Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Reality of the last 30 Years

We used to have legroom in coach. We used to not notice just how rich the rich had become. Radio used to not be programmed by computers. We used to compare our nation to the USSR and say we were the nation that was most free.

Now we’re cramped into our plane seats, we are painfully aware of the separate America for the rich, radio is hardly worth listening to unless you’re lucky enough to find a community station, and our freedoms are deeply eroded. What happened?

It’s simple. It’s a process that had been underway for a lot longer than thirty years. It’s been a process of increasing control and concentration of power at the top. It’s the process of putting a price on everything so that everything – even our freedoms – can be bought and sold. There used to be lines we would not cross, boundaries to define what we should allow ourselves to do. They stemmed from our moral sensibilities, such as they were, and they kept us from extremes.

Now we have the extremes. The language we use is now more coarse, blunt, and terse than in years past. Cheating is no longer for a desperate few: it’s institutionalized and required in order to survive, it would seem. The power held by the rich now deeply permeates our lives in the form of credit cards, mortgage frauds, and student loans that cannot be discharged – and also a growing violence between the classes. It is implied, for now, but the increased purchase of handguns by bankers indicates an expectation for that violence to be come factual in the near future. Class warfare is real and it has been drawing blood… it may be doing so more openly in the future.

This is why the government now seems more distant from the people than ever before, surrounded by increasing circles of security to protect itself from unseen enemies. We’re told that the enemies are terrorists, at home and abroad, but somehow the hassle of security takes in more and more people that are just upset at the way government is owned by our nation’s wealthy.

It’s been owned by the wealthy for a long, long time. They just have not been content to leave well enough alone. Their constant seeking after another penny in profits has led to our current plight. In the name of competitiveness, they moved jobs and entire factories to where they could get cheaper – read “more exploitable” – labor and escape laws written to keep them from destroying the world with pollution. No, the money was more important to them. Nearly every single person that gained traction in opposing their power has been murdered or co-opted.

Don’t believe me? Look at the petroleum industry’s history. When Mexico tried to break free of that industry’s grip, a mysterious explosion destroyed a Mexican research facility working on the process to produce a chemical necessary to refine petroleum into gasoline. This was nothing to the petroleum industry, which had already started a war between Bolivia and Paraguay over a possible oil field in the Gran Chaco. They thought this was all they needed to do to bring Mexico back to heel: a few weeks later, though, all the chief executives of the big oil firms received a small vial of that chemical with “Hecho en Mexico” stamped on the side. Mexico had gotten away.

Iran wasn’t so lucky: in 1953, that nation tried to get a better deal on its petroleum exports and received a CIA-led coup and a dictatorship in return. US arms have supported big oil in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will likely do so elsewhere, as they’ve already been in the employ of large corporations since around 1898, the beginning of the US’ imperialism.

That violence can be directed against the people of America, of that I have no question. Violence of a lesser nature has already been pointed at us. We used to be able to count on a 40-hour-a-week job, a fair shake at getting a good, affordable education at college, a home, and the next generation enjoying a better life than our own.

Incrementally, we are being worked longer and harder when we have full time jobs, or limited to 39 hours so as not to be able to claim the dignity of a real job – and yet not be considered unemployed. Let’s be real: unemployment needs to count people not in a full-time job as being unemployed if those people want a full-time job. The people making us work more for our benefits or denying them entirely are the ones that work zero hours per week because they have brainwashed us into thinking they’re deserving of their lives because they’re somehow taking a risk on their business models. They’re not. They’re insured against failure because of their ownership of the government.

What about business owners that aren’t part of the great elite? They have to adopt the same methods of the elite, or they’ll be crushed in competition. I’ve seen all the small town main streets wiped out by Wal-Marts I need to see, and I’ve seen them develop in my lifetime. I’ve also seen other small towns, wiped out by a Wal-Mart, left devastated if that Wal-Mart closes – the main street economy does not return. We are forced to participate in a system not of our own creation if we want to survive.

College now seems to be a gateway to debtor house arrest, since we no longer fling debtors into prisons. When a college degree could get a job at graduation, it was a good thing to get. They are no longer that guarantee, no matter how many statistics the college lobby, which is connected to the banking lobby, may throw at us. Technical skills, independent of a college degree, are more likely to land a job than a bachelor’s in a liberal arts subject. The export of our nation’s services has also sent our demand for liberal arts degrees abroad. Educators still beat the drum for getting kids into college, but what we’re actually demanding is that they run up a large debt for no good use. Lifelong education can edify all of us, yes, but we don’t need a college degree to have that benefit. Given the cost of college, we cannot send our students there blindly: if that degree is not going to result in a job offer to a person that’s in a group with 53% unemployment – persons aged 18-24 – then it’s a curse on that person, who will be faced with being unable to repay a debt acquired to get that education.

And if we deem education to be a necessity of a free, vibrant nation, then we need to put more money into it. It needs to be a public good. It needs to be available, even to the poor. It used to be. We used to have 75% of our education funded through grants, and that was as recently as 30 years ago. Remember those morals we used to have as a society? As those were frittered away in the pursuit of profit, our airplane seats shrunk and our Pell grants shrank right along with them.

Our homes somehow got involved with the rush for profits through second mortgages and property bubbles. That part of the American Dream has also been extinguished in the exchange of morals for monies. We used to say that a home was something more than a possession, that it was where a family would live, no matter what. We had legal protections for homesteads that are now eroded so some board of directors of a faraway bank can enjoy a few more dollars in profits.

Will the next generation enjoy a better life? No. My generation’s not making out so well, and the next one seems to be heading into an even worse situation. Everyone is being offered a snare of debt. I used to believe that microcredit was a good thing, until I learned of the microbankruptcies it could cause and the microdepressions it could produce. Our world needs more microgrants, not microlending. It is the same on a larger scale here at home. In a world where one’s credit rating is a vital number – something not true 30 years ago – we are sending this upcoming generation into a minefield of debt slavery from which they shall not recover. We are not giving them a better future: we are demanding that they pay us for it, with interest. They have fewer job prospects, less of a chance of getting their own home, and are tightening their belts with the rest of us that don’t control senators or congressmen.

This is the violence of our system. It’s the love of money that is the root of all our evils. We could be peaceful and generous, but instead we have chosen warfare and penalties for late payments. We are told that unemployment is decreasing by a government that revises the previous unemployment numbers upward in order to make the current ones look good by comparison. We are told that the housing market is getting better by a property industry that is sitting on massive inventories and which is desperate to re-create the magical upswing of another property bubble. We are told about the great value of an education by banks, to whom education has the greatest value of all – debts that cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy.

Thirty years ago, I could say stuff like this and people that disagreed with me would still say, “Hey, it’s a free country, he can say what he wants.” Now, people that agree with me increasingly wonder if it’s healthy to say things like this in the open. To inject a bit of uncomfortable humor, I can now make the following quip, with apologies to Yakov Smirnoff in advance:

In communist countries, the government owns businesses. In America, businesses own the government!

That ownership means the nation is no longer best described as a representative democracy, but as an authoritarian, plutocratic oligarchy. I could have said this 30 years ago and been crying in the wilderness. Today, I’m not alone.

What is the solution? Both major political parties serve the interests of the rich. They can be destroyed from within, but not changed. Look at how quickly the Tea Party movement became a vehicle for the Koch brother’s massive fortune: change will not come from within the parties.

A violent movement will simply install a different authoritarianism. No answer there.

A peaceful movement will either be diverted, as was the Tea Party, or see its leadership slaughtered if the movement is successful, as happened in the Civil Rights movement. Otherwise, it’ll simply be ignored.

The only solution I see is a personal one: to insist upon being a moral person in my own life. Others may be profiting from wickedness around me, but that is no excuse or reason to join with them. Granted, I have an eye for the afterlife guiding my thoughts here, but I know I’m right in doing so. If you part company with me at this point, know this: there are no solutions in this world. Look for them, but you will not find them. The wickedness of our rulers, of our rich, and of our powerful men, is a given. It is a constant throughout all time. The only thing that has kept a ruler from being a tyrant is his own moral code. And that, frankly, has no binding on our souls unless it comes from a power greater than our own.

If we had moral leaders, they would not suffer for an instant to allow someone to live in poverty while they had the means to alleviate it. If we had moral leaders, they would not permit rich men to subvert free markets to create fortunes. If we had moral leaders, there would be things money could not buy that would be held in high esteem. If we had moral leaders, money would not buy them.

Morality has been in decline in the USA for longer than 30 years. The difference is that, in the last 30 years, the decline in morality has had increasingly direct impacts on our rights and freedoms. Without those rules, we are less free.

An Open Letter to Mitt Romney

Dear Mr. Romney,

How are you? I am fine. I hear you need a vice president running mate for this election. Lots of Republicans are saying they do not want to be your running mate. Some are refusing, flat-out, and others are trying to get someone else to be your running mate. It’s like nobody can man up and take one for the team in the GOP.

Usually, when there’s a job nobody else wants to do, but has to be done, I volunteer to do it. Mr. Romney, why don’t you accept my request to be your running mate in the 2012 election? Face it, if you’re going to win or lose, it won’t be because of who your running mate is. Unless it’s Sarah Palin. She was scary.

As your running mate, here’s what I promise to do:

1. Dress up nice, but not in clothes purchased with campaign funds.
2. Smile and wave a lot by your side.
3. React with surprised, yet folksy laughter at every awkward question, followed by a smile and a “what do you think?”
4. Get Joe Biden’s name right in the VP debate.
5. Not get involved in any scandals.
6. Be a source of clean, comic relief on long bus tours.

That way, win or lose, I’ll be a class act, which is the best a VP can do. Nobody will accuse me of having my hand going up your back and using you as a puppet, neither will I cause concerns over my hiring of illegal aliens. I’ve only hired one guy to do yard work, and he’s about as American as they get. Drives down to his hometown every weekend to support his high school’s football, basketball, and baseball teams. He’s my “Joe the Plumber.” He’s “Jim the Yard Guy.” Just don’t put him on camera after he’s been stiffed by one of his other clients, or he may say some things that we would classify as “spiteful” and “political Kryptonite.”

Seriously, though, Mr. Romney, you’re not going to win based upon anything other than the US economy and whether or not there’s a war with Iran. If the economy gets better or Obama attacks Iran in mid-October to take advantage of the new moon just prior to the election, you’re toast. If the economy gets worse, you’re in like Flynn. With gas prices going down right now, things don’t look good for you.

That’s why you need me. The GOP leadership senses that 2012 may not be their year, after all, and anyone that runs on a failed presidential ticket will see his or her political career circle the drain and then go down. Since I have no political career, I can step in and lend a hand. I can be a Jack Kemp to your Bob Dole, a Bob Dole to your Gerald Ford, an Earl Warren to your Thomas E. Dewey.

Actually, being the Earl Warren of this generation wouldn’t be so bad: his VP bid flopped, but he went on to be on the Supreme Court. I could get used to a gig like that. So, yes, Mr. Romney, my hat is in the ring. Give me a call, and I’ll be the best running mate you could possibly have.


Dean Webb

UPDATE: At the urging of my friends, I have sent this request on to Mr. Romney’s campaign: here is a screen shot of my offer to volunteer for his campaign:

Click on the image for full size…

Beware of

As in… Thankfully, I only bought two tickets there for a one-way commuter flight. They made the total price for one ticket look like the total price of two tickets. In reality, the one ticket they sold me was $20 more than it would have been on (This was travel in Russia, by the way, which is why I didn’t go with Priceline or Hotwire.) Worse, I couldn’t pick seat assignments from a list of available seats unless I was willing to shell out $11.95 per seat!

These guys are deceptive and I plan to avoid them as much as possible in the future. I hope I don’t wind up with a nightmare like I’ve seen other people go through with this company.

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Dear Mr. Obama,

How are you? I am fine. This will be a short letter. I hear that there were some bad things done by the Secret Service in Colombia. The news media are going a little overboard in their reporting, but I am glad that people are going to be punished for bad things that they did.

Could you please do the same thing for the bankers that wrecked our economy in 2008? I would like that. Also, please get the guys that wrecked the economy in 2007, as they are as much to blame. I think you should also go after anyone that wrecked the economy in 2009, 2010, 2011, and this year. They did bid things, worse than arguing with a Colombian lady about $40. All the energy we’re using to go after the Secret Service should also be directed against the financial people that did worse things to our economy than the Secret Service did to the Colombians.

I know many of them are your biggest political backers. That’s OK: They’re also Mitt Romney’s biggest political backers. Going after them can be a sign of bipartisan unity in a sadly divided nation. It will also lay to rest the rumors that both you and Mitt have been bought and sold by the financial industry and will do whatever they want, even if it means destroying the nation. I know I would like those rumors laid to rest. I hope you do, too.

Good luck with rounding up the rogue mammonai,

Dean Webb

Why Do We Let Sarah Palin Speak?

I got a number of things on my mind this morning. First off, why in the world do we let Sarah Palin speak? Fox News, I can understand. They’re a propaganda organ of Rupert Murdoch’s empire of support for his cracker barrel version of hate and spite, so she fits right in with that crowd. My beef is with the other networks that play clips from her, quote her, or have her on as a guest speaker.

She is not an expert. She is not knowledgeable. She is not an elder statesman. She is a media-crazed spotlight hog with designer lipstick. The most dangerous place in the studio is between her and a camera. Giving her air time is like bringing an alcoholic to a brewery: it’s not good for her and it’s not good for society.

There are loads of better alternatives to Palin. Me, for instance. I clean up good and I have plenty of witty observations that will be controversial, but intelligent. Or do we not want intelligence on our news anymore? Is the nation that much of a smoke ‘n’ mirrors affair that Palin is necessary to keep us uninformed? Agh, what a nightmare world we live in!

Please, if you’re in the news business, boycott Palin. Please. I know I’m not the only one that’s done with her.

Is Your Bank About to Murder You?

Strange times we’re in when that’s a legitimate question. Here’s the proof behind the question mark:

Citibank arrests people for withdrawing money legally:

Goldman Sachs execs preparing for the Muppet Apocalypse:

Citibank kills a guy for not paying his credit card:

Does the list go on? Yes, yes it does… Read the whole page.

The banking industry is behind the campaigns of both Obama and Romney. Whichever man wins, they want him under their control. Why is that?

Well… ask yourself… what happens to you if you decided to just quit paying your credit cards? Would your bank decide to make an example of you? Maybe not by having you whacked by a hitman, but there are other ways these guys can rain hell down on you, all 100% legal and taxed at a rate of 0% or less.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: interest on debts of any amount is a tool of oppression, a tool of the devil. Jefferson was absolutely right when he said banks were more dangerous than standing armies in terms of threatening our liberties.

Violence Will Not be the Answer

While I say violence will not be the answer, it doesn’t mean that others will try to see if it will be the answer. If history is any guide, and it most assuredly is, then the United States of America will be entering a period of heightened violence. It may be directed inwardly or outwardly, but it is going to be much, much more violent in the near future. It will either be a revolt against those who are both too wicked and too rich, or – more likely – a diversionary conflict with a high body count that may well be the fight of the nation’s collective life.

No war, no violence will solve the problems of a nation. People yearn for peace, trust, and quiet: things that are impossibilities in war. If possible, a people should leave an area of conflict and put distance between themselves and a potential aggressor. If not possible, then that people should defend itself and trust in God for deliverance.

That last part is important. It demands that a nation be righteous, that it be honest, and that it be virtuous. It demands that the nation is led by people that use their power to comfort the afflicted, not to comfort the comfortable. It demands that a nation be guided by principles of sacrifice and not personal profits. To trust in God means a nation cannot have its leaders enmired in the pursuit of profits and powers with an eye towards self-aggrandizement. A nation that trusts in God will face trials, but it will emerge from those trials all the better for having endured them. Trusting in God for deliverance implies that dangers and perils will arise and may nearly overwhelm, but that God will see the nation through those trials. Men and women will make sacrifices, even ultimate sacrifices, but the nation will endure in faith and humility.

A nation that does not trust in God for deliverance will instead play the devil’s game and kill before it is killed. It will exist as a paranoid entity. It will exploit the weak for its own game and assert that all is fair when the fittest are about the business of surviving. Darwinism is dangerous not in the biological sciences, but in the social fields – where it does not belong. In its lack of trust in God, it embarks on a history of violence.

That violence will not solve any problems. It will only lead to the breakup and destruction of nations. Then, when there are no more fit targets for conquest, the remaining nations will exhaust themselves in a mutually destructive war. With nuclear weapons, that mutual destruction will happen at a faster rate than ever before.

I see the events in the world today, and while they are not good, I don’t think I’ll be overly troubled by them. I still trust in God for deliverance. I have my reasons for my faith, and they are sound in my judgment, and that is all I need as precondition for my faith. I do my best to keep honest, to do the best work I can do, and to forgive debts others owe me. If the leaders of the USA were of the same mind, I would not be writing this essay.

Cory Booker: The Kind of Leadership We Need

The Mayor of Newark made a headline for himself by rescuing a neighbor from a fire. When I heard it, I wasn’t surprised. I feel good inside, knowing that Mr. Booker is still keeping true to his principles.

I first saw Cory Booker in the film “Street Fight” – one of the best political documentaries, ever – which documented his failed bid to become mayor. Cory took on an old crony politician and nearly won, in spite of his opponent lying, intimidating, and using police state tactics to keep his hold on power. The sadness of that loss didn’t stop Booker. He came back and won his next election.

Booker resolved to live in the poorest part of town so that, as mayor, he would fix the problems of his people. When I saw this story, I knew he had kept to his principles for these last six years.

This is what we need: men and women, regardless of party, that use leadership to help their neighbors and to make sure that their neighbors are the ones most in need of a powerful friend. We don’t need a crew that feathers its own beds. We don’t need people beholden to rich men and their special interests.

I’m not saying Cory Booker needs to run for president: I’m saying the people running for president need to emulate Cory Booker. Senators, Congressmen, heads of agencies, all of them: live among the poor, put your kids in public schools, ride the buses, eat what we eat and do what we do.

That way, you’ll all start solving the problems *we* have and not all the problems of the richest 0.01% of Americans. Whenever a nation forgets its poor, its end is not long in coming. When a nation remembers its poor and exalts them, its greatness can be sustained.

Thank you, Cory Booker, for showing the way. I’m a fan, and I’m proud of what you’re doing. Thank you for keeping true and fighting that best of fights.

Freedom of Belief

In the USA, we have a freedom of belief. We’re not alone in the world in that respect, but that’s not what I’m writing about. I’m writing about what to do with that freedom.

I used to hold a view that the universe was entirely deterministic. No God guided anything along in the view I held then. I looked at other religions and saw the man-made alterations and inventions in them and felt no sense of the divine. I heard preachers on the television – years before their public downfalls in stories of corruption and lies – and heard the hypocrisy in their voices. I could not believe that which was built upon vain imaginings and crass manipulation.

To me, if a faith was worth having, it would have to be based upon something pure and honest. It would have to be self-consistent enough to provide a framework that would allow belief to cover the yet-unexplained gaps. I never wanted perfect proof for a faith. The very definition of faith means it cannot be based upon perfect proof. But it still had to answer my questions in a manner both consistent and…

And what?

I didn’t know at the time what else was needed, but I knew it needed to be more than a Geometry proof or a Physics experiment. Science had no answers for me for things beyond its reach, that of the senses and their extensions. Death stood before me as a grand, dark gate, blacker than the blackest hole of the cosmos, to which we could send no instruments to gather data, let alone have them return. Science draws up at the gate of death and confesses defeat. In a world with only explanations for the world, that which lies beyond can never be known.

And that left me as cold as a hypocrite’s plea for gold in the guise of a gospel.

Rene Descartes said, “Cogito, ergo sum.” Translated, “I think, therefore I am.” In that Cartesian summation, the inner awareness is supreme. Even if it is in error, it is supreme. This is the point from which we all begin – the self – and it is where every journey of life begins. We determine in our own conscience what we are willing to accept, what we are willing to believe in, and what we are willing to allow to change our lives. We have that will, that freedom, and one of the great wars of humanity is in the question of allowing individuals to exercise that free will.

At its most base expression, one holds a freedom of belief to be in effect only for the self, that all others must then conform to the belief one has chosen. This is the cardinal mistake of fundamentalism, for it denies others the opportunity to express their own dictates of their own consciences. As much as I would desire everyone to believe and to be acted upon by that belief as I am, to impose the decisions of my conscience upon others is to assault the souls of others with the intent of murdering them.

Sadly, I used to be that way to some extent. In my own realization of a thing worth believing in, I sought to replicate that experience in the lives and minds of others. Not something like it, but the very experience itself. I wanted, as in the words of Stanislav Lem, to create mirrors in that which faced me. I never was entirely comfortable with that, as it smacked too much of the hypocrisy which revulsed me.

Defending my faith with loud arguments and aggressive proofs was a step up from that, I suppose, but it was still not satisfactory in that it still did not respect the views others were free to form. While I realize that acquiring my faith was a massive turning-point in my life, I realize that an equally massive turning point was in learning that I had no right to impose or force my views. Each time I have learned about that, and those lessons stretch all the way to this day, I have felt my own faith strengthen and grow.

Even today, I just had the realization that I was as right when I believed there was no God as now, when I very much do believe that there is a God. At each step of the way, I was – and am – convinced that I was – and am – right in my thinking. The person I was thirty years ago is not the person I am right now, but he was still competent and capable of figuring things out for himself. I mean, after all, he is the person that got me to where I am today.

What helped that young man to get here was the guidance of others that had already walked long paths of life with dignity and humility. Many of those men and women were of my own faith, but not all. Thankfully, I do hold to a religion that, while it proclaims to be the only true one on the earth, does not claim to have a monopoly on truth. It also teaches that, in order to live in the most harmonious way possible, we need to tolerate others. It specifically warns against forcing others to do or act in ways contrary to their conscience. Yes, there are exceptions for self-defense and other extreme cases, but those are the extremes. In everyday life, we have to let other people do things that we think are wrong because they think they are right in doing them.

We must forgive and allow them to do those things. We must be tolerant and respect their ways if we wish to have any claim on a right to be respected in our own ways. We must avoid the sin of fundamentalism and embrace the virtue of greater wisdom.

This is why I choose to emphasize that people should never stop seeking the truth. I know there is a grand, unifying truth that binds the universe in its loving eternity. While there may be one truth, I know that I do not yet know the whole of it: I only know enough to know where to keep looking to find more of it. But I do know that anyone who creates rules in his or her own life to seek after truth and then, upon discovery, to allow it to change his or her life will eventually find the same truth I have found and it will change their lives in the ways they need to be changed. Not to make them mirrors of me, but to make them the best that they can be, which is what I seek for myself.

Religion is nothing more than a vehicle for truth. I mentioned that great gate of death before: religion claims to have the answers for what lies beyond that gate. These claims, however, must be subjected to different tests than claims about what the physical world around us is like. The experiments one performs on faith are personal and strictly so. My experiences are my own. I think and therefore I am. You think and therefore you are. What the I experiences is available to the you, the he, and the she, but only on terms acceptable to the you, he, or she. What is in my mind, I cannot re-create in the mind of another. All I can do is hope to expose that grand, universal truth to another and hope that it is something the other will see value in. If not, so be it. If so, happy day!

I have read much of other faiths and I have tried my very best to comprehend them all. I do this not to point out where they are wrong, but to realize where they are right. In so doing, I have realized that, over time, men have encountered personal proofs of what lies beyond that gate of death. They take their personal accounts, many of them bewildering and strange on first examination, and commit them to paper or legend for others to learn by them. In so doing, there are core, resonating ideas that show to me how there is that one, grand truth. Peoples separated by time and space have independently verified, so to speak, that their encounters with the other side of death have given them certain conclusions which I think are safe to say are universal.

Now, anyone who rubbishes that idea of mine is right. The nay-sayer is free to say nay. In his mind, he’s right and in my mind, I’m right. Both of us will be amazed when we come face to face with absolute truth in its entirety – when we realize how wrong we were to think we were so right before. But I do see a danger in absolute rejection of the idea that there is more to life than what we see and experience with our senses and their extensions, the lab equipment of the scientific world. In a sense, it is another form of fundamentalism. It is another form of refusing to seek after truth.

The hypocrites that demanded gold for gospels refused truth: they saw the search for knowledge, peace, and harmony, as an opportunity to enrich themselves. The fundamentalists that killed those that did not believe as they did refused truth: they did not know that, blind as we are, we are bound to think different things as we are individually exposed to different aspects of the grand truth of the universe. The strident arch-defenders of a particular religion refused truth: they presumed they had already learned all there was worth learning and that no one else could offer a view that would add to their wisdom.

I have a freedom of belief. So do you. We can do whatever we want with it, even nothing. I have chosen to seek after truth, wherever I can find it, and to encourage others to do the same, with the faith that those who are honest in their search – who never abandon it, even when it means they must confront the sin in their own life and repent of it – will make a journey worth all the sacrifice. I have faith that I will be standing in the same place eventually as all other honest and earnest seekers of truth.

A Convoluted Scam

I had a dream. No, that’s not some figurative statement. I had a dream, and it was insane. It started with investigative reporter Greg Palast talking about government boondoggle programs being run by no-bid contractors like Halliburton and Bechtel. No-bid means just that: no bid, and the contractor could be charging very uncompetitive rates. That was bad enough. Then it got more convoluted.

The contractors would employ desperate people from abroad in key positions. Why? Those desperate people needed their employment visas to stay in the USA. Without them, they would face immediate deportation to places like Greece and Spain where the economy was in the toilet and they would face unemployment with no end in sight. These were family people, but their families had to stay back in the home country – to keep them more desperate and dependent upon anything handed to them here, I presumed.

These desperate work visa holders were in charge of keeping secrets. If they talked, they could always be discredited by pointing to how they were aliens, they had bad performance reviews, they drank heavily on the job, and so on. The secrets involved the true nature of the boondoggle programs. They were either true boondoggles, which was bad enough, or they were cover operations for black bag operations – top secret activities of the US Government that ranged from being barely legal on out to flagrant violations of the Constitution and the law.

I was investigating these unfinished buildings, hospitals getting irregular lawn care, and sidewalk contracts enduring massive cost overruns and everywhere there was a scared foreigner, desperately smiling and lying to explain away any inconsistencies. The beauty of that part was that if the guy couldn’t talk straight, he could always fall back on his difficulties with the language as an excuse: “No no no no no… what I to meant to say the was we to not the being of isn’t a the to wasting of the moneys.”

The foreigners would defend the boondoggles tooth and nail because that’s what the contractors wanted them to do. Either they were lining their pockets with the proceeds of the do-nothing project, or they were even more profitable fronts for illegal operations running guns, drugs, or worse on a scale far beyond Iran-Contra.

I woke up from that and shook my head about it. It seemed crazy. When I went back to sleep, the dream continued where it left off and I saw more and more of those things, like in some kind of Biblical vision. Maybe it was. There’s only one way to find out.

And if I did uncover a scam like I dreamed, that would be amazing. But what could we do about it? The much less convoluted vision of a nation being run by interest groups already exists. This added complication would only be possible in such a government and the only way to get rid of it is to get rid of the interest groups’ ability to lobby Congress. The only way to do that, in all truth, is to only elect honest Congressmen that aren’t afraid of death. That last requirement is very important, because these interest groups include those that aren’t above a few “accidents” to keep their gravy train making regular stops.

So that’s my dream and my reflection upon it. Make of it what you will: I know what it means to me.