AMERICA, the Myth and the Dream

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CarmelaBear
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AMERICA, the Myth and the Dream

Post by CarmelaBear » Mon May 16, 2016 2:33 pm

The land itself is real estate of remarkable quality and quantity that represents about 6.6% of the surface of the earth. It was taken by removing and murdering the indigenous population. The people of this mythic nation, who number less than 5% of world population, are spread across the planet, engaged in enterprises both helpful and damaging.

The idea of a union of local colonial states was formalized in a written set of principles immortalized in the late 1700's and claimed to establish the rule of law. Founded by propertied white, northern European men, it has always been the home of a combination of people who are not at all like the national founders. In the abstract, it represented an ideal. In form, it was a fragile dream, and as ideas go, it remains more metaphor than reality, more experiment than truth, more an evolving mythological tale than a constitutional government of the people, by the people, for the people. The idealistic mythology upon which the nation was founded, both political and cultural, remains the envy of the world despite well-known shortcomings. America is a work in progress, and it represents the art of balancing enormous complexities.

America is unique in the world in the unjustly harsh and excessive imprisonment of people who fit the social construct of a criminal and who also fit the mythic profile of the male of African descent and/or having a social status that shares elements of that profile (like poverty and other markers). In matters of domestic injustice, the U.S. is most certainly exceptional both throughout the history of humanity and throughout all of the territories and states of the world. The nation creates the myth of the criminal and has developed an entire industry to fill prisons to house those who bear a resemblance to that myth. U.S. citizenry is blissfully ignorant of the fact that violent crime is now a rare event and that all forms of crime, (however artificially manufactured), have been dropping dramatically for decades, without significant causal connection to the workings of the industrialized criminal court system.

No other nation controls the unprecedented number of impersonal machines that spy human prey from the air and indiscriminately reign death upon innocents in a thinly veiled effort to manufacture terrorists, who were once farmers before their children were slaughtered by hovering, silent foreign drones. The impoverished rural tribal individual is being deliberately and knowingly radicalized in order to justify the massive funding of a war on terror that is actually challenging to continue, because Americans are slowly becoming less enthusiastic about the longest war America ever purchased.

The original terrorists who caused a panic response from the executive branch of government after the events of 9/11, were a small band of dissidents from a country that is a dysfunctionally patriarchal national ally. Current enemies are the people from other countries, ideologically distant from the original group, whom the gods of war have provoked with unspeakable violence. The Pentagon and Wall Street are gloating over the resulting refugee migrations flooding into rival nations who have little influence on American foreign interventionist adventures.

America, whose drones and internet connections know absolutely no boundaries, are influential beyond numbers. The U.S. mythology of governance is in such a fragile state that the economy is currently floating inside a financial bubble of global proportions. U.S. companies that started out as innovators of useful technology are now behaving like financial institutions, distracted by the circus juggling of ideas about ownership and debt through something the gods of money mistake for real riches.

Consumers cannot spend money they are not earning, and commerce is no longer about trading anything real. It has come to be defined by the finance circus that buys and sells abstract nothing, while a few pretend to control a digital empire they think might pass for "wealth". People who once relied on banks to start or develop a business cannot look to banks for cash, because the banks are engaged in trading capital within an exceptionally exclusive fantasy that has grown so mythical that it sends shock waves across the horizon of reality.

America's myth is nothing if not captivating, but beware the artful confidence dealer. Until one has been taken in and suffers the consequences, it is almost impossible to believe that such a charming myth can bring about such awful results in the daily lives of individuals and nations everywhere.

~

So sayeth CarmelaBear.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Roncooper » Mon May 16, 2016 8:04 pm

Carmela,

That was beautifully written. In my opinion as long as the haves are too stupid to share there isn't much hope. The answer is to enlighten the rich and powerful, which is why I used to go on and on about a new mythology that contained a code of honor for the world person. I don't do that anymore.

One of my heroes is Gandhi. He had a great way to make a point. He would use extreme examples to make things clear. I remember one of his sayings about sharing wealth. I will paraphrase.

If you have two chairs give one to the poor. Why do you need two chairs? (implying you only have one butt)

I love that.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon May 16, 2016 10:22 pm

I'm a pushover for sweet words, Ron. Unfortunately, you are just about alone in your admiration. If these words were valued, I would owe taxes and be liable for every learner 's error. As it is, this unfettered freedom of expression comes from having other resources, like an extraordinary education and a good bit of dumb luck.

The resources of the so-called "have-nots" are always subject to comparison, but they begin with good character and health as reflected in the remarkable statistics on the extreme falling of the number of crimes being committed. These things, taken together, provide a quality and length of life that nourishes joy and creates a safe haven for love and fulfilling work. Money is a quantity, Ron, not something of inherent or significant quality nor the best measure of equality. It is easier for us to count dollars in checking accounts than it is to appreciate the value of living to 90 with a ready grin and a good friend.

I get a whopping $598 each month to live. My benefactors are the American taxpayers, who are trillions in debt for providing me with old age checks and medical insurance. Without local government, private charity and friendship, I would be under a bridge or in a cardboard box. I have access to the internet and computers, a chance to take classes at the university and a bus pass. All I have to do is take care of myself, and that's what I do with every judgmental and irritable utterance on this forum. It's a tonic for someone with no patience for the psychopathic killers we call "leaders".

They are not rich. We are. We have what is eminently worth having. They live in a virtual world where words cover up murder and thievery and the destruction of our planet on a massive scale. The millions and billions cost their owners much more than our nickels and dimes will ever cost us. We should pity the poor souls who trade appearances for true and lasting substance.

Our math is best symbolized by pi, that irrational number too big to be contained and too important to be denied.

*** Hi-Hi! Miss American Pi. Drove the wealthies round the corner, and our circle was high. Good old boys are thinking beer-pizza pie, singing "This will be the day that I die."

~
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Mon May 16, 2016 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon May 16, 2016 11:12 pm

The most important thing to know about sharing is that you cannot give what you do not own. The wealthy could give us all their money and we would not be better off or more equal. If you take all the money and divide it equally, we would be unable to function as a society. Money is a construct, like religion and novels and poetry. It is the metaphor of trade, commerce and economics. Most of all, it is emotional and intensely political.

Politicians know they won't be elected unless they promise jobs to workers and a free ride to wealthy donors. Their contributors and voters will not tolerate truth, because it comes from Political Independents (PI's) like me (still a member of the Democratic Party, but not a mindless follower of the party line). I'm irrationally and emotionally attached to the idea that drones and stock options are not the keys to peace and prosperity.

The big wigs are not our superiors. If they don't own love, then they have nothing to give. If America cannot appreciate why the assassination of Osama Bin Laden was a betrayal of core values, then this chat room has all the chairs, and they haven't so much as a leg to stand on.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Roncooper » Tue May 17, 2016 2:48 am

I remember a line from "It's all right ma, I'm only bleeding," by Bob Dylan. He sings "money doesn't talk, it swears." That is a line I have repeated many times over the years.

What I meant by sharing was paying for the education of 1,000 children rather than buying a new yacht.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by Andreas » Tue May 17, 2016 7:16 am

These songs are nice but Bob Dylan certainly seemed to enjoy the money this song made. I dont judge him because he made money but the current neurosis of our societies is hypocrisy. Its nice to talk but do you walk the walk when things get hard?

Carmela, what a I learned from the current events in Greece is that people vote according to their best interest. That's why Greece is in such a mess now. I hold people responsible for it.

An argument can be made, I guess, that politicians lie and that people are ignorant but I am not sure that is an excuse or even if it is true. Politicians sell what people want to buy but while the wrapping is luxurious the gift is broken. If people knew when to have enough maybe that should be enough for a healthy society but...

That being said,

here in Greece for a part time job, 6 hours, you get paid for 300 euros. And that is working for a healthy company that makes hundred of millions euros every year. Yeap owned by the Soible company. Impossible to live with that money, its not enough.

Anyways.
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu May 19, 2016 7:03 am

Roncooper wrote: What I meant by sharing was paying for the education of 1,000 children rather than buying a new yacht.
I am WAY too moralistically righteous and preachy for anyone's good. That wagging the finger thing that I do in writing is amazingly obnoxious and automatic, like breathing. The thing about money folk educating children is that they themselves are adult children who are drinking the spiked sugar Kool-Aid. They appear to be in dire need of owning the feeling of ownership, Their intense insecurities are driving everyone toward a dangerous future. They do not FEEL like they own the money in their portfolios, and those feelings are due to some seriously practical and, yes, genuinely moral concerns. In their world, money issues are deeply emotional and, well...complicated.

I'm not sure morality is the answer. I think they do what they do in response to the immediate forces in their lives, which are remarkably ordinary. They enter an elevator and get a look from one person and they are changed for the whole rest of the day. After such a seemingly innocuous event, that guy may NEED the yacht to survive emotionally just as I need another episode of Longmire. It's disconcerting and disappointing in triplicate, and being in such situations makes people impervious to guilt trips. Such trivia as yachts and TV shows are the entitlements of just being alive in a real human body that was plunked unceremoniously into the lap of luxury.

Back when I was caregiving, I could never be persuaded to feel guilty about watching TV, and I doubt the money-cashy guy cares what anyone thinks of his choices. He's got pressures and responsibilities that are just as compelling as any other human's, and his answers to problems serve many of the same, mundane needs felt by the most worthy and innocent child. There are so many ways to be needy. Poverty is only one way.

Who will pay for the education of the wealthy man who holds multiple advanced degrees and can't feel secure, because what he always wanted was to be the first trillionaire in all of human history so that his mommy might be proud of him?

In some universe, far, far away, the financialization of the economy is nothing more complex than individuals wanting to live up to a standard. It is artificial and it was created for another purpose. The dollars were meant to be a measuring rod for success and self worth. Remember the Medici family who purchased a Renaissance, after all. Their family fortune may have proved to be a curse, but our modern age owes a debt to the achievements of a greedy and violent family of Italians who made the Mafia look like rank amateurs.

As for me, I know too much about politics and leadership to envy presidents or candidates for president. However, I am too ignorant to resist a green-eyed view of Jesus and Buddha and Gandhi. What sort of worm ate my brain and soul for breakfast?

[And what did I do with that remote control? I thought I left it close by. Oh, blazes!]

~
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Fri May 27, 2016 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu May 19, 2016 7:26 am

Andreas wrote: Carmela, what a I learned from the current events in Greece is that people vote according to their best interest. That's why Greece is in such a mess now. I hold people responsible for it.

An argument can be made, I guess, that politicians lie and that people are ignorant but I am not sure that is an excuse or even if it is true. Politicians sell what people want to buy but while the wrapping is luxurious the gift is broken. If people knew when to have enough maybe that should be enough for a healthy society but...
There may be some places and some times where messy politics look good, but how can such experience be truly pleasant or satisfying? The price of victory can be impossibly high. Progress can be too incremental to save us. It can be shocking and cataclysmic.

Remember the high hopes of the world when Obama was first elected? It seems so long ago now. The new symbols are too well known to allow us to offer them the benefit of the doubt. We have excellent reasons to be wary of this next chapter in the American saga. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Andreas » Thu May 19, 2016 12:10 pm

Yeah I remember. It was the same here in Greece with the leftish party SYRIZA. That was the last time I went to vote... no really... dont wanna waste my time lol.

I dont follow the politics there but I guess America is in for a shit storm, pardon my language, if Trump wins..Human stupidity never ceases to amaze me.
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
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Post by JamesN. » Fri May 20, 2016 4:03 pm

Carmela; I spotted something this morning that I thought might fit this thread. Given your legal background the ideas this argument poses might also fit with something not only myself but others I think have been wrestling with as well. So I will try to lay out my thoughts as to the framework this dilemma seems to present and you can go from there.


1.) In a discussion concerning legal and societal obligations Clemsy brought up the important concept of the "Social Contract" which to me represents the very foundation upon which the rule of law rests. This description is particularly good I think.



http://www.iep.utm.edu/soc-cont/



2.) The US has been referred to as the "Great Social Experiment"; and given the proposition that this is a free and open Democracy; where different points-of-view are able to work out their differences within a certain legal system, framework, or court-of-law this country has lasted well over 2 centuries. The perception of what is fair, right, ethical, or at least contributing in some way to the notion of the pursuit of "Justice" may be difficult at times to ascertain; so hence there are questions that might often be raised such as: "What exactly is Justice?"; and "What are the obligations and boundaries that a legal system should serve"; (yes; including religion as well as moral and legal; the rights of the "Individual"; along with what might also be understood as: "The Greater Good")?


3.) Joseph Campbell has quoted where he felt the "Virtue Manager" to be one of the real problems within modern society.

Joseph:
" You know, the virtue manager is the real curse of the modern world, I think. The one who's got rightousness on his side and knows that everyone else is to be corrected ". ( From an interview of Joseph Campbell by Tom Collins - " In Context, A Quarterly of Humane Sustainable Culture - Winter 1985/ 19 " ).



So my issue here has to do with how one navigates the various perceptions offered as to what is ethical, moral, and humane within a society or social framework that is constantly at odds with itself in the way perception is crafted so that one can reach some reasonable and workable solution.


(Here is a news story from this morning that I think perfectly frames this issue.):


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/us/an ... .html?_r=0

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/o ... nen-223390


The first impression is "Classes in Ethics" for anyone in the legal system would be a good thing. But upon further examination one realizes; ( depending on which point of view is being offered): that how this debate is being presented by way of manipulated perception is the real clue to whose agenda is really being served. (Movie quotes about "telling the truth" from a judge who is posing as a "Virtue Manager"; even though a portion of his political viewpoint is obviously correct; is at the same time attempting to sway public opinion toward overturning a Supreme Court decision to benefit a certain Conservative agenda; (or if you will: "a pot calling the tea kettle black"). Our country represents a "melting pot" of many cultures; yet the social stereotype is often referred to as "one people"; and I think here is where part of the problem lies within the term: "American Citizen" which is utilized as a political device that is used as a wedge to separate public opinion into different camps.

So my concern here is not so much about the political stance that is being taken; but about the reader who is attempting to assimilate the information. This to me is one of the main concerns that has to do with the "social climate" going forward and the maintenance of what might be considered as a civilized society. Especially when one contemplates the upcoming election season and the "vitriol" it will produce; much less the severity of it's lingering toxic after-effects. In many ways I think our ability to "Lean Toward the Light" may depend upon our ability to discriminate by reading between the lines of whatever (moral stance) is being offered at any given time; but finding "common ground" may prove to be more difficult than in times past as shown with these articles as an example.

See what you think.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sun May 22, 2016 10:59 am

James, the theory about the Social Contract relies upon important and dreadfully incorrect assumptions. One of the assumptions is that "society" does not, in real life, refer to an exclusive group of people who are supposed to be especially tasked with managing the behavior of those who are identified as a threat to everyone. In America, the self-appointed managers are those who exercise power. Opposed to the contract theory is the idea that power differences exclude and silence whoever happens to be on the other side of the power coin. If Obama wins the Supreme Court joust, the immigrants will have demonstrated that they have the capacity to both raise and impose a particular view on the moral issues involved with deporting workers. On the other side, if the federal judge gets his way, the states can continue to wag their fingers at all of us for presuming that federal deportation laws do not trump concerns about equality and fairness.

There are class and race and gender conflicts that are beginning to be resolved in favor of the victims of excessive fear (ie, the 99%, ethnic and racial groups, women and children). This massive change has awful consequences for those who have long maintained familial and tribal loyalties as descendants of northern European males. Demographics are changing, and the economy is battering those who were once protected by their own people. No one is more vicious toward the outsider and the dispossessed than someone who was led to believe that he would be immune from those same conditions. What we are witnessing is the lead-up to a tipping point, when oppressed majorities will not only become a coalition of majority rule, but the perpetrators of the exact same injustices once meted out exclusively by the original bullies who designed this mess in the first place.

If the national coalition of the dispossessed and the dishonored begin to take on the work of bullying those who once oppressed them, there will be no real progress. It will be a simple swing of the pendulum.


Well-intentioned humanitarianism would lead to the kind of nasty social changes we witnessed when the mentally ill were no longer housed in giant institutions that punished people for annoying others or otherwise being unable to function at a minimal level. Human behavior is not the same as status issues, and when public officials try to distinguish intolerable conduct from social intolerance born of fear, "hate" or other emotion, laws become an impediment to offering "quality of life" to everyone. Criminal law in America tends to turn into tribal warfare, group against group, and it's not about actual violence or truly intolerable misconduct. It's about color and gender and class and image and myth and emotional overreaction.

Many of our homeless and poor are the very same people who were let out of oppressive snake pits. Because of a lack of planning and care, the legitimate needs of this population, (as well as the society into which they were unceremoniously deposited), have never been effectively addressed. The obvious consequences of letting people out of prison would be similar, on a grand scale, unless we design compensating social structures that would actually lift people out of their oppression on both sides of this awful coin. The rest of society needs an economy that provides substantive opportunities for everyone, not just jobs. Satisfying work within a supportive social context is not measured in the employment statistics, and those who are trapped in the job of filling prison beds or deporting immigrants need to be released from their burdens, too.

Yes, we can allow immigrants to stay and work, and such an outcome would lead to our having to assume serious responsibility to the entire society to ensure that everyone else has an equal chance to hold a job or develop a business or manage their own lives so that we all have the benefit of better conditions, good physical and emotional health, and a real feeling of security. None of the candidates or public officials are saying anything to reassure me that they understand this particular dilemma that applies to all of society; a society that must include the Trump populists, supremacists and misguided ignoramuses.

The conservatives are afraid of liberals, and sometimes liberals only scare their opponents more than they already are. It is my hope that most Americans, both conservative and liberal are becoming more aware of the dire consequences of extravagant and volatile panic reactions to ordinary social change. As a culture, America switched from ketchup to salsa, and I can only hope that Americans know that the nation can continue to maintain a social order that is inclusive.

The irony is that no matter how bad things get, the actual conduct of Americans has become less violent and more civilized to a significant degree for a number of decades.

~

So sayeth CarmelaBear.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:45 pm

The events in Orlando, Florida are tragic, and I can only express sadness for the loved ones of the victims in the tragic shooting incident.

~

It is impossible to avoid worrying about the possibility of moral panic that often follows such events, and the imperial presidency that deliberately provokes such events to justify the continuation of undemocratic and bully tactics like the horrible drone program that assassinates suspects and anyone within striking distance, including thousands of children and other completely innocent people:

http://drones.pitchinteractive.com/


Americans and Israelis view themselves as victims in spite of a long history of being bitterly imperialistic perpetrators. While private individuals are less violent, our institutions permit public individuals to behave like savages and tyrants, because the U.S. feels sorry for itself. Aw, poor America! So oppressed by the consequences of conduct that makes so much sense to a nation utterly blind to climate change and the risk inherent in military and economic domination.

It's a bubble that will burst. The cost of lording it over the world will eventually lead to economic ruin, which is what brought down all the other empires. The presidency is now being offered to people who get elected by bragging about who they will kill for the poor, miserable, suffering, righteous people of the United States.

Well, I don't have to participate in this horrible drama. I can join most of America in opting out of the electoral process of selecting executioners and insane assassins to do the bidding of those who think killing is necessary, arming the world is good for the economy and provoking whole populations is somehow justified. I do not believe that Clinton is better than Trump. She's just another version of the same imperialistic blindness. The advantage of Trump, like Reagan, is that the arrogance of the reality television man is so objectionable that with him in the Oval Office, there is a better chance of a real backlash, which is the only hope I see on the horizon. Clinton, like Obama, is tolerated too much. We put up with the bully nonsense from empty symbols of equality. Trump is a full-out symbol of bigotry and hatred, and if he is elected, I hope he will inspire the kind of open outrage and political action that would be completely appropriate under an African American or a female despot.

America is in trouble, and I am so aware that I sound like a moral ingrate. I lash out. In truth, folks like me are the beneficiaries of the empire. We take our safety and well-being for granted, as if it were a birthright. The gods of war spit blood, and I just judge. I should not judge. I should understand and look for how the problems can be identified and addressed.

Problem No. 1 is that my country has no idea how powerful it is. It does not comprehend the effects and results and consequences of public or private actions. This is awful for those who are misunderstood by us. The worst of our institutions is the Central Intelligence Agency, which is completely secret, remarkably incompetent and utterly unaware....criminally unaware....of how ineffective covert operations directly and immediately cause the world to be absolutely justified in hating Americans like me. If my 1970's boyfriend raped me, he did it as a response to the audacity of the white people of the U.K. and the U.S. who killed and oppressed his Kikuyu people in Kenya. He raped me for being the princess-like beneficiary of national aggression against his own tribe. I understand both his actions and the actions of the British colonials and the American global entrepreneurs and militarists. I get it. I was in the wrong place for a short while and in a remarkably privileged place the rest of the time. I have no cause for complaint.

I enjoy the wealth and power of a nation bent on domination. I have no right to suffer this prosperity or this savage hegemony. Being raped was just the price I paid to be able to write this, and to feel free to shower in all this glorious bliss of time and place. The man who committed the act of violating my body was under the same impression as those who use drones. It's exactly the same. They are both doing something they believe is necessary, justified and beyond reproach, just as I feel that my words here are necessary, justified and beyond reproach. We simply behave like humans, who are the most insane species on the planet. We are destroying ourselves.

Each one participates. We benefit from all this. We glory in it. I'm not better than Obama or Clinton or Trump. I'm just so far outside the loop that I can take the high moral ground as if I were somehow morally superior. I'm not. I'm just like all the imperialists. I am awful.



Now, I'm going to stop typing, make a bowl of popcorn and watch a wickedly delicious television series, "Scandal", as if the massacres are just another blip on the screen. Why? Because I want to salvage the day by being completely out of the loop. I don't have to engage in conversations with folks who believe the community is under siege from hordes of invading youth from tribes far away and outside the civil religion of the worldwide American empire, because I am independent enough to decide to stop and get through this in my own way.

Ever the princess...

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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