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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.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Grist for the Mill

Today Bradley Manning was found guilty of 19 or 20 charges, depending on which of our great media outlets you read or listen to, of such things as espionage, computer fraud, and theft. This five-foot two-inch former intelligence analyst for the Army will likely be sentenced to something like forty years in Federal prison. It's a game. The Army high command (and the President) would like to sentence him to a gazillion plus fifty years, but my guess is they will feign compassion.

I wrote a few things around the Web about the verdict, starting with this, to the Huffington Post:

It is likely that there will be appeals that will drag on for years. "Military Justice" is a world unto itself. When I was in the Army they would stack the deck on people they wanted to "make examples" of. It was most obvious with African-Americans. Typically a guy would stay out all night and sign in late in the morning, after 6:00 a.m. He would be charged with AWOL, being out of uniform, insubordination, dereliction of duty, and other whatnots that I can't remember.

This is me on leave, probably Christmas, 1968I had my own encounter with military justice. An "orderly room" clerk, I brought an envelope marked "classified" to the wrong office. I was offered what was known as an "Article 15," nonjudicial punishment, which I could refuse to sign, risking court martial. I refused to sign. It was pretty scary, but I knew the rules. "Classified" is not a proper designation. If material is classified it has to be marked with a classification, like Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, or the super designation NATO Crypto. I didn't have a security clearance, so I shouldn't have been given the materials. I wasn't given specific instructions of where to take the materials.

I was lucky. My "offense" was small. It wasn't pursued any further. The Bradley Manning case has its similarities. By appealing he will make the entire military justice system look like the cosmic joke that it is.
I had a few go-arounds with responses, which was immense fun, but my response to this dumb comment is my favorite. It didn't pass the Huffington Post censors:

Sacred? That would make the military a God-connected or created institution. Great trust? Who is trusting whom? Trust was placed in the Bush cr*m*n@l regime and they enabled the 911 attacks with their active negligence, and then lied us into war. Where are their indictments and findings of guilt?

It's all a cosmic joke. If we had a system of honorable men and women there wouldn't have even been a President Bush. There would not have been the 911 attacks. There would not have been the invasions and occupations of two countries. There would not be massacres of civilians. There would not have been kidnappings, rape, torture, indefinite detention, home invasions, looting (many U.S. troops looted), embezzling, war profiteering and other whatnot that I can't remember. Oh, yeah - assassinations. Is that enough?

Let's hear some more about sacred agreement and great trust. Bradley Manning versus all the serious things that he exposed. What he did was a crime to the established order that is scared that the American people will see them for what they are. If you support protecting them you are one of them.
I thought obscuring the word criminal would get me through, but the Huffington Post thought police are on to me. One of my comments a while back was rejected for using the term Bush criminal regime. It is beyond the bounds of thinkable thought.

De nada. It's all grist for the mill. Our country is turning on itself. On the surface it seems that there is a "left" to "right" divide. This is largely due to people buying in to what our Potemkin news media tell them.

Just to elaborate a little, Frontline tonight aired a segment titled Life and Death in Assisted Living. It focused on how corrupt the elder care industry is. I had to put my two cents in:

Great show. I'm glad Frontline is bringing in new people to do investigations. The older guys are great, but they will be gone before long. It is normal for masters to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation. I'm not saying this as a young person. I'm retired, and may face the things covered in this story in the not too distant future.

Thankfully in my case, I don't have the wherewithal to get swindled by one of these private "care" facilities. Should I live so long, I would end up in a VA "home." C'est la vie. From very early on I knew that investing a lot in this system was a waste of time and energy. I got by, lived a life. It's been great, though difficult. To coin a phrase, I did it my way.

What few realize or want to talk about is that we are a nation turned on itself. The only difference between our bought politicians and the rest of society is that a relative few can hold office and thereby avail themselves of the nation's largesse. If the entire Congress is bought, then it is in the nature of Congress to be bought. If they are effectively ALL beholden to Wall Street and campaign donation-paying corporations, then the elective system is turned against society at large. This program should be a warning.

If you are someone who is self-dealing, feasting at the trough of public trust, helping yourself to an unfair share of what reward life has to offer, your day is coming. If you are lucky to live long enough, you will end up being cared for by criminals in one of these phony facilities. All that will be left of you will be your sense of entitlement to luxury and subservience. You won't be happy.
Happily, this did make the cut. What, one might ask, would this have to do with the Bradley Manning case? Why, everything. Everything because everything is connected to everything else in this holistic Universe. If we have a comprehensively corrupt system, it is corrupt everywhere. There is no refuge, except in your own heart and mind. As I have said many times before, our system is collapsing. We can still save it, but we have to give up escapism.

Which brings up another analysis I did for free today, to NPR's On Point:

First, it should be clear that there is no such thing as a "Republican." It is an assumed identity, easily shed when circumstances change. There is no such thing as a "Democrat" either, for the same reason.

But they pretend the assumed identities are real, which means one thing to me: they are really in character, some of the best method actors around.

The same goes for "think tanks." The guest from the "Heritage" Foundation was right out of Central Casting. Perfect choreography in the dance of illusion. Hit all the marks, script delivered without error.

The best performances come on Fox News, which has taken news as theater to a new level, mixing fakery with bombast. Politicians of both parties appear on Fox regularly. Even the President is on Fox on occasion.
You won't see a systems approach on the Web unless you look really hard.You can read it here for free. If one person understands it and can apply it in their own way, it is worth it. If not, at least I tried. Someone at the NSA is reading it and experiencing cognitive dissonance.
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Here's Graham Nash's song for Bradley Manning.

How about a little Frank Sinatra?

Need some cheering up? Watch this. It is too good for words. You might also enjoy this. If you look close, you might see a familiar face.

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Update, August 1, 2013, from On Point:

truegangsteroflove 2 hours ago  
Let's not forget where this began, or at least kicked into high hear. The attacks on September 11, 2001 provided the cover that enabled the "Patriot" Act, which in turn enabled the flow of billions of dollars to the national security state. Trillions, if you count the waging of gratuitous war. The attacks themselves were enabled by the active negligence of the Bush regime, which conveniently looked the other way at every turn. The attacks were portrayed as the work of evil geniuses, but could easily have been stopped with due diligence.

Since then, numerous "cells" of "terrorists" have been "intercepted," by our national security state, and in almost every case, if not every one, these "cells" were organized by the FBI. So much for the national security state keeping us "safe." The real "cell," consisting of the two Tsarnaev brothers, went completely ignored, in spite of warnings.

Still, the money flows, and the spying intensifies. At some point we might ask what the benefit actually is compared with money spent on other efforts to keep us "safe." Terrorism is not among the leading causes of death in this country (http://www.policymic.com/articles/24365/9-leading-causes-of-death-in-the-united-states), yet hardly any money is spent on other threats. Thousands are killed every year by distracted drivers, impaired drivers, inattentive drivers, preventable medical errors, home accidents, drownings and even lightning strikes. Where's the money to prevent these deaths?

Since "911" $7.6 trillion has been spent on the national security state. I believe the evidence is clear that the national security state is for itself, not for the American people. "Keeping us safe" is the least of their concerns. Their concern, singular, is for themselves. There's money to be made, privilege to be secured, power to be accumulated, prestige to be garnered, and security to be protected - all for themselves. The very nature of a secret security state ensures all these things for those on the inside of this apparatus.

Given this context, is there a good reason that we should trust them? Only if you are an "insider," someone who stands to gain by riding the gravy train of security dollars. For the rest of us, we get the illusion of "safety." It is the safety of the Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Resistance is futile; assimilation is inevitable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borg_%28Star_Trek%29).
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This calls for a song.

Here's something new from Mideast analyst Juan Cole: Top Ten Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World

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