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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.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Olympic Overkill

Sochi.ruThe New York Times reported today that fears of terrorism are "rattling" Olympic athletes and their families. "Russia" has treated people so badly in its rebellious ethnic regions that some terrible bombings have been taking place in areas close to the Olympics. More have been threatened. "Russia," of course, is responding the only way its leaders know to do - massive police crackdown.

The Times usually shuts down its comment section pretty quickly, so I was surprised that my submission got printed. Only a few people read the comments, but I can reprint it here:

It was inevitable that it would reach this point. The Olympics have become big business, with hype and a glut of sporting events that gets bigger over time. There's competition, and there's the selling of the competition.

Because there is terrorism in the world, and it is a growing phenomenon as pressures in societies around the world cause social breakdown, the Olympics will become increasingly vulnerable. So we have an increasingly money-obsessed and hyped Olympics in a condition of increasing worldwide terrorism.

To begin pondering a solution we might want to consider de-hyping and de-money-obsessing the Olympics, scaling the "movement" to a sober-minded international competition.

The other half of solving the problem is reducing the underlying factors that cause terrorism. Religious fanaticism doesn't happen in a vacuum. It is a proxy phenomenon for social and economic disparity. In our weak-minded Western way of thinking we look at religious fanatics as religious fanatics, when there is always an underlying psychology and causation. Heal the psychology and causation and you heal the fanaticism. So far all we know how to do is kill them.
I don't have anything more to offer about this. I watch the Olympics, and enjoy most of the sports, but the TV "anchors" and other assorted know-it-alls are just insufferable. Nonstop talk, hype, and the obligatory feature stories about various athletes - emotional appeals to keep the rubes tuned in during lulls in the action.

Actually, since all the broadcasts are time-delayed, the features are more likely due to low expected audiences for some sports. There also might be logistical problems in broadcasting a glut of sports over a wide geographical area. Add in the security problems and we might be watching endless stories about the athletes' brave histories of overcoming obstacles.

On other subjects, it would be hard to ignore the foibles of New Jersey's supersized governor. His days in office are likely numbered in the few. Many are making their views known on Governor Christie's troubles, and I, ever the optimist, wrote this, commenting on a Salon article:

Who would have guessed that Christie would be such a gold mine of corruption? This may signal a seismic shift, a change in direction of the ethers, where what appears to be actually is. Christie has appeared to be a bullying, blustering sleaze politician, and, voila, he is.

We have been living in the surreal for too long. If the phenomenon of what appears to be actually is spreads throughout the system, the blustering, bullying "right wing" is through.

This was inevitable. Just in terms of fads, the trend of "Conservatism" appeared from out of nowhere, it seemed, in 1964. There was no Barry Goldwater before then, but a movement began at the Cow Palace in San Francisco that year, a fitting place.

The movement grew, and produced a preposterous movie actor who acted well enough to become President of the United States. For eight years, most of which he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, not that anyone noticed the difference.

Surreal. A man of mixed "race" becomes president, and followers of the "Conservative" fad claim he is not legal, and make up all kinds of things about him, attempting to destroy his presidency. It doesn't help that he is pretty good at destroying it himself.

Now we are in a condition of the end game of capitalism, unsustainability, and global climate change. Just in time, a buffoon like Christie appears on the scene, and his oversized visage is deflated on the national and international stage. Just in time.
That's enough for a while. I have some other stuff I can add in the next few days, but might not bother. There is such a thing as too much.

Here's a song.

This performance resulted in prison sentences for two members of "Russia's" Pussy Riot. For an interview with the author of a new book about Pussy Riot, click here. In an extended interview, the author, Masha Gessen talks about the politics of the Sochi Olympic games.

Here's an update on the "Russian" security crackdown in advance of the Olympics.

The subject of limits to economic growth is finally being discussed on mainstream media. NewsHour on PBS aired this segment January 15. Correspondent Paul Solman does some of the best reporting on the economy to be found anywhere. You can find his work here.

This is a worthy read.

For the best show on radio, click here.

R.I.P. Pete Seeger.


Here are a couple of updates about the Olympics:  Democracy Now with several stories, and Salon, about the most corrupt Olympics ever.


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