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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, February 23, 2012

Disentrenching the Entrenched "Leadership"

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis
Last Friday's News Hour aired a segment featuring an Army Lieutenant Colonel who served in "Afghanistan," who contends that our top military command is misleading Congress and the "American" people about progress in the "war." Most significantly, the whistleblower, LTC Daniel Davis, pointed to current CIA and former theater commander Director David Petraeus as the principal dissembler (obfuscator, exaggerator, misrepresenter) of progress in the "United States" campaign in "Afghanistan."

General David PetraeusSince then many similar reports have been appearing. Salon contends that we are being "Hypnotized into an endless dirty war." Democracy Now aired a segment the day before the News Hour story titled "The Afghan War’s Nine Lives," referring to colonel Davis's report.

The revelations in the report are not likely to advance colonel Davis's military career, but they may help to end this endless "war." The same thing happened with the "Vietnam" "war." Military leaders were perfectly content to wage the debacle endlessly, as long as the money, the medals, and most importantly, the career advancement were there. Many remember the "light at the end of the tunnel" claim of William C. Westmoreland, commander of troops in "Vietnam" in 1968. This of course followed by over a decade the same claim by "French" general Henri Navarre, in 1953. Then came Dien Bien Phu.

The bad news from "Afghanistan" continues to pour out. "NATO" is having to apologize for an incident of Qur'an burning (or, as we say, "Koran") at the "U.S." air base in Bagram. This almost certainly will result in retribution, and likely many times over. This follows the report of "U.S." Marines urinating on corpses of dead "Taliban." Last year Rolling Stone featured a story about a team of "U.S." soldiers who were killing and mutilating the corpses of random "Afghans" they encountered, including beheading some of them.

Marines urinating on corpses of dead Taliban in Afghanistan
The president and his military high command would of course prefer that this information be kept secret, and the Obama Administration has shown a curious affinity with the Bush criminal regime's obsession with secrecy. He is not alone in this affinity. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently banned Wikileaks from a conference on Wikileaks. This of course was at the behest of the conference's "American" organizers, but in a mass, "representative," bureaucratic world, secrecy is an integral part of the modus operandi.

It has become surreal. Today Bradley Manning was arraigned in military court. Bradley Manning, five-foot-two-inch homosexual soldier, is being charged with "aiding the enemy," among other things. The mighty, indeed almighty "United States of America" is threatened by this little guy of alternate sexuality. His "crime" was sending a large number of "classified" documents to Wikileaks, which were then released to a number of news organizations.

Barack Obama, for all his rhetoric about openness in government and transparency, in practice has shown himself to be an opponent of whistleblowing. One can understand his reasoning. When "American" atrocities in "war" zones become public, the purveyors of the "war" policies look bad. When burning of Qur'ans becomes public, retribution against "Americans" results, and support among "Afghans" falls.

It's all for naught. It should be clear that in a "representative" system, the "representatives" are in it for themselves. They can deceive, self-deceive, delude, self-delude, obfuscate and hide truth all they want, but the more a system skews toward secrecy, the more it accelerates its own demise.

A few days ago I found myself responding to something written by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, of all people, on a slightly different topic, but it applies to this concern as well:

This isn't the kind of thing I usually read, and I can't remember how it came my way. But here I am. I'm sure Mr. Abramoff's elder statesman of sorts status is valuable in parsing corruption, but his expertise on bad intentions doesn't get us any closer to the essence of the problem. We have a broken social contract. Our institutions of respect are no longer deserving of respect.

Just to pull one example from the constellation of examples, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is a former political operative of the president whom he helped to circumnavigate the election that enabled his appointment. This happened almost unnoticed and unremarked.

The second law of thermodynamics posits that the entropy of an isolated system always increases or remains constant. In other words, all energy systems tend towards disorder, or dissipation. So the unraveling of our system is nothing unique. The idea of "The United States of America" is nothing if not an energy system.

When I was a graduate student in Economics this pending decline first occurred to me when I took a class in growth theory. It was all equations. Only vague references to what actually happens in the world. Somewhere in this thicket of mathematical masturbation it dawned on me that on a finite planet there would eventually be a limit reached where no further growth would be possible.

The Economics profession is still slow coming around to the limits to growth, but the acceleration of climate change will put an end to all but the most compromised, i.e., banking and corporate, resistance.

In an ethically deteriorating system in the context of limits to growth and increasingly drastic climate change, the overall entropy will feed on itself. This predicament, pattern, gestalt and milieu is beyond the limited expertise of Mr. Abramoff, no matter how painfully earned. I suggest digging deeper.
Time will tell if our entrenched "leadership" will choose a path other than secrecy and fake problem solving. We don't have the luxury of waiting. For the sake of life on this planet, now is a good time for doing some democratic disentrenching.
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This is the video of the Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. The comments to the video are notable.

Here's some analysis of the policy of drone attacks in "Pakistan."

Rolling Stone weighs in on LTC Davis's revelations.

In the same News Hour program referred to above, the possibility of coexisting with a nuclear "Iran" is discussed. Gee, maybe we don't have to attack them after all. Woops. That's not the official truth. Lord of secrecy, where are you?

Self-styled know-it-all Charlie Rose did a "puff" interview with a biographer of David Petraeus last week. I responded:

It seems kind of pointless to do this, but life is full of pointlessness, so deliberate pointlessness has its own pointfulness. Public television is pretty much the only TV I watch, and if I'm up late enough, the Charlie Rose show ends up getting watched. The guests tend to be interesting, so I only turn the show off when Charlie Rose becomes insufferable. This happens about a third of the time. It has to do with his smugness, and his attitude of being a "player" - not just an interviewer, but such a know-it-all that he is a full-fledged participant in any endeavor - world politics, movie-making, literature, stock car racing, scaling El Capitan, you name it.
It finally has become clear that these interviews are a waste of my time. Last night I watched the puff interview with the author of a book about David Petraeus. What the interview amounted to was a pumping up of the image of Petraeus to a degree to which the underlying issues of our foreign adventures are also pumped up. He's such a great guy that the wars he managed are also great, honorable - yea exalted, and the world is such a better place for it. It's an endless feedback loop, with the exalted wars then exalting the bestowers of war, and on and on and on. Somewhere in there was a pumping up of George W. Bush. 
When it was announced yesterday that the Christmas Day bomber was sentenced to life in prison I was reminded of when we first heard that name - it was applied to Henry Kissinger, the Christmas bomber of Vietnam. There would never be a mention of this by Charlie Rose. He's too much of an establishmentarian. Though Henry Kissinger qualifies as a world terrorist and mass murderer in any objective definition of the terms, he is always welcome on the Charlie Rose show. 
Even when people involved in revolutions are interviewed the conversations are in the context of the elite. It's the viewer listening in on a conversation between key players on the world stage - Charlie Rose and anyone who is sitting in the dark with him - we have the gravitas, you watch. 
I think I finally have had enough. I might have a few weak moments, tuning in against my better judgement, but it will serve as a kind of biofeedback that it's time to call it a night. Or, as Hop Sing said many years ago on Bonanza, "Fooled once, curse you. Fooled twice..." Fooled many times, yikes!
Actually, it was Ben Cartwright quoting Hop Sing, but close enough. Wisdom comes in many forms. Take it as it comes.
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  For a view on the hero worship of David Petraeus click here and  here.

Update, Feb 25: This was all-too predictable. We are through in "Afghanistan." It was a stupid blunder. We would have been much better off putting the Bush criminal regime on trial. We would have found out more about the "911" attacks, would have avoided a couple of trillion dollars in wasted expense, and would have avoided a vast amount to death and destruction. Have "we" learned anything? Not likely.

Some encouraging music would help. Here's Keb Mo. Chords and lyrics can be found here. A little improvisation around the chords might be fun.

Someone posted this great song on YouTube. I saw them do it live in 1974 or so, without the singer, but still great.

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