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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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bush's breakdown

Russ Feingold on “Meet the Press”, July 22, 2007, where he announced his intention to have the U.S. Senate censure BushA couple of articles in recent days are worth reading. One is from Raw Story, about how former Reagan Administration official Paul Craig Roberts is predicting the Bush regime will create a pretext for martial law.

The other is from Salon, where writer Gary Kamiya writes about Alan Weisman's book "The World Without Us."

Another worthy read is from Common Dreams, about the extreme fragility of our economy.

Combining these three contexts, the Bush regime is planning to declare martial law at a time when the economy is facing collapse, and our survival as a species is seriously threatened.

If you are inclined to depression and negativity, it would be best if you stay away from these concerns. A brief scan of the Web, though, reveals such headlines as "Be afraid; be very afraid!" in abundance. For many, reveling in helplessness and defeat are a form of masochistic release.

Not me. I see the plans of the Bush criminal organization as futile. Especially in the face of economic collapse, and most certainly in the face of our extinction as a species.

For one thing, if the species goes extinct, so does the Bush crime family. It is in their own interest to do things that are contradictory to their criminal plans. A criminal gang depends for its very existence on the overall health and prosperity of the system in which it operates. So, as a time variable, the criminal activities of the Bush regime serve to shorten its life.

The same goes for the corporations that are the support structure for the Bush regime, the Congress, the Federal bureaucracy, and the Federal judiciary. To the degree that these institutions are criminal, they act against their own self-interests.

Of course, they act against their self-interests anyway, securing untold futures for themselves in lower realms. But that's another story, told in many ways. Suffice it to say that crime never pays in the long run.

Just to keep on the positive side, I responded to an email from Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund with the following reply:

To: Progressive Patriots Fund
From: Me
Date: July 24, 2007
Subject: Endless gratitude

I don't think the word accountability is an adequate term for what is called for in regard to the Bush criminal regime. Prosecution would be more appropriate.

Whatever happens, I am grateful to have the opportunity to vote for Senator Russ Feingold. There are people in one's life who can make one a better person, just by their example. Russ Feingold is one of those people.

There is no loser in this effort. Even if censure doesn't pass, it keeps the pressure on the Bush gang, and hinders its plans for its next criminal endeavor. Whatever pressure can be applied is worth the effort.

I have to add that I find it unimaginable to be in Senator Feingold's position. To take on such responsibility in this deeply criminal atmosphere requires much more than courage. I don't think there's a word for it. You have my endless gratitude.

So don't be afraid, very afraid. The Bush criminal gang is made up of weak, scared, fallible men. They are not superheroes, not super, and not heroes. They are common criminals, and as such, they will eventually fall. What we can do is speed up the process, acting in the self-interest of our entire species. Go Russ!

Continuing the theme of challenging the language we use, I sent the following email to National Public Radio:

To: http://www.npr.org/contact/
From: Me
Date: July 23, 2007
Subject: Earning one's pay

I was listening to the BBC on the way home from work last night, and there was a brief segment about the British Open, with the surprise winner being "Porrig" Harrington. I was surprised at the pronunciation of Padraig, but remembered a character on the imported series "Ballykissangel" with that name.

I woke up too early this morning, and before going back to sleep heard Steve Inskeep pronounce the name Padraig two different ways, neither of which was "Porrig."

This could be attributed to oversight, or to not enough time to check out the pronunciation, but the likely reason is laziness. I know from my limited journalistic experience that getting everything right in even the simplest story is a challenge. But guessing at pronunciations on the air has to be a bit of an embarrassment.

One can only wonder how much other guessing goes on at NPR, especially on important stories, like the criminality of the Bush regime. Criminal is easy to pronounce. Funny how I never hear the word pronounced either correctly or incorrectly in reference to Bush, one of the great omnicriminals in human history.

I even managed to invent a new word: omnicriminal. Like the word omnivore, which means someone who will eat anything - animal, vegetable, fruit, or legume - an omnicriminal will commit any kind of crime - deceit, fraud, theft, blackmail, extortion, racketeering, kidnapping, false imprisonment, torture, murder, treason, military desertion, animal cruelty, negligence, environmental destruction, vote fraud, obstruction of justice, and voyeurism. Did I leave anything out?

Here's another cute little story. The Big Bad Wolf is coming! The Big Bad Wolf is coming! Sorry, boys. The only reason "Al-Qaida" succeeded the first time is because there was willful, active negligence that allowed the attacks. Now our Federal law enforcement agencies and military are supposedly on the subject. It would be hard to coordinate such negligence now. As far as the all-brilliant, all-lucky, all-powerful "Al-Qaida," its only power is the criminality of the Bush gang. It is a passive power: Bush negligence, September 11, 2001 attacks. Bush lies country into invading "Iraq," voila! Opportunity knocks for "Al-Qaida."

And here's a tune to make you optimistic.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Barack Obama in PhotoshopA letter I wrote was printed in Madison's Capital Times, which can be seen here. A part was edited out that took away a bit of the thunder, but I didn't expect the letter to appear at all. Here's the original version:

To the editor:
Tuesday's column by John Nichols, "Bush badly botches Mideast conflict," is something he could have written in his sleep. It is good writing, and is factually correct, but it goes nowhere. It's just more chatter, and to the degree that it is read, it gets filed away with the rest of the chatter.

One key phrase is a hologram for the whole article, and is the key factor in why the piece is almost irrelevant: "Bush's failed Mideast policies."

Policies. The Bush regime has policies.

The Bush regime does not have policies! (Think Jim Morrison shouting "You cannot petition the Lord with prayer!") It is a criminal organization. Not a legitimate political organization that advocates solutions to problems. They only have schemes. Everything they do is with criminal intent, from the rigging of the 2000 election, the active negligence in advance of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the lying to get the country riled up for the invasion of Iraq, the rigging of the 2004 election, the active negligence in advance of and after Hurricane Katrina, kidnapping and torture worldwide, spying and developing databases on citizens within our borders, treason in the exposure of an intelligence officer, to the firings of honorable U.S. Attorneys, who were replaced not by mere political hacks, but criminal operatives with the purpose of prosecuting opponents.

This is an important distinction. If you just talk about this regime's failed "policies," the argument goes nowhere. If you call it what it is, a criminal gang, you change the dialogue, and the likelihood of actually doing something about this regime is greatly enhanced.

The reasons for not referring to the criminal Bush regime as criminal are twofold: It is beyond the bounds of thinkable thought, and of "polite" conversation. It's a self-fulfilling fallacy, because it is only because the "intelligentsia" will not call this regime a criminal gang that it is beyond the bounds of thinkable thought.

The second reason is derivative of the first: Career survival and advancement. If it is conventional wisdom that Bush is incompetent but well-intentioned, then he can be criticized in endless op-eds, editorials, books, and radio and TV commentaries. It all goes nowhere. Bush continues with his criminal schemes, and the news media can do fluff coverage of the presidential "horse race."

Meanwhile, the country continues to sink, having no direction, and little sense of how close we are to collapse as a functioning social system. Chatter, anyone?

I could have done a little editing myself. I thought the Jim Morrison reference should have been left in, though. It captured the mood I was in, and lightened the piece up a bit (Yes, I have surrendered to using the word "piece." There aren't enough words available.).

The point was made, though. The language we use frames how we think and perceive. If the news media started referring to Bush as the criminal that he is, he would be out of office quickly, possibly even in the jail cell he so richly deserves.

It's understandable in practical terms why the mainstream media, known as the MSM, can't refer to Bush and his gang as criminals. The Capital Times is a pretty good newspaper, but it would be no newspaper at all if it loses its subscribers and advertisers.

We do need, however, to find a way to challenge the language used in our popular discourse. Because the Bush criminal organization has a concentration of power, it can spin any event, issue, or scheme in language favorable to itself. The list is endless in the twistings of language to advance agendas: No child left behind, compassionate conservatism, pro life, Social Security reform, aggressive interrogation, and of course the worst and phoniest, the "war on terror."

Many have ridiculed the use of the term "war on terror" as a misuse of language. On the face of it, it is a silly term. You cannot send armies out to destroy fear. So what the "war on terror" actually means is a blanket justification for sending armies out for phony reasons. The terror part is amorphous, an unformed "enemy." (A good article on debunking spin can be seen here.)

Now that the "horse race" is on for the next presidential election, the corruptors of language are gearing up for a spinfest that will likely go well beyond what we have endured in the past. One myth in particular can be dispelled before it goes too far is the branding of Barack Obama as the "black candidate," or possibly the "first black president."

On the basis of skin color alone, Barack Obama is not "black." I found a couple of pictures of him on the Web, and matched his skin color to the color palette in Photoshop, and to the best palette reference I could find on the Web, Cisco. There are no color names for the hexadecimal colors that came up for him - #CC9966 and #CC9999. The closest names are burlywood 3, rosy brown, a variety of tan, and peru.

The term "black" for people of African slave ancestry has been around for a long time. In the 60s, the word was revived, replacing the then common term "negro." It started, in my own memory, on TV talk shows like Joe Pyne. Pyne had occasional guests on who were either "caucasian," or "white" "South Africans" or "Rhodesians" ("Rhodesia" is now "Zimbabwe"), or British journalists working on the "African" continent. It was heady to start calling people of "African" descent "black." It didn't take much time before civil rights activists like Stokely Carmichael started using the word, and the term "Black Power" was invented. Then came the Black Panthers.

Referring to Barack Obama as "black" has other problems. His mother was not of "African" origin, but "Caucasian." Her name was Ann Dunham, and she was from Wichita, Kansas. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was from Kenya.

So Barack Obama can just as easily be called the "white candidate." If you can label someone with one part of his or her ancestry, then you can just as easily label him or her with the other or others. The only problem with this for Obama is that all the other candidates except one are "white." The news media would have one less spin label. Bill Richardson, the former governor of "New Mexico," is predominantly of "Mexican" origin, though part "Caucasian."

Still another problem is that the term "African-American," also applied to Obama, is an insulting term. "Africa" is a continent. "America," at least as used in the "United States," is a "country." There's a bit of asymmetry for anyone given that ascription. For "African-Americans" of slave ancestry, country or countries of origin are difficult to trace, because for centuries they were bought and sold with no regard for family or tribal connections. The common practice of rape by slave "owners" further complicates their ancestry. The slaves were primarily from the western areas of "Africa," places like "Sierra-Leone," "Ivory Coast," and "Angola."

For Barack Obama there is no problem tracing his ancestry. We refer to people as "Irish-Americans," "German-Americans," and "Norwegian-Americans" in some contexts. Why can't Barack Obama be a "Kenyan-American?" It is a truer ascription than any of the others, especially given his mixed background.

The biggest problem, though, is the use of "race" to describe anyone. A good article to read on this subject is in the Scientific American. (A word of advice. Read it in sequence, clicking "next" to advance to succeeding pages. I tried clicking on "5" from the first page, causing a freezup.) My favorite part to quote is this: "Some groups do differ genetically from others, but how groups are divided depends on which genes are examined; simplistically put, you might fit into one group based on your skin-color genes but another based on a different characteristic."

If we abandon the use of "race" to group people, then the applecart of "American" social organization, and dialogue about it would be turned over traumatically. If we can't have "race," then we can't have "racists." This would cause a vacuum for the adherents of both the "right" and "left" supposed sides of the imaginary linear spectrum they hold to so dearly. I have written extensively in this blog about the meaninglessness and inappropriateness of the mythical "left-right" spectrum. If you also take away "race" as a rallying point, then bigotry becomes just bigotry. Self-righteousness has to find another slogan.

Maybe the Barack Obama candidacy will serve to destroy the myth of "race." As we have already seen with Tiger Woods, it is getting increasingly difficult to label people by "race." Woods is of "African," "Native American," "Chinese," "Thai," and "Dutch" ancestry. If Tiger Woods is not a member of any one "race," but is still a human being, then "race" is a term that has purposes other than accuracy or biology. It is a method of establishing "otherness." Woods is both "us" and "them" at the same time, an achievement equal to his golf mastery.

So on the basis of semantics alone, I support the candidacy of Barack Obama. On issues, I am gravitating towards Gravel. If you have read my past posts, you know that I am partial to the word gravel. Mike Gravel pronounces his name "gruh-vél," but it's close enough. The mainstream media call him the "crazy candidate," because he advocates immediate withdrawal from "Iraq." To which I respond Crazy media. Let the word games begin!

Say the word and you'll be free.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Beauty is truth, and truth beauty

Ingrid Bergman, one of the great beauties of all time. If you find Ann Coulter more uplifting than her, then you are indeed an inside-out person, a negative energy force on this planet.One of the great legends of all time is the Mahabharata, a long epic poem of Vedanta mythology. The best known story in the Mahabharata is the Bhagavad Gita, an epic tale in itself that narrates the conversation between Krishna, the most well-known incarnation of Vishnu, one of the deities of the Hindu trinity, and Arjuna, the commander of the armies of the Pandava princes, who had been cheated out of their kingdom by the sons of Dhritarashtra, a rival king. Arjuna is reluctant to fight, and in a long dialogue Krishna explains to him that it is his duty to fight.

Krishna revealing his divine form to ArjunaThe Bhagavad Gita is a complete scripture in itself, but one chapter in particular, Chapter 11, has come to mind lately. In Chapter 11, Krishna reveals his divine form to Arjuna. Some of the key verses, or shlokas, are as follows:

Verse 4:
Arjuna - "If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that unlimited universal Self."

Verse 5:
Krishna - "The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, O son of Pritha, see now My opulences, hundreds of thousands of varied divine and multicolored forms."

Verse 6:
Krishna - "O best of the Bharatas, see here the different manifestations of Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Asvini-kumaras and all the other demigods. Behold the many wonderful things which no one has ever seen or heard of before."

Verse 7:
Krishna - "O Arjuna, whatever you wish to see, behold at once in this body of Mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now desire to see and whatever you may want to see in the future. Everything—moving and nonmoving—is here completely, in one place."

Verse 8:
Krishna - "But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence!"

Verse 9:
Sanjaya said: O King, having spoken thus, the Supreme Lord of all mystic power, the Personality of Godhead, displayed His universal form to Arjuna.

Verse 10:
"Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths, unlimited eyes, unlimited wonderful visions. The form was decorated with many celestial ornaments and bore many divine upraised weapons.

Verse 11:
"He wore celestial garlands and garments, and many divine scents were smeared over His body. All was wondrous, brilliant, unlimited, all-expanding."

Verse 12:
"If hundreds of thousands of suns were to rise at once into the sky, their radiance might resemble the effulgence of the Supreme Person in that universal form."

Verse 13:
"At that time Arjuna could see in the universal form of the Lord the unlimited expansions of the universe situated in one place although divided into many, many thousands."

Verse 14:
"Then, bewildered and astonished, his hair standing on end, Arjuna bowed his head to offer obeisances and with folded hands began to pray to the Supreme Lord."

Verse 15:
"Arjuna said: My dear Lord Krishna, I see assembled in Your body all the demigods and various other living entities. I see Brahma sitting on the lotus flower, as well as Lord Shiva and all the sages and divine serpents."

I think the point is made. God, known as Brahman in the Vedantic tradition, is all-powerful, all-beautiful, all-knowing, all-present, beyond human understanding or imagination.

But we can get glimpses, and the glimpses can inspire us to persevere, to aspire to higher levels of being, to be better persons, and to perform meditative practices and good works.

Meeting Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was one such experience recently, when I helped her group hand out candy to kids at a local Memorial Day parade event. I wrote about it in I love a parade, part 2. Her decency and wisdom are near-transcendent. She also has radiant beauty.

More recently I have gotten to know a co-worker who is as beautiful as anyone I have ever met, a woman whose inner beauty is as great as is her outer beauty. A mother of three, she is happily married, and matter-of-fact about the joys and hardships that she endures, the same kinds of experiences we all have.

The inspiration of great beauty is a strange process. I found myself wishing that no sorrow or difficulty should ever come to this person; that time should have no effect on her; that no harm should come to anyone close to her.

Then I started feeling ridiculous. I put it into a bit of perspective, realizing that in many ways beauty is a burden - that it is fragile, temporary, and so out of the ordinary that it can set a person apart from others. It can also attract unwanted attention, jealousy, and resentment.

After all these considerations, I was still in a bit of a wonderment about beauty in general, and my great fortune in getting to know these two women, great beauties, in slightly different ways, as well as many others in my life. Then I was reminded of the Bhagavad Gita, and also of my involvement in the path of Siddha Yoga, which, though a pretty corrupt cult, had strong connections to the spiritual traditions of India.

Statue of Lord Shiva at the Muktananda ashram in South Fallsburg, New York, 1981.The main deity worshipped in Siddha Yoga was Shiva, the third member of the Hindu trinity, known as the destroyer and regenerator. Shiva exists in consort with his female complement Shakti, the energy aspect of Shiva, also known as the Divine Mother.

One of the chants we often did in the Siddha Yoga programs is titled "Kali Durge." It is a litany of the various names of female deities in Hinduism, also known as Sanatana Dharma. In chanting of Sanskrit names and mantras, the practitoner can awaken, or propitiate the energy and blessings of the deities.

With all these factors in mind, the main realization that came to me in regard to my new friend is she is an example of a metaphor I have come to realize about my own life. I wasn't much of a soldier, mostly making the Army sorry for having me around, but something sunk in on a deep level. I'm not a very good example of a patriot either, but under certain circumstances, I would do what I call "taking the entire hill by myself." I would charge whatever "enemy" in question without any help or direction, and would destroy the opposing force completely. This is on a mythical level, and I have no sense of "dying for a cause." Defeat is out of the question. This is not so much a dream as an attitude. If I were meant to have an ordinary life, I'd probably be driving kids to school, as Leo Kottke once put it.

I would take the entire hill for Tammy Baldwin, and for my friend at work, and for any of my relatives. As the Lakota and other tribes say, Mitakuye Oyasin.

Another person I would conquer an entire hill for is Kristen Breitweiser, one of the Jersey Girls - the widows of September 11, 2001 victims, who shamed our criminal Congress into investigating the negligence that led to the attacks. It's not that I wouldn't do the same for the other survivors - it's just this woman's courage and eloquence touched me deeply. Writing this blog is a huge strain, and sometimes not a particularly healthy thing to do. All I have to do is think of these people, and I can keep writing. Maybe it will do some good. You never know how big the hill is.

A weak example of the attitude of taking the hill by myself, but where the metaphor first came to me, is from when I was a member of a group of veterans advocating peace. The group got attacked by the Freepers, a fake masculinity "right wing" organization that flexes its pretend muscles by trashing "liberals," or anyone it perceives as attackable. I designed and edited the antiwar veterans group's website, and responded to the "Freeper" attack without hesitation. Due to the limits of posting on this blog, I had to divide my response into four parts, in JPEG format, which can be seen here: 1, 2, 3, and 4. The links on the "Freeper" reply are no longer useful, the veterans advocating peace site no longer exists, and I am no longer a member of the group. My effort was unappreciated, and generated a lot of jealousy and hostility, largely due to simmering animosities. If you rent "Life of Brian," you will get a perfect lesson in "leftist" group dynamics, to say nothing of laughing yourself silly.

I should correct a couple of errors in my reply to the "Freepers." Bob Kimbrough, the Korean war veteran they tried to ridicule, received four Purple Heart awards and a Silver Star for combat valor. He retired from the Army reserves as a full colonel (also known as a "full bird"), not a lieutenant colonel. He could literally have taken an entire hill of "Freepers," an organization of traitors if there ever was one, by himself, even today.

Which brings this essay to its main purpose. The inspiration/awakening I have been receiving about beauty has been most beneficial because we are in times of such great ugliness. We have a criminal gang running our Federal Government. It is "led" by a drug and alcohol addicted corporate criminal, who is also a military deserter and traitor. This gang has invaded two countries, and a vast amount of carnage and death has resulted. They are torturing people worldwide. They are committing many more crimes, which we are finding out on a daily basis. We have a corporate media empire giving it succor, propaganda cover, and social homage and comeraderie. The worst of this succor is manifest in grotesqueries: Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage (Weiner), Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, and the milder varieties like David Brooks of the New York Times, and David Broder of the Washington Post.

These grotesqueries can also be likened to gargoyles, or the Rakshasas of Hindu mythology. Geshe Sopa refers to "Hell beings," who earned their residence through evil deeds.

Though these people have been given great assistance from corpoations such as Fox, there is a certain perversity, a sophistry - the philosophic practice of making the weaker argument the stronger - that has gone beyond mere corporate propaganda. It is a perversity of the soul, a descent into a Hades of the mind, a degeneration of the character of the individuals who freely choose their own downfall.

What to call this phenomenon? How about the era of upside-down, or inside-out, down-is-up, ugly is beautiful, war is peace, ignorance is strength? Hmm. It seems we have heard the last two before somewhere.

Me at the Grand Canyon. It was near the end of a long camping trip, and I was pretty “beautied out,” but I felt right at home there, like it was an extension of myself, even a friend.Maybe the cure is as simple as finding beauty. Rather than endless ideological yammering, we could start promoting appreciation of beauty. Visit a museum, a national park, a wonder of nature, or a great work of architecture. Read some Shakespeare, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, or Hemingway. Listen to some great music - Mozart, Yehudi Menuhin, Ravi Shankar, or, say, the Beatles' "Dear Prudence." Admire a beautiful person with pure apprecitation for his or her existence. Watch "Foyle's War" on PBS. Read a bit of Keats.

A sunrise over the Neckar River in Heidelberg, Germany, spring 1971This twisting of ugliness into beauty, and beauty to ugliness will end fairly soon. Let's hope it ends before we destroy ourselves. I, for one, do not have the capacity to charge many more hills.

Here are a few must reads: Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, and Chris Hedges & Laila Al-Arian.

Here's some beautiful tunes: Dear Prudence, Rain, Across the Universe, In my life, Act Naturally, Tomorrow Never Knows/Within You and Without You, Flying/Blue Jay Way, Dear One, Here comes the sun, Let it Be, and All You Need is Love.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

After the crescendo

Valerie Plame and husband Joe Wilson. Because Valerie Plame was publicly identified as a “CIA” agent, the “U.S.” intelligence function of investigating weapons of mass destruction in “Iran” was destroyed.Again, Glenn Greenwald of Salon has written a masterpiece, this time an analysis of the commutation of the Irv Lewis "Scooter" Libby sentence.

I have just one problem with Greenwald's opinion piece. It is only a complaint. It expresses the frustration of defeat, and in so doing, it gives the Bush criminal regime power. Bush does what he wants, and we take it. Ultimately such writing is disempowering.

Ever the one to see the positive side, I wrote a comment to Greenwald's essay. It can be seen here, and below as well:

Change is inevitable

All true. All true. The situation is not hopeless, though. In a materialist culture like ours, it was inevitable that the rawest expression of material gain would rise to prominence. It is also inevitable that the culture of cynical materialism will reach a crescendo, and then will decline.

The Achilles heel of the Washington cesspool is that they have no answers. They have no solutions to any problem. We get attacked by some fanatics. Our response: invade two countries, plan to invade another. Torture people. Violate the Constitution. We get warned about a hurricane threat. Our response: do nothing. The country is being inundated by forest fires, floods, tornadoes and blizzards. Our response: nothing. The planet is heating up, worsened by our profligate use of fossil fuels. Our response: nothing. Our health care system is, as befits a materialist society, in service to the profit-making zeal of corporate "owners." Our response: nothing. Our employment system is being "outsourced," sold to the lowest bidders worldwide. Our response: nothing. Our religious infrastructure has transformed itself into a money and power confidence game. Our government's response: exploit the situation; make it worse. Our "president" lies us into war. Our information industry's response: cheer him on. A top secret intelligence agent is named in a major newspaper. Our government and media elite's response: lie about it. Pretend the traitors are "victims."

Because of the synergy of all these forces, the crescendo is likely very near. In the Buddhist sense of impermanence, the movement to total corruption had a beginning, a time of ascendance, and now a time of dominance. It will decline, and eventually fizzle out, much like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz.

One thing I can suggest is that we start asking the various practitioners and enablers of the Bush criminal organization this simple series of questions: What have you got? What are your answers, your solutions to problems? What kind of world would you like to see, and what does it take to get there?

For instance, do we need the rule of law? Bush, posing as a tough on crime governor, unquestioningly approved the executions of 52 people in Texas (Actually 152. Read about it here.). But 30 months in prison was "excessive" for Irv Libby.

Do we need a justice system at all, or are we better of with a jobs program for the politically connected?

Do we need a health care system, or do we need a money siphon for political cronies?

Do we need a system to plan for natural disasters, or do we need a sink for patronage?

Do we need a journalism industry, or do we need bread and circus inundation?

Do we need a paranoid, authoritarian, money and power concentration form of spirituality, or one focused on human growth and enlightenment?

For now, it would appear that our society prefers all these false responses to the human condition. It will not last. As the false power and wealth concentration reaches its crescendo, human misery is also reaching a crescendo. When the crescendo is finally reached, truth will prevail. Our task, should we choose to accept it, is to bear witness, and to prepare for the crescendo. We need to develop real answers. If we don't, then we perpetuate the system of raw evil.

One thing we can do immediately is to honor Patrick Fitzgerald for his dedicated, patriotic work in exposing the treason of the Bush crime family. He should be given award after award, celebrated in parades nationwide - whether he shows up or not. He should be spoken of as a potential Attorney General in the pending “Democratic” presidential victory. International organizations, such as the Nobel committee, should honor him with awards for his contributions to justice and the rule of law. Movies should be made about him. Law schools should be named after him. Streets. Buildings. Airports. Freeways. Museums.

The same goes for Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson. Valerie Plame would make a perfect “CIA” director. Joe Wilson would be an ideal choice for Secretary of State, to say nothing of president.

And, of course, prison for George W. Bush and his entire gang of sociopaths. Can we finally start talking about them as a criminal operation? And the same for their “journalist” enablers? Language precedes action. Change the language, and you change the argument. Change the argument and you change the perspective. Change the perspective and you change the entire methodology for addressing and solving problems. Learn to face the strange ch-ch-ch-changes.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

When the truth finally comes

The buzz in Washington, DC, stupid center of the universe, this past week was about the series of investigative reports about Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States of America. In the series, Angler, Cheney is revealed to be the power behind Bush, much more so than Karl Rove, secretive, deceptive, a backroom dealer, master of manipulation, and ruthless zealot of the "Neocon" plan for ruling the world.

It's all pretty crazy. From my perspective, there isn't much to Cheney. He's a conniver, a Machiavellian, addicted to power, and a criminal sociopath. But Washington, DC is full to the brim of such people. What is worthy of study, though, is how he manages to stay in power and out of jail.

The secret to Cheney's survival is the interference that is run for him and the rest of the Bush gang in the news media, especially the "Washington press corps." The exposé of Cheney notwithstanding, the "punditocracy" of our nation's capital is, for a synergy of reasons, still treating the Bush criminal organization as if it were a legitimate ruling body. That synergy can be boiled down to one reason above all others: their own power and influence. They support the Bush crime family because their jobs depend on it.

Glenn Greenwald in Salon gave a perfect example of how low the punditocracy has sunk in their desperation to prop Cheney up. Read it here. In Greenwald's Salon blog, he quotes Jonah Goldberg, pundit of some sort, who appeared on "Tucker" as saying of Cheney "...the person who holds the secrets has power. And he is using that for what I would say, or probably what he believes to be certainly good ends. A lot of people disagree on that, but he's trying to do best as he can and he sees holding onto power as a tool to do that."

Greenwald found this remark to be the hologram for the Cheney support mechanism, and by inference the entire Bush regime. These two paragraphs should be read by all who care about the country's future:

That, of course, is the defining mentality of the Authoritarian Mind, captured in its purest essence by Jonah. Our Leaders are Good and want to protect us. Therefore, we must accept -- and even be grateful -- when they prevent us from knowing what they are doing. The less we know, the more powerful our Leaders are. And that is something we accept and celebrate, for our Leaders are Good and we trust that the more powerful they are, the better we all shall be.

No inferences or interpretations are required to describe Jonah's mentality this way. That is precisely -- expressly -- what he said. And though it is rarely expressed in such explicit form, this is the mindset which, more than anything else, has enabled the rampant lawbreaking and unprecedented secrecy of the last six years.

I posted a response to the article with the following remarks, also available here.

Every time someone writes analysis like this we get closer to understanding how we got to where we are. John Dean was the first to reveal the followers of Bush as classic authoritarians, and Glenn Greenwald has now explored the topic. Others will likely study the phenomenon further.

Like it or not, we live in an authoritarian system. The workplace, where we earn our means of subsistence, is almost universally authoritarian. Even CEOs exist in little slots, confined by parameters out of their control, staying in their jobs only as long as they conform to the dictates of corporate imperatives.

This is why chemical companies pollute, power companies pollute, oil companies pollute, tobacco companies promote addiction, pharmaceutical companies promote drug dependency, and agricultural companies promote artificial food production and animal cruelty, to say nothing of poisoning the land. Everyone involved submits to the authoritarian system.

The real question is whether truth-tellers like Glenn Greenwald will have enough impact to inspire change in the system before it destroys itself. The incompetence and criminality of the Bush gang is just a hint of things to come, should we continue on the authoritarian path.

I give Elizabeth Hasselbeck a little more slack than Tucker Carlson or Jonah Goldberg. She doesn't have the means of knowing any better. Network television is an archetype of authoritarian cynicism, and she is likely very beholden and thankful to the "authorities" who put her on a nationwide show. For reasons typical of many people, she identifies the illusion of a strong leader with safety, protection, and stability.

For Carlson and Goldberg, it's a bit more complex, but the essence of their identification with "authority" is pretty obviously vicarious thrill. Like Elizabeth Hasselbeck, they also realize that identification with authority is what gets them on TV.

As long as "smart money" is bet on submission to authority, this will continue. When the corporate state fails, the authoritarian social matrix falls apart. Always lurking under the surface, though, is the opportunistic authoritarian "leader" like Hitler, ready to seize the moment. The next topic to explore is how to prevent this from happening.

A little more needs to be said on this topic. Like Hitler's "Third Reich," the Bush gang's drive for empire is doomed to failure. It is in its last throes, so to speak. Relative to the carnage caused by Hitler's quest for empire, we have gotten off light. Effectively stopped, the only hope for the Bush criminal organization is that the punditocracy can generate fresh hysteria for another war or domestic emergency.

For the pundits, I have two questions: What would you like to have happen? What is the end result you would like to achieve with all your propaganda in support of the Bush regime's various crimes? Is this result for yourselves, or for the betterment of mankind?

They of course have no end result in mind. They are as criminal as Bush and his gang of cutthroats. It's all about participation in power for them, however ill-gotten and evil-intended.

The question of questions, then, is what about the rest of us? Are we so helpless that we let a bunch of ego-obsessed traitors tell us what is real and what is not? Are we just passive spectators of the decline and fall of our short-lived experiment in democracy?

Effectively, the answer seems to be yes. Poll after poll has shown the "American" people to be ill-informed, ignorant of their own history, and easily fooled and manipulated. Close to half the country still believes that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

We have a presidential election next year. Given the state of our political class, of our information industry, and of our "citizenry," it will be a matter of chance that we actually "elect" a competent, responsible, honorable, and effective "leader." The system isn't just corrupt. It's like something out of a science fiction novel.

A better approach might be to assume the decline and fall, and try to maximize the benefit to civilization while minimizing the cost. Assume a venal and corrupt political clsss, a propagandistic journalist class, and an increasingly dull-witted, superficial, and escapist populace. Project the trend into the future, and plan for the end result. We won't see meaningful change until then, so let's not waste our energies.

So rave on Tucker Carlson. Rave on Jonah Goldberg. Rave on Bill O'Reilly. Rave on Rush Limbaugh. Rave on Sean Hannity. Rave on David Broder. Rave on Brit Hume. Rave on Charles Krauthammer. Rave on Fred Barnes. You are serving an end that is no part of your intention - the day of reckoning.

For the few of us that see things differently, we can still live good lives. We can still meditate, still do good works, still try to make things better. Like the yogis, though, we shouldn't get attached to results. When the truth finally comes, we will be ready. That is, if we are still here. It may take a long time.