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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.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Let's Get Unstuck

The biggest stories in yesterday's (and today's) news were the "U.S." Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited spending in political campaigns and a second shooting at Fort Hood Army base in Texas. In the discrete world of Western thought these two events would seem to be unrelated, but in the world where we actually live, everything relates to everything else. I will explain.

In 2000 Al Gore won the majority of votes nationwide in the presidential election. In Florida a massive level of fraud kept thousands of people from voting through various means long practiced in southern states. On election day the reported lead went back and forth in Florida between Gore and George W. Bush, the "Republican" candidate. Television networks projected Gore as the winner based on exit polls, but Bush strategist Karl Rove knew better. He called the networks, telling them to hold off on declaring Gore the winner. It is highly suspected that the reason he was so confident is that he knew how the votes were being counted, particularly the votes cast by computer.

The “Republican thugs” engaging in the “Brooks Brothers Riot”, November 19, 2000, intimidating the ballot recounters in FloridaThe vote was so close that a recount was requested. This brought in the phase of resistance to the recount by "Republicans," eventually being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with the "Republicans." With the recount stopped, Bush was declared the winner, and the rest, as we have seen so unhappily, is history.

Not long after Bush took office his active negligence paved the way for the attacks of September 11, 2011. These attacks were followed by the invasion of "Afghanistan," and then "Iraq." From my perspective these invasions were meant to deflect criticism - and investigation - of the Bush regime's culpability for the "911" attacks. We have not had a credible investigation of the attacks to this date, and likely won't for a long, long time. A future historian will have to do it when is far too late to do any good.

As anyone who has served in the military knows, waging war involves costs that will be paid for a long time and in tragic ways. When the wars waged are largely for public relations purposes and reward to cronies, the costs borne by the public can be especially painful.

With the ascendancy of George W. Bush we not only had the "911" attacks and two invasions of other countries, but the replacement of two Supreme Court Justices. One of them, John Roberts, received a direct appointment to be Chief Justice. He was a legal adviser to the administration of Florida governor Jeb Bush in its recount strategy. He must have given good advice, because the recount was stopped and George Bush became president.

As a reward for his efforts in stopping the recall John Roberts was given the Chief Justice appointment. In true spirit of reciprocity, he has rewarded back, making it easier for "Republicans" to amass huge "war chests" for future elections, rendering our democracy a moot facade. First there was the Citizens United decision, decided by one vote. Then yesterday's decision, completing the government for sale trajectory.

With government for sale made much easier it will also be easier for bought politicians to start wars. Bush depended on mass hysteria over the September 11 attacks to get his invasions. With both houses of Congress completely bought, future presidents will have an easier time to engage in international mischief. They also will have an easier time engaging in domestic mischief.

So we have another attack at Fort Hood, the largest military base on Planet Earth. Just in terms of probability, it is more likely for trouble to take place where the numbers are higher. Still, two deadly attacks at the same base raise some questions about Fort Hood. The more important question, though, is whether the rash of suicides and shootings at military bases would be occurring if there we hadn't invaded and occupied "Afghanistan" and "Iraq," to say nothing of numerous other military activities around the planet.

If we reverse engineer yesterday's headline news, would there have been a Supreme Court decision to enable government for sale if the Florida recount were allowed to proceed? Would there have been the "911" attacks and the catastrophic invasions of "Afghanistan" and "Iraq?"  Would there have been the meltdown of the economy in 2008?

I think it is safe to say that none of these things would have happened. Of course, this presumes that the momentum of human presence on this planet would move in the direction of peace, prosperity, and clean government. As we have seen over the history of human existence, the will for doing horrible and sadistic things to other humans holds great sway. It could have been worse.

Regardless of how we got to the point where we have government for sale and soldiers killing fellow soldiers, we can correct the errors that got us to our present circumstances. We can send George W. Bush and his regime to The Hague for war crimes. We can remove John Roberts from the Supreme Court, along with his fellow Bush appointee Samuel Alito.

If we were to fully examine the "elections" of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, we would likely find election chicanery that would render their Supreme Court appointments moot, enabling the removal of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy. All these men were appointed by presidents who were not legitimate. Ronald Reagan, movie actor, had his "October Surprise" and involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair. George H.W. Bush had his Willie Horton gimmick, and his own involvement in Iran-Contra. George W. Bush had his fake "compassionate conservatism," desertion from the Texas National Guard, and the Florida recount decision - made by Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Reagan appointee Sandra Day O'Connor, and Nixon appointee William Rehnquist. Nixon of course was "elected" on the basis of his fake claim to have a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam war. Then there was Watergate.

That's a lot of reverse engineering. Who knows where we would be today if the four presidents mentioned had never been "elected." It's hard to say, but we would still be on a course of exponential economic growth and corporate irresponsibility. So in the long run there are certain inevitabilities that will happen no matter who is president. Our unsustainable economic system would still be doing whatever possible to keep growing. We would still be doing next to nothing about climate change. "Istrael" would still be receiving massive amounts of aid, killing "Palestinians," and settling in "Palestinian" areas. We would still be giving huge amounts of military aid to "Egypt."

In spite of the overall trajectory of our mass industrial system, I can't help but conclude that in the immediate we would be better off had there been no "elections" of Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2. We wouldn't have had these terrible Supreme Court decisions, the September 11 attacks, two wars, and the repercussions of those wars. We might even have an elevated level of dialogue about the problems we face. Instead, we're stuck with what we have. Let's get unstuck.
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I created a hashtag for this: #ImpeachTheRobertsCourt . This might be a better one: #ImpeachTheRobertsFive

 Here's a song of inspiration from David Bowie. Here's another. Here's a song from Woodstock. Can't leave the Stones out. Or the Beatles. Also slow Beatles. Tracy Chapman. Gil Scott-Heron. Bob Marley. Peter Tosh. Sly. Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions. Bob Dylan

Here's a link from years ago in case you could use a reminder.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich offers this analysis of the Supreme Court decision.

The kids they dance and shake their bones. He invited people sixty and over onstage when he was in Madison a few years ago. I ruined the video I made of it. It was great fun, same song. Encore. Here's some more kids who dance and shake their bones. Here's a song about dancing from my youth.

In the realm of the absurd, NPR is running a story on the art of George W. Bush. It's worth keeping in mind that such a story would never have appeared if the votes in Florida were accurately counted in 2000. He could be painting his childish portraits in the obscurity he so richly deserves.

Thom Hartmann says that no "Republican" president since Eisenhower has been legitimately elected. And I thought I was the first to figure this out. Maybe I was. It doesn't matter. The important thing is that the word spreads.

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