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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Juxtapositions

While scouting around the web today I found some interesting stories. One (http://www.buzzflash.com/farrell/04/12/far04041.html) was about the use by Hitler of religion and the Catholic Church to further his efforts. Another pair of articles (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/12/08/coverup/index.html,
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/12/07/prisoner.abuse.ap/index.html) were on the methods used by the U.S. military to silence dissenters of its torture methods.

I could have picked any number of juxtapositions of stories to write about, but these will do nicely. The parallel between Hitler’s use of moral and religious authority to provide propaganda cover for his criminal campaign is eerily similar to what is going on in the U.S. today. The ready use of criminal abuse of prisoners is also eerily similar.

But what is most useful about these stories is what they say about the slippery path a country can slide down when it abandons its standards. Standards of morality, ethics, civility, decency, respect, mutuality, reciprocity, entertainment, law enforcement, justice, government, journalism, business, education, religion, and etc., etc., etc., are all out the window.

The Catholic Church colluded with Hitler, and now they collude with Bush. I especially got a laugh out of the Bishops giving the Sieg Heil salute on the Nazi photos site (http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm). They are nothing if not consistent. Little boys, Hitler, and Bush. I grew up in the Catholic Church, and even graduated from a Catholic college, so I know of whence I speak. Much good is done by individuals and groups within the auspices of the Catholic Church, but the basis, the reason for being, of the Church, is authority. The hierarchy of Catholicism would like to go back to the good old days of the “Holy Roman Empire,” but will always settle for authority over its members - to the threat of eternal damnation, and whatever scraps of authority or influence it can muster over the rest of the world.

The threat to withhold Holy Communion from John Kerry was but the most blatant example of this addiction to authority. This wasn’t so much a message to Kerry as a message to all Catholics: that access to the Divine can be given and access can be taken away. It’s all hokum, of course, but that doesn’t slow them down a bit. If nothing else, the Church hierarchy needs to create a diversion from its P.R. troubles with the ongoing child molestation scandal.

This is just one example of the times in which we live. We can look anywhere and find holograms of the general malaise. I watched David Letterman for a while last week, and he joked about a new think tank for Democratic losers, and things they could do to lose again. One of the proposals was about nominating someone whose wife is a “nut-job ketchup lady.” Who in this entire planet is David Letterman to be calling anyone a “nut-job?” He makes his living trashing people. His counterpart on NBC is just as bad, and both of them have a nightly slam on Martha Stewart. We have a sociopath for president, a criminal organization running the Federal Government, the movie actor son of a Nazi governing one of our largest states, the environment is being destroyed, the economy is tanking, and the biggest threat to society these supposed funnymen can come up with is Martha Stewart. Steve Allen and Ernie Kovacs must be turning over in their graves.

The ongoing prisoner abuse/torture/murder scandals put this problem in sharper focus. We were never threatened by Iraq, or, for that matter, Afghanistan. Saddam Hussein was our boy, helped all along the way in his political career by the CIA and U.S. policy. It was criminal to support him from day one, but our government supported him up to Gulf War I, and corporations like Dick Cheney’s Halliburton supported him until the start of the current war on Iraq. The first Gulf War was not needed any more than this one was, but was a large scale Mafia-style doublecross. Saddam Hussein was no longer useful to the criminal interests of U.S. policymakers. These policymakers in the first Bush administration cared not about the safety and security of the people of the United States, or of anyone anywhere else, except themselves. They cared about their own power, influence, and wealth, and the same is true today.

When standards at the top are discarded, it should be no surprise that standards all the way down the line are also discarded. In the case of the military, whether it is the “Shock and awe” bombing, the intentional killing of civilians, the destruction of water, sewage, electrical power, and telephone communications, the spreading of depleted uranium (http://www.sfbayview.com/081804/Depleteduranium081804.shtml) throughout the country, or the abuse, torture, and murder of prisoners, the common theme is lack of standards. It is at least a matter of some encouragement that some soldiers are resisting this evil, and that some honorable journalism is taking place (Consortium News, Robert Fisk, Greg Palast, Alternative Press Review, News Alternative, Global Free Press, Online Journal, Salon, and many others).

I don’t end these analyses with hand-wringing, whining, sky is falling, woe is us lamentations. There is cause for optimism. Optimism with eyes wide open, though. Criminals do not get away with their crimes. It all balances out in the end. We are living witness to the playing out of the greatest criminal operation in history. The degeneration of an entire culture is taking place in front of our very eyes, on television, radio, the Internet, in newspapers, DVD, VHS, video games, and in media delivery systems that are only just beginning. We will, if we stick around long enough, see the dénouement of this degeneration, and of the criminal operation that both fosters it and feeds on it. This is a symbiotic relationship, and one way we will be able to tell when the dénouement has been reached is when David Letterman and Jay Leno are no longer seen as worthwhile entertainment. Of course, by that time other concerns will make the dénouement more obvious.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dave Budge said...

A young monk was meditating on a mountain when his spirituality ignited in him a haiku. Loosely translated it read:

As I sit here
one with the universe
nothing can move me

Satisified that he had inched forward on the path of enlightenment he decided to send the poem to his master who lived far north in China.

Some months later his letter was returned from the master with writing in the masters hand. It read "fart, fart, fart, fart."

Confused by this, the young monk decided that it was necessary to make the long pilgrimage to visit with the master to find out what he meant by the banal notations.

The journey took several weeks but once the young monk found his way to his masters house he was confident the difficult trip was worthwhile.

Upon seeing his master he queried him with his poem in hand. He said "Master, I was sure you would appreciate my poem. Why did you write these words?"

The master replied "Read me the poem."

Dutifully the monk read
"As I sit here
one with the universe
nothing can move me."

The master them replied "Ha! All I had to do was fart four times and I blew you all the way to north China."


In your writing and, more importantly, thinking remember this: Man's fatal flaw is taking as fact only what he believes to be true.

You are not a "Bush hater?" Your juxtapostions speak a different heart. Perhaps it is simply what you believe to be true.

12/15/2004 8:09 PM  
Blogger John Hamilton said...

My first comment. Fittingly, from one who lives in the two-factor world of "Bush haters" and "Americans." The supposed parable of course had nothing to do with anything, just a typical arrogant Western parody of perennial philosophies.

I didn't hate Jeffrey Dahmer, John Gacy, or Ted Bundy either, though I wouldn't want to have been around them. The recognition of the sociopathy of George W. Bush does not equate to hatred. It is a matter of perception, of accurate assessment of a lifetime of antisocial behavior. It will become clearer, in the coming days, what we as a nation have done. The presidency was there for the taking by any group criminal enough to stop at nothing to seize office. As those knowledgeable about con artists have observed, it takes a bit of a crook to fall for the con. The mark has to expect to get something for nothing. In a brief attempt at a cold sales job, one of the trainers posed the question of who are the easiest people to sell to. The answer, my friend, was other salesmen. By the way, I have some land in Arizona you might be interested in. If you'd like to be the sole owner of the Brooklyn Bridge, that also can be arranged.

12/17/2004 12:19 PM  

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