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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.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Criminal here, criminal there, criminal everywhere

José Padilla being escorted to a dental appointmentNow that José Padilla has been convicted of "conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas and providing material support to terrorists," the Bush regime is emboldened in its "war on terror" propaganda campaign.

So it seems. Actually, no one with any sense actually believes Padilla was or is a threat to national security. The case is an international embarrassment, and the conviction only highlights the Bush gang's urgent and futile need to justify its criminal activities.

CNN solicited comments about the conviction, and I obliged. You won't be seeing it on the CNN website, but you can read it here:

To: CNN
From: Me
Date: August 16, 2007

This verdict reveals a number of things. One is the desperation of the Bush regime to have a showcase conviction of a "terrorism" case. Something they can parade before the country to "prove" they are protecting us. Another is how easily our system of justice can be corrupted. Still another is how ordinary people can become torturers of the worst kind, as bad as any kidnapper of children, as bad as John Gacy. (I should have added "As bad as Ted Bundy.")

The verdict also reveals how the news media can be co-opted to participate in enabling such a grotesque perversion of human standards of dignity. But mostly it reveals something about us as a people. We have sunk this low as a nation. We have allowed this criminal regime to do what it has done over the last nearly seven years, starting with the theft of the 2000 election. We will live to regret sinking this low. At least we can depend on CNN to cover this regret enthusiastically, complete with faux-repentant "analysts."
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Here's a little background on the Padilla story: Robert Scheer, Democracy Now, and Salon. And, for good measure, Glenn Greenwald.
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Crandall minersThe story is more interesting in juxtaposition with the ongoing mine disaster in Utah. Here's CNN's latest take: CNN's latest take. It is typical of the corporate media. Here's Arianna Huffington's take: Arianna Huffington's take. And finally, an interview on Democracy Now: Interview on Democracy Now.

In a nutshell, the owner of the mine is a criminal, and he has parlayed his support of the Bush criminal regime into impunity for his criminal mining practices. Repeated across the country, he represents the kind of symbiotic support that put the Bush regime in office, and keeps it in office. It is the comprehensivity of the criminality that intertwines to create a web of mutual support. And, as the CNN report shows, the mass communications media provide the essential ingredient that holds it all together: propaganda.

Gee, propaganda. José Padilla. Bob Murray. One loses, one wins. One is a powerless former gang member from Chicago, the other a wealthy Bush supporter. And the beat goes on.

There is one other juxtaposition I'd like to add: The scandal/crisis in the sub-prime lending market. I wrote in March about my experience with a local home seller that feeds on sub-prime borrowers. The low-level experience I had, duplicated across the country, is now reaching its logical conclusion: the pending collapse of our financial markets. Reading a bit of Paul Krugman might help in understanding how serious the problem is. Today's News Hour featured this discussion: This discussion. Here's a transcript of the segment: Transcript. For a quick study on the entire financial quagmire, click here.

For me, the financial crisis puts it all together. With a criminal regime running the country, put into and kept in office by its criminal supporters, it was inevitable that the rampant criminality would eventually cause a collapse in the economy. In order for a "free enterprise" system to work, there has to be an honest referee, a "level playing field," and equality before the law.

So the José Padilla perversity is not an aberration, or even a symbol. It is an integral part of the Bush regime's criminal rule, completely in character with the way that this gang behaves in every other arena of "American" life. Criminal here, criminal there, criminal everywhere. We are only beginning to learn a bitter lesson. A very, very, very bitter lesson.
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This post calls for a Waterboys song. Maybe a touch of Dylan too. For comparison, Bryan Ferry. And, for a finale, Van Morrison.

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