Hermit's Weblog
everything your mother never taught you about how the world really works.

Sat, 04 Jul 2009

Sarah Palin Scores a Touchdown!

Once more the Press, and even the Republican establishment, fail to see who Sarah Palin is. Trapped in their own assumptions of what a politician should be like, they fail to see that Governor Palin is a true American Voice - one which must be understood.

Granted she does not speak for main stream intellectuals or policy wonks who think all political speech has to have certain expectable qualities. Being already too much lost in their own heads, these superficial critics fail to notice when someone has come on the scene who actually speaks from her heart.

This speaking from the heart many Americans will understand. Not all hearts experience the same truths - heart values are not necessarily universal values. Nor am I suggesting that Governor Palin ought to be the next President. That dynamic is of a whole other order. What she is doing, however, in following her heart, is braking free of what was imposed on her from the outside by political operatives and policy wonks within the Republican Party, and by the Press with its own assumptions and ignorance.

It is in fact her very much breathless presentation, and the absence of an aide-written speech, that was on display in her recent announcement. She spoke what she felt, and knew that this was something that has to be added to the political dialog. Her breaking away from the prison of Republican and Press presumption was in fact an act of courage. She very much was following something that would have been prized by Emerson, who said: In self trust all virtues are comprehended.

Freed now of the straight jacket of contemporary expectations of both the Right and the Left and the Press (all of whom are confused and overly critical) she first becomes invisible (to those types of thinkers) for she is demonstrating characteristics which their natural cynicism believes will lead to failure (when the goal ought to be winning elections and leading). She is, in a very real sense, the counter-pole to Obama's clearly ineffectual cool intellectuality.

She will have considerable response in those Americans who prize speaking from the heart rather than the arid intellectuality of policy wonks and the over-controlled pablum-speech of contemporary politicians. It remains to be seen whether she will take this freedom from the prison of assumptions and become a genuine leader.

If the metaphor of being a point-guard is true to her real nature, then we might expect her to also lack the vain egotism the inflates the self-view of most politicians. She wants us to care, not about her, but about real American questions. Stranger things have happened in the political history of humanity, and she just might touch a cord in the many people who are finding themselves falling into the morass of the economic chaos of the near future.

Separated from the constraints of the hate-speech tendencies of the blowhards on both the Right and the Left, she might actually bring something much needed to the contemporary political dialog. Freed of any allegiance to the worst of recent pseudo-conservatism, she might just bring a rebirth of conservatism's higher virtues. Even so we will have to wait and see. If she falls under the influence of the Rove-type manipulators or the arrogance of the demagogues, then she can be a real danger to the needed harmony of our polity. If she continues to grow and see the folly of these kinds of influences too, she just might surprise us all.

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Sun, 19 Apr 2009

Looking Behind the Mask: International Criticism of Obama - some truth, mostly fiction

Various world leaders have taken to criticizing President Obama. My own view is that right from the start we need to see this as mostly adolescent posturing in the big school yard that our international political world has become. While most world leaders have some training in diplomacy, they are far too often looking to score points at home. There is something in Obama they don't like, but not being as thoughtful in general as Obama even, they simply posture and huff and puff for the Press and their own supporters.

Just about all that they say should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, what are they reacting to?

Obama, for all his cleverness and subtlety, is a quite ambitious politician. He wants to be a world leader and he wants to use his ascendancy to the American presidency as a vaulting pole to world preeminence. He has a very big ego, but is smart enough to basically hide this excess of self-confidence behind a cultivated mask of charm and interest in the other world leaders. We saw a lot of this during his recent travels.

Where Bush II was just a kind of sorry idiot that world leaders didn't want to mess with because he was perceived (correctly) as ignorant, arrogant, impulsive and dangerous, Obama is the new kid in the school yard, and too smart as well. Having the American presidency, and all the other necessary political show business characteristics (black, married to a remarkable woman, cute children, and gets a lot of good press), he is resented by the other world leaders who are jealous of his rise (it is unusually sudden by the way, a fact we need to think a lot about and not lose sight of - it was just five years ago he made his speech at the Democrat's 2004 Convention and thus entered the political limelight).

Domestically Obama is well on his way to being, for the American People and the Republic, just one more political party driven disaster. He never really promised anything but the most vague generalities during his campaign (Change is not a very concrete idea). He ran one of the best campaigns in recent history, but a campaign shows nothing of who he will be in office. His cabinet is full of Wall Street and banking insiders, as well as left over centrist Clinton advisers (none of whom have any interest in the true and valid Left of American politics). He supports a draft and is favorable on military adventures internationally. So far on the truly acute issues of civil rights, his Justice Department is keeping to what the Bush II administration fostered, such as claims of national security to avoid reigning in the domestic spying by the NSA, for example.

He's made no moves toward fixing, and seems unaware of how much the Patriot Act and its following on legislation have created such broad definitions of so-called "domestic" terrorism, that all kinds of what was accepted civil disobedience in the 1960's and 1970's has today been criminalized. Given that the Obama administration is putting off dealing with the real problems in banking and finance, it is a certainty that the economic crisis will not only continue but suffer other sudden downward surges.

As a consequence, more and more Americans will be driven from the middle-class and into unaccustomed poverty. The competition for scarce resources at the bottom of our society will increase, as will domestic anger and anti-government violence. Leaders will arise from these circumstances, and they will effectively put a great deal of pressure on the Obama Administration, through demonstrations and more and more radical action. At this point the establishment (the banking and finance industries, and the still powerful remains of the military industrial complex) will insist domestic violence be curbed. Instead of the establishment accepting its just responsibility for our state of internal affairs, it will be the people that that they insist be blamed, spied on, investigated and jailed.

Nothing in Obama's character says he understands the dangers or will chart the right course. In fact, his sudden rise to prominence suggests clearly that he has already been to an unknown degree the creature of others and that he has the ego to be quite willing to serve the powers that be at the expense of the American People, and the Republic. In one grave and unfortunate sense, he seems to be just another Bill Clinton. A big ego, a great speech maker, a clever faker of populist values, but when it comes down to it, he's likely to be entirely establishment to the core.

All the same, the Office of the Presidency does change some people. The crucible of America's descent toward third-world poverty for many many millions of our people, may make him choose a different course. Sometimes the establishment makes a mistake when it supports a fresh face. There might be more grit there than appears on the surface. The one thing that is certain is that the near future is going to be a rough ride, and I'd rather depend on ordinary people instead of any politician, however gifted with potential.

Government is broken and hasn't responded for decades to our real needs (health care, corporate oversight, campaign finance reform - the list is long and sad). The lesson of Katrina will continue until we get it. We, the American People, are on our own, and its far past time our political and social efforts accepted that fact and make it work for us.

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Tue, 14 Apr 2009

No, Goldman Sachs didn't make a profit - that's all a lie - but it did win an economic stealth war.

Big headlines in the Press about Goldman Sachs making a profit and offering new stock so as to pay back the bailout money Congress gave them. Amazing how the Press buys the fables being told now.

First, keep in mind that a great deal of money floated out into the financial world without any way to trace where it went. There is no way, for example, to know how much capital then went to Goldman Sachs because of its dominant position over other financial institutions. Most of what has been done with the bailout money is kept secret. The presence of a winner doesn't mean Goldman Sachs actually made a profit on its basic business, only that the hidden arrangements allowed enough of the free capital (the bailout) to arrive on Goldman Sachs balance sheets in a way where they could pretend they made a profit.

Now that's just the official bailout money of $750 billion. The Federal Reserve has been giving away over two trillion dollars in free capital, with not only no strings attached, but they have actually refused requests by Congress to give any details. Again, Goldman Sachs (mostly by virtue of all the insiders in the government that formerly worked for this investment house) was positioned to be the direct and indirect beneficiary of this largess, for which our children will pay (I've read that a child born today in America already "owes" to the debt money economy a quarter million dollars).

No one, of course, is going to challenge this claim of Goldman Sachs to have made a profit by its wise business practices, because none of the real information can be viewed, digested and examined for its truthfulness. It was all done behind the scenes and out of sight. What we are seeing is the public relations fallout of an economic stealth war in which members of both the Bush II and the Obama administrations participated. To the ongoing huge economic ponzi schemes, we now need to add a three pods and a pea game. The capital is all hidden, and moved around according to insider rules and agreements. We will all pay, and our children and their children and their children will pay.

No wonder the stock market is seemingly "better" in the immediate present. The economic stealth war is in a phase where the winners are pulling their present day winning pots off of the economic poker table, and everyone (in the know) is taking a little break before the next fake hand is dealt from the bottom of the deck.

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Mon, 06 Apr 2009

Understanding Escalating Gun Violence and Related Tragedies

It has been a thesis of this blog for some time now that the world was rapidly approaching a time of escalated social chaos. I could not predict the actual shape of things (Shapes in the Fire) as would arise when they became concrete, but the general aspects were obvious if one troubled to really study human social history, especially that aspect of this that might be called: the evolution of consciousness. See in this regard my essays: The Future; and, The Coming Collapse - civilization on the brink.

During this time it would also be obvious that many sensitive souls would find themselves pushed past their ability to understand the chaos that has entered their lives. When this happens they will fall into despair, and commit suicide or other-directed violence (or both). Their culture offers them no appreciation of what is happening to them or to the world, and left to their own devices, the weaknesses in the soul become too much and they seek an extreme way out.

I wrote in detail about this aspect of matters several years ago in the essay: Beyond Columbine: appreciating the patterns of social meaning hidden in the Columbine tragedy.

The odd, yet strangely poignant aspect of this, is that most of these people are not so much evil as ignored. They live in a world where everyone wears masks, and behind their own mask they feel deeply unseen. It is as if they didn't exist. They live life, but nothing about that life recognizes their existence. Frustrated beyond endurance they are moved to act, by sub-conscious forces deep inside their souls. In a sense we could say that the soul implodes (suicide) and/or explodes (other-directed violence). They are the canaries in the coal mines of the metamorphosis of Western Civilization, which is dying into a new becoming.

Their numbers will grow as the social chaos increases. They need to be a warning to us all to place some of our energies not just in surviving this time in a material sense, but also in a spiritual (inner health) sense. The main thing we need for our souls is simple: company. We need to be able to speak, to share, to listen, and to recognize each other. They can't find this, for seeing themselves as ignored, and living in a culture of masks, what choices do they believe themselves to have?

The social chaos, experienced in acute aloneness, eats away at and crushes their essential being. Their susceptibility to this reveals their subtle inner beauty, for the sensitive souls among us have many gifts to give were we able to draw them out and into a social environment that genuinely wants to know them. They are not just a sign of social collapse, but of the basic social poverty of Western Civilization. It should pass away.

Instead, we see their differences as a wrongness. Their social environment judges them instead of appreciates them. We call them crazy or criminal, and leave them to the jails, the mental institutions, the streets and homelessness. We fire them from their jobs. We divorce them from the family hearth. Wanting to ignore our own pain at wearing a mask and not being recognized, we burrow into our own safe places. We think we too can survive by being alone, when the truth is that we really won't. We are social beings, and more than food and shelter we need each other. There is no greater nourishment for the soul than to be recognized and valued just for existing. Hopefully the next civilization will find a way to be better at this than we are today.

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Some of the Best Political and Social Questions are Old Questions

Number One: The Economy:

To really appreciate, for example, the situation with the economy today, one needs to go back to the time of the Colonies, before the Revolution. At that time many clearly understood the importance of whether or not a Bank issued (printed) the money, or whether the Government issued (printed) the money. If a Bank issued it, debt was attached (the Bank liked to be able to issue the money because it made the Bank richer). If the Government (say a Colony) issued the money there was no debt attached. From a certain point of view, the Revolution was fought over the insistence of the English aristocracy (and the bankers) that the only money in circulation come from the Bank of England. This actually harmed the Colony economies, while benefiting the elites of power and wealth.

This may seem a bit crazy, but if you Google "debt money" you'll find a number of videos explaining this, although I like better the written material created by Richard Kotlarz, as it is a lot deeper and far more balanced: A New View on Money.

The Bankers have succeeded in this war that began even before the Founding, and continued through the Civil War; and, it was lost by the People of America when the Federal Reserve was created in 1919. Its the fundamental terrible secret at the heart of the present banking crisis and why the banks and Wall Street so very much need to keep the present banking system alive.

Now some economists argue (and this bunch can't be trusted whatever side of these questions they come down on, given that none of them talk about this secret), that we have to save the banking system because world wide commerce will then fully tank (a bad bad depression). The thing is people will survive these trials - we have the grit. If we don't fix this, then we will continue to live under a tyranny of financial elites. Obama and his people side with the Banks and Wall Street, not with the People.

Number Two: Science and Religion:

The Creationists (people of Faith) argue against Scientists (people of Reason). Of course religious people can be rational, and scientists have a great deal of faith in their method of seeking knowledge. The present day arguments are superficial (evolution against intelligent design), and ignore the history of this question which is long and can be very enlightening. So on the surface we seem to have Religion and Science at odds with each other. Is there another approach to this?

Now Artists (people of Imagination) bring a different sensibility to these questions. Many, in fact, of our best scientists are religious and artistic (Einstein, Faraday, etc.), and many of our religious are scientific and artistic (De Chardin etc), as well as many of our Artists, who are scientific and religious (Goethe etc.). Truth (reason), Beauty (imagination) and Goodness (devotion), can combine in the human being into a harmonious whole.

The artist (novelist) Neal Stephenson has graced us with some remarkable considerations of the underlying questions dividing science and religion. He first explored this briefly in his fascinating and enjoyable six novels in three volumes (2700 pages) called: the Baroque Cycle. In that last one, The System of the World, as a kind of climax to the question which has lurked throughout the novels, Stephenson invents an imaginary dialog between fictionalized historical characters (Leibniz, Newton and Hanover Princess Caroline) and fully fictional character Daniel Waterhouse. that takes place about the year 1730 in a drawing room in London.

Princess Caroline, aware of a fundamental dispute between Newton and Leibniz over whether or not matter has consciousness, brings these three gentleman into conversation, hoping to settle their disagreement, given that she can see that the future course of human understanding will be quite different according to which point of view prevails. Newton considers that the atom (the smallest part of matter) to be without life or consciousness, and Leibniz considers his monad (his atom) to have both characteristics. All four characters recognize the common (in that day) understanding that the human being is animate matter, and see in each self-animating source some element of free spirit, which chooses the courses of action this collection of matter makes. The conversation runs for about a dozen delightful pages and is very illuminating, although there is no resolution.

This was actually a debated matter among the natural philosophers of that time, expressed in letters and papers. As we know, that set of ideas which Newton represented won the day, and that is where we are now. The point is to recognize that the debate today, between evolution and intelligent design, doesn't get deep enough - doesn't get to the fundamental questions never really resolved by Newton and Leibniz, for the rejection of Leibniz (and others) was never really resolved in a scientific fashion, but was more a question of social dominance. What was important to many in those days was to reject the authority of the Roman Catholic Church over human affairs, including deep scientific questions. If spirit was to be seen as an element of human existence, that left open a great big door through which the Church could continue to dominate reasonable thought, and that fear drove the answer away from any kind of recognition of a Divine element in the Creation.

Darwin was just the triumph of this yearning to escape from the dogmatic religious intolerance of certain conclusions of scientific thinking. Its success was more due to the fact that it offered an alternative to God in the creation of the world, than that it was scientifically viable. For an examination of this problem from a modern specialist in the subtleties of the questions, read: Dogma and Doubt, by Ronald Brady.

Not content with his exposition on these problems in the book, The System of the World, Stephenson has gone on the create a wonderful (albeit somewhat complicated) novel: Anathem, which comes at these many questions in a deep and marvelously entertaining way. Not only does Stephenson deal in this book with the question of matter and spirit, but with many of the surrounding questions as well (what is thought?; what is logic?; etc.).

Number Three: Our Political Future: Again, we have the problem that present day debates are extremely superficial, and therefore miss the point entirely. We need to go back in time to pick up the crucial questions. Lets do that closer in time first.

A wonderful examination of the utility of leaving behind present day thinking can be found in the book Statecraft as Soulcraft, by conservative writer George Will (written 30, years ago when his mind was more flexible). The sub-title is: "what government does". The first chapter is titled: "The Care of Our Time". A fundamental problem posed almost immediately is: "To those who are liberals and to those who call themselves conservatives, I say: Politics is more difficult than you think.".

Most apt is this: "..., there is only one "first question" of government, and it is "How should we live?" or (this is the same question) "What kind of people do we want our citizens to be?"". The book is still in print. It is also worth reviewing The Conscience of a Conservative, by Barry Goldwater (written over 50 years ago). He begins by declaring that the human spirit is divine, and that the whole of our politics is based on maintaining for that spirit as much freedom from government as was possible. For this reason he finds the growth of power in a central (federal) government abhorrent, which led him to trying again and again to remind us that the Founders considered the States to be a more significant power that the United States government (as an issue this is called states rights), with the real ultimate power residing in the People (see the Ninth and Tenth amendments).

This book is flawed, because it is ultimately too ideological (it places theory over social facts). There exists a tension between our ideas of government, and our behavior as citizens. Sometimes the needs of our social conscience as citizens ends up requiring government to act, as it is the only means to solve a problem. Examples include the civil rights movement and the actions of the Warren Supreme Court. The book is out of print, but can be viewed as an html document through Google.

The more we step back in our history, the more we can find a more realistic and more sophisticated discussion of the underlying problems of what it means for a free people to have a government. That is the level at which the modern debate should reside. See in this regard my two books: Uncommon Sense; and, On the Nature of Public Life.

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Sun, 29 Mar 2009

The Real Cause of Our Current Problems - its not the economy stupid!

My video blog plans (noted back on the 30th of June 2008) have not yet realized, but I find that not expressing myself here has been difficult. This one point seem needed, which (assuming my plans do eventually work) will also be on my video Blog, and which might be called at that point: America Sings: Anyway the point as to the cause (in a social-political sense) of our current situation is not the collapse of the mostly air filled financial markets, but rather the complete gridlock that has arisen in the political sphere of humanity.

For decades politicians have been actually able to do very little. They don't understand how societies actually work or their real role. They make short term choices, always, even though they play act like they make long term plans. They are in fact a kind of Masque, a fable of governance that does not in fact govern (lead).

We, the audience, play along. We'd rather have the magic of the Theater than the hard work of real political life (sacrificing our knee-jerk opinions for real knowledge and work at the grunt levels of public life).

What does this mean? It means we too are part of the political gridlock - we don't do our part, plain and simple.

Fortunately, the world is at root of Divine Mystery Drama, and on that Stage, the Author has taken account of the political flaws of our own Character.

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Technorati Profile

[10:18] | [] | # | Technorati Profile" class="noMetaLink" title="GoogleIT!">G

Mon, 30 Jun 2008

The Descent into Social Chaos and the Fires of Purification

This will probably be my last blog entry. In the future my thought will (as long as health permits) be expressed in videos on Youtube, under the subject line: The Teachings of the True White Brother of the Hopi Prophecy. All my blog entries (this and the whole past) I will make into a book form and place on my lulu.com storefront sometime this summer (2008). Here is the link to my storefront.

It should be obvious by now that things are falling apart (apparently). A more accurate way to frame these social dynamics would be that all human biographies are undergoing an intensification of their levels of crisis. This is the Fires of Purification, as predicted by the Hopi Prophecy, as well as by certain aspects of the Christian Gospels: John the Baptist in Matthew 3: 11: "I indeed baptize you with water, for repentance. But he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to bear. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

We now enter a social present and future that cannot be understood without recognizing that the human being is a spiritual being, living in a spirit-ordered world. My book the Way of the Fool explains this in detail (it can be bought on my store front or read for free on my website.

See you on Youtube!

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Tue, 17 Jun 2008

Smoking and Obesity - social control or freedom

People have what are sometimes called: bad habits. What makes them "bad"?

One kind of "bad" is a moral judgment. The act is defined somewhere as a sin, or some such. Another kind of "bad" is ill effects, of which there are two kinds. Ill effects on other people and ill effects on yourself. Lately our society (in the West mostly, in other places in the world the context and the rest of the related factors are different), first smoking and now obesity have come under intense scrutiny for their effects on the rest of us.

We should also keep in mind that money is made and lost for a lot of people in how these things play out. Cigarettes make a lot of money for the corporations that produce them, and also are heavily taxed (taxes of this kind are regressive - that is they are most costly to the underclasses). Given the cultural forces defining beauty, there is also a lot of money made by companies that sell diet plans, products, supplements and so forth.

The studies on secondhand smoke are not very scientific, although this is not told to us. Mostly this kind of scientific investigation is based upon epidemiological studies (statistics of incident correlations among large populations). This kind of science doesn't really know much and assumes a great deal. It can't actually prove a causal relationship between those who are near secondhand smoke and various disease. All they really know is that the incidents of certain disease are higher when some people are exposed to secondhand smoke.

There are also animal studies, but these too have a problem in that usually the effect on the mice and rats (for example) is produced by the application of a excess of the so-called "dangerous" substance. The reality here too is that there are a lot of assumptions involved and not enough real knowledge. Let's look a little closer at obesity to see if we can discover something.

A doctor friend of mine (here's a link to his book), once said to me in conversation that the real cause of obesity is starvation. The body knows its needs, and our food has become so denatured that it actually contains not enough minerals and vitamins to sustain us. Our food also has all the wrong kinds of fats in it as well. The result is that even though we eat a lot, our body continually tells us we are hungry because our real nutritional needs are not being satisfied.

We are then driven to eat and to eat and to eat, trying to receive what we need from the food, but it is not actually in the food. As a consequence (and body type enters in here), for those people who are endomorphic (goolge it) the excess starches aren't eliminated as with other body types, but stored. So when we look at obese people, we are only superficially looking at someone who eats too much. The reality is that they are endomorphic and are starving for real food, and not getting it through what can be found in the grocery store. Presently they are being made social pariahs - outcasts, for something that is really the fault of our society and its profit driven food businesses, coupled with a complete lack of the nutritional knowledge among our medical practitioners. Smoking is similar, but here the problem is in the soul life (that is, it is psychological), not the physical.

Everyone has stress in their life. We all cope with stress in different ways, according to our basic psychological type (what another age called the four temperaments). Yes, of course, the nicotine in cigarettes is addictive, but what is the payoff? Why does the person seek the nicotine in the first place? If we assume it is just because they once tried cigarettes we will not understand, because lots of people try smoking, but not everyone keeps it up, and fewer still make it a lifetime habit. If we assume there is a genuine psychological need, what might we find if we looked for it?

The four temperaments are: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic. A choleric wants to be a leader, has a strong ego sense and would rather be a boss than a worker. Sometimes such people are called: the nervous type. We also sometimes call them nervy. They go to the front. They go after what they want in a direct way. In a lot of biographies, however, this impulse is frustrated. They want to go to the front, but can't. Their nervy impulse is impeded.

As a consequence they are drawn to nicotine to relax. The cigarette calms them. A worker who is a choleric, but has a sanguine boss (a sanguine can't make up his mind), will always be frustrated by the boss, because the choleric sees how they would do it, how they would make a decision and go for it.

I could say a lot more, but here I just wanted again to point out that we live in a culture that is very much ignorant of a lot of the truth about human beings, and for complicated reasons tends to make some groups the bad guy. Some readers here will have perhaps understood that we can only change ourselves, not the world and not the other guy. But the common impulse today is also to want the world to change, so people think that they can fix the world by forcing other people to change. This is an unhealthy social impulse, because it is rooted in ignorance, and as a consequence will not only not really work, but actually cause harm.

There are better ways to do a lot of things, and the ways to help smokers and fat people is not by social control over their freedom. Enough said,...if you don't get the point, there isn't anything more I can offer to help you find the right direction.

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Mon, 09 Jun 2008

The Delusion of Hope

A lot of people are in agreement, or so it seems. Barack Obama will be our next president. His grand themes: hope and change.

Lets not make the mistake of thinking carelessly about this fact, however. Hope and change can be addictive kinds of ideas, in large part because they are so vague. The listener gets to fill in the blank so to speak. These ideas call to our imagination of what we might want the future to reveal, and by their very vagueness they enable us to imagine that our hopes for change are what is to come.

That a politician speaks like a preacher should not surprise us either. There he is with his face upraised, looking to us all like he sees a brighter future. In tone of voice and posture he sings his song - see, he says, we can find better days. It is intoxicating, which is why I called it an addiction, and want to offer here some serious caution.

The fact is during the whole of his campaign he had no real concrete ideas about what to do. Oh, he sketched stuff out, but everywhere this concrete content was carefully analyzed it didn't pass muster. Just more empty calorie political bullshit. A new face and even some new words, but at heart its all the same tired old promises.

In my earlier political writing I pointed out that we could elect a saint to the White House and little would change, because the problem is not who is president, or which party controls, but the very substance of the institutions themselves. The problems with the economy, with the War in Iraq, with just about any issue you can name - these problems are symptoms of something. They are not the fundamental illness, and newer band-aides on older already rotting band-aids isn't going to change anything.

There is a need for change, and perhaps even a reason for hope. But Barack Obama is part of the problem, and to the extent he sells us the opiate of a delusion, he serves other masters than the People of America. We'll get feel good speeches, but no reform of banking, no reform of the electoral processes, no reform of the military-industrial complex, no real change.

The good in this is that as time goes on, more and more people are going to recognize that government (at least as presently constituted) belongs to the Lords of Finance, and that we are pretty much on our own (remember the lesson of Katrina). The kind of economic downturn we are facing is just a very slow moving Katrina-like social process - what I have elsewhere called "the third-worlding" of America. Once we accept being on our own though, then we can actually start to do something, but that is a story for another time.

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Joel Wendt

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