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Eros Rising

From out of the desert it came: a virtual world named Sin. For two millennia, the world was enthralled by the priesthoods of this demonizing world. But a new day has dawned with the reemergence of Eros, the Pagan God of Love. An eyeblink ago, when the Baby Boomers were young, the Age of Aquarius announced the dawn of this new day. But it had a little setback, as the church and its patriarchs struck back. Eros Rising is here to help freedom lovers everywhere reclaim their human rights.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

The Anti-Patriarch Dream

Watching the “debate” between Clinton and Obama last night, I had the growing sense of witnessing a historical breakthrough in the collective consciousness of our bushwhacked, neo-conned republic. As if by magic, the two erstwhile combatants appeared suddenly transformed into a dream team Democratic ticket. Apparently all that was needed was the withdrawal of the third serious contender, John Edwards, to create the “frame” through which we saw them last night. And what we saw was a political epiphany of sorts. A cosmic “duh!” Of course! Unless I was hallucinating, it seemed to me that this epiphany was hitting the two contenders at the same time it was hitting me, Wolf Blitzer, and just about everybody in the studio audience--judging from the reaction to Blitzer’s sudden proposal, as if from out of nowhere, that they were indeed a “dream team.”

Why are they a dream team? The two obvious reasons: one is a woman, the other an African American. But beneath that façade of gender and race lies a more profound reason: in Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama we see two leaders who are almost divinely equipped to end the stultifying patriarchy that has had America in its grip since the ascension if Ronald Reagan--a reign of tyranny against working people that Bill Clinton and his centrist administration was able to briefly tame, but not quell. In the last seven years, however, the full reality of Republican philosophy, vis-à-vis working people, has come glaringly into view. The Republicans, in fact, are almost Soviet in their belief in two types of people: the professional-managerial-capitalist class, and everybody else--the mass of workers who the Soviets call the Proletariat. For Republicans and their Corporate bedfellows, just as for the old Soviets, workers are commodities first, and only human beings when an attentive media is doing its job. But since Republican patriarchs have come to own so much of the media, we almost seemed in danger of losing even that safeguard.

But I digress. IMHO, Obama and Clinton are much closer to one another than their campaign squabbles ever indicated. I believe that each one of them wants passionately to be president. But I think we saw last night that each of them would also be open to a higher calling: the redemption of this country through a unity that they themselves would embody magnificently as the Dream Team of the century. Frankly, their differences are piddling, when viewed against the backdrop of Republican tyranny. Pray for their well being, brothers and sisters. They are the anti-patriarchs.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Global Feudalism

A multitude of cases could be made “against” economic globalism--a material assault on the world by (primarily) one state: The United States of America. Here we will concentrate on just one case. The present state of health in the developing world is our indictment against this greed-driven ideology. We tell you that right up front, so you will “know where we are coming from.”

The current issue of National Geographic Magazine, my old employer, features a story on Malaria, with the grim statistics that “nearly half a billion people get malaria each year,” and that “more than a million die” from the disease.

Let us stop there for a moment, and ask what exactly is globalism, and what is its “promise?” The first question is “objective,” since it invites each of us to define the phenomenon as we see it. The second question is purely rhetorical, since it asks the globalists to tell us why they do what they do. They do it, they say, to spread prosperity from the developed world into the undeveloped. In other words, their motives are "noble." That is the promise. The elimination of the extreme disparity between haves and have-nots on the global stage, in a great leveling out of the world economy.

Now. What is globalism as I, Jonathan Light, see it? (Each and every one of us should conduct this thought experiment, since this is a phenomenon that is altering our lives as we speak.) In my opinion globalism is the push by the wealthy classes in America (and to a lesser degree, Europe and the rest of the developed world) to increase markets for the goods and services that are making them richer by the nanosecond. By eliminating tariffs and other import restrictions, the primary means by which counties protect their workers from foreign exploitation, globalists are able to double, triple, and quadruple their wealth. Why would not a class of people steeped in greed not want to do that? But that’s just my take. Perhaps I’m just an old hippie with axes to grind. So let’s go back to the “promise” of globalism, which ostensibly is to eradicate the extreme dichotomy between haves and have-nots on the world stage.

If globalism were in any way even approaching its noble goals, then we would be seeing signs of its success…amongst the working people of the world. Instead what we are seeing is the creation of pockets of extreme wealth in formerly poor countries like India and China. As for “the people,” they are either as bad off as ever, or worse off. Take the continent of Africa. At a time in human history when Americans are debating which expensive techniques will produce armies of centenarians, the people of Africa are still dying in droves…as children and young adults. What is even more of a global “scandal,” a million (mostly young) people a year are dying from a disease that is extraordinarily easy to treat…Malaria. As the fat cats of America get so bloated with wealth that they have to hire people to help them spend it, the people of Africa--the continent where human life began, according to many National Geographic stories that I worked on--don’t even have the resources to treat this easily treated disease. Here we see the “success” of globalism in all of its ugliness.

Now we ask: what should a “proper” globalism be all about? Have we not been promised, at least implicitly, that we are about to become a global village, one big planetary economy with benefits and caring for all? Hah! I challenge anyone to show us that this is happening. Globalism, as it is turning out, means only one thing: that a wealthy and privileged "global" class gets even wealthier and more privileged. Globalism is a way for American feudalism to become global feudalism. Plain and simple. And as African children die of a disease that could be treated for the small change left by Globalist billionaires as tips for their concierges, the American media continues to treat this phenomenon as if it were just another story of political “equivalence,” wherein each side of the argument is granted “respectability.” And virtually all of America’s political leaders, including most Democrats, and most notably Ms. Hillary Clinton, are solid defenders of the globalist juggernaut.

Wake up Americans of conscious. Wake up! If Senator Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, then form a third party and reclaim your human dignity. Let us, people of good will toward their fellow human beings, pursue our own dream of Globalism. The kind of dream that a benevolent God might approve of. Not the god of Mammon, which currently runs our benighted two-party system of “SO CALLED” democracy.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The New Scapegoats

More on Paris Hilton, double standards, and our demonizing system of government:

Tell me, someone, please. Is it better to demonize people for their natures than it is to demonize them for their race or ethnicity (as was done for example by the Nazis)? Times change, and with them scapegoats change. Since ruling classes need scapegoats to thrive, here in the United States of Draconia our "fathers," our beloved Patriarachs, have turned to the Bible--a wonderful handbook for demonization if ever there was one--for new scapegoats. In this holy book, which is quickly replacing the American constitution, we discover that all of us have criminal natures. All one has to do is equate "sin" with crime, which our leaders now do at every opportunity. Has this passed your notice?

Here in the United States of Draconia each and every one of us is subject to a knock on the door, and ruination by law. Law in America is a disgrace to the loving and caring human race. If one believes in Karma, one must believe that the coldblooded patriarchs who have seized our young democracy and made a mockery of political freedom will see their judgement day.

Paris Hilton & The United States of Draconia

So back in the clinker she goes, perhaps to serve the kind of sentence "real people" in the USA serve for DUI. I knew a guy who spent six years in prison for a DUI, despite the fact that nobody was hurt. Most Americans--those who do honest work for a living--are now subject to the most draconian laws in modern history. (Draconian - 1. of or designating a law or code of extreme severity; 2) Exceedingly harsh; rigorous.) If this is not a word in your vocabulary, please master it now, because it's come to describe what Franz Kafka might call Amerika, where the prisons are burgeoning with people who have been demonized, criminalized and ruined by the United States of Draconia. Under the patriarchs who rule this so-called democracy, our own human nature is being shamelessly and systematically commodified and exploited by the ruling professions. Constantly we are being given the message: The only lifestyle suitable to us is the Walt Disney one that squares with fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Slowly but surely they are finding ways to send every free spirit in America straight to jail....except, of course, for free spirits with lots of money and clout. The question is not "why did Paris get such privileged treatment?" The real question should be: "Why are the rest of us being treated like dirt?"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Republicans & Their Cheap Symbols

Why has no one asked the question of those taking cheap shots at John Edwards' $400 haircut why they are letting Hillary off the hairblower? She undoubtedly spends far more on her hair; some have suggested she travels with a hairdresser. Sexist as this lampooning may be, it's utterly typical of Republican besmirching. Why should they bother examining their opponents' professional qualities when they can gain so much political mileage off sophomoric sexist jokes about their personal behavior?
It's been said that our characters are formed in high school. If so, then you can all remember the kind of a**hole that relied on that kind of humor. Those were the Neanderthals who started taking over government back in the 80s. Sadly, there were far more of those types than we ever feared.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Letter to Dr Sanjay Gupta on Ending AIDS

Dear Dr. Gupta:

This is a very belated letter, responding to the TV special on "Ending AIDS in our Lifetime" that you hosted a year ago. Eros Rising was on hold all of last year, while I worked on a book, so excuse me for the delay.

I remember tuning in to that special with bated breath. Because the show promised an end to AIDS in our lifetime, I assumed there had been some breakthrough on the development of an AIDS vaccine. How disappointed I was, therefore, to see that what you were hosting was a piece of fluff designed to make people feel good about their commitments to fighting AIDS. Listening carefully, I heard only one fleeting mention of the word "vaccine." There were CEOs from some major pharmaceutical corporations there, and they spoke glowingly of new treatments and initiatives to make current treatments available to poor nations at reduced prices. Then there were lots of personal testimonials from citizens who had obviously been flown in to add to this festival of hope that you were sponsoring. So what is my gripe? You offered not a scintilla of hope for ending AIDS in our lifetimes. You offered not even a hint of information as to why, two decades after this plague began, the world still does not have an AIDS vaccine. As a doctor, you must know that the only way to "end" AIDS is with a vaccine.

I invite the readers of this blog to first read your Big Pharma promotional piece (with the link above) and then a paper put together by Michael Kremer and Christopher M. Snyder, two researchers at Harvard, entitled "Why is There No AIDS Vaccine?" Young people may be forgiven for assuming that AIDS is a permanent curse on the human race. As a young journalist back in 1986, I remember reporting on the work being done at NIH to develop a vaccine, and learning that many researchers--including Dr Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the HIV virus--were optimistic that a vaccine would be developed within a reasonable time frame--perhaps within five years. Today the American media, which is largely financed by Big Pharma adverstising, doesn't even talk about the development of a vaccine. Instead they simply buy into statements such as: “the enormous genetic diversity and other unique features of the HIV envelope protein have thus far thwarted attempts to identify an effective candidate.”

The above statement comes from a recent abstract in the New England Journal of Medicine. Journalists are lax in challenging such statements, and demanding specifics. There are many intelligent people out here who could understand those specifics, if the media did their job and reported on them. All viruses mutate. What is so special about the AIDS virus that it should defy 21 years of efforts to develop a vaccine for it? Please, big Media, don't give it to us in a soundbytes: spell it out, challenge by challenge, and stumbling block by stumbling block.

I would humbly suggest that what is thwarting the development of a vaccine is exactly what Kremer and Snyder conclude in their important (but ignored) paper: It is not in the financial interest of Big Pharma to end AIDS. AIDS has turned out to be one of the industry's fatted calves. They decided long ago that it was far more profitable to treat AIDS than to end it. Six years ago, AIDS drugs were a $300 billion business. Today it would be reasonable to guess that that has mushroomed into a $1 trillion dollar business. That, Dr. Gupta, is what you should be reporting on. Shame on you for buying in so completely to Big Pharma's propogranda. Shame on you for exploiting the hope and despair of hundreds of thousands, now millions, of AIDS victims to advance the cause of the corporate virus that keeps AIDS alive. The virus has a name: it is called Greed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Drug War and the New Prison Class

Every now and then an idea illuminates the cranium like a switched on light bulb--a metaphor discovered long ago by cartoonists. I had one a few days ago. How do we explain the huge number of people behind bars in America? Why does this society imprison and disenfranchise so many of its citizens? The easy answer is the drug war, which artificially criminalizes human behavior that through the ages has been considered normal--the desire to alter one's conciousness a bit in order to cope with the stresses of life. Up until my light bulb moment, I was attributing the drug war to two things: 1) American Puritanism, and 2) a judicial system that needs to create work for itself. Now I have a better idea: Our patriarchs have decided that there needs to be a class lower than the working class. No class of people likes being the lowest of the low. By creating a huge criminal class, the patriarchs have given the working class--which essentially "builds" everything of real value in America--a large scary group to look down upon. What a great strategy, no? It's a good morale booster and it reminds the workers that they still have a way to fall, if they step out of line. The other two reasons for the drug war--puritanism and judicial turf protection--are no doubt still factors in America's war against its own. But something so insidious must surely have a number of converging and reinforcing causes. I'd appreciate your comments on my little epiphany.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Pope Gets One Thing Right

As readers of this blog can easily deduce, I am no fan of the Catholic Church, nor any of what I call the patriarchal religions. But during his trip through Latin America this past week, Pope Benedict did get one thing right by denouncing both Capitalism and Marxism in the same breath. At this stage of history, to denounce Marxism is tantamount to whipping a dead horse. As for Capitalism, he gets his criticism partly right when he says that it has failed to bridge the “distance between rich and poor.” He gets it wrong, however, when he blames Capitalism for “giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness.” While Capitalism most certainly fosters deceptive illusions all across the board, drugs and alcohol are hardly its most noteworthy manifestations. For a survey of its most insidious faults, read Benjamin R. Barber's new book, Consumed, in which he describes the capitalist process of infantilization that has been steadily degrading the nation's adulthood by keeping us forever trapped in a state of arrested development.

A more astute observer of the ideology known as Capitalism might note that not only does it fail to redress social inequality, but it doesn’t even try. In fact, Capitalism as it has emerged since the death of Communism has absolutely thrived on inequality. As the capitalist media has itself been forced to admit, all of the recent gains in American productivity have gone directly into the pockets of the rich. The harder American workers work, the less they earn as a share of their own sweat. Work hours are lengthening, as benefits evaporate like dew in the capitalist dawn of a glorious new age of Feudalism. So thanks Pope for getting things half right. Unfortunately in your earlier capacity as a Vatican policy maker, you squelched the Latin American movement known as Liberation Theology. You tried to explain that stunning bow to Latin American Feudalism by stating that “This political task is not the immediate competence of the church.” Yeah, Pope, of course it's not. Except, of course, when your American bishops tell their parishioners how to vote, as they did during the last election.

When it comes to keeping neocon patriarchs in office, the church eagerly undertakes just the opposite of Liberation Theology. Call it Subjugation Theology, in which all the sheep are scolded into minding their neofeudal bosses. What can one say about a form of spirituality that doesn’t even want to address social justice? I’ll answer that for you: it ain’t true spirituality. It’s iron-fisted Patriarchy, through and through. If you want true spirituality, dear reader, go straight to God and bypass the gatekeepers, who in the darkness of their own souls worship their own Higher Power: Mammon.