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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, August 14, 2015

A Clear and Present Danger

It has become almost a chiché that the "Republican" presidential campaign looks like a circus clown car. Yesterday the presumptive nominee Jeb Bush (his full name is John Ellis Bush, hence "Jeb") said if president he wouldn't rule out anything, including torture, which he euphemistically calls "enhanced interrogation." When asked at an event in Iowa if waterboarding is torture Bush said "There’s a difference between enhanced interrogation techniques and torture. Torture’s - America doesn’t do torture." Another Bush sociopath. Is there any other kind?

The clown of clowns, of course, is rich guy Donald Trump. He announced his campaign in June by insulting immigrants from Mexico, saying "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Trump has done a lot more insulting since then, and his overall rudeness has made him the "front-runner" among "Republican" candidates. Of course, the "Republican" nominating convention isn't until next July, and the "election" isn't until November 8 next year. Many things can and will change between now and then.

Patrick L. Smith, writing in Salon, says the rot in the "Republican" party is so deep that it is a danger to the country. He describes the affect of today's "Republicans" as an extension of the Jacksonian type of "American" that began in the 1820s - "Aggressive, uncompromising, masculine in the traditional manner, suspicious of intellect and sympathy, given to swift action and simple justice."

So be it. The "Republican" party has become desperate and fanatical. I could go on and on with analysis and insight about how sociopathic they are, how absurd their arguments and posturing are. A few pictures tell a better story. I stopped by the annual Block Party at Madison's Catholic Multicultural Center last Saturday and took some pictures of groups doing traditional Mexican dances. These are the people Donald Trump calls drug dealers and rapists.



















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Los Lobos at the Further Festival in Alpine Valley, Wisconsin, 1996Here's a great Los Lobos album to listen to while looking at the pictures. They are best known for this song. Here's the original, with Richard Valenzeula, known to the rock 'n roll world as Ritchie Valens. And here's 60s folk duo Bud and Travis doing the original acoustic version of the song from "Mexico." Here's some more Bud and Travis.

This is Los Lobos's second-most known song.

Here are some songs from the Texas Tornadoes.

Freddy Fender, Mexican-American country-western star.

Los Lonely Boys.

Trini Lopez, from when I was young.

It would be difficult to pick a best performance from the Woodstock Music Festival, but this tune by Santana is the choice of many. This is Santana's best album.

Here's some World Music, with Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, Babatunde Olatunji, Hamza el Din, Mickey Hart and  Bobby Vega.

This song fits. The most predominant characteristic of what is known as "right wing" fanaticism in this country is fear.

There are alternatives to the "Republican" clown car. Here's one.

Clear and present danger is a longstanding principle for limiting freedom of speech.  It hasn't been applied to an entire political party yet. At least not in court. We haven't had a major political party that represents a clear and present danger before.
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Update, August 16:

Madison has numerous ethnic and international fests throughout the year. I happened across two of them yesterday. One was a celebration of India's 69th anniversary of independence from British rule. It was held downtown. I missed most of it, so only got a few pictures.

Africa Fest was held a mile or so east of the Capitol. Because Madison is a university town there are students and faculty from all over the world, including the entire African continent. Donald Trump would find much to insult here.

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Malian musician and current Madison resident Tani Diakite played at Africa Fest.

Bassekou Kouyate, also from Mali, was the headliner of the fest.

R.I.P. Julian Bond.
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Update, August 20:

The corporate news media don't tell us about Trump's shady dealings. Democracy Now interviewed investigative reporter David Cay Johnston yesterday, and he had much to reveal. The interview was based on his recent article 21 Questions for Donald Trump.
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Update, September 24: Noam Chomsky believes the "Republican" party is now an insurgency rather than a political party. It's another way of saying clear and present danger. I still believe criminal organization is more accurate, based on their obeisance to Wall Street bankers and large corporations, and their money and power interests in doing so.

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