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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.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

It's All Bullshit

When the first Bush president was building public support for his invasion of Iraq in 1990 a friend asked me what I thought about the war talk. I said "It’s all bullshit." He was unconvinced, and countered with "Don’t you think Saddam Hussein should be killed?" I replied by saying "Well, I suppose there are a lot of people on this planet who deserve to be killed, but that doesn’t mean that we need to go around invading their countries."

I explained further that the fomenter of this invasion, President of the United States George H. W. Bush, was a criminal who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and the phony invasion of Grenada during the Reagan presidency, and the invasion of Panama in his own presidency. He was likely involved in the "October Surprise" collusion with Iranian hostage takers in 1980 that gave us the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

I also reminded him of the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution" that expanded our involvement in Vietnam. Of Richard Nixon’s claim to have a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam war. Of Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia. I further explained that you could tell by the way that Bush was talking about Saddam Hussein that he was lying. His whiny tone of voice, his fake self-righteousness and his unwillingness to speak truthfully about the circumstances that led to Iraq’s attack on its neighbor Kuwait.

Partners in crime. Or is it strange bedfellows? To read about Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein, go to this URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/index.htmIraq had been our "ally" in the region, a bulwark against Iran, its neighbor to the east and our enemy of choice after the overthrow of the brutal Shah. Saddam Hussein, Iraq's president, was installed in office in 1963 with the help of the CIA, and had received arms from us over the years, including chemical weapons.

The conquering heroIt turned out that the first invasion of Iraq was based on lies, and was a precursor to the next one. Saddam Hussein was accused by the second Bush president of harboring Al Qaeda terrorists – a lie – and of possessing weapons of mass destruction – another lie – which he intended to use to attack the United States – also a lie.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed, and the Pentagon was severely damaged by 19 Arab men, mostly citizens of Saudi Arabia, but the George W. Bush regime (not to be confused with the George H.W. Bush regime) chose to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. We still have troops in Afghanistan, with no prospect of leaving any time in the foreseeable future. We made a mess of Iraq, and it is still a mess, with frequent terrorist bombings, and much of the country in ruins. Most of the Mideast is in turmoil, and the entire region is a powder keg ready to explode.

Enter Donald Trump, criminal sociopath, purveyor of fraud, treasonous colluder with a foreign adversary, proud sexual predator, a man completely devoid of moral scruples or ethical standards. He withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear "deal" (everything is known as a deal in the Trump era), pretty obviously to get revenge on his predecessor Barack Obama, who humiliated him at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011.

Obama with Benjamin Netanyahu
The other part of withdrawing from the arrangement is to please Israel, particularly its corrupt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made Iran his enemy of choice, and who despises Obama. He has been pushing for war with Iran for years.

The Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, in one of his triumphal uniformsIran used to be a U.S. ally. Or, more accurately, the ruling regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was a U.S. ally. He was installed in power through a coup d'état in 1953, engineered by American and British spy agencies. He ruled with an iron fist, torturing and killing his opponents for almost three decades (with U.S. help). Then came his downfall, and in 1979 he was overthrown in a revolution, which resulted in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Such is the mess of the Mideast, largely a creation of Western powers, chiefly the U.S., Britain and France. This mess is with no small participation from Israel, which didn't exist as a nation before 1948, when it was created as a "Jewish" state when occupying British forces withdrew. It has been on a war footing since its inception, and its treatment of the area's displaced inhabitants has been atrocious.

Now that Donald Trump has taken the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear agreement, Israel's Netanyahu is emboldened, and, as Time Magazine observed, attacked Iranian forces in Syria one hour after the deal was rescinded.

So here we are again, in another episode of it's all bullshit. I was born at the end of World War II, which should have been lesson enough that war is to be avoided. Instead, those who decide these things have been fomenting war after war ever since. Some of them have been "hot" wars, one (and maybe a new one) was a "cold" war, some have been by proxy - providing backing to others to do the fighting, and some have been by intimidation, subversion, overthrow, embargo and various forms of extortion. They have all been bullshit.

There is and will be a heavy price for all these bullshit wars. In pundit and national security state talk it is known as "blowback." An example would be the 911 attacks, blowback from the first invasion of Iraq. Another would be ISIS, blowback from the second invasion of Iraq. Blowback from the invasion of Afghanistan is the cost, estimated to be over a trillion dollars, almost 2500 "coalition" deaths, and no end in sight. Much more blowback awaits us.

Another heavy price for all these bullshit wars is that when our unsustainable economic system starts to unsustain, the bloated military budget will one of the first to fall. It has comfortably risen ever since the end of World War II, when we were world champs. The Pentagon was built, and we were off to the races. The "Defense" budget is so huge, almost $700 billion annually, that our economy depends on it. 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.

Meanwhile, of course, the planet is getting hotter, and Trump has taken the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, pretending there is no such thing as climate change. The only question at this point is how much longer the powers-that-be can pretend. Given that it has been all bullshit my entire life, it can safely be said that they will continue to be all bullshit until the bitter end. And bitter it will be. Much more bitter than bullshit.
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Here's a song. Here's another. Another. Creedence. Edwin StarrR.E.M. Bob Dylan. Johnny CashJimi Hendrix. John PrineThe Lovin' SpoonfulThe Grateful Dead. Arthur Brown.

Here's a reminder of the Bush II era, if you can stand to look. Putting it together was a grueling process.
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Update, June 21: Here's a variation on the theme of collapse from Chris Hedges.

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