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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.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

This mean you

Blair and Bush in Washington, July 28, 2006A few things should be obvious from this weekend's news. One is that the "United States," "Britain," and "Israel" are viewed as pariah states by many, if not most of the people on this planet. Though it is the ruling regimes of these countries that are responsible for the worldwide revulsion and anger, it is the citizens who must bear the burden.

Nothing happens in isolation. Whatever this triumvirate of regimes has planned for creating mayhem on the planet, it will always be in the context of Global Warming and its environmental consequences. For instance, the fact that over 60 percent of the U.S. is in a drought condition has been reported. This situation can now be added to the problems of hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and threats to wildlife, most significantly sea life.

And of course at the center of it all is oil. Petroleum. Fossil fuel. Black gold. Texas tea. Bubblin' crude. It is getting harder to find, more expensive, and its waste products are destroying the ecosphere. Men have cried about it. Men have lied about it. Men have died about it. What will they do when all that's left is a spoonful?

The dominant factor in the international pariahness of these three countries is the "American" structure of power. How is it, one might ask, that the "United States of America," the world's greatest success story (at least according to internal legend), could reach the point of being an international criminal force, and the chief impediment to solving the problems caused by climate change?

The answer is very simple. The "U.S." is run by criminals. Mass murderers. Liars. Thieves. Cutthroats. Cowards. Extortionists. Blackmailers. Torturers. Voyeurs. Cheats. Illusionists. Moral imbeciles. Ethical imbeciles. Perceptual imbeciles - they believe that sex, power, and money are the essence of life. They will settle for power and money.

Condoleeza Rice meeting with 'Israeli' defense minister Amir Peretz in Jerusalem, July 29, 2006Because of the support, prodding, and example of the power structure of the "U.S.," both "Great Britain" and "Israel" are empowered and emboldened to either assist in wreaking havoc as in the case of "Great Britain," and to wreak its own havoc in the case of "Israel."

At the very core of the problem in the "U.S." is the seeming impunity of the Bush criminal regime. Well in advance of the 2000 election, the plans for stealing the election were in place. Also in place was the plan for invading and occupying Iraq. What other plans were in place we have yet to find out, but I suspect they are not for the wellness of mankind or the biosphere.

Whatever criminal plans the Bush crime family has for the planet, these plans are vitally connected to the gang's hold on power. From the BCF's point of view, the Republicans must retain control of the Congress in this fall's election. An article purloined in Smirking Chimp sheds light on why. The Bush crime family knows what it is. They know that they are all criminals of the worst sort, and that the long arm of the law will eventually reach for them, one and all.

As criminals tend to do, running from the law is the Bush regime's main focus. Bush has attempted to pack the Supreme Court with toadies, with some success. He has also tried to pack the Federal judiciary with toadies, again with some success. How much in both these cases remains to be seen.

If what the Dave Lindorff article says is true, then plans are underway to give the Bush syndicate legal cover for war and various other crimes. To get such laws passed, they either have to have hurried-up sessions of Congress or win big in November.

So on the domestic front we can expect a dirty campaign of the worst sort. Given that the Bush crime family is a murderous gang of historic proportions, we can expect a mysterious death or two, just like Carnahan and Wellstone. Smear campaigns ala the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" will proliferate. And of course the purging of voter rolls, voter intimidation, absent ballot boxes in minority neighborhoods, and electronic voting machine chicanery can also be expected in great intensity.

And let's not forget the likelihood of an "October surprise." One thing in truth's favor is that the Bush gang has alienated the intelligence community, and they can do much to foil any September 11-type schemes.

If the Democrats win, of course, there's no guarantee that justice will be served. They are part of the same corrupt system that produced the Bush crime family. What we can be sure of, though, is that the schemes the BCF uses to avoid prosecution and incarceration (or worse - well deserved executions) will be much more difficult.

Then Bush and his cronies will have to figure out a ruse to stay in power, or to at least give themselves pardons. I fully expect Bush to gin up some excuse for declaring martial law, suspend the Constitution, and cancel the 2006 election.

A U.N armoured car is parked near rubble after an Israeli air raid in Qana, 6 km (4 miles) from the port-city of Tyre (Soure), in south Lebanon, July 30, 2006. REUTERS/Zohra BensemraIt is likely not to work. The planet has had enough of Bush and his band of bandits. The "American" people have had about enough of him. He is a weak person, psychologically, morally, ethically, and physically. He is a drug and alcohol addict, probably from a very early age. He has to get up every morning and be the worst criminal on Earth. That's not an easy job. He will crack under the pressure. He doesn't have the strength of Richard Nixon, and Nixon cracked.

The rest of the Bush gang will crack too. They are mostly old, weak, shallow human beings. When the going gets really rough, they will cave. Even supposed "Darth Vader" Dick Cheney. Like the rest of this gang, he has feet of clay. A heart of clay too. He might be the last to crack, but he also might be the first.

Condoleeza Rice in her essenceThe most likely to cave is Condoleeza Rice. I noticed in the first Cabinet meeting after the September 11, 2001 attacks that she was the one person present who looked ashamed and fearful of blame. She doesn't have the personal armor for public exposure and condemnation.

This will all be interesting to watch, but we must do more than watch. It is abundantly clear that a criminal gang controls the U.S. Federal government. This gang has to be stopped if we are to have a future free of misery, disease, starvation, and oppression. These criminals don't care one bit about you or me. They care about themselves and their criminal activities.

The best place to start is on the local level. If we all make sure this fall's election is clean at the local level, it will be harder to steal it on a national level.

Extreme pressure can be brought to bear on elected officials to behave as statesmen and stateswomen. The "Israeli" lobby should have no place in controlling "U.S." elections.

Extreme pressure can be brought to bear on the corporations that sponsor the Bush crime family. Lawsuits, stockholder actions, boycotts, public exposure, and pressure on suppliers, media advertisers, investors, and government enablers can all be initiated.

Of paramount importance is bringing to justice the various hate-mongerers in the news and publishing industries. At the very least, the license of Fox News should be revoked, and its owner, Rupert Murdoch should be prosecuted for subornation of treason, slander, and incitement. He should be imprisoned and have his fast-track citizenship revoked. The CEO of Fox, Roger Ailes, should also be prosecuted. And of course its minions, beginning with Oliver North, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity. These prosecutions are likely to happen only after the Bush crime family is brought to justice, but they should not be forgotten.

There's a lot more that can be done that I can't think of, but now is a very critical time. No one is left out in the consequences of this criminal nightmare, and no one should be left out in ending it. I worked in a corn cannery one summer (for two days), and in the filthy washroom there was a sign on the wall that read "All employees must wash hands before returning to work." Scrawled in red paint above the notice were the words "This mean you." The same can be said today, in a much larger sense. This includes the people of "Great Britain." You have your own international criminals to deal with. Show us the way.

Here's a link to a letter you can write: Link

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Something worth reading

Two brothers from the Shaito family waited Sunday at a hospital in Tyre, Lebanon. Three of their relatives died while fleeing north when their van was struck by an Israeli missile. (New York Times, 7/23/06)Sometimes I run across something so insightful and well written that it deserves wider notice. I'm not sure this blog will give it wider notice, but if you click here, I think you will be glad you did. Great truth has a way of cutting through frustration and pessimism. The Smirking Chimp version works better on browsers than the original, for some strange reason (You might want to avoid the comments section, lest you return to frustration and pessimism). Suffice it to say that the Glasgow Sunday Herald is a worthy part of any decent person's reading material.

July 29:

Here's something extra for a little light reading. Click here for a nice song to listen to while reading.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

No child left behind

The 'Mideast powderkeg,' now starting to explodeIn February I wrote about the changing relationships of different "nations" and peoples on the planet, and linked to a map of the “Mideast” which highlights individual countries. I knew “Israel” was small relative to most other countries in the region, but seeing it in relief made the smallness pretty startling.

For a long time I have been saddened and angered by the behavior of “Israel” toward the “Palestinians,” of its ambitions in the region, of its relationships with other countries in the region, and its curious symbiotic co-dependency on the ruling elites of the “United States.” Because “Israel” is in possession of atomic weapons, the simmering feuds with other countries, Iran in particular, have the potential of igniting a nuclear war. I was surprised, then, at my reaction to looking at the map.

The rightness or wrongness of Israel’s behavior (I should say of the ruling structure of the State of “Israel”) receded into the background, and I started to see things from the perspective of “Israel” looking out.

The programmed response from American doctrinaire “leftists” is that “Israel” was created by the utopian dreams of “Zionists,” who believed that the land “Israel” now occupies belongs to them, because it is the ancient home of the “Jewish” people. According to “leftist” doctrine, the land belongs to the “Palestinians,” and their rights are being violated.

This is a true representation of the facts, as far as I can tell, but it only tells part of the story. Partial truth, I’m afraid, is one of the scourges of modern times.

Whatever the roots of “Zionism,” it is a pretty undeniable fact that the World War II extermination plan of Adolf Hitler et. al. was the largest scale attempt to eliminate an entire people in history. Actually, they tried to eliminate several peoples - “Jews,” “Gypsies” (“Roma”), and “homosexuals.” They also were executing the mentally ill and retarded, and people with birth defects, dwarfs, etc. But the main target of their extermination scheme was the “Jewish” people. It is further undeniable that the scale of the mass murder is the single greatest factor in the settlement of and statehood granted to Israel. With an attitude of “never again,” the nation of “Israel” has amassed the strongest, toughest military in the Mideast, superior to that of almost any country on the planet. They have the most effective, competent intelligence agency in the world, the “Mossad,” which even spies on the “United States.” And, thanks largely to their influx of “Soviet” nuclear scientists, who fled the oppression in their home country, “Israel” has a nuclear arsenal as advanced and potent as exists anywhere.

Ever since the establishment of the “Jewish” state, “Israel” has faced the enmity of its neighbors – “Lebanon” to the north, “Syria” to the northwest, “Jordan” to the west and south, and “Egypt” to the east and southeast. It is almost beyond comprehension that millions of people around the world would want to settle in such a hostile region, but “Israelis” consider the land theirs, and that it is sacred land, the “Holy Land.” “Christians” also believe it is the “Holy Land.” I’ve always wondered if that means that the land of, say, Keokuk or Aliquippa is profane land. Is any land on this planet more sacred than any other? The basis for the presumed sacredness is that people lived there centuries ago, and surprise of surprises, they were “Jewish.” Actually, there were twelve tribes of “Israel,” of which the “Judeans” were only one. Since none of the other tribes have come forward to seize the “Holy Land,” the “Judeans,” or at least the professed descendents of the “Judeans,” lay claim to the whole area by what can be called “evictors' squatter's rights.”

If World War II had not happened, and thence the “Holocaust” also had not happened, the prominence of the State of “Israel” would not be what it is today. Indeed, if there is anything that Adolf Hitler and his band of strange people “accomplished,” it was to instill a “Jewish” identity and national spirit among people of “Hebrew” descent and/or religion. The scale of the mayhem, especially after centuries of abuse, united the “Jewish” people like nothing else could. It also emboldened them, especially in “Israel,” to have the attitude of “never again,” and to respond overwhelmingly to any perceived threat, domestic or foreign, real or imagined. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it? One difference between "Israeili" policy and “American” policy is that “Israel” actually is surrounded by threats. Ours are threats of opportunity. The opportunity to seize Iraq's oil created its own motive. The method was lies, fear mongering, and brutality.

The Palestinian Authority Headquarters in Nablus, attacked by Israeli forces July 21, 2006That resolve has been tested many times, in wars, “Intifadas,” suicide bombings, and in international condemnation and ostracism. It is again being tested, in what may be the beginning of the final test. The instability of the governments in the region has been intensified by the imperial ambitions of the Bush crime family. The “Shock and awe” invasion and occupation of Iraq has fueled “Arab” anger and resentment, to say nothing of anger and resentment worldwide. What Bush’s meddling in the “Mideast” has done is to put the pent up frustration and anger into overdrive, to take rationality and restraint out of the picture completely.

George W. Bush is a fight starter. Because he, personally a coward, has the backing of major corporations, the military, and enough of the compromised, unintelligent, intemperate, and fanatical segments of the population, he is able to act as a bully both domestically and internationally. And act he does, with a resulting utter failure that is both predictable and tragic. Since the inception of the “United States of America,” the “country” established with the highest set of principles in human history, it has progressed to become the world leader in economic prosperity and military righteousness, the dominant factor in victories in the only two “world wars” in the presence of the human species on this planet.

All of that power and prestige has literally been tossed out the window. Our military is now so powerful that it is scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel for recruits, taking neo-Nazis, people with criminal records, and with low mental test scores. The result is what we are seeing in Iraq – wanton rape and killing of innocent civilians. Our economy is teetering on collapse, for a number of reasons. For just one example, We owe too much. Thanks to Bush’s imperial thrust (pretty obviously some sort of compensation for real inadequacy going on there), the amount of borrowing from foreign “countries,” especially “China,” has reached for the stars, so to speak. The amount of debt held by individuals is about to reach a crisis stage. And the amount of debt to the environment is in a chronic crisis stage. Wildfires, hurricanes, floods, soil erosion, depletion and poisoning, urban sprawl, overpopulation, extinction, and befouling of the nest have all made humankind an unwelcome presence on the planet. Again, it is the “United States” that has been the “leader” in this onslaught on the ecosystem. And there has been no better “leader” in this onslaught than George W. Bush.

This all kind of begs the question, doesn’t it? “Conservatives,” are you happy with what you have wrought? Are you satisfied with what you have “conserved?” And most especially, “neo” “conservatives.” Are you happy with what you have “neoed?” Are your grandchildren busy writing those songs about you? Are not just the people of “Iraq,” but “Arabs” throughout the region busying themselves planting flowers to throw at you, should you deign to parade yourselves through their streets? And here at home, are you ecstatic about the great future you have molded for the “American” people? Has the wealth you have gathered for yourself and your cronies made “all boats rise,” as if you ever cared? Has your ability to lie repeatedly on Fox “News” brought you closer to “God?”

It is well-known throughout the world just what the nature of the Bush crime family is. For both “Americans” and the rest of the planet, the real question is what to do to insure that the human species has a future, a future of decency and harmony with the ecosystem, with a reasonable level of subsistence. A lot is being done already, mostly on the micro level, with fair trade organizations, organic agriculture, biofuels, human rights organizations, peace activism, healthcare advocacy, pursuit of genuine spirituality, and myriads of other activities. The groundwork is there. For the groundwork to replace the madness that predominates all that is required is for a power realignment – from corporatism and “for the few-ism” to “small is beautiful-ism” and “for the many-ism.” From arrogance towards nature and people to humility. For Bush and his ilk, of course, the only way to instill that humility is prison, their rightful place. As Ken Lay showed us, just the thought of humility is enough to horrify most of them unto death. Not to worry. They’ll all be back, either in another, humbler form, or we may see thousands of them in burlap clothing spreading cinders in front of churches. It would be a sight to see.

SouthernBeirut, July 18, 2006For the people of “Israel,” I would advise putting your “never again” stance in a wider perspective. Given the igniting powder keg in your region and the likelihood that it will get worse, do you really have the luxury of such militancy, and such disdain for the lives of people you perceive as being “other” than yourselves? Is it absolutely, positively vital to your existence that you identify intensely with being “Jewish,” accepting the “otherness” cast upon you by Adolph Hitler and persecutors before him, mainly “Christian,” “Roman,” and ancient “Egyptian?” Are you really “God’s chosen people?” Does “God” really “choose” people? How does that happen? Is it like choosing up sides for a baseball game, where “God” tosses a bat, and someone catches it, and then “God” and that “person” alternate grabbing the bat until they reach the top, the last “person” getting first choice? “God” of course “wins,” and gets first “choice,” and “chooses” the “Jewish” people?

Is the luxury of such grandiosity and paranoia a winning combination in the context of Global Warming and the impending dénouement of the “American” dominance on the world scene? Is time on your side? Is the planet on your side? Is “God” on your side?

Is it worth risking your future by tying your fortunes to those of the Bush crime family?

This is of course a great burden to place on the people of “Israel.” “Win” or “lose,” they are in the thick of it, and there is no easy way out. For others on the planet, there is also no easy way out. It is tempting for many, especially those with a history of hatred of the “Jewish” people, to retreat to what is inappropriately called “anti-Semitism.” The term “Semite” actually refers to all the peoples of the “Mideast,” (except for the Iranians, who are of “Aryan” ancestry) so to be an “anti-Semite” is to hate almost everyone who lives there or descends from that region. Needless to say, this emotional disposition is abundant in “America,” mostly among “Conservatives” and especially among their less intelligent and fanatical minions, religious or otherwise.

This begs a similar set of question for people worldwide, and for “Americans” in particular. Do you really have the option for such hatred? Is this an attitude that is likely to achieve a positive result? Do the lives of your children and your children’s children mean anything to you? Is “God’s” benevolence and mercy meant only for you? Do you really think that “God” is that stupid? Even if you are that stupid, is it really worth the gamble that the certainty you have in your head is proof enough that you can’t possibly be wrong? It doesn't take much intelligence to have an ego, but it is enough to enable all the perfidy that humans are capable of.

Enough said on that little issue. We’ll find out soon enough. What I would remind “anti-Semites” is that our world civilization would not be much without the contributions of “Jews.” Jesus (His real name apparently was “Yeshua.”), of course, was the greatest influence. Other names that come up for me offhand are Albert Einstein, Leonard Bernstein, Barry Commoner, Bob Dylan, Karl Marx, Groucho Marx, Itzhak Perlman, Yehudi Menuhin, Mordechai Vanunu, Norman Mailer, Daniel Barenboim, Seymour Hersh, Arthur Miller, Jerry Wurf, Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold, Paul Newman, Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg, Al Franken, Jon Stewart, Paul Samuelson, Saul Alinsky, Jonas Salk, George Soros, Steven Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, and Noam Chomsky. That is just to name a few. My two favorite movie actresses are “Jews,” – Goldie Hawn and Winona Ryder. I worked at Grossinger's in 1979. (To investigate further the contributions of “Jews” to human history, click here and here.)

Russ Feingold and me, 2003I don’t claim to be a “pro-Semite” or an “anti-Semite.” I simply don’t recognize the distinction as having any meaning. My attitude can best be described as some combination of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and “U2’s” “One.” It kind of grates me to give any credence to U2. Though most of my ancestry is indigenous “Irish,” I haven’t been much of a fan of this band, and especially its “leader.” Too much of too much. “Imagine” isn’t one of my favorite songs either, but the words fit closer to how I look at the world than any other I can think of. The Grateful Dead’s “Ripple” is probably the most pertinent to my own path in the grand scheme of things. I am writing this post while listening to "Garcia plays Dylan." (If you follow the links you can sample the songs. Try "She belongs to me.")

But I digress. As I have said before in this blog in a variety of ways, we are at a great crossroads in human history. A turning point of momentous importance and difficulty. A shift in consciousness and of the way we do things on this planet. That is, if we are to survive as a species. To many, their self-created super-identity with some illusionary faction of humanity is more vital and urgent than the survival of “homo sapiens.” We are enduring the ultimate test of the intelligence or stupidity of the “human” species. Whether or not we pass the test is unclear. Like Bush’s “No child left behind” scheme, passing the test will be the determinant of the reward or punishment we will receive. Unlike Bush’s “No child left behind” scheme, this test is for real. And it is timed.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The ideal candidate

I went to a family gathering a few weeks ago, and was discussing with a cousin the subject of who would be a good presidential candidate. I told her I would like to see someone who looks like a president. Someone like Franklin D. Roosevelt. Or Eisenhower. Or JFK. For example, I like Howard Dean, but he would be tiresome to look at fairly soon, for reasons I won't go into. My favorite is Jay Rockefeller - a good, honorable senator, and you can easily see him talking to the nation in an intelligent and reassuring manner. But he wouldn't be a good candidate either, again for reasons I won't go into.

Isn't there anyone out there who would be a good or even great president, and who looks like a president? Hmm. Yes. There is. How about a real national hero, someone who stood up to the two worst criminals on the world scene, someone who knows diplomacy first hand in the most difficult of circumstances, someone who would restore the honor and respect in the world for United States, which has been destroyed over the past 5 1/2 years, and someone who has a beautiful wife who is also a national hero? And, he looks like a president. Now I don't want to tell anyone what to think, so maybe you can figure out for yourself who that ideal candidate might be.

Look below for the ideal candidate

(Look in the July archive to see where the arrow points.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Countervailing power

Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame, patriots both, in the truest sense.When I was a graduate student in Economics a CIA recruiter quietly came to town. Or maybe not. My memory is a bit unclear about the particulars. One way or another though, it was suggested by a couple of trusted faculty members that being an economist for the CIA would be a pretty good gig. You would have the best resources in the world for doing research, and could use the experience as a stepping stone to a lucrative career in the economics profession. I think one student actually took the bait, and was hired. The rest of us proudly abstained. In those days the CIA was viewed as the devil incarnate, due to its sordid history of assassinations, coups d'état, and subversion of democratically elected governments.

Now the CIA’s reputation is mixed, partly due to the Valerie Plame scandal, partly due to its misuse by the Bush crime family, and partly due to the real intelligence needs of the so-called "War on terror." As an agency it still engages in nefarious activities, such as "extraordinary rendition," participation in torture in places like Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and others, and still has a "covert operations" capacity.

My own view of the CIA is also mixed. On a pure level of deconstruct, it is an illusion, a mental construct. It is an organization created through legislative action, given a budget and a mission, it has a building, or complex, in Langley, Virginia, and, voila, it exists. People have been hired for the last 59 years, they get paid, they have things to do, and they believe that because of all these factors that the organization exists. So at the most basic level the CIA exists because people have joined together in the belief that it exists.

An article came my way recently, and I was prompted to find out more about its source (You can click here and here to read my reproduction of the article, but to get it at its source, go to Google, enter the article’s title – "The importance of the Plame Affair," and the author’s name - George Friedman. One of the links will get you past the sign-in requirement.). A Google search led me to the site of an organization named Stratfor, which appears to be formed by a former CIA officer. Whatever its genesis, its purpose is to provide high quality intelligence for money to private (and probably government) clients, both domestic and foreign. It’s hard to tell if the organization carries any national loyalty, but I suspect that it is bound by parameters of multinational corporate solidarity. This would be a subject for further investigation in itself, but it doesn’t particularly interest me.

What does interest me is the content of the article, and the window it provides into the CIA and the mindset of its insiders, past and present. It is a world unto itself, and the people who live in it have a complex code of ethics and loyalty that guides their thinking and activities. For better or worse, as long as we have a mass world industrial system of human existence, we are going to have intelligence agencies, so if we are to progress toward a true civilization we will have to recognize their permanent place in society, and find ways of maximizing their positive contribution while minimizing the negative.

As the article indicates, the revelation of the name of a CIA operative, no matter how insignificant – in the case of
Valerie Plame
, a very significant operative – does great harm to both the mission and safety of the particular person, but more to the entire intelligence capacity of the country, and for many years to come. The act is much more than treasonous. It has the effect of destroying the very agency that the perpetrator depends on for defense of the country against foreign threats.

The revelation of Valerie Plame’s name as a CIA agent was meant to somehow discredit her husband, former ambassador to Iraq Joseph Wilson. Someone (or several someones) at the Bush regime’s higest levels was angry that Wilson wrote in the New York Times that the claims about Saddam Hussein trying to buy Uranium from Niger were false. If you were a criminal politician and you used a pattern of lies to convince the people of your country to go to war, and someone challenged one of your lies, the whole house of cards might come crashing down. From the standpoint of Bush and his cronies, it would be vital to stop any threat to the propaganda network.

So it is safe to say that all the intelligence agencies, not just the CIA, view the Bush regime much like I do – as a treasonous criminal operation that does not value the country’s interests or safety in any way that might interfere with their own interests or safety. This is a factor that should give us all increased optimism and comfort. When the intelligence agengies no longer trust or respect you, you are a weak and vulnerable president.

I have said many times in this blog and elsewhere that the power of the Bush crime family is greatly exaggerated. They are mere mortals, criminals, and not very smart. Their only real skill is in rigging elections and in lying, and election rigging has very limited transfer power to other competencies, as the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina have so amply demonstrated. Their criminality has blinded them to real world constraints, not the least of which is that you don’t commit blatant treason and expect to gain a lot of support in the intelligence and diplomatic spheres.

The support that the Bush crime family now clings to is among the most criminal of corporations, their client politicians and judges, and among the mentally deranged and/or deficient of the population. This is not a constituency that represents staying power.

It is both ironic for me and for humankind in general that the CIA, long reviled for its murderous actions around the world, may be the leading force in the coming downfall of the Bush criminal organization. Its agents, both past and present, are likely very unhappy about the betrayal they have experienced. I wouldn’t underestimate the power of that displeasure to undermine the BCF’s various criminal schemes. The CIA's people know that traitors are ruling the country. At the very least, I believe that any plans the Bush crime family has for another September 11, 2001-type event will likely be found out, if they haven’t been already. Renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith coined the phrase "countervailing power" in 1952. It refers to forces that arise in opposition to powerful forces that come into existence. There is much countervailing power arising in the world today, and it has only begun to countervail.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Posterior awareness

Laura Strange, 25, just before being returned to prison without her baby.The news this week put a number of monkey wrenches in the Bush regime’s propaganda machine. The revelation that it was Bush himself who ordered ambassador Joe Wilson discredited got things off to a rolling start. This was followed by the sudden death of Bush crony Ken Lay, the recently convicted CEO of the Enron scam. Then there is the growing scandal of American soldiers raping and murdering Iraqi civilians. And not to be ignored was the World Cup football final, known as soccer here, the most popular sporting event on the planet, won by Italy over France - two countries that are not the U.S. Shown on major network television here for the first time, the event was an education for Americans. We are not the only country on the planet, and what happens here is not all that matters.

What put all these stories into focus for me was not something international, but a segment in the Monday morning news on public radio. It was announced by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections that women prisoners in Wisconsin would no longer be shackled during childbirth. WPR was repeating a story from the Appleton Post-Crescent, whose coverage of the practice embarrassed the D of C into changing its policy. In looking up material on the subject, I found the practice of shackling women inmates during labor and/or childbirth is policy in 23 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

It is almost comical in its absurdity that any country, and least of all “the greatest country in the world,” would allow such a practice. Giving birth is one of the most sacred experiences in human life on this planet, if not the most. If the practice of shackling women during childbirth were an isolated incident, it could be understood as excessive zeal, the actions of one sadistic guard, or a mistake in implementing policy. But to have it be policy in almost half our states and at the Federal level tells us something much more.

We are a broken nation. We don’t know our collective asses from our collective elbows, or from our collective holes in the ground. We don’t know shit from Shinola, as a people. We don’t know a common crook from a statesman. We don’t know a hero from a mass murderer. We don’t know a proven pathological liar from an honorable man. We don’t know the Geneva Conventions from a torture manual. We don’t know Global Warming from an ice age.

Lesson 1 in knowing your ass from a hole in the ground: The major news media are part of the propaganda network of the criminal corporate elite that runs this country. In descending order of mendacity (lying) from Fox News on down, they bend, twist, shape, ignore, and invent whatever suits the “spin” needs of entrenched power. There are exceptions, of course, and there is for sure a lot of struggle going on in newsrooms around the country, but the rule is to please power.

Lesson 2: The Bush regime is first, last, and always a criminal operation, hence the name Bush crime family.

Lesson 3: Global Warming is an actual, real phenomenon, and you will be dealing with it for the rest of your life. The criminal infrastructure that controls this country cannot admit this phenomenon exists, because it would upset the very power structure that enables their criminal activities.

Lesson 4: As Ken Lay showed us this week, you can’t take it with you. Everyone dies eventually. Then it’s on to the next destination. The Divine is not subservient to the mundane. There's a lot of buzz on the Web and in talk shows that Lay is not dead, he has been whisked away to a resort somewhere, or that the Bush crime family had him killed with a heart attack drug to keep him quiet. It matters little. The message to the world is that everyone dies. Since the news media dictate what is true and what is not, because the medium is the message, Lay's mortality is the real message. Our stay here is only temporary. The grandiose plans of mice and men are all subservient to the passage of time. We're here, time passes, then we aren't here anymore. No exceptions.

Lesson 5: Fundamentalist Christianity is all hogwash, fake, false, and based on the need to control other people. The “End times” mythology is crap, made up by men to - guess - control other men (and women, and of course children).

Lesson 6: The rest of the world exists outside of American values and stupidity, and they are almost unanimous in their anger at the United States of America. They now realize that we don’t know our collective asses from our collective elbows, and the illusion that we do know has been the basis of our status as "the world’s only superpower." If you don't know your ass from your elbow, or a hole in the ground, your power is extremely limited.

Lesson 7: The Bush crime family has had a rough week in the propaganda department. They will have to come up with some fresh stories. They will.

Lesson 8: Our economic system is unsustainable. You can not convert the planet into nonrenewable products infinitely, because the planet is not infinite. We will grow at increasing costs to ourselves and our planetary ecosystem.

We don’t have a whole lot of time to distinguish our collective asses from a hole in the ground. We have an election coming up, and the Democratic Party as it now exists will stand idly by while the Republicans steal yet another exercise in democracy. For all the ethnocentrism here in regard to people from Mexico, they at least have the good sense and intestinal fortitude to contest a Bush crime family enabled election fraud (A team was sent to help rig the election. Read about it here and here.).

As this week's news should have clearly shown, we hold on to our illusions and falsehoods at our peril. An ass is not an elbow, and neither is it a hole in the ground. A sociopath is not a statesman. An addict is not a model of manliness and leadership. Global Warming is not balmier weather. While we still have time, to coin a phrase, we can learn to distinguish these phenomena, and how to apply the skills learned to other phenomena.

We can begin by realizing that we can no longer hide behind cookouts, picnics, parties, schmoozing, programmed entertainment, propaganda, or fake religion. Or fake politics. Or looking down on the rest of the world. Once we are free from the escapes, diversions, and falsehoods that shield us from reality, we can begin the learning process. Truth is its own reward. It also can be much more. It can set us free. And it might just save our lives, as well as life on this planet.