Notes from the Trail
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Notes From the Trail - July 14, 2010
Fight My Liar, Redux: The Myth of Equal Culpability
By Steve Bhaerman
During these times
of bipolar political insanity, both the red tribe and the blue tribe receive
information from their trusted sources that they take for “reality.” What has been sorely missing is some
common ground, some mutually-agreed upon reality check.
Meanwhile, the one
reverberating litany we hear over and over again is, “politicians lie.” All politicians lie. Both sides lie.
So, I offer this
question: Who benefits from the
belief that “all politicians” or “all news media” lie?
The answer: Those who do the most lying.
belief that all politicians lie, that both sides lie, becomes a convenient
cover for those whose strategy is to spread disinformation, and use that
disinformation to stir up fear and anger. In a recent piece, I cited Fox News as a prime culprit, and one of my
correspondents of the conservative persuasion took exception. Somehow my assessment seemed unfair and
unbalanced to him. After all, both
sides lie, so why point fingers?
A few days ago, I
found what I was looking for. Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle’s token (and for all we know,
tokin’) conservative cited PolitiFact as a “nonpartisan fact-checker.
I am well familiar
with PolitiFact, a site run by the St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia)
Times. They employ a Truth-O-Meter
to indicate whether a statement or story is true, mostly true, half true,
barely true ... or false. However,
there is another designation that is off-the-charts false that they call Pants
on Fire. They have 120 entries in the Pants on Fire category,
dating back to the 2008 primaries. Out of those, 20 blatant lies can be attributed to Democratic Party or
progressive sources, and 100 to Republican or conservative sources. According to this neutral source, the
right out-lies the left by a factor of 6 to 1.
interesting is that 28 of those lies came from chain e-mail sources, including
such stories as Maj. Nadal Hasan, the man accused of the Ft. Hood shootings
“was an advisor to the Obama Administration,” “the ACLU has filed a suit to
have all military cross-shaped headstones removed,” and Obama used $20 million
in federal money to “emmigrate (sic) Hamas Refugees to the USA.” It goes on, and you can read more of
these for yourself.
On the other side,
there was only one internet rumor proved false started by the left -- a list of
books Sarah Palin had purportedly banned.
So, what can we
conclude? The Machiavellians among
us might conclude that the Democrats are woefully inadequate at using
lie-ability as an asset. And if we
see what is happening as a war between left and right in America, that would
certainly be the case.
Which is why the
most important question we can ask at this time is, who benefits? Who really benefits from the political
polarization? And my answer is,
those who would have the most to lose if ordinary citizens stepped across the
red-blue divide and had a conversation to share thoughts and feelings, and compare
notes. In doing so, they might
discover that while they were arguing about whether it was worse to kill the
born or the unborn, the commonwealth has been looted by banksters, with their
henchmen in Congress driving the getaway car.
They might notice
that the so-called Patriot Act -- passed during the Bush Administration, and
reinforced by Obama’s policies -- was a truly bi-partisan perpetration that
created more toxic secrets, and the recent Health Care and Banking “Reform”
Acts heralded as great progressive reforms are nothing more than ways to
further institutionalize corporations inside the corporate state.
And so the right
wing lying machine serves two purposes. The first is to stir up anger, prejudice and confusion in their
constituency. The second is to
simultaneously outrage those on the left so that they are even less inclined to
have civil communications with anyone who call themselves conservative. If THOSE people believe THAT, then they
can’t be reasoned with! They hate
me, so why should I even have a conversation with them?
And, remember, the
more outrageous the right wing lie, the more it can be used by the Democrats to
The lies are to
keep Americans divided and conquered. The right wing folks apparently like their lies straight up, whereas the
left prefers being lied to through broken promises.
And the good
news? The good news is, there is a
transpartisan grassroots “up-wising” with individuals on both sides awakening
to the bigger picture, that if “we the people” are to indeed become the sovereign
rulers our Founders imagined, it can only be done by lifting the veils on
long-held beliefs and discovering a new truth together.
happening, and it is the mission of Notes From the Trail to keep the
conversation going. Stay attuned ...
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Notes From the Trail - June 3, 2010
The Oil Spill and the Blood Spill: Same Problem, Same Solution
By Steve Bhaerman
Sometimes it's just not funny.
is nothing funny about oil hemorrhaging in the Gulf of Mexico, or blood
flowing in the Mediterranean - just the sad joke that we humans are
largely the cause of our own suffering. And we are largely clueless as
to how and why.
millennia, we have been under the spell of the lowest common dominator,
the notion that it's a you-or-me world, that to survive we must
dominate or be dominated. Never mind that at the root of every religion
and ethical system is some version of the Golden Rule. We have as a
species chosen to apply this law selectively to those in our own
family, tribe or nation. When we feel threatened - not necessarily ARE
threatened, but feel threatened - we very easily adopt a conveniently
modified version of the rule: "Doo-doo unto others before they can
doo-doo unto you."
So, for tribes or nations to be manipulated by a sociopathic few, all these misleaders need to do is convince their people of an external threat, and
this protective mechanism is activated. While fight-or-flight is a
necessary response to an immediate danger, the blood flow to the
hindbrain has to come from somewhere. It comes from the forebrain, the
place of creative thinking and discernment. In other words, when we are
in fear we are less intelligent.
places like the Middle East, the us-vs.-them story is well established,
and each atrocity by the other builds the story one more story high.
The one thing the Palestinian terrorists set to blow themselves up and
the Israeli soldiers firing on civilians have in common is the belief,
"We are the good guys."
this belief alone that turns good guys into bad guys. It's how America
justified using atomic weapons on Japan, napalm on Vietnamese, and
bombs on Iraqi and Afghan citizens. It's the cost of war, paid by the
other guy - the bad guy.
From the Mideast ... to the Midwest
order to bring this notion home, literally and figuratively, we need to
take what is happening in the Mideast, and apply it in the Midwest.
Just as surely as the Israelis and Palestinians are at war, we the
people of America have been divided into two warring tribes, the Red
Tribe Republicans and the Blue Tribe Democrats. The main difference
between these two tribes is that the right wing understands there is a
war going on; the left wing merely feels assaulted.
you believe it's an actual conspiracy, or merely the out-picturing of
our divided collective consciousness, the body politic has been split
into left-brain and right-brain, masculine and feminine. The political
left represents the values of novelty and nurturance; the right stands
for structure and protection. Each of these tendencies - progressive
and conservative - represents a healthy biological impulse. However,
separately they are incapable of wise rule. Why? Well, imagine living
your life using only half your intelligence, or worse yet with two
parts of your psyche constantly in mortal combat.
each political party represents a toxic distortion of a valuable asset.
Put bluntly, the Republicans represent the abusive male, the Democrats
the enabler female. All of the muscle is on one side; all of the
compassion is on the other. Instead of working together, these two
opposing impulses have inflicted a deadly autoimmune dysfunction on the
body politic. Who benefits? Those who have the most to lose by these
two divided forces uniting as an integrated, whole "we the people."
a healthy, integrated, whole system the forces of protection protect
life. Consider the eggshell. It is absolutely necessary to protect the
egg during development. However, for a chicken to be born, the shell
must break. Structure must yield to life.
our distorted, divided system the structures designed for protection
all too often protect the predator. That's why back in the 1930s, Gen.
Smedley Butler, at the time America's most decorated Marine, wrote a
booklet called War is a Racket, where
he confessed that most of the defending he did during the early part of
this century was for United Fruit and U.S. Rubber. In the nearly 80
years since Butler's pamphlet, we have seen the simple desire for
defense and protection rigidify into a Military Industrial Complex, a
structure largely in service of itself, in partnership with the
Interestingly, the more libertarian right represented by Ron Paul know
about Smedley Butler and his assessment of war, whereas he is an
unfamiliar figure to most on the left. That's because each political
polarity has it's own information pipeline telling them the "truth."
The left is told that the Ron Paul variety of populist - as represented
currently by the Tea Parties - are backward racists and isolationists.
Meanwhile, the right wing impropaganda machine bangs away at the notion
that "liberals hate America," making them as much of an enemy as Al
Progressives are outraged by the assaults of Limbaugh, Beck and the
like, but cannot respond effectively or courageously. Why? Because all
the martial energy has been marshaled over on the other side. The
right, meanwhile, doesn't dare empathize with the downtrodden, lest we
empower welfare cheats. In having their attention focused on the lowly
criminal, they are conveniently distracted from the highly criminal.
We are a political house divided, a body politic afflicted with
bi-polar insanity. Somewhere in the netherworld, Machiavelli is
smiling, for his lesson of divide-and-conquer has been well learned by
our misleaders. We the people have learned to identify so much with
what divides us that we completely ignore the common virtues and values
we share as non-sociopathic humans.
It's Either an Awakening ...
Or a Wake
Which brings us to the oil spill.
The major missing piece in this web-of-life threatening tragedy is our
ability to act in unison in a moment of crisis. The bi-polar political
dysfunction has bred so much mutual distrust, that we've wasted
valuable time and energy in obfuscation and blame. But the problem goes
deeper than that, as deep as the subconscious programming of "survival
of the fittest." We are so programmed with fear of not enough - Swami
calls this "scare city" - that we spend our attention, intention, time
and resource on protection and acquisition, at the expense of other
healthy human "cellular souls."
The cost of this agreed-upon greed, goes beyond the trillions of
dollars spent and the millions of lives lost. We now have a rupture in
the web-of-life itself, as the fluid we value more than life gushes
uselessly and harmfully into the ocean, unstoppable by the magic of
technology. Like Disney's Sorcerer's Apprentice, in our ignorance and
innocence, we unleashed a power far too powerful for our Mickey Mouse
And the good news is?
If we choose to use it as such, the oil spill may be the significant
emotional event that bumps us out of the illusion of separation and
into a healthier relationship with one another and the planet. What is
called for is no less than a spontaneous spiritual evolution from
children of God to adults of God, from victims and villains to aware,
responsible co-creators. It's never happened before. But never before
have we faced such a blatant and immediate human-caused disaster, one
that calls into question our fitness as a species.
As many of us have seen in the "try this" or "try that" emails that
have been circulating, there is no dearth of potential remedies or even
solutions. We already have the worldwide network of communication to
create an open-source approach to a situation that threatens every one
of us. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention ... and intent is
the father. What an opportunity for the people of this world to "gather
under one big intent" to take the initiative to create a worldwide "we
the people" authority to, for the first time, confront a species-wide
threat as a species.
This would not be some top-down New World Order, but a bottom up,
grassroots "new world ordering," where we access the heart-and-soul
essence of who we are, an essence that has been lost through millennia
of domination and programmed fear. It would mean gathering in
intentionally diverse groups, and using existing polarities to stretch
ourselves beyond the limited choices we currently perceive. It would
mean calling forth the Sacred Masculine and the Sacred Feminine, to act
in accord as dynamic duo dance partners. It would mean taking the
obsolete political polarities of progressive and conservative, and
turning them into healthy intentions by asking, "How do we wish to
progress?" and "What do we choose to conserve?"
I know, I know. I am proposing a sane world. I must be crazy.
But the question to ask ourselves and one another is, how sane is the
institutionalized, homicidal, suicidal insanity we have now? As the
saying goes, if we keep on the same path, we will arrive at where we
are going. Even if we are able to stanch the current oil flow, and we
contain the damage to "just" one ocean, what will the next blow be?
Will we be able to recover, or will it just be a matter of time before
a human-made disaster kills us?
In our book Spontaneous Evolution, Bruce Lipton and I point out the
phenomenon of "spontaneous remission," where an individual is told
their condition is untreatable and terminal, and yet something
mysterious and miraculous happens. They recover, and show no sign of
the disease whatsoever. While we might imagine this some super-human
miracle, when we look deeper we find that the recovery is preceded by a
profound change of belief, and change of behavior.
In other words, a spontaneous remission is often the result of a
"spontaneous remissioning." And so the choice is before us to
collectively change our mission from "dominate or be dominated" to
re-growing the Garden together.
This has been the wake up call we have been waiting for. And the snooze button is no longer working.
Bhaerman is a writer and uncommontator who has written and performed
comedy as Swami Beyondananda. He is also the co-author with Bruce
Lipton of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here (Hay House: 2009). He can be found online at http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/ If you like what you read, and want to get more of it, subscribe to Notes From the Trail here.
March 17, 2010
Come On Baby, Fight My Liar
By Steve Bhaerman
"In psychological warfare, the Colonel of Truth is always outranked by the General Lie."
-- Swami Beyondananda
Back in the Vietnam era, there was a popular joke about Lyndon Johnson. How can you tell when LBJ is lying? When he scratches his head, he is telling the truth. When his nose twitches, he is telling the truth. When he wiggles his ear, he is telling the truth. But when he opens his mouth ... he's lying.
Like so many political jokes, that one has been re-purposed many times to apply to the lying politician du jour. Even the lies are the same. If you haven't done so already, go rent Norman Solomon's movie, War Made Easy
. There, you will see and hear Robert McNamara and LBJ justifying the Vietnam War -- and the Bush team and their media lackeys saying almost the exact same words to justify our invasion of Iraq 35 years later.
How can they continue to get away with it? Well, because the American people have been "trained" to accept being lied to. The prevailing cliche of lying politicians is so universally accepted, that ... well, it's universally accepted, so much so that you can probably get nine out of ten Americans to agree that, yes politicians lie. By making "lying politicians" an indisputable truth, it becomes like army food in the old days: something we are encouraged to complain about, but are powerless to change.
To understand how we have been collectively mentally manipulated to accept and embrace lies and liars, go check out Edward Bernays
and Leo Strauss
. They shared the belief that the masses are meant to be manipulated by the elites, and their ideas have spawned the techniques and technologies that keep the American people enslaved under the illusion of freedom. And when dissatisfaction does well up, the channels are in place for the heat of anger to be expressed, while the light of insight remains hidden.
How Lie-ability Has Become An Asset
To understand how lie-ability becomes an asset, let's take a look at two liars -- your liar, and my liar. Your liar is the liar I love to hate, whose lies I believe should be transparent to everyone -- which is why he or she drives me crazy. For progressives, Glenn Beck fits that description perfectly. As the "ideal" purveyor of toxic disinformation, Beck builds credibility by beginning with "common sense" truths that seem indisputable. Into this mix, however, he inserts an IED (Intentionally Explosive Disinformation) that causes progressives to explode with rage, to the glee of his faithful audience.
Ready for Beck's favorite IED? George W. Bush was a progressive. Yes, according to Glenn Beck
, because the Bush Administration grew big government to run the Iraq War, it makes him a "progressive." Does it make sense? Well, to conservatives who have learned that "progressives hate America and love big government," it makes a sort of half sense -- but who needs logic when you have fervent belief and an all-purpose straw man enemy? This is a recycled McCarthyist tactic that worked back when the enemy was communism. Now it's socialism, or Obamacare.
Because of the absurd outrageousness of this claim, it draws progressive fire: "Come on baby, fight my liar!" And, it gives so-called conservatives something to rally around. (I remember the first peace march I went to in New York back in the 60s, where I found myself face-to-face with a counter-demonstrator shouting, "Communist! Communist! Communist!" I calmly walked up to him, put my face close to his and asked, "Excuse me, can you tell me what a communist is?" He got a blank look on his face for a moment, and then he answered my question. "YOU! YOU! You're a communist!")
OK. So that's their liar. What about ours?
Strung Out On Hopium?
Last month, more than 500 concerned progressives attended an event at the University of San Francisco sponsored by the Network of Spiritual Progressives
. Convened by Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun
magazine, the one-day event focused on how the progressive wing of the Democratic Party could influence President Obama to be the Obama the people voted for.
In addition to providing comic relief as the Swami, I was also given a panel spot to address the war in Afghanistan. I used that platform to suggest that the war is a symptom of the disease that has had America in a stranglehold for more than 60 years -- a Military Industrial Complex in support of the American Empire. Earlier, a military veteran had commented that in his experience, the President had limited power to make any real change, and that the Military Industrial Complex held the real power. Another individual suggested that until we address the very questionable "official 9/11 story," we would be unable to fundamentally change American foreign policy.
I was disappointed -- but not surprised -- as the gathered progressives rejected the opportunity to step outside the political matrix. None of the other panelists who spoke would address either the forces that hold the President in check, or the horrific notion that our own government might have had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. It was reminiscent of the classic Holy Fool story, where the Fool is down on his knees in a parking light one evening. A friend asks him what he is doing.
"I'm looking for my car keys," is the reply.
"Oh," says the friend, "you lost your car keys in the parking lot?"
"No, I lost them in the bushes over there."
"Well then, why are you looking here?"
"Because there is more light in the parking lot."
In my view, mainstream progressives are unwilling to confront the darkness at the heart of the American empire. They rail at the manipulators over at Faux News, as they fail to recognize a very inconvenient truth: they are lying to themselves.
Now let me clarify what I mean by the "darkness" at the heart of the American empire. I don't believe America or Americans are "evil." Very likely the vast majority of our public servants, even those who serve in high office, are largely well-intentioned. However, by ignoring the proverbial elephant in the living room, they empower the sociopathogens who thrive in darkness.
After World War II, the American public entered into a "don't ask, don't tell" agreement with our government. We the people promised not to ask what our government is doing to "protect" us, and the government promised not to tell us. In the 60+ years that have followed, we have empowered a secret government with a "black budget," with no accountability whatever. If there is one universal law of political science worth remembering, it's Lord Acton's
notion that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
America's Founding Fathers understood this more than a century before Lord Acton uttered those words. That's why the Constitution provides for balance of powers. But when you empower a power that has no accountability, and no counterbalance, you are essentially writing a blank check to tyranny. Global climate change notwithstanding, THIS is the hugely inconvenient truth that so few "progressives" are willing to face. Why? Because facing it would require inordinate courage and spiritual fortitude.
Consequently, most progressives accept the taboos against talking about fixed elections or the mysterious collapse of Building Seven
. Just recently, the Huffington Post very quickly pulled a post by Jesse Ventura
that questioned the official 9/11 story. Where was the protest? Nowhere, that's where. With the exception of three notable progressive journalists -- Mark Crispin Miller
, Rob Kall of OpEd News
and Peter Phillips of Project Censored
, the rest of progressive journalism prefers the comfort of calling these inconvenient possibilities "conspiracy theories." My definition of conspiracy theory is, "something which, were it true, you would be unable to deal with it."
Hence, we have mainstream progressives searching for the keys to change in a well-lit parking lot, instead of the dark and thorny shrubbery. They may find ways to temporarily feel better, but ultimately they will continue to hold the current dysfunction in place, while continuing to hold on to the "moral superiority" of believing in change, while not being willing to do what it really takes to have that change.
I'm sorry if that sounds harsh.
But true transformation comes from confronting the lies we tell ourselves, rather than on our outrage over the lies the other guy is telling. We have very little power of the latter, and a world of power over the former.
And Now ... For the Good News: The Law of 75
The good news can be found in a story my friend and colleague Patricia Sun
told me a number of years ago. She was scheduled to speak at a "new age" bookstore, and when she arrived she found four fundamentalist Christians picketing outside the store. Patricia told the storeowner she was going to speak to them.
"Oh," the storeowner said, "you can't talk with those people. Don't waste your time."
Nonetheless, she went out to converse with the picketers. After ten minutes, three of the four put down their signs, hugged Patricia, and said, "You're saying just what Jesus said!"
The fourth one continued holding his sign.
From this simple, transformational incident I extracted "the Law of 75." When faced with loving and respectful communication, three out of four of people will put aside the beliefs in their head for the love in their heart. Of course, this is an untested premise, more of an intuitive suspicion than an actual "law." But I'm sure those working with the tools of Non-violent Communication and other techniques for holding connection in the face of conflict have similar stories.
So perhaps the key to breakthrough and transformation is not to get sucked into fighting the other guy's liar, but instead gathering around a higher, more compelling truth. If you think this is pie-in-the-sky hopium smoke I am blowing, check out what's happening in Reno, Nevada, where Richard Flyer's Conscious Community Network
is bringing together traditionally religious folks, along with the spiritual-but-not-religious, secular humanists and ethical atheists around "virtues and values" the vast majority of us share in common.
Maybe this is the time to emerge from the dueling dualities and bi-polar political dysfunction, and have the courage to face the unknown together, using our "positions" as jumping off points, not platforms. What if we brought together the Tea Parties, the Coffee Parties -- heck, the Pot Parties, if need be -- and brought the light of love, sanity, and coherence across the artificial political divide, and focused on the greater truths we share in common?
We already have the communications tools to do this. Now we need the will and the focus.
There are some who say we are facing an imminent apocalypse. Others say that evolution is calling us forth. I'm inclined to agree with both. Remember, the original definition of apocalypse is "lifting the veils." As with any recovery program, the first step is telling the truth -- lifting the veils both on the true powers we have as human beings, and the forces that have kept us from seeing and using that power. Before we can totally embrace our powers as co-creators, we must see clearly where we are and how we got here.
It won't be pretty. But by cultivating and growing the field of love that at least 75% of us are capable of, we will have what we need to metabolize those political toxins. As we strengthen the bonds of love and mutual-respect, we will generate both the field and the wisdom to find emergent solutions to entrenched problems. Together, we can become generators of our own light. And only together can we bring that light to the endarkened corridors of power.Steve Bhaerman's work can be found online at www.wakeuplaughing.com. On the serious side, he is co-author with Bruce Lipton of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here.
He is also author of a recent e-book on transformational humor, Wake Up Laughing: An Insider's Guide to the Cosmic Comedy.
Jan. 20, 2010
The Democrats' Shocking Discovery:
Voters Can Tell Difference Between Change and Chump Change!
by Steve Bhaerman
"Political rhetoric is the hopiate of the masses."
-- Swami Beyondananda
Shortly after last year's election, I wrote a piece entitled, "The Two-Party System: One Down and One to Go." The point was that in our current binary, bipolar system, all voters can really do is vote "yes" or "no" for the lesser of two weasels. Consequently, the political task of a burgeoning evolutionary upwising would be to dislodge first one, then the other political party that had long outlived its uselessness.
The election of Obama -- and particularly the swing voters swinging in his direction -- was an indication of understandable displeasure with 8 years of Bush-Cheney rule. Had the Democrats played their cards right and moved into the people's center instead of the corporate center, the Republicans would have gone the way of the Whigs.
But a lad and a lack. Our lad lacked either the power or the will to lead from a truly new paradigm. His early appointments were largely disappointments, the most ominous one being Rahm Emmanuel. From there it was one inside-the-corporate-box move after another as the Obama Administration bailed out Wall Street and bailed out on Main Street.
By choice or by coercion, Obama settled into his role as CEO of the American Empire, following the orders of his "Board of Directors" (i.e., the banking industry, military industrial complex, big pharma and agribusiness) rather than the shareholders of our commonwealth (i.e., you and me).
The Hopium Has Worn Off
A year later, the hopium high has worn off and voters in the safest of Democratic states gave a seat warmed by an iconic Democrat for nearly 50 years to a Republican. Both Blue Dog and Progressive Democrats are likely to read this one wrong. The Blue Dogs will insist the Democrats must move even further to the corporate center, in spite of the obvious (to us) fact that the reason voters were rejecting the Health Care Plan is that it was so corporate.
Progressives, while closer to the mark in recognizing that Obama seemingly betrayed progressive principles (see Rabbi Michael Lerner's excellent piece here) likely to miss something else. The Tea Party movement, instrumental in organizing against the Democrats in Massachusetts and nationally, has been portrayed both by mainstream and liberal press as reactionary, racist yahoos. In truth, it's an expression of the very populist sentiment that Michael Moore reflects in his most recent movie, Capitalism:Â A Love Story.
Wave the Red Cape -- and the "Bull" Wins
The problem is, saying the name "Michael Moore" in front of a populist conservative is like, well like saying the name "Sarah Palin" in front of a progressive. Waving these "red capes" paradoxically make "fighting the bull" more difficult. In fact, if we give in to "ooga booga, Michael Moore" and "ooga booga, Sarah Palin," as our tribes rally us for the next useless battle, the bull will be victorious.
In fact, it's guaranteed. If the political discourse continues to take it's current course, the 2010 midterm elections will be the same ol' "Shoot Out At the I'm OK, You're Not OK Corral," with we the people (whether red-identified or blue-identified) lying crumpled in the dust, and the bad guys marching off into the sunset with their grip on the commonwealth secure.
Now, was victorious candidate Scott Brown supported by the very corporate interests the Tea Party partiers are railing against? Of course. Was Martha Coakley aided by the same insurance industry that stands to benefit from this new "Health Care" plan? You betcha.
Are we beginning to see a pattern here? Each side gets manipulated into voting for tweedledweeb or tweedledumb, and the same powers stay in power. Progressives are dumbfounded and outraged by the lies on Faux News, conservatives are outraged by centralized power and metastasized debt. Each -- when push comes to shove -- falls back with their red or blue tribe. Anger intensifies on both sides ... and nothing substantial changes for the better.
And the Good News Is ... ?
So ... as the black hats ride off with our pot of gold, where is the pony in the horse manure? Where's the good news?
Well, the good news and the bad news are one and the same: If we want good news, we have to make it ourselves.
So ... first of all, let us celebrate the Massachusetts election as the fall of the other useless Party, and a stake in the heart of the failed and obsolete ideology of "Liberalism." Now here I am not talking about social justice, cultural diversity, and the recognition of the evolutionary principle of "we're all in this together" as opposed to the devolutionary one, "it's every man for himself."
In that broader sense, as Thom Hartmann points out, Jesus was a "liberal."
No, what I mean by liberal here is the "good cop" that seeks to mitigate the excesses of empire as part of the "good cop, bad cop" scam the empire has been running for most of the past half century. The "liberal" offers the kinder, gentler face of empire ... while still retaining its big, fat ass.
Just as surely as ideological conservatives cling to "market fundamentalism" that has ended up rewarding predators, liberals tend to support untenable bureaucratic systems that seem like they would work -- but actually don't. Meanwhile, mainstream liberals have consistently failed to address the foundational issue -- that we the people have been almost completely disenfranchised by our own government. They have sidestepped the darker issues of American politics -- including the JFK assassination, the King assassination, provable election fraud, and the dubious official 9/11 story.
Likewise, liberals have failed to confront directly the predatory nature of our banking system. After all, it's been libertarian conservatives that have a keener analysis of the Federal Reserve system, the influence of elites like the Trilateral Commission, and the nationalization of local police forces.
Fortunately, there is a growing grassroots up-wising to overgrow the current system. It moves forward tentatively, as with November's dialogue in the San Francisco Bay Area between leaders of the progressive Move On, and the conservative Tea Parties.
Watch for these conversations to accelerate, as citizen outrage mounts over the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to let "corporate persons" have far more financial clout in elections than flesh-and-blood ones.
We are living in the most transformational period in American history since the Declaration of Independence. May we have the love and courage to awaken, may we use our intelligence intelligently, and may Good bless us all.
Viva la up-wising!
Steve Bhaerman's work can be found online at www.wakeuplaughing.com. On the serious side, he is co-author with Bruce Lipton of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here.
He is also author of a recent e-book on transformational humor, Wake Up Laughing: An Insider's Guide to the Cosmic Comedy.