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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.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tip of the Iceberg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama Just when our President thought he could breathe a sigh of relief, the NSA world spying scandal is blowing up in his face. He's having to deny spying on Germany's head of state, on other world leaders, and on newly revealed countries around the world. Spain is the latest.

In today's Democracy Now, journalist Glenn Greenwald said the NSA spying shows that our ruling elite has an institutional obsession with surveillance. It turns out that our government has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2002, before she was in office.

Another thing Greenwald mentioned is that much spying is now on foreign businesses on behalf of American corporations

Outrage over NSA spying is worldwide, and now is growing domestically. Thousands showed up in Washington Saturday for a "Stop Watching Us" rally. As more revelations are made, outrage will likely grow.

Where will it end, one might ask. Our "leaders" are determined to spy on us. It is one of the psychological perks of power - to be the spyor rather than the spyee. Of course it is all pretend. We are all spyees.

NPR aired a story entitled "4 Things To Know About Spying On Allies" today. They interviewed some "experts." Nowhere in the discussion was it mentioned that there is any right or wrong involved. Someone had to bring it up, so I did:

No one mentioned the amorality of spying on everyone. Amorality has consequences. If there is no right and wrong, then anything goes. And anything does go. If the idea of invading some country occurs to our "leaders," fire up the bombers. If you need a place to hold prisoners without regard to rights, duration or treatment, voila, Guantanamo. If you want to kill an American citizen in a foreign country, a drone strike will suffice. Senate asking questions? Give them your least dishonest answer, as if there is such a thing.

Among the many problems with amorality is that it doesn't stop at the nation's borders. The NSA spying on Americans is only part of the glut of amoral activities emanating from our various governmental bodies. The "drug war" and zealous deportations are national embarrassments largely due to the absence of morality in their implementation. Our prison industrial complex would be a lot more humane if there existed a sense of morality.

No need to mention the shutdown and deficit ceiling debacle. We all saw the amorality. What is worth mentioning, though, is that these fiascoes somehow have perversely enabled "Democrats" to propose cuts to Social Security, all under the guise of being "bipartisan." If morality existed in their considerations, this wouldn't even appear as an option.

The only real question is what next? Likely we will find out about some amoral activity that has been going on for years, decades even.

The worst effect, though, is the message amorality at the top gives to the general public. When government, Wall Street, and corporations behave without morals and with impunity, citizens are in effect told "anything goes." We are seeing the results.
Regarding the proposed Social Security and Medicare cuts, an economist should know better than to use the term "entitlements." It is a "right-wing" propaganda word for what economists call money awards like Social Security, unemployment, food stamps (now "Snap") and farm subsidies: TRANSFER PAYMENTS. They are lateral transfers from one sector of society to another, for which there is no exchange of goods and services. When an economist calls them "entitlements," he or she is using political language, and for obvious political purposes.

There is an easy way to avoid a reduction in transfer payments: TAX THE RICH.

We'll see if the "Democrats" succeed in cutting Social Security and Medicare. The President's top economic adviser is advising that they should. Some are following his advice. If they have no morals about this, they have no morals about anything else. Spying is only the tip of the iceberg.
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Click here for the Stop Watching Us website.

Here's something curious.

This too.

Common Cause made an online comic book.

R.I.P. Lou ReedHere's a song.

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