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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, December 31, 2006

Transitions great and small

Partners in crime. Or is it strange bedfellows? To read about Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein, go to this URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/index.htmI didn't feel any joy or relief at the hanging of Saddam Hussein. Just sadness. His death symoblizes the entire debacle of "Iraq," from its creation to its present state of meltdown. The history of "Iraq" is one of outside occupation, oppression, invention, interference, invasion, and assassination. And of course, there is the oil.

The outsiders have consistently been the ruling elites of "Great Britain" and the "U.S." It was the "British," under the guidance of Winston Churchill, who created "Iraq" in the first place. "American" involvement increased following World War II, in contrivance with the "British," with the overthrow of Abdul Karim Qassim, which paved the way for the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein.

As Eric Margolis notes today, it was Winston Churchill who first ordered the gassing of the "Kurds" of "Iraq," setting the example so enthusiastically followed by Saddam. Every perfidy, every evil of Saddam Hussein and his henchmen can be traced to his "British" and "American" backers. Whatever "weapons of mass destruction" he ever possessed were supplied by his Western enablers. Whatever torture and oppression of his people he fostered was in turn fostered by his Western enablers. Whatever invasions he foisted on his neighbors were enabled by his Western enablers. This includes the invasion of Kuwait, which almost certainly was an entrapment, a more foolish gambit, in hindsight, than the current debacle. It was the tacit approval of Saddam's invasion that set into motion the long process that has culminated in the farce we are now seeing.

The real question is what the future will bring. There is much lament that Saddam died before he could reveal the secrets of "American" and "British" involvement in his crimes. In the grand scheme of things it matters little. There are much greater forces and inevitabilities than can be controlled and manipulated by little men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Tony Blair. Ever the optimist, I see the unraveling of the Bush crime family's adventure in "Iraq" as a pivotal phase in the transition to true civilization. My best sense of the future is summarized in the comment I made to a Smirking Chimp article this morning:


The downsizing of the Bush crime family

I wouldn't hold my breath in anticipation of the "American" people demanding the truth about Saddam Hussein. There's plenty of truth out there already.

The wheels of Karma grind slowly sometimes, especially when it comes to world affairs, the interactions among nations, criminal cabals, and individual lawlessness. George W. Bush is not going to be a revered national hero, no matter what success he has in covering up his crimes. He will die in disgrace, likely in a drunken stupor at his "ranch," with the official reason being something akin to choking on a pretzel.

No matter what the outcome of the Iraq fiasco will be, something is coming to an end. The Industrial Revolution has reached its pinnacle, and now is beginning its descent. With global warming and numerous other environmental pressures, raw criminality at the governing level of society will not yield the gains that perpetrators enjoyed in the past. The need for survival will be paramount, and the luxury of "leadership" by the likes of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Bush will be a thing of the past. Likewise for "leadership" by the likes of Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton. A Carter-type would do, but we will need to do better.

Ultimately, the criminal era of "American" empire-building around the planet is over. There will be a few last-ditch desperate attempts like attacking Iran, Syria, North Korea, and maybe Venezuela and Cuba, but the game is up. The species will very soon be focused on its survival. Little men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their various clones around the planet will have to settle for lower-level crime like armed robbery, burglary, and rape.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Soul retrieval

Dick Cheney was in "Saudi Arabia" a few weeks ago, and he showed a side of his personality we don't see here in the "U.S." He was submissive, deferring, seeking of acceptance and approval when he kissed his "Saudi" hosts. No Mr. Tough Guy. Reports of the visit indicate that "Saudi" Crown Prince Abdullah "read Cheney the riot act," and "took him to the woodshed" over the situation in Iraq. "Saudi Arabia" is a predominantly "Sunni" muslim country, and the lecture to Cheney was apparently to warn him not to let the "Sunnis" of Iraq be slaughtered, oppressed, or left out of power arrangements in the country's future.

I don't have much interest in who Cheney meets with, or what the conventional news media have to say about him. He's a sociopathic criminal, and any depiction of him otherwise is propaganda. Cheney's submissiveness in "Saudi Arabia" is interesting, though, because it stands in stark contrast to his projection here as "Darth Vader," tough guy, macho-man, "hunter," and the power behind Bush.

Some power. A draft-dodging coward who plotted the invasion and occupation of a weakened country that meant us no harm, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 655,000 "Iraqis" and now almost 3,000 "American" military personnel that we know of. His image is a public relations-created and media-advanced illusion, meant to reinforce a false impression of this criminal administration as hard-nosed, resolute, and "manly." Conservative. Patriotic. Strong. Dependable. Protecting you against the forces of evil.

It's all fakery, of course, and the fakery is the essence of not only the Bush crime family, but of our corporate-dominated culture. If we can better understand the purpose and effect of this fakery, we can better learn how to overcome it.

The tough-guy, macho-man, men dominating other men hyper-atmosphere that has spread throughout the culture is destroying the country, pervading our media, recreation, driving practices, and personal interactions. At its most absurd level we have fake tough guy Sean Hannity bragging about "punking" "liberals" on his fake TV show. Sean Hannity has risen to the level where he fake-interviews fake tough guy Dick Cheney on his fake TV show, reinforcing Cheney's fake tough guy image.

Other fake tough guys Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are entering the desperation phase of their presence on the fake tough guy scene, with declining ratings and the recent electoral defeat of so many "Republicans" that they helped bring about. The nation is slowly waking up.

With all these fake tough guys - the shouting down of guests, the rudeness, the scapegoating and demonization of "liberals" and "secular progressives," the kidnapping, torture and killing of prisoners, the pre-emptive war "policy," the spying on "American" citizens, the "Patriot Act," the anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-minority, and anti-poor "policies" - have a common purpose.

That purpose is the essence of illegitimate power: the taking of energy from other people. Dominating, "punking," terrorizing, torturing, maiming, killing, insulting, shouting down, berating, dismissing, and one-upping all have the common goal of appropriating the psychic force from other people. In "Iraq" this taking has the added feature of physical taking as well as psychic: control of the oil.

Materialists don't have much understanding of the nature of psychic energy, but in the spiritual realm it has been known for millenia. One of the prime purposes of spiritual practice is to learn how to protect your energy, and the techniques vary from meditation and prayer to spells, shamanic "journeying," and healing rituals. The "dark side" practices are variously called "black magic," "voodoo" and "witchcraft" by outside observers, and they also have a long history of use and abuse. The current public relations/media propaganda system can be looked upon as a low-level form of black magic. The spell-binding of the easily spellbound. Fundamentalist religion has the same quality, and the same easily spellbound fall for both.

I first became aware of practitioners of "black magic" when I spent four months in the ashram of Swami Muktananda in India in late 1977 and early 1978. We were warned to stay away from the fallen yogi "Swami Ram Das" in nearby Ganeshpuri because he was known to trap ashramites with his psychic powers. I saw him one day while on a shopping spree, and he was a crazy and evil-looking guy, with wide eyes and a leering gaze. I didn't stop to engage in small talk. As it turned out, Muktananda had his own methods of keeping people under his influence, attracting adulation and subservience. I was a follower for eight years. I wasn't subervient, but I believed Muktananda was an enlightened being, equal to the stature of Jesus. I can say for very certain that Bush, Cheney, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and Hannity are rank amateurs compared to him when it comes to personal charisma and power.

A novel that made the rounds in the 90s, "The Celestine Prophecy," presented a theory of human interaction based on the idea that we all have an energy field, and that conflict results when people try to steal other people's energy. It wasn't a very good story, but the ideas presented are worthy of further study and awareness. The author, James Redfield, contends that we are headed towards living in perfect harmony, and the understanding of human energy fields is an important step in the process.

Another way of looking at energy theft is shamanic practice. In 1995 I joined a year-long shamanic study group, involving a deeper learning of the methods of "journeying," and the purposes, benefits, and techniques. One of the practices in shamanic practice is called "soul retrieval." It is believed that people suffer partial or complete "soul loss" from traumatic events, or from theft by other people. The teacher/facilitator was also a psychotherapist, and told a story of a former client who was having an affair with her minister. She was trying to break free, but the minister had her under his control. She felt helpless to wrest herself from his dominance.

The therapist/shaman used a soul-retrieval journey to help the woman regain her lost sense of wholeness and freedom. Shortly after the retrieval journey the woman's minister arrived, desperate to see her and begging her not to leave him. He failed, and the woman went on to resume her life, free of his control.

"America" is now going through a similar process. In the process of breaking free of the Bush crime family, hopefully we can free ourselves from the influence and control of the corporations and their media shills. I'm confident.

Monday, December 04, 2006

After the fall

Jose Padilla being escorted to a dental appointmentA letter I wrote appeared in the Madison Capital Times last week. It is pretty much a synopsis of what I have been writing in this blog for the past two years, and as usual, is an unedited first draft. In March I wrote about a simple plan for Iraq's future, similar to what I proposed in the letter. Variations on the theme are now being offered by many people.

My insistence on referring to the Bush regime as a criminal operation is also finding agreement among writers and makers of opinion. I don't feel so much like a tree falling in the forest.

Now I feel a little freer to move on, to take the analysis deeper. The question I keep coming back to is how this strange set of circumstances happened to us, the "American" people, and to the rest of the planet. I never felt it was as simple as a gang of criminals taking over the Federal government. There is more going on than this, something very deep in the "American" condition.

The best frame of reference for me is the metaphoric work of Carl Gustav Jung, and his theories about the human mind. Something very dark is in the collective unconscious of the "American" psyche. My use of the term collective unconscious is not literal in the Jungian sense, but the concept itself is not particularly conducive to literal use. The "American"" version of it can be described as how this universal form is evidenced in the social apparatus located south of "Canada" and north of "Mexico."

It is fair to say that the
of the "hero" is the most "American" of archetypes, and the most revealing of how we have gotten ourselves in the malaise in which we now find ourselves. We live in an age of appearance, so to appear as a hero is accepted as actual heroism. Thus Bush the deserter in his flight suit is a hero, but John Kerry, who actually is a decorated combat veteran, is seen as a coward. By the sophisticated use of propaganda, up can become down, and stupid can become smart, coward can become the man on a white horse, and evil can become good.

Another aspect of Jungian psychology that is pertinent is the notion of the "shadow," the repressed and denied part of our unconscious mind that, left unintegrated, often results in extreme attempts to project it onto others. Thus, we have the scandals of the supposedly reverend Ted Haggard, former congressman Mark Foley, the DeLay-Abramoff-Bush/Cheney corruption, and the scapegoating done by the likes of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, and their imitators.

In this context, it can be seen that the greatest example of repressed shadow, fake heroism, scapegoating, and appearance as reality is Bush himself. As we have been seeing this week, he is still in deep denial about Iraq, and the futility of his dreams of glory. For his own sanity, he probably knows in some intuitive way that if he admits to a mistake, an error, to criminality, and to arrogant blindness, his entire psyche will come crashing down, and his presidency will be over. He will lose his mind. He is a mental and emotional Humpty Dumpty, sitting on a wall. His precarious position on the wall depends on the world holding him up. The "neo-con" scheme to create a world empire must succeed.

As we are now seeing, the Project for the New American Century's plan for world domination was a psychotic dream, born of little men pretending to be heroes. With 20/20 hindsight it is easy to see that the grandiose scheme was doomed from the start, but their arrogance created belief and acquiescence. But how did we come to the point where such a criminal venture would gain acceptance?

The answer, I believe, is simple. The scheme came from the same perversion of consciousness that exists in the culture of appearance in general. Our storytellers, mythmakers, shapers of perception, are by-and-large from the media of movies and television. The images they project of what is real play a dominant role in determining what is real and what is not. The power of image-making seemed to have reached its pinnacle with the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who was convinced that he was a World War II hero because he played one in a movie.

But the delusions of Ronald Reagan were not the pinnacle. We now have George W. Bush, who became an instant hero by wearing a flight suit and landing on an aircraft carrier. If there were not an invitation previously to every frustrated male in the country to become a fake hero, there is now, inspired by Bush's phony excess.

I have known many a fake macho man in my life, and the modern variety of "right wing," "liberal" hating, gun-toting, pickup truck-driving tough guy is now ubiquitous. The most common variety watches O'Reilly and Hannity, listens to Limbaugh, and recites verbatim the mumbo-jumbo heard on these propaganda shows. Invariably these are people who wouldn't be noticed otherwise. Often they are in pathetic little jobs, but they might be people who are highly skilled and responsible. I have found an inverse relationship between professional stature and fake masculinity, but it is not necessarily the case. It really depends on the person, and the person's response to life's challenges.

Again thanks to Bush, this psychic house of cards is falling into a heap. It will be interesting to watch what happens as Bush melts away. Will the hate mongerers on Fox News also fall into a heap? Will the entertainment industry shift its focus away from vicarious violence and sex? Will men start examining what the hero archetype is really about? Time will tell. I may not have 20/20 foresight, but I believe an enlightened age awaits us. If we see it as our only option, it just might happen.

Here's a few good reads: Click, click, click, and click. Also this, this, and this.