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The Biden Factor Part 2, The Soul of America

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Who are we kidding?  We all know the very real problems we live with.  Everyday Americans have been suffering for years and continue to do so.  In search of a real change, they elected Trump and things only got worse for them. The issues of our times are clear and evident.  Many Americans continue jobless as others live with stagnant wages. Buying power decreases each year with the rising cost of living. Veterans are suffering on many fronts. Our privatized jails are maxed to capacity with low level offenders while police violence goes unchecked at every turn.  Anyone can buy a gun and use it for any purpose, consequently we live in fear. Our schools are no longer safe havens for our children, nor are movie theaters, nightclubs, live concerts or religious services.  The high school education we were all guaranteed by right is no longer sufficient to provide a reasonable base income or employment opportunities that support planning a future, starting a family, buying a home or saving for retirement.  Overdose drug deaths, primarily heroin laced with fentanyl, kills more than 70,000 Americans each year.  Most of our food supply is unhealthy in one way or another, packed with fats and sugars, preservatives, pesticides, GMOs and fillers. Our groundwater is contaminated with chemical runoff.  Our infrastructure is crumbling.  Our electric grid is vulnerable to a hacked attack by foreign actors. Our dependence on a fossil fuel energy supply, coal, oil and natural gas is not limitless and therefore, while being not only wholly unsustainable, it continues as the primary danger to the planet, nevertheless a priority for gutting environmental programs and stimulate the demise of climate worldwide, enriching the few so invested in stripping the earth of its resources.   Is this a life of liberty and happiness? 

 

Our nation is losing its leadership position in the world with our current administration’s threats to NATO and international trade and our “look the other way” policies regarding Saudi Arabia and human rights violations around the world.  Trump’s relationship and agreements with Putin and Russia remain a secret, while his naive attempts at diplomacy have moved Kim Jung Un to form alliances with both Russia and China that circumvent American interests and threaten our safety in an ever-increasing nuclear environment.  The “great negotiator’s” moves are a false promotional front, like a movie set, a veneer with nothing behind it.  By the time the problem is addressed by someone competent it may be too little, too late.

 

Natural disasters continue to destroy homes and livelihoods in every region of the country with floods, forest fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and drought, the rising oceans and the destruction caused by pollution to marine life and the very air we breathe, all fueled by man-made priorities putting profit above health and well-being.  Paying for a college education leaves our youth financially encumbered, facing lifelong choices that preclude starting a family or initiating major purchases while living with protracted years of family assistance spreading their burden over an even broader base, multiplying the struggle.  Yes, the economy is booming.  Gutting social and environmental programs, suppressing educational and health benefits, cutting taxes for the very rich, rolling back consumer protections and furthering social injustice make for a more favorable climate for capitalist profit, but who are these capitalists that see the benefits of investment? Most Americans cannot free capital from their meager incomes to rise above everyday realities to participate in this temporary boom.  Is the stock market the measure of our democracy or might it be our social programs and institutions designed to foster equality by helping the less fortunate while protecting our accomplishments? According to the Fed one-third of families in the bottom 50% of earners own stocks. On the other hand, according to Gallup nearly 94% of the top income group owned stocks in 2016 while only a total of 54% of all Americans invested in stocks, mutual funds, pensions or retirement plans.Record Dow highs don’t mean much to about half of all Americans becausethe top 1% controls 39% of the country’s wealth.  So, God bless the credit card companies, international banks and Wall street power brokers that they are witnessing a temporary “economic boom.” 

 

It’s time we realized that democracy is not an economic system.  Capitalism is not synonymous with democracy.  Democracy is a system designed to further equality through social justice and respect for human rights, by securing meaningful participation in the system for everyone.  It does not exist as an engine for capitalism.  Rather capitalism exists to further democracy.

 

All twenty Democratic primary candidates are unified in agreement on the various problems we suffer under and differ only slightly on the policy remedy required but nineteen are reluctant to take the battle directly to the source. But there is one exception, that last one to enter the fray, the 2oth candidate, Joe Biden, who acknowledges that Trump must be confronted head-on.

 

But it would be a mistake to think that he alone sees this as the foremost problem.  Democrats are divided yes, not on the issues themselves but on the approach to the solutions, basically along idealistic versus pragmatic lines. Progressives are mostly idealistic to a greater or lesser degree.  Klobuchar and Kamala straddle the idealist/pragmatist fence wanting to achieve their ideals in a pragmatic, a more practical conventional middle of the road way with, as they see it, less risk, while Bernie and Elizabeth Warren go all out on idealism.  But none of “The Nineteen” travel the so-called middle lane.  That is where Biden saw his opportunity, abandoned policy arguments and went all-out on a frontal attack, recognizing the obstacle to healing the country was sourcing the problem to Donald Trump. While “The Nineteen” tippy-toe around what we all know and agree on, that Trump must go, parsing policy hairs and fresh ideas, Biden brings that old school mentality for a conventional campaign and a knock-down political struggle funded by the same corporate entities that care less about who wins and more about securing a place in the mud at the feeding trough when it’s all over.  Biden’s value is that he will be the active barometer of the Trump-attack strategy and while he could influence the others to join in and pile on, I doubt it. He will be the main target of Trump’s vitriolic Twitters and the poison spewed by his surrogates, deflecting much harm from the progressives who will continue with a strategy of policy ideals, fertile ground were Trump is at a disadvantage.  Trump’s argument with them is limited to one word… “Socialism.”

 

It’s easier for his base to unite in fear around that one word than to actually consider the issues.  It’s an appeal to pure emotion and nothing less.  Do they not realize that Socialism is aligned with the Christian concept of taking care of one’s neighbor?  This is the case Biden is making without appearing to be a socialist.  He is making his entrance based on moral and ethical issues, neither political nor policy based, but fitness for office. This is what all Democrats believe and frankly so do most Republicans in private, that Trump is unfit. He is a plague that they allowed upon themselves and they can’t exterminate it without losing a few limbs. These church-mice will not speak up for fear of being primary-ed by a Trumpian candidate. And so we look for the Savior beyond them.  Is it Joe? Or will Joe be the spoiler that disheartens progressive momentum and creates a cynicism that keeps their numbers from the polls. Can Joe ride the Blue wave?

 

Meanwhile, the House is mired in a difficult decision… impeach or don’t impeach.  Doing the right thing is not a political decision but a moral and ethical choice. The political consideration is to not impeach for fear of damage in the 2020 election, while the moral choice, the courageous choice, is to do the right thing and hold Trump accountable for his actions, regardless of the political consequences that may or may not be incurred.  Impeachment must be considered for the values it upholds not the potential downside it may impose.

 

Trump has built his storm over the warm waters of the haters in his base who see themselves as the “very fine people” he describes and their collective hatred is carried inland on the Jetstream of the internet and media coverage to wreak havoc on a trusting nation.  A turbulent effect builds in a chaotic fashion, Trump feeding the storm and the rising storm feeding Trump until untethered and lacking any form of compassion, each feels licensed to commit heinous acts such as murdering Jews on the one hand or ripping asylum-seeking families apart on the other, taking children from their mothers and caging them like stray dogs in a pound.  This sort of open, unrepentant behavior has not been seen in a very long time.  It’s rather like the measles, thought to be wiped out, but now rearing its ugly head.

 

And so Biden enters the race as a fight for the soul of America.

 

 

 

 

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Chuck W.

The Interconnected structure of reality

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Post 9/11: Truth or Continued Consequences?

What did 9-11, Covid19, the Covid variants, the end of our 20-year war in Afghanistan, recent extreme weather events globally, and a decline in democracy in many nations all have in common?  First, they were all predictable, predicted, and preventable. Second, more costly blood and treasure consequences are yet to come – unless we understand the root cause and urgently act on it.

By “The Other” Chuck Woolery

Everyone who was conscious on September 11, 2001, recalls the events of that day. But understanding both the origins and the results of 9/11 is far more important than any acts of remembrance that we might perform. If we truly care to honor those who died and suffered on that unforgettable day, we must use our powers of understanding to develop sustainable strategies for preventing the next terrorizing event that might occur. Understanding must matter more than body counts.

The Post’s lead editorial of 9/11 cites Abraham Lincoln’s statement that, when combating danger “the best defense (against the dangers of his time) …lay in cultivating robust ‘reverence for the Constitution and laws,’ ” as well as his hopes that doing so “would inspire and sustain the people’s commitment to liberty and equality.”

In his writings, Lincoln also described the Declaration of Independence as “our apple of gold” and the Constitution as its “frame of silver.” To my mind, these analogies reflect our foundational goal of equality for all people, as invoked in the Declaration.   But our “rule of law, as detailed in the Constitution ignores both the concept of justice and humanities inalienable rights.  The Constitution’s reliance on the proposition of independence — a deeply flawed concept rooted deeply in our minds has not delivered justice or consistently protected human rights since its creation.  From the start it was engineered into every level of our nation’s government.

Many Americans today proclaim their allegiance to individual liberty at the freedom to infect others in their communities.  For a significant portion US citizens “independence” has come to denote the license to act irresponsibly without regard for the medical, environmental, or economic consequences their actions on others (rejecting masks, refusing vaccinations, or denying climate change).

This prevalent fusion of “freedom” with “self-gratification” has long consequences for rest of the world too. For many decades our foreign and military policies have disparaged other cultures as unworthy of the respect and privilege that we ourselves take for granted; we’ve dismissed foreign casualties as “collateral damage”, communist or terrorist sympathizers, or humans irrelevant to our nation’s interests.

My studies as a biologist and student of the natural world have made the fundamental flaws in our Constitution to be “self-evident”.  They consistently ignore the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” expressed in the first paragraph of our “Apple of Gold” the Declaration of Independence.   Interdependence is at the heart of nature’s laws. Chief Seattle (1780-1866), the head of the Duwamish and Suquamish nations, saw this clearly: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”   Yet most of us ignore our irreversible global interdependence environmentally, economically, militarily, and health wise.   Without being responsible with our freedoms abroad we cannot expect to sustainably preserve our freedom, security, or prosperity here.

Until we grasp the wisdom and survival value of putting the global protection of human rights and the environment above the protection of national sovereignty and corporate power, our vulnerability to the kind of dangers inflicted on 9/11 will grow.  Sustaining what quality of life that remains and improving it for ourselves and our children we must abandon the illusion of independence.

 

Our interdependence within this nation and on this planet is accelerating and irreversible. Nearly every troubling trend we are experiencing today is a symptom of our delusion of separation. There is a medical term for this mental condition – anosognosia.  It is when someone is unaware of their own mental health condition.  In a world with the accelerating evolution of weapons, pathogens, failing democracies, and civil strife It’s time for a wake-up call.

Our human-created construct of independence is responsible for our persistent failure to understand and respond effectively to nearly every danger we face (pandemics, pollution, terrorism, cyber security, economic stability, drug trade, refugee flows, food insecurity, extreme weather events…), each with lethal and unfavorable consequences for all — both here and abroad.

We can no longer simply react when disaster strikes. We can no longer build back to what we had before. It’s imperative now that we build forward in ways that prevent dangers and conserve limited resources.  It is our only means of maximizing any sustainable prospects of freedom, security, and prosperity for ourselves and our posterity.  Most nations have agreed to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030.  It is the only comprehensive set of solutions we have, and humanity is not on track to meet them.  Time is not on our side…and e may not get another chance.

The truth of our interdependence can set us free.  Ignoring it will only have more unfavorable consequences.

 

Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”   -Albert Einstein.  As quoted in Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics, p. 250.

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Mea Culpa

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Notes on 9-11, twenty years later.

This is the anniversary of a dark day in our country’s history.  It has also been totally eclipsed by the utterly horrifying death toll from a preventable virus.  So much so, that after this year I doubt anybody will be putting much emphasis on 9/11 anymore.  Too many folks are mourning their current lost loved ones to spend heaps of time on those of a generation ago.

I wanted to start this essay with “I told you so.”  It sure would have felt good, too; 20 years after warning y’all about the mistake of going to war to avenge a violent terror attack.  Who the hell would read that article though?  Nobody.

Nobody likes to be told they are wrong, least of all ‘Muricans.

We don’t.  We blew it on Viet Nam.  But then we spent the next two decades fellating ourselves with Rambo movies and Reagan and other such exciting fictions.  So when 9/11 occured, we were 100% ready and willing and able to make the same mistake again.  Then – – our short-attention span made it so that we turned away from the Afghan rebuilding project to double down and invade Iraq.  (I decried that invason too, to no avail).

We then whipped up some fancy ‘mission accomplished’ banners and photo ops, and… spent the next 19 years waiting to be greeted as liberators.  August of 2021 may have finally put that delusion to bed.  Somehow, I don’t think so.

I hate being Cassandra.  I do.  Nobody wants to hear the unvarnished truth, that much is clear.  But why?  How is it we would rather keep suffering, and keep on making other nations suffer; instead of doing the simple, basic work to fix the problems once and for all?  *This* question has become my life’s work.

There are solutions, by the way.  Never ever let anyone tell you these problems cannot be fixed.  Those folks are selling you something; and are not to be trusted.  We could never have built civilization in the first place, if we did not have solutions available for getting people to co-exist, within community.

So forget all about ‘I told you so’, and forget about who’s fault it is that we are in such a mess.  Focus your precious time on learning about solutions.  I have close to 20 essays up on mobilized.news now, and plenty of others have stuff posted here too.  That’s one possible place to start learning if you need resources.  For the busier or more skeptical among us, here (below) are some short takes that may be of use.

I am sorry that we’re still suffering.  Maybe I haven’t done enough to help relieve that suffering.  Maybe I can do more.  But it’s not about me, and it’s not about you.  It’s about the future. It really can be as bright as we want it to be.  Our biggest hurdle to overcome is simply inertia –  – and that’s a choice we make every day.

Simply change your mind, decide to find a new model to live within.  Better days lie ahead.


Further Reading: 

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/welcoming-remarks-made-at-a-literary-reading-9-25-01?

 

Daniel Quinn shared this insight with us: Most folks would say that “the world was made for Man, and Man was made to conquer it.”  But of course that is just mythology, nothing about it is true.  It’s far more accurate to say that “the world is a sacred place and a sacred process – – and we are part of it.”  Our fundamental mis-understanding of how the world works is the key to knowing why we keep going on foolish crusades overseas, why we keep destroying the climate even though we know better, and so many other maladies.  It’s time to change those habits.

I often recommend this book, and do so again today because it’s more relevant NOW than ever before.  “Beyond Civilization” by Daniel Quinn.  See also: “Providence”, and the 3 “Ishmael” novels… which would make one hell of a great miniseries, if there are any TeeVee producers reading this post.

Speaking of ‘more relevant than ever’, Bucky Fuller’s classic book-length essay Grunch of Giants came out in 1970 for crying out loud; it’s too bad we’ve never taken his wise advice.

https://mobilized.news/bite-sized-book-reviews/

https://mobilized.news/bite-sized-book-reviews-ii-electric-boogaloo/

 

Here let us read in their own words, some post-war thoughts from a selection of unindicted war criminals.  They only barely register any remorse, and sure are twisting themselves in knots to justify their murderous idiocy.  NOTABLY ABSENT IN THESE INTERVIEWS: THE POINT OF VIEW OF ANYBODY AT ALL WHO WARNED AGAINST THE INVASIONS BEFORE HAND.  Such as Barbara Lee, Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein, Medea Benjamin, or any of the Gold Star Mothers.  Funny how the media is falling over themselves to ask the guilty how they feel about being guilty.  It’s too damn bad the media doesn’t truly want to prevent future mistakes since that would be bad for their ratings.  Le sigh.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/09/10/9-11-attacks-20th-anniversary-reassessing-20-years-of-war-506924

For a more rational change of pace, this journalist ignored the fatuous glad-handers who lied us into war and instead talked to the soldiers on the ground.  If you’re in a hurry, skip the last entry and just read this one.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/09/10/politico-mag-afghan-vets-roundtable-506989

 

Here I offer a hat tip to my friend Alice Shikina, who has pointed me towards a far better means of conflict resolution – guided mediation & arbitration.  Groups such as SEEDS exist here in the Bay Area and similar ones are in most any big city near you.  We don’t have to spend our precious time being angry, or blaming the ‘other guy’.  We can instead work on listening and finding common ground.  There WAS common ground to be had with the Afghan people, for example, but we never once tried to find it.  We simply imposed a top-down model on them and then, were puzzled why they despised it.  What a huge missed opportunity.  Don’t you make that same mistake.  Check out the better options that are available and cost almost nothing to implement.

https://www.seedscrc.org/

www.cnvc.org

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Idjitz Stoopidshitz and-Dumfux

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Idjitz, Stoopidshitz, and-Dumfux

That’s how the growing resentment against the unvaccinated is best expressed.   Somehow these people regard their decision to flirt with imminent risk as an act of patriotism, the pure expression of American individualism boldly spitting in the wind of governmental control and the face of death itself.

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we might do well to remember the heroic efforts of the true patriots among us, first responders and committed civil servants, and not the swollen pride of the few who carried the banners of plastic flagstaffs, boldly flapping stars and stripes, on the roll-up windows of their Cadillac Escalades to tailgate parties on the weekends that followed.  Some people can sure talk the talk, and the rest, Hillary’s deplorables, show up at events like that of January 6th.

But to be certain, those patriots on September 11th who went into those collapsing towers were heroes not solely because they put their lives in danger, took a risk to save others, selfless acts in defiance of the most certain of consequences, but because they truly cared about you and me.  All of America was in those towers.

Looking back on the death toll that day, as staggering as it was, it was even more shocking that the event occurred in our sacred homeland, a place of safety where we Americans enjoy our freedoms unhindered by fear.   To secure that same future, we accepted a massive loss of freedoms to embrace the Patriot Act and we shipped thousands of young Americans to distant lands, many to fall at the hands of unseen terrorists’ IEDs while on patrol.

So why is it that with the overwhelming statistics on Covid deaths, rising infections, the many at-capacity hospitals and the lack of safety for our unprotected children, do these anti-vaxers maintain that their so called freedoms take precedent over the safety of the community at large?  These people are not patriots.  They are the worst kind of self-serving cowards!

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