Tag Archives: Failure

God Has A Tiger By The Tail

It’s as if God has a tiger by the tail.

Do you feel like the world is spinning out of control? That the center cannot hold? Or that the universe is spinning so fast it will self-destruct by centrifugal force? Or some other, as yet unidentified, force? 

The scary thoughts I’m having at the end of one bad year and the start of an unknowable New Year were sparked by seeing the movie, “Star Wars.” However, this witches’ brew has been bubbling in my brain for some time.

Change comes fast and furious, and I wonder if we are near a convergence of forces that could bring on catastrophic change. I’m flashing on the Age of Aquarius, but this is not what hippies and free thinkers were hoping for in 1967-1969.

Think about it. All Black Swan scenarios are on the table.

War.

Global warming.

Technology off the leash.

Government. Or worse, the absence of government.

Economic collapse.

Social upheaval.

Mass migration(s).

Epidemics or pandemic.

Water scarcity.

Starvation.

Revolution.

Fascism.

Anarchy.

Chaos.

“Star Wars” is a brilliant, futuristic story of the battle between Good and Evil. The Light side and the Dark side.

(Aside: Does Star Wars glamorize war?  Don’t worry, this won’t be on the final exam.)

Back to the battle. Is it a battle between Good and Evil, or between God and Satan? I suppose it depends on whether you have a religious point of view, or a secular point of view.

Maybe it’s not a battle so much between Good and Evil, but rather, a battle between Truth and Lie. Or Truth and Illusion?

In 21st century political discourse, we have difficulty agreeing on facts. Maybe it’s a battle between Fact and Falsehood? Or Fact and Ignorance? Love and Fear?  These are some of my disorderly thoughts at the turn of the year, questions sparked by Star Wars. I should not wade too far into philosophy or theology, lest I be in over my head.

That’s enough uncensored thinking for the first day of the year.

What say you? A tiger by the tail? Spinning out of control?

— John Hayden

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Political Apartheid In America

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IT’S NO SECRET.  America has devolved into Red State/Blue State political apartheid. It’s based on geography, lifestyle and issues, not on race or color.

The Northeast and Pacific coast are Democratic Blue. The South, Great Plaines and Rocky Mountains are Republican Red. The problem is abetted within states by gerrymandering.

Development of political apartheid in America was accompanied by the hollowing out of the American industrial base, the demise of labor unions, and growth of the financial sector. A deepening divide between rich and poor is salt in the wound.

Red/Blue apartheid is largely responsible for gridlocking the government in Washington. Some states and cities are also experiencing gridlock and financial trouble. If not for the Great Recession and continuing economic decline, perhaps political dysfunction by itself would not be serious.

Now, the sputtering engine of taxation and government finance is running out of gas, as many American corporations scurry to abandon the sinking  ship. The technical term for this particular form of treason is “corporate inversion.”

Bill Clinton, campaigning this week with Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, a Red state, made the following comment, as reported by The Washington Post.

“It would be wrong to try and build a future for America that leaves rural America and small-town America out.”

That’s an understatement. If we Americans allow the pathology of political apartheid/ government dysfunction/ economic decline to fester, we will be inviting collapse of democratic government.

Remember, In our hyper-complex world, the speed of change is balls to the wall. We’re constantly vulnerable to black swans. Or if you prefer, Murphy’s Law.

“Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”

Exactly what would replace democratic government, I do not know. I don’t want to think about it, but the words “fascism” and “communism” come too readily to mind.

In the next post, I’ll consider Red/Blue political apartheid in my own home state, Maryland.

John Hayden

What do you think about political apartheid? Your comments are welcome below.

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Filed under Democracy, Economy

Shutdown Foreshadows Political Collapse In America

Lëtzebuergesch: *Sujet:Boston Tea Party Source...

“Boston Tea Party.” Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My working title for this post was “Non-Shooting Civil War In America.”  I thought that might be over the top, if only by a little.

I don’t see immediate danger of violent civil war in America, but I think today’s U.S. government shutdown is collapse by premeditated sabotage by political failure. In other words, our regular political process for resolving differences has failed. Moreover, the failure is not accidental; it’s intentional. Congress, especially, has failed big time.

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Can A Ship Sail Right Over The Edge Of The Earth?

“The U.S no longer has a well-functioning self-government. . . .  American democracy has been hacked. The United States Congress, the avatar of the democratically elected national legislatures in the modern world, is now incapable of passing laws without permission from the corporate lobbies and other special interests that control their campaign finances.” 

The above quote is from Al Gore’s new book, “The Future.” It makes sobering reading as the U.S. ship of state drifts, apparently rudderless, toward “sequestration.” Is the bridge abandoned? Have the helm and the engine room broken down?

I don’t understand the panic over sequestration, but I am concerned about the ability of U.S. government institutions to function. Continue reading

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Filed under Books, Debt crisis, Democracy, Economy, News

Democracy At A Crossroads

Photo by John Hayden

Photo by John Hayden

“If democracy deadlocks here, we raise doubts about democracy everywhere.”

Sen. John Kerry made that sobering comment during his farewell address to the U.S. Senate this week. He’s leaving the Senate to become the new U.S. secretary of state, America’s ambassador to the world.

I don’t know about the whole wide world, but I think we have good reason to be concerned about the state of democracy here in America.   Continue reading

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How American Civilization Collapses

(NOTE: This post from November, 19, 2009, is getting hits at my other blog. We’re now entering the unchartered waters of 2013, so maybe it’s time to take another look. The post opens with an anecdote, and it takes a while to get to the point. I’ll add a troubling note at the end. — John)

When we talk about corruption, we think of big government and big business. But corruption pervades every aspect of American culture and society. It’s a rot and decay that threatens to destroy American civilization. We hardly notice anymore.

Here’s an example of the current American zeitgeist:  Driving from West Ocean City to Salisbury. In the rearview mirror, about a half-mile back on Route 50, is one of those big, modern ambulance vehicles.    Continue reading

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Republicans Self-Destruct; Speaker Boehner Is Finished; Or Maybe Not

The Republican Party has exacted a pound of flesh from the people of New York and New Jersey.

It’s more than a slap in the face. It’s a kick in the teeth.   Continue reading

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U.S. Congress Implodes; President Escapes To Hawaii

What a bizarre spectacle of irresponsible brinkmanship! The ultimate House and Senate votes may have narrowly averted immediate fiscal crisis and tax increases, but they do not restore one iota of confidence in the legislative branch of American government.

President Barack Obama, after failing to exert the leadership the American people hoped for, immediately boarded Air Force One to resume a Hawaiian vacation with his family. What can he be thinking?

To put the cherry on top of the whipped cream,   Continue reading

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The Secret to Highlighting on the Kindle Fire

Setting the record straight, maybe it’s my own fault my highlighting was lost. (See the immediate previous Kindle post.) Digging through the online “User Guide,” I discovered the following:

Using Highlights, Bookmarks, and Notes

“Annotations (bookmarks, highlights, and notes) that you make in Kindle books are stored in your Kindle Library on Amazon.com. Your Kindle must be connected wirelessly for your annotations to be saved.”

The above is from the Kindle Fire “User Guide,” under the section “Books: Reading On Kindle Fire.”

I believe it explains why I lost the highlighting I did as I was reading last night. Thinking that I was clever, I turned off the Wi-Fi last night to save battery life. The book is on my Kindle device, so I can read it without being connected to Wi-Fi. (Morale of this story: “Don’t think! It can only get you in trouble.”)

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Kindle Fire Highlighting Failure

I was planning to write an updated report on how much I’m enjoying my Kindle Fire. There was a learning curve when I first opened the box, but once I figured out a few basic functions, the Kindle became a breeze and a pleasure to use.

I’ve enjoyed browsing the Kindle store, and found a number of books I’ve been wanting to read. One is “Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy,” by MSNBC’s Christopher Hayes. (This “Twilight” isn’t about vampires.)

“Twilight of the Elites” is a great book, examining our collective loss of trust in virtually all the major institutions — the pillars — of society. In particular, Hayes analyzes how and why the “elites” who rule by virtue of “meritocracy” have failed us.

I’ve been reading the book for the past few evenings, highlighting many informative sentences using the Kindle highlighting function. This morning, I opened the book on the Kindle and found that all my painstaking highlighting is gone. The highlighting has disappeared!

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