Government


Government and Politics and Psychology and Social Issues23 Sep 2017 03:27 pm

The constant assault by the corporate media on Donald Trump is both obvious and potentially dangerous in so many ways.The negative focus on Trump partially paralyzes the functioning of our government, diverts attention from other important issues, has us fantasize that he is the root of all our problems, and helps foment a social landscape full of fear, hatred and endless divisiveness.

The public treatment of Donald Trump as means of trying to purge from society all that is bad and evil finds its roots in psychology, comparative religions and social anthropology. The use of an individual to exorcise the demons in a family, community and society has occurred throughout history. In most cases all that is accomplished through these devices is a form of emotional release without any real substantive change occurring.

Here are the definitions of two common strategies used which while serving functional, psychological and emotional purposes due little to engender meaning change or progress:

Identified patient, or “IP”, is a term used in a clinical setting to describe the person in a dysfunctional family who has been unconsciously selected to act out the family’s inner conflicts as a diversion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapegoat

Trump is being vilified for making vulgar, insensitive and hateful statements regarding women and various racial and ethnic groups. Yet, many of those criticizing him are just as vulgar and insensitive in their vitriolic attacks on Trump and his family. Any of his archaic or potentially insulting remarks regarding women are more than matched by the attacks on his character being hurled by many feminists and liberals labeling him as a misogynist. The slurring and vicious attacks are also lodged towards any man or women who doesn’t engage in name calling or show of hatred at Trump. Any sign of tolerance is viewed as a sign of being a closet misogynist or homophobe.

His fitness of office is questioned because of his impulsive nature and how dangerous it could be regarding international affairs. He is accused of being a racist and an Islamaphobe for his protectionists stances regarding immigration. Yet, if this were truly the issue, and he was not just being used as scapegoat and identified patient, than why weren’t the deportations policies of Bush and Obama equally horrific. While the data can be interpreted in many ways it clearly shows that Trump’s actions pale in comparison to Obama.

https://www.blackagendareport.com/obama_beats_trump_deportations

The concerns regarding his impulsive, belligerent and possibly unstable personality endangering our safety is well worth our attention and concern. Yet, publicly calling a person crazy and unstable does not seem to be a wise thing to do. A mentally unstable person is the last person you would want to publicly and consistently call crazy and threaten with impeachment. This leads one to believe that those in the media and government with the most exposure to Trump do not fully believe the “he’s bat shit crazy” narrative.

Yet, if weren’t the identified patient and scapegoat he probably wouldn’t be singled out for his war like disposition and instead either be grouped with his predecessors or given a free pass like they generally have received. The previous president, and noble peace prize recipient, was the first two term president to spend his entire time in the White House engaged in war. The US was engaged in war with no less than seven nations, and many of his international policies such as the drone program and various sanctions were in violation of international law.

While Secretary of State Hilarly Clinton’s propensity towards military aggression and fomenting war attracted relatively little attention regarding her fitness for office. In a previous post  http://guidoworld.com/blog/the-snubbing-of-barak-obama/    I explored the inappropriateness of her showing such unabated and unrepentant glee at the brutal execution of Gaddafi who while being controversial, had an impressive record of improving the quality of life for many Libyans and African’s in general. Likewise Clinton’s and Obama’s stated desire to create a no fly zone did not alarm the press, despite its enforcement being a de facto act of war against Russia.

Trump’s being viewed and used as the identified patient and scapegoal helps explain many of the conflicts, ironies and discrepancies between how his actions and proposed policies are being reacted to so much more harshly than similar ones of his predecessors.

While Trumps impulsive nature is given as reason for his impeachment, do date, each of Trump’s more aggressive and impulsive acts of war, or threats and ultimatums to nations such as N. Korea or Russia have been met with positive press and praise from members of the Senate and the House. The only path apparently left open to Trump to lessen his being treated as scapegoat and identified patient is to continue our immoral and reckless policy of assassination and overthrow of specific sovereign leaders and governments who we frequently claim, but rarely prove, “kill or gas their own people”. Calls for his impeachment seemingly subside when he supports huge arms deals to other nations such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey who have documented histories of engaging in actual genocidal acts.

We are being conditioned to fear, despise and loathe every single action of Trump and “his supporters” as “deplorable” racists, misogynists, Islamophobes, etc. Anyone not eager to ridicule his every word and gesture becomes a modern version of a “pinko communist” of the McCarthy and Archie Bunker eras.

The spiritual left has now joined the ranks of the fanatical religious right in their righteous assertion that all those not sharing their beliefs as being evil, immoral and a danger to society. All including, if not especially liberals are being conditioned to being close minded, mean and intolerant to any person who is hesitant to hate Trump, the Russians, or leader of any nation which we have/had designs on such Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Iraq and Libya.

It has become the national past time to foment hatred and division. The use of Trump of as scapegoat and identified patient seems to be more of a catalyst for an increase in social tension and chaos than a release. The identified patient and scapegoat provide temporary relief and deflection, but they more often then not do not bring about healthy change.

I, too, find much of Donald Trump’s policies and stances unsavory and reckless. Yet, while his presentation is often childish and rude the substance and content of what he says and the policies he espouses is in line with our nation’s basic policies for decades. He is not a rogue president, just one with poor filters. If all we do is demand that our presidents be more sophisticated in articulating and implementing heinous and destructive policies all we do is insure that our executive branch becomes a breeding ground for sociopaths and smooth speakers who feel that morals and international law don’t apply to this “exceptional and essential” nation.

Identified patients are a product of the dysfunctional families in need of therapy and services. Families which try to pawn off all their problems on the identified patient are only missing an opportunity for healthy growth and change. We are a nation in need of reflecting on how we can become more life affirming and an agent of peace and harmony.

Blaming Trump for all our ills, or preventing him from establishing better relations with nation’s who we currently do not trust and who have lost trust in us is counterproductive. I remember seeing a quote by a Congressman in which he said he could never trust the Russians, and therefore, he would never engage in diplomatic relations with them. Well, the whole purpose of diplomacy is to work with those that you don’t trust.

Without diplomacy there is only domination and annihilation. Peace isn’t dependent on complete agreement, only in learning how to adapt to and accommodate our differences and preferences.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Government and Politics and Psychology and Social Issues09 Sep 2017 04:53 pm

The original seeds of Political Correctness stemmed from a desire to avoid making blanket prejudicial statements, in which people were over identified with an aspect, feature or attitude that they possessed. The goal of this sensitivity was to highlight how complex and unique individuals are and to avoid pigeonholing people into powerful and often negative stereotypes.

Instead of identifying a someone solely as a handicapped person, they became a person with a handicap. Likewise a person could be one who tells lies as opposed to a liar, or a person who struggles with addiction or has stolen things rather than being labeled an addict, thief or criminal. The politically correct appellations were more descriptions than absolute labels. They allowed the person being described to have other attributes, and also allowed for them to make changes and improvements such as rehabilitation or recovery. A person with autism, addictions, or has depression is quite different then labeling someone as autistic, an addict or depressed.

Much was gained in the descriptions for both speaker and the person being spoken about. The speaker was able to identify qualities of a person without sounding or being prejudiced or biased. The descriptions and politically correct language allowed us to appreciate and celebrate differences as well as name and identify undesirable characteristics without being overly harsh or close minded.

The person being spoken about was able to see themselves as more than a label. In this manner their dignity and worth were restored, and in many cases they were able to use the attribute as a way of becoming a part of a community often with a sense of pride. The autism spectrum, addictions and many factions of the mental health community have become opportunities for not only acceptance and understanding from those outside of the community, but often a source of connection with those who share their experience and way of being in the world.

In an effort to reduce and remove all forms of hatred from society a movement inside the desire to be sensitive and politically correct began to try to purge and replace any language which promoted or was saturated with prejudice and intolerance. Ethnic and racial hatred was found to be housed in many cultural and racial slurs. My being Italian I was familiar with the derogatory slang terms such as “dago”, “wop” or the modern day “Guido” which so happens to be my actual last name. While ethnic slurs and slangs were able to be replaced with more formal terms such as Italian, Jew, or Mexican other terms were harder to find non-offensive alternatives.

Yet, soon the desire to avoid stigmatized and hate ridden language became obsessive and extreme. Descriptors were often discarded and replaced with euphemisms or vague if not misleading terminology. The stigma of the “n word”, or “retard” was not and cannot be removed by language alone. The attitude infuses the word with meaning, and while a word may be contaminated over time with how it is used, any new word will suffer the same fate if the underlying hatred is not addressed.

My friends “of color” never had trouble, and usually preferred my use of the term blacks as opposed to African Americans. First of all the term African American is both inaccurate and a form of prejudice in that I am assuming the black person I am meeting is both of African descent and is American. Yet, what about those who identify more as a member of an island culture or happen to be born in another of the 100 or so lands in which blacks happen to be born. Calling someone “a person of color” is also extremely vague and racially biased because we are generally referring to specific shades of color. We are  indirectly insulting many people by insinuating that they aren’t people of color. Everyone has color whether that be beige, white, pink, red, yellow, brown or black, and to say someone is a person of color is either a euphemism or code word for a particular color or shade range.

I think it is absurd to think that using the term black is inherently racist, or derogatory. It is descriptive and far more accurate. Likewise I always found it strange to replace the term oriental with Asian. The Orient and Asia are both geographical terms. Yet, when one speaks of someone looking Asian they are usually referring to someone whose heritage is found in the Orient. If I told a sketch artist that the person I saw was Asian, they would most certainly draw someone with characteristics from the Orient, and not a person from India or Pakistan which are from Asia and number in the billions of people.

Likewise I do not believe that referring to the mentally challenged as “special” removes the stigma, those who are mean and insulting to the mentally handicapped do not change their prejudice because he word has changed. While calling someone “retarded” is a slur like calling me a “wop”, saying that someone has mental retardation is more descriptively accurate than designating them as “special”.

Saying someone suffers from depression is a description of a way a certain population reacts to and responds to their experiences. Likewise mental retardation stripped of its stigma just refers to the fact that the neurology of a person with this condition processes information at a slower rate and that their cognitive abilities fall below the average. I have been a tutor of a number of people with neurological and processing conditions including Autism Spectrum and Downs Syndrome, and have not felt that any limitations they had make them inferior to those who are “higher functioning”. I have no need to use euphemisms or to be less accurately descriptive because I have found their neurological tendencies and skills have little and in most cased no bearing on their ability to find joy and be good people.

Accurate descriptions of people assist us in appreciating, celebrating, understanding and feeling compassion for the experiences and hurdles of others. While the seeds of Political Correctness started with this noble goal it has in many realms become a purveyor of fantasy, misinformation and even its own form of stigma and prejudice.

Many of the those who used political correctness as a tool to reduce prejudice and increase the level of human understanding and tolerance have become some of the most biased and prejudiced individuals in our culture. The heritage of political correctness was to defend those who were being attacked for being different or the minority. They advocated for the underdog or those ignored or hunted down by the power structures which favor certain groups. They supported those that were attacked, devalued, marginalized, stigmatized and predatorized by others simply due to their race, cultural heritage, disability, gender, religious affiliation or ideology.

In Identity politics we now are insulting and condemning people for what they say, believe or in a growing number of cases what they are perceived to think. Instead of celebrating diversity of opinion we are demanding every one to have the same value system, express themselves with the same terminology, and see the world through the same eyes

Instead of saying someone has made a remark which could be considered racist, or sexist or insensitive to a particular group many of the previously politically correct crowd are labeling people as sexists, racists and bigots. Righteously and aggressively hating the haters has become vogue. People are pigeonholed, judged harshly, harassed and even physically attacked for expressing an opinion which is thought to be biased or holding to an antiquated view of a particular minority group. If a man makes a remark which could be construed as insulting or demeaning to a female he is a sexist, not a person who made a remark which could be perceived as insensitive or insulting.

If a person expresses a desire that their child marry a person of their race, ethnic group or religious affiliation they are often irreversibly labeled a racist or a hater of other groups. The consideration of such viewpoints being a love and pride in one’s heritage is not possible, not even that they are a segregationist, but only that they are racists and haters.

People are being denied preferences, a desire to maintain cultural heritage, free speech and even the right to harbor negative feelings towards any identified group. Those who hate the haters often claim the ability to read minds when those who make both pro and anti statements towards a group state with certainty that the positive statements are lies and the negative sentiments are truth and in fact are a thin veil for their underlying hatred.

In identify politics it is fine to call someone a racist, sexist, Islamaphobe, Nazi, or any other slur if they do not adhere to a very specific political and ideological agenda. Anyone who voted against Obama is a racist, and anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary is a sexist. The Identity Politics narrative often labels any protectionist action or one aimed at preventing Islamic Extremism as racists and Islamaphobic.

Even when laws are passed out of fear and paranoia it might be a bit of stretch to say all proponents are haters and white supremacists. Yet much of the identity politics crowd is engaged in a level of McCarthyism regarding the Russians which matches if not supersedes that of supporters of building a wall and not allowing Arabs into the US.

It is perplexing and disappointing how much of the Identity Politics and Feminists crowd are engaging in prejudice, hatred and intolerance. Tolerance, acceptance and understanding are useless if they are only reserved for certain groups and entities. The original point of political correctness was to promote tolerance and acceptance as a universal which would in and of itself create social harmony.

On a daily basis I hear friends who are consumers of the Identity Politics and popular Feminist narratives call people who are conservative or traditionalists as being “stupid”, “backward” and “ignorant”. All of these terms are expressed with a palpable level of disgust and superiority. This attitude is at the core of exceptionalism. It expresses the idea that people of higher intelligence are inherently better than those who are not, the irony that many of these same people have been vociferous advocates for the mentally handicapped is totally missed. I want to state once again, that I do not feel better than or inferior to others due to their IQ or any other recognized measure of human intelligence.

The self-proclaimed exceptionalism lying at the core of identity politics is the total opposite of tolerance, understanding and the celebration of diversity. Exceptionalism is a form of cultural or ideological eugenics. If one is exceptional all others are inferior, which is actually the very definition and essence of prejudice and bigotry. It shouldn’t be a matter who hates first, or feels the most justified in their anger and righteousness, but rather who has the courage to be devoted to peace, love and understanding. Good people have good intentions, and engage in life affirming behavior, but that doesn’t make them inherently better than their contemporaries.

United in Compassion,

Jim Guido

Government and Politics and Social Issues20 Aug 2017 07:17 pm

It was indeed fairly odd that Nelson Mandela refused to meet Barak Obama in person when Obama went to Africa while Mandela was in the hospital in 2013. Though Mandela was in stable condition it was Nelson’s and the Mandela family wishes that Obama not come to the hospital. An opportunity for Obama to meet one of his heroes in person was squelched and the press did their best to normalize this and not make it significant or noteworthy.

Obama did manage to get a phone call with Nelson’s wife and was able to meet with some relatives at a foundation in Nelson’s name. Yet, to be rebuffed at paying his respects to one of the world’s most respected if not revered black leaders had to be a tough pill for Obama to swallow.

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/29/obamas_visit_mandela_family_in_south_africa/

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/06/23/nelson_mandela_barack_obamas_south_africa_visit.html

Yet, to theorize and understand the possible reasons for Mr. Obama’s being snubbed by Mr. Mandela is not necessarily that difficult to ascertain. Nelson Mandela was dedicated to the freedom of blacks all through Africa. On many occasions Mandela spoke of his great respect and admiration of leaders such as Gaddafi, Castro and Chavez for both their support of the cause of Apartheid and South Africa in particular.

Mandela referred to Gaddafi as a hero and the person who did more for black rights and the unification of Africa than any other man. Mandela has a grandchild named Gaddafi and seems to have viewed Gaddafi as an African version of MLK. It was Obama who endorsed if not commandeered the policies that led to the brutal murder of Gaddafi in 2011. Ms. Clinton as secretary of state is famous for her glee at taking credit for his demise. Whether or not the US shares Mr. Mandela’s feelings for Gaddafi one can appreciate the anger and hurt that Mandela must have felt to one of the persons most responsible for the demise of his dear friend and hero.

https://thisisafrica.me/watch-nelson-mandela-defends-relationship-with-gaddafi/

Nelson Mandela's love for his "brother leader" Colonel Gaddafi

One must remember that Mandela was labeled a terrorist by the US all the way up to the Obama administration despite his popularity as a freedom fighter and leader of civil rights for black africans. The label of terrorist was common to most of Mandela’s political friends an allies such as Castro and Chavez. Obama’s suppression and prosecution. of whistle blowers along with his protection and working relationship with the financial organizations that worsened the life of many blacks in the US and internationally could not have helped him win the esteem of Mr. Mandela.

Yet, the view of increasing disappointment turned to anger at Barak Obama for his poor record regarding black and human rights in the US and around the globe was not just the apparent stance of Mandela, but began to be shared by many others. In the US former associates of MLK and other leaders of the black and civil rights groups became increasingly disenchanted and frustrated with Obama’s stances, policies and missed opportunities. The bulk of the victims in the endless wars and military interventions during Obama’s two terms have been people of color.

One of the most respected black activists and intellectuals of our time is Cornel West. He is the perfect example of a man whose high hopes and expectations of Obama were quickly dashed. As the Obama years passed his frustration and disappointment grew to the point that, for him, his administration wasn’t just a missed opportunity but actually set black and human rights tumbling backward.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency

 

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/24/cornel_west_he_posed_as_a_progressive_and_turned_out_to_be_counterfeit_we_ended_up_with_a_wall_street_presidency_a_drone_presidency/

We have  become a nation that focuses too much on appearances such as skin color, gender and beliefs and far less on the impact one’s actions have on the actual lives of others. We judge people on what they say and how they present themselves and spend more time trying to control their thoughts and read their minds than actually paying attention to what they actually do.

 

Jim Guido

 

Government and Politics and Social Issues25 Jun 2017 01:06 pm

Yes, let’s have a party. A new political party which represents a true alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. Let’s have a party that actually respects and represents the wishes and values of the majority of the people. Let’s have a political party which is for affordable and universal health care, let’s have a party that works for the economic and political interests of the common man, the vast majority of US citizens.

Let’s have a party that makes peace and a decent quality of life for all citizens its number one goal. In fact let’s call it the Peace Party. Let’s have the Peace Party major focus be on maintaining harmony while increasing the quality and standard of life for all citizens not just the wealthy and privileged.

Let’s have a party which makes  our being able to live in a healthy and sustainable environment a higher priority than making money or controlling and policing the world. Let’s have a party which respects the integrity and self-determination of each person not only in this country but in all others around the globe. Let’s have a political party which strives to live harmoniously with others and respects the sovereignty of all other nations to make their own decisions regarding social and economic policy and political ideology as long as it does not directly harm or substantially impair the quality of life of US citizens.

I am not alone in this wish, or in thinking that such a social movement is both vital and possible at this juncture of our nation’s history. David Lindorff of http://www.thiscantbehappening.net penned the following this weekend.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/23/we-need-a-mass-movement-to-demand-radical-progressive-change/

Similar sentiments were also presented by Paul Craig Roberts in his latest blog, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-24/paul-craig-roberts-warns-world-going-down-trump. He casts the need for such a movement as urgent, and in fact hints that our chances of averting a nuclear confrontation with a nuclear power such as Russia are dwindling daily. Such feelings that we are a warrior nation in need of changing our path, is not only held by an ex-Reagan administration guys like Roberts but also held by peace activist and ex-president Jimmy Carter for years.

Here is a short article quoting Mr. Carter that was written in 2013. http://www.endthekoreanwar.org/landauer ex-president carter-u.s. failing to promote peace.pdf In this article and many others through the last decade or so President Carter while remaining tactful and diplomatic has made it very clear that the US is no longer a leader in world peace and that we need a political rebirth regarding our nation’s commitment to world and domestic peace.

In the article cited above by Paul Craig Roberts he presents the well documented but still controversial view that the US is purposely generating conflict in the Middle East and with Russia. While the US’s role in destabilizing nations like Iraq, Libya, Yemen is now pretty much accepted, the idea that we would purposely escalate tensions with Russia is still difficult to emotionally accept no matter how convincing the evidence.

I personally found this last short article particular disturbing. It involves Representative Gabbard Tulsi’s attempts at getting a bill passed that would make it illegal for federal dollars to be used in arming and supporting known international terrorists groups. Please read the article and bill as it seems straight forward and to the point, and does not include any extraneous attachments which could make the bill a Trojan horse for less honorable intentions.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-government-proves-love-for-isis-as-bill-to-stop-arming-terrorists-gets-only-13-supporters/5595796

There are those that believe that the ousting of Donald Trump would cure all ills. Yet, the path of war with a nuclear power such as Russia did not start with Mr. Trump. We are, and have been an ambitious empire for many decades, and the need for change of direction far predates Mr. Trump.

The previous administration was the first one lasting 8 years that was at war for every day of its tenure. While this is quite saddening it should be noted that we have been involved in some war or military conflict for well over 90% of our existence as a nation.  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41086.htm

Not the type of world record for which any nation should be proud, especially one that portrays itself as being a beacon of freedom and democracy. Here is an article attempting to quantify the number of global deaths attributed to US direct and indirect intervention.  http://www.countercurrents.org/lucas240407.htm

My thought is that through the use of social media we can start a campaign to have people register as members of the Peace Party. Not being a maven of social media I would hope someone reading this would take the initiative to begin the campaign. The goal of this article is not to demonize the US, but to point out the need for the peaceful will of citizens of the US to have a viable political outlet.

Becoming a member of the Peace Party is not so much a commitment to vote for its candidates, but a belief that a Peace Party is a valuable voice to be heard, and policies based on peace and diplomacy are an important and missing component of our current political climate.

United in Compassion,

Jim Guido

 

 

 

Ecology and Government and Philosophy and Politics and Psychology and Relationships and Social Issues13 Jun 2017 06:43 pm

The KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) is said to have been originated in the early sixties by the navy and referred to the importance and benefit of simple design. Albert Einstein was a big proponent of the idea and felt that any good theory must be simple and elegant, and that complicated formulas and solutions are both inefficient and unusable.

Here is a Wikipedia’s article on the KISS principle:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KISS_principle

I have stated on numerous occasions that people generally make life far more complicated that it has to be. Experiences such as joy, happiness, peace and harmony are not that complicated, let alone idealistic. The majority of people conduct the vast majority of their social interactions in a peaceful and harmonious manner. In a world of indoor plumbing, potable water, electricity, etc. we are now in a position for most societies, if not the entire globe, to live increasingly comfortable and rewarding lives.

Yet, the greedy and power hungry minority spawn fear and hatred as a means of making the good life the possession of the few by complicating life and convincing the masses that life’s simple pleasures are idealistic and unattainable. Destroying the elegance and simplicity of cooperation by presenting the easiest conflict as unresolvable and flatly stating that all realistic options and acts of diplomacy have been exhausted when nary a one has been explored.

When breaking down a rewarding life into its simplest terms I come up with a few observations. First I yearn for intimacy. I don’t just mean having an intimate relationship with other people, but an intimate relationship with myself, nature and life in general. Intimacy is just the natural process of becoming closer and more familiar with something. One can be intimate with almost any object, idea or activity. I explored this in depth in my book Exploring Intimacy which can be read here:

http://guidoworld.com/words/exploring-intimacy

The second major category is to better enjoy the integration of all aspects of our/my experience. This would mean that I enjoy the sensorial, emotional and mental aspects of my life. In other words I learn how to maximize my experience by enjoying and savoring my being a thinking and feeling sentient person which exists in a body and lives in a world. The third element is my feeling connected to the world and act in a way which improves and maintains not only my quality of life but that of all of organic life.

Applying these ideas to our shared social world we come up with the following. We can keep things simple if we focus on the following. First we should not only tolerate but encourage all to find and cultivate intimacy in their lives. Second we can protect the quality of people’s lives and experiences by not destroying the environment and endangering people’s health through dumping toxins and poisons into our air, land and water.

The third guiding principle is that the major goal and concern of all personal and social behavior is to be life affirming. Being life affirming not only has us move away from poisoning our land, water and air, but also dictates that we make peace and harmony the goal and focus of all our decisions. In a life affirming society any action which harms others or the environment would be attended to and not be allowed to become entrenched or a habit of government. No action which caused harm or impaired the quality of life would be considered an act of progress or even tolerated. Only actions which enhanced or maintained the quality of life of the majority would be considered progress.

Einstein pointed out that one needs to be as simple as one can be without becoming too simple. While intimacy and integrated experience are relatively straight forward, the concept of being life affirming will always be a work in progress. In many situations it will be easy to determine what is life affirming, yet in many areas assessing what is the most life affirming option both near and far term will be challenging.

The fact that social utopias do not exist should not be alarming nor discouraging. The fact that life is an endless process of improvement and development only adds to its preciousness, and is inherent in the concept of intimacy. Yet, do let the greedy and power hungry convince you that life’s lack of perfection means everything is too complicated and joy, peace and harmony are idealistic fictions. Joy, intimacy and harmony are real experiences and not ideals. Real experience is never perfect, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be simple or elegant.

One does not have to deny the reality of pain and suffering to appreciate the reality of joy, love, intimacy and harmony.

Jim Guido

 

 

 

Government and Politics and Social Issues10 Jun 2017 09:46 pm

This past memorial day I found it strange and somewhat disturbing how often people greeted me by saying Happy Memorial Day. I think it odd and somewhat inappropriate to wish someone a “happy” day of remembrance for those who died in battle.

I guess it takes an empire to want to portray war and the loss of lives as a happy event worthy of celebration and pageantry rather than mourning. We are after all a bellicose nation who has spent the vast majority of its existence engaged in war and in the policing of the entire globe.

Our leaders continue to state that war is the option of last resort and only happens when all other diplomatic options fail. Yet, over the last few decades these words seem increasingly hollow and even mendacious as attempts at diplomacy have become invisible if not totally extinct. When was the last time we sat down and talked to a nation we consider to be an adversary. We live in a world in which discussion between leaders could be conducted in setting such as the UN, or held on live television in which citizens could be privy to important and vital discussion.

War should only be resorted to when all other options fail. War should not be about oil, economic superiority or ideological and religious intolerance. War should not be about trying to control or influence the course of sovereign nations or as a means of pressuring others to think and act in ways which we hold dear.

War is more a failure of government rather than a function of government. How can a nation who leads the world in military spending and arm sales by a wide margin describe itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy, and as a leader in working towards world peace?

We have become a nation that openly regards cooperation and negotiations as an unacceptable weakness and any tolerance of other political and economic systems as an insufferable bad example worthy of enduring the brunt of our military might. I find those committed to seeking ways of avoiding war to be heroes and worthy of our deepest respect and gratitude. Likewise I feel the same sense of admiration for those unwilling to kill others or to fight in wars that could be avoided. While wars can involve heroic actions, the actions of those courageous enough to avoid war and violence, such as MLK, Gandhi and the Dali Lama, are extremely heroic.

People who live honorable lives should be honored, remembered and mourned. Having a day dedicated to the memory of all good people who have died is valuable and important. Yet, while we honor he dead, we should cherish the living. War does not cherish the living. War places the survival of concepts, beliefs and personal gain above that of the survival of life. Peace is life affirming, even war with the noblest of intentions destroys life, that is why war is a last resort and a failure of government.

War is the progeny of fear and hatred. Peace is the natural outcome of compassion, understanding and a respect for all of life.

Jim Guido

Economics and Government and Social Issues13 Apr 2017 12:39 pm

The recent ascendency of the term “deep state” presents an opportunity to explore some of the elements which may comprise the entities that lay behind the term. Despite the long history of concerned politicians and citizens attempting to warn the public of the dangers and potential harms of a growing “shadow government” influencing international policy, such a discussion has largely existed under the radar of the general public.

One of the earliest and most public warnings came from president Eisenhower during his farewell address in 1961, when he cautioned us to become aware of the growing power and influence of what he termed “the military-industrial complex”. While the entire speech can be seen on You Tube or read on the web, the following quote will give you the gist of his message:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Eisenhower believed that our freedoms and democracy were being threatened by the power and influence being wielded by the growing surreptitious alliances between the military and corporate/commercial entities. Soon these “special interest groups” would take hold of the behind the scenes world of lobbyists which forever pressure, seduce and bully our politicians into supporting their surreptitious goals and agendas.

Another major player in the shadow world of the deep state is the CIA and related intelligence agencies. In essence the intelligence world is an excessive perversion of the old maxim that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The benefits and goodness of the intelligence community is totally based on one’s perspective. The bulk of the surreptitious and immoral actions of the intelligence community violates every tenet of an open and free democracy, but is posed as necessary and vital for the long term success of our nation. As long as they are working on our side and defending our freedoms and democracy we excuse their methods and total lack of transparency and moral ethics.

Yet, each and every decade since the inception of the CIA there are major scandals that emerge which question both their usefulness and their benefit to our democracy and freedoms of US citizens. Many of the unsavory tactics including propaganda, assassinations, torture, control of the media, perceptual management, rigging of elections and sabotaging of the actions of populist movements abroad not only open us up to blowback, but are often exposed by investigative journalists as being used domestically on our own citizenry.
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Economics and Government and Politics and Social Issues13 Oct 2015 07:14 pm

Wealth is not so much about how much money and assets you have but rather how much money and assets you have in comparison to others. In essence, wealth is about how big of a piece of the pie you possess.

The recent money printing mania of central banks has deeply distorted our concept of wealth. Over the last decade or so the size of the pie (money pool) has quintupled yet the majority of people’s wages and assets have stagnated or have grown at a moderate pace.

What this means is that if you’re personal wealth hasn’t ballooned by 500% over the last decade your relative wealth has decreased. If your savings have stayed pretty much the same it means that you are 1/5 as wealthy as you were a decade ago. Actually if one figures in the rise in inflation of food, energy, medical care and other necessities your wealth has plummeted even if your numerical wealth has doubled or even tripled.

Economic data suggests that as many as 20% of US citizens were experiencing expanding relative wealth in the early 80’s. Those treading water or enjoying a larger share of the pie fell to under 10% within a decade. The next decade saw the percentage of people’s wealth increasing drop to 5% and then down to 2%. Since the last financial crisis in 2008, the percentage of people enjoying a boost in relative wealth has gone from the infamous “one percent” to a fraction approaching 1/10 of one percent.

So even in the glory days of the middle class well over 50% of US citizens were experiencing a decline in relative wealth. Yet, due to advances in medicine and technology statistics supported the idea that the US and European middle class were experiencing a rise in their quality of life.
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Economics and Government and Politics and Social Issues16 Jul 2015 02:22 pm

While greed and deception are accepted as practical business skills needed when one’s goal is to maximize profits, the majority of the populace feels that corporations and governments minimize these practices when it comes to advocating for the welfare of their citizens. There are those that understand that the profit of the few often comes at the expense of the many. Such individuals reach the logical conclusion that decisions made by governments are almost always based on pragmatic financial outcomes and seldom honor any ideals or concerns such as democracy, freedom or the quality of life of the masses. Those who do not expect the financial and political elite to sacrifice personal and national monetary wealth for the benefits of the general populace are generally considered cynical at best and more routinely labeled conspiracists.

Yet, the ability of the US to maintain its position of economic superiority would be difficult to accomplish if it spread the wealth around or had noble principles guide its actions. In order to remain the wealthiest and most prosperous nation on earth, they must make money wherever and however it is made.

The European Union, like all relatively sovereign entities, is struggling to keep from being entirely swallowed up by the US, or losing ground against the remaining competitors and major players in world finance.

Please read the link below for it is a rare and real look into the inner workings of international finance. It is a rather transparent peek behind the curtain of economic policy and its priorities. It shows how often the bullies of power force the vanquished into looking like the bad guys or to take credit for a heinous or unpopular position.

The attitude of the text and the annotated comments of the ex Greek finance minister depict a mandatory consensus, in which the people calling the shots demand those being bullied to agree to take full responsibility for the very actions they are opposed to implementing. Any mention of their concerns or the fact that they are not really the people implementing the harsh and unpopular measures would be considered a violation of the agreement and cause for additional and hasher measures to be taken. If the Greek government wants to be part of the European Union they must not only implement policies and measures which not only increase their debt problems and worsen unemployment and poverty, but they must speak and act as if it were their idea.

I am amazed at the level of care that the leaders of the European Union (namely Germany) put into the words they chose which artfully misrepresent their selfish and malevolent intentions. The only people who benefit from these measures are the creditors of the debt. The majority of which should not have purchased bonds since they were aware that the debt could never be paid off. The world would be quite a different place if our leaders put as much care and attention into working on our behalf, rather than trying to figure out ways to deceive and placate us.

In the modern world of politics consensus is acquired through those in power stubbornly dictating the terms forcing all others to quietly acquiesce or become an accomplice to their exploitative and inhumane policies and behavior.
A system that tolerates, encourages and at times even glorifies mechanisms of deceit and exploitation will always perform better and defeat systems that are fair, equitable and humane.

A person could always win the race when they are able to cheat and disable their competitors. A runner allowed to get a head start, take short cuts and have accomplices kick and grab the other runners could easily claim superiority. With this in mind it is easy to understand how a profit at all costs system of capitalism is able to “outperform” all other social systems.

 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-15…

Those who most benefit from the predatory system of competition and profit have convinced people that no other system would cultivate and utilize technology and the creative energies of man, despite the fact that there is ample evidence to the contrary. We do know that this system creates economic imbalances, is dependent on waste, and is rather blind to any long term variable producing harm. As we mentioned earlier, when one’s primary goal and concern is maximizing profit all other concerns take a back seat.

Documents which are designed to benefit the few by extricating the remaining wealth of the many are being written and made into law quite frequently. Excusing debt by taking over ownership of assets is the very definition of loan sharking, and has been a staple of greedy governments, individuals and institutions for centuries. The most admirable moments of human history have been when the masses have demanded that the quality of life and the standard of living for the many takes precedent over the greed and self-agrandizement of the few.

Jim Guido

Economics and Government and Politics and Social Issues15 Jul 2015 06:34 pm

The US continues to be the poster child for a profit based health care system. In such a system a person’s health takes a back seat to concerns regarding the bottom line. In fact, a healthy client often limits the ability for vested parties such as doctors, hospitals and insurance and pharmaceutical companies from making a profit. While “wellness” visits do generate a bit of income, the real money in a profit based system is made in the following ways:

Tests
Surgeries and procedures
Hospital Stays and emergency room visits
Prescriptions and medicines

Since the US is the most profit based health care system in the world, it is not surprising that we also lead the world in all four of the above services and interventions. Many tests, surgeries and procedures, hospital stays and medications are over used and misused. So while many people’s lives are prolonged and their quality of life improved by US medical care, these interventions are also a leading cause of death in the US.

Unnecessary tests and surgeries can often result in complications, harms and even death. Prescription medications and procedures are notorious for having deleterious and serious “side effects” which occur with a frequency superior to its resulting in a cure.

Doctors run tests on many ostensibly healthy patients in order to be “proactive” and possibly catch a serious disease such as cancer which has yet to manifest itself. Yet, many of the most popular tests used are often ineffective in their goal, while in some cases causing problems which would not have occurred otherwise.

The US profit based health care system is excellent for those who have serious and life threatening conditions, but can be extremely harmful to those who are generally healthy. A healthy patient who only goes to the doctor when ill, or for a physical every year or two is a drain on the profits of our health care system.

The health care system has a vested interest in making sure that tests and patient interviews reveal potential reasons for some lucrative or frequently reoccurring intervention to be administered. The pharmaceutical industry has made it near impossible for a citizen of the US to go through their lives without the need to take medications on a frequent basis.

The result of this obsession with making health care as profitable as possible is that Americans are the most medicated and over diagnosed populace. They have longer and more frequent hospital stays where exposure to drug resistant germs can result in serious illness and/or death. They are also badgered and bullied by an increasingly predatory health care system and threatened to be dropped by insurance providers if they resist to subject themselves to often unnecessary and potentially harmful tests and procedures whose sole goal is to detect the need for more tests or the ostensible existence of a serious illness such as cancer needing immediate and expensive attention.

The US health care system deserves a great deal of admiration for their ability to save those in the most dire of situations. Many grateful people owe their life and quality of life to their doctors and the modern technology it employs. Yet, many other people’s lives have been destroyed or prematurely terminated due to the health care system’s zealousness to generate substantial profits.

Statistics do not support the US health care systems boasts of being the best in the world. Other nations provide excellent health care at a fraction of the cost, and do not have any where near as many problems with drug resistant germs, life threatening side effects, and sizable portions of the populace incapable of receiving services. Our profit based health care system continues to plummet in its global standing in a number of important areas.

While the US probably leads the world in inaccurately representing its global standing in the realm of health care, its actual standing is falling preceptively on almost a yearly basis. The latest stats I’ve seen now ranks the US thirty-seventh in the world in terms of life expectancy and does not fare any better in terms of statistics geared to calculate quality of life from a health perspective.

Jim Guido

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