Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New ways of thinking: The essence of presence

When I reflect on those things that are important to me, my perspective most often will evolve from my experiences as a musician or a concept evolved from that experience.

So, when I read a posting by Trevor Harden entitled “Rant and Reflection: Unless You Feel It” at, I was motivated to respond; not in disagreement, but essentially in agreement.

For me there are qualities in just being present in real time. Those qualities and values cannot be imparted in photography, TV, video conferencing, music video, or any recording, in any manner, of any human activity.

There is so much spiritual value in just being in the “here and now,” yours and your participation in the “here and now” of others -- “The Spirit of Now.”

My perspective of the essence of presence in music, and my response to Trevor’s posting is as follows:

When the chemistry that takes place in a live performance between musicians, and between musicians and their audience, the soul of that interaction vanishes by limiting the music to a recording, quality is reduced. A recording that utilizes basically deception to please the listening only audience by multi-track recording of the musical elements that make up the recording, or utilizing backing tracks for the artist, or auto-tune techniques to disguise the artist lack of skill and technique by correcting pitch, and disguising inaccuracies and mistakes, the recording will always lack the sense of any feeling, inspiration, and intuition. Recordings will always lack authenticity, essence, and possess diminished musical value.

No matter how good the engineering or electronics, every recording will lack the qualities of live performances. Singers and musicians who utilize backing tracks rather than live backup musicianship also lack the same qualities of feeling, inspiration, intuition, authenticity and essence.

It seems musicians and those who buy the recordings have more interest in the electronics and engineering than they do in real talent and musicianship.

For me, it is analogous to looking at a two dimensional portrait as opposed to seeing what is depicted in real time three dimensional view, with all the other sentient and sensual dimensions that are imbued.

In being present in real time to live music one becomes a part of that performance – you are a participant.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Ways of Thinking: Terrorism

America and other nations are quick to universally and unequivocally condemn Islamic terrorism as radical, barbaric, atheistic, and label it the work of absolute evil. We make these assertions, perhaps, because we don’t understand the definition of terrorism; perhaps it’s because we don’t understand its causes; perhaps it’s because we don’t recognize our own acts as acts of terrorism; perhaps it’s because we don’t believe or have confidence in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “...the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85) In short, terrorism is simply the use of force to intimidate and coerce when it is perceived that all other options, if other options are considered at all, are hopeless: the reason for all violence.

Terrorism is as old as prostitution, is ubiquitous, and it has been the primary tool of all warfare for all-time. It is domestic and international, state and non-state, but regardless of its classification terrorism is always utilized to instill fear, and on the larger scale, divisiveness

Nation states have the unmitigated gall and national arrogance to sanction war by declaring it a lawful use of force. Therefore, hypocritically, terrorism is therefore legal if it is employed by nation states, but illegal if it’s employed by non-nation states.

Militaries use the euphemistic term “collateral damage” to describe the death and destruction caused to civilian populations by their terrorist attacks; they call the same acts by others as murder.

Terrorism takes its form in everything from domestic violence in the home to dropping bombs on civilian populations from 35,000 feet. It’s the “shock and awe” of Bush’s Iraq war. It takes it form in the combat units patrolling Iraq and Afghanistan, or the Apache helicopter overhead. It involves the use of napalm bombs, cluster bombs, land and sea minds, and a terrorist is the military sniper. It takes its form in assassination. Terrorist are groups using the infamous IED, and executions by any means. It takes its form in the IRS, the bully at school, at home or in the street, or the man or woman who threatens you if you don’t comply with their demands. It takes the form in child abuse. It’s the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacy groups. It takes its form in authoritarianism: absolutism, autocracy, despotism, dictatorship, or totalitarianism. It takes up its form in the workplace. Terrorism is hard to define because it is so all inclusive, but it is always fermented from feelings of hopelessness, and at some level is always meant to coerce, intimidate, instill fear, and create chaos and divisiveness.

There are a variety of causes for terrorism: jingoistic nationalism, religious justifications, environment and poverty, psychological and pathological determinants, narcissistic rage, national liberation, political ideology, race, and hopelessness.

One reason that is not often identified is that those who feel threatened and hopeless, who do not have an army, navy or air force, resort to terrorism simply because it is the only weapon they have. For example, the tactics of the American colonists at Concord, Massachusetts, utilized terrorism against the British: making a kill, or creating injury and chaos, and always instilling fear by sniping from the tree line or stone hedge and then disappear to do it all again; guerilla warfare was the only option they had.

However, terrorism comes down to one fundamental cause: an unquenchable feeling of hopelessness. Murders are committed because the murderer, other than pathological murderers, perceives that any other way of achieving their goals are useless; Governments and militaries believe winning can be only be achieved with violence because they feel any other way is hopeless -- such as in negotiation and diplomacy -- and not achievable.

Terrorism will never be eliminated; it can only be reduced. Terrorism will never be marginalized until we recognize that all acts of violence are terroristic, and that all nations use military intervention to coerce others to do or see things their way, or to take from someone else what is not theirs to have.

The “War on Terror” is an oxymoronic designation, since violence or terror is being used to combat terror.

We will not gain the upper-hand over terrorism until we clearly see and understand that in our personal and national lives setting the best ethical and moral example is the best way to mold others in our likeness. It means that terrorism will continue until our unacceptable example of war, “shock and awe,” and hypocrisy in supporting nations who employ terror, is changed by better example of what we as a people stand for, transformed by new ways of thinking about violence and terrorism, and leadership with probity. Violence will always beget violence, and if we do not change our attitudes and our ways of thinking, in our world the normalcy of violence will pursue even more extraordinary means of committing terror, beyond even nuclear weapons, and then the normalcy of violence will have a new and even more deadly configuration.

We will not gain the upper-hand over terrorism until we individually, at work, and in our homes and communities, nationally and internationally understand that violence is everybody’s problem; it will take all of us individually and collectively in unity to solve it by always providing the best ethical and moral example in what we say, write, and in our actions; and, understand it will not be a quick fix.

As James Carroll wrote in his article, "Jesus and the promise of Christmas”: “Humans have an inbuilt tendency to find the solution of violence in yet more violence, with the result that it spirals on forever. The victory of coercive force is inevitably the cause of the next outbreak of coercive force. Jesus proposed that the answer to violence is not more violence, but is forgiveness and righteousness - or, as we would put it, peace and justice. For 2,000 years, this program has been able to be dismissed as piety's dream. But something new is afoot. Since 1945, the normalcy of violence is armed with weapons that will surely render the human species extinct unless a different [new] way of thinking of violence is found.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Ways of Thinking are required

I recently received from a friend this very good, short essay, “Knowledge for a Revolution,” which speaks the language of my thought.

“Immense changes are rapidly underway, but unfortunately in order for lasting change to occur the old way of thinking and being must cease to exist. As Thomas Paine once said, ‘We have in our power to begin the world over again.’”

Nothing truer has ever been said: "If it's to be, it's up to me." We truly can be the change we want to see in the world. This is my message, the message of Barack Obama, and of Dr. Gregory Damato.

New ways of thinking are required.

Knowledge for a Revolution: Unity Vs. Divisiveness
by Dr. Gregory Damato, Ph.D., citizen journalist

One of the most efficient ways to rule a populace has been through the surreptitious and unconscious creation of dissension amongst its people. Modern society has been inherently established and subsequently reinforced to create an us versus them mentality which continually focuses on individual differences at the expense of individual similarities. Historically, dividing a population has been a very potent and successful psychological weapon as many nations subsequently use this tactic to justify war, malnutrition and death through the inculcation of fear and divisiveness.

In order to create a sound revolution, one based on love and unity, we must come together and begin to see fellow humans not as a threat, but simply as brothers and sisters, fellow earthlings with similar values, beliefs and motives. We must learn that we are much more similar than we are different; in fact we are the same. This belief goes against all of our established patriotic teachings and inculcations of nation versus nation, regardless of where we are in the world. The Olympics is the quintessential example of how a near uncanny test of physical skill, endurance and psychological mastery can be turned into a medal counting competition among nations. Instead of marvelling at how each athlete has physically practiced over 10,000 hours for such a competition, we are programmed to only seek out and praise winning athletes from our own nation. In order to revolutionize the minds of the world this psychological distinctiveness needs to be consciously transformed into a marriage of individuals on earth based on true similarities instead of fallacious misrepresentations, unfounded teachings and distortions. Realizing how our attitudes and beliefs have been unconsciously wired from birth is an epiphany for the masses who have been asleep and opens the door for immense changes to occur. For it is knowledge that acts as the true catalyst for change, a proverbial powder keg awaiting a match of information to ignite the suppressed majority to action.

Ways to facilitate change through unity include: seeing the good in all people instead of the negative because darkness is only an absence of light; educate the masses, regardless if they are ready for the inherent truth of the information, stay true to your self and your beliefs, spread love and light to earth and manifest the change you wish to see in others, help others in need as one day you too will be in need, learn to respect and love all unique creations on earth and understand that no population has the right to dominate or own any other living creature on earth. We are all in this world together, we can choose to live a life full of fear, greed and hostility towards others or we can choose to live a life of love, gratitude and passion for all living creatures on this planet.

Awareness to unconscious societal pressures and false ideologies is a major step towards true change. Society is beginning to understand that we are in this world together and fighting each other is the same as fighting ourselves. As we think of the earth as separate from ourselves we can rationalize its poisoning and looting, and then wonder why we too are poisoned and robbed of our health and well-being. Immense changes are rapidly underway, but unfortunately in order for lasting change to occur the old way of thinking and being must cease to exist. As Thomas Paine once said, "We have in our power to begin the world over again".

Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Ways of Thinking: Libertarianism; reaching out to one another

The common definition of a Libertarian is one who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state; a believer in free will. Libertarians believe in independence, emancipation, and autonomy. Libertarians believe that freedom is inherent in all humans and must be preserved; a belief in non-violence, with the exception that the only legitimate use of force is in self-defense. This is the basis for my libertarian-leaning philosophy. However, I do have concerns of libertarianism’s compassion, libertarianism’s commitment to those who do not have the mental, physical, or financial “wherewithal” to help themselves. I have a concern with libertarianism’s ideology in regard to capitalism and free market, for without regulation or setting boundaries, how do we harness avarice?

The online Advocates for Self Government published the following quote by Michael Novak in regard to a free society, "No better weapon against poverty, disease, illiteracy, and tyranny has yet been found . . . Capitalism's compassion for the material needs of humankind has not in history, yet, had a peer."

There is no such thing as “Capitalism’s compassion.” To say a free society is a compassionate society by virtue of it being free does not mean that in-and-of-itself it has an inherent compassion. The wheelers and dealers within capitalism are not compassionate and therefore the system of capitalism will never be compassionate. Our current economic crisis is evidence of that. The unbridled drive for profit is the major force, and in it there is no concern for the well-being of others.

Everyone serves their own self-interest first in all things. If you are a compassionate person, it’s because it serves your own self-interest to be so. That self-interest does not have to be material benefit, but it can be philosophical, heart felt, or spiritual benefit as well. It’s what motivates.

Capitalist serve their own self-interest, which in their cupidity is to make as much money with the least cost that provides the desired or needed material goods for society; however if you do not have the money to purchase those goods, whether you desire them or need them, accommodations will not be made for you, even if it means saving a life. If you are mentally or physically handicapped no one is going to come to your assistance unless it is in their self-interest to do so.

NGO’s, faith based initiatives, local community initiatives, philanthropies, and organizations such as the United Nations serve their collective self-interest. The profit motive is non-existent in these entities. Their collective self-interest lays in the understanding that the mental, physical, and financial stability and well-being of all benefits all of the world’s people. They understand that the condition of our environment is important to maintaining these goals. In a libertarian society this is the system desired in assisting the poor, handicapped, or otherwise indigent. However, until we fully understanding the importance of non-government initiatives, until “we the people” understand that we have the power of “overwhelming force” to achieve change, we must rely on forms of socialism.

All of us need to change our way of thinking. We must promote and do all we can to evolve from hierarchical to heterarchial models of organization. Heterarchy is the operating paradigm of the aforementioned organizations. Until we change our way of thinking that someone or something (as in government) from above will descend to assist us -- as in the hierarchy model -- to each one of us reaching out to one another -- as in the hetararchy model -- we will not evolve to the place where we need to be. That place may not be libertarianism per se; but a transformation of libertarian, liberal, conservative, and “outside the box” thinking.

President elect Obama’s thinking is on the right track. He said: “In order for us to reform our health care system, we must first begin reforming how government communicates with the American people. These Health Care Community Discussions are a great way for the American people to have a direct say in our health reform efforts." This is a heterarchial way of thinking. Universal health care initiatives are intrinsically socialistic, but for now it may be the only way to solve this progressively dire problem of costly and inefficient healthcare.

Free markets, as so clearly revealed in our current economic quagmire, are a disaster without regulation, without setting operating boundaries in which free markets sell their products. The operators within markets and consumers need protections against monopoly and avarice.

The minimal role of the state must provide assistance for the indigent in our society; regulation and operating boundaries in a free market; regulation and operating boundaries surrounding gun ownership; regulation and operating boundaries for using only the amount of force necessary to defend one's self and property; a military only for self-defense, operating in a foreign policy environment of inclusion, non-belligerence, continuous reaching out to nations for consultation and honest debate on issues, negotiation, and using military soft power versus hard power.

Change is a process, but that change will only come from you and me. That is the message I read into the libertarian view. That’s precisely the message of Barack Obama.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Ways of Thinking: change, a distant dream

Opponents criticize Obama on his nominations, so far, of those who will serve America with him in his cabinet. They say that his choices do not reflect change. That is because they view his choices as Clintonian, and that is not change; but this not the overarching message of change which Barack Obama has been promoting, as demonstrated in his speech, “A More Perfect Union”.

I believe that his leadership skills, his ability to inspire, his wisdom and intelligence will be the impetus that will bring Americans and America to a better place: “… a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America.”

Robert F. Kennedy in quoting George Bernard Shaw often said, "Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

A future of things that never were requires change. Change not for the sake of change, not just to make things different, but change that in one way or another alters, modifies, converts, varies, shifts, transforms, and/or transmutes our world to a world of peace, for in peace lays the resolution to our most urgent problems.

Dreaming of things as we would like them to be, and believing that anything can be achieved, is a hoped for expectation that things can be different than they are now. Envisioning things that will make our world a better world, and not looking it as utopian, and therefore remaining stuck in the status quo, but instead engaging the mind and heart by asking, why not? Change is a process; it will be a distant dream, seemingly utopian, but not unreachable, not impossible.

Barack Obama, like the late Robert F. Kennedy, has visions of what America can and should be: a vision of equality for all people. A vision of a compassionate America, and compassion for all Americans from America’s leadership.

Robert F. Kennedy in announcing the death of Martin Luther King Jr. at a rally in Indianapolis Indianan on April 4, 1968 said:

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.”

I believe Barack Obama also shares the vision of John Kennedy as expressed in the commencement address he gave at American University on June 10, 1963:

“I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions -- on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace; no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process -- a way of solving problems.”

The dreams of John and Robert Kennedy are the change Americans must seek. I believe that change in the attitudes we have toward each other and between nations will ultimately lead us to a world of peace. It will bring about the economic, social, and foreign policy changes Americans seek.

Barack Obama has said over and over again, “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change … I’m asking you to believe in yours.” And, a quote from the remarks delivered by President-elect Barack Obama, “This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you. Together, we will change this country and we will change the world. Then you and I - together - will change this country and change this world.”

As with Barack Obama, the change that I believe Americans seek requires a belief in ourselves that we as a people can bring about change. To perpetuate a viable evolutionary change we must nurture, educate, and assure every child has love, a feeling of belonging, is safe, and has the physiological needs of food and shelter, for it is our young people who will be the forerunners of the change we seek. Transparent leadership with probity, and leaders who have the ability to inspire and who are of high moral character, is the final ingredient that will bring us to that place for which we all yearn.

In closing a word from T.J. Turner who served nine months in Afghanistan with the 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Group: "I hear lots of talk in our nation about the global war on terror, and my opinions evolve with that debate. However, we seem to miss the root cause. Hell is what causes terrorism. It’s about pure desperation, and feeling like there’s no way of recovering the hope of childhood. I’m not saying that we’ll be able to win this conflict with teddy bears alone, but when I deploy next I’m packing a bag full of them just in case."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A New Way of Thinking: Veteran’s Day -- “NEVER AGAIN!”

Veteran’s Day is a day America sets aside to honor its veterans. It is a day that we should honor veterans for their dedication and commitment. It is not a day that we should glorify the wars in which they served. Veteran’s Day is as much a metaphor of our past as it should be a metaphor for our future, war “NEVER AGAIN!”

I am proud of our veterans in that they have selfishly served our country, whether that service is voluntary or not, based on a belief propagated by our government and “We the People” that their service was and is necessary to preserve our freedom and our way of life. They acted on our collective behalf. Their courage, loyalty, and devotion are extraordinary.

I am not proud of a government and “We the People” who do not respect life and who will send an American into harms way willy-nilly, in deceit, and wage war of their own design, or who wage war by imbuing Americans with the notion that “If we didn’t have a military we would not have a country!”

On a trip home from a family event, I was making critical remarks regarding a member of our family whose intent was to join the U.S. Army. I was surprised when I received from my son the following unexpected, bombastic, visceral exclamation: “If we didn’t have a military we would not have a country!” It was disappointing because my wife and daughter agreed. It was unnerving because it was unexpected and I did not have a response.

There is no quick counter exclamation, no come-back to make. At least I could not think of any. A thoughtful response would be too long. No one would allow me to complete my thoughts before interrupting, anyway. I felt, though, that I must be able to counter it, if not verbally then at least in writing, if my view was to be considered valid.

The raison d'ĂȘtre for Americans making this response is founded on a patriotic and nationalist mindset, where freedom and democracy have symbiotic threads to the military. These threads have an interrelationship in our culture that influences the way Americans view the military. The purpose of our military is to fight wars to defend America, protect our democracy, our freedom, and to defend our way of life, which is true. However, this perspective is so binding that every military excursion or war is perceived in the light that it is done to protect these values, which has not been true.

This mindset is embedded so deeply that it makes a change in a way of thinking nearly impossible. It impedes on our willingness to proactively and nonviolently negotiate our differences as opposed to using force in an effort to coerce others into thinking the way we do. This is a state of mind which obscures the fact that the reason for past military actions have been based on unsubstantiated and contrived facts, on impure motives, and not because America was under an exigent threat, Iraq being the best example.

This dismissal of reality invokes irrational thoughts and fears. It conjures up a perceived need for a martial response. It conjures up “irrational exuberance”: after 9/11/01 it was ubiquitously apparent with seemingly every home, truck, SUV, and car displaying the Flag. Seemingly, everyone was wearing a flag pendant. It was like they had to prove to other Americans that they were Americans. It was patriotism and nationalism gone wild. It gave birth to “If you’re not with us then your against us”, which was at first meant as a warning to other nations, but it became viciously directed at Americans who were against the war. It will cause Americans to give up their freedoms, and accept limitations in how they participate in their democracy, because of fear.

The perceived indispensable role of the military in our society is a monomaniacal vision subliminally implanted by the time we were toddlers and nurtured throughout life: military uniforms and paraphernalia; toy guns, swords, and other weaponry; inclusion of the military in every parade or civic event, even St. Patrick’s Day; inculcating Boy Scouts with an indoctrination of marching, earning medals and ribbons, and Boy Scout salute, which are all military characteristics; fetish inculcation of a cult of the flag; and even our American Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, which is a song of patriotism with allegiance more to our militarism than to our nationalism – why not “America the Beautiful,” instead; mythical idolization of war heroes; and, in our zeitgeist, ubiquitous email mantras: “it is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion” — “it is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press” — “it is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech” — “it is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble” — “it is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial” — “it is the veteran , not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.”; and finally, “it is the veteran who salutes the flag.” These insidious, subliminal, inculcated messages have been implanted and reinforced on Americans since the founding of our nation. They have been bequeathed from one generation to the next.

Books that emphasize my view:

The Pentagon “is the biggest, loosest cannon in American history, and no institution has changed this country more,” from “House of War” by James Carroll.

Andrew Bacevich, who by the way lost a son to Iraq, in his book “The American Militarism” “warns of a new and dangerous obsession that has taken hold of so many Americans, conservatives and liberals alike. It is the marriage of militarism to utopian ideology – of unprecedented military power wed to a blind faith in the universality of American values.”

James Bamford in his book “A Pretext for War” details the Bush administration’s misuse of intelligence to sell preemptive war to the American people.

Due to patriotic and nationalistic hubris, proponents of the military and war lead others down the same dangerous path with the view that we fight to save our country, our freedom, our democracy. From the very birth of our nation, Americans have been imbued with a strong sense of patriotism and nationalism that has not served us very well.

This ready-made exclamation, “If we didn’t have a military we would not have a country!” is made with such veracity that it is put forward as if it is axiomatic. Americans who posit these remarks will emphatically opine that they can determine this truth empirically; after all, would we not be speaking Japanese or German if we had not fought World War II? And therefore, “If we didn’t have a military we would not have a country!”

Reasoning based on results, no matter how beneficial the result may be, does not mean the same result could not have been otherwise achieved. A violent military response is reactionary and immediate; it’s not proactive and does not necessarily provide a long-term solution. Peace is a continuum — a process; war immediate with unpredictable results.

The observable winning results, the fact that we are not speaking Japanese or German, and the seemingly social benefit derived as a result of our win in World War II is only an observable fact of today. The fact is that many millions of people suffered on all sides of the conflict, some who never recovered and atrocities that were committed beyond belief by both sides, as a result of World War II. World War II turned out to be a reactionary, defensive war that with foresight, as we evolved into the 20th century, could have been circumvented, and most likely with the same winning results. In the zeitgeist of the first half of the 20th century, maybe this foresight would have been too much to expect; but, in the zeitgeist of the 21st century, we do have the necessary know-how to avoid war, avoiding war is entirely possible.

Americans, in a way, perhaps cannot be blamed for their thoughtless, visceral, spontaneous outburst in support of their position. In a sense, one cannot blame Americans for being proponents of war, even though, of course, they are as responsible for war as much as anyone else. Many Americans tend to believe what the nations leaders tell them without critical examination. Naively they believe that American Presidents are truthful; that an American President would not deliberately lie in order to muster Americans to support a war, and then send American men and women to war who may be maimed for life or may on whose behalf give their life, without good reason. They take the voice of the government and their interlocutors veridically. Older Americans evidentially didn’t learn from the experience of Vietnam; or, for those who did not live through it do not care to learn from that experience. They may be Nixon’s “silent majority”: those who are content with the status quo; those who do not believe strongly enough, or do not care enough to speak out.

From an excerpt of an interview, Why We Fight By Eugene Jarecki & Amy Goodman, exemplifies what I have been writing: Eugene Jarecki, film maker and Director of the film “Why We Fight”: “Because I think Americans right now are preoccupied with thinking this is a one-off, that we've never done this before, that the American public has never found itself deeply in a war, far too in to go back, learning that the reasons we were given up front turn out not to have been what was discussed behind closed doors. And the sad reality is Iraq is not unique in that way. The weapons of mass destruction are as grave an illusion as the Gulf of Tonkin. And we've had a number of wars, all too many, where there's a huge gap between what the public understands and what is truly driving the machine.” “Like myself. The Gulf of Tonkin was the myth on which Johnson's entry into the Vietnam War was based. The idea that our ships had been attacked in the Gulf later turned out not to have been true, but it was very useful illusion for those who wanted to compel us to war.”

The inculcated belief that the military is responsible for preserving our liberty is the result of lies, distortions, obfuscation, demonizations (wartime propaganda that demonizes the enemy) and even the microinequitable as well as the microaffirmative messages (sound-bites; demeanor and countenance when speaking, or how one presents themselves in photo opportunities) by hawks, government, capitalist and other proponents of war. These subliminal messages, some deliberate and some not, that the government and others foster, inculcating a esprit de corps in Americans to support war when otherwise, if the facts were known, there would be opposition and outrage — even anarchy.

These messages are so influencing and affecting, and cause so much exuberance that Americans will mirror in their own rhetoric what has been said without critical review, and even act out on those messages in irrational ways.

Just as we are now experiencing with opposition to the Iraq War, as with our Vietnam experience, Americans, only when we are not showing progress (a euphemism for not winning), will view a war with ambivalence and antipathy. Remember body counts of the Vietnam War? The higher the enemy body counts the more of an indication we were winning.

In the words of James Madison and John Quincy Adams:

“Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few.... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” “War is the parent of armies.” By James Madison, the principal architect of the U.S. Constitution, 1795

“She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence; she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.... [America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty.” “She [America] well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she [America] would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.” John Quincy Adams, 1821

I believe that Madison and Adams would seriously object to the exclamation: “If we didn’t have a military we would not have a country.” I believe they would have condemnation for our government, and disappointment of how our government has evolved.

Journalist Charles Lewis stated “There are so many theories about what happened in Iraq and why we really went in, but when you look at the history of the United States, almost every president, there is something we don't like somewhere in the world, and we’ve got to dispense military force.”; “This is not about one president or one party. We fight as a nation because we perceive it is in our interest to fight. We then mention words like “freedom” and nice common values that -- who can be against freedom? -- when in fact much more has been going on privately.”

The fact is that Chris Hedges is absolutely correct: “War is a Force That Give Us Meaning.” “We are addicted to the ‘drug of war’,” and therefore militarism, a reason for a muscular foreign policy, a reason for preemptive military action.

As a result of the way our country has evolved, the military and war are essential to our economy. Maybe that is what is meant by “If we didn’t have a military we would not have a country.”

January, 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his final address as President of the United States: “My fellow Americans, this evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen. We have been compelled to create a permanent armament industry of vast proportions. Three-and-a-half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. The total influence, economic, political, even spiritual, is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development, yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex [Military-industrial-congressional complex]. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

In the final analysis, “We the People” are the scoundrels of war. All Americans are collectively responsible, for "War is the first resort of scoundrels" (Charles Bernstein, War Stories, first published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Monday, March 31, 2003)

America’s solution to international conflict has been war, not diplomacy, not negotiation, not a willingness to explore nonviolent resolutions.

As long as we are under the impression that “If we didn’t have a military we would not have a country,” as long as Americans believe that diplomacy and negotiation are analogous to appeasement, war will remain the only option remaining. I am sorry to say, in consideration of this mindset, the mantra “NEVER AGAIN!” will not have any meaning in our future. There will always continue to be veterans if we don’t change our way of thinking.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Courage, wisdom in an age of fear

So many of James Carroll's articles speak my mind. Perhaps it's because we are about the same age, lived through the same time. I don't know, but the following article is one of them.

"One of the joys of the current season is to see a fresh generation respond to the promise of Obama without reflexes of worry. Young people have a right to uncomplicated hope, and Obama is himself young enough to nurture it."

"But for many Americans, ghosts haunt the house of politics, a hovering threat for which, until recently, there were no words. That is the background for the shudders felt when last week's presidential debate turned to the ugliness of what this campaign has surfaced. John McCain complained about "unfair" criticisms by Georgia Congressman John Lewis of slurs shouted at some McCain-Palin rallies. Obama replied that he had distanced himself from Lewis's comments. But he explained that Lewis was expressing concern at McCain supporters shouting, as Obama put it, referring to himself as the target, "things like 'Terrorist!' and 'Kill him!' " "

'There it was: Obama himself using the phrase "Kill him!" Obama naming the threat of his own assassination. He went on, "And that your running mate . . . didn't say, 'Hold on a second, that's kind of out of line.' I think Congressman Lewis's point was that we have to be careful how we deal with our supporters." "

"McCain swung into a manic defense of his supporters, displaying tone deafness to the unnerving chord that had been plucked by his own campaign. McCain is of the generation that was traumatized by the murders of 1968, but that year he was undergoing a separate trauma of his own in Hanoi. He is not seized, perhaps, by the visceral dread out of which Lewis was speaking, and which so many recognize. However irrelevant the youthful nihilism of William Ayers, its full horror cannot be grasped without reference to the social breakdown that preceded it.

Obama has shown that he understands the positive and negative legacies of the 1960s, but he is defined by neither. For me, his calm and reasonable demeanor was never more welcome than when he repeated that phrase "Kill him!" Unlike me, Obama is not afraid to put the threat into words, as long as doing so opens into deeper understanding. The threat thus spoken of is defused."

"A Republican mantra has been, 'Who is Barack Obama?' But he has been showing us. His courage runs as deep as his wisdom. For some Americans, he represents, in addition to everything else, the unexpected possibility that we can find release in middle age from what took us hostage when we were young."

James Carroll, The Boston Globe, October 20, 2008

Our Future with Russia

"Presidents who used martial swagger to cloak personal insecurity took America disastrously to war in Asia three times. Psychological animus of the sort that defines McCain has been a feature of this country's most significant foreign policy failures. Obama represents another mode of leadership altogether."

"The financial crisis that continues to roll across the globe, like an endless earthquake, is irrefutable proof that old categories of regional and national dispute - including the East-West divide - no longer apply. What the world needs now is an unprecedented strategic partnership between Moscow and Washington, bridging Europe and Asia, north and south, as the ground of political and economic renewal. McCain, stuck in the past, hasn't a clue of this future. Obama speaks from it."

James Carroll, The Boston Globe, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New ways of thinking: a paradox in my political view

One day when I was old enough to understand, my great grandfather explained to me in a very succinct way: Republicans are for the rich; Democrats are for the poor. In my life this has turned out to be a fact. “Compassionate Conservatism” is a recognition by the Republican Party that they in fact are not that compassionate, not that caring about the welfare of all. Libertarianism leans too far to the side of limited government with no regulation, touting individual freedom, free markets, and the sanctimony of intellectual as well as private property; the exact mindset that got us into this economic quagmire of today -- there doesn’t seem to be any recognition that we need boundaries. Democrats have been labeled socialist for their support of entitlements for the underprivileged, and support of collective bargaining. For that reason and that reason alone, I have been a life long Democrat. However, I am libertarian leaning: I am “one who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.” I believe in small government, the smallest possible, but we still need governance. I believe in free markets and freedom; however that does not mean we do not need regulation or boundaries on human behavior, and it does not mean we can all drive the highways and byways without the benefit of traffic lights. It also does not mean that we as a people should not have a concern for the least amongst us. There is more to governing than protecting individual liberty and property. It does not mean we can live in a society without authentic justice for all. I believe that the only way to fundamental and authentic freedom is world peace.

I believe in capitalism and free markets, where “individuals and firms have the right to own and use wealth to earn income and to sell and purchase labor for wages with little or no government control.” It’s an outstanding concept, but in our zeitgeist we still need regulation and boundaries on human action.

The irony in my sort of oxymoronic view is that I support economic protections, programs of wellness and support for the indigent or those who do not have the where-with-all to compete with those who have-it-all. My view should not be interpreted as a view that makes me a collectivist or a socialist (“ownership and control of the means of production and distribution by the people collectively, under the supervision of a government.”), a communist or Marxist (“government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people”) but I am egalitarian. I, as does Barack Obama, do believe in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people. It also should not be interpreted as that I believe in handouts.

Martin Luther King believed in and suffered for equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people. He was not a communist, as was claimed by his opponents at the time. He was not an anti-semitic, which was claimed by his opponents at the time. He did not believe in an exclusive black America or anarchy to achieve his goals, which was also claimed by his opponents at the time. He was jailed, vilified and investigated, and all sorts of derogatory claims against his character were made. He believed in community based initiatives, and non-violent human action that would bring change to government. He played a significant role in what changed the way we embrace race in America, as I knew it as a young man to what it is today. The young people I know today are absolutely color blind. Martin Luther King, Jr. put us in the right direction to achieve that.

Labor unions, a socialistic way of organizing labor, have benefited all of us. Americans would not enjoy the personal and family benefits from work that we have today if it was not for labor unions.

The “invisible hand” of Adam Smith (“a belief that the greatest benefit to a society is brought about by individuals acting freely in a competitive marketplace in the pursuit of their own self-interest) nor the “Trickle-Down” economics of Reagan (“supply-side economics, trickle-down economics is the theory that tax cuts for the wealthy merely 'trickled down' to the bottom groups’) does not help the middle class or the indigent; “Trickle-Down” just doesn’t happen in a way that benefits all. I don’t understand why we provide help for Wall Street -- in other words “corporate welfare” -- and provide no help for anyone else; socialistic approaches of help are good for the rich, but not for anyone else. How come?

With conservatism, the caveat is oligarchy or plutocracy; while socialism is the inherent caveat of liberalism, and anarchism is the caveat of Libertarianism. It is up to you and me to make sure that “We the People” keep things in balance.

My priorities are world peace, and protections for the least-amongst-us. In my view, we cannot have good governance, fundamental capitalism and freedom without world peace, which is more than the absence of war, but a concern for the welfare of all people.

There is a level of fear about Obama derived from his socialistic views, the positions that Barack Obama has taken is a result of his concern for protections for the least-amongst-us. Opponents are calling his position socialism, further addressing it as Marxism, communism, or he as the newest disciple of Karl Marx, even Obama the black Hitler, comparing the similarities between Barack Obama and Hitler.

The level of fear about Barack Obama has even brought some Americans into calling him a terrorist because of his associations with William Ayers, who is now a professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, holding the titles of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar. He did have radical views, and took violent radical action in opposition to the Vietnam War. However, anyone who lived through the zeitgeist of Vietnam surely must have some understanding of the torrent of violent and non-violent human action that was taken in opposition to that horrendous war.

Barack Obama believes that community based initiatives, NGO’s, and faith-based organizations will bring about the change that is needed for America to evolve to a better place in the world. That change in how we govern ourselves and in foreign policy will come from the roots of America, from the “boots on the ground.” Change will not come from Washington, but to Washington from and by Americans; the very essence of a democracy. He believes in “We the People.” This is what Barack Obama believes. This is very different from a Nazi, Marxist, or communist view.

Barack Obama believes in diplomacy and negotiation as opposed to belligerence. Fred Shelm's Blog, as well as McCain and others, refer to Barack’s approach as Chamberlainian by calling it appeasement, which it is not from any reasoned viewpoint. Obama’s goal is to resolve issues peacefully. That is a change he intends to make in regard to foreign policy.

What we need from our next president is authentic leadership. We need a president with the capacity to lead and the ability to inspire, the ability to effect change, which I believe is Barack Obama.

His ability to inspire others is evident in the following endorsements, because, obviously he has inspired them:

Colin Powell said in his endorsement of Barack Obama: “And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities--and we have to take that into account--as well as his substance--he has both style and substance--he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.”

Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. William Weld has endorsed Barack Obama saying, “It’s not often you get a guy with his combination of qualities, chief among which I would say is the deep sense of calm he displays, and I think that’s a product of his equally deep intelligence.”

Scott McClellan, President Bush's former press secretary said, “he's always planned to support the candidate that has the best chance for changing the way Washington works and getting things done.”

Warren Buffet said, "I don't think McCain is going to change his views to be in accord with mine. I admire him a lot. I think he's an absolutely first-class human being, and if the Republicans are going to elect somebody I hope it's John McCain.” "But he has too many ideas that are different than I do, particular in terms of what I would call social justice."

With a President Barack Obama I believe there is hope for a better America and world: “A World that Stands as One.” I believe he will bring probity to the White House. I believe his election will put America on a beneficial and more productive national and international standing.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

“The Meaning in the Music”

The meaning in the music, for me, comes from the subjective values associated with its composition and instrumentation, and not the object value of lyrics.

The meaning in the music comes from its interpretation. What was the composer’s musical intent in writing the score? What did the composer intend to communicate? A music composition is a painting in sound with many different brushes, brush strokes, and colors. Ones interpretation and musical view may be different from another’s. That is what makes good music interesting and of value.

The affixations that are added, such as its lyrics, performance lighting, light shows, glistening and colorful instruments, psychedelic appendages, costuming, stagecraft, dancing, and acrobatics, distracts the listener from the essence of the music. The music then becomes entertainment, which is the only value of most of today’s music, which in fact are only musical performances. For example, “American Idol” maybe an entertaining exposition, it is entertainment and has object value, the search for a superstar, but not an exploration for meaningful good music.

The meaning in the music comes into fruition when I listen, and only listen, to the music, free of any detraction or other influences. Music with meaning is like good art, or a good book, something you can listen, view, or read over and over again, and each time find some additional nuance.

Within a jazz performance, when the musicians know their instruments and are not encumbered by technique, but are free to simply play anything that comes to mind (getting in the groove, as they say), there is always musically something different and new. This cannot be achieved without improvisation, and it certainly cannot be achieved when lyrics are added.

The indispensible consciousness of listening to live music performances is non-existent when it’s viewed in any two-dimensional format of a non-live performance as in musical video, a film strip, or in a sound manipulated recording.

Music of high quality is transcendent; its value is beyond the ordinary range of perception; it embraces other dimensions. A live performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall, either by the BSO, the Boston Pops, or a jazz performer, when one closes their eyes and just listens, is surreal. It’s spiritual; there is a real connection one has with oneself and the music; and for those who are acutely conscious there is a soul connection between you and others in the audience, just as there is that connection between the performer and the audience.

There are many compositions performed live, not a particular song or album, in which the meaning for me is in the music in-and-of itself, and never of other adornments, such as lyrics. All of the dimensions of participating in a live performance can never be captured in an album, CD, or DVD.

Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A New Way of Thinking: What spirituality means to me

Our universe, all matter and energy, including the earth, the galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space, is complex. In the dimension we live involvedness is in everything that is existential as well as transcendent. Fundamental reality, its essence, is unknowable.

Life’s sophistication is more than what is material, or what is existential. We have an interconnected and interwoven kinship with all life, with all matter and energy, with all the stuff not knowable outside of our sentient capabilities, outside of our knowledge or our capabilities to perceive. There is a connection, a threading, of which humans do not have an adequate vocabulary to explain, between us and everything else.

We have knowledge of some of that microscopic phenomenon and quanta I call stuff, such as it contains certain identifiable particles, and some we are striving to know such as the Higgs boson particle, colloquially referred to as the “God particle,” of which scientist are in hot pursuit. Better knowledge of that stuff will happen when we find the link that will bring together a confluent understanding between macro and micro worlds with a possible theory of everything. I have labeled it’s qualification as possible because I don’t believe we will ever achieve all knowledge necessary to achieve it. The analogy I favor using: it’s analogous to one taking a step toward a wall with each consecutive step being half of the last; we will always get closer and closer, but we will never fully reach the wall. It cannot be achieved because then there would be an end to our evolution, and our purpose in life would end. Similar to, in relativity theory, if one were to reach the speed of light, time and therefore life, comes to a stop.

We exist in one dimension without understanding all dimensions. Some of these dimensions are knowable and some are not. To bounce off of physicist Dr. Michio Kaku’s analogy of a family of gold fish and his analogy of a carp, one day his analogies became more comprehensible to me as I observed a crayfish lying at the bottom of a water inlet. Here is a freshwater crustacean existing at the bottom of a stream, breathing through feather-like gills, knowing only two-dimensional space. From where it lay it was completely oblivious to my presence, yet it could be seen clearly by me; this little creature clearly exists in another dimension. Figuratively, it was Dr. Kaku’s carp. There are numerous other examples of living things clearly living in other dimensions, but not observable by them of us. Could there be other dimensions outside of ours by which others could observe us, but we in turn would not have the capability to observe them?

All things come together for humans because of the dimension in which we live, and for all other organisms because of the dimensions in which they live, which is only possible within our particular laws of physics, chemistry, and biology. In other dimensions, beyond the universe’s living organisms and other existential things, there may be other dimensions, strange worlds if you will, with entirely different laws in play. Within all dimensions there is nothing that is not possible. The stuff, of which I have previously referred, the stuff of vibrating strings, is the essence of everything, the source of everything we will ever experience. Unconsciously, we pick and choose from that stuff that which can be utilized in our dimension.

To use a Peter Russell analogy, Mysterious Light: A Scientist's Odyssey, that stuff I speak of is similar to light. Just as we need light for vision, we need that omnipotent and omnipresent stuff for life as we know it. It simply is there all of the time and under all conditions. Just like light, that stuff has zero mass and charge, it is immaterial. From this stuff we construct what is existential. There is not one thing that has not been created by us, right down to 2 +2 = 4. We create the objects and the symbolic words to describe them: “We see the ground beneath our feet; we can pick up a rock, and throw it through the air; we feel the heat from a fire, and smell its burning wood. It feels as if we are in direct contact with the world ‘out there.’ But this is not so. The colors, textures, smells, and sounds we experience are not really ‘out there’; they are all images of reality constructed in the mind.” Peter Russell, “From Science to God.” Our world reality may even be based on a holographic universe in which “there are no limits to the extent to which we can alter the fabric of reality.” The Holographic Universe.

So, spirituality means to me the pursuit of subjectivity. It means acknowledging consciousness, and my inner world. It means striving to always look beneath the surface of all things for factual perspectives. It means looking at a flower and striving to go beyond its objective beauty and acknowledging all that is knowable about that flower, but in essence understanding that that flower comes from the very same place I was created, from all that stuff. It means, when someone says to you, “don’t ever forget where you came from,” it will have a different and more significant meaning. It means to strive to understand what is unknowable in all things with the knowledge that we will never completely understand. It means we are naturally free and unconditioned, that we are intrinsically enlightened, and that we lack nothing – all possibilities are within our grasp. It means always walking in another’s shoes. It means understanding that every other “here and now” is different than my own, and that every “here and now” contributes to another’s. It means that faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evidence of which has not been seen. It means, in order for us to move on, God has to take on a different meaning. It means that “Both science and spirituality are the search for truth. One is the search for the truths of the physical world; the other the search for the truth of the nature of consciousness. As such there is no conflict between them.”

Living in spirituality also means striving to achieve the right balance between objectivity and subjectivity. Understanding both is important to our evolution.

In our world of reality, within our laws of physics, biology, and chemistry, within our lexicon of words we use in our attempt to understand our world of reality, the symbolic word “love,” in its deepest, most profound meaning, is the essence of spirituality and with authentic love a balance will be achieved.

Friday, October 10, 2008

$700 billion for rescue and $700 billion for war.

James Carroll’s Boston Globe column of October 6, 2008, “Making some sense of $700b,” goes to the very heart of part of America’s problem: an unacceptable lack of compassion for the average Joe and Jane -- of whom Sarah Palin is referring to when she uses the disparaging term “Joe Six-pack”; an unfettered new American militarism; lack of character of American leadership; and a lack of understanding that we do need change, not change in Washington, but systemic change by Americans creating change in America and demanding it from Washington..

Carroll writes, "By a nice coincidence, though, the financial rescue package of $700 billion duplicates a number that was also in the news last week - the Pentagon budget. In the fiscal year just beginning, the Defense Department will spend $607 billion on normal military costs, and an additional $100 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (As of June 30, 2008, Congress had appropriated $859 billion for the wars; Congressional Budget Office projections assume further costs of $400 billion to $500 billion as the wars wind down). But for the coming year, $700 billion is the Pentagon's nice round number (this includes neither Homeland Security nor intelligence costs)."

He concludes his column: “That the majority of humans are in dire straits and that the planet itself is groaning are issues treated like givens of nature, yet they are results of the ways creativity is channeled and resources are shared. $700 billion for rescue. $700 billion for war. Something is wrong with this picture, and last week that coincidence of numbers told us what.

So, why should we be concerned over a measly $700 billion, or should I say $1.4 trillion?

Because, in a sense, it is a metaphor for America’s leadership attitude toward its citizens; a metaphor for the corporate oligarchy that in essence controls Washington; a metaphor for our belligerent attitude in foreign policy; a metaphor that says that government by the people, for the people, and of the people, simply is not working.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Cuban Immigrant's Warning about CHANGE

A Cuban Immigrant's Warning about CHANGE: “Luckily, we would never fall in America for a young leader, who promised change without asking, what change? How will you carry it out? What will it cost America?”

The fact is that we do need to change. We need to evolve, working towards making this world a better world: a world of compassion and at peace.

The fact is we need a younger person who can lead and motivate young people to create the changes that are necessary. It will be motivated young people with a vision of the future, who don’t carry the baggage of antiquity and who are not yet tarnished and harnessed by life’s vicissitudes, who will create this change. Young people who have not yet collected a lot of baggage. We need young people for the same reasons the military needs them to fight wars. Now we need them, more than ever, to lead the battle for compassion and peace.

Now, it does not mean that someone who has made a longer journey into life cannot lead and create these necessary changes. However, it does mean that the man or women who will become President of the United States must have grown and evolved in his or her life, and who have left antiquated baggage behind in their journey. A man or women who has vision, wants to test new ideas, listen to ideas rather than preach them, has character, has compassion, can make good decisions, is concerned about America’s relationships with other countries, and is concerned about the welfare of you and me.

John McCain is a warrior. He is someone who carries a lot of antiquated baggage. He still carries the stigma of not winning in Vietnam. The translation of that stigma is we must win in Iraq. Win is the name of the game. He has old ideas about politics, governance, foreign relations, war, peace, diplomacy and negotiation, and economics.

The Friday night debate, September 26, 2008, was very revealing of the differences between these two men, not only in what they said, but also in their demeanor. John McCain’s body language was very condescending; Obama was very open, talking to McCain in a personal way. It is very telling of the way the next President of the United States will handle himself in discussions with others.

Now there is no question about it, Obama’s views are liberal and socialistic. However, McCain and conservatives employ de facto socialism in many ways. The bailout is a good upfront example of that. The conservative call for deregulation, letting markets operate without boundaries, has a great deal to do with our current economic quagmire. John McCain’s hero Ronald Reagan was the king of small government and deregulation.

We do need a small government footprint in our lives, but we also need compassion, and concern for lives and the human condition. In today’s world that means we must set boundaries on the ways and means of all transactions. I believe we can have both: Libertarianism with a compassionate concern for the indigent and for the average Joe and Jane, as well as everyone else.

With John McCain none of this can be accomplished. With Barack Obama there is hope. Barack Obama displays compassion, favors peace over war through negotiation, and is someone who can motivate others to action. Barack Obama will lead by example because he said America must and I believe him, and he has ideas with the ability to articulate them.

Barack Obama is absolutely correct when he said: “… that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington [McCain’s rhetoric]. Change comes to Washington [not in a new leader coming to Washington, but a bottom up change -- from the roots of our democracy – meaning you and me].”

"Each of us should choose which course of action we must take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes, but let it not be said that we did nothing." Ron Paul

“Let us recommit ourselves to the slow and painstaking work of statecraft, which peace, not war as being inevitable.” Dennis J. Kucinich

I believe that John McCain would maintain a negative position of Paul’s and Kucinich’s views, while Barack Obama would be in agreement.

America desperately needs change. McCain and Obama are both promising change. It’s Barack Obama who promises compassion and to work through negotiation for peace; it’s John McCain who promises only change in Washington and confrontation over negotiation.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


Monday, September 15, 2008
Readers comment regarding Capitalism

"The Americans want peace. The gangster government does not. The people you allude to are not capitalist's if you define capitalism the way Galambos does. Capitalism is the mechanism that best produces freedom. Freedom is the societal condition that results when every person is 100% in control of 100% of his property 100% of the time. Anything less is socialism. All forms of politics are criminal activities and will only produce total collapse in the end. These activities always employ coercion, either through force or fraud or both."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Posted by Horatio Green

If you purchase a beautiful new car in the color that pleases you and of a sleek new design, but the internal workings of that vehicle are faulty and not made of quality inner parts, than what is the factual value of that car?

The internal workings of capitalism (that beautiful car) are the capitalist (the car's mechanical parts). Capitalism is not working because capitalist are gumming up the system.

Likewise, in a democracy its people are the working inner parts. While democracy itself might be a beautiful concept, its working inner parts are a failure. If the government does not want peace, and they prefer war over peace and non-violent resolution, then it's the people in that democracy using the tool of a democratic republic, the inner workings and mechanics of a democracy, that also do not desire peace.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Readers comment regarding Capitalism

“The problem is you are using a different definition of capitalists and capitalism than Galambos which is fine. It just means the arguments are not reconcilable until you agree on using terms which both parties understand to mean the same thing. You are saying capitalism is a faulty mechanism if I understand you correctly. Yet if you use capitalism in the sense that Galambos uses it, it is not faulty. What you have been experiencing is not capitalism at all, it is National Socialism. And as socialism produces poverty more and more socialists blame capitalism for the failure and scream for more and more government intervention i.e. socialism. And your getting it. Soon the whole economy will totally collapse and Adolph Hitler will come out of the woodwork to "save you' and the mob will clamor for him. Congratulations the mob will end up marching off to the death camps singing songs to freedom.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2008
Posted by Horatio Green

I am saying that in theory capitalism and free market may be beautiful economic systems. The problem with the system is not its paradigm or its ideology, not its framework, but its working parts, which is the capitalist; capitalist, the human beings that do their work within the capitalist system called capitalism.

And you are absolutely right; the system as we know it is qua socialism because of government intervention.

Capitalist, working within a manipulated, yet unregulated environment, have been free to develop and implement “creative” accounting practices, “creative” lending practices, and “creative” ways to avoid risk, within a free market. If the latter does not define a discombobulated system, then I wouldn’t know of how to otherwise define it. But, perhaps I am wrong; I guess it must be capitalism: if you use syllogistic logic in that capitalist support capitalism and work within capitalism, they are capitalist; therefore it must be capitalism at work.

Capitalist are profit motivated, for profit is the core value of the capitalist system. There are absolutely no human values associated with capitalism. Capitalist do not have a sense of responsibility for the human condition. Government and capitalist strive to understand praxeology, and the human condition, so that it can be utilized to manipulate human conduct for monetary gain.

America’s strange mix of corporate oligarchy associated with quasi-socialism and quasi-capitalism is quite a paradox. A system that fails to benefit the average Joe and Jane.

Our capitalistic, quasi-socialistic economic system is based on a Reaganistic “trickle down” ideology, where wealth is achieved at the top, and therefore those at the bottom consequently will do well because that wealth eventually trickles down to them. The government wins, large corporations and their governing leadership win, but it never substantially trickles down to the folks that really make it all work for them in the first place. It is not a win-win for all, only for the high rollers.

Within our current economic crises, the helping hand fundamentally is given to the investor, and not to your average Joe and Jane. The average Joe and Jane only gets lip service and feel-good so-called solutions, along with an unacceptable amount of blame when things go wrong.

The system should be based on free market, where demand energizes supply and therefore there becomes a need to produce the goods and services to satisfy the demand, a bottom up system.

But the problem is that capitalist will create demand. Some will come up with flim-flam confidence games in promotion, advertising and selling. Many folks do not have the where-with-all to filter out these shenanigans, to know a shameless self-promoter who is working on their confidence for the sale. Many do not have the ability to come up with good choices that will benefit themselves or their family.

Our economic problem all boils down to one keyword: avarice.

It is avarice, the unquenchable quest for unreasonable get-as-much-as-you-can profit that is the problem, and capitalist, as well as every American that I know, are responsible for that.

That is the reason capitalism is a faulty system.

In our quasi-socialism, government intervention always comes too late. America has a history of being reactive instead of proactive in economics, foreign relations and in other ways, of which the response to our current economic crisis is an outstanding example.

I don’t mean to ramble on, but when are Americans going to work on improving our national character, common decency and compassion for all people? Now I don’t want to hear that I am an egalitarian, utopian, that it is a Kum ba yah view, or be condescending as if it’s a liberal view, because that’s not what this is all about. National character, common decency and compassion are not irrelevant to a discussion of American Capitalism.

Congressman Ron Paul said it best: "Each of us should choose which course of action we must take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes, but let it not be said that we did nothing."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Ways of Thinking: Spirituality

There is so much that can be developed about the relationship between spirituality and music, as there can be developed between spirituality and science.

I believe these disciplines can contribute a lot to our understanding of spirituality, of that which is transcendent and of which we do not have sufficient vocabulary to fully express. Music insights can be the perfect metaphors for assisting in the creation of that understanding. Inarguably through music, beneficial insights can be gained of other cultures.

The entertainment industry, particularly music, is the most culturally diverse of any other industry in the world. Because of that multiculturalism there is a lot to be learned. Learned not just through the music in-and-of itself, but of musicians and how they socialize as well as work with each other. We can gain perspectives of how musicians reach out to other cultures to understand their culture and music, and then incorporate that music with their own. Of course, Dizzy Gillespie comes to mind with his influence of Afro-Cuban rhythms, which he introduced to the world.

In the music industry there has evolved an apparent social confluence that cannot be ignored.

A musician does not give a hoot whether or not you are a Harvard or Yale graduate, a PHD, physician, engineer, or that you graduated from Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory of Music, Julliard, whether or not your rich or poor, or whatever; they don't care about the color of your skin; they don't care if you are Muslim, Jew or Christian; they don't care what political affiliations you have; they only care about the qualities that you can bring to a musical performance -- musicians only care if you can play your ax! This attitude is not just a professional attitude but an enculturation that is imbued in their very being. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part prejudices are marginalized.

Recently I posted to my blog: "New Ways of Thinking: The essence of who you are." Trevor Harden read the post and responded: “I really like the way you have found that link between music and spirituality. I appreciate your wisdom. I was wondering if you would have any interest in allowing us to repost "New Ways of Thinking: The essence of who you are."
Trevor Harden is part of the founding team for a new multi-faith website,, which explores "the crossroads of music and spirituality. On his website there are many other examples of new ways of thinking. “My post of September 8, 2008 on a new way of thinking may be read there, as well.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

“Obama’s Willie Horton”

Concerned over Obama's 'Weatherman' Connection?

Recently, I was told that one of the reasons Barack Obama would not be considered for President was because:

Obama announced his candidacy for President in William Ayers’ home: False, “Springfield, Illinois (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama stood before a cheering crowd in his home state Saturday and announced he will seek the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.” “… the first-term senator addressed thousands packed into the Springfield, Illinois, town square on a chilly day in America's heartland.”

Ayers was the founder and head of the Weather Underground Organization: True, Ayers was a 1960s-era political activist and co-founder of the Weather Underground.

He is a criminal convicted of terrorism: False, he was never convicted of a crime.

In the Vietnam zeitgeist of the late 60’s, I encountered the Weathermen. It was at a demonstration in protest of the Vietnam War that the National Action Coalition (NAC), and of which the Weathermen had joined for this protest, had organized at the MIT laboratory, located on Osborne street, just down the street from a Polaroid satellite unit where I was a manager. It was a protest against MIT’s “imperialist war research.” NAC announced that “We are people engaged in a struggle to win withdrawal of all US troops from Vietnam.”

Earlier in the day, MIT and the community were told that the Coalition was taking extensive measures to insure that all members of the Coalition, including the Weathermen, will maintain the Coalition discipline and not initiate violence. NAC did not intend, however, to permit police to arrest demonstrators without resistance.

Police briefed Polaroid personnel that they might expect forceful entrance by the Weathermen into our facility where they would cause chaos and havoc, use offensive behavior and language, throw punches at people and urinate on the floor or on tables. This never happened.

The NAC came well organized, and the demonstration turned out to be anything but peaceful. Cambridge and State Police units threw canisters of gas (I saw the smoke, but I assume it was probably tear gas) at them, came in with clubs, dogs, and Gestapo tactics. You would think you were in Nazi Germany. Police marched with arms linked in full battle regalia, boots and all, after breaking up the demonstration, down Osborne Street to clear the street. The police were in such a mindset and adrenalin induced hyperactive furor that they would have trampled and beat-up anyone who stood in their way. The police were more of a problem than the demonstration, and their warnings to us stirred up a lot of unnecessary fear and resentment.

I do not support violent action, but do support non-violent action. I believe if it were not for such violent as well as non-violent action Vietnam would have gone on and on, and we may even be fighting in that conflict today. Who really knows?

Nevertheless William Ayers was a man who stood up and took action for what he strongly believed.

The Washington Post: “There has been a sudden spate of blog items and newspaper articles, mainly in the British press, linking Barack Obama to a former member of the radical Weather Underground Organization that claimed responsibility for a dozen bombings between 1970 and 1974. The former Weatherman, William Ayers, now holds the position of distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Although never convicted of any crime, he told the New York Times in September 2001, ‘I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough.’”

Bill Ayers responded to the “We didn't do enough,” statement, a sound bite echoing ad nauseam through the media.

He says: "It's impossible to get to be my age and not have plenty of regrets. The one thing I don't regret is opposing the war in Vietnam with every ounce of my being.

"During the Vietnam war, the Weather Underground took credit for bombing several government installations as a dramatic form of armed propaganda. Action was taken against symbolic targets in order to declare a state of emergency. But warnings were always called in, and by design no one was ever hurt.

"When I say, 'We didn't do enough,' a lot of people rush to think, 'That must mean, "We didn't bomb enough …. But that's not the point at all. It's not a tactical statement; it's an obvious political and ethical statement. In this context, 'we' means 'everyone.'”

"The war in Vietnam was not only illegal, it was profoundly immoral, millions of people were needlessly killed. Even though I worked hard to end the war, I feel to this day that I didn't do enough because the war dragged on for years after the majority of the American people came to oppose it. I don't think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative.”

It is possible that "William Ayers, in the age of terrorism, will be Barack Obama's Willie Horton." --Former counterterrorism official Larry C. Johnson, The Huffington Post, Feb. 16, 2008.

I certainly hope not.

Georgia: a McCain connection

This writing is in response to this article, Russia Europe USA and Fundamental Geopolitics By F. William Engdahl, of September 4, 2008 mailed to me by a friend as a result of an email I had previously mailed.

He wrote: “In light of Kennedy's speech, which I reviewed, what do you think of this revelation?”

The American University speech of John Kennedy fell on deaf ears.

There is no desire on the part of Americans or the world to seek peace. There is not significant profit in peace, whereas with war all the elements for significant profit are in place. Capitalist, in cahoots with government, are warmongers, they are in control; they breed on corruption, chaos, waste, and destruction, creating for themselves huge profits. In order for this oligarchy to work it is necessary to create a culture of war; so they sell Americans a bill of goods that war is necessary to protect their freedom, which America buys hook, line, and sinker. Americans are the ultimate suckers in all of this.


According to Jack Beady, senior editor of Atlantic Monthly, who on a NPR On Point Week in the News broadcast stated that John McCain received $800,000 in contributions from Georgia (1). If this is fact, no wonder McCain is hot on Georgia, and this relationship in consideration of the effort of the U.S. for Ukrainian and Georgian membership in NATO should be a concern. The Philosophy of NATO is that an attack against one member is considered to be an attack on all.

Just follow the Yellow Brick Road and you will find the reason for the high geopolitical interest in the small country of Georgia. Just look at its Eurasian geopolitical position, and location just outside of the Middle East hotspots, separated only by Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea, and let us not forget the oil line it hosts from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea.

“The West is vitally interested in the Caspian Basin and its neighboring territories, which Western experts and politicians expect to be the next century's most productive oil producing area. It goes without saying that the West (the United States being no exception) is searching for secure transportation routes for Caspian oil. It is also worth noting that this issue touches on Western policy toward Russia and Turkey as well as Iran and the Gulf area.” - The Caspian Sea By William Ascher, Natalia Mirovitskaya, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Scientific Affairs Division


Russia’s axial, its international border as well as its heartland, strategically is really something to behold. There is not a military in the world that would not have this strategic position on their wish list. As Engdahl quoted Mackinder, “The Heartland [Russian] is the greatest natural fortress on earth.”

Russia’s concern of missile defense system in Poland cannot be factually criticized; it is legitimate. I certainly am as concerned, as well. After all, Poland is right next door to Ukraine and with Georgia in favor with U.S. policy, therefore securing U.S. support, Russia is certainly at risk. Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus (who does not have favorable relations with the U.S.) comprise Mackinder’s heartland. As Russia realized there is a lot more to this than meets the eye.

In 1963 JFK said, “… let us reexamine our attitude towards the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent, authoritative Soviet text on military strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims, such as the allegation that American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war, that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union, and that the political aims -- and I quote -- "of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries and to achieve world domination by means of aggressive war."

America, under the Bush Doctrine, embraces the concept of “preventive war.” And, there are significant facts today that: “that the political aims -- and I quote – ‘of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries and to achieve world domination by means of aggressive war.’" As it turns out, the U.S.S.R. [Russia] in 1963 were ostensibly correct.

We are in trouble because no one has bothered to heed John Kennedy’s caveat, and sadly America does not seem to care.

These are ominous threats to world peace.


Top McCain adviser got money from Georgia
By Pete YostAssociated Press
Article Launched: 08/14/2008 01:30:54 AM PDT

WASHINGTON - John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser and his business partner lobbied the senator or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2-year span while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

The payments raise ethical questions about the intersection of Randy Scheunemann's personal financial interests and his advice to the Republican presidential candidate who is seizing on Russian aggression in Georgia as a campaign issue.

McCain warned Russian leaders Tuesday that their assault in Georgia risks "the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world."

April 17, a month and a half after Scheunemann stopped working for Georgia, his partner signed a $200,000 agreement with the Georgian government. The deal added to an arrangement that brought in more than $800,000 to the two-man firm from 2004 to mid-2007. For the duration of the campaign, Scheunemann is taking a leave of absence from the firm.

"Scheunemann's work as a lobbyist poses valid questions about McCain's judgment in choosing someone who - and whose firm - are paid to promote the interests of other nations," said New York University law Professor Stephen Gillers. "So one must ask whether McCain is getting disinterested advice, at least when the issues concern those nations."

McCain has been to Georgia three times since 1997 and "this is an issue that he has been involved with for well over a decade," said McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Ways of Thinking: The essence of who you are

Spiritual leader and author Eckhart Tolle’s belief mirrors mine in many ways. My insight into his philosophy of who we are and our purpose in life can be metaphorically expressed within the music genre of Jazz; the improvisational jazz of musicians such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane ….

As Eckhart Tolle says, “words are so useless …,” and they are, because human beings have not achieved an advancement level in their evolution where we have achieved enough knowledge about consciousness, our spirituality, to develop the symbolic or metaphoric language to explain it adequately.

The following is an excerpted quote by Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now,” taken from an interview by Krista Tippett of American Public Media’s Speaking of Faith.

“I use the word God rarely because it's been misused so much by the human mind. It has made the timeless, eternal, that which cannot be named, the vast mystery of life itself, when you say God you make it into a mental idol. It becomes a thought form. And then you think you know what you're talking about. But of course that's the misuse of the word God. But what ultimately it points to is the essence of who you are and the essence of what everything else is. The underlying essence of all life. Words are so useless when we talk about this.

The ultimate thing is the realization of the formless essence of who you are because if God has any reality in this world, it cannot be separate from who you are in your essence. And finding that in yourself, really, I see as the purpose of human life. And then the external world, the temporary world, the world of forms, also changes as a result of that. But the essence is finding who you are beyond form, beyond time.”

The quintessence of who you are is in fact the essence of what everything else is or whatever can be, because the being of your every here-and-now is in fact of your creation. Just as an artist, a musician or painter create; humans create the universe, world, circumstances, and everything that is in their life. Its profundity contributes to that which is transcendent, our consciousness, and as its extension, our soul.

In jazz, “the essence of who you are and the essence of what everything else is” is metaphorically analogous to a musician who must be conscious of their performance being confluent with each other’s performance. A jazz musician exploits every melody, harmony, tonality, harmonic, counterpoint, rhythmic cadence, and musical nuance in such a way that each musician collectively contribute to the texture, the color, and the flavor of the music. It is the distinct listening, assimilating, evolving and transforming, and then developing through their instruments not only the music in-and-of itself, but also the transcendence of the music. Their performance takes place in their here-and-now, the here-and-now of every other performer, creating and contributing to the here-and-now of everyone in the audience, and in turn the audience to each other. The metaphorical soul of jazz is the essential, evolving, conscious soul of all life: “… finding who you are beyond form, beyond time,” “the underlying essence of all life.”

A jazz performance utilizes a diverse grouping of many instruments, and many different modes of instrumentation. More important than the instrument is the instrumentalist. He or she brings out the qualities of the instrument they play: the quality of the sound, the particular skills they bring to playing their particular instrument and their particular interpretation of the music, phrasing and articulation. In music, as in life, diversity is also an attribute to the soul of the performance.

I believe the heart and soul of jazz, what occurs when jazz musicians are deeply engrossed in an authentic and completely improvised performance, where what is observable by those listening also comes from transcendences of which the audience is not aware, but very much a part of the performance, has similitude with human life.

Our experiences provide the object, and transcendent, forms of life: micro experiences (communication we have with every fundamental particle and every cell in our body -- every unobservable assimilation) to macro experiences (every apprehension, thought, emotion, participation in an event or activity, every one of life’s ups and downs, and every being we encounter in life – every observable experience). These experiential forms contribute to our praxeology, our consciousness, the core of who we are. They have the potential of leading to sea changes in our way of thinking: new ways of thinking about what we symbolically call God, and new ways of thinking about whom we are, our relationships to each other and to the natural world, and of life’s purpose.

As Eckhart Tolle states: “if God has any reality in this world, it cannot be separate from who you are in your essence. And finding that in yourself, really, I see as the purpose of human life.”

The purpose of life is its evolution.