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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, October 30, 2008

Our only real choice

Early voting, Madison, Wisconsin, October 29, 2008 Photo credit - John HamiltonOne of the nice things about Barack Obama's campaign is that he provides supporters the opportunity to create their own blogs on his website. Believing my input could help, I started a blog on the site. Here's today's offering:

When Obama is president

I was a plumber for about six years. I miss it. It was an occupation where I would have the satisfaction of a job well-done on a daily basis. After age 40 it starts getting hard on the body, and 40 was a couple of decades ago. I started too late in life, and moved on to other things when the aches and pains became too frequent and intense.

I only mention this because having been a plumber gives me the moral authority to represent truth, justice, and the "American" way. I voted early last week, for Obama (Here's how the scene looked yesterday). I had been toying with the idea of voting for Nader, but I have had an Obama sticker on my front door for about six months, and felt obliged to be consistent.

Mostly, though, I voted for Obama because I like him, and figure that he's worth the chance. On the level of discourse alone, he will raise the country's level of interaction by his example. He will appoint competent, professional people to head government agencies. He will appoint Supreme Court justices based on jurisprudence and integrity.

The range of policy options for the President of the "United States" are pretty narrow, so Obama will not likely to be the great agent of change we would like him to be. If he is able to produce even minor redistributions of wealth and income, I will be surprised. The corporate power structure in this country will not change significantly until it collapses, which may well happen during Obama's tenure.

Most problematic for the Obama presidency will be his adherence to established mythologies and practices. He calls "Iran" our enemy, and promises to increase our involvement in "Afghanistan" and, by extension, "Pakistan" The reasons given are spurious: countering the supposed nuclear "threat" from "Iran," and "defeating" "The Taliban" and "Al Qaida." All of these escalations will almost certainly lead to disaster.

Our "Foreign Policy Establishment" can accurately be looked at as an exclusive club of immature teenagers with stacks of violent video games. They don't represent you or me, the country, or anyone else. Henry Kissinger is the archetype - an entity unto himself, a world criminal who is responsible for vastly more deaths than Saddam Hussein or any other dictator in the modern era.

General Dwight D. EisenhowerWhat is really going on is a perpetuation of the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about decades ago. If there are not sufficient worldwide "threats," then it becomes difficult to justify our bloated Pentagon budget, as well as massive spending for our various "security" agencies.

Events will overtake. What has not been mentioned about our economic crisis is that the profligate lending that led to the credit breakdown gave the economy its fake growth for most ot the Bush era. There are no growth prospects, real or fake, that will make the economy prosper. Joseph Schumpeter listed early in the 20th Century the factors that are necessary for GNP growth: new markets, new sources of raw materials and labor, new products, new organization of industry, new methods of production, new methods of transportation, and new methods of communication.

We don't have new anything on the horizon that will generate increases in output in our infinite growth system. Solar energy, at best, will allow a stagnant level of energy use. We have fished the seas to near-extinction, cut the forests to levels of of denuding that make reforestation very difficult, and are threatening our own future existence with our emissions of carbon dioxide. These factors are only a part of our self-threats.

Therefore, the system will change, whether we like it or not, and with or without Barack Obama. The best thing that has happened during this election is that people have become engaged. In a few days, Barack Obama will be our new president-elect. It is up to us to make sure that the change we expect and hope for actually takes place.

Here are a few addtional reasons why it is important that Barack Obama is elected President of the United States: It will be less likely that Bush will be able to get away with his many crimes if Obama wins. We will likely have a professional and ethical Department of Justice. It will be less likely that Bush will successfully pardon the numerous criminals from his administration. We will be more likely to find out what really happened in the months previous to and after the attacks of September 11, 2001. We will be more likely to find out the real source of the Anthrax attacks in the aftermath of the "911" attacks.

We will likely find out who actually won the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. We will be more likely to find out what really went on in the planning for the invasion of "Iraq." We will be more likely to bring to justice the former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and anyone else involved in the corruption of the Department of Justice. We will be more likely to find out about the criminality involved in awarding contracts to Halliburton and other war profiteers.

We will be more likely to find out the relationship between our economic meltdown and the bribing of members of Congress for favorable legislation. We will be more likely to have measures to reinvigorate the economy that will not destroy the environment and increase poverty (Still, as I said above, our economy is not going to revive in the long run in any way that will resemble the profligacy and consequence-free abundance of the past.).

Obama is not the Messiah, which he has taken pains to remind us. Still, if this country has any hope at all of saving itself, and of restoring its place in the world as a beacon of opportunity and hope, he is our only real choice next Tuesday. Barring massive vote fraud, I expect him to win in a landslide.

Here's the text of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex.

Here's some info on the prison-industrial complex.

For an update on how low a man will stoop to become president, read here.

Here's a little something from the Capital Times. They didn't use my title/headline: "Desperados waitin' for a train." There's a song by this name, written by Guy Clark, performed here by Jerry Jeff Walker (For the lyrics, click here).

I have found that I have to explain metaphors, especially to relatives. For relatives and others reading this, the desperdados are the "Republicans." The train they are waiting for is the election. The metaphor is that the "Republicans" are waiting for the election so that they can "rob" it, stealing the election. The theft is in changing the election results so that the "Republican," John McCain, is awarded the victory, when actually he will have lost.

I should "hang out a shingle" (another metaphor, for starting a business and posting a sign), offering to explain Bob Dylan songs. For this I would charge money, $200 an hour minimum. Free tip: metaphors can mean whatever you want them to mean. The context tends to make the metaphor more specific, but not always. Sometimes you can just revel in the mystery and ambiguity. Even after the free tip, most would still be confused, wanting a detailed explanation. We are living in unexalted times.

For an example of how Bob Dylan uses metaphor, click here. For another, click here. This too. I will explain them for $10,000 per song. I guarantee disappointment.

Here's something to listen to for a little election day comfort.

Here's another.

For some fun while waiting for the vote tallies, click here.

For a little encouragement, Leonard Cohen.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your blog and I find you by way of Salon. I also live in Wisconsin.


11/03/2008 7:09 AM  
Blogger John Hamilton said...

Thanks much. I don't get very many comments, positive or negative. I figure even the smallest heresy is worth it, sowing the seeds for changing the way we perceive "reality."

If you read my most recent letter in Salon, I was a bit more caustic than usual. I was in my "chasing the money changers out of the temple" mode, though I'm no messiah. I'll probably write something one of these days about fundamentalism and how to deal with it. John Dean recently broke some new ground on a related subject, which is worth a read.

11/03/2008 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear boy,

It's wonderful that you were in the Army, and mystifying how, while you were there, the Soviets didn't just roll over us.

Nice picture of Ike.

Your pal in Virginia

3/31/2009 7:33 PM  

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