It would take a more energetic researcher than I to pull it all together, but the bits and fragments float around in my drug-addled brain and seem to create one of those horrified high-volume teenagers who has just discovered that adults are hypocrites... lots of horror, lots of sincerity, lots of outrage, but little connective tissue or reflection. Another Facebook featherweight.
So be it ... chalk it up to notes I may or may not return to in some saner time.
-- In the United States, fortune telling is not illegal. Various states have made various attempts to curb aspects of fortune telling that nourish fraud, but overall fortune telling is not illegal. This is because, among other things, it's not just Madame Zuzu and her crystal ball who employ fortune telling: Philosophies, religions, and any number of grand and not-so-grand plans all find footing in the same desire -- to see into the future. Naturally, that desire can be dressed up and put forth in more and less 'logical' ways, but the bedrock fact remains: No one can see into the future.
It's what might be called a living paradox because although the well-heeled intellect may agree whole-heartedly that no one can see into the future, the longing of the heart to do precisely that will not be stilled. Whether it's politics or personal, Madame Zuzu demands attention ... and is frequently willing to perpetrate a wide range of frauds based on the knowledge that Madame Zuzu is alive and kicking in every human breast. Let me sell you a bridge in Brooklyn; let me sell you a wondrous future; let me tell you about heaven or hell ....
-- Was there ever a group more delighted in the demolition of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, than that small band of neoconservatives inching its way into the fabric of American political life? They had had their setbacks, but now the likes of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz must have been dancing in the aisles as if it were Christmas, New Year's, and the Fourth of July all in one. Even as the towers collapsed and other same-day damage was inflicted, their stock was given an enormous boost. A godsend!
Neoconservatism is defined in part by Wikipedia as, "Neoconservatives frequently advocate the "assertive" promotion of democracy and promotion of "American national interest" in international affairs including by means of military force." Under the administrative term of George W. Bush, for example, the U.S. gave legal legitimacy to the "pre-emptive" war, meaning it was acceptable to attack those the U.S. thought might attack them or otherwise do them damage. On a wider tableau, neoconservatives asserted, in essence, that we were the good guys and we would all be better off if others agreed with us. But it wasn't always easy to convince the masses that the neoconservative position was correct. The demolition of the World Trade Center towers helped to establish what would happen if the U.S. simply left others to their own devices: The "terrorists" would take over and we'd all be in the soup. God bless the "terrorists."
Across the ocean, radical Islamists (whose names I simply have not got the wherewithal to look up) were likewise pleased. The demolition served their own sometimes-faltering purposes as well. For years, they had hoped the masses might see the corruption and rot that western culture bred in their societies. Like the neoconservatives, they had an overarching vision of a pure and righteous state. The Quran would be the cornerstone, people would follow the rules and ... well, that's the way Mohammed would have wanted things. Their vision slowly emigrated to the use of violence in hopes that people would see more clearly. What the people saw, of course, was blood, blood and more blood. A heroic blow in New York, while bloody, took aim at the satanic forces of the west where they lived rather than just down the street. How about them apples?
Neoconservatives pleased. Radical Islamists pleased. Each had a convenient enemy, a spur to their directions. The two needed eachother and were joined at the hip. Both could implement increasingly restrictive policies as a means of keep corrupting influences at bay. Both were terrorists pointing the fingers at terrorists. No one was ashamed.... what the hell, the blood wasn't theirs.
-- Once upon a time, U.S. politicians promised a "chicken in every pot." Now, with the rise in U.S. terror tactics, they promise "a wolf kept from every door." Nothing constructive gets done, but at least the population is (uhhh) safe while not doing it. In 2011 the Department of Homeland Security was allocated a budget of $98 billion. Its total financial infusion since it was created in 2001 is not something I can find. In that time, the exact number of suspects arrested under terror statutes is likewise unclear. What is clear is that a infinitesimal number was ever convicted for the crimes they were alleged to have committed. With spending of something less than a trillion dollars over a ten-year period, certainly the fear factor has risen even if bang-for-the-buck has not. When was the last time anyone spelled out the "credible threat" that precipitated that latest blood-letting? When was the last time anyone looked carefully at the when and how of the creation of "al Qaida," a strawman figment of American law enforcement. Big Laden was a money guy. He financed operations, but had no organization of his own until he was given one in a U.S. courtroom.
-- Sometimes I wonder how long it will take before I am sitting on the couch, hear a knock on the door and, when I open it, am greeted by six well-armed men who tell me that because I have invested in General Electric stock, and because General Electric makes war toys, I am therefore a contributor to an unacceptable level of anti-government militancy. The men will be wearing balaclavas because that seems to be the de rigeur fashion for terrorists.
-- If the future cannot be known, do we need to spend so much money and throw away so many liberties in pursuit of that goal?