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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.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Random thoughts

Mr. BillWriting is a strange and agonizing process, and when it works, it's very gratifying. In writing this blog I usually have an idea festering, and if I wait too long the fester is gone, and I end up writing something labored and clumsy.

Some of my favorite writings are spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous responses to something I read on the Web, usually in Salon and Smirking Chimp. The gap between fester and writing is almost instantaneous, and the topics covered are often surprising and diverse. Below are some of my recent offerings.
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http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/5084

Strategies for stopping Cheney

There is little doubt that a major purpose of the Bush crime family's various wars is to help them elude previous crimes. The invasion of Afghanistan diverted attention from their criminal negligence (or worse) before the September 11, 2001 attacks. The invasion of Iraq covered a multitude of sins, including the relationship of the Bush family with the Bin Laden family, the Energy Task Force, Enron, Cheney's relationship with Halliburton, the theft of the 2000 election, the emerging Abramoff scandal, and the excesses of the Ashcroft/Gonzales Justice Department.

What we should be talking about are strategies for stopping Cheney. He should be kept busy. He can be called to testify before Congress for any number of crimes. He can be sued. Criminal charges can be filed against him for criminal activity, as happened to Spiro Agnew. News organizations can do more investigating, revealing his criminal activities.

Beyond that, pressure can be brought to bear that wasn't before the invasion of Iraq. Someone, or a group of someones can meet with the Pope and implore him to condemn any planned attack on Iran. The Pope needs to improve his standing in the world, especially among Muslims, and this would be a perfect harmony of interests. The previous Pope failed to stop the invasion of Iraq, so this one might want to make a stronger stand.

Groups of people can appeal to the U.N. to condemn the planned attack.

Like what is being done by the operator of the "Spocko's Brain" blog, corporations can be approached and informed of the foolish plan to invade Iran, and what a danger it poses for the entire planet.

It should be kept in mind that Dick Cheney is but one man. He is not a tough guy. He's just a crook, and he is getting old and weak. If the human species can't stop this one pathetic man, then we don't deserve to be at the top of the food chain, and won't be for long.
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http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/5047

Top priority: Save the country from complete destruction

It is good news that Bush's presidency is, in effect, over. The focus from here on out should be to put him behind bars, and for the rest of his life. And the rest of his gang should suffer the same fate.

Likely because of the "Scooter" Libby trial, Dick Cheney won't be around much longer. What the Democrats should do is vote down any replacement Bush offers, effectively making Nancy Pelosi next in line.

Then, let the games begin. Impeachment. Bush is a weakling. If he is indicted in the House, he will quit. When he sees he is alone, he will likely lose what little mind he has. He will not be able to withstand a trial in the Senate. The scrutiny will be more than he can bear. The Republicans will abandon him.

The ruling elite in this country will soon see that the "U.S." will have to deal harshly with the Bush Crime Family in order to restore our international standing.

If you are too young to have any memories of Watergate, in Nixon's waning days the Secretary of Defense, James Schlesinger, put the military on notice that they were not to obey any orders from the CINC (Commander in Chief). It was feared that Nixon would pull some kind of international stunt like throwing the "red switch" or "pushing the red button," depending on which type of doomesday device was used.

A similar thing is likely to happen with Bush. Our military may be subservient, but they know what they are dealing with. It is highly likely that the senior staff of the four branches - Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force - despise Bush, and would like nothing better than to see him doing hard time. They all no doubt have suffered personal losses in this debacle.

So it should be clear at this point that the number one priority is to save the country from destruction. Bush is no rhetorical disaster. He is a real disaster, and he will be a much worse one if he isn't stopped.
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http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/4958

The battle for momentum

As the momentum builds for stopping the Bush crime family, the long arm of the law is likely to reach for the Moon empire. If there is indeed a long arm of the law, it will also reach for Fox News.

One sign of the desperation of the Bush crime family is the replacement of U.S. Attorneys around the country with political operatives. The defeatist view is that this is a show of power, when it is actually a show of weakness. It causes increased scrutiny of the Bush crime family at the local level, which is exactly where increased scrutiny is needed.

Tonight the "leader" of the Bush crime family is giving a speech that he hopes will change the momentum building against him and his cronies. It will take a bravura performance, but I think Bush may crack. He is facing a different audience than he has in previous speeches. The Congress and the people are wise to him, and he will have to perform under extreme pressure. Bush is not a formidable person, and may be cracking anyway. Even Saddam Hussein depended on compliance and force. Without these supports, he wouldn't have been able to project strength, and Bush is less able to project strength than Saddam Hussein was.

The real question here is what the ordinary person can do. If it isn't obvious, here it is: Spread the word.
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http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/4954

Spread the word

I agree with everything in this post except the final sentence. Being terrified is about as useful as being outraged - a wast of energy, and an empowerment of the Bush crime family. They survive on the empowerment that people give them.

Cuba is doing a very wise thing by keeping this issue alive. It is one of the straws that will break the camel's back. That the Bush crime family is a terrorist organization is pretty well known around the world. The more that people in the "U.S." know this, the greater the pressure against the Bush crime family.

Spread the word.
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http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/3690

The long arm of the law

I never saw the great danger of Jose Padilla. There are many thousands of gang members in the "United States," but we have not seen fit to treat them the way we have treated Padilla.

I think the real reason that Padilla is being treated this way is to "prove" that he is guilty - by going to exteme lengths to abuse and isolate him, we must conclude that he "deserved" it.

A second reason for the treatment is to establish a skill capacity and infrastructure of torture for future use. On other "Americans."

The "American" people are very easy to fool and manipulate. It is beyond the ability of most people to conceive that they might also be the subject of such treatment some day. Of course, once it happens, they will believe it, but then it will be too late.

In spite of all this, I'm optimistic. The Bush regime is a criminal operation, and the downfall of all criminal operations is that they become narrowly contrary to the common good. The Bush crime family made a bold attempt to have all the power in the world, but they overplayed their hand. You can't leave 99.99999999% of the human species out of the benefits of your criminal activities and expect to succeed.

The long arm of the law, whether of Karma or of man, will be reaching for the Bush crime family relatively soon.
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http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/3690

Mea maxima culpa

I agree Bill O'Reilly stays in character, but he's not a comedian. He's a grotesque, a hyperbole, an exaggeration of virtually everyone else in show business: an attention seeker. He does what it takes to draw attention to himself, and makes a pile of money doing it. It's a Faustian bargain, and he's more than willing to make the trade of soul for fame and fortune.

The "conservatism" is all fakery, as is all "conservatism" if you scratch the surface. It's all about attracting attention, followers, devotion, money, and power. O'Reilly's imitators and one-uppers - Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage (nee Weiner), and Glen Beck are all attention-mongerers, otherwise nondescript people who will say anything to make people pay attention to them.

All other things held equal, when the "right wing" finally goes into complete disfavor, we will see all these people on TV, doing interview after interview, doing mea-culpas, apologies, protestations that they didn't mean it, that they just did it to please their employers and audiences, that they now see the light, and that you can now tune in to see them on their new "liberal" shows. All that matters is the attention.

And, as before, the rubes will fall for it. P.T. Barnum had no idea how right he was.
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My Salon comments can be found here. If you can't reach them, I'll post a few in the coming days.
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For good measure:

To the Washington Post, January 15, 2001:

Its kind of comical, the backtracking that is going on. At this point, it is not only too late to do what should have been done in 2003, it was too late on March 20, 2003. The war, based on lies and delusion, was a criminal operation from its inception to its fruition. As such, it was guaranteed to fail. As will the planned invasion of Iran. This scheme is also criminal in nature, and thus guaranteed to fail. The Bush gang will go ahead with it anyway if they can because it’s their best bet for staying out of jail. It’s a Ponzi scheme: each new war covers the sins of the previous ones. As in the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the planned criminal invasion of Iran depends on the propaganda cover given by the established news media. Will they go along this time? Probably, and led by the newspaper of record for the U.S. and its imitator in the nation’s capital.
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And more good measure:

To: viewpoint@media.ucla.edu
Subject: Perspective on the taser incident
Date: January 7, 2007

To the editor:

I just heard about the taser incident on News Hour, and immediately did a Google search, finding the video on YouTube. I think I can shed a little light on what happened and why.

The campus police at UCLA exist within a general climate in California of police culture being a society unto itself, a separate entity. This is a national and probably worldwide problem, but in Los Angeles it is likely the most pronounced in the country. There is a built-in paranoia in police work in the best of situations, but the more insular the culture, the more paranoid it becomes.

Because much of police work is dull and routine, and can change abruptly to an emergency situation, the brain of a policeman (or I guess protective services officer, or some such) becomes programmed in a binary fashion: long inaction, then springing to action. The action phase of the program normally follows strict rules, but the programming is imperfect, and groupthink can hyperbolize police responses.

Add in the factor of a student who fits a certain ethnic or religious stereotype, and disaster can result.

The introduction of the taser presents further dangers. Because it is not normally seen as an application of deadly force, it can too easily be misused, and can become a crutch to be applied in lieu of competent police work.

And finally, there is the human weakness for exerting power over others. Of humiliating, disempowering, punishing, causing pain, taking advantage, lording over, and subduing.
These factors are worthy of further study. There are other problems endemic to police work, like alcoholism, divorce, suicide, stress, and the genuine danger of the occupation. By understanding them, methods of addressing them can be found. And incidents like the one at the library can be prevented.

I lived in Los Angeles for four months in 1968, a last fling before going into the Army. I got ticketed for hitchhiking in Northridge one night, and the policeman who stopped me was expecting trouble. He told me he was surprised that I was polite, but gave me the ticket anyway. I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I not been polite.

John Hamilton
Madison, Wisconsin

1 Comments:

Blogger Comrade O'Brien said...

Attention Comrades,
Please visit http://ministryoflove.wordpress.com to learn about our creative protest of the Military Commissions Act, or just watch our video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOq5yHDkQgY
Regards,
O'Brien

2/10/2007 3:15 PM  

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