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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.

Friday, February 19, 2010

From darkness to light

The “Republican thugs” engaging in the “Brooks Brothers Riot”, November 19, 2000, intimidating the ballot recounters in FloridaEvery month or so I get a call from the "Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," asking me for money. It's pretty aggressive telemarketing, and it's sometimes fun. When someone really aggressive calls I tell him or her to stop talking, and explain that at the national level it's one big mafia, and I won't give them a penny. The typical response is a gulp, a hesitation, and then I hang up.

There is no health care "reform" because the Congress and the presidant are sponsored by the "health" industry: the doctors (AMA), the hospitals, the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and the manufacturers of medical equipment.

There is no "reform" of our economic system because the Congress and president are sponsored by the financial services industry and the large corporations. They are assisted by the intellectual infrastructure of economists and business academics, who assume the role of oracles, as if at Delphi.

Iraqi girl killed during the “Shock and Awe” campaign in 2003. This picture could be used to accurately depict what is going on in “Afghanistan” today.We are bogged down in two "wars" because the Congress and president are sponsored by the "defense" "lobby." Part of this lobby is the armaments industry, which also is part of the corporate sponsorship that prevents economic "reform." The other part of this lobby is the military itself, the careers of its members being dependent on the generation of wars, pseudo-wars, threats of wars, and preparation for wars.

There is no meaningful movement to "green" technology and reduction of greenhouse gases because the Congress and president are sponsored by the same corporations that prevent the other "reforms." The melting of the polar ice caps is completely meaningless in the context of corporate mafia.

For the sponsors of the status quo it is essential that the propaganda infrastructure keeps public perception under control. It's what Noam Chomsky calls "Manufacture of Consent." The most important part of this control mechanism is television, and it works like a symphony. The three major networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC, are almost identical, holding the "center." CNN is a bit more theatrical in its presentation, but holds to the parameters of mafia control.

Mr. BillThe court jester, so to speak, is Fox News, a rabble-rousing array of boorish, hateful blowhards that serve to incite, confuse, and manipulate its boorish, hateful, blowhard viewers. The synergy between Fox and the other "networks" explains why they banded together to attack Obama when he dared to criticize the Rupert Murdoch tabloid.

Guaranteeing the hegemony (dominance) of the organized crime cabal is the "U.S." "Supreme Court." With a majority appointed by "Republican" presidents, and the "Chief Justice" a former political operative of the Bush criminal regime, decisions like the recent grant of unlimited corporate campaign spending are becoming routine.

Partners in crime. Or is it strange bedfellows? To read about Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein, go to this URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/index.htmThough the overall character of our governmental-corporate-military-media system is that of a mafia, there is still a lot of gray area within it, and a degree of flexibility that makes some change possible. Barack Obama, for instance, can discontinue the practice of torture instituted by the Bush criminal regime. He won't prosecute the members of the regime, though. He can promise to end the "wars" in "Iraq" and "Afghanistan," but he has to do it within the limits of what the foreign and "defense" "policy" establishment will approve.

Does this mean that change is impossible? Not at all. It just means that it will come about more painfully. If climate change is real, for example, then as a time variable, it will get more serious every year. Every month even, as we are seeing with the weather.

The illusion that the "wars" are going well is just that: an illusion. Neither the invasion and occupation of "Iraq" nor the invasion and occupation of "Afghanistan" were done for honest or legitimate reasons. They were waged with criminal intent by, in perfectly consistent manner, the Bush criminal regime. As with "Vietnam," we will eventually withdraw from both countries, the cost in lives and treasure becoming too great. This will be the final adventure of the empire.

With no intention on changing our economic system, it will fail, with worse consequences the next time. Total collapse, a depression far worse than that of the 1930s, is not only possible, but likely.

The same goes for the health care system. Its dysfunction can only get worse, because it is based on the premise of greed. Greed does not heal the sick. It doesn't even heal the greedy. It does real good for a relative few, but is our national model of human well-being.

So, rather than despair, I look at this as a time of transition. If a system in its final stages is incapable of reforming itself, then it speeds its demise. It will be painful, but out of this darkness there will be light. Real change is a painful process.

For some insight on the con game that is economic reform, Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz offers this analysis.

Matt Taibbi, in Rolling Stone, explains how Wall Street bankers, serving themselves, are speeding the demise of our economic system.

Here's some music to listen to while reading this post. Then, a few scenes.

For a little fun, one of my theme songs.

Here's a song for "America." For the lyrics, click here.

Update, Feb 22: For an excellent quick study of "our" current "policy" in "Afghanistan," Juan Cole wrote this today.

The Guardian is another good source of information.

And some guy named Trggstrflove submitted this to CNN:

McChrystal apologizes as airstrike kills dozens in Afghanistan

This is pretty pro-forma, entirely predictable. The "campaign" to "take" Marjah from the "enemy" is for p.r. purposes, a newer version of "Pork Chop Hill" and "Hamburger Hill" of yore. There are no good intentions here. What the real mission of our military and political "leaders" appears to be is a way of saving face, and thus their careers. Terrorizing the people of "Afghanistan" is a bonus, a little extra for morale. As time goes on, it will become clear that this "policy" is as silly as it is evil, yielding a result similar to invasions all the way back to Alexander the "Great."

If you still believe our president is fighting for health care for you and me, click here.

Here's a nice rundown on the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on healthcare reform.

March 10, 2010 update: If you happen to believe the health care "reform" will do any good, read this.