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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, November 18, 2007

Greatness, not so greatness

Graduation day, May 13, 1989, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois. With me is my great friend Toon.We all should be so lucky to know at least one truly great person in our lives. I have known about five, maybe a few more. None is better than a friend I knew when I was studying for my master's degree in Educational Psychology in the 1980s.

She was a visiting student from "Thailand," and was one of those rare people that I call an even person - no agenda, positive or negative, nothing to prove, no impression to make. That doesn't even begin to describe her, though. She had that something extra - a light, a sparkle, a dimension from another level.

We met the first day of my Research in Education class. It was a great class - great teacher, some great students, like the late Mike Zurbrugg, and I found the subject matter surprisingly interesting.

I think we may have had another class together, but I got to know her best when we studied together for our comprehensive exams. The exams covered the various aspects of learning theory, and were part of the requirements for our M.S.Ed. degrees. We got together with another student, a woman about my age, for study sessions and note copying. My friend Toon (her nickname) was the best student, and knew the most about the subject matter. I had the best notes, and was good at organizing the material into categories.

The third student eventually dropped out, too busy with other things to take the exams until a later date. I remember a phone conversation we had one night before she quit our group, where she talked about the greatness of my friend Toon. She mentioned her deep spirituality, her Buddhist faith, and that Toon was also very psychic. She said that Toon was something of a "wise woman," someone who was a very special human being. I agreed, and was gratified that someone else had a similar intuition to mine.

Reduced to a group of two, we met in the projection booth at the auditorium classroom of the school of business, where I worked. One day while we were studying Toon wanted to make some photocopies of my notes, and I told her she could go to the business school office where I got copies made, and they would make them for her. I didn't think that she would be treated differently than I was. This was dumb. Toon was from "Asia," and the typical "American" response to anyone perceived as different tends to be rudeness and disrespect.

Toon came back a few minutes later shaking her fist at me, but smiling. In some "Asian" cultures anger is expressed passively, with smiling. I didn't realize how angry she was until she explained what happened. I got up to go down the hall and give the office workers some grief for their behavior, but Toon stopped me. I soon realized it was more important to be with her in her anger and hurt. She was never more beautiful than at that moment.

On graduation day we posed for pictures, and joked around about our experiences. When it came time to go in for the ceremony, Toon lagged behind. I said to her, "Come on! It's time to go in!" She waved me off, saying "No, no, no. I want my king to give me my diploma. He gave me my high school and college diplomas, and I want him to give me this one too." She was at the graduation to have her picture taken in her cap and gown. I was dumbstruck. I didn't even think to tell her that we would only be getting a piece of paper that said our diplomas will arrive in the mail. The way she said it was so pure, so humble, and so rooted in her native land and traditions that I was in awe.

I got a job at the university library, and Toon stopped by a few times, once to invite me to a Buddhist ceremony that was being held upstairs, one time to give me a framed copy of the picture above, and then she was off with her husband to Thailand, where he worked for the government. He completed his Ph.D. in Political Science that summer.

The reason I tell this story is that I am reminded of my great friend every time the country of which I am a citizen goes meddling around the world. Especially during the time of the Bush criminal organization, where the invasion of "Iraq" was partially "justified" by the phony excuse that "we" were going to bring "them" "democracy." The invasion of "Afghanistan" had the ruse that "we" were going to find Osama bin Laden, but "we" also were going to bring "them" "democracy."

Democracy shemocracy. The invasion of "Iraq" was about taking over the world, one country at a time. But, as Robert Burns once observed, the best laid schemes o’ mice an' men gang aft a-gley. With the the Bush criminal organization, the schemes are a-gley from the get-go. The sheer arrogance of pretending to know what is best for people around the world should give some pause to these idiots, but they are idiots. Even defeat will not stop them.

Now the Bush criminal organization is pretending to know what is good for "Pakistan." Of all people to send to "Pakistan," the Bush criminal regime has sent John Negroponte, the planner for terrorist attacks on "Nicaragua" during the criminal administration of Ronald Reagan.

It's all about appearance. What the Bush criminal regime is really about is crime. What Negroponte says in public is not what he says in private. The president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, is a partner to some degree in the Bush gang's schemes for the Mideast and South Asia, but he has other concerns.

Musharraf has to serve a number of masters, and the Bush criminal organization is not the main one. He is dependent on the "Pakistani" military for his personal and political survival. He has to get along with his large and powerful neighbors "India" and "China." He has to maintain a relative peace with his diverse population, most notably the "Pashtun" people of the "North-West Frontier" province. Like criminal alliances throughout history, the alliance between Musharraf and the Bush gang is fragile, and always subject to double-crossing and betrayal.

There is little question that most people in "Pakistan" want to have a democratic system. Pervez Musharraf gained power through a military coup. He has instituted a "state of emergency," cracking down on dissent, closing television stations, installing his own Supreme Court, and ordering the arrest and beating of thousands. For an update on "Pakistan," click here.

The only President of the United States in my lifetime who has shown any real concern about democracy is Jimmy Carter, and his record is mixed. Mixed is enough to get you a Nobel Peace Prize. Henry Kissinger has a Nobel Peace Prize. The record of U.S. presidents overthrowing governments and/or supporting dictatorships goes back to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy My Service Employees International Union card. A grievance was filed in my behalf that resulted in the “contractor” being removed from Hickam Air Force Base in 1985. They were crooks.on behalf of "European" and "American" sugar cane growers, which paved the way for democracy. In a curious twist of fate, the State of Hawaii is now one of the most "democratic," and is the most unionized state in the union. This is a story for another day.

Back to "Pakistan." British reporter Adrian Levy has written a book, Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, revealing the secret help given to Pakistan by U.S. operatives. Read about it here. If nothing else, this book reveals that what we are hearing and reading from the mainstream media (msm) is crap. Lies. Distortions. Propaganda. Cover. Plausible deniability. Smokescreen. Smoke and mirrors. Wool over our eyes.

And, as it turns out, the revelations in Levy's book also reveal the phoniness about the official "U.S." drumbeat for war against "Iran." What a surprise. Though the Bush regime is still a very dangerous criminal enterprise, I can't help having a chuckle over the juggling act it now finds itself performing. Only the extremely naive, the criminal, and the ideologically possessed believe a word said by this regime.

Putting it all together are the words of John Bolton, former "U.S." ambassador to the United Nations: "The only question for the United States is what's in our national interest." Read: the interests of the money and power elite of the "U.S." This elite doesn't have any interest other than its own wealth, power, and privilege. It most certainly doesn't care a whit about my interests. It most certainly doesn't care a whit about the interests of the masses of people worldwide. This elite also most certainly doesn't care a whit about the ecosystem that supports all life on this planet.

It makes me wonder about something that my great friend did almost two decades ago. How many students from how many countries are refusing to have their graduation diplomas given to them by an "American?"
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Here's a bit of political science. It kind of makes you want to sail away, doesn't it? If you wait long enough, they'll wash us away.

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