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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.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Maybe We Can

We are entering the final phase of the Obama presidency. The surreal Obama presidency. Elected on the vague promise of “Yes We Can,” he has had some successes, some failures, and presided over some actions that would arouse interest at the Hague, were the International Criminal Court something other than a prosecutor of the small and convenient. In the remaining months of his tenure he hopes to make peace with "Iran" and "Cuba." Maybe he can make more peace.

Working against Obama is a cacophony of grandstanders, demagogues, "right wing" zealots, religious zealots, media rabble-rousers and any number of the mentally deranged. These categories are not mutually exclusive, so a person in any one of them can be identified with a few or all subgroups. Especially the mentally deranged category. Grandstander and demagogue are nearly the same, except the grandstander gets more attention.

Life is getting harder for media grandstanding demagogues. Fox News show host Bill O'Reilly has been exposed as a liar. Duh. He lies all the time, but his big lies about being in combat have finally caught up with him. Sean Hannity, also on Fox, has long been exposed as a liar, but he is finding the lying life frustrating.

Popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been busy lately exposing the dishonesty of "Republican" climate change deniers. He believes that politicians denying science is the beginning of the end of democracy. Not surprisingly, he has been a target of personal attack on Fox News. Grandstanding "Republican" presidential candidate Ted Cruz is also a serial liar. Another candidate, Rand Paul, joins the serial liar cast.  Wisconsin's own Scott Walker rounds out the presidential candidate liar list.

Another presidential candidate, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, said last week that we don't know who President Obama is, or if he cares about the "U.S." This is the guy who ordered lane closures on a major transport link between New York City and the State of New Jersey to "teach a lesson" to a political opponent.

What, we might wonder, is going on? Is it just anything goes when it comes to politics?  Maybe. Is the desperation to win trumping all other considerations? It would seem. Has everyone gone mad?

I think I can provide an explanation. It isn't a simple one, but it isn't hard to understand. I take a psychological approach, using a mix of different perspectives. Most politicians, and especially "Republicans," are a mix of psychopath/sociopath, narcissism, reptilian brain domination, paranoid personality disorder, the low end of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and a psychosis of pretend and escape. These factors all blend together in a toxic stew, poisonous in the critical times in which we live.

The reptilian brain, home of “right-wingers”Holding all these psychopathologies together, it seems, is addiction. It is the glue that unifies escapism, pretend, deficiency needs, narcissism, psychopathy/sociopathy and the reptilian brain. It doesn't have to be alcohol or drugs. In the politico-economic sphere it is power and money, and by implication sex, which accrues to power and money.

It may seem needless to say that our toxic mix of political actors is characterized by psychopathology, but no one else is looking at them this way. It is all in terms of outrage, ridicule, debunking, faux ideological analyses and arguments, and "organizing" to overcome them. Good luck.

Polar bears taking a break. They depend on our good will for their survivalMaybe a little psychological reverse engineering might help. The Polar ice caps are melting and our unsustainable infinite-growth economic system is fast approaching the day when it will fail irreparably. Since our political overstructure is avoiding both these realities, it is pretending that another reality is the only reality. All the psychotic noise that we're hearing is cover for the pretend. You can't "organize" around psychotic noise. What we can do is understand. When we understand we can respond appropriately. Maybe.

Drones are in the news again. Two Westerners, including one "American," were killed in a drone attack in "Pakistan" in January, and the president apologized for it yesterday. Actually, two "Americans" were killed, but one of them was designated as a member of al Qaeda. The drone program drones on.

Lest we forget, al Qaeda began with CIA funding during the "Soviet" invasion and occupation of "Afghanistan," from 1979 to 1989. It was known as Operation Cyclone, and resulted in the ascension of both the Taliban and al Qaeda.

A new term has been introduced: Signature drone strikes. A "signature" apparently is some activity that can be construed as al Qaeda-like, and therefore justifies a drone attack. Since weddings, family gatherings, farmers in fields, pedestrians and donkeys have been targeted, they must have been doing something al Qaeda-like. Like breathing. Embracing. Walking. Saying "Allahu Akbar." Or "As-salamu Alaykum." Or, in a donkey's case, hee-haw.

Here's a song.

Here's another. Maybe you remember it. You might remember this too.

This fits. And this. Also this.

I heard this on the radio a couple of weeks ago. Great version. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. Her distant cousin was referred to by FDR as the "Father of the United Nations."

Here's Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Daily Show.

Update, April 26: Scott Walker is being challenged by the Milwaukee District Attorney about his lying.


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