Category Archives: Health/Medical

For kids in schools, PCBs are more common and more dangerous than guns

CB is short for polychlorinated biphenyls — a group of manmade pollutants that were banned by the U.S. Congress in 1979. Despite this ban, the many PCBs that were used in the construction of school buildings from the 1930s to the 1970s are still exposing kids to a dangerous threat.

PCBs are listed as a possible carcinogen in humans and have caused cancer in other animals. They were once widely used in products ranging from TVs and refrigerators to window caulking.

In schools, PCBs in window caulking is typically activated by sunlight. This creates an invisible fog that permeates a classroom full of children all day, almost every day. U.S. school districts are required to test for asbestos and lead. There are no laws mandating any tests for PCBs.

PCB exposure is linked with negative effects on the

  • endocrine system
  • immune system
  • nervous system
  • reproductive system

It’s been associated with health effects like:

  • Permanently depressed IQ
  • Increased risk of attentional deficits
  • Hormonal and immune disruptions
  • Melanomas
  • Cancers of the liver, gall bladder, biliary tract, gastrointestinal cancer, and brain

After the latest school shooting, plenty of parents expressed genuine concern about their children’s safety. Keep in mind: Almost certainly, as you read this, there is not a school shooting in progress. But, as you read this, innumerable school kids are being placed in harm’s way — day after day after day — thanks to corporate indifference and the ignorance of the general population.

Speaking of ignorance… 

Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) is used as a plasticizer (which means it makes products softer and more pliable). It impacts all of us but please allow me to stick with the theme of this post. DINP reaches our children before they are even born.

It’s found in products like:

  • Cosmetics
  • Perfume
  • Nail polish
  • Hair spray
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Skin moisturizers
  • Detergents
  • Food packaging

When pregnant women use these ubiquitous products, DINP has been shown to impact babies in utero. This is associated with:

  • Learning, attention, and behavior problems
  • Lower IQ
  • Memory problems
  • Record rates of autism

Once those children are born, they can again encounter dangerous DINP at home and in schools via:

  • Building materials
  • Flooring
  • Wire and cable insulation
  • Wood finishes
  • Plastic plumbing pipes
  • Adhesives

DINP impacts the sexual development of children. For example:

  • Decreases sperm motility
  • Increases malformations of the testes and other organs
  • Feminizes boys in terms of their sex organ placement and size (e.g. smaller penises and testes)
  • Can make boys infertile when they reach adulthood

More generally, DINP and other phthalates have been shown to cause:

  • Fertility issues
  • Miscarriages
  • Birth defects
  • High blood pressure and insulin resistance (can lead to diabetes)
  • Testicular, kidney, and liver cancers

So, where’s the “March For Our Lives” for the victimized children?

The information stated above offers just a tiny sampling of the world we’ve enabled while distracted by fake news, celebrities, sports, video games, reality TV, porn, etc.

Suggestions:

  • Stop fixating on the problems (e.g. gun control, Ukraine, etc.) being marketed to you by the media
  • Do not EVER trust a corporation (Big Pharma, Big Tech, etc.) or any of their well-paid media shills
  • Recognize the two-party deception for the deadly con game it is
  • Rediscover the subversive pleasure of thinking for yourself.
  • Protect your children and all children by any means necessary

(Related listening that inspired this post)

The post For kids in schools, PCBs are more common and more dangerous than guns first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Pouring Poison and Planting Seeds of Dependency 

Do you remember the iconic Union Carbide image from the 1950s or early 1960s? The one with the giant hand coming from the sky, pouring pesticides onto Indian soil.

The blurb below the image includes the following:

Science helps build a new India – India has developed bold new plans to build its economy and bring the promise of a bright future to its more than 400 million people. But India needs the technical knowledge of the western world. For example working with Indian engineers and technicians, Union Carbide recently made available its fast scientific resource to help build a chemicals and plastics plant near Bombay. Throughout the free world, Union Carbide has been actively engaged in building plants for the manufacture of chemicals, plastics, carbons, gases and metals.

In the bottom corner is the Union Carbide logo and the statement ‘A HAND IN THINGS TO COME’.

This ‘hand of god’ image has become infamous. Union Carbide’s ‘hand in things to come’ includes the gas leak at its pesticides plant in Bhopal in 1984. It resulted in around 560,000 injured (respiratory problems, eye irritation, etc), 4,000 severely disabled and 20,000 dead.

As for the chemical-intensive agriculture it promoted, we can now see the impacts: degraded soils, polluted water, illness, farmer debt and suicides (by drinking pesticides!), nutrient-dense crops/varieties being side-lined, a narrower range of crops, no increase in food production per capita (in India at least), the corporate commodification of knowledge and seeds, the erosion of farmers’ environmental learning, the undermining of traditional knowledge systems and farmers’ dependency on corporations.

Whether it involves the type of ecological devastation activist-farmer Bhaskar Save outlined for policy makers in his 2006 open letter or the social upheaval documented by Vandana Shiva in the book The Violence of the Green Revolution, the consequences have been far-reaching.

And yet – whether it involves new genetic engineering techniques or more pesticides –  there is a relentless drive by the agritech conglomerates to further entrench their model of agriculture by destroying traditional farming practices with the aim of placing more farmers on corporate seed and chemical treadmills.

These corporations have been pushing for the European Commission to remove any labelling and safety checks for new genomic techniques. The European Court of Justice ruled in 2018 that organisms obtained with new genetic modification techniques must be regulated under the EU’s existing GMO laws. However, there has been intense lobbying from the agriculture biotech industry to weaken the legislation, aided financially by the Gates Foundation.

Since 2018, top agribusiness and biotech corporations have spent almost €37 million lobbying the European Union. They have had 182 meetings with European Commissioners, their cabinets and director generals. More than one meeting a week.

In recent weeks, Syngenta (a subsidiary of ChemChina) CEO Erik Fyrwald has come to the fore to cynically lobby for these techniques.

But before discussing Fyrwald, let us turn to another key agribusiness figure who has been in the news. Former Monsanto chairman and CEO Hugh Grant recently appeared in court to be questioned by lawyers on behalf of a cancer patient in the case of Allan Shelton v Monsanto.

Shelton has non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is one of the 100,000-plus people in the US claiming in lawsuits that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and its other brands containing the chemical glyphosate caused their cancer.

His lawyers argued that Grant was an active participant and decision maker in the company’s Roundup business and should be made to testify at the trial.

Why not? After all, he did make a financial killing from peddling poison.

Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018 and Grant received an estimated $77 million post-sale payoff. Bloomberg reported in 2017 that Monsanto had increased Grant’s salary to $19.5 million.

By 2009, Roundup-related products, which include genetically modified seeds developed to withstand glyphosate-based applications, represented about half of Monsanto’s gross margin.

Roundup was integral to Monsanto’s business model and Grant’s enormous income and final payoff.

Consider the following quote from a piece that appeared on the Bloomberg website in 2014:

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant is focused on selling more genetically modified seeds in Latin America to drive earnings growth outside the core US market. Sales of soybean seeds and genetic licenses climbed 16%, and revenue in the unit that makes glyphosate weed killer, sold as Roundup, rose 24%.

In the same piece, Chris Shaw, a New York-based analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co, is reported as saying “Glyphosate really crushed it” – meaning the sales of glyphosate were a major boost.

All fine for Grant and Monsanto. But this has had devastating effects on human health. ‘The Human Cost of Agrotoxins. How Glyphosate is killing Argentina’, which appeared on the Lifegate website in November 2015, serves as a damning indictment of the drive for “earnings growth” by Monsanto. Moreover, in the same year, some 30,000 doctors in that country demanded a ban on glyphosate.

The bottom line for Grant was sales and profit maximisation and the unflinching defence of glyphosate, no matter how carcinogenic to humans it is and, more to the point, how much Monsanto knew it was.

Noam Chomsky underlines the commercial imperative:

 … the CEO of a corporation has actually a legal obligation to maximize profit and market share. Beyond that legal obligation, if the CEO doesn’t do it, and, let’s say, decides to do something that will, say, benefit the population and not increase profit, he or she is not going to be CEO much longer –  they’ll be replaced by somebody who does do it.

Syngenta’s CEO is cut from the same cloth as Grant. While Monsanto’s crimes are well documented, Syngenta’s transgressions are less well publicised.

In 2006, writer and campaigner Dr Brian John claimed:

GM Free Cymru has discovered that Syngenta, in its promotion of GM crops and foods, has been involved in a web of lies, deceptions and obstructive corporate behaviour that would have done credit to its competitor Monsanto.

Some weeks ago, Fyrwald called for organic farming to be abandoned. In view of the food crisis, brought on by the war in Ukraine, he claimed rich countries had to increase their crop production – but organic farming led to lower yields. Fyrwald also called for gene editing to be at the heart of the food agenda in order to increase food production.

He stated:

The indirect consequence is that people are starving in Africa because we are eating more and more organic products.

In response, Kilian Baumann, a Bernese organic farmer and president of the Swiss Small Farmers’ Association, called Fyrwald’s arguments “grotesque”. He claimed Fyrwald was “fighting for sales”.

Writing on the GMWatch website, Jonathan Matthews says the Russian invasion of Ukraine seems to have emboldened Fyrwald’s scaremongering.

Matthews states:

Fyrwald’s comments reflect the industry’s determination to undermine the European Union’s Farm to Fork strategy, which aims by 2030 not just to slash pesticide use by 50% and fertilizer use by 20% but to more than triple the percentage of EU farmland under organic management (from 8.1% to 25%), as part of the transition towards a ‘more sustainable food system’ within the EU’s Green Deal.

He adds:

Syngenta view[s] these goals as an almost existential threat. This has led to a carefully orchestrated attack on the EU strategy.

The details of this PR offensive have been laid out in a report by the Brussels-based lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO): A loud lobby for a silent spring: The pesticide industry’s toxic lobbying tactics against Farm to Fork.

Mathews quotes research that shows GM crops have no yield benefit. He also refers to a newly published report that draws together research clearly showing GM crops have driven substantial increases – not decreases – in pesticide use. The newer and much-hyped gene-edited crops look set to do the same.

Syngenta is among the corporations criticised by a report from the UN for “systematic denial of harms” and “unethical marketing tactics”. Matthews notes that selling highly hazardous pesticides is actually at the core of Syngenta’s business model.

According to Matthews, even with the logistical disruptions to maize and wheat crops caused by the war in Ukraine, there is still enough grain available to the world market to meet existing needs. He says the current price crisis (not food crisis) is a product of fear and speculation.

Matthews concludes:

If Erik Fyrwald is really so concerned about hunger, why isn’t he attacking the boondoggle that is biofuels, rather than going after organic farming? The obvious answer is that the farmers being subsidised to grow biofuels are big consumers of agrichemicals and, in the US case, GMO seeds – unlike organic farmers, who buy neither.

Fyrwald has a financial imperative to lobby for particular strategies and technologies. He is far from an objective observer. And he is far from honest in his appraisal – using fear of a food crisis to push his agenda.

Meanwhile, the sustained attacks on organic agriculture have become an industry mainstay, despite numerous high-level reports and projects indicating it could feed the world, mitigate climate change, improve farmers’ situations, lead to better soil, create employment and provide healthier and more diverse diets.

There is a food crisis but not the one alluded to by Fyrwald –  denutrified food and unhealthy diets that are at the centre of a major public health crisis, a loss of biodiversity which threatens food security, degraded soils, polluted and depleted water sources and smallholder farmers, so vital to global food production (especially in the Global South), squeezed off their land and out of farming.

Transnational agribusiness has lobbied for, directed and profited from policies that have caused much of the above. And what we now see is these corporations and their lobbyists espousing (fake) concern (a cynical lobbying tactic) for the plight of the poor and hungry while attempting to purchase EU democracy to the tune of €37 million. Cheap at the price considering the financial bonanza that its new patented genetic engineering technologies and seeds could reap.

Various scientific publications show these new techniques allow developers to make significant genetic changes, which can be very different from those that happen in nature. These new GMOs pose similar or greater risks than older-style GMOs.

By attempting to dodge regulation as well as avoid economic, social, environmental and health impact assessments, it is clear where the industry’s priorities lie.

Unfortunately, Fyrwald, Bill Gates, Hugh Grant and their ilk are unwilling and too often incapable of viewing the world beyond their reductionist mindsets that merely regard seed/chemical sales, output-yield and corporate profit as the measuring stick of success.

What is required is an approach that sustains indigenous knowledge, local food security, better nutrition per acre, clean and stable water tables and good soil structure. An approach that places food sovereignty, local ownership, rural communities and rural economies at the centre of policy and which nurtures biodiversity, boosts human health and works with nature rather than destroying these.

Fyrwald’s scaremongering is par for the course – the world will starve without corporate chemicals and (GM) seeds, especially if organics takes hold. This type of stuff has been standard fare from the industry and its lobbyists and bought career scientists for many years.

It flies in the face of reality, not least how certain agribusiness concerns have been part of a US geopolitical strategy that undermines food security in regions across the world. These concerns have thrived on the creation of dependency and profited from conflict. Moreover, there is the success of agroecological approaches to farming that have no need for what Fyrwald is hawking.

Instead, the industry continues to promote itself as the saviour of humanity – a hand of god powered by a brave new techno-utopian world of corporate science, pouring poison and planting seeds of corporate dependency with the missionary zeal of Western saviourism.

The post Pouring Poison and Planting Seeds of Dependency  first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The entire culture needs to be recycled

Recently, as I neared my local C-Town supermarket, I saw a middle-aged man standing near a recycling redemption machine. In front of him were several massive clear garbage bags teeming full of the cans and bottles he had collected.

The man looked bloated, exhausted, defeated — his skin grayish as he went through the motions of securing a few bucks. He reached into one of the bags and pulled out an empty, crumpled liter-sized bottle of Coca-Cola.

My eyes happened to meet the man’s eyes just as he lifted the dirty bottle to his mouth. Without any hesitation, he wrapped his lips around the opening and blew air inside. The plastic bottle inflated to a somewhat normal size. (Apparently, the bottles need to be close to their original shape for the machine to accept them.)

I tried to hide it but he saw my grimace. With so much of the world scrubbing any exposed inch of their epidermis in a futile attempt to feel safe, this poor soul had reached an entirely different state of mind. “Taste the feeling” indeed.

There are multiple supermarkets within a 15-minute-walk radius of my apartment. The prices and selections vary. How friendly the employees are can also fluctuate. The cleanliness level is usually consistently okay. What all these establishments have in common, however, is a recycling station.

Just outside the entrance are a couple of machines at which locals can load the bottles and cans they’ve gathered. Once the metal and plastic are in the machine, the loader gets a receipt to bring to a cashier inside in exchange for “deposit” money.

Here’s how the New York Department of Environmental Conservation explains the concept:

New York’s Returnable Container Act requires at least a 5-cent deposit on carbonated soft drinks, beer and other malt beverages, mineral water, soda water, water, and wine cooler containers. A deposit is required on glass, metal, and plastic containers that hold less than one gallon or 3.78 liters.

Unfortunately, due to poverty and the ongoing popularity of unhealthy items like soda, this is a common activity. Even during the widespread fear frenzy in NYC during the pandemic, the lines at the redemption machines remained long. Concerns about the virus were easily outweighed by a desperate need for whatever income was available.

The dull-eyed man blowing into a used, germ-ridden Coke bottle was obviously not concerned about where that bottle might have been. Who touched it? What touched it? How many mouths had been on it? “Germophobia” is a luxury, I suppose.

Over the past decade or so, bottles and cans have become a form of currency in my neighborhood. I walk to a local gym each day before 6 A.M. At that time, it’s often just me and can collectors alone on the streets (excluding a few stragglers still staggering home from clubs). You can hear the collectors long before you see them. They use supermarket shopping carts to transport their “currency” and the rattling sound is both loud and unmistakable.

Some locals see them as a nuisance. Others diligently leave their cans and bottles where the collectors can easily find and access them. Just the other day, I saw a woman run after a collector with a large bag of plastic bottles. It was such a sweet interaction, it brought me to tears — of joy and sorrow.

Social media is filled with examples of such “positive news.” Don’t get me wrong, I get weepy at some of these stories, too. But it doesn’t change the fact that we mostly aim our energy at cheering individual acts of charity but rarely (if ever) point out structural and institutional indifference.

Projects like mine, for example, should not be necessary for a nation as wealthy as the U.S. But, in the Home of the Brave™, they are required and woefully insufficient. Our government is a failure for everyone below the top few percent.

Speaking of failures: “Traditional recycling is the greatest example of modern-day greenwashing,” declares Ross Polk, an investigative journalist specializing in environmental issues. “Recycling is championed as the strategy to enable a cleaner, healthier world by those businesses that have profited the most from the extractive, take-make-waste economy. In reality, it is merely a cover to continue business as usual. Corporations espouse the efficacy of recycling via hollow ‘responsibility commitments’ to avoid examination of the broader negative consequences that their products and business models have wrought. Recycling is good for one thing, though — it helps us dodge the responsibility of our rampant and unsustainable consumption.”

Polk concludes: “After nearly 50 years of existence, recycling has proven to be an utter failure at staving off environmental and social catastrophe. It neither helps cool a warming planet nor averts ecosystem destruction and biodiversity loss.”

He could’ve added that recycling is also not a moral or effective way of helping poor people achieve any sense of financial security. The business of recycling is a facade. Any belief that redeeming cans and bottles will help individuals “get by” is equally as deceitful and self-serving as the recycling scam itself.

We’ve spent much of the past two years fearing each other, dreading the act of breathing itself. We went months without seeing smiles, depriving loved ones of hugs, starving children of valuable and necessary non-verbal social input, and viciously turning on anyone who does not march in strict lockstep with the algorithm-induced views.

Some might say the dull-eyed man at the redemption machine has sunk to a different level. In many ways and for many reasons, he certainly has. I might suggest that he’s also transcended some of what passes for normal.

Trust me, this is not some misguided fantasy that the poverty-stricken have it “better.” I’m not Mother Teresa who once despicably stated: “I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.” My supposition is merely a musing about letting go of the illusion of control and “order.”

If only we could recycle the entire damn culture and start over.

The post The entire culture needs to be recycled first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Why is Everything Broken?

Begin then with a fracture, a cesura, a rent; opening a crack in this fallen world, a shaft of light.

— Norman O. Brown, Love’s Body

Being sick for the past few weeks has had its advantages.  It has forced me to take a break from writing since I could not concentrate enough to do so.  It has gifted me with a deeper sympathy for the vast numbers of the seriously ill around the world, those suffering souls without succor except for desperate prayers for relief.  And it has allowed thoughts to think me as I relinquished all efforts at control for a few miserable weeks of “doing nothing” except napping, reading short paragraphs in books, watching some sports and a documentary, and being receptive to the light coming through the cracks in my consciousness.

I suppose you could say that my temporary illness forced me, as José Ortega Y Gasset described it, virtually and provisionally to withdraw myself from the world and take a stand inside myself – “or, to use a magnificent word which exists only in Spanish, that man can ensimismarse (‘be inside himself’).”

But as I learned, being “inside myself” doesn’t mean the outside world doesn’t come visiting, both in its present and past manifestations.  When you are sick, you feel most vulnerable; this sense of frailty breaks you open to strange and familiar thoughts, feelings, dreams and memories that you must catch on the fly, pin with words if you are quick enough.  I’ve pinned some over these weeks as they came to me through the cracks.

“Broken flesh, broken mind, broken speech,” wrote Norman Brown when he argued for aphoristic truth as opposed to methods or systematic form.  These days the feeling that everything is broken is the norm, that madness reigns, that truth is being strangled and all we have are lies and more lies. Carefully constructed arguments fall on deaf ears as dissociation of the personality, post-modern attention-disorder, gender confusion, and corporate/intelligence mass media propaganda techniques are used daily to sow confusion.  In simple colloquial language, people are badly fucked up.

Much of the world is suffering from megrims.  Bob Dylan puts it simply:

Broken lines, broken strings
Broken threads, broken springs
Broken idols, broken heads
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken.

Who can disagree?  Everyone’s mind seems to be at the end of its tether.

Why?  There are obvious answers, and while so many are true, they are insufficient, for they usually scratch the surface of a worldwide crisis that has been developing for at least a century and a half.  That crisis is spiritual.  Many can feel it rumbling beneath the surface of world events. It’s a rumbling in the bowels. It’s unspoken. It’s something very dark, sinister, and satanic. It seems to be a form of systemic evil almost with a will of its own that is sweeping the world.

For many decades I have studied, written, and taught in an effort to grasp the essence of what has been happening in our world.  My tools have been philosophy, theology, literature, art, and sociology – all the disciplines really, including a careful study of popular culture.  It was always a personal quest, for my “career” has been my vocation.

Being trained in the classics from high school through college, and then the scientific method and textual analysis, I adhered for the most part to logical analyses in the classical style.  Such an approach, while possessed of a certain elegance and balance, has serious limitations since it suggests the world follows a neat Aristotelian logic and that there is a method to the world’s madness that is easy to capture in logical argumentation.  Romanticism and existentialism, to name two reactions to such thinking, arose in opposition.  Each offered a needed corrective to the reductive, materialist nature of a scientific method that became deified while dismissing God, freedom, and the spiritual as leftover superstitions from olden times.

But I have no sustained argument to offer here, just some scraps I gathered while enduring weeks in the doldrums.  I sense these bits of seemingly digressive little flashes in the dark were telling me something about what I have been trying to understand for many years: the grasp the demonic has on our world today.

It is easy to dismiss the use of such a word, for it sounds hyperbolic, and it easily plays into the ridiculous themes of popular Hollywood and tabloid entertainment, which have also become staples of the formerly “serious” media as well.  It’s all entertainment now, life the movie, the unreality of endless propaganda, sick, sordid, and what can only be termed “The Weirdness,” a term my friend the writer and playwright Joe Green has suggested to me.  I think it would be a serious mistake to dismiss the demonic nature of the forces at work in our world today.

  • Like Rip Van Winkle, I awoke one recent day, a few weeks after I wrote my last article before I got sick, to see that the corporate media/intelligence narrative on the war in Ukraine had taken an abrupt turn. I had written on May 13, 2022 that certain leftists were parroting the official U.S. propaganda that Russia was losing its battle with the Ukrainian forces.  Noam Chomsky had claimed the U.S. media were doing a good job reporting Russian war crimes in Ukraine and Chris Hedges had said that Russia had suffered “nine weeks of humiliating military failures.”  Now The New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. – mirabile dictu – have suddenly changed their tune and the Russians are winning after all.  Who was asleep?  Or was it sleep that prompted such obviously false reporting?  For the Russians were clearly winning from the start.  Yet we can be assured the authoritative voices will continue to flip the switch and play mind games, for shock and confusion are keys to effective propaganda, and American exceptionalism with its divine mission, its manifest destiny, is to demonically try to destroy Russia.
  • The slogan that I learned when I was a Marine before becoming a conscientious objector came to me when I was feverish. “My rifle is my life.” I never thought so, but I did recall how when I was ten-years-old my cousin killed his brother with a rifle, and how I heard the news on the radio while talking with my father.  The New York Times reported: “A 9-year-old boy was fatally wounded last night by his brother, 7, while the two were playing with a rifle in a neighbor’s apartment in the northeast Bronx….[the rifle] “was secreted in a bedroom” [under the bed] and was loaded.
  • Report: Don McLean cancels his singing performance at the National Riffle Association’s convention following the Uvalde school shooting. What an act of moral courage!  Ah, Don, “Now I understand/What you tried to say to me/And how you suffered for your sanity/And how you tried to set them free/They would not listen, they did not know how/Perhaps they’ll listen now”  Let’s hope not to you.
  • Watched the new documentary about George Carlin – “George Carlin’s American Dream.” I have always had a soft spot for George, a fellow New Yorker with a Catholic upbringing, and a good-hearted guy who generously offered to help me years ago when I was fired from a teaching position for ostensibly playing a recording of his seven words that you can never say on television.  The real reasons for my firing were that I was organizing a teacher’s union and had brought well-known anti-war activists to speak at the school.  But what struck me in this interesting documentary was George’s facile dismissal of God – “the God bullshit,” as he put it.  Funny, of course, and correct in certain ways, it was also jejune in significant ways and threw God out with the bathwater.  It was something I had not previously noticed about his routine, but this time around it hit me as unworthy of his scathing critiques of American life.  It got laughs at the expense of deeper and important truths and probably has had deleterious effects on generations who have been beguiled and besotted by how George’s God critique consonantly fits with the shallow arguments of the new atheists.  George was overreacting to the ignorance of his superficial religious training and not distinguishing God from institutional religion.
  • Half-awake on the couch one day, I somehow remembered that when I was teaching at another school and involved in anti-war activities, a fellow teacher stopped me on a staircase on a late Friday afternoon when no one was around and tried to get me to join Army Intelligence. “You are exactly the type we could use,” he said, “since you are so outspoken in your anti-war positions.”  I will spare you my reply, which involved words you once could never say on TV.  But the encounter taught me an early lesson about distinguishing friend from foe; how treachery is real, and evil often wears a smiley face. The man who approached me was the head of social studies curricula for the Roman Catholic Brooklyn Diocese of New York.
  • Al Capone, while speaking to Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. in 1931: “People respect nothing nowadays….It is undermining the country. Virtue, honor, truth, and the law have all vanished from our life.”
  • I also read this from Literature and the Gods by Roberto Calasso: “… all the mythologies now pass a largely indolent life in a no-man’s-land haunted by gods and vagrant simulacra, by ghosts and Gypsy caravans in constant movement. They learn only to tell their stories again …. Yet it is precisely this ability that is so obviously lacking in the world around us. Behind the trembling curtains of what passes for ‘reality,’ the voices throng. If no one listens, they steal the costume of the first person they can grab and burst onto the stage in ways that can be devastating.  Violence is the expedient of what has been refused an audience.”
  • Lying in bed after a feverish night early on in my sickness, I looked up at the ceiling where a fly was buzzing. I remembered how years ago, when my father was in the hospital after a terrible car accident in which he smashed his head, he told me he was seeing monkeys all over the ceiling of the hospital room.  Later, when I was out of bed, I heard the news reports about monkeypox and thought I was also hallucinating.  I started laughing, a sardonic laughter brought to a feverish pitch after more than two years of Covid propaganda.  These are the same people who hope to create a transhuman future – mechanical monkeys.
  • On a table lay the third volume of a trilogy of books – Sinister Forces – by Peter Levenda. I opened it to a bookmarked page.  Anyone who has read these books with a half-way open mind will be shocked by the amount of documented history they contain, history so bizarre and disturbing that reading them is not advisable before bedtime.  Sinister forces that run through American history, indeed, but Levenda presents his material in a most reasonable and fair-minded way.  I read these paragraphs:

The historical model I am proposing in these volumes should be obvious by now. By tracing the darker elements of the American experience from the earliest days of the Adena and Hopewell cultures through the discovery by Columbus, the English settlers in Massachusetts and the Salem witchcraft episode, the rise of Joseph Smith, Jr. and the Mormons via ceremonial magic and Freemasonry, up to the twentieth century and the support of Nazism by American financiers and politicians before, during, and after World War II, and the UFO phenomenon coming on the heels of that war, we can see the outline of a political ectoplasm taking shape in this historical séance: politics as a continuation of religion by other means. The ancillary events of the Charles Manson murders, the serial killer phenomenon, Jonestown, and the assassinations of Jack Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Marilyn Monroe are all the result of the demonic possession of the American psyche, like the obscenities spat out by little Regan [The Exorcist], tied to her bed and shrieking at the exorcists. It is said that demonic possession is a way of testing us, and making us aware of the real conflict taking place within us every day….

The more I looked, however, the more I found men with bizarre beliefs and involved in questionable, occult practices at the highest levels of the American government, and buried deep within government agencies. I also discovered that occultism was embraced by the American military and intelligence establishments as a weapon to be used in the Cold War; and as they did so, they unleashed forces upon the American populace that cannot be called back….

One inevitably was forced back to the CIA and the mind-control experiments that began in the late 1940s and extended nearly to the present day [no, to the present day]. Coincidence piled upon coincidence, indicating the existence of a powerful, subliminal force working at the level of chaos – at the quantum level – and struggling to manifest itself in our reality, our consciousness, our political agenda.

If that all sounds too bizarre for words, unbelievable really, I suggest that one read these books, for if only a minority of Levenda’s claims are true, we are in the grip of evil forces so depraved that fiction writers couldn’t imagine such reality.

As I finish these notes, I am sitting outside on a small porch, watching the rain subside.  The sun has just emerged.  It is 5:30 P.M. and across the driveway and a lawn of grass, eight foxes have come through the bushes.  The parents watch as the six kits jump and scamper around the ground level porch of a cottage that is unoccupied.  The foxes have a den under the porch, and every day for a few months we have been privileged to watch them perform their antics in the mornings and evenings. Cute would be an appropriate word for the kits, especially when they were smaller.  But they are growing fast and suddenly one sees and seizes a squirrel and worries it to death by shaking it in its mouth.  Soon they are ripping it to pieces.  Cute has turned deadly.  But as the aforementioned Ortega Y Gasset says, while people can be inside themselves, “The animal is pure alteraciόn. It cannot be within itself.”  This is because it has no self, “no chez soi, where it can withdraw and rest.”  Foxes always live in pure exteriority, unlike me, who is sitting here with a small glass of wine and thinking about them and the various thoughts that have come to me over these past few weeks.

Before I came outside, I read this from a powerful new article by Naomi Wolf – “Dear Friends, Sorry to Announce a Genocide” – “It is a time of demons sauntering around in human spaces, though they look human enough themselves, smug in their Italian suits on panels at the World Economic Forum.”

In this piece she writes about what is in the 55,000 internal Pfizer documents which the FDA had asked a court to keep under wraps for 75 years, but which a court has released as a result of outside pressure.  These documents reveal evil so depraved that words would fail her if not for her moral conscience and her growing awareness – that I share – that we are dealing with a phenomenon that demands an analysis that is theological, not sociological.  She writes:

Knowing as I now do, that Pfizer and the FDA knew that babies were dying and mothers’ milk discoloring by just looking at their own internal records; knowing as I do that they did not alert anyone let alone stop what they were doing, and that to this day Pfizer, the FDA and other demonic “public health” entities are pushing to MRNA-vaccinate more and more pregnant women; now that they are about to force this on women in Africa and other lower income nations who are not seeking the MRNA vaccines, per Pfizer CEO Bourla this past week at the WEF, and knowing that Pfizer is pushing and may even receive a US EUA for babies to five year olds — I must conclude that we are looking into an abyss of evil not seen since 1945.

So I don’t know about you, but I must switch gears with this kind of unspeakable knowledge to another kind of discourse.

That discourse is religious, for Naomi has realized that our world is in satanic hands, and that only a recognition of that fact offers a way out.  That those who wield weapons both medical and military can only be defeated by those who realize that a key part of the killers’ propaganda has been a long campaign to convince people, not only that God does not exist, but that Satan doesn’t either.  This, while they assume the mantle of the evil one.

She says:

This time could really be the last time; these monsters in the labs, on the transnational panels, are so very skillful; and so powerful; and their dark work is so extensive.

If God is there — again — after all the times that we have tried his patience — and who indeed knows? – will we reach out a hand to him in return, will we take hold in the last moment out of this abyss, and simply find a way somehow to walk alongside him?

We will, but only if we also recognize the deeper forces informing our hidden history and haunting our present days.  Sometimes an illness can crack you open to being receptive to shafts of light that can lead the way.  Yet to do so we must go deep into very dark places.  And since everyone and everything seems broken now – let’s say everyone is just sick in some way – maybe courage is what we need, the simple courage to open ourselves to the voices of the hungry ghosts that haunt this country.  Norman O. Brown referred to them and our stage set this way:

Ancestral voices prophesying war; ancestral spirits in the danse macabre or war dance; Valhalla, ghostly warriors who kill each other and are reborn to fight again. All warfare is ghostly, every army an exercitus feralis (army of ghosts), every soldier a living corpse.

The U.S.A. and its allies are waging war on many fronts.  It is a form of total war – cold, hot, medical, military, mind-control, spiritual, etc. – that demands a total response from us.  None of us is completely innocent; we are all part of the deep evil that is happening all around us.  But if we listen carefully, we might hear God asking for our help.  For we need each other.

I watch in horror as the cute foxes kill their prey.  I must remind myself that that is their nature.  As for my fellow humans, I know that it isn’t nature that drives them to kill, maim, hurt, lie, etc.

Everything is truly broken, and I’m not joking.

But someone is laughing.

It’s not God.

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