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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, April 03, 2008

The crescendo approaches

Defeated Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler and newly elected Justice Michael Gableman Wisconsin had an election Tuesday, mainly for a seat on the state Supreme Court. It was the dirtiest race for public office in state history, with the incumbent, Louis Butler losing to self-proclaimed "conservative" Michael Gableman. The winner was supported by "Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce," a lobbying organization, which mounted an advertsing campaign against Butler that generated hysteria about Butler's supposed "softness on crime" and his "African-American" background. You can read about it here.

This race was significantly dirtier than the previous Supreme Court race, in which the winner was disciplined for passing judgement on cases in which she had a financial interest. She also is a professed "conservative." In Wisconsin that means a free ride for corporations to commit crimes in furtherance of their profits. The "law and order" part is just fuel for those who wish to see more "African-Americans" in jail.

In other news, a major airline has been flying defective planes with the cooperation of the Federal Aviation Administration.

A Federal judge is allowing an investigation against Countrywide Financial Corporation, which has been accused of bankruptcy fraud in 293 cases.

Last month National Public Radio aired a segment about how part of the housing credit crisis was caused by the rampancy of real estate appraisal fraud.

Bush's LawLast week the public radio program "This American Life" described some of the methods the Bush criminal regime uses in the realm of border security and immigration, revealing the pettiness and extremes this gang goes to on a routine basis.

A story in Salon described how the Federal government trumped up a case against an ordinary citizen, using witness blackmail and fake evidence to get a conviction in a "terrorism" prosecution.

Democracy Now interviewd Eric Lichtblau, the author of a book titled Bush's Law, where he describes how the Bush criminal regime has its own method of creating and interpreting law to enable its lawlessness.

So Wrong for So LongDemocracy Now also interviewed Greg Mitchell, author of So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits, and the President Failed on Iraq. In a nutshell, they failed because they were and are corrupt - criminals.

Topping it all off, the Pentagon this week declassified the infamous torture memo, the Bush criminal regime's justification for its "harsh interrogations."

Any of these stories could be picked out as a hologram, a part that reveals the whole, but for me it was the real estate appraisal story that told it all. As the story showed, the fraud is widespread and systemic. The entire real estate industry is corrupt.

Which raises this question: Are we a corrupt people? Are we, the "American" public, hopelessly flawed, prone to criminality, willing to break any law when it is to our advantage? Do we rationalize kidnapping, torture, false imprisonment, whimsical invasions, corruption of our justice system, spying on fellow citizens, crony capitalism, and any other form of government criminality, all in obeisance to the "authority" of our "rulers?"

I wouldn't go quite that far, but I think it is safe to say that we are effectively a criminal civilization. In other words, though we aren't a majority criminal society, our institutions of government, business, religion, and information media are controlled by a criminal system of ethics and practice. It is not universal, but it is effectively criminal.

The majority of people of Wisconsin are not criminals for electing a dishonest judge to the Supreme Court, but they are close. Vulnerability to propaganda is no excuse for weak citizenship. Stupidity may be, and the combination of a failing school system with a mindless cultural milieu is certainly making for a dim-witted populace.

All to the delight of our corporate and power elites. A dumb citizenry makes their criminality much easier.

The main long-term problem for a comprehensively corrupt system is that eventually it fails. Airlines that fly dangerous planes generally have passengers from the wealthier classes of society - lower middle, middle, upper middle, and upper class. When their planes crash, members of all these demographic groups die.

The same goes for the pharmaceutical companies. When their medicines kill, they kill across the endowed sectors of society.

Tainted food that results from a lack of FDA inspections kills the rich as well as the poor.

The financial and real estate industries, through their bribes, er, campaign contributions, to mainly "Republicans" may be committing fraud against the "American" people as a whole, but these perpetrators are "Americans" themselves. They are consumers of the same products as everyone else, though perhaps at a more luxurious or "high-end" level. Government officials ride commercial airlines. When the planes crash, they end up as dead as everyone else. There is no escape.

Thanks to the corruption of our culture, manifest in our institutional practices, we are a nation turned on itself. It is a problem worldwide, to be sure - priests are molesting children elsewhere - but nothing approaches the scale of mutual assured destruction (MAD) that exists in the "United States of America."

Into this maelstrom has stepped Barack Obama, candidate for president. He doesn't advocate anything drastic, just a sense of morality and truth.

Barack Obama in PhotoshopHe has ignited a wildfire, yuk, yuk. At a time when we are being faced with our national criminality on a daily basis, he presents us with a demeanor of calm, decency, and warmth, mixed with strength and determination. He is being called the "black" candidate, when he is not "black" at all. He is being called "Un-American," as if there is such as beingness as "American" that can be codified and enforced.

Win or lose, the candidacy of Barack Obama is making this a fun year. Our national cognitive dissonance is being stirred up, heated up, fanned, basted, marinated, and sautéed. The higher sensibilities of people, as well as their lower sensibilities, are being awakened and fueled, challenged and aroused. We are having a mirror held to our faces, and the reflection is not so pretty. For many of us it is a motivator for good.

A scene we'd like to seeAs per usual, I am optimistic. By election day this cognitive dissonance should reach a crescendo. I suspect that willingness to change will prevail. Barack Obama will be our next president. The Bush gang will be sent to Nuremberg. Always look on the bright side of life.
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For some background on Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce click here.

Need some cheering up? Watch and listen to this.

This is a must listen.

Here's a bit of a surprise.

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