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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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Butterfly Effect

Everything relates to everything else. This is Tobler's First Law in Geography, but applies to all phenomena. We do not live in a dichotomous, binary world. This should be obvious, but modern mass industrial society operates as if everything is discrete, disconnected, and acting independently.

In Chaos Theory, there is a concept known as the butterfly effect, in which a small change in a system can result in large changes in a later state of the system. The metaphoric example of this concept is the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in one location, which can affect the weather in distant locations weeks later.

Putting these two concepts together, it is easy to see how a self-serving, corrupt political system can result in something like the heroin epidemic that is sweeping the country. PBS's Frontline aired an episode Tuesday titled Chasing Heroin, in which the nature and extent of the epidemic was depicted.

It might be helpful to explain the connection by using the term blowback,  where unforeseen negative consequences follow from actions taken. We have been hearing about direct blowback from our diddling around the planet for a couple of decades, mostly in the international sphere. How about domestically? One domestic effect is the trillions of dollars wasted that could have been spent on repairing our decaying infrastructure of roads, bridges, dams, sewer lines, shipping ports and power grids. We could have expanded our health care system. We could have built low-cost housing for millions of people.

How is the heroin epidemic and example of blowback, though? One easy answer is the 40-fold increase in opium production in "Afghanistan" since the U.S. invasion, occupation and whatever it is called now.  Heroin is made from opium. But how is it that the use of heroin has spread so rampantly among "white" people? Could it be that there has been a decline in inhibitions and standards of behavior?

When we have a political class that is as crass, callous and criminal as the one we have now, might that crassness, callousness and criminality filter down to the suburbs? If "leadership" is so poor that Donald Trump (Drumpf) is the preferred candidate of a major political party, maybe shooting heroin is not such an unthinkable option.

In last Thursday's news, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proposing a new plan to "streamline" enforcement of pollution laws, giving businesses the ability to set their own standards. This is consistent with "Republican" efforts nationwide. It is seen most obviously in their pathological denial of climate change.

A further example of "Republican" efforts to control every aspect of "American" life, "GOP" senators are vowing to prevent the president from nominating a Supreme Court justice to replace the recently deceased Antonin Scalia. He was a terrible justice, and the "Republicans" want Obama to delay nominating a replacement until the next president assumes office, whom they are certain will be one of them.

I wonder about such certainty. There is much evidence that the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen through use of pre-hacked electronic voting machines. One journalist who has been following actual vote fraud for a long time, Harvey Wasserman, predicts the "Republicans" will steal this year’s election. Too much is at stake for the criminal elite to leave the election up to the people.

The FBI is attempting to force the Apple Corporation to give it access to its customers' telephones. When you're saving the world from terrorism, apparently, there is no such thing as enough information. Some might remember the attempt at Total Information Awareness during the Bush criminal regime. The current effort looks like old wine in new bottles. Since the FBI's main weapon against terrorism is entrapment, one can only wonder what the real purpose is for total information.

These phenomena can be looked at as butterflies. In the current incarnation of our socio-economic system we have what is known as the Deep State, a symbiotic relationship between the political world, the corporate world and the national security apparatus. The various manifestations of bought politicians, corporate malfeasance, endless war, the various permutations of the national security state, supporting mass media, and the glut of entertainment culture all combine in a symbiotic dance of pretend existence.

Using the metaphor of butterflies, the activities of all these "players" in the game of false existence inevitably have effects later that extend far beyond what could be imagined when activities to maintain and extend the structure are engaged in.

A perfect example is the invasion and occupation of "Iraq." From the perspective of the Bush criminal regime, what could possibly go wrong? Well, how about EVERYTHING? Massive death and destruction, many thousands of service members returning severely damaged, often killing themselves, war spreading throughout the region, and, last but certainly not least, the rise as a world threat of the heretofore nonexistent "ISIS." And, also thanks to the Bush criminal regime, there are now terrorist threats more serious than "ISIS."

What does the threat of "ISIS" mean to our Deep State alliance of politicians, corporations, the national security state and supporting mass media? Opportunity. Limitless opportunity. In the “Republican” "debates," various media personalities ask the candidates what they would do about “ISIS,” and they invariably grandstand, offering no actual solutions but plenty of bluster and braggadocio, promising to obliterate large swaths of the Mideast and its people to squash an upstart group that wouldn’t even have existed if we had had any prudence at all about invading other countries. Instead of prudence, they want to invade more.

In other words, more butterflies of evil. All they can come up with is evil. Paraphrasing former Alabama governor George Wallace, it’s evil now, evil tomorrow, and evil forever.

We can stop them. First, we have to be clear on what they are up to. Then we have to consistently speak of them, organize against them, take action against them, and overcome them from the perspective that they are an unrelenting evil force. There is no reasoning with them, no room for compromise. How do you compromise with climate change denial?

I shouldn’t leave the "Democrats" out. They are part of the dance, different only by degree, not by kind. They don’t even pretend to have any principles they stand for. Most of us will be voting for a "Democrat" this fall, only to have the votes stolen, but the Deep State would survive even if the election weren’t stolen. It just wouldn’t thrive as much.

So what does one do? All I can say is do your best, and every action is its own butterfly. The Deep State is not a Divine creation, but instead is of the human ego. All that is of the psychopathic human ego is doomed to failure. The butterfly effects of all this evil guarantee that failure.

And, just to make sure the obvious is abundantly clear, practice non-violence. The Deep State has all the violence and capacity for violence that humans are capable of. As has been seen in the past with Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, non-violence works, and in the long-run is much more powerful than violence. 

Next, we will need to plan for what replaces the Deep State. No small task, but it is the task at hand. If anyone is under the delusion that "leftists" are egoless altruists who are only interested in the brotherhood of mankind, I suggest attending a meeting of "leftists." Or even observing a casual conversation between as few as two "leftists." It will be like something from "Life of Brian."

Still, what needs to be done can be done. It just isn’t going to be easy.

This Donovan song fits. This too.

Here's a video on the life cycle of a butterfly.

Here are some poems about butterflies. 

R.I.P. Harper Lee.


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