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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.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

We need the eggs

The sun is going to burn out tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next day. Or the next day. Or the next day. Or the next day...

If I were to live long enough, this prediction would eventually come true. Though astronomers and/or astrophysicists believe the sun will last about five billion years, no one really knows what the future will bring. The sun could burn out tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next day. Or the next day...

The fact that the sun will burn out some day should put everything else in perspective. Life on this planet is going to end one of these days. All we hold dear will be gone, burned away in the final eruption of the sun's energy. No continents, no oceans, no mountains, no trees, no animals, no anything.

It kind of makes global warming seem pretty minor, doesn't it? It also puts Fox News in stark perspective. The "Republican" party. The "Democratic" party. Dick Cheney. Barack Obama. The Project for the New American Century. Wall Street. K Street. Pennsylvania Avenue. Easy Street. Lonely Street. Mean Street. Main Street.

What got me thinking about the sun burning out was a friend telling me that we will not even begin sorting out the crimes of the Bush regime until there is a full investigation of the September 11, 2001 attacks. I have always had mixed feelings about the culpability for the attacks, and the likelihood of ever finding out what really happened.

I remember vividly the morning of September 11, 2001. It was a day off from work, and I woke up at about 8:15 a.m., Central time. It was a beautiful day here in Madison, as it was in New York. I turned on the radio to WERN, the local Wisconsin Public Radio station. The classical music show host, Jim Fleming, introduced a symphony or some such, and said he would keep the listeners posted on the news from New York City. It sounded ominous, so I turned on the TV.

The scene on television was of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, with smoke billowing from the top of each building. Within minutes, one tower collapsed. A few minutes later, the other tower fell in the same manner. It was strange, looking back on the event, because the buildings fell from the bottom up, with the top of each building falling on a caving mass of crumbling debris and dust. Both buildings collapsed in identical fashion, straight down, and they fell to the ground in what seemed like seconds. It probably took about fifteen to twenty seconds for them to fall.

It is extremely unlikely that the weight of the planes caused the buildings to collapse in this fashion. I suppose that in the realm of possibility that it is feasible that the planes caused the collapses, but more likely they were the result of controlled demolitions.

I don't have the usual conspiracy theory to place blame for the attacks. By deduction, deducing the cause from known evidence, the responsibility certainly points to the Bush criminal regime. The elections of 2000 and 2004 were clearly stolen. The regime had criminal relationships with corporations like Enron and Halliburton, among numerous others. The September 11 attacks were used as an excuse to invade "Afghanistan" and "Iraq," and set up the kidnapping and torture prison in Guantanamo Bay, "Cuba." For revenge, the Bush regime revealed the name of a secret intelligence officer, Valerie Plame. The regime used the Justice Department to prosecute political enemies. "U.S." attorneys who refused to go along with the phony prosecutions were fired. They illegally spied on "Americans." Comprehensively criminal, the Bush regime would be acting in an entirely consistent manner if it planned and/or facilitated the September 11 attacks. Its negligence before September 11 should have been enough grounds for impeachment and imprisonment.

Who knows? I think the crime is a little more complex than a Bush regime conspiracy. I worked in building construction for many years, mostly as a plumber, but also as an electrician, and did a fair amount of carpentry, drywall, masonry, roofing, painting, tile work, and even some landscaping. I began my pursuit of construction trades by taking classes at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I still remember the first day of classes, when the director of the program told us there are four principles of constructing a building: plumb, square, level, and alignment. All four are necessary for a building to have structural integrity.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center were 110 stories, with building one being 1,368 ft. high. To erect buidings of such height and make sure they were plumb, square, level, and in alignment was a Herculean task, almost beyond imagination. In my way of thinking, they were too high. Also, the underlayment would have to be stable for the life of the buildings. If they were to "settle" like the average house does over time, the "leaning tower of Pisa effect" would cause them to tip over.

The normal-type skyscraper, like the Empire State Building, would be wider at the bottom, narrowing gradually as the building is built higher. In the case of the World Trade Center, the towers were built perfectly vertical, the same width at the bottom as at the top.

Thirty-one years old at the time of the September 11 attacks, it is likely that the design weaknesses of the twin towers of World Trade Center were making them dangerous, and the the useful life of the buildings was just about up. For the owner of the buildings, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the prospect of vacating them, removing furniture and fixtures, and demolishing them would have been a daunting task, and the cost would be in the billions of dollars.

In this context, the September 11 attacks look pretty handy. No waiting, no litigation, no demolition costs, and no responsibility for damage and pollution costs.

Far fetched? As we have seen recently, in the city of New York, coincidentally, the power of greed to destroy not just buildings, but the entire economy and the lives of millions is on display for all to see. In Washington, D.C., the power of greed to make meaningless the efforts to reform our health care system is on display for all to see. The power to transfer the country's wealth to money changers is on display for all to see. The power to wreak havoc around the globe is on display for all to see.

The power of greed to melt the polar ice caps is on display for all to see. The power of greed to deplete the oceans of fish is on display for all to see. The power of greed to denude the world's forests is on display for all to see. The power of greed to blow the tops off mountains for easy money is on display for all to see.

I believe the attacks of September 11, 2001 were not simply the acts of a ragtag bunch of religious fanatics. Too much had to go right without fail, and it is too improbable that "box cutters" were weapon enough to overcome the most powerful security apparatus in human history.

Having said all that, I don't think it is likely or even necessary that the truth be revealed. For one thing, revealed to whom? The "American" people? In the immortal words of that great sage Jack Nicholson, we can't handle the truth. If the established order of this country, the ruling elite, perpetrated this crime, then exposing them to "the people" isn't going to be much help. "The people" are compromised by various addictions - drugs, alcohol, hysterical religion, entertainment, food, sex, money - to be able to effectively hold the power elite accountable for much of anything. There also is a stupidity factor that would be hard to exaggerate.

Not to worry. The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men gang aft agley. Crime does not pay. We all die, and the only thing we take with us is our Karma.

Whoever is responsible for the September 11 attacks, they failed. The "empire," such as it is, is in free fall, just like the Twin Towers. Richard Perle, one of the theorists and major players behind the drive for empire, bragged that "If we let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

Songs like "My daddy, one of the great shitheads of human history." Or "Dumbest #%@&*r *@!#%r in human existence, my old man." Melodies could be purloined from patriotic music and show tunes, maybe some Irving Berlin numbers.

Why, one might ask, would men, cohorts of men, engage in such foolishness? I think Woody Allen came up with the perfect answer decades ago: "...This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, uh, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken,' and uh, the doctor says, 'well why don't you turn him in?' And the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.'"

As ordinary people, we need the eggs. We need the illusory rewards of action that keep us busy with striving and seeking. The rewards are meaningless, but they appear to be real: money, power, fame, attention, wine, women, song (like the songs of Richard Perle's children).

Heaven on Earth. Conspiracy to make war. To destroy. To kidnap. To imprison. To torture. To dominate. To take. It's all for nothing. Actually less than nothing, because to commit crimes on a world scale is to commit oneself to lifetimes of payback. All that scheming, and they can't even get a decent song. Instead, they'll be singing a few ditties themselves. Like chain-gang songs.

I've been pondering the pursuit of illusory reward for some time, and have found that there is only one way out: spiritual practice, especially meditation. Silencing the mind is the only way to break the power of illusion. It would be nice to bring those responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001 to justice, but in a world of chattering minds it is almost useless. It is vastly more important that we begin to work towards a state of calm. Until we quiet our minds, we will need the eggs, and the need cannot be satisfied. And one of these days the sun will burn out.
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There's a lot of clamor about Obama's plan for preventive detention and other Bushian "policies" and practices. Here's my take.

Here's Woody Allen.

This tune might work for Richard Perle's children to sing. Here's a great version. For good measure, here's another tune from Ry Cooder.

This Cream song fits the mood, one of my all-time favorites.

Here's where we first heard the term "Gitmo."

For a good synopsis of what a scam "health care reform" is, click here.

This is a nice rundown on how the bank bailout is a huge swindle.

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