The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sicilian Carrettinu

When Will They Ever Learn?

When George W. Bush was “elected” the second time a British journal queried: “How can 69 million people be so dumb?” How indeed. I noted Bush’s election for a second term as somehow comparable to 410A.D., the traditional date given by historians for the fall of Rome. Mired in a war that has netted the Bush-fraternity profiteers billions of dollars; that has cost thousands of American and God knows how many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives; sunk in an economy that has made the exorbitantly rich outlandishly richer while Americans slavishly multi-task to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table while wildly usurious interest mounts up on their debts; spurned, mistrusted and ridiculed by the people of just about every nation of the world as a population that’s lost its senses--- what does something approaching one- half of Americans do? Persist in the folly

An extraordinarily high percentage of Americans have lost their way due to a remarkably chronic susceptibility to the self-serving propaganda of a ruling faction which is motivated by unlimited profit and unconcerned with the general welfare. The cable-TV pundits like to talk about the “wisdom of the American people.” Wisdom? The flattery is good for business as the pundits hawk their books and magazines and God-knows-what. And they go on and on gabbing about what color to paint the walls- as the house burns down. The politicians we don’t even have to mention- Democrat, Republican- What’s the difference? Most of them the well-paid errand boys of the plutocrats who install them in office to do their bidding at the expense of the American public who cower in fear and debt and persist in consistently voting against their own interests while the food is being swept off their tables. Or they don’t bother to vote at all. They continue their shopping sprees while their debts mount to the skies. It’s the American way. And God forbid that they should think about what‘s happening to their lives. Let somebody else do that for them. Thinking might give one a stroke. “Ask your doctor.”

It can get a lot worse. But I nurture the hope that our nation can come back to its senses. We have been making much too serious mistakes for much too long. And people can’t let themselves be slapped around forever, can they? Or can they?

Enter John McCain. Current polls show that McCain has a good chance of becoming the successor of George W. Bush. Millions of Americans are quite ready and eager to prop him up in Bush’s baby-chair in the Oval Office. They consider him to be the straight-talking “maverick” who has their best interests at heart. All this despite the fact that he has fully supported about 95% of Bush’s policies, including indefinite continuance of the Iraq occupation and continued tax breaks for the very wealthy. And McCain mirrors Bush in another- not quite so obvious- respect. His biography presents him as another “ I’ll- Be- Better- Than -Daddy” striver. Bush’s father viewed George as a reject compared to brother Jeb. And McCain’s father (and grandfather) was a four-star admiral. What aching voids must have been created in the psyches of these two. Oedipus reigns! Bush had to try to show up daddy by going all the way to Baghdad. And look what wonders that’s done for the country. I won’t even mention his corporatizing and politicizing the entire government and nullifying the Constitution while he was at it. Daddy had refrained from going quite that far. And McCain, what will he do? God only knows. Pardon my psychologizing; but are we going to be presented with an out-admiraling- the- admirals situation? He certainly seems to be well able to wave his sword quite gingerly and with jingoistic fervor. Just what we need! Maybe he’ll invade Luxembourg while he’s extending the Iraq fiasco for a hundred years. But one thing you can be sure of: The wealthy will get a lot wealthier and Mr. and Mrs. America will wind up scraping up crumbs from the doghouse floor. And if we allow these political aberrations to go on we will be entirely deserving of the consequences. As far as Bush goes, the damage is done- possibly irremediably. As for McCain somebody ought to pin four stars on him and give him command of a fleet of shrimp boats somewhere to keep him out of trouble and the world from augmented strife--- or much worse. Good grief, what will it take for us to learn? This just can’t continue.

Madison Avenue has done an exemplary job creating a nation of programmed consumers whose “needs” are dictated to them and whose responses have become increasingly reflexive and predictable. And the corporate politicians have been remarkably adept at applying Madison-Avenue techniques in the area of propaganda and social control. Look at the results: An enormous segment of our population has been conditioned to accept the self-serving slogans of the moneyed elite as absolute truth. And it’s much more than just acceptance. It has all the fervor of pseudo-religious creed. And all the dogged inflexibility. Corporate elitist fascism has presented itself bearing the “flag and the cross” and millions have come under its thrall. Can anything break the spell? I don’t know, but current polling is far from encouraging. And it hardly looks as though there’ll be landslide victory for opponents of the Neo-Cons and their surrogates. The better McCain presents himself as another Bush-and-Cheney the better he does in the polls. The irrationality of it all is staggering: Bush is at an all-time low in the polls; yet the more McCain emulates him the better he fares with our mesmerized Americans. Tell me that Mad-Ave conditioning doesn’t work!

And then we have a further complication--- the Crypto-Neo-Con phenomenon. This one is a real doozey: The Crypto-Neo-Con adopts the rhetoric of the libertarian left but in fact is a Neo-Con with minor modifications. I think the Crypto-Neo-Con is the most devious and malignant entity that has emerged from modern Madison-Avenue programming-politics. Here the politician, in actuality a firm adherent to corporate-imperialist elitism and fully supported by its plutocracy, employs the strategy and tactics of Mad-Ave marketing to present himself or herself as “for the people,” utilizing populist sloganizing to condition the voting public. The most brilliant current practitioner of this nefarious art is Hillary Rodham Clinton--- whom I like to refer to- not so affectionately- as Madam Wal-Mart. And she has a slew of confreres among the Democratic establishment. And if you don’t think the strategies work look at the recent results in Ohio and Pennsylvania and consider her current hold on the Democratic party.

Have modern marketing techniques created a permanent flag-and-cross majority in this country, a solidified bloc that will continue to thwart the meaning and purpose of our de- jure democratic republic indefinitely no matter which party holds ostensible political power? That’s the very sobering question that presents itself as we approach the mounting challenges of the new millennium. And we had better be prepared to give our all to what looks to be a very tough climb.