31 October 2012



The Great Betrayal -- and the Cynicism of Calling It a Grand Bargain

Posted: 10/30/2012 12:02 pm

Robert Kuttner has written much of the column I intended to write on this subject, so I will point you to his excellent column and add a few thoughts.
Kuttner wrote to warn that Obama intends to seek a "grand bargain" causing the U.S. to adopt the type of austerity program that threw the Eurozone back into a gratuitous recession.
Worse, Obama intends to begin to unravel the safety net (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) to convince the Republicans to enter into this Faustian bargain. Just as only a conservative Republican could visit "Red" China, only a Democrat can begin the destruction of the safety net. The difference, of course, is that normalizing relations with China was a good thing while unraveling the safety net is a terrible thing.
Wall Street's greatest desire is privatizing Social Security. Wall Street stands to make scores of billions of dollars annually in additional fees should it ever buy enough politicians to privatize Social Security. The Republican Party's greatest goal is unraveling the safety net. They always wish to attack the most successful and popular programs introduced by the Democratic Party. Their problem is that they know it is toxic for Republican candidates to try to destroy the safety net. Only Democrats, through a "Great Betrayal" can give Republicans the political cover they need to unravel the safety net.
The safety net is so popular with the American people because it consists of superb programs that constantly put the lie to Republican memes that the government is incapable of success. There is no need to allow Social Security to "go bankrupt." The necessary expenditures can easily be made by the Treasury.
There is a need to contain the rise in medical costs, but we know how to do that without harming health outcomes. Most advanced nations attain the same health outcomes at half the expense (relative to GDP) of the U.S. Obama's opposition to the "public mandate" was a grave mistake that needs to be reversed.
Because unraveling the safety net is unnecessary, harmful, and politically insane for a Democrat and politically suicidal for Republicans, the proponents of these terrible policies have long failed in their efforts. Republicans, however, have now found a fifth column within the Democratic Party who they hope will open the door to attacking the safety net. This would provide the political cover that Republicans could use to unravel fully the safety net.
The Republican Party's approach to convincing Obama to commit the Great Betrayal cleverly exploits three human weaknesses. First, Obama wants to be considered a "centrist." Second, Obama yearns to be considered "bipartisan." These first two weaknesses are forms of vanity.
The siren song is "do this and you will become known as the President who acted as a statesman to cut across Party and ideological divides and make the hard choices essential to allowing America to continue to be a great nation -- while 'saving' the safety net."
The third weakness that the Republicans seek to exploit is fear -- and the death of alternatives. The mantra of European austerity proponents is "there is no alternative." The only choice is between austerity and collapse, and that means there is no real choice. The Republican strategy is to create a series of "moral panics." As the name implies, this involves the creation of a special form of panic falsely premised on immorality. (Think: "Reefer Madness" or Professor Hill causing River City, Iowans to believe that the arrival of pool hall demonstrated the imminent moral collapse of their children.) The Great Betrayal can only occur if Obama succumbs to mindless (and innumerate) panic.
The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party has to lead the effort to save America from the Great Betrayal. It is essential to focus on the self-destructive nature of austerity. The irony is that a proponent of austerity has just handed us a coup. Becky Quick, co-host of one of CNBC's business entertainment program, recently wrote a column intended to discredit Paul Krugman. Quick solicited a written statement from former President Bill Clinton to use in her attack on Krugman (who had criticized Quick and her co-host's stream of "zombie facts" when he appeared on their program). Quick reveled in her success in obtaining ammunition from Clinton to attack Krugman, asserting that it constituted a "damning retort to Krugman" and proved the need to adopt austerity. In fact, Clinton's statement stated his agreement with Krugman:
[I]t's important not to impose austerity now before a growth trend is clearly established, because as the austerity policies in the eurozone and the U.S. show, that will slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits....
Clinton is a leader within the Rubin-wing of the Democratic Party that has been seeking to create the moral panic, but even he admits that "austerity now" "will slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits." The Great Betrayal of the safety net will begin if Obama is able to deliver the "grand bargain" imposing austerity that would "slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits" and unravel the safety nets - the four horsemen of the economic apocalypse.
Obama is telling the media that the Great Betrayal is his first, and overarching, priority should he be re-elected. We are forewarned and we must act now to make clear that we will block the Great Betrayal and crush at the polls any member of Congress who supports it.
Do not concede the phrase "grand bargain" to the proponents of the betrayal. We should heed Camus' warning that it is essential to call a plague by its real name if one is to resist it -- and it is essential to resist the pestilence. "[W]hen you see the suffering and pain that it brings, you have to be mad, blind or a coward to resign yourself to the plague." We must refuse to resign ourselves to being betrayed by Democratic leaders. Our actions must make it clear that we are not mad, blind, or cowards. We refuse to fall for their faux moral panics. It is our leaders who  all too often are mad, blind, and cowards.





30 October 2012

Goodbye Democracy

If you have not already voted, in seven days you'll have the opportunity to choose between two corporate-whore Republicans.  One is an ever-lying, say and do anything bully, a member of the super rich bent on cutting his own income taxes by 26%, and the other is a Republican wolf in Democratic sheep's clothing who once posed as a black liberal.

No matter which you choose, both will attack social security, Medicare and Medicaid as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.  Romney's presidency over the next years would feature more wars, more shifting of wealth to the rich, and a further dumming down of America.  

Hmmm. Ditto the same for Obama.

With both parties nominating corporate shills, not much will change until the various underclasses (that is you and me) organize to revolt.  I don't see this happening soon, for the Republican party knows how to deal with unrest among the masses.  As one cartoonist said, "It is because we have the best riot police in the world."

The type of society that obtains when corporations conspire with the government to control all aspects of its citizenry's lives is called fascism.  We are far more fascist now than ten years ago, and I assume in another 20 years we will be an entirely, police-controlled society, even as Obama moves forward under pretext of national security to legally weaken personal constitutional rights, and also strengthen Homeland Security's control of domestic intelligence.

Everyone knows this.  The liberal journalists know this, and the right wing journalists not only know it, but are spokespersons for the corporatization of the little remaining residual democracy.

I predict further increases in the "berserker" cases, where individuals go mad and start killing masses of innocent people.

27 October 2012


When you are open, bliss is found everywhere at the core of your presence.

Saturday, OCTOBER 13 at 6 PM Pacific time, 9 PM Eastern Daylight Savings time, 10 PM Sao Paulo.

Enter the password: edji

This will take you to a page with a lot of instructions and a large grey box with a rotating “eye.” It will again ask you for a password. Use the word “edji.”

It will then offer four ways to enter the chatroom, click on “guest.”

It will ask you for a user name. Use any name you want.

You will then come to the chat screen, and in the upper left corner, there is a blue button labeled: Start Broadcasting. Click it.

Then it will ask what camera and microphone you want to use, or it will start one for you automatically.


Ten people are allowed on screen at once, and another 90 are allowed to here Satsang but not have their videos us. You can choose not to have your video up if you want to sneak in.

21 October 2012

Dear Edji, I recently came across your website, and after reading several of your essays, and blog posts I decided to write to you in hopes of gaining some insight into my current state of awareness.

The problem is I feel half-baked. My understanding of Advaita seems to be there, but it only seems a head knowledge that has not yet fully penetrated my heart. 

Lately however I have begun to feel fraudulent and sense a need for some kind of spiritual practice, some devotional practice perhaps. It can't all be in the head, the heart must have a say in the matter.

I realize this is all a relative position and that ultimately consciousness is all, but without heart felt conviction, knowledge only goes so far.

You strike me as a man of conviction and more importantly a man of compassion  What the neo-avaitins teach seems to be right on but there also seems to be a depth missing that I just can't find, but sense that it is  essential to the proper transmission of the teaching. 

When I was in the Christian church we had a term that referred to what most people were willing to settle for.

That term was "cheap grace" No sacrifice no commitment just fire insurance. Head knowledge;no heart knowledge This seems an equivalent of what the neo's are offering, and I'm tired of it. Will you help me? 

I would like to continue this discussion and welcome any questions you may have that will lead to clarity in our conversation.



Dear Ken,

From my viewpoint, the neo-advaitins stay on the surface, waking consciousness and seeing no entity which is I, then conclude there is no separate I, just this beingness.

But they have not penetrated very deeply into consciousness, deeper than the mind, as you recognize, to the heart and even deeper, although on the level of the manifest, it will always be felt as living from the heart.

There are two ways to deepen: self-inquiry on the I Am sensation (not the I-thought or I-object) but the sensation of I.  Or, complete love and devotion to another, a guru, a woman, a cat.

I mean total love, complete self abandonment.  This is the most difficult route, but the fastest.

You can do a middle way of using the book, the Nisargadatta Gita by Pradeep Apte as a meditation guide. 

You can download it from my website.  Read only 2 pages a day, ponder what it says, then dive into the I Am.  After a while you will find it readily. Then start practicing loving the I Am.  Read the book.  It gives instructions.

Then also read Siddharameshwar’s The Master of Self Realization.  Mostly just read the 86 page introduction.  That will give you the theoretical framework for everything.

Read all the material on my website, wearesentience.com, and my blog to get an idea of who I am.

I can take you if you are diligent.



Obama for president

The nation has been well served by President Obama's steady leadership. And Mitt Romney has demonstrated clearly that he's the wrong choice.

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President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama is seen delivering a speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington D.C.(Kevin Lamarque / Associated Press / September 8, 2011)
When he was elected president in 2008, Barack Obama was untried and untested. Just four years out of the Illinois state Senate, he had not yet proved himself as either a manager or a leader. He had emerged from relative obscurity as the result of a single convention speech and was voted into office only a few years later on a tidal wave of hope, breezing past several opponents with far more experience and far clearer claims on the job.
Today, Obama is a very different candidate. He has confronted two inherited wars and the deepest recession since the Great Depression. He brought America's misguided adventure in Iraq to an end and arrested the economic downturn (though he did not fully reverse it) with the 2009 fiscal stimulus and a high-risk strategy to save the U.S. automobile industry. He secured passage of a historic healthcare reform law — the most important social legislation since Medicare.
Just as important, Obama brought a certain levelheadedness to the White House that had been in short supply during the previous eight years. While his opponents assailed him as a socialist and a Muslim and repeatedly challenged the location of his birthplace in an effort to call into question his legitimacy as president, he showed himself to be an adult, less an ideologue than a pragmatist, more cautious than cocky. Despite Republicans' persistent obstructionism, he pushed for — and enacted — stronger safeguards against another Wall Street meltdown and abusive financial industry practices. He cut the cost of student loans, persuaded auto manufacturers to take an almost unimaginable leap in fuel efficiency by 2025 and offered a temporary reprieve from deportation to young immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents. He ended the morally bankrupt "don't ask, don't tell" policy that had institutionalized discrimination against gays in the military.
The nation has been well served by President Obama's steady leadership. He deserves a second term.
His record is by no means perfect. His expansive use of executive power is troubling, as is his continuation of some of the indefensible national security policies of the George W. Bushadministration. This page has faulted him for not pushing harder for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws. Obama swept into office as a transformative figure, but the expectations built up by the long campaign thudded back to earth amid an unexpectedly steep recession and hyperbolic opposition from the right. That the GOP has sought to block his agenda wherever possible is undeniable, but truly great leaders find ways to bring opposing factions together when the times demand it; Obama has not yet been able to do so.
Republicans have sought to make the presidential election an up-or-down vote on Obama, hoping that voters will hold him accountable for the country's stubbornly high unemployment and sluggish economy. But this election isn't a referendum on one candidate, it's a choice between two. And unfortunately for the GOP, its candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has demonstrated clearly that he's the wrong choice. He's wrong on the issues, from immigration to tax policy to the use of American power to gay rights and beyond. And his shifting positions and willingness to pander have raised questions about who he is and what he stands for.
On economic issues, the race between Obama and Romney presents a stark choice. Romney wants to cut taxes, spending and regulations in the hope that the mix of stimulus and austerity will spark growth and reduce the federal deficit. Obama wants to trim spending but raise taxes on high-income Americans, shrinking the deficit without sacrificing investments in the country's productive capacity or curtailing Washington's role in protecting the vulnerable.
The centerpiece of Romney's campaign is his plan to cut tax rates 20% below the Bush-era cuts while eliminating enough tax breaks to make up for the loss in revenue, after factoring in economic growth. But the plan lacks credibility, in no small part because Romney has declined to specify how he'd make the numbers work. The risk is that his tax reform will drive up costs for the very middle-income Americans he says he wants to protect, who are the biggest beneficiaries of those tax breaks.
In fact, it's irresponsible to seek a deep, permanent tax cut when the government is deeply in the red. And Romney would exacerbate the situation by spending extravagantly on defense even as the last of the Bush-era wars ends. His main proposal for reducing the deficit is to cap federal spending at 20% of the economy. With Social Security and Medicare commitments growing in tandem with the rising population of retirees, however, such a cap would inevitably force draconian cuts in federal programs that are vital to productivity, such as higher education, transportation and research.
It's hard to analyze the effect of Romney's plans because he's left so many blanks to be filled in after the election. For example, he wants to replace the healthcare and financial regulatory reforms enacted in 2010, but he won't say with what exactly. He's also advocated rolling back the clock on clean energy, overturning Roe v. Wade and leaving women's reproductive rights at the mercy of state legislators and abandoning efforts to help distressed borrowers keep their homes. And he has sounded bellicose on foreign policy, particularly in regard to the complex challenges posed by Iran, Russia and China, with which he appears determined to start a trade war.
The most troubling aspect of Romney's candidacy is that we still don't know what his principles are. Is he the relatively moderate Republican who was governor of Massachusetts, the "severely conservative" one on display in the GOP primaries or the more reasonable-sounding fellow who reappeared at the presidential debates? His modulating positions on his own tax plan, healthcare reform, financial regulation, Medicare, immigration and the national safety net add to the impression that the only thing he really stands for is his own election.
Voters face a momentous choice in November between two candidates offering sharply different prescriptions for what ails the country. Obama's recalls the successful formula of the 1990s, when the government raised taxes and slowed spending to close the deficit. The alternative offered by Romney would neglect the country's infrastructure and human resources for the sake of yet another tax cut and a larger defense budget than even the Pentagon is seeking. The Times urges voters to reelect Obama.

20 October 2012

No Satsang tonight
Saturday, October 20, 2012

I have to take my cat Bodhi to the vet regarding a recheck on his kidney condition.  We need to check to see whether the treatment I have been giving him for 11 days has helped in terms of his kidney values.

This will tell us a lot about how much time he has to live and the aggressiveness of treatment necessary in the future.

I am sorry about this.  I'll try to make it up next week for you somehow.


18 October 2012

Back in 1980 I voted for Ronald Reagan as a joke.  I could not believe anyone else in California or across the nation could vote for a man his own secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, would later call, "An affable baffoon."  Was I shocked to see how much Reagan won by.  This was the beginning of my disenchantment with the political process whereby style replaced substance in electing our national political figures.

The polls are now stunning, and seem to suggest Romney has pulled ahead of Obama across the country, with the electoral college now swinging towards Romney despite both Obama and Biden handing their Republican opponents their hats during the last two debates.

I was talking to someone who put it this way:  This is a time of indecision and fear about the future of our economy and the world as a whole. We have lost confidence in ourselves because of the increasing fracturing of society, the constant war by the Republicans against every measure Obama takes to right the economy, the still failed housing market and huge outstanding debt, and, as in Germany in the 1920s and 30s, a large number of people just want a strong man at the helm, someone who they feel will make them safe, even if he will ride rough shod over women's rights, the poor and the middle class.  For them, all they want is security.

For this class of people, the rude, take-command, insulting bully that Romney was during the debates is exactly what they want, someone who will not let China, Syria, Libya, or any other country push us around, and who promises to give me a 20% tax cut, no matter how mysterious its funding may be.

For them, it does not matter he was found out to be a liar in the debates, be was an aggressive liar and they want to borrow an aggression they themselves did not feel.  It is like cheering for the more aggressive boxer or football team, substance and efficiency does not matter so much as pure aggression.

These same security-seekers also see clearly into Obama’s soul, seeing a person whose own core principles seem weakly held, as he has readily handed Republican’s victories time and again trying to get their support.  Liberals call him half hearted, and going to half-hearted solutions that really satisfy no one.

We wanted a president who would give everyone universal health care, the single-payer solution, and instead he gave us Romneycare.  We wanted  someone who would send a lot of Wall Street criminals to jail, and not even one was indicted for anything.  He is Mr. Halfway, half measure, never really fighting for anything during his entire term.

And, he gave the nation the fatal perception of a weakling, unable to stand up to the bully during the first debate.  He could not look Romney in the eyes or call him a liar.  We needed Biden for that.  This is a possibly fatal first impression that may never be overcome because the president really is not a brave man, but a fight-avoider, a compromiser like England’s Neville Chamberlain, who sold Czechoslovakia down the drain to curry favor with Hitler in 1938, and who was wildly cheered by the English, and jeered by Hitler and the German people.

Really, this is the moment of truth.  Which side of history will you stand on?  Will you vote for the bully, or for a man who sometimes really does stand behind the 47% who don't pay federal income tax?

So, look at the article below and be afraid, BE VERY AFRAID!

Mitt Romney Leads Obama By 6 Points: Gallup Poll

The Huffington Post  |  By  Posted:  Updated: 10/18/2012 12:59 pm EDT
Mitt Romney has a six-point lead on President Barack Obama, according to aGallup poll of likely voters released Wednesday. He leads 51-45 among likely voters, and 48-46 among registered voters, according to a seven-day average.
Gallup's margin is large among recent polls; seven other national polls released in the last two days show margins varying from +3 Obama to +4 Romney.
The Gallup poll showed Romney at 50-46 on Tuesday and 49-47 on Monday.
The numbers do not reflect Tuesday night's debate, in which many observers concluded that Obama had a stronger performance than Romney, if only slightly.
In the first week of October, Romney was tied with Obama at 48 percent each, according to Gallup, which recently announced changes to its survey methodology.