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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.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Warnings

One of the most difficult aspects of writing is the risk of getting something wrong. It can ruin the story, is embarrassing, and has to be corrected. Or should be corrected. In my previous post I got something wrong. It didn't ruin the story, but instead raised further questions.

A couple of recent TV shows featured Army generals being interviewed. Both of them wore formal uniforms, known as dress blues, while being interviewed. I thought it was some kind of public relations effort, a ploy to make the generals look more heroic and formidable than the standard dress green uniforms that have been worn for decades.

That may still be the case, but as it turns out, dress blues, or what looks like black, are the current replacement for the green uniforms as the Army service uniform. I assumed, based on my own Army experience that the fancier uniforms would still be for formal occasions. A simple detail, but assuming it turned out to be in error.

This was an easy mistake to make, but a mistake nonetheless. The question it raises is why it was decided that the Army would opt for the more ostentatious version of its dress uniform.  Ominous as well. There is historical precedent for military uniforms high on symbolism and flourish. I searched around for Nazi pictures, but most of them seemed clich├ęd and caricatured, almost satirical representations of evil Nazis. The one above depicts a more ordinary view of Nazis, two officers in a casual pose. We know the truth. These are SS officers. The SS is the abbreviation for the Schutzstaffel, the force in Hitler's military responsible for most of the Third Reich's war crimes.

General Keith Alexander, NSA chief who lied to CongressSome might think it outrageous that I would compare our modern military with Nazis. I'm comparing the uniforms. If you look at General Alexander's uniform at right you might think he is a hero on a par with Audie Murphy. He has never served in combat. His entire career has been in intelligence. He has lied to Congress. He heads the NSA, which has vastly expanded spying on "American" citizens, allies and world leaders from friendly nations.

Maybe someone in high places, like Congress, might want to ask why our military has made such ostentatious uniforms the everyday work uniform for its officers and enlisted personnel. It looks comical, but the intent isn't comical. It's hard to say what the intent is, but overdone uniforms tend to be warnings of things to come.

We have other warnings: histrionic demagogues in both houses of Congress, histrionic demagogues in our national media, a failing economy (in spite of all the rosy triumphalism, our economy is faltering), anger and unrest among the populace, scapegoating of Muslims, immigrants and people receiving government transfer payments like Social Security. As global climate change gets more severe, and our infinite-growth economic system can grow no more, we can expect internal strife to get worse. Far worse. We won't be able to say we weren't warned.

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I found a few extra pictures that didn't quite fit the story. Here's one of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey. Click on it.

Here's another warning.

Here's a song.

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