Portland Free Press (January/Febuary 1997)
A Warning by Mother Hen
When societies are under stress, individuals will tend to regress into cultural infantilism. While these reactions may be predictable and normative, all are pathological.
Examples of this abound. The New Agers, Promise Keepers, "Christian" Fundamentalists, Moonies, and glassy eyed groopies of all persuasions.
The ruling elite's media promote this regression incessantly. There is Bill Moyers flacking Genesis; Art Bell pushing "remote viewing" of the "spaceship" with Hale-Bopp; Chuck Harder touting his "goat suckers"; Deep- Pockets Chopra flacking spiritual revelations; Marlene Smith shrilling the "goddess" at KBOO in Portland; KPFA, Berkley, flogging "astrology"; Baba Ram Dass pushing "ohm" for all.
Carl Sagan picked up the same problem in his 1995 book, The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark:
"We've arranged a global civilization in which the most crucial elements depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow-up in our faces...
"I worry that, especially as the millenium edges nearer, pseudo-science and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before?..." (from the back cover of Dr. Sagan's book)
[Oddly, this was written within hours of the wise and humane doctor's untimely death, 20 December 1996. The ideas and ideals of Dr. Sagan, like Bertrand Russell and a host of others over the generations and centuries, ought to be the counselors and mentors for human courage, creativity, and commonality.]
It should be enough for people to try to understand history, space, matter, and their own creative role in such wonderful complexity. To drink deeply of philosophy, history, and science should be the proper and sufficient purpose for any and every person.
Instead, we are at the end of the 20th Century with masses of people hell-bent to return to prehistoric hovels so they might "commune" with their ignorant misconception of what their fancied ancestors might have imagined the world to be. Given that none of these idiots is a paleo-anthropologist, they have about as much understanding about their vaunted ancestors as the hood ornament on a Mack truck has of Teamster history.
Live Long and Learn by Ace R. Hayes
Ramsey Clark was in Portland, 9 November 1996, to speak about US government crimes against Iraq. My wife and I decided to stop by the pre-speech reception at Portland's Peace House. When we went in, Dan Handelman, organizer of the event, introduced us to the former US attorney for Oregon, Sid Lezak.
When I shook sid's hand, I reminded him that he had arrested me in 1964 at the first non-violent civil disobedience act against the Vietnam War in Oregon.
He instantly lit up with a smile and recounted the entire episode with perfect recall, which, as it turned out, was better than mine.
Lyndon B. Johnson was elected as the "peace candidate" against Barry Goldwater in November 1964. Johnson immediately escalated the conflict by sending US troops into Vietnam. Many people were outraged at this grotesque betrayal and double-cross.
Students, in particular, were shocked by this presidential betrayal. A mass of us met to debate what to do. Sixty to eighty students from Portland State University and Reed College commited to getting arrested as a protest.
We went to Portland's Pioneer Post Officeabout 30 minutes before closing time on a Saturday. We sat down and sang songs. A young man from Jamaica who had joined us on the spur of the moment had an alto tenor that soared over our combined voices like a lark in springtime. It was a moment of beauty and solidarity that is as unforgettable as a first love.
Noon arrived. An official told us we had to leave. We politely refused and continued to sit on the Post Office floor.
Finally, the nicest police officers I have ever encountered came in and took our names and addresses. They told each of us ever so nicely that we were now under arrest; they then told us to get up and exit by a specific door onto the sidewalk. We complied with this order. When we were all lined up on the sidewalk, US Attorney Sid Lezak appeared on a grassy bank above us. He stated that we were all officially "released on our own recognizance."
We were stunned. We had planned to go to jail for our cause. The government had gotten us out of the Post Office by a ruse and sent us home like the naive puppies we really were.
When Clark, who was assistant attorney general of the US in 1964, arrived at Peace House, he, Sid and I had a brief reminiscence about that 32-year-old event when we were all much younger. Sid and Ramseygave the aging student a side to the case he had never heard before.
Sid had invented the least risk solution on his own. After the fact. Senator Wayne Morse, Assistant Attorney General Clark, and Attorney General Katzenback had ratified his plan to get us out of the Post Office with the least fuss and muss. They didn't want the public relations black eye of jailing students. On one level some may have even sympathized with our protest. On another level they had to do their jobs. They were as conflicted as we were outraged.
This path of least damage to all parties was a luxury for all of us back in those simple days.
I asked Sid to write this up for the PFP but he declined. He said he had a 40- year record of never having written a single thing for publication other than for professional journals. He is not, as he put it, "a publicity hound" -- which PFP respects.
So I wrote this up for the historical record. Nice guys like Dan Handelman were born the same year this story took place. Ramsey and Sid are my father's age -- mid-70's. I'm mid-50's; Dan and his generation are my kids' age. The generations need to communicate with each other. We all need to share the views of the world we have seen or we will all be part blind.
It was a pleasure to spend a few minutes with Sid and Ramsey and to share our various sides of the story.
The 60 to 80 anti-war students in portland, 1964, caused the very top of the US Government to begin to debate over how to handle the popular outrage over government lies.
Now we learn that there was some sympathy for our protest at the highest levels -- but not enough to save America from a decade of unrecorded civil war.
1965-1975 nearly brought down the American empire by internal revolution and repression. Three billion dollars in bombing occurred. Both the FBI and CIA ran secret unconstitutional programs that framed, murdered, and black-listed tens of thousands. It was close to open war. Generally forgotten, as well, are the quarter-million-plus Americans who chose exile over being government thugs in the Imperial war.
It is now 1997 and all the crimes and contradictions of the past half century are staring us in the face once again.
Ramsey Clark outlined the current war crimes of the American empire against Iraq in his subsequent speech. Sid Lezak confirmed the importance of students protesting violations of law. But, the US Department of Justice plotted, then as now, to thwart the protesters against Imperial crimes -- rather than stop the crimes themselves and bring the crimminals to justice. A government of laws is still an ideal to be achieved.
The future may require that we all pay for the Imperial crimes that we have so long refused to investigate, prosecute, and punish.
Why Spy? by Ace R. Hayes
The FBI and CIA keep turning up Commie/Russian spies in their ranks. What is especially amusing is that the guys who were selling "secrets" to the Commies in the evil empire and then to Demo's in Russia, have all been counter-intelligence cowboys.
So here we have the story: The guys we hire to hire them to spy on them for us, get hired by them to spy on us for them.
Why, pray tell, does everyone feign such shock that people hired for their amorality, and whose trade is buying other people, are themselves for sale?
Think about all this.
Why does the CIA always end up working with thugs, assassins, tourturers, drug dealers, etc.? Answer: Because no decent person would sell out their country for money.
While Americans despise Benidict Arnold for selling out the United States, why can't Americans understand that the creation of thousands of traitors around the globe will end up corrupting America just as certainly as it does those other countries?
The CIA is more dangerous for America than any other terrorist organization, with the possible exception of the FBI. _______________________________________________________________________ Portland Free Press "Tell the truth and run" --George Seldes http://www.teleport.com/~pfp/
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