Barry Spector's Blog (170)

Barry’s Blog # 214: Paying Attention, Part Two of Two

Many indigenous societies believed that the dead were always close by at the times of the greatest celebrations. The festivals of mid-winter, as well as the November first celebrations in the Celtic world, looked forward to the annual restoration of the world that would come in springtime. But the elders taught that renewal would be unlikely unless due attention were paid to that which must die, as well as to those who had already died and become ancestors, and those – like Dionysus…

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Added by Barry Spector on September 10, 2017 at 12:57pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 213: Paying Attention, Part One of Two

Spiritual and mystical literature often speaks of the need to pay full attention, to be present moment to moment. In addition, what we might call “soul-work” asks us to focus our awareness of both the outer and the inner worlds with a detached, witnessing perspective, even while, as Joseph Campbell wrote, “participat(ing) joyfully in the sorrows of the world.”

A large part of the self is normally hidden from us. Indeed, cognitive linguist George Lakoff claims that only five…

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Added by Barry Spector on September 9, 2017 at 4:05pm — No Comments

Barr's Blog # 2010-212: The Dionysian Moment. Trump Lets the Dogs Out, Parts Five-Seven of Seven

Part Five

The Local Level: Policing in America

Let’s clear up one issue quickly. If mental illness (you know, the old “single shooter” trope) were the sole cause of these actions, people from all over the political spectrum would be committing them. Instead, it is the radical right that consistently enacts them. And we should also acknowledge that people with mental illness are much more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent…

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Added by Barry Spector on July 30, 2017 at 2:51pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 206-209: The Dionysian Moment. Trumps Lets the Dogs Out, Parts One-Four of Seven

Part One

…Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice

Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.

– Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

 

So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, 

knock the crap out of ’em, would you? Seriously. Okay? 

Just knock the hell…I…

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Added by Barry Spector on July 30, 2017 at 2:48pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 205: Funny Guys, Fake News and Gatekeepers

I’m just a comedian. – Jon Stewart

This is a revised and updated version of a blog I posted in early 2013. I enjoyed watching Jon Stewart preaching to the choir as much as anyone. However, I never expected any authentic, radical commentary from him, for three reasons. First, the fact that he never mentioned the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats were in office) indicated the limits of his criticism of American policies that have been…

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Added by Barry Spector on May 4, 2017 at 5:36pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 204: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Fifteen

Myth # 7: The Unwitting Savior

I have to ask: when did calm, rational discussion ever do us any good? I agree with Michael Meade, who says that anything worth saying is worth exaggerating. I agree with David Whyte, who says “This is not the age of information. This is the age of loaves and fishes.” May it be the age when the gatekeepers can no longer pull the wool over our eyes, when they can no longer serve up “leaders” charged with the assignment to repair…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 24, 2017 at 3:44pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 203: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Fourteen

Obama’s Legacy:

Obama arrived in the White House promising a new era of democracy and positive change for the common man. In 2008, the Republicans were deeply unpopular, and Sarah Freaking Palin could have been a heartbeat away from the Presidency (that doesn’t seem so bizarre anymore).

In 2012, all the GOP could muster was the grinning idiot Romney. Still,…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 22, 2017 at 3:11pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 202: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Thirteen

“Missile Defense”

Do you remember Reagan’s spaced-based “Strategic Defense Initiative”, known derisively as “Star Wars”? It was never built because it was costly, provocative and consistently unreliable. Since then, however, each successive administration has continued to lavish vast resources on it, with the total costs over $180 billion so far. …

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Added by Barry Spector on March 21, 2017 at 2:45pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 201: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Twelve

Sub-Saharan Africa:

American troops swarmed over the continent during the Obama years, allegedly to fight terrorism. They were also there to prop up friendly regimes with horrific human rights records, such as Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda. And they were driven by a new scramble for resources – such as the rare-earth minerals so crucial to producing cell phones – and by intensified…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 20, 2017 at 2:54pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 200: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Eleven

“Others”: Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Cuba, Korea and China:

It’s instructive to see how consistent Obama’s “regime change” strategies were with those of his predecessors, and how culpable he was in the destruction of nations. Evidently, the threat of Muslim terrorism was not enough on its own to justify the ongoing state of fear in America. The Deep State needed another external Other and it found it by rekindling the old enmity that had seemingly disappeared when the Soviet Union…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 18, 2017 at 12:05pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 199: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Ten

Further American Complicity in the Mid-East

After the Israelis, the Egyptian military have been the greatest recipients of American military generosity. In 2012 they responded to the Arab Spring uprisings with another brutal coup. Regardless, the Pentagon continued the aid.

Two years later, despite warnings from some officials that the U.S. could be implicated in war crimes, Obama sent massive weapon sales, intelligence and troops to the Saudi thugs for their…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 17, 2017 at 3:07pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 198: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Nine

Syria, Iraq and ISIS:

For several years the media have persisted in telling us that the U.S. “won” in Iraq because of the troop surge that Bush began in 2007 and Obama continued into 2011, when he announced a formal end to the occupation. However, this included maintaining 5,000 private security contractors and 16,000 State Department “civilian employees” there. Knowing their history of engaging in…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 16, 2017 at 3:57pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 197: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Eight

OBAMA’S FOREIGN POLICY

A reader posits: If presidents are so completely bound, can we really blame them for being complicit? Isn’t voicing soul and decency at least superior to abandoning it altogether? Or, as you say, is it better we face the monster unmasked, as we are doing now? These are precisely the inquiries that lead to the kind of soul work – for ourselves and our world – that I’m trying to provoke. And of course, struggling with them is more…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 15, 2017 at 3:16pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 196: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Seven

OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES

The first thing to understand about Obama is that he was Wall Street’s man from the beginning. He was, after all, the first candidate to turn down public campaign financing, because he didn’t need it. As I mentioned earlier, Goldman Sachs had been his largest campaign contributor in 2008, despite his criticism of “the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street”. He also took huge donations from the defense industry as well as the…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 14, 2017 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 195: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Six

Domestic Policies, Continued:

5 – The Environment

Obama quoted environmental writers such as Michael Pollan and visibly countered the lunatic Republican denial of global warming. obama-solar-panels.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smart But soon it was clear that he was subtly supporting much of the agenda of the oil and petrochemical industries. In 2010 the administration began an ambitious antitrust initiative against Big Food but soon tabled the motion. “Whenever the Obamas seriously…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 9, 2017 at 9:23am — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 194: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Five

OBAMA’S DOMESTIC POLICIES

The lesser evil always paves the way for the greater evil. – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

 1 – Immigration:  

Bill Clinton began the hysteria back in 1996, when he greatly expanded the number of crimes that could lead to forced removal from the US. By 2008, immigrant bashing had become an easy way for any president to deflect…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 8, 2017 at 12:20pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 193: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Four

In the years since my book was published I’ve written many blogs about Barack Obama. How could I not? He was anointed King for a while in this version of our national myth. In each essay I attempted to temper my expectations as well as my growing anger and grief, with a broader, mythological perspective and more questions than answers. What story are we in? What story calls to us? I invite interested readers to review them:

Blog # 9:…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 7, 2017 at 2:43pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 192: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Three

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it. – Mark Twain

I’ve listed four perspectives from which we grade Obama, beginning with the most idealistic (that is, our most idealistic – and innocent – projections) and moving toward what some might call more cynical, or realistic. Let’s continue.

Myth # 5 – No intentions whatsoever, except to survive.…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 6, 2017 at 9:42am — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 191: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part Two

The King: One of his primary mythic roles is to inspire the inhabitants of the realm to greatness, to inhabit and embody their higher selves. And, after the madness and degradation of the Bush years, that’s exactly how so many imagined Obama in 2008. Many saw his potential to to organize a lasting grassroots movement. The numbers were certainly there, writes Micah…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 5, 2017 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 190: Stories We Tell Ourselves About Barack Obama, Part One

We can and should denounce Donald Trump. But until we address the systemic causes that gave rise to him, we are wasting much of our energy. As Glenn Greenwald writes: “Focusing on and attempting to counter the fundamental flaws of the Democratic Party is not a distraction…it is a central priority, a prerequisite for any kind of success.”  We have…

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Added by Barry Spector on March 4, 2017 at 3:05pm — No Comments

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