the ruling communist party of the New Germany. There, different politicians were making fiery speeches denouncing the party’s role and abuses during the last few decades. A few people I talked to, which included party members, said the whole politburo and Mr. Krenz had just resigned because of past criminal activities against the people, and that the party was reforming internally.

As I mentioned earlier, many were angered at the corruption from Honecker cronies which ran in the hundred million dollar figure. Even remaining party loyalists who truly believed that certain austerity measures of the last thirty years were in the name of positive socialist development became disillusioned and outraged at the scope of theft and hypocrisy of the men of Wandlitz, the glitzy party suburb, North of Berlin.

Some members threw down their party memberships and trampled them, exclaiming that a whole nation had been imprisoned for decades just to be plundered by bureaucrats. The culprits were indeed criminals, having deprived their own people of their freedoms and aspirations, for personal greed and self advancement.

One cannot but stop to wonder. Autocrats throughout the world never seem to realize that in the end, no accumulation of material wealth can replace the power they would one day lose. The Shah and Marcos learned this. Although their loot paid for their expenses in exile, they were persecuted, broken men. Men like Somoza and Ceaucescu never had the time to reap the interest, much less the capital of their booty. The most fortunate of twentieth century despots, and probably the most ruthless, was Stalin, who died on his deathbed, the most powerful leader in the world after having assembled the largest empire. Although his extreme paranoia left him discontented.

I remember asking a Jewish family in Moscow a question which always left me perplexed. “Who was worse in your opinion, Hitler or Stalin?” “Stalin. “They said after little hesitation. “Because with Stalin, no one ever knew where they stood, no matter what position they held. With Hitler, people had a better idea where they stood, depending on race or political affiliation.” The worst of two evils I guess. I always felt sorrow for the Russians who were relieved when they thought the Nazi hordes would deliver them from Stalinist slavery, to only find out that the former classified them as subhuman.

When officials finished telling us of their plans for reform, my wife briskly stuck out her hand, wishing them luck and congratulating them. It was such a sudden response that they were somewhat startled. They awkwardly removed their gloves to shake our hands, not quite knowing what to do. After they left, Michael somewhat perplexed, whispered to my wife, “Do you think we did the right thing? You know, after all, they are Communists!” My wife just eyeballed me as we departed.

The same Michael, had earlier shown remorse at how the RAF high command resorted to the bombing of Dresden on February 13 and 14, 1945, with 800 aircraft, which devastated the city, and killed upward of 35,000 people. He thought that they (General “Bomber” Harris) would have been tried as war criminals had Hitler won the war, “and rightly so,” he said. I proceeded to relieve him of his passing guilt by reminding him what it would have felt like living under the Nazi boot. He was quickly relieved, and we moved on.

By the way, I always found it ironic that Bavaria, the cradle of Naziism, was left relatively intact, while the other states German states were not so lucky.

Like most visitors of these parts during these historical times, I wanted to bring back a piece of the wall. A practice which many, more philosophical, Germans didn’t take kindly to as I mentioned earlier. The only problem was that no matter how hard, or how well equipped one was, only small chunks would chip off. Concrete takes upward of twenty years to cure completely, and once its cured, it’s definitely cured. A kid in his early teens was selling thin contorted small pieces sprawled on old computer printouts. It was inconceivable for me to buy a piece. It wouldn’t mean a thing.

My wife had collected tiny morsels from my isolated mining endeavors, whenever I found someone kind enough to let me borrow their tools for a few minutes. But I wanted something more substantial, to serve a purpose; artistic or otherwise. I had studied this period of history so extensively, it was important to me.

Carmen, on the other hand was shocked at this grotesque quest for souvenirs by everyone, but she half heartedly agreed that it would not be beneath me to have a piece.

We were to meet Carmen at the hotel on our return from the New Germany to West Berlin.

After we washed up, a knock came on the door and there she was with a funny mischievous expression, half embarrassed, carrying a heavy black canvas bag. Out came a large incongruous chunk of wall, of about one cubic foot, with metal reinforcement rods and barbed wire still attached to it. She had gone to dislodge it while out walking the dog, with her mother, near her home in the French sector in the Northern suburb of Frohnau. There was this loose piece of wall where someone had been shot trying to escape a few months earlier.

We were to leave island Berlin by plane. I wanted to take the train, but the irony is that it’s often cheaper to go by plane. For some unknown reason, there always seems to be some special discount rate creeping up on me. Although one saves time, I find short airplane rides to be quite exhausting.

A postwar agreement only permits allied aircraft, flown by allied pilots to fly in or out of West Berlin, in three assigned corridors, as is the case for trains, and automobiles. Only since early 1990 is Lufthansa allowed to fly in. Whenever the West German Chancellor would fly in to West Berlin, he would have to disembark his plane in West Germany, and board an allied aircraft for the remainder of the journey.

This also illustrates the inevitable fact that Berlin is still under military occupation, and that it is not part of the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany, but has its own imposed rules, and local government. The Four Power Status-United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union-is still a fact of daily life.

The Allied armies hold parades throughout the year as the Russians do in their sector in East Berlin. A constant reminder of the status quo, and the fact that Germany never signed a peace treaty, at the end of World War II.

These factors coupled with the fact that Berlin was the capital and cultural hub of Germany create an atmosphere and way of life that is different from the rest of the country. Since the war, it’s peculiar isolation as a political island in the middle of East Germany, and it’s Four Power Status, have magnified these differences.

The people are definitely more cosmopolitan and liberal than in the rest of Germany, because of these factors. Many Berliners I talked to said they would have difficulties living in any other part of Germany.

The attitudes towards the Allies are mixed. The younger, postwar, generation seems to have a greater affinity for the French, and unlike the rest of the nation, many speak fluent French as well as English. This affinity for the French is in part cultural and also a force majeure.

The United States is widely viewed as imperialistic, regarding it’s policies throughout the world, and especially Latin America. In a culturally free spirited, and politically liberal minded city like Berlin these issues are taken seriously. Good thing we left right before the U.S. invasion of Panama.

The English, as usual, don’t really mingle too much with the natives, and are mostly isolated and aloof. This was their strength during colonial times, but in today’s world it just seems to create resentment.

This leaves the French as a more palpable alternative, closer in Continental thinking, and more willing to mix with the locals. Besides, the French contingent is mostly made up of younger troops. Most of them draftees, in their early twenties.

I wrapped my large chunk of wall inside the canvas bag Carmen gave me, checked in the luggage and took the wall as carry on. When I got to the security check, this large Germanic woman, reminiscent of Hitler’s Maidens, forbade me to take it on and said that it must be checked with the rest of the luggage.

I went back to complain to the young fair haired girl at the check in counter, who was surprised, and mentioned that security people can often be a nuisance. I guess the whole concept of security connotes being a pest to some in order to protect others. She went to discuss the matter, but to no avail, since the Germanic Cerberus had the final authority when it concerned matters of security. She simply said that it might fall on someone’s head, and that was the end of that.

I asked the ticket girl to make sure that it was safe and asked her to stick a fragile sticker on the bag. She laughed. “OK, but it’s lasted thirty years. I am sure that it will make this trip.”

Epilogue 1989

Once the euphoria at the opening of the wall subsided, people became less emotional and more realistic. The harsh reality is not really an issue of brotherly love but boils down to pure economic interests. The governments on the other hand are intent on unification for the long term. With the option gone of East Germany as a socialist alternative to West Germany, it is difficult to substantiate this separation any longer for most Germans, or logically for most. Many Germans are afraid of the East’s integration and would prefer a nebulous East Germany, although as a question of pride and facility, the majority favor unification. West Germans are afraid of the drain that it will create on their economy especially if the West German Deutsche mark replaces the East German Ostmark-DDR mark-which could have strong inflationary consequences, and wipe out most East German’s savings. On the other hand the new cheap manpower and rebuilding of obsolete industries in the East are a great asset for West German businesses.

East Germans are terrified at the thought of their savings becoming worthless, their becoming second class citizens, and their country and it’s social benefits being overrun by a system they are not familiar with. The capitalist system can indeed be quite ruthless when a nation and a people have been subsidized for so many years. The thought of their new freedoms being overrun by their rich West German neighbors without their having a chance to enjoy the benefits, in their own way frightens them. It is however a solution of facility for most East Germans because unlike other East Block countries they can hasten their recovery by just being saved by the Bonn Government. There are certain advantages to this, which often means sacrificing your own values and way of life.

Basically, it would be easier for everyone to keep both Germanys separate, including for the Germans, but as the lure of unification as a gut reaction of nationalistic pride approaches it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep the prize away any longer. A prize which scares many. The best example, was Poland’s recent request to keep Russian troops in for protection while not too long ago, they wanted them out.

When I asked people where they thought the capital would be in the event of reunification, many would humbly reply that it must remain in Bonn. I knew that Berlin would be a controversial choice, bringing back un-democratic memories, but nonetheless a symbolic one. The Reichstag has not been in use since it was burnt -by the Nazis- in 1933. This action generated the end of German democracy, and it has not been used since, although it has been almost entirely rebuilt and used for certain state functions. The re-opening of the Reichstag would signify the end of the partition, the return to democracy, and the real end of World War II.

If this is to be, one can only hope that the long and painful lessons which all have suffered will not be forgotten in the ensuing euphoria and the normalization between the two cities and two nations. The German’s always had the potential to excel, no matter what extreme they chose. Let’s hope that in their unity they will not aspire to the arrogance and nationalism of the past, and will fully integrate in the European continent.

Furthermore, it will be to everyone’s advantage to have a united Germany in the European Community. Not only because Germany is crucial to the EC concept-Germany and France being the driving force-, but because all nations will then be interlinked, which will create more check and balances, and will limit radical actions by individual nations. Also, with the diminishing influence of the two superpowers it will be to their advantage to leave matters of security to a unified European continent, and avoid at all cost the creation of vacuums and non defined spheres of influence, which was the case between the wars. The superpowers should not be hasty, and fully participate in these negotiations until all parties feel secure.

Only then will the “Crier’s” call be truly heard.

At Present

Since those cold historical days in 1989 many changes have taken place. Some positive for some, some negative for others, and definitely too rapid a change for most in both Germanys. West Germans have felt abused and taken advantage of in other ways feeling they have to work and unfairly allocate monies to subsidize their “less qualified” Eastern brothers. The East Germans on the other hand feel they haven’t had the chance after twenty four years to naturally emerge and adapt themselves to their new found freedom but have instead been thrown into a radically different system and have felt humiliated by it. These changes should have been more gradual as I mentioned earlier so that everyone could adapt and retain their integrity, but the politicians seized the day and wanted to get things moving and irreversibly on the way. There is also something to be said for this kind of shock treatment which could only have worked within the two Germanys.

As for Carmen and many other native Berliners who had such high hopes of these changes bringing “Island Berlin” out of it’s stifling isolation, they have moved elsewhere because this is exactly what happened. Berlin has been thrown at the center of the world stage and this expansion, change, massive international influx and the problems these bring have proven too harsh for many natives to enjoy.

So is the price of a quick fix. One that will no doubt pay off. And nothing worthwhile ever pays off without a sacrifice.

The Crier’s plea for freedom has been heard but should stand as a reminder to the Germans and all nations that the price of oppression, suffering caused to one’s own people and others, and the adaptation and re-adaptation of the past decades should never be forgotten.

The End

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