Monday, February 20, 2006

The Search for Terrestrial Intelligence

Terry McKenna returns to the blog today, with more vitriol for the Bushies and a call to action for the rest of us. I've spent the weekend working on yet another book, which is tentatively titled "Neo-transcendentalism: Messages for a Divided World". Today, I had a quick look around the news websites, which also appeared to be relaxing for the long weekend. One of MSNBC's prominent stories was from their science editor, Alan Boyle (who actually responded to an email of mine—very rare among the media, in my experience at least). Dr. Boyle had a story about the SETI Institute—that is, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. This movement, apparently, is no longer a marginal pastime of New Age fruitcakes who've watched too many episodes of The X Files. It is an active scientific pursuit with government funding, NASA sponsorship, Congressional lobbyists, and prestigious scientists in the forefront. Check out their website—it's quite an experience. It gave me the idea of starting my own organization—STI, the Search for Terrestrial Intelligence. I'm not putting myself into competition with SETI, however; and anyway, I'm sure they'll find intelligence where they're looking for it sooner than I will down here. Now let's see whether my colleague Mr. McKenna can point us toward some terrestrial intelligence.

Now that we’ve had a week of Dick Cheney’s fat ass, let’s get back to business. Yes, he’s a joke, but he’s still very much in command. It will take a lot more than mere embarrassment to pull him down. For now, the Bush presidency remains in power and adamantly out of synch with everyone else. They don’t listen to the American people, nor to world opinion (an opinion they scorn) nor to Kofi Annan in his capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations. The Administration is refusing to shut down its prison/torture chamber in Guantanamo Bay. And it remains steadfast in affirming that the Abu Ghraib matter is closed. If there is any outrage among the Bushies it is at those who continue to remind us of the truth.

With the war having bogged down, and with middle eastern democracy having a bitter taste, our president has moved on to irrelevancies. For example, GW would like NATO (or someone) to place more troops in Darfur. But who would these poor souls be? Certainly not Americans, since our military is already far flung and exhausted.

Iran looms as a bigger and bigger boogie man – though not necessarily a bigger threat. Yes, they want to develop nuclear weapons. But why do we save our ire for them - ignoring the Pakistanis who already built their bomb and said to hell with the West (and by the way, what of India)? As if to rub salt in the wound, Pakistan sold technology to both North Korea and Iran … by the way, a lot of the shipping apparently went through Dubai! In fact, the president seems bogged down about Iran as well. But Iran is not likely to go away. It is also likely that they will build a bomb – or at least get awfully close. And all we can do is watch with a mix of impotence and irritation.

And now there is Dubai. They own a business that operates ports around the world. They just received permission to purchase a business that operates shipping facilities in, among other places, New York City and Port Elizabeth (NJ). The facility in NYC is just a show piece – a dock for cruise ships. The real prize is in New Jersey. The bulk of goods shipped to the New York region come via container ships that dock in Newark and Elizabeth. So now, the Arab world will have their own container port. Even without the bomb, they can place a container loaded with high explosives and have it loaded on a container trailer – maybe set to explode when under the Hudson in the Holland or Lincoln Tunnel.

Yet until enough of us rise up to take back the power we gave Bush and Cheney when we elected them (if we did!) we remain stuck with Bush, a pretend rancher and Cheney, a pretend gunslinger.

We will know more later on this year. Maybe the left will earn a big win in this fall’s congressional election. And maybe someone will come forward to lead the democrats to a thrilling victory in 2008. But in the meantime, those who can, must continue to cry out.

—T. McKenna

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