Friday, February 15, 2019

The REAL National Emergencies in the USA


There are many; below are several of them.

1.  Expanding our Nuke arsenal when we should be reducing it.  Along with that, withdrawing from international nuke treaties.  Finally, some of the Powers-That-Be believing nukes can be used without any serious long-term consequences.  All the above is simply unmitigated ignorance, and it borders on insanity.

2.  Our Gov't doing little to nothing in terms of combatting Climate Change, or as one researcher refers to it, Climate Disruption.  In fact, the current Administration's actions will make the Climate problem worse.  I'm no expert in this area, but do have a Master's Degree in the fifth study tradition in Geography, Environmental Studies, or human impact on the environment.  In those studies, it became clear to me that---no matter to what extent greenhouse gas emissions do contribute to the Climate problem (and they do)---it makes no sense whatsoever to fail to reduce those emissions.  Despite Corporatist Propaganda to the contrary, greenhouse gas emissions contribute to Climate Disruption to one degree or another.

3.  The Financialization of our economy.  At one time, the Financial Sector made up about 3% of the economy; now it's about 33%.  At the expense of the rest of us, that primarily benefits the Upper Crust.  Small Business and wage earners both suffer.  NeoFeudalism is approaching rapidly.

4.  The continual expansion of the National Surveillance State.  That's in concert with the virtual destruction of the Fourth Amendment.

5.  The adoption of the Machiavellian concept of Perpetual War, which is being used to manipulate everyday people and further enrich the Super-Rich.

6.  The Trump Presidency.  His Administration is:
a.  violating both Statutes and the Constitution;
b.  harming the economy;
c.  instituting NeoFascism into our Gov't;
d.  promoting Crony Capitalism and the Oligarchy;
e.  normalizing deceit, falsehoods, and propaganda;
f.  alienating Allies;
g.  promoting Authoritarianism;
h.  accelerating NeoFeudalism;
i.  making our country the laughingstock of the world;
j.  encouraging lawlessness; and,
k.  endangering all civilized countries and their peoples.
Trump's supporters had good reasons to be fed-up and angry prior to his election; however, I'm astounded that they still believe he's good for the country and the common people.  It's plain that he's not, and never mind what a danger he is to the entire world.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  Again, a reminder:  I'm not a Democrat or a Republican; and I've been keenly observing American politics ever since 1956.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Most Democrats Support NeoCons, re Venezuela


The clip is less than 3 minutes.
Pure hypocrisy & self-righteousness on the part of most Dems.  They bray about Russian interference in our politics, but Regime Change in Venezuela is okay.  Then, too, there was Libya.  As long as perceived Bad Guys are the target, it's okay to interfere in the politics of other lands.  NeoCons such as Bolton, Abrams, Pence, & Pompeo must be really pleased!  Go Corporate Dems---get access to that oil.  That will really help Climate Change...and hasten our transition to clean energy.  ☺

Venezuela is no threat to us, but they do have the world's largest reserves of oil.  Hmmm.

No, I'm not in favor of Maduro (or any dictator), but neither do I favor butting into the politics of a sovereign country that is no threat to us.  Look what happened in Honduras recently.  The country is in chaos, & run by thugs that we (especially Hillary) supported.  Never mind our shabby history going way back in South & Central America...supporting Death Squad regimes.

Regime Change worked out so well in Iraq, eh?  Never mind Afghanistan.  You'd think we would learn, but the Corporatist Propaganda rolls on.  Good grief.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Wholeness of Humanity


Below is the response to my last piece ("It's the Other Side's Fault") from my brother, Timothy D. Haley.  Over the years, Tim and I have disagreed on a number of concepts; but on this one, we are in full agreement.  After his response, I've included a quote from Carl Jung, and my own closing comments.
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In my understanding and experience, ALL thoughts/feelings of duality/separateness/otherness, are struggles (battles?) within ourselves, denying the ONENESS of creation.  It’s long been known that those qualities in others that we HATE, are all the repressed thoughts, feelings and concepts about OURSELVES we don’t want to face.    All the stuff we thought “they” were guilty of is equally in ourselves.   "What goes around, comes around.”   “The more we point the finger of blame to others, the more that finger comes back to point at us.”   To the degree we lift ourselves individually and collectively out of unconscious motivations to conscious awareness, is the degree to which we heal and move toward wholeness.   It is our expanding individual WHOLENESS that allows us to grasp the ONENESS of humanity, a place where COMPASSION AND SELF-COMPASSION grow and thrive. 
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From Carl Jung...it may be a tiny bit paraphrased (I don't have the exact quote in front of me)---
"The Self is a circle, the center of which is nowhere, and the circumference of which is everywhere.".

I interpret that as:  the oneness of humanity.  We in the Western World, in particular, often seem to be utterly opposed to that concept.  Instead, we tend to embrace the ideas of opposing factions, strife, self-righteousness, and imposing our will on others...because, as the Bob Dylan song mourned, we have "God on our side".  Or, something else equally important (in our minds) is on our side.  All "sides" think that.  Hello.  

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

It's the Other Side's Fault


Below is my response (edited a bit) to an email from a friend.  His email was a commentary on my piece here titled, "Republicans & Democrats - Time to Cowboy-Up".  The name "Hartmann" below refers to Thom Hartmann, the pundit and author.
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You & Hartmann seem to have the premise that all Republicans are sociopaths, but maybe only a few Democrats are that.  Really?  You actually believe that everyone in an entire group is sociopathic?  Please.  Forgive me, but that's prejudice.  In fact, it sounds very similar (not the same) to Nazis claiming that all Jews are deceitful, conniving, & filthy.  Or, some Republicans claiming that all Democrats are totalitarian communists.  All of the above is ridiculous.

You don't have to sell me on the egregious actions of Repub Administrations; I agree.  That doesn't prove your premise that all Repubs are sociopaths.  Neither does the study you mentioned some time ago about Right Wing folks having some sort of flaw in their brains.  Here's another study that tends to suggest this whole thing is not as one-sided as you believe---
Perhaps you watched it the 1st time I sent it, but maybe your bias against Repubs prevented you from getting the point.  I don't know.  Jon Haidt studies the moral foundations of politics; he's a well respected psychologist.  His study results are quite revealing.  http://people.stern.nyu.edu/jhaidt/

Those of you who continue to pit one side against the other are making things more entrenched...worse, in my opinion.  You and I apparently will never agree on this topic, so of what use is it to talk about it?

To put all people of a particular persuasion into one psychological/social basket is a huge mistake in my opinion.  It causes big problems.  Too many unwarranted assumptions, too much jumping to conclusions, too much prejudice.  I've known some mighty fine people in my life; some were Repubs, some were Dems, some were Libertarians, and some were Socialists.  I've never found each separate political group to be homogeneous in their beliefs or actions.

 We humans seem to have an innate drive to divide up into groups/factions/teams and oppose one another.  Too often that opposition winds up in violence... mainly thanks to propaganda.  And each group firmly believes that it alone is "in the right"...for whatever reason.  The "other" side is always "wrong".  All that is probably why we'll wind up like every other species that had some degree of dominance on Earth---extinct.

None of the above is too much of a concern to me because, in my belief/faith system, this existence of ours is The Grand Illusion.  As the old song goes, "... Life is but a dream.".  And that's a good thing.  ☺
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Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Howard Schultz SHOULD Run for President in 2020


I just now finished watching the interview of Schultz by Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes.  I hope he runs for Pres in the next go-round.  Normally, I wouldn't be for a billionaire doing that, but this guy impressed me.  After doing some reading about his life, and given the current & past political circumstances in this great Land, I believe the time is right for Howard Schultz.  Here's why.

1.  For quite some time now, the Republican and Democratic Parties have been (on balance) failures at running our government in terms of what's best for the overwhelming majority of Americans.  With one exception, I won't even bother to detail the dismal failures of both major Parties over the past many years.  Those failures are blatantly obvious, and have created the conditions resulting in the election of an almost completely incompetent, petulant, autocratic juvenile.  The one exception is this:  both Parties have failed to rein in the Plutocrats or Oligarchs and their system of Corporatocracy which extracts wealth from the economy and rarely ever pumps any of that wealth back into the economy.  I'm talking about the Crony Capitalists who rip off average folks and then invest the profits in anything (e.g., bizarre derivatives, foreign bonds, foreign currencies, overseas factories, etc.) except job-producing ventures in the USA.  In other words, Mega Business...and their DC puppets.  Especially when it comes to Mega Banks, the record of both major Parties is shabby beyond belief.

2.  Schultz is thinking of running as a Centrist Independent.  Despite what the major Parties and the Corporate Media would have us believe, 41% of this country's electorate are Independents.  Neither Repubs (25%) or Dems (31%) can top that.  Each of them tries to sell us the idea that they represent the "majority" of Americans.  The Corporate Media are even worse.  They all imply that only "Conservatives" and "Liberals" matter in today's politics.  Not true.

3.  Though Schultz is Super-Rich, he definitely appears to have a social conscience, seems to be open-minded, and in general, appears to be pretty much the opposite of the current President.  From what I've been able to glean so far, Howard Schultz is a man of depth, competence, and integrity.

4.  This country needs a fresh approach, and a genuine change.  The political Establishment is out-of-step, and Trump lives in Bizarro World.  All he's interested in is himself.

5.  People say an Independent can't win.  Consider this:  today's political scene is so off-kilter that the old truisms aren't necessarily true anymore.  Plus, I think 2020 is ripe for a major change, a fresh start, something out-of-the-box.  We Americans are fed up to the gills with the squabbling between the major Parties, the extremes at both ends of the political spectrum, and politicians who have a great spiel, but no results...or the wrong results.

6.  Some say a Schultz run would siphon off votes from the Dems and guarantee another term for you-know-who...similar to the Nader efforts back when.  See number 5 above.  More importantly, the 50% of us who no longer vote in national elections because we're fed up with Democrats AND Republicans most likely would jump back into the game.  I would.  Finally, and again, 41% of this country's electorate are Independents.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Monday, January 21, 2019

Republicans & Democrats - Time to Cowboy-Up

Preface---
Trump is not the problem; he's merely a symptom of the problem.  More accurately, he's a symptom of a plethora of problems, most of which revolve around Corporatism and Propaganda.  Below I suggest only a couple of things that the highest levels of the Repubs and Dems can do toward making our country a better place, and our standing in the world more favorable.
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Democrats---
This is a no-brainer:  stop harping on Trump's foibles and misdeeds.  They are obvious to almost everyone.  Instead, give us a vision of your program for improvement...a comprehensive vision, rather than a one-or-two-issue vision.  You've managed to essentially kill the "Green New Deal", I've seen little to no efforts/plans on your part to get Corporate money out of politics, or break up the egregious Mega Banks, or put a stop to gerrymandering of House Districts, or stop antagonizing the world with military adventurism, or any significant plan to fix our crumbling public infrastructure, or any plan to encourage manufacturing in this great land, and on & on.  Mostly what I see are high level politicos bellying up to the public trough and private wealth.  I also see that over the years you've managed to pretty much marginalize any person in your Party who favors the "common people".  You give a lot of lip service to genuine Populism, but little else.  Most of you now seem to believe in Neoliberalism, not Liberalism.  It's time for a sea change.

Republicans---
You're just as bad as the Dems.  Over many years, and especially lately, you have squandered and ruined the reputation of a once ethical Party.  In the distant past, your Party stood for:  honor, ethics, We the People, and small business (which employed 80% of American workers).  Now you support what is basically a cabal of super-rich, monopolistic, anti-democracy NeoFascists.  You favor Mega Biz over Small Biz.  You favor Crony Capitalism over genuine Capitalism.  In the past you recognized the folly and danger of policing the world; now you jump at every chance to get into another war.  You once knew the difference between patriotism and nationalism; now you don't seem to have a clue.  In the past, one sect of your Party was Conservative; that's now gone.  Instead, NeoConservatives now dominate a pathetic excuse for what's called the Republican Party.  Even worse, most of you now kowtow to a man who has little to no ethics, morality, or even mental stability.  Shame on you.

Given all that, here's another no-brainer:  stop backing Trump.  History will not treat him well.  He's not even a Republican...and certainly not a Conservative.  In addition, divest yourselves of NeoConservatism.  Re-discover the roots of your Party.  Our country will be better off for it.
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Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Which Branch Appropriates Funds for Government Spending?


Even someone who flunked American Government in the ninth grade of school surely must know that only Congress is allowed to do that.  The U.S. Constitution is clear:  Congress is the ultimate authority on Government spending.  That's because it's Congress who represents the People, not the other two Branches.

The White House is being petulant in its attempts to blackmail Congress, and the result is:  hundreds of thousands of workers are suffering.  Never mind the rest of us who deserve and require certain Gov't services.  The Executive Branch is manufacturing "emergencies" out of thin air in order to force the Legislative Branch to kowtow.  It appears that the President still does not accept the fact that ours is a government of three co-equal Branches.

Like Dubya Bush before him, and to a lesser extent both Bill Clinton and Obama, our current Oval Office Occupier believes in the Unitary Executive Theory.  Essentially, that means the President can be an Autocrat.  Hidden away in one part of the theory is the idea that neither Congress or the Courts have any say at all in matters of "national security".  That's hogwash.  Not only is it hogwash, it's an extremely dangerous concept.  It lays the groundwork for a completely undemocratic, even totalitarian government.

As the White House lies continue to build, let's all hope that Congress and the Courts don't fold.  Over the last few decades, the Executive Branch has claimed (and garnered) more & more unwarranted power for itself.  That's a long way from what supposedly is a democratic government.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well