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The Princess, The Pope and the Prophet of Plunder

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An intelligent public which seeks out factual information and then engages in critical thinking is a necessary component for a healthy democratic republic. Recently, the global news media has been dominated with three hyped-up stories. This media extravaganza demonstrates that a majority of the public will happily forego real information and critical thinking as compliant consumers of the mass media melodrama.

Since the attention span of our dumbed-down body politic is seriously diminished, usually one or two prime-time dramas are dished out as our daily "news."  Recently in one single week, we had three rings active all at once in our daily bread-and-circus diversion -- The Princess, The Pope and the Prophet of Plunder.

In the first ring of this circus of hype, we have our new Princess. Fine people get married every day. Love indeed does make the world go round, and also keeps the world population expanding exponentially to the edge of ecological imbalance. Why then is one marriage on the planet singled out like it's the most important event for all of humanity? A massive national security operation, catering costs adequate to feed massive throngs of starving people and entertainment stages to flesh out the royal spectacle racked up $100-million dollars in direct event expense.  

Since the entire British Nation came to a halt so that all attention could be directed to the Prince and Princess, the national economy suffered a $20-billion-dollar setback to accommodate the singular occasion. For thousands of unemployed struggling with deeply slashed public services, and students facing steep rises in university tuition, there's really very little to celebrate in Jolly Old England. So, entertaining and enchanting the masses is very important in such sad times. Nothing of value is provided to real people, except a false show of pomp and circumstance.   

While the Princess was wed to her Prince Charming, in the second ring of the Circus of Empire, a holier than the rest of us Pope is nearing the mythical pinnacle of sainthood. The Catholic Church needs John Paul II as their beatific new saint as the lead act in their mythical media mirage to counter the day-to-day reality of pedophile priests.

Millions of people all over our planet keep life working every single day with social order, compassion and survival through daily random acts of kindness and constant ministrations to the needs of family and community. Common people are the real bearers of the sanctity of society, while The Pope sits on a throne, removed from contact with the real world. The constant work, love and care of common people fades into history with no notice -- as we robe one man with Ermine and Silk and place costly gold on his fingers to exalt him above all others.

To keep the public totally diverted from reality, we not only need a Princess and a Sainted Pope, we also need the Arch Villain of the Human Race; a Prophet of Plunder, Osama Bin Laden. Now that the Wicked One is dead, we can all rest in the comfort that we are safe in the hands of the Mighty Military. The public killing of Osama Bin Laden is better than the Super Bowl for keeping the mindless masses glued to the tube and morally asleep.

Does killing one man really make us safer, or does it in fact keep us in the endless cycle of death and destruction? Our killing of Saddam Hussein has been followed by years of war and hundreds of thousands of pointless civilian deaths. Our attempts to kill Muammar Gadaffi have now killed his children and grandchildren. These publicly televised deaths will not end the ensuing civil war, even if Gadaffi's execution is lead story in the next evenings' news. Our decade long hunt for Osama bin Laden has left a wake of senseless slaughter in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The entire region has been destabilized.

The Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over for trial in the international court both before and after September 11, 2001. Instead, our government opted for years of bloody warfare. War is a much greater spectacle than a boring trial. Who needs the rule of law and the slow-moving images of court hearings when summary executions make for a much better media movie?

Killing will lead only to more killing, bitterness and hatred. Nothing is actually resolved, no issues within our complicated geopolitical reality are improved, and such issues are left even more clouded and threatening than ever.

Keeping the Bogeyman media image of bin Laden alive and threatening provided the necessary cover to keep the global war machine churning its bloody way through cities, towns, the countryside and human flesh for 10 years. Now we must plan out the "final act" of this spectacular drama on the global stage, just in time for Obama's election schedule.

What moral victory can we claim by cheering in the streets for the killing of another human being?  Has evil been reduced or exponentially expanded by the death of Osama bin Laden? Ten years ago when this global opera commenced, human torture was considered irredeemably evil. Now we consider it a very useful tool to track down our Great Villains. A decade ago we believed that people should have fair trials before they are declared guilty and executed. A decade ago, if a president had announced his new-found power to assassinate Americans if they are a perceived threat, at least a few brave citizens would also have asked where in the world he got the power to assassinate non-Americans? Our own civil liberties, transparent government, our honesty, accountability, and the rule of law are the real casualties of this Ten Year War on Terror. We can totally ignore the sovereignty of other nations, as might makes right now that Americans are the self-knighted Lords of the Universe.

Imagine the media mileage and mass propaganda that the USA could make with video footage from a foreign country where thugs dance in the streets to celebrate the murder of a tribal enemy?   If another nation behaved as we do, we would recoil with disgust.    As long as we look only look outward into the mass media images that enthrall us, we do not have time to look in the mirror.

An eye-for-an-eye makes the whole world blind, but that is no problem, as the mass media now provides our eyes -- and the whole wide world looks like a fast paced Hollywood adventure movie. In rock-em, sock-em, blow-em-up movies designed to satisfy vicarious hormonal release for male adolescents, killing the villain brings us to a predictable happy ending. The majority of the US population is now so diverted with media manipulation that there is no clear line between reality and movie myth. America is Cowboy Nation, and the Bad Guys are on the run.

"Corporate America controls opinion in the United States by owning the mass media. They can make the many believe almost anything."~~Gore Vidal

What is the moral difference between a home invasion at gunpoint to illegally take possession of the property of others or the use of our national armed forces to control economic and ecological assets in another nation? We need to apply the same standards to nations that we do to ourselves as individual citizens. We need the rule of law, not the rule by military force, aggressive power and endless violence. Since War II, wartime deaths are measured as 10% in military loss and 90% civilian deaths. One-third of the 90% civilians slaughtered in the mindless wake of war are children. This is far beyond "collateral" damage. Mass murder of civilian populations is endemic to modern, mindless warfare.  

The current military mindset in the USA is ruled by the primitive rule of revenge and retaliation, much like the "payback" culture of some tribal cultures or La Cosa Nostra in Sicily. If you kill my brother, then I will kill two of your brothers as an act of sacred revenge. The cycle of death never ends. This way of thinking can only expand the growth of violence until human society itself is consumed with the scourge of violence, as the Bible states very clearly; "Live by the sword, die by the sword."

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

In one week the the mass media empire has provided us with non-stop diversion from reality with The Princess, The Pope and the Prophet of Plunder.  

I mourn the death of morality, justice and intelligence in the United States of America.


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Michael Richards is a life long innovator, entrepreneur and author. His most recent book is; SUSTAINABLE OPERATING SYSTEMS/The Post Petrol Paradigm (available on line at; www.amazon.com Mr. Richards has presented as an author, speaker and (more...)
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