Category Archives: philosophy/mysticism

Now just One Minute

I remember, when I was a bit younger, hearing that the life of a butterfly, once freed from the prison of its cocoon, lived for only a day.  I’m not sure how true that is as the Monarch Butterfly lives for six months, if memory serves.  Even if it is rarely true it is still an interesting fact.  I always wondered if that single day of life felt like a single day to the flutterby?  Does it feel as short as it sounds?

When I was about the age of 10 years I was struck by a strange near fatal illness.  I have always been under the impression that it was diphtheria, but I don’t know that as fact.  When I think about the butterfly flutteringby for its single day I wonder how long that passing day seems to the little critter.   I wonder if the butterfly can even conceive of the notion of time much less one as complicated as ours.  I wonder what it would be like for a lifetime to be such that the first half occurred in the light and the second half in the dark.  There is a point to this, I think.

We humans are quite curious in the way we understand our world.  Appointments, work schedules, bank accounts, credit cards, maps and countries are just a few numbers we use in almost every moment of our existence.  Nations, distance between cities and the diameter of our little planet and even the date of our birth and death are other numbers we use often.  Complicated ideas like force and velocity are also based on these strange numbers.  Weight, which is the effect of gravity on mass, length, height and time allow us as intelligent beings to develop an understanding of our reality.  These things, weight, length, time are metrics or units of measure are created by we humans and we accept them for the sake of simplicity.  They do not exist on their own in nature, there is a tree that grows yard sticks, meters, kilogram measures or seconds.  In my experience that is where the weirdness begins.

I don’t feel the passage of time naturally.  A clock does it for me but with out one I have no sense of time what so ever, unless I am smoking, tobacco.  Yes, I know it is bad for me.  Its been like that since my breakdown.  Maybe it was different in the respect of feeling times passage pre-breakdown but I have no point of reference, after all it was a long time ago.

I know this sounds crazy.

Really it came home to me after my fathers passing, when the ancient photos of a life so foreign to me came  back out into the world.  I knew the people in the photographs and yet I didn’t know them.  They were like a glimpse into a world that never existed even though I was pretty sure they had.

Over these many years with my strange occasional bouts of melancholy as though something had been lost, a thing that could never be regained, I found myself wondering as to the very nature of that thing.  After The old man’s death, when I became the old man, that sense had become exquisite ad sweet like some exotic food or strained alien mental sensation.

I wondered if I too was dead.

Would I know if I were?

Have my last many years of life been like that of the butterfly, just a day or a few hours as death was in the process of taking me?  I don’t think I would know the difference.  We have such definite ideas about the world but all of them are based on the measurement of our perceptions.

I find my self perplexed by the idea that these many years may be nothing more than phantasms of my dying brain.  My wife and friends and all these efforts to express my thoughts and even my brothers all figments of a sequence of neurons firing in those last few minutes while I lay in a hospital at the age of ten dying.

Does any of this really matter?

I think not.

Look for your Muse.  Only she can be your guide.

Equality under the Law

It is a phrase that we hear from time to time, depending on what we read, watch or listen to, that no one is above the law.  The law that is being discussed is either civil or criminal law, it is the law of and for citizens.  Every country, just about, has these laws on both a national and local level.  In my watching, listening and reading experience, when this phrase is used, no one is above the law, it is in the political arena.  It becomes apparent in the debate that this term is commonly applied to our political leadership and or our captains of industry.  For instance, the term war criminal gets bandied about one political or corporate leader here or there.  Kissinger, George W Bush, Barack Obama and soon, I am sure, Donald Trump will all stand accused of one crime or another the most interesting being a War Criminal.   Who is accused is largely partisan although there are some dissident voices from both extremes, left and right who seem to apply the term with an even hand.  There is a problem though, with the term, as it has little to do with civil or criminal law.  It deals with the laws of and between Nations, International Law.

This is where the weird and illuminating difficulty lies hiding.  There is the same problem with in International Law that there is with in national law.  That problem is that some nations are above the law and others under it lay.  It is evident that great nations or powers benefit from the laws of nations while weaker nations or states find that they are bound by these laws.  This becomes most apparent with respect to War Crimes. The side that wins the war, the most powerful, in American vernacular the winners, have never be tried for war crimes, they will never be seriously accused, in effect war crimes and the laws that define them do not apply.  In other words, regardless of lofty rhetoric War Crimes are exactly that, words designed to get a response and nothing more.  These Crimes are for the Losers, also a term common in American phraseology.

This may seem cold at first but there is a point.  While good citizen’s of the United States worry over serial killers and wax rabid about the crimes of great corporations horrendous things, criminal actions are being undertaken in our name.  At the very least that is how the victims of these actions see it.  The United States is not alone hear, it is in interesting company to say the least.  China, Russia and a couple of key members of that group of nations collectively known as the west, principally England and France.  Notice that The United States, Russia, China, England and France all have one thing in common, they are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.  Nothing passes with out their agreement, each has the ability to veto any measure the general assembly tries to pass and none of these nations has ever had to have any of its leaders, civilian or military face the charge of War crimes with the possible exception of France.  Instead they prefer the charge of treason.

Why am I talking about this?

We talk about peak oil, terrorism, global warming, nuclear war and other threats to our liberty and our lives.  The system, even the internet system, has away of putting our fears and problems on another level like a land separate or better yet a distant planet.  The secrecy that national security requires and our own elite notions of ourselves as a nation has put us in an unusual position.  We have faced the abyss and closed our eyes instead of taking the leap, letting our own eye wander inwards to survey our own inner world not only as individuals but as a people.  We as a people, I am beginning to believe that this a problem that effects all of humanity, have been put to the test and found lacking.  We are Morally corrupt and have no grasp of ethics while at the same time, we are sitting on a pile of the most destructive weapons ever conceived in written history.  Nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional weapons that until now were unimaginable in the hands of corrupt, confused or simply stupid politicians leading a populations dazzled by bright lights and shiny things or lost in the shadows.  People worry about global warming or rising opiod addiction as the war drums begin to bang and sabers rattle.  The idea of War Crimes like the death penalty, is as a deterrent to violent acts of aggression.  If a person or group of people are above this law then they have no consequences to worry them.

That’s real power, the lack of consequences.  So when the Trump haters and the Trump lovers are dukeing it out in the street and as the war over what words are legal and which are not continue just try and keep that in the back of your mind.  The current President is the type of leader that can find himself trapped in his own rhetoric and then boom.

It won’t be the end, just major set back with lots of pain all around.

That is the thing about Power.  It isn’t the wealth, the admiration of the masses, all the free or cheap stuff, the comfort, multitudes of people to boss around, markets to establish, resources to exploit or the access to the worlds best medical care, it is the absence of consequences.  Real power can kill and rape on a scale that would make Ted Bundy or Charles Manson’s eyes turn green with envy.  Like the old saying goes, Kill one man and you are a murder, kill a million and you are a conqueror.  That is the problem with power.  That is why so many desire it and why it will be our undoing.

We are entering an interesting time.  I can only offer this advice, mostly to myself.  When the abyss finally opens at my, our, feet don’t close your eyes and I won’t close mine either.  Always give those you love a hug. Finally always try and remember that you are blessed.

Have a better than average day.

The Power of Hesitation

It is easy, I have found, to get caught up in the moment.  The mob is both frightening and enticing.  Once caught in its grasp there is this shifting of responsibility away from the individual  to the seething throbbing whole.  In this surrender of free will one find’s themselves trapped without feeling trapped,  Now if you are into this sort of thing then you can feel free to stop reading,  This is a piece about exercising free will and its not for everyone.

Any given individual is either a part of an event, acting with in their own sense of agency or in a neutral, observer state.  Rephrase, we are reacting, acting or hesitating.  The professor who taught the Action Theory class I suffered through back in college, one Doctor Robins, might have referred to this as a folk analysis or a folk understanding.  Well everybody has to start somewhere.   We do not just live in a world of events, we also live in a world of agents.  This is why an understanding, in an individual sense, is so important.  This debate, in my limited experience, breaks down between Predestiny (Determinism) verses Free Will (Action Theory).  Determinism is the idea that whatever choice you make today, at this second is based on all of the previous events, experiences and choices that you have made in the past.  Action Theory is dependent on the idea of Agency.

Agency means that some entities are actors and that they possess a thing or an ability that allows them to act that is known as Will.  There is an intellectual tendency to choose a camp but I prefer the quantum equivalent.   That any given individual exists in two states simultaneously.   The predestined state and the free will state coexist and that our resting state is the predestined state.  In the Predestined state we are simply reacting to the events taking place around us.  There is no exercise of free will.  Think of it like breathing.  You do it with out thought, it requires no exercise of will, it simply is.  A person simply breaths because their body demands it.

On the other hand there is Agency.  We are all born with this ability, we are all made to be Free Agents and we all have Free Will.  The choice, though, is like a muscle, it has to be exercised.  There is where the problem lies.  How can any individual tell the difference between a reaction and a choice, choice in this case requiring the exercise of Free Will?

This is where hesitation becomes important, the previously mentioned third state.  If one carefully observes others they have the opportunity to notice instant reactions when they occur, like the knee jerk response.  I swear to you I have seen people jerk their knee when they hear something or see something that they instinctively react to negatively.  Hesitation takes a great exercise of will.  It also involves some risk.  When The Christ stated turn the other cheek, he is talking about denying the reaction and concentrating on the action.  The act of Hesitating has to become trained, instinctive, it is through the act of Hesitating that any individual might be able to begin to detect the difference between reacting and acting.  Hesitating is an exhaustive process as it denies the instinctive response.  It also requires that part of the individuals attention constantly be cast inward in a semi reflective state.  Any one following this path needs a quiet space where they can just be.  This will give them the opportunity to rest and recuperate.  The path of Hesitation takes discipline and patience.  In time the difference between the two states, reacting and acting, will become easily discernible.  This will give the individual the opportunity to act when they think or feel they must and save their energy for pursuits closer to the heart.

The test is a simple one.  People, especially educated people, are experts at pushing other peoples buttons.  That is saying or doing something that will provoke a reaction.  So the next time some one hits you, out of the blue and for no apparent reason, or says a thing that cuts deep, that causes your body to scream and demand a response, hesitate.  While hesitating watch the reaction of the provocateur.

That is where the real education begins.

Deep State Clues (2/3)

Before I continue I need to acknowledge that not every thing mentioned here is my own idea.  I mean I’d like to think it was my own thinking but I am not entirely sure that this is true.  At the end of the final installment I will include a list of references for your perusal.  I encourage everyone to think this through, it may help them maintain some form of sanity and assist in any effort to make a better life out of what ever is leftover.

So what is setting of my psycho vibe?  It seems to me that the last election might be something that Scott has labeled a Deep Event.  That’s not to say that Peter Dale Scott himself has called the election a Deep Event, just that he coined the term.  A Deep Event is a event that for just a moment reveals the existence of the Deep State.  It allows the citizenry to get a glimpse at something that is normally hidden from view.  Either that or it was an amazing piece of choreography put on with precise and flawless perfection by all whom were involved, which I find highly unlikely.

What I am referring to here is the election of Donald Trump.  Now take a breath, I am not now nor have I ever been a Trump supporter but I admit that he is our President and I try to show him some respect.  To put it mildly this was a major surprise to Both the Trump Campaign and the Clinton Campaign, it was an even bigger shock to the media and the Congress.  I guess there was a far larger population of deplorables and conspiracy theorists out there than previously indicated in the polls.  What?  You didn’t poll any one on those topics?  Oooops. These statements were incredibly divisive and if the population were a regular minority group all the bitching and whining would have stopped by now.  Instead we have developed an extremely polarized electorate and I suspect you all ready know about that.

Believe it or not this is going to take us into the Russia Hack Ordeal primarily because Congress was equally freaked out, temporarily.  The reason The election freaked congress and the media out was because they didn’t think it could happen.  It indicates a shift in the electorate’s voting habits, luckily it wasn’t severe.  I know that there has been a serious feeding frenzy around the Trump Presidency but realistically the shock could have been much worse.  The electorate stayed with in the republican/Democrat dynamic so as unsettling as it was the electorate hadn’t jumped ship on either of the two parties.  If the Greens or the Libertarians had gobbled up all those pissed off voters shit really would have gotten unhinged in the media.  The fact that Trump was a Republican means the current two parties jobs and income are safe so realistically much of what is happening is nothing more than  pot stirring and ratings creation after all its all about the money, that is the heart and soul of Capitalism.  There is nothing humanitarian about it, I’m not knocking it but I feel that we should be honest with ourselves.

I personally don’t see much of a difference between the two parties when you look closely.  There is an exaggeration of the differences at the presidential level simply to keep it interesting but once you remove the politics of identity and religion you quickly find that they both suddenly sound a lot a like.  I prefer to refer to the two as Republicrats. Think of a two headed coin.  Every presidential election we flip it again and again and it never comes up tails.  Members of the house are far more sensitive to the constituents than senators.  The President, on the other hand has an entirely different set of difficulties.  I am trying to be polite because there is a dehumanizing quality to political rhetoric which is not new, but it has been intensifying since the late 1990s.  The population is broken down into four basic groups, the most politically active that we tend to refer to as left and right although realistically, in my eyes, they both currently seem to be from right to far right and wildly mixed are the first two groups.  You can find plenty of footage of them on the net fighting each other which is entirely pointless but we just don’t seem to be able to help ourselves.  A third group of dissidents and activists from the old right and left.  Basically pre-fall of the wall on the side lines, some old and some new, some speakers, some organizing, some on campuses and some in the press mostly online who are producing some useful perspective and when it comes down to it I tend to agree with both sides more often than not.  When Louis Farrakhan suddenly sounds like a leftist it is simply a sign of how far to the right the political spectrum in my homeland has slid.  Most interesting is the fourth group, by far the largest, the depoliticized.  These have been giving up in droves over the years, more apathetic then ever they have reached a state of anti politic and have settled into a calm do your own thing state.  They make up, it seems to me, more than half of the population that are of voting age.

There would be a tendency for anyone to wax conspiratorial at this point and although I find this perfectly understandable for every conspiracy you can think of there are two other sets of arguments that can just as easily explain the phenomena.  I don’t really want to get into this here, suffice it to say that however the American population got here, the political class is not the least bit interested in changing anything.  Especially at the Federal Level.  I think the reasons are pretty obvious as the only thing that can force a change in the system through legal means is an organized electorate.  Members of congress, the president and his or her cabinet along with the bulk of bureaucrats understand where their interests lay.  They want to keep there careers and improve their conditions just like the rest of us.  One of the signs of organized resistance is in the way voting habits change.  If we look back to the last Great Depression and check what parties are represented in the house and the senate we can understand better why the New Deal happened.

These Statistics are from the 2005 Time Almanac, yes, I know its not a primary source.

70th Congress 1927 – 1929

Senate: 94 Dem/Rep  1 independent.    House:  432 Dem/Rep.  3 independent

71st Congress  1929 – 1931

Senate:  94 Dem/Rep.  1 independent    House:   430 Dem/Rep.  1 independent  4 vacant

72 Congress  1931 – 1933

Senate:  94 Dem/Rep.  1 independent    House:  434 Dem/Rep.  1 independent

73 Congress  1933 – 1935

Senate:  94 Dem/Rep.  1 independent    House:  430 Dem/Rep.  5 independent

74th Congress  1935 – 1937

Senate:  94 Dem/Rep.  2 independents    House:  425  Dem/Rep.  10 independent

75th Congress  1937 – 1939

Senate:  92 Dem/Rep.  4 Independents   House:  422 Dem/ Rep.  13 Independents

76th Congress  1939 – 1941

Senate:  92  Dem/ Rep.  4 Independents    House:  431 Dem/Rep.  4 Independents

77th Congress  1941 – 1943

Senate:  94 Dem/Rep.  2 Independents    House:  429 Dem/Rep.  6 Independents

The same period looking at the ratio of Democrats versus Republicans in Senate and the House from the same source

CONGRESS      YEARS    SENATE:  DEM/ REP          HOUSE:  DEM/REP      PRESIDENT (D/R)

70th               1927 – 29                       47/48                                  195/237             Coolidge (R)

71st                1929 – 31                       39/56                                  163/267             Hoover (R)

72nd              1931 – 33                       47/48                                   216/218             Hoover (R)

73rd               1933 – 35                       59/36                                   313/117             Roosevelt (D)

74th               1935 – 37                       69/25                                    322/103             Roosevelt (D)

75th               1937 – 39                       75/17                                    333/89               Roosevelt (D)

76th               1939 – 41                        69/23                                   262/169             Roosevelt (D)

77th               1941-43                          66/28                                   267/162              Roosevelt (D)

As far as the Russian Hack Ordeal, I can’t say definitely that there wasn’t Russian interference in the 2016 election but the reality is that thia type of behavior is standard for great powers especially when they feel threatened.  I have no doubt that somebody had candidate Trump under surveillance.  When Barack Obama became the president the Secret Service made him give up his personal Black Berry and replaced it with a Secret Service approved Black Berry.  It seems that the president doesn’t have the right to that level of privacy.  If that is so then why would candidate Trump expect anything different.  It can always be argued that this protocol is simply an extra safe guard for the president, but it all struck me as a bit suspicious.   The other thing that I found fascinating was how the debate broke down over whom was surveilling whom.  It seems the debate in the on line community was between the Russian’s or our own set Intelligence agencies.  There was little or no debate over the role of private or corporate intelligence firms.  This also struck me as interesting.  Congress has been getting pretty squirrelly over the whole thing so I have no doubt that the Trump Candidacy was under Surveillance.  The question is, by whom?

More importantly the members of both houses are worried about their jobs.  Politics is a career like any other profession the point of said career is to succeed and climb the tree, reach so apex in your chosen career path.  Any Member of the house or the Senate that is there for more than two years wants the power and the comfort that comes with their prospective office.  To put in the simplest language, they want to get paid and try to reach some apex of power just like the rest of us.

Politicians haven’t been upset by low voter turn out yet, it just makes it easier for them to keep their jobs or get a job.  What does freak them out is unpredictability in the electorate.  What this means is that one or both parties may be out of work, a whole party out.  Think about that.  Imagine that a whole group could no longer find any work in a profession that they mastered a decade ago.  It is the big screw.

There are three forces acting on the electorate right now.  The first is the economy which is tied directly to Neo-liberal corporate favoritism.  The second is the unresponsiveness on the part of congress to their constituents tied with growing isolation between various identity groups and growing inequality.  The third and most stressed is the lack of transparency.

Back in the late 70s and 80s they referred to economic stressors as pocket book issues and I am sure that some still use this term.  One of the keys here is health care.  The health care program we have is not run by the government, is paid for by the government.  It is run by insurance companies.  In essence it is an insurance subsidy wrapped in a healthcare plan.  As Health care reform attempts to move forward just remember that its not the expense that worries either party, it is who pays for it.  Serious healthcare reform is unlikely since both parties, remember there is always at least one exception to every rule, see that cutting off that subsidy would cause a major crisis in the insurance industry (Bankruptcy anyone?) and a massive lapse in healthcare for most every one.  Imagine if you all in the middle class had to put out collection jars at convenience stores and gas stations or beg at your churches for the funds needed to get a loved one vitally needed health care?  If you haven’t seen anything like that then you’ve led a sheltered life.  This is besides the issue of dwindling buying power.  Wages have been flat or declining since the middle seventies for the bulk of the working people in our fair society.  This growing inequality is irritating the bulk of the lower classes and stifling both innovation and growth in our economic sector.

The second issue is congressional deadlock which is the worst I have ever seen it, not that I am that old.  This is frustrating for the voters and fuels the tribal elements to grow with in our current political tone.  While on one hand this is a huge driver of De-politicization it also creates an environment that serves the political class without the risks associated with legislation.  Redistricting is creating more and more seats in the house where it is only the party identity that matters.  This is allowing a stagnation to occur in the legislative process which eliminates risk.  Put on as nice show at these Russia Hack hearings and when your constituents get upset because they live in an economic waste land with dwindling opportunity you can simply state, I tried but such and so or the other party blocked me.  You know I wouldn’t let you down.

Finally there is a lack of transparency.  This feeds into the fear that an autocratic system might be on the rise in the United States of America.  The Kook Conspiracy Theory grows best in am information vacuum and nothing creates a more powerful or profound information vacuum that the national security state.  Kook Conspiracy theories are like weeds in a garden that has long been left unattended.  National security is secrecy and secrecy, especially among powerful, people and organizations breeds suspicion.  Add to that the rising awareness of these otherwise hidden organization, if not hidden then not advertised as such in the very least and you have rising levels of suspicion and tension.

Considering all of this and assuming that politicians at the federal level are not brick dumb then you can begin to understand the importance of the idea of the Russian Hack and the Russian interference probe.  These guys are worried about keeping their jobs and the pensions like many other Americans.  As long as enough of the electorate buys this idea and the butt backwards lack of issues anti Trump boondoggle keeps rolling then both houses of congress have that sense of job security that so many others crave.  The only thing they truly fear is an organized and motivated electorate ready to vote for a third party, it has happened before.

It has been said that there is a war in the deep state.  I have heard it said to be clear, I am not saying that it is definitely so but I can understand why it would be.  If this war exists then what is it like and what is it over.  First the wars fought between major corporations and other massive entities along with their billionaire comrades aren’t like the wars we fight.  They don’t generally shoot each other and kill each other in droves, that is just for us regular everyday citizens.   In the deep sate there is jockeying for position and power and merging and acquiring a larger market share.  There is another problem with growing wage inequality and that is an absence of cash in the economy.  Credit will only get you so far.  The wealthiest of us and their various entities are fighting over crumbs and so are we the people.

So in the end The Russian Hack Ordeal is an attempt to blame shift and and move the focus of the electorate of the house and the senate.  The Same thing can be said of the media’s handling of the coverage of the Trump Administration.  Both houses and the Traditional media are in mortal fear of poverty, you know poverty don’t you?  Well they don’t and they find it terrifying.  They want the population looking somewhere else for the source of their troubles, that is the purpose of the Russian Hack and when it finally fails you can expect to hear the sabre start rattling.

Try and have a better than average day,

Be blessed,

Deep State Blues (1/3)

I guess, in my own way, I’ve been aware of something odd about our government here in the United States of America,  I don’t mean to single the U.S. as somehow unique in this way, it is simply the only country with which I am familiar.  The perspective of those that think of the United States as some how exceptional and indispensable seem as though they have fallen into some kind of a trap that has effectively blinded them.  Throughout my few years at the university I had always had a sense that there was something more to the way we were ruled other than the obvious visible government.  You can use what ever term you like, Illuminati, Shadow Government, Deep State  or maybe the Lizard Banksters from Draco.  Many of us have always had that sense that there is something we are missing, not detecting, something obvious.

My Mother, whether she meant to or not, added to this sense, for her the thing that really tripped her trigger was the Kennedy assassination followed by the gulf of Ton kin incident.  For her father it was remember the Maine.  For me it was Iran Contra.  College and I had parted ways and I was out in the world working as a Grease Scraper and a Shit Shoveler.  I would not have minded either job with full time employment if I made enough for Rent, food and utilities.  That means no automobile and no medical and I didn’t have a television or a telephone so I was pretty far out of the loop.  No cable meant no C-span and no newspaper meant no regular coverage yet I still managed to pick up bits and pieces here and there.  Over the years I have stumbled back into the topic with fair regularity.  I would become familiar with the term Deep State some years later.  In this case I am referring to Peter Dale Scott and although I haven’t read his books I have listened to several lectures and interviews and have found myself perplexed.  What is the Deep State and what purpose does it serve?

Generally, when ever I hear some one speak of the Deep State it is always with respect to the elected Federal Government, bureaucratic aspects of said government, Intelligence Agencies with a focus on CIA and NSA and finally the Military Industrial Complex.  The purpose these agencies serve is always nefarious if not out right malevolent.  I feel that this is only a partial description and I need a better model if I want to get any kind of real use out of the concept.

There are a couple of criteria a social structure must meet before it can be considered a part of the Deep State.  Firstly it must fall into one of these categories:  Public Governance (Federal, State and some large cities or densely populated counties), Corporate Governance ( Corporations are anti democratic institutions, national or international in nature and bureaucratic),   Large religious organizations (national or international), Centers of Economic, Military, Spiritual, Legal or Cultural importance not previously mentioned, along with organized movements (Labor, Anti War, Civil Liberties, Human rights and other community organizations), and finally organized Crime (national or international).  The second Criteria is that these organizations need physical structures such as buildings, by laws, guidelines, legal paper work or mission statements and complex bureaucracies. It can be quickly noted that some institutions fulfill several elements of the first set of criteria for example the Federal Government is also a center of Military, Economic and Legal importance.  The larger and more complex these social structures appear is directly proportional to the age of the institution in question.  A Good example of this would be the Catholic Church which is a vast bureaucracy involving well over a billion people at some level in and organization that has interests in centers of Spiritual, Economic and cultural.influence.

The larger and largest of these entities has a public face.  This public face maybe an individual or a group of individuals who are known by name or this face could be something imagined, sort of a abstracted blank even including something as simple as a logo in which can be seen any given spectators particular view of this entity.  All things that we perceive in the world around us are always colored by our individual world view.  This public face, whether it belongs to a real person or some abstracted blank is a mental substitute for the organization or institution they/it represents.  The reality is that these various entities that have been previously mentioned are actually populated by hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and in some cases hundreds of thousands individuals operating at various levels and in various capacities.  They are like a human body where the individual cells are replaced by individual people.  Each of these people have their own world view.  It can be said that there is a basic world view that the bulk of a stable culture largely hold in common though any given individual may shift to one side of the other as our world view is colored by our assumptions about the world and our role in it both as individuals as well as a company or a nation and it is also colored by our experiences.  With in these entities or institutions the various individuals at various levels align with each other along a  shared point of view and shared interests so that it could be said that there is a realm of internal politics that most of us are completely unaware of, this is just the beginning of understanding the deep state.

It is much easier to imagine an old forest with its tall trees both great and small.  Most of us live on the forest floor and our perception of these vast institutions is limited to the stretch of trunk that we can see.  If we tip our gaze skyward we can see the canopy where each tree occupies a space, a sphere of influence or interest, and that many trees overlap each other here or there, none-the-less our view is from the bottom and we cannot see the entirety of the canopy though we understand that it is there and sometimes can even see the interrelationships.  Beneath our feet are the roots of the various trees.  These roots are beyond our ability to sense, it is under our feet where these roots tangle and compete for resources.  This is the best way I can illustrate what I mean by the term Deep State.

I’ve been watching the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigation into the Russian Hack Ordeal.  Specifically the testimony of Attorney General Comey and Admiral Rogers director of NSA.  Its quite fascinating and if you are wide awake and have about four hours to burn you might want to check it out.  I find the language usage intriguing as there is lots of talk of National Security, Classified Documents, Protecting the American Citizenry along with a healthy dollop of conspiracy theories and righteous outrage.  Apparently Russia is our sworn enemy, just hates us and wants to destroy our Democracy, take away our freedom, if you will.  I would like to believe that we really are a free people but I am a bit confused.  How can a free person be charged with treason?  Just curious, not that it was talked about during the testimony, the thought just kept popping into my head.  I am I not free to believe as I see fit, to have the politics I choose, to work where I want, to form friendships and alliances as I see fit, I mean if I am truly free?  We throw that word around a lot, freedom, liberty, rights and just plain free.

I understand a criminal act like assault or murder, burglary or fraud for example but these are acts against another person.  By exercising my right to speak freely what person am I harming.  By smoking a cigarette or taking a shot of vodka or discussing politics with a friend from a foreign land what person am I harming?  Is it the other citizens or our fair country?  Could it be our own Government?  Is the Government here to protect us and our rights?  How can my exercising my rights be treason in any form?  Maybe it is because the government is also a person and the government has rights too.  We all already known this is true of The Corporation both for and not for profit as well as Religions.  There are a bunch of large powerful paper people out there among us mere mortals.  This brings me back to the hearing and the testimony concerning classified information or secrets.

As far as Director Comey (FBI) and Director Rogers (NSA) attitudes towards the Representatives present, they were friendly.  What was interesting was what they were prepared to answer such as how an individual could be unmasked, the protocols concerning such, and how many people each were aware of that had the ability to reveal the identity of a masked subject of surveillance and general questions about the processes.  It was the scope of such questions directed at Comey (FBI) that bled over into his knowledge of the Justice department of which he was uncertain.  From my point of view Justice falls under the auspices of the Attorney general so his (Comey’s) lack of knowledge wasn’t particularly surprising.  What I found most interesting was the non-answers or the diplomatic way of saying no comment.  Neither Comey (FBI) nor Rogers (NSA) would respond to hypothetical questions.  This quickly became abbreviated to “I won’t answer hypos.  The next “No Comment” was “I can’t comment on actual people,” or “Real names.”  I thought that was understandable, I could also understand the “I can’t comment on hypos as well.  Finally, the last “No Comment” Response was, and I am paraphrasing here, with respect to the release of classified documents through leaks, printed in newspapers particularly the New York Times was, “I can’t comment on the quality of classified leaks as to whether they are true or not because by doing such I would reveal which pieces of information were actually classified and that would violate my confidentiality oath.”  This was also understandable.  The “No Comment answers made a great deal of sense but that left me slightly unsettled.  In a time of Fake News and Alternative facts it quickly became apparent that I could not count on anyone with a security clearance to be honest with me or the public as it were about the quality of the information.  In essence, whether either director meant to of not, they said to me, us, in no uncertain terms that any time any expert with those clearances speaks they should be automatically suspected of bullshitting us.

How are we as American’s suppose to know what is true and what is not?  It gave me the strange sense that I, us or we were the enemy not Russia or China or Islamic Extremism.  This is an uncomfortable feeling.  Call me paranoid if you must.  How are we to know and trust our government if it is so easy for them to deny we concerned citizens the facts.  During a time when trust in our government is fading I think this is an important issue.

Opposite the Directors FBI and NSA was a surprising number of the membership of the House Permanent Select Committee on intelligence (HPSI) and they were far more interesting in their statements and questions.

The first Two that stand out to me are Representative Sewel and Representative Gowdy.  I have no idea which district either of the two represents and from my point of view it doesn’t matter.  Representative Sewel articulated clearly, point by point, each statement in the form of a question.  These were Rhetorical Questions which is a way of saying a statement that the listener is supposed to agree with or should be persuaded by.  In the case of Sewel these statements sounded like articles of impeachment.  I assume that she is a democrat but I don’t know if that is true.  I don’t feel the need to research it any further.  Both directors answered “No Comment,” To each statement.  She seemed young to me though again I could be mistaken, but her Rhetorical approach was impressive and I look forward to listening to her in the future as she gains experience and polish.  None the less Rep. Sewel was clearly partisan and obvious.

Representative Gowdy on the other hand took a more technical approach to the argument concentrating on the legal/bureaucratic side of the issue. lawyer to lawyer as it were.  He was in the form of and told in a mildly scolding tone insisting diplomatically that Comey resolve this issue with all haste.  The issue itself was becoming a problem and impeding the day to day running of the government.  I assume that Gowdy is a republican though I don’t know that to be true, not that it matters.  I am beginning to think that Gowdy is a politician to watch.  He is clever and tactically sophisticated.  First of all he took the Republican side or the argument but did so in such a way as to make it sound like the issue was something other than the administration.  That means that he supports the party and the President without attaching his person to the person of the President.  As any one can see President Trump is getting off to a pretty rocky start.

Finally there are two other representatives I feel that are worthy of mention, They are Mr. Turner and Dr. Wenstrup.  I surely hope I am spelling their names correctly.  Representative Turner opened his questions and slowly moved into the question of under what circumstances can a counter intelligence case be opened.  Translation:  When can the FBI or other intelligence agency begin secretly spying on me?

The exchange was frustrating for the Representative as Comey was unwilling to answer Hypos.  Representative Turner insisted that these weren’t hypos.  Comey gave in and answered a few and his responses weren’t the least bit alarming.  James Comey went along way to creating a feeling that the FBI, at least, still had some morals and ethics in the day to day running of their organization,  None-the-less Representative Turner slipped and poorly worded a question I think and his time ran out.  By the time he reclaimed some time he had lost his momentum.

It was shortly after this that Doctor Wenstrup picked up the same line of questioning and even gave an example of a meeting he had attended, where he met the Iraqi Ambassador.  Again there was some contention but I wouldn’t say it was heated, not even for pretend.  Eventually Comey came to the point in the Representatives questioning where he simply replied, “The FBI doesn’t give advisory opinions.”  I’m not sure that quote is exact.  Representative Wenstrup responded, “Then I’ll find out about it afterwards?”  again I am not sure that is a solid quote so consider it a paraphrase.

Comey Stated simply, “You’ll never find out about it.”  That I feel pretty sure is an actual quote, according to my notes.

Rep.  Wenstrup responded, “Unless I find out about it in the newspaper.”

And there it is, the issue that was pestering these two representatives enough that they felt the need to bring it up and/or they were sure that this bothered their constituents enough to discuss it.

This is an open Hearing, so everything here is for public consumption.  Every time you hear something like, “I don’t want to get into that here,” or “I’d like to save that for the closed session,” or “I’d like to wait for classified session before we get into that,” and so on that is a comment on content that isn’t for your ears or mine for that matter.  So what was the purpose of this thing and the other things like it?

Largely it gives the members of the committee an opportunity to speak directly to their constituents, the larger population who might be interested and to get their views into the congressional record so that when that big ball of shit rolls around, you know the one, we call them elections here, they can insist they did this or that, show the voters their speeches and other proof of their effort as a tool of persuasion.  What are they trying to tell the voters watching?  Where on the spectrum of the debate around President Trump and the issue of personal privacy as well as Security issues, they stand.  This message is for a particular group of people, those who are interested, generally, but not always, they are politically active, better than average in education, higher then average in income and in surprisingly influential positions especially once you get out of the big cities.

The real purpose of these inquiries was nicely stated when discussing the Russia Hack Ordeal and all though I don’t remember who said it I did write it down.  The purpose of the hack was “to create discord and division among the American People and to undermine our wonderful American Democracy.”  One member of the committee stated that the purpose was to put a cloud over the administration.  If you do decide to listen to this thing you will notice some distinct militaristic language.  The idea that the Russian Hack, if it happened, was an act of war.  This was in its own right quiet fascinating.  War is a powerful concept.  It is a word that evokes a strong range of emotions.  If you should watch this thing just keep in mind that what they are doing is Framing the Debate.

The Frame is the field in which the conversation can exist, it sets the terms the potential outcomes, who is good who is evil is both reductionist and dualistic in nature.  That is not to say this is some kind of a conspiracy, that the committee sat down in a smoke filled room(?)  or maybe at an organic Juice bar (?) and figured all this shit out, scripted the whole deal.  This arises from the individual members interests, one of which will be the 2018 election.  Regardless of their party the interests between one representative and another aren’t really that different.  There are some noteworthy exceptions but they are far and few between and don’t have much hope for a stellar career in politics.  For the most part the belt way people swim in the same water, breathe the same air eat from the same supply of food.  Believe me when I say they know what their interests are, do you?”

The purpose pf the Frame is to limit the debate, sort of like the climate debate frame.  You either believe that CO2 produced by humanity causes global warming or you are a climate change denier.  There is no real middle ground and no room for debate beyond those previous agreed conclusions.

In the Case of the Russian Hack Ordeal the frame is that Trump won because of outside interference not because of a change in the voting habits of the citizenry.  If this particular Frame takes then you are either a patriotic American who Believes that Trump won the election with the Help of an  enemy nation or you are a Russian Sympathizer and again there will be no middle ground.  This is the kind of frame that serves as a get out of jail free card for both houses of congress if the Frame takes and that remains to be seen.

Of course, it goes with out sating that I very well could be completely full of shit.  If someone were to accuse me of such I would be forced to admit no contest.

In any case have a better than average day.

The Nut Never falls very Far…?

I find that I hear that expression or some variation to it quite often.  Nut, apple or Hand grenade it doesn’t really matter the idea is that it never falls far from the tree. the family tree in this case.  I was born in the last year of the Baby boom, 1964 and I am aware that there are some out there whom feel that we boomers have had it way too easy and maybe they are right. But of course I am not a millennial or a gen X er so when I look back I think about my mother and father and even my grand parents. My grandparents where grown during WWII and I even had an great Uncle that served in the pacific theater. My Mom was a college graduate and my old man served in peace time in the navy among other things and eventually settled in a fat factory job in my home town. To hear Dad or my Maternal Grandfather talk about it, it all came down to planning and scrimping and saving and working hard.

I worked hard, I scrimped, I planned, how come none of my aspirations came true? Why was I unable to accomplish the simple goals I had set out for myself such as graduate college, work for a short time in the field and then return for a higher degree? Maybe none of this was a question of my bad luck or lack of effort, maybe it was a question of their good luck and lack of effort. It is even possible to admit that with all the effort in the world some has to be said for timing, luck. Nothing is accomplished in the American sense through just hard work.

None of this is really here of there, its just a way to get across just how far a skew my life’s journey has gone. Some times I even wonder if all those people from those not so distant years ago were even real. That instead they might be some figment of my baffled brain. That’s just the way it feels until I hear their voices squeak out from between my lips. For some time I used the word Evidently in stead of “I think so,” and would while on kitchen duty, swamped with complaints about how terrible the food I had prepared was I would hear my self make a noise my maternal grandmother would make under the same circumstances. I found it a bit unsettling at first just how foreign these sounds and words, uttered by my own mouth, sounded. It was as if My grandmother were speaking to me from beyond the grave through my own memories. I hum when I eat, a habit I am trying to break, like my Maternal grandfather did years ago. It was at his knee that I learned what I know about the investment markets before I even started High school. I can feel his influence in the way I think about the world and in the manner in which I assess risk. My father taught me about the importance of PRESENCE as that was his game. The ability to intimidate simple by the way you stood, where you put your hands and when the chips are done, nothing sends shivers down there spine as fast as a nice toothy smile. I learned the reverse as well, how not to intimidate, how to appear safe or harmless and most importantly how to assess who represented what level of danger when I was walking on the streets. My Mother was an intellectual snob with a gift for sarcasm, this I inherited from her and there are I times when I find myself repeated some thing she said over three decades ago verbatim , or so it seems…

The strange thing to me is that they are all dead, so in some way people really do live on not just n the memory of others but in their very personalities.  I sometimes wonder what remnants have been passed to me from the distant past from people unknown to any involved. the pieces of themselves handed down by the unsuspecting.  How much of me is in the strictest sense, is actually me and not someone else transplanted.  This is a question that is impossible to answer.  “To Thy Own self be true,” is a famous quote from Shakespeare.  That’s how I remember it but hell I could be wrong.  I’m pulling this stuff out of my ass after all and I could be mistaken.  It leaves an unsettling question which is, how can you be true to yourself if you do not know yourself?  I have spent a great deal of time an effort, through meditation and simple introspection trying to understand myself, know myself and it has become apparent to me that there will always be parts of me that I will never know.  This is painfully obvious when someone points out a quirk of my behavior that I was previously unaware of, this I appreciated.  Whether one finds such a thing ,an event, that they appreciate or that they find irritating is dependent on the personalities involved.   Meta, my wife, is a person I wanted to get to know well.  She has been a project of mine, to know her moods, to grasp when there is something bothering her that she needs to speak about but maybe feels that she cannot.  If there are aspects of myself I cannot know then how much of her can I truly know?  There must be aspects to her self that are hidden from me.  This is a profound truth that everyone needs to grasp.

There is a point to this, I think.

We had been married for some few years and one of the hobbies we both enjoyed was and is camping.  At this time I can’t say exactly when this event happened.  There were others but this was the most profound and crisp as it was the first.  We were camping at a place called Hearts Content in the Allegheny’s.  I remember it because over the first night we were there, in early summer, a strange crop of fungus had popped up all around our campsite.  I believe that these strange little critters were fungus but I wouldn’t bet on it.  I want to say that they came up over night but maybe they were there the first day and we just didn’t “see” them.  At any rate we had taken and interest in these strange pale pink little life forms and were walking out farther in the brush in out effort to survey them.  We were talking about something that escapes my recollection.  I remember looking at her.  She was looking back at me.  She was smiling.  It was the strangest thing.  I am a schizophrenic and I have become accustom to strange visual effects but this was most peculiar.   She had become two dimensional in a surreal sense, still in color but yet foreign.  I was struck by the fact that I knew nothing about the woman that I had been married to for, by that time three or four years.  She was a stranger.  I remember asking her, pointing my finger from she to me, “Were Married?  That’s right isn’t it?”

She said yes.

I explained that I had just had the intense experience that she was unknown to me.  She told me to just let it slid.  She had the same experience on occasion when she looked at me.  We both agreed that it was an uncomfortable feeling.

In the end you can’t truly know anyone.  Knowing is a work in progress, it never ends.  We are finally confronted with the odd fact that it is impossible to eliminate risk in our personal relationships.  We will lose those we love, we will be betrayed and we will betray.  All we have left is to simply trust.  It is on trusting where the greatest threat, the most dangerous risk lies.  But in the en d we must take that risk if we want to live a meaningful life.

Be Blessed in all things

Desiderata

This has gotten me through some bleak and dark times. I am under the impression that others are now or are about to face times like these themselves on a scale that I don’t believe we have seen in some time, more than my life time.  Kt isn’t the end of the world but we all need something at times like these.  With this in mind I leave this prayer, though it can be used for reflection, an affirmation or m meditation.  I hope it helps yo9u as much as it did me.

 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there maybe in silence.  As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.  Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.  If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; dor always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.  Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.  Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.  Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.  Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and he stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, there is no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.

 

 

I have no idea who originated this prayer and I believe that it is public domain.  It it is not I apologize.

 

In all things, be blessed.