Category Archives: Catholicism

Catholics Against Nukes: Archbishop Wester’s Hiroshima Vigil

In what is a turn-up for the books, a senior voice of the Catholic Church made something of an impression this month that did not incite scandal, hot rage, or the commencement of an investigation.  It did, however, agitate a few editors.  Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, in speaking at the online Hiroshima Day vigil, had put up his hand to defy the validity and morality of nuclear weapons and, along with them, the idea of nuclear deterrence.  One of the organisers of the event, the veteran peace activist Rev. John Dear, claimed it had “never happened before.”

Dear had a point.  There has been a shift within Catholic ranks urged along by Pope Francis on that most fatuous of strategic doctrines, nuclear deterrence.  Before the United Nations General Assembly in June 1982, Pope John Paul II chose to argue that nuclear “‘deterrence’ based on balance, certainly not as an end in itself but as a step on the way toward a progressive disarmament, may still be judged morally acceptable.”

At a Vatican symposium in November 2017, the current pontiff acknowledged concern for “the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices.”  Given the risk of accidental detonation occasioned by error, “the threat of their use, as well as their possession, is to be firmly condemned.”

In November 2019 in Nagasaki, the pontiff expressed the view that peace and international stability were incompatible objects “with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual assured destruction, or the threat of total annihilation.”  Such weapons could not “protect us from current threats to national and international security”. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was of similar view in his recent commemorative remarks, at one with the Pope and calling “on our national and world leaders to persevere in their efforts to abolish these weapons of mass destruction, which threaten the existence of the human race and our planet.”

Archbishop Wester reminded his listeners of the stance taken by the US Conference of Bishops: that Washington has a pressing obligation to reverse the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and “reduce its own reliance on weapons of mass destruction by pursuing progressive disarmament.”  He spoke of the “fear, a dread and a sorrow” when visiting Nagasaki in September 2017.  “It reminded me a little bit of those days during the Cuban missile crisis when I would walk home from school having been instructed what to do in the event of a nuclear attack within a few thousand yards of a Nike missile site in San Francisco.”

The travails and challenges caused by COVID-19 might have forced social distance between people but, according to the Archbishop, “we’re united in our resolve to eliminate nuclear weapons and build a world that is grounded, not in fear and distrust, but in mutual respect for the life and dignity for all.” He quoted Pope Francis’s Nagasaki remarks about such instruments of death being an “affront crying out to heaven”, developed even as people continued to live in miserable conditions.

Support was also given to the efforts made by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, co-founded by Tina Cordova and Fred Tyler in 2005 with the express purpose of drawing attention to the health effects of the Trinity test of July 16, 1945.  Their aim is compensation and health coverage for victims of the radioactive fallout drawn from the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

It stands to reason that Archbishop Wester is concerned.  Two of the US’s three nuclear weapons laboratories are to be found in the dioceses of Sandia and Los Alamos. “In fact,” observes Nuclear Watch New Mexico executive director Jay Coghlan, “there are probably more nuclear warheads in his dioceses – some 2,500 stored in reserve at the Kirtland Air Force Base at Albuquerque.”  The Los Alamos National Laboratory is also intending to expand plutonium pit production, but not, according to Coghlan, to maintain “the already extensively tested and reliable stockpile.”  The future lies in dangerously “speculative new designs” that will be untested because of the global testing moratorium unless the US recklessly decides to get back into the testing game.

The laboratories do come with their biting paradox.  Wester is aware that an enterprise involving such weapons of mass lethality has other aspects, those incremental, even accidental benefits drawn from the inventive drive to kill.  Scientists, for instance, were turning their minds to “research that envelops energy and environmental programs, computing science, bio science, engineering science, materials science and micro-systems, as well as advances in medicine, and lately, helping in fighting COVID-19.”

The editors of the Albuquerque Journal were unimpressed by the Archbishop and the organisers.  Wester and Dear inhabited “a world that sounds lovely but will never exist.”  They had erred in not recognising the “deterrent benefit of the nuclear arsenal” which had “kept a nuclear peace since 1945 even as nations like Pakistan and North Korea have developed nuclear weapons.”  They slipped up in not accepting that using atomic weapons on Japan saved the lives of Allied soldiers and millions of Japanese.  Horrific as those weapons were, war was horrific.  “World War II claimed 60 million lives.”

For the editors, it was far better to endorse the somewhat darker view of the Very Rev. Glennon Jones, whose piece for the August edition of the People of God newsletter for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe impressed. “There is a vital difference between the promotion of an ideal and being naively idealistic.”

And so, we return to the historical reasoning that justified virtuous butcheries, the war is terrible argument, ignoring the obvious contention that such weapons are themselves potential incitements to error, lunacy and existential deletion. As long as nuclear deterrence, that most unmeasured of strategies, remains, it keeps company with the prospect of use and annihilation.  Coghlan, in his rebuke to the editors also penned in the Albuquerque Journal, gave an acid summation: “the US arsenal has always been about nuclear war fighting, starting with the simple fact that we were the first to use it.”  Only “sheer luck has kept us from nuclear catastrophe.”

The Marginalist Counter-Revolution, Science and Medical Social Management

By the time Alfred Marshall became prominent, the theory of capitalism formulated in Marx’s Capital had become a theoretical pillar of organised working class politics in Europe. Remarkably the so-called “marginalist revolution”, of which Marshall became a leading figure, coincides roughly with the abolition of slavery in Brazil (1886) and a major economic depression.1  Thus the shift from economics, for the allocation of surplus to that of managing scarcity is not a purely theoretical development. Following later scholars like Eric Williams, who argued that the “surplus” for industrialisation in Europe — that which had to be allocated through struggle or Adam Smith’s “invisible (whip) hand”– was derived from slavery and would now under the terms of marginalism become a “scarcity” of resources that theoretically had to be shared with liberated slaves and organising industrial labour.2

One of the objectives of political struggle in the 19th century was to appropriate the wealth held by the Church and the State and subject it to community/popular control. This meant also a struggle to find forms of governance adequate to this task. The opposition of marginalism, closely linked to progressivism and the emergence of “science” as religion (Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer), was a denial that the economic relationships between classes could be defined in any way, which would permit popular/communal control.3  Marginalism not only rejected the existence of a surplus to be allocated but also the idea that social benefit could be measured and therefore allocated through communal/popular governance. Since every economic relationship was reduced to implicit contracts between individuals there was no way to create scientifically reliable economic knowledge of classes, only tentatively for individuals, so-called methodological individualism.

What came to be social policy at the outbreak of WWI was, in fact, a denial that there was anything social at all. The entire history of the State’s promotion of adventurers, who in turn bought or leased the instruments of the State for the creation of monopoly wealth, was reduced to a footnote at best. Marginalism was conceived to explain — apologetics — what, in fact, had led to its creation as an ideology to counter democratic economic forces.

This is important in order to understand how the US religious doctrine of “free enterprise” was concocted and how the marketing strategy of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) became the dominant ideology of the end of the 20th century and the formal unquestioned dogma of the 21st. What is often alternatively called “neo-liberal” and “neo-conservative” is better understood if one looks at the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The 18th and 19th centuries were something like the Reformation, culminating in Marxism — itself a spectrum as broad as that between Lutheranism and Calvinism. The 20th century began the “Counter-Reformation”. Despite the successes of the October Revolution, the Chinese Revolution and the Cuban Revolution, the effect of this counter-revolution was to isolate these revolutions from the rest of the Church. In 1989, the Russian Revolution was no longer merely isolated but largely defeated — not surprisingly with a Polish pope in the van. The bullet in the neck was the NATO war against Yugoslavia.

The Counter-Reformation had two principal effects in Christendom. One was that it defeated the Reformation in the core Catholic dominions. In the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, for example, there was no Reformation. In the rest of the realms, the political content of the Reformation was purged. Luther and Calvin sided with the State and preserved their own versions of clericalism, inheriting, but not abandoning, the economic wealth and privilege established by centuries of Church theft.

The three great revolutions of the 20th century and to a far lesser extent the failed Mexican Revolution were the first to successfully transfer the socially generated wealth that had been appropriated by the Church and the corporate class (whether aristocratic or plutocratic) to a political structure based on popular/communal ownership and forced, for a brief period, the “Capitalist Church” to share at least symbolically some of its hoarded loot to provide facilities called “public” (as opposed to popular) and create a veneer of reform. The Church did the same thing in the Counter-Reformation — terrorising with the Inquisition and extending educational access through schools for the working class and poor and allowing local languages and some minor concessions to national preference in the clergy. From 1949 until 1989 the strategy was fierce repression and selective gradual openings:  social democracy in Western Europe (except Spain and Portugal, of course) on the “front” and death squads everywhere else.

1989 put an end to the biggest competitive alternative system and restored Russia to Orthodoxy if not to Catholicism. Since then the entire veneer of social democracy has been scraped away in the Western front-line states.  Seventy-odd years of pacification reduced the forces of class struggle — meaning those who supported popular/communal control of social wealth rather than corporate monopoly of the State — to less than a shadow of their former selves.

Nowhere, and at no time, has this become more evident than in 2020 when not a single political party of the “class struggle” tradition was able or willing to respond to the coup de grace against public space, social wealth and humanism that was administered in March past. The conspicuous silence at the massive theft that was orchestrated — untold trillions — while the bulk of the Western population was under house arrest — is beyond shameful.4 This was not an act to restrain a viral pandemic but an act culminating in the final expropriation, not only of the last scraps of social democracy but of the entire public space in which such struggles took place but also could take place. In Portugal, the quality might be called “Salazar light”, not the “new normal” but the “Estado Novissimo“.5

What we hear, for example, from the curia in Brussels, with its quasi-dual pontificate comprising the German Chancellor and her former rival now the president of the European Commission or the World Economic Forum, is something comparable — but, of course, on a global scale — a homily like that delivered by Martin Luther in support of the violent suppression of the Peasants’ Revolt. (Here I am only talking about those who are members of the “Left”.)

The Counter-Revolution/Counter-Reformation, whose spokespersons convene in the conclaves at Davos, has clear objectives. The euphemism is the great “reset”.6 What is described euphemistically as “growth” has always meant growth in power and control. By declaring an end to public space — anywhere — they are returning us to the closed world whose creation and maintenance was the objective of the Roman papacy. (I republished the bull Unaam Sanctam earlier this year for a reason!7  I do not want to repeat here everything I have tried to describe elsewhere. 8  At this writing the conclave in Brussels is deciding what to do with the residue of Christendom in the Western Empire.

Habemus Reset!

Somewhere I read in a history of China that at least the Confucians were amazed at the Roman Catholic Church’s organizational power and wondered that there was nothing equivalent to it in China. The Rockefeller Foundation was so concerned about China that it started very early (ca. 1914) to fund and train Chinese physicians in the Rockefeller model of industrial medicine and social engineering.9

The West compensates for its relatively small population with an extraordinary level of violence and organization. It was that “catholic” organisational capacity that shut down the West and its dependencies in March — and including the Shrine in Fatima, defies the strength of the Holy Virgin.

(What we have been told is the 18 months in the race to a “vaccine” should probably be seen as a planning parameter — adopted at least as early as 2015 — in the pacification program for which the vaccine is both a decoy and a weapon, by no means a toy.)

  1. For a discussion of the so-called “marginalist revolution” see, for example, Nuno Martins, “Interpreting the capitalist order before and after the marginalist revolution”, Cambridge Journal of Economics 2015, 39, 1109-1127.
  2. See Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery, and Gerald Horne, The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism, reviewed by this author.
  3. What most people understand as “Darwinism” is actually “social Darwinism” as taught by Herbert Spencer et al. Charles Darwin did not consistently argue for the “survival of the fittest”. Rather he suggested that species’ variations could explain why some members of a species proliferated in an environment or survived changes in the environment. Unlike Spencer and vulgar Darwinists, Darwin claimed no teleology or interest in nature that could predict or promote any species or variation thereof. For a brief discussion of the difference between Darwin and vulgar Darwinism, see Morse Peckham, “Darwinism and Darwinisticism” in The Triumph of Romanticism (1970) pp. 176-201.
  4. While it is a matter of record that the US Federal Reserve gave away some USD 4 trillion on a single day at the beginning of the so-called pandemic, with no questions asked, both the US regime and its vassals in Brussels feel that any assistance to Europe’s SME sector must be endlessly debated and so structured that only the administering banks profit from it.
  5. For example, under Salazar’s Estado Novo that ended by revolution in 1974, three persons meeting in public spaces; e.g., on the street, constituted a “demonstration” requiring police authorisation. For those old enough to remember, the similarity to masks and social distancing is hard to overlook.
  6. World Economic Forum: The Great Reset; see also here:
  7. There is One God, One Faith, and One ChurchDissident Voice, May 2020.
  8. See my Dissident Voice articles this year if interested.  See, among others, “Re-Orientation”, 3 February 2020, and “The First Circle”, 24 April 2020.
  9. E. Richard Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men, Medicine and Capitalism in America. It is just a coincidence that it was also a man named Gates, Frederick T, a Baptist preacher and not a physician, who initiated the tradition of plutocrats using medical institutions to design society in their particular interests. Rockefeller money turned the Peking Union Medical College from a missionary endeavour into a scientific medical school. Rockefeller money also seeded the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, now under the patronage of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, where it hosts such exciting séances like Event 201.

Privacy, Auricular Confession and Computer Viruses

The original business with personal secrets

The unilateral declaration of independence adopted by the slave traders and slaveholders in congress assembled, otherwise known as the American Declaration of Independence, is one of the most successful psychological warfare instruments of modern history. Alone it did not win the fight of the colonial elite against its cousins in Great Britain. However, once the British regime was forced to cut its losses after the defeat at Yorktown, this propaganda document became the source of the most powerful delusion since the inception of Christendom based on the myth of an obscure crucifixion.

This instrument, for white supremacy the equivalent of the ten commandments attributed to Moses, has formed the basis of the religion in whose thrall millions of people for whom Christianity is perhaps meaningless or trivial have been held for over a century. That is not much time seen from the entirety of human history. However, given its global proliferation, penetrating areas where even Christianity could not win, it is remarkable to say the least. The brilliance with which an ideal whose fulfillment has been denied to more than the majority of the world’s population is still preserved is an expression of the insidiousness of the system of white supremacy. As James Baldwin told Cambridge students in 1964, he was raised “rooting for the cowboys” in American Western films — until he realised that he was, in fact, one of the “Indians”.

Most of the world consists of “Indians” — it is “Indian Country” as the US Cavalry called it whether in Dakota, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.

We find that we are being told to root for those whose entire social model is based on our subjugation or, if need be, extermination. Since we all learned to be “cowboys” we think that those who rule us are the Cavalry who will save us from the “Indians” — if we follow their orders and stay in the wagon train, wear our masks, keep our distance — and keep our mouths shut, only to prevent the dispersion of particulate infectious material, of course.

Let us be clear about one thing. The US Empire cannot collapse as long as its citizens at home are willing to travel throughout the world terrorising other countries. However, this capacity is rapidly being exhausted. Hence the cannon fodder at home is superfluous. At the same time if everyone is policing herself or himself for fear of infection or some other invisible fate, then there simply is less need to have troops around terrorising the world. Instead the terror can be performed more compactly with pharmaceutical teams operating in geographically quarantined territories, isolated by the collapse of international transport — except for the select.

As I have written in the past the actions implemented by the coordinated intelligence and policing forces worldwide aim at retraining masses of people to live with less work, less money and less social contact (such contact subject to constant surveillance — aka “tracing”). This is simply policing and population control without any health advantage whatsoever. Of course, there are various opinions — like other exit points on the human body — as to whether masks, gloves, and distance restrain disease proliferation. Yet this plurality of opinions is deliberately maintained because the more opinions in circulation the less chance that common sense will prevail. This is also a factor in deniability. People waste their time trying to decide which priest to believe, while their jobs disappear and their homes are confiscated.

But to come to the point, the principal objection raised to many of the incipient measures — contact tracing, health monitoring or the Gates ID2020 concept in its various forms — is that it would intrude on the privacy of individuals. However, there is no privacy in the West. Rather there is a religious belief in privacy (the individual equivalent of secrecy). Where does this belief originate? Western privacy is a reaction but actually a compliment to the Roman Catholic practice of auricular confession. The confessional defined the “private” as the scope of potential deviance from conformity to the Catholic universal doctrine which was defined as “sin” or “heresy”. Sin could be forgiven by confession to a priest. Heresy could only be punished — it was left to god to deal with the heretic once he was executed by the secular arm.

Privacy is really only the general privilege of the ruling class to conceal its wealth, methods of theft and murder, evade taxes, and prevent you from knowing how and why you can work yourself to death and still not own your home or the food on your plate. It immediately disappears — privacy that is — once you make a claim on the regime. To get a pittance for your family as an unemployed person you have to confess everything. The owners of the world can print four trillion dollars a day and no one has to answer a single question.

The “virus” is the contemporary manifestation of “sin”. We are all sinful and therefore the ridiculous number of infections reported. Many will die — that is the purpose of “sin” to rationalise the murder of our fellow human beings by priests/doctors/soldiers/police. Not to believe in the “virus” is heresy. You wondered why, since you linked your first PC to the internet, you are constantly plagued by viruses. Did it ever occur to you that the company that made the software also owns the viruses? You could dismiss this “planned obsolescence”; e.g., the fact that there are no more original spare parts for your three year old computer or car, by claiming that a new product was “progress”, another step on the stairway to heaven.

But now the producer of the most virus-laden software in the world tells you on TV that you will never be free of the virus his friends developed that can kill your grandmother or your child with cancer (from some other industrial poison).

And you are happy now. If you were a white man, you might have been created equal. If not, well, tough luck. You have a secret, not for long. If you aren’t infected yet, just check your computer…

Faschion: Dressing for Obedience 

Asset Deals: John Paul II and his successor ex-Hitler Youth and Roman Grand Inquisitor Joseph Ratzingen, Benedict XVI1

In 2015 I argued that the purpose of the CIA war against Vietnam was two-fold. First of all the company was charged with preserving the now US interest in what had been French business in Indochina. The second objective — a part of its global strategy — was to create a country, the Republic of Vietnam (aka South Vietnam), which could sustain the illusion — created in Korea between 1945 and 1952 — that there were two countries: one that counted as civilised (capitalist and subordinated to the West) and one that was not really Vietnamese (like the PRDK is not really Korean and at that time the PRC was not really China).

To understand this approach to world politics and the general hatred of humanity underlying it, one has to take very seriously a tiny detail in the history of US colonialism. That detail is the personality of the man who turned working class denim trousers into a fashion item, a guy named Edward Lansdale. The history of covert action — namely, the cowards’ war for capitalism or as Agee called it the campaign of “capitalism’s invisible army” — can be simplified as the marriage of desire and deceit. In a sense the opacity of covert action or what has been popularised as the “deep state” can be traced to the doctrine of sacerdotal celibacy. Sacerdotal celebacy — the rule that priests cannot marry — was first a rule to protect the property accumulated by the Church from dissipation by the inheritance in favour of clerical children. The second reason for it was to protect the investments of the Catholic Church in prostitution and slavery.2  As much as I would like to elaborate on this Western cultural phenomenon, a dogma derived from Roman Catholicism, that would go too far for what is intended here as a brief intervention. My intention here is simply to strongly suggest that readers think in broader contexts than are ever presented by any media.

We have now reached a point where the covert action programme formulated by those who organised and conducted the mass killing system in Vietnam and later in Latin America and in Central Asia has become the central product to be marketed worldwide. The so-called pandemic, the Covid-2019, is nothing more or  less than a product of the counter-terror factory that the Anglo-American Empire established in Vietnam — based on the template already developed in Korea.

In Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines and the Surveillance State, Alfred McCoy (2009) wrote that the machinery (now digital) for policing in the US began in the Philippines — a US colony from 1901 until 1949 — and thereafter a protectorate. That is also where the Levi’s marketer, Lansdale, began his career as a terrorist. Douglas Valentine (1990) showed in great detail from the testimony of those who actually created and executed the Phoenix “marketing campaign of South Vietnam” how this system was built and operated. Valentine, in contrast to McCoy,  emphasises the purpose of a system which is consciously defective but infinitely violent. Whereas the vast majority of opponents to US wars object to their injustice, they do so implying that these wars — were they justly waged — would somehow be less or acceptably imperial. Ultimately in his book The CIA as Organised Crime Valentine (2016) shows that the Phoenix program is the “new normal”.

What happened in between October 2019 and March 2020 can be translated into the sequences of the war against the VCI as conceived, planned and implemented by the US Central Intelligence Agency. (Actually it is irrelevant whether it or other government agencies actually was the overall planning and executive instrument.) Daniel Estufin called it in an rather unqualified fashion the recognition that the “limit to growth” had been reached. This explanation reminiscent of the Club of Rome and its eugenic report avoids an elemental difficulty with the entire “growth” concept. One can summarise that in the pathological definition of “cancer” as uncontrolled cell growth at the expense of the healthy organism. This is, in fact, a wonderful example of what the neo-conservative literary scholar described in her book Illness as Metaphor (1978). The economy must grow and grow without purpose or reason. The rulers, like cancer cells, must steal through all seasons. Cancer, the ubiquitous, virtually incurable self-destruction of the individual human body — almost entirely induced by the toxification of the environment by unrestrained theft under capitalism — is the sickness of surplus. In the 19th century people died of consumption — tuberculosis — the toxification by raw accumulation and the exhaustion of human bodies.

However, with the digitalisation of capitalism and its extraction methods, the disease which is the penultimate expression of capitalist pathology, is the virus. Communists were germs or bacteria. After the destruction of virtually anything resembling communism — the European communist parties notwithstanding — a new pathological model was needed. The virus is an insidious metaphor. It is not like bacteria, a life form which can both produce and destroy. The post-communist era — whereby communism was simply a term for any opposition to the ruling gangsters — requires new terror products. That actually means old products in new packages. Anti-communism was repackaged as anti-terrorism (of course, only pseudo-Islamic terror, an utter fantasy, like in the era of the Reconquista and Crusades). The so-called corona virus, for the honest, is really a fabrication — probably developed in the same kind of imperial laboratories where the computer viruses have been designed since a certain entity sought to guarantee the monopoly it expected from its IBM days.

In a previous appreciation I indicated that the “lockdown” should be understood in terms of the “strategic hamlet” program. Now I would advise those who are not saturated in obsequiousness or servility to consider the current phase — called contact tracing — in terms of what was called in Vietnam “census grievance”.

The historical crisis with which we are confronted today is first and foremost a crisis of literacy. It would take too much space to explain what I mean by that. However, reading Paulo Freire’s now very unfashionable Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968) would make my point clearer.

Irony is a term used to describe linguistic practices, reading, writing and speaking. It designates a discrepancy between the circumstances explicitly perceived and the language used to describe them. Yet if one applies the term with that rare quality, sincerity, then there is indeed some irony to be found in the appreciation of that part of the world with the most favourable population density (albeit thanks to the immeasurable homicidal capacity of its ruling class), where the ruling class mandates the most fanatical interest in social distancing and masking (or gloving). The irony lies in the fact that the most sociopathic segment of the world’s population is located in the Western peninsula of Eurasia and North America where very low population densities prevail. People who have on average more living space per capita than anywhere else in the world — just cannot get enough. Now people, who for some five hundred years have vented their malice on Africa, Central and South America, Australia and Asia (not to mention millions slaughtered between 1915-1945) just cannot bear being closer than 1.5 meters to each other and want this to be the British (or German) standard for the world.

It is hard to share sympathy or even affection with much of what is published as “critical” today. It is just as esoteric as the tatoos on so many legs, arms and backsides. Permanent jewelry and stenciled stupidity, masks and gloves substituting thinking or love. My sympathy at least is exhausted by people whose sterility and verility transcend human dimensions.

A few months ago I was adamant about the insincerity of the global warming crusaders. I remain so. I am convinced that these were witting or unwitting campaigners in the crusade of death that the rich white supremacists on this planet are waging against ordinary people. Their message was nothing more or less than the blind religious fanaticism that has made the West the best organised homicidal society on the planet. That is the legacy of Christendom.

Today at lunch I watched a report on the canonisation of the Polish fascist known by his papal name, John Paul II. Roman Catholics are now permitted to venerate this vile cleric as a saint. The rest of the “white” world will venerate him for his contributions to the world we have today. It is a world liberated from every respect for life in whatever form and dedicated to the cult of death.

If we do not resist the cult of death and its sociopathic instruments — like social distancing — we will actually join — but not as TV actors — a society of the “living dead”.

  1. Together with the US regime this dynamic duo in the Catholic cult of death- the ancient foundation of Christendom and global terrorism-  waged war against communism and national liberation.
  2. Henry G. Lea, A History of the Inquisition of Spain, Volume 3, 1907.

There is One God, One Faith, and One Church

On 1 May, International Labour Day (except in the USA),1 I happened to see the current prime minister of Portugal proclaim on television the next stages of the policing that began with the proclamation that the world was in the midst of a “pandemic”. He explained that masks would be obligatory in schools after they are reopened, that restaurants would be permitted to reopen in a limited fashion starting 18 May and gave other details as to how public movement and economic activity would be ruled in the foreseeable future.

Of course, opening on 18 May only applies to those businesses that have survived that long, without going bankrupt. Portugal is remarkable in many respects, for example, that it is almost entirely “chain-free”. One reason is that multinational restaurant chains — like those that have replaced virtually all restaurants in the US — are simply too expensive for ordinary Portuguese citizens. The other reason is the loyalty of the population to its own fine food culture. Portugal is one of the few places in the West I know where the food eaten by the rich and the poor is essentially the same — and by that I do not mean the fast food monotony to which Andy Warhol very poignantly referred.2 A city like Porto is still full of family-owned restaurants where the chipped potatoes are peeled and sliced in the kitchen and not poured from a bulk package manufactured by some Nestlé subsidiary. McDonald’s has had to compete not only in price but even in the style of bread used, yet is still too expensive for people whose average monthly wages are less than EUR 1,000. One has to wonder which restaurants Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa has in mind when he says that they will be permitted to open again after more than two months closure. Do we see here the result of another act to subordinate the last elements of Portuguese entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency in a country whose elite has always profited from Portugal’s quasi-protectorate status?

I do not have any new answers to that question. However, I have tried to surmise or by means of judicious investigation identify the rational criteria, which would compel those who have ordered this international quarantine to end it.3 Alas, in vain. At the end of four months there is still no evidence published anywhere that the progression of the so-called “pandemic” has in any way approached that of the seasonal influenza casualties of 2019 or any year prior to that. It stands to reason that if this were more deadly than the seasonal flu, then in the same period we would have to record far more deaths than in the previous year. Even with all the fraud and forgery, the death toll has not reached that level year-on-year. Nor have any truly new and impossible conditions arisen since then, which the SARS-CoV-2 virus can explain — unless one considers the obvious mental derangement and hysteria among the supposedly educated segments of the population.

The favoured argument among the “moderates” — those willing to listen to doubts expressed by ordinary citizens — is that all these steps are necessary to prevent the healthcare system from collapsing. In other words, the people who have been subjected to this covert state violence are themselves to blame for the inadequacy of the healthcare system. This was not the fault of parasitical corporations, bribery, privatisation, insufficient or no funding and resistance to any change of policy that would channel money away from investment banks to blood banks (unless, of course, those blood banks were also run for profit) — all abetted by elected and appointed public officials.

If responsibility is considered for any policy failure, however, it is only the lack of masks, HAZMAT suits and emergency equipment not the failure to maintain a solid general healthcare system including preventive, curative and palliative medicine. In other words, the “counter-terrorism” model is the only one available to government. Such emergency measures are just like the futile instructions to airline passengers about procedures that are virtually useless when an airplane crashes. I wonder seriously for whom is the emaciated healthcare system to be protected after more than thirty years of wanton destruction by those who claim their sudden concern. The defensive arguments and criticism can be compared to a group of arsonists advising the homeowner whose house they have set in flame that it really would have been a good idea to have more hoses and paid for more insurance coverage. What this really means is the State (actually those who manage it on behalf of its owners) wants us all to stay at home so that none of them has to accept responsibility for massive criminal negligence. Meanwhile we are burning with that very house they have torched.

In contrast the Chinese government built a hospital in two weeks to take up the slack in a city of some 11 million inhabitants, dismantling it once the mission was accomplished. While in Europe and the USA there are no public institutions left capable of delivering even the ordinary mails in under two weeks, let alone build a hospital and staff it.

There being no rational basis for the Western style of international quarantine, that leaves only two other mutually inclusive options: corruption and religion. For years I have argued that political science and many other academic disciplines practiced in Western universities are defective because of their failure to analyse the institutional foundation of the West: Roman Catholicism. Except in Catholic institutions, my assertion is usually dismissed. The basic sophistry used to ridicule my advice is that while the churches, and even the Church still exist today, they have an entirely subordinate role. Nobody believes that the pope in Rome has temporal authority, let alone universal power. Church attendance is just a private matter. The Reformation curtailed the power of the Roman hierarchy. These arguments even come from people who have read Michel Foucault or  Gramsci4 and therefore with a second thought or three ought to know better.

What many seem to forget is the Counter-Reformation or the Protestant witch burning, including the practices of Puritan New England. Moreover, the Christian churches together and in Europe the Roman Catholic Church in particular belong to the largest landowners in the West, usually tax-exempt, and often concealed through corporate shells.5  In any realistic appraisal of a political system ignoring major landowners like the Church is either a sign of incompetence or mendacity.

Elsewhere I have said 1984 has to be one of the worst books ever written.6  That is not so much a reflection of the author as it is of those who have read it over the past 70 years since it was published. Orwell created some modern terms to describe ancient phenomena that have been forgotten. Properly speaking they have not been forgotten but concealed. Given the explicit and insidious collaboration with the fascist aggression by the two Pius popes in the 20th century, including WWII, it is understandable that explicit references to the original totalitarianism of the West would be discouraged. In fact, much of the treachery and viciousness of Pius XII was only disclosed after his death and amidst the greatest of resistance both in the Church and beyond.7

It is helpful to recall that for most of Western history even possession of the mythology volume, known as the Holy Bible, was restricted entirely to clergy.8

Unauthorised possession or reading it among unauthorised laity could be treated as a capital offense. The Holy Office, also known as the Inquisition, had emerged not only as a central and secret police force for the Roman Catholic Church but a major economic player in every Christian dominion.9

To be accused of heresy or some other violation by the Inquisition was the same as being guilty. An accused forfeited all rights immediately — the right to own property, to conclude any kind of binding business or legal transaction — and was subject to confiscation of all property, real and personal. Those who spoke in favour of an accused could be punished as abetting heresy with the same penalties. The only appeal was to the pope in Rome — very difficult to lodge when one was chained to the wall of some dungeon and anyone who acted on one’s behalf could suffer the same fate. It would go too far to explain all that could and did happen under this regime. The curious are referred here to Henry Lea’s multi-volume works; e.g., The History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages.10

However, it is very important to distinguish between the popular and incorrect view of the Inquisition — that its primary job was enforcing doctrinal conformity. The Holy Office was established to control population and population movement and to assist those who owned the Holy See in their efforts to enrich themselves and the Church. The Inquisition was an espionage system that recorded every detail necessary to identify, observe, and pursue its targets throughout Christendom — that is most of Europe and the overseas possessions of Catholic princes. Heresy was punished — rather heresy was the pretext for punishment and control. Denying that one was a heretic was impossible. The only hope was that no one had motive to make a denunciation. To escape incarceration meant only that one became a legitimate target — like in the notorious “free fire zones” in Vietnam.11

My point is that Orwell did not discover or describe anything new or modern. In fact, as a propagandist in the service of His Britannic Majesty’s government, he was simply describing his working environment with the language of the day — albeit in a kind of roman à clef. Blair (Orwell) was for all intents and purposes Winston. He probably could not have written a story with the ancient foundations of Christendom at the centre.

Despite the heinous conduct of the Roman Catholic Church in the 20th century, it actually recruited successfully. Both the famous and the infamous have joined or returned to Mother Church.12  And a son of the fanatically Presbyterian Dulles family was even raised to the cardinal’s dignity.13  One can only guess why.

The (previous) pontiff emeritus was head of the Holy Office before his coronation. There should be no surprise that an obedient member of the Hitler Youth would make a great career in a Roman Catholic province governed by pro-fascist prelates under a fascist pope. Joseph Ratzinger went on to lead the persecution of heretics in Latin America, collaborating deniably with the death squad regime that murdered Bishop Oscar Romero while disciplining every important member of the clergy who opposed military dictatorships installed and maintained by the US regime. The ubiquitous corporation, which Ratzinger would then head as Benedict XVI, is recognised for having the oldest espionage organisation in continuous operation.14 Orwell could not have described the way the Church exercises power without drawing attention to those who still held it and whose successors hold it today.

Now I am not saying that the present condition — the crusade that is being preached throughout the Western Empire — is a creation of the Vatican State or the Roman pontiff, also a Jesuit. (At the same time I would not rule out their active, if discrete, participation.) It is surely an accident that one of the most fanatical and greedy prelates preaching this crusade is also a product of Jesuit education.15

What I am saying is that if we want to understand the structures, the rhetoric and the discourse along with the kinds of measures and the force being applied, we should look very carefully at the most fundamental institution that defines the style and substance of Western beliefs and statecraft. That original multinational corporation contains the blueprint — or to use fashionable genetics jargon, the “DNA” of the corporate state in which we live today.

It does not matter that the word “infection” is used instead of “sin” or that the intelligent, fact-based suspicions of the official story about the “virus” are called “denial” and not “heresy”. Orwell would have called these doubts “thought crime”. The infection is just as invisible as sin. The definition of health risk lies solely at the discretion of the clergy, wearing white coats or HAZMAT suits instead of cassocks. Although neither Mr Tedros16 of the WHO nor a medical official can order an arrest, incarceration or torture, they can advise or instruct “the secular arm”17 to act “in the interest of health” (i.e., in the interest of the Faith). As argued elsewhere recently, one of the world’s wealthiest individuals has assured us that we just do not know if we can ever prevent sin, whether we will ever have a chance of salvation, even if the auto de fé of vaccination is performed.18.

Social distancing, then (Photo 1) and in the “modern” age (Photo 2).19

Many people, who would refuse to hear a priest or minister who advocates witch burning, lend all their attention to clerics dressed like physicians or hospital technicians — reading from inscrutable reports devoid of consistency, coherence or any other base in reality. For example, when the Portuguese prime minister declares that restaurants will be allowed to open on 18 May, one could just as easily ask — why not 17 May or 19 May? The answer is that there is no substantive reason — at least none to which the public is privy.

Now we are approaching —  if we have not already passed — the point where the secular arm can no longer retreat. The crusade has been declared for the health of Christendom. Whoever fails to make the sacrifice will be punished. For the secular arm to admit that it has erred is no longer possible without hastening its own demise. Hence like a thousand years ago, the secular arm — the princes of Christendom who owe their allegiance to the spirit of mammon, to that same god which ordained every pontiff and is the pinnacle of the great chain of being to which we are all subordinated — must continue to punish us or risk being punished or even destroyed by those whose lives it has ruined.

The inquisitors were well aware of this risk. That is why they were permitted anonymity, hired protection (paid from the profits of confiscation) and an absolute immunity from Rome. Our princes have their inquisitors and have equipped them with modern privileges, immunities and authority.

It seems therefore appropriate that a key dogmatic proclamation be revised to reflect the few minor but functionally significant changes in the 700-odd years since it was first promulgated.

Promulgated this time in Geneva,

Unam Sanctam

(Ecclesiam catholicam et ipsam apostolicam…)

Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church (read State) is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles [Sgs 6:8] proclaims: ‘One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,’ and she represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God [1 Cor 11:3] (Capital). In her then is one Lord, one faith, one test and vaccine [Eph 4:5]. There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide; i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed.

We venerate this Church as one, the Lord having said by the mouth of the prophet: ‘Deliver, O God (Capital), my soul from the sword and my only one from the hand of the dog.’ [Ps 21:20] He has prayed for his soul, that is for himself, heart and body; and this body, that is to say, the Church (yes, the corporate state), He has called one because of the unity of the Spouse, of the faith, of the sacraments, and of the charity of the Church. This is the tunic of the Lord, the seamless tunic, which was not rent but which was cast by lot [Jn 19:23-24]. Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: ‘Feed my sheep’ [Jn 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to him [Peter]. Therefore, if the Italians, or others should say that they are not confided to Peter (e.g. the WHO or other high offices of the Lords of Capital) and to his successors, they must confess not being the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord says in John ‘there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.’

We are informed by the texts of the gospels that in this Church and in its power are two swords; namely, the spiritual and the temporal. For when the Apostles say: ‘Behold, here are two swords’ [Lk 22:38] that is to say, in the Church (in the State), since the Apostles were speaking, the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not listened well to the word of the Lord commanding: ‘Put up thy sword into thy scabbard’ [Mt 26:52]. Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered _for_ the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest and doctor of medicine; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest (banker and doctor of medicine).

However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual (and medical) power. For since the Apostle said: ‘There is no power except from God (Capital) and the things that are, are ordained of God’ [Rom 13:1-2], but they would not be ordained if one sword were not subordinated to the other and if the inferior one, as it were, were not led upwards by the other.

For, according to the Blessed Dionysius, it is a law of the divinity that the lowest things reach the highest place by intermediaries. Then, according to the order of the universe, all things are not led back to order equally and immediately, but the lowest by the intermediary, and the inferior by the superior. Hence we must recognize the more clearly that spiritual (and medical) power surpasses in dignity and in nobility any temporal power whatever, as spiritual things surpass the temporal. This we see very clearly also by the payment, benediction, and consecration of the tithes, but the acceptance of power itself and by the government even of things. For with truth as our witness, it belongs to spiritual power to establish the terrestrial power and to pass judgement if it has not been good. Thus is accomplished the prophecy of Jeremias concerning the Church and the ecclesiastical power: ‘Behold to-day I have placed you over nations, and over kingdoms’ and the rest. Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual (medical) power; but if a minor spiritual (medical) power err, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all err, it can be judged only by God (Capital, and not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle: ‘The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he himself is judged by no man’ [1 Cor 2:15]. This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, ‘Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven’ etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2], unless he invent like any sane person alternative explanations, which is false and judged by us heretical, since according to the testimony of Moses, it is not in the beginnings but in the beginning that God created heaven and earth [Gen 1:1]. Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for health (salvation) that every human creature be subject to those who control the World Health Organisation.

This bull****, slightly updated, was promulgated originally 718 years ago in November 1302 by the reigning Roman pontiff, Boniface VIII (1294 – 1303), less than a year before his death. Could he have died of a coronavirus?

  1. It is always worth recalling in the context of American exceptionalism that Labour Day in the US is the first Monday in September. Everywhere else (apart from Canada) Labour Day is celebrated on 1 May, in commemoration of the Haymarket massacre in Chicago! During a labour demonstration on 4 May 1886, a police provocateur detonated a bomb. Eight labour activists were arrested and tried, four were executed by hanging; one committed suicide and the remaining three were pardoned after six years in prison.
  2. Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and back again), (1975).
  3. Quarantine, originally meant 40 days (from the Italian quarantana, OED) applied by the Venetian authorities to ships arriving from abroad. 40 days is also the span of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter or the traditional period allocated to mourning for the dead in which a widow could remain in the home of her deceased husband. In Portugal many thought the economy would just be closed until Easter. This is no longer a quarantine but a form of massive house arrest.
  4. For those who have not the relevant titles are Madness and Civilisation (1961), The Birth of the Clinic (1973) and Discipline and Punish (1975), Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) Prison Notebooks (posthumously 1947).  Gramsci, who was one of the founders of Italy’s Communist Party, devoted considerable thought to the problem of latent power (hegemony), particularly conspicuous because of the role played by the Roman Catholic Church in Italy — even after Italian unity. He especially analysed the function of intellectuals and culture in regime maintenance.
  5. I have read but unfortunately cannot find the citation that the Roman Catholic Church directly and indirectly still holds about a third of all land in Western Europe. In Germany it benefits from a church tax collected by the State. In some jurisdictions of Germany, the Church is still compensated with tax revenues for secularisation of property in the 19th century! Church property is generally exempt from taxation. There are schools, hospitals, and innumerable institutions operated ostensibly as charities and privileged financially or politically by the State; e.g., payment of staff salaries. This state support assures that the spiritual arm retains its capacity to share power with the secular arm.
  6. Looking for the Thought Police? Try looking in the mirror“, (1984 is probably the worst book of the 20th century) by T.P. Wilkinson/August 25th, 2017.
  7. Karlheinz Deschner, Die Politik der Päpste in 20. Jahrhundert (1991) also in God and the Fascists (2013).
  8. Canon 14 of the Council of Toulouse (1229): ‘We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old and the New Testament; unless anyone from the motives of devotion should wish to have the Psalter or the Breviary for divine offices or the hours of the blessed Virgin; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.’

    ‘Since it is clear from experience that if the Sacred Books are permitted everywhere and without discrimination in the vernacular, there will by reason of the boldness of men arise therefrom more harm than good, the matter is in this respect left to the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor, who may with the advice of the pastor or confessor permit the reading of the Sacred Books translated into the vernacular by Catholic authors to those who they know will derive from such reading no harm but rather an increase of faith and piety, which permission they must have in writing. Those, however, who presume to read or possess them without such permission, may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed them over to the ordinary. Bookdealers who sell or in any other way supply Bibles written in the vernacular to anyone who has not this permission, shall lose the price of the books, which is to be applied by the bishop to pious purposes, and in keeping with the nature of the crime they shall be subject to other penalties which are left to the judgment of the same bishop. Regulars who have not the permission of their superiors may not read or purchase them.’ (Council of Trent: Rules on Prohibited Books, approved by Pope Pius IV, 1564).

  9. Originally known as the Congregation of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition, since 1542 it has been called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Previous to the establishment of the papal inquisition, the church police power was concentrated in the dioceses and exercised by the episcopacy (1184 – ). The papacy used the Roman inquisition (1230 – ) to suborn the episcopacy, especially in France, and as an instrument to establish papal supremacy. Popes deployed the so-called mendicant orders, principally the Dominicans and Franciscans, because their independence from episcopal authority or monastic discipline and their mobility made them ideal shock troops.
  10. Henry C. Lea, The History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages (1888) also The History of the Inquisition in Spain (1887).
  11. See “The First Circle” by T.P. Wilkinson,  April 24th, 2020; and A Fly’s Eye View of America’s War Against Vietnam, especially Part 3, 30 April 2015.
  12. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is the first noxious example that comes to my mind.
  13. Avery R Dulles, SJ (1918- 2008), son of John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State and brother to Allen (CIA director), became a Jesuit priest, created a cardinal in 2001.
  14. The papal nuncios, Vatican ambassadors, prelates in various orders, especially the Society of Jesus, and what one writer identifies as the Santa Alleanza, the clandestine service to have been formed by Pope Pius V in 1566, all comprise an ancient espionage capabilities extending throughout Christendom and wherever the Roman Catholic Church has entry. The Holy Office itself managed an enormous network of spies and collaborators. This prolific espionage apparatus profits from cooperation with the secular espionage and clandestine services, too. The long-time head of counter-intelligence in the CIA, Catholic James Jesus Angleton, was reputed for his close relationship to Vatican offices.
  15. Anthony Fauci, the notorious promoter of the corona “pandemic” and profitable pharmaceutical products, is a graduate of the Regis High School in New York City and the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts; both are Jesuit institutions.
  16. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, the secretariat of the World Health Assembly, located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  17. The Inquisition was formally an investigating and policing institution with judicial but not enforcement powers. Condemnation by the Inquisition could incur penitential measures; e.g., compulsory pilgrimage, castigation, compulsory clothing marks (wearing a cross as a symbol of condemnation, lending another sense to the colloquialism: having “one’s cross to bear”) and incarceration. However, execution of the condemned was reserved to the State. Hence when the Church’s penitential measures were deemed inadequate, the “spiritual “ Inquisition could order the condemned remanded to the “secular arm”, a euphemism for the enforcement of the death penalty by the State.
  18. See “The First Circle” by T.P. Wilkinson,  April 24th, 2020.
  19. The dunce cap is very similar to the coroza those condemned for heresy were forced to wear in their auto de fé.

Clerical Duplicity and a President Chosen by God

It’s a thriving nation; Taiwan gets a lot of visitors for whom English is often a first or second language.  As an aid to its travelers, translations are added to many public signs.  Several years ago, I came across this helpful notice: “APPROACH INTIMATELY FOR CLEANLINESS AND DISCRETION.”  It was in a Taipei subway station, posted above a row of restroom urinals.  The English instructions were pretty clear in context, but could also, I mused, be suitably displayed behind the bar of a singles bistro.  Translation happens.

I sometimes flash back to that notice when I hear testimonial to the will of God.  Unless you’re wired for direct access, Christian reference to God’s will is usually based on Biblical knowledge.  Familiarity might still call for caution.  The Bible was originally written in three languages: the Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramaic; the New Testament in Greek.  From those origins, and down through the ages, it’s been completely translated into nearly 700 other languages.  Each time, a translator’s perception was put to test twice: discerning the meaning/intent of the original text, and then choosing appropriate word/phraseology in the target language.  The English translation has subsequently been re-translated more than fifty times — each version’s choice of wordage dependent on the translator’s cognition and purpose.  What many deem to be God’s word has passed through multiple filtration layers of human perception and judgment.  Conjecture happens; approach with discretion.

That’s not all.  Biblical inclusion (book/chapter/verse) wasn’t a direct hand-off from God or angel.  Beyond mortal choice of wordage, it was human deliberation that determined Biblical composition.  Human minds decided which ancient (or less than ancient) scrolls were worthy of inclusion in the holy book of God’s word.  What’s now accepted as The New Testament portion of the Bible was assiduously compiled and eventually canonized (deemed sacred) in the 4th century after Christ (the final book of Revelation was included amidst controversy).  Compiling the Old Testament was a greater task and the canonization process wasn’t completed until almost a thousand years later.  All told, nearly 15 centuries of human thought, debate, and deliberation were required to determine the arguable content and composition of what’s now known as the Holy Bible.  Disputation happens; approach with discretion.

There’s more.  It seems early Church authorities found God to be somewhat vague or remiss in conveying the totality of his will through Biblical verse.  The concept of Natural Law was introduced, allowing Church clerics to fill in the gaps — upper echelon Church officials could surmise God’s will when deemed necessary.  Although not an official part of God’s word as found in the Bible, Natural Law can suitably be appreciated as an evolving addendum to it, allowing Papal authorities creative license in conveying God’s expectations to mankind.  It’s been extensively cited over the last 50 years to articulate Church position in matters of sexual, marital, and reproductive morality (see Humanae Vitae).  Arrogance happens; approach with discretion.

As if all that’s not enough, those who espouse God’s word/will have wide opportunity to do so selectively.  The Biblical scrolls are expansive – contradiction of message abounds.  With biased scrutiny, one can find Biblical justification for nearly any endeavor.  In such manner, presentation of God’s will becomes spiritual guise for human ambition and a tool for manipulation.  It’s not uncommon — Biblical selectivity has served human ambition for centuries, often with violent and disastrous consequence (ex. invasion of Iraq).  Bias happens; approach with discretion.

So it’s not as portrayed.  God’s will isn’t really accessible through God’s word, because God’s word is not really accessible.  We have access only to man’s word of God — translations of translations that were filtered through the human mind.  Even if one has faith that man was spoken to by God thousands of years ago, the word handed down is no longer God’s word or even the word of the man believed spoken to.  Like that message on a subway wall, it’s a questionable translation but many times over.  What’s presented as God’s word comes to us through a labyrinth of human assertion, human translation, human assemblage, human addendum, and human selectivity.  It is what it isn’t; it isn’t God’s word.

The assertion would be funny was it not so odious: Donald Trump was chosen by God to lead our nation.  Educated people with Biblical guidance say so.  The Evangelicals were the first to announce Trump as God’s chosen vehicle: Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Stephen Strang, Wayne Allyn Root, Lance Wallnau and Jeremiah Johnson have made use of the big tent to speak accordingly (ex. “And I just have to think that God, in some reason, put him there for a purpose. I don’t know what that is, but we need to get behind him and support him.” – Franklin Graham; “God sent Donald Trump to wage war against destructive spirits.” – Lance Wallnau).  Several of Trump’s political appointees have joined the choir.  Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Jeff Sessions, and Mike Pence have said outright, or alluded to Trump’s presidency as an expression of God’s will.

Even if considered pure and unadulterated; even if considered the original and untranslated word of God, there’s still no basis for citing the Bible in proclaiming Trump to be God’s chosen delivery man.  He’s not cited therein at all — not anywhere, not even in the book of Revelation.  Although one can find the word “trumpet” here and there in the Bible, there’s no mention of a man called “Trump” (at least in current versions).  So some Biblical selectivity and imagination is required to recognize his godly appointment — and maybe an assist from Natural Law.  Trump’s “chosen” status was noticed by Evangelicals primarily for his campaign declared willingness to criminalize abortion.  Oddly, or perhaps fittingly, the word “abortion” appears in the Bible exactly as often as the name “Trump” (never).  It’s not missing because of a simple translation error — even as concept, Biblical reference to abortion is lacking.  Its closest approach to the procedure is in a verse concerning miscarriage:

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, as according the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.  And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.  (Exodus 21: 22-23)

That’s it, and while the verse concerns miscarriage rather than abortion, its conspicuous implication is that while both have value, a mother’s life is more precious than that of an unborn child (a contention more reflective of Pro-Choice rather than Pro-Life argument).  It takes human ideation to make more of it — to turn a Biblical verse concerning male initiated violence resulting in miscarriage into a divine proscription against abortion.  There are other verses that urge human procreation (Genesis 1:28), that declare children a blessing (Psalms 127: 3-5), that humans (at least prophets) are known by God before conception, but there’s no word from God that actually broaches the matter of abortion.

So how do clerics contend knowing and proclaiming God’s will concerning the issue?  With abortion, God’s directive can’t be derived solely through biased verse selection — there’s none clearly present from which to even choose.  Human invention is required and is accomplished in two ways: through creative interpretation of Biblical verse, and through suppositional addendum to Biblical text (Natural Law).  Resorting to either presents an arrogant assumption of speaking for God or willful misrepresentation.

It took a long time for Catholic clerics to solidify recognition of God’s will concerning abortion.  Its perceived severity revolved around the idea of ensoulment — the moment when soul and body unite in the womb.  Until the 17th century it was thought to occur long after conception.  Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) adhered to Aristotle’s strange calculation: 40th day for males, 90th day for females.  Abortion was considered sinful, but not murderous if it occurred before then (the moment of ensoulment).  It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that the weight of Church opinion shifted and ensoulment was surmised to occur at conception.  It took centuries of human thought and debate to settle upon that position as God’s intended will.  In 1968, Pope Paul VI pushed the envelope of God’s will even further with the issuance of Humanae Vitae.  The encyclical utilized Natural Law to formulate an imagined view of God’s will that reached far beyond the issue of abortion, extending into all manner of procreative/sexual morality.  Despite lofty titles, the Pope’s encyclical and the concept of Natural Law are repositories of human opinion.

Protestant/Evangelical thought eventually followed the Vatican lead, but with greater dependence on creative Biblical interpretation rather than Natural Law to derive God’s will.  In the 1980’s, Jerry Falwell blossomed on the national Televangelist scene with this repeated message: “The Bible clearly states that life begins at conception.”  It was off to the races; Evangelicals were second to the starting line in divining God’s intent regarding procreative/abortive issues, but have since taken the lead and now proclaim it with fervent gusto.

If it’s not really addressed in the Bible, why do Christian clerics push the abortion issue as if compelled by God?  What’s the impetus for reformulating and supplementing the message of a god deemed to be omnipotent and omniscient?  Editing the manuscript of a perfect God shouldn’t be necessary.  The implications of doing so should be disturbing: (1) God is deemed perfect, but his message is flawed or incomplete, or (2) God is deemed imperfect, therefore his message is flawed or incomplete, or (3) Clerics are imperfect and manipulate God’s message for personal or institutional gain.

At least one of the above is present when holy men revise or append Biblical text.  Accepting either of the first two undercuts the base of Christian belief.  Accepting the third implication allows for belief, but requires acknowledgement of clerical duplicity — that Vatican and Evangelical leaders have manipulated the import of God’s will.  With political resemblance, Pope Paul VI and Jerry Falwell created an issue around which to divide, rally, and rule.  In their respective camps, the power and prestige of each was enhanced as their support base solidified around what each deceptively proclaimed to be God’s will.  The divide continues: Vatican and Evangelical leaders continue to misappropriate God’s will and are thus complicit in creating the most divisive and polarizing issue in America today: abortion.  It lies beyond reconciliation because tagging God’s will to argument demands implacability.

So here we are today; a nation divided, locked in place with a vile president deemed chosen by a perfect God.  The divide began when Christian clerics forged God’s will to human opinion.  The president’s deification began when he adroitly assented to their duplicity.  It set up the completion of a deceitful double play: God’s will was long ago misappropriated to clerical opinion, and now is tagged to the tenure of a president.  The hypocrisy works for both.  An unscrupulous president receives deification and unwavering political support; clerics receive a political ally — with an added bonus.  In declaring the president to be a man chosen by God, they absolve themselves of responsibility — the president’s malevolent behavior is all put in God’s court.  They joined hands in the 2016 election; the faithful are now in the arms of a ruthless and vengeful politician.  The shepherds have led the flock into the lair of the wolf.

Elections happen; vote with discretion.

Incredible Lightness of Quetzalcóatl

From the far distance sounded the muffled howling of a family of monkeys, monos gritones, passing the night in the crowns of the mighty trees. It echoed through the jungle like the roar of an angry mountain lion. Gruesome and terrifying, it seemed to tear the night apart, but it did not disturb the jungle. It sang and fiddled, chirped and whistled, whined and whimpered, rejoiced and lamented its ever-unchanging song with the constancy of the roaring sea.

B. Traven, “Trozas”

Note: This is part two in a series on Mexico and the passion and the glory of an American (me) rejiggering his relationship to finally yawn out of the swill of this sick North American consumer fiesta and move away. We’ll see how that unfolds, as I too am in the grip of viscous repeated battered country abuse syndrome!

*****

She holds onto her role as daughter in this patriarchal land — Mexico. Not sure how patriarchal it would have turned out if the Spanish sword, swine, syphilis, santos, holy see, germs had never set root in this New World.

She’s 52, unmarried, unable to birth progeny. She spent years in the USA to gain a stake so she might get a sliver of her father’s property for which to build a little casita.

Her brothers get the father’s and deceased mother’s land and small houses, small parcels. Claudia has a small school supply store in Axochiapan (her deceased mother’s for years) but she can’t make a living at it thanks to Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart and other box store cancers. She has her younger sister in Cuernavaca, and she works three jobs to barely survive with her technical degree in computer repair and IT. These two women — Claudia and Alejandra — have more “la capacidad” in their pinky fingers than all of America has in its jowls. Claudia was so broke she ended up buying 30 buenas noches (poinsettias for the Christmas time) to sell on the street in upscale neighborhoods in Cuernavaca. She made no sales as Land Rovers and Lexus coupes zoomed by.

The plague of propaganda, low prices, low quality, and brand loyalty has run rampant in this southern land, like dengue mosquitoes lighting upon the children while still in vitro.

Years ago, both Alejandra and Claudia spent time in a print plant in Gresham, Oregon, and most of their siblings had also thrown in around Portland, and many more hoofed it through the causeway to Minneapolis. Many made it to the El Norte without proper papers from the US Gestapo.

Claudia thinks sometime in 2020 she might be eligible to return to the USA. For Alejandra, that’s five years down the pike. We’ll vouch for and sponsor both of them.

Both are proud, smart, feminist, and self-determined. They are full of empathy, and would give the shirts off their backs to help friends, family, anyone in need.

They worked hard in El Norte, conjoined efforts, lived small, and saved money. Mexico was always in their dreams, and they were here to try and build something back home.

Back home, 90 years of bastard politicians in the two parties  — PAN and PRI —  literally have ripped off trillions from Mexico’s coffers;  and the bastards’ bastard, USA, El Yanqui, and the other financiers and the dirty industry honchos, all have a history of theft and murder, and are still readily staged to exploit, which is another word for steal.

Very little is allowed to be manufactured in Mexico — cars, buses, equipment, more. NAFTA allows for a pipeline of US-made and US-provisioned stuff that the Mexicans could easily produce. We all know what the NAFTA two-step American gut disease is.

Claudia’s hardy but sad, admitting to bouts of depression; and her friend, my spouse, came to see her for the very first time for a visit to Claudia’s homeland. To her small pueblo where cane fields, corn forests and a few cows populate the land. All of that, plus me, new in my spouse’s life with a trainload of history with Mexico, Latin America, La Raza, hatred of El Yanqui, created a unique mix of ingredients that bonded us quickly as we went through by car (a friend of Claudia’s rented a new KIA Sole to us cheap) and saw many parts of Morelos and Guerrero.

These are powerful rendezvouses you’ll never get from Holly-Dirt Netflix originals. This story is not closed, but it’s universal.

In the chaotic Stockholm Syndrome lives of North Americans, nothing about the struggle to overthrow the chains of Capitalism and crony corruption resonates since North America is one flagging mall-dragging country, where the population is compliant in the workplace, but mad as hell on the troll worlds of on-line “discourse.” Sort of the salt peter of revolution and real deterministic radical action — the world wide web; Holly-dirt; Youtube; the infantilism and Chlamydia of mainstream pop culture;  wacko political correctness; the four seasons of  24/7  violence for younger and younger males with their sweaty warped joysticks; the endless joke-joke of Americans relishing in their own stupidity and air power; the endless useless pedantics in academia, the courts, and the state department.

It is so real, how falsely revisionist the North American concept of history for this Turtle Island. Trump is the culmination of all of the superficiality, all the Ponzi schemes, all the bankruptcy courts, the insipid hubris of the stupid, all the PT Barnum hustle, all the smoke and mirrors, all the self-aggrandizement, all the narcissistic syndromes, all the puffed-up faux bravado of a man (and many MAGA men) who would last 10 seconds in a field with some of my former veterans who are mad as hell at the lies of empire, the lies at the top, the failure of ALL POTUS’s.

Not one has the capacity to understand “third” world people, or people in Mexico, or the races, the Indians, the tug of the white supremacists who launched their hairy bodies into Mesoamerica to play their swindle for King-Queen-Captain-Cardinal on a people who had pretty much figured out things for several millennia before the hordes of hustlers and rapists and murderers from Iberia and the Anglo lands penetrated their soil and jungles and bays.

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Cuernavaca

Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry was one of my top 100 books a while back. It shows the anachronistic debased values of a British envoy, drunkard, impotent, and the the emerging pathogen of Nazism embraced by the industrialists and that included some in Mexico. The Power and the Glory, too, by Graham Greene. The passion, impassioning, and possessiveness of men. Macario and Treasure of Sierra Madre (B. Traven and John Huston books and scripts respectively) and Night of the Iguana.

Contemporary writers in Mexico and some of their well-known titles also inspire:

In Search of Klingsor by Jorge Volpi.
The Body Where I Was Born by Guadalupe Nettel.
Diablo Guardián by Xavier Velasco.
Down The Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos.
The Uncomfortable Dead by Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Subcomandante Marcos.
Leaving Tabasco by Carmen Boullosa.

More here, Mexico’s Finest Contemporary Writers: Tracing a Cultural Renaissance

More authors I’ve danced with during mescal-induced jaguar nights: Luis Spota, Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz, Juan Rulfo, Jaime Sabines, Martin Luis Guzman, and Valeria Luiselli.

And the simple poetics of Mexicans who were determined to break the yoke of the oppressors:

My sole ambition is to rid Mexico of the class that has oppressed her and given the people a chance to know what real liberty means. And if I could bring that about today by giving up my life, I would do it gladly.

Pancho Villa

In that first blow to the deaf walls of those who have everything, the blood of our people, our blood, ran generously to wash away injustice. To live, we die. Our dead once again walked the way of truth. Our hope was fertilized with mud and blood.

Subcomandante Marcos

Like all of Latin America, Mexico after independence in 1821 turned its back on a triple heritage: on the Spanish heritage, because we were newly liberated colonies, and on our Indian and black heritages, because we considered them backward and barbaric. We looked towards France, England and the U.S., to become progressive democratic republics.

— Carlos Fuentes

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My good friend from Tucson, John, who became bi-lingual early in his life before his three years as an Army LT,  ended marrying a woman from Cuernavaca. I was at the wedding 33 years ago. He’s got three daughters, and he’s been divorced a while. She came from upper class environs, and he was a Navy commander’s son living in the desert. He and I like our motorcycles, and he is now a translator on the international market, from home, via Skype, phone, what have you. He’s single again, living the desert rat life of many a gringo who has gotten a taste of Mexico in their blood and entwined it into his children’s DNA.

He forewarned me to not head to Cuernavaca or the State of Guerrero or anywhere away from the quintessential tourist zones. He was citing US State Department provisos, whichever news feeds he reads, and the broken down minds of his fellow Arizonans.

Of course, he and the State Department are dead wrong, as was Reagan’s idiotic ambassador to Mexico, Gavin. But with Trump and idiotic millionaires like Maddow and the like, the USA is one starched up Marvel comic book world of good and bad, light and evil, where the highest thinkers (sic) are at least a couple of notches below Lex Luther’s mental prowess, for sure.

The result of this xenophobia is a large city, Cuernavaca, that in December had very non-Mexican few tourists. The city is looking tired and worn, as is most of Mexico, excluding the industrial complexes, mining operations, smelting outfits, et al.

The ebb of life, though, even in the threadbare places in Mexico, is compelling. Laughter and hands held. The peek-a-boo amazing sights, sounds, and smells around every corner and in every walkway.

Our second largest trading partner behind Canada, Mexico is a shell of a country in many ways. Ugly Botoxed white women and men on billboards, their green and blue eyes like a cold lizard’s, and on TV, in positions of power, while la gente is continually denigrated and spat upon by the elites.

Axe

We are hatchets of steel and fire.
We live to reap and illuminate.
With the metal,
we fell the trunk.
With the flame,
we illuminate the cut,
the felling of what we are.

Carmen Boullosa

 

Diego Rivera, Liberation of the Peon, B. Traven

Invasions

Trump told the previous president of Mexico that he would be sending in the American cavalry to take care of “those bad hombres.”

He accused Peña Nieto of harboring “a bunch of bad hombres down there” and warned:

You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.

But there is a history of US meddling, both through “diplomatic channels,” through the economic structural violence our hit men are known for, and with troops:

When Woodrow Wilson took office in 1913, he inherited a chaotic diplomatic relationship with Mexico. Two years earlier, the country’s longtime head of state, Porfirio Díaz, had been deposed. Over three decades in power, Díaz had been strongly aligned with American economic interests, which came to control 90 percent of Mexico’s mineral resources, its national railroad, its oil industry and, increasingly, its land. Resentful of the “peaceful invasion” from their northern neighbors, in 1911 middle-class and landless Mexicans overthrew Díaz and installed a noted public intellectual and reform champion, Francisco Madero, in the presidency. Not long after, the military, under the leadership of General Victoriano Huerta, deposed and executed Madero.

Displaying his deep piety and moral conviction, Wilson declared that he would never “recognize a government of butchers” and declared his intent to “teach” Mexico “a lesson by insisting on the removal of Huerta.” To that end, he sent two personal envoys to Mexico City to instruct the country’s political leaders—“for her own good”—to insist on Huerta’s resignation. The mission fared poorly. For one, the envoys—William Bayard Hale, a journalist, and John Lind, a local politician from Minnesota—spoke not a word of Spanish. Lind privately regarded Mexicans as “more like children than men” and conducted himself accordingly, to the detriment of the mission.

[…] At first, Villa sought to align himself with Wilson, but as his grasp on power became more tenuous, he sought to raise additional resources by taxing American corporations and through general banditry. He took matters a step too far when his forces confiscated the sprawling Mexican ranch of American publisher William Randolph Hearst and briefly invaded a New Mexico border town, crying “Viva Villa! Viva Mexico!”

Incensed, Wilson raised a “punitive expedition” of 10,000 soldiers under the direction of General John J. Pershing. Equipped with all the modern trappings of war—reconnaissance aircraft, Harley Davidson motorcycles—the invading army searched high and low for Villa. It was like finding “a needle in a haystack,” Pershing would soon complain. Though Villa’s forces continued to plunder and maraud, the Americans proved incapable of finding and capturing the rebel leader. When Villa surfaced briefly in Glenn Springs, Texas, with his troops, only to disappear soon thereafter, the Wilson administration was left mortified and bereft of an explanation.

American entry into the Great War allowed Wilson and Pershing to save face. In February 1917 the expedition returned to American soil. Within weeks, Pershing sailed for Europe to command the nation’s war effort.

Trump has now warned the new Mexican president that he will deem drug cartels as terrorist organizations, igniting the TNT of war and invasion. This was on all the people’s minds when I was traveling just days ago in Mexico; even in the conservative mass media. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said:

But in these cases we have to act independently and according to our constitution, and in line with our tradition of independence and sovereignty.

War is irrational. We are for peace.

AMLO’s comments came after Trump fired off a series of tweets Tuesday morning offering Mexico “help in cleaning out these monsters.” Trump:

The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!” Trump said. “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!

No matter how barbaric the cartels are, and how in bed they are with the police, army, government, the barbarism of the US is in line with the Spanish and Portuguese slave traders. Each and every weapon manufactured and sold in the USA that gets south of the border is part of that barbarism. Every line of coke and hit of Meth consumed by the great happy USA population is a bullet to the head of the innocents of Mexico.

Like Italy, Mexico is at the whim of the Church and Mafia. Like Western Culture, every blinking moment in every individual’s life is determined by the billionaires, their cabal of financial and retail felons. We are at the whim of the heads of Boeing, Exxon, Raytheon and any number of resource extractors and consumer bombers. Fortune magazine praises the millionaires and billionaires and their disruptive industries, technologies, financial instruments. All of it is still American sodomy of a race, a culture, a place, a land.

In Mexico, the juxtaposition of Nestle bottles everywhere or the VW’s and the Dodge’s is easily supplanted by the hard lives of Mexicans still eking out livings and conjugating their traditions, no matter how deeply Western Plastic Culture and Consumer Goods have infiltrated their land.

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Family Wedded to Culture, Land, History

Yanquis and Stars and Bars flag wavers are the sum total of their genocidal roots destroying First Nations’ peoples and the enslavement of Africans, but also the deep racism and bigotry perpetrated against not just Filipino and Chinese and Japanese, but against the Jew, Eastern European, German, Irish, Italian, et al.

Drowning women deemed witches, complete decimation of the grasslands, the wetlands, the bayous, the slaying of buffalo and wolf and grizzly, and the metal machines cutting into earth and stoking the flames and smoke of today’s generation of cancer-riddled people. I have these trolls attempting to harass me, trolls who listen to that ape of a man, Stephen King of Iowa, who drivels his white supremacist crap on how the white Christian lands/peoples have contributed 90 percent or more of the marvels of modern humanity — from the internet to microscopes, from splitting of the atom to cinema, from supersonic jets to soda pop. These pigs are on the airwaves, both of the Tucker Carson kind and the liberal Hollywood and media types continually showing the great boom of intelligence in the Western White World, or in many cases, the great achievements of the Judaeo-Christian.

“Shit-hole” country may have come out of the racist whites’ moldy mouths decades/centuries before Trump’s bloviating (how many US presidents have shown outright racism against  ALL nations of color?), but it’s in the minds of liberals, democrats, those so-called professional class, the college educated, and the journalists and diplomats. Most Americans see the words “backwards” or “not evolved enough” or “heathen” or “simpleton” when they see Mexico or Mexicans.

[link] The irony is that Trump’s own ancestors came from Africa, as did all mankind. In the book and documentary “The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey,” the geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells traces the human migration out of Africa. He travelled the world for a decade to trace genetic markers by taking blood samples—from Bushmen in the sweltering Kalahari Desert and the Chukchi in icy Siberia to the Hopi in the American West—to prove the trail of the human migration. Wells concludes, “Old concepts of race are not only socially divisive but scientifically wrong.”

In the end we know which country is the shit-hole, the shitty one, and its collective stupidity and infantilism continues to lobotomize the masses. I teach k12, and the food these kids eat and then waste is criminal, but emblematic of the American project of exceptionalism and the right to pollute, throw away, discard, waste, over-consume. The youth have no culture, no art, no interest in anything but making a few dollars fast.

The reality is this throw-away society is right now generating, through this corrupt capitalism, more and more discarded peoples in this country and in other countries. The AI-Robot-GIG-Uber-ization-Amazon-ification-Economies of Scale-Centralization will again generate more and more disposed of humanity — in the USA, and elsewhere.

We know socialistic systems of organizing are the only way to stem this destruction. Read or watch  any number a a million essays, interviews, books on the subject.

What capitalism has done is gut Mexico, forcing families to break up sisters and brothers, sons and  daughters, uncles and aunts, grandkids and cousins, friends and lovers, husbands and wives to head to El Norte tob e exploited by capitalism on steroids and to weather the scourge of racist Americans, police, policies, bureaucracies, attitudes.

The amount of hate against Mexicans or Latino/a people is high in USA.

In their own country, the people of the land in Mexico are now sugar coated, eating crappy food, drinking soda, and hauling their bodies full of hormone disrupters, full of petro-chemicals, GMOs, nitrous oxide, and a million other particulates created by the full-scale NAFTA exploitation and the theft of their own culture, land, resources by the white devils in their own country — the elites educated in the Milton Friedman school of destruction.

Brotherhood

I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.

Netflix, The 43 — This docuseries with Paco Ignacio Taibo II in it, disputes the Mexican government’s account of how and why 43 students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College vanished in Iguala in 2014.

Paco Ignacio Taibo II—leader in the 1968 Mexican student strike, journalist, social activist, union organizer—is widely known for his crime novels, and is considered the founder of the neo-crime genre in Latin America. One of the most prolific writers in Mexico today, more than 500 editions of his 51 books have been published in over a dozen languages. Taibo has won many awards, including the Grijalbo, the Planeta/Joaquin Mortiz in 1992, and the Dashiell Hammett three times, for his crime novels. His biography, Guevara: Also Known as Che (St. Martin’s Press, 1996), has sold more than half a million copies around the world and won the 1998 Bancarella Book of the Year award in Italy. Taibo organizes the Semana Negra (Noir Week), a crime fiction festival held every year in Gijón, Spain.

Taibo: Yes. I wanted to destroy the old idea that history is science and fiction is fantasy. Everybody knows that is not true. It’s a game: Just Passing Through starts asking if it’s really a novel, if it’s rather a history book, because of this and this and this. And then, in the second paragraph, it says: this is a novel, this cannot be a history book, it’s full of fiction. Then, in the third paragraph, what the hell is a novel, what the hell is a history book? The game is trying to destroy this secure attitude of historians to history and this secure attitude of fiction writers about fiction. There’s nothing secure in history. I don’t like security. History shouldn’t be a secure space, a comfortable space. Comfortable for whom? Readers? Writers? It’s the opposite.

We’ll go deeper in this reclamation of what it means to be in, live in, be with, hold onto Mexico and Mexicans!

Makwirituni erakuni: “I’d like to introduce you to my family”

Juan Garcia helps the family’s youngest, Jacob, 9 months, as he fusses during a recent mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Central Oregon, Madras, where the ecosystem looks like parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Chihuahua.

He introduces me and my colleague, Susy S. — both of us from Family Independence Initiative, a national non-profit now working in both Lincoln County and Jefferson County to engage families in a large social capital project – to his family and parishioners.

For Juan, who is a former Michoacán resident, family is everything to him. He tells me recently at the Madras Latino Festival that he and his wife Jaquilina are done growing their family.

He smiles proudly when rattling off his brood’s names and ages – Jose, 21, Julianna, 16, Jesse, 15, Juan Junior, 11, Javier, 9, Josefina, 5 and the infant, Jacobo.

Juan is proud that all of them are still at home, part of his philosophy of bearing the fruits of decent living and the proverbial golden rule.

“What I believe we have on earth is this ability to pass on good lessons and instruction to our children who have a chance to make this a better world,” he states as he preps the ground for the second annual Madras Latino Festival before the onslaught of people coming to Sahalee Park.

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Also deeply ingrained in this former undocumented immigrant is his religion, Catholicism, and his tolerance of other peoples. It’s fitting the Latino Festival – the second annual event Juan has had some hand in helping get off the ground with the Latino Community Association – is held at a park whose Chinook name translates to “high heavenly ground.”

Life before El Norte

We talk about his father’s roots in Michoacán – a tall, dark-skinned man who is part of the Purépecha people. The Nahuatl name for the Purépecha was “Michhuàquê” (“those who have fish”), for which the Mexican state of Michoacán was named.  His father was a metallurgy specialist working for a door frame and security bar factory near Zamora.

My father can trace his family tree back to Asia,” Juan, who is 41, states proudly. He is six foot two and very dark skinned, unlike Juan, who picked up many traits from his mother, a woman who traces her family line back to Portugal, Spain and Germany. I am what you call a Mestizo, a mix from my dad’s pure Indian line and my mother’s European side.

That tribe — Purépecha – only numbers in the tens of thousands, but more than 600 years from the present, it was considered a tribe of exceptional warriors,

Out of the hundreds of tribes in Mexico, most think of the Mayans, Aztecs and Toltecs. Well, the Purépecha was in the middle, one of the few non-conquered tribes during that era.

See the source image

For the young Juan and his two sisters, it was rough growing up in that community – the tribe didn’t accept his family because Juan’s mother was white, and the white community didn’t accept them because of the father’s tribal background.

His grandparents on his mother’s side were ranchers and agriculturalists with land and productive fields. For that, this story of a young Juan gets highly dramatic and dangerous.

“My dad ran into a lot of bad people because he was heading up safety and environmental plans,” Juan tells me. His father attempted to keep illegal loggers off tribal land, and for that, he was attacked and insulted by many poachers.

At seven years of age, the young Juan was kidnapped. The people who took him had other children, part of a human trafficking ring.

These criminals believed the Garcia clan was rich because of grandparents who had some land and farming interests three hours away.

Juan recalls many dismembered bodies being found around his community.

As I grew up in that community, I learned there is no difference between the races. We are all the same, all creatures of God.

His father inculcated the reverence for wildlife and nature, always going into the forest protecting the tribal land and cultural trust.

Juan said he escaped his captors with other children in tow.

Leaving Home, Searching for a Sister

I have been lucky to have lived in the Southwest of the USA and the northern parts of Mexico we call La Frontera. I have had many deep relationships with people who have roots in Mexico and Central America, who made the treacherous journey north as undocumented humans. A few of those people were my professors at UT-El Paso when I was a graduate student.

Juan’s journey at age 17 was one of desperation to help his family at home – mom, dad, sister, brothers – who were struggling financially. Another sister had married a man who ended up moving them both to the US. He wanted to find her.

It took more than two weeks to journey from his home state to Tecate in the state of Baja. Because his father left the family on many occasions to seek work far away, there were months on end when the family didn’t know if he was alive or deceased.

It was tough. In my own country I was discriminated against all different ways. So many people think they are superior, Juan recalls. Honestly, when I crossed the border, I didn’t know it was illegal to do so. I was not hurting anyone. I wasn’t trying to harm people or this country.

He recounts being harassed by Mexican federal police and coyotes. In the end, when he crossed the border, he found himself working as a “slave” in Los Angeles for the people that took his money to cross into the United States but exacted punishment for Juan’s lack of funds.

For two months, I was a slave. I worked 16 hours a day just to get a meal. I was in a house and the farthest I was allowed to go was from the building where I was making crafts to the trash can.

All Juan knew was he had a sister in Oregon, but with the help of a fellow traveler he met on the underground trail to the USA, they located his sister in Salem. She basically paid off his ransom, and soon the 17-year-old Juan ended up north, in Portland.

Other stories during that trip north:

• in Sinaloa and Sonora police and federales were going to kill him
• six men surrounded him and were ready to murder him
• Juan defended himself with words
• “You are supposed to be defending and supporting the people . . . you should be ashamed of yourselves.”
• “Throughout Mexico, people are just focused on greed . . . all about money and they don’t think about people.”

From that day forward, his ethos and principles have been galvanized to a simple belief:

What I do I do because I believe I can help change the world. Anyone is in the position to change the world, and we have to pass it on to our neighbors, friends and family.

Making Bucks and Hitting the Books Hard

So, he tells me how important school – education – is to him. The young Juan ended up in Woodburn, Oregon, and he had no idea how to enroll in high school. In Mexico, school costs money, and there are no free lunches, no free supplies.

When I tried to enroll, they asked for so many things. I reached out to a counselor, and told her, ‘All I want to do is go to school so why are you asking me so many questions. I didn’t come here to harm anyone.’

He survived rejection after rejection, but as a minor he ended up with a guardian, the principal, Mrs. Dallas, who Juan is still friends with to this day.

You know, when they asked me at the border if I was an American, of course, I said I was. In our schools in Mexico, they treat the entire continent — north, south, central and Mexico — as one America.

Luckily, he also had an uncle who left the tribe and ended up in Oregon, so Juan was set with two guardian angels, so to speak. He told me he ended up crying with tears of joy when he was told school and lunches were publicly-supported with no cost to students.

Mrs. Dallas challenged Juan to not let her down. “I told her that I didn’t think that was in my dictionary, letting people down.”
Juan has worked since age four or five in Mexico, and this journey was not without risks – he held down three jobs to help pay for the health care costs for one of his medically-compromised-and-fragile sisters in Mexico.

Everything went well, until three months later when I was told my parents did not have the money to pay the medical bills. I left school. I told Mrs. Dallas, ‘I’m sorry, but this is not about me anymore . . . my younger sister needs me.’

He ended up working in a pizzeria, for a nursery and a commercial tree grower. His brother-in-law had lost his job, and Juan’s married sister in Woodburn was also having surgeries for her medical issues.

The hard reality of exploitation hit the young Juan after he dropped out his junior year to support his family. The tree planter hired seasonal workers, mostly Latino migrants. Juan recalls how the boss restricted the amount of water the hard-working laborers could get.

“I told the boss that this is not humane. That he was treating us like criminals. We ended up drinking water from puddles.”

Enter the University of Oregon Ducks

Juan went back to his “guardian teacher” at Woodburn High School, and proposed to re-enroll with only a few weeks left of the school year. It just so happened that a teacher passing by heard the conversation and offered Juan a chance to enroll in an accelerated GED program that was being piloted at U of O.

What seems to be a truism in Juan Garcia’s life is, “good things come to people who wait, or good things come to good people.”

He was on a year waiting list, which Juan was okay with, but soon after applying, an opening popped up. He passed every single test necessary to get in.

Three months later after attending the intense Eugene-based program, he passed the test with a 99.9 percent grade. He also met his future wife there, Jackie, who was also in the program.

Juan loved attending other classes at the university, and he ended up staying after matriculating to assist and tutor those others who were struggling, fellow students from all over, including Idaho, Seattle, Teas, Washington, Oregon and other parts of the US.

He said he came to Madras the first time to ask her hand in marriage from her father. They were married in November 1999, and went back to Woodburn. He ended up interviewing with the Holiday Inn. “I interviewed for a supervisor position, but the general manager laughed, saying I was going to be sweeping and mopping floors. If that’s a reason, that I am Latino, then, well, I told him I was there to work.”

He worked hard to assist co-workers, and soon this Wilsonville Holiday Inn was being managed by Juan, and he was training workers, hiring others, and was offered to move up, out to other states, but he opted to be in Oregon, with his family.

Seven years later, he got an apology from the GM, telling Juan he was wrong to doubt his abilities based on racist perceptions about Latinos.

The problem I had there was I treated co-workers as family. I met their wives and kids. I was hiring people from different cultures – African Americans, Russians, Arabs, Asians.

Mind you, this was not his sole job – he was still working for the pizzeria and for Nike and a taco stand. When the Wilsonville Holiday Inn sold out to another company, Juan was asked to cut 50 employees.

I saw the numbers, the budget. I told the new manager that every single one of the workers is busy the entire shift. Every single one was giving 100 percent. I told them I wasn’t going to fire them.

Nike, Just Do It (unless you are a Latino)

He and Jackie at that point had two children. Juan went into an interview with Nike to get more income for the growing family. He was told that since he was a Latino, he couldn’t be trusted. So they put him in a department nobody liked. Juan thought cleaning restrooms was the bottom rung, but the interviewer laughed and told him the very worse department was receiving.

Juan recalls it was total chaos, and hard heavy lifting work. “I wanted to quit three hours in. But a fellow Latino employee advised him not to: “Juan, people don’t believe in us. You would be giving them an excuse if you quit.”

Even though Juan has worked his entire life, he felt this this place was treating them like animals.

He recalls praying, and remembers all the yelling he did to himself in the receiving department. “I was going crazy, I thought. But I got my own answer: ‘Fix it.’”

He realized that nobody was watching or cared about this department – seven of them: two African Americans, five Latinos, and one Chinese-American.

He asked the team if they could give him a few weeks to try and improve working conditions and turn things around.

That department went from the bottom of the heap to the best at Nike in six months. He was called to different departments to help those respective workplaces fix their inefficiencies and poor workplace productivity and conditions.

He quit Nike, because he wanted to go into the Army, and was still working three other jobs. He told me that he felt he was providing okay, and that his wife reaffirmed that he was a loving father of two children and caring husband. His wife told him, “But Juan, we hardly ever see you.”

Enter Madras, Oregon

The idea was to get closer to his wife’s family and to center in a small rural community from which to grow. The third child, Jesse, was on the way, born March 2006 in Madras.

His bosses understood his drive to be centered around family and wished him good luck after three years at Nike.

Currently, Juan works as systems maintenance technician for TDS Communications, a company out of Madison, Wisconsin that provides communication services like cellular, TV and phone service. This job for Juan Garcia is going on 14 years, and while Juan has a better work-life balance than his earlier years in Oregon, he still has a large service area, sometimes driving 300 to 500 miles in his vehicle in a day servicing customers in three counties.

He was just hired on as a part-time site director for Family Independence Initiative. The Madras Pioneer ran my article on the FII initiative September 11; however, in a nutshell this non-profit is partnered with the state of Oregon to get hundreds of households in both Lincoln and Jefferson counties to enroll in a social capital project.

Juan’s presence in Madras and Metolius is deep, and his commitment to coaching youth and helping youth have options rather than spiraling into drugs and delinquency is huge.

Juan’s job with FII is to recruit families, get them enrolled and assist them with their commitment of 12 months journaling (once a month updates) about their families’ progress and circumstances.

For the exchange of data FII collects, the family will receive a total of $800 for both the time and commitment.

Language is More than Meaning – It’s Culture, History

We talk about how many people over the last few months and years have sort of reacted negatively when seeing the Garcia family of nine out in public. Not ironically, what gives Juan hope is how the “world needs to have hope through the family, through children.”

His biggest fear is losing his family.

We talk about language extinction, and his own tribe’s language, which is called Tarascan or Tarasca.

“Every once in a while, I force my dad to talk to me in our language. But unfortunately, my kids aren’t learning it, and thus on my side, it will die out.”

We get to the basics – love is satichu in the native tongue. I ask him what community is in the language, and like many indigenous languages, the concept of community is expanded: “What brings you here” – natchiwantuterasini abeushaqi.

This proud man ran for mayor of Metolius and lost by one vote. He said it is a dream of his to become governor of Oregon. He is also enrolling at OSU-Bend to carry forth with his college education.

If he was mayor of Madras, Juan said he’d get an activities center building with a climbing wall, indoor soccer, a jumping house and other amenities to give families a place to recreate and bond.

This journey started in 1978, when he was born, and his life pathway, with seven children, in-laws, dozens of friends and neighbors, continues to find new and exciting trials and tribulations.

In 2005, he made the permanent move to Madras with his family, and he also became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

And yet, he easily recalls times when he was a child, high in the mountains in Michoacán, where the kids went out into the forest and gathered natural spoons from the palm trees so they could eat grandmother’s pozole: mashed hominy, with meat (typically pork), and seasoned and garnished with shredded lettuce or cabbage, manzana peppers, onion, garlic, and limes.

Note: for information about joining the Jefferson County FII project, contact Juan Garcia, FII, at, 541-630-2607; gro.iifnull@ofni

Top End Travels: The Tiwi Islands, the Catholic Church and King Joe of Melville Island

Lush mangroves, the spray of emerald water from the Timor Sea, the sense of the untainted: the journey to the Tiwi Islands, some 80 kilometres north of Darwin, was crudely advertised as one of the Things to Do in the Northern Territory. “Take the opportunity to have a truly fantastic day out.  Visit Bathurst Island for this special day and a chance to view and buy Tiwi Island artwork and watch the grand footy final.”

The ferry service seemed a sloppy operation. Locals heading back to the Tiwi Islands knew something visitors did not: do not bother pre-purchasing tickets.  Do them on the day itself, and avoid the queue.  On getting to Bathurst Island, the elegant wooden structure that is St. Therese’s Church is swarming with worshippers and guests: a wedding is about to take place.

Background reading on the Tiwi Islands lends one to squirming discomfort.  They are glossily advertised as singular in their indigenous quality.  But this count soon unravels.  The populace on both islands, Bathurst and Melville, became witness to both the Catholic Church and the obtrusive efforts of roughing pioneers of the British Empire.

One such figure was Robert Joel Cooper, a figure who looks like a man who killed everything he came across.  Anybody termed a pioneer in this particularly harsh environment would have to have a certain acquisitive tendency.  What was seen, witnessed and met had to be possessed.  His grave stone in Darwin’s ill-kept Gardens Cemetery suggests the flavour, reminding us of his known title of “King Joe of Melville Island”, “a man of courage and love for everyone”.

He had all the attributes of the ruthless frontiersman: patriarchy, a tendency to sow his not-so-royal oats, a capacity for a certain work regimen, a firm disciplinarian.  He established the buffalo industry on Melville Island, extracting some thousand hides a year.  He took an Aboriginal wife, Alice, in what seemed like a primordial gesture.  One of his brood, Rueben, became a figure of sporting repute, adept and talented across a range of codes and ultimately minting history as a formidable player of Australian Rules Football, known colloquially in these parts as “footy”.

Cooper’s resume reads like that of any figure of conquest deemed important after the fact.  His entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography shows suitable wildness, with hints of admiration from the authors.  Along with his brother George Henry (Harry) Cooper and pastoral lessee E. O. Robinson, he ventured to Melville Island “despite hostile Aborigines”.  He did not seem discouraged in being speared in the shoulder; if anything, it emboldened him to “to abduct four Tiwi Aboriginals”.  While such acts might well have been seen as those of a traditional looter of specimens and possessions, the authors of the entry condescend to suggest that he “treated his captives kindly and learned their language.”  (The rough pioneer as accomplished linguist?  Go figure.)  In 1905, Cooper became the first “settler” since Fort Dundas was abandoned in 1828, using twenty Port Essington Aborigines to allay the fears of any locals as to what his intentions might have been. The ruse worked; he established his name.

Cooper’s profile matched like attitudes adopted to the indigenous populace more broadly speaking.  They were there to be used, abused and infantilised, their autonomy relegated to the level of trinket exotica.  Indigenous parenting was effectively disregarded: the Chief Protector in the Northern Territory, by virtue of the Northern Territory Aboriginals Act 1910, became the “legal guardian of every Aboriginal and every half-caste child up to the age of 18 years” irrespective of whether the child had parents or other relatives.  This came with the power to confine “any Aboriginal or half-caste” to a reserve or Aboriginal institution.  In the Aboriginal Ordinance of 1918, the clutches of the Chief Protector were extended to Aboriginal females from birth to death unless married and living with a husband “who is substantially of European origin”.

Cooper, the hunter, was also Cooper the connected figure.  The Catholic Church, through the figure of Father Francis Xavier Gsell, was convinced by him to focus on neighbouring Bathurst Island to set up a Catholic mission.  The good Father got to work, landing on Bathurst Island in 1911 and buying rights to marry Tiwi girls.  Fiancées and fathers were won over (again, the message of seduction and appropriation are never far) with cloth, flour and tobacco.  With due boastful extravagance, Gsell would recall his time on the island in his memoir, Bishop With 150 Wives.

The influence of Gsell and the church has become part of a formidable public relations exercise executed by the Vatican, masking the effects of what came to be known as inculturation.  Publications of praise such as Australia: The Vatican Museums Indigenous Collection, conveys the impression of church guardianship and preservation of Tiwi tradition.  No tincture of irony is present in the work.  The collection itself boasts an early set of Pukamani poles (tutini) from the islands, grave posts that had made their way into church possession.

Anthropologists were not be left out of the stealing game, and German anthropologist Hermann Klaatsch, the first anthropologist to successfully make his way to Melville Island on September 20, 1906, recounted several feats of theft of Pukamani poles, lamenting that, “due to the smallness of my boat I could not transport more examples.”  The penny, he was relieved, never dropped. “Luckily, we remained unnoticed by the blacks in our grave violating enterprise.”

The account might have been somewhat different.  A certain Harry Cooper, no less the brother of Joe, may well have distracted the islanders by firing shots over their heads while Klaatsch did his deed.  “There, that sounds more like it,” wrote Marie Munkara acidly.

The lingering Catholic presence, through immersion with Tiwi custom as both position and adjustment, has left its own traumas.  The missionaries used “psychological warfare”, insists Munkara, a process which “corroded our ancient beliefs.”  And much more besides.

Having assumed the role of converters and educators, the Church mission on Bathurst Island would eventually be shown in its ghastly manifestations.  Protectors, whether religious or secular, became ready abusers.  In 1993, claims that some 40 children who had been to St. Xavier’s Boys’ School on Bathurst Island had been sexually abused by Brother John Hallett were reported.  Two years later, he received a five year jail sentence, one quashed five months later by the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal.

Cooper’s circle of intimates supplies a direct line to the spoliation of the Tiwi Islands, but more broadly, the indigenous population in the Northern Territory.  Professor W. Baldwin Spencer, the anthropologist who became Chief Protector in 1912, stayed with the King of Melville Island at stages in 1911 and 1912 as he was conducting his own investigations.  There was a meeting of minds: one appropriator to another.

Spencer’s 1912 report furnished the natives with a terrifying vision, executed with brazen cruelty towards children who had, by law, been executively entrusted into his care.  “No half-caste children should be allowed to remain in any native camp, but they should all be withdrawn and placed on stations.”  The mother should, as a matter of necessity, accompany the child “but in other cases, even though it may seem cruel to separate the mother and child, it is better to do so, when the mother is living, as is usually the case, in a native camp”.  Unsurprisingly, Cooper, having obtained the confidence of Spencer, would himself be deputised in this less than protective role.

Visiting the Tiwi Islands has the discomforting effect of moving around in a historical zoo.  The islands are haunted by Church, the Coopers, and civilizational predations.  While the idea of the reserve is now regarded as a vestige of administrative barbarity, the Tiwi message and advertisement is one of false purity and the deceptively unspoilt.  This has the effect of a museum feel with damaged artifacts.  The wondering tourists with heavy wallets, backpacks, hats and sunscreen resemble the plundering pioneers of old.  This time, instead of abducting native residents and doing a spot of grave robbing, they prefer to purchase the art.

Idealisation becomes hard to ignore; the spectator and viewer effectively participate in an exercise of unwarranted elevation and the words of Klaatsch in his Ergebnisse meiner australischen Reise (1907) come to mind.  “When you see the black man walking by, with his erect posture, his head decorated with feathers, with the spear in his right hand, then who cannot help form the impression that you have a ‘savage gentleman’ in front of your eyes, a king in the realm of the surrounding nature, to which he is so well adapted.”

The brochure language does little by way of improvement on Klaatsch’s observation.  In fact, it replicates it as a timeless fib, a gallery caption.  Instead of the “Island of Smiles”, you are greeted by dazed wanderers of the walking wounded playing out a distorted cultural play.  In 1999, attention was brought to the fact that the Tiwi Islands was facing a suicide epidemic.  The then resident medical practitioner, Chris Harrison, noted a number of instance: 100 attempts, meaning that 1 in 16 or 1 in 20 on the islands had attempted some form of suicide.  Nothing to smile at, let alone induce cheer.

When suggestions were made that such rates might be attributed to the influences, amongst other things, of the Church and its predatory practices, officialdom fumed.  As then Bishop Ted Collins explained with irritation, “I think they’re trying to put the blame somewhere outside the people rather than acknowledge that it’s happening within the people.”  How ungenerous of them to think otherwise.

Beside the Bathurst Island cemetery are two men, seemingly hypnotised, finding shelter under a lonely eucalypt.  They gaze aimlessly at a billy boiling over a roughly made fire.  There are no fragrant smells of cuisine, no sense of culinary wonder.  Instead, there is a distinct sound of eggs clanking against the rim, no doubt hard boiled to oblivion.  On the island, there are no food markets or stalls of fresh produce.  Food items, canned and frozen, are imported.  It is the afternoon, and the islanders migrate from their homes to the various shady spots under suitable vegetation.  Lit fires across the island send their bluish plumes towards the sea.  The church, in its wooden majesty, is quiet but for the whirring fans.  The guests have left, the singing done.  We leave Bathurst Island with a sense of loss, and not a smile in sight.

When Warriors become Saints

As I sit on the small balcony on the top floor of an old house in the working class neighborhood of Alfama in Lisbon, Portugal, it is early evening, the time for wine and voices wafting on the fragrant breeze through the twisting cobble-stoned streets.  The National Pantheon (Panteao Nacional) stares me in the face.  I stare back, and then look up to the heavens and to the cross that is silhouetted against the blue sky.  It crowns the Pantheon’s massive dome.  On its façade stand three statues, only one of which I can see clearly.  She is Santa Engracia, a Christian martyr from before the period when the Roman Emperor Constantine legalized and legitimatized Christianity, transforming the cross into a sword. It was her church before the state found it acceptable to convert it into a space to glorify its secular saints and its military and political prowess.

Rome never dies, although it falls in different guises but is resurrected by the human urge to dominate others.  The savage complicity between church and state perdures through the ages.

Wherever you go, the monuments and statues glorifying humanity’s violent history are always presented as a form of liberation. Tourist attractions. Generals, princes, and kings atop horses, brandishing swords and guns, “grace” squares and monuments as a reminder to the common folk of who is looking down on them and to whom they should look up, or look out.  Yet even when they do show obeisance to their “masters” who rule them from the heights, the commoners are left out of the spoils of empire, and if they object, they are taken out without hesitation.

On a clothesline outside the windows of the house across the street where a woman peeks out, the pants and underwear humbly sway to a different tune, a sad Fado moan that seems to ask: What has happened?  Has it always been like this?

I am tempted to tell the underwear it has but realize its job is to cover-up, not expose the truth.

Rilke, a German language poet of most delicate sensibilities, asked from one of his castle abodes provided by one of his many rich lady friends:

Who, if I cried out, would hear me

Among the angels’ hierarchies?
And even if one of them
Pressed me against his heart
I would be consumed in that
overwhelming existence.

But down below, the omnipresent graffiti on the walls is a bit less circumspect.  It shouts: Fuck the elites! (Translation provided)

The old poor murmur their prayers and the angry young spray their rage on every canvas they can find.  Both seek hope outside the museums and mausoleums erected by the wealthy to glorify themselves.

And fate answers: It’s the same old story, a fight for love and glory.  Those seeking glory, the rich elites, the powerful with the guns in all the countries across the planet, with a few exceptions, smash the lovers and the humble people as they struggle to keep faith and hope alive. Who will liberate them?

Who among the elites will hold the arm of the old Portuguese woman on the one crutch as she teeters on her struggle up the steep hill to the little grocery store?  “Orbrigada – Deus te abinҫoe” is her response to a stranger, whose heart aches.

Here in Lisbon there is a famous tourist attraction, Castelo De S. Jorge, a massive hilltop castle and fortress overlooking the city.  Built by the Moors in the eleventh century, it was conquered by Dom Afonso Henriques, who became the first king of Portugal, and began what is so nobly described as “its golden age as a home for the royalty.”  Royals are always noble, and castles and mythic saint/soldiers like St. George intimate friends.  It is a marriage made in hell.

The Spaniard, Ignatius of Loyola, was a soldier seriously wounded in war at the age of thirty.  He subsequently underwent a religious conversion. He founded the Jesuit order eighteen years later and was sainted in 1556, sixty-six years after his death.  Having been educated by the Jesuits, I vividly recall the motto of my Jesuit high school that adorns the school seal, Deo et Patriae, a not so subtle reminder of how my priorities should be linked.  I have failed that test, just as I failed a freshman mathematics exam, probably because I couldn’t figure out what two plus two equaled, since I was reading Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground at the time and might have thought it was five because I believed I was free and not what Ignatius urged Jesuits to be – “as if a dead body” in obedience to the Pope.

The so-called rational ones have brought the earth to the point of extinction with their instrumental rationality and their diseased souls.  We are living in the Crystal Palace that Dostoevsky so mocked long before the crystal turned digital. One plus zero may equal one in such a glass house, but such counting will not protect us from the whirlwind we have conjured from the smart man’s equation of E=mc

Only a spiritual equivalent will save us, as James Douglass has so eloquently argued in his slim but powerful book, Lightning East to West: Jesus, Gandhi, and the Nuclear Age, where, taking up Gandhi’s suggestion, he argues that there is a spiritual equivalent to Einstein’s law of physical change that we must discover that will allow for a radical transformation of society and the world.  Douglass’s country is the world.

I, however, am reminded of a very different Jesuit-trained American (one among many), who has passed the American indoctrination exam “admirably” and who has worked assiduously for God and country and followed that American motto of “In God We Trust” when he recently led the CIA in its holy wars under President Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner – John Brennan. Was his excuse he was just following orders, “as if a dead body”?

I think the dead children in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and so many other places he helped to destroy would not buy that excuse. Yet Fordham University thought to honor him.  Is this what the Jesuit motto means: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem (for the greater glory of God and the salvation of humanity)?

Has Fordham ever heard of the Nuremberg Trials?

In the men’s room of St. George’s Castle, there is a wall dispenser selling M&Ms.  Imperialism and colonialism take many forms.

It is hard to say what’s new since humanity’s savage history just rolls along.  The technology changes, but people do not. Spray paint is about 75 years old, about the same age as nuclear weapons, both products of WW II.  One leads to “Fuck the elites,” while the other says, “We are the elites and see what we can do to the Japanese.”

War spurs technological development like nothing else, and as the brilliant French social thinker Paul Virilio has shown with his war model, “history progresses at the speed of its weapons systems.” Modern societies, with increased technological speed, the administration of fear (terror), and digital gadgetry, are engaged in a battle for people’s minds through technological perception management.  Virilio makes it clear, following on the work of his fellow countryman Jacques Ellul, that built into the technology is the “integral accident,” by which he means that every new technology creates its own potential “accident.”

While most people welcome new technology because they have been conditioned to think only in scientific and positivistic terms, they fail to see the price to be paid.  The nuclear bomb, nicknamed “The Gadget” by its one-dimensional, sick scientific inventors, is an accident waiting to happen, unless human madness first leads to its intended use once again.

Or unless we can first discover the spiritual power to eliminate what we have created.

Now we have what Virilio calls the “information bomb,” the glut of information that overloads people’s ability to think clearly or to concentrate, but a boom to the elites who think they are in full control of people’s minds and the technology they promote.

On the ramparts of Castelo De S. Jorge, the tourists snap photo after photo with their cell phones, failing to realize that these memories they are “shooting” from the heights where canons once shot the infidels, have imprisoned them in a dungeon as deep and dark as the one in the castle below their feet.

Visiting castles, like so many trips into the past, can awaken one to the truth of human history or put one to sleep.  It is usually the latter.

The Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gassett, who lived here in Lisbon for a year after fleeing Franco’s Spain, said it best:

The only genuine ideas are the ideas of the shipwrecked.  All the rest is rhetoric, farce.

We are all shipwrecked now, not just the Portuguese sailors long lost at sea never to return to home despite the lament of the Fado singers.

If we are to make this earth our home again, we had better learn to sing a different tune.  If not, we will be eliminated by accident or intent, and no one will be singing for our return.  It is a harsh truth, but quite simple.

In the Foz district of Porto, Portugal on the Atlantic, in the park and on the beaches, children play and laugh and the music of their voices rises into the air to remind me that they are our hope on this dark and tempestuous sea on which we are shipwrecked, hoping to find our way home.

Dostoevsky said it well: “The soul is healed by being with children.”

Can we hear their voices, singing?