August 6, 2011

Obama - The White House Is Only The Beginning

I think I have finally figured figured it out.  It suddenly hit me this morning:  Obama is not really an American.  He is as much or as little an “American” as I am.

I came to the United States in 1967 when I was twenty-three years old.  I am now a  citizen of the USA, but as an immigrant, I am always a bit of an outsider.  Not in any negative sense, but I have known  another way of life, history, background, and government.

So has Obama.  Born in Hawaii, he spent his childhood in Indonesia, and later he grew up and was educated in Hawaii.  And as any native Hawaiian will tell you, you either are Hawaiian, or a mainlander.  The difference is always there, even if it is pointed out with a smile.

After high school, Obama went to Harvard, where he was also a bit of an outsider, someone you could not so easily get a grasp on.  Black but not without privilege.  Black with a white mother and extended family.  His father was from another country entirely, and not from, say,  the poor black South.   Brilliant and being chosen as head of the Law Review,  he appears to have been accepted and respected in general.   

He then immersed himself in political life in Chicago, a very political town, where - I assume - it does not matter who you are or where you are from, as long as you play by the rules of the game.  With the bit of community activism, he eased himself into the Illinois state government and, seemingly,  coming out of nowhere, ran successfully for president.

Of course, this is a bit of freewheeling on my part based on things I have heard or read, but just this morning I realized that when the tea potters and other xenophobes tried to push the point that Obama was not an “American”, they were not as nuts as I had thought they were;   although, I  wonder whether their accusations were based on the same conclusions I have drawn.

When I voted for Obama, I did not vote for him hoping we would get  the “first black” president.  He is half white, so that would actually be a misnomer for liberals like me.  I voted for him because I had thought he would not be the usual political animal, only out for himself.  I believed that a new age in politics would dawn, and that he would represent those of us who craved social justice.  The whole world seemed to think so.  We were wrong. 

Just like I am,  Obama is an outsider, an exotic, bright, interesting and photogenic one,  with a photoshoot  ready family, who has become extremely adept at working the angle of  “otherness” to his advantage.  I, with a light accent and a well-functioning, well-educated mind,  had learned that too.  “Otherness  in America” gets attention, if only for the duration that American attention lasts.

Hence, saying that Obama is the first black president is in my opinion incorrect.  Saying that  blacks are now finally represented by one of their own  is incorrect as well.  Obama has no real affinities or connectedness with life in the poor South, with slavery and cotton picking.  With riding in the back of the bus, or using a different bathroom.  Neither had his family.   His was a life of privilege, of interactions with all kinds and variants of the human species, and he never wanted for anything; at least not according to the Maslov paradigm. 

He is, however, one of the few truly intelligent and intellectual American presidents.  And I have come to the conclusion, that being president is just another step on the path of life for him.  You can tell, but not very often, how frustrated he gets with the stupidity and the almost innate pigheadedness of his opponents that goes with it.  But in the end he is just like them, only smarter:  a politician who plays the game extremely well.  Not a Democrat, not a Republican, but someone with an almost totally objective look at life in the White House, in the knowledge that this “too” shall pass and should lead to even bigger and better things.

Why else I wonder, campaign so eagerly to take over the leads from an incredibly inept  predecessor, who left our country in unprecedented shambles?  He must have been aware that fixing that mess would be practically impossible.  The racist elements of our society, previously barely hidden under the cloak of political correctness, burst like a boil during his campaign and even today, people like Mitch McConnell shamelessly announce that his only goal is to get Obama out of the White House.  Emphasis: “White”.  To say that 2008 was the optimal moment in history to become the new leader of the USA is like saying:  the best way to travel through quicksand is on foot.  I can only conclude that Obama saw alternative opportunities, not so much involving leading our country to a better place, but positioning himself for better opportunities after his term in office.

I believe that right now we are all seeing Obama go to school, once again, and preparing  himself  for his next career.  He is a relatively young man.  It used to be that presidents, once their term was over, would basically retire.  Except for JFK, who did not live long enough, or Clinton, who too,  not unlike Obama, has a very broad world view, and is making the bucks he feels he deserves after cleverly balancing serving us and Big Corpo.  And, of course, not like Bush light, who was retired and retarded from the start, and just came out for eight years of doom, disaster and dastardly deeds,  to ruin the country, and then left again, back to obscurity and vapidity.

Obama, knows that he has to put two daughters through school, and that he needs to live another 30-40 years, at least, and would like to do that in the style and comfort he knows he deserves.  As a very intelligent lawyer, it is not to his advantage to piss off a bunch of corporate fat cats, during his term in office.  It precludes nice offers for becoming CEO or corporate lawyer, of the largest companies in the world, who currently - in their united corpogarchy - are really the ones in charge in the US and the world at large.

When liberals accuse Obama of giving too much away, Obama sees this as negotiation and compromise, which will pave his future path in gold - when the offers from Big Corpo start to roll in, whether in 2012 or 2016, no matter.  He is the one who never quite appears to play favorites, and always remembers who put him where he is today.  Wasn’t it only recently that we found out how much GE et al contributed to his campaign?  The problems created by the previous eight years of ruinous republican rule, are obviously unsolvable, especially with the united republican refusal to cooperate in any way.  And I can’t fail Obama for hardly making any progress.  Furthermore, his ambitions do not appear to include the desire to become a hero like MLK or emulate a previous, dubious icon like JFK.

Obama is not an American in the same sense that I am not.  I can see further than our borders, and he too has learned that from a very early age.  Without being unpatriotic, we share an awareness that ours is not the only and maybe not even the best country in the world.  He is also not American for the fact that he is smarter, and better educated than the population at large - Big Corpo has seen to that as well.  As they say: In the land of the blind... One-Eye is king.  It is very easy for Obama to see his future, which most likely will be spent in a global corporate atmosphere.  And we are watching him grow and build alliances as a true cosmopolitan, keeping all those that really matter relatively happy and contented, so that the payoff will be big.

You only have to listen to the news, read about the bank bailouts, the relaxed attitude toward the malfeasance of oil companies,  the continued lower taxes for the very rich, to see who makes up the true constituents whom Obama serves, and serves very well.

Can you blame him?  He is a true politician, after all, but a much better one than most.


July 29, 2911


In our late sixties, Dirk and I feel we are pretty "well off" under the present circumstances.   Old rickety, but paid off house, small pensions, Soc. Sec., Medicare, and additional health insurance as a retirement benefit from the places where we worked.

What makes me grateful and sad at the same time,  is that we have come to the conclusion that we, just pre-baby boomer, truly are the "lucky" generation.  No wars affected us personally, we did not suffer through a depression.  We grew up middle class, had modest wishes, but never really wanted for anything.  We got excellent, affordable educations.  Oil and food were inexpensive for a long time, and the "entitlements" (to which we contributed ourselves for many decades) will most likely last our life times.

These times, we feel, will never come again.  Anyone born middle class, 10 to 15 years after us, will never have the decent lives or retirement we had and have.  We are not rich, but having no debts goes a long way toward living without worries.

What truly blows me away is that for years now, younger generations have been voting, if they vote at all, for people who blatantly have no interest in their well being: now or in future.  Books like Thomas Frank's "What's the matter with Kansas", and others, clearly and repeatedly, point this out.

Recent blog posts I have read, talk about the apathy and disinterest of some people.  I would go further and say it is stupidity.  Years of underfunding schools and underpaying teachers have created a dumbed down population which appears to have lost the ability to think.

For example: Why would anyone argue against universal health care?   This is the norm in most of western countries.  It is a matter of basic consideration or "duty of care",  we all should feel for each other.  It has nothing to do with "socialism", "communism" or "fascism" (the fact that I have heard the term: "fascist communist" shows you the basic ignorance).   It is simply a humanitarian issue.   Even a Christian one.

Corporate fatcats stand at the sidelines egging on "rebels without a cause",  funding their little tea parties, while handing them pink slips, and shipping their jobs overseas.  When the desperation about being unemployed is large enough, you may get your job back, perhaps, at $5 an hour.  Because there will be no unions to plead your cause and fight for a fair wage.

The general  energy and drive and protests for human rights and a better tomorrow, many of us "children of the sixties" saw and participated in,  has now been rewritten in the history books as "subversive".  Texas is rewriting history school books eliminating people like some of the "founding fathers".  Evolution is now for "heathens" and according to religious fundamentalists, the earth is 5000 years "young" and there was a time when dinosaurs and people lived in together on earth.


Years of promoting a diet of cheap fast food has made ever younger people fat and sick.  If you want to be completely cynical,  perhaps the plan is that they won't live long enough to ever need "entitlements".  And health care costs will be prohibitive for this group and refused under the term: "preexisting condition".

If this isn't "1984", I don't know what is.  And most people appear to have no clue that they are being bamboozled about the so-called threats to our security,  while, undereducated with no future prospects, they are being herded into the armed services and losing life or limb while singing their last patriotic songs, "spreading democracy" around the world:   Hurrah!   USA, Number One.

It isn't anymore, and probably never will be again.  And it is tragic.

JULY 14, 2011

Late last night I watched on  LINK TV a program called Bokara's Conversations on Consciousness.  This is a wonderful program where interesting people talk about all sorts of metaphysical and esoteric subjects with a lot of spirit and humor.   The moderator, Bokara Legendre, is a gem.

Famous jazz musician Kenny Werner was on last night.  He is the author of "Effortless Mastery"  a book in which, and I quote: " he advocates the meditative stance while making music".  Many people have attested that this book and the accompanying CD have helped them play music better.

At any rate,  at one point he said something that I knew, but had filed away.  I was glad he dug it up for me again because it is a very simple but very important thing to remember about  the difference between eastern and western religions.

The western religions depart from the point that everyone is born a sinner.  If you are really really really sorry, you may be forgiven and get eternal life, but after death.

The eastern religions depart from the point that everyone is born perfect.  Except we do not know it.  We must come to that realization on our own and strive to become who we were meant to be. 

Even Einstein said that we are all born geniuses - we just don't know it.

It is obvious that apart from a few people, like the Buddha,  and Ghandi and the Dalai Lama, hardly anyone reaches full enlightenment, but, if we are lucky,  once in a while we get a glimpse of it during our life time.  What happens after that does not matter.

Kenny Werner: Piano,  Ari Hoenig: Drums, Johannes Wiedenmueller: bass
Title: "Little Blue Man"
on "Gu-Ru" and "Beat Degeneration"

JULY 10, 2011

It is Sunday, the day of rest and reflection.  Unless, of course, you are Jewish, then you are a day ahead and already "sinning" again, along with the Seventh Day Adventists and the Mohammedans, as we used to call them in the days of my youth.  It makes perfect sense, because followers of  Jesus Christ call themselves Christians.

There are and have been, many different religions in the world since the beginning and there are also many who are non believers.  This is a good thing, because we all have different brains, which are capable of unique thoughts and feelings and beliefs.  You would die of utter boredom if everyone was and thought and believed the same.

However, In the past forty years of my lifetime, it has creepily become apparent that one particular group is claiming to have all the answers, and to be "the only right group".  They appear to be almost frantic in their efforts to stamp out all those who are not in agreement  with their particular credo.   This, in my opinion, very scary meute of religious zealots, proclaims ever more loudly, more repetitiously, more fanatically, more angrily, more threateningly, and even more violently, that they are the "chosen" ones (sorry Jews) - and the rest of us will go to hell.  Whew... heaven with these people would be hell for someone like me!

And why do they act in this way?  Because, they claim - wait for it - : "g-d" told them so.

Apart from my knee jerk reaction: HOW??? -  I actually find this the ultimate form of  blasphemy.  We cannot begin to "know" who "g-d"  or the creator or the great spirit in the sky  is. It appears to me a bit thick to  claim to know all the mysteries of the universe and have a direct hookup to them:  like a blackberry or satellite TV, or for someone who comes to mind:  a plate in the head.  Doesn't this sound a bit like "giving false witness"?  And aren't they afraid that there might be an "app" for that, like punishment?

This bunch of busy bees has appropriated their icon for America only, and when you are not looking they are trying to stuff it into the constitution, the founding fathers, and the schools and the  courts of this country thereby not separating church and state ever more.  We must start the day in our schools with their particular prayers; different religious believers can bloody well sit out in the rain on their little rugs facing Mecca, goddammit!  

One of the meanings of the word "faith", seems to imply that you believe in something or someone,  which or who you cannot know or prove to exist.  If you did, then you would have an "opinion".   Oh wait, this actually is one opinionated  bunch.

Recently I saw again a favorite movie: "Affliction", based on the book by Russell Banks who writes a lot of good stuff.  In it there is a couple, which is convinced that heaven awaits them.  The sooner the better, is my first reaction since they claim it is so much better than "here". When, at the funeral of their mother, the sister asks one of her brothers whether he believes in heaven, and he answers: "no", she cheerfully tells her sibling that: "then you will go to hell".  "Well", he says,  "I will be there with Dad and Mom, and my brother and a bunch of my friends....";  not something particularly bad, he appears to imply.  The answer of her father I shall leave out... see the movie and have a chuckle:  Charles Coburn at his best.

So, here it is Sunday again,  although for me, every day is a day of reflection,  and I am reflecting with gratitude that in this ever swelling sea of insanity,  we at least have Bill Maher, the opposing voice of reason,  to those who believe they are "righteous",  but who have no problems with killing doctors or gay people, or with  justifying  other acts of hatred and intolerance. They see as their dogmatic duty the obsessive compulsive, and let's be honest: dreadfully boring, pushing of their particular brand of brainwashing, while insisting on insinuating their beloved icon into every aspect of our American - land of freedom of religion - way of life - especially on the money (now there's a surprise).

I have no "d-g" in this fight.  What my beliefs are, is my business.  And what others believe, theirs.  But when you see a certain group act as bullies, killers even, and so in contrast with the behavior of the man they profess to emulate, then I see only hypocrisy.  Instead of religion,  I see religious terrorism.   

I try to practice tolerance, but I cannot tolerate terrorism.  Of any kind.  Bite me.

~ Tranquility and Tolerance ~