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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, March 16, 2008

An example to follow

Archbishop Desmond Tutu with the Dalai LamaIn 1989 or so while visiting a friend, she introduced me to her housemate, a student from "China." Typical of "Chinese" students, my friend's housemate took on a Western name - "Tina" - an all-too-frequent choice. Also typical of "Chinese" students at the time, she was a supporter of the student democracy movement back home.

Tina impressed me with her fervor and eloquence in talking about the situation in "China." At one point I moved the conversation further along, adding that it would be great if the "Chinese" government stopped its occuation and oppression in "Tibet." Surely, I thought, Tina would be in favor of the human rights and freedom of the "Tibetan" people.

She wasn't. In equal proportion to her passion for the student uprising in "China," Tina had nothing but disdain for the people of "Tibet." In mind-boggling fashion she declared that "Tibet" had always "belonged" to "China," and that the Dalai Lama was an imposter, an agitator, a troublemaker. She also talked about how backward the "Tibetan" people were, and that they engaged in barbaric rituals and practices.

I couldn't believe my ears. What stands out in my memory is the certainty with which she spoke. It was the same certainty one hears from religious fanatics and zealots of every kind. The knowing that is not a knowing, but a presumption of knowing. For a brief history of "Tibet," click here. Read here and here to see what is happening in "Tibet" now.

This was a great lesson. It was a lesson in the power of propaganda. The masses of people in any "country" can be made to believe in anything. All it takes are the time-honored methods of persuasion honed to perfection by governments throughout history. Totalitarian governments like that in "China" are the most obvious perpetrators, but, as Noam Chomsky has shown us, propaganda is actually more powerful and successful in "democratic" societies.

Such as the "United States." The Bush criminal regime had an easy time convincing "Americans" that invading "Iraq" was an urgent necessity. Bush was able to garner the support of 90% of the population for his invasion and occupation.

Now the "war" and occupation are not so popular, but the Bush regime still has a few tricks up its sleeve. It may seem that it would be much harder for the Bush gang to make a case for attacking "Iran," but a quick look at the propaganda methods linked to above will reveal the ease at which the public can be manipulated.

Stopping this madness is made more difficult by the toothless opposition to the Bush criminal gang. A good example is the protest of the "Iraq" debacle that was held in Madison yesterrday. As the TV narrative describes, dozens showed up. I recognized a few faces. What I found most pathetic about the demonstration was how clich├ęd it was. Peace symbols, scrawled signs, lifelessness, and a "leader" with a bullhorn. The leader in this case wore a motorcycle jacket and a old West-type felt hat that reeked of the 60s. He was right out of central casting.

We're stuck, it would seem, powerless to stop this impending madness. I'm not so pessimistic, though. There are two things that will stop the Bush regime from its attack: (1) Opposition from the ruling class, and (2) Subversion from within the ranks of the power structure.

Though the mainstream news media seem poised as always to provide propaganda cover for whatever perfidy is implemented by the powers that be, the folly of attacking "Iran" might have seeped into their collective consciousness. There's not much more that can be said about this. Hope is about all we can do. Shaming them doesn't seem to work. They have no shame.

In what amounts to an irony of epic proportions, that leaves the task up to the power apparatus. The "CIA," having been burned on "911" and "Iraq," might not be so keen to throw propaganda support to the Bush criminal regime this time. The same goes for the military high command, made to to look like fools time and again as the "Iraq" and "Afghanistan" debacles continue to deteriorate. Even the hapless Congress might find its moral center, and stop the Bush crime syndicate in its tracks.

It's anyone's guess as to how things will turn out. With the economy tanking, the climate becoming ever more threatening, and the social fabric of the country deterioriating, the last thing we need is another war. Unfortunately, war is what the Bush regime needs to deflect mounting evidence of its criminality.

In spite of all this, I'm ever the optimist. I prefer to follow the example of the Dalai Lama. If he can see a shining light of possibility in the future of his native land and people, then I should be able to do the same for mine. I am thankful for the example.

Just in case we fail, here's an example of the kind of optimism we may have to start getting used do.


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