.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

My Photo
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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Finding your inner Bush

Tonight is the State of the Union speech. One of the writers on the Huffington Post is staging a "9/11 Beat the Clock" guessing game for how long it takes Bush to mention the September 11, 2001 attacks. The norm is about 90 seconds. I probably won’t watch. As I have said before, I don’t hate Bush, but I find him revolting, and I’m not in a mood for revulsion. I should record it for times when I need to induce vomiting. Sometimes I eat too much pizza, and a few minutes of Bush could come in handy.

Like a lot of people around the world, I’m subject to thinking these are the worst of times. When this happens I quickly remind myself of the late 60s and early 70s, when Henry Kissinger was wreaking havoc on the planet. Kissinger is actually a personification of perfidy, directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions in places as varied as Vietnam, East Timor, and Chile.

Kissinger, even more so than Bush, is a veritable archetype of the mindset of the overseer, the self-defined Übermeister. Some of the best quotes of this mental state come from Kissinger: "The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves" (quoted here); and "Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." - Henry Kissinger, (quoted in "Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POW’s in Vietnam", quoted here); and "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people." (quoted here).

Saddam Hussein is supposedly the greatest modern example of perfidy, but he has been so fiendified by politicians and news media that he is nearly useless as a model for evil. But Kissinger, he is a media darling, a familiar face on talk shows and news analyses. If someone that commonplace and ordinary can be such a killer, what of any of us?

This is one of the places where I part company with "leftists." To most of them, Kissinger is a "right winger," a "fascist" and a "racist." In fact, none of these terms apply to Henry Kissinger. He is widely known as a "pragmatist," a schemer who plays all sides against each other, and his main interest is his own ego and power. He practiced "Realpolotik,” the art of the practical and doable. Ideology only matters as context for whatever scheme he is involved in. As far as being a "racist," the term only applies if one considers Kissinger himself as a one man race, believing himself superior to everyone else.

Bush, the front man, the presenter of sales pitches, is no Henry Kissinger. We will see a simple-minded speech tonight, filled with platitudes, misstatements, lies, grandiosity, and emotional appeals. But we will not see the level of craftiness, of deviousness, and of complexity of the kind of evil represented by Henry Kissinger. In a way, we should consider ourselves lucky. Except the Bush gang hasn’t finished yet. We would be better to try to understand such men. And painful though it may be to admit, the best way to understand such men is to look within ourselves. We all contain that evil person, and all we have to do to understand such a being is to find him, and to probe his nature. It doesn’t cost anything, and when we do a bit of investigating, we become better able to deal with such people, and to keep from becoming one on the outside.

It may be very painful to find the inner Bush, and I have to admit I haven’t come around to looking myself, but I eventually will. The yogis say we should be beyond attraction and repulsion. I need the practice, so Bush is a perfect subject. Maybe I’ll even watch the speech tonight. If I'm feeling really brave, I might try to find my inner Kissinger. I'll be calling Bush our meatball president in no time.

Friday, January 20, 2006

St. Peter, where are you?

Ulp!I was listening to my favorite radio show yesterday, Stephanie Miller, and in her "Right wing world" segment she played a recording of a "hate radio" call-in show. A caller said he was a U.S. military torturer, and that the most effective method was to put high-pressure hot water into the prisoner’s ear until his eardrum burst. He said the subject would then tell him whatever he wanted to know before doing the procedure on the other ear. The show host very humbly thanked the caller for his "service."

This is what we have come to as a people, as a nation. Actually, minority groups in this country know all too well what their fellow citizens have been willing to do to them. The thing that is different now is the blatancy, the loud aggressiveness that our decline in character manifests. Fox News is the most serious offender, and along with radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh is setting the standard for others to follow. It is no secret that Fox is a propaganda arm of the Republican party, with former Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I employee Roger Ailes serving as its CEO.

It should be clear to anyone with any sense that the Bush regime is a criminal operation of the worst kind, with deceit, theft, mass murder, extortion, bribery, and blackmail among its illegal and immoral activities. It should also be clear that this criminal operation flourishes because of the help it gets from the major news media, corporations, evangelical religious organizations, and the Republican Party. Millions of American people are fooled by the various public relations schemes cooked up by Bush’s minions, and the fooling is reinforced by pounding on news outlets like Fox, but also many more "mainstream" news organizations like CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Indeed, the help of the New York Times in selling the invasion of Iraq was indispensable in gaining approval for the attack.

This won’t last. The Bush crime family will eventually fail. There are too many realities working against them. One that is never mentioned, though, is that it is not normal for people to choose crime as a way of life. At least not ethically normal. In this day and age crime certainly is statistically normal. As commonplace as it may be, crime is not a proper way to live one’s life. It darkens the soul, causes great harm to others, and results in consequences to the perpetrator, either on this plane of activity or afterwards.

Why then, would so many people go to such great lengths to commit such a laundry list of crimes, or to give aid and comfort to their commission? In the most peripheral sense, of course, the answer is for money, power, privilege, and fame. But in a deeper sense, the reason is what in Yoga terms is called delusion. Because, as is noted in the Bible, the flesh is weak, it is easy to mistake personal wealth and power for divine wealth and power. Like the Humphrey Bogart character Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a person can get gold fever, and also power fever, intoxicated with greed and lust for power. The ego and adrenaline rushes that come with money and power can be mistaken for higher states of consciousness. This delusion is sometimes known as ontological error.

It of course is easy to look at the delusion of others as stupidity, and it certainly is, but that doesn’t relieve us of the problem we face. For those of us who know better, who would like for the killing to stop, for the stealing to stop, for the negligence to stop, for the lying to stop, and for all the other wrongdoing of the Bush crime family to stop, we need to make the knowledge we have understandable and believable to the rest of the populace. Arguing, protesting, ridiculing, shaming, exposing, and informing are not enough. Talking about the consequences might get the job done.

When I was growing up I was told that when you die you go to the gates of Heaven, which are guarded by St. Peter. If you have been a good person, he lets you in. If not, he doesn’t let you in, and you have to go elsewhere. None of us really knows what happens when we die, but the St. Peter myth is a good enough metaphor. It illustrates that we reap the consequences of our actions. So for all who participate in the Bush crime family or who give it succor, I say look at the picture above. Do you really want to arrive at the pearly gates and not even be able to try to talk your way in? For the level of criminality of the Bush regime, St. Peter likely will not even be there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ancient warfare

Catapulting the propagandaThe Jack Abramoff scandal is kind of fun to read about, kind of disgusting, and kind of ominous. These people – Abramoff, Norquist, Rove, Reed, Bush – are much more (or less) than criminals and sociopaths. There is a desperation to their criminality, a feverishness, that boggles the mind. They really want power, money, influence and privilege very badly.

There has been much written about Bush’s state of mind. "Bush on the couch" presents the case that George W. Bush is a sadist, driven by a need to retaliate, an alcoholic in denial, irresponsible, paranoid, projecting his destructive fantasies onto others. Capitol Hill Blue has reported on Bush’s mental lapses, temper tantrums, and erratic behavior. And OpEdNews expressed concern about Bush’s claims that he is on a mission from God, and that God tells him what to do.

Whatever Bush’s state of mind, he is an evil presence on Planet Earth, and should not be holding any kind of office, public or private. He should be breaking rocks in the hot sun for the rest of his life.

As far as his cronies, his partners in crime, their particular states of mind are not matters of great interest either. The important thing is that they should be on the same chain gang as Bush. Hooh…aah! That’s the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang! Hooh…aah! That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang (Apologies to Sam Cooke). Visualization, then actualization.

This is no time to be complacent, though. Numerous reports are appearing that the Bush gang is planning to attack Iran with nuclear weapons. Partly, this has been the plan all along, the next step in the Project for the New American Century’s scheme to take over the world. The added frenzy can be accounted for by the Bush crime family’s desperation to stay one step ahead of the law.

It will remain to be seen if public and international pressure, criminal prosecution, media exposure and criticism, and wild card events will be able to stop Bush’s attack on Iran. The corporate news media, though increasingly challenging the criminal Bush regime, are still providing cover and interference for it, however futilely. Wolf Blitzer of CNN got publicly shamed by Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean the other day after trying to connect Democrats to Jack Abramoff.

In other words, there is a system of criminality and support for criminality in the United States. The Bush crime family operates within a protection network of legislators, news media, the court system, intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and individual and corporate money suppliers. Internationally there is also a support network of politicians like Tony Blair of Great Britain, Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and John Howard of Australia; international corporations that benefit from war, pollution, gun running, and control of oil; dictatorial regimes in the Mideast; and, of course, Israel.

Indeed, Israel is the most unfortunate ally of the Bush crime family. Founded in the wake of the World War II atrocity, the country has benefited for decades from the guilt capital it has with the civilized world. It could have been a beacon of light for the entire planet, but has instead descended into the nether regions of brutality, oppression, and paranoia. Given the hostility of the neighborhood, the path Israel has taken is understandable, but that doesn’t make it something to be admired. Now Israel is reported to be the main accomplice in the impending attack on Iran.

What about us, the broad masses of people on the planet who haven’t been asked about starting a nuclear war? Are we mere spectators to this madness, with no say in the matter? Apparently. We can march, write to our elected representatives, write letters to the editor, and in some cases try to disrupt the "business as usual" of everyday life. But mostly we are hostage to the mass system. It is set up that way.

But the situation is not hopeless. The network of support for the Bush crime family just might be having second thoughts. It is one thing to plot attacks on other countries. What follows, as we are seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan, is another thing entirely.

Given the fragility of oil supplies worldwide, our European "allies" might have a misgiving or two about getting on the Bush World War III bandwagon, however secret the bandwagon may be. Soulless corporations, in other words corporations, might be a tad uneasy about the likely economic disruptions that would result from another war. Dictatorial regimes throughout the Mideast would likely fall, their populations inflamed by yet another "crusade." Indeed, regimes in the "free" world would not have such an easy time, with simmering social unrest likely to reach the boiling point. The populations of Europe and the Mideast will be the ones to bear the brunt of the radiation that is spread by a nuclear attack, and are not likely to accept it without a fight.

So the real burden of consequence rests immediately on the ruling elites of Planet Earth. They all know that the Bush regime is a criminal operation, and that it is now desperately trying to salvage its dream of world domination, and at the same time is desperately trying to stay out of jail. Even though large corporations are essentially criminal operations themselves, they know when their own survival is at stake. Oppressive regimes are also criminal operations, but they also know when their own survival is at stake. Tony Blair and John Howard, morally bankrupt though they may be, know that a nuclear attack and/or war would likely result in their fall from power, and worse. In Blair’s case in particular, he knows he is vulnerable to prosecution as a war criminal, and he faces a risk of imprisonment.

This is all in the context that the power structure of the planet is faced with solving the problems of climate change, pandemics such as Bird Flu and AIDS, environmental degradation, overpopulation, and the fact that the worldwide economic complex is an infinite growth system on a finite planet. The planet, being finite, does not have the resource capacity for infinite growth. Almost needless to say, it especially cannot grow infinitely on an energy system that is fossil fuel based. If we don’t solve these problems, we suffer the fate of failed civilizations throughout history. We become history.

So even if the Bush crime family succeeds, it fails. Indeed, if the impending attack and/or invasion of Iran does "succeed," it will accelerate either the demise of world civilization or the saving of world civilization. Whether civilization is saved or destroyed, it is safe to say that it will not be ruled by the Bush criminal organization.

Given this reality, Bush’s only hope is to "catapult the propaganda" in a desperate and vain attempt to make his "dream" work. It’s all or nothing for him. The long arm of the law is reaching for him, his wars are not working, worldwide problems are calling for solutions, and the disruption and distraction of another war are all he has. If his catapult doesn’t work, he just might find himself catapulted into prison, and his support network just might go there with him. Such an irony. In the nuclear age, the biggest battles are being fought with catapults.