Posts Tagged ‘fear’

The wind-whipped tree limbs howl as the waters rise. The light goes dim and sleet begins its insistent tap on the windows. Is it an end-of-March weather flip-flop or something more sinister: 2012 in 2010, Hell unleashed, the Apocalypse? Bring on the locusts.

Blame today’s headlines: In Moscow, a bomber strikes another public transportation system. In Haiti, the tropical heat continues to bake the overworked volunteers and underfed survivors who vie for any kind of support or sustenance, physical or emotional. Karzai thumbs his nose at Obama and embraces Amadinejad, just as last week Netanyahu thumbed his nose at us and embraced more building. In the Congo, victims of torture most desperately need mental health services. Back here again, misconceptions about health care legislation loom while insurance companies hire lawyers to look for loopholes. Anger simmers, although articles assure us most people don’t make the step from thinking violent thoughts to doing violent deeds but then, oops, here come the Hutaree, a militia group of self-identified Christian warriors who, unable to wait any longer, have decided to stage their own end of days party.

The name, which is invented, suggests they are avid followers of sci-fi and have seen “Avatar” more than once but their mission is far from peaceful. The group, based in Michigan, is preparing to assassinate police officers, whom they see as “foot soldiers” to the federal government which, don’t you know, is working for the Antichrist to establish a New World Order. The Antichrist, according to the group’s website, might be Spanish physicist and former secretary general of NATO Javiar Solana, which gives this whole thing an international spin. Solana, a leading advocate for a European Union, does favor international cooperation; certainly the educated and soft-spoken foreign policy expert is a sophisticated choice for the role of all that is unholy. But I digress. The Hutaree philosophy blends “fear of a conspiracy to create a one-world government with a belief that a war is imminent between Christians and the Antichrist, as described in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.” The group has been training in military-style exercises and preparing to defend themselves. Defense obviously includes offensive stealth attacks in order to stir the pot and encourage an uprising.

We know why this happens – or the experts among us believe they do: insecurity, fear of the unknown, unemployment, a sense of not belonging — all these things serve as catalysts for such groups and have since the beginning of human history. And yet, it’s difficult not to imagine this is bigger, worse, more imminent, more frightening. What if one of the many conspiracy theories turns out to be true? Or what if one terrorist group or another decides to do something really big, so big that it will scythe through great swathes of civilization as we know it? Are we doomed? The short answer is: probably not, or at least our demise is not imminent. That doesn’t exempt us from vigilance or excuse us from the rigorous application of rationality. But what I know, after surviving cold wars and heated rhetoric, is that everything from the headlines to the footnotes change over time. The forecast is for sun and milder temperatures.

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The news confounds, the mind boggles. Maybe this is what happens in an all -information world. Or in August. Or when people are unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy or between critical and less so.  Or when they feel disenfranchised. Or hungry. Or tired. Or when they’re married to Bill Clinton. You get the picture.

What I thought I’d do this week is something called: What can you say? Below are tidbits I’ve come across this week in the news. Don’t think there’s necessarily anything that needs to be said; in fact this may be a rhetorical question. To tell the truth, I was stopped dead in my tracks by much of this. NOTE: As usual, this is a mix of the deadly serious, the seriously weird, and the weirdly logical. I apologize for the juxtaposition but that’s what the news is these days.

1. “This is about the dismantling of the country…we don’t want this country to turn into RUSSIA.” images(a woman speaking at a town hall meeting on health care in Lebanon, Pennsylvania).


2. This man

mitchell_190was hired to help structure the United States interrogation program, although he had never carried out a real interrogation, had no relevant scholarship, no language skills and no Al Qada expertise.


 3.  “Children are killed, women are raped and the world closes its eyes.” (comment by a woman in refugee camp on the outskirts of Goma in the DRC where Secretary of State Clinton toured recently) 535a19442c

 4. Yale University Press has determined a new book about the controversy surrounding the Danish cartoons book-3-190depicting Muhammad, a controversy that subsequently incited riots around the world, cannot include those twelve drawings, nor any other illustrations of the prophet.


5.  New research suggests that “the physical stress of marital loss continues long after emotional wounds have broken heartshealed and those who become single… suffer from a decline in physical health from which they never fully recover.



6. Paula Abdul, announcing her departure from “American Idol” on her Twitter feed, insisted her week is “idol-75filled with network meetings” about potential projects.


(I mean really, what can you say?)

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