.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

My Photo
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.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Newtonian Physics

In a surprise of surprises, gold has been found in the hills of "Afghanistan." Lithium too. And copper, iron and cobalt. Just like the reverse engineering of torture, we now have a reverse engineered reason for waging war.

Which may have been the reason all along. The search for Osama bin Laden is a long-abandoned ruse. Freeing women from the burqa has come and gone as a justification for war. Ditto for sending girls to school. Lately it has simply been "defeating the Taliban," and "creating security."

In other words, we're there, and the reason is we're us, and we can be wherever we want. We have the money, we have the men, and we have the guns.

Mountains in AfghanistanAt least that was the way it was supposed to work. In today's Morning Edition on NPR, it was pointed out that it is one thing to discover great potential wealth. It is another thing to turn that potential into actual wealth. "Afghanistan" has no mining industry, a weak infrastructure of roads, no railroad, no developed seaport, and an unforgiving mountain terrain. It also has a weak and corrupt government, and no social infrastructure for anything beyond its opium economy. Good luck with the dreams of boundless riches.

For all the plans for glory, the descent into the evils of invasion, murder, kidnapping, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, and wasting of a trillion dollars of our treasury, we have nothing to show for the grand dream.

Have we learned anything? Not yet. As Johan Galtung, founder of the academic field of Peace and Conflict Studies put it in an interview aired on today's Democracy Now, we are likely to continue to make bad decisions until we become completely irrelevant.

There's not much else to say about this. We have a government and its corporate sponsors that are stuck in inertia, unable to break free of past habits. It's pure Newtonian Physics. This inertia will last until acted upon by "outside" forces.

At least outside in terms of the egos of the inert people involved. As we are seeing with the BP oil spill, the economy, the melting polar ice caps, the weather disturbances, and, last but not least, our failing efforts in "Iraq" and "Afghanistan," the "outside" forces are quite close to our daily lives.

As these outside forces to the egos of our ruling elite continue to synergistically act, they become, in effect, one big immovable force. Bigger by far than the inert ruling elite. It will break, and relatively soon. It doesn't need to be overthrown. It will overthrow itself. The revolution, which may or may not be televised, will be a self-immolation.

Here's a video to watch. Then, the iconic "rap" of so long ago.

The Beatles have a slightly different view. This is the more familiar version.

The Rolling Stones have a similar view.

Tracy Chapman varies on the theme thusly. Learn to play it here.

Here's the Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock.

The Four non blondes had their one hit with this song, a great one.

I summed up a presentation to an Economics seminar with this song when I was in graduate school. One professor stormed out in anger and disgust. It worked.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Identity crisis

The Mavi Marmara, the “Turkish” ship that was attacked by “Israeli” forcesThere's a great op-ed in today's New York Times by "Israeli" author Amos OZ. He describes the history of "Israel," and how the country became obsessed with power and force. At one point he remarks that "To a man with a big hammer, says the proverb, every problem looks like a nail."

Oz continues, observing that the "Israeli" government believes that "the Palestinian problem can be crushed instead of solved." This view will fail, he contends, because "Hamas is an idea, a desperate and fanatical idea that grew out of the desolation and frustration of many Palestinians. No idea has ever been defeated by force — not by siege, not by bombardment, not by being flattened with tank treads and not by marine commandos. To defeat an idea, you have to offer a better idea, a more attractive and acceptable one."

Protesters at Taksim Square, IstanbulI had my own response to the "Israeli" attack on the "Turkish" rescue ship, a comment to a CNN story:

"I wonder what it is like living in 'Israel,' now a totally paranoid state. This is what it comes to when you group-identify to ever more extreme levels. At some point 'Jews' and 'Israelis' will find it to their benefit as functioning human beings that they give up the hysteria about 'the' 'holocaust.' A good way to start is by calling it something like the World War II genocide, or the Nazi genocide. Then maybe establishing 'Israel' as a secular state, independent of religion or ethnicity. Or, 'we' could continue giving them billions every year, with silent approval of whatever atrocity the country commits, and see what we get."

As I have written numerous times in this blog, the main cause of armed conflict on this planet is mistaken identity. "Jews" identify themselves as "Jews," "Palestinians" identify themselves as "Palestinians," "Muslims" identify themselves as "Muslims," "Christians" identify themselves as "Christians," and, last but not least, "Americans" identify themselves as "Americans."

These various identities are not who any of us are. There is nothing that is in any way unique or special about being an "Israeli," but nothing is sufficient cause to kill many thousands of people over the past sixty-two years or so. It's the same identification process that enabled "Nazis" to put millions of people to death in concentration camps during "World War II."

What should be interesting to "Americans" is how our government responds. It responds predictably, calling for an investigation, not by the "U.N." Security Council, but by "Israel." Why would this be? Our government, siding with the oppressor? Are we, as some say, in the pocket of "Israel?"

Not exactly. It's partly symbiotic. We give "Israel" billions every year in exchange for it being "our" nuclear power in the "Mideast." "Israel" is a handy threat to disobedient or independent governments in the region.

There's a bit more to the equation. The "Israeli" lobby, known by the acronym "AIPAC," holds sway over the "U.S." Congress, and any elected official who deviates from official truth about "Israel," or who questions the billions in aid to the "Jewish" state can expect to pay a severe political price.

More to the point, though, is that at the national level, our "representatives" have no human principles to guide them. They only have the principles of power, control, dominance, and preservation of the status quo - the existing power structure.

There is a system in place, a system that includes invasions of virtually defenseless countries like "Iraq" and "Afghanistan." It includes preservation of the lawlessness of Wall Street banks, of passively allowing the destruction of our environment, of impunity for the Bush criminal regime, and of avoiding any real economic reform, because it would threaten the supremacy of the wealthy in this country.

At the heart of all these problems is identity. The wealthy identify themselves as wealthy, the members of the Bush criminal regime identify with their criminality, the destroyers of the environment identify with the power to destroy, and the Wall Street bankers identify with their ability to accumulate money for themselves. The government and people in "Israel" identify with their otherness from anyone else on the planet. That's why they call themselves "Zionists," and God's chosen people.

Maybe some day our species will emerge from this tendency for mistaken identity. Until then, we will be visited by one identity crisis after another.

I made a proposal for "Mideast" peace a couple of years ago. It hasn't aged a bit.

The New York Times makes a minimal suggestion for our floundering president here.

More information can be found here.

Here's an example of what happens when "Jews" dissent against "Israel."

On other concerns, Noam Chomsky offers some insight.

Here's an update with some background on the situation in "Gaza."

This story gives a little more depth.

This might surprise some.

Not all "Jews" support the behavior of the State of "Israel." An organization named "J Street," for example, is working in our nation's capital for sanity in our involvement in the "Mideast."

Jewish Voices for Peace is another.

Here's a song to suit the situation.

This song never loses its relevance.

This Waterboys song deserves a repost.