Social Issues


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

 

Music and Philosophy and Poetry and Politics and Psychology and Social Issues13 Aug 2017 07:38 pm

For those of you new to the site, or who haven’t visited in awhile I invite you to fully explore GuidoWorld and all it has to offer. If you click on to the Words tab at the far top right you will currently see four of my novels along with two of my nonfiction books.

I have recently updated the page so that the entire books are posted rather than just some selected chapters. Within the next year I plan on posting two or three more of my books, so by the time you finish reading the current menu of my works more should be available.

A couple tabs to the left of Words you will find the Music tab. There you will find the growing library of my albums. The music contained on the albums spans from the early 80’s all the way up to the present. Similar to the book menu, the posted music library will continue to grow and be of a higher quality throughout the year. Of the 19 albums currently listed 14 of them have been remixed and remastered and will show themselves as part of Bandcamp.

The remaining five plus an additional five more albums are in the process of being updated and remixed. My son, who is a far better recording technician than myself will be in charge of the new revised mixes. Since I have a huge backlog of songs and I still write and record between 8 and 12 songs a year, new albums will be appearing in the foreseeable future.

The podcast button is new and is rather sparse at this point. Within the next year or so I plan on beginning to record a number of podcasts that discuss my books and music, as well as all discuss and expand upon all of the social, political and psychological topics that you have covered in my posts over the last decade.

Those who have been faithful readers to this site know how much I am enthralled with life, and how much I relish the opportunity to share and to grow. Thanks for taking the time to read, listen to and ponder all that I have produced and posted over the years.
Enjoy!

United in Compassion,

Jim

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

Ecology and Education and Social Issues25 Apr 2017 12:08 pm

 

The data supporting the fact that air pollution negatively impacts one’s health and in many cases shortens one’s life span are profuse. Car exhaust in particular has been identified as a major factor in many realms from asthma, to heart disease to cancer.

Cutting emissions could prevent nearly 300,000 US air pollution deaths

It is generally accepted that the health of children in particular is negatively impacted by air pollution and once again car exhaust. A child’s smaller lungs and developing immune system make them more susceptible than an adult to the harmful effects to fumes.

I live in a smaller city in which the populace is generally very concerned about health issues such as diet, exercise and pollution. Parents are very active and vocal regarding advocating for their children to make sure that the community is respectful and proactive regarding taking measures which help insure child safety and health.

Yet, it is perplexing to me how many of these same individuals spend each day during the school year in long lines of cars preparing to drop their child off and pick them up from school. Despite having ample school bus service, they choose to create traffic jams twice a day in which hundreds of idle cars wait often with their engines running in front if the school. Even the rare parent who does turn off their car, has to keep turning it on and off to keep the flow of traffic moving as they follow the long queue.

 

Health effects from car exhaust exposure can last a lifetime

In most situations in our community and many others in the US the cars pass and stall in front of the children’s play area and/or windows to the classroom. While the exhaust from a school bus is also a health issue, there are relatively few of them, and they do not have to stand in line for extended times to park.

Parent’s who choose to drive and pick up their children from school are not only endangering their children’s lives and health, but are also putting the lives of other children in danger through their needing to breathe the same air and learn in the same classrooms as the polluting parents. The smoke from the driving parents cars is second hand smoke which is negatively impacting the health and academic functioning of the children whose parents are taking the healthier option of taking the school bus.

http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/03/04/air-pollution-traffic-slow-learning-schoolchildren

Studies indicate that car fumes have a negative impact on many aspects of our children’s health both physical and mental. The denser the concentration of gas fumes and related particulates the more likely the negative impact on a students short and long term physical health, academic functioning and mental health.

http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/06/09/car-exhaust-affecting-children-mental-health

One definitely could make the argument that the negative impacts of most school yard pollution is rather small, or that one cannot prove that any one child was harmed by school yard pollution. One could also propose that most pollution caused by drop off and pick up traffic is likely diffused fairly quickly and, therefore, not a significant factor. But, why would any caring parent want to play the odds or minimize a potential harm on their child’s health and academic functioning.

This is not to say that there are not individual situations and extenuating purposes that validate and even necessitate a parent from driving their kid to school, but only to point out the dangers when many parents choose to cart their children to school when other options are available.

Riding a school bus does present it’s own set of challenges and problems, most of which can be resolved in a positive way for the social and academic development of your child. Yet, their really is no positive side to the endangerment of your child and all his schoolmates by increasing car traffic both in terms of pollution and potential physical harm inherent in the presence of so many cars near so many impulsive and energetic children.

Caring for the environment and being a responsible loving parent should go hand in hand.

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.

While the universe of spies is dependent on deception and stealth the heads of the intelligence community often make statements which seem to expose the very reason we should not view them as necessary or an ally of our freedom and democracy. Two of the many dozens of possible quotes follow.

“The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” 
Bill Colby Former CIA Director

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” 
William Casey, former CIA Director

The state department may be the best example of the deep state shadow government in that they are not elected, often not appointed by the president, are highly influential in long term planning and policy formation and whose careers may span through many administrations. The following infamous quote, which is actually a compilation of ideas express in a single declassified document, will give you and idea of the role and scope of the state department. This quote is by George Kennan the state departments first planning and policy head whose basic policies many feel guided our actions for a few decades.

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population…. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity…. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives…. We should cease to talk about vague and … unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

I would invite you to read the entirety of the document as well as type in his name in a research engine to read more of his vision of global politics region by region. His comments and recommendations regarding Germany, Russia, Africa, and the middle and far east are still vital in terms of understanding the actions the US takes both militarily and politically.

Capitalism is a Real Killer

While admittedly the sample size of released documents and reliable quotes by government planners and deep state insiders is relatively small, they are very consistent in their conviction of a need for their to be two separate messages one public and one top secret. The public message of intention is littered with “sentimental” and “unrealistic”objectives such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the raising of living standards, while the internal message and goal is to maintain the global disparity and economic hegemony of the US empire.

The cognitive dissonance between the domestic and international actions of our military and our government evaporates once one assumes that capitalism and not democracy is our guiding principle and goal. Our creating havoc and installing and defending dictators while squelching populist movements abroad becomes quite understandable and consistent when viewed from our desire to maintain economic hegemony and market dominance.

The battle to keep intact the US’s privileged position as global leader and lone superpower is waged on two fronts. First we must prevent any counter economic ideology such as communism or socialism to gain a foothold anywhere in the world. Second we must make sure that we effectively prevent any other nation from usurping or even reducing our commanding position as the economic power or having any form of currency rival the US dollar as the global reserve currency.

Keenan was very concerned about the threat that Germany still posed as an industrial and economic juggernaut if it were allowed to quickly heal and rebuild. He discussed the importance and necessity of keeping Germany a divided nation at least until the time in which western Europe and Britain were economically strong enough to withstand their political and economic might.

The strategy of keeping a nation divided in order to stall the growth of socialism or communism, as well as prevent the nation from becoming a major economic player has been used often by the US. I addition to Germany one could add Korea and Vietnams as examples. Yet, on recent years, especially in the middle east and Africa we have done our best to splinter a large nations into a number of number of splinter nations or warring entities. Iraq, Afghanistan , Venezuela and Libya are prime examples with the Yugoslavia and the USSR also falling into that category.

Isolating and punishing nations through economic sanctions due to a nation’s desire to reduce or sever economic ties and dependencies with the US is also a often used tool to “protect our way of life” and role as economic overlord to the world. Cuba and Venezuela come to mind in addition to many other nations including Iraq, Iran, Russia and Syria.

Often the list of nations we have placed economic embargoes and sanctions on involve political and social leaders who have led movements and adopted policies which greatly improve the autonomy and quality of life of many of its citizens. Castro, Chavez and Gaddafi are examples of leaders whose documented evidence of significant growth in terms of health care, education, women’s and workers rights, as well as an increased voice in political groups but were minimized or ignored due to alleged or highly emphasized violations of human rights.

In the case of Gaddafi, Nelson Mandela is on record saying that he felt Gaddafi did more for the freedoms and advancement of the African continent than other any personage. It may in fact be this unifying movement as well as his advocating for an uncoupling from the US dollar and the institution of a common continental currency which made him vile and unacceptable to the US. One should keep in mind that most leaders of populist social equality movements have been opposed, resisted and labeled as terrorist or public enemies. This celebrated list of dangerous individuals who are enemies of the state would include Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Gandhi as well as Nelson Mandela, and of course the recent list of whistle blowers and people of conscious in our own nation.

The battle to keep US imperialism and its economic and political dominance afloat has been fought both vehemently and violently. The US quickly intervened anytime nations show any signs of adopting measures which foster economic autonomy or an adopting of a more egalitarian system. Since and including Vietnam, and maybe even Korea, our actions have caused nations to become destabilized and politically chaotic often mired in seemingly endless civil war, this list would include at least Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya. Our desire to go to war and destabilize nations seems to be planned and intentional as was publicly intimidated by Wesley Clarke on many occasions such as the interview you can watch via the following link.

When your primary goal is to maintain and protect economic hegemony and disparity you literally can’t afford to be kind, charitable, generous or share the bounty of the planet. A few decades ago the thought that we went to war for oil would have been thought of and labeled as crazy conspiracy theory. Yet, today going to war for oil rather than freedom and democracy is accepted and even publicly supported.

It is only logical that a nation which places economic dominance as its primary objective would need to be a participant if not leader in any highly profitable market, especially one whose product is in the hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars. The arms industry is one example of this size market, and as we all know, despite our shouts of peace, freedom and democracy we are the worlds biggest arms dealer. In fact during the Obama administration our share of the arms market recorded one of its biggest gains.

The international drug trade is another extremely lucrative market. With this in mind it is hard to imagine that the US government could afford to let another nation usurp or even reduce our economic dominance by refusing to engage in the illegal drug trade. As Keenan observed way back in 1948 that the need for the US to “deal in straight power concepts” and not be blinded by sentimental ideology would soon become essential for our continued economic superiority. The economic and resulting political power of the lucrative international drug trade is just too much to avoid through sentimental ideological morality.

With this in mind it would make sense that our two longest wars have been in Vietnam and Afghanistan. In the 60’s the “golden triangle” centered in Vietnam and Laos. The possibility of all that money going to waste our in the hands of communists was probably too much for us to bear, likewise a similar reality was posed by Afghanistan.

Almost every decade a book or two emerge which investigate and try to substantiate the CIA’s active role in managing and monitoring the international drug trade if not being a major direct player in the black market space. Here are a few links which seem to support the logical conclusion that the US is a major if not then major player in the international drug trade. Here are a couple of links which deal with the US and poppy production in Afghanistan.

Opium Cultivation Hits Record High in Afghanistan

Heroin Dealer in Chief. Afghanistan, Source of 90% of The World’s Heroin

Admittedly any direct connection between the CIA or US government and the illegal drug trade is highly speculative. Yet our practical need to not be left out of, or even marginalized in the participation of the enormous profits gleaned by the sellers and purveyors of the global illegal drug market is hard to deny.

It is hard for any argument of our mission being to spread freedom and democracy around the globe to stand up to the reality of our dominance of global arm production and sales, the enforcement of economic sanctions and our initiating of perpetual war around the globe. Economic sanctions seldom impact the ruthless dictators and immoral leaders who routinely kill their own people though brutal torture and chemical weapons. Instead, sanctions, such as the one we inflicted on Iraq kill hundreds of thousands of innocent including children and other non military civilians. Our attacks kill far more people than the atrocities we claim to justify and motivate our military and lethal interventions. The lower estimate of 500,000 Iraqi’s killed through our economic sanctions far out number the total number of people who globally have died due to the actual or even alleged use of “weapons of mass destruction”.

Whether it be a terribly misguided attempt to spread freedom or democracy or because we want to retain our privileged economic position, one thing is indisputable, and that is we have killed millions of people to acquire this objective. The conservative estimate is somewhere between and 20 and 30 million people from over 37 nations (see link below). This 20 t0 30 million people mostly non military or even oppositional to our stated objectives does not include those maimed or seriously injured, which most estimates would expand the pool by a factor of eight resulting in a figure closer to 160 million people. Even that estimate of the human damage and destruction caused by our wars and interventions would not include those additional people who suffered from PTSD for what they saw, their life in a war zone, or the perpetual fear of being in a land where drone attacks are a real possibility.

US Has Killed More Than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” Since World War II

Many of the themes in this essay were addressed in a slightly different manner in a previous blog that you can read here. http://guidoworld.com/blog/wealth-and-wa…

George Orwell is one of those who expressed deep concerns regarding what happens when economic superiority becomes a nation’s top priority., and their true motives become hidden or denied. Here are a few pertinent quotes.

“War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”

While I feel that our current course is dangerous for all on the planet, I do not feel that we are totally capable of our being able to steer space shift earth in a more healthy life affirming manner. Yet, in order to do so we probably have to “Deep Six the Deep State” as the title of this blog states.

I’ll close with links to a few songs which express my concerns and fears regarding our obsession with war and maintaining economic disparity in a more artistic manner.

What is the Deal?


 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/track/enligh…
 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/track/its-to…

Psychology and Relationships and Social Issues12 Mar 2017 01:14 pm

Skin-on-skin contact is not only essential in infancy, but plays a privileged role in our physical and mental health throughout our lives. A lack of physical contact can lead to increased depression and anxiety as well as being linked to heart disease and many forms of cancer.

While nothing duplicates the biochemical benefits of a rewarding sex life, affection, exercise and social bonding all have measurable physical and psychological rewards. Moments of physical and social comfort and connection reduce one’s stress level and improve one’s view of self and the world at large.

A good deal of live in person human contact and communication has been replaced by indirect and distant forms of interaction via technologies such as the computer and phone. While the amount and frequency of human contact has stagnated or declined the amount and frequency of affection people receive from their pets has increased sharply. It would be safe to say that a great percentage of people now give and receive more affection from cats, dogs and other animals than they do from other humans.

While incredibly rewarding, human affection and interaction, is often very complicated and conflictual. Affection with animals comes easy and has very little strings attached to it. Animals rarely rebuff our attention and affections and are generally available to us at our beckoning.


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Humor and Relationships and Social Issues10 Jan 2017 02:36 pm

We have become such a devout society. No matter where I go, I see people standing and sitting with their heads slightly bowed as they scan the sacred verses and icons (text and images) on their hand held prayer books. The most devout stay focused on their prayer books while kneeling, walking and in some cases even driving their cars. As darkness approaches their pious faces become bathed in soft eternal light (or as long as their batteries stay charged).

Their eyes and minds stay transfixed on the transcendent realities evoked by what they read and what they see. They are part of a universal community far greater than the mind can comprehend. They are connected to the universe through mind and spirit without the cumbersome limitations of the body and its senses. The faithful, while in prayer, are freed from all of the blasphemous temptations of the profane world and need not fret about its impending demise, or get distracted by its imperfect and fading beauty.

The clergy (Google, Facebook, etc. protect the purity of the message through loving censorship making sure that our (power) lord’s message of the “Good News” stays intact. While we can’t totally overcome our sinful natures and our appetites for actual physical sensorial pleasure, we can remove ourselves from temptation by entering the virtual sacred world of prayer and meditation. We can at least temporarily transcend the wheel of life and its attachments which lead to all human suffering and find calm and peace in the warm embrace of our electronic prayer books and their electronic spirit world of perfection. Virtual reality for faithful is truly a virtuous reality.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues21 Nov 2016 02:34 pm

Ever since early adolescence I’ve been hormonally constituted to be fascinated, mesmerized, entranced, intoxicated, infatuated and enthralled with the female body. Yet, even before the onset of puberty I found myself drawn to girls in the arena of personal relationships and intimate connection.

When it came to the realm of physical activity comprised of running, jumping, tackling and working together as a team I totally preferred the company of boys. In adolescence, in terms of intellectual, scientific and philosophical discourse I once again preferred the company of men.

Yet, what mattered to me most was how to maximize the quality of personal experience through consistently deriving joy form both body and mind. The time and energy, care and devotion, women spent processing their thoughts and feelings regarding their relationship with others as well as themselves I found highly captivating and fulfilling. In many ways this processing of relationship became the core of my definition of intimacy, and intimacy became the center of both the way I lived in the world and how I found meaning and fulfillment in life.

My love affair with the female body and feminine personality were not relegated to a specific type or ideal. The female body and the many varied ways woman had of processing their thoughts and feelings I found endlessly stimulating and refreshing. They were the fruit that I longed to savor and desire whether they be peach, plum, watermelon, pomegranate, grape or berry.

Despite enjoying the cornucopia of the pleasures offered through their intimate company, I never had a problem being loyal and devoted to any woman willing to match my intensity and devotion to intimate sharing. Every visceral, sensual, emotional and intellectual experience of my life became richer and more fulfilling when shared with a partner. I always felt it a touching privilege to be included in the processing ritual that forms the basis of most feminine relationships.

In activities I preferred the company of men, and in conversation and relationships I preferred the company of women. Viewing and experiencing the female life style as having more options and freedoms I greatly envied the female role in society. In the early 60’s the women’s movement with its emphasis on improving the quality of life, consciousness raising, respect for all human life and maximizing one’s experience of love and intimate relationships filled me with hope. I felt that men were imprisoned by work and oppressed by bosses and gender expectations.

Life in the Sixties

I grew up in a town where the great majority of men worked in factories and/or held down two or more jobs in order to make ends meet allowing their wives to stay home and provide the children with a safe and loving environment. Though this wasn’t always the reality, it did fit most of the lower middle class and middle class homes with which I was familiar.

A man’s life, I was often told, and as it appeared to me, centered around three things, duty, sacrifice and alienation. Duty and sacrifice were often spoken of with a sense of pride and purpose. Alienation was talked about in pop psychology, talk shows, the theater and in political messages espoused by unions, marxist and socialist groups, the intelligentsia, and dramatic plays. Death of A Salesman was probably the most powerful play I saw on TV during my childhood, and my father’s frustration, anger and depression seemed to bore testament to his sense of alienation.

My dad was so often very absent and emotionally damaged by his war experience. He would occasionally wake up from nightmares wailing and speaking in Italian in very anxious tones. I have no memory of him speaking to me let alone doing an activity with me, and even when punishing us with belts and switches he never made physical contact with us.

My dad often worked two jobs during my developmental years. My mom, while a busy homemaker, was able to work according to her own schedule and found time to engage in joys during the day such as watching her favorite TV programs and visit neighborhood friends. When I was three and four years old and my brother and sister were at school I had my best times with my mother (who had her own volatility and mental health issues). I would listen to my mom talk to herself and to the TV programs, and I often accompanied her as she walked or traveled by bus to visit friends. My mom loved to cook and the aromas of childhood were dominated by the nurturing smells of food that lingered in the house for hours.

When I was eight my mom decided that she was no longer needed in the home full time and she began to work. My sister, then fourteen, was asked to help out with the cooking and cleaning. and my brother and I were expected to maintain our rooms and make our own breakfast and lunch. My dad’s only objection was that it would make him look incompetent and a failure at providing for his family. Yet, he quickly adjusted to having more free time and not having the entire financial burden placed upon himself.

Since the late 70’s and early 80’s it has been fashionable to focus on how reluctant men are to help out around the house when their spouse goes to work. While this was true in my dad’s case it was also true that when my dad worked two jobs my mom did not help out or take on any of the traditional male tasks. In addition to working anywhere from sixty to eighty hours a week, my dad took care of the lawn, cleaned the gutters, put up screens and storm windows, and did most of the strenuous outdoor activity. Though not good with his hands he fixed all broken items in the home, for we had no money to hire out for professional or trade services. In essence none of this division of labor changed no matter how many hours of work my dad did each week, or when my mom took on an outside job.

I was mot enamored with the male role which I not only experienced in my family but witnessed in pretty much every home in our factory town. While I often saw and talked to my friends mothers, their fathers were generally not present or when present they were busy doing some chore or task. It is true that the men went to clubs and belonged to social organizations, but they usually were dominated by drinking and for group protection and alliances in the labor, religious and political arenas. The handful of times I accompanied my dad to these functions I found them generally bereft of amy intimate conversation though at times there was bonding via humor, story telling and rallying against common enemies or concerns.

Intellectually stimulating conversation was difficult to come by in my youth, and I sought and established friendships with peers who were interested in and willing to engage in thoughtful and intimate conversation. Rarely was I present in a home in which the parents demonstrate a vested interest in their child’s and their child’s friends thought and feelings. The exception to this was my Jewish friends whose families engaged in interesting and thought provoking conversation.

Years of Social Change

I couldn’t relate to my mom’s sense of being bored and having too much free time which greatly influenced her decision to go to work. Shortly after my mom went to work the women’s movement became a part of the mainstream social discussion. I found the entire movement quite encouraging and it gave me hope that men, and not only women, would be able to seek a better quality of life. The early dialogue in the women’s movement focused on quality of life issues such as consciousness raising, intimate relationship, self-discovery and finding and engaging in activities which improved and fulfilled oneself infusing their life with a sense of joy and meaning.

In my junior high years a feminist mom of one of my classmates initiated monthly assemblies where we would listen and discuss important social issues such as the war, poverty, the good society, and how to find meaning in one’s life. I was convinced that the women’s movement was going to free both men and women by providing everyone with options and replacing labor and sacrifice with intimacy and personal growth.

Shortly before I graduated high school the focus of the women’s movement turned towards the economic freedom of having jobs and careers and turned away from quality of life issues. I felt betrayed as the movement abandoned self-actualization and intimacy and replaced by an obsession with joining the workforce and receive equal pay. I could not fathom why women would aspire to live in the world that so many men experienced as a repressive prison. Why would anyone who was seeking intimacy and a better quality of life make alienating labor its core goal?

In my eyes the humanist and feminist goal of creating a society fostering human fulfillment and self-actualization was being replaced by everyone being imprisoned by a life dominated by alienating and stifling labor.

Honoring Everyone’s Sexual Nature

In the fist couple of paragraphs I discussed how I was drawn to and desired to be intimate with the female body and value system. Data and conversations I had with my male friends amply demonstrated that I was not alone with this visceral, emotional and psychological attraction to women. The male sex drive is a powerful hormonal tempest that often dominates many men from puberty well on into adulthood. Sexual desire and the desire to have an intimate relationship with a woman is hard wired into the average heterosexual male.

We have come a long way in terms of understanding, accommodating and sometimes even celebrating the complex biological and hormonal feminine world. The bulk of men and women understand that the hormonal premenstrual changes in the average female influence mood, emotional tenor as well as sensual sensitivities and thought process. We also have begun to understand and accommodate the hormonal and emotional changes engendered during peri-menopause. Only a small portion of people would consider the emotional, physical and psychological changes to be a matter of choice, or a personal problem and handicap. While the hormonal changes are not experienced by everyone in the same manner and intensity, we would not say that they are fictitious or something a woman just needs to overcome.

We also have come a long way in realizing that sexual orientation, identity and sexual appetites are less about choice and more about biochemistry and genetics. One does not choose to be gay anymore than one chooses to be heterosexual.

We have much data regarding the harms caused when one suppresses, denies, or resents their sexual identity and preferences. Depression and even suicide are common reactions to sexual repression, yet often it can also lead to perversion, aggression, and physically harming self and others. There are numerous biochemical and emotional benefits for those who live a healthy and rewarding sex life. The sense of joy and connection not only benefits one’s self-esteem, but also improves one’s personal health, psychological perspective and ability to feel and express compassion.

The heterosexual sex drive is just as biological and inherent as that of gays, lesbians and transgenders. It is just as vital for heterosexual men to have their biological imperatives honored. Similar emotional, psychological and social problems emerge when the male sex drive is repressed, prohibited, suppressed and demonized and when men are told to overcome and transcend their sex drive through will power.

There is a tendency in the feminist narrative to decry the male sex drive in a host of negative frames. The male sex drive objectifies females. The male sex drive is often equated with a male need for power and control. The unrefined (non repressed) male sex drive leads towards violence and aggression. The negative bias towards the male sex drive includes feelings that for a man to be sexually healthy he need to curb his sex drive and become in touch with his feminine side.

While we have acknowledged the ill effects of long term suppression, denial and repression of one’s sexual identify, desires and appetites with the LGBT populations we have generally ignored or at least minimized the effects of repression and rejection on the emotional and psychological health of the heterosexual male. It has been rather common knowledge that from the onset of puberty through a sizable portion of adulthood the average heterosexual male’s life is frequently dominated by sexual thoughts, desires, urges and fantasies. Decades of scientific research have identified many of the hormonal and biochemical processes which render sexual intercourse a biological imperative for a great portion of adolescents and men.

The average adolescent and young adult male’s life being dominated by sexual impulses is also dominated by feelings of rejection and repression in that the goal of their daily and hourly impulses are denied and rebuffed. Is it any wonder that many men who have spent the greater portion of their adolescent and adult life being rejected and often vilified for their “preoccupation” with sex have a hard time staying emotionally invested and engaged?

One’s sexuality and sexual nature is core to both one’s self-concept and satisfaction in life. One’s sense of joy, pleasure, intimacy and meaning is highly impacted by and structured in one’s sexual sensibilities. The appreciation, understanding, compassion for an individual’s sexuality and sexual identity is just as important for heterosexual males as it is for any other sexual preference and identity.

All people and genders are negatively impacted by repression and suppression in any arena including that of sex drive and identity. The list of ways in which these repressions and suppressions manifest themselves is quite lengthy and would include various forms of active and passive aggression, inhibitions, perversions, obsessions and compulsions. Accommodating and helping people’s sexual natures find healthy expression and satiatIon benefits all and leads to better mental and physical health.

I am particularly distressed by the growing feminist perspective that many men are being labeled misogynists. The hormonal biochemistry of the heterosexual male sex drive is not based on hatred, but on attraction, intimacy, desire, passion, connection and devotion. Anger, hatred, abuse and violence are more often the products of repression, suppression, rejection, denial and desperation.

The male sex drive has been the core of all that I cherish and gives meaning to my life. It it what propels me towards finding intimate relationships with others. The biochemistry of sexual fulfillment and orgasm, is central to my experience of pleasure, beauty, passion, empathy, joy and intimacy. Yet, these marvels of being human have often come from my ability to withstand the censure and negative bias of a repressive society that tries to have me deny or transcend my sexual desires. I look about me and do not find many other males who have been able to embrace their sexual natures in a personally fulfilling manner. The road to personal happiness and social harmony is best navigated by understanding and compassion and not with anger, prohibition, and intolerance. The male sex drive is in dire need of a bit of compassion and understanding, and the potential benefits in terms of social harmony are hard to overestimate.

 

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