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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, December 04, 2014

Wrong Every Time

One of the best ways to understand what is going on in the world is through juxtaposition. By looking at different phenomena that are taking place the commonality of what is going on can become clear. Today is a perfect example.

The biggest news, of course, is that a grand jury in New York found that the police officer who choked a man to death did not commit a crime. This, in spite of a widely seen video of the man, Eric Garner, pleading "I can't breathe." The head of the police union defended the decision, offering the wisdom "If you can speak you can breathe."

Democracy Now reported that a study of Drone attacks found that for every "target" killed there are 28 unidentified people who are also killed.

Completing the triangle, a story in Salon reports that the "U.S." effort to expand NATO to the "Russian" border and destroy its economy is now fully exposed. I suspected as much from the very beginning of this silliness. For a more detailed analysis, read here.

What do these stories have in common? Representative democracy. Otherwise known as republican form of government. In representative democracy the people do not rule except indirectly by electing a small number of people to represent them, who in turn appoint various other people to perform the tasks of governing. They also appoint members of the judiciary, though in some cases the judiciary is elected.

Over the span of many years the institutions of representative democracy become established and insular, entities unto themselves, authoritarian, secretive, with their own self-perpetuating practices, procedures, and, perhaps most important, impunity. The larger the society, the more established are the institutions. When something relatively small like the "911" attacks happen, even more rigid institutions are created, and the existing ones become more intrusive. When you add in the factor of unlimited funding of elections, those with the most money secure control of who gets elected. The Koch brothers are but one example. Wall Street is another.

Police have for many decades been killing with impunity. It has reached the point where they now feel free to arrest and indict people who record their deadly actions.

With indiscriminate drone attacks impunity is slightly different, but the attitude is the same. "We, the overseers of Planet Earth, do what we want." (metaphorical quote) Or, in official euphemistic jargon, "We do not target civilians."

In the most dangerous form of hubris, the attempted expansion of NATO to include "Ukraine" and destabilization of "Russia" is likely to restart the "Cold War." Lest we forget, the first Cold War almost resulted in World War III and a thermonuclear holocaust. More than once.

Restarting the Cold War serves more than institutional interests. There are also huge economic interests at stake. Marxist economists Paul Sweezy and Paul Baran observed decades ago that the "Defense" budget has to increase annually in order for the weapons manufacturers to stay in business.

Our national security overstructure can be seen similarly to how police departments behave. They are about themselves, and advancement of their personal and bureaucratic interests. All else can be understood within this context. In the wider context of global climate change and the unsustainability of our infinite-growth economic system, our established institutions are guaranteed to do the wrong thing every time. Their interests being themselves, all else is subservient.
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For an update of the Eric Garner protests click here.

Here's an appropriate song.

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