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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.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Look Behind the Curtain

On tonight's NewsHour on PBS there was a segment about how rising sea level is causing problems in Miami. The political process was mentioned as the main reason these problems are getting worse, and that they will likely end up in disaster.

It doesn't have to be this way. We can act in our own self-interest as a species instead of self-destructing with narrow self-interest. The place to start is to improve our communication. The idea I had when I started this blog was to raise the level of dialogue. First, though, we need to stop pretending. For too long we have had a national pretense that "Conservatism" is an "ideology" worthy of serious discussion, and indeed implementation. Because of this pretense "Conservatism" has been the dominant theme of government since 1981, when Ronald Reagan, movie actor, became president.

A comment I posted on Salon last week sums up my view of "Conservatism," and what to do about it:

This is another example of the movement known as "Conservatism" being a fake movement. There is no question that bureaucracies, such as the NSA, can be intrusive and self-serving. I find it necessary to contend with the VA bureaucracy from time-to-time. Still, the idea that in ALL cases, privatizing government activities is an absolute benefit for society with no cost is not just silly, but completely dishonest. It isn't "ideology," but fakery with suspicious motivation.

For example, I live in Wisconsin. Our current governor, Scott Walker, ran for office promising to create 250,000 jobs. This was a total pretense. Politicians don't "create jobs," unless of course the transfer of public sector employment to private counts as job creation. Indeed, part of Walker's plan is to privatize as many schools as possible, awarding the contracts to cronies who have donated to his campaign coffers. Given the history of such crony capitalism, there is also very likely money changing hands in more surreptitious and illegal ways.

The main activity of Wisconsin's "Republican" controlled legislature this week has been to find ways to make its new voter ID law secure against constitutional challenges. This is what our "elected" officials believe is the work of the people, heh, heh.

This fakery had its heyday from 1981 to 2009, bookended by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. It was fake from beginning to end, and is now in decline, though various ALEC-devised schemes have resulted in gerrymandered election victories and a slew of phony laws.

The problem for all these fake "Conservatives" is that their schemes are destroying our democracy, making every problem they address worse, and causing great suffering. As a time variable, making the rich richer and the poor poorer while gutting the middle class will tend to make "Republicans" less popular. Though they have figured out ways to hack election results in their favor, eventually their fakery will catch up with them. A society that becomes completely fake will implode.

Continuing this view of "Conservatism," I offered this comment to a segment of OnPoint:

The discussion is focused on periphery. What is really taking place is the predominance of a movement of ill will towards others, euphemistically called "Conservatism." This movement has grown over the decades by masking its essential ill will in a fake ideology of small government, low taxes, extreme law enforcement, laxity in regulating business, low environmental standards, and thinly veiled racial supremacy.

"Democrats" aren't very good at opposing this ill will movement because they are addicted to "playing" politics, which means maneuvering within existing circumstances to maximize their position in the "game."

This won't last forever. The "game" will change with global climate change and the encroachment of the unsustainability of our economic system. Ill will can only get you so far. When suffering starts to seriously effect those who have ill will towards others, they might start looking for actual solutions to problems rather than demagoguery. We'll see. This is a critical test for our society. Do we, as a people, have the wherewithal to rise above ill will.

Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman wrote a criticism of "Conservative" congressman Paul Ryan for inappropriate remarks in his New York Times op-ed column. I responded with  this:

This makes for good copy, with an easy target who never fails to display his ignorance, mean-spiritedness and bigotry. This could go on forever, theoretically at least. As long as it is an acceptable "debate" between the acceptable "right" and quasi-acceptable "left."

The reason we don't have forever to "debate" "left" versus "right" is that the problems that are "debated" have to be solved. They can't be solved because the "debate" is fake. "Right wing" isn't an ideology. It's a smoke screen. Set up a fake argument with ridiculous premises, claim some semi-divine guru like Ayn Rand, and the game is on.

Opponents give the arguments credibility by "debating," in person and in print. The President of the United States appears in an interview with fake journalist from fake TV news network before the "Super Bowl."

Meanwhile, corporations and Wall Street bankers are laughing all the way to the bank, or, in the bankers' case, in place. They buy effectively ALL the Congress, so the "debate" can go on and on as long as they are free to make effectively ALL the money. Some crumbs are left to keep enough of the people silenced, and enough is all that matters.

How long will this go on? Not forever. It will go on until it implodes, which could come very soon. Falsehood as a way of life has its limits. The perfect example is climate change. We don't have much longer to lie about it. It can't be pretended away.

That about covers the subject. It's pretty amazing that the "Conservative" movement has ascended (or descended) to such power. The appeal is to people's lower nature: fear, anger, jealousy, greed, avarice, deceit. In the difficult days to come we could go even lower. Let's hope we go in the other direction. We can start by calling this movement for what it is: fake.

Here's an old song. I used to know how to play it. It's kind of easy, so maybe I'll do some work on it. This is my favorite Kinks song. Followed closely by this.

Here's what happens when you look behind the curtain.

Fakery doesn't change my world. Here's a song for holding onto your dreams. This song is a result of the scene in the previous song.

Here's something new. You have to wait for it to fully load in order to see my comment.

R.I.P. Lawrence Walsh. He investigated fakers. They had too much power, got away clean.


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