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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, October 06, 2016

Looking Past Election Day

Bernie Sanders was in Madison yesterday, firing up the faithful to vote for Hillary Clinton and Russ Feingold. And volunteer. The event was held at Madison's Monona Terrace, and 1,200 people showed up. It was a much lower turnout than when Sanders was running for president, but the event was on short notice, and there are still a lot of hard feelings here in Madison about the nomination of Hillary Clinton.

Sanders hit all the main points of his campaign - higher minimum wage, student debt relief, police reform, protecting Social Security, gender equity, immigration reform, and expansion of health care access. No mention of foreign affairs. It was a good speech, and got the crowd inspired, hopefully to get out the vote.

Momentum seems to be moving in Clinton's favor, and Feingold has held a steady lead in polls throughout the campaign. The future is hard to predict, though, and we could have a President Trump if the forces of the Universe are in a bad mood on November 8.

It isn't likely, though, and I still look for "The Donald" to completely melt by election day. His "campaign" is a running theater of the absurd, with Trump just saying anything outrageous without a sense of restraint. He argued with a crowd in Nevada Wednesday about how to pronounce Nevada.

So I expect Hillary Clinton to be our next president. I'm not concerned about her emails, her penchant for secrecy, or her curious relationships with foreign governments and others who have donated to the Clinton Foundation.  I don't think these will be issues in her presidency.

The reason I say this is that she will be undertaking a job that has severe constraints on what she can do personally, and she will be under so much pressure from all sides that any shenanigans would be extremely unwise. What I expect her to be is a placeholder, a one-term president who will be the head of state when global climate change kicks into high gear, and when our infinite-growth economic system finally runs out of the ability to pursue infinite growth. In other words, the system will fail.

A good part of our citizenry is in denial that climate change is happening. This pales in comparison to the portion of our citizenry that would not even consider limits to growth. Few economists admit that growth in output can't last forever. Their careers depend on perpetuating the myth. The circular flow diagram at right makes it clear. Think of it getting bigger every year, forever. Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Maybe Hillary Clinton can get the country to admit that a basic equitable distribution of income and wealth is necessary for a functioning civilization. "Democrats" and "Leftists" couch this principle in terms of fairness and morality, and also in terms of constituent advocacy and movement-building. To me these are stances more about themselves than of actually changing the public discourse and attitudes.

Or getting something done. If we had a more equitable distribution of income and wealth there would be far less crime, "racism," police brutality, corporate and Wall Street crime, a less corrupt political system and likely wouldn't have such a prevailing denial of climate change. Take away the motivation to have all the money on Earth and you mitigate greed, hostility, dishonesty and even religious fanaticism. So much of grandstanding religiosity is about greed and lust for power that a limit on income and wealth would make these iniquities less tempting. Some of these fanatics for themselves might actually muster up the humility it takes for real spiritual practice.

On today's Democracy Now, atmospheric scientist Michael Mann (Penn State) said that Trump and Pence are a climate change denial dream team. These pathetic creatures are pathological liars. Pathological lying is a form of mental illness. It goes hand-in-hand with other pathologies listed above - greed, lust for power, hostility, aggression, misanthropy. In other words psychopathy/sociopathy.

As I have written many times before, we misrepresent reality by insisting that the world is organized according to people's placement on an imaginary line that extends from "left" to "right." At the supposed extremes of this imaginary spectrum, people are pronounced as "Leftists" or "Rightists." Such brilliance is the kind of thing that Nobel prizes are made of.

Time is of course running out on these silly distinctions and ascriptions. Most political "players," though, will keep on insisting that the binary divide between "left" and "right" is real. There is even a TV network, Fox, that depends for its existence on the quasi-religious belief in the left-right spectrum. Its minions spend their waking hours perpetuating the myth, using propaganda techniques perfected by Joseph Goebbels.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Matthew is approaching the East Coast. and President Obama has declared states of emergency in Florida and South Carolina. Reality rolls over propaganda. I wonder how many people in those states think climate change is a hoax. I wonder how many of them will believe so in five years. Ten years.

Florida's current governor is a climate change denier. He has banned any mention of climate change by state agencies. I wonder if he will be in office a year from now. Two years. Three, though I don't wonder much. Like the phony "ideology" of "Conservatism" in general, fake "Conservatives" have run their course. "Conservatism" was always a fake ideology, more about prejudice, scapegoating, justifying greed and unbridled wealth, and of course empire. No matter who becomes president, the days of the preeminence of "Conservatism" are just about over. Let's not waste this opportunity by perpetuating the false myth of "the spectrum."
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Here's a song. As several times before, a scene from Life of Brian. Here's another. Here's Peter Tosh. Bob Marley. Just stir it up. And remember to lively up yourself. In lieu of the Beatles, this. Also in lieu of the Beatles, Jack WhiteJohn Denver. The Beatles, while it lasts. The Cascades. Dan Fogelberg. Randy Newman. More Randy Newman. Creedence Clearwater Revival. More Creedence. Bob Dylan. Prince. Talking Heads.
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Update, September 8: Among the growing number of people who believe Donald Trump has a mental illness is  David Letterman.

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