[percy-l] U.S. : Terrorist SuperPower?

Tommy Armstrong tfa at brickengraver.com
Wed Aug 24 20:18:06 EDT 2005

Well I was not going to weigh in on this conversation but:

The CNN story stated:
"But Venezuela's ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, said
Robertson was "no ordinary private citizen" and demanded the White House
strongly condemn the remarks.

I will beg to differ--he is an ordinary private citizen--

He does not reflect the views of me or many many many other Americans--in
fact even being in the slam middle of the Bible Belt of the rural South, I
have yet to meet anyone who agrees with his statement. (most of course have
not even heard about it).

Bob Dole had it right
Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who ran against Robertson for the
GOP presidential nomination in 1988, called the comments "stupid" and

"It's hard to figure out what Pat Robertson is going to say next," Dole
said. "Hard to believe anybody can make Chavez a sympathetic-looking figure,
but maybe Robertson can do it." 

That pretty much sums it up, he is stupid and ludicrous--but he still has
freedom of speech. 

Many of Karey's observations are equally stupid and ludicrous. It is pretty
obvious that his 
" "causa-sui" - a cause larger than ourselves for which to live" is the
defeat of the present administration.
Karey states
"then we must logically be on the other side of something else - we have
 enemies.  (The defeat of our enemies gives us meaning and purpose.)
It is obvious that he is slipping down the same slope as the right-wing
nuts. He only has a different enemy.   

Karey states "Has anyone noticed the great purpose and conviction with which
and his cronies proceed forward?  Little reflection, lots of purpose."
Has anyone noticed the great purpose and conviction with which the left
proceed forward? The whole concept of globalism is a complete abdication to
the so called "experts", an abdication of sovereignty. 

Karey states we ought to 
"to pay careful attention to what others - Europeans, Middle-Easterners,
 Americans, Asians - feel and think about our country."  I am not so sure--I
think we need to examine our country ourselves, change what we see as wrong,
protect what we see as right, and then if the rest of the world's opinion of
us is bad, so be it.  To be talked down to by the Japanese, who only 50
years ago were the most brutal power that had existed and were responsible
for countless atrocities, by the Germans, who were responsible for the
holocaust, by the French, where Napoleon was born and caused the World
untold misery, by the British who subjugated India and half the rest of the
world, by the Russians who subjugated another half of the world, by the
Middle Eastern Islamizes who treat their women like cattle, or by the South
Americans who think we dominate them but have only taken by force a small
bit of northern Mexico. Our country was born from a colony, and by and large
we are not the Colonialists. We have plenty to be ashamed of, to ask
forgiveness for--but we have at least moved in a general direction of
redress of our sins. I was born as a white in the segregated South, my wife
now is a teacher assistant for a black school teacher. Things have
changed--movement has been made. The actions of America did not bring about
the mess in Venezuela--if indeed it is a mess--it was, from what I
understand, a system of government which allowed a massive disparity between
the rich and the poor. Despite the downward trend in this country on that
score, there are many opportunities for normal citizens--those opportunities
from what I understand simply do not exist in much of Latin America. But it
is not the United States' fault. 

Europe only exists as a non-facist place because of America, Japan is more
economically successful than the the US because we enabled her to be, China
is going to be the dominant economic power because they have shed their
communist predilections a bit, they have nonporous natural and human
resources, and because they have unfettered access to the American consumer
market, the Euro is stronger than the dollar because America gave them their
freedom form the Nazis, helped them rebuild themselves, and for over 60
years provided them an umbrella of safety from their pugnacious neighbor. 

Nations, because they are groups of individuals, are not really the
answer--person to person, individual to individual is. And perhaps an Early
Times is a good way to start that conversation. I would love to sit down and
have an Early Times with Karey--eventhough he/she? Is completely off my
political spectrum, or Julio who so vehemently attacked my country. 

Now I have vented, and would like to return to Percy. 

Tommy Armstrong

"If you're a big enough fool to climb a tree and like a cat refuse to come
down, then someone who loves you has to make as big a fool of himself to
rescue you."
W Percy


-----Original Message-----
From: percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of J Rivas-Pita
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 6:40 PM
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
Subject: Re: [percy-l] U.S. : Terrorist SuperPower?

Dear Karey,

Thank you very much for your most detailed and lucid analysis.
Needless to say, I fully agree with you.
(By the way, my grandfather on my mother's side lived most of his life in
the U.S., was an American citizen and is buried in Irvington, N.J., and I
grew up in Spain believing, perhaps somewhat naïvely, that the U.S.A. was
what he said it was, 'the greatest country in the world').

Also by the way this is "Reverend" Pat Robertson's last -but probably not
final- word on Mr. Chávez's assassination proposal and AP's


With all best wishes,


On 8/24/05, Karey <karey at kareyperkins.com> wrote:
> As you all know, Percy, in his younger days, visited Germany - in the 
> early 1930's I believe?  Correct me on this if I'm wrong - (a simple 
> check in Tolson or Samway would tell me, but I'm much too comfortably 
> ensconced at my desk to get up right now!)  At any rate, as you also 
> all know, while he was there, Percy met and was much enamored of the 
> "Hitler Youth" for their loyalty, devotion, sense of purpose, sense of
meaning and direction in life.
>  And Percy was an intelligent, clear-thinking man - he must have had a 
> real reason to feel that way - real concrete evidence that these youth 
> had something that stood out.  Then WWII happened, and one can only 
> imagine what he felt inside about his earlier misguided admiration for the
Hitler Youth.
> The Iraq war has been declared by the Pope to be an unjust war 
> according to Catholic Just War doctrine.  (A guideline used not just 
> by the church, but by the government and the military as well, by the 
> way).  Jimmy Carter declared it an unjust war - right up into the 
> night before we attacked, when he reneged in a front page article in 
> the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, I can only imagine due to 
> political pressure.  What makes it unjust?  On almost every point of 
> the doctrine, including what Julio Rivas-Pita states
> below:  The United States was an aggressor - and, worse, it was an 
> aggression built on lies.  Today, it is not only extreme leftists such 
> as Michael Moore who will question whether WMD were in Iraq.  Evidence 
> continues to be uncovered-  that the Karl Rove political 
> genius-machine was extremely effectively at manipulating public 
> perception and spinning the message to hide the real situation...  
> that in itself is a dissertation too lengthy to document here, but 
> articles such as "Follow the Uranium" in the July 17, 2005, New York 
> Times only begin to scratch the surface of it.  In fact, most people 
> acknowledge that a false link was made between 9/11 and Iraq - the 
> only question up for debate was how knowingly false (on the 
> administration's side) was it?  In fact, the Iraq war has sidetracked 
> us from the real 9/11 cause (the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan) 
> and increased terrorist activity, as well as further incited hard 
> feelings towards American - even our allies are starting to hate us!  
> Since when did France become a country to despise?  Hence, I find 
> Julio Rivas-Pita's e-mail not at all unusual, rather, it is very much 
> the norm overseas, and rather than asking him to take a drink of Early 
> Times, I think a far better course of action is for Americans to put 
> down their own bottles of Early Times and take a close look at themselves
and the actions of their government and think very carefully before they
cast their vote in the next election.
> Then we have the Abu Ghraib prison scandal - a gross and unapologetic 
> abandonment of the Geneva Convention - and while scapegoats are being 
> used (the MP reservists involved) to take the blame, in fact, it was 
> not an isolated incident, it was sanctioned from above (how far 
> above?), and these enlisted reservists were merely part-timers whose 
> real career was something far different - they learned such torture 
> techniques because they were trained (by the CIA and the military) in 
> such techniques, and the higher ups have said what to this and to 
> similar practices in Guatanamo Bay (and who knows where else)?  That 
> the Geneva Convention is "antiquated."  This by the way is just what 
> we know - we were never shown the "worst" abuses; those pictures were 
> withheld from us, and do you think that just because playful digital
cameras have not caught other events, they do not exist?
> By contrast, I am incredibly impressed with Anthony Principi, Chairman 
> of the Military Base Realignment and Closing Commission 
> (www.brac.gov).  He was on C-SPAN last night.  The integrity shone - 
> with Principi vowing (and
> delivering) "honesty and transparency" in all the commission's 
> deliberations and decisions.  By the way, Rumsfeld's recommended base 
> closings more than doubled the recommended closings in 4 previous 
> rounds of base closings - combined. Why?  Financial reasons. The Iraq 
> War has not strengthened the United States from future attacks, it has 
> weakened us - and our economic and military strength - considerably.
> The American people accept this because of they are being "spun" - the 
> logical fallacy "appeal to fear" - which by the way, is a 
> characteristics of fascist states - the building up of nationalism and 
> military fervor through inciting fear in the people.  In fact, 
> terrorism has gotten worse since and because of the Iraqui war.  You 
> get what you give.  But, as part of the package and by necessity to 
> accomplish the objective, a sense of loyalty and group camaraderie 
> (patriotism) is incited - but not one that is examined carefully, 
> logically or critically.  We are swept along with the emotions of the 
> moment, like a winning crowd at a college football game or the Hitler 
> Youth. (Ahh, Percy's "totemism" no less.)  We don't even WANT to think 
> critically about it, for it satisfies a deep need inside of us - but
insidiously so.
> The answer to Percy's Hitler Youth question can be found in Ernest 
> Becker's Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Denial of Death.  What 
> compels us most, what determines our actions and motivations and 
> neuroses and desires most, is our sublimated terror of death - our 
> individual deaths - which we all know is coming, yet rarely think 
> about consciously (or most of us rarely think about).  So one answer 
> is to find a "causa-sui" - a cause larger than ourselves for which to 
> live.  To quote Becker:  "it is a world-view, some kind of affirmative 
> collective ideology in which the person can perform the living drama 
> of his acceptance as a creature.  Only in this way can the neurotic 
> come out of his isolation to become part of such a larger and higher
wholeness as religion has always represented" (Becker, 198-1999).
> Out of this, comes meaning, purpose, comfort, identity,
> The problem is this - if the purpose for which we live is not 
> transcendent (and not even religion is transcendent; religion, as in 
> religious denominations - Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, etc.,- is not, 
> only God is), then we must logically be on the other side of something
else - we have
> enemies.  (The defeat of our enemies gives us meaning and purpose.)     
> But, more importantly, if we devote ourselves, find our meaning in 
> life, to a non-transcendent cause, our cause is false.  Just like the
Hitler Youth.
> Has anyone noticed the great purpose and conviction with which Bush 
> and his cronies proceed forward?  Little reflection, lots of purpose.  
> That has been spun as positive - in fact, it's quite insidious.  
> Kerry's globalism (a foreign wife no less) and thoughtful reflections 
> were spun as a detriment, when it was just what America needed.
> Today, even our friends (allies) are becoming enemies - (even our own 
> citizens are "enemies" to the administration - we are closely 
> monitored and have lost many of our rights to privacy). Nationalism, 
> most obviously, is never transcendent.  The patriotism in America 
> today - at the expense of others' (yes, even prisoners') rights and
humanity - smacks of that.  Julio
> Rivas-Pita is on the money, in my opinion.  We Americans can't see it.   
> But whether anything I've said here is true or not, we would do well 
> to act with humility, to not pompously scoff - to pay careful 
> attention to what others - Europeans, Middle-Easterners, South 
> Americans, Asians - feel and think about our country.  In a global 
> economy, to act as though we are cowboys from Texas - claiming what we 
> want through might and force - is to act as though we are brutes and 
> boors.  It is also to eventually fail because the might and force we think
we have is, quite simply, not there.
> Our days of global supremacy are coming to an end - the Euro is now 
> higher than the dollar, Japan is more economically successful than the 
> U.S., China's economic growth and promise has been compared to America's
in the
> 19th century.   The Bush administration has done nothing to consider any
> that - it is not a forward thinking administration, it is a backward one. 
> Gas prices are $3 a gallon in Atlanta - I've heard they're $5 in
> (any Californians care to comment?)   Has no one made the connection? 
> Karey
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: J Rivas-Pita
> To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
> Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 6:36 AM
> Subject: [percy-l] U.S. : Terrorist SuperPower? 
> Dear friends,
> In a quite Percy-vein, let me ask those of you (the majority, I
> suppose) who live in the U.S.: Do you realize that you may be living 
> in a terrorist superpower, by now?
> Not only in the sense that Mr. Bush, à la Hitler, invades countries 
> using fake arguments, but also in that people like this 
> "televangelist" Pat Robertson -who clearly belongs into some nuts
> asylum- can get away with TV appeals to assassinate Venezuela's 
> President without even blushing, saying that Venezuelans supossedly 
> are within U.S.'s "sphere of influence"?
> And all Mr. Rumsfeld and the State Department can say is that 
> Robertson is "a private citizen" entitled to his views... Owning a 
> large fundamentalist "Christian" TV network that reaches a vast 
> audience, by the way (which both Rumsfeld and the State Department 
> conveniently forgot).
> What would you say, for instance, if someone here in Caracas ventured 
> a similar proposal to "take out" Mr. Bush -assuredly a far greater 
> risk for all of us than President Chávez, if only because he has 
> control over thousands of nuclear warheads?
> With all best wishes,
> Julio
> PS. Not a Chávez fan, by the way...
> --
> Be Happy! (Fr. Benito Ballesteros, OSB, 1924-1996) Sé feliz! (P. 
> Benito Ballesteros, OSB, 1924-1996)
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at 
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/percy-l/
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at 
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/percy-l/
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy

Be Happy! (Fr. Benito Ballesteros, OSB, 1924-1996) Sé feliz! (P. Benito
Ballesteros, OSB, 1924-1996)
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