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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, February 22, 2006

The new world order

An Arab man enjoying a bit of sun.America is getting another geography lesson this week. The change of ownership of the management of major U.S. seaports to a company headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates had many of us rushing to our world atlases. Pundits, semi-pundits, pundit wannabes, politicians, politician wannabes - all pretended to know where Dubai is, where the United Arab Emirates is, and the nature of the country’s culture and institutions. If you happen to not be one of these self-styled experts, a map of the Mideast can be seen here. I had to do a bit of Googling just to find out that Dubai is a city, and the United Arab Emirates is a country, and I suspect that these various experts are in no better level of expertise.

The fear that is being expressed and promoted is that the Dubai management company will pave the way for terrorists to enter the United States. This is a valid concern, in a very crude sense: Ugh! Dubai is Arab city. Arabs attack World Trade Center. Must stop Arabs. If your view of Arabs goes no farther than calling them "rag-heads," or "diaper-heads," then you are indeed threatened. Threatened by people who know how to protect themselves from the desert sun. That’s like being threatened by people who know when to go to the bathroom, and what to do when they get there. In other words, threatened by anyone else.

What this attitude presumes is several fictions. First, and most overarching, is that the United States of America is threatened by "terrorists." By definition, those who practice "terrorism" do it as a way of life, a profession in a way, an "ism" by which they derive their sense of self-worth and contribution to society. There is no content to the terrorists’ belief system other than to kill and scare people, create mayhem, and fulfill their "hatred of freedom." What Osama bin Laden has said repeatedly is that the "Infidels" - the Americans - should get out of Saudi Arabia, and stop sponsoring the oppression of the Palestinian people. Whether you agree with his demands or not, if you do not recognize that these are the issues on which the "terrorism" is perpetrated, then you have other agendas, and will only support incompetent and hypocritical "solutions."

Because the Bush crime family has promoted this fiction for almost five years, they are now experiencing the come-around of their go-around. They have boxed themselves in by characterizing the September 11, 2001 attacks so simplistically, and purely for propaganda purposes. The poor, poor Bush crime family. This is only the beginning of its reaping.

Just for a little reality check, the September 11 hijackers, if indeed what happened is what we have been told happened, were highly dedicated soldiers for a cause, however misguided. The cause itself, radical Sunni Islam, though deluded, has its real source in other grievances. The European powers have meddled in the Mideast for a long time, most acutely in the past 100 years or so. Kingdoms have been overthrown and created, dictatorships have been installed, royal families have been created, countries have been formed from thin air, it seems, and resources have been seized.

Because the dynamics of human interaction do not tend to obey the naïve predictions of the rich and powerful, the actions and attitudes of people often manifest in surprising and troubling ways. Most immediately, people in conquered "nations" then become subjects of the conqueror, and gradually travel to and become citizens of the conquering power. All the European powers, as well as the U.S., have large Arab, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and numerous other ethnic populations. Most retain contact with their home "countries." If you don’t like all these "others," don’t mess with them - don’t set up dictatorships, don’t conquer them, don’t subvert their governments and way of life. Treat them as equal human beings.

In the case of the Bush crime family, their interactions around the world bear special care and scrutiny, because most people on the planet are not criminals, so the BCF's activities have an asymmetrical quality: criminals hustling and/or doing harm to non-criminals.

A perfect example will manifest in the coming days, as the involvement of the Carlyle Group in the Dubai deal will become clearer. Among the Carlyle group's members are former president George H.W. Bush, former British Prime Minister John Major, former Secretary of State James Baker, and former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci. For bipartisan balance, Alice Albright, the daughter of former Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, is also a member. Clinton's former Chief of Staff, Mack McLarty, is a member.

Another fiction, also promoted by the Bush crime family, is that the "United States" is an entity that exists as a holistic unit - that its land, citizenry, government, and business infrastructure are all woven together in a seamless web, part and whole interconnected to provide the maximum good for the maximum number of people.

Anyone who "believes" this silliness is either mentally challenged or complicit in the Bush crime family’s overall perfidy. In other words, the clueless and the corrupt. What "nationhood" amounts to in this day and age is a ruse to generate enough support to have a military capacity, much like the "muscle" of a criminal gang. The Iraq war is a good case in point. The brave soldiers who have fought and died there are beginning to realize that they have been played for suckers, conditioned to believe that they are fighting for "freedom," to stop "terrorism," to avenge the September 11 attacks, and to stop our former ally Saddam Hussein from using his imaginary weapons of mass destruction on us.

By cleverly manipulating public fears and anger, the Bush crime family has been able to invade two countries, enact a system of torture and unlawful imprisonment, violate the U.S. Constitution with a domestic spying capacity, and enrich its friends and supporters through crony profiteering contracts in Iraq, and domestically in the states bordered by the Gulf of Mexico.

The greatest fiction, interconnected with the fiction of nationhood, is that in the modern world of multinational capitalism, "companies," or "corporations," are entities of nations, with their loyalties identical to the interests of the nations in which they are based. As the Dubai purchase is showing, the real loyalty in today’s economic world is to money. For whatever reason, the British company that "owns" the operation of the U.S. seaports chose to sell their interest to the Dubai Ports World conglomerate.

The new Arab owners are not the dispossessed, discontented masses of the Arab world. They’re a bunch of rich guys. They are part of the ruling elite of the United Arab Emirates. Several of them are likely to be emirs. Royalty. Their interest is in having more money and status than they already have. It’s never enough for rich people. By owning the port operations, they are declaring their faith and support for the health of the American economy. As the economy of the United States thrives, they thrive.

So along with the geography lesson, "Americans" would do well to study the nature of the modern world economic juggernaut. You are right to have fears, but fear what is actually going on. On a worldwide scale, modern industrial capitalism is about the rich becoming richer, about 99-plus percent of the people on this planet being held hostage to the whims of the rich, about destruction of the planet’s ecosystem, and about the spread of military mayhem as both a diversion and a tool of real terrorism.

This is actually a time of great promise and opportunity. As the uproar over the Dubai purchase is showing, a criminal enterprise will reap what it sows in surprising and comical ways. Indeed, it’s all downhill from now on for the Bush crime family. Dick Cheney is now finished, thanks to his habits of lying, secrecy, arrogance, and contempt for the law. Bush, equally dishonest, secretive, arrogant, and contemptuous of the law, is pretty much on his own. His Rasputin, Karl Rove, is only capable of criminal schemes, and his pending schemes will only dig Bush in deeper.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the current world economic order has to be changed, and for the better. If we don’t start talking about the order we would like to have, our only option is a deepening of the chaos, planetary destruction, and maldistribution of resources that we now have.

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