Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Most Expansive View Yet of Corporatism

I view truth in terms of "holons", a word I learned from reading Ken Wilber's book, A Brief History of Everything. This just means that truths "transcend and include" other truths.

I try to have few favorite links here because I want to just link to those unique voices that I think are the most "over-arching", whose view of the truth is the most "transcendant and inclusive" of everything else that is true.

So I am now adding TUC Radio to my list of links.

Not only is Maria Gilardin, the woman responsible for TUC Radio, the creator of the Michael Parenti archive which I already have a link to, but her podcasts/broadcasts week after week show an over-arching understanding of the long history of what we now call Corporatism. This is very important, because I think understanding the truth about this transcends and includes understandings of all the manifestations and symptoms of Corporatism that finally got so egregious they spawned our new Occupy Movement.

And just as the movement was beginning over the last few months, Maria was compiling her latest podcasts, about Richard Grossman, who died right when the movement was gaining momentum.

I strongly recommend especially to anyone participating in the movement or interested in the predicaments that spawned it to listen to these Richard Grossman podcasts, her latest:

( Go to TUC Radio and scroll down to "Most Recent Programs". )

I realized when I heard them for the first time yesterday that this man's insight transcends and includes even the brilliance of Thom Hartmann and Michael Parenti on the topic of how deep and old the roots of our dillemma are. And so they show how radical we must be in our methods now that we are attacking that dilemma of corporatism. Maria is on to something big, and just in time!:

'Richard Grossman said: ".. corporations don’t have rights. Rights are for people. Corporations only have privileges, and only those that we the people bestow on them." In a nutshell that was the essence of his research and teaching for the last 20 years. Richard died of melanoma on November 22nd, 2011, at a hospital in New York City, where he was born sixty-eight years earlier.

Ralph Nader called him the “preeminent historian of corporations” and a new, inspiring reading of history was his special gift. Richard said that the American revolution was fought less against the crown but against the crown corporations. And he believed that it's time to remember that fight and assert sovereignty of the people over the corporate state and ask: Why should the many be governed by the few?"'

Apparently Maria Gilardin will be adding two more TUC Radio podcasts to what will be this Grossman series. I can't wait to see what I will learn from those.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's Next -Now That Everything's Changed?

This blog began over a year and a half ago as what I now realize was an attempt to live through despair.

Then by April of this year I had made progress. -I had figured out that although sadness about environmental issues was what bothered me most, the political climate was more important in the short term, because if it remained hopeless then the chances for a compassionate response to the environmental crises I foresee are very bleak.

Of course the bizarre events of my rapidly-changing personal life then distracted me with a climax in September when I thought I had terminal bladder cancer and was preparing for the end of my life.

I still am amazed at how that situation suddenly vanished and was replaced by better health than I've had since I was sixteen! Maybe the lack of stress from having no money worries and also being newly retired just suddenly kicked in. Or maybe it was some kind of a miracle as some of my friends have hinted.

For this discussion the weird thing was the timing -I suddenly felt healthy and strong exactly when hope appeared for the problem I had just identified in April -the seeming inability or unwillingness of Americans and others to confront the corrupt political situation.

On September 17th in New York City the Occupy Wall Street movement began. I immediately recognized it as real and viable, because it had all the elements so lacking between 1996 and 2002 when I considered myself a local environmental and pro-urban activist.

Then in early October it had spread to Dayton, and I was immediately involved, and immediately impressed, as the last post, from October 6th makes clear.

Now it's been over two months since then, and although I'm in Florida and not involved in person again until Spring, I'm just as pleased about the Occupy Movement as when I first joined it.

We are at a point now where just about all of our Occupy cities have experienced at least one crisis, several for some cities, such as Dayton. We are evaluating these events collectively and as individual thinkers. We are also contemplating all the other lesser successes and failures we've seen, asking ourselves what they mean and what they teach.

As I do that personally, just like every other individual in Occupy Dayton, the question is "What next?" -for me, for the movement, and for me as part of the movement.

I choose to grapple with that question here -because writing is how I like to sort things out.

First, now that hope has returned, I want to ask myself what I would most love to see in the years just ahead. Then, what happens next makes more sense because it will ideally be toward that longer-term goal.

What I would most love would be to see the neighborhoods in Dayton deeply focused on self-reliance and social health and to be a designer and instructor of renewable energy implementations there, exchanging this for the food, health, management, and other talents of the rest of the people.

In 2002 though I abandoned activism toward such a vision because everything I did was undercut and negated by the political system and yet the public did not want to fix that system.

Now that a large portion of us finally do, I can revive that dream.

But getting back to NOW, how long will it take before the will to fix things finally leads to a system that will not undercut and negate individual work toward dreams such as mine? And, even though current Occupy work is not as fulfilling as my "dream job" of being a renewable energy designer and instructor, will I stay involved in that work anyway for as long as it takes because it will make my dream job possible if it succeeds?

I cannot know these answers now. I can only be optimistic.

But I DO have concrete ideas about what Occupy should begin focusing on next to be most effective and thus make the time we all must spend directly on politics instead of our dream roles in a better society as short as possible.

I first think we need to take over the hollow and ineffective Democratic party from the individual precinct level on up. I became convinced that this is a practical and possibly brilliant strategy by hearing Thom Hartmann argue for it on his radio show frequently in the past few years.

Secondly, I think we should focus a lot on efforts to undue Citizen's United, and to amend our constitution to clearly state that corporations are NOT people and that money is NOT speech.

I see the emphasis now by my fellow Occupy activists on keeping exposure of the widening wealth disparities and on the continued mishandling of foreclosures as healthy and worthwhile. These issues lead more and more people every day to ask WHY they came about. This outrage will make more and more people in the coming months want fundamental change. Then the two ideas I just gave for starting that change will be ready to move ahead. I think we are on the right track. Direct action still is the name of the game here in mid-December. All of our cities are watching each other for ideas now. This is good and I feel good about it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I've joined in, hoping this is the revolt I've been waiting for

Yesterday, Tuesday October 5th, I joined about sixty-five other Daytonians in a demonstration downtown, Occupy Dayton. In just three days, Occupy Dayton grew from just four people. It appears also to be growing tremendously now as we plan our next gatherings Friday night and Saturday.

By the time I walked back home yesterday to get some rest, I knew this is exactly what I've been waiting for. I knew this is what should have happened exactly three years ago, when there were only FIVE OF US FROM THE WHOLE STATE OF OHIO to protest the bank bailout a few days before it happened.

I have changed since then. EVERYTHING has changed since then. -We were still hoping then that the 2008 elections might change things. Instead America and Ohio are even more corrupt. And then in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court poured gasoline and lit a match to what was left of fairness in our political system with their Citizen's United ruling.

I'm hearing that the corporate-owned "news" media as usual is clueless about what has begun. Since I abandoned them many years ago I can only imagine the contempt they have for me and the others. -They helped create the mess that this country has become and the managers of those media outlets know it. They know we are criticizing them even if we don't single them out.

My life, as chaotic as it has already been in recent years, probably took yet another major turn yesterday. I will need to keep reminding myself that my family and friends are more important. But I've been waiting many years for the strangers all around me to get fed up and finally come together. When I actually saw them do that this week I thought it was just a fantastic dream that I would wake up from. But it is real and I am now a part of it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

the good news, and the guest post below

The health situation that became a big deal and for which I made a separate page has resolved in a good way. If my luck continues all of this will just be an important memory a few months from now.

But I have learned so much that I never knew before. Just one major example is that I now know what it feels like to think I probably have cancer. That is why I was interested in David Haas' blog about coping with cancer after he contacted me. I was also happy to publish a guest post he wrote that is so relevant to others who are going through what I just experienced, especially those without the good news I just got a week ago.

David's post is directly below...

Support and Love After a Cancer Diagnosis

Guest post by David Haas

Receiving a cancer diagnosis from a doctor can be very scary, especially if you don't personally know anyone who has gone through treatment for cancer. Many hospitals with cancer centers have their own network of support groups for cancer patients and their families. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse about support groups if they don't volunteer this information. If you cannot find a local group whose meetings fit into your schedule it is a good idea to find an online cancer support group so that you can ask questions and read posts written by people who have gone through the same types of treatments that you will be experiencing.

Local support groups are great for people with cancer and their families because they usually meet several times each month and allow for the opportunity to become closely connected to those going through the same struggle. They may also be helpful because you can ask specific questions about a local doctor from those who have dealt with the doctor or swap advice about the little things that keep you going. Many long-term friendships have been established by people who have gone through the same experience side by side.

Some people would rather not attend physical meetings and are more comfortable sharing their feelings behind a computer screen. Writing an anonymous blog is a good way to record your feelings and thoughts throughout your cancer treatment honestly, without feeling like you're being judged. One benefit of online cancer support groups is that you can often find a group that consists only of people who have been diagnosed with a certain type of cancer. Specific groups range from common cancers like breast cancer all the way to aggressive cancers such as mesothelioma. Targeted information about different tests, symptoms, and treatment options for cancer patients with a specific type of cancer is often more helpful than a group that was created to support people who have received any type of cancer diagnosis.

The National Cancer Institute recognizes that people who receive a cancer diagnosis may respond in a variety of ways and their feelings are likely to change by the hour or even by the minute. Stress, depression, fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, denial, guilt, and loneliness are emotions that are commonly experienced by patients shortly after diagnosis. Leaning on a group of people who have been through similar circumstances is important because they will help you understand that your feelings are normal and you can ask them questions that you don't feel comfortable asking your doctor.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

a new page for latest on health

I just created a new page off to the side. I will update it whenever there is more news about the bladder problem that has become a big issue for me:

latest on bladder situation

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I need to vent somewhere or I will not sleep all night. If I were married I'd just talk and talk right now until I could sort this out better. Instead I will write rather than talk and I will do it here instead of on paper because others need to know what is happening and what I've learned today and figured out. It is relevant to more people than just me.

A spot was found inside my bladder today. I asked the doctor how big it was. He said about the size of a thumbnail. He showed it to me in one of the pictures taken during the brief "cystoscopy". The spot was just one shade of pink against the background that was also pink. But I was still very frightened almost to the point of being faint and I also knew he was doing other exams right after mine, so I froze up rather than ask other questions. He seemed to act like it was not the time for them yet anyway, and instead he emphasized that I should do a hospital inpatient procedure ASAP to get a sample of the spot for analysis. He said his nurse would call me about this.

This hasn't happened yet, which is fine actually, because it gives me time to learn a few more things and think about what I already found out.

The first shocks after I got home were learning these facts from bladder cancer websites, and from the August 2nd Diane Rehm bladder cancer show my sister told me about:

--90 percent of bladder lesions or tumors are cancerous. That means not only can they grow, but they can also spread to other parts of the body.

--The other 10 percent can sometimes grow just as easily as the cancerous ones, they just don't spread.

--The fact that the spot was not that ugly means nothing. Flat simple spots can sometimes be VERY serious.

--More than any other cancer, bladder cancer points to "environmental factors" as a possible cause (pollutants absorbed by the body years before).

--Cutting out a tumor is much less effective here than with other cancers because "recurrence" is high. This means people who fight bladder cancer have to keep spending money on the surgery year after year.

But here is the "good news" that I've come across:

If this spot turns out to be a less serious stage and grade, it is reasonably possible that just waiting and watching is all I need to do because bladder cancers tend to be relatively slow growing.

For many reasons, I have views that are common sense to me yet are opposite of the way that 99 percent of Americans think about "fighting" cancer. -I have NO interest in "fighting" cancer. I think it is a very natural way to die. Whether I die at 57 or 67 or 97 is totally irrelevant to me especially since the longer I live the more I add to the very environmental problems that probably contributed to this cancer. ( I only fear suffering, not death. )

But, ironically, I don't have to worry about being condemned for this "controversial" stance in the case of bladder cancer. -As I mentioned, it is silly to fight it anyway because it just recurs when it's eliminated.

My last opinion tonight concerns the 1970s toxic accident at the new O'Neil building in Miamisburg that many who work there believe makes the building still dangerous and carcinogenic...

Maybe this is less relevant than I thought, because one of the experts on the Diane Rehm broadcast said the average bladder cancer "latency" for environmental exposure is 20-25 years. However, I only worked in the Miamisburg building in the most recent ten years.

...That's all I have to say tonight at the end of one of the worst days of my life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another source of commentary I recommend

As I said, I've become shocked by the escalation of the take-over of American politics by corporations and the wealthy at a time I would have expected at least a pause.

That's why I recommended the lectures of Michael Parenti as background.

Now I am adding another new link to my list, an interview program:

Terrence McNally podcasts

Terrence seems to see things now as I do, especially in regards to our quickeng rush toward even more plutocracy, and this is reflected in his choices of who to interview.

This link will replace The Monthly Review, because I've decided after doing a lot of reading there that Monthly Review is too academic to be as useful as I had thought.

As for Terrence McNally, what makes him better than someone like Diane Rehm in my opinion?

Probably just the fact that he is not on NPR, which I suspect of being somewhat self-censored as I said. There are many good interviews on Diane Rehm. For example, just Tuesday her show interviewed another author outraged at the forces that led to the 2008 collapse. But if Diane Rehm decided to keep this issue on the front burner week after week she would probably be told to stop. Terrence McNally is not restrained in that way.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Decontextualized News and Limited Discourse -That's It!

For well over a year I've been trying to identify something persistently caught in my subconscious. I've known it is what seems to disturb me most about America now, but I have been unable until yesterday to bring it clearly and fully into consciousness and put it into words.

Thanks to Michael Parenti, who I just mentioned for the first time in the last entry, I now understand:

The "decontextualization of news" and the "limits of discourse" are the names for what has been troubling me.

Mister Parenti has been talking about these and related manipulations of the public for years but it's all new to me because I only listened to his many lectures on such topics this month.

I want to recommend these lectures especially now to anyone reading this, particularly the last ten minutes of the 2008 lecture, "Contrary Notions", where he describes the decontextualization of news and the limitation of discourse and debate very well.

I don't want to try to summarize the story here of how these now define the media and public discussion in the United States, because listening to the lectures really is necessary for a full understanding.

I am anxious though to express some new thoughts I'm having now that I know someone has been describing what was haunting me.

First, the kind of resonance with me of Michael Parenti's analyses is something I haven't felt for fifteen years. -The last time I had this sense of relief when I learned that what was bugging me was being articulated was when I read James Kunstler's "Geography of Nowhere" in 1996.

Then it was a realization that America's landscape was driving me crazy; now it's the realization that public dialogue and media have been doing so.

Secondly, it's now clear to me why I dislike the news programs on NPR and public TV as much as those on commercial networks -because the decontextualization of reporting and limitations of debate are just as pervasive.

The only difference is that these are intentional in the case of the corporate media but are induced by fear in the case of NPR and PBS. We just witnessed this fear again since the House of Representatives was once more taken over by right wing members who immediately began threatening public broadcasting.

Thirdly, I want to emphasize, as Parenti does, that decontextualization of news and limitation of discourse are expressions of power, not accidents or coincidences.

Finally, America reminds me of an abusive family. We always hear stories of how silence is imposed as part of the abuse. For example, if a child reports molestation to her brother, she will be beaten. In the family that is America, if a reporter begins to give the full context of his stories, he will be fired, if a debater on a broadcast begins to overstep the boundaries set by the outlet, he will be cut off.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

new view of the political crisis

I still see the future as an array of inter-related collapses which have all begun. Climate and environmental harm are the most important in terms of creatures affected over time. Then, for humans, peak oil is the next most serious issue.

Then I've tended to see economic and political collapse as the next most important.

The political is very important though because it is what those of us who want to help make the future better will be up against.

But, since almost a year ago, I've gradually realized I have never fully understood what has been happening to politics in the US.

I thought the biggest factor driving the cultural and political decline was simple mass ignorance, worsened by hyper-consumerism.

But events have not unfolded in the way I expected since 2008, the year the financial collapse I long anticipated happened.

The complete lack of reform of the injustices that caused the meltdown have shocked and horrified me.

So has the amazing spectacle of what Obama turned out to be -a corporatist and oligarch even worse than Bush!

And then came Citizens United last year!

...All of these, and many other signals are pointing to much more than just ignorance and distraction of the population. Instead they are exposing a much more aggressive agenda of those with lobbying and campaign power and wealth than I ever would have imagined before 2008.

I now realize the most cynical on the left have always beeen right for my whole lifetime and we have now begun to live their ultimate nightmare!

Ralph Nader, Naom Chomsky, Amy Goodman, and all the voices of the radical left since before the sixties foretold all this, but I never took them as seriously as I should have.

So, where am I going now?

Well, I am beginning to learn the names of more of these people, and to study what they have written over the many years. Since they foretold what is happening, I hope they can maybe predict or at least hint at what all the next stages are going to be.

I have just made two new links to my starting points for this new self-education:

First, here are many online lectures from Michael Parenti available courtesy of the excellent website TUC Radio: "Michael Parenti is among the nation's best informed progressive speakers. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1962 and has taught at colleges in the US and abroad. He lectures around the country and discusses the problems of American democracy, US foreign policy, and the invented reality of the media.":

Michael Parenti Archive

Then there are the hundreds of articles available online from "The Monthly Review -An Independent Socialist Magazine", which has been published since 1949:

The Monthly Review -archives

I've just begun to read and listen to articles on these sites but maybe in the future I can point out here ones I especially found informative.

This journal is now revived

...and not called a "blog" anymore by me, and with a new subtitle, "Thoughts and Ideas" rather than "Thoughts and Essays".

"Blog" and "essay" imply commentary by someone with insight. In the past year I have realized I only have well-developed insight regarding a few things. For many others, I am still probing for deeper understanding and am not at all confident I "have it figured out".

Otherwise, the goals and introductions from when I began in early 2010 are still correct and relevant.

I think I will now call this my "thought journal" and the other my "life journal".