.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

My Photo
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, September 27, 2007

Looking back, looking forward

Members of the Madison chapter of Veterans for Peace, February 1, 2003. The guy with the blue hat was a bombardier in the firebombing of Tokyo in World War II. The guy with the “No war” sign was a combat journalist in “Vietnam.” The guy with the beard, holding the corner of the banner was an artilleryman in “Vietnam.” Photo credit: John HamiltonIt seems the Bush criminal regime's plan to attack, invade, bombard, or have "Israel" do the dirty work in "Iran" is a fait accompli, a done deal, an unavoidable fact. The Kyl-Lieberman amendment to the Defense Authorization bill of 2008, recommending that the "Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps" of "Iran" should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization, has passed the "Senate." To see how your "senator" voted, click here. In effect, this designation greases the wheels for the desired conflict.

The "House of Representatives," not to be outdone, passed a resolution to block foreign investment in "Iran." the vote was 397 in favor, 16 against. To see how your "representative" voted, click here.

Me at Patton Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany, summer 1970. Photo credit: Jack Prier, Woodland Hills, CaliforniaIt's Déjà vu all over again. I served in the U.S. Army during the "Vietnam" "war." I was sent to "Germany," but could have been sent to "Vietnam" at any time. Opposing the "war" within the military had its risks, but a growing number of us did what we could to resist the Army altogether in many ways. By the time I got out in 1971 it was near-mutiny.

When the first invasion of "Iraq" was being fomented, Bush I (or "41," as his wayward son calls him) had already invaded "Panama," and Reagan had used a fake threat to justify his invasion of Grenada. Reagan also gave support to the death squads of "El Salvador," and to the "Contras," a terrorist group that was attacking towns and farms in "Nicaragua."

These also were déjà vus, so when Bush II (or "43") was manufacturing his scheme for a "Shock and awe" invasion of "Iraq," I had a familiar sense of dread. The sheer madness and dishonesty of the planned invasion aroused old intuitions. The posturing of politicians, the cheerleading of the news media, the bluster from pretend know-it-alls.

Now might be a good time for those of us with any sense to look back at the last five years, and take stock. It was in September of 2002 that Bush gave his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, making his case for war with "Iraq." Then in October, the "Congress" gave Bush the authorization to invade. Here's how the "Senate" voted. The "House of Representatives" vote result can be seen here.

“Kids for Peace” at the “Preemptive Peace March,” State Street, Madison, Wisconsin, February 1, 2003. Photo credit: John HamiltonI wrote a few things - letters to editors, comments on websites, emails, letters to senators and members of Congress, etc. It all seemed pretty futile. In January 2003 I joined the local chapter of a group called Veterans for Peace. The weekend after I joined, the group participated in the largest peace march in Madison since the "Vietnam" "war," with an estimated 8,000 people marching (Members published a book of their paths to peace, Long Shadows)." Most impressive to me was a group called "Kids for Peace," with about 100 children of various ages marching with signs they made themselves.

Those were heady days. The energy of the march, with similar and larger marches nationwide, made me think the invasion could be stopped. I knew Bush and his gang were criminals, but I believed they would respond to public pressure. Silly me.

The invasion took place in March, the occupation began, and shortly thereafter Bush declared victory. I still had faith in the "system," and thought that a strong opponent in the 2004 election could defeat Bush and end the occupation. I liked Howard Dean, but couldn't see him as president. Naivete upon naivete, I was ready to vote for Ralph Nader again. Then the primary season ended, and John Kerry was the "Democratic" nominee.

John Kerry at the end of his appearance in Madison, October 28, 2004Kerry's performance at the Democratic National Convention was a big turnoff, and I thought he was a pretty lame campaigner. I fully intended to waste my vote on Nader one more time, and then Kerry came to town with Bruce Springsteen. I was among the estimated 80,000 people in attendance on west Washington Avenue on October 28. Bruce Springsteen and John Kerry, October 28, 2004Springsteen sang acoustic versions of "The promised land" and "No retreat, no surrender." I was inspired again, and voted for Kerry. Foolish me. The election was stolen, and if it hadn't been, it's not clear that Kerry would have ended the occupation. He was on TV today, and one thing was crystal clear: we would be plenty tired of him by now.

So now we're moving headlong towards another war, and one that will likely be a far greater disaster than the "Iraq" fiasco. It's out of our hands, though we can't give up. We did what we could to stop the invasion and occupation of "Iraq," and failed. We will likely fail again.

We have nothing to be ashamed of. This country is run by sociopaths. They were put into office by other sociopaths. They get propaganda cover from sociopaths in the news media. None of these sociopaths will ever achieve happiness, peace, or wisdom in their lives. As such, they have wasted their lives, all for a few pieces of silver, and a few grunts of power. "Ugh! Me powerful! Me rich! Me famous! Me steal! Me kill! Me torture! Me feared!"

No matter what hardships we endure as the Bush criminal regime engages in its various schemes, we can always take comfort that we opposed them, that we did what we could to stop them. All that is sown is reaped, positive and negative. Peace will come in its own time. We can't give up.

Click here and here for a bit of inspiration. If you can handle it, have them both running at the same time. Here's another.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


The moderately heroic Wesley ClarkWesley Clark was on the Stephanie Miller Show yesterday morning, pitching his endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. Fair enough, I thought. He was NATO Commander during the administration of Bill Clinton, and his loyalty will likely be handsomely rewarded if Mrs. Clinton wins.

Then he ventured off into speculation about war with “Iran,” and his view is not far from that of the Bush criminal regime. In a nutshell, he said “Iran” must be stopped. He said that if “Iran” builds an atomic bomb, then we will have to take military action.

The really heroic Wesley ClarkWhat this really means is that the intention is to overthrow the “Iranian” regime, and control what is left of the “country” after we have given it the same treatment that we have given “Iraq.” This is what is known as “American” or “U.S.” “interest.” We are “interested” in mass murder. It is the same drumbeat that Dick Cheney is promoting. And of course, the other leading “Democratic” candidate, Barack Obama, has spoken in favor of missile attacks on “Iran” for years.

I actually found Clark’s off-the-cuff remarks reassuring. We have focused too much on Bush and his Svengali Cheney. Bush is merely the bumbling oaf who ruined the long-running projection of “American” “interests” worldwide. The trick is to control the world on the sly, to use military force “surgically” and infrequently, relying on fear, intimidation, subversion, assassination, and bribery to achieve the “interests” with minimal effort. If all goes well, then we have “hegemony,” control of countries and regions. In other words, an empire.

As far as “Iran” is concerned, the main goal is to regain the “influence” that was lost when the “Shah” was overthrown by his own people. He was our puppet, installed after the “CIA” helped overthrow the elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh.

I wrote in February about my friendships with a number of “Iranian” students when I was in graduate school many years ago. Through these friendships and study of events I learned about how the “U.S” attempt to have hegemony on the “African” continent and the “Mideast” was through partnerships with the apartheid regime in “South Africa,” “Israel,” and “Iran.” All three of these “countries” should be equipped with nuclear weapons, both as a threat to their respective regions, and as a way of “outflanking” the “communist” regimes in “Russia” and “China.”

“Iran” overnight became our “enemy.” The hostage crisis of 1979 provided an instant transformation, ala “We are now at war with Eurasia. East Asia is now our friend.”

For a little added context, former “Fed” chairman Alan Greenspan is now saying the “Iraq” “war” is about oil. The “war” against “Iran” will also be about oil. “We” have to have the oil, or our economy will collapse, and “we” have to have it cheap.

A traffic jam somewhereWhich brings up another factor: what we do with the oil. Today’s Madison Capital Times has a front page story about traffic congestion, and cites a study that about 3 billion gallons of oil annually are wasted by vehicles stalled in traffic, costing close to $80 billion.

If the rest of the world were to drive motor vehicles like we do in “America,” the cost, waste, and pollution would be beyond belief. According to the “CIA” Fact Book there are now 6.6 billion people on the planet. If the benefits of “Capitalism" were to spread to all of this 6.6 billion, we would be extinct in a hurry.

And just to broaden the context a bit further, we have an economic system that has to have increased output every year in order to keep functioning. It is known as the growth imperative, and it applies to individual business entities as well as “countries.”

Put simply, under current conditions, world population, now 6.6 billion people, will likely keep growing at its current rate of 1.167% per year, and the consumption of fossil fuels will likely increase accordingly, if not at a greater rate. Using the "Rule of 72," world population will double in about 61 years. That means there will be 13.2 billion people on the planet by 2068. Given an average football stadium capacity of 75,000 people, that would be 1,760,000 football stadiums filled to the brim. With 194 countries in the world, the average number of full stadiums would be a little over 9,072 per country.

The competition for fossil fuels will intensify, and the desperate push for control of those fuels will become ever more feverish. And of course, the fossil fuels will eventually be used up. That eventuality will likely be an effective reality within the next fifty years.

The context could be broadened further, but this will suffice. It should be clear by now why I find the bellicose remarks by Wesley Clark so reassuring. There is no reason to have faith that any “Democrat,” or even “Green” candidate for any national office is going to rein in the drive for empire. Similar to the growth imperative, and partly derivative of it, our system has been on a path of world domination since about 1945, the year I was born. “We” “won” World War II. If it weren’t “us,” it would be some other “country.”

This drive for empire is doomed, but “we” will continue on this path until “we” are defeated resoundingly, or our system collapses, or both. Because it is physically impossible for our economic system to grow forever, it will collapse. It remains to be seen whether our various military adventures will result in resounding defeat, but one thing should be clear by now: “we” will not conquer the world. Since under current “imperatives” we “must” conquer the world, by simple application of Isaac Newton’s laws of Physics, two irresistible forces clashing will result in (1) a great impact, and (2) one of the forces overtaking the other. “We” are not greater than the rest of the world.

Something to think about: What do we do after the empire fails? Since we can’t stop the drive for empire, a better use of our energies would be to plan for what comes next. The real imperative is to develop a post-growth-of-everything civilization.

For some added perspective on the likelihood of an attack on "Iran," click here and here.

For a little cheering up, click here and here.