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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, June 13, 2007

Position vacancies

The ciminal in chiefIn my previous post I wrote about Paul Krugman's critique of the news media. The New York Times op-ed, "Lies, Sighs and Politics," is likely to become the definitive commentary on the state of the "American" information industry.

Though much has been written about the media's complicity with the Bush criminal operation, we have little understanding of how the industry declined to such a state of mediocrity and corruption. Two words, I believe, cover the entire subject: ownership and hype. The ownership has become concentrated in the hands of corporations, and the nature of the "news" has become focused on amplification, incitement, propaganda, rumor, sensation, and the superficial. It is highly contrived bread and circus.

This decline was inevitable. In a mass system, the tendency of all elements in the system is towards concentration of resources in the hands of the few, whether by government or business. The end result is the homogenization of the culture and of the various occupations in the system.

The best metaphor I have for this homogenization of roles in society is from my Army experience. When I enlisted for training in the manly art of projector repair, I had no idea how the occupation was managed. I assumed I would be working in some kind of projector repair depot, where broken projectors came in from near and far. I would be awash in projectors, fixing them merrily, like Gepetto in Pinocchio.

The way it actually works is that Army units are staffed by allocations, or "slots" for different Military Occupational Specialties (MOS). When I was sent to Germany, it took several days to find a unit that had an authorization for my MOS - 41F, and when I got there, the authorization turned out to be for "wartime." Even though there was a "war" going on - Vietnam - there was no "war" in Germany at the time. We were playing our parts on the "NATO Team," fighting the "Cold War" against the "Soviet Union."

I never fixed one projector. Instead, I became a clerk-typist (71B), working in a variety of positions from personnel clerk and company clerk to managing a drivers school and a human relations office, where I showed movies on occasion. I did a little moonlighting as a projectionist (carbon arc, for the tech-geeky) at the Patton Theater at Patton Barracks in Heidelberg. I even showed the movie "Patton." It was fun, showing "Patton" at Patton at Patton.

So if you are wondering how a news anchor, columnist, editor, or "pundit" can be so corrupt and superficial, think of them as filling a "slot." Just like a fledgeling projector repairman looking for a unit where he can ply his manly trade, the "journalist" is nowadays a mere specialist fitting into a table of organization and equipment. The people themselves are interchangeable parts, with their ego-projections creating mere illusions of individuality. Rush Limbaugh is Richard Cohen in a different medium. They are both liars and propagandists, different only in arena and personality. Bill O'Reilly and - hmm, how about Katie Couric? - are different only by degree. Both represent corporate conformity and hype, celebrity and window dressing.

There are many ways this predicament can be resolved, and the massification of our information can be overcome. The best place to start is by deepening our understanding of how we got to where we are, and of the esential nature of the system we now have. If we can call things what they are, then we can deal with them as they are. For instance, the Bush crime family. The Bush regime is a criminal operation, first, last, and everywhere in between. Politics is the arena, but criminality is the essential nature. Call this regime what it is, and the course of action is obvious: put them in jail, and for the rest of their misspent lives, at hard labor. There are slots for all of them.
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For a little background on election fraud, read here.

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